Day One- 176th Diocesan Convention
Friday, November 20 clergy and leadership gathered to begin the two days of worship, work, and sharing known as annual convention. 9 am and about 20 organizatios and a few vendors set up tables in the lobby and registration opened, the musicians practiced. At 10 the basics of convention were reviewed for the new and the curious. Worship began and 10:30 (service leaflet) with the ordination of Beth Simpson to the diaconate, the Bishop's sermon was his address to the diocese, and newly minted Deacon Beth's first eucharist preparing the table as deacon under the watchful eyes of Archdeacon Mark Sluss.
Fifteen minutes to grab a boxed sandwich and we proceeded into a working lunch: appointment of Ascension Vicar Marc Smith as Secretary and Hal Burroughs as Chancellor. The first votes were to give licensed clergy non canoncially resident to seat, voice, and vote; a motion to dissolve St. Paul's Church in Palmyra which passed unanimously. We approved a Rules of Order for the meeting and recognized the committes of this convention for their work.
A moment of gratitude when we welcomed the newly ordained in this year since our last gathering, as well as clergy in new positions in the diocese, and clergy new to the diocese. One by one as they join the group in the front we are reminded of the depth of our clerical leadership in Missouri. We paused to remember the three priests that died this year.
We elected interim rector of St. Luke's Doris Westfall to be a trustee to Sewanee, an institution that she is passionate about. Resolutions chair Kathy Dyer presented a first volley of courtesy resolutions, followed by reports from the vice-chair of Diocesan Council, Bill Gilbert, then outgoing chair of the Diocesan Investment Trust, Jay Kloecker.
Treasurer Tom Hedrick presented the budget and included information of the assets and expenses, and explained the budget process. A few announcements and we closed the second pleanary and took a short break.
The theme of this convention is Be Reconciled! with three presenters telling personal stories of reconciliation. First was Bishop Wayne Smith who spoke about home and place, being of a place and not entirely 'at home' and being at home in a place and not completely belonging. He offered the story of Jacob and Esau, their reconciliation and its outcome. He spoke about current cultural interpretations of reconciliation, then offered three questions for table discussion: Can you remember a time when you did not fit in? How was it a burden? How was it a gift?; What gifts and limitations do you bring to your life as a disciple from the culture of your upbringing?; What works for you, and what does not work, in the culture where you now live? The assembled found the questions engaging and were reluctant to end the conversations, but we pressed on.
Missouri's deputation to the General Convention presented an overview of their time and work this summer.
Next we moved to open meeting, a time not in plenary, so not functioning under the Rules of Order, but a less formal discussion on the budget, and resolutions. The annual minimum clergy compensation received no discussion, Chester Hines, chair of the Dismantling Racism Commission spoke about the second resolution which encourages congregations to discover their racial history using the resource prepared by the commission, Seeking our Past, Creating Our Future. Trinity St. Charles rector Tamsen Whistler spoke about her parish's participation in the pilot, that it was not only rewarding and educational, it was fun and fellowship filled.
Some discussion followed on clarifying points in D-176, the parental leave resolution. Most of the conversation which followed was on the proposed Updated Alcohol Policy, and Culture of Alcohol resolutions. We heard about an additional resolution coming from the floor concerning the refugee crisis and text was posted for delegates. We heard about two resolutions coming from the Constitution and Canons Committee, a second read of C-175 changing the number of members of nominations committee, and one submitted after deadline to clarify that a clergy nominee for cathedral chapter as elected by convention should be canonically resident. The robust conversation on the alcohol amendments put us behind schedule a bit, but the next presenters were respectful of time and we continued with introduction of those standing for election in leadership bodies, and a few nominations from the floor.
Deaconess Anne House members got us laughing with a skit on a typical Morning Prayer in the house, and a lovely video memory from last year's interns. Archdeacon Sluss reminded us that diocesan members are invited to Monday night Eucharist and dinner at the house, with an RSVP ahead of time.
Jeanne King is the new United Thank Offering coordinator in the diocese and spoke about gratitude. Jerry Martin from Diocesan Council introduced the five grantees for this year's New Ventures in Community Ministry grants, and the bishop read a commendation from the Church Periodical Club for a Mile of Pennies from this diocese.
We heard a heart breaking account of life in our companion diocese of Lui, in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan.
And that brought the third lenary to a close. After some social time, members shared dinner followed by a fun musical trivia hosted by the Deaconess Anne House crew.