To the Good People of the Diocese of Olympia,
We wrapped up the long awaited, and delayed, 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland. We met at the Baltimore Convention Center, a building that we learned by living in it for five days, has no direct route from one place to the next! I mean this with all the best, it seemed like a perfect place to hold an Episcopal convention! Actually, I want to commend this city, and its people, who have welcomed us warmly. The very same to Bishop Eugene Sutton and the good people of the Diocese of Maryland, our hosts.
Olympia shined brightly here. We have some amazing leaders in our deputation and across our Church. One of the highlights was by far was the election of the Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton, Rector of Trinity, Everett, as Vice President of the House of Deputies. But we also saw many resolutions that originated here, and work that originated here, approved and made part of the larger Episcopal story. Both resolutions regarding Israel/Palestine made it to the discussion here and one was passed. Some of the excellent work on safeguarding and sexual harassment especially by our Chancellor Judy Andrews, who Chairs that work, was also moved forward. I will not steal the thunder of our House of Deputies, deputation, but I hope you will pay attention as they share the accomplishments of that House and this Church together.
As for me, I served this last six years on the Program, Budget, and Finance Committee of the Episcopal Church and the Assessment Review Committee. This convention made a move to dissolve the PB and F and redesign this process, something I totally support. The work of the Assessment Review Committee was apparent as almost all of our dioceses are up to date and paying their full assessment. This was far from true just a few conventions ago. What I might continue to serve on will be decided by new leadership in the days to come. I was re-elected to the Church Pension Fund Board for another, what will turn out to be, 5 year term.
I have to admit this convention went much better than I was afraid it might, just process wise. All those who put it together are to be commended. So, hats off to our deputation with special thanks to Maria Gonzales, Deputation Leader. They represented you very well, with dignity and honor.
The Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel is the VIII Bishop of Olympia, the Episcopal Church in Western Washington State. He has been the bishop here since September, 2007.