The 207th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Ohio convenes this evening in Wooster with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 5:30 pm. The convention banquet will follow. Tomorrow morning, the convention’s business session will begin and then wrap up later in the afternoon.
This convention is the first at which Bishop Anne Jolly will preside. Trinity will be represented by three lay delegates, each of them with seat, voice, and vote – Mary Beroske, Hugh Grefe, and Jolene Miller. As your Interim Rector, I will be granted the courtesy of seat and voice, but won’t have voting privileges since I’m a priest in the Diocese of Southern Ohio. George Benson, our Director of Community Engagement, will also attend the convention as an observer, providing him the opportunity to learn more about how the diocese supports the ministries of its various parishes and congregations.
Diocesan conventions are a time when lay and clergy delegates from each congregation in the diocese gather for worship and fellowship, and to discuss and make decisions about the budget, resolutions, canons, and other issues. You can learn more about this year’s meeting by going to the convention website here: https://www.dohio.org/convention.
The Diocese of Ohio occupies 48 counties in the northern half of the state. It was the first diocese of the Episcopal Church to be established outside the original 13 colonies. At present, there are 95 parishes – some large, others small, and still others somewhere in between.
Shortly after Ohio was admitted to the Union, the first Episcopal church, St. John’s, was established in the state at Worthington in 1804. (Fun fact – I served as interim at St. John’s from 2019-2020.) Philander Chase, a graduate of Dartmouth, was called to be St. John’s first rector in 1817. A year later, he was elected the first Bishop of Ohio, and immediately began founding congregations and organizing the diocese for mission. A force to be reckoned with, Bishop Chase established Kenyon College and Bexley Hall Seminary. To give you some idea of his energy, between June 1820 and June 1821, he preached 200 times, baptized fifty people, and confirmed another 175 while traveling 1,279 miles on horseback!
Your interim and lay delegates won’t have to travel to Wooster on horseback, but we will still appreciate your prayers. Here’s the prayer For a Church Convention or Meeting from the Book of Common Prayer:
Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel in the Diocese of Ohio for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen