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Jun 01, 2012 | The Rev. James Derkits

Nominating Speech for Suffragan Nominee the Rev. Beth Fain

Bishop Doyle, Bishop Harrison and Delegates to the 163rd Council of the Diocese of Texas, I am the Rev. James Derkits, Priest Missioner of St. Mark’s Between-the-Bayous, Houston, and I stand to nominate the Rev. Beth Fain to be Bishop Suffragan.


Many of you already know the gifts Beth brings to her ministry. Gifts of spiritual maturity, a collaborative leadership style, leadership development, and the stability and pastoral presence she brings to all aspects of her ministry.


At clergy conference, when Bishop Doyle addressed us and first invited us to prayerfully consider who may be called to be Bishop Suffragan to reside in East Texas, I looked around the room at my colleagues, and Beth Fain stood out to me as the leader we were looking for; it took her some time to be persuaded of that, but after other lay people and clergy approached her, and after prayerful consideration, she was so persuaded.


Along with many of you, I first got to know Beth through her leadership in the diocese. I was on Sr. Staff at Camp Allen when she was a camp director the first time I met her. The camp theme for her week was Jesus by the Sea was the camp theme, and we sang a welcome song each day to the surprise guest who would show up to help with teaching. I got to know her more through her work on the Commission on Ministry, which helps discern who may be called to be Priests or Deacons in the church.


But, I really got to know Beth the two years I was her curate at St. Mary’s in Cypress. There I watched and learned what it means to be a leader in the Church. I saw her collaborative leadership among the staff and lay leaders of St. Mary’s as she empowered us to do our ministry. I saw Beth: a priest and pastor who really knew and cared for the people God had given her to shepherd.


It is not only the fourteen years she has been rector at St. Mary’s and the 18 years she has served on the Commission on Ministry that defines her stability in leadership, it is also her own strength and confidence in God’s faithfulness to the church. She draws from a well of lifelong prayer and study of scripture. A faith life that she learned from her parent’s own faith life. The stability of leadership she brings is not anxious about challenges the church may face, but is grounded in Christ as the head of the church. Her spiritual maturity is expressed through the pastoral presence she brings to her ministry, even in difficult and demanding situations.


St. Mary’s has found healing and growth under her leadership; a church divided has become a church united in mission. They have not only trained and sent out ordained leaders for the church, but lay leaders to help plant St. Aidan’s. And St. Mary’s continues to collaborate in ministry.  Under her leadership, the church grows.


My family is still active in leadership at St. John’s, Silsbee where I grew up, and where I first came to love the Episcopal Church. I am familiar with East Texas, and I am familiar with our diocese and I believe Beth is the Bishop Suffragan we need at this time in our history.


We have a dynamic and diverse diocese, and we are blessed with wonderful Bishops already; now we seek to round out that leadership team with a third Bishop to serve the church. I believe the church will be well served by Beth Fain’s gifts of ministry, and her history of leadership in our diocese.