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.
Emily Kittrell, incoming Board Chair for the Bishop’s Happening Movement, joined by student leader Maddie Callier, report on the vitality for the student-led spiritual renewal weekend geared for tenth through twelfth grade high school students.
The diocese sponsors three Happening weekends each year – March, August, and November – in different host churches throughout the diocese.
Emily shares, “We live in a world of competing narratives about where value and worth exist. The pressures our youth are growing up under can give a false sense of reality, one that pulls them further and further from the truth of their belovedness as creations of God. As adults, it is incredibly difficult to figure out how to speak to, relate to, and especially to convey the message of God’s truth…The beauty of Happening is that youth share the message of hope, belonging, and love with each other. And I’m here to tell you, it works like magic.”
Here’s a preview of what’s in store for us today, Saturday, February 23.
8:00 a.m. Exhibits Open
8:45 a.m. Youth in Action Praise Band plays gathering music; come sing with us!
9:00 a.m. Council reconvenes Daily Devotion with Youth
Bishop’s Happening Movement
Vital University Missions
Commissioning of Youth in Action participants
Way of Love Conversation: GO
Bishop Suffragan Report
Greetings from the Rt. Rev. Lloyd Allen, Bishop of Honduras
Committee on the Bishop’s Address Way of Love Conversation: REST
Church Planting Initiative Executive Board, Budget Priorities and Apportionment Ad Hoc Committees Interim Reports
Bishop’s Spring Retreat
Revitalizing Stewardship Invitation
Invitation to Council 2020
Announcements Council Adjourns
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.”