147th Convention of the Diocese of Southern Ohio

November 13, 2021
By Elizabeth Wagner, delegate


Last Saturday was the Annual Diocesan Convention, and for the second consecutive year it was a one-day event held via zoom. The final count of voting participants this year was 108 clergy and 199 laity, for a total of 307 members. St. Mark’s delegation this year consisted of Rowena as our priest, Carol Nancarrow and Jim Rudd as the Wardens, and Katherine and Elizabeth Wagner as the elected delegates.

There were six resolutions on the ballot this year; the first was completed as the first order of business, as it changed the status of St. Paul’s, Logan from Mission to Parish. The vote was unanimous, and with the change they gained two more voting members. Congratulations, St. Paul’s, Logan!

Resolution 02 focused on Mission Share Funding. Our own Dwight Cass and Jim Rudd helped create it several years ago, and Jim helped revise it this year as well. The revision was actually two years ahead of schedule, as so many churches’ finances have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, and the Diocese stepped in to determine how they could help. The resolution passed, and currently, St. Mark’s mission share will decrease, which is great news for us!

Resolution 04, Continued Funding for Becoming Beloved Community, and Resolution 05, adding Bishop Barbara Clementine Harris to the Lesser Feasts and Fasts Calendar, both passed. Those resolutions do not involve direct changes in the Diocese just yet, we were actually voting to send the requests to the next General Convention which will be held in 2022. Resolution 06, Continued Work of the Reparations Task Force, also passed.

Resolution 03, Creation of a Capitol Improvement Fund, was the only resolution to fail. It also generated the most discussion at both the pre-convention meeting held a week prior and the Convention itself. The Trustees of the Church Foundation submitted this resolution, with the goal “…to help ease the burden for parishes currently in dire need and build a fund to better cover necessary maintenance and upgrades of all our beautiful, but aging physical resources…” (Connections, Issue 2 Volume 8, pg. 21). This would have had a direct impact on parish budgets. Most of the debate regarding this resolution was a cycle, in that the churches that would benefit the most from such a fund need the help because they have no money to cover their building expenses, and so have no money to put towards the fund. Interestingly, this resolution generated so much feedback at the pre-convention meeting that it was submitted before the Diocese at Convention with amendments already added. Those amendments were to lower the initial rates at which funds were pulled from churches, and then to either keep them that low or barely raise them over the following few years.

The Convention also included periodic stories and accounts from the Becoming Beloved Community campaign, and in fact the Convention’s Invocation was such an account. It was delivered by a young woman named Nia McKenney, who I actually grew up with at Procter Camp. We roomed together a few times and even served as junior counselors together one summer, so it was a joy to see what she is now doing in the Diocese!
The 148th Diocesan Convention has been scheduled for December 9-10, 2022, at the Roberts Center in Wilmington, Ohio. God willing, it will be a two-day, in-person event. The sense of community through socialization with our Diocesan brothers and sisters is honestly the best part of Convention, so we are very much looking forward to it! Plus, I’m sure the Diocesan Staff will be thrilled that they won’t have to continuously explain that on Zoom, you have to unmute yourself BEFORE you can speak.

If you wish to attend Convention as a voting delegate, please see Kendall Rubino or Gary Welch, as they are the Nominating Committee for next year’s events. You may also be able to attend as a guest, so you would have seat and voice but no vote, but Covid protocols may not allow for that again just yet. As the Diocese releases information about the 148th Convention, we will let you know. New faces and voices are always welcomed and many times needed.

And the BEST part of the Convention this year was that with a single ballot cast, Katherine Wagner has now been elected to the Diocesan Council! She follows in the footsteps of our dearly beloved John Webster, whose spirit will no doubt guide her during this time.