January 21-23, 2016, Hyatt Reston Hotel, Reston
It’s all about connections.
In some contexts, that phrase might have negative connotations – hints of insider deals. But in the context of the 221st Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia, coming up in Reston this January, our “connections” are the ways we work together to build the Kingdom.
It’s that word “connections” that is helping to define our Church in the 21st century at every level of its polity. Working and worshipping TOGETHER — within Regions, as
a diocesan community, out in the broader community, as a national Church, as an Anglican Communion — are emerging as our Church’s defining traits. They even add to the theme of Bishop’s Johnston’s sabbatical time this fall, as he reconnects with family and friends.
“Connections” will be explored and celebrated at Council with an array of programs, workshops and reflections that will range from South Africa to the Valley of Virginia. Using “Stories of the Diocese,” we will deal with interfaith initiatives, young adult ministries, church schools, racial reconciliation and more.
The take-home from our time together in Reston will be practical and inspiring – ideas that reflect the connections within our diocesan community and the connections to the broader community. Understanding these ties will help us to heed the call of Michael Curry, our new presiding bishop, to “GO” out into the world as disciples who are building
the Kingdom – to change the world, “to change us from
the nightmare that life can often be to the dream that God intended before the earth and world were ever made.”
Keeping in mind that many parts of the program are still “works in progress,” here’s a short preview of coming attractions at Council:
- Continuing to build on the “Stories of the Diocese” that helped define the past two Councils, we will use creative formats and interactive opportunities to share and celebrate the success stories of our parishes and missions.
- Two rounds of Listening Sessions on racial reconciliation have left us hungry to go deeper and broader in our call to be reconcilers in the community. We’ll explore “next steps” with special guests from the Diocese of Christ the King in South Africa. The remarkable evolution in that part of the world can help guide us toward our own reconciliation.
- An array of carefully focused workshops on topics involving stewardship, mission and communications will be geared toward high take-home value.
- Our chaplain will be the Rt. Rev. Peter J. Lee – no, not that Bishop Lee! It’s Peter JOHN (not JAMES) Lee, who will soon retire after a quarter-century of building community in the impoverished areas of southern Johannesburg that form the Diocese of Christ the King.
- The centerpiece of our Council will be our time together in worship – a big, bold, celebratory Eucharist that will spiritually refuel us for the important work ahead.
We dare not squander the blessing of having several hundred Episcopalians gather in one big room two days a year. Our goal is to make that time as valuable and as joyful as it can be. There will be fewer “talking heads” and more opportunities to build relationships and to share views. Everyone is invited to join us, whether or not you are an official delegate.
See you in Reston!
For more information, go to http://www.thediocese.net/Governance/AnnualCouncil/221st-Annual-Council-2016-/.
By: The Rev. Deacon Ed Jones, Secretary of the Diocese