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Diocese Will Renew Sao Paulo Partnership

One of the highlights of next month’s Diocesan Convention will be a visit from The Rt. Rev. Roger Bird, bishop of the Diocese of Sao Paulo in Brazil. While Bishop Bird has attended past conventions, he will be on hand this year for the formal renewal of the companion relationship between the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania and the Diocese of Sao Paulo

First established by Bishops Michael Creighton of Central Pennsylvania and Hiroshi Ito of Sao Paulo, this companionship has been the source of innumerable encounters between American and Brazilian Episcopalians. Roughly twenty congregations in our Diocese have established long-term companion relationships with parishes in and around Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, and one whose economic contrasts are stark. In addition, our Diocese has had a major impact on Sao Paulo’s Casa Dia Center, established as a drug rehabilitation facility for area teen boys.

Bishop Bird and his wife will spend several days in Central Pennsylvania, participating in the convention, visiting parishes, and participating in diocesan activities.

Convention Considers Eight Resolutions

There will be a full agenda for next month’s Diocesan Convention, with eight resolutions up for consideration. In addition to the ever-present budget and clergy resolutions, the convention will consider resolutions dealing with reducing parish greenhouse gas emissions, diocesan “fair share” contributions, and the closing—more formally known as “extinguishing”—of three congregations. They are St. Michael’s, Middletown, whose vestry asked that their parish be closed, Trinity, Antrim, and Christ Church, Lykens, both of which have suffered membership declines to the point at which they are no longer viable as independent parishes.

Perhaps the most interesting resolution comes from the Very Rev. Churchill Pinder, Chair of the Standing Committee, entitled, A resolution to implement a process of Holy Conversations within the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. Its proposition is simple: that over the next three years the Diocese engage in a structured process of discussion centered around three questions:

Who are we as the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania?
What has God called us to do or be?
Who is our neighbor?

These questions grew out of the strategic planning process in which the bishop and Standing Committee have been engaged for the past year. The intent is to gather a picture of what we are as a diocese, what our aspirations are, and how we see our mission, both within and outside of our church itself. While there are currently no details as to how the process might work if the resolution is approved, several interesting approaches have emerged that would allow responses to be shared widely around the diocese.

The full texts of all the resolutions that will go before the convention are available here.

Page 2:

Boston teens find God in Renovo

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Diocesan Calendar - May - June

8 - SCS Classes meet; 10 am - 4 pm

9 - Bishop Baxter visits St. Benedict New Freedom, PA

15 - Exploring Your Ministry-Affirmation Workshop;    10am-4 pm

16 - Bishop Baxter visits St. John's, Lancaster

22 - SCS Classes meet; 10 am - 4 pm

23 - Bishop Baxter visits St. James', Lancaster

24 - Safeguarding God's Children Training Program; St. John's, Carlisle; 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm


10-11 - Diocesan Convention; Bucknell University

13 - Bishop's Open Golf Tournament

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140th Diocesan Convention

The 140th Annual Diocesan Convention will meet June 11 through June 12, 2010, at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA. Early registration will be available, beginning at 4 PM on Thursday, June 10. Hosts are the parishes of the Southern Convocation. This year's theme is "Discerning and Ministering in a Changing World." Internationally acclaimed speaker, activist, evangelist and author, Mr. Brian McLaren, will be our Chaplain and guest speaker. General information about the Convention is availalble here.


Diocesan Staff Changes

The Diocese is in the midst of several staff changes and reassignments. This will be the last Convention for Sandy Schultz, our convention coordinator for more than five years. Recognizing the smaller number of staff and increasing demands, the position has been reshaped to include broader responsibilities beyond convention, to coordination of increased annual diocesan events during the year. The new position will include consolidating of new technology; planning skills and a model of staff collaboration. Bishop Baxter has expressed the hope that this plan will help us in the central administration of our many diocesan events, and he has expressed sincere thanks to Sandy Schultz for her dedication and contributions to the life of the Diocese over the past five years. Linda Arguedas has joined the staff as part-time Diocesan Events Coordinator. Watch for details of her new responsibilities in the next Tidings.

Bishop Baxter has also expressed “Thanksgiving” for the ministry of Sandy Strohl, who has served as a non-stipendiary staff member of the diocese since 2007. She has resigned to focus on other commitments as of March 31st. Her work has focused first on administration support for The School of Christian Studies events and later included administrative matters for Children and Youth conferences. The Diocese is grateful for her gifts and commitment over these years.

Finally, the diocesan contract with Nancy Dering Martin ends at Convention. Nancy has helped guide the diocese’s strategic planning efforts. Bishop Baxter has asked Bill Graffius, Staff Associate for Transition Ministries, to temporarily take on the work of coordinating continued Strategic Visioning work with the related diocesan committees. Bill’s previous professional life was as a consultant and administrator with health care institutions.

Employment Opportunities

The Diocese is currently seeking to fill two vacancies: Canon to the Ordinary - a full-time senior administrative position - and Canon Missioner for Children and Youth Formation - a half-time position overseeing diocesan formation activities with young people. The position descriptions for these vacancies are available below:

Canon to the Ordinary

Canon Missioner for Children and Youth






Around the Diocese

The congregation of St. John's, Carlisle, presented a class of 22 adults and young people to Bishop Baxter for Confirmation and/or reception on May 2. Tidings is pleased to share some photos from the day's events.

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