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222nd Convention: Delegate Reports and Bishop's Address


Shield of Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

The 222nd convention of the Diocese of Virginia met recently in Reston.

A highlight of the event was the pastoral address by The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, Bishop of Virginia.  Click here to read the address in its entirety. In addition, the Diocese of Virginia has posted numerous resources on its website, at the 222nd Annual Convention Recap page. You can access the recap page by clicking here.

Below are reports by Immanuel's delegates to the convention, Everett Post, Doug Henry, and Martha Manson:

1. What hit me the most at the Convention was the call to action from our bishops and from our keynote speaker, Bishop Wright of Atlanta.  To quote Bishop Johnston “The Church must and will be heard.  I ask you to consider what your own ‘faith in the public square’  might look like-and sound like:  what would prompt you to step up and speak out?”   The Church must not be political but we must be the center of the Jesus movement.  The theme of the Convention was Walk in Love.  Bishop Wright said that the present conflict is an opportunity for us to show love.  He quoted Malcolm X, “no one can do everything but everyone can do something.”  All three of our bishops stated willingness to be arrested for civil disobedience if necessary.

I was also impressed by activities of the Diocese with reports on acts of its 15 regions, on its 30 mission churches, its organizations working with the poor and disabled and all of its committees for outreach, Episcopal schools and retirement communities.  The stories of our activities presented were inspiring.                                        Everett Post


2. Rousing keynote address and Friday afternoon Eucharist homily by the Right Reverend Rob Wright, Bishop of Atlanta.  He has an amazing personal story and even more amazing preaching style.  Look him up on Wikipedia. Well run affair.  As our former Rector, Steve Wade, would say, “There’s no friction on the Diocesan clutch.” Our Rector was elected as a delegate to the 2018 General Convention in Austin, TX.  Well done and well deserved.  He is also on the Diocesan Standing Committee, and chairs the Committee on the Priesthood. The annual budget of the Diocese shows an income stream of $5.1M, which seems less than I imagined.  A close reading shows significant support to Shrine Mont, mission churches, and other outreach.  The Associate Rector serves on the Executive Board (think Diocesan Vestry) and the Budget Committee. Heartfelt welcoming address by the Right Reverend Shannon Johnston.  It is available on the Diocesan web site.  Recommended reading for everyone. No particularly contentious or controversial resolutions (expansion of Medicaid in the Commonwealth & increased family leave) were offered.  All passed by acclimation. Lots of support to expand the college ministries within the Diocese (UVA, JMU, George Mason, Nova, etc.) I was pleased to see that Immanuel ranked #2 in the Diocese in terms of our Diocesan pledge as a % of our budget.  Right at 13% where we should be.  Many churches gave significantly less, but in fairness the data were incomplete in many cases.                                               Doug Henry


3. The theme of the 2017 Diocesan Convention was ‘Walk in Love,” and the message was strong and apparent in every address, Friday’s sermon, and all the reports.  I came away inspired and hopeful for the future of the Church, while fully acknowledging that there is much work to be done by all, from our engaged and loving Bishops down to our parishioners in the pews throughout the Commonwealth and across the world.

 One of the first things accomplished on Friday was the unanimous passage of several resolutions. Two that may be of most interest to the congregation are one that urges our Governor and Legislature to guarantee adequate health care and insurance for all people, especially those of limited means; and another updates the Diocese of Virginia Family Leave Policy and supports paid maternity and paternity leave for all employees within Virginia.

Throughout the weekend we heard 'Stories of the Diocese,' and one that everyone especially enjoyed was from students at St. Stephens and St. Agnes who explained their project on Design Thinking targeting solutions that would help their grandparents (continued next page).  

 Amendments to the Constitutions and Canon, in addition to the budget were also passed, and they can be reviewed on the Diocesan website along with reports and awards that were presented.

 I attended two workshops on Saturday. The first was called a Conversation between an Imam and a Priest - a dialogue across differences, with a side order of friendship. I also attended a great session on Mindful Meditation.

For me, two of the highlights of the convention were the keynote address and the sermon, which were both presented by The Rt. Rev. Robert C Wright, Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta. I am hopeful that both will be on the website, and I cannot recommend more strongly that everyone tune in to hear his words. Prepare to be inspired! In his witty and engaging way, the Bishop reminded us all of the words of Malcolm X who said “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”

I came away from the experience gratified that in pledging to follow our Lord’s declaration of purpose to Walk in Love, the leaders of our Diocese pledged to help all those who might be disenfranchised by recent bans that might cause harm to refugees.  In addition, the Church will be supporting efforts to reach out more to students on college campuses across the state.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to represent our parish at this wonderful convention! I will cherish the experience and am inspired to do more.                                                                                            Martha Manson


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