On this overcast, chilly Sunday, I’m going to take some liberty as chair of the Resolution Review Committee and not write about a resolution this week. So, if you’ve been eagerly waiting to see what resolution we might address this week, please forgive me. I have some other things on my mind today that want to be said.
Yesterday, Diocesan Council met for the first meeting of the 2019 – 2020 Council year. If my memory is correct, I started serving as the Lyster Deanery rep to Council for the 2.009 – 2010 Council year and I served for two consecutive three-year terms. Following my departure as a deanery rep, Bishop Gibbs asked if I might consider continuing to chair the Resolution Review Committee that was revitalized in the fall of 2010. I’m still chairing this committee which means I’ve been to many, many Council meetings over the last 10 years. Over these many years, I watched the completion of many Council projects, changes in the way Council works together, and many people come and go. I have been extremely privileged to experience the growth of Council from an occasionally contentious group of individuals to a fine-working team.
I bring all this up because yesterday’s meeting marked a poignant event for all of us present since it was the last meeting we will serve with Bishop Gibbs as President of Council. Much of the change and growth I have witnessed over these ten years has been a result of his excellent leadership. Under Bishop Gibbs’ guidance, Council accomplished much because our work has been streamlined into dedicated committees that get the job done between meetings. Let me share a list of these committees so you can better appreciate the scope of work that Council does for all of you as the Diocese of Michigan:
Primary Committees: Mission Budget, Resolutions Review, Loans and Grants, and Vital Congregations/Tithes & Offerings
Secondary Committees: Audit Committee, HR Policy Review, DC By-law & Constitution & Canons, and Property Advisory
Liaisons: Canterbury, UofM; Canterbury, MSU; Covenant V; Whitaker; Emrich; and YAYA
Now that I’ve started describing the great work done by Council, let me offer a bit more of an explanation for anyone who is unfamiliar. Diocesan Council serves much as the board of directors of a company. Council has a fiduciary responsibility which means that it is expected to serve with good faith and trust of the organization as it acts in the best interests of that organization – in our case, the diocese. Each deanery is represented by both a clergy and lay member who may serve two consecutive three-year terms. In addition to the deanery members, the Bishop appoints Council members that reflect the diversity of our diocese. Every Council member serves on both a primary committee and a secondary committee thus ensuring that the necessary work of Council is done. The work of the committee might be completed through in-person meetings, or Zoom/phone call conversations. The chairpersons of each committee are expected to submit a written report on their committee’s work prior to each Council meeting so that every Council member is well informed about the ministry and work being done. It’s a very efficient system, indeed, and I have been pleased to serve for these last ten years. Now that you know more about the organization and workings of Diocesan Council, I hope that many of you will hear God’s call to serve on this important body!
Rest assured that resolutions will return in the Blog next week. For now, I want to express my deep appreciation to Bishop Gibbs for his fine leadership and years of support and encouragement. Bishop Gibbs, you will be missed by all of us and we wish you and Karlah God’s best for the next part of your journey.
Let us pray –
Gracious and Loving God, we ask your blessing upon Bishop Wendell and Karlah Gibbs as they complete their service to the Diocese of Michigan. Watch over them, protect them, and assure them of your abiding presence in every situation. Grant them strength and courage as they embark on this new path. Bless them with the peace of knowing there is nothing that can ever separate them from your love and the assurance that they will remain in our hearts. We pray in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.
~ Rev. Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council