The Rev. Stephen Carson shares with Council about the work of The Douglass Foundation Scholarship Program. Established to support the fields of education, entrepreneurship, science and the arts in the Diocese of West Texas, the foundation has awarded $650,800 to 39 recipients since 2000.
This scholarship is for those seeking advanced degrees in the fields of theology, business, and psychology. The application deadline for the 2019 – 2020 school year is June 14th.
Stephen shares, “The reason I am speaking to you today is to encourage you, our diocesan family, to identify and inform potential applicants about the scholarship program.”
Mary Katherine Duffy, incoming Deputy for Episcopal Schools, reports on her vision for the new consulting role for Episcopal Schools she will assume beginning in the fall.
Duffy shares, “As the Chairman of the Episcopal Schools Commission for the last ten years, I can tell you firsthand that our schools have not had the diocesan support that they have needed. Bishop Reed and I began to dream about how the diocese could be more supportive and offer more resources to these schools that are ministering to thousands of students, parents, and faculty members each year. The position of Bishop’s Deputy for Episcopal Schools was born.”
She later continues, “I will spend my time visiting our schools, supporting the clergy and school heads, and facilitating conversations around each school’s strengths and challenges. I will build relationships, provide resources and support, and ultimately work to help the leaders of our school develop the skills they need to be the best they can be.
We will focus on areas of governance, finance, human resource management, and personal development. I will be the liaison between the bishops, the diocesan staff, and the schools, as we work through the challenges that our schools are facing each day.”
The Rt. Rev. Daniel Gutierrez, Bishop of Pennsylvania, addresses Council after his keynote at the Bishop’s Luncheon. Bishop Gutiérrez was consecrated on July 16, 2016 as the 16th Bishop of Pennsylvania. Before his ordination as bishop, Gutiérrez served as Canon to the Ordinary, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief of Staff in the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande. Bishop Gutiérrez has focused his ministry on emphasizing the sacred presence of Jesus Christ, empowering laity, inspiring creative solutions for church growth, emphasizing the missions of the church, social justice, poverty, and ensuring that transparency is part of everything.
Bishop Gutierrez shares, “Part of the challenge is that we have to retell the story about the Body of Christ. We have to say we’re not congregationalists; we are this Body of Christ. … And we’re doing it together. It’s about building trust. It’s about building relationships.
We do have the same challenges. When the world says there’s no hope, you’re the hope. We have to live with a theology of abundance and not scarcity, courage and not fear.”
Sarah Robinson delivers the results of this past year’s Valley Golf Classic tournament in March of 2018.
The Valley Golf Classic benefits Vital University Missions’ program in the Rio Grande Valley on Friday, March 22 at Rancho Viejo Resort and Country Club. Team and sponsor sign up is available at dwtx.org/events.
The Rev. Michael Chalk, Board Chairman, and Mr. Simon Salas, CEO give the report on Good Samaritan Community Services, a ministry of the Diocese of West Texas, which serves as a catalyst for change, supporting youth, individuals, and families, by providing excellent community services to overcome economic poverty.
Mike Chalk shares, “During my time as chair I plan to work with even more of you to help advance the mission of this place. Our success depends on all of us coming together to help our neighbors at Good Samaritan.”
Simon Salas adds to the conversation, “This past year we served more than 5,600 children, adults, and seniors from prenatal to 99 years old…Our ability to provide our nationally-recognized programs to all who are in need could not be done without the incredible partnerships with all of you in this room. From your volunteer hours, to providing Christmas bags for families, financial support, and your prayers, we are very blessed and grateful.”
During Council 2019, participants are invited into seven conversations about each of the seven practices for a Jesus-centered life laid out by the Most Rev. Michael Curry. Contributors to the Fall/Winter 2018 Reflections Magazine that explored the Way of Love will introduce each Bible study conversation, either in person or via video.
The Rev. Daniel Strandlund addresses Council and invites conversation about the practice of worship, recalling the Rt. Rev. Gutiérrez’s observations at the luncheon “that everybody worships something”, whether they know it or not. Listen to Daniel’s full conversation above, read his article “I Thee Worship” in Reflections, and ask yourself, “What communal worship practices move you to encounter God and knit you into the body of Christ.”
The Rev. Rod Clark, Vicar at St. Peter and St. Paul, Mission speaks to Council about responding to the needs in Border Communities and Congregations. He says,
“This issue is not easy. People have strong opinions about it, and it can be divisive, but be confident that wherever you fall on this issue, whatever your opinion might be or your political affiliation, there is an opportunity for you to walk in love in this diocese.
If you want to meet humanitarian needs and be among migrants, you’re about to hear about an opportunity to do that from Andrea Rudnik. If you want to go on mission teams and work in other countries, you can do that. If you want to support law enforcement, you can do that.
If you find other shadows that need a light shined upon them, let your lights shine, and walk in love.”
Speaking next, Andrea Rudnik a seminarian in the IONA program, shares stories about Compassionate Relief for Asylum Seekers, an ecumenical ministry in Brownsville with two components, a ministry that crosses the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge to provide assistance to asylum seekers there and a ministry that receives asylum seekers at the bus station to help equip and prepare them for the next stage of their journey. She says that,
“We respond to the needs of asylum seekers, as we find them, depending on their needs. Sometimes they ask for clothing. Some are babies, some toddlers, so we bring diapers and formula. We bring food, that’s the primary thing we do.
One of the things that is really important for us as volunteers, is to not just bring dinner and supplies, but to let them know that we’re there and that we care about them. We do a lot of prayer with them. We have several in our group that play musical instruments, and we sing and talk with them. We find out what’s going on in their lives. How are they feeling? We attend to their needs as best we can, a ministry of presence.
Our work is a ministry of presence as much as anything else, and I feel like it’s really important to say that, and it’s been said over and over in these last two days, that all of us are the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth, and that our baptismal covenant asks us to seek and serve Christ in all persons.”
Jennifer Wickham, Bishop’s Deputy for Disaster Recovery presents the report on Disaster Recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey and on the revitalization of the newly-revitalized Commission on Disaster Preparedness and Response.
Jennifer shares, “During this past year I have traveled with representatives from Episcopal Relief and Development to visit sites still reeling from Hurricanes Irma, Maria, and Michael. In each place I was able to share examples of resurrection from our diocese and speak about all we are learning together…We continue to be hopeful that the lessons learned from Hurricane Harvey will help all of us be better prepared for the next disaster, whatever that may be. Our brothers and sisters who were impacted are working daily to discover a “new normal” and they are examples of resiliency, hope, and determination. They have much to teach the rest of us about how to persevere in the face of great adversity.”