Category Archives: Bishop Suffragan

Bishop Suffragan’s Report

Bishop Suffragan Jennifer Brooke-Davidson’s Report to Diocesan Council from Episcopal Diocese of West Texas on Vimeo.

Listen to Bishop Suffragan Jennifer Brooke-Davidson’s report to Diocesan Council below:

Read/print the report.

“We cover a lot of ground, don’t we? We are 86 churches who are ambassadors of God’s love and mercy to all the people who inhabit the 66,000 square miles that are the Diocese of West Texas,” said the Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson during the Bishop Suffragan’s report to Diocesan Council on Saturday, February 24.

This year, she said, “we will get refocused on the mission of God through the study of Scripture,” referencing Bishop Reed’s asking of the diocese to read the Bible in its entirety in 2018.

We will “bring more workers into the harvest through the work of existing congregations and through the creation of new congregations; and engage new ways of engaging a rapidly changing culture with the eternal message of God’s love and saving mercy, to offer a vision of wholeness, health, and peace.”

But challenges exist, said Brooke-Davidson. “Insider church challenges – what are we going to do about the fact that many of our congregations just can’t afford a full-time seminary-trained priest and that some of them are not young and married with adorable small children?

“Let me tell you about St. Luke’s, San Saba,” said Brooke-Davidson. And she told of pastor Bill Grusendorf, a bi-vocational priest since 1974, a community-oriented guy in a small town. Since becoming Vicar of St. Luke’s, the church has added a parish hall, a library, and a restroom, and Grusendorf has purchased two computers to help local kids who cannot afford one complete their school homework.

St. Luke’s has a vesting room full of instruments – trombones, French horns, clarinets, all for a kid’s band that performs on the Fourth of July and at Christmas. And when the church isn’t helping on the computers or with the kid’s band, volunteers are at the children’s playroom they furnished at the local courthouse after they noticed how many kids were hanging around waiting for their parents to get out of court.

“Don’t worry about getting a young priest. An old one works just fine if he or she is still on fire for the Gospel,” said Brooke-Davidson.

What about churches without even a part-time priest? “Well, there’s St. Matthias, in Devine,” she said, “and they haven’t had more than a supply priest in years.” But they do have the Lesieurs, “folks with energy, and they love the Lord.”

St. Matthias is now involved in eight community projects through the town’s Ministerial Alliance; they were one of the first churches to drop off a car load of supplies for hurricane relief; and with no organist, they “sing up a storm” each Sunday with Synthia, a recorded hymn software, and a used karaoke machine.

“When there’s a will, there’s a way. When there’s no will, not much helps. It’s all in the attitude,” said Brooke-Davidson.

Moving to Congregational Development, she reported on the new support for churches rolling out this year.

First, an assessment process from a company named Holy Cow! to adapt and adopt new strategies on areas of focus. Second, a multi-faceted approach to church growth in vitality and impact including: basic training in lay ministry; a sequenced leadership development program called the College for Congregational Development (developed in the Diocese of Olympia). Also, an on-site analysis of the demographic context of each congregation; and a web-based platform called Basecamp to capture information, connect churches with communication technologies (webinars, virtual meetings), and document sharing.

The Basecamp platform is already set up and contains resources for any congregation using “The Story” this year as the year-long Bible study. Find it under Spiritual Formation on the diocesan website: www.dwtx.org.

“I am looking forward to a year of close collaboration with Bishop Reed and with you as we follow Jesus together as the church in the worlds that are South Texas,” said Brooke-Davidson.

Bishop Suffragan-Elect

dsc_3245The Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson was chosen Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas during the 113th annual Diocesan Council on Saturday, February 25, 2017, held at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the first woman to be elected bishop in the Diocese of West Texas. Brooke-Davidson, age 56, is currently the Vicar of Saint Elizabeth Episcopal Church in Buda, Texas, and was one of seven nominees. Now as the sixth Bishop Suffragan of the diocese, she will serve alongside the Diocesan Bishop, the Rt. Rev. David M. Reed.

In order to be elected, a candidate needed to receive a simple majority of votes from both the clergy and the lay delegates, voting separately as “orders” on the same balloting round. Brooke-Davidson secured election on the sixth ballot, receiving 55 number of clergy votes and 153 number of lay votes, with 49 and 151 needed, respectively, for election.

Pending consents of the Bishops and the Standing Committees of the majority of the dioceses in the Episcopal Church, Brooke-Davidson will be ordained as Bishop Suffragan during a worship service held on July 29, 2017, at TMI – The Episcopal School of Texas in San Antonio. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, will preside.

Brooke-Davidson was ordained a priest in 2009 after graduating from Fuller Theological Seminary. Brooke-Davidson has served as Vicar of St. Elizabeth since 2011. She served as the Assistant Rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Wimberley, Texas, from 2009-2011. Prior to ordination, Brooke-Davidson practiced commercial financial law for 12 years. She is married to Carrick Brooke-Davidson, and they have two grown daughters, Emma and Kate.

Discernment Forums – video from TMI

Three Discernment Forums were held Saturday and Sunday, January 28-29, in Harlingen, Corpus Christi, and in San Antonio that afforded voting clergy and delegates, as well as visitors, the opportunity to hear from the seven Potential Nominees for Bishop Suffragan. Those in attendance learned more about each candidate’s vision for the diocese, his or her calling to be a bishop, and they were able to witness each personality as the candidates presented their responses to a series of random questions. The Potential Nominees traveled to each location to respond to questions submitted by people of the diocese and created by the Standing Committee.

The third Discernment Forum – held at TMI – The Episcopal School of Texas – was recorded, and the video is now available here.

potentialnominees-forum-harlingen2017The seven Potential Nominees for Bishop Suffragan are (as pictured): the Rev. Lisa Mason, the Rev. Chris Caddell, the Rev. Jonathan Wickham, the Rev. Chris Cole, the Rev. Robert Woody, the Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson, and the Rev. John Hill.

This was the first time the Diocese of West Texas hosted Discernment Forums to provide the opportunity for Potential Nominees for the office of bishop to travel around the diocese. The first two of the weekend were held at St. Alban’s, Harlingen, and Church of the Good Shepherd, Corpus Christi. With the third at TMI, all the forums were well attended by clergy, delegates to Diocesan Council in February, as well as visitors who came to hear the Potential Nominees answer questions.

discernmentforum-harlingen2017At each location, each Potential Nominee gave a three-minute opening statement, as well as a three-minute summation. Each response to a question was also limited to three minutes. Many of the questions focused on the ministry of a bishop, the personal discernment processes, spiritual exercises and personal faith development, and current issues in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

While the Potential Nominees each gave thoughtful responses that delivered their personal beliefs, they also complemented each other and often were in agreement, acknowledging a previous answer and building on it. In each summation, the candidates all expressed sincere gratitude to those gathered to hear them speak and also to each other for the support given on this discernment journey.

When wrapping up each forum, Bishop Reed said many people have asked him whom he would like to see elected as Bishop Suffragan. “I am now ready to give you that answer,” said Reed. “Any one of these seven will do a fine job.”

The election of Bishop Suffragan will be held on Saturday, February 25, 2017 as part of the 113th Diocesan Council at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi.

Discernment Forum 1/29/17 at TMI

The last of three discernment forums held across the diocese, this two-hour video presents the seven potential nominees for Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas.  Each potential nominee has a 3-minute opening statement and a 3-minute summation.  In addition, each is asked three randomly selected questions with a 3-minute response.  The election for Bishop Suffragan will be held on February 25, 2017 at Diocesan Council in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Save the Date

Pre-Council Meetings / Discernment Forums
Harlingen, Corpus Christi, and San Antonio
January 28-29, 2017

There will only be three Pre-Council meetings this year, all during the weekend of January 28-29, 2017. These three meetings will focus on Discernment Forums to afford voting delegates and clergy the opportunity to hear from the potential nominees for Bishop Suffragan in person. Don’t miss this important event in the life of the diocese.

The members of the Diocese have the opportunity to submit topics and questions to possibly be addressed by potential nominees during these forums. E-mail suggestions to laura.woodall@dwtx.org by December 31.

Nominations for Bishop Suffragan End Sept 30

Following the timeline adopted by the Diocesan Council, the nomination period for Bishop Suffragan opened on July 1, and nominations will be received through September 30, 2016. Names may only be submitted by canonically resident clergy and delegates/alternates to the 2016 Diocesan Council. Each submission requires two (2) clergy and two (2) delegate/alternate signatures. The nomination form, election timeline, and other information regarding the election process may be found at www.dwtx.org/bishop-suffragan or on this website at Bishop Suffragan.

All congregations are invited to remain in prayer for the discernment of our next Bishop Suffragan.

Almighty God, we give you thanks for calling leaders throughout the generations who boldly proclaim your love. Call through us now a bishop who will proclaim Christ’s resurrection, faithfully interpret the Gospel, and lead us into the world to love and serve the Lord, encouraging the saints and nourishing us from the riches of your grace. So guide the hearts and minds of those who will discern the person you are calling to be our Bishop Suffragan, that we may receive a faithful pastor who will guard and govern the church, sustain the presbyters, care for your people, and equip us to serve the world in Christ’s Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For questions regarding nominations or the election process, please contact Laura Woodall at laura.woodall@dwtx.org or (210) 824-5387.

Rev. David G. Read,
Standing Committee President
rector@stlukes-sa.net
210) 828-6425.