I love Diocesan Convention! Now, before you think I’m some sort of nerd, let me tell you why I feel this way. As you may know, I live in Hillsdale. You can’t get any further west in our diocese and still be part of EDOMI! Sometimes it gets a bit lonely all the way out here surrounded by all the cornfields. Convention provides the opportunity for me to spend time with my friends from all around the diocese. I delight in all the conversations, hugs and networking that happens over Friday and Saturday in Novi. And, to be fair (here’s the true nerd in me), I also take pleasure in participating in the work of diocese, work that may seem tedious at times but really underpins the ministry to which we are all called. This is why I have stayed with the Resolution Review Committee and this blog for so long. If we’re going to make the time to do this important work, there must be some way to communicate what we do with all the people of the diocese otherwise our work is in vain and a waste of time – hence, the Nuts and Bolts Blog!
As you all know, this last weekend was Convention weekend. I must admit that I’ve come to today (Sunday) a bit weary and might prefer to take it easy today but I’ve decided to share some of the work we did in Novi for this week’s blog, particularly the resolutions that were adopted.
The Committee on Reference led by the Rev. Carol Mader, chair, presented two resolutions:
Resolution 1: CHRISTIAN CONSCIENCE, REFUGEES AND IMMIGRATION
Resolved, that acting from our Christian faith and conscience the 185th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan urge that all persons, congregations, deaneries and diocesan leadership join to protect the human rights, legal rights, physical safety and dignity of all persons who, seeking asylum, fleeing persecution, and attempting to immigrate to the United 1States of America, are caught in the current (21st century) border and immigration process; continuing now and until the issues can be resolved fairly in accordance with international and domestic laws providing protection, and be it further
Resolved, that the 185th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan urge that all persons, congregations, deaneries and diocesan leadership actively oppose the indefinite detention of families and children in for-profit or other facilities that deny essential protections to fellow human beings, especially children and families, harmed by current border and immigration policies and be it further
Resolved, that as inhumane and unlawful governmental border practices and policies escalate and result in grave harm to vulnerable people, the 185th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan urge that all persons, congregations, deaneries and diocesan leadership work for the safety and security of our immigrant neighbors, by actively connecting with The Episcopal Church, other Episcopal dioceses, our local and national communities, institutions, coalitions and groups supporting immigrant rights, and together educate, advocate, organize and take direct action where appropriate in each situation to mitigate the root causes of migration and to create a humane and just immigration system and policies, and be it further
Resolved, that such actions might include learning about the situation at the borders; taking actions to accompany undocumented immigrants; supporting ministries that welcome immigrants and help them; defending access to asylum, including communicating with elected officials, government agencies and fellow citizens about the nature of and need for asylum; sharing information in our communities so that people know their rights; and praying The Migrant Circle of Prayer for people in detention facilities; donating to Dioceses and border ministries, working for and electing officials who will create a just path to citizenship and end cruel practices toward all persons, establishing just and humane treatment for each person.
Here is a part of the rationale behind this resolution that might be helpful:
As Presiding Bishop Michael Curry recently said, “When you welcome the stranger, you welcome Jesus. The book of Hebrews in the New Testament says those who have welcomed the strangers have sometimes welcomed angels unawares.” The men, women, and children fleeing their country and seeking asylum in the U.S. are not only exercising a legal right to do so, but are also deserving of our care and compassion. Rather than prevent those persons from seeking the protection they need, the U.S. should respond by improving our existing system and investing in efforts to address root causes of migration in the first place.
Let me suggest that you check out the rest of the rationale which includes some great resources which will provide you with some very helpful information for understanding this important resolution.
The second resolution addresses the Carbon Tax:
Resolution 2: CARE OF CREATION: CARBON TAX
Resolved, that the 185th Convention of the Diocese of Michigan urges congregations to seek information in order to more fully understand ways to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions to stabilize our climate and sustain life on earth; and be it further
Resolved, that Episcopalians in the Diocese of Michigan urge lawmakers and local officials to commit to public policy which may include a Carbon Fee and Dividend model or other way to calculate and mitigate greenhouse gas and carbon-based fossil fuel emissions to prevent further irreversible climate change; and be it further
Resolved, that the Diocese of Michigan urges that Episcopalians seek collaboration in study and action with other congregations and community groups regarding ways to work to prevent further irreversible climate change, as well as meeting and communicating with their elected representatives, and be it further
Resolved, that in implementing any such policies, the 185th Convention of the Diocese of Michigan urges that Episcopalians advocate for appropriate measures to reduce the economic impacts on poor people and people of modest income, which means might include use of a trust fund paid for with carbon fees and distributed to the poorest people first.
As with the previous resolution, the sponsor of this resolution provided helpful information and other resources in the rationale.
Now that these resolutions have been adopted, it’s our job to see how we might live out these words in our congregations. What actions might you and your congregation take to be faithful to the commitments we made at Convention?
The Mission Budget Committee of Diocesan Council presented the proposed budget for 2020 and the draft budget for 2021 which was passed unanimously! You can find the budget here and the PowerPoint presentation presented by diocesan treasure Mark Miliotto here.
Of course, Convention was not all work and no play! We shared a wonderful and delicious dinner together on Friday evening highlighted by presentations from the Emrich Advisory Council and the Whitaker Advisory Council. We had the occasion to learn and shop at our diverse exhibitors’ displays. We had the chance to enjoy one another’s company Friday evening at an informal reception time. And perhaps most significant was the opportunity to share in Bishop Gibbs’ final Diocesan Convention before his retirement in December. There were many heartfelt tributes and expressions of gratitude for his 20 years of ministry with EDOMI. We were all privileged to participate in the Bishop’s last Convection Eucharist which included his sermon and address to convention. Many tears were shed as we considered this transition for Bishop Gibbs and our diocese. He will certainly be missed and will remain in our hearts and prayers.
If you were not at Convention, let me suggest that you ask your congregation’s delegates to tell you about their experience. I’m sure you will catch the vision of what Convention is all about and then will eagerly plan to join us as a delegate or volunteer in this important work for our diocese and in the great fellowship we share! Looking forward to seeing you there!
Let us pray –
O God, by your grace you have called us in the Diocese of Michigan
to a goodly fellowship of faith. Bless Bishop Gibbs and
Bishop-Elect Bonnie Perry and other clergy, and all our people.
Grant that your Word may be truly preached and truly heard,
your Sacraments faithfully administered and faithfully received.
By your Spirit, fashion our lives according to the example of your
Son, and grant that we may show the power of your love to
all among whom we live; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
~ The Rev. Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council