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.”
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.”
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.
Connect with the diocesan Military Ministry group on Facebook, by clicking here.
Find resources to build a Military Ministry in your congregation at dwtx.org.
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.
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.
Claire Campbell addresses Council and invites conversation about the practice of going, “crossing boundaries, listening deeply, and living like Jesus.” Listen to Claire’s full conversation above, read her article “Into the River” in Reflections, and ask yourself, “To what new places or communities is the Spirit sending you to witness to the love, justice, and truth of God?”
Greg Richards, Director of College Missions, presents about what’s happening on college campuses in our diocese and around the country. He shares about the growing presence of Vital University Missions in the Rio Grande Valley and explores the joy of sharing Jesus Christ and the Episcopal Church with college students. He says that,
In College Missions, we believe friendship is how Jesus came into the world (evangelism), and there are three core beliefs about friendship that inform our ministry:
The status quo is wrong and must be overthrown if the world is going to be livable.
There is another world aborning that is livable. (The Kingdom of God, here with us!)
The usual means by which one kingdom is thrown out and another put in its place (military force or democratic elections) are not available to us.
Ministry on college campuses can be changeable and sometimes feel overwhelming, but it is a blessing to join the ministry that Jesus Christ has already started in the hearts of our college students and to walk in love with our students.