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220th Diocesan ConventionBy Joy Hunter, Director of Communication

The 220th Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina was held February 18-19, 2011 at the Parish Church of St. Helena’s in Beaufort.

Two resolutions, both of which passed at the previous convention, passed again, by more than the required two-thirds margin in both the clergy and lay orders, amending the Diocesan Constitution. The first resolution removed the accession clause to the Canons of the Episcopal Church, and the second, enabled the Convention to meet more frequently than annually, if needed. These resolutions seek to protect the Diocese from any attempt at un-Constitutional intrusions in our corporate life in South Carolina and were in response to the revisions to the Title IV Canons of the Episcopal Church.

The vote on the resolutions, however, was not the focus of the Convention. The Rev. Ian Boyd, Associate Rector of Trinity, Myrtle Beach was overheard saying, at the close of the gathering, “Of all the conventions I’ve attended this is the one that got me the most excited about doing the work of the church.”

The weekend began Friday afternoon with a presentation by the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester, who now serves South Carolina as Visiting Bishop for Anglican Communion Relationships, on “Triple Jeopardy: The Challenge of Islam, Secularism and Multiculturalism.”

That evening, St. Helena’s treated delegates to a rich service of Holy Eucharist with traditional music, brass, timpani and a full choir of children and adults. Mrs. Ann Harrington, a delegate from St. Philip's Charleston, said she was so moved during the service, she actually raised her hands.  "I'd never done that before!" she said. "I just could not help myself." Bishop Nazir-Ali preached on the authority, power and trustworthiness of the Scriptures.  He closed, saying, in part, that he was praying that the convention “not tamper or adulterate the Word.” And “that you will not forget the Word; that you will not forget the missionary mandate of proclaiming Christ, of bringing people to Christ, of transforming communities in the name of the Gospel.”

On Saturday the convention reconvened with elections, all of which carried on single ballots. Elected to the Standing Committee were: the Rev. Dr. Greg Snyder, the Very Rev. Ed Kelaher, Mrs. Suzanne Schwank and Mr. Ed Mitman. Elected to Diocesan Council were the Rev. Greg Smith, the Rev. Dagnall Free, Mrs. Margie Williams and Mrs. Alesia Flores. Elected to General Convention were:  the Very Rev. John Burwell, the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis, the Very Rev. David Thurlow, the Rev. Haden McCormick, the Rev. Andrew Pearson (1st alternate), Mr. Reid Boyleston, Mrs. Elizabeth Pennewill, Mrs. Lydia Evans, Mrs. Lonnie Hamilton, Mrs. Dorothy Gervais Carter (1st alternate), Mr. David Wright (2nd alternate) and Mr. John Dugue (3rd alternate). Elected as Trustees were the Rev. Robert Horn (6 year term), the Rev. Jeff Miller (2 year term) and Mr. Bobby Kilgo. Elected to the Ecclesiastical Court were the Rev. Paul Fuener, the Rev. Hamilton Smith, Mr. Bruce McDonald and Ms. Karen Kilgo. Elected to serve on the Board of the University of the South was the Very Rev. John Barr. Elected to serve on the Advancement Society were the Rev. Hank Avent and Mr. Ric Webb.

Bishop Lawrence’s address to the convention focused primarily on growing our churches and planting new congregations. He told of a reenergized program to assist parishes and missions who are stagnant or shrinking, part of which would be hearing from those whose congregations are flourishing. He also spoke to the issue of stewardship and the distressing and steady decline in parish giving to our common life in the diocese over the past twenty years. He addressed, minimally, matters dealing with the Episcopal Church and the Title IV revisions, and closed speaking with hope about the forward movement seen in our vocation of Making Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age.

During the reports, a highlight was when two priests told of their efforts to reach young adults. The Rev. Andrew O’Dell, Rector of St. Matthew’s, Darlington, spoke candidly about his aging congregation’s failure to draw young people in with various programs and the dramatic change which took place when they followed Daron Taylor’s advice to go out of the building. They began a ministry serving hot dogs at community softball games, which resulted in the birth of a new community of believers. The Rev. Rob Sturdy, Rector of Trinity, Myrtle Beach, told how his congregation planted a new congregation of young, unchurched adults, in a new subdivision, again, not inviting the young people to come to them, but going to where young people are. Sturdy ended saying, “If you wanted to do something like this, you need a really great, dynamic priest who’s a good leader and a powerful preacher. One might even say you need a great high priest and He sits at the right hand of the Father and if He’s in your church you can do this. I am the most incompetent pastor in the building. I’m 29. If we can do it, anybody can do it. We do it because we have a Great High Priest.”

St. Helena’s, led by their Rector, the Rev. Jeffrey Miller, did a phenomenal job hosting the convention, with over 70 parishioners participating in the effort. The 221st Convention of the Diocese will be held March 9-10, 2012 in Charleston, SC at both St. Philip’s Church and the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul.

2/28/2011 11:30 a.m. 


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