The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut

Leadership Gathering & Mission Council Reports from March 2019

The four ECCT leadership groups held their quarterly meeting on March 9. These include members of Mission Council, Commission on Ministry, Standing Committee, and trustees of Donations & Bequests. (See more on the "Governance" page.)

The morning program began with a presentation by Canon for Mission Leadership the Rev. Lee Ann Tolzman on the reality of -- and some reasons behind -- the church-wide clergy shortage, particularly for the primarily part-time parish clergy positions available, and the impact this has on lay leaders who must now update their expectations and take on more work. Those present then worked on the impact of this information on their emotional feelings, then broke into their four Leadership Groups to brainstorm how they could help address the crisis.

In the second half of the morning members gathered in small groups to discuss questions posed by ECCT's Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation Ministry Network related to the chapter of Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God (by Kelly Brown Douglas) which they'd read in advance as homework for the Leadership Gathering.

The Mission Council, which met after lunch, took the following actions:

  • Heard status of litigation involving St. Paul's, Darien and an update on its new Council of Advice;
  • Learned that an organization interested in purchasing Christ Church, Canaan has started a fundraising campaign for that purpose;
  • Voted and approved resolutions specifying terms that allow the Missionary Society to sell the former Christ the Healer church in Stamford for $1.4 million to a Coptic Orthodox Church, also of Stamford;
  • Received an update on the status of ministries and collaborative efforts by Episcopal churches in Stamford;
  • Heard a detailed report on the status of ECCT finances, including: Revenue for 2018 was $88K better than budgeted and total expenses better than budget by $58K thanks to using $273K in the Contingency line; the 2018 operating surplus of just over 400K. Compared to 2017, revenues in 2018 were $61K lower, expenses in 2018 were almost $600K higher, and the 2018 operating surplus was $656K lower; Council  members accepted the Q4 Income Statement and Q4 Balance sheet for audit;
  • Heard a status report on renovations at Camp Washington;
  • Heard discussion about Camp Washington's financial management and recommendations to address those, and decided to determine the ecclesiastical relationship between Camp and ECCT as a first step;
  • Discussed ways to improve the process for recruiting volunteers to Mission Council committees and task forces;
  • Approved HR policy revisions and Model Safe Church policy revisions;
  • Received an update on the Joining Jesus initiative, which has both parish-based fundraising and parish-based spiritual practices components;
  • Received updates from the four "Convention Conversations" around the questions and related resolutions adopted at the 2018 Annual Convention. Three have progressed; the task force on clergy models has yet to be formed;
  • Received reports on the audit process and an extensive presentation of ECCT finances;
  • Approved a Revolving Loan request from St. Andrew's, Meriden;
  • Approved the Property Committee's recommended Property Improvement Grants (these 19 grants totaled $27,550 and ranged from $300 to $5000);
  • Revised last December's Trinity South Norwalk grant recommendations based on review of original documents establishing the funds, in order to remain consistent with those restrictions; these grants included those to Christ Church, East Norwalk; St. Paul's, Norwalk; Norwalk Mentoring Program; and IRIS. 
  • Approved the investment draw proposal from St. Mark's, New Britain, that will bring it back into compliance with canons;
  • Approved adding completion of the parish survey to the requirements for designation of "Parish in Good Standing" status;
  • Approved two grant recommendations from the Jack Spaeth Care for Creation Committee, one to St. James', New London and the other to a proposed 2019 River Pilgrimage.

The next meeting of the Mission Council takes place in June 2019. Mission Council members include one lay person and one clergy person from each of the six Regions, selected by their Region in whatever process the Region chooses, and nine representatives from Ministry Networks, elected at the Annual Convention. In addition, the bishops, chancellor, treasurer, assistant treasurer, secretary of the diocese, and secretary of convention are members. ECCT canons and/or other staff participate as appropriate.