Standing Committee Report 2018

The Standing Committee is a body consisting of four lay and four clerical members elected by this convention. We serve as one of the three governing bodies of the Diocese between conventions, alongside the Executive Council and the Office of the Bishop and staff. We act as the Bishop’s council of advice and consent in key areas of importance in the life of this diocese and the wider church including congregational status, property matters, and ordination, among others. We meet on the first Tuesday of every month with the exception of August, during which we recess for the summer, and November, when we have our annual retreat at St. Dorothy’s Rest to orient newly-elected members and plan for the upcoming year.

A quick look at our accomplishments over the past year demonstrates the scope of our work for the diocese. In response to our canonical responsibility to consent to all encumbrances to any church property in the diocese, we examined and gave consent to seven lease or easement agreements this year. To fulfill our responsibility to serve as a check and balance for the ordination process, ensuring that all the requirements and processes along the path to ordination are met for each prospective candidate, we consented to six postulants proceeding into the candidacy stage, and five candidates to move forward with either diaconal or priestly ordination. With the Executive Council, the Standing Committee shares oversight of the Committee on Governance; this year that body completed a study of the canonical authority and duties of interim rectors and vicars and recommended further action to clarify these matters. At the suggestion of the Standing Committee, the Committee on Governance also began a project to identify when congregations need to receive consent from the Standing Committee on property issues and explore possible systems or structures to make this a clearer and easier process. As part of our responsibility for oversight of diocesan institutions, we approved new board members for Bishop’s Ranch and the Episcopal Impact Fund; as a reflection of our desire to build better relationships between the diocese and these institutions and other related bodies, we also had a visit with Sojourn Chaplaincy. Finally, fulfilling a responsibility we have to the wider Episcopal Church, we consented to five different elections of bishops in various dioceses.

That is a lot of work for one year! Beyond the work related to our official duties, however, this has also been a year of a great deal of “process” work, as we have sought to improve and refine how we carry out our business. We are about to lose two long-serving officers, and so had several discussions about their roles and how to pass those roles on to new leaders. We have had discussions about how to improve our communication and the work we do in conjunction with other diocesan bodies. We have also engaged in extended reflection together about our roles on the Standing Committee and how best to navigate the sometimes difficult and emotionally taxing work we must do. Finally, it has been a particular focus of mine as president for the Standing Committee to keep thinking through what it might mean to see our work as spiritual practice and ourselves not just as a governing body but as spiritual leaders for the Church.

We are grateful for all your support for us and it has been an honor for us to serve you, the Diocese of California, this year. We continue to seek your prayers, and our prayers are with all of you as, to paraphrase St. Francis, we complete (for this year!) the work that was ours to do; may Christ now teach us what is ours to do.

Respectfully submitted, Andrew K. Lee, 2017-2018 Standing Committee President