Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, we have once again had to revise our original plans for this year’s 152nd Diocesan Convention. We had hoped to gather at Camp-of-the-Woods. Unfortunately, it has become clear in recent weeks that a large in-person gathering this fall would not be prudent, or even possible given the current social distancing requirements. Camp of the Woods confirmed that decision when they announced a few days ago that all large group events are cancelled through the end of 2020.
Given the canonical requirement to hold an annual Diocesan Convention, our only real option at this point is to hold a one day event through virtual means. In order to properly plan and prepare for this new format, the date for Albany’s 152nd Diocesan Convention has been moved to Saturday, October 24, 2020. We recognize that holding the Convention virtually will be a huge departure from what we are all accustomed to, and will greatly stretch the comfort zone for most of us.
Most if not all other dioceses in The Episcopal Church are making similar plans to hold their Diocesan Conventions virtually. Members of our Diocesan Staff are consulting with colleagues from other dioceses as we prepare for this new virtual format.
As mentioned in earlier correspondence, this year’s Diocesan Convention will be a “bare-bones” Convention, dealing with only those things that must be accomplished, such as elections and the budget. Any issues requiring extensive debate will be postponed until next summer, when by the grace of God, we hope to be able to once again meet in person at Camp of the Woods.
Your corporate and individual assistance is key to our planning. First and foremost, each Parish is asked to send their up-to-date Certificate of Election (naming their parish deputation) to Deacon Marian Sive, Secretary of the Diocese: 575 Burton Rd, Greenwich, NY 12834, by Monday, August 31th. We have extended the deadline by one week to help parishes who are having difficulty electing deputies to Convention. If you have questions, her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. It is essential that each deputy have an e-mail address.
Second, we are sending each deputy, member of the clergy, and parish a survey to help us assess the ability of deputies and clergy to be able to participate in our virtual convention and assess which parishes might be a resource to facilitate individual participation. Once this information is gathered, we will draft plans to facilitate participation in our virtual convention and share them with you. We are planning practice sessions to help familiarize everyone with the process; especially voting.
While no doubt, there will be challenges as we move forward, our Diocesan Tech Support Team is confident that we will be able to have everything in place and ready to go for the Diocesan Convention on October 24th. We ask your prayers and patience as we work out the details. Given all the challenges of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the theme of this year’s Convention “2020 Vision: Fix Your Eyes on Jesus” is particularly appropriate and needed as we move forward.
Faithfully Yours in Christ,
Rt. Rev. William H. Love
Bishop of Albany