Sunday, November 3rd, 2019
“Perfect love casts out all fear. To live fearlessly in Jesus Christ. Let us put out to the deep – the invasion of grace, which is Christ stepping into our boats. Diocese of Pennsylvania, let us put out into the deep.”
- Bishop Daniel Gutiérrez, Convention Address
The 236th meeting of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania began on November 1, 2019 with Eucharist at The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral for all in the diocese to attend. In his sermon, the Bishop asked “Is our church living the beatitudes?” and stated that we must “Love all or love nothing.” At the end of the service, the Bishop’s Award for outstanding service to the diocese was presented to Muriel Rains for her work to end human trafficking and to Rodger Broadley for 40 years of his work to welcome all into the church.
The day began with music and opening prayers from the Rev. Ernie Galaz, Christ Church in Media, and then continued with the business of the diocese. Many special orders, musical selections and presentations from churches uplifted and engaged the 400+ people present. (See below for specifics. You can view the Convention booklet and full agenda here.)
Clergy new to the diocese and those taking new calls were introduced. Seminarians, those newly ordained and those retired were also acknowledged.
The diocese unveiled a new video asking what it means to carry the name of Jesus Christ as a Christian and urging all to live fearlessly in Christ.
Bishop’s Address to Convention: The Bishop began his address quoting Oscar Romero, “I have known God because I am with God’s people – you.” He reminded all in the room of what we have accomplished together and asked us to live fearlessly and go out “into the deep,” because Jesus is calling us to leave the comfort of the shore. This message of fearlessness was iterated throughout his address. Quoting Thomas Merton, the Bishop also asked us to “not depend on the hope of results” but rather the strength of personal relationships. Two resolutions around poverty and inequality in pay arose out of the Bishop’s address. The Bishop also highlighted the Bishop’s Appeal, a donate function to give to specific causes; the start of monastic communities in the diocese where lay and clergy can live and pray; partnerships with other dioceses to elevate Hispano/Latino work; five holy days of service across the diocese centered on feeding, clothing, healing, serving and education; youth pilgrimages; and the development of the Clare Center in Kensington to care for women in need.
One resolution sponsored by the Very Rev. Jarrett Kerbel, St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Chestnut Hill, asked for the new Board of Trustees of the diocese to determine (before the next Convention) what percentage of all financial gifts received to go towards the diocese’s work on poverty issues. The diocese encompasses the poorest major city in the United States and some of the poorest communities in it as well. The funds would be administered by the Diocesan Council. This resolution was unanimously passed.
The next resolution sponsored by the Rev. Tim Safford, rector of Christ Church in Philadelphia, brought a resolution that focused on inequality in pay and deployment between female and male priests and people of color. The Bishop called for a task force to review this and for an outside firm to audit this and come back at the next Convention with a report. This resolution was unanimously passed.
Budget: After 11 budget meetings across the diocese in the past nine months, the budget was again reviewed by Canon Shawn Wamsley after an overview by the Treasurer and Finance Committee. Canon Wamsley highlighted the diocese’s cost cutting measures that eliminated a $873,000 deficit and left the 2020 budget with a 2000 surplus. He then discussed our need to fulfill our commitment to The Episcopal Church and our collective goal for each church to give 10% of their Normal Operating Income, emphasizing that “this is who we are as the Diocese of Pennsylvania, as Episcopalians, and as Christians, this is what we are called to do.” The budget was unanimously passed.
Music: The Convention body was uplifted and entertained by three choirs from within the diocese – St. George St. Barnabas; St. Thomas’ Whitemarsh; and the combined choirs of Free Church of St. John and Cristo y San Ambrosio.
Convention concluded with Canon Betsy Ivey sending us out in prayer: “Grant us, Lord, the lamp of charity which never fails, that it may burn in us and shed its light on those around us…”
Thank you to ALL who made the days a success, including the youth from St. Michael’s, Yeadon.