The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth met on Saturday, January 31, 2015, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Hurst. Among other business, the council heard about the Rt. Rev. Rayford B. High’s plans for town hall meetings in each deanery, heard updates on the Funding for the Future campaign and proposed revisions to the diocesan canons, acted on revisions to the 2014 and 2015 budgets, and organized into committees.
Bishop High reported that in 2014 he visited all the congregations of the diocese, some more than once, for celebrations of new ministries, confirmations, baptisms, reaffirmations, receptions, or simply to worship with the congregation. During those visits, he said, he was consistently impressed by the spirit of the congregations and the ministries they are offering to their communities.
“We are doing good work for the Lord,” he said.
In 2015 he plans to have “town hall meetings” in each deanery, beginning on February 4 with the Northern Deanery in Wichita Falls. These meetings are open to all interested people.
Canon to the Ordinary Janet Waggoner reported on clergy transitions in the diocese:
- The Rev. Karen Calafat was called as part time rector of St. Luke’s in the Meadow, Fort Worth
- The Rev. Amy Haynie became part time priest in charge of the Episcopal Church of Wichita Falls
- The Rev. Bob Gross became interim priest in charge at St. Stephen’s, Hurst
- The Rev. Scot McComas was called as rector of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Keller
- The Rev. Kevin Johnson has been called as part time priest in charge at St. Alban’s, Arlington
Chancellor Kathleen Wells reported that the legal team is well prepared to argue the litigation in the 141st District Court, Tarrant County, on Neutral Principles. The team remains confident of prevailing. She also explained that arguing a case on Neutral Principles is very expensive, resulting in new ongoing litigation support costs.
Report from Standing Committee
The Rev. Curt Norman, president of the Standing Committee, was unable to attend because of illness, but his report was made available to council members. Among other items, he reported that “the Standing Committee is at the beginning stages of conversations with the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in regards to resolution passed at the diocesan convention for joint ministry initiatives. Items under discussion include but are not limited to: administrative functions, church insurance/pension, church planting, congregational development, clergy continuing education/clergy conference, leadership training for vestries, Standing Committee, Executive Council, et al.; educational opportunities through Iona School for Ministry, summer camps, renewal programs.” The first face-to-face meeting with the Diocese of Texas was on December 16, 2014, in Houston.
He also reported that the Standing Committee has begun conversations with Bishop Clayton Matthews in the presiding bishop’s office about “persons and models for provisional episcopacy following the end of Bishop High’s tenure in November 2015. While it is too early to comment on any of the options, the Standing Committee is quite pleased with the available options.”
Read the whole report:
Standing Committee Report to Executive Council (PDF)
Committee on Constitution and Canons
Mr. George Komechak reported that in response to the new Canon 42, Committee on Constitution and Canons, describing the organization and function of the committee that was passed at the 2014 Convention, committee appointments have now been made by Bishop High.
Funding for the Future Campaign Committee
Mr. Floyd McKneely, chair of the Funding for the Future Campaign Committee, reported that the campaign team has conducted a number of interviews and a focus group in each of the five deaneries. He also outlined the timeline for the campaign.
Diocesan Assessment Task Force
Mr. John Banks, All Saints’, Fort Worth, reported on the Diocesan Assessment Task Force was established by Resolution FC1, Establishment of an Assessment Task Force that was passed at the 2014 Diocesan Convention. The task force met for the first time on Saturday, January 17, 2015, to organize itself and begin work.
2014 Convention Evaluation Summary
Ministry Support and Communications Officer Tracie Middleton presented the results of the evaluation forms filled out by those attending diocesan convention at the Jack Daniels’ Club at Globe Life Ballpark in Arlington.
Report from Host Deanery for 2015 Convention
Ms. Margaret Mieuli, St.Christopher, Fort Worth, reported for the Fort Worth South Deanery, which will host the 2015 convention. The convention will be at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden Center November 13-14. She reported that this convention will be substantially less expensive than the 2014 convention, largely because of the difference in venue costs and the savings in not having a Friday night dinner. Dinner on Friday night of convention will be “on your own,” with delegations encouraged to dine together.
Report of the Treasurer and Finance Committee
Diocesan treasurer Bob Hicks reported that all assessments are current and that in 2014 the diocesan vision was supported by diocesan dollars.
Hicks reported that all 2013 congregation audits were received and reminded the council that 2014 congregation audits are due by September 1, 2015. He said that the diocese has engaged the audit firm BDO USA, LLP. The audit will begin the first week of May 2015 and be issued in approximately 45 days. Council also approved a motion to transfer funds from reserves to cover some current litigation expenses.
Two resolutions proposed by the Finance Committee were passed by the council:
- To revise the 2014 Budget for three previously unfunded accounts from which expenses were approved after diocesan convention, specifically for the Episcopal Church of Wichita Falls related to church planting, travel for the Standing Committee related to partnering with the Diocese of Texas, and preliminary expenses for the Fund the Future Campaign incurred in 2014. These revisions did not change the total expense figure, was approved by council.
- To revise the 2015 Budget to provide funds for the Fund the Future Campaign.
Hicks reminded council members that preparation for the 2016 budget process would begin in March.
Updates from the Deans
Ms. Marsha van Etten deChant of the Northern Deanery (Wichita Falls) reported on the upcoming meeting with the bishop on February 4 at the home of Ms. Owanah Anderson. She also reported that the Northern Deanery is willing to host the September 19 meeting of the Executive Council.
The Rev. Tony Hiatt, St. Luke’s in the Meadow, Fort Worth, reported that the Fort Worth East Deanery congregations all have new clergy, making the Rev. Karen Calafat, the new part time rector of St. Luke’s in the Meadow, the senior clergy member in the deanery.
The Rev. Edwin Barnett, St. Andrew’s, Fort Worth, reported that the Fort Worth South Deanery will be working with on a Habitat for Humanity building project in September in the Como neighborhood of Fort Worth.
Ms. Jane Dennis, dean of the Southwestern Deanery, was not present, but Mr. Dave Shockley of the Episcopal Church of Hamilton County invited everyone to a Valentine’s Day event featuring two bluegrass groups. The event will begin at 2 pm and continue into the evening.
Executive Council Committees for 2015
Bishop High announced members of the four committees of Executive Council: Congregational Development, Christian Formation, Structure, and Finance. Chairs of these committees serve on the Management Committee.
Executive Council Events Coming Up
March 21: Inspire and Equip Leadership Workday and Executive Council meeting, location to be announced
May 16: Executive Council, Location to be announced
September 19: Executive Council, The Episcopal Church of Wichita Falls
November 13-14: Convention, Fort Worth Botanic Gardens
December 5 (tentative): Executive Council – December 5