Roots with the Executive Council of East Carolina
A number of years ago, at a meeting of the Executive Council in the parish hall of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Farmville NC, a discussion took place about the potential value of giving time and energy to the discernment of Diocesan mission priorities. Council members recognized that their annual budgeting process had been built on the assumption that the Diocese would continue with the same spending priorities as each previous year. Enthusiasm grew amongst members about a prayerful process of discerning new ways that God might be calling us to live together in East Carolina. Eventually, we imagined launching a process at Diocesan Convention in 2020. As the time drew closer, we recognized that Bishop Skirving would be absent from the Diocese for the Lambeth Conference and then a three-month sabbatical in 2020 and so we decided to put it off a year. As it turned out, with so many planned activities cancelled during 2020 because of the pandemic, we could have gone ahead with this process after all!
Launched with the “Journey Through East Carolina”
Early in the pandemic, Bishop Skirving found himself building a lot of extra exercise into his daily routine and in the midst of his walking the idea was born to begin a “Journey Through East Carolina” late in 2020. With support from staff members at Diocesan House, the journey was launched. In its design, participants were challenged to Move, Study, Pray and Give their way across the diocese. The Study included learning about the counties that make up our Diocese, with a particular eye to the needs present in each county, particularly as those needs had been made clearer during the devastation of the pandemic. As we joined together to Pray, we were invited to look beyond ourselves and our needs. As many of us took time to Move across the Diocese, we also challenged one another to Give of our time, talents and treasures in whatever ways we felt led. A special focus was placed on the needs of Trinity Center and during Diocesan Convention it was announced that together we had been able to Give more than $216,000 in support of necessary capital repairs that are now being accomplished.
Quietly, this “Journey Through East Carolina” helped to raise our heads from our own individual circumstances and to become more conscious of the needs of others around us, while uniting our efforts to accomplish a number of more concrete goals. This was the quiet launch of this prayerful process of discerning Diocesan mission priorities.
God is not finished with us yet! As we have faced one challenge after another during this past year, God’s Holy Spirit has equipped us to develop new competencies while leading us to grow in our awareness of the needs of the people of our congregations and our communities This is a perfect time to prayerfully seek God’s guidance regarding the path ahead as disciples of God’s Son Jesus!