Sunday, October 22, 2006

DioCal Convention Wrap-Up

Bishop Marc Andrus' first Convention address was much anticipated, and did not disappoint. In fact, it exceeded expectations. His remarks will be available as text and audiofile on the diocesan website early this week.

What continues to distinguish +Marc most is his theological groundedness. His remarks to Convention were rooted in an artful exposition of the baptismal covenant and the Trinitarian dance of life-giving love into which it initiates us. The metaphor of "dance" evokes movement, dynamism, participation, mutality, and communion. It evokes a process of bringing to life, of joy, and of freedom. It evokes resurrection (though that is not a word +Marc used).

One of the ways we will embody this Trinitarian dance is by developing companion diocese relationships with a Latin American and an Asia Anglican diocese.

In the course of his address, +Marc reinforced themes he has articulated previously: youth and young adult ministry, congregational planting & revitalization, transparency and accountability in governance, advocacy for the Millenium Development goals, and the full inclusion of all people, with a particular commitment to anti-racism work. These are important priorities for our diocese that everyone recognizes. But he went further, inviting us to stretch ourselves in two other directions.

First, +Marc committed himself to public, non-violent action to bring the Iraq war to an end. He invited us to join him in witnessing to the God whose power is exercised through self-giving love. Here, +Marc did not shy away from public controversy. He received a spontaneous standing ovation at this point in his remarks. This is a bishop who will be in the streets as well as the boardrooms.

Second, he challenged us to take the work of environmental stewardship far more seriously. This means more than parish recycling efforts. It means a diocesan-wide commitment to calling the wider world to awareness and action in response to the global crisis our planet is facing.

In other news, all of the resolutions presented at Convention were adopted, some with minor amendments, including the dissent from B033 and the commitment to the listening process resolutions. While these will be the news-making resolutions, the resolutions affirming a diocesan governance review and calling for a Socially Responsible Investing policy will probably have the most enduring and beneficial consequences for our mission and ministry. There was substantive debate on the issues, offered in spirit of mutual respect and forbearance. But all of the resolutions passed by overwhelming majorities.

Finally, I was pleased to learn of the governance review process underway and of changes in policy and practice by our Board of Directors (which manages diocesan assets), all of which was underscored by the election of two new members to the Board of Directors who were recruited quietly as "reform" candidates. The Bishop is being supported in his commitment to transparency and inclusion.

It was a good, if long and tiring, Diocesan Convention.


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Y'all are off to a wonderful beginning in this new ministry together. Sounds like a wonderful affirmation of vocational discernment. May God continue to bless you that you may continue to be a blessing to the rest of the church.

Fr. John said...

Thanks Elizabeth. What is interesting about +Marc is that he speaks with such gentleness and modesty, that one doesn't realize she has followed him off the cliff until about half way down! As one member of our Bishop Search Committee commented after the onsite interview with +Marc before the election: "The only problem with him is that he'll be too liberal for us!" While "liberal" is not the word I would use, he does seem willing to lead us into challenging places.

Katie Sherrod said...

This sounds like a wonderful convention. I wish ours would be similar, but I fear it will not!
Katie Sherrod
Fort Worth