Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin "Gets 'er done!"

Bishop Lamb convenes "California Gold"

On Saturday, the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin met for the 50th time and wowsers, was it different! First off, the diocese passed a resolution affirming D025 from General Convention D025. With the passage of this resolution came a strange event. Our Communion Partner's Rector's parish, tried to perform an end-run by "tabling this motion" until such time as the diocesan Equality Commission could "finish its work". Note well that the representative to the Equality Commission had in a large and loud huff quit the commission a few months prior. This was the same parish that a year ago tried to gut the resolution forming the Equality Commission. At any rate, there was a discussion on the motion to table (most everyone saw right through this) and the motion was defeated. The resolution in favor of affirmation of D025 passed with some no votes but clearly a majority. In addition the affirmation of C056 passed with some no votes but with a clear majority.

Interestingly, the Equality Commission was continued due to the lack of time they had to meet. It seemed that the commission worked only about half the year and so the work is not done. By the way, their survey can be found on our website. It makes for a very interesting read -- given where we were and where we are.

A disappointment was the passing of a resolution that each parish become a welcoming and inclusive parish and that by extension our diocese become a welcoming and inclusive diocese. So few parishes think about handicapped persons! Our buildings are old and not accessible and yet no one ever thinks about the rails, the restrooms, the steps, the aisles that are blocked, the chancel areas that wheel chairs and scooters cannot get to and other issues affecting accessibility. The resolution passed but only a couple of us talked to this issue of inclusivity.

Another resolution that passed was a commitment to the MGDs. Our diocese was not even permitted to speak to these goals under the old regime. Today, most parishes not only support these goals but work actively to bring the goals to fruition.

And finally, some house keeping stuff but very important. We now allow a lay person to hold the office of Secretary to Convention, we have restructured our Standing Committee to be more flexible in numbers and we have authorized a look see on how the administrative side of the diocese can be restructured.

The Budget, wow what a disappointment! TEC, hurting themselves from the economic crash has cut support to us down to a trickle, one that must be paid back! Yep, we are authorized a loan of up to $125,000.00 "if we need it"! Let me give you but two quick examples of how this has hurt us -- significantly. First, there is not line item for youth activities. Yes, we have youth and yes there are other ways to do this but a line item demonstrates commitment! Second, our convention, just renewed and rejuvenated, has been cut from a week-end to one day.

This was how JDS controlled this diocese. He streamlined the convention and then railroaded the budget therefore no one got to meet, no one got to talk, no one got to socialize and no one knew what anyone else was doing. It was the opening salvo by JDS and his forces to "keep everyone in the dark and feed them b***s***". I am not saying that is going to happen, I am saying that the appearance is sometimes as frightening as the actual deed. I am saying that with what has happened here in San Joaquin and what is going on right now we need More time and more help than what 815 is giving us and that is a fact Jack! The damage and destruction that was foisted on this diocese will take a lot longer than 25 minutes to repair. It is not that we are ungrateful, though it may sound like it but right now a line of credit, given all our litigation and the work that needs to be done with parishes coming back, a line of credit is like throwing a drowning person an anchor instead of a life preserver.
I realize that there are limits, but for those of us who have come this far and are enthusiastic about the next 50 years -- we still need help. It will take some more time and some more money. Sorry, that is just the way it is.

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