We are able at the same time to dedicate a goodly percentage (21 percent) of our annual budget for mission and ministry beyond ourselves ”“as, given our wealth, we should do. Having such a large number of pledging units for the diocesan budget means that when we all do just a little more, a whole lot morefor the good of all will result. As bishop, I give great thanks that we do not have to depend on only a few to do so much. We have many who do their part to give for all and that is a good sign for a healthy diocesan Church.
I also note that with a larger number of households and friends who are able to provide financial support, we are able to make quite substantial contributions to emergency and disaster relief efforts when the sheer number of people lending a hand makes all the difference. I can tell you personally that whether it’s in Haiti, Japan, or Joplin, Missouri, the amount of aid we can quickly raise as a diocese has been most deeply appreciated by those in staggering distress and need.
Our 181 congregations comprised of some 82,000 baptized members mean that we have more than ample resources and talent to serve Christ through our diocesan ministries. This is why I am so very committed to the longer-term vision of having full-time diocesan missioners at all of the colleges and universities within the Diocese. Such ministry is critical, both for the students and in the ongoing formation of the Church, present and future. We simply must do this; there is no reason or excuse not to. Furthermore, our diocesan commissions and committees are strong. Their work can and does reach all of our congregations across the diocese. You will perhaps experience some of their work during this Council’s workshops or, at least, consider in the exhibit space the many opportunities they present for ministry.