By The Rev. Tom Sramek, Jr., June 23, 2015
One of the proposals that will go before General Convention is the proposal to eliminate provinces. Provinces of the Episcopal Church are geographic areas composed of several contiguous dioceses. The provincial system is designed not only to insure geographic diversity on churchwide committees, but also to foster collaboration among dioceses.
The provinces gather in synod (convention) periodically and our gathering was this evening. Our representatives to synod are our bishop, the first clergy and lay deputies and the second lay deputy: Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, The Rev. Maly Hughes, Mr. Jeff Diehl, and Ms. Celeste Ventura.
Reports were given from three “clusters” of programs–Education and Formation, Multi-Cultural/Peace and Justice, and Serving Ministries. A budget of $371,565 was adopted for the 2016-2018 triennium and several people who were leaving leadership positions in the province were recognized. Unlike most provinces, our province does not have a Provincial Coordinator, so volunteer positions are even more key to the effective functioning of the province.
Among other items discussed were the assistance given to the reorganized diocese of San Joaquin and Navajoland. The Episcopal Church is phasing out financial support to provinces and there is a hope that some of the money that dioceses save by a reduced asking would be redirected to the province. There is also the hope and intention to increase communication between the province and the members of the various dioceses. For more information on Province 8 (or Province VIII, so use the nomenclature), see their web site.
A final note. There are also Provinces of the Anglican Communion, of which The Episcopal Church is one. This post refers to provinces within The Episcopal Church.