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Diocesan Digest - September 14

[Episcopal News Service]   
  • KANSAS: Bishop tells rally to speak to county about agency's fate
  • OLYMPIA: Bishop search deadline extended to September 26
  • SOUTHWEST FLORIDA: Bishop calls for ‘emergency' Lenten fast from blogs
  • WESTERN NEW YORK: Diocese will gather to forge its future

KANSAS: Bishop tells rally to speak to county about agency's fate

[Source: Wichita Eagle] About 300 people rallied outside the Episcopal Social Services building September 9 as the bishop of the Diocese of Kansas offered his support for the imperiled charity.

Bishop Dean Wolfe asked those in attendance to voice their concerns about the program to Sedgwick County officials who have moved to condemn the building to make way for a new downtown Wichita arena.

Agency officials said the $500,000 the county has offered for the building isn't nearly enough to buy comparable space for the organization, which helps the needy and disabled.

'It is wrong; it is just plain wrong not to care for people who are important to us,' Wolfe told the group.

Officials at the center, which provides food, counseling and job services, have been told they will need to find new quarters by the end of the year.

To date, county officials have refused to increase their $500,000 offer for the building, insisting it would open the doors for other property owners to challenge their offers.

During the rally, Wolfe asked the group to call, write or e-mail Sedgwick County commissioners and urge them to reconsider their offer.

'I think they miscalculated,' he said. 'I think they thought if they just make us an offer we'd go away.'

Also addressing the group was the Rev. Steven Mues of the Combined Ministry of St. Alban's and St. Stephen's Episcopal churches. He scoffed at the notion that the building had been appraised as a warehouse.

'This is not a warehouse; this is not some run-down storage shed,' he said. 'What we have here is a recycling center, a recycling center for human beings.'

Sandra Lyon, executive director of Episcopal Social Services, said after that the cost of buying and refurbishing a comparable building in the downtown area would be about $1.3 million.

OLYMPIA: Bishop search deadline extended to September 26

[Source: Diocese of Olympia] The deadline to receive applications for the position of the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Olympia has been extended to September 26. The Bishop Search Committee decided to extend the deadline by two weeks as a practical and pastoral response to those who were unavailable this summer to consider entering into the process or focus on the application, due to vacations and General Convention.

The current bishop, Vincent W. Warner, announced his retirement in October 2005. The election of the eighth bishop will take place May 12 and the new bishop consecrated on September 15.

For questions contact: Angie Griffin, administrator, at or call 425-330-6752. Profile, application and information may be found online at

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA: Bishop calls for ‘emergency' Lenten fast from blogs
[Source: Diocese of Southwest Florida] Saying he finds himself "growing weary of those who hide behind masks of anonymity," Southwest Florida Bishop John Lipscomb is urging the people of the diocese of take a 40-day fast from reading weblogs.

A weblog (usually shortened to "blog," but occasionally spelled web log) is a web-based publication consisting primarily of periodic articles written by the author, or blogger who is sometimes, but not always, anonymous.

Lipscomb, writing in the September/October edition of The Southern Cross diocesan newspaper, said that the recent announcement that the Anglican Communion Office would be facilitating a meeting of Episcopal bishops in New York in September had "set off another round of speculation on the web blogs."

"I am amazed to see self-proclaimed prophets write minutes and resolutions for a conference that is yet to happen. Perhaps it is time for us to allow the unfolding of the future in God's time and not our own," Lipscomb wrote.

"I find myself growing weary of those who hide behind masks of anonymity," he continued. "The damage inflicted by half-truths and outright lies has taken a far greater toll on the mission of the Church than any erroneous teaching. Once a word has been spoken into cyberspace it takes on a life of its own. We need to remember that where we have erred God will in God's time bring reproof and correction. The God of peace alone has a right to judge the intent and content of the human heart."

Lipscomb called for a break. "We desperately need a Sabbath rest from these endless rounds of conjecture and hearsay. We need a season of prayer, self-examination and confession. Even though we are only part way through Pentecost, perhaps we need to declare an emergency Lent," he wrote. "The leaders of the Church need your prayers for strength and clarity of mind. I would encourage you to join me in a 40-day fast from reading the web blogs."
The bishop suggested that the time normally spent reading blogs be spent in prayer and reflection on Scripture.

Lipscomb's full letter is available at

WESTERN NEW YORK: Diocese will gather to forge its future

[Source: Diocese of Western New York] On September 23, the Diocese of Western New York will gather at Trinity Church in Buffalo for "Forging our Future," a daylong gathering hosted by the diocesan Futures Committee to inspire participants to engage in re-energizing the mission of the diocese.

The aim of the meeting is also to generate both long- and short-term mission goals that will be presented to diocesan convention in October.

"What is the diocese? It is not Bishop [J. Michael] Garrison and the staff at D-House, although they are each part of it. It is not the buildings that collectively we own as a corporation that operates within the New York State Laws of Religious Incorporation, although they are our property," wrote the Rev. Cam Miller, who co-chairs the committee with the Rev. Bob Arnold, stated, in the September issue of Church Acts, the diocesan newspaper.

"The diocese is the communion formed by the congregations of Western New York that embodies the Episcopal Church in this corner of the world. What holds us together is not our property, or the bishop and other clergy, or even our wonderful prayer book. What binds us together is the mission we discern from the Gospel we share."
The Futures Committee has been engaged for the past 18 months in leading the diocese through a mission-discernment and planning process in which the discipline of listening has played a major role. The conversation, which has been expanded in ever-widening circles throughout the diocese, will culminate at the September 23 meeting. Miller said this event is "the critical moment" in a process designed to help move the diocese into its next phase of mission and development.