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SPOKANE: Convention adopts MDGs and seats first 16-year-old convention delegate

By Mary Beth Jorgensen

Spokane bishop James E. Waggoner Jr., right, and retired Easter Oregon Bishop Rustin Kimsey process during the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane's recent Convention at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Spokane, Washington.  

[Episcopal News Service]  The Episcopal Diocese of Spokane, meeting at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Spokane, Washington, October 20-22 for its 42nd annual Convention, adopted the MDGs as a mission priority and underscored its commitment to youth and young adult ministries.

In his address Bishop James E. Waggoner Jr. "emphasized that the light of Christ and the warmth of community are what open our hearts to receive the blessings of God and to be a blessing to others," according to a diocesan news release.

Praising the commitment in the diocese to a "greater and growing vision," Waggoner announced plans to establish a new Diocesan Council Commission on Outreach and Social Ministry, a renewed focus on establishing Jubilee Centers, and revitalization of the diocese's companion relationship with the Diocese of Belize, the release said.

Waggoner also announced plans to create a new Commission for Youth and Young Adult Ministry, and appointed two young adults, recent college graduates, to serve one-year terms on Diocesan Council. 

In related action, Convention seated Branin Orcutt, 16, of All Saints' Episcopal Church in Richland, Washington, after finalizing the constitutional change required to define "adult communicants in good standing" in accordance with the General Canons of The Episcopal Church.

Convention resoundingly elected Nic Mather, a sophomore at Gonzaga University and native of Moses Lake, Washington, to the Standing Committee. Representatives of the official Youth Presence addressed the Convention, stressing the importance of their experiences as campers and staff of Camp Cross, the diocesan camp and conference center on Lake Coeur d'Alene in northern Idaho.

In further legislative action, delegates:

  • gave final approval to a resolution streamlining the election process for deputies to General Convention;
  • approved on first reading the granting of seat, voice, and vote at Diocesan Convention to the appointed Pastoral Leader of a congregation without clergy;
  • adopted a new canon creating the Church Growth and Development Committee which will approve grants for initiatives and programs not normally funded by general operating funds;
  • approved a resolution affirming Convention's "support for the Millennium Development Goals and its Christian desire to fight poverty," and directing the Diocesan Council to strive to allocate "at least" 0.7% of the budget to support of the MDGs.

Also during the convention, the Very Rev. William R. (Bill) Ellis Jr. was installed as dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. A crowd of well wishers from Dean Ellis' former parish in Bend, Oregon, joined the convention and cathedral congregations and local dignitaries in the celebration of new ministry. Retired Eastern Oregon Bishop Rustin Kimsey was the preacher.

The Diocese of Spokane is made up of 42 congregations and spans the areas of Idaho and Washington bounded by the Canadian and Oregon borders on the north and south, and by the Montana border and the Cascade Mountains on the east and west.