Diocesan Convention 2021

2021 Diocesan Convention logo

Convention follow-up and coverage

• Read a news summary here.

• Find video and text of Bishop Alan M. Gates's annual address here.

• Watch the livestream recording of the service of Holy Eucharist and Western Massachusetts Bishop Douglas Fisher's sermon here.

• View Friday plenary session, presented by The Rev. Lydia Kelsey Bucklin, Canon to the Ordinary for Discipleship and Vitality in the Diocese of Northern Michigan.

• View Friday keynote session, presented by Dr. Catherine Meeks, Executive Director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in the Diocese of Atlanta.

Additional video reports and presentations:

• Christ the King Anglican Community Church, Lynn

Mission Strategy Report

Mission Strategy Video

Racial Justice Commission

Task Force for Exploring Common Mission, Diocese of Massachusetts and Diocese of Western Massachusetts

 

Actions of the 236th annual Diocesan Convention

Actions of the 236th annual Diocesan Convention follow below.  They are also attached as a PDF at the bottom of this page.  

Elections:

Clerical Member of the Standing Committee
The Rev. Dr. Tara K. Soughers, Church of Our Saviour, Somerset (4-year term)

Lay Member of the Standing Committee
Suzanne B. Owayda, Parish of the Epiphany, Winchester (4-year term)

Deputies to Provincial Conference (in ranked order)
The Rev. Kathy McAdams, St. John’s Church, Franklin (2-year term)
The Rev. Gregory G. Perez, St. Stephen’s Memorial Church, Lynn (1-year term)

Members of the Board of Directors of the Barbara C. Harris Center
The Rev. Jonathan T. Eden, Christ Church, Cambridge (3-year term)
Norma E. Jaynes, St. Paul’s Church, Natick (3-year term)

Uncontested Elections:

Clerical Member of the Standing Committee
The Rev. Deborah A. Phillips, Grace Church, Salem (1-year term)

Clerical Member of the Disciplinary Board
The Rev. Nathan W. Ives, St. Peter’s Church/San Pedro, Salem (3-year term)

Lay Member of the Disciplinary Board
Diane M. Grondin, Christ Church, Quincy (3-year term)
Elizabeth Aguilo, St. John’s Church, Winthrop (2-year term)

Clerical Member of the Disciplinary Board
The Rev. Edwin Johnson, St. Mary’s Church, Dorchester (3-year term)

Lay Deputy to the Provincial Conference
Deborah Gardner Walker, St. Peter’s Church, Beverly (3-year term)

Treasurer of the Diocese
Theodore Y. T. Ts’o, Church of Our Saviour, Arlington (1-year term)

Secretary of the Diocese
The Rev. Rachel P. Wildman, St. Paul’s Church, Bedford (1-year term)

Clerical Member of the Cathedral Chapter
The Rev. Kathryn (Kate) A. Bast, Trinity Parish, Melrose (3-year term)

Lay Member of the Cathedral Chapter 
Kevin D. Miller, Epiphany Church, Walpole (3-year term)

Member of the Trustees of Donations
Elizabeth M. Westvold, St. Peter’s Church, Weston (5-year term)

Appointments to the Commission on Ministry through Convention 2024:
The Rev. Dr. Margaret Arnold
The Rev. Dr. Richard Burden
The Rev. Lynn Campbell
Dr. Laura Crain
Dr. Melva James

Approval of the Diocesan Mission Strategy

Resolved, that the 236th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, pursuant to Canon 10, approve the Diocesan Mission Strategy as proposed on pages H-38 to H-42 of the Convention Handbook.

Admission of Parishes and Missions

Resolved, that Christ the King Anglican Community Church in Lynn, Mass., be admitted as a mission in union with the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts upon procurement of final approval of its by-laws by the bishop, Standing Committee and its congregation.

Approval of the 2022 Diocesan Budget

Resolved, that the 236th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts approve the budget of revenue and expenses for 2022 as summarized on page 12 [of the budget booklet], including the individual parish and mission assessments and approved adjustments for 2022 listed on pages 17-20.

Clergy Compensation and Benefits

Resolved, that the diocesan Total Clergy Compensation (TCC) be defined as the total of cash stipend, utilities allowance, housing, SECA (Self Employment Contribution Act) allowance, if any, and all other cash compensation paid to an individual clergyperson. TCC does not include benefits (e.g. pension, health or dental insurance, etc.) or reimbursements for job-related expenses as described in the 2020 Guidelines.

Resolved, that the TCC Standard be defined as the minimum TCC for active full-time parochial clergy and, for the calendar year 2022, is determined by the following formula: 

TCC Standard = $76,115 + (156.46 x Points) + $500 x [years of service* within congregation]

Provided that the minimum TCC Standard for full-time parochial clergy is $83,233.  

Points are determined as the sum of three factors, calculated from data taken from the most recent Parochial Report:

Total Current Operating Revenues (000s) x .30 
    +    Number of Current Adult Pledging Units x .40 
    +    Average Current Sunday-Attendance x .30 
    =    Total Points

The TCC applicable to a full-time rector, vicar, priest-in-charge or interim shall not be less than 100% of the TCC Standard for the congregation.

The TCC applicable to a full-time curate shall not be less than:
TCC Standard (curate) = [$76,115 + (156.46 x Points)] x 0.60

The TCC applicable to a full-time assistant rector shall not be less than:
TCC Standard (assistant) = [$76,115 + (156.46 x Points)] x 0.65 
+ $350 x [years of service within the congregation]

The TCC applicable to a full-time associate rector shall not be less than:
TCC Standard (associate) = [$76,115 + (156.46 x Points)] x 0.75 
+ $375 x [years of service within the congregation]

*Provided that in each case no more than 10 years of service will be considered in this calculation.

Resolutions (in final form)

Resolution to Enter Barbara Clementine Harris, Bishop, to the Calendar of the Church Year
Resolved, that the 236th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Massachusetts submits the following resolution to the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church meeting in 2022:

Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, that the 80th General Convention includes and enters Barbara Clementine Harris, Bishop, to the Calendar of the Church Year to be celebrated on March 13.


Burying the Dead: A Resolution to Encourage Sustainable Christian Death Practices
Resolved, that the 236th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, responding to our bishops’ declaration of a climate emergency, and honoring the goodness of created bodies in the sacred work of burying the dead, encourages everyone to consider the option of natural burial (also known as green burial) and home death care when making end-of-life arrangements; and be it further

Resolved, that the 236th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts encourages parishes and clergy within the diocese to disseminate to those in their care information regarding natural burial and home body-tending practices; and be it further

Resolved, that the 236th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts encourages its constituent parishes and missions to advocate in their respective cities, towns and private cemeteries commonly used by parishioners for changes in cemetery regulations to allow for burial of unembalmed bodies in biodegradable containers or shrouds without protective liners or vaults in cemeteries or natural cemetery preserves; and be it further 

Resolved, that the 236th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts shares this resolution with our siblings in Christ in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, and invites them to join with us in this endeavor. 


A Call to Carbon Drawdown
Resolved, that the 236th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts encourages all individuals, parishes, communities and ministries to commit to “‘Drawdown’— the point in the future when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline, thereby stopping catastrophic climate change,” [Project Drawdown https://drawdown.org/] well before 2030; and be it further

Resolved, that the 236th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts encourages the conversion of campuses and facilities held by parishes in trust for the diocese to reduce carbon emissions through minimizing resource consumption, using renewable energy, restoring the land’s biodiversity with land management such as permaculture, Good News gardening to supply local food and other drawdown practices; and be it further

Resolved, that the 236th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts considers the climate implications of day-to-day activities within the diocese and its member parishes, including patterns of resource consumption and travel, and strives to drawdown carbon emissions through revision of standard practices now and in perpetuity; and be it further

Resolved, that the 236th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts encourages all individuals, parishes, communities and ministries seeking to implement the practices of Project Drawdown10 to reach out to the Creation Care Justice Network for input on strategies such as the following options: 

(1) Divesting from fossil fuels; (2) utilizing the Diocesan Green Loan Program to make energy-efficient changes to parish buildings; (3) partnering with Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light to implement renewable energy options such as solar panels; (4) converting lawns to permaculture that fosters natural ecosystems and resilient design; (5) supporting biodiversity by planting native plants, limiting outdoor lighting and keeping leaf litter as winter ground cover (Nature’s Best Hope, Timber Press); (6) shifting large meetings to virtual platforms, arranging carpools, using public transportation and avoiding non-mandated travel such as to General Convention; (7) advocating for systemic change at local, regional, national and international levels; and (8) committing to intentional and sustained prayer. 


Charting the Long Road Towards Reparations 
Resolved, that the 236th Convention of the Diocese of Massachusetts, in recognition of and restitution for the sin and legacy of slavery, accepts and affirms the foundational principle as recommended by the Racial Justice Commission for the articulation of remedies; namely that, in the name of reparations, the Diocese of Massachusetts, its congregations and its Episcopal communities must take action to 1) change how we tell our own histories and present-day story, and 2) make financial compensation; and be it further 

Resolved, that Convention, once again following the recommendations of the Racial Justice Commission, commits that 1) the Diocese of Massachusetts Reparations Fund to be established, as called for by the 235th Convention in November 2020, should give priority to making investments in long-term change and empowerment; 2) payments from such fund should be considered to both individuals and organizations; and 3) beyond these two broad principles, decision-making about the priorities for these investments and how they are distributed need to be in the hands of impacted individuals and communities in all parts of the diocese, according to a process developed by the Racial Justice Commission; and be it further 

Resolved, that this Convention charges the Racial Justice Commission to assist in developing across the diocese a broadly accepted understanding of what actions to take in the name of reparations; and, using that shared understanding, create the means by which the descendants of enslaved Africans and their communities across and within the Diocese of Massachusetts will be empowered to develop funding priorities, funding strategies and decision-making structures in 2023 so that distribution of monies begins in 2024 from the Diocese of Massachusetts Reparations Fund; and be it further 

Resolved, that this Convention directs Diocesan Council and invites the congregations, institutions and other Episcopal communities of the Diocese of Massachusetts to commit 2022 as a year of study, gathering stories, sharing and receiving these stories and discernment across the diocese – in the name of repentance, reconciliation and accountability to the descendants of enslaved Africans and their communities – in order to develop the broadly accepted understanding of what actions to take in the name of reparations; and be it further 

Resolved, that this year of study, discussion and discernment calls forth those communities and organizations who have not yet taken up the invitation from the 235th Convention to explore their historic involvement in and present wealth derived from the forced labor of enslaved people to begin this work using the Toolkit for Reparations in Community, resources offered by the Reparations Subcommittee of the Racial Justice Commission and others; and be it further 

Resolved, that this Convention directs the Racial Justice Commission, through its Reparations Subcommittee, to support the use of these tools and resources in communities across the diocese, by facilitating conversation and study across communities in the diocese, and by offering a study series for use in Lent 2022 to further this study, discernment and story-sharing, to the glory of God and as one means of living out our mission as a church, “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 855).


Resolution in Response to Convention Address by The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates
Resolved, that the 236th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts recognizes that we, members of one another and the Body of Christ, are searchers of the fullness of our own humanity guided by the Light of Christ, in whom humanity and divinity are made one; and be it further

Resolved, that this 236th Convention body searches for our humanity in the face of suffering and oppression, and in face of efforts to confess and right the wrongs of the ongoing impacts of historical oppressions and injustices, especially those that continue to degrade people of African and Indigenous descent; and be it further 

Resolved, that this 236th Convention affirms, as we search for our humanity, that the way of proceeding in love asks for a willingness to sacrifice – a sacrificial love that is at the heart of the gospel – personal comfort for the common good as the COVID-19 threat remains real; personal comfort for the healing of the planet we hold in our hands; and be it further

Resolved, that this 236th Convention affirms that the work of reparations searches to repair and free the Body of Christ, and as we strive to repair the body, we are searching for our humanity; and be it further

Resolved, that this 236th Convention gives thanks for sustaining continued and even beginning new ministries in congregations throughout our diocese as we seek our humanity; and be it further

Resolved, that this 236th Convention commits to pushing back against feelings of helplessness and to do all we can to fulfill our commitment to God, to one another, and to the generations that come after us as the way we search for our humanity; and be it further 

Resolved, that we are searchers for our humanity, the Body of Christ, members one of another when we gather, even virtually; when we offer our common prayers, even in our separate churches; when we expand collaboration with our Western Massachusetts companions; when we wear those infernal masks; when we sacrifice our comfort for the security of another; when we commit to our common-share assessments; when together we face our past, for the sake of our future; when together we are agents in the search for our humanity.

For more information

Questions may be e-mailed to convention@diomass.org.