Ethnic Ministries Circles of Color Convention Resolutions

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Convention Resolutions Preamble

Throughout the history of the Diocese of Olympia, Episcopalians of color have experienced many challenges within the institutional processes of establishing and maintaining ministries that support our people and faith communities of color. For example, in the wake of 9/11, the diocesan Anti-Racism Training Task Force along with the Committee for Cultural and Racial Unity presented a resolution to the 91st Convention of the Diocese of Olympia (2001) entitled, A Call for Dismantling Racism and White Privilege in the Life of the Church and the Region. The resolution asked the Diocese of Olympia to declare that the sin of racism is contrary to Scripture and in violation of the promises of the Baptismal Covenant. The resolution further resolved that the diocese would participate in a “Year of Action Against Racism and White Privilege,” a social action and education initiative sponsored by the Church Council of Greater Seattle’s Committee for Racial Justice. The Resolutions Committee moved for adoption of the resolution.

However, debate ensued on the floor of convention as to whether or not to remove the word “white” from the term “white privilege” within the text of the resolution. In the end, Paula Harris-White, the author of the resolution, stated, “If this body is not really ready to deal with the issues of racism in an open, honest and graceful way, perhaps we are not ready to deal with the resolution at all.”  She then made a motion to withdraw the resolution, but a separate motion was passed instead to table the resolution to the following year’s convention in order to allow for time for “additional work and dialogue.” The resolution was never re-introduced.  

Examples of issues that are more recent include organizational changes in diocesan governance, structures, and programs that have had the cumulative effect of isolating and disenfranchising Episcopalians of color in the Diocese of Olympia. We have experienced the organizational deconstruction of the diocesan Commission for Ethnic Ministries, the defunding of three full time diocesan positions dedicated to Ethnic Ministries, the shift of programmatic focus away from ethnic ministries, and changes that have negatively affected our predominantly ethnic congregations.

The absence of proactive cultivation of ethnic ministries created a diocesan-wide diaspora of our people of color, who became increasingly isolated from one another and from the leadership decision-making stream of the diocese. In 2011, changes to diocesan canons restructured Diocesan Council that had formerly included six seats for representatives of the Commissions of the diocese, thereby removing the opportunity for appointments representing our communities of color that were once networked through the former Commission on Ethnic Ministries.

In 2015, diocesan leadership made a unilateral decision to shift the focus and language away from “Ethnic Ministries” which served ethnic communities to focus on Multicultural Competency training. While the term “multiculturalism” implies that diverse people are supported within or as a result of the training program, in reality the initiative is focused on the education of the white majority of the Church. Currently, there is no proactive diocesan strategic plan for developing ethnic ministries, growing ethnic congregations, and creating opportunities for the active participation of people of color in the governing bodies and decision-making processes of our diocese. When considered in total, the deconstruction of Ethnic Ministries and alienation of BIPOC voices appears intentional. While leadership decisions may have been intended as fiscally and organizationally pragmatic changes, the impact of de-staffing, defunding, and devaluing the experiences of Episcopalians of color in our diocese has been traumatic.

In the absence of organizational support, a leadership group composed of people of color and allies formed in the fall of 2019 to begin dreaming and planning for a genuinely Beloved Community. In the spring and summer of 2020, Ethnic Ministries Circles of Color formed as a grassroots BIPOC network. Our Circles of Color are mutually supportive communities for resource sharing, networking, personal support, addressing issues of racism, encouraging leadership development among our people of color church communities, and connecting people of color with what they need emotionally and spiritually to be who God is calling them to be.

In addition to the Leadership Circle, the Clergy Circle of Color has developed the following Circles: African/Black American Circle; Indigenous Circle, Asian Circle; and the Hispanic/Latino Circle. The Postulants of Color Circle is for those people of color currently in the formal ordination process. We are in the process of forming an LGBTQ Circle for people of color. Our allies are also forming an Ethnic Ministries Allies Circle composed of white allies who are truly knowledgeable about and committed to working in authentic partnership with people of color.

Representatives of Ethnic Ministries Circles of Color have submitted six resolutions for the 110th Convention of the Diocese of Olympia (2020). These resolutions speak to significant truths about the nature of the diocesan organization. They reflect the call to action to which we are all called in the wake of the death of George Floyd, as well as the need to transform the racist ideals enshrined in the institutions of the United States and in the Church. The Church must move beyond tokenism and the performative use of people of color to genuine and proactive partnership in every aspect of programs and governance of the diocese. We hope that members of Convention will consider the six resolutions that we have submitted as meaningful steps towards the reconciliation and authentic relationship that are foundational to realizing the Beloved Community. We welcome the dialogue that has long been needed.

The following Six Resolutions have been submitted by the convention delegates listed below on behalf of Ethnic Ministries Circles of Color, who also sign the above statement.

The Rev. Josefina Beecher (Retired)

The Rev. Carla Robinson, Priest Associate Christ Episcopal Church, Seattle

The Rev. Deacon Polly Shigaki, St. Peter’s, Seattle; Commission on Ministry

The Rev. Nigel Taber-Hamilton (Retired)

The Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton, Rector of Trinity Episcopal Everett; Ethnic Ministries Circles of Color Coordinator

The Rev. Dr. Edie Weller, Priest Associate, St. Mark’s Cathedral

ADDITIONAL SIGNATURES

  1. Elsie Dennis, St. Matthew’s, Brown’s Point
  2. Sylvia Sepulveda, Christ Church, Anacortes
  3. The Rev. Canon Jerry Shigaki, (Retired)
  4. Daren K Chidester, St. John’s Olympia
  5. Dianne Aid, Tssf
  6. Anna Lynn, St. Matthew – San Mateo Episcopal Church
  7. The Rev. Kendall Haynes, St. Matthew Episcopal Church
  8. Becky Clark, St. Columba, Kent
  9. The Rev. Greg Peters, Rector, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Edmonds
  10. Deborah Moore, Trinity Episcopal Church, Everett
  11. Mary L. Lyons, St. Stephen, Longview
  12. Nicholas J. Fuchs, Trinity Episcopal Church, Everett
  13. Edie Carroll, Trinity Episcopal Church, Everett
  14. The Rev. Nancy Wynen, Grace Episcopal Church, Lopez Island
  15. Henry Lebedinsky, Christ Episcopal Church, Seattle
  16. The Rev. Danae Ashley, St. Andrew’s, Seattle
  17. The Rt. Rev. Sanford Z. K. Hampton, Diocese of Olympia
  18. David Kosar, Treasurer, Trinity Episcopal Church, Everett
  19. The Rev. Natalie Johnson, St. Paul, Seattle
  20. The Rev. Carlos J. Caguiat, Church of the Resurrection (supply), Holy Cross Redmond (home parish)
  21. The Rev. Anne Barton
  22. The Rev. Deacon Pat Grodt, St. Dunstan’s, Shoreline
  23. Hisako M. Beasley, St. Mark’s Cathedral/Ethnic Ministries Circles of Color
  24. The Rev. M. Sue Reid (Retired)
  25. The Rev. Dr. Paul Moore, Resurrección/St. Paul’s, Mount Vernon
  26. The Rev. Susan C. Armer, St. Thomas, Clarkdale
  27. The Rev. Julianna Caguiat (Retired), Holy Cross, Redmond
  28. The Rev. Berto Gandara, Emmanuel Orcas Island
  29. Adrienne Elliott, St. Paul’s, Seattle
  30. The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, Diocese of Olympia
  31. Julia Vander Vegt, Trinity Episcopal Church, Everett
  32. Claudia Jean Swift, St James-Sedro Woolley
  33. Cathie Knox-Browning, St. John the Baptist in West Seattle
  34. The Rev. Canon Pat Taylor, St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle
  35. The Rev. Mary MacKenzie, St. Paul’s Seattle
  36. Em Malmevik, Trinity Episcopal Church, Everett
  37. The Rev. Fred Jessett (Retired)
  38. The Rev. Patricia Robertson (Retired), St. Barnabas, Bainbridge Island
  39. The Rev. Canon Nancy Ross, St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle
  40. Betsy Teays, St. Luke’s, Renton
  41. Ann Strickland, Grace Church, Bainbridge Island
  42. The Rev. Nic Mather, St. Stephen’s, Longview
  43. Lisalynn Reed, St. Thomas, Medina
  44. Mel Butler, St. Luke’s Renton
  45. Kelly DiCicco, Trinity Episcopal Church, Everett
  46. Alex Flannagan, Youth Ministry Coordinator for the Diocese of Olympia
  47. Katharine Lamperti, Emmanuel Episcopal Church
  48. The Rev. Gail Wheatley (Retired)
  49. Megan Oakes, St. Peter’s Seattle
  50. Mary Fancher Butler, St. Luke, Renton
  51. Peter McClung, St. Marks Cathedral Parish
  52. The Rev. Shelly Fayette, Christ Church, Seattle
  53. James B Campbell
  54. Katie Bucy, St. John the Baptist
  55. The Ven. Gen Grewell, Archdeacon for Diocese of Olympia
  56. Barbara Potgieter, St. Paul’s, Seattle
  57. Torres Hui, Holy Apostles, Bellevue
  58. The Rev. Richard C. Weyls, Rector, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Seattle
  59. The Rev. Rebecca J Scott (Retired)
  60. The Rev. Kevin D. Pearson, St. Luke Church, Renton
  61. Den Mark Wichar, St Luke’s – San Lucas, Vancouver
  62. The Rev. Jane C. Rohrer (Retired)
  63. Timi Vann, Holy Cross, Redmond
  64. Nancy Kaye Holcomb, St. Paul’s. Seattle
  65. Caroline Phan, St. Peters, Seattle
  66. Myra Ryneheart Corcorran, Christ Episcopal Church, Blaine
  67. Kierstin Brown, St. Paul’s Seattle and Circles of Color
  68. The Rev. Missy Couch, Deacon, St. John’s Kirkland
  69. The Rev. Chris McPeak, Christ Church, Seattle
  70. Jerry A. Carson, Trinity Episcopal, Everett
  71. Cara Peterson, St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle
  72. The Rev. Laura Murray, Faith Episcopal, Poulsbo
  73. The Rev. Carol Rodin, Christ Church, Anacortes
  74. Sharon Parker, St. Christopher Community Church
  75. Tracy Garrett, St Paul’s, Port Townsend
  76. Barbara Wilson, St. Luke’s, Seattle
  77. Janet Rae Graham
  78. Barb Levy, St. Paul’s, Seattle
  79. The Rev. Jay Rozendaal, St. Paul’s, Seattle
  80. Michelle Wheeler, Trinity Episcopal, Everett
  81. Joyce Roderick, Holy Cross, Redmond
  82. Andrew Kronenwetter, St. Paul’s, Seattle
  83. Diana Bender, Epiphany Parish Seattle
  84. Patricia Trytten, St. Matthew / San Mateo Church Auburn WA
  85. The Rev. Karen Schomburg, St. Andrew’s, Port Angeles
  86. The Rev Michael Wright, St Stephen’s, Longview
  87. The Rev. David Mesenbring (Retired)
  88. Malcolm McLaurin, Candidate for Holy Orders, T’21
  89. Anonymous (1)

Ethnic Ministries Circles of Color is grateful for your support. If you would like to add your name to the above statement in support of the resolutions below, please complete and submit this form.

PLEASE NOTE: Draft versions of the Resolutions were submitted to the Committee on Constitution and Canons and to the Resolutions Committee on September 8, 2020. On October 10, we posted the final version of each resolution which include revisions to three resolutions (noted below) that reflect changes based on feedback and input from members of the Committee on Constitution and Canons and the Resolutions Committee.

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Convention Resolution #4

Resolution Promoting Diversity on Diocesan Council

Submitted by The Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton, on behalf of Ethnic Ministries Circles of Color

Contact: Rachel Taber-Hamilton chaplain@whidbey.com

NOTE: The original resolution submitted to the Committee on Constitution and Canons has been expanded to include directives on how the shift to a new membership rotation would be operationalized. These changes were recommended by Canon Dede Moore.

Resolved, that the 110th Convention of the Diocese of Olympia adopt the following changes to Canon 6 of the Diocesan Constitution and Canons:

Canon 6: The Diocesan Council

Section 1:

The Bishop and Council of the Diocese, as hereinafter constituted, shall be known as the “Diocesan Council” and shall exercise powers of Convention between the meetings thereof.

Section 2:

The Diocesan Council shall consist of the Bishop, Bishop Coadjutor, Suffragan Bishops, if any, two one members (one clergy and one or layperson) representing each of the ten Regional Ministries, four at large members (two clergy and two laypersons), and up to six BIPOC[1] members (clergy or laypersons) appointed by the bishop. The bishop may seek recommendation from existing Ethnic Ministry Communities as may helpful.

Section 3:

All regional and at large members shall be elected at the Annual Convention with one-third being elected each year. All elected and appointed members shall serve for three-year terms. No member who has served on Council for two consecutive terms shall be eligible for re-election until the expiration of one year. All lay members shall be adult Communicants in Good Standing of a diocesan parish or mission. All clergy members shall be canonically resident in the Diocese of Olympia. The Council shall have power to fill any vacancies in its membership and shall fill any such vacancies for any position if the unexpired term is more than eleven (11) months. Members thus appointed by Council shall serve the unexpired balance of the term. Absent resignation, removal from office, or death, a member’s term shall continue through the close of the Annual Convention session.

Section 34:

The Bishop shall be the President of Council, provided that the Bishop may delegate the presiding function at any meeting to another member of Council.

Section 45: Regional Representatives shall be elected according to the following rotation schedule (with Year One elected at the 2022 Convention).

Year One Year Two Year Three
EastsideClergyColumbiaClergyBe AttitudesClergy
PeninsulaClergyHoly CClergyEvergreenClergy
Sno IsleClergyMt. BakerClergyRainierClergy
Be AttitudesLayEastsideLayWillapaClergy
ColumbiaLaySno IsleLayHoly CLay
EvergreenLayWillapaLayMt. BakerLay
RainierLayPeninsulaLay
   
Year OneYear TwoYear Three
Be AttitudesPeninsulaColumbia
Holy CSno IsleMt. Baker
EvergreenEastsideWillapa
Rainier  

No member who has served on Council for two consecutive terms shall be eligible for re-election until the expiration of one year. Council members who transfer outside the region they represent shall resign no later than the close of the next Annual Convention. The Council shall have power to fill any vacancies in its membership and shall fill any such vacancies for any position if the unexpired term is more than eleven (11) months. Members thus appointed by Council shall serve the unexpired balance of the term. Absent resignation, removal from office, or death, a member’s term shall continue through the close of the Annual Convention session.

Section 6:

In 2022, at-large members shall be elected as follows: one lay person for a three-year term; one clergy person for a two-year term and one lay person for a two-year term; one clergy person for a one-year term. Beginning in 2023, or as terms expire, at-large members shall be elected according to the continuing rotation schedule for three-year terms.   

Section 7:

In 2022, bishop appointments shall be as follows: up to two persons (clergy or lay) for three-year terms; up to two persons (clergy or lay) for two-year terms; and up to two persons (clergy or lay) for one-year terms. Beginning in 2023, or as terms expire, bishop appointments shall be according to the continuing rotation schedule for three-year terms.

Section 8:

The convention Nominations Committee shall be charged with selecting nominees according to Article XIV, section 2.

Section 59:

The Diocesan Council shall organize and elect such officers other than the Bishop, and appoint such agents as it deems appropriate.

Section 610:

The Council shall support the Bishop’s administration of diocesan programs by developing policy, planning and evaluation.

Section 711:

The Bishop shall supervise the financial affairs of the Diocese, and shall require a proper annual audit of all receipts and disbursements of all parishes and other diocesan organizations. The Bishop shall require the bonding of all Parish, Mission and Diocesan Treasurers; the maintenance of adequate insurance for damage to all church properties; and the introduction and maintenance of the budget system in each Parish and Mission.

Section 8 12:

The Diocesan Council shall annually no later than September 1 adopt an operating budget for the subsequent year. The Bishop shall present this budget to the Diocesan Convention for ratification; the budget may be amended by the Convention on a majority vote. Any proposed amendment that calls for new or increased spending must include an estimate of the additional costs and must specify budget line item reductions or other revenue sources that would maintain a balanced budget. Any proposed amendment that calls for reduction in spending must specify the budget line items to be affected. Any proposed budget amendment must be submitted by written resolution to Diocesan Council and the Resolutions Committee at least 45 days prior to the Convention.

Said budget shall be balanced on the basis of expected diocesan income at the Assessment rate set pursuant to Canon 7. Copies of the draft budget shall be presented to the clergy, lay delegates and Parish and Mission treasurers one week prior to the Spring Pre-Convention Gatherings. Council may recommend for the Bishop’s approval any changes in budget allocations as it may find necessary.

Explanation

Prior to 2011, the diocesan canons governing the structure of Diocesan Council described the Council as consisting of ten (10) members, one elected from and by each of the ten Regional Ministries, three (3) members elected by the Diocesan Convention, and up to six (6) members appointed by diocesan Program Commissions. Formerly, when the diocesan Commission for Ethnic Ministries existed, the diocesan Ethnic Ministries programs represented the work and ministries of Asian Ministries, African American Ministries, First Nations Ministries, and Hispanic Ministries.  Though not explicitly detailed in Canon 6 prior to the 2011 changes, members representing Episcopal communities of color in the diocese constituted those appointed to Diocesan Council because of the opportunity preserved within former Canon 6 for the representation of BIPOC via the six positions representing the Program Commissions.

Diocesan Convention 2011 passed Resolution #5 on “Diocesan Council Restructure.”  That restructure eliminated all appointed positions to Diocesan Council and shifted to a model of exclusively regional representation with all members elected at Diocesan Convention from each of the ten (10) diocesan regions.

The dominant culture model of a fully elected slate fails to appreciate the values and socio-cultural norms of our communities of color, most especially members of immigrant and relocated communities of color whose cultures include values of personal humility and relying on the invitation of elders and authority figures before assuming positions of responsibility. Additionally, a regional election process in Western Washington biases election results towards white membership, because the majority population of our rural regions are white and our communities of color are primarily urban-centered, with the exception of farm workers. The dominant culture Church must proactively invite people of color into positions of leadership in an ongoing commitment to the representation of minority communities in our organizational model of decision-making. Dedicating representative seats at the table for our communities of color underscores a diocesan commitment to empowering our diverse membership by assuring their presence in leadership.

Though the commission and committees formerly known as the Commission for Ethnic Ministries and the Diocesan ethnic committees no longer exist, Ethnic Ministries Circles of Color is a grassroots community virtual network connecting people of color across the diocese. Organized in the spring and summer of 2020, Circles of Color provides support and advocacy for Episcopalians of color that is not dependent on geographic region or constrained by the rural/urban divide. Each Circle of Color has the ability to lift up representatives from within each community and can serve as a mechanism for recommending appointments to Diocesan Council. The Diocesan Bishop would make the final determination of the slate of appointed positions in consultation with those communities.

With regard to regional representation, the Nominating Committee should strive to maintain a balance of clergy and lay nominees by working with the regions to emphasize the need to alternate between clergy and lay representatives.

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Convention Resolution #5

Resolution to Make Diversity Explicit, Canon 17: Diversity in Appointments

Submitted by: The Rev. Deacon Pauline Shigaki, On Behalf of Ethnic Ministries Circles of Color

Contact: Polly Shigaki polly@stpeterseattle.org

NOTE: The version of this resolution shown below differs only slightly from the original sent to the Resolutions Committee. This revised version has included “neurodiversity”, which members of the Resolution Committee raised as another form of diversity. While there are many ways to frame diversity, one intention of this resolution is raise deliberate awareness of unconscious biases in appointing BIPOC to seats in leadership, fully appreciating all the gifts to be offered. The form of the resolution below is found in the appendix of The Resolutions Committee Report to Convention and will be submitted on the floor of Convention as a substitute resolution to original.

Resolved, that the 110th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia change Diocesan Canon 17 as indicated below:

Canon 17: In appointing members to diocesan commissions, committees, boards, and other bodies, and in issues of clergy deployment, the appointing authority shall give due consideration to the value of diversity in such areas as gender, sexual identity and orientation, physical ability, neurodiversity, age, race, ethnicity and income and wealth status

Explanation

The proposed change makes explicit what was implicit as the Canon stood. As the Diocese moves to examine and change the lack of diversity in Diocesan structures, the specificity of the new wording can serve as a substantive reminder, underscoring the reality that in this important historical moment “diversity” requires a more exact definition.

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Convention Resolution #6

Toward a More Representative Partnership: A Resolution to Change Diocesan Canon 22

Submitted by: The Rev. Nigel Taber-Hamilton, On Behalf of Ethnic Ministries Circles of Color

Contact: Nigel Taber-Hamilton, rectorhome@whidbey.com

NOTE: The original resolution submitted to the Resolutions Committee has been only slightly revised in text and includes an expanded explanation based in feedback from the Committee. The form of the resolution below is found in the appendix of The Resolutions Committee Report to Convention and will be submitted on the floor of Convention as a substitute resolution to original.

Resolved, that the 110th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia change Diocesan Canon 22 as indicated below:

Canon 22: The Commission on Ministry

Section 1 Membership

There shall be a Commission on Ministry consisting of at least ten members.

a. One member of the Commission shall be chosen by the Standing Committee from among its members. Such members shall serve a one-year term and may be re-appointed by Standing Committee.

b. Of the remaining members of the Commission no fewer than one half third shall be clergy canonically resident in the Diocese and no fewer than one third half shall be lay adult Communicants in Good Standing in the Diocese. These members shall be appointed by the Bishop at the Annual Convention for three-year terms. One half of the Commission’s members shall be elected by the Annual Convention for three year terms. One third of the Commission will be appointed and elected each year. No such member may serve during more than two successive three-year terms. Those appointing and electing members of the Commission, as well as the Commission itself, shall strive for the diversity described in Diocesan Canon 17.

c. If a vacancy of a member appointed by the Bishop occurs on the Commission, the Bishop shall fill the vacancy for the unexpired term. If a vacancy of a member elected by Annual Convention occurs on the Commission, the Diocesan Council shall fill the vacancy until the next Annual Convention, which will elect a replacement person to fill out the remainder of the unexpired term.

d. Beginning in 2021, the commission will begin the three-year process required to move to the above structure, with the bishop appointing one-sixth and convention electing one-sixth of the commission’s membership each year, maintaining the lay/ordained 50%/50% balance.

Section 2 Duties and responsibilities

a. The Commission on Ministry shall have the duties and responsibilities prescribed by Canons of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. It shall assist the Bishop in matters pertaining to the enlistment and selection of persons for ministry, in the guidance and pastoral care of candidates for Holy Orders, of Deacons, lay professionals, and other baptized persons, and in matters pertaining to lifelong learning.

b. It shall interview Candidates for Holy Orders and shall, upon assignment by the Bishop, conduct, evaluate, and report upon canonical examinations. The Commission shall report promptly in writing to the Bishop the results of all interviews and examinations conducted by it or for it, whether satisfactory or unsatisfactory, making separate reports upon each person examined. The Bishop shall transmit these reports to the Standing Committee, which shall in no case recommend a candidate for Holy Orders, or for ordination to the Diaconate or Priesthood, without first considering the report of the Commission on Ministry.

c. The Commission on Ministry shall have such other responsibilities as are placed upon it by the Canons of the General Convention, by the Canons of the Diocese, and as may be assigned to it by the Bishop.

Section 3

The Commission on Ministry may adopt and publish rules for its work. Such rules shall be consistent with the Canons of the General Convention and of the Diocese, and shall be subject to the approval of the Bishop. These rules may include authorization for the appointment of committees of the Commission to act on its behalf.

Section 4

At the first meeting of the Commission following the Diocesan Convention, the Commission shall elect Bishop shall appoint a Convener from within its number. The Secretary for Vocations shall be appointed by the Bishop and shall keep a record of Commission proceedings, which shall be open at all times to members of the Commission, and to the Bishop and Standing Committee. The Commission shall make an annual report of its actions and activities to the Diocesan Convention.

Explanation

The Commission on Ministry plays a critical role in guiding all persons who seek to deepen their baptismal ministries and serve the church as both lay and ordained leaders. In its role in leadership formation, the Commission determines the composition of the leadership of the diocese and of the Church. Therefore, leadership identity and representation are very important in the life of our diocese. This resolution names striving for diversity as a goal of the development of future diocesan and Church leadership.

This resolution asks for changes in the manner in which members of the Commission on Ministry are chosen. Rather than the Commission being fully appointed by the Bishop, this resolution proposes that the Commission be composed of both lay and ordained members in equal numbers and that, one-half of the Commission’s members be elected by Convention. As Ethnic Ministries Circles of Color we long for the day when the leadership of our missions, parishes, dioceses, and national church begins to truly reflect the diversity of God’s Creation. We believe that the more democratic process of partial election from the Convention will provide the opportunity for diverse voices to participate in the decision-making processes that determine the composition of the Commission. The intention of this resolution is to help create a more representative membership on this key Commission.

In our diocese, there are only 8 active Black, Indigenous and People of Color clergy out of the 293 clergy resident in our diocese. In the last 12 years, we have lost too many such clergy. Changing the balance on the Commission on Ministry to include more lay Episcopalians (shifting from one-third to one-half lay representation on the Commission) facilitates the COM’s ability to be more representative of our communities of color, which are predominantly lay led while also reflecting diversity among those whom we call to holy orders.

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Convention Resolution #7

Establishing a BIPOC[2] Ministry Fund

Submitted by: The Rev. Josefina Beecher, On Behalf of Ethnic Ministries Circles of Color

Contact: Jo Beecher revjosefina@hotmail.com

Resolved, that this 110th Convention of the Diocese of Olympia establish a BIPOC Ministry Fund (hereafter “BMF”) to support non-stipendiary BIPOC diocesan clergy leading ethnic congregations, and be it further

Resolved, that the BMF shall be created immediately, and beginning in calendar year 2022 annually maintained using 2% of the Diocesan budget except that the Richard Young Curacy Fund and the Bishop Nedi Rivera Fund for Hispanic Ministry are not to be included in this 2% distribution, and be it further

Resolved, that funds from the BMF are to be distributed according to need, taking into consideration both the resources of the clergyperson and the resources of the worshipping communities involved, and be it further

Resolved, that members of the Bishop’s Society be contacted by the Bishop to ask if they will donate to the BMF or include this fund in their wills.

Explanation

Our nation has reached another crossroads in its long history, and the Episcopal Church is a part of this moment. Within our Church, BIPOC communities and clergy continue to experience all of the negative effects of centuries of racism and colonialism, disproportionately directed at minority individuals and communities. Any genuine attempt at beginning to redress this reality will require the devotion of significant human and financial resources. We recognize that this will be challenging. We believe that – as individuals, communities, and as a diocese – we are up to this challenge.

At present, our Diocese is using the Iona School program for training for those who will exercise an ordained ministry in small, financially challenged worshiping communities. These clergy are expected to work without a salary, church-provided health insurance, or Church Pension Fund contributions. When this model is also used for training BIPOC clergy it reveals the inequity of the way our diocese is treating the BIPOC community. This fund will be a concrete step to correct discrimination against BIPOC persons and communities.

We are aware that the 2021 budget process is well advanced, and so propose the 2% usage begin in 2022. However, the need is now. We would welcome conversation to find ways to fund this program in 2021.

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Convention Resolution #8

Resolution to add a Cultural Interpreter to BIPOC Ordination Process

Submitted by: The Rev. Dr. Edie Weller, On Behalf of Ethnic Ministries Circles of Color

Contact: Edie Weller ebweller53@q.com

NOTE: The original resolution submitted to the Resolutions Committee has been modified in both text and explanation based on recommendations and input from the Committee. The form of the resolution below is found in the appendix of The Resolutions Committee Report to Convention and will be submitted on the floor of Convention as a substitute resolution to original.

Resolved, that this 110th Convention of the Diocese of Olympia directs the Commission on

Ministry to offer to each Applicant, Postulant and Candidate who is self-identified as Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, Asian or other Person of Color (hereafter “BIPOC”) the assistance of a cultural interpreter to accompany them through the entire duration of their process. The cultural interpreter’s role is to interpret the cultural identity and assumptions of the Applicant, Postulant or Candidate to the Commission, and the cultural identity and assumptions of the Commission to the Applicant, Postulant or Candidate. This cultural interpreter will be approved by the applicant, postulant, or candidate and is not to be a member of the Commission. The cultural interpreter must be familiar with the Applicant, Postulant or Candidate’s culture of origin, as well as well informed about the rules and procedures of the Commission on Ministry and be able to answer the Applicant, Postulant or Candidate’s questions about the culture of the Diocese. This cultural interpreter is to accompany the Applicant, Postulant, or Candidate to any and all Commission meetings, as requested by the Applicant, Postulant or Candidate. This cultural interpreter is to be bound by any and all rules of confidentiality of the Commission. The cultural interpreter may be compensated, as would be a language interpreter, including standard diocesan mileage rates.

Explanation

All persons journeying toward potential ordained ministry in the Diocese of Olympia face a daunting process as they respond to their sense of call and have that vocation tested. This process rightly should be a deep examination of their spiritual and personal life. However, BIPOC persons face cultural assumptions understood by the dominant white church culture and not necessarily understood by all who seek ordination in our church. Conversely, Commission members from the dominant culture are unlikely to recognize or understand the nature of a BIPOC culture without help. For example, the use of non-verbal communication, or the way personal skills and talents are presented differ markedly across cultures. A person discerning a call to ordained ministry may come from a high-context culture where trust and communication develops slowly, whereas the diocesan culture generally is low-context, with more direct, explicit communication being valued. The COM, while valuing the forming of community, mostly conforms to the dominant culture which values individuality. Those in process for ordination may not be accustomed to making individual decisions without consulting family and community. Each step of the process is challenging to all but even more so to BIPOC persons. To assure that BIPOC persons are not held back by unwritten cultural norms and expectations, or by simple cultural misunderstandings, an additional person of their choosing is needed to accompany them. Further, commission members need to make sure that they are communicating clearly and effectively, and a Cultural Interpreter can identify culturally informed strategies and concepts specific to the BIPOC aspirant/postulant/candidate to aid in this regard.  The Cultural Interpreter has a unique role that is not the same as the role of Commission liaison or spiritual director. Adding a Cultural Interpreter to the ordination process will aid the Diocese of Olympia on it’s challenging journey to become the Beloved Community. At a minimum, the cultural interpreter should have significant cross-cultural experience and familiarity with both cultures, and may be from either or both cultures. The Circles of Color represent one resource in our diocese that can assist in identifying Cultural Interpreters. The persons in process themselves may know and be able to recommend a person with familiarity with both cultures. Additionally, the cultural interpreter may be a language interpreter, as required by the person in process.

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Convention Resolution #9

Anti-Racism Covenant

Submitted by: The Rev. Carla Robinson, On Behalf of Ethnic Ministries Circles of Color

Contact: Carla Robinson carlarobinson.x@gmail.com

Resolved, that the 110th Convention of the Diocese of Olympia join other Episcopal dioceses in signing Bishop Deon Johnson’s Anti-Racism Covenant of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, and be it further

Resolved, that the Diocese of Olympia adopt this covenant for promotion and education in our diocese, and be it further

Resolved, that this Convention commend it to all congregations in our diocese for study and meaningful local action that promotes further racial understanding, reconciliation, and partnership.

Explanation

In response to the death of George Floyd and others in police custody, the Rt. Rev. Deon Johnson wrote an anti-racism covenant. The document includes our laments (the things we confess to doing wrong) and our covenant (the promises we make to do better).

Several other bishops in the Episcopal Church and ELCA are supporting Bishop Johnson in this action. Signing, adopting, and reflecting on the Anti-Racism Covenant provides a collective opportunity to the whole Church to move beyond a “statement” and engage in meaningful action to end the sin of racism. The nature of action may be specific to every congregation and ministry in the diocese, but action cannot happen without intentional commitment and spiritual encouragement. The Anti-Racism Covenant complements our Baptismal Covenant commitment to seek and serve Christ in all persons, by loving our neighbor as ourselves, striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being.

Anti-Racism Covenant: A Covenant to Root Out Racism

“Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.” -1 John 4:20

The sin of racism disrupts the harmony and oneness that God intends for humanity. Racism is dangerous, divisive, and damaging. Racism purports that some are deserving of dignity over others and disregards the image and likeness of God found in every human being. We are created in the image of God; therefore, to engage in racism of any form is to refuse to acknowledge the image of God in the other and the stranger. The fact that we were created in the image of God should remind us that each person is a living expression of God that must be respected, preserved, and never dishonored.

Throughout our history, courageous people of God have taken the risk of standing up and speaking out with the least and the lowest. God now challenges us to become courageous people who seek to create sacred communities of hope by dismantling the sin of racism. This work involves risking ourselves for the sake of God’s love, moving beyond ourselves in order to seek and serve Christ and one another.

WE LAMENT…

As people of faith, we acknowledge our sins and our failure to respect the dignity of every human being. We have, individually and corporately, fallen short of the glory of God, and now call to mind and name the aspects of our lament.

  • We lament the Church’s role in the subjugation, enslavement, and genocide of societies of indigenous peoples, including Native Americans and Pacific Islanders.
  • We lament the Church’s role in profiting from the selling, trading, and genocide of people of African descent and the lasting effects of the peculiar trade present with us today.
  • We lament the Church’s complicity-by-silence in the commoditization, dehumanization, and belittling of peoples brought to this country to toil in brutal labor, including Latinx people, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and other immigrant and undocumented populations.
  • We lament the Church’s complicity in the historical exclusion, internment, and denial of civil rights of Asians and Pacific Islanders.
  • We lament the Church’s complicity in failing to honor the language, culture, and civil rights of Latinx people, both American citizens and those from other countries.
  • We lament the places in which we have been spectators and participants in the public and private lynching of people of African descent.
  • We lament the Church’s lack of moral courage to stand with and on the side of the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed.
  • We lament the systems of white supremacy, white exceptionalism, and white privilege present in the Church that have condoned people –particularly people of African descent, –being viewed as less, inferior, or unworthy rather than as beloved children of God, made in the image of the Divine.
  • We lament the ways in which the stories of People of Color have been diminished or erased from the histories of our churches, institutions, and communities of faith.
  • We lament the collusion of the Church with systems that directly and indirectly promote racism, oppression, segregation, and disenfranchisement.
  • We lament the willful blindness of Christian leadership in promoting and advocating for systems of over-policing, the militarization of police, mass incarceration, school-to-prison pipelines, poverty, and violence.
  • We lament the resounding silence and the crippling fear that often infects the Church in matters of racial reconciliation and social justice.

WE COVENANT…

As people of faith, we are called to “love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul and with all our mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves.” Recognizing the places in which the church and people of faith have fallen short of God’s love, particularly in the legacy of racism and white supremacy, we seek to amend our lives to more fully reflect God’s dream of Beloved Community.

  • We covenant to re-examine the history of our communities of faith and institutions to, in tangible ways, acknowledge racist legacies and to recognize, remember, and retell the stories of Native American, enslaved persons and other People of Color, whose labor contributed to white privilege.
  • We covenant to engage our communities of faith, staffs, colleagues and experts in critical discourse that propels us forward.
  • We covenant to devise and implement standards, policies, and programs that make our commitment to diversity and inclusion a visible reality.
  • We covenant to invest in local businesses that are owned and operated by People of Color and underrepresented populations.
  • We covenant to listen to and to validate the stories, experiences, and feelings of People of Color as companions along the journey, valuing those experiences as being sacred.
  • We covenant to adopt an intersectional approach in all aspect of our common life, remembering that all forms of oppression are connected.
  • We covenant to financially support the important work of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
  • We covenant to work towards the dismantling of the school to prison pipeline and other systems of institutional oppression.
  • We covenant to stand up and speak out against everyday micro and macro acts of oppression or aggression.
  • We covenant to struggle and speak out against denial of civil liberties and voter suppression.
  • We covenant to educate ourselves, and share with others, the many places where our privilege blinds us from being compassionate to others.
  • We covenant to call out bigotry and hate speech in all aspects of our common life.
  • We covenant to gather with others, including faith leaders and decision makers, at all levels of the church, to ask the hard questions:
  • Does the leadership of our institution reflect the diversity of those we serve?
  • Are the many faces of the diverse body of Christ represented in decision-making processes?
  • How are we inviting and forming leaders?
  • Who is missing around the table?
  • Whose untold story do we need to hear?
  • We covenant that in our corporate worship; and other activities of our communities to intentionally cultivate welcome, hospitality, and participation for people of all cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds, and to include their rich musical and liturgical offerings in worship.
  • We covenant to invite all members of our faith communities to reflect about and seek a better understanding of racism and privilege.
  • We covenant to preach about, and pray together for an end to racism and white supremacy, not to bring down people of European descent, but to lift all others up.
  • We covenant to join with local community organizations in working for racial justice.
  • We covenant to…(additional context specific acts may be added or included that are specific to congregations or ministries)

[1] Black, Indigenous, and People of Color

[2][2] “Black, Indigenous, People of Color”