Last weekend, the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real on California’s central coast held its 2013 convention – and celebrated the start of our seventh year under the inspiring leadership of Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves. I have been honored to be elected to serve as a convention delegate (or alternate) for the last ten years. My home parish of St. Andrew’s hosted the convention this year in Saratoga.
ECR includes 13,000 people in 47 congregations:
The Diocese of El Camino Real stretches from south of San Francisco to north of Santa Barbara. The congregations of El Camino Real are found in the five counties of San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Monterey. Although the youngest diocese in California, ECR’s Trinity Cathedral, in San Jose, is the oldest cathedral structure in the State of California.
Conventions are for celebration of our ministry, updates, and managing the business of the church. However, this year we also enjoyed dunking Bishop Mary. She gamely “volunteered” to get wet as a fundraiser for our youth mission trip. Tickets were sold: $10 for 3 balls to try to dunk, or $20 not to dunk the Bishop. The youth raised $1,200 from ticket sales in one night! As always, the Rev. Stephenie Cooper and my husband John Plocher were the “Assistant Secretaries for Everything Else” – that is, running the computers and displays for the ECR convention.
Other more-conventional (ahem) activities included:
- Celebrating the two month visit of The Rev. Fred Kalibwami to ECR from the Diocese of Western Tanganyika (DWT)
- Bishop Mary’s annual address to the diocese, including announcing the purchase of Sargent House for the Bishop’s new offices in Salinas.
- Honors to notable volunteers and lifetime contributors:
- Bishop’s Cross Recipients: The Rev. Roger Barney, and The Rev. Canon Linda Taylor
- Simple Servant Awards: Don and Diane Cooley, and Rosemary Tisch
- Lunch gathering of the Education for Ministry mentors in ECR (including me!)
- Reports on key ministries – outreach to the jails, campus ministry at four universities, and caring for the poor and homeless in our communities.
- Election of delegates to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church (held every three years). I was elected as first Alternate for the 2015 General Convention.
- Displays by diocesan and charity groups, plus sales of crafts and Bishop Mary’s newest book Unearthing My Religion
Images Copyright 2013 by Katy Dickinson