Report of the Clerical Representative to Executive Council Fall Meeting October 25-28, 2021
The meeting was live streamed, therefore this is some highlights and the work of the Joint Standing committee of Mission Beyond, which I chaired this meeting.
The Executive Council’s first Hybrid meeting went very well. It was so nice to be with those in person after this long period of doing business on zoom. Highlights of the meeting are: Council heard from the Indigenous Boarding Schools Ad Hoc Committee. The committee is working to address The Episcopal Church’s involvement with residential schools that separated Native American children from their families and, in many cases, attempted to eradicate their culture and language. Indigenous leaders discussed the diversity of the residential school experience and a recent effort assisted by Episcopalians to repatriate the remains of residential school students from school grounds to their tribal homelands. Council met in groups to discuss and continue our work of reconciliation.
We approved a 2022 churchwide budget relatively the same prior to the pandemic. Acknowledging that the coming years may bring significant changes to the church, culturally and financially.
Finance reported for the 2019-2021 triennium there is a projected surplus of $13.4 million that will be put into investments and short-term reserves. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said. “We tightened our belt. Actually, we lost weight, institutionally. We did everything we could to squeeze everything out of every dollar we had.” He cautioned that calling it a “surplus” could be misleading, though it does create an “opportunity to do something both creative and helpful for the church.
As chair of the Mission Beyond Committee, we proposed a resolution reaffirming the Episcopal Church’s commitment to people of all genders and sexual orientations and invites the House of Bishops in Ghana to reconsider their endorsement of this anti-LGBTQ legislation.
We proposed another resolution supporting The John Lewis Voting Rights Enhancement Act (H.R. 4) this resolution decries the efforts in state legislatures across the country to limit voting rights & requests OGR to advocate in support of H.R.4 or similar legislation.
We additionally proposed a Resolution expressing the Executive Council’s grave concern of the situation involving the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in Ghana, which recently endorsed an action that would criminalize LGBTQ self-identification or advocacy in the country. The Resolution reaffirms the Episcopal Church’s commitment to people of all genders and sexual orientations, and invites the House of Bishops in Ghana to reconsider their endorsement of this anti-LGBTQ legislation. We request OGR and OGP to engage their relations in upholding human rights abroad and throughout the Anglican Communion.
Mission Beyond, in conjunction with Mission Within, proposed our first joint resolution in Support for the Commission for a Haitian Solution to their crisis. The country has been beset by cascading political, health and social crises over the past year, including another devastating earthquake. Our resolution expresses support for the people of Haiti and the newly created Commission for Haitian Solution to the Crisis.
Respectfully submitted, The Rev. Lillian Davis-Wilson
Applications for Constable Grants have been announced by The Episcopal Church
If you are planning to apply for a Constable Grant 2021, you must notify Province II by November 1, 2021 that you are entering the process. Email your intent to the Rev. Jimmie Sue Depp, Secretary of Province II, here Jsadeppe@gmail.com
Applications for Constable Grants involve a multi-step process. First, applications must be submitted to the Diocesan Bishop for approval and signature.
From there, applications must be sent to the Province for review/approval prior to submission to the Episcopal Church.
Deadline for submitting Constable Grant applications to Province II is Friday, November 12. (Deadline for the Province II to submit to the Episcopal Church is December 12.)
Send applications to the Rev. Jimmie Sue Depp, Secretary of Province II, here Jsadeppe@gmail.com
Linked here is the application to submit a proposal to Province II. The deadline for the sumbmission to the province is November 12, 2021. Make sure your application is complete. The information/items you must provide are high-lighted. Download the application, save it with your project's name, complete it and then send it, along with all of the other required documentation to the Rev. Jimmie Sue Depp, Secretary of Province II, here Jsadeppe@gmail.com
The following is the notice from the Episcopal Church.
Applications are open for grant opportunity offered annually by The Episcopal Church—Constable Fund grants, which focus on religious education.
The application deadline is Dec. 12.
The Constable Fund provides grants to fund mission initiatives that were not provided for within the budget of The Episcopal Church as approved by General Convention 2018, with a stated preference for work in the area of religious education. The grants are named for visionary philanthropist Marie Louise Constable, who made a gift to The Episcopal Church in 1935, during the Great Depression, to establish the fund.
Constable Fund applications may only be submitted by: (1) applicants approved by one of the nine provinces of The Episcopal Church; (2) an interim body of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church; or (3) a program office or staff department of The Episcopal Church.
The 2021 Constable Fund grants totaled $213,596, distributed among six recipients. Grants ranged from $2,500 to $55,302
At the September 9 Province II Synod, a resolution to accept the Diocese of Puerto Rico into the Province received a unanimous vote. Yvonne O’Neal, Lay Representative to Province II Council, presented the Resolution Regarding the Diocese of Puerto Rico. O’Neal represented the Province at a Special Convention of the Diocese of Puerto Rico on July 31, 2021. The Diocese of Puerto Rico convened this Special Convention to determine the change from Province IX to Province II, III, or IV.
Under General Convention Resolution 2018-A072, which allows dioceses to review the province they are currently in and explore whether they wish to become affiliated with a different province, Puerto Rico analyzed its relationship with Province IX. As a result, the Diocese of Puerto Rico resolved by canonical vote to begin the formalities for the change of province. This resolution was present to the 22nd Synod of Province IX on April 24, 2021, and was ratified unanimously.
At the Special Convention of the Diocese of Puerto Rico, Bishop William Klusmeyer of West Virginia represented Province III. Bishop Gregory Brewer of Central Florida represented Province IV. The Rev. José Rodríguez -- a Puerto Rican-born priest, the rector of an Orlando parish – accompanied Bishop Brewer. Province IV was very keen on Puerto Rico and was unequivocal in its presentation, including an excellent video. The race was between Provinces II and IV, as Province III was eliminated in the first ballot. Interestingly, the laity showed a preference for Province II and the clergy for Province IV. After much faithful deliberation, amid prayers and songs of praise, Province II garnered 84 percent of the total vote (71 percent clergy, 87 percent laity) on the sixth ballot.
Province II Acting President Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe of Central New York invited Bishop Rafael Morales of the Diocese of Puerto Rico to address the Synod before the vote. He gave an overview of the Diocese and its many programs. Bishop Morales highlighted the diocesan seminary, the funeral and grief counseling program, the new radio station with its many programs, especially the lay ministries featured at 7 PM, and how this all feeds into social media. One of the most notable achievements of the Diocese of Puerto Rico is the St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System, the biggest on the island, and has been in operation for more than 100 years. Bishop Morales reiterated that the Diocese of Puerto Rico is Dynamic, Missionary, and Evangelizing. He is very proud of his people!
In presenting the resolution, O’Neal talked about the dynamism and vitality of the Diocese of Puerto Rico. She said it would be an excellent addition to our Caribbean Dioceses of Cuba, Haiti, and the Virgin Islands. Over the years, Puerto Rico has been a friend to Cuba. The sixth Bishop of Puerto Rico, the Rt. Rev. David Álvarez, served as Provisional Bishop in Cuba from July 1993 to November 1994. The Diocese of Puerto Rico was among the first responders to assist Haiti following the recent earthquake. There has always been a close relationship between Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The Virgin Islands was part of the Diocese of Puerto Rico from 1917 when acquired by the United States until the formation of the Diocese of the Virgin Islands in 1962.
Another item that O’Neal wanted the Synod to understand was that Puerto Rico was not coming to Province II seeking financial assistance. The Diocese has income-producing enterprises such as the St. Luke’s Health System. Eight years ago, the Diocese of Puerto Rico had an endowment of $26 million dollars amassed by the retiring bishop, an endowment that has grown substantially since then.
In 2022, the Diocese of Puerto Rico will celebrate 150 years of Anglicanism on the island. Queen Victoria sent the materials from England to build Holy Trinity Church in Ponce. The bell of the Holy Trinity rang for the first time on July 28, 1898, after the U.S. invaded Puerto Rico, ending the religious restrictions of the Spanish government. The bell is affectionately known as the “Second Liberty Bell.”
Next year at the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, Puerto Rico will present a resolution for the approval and implementation as the 13th diocese in Province II, the International Atlantic Province. This vote should be a mere formality. So, 2022 portends to be a big year in the life of the Diocese of Puerto Rico as it celebrates 150 years of Anglicanism and as it becomes a part of the International Atlantic Province – Province II. The year 2022 will undoubtedly be a year of joyful celebration, God willing. ¡Bienvenidos, Puerto Rico! Yvonne O'Neal, Lay Representative to Provincial Council
Province II conducted its 2021 Synod on September 9 via zoom. Joining were 125 representing the 12 dioceses: Albany; Central New York; Cuba; Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe; Haiti; Long Island; New Jersey; New York; Newark; Rochester; Virgin Islands; and Western New York.
Province II formally welcomed the Diocese of Cuba as a full member of the Diocese. Cuba was approved to join Province II at the 2018 General Convention.
Province II also voted to accept the Diocese of Puerto Rico into the Province. This action requires ratification from General Convention, slated for July 2022. (See accompanying article).
Elections Elected to offices for three-year terms were:
The Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe of Central New York as President. She previously served as Acting President since 2020, Vice President in 2018.
The Ven. Walter Baer of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe as Vice President.
The Rev. Jimmie Sue Deppe of Rochester as Secretary.
The Rt. Rev. Caryle J. Hughes of Newark as Bishop Representative to Provincial Council.
Canon Phyllis Jones of New Jersey to a second term as Treasurer.
Yvonne O’Neal of New York to a second term as Lay Representative to Provincial Council.
The Rev. Johnnie Ross of Rochester as Clergy Representative to Provincial Council. He previously served as an appointee to that position.
Tom Chu, Esq. of New York as the Province II lay representative to Executive Council. His term will officially begin following General Convention 2022.
Appointments Martha Berry, Esq., of Central New York was appointed Chancellor
Elisabeth Jacobs of New York was appointed Assistant Treasurer.
Special thanks Special thanks were offered to Canon Paul Ambos, Esq. for his services as Secretary. Canon Noreen Duncan for her service as Province II Lay Representative to Executive Council. Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe for her services as Vice President and acting President. Philip Fileri, Esq. for his service as Chancellor on his retirement. The Rev. Dahn Dean Gandell for her service as President.
The Executive Council’s meetings were held on June 25-28, Plenary sessions of that meeting were live-streamed and are available for your viewing. A few highlights of the meeting are:
The Presiding Bishop announced that a new churchwide racial truth and reconciliation Commission will be established to bring recommendations to the 80th General convention to acknowledge and reconcile the church’s role in the numerous racial exploits.
Leaders from the Episcopal Church in North Texas, formerly the Diocese of Fort Worth, talked about the diocese’s 12-year legal battle with the Anglican Church in North America and its ongoing threat to The Episcopal Church.
We met in small groups and committee meetings, where council members shared their reactions to the findings of the racial audit, which concluded that people of color experience lack of access to power and experience stress from being held to unreasonable expectations, as well as their feelings of being invisible or over visible. We identified with the racial Audit and we are seeking ways for the church to reconcile and improve the way forward.
On Saturday, July 17, at 2 p.m. Eastern, bishops, deputies and alternate deputies of The Episcopal Church will gather online for a convocation of prayer to prepare for the 80th General Convention, which will take place on July 7-14, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. The service will be open to everyone at www.episcopalchurch.org/convocation-of-bishops-and-deputies. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will preach. House of Deputies President Gay Clark Jennings will give opening remarks and officiate at the service, which will be led by deputies, bishops and others from across the church. The service is scheduled for the Feast of William White, who was the only person to serve as both The Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop and president of its House of Deputies.
Council approved the resolution brought by my JSC, Mission Beyond in support of Representative James Clyburn's bill H.R. 301 which proposes that “Lift Every Voice and Sing” be established as the national hymn of the United States.
Mally Ewing Lloyd completed her finance report and ended our meeting with the following list of accomplishments the Executive Council has achieved over the past year. I share this with you with her permission so you can be proud of the work your council has performed in spite of an unprecedented pandemic around the world.
Yet despite our human foibles, and exhaustion, and worry or fear, we have done the work. Listen for a minute to what we have done in the last 13 months: Not by way of patting ourselves on the back, prideful, but by way of taking a moment to notice that the Spirit has worked in and through this Executive Council."
The work of the church, nuts and bolts:
Budget Management guidelines-staff sick time guidelines-grant use during Covid- reset dates for GC80
PPP discussions- reworked budgets for 2020 and 2021, adjusted as needed
Zoom meetings of EC and JSCs (how many more times we all met)
Archives – rent, construct, move!
Hired a new CLO
Diocesan Relief Grants. No strings attached, and discernment process
Approved adjustments to the diocesan and parochial reports to reflect Covid effects on ASA
Trusts, grants, appointments, kept our governing docs and policies up to date, regular business of EC – didn’t miss a beat –
Thanks to staff GCO, HOD, and PB
Engaging the church and the world, responding and anticipating:
MB 021 recognition of Global implications of the Pandemic
MW 025 Disparate impact of Covid on Communities of Color
MW024 – sent BBC RR Grants
2 resolutions on MW 023 Policing violence and MB017 – Policing reform
MW 029 Ahmaud Arbery death and EC response
MW FIN 001 – unsolicited grants to KY & MN in wake of policing violence; ECEC Atlanta and Georgia for dismantling racism work
MW 036 – authorized the creation of a White Supremacy and Deradicalization working group (staff) and at this meeting received its report – in 5 short months
--Received and reflected on the report of the Racial Justice Audit
MB 025 – Condemned Hate Crimes against Asian and Pacific Islanders, suggested action
MB 020 support for rights and existence of the Indigenous Peoples of Amazonia
MW 040 – Reviewed and renewed commitment to LGBTQ+ equality
Approved adjusting name and gender on official documents
MB 024 – Encouraged Carbon Capture and Storage
Struggled in committee with treatment of children in indigenous boarding schools
Invited Province IX – how life and ministry is in the Covid crisis
Respectfully Submitted, The Rev. Lillian J. Davis-Wilson
Scroll to find the notice in Spanish and French. Desplácese para encontrar el aviso en español y francés. Faites défiler pour trouver l'avis en espagnol et en français.
June 2021 - With the approval of the Province II Council, Acting President the Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe has appointed Elisabeth A. Jacobs of the Diocese of New York to the position of Assistant Treasurer.
“Lis Jacobs possesses impressive experience in the financial field as well as dedication to the Episcopal Church,” commented Bishop Duncan-Probe, bishop of the Diocese of Central New York. “I look forward to working with her and with her joining the other dedicated members of Province II.”
“I am pleased to accept this appointment from Bishop Duncan-Probe,” Ms. Jacobs said. “My corporate financial career spanned 35 years and I look forward to continuing my 25+ years in church finances.”
Ms. Jacobs is a Retired Senior Manager, currently volunteering as a Medicare consultant to Senior Centers and church groups. She has served as a financial leader at the Hour Children Inc., Long Island City and New York Presbyterian System, New York
A resident of New York City, Ms. Jacobs is a graduate of Long Island University in Brooklyn and Lehman College, Bronx, New York.
As assistant treasurer, she will assist Provincial Treasurer Canon Phyllis Jones in the financial aspects of the Province II administration.
Province II is one of the nine provinces of the Episcopal Church. Known as the International Atlantic Province, Province II encompasses 12 Episcopal dioceses in New Jersey, New York, Europe and the Caribbean: Albany; Central New York; Cuba; Episcopal Churches in Europe; Haiti; Long Island; New Jersey; New York; Newark; Rochester; Virgin Islands; Western New York. View Curriculum vitae >
Jacobs nombrada Tesorera Adjunta de la Provincia II
Junio de 2021 - Con la aprobación del Consejo de la Provincia II, la Presidente en funciones, la Muy Reverenda Dra. DeDe Duncan-Probe, ha nombrado a Elisabeth A. Jacobs, de la Diócesis de Nueva York, para el cargo de Tesorera Adjunta.
“Lis Jacobs posee una experiencia impresionante en el campo financiero, así como una gran dedicación a la Iglesia Episcopal”, comentó la Obispo Duncan-Probe, obispo de la Diócesis de Nueva York Central. “Estoy deseosa de trabajar con ella y que se una a los demás miembros dedicados de la Provincia II”.
“Me complace aceptar este nombramiento de la obispo Duncan-Probe”, dijo la Sra. Jacobs. “Me he desempeñado en el área financiera corporativa durante 35 años y espero continuar aportando mis más de 25 años de experiencia en las finanzas de la iglesia”.
La Sra. Jacobs es gerente principal jubilada. En la actualidad es consultora voluntaria de Medicare en centros de personas mayores y grupos de la iglesia. Se ha desempeñado como líder financiera en Hour Children Inc. de Long Island City y en el Sistema Presbiteriano de Nueva York.
La Sra. Jacobs, residente de la ciudad de Nueva York, se graduó en la Universidad de Long Island en Brooklyn y en Lehman College, en el Bronx, Nueva York.
En calidad de tesorera adjunta, asistirá a la Tesorera Provincial, la canóniga Phyllis Jones, en aspectos financieros de la administración de la Provincia II.
La Provincia II es una de las nueve provincias de la Iglesia Episcopal. Conocida como la Provincia Atlántica Internacional, la Provincia II abarca 12 diócesis episcopales en Nueva Jersey, Nueva York, Europa y el Caribe: Albany; Nueva York Central; Cuba; Iglesias Episcopales en Europa; Haití; Long Island; Nueva Jersey; Nueva York; Newark; Rochester; Islas Vírgenes; Nueva York Occidental.
Juin 2021 - Avec l'approbation du Conseil de la Province II, le Président par intérim, le Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe, a nommé Elisabeth A. Jacobs du Diocèse de New York au poste de Trésorier adjoint.
« Lis Jacobs possède une expérience impressionnante dans le domaine financier ainsi qu'un dévouement à l'Église épiscopale », a commenté Mgr Duncan-Probe, évêque du diocèse de Central New York. « Je me réjouis de travailler avec elle et de la voir rejoindre les autres membres dévoués de la Province II. »
« Je suis heureuse d'accepter cette nomination de l'évêque Duncan-Probe», a déclaré Mme Jacobs. « Ma carrière financière en entreprise s'est étendue sur 35 ans et je suis impatiente de poursuivre mes 25+ années dans les finances de l'église. »
Mme Jacobs est un cadre supérieur à la retraite, actuellement bénévole en tant que consultante Medicare auprès de centres pour personnes âgées et de groupes religieux. Elle a été responsable financière de l'organisation Hour Children Inc. à Long Island City et du New York Presbyterian System à New York.
Résidente de la ville de New York, Mme Jacobs est diplômée de l'université de Long Island à Brooklyn et du Lehman College, dans le Bronx, à New York.
En tant que trésorière adjointe, elle assistera la trésorière provinciale, le chanoine Phyllis Jones, dans les aspects financiers de l'administration de la Province II.
La Province II est l'une des neuf provinces de l'Église épiscopale. Connue sous le nom de Province internationale de l'Atlantique, la Province II englobe 12 diocèses épiscopaux du New Jersey, de New York, d'Europe et des Caraïbes : Albany ; Central New York ; Cuba ; Églises épiscopales d'Europe ; Haïti ; Long Island ; New Jersey ; New York ; Newark ; Rochester ; Îles Vierges ; Western New York. Curriculum vitae >
ECW Province 2 Meeting Report On May 1, 2021 the Episcopal Church Women of Province 2 met via Zoom to hold their annual meeting. The meeting was hosted by the Diocese of Long Island this year. The Bishop of Long Island, The Rt. Rev. Lawrence Provenzano, welcomed the attendees and opened the meeting with prayer. He also addressed the ladies and expressed his continued support for the organization. Representatives from the dioceses of Province 2 were in attendance along with the Province representatives to the National ECW Board, the National UTO Board and the National CPC Board. Reports were given by the representative from each diocese, elections were held and the treasurer’s report was adopted. Everyone agreed that it has been a difficult year because of the pandemic, but that the work was being carried on by individuals, parishes and dioceses.
Since this was the year of celebrating the 150th year of the ECW, the theme for the meeting was “ECW 150 Years and Beyond.” The program reflected a summary of the history of the ECW and predictions about the future of ECW. Two female priests and one postulant glimpsed a bright future for the organization. They expect that the women of the church will continue in their fight for social justice in all its forms and they see technology playing a greater role in keeping the organization moving forward. Attached is a copy of the 150- year history of the ECW as presented at the meeting. - Barbara Taylor
In response to a request from Bishop William Love, resigned bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany to be released and removed from the ordained Ministry of The Episcopal Church, pursuant to Episcopal Church Canon III.12.7, Presiding Bishop Curry brought this matter to the Presiding Bishop’s Council of Advice. On March 29, following consultation with this Council and with the advice and consent of a majority of the members, the Presiding Bishop granted Bishop Love’s request. Read more (In English and Spanish): http://iam.ec/pa2021PBstatementWilliamLove
Executive Council: January 2021 Province II Council Report: February 3, 2021
Major Decisions: White Supremacy Resolution
TEC-wide Repercussions Racial Justice Audit has been released via Canon Stephanie Spellers’ office, Evangelism, Creation and Reconciliation
Major long-time coming TEC-wide initiative to garner valuable information and statistics about the ethnic and racial composition of TEC, lay and cleric.
I was interviewed while the report was being compiled; I was also a reviewer of a draft of the document.
The Audit is comprehensive and includes some telling excerpts of narrative testimony by some voices included in the audit.
Episcopal Migration Ministries
Task Force to Study the Church Pension Fund This report is the result of a 60-year call via various GC resolutions.
Its immediate impetus was resolution A060 from the 79th GC in 2018.
The Task Force report was anticipated in December 2019.
An executive summary of the Task Force report is available.
Sally Johnson, chancellor to PHOD, explained the legal structure of the Church Pension Fund, its creation out of TEC resolution, but its separation as a fiduciary corporation, subject to NY state laws.
A clerical member of Executive Council narrated his family’s three generation relationship with TEC pensions.
Testimony inadvertently highlighted the inequities in financial remuneration and therefore pensions between white clergy and newer clergy of color in TEC.
Ministry Within Deliberations and Reports Reports from
Church Planting Grants
Evangelism and YACM Grants
Department of Faith Formation Resolution C014 (2018): Suicide Prevention Over 1000 licenses provided for those trained to counsel against suicide.
EYE Large Youth Gatherings: Postponed until COVID safe environments.
Executive Council Meeting Overview of January 22-25, 2021
By The Rev. Lillian Davis-Wilson Clerical Representative to Executive Council
Many of you saw the daily morning plenary sessions since it was lived streamed. Therefore, this will be an overview for our province members who were not able to live stream the meeting.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry expressed that the church has much work to do in affirming Jesus’ way of love and rejecting the divisive threat of Christian nationalism. Quoting from Biden’s inaugural address, “we must end this uncivil war” as he connected the Christian call to love one’s enemy. Curry said I believe that we have been given our marching orders: our mission from God is to heal God’s lost creation, to bind up the broken, to repair the breach, to do the hard disciplined work of love. This way of love is unselfish and sacrificial, it is the way to save a democracy and save the world. It is our hope.”
Curry repeated several times Biden’s inaugural call for unity. If Jan. 6 was a “vision of hell,” he said, the inauguration was filled with reasons for hope. “It had nothing to do with whether a Republican or Democrat got elected, I saw some hope,” Elected leaders from both parties came together to witness the peaceful transition of power, “I saw some hope,” when the nation welcomed Vice President Kamala Harris as the first woman, first Black American and first Asian American to hold that office, there was more hope. “There is always light, if we are brave enough to see it, if we are brave enough to be it,” Curry said quoting from Amanda Gorman’s poem, “The Hill We Climb.” Curry spent part of his opening remarks highlighting “From Many, One,” a campaign that the church launched this month to encourage Episcopalians to engage in thoughtful conversations with people who disagree with them. “We need to reach out to each other across our differences, across the divides. We need to reach out and bless each other as people made in the image of God, as children of God.”
The Rev. Gay Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, expressed hope for the future as she recounted how some of the rioters who stormed the Capitol “declared allegiance to Jesus and the former president, sometimes conflating them” in the signs, banners and flags they carried. “The stories, signs and symbols of our faith are being put to violent use by people who want to establish a nation in which power and privilege is held exclusively by white Christians.”
“The use of Christianity to advance white supremacist extremism did not begin in 2016, and it did not end at noon on Wednesday (January 20th). … This violent and exclusionary movement is on the rise in the United States. … We have a special responsibility to stand against it.” Some of her comments paralleled those of The Presiding Bishop.
Jennings also spoke of “Zoom fatigue” in her opening remarks and thanked everyone for their continuing perseverance navigating this new, way of carrying out church business. She highlighted the numerous executive actions by Biden during his first days as president. By executive order, Biden committed the government to fully implementing a June 2020 Supreme Court decision ending workplace discrimination against LGBTQ people. Jennings and Curry were lead signers of a legal brief calling for that court ruling, with more than 700 other faith leaders. The Supreme Court’s decision was never acted on, but with Biden’s action, LGBTQ people have been assured of the legal protections the court ordered. “This is an enormous victory,” Jennings said. “The Episcopal Church’s witness made a difference in moving the United States closer to justice for all of God’s children.”
Jennings also spoke of the need for the country to heal after the Capitol riot, but she also offered a word of caution. “We hope and pray that it’s over now because the former president is out of office and off of Twitter.” But Jennings underscored the continued need to pursue “deradicalization” in the United States – an issue that The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations had outlined in a paper in October. The Episcopal Church has the opportunity to respond to this threat by offering an ‘off-ramp’ for those who have joined extremism groups, expanding the possibility of reconciliation and forgiveness.”
After the opening remarks a treasurer’s report from Chief Financial Officer, Kurt Barnes assured Executive Council that the balance sheets continue to contain mostly “good news.” Income and expenses for 2020 were mostly in line with the revised budget for the year. Investment income, was a bright spot, with a return of nearly 20% for the year. The church’s annual appeal topped $500,000, far exceeding its goal, a strong year of fundraising by the Development Office. And despite fears about how the pandemic would affect the bottom line for dioceses and congregations, nearly all paid what they had pledged in assessments. “As I’ve sort of preached all year, we should remain calm during short-term jolts,” Barnes said, while acknowledging, “we’re still looking at economic forecasts that are uncertain.” The Executive Council’s ongoing racial reconciliation efforts continue as we broke into small breakout groups to discuss dismantling racism, the attack on the Capitol, law enforcement’s response and poet Amanda Gorman’s poem.
The Council met in committees in the afternoons of the 4-day meeting and reviewed the racial justice audit of Episcopal leadership, New life in Church advocacy in Public Policy- rejoining the WHO, the Paris Agreement, immigration followed by our wrap up and resolutions on Monday:
Passage of a resolution pledging to assist cash-strapped dioceses during the pandemic, responding to the pandemic’s economic toll. Separate from the existing waiver process. This initiative is intended for all 109 dioceses.
Passage of a separate resolution on deradicalization. The resolution reaffirms the church’s rejection of white supremacy, acknowledges the church’s past complicity with racist systems and asks staff to coordinate with ecumenical and interfaith partners to develop a strategy for combating white Christian nationalism.
Passage of a resolution on Carbon – Capture Technology. This resolution endorses research and testing of carbon-capture technologies, with a proviso that the use of such technologies should not contribute to environmental racism.