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2011 Convention wrapup

The Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, provisional bishop of Fort Worth, laid out three challenges for the next year to the 29th Diocesan Convention at the Hurst Conference Center in Hurst on Saturday, November 19: to develop a Hispanic/Latino ministry, to plan for future growth within the Metroplex, and to work on congregational development in our small, rural congregations. The bishop’s charge can be seen here.

Related to the first challenge, the Rev. Anthony Guillen of Los Angeles, Hispanic/Latino Ministries Officer for The Episcopal Church, addressed convention about specifics of Hispanic/Latino demographics in the United States. His presentation can be seen here. The video he showed can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQnhuj11zgI.

Guillen also announced that the diocese has been given a grant from The Episcopal Church for Hispanic/Latino ministry development in the amount of $20,000 for 2011-12 and again for 2012-13 for a total of $40,000.

In his address Bishop Ohl announced that St. Elisabeth's Episcopal Church, one of the diocese's congregations still in its building, is exploring the possibility of becoming the first Hispanic/Anglo joint mission endeavor.

"With the percentage of Latino population in Tarrant County alone above 35%, ignoring mission opportunities among this community is not only ridiculous, but, I am convinced, sinful," he said.

The bishop said he plans to address the second challenge early in 2012 by creating a group to explore the demographic data of the fastest growing areas of the diocese and to create a specific plan for expansion in those areas.

He said, "The task of the group will be to propose how and where we might plant new congregations. Going back to the Alliance Airport area, 65,000 new families could easily net us a congregation of 600-750 within a few short years, if we are willing to invest the time, talent, and treasure—and take the risk of a new venture—to reach out and love that neighborhood for Jesus."

He asked convention delegates and guests to, "Dream with me for a minute. What if every member brought one person to be a part of their congregation during the next year? By Convention 2012 we would be a Diocese twice the size we are today. And as a side note, I will do Confirmations every day of the week if necessary to make that happen."

As for the third challenge of congregational development in small, rural churches, the bishop committed to using diocesan and Episcopal Church resources to train leaders in those congregations to make the most of the resources at hand.

He said, "I am convinced by experience that some of our most powerful ministry comes from the family size mission, and some of our most creative ministry also . . . It is my hope that we will continue to work with our small town/rural congregations in ministry development, seeking to find the most creative means for these churches to thrive. The St. Mary's of this diocese may never be the largest financial contributors, they will not ever be the largest churches numerically, and they likely will not ever be well known outside their region. But they are as important to me—and to this Diocese—as our largest and most affluent parishes."

The Convention began on Friday, November 18, with delegates and guests participating in Hope Building: Past, Present and Future, a presentation by the Rev. Amy Haynie about reconciliation work that has happened, is happening and will happen", all aimed at reconciling – starting now and continuing after litigation ends – with the people in the buildings still controlled by the Southern Cone. She also shared Ground Rules for having difficult conversations. The Ground Rules are here.

The Rev. Sam McClain then walked the group through the development of a ministry project aimed at having two people praying and worshipping in every Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Fort Worth for the first four Sundays after all property has been returned.

"It was said that if the property was returned to the Diocese of Fort Worth, the churches will be empty. We have promised we will worship in those churches. The Baptismal Covenant says to ‘continue in the apostles' prayers. To seek and serve Christ in all people.' That's why we are doing this," McClain said.

The process was developed by McClain and Linda Curtoys in Context for Ministry. It is here.

Friday's business session included a first vote on a Constitutional amendment regarding election of alternate deputies, amending diocesan canons in the continuing effort to streamline diocesan work, a nominating ballot, and a report from Diocesan Chancellor Kathleen Wells on the status of the litigation. The Bishop also introduced clergy newly canonically resident in the diocese since the last convention: Andrew Benko and Hope Benko from the Diocese of Western Louisiana; Amy Haynie, a transitional deacon who will be ordained a priest on December 10; Slaven Manning from the Diocese of Iowa, who is assisting at St. Stephen's, Hurst; Tracie Middleton, a deacon from the Diocese of Texas who is at St. Stephen's, Hurst; Curt Norman from the Diocese of the Rio Grande and rector of St. Luke's, Stephenville; and William Winston, retired, from the Diocese of Western New York. Bill Wright, retired from the Diocese of Northwest Texas and interim at Trinity Fort Worth, also was introduced.

Friday night's event took its theme from 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

And now, friends, we ask you to honor those heroes who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!

The diocese honored a specific group of heroes - the 12 clergy who came out of retirement following the departure of the former bishop, many of the clergy, and many lay diocesan leaders in November 2008. Bruce Coggin, Courtland Moore, Walt Kesler, John Payne, Frank Reeves, Maurine Lewis, the late John Keene, the late Stan Sullivan, Jim Hazel, Sam Hulsey, John Stanley and Vernon Gotcher were featured in a video here, given a rousing standing ovation and presented with a letter of gratitude from the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church.

The theme of heroes was picked up by the Rt. Rev. Barbara Andrews, bishop of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior [APCI], British Columbia, Canada. She described for the convention how the APCI came into being in 2002 after having come near to exhausting its assets due to litigation with the federal government arising out of painful legacy of the Residential Schools. The Diocese of Cariboo ceased to exist in October of 2000 and in 2001, the Executive Committee asked the Metropolitan (Archbishop David Crawley of Kootenay) to give Episcopal oversight to the clergy and parishes, work and mission in the Central Interior.

She spoke of some of the First Nation's people who became heroes by speaking their truth and by helping APCI move into the future in a healthy way. Other heroes included the attorney who has navigated them through these trying times and dedicated clergy who have kept them centered on Christ and based in hope. You can watch her presentation here.

The evening ended with Compline.

Saturday morning delegates and guests participated in the Hope Café, during which everyone got to share in several table discussions on themes selected by the people in the room. The results of those discussions can be found here. The results are meant to be resources and conversation starters for parishes, committees, commissions and any individual or group interested in pursuing a specific topic.

During the business session elections were held [results below] and a budget was adopted. Robert Hicks, treasurer, reported that all congregations are current with their assessments. He said that the Asking for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society [The Episcopal Church] for 2012 is 50% more than the DFMS Asking in 2011, which was $17,013. But the bishop had asked that the diocese pay $40,000 in 2011 because the diocese had not been giving its fair share in recent years, and that was done. For 2012, the diocese will pay $59,795 for the DFMS Asking.

Additionally, Hicks reported that the diocese has designated two charitable giving categories – charitable giving beyond the diocese and charitable giving within the diocese. The 2011 total for these two categories was 7.5% of the budget. That percentage remains the same for 2012, but the Executive Council has set a goal of reaching 10% of the budget by 2015.

The Commission on Diocesan Structure [CODS] offered three resolutions, all of which passed. Resolution 5 reauthorized and retasked the commission for one additional year, Resolution 6 assured convention support of CODS efforts to design and present a method for ongoing diagnosis of the performance of diocesan working bodies, and Resolution 7 urged congregations to undertake basic education about diocesan functions. The committee withdrew one offered earlier in exchange for a more comprehensive agreement with the Constitution and Canons Committee to define the diocesan standing committees, among which will be the communications function.

Other resolutions passed included one designating the First Sunday in Lent as Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday; one encouraging the diocese to adopt the Second Sunday in Easter be celebrated with humor and festivities as a reminder of the joy in Christ's resurrection; one that encouraged all members of the diocese, but especially the Outreach and Mission Committee, to study and develop ways to minister to day laborers; and one accepting the goal of having outreach items in the diocesan budget total ten percent of all diocesan income.

The convention closed with Eucharist at which Bishop Andrews preached. Her sermon is here. Prior to the beginning of worship, the cans of food that attendees had donated in honor of their heroes were piled in front of the altar while people named their heroes. A list of all those names on the cans is here. The food was given to Christian Community Assistance in Fort Worth for distribution.

Elections/Appointments

Alternate Deputies to General Convention
Lay:
Lisa Nielson, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Keller
Norm Snyder, Good Shepherd, Granbury
Brent Walker, St. Stephen's, Wichita Falls
Margaret Mieuli, St. Christopher's, Fort Worth
Clergy:
Amy Haynie, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Keller
Janet Nocher, Trinity, Fort Worth
Jim Reynolds, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Keller
ClayOla Gitane, Episcopal Church in Parker County and Christ the King, Fort Worth

Standing Committee (3-year terms)
Lay:
Elinor Normand, Trinity, Fort Worth
Clergy:
Susan Slaughter, St. Luke's in the Meadow, Fort Worth

University of the South trustee
John Stanley retired

Historiographer
Karen Shepherd, Trinity, Fort Worth

Disciplinary Board (formerly Ecclesiastical Trial Court)
Lay:
Jan Schattman, Christ the King, Fort Worth
Clergy:
John Payne, retired

Bishop's nominees:
Diocesan secretary –Bruce Coggin
Diocesan treasurer - Robert Hicks
Diocesan chancellor - Kathleen Wells


Fund for the Endowment of the Episcopate (1-year term):

Anne T. Bass, All Saints, Fort Worth;
James Hazel, retired;
Robert Hicks, St. Christophers, Fort Worth;
Floyd McKneely, St. Stephen's, Hurst;
Shannon Shipp, Trinity, Fort Worth;
David Skelton, St. Mary's, Hillsboro;
Whit Smith, All Saints, Fort Worth.

Corporation trustee (5-year term):

Cherie Shipp, Trinity, Fort Worth.

Other Trustees are:

John Stanley, retired;
Trace Worrell, All Saints, Fort Worth;
Robert M. Bass, All Saints, Fort Worth;
James Hazel, retired.


Bishop's appointees:
Commission on Ministry
Melanie Barbarito, chair, All Saints-Fort Worth
2014 – Sharla Marks, St. Alban's-Arlington; David Brockman, St. Luke's in the Meadow-Fort Worth
2013 - Cynthia Hill, All Saints-Fort Worth; Fred Barber, retired
2012 - Joel Walker, St. Martin-in-the-Fields-Keller; Barbarito

Finance Committee – Floyd McKneely