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Diocesan Convention Recap

LAY DELEGATES, and clergy leaders from across the diocese gathered on October 23 for the 162nd Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. Convening under the theme of “…if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation…” (2 Corinthians 5:17), the meeting, which saw about half of its body join by Zoom, conducted the annual business of the diocese. The convention adopted a Mission Plan (Budget) for 2022, elected representative diocesan leadership, made an amendment to the diocesan canons, and passed three resolutions.

Last spring, the diocesan staff and Council of Trustees drew up the Initial plans for 2021’s convention, in the hope that the COVID-19 pandemic would be waning by October. Following last year’s gathering online and in minsters, Bishop Bascom and the Council of Trustees moved convention’s in-person component to Grace Cathedral, Topeka and had planned to incorporate the buildings on the diocesan property and the Bishop Kemper School for Ministry into the event.

These initial plans also included welcoming back the Ninth Bishop of Kansas, the Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe, to unveil and hang his formal portrait. Wolfe currently serves as Rector of St. Bartholomew’s Church, New York City. However, as the convention drew near, the United States began to feel the impact of the Delta Variant of COVID-19. Bishops Bascom and Wolfe discerned, with the Council of Trustees advising at its August meeting, to postpone plans for the two-day, in-person event. Bishop Bascom hopes to welcome Bishop Wolfe at the 163rd Convention, October 21-22, 2022.

Bishop Cathleen Bascom preaches
at convention Eucharist.

With the help of diocesan leadership and Grace Cathedral, the bishop’s staff put together an in-person convention with an online attendance option. About half of convention’s membership gathered in-person with the balance attending online. 

Convention began with a Eucharist streamed to YouTube from the Nave of Grace Cathedral where Bishop Bascom invited the diocese to work with God as a partner in making a new creation especially in the current season. “I invite you to do with rigor what you have been doing, to be ambassadors of a new creation. I have been awe-inspired by what you have done during a pandemic, the way you have made the church vibrant, despite the challenges. . . We know that people are anxious and disoriented, but we are ambassadors of the Creator who is our partner in this restoration, we are the House of David, the Body of Christ in this new era.”

The business session of convention convened in All Saints Hall of Grace Cathedral with online attendees participating by Zoom. The convention affirmed Bishop Bascom’s annual appointments and elected representatives to diocesan bodies.

Lay and clergy delegates vote in person and via Zoom during annual diocesan convention. Photo: Michele Moss

Pursuant to the canons, the Disciplinary Board met after convention and elected Mrs. Julia Hart to be its president.

Convention adopted an amendment to diocesan Canon IV.2 “Of apportionments” to allow for the Council of Trustees to establish a process for parishes to appeal an income reporting error and petition for adjustment of future apportionment.

Convention considered and adopted three resolutions:

The first resolution recommends the Sacred Ground curriculum to the people and congregations of the diocese and encourages ongoing study of the history and present effects of racism in parishes and communities. This resolution also encourages congregations to share this ongoing work at the time of the annual parochial report.

The second resolution condemns the Kansas legislature’s passage of anti-voter laws, especially HB 2183 and HB 2332, and asks the legislature to expand voter access.

The Very Rev. Laurie Lewis, member of the diocesan finance committee,
presents the 2022 Diocesan Mission Plan.

The third resolution encourages the recognition and celebration of the Season of Creation each year (September 1 to October 4) utilizing resources published on the Diocesan website and elsewhere. This resolution also says the diocese will promote the use of sustainislandhome.org and encourage parishioners to take the Sustaining Earth Challenge.

Convention adopted a $1,945,148 mission plan made possible by parishes committing to an apportionment schedule with a 17.21% effective rate. The effective rates in 2020 and 2021 were 17.50% and 16.68%, respectively.

Deacon Fran Wheeler announced that the Council of Trustees had approved six Alleluia Grants:

  • Church of the Covenant, Junction City, $3,000
  • Grace Cathedral, Topeka, $3,000
  • St. Stephen’s, Wichita, $800
  • St. Peter’s, Pittsburg, $1,274
  • St. Paul’s, Kansas City, $3,000
  • Bethany House & Garden, Topeka, $3,000

The Alleluia Grants are given annually to support new evangelical and outreach ministry. The Alleluia Fund was reinvigorated in 2016 by a tithe from the Crossroads capital campaign.

Finally, the annual ministry awards were presented. Archdeacons Anne Flynn and Monte Giddings gave the Deacon’s Cross to Deacon Sandy Horton-Smith of St. Paul’s, Manhattan. They cited her leadership during a protracted season of presbyteral transition amidst the ongoing pandemic. 

The Rev. Dr. Christine Gilson receives the Canon’s Award.

Canon to the Ordinary Patrick Funston gave the Canon’s Award to the Rev. Dr. Christine Gilson, Vicar of St. John’s, Wichita in thanksgiving of her ministry and her model of commitment to ongoing academic formation. Bishop Cathleen Bascom gave the Bishop’s Chair to Ellyn Owen and Nancy Hanson of Trinity, Lawrence. She gave thanks for their foundational ministries in Creation Care at Trinity and in the diocese.

More information including text and video are available on the diocesan website: https://episcopal-ks.org/convention/

The 163rd Convention of the Diocese is scheduled for October 21-22, 2022, at Grace Cathedral, Topeka.

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