Change Font Size:   A A A

Feb 12, 2011 | Carol E. Barnwell

Texas Takes up New Church Economy

Council 2011While we stand on the edge of a new missionary age, “We are being out performed by the culture around us,” Bishop Andy Doyle told more than 1000 delegates, clergy and visitors in his opening address to the 162nd Council of the Diocese of Texas, at the Woodlands Marriott, February12.


After a festival opening Eucharist on Friday evening, Bishop Rayford and Pat High were feted at a special celebration. The new bishop of the Diocese of Peshawar, Bishop Humphrey Peters greeted Council delegates and spoke of how critical relationships with dioceses are to his ministry.  Rob Radke, president of Episcopal Relief and Development, spoke about the NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund, kicking off a 30,000 net goal for the diocese. Emily Martin-McKamie, a youth representative encouraged delegates to make sure their youth were involved in diocesan programs. Consideration of proposed resolutions and canonical amendments engendered lively discussion throughout the annual business meeting.  


Bishop’s Address


“We no longer have the market cornered on community life, networking, social services …We are out performed by social media, bars, gyms, and friends,” he said, challenging church members to “add value to the culture around us … to transform the world around us.”  


He said the economic realities of ministry are not sustainable if the church continues to operate on a model that “depends upon assumptions about our culture that date to the mid-century of the last millennium.”  


“The Church will flourish if it gives life to people, their community and the environment in which they live,” he said. 


Sunday morning attendance will not be the only harbinger of success, but will include community partnerships, increased weekday attendance on church campuses, younger and more ethnically diverse leadership and increased initiatives for planting new congregations.  


Bishop Doyle called for fully funding three endowments to support future efforts: A Great Commission Fund to support new congregations, A Leadership Development Fund to build leadership formation and capacity and a Clergy Wellness Fund to support the health care and wellness initiatives for clergy and their families. 


Bishop Doyle announced that, with the help of a task force and the counsel of former Secretary of State James Baker, he will present a plan to Council next year to lead through the unfolding events resulting from General Convention 2012.


He encouraged delegates to study the Anglican Communion Covenant Curriculum and make their opinions known to the General Convention office. (A curriculum was designed for use during Lent and is available online at


Expansion of the Iona School ministry to other dioceses strengthens the Diocese of Texas, Seminary of the Southwest and the Church in leadership development, Bishop Doyle said, highlighting the partnership between the diocese and seminary.


After noting the festive roast and celebration of retiring Bishop Suffragan Rayford High on Friday evening, the bishop said he planned to call for the election of a suffragan bishop for the East Texas region of the diocese in 2013.


 “We have a mission,” he concluded, calling for evey congregation and institution to engage in the work of formation, leadership and connection to realize our missionary context. “We are on the precipice of a new age of mission …who see the challenge before us as an opportunity for service and mission.”


Opening Service


The diocese gathered Friday evening with a festival opening service at Trinity, The Woodlands. An estimated 907 people filled the church and its fellowship hall with friends from across the diocese and honor Bishop Suffragan of Texas Rayford High, who retires April 30.


The bi-lingual service featured traditional as well as contemporary music, including selections featuring banjo and electric guitar. The Good Shepherd, Kingwood, choir accompanied the Trinity choir. Songs and readings were performed in English as well as Spanish. 


“I’m not used to talking to Rayford High about big things here, in church… And we are never dressed like this,” said the Rev. Chuck Treadwell, rector of St. Paul’s, Waco, in his sermon, alluding to many hunting trips he has shared with Bishop High. He then replaced his stole and the bishop’s with a camouflage version to the delight of all in attendance.


 “As we began to gather stories about Rayford, one theme became apparent: Rayford would just go,” Treadwell said recalling Bishop High’s willingness to be present in any situation. “I’ve never seen a picture of Rayford sitting at a desk. Rayford, you are the consummate theologian and so you go as God said go.”


The offering of $4,364.95 from the service will be sent to the Diocese of Haiti for the rebuilding of their cathedral.


Delegates Approve Budgets


Bob Biehl, diocesan treasurer, presented a nearly $10 million budget noting that in the 2010, the financial condition of the diocese had improved as the year progressed. Six congregations (as opposed to 10 in 2009) failed to pay their diocesan assessment and the previous line of credit used to balance the budget had been retired. While receivables were down by $400,000, expenses were also down by $160,000. “Every category in the Diocesan Budget was under budget,” Biehl stated, adding that only expenditures for ministry in the Galveston area following Hurricane Ike had pushed the budget into a deficit.  


Insurance of $4,753,000 was reported separately and showed a slight increase. A total budget of $9,834,020 was adopted.  


The Mission Funding advisory task force had to prioritize allocations of $1,152,900, Biehl said, because the number reflected a $418,000 decrease in 2010. This budget was also adopted.  




Delegates adopted a resolution encouraging every congregation to develop a respectful model of conversation, to be a safe and supportive place for all people, to denounce bullying and to publicly support legislative efforts to preserve human dignity.  


Delegates adopted all resolutions on criminal justice: calling the church to forgive those who have offended and paid their debt to society, recognizing justice as a goal for offenders, victims and the community; calling for alternatives to prison for first-time, non-violent offenders; requesting reports on activities in parishes and missions; and urging The Episcopal Church to hold a national conference to share information about camping programs for children with incarcerated parents.  


A resolution seeking support of mission to community colleges was also adopted.  


Constitution and Canonical Amendments


An amendment to lower the age to 16 for possible vestry election was not adopted and the  proposed canon on moral discipline was postponed indefinitely. 


The canon on clergy discipline, which would bring the Diocese of Texas into line with Title IV of the Episcopal Church, was adopted.  The changes outlined provide for the infrastructure to perform procedures called for in the national canon, which will take effect July 1, 2011. 


A proposed canon on pastoral care seeking to allow clergy to offer and officiate at a commitment services for people for whom the sacrament of Holy Matrimony “is canonically inaccessible” was defeated. According to David Harvin, diocesan chancellor, the proposed canon sought permission from the wrong body at the wrong time. 


The proposed constitution and canonical amendments are included in their entirely on the diocesan website at Download Bishop Doyle's address here.


Election Results:

Secretary of the Diocese: The Rev. Canon John A. Logan, Jr.


Treasurer of the Diocese: Robert Biehl


Standing Committee:

John Hancock, Christ Church, Temple

The Rev. Jeff Fisher, St. Alban’s, Waco


Executive Board

Mark Duncan, Calvary, Richmond

Shelly Vitanza, St. Mark’s, Beaumont

John Bennet Waters, St. Alban’s, Austin

The Rev. Lisa Hines, Calvary, Bastrop

The Rev. Stuart Shelby, St. Martin’s, Houston


Provincial Synod

David Bollinger, Good Shepherd, Tomball

Alyssa Stebbing, Trinity, The Woodlands

Carroll Tucker, St. Paul’s, Waco

Kathryn Whaley, All Saints’, Stafford

The Rev. Jeff Fisher, St. Alban’s, Waco

The Rev. Eric Hungerford, Trinity, The Woodlands

The Rev. Alex Montes-Vela, St. Mary Magdalene, Manor

The Rev. Stephen Whaley, All Saints’, Stafford


General Convention Deputies

Trey Yarbrough, Christ Church, Tyler 

Kerry Hancock, Christ Church, Temple

Ora Houston, St. James’, Austin 

David Harvin, St. Martin’s, Houston

Mary Parmer, St. David’s, Austin

Elizabeth Smith, St. Paul’s, Waco 

Laurie Eiserloh, St. David’s, Austin

Clint Capers, St. Alban’s, Waco

The Rev. Mark Crawford, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Sugarland

The Rev. Susan Kennard, St. Mark’s, Bay City

The Rev. Patrick Miller, St. Mark’s, Houston

The Rev. Chuck Treadwell, St. Paul’s, Waco

The Rev. David Boyd, St. David’s, Austin

The Rev. Janet Wiley Dantone, St. John the Divine, Houston

The Rev. Frank Fuller, St. Mark’s, Beaumont

The Very Rev. Joe Reynolds, Christ Church Cathedral, Houston


Trustee of Church corporation

Charles Hall, St. John the Divine, Houston


Trustee of the University of the South

The Rev. Chuck Treadwell, St. Paul’s, Waco