The Annual Convention of the Diocese of Maine, on its several year journey around the points of the compass, concluded yesterday its second convention held at Sunday River in the Western Mountains. While not all the business set to go before the 350 Maine Episcopalians gathered was completed over the two-day convention, one of the first orders of business on Saturday morning was to pass a new mission strategy for the Diocese of Maine : “To strengthen communities of faith for God’s mission.”
With the 2012 diocesan budget, elections to diocesan office and 14 resolutions to consider- including seven presented by the Mission Study Groups that have been at work for two years – Bishop Stephen Lane worked hard as Chair to keep the delegates and clergy of the 65 congregations on task with ample time was dedicated to worship.
After a program of optional workshops and committee hearings on Friday morning, Convention began with a first-ever procession of lay and clergy from each congregation carrying their church banner and greetings and prayers from Bishop Lane. Continuing the new tradition of inviting local congregations to plan and participate in worship, the music team from St. Matthew’s in Lisbon shared their gifts in leading the gathered in the opening songs. Bishop Lane’s welcome included an invitation for all to enter the “courtesy of Christ” in the deliberations over the next two days, setting the tone for the gracious discussion and consideration to come.
Election Results and Resolutions are below.
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Resolution #1 and Resolution #2 passed unanimously. Click here to see the Convention resolutions.
Resolution #3 on Mission Strategy passed as amended unamimously (see below for the amended version)
Resolved, that this Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine affirm the following: The Mission Strategy of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine is:
“To strengthen communities of faith for God’s mission.”
Resolution #4 on Collaboration was passed as amended (see below for amended version)
(A substitute resolution conflating and expanding Resolutions #4 and #5 was defeated.)
Resolved, that this Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine encourage collaborative strategies between Episcopal congregations, other faith communities and other organizations to facilitate and strengthen communities of faith for God’s mission and to leverage resources, and be it further
Resolved, that evaluation of diocesan funding proposals include consideration of how such proposals support collaboration for mission.
Resolution #5 on Mission Readiness passed as submitted. Amendments to first “expect” and then “require” every congregation to participate in a process of evaluating mission readiness and capacity failed. See submitted language passed below.
Resolved, that this Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine encourage every congregation to participate in a process of evaluating its readiness and capacity for mission; and be it further
Resolved, that the Bishop’s Office will reach out to the diverse congregations of the diocese to help them assess and plan in order to engage in God’s mission in relationship with other churches and organizations.
Resolution #6 on Grants in Aid to Congregations passed as submitted, see below.
Resolved, that this convention of the Diocese of Maine adopt the following as the policy of the diocese: We will gradually move away from providing regular financial support to congregational operating budgets and toward providing funding for mission and ministry in accordance with the Diocesan Mission Strategy, and be it further
Resolved, that the Office of the Bishop and the Diocesan Council develop resources to assist congregations which currently receive regular diocesan financial support in order to help them become financially self-sustaining; and be it further
Resolved, that this Convention reaffirms that the Diocesan Council may use its discretion to begin or continue financial support to congregational operating budgets where such support is consistent with the mission and ministry priorities of the Diocese.
Resolution #7 on Seven Criteria for Mission passed as amended. (See amended version below)
Resolved, that Diocesan Council or its designee employ the following seven criteria as guidelines in evaluating existing ministries or introducing new ministries that request the support of diocesan resources.
1) Diocesan resources will support program/ministry efforts that are Christ-centered and Gospel-oriented.
2) Diocesan resources will support program/ministry efforts that collaborate with other churches, communities and affinity groups and demonstrate a willingness to share personnel and resources.
3) Diocesan resources will support those program/ministry efforts led by those who can demonstrate their experience as well as passion for their particular ministry.
4) Diocesan resources will support program/ministry efforts with evaluation processes in place and those that can articulate a plan to achieve sustainability.
5) Diocesan resources will support program/ministry efforts whose leaders are willing to share their successes and best practices as well as failures with other congregations or collaborative groups that wish to replicate their work in other parts of the Diocese.
6) Diocesan resources will support program/ministry efforts that demonstrate a willingness to move from a centralized approach to ones that will involve and benefit a wide range and number of people within the diocese and beyond.
7) Diocesan resources will support program/ministry efforts that demonstrate the values of transparency, equity, fairness and collaboration.
Resolution #11 on Lay Compensation for 2012 passed as submitted.
Resolved, that the minimum compensation for lay employees who are paid for more than 250 hours annually by any congregation in union with the Diocese of Maine or by any related ministries in the Diocese shall be raised above $8.90 per hour or its equivalent in salary by the same percentage as the Social Security Administration COLA effective January 1, 2012.
Resolution #12 on Clergy Compensation for 2012 passed as submitted.
Resolved, that the minimum compensation for a presbyter in full time service, consisting of Cash Stipend, Self Employment Tax reimbursement, and Housing and Utilities Allowance (“Total Clergy Compensation”) is to be the mid-point between the average classroom teacher and the average administrator (not including superintendents) salaries in each community the church is in as published by the Maine Department of Education. Such base amounts for 2012 are set forth in Attachment #1; and be it further
Resolved, that it is recommended presbyters be compensated above the required minimum taking into account such things as years of ordained service in ministry, merit, experience, and other relevant factors, and be it further
Resolved, that the guidelines for minimum compensation for supply clergy be as follows:
One Sunday Service $130.00
Two Sunday Services 160.00
Other Liturgical Services 75.00
Pastoral or other assigned responsibilities 75.00 per unit*
* = a unit is a morning, afternoon or evening
Expenses are reimbursed at cost for meals, lodging, telephone, etc., and at the IRS maximum approved rate for mileage, which can be found on the Diocesan web site.
Resolution #14 on Insurance Reserves passed as submitted.
Resolved, that the Diocese of Maine remit to each church its proportion of the sum held in the “Insurance Appraisal Reserve,” and be it further
Resolved, that the Diocese of Maine remit 50% of the sum held in “Insurance Deductible Reserve” to each church by the same formula and transfer the remaining 50% to the “Reserve for Budget Adjustments.”
Due to insufficient time Resolutions #8 on Mission Review Council, #9 on Leadership Development, #10 on Environmental Stewardship, and #13 on Strategies for Peacemaking in Palestine and Support of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem will be referred to Diocesan Council.
Secretary of the Diocese (1-year term): Mr. Alan Shaver, Grace Church, Bath
Treasurer of the Diocese (1-year term): Mr. Richard Rozene, St. Ann’s, Windham
Standing Committee, Clerical Member (3-year term): The Very Rev. Ben Shambaugh, Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Portland
Standing Committee, Lay Member (3-year term): Mr. Bruce Dalbeck, Trinity, Portland
Disciplinary Board, Clerical Member (3-year term): The Rev. Martha Kirkpatrick, St. Margaret’s, Belfast
Disciplinary Board, Clerical Member (1-year term): The Rev. Jud Pealer, Good Shepherd, Rangeley
Provincial Synod, Clerical Deputy (2-year term): The Rev. Kit Wang, St. Stephen’s, Waterboro