On Thursday, February 16, 2023, a group of eight of St. Philp’s faithful ventured to Corpus Christi for Diocesan Council. We had met twice in preparation for this journey and we were all anticipating the most exciting part of Council – we were going to have a hand in the selection of our next Diocesan Bishop. Having been to Council previously, I knew what the drill would be – listen to reports from various committees and entities around the diocese, vote for the people in leadership positions, and eat lots of cookies along with visiting with friends from other parishes. I was not disappointed – we sat and listened, voted, ate cookies, sat and listened some more, voted some more and ate more cookies. The first evening we ate wonderful Thai food with our parish group, got a great night sleep and geared up for another day.
Friday, we began with Bishop David Reed’s last address to Council. We repeated the pattern from Thursday many more times until we had voted 20 people into leadership positions. We also took a trip back to the hotel for the Bishop’s luncheon. Friday was rounded out with a wonderful Eucharist service and fantastic Italian fare for dinner.
I’m sure, after reading this far you are wondering “why in the world anyone want to go to Council?”
It is the messages that we heard in the reports, the joy we saw in the faces of those sharing their triumphs over the past year and the fellowship we shared with our many fellow participants. We learned from Bishop Reed about his choice for the theme for council – Go Baptize and Make Disciples.
I was immediately reminded of an article I wrote for this newsletter that talked about the importance of the pledge we make during the service of baptism. We will with God’s help! It is our calling to help others in their life in Christ and to strive to be the best Christians we can be as well as to share our faith with everyone we meet – if not by words than by actions. If you were at Church on Sunday, you heard Father Mike explain that we were seated in the front row for the entirety of Council and during the Bishop’s address we learned that this was a place of honor, not rebuke, and we were humbled to learn that half the offering from the Friday night Eucharist was going to be given to the Children’s Bereavement Center for their work in Uvalde. Wow!
On Saturday, we had the pleasure of voting for the election of the new Diocesan Bishop. There were three very worthy candidates that we had the privilege of learning all about. The voting was interspersed with prayers being offered by Bishops from other dioceses as well as some enjoyable music provided by the parish priest from Port Aransas. He was very entertaining. We were also entertained by Bishop Reed and his T-Shirt Canon. After three votes, we elected our Bishop Coadjutor, the Rev. Dr. David G. Read.
As Davis Moore might say – “another Bishop Read.” I am excited to see the changes we have in-store for our Diocese.
The biggest take away that I personally had from Council, and the thing that I am still mulling over was a question that was posed by Carrie Guerra, the priest from St. Francis San Antonio – she ended her report with the following: “If your congregation ceased to exist, who would be affected?” “What is your effect and footprint in your community?”
Something to think about . . .
— Lory Zimmerman