While delegates to the Diocese of Wyoming's convention registered October 1 in the soon-to-be-opened diocesan center in Casper, the Presiding Bishop and diocesan staff toured the work in progress.
Convention-goers were also given plastic hard hats and encouraged to tour the facilities, according to John Masters, executive director of the Foundation for the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming. "I hope they will be intrigued enough to return for a tour of the finished project," says Masters, who looks forward to it being "a warm and welcoming space."
Renovation of the former savings and loan building began in March and will comply with the latest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines. The diocese recently moved its headquarters from Laramie to Casper, in the center of the state, to reduce episcopal and staff travel miles.
Plans for the renovation emphasize light flowing through the office space and conferencing areas, and increased insulation and energy efficiency. Wherever possible recycled materials are being used, existing materials reused, and lumber sourced from sustainable plantations in Oregon.
A small chapel will feature a fountain, a reminder of baptismal promises and the importance of water in the high, dry state. A fish fossil from western Wyoming embedded in the altar will be one of the reminders of Wyoming's rich geologic history.
The Rev. Margaret Babcock, canon for ministry and congregational development, says, "My best hope for the diocesan office is that we can be a witness, in the midst of downtown Casper, in the middle of Wyoming, of good stewardship of the great gifts of natural resources God has given us."
The diocese is leading the way for Wyoming in environmentally responsible construction, according to Masters.
The Presiding Bishop's participation in the convention shared top billing with reports from the Mustard Seed projects, part of a mission undertaken by 47 of Wyoming's congregations. The Foundation for the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming gave each congregation $12,000 at the beginning of the year to be used for ministry projects..
Convention-goers also celebrated the ministry of Bishop Bruce Caldwell at a Saturday evening farewell dinner. Caldwell will retire in 2010, before Wyoming's next diocesan convention. Election of his successor is scheduled for March.