Report on the 2019 Diocesan Convention

109th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia

Lynnwood Convention Center, November 8 & 9, 2019

 

Over 400 clergy and lay delegates attended the convention, representing over 90 congregations in our Diocese. Good Samaritan was represented by Fr. Steve, Rev. Chris, Sally Farrell, Merri Alexander, and Rick Tidball.
 

The meeting began with a series of breakout sessions that included a report on the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a report on a task force studying the issue of homelessness, the state of the Palestinian crisis, and many more. The homelessness task force is asking parishes to see if they have underutilized space that might be converted to temporary housing, or explore the possibility of using church parking lots to house car/RV camping during the week. In the afternoon, a series of reports were presented, including a Standing Committee report from Fr. Steve. Rev. Chris gave a Board of Directors report that stated the Diocese was divesting itself from fossil fuel stocks, and reinvesting those funds in clean and renewable energy. Rev. Chris also talked about climate change and the Diocese’s commitment to reducing our overall carbon footprint. Additionally, our Diocese has signed a covenant with the Episcopal Diocese of the Southern Philippines to purchase carbon offsets by planting trees.

Several resolutions were voted on, including cost of living adjustments for clergy and our commitment to affordable housing. The delegates elected four clergy and four lay delegates to attend the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland, in July 2021.

The Good Samaritan welcome video was shown to the entire convention in the afternoon session as an example of how the Diocese can help churches with marketing and raising awareness. Bishop Rickel gave a talk about his recent Walkabout and his discernment to determine if he will continue as our Bishop after serving for the previous 12 years. He expects to make an announcement by the end of the year. Bishop Rickel also discussed how funds from parish assessment fees are used. Good Sam’s current assessment rate is 14.5%. While some of the funds are used to operate the Diocese, much of the funding is used for wonderful outreach programs. You can access information on the Diocese website.

The convention concluded with a Holy Eucharist and a lovely Deacon ordination. All in all, it was a privilege to sit with members and clergy of other local parishes to share information and worship together.


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The Role and Responsibilities of the Vestry

The vestry is the legal representative of the parish with regard to all matters pertaining to its corporate property. The number of vestry members and the term of office varies from parish to parish, but at Good Samaritan the vestry consists of nine persons serving on a rotating basis for three years. In some years, a term vacated by resignation or death is filled, as well. Vestry members are elected at the annual parish meeting. According to the by-laws of our parish, persons are nominated by the Vestry and presented to the congregation at least two weeks prior to the annual meeting. The presiding officer of the vestry is the rector. There are two wardens. The senior warden leads the parish between rectors and is a support person for the rector. The junior warden often has responsibility for church property and buildings, but this also varies from parish to parish. A treasurer and a clerk is elected at the first vestry meeting of the year after the annual meeting. These officers may or may not be vestry members. The basic responsibilities of the vestry are to help define and articulate the mission of the congregation; to support the church’s mission and ministries by active involvement, to select the rector, to ensure effective organization and planning, to secure and manage the resources and finances needed to further the mission of the congregation, and to choose individuals to fill various positions of leadership and representation, including the nomination of delegates to the diocesan convention, and the selection of others as the diocesan canons may stipulate. The vestry also serves as an advisory council to the rector who by church law is the parish’s chief liturgical and pastoral officer.

All vestry members should strive to the best of their abilities to:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to following the way of Christ as set forth in the Baptismal Covenant;
  • Be active in and knowledgeable about the congregation, its programs and governance;
  • Be fair, interact well with people and strive to earn the respect of the members of the congregation;
  • Purposefully strive to “check one’s ego at the door”;
  • Purposefully strive to be a servant of the people without the need to be the “most important person” in the congregation or the need to be the one with the right answers to everything;
  • Have enthusiasm and vitality for this ministry.

All vestry members should be able to make the following time commitments:

  • Vestry meetings
  • Vestry retreat(s);
  • Weekly worship services (rotating occasionally if more than one);
  • Congregational events: coffee hours, meals, fundraisers, adult education programs, work parties, etc.;
  • Diocesan meetings, as necessary;
  • Annual meeting.

All vestry members are responsible for:

  • Offering talents to support the congregation’s ministry;
  • Praying daily for the rector, leaders and members of the congregation;
  • Pledging financial support early in the stewardship campaign;
  • Being active ministers of the Gospel in daily life and work;
  • Bringing one’s whole self to the table; being present – mind, body, and spirit;
  • Risking openness with one’s ideas, beliefs and desires.
  • Completing Safeguarding God’s People and Safeguarding God’s Children and any other training required by the Canons of the Church.

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