“Remember what you saw and what you heard. Take it home with you. Take home the buttons, take all of the buttons, and then explain them to people and engage in conversations with them. And walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, in offering and sacrifice to God.”
The Rev. Ram Lopez and Richard Mosty address Council about the challenges and the benefits to the diocesan apportionment for congregations of all sizes.
They open their presentation with a “Set Aside Prayer”:
God, please help me set aside everything I think I know
about myself, the apportionment, and You, God,
so that I may have an open mind and an new experience
with the diocese, with our parishes, and with all these things.
Please let me see the truth.
Martha Steves and Tommy Funk speak about the work of the Executive Board – Budget Priorities Ad Hoc Committee. They share the ongoing work of the committee, and emphasize the spiritual aspect of their work, quoting Matthew 6:19-21. She explains that they have been going through the budget with the goal of “discerning if the ‘treasure’ of our dioceses is also where our hearts are.”
The 2019 Bishop’s Address Committee seeks to reflect the bishop’s love for our diocese, his leadership, courage and vision and to turn those reflections into prayers for the people.
The committee, named below, encourage you to listen to the audio, and pray with and for our diocese. Carry these prayers home with you to your home congregations and use them as your own prayers of the people.
Liz Manning, Chair; Rev. Ram Lopez; Rev. Jan Dantone; Andy Knight; Vanessa Smith; Rev. Stephen Carson; Rev. Daniel Strandlund; Rev. Jeff Hammond
Ted Burkhart presents 2018 report from the Episcopal Church Foundation in West Texas. He explains, “The Foundation in West Texas does exist for the purpose of investing the funds for the diocese – our churches, schools, and institutions. The story for 2018 was a pretty amazing story, that started off a little rocky for the first nine months of the year, then ended in smooth sailing.”
- Information about the Foundation can be found online, by clicking here.
Dustin Barrows, currently enrolled in the IONA Collaborative, shares about the fellowship of this bi-vocational, ministry education program. He thanks the diocese for the prayers, encouragement, and support on behalf of the cohort and leaders.
The Rt. Rev. Lloyd Allen, Bishop of Honduras, addresses Council about ongoing and new mission partnerships between our dioceses. Consecrated on October 20, 2011, Bishop Allen is the first Honduran born Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Honduras. During his tenure, the Honduran Episcopal Church has undergone major changes and growth. Upon taking office, he immediately began encouraging the Honduras church, a mission diocese, to aspire to self-sufficiency.
Bishop Allen speaks to the complicated nature of immigration, addresses issues of social instability in his home diocese as well as areas where the Episcopal Church in Honduras is serving and striving to, “restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.”
He talks in detail about their diocesan ministry to the people who are returned to Honduras, and their goal to open a community center to meet basic needs of food, clean water, and shelter; to empower individual and family growth through job training; to promote gender justice; and to help reconnect them with their families and local communities.
Sarah Kates, Chair, delivers the report of the Committee on Christian Formation. Kates discusses the results from a survey that was distributed in the Fall to better understand what members and staff feel is their greatest asset and greatest struggles in regards to Christian Formation, where respondents indicated “small groups, bible study, and youth group” as strengths, and “volunteers, young families, and space” as challenges.
Sarah shares, “It is important to recognize, celebrate, and use our assets, and to find common ground in our struggles. In order to be better at church and formation, we have to connect with each other in our community of churches that we call our diocese. Our committees hope is to continue checking in with you periodically, and track what we find…Our goal is to connect people from all over our diocese. Large with small, medium with large, small with medium. Whoever you are, you are doing good work and someone else might what to know how you are doing it. Share with us, contact us, call us, email us, we have over forty years of experience on the Christian Formation Committee.”
For more resources on Christian Formation visit christian-formation-dwtx.org.
To connect with the committee, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dexter Lesieur, Bishop’s Warden at St. Matthew’s, Devine and enrolled in the IONA program, presents on the diocesan Military Ministry. He shares about the cooling scarves sewing project, the Thanksgiving lunch hosted at the diocesan offices, and the results of Council in Action’s partnership with ProjectMEND.
The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson, Suffragan Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, makes her annual address to Diocesan Council 2019. In her address, Bishop Brooke-Davidson discusses ongoing Congregational Development partnerships and resources by telling “a tale of two cities:” Grace, Llano and St. Matthew’s, Edinburg; inviting clergy to attend preaching retreats; and giving a preview of the College for Congregational Development, launching in the Diocese of West Texas in 2020.
Bishop Brooke-Davidson shares, “Rapid discontinuous change in a culture means that systems have to deal with adaptive challenges instead of technical problems. When life is more predictable, you can make things better by fixing technical problems. In that atmosphere, known problems have known solutions. But when life and culture and the world are changing rapidly and unpredictably, there are new problems without known solutions. Nobody knows what they are doing or what to do next. That’s the presenting problem in an adaptive challenge, and the solution probably starts with re-thinking what the real issue is. Then there’s a lot of trial and error. The line in the maze is not straight because a straight line won’t work anymore. We still need to be good at the technical fixes, but we need a lot of new ideas, too.”
She concludes her address with, “You don’t need a young priest. You don’t need a staff priest. You need a congregation on fire for the Lord. Determined to walk in love. In the place where they live.”
- To connect with the Congregational Development team, visit dwtx.org/congregational-development
- For information about upcoming clergy retreats at Camp Capers, Mustang Island Conference Center, and Duncan Park, visit dwtx.org/events.