St. Stephen’s Delegate to Diocesan Convention, Doug Campbell, and Alternate, John Bernson report:
The annual convention for the Diocese of New York was held in White Plains November 9-10. St. Stephen's was represented by lay delegates Doug Campbell and John Bernson, and Clergy was represented by our Pastor, Father Nils Chittenden. Overall, 300 clergy and lay delegates were in attendance. The attendees were a diverse group -- Hispanic, African-American, South Asian, North Asian, and of course, male and female, gay and straight -- fully representative of the New York metro region.
The convention focused on a common theme of "The Beloved Community" and highlighted activities of the Diocese that promoted health, love and caring within our communities and on a global basis.
The convention was both positive in tone and efficient, with a balanced budget presented of $11.2 million. Bishops Dietsche, Shin and Glasspool all addressed the assembly, and their messages are well worth reading on the Diocesan website.
The Convention's first day concentrated on two themes: community and historical reflection. In the morning we participated in a workshop about how to build trusting relationships with people who are different from ourselves. We learned that we need try to listen better (more empathetically), to think more before speaking, to examine our own assumptions more carefully, to trust ambiguity and uncertainty, and to avoid hasty judgments.
In the afternoon, we watched a moving play about slavery and the Episcopal church - a mixed history. Among the few Episcopal heroes of the anti-slavery movement were William Jay (of Katonah) and his son, John Jay II, both of whom withstood fierce criticism from the Church and from local residents for their anti-slavery activities.
We were pleasantly surprised to learn that St. Stephen's is one of a small minority of congregations fully compliant with all of the Church's guidelines - another indication that St. Stephen's punches above its weight class.
On the second day, a common workshop was led by Dr. Eric Law, founder of the Kaleidoscope Partnership, that specializes in conflict resolution. All attendees actively participated in techniques for creating a "Beloved Community". His one final takeaway was "listen to the silent ones to learn the truth".