Executive Council passes Safeguarding & background policies; approves grants

Executive Council passes Safeguarding & background policies; approves grants

The Executive Council of the diocese met Saturday, May 17, 2014, at St. Luke in the Meadow Episcopal Church, Fort Worth.

The council passed bylaws for the council, a policy on Safeguarding programs, a policy on background checks, and an employee’s handbook for diocesan staff.

They approved a grant to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Fort Worth, for $12,500. They also approved a grant to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Hurst, of $20,000. Both grants will be reviewed by the Congregational Development Workgroup six months from the date of approval. The process for applying for such grants is described here: New Congregational Grant Requests process announced at Executive Council

Floyd McKneely, chair of the Finance Committee, reported that the planning is proceeding for a proposed capital funds drive called “Funding Our Future.” A steering committee will be named at the September 13 meeting of executive council.

Holy Covenant

The council also received a Holy Covenant, which is an agreed upon code of conduct for diocesan meetings. Bishop High asked members to consider the covenant. He said it is a good guide for all kinds of meetings in the diocese. It states, “As a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, I will:

  • Commit to be present at each meeting unless another important obligation prevents me from attending.
  • Come to the meeting on time and prepared, with the expectation to make a contribution to the work of the group.
  • Listen in order to understand one another, and to respect each other’s views.
  • Express myself honestly and respectfully, focusing on issues, not personalities.
  • Make space for everyone
    1. Avoid cross talk – critiquing or challenging someone’s experience.
    2. Allow for changes of pace in the conversation, including some silence.
  • Remember it’s OK to disagree
    1. Even when we work together, we don’t all have the same experience.
    2. As humans, we want to belong and have people agree with us.
    3. In Christ, we are held in community AND are different.
  • Remember it’s not okay to blame, shame, or attack self or other, verbally or non-verbally. Examples:
    1. Verbal – “That’s just crazy”
    2. Non-verbal – eye-rolling, etc.
  • If I feel bad about something I did/didn’t do, I won’t get stuck in guilt or blame; I will move as soon as possible to make amends.
  • Keep confidentiality – what is said in the group stays in the group, unless everyone agrees to share.
  • Remain mindful of our continual need for God’s grace and, especially, of the need we all have for forgiveness.”

Download the code of conduct for meetings here.

Commission on Small Congregations to Meet in Fort Worth

Bishop High announced that the General Convention Commission on Small Congregations will meet, at the committee’s request, in Fort Worth July 30 through August 2. He asked for volunteers to assist with that event. Interested people can call the diocesan office at 817-534-1900.  The Commission on Small Congregations was established by Canon I.1.2(n) (2) of The Episcopal Church: “ A Standing Commission for Small Congregations. It shall be the duty of the Commission to identify and recommend to General Convention policies, priorities, and opportunities to affirm and strengthen the health and development of small congregations.” Read the mandate of the commission  and a list of the members of the commission.

Deanery Reports

The Fort Worth South Deanery will host the 2015 Diocesan Convention. Margaret Mieuli of St. Christopher Episcopal Church said the planning committee is visiting possible venues and will have a report for the next meeting on September 13 at St. Stephen’s, Hurst. Mieuli also reported that the Fort Worth South Deanery had 90 percent attendance at its last meeting and is going forward with plans for to build a Habitat for Humanity house.

Don Parks, then of the Fort Worth East Deanery, which is hosting the 2014 Convention November 14-15 at Globe Life Park in Arlington, reported that the committee is on track with its planning. He referred people to a promotional video about convention shown before the meeting went into session.

Brent Walker of St. Stephen’s, Wichita Falls, in the Northern Deanery reported on plans going forward for collaboration among the three congregations in that city. After the 2009 reorganization of the diocese, St. Stephen’s remained in its building. Members of Good Shepherd worship with St. Stephen’s. All Saints found alternate spaces and for the last four years has been worshiping at the ARC, a non-profit service organization in Wichita Falls.

The next meeting of Executive Council is September 13, 2014 at St. Stephen’s, Hurst.