I Lent

March 10, 2019

Each year when we return from our Diocesan Convention, our delegation gives reflections on various aspects of Convention.  Since our delegation to Convention was smaller this year – Jerry Freeman, Andrew Cropper, and me – it seems to make sense to have me give you an overview of the three days Convention.  When I am finished, I invite anyone else from the Parish Family who attended to add their refection.

Day 1 on Friday was our typical business session.  Of consequence was listening to a report on the budget and passing it, voting on nominees for various positions, and discussion and voting on Resolutions.  Two of the resolutions dealt with changes to the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese.  They were passed at last year’s Convention and needed to be passed once again to be able to take effect.  This occurred.

We also passed resolutions submitted by St. Alban’s, Salisbury that had to do with our Response to Climate Change and the Care of Water.  Both of these resolutions reflected the commitment made at General Convention.  Of the greatest consequence for our Parish was the second resolution on the care of water.  Particularly “that the Diocese of Easton work on minimizing by 2021 the sale or use of non-sustainable containers in Church-related facilities and at Church events except when local water supplies are deemed unsafe.”

We also passed a resolution which establishes the first Latin American Congregation in our Diocese – La Sagrada Familia de Jesus.  They worship at Shrewsbury Parish in Kennedyville.  They were officially welcomed during the Eucharist on Sunday with the Presiding Bishop.

Also during the business session, the Bishop laid out in great detail a ten year plan for the Diocese.  This plan was also drafted as a document for us to study and have conversation with the Bishop on his visit with us in June.  He hopes that after conversation with all of the Churches this year that next year a complete plan can be established.

Let me also note at this time that it was announced that we would be returning to a one day Convention, beginning next year in Stevensville, 2021 at St. Peter’s Salisbury, and 2022 in the Northern Convocation.

Day 2 – Saturday, was the “Ignite the Way” Evangelism conference.  In addition to our elected delegation, we had several parishioners attend with us.  The morning session was led by The Rev’d Jay Sidebotham.  He gave us valuable information gleaned from research on many churches.

He asked us to consider the question of how we see the Church – as a club, or as students on the way?  At the center of his presentation was the importance of engaging with scripture, evolving prayer life, the Eucharist, and what he called “the heart of the leader” – that would be me!

The afternoon session was lead by The Rev’d Canon Stephanie Spellers and – a person with a wonderful name – Jerusalem Greer.  At the center of what they were talking about is something that was echoed on Sunday by the Presiding Bishop.  That is simply that the world is a hard place and that the world needs to hear about the way of Love, the way of Jesus. 

They acknowledged that often it is difficult for Episcopalians to talk about their faith.  So they asked us to pair up with someone and to tell the story of our favorite meal.  The point of the exercise was that it was easy to tell about something that we love and cherish.  This is how we can look at our relationship with Jesus.

The Bishop then reminded us of what we said we were looking for during our search for a new bishop, and that what we were doing during this weekend was a fulfillment of what we said.

Saturday evening was a gala banquet.  There were awards given to a number of people for their service to the Diocese and the greater Church.  This was followed by a very moving one-woman play on the life of Harriet Tubman.  It was truly remarkable – so much so that they would like her to present it at the next General Convention.

Day 3 -- Sunday was the closing Eucharist.  There was a ballroom full of Episcopalians (some of whom were from our Parish Family).  The service itself was contained in a beautiful magazine style book that has pictures and write-ups about every Church in our Diocese.

At the Eucharist, there were present visiting Bishops, former Bishops of this Diocese, the Bishop of the Bahamas, and the Presiding Bishop.  Among the highlights for me was the welcoming of the new Hispanic/Latino congregation, of course the music and the receiving of communion – but the greatest highlight for me was the Presiding Bishop’s sermon. 

At the center of the sermon was the message we had been focusing on all weekend.  To put it simply – now, more than ever, the world needs Jesus and we need to learn how to get beyond our fears and witness to His way of love.

Although the Eucharist ended up being three hours long, it did not feel like a burden.  It was a “right and good and joyful thing” to end this celebration of our 150th anniversary as a Diocese.