Happy Halloween, Everyone! Or maybe I should said “A blessed vigil of All Saints’ Day” to you!
It was a delight to see so many of you at Convention last weekend! For those of you who couldn’t attend, let me share some of the highlights from my perspective. For me, it all began at the 10:00 a.m. workshop – “What’s the 411 with Latin@ Ministry in the Diocese of Michigan?” – on Friday with the Revs. Marcia Ledford and Juan Perez, where they shared the story of our Household’s ministry in southwest Detroit – La Iglesia Detroit, the sponsoring resource for the ministry of Santa Teresa y San Juan. While currently this new church plant is without a building of its own, ministry is taking place on the streets! “Ashes to Go,” an Easter Eucharist and a Pet Blessing drew many residents of the neighborhood out to share in prayer and worship. Juan’s story of his encounter with members of a local gang demonstrated how eager the Latin@ community is for a safe place to express their faith. The work is just beginning and there’s much we can do to help. Find out more about this opportunity https://www.facebook.com/IglesiaDetroit or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
After lunch, it was time for a workshop with our partners in the Dominican Republic and the Dominican Development Group providing us the opportunity to hear from the Rt. Rev. Julio Holguin, Bishop of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic; the Rt Rev. William J. Skilton, Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic (retired) along with a panel of friends from the DDG and Rev. Marcia and Fr Juan. I have seen the photos that Bishop Gibbs brought back after his trip but the significance of this work really came home to me hearing of the selfless work being done with the people of the DR. Despite the many miles between us, these are our brothers and sisters and we are being asked to get involved! Check out their ministry –
The opening session of convention began at 4:00 pm with many introductions of new clergy positions around the diocese. I guess I’m just a church nerd because I enjoy all the little details of life in the Church. Especially living so far from where most of the “action” seems to take place, it’s a delight for me to be able to put faces to names that I read in The Weekly Connection or The Record.
I won’t take up your reading time with stories of the reception before dinner or the dinner itself except to say that the vendors did a great job in bringing lovely products and helpful information for us. I am always glad to see a book display but my budget wasn’t too happy with the results of my visit to the Cokesbury table! The whole spirit of the vendors’ space was greatly enhanced by Whitaker’s contest to see which hat Bishop Gibbs would wear on Saturday and who might go home with the goodies from the Emrich silent auction. I really did want that Kindle!
Friday evening’s bilingual Eucharist brought the Household together in worship. For me, this is always a special time to feel surrounded by “such a great cloud of witnesses” in worship. I get a very tiny glimpse of what the heavenly choir might be like singing praises to our God as our voices are raised together in song! Bishop Holguin gave the sermon translated by Bishop Skilton. The text of his message will be available on-line soon so that you, too, can experience the wisdom and grace of this man and his ministry.
Before turning in for the night, there was a little time to visit Emrich’s silent auction and visit with friends from around the Diocese. I did put all of my tickets in the tub for the Kindle. Can you tell I really wanted this one?
Early Saturday morning, I grabbed a quick breakfast before heading off to the Committee on Reference meeting. As the chair of the Resolution Review Committee, this is the first place I get to hear if there are any changes to resolutions that will come before the household later. Diocesan Council wasn’t presenting any resolutions this year (other than the budget) so the meeting didn’t last long allowing some time to look at more books on the Cokesbury table before the next business session. Poor budget!
Rather than give a blow-by-blow description of the whole day, allow me to give a brief overview. La Iglesia and YAYA shared their reports complete with videos of highlights from their ministry. We had a presentation from our TEC partner, the Rev Canon Mark Stevenson who shared a great video with us which began with these words from Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “We are all missionaries or we are nothing.” You can find the video here –
Of course, we also did the business of passing budgets (thank you, Mission and Budget Committee and Mark Milioto!!) and resolutions for the work of the Church. I will be sharing more about the resolutions in upcoming blog posts.
Perhaps, the most engaging part of the day, other than Bishop Gibbs address, of course, was the opportunity to work in table conversations about how we each might get involved with our congregations in both the ministry of La Iglesia and the work with the Dominican Republic. We responded to questions about the tools we need to be empowered for this work as well as the things which might hinder our involvement. The results of these conversations were shared with the Household and will go back to the diocesan office for review. I’m sure we will be hearing more of this later. Taking the time to work together made us feel that we can, indeed, take a part in this work to live out our role as missionaries for God. It will be exciting to see the results of our sharing in the days ahead!
It goes without saying that Bishop Gibbs gave an inspiring address but I will wait until the text of his words is available for you because I don’t feel I could do it justice! Keep checking www.edomi.org and The Weekly Connection for when this is available on-line.
And, for those of you who are wondering and have not seen the photos, Whitaker’s great contest was “won” by Ohio State’s hat – and Bishop Gibbs!!
There are many good reasons to attend Convention each year but the most important for me is because it is MY convention – just as it is YOURS! This is OUR Church and we all are necessary for the ministry to which we are called. If you couldn’t make it this year, I hope we see you in the future. Remember: “We are all missionaries or we are nothing!!”
~ Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council