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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: Convention joins MDGs campaign, supports campus ministry

By Mary Frances Schjonberg


[Episcopal News Service]  The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California, meeting November 11-12 in its 96th annual convention, went on record as supporting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the need for strong campus ministry. It also began saying its goodbyes to retiring Bishop Jerry Lamb.

The MDGs resolution asked that "the Biblical and Prayer Book concept of holistic mission be commended as among the primary budgetary priorities to both the diocesan budgetary committees and every congregation, with particular attention given to the eight Millennium Development Goals."

The Convention called on the diocese to affirm "the value of developing young leaders of the church by providing opportunities for college and university students to participate fully in the councils of the Diocese and churches of the diocese" and urged the congregations of the diocese "to make a commitment to campus ministry."

The full texts of the resolutions are available on the diocese's website.

In his last address to the Convention, Lamb recalled his ministry in the diocese and thanked the diocese. Then he issued a challenge to the diocese to begin a capital campaign.

"There's not much wrong with this diocese that seven or eight million dollars would not solve. We are woefully under-capitalized and cannot start the new congregations that are needed to respond to the growth that is occurring around us," he said. "We are stuck in a rut because of our financial restraints."

"Our diocese has developed solid programs that are being undercut because of a lack of income through apportionment to deliver the programs that are requested," Lamb continued. "Look at the apportionment figures and you will see that some congregations are not carrying their share of the costs of maintaining the programs of the diocese."

Bishop Barry Beisner, who will succeed Lamb on February 2, told the convention he hopes to be the diocese's faithful servant.

"We don't -- even in the midst of very uncertain times in the life of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, in the midst of a confusing and changing and all-too-often violent world -- we don't need to be worried about any aspect of our future other than, 'Are we being faithful to the mission given to us by God?'" Beisner said.

The full texts of both bishops' addresses are available on the diocese's website.

The Diocese of Northern California comprises about 16,170 Episcopalians worshipping in 68 congregations.