Council 2016 Opening Report

DSC_0073Bishop Gary Lillibridge called the 112th Annual Diocesan Council to order at 1 pm at the McAllen Convention Center and immediately called for a moment of silence in thanksgiving for and memory of Jack Hebdon. Hebdon, who was a member of St. Mark’s, San Antonio, served as chancellor of the diocese for 42 years, the longest sitting chancellor in the Episcopal Church. Hebdon died in San Antonio on February 12 at the age of 93.

Welcome from St. Alban'sThe Rev. Scott Brown and 10-year-old son Christopher welcomed the attendees to council. Scott thanked council chairs Marilyn and Dave Osborn and noted that although he had sat in council for many years, he had never before understood the sacrifice required to host it.  He therefore thanked all previous council hosts and especially Nancy Stinson  – “the queen of council.”

Godly JoyBrown spoke to the theme of council – “the joy of the Lord is your strength” by leading a session of “fist-to-five.”   A closed raised fist indicates a level of zero joyfulness, he explained.  A raised open hand with five spread fingers show a joy level of five.  When we try to seek joy from our own strength, he said, we fail. “True joy is not found in striving but in surrendering,” he said. He reminded council that “the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you; the same power that calmed the sea lives in you; the same spirit that makes all things beautiful beats in your heart.” Click here for the full audio of Rev. Brown’s welcome.

Turning to business, Canon Kirk Mason, in the report from the Committee on the Status of Parishes and Missions said that in 2015 the congregation of St. Michael’s, Lake Corpus Christi was closed. Bishop Lillibridge added that the congregation had been faithful for many yeas but had dwindled to five members.  No action was required by council in the closing of the church.

Two new clergy were presented to Council – the Rev. Matt Wise as assistant at St. Mark’s, San Antonio, and  the Rev. Bonnie Reeves, who serve the Eastern Convocation of churches. Reeves is in her final year of bi-vocational training at the Iona school in the Diocese of Texas and was ordained to the diaconate this past December.