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Report from Diocesan Convention 2016

The 121st Annual Meeting of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles was held December 2/3 at the Ontario Convention Center. In addition to the usual business of convention — budgets, reports, resolutions and elections of diocesan officers — this year we also elected Deputies to the 2018 General Convention of the Episcopal Church AND a Bishop Coadjutor to succeed Diocesan Bishop Jon Bruno who will retire at the end of 2017. It was — to say the least — a full agenda.

It would be impossible to cover everything, but here’s an overview:

All Saints was represented by lay delegates Carlos Carrillo, Rick Davis, Jason Lyon, Gloria Pitzer, Jim White & Trula Worthy-Clayton … along with clergy delegates John Forney, Sally Howard, Zelda Kennedy, George Regas, Susan Russell and Rector Mike Kinman … attending his first L.A. Convention. Alternate delegates included Diana Carbajal, Scott England, Monique Thomas and Judy VanVleet. We were also joined by seminarians Antonio Gallardo and Jamie Barnett — and numerous other All Saintsers in attendance as advocates, exhibitors and observers. [Check out the photos on our flickr page for a look at ASC in Action at Dio Convention 2016.]

The election of John Taylor on the 8th ballot as Bishop Coadjutor was one of the news making moments from the work of Convention. Read more about John’s election and his vision for the diocese here.

In response to the election, All Saints Rector Mike Kinman wrote:

Praise God! We have a new bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, and it is plain that John H. Taylor loves Jesus, loves God’s people and loves the church … and there are no more important qualifications for any leader, particularly a bishop. I am deeply grateful he has offered himself for this ministry and I look forward to working together with him. John has my deep admiration, affection and trust — and not only that I think we’re going to have a whole lot of fun together. And that’s good, because this election gave us an accurate picture of this diocese – deeply faithful and deeply divided. We ALL have a lot of work to do. And God is God and she will guide us through.

Among the other actions of Convention was the election of a slate of Deputies and Alternates to the 2018 General Convention (to be held in Austin, Texas) — a slate that included All Saintsers Susan Russell and Jim White.

Finally, declaring Los Angeles a “Sanctuary Diocese” we adopted a comprehensive resolution committed to resisting the stated policy proposals of the newly elected Trump administration to target and deport millions of undocumented immigrants and to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It also called on its congregations and institutions to provide “material and pastoral support for those targeted by hate due to immigration status or some perceived status of difference.”

Approved by an overwhelming majority the resolution — proposed by ASC alum Francisco Garcia and co-signed by over 90 others — framed the call to action as an act of faith.

“This resolution puts our faith into action by standing with the growing number of cities, colleges and communities of faith declaring themselves places of welcome, refuge, healing, as we work alongside our friends, families, and neighbors to ensure the dignity and human rights of all people.”

The complete text of the resolution is provided below.

Resolution Regarding Becoming a Sanctuary Diocese

Resolved, that the One Hundred Twenty-first Annual Meeting of the Church in the Diocese of Los Angeles declares the Diocese of Los Angeles to be a Sanctuary Diocese; and be it further

Resolved, that the Diocese of Los Angeles, as people of faith and people of conscience, pledges to resist the stated policy proposals of the newly elected Trump administration to target and deport millions of undocumented immigrants, and to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that has granted temporary relief for thousands of young people in our communities and families; and be it further

Resolved, that the congregations and institutions of the Diocese of Los Angeles consider becoming Sanctuary Congregations and Institutions, serving as places of welcome, refuge, healing, and other forms of material and pastoral support for those targeted by hate due to immigration status or some perceived status of difference, and that we work alongside our friends, families, and neighbors to ensure the dignity and human rights of all people; and be it further

Resolved, that the Diocese of Los Angeles connect with other local and national sanctuary communities and institutions, immigrant rights groups and coalitions, and engage in educating, organizing, advocacy, and direct action, and other methods as deemed appropriate in each context, to ensure the safety and security of the undocumented community; and be it further

Resolved, that the Diocese of Los Angeles assist in equipping congregations, clergy and lay leaders to engage in such work, appropriate to local contexts, capacity, and discernment.

Explanation

For many years, immigrant families have suffered on the margins of our society. They have been scapegoated during difficult economic times and victimized by harsh anti-immigrant ordinances passed by some states and localities.

In the aftermath of the recent presidential election there is heightened concern that the campaign rhetoric villainizing immigrants will become policy targeting them because of their immigration status or religious beliefs.

As a people of faith committed to dismantling oppressive systems and building structures and communities that reflect God’s compassion and justice, we must do nothing less than make straight a highway in the desert for our sisters and brothers.

This resolution puts our faith into action by standing with the growing number of cities, colleges and communities of faith declaring themselves places of welcome, refuge, healing, for those targeted by hate due to immigration status or some perceived status of difference as we work alongside our friends, families, and neighbors to ensure the dignity and human rights of all people.

 

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