“We are the church called to tell Good News; we are the church to mend a broken world. In the end, that is the only thing that matters,” the Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes said in his sermon during the Convention Eucharist on Saturday, November 7, 2015. Over 300 people attended, which was also the ordination service for the Rev. Pamela Rieger, graduate of the diocesan School for Ministry. The one-day convention took place at All Souls’ Episcopal Church in the Point Loma neighborhood of San Diego.
Bishop Mathes gave an abbreviated address on the state of the diocese during the afternoon business session. In it he reflected on the fact that for the past 15 years, four to five Episcopal churches close every month. He noted that God’s not-so-subtle nudging may look like decline, but that our task in this time is to consider realignment and shifting priorities, and to trust in God. He stated that the diocese will continue its momentum in the ministry areas of young adults, Latinos and youth.
The Rev. Bishop Murray Finck, bishop of the Pacifica Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, spoke about his coming retirement and his appreciation for his relationship with our diocese over the years. “I especially appreciate Bishop Jim Mathes and his wife, Terri, for welcoming me. One of the highlights [of his role as the Lutheran bishop] is to be able to work with the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.” Bishop Finck is set to retire mid-2016.
The Rev. Pamela Rieger of All Souls’, San Diego was ordained to the vocational diaconate during the festive Eucharist. Our newest clergy member graduated from the diocesan School for Ministry with a passion for ministry to the underserved. A native of central Florida, Rev. Rieger has been active in her parish for ten years.
Because the diocese hosted a two-day convention in February, this convention conducted all of its business in one day. Four resolutions came before the convention, two of which, the resolution to amend church law (canon) about the pledge and payment of diocesan contribution, and the resolution on disaster preparedness, passed as presented. The Rev. Julia Christian, St. Anthony’s, Desert Hot Springs, spoke in favor of an amendment to the resolution that would permit missions to pay half of what parishes pay. Canon for Finance and Diocesan Treasurer Julie Young noted that the diocese provides a mechanism in the congregational grants to allow for full payment of the apportionment. The proposed new apportionment is 10.5 percent, up from 10 percent. The convention voted to pass the resolution without amendment. Notable was a change in the terminology for a congregation’s apportionment to the diocese. Instead of calling it a “mission share pledge,” the term now is “common life share.”
“The common life share is not a tax or assessment,” said the Rev. Joseph Dirbas, member of the committee that wrote the mission share pledge report, and rector of All Souls’. He said that paying the apportionment is “in the best interest” of congregations because the diocese uses those funds to support congregations.
A substitute resolution was passed for the resolution on peace in the Middle East. The resolution that called for a moratorium on mission action parish liquidations was referred to the committee on constitution and canons for further consideration because it was not in proper form.
Conversation during the budget and resolution hearing touched on issues related to the bishop’s recent pastoral letter including the potential sale of the All Saints’ property in Vista. The Rev. Michael Carr, former rector of All Saints’, Vista, spoke for reconsideration of that decision. The convention ultimately voted to approve the budget as presented.
The Rev. Rosa Irma Guerra de Alvarado, priest in the Anglican Diocese of El Salvador, and wife of the bishop of that diocese, spoke about her gratitude to our diocese for the companion relationship between the two dioceses for the past 9 years. As our diocese said good-bye to its formal companionship with the Anglican Diocese of El Salvador, it welcomed a new companion relationship with the Anglican Diocese of Western Mexico, which borders the Diocese of San Diego.
The diocese will conclude this year with approximately $38,000 in the black. The convention passed a balanced budget of $2.1 million. Ms. Stacie Rechif, member of the audit committee, gave the audit report, while the Rev. Lane Hensley and Canon Julie Young presented the 2016 budget.
The following were elected to diocesan positions: Darryl Peralta, St. Andrew’s, La Mesa, secretary of convention; John Will, St. Paul’s Cathedral, San Diego, historiographer; the Rev. Doran Stambaugh, St. Michael’s, Carlsbad, and Peggy Strand, All Souls’, San Diego, disciplinary board; the Rev. Gwynn Lynch, St. Mary’s, Ramona, and Jim Stiven, St. Andrew’s, Encinitas, standing committee; the Rev. Timothy True, St. Paul’s, Yuma; Keen Haynes, St. Thomas, Temecula; and Susan Hulbert, St. Paul’s Cathedral, San Diego, diocesan executive council; the Rev. Andrew Green, St. Paul, Palm Springs, cathedral chapter; and Annie Wolterstorff Love, St. James, La Jolla, The Bishop’s School trustee. The Rev. Paige Blair reminded the assembly that this convention elects members to the governing bodies of the diocese, and that full slates of competing nominees would signify a healthy diocese that is invested in electing representatives. Scott Crispell of All Souls’, San Diego served as the judge of elections.
Bishop Mathes gave nine servant ministry awards based on recommendations from clergy members in charge of congregations. These individuals received appreciation for their quiet, unrecognized ministry in their churches and beyond: Andy Waters from St. Timothy’s, Rancho Penasquitos; Pamela Wade from St. Mary’s, Ramona; Betty Johnsen from St. Alban’s, El Cajon; Joy Wolf from St. David’s, San Diego; Mary Jasper from St. Anthony’s, Desert Hot Springs; Lynne and Bill Fish from St. Paul’s Cathedral; Adele and Ron Voell from St. Hugh’s, Idyllwild; Scott Crispell and Neil Malmquist from All Souls’, San Diego; and Tom Mauro from Holy Cross, Carlsbad.
Bishop Mathes appointed the following people to diocesan positions: Charles Dick, chancellor; Polly Getz, vice chancellor; David Bagley, vice chancellor; Gary Powell, vice chancellor; Julie Young, treasurer; and Keren Rodriguez, registrar.
The ordination Eucharist received $2,273 which supports the ministries of: the Rev. Pamela Rieger, the Anglican Diocese of El Salvador and the Anglican Diocese of Western Mexico.
The next diocesan convention will take place November 11 and 12 at St. Margaret’s, Palm Desert. It will include a gala dinner and workshops.
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