Truth through Love: Diocesan Convention 2018
Speaking truth through love, resonated as the theme for the 123rd Annual Diocesan Convention held November, 3. The meeting started with worship, Holy Eucharist and a sermon by the Venerable Steven Seah, the Archdeacon of Cambodia who said to speak truth in love, with the knowledge that God has sovereign control. “We need to cry out despite oppositions from our mind and from our sinfulness,” he said. “God knows all things, things hidden from you and I. We may not always understand, but God is always working out his sovereign purpose.”
Seah also said to ask the Holy Spirit to open eyes and hearts to hear His true word. “Cry out again and again to God to let us know His word is true. The Holy Spirit will be our teacher,” he said. “This is a prayer that will be answered.”
The annual business meeting of the diocese, drew about 400 clergy and lay delegates to elect committee members, vote on constitutional and canon changes, and to pass a diocesan budget for 2019. The following were elected to diocesan committees:
Standing Committee, the Rev. Canon Victoria Heard, Redeemer in Irving; Tim Mack, St. Matthew’s in Dallas.
Executive Council, the Rev. Andy Johnson, St. John’s in Dallas; the Rev. Leslie Stewart, Resurrection in Plano; Armando Barrios, Christ Church in Dallas; Pat Bostian, St. Paul’s in Prosper; Mike McGrew, Good Shepherd in Terrell; and Rose Ofoegbu at Emmanuel Anglican in Garland.
Bob Buchanan, St. Michael and All Angels, was elected as secretary of convention. The Rev. Paul Klitzke, Ascension in Dallas, was elected as trustee for the University of the South.
During his address, the Rt. Rev. George Sumner asked clergy and laity to focus on the mission of the Church in unity and peace. “Diocese of Dallas, gathered as one at this Diocesan Convention, as your bishop, I declare to you the truce of God,” he said. “We need, with God’s help, as churchmen and women, to find a way for us to live together, in these times, as “communion across difference.”
Voters approved the second reading of amendments to the constitution requiring a two-thirds majority vote instead of a simple majority, in order to make amendments or changes to both the constitution and canons. Delegates rejected a proposed amendment requiring a certified public accountant prepare parish financial statements for diocesan entities.
Speakers from partner parishes took turns at the microphone to read statements about the positive aspects of a larger church partnering with a smaller parish in the diocese to live and grow in ministry together. These churches are: Good Shepherd in Dallas, with Our Saviour in Dallas; Good Shepherd in Terrell with Our Merciful Saviour in Kaufman; Incarnation and Trinity, both in Dallas; St. James in Texarkana with All Saints in Atlanta; and St. James and Good Samaritan, both in Dallas.
The following nominations by the bishop were also approved:
Five-year term to the Corporation of the Diocese; Robert Hulsey and Cathleen Dolt. Audit committee; Michael Chapman, David Bowe, Wendy Skorburg. Three-year term to the Commission on Ministry; the Rev. Bob Corley, the Rev. Daniel Ofoegbu, Bobby Apple, Ed Hurst and Mary Jo Hoch. The Rev. Kathy Heitmann was chosen to fill an unexpired term until 2020. The Rev. Matthew Burdette and Tracey Reinhart were nominated to serve on the Commission of Episcopal Schools through 2021.
Announcements were also made noting those who have been ordained a deacon since convention of last year: the Rev. James Detrich, the Rev. Jennifer Smith, the Rev. Justin Groth, the Rev. Paige Hanks, the Rev. Joel Hatfield, the Rev. Christopher Rodgers, the Rev. John Schmidt, and the Rev. Matthew Crownover. Ordained priests; the Rev. Ryan Pollock and the Rev. Pedro Lara. Those who have transferred into the diocese; the Rev. Dr. Nicholas Funk, the Rev. Paul Nesta, the Rev. Mark Anderson, the Rev. James Deng Alaak Pager. The name of those clergy who have died were also read; the Rev. Henry Coke, the Rev. Nona Payne, the Rev. Pamela Theodore, the Rev. Canon Stephen Swann.
Convention attendees filled several boxes with canned goods and gift cards to be donated to the Greater Dallas Coalition for distribution to people in need in South Dallas. Some also donated men’s shoes, jackets, shirts and pants to One Man’s Treasure for distribution to men just released from prison to help them with a successful re-entry into society.
The day before the annual meeting, clergy and clergy spouses, and lay leaders attended a Leadership Day at St. Matthew’s Cathedral with Dr. Wanda Malcolm, a registered psychologist and professor of Pastoral Psychology at Wycliffe College in Toronto.
Malcolm is the founder of the Wycliffe Wellness Project which seeks to better understand the highs and lows in ministry. She is working to gain insight into aspects that are stressful and satisfying, to understand how each impacts the experience of ministry life.
Through a survey, Malcolm discovered that in ministry the top satisfaction aspects are vocational calling, building work-relationships, cultivating personal spiritual depth, ongoing learning, time and diversity of tasks. The top stress aspects are time and workload strain, barriers to prayer, personal spiritual struggles, leading through change and controversy.
In a session titled, The Wellness Puzzle: Forging a Sustainable Life of Faithful Ministry, Malcolm told the group that those in ministry who don’t know how to step away from “ministry lives” run the risk of burn-out. Instead, she said to notice the spaces between action. “Make space to stop and reflect, you will get a lot more done and enjoy it a lot more.” She advised to get into a rhythm of productive and rest, productivity and prayer.