Each month the Standing Committee meets to discuss matters of the Diocese that require discernment and prayerful thought & discussion. We do, however, get opportunities to hear sentiments of another person’s, or parish’s, testimony that hold the ingredients needed to overcome and be encouraged for God’s priestly people.
During our September meeting, we were uplifted and inspired when the Standing Committee welcomed the Reverend Samuel Adu-Andoh and members of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Monica to celebrate and approve their request to be admitted as a parish at the 2014 Diocesan Convention. We listened to testimonial stories of their history, their engaged meaningful outreach to the community and the path to strengthening their stewardship for this transition. Each member described their commitment to foster a strong, forward-thinking community of faith. They also identified their greatest strengths as:
-The faith of all generations is nurtured
-There are many diverse ministries that invite all members to participate
-Stewardship is taught to younger generations and encouraged for all
-Challenges are embraced with hope and creativity
-The Church community feels the guidance of the Holy Spirit
Before ending our time with Father Sam and the 13 church members, they were asked to give three words that means for them to be “the church.” Those three words that resonated throughout were Faith, Hope, and Love. Hallelujah! Amen!
Our meeting took a brief moment to reflect on what we just experienced from the Church of St. Andrew and Monica, however, we knew we had more work to do. Upon receiving August’s Financial Report from Canon for Finance, Rob Rogers, we are happy to report that the Diocese continues to remain at a healthier level than at any other time in recent years. The Reverend Kirk Berlenbach reported on the work of the Finance Committee and the proposed 2015 Diocesan Budget. We were also informed that the Diocese received a one-time $10,000 wellness grant from the Widow’s Corporation for the Canon for Pastoral Care. The Standing Committee approved the recommended that the Episcopate Assessment be reduced by the amount of the grant.
The Standing Committee made plans for its upcoming planning session with the Bishop search consultant, Lynn Schrimsrautter, which was held on Sunday, September 28. We reviewed a comprehensive list of Standing Committee responsibilities and timeline for decisions and actions as described in the publication, “The Raising Up of Episcopal Leadership: A Manual for Diocese in Transition.” Our goal is to be prepared to undertake our responsibilities when Bishop Daniel discerns that it is time to call for the election of a Bishop.
We are also looking forward to our meeting with the Commission on Ministry scheduled for October. It has been a few years since we last had a conversation regarding how processes work within COM, how our communication may be more effective, and to identify current concerns or issues that impact the process. The Standing Committee applauds the diligent work the Commission on Ministry has undertaken over recent years. It should be noted that there have been four bishops who have overseen all or part of the discernment and ordination process; each bishop bringing his own perspectives, values and ideas that have impacted the deliberations of the COM. The Standing Committee expresses their gratitude for the opportunity to meet with the Commission on Ministry.
Other news to briefly report:
-Occupancy for the New Diocesan offices at the Cathedral Commons is scheduled for January 1, 2015
-Members of the Standing Committee will be attending each of the Pre-Convention meetings to answer questions and report on its work.
Exciting things are happening for the Diocese of Pennsylvania! The Standing Committee hopes that you are embracing the love, grace and mercy as we are while doing God’s Work, God’s Way, with God’s People. Continue to look for news from us as we move forward with Bishop Daniel in supporting the life of the Church. Until next month, we remain,
Faithfully Yours in Christ,
Debora K. Brown, Member
On Behalf of the Standing Committee