Greetings from Rev. Mike Woods

Greetings St. Liz,

The Woods family is very excited to begin our time with you this coming week. It has been a long hot summer for us as I am sure it has been the same for you.

I am writing this after standing outside with our oldest daughter, Harper, as we watched a nice little summer rainstorm pour down upon us. It was just long enough that it knocked the heat out of the air and left a cool breeze in its wake. It was cool enough that we actually felt like spending more than ten minutes outside after the storm passed. ...Read More

2019 The Bishop’s Committee + Leadership Team

by The Rev. Daniel P Strandlund on January 10, 2019
Hi friends, I’m writing with two updates: first, I’m pleased to announce our 2019 Bishop’s Committee (the “BC”).  The Bishop’s Committee is the governing body of St. Elizabeth.  More about what they do is below.  Without further ado, our BC members for 2019 are as follows:
               Julie Warfield, joined March 2015 (Bishop’s Warden since fall 2016)
               Dave McCoy, joined Jan. 2017 (Jr. Warden, starting Jan. 2019)
Sarah Williams, joined Jan. 2017
Tina Otto, joined Nov. 2017
Philip Johnson, joined Dec. 2017
Charlie Welvaert, joined Jan. 2018
               David Jensen, joined Jan. 2019
               Betsy Terrel, joined Jan. 2019
               Krista Piferrer, joined Jan. 2019
Sarah Johnson, (joined Jan. 2019.  Treasurer, non-voting member.)
Please commend these folks to your daily prayers!  Our BC members who are rolling off are DJ Sartorio, (joined as Junior Warden Jan. 2016), Terri Thompson (joined fall 2013), and Lisa White (joined July 2015, Treasurer since July 2015).  I’m grateful for their hard work and support, and for their continued work as they help train our newest members.
A change to note about our BC.  You’ll notice that we now have ten members rather than nine.  Sarah Johnson will serve as our new Treasurer.  She is in on the Bishop’s Committee by virtue of that office.  However, she will not be a voting member; she will not be expected to do weekly “BC of the Day” duties; and she is not expected to be present for the full duration of every BC meeting.  She’s is expected to fulfill Treasurer-specific duties (weekly deposits, monthly financial reports, ensuring the annual audit is completed, etc.)
This is a change from previous years when the Treasurer both fulfilled her duties as our primary financial officer and voted as a BC member.  (Lisa White served faithfully in this capacity for a number of years!)  We are making this change as part of our ongoing work of improving our administrative practices.  The Treasurer, like the Vicar, is one of our primary check-signers.  Therefore, neither the Vicar nor the Treasurer gets to vote on the budget, which is the document that guides how much and for what purpose those checks are written.
As a post script below, I’ve included a (lengthy) refresher about Episcopal Church terminology and some Frequently Asked Questions about the BC.
Second update: Leadership Team!  Our Leadership Team is composed of, but not limited to, our Bishop’s Committee, hosts/leaders of Life Groups, and ministry leads (Acolyte Master, Lead Usher, Children’s Chapel Coordinator, etc.)  As many of you will remember, for the past couple years St. Liz has been meeting with a consultant named Bob Whitesel to help us set and achieve goals as a community of faith.  Our last meeting with Dr. Whitesel was in October of 2018.
One of the benefits of Dr. Whitesel’s work was that it forced us to set dates every few months when various ministry leads gathered together to check in, set goals, and divvy up work.  They were good ‘rally the troops’ opportunities.  Now that our work with Dr. Whitesel is concluded, it’s important that we continue the rhythm of periodically checking in to chart our progress and to plan our way forward.
Our first Leadership Team meeting for 2019 will be this Sunday, January 13th.  While I’ve sent specific invites and an agenda to the folks listed above, this meeting is open to the congregation.  You’re welcome to come.  We’ll finish by 2pm.  My hope is for Leadership Team to meet three times a year.
God’s Peace
Fr. Daniel+
P.S. A refresher on Episcopal Church terminology and some FAQs: 
St. Elizabeth is not a parish, but a mission of the Diocese of West Texas.  A mission is under the direct supervision of the diocesan bishop.  Because of that, unlike the members of a parish vestry, the members of a bishop’s committee are not elected but appointed directly by the bishop, who consults with the vicar regarding appointments.  Like the bishop’s committee itself, the vicar is also appointed directly by the diocesan bishop.  Thus, while both a parish and a mission are under the authority of the diocesan bishop, the bishop’s authority is more immediate when it comes to a mission.  Clear as mud? 
I remind us of all that because I imagine not all of us are clear on how, exactly, someone is selected to serve on the BC.  We do not vote on BC members.  Ultimately, the authority to appoint members resides with the bishop.  In practice, the bishop appoints only after receiving recommendations from me.  The names I offer to the bishop come from conversations with other members of the BC and our observations about who might be able and willing to serve given family commitments, responsibilities at the church, experience, etc.  Maturity, spiritual depth, open-mindedness, an ability to listen to and work with a diverse group of people, and a commitment to the mission of God at St. Liz are all essential.  BC members are expected to contribute financially to St. Liz with the understanding that, like the rest of us, they should be taking healthy steps towards tithing if they are not able currently to do so.  Other factors I consider are maintaining a mix of personalities, stages of life, and balance of women and men on the BC.  As vicar, I work particularly closely with the wardens and treasurer.
Three practical questions: first, why do we have nine voting members?  I set this number so as to have a critical mass for conversation at meetings.  We also have an odd number of members so as to avoid a split vote on anything.  While I chair the meetings and do most of our agenda setting, I do not vote.  The BC usually makes decisions by consensus; however, we vote on all financial matters and reflect the outcome of the vote in our minutes.
Second, how long does a BC member serve?  We ask for a three year commitment, though a term may be longer or shorter depending on the needs of St. Liz or an individual BC member.  We are working our way towards three-year BC terms as normative.  There’s a number of reasons for this, but three main ones are to involve new folks in governance, to prevent burnout, and to prepare us as a community for becoming a parish when we’ll have set, elected terms for vestry members.  You may remember that this time last year our plan was to have all three of our officers (Bp’s Warden, Jr. Warden, and Treasurer) change for 2019.  However, that’s just too much leadership turnover all at once.  As DJ and Lisa are cycling off as Jr. Warden and Treasurer respectively, I’ve asked Julie to continue serving as our Bishop’s Warden.  I was very glad she agreed J
Finally: what does the BC do?  A lot!  We have a full job description.  Here’s a summary: there are weekly tasks like helping count the plate offerings, opening up and locking up on a Sunday, and participating in our monthly meetings.  More ongoing responsibilities include being an ambassador for St. Liz in our communities and on Sunday mornings, serving as a sounding board for me and offering me support, continuing the work we began with Dr. Whitesel, staying involved with St. Liz’s various programs and ministries, and helping to identify and execute opportunities for mission, leadership, and spiritual growth.  BC Meetings are open to the congregation and are noted on all our calendars.  We usually meet on the 2nd Sunday of the month.  February is an exception, when the BC has a Saturday day retreat.