Diocesan Profile Survey

To participate in the diocesan-wide survey to create a diocesan profile for the election of a bishop coadjutor, please visit the DWTX Profile page.

In Bishop Lillibridge’s address to Diocesan Council, he called for the election of a bishop coadjutor to be held in October. In preparation for the election of a bishop coadjutor, the Standing Committee has developed a process for creating a diocesan profile. The profile will speak of our history, our present day, and the hopes for our future. Your views are important in preparing this profile.

To this end, the Standing Committee has prepared a questionnaire which asks what is important to you in the selection of the next bishop. The survey link on the DWTX Profile page will take you to an electronic survey where you can voice your opinion. For those who are unable to complete it electronically, there is a PDF version you can print and complete. That paper version will also be available through your church office or clergy.

If your church chooses to forward the link to your congregation via email, please copy and paste the link as you see it on the DWTX Profile page. Thank you for your participation.

 

Stay Tuned this Year

Though the 110th annual Diocesan Council has officially come to a close, this Council website will remain up and running throughout 2014, delivering to you the latest news and information on the election of a bishop coadjutor on Saturday, October 25, at TMI – The Episcopal School of Texas.

In the meantime, you can review the actions and events of Council by visiting the Council Live page. There are numerous written and audio reports, as well as videos by the Elisha Leadership Initiative interns, of Bishop Reed’s Council Eucharist sermon, Bishop Lillibridge’s Address, and the luncheon presentation given by the Rev. Becca Stevens.

Facilitated Conversations

On Saturday morning of Diocesan Council, February 22, clergy and delegates, as well as alternates and visitors, met in small groups for Facilitated Conversations led by members of the diocesan Reconciliation Committee.

Each group was led by a trained facilitator, and the goal of the conversations was to encourage and equip members of the diocesan family to engage one another on topics in which they may hold different theological positions, specifically on matters of human sexuality and the blessing of same-sex unions.

Using a framework that encouraged all to have a generous pastoral response to those with whom they disagree, the conversations were held through mutual listening and respectful discussion, outlined by questions provided by the Reconciliation Commission.

Last year (2013), in his address to Council, Bishop Lillibridge first invited congregational conversations on the matter of homosexuality, which followed upon the actions of the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, held in July 2012, which authorized for provisional use a liturgy for same-sex blessings in dioceses that chose to do so. Those congregations who accepted the bishop’s invitation to these conversations have consistently reported that they proved to be a helpful discussion in which to participate.

In this year’s address to Council on Friday morning, Lillibridge once again invited congregations throughout the diocese to engage in a prayerful, careful, and intentional conversation about homosexuality and same-sex blessings.

Lillibridge said, “These facilitated conversations continue to represent the broad range of thought and hopes on this subject. They call us to seriously consider what the phrases ‘generous pastoral response’ and ‘honor the theological diversity of this Church’ look like in our life together.”

Following the table conversations at Council, the participants were invited to stand and give a one-word response to the exercise. During the time allotted, the one-word responses included:

enlightened, respect, okay, compassionate, gentle, tolerant, committed, love, cloudy, painful, family, holy, encouraged, sensitive, beginning, amor, vulnerable, heart-felt, blessed, lucky, grateful, difficult, acknowledged, faithful, timely, emotional, laughter, tolerance, embraced, wisdom, concerned, real, suicide, friendly, courageous, and accommodation.

Lillibridge extended his thanks to Council for their participation. The Rev. Lisa Mason, member of the Reconciliation Commission, closed the session with a prayer, thanking God for listening ears and listening hearts. She prayed for all to be bearers of mercy, and continue to be bearers of light, and love, and peace.

Sixth Annual Youth Commissioning

On Saturday morning, Bishop David Reed, commissioned the youth of the diocese, who gathered for the sixth annual Youth in Action event, to go out into the city and work in the name of God.

“Now go in peace to love and serve the Lord… now go on!” said Reed, after offering prayers for the group.

Approximately 100 young people gathered at St. Mark’s, San Marcos, on Friday evening for worship and a night of fun and games, and, most likely, little sleep. The youth and sponsors arose early Saturday to be on the Council floor for the commissioning at 9:00 a.m. The youth entered to a standing ovation and many high-fives. Following the commissioning, the group headed out to partner with the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

The work day will include landscaping, clearing property, construction, and assisting at the ReStore for Habitat for Humanity. At the conclusion of the “Day in Partnership with Habitat for Humanity,” the young people will return to St. Mark’s for another evening of fellowship, followed by Sunday morning worship at the church.

Bishop’s Golf Classic – New Leaders

In giving the results of the 2013 Bishop’s Golf Tournament, Mike Horridge also announced to Council a change in leadership for the event.

The purpose of the golf tournament, played in early November each year, is “more than a fund raiser,” said Horridge, who, with the Rev. Ed Dohoney and Ron Morrison, has been co-chair of the event for the past eight years. The tournament is “an opportunity for all the members of the diocese to come together to enjoy competition . . . and raise funds for needy children, young adults, and families . . . to participate in life-changing events.”

Funds raised from the annual tournament support congregational youth ministry and scholarships for young people and families to attend diocesan camps.

The results of the 2013 golf tournament included $2,500 to Mustang Island Spring Break Camp, $3,720 to Episcopal youth events, $14,750 to youth programs in 12 churches, $35,000 for the Colorado Adventure Camp, $40,000 for Camp Capers scholarships, and $45,000 for Mustang Island Family Camp.

Since 2006, a total of $146,000 has been spent for the benefit of our youth since 2006, said Horridge.

In 2013, the tournament set new records of 148 participants from 23 churches.  Revenue from the tournament was $45,860 allowing for $32,542 in scholarships.

With the retirement of Horridge, Dohoney, and Morrison as co-chairs of the Bishop’s Golf Tournament, Bishop Gary Lillibridge announced that Gray Hardaway of St. John’s, New Braunfels, is the new chair.  He will be assisted by Bart Wilson and Clay Michel, both of St. George, San Antonio.

Report on College Missions

“Sometimes the Kingdom of God creates spaces you would have never imagined,” said Greg Richards, director of College Missions.

“But Jesus would not have seen these places as weird,” said Richards. College Missions is working to fulfill the model of Jesus of being present in the world. As college missioners, Richards said the primary task is to share life with the college students. This is done through various campus programs, healthy and growing across San Antonio.

More than 30 students are now attending the program at UTSA thanks in large part to the energetic leadership of college missioner Robert Cellis. Also at Incarnate Word and St. Mary’s, the programs continue to expand. “This year has been significant,” said Richards. This year was the first College Missions mission trip to the Dominican Republic, the first fellowship trip to Duncan Park in Colorado, and the first college retreat at Camp Capers.

A retreat was also held for rising seniors in high school and rising college freshmen, Portal13. This will again be offered in 2014, and other dioceses are wanting to replicate the program.

College students in the programs continue to visit Cliff Maus Village in Corpus Christi, a low-income housing complex, for a once-a-semester service project. This was begun by missioner Allie Melancon, and the college students go to interact and love on the children and families, leading them in spiritual exercises, as well.

Many more activities and programs make up the work of College Missions. Knowing the work is needed more than just in San Antonio, Richards said, “Our plans are extending – we know we are needed in other places.”

Through the Elisha Leadership Initiative, the first class of interns are “a crucial part of our work in San Antonio,” said Richards. This program is helping to raise efficient young leaders, capable of leading college ministry in the future.

“When I think about trying to communicate all of our work, I get sort of sad,” said Richards. “I am sad because there is so much I can’t share – the late-night conversations, the laughing, the crying, the hope, all the wonderful stuff that happens with our young people.”

To stay up-to-date with the work of College Missions and the teachings that take place on the campuses visit Vital University Mission.

Marthe Curry for World Mission

Dr. Marthe Curry, director of the diocesan Department of World Mission, extended gracious thanks to Diocesan Council for continued commitment to mission.

Last year, 416 missioners were sent on 45 teams to serve in 15 different countries, sharing the love of Jesus Christ in word and deed. “Thank you for giving to the Lord,” said Curry.

View the World Mission “Thank You” video.

As her custom, she had anyone on the Council floor stand who has gone on a mission trip, given to a mission trip, or prayed for a trip or missioner. “Right Reverend Sirs, I present to you the people of the Diocese of West Texas. We are a missions diocese,” said Curry.

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