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OREGON: Diocese supports MDGs, encourages environmental stewardship

By Mary Frances Schjonberg


[Episcopal News Service]  The Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, meeting November 10 and 11 in its 118th annual convention, voted to support the Millennium Development Goals and heard Bishop Johncy Itty call it to that commitment.

"The challenge before us is whether governments and international institutions bear the political will to accomplish these goals in a significant way," he said. "We are called as a community of faith to explore the opportunities that God has given us to be agents of grace, healing, and renewal in our own communities and beyond. In this regard, I am asking that each congregation of our diocese, as part of its adult education or other Christian formation, study and familiarize itself with the work of the United Nations, particularly as it relates to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and if not already engaged, work locally or regionally in responding to them."

Itty outlined an ambitious agenda for the diocese.

"We are called to celebrate a faith based on joy and a faith based not simply on idealism but in our collective will and our common capacity to improve the quality of life for others and for God’s creation as a whole," he said. "My hope and prayer is that in our journey together as a diocese, we will re-capture the pioneer spirit of entrepreneurial creativity, courage, optimism, perseverance, and a ‘can do’ mentality. We cannot give in to those human inclinations that precipitate a mindset of fear, hopelessness, or negativism."

The complete text of Itty’s address is available here.

Among the resolutions passed by convention were ones to:

* give a minimum of 0.7% of the annual diocesan budget to fund work that supports the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), beginning with the 2008 budget, and challenge all communities of faith in the diocese and all Episcopalians in the diocese to do likewise;

* recognize, in accord with General Convention resolution C018, "that the use of fossil fuels harms air quality and public health and is contributing to changes in the global climate that threaten the lives and livelihoods of our neighbors around the world," and affirm "that our Christian response to global warming is a deeply moral and spiritual issue, and encourage all members, congregations, dioceses and other church institutions to increase the use of environmentally safe and sustainable energy sources wherever possible and practical;

  • make certain canonical changes, including a reduction in the diocesan program assessment;
  • encourage congregations to study tithing as a holy habit;
  • "study and evaluate opportunities for a preschool ministry in their respective communities;"
  • study the evolving material on renewal and transformation provided by the diocesan theological vision committee and incorporate some of the key themes that the study raises in adult education, Christian formation, catechetical training and other related settings;

Information about all the resolutions passed by convention is available here.

The Diocese of Oregon comprises about 18,775 Episcopalians worshipping in 75 communities.