The executive council of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth met on Saturday, September 28, 2013, in the parish hall at All Saints Episcopal Church, 5001 Crestline Road, Fort Worth, TX, 76107.
The Rt. Rev. Rayford B. High, Jr., opened the meeting with prayer. He gave a brief report of the recent House of Bishops meeting in Nashville. Coverage of the meeting can be found at Episcopal News Service.
Bishop High particularly mentioned a useful conversation with the bishops’ ecumenical officer, the Rt. Rev. C. Franklin Brookhart, Jr., and Bishop Gregory Palmer of the United Methodist Church on the progress of the two denominations moving toward full communion. He announced that during the course of their meeting, the bishops received word that both the Anglican Church of Ireland and the Anglican Church of South India have elected their first bishops who are women. Bishop High also initiated a breakfast meeting of all the bishops who have served as provisional bishops in reorganizing dioceses and said that exchange of experiences and ideas was very helpful to him.
He reminded council of the upcoming Diocesan Convention November 8-9, 2013, at the Multi-Purpose Events Center (MPEC), 1000 5th Street, Wichita Falls, TX, 76301. He said he had gotten questions from some people about why the convention was moved around the diocese instead of always being in Fort Worth. He said, “I remind people that the diocese is all over – it’s not just in one place. I believe there is a richness in going to different places” to gather in convention.
The bishop presented and executive council approved the health plan selections. He also asked the Rev. Canon Janet Waggoner to talk about the visit of Bob Schorr, coordinator of church plants and strategic development for the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Schorr will be in the diocese to talk about church planting October 12 through 16, 2013. Schorr has said his visit should be considered “a jumping off place for conversations in your congregations” about church planting. He will be visiting in Parker County, in the Haslet area and in Cleburne.
The bishop also reminded the council that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies Gay Jennings will be coming February 8-9, 2014, for the observance of the fifth anniversary of the diocese’s reorganization. More about those visits will be announced as details are formalized.
The bishop asked Diocesan Chancellor Kathleen Wells to speak briefly on “matters related to the Texas Supreme Court” opinion. Ministry Developer/ Stewardship Officer Demi Prentiss reminded people that the bishop has appointed a diocesan stewardship team. Members are Oswell Person of St. Christopher Episcopal Church, Fort Worth; Bob Bess of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, Keller; Mark Neyland of Trinity Episcopal Church, Fort Worth; Whit Smith of All Saints Episcopal Church, Fort Worth; and Mary Lilly of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Stephenville, TX. Their initial work will focus on helping congregations increase their understanding of stewardship as a year-round practice. They will also assist congregations with accessing and making use of the resources on the TENS (The Episcopal Network for Stewardship) website. Any congregation seeking their assistance can contact Demi Prentiss at email@example.com or at 817-534-1900.
Robert Hicks, diocesan treasurer, gave a financial report to the council. He praised those congregations that have turned in their audits. He expects the remaining few to be completed soon.
On behalf of the Finance Committee Hicks moved and the council passed resolutions to approve and send to diocesan convention for its actions the proposed 2014 triennial budget and Table of Assessments. The Table of Assessments sets forth the amounts to be assessed each Parish and Mission during 2014 to support the budget for 2014. That information will be included in the convention packets that will be posted on the diocesan website 20 days prior to convention.
Hicks also moved on behalf of the Finance Committee and council approved resolutions designating a housing allowance for the Rev. Canon Janet Waggoner for the remainder of 2013 and all of 2014.
Council also approved a resolution of the Finance Committee making some revisions in the 2013 diocesan budget to provide for the new Canon to the Ordinary, temporary contract services, diocesan commitments for a new grant, support for seminaries, general congregation support activities, and adjustments in other activities to balance the budget.
Marie Libby of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Wichita Falls, and J.D. Todd of All Saints Episcopal Church, Wichita Falls, co-chairs of the convention planning committee, urged everyone to get their registrations in for diocesan convention. Wichita Falls is a two-hour drive northwest of Fort Worth. Congregations are registering their delegates and alternates. Visitors, non-parochial clergy and exhibitors are registering online.
Todd reminded council that at its May 18, 2013 meeting, it adopted a resolution that set October 4, 2013, as the deadline for registration of lay and clerical delegates, alternates, and visitors. After that date, late charges will be incurred. Everyone is responsible for making their own hotel reservations.
Libby urged those visitors who are not delegates or otherwise needed at the Saturday afternoon business session to take the Oil Baron’s Tour. The tour highlights landmarks and stories of the Golden Age of Oil in Wichita Falls, the buildings they worked in downtown, and the homes they lived in in the Country Club area that was designed to look like Beverly Hills, California.
There was much discussion of the reorganization of the executive council as set in place by a revision of Canon 10, adopted by diocesan convention in Stephenville in 2012. How to best live into the requirements of Canon 10 is still being worked out. As that conversation evolves it will be reported on the diocesan website.