For the resolutions as adopted, click here.
- CR-1: The Rev. Andrew T.P. Merrow
- CR-2: The Rev. Charles Raymond Sydnor
- CR-3: 160th Anniversary of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Centreville, Virginia
- CR-4: The Rev. Tinh Trang Huynh
- R-1S: Accepting Our Duty of Care for God's Creation
- R-2: Name of Council to Convention
- R-3S: Boy Scouts and LGBT Discrimination
- R-4: Armenian Genocide
Whereas, the Rev. Andrew T.P. Merrow is a lifelong Episcopalian nurtured and formed by loving parents, Helen and the Rev. Edward L. Merrow, who served as Rector of Grace Church, Alexandria from 1949 until 1974; and
Whereas, after graduation from the University of Vermont, Andrew answered God’s call to the ministry, graduating from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1981 and ordained to the Priesthood on March 12, 1982; and
Whereas, after serving four years as Assistant and Associate to the Rector at Christ Church, Alexandria, Andrew again heeded God’s call, becoming Rector at St. Mary’s Arlington on March 5, 1985; and
Whereas, under Andrew’s strong and imaginative leadership the ensuing three decades have seen St. Mary’s Arlington transform itself from a struggling parish to one that is today vibrant, strong and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ through various programs and ministries; and
Whereas, Andrew’s conviction that effective Christian ministry must break down barriers and reach beyond church walls has led to an Outreach Program that is driven by St. Mary’s commitment that 25 percent off the top of the parish’s annual budget is designated to support outreach and the Diocese; and
Whereas, since his first Sunday at St. Mary’s Arlington Andrew has stressed that worship forms the heart of our identity as a Christian community and that by celebrating the richness of our Anglican tradition we strive to be inclusive of all persons as we share the Eucharist; and
Whereas, over the past three decades through both his teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary and his ministry at St. Mary’s Arlington Andrew has mentored numerous seminarians, assistant and associate clergy along with his deep commitment to the Christian formation of the laity; and
Whereas, Andrew has served the Diocese of Virginia in a variety of important capacities such as serving on the Standing Committee, the Executive Board, Dean of Region III, Trustee of the Diocesan Missionary Society, chairing the Diocesan Reconciliation Commission, and chairing the Resolutions Committee of Annual Council; and,
Whereas, Shrine Mont holds a special place in Andrew’s heart as evidenced by the 29 consecutive years he has led St. Mary’s Arlington to this “place apart” for parish weekend retreats and furthermore, today he serves as co-chair of the Shrine Mont Shout It From The Mountain Capital Campaign; and
Whereas, Andrew’s ministry has and continues to be one of compassion through a deeply rooted faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and one that impacts St. Mary’s Arlington and the larger church and community in profound ways; now therefore be it
Resolved, that this 220th Council of the Diocese of Virginia join the people of St. Mary’s Arlington in its yearlong celebration of and thanksgiving for the ministry and countless good works of Andrew T.P. Merrow; and be it further
Resolved, that this 220th Council of the Diocese of Virginia extends its sincere best wishes to the Rev. Andrew T. P. Merrow, and his wife Cameron, as they continue to serve God and the ever-growing St. Mary’s Arlington community.
Whereas, the Rev. Charles Raymond Sydnor on June 21, 2014, wrote the chairs of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee, the chair of the Stewardship of Creation Committee, and the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston resigning his membership on these two committees; and
Whereas, Bishop Johnston responded, ““Your leadership and enthusiasm for the work of the Stewardship of Creation Committee and the Ecumenical and Interfaith Committee have been vital to these ministries. I have greatly admired the way you have brought your passion and poise to these areas of our common life. Thank you for serving the diocese so faithfully and so well”; and
Whereas, the Rev. Charles Sydnor received a Masters of Divinity from the Virginia Theological Seminary in 1970 and was ordained deacon on June 20, 1970, and priest on May 15, 1971; and
Whereas, the Rev. Charles Sydnor served as Vicar of the Episcopal Mission of Sterling, Virginia, and sent Bishops Gibson and Hall in May 1973 a request for authorization for an exchange of pulpits every other week between the Rev. Glenn Nelson, Pastor, the Community Lutheran Church of Sterling (ALC), and the Rev. Charles R. Sydnor, Vicar, the Episcopal Mission of Sterling, stating: “Our two congregations presently share the same meeting space, with the Episcopal service at 10:00 A.M and the Lutheran service immediately following in the same chairs and using the same altar set up by us. Between services we share coffee and the congregations mingle and talk”; and
Whereas, the Rev. Charles Sydnor was called as assistant rector of St. George’s Church, Fredericksburg, and Christ Church, Spotsylvania, on November 1, 1973, and as Rector of St. George’s in 1976; and
Whereas, the Rev. Charles Sydnor has served on many boards including the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army; the Board of the Fredericksburg Area Community Relations Organization, which seeks justice and equality for all; and Building Bridges, which promotes table fellowship among races. Additionally, he was a founding Board member for the Moss Free Clinic and a member and past President of the Fredericksburg Area Ministerial Association; and
Whereas, under the leadership of the Rev. Charles Sydnor, Christ Lutheran Church and St. George’s Episcopal Church entered into a covenantal relationship on October 6, 1996; and
Whereas, the Rev. Charles Sydnor retired from St. George’s on May 1, 2003, and in November 2009 St. George’s dedicated its family room the “Charles Sydnor Hall”; and
Whereas, the Rev. Charles Sydnor served as Dean of Region I, as a member of the Executive Board from Region I, and as a member of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia, 1980-1983; and
Whereas, Bishop Lee appointed the Rev. Charles Sydnor a member of the Diocesan Ecumenical Committee in 1990 and co-chair with Mrs. Phebe Hoff of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Commission in 1993; and
Whereas, the Rev. Charles Sydnor succeeded the Rt. Rev. Robert P. Atkinson as Ecumenical Officer of the Diocese of Virginia on April 15, 1993, and has served as Ecumenical Coordinator of Province III of the Episcopal Church and as a member of the Executive Board of the Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Officers for two terms; and
Whereas, the Rev. Charles Sydnor has exercise leadership and vision on behalf of the Virginia Council of Churches, the Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and the Lutheran-Anglican-Roman-Catholic-United Methodist Covenant; and
Whereas, the Rev. Charles Sydnor was the recipient of the 2005 Virginia Council of Churches Faith in Action Award; and
Whereas, the Free Lance-Star did state in its editorial of January 16, 2003: “With Father Sydnor at its helm, St. George’s has done good for itself by doing good to others. Its retiring rector, who comes from a long line of Sunday-school teachers, has presented a 30-year lesson profitable to every church, and to every person, who will listen”; now therefore be it
Resolved, that this 220th Annual Council associates itself with the sentiments express by the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston in his response to the resignation of the Rev. Charles Raymond Sydnor from the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee and the Stewardship of Creation Committee; and be it further
Resolved ,that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Rev. Charles Sydnor and be printed in the Journal of the 220th Council.
Whereas, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 5649 Mount Gilead Road, Centreville, Virginia, was consecrated by Bishop John Johns in 1854 as the first Anglican church to serve the Newgate Parish in western Fairfax County, Virginia, to affirm our baptismal covenant by proclaiming through word and example the Good News of God in Jesus Christ both in Centreville and the surrounding communities and:
Whereas, for 160 years St. John’s, Centreville, has sought to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving neighbors as itself; and has striven for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being; and
Whereas, we as compassionate Christians who welcome all who wish to worship God, offer healing, nurture hope, and provide hospitality by continuing Christ’s ministry of reconciliation; having adopted the Vision of “Offering Healing, Hope and Hospitality,” St. John’s, Centreville, strives to: share Jesus Christ’s reconciling Gospel through worship and outreach; nourish those in need through its feeding programs: engage in ecumenical involvement locally; sustain both domestic and international missions; practice sustainability throughout its physical plant; open its facilities to numerous community service organizations; and embrace the diversity of all persons; now therefore be it
Resolved, that this 220th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia joins with the clergy, laity and staff of the Diocese of Virginia, of Region VII, and the entire Centreville and Fairfax County communities in congratulating and celebrating this milestone of achievement by the vestry and congregation of St John’s Episcopal Church, Centreville.
Background: St. John’s Episcopal Church, Centreville, was built in 1850 and consecrated in 1854 to meet the spiritual needs of the Newgate community in western Fairfax County, Virginia, and
a) endeavors to affirm the reconciling Gospel of Jesus Christ in both word and deed by providing a ministry of worship and fellowship for our parish family, neighbors and visitors;
b) nourishes those in need by supplying life essential support through the Western Fairfax Christian Ministry with volunteers and food in-gatherings like Thanksgiving and Christmas Food Baskets to serve and share those who have little or none; for providing quality of life enhancements for children through Our Neighbor’s Child Gift Tree and annual school backpack initiatives;
c) for practicing a truly ecumenical spirit , providing a place to worship not only for Episcopalians, but for the Fairfax Chinese Christian Church, the Wellspring United Church of Christ; the St. Anthony of Padua American National Catholic Church, a Korean Baptist congregation, a Korean Presbyterian congregation and a Spanish Seventh Day Adventist congregation.
d) serves as a center of Christian-based learning by holding an ecumenical Sunday School with two of our ministry partners and providing educational facilities for the Ad Fontes Academy’s elementary grades;
e) sustains both domestic and international missions, to include the Heifer Project, Episcopal Relief and Development projects; and
f) offering facilities to numerous outside service and wellness organizations’ use, including Alcoholics Anonymous; Alcanzando Suenos Institute (offering a Spanish GED program); and a Nepalese Women's Group.
Be it resolved that the Council would be advised to recognize and congratulate St. John’s, Centreville, for its past and ongoing accomplishments while celebrating its most recent milestone.
Whereas, the Rev. Tinh Trang Huynh faithfully served the Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia through his ministry at Saint Patrick's Episcopal Church in Falls Church, Virginia and through his work on various commissions and committees of Region VIII, the Diocese, and the national Church; and
Whereas, Mr. Huynh has been a devoted and faithful pastor, teacher, and friend to the people of Saint Patrick's, offering understanding, kindness, open-mindedness, and welcome for more than twenty years; and
Whereas, Mr. Huynh servedas a missionary from Vietnam, reminding us through love and servant leadership what it means to be a follower of Christ; and who, like many of his countrymen who sought refuge and asylum in America, gave back to our society far more than he received; and
Whereas, Mr. Huynh brought together people of different cultures and languages through his commitment to bilingual worship, bridging that which divided people from each other and making the congregation truly a nurturing and caring church family; and
Whereas, Mr. Huynh was a shining example of Christian love, visiting the sick and the dying, praying for those in need, and providing comfort and counsel; and
Whereas, Mr. Huynh passionately broke barriers to instill unity among people from many backgrounds and cultures, and integrated a diverse congregation at Saint Patrick's into one vibrant, multicultural ministry; and
Whereas, Mr. Huynh actively led and supported the people of Saint Patrick's in ministry to the hungry, the homeless, the economically disadvantaged, the mentally ill, and the incarcerated; and
Whereas, Mr. Huynh was a faithful and beloved colleague to other clergy, and a non-anxious presence for the sake of all; and
Whereas, Mr. Huynh was a preferred neighbor at clergy conferences, appreciated for his strong and joyous singing; and
Whereas, Mr. Huynh mentored numerous students and seminarians from the Virginia Theological Seminary; and
Whereas, Mr. Huynh served the National Church as Convener of the Southeast Asian Convocation of the Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry; and
Whereas, Mr. Huynh translated a large portion of The Book of Common Prayer into Vietnamese and encouraged the inclusion of the Vietnamese language in liturgy and in Christian formation, a tradition that continues to the present; and
Whereas, Mr. Huynh led Saint Patrick's, a haven for many immigrant families in the 1990's and 2000's, from long-term mission status to full-fledged parish status in 2012; and
Whereas, Mr. Huynh retired from the active ministry in June 2014; and
Whereas, the people of Saint Patrick's and the Diocese of Virginia have been richly blessed by his many gifts in the service of our Lord; now therefore be it
Resolved, that the 220th Annual Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia gives glory to God for his faithful witness, congratulates him on his retirement, and wishes Mr. Huynh and his wife, Kim-Anh, God's blessings in their retirement; and be it further
Resolved, that the secretary of this Annual Council sends a copy of this resolution to the Rev. Tinh Trang Huynh.
Whereas, we are beings endowed by God with insight and reasoning and, therefore, are obligated to a greater level of accountability; and
Whereas, scientific research of integrity is in overwhelming agreement that human activity, specifically emissions of greenhouse gasses associated with burning of fossil fuels, is causing global average temperatures to increase to levels that are now causing significant harm to forests, cropland, the oceans and their shorelines with impacts including extreme weather, wildfires, famines, disease, and species extinctions, impacts that are harmful to humanity generally and particularly to the most vulnerable in our Diocese and globally; and
Whereas, recent research has concluded that an average global temperature increase of 2.7 degrees, (1.5˚ C.) before 2050 is nearly inevitable; and
Whereas, there is a large body of research concluding that a rise in average global temperature beyond 3.6 (2˚ C.) degrees will cause the world to pass a tipping point at which the world will be locked into a near-term future of drought, food and water shortages, melting ice sheets, shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels and widespread flooding; and
Whereas, the window of opportunity to prevent an average global temperature increase greater than 3.6˚ (2˚ C.) is narrow and closing; and
Whereas, production of electrical power by burning fossil and other fuels to power steam generators contributes to further concentrations of greenhouse gasses and, in addition, threatens water supply and water quality, particularly in areas where water supply is at risk, including Virginia’s Coastal Plain; and
Whereas, a projected global doubling of the world’s middle class by 2030, from 3 billion to 6.00 billion, will impose unsustainable demands on resources of all kinds, absent changes in lifestyle and technologies for energy production; and
Whereas, economically feasible and technologically viable means are available as alternatives to continued reliance on fossil fuels that can enable charting of a sustainable future course consistent with alleviation of poverty and hunger in poor nations and continued enjoyment of the benefits of a modern economy in the developed world; and
Whereas, continuation on humanity’s present course is a path that will lead to incalculable suffering and harm to creation; and
Whereas, our accountability to God’s creation must encompass whether the whole of creation continues to flourish; now therefore be it
Resolved, that this Council, accepting the call to act as Christian stewards of creation, urge churches in this Diocese and their members to:
(i) educate themselves about the issues of global warming, sea level rise and the environmental effects of energy production and use, as well as the risks and benefits of steps to address (or failing to address) these issues;
(ii) take reasonable steps to reduce their energy use and to mitigate the adverse effects of such usage;
(iii) celebrate creation in prayer and liturgy;
(iv) advocate with relevant decision makers, both in government and in business, for changes to reduce the adverse environmental effects of energy production and use, particularly adverse effects which disproportionately affect the poor, both in this country and in foreign countries.
Resolved, that, in the spirit of reconciliation, the name of the annual meeting of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Virginia be changed from "Council" to "Convention."
The Rev. J. David Niemeyer
The Rev. Connie Clark
The Rev. Barbara Marques
The Rev. Kim Coleman
The Rev. Charles Sydnor
The Rev. Daniel Robayo
The Rev. Alonzo Pruitt
The Committee on Race and Reconciliation, Diocese of Virginia
The R2-a Task Force, Diocese of Virginia
Resolution R-2a of the 2014 Annual Council called for a task force to be appointed and charged with an examination of whether to change the name of the Diocese's annual meeting from “Council” to “Convention.” That report, as required by R-2a, is available here.
Julia Randle, diocesan registrar and historiographer, has compiled a Report on the Historical Development of the Name of Diocesan Annual Meetings. Please click here to access this historical background information (amended/updated version)
Whereas, the 219th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia, after thorough consideration and full debate, adopted R6a, to respond to the issues of discrimination against LGBT persons in connection with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), now therefore be it
Resolved, the 220th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia, seeking fidelity to our baptismal covenant to respect the dignity of every human being, urges vestries and parishioners to encourage parish BSA units to avoid discrimination against any qualified LGBT applicants for leadership positions, and be it further
Resolved, in order to respond further to concerns about such discrimination against otherwise qualified LGBT individuals who desire to be volunteer leaders in BSA units sponsored by Episcopal Churches, that the senior official, ordained or lay, at each parish is requested to report to Executive Board by May 1, 2015, whether their congregations sponsor units in the BSA, and if so, the unit number and council, year when chartered, and the approximate number of members and adult leaders.
Whereas, 2015 marks the centennial of the commencement of the Armenian Genocide, in which more than 1.5 million Armenians were exterminated by the Ottoman Turkish government; and
Whereas, this centrally planned and systematically executed crime against an ethnic minority of Christian living on the ancestral homeland is regarded as the first genocide of the 20th century and the precursor to the Holocaust; and
Whereas, those who attempted to rescue the Armenians and provide humanitarian aid included Western missionaries of various Christian denomination, U.S. relief organization, and brave individuals such as U.S. ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr.; and
Whereas, persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in several parts of the world today underscores the Armenian Genocide’s historical significance; and
Whereas we pray in the Solemn Collects of Good Friday,
“For those who are enemies of the cross of Christ and persecutors of his disciples
For those who in the name of Christ have persecuted others”;
Whereas, the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Central Virginia and the people of Saint James Armenian Church, Richmond represent an ancient Christian tradition, remain devoted brother and sister in Christ and strive to inform Virginians of all faiths about the Armenian Genocide; and
Whereas the Virginia Council of Churches has adopted a parallel resolution to this; now therefore be it
Resolved, that the Diocese of Virginia recognized the centennial of the Armenian Genocide; officially and expressly supports the efforts of the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Central Virginia and the people of Saint James Armenian Church, Richmond and urges all churches of the diocese on Sunday April 19, 2015, to pray for the victims of the Armenian Genocide and for all those, past and present, who have fallen victim to violent acts based on hatred of a people, community or state because of gender, religion, race, nationality or ethnic identity.
Submitted by the Rev. Christopher M. Agnew, Ecumenical Officer of the Diocese of Virginia