In Christ, Called to Collaborate
Speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
The 238th annual Diocesan Convention took place Friday-Saturday, Oct. 27-28, 2023.
Convention materials are attached as PDFs at the bottom of this page.
E-mail email@example.com with any questions.
Convention follow-up and coverage
Bishop Gates's annual address: Find video and text here.
Watch livestream recording of Friday evening keynote here.
Find convention materials, including honorary recognitions, attached as PDFs at the bottom of this page.
Actions of the 238th annual Diocesan Convention follow below; they are also posted as a PDF document here.
Lay Member of the Standing Committee
Kevin Miller, Parish of the Epiphany, Walpole (4-year term)
Clerical Members of the Standing Committee
The Rev. Kit Lonergan, Trinity Church, Boston (2-year term)
The Rev. Walter Connelly, St. John’s Church, Winthrop (4-year term)
Clerical Member of the Diocesan Disciplinary Board
The Rev. Lynn Campbell, Church of the Advent, Medfield (3-year term)
Deputy to the Provincial Conference
Betsy Ridge, Church of the Advent, Boston (3-year term)
Treasurer of the Diocese
Theodore Y. T. Ts’o, Church of Our Saviour, Arlington (1-year term)
Secretary of the Diocese
Julie Shea, St. John’s Church, Winthrop (1-year term)
Clerical Member of the Cathedral Chapter
The Rev. Megan C. Holding, Northeastern University Lutheran Episcopal Campus Ministry (3-year term)
Member of the Board of Directors of the Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center
Michael Pierce, Bristol Trinity Church, Easton (3-year term)
Member of the Trustees of Donations
Judith Edington, St. John’s Church, Newtonville (5-year term)
Commission on Ministry Appointments through Convention 2026
The Rev. Edwin Johnson
The Rev. Sarah Mato
The Rev. Diane Wong
The Ven. Pat Zifcak
Approval of the 2024 Diocesan Budget
Resolved, that the 238th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts approve the budget of revenue and expenses for 2024 as summarized on page 14 [of the budget book], including the individual parish and mission assessments and approved adjustments for 2024 listed on pages 19-22 [of the budget book].
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 2023 Guidelines.
Resolved, that the TCC Standard be defined as the minimum TCC for active full-time parochial clergy and, for the calendar year 2024, is determined by the following formula:
TCC Standard = $83,173 + (170.96 x Points) + $500 x [years of service* within congregation]
Provided that the minimum TCC Standard for full-time parochial clergy is $88,302.
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) = [$83,173 + (170.96 x Points)] x 0.60
The TCC applicable to a full-time assistant rector shall not be less than:
TCC Standard (assistant) = [$83,173 + (170.96 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) = [$83,173 + (170.96 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
Honoring The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates’s 10th and Final Diocesan Annual Convention
Whereas, the Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates was elected Bishop Diocesan on April 5, 2014, and consecrated Bishop Diocesan on September 13, 2014, and,
Whereas, Bishop Gates has faithfully served as chief pastor to the clergy and people of the Diocese of Massachusetts; has led the diocese in prioritizing our racial reconciliation work; and has supported innovations of ministry; and,
Whereas, Bishop Gates has called for the election of his successor in 2024, and,
Whereas, Bishop Gates still has a full year of ministry ahead and yet this convention marks his 10th and final annual Diocesan Convention, therefore be it
Resolved, this convention sends its appreciation and gratitude to Tricia, Ethan, and Wesleigh for their support of Alan in his ministry, and be it further,
Resolved, the Diocese of Massachusetts recognizes and expresses our appreciation for Bishop Alan Gates for his leadership during and between these Diocesan Conventions; for his willingness to follow Christ in ministry among us; and for the good work he will accomplish with us in the year ahead.
Standing Committee Resolution Enabling Election of Bishop Diocesan
Resolved, that this 238th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Massachusetts gives its assent and support to the Standing Committee for the conduct of an election of bishop diocesan, as follows but not limited to:
1) that, pursuant and subject to the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church and of the Diocese of Massachusetts, the Standing Committee has jurisdiction over the entire discernment, nomination, transition, election, and ordination process for the next bishop diocesan of the diocese; and
2) that the actions completed by the Standing Committee since the announcement on May 10, 2023, by the Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, 16th Bishop of Massachusetts, of his intention to resign by the end of 2024, as well as all future actions taken to fulfill the process of nominating, electing, and ordaining our next bishop diocesan, along with any and all appropriate procedures needed to accomplish them—particularly as outlined in the Standing Committee’s Supplemental Report to Convention dated September 14, 2023—ought to be, and hereby are, enabled.
Continued Commitment to Racial Justice Work in the Diocesan and Cathedral Staff
Resolved, that the 238th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts commends the diocesan and cathedral staff for the initiative and dedication they have shown in their commitment to the work of becoming a more anti-racist community, under the leadership of the joint Diocesan/Cathedral Staff Anti-Racist Working Group; and be it further
Resolved, that this Convention urges them to continue their work with an annual review of how their racial justice work has progressed during the intervening year; and be it further
Resolved, that the results of this annual review will be shared with the Racial Justice Commission through its Systems and Structures Subcommittee and be reported to the Diocesan Convention by the Racial Justice Commission; and be it further
Resolved, that this Convention urges the Budget Committee of the Diocese of Massachusetts to allocate at least $20,000 per year beginning with the 2025 budget to support this annual review of the progress and the staff’s continued commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization, allowing them to access the tools, professional expertise, and other resources necessary for this assessment and their ongoing progress; and be it further
Resolved, that this Convention urges all worshiping communities and organizations of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts to do the same work among their members.
Establish a Healthy Congregations Task Force
Resolved, that the 238th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts recognizes the critical importance of nurturing healthy communities as defined in our mission strategy; and be it further
Resolved, that the characteristics of a healthy congregation are many, including clergy and lay wellness, healthy power dynamics and boundaries, adherence to Safe Church practices, lay leadership development, willingness to speak honestly about the sustainability of its ministries, and more; and be it further
Resolved, that we recognize the need for mental health support for our clergy and parishioners in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic; and be it further
Resolved, that the Bishops be requested to establish a Healthy Congregations Task Force, made up of clergy and lay members, including mental health professionals, with the mandate to identify the components of a healthy congregation, catalog the resources currently available, and recommend additional resources needed to support healthy congregational communities, with a particular focus on mental health supports and resources to help congregations faithfully evaluate the sustainability of their ministries, and make a report to the 239th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
On the Intent, Purpose, Governance, and Accountability of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts Reparations Fund
Resolved, that, building upon the resolutions passed by this body in 2008, 2009, 2020, 2021, and 2022, the 238th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts adopts the following Statement of Intention and Purpose for the Reparations Fund:
The Reparations Fund of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts exists to help repair the breach of systemic racism in the life of our diocese, region, and nation, by resourcing Black communities to flourish in myriad ways. Focused on systemic solutions to present-day racial disparities whose origins lie in the sin of American slavery, the Fund’s mission is to counteract and redress ongoing social, economic, educational, judicial, medical, political, and other harm caused to African Americans and Afro Caribbeans.
The purpose of the Fund is to provide a vehicle for our diocese to come together in acknowledgement of our communal responsibility as followers of Jesus Christ for repairing the legacies of American slavery. These legacies harmed many Black people through several centuries, and they continue to harm people of all races in the form of persistent fractures within the Beloved Community, in which God yearns for us all to experience belonging. The harms of systemic racism have been perpetuated through the centuries by individuals and institutions connected with our diocese; and they have also, at times, been resisted by individuals and institutions connected with our diocese. The Fund is a key part of our renewed collective commitment to seek relational and systemic wholeness within the life of our diocese, Eastern Massachusetts, and our nation.
And be it further
Resolved, that, the guiding principles for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts Reparations Fund be as follows:
A. The Reparations Fund is a long-term commitment of our diocese and will be used in ways that promote both repair for all and redress for those who have been harmed by the institution of American slavery and its legacies.
B. The Reparations Fund will support systemic solutions in response to the ongoing legacies of racism that resulted from American slavery and continue to harm our society through unjust outcomes in housing, education, criminal justice, health care, food security, religion, and other aspects of our common life.
C. Those governing the Reparations Fund will prioritize relationship building with African American and Afro Caribbean communities and organizations committed to serving these communities in our region as part of their ongoing discernment work.
D. The Reparations Fund will be focused primarily on supporting communities within the geographic borders of our diocese, and may include both church-based organizations and those based outside of church settings.
E. The Reparations Fund’s activities may include disbursements, loans, investments, and other financial mechanisms to promote the goals of the Fund. Attention will be paid to the economic diversity within African American and Afro Caribbean communities, to ensure that repair efforts reach economically disadvantaged members of these communities.
F. The Reparation Fund's investment goals and policies will consider both long-term return on investment and how the Fund’s investment allocations can advance the mission of reparations.
G. The Reparations Fund is organizationally accountable to the Diocese of Massachusetts through its leadership, governance structures, and policies, and is morally accountable to the African American and Afro Caribbean communities of Eastern Massachusetts.
And be it further
Resolved, that this Convention calls for the creation of a Reparations Fund Committee to oversee the Fund, to be formally constituted by the diocesan bishop (with the approval of Diocesan Council) under their canonical authority as part of our diocesan organizational structure. We renew our call that the Fund Committee consist predominantly of people from the communities suffering generations of harm, which the Fund exists to redress and repair. We further call for the Fund Committee to: include geographic representation from all three regions of our diocese, consist of both lay and clergy members of our diocese, and be given authority to ensure that the Fund’s mission, operations, investments, and funding activities are consistent with the guiding principles adopted by this Convention.
Resolution in Response to the Convention Address by The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Oct. 28, 2023
Resolved, that this 238th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts commits ourselves to model and bear witness to peaceful respect across difference; to condemn violence, extend compassion, offer aid, and pray fervently with and for people of all faiths who act for justice and peace; to become a more anti-racist church and a more genuinely reconciled people of God; and be it further
Resolved, that we face into challenges and anxieties together, holding space for one another and extending grace to one another, healing divisions of the past to be reconciled for the future, as we reimagine new forms of collaboration, new models of leadership, new ways of being church and worshiping communities, embracing the richness of language and culture among us, welcoming everyone to the fullness of belonging; and be it further
Resolved, that this 238th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts recognizes that this is the final annual convention for our 16th bishop diocesan, the Rt. Rev. Alan McIntosh Gates, and we give thanks to God for him for the many blessings of collegiality, respect, thoughtfulness, care, hospitality, attentiveness, fairness, equanimity, and grace he has brought to our diocese and shared life, and we look forward to celebrating his episcopacy in the coming months as we prepare for his successor; and be it further
Resolved, that this 238th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts puts our trust in God, guided by God’s light and truth, as we labor, full of gratitude and in hope, towards the future (not the past), where the bounty of God’s unimagined blessings are yet to be revealed upon God’s holy hill and dwelling, proclaiming Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to God from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.
Amendments to Canon 14
Words added are underlined and words removed are stricken through.
ORGANIZATION OF PARISHES,
AND MISSIONS, AND INTENTIONAL EPISCOPAL COMMUNITIES
Sec. 1. An Intentional Episcopal Community may be organized as such by the adoption of a constitution or bylaws, appointment by the Bishop of, or election by its members of, a governing body, and a petition for consent to the Bishop and the Standing Committee (a) affirming that such community will accede to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church and the Constitution and Canons of this Diocese; (b) affirming that such community will be subject to Title I, Canon 7, Section 4 of Canons of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church; (c) affirming that such community will be subject to the oversight of the Bishop; (d) affirming that such community will be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as The Episcopal Church has received them; and (e) containing or attaching a ministry covenant that describes the governance of the community, including the role of clergy in such community, and the rights and responsibilities of the community and Diocese in partnership. Upon the Bishop and Standing Committee granting consent to an Intentional Episcopal Community, the Bishop shall enter into a ministry covenant with the community.
Sec. 7. Intentional Episcopal Communities
(1) Each Intentional Episcopal Community must have a governance structure agreed to by the Bishop and Standing Committee, which will be set out in the ministry covenant required by Canon 14, Section 1. An Intentional Episcopal Community may amend its constitution, bylaws, or governance structure only with the consent of the Bishop and the Standing Committee.
(2) The Bishop shall make available to each Intentional Episcopal Community a system of support and accountability to encourage and enable the development of the community’s life and ministry, including but not limited to: ministry from and visitation by a Bishop of the Diocese, and access to Diocesan grants, loans, and insurance plans.
(3) Each Intentional Episcopal Community shall provide a report of its activities, ministry, sacramental acts, and leaders annually to the Bishop in the format prescribed by the Bishop.
(4) Each Intentional Episcopal Community is responsible to live within a system of support and accountability that links its life and ministry with that of the Bishop and the Diocese, possibly including financial contributions. Whether and the level at which an Intentional Episcopal Community not in union with the Convention shall make financial contributions shall be determined by the Bishop in consultation with the Diocesan Council.
(5) For an Intentional Episcopal Community not in union with the Convention, the Bishop, with the consent of the Standing Committee and upon no less than fourteen (14) calendar days’ written notice to the Intentional Episcopal Community, may terminate the status of any group of individuals organized as an Intentional Episcopal Community.
(6) No consecrated church or chapel owned, used, or controlled by an Intentional Episcopal Community, nor any church or chapel which has been used solely for divine service, nor any property which is being used as a house for clergy of the Intentional Episcopal Community, nor any land incidental to or regularly used in connection with any of the foregoing, shall be alienated or encumbered without the previous written consent of the Bishop, acting with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee.
(7) An Intentional Episcopal Community may seek admission into union with the Convention. In seeking admission into union with the Convention, the provisions of Article 13, Section 2, of the Constitution shall apply, and, for purposes of seeking admission into union with the Convention, such Intentional Episcopal Community shall be subject to the same criteria as a mission seeking union.
(8) An Intentional Episcopal Community admitted into union with the Convention shall have all the same rights, including representation at Convention, and be subject to all the requirements of a mission in union with the Convention set forth in the Constitution and Canons in the same manner and with the same intent as if such Intentional Episcopal Community were a mission in union with the Convention. Further, the report required by Canon 14, Section 7(3), shall be deemed to satisfy the reporting requirements of Canon 16 provided that it substantially complies with the format prescribed by the Bishop.