ECMN Online Convention - Business Meeting Registration Now Open
Beloved in Christ,
As announced a few weeks ago, ECMN's 2020 Convention will take place online this year due to the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is clear that we cannot safely gather in person for convention, I am also aware that trying to conduct our business online brings significant limitations. Like so many things in our world today, we’re doing our best to live out the heart of our mission even within the constraints set by the pandemic.
As Episcopalians, we believe the governance of our church requires all four orders of ministry - lay persons, deacons, priests, and bishops - to gather with equal voice to discern the Holy Spirit together. We cannot pretend that an online platform will allow for this deliberative process to reach its fullest expression. It is much harder to truly listen across our difference, to conform to the disciplines of our deliberative process that protects everyone's voice, and we know that there will be some who will have limited or no access. Because of this, we are limiting business to the absolute minimum required for the ongoing operation of diocesan governance. We hope we will gather in a spirit of good faith, knowing that while we have many challenges in front of us, and work to do in many areas, we will have to find other spaces and ways to do some of that work in the months to come.
This year, ECMN Convention will take place in three parts:
Friday, September 25th: ECMN Business Meeting
Saturday, September 26th: Plenary Session and Workshops
Sunday, September 27th: ECMN-Wide Online Worship
I have asked for and received the formal consent of both the Council and the Standing Committee to move the business portion of convention online. Additionally, a team consisting of the Secretary and Parliamentarian of Convention, the ECMN Chancellor, individuals serving the wider Episcopal Church, and ECMN Missioners have been working to explore technological supports that will allow us to gather online and meet, in some basic ways, those canonical requirements that will move ECMN into our next program year.
We have contracted with an organization that is providing back-end support to several Episcopal Diocesan Conventions this fall. This company understands Episcopal polity and will help us manage delegate certification, voting, and discussion via the Zoom webinar platform.
As a new bishop, I grieve not being able to gather with all of you who I am so quickly coming to love, and I will miss this important moment to incarnate the reality that we are one body in Christ. I do hope to preview some important initiatives for the coming year, and offer some thoughts on what I imagine some of our work together might look like moving forward. Discerning and following the Holy Spirit in the way of Jesus will take every one of our gifts and energies, and I hope you will join us from wherever you are as we give thanks for where God has already brought us, and ask together for God's blessing on what is yet to come.
Faithfully yours in the love of Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Craig Loya
X Bishop, The Episcopal Church in Minnesota