The Diocese met for their 175th Convention last Friday and Saturday. We started with introductory business, including the bishop’s appointments to various committees, an orientation to our online voting and approval of the 2021 minutes. We then moved into Evening Prayer, led by Deacon Chuck. Evening Prayer included the Diocesan Necrology, or the list of all the parishioners who have died in the last year. We then heard from Becca Stevens, our keynote speaker.
Becca is an Episcopal priest and the founder of Thistle Farms. This free, two-year residential community offers women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction a sanctuary to heal and thrive. That means two years of safe housing; healthcare and trauma therapy; and job training and meaningful employment. It is an incredible ministry that I could spend this whole page talking about, but I encourage you to go to https://thistlefarms.org/ and purchase their tea, soap, candles, lotion, essential oils, textiles, books, jewelry and clothing to support this ministry.
On Saturday morning we reconvened and began with Eucharist. Our preacher was Bishop Matt Gunter, the Bishop of Fond du Lac and the Provisional Bishop of Eau Claire. Bishop Gunter preached about the saints in heaven, and imagined them watching us, not to tally up our failings, but to vigorously cheer on the times we are patient, loving, kind and faithful.
We next heard from Bishop Lee for the Bishop’s Pastoral Address and had our first round of voting. We elected deputies to General Convention, members to Executive Council, Standing Committee, the Title IV Disciplinary Board, Trustees of Funds and Endowment, and our Diocesan Treasurer.
We next voted on resolutions brought to Convention. The first changed our Constitution and Canons to allow deacons to serve on Standing Committee. Previously, the language had only allowed lay people and priests to serve.
The next resolution funded the Commission on Creation Care with an annual budget of $10,000 for the next five years. These funds will allow the commission to fund small grants to help parishes make sustainability efforts.
The third resolution declared that active deacons will be compensated by a $25 a month stipend from the Diocese. Further, the Diocese will also pay the applicable assessment to Church Pension Group (CPG). The previous lack of compensation prevented deacons from accessing benefits through the Church Pension Group (CPG). These benefits include Credo conferences that address spiritual, physical, and financial well-being, life insurance, and resettlement compensation.
Finally, we approved a resolution for minimum clergy compensation in 2023.
Next week I will tell you more about 2023 Budget, the Trialogue Report, the Canon for Ministries Report, the Land Acknowledgement & Sovereignty Report and the Haiti Partnership Report.
Prayers and Blessings,