When Bishop Russell asked me to serve as his appointee on the Standing Committee, my first response was, “But I don’t know anything about finance and budgets!” I didn’t have any idea what the Standing Committee did and assumed it was all about money. It’s true, stewardship of the budget and funds of the diocese are part of that, but there is so much more!
In the past year, our committee has helped affirm candidates for the diaconate and priesthood, many of whom are graduates of our own School for Ministry. We have consented to the election of bishops in dioceses all over the country. And we have offered advice to Bishop Russell and our other leaders as they make difficult decisions about issues that have popped up in our own diocese.
In March, we met at Camp Beckwith for a day-long retreat to help us understand our mission and purpose, and to get to know each other. The committee is made up of priests and laypeople. It’s a diverse group, and everyone brings something different to the table. Among our lay members are physicians, lawyers, Air Force officers, human resources professionals, teachers, information technology administrators, and more, both active in the workforce and retired. They span the length of the diocese from western and central Alabama through the Florida panhandle. The one thing we all share is the goal of a happy, healthy, and growing diocese. Meeting these inspiring people has been a highlight for me. I am honored and humbled to have been chosen to serve alongside them.
As I enter my second year of service on the committee, I am aware of our increased responsibilities as Bishop Russell takes his well-earned sabbatical that started in April. The Standing Committee basically fills the role of the bishop in his absence. Fortunately, we have great leaders on our committee and in the diocesan office who will do their best to ensure everything continues to run smoothly. Please pray for us as we go about the important work we have been called to do and for Bishop Russell as he enjoys his time off.
If you have ever considered serving on the Standing Committee, don’t hesitate. At our annual diocesan convention, three new members are elected and two are appointed. It is fascinating work, and a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the diocese and get to know some incredible people who love Jesus and are proud to be Episcopalians.
Standing Committee Member
Member of St. Jude's, Niceville