Dean’s Letter: Report from Diocesan Convention (2023)

Hello St. Paul’s,

Last weekend, as you may know, we hosted the 50th annual Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego. The event spanned two days, involved business meetings, a Eucharist and a dinner each accommodating close to 300 people, and was acclaimed as a great success all round. Our staff worked extremely hard with the diocesan staff to make it a good experience for everyone, and I am very grateful. It was wonderful to welcome back Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, as well as Bishop Ann Ritonia, the new Bishop Suffragan for the Armed Forces and Federal Ministries.

Here are some of the highlights and data points of the Convention:

  • 55 Clergy and 105 lay delegates attended, as well as five bishops and many visitors, vendors, and ministry leaders from around the diocese.
  • The Diocesan Chief Finance Officer reported a clean 2022 audit and that the diocesan operating fund is over budgeted revenue and under budgeted expenses year to date. Convention passed the 2024 diocesan operating budget without discussion or dissension.
  • We heard encouraging remarks from Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop Jim Mathes, Bishop Ricardo Gomez Osnaya and Bishop Ann Ritonia.
  • We heard reports from various ministry leaders including Rachel Ambasing, Missioner for Multicultural Ministries, who introduced the new Local Anti-Racism Knowledge training program; Charlette Preslar on formation; and Jessica Ripper on the Mission Real Estate project, which has just received a substantial grant from Trinity, Wall Street.
  • Elections for diocesan positions were all uncontested and were passed by acclamation. The only Cathedral person elected was the Rev. Canon Richard Hogue, to the Executive Council. Currently, Diane Lopez Hughes is on the council and The Dean and Jen Jow serve on the Standing Committee. 
  • The dinner on Friday night was very well attended and Bishop Susan introduced a new $2.5 million capital campaign, Courageous Love Fund, to support new church plants, congregational development, campus ministry, a migrant shelter in Tijuana, and the provision of affordable housing, among other priorities. Look on the diocesan YouTube page for wonderful short videos about the history of the diocese.
  • Bishop Susan shared with us that our 10.5% Common Life Share (minimum parish pledge to the diocese) is one of the lowest in the Episcopal Church.
  • Bishop Ritonia led a brief liturgy for Veterans Day.
  • All resolutions submitted were passed unanimously with minimal discussion: one provides for the amendment of diocesan bylaws; one permits Executive Council to set its own policies regarding the handling of payments; one gives the Youth Leadership Council five votes at Diocesan Convention, the delegates to be recommended by the Director of Formation and appointed by the Bishop; one updates the mailing address of the Diocesan office; and one provides for an updated approach to creating the legal structure for mission congregations.

Next year’s Convention will take place on November 8-9 at St. Margaret’s, Palm Desert.

The experience our staff has gained from hosting a number of large events this year positions us very well for handling events of all kinds, whether in the Great Hall, the Nave, the Guild Room, or the courtyards. We welcome inquiries about holding fundraisers and celebrations on the Cathedral campus: these are becoming an ever more fruitful source of revenue for our congregation.

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