Our Valley churches invite us all to attend Diocesan Council 2019 in McAllen, Texas.
Sam Carter Gilliam, performed a “story portrait” of the Samaritan Woman at the Well on Saturday, February 24. Many of us know the woman well, or at least we think we do. Her story has been told many times, but through Sam’s dramatic portrayal, we heard her tell it, where, beneath the surface and in the spaces between the lines, secrets live. The presentation opens with Marthe Curry reading the story from the Gospel of John.
Richard Mosty presents the current status of the Episcopal Church Foundation as well as the important role it can play for a congregation’s financial resources.
The Rev. Dr. John Lewis said the IONA Collaborative is “an exciting, innovative program that offers an alternative to people training for ordination in the episcopal Church.”
As theological education changes, as well as the changing economics of education, a variety of new forms of receiving education are emerging. The IONA School for Ministry formed in the Diocese of Texas, educating bi-vocational clergy who met at Camp Allen one weekend a month, for ten months a year, with additional remote curriculum.
The curriculum includes 250 hours of teachings that other dioceses can now access locally. The Diocese of West Texas became one of the seven founding dioceses of the IONA Collaborative, so seminarians needing this type of theological education – at the local level – could access the material from home.
The IONA Collaborative has an “extensive depth and breadth” of curriculum, said Lewis, all approved for training in the Episcopal Church. “We currently have 150 students in 24 dioceses around the country.” In the spring 2018, the IONA Collaborative will have accredited CPE training (Clinical Pastoral Education), and will soon have training for lay chaplains.
“The IONA Collaborative will make an incredible impact on theological education and the spread of the Gospel in the 21st century,” said Lewis.
Hear Lewis’ report here:
Dean of the Diocese of West Texas IONA Collaborative, the Rev. John Badders, said the program began in our diocese last September with six students. “It is a three-year program, and we meet together one weekend a month in San Antonio.”
At the monthly gatherings, students hear from engaging mentors during nine to ten hours of class time per day. They participate in liturgical time together, participating in orders of service and preaching. During the weeks they complete the online teachings and course work remotely.
“It’s been my joy to walk with these students the past few months. They are a wonderful group of people,” said Badders.
The current students are: John Blackburn from St. Philip’s, Uvalde; Mikel Brightman from St. David’s, San Antonio; Dexter Lesieur from St. Matthias, Devine; Karen Morris from St. Stephen’s, Wimberley; Arnoldo Ramiro from St. James, Del Rio; and Betsy Stephenson from St. Luke’s, Cypress Mill.
Hear Badders’ introduction of the seminarians here:
The Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Th.D., dean and president of Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, brought greetings to Diocesan Council.
Welcome in with a loud celebration and a standing ovation, members of Grace Church, San Antonio, walked around the floor of Diocesan Council and made their way to the front, as they were welcomed as the newest parish in the Diocese of West Texas. What began in the Rev. Jay and Jamie George’s living room in 2009 – a dream of a new kind of Episcopal church with their family of 5 – grew to 20 people, to 40, and continued to grow. Grace Church, which became a mission of the diocese in 2011, now has over 220 members and an average Sunday attendance of 97. Over 85 percent of its members are under that age of 55. “You planted this church, with your prayers and support, and we are most grateful. Thank you, thank you,” said Jay George.
See gallery of photos here.
Full audio below: