Climate crisis, racial justice & renewed mission strategy top 2021 Diocesan Convention agenda

The climate crisis, racial justice and a renewed mission strategy are at the top of the agenda, as the annual Diocesan Convention prepares to gather next month, deliberating under the theme "Members One of Another," taken from Romans 12:5 and an invitation to celebrate and explore interdependence as members of the Body of Christ.  With COVID-19 precautions still in play, the Nov. 12-13 event will take place fully online again this year.  

Friday for all

The virtual format makes it possible to open Friday’s full line-up of learning sessions and worship to anyone who would like to participate.  

Diocesan Convention 2021 Friday Program Flier

The Friday schedule includes a 1 p.m. plenary session, “Remembering Our Mutuality: Renewing Our Church with Hopeful Imagination and Reaffirmation” offered by the Rev. Lydia Kelsey Bucklin, Canon to the Ordinary for Discipleship and Vitality in the Diocese of Northern Michigan, followed by a series of break-out sessions delving deeper into aspects of interdependence as the Body of Christ.  

Bishop Douglas J. Fisher from the neighboring Diocese of Western Massachusetts will be the guest preacher at the 5 p.m. service of Holy Eucharist. 

Then at 7 p.m., Dr. Catherine Meeks, Executive Director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in the Diocese of Atlanta, will give a keynote address; her topic is “Dancing on Paradox’s Floor While Searching for Beloved Community.”

Convention’s annual business sessions follow on Saturday.  Delegates and clergy will participate via Zoom, with a livestream available for those who wish to observe the proceedings.  (All convention Zoom sessions and the Saturday livestream will be presented via a virtual event management platform, so pre-registration will be necessary to access them.  Find registration here.)


The climate crisis and racial justice top the convention’s policy-making agenda for a second year. Two proposed resolutions call for carbon drawdown commitments and the embrace of sustainable burial practices.  Another proposed resolution charts a course for accountability and action on the diocesan commitment to repentance and reparations for the sin and legacy of slavery, including the creation by 2024 of a diocesan reparations fund.

And, the convention will vote on a request to the 80th Episcopal Church General Convention in 2022 to add the late Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris, first female bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion, to the church calendar for commemoration on March 13.  (Read Episcopal News Service’s story here.)

Proposed resolutions are available in full in the convention Handbook (Español).

Mission strategy

A revised mission strategy proposal will also come before the convention.  Diocesan canons require that the diocesan mission strategy be reviewed no less frequently than once every five years; the current strategy was adopted in 2016.

The proposed revision draws on the core themes of discipleship, justice seeking and care for creation that emerged from survey and conversation responses collected from congregations and groups earlier this year by the Mission Strategy Committee of Diocesan Council.  The revised strategy lays out goals and actions for individuals, congregations, the bishops and Diocesan Council across eight areas of commitment.  The mission strategy report and proposed revision are available in the convention Handbook (Español).

An online discussion session to review the revised mission strategy ahead of the convention is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.  Anyone who would like to take part can register for the session through the convention registration site.

2022 budget

Convention also will vote on the proposed $9.4-million diocesan budget for 2022.  It restores to pre-pandemic levels the congregational development and deanery grants that were redirected for pandemic and assessment relief in 2020-2021, and it includes a five percent increase in mission initiatives grants.  Also of note for 2022 is a new income-based, graduated assessment formula for calculating the contribution that each congregation makes to the annual diocesan budget in support of common mission and ministry. 

The Diocesan Convention is the primary governing body of the diocese.  It convenes annually to conduct diocesan business, including election of officers and members of various leadership bodies; approval of a budget for the upcoming year; setting mission strategy; and establishing diocesan policy and procedure by considering and voting on resolutions and approving changes to the diocesan constitution and canons.  It is also an occasion for communication and teaching from the bishops; learning about and participating in shared mission and ministry; fellowship, community building and common prayer; and celebration of the Holy Eucharist together as a diocesan community.

All clergy who are canonically resident in the diocese and two lay persons elected as delegates from each parish and mission in union with the diocese have seat, voice and vote at Diocesan Convention.

Find links, materials and updates at

--Tracy J. Sukraw