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48th Annual Diocesan Convention

For those who were not able to attend, but were with us in spirit and would like to share in our joy from the three wonderful days of convention activities in Fairhope, February 14 - 16, as we celebrated our "Life Together" at St. James Episcopal Church, here is the summary:

Thursday, February 14

The first day of convention activities was kicked off by the opening of the exhibit hall where attendees were exposed to the variety of ministry work taking place within the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast and beyond. Exhibitors such as Beckwith Camp and Retreat Center, Godly Play, Commission on Prison Ministry to Advent's Liturgical Church Mice, among many others were able to share stories, offer resources and materials, and discuss their ministries while displaying photographs and information.

Registration check-in opened at noon. Delegates and visitors received convention materials, name badges, and goodie bags. Later, new delegates and those representing small churches attended orientation in the Chapel where they learned about the workings of convention and what to expect of the next two days. After orientation, everyone was invited to the open hearing of the proposed 2019 budget which allowed for discussion and better understanding of the diocese's finances.

The Opening Eucharist wrapped up the first day. Bishop Russell used his sermon and address to share what happened over the course of the past year and laid the foundation for the year to come. The text from his sermon and address are available HERE. The video of the Opening Eucharist can be watched HERE (Bishop Russell's sermon and address begin at the 36 minute mark).

Friday, February 15

The second day of convention was a busy one. Registration check-in reopened first thing, then was promptly followed by Morning Prayer. The homilist was Liam Ayres, a young adult who was a member of St. James, but is attending college at the University of Alabama is Huntsville and started a Canterbury Club campus ministry. The text of his homily is available HERE.

Bishop Russell called the convention to order and the first business session began with the secretary, Deacon Ed Richards announcing quorum. In good humor, the Rev. Thack Dyson paid tribute to our parliamentarians, Kathy Miller and Scott Remington, with a video honoring Miller and roasting Remington. Remington is known for his playfulness in making fun examples of diocesan clergy in his past visual presentations of the dos and don'ts of the Roberts Rules of Order and the parliamentary procedure.

Business continued with an offering of thanks to our convention host, St. James Episcopal Church. Convention co-chairs, Bruce Stone and Ann Fargason gave a report on credentials and privileges, recommending a list of persons to be given seat and voice during official business sessions. Following that report Bishop Russell presented his nominations for general officers, committees, and commissions. Next, Secretary Richards called attention to the printed pages of the canonical changes recommended to dioceses from the 79th General Convention.

After brief reports from Dean Beverly Gibson of Christ Church Cathedral and Dean Joy Blaylock of the Diocesan School for Ministry, attention was turned to the slate of Standing Committee nominees. There were no motions from the floor for additional nominations for neither the lay order nor the clergy order.


Next, Standing Committee president, the Rev. Margaret Shepard gave a report of the committee from the past year.

Following Shepard, there was a call for the proposal of additional resolutions (general or to amend diocesan canons) from the floor, of which there were none.

After announcing Deacon Susan McKee as necrology officer, Bishop Russell highlighted multiple programs offered over the past year, then called for reports from the Rev. Kammy Young, canon missioner for development, who presented her work of evangelism along with the Rev. Mary Alice Mathison (Panama City Beach enterprise), Sally Crenshaw (Freedom Schools), Brad Moore (DataStory), and Merrilee Ndstande (Epiphany StorySharing). Then reports were given by the executive directors of our three agencies: Pratt Paterson for Wilmer Hall Children's Home, Connie Anderson for Murray House Assisted Living, and Eleanor Reeves for Beckwith.

Bishop Russell shared a list of clergy who served as deans of the summer camp program at Beckwith and then recognized the various schools in our diocese who are associated with the National Association of Episcopal Schools.

University of the South representative Walker Adams gave a brief report.