Bishop’s Address: beauty, relational courage and the “church that does not yet exist”
“You are beautiful.”
Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves repeated this message again and again during her annual address during the 38th Convention of the Diocese of Camino Real on October 26th and 27th. Unveiling the newest annual theme, “Relational Courage” – a theme she borrowed from Jennifer Baskerville-Burroughs, Bishop of Indianapolis – she encouraged delegates, clergy, and all in attendance to reflect on how they arrived at the Episcopal Church, how the church has enriched them, and how they have enriched the church.
Citing the recent arrival of new Curator for Emerging Communities Kelsey Davis, and the launch of the diocesan Leadership Innovation Fund, she stressed that “we are the asset we most need to develop.”
“We can offer programs, make our worship as slick and performative as can be, offer the best and brightest sermons, the most moving of liturgies, and the greatest hospitality practices ever,” she told the crowd. “But ours is an incarnational faith. If we are not present, then the essence of Christianity is not present.”
Relational courage will be required, she added, as the diocese and its new bishop come into relationship – and into partnership – together.
“It has taken all of us and our courage to explore and practice new ways of exercising power,” she explained, “power held by many, discovering new connections of energy, and uploading more gifts and talents from more relationships, locations and sources. We have, in fact, practiced a ‘stewardship of episcope,’ oversight, that has been highly communal.”
Her 12th convention appearance was historic in being her final solo convention appearance; next year, she will share the stage with a bishop-elect who will succeed her in January 2020.
“In this partnership we have discovered reconciliation of the brokenness of years past, we have discerned our relevance as a diocese both locally and globally, and we know the experience of resurrection,” said Gray-Reeves. “We have learned the rhythm of dying and rising and followed it into new life. We have loved and argued, laughed and cried.”
“Each year we have grown in knowledge, courage and experience in becoming the church that does not yet exist,” she noted. “Having spent a year pondering identity . . . it is time to step out a little more boldly with our beautiful Episcopal self.”
Read Bishop Mary’s complete 2018 address here. Coverage of resolutions will be listed here soon.
Several longtime diocesan volunteers were also recognized on Friday night; their names and pictures will be added soon.
“We are the shelter that we long for”
“The Spirit of God is moving through this diocese with compassion, creativity, and courage,” said Curator for Emerging Communities Kelsey Davis, who preached Friday at Evening Prayer before the convention banquet and awards.
Davis asked the assembled crowd to open their hearts and practice the courage it takes to lean into the people and places they might otherwise pass by. She recalled a favorite Irish saying, “It is the shelter of each other that the people live,” and added that “we are the shelter that we long for. The offering of our presence is offering a place of sanctuary. And as we move deeper into the world, getting outside our buildings and imagine new ways of being church, this is very Good News for us.”
Citing Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan in Luke, she said the “moment between seeing and moving towards suffering is a courageous one . . . but when we see each other through the eyes of love, and when we care more about the goodness inherit inside each of us, rather than any other narrative society gives to us . . . this is when we are capable of mustering the courage.”
Her sermon also referenced Henri Nouwen, who talks about “the movement from hostility to hospitality as one of the great movements of the spiritual life.” Davis’ entire sermon can be read here.
Coverage of Past Conventions
2017 Convention: Identity, faith, and reconciliation
Spiritual identity, hope, and relational power were key themes of Bishop Mary Gray Reeves’ annual address at the 37th Convention of the Diocese of El Camino Real on Friday, November 3, and Saturday, November 4. While conventions are primarily held to manage the business of the church, this year’s event served also to inspire, challenge, and celebrate the community of delegates, alternates, clergy, and friends from across the diocese who gathered at Sherwood Hall in Salinas.
Bishop Mary’s address drew inspiration from the birth of Moses and the role of several midwives – and a girl, his sister Miriam – who kept him alive. “The scene gives birth, years before, to the journey the Israelites would take in becoming a nation,” she explained. “Identity emerging out of formed character, values, courage and grit.”
She noted how some congregations struggle with articulating their identity, typically when searching for a new rector, priest-in-charge or vicar. “Articulating who you are is more challenging than articulating what you do,” she said. “To say we know we are called to something, but we don’t know what, is to name a starting place. It is to conceive of hope that God wants more for us than unknowing and an uncertain identity.”
She also introduced two practices of faith development and reconciliation that the diocese will add to its growing repertoire of tools for Christian life:
The Emergency Mediation Team – also known as EMTs – is a group of professional mediators who are also members of the diocese. They will work with congregations who want to improve their communication skills, or, who are in deep conflict, where they need to become “friendly again.” In the first quarter of 2018, EMTs will offer training at the deanery level that will provide broad support for general communication skills, mediation of difficult subjects or challenges, and more.
At the spring conference in May, the diocese will host a session on storytelling, inspired by Bishop Mary’s course this summer in Monterey where she heard from the Story Center in Oakland about the empowering work they do with victims of violence, post-war, in helping them tell their stories of not only trauma, but also salvation.
The complete list of approved resolutions can be viewed and downloaded below, in their final approved language. One exception: Resolution B failed to pass.
Resolution A: Resolutions Follow-up
Resolution B: Living Room Conversations
Resolution C: Paris Pledge
Resolution D: Dream Faith Network
Resolution E: Support of immigrants and migration ministries
Resolution F: Support of Vulnerable Children
Resolution G: Minimum Compensation of Full Time Parochial Clergy
36th Convention of the Diocese of El Camino Real
February 4-5, 2016
Bishop’s Address, Awards Highlight 2016 Convention
Nearly 300 Episcopalians from across the diocese gathered in Salinas for the 36th Annual Meeting of Convention, which took place November 4 & 5 at Sherwood Hall to conduct the business of the church, share ideas, worship, and inspire one another.
“Being a learning organization, or community, is very Biblical,” said Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves in her annual address, which examined the need for such communities and provided an update on the diocesan Strategic Plan Remix. “It is also a concept found in the corporate world … spreading the Kingdom of God would suggest we learn to be partners together so that justice and well-being for all can be a reality. People of faith are the link between the two.”
Another highlight of the convention was the Friday Evening Prayer service. The special guest preacher was Bishop Richard Garcia of the Catholic Diocese of Monterey (seen above). Bishop Garcia’s homily focused on learning together and examined ideas for extending and expanding our shared ministries. “Look out and reach for new possibilities as God offers them,” he said, urging the audience to continue to collaborate with other church communities. He also shared his idea of setting up a shared satellite center at the Salinas Mall, to have a spiritual presence in an established community destination.
Awards were also given out: The annual Bishop’s Cross Award was given to both Archdeacon Jo Weber (below left) and The Rev. Mary Morrison (right), who could not attend but received the awards in advance. Bishop Mary snapped her annual convention selfie to send them. Scroll down to view the Simple Servant awardees.
The Simple Servant Awards were an epic affair, with nearly 30 recipients brought on stage for their life-changing volunteer work with prison and jail ministries such as Kairos Inside and other programs. In all, more than 50 volunteers from the Diocese of El Camino Real and other faiths received the award and a few shared powerful stories with the banquet crowd. Scroll down for a list of the awardees and more pictures.
Joan Anderson, Chaplain MTY CO Jail
Irma Mejia, St. Paul’s/San Pablo
Lloyd Lowery, St. Paul’s/San Pablo, Salinas
Brian Nordwick, ECR Staff, Kairos
Jeannie & Paul Aschenbrenner, First Methodist, Salinas
Haati Nai, First Methodist, Salinas
Steve Lundin, First Methodist, Salinas
Cynthia Montague, Chaplain MTY CO Jail
Nancy Duldulao, Holy Family, Milpitas
Mindi Wojdylak, Holy Family Milpitas
Jane & Robert Pomery, Holy Family Milpitas
Anne Pomeroy, Holy Family Milpitas
Rosie Limos, Holy Family Milpitas
Marina Laroya, Holy Family Milpitas
Corazon Gallego, Holy Family Milpitas
Margaret Smith, Holy Family Milpitas
Angeles Dela Cruz, Holy Family Milpitas
Shonna Close, Holy Family Milpitas
Ruth Casipit-Paguio, Holy Family Milpitas
George Lew, Holy Family Milpitas
Jean Wyatt, Holy Family Milpitas
Armin Busse, Holy Family Milpitas
Ernest Boyer, Holy Family Milpitas
Paul Horn, Holy Family Milpitas
Katy Dickinson, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Barbara Anderson, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Julie Averill, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Peggy Bryan, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Ann-Marie Burger, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Joel Martinez, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Thierry Doyen, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Bruce Friesen, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Barbara Harriman, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Cathy Holley, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Betsy James, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Denise Khalid, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Diane Lovelace, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Patrick Ryan, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Barbara Silverstein, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Gerry Chartrand, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Dwight Buzick, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Patrick Accristo, Inmate-EFM Participant, Co-designer of logo used
Renee Lopez, Inmate-EFM Participant, Co-designer of logo used
Jack Fanning, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Patrick Ryan, St. Andrew’s, Saratoga
Phil West, St. Barnabas, Arroyo Grande
Phyllis Porter, St. Barnabas, Arroyo Grande
Marcia Bell, St. Barnabas, Arroyo Grande
Chris Finch, St. Barnabas, Arroyo Grande
Sharon Williams, St. Barnabas, Arroyo Grande
Jane Martin, St. Barnabas, Arroyo Grande
Stephanie Brazil, St. Barnabas, Arroyo Grande
Shirley Holgate, St. Barnabas, Arroyo Grande
Tony Garay, St. Barnabas, Arroyo Grande
Dan Hooper, St. Barnabas, Arroyo Grande
Carl Hunter, St. Barnabas, Arroyo Grande
Alicia Nowicki, St. Barnabas, Arroyo Grande
Craig Young, All Saints’/Cristo Rey, Watsonville
Angel Rivera, San Carlos l Cathedral, Monterey, Kairos
Gail & Gabe Paul, St. Stephen’s, Gilroy
Jesse Farias, St. Stephen’s, Gilroy
Terry Burley, St. Stephen’s, Gilroy
Did Symington, St. Peter’s, Morro Bay
Jim Arnold, St. Peter’s, Morro Bay
Robert Seifert, St. Luke’s, Jolon/Chaplain
Carolyn Bowker, St.Jude’s, Cupertino
Merritt Greenwood, St. John the Baptist, Aptos
Charles Greenleaf, St. John the Baptist, Aptos
Bill Kell, St. John the Baptist, Aptos
35th Convention of the Diocese of El Camino Real
November 6-7, 2015
2015 Convention Coverage
Bishop’s Address Examines Values, Announces a Strategic Plan “Remix”
Unveiling the simple but powerful theme of “Values,” Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves’ annual address at the 35th Convention of El Camino Real set a new direction for the diocese and challenged congregations to consider their own values and how they embody them in their communities.
Her 30-minute address began with a story about digestive biscuits at the real St. Swithin’s church (located in our partner diocese in Gloucester) and examined the danger of treasuring traditional behavior over values, stressing the need for El Camino Real to become a values-driven organization.
“Examining our values can inspire us to change,” Gray-Reeves explained. “Such an examination can call us to deeper integrity, intention and spiritual practice. Such reflection keeps us close to the foundation of who God calls us to be as members of the Body of Christ. As we seek to live more deeply into the values we understand as Christian, we take on the likeness of Christ. We take on the mind of Christ. We embody the values of our faith in the world.”
“Our values are Christ-centeredness, Reconciliation, Passion, Innovation and Creativity, and Integrity,” she continued. “As I invite you to consider your congregational values, please know that we will continue to do the same on our diocesan boards, committees and commissions. We want to strengthen our understanding of what it means to live as a values-driven organization.”
The “remix” comes sooner than expected, she acknowledged, and was spurred on by the results of the diocesan feasibility study last June. She and diocesan staff will work with the Board of Trustees and the Standing Committee to complete further work on the revised plan before rolling out a new iteration at deanery meetings in 2016.
“The days of five- or ten-year plans have ended,” she pointed out. “We always knew that in our plan there were things that could be accomplished and finished, such as moving to Sargent House. There would be others that would be ongoing, such as multi-cultural and inter-generational growth. We have done very well accomplishing many of the goals of the plan, letting go of things that were not a good fit, and creatively thinking forward.”
The 2016 deanery meetings will provide an opportunity for the entire diocese to join the process once the plan has been prepared for consideration, with voting to come at next year’s convention. Diocesan leaders, including the Council of Advice who supports fundraising efforts such as the Bishop’s Appeal, will keep moving forward. She promised news of an ongoing Bishop’s Appeal, and a three-year narrative budget that can incorporate the future vision.
“This is a responsible way to create a sustainable, vibrant, values-driven future,” she concluded, “which we pray will glorify God in all we do.”
Bishop’s Awards Presented
Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves presented several awards during the Nov. 6-7 convention, including the Bishop’s Cross to The Rev. Kathey Crowe (above) and to Joe Chouinard (below) for their leadership and contributions to the diocese.
Below, the “Walking Together Ministry” at St. Mary’s by-the-Sea in Pacific Grove was honored with the Simple Servant Award for its faithful commitment for community organizing.
Certificates of Appreciation
Certificates of Appreciation were presented to the following:
Above: Members of the Relocation Team for their work on relocating the diocesan offices from Mission House in Seaside to the Sargent House in Salinas. Steve Pearson at podium, Chair of the Relocation Committee. Left to right in front of table: Dave Mora, Diana Trapani, The Rev. David Breuer.
Lower Right: Ann Wright for her work with the Conference Education Resource Committee (CERC).
Lower Left: Kim & Julie Fudge and Becky Mikkelsen for their work with the Scholarship Fund for the Diocese of Western Tanganyika (pictured with Bishop Sadock Makaya).
Watch for more convention coverage coming soon.
Read About Previous Diocesan Conventions
Diocesan Convention 2014 – November 14 & 15, 2014
For information about older conventions, please contact the Diocesan Office.
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