Updates from Convention

The 145th Annual Diocesan Convention took place last weekend in Little Rock. Elections were held for several diocesan committees and boards, as well as for deputies and alternates to next year’s General Convention. Those results appear below.

The convention also passed four resolutions, the full text and sponsors of which appear below the election results.

Election Results

Diocesan Committees

Executive Council
Katherine Brooks (St. Mark’s, Little Rock)
Sandra Powers (Holy Trinity, Hot Springs Village)*
Rick Williams (Grace Church, Pine Bluff)*
The Rev. Gordon Maroney (St. John’s, Camden)*
The Rev. Joanna Seibert (St. Mark’s, Little Rock)*
* convocational elections
Board of Trustees
Laura Wilkins (St. Paul’s, Fayetteville)
The Rev. Craig Gavin (St. Andrew’s, Rogers)
Standing Committee
Michael McNeely (Trinity Cathedral, Little Rock)
The Rev. Dennis Campbell (St. James’, Eureka Springs)
Board of Review
Robbie Jones (Christ Church, Little Rock)
The Rev. Toby Rowe (St. Stephen’s, Jacksonville)
The Rev. Danny Schieffler (St. Mark’s, Little Rock)
Camp Mitchell Board of Trustees
The Rev. Chuck Chapman (St. Mary’s, El Dorado)
Sewanee Board of Trustees
The Rev. Jim McDonald (St. Andrew’s, Mtn. Home)

General Convention Deputies and Alternates

Lay Deputies
Jeannie McCabe (St. John’s, Fort Smith)
Thomas Alexander (Christ Church, Little Rock)
Randall Curtis (Christ Church, Little Rock)
Robert L. Brown (St. Mark’s, Little Rock)
Clergy Deputies
The Rev. Stan McKinnon (Grace Church, Siloam Springs)
The Rev. Sara Milford (St. Luke’s, Hot Springs)
The Rev. Suzanne Stoner (St. Paul’s, Fayetteville)
The Rev. Amber Carswell (Trinity Cathedral, Little Rock)
Lay Alternates
Susan Carter (St. John’s, Helena-West Helena)
Cheryl Kester (Grace, Siloam Springs)
Brandon Hudson (St. Thomas’, Springdale)
Stephanie Fox (St. Michael’s, Little Rock)
Clergy Alternates
The Rev. Mary Vano (St. Margaret’s, Little Rock)
The Rev. Jim McDonald (St. Andrew’s, Mtn. Home)
The Rev. Michael McCain (St. Mark’s, Little Rock)
The Rev. Gwen Fry (St. Matthew’s, Benton)

Resolutions Passed by Convention

Sponsors: The Rt. Reverend Larry Benfield, Bishop; Standing Committee; Executive Council

Whereas, the parishioners of St. Andrew’s Church in Cherokee Village have remained dedicated to sharing the Good News of Christ in their community for many years, even in face of minimal resources; and

Whereas, after many years as a faithful mission of the Episcopal Church in Arkansas, St. Andrew’s Church in Cherokee Village no longer has the financial means nor the personnel to maintain its building and to regularly hold worship services, and its remaining parishioners desire to attend an Evangelical Lutheran Church nearby; and

Whereas, its vestry has requested that the congregation be disbanded as a mission of the Diocese of Arkansas; and

Whereas, this Convention agrees that St. Andrew’s Church no longer has the resources to carry out its duties as a mission; therefore be it

Resolved that the 145th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas express its gratitude to Phyllis Painter, Jon Abele, Kay Forest, Freda Grisham, Melody Gruenhagen, Elizabeth Harris, Phyllis Looney, Lynn Miller, B.J. Roy, Jacque Roy, Joan Ewaldsen, and Kris Ewaldsen for their years of faithful service as parishioners at St. Andrew’s in Cherokee Village; and be it further

Resolved, that this Convention honor this faithful service by continuing to explore opportunities for mission in other areas of the state; and be it further

Resolved that the bishop of Arkansas, the Standing Committee, and the Executive Council be requested to concur in the request from the St. Andrew’s Church vestry to disband as a mission of the Diocese of Arkansas.

Sponsor: Linda Jones

Whereas the Episcopal Church speaks a language of peace and non-violence;

Whereas handguns can be dangerous in the hands of persons who are not adequately trained in their use;

Whereas certified law enforcement officers have the proper training in respect to active shooter situations;

Whereas college and university administrators and their law enforcement know best the needs and appropriate methods to protect students, faculty, and staff;

Whereas current law allows Board and Administrators of Universities and Colleges to make decisions for each campus with respect to guns on campus;

Whereas Board and Administrators at Arkansas Colleges and Universities have made the unanimous decision to disallow guns on campus;

Whereas legislation is under consideration by the Arkansas legislature that mandates that faculty and staff of Arkansas Colleges and Universities who hold Arkansas concealed carry permits may carry hand guns on campus without the decision of Board and Administrators at Arkansas Colleges and Universities;

Now be it resolved by the 145th convention of the Diocese of the Episcopal Church in Arkansas that the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Arkansas opposes legislation that removes the decision of Arkansas institutions of Higher Education to make their own decisions with regards to guns on campus, and encourages the members of the Arkansas legislature to vote against the proposed legislation.

Sponsors: The Rev. Gwen Fry, The Rev. Lowell Grisham, The Rev. Dr. Christoph Keller, III

Resolved, That the 145th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas, meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas, February 17-18, 2017, affirms the God-given dignity, integrity, and equality of transgender people, and the faithful, courageous witness of transgender Episcopalians.

Resolved, That we encourage the Bishop’s office to recommend or offer education programs to congregations and groups wanting to learn more about the Christian transgender community in the Diocese of Arkansas and the church at large, and to better understand the theology, philosophy and science pertaining to gender identity and expression.

Resolved, That we recognize that to those charged with pastoral responsibility for youth in schools, camps, and other ministries and programs, considerations of biological sex and gender identity are both important, requiring loving, careful consideration and case by case discretion.

Resolved, That the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas encourage Episcopalians to support laws, policies, and practices that enhance the safety, privacy, and dignity of transgender persons, and to oppose those that do not.

[Explanation: In 2012, the 77th General Convention passed two resolutions (D002 and D019) that added gender identity and expression to the Episcopal Church’s non-discrimination canons. Other resolutions at the 76th and the 77th General Conventions have lifted up the lives and ministries of transgender people both in and outside the church, and further affirmed the equality of transgender people in the life of the church and support of transgender equality at the federal, state and municipal levels. In that spirit, Arkansas Episcopalians are called to guard the dignity and God-given equality of transgender people. By advocating for the creation of just laws, policies, and practices, by seeking to more fully understand gender identity as part of God’s creation, and where appropriate by communicating our position as Christians to our leaders and elected officials, we make tangible our baptismal promise to respect the dignity of every human being.]
Sponsors: The Rev. Gary Baird, The Rev. Joyce Hardy

Whereas God has called the prophets to bring His people to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God. And as Jesus has always called us to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and to be with those in prison. And as our Bishop has asked us to have faith, be the resurrection to those who are on the margins, and step into the waters that surround us.

Therefore, be it resolved, that the 145th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas encourage our congregations to extend hospitality and welcome to our refugee and immigrant neighbors, to encourage the preservation of families, and to celebrate the cultural and economic benefits we enjoy thanks to their energy and sacrifice. Furthermore, remembering our baptismal vows, we pledge to the extent of our individual abilities to defend the rights of those to whom justice has been denied, and support the right of all people:
• To be free from hunger
• To have clean water
• To live in safe haven
• To adequate healthcare, and
• To access a fair justice system.