This weekend is our annual Diocesan Convention when members from all over our diocese gather to discuss the business of the church. You have probably heard Diocesan Convention mentioned over the years, but I wonder if we really grasp the importance of what too frequently can be seen as two onerous days of meetings. Diocesan Convention is not just a set of hoops to jump through, but an integral part of who we are as Episcopalians and how we live out the gospel in every part of our diocese.
Diocesan Convention comprises the house of clergy and the house of the laity. Any clergy members who are canonically resident in our diocese have voice and vote at convention. Lay delegates to Diocesan Convention are elected every year at each parish’s Annual Meeting and also have voice and vote. Trinity’s delegates are Cheryl Glover and Lee Daniel whom we elected at our Annual Meeting this past winter. As members of our congregation, our delegates represent Trinity in the decisions we make about our diocesan life.
Diocesan Convention engages several areas of our shared life. Normally, we hear reports from various ministries of our diocese, we review the budget, we vote on resolutions presented by people of our diocese, and we elect people to serve in various positions. This year, among others, we will hear from our Mission Strategy team and our Racial Justice Commission as they share how they are carrying out the work they have been tasked with by previous Diocesan Conventions. This year the resolutions being presented to convention are about minimal compensation for Vocational Deacons, joining with the Poor People’s Campaign, and our relationship with Indigenous communities. If interested, you can read the resolutions here. Finally, we will elect people for various diocesan positions and clergy and lay representatives to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. While not on the agenda for this year, some of the most important work Diocesan Convention engages in is the election of bishops who guide our diocese, shape the vision of our work together, and serve as chief pastor to all the people of our diocese.
However, we are still left with the question, why does this matter? Diocesan Convention matters because we are the diocese, we are the decision makers, and we shape our collective future. If we think something is wrong with the way the diocese is working, we can run for a position on the Standing Committee. If we are passionate about something we do not see our diocese engaged in, we can offer a resolution. If we need inspiration, the reports of how others are living out the gospel can offer us new ways forward. Our diocese is not a cloistered group making decisions on our behalf, rather it is us and the mechanism of participation is Diocesan Convention.
I invite you to join your prayers today with those of people across our diocese as we lift up the work of this convention. If you find any of this work pulling on the strings of your heart, consider standing as a candidate for one of Trinity's delegates to Diocesan Convention. We are the body of Christ at Trinity, in our diocese, and in the world.