Anne Rudig, Director of Communication for the Episcopal Church, represented the Presiding Bishop and the wider church at the 148th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. The following are her prepared remarks delivered on the convention floor November 2, 2013:
Hello Pittsburgh! And thank you for the warm welcome. It’s good to be back. Thank you, Bishop Dorsey, for the invitation and for your profound words last evening.
I bring you greetings from the Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori.
On her behalf, I also bring you greetings from the 17 countries and 110 dioceses that make up our Church. Not the national church, but the Episcopal Church.
From Taiwan and Micronesia, Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Haiti – our biggest diocese – the Dominican Republic, the British and US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.
There is much that the wider church can learn from the faithfulness and creativity of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
I also bring greetings from the Chief Operating Officer of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Stacy Sauls. I am here, in part, because of a vision that Bishop Stacy has for the staff at the denominational office.
Notice I did not say, “at the Church Center.” That is because we are keenly aware that the center of the Episcopal Church is right here in the middle of this room.
I work for the Missionary Society of the Episcopal Church. And I have been sent out to you to share resources, staff, and opportunities for partnership. I am also here to listen and learn about the hopes and needs of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
I will be back as often as you wish. I will serve as your connector and conduit to other staff and resources. I am here to enable direct communication between church staff and the local level.
The partnerships available with The Missionary Society include $2 million in grants for church plants, restarts and redevelopments; affordable websites for dioceses and congregations; public relations support for local mission; and workshops on how to market your church.
There are administrative offerings as well – Human Resources consulting for hiring and organizational restructuring; investment opportunities with the Finance Office; and demographic research.
We can help you engage your church in refugee resettlement work, or in training for youth and adult missionaries. There are new missionary programs in the works for gap years for students, and for older adults who would like to do a year or less of service.
The goal is to make missionary service the normative experience for all Episcopalians.
There are scholarships available for formation and ministry development, rural ministry, and indigenous theological training.
I have only mentioned a sampling of what is available to you – I encourage you to visit
www.episcopalchurch.org/page/missionary-society , where you will find videos and more information.
And, I would ask that you please fill out one of these cards and return it to me, or take one of my business cards, so that we can be in close touch about new offerings and the needs of this diocese.
I also have a special invitation for you all. On November 15, we will live-stream a forum in partnership with the Diocese of Mississippi, “Fifty years later: the state of racism in America.”
Presiding Bishop Katharine will deliver the keynote. Ray Suarez of PBS will be the moderator. Panelists include Ms. Myrlie Evers-Williams, civil rights activist and widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers; the Honorable William F. Winter, former governor of Mississippi and founder of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation; the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina; the Honorable Byron Rushing, Massachusetts state representative, civil rights leader, and vice president of the House of Deputies; Dr. Randy Testa, educator and vice-president of education at Walden Media; Dr. Erma Vizenor, chairwoman of White Earth Band of Ojibwe and community organizer; and Tim Wise, educator and author of White Like Me.
I invite you to view the webcast individually or in groups. Seminarians and congregations will be getting together to watch it. The Diocese of Long Island will be viewing it as part of its convention.
Please go to www.episcopalchurch.org/stateofracism , where you will find materials to read and view in preparation for the event.
You may also register there for the event if you would like to attend in person.
Following Friday’s webcast, there will be an all-day series of workshops and reflections on Saturday for those interested in creating training and curriculum. The workshops will be videotaped and available on-demand at episcopalchurch.org, along with study guides and other resources.
I also want to announce that it appears that the rest of the church is finally catching up with Harold Lewis, retired rector of Calvary Church in Pittsburgh. Executive Council just affirmed the plans for a new cathedral that will be the center of culture and life in Port-au-Prince. There will be a church-wide global offering for Haiti on the fourth anniversary of the earthquake in January 2014, and the cathedral will be a main focus of the Development Office of The Episcopal Church.
If you remember one thing about my visit, I hope it is that I am here to serve you. I will be your connector and conduit to other staff and to resources. Together, I hope we can find new ways to collaborate and to further local mission in the Episcopal Church.