The theme of the 34 Annual Diocesan Convention was “Be the Church,” and in her annual address Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves urged congregations to “look at ourselves, consider how we engage our communities and develop relationships.”
Held November 14-15 at Sherwood Hall in Salinas, the convention drew more than 300 delegates, alternates, clergy, guests and visitors to carry out the business of the diocese, worship together, reflect on the past year and learn about the diocese’s exciting future.
Bishop Mary introduced “Be The Church” as her eighth theme for the convention and for El Camino Real’s spiritual focus as a community. The full message can be read and downloaded here.
The overarching themes of the weekend were that churches must live the essence of Christianity more fully in relation to the gospel and to the world. This means cultivating a culture of stewardship, becoming a friend and neighbor to their communities rather than focusing on growth for growth’s sake.
The address also focused on the learnings gained from El Camino Real’s partnership with the Kaleidoscope Institute, led by The Rev. Eric Law, who delivered the Friday night sermon. She noted that Kaleidoscope training is where the diocesan strategic goals of stewardship converge with expanding our cross-cultural, cross-social and cross-generational capacity.
“We will die if we stay isolated from our neighborhoods,” Bishop Mary stated during her address. “It is just a fact. There is no emotional baggage or blackmail in that statement. Churches that close themselves off from the world cease to exist.”
“There is no church when there is no relationship with the world,” she added. “That relationship is part of our essence and the practice of Being the Church.”
The annual Bishop’s Awards were given to the following individuals for their service and contributions to the diocese and its communities:
– Rowland and Pat Rebele received the Simple Servant Award for their work with the Homeless Services Center and Rebele Family Shelter in Santa Cruz, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year;
– Robin and Frank Fiedler received the Simple Servant Award for their exemplary and long-standing community service in and around Morro Bay.
The Bishop’s Cross award was given to two individuals:
– Jo Ann McClain, bookkeeper for the Diocese of El Camino Real, who joined the staff in 2003 and became integral to the healing and recovery of the diocese through her meticulous work and steady presence.
– The Rev. Maly Hughes, Rector of St. Francis’, San Jose, for her leadership and contributions to the diocese, including committee work and helping organize the business of the church.
Missio-mercials and Updates
Success stories (called “missio-mercials”) were shared by The Rev. Terry Gleeson, All Saints’ Palo Alto, and Bishop Benito Juarez of southern Mexico, who described their parish partnership; Laura Lawrence of St. George’s, Salinas, who reported on the “Eucharist in the Park” and night walks; and The Rev. Joel Miller of Calvary, Santa Cruz, who described their coffee house ministry.
An update on the historic Sargent House was given by Canon Brian Nordwick, followed by a special slide show detailing the historic building’s 2014 restoration as the future diocesan offices. The show is available to view on YouTube by clicking here.
Finally, the new logo for El Camino Real was unveiled, developed by Amy Dawson and Scott Kindred of SafeHouse Web. Coffee mugs sporting the vibrant logo were given to delegates.