Diocese of Lexington meets in 116th annual Convention
by Kay Collier McLaughlin, Deputy for Leadership Development and Communications
“Making all things new”, the theme of the 116th annual convention of the Diocese of Lexington, celebrated new beginnings: 11 new clergy in the diocese since the previous convention; St. Paul’s, Newport received with parish status; new members of diocesan bodies elected and a new resolution for structure to offer the wider church. Creative energy and passion for mission and ministry mark a Diocese brimming with hope, humor and forward thinking.
It all fit with Interim Assisting Bishop Chilton Knudsen’s image of the icon as a metaphor for transition– as she pointed out in her address to convention that each new layer of iconography does not displace or erase the old, rather, allows the old to shine through with a richer, deeper more luminous effect on the whole. Bishop Knudsen praised the “bold and courageous” congregations and actions of her adopted diocese, highlighting their devotion to being a bully-free diocese, where in “holy conversations” and the ongoing work of leadership people take seriously how to “work together in the face of strong emotion”, creating a respectful climate for discourse, supporting energy and engagement with mission.
The February convention was designed as a model for the electing convention — which will name the 7th Bishop of Lexington in August — with business set in the context of the liturgy, and a recess rather than an adjournment until the body reconvenes for the election. The Rev. Richard Burden, Chair of the Nominating Committee, presented the goals and challenges that the committee derived from the Holy Conversation data, offering the assembly an opportunity to reflect on the materials and offer comments in order to truthfully represent the Diocese to prospective candidates. Frank Kebbell, Chair of the Transition Committee, led the convention through the time line for candidate visitation, election and consecration.
While budget and diocesan elections form the nucleus of annual business before the convention, the bishop’s election and structure issues in the larger church were both topics of significant interest. At the annual breakfast for the Diocese’s Small Church Ministry Consortium and Network for Pastoral Leadership and Sustaining Healthy Congregations, which are in their fifth and third years respectively, it was suggested that while there are many members for whom diocesan structure and polity are new and discussion on the importance of changing the structure of the larger church confusing, perhaps it was easiest to understand structural reform as it has been lived in the Diocese, with new eyes and new ideas turning liabilities into opportunities, now in a period of reflection for purposes of continuing evolution and forward movement.
The structure resolution brought forth by the Convention Resolution Committee appeared to echo both this understanding and Bishop Chilton’s raising up of the bully-free diocese of respectful discourse. While strong sentiments for several approaches to structural reform were voiced in the Friday afternoon hearings, the substitute resolution to R-1 and R-2 passed the Convention unanimously, with Deputy Allison Duvall, one of the proposers of R-2, taking the mike to speak in favor of the substitute as “satisfactory” to the presenters, who included the Rev. Laurie Brock, the Rev. Amy Dafler Meaux, the Rev. Elise Johnstone, the Rev. David Perkins and Duvall.
Continuing to “Make All Things New”, the 116th Convention:
- Kicked off a capital campaign for the Cathedral Domain Camp and Conference Center, announcing gifts totaling a half million dollars from 30 individuals, including members of Diocesan councils and the Diocesan staff.
- Announced an $18,000 UTO grant to St. Phillip’s, Harrodsburg for the renovation of their kitchen, which will enable the continuation of their community meal ministry
- Announced several new collaborative ministries between the Diocese and Christ Church Cathedral, including a Planned Giving/Legacy Society Workshop; A Lenten Quiet Day co-presented by Bishop Knudsen and the Very Rev. Carol Wade, Dean and Rector of Christ Church Cathedral; and a “New Harmony” Celtic Spirituality workshop with J. Philip Newell
- Elected Charlotte “C.C.” Johnson, St. Raphael’s, Lexington (Lay Order); and the Very Rev. Carol Wade, Christ Church Cathedral, Lexington (clergy order), to Standing Committee
- Elected Anne Whitfield “Whitty” Bohmer, Good Shepherd, Lexington; Jay Marshall, St. Alban’s, Morehead; Sandra Plant, Church of Our Saviour, Madison County; and Sidney Vignes, St. Andrews, Fort Thomas (Lay Order); the Rev. Amy Dafler Meaux, Trinity, Danville; and The Rev. Matthew Young, St. Paul’s, Newport (Clerical Order), to the Executive Council
- Unanimously passed the Mission and Ministry budgets and a resolution supporting youth representation on vestries and deputations to convention
- Shared an evening of festivity with the Good Shepherd Annual Gala in a Mardi Gras celebration, with silent and live auction proceeds going to support of Good Shepherd Refugee Ministries, the Cathedral Domain and the renovation of the Cathedral in Haiti
- Supported youth scholarships, St. Agnes House and Reading Camp ministries with proceeds from silent auctions
- Heard “Mission Moments” from these and other ministries, including the Mama Ada Foundation, Eldoret pilgrims, Episcopal Appalachian Ministries, the University of the South, and Barnes Mountain