Resolutions - As Submitted
- CR-1: The Very Rev. Randall L. Prior
- CR-2: The Rev. Frederick Rhue Trumbore
- CR-3: Ms. Peggy L. Hombs
- CR-4: The Rev. Grant R. Sherk Jr.
- R-1: Caring for Creation
- R-2: Blessings of Same-Gender Unions
- R-3: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
- R-4: End Bullying - Living Into Our Baptismal Covenant
- R-5: Sudan Peace Resolution for 2011 - Prayers and Actions
- R-6: Response to Negative Political Advertising
- R-7: A Resolution to Enhance the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia's Relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Our Time and Place
- R-8: Continued Support for Our Bishop
- R-9: Stewardship and Property Litigation
- R-10: Diocesan Funding
- R-11: Parish Health Ministries
Whereas, the Rev. Randall L. Prior came to St. Andrew’s in October 1974 as the first full-time vicar of a new congregation and, in 1990, the first full-time rector, and, for 36 years, served the church and the Diocese of Virginia faithfully and well, and very often above and beyond the call of duty; and
Whereas, under Mr. Prior’s strong leadership and spiritual guidance, the parish has grown to include nearly 400 households and 2,000 baptized persons; and
Whereas, Mr. Prior has successfully managed growth and change at St. Andrew’s through careful planning, collaboration and outreach; and
Whereas, Mr. Prior has mentored scores of Virginia Theological Seminary students and seminarians and numerous assistant and associate clergy over the years; and
Whereas, Mr. Prior has served as dean of Region VII on four different occasions during his ministry; and
Whereas, Mr. Prior has served on a variety of diocesan committees, including the Sexual Misconduct Response Team and the Commission on Congregational Missions for the Diocese of Virginia; and
Whereas, helping the neediest among us has been a constant passion in Mr. Prior’s life, as evidenced by his active leadership in Habitat for Humanity and in St. Andrew’s strong support of outreach programs including Fairfax County’s Hypothermia Prevention Response Program; Ecumenical People Helping Others; FACETS; Five Talents; outreach ministries for the Diocese of Jerusalem and the Diocese of Western Tanganyika; and many others; and
Whereas, the St. Andrew’s Preschool he founded in 1985 is considered a leader in early childhood education within the community and continues its mission of enriching the social, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual lives of young children; and
Whereas, Mr. Prior exemplifies the attributes of the good shepherd and inspirational teacher, ministering to the spiritual and personal needs of his flock, visiting the sick and the dying, praying for those in need, and modeling Christian love; now therefore be it
Resolved, that the 216th Council of the Diocese of Virginia joins with the clergy, laity and staff of the Diocese of Virginia in expressing its sincerest thanks and appreciation for his ministry among us; and be it further
Resolved, that the secretary of this Annual Council sends a copy of this resolution to Mr. Prior.
Submitted by the vestry, laity and staff of St. Andrew’s, Burke.
CR-2: The Rev. Frederick Rhue Trumbore
Whereas, The Rev. Frederick Rhue Trumbore, a graduate of Lehigh University and Philadelphia Divinity School, was ordained deacon June 16, 1960, and priest December 22, 1960, by the Rt. Rev. Frederick Warnecke in the Diocese of Bethlehem; and
Whereas, during his active ministry he served churches in Pennsylvania and Florida before receiving a call to the Diocese of Virginia where he served at Christ Church, Luray as Vicar from 1984-1989 and Rector from 1989-2000; and
Whereas, since his retirement he has served as Interim Rector at St. Andrews, Mt. Jackson and Emmanuel, Woodstock; interim supply priest at Meade Memorial, White Post; and supply priest for a number of our churches in Region XIV; and
Whereas, during the past five years has been a treasured presence at Calvary, Front Royal, serving as Retired Priest in Residence; and
Whereas, Fritz and his wife, Jean, have recently made their home at the Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury in Winchester, now therefore be it
Resolved, that the 216th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia joins Region XIV in giving thanks for and honoring the Rev. Frederick R. Trumbore for his 50 years of service as a priest; and be it further
Resolved, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Rev. and Mrs. Frederick R. Trumbore.
Submitted by the Vestry and Delegation from Calvary Episcopal Church, Front Royal, VA to the Region XIV Council and adopted by the Council at their regular meeting on Tuesday, September 28, 2010.
CR-3: Ms. Peggy L. Hombs
Whereas, Ms. Peggy L. Hombs served faithfully on the bishop’s staff at the request of the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, joining the staff in 2003 as Coordinator of the Ordination Process; and
Whereas, during her time on the staff of the Diocese, Peggy helped grow and shape the discernment and ordination processes in the Diocese of Virginia and helped bring to fruition the Diocesan Discernment Retreat, the Episcopal Leadership Institute and the vocational diaconate; and
Whereas, Peggy’s colleagues on the diocesan staff hold Peggy in high esteem, and celebrate her faithfulness, wisdom, industriousness, experience and great good humor; and
Whereas, prior to joining the bishop’s staff, Peggy was a member of the Commission on Ministry for 13 years, volunteering her time and serving as chair; and
Whereas, Peggy helped oversee the implementation of the Fresh Start program in the Diocese of Virginia, one of the first dioceses to use this program to support clergy in transition; and
Whereas, on the national level, Peggy has been an active participant in General Convention meetings; and
Whereas, Peggy and her husband, Steven van Voorhees, are longtime members of Holy Comforter, Richmond, and have contributed to the life of the Church through their collective good cheer, civic-mindedness and dedication; now therefore be it
Resolved, that the 216th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia thank Peggy for her years of loyalty and remarkable service; and be it further
Resolved, that the 216th Council asks the Secretary of the Diocese to provide Peggy with a copy of this resolution.
Submitted by the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston and the Rev. Canon Susan E. Goff
Whereas, the Rev. Grant Sherk Jr. as a seminarian in 1956, was assigned by Bishop Goodwin to start St. Dunstan’s Mission in the Chesterbrook area of McLean; and
Whereas, he became the founding rector of St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church and was instrumental in getting the church and parish hall constructed in the mid-1960’s; and
Whereas, the Rev. Grant Sherk Jr., as a faithful example of Christian discipleship serving the larger community helped to establish outreach ministries such as SHARE of McLean, Alternative House and Samaritan Ministries; and
Whereas, he faithfully served the congregation of St. Dunstan’s, the Diocese of Virginia and the community of McLean for 30 years until his retirement in 1986; now therefore be it
Resolved, that the 216th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia celebrates the long, committed and dedicated life of the Rev. Grant Sherk Jr. as a Christian, an Episcopal priest and as the founding rector of St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, McLean; gives thanks for his life and works; and expresses condolences to his family; and be it further
Resolved, that the Secretary of this Annual Council send a copy of this resolution to his surviving wife, Polly Sherk.
Submitted by the Rev. Stephen Shepherd and the Vestry of St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, McLean
R-1: Caring for Creation
Resolved, that the 216th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia asks each parish of our diocese to designate an individual to serve as their stewardship partner to consult with the Stewardship of Creation Committee on environmental issues
including energy and water conservation; and, to guide their parish to work with other denominations, churches and faith traditions in their communities in jointly caring for God’s creation.
Submitted by the Stewardship of Creation Committee and the diocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission
In accepting that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world and all that dwell therein” (Ps. 24:1), and God so loved the world that he gave his only son to redeem the world, we recognize the God of redemption is the God of creation. Loving God and our neighbor encompasses all of creation for God gives breath to every living creature as we read in Psalm104:30, “When you send forth your spirit they are created and you renew the face of the ground.” Our ongoing abuse and destruction of the earth and all forms of life bears the marks of deep separation from our Creator. With the reality of climate change we now face major environmental issues including a global water shortage and drastic loss of biodiversity. The poor of the world are experiencing the greatest impact from environmental destruction. One of the Millennium Development Goals is to “Ensure environmental sustainability.” These goals have been adopted by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church and endorsed by your ecumenical partners and other faith traditions. The World Council of Churches at its Vancouver Assembly in 1983 made Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) a priority for the WCC programs and world convocation on JPIC took place in Seoul, Korea in 1990. Justice, peace and the integrity of creation are so linked that we cannot have one without the others. Caring for creation and the poor are values shared by our ecumenical partners and other faith traditions. Working together with our ecumenical partners and other faith traditions on our common concerns is a far more effective response than working separately.
- A New Climate for Theology by Sallie McFague
- Ecology at the Heart of Faith by Denis Edwards
- Claiming the Earth as Common Ground by Andrea Cohen-Kiener
- Super, Natural Christians by Sallie McFague
- Now is the Time (final document, world convocation, Seoul, Korea,1990)
R-2: Blessings of Same-Gender Unions
Resolved, that the 216th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia thanks Bishop Shannon Johnston and the diocesan team for the very fruitful "Listen ... And Be Heard" sessions in 2010, and urges our Bishop to “provide a generous pastoral response" by moving forward with guidelines for public blessings of same gender unions.
Frank Baxter, President, Region XIV; Michael Cook, Lay Delegate, St. Timothy’s, Herndon; The Rev. Geoffrey Coupland; Bill Crowder, Lay Delegate, St. Mark’s, Richmond; The Rev. Susan N. Eaves; The Rev. Dr. Stephen Edmondson; Mr. Douglas Hansen, Lay Delegate, The Falls Church, Falls Church; Margret Hjalmarson, Lay Delegate, St. Anne’s, Reston ; Terry Long, Lay Delegate, Holy Comforter, Richmond; The Rev. Justin McIntosh; The Rev. James A. Papile; Larry Pettinger, Lay Delegate, St. Anne’s, Reston; The Rev. Dr. A. Patrick L. Prest; The Rev. James Richardson; The Rev. Dr. Anne Gavin Ritchie; Robert G. Rich Jr., Lay Delegate, St. Anne’s, Reston; The Rev. Brad Rundlett; John Schwarz, Lay Delegate, St. Anne’s, Reston; Oscar W. Smith III, Lay Delegate, St. Paul’s Memorial, Charlottesville; The Rev. Jacqueline C. Thomson; The Rev. Denise A. Trogdon;
The Rev. Margaret Watson; Beth Wiggers, Lay Delegate, Resurrection, Alexandria
Endorsed by the Vestry of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Reston; the Vestry of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Richmond;
The Vestry of Church of the Holy Comforter, Richmond
During fall 2010, the Diocese of Virginia organized a series of Listening Sessions (“Listen … And Be Heard”), led by Bishop Shannon Johnston, to “provide a period of sharing and listening on the subject of faithful sexuality and the blessing of same-gender unions.” (Va. Episcopalian, Sept. 2010). These sessions were very well attended, well-designed, allowed for an open and fruitful sharing on these issues, and proved a blessing for those who participated in them.
In Resolution C056, the 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church  stated that bishops “may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church.” In light of comments made by members of this Diocese during the Listening Process, this Resolution respectfully urges our bishop to provide such a pastoral response by issuing guidelines for the blessing of same-gender unions in this Diocese.
Text of C056:
Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 76th General Convention acknowledge the changing circumstances in the United States and in other nations, as legislation authorizing or forbidding marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian persons is passed in various civil jurisdictions that call forth a renewed pastoral response from this Church, and for an open process for the consideration of theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same gender relationships; and be it further
Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, collect and develop theological and liturgical resources, and report to the 77th General Convention; and be it further
Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, devise an open process for the conduct of its work inviting participation from provinces, dioceses, congregations, and individuals who are engaged in such theological work, and inviting theological reflection from throughout the Anglican Communion; and be it further
Resolved, That bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church; and be it further
Resolved, That this Convention honor the theological diversity of this Church in regard to matters of human sexuality; and be it further
Resolved, That the members of this Church be encouraged to engage in this effort.
R-3: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Resolved, that the 216th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia heartily recommend that individuals, parishes, and local-community ministry groups discover and implement ways of participating in the 2011 “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity,” with its theme: “One in the Apostles’ Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking of Bread and Prayer,” based upon Acts 2:42–47.
Submitted by the Diocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission
Co-Chairs: The Rev. Christopher Agnew and the Rev. Diane Carroll
The Church Unity Octave, forerunner of the “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity,” was first observed at the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute in January, 1908. Today, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity invites the whole Christian community throughout the world to pray in communion with the prayer of Jesus “that they all may be one” (John 17:21). Since 1908, great strides have been made between and among the various churches that comprise the body of Christ. Yet, the work of reclaiming the unity of Christ’s followers that is reflected in Acts 2:42-47 is far from accomplished.
In a day and age when our claim is that we are far more global in so many things, in many other ways the fences of our lives have grown more tightly confined and constrained. While many denominations are entering into various models of sharing resources and seeking to be in “full communion” one with another, it is very possible to sit about conference tables speaking of “unity,” while at the same time keeping one another at arm’s length, parochially speaking, thereby maintaining one’s own tightly confined and narrow views of the Christian faith and life. Yet, we learn more about ourselves when we engage with others. Built on the idea that it is only in relationship, that is, beyond a “meeting of the minds,” that unity is to be found, the “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” provides a living, breathing arena where relations between and among the various and very different faith communities may catch a glimpse of Christ’s prayer, “… that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21).
Resolved, that this 216th Annual Council affirms our baptismal covenant to proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ; that we are to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves; and that we shall strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being; and be it further
Resolved, that this 216th Annual Council joins with those proclaiming the extravagant love of Christ to all persons who call for an immediate end to the epidemic of bullying of those perceived as being “different;” by virtue of economic, ethnic, physical challenged, racial, religious status, sexual orientation or gender identity; whose precious lives are being squandered by failing to affirm the dignity and worth of all persons as children of God or offering support to the victims of bullying (both verbal and physical); and be it further
Resolved, that this 216th Annual Council requests the Rt. Rev. Shannon Sherwood Johnston and the Standing Committee to direct the appropriate committee(s) or task group to collect, assemble and offer resources to support local parishes and individuals affected by the ongoing scourge of bullying.
Submitted by Calvary, Front Royal
Endorsed by Region XIV
In September 2010 alone, at least six gay youth – all of whom endured a relentless stream of taunts by their classmates – ended their own lives. Those bullied to death include: Justin Aaberg, openly gay and just 15, who committed suicide after being bullied in school; Billy Lucas, also 15, wasn’t out, but was mercilessly bullied in school, who hanged himself; Asher Brown, 13, told his parents he was gay the morning he shot himself in the head, was also bullied; and Seth Walsh, also just 13, hanged himself after suffering years of bullying. Another recent death was a Johnson and Wales student, Raymond Chase, 19. A sophomore reported as openly gay, Chase apparently hanged himself in his dorm room. According to press reports, the circumstances surrounding his death are not yet fully known. The most well known suicide is Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old college student at Rutgers University, who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after being ridiculed on the Internet for his sexuality.
Sexual orientation aside, all youth are at risk: According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 24. That means that more than 5,000 U.S. teens and young adults take their own lives every year. Among university students, the statistics are even more sobering: the Center for Disease Control identifies suicide as the second leading cause of death on college campuses.
- www.findyouthinfo.gov (www.findyouthinfo.gov/youthtopics.shtml)
- Beyond Our Differences (available from PBS Home Video, www.shopPBS.org)
- Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case That Made History (available from Southern Poverty Law Center, www.teachingtolerance.org)
- The Chosen (available from Netflix and Amazon, www.amazon.com)
- Journey to a Hate-Free Millennium: Stories of Compassion and Hope (available from New Light Media, www.newlightmedia.org)
- The Ugly Duckling (available from Netflix and Amazon, www.amazon.com)
- South Pacific (available from Netflix and Amazon, www.amazon.com)
- Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (available from Netflix and Amazon, www.Amazon.com)
- “Seeing the Face of God in Each Other” (Training Manual used by the Committee on Race Relations)
- The Laramie Project
Whereas, our Presiding Bishop has called for a season of prayer for peace in Sudan,
http://www.episcopalchurch.org/Sudan/pb_letter_en.html, in accordance with Resolution D-007 of the 76th General Convention; and
Whereas, Pursuant to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005, southern Sudan is voting in January 2011 on whether to become an independent country; and
Whereas, there are four million Episcopalians in Sudan, members of the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS); and
Whereas, our ECS church partners report that there is grave danger of a return to war in connection with the vote and its aftermath in 2011; and
Whereas, over two million people perished in the prior civil war in southern Sudan, over five million people were displaced and the Church and Christians were severely persecuted; and
Whereas, the Diocese of Virginia and many of our parishes, clergy and lay people have entered into strong partnerships with dioceses, parishes, bible translation projects, schools, clergy and people in Sudan to advance the Gospel; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, by the 216th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia, that our bishops, parishes, missions, clergy and people are:
- Urged to make prayer for peace in Sudan and for the protection of the church there a regular part of public liturgies and private devotions in 2011.
- Urged to continue their ongoing work with our Sudanese partners in the several dioceses, schools and bible translation projects with which Virginia churches are currently engaged.
- Urged to pray about and consider expanding such work and entering into additional mission partnerships with colleagues in the Episcopal Church of Sudan.
- Asked to contact their elected representatives to make clear that the U.S. government’s continued strong diplomatic efforts and generous aid assistance are critical to preventing the recurrence of a ghastly genocidal war threatening the people of Sudan in general and our mission partners in particular;
And that the Secretary of the Diocese is asked to convey this resolution to our ECS partners and to post appropriate links to prayer and education resources on the Diocesan Web site.
Submitted by Russell V. Randle, Lay Delegate, Christ Church, Alexandria
R-6: Response to Negative Political Advertising
Resolved, that this 216th Annual Council notes with regret and concern the decline of personal civility among candidates in the national political process and urges that voters withhold support from any candidates whose campaign advertising intentionally misleads, needlessly impugns the integrity or motives of opponents, or appeals to religious, racial, or other bigotry: and be it further
Resolved, that this 216th Annual Council prays for civil moderation in future choices of our elected political leaders and honor and respect for those willing to serve in public office.
During the 2010 federal election campaigns, negative advertising reached a new low in demonizing opponents and degrading the elections process. The Wesleyan University Media Project—a provider of real-time tracking and analysis of all political television advertising--reported that half of all political ads were attack ads, a marked increase in negativity as the election season heated up. The House and Senate advertising was the most negative in the past decade, according to the Media Project. Both political parties increased their rate of attacks over previous levels.
Negative advertising tended to neglect or push to the background genuine debate on the merits of public policy proposals to address the serious economic issues such as unemployment, currently facing the country. Voters were not encouraged to vote as their civic duty but out of fear of the political opposition.
We cannot prevent negative allegations from arising in the political arena—it is a powerful political tool--but the Church can advocate that candidates be responsible for how well their campaigns, in the words of our baptismal covenant, “strive to respect the dignity of every human being.”
Submitted by the Very Rev. Penny Bridges; the Rev. Ben Campbell; the Very Rev. Catherine Campbell; Mr. Jack Schick, Lay Delegate, St. Peter’s, Arlington; Mr. Dick Shirey, Lay Delegate, St. James the Less, Ashland
Endorsed by Region III Council
R-7: A Resolution to Enhance the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia's Relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Our Time and Place
Resolved, that the Bishops of the Virginia Synod and the Metropolitan Washington Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (E.L.C.A.) be invited to name a member of their respective synods to each commission of the Diocese of Virginia and to the following committees:
- Committee on Aging
- Committee on Campus Ministries
- Committee on Parish Youth Ministries
- Committee on Church Planting
- Committee on Congregational Missions
- Committee on Stewardship
- Committee on Congregational Development
- Committee on Liturgy and Church Music
- Committee on World Mission
- Committee on South African Partnership
- Committee on Human Need
- Committee on Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations
- Committee on the Stewardship of Creation
- Committee on Race Relations
- Committee on Mental Health
- Committee on Parish Nursing
Submitted by the Diocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Committee
Co-Chairs, The Rev. Christopher Agnew and the Rev. Diane Carroll
In the spirit of the January 2011 10th Anniversary Celebration of “Called to Common Mission,” which established Full Communion between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church, and to further the visible expression that our two parts of the Body of Christ are, in deed and in fact, “called to common mission,” the inclusion of representatives from each body in the on-going life of the other bears true witness that we are called to become "one," challenged to become "one" and prayed for by our Lord to become "one." Including one another in our common life together—in those grand areas of Christian celebration as well as in those areas that reflect quite mundane and every-day mission and ministry—provides opportunity to offer a more complete witness to the world and gives evidence that we take seriously our faithful and obedient response to the call of our Lord Jesus Christ to become truly "one.”
R-8: Continued Support for our Bishop
Resolved, that the 216th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia affirms our continued support for the Bishop in his leadership to preserve Episcopal properties for the mission of the Episcopal Church by all available means, as requested by the Executive Board in 2006.
Submitted by The Rev. Lucia Lloyd, St. Stephen’s, Heathsville; The Rev. Michael Pipkin, The Falls Church, Falls Church; The Rev. Cathy Tibbetts, The Falls Church, Falls Church; The Rev. Kate Chipps, St. Margaret’s, Woodbridge; The Rev. Donna Foughty, Epiphany, Herndon; Mr. Don Metheny, President, Standing Committee; Mrs. Cindi Bartol, Standing Committee;
Mrs. Myfanwy Hall, Standing Committee; Mr. Roger Inger, Standing Committee; The Rev. Michael Cadaret; The Rev. Geoffrey Coupland; Mr. Dick Eager; The Rev. Lindon Eaves; The Rev. Bob Hall; Mrs. Sandy Kirkpatrick; The Rev. Daniel Robayo; The Very Rev. Hilary Smith; The Rev. Lauren Stanley; The Rev. Margaret Ann Faeth, Immanuel Church on the Hill, Alexandria; The Rev. Joie Clee Weiher, St. Luke's, Remington; The Rev. Leslie Hague, St. Michael's, Arlington; The Rev. Daniel Robayo,
Emmanuel, Harrisonburg; The Rev. Jennifer McKenzie, Church of the Good Shepherd, Burke; Mr. Paul Brockman, Standing
Committee; The Rev. R. Ellen White, St. Anne's, Scottville; The Rev. David May, Grace Church, Kilmarnock; The Rev. Scott Dillard, Wicomico Church
We are deeply grieved that those who have severed their ties to the Episcopal Church have continued to claim that our property now ought to belong to them, and that they have made this litigation necessary. Bishop Lee and Bishop Johnston have provided steady leadership, and we believe it is important that they have full latitude to determine which options are wisest in providing for the worship and ministry of Episcopalians in these locations for generations to come.
R-9: Stewardship and Property Litigation
Resolved, that the 216th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia urges the Diocese to initiate negotiations toward an amicable resolution of differences over property ownership with the congregations that have departed from the Diocese; and be it further
Resolved, that the 216th Annual Council, in the spirit of reconciliation and sound financial stewardship, petitions the Bishop, the Standing Committee and the Executive Board to engage in the negotiating process so that a bilaterally beneficial outcome might be achieved and an increasingly prolonged and mutually destructive process of civil litigation be avoided.
Submitted by the Rev. Charles D. Alley, Rector, St. Matthew’s, Richmond; the Rev. James H. Cirillo, Rector, Grace Church, Casanova; the Rev. Geoff Gwynne, Vicar, Christ the King, Harrisonburg; Mr. Douglas LeBlanc, Lay Delegate, St. Matthew’s, Richmond; The Rev. Cuthbert H. Mandell, Rector, Aquia Church, Stafford; The Rev. C. Robert Merola, Rector, St. Matthew’s, Sterling; The Rev. John Thomas Sheehan, Rector, The Church of Our Redeemer, Aldie; The Rev. Mario Gonzalez del Solar, Assistant Rector, St. Matthew’s, Richmond
During the past year, the Virginia Supreme Court has sent the case back to the Circuit Court for retrial, virtually sending the multimillion dollar legal proceedings back to the starting line. While litigating this matter has not been a positive witness to the Kingdom of God, nor has it enhanced the evangelism and witness of the Church, the matter of financial stewardship must also be addressed. In view of the present financial environment in the Diocese and the possible need to sell properties in order to maintain the law suits, as well as the unlikely ability of our continuing Episcopal congregations in these locations to immediately assume the financial burden of such properties, it would seem prudent for all parties to pursue an amicable settlement rather than litigate outstanding property claims.
Whereas, the current voluntary funding mechanism of the Diocese is largely ignored by vestries and has not provided adequate financial support for vital common work of our Diocese, including support of rural and smaller congregations, common mission work, Christian stewardship and planting new churches, as well as the canonical functions of the episcopate and diocesan staff; and
Whereas, the current voluntary funding mechanism of the Diocese was originally adopted in 1957 and is based on percentages of parish revenue; and
Whereas, the mandatory apportionment formulas used in many other dioceses do not appear well suited to Virginia, nor likely of adoption here; and
Whereas, comparisons of average Sunday attendance statistics with reported active membership over the years suggest that our parishes and missions do not use consistent methods in keeping data about their active membership, and that many of these reported data are outdated and inaccurate; and
Whereas, lay representation at Council is based on data about active membership; and
Whereas, both parish and diocesan finance rest predominantly on teaching and practicing strong individual Christian stewardship; now therefore be it
Resolved, by the 216th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia, that the bishop is requested to appoint a study group to examine whether a system of voluntary diocesan funding based on the number of reported members rather than parish revenue would result in the following improvements:
- More accurate and timely reporting of active membership figures and more equitable apportionment of lay representation at Council;
- More equitable division among our people of the cost of supporting the episcopate and common diocesan life;
- Greater incentive to teach Christian stewardship at the parish level and practice it effectively at the individual level;
- Greater understanding among our people of our collective work as a Diocese; and
- Improved financial support of our mission and ministry as a diocese.
If such a study group is formed and the Bishop concludes from its report that a system of voluntary diocesan funding based on reported membership would improve these results over the current approach based on percentages of parish income, and over mandatory systems used in other dioceses, the Bishop is requested to present a proposed canonical change to the 217th Annual Council to provide a consistent method to determine active membership and to determine appropriate amounts for each parish’s voluntary funding of the Diocese.
Submitted by Mr. Russell V. Randle, Lay Delegate, Christ Church, Alexandria
R-11: Parish Health Ministries
Be it Resolved, that the 216th Annual Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia urges the congregations of the Diocese, which have not already done so, to explore and implement health ministry as an organizing concept or vital component of outreach and pastoral care of the congregation by 2012, and be it further
Resolved, that the Annual Council encourages congregations to raise awareness of health ministries and promote the understanding that health includes body, mind and spirit.
Health ministries play a unique and critical role in the overall health of the clergy, staff and congregation.Health ministries are different from congregation to congregation, reflecting the unique needs, interests and resources of each faith community.
The Diocese of Virginia supports those seeking to implement and those already engaged in health ministry and parish nursing, and the diocesan liaison for Province III provides resources to local congregations.The 76th General Convention Resolution A077,“Episcopal Health Ministries,” urges congregations of the Episcopal Church to explore and implement and raise awareness of health ministries as part of outreach and pastoral care of the congregation.
Submitted by the Rev. Webster Gibson on behalf of the Parish Nurse Committee
BR-1: Diocesan Financial Support for Campus Ministry
Resolved, that the 216th Council of the Diocese of Virginia fully supports Bishop Shannon Johnston’s top priority of supporting young adult formation especially on college and university campuses, as outlined in his pastoral address at the 215th Council of the Diocese of Virginia; and be it further
Resolved, that this Council requests that the diocesan budget for campus ministry be doubled from $135,000 to $270,000 in the 2011 budget year; and be it further
Resolved, that the additional funds for campus ministry would come from “Support of Our Greater Church Community” (Category A in the proposed 2011 budget); and be it further
Resolved, that the appropriate diocesan authorities determine how to allocate this additional campus ministry funding to take advantage of our many and abundant opportunities for young adult formation on our college and university campuses in our diocese.
Submitted by the Rev. James Richardson, Rector, St. Paul’s Memorial Church and Chaplain at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville; The Rev. Laura Minnich Lockey, Campus Missioner, Harrisonburg
Endorsed by the Vestry of St. Paul’s Memorial Church, Charlottesville
In his pastoral address last year, Bishop Shannon Johnston declared that his top priority for ministry is youth and young adult formation in our diocese. He mentioned that we have generously supported Shrine Mont and other youth programs, but then noted: “As well as we do for our youth, we do so relatively little (and dare I say “poorly?”) for young adults. With some notable exceptions, a great many of our churches are almost entirely lacking in ‘twenty- somethings.’ I believe that this is a critical shortcoming, not just for ministry opportunities today but also in leadership development for tomorrow in each and every one of our congregations.”
Bishop Johnston also noted in his address that youth and young adult formation was the top priority listed during a series of listening meetings in the diocese a year ago.
Yet our diocesan budget does not come close to reflecting this as our top priority for ministry. In the diocesan budget of 2010, totaling $4.885 million, barely 2.7 percent was devoted to developing young adult membership and leadership through campus ministry.
And, in fact, the proposed diocesan budget for 2011 would reduce those funds for campus ministry by $4,272.
Our greatest opportunity for young adult formation and developing young adult leadership is on our college and university campuses. We have many such opportunities in our diocese by being richly blessed with numerous leading institutions of higher education.
The 2010 budget for campus ministry in our diocese was $135,000, and was allocated thusly:
James Madison University $90,100
University of Virginia $18,750
Virginia Commonwealth University $12,650
Mary Washington, Canterbury $10,000
NOVA College Ministries (George Mason University) $3,000
Mary Washington, CCC $500
The diocesan budget supports only one full-time campus chaplain, in Harrisonburg serving students at James Madison University, Bridgewater College and Eastern Mennonite University. Our other existing campus ministries are badly under-funded by the Diocese, and are often subsidized by local congregations (which are not credited for such subsidies on their diocesan assessment). No diocesan financial support is given for ministry at the University of Richmond, Randolph Macon University and several other colleges and universities in our diocese. Ministry at the University of Richmond has been supported off-and-on entirely by a single parish, St. Stephen’s, Richmond.
The Episcopal Church benefits enormously from campus ministries because the students we reach go forth from their campuses to join and become leaders in congregations and missions all over the country and the world. The support of campus ministries is crucial for creating a growing and vibrant Church everywhere. Yet our proposed diocesan budget represents going backwards, not forward.
If our diocese seriously believes that we need young adults in our congregations then we need to significantly increase our funding for campus ministry. This resolution calls for a doubling of the total budget for campus ministry, with the appropriate diocesan authorities determining how it should be allocated.
We have also indicated where we believe these funds can be found in the diocesan budget by designating Category A, which has $847,874 designated for “Support of Our Greater Church Community” in the proposed 2011 budget. We have indicated transferring funds from Category A to campus ministry, complying with Rule 5D of the Council for submission of resolutions. But the authors of this resolution are open to better suggestions.