Wednesday, February 13, 2019

127th Annual Council focuses on change

The 127th Annual Council met February 8-9 at the Williamsburg Lodge. Much of the work of this year's Council related to the search for a new bishop for Southern Virginia, and keynote speakers focused on changing ways of doing church.  
Bishop Magness with keynoters Bobbe Fitzhugh and Gannon Sims
Council affirmed the Standing Committee's call of Bishop Jay Magness as Bishop Diocesan Pro Tempore, to serve until the consecration of a new bishop. Bishop Magness addressed Council and preached at the Council Eucharist. In his address, Bishop Magness shared many things for which Southern Virginia can be joyous and thankful. But he spoke of change, both here in Southern Virginia and the wider Church. While the message of Christ's redeeming love stays the same, everything else is changing. You can read the Bishop's address here and his sermon here.   
Keynote speakers at this year's Council were Gannon Sims and the Rev. Bobbe Fitzhugh of Fresh Expressions. Sims' presentation, "A Future for the Church", and Fitzhugh's "From Maintenance to Mission: Taking the Church Back to What Jesus Started" focused on ways for congregations to reach those who are not comfortable with or interested in traditional ways of doing church. Lively table discussion followed each presentation and there was excitement about the many possible "fresh expressions" in our congregations. Resources recommended by our keynote speakers included: From Steeple to Street by Travis Collins; Fresh Expressions of Church by Travis Collins; Dinner Church by Verlon Foster; Seven Practices of Church by David Fitch; and Canoeing the Mountains by Tod Bolsinger.     
Bishop Hollerith was honored by Council
The Nominating/Search and Transition Committees gave a report to Council that included presentation of the new Diocesan Profile and the timeline for the search process. Before the close of business on Friday evening, Bishop Hollerith and his wife, Lizzie, were welcomed into the chamber as Council honored Bishop Hollerith's decade of ministry to Southern Virginia with speeches, gifts and champagne. After Council adjourned, the festivities continued at a reception.   
Council passed the proposed 2019 diocesan budget and elected new members of the Standing Committee, Disciplinary Board and delegates to Provincial Synod.  
  • Standing Committee: Helen Sharpe-Williams (Grace, Norfolk) and the Rev. Cameron Randle (Eastern Shore Chapel, Virginia Beach)
  • Disciplinary Board: Bob Motley (Ascension, Norfolk); the Rev. Charles Bauer (Hickory Neck, Toano); the Rev. Lauren McDonald (Bruton Parish, Williamsburg)
  • Provincial Synod: Alice Webley (All Saints, Virginia Beach) and the Rev. Grant Stokes (Trinity, Portsmouth)
Bishop Magness with the Council Youth Delegation 
Four resolutions were considered by Council. Resolution CON-1 made language changes to portions of the Diocesan Constitution to make that language gender neutral. The resolution passed. Resolution R-1 was related to the election of the board of trustees of the Boys Home of Virginia and was passed. Resolution C-1, and the related Resolution C-2, was proposed by the Mission Share Task Force and offered a plan for congregational giving to diocesan ministry that adopted 10% tithe as the minimum standard. There was considerable debate on Resolution C-1, which was ultimately tabled. Resolution C-2 was withdrawn.
Many more photos from Council are available on our Facebook and Instagram. Thanks to Jackie Rochelle of Epiphany, Norfolk, for serving as Council photographer.