"We hear anew that the God of eternity has come among us"
The 126th EDOD Convention convened in the waning days of the pandemic’s stark realities and also in the Gospel’s truth where “we hear anew that the God of eternity has come among us savingly in Christ, that his death has actually changed our situations...,” said Bishop George Sumner in his speech to a face-masked crowd of about 400 laity and clergy.
As the diocese moves forward in these days of rapid change, it was to back business in person for two days with a leadership education seminar, worship service, election, a vote on the budget, presentations and resolutions among many other items in a routine agenda.
During a pre-convention education day, the Rev. Dr. Ed Stetzer, who is the director of the Billy Graham Center, talked about how churches will fit in the post-pandemic culture and what that will mean as some believers dig into their faith, and others leave it. He spoke about how many Christians stepped up during the time of Covid to give more in tithes and service but how others were barely hanging on or left altogether. He noted that this is not necessarily bad news but is a time for evangelistic opportunity. Later in the evening, many attended the convention worship service where the Rt. Rev. Fraser Lawton gave the homily.
Elections were held on convention day and nominations to boards and committees were also announced. Bob Buchanan, Saint Michael and All Angels, was elected Secretary of Convention. The Rev. Clayton Elder, St. Philips in Frisco and Lee Spence, St. Dunstan’s in Mineola were elected to the Standing Committee. The Rev. David Miller, St. Anne’s in Desoto; the Rev. Keith Turberville, Holy Trinity by the Lake in Heath; Fred Ellis, St. Thomas in Dallas; Rebekah Gardner from Good Shepherd in Dallas; Matthew Lewis, Incarnation in Dallas; and Margot Habiby, Transfiguration in Dallas were elected to the Executive Council. The Rev. Nicholas Funk, St. Paul’s Greenville was elected as University of the South Trustee. The Rev. Nancy Powers was elected as president of the Disciplinary Board.
William Peeler, Mary Sonom and Tom Graves were nominated to serve one year on the Audit Committee.
Bobby Apple, Mary Jo Hoch, Ed Hurst, The Rev. John Sundara, The Rev. Tom Smith, The Rev. Kathy Heitmann were nominated to a three-year term on the Commission on Ministry.
Since the 2019 convention the following ordinations, new clergy and deaths were announced.
Ordained into the diaconate are: The Rev. Michael “Logan” Hurst, the Rev. Trent Pettit, the Rev. Miguel Carmona, the Rev. Audrey Sutton, the Rev. Mary Kate Gerber, the Rev. Julian Borda, the Rev. Marisa Crofts and the Rev. Kate Smith.
Ordained into the priesthood are: The Rev. Raleigh Chase Skorburg, the Rev. Lorenzo Galuska, the Rev. Ryan Jordan, the Rev. Trent Pettit, the Rev. Miguel Carmona and the Rev. Audrey Sutton.
New clergy to the diocese are: The Rev. Samuel Adams, St. Augustine in Dallas; the Rev. John Alier, St. Philip’s Sudanese in Dallas; the Rev. Kenneth Brannon, St. Michael and All Angels in Dallas; the Rev. David Holt, St. James in Texarkana; the Rev. Janice Honea, St. Peter’s in McKinney; the Rev. Christopher Thomas, St. Thomas in Dallas; the Rev. Christian Basel, St. Michael and All Angels in Dallas; the Rev. Nathan Bostian, Episcopal School of Dallas; the Rev. Ted Clarkson, Transfiguration in Dallas; the Rev. Joseph Dewey, Incarnation in Dallas; The Rev. Andrew Grosso, Saint Michael and All Angels in Dallas; the Rev. Paulette Magnuson, St. Andrew’s in McKinney; the Rev. Jonathan Melton at Holy Trinity by the Lake in Heath, The Rev. Christopher Stephen, Epiphany in Richardson and the Rev. Teresa Terry, Ascension in Dallas.
Retired clergy: The Rev. J.D. Brown, the Rev. Donald Johnson, the Rev. Randall Melton, the Rev. Canon Antonio Munoz, the Rev. Donald Perschall, the Rev. Nancy Powers, the Rev. Ronald Studenny, and the Rev. Paul Thomas.
Other Clergy Changes: The Rev. Julian Borda, curate, St. Paul in Waxahachie; the Rev. Miguel Carmona, vicar, St. Barnabas in Garland; the Rev. Lorenzo Galuska, rector, St. Barnabas in Denton; the Rev. Mary Kate Gerber, deacon, Holy Trinity in Garland; the Rev. Logan Hurst, deacon, St. Andrew’s in McKinney; the Rev. Ryan Jordan, curate, St. David of Wales in Denton; the Rev. David Miller, rector, St. Anne in Desoto; the Rev. Marci Pounders, vicar, St. John the Apostle in Pottsboro; the Rev. Christopher Steele, priest-in-charge, St. Christopher’s in Dallas; Audrey Sutton, curate, St. Philip’s in Frisco; the Rev. Roy Thomas, vicar, St. Andrew’s in Farmer’s Branch; the Rev. Debra Vela, Christ Church in Dallas.
Deaths: The Rev. Thomas Keithly, the Rev. Canon George Luck, the Rev. David Holland, the Rev. Raymond Ball, the Rev. James Murphee, the Rev. Roger Button, the Rev. Eugene Baker, the Rev. Patterson Young and the Rev. Michael Woods.
Congregation status changes are: St. Andrew’s in Farmer’s Branch moved to mission status from parish status; Our Savior in Dallas moved to mission station from mission status, Resurrection in Plano dissolved; Holy Faith dissolved; and St. John’s in Pottsboro and St. Paul’s in Prosper both moved to parish status.
Sumner announced the diocese had hired the Rev. Katie Gerber to serve as the diocesan youth coordinator and director of the camp. Her duties will include offering a workshop for Sunday School teachers, youth confirmation weekend, a summer youth mission trip and resources for youth ministers. A pro-Camp All Saints resolution was offered and drew many speakers in favor of the camp and youth programming it offers.
In a recorded video, Canon Carrie Headington highlighted the important missional work done by churches throughout the diocese, particular food drives. She also thanked clergy for all their hard work during the pandemic and how they worked tirelessly to find ways to offer Church online, whether it was Sunday service, coffee hour or Bible studies.
Darrell Smith, director for the Dallas Champions Academy talked about the good work of the academy and the Greater Dallas Coalition, which is an ecumenical network of churches, ministries, individuals and businesses dedicated to serving the most underserved in South Dallas. He thanked the diocese for its partnership over the years including St. Augustine’s for providing food, St. Matthew’s for its Christmas Toy Drive, Dallas Champions Academy for providing camp to 140 youth, College Visits and University Day which placed 35 students into college, St. Luke’s for providing 150 backpacks, and Our Savior in Dallas for its community outreach. He also thanked St. Thomas in Dallas for placing the Champions Camp as a line item in their mission budget.
The youth speaker for the convention, Gonay Shafiei from Grace Community Church, talked about her experience as a refugee from Iran, and how God has shaped her family’s journey. She spoke about how her mother had been arrested in Iran for her faith and how rewarding it was for her recently to see Gonay baptized and confirmed. “I hope to grow in my faith and serve the church,” Shafiei said.
Michael Smith who was in the Diocese of Albany serving as their interim bishop while they are going through the process of electing a new bishop spoke to the Dallas convention by recorded video. He talked about his work in the Dallas diocese regarding a contemplative outreach ministry, where he co-facilitates a spiritual practices course with Pat Stone through the Stanton Center, and his ministry with Headington on spiritual retreats that are focused on rest, prayer and holy conversations.
In his Speech, Sumner offered a word of Scripture from Revelation 21:22-26: 22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.
“Who we are as humans depends on where we’re headed,” Sumner said. “Blessed John who wrote those words, lived in a traumatized, confused, unprecedented world too. But in its midst, he and his colleagues heard anew that they are a people on their way to the kingdom.”