'Convention season' underway for dioceses nationwide

Rio Grande coadjutor election this weekend
October 14, 2004

During the next five weekends, almost half the Episcopal Church's dioceses will hold diocesan conventions or, in some cases, elect a new bishop.

The annual "diocesan convention season" for the church started last weekend, with nine gatherings including South Dakota, North Dakota, Springfield, Colorado, Alaska, Wyoming, Eastern Oregon, Montana and Southwest Florida.

Coming up this weekend will be conventions for Arizona, Bethlehem, Dallas, Kansas, Nevada, Northern Michigan, Quincy, Rio Grande, Southeast Florida, Western Kansas, Western Michigan, and Spokane.

Rio Grande combines its diocesan convention in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with election of a bishop coadjutor from a field of six -- four nominated by the discernment committee and two by petition.

Contemporary Christian music star John Michael Talbot, Lone Star Glory, and Stacey Stalls from St. Nicholas' in Flower Mound are featured performers at the 109th convention of the Diocese of Dallas at Canterbury Episcopal School in the Dallas suburb of DeSoto. Workshops include presentations by Canon Kevin Martin on evangelism and by Bishop Stephen Jecko of Florida on "The Anglican Communion as a Global Community."

Most conventions are considering multiple resolutions on a variety of topics, from procedural "housecleaning" to global controversies.

Southeast Florida will consider embracing the UN's Millennium Development Goals, beginning in 2006 to give 0.7% of its income to international development programs and urging others to follow suit. The diocese will also vote on a resolution from the North Dade Deanery that expresses "deep concern" about financial shortfalls due to "parishes and individuals who are willfully withholding funds for political or theological reasons" and urging recommitment to the diocese's common mission.

In Bethlehem, one resolution proposes to change how the diocese can reconstitute parishes or missions whose vestries are suspended because of a failure to pay their assessments. Another asks the convention to "repudiate and disassociate ourselves and this diocese from the actions of the 74th General Convention regarding the ratification of the Episcopal Church confirming the election of a non-celibate homosexual to be a bishop in the Church, and its acceptance of same-sex blessings as part of our common life." A cluster of proposals from St. Stephen’s Pro-Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre asks for statements on controversial issues from nominees to diocesan office and requires parish meetings within 60 days both before and after General Conventions to "educate church members about issues being brought before the Convention…[and] discuss the consequences and implementation of resolutions adopted."

The Diocese of Western Michigan will entertain a proposal to study the benefits and specifics of a sale of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Portage -- something members of the congregation oppose, but proponents say is necessary to fund mission in the diocese instead of making needed repairs to the building.

A full listing of diocesan convention dates can be found on the Info Desk page: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/21867_26072_ENG_HTM.htm?%20menu=menu38526?menu=menu38526.

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