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The 107th Annual Council of the Diocese of West Texas was called to order by the Rt. Rev. Gary Lillibridge at 1:10 PM on Thursday afternoon, February 17, 2011. Lillibridge introduced the theme of Council and the theme for 2011, “A Sower Goes Out to Sow,” from the parable in Matthew 13. This theme will be integrated throughout the weekend. Sam Gilliam, professor of drama and arts at Trinity University, presented the opening act of “Fertile Soil,” a three-act drama that will conclude on Saturday morning and tells the story of one lady’s, Mrs. Barrington’s, struggle with the changes in her beloved church and neighborhood and how she comes to embrace these changes and sow seeds of the Good News in her community.
Council considered a resolution, 1-2011, on the invitation issued by the Church of the Holy Spirit, San Antonio, to St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio to unite with them in common mission in northwest San Antonio. It was resolved, with thanks for their ministry in San Antonio since 1989, St. Michael’s joined the Church of the Holy Spirit. The representatives from the joint congregation of the Church of the Holy Spirit were recognized and applauded.
Council considered Resolution 2-2011 to admit Grace Church, San Antonio, as a mission congregation. Bishop Lillibridge noted with the resolution that as the joining of St. Michael’s and Holy Spirit brought the number of parishes in the Diocese of West Texas to 89, the admission of Grace Church raised the number once again to 90. After the resolution passed, 40+ members of Grace Church paraded on to the Council floor to rousing and upbeat music as all in attendance stood and applauded.
The congregation joined the bishops on stage and the Rev. Jay George, vicar of Grace Church, thanked the diocesan family for their support in the growth of the diocese, enabling Grace Church to become what it is today. Chris Mitchell, a member of Grace Church, expressed his thanks to Jay and Jamie George for opening their home and leading this initiative and teaching the new church family what it means to be in a relationship with God. Davis Phillips, another member, came to the podium and told of how he met George standing in line for iPhones. The two struck up a conversation on leadership and leading organizations through change, Davis in his business, and George at Grace Church. Phillips, moved by the conversation, began attending Grace Church. Phillips referred to himself as basically “unchurched” up till the last three years, and now his entire family attends Grace Church, which is making a difference in all their lives. He extended his thanks to George and the diocesan family.
In an emotional closing moment, George called up the five original members of Grace Church: Jamie, his wife, and Adilyn, Jacob, and Emily, his children, and applauded them for their hard work and dedicated efforts. George said he looks forward to coming back in three years to be “upgraded to parish status.” Welcome, Grace Church.
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Registration closed February 9, 2011 at noon as scheduled. However, some churches have not completed the registration process. To alleviate the burden of “back-end” processing by diocesan staff and host church volunteers, we have created a LATE online registration form for Church Registration (Clergy, Delegates, Alternates and Clergy Spouses). It is identical to the original form, but for the addition of a $10 administrative processing fee. To avoid “the check is in the mail” issues at registration, a credit card is required at the time of purchase. This second-chance registration form will be available until Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 3:00 pm.
There is no LATE Individual registration form for visitors. Unregistered visitors should arrive early (10:00 am) on February 17 for on-site registration. The optional food purchases offered during online registration may or may not be available the day Council begins. Walk-in registration is NOT an acceptable alternative for clergy, delegates, alternates and clergy spouses as they must be registered before arrival.
Visit the registration page for a link to the new registration form.
The complete January/February 2011 Church News is available on the Church News page as a PDF file. On pages 7 – 10 you will find four pages devoted to all the details of Council. Of special note is the cover story Abide in Me III Moves to Council. Our annual Abide in Me conference will once again bring together churches from around the diocese for a time of sharing and collaboration as we all live out the ministries given to us in this time and place. It will happen immediately after the closing of the 107th Annual Diocesan Council on Saturday, Feb. 19, at the Council site, the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center. Congregational leaders who are not Council delegates are especially invited to participate in these workshops. There is no fee, but pre-registration is required. For those attending Saturday only, check-in will begin at 9:30 am on Saturday.
The host committee has provided a San Marcos Dining Guide for your reservation convenience. Go to the Activities page for a copy, and happy eating.
All dressed up and no place to go? Not anymore! Immediately following the Council Eucharist delegations from our mission congregations are invited to join with others for an evening of fellowship and good food. Cost is $15 per person and pre-registration is required. Go to Mission Congregations’ Dinner page for full information. NOTE: The correct e-mail to register with Church of the Holy Spirit, San Antonio is firstname.lastname@example.org (copy and paste).