Several of us from the Diocese attended a meeting this week regarding the border crisis. The meeting was hosted by Park Cities Baptist Church and UNITE, a nonprofit promoting church collaborative efforts to address community needs. Below are highlights from the meeting and potential next steps for the faith community. Please share this information with others. Archdeacon Rosemary Trei, Deacon Diana Luck and Dabney Dwyer will continue to provide information as we know more concerning the children arriving in Dallas. You also can go to unitethechurch.org and sign up for direct email updates from UNITE.
Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Crisis
Information from the meeting:
The Episcopal Diocese of Dallas will join other faith-based organizations to answer the call for humanitarian aid for the thousands of children who have fled violence in Central America.
“The diocese is committed to helping meet the practical and pastoral needs of the 2,000 child refugees who are expected to arrive in Dallas County soon,” said Bishop Paul Lambert.
Once government officials determine housing for the children and give volunteers the green-light, the 70 congregations of the diocese will be asked to help with financial support and other contributions such as hygiene items and clothing for the refugees.
Until officials finalize details, Bishop Lambert asks that everyone join in prayer to ask God to watch over the children and deliver them safely.
The process for selecting a new bishop is directed by the Constitution & Canons of the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Dallas, and begins with the congregation of each parish.
Church members vote for lay delegates to represent their parish or mission at the annual diocesan convention. The number of lay delegates allocated to each church depends on the average Sunday attendance – the higher the attendance, the more lay delegates.
Each ordained clergy member in the diocese also gets a vote at the convention. The lay delegates comprise an order, and the clergy comprise an order. The two orders vote separately on some matters and vote together on others.
The convention elects members to the Standing Committee, which consists of three clergy and three lay members, who serve staggered three-year terms. The Standing Committee acts as an advisory board to the bishops. They also perform certain canonical duties. They function as ecclesiastical authority in the absence of the bishop. They may authorize a suffragan bishop to act in this capacity. Only the Standing Committee, however, can call for the election of a new bishop, which we expect them to do in June.
The convention also elects eighteen members to serve on the Executive Council. This council directs the programs and finances of the diocese when the convention is not in session. Additionally, each of the six Convocations, which is a regional division of the diocese, chooses a representative on the Executive Council.
For the election of a new bishop, the canons provide for the appointment of a Search Committee. The Standing Committee selects eight people and the Executive Council chooses twelve to serve on the Search Committee. Half of the search committee must be clergy and the other half are lay members. The chancellor of the Diocese also serves as a committee member. The chair is selected by the Standing Committee.
The Standing Committee has already commissioned a detailed survey of the entire diocese. This research will include demographics and responses from clergy and lay members throughout the diocese as to their ideal characteristics for the next bishop. This information will be used to guide the Search Committee in their efforts and inform potential nominees about the make-up of the diocese.
Now that the Search Committee has organized, they will begin accepting nominations and recruiting candidates. The committee will conduct detailed background, reference and qualifications reviews of each of the nominees. The canons require that there must be at least three nominees.
After the nomination process is completed by the Search Committee, the Standing Committee will call for a Special Convention that will meet for the sole purpose of electing a bishop. The delegates to the Special Convention are the same people who were most recently elected by churches to serve at the annual diocesan convention.
Detailed information about each nominee will be published and, depending on the number of nominees, there may be gatherings around the Diocese at which nominees are invited to attend and speak.
Ballots will be taken at the Special Convention until one nominee receives a majority of the votes in both the lay order and the clergy order on the same ballot. In the unlikely event that two-thirds of the clergy and two-thirds of the parishes and missions are not present at the Special Convention, the required vote is a two-thirds majority of each order on the same ballot.
Once an election takes place, the bishop-elect must be approved by a majority of the standing committees and diocesan bishops from the 110 dioceses in the Church. If these consents are not obtained, then there must be another election.
Once the election and approval process is complete, the Diocese of Dallas may then schedule the consecration of its seventh bishop.
Holy Family School in McKinney is expanding its mission. In the past 63 years, since Holy Family opened its doors, McKinney has undergone incredible growth and the needs of the community have expanded as well. Hunger is a problem many people in the community experience every day.
The board of Holy Family has envisioned a kitchen that would not only serve the students at the school, but also families in the community facing hunger. The estimated cost for this kitchen is $750,000, but they have much hope and faith that they will be able to accomplish their goal. To learn more go to hfsmckinney.org.