The Executive Board of the Diocese met today via Zoom for a regularly scheduled meeting.
The meeting began with a report from the Trustees of the Funds (TOTF), the related organization that manages the investment portfolios of the Diocese and many churches and organizations. This month TOTF adopted a Mission-Aligned Investment Policy which includes a commitment to having at least 10% of their assets invested in explicit Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) funds. The Trustees will host a meeting open to the public on September 8. Details on that upcoming meeting will be posted on the diocesan website soon. The Executive Board also appointed three members -- Chris Miller, Garway Bright and Ken Royston -- to participate on the Nominating Committee for future Trustees.
The Board then received a report from the Virtual Governance Task Force, which was formed by the 2020 Diocesan Convention, to study how congregations, diocesan bodies, and Convention are using virtual means to carry out governance and how such virtual and hybrid means can make future governance more transparent, accessible, inclusive, and diverse. The Task Force has formed three working groups to address lessons learned from the virtual conduct of (a) Congregational meetings, vestry elections, and property votes; (b) Executive Board and Standing Committee proceedings; (c) Diocesan Conventions (including hearings and voting). The Task Force will continue to gather data, also reaching out to congregations that are not using online meetings due to barriers to internet access or other issues. The Task Force will publish its final report by September 15 and will present its findings and recommendations to the November 2021 Convention.
The Board received an informational report from the Diocesan Chancellor and Convention Parliamentarian JP Causey on proposed changes to the Rules of Order for the November Convention. The key changes are intended to promote better efficiency and more opportunity for thoughtful discussion of proposed resolutions and amendments.
The Board received an update on the status of the search for a Diocesan Missioner for Racial Justice and Healing. The Diocese engaged an executive recruiter to launch a national search to secure the best possible candidate for this important work. The recruiting firm is currently in conversation with several potential candidates. They plan to refer candidates to the Bishop's Office in early July. Bishop Goff has appointed an advisory group representing key groups from across the Diocese to assist with initial vetting. The plan is to appoint the Missioner in early August. The position profile for the Missioner for Racial Justice and Healing is available here.
Bishop Goff shared reflections on where we are during the intentional four-year interim between the resignation of the 13th Bishop Diocesan in November of 2018 and the consecration of the 14th Bishop Diocesan in late 2022, during which she is serving as Ecclesiastical Authority. Work continues in the four priority areas she announced in her Pastoral Address in 2019: healing across divides; care of God’s creation; sharing the faith of Jesus; and resourcing God’s mission.
Work also continues on the infrastructure of diocesan life, including: empowering committees and commissions and empowering Deans as the Bishop’s representative in Celebrations of New Ministry; recalibrating the participation of the Bishop on boards; restructuring and clarifying roles of and strengthening diocesan staff. Bishop Goff said that as we come out of the pandemic and into a new normal, we include as a priority a focus on a healthy leadership transition. The Executive Board engaged in vigorous discussion of these focus areas, noting that there have been significant changes and challenges in this time, and that more changes are yet to come.
The Executive Board's Program Working Group reviewed the grant applications for the Mustard Seed Grants and the Peter James Lee Small Church Revitalization Fund Grants. The group made their recommendation to approve grants in both categories, and the full Executive Board voted to fund these proposals. The congregations will be notified, and awards will be announced next week.
The Executive Board’s Task Force on Diocesan Assets reported that it held its first meeting on June 2. The Board formed this ad hoc group in May to quantify what assets might be available if needed to fund major diocesan mission priorities. The group expects to complete this work by early September.
The Executive Board’s Task Force on Young Adult and Campus Ministry reported that the group is studying the history of funding of the college chaplaincies within the Diocese. The group will soon meet with the chaplains as a group to hear about their ministries and experiences.
The Executive Board continued discussion about the important work of racial justice and healing in our Diocese, recognizing that many congregations and other groups across the Diocese are engaged in Sacred Ground, in uncovering their own history, and in other work. The Board recognized that this is long-term work in which community and relationship building are vital.
The Executive Board approved a motion, proposed by Bishop Goff, to designate income from the sale of two unused properties for foundational work in racial justice and healing. This work will include a series of clergy conferences at Shrine Mont over the next year and a half. These conferences will aim to increase the capacity of clergy to talk boldly about race and to help people in congregations and other institutions to talk about race.
A subgroup of the Executive Board will meet during the summer to plan discussions about race with people across the Diocese, which they hope will be held in the fall and prior to Diocesan Convention in November. These discussions will be publicized widely so that the broadest participation might be possible.
The next full meeting of the Executive Board is September 30.