Convention 2018 Recap

Friday Night Service (11/8)

In spite of the rain, people came out for Friday night’s service to officially begin the 235th Convention.  (We heard from Michael Ruk, dean of the Bucks County deanery, that some people drove three hours into the city for the service.)  Thank you to all who braved the elements to be in communion with one another.

In the service, Bishop Daniel Gutiérrez commissioned two deacons – Dennis Coleman and Jeff Moretzsohn as Archdeacons. As Archdeacons, both will have an oversight and directive role. Three members of the Diocesan staff – Rev. Arlette Benoit Joseph, Rev. Toneh Smyth and Jennifer Tucker – were commissioned as canons of the Diocese.  Additionally, the regional Deans of each deanery were commissioned.

We were also joined by the Rt. Rev. Silvestre Romero, the bishop coadjutor of Guatemala, and the Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chemengich, bishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya, Diocese of Kitale. The next day at Convention, Bishop Romero shared a presentation at lunchtime on Guatemala.

Convention Day (11/9)

Before his Convention address, the vision video was reshared with all those in attendance. In his address to the Convention, Bishop Gutiérrez outlined 10 ideas for the next few years.  They are:

  1. The need for a centralized place for gathering information in community.
  2. Plant a school in an underserved neighborhood in our Diocese using the model of the St. James School and partnering with Episcopal Academy and Church Farm School and our universities.
  3. Through partnerships, create a network of 10 wellness centers in our churches that serve the physical health, building on the work we are already doing.
  4. Partner with three agencies and interfaith organizations to effectively address poverty, hunger, violence.
  5. Reestablish effective ministry to the shut-ins, the matriarch and patriarchs who have laid the foundation.
  6. Plant three Canterbury Houses with one on the Main Line.
  7. Establish a chaplaincy program for prison ministry and a renewed dedication toward racial healing.
  8. Establishment of a time line for those churches that are closed.
  9. Using the model of small house churches, and empowering the laity for leadership, plant 5 churches in 6 years.
  10. Ordain 60 deacons in six years. If we are going to grow, we need to equip our churches for the growth and our sacred presence in the community.


Resolutions Passed

This was the first year of electronic voting. Thank you to all who were patient with us during our learning curve.


The Budget

“The only thing that will ever hold us back is a theology of scarcity over abundance and fear over faith.” The budget resolution passed unanimously.  You can see the budget here and the Bishop’s letter related to it here.


People Honored

Three people received one of the Bishop’s Awards, which recognizes contributions to the Diocese.  They are: The Rev. Dr. Sam Adu-Andoh, rector of the Church of St. Andrew & St. Monica; Virginia Slichter of Christ Church, Pottstown; and George Vosburgh of St. David’s Church, Radnor. Jennie Paddy was also recognized for her years of service on diocesan staff with the Bishop’s Christus Rex award.



Several groups shared short video presentations.  These covered Anti-Gun Violence, Evangelism, Outreach Ministry, Global Mission, Restaurant Program (Holy Trinity, West Chester) and Revival (St. Mary’s, Philadelphia). You can see all of them here.



  • Youth Ministry: Canon Betsy Ivey discussed the new structure for youth ministry whereby the Diocese will provide more support but leave programming up to representatives of the Diocese – The Rev. Samuel Kirabi-Ndungu, Erika Bower and Dorothy Archey.
  • Data as a Strategic Asset: Canon Kirk Berlenbach detailed how we can help churches access and analyze data in order to further growth and mission.
  • Growth Development Fund: This is a $1.5M program, created by the Bishop and approved by Standing Committee. Applications for the 2nd year of funding are being accepted now.
  • Missional Church Process: Canon Berlenbach discussed this new process, approved in September, which provides details on entry and exit from the program. You can read it here.
  • Wellness Committee: This was a presentation on the work of the Wellness Commission and its three subcommittees: Benefits, Clergy Financial Assistance and Clergy Compensation


The Music

We all were entertained by the youth choir from St. Mary’s, Chester; choir from Christ and St Ambrose; and the choir from St. Augustine Hippo. (Watch some of these from our Facebook page.)


Blessing Bags

Countless churches, individuals and organizations donated items for blessing bags.  During Convention breaks, Canon Toneh Smyth, deacons and volunteers filled 250 bags. These were given to churches to be distributed to those experiencing homelessness.



A new version of the Diocesan magazine was given out to all those in attendance.  You can read it here.


New Seal

A newly designed seal for use in marketing and communications was revealed at Convention.