Faithful ways

Faithful ways fresh vistas
by Kathy Stoner

This was the theme of the 41st Convention of the Diocese of El Camino Real, which took place Saturday, November 9, 2021. It was held on Zoom and was attended by delegates from all the parishes in our diocese, as well as clergy. The convention is primarily a business meeting, much like our parish annual meeting. Every year, the diocesan budget is voted on and approved, and representatives to various diocesan committees are elected. The delegates also vote on resolutions presented, such as the creation care resolution approved in 2020. This year’s convention began with morning prayer and an inspiring address from Bishop Lucinda. She spoke of the changes and losses and achievements in the diocese over the past year, especially due to the pandemic. She emphasized the need for balance between tradition and innovation as we go forward. Look for a link to her address on the diocesan website in the future.

The delegates at the convention heard reports from various committees, including a report on a five-year review of the work of the diocese that was very informative. The delegates approved resolutions restructuring some ways that the diocese works to make it more efficient, accessible and transparent. A budget for the diocese for the coming year was also presented and approved. Every year there are one or more resolutions addressing issues of national significance. This year, the delegates approved a resolution to join with other dioceses throughout the country to advocate for adding Bishop Barbara Harris to The Episcopal Church’s calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. Bishop Harris, who died in 2020, was the first woman elected Bishop in Episcopal church.

There was a report from the Diocesan Fund Development Council about the Bishop’s Appeal, which will help fund three important initiatives in the coming year:

1) Community Trailblazers to lead congregations deeper into exploring and discovering meaningful ways to engage and partner with local institutions & other churches;

2) A local bilingual and multicultural School for Ministry, that will provide new opportunities to develop and sustain leadership, including a certification course for lay preachers;

3) A fund to be used by the Bishop to respond to the needs of people struggling with the impact of COVID-19 and other economic challenges. (If you want to contribute or have questions, you can contact parishioner Celeste Ventura, who is on the Diocesan fund development committee.)

Interspersed among the business matters were slide shows of activities throughout the diocese set to great music. Everything was accessible to participants in English and in Spanish, thanks to the interpretation function of Zoom.

Plans are being made for an in-person “spring renewal” event that will be held in late April 2022, and which will include a dinner and guest speaker. Serving as a delegate is a great way to connect with people from other parts of the diocese and to learn more about the wider church. If this interests you, consider volunteering to be elected as a delegate from Saint Mary’s to the diocesan convention next year.