“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20 (KJV)
Annual Convention for The Diocese of Virginia was held Saturday November 4th in Richmond. I had the great pleasure of participating in Convention with our delegate, Bill Forbes and alternate youth delegate for North Fairfax Region (formerly Region V), Sophia Perry. What a delight to watch Sophia experience her first Convention! Her smile is contagious. Sophia’s brief observations of Convention are written below…
The biggest topic at convention this year was the impending retirement of Bishop Ted and the election of a new suffragan bishop. All three bishops’ speeches touched on this, and we voted to allow a new suffragan bishop to be elected instead of a part time assistant bishop. That is what Bishop Ted’s title was, but he worked a lot more than he originally was supposed to.
Bishop Shannon had a lot to say in his speech. He described what happened in Charlottesville, and that the diocese of Virginia will not be silent about what happened. He also said that the church is in a time of transition right now and we will not keep up with “business as usual” as he put it. He mentioned needing to help mission churches and churches that meet in colleges. Bishop Susan talked a lot about “opening hearts”. She also talked about what happened in Charlottesville. Bishop Ted did the homily at the mass after convention, and he talked a lot about Charlottesville and how he had felt so blessed to be with all the other bishops and priests.
We resolved to help with the opioid crisis and that we would not be silent about Charlottesville, among other things.
One of the funniest things that happened is when somebody proposed an amendment, and then an amendment to that amendment. 45 minutes later, we had voted against both amendments and were back to the original proposal.
I was very glad to have the opportunity to be a part of convention. Thank you for your time, and have a great week.
A special thank you to both Sophia and Bill for taking the time to drive to Richmond and back and attend the day long Convention for The Diocese of Virginia. The Diocese of Virginia is blessed with eighty thousand folks in one hundred eighty one congregations, six schools, two diocesan centers, six diocesan homes and the largest Anglican seminary in the world!
You’re welcome to read Bishop Shannon’s entire address given at the 223rd Convention on November 4th: http://www.thediocese.net/news/the-pastoral-address-of-bishop-johnston-to-the-223rd-convention/
He challenges us, as does Jesus Christ, to take a stand against bigotry and hatred. As well, with rapidly changing congregations, we’re called to “exceptional processes”. How are we the church today? As the Diocese embraces the changes and challenges, may we as well. It cannot go unmentioned that once again this week the United States is in shock and horror due to another mass shooting. How is God asking us to mount the steps to healing, reconciliation to bring an end to gun violence, in our country? How will we look past our walls into the community to be the church on the corner ministering to the neighborhood and beyond?
Meanwhile, the vestry is prayerfully pondering how God continues to lead us. A Strategic Plan is coming to fruition. A new budget proposal for 2018 is in the works, thanks to the good efforts of all your input to the ministry teams. We’re beginning to see the emergence of a youth group growing as the children of Epiphany grow. More and more, we’re unfolding creative ways to fund ministries that serve the hungry, the poor and the forgotten. Soon, a vestry nominating committee will be talking with folks to learn how best they might share their gifts as vestry leaders. In January at the annual meeting of Epiphany, we’ll elect a new class of four leaders. In the meantime, we go along as Epiphany, grateful to God for gifting us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world!
Saturday morning, come on over and help out with Parish Workday. Many hands make light work! And, in our busy-ness, we make new friends as well! Then, we’ll see one another on Sunday! The choir will bless us with some favorites and we’ll hear once again from Seldon as he preaches the good news!
Finally, families, mark your calendars for Advent Family Weekend December 1-3 with stories, dinner, photos with Santa, crafts and the beginning of Advent as we kick off the theme: Watching for the Light. We give thanks for our Children, Youth and Family Ministries as they minister with creativity, thoughtfulness and awareness, bringing Christ to young and not so young alike.