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107th Annual Council will hear from 'new voices,' including Washington diocese's first female bishop

Bishop Rob Wright and nearly 600 clergy and lay delegates from north and middle Georgia will hear Nov. 8-9 from some new voices, among them the Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, the first female diocesan bishop for the Diocese of Washington (D.C.). 

The 107th Annual Council of the Diocese of Atlanta will begin with worship at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 8, at Holy Innocents’ Church and School, with Bishop Budde preaching. She also will address the assembly the following morning in a meditation.

“I am delighted Bishop Budde can be with us,” said Wright, who invited her more than a year ago to come and address the annual gathering. “She is very much in demand, and this will be one of her first diocesan visits outside Washington.”  Budde and Wright are fellow graduates of Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va.

Ordained a priest in 1989, Budde served five years as an associate rector of Trinity Church, Toledo, Ohio, and then 18 years as rector of at St. John’s, Minneapolis. She has been conference leader for CREDO, an organization committed to clergy wellness and vocational renewal, and has a long history of work with Spanish-speaking people. She and her husband, Paul Budde, have two grown sons.

Other new voices
Wright said clergy and delegates can expect to hear from some “other new voices” at the meeting, which has traditionally featured reports from various diocesan ministries. While that important work continues, he said it was time to hear about some new and creative initiatives, too.

For example, Deacon Lesley-Ann Drake will tell the story of Path To Shine, an after-school program for poor children that can be implemented anywhere.  And a task force on ministry among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, which conducted listening sessions throughout the diocese during the past year, will share what it learned. The diocese’s thriving Hispanic ministry also will be a focus.

Participants can expect to hear more about The Matthew Project, Episcopal Charities Foundation’s recent effort to develop and encourage parish teams to build a free medical clinic. “Above all, we want this to be an informative, inspiring and enjoyable time together,” Wright said.

During business sessions, delegates and clergy also are expected to elect new officers, approve the 2014 diocesan budget, and vote on any proposed legislation.

Every three years the diocese elects its clergy and lay deputies to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church.  Those elected at the Annual Council will be able to take part in 2015 at the 78th General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.  This is the same meeting where a new presiding bishop will be chosen by bishops of the church, an event that takes place every nine years.

Back to Holy Innocents’
For many from throughout the diocese, this will be a first chance to experience the recently completed building program at Holy Innocents’, which last hosted the Annual Council in 2006.  The new Christ Chapel and a number of remodeled spaces – including the nave ‒ create an inviting and spacious ambience for worship and social time.

Council meetings will be held in the gymnasium and some classrooms at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, which will not be in session Nov. 8 due to the event. 

The Very Rev. Michael Tanner is dean of the North-Atlanta Convocation, which hosts the 107th Council. Congregations of the convocation are Holy Innocents', Emmaus House, Holy Comforter, St. Anne’s, St. Dunstan’s, St. Martin in the Fields, and Church of the Atonement.

Thursday evening @ St. Dunstan’s

On Thursday evening, Nov. 7, before the start of Annual Council, St. Dunstan’s, Atlanta, will host a reception from 5:30 to 7:30. All delegates, clergy members, and others attending the meeting are invited to attend.