Report from the Convention
Our 30th Annual Diocesan Convention was held Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9 & 10, at St. Vincent’s Cathedral Church and School in Bedford. The convention theme was “Lift High the Cross.”
Bishop Iker invited the Rev. V. Stanley Maneikis, the senior priest in the diocese and a member of clergy at our inaugural convention in 1982, to preach at the Convention Eucharist on Friday afternoon. After many years of service in parishes around the diocese, Fr. Maneikis currently serves as chaplain at Union Gospel Mission in Fort Worth. A recording of Fr. Maneikis’ sermon is available here.
Following the service, a reception and dinner were held in the school gym. A 10-piece musical group from St. Anne’s parish in Fort Worth performed during dinner. A slide show highlighting the life and ministry of our congregations also was presented.
The Plenary Business Session took place Saturday. Dean Ryan Reed and Beverly Maurer were re-elected to positions on the Standing Committee. Fr. David Klein and Thom Murrell were elected to serve on the Ecclesiastical Trial Court. [See biographical information here] The clergy and delegates also approved a balanced budget of $1.68 million and a reduction in assessments (on income over $50,000) for 2013.
The convention ratified an amendment to Article 8 (Rules of Convention) of the Constitution, correcting a reference to another article that was previously renumbered. This was the second reading on the amendment. Section 6 of Canon 18 (Title to Property) was amended to refer to congregations joining the diocese starting in 2011 rather than 2010. A proposed amendment to Canon 43 (On Marriage) was withdrawn for further study.
The Bishop’s Address to the convention noted the passing of the Rt. Rev. Clarence C. Pope, second bishop of the diocese, last January. “It was during his tenure,” Bishop Iker observed, that the diocese “gained international recognition as a bastion of strength in upholding Biblical faith and order...”
After recalling a number of other developments, Bishop Iker closed his address by announcing that he will observe a moratorium on the ordination of any more women to the permanent diaconate (other than those already in the ordination process). His decision was prompted by the new ACNA task force on holy orders and a resolution adopted by Forward in Faith calling on the province to suspend the ordination of women to the priesthood while the task force is at work. “I am in the distinct minority of Bishops who are opposed to women priests but have permitted the ordination of women deacons,” he noted. He assured all the deacons of the diocese of his continuing prayers, support, and love.
Reports were received from a dozen ministries. Both Fr. Joseph Scalisi and Fr. Chris Culpepper called for a strengthening of commitment to young adults and college ministry. In a similar vein, Fr. Stuart Smith spoke of the “altruism of youth” and the opportunity that mission work presents to involve young people in the Great Commission. Barbara Mills, president of the Diocesan Church Women, passed the symbol of her office – a silver cross necklace – to her successor, Julie Cosgrove.
Shelby Sharpe, a member of the diocesan legal team, addressed the convention at Bishop Iker’s invitation. He gave an update on legal issues following the Oct. 16 oral argument in Austin and asked for continued prayer as the justices prepare their ruling on our appeal.
Two resolutions came before the convention. One, which responded to an action by the Church of England, was tabled. The other, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, was passed. Courtesy resolutions included a statement of support for the Bishop and Diocese of South Carolina and a greeting to the Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, who was recently appointed Archbishop of Canterbury designate.
The 31st Annual Diocesan Convention is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15 & 16, 2013, at the Church of St. Peter & St. Paul in Arlington.