Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Diocese of Pennsylvania


  •  Visit the Diocese of Pennsylvania Online HERE

    8 December 2020 

    “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”
    Philippians 3:14
    During this Advent we continue to wait and to watch. Although the days grow shorter, we watch for the light. That light of hope is coming. It is on the horizon, both in the promise of Christmas and in the vaccines, which should start to be administered in the near future. For now, we must continue to exercise the utmost caution and ground ourselves in our holy obligation to love and care for one another.
    I believe that the Church must be the Church. As you know, the numbers in our region are rising and are now much higher than they were in March and April. From the beginning of this pandemic we have known this was a possibility. Throughout the summer and fall I have repeatedly warned that in the event of a surge we would have to prayerfully consider moving back to an earlier phase of the protocols as a short-term measure. 

    As your shepherd, I have a sacred obligation to care for each person in our diocese. Therefore, after prayerful deliberation, I have determined that for the remainder of Advent all churches in our diocese will return to our newly updated Phase I Protocols.  This means that only virtual worship should be offered with a maximum of 10 people physically present. If additional persons, such as musicians, are desired, this may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Exceptions for weddings, funerals and other pastoral services will also be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    The diocesan services of ordination and confirmation will proceed as scheduled but with additional precautions in place. The service of Lessons and Carols in cooperation with the Diocese of Bethlehem will proceed following the Christmas protocols. 

    But I also know that Christmas is one of our holiest days on which we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Therefore, remembering that the safest option is always not to gather, churches that wish to hold in-person worship for Christmas may do so in accordance with the guidance issued in my last update. This includes limiting attendance to 5% in Philadelphia.

    If a church wishes to offer in-person worship for Christmas they should first evaluate their capacity to do so in a way that minimizes the risk for all participants. As you seek to make this determination ask yourself how will you minimize the number of people in attendance and the length of the service while at the same time maximizing spacing between individuals/families and increasing ventilation? How will you instruct visitors who have not previously been introduced to your safety measures? Do you have sufficient volunteers to assist and guide them? If a church cannot come up with a plan to address all these concerns, they should remain virtual. If you decide to hold in-person worship please notify me via email, copying Canons Wamsley and Berlenbach.

    Whatever you discern we encourage you to be creative. While our traditions are ancient, we know that Jesus is always doing new things and offering new life. So, find new ways to offer those traditions. Be resourceful, be creative. A workshop and list of resources to assist you can be found here. If you have any questions please contact Canon Shawn Wamsley at swamsley@diopa.org or Canon Kirk Berlenbach at kberlenbach@diopa.org.

    Looking ahead, because we expect numbers to again increase after Christmas, all churches should then plan to revert to Phase I through January 3. I will review the numbers and issue an update during the week of January 4 so that churches may make plans for Epiphany. 

    To recap, the next several weeks follow this schedule:

    ·      12/8/2020 – 12/23/2020: Phase I protocol in effect
    ·      12/24/2020 and 12/25/2020: Updated Phase II protocol in effect
    ·      12/26/2021 – 1/3/2021: Phase I protocol in effect

    As you journey through the remainder of Advent, continue to hold firm in your faith and to the knowledge that Jesus Christ is with us always. As one people and one diocese we have persevered through so much, I have faith that together we will continue to do so. Let us press on and offer hope, not only for ourselves but for the world around us, a world filled with fear, division and pain. This year our Christmas celebrations may not take the form we expected but none of that can limit the power of Jesus Christ that will come powerfully and beautifully into our hearts and shine a light into the darkness once more.  

    Your Brother in Christ,

    Bishop Daniel

    Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ (Colossians 4:2-3)

    My Siblings in Christ,

    This morning, I received the latest information regarding the spread of the 
    Coronavirus in Philadelphia. Thus, I am taking the step to follow the maximum 
    occupancy limits requested by city government.  Effective today, all churches in 
    Philadelphia, if they choose to hold in-person services, will be limited to the 
    maximum occupancy of 5%.  We have reiterated over these last months that 
    we will make necessary adjustments and changes to protect all those in our 
    churches; this is one such instance. 

    Please make whatever adjustments may be necessary to ensure that your 
    worship services are in compliance with the occupancy limits. Please note, 
    the occupancy limit is the only thing that has changed. All other aspects of the 
    guidance I issued in my most recent letter still apply both in Philadelphia and 
    in the rest of the diocese. I must reiterate that the safest option is to be patient, 
    suspend services and take care of yourselves and one another.

    If you have questions or need assistance please contact Canon Shawn Wamsley at swamsley@diopa.org or Canon Kirk Berlenbach at kberlenbach@diopa.org

    We press onward with resilience, prayer and hope. 

    May our Lord bless you and keep you.

    Your Sibling In Christ,

    Bishop Daniel

     14 November 2020 ~ COVID19 Update from Bishop Gutierrez

    14 November 2020

    So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
    2 Corinthians 4:16-18

    My siblings in Christ,

    A few weeks ago, during one of our large rainstorms, I looked out of the window and noticed a small bird resting on a branch. This beautiful creature had her small head tucked into her feathers, beak pressed upon breast and wings, folded, hugging her body. She was waiting, sheltered, under some leaves all the while the rain poured down. She trusted, waited, trusted and waited. Eventually, the storm abated and the sun began to break through the clouds.  She shook the rain off, stretched her wings and began to sing. In a few moments, she took off in flight.
    During this second wave of COVID, the storm is unleashing upon us once again. We may feel caught in the whirlwinds, but we do have a place to rest, bow our heads and patiently wait out the storm. Together, we will find a place for shelter through the Almighty who protects, covers and provides a place of refuge. Once again, it is time to trust and wait for the storm to run out of rain. The sun will once again break through these clouds.

    I am writing to update you on the possibilities that may occur over the coming weeks. Yes, we are all tired of COVID, however, we knew that a second surge would hit during the fall and winter. This time is upon us and while disappointing, we are far better prepared to meet this obstacle.

    Over the past seven months, we have learned what it takes to adapt, adjust, strengthen, and persevere. We have creatively applied technology and our liturgy and music are reaching people throughout the world. More importantly, we have leaned on one another and trusted in the Holy One. We have also realized that the Church did not collapse, we did not become spiritually distant nor did our diocese fade away. The Holy One provided and will continue to provide shelter, protection and a way through this storm.

    I have said all along that if the numbers started to move in the wrong direction, our diocese would revert back to previous phases of our protocols. I am now strongly considering taking that step.

    While at this moment nothing has been mandated by state or local government, as Christians we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. Jesus showed us the way when he laid down his life for us. As his followers we must be willing to sacrifice for the good of others. Therefore, after much prayer, reflection and input from our Diocesan Health Committee, if the numbers continue to rise, we will consider the following for the sake of everyone’s health:
    • Starting on Sunday, November 22nd, we may revert to Phase II.
    • Depending on the numbers this may be limited to Philadelphia and Delaware Counties or may be diocesan-wide.  
    • If it is limited to Philadelphia and Delaware, then those in Bucks, Chester and Montgomery Counties should exercise the utmost caution and, wherever possible, consider limiting both the number of people attending and the number of in-person gatherings.
    • If the numbers continuing to rise after that, churches should be prepared to move to Phase I for the first two weeks of Advent.
    • Whatever precautions are taken, we will constantly monitor the numbers and re-evaluate the situation and make a determination on the path forward during the week of December 14th

    I will make a determination about moving to Phase II on Tuesday, November 17th and announce it to the clergy as part of our regular call. A full communication will go out to the whole diocese the following day.

    As you know, the safest course of action is to not gather in person at all. As you plan for Advent and Christmas, we strongly recommend you prepare contingency plans in case of greater restrictions. To assist you in this, a recorded workshop and list of resources will be posted to our website on Monday as part of Serviam.

    If you have questions about how to interpret or apply the protocols, please contact Canon Shawn Wamsley at swamsley@diopa.org or Canon Kirk Berlenbach at kberlenbach@diopa.org. They are also prepared to help with creative ways of engaging our churches and communities with Advent and Christmas planning.

    I would also like to remind each of our churches that the Board of Trustees approved a plan to set aside emergency funds for any church whose finances have been adversely affected by the pandemic. There is a brief questionnaire (here). Requests are addressed immediately and with a minimum of administrative delay. Applications and documents requested in the questionnaire should be submitted to Canon Doug Horner at dhorner@diopa.org.

    Together, we will find a place for shelter through the Almighty who protects, covers and provides a place of refuge. Once again, it is time to trust and wait for the storm to run out of rain. The sun will once again break through these clouds.
    I leave you with this quote from Julian of Norwich: Jesus wants us to trust that he is always with us. He accompanies us in three ways: in heaven, where in his rising he raises us up with him; on earth, where he leads us day by day; and in our innermost being, where he constantly dwells to guide and preserve us. And this is our comfort—that we know in faith that Christ is constantly with us. Knowing this, we shall never succumb to the pain and woe, but always hope for another glimpse of his presence.

    Peace be with you,
    Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:22)

    Although we do not yet know the results of the presidential election, it is clear that our diocese is experiencing a range of emotions. Whether it is uncertainty, anxiety, joy, grief, confidence or fear, it is appropriate that we gather as
    one people and bring them all before the Holy One in prayer.

    On Thursday, November 5 at 7:30 p.m., I invite you to gather with me for the beautiful service of Compline. It will be a time a prayer and reflection enhanced by readings of scripture and for us to join together in prayer as one body and one spirit in Jesus Christ. The service will be streamed on our diocesan Facebook page. Until then please join with me in praying for our nation and for one another.

    Getting out the vote! Volunteers at The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas have been making calls as part of their Octavius V. Catto Voter Education Ministry. How can you make sure your vote reflects the life and teachings of Jesus Christ? Read the Bishop's questions here.
    "The breath of divine life." Join the Bishop for All Saints' Day at St. Simon the Cyrenian in Philadelphia. The service airs at 9 a.m. on FB, YouTube and the One Love Channel.
     A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you. "The needless death of Walter Wallace, Jr. in Philadelphia has shaken the city we love and serve. We join in denouncing racist violence against our sisters and brothers of color." Read the joint statement from the Diocese and Episcopal Community Services.
    On 11/2, come celebrate All Souls in the Hispanic tradition of Dia de los Muertos. We are celebrating with a bilingual Eucharist with instrumental music and take-away food. Details.
    Register now for the 11/14 event. Youth from the diocese will be meeting online with the Bishop. This is an "open mic" event where the youth get to ask the Bishop questions. The Q&A will be moderated by Raymond Brady, a young adult from St. Andrews St. Monica’s Episcopal Church.  The event ends with one of the Bishop's favorite snacks - tater tots.
    While the pandemic delayed its progress, we are pleased to announce that Serviam will be launching next week. As part of the Bishop’s commitment to supporting our churches, Serviam will provide learning resources that will equip and empower both our laity and clergy. The first module on 11/2 will be Sunday School in the time of COVID. It will include a recording of a previously held workshop and supporting resources to assist our churches in ministering to our children in these challenging times. Details.
    In response to the great need created by this pandemic the Steering Committee of the ECW in the Diocese of Pennsylvanian is offering grants to assist churches in their mission and ministry. The maximum grant is $1200. Due dates for requests are 11/15/20 and 5/15/20. Contact Shirley Smith-215-887-9448, granny7sm@gmail.com, or Amy Lancaster-215-348-9654, apslctr@gmail.com for info. 
    The Episcopal Church and the Presiding Bishop Michael Curry lead Holding on to Hope: A National Service for Healing and Wholeness on 11/1 at 4 p.m. Our own Rev. Canon Toneh Smyth to be featured too. Watch here.
    The Rev. Canon Betsy Ivey was filmed at St. James the Less by The Episcopal Church reading a short prayer for All Saints' Day. Watch here.
    Join St. Peter's in the Great Valley for Evensong on 11/1 as they perform their annual All Saints' Day Choral Evensong. This video will be a "first" since no recordings of an entire virtual choir performing Evensong have been available until now. The service will be available on Facebook and the St. Peters' website
    Hosts for Hospitals, affiliated with one of our churches, provides socially-distant housing for patient-families coming to Greater Philadelphia for medical care. They are looking for more housing options for families in need. You can read more here.
    Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania | 23 E. Airy StreetNorristown, PA 19401

    How will your vote reflect Jesus Christ?
    29 October 2020 ~ Pastoral Letter from Bishop Gutierrez
    My child, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of life and abundant welfare they will give you. Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them round your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart….
    Proverbs 3:1-35

    How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 1 John 3:17-18
    On November 3, both as individuals and as a country, we will make fundamental decisions about our values and morals. As Christians, we do not have the luxury of separating the two. We are called to vote our faith, conscience, and hearts as they have been formed by Jesus Christ. We have the gift to live in this country and the freedom to express our values. However, we cannot forget that our faith must inform every decision we make - including voting. I am reminded of a two-line poem: "Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last."

    Through our democracy, we are choosing the compass point that will guide our moral journey into the future. As citizens and as Christians, we must express our constitutional right. The faithful and loving people of our diocese span the political spectrum. I am asking that when you vote that you endorse, not a party or a candidate, but your faith; pray and discern how your vote will reflect the words, life, and heart of Jesus Christ. How will your vote create a society that follows the greatest of all commandments: Love God and love your neighbor?

    Few can deny that our country is currently a house divided, and a house divided cannot stand. We are also suffering through a worldwide pandemic. People are agonizing if they will have a job or be able to feed themselves and their families. Racial violence and hate are normalized. The evils of violence and white supremacy have come out of the shadows and now brazenly display disregard for human dignity and life. We must also remember the lives lost to gun violence, suicide, and the widening economic and educational disparity in our communities that lead to the marginalization of many in our human family. In order to heal these wounds and overcome these evils, we must be personally and spiritually courageous. As followers of Christ, we can make a difference.

    In order to do so, we must stop acting like the Gospels are simply a recommendation - they are the actual Declaration of Independence from this world's broken and selfish ways. As Christians we have a monumental task; to vote in a way that expresses the heart and love of Jesus Christ. Following Christ is not for those with a faint spirit. Our faith calls us to live and act based solely on the truth of the Gospel. 

    I am asking you to reflect, discern, pray, and look into your heart as to what being a Christian means to you in your daily life and not just on Sunday. We must hold his words, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Lk. 11:23), in mind. If Jesus Christ informs and moves each moment of your day, we must follow him and his teachings at this crucial moment. 

    Which will come first - political party or Jesus Christ? As you discern and pray over your vote, compare the policies of the various candidates. Then ask yourself which candidate(s):

           Align with our Baptismal Covenant and value the dignity of every human being. 
           Will lift up all people without distinction as to race, color, ethnicity, economic status, sexuality or place of origin (Genesis 1:26-27, Romans 2:11, Ephesians 2:14, Deuteronomy 10:17-35, Leviticus 19:33-34, John 13:34, Luke 14:13-14, Colossians 3:10-11, 1 Samuel 16:7, James 2:1-4, Galatians 3:26-29, Matthew 25:31-46, Revelation 7:9-10 )
           Promote peace (Matthew 5:9, Matthew 5:38-42, Ephesians 4:3, John 16:33, Ephesians 2:14, 1 Corinthians 14:33, Colossians 3:13, John 14:27)
           Will unite and not divide (Romans 16:17, Colossians 3:12, Philippians 2:3-4, 1 Peter 3:9-4:14, Romans 12:10, Luke 11:17, Matthew 18:15-18)
           Will not separate, demean, destroy or tear down any of the Holy One’s children Ephesians 4:29-32, Proverbs 11:17, Romans 12:10, Romans 12:15-18, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Hebrews 12:14-15, Proverbs 11:17)
           Care for the poor, lost, hungry, lonely, and the suffering. (James 1:27, Luke 14:12-14, Jeremiah 22:3, Jeremiah 22:16, Proverbs 17:5, Luke 6:20-21, Matthew 25:40, Zechariah 7:10)
           Promote healing for all people (Isaiah 38:16-17, Matthew 4:23-24, Matthew 10:1-8, Luke 5:17-24, Luke 13:11-13, Luke 14:1-6, Luke 10:30-37)
           Value the sanctity of all life. (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 9:6, Exodus 20:13, Psalm 139:13, Job 31:15, Luke 12:6-7)
           Respect God’s wondrous creation (Genesis 2:2-3, Number 35:33-4, Job 12:7-10, Psalm 95:5, Psalm 104:25-30, Isaiah 11:6-9, Isaiah 24:4-6, Isaiah 43:20-21, Colossians 1:16-7)
           Does not promote or empower any individual or system that advocates racism, violence, hatred or the division among the children of the Holy One (Proverbs 24:23, Exodus 22:21, Acts 10:34, John 17:21-23, Jude 1:19, 1 John 4:20, Romans 10:12, James 2:8-9, James 2:4, John 14:15, John 7:24
           Will sacrifice self for good of all people and society rather than our individual wants and needs. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, John 15:13-17:15, Proverbs 22:16, Ephesians 4:2)
           Builds up systems of justice rather than tearing them down. Isaiah 1:17, Isaiah 10:1-2, Isaiah 40:29, Proverbs 31:9, Micah 6:8, Psalm 82:3, Proverbs 28:27, Luke 4:18-19, Matthew 25:40, Luke 11:39-42, Mark 11:15-17

    I pray that as the family of the Holy One, we also seek peace after the election. No matter the outcome, many in our country will be angry and will believe the only way to express that anger is through social unrest. I ask that we seek and demonstrate the peace of Christ. Christ’s church must be a sacred, calming and healing place. No matter the results, we are all siblings in Christ. It is essential that we remain in dialogue so that our bonds of love and faith remain strong despite differences in perspective. We must show the world a better way through our words, actions and lives.  In order to remind us of this holy peace, I would like each of our churches to incorporate the Prayer of St. Francis into their worship on November 1 and November 8.

    Some may take this pastoral letter as a political statement. If you choose to view it as such, I ask for your prayers. I have no allegiance to any candidate or party. I do not view the world through a political lens. My heart and my only allegiance is to Jesus Christ. I cannot preach the Gospel unless I am willing to live it. I cannot claim the name of Christ as a Christian unless His words inform every decision. If I do not do so, I know that when my time on earth is at an end, I will have to stand before the Lord and answer for it.

    Paul repeatedly reminds us that we must be covered with Christ, think with the mind of Christ and always have Christ within us. As you cast your vote, remember the heart of Christ; the heart that beats for everyone, without distinction, in this world. With Christ, all things will be made new. Until we can be together again, I leave you to pray and discern. I leave you in the loving, hopeful, merciful and compassionate hands of our Creator.

    I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, Ezekiel 11:19.
    Bishop Daniel

    Churches have found creative ways to make Halloween fun for all in spite of the pandemic. From the pumpkin patch at Christ Church, Ridley Park, to the drive-thru trick or treat station at Washington Memorial Chapel (see below.)
    "Facing life's tests with love." The Very Rev. Martini Shaw preaches in this Sunday's service with Bishop Gutiérrez. Shaw is the rector at The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia. Service takes place at Washington Memorial Chapel and airs at 9 a.m. on FB, YouTube and the One Love Channel.
    Save the date for 11/14. Youth from the diocese will be meeting online with the Bishop. This is an "open mic" event where the youth get to ask the Bishop questions. The Q&A will be moderated by Raymond Brady, a young adult from St. Andrews St. Monica’s Episcopal Church.  The event ends with one of the Bishop's favorite snacks - tater tots.
    On 10/31, Washington Memorial Chapel Outreach Committee is sponsoring a “Drive-Thru Trick or Treat."  This is meant to be a safe alternative for children. No one is getting out of their cars and are just driving through the parking lot to receive the candy for the children. Details.
    The diocese organized 7 free flu clinics across the diocese and is adding more. In those, 134 people have received flu shots - 13 of whom lost their insurance and would not have been able to get the shot otherwise. In our free diabetes screening, 3 discovered they had extremely high blood sugar that needed attention and 1 had low blood sugar and received physician's advice. Vision in action.
    The Anti-Racism Commission has released its 2021 workshop dates. Still one more for 2020 on 11/14Full schedule here.
    We are adding a new wellness center at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Chester in conjunction with Widener University. Stay tuned for more details.
    The registration process for the 237th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania opened on 10/7 and continues until 11/1. The schedule and materials for Convention can be found on this page. Issues or questions? Contact us. You can also attend a pre-Convention meeting on 11/5.
    Congratulations to Art Sudler, from The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, for his biography of Absalom Jones which is now the “official” biography that appears in the revised Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018 and Holy Women Holy Men. Sudler discovered inaccurate information and took the initiative to edit and submit. More details.
    Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania | 23 E. Airy StreetNorristown, PA 19401

    In the last week we ordained the Rev. Darrell Tiller (top left), the Rev. Yesenia Alejandro (top middle) to the priesthood: and the Rev. Jeremiah Mustered (top right) to the diaconate. If you missed it you can watch both here.
    The Rev. Daniel Moore preaches this Sunday in a service with Bishop Gutiérrez. Moore is the rector at St. Paul's in Doylestown. Extended music provided by St. Peter's in the Great Valley. Service takes place at Washington Memorial Chapel and airs at 9 a.m. on FB, YouTube and the One Love Channel.
    The Anti-Racism Commission has released its 2021 workshop dates. Still one more for 2020 on 11/14Full schedule here.
    Christ Church, Ridley Park, is the place to satisfy all your pumpkin needs. The pumpkins journey to Ridley Park all the way from the Navajo Indian Reservation in Farmington, NM . Pumpkins big and small, smooth and bumpy. Weekdays: 11am-7pm and weekends, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. Details.
    On 10/17 the History Committee's fall forum focuses on the Church of St. Asaph, using the parish as an example of the late 19th century suburbanization of Philadelphia’s Episcopalians along the railroad lines stretching out from Center City to points across the metropolitan area. Details.
    The Jazz Sanctuary, which provides free music events at our churches and educational events for youth, is offering churches music to use for their All Saints' Day services. "The video was made in accordance with all the CDC protocols and made with no post-engineering. It’s as close to a live performance as we could make it." Download here.
    Save the date for 11/14. Youth from the diocese will be meeting online with the Bishop. This is an "open mic" event where the youth get to ask the Bishop questions. The Q&A will be moderated by Raymond Brady, a young adult from St. Andrews St. Monica’s Episcopal Church.  The event ends with one of the Bishop's favorite snacks - tater tots.
    The registration process for the 237th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania opened on 10/7 and continues until 11/1. The schedule and materials for Convention can be found on this page. Issues or questions? Contact us.
    The Church Pension Group provides health plans for employees of the diocese's churches. On 10/21, they will have an open forum for those looking to hear more about plan offerings available for the Jan. '21 annual enrollment period. To register for this, please contact Canon Horner. 
    The Reverend Charles Owen Moore died on October 4. Moore was the rector at St. Mark’s, Locust Street, Philadelphia from 1981 to 1995. During this time, St. Mark’s was noted for creating ministries that met new social and spiritual needs, especially during the AIDS crisis. Moore was also instrumental in welcoming women to the priesthood and was one of the first Episcopal priests to appoint a female Curate. More.
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    Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania | 23 E. Airy StreetNorristown, PA 19401
    Jesus calls us to love one another. In that spirit, our annual Diocesan Convention will be entirely virtual this year. It will begin with worship on November 6, 2020 and continue with an abbreviated session November 7.  The details are still being finalized but it will focus on essentials like elections and the 2021 budget. While Bishop Gutiérrez’s formal Call to Convention will be issued at a later date, the Convention Arrangements Committee would like you to be aware of the following information at this time.

    • Resolutions that propose changes to diocesan canons or the Diocesan Constitution are due 90 days prior to Convention, or August 10, and should be submitted to Stephen P. Chawaga, Esq., schawaga@episcopallegalaid.org.
    • Other resolutions are due 60 days prior to Convention, or September 8, and should be submitted to the chair of the Resolutions Committee, Karen Lash at klashklash@verizon.net using the format found at https://diopa.org/uploads/attachments/ckdklk0w94i0u2wqs0ff01xa2-resolutions-form.docx
    • Questions about resolutions should be referred to the Chair of the Resolutions Committee, Karen Lash, klash.klash@verizon.net.
    • Pre-convention meetings begin in September. The schedule will be available later in August. Hearings for the 2021 budget are held three times in August – 8/128/20, 8/27. Convention Registration will also open later in August.

    The Nominating Committee is seeking candidates to stand for election. Click on the committees below for more information on what that committee does. You may nominate yourself or someone else by contacting the committee chairs, the Rev. Jim Littrell (james.littrell@gmail.com) and/or Dr. Evelyn Partridge (drpartridge@verizon.net) or you may go directly to Member365 and complete the form by September 25.

    Positions to Fill:        2 Lay Trustees           3-Year Term

    Positions to Fill:        1 Clergy                    3-Year Term
                                       4 Lay Person             3-year Term

    Positions to Fill:        3 Clergy                    3-year Term
                                       2 Lay Person             3-year Term
                                       1 Lay Person              Unexpired Term (1 year)
                                       1 Lay Person              Unexpired Term (2 years)

    Positions to Fill:        2 Clergy                    3-year Term
                                       2 Lay                         3-year Term

    General Convention Alternates
    Positions to Fill:        4 Clergy                    3-year Term
                                       4 Lay Person             3-year Term

    Church Attorney     
    Position to Fill :          1 Lay Person              3-year Term

    Board of Trustees                                       
    Positions to Fill:        1 Clergy                     3-year Term
                                       2 Lay                          3-year Term

    Positions to Fill:        1 Clergy                    3-year Term
                                       1 Lay Person             3-year Term

    A reminder: The initial mailing with the Call to Convention will be disseminated by email and by snail mail to those for whom we have no email address. All information after the initial mailing will be shared online only, so those without Internet access are asked to designate a contact who does have email and is willing to print out information.
    We look forward to our annual gathering. All updates will be shared in the weekly newsletter and on our main web page.

    Convention Arrangements Committee
    The Rev. Benjamin Wallis

    Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania | 23 E. Airy StreetNorristown, PA 19401

    Canon responsibilities: The canons are here to serve you. Here is how they can help.
    • Rev. Arlette Benoit-Joseph, canon for transition: can help you find clergy for your congregation; apply for grants for continuing ed. and sabbaticals; and help individuals who are discerning a call to ordained ministry.
    • Rev. Kirk Berlenbach, canon for growth and support: can help you connect with the community; develop new and innovative ministries; and maximize use of church buildings and grounds 
    • Doug Horner, canon for finance and business: can help you with Sacred Gifts for Mission & Administration; parochial reports and audits; commercial insurance, benefits and pensions through Church Pension Group; endowments and investments; parish financial management and operations; property issues and tenant leases and licenses to use; and employment and human resource policy.
    • Rev. Betsy Ivey, canon for growth and support: can help you strategically think about how you want to change your parish ministry; and find supporting resources for ministry (websites, accounting, grant-writing, sharing resources).
    • Jennifer Tucker, canon for communications: can help you with content creation; grassroots marketing; web site development; social media strategy; event planning; messaging; and crisis communications.
    • Rev. Shawn Wamsley, canon to the ordinary: can help answer questions about the operations of the Diocese; direct congregations to support and resources within the Bishop's office and questions about policy and procedure within the Diocese; and provide direct support for Evangelism ministries, initiatives and programs.
    • Rev. Toneh Smyth, canon for missioncan help connect you with trainings that focus on mental health and addiction concerns; wide missions/events that address national and global issues (e.g. poverty, racism, discrimination, health disparity, legislative changes, acts of violence); and with parishes doing similar mission work. 
    Since we are "co-creators" in this journey, and this is your diocese, I need to hear from you and know if we are responding to your needs. We are continually seeking to improve. We are continually reviewing all processes, procedures, and budgets. As a wise elder once said: "You cannot improve what you cannot measure."

    I am blessed to serve as your Bishop. Let us walk with one another, let us pray for one another and thank God for the opportunity to share in this journey as a community of hope, transformation and love. In Jesus Christ, all things are being made new.
    Know Jesus. Change the world.

    The Rt. Rev. Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez
    XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania 

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