What is the Council?
In the words of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas (our diocese) website, Diocesan Council is the annual business meeting of the Diocese held every February.
Who are the voting members of Council?
All canonically resident clergy in good standing are voting members of Council. Each parish elects four lay delegates to Council. College chaplaincies and the Youth Ministry of the Diocese also elect lay delegates.
What is voted on?
Annually, Council votes on clergy and lay members to serve on Diocesan committees, the two with most authority being the Executive Board and the Standing Committee. Council must approve the budget for the fiscal year (a calendar year in this Diocese). Council also votes on proposed revisions to the Diocesan Constitution and Diocesan Canons.
Intermittently, there may be resolutions for Council to vote on. A Committee for Resolutions receives proposed resolutions in between Council meetings and recommends that those resolutions be adopted or rejected. Any member of the last preceding or upcoming Council may propose a resolution.
And Council also votes on the election of the Diocesan Bishop and other bishops (assisting, coadjustor, suffragan) when necessary.
What else happens?
Council opens with a worship service for all delegates, volunteers, and others who wish to attend. The Bishop gives an address about the state of the Diocese and plans for the future. Council receives reports from various sources, including, for example, a treasurer’s report on the fiscal health of the Diocese and, after the sale of St. Luke’s Hospital, a report from the Episcopal Health Foundation. Council celebrates new missions and parishes. Council recognizes new clergy who have become resident in the Diocese. And Council hears the names of and prays for clergy and lay leaders who have died.
2019 Council highlights
Retirement party for Bishop Suffragan Dena Harrison. Election of Canon to the Ordinary Kai Ryan as Bishop Suffragan for the Austin area. Recognition of new clergy, two of whom have Palmer connections: Rev. David Goldberg (serving at San Pedro Pasadena); Deacon Nancy Wilkes (serving at Calvary Richmond).