Summary of the 161st Convention of the Diocese of California

Posted on October 20, 2010

The 161st Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of California came to a close shortly after 5 p.m. on Saturday, and the day’s business included six canon changes, passage of eight resolutions, approval of the diocesan budget, the election of 28 offices, and a lunchtime discussion on the context of local ministries and their resources. A brief survey of the actions of this 161st convention follows.



Courtesy resolutions were passed by convention that celebrated a new dean of Grace Cathedral, a new dean and president of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and the 40th anniversary of the Society of St. Francis in the diocese. A resolution on the assessment formula made very little change from last year, and increased the base amount by 1.1% in accordance with the Consumer Price Index. This means that in 2010, the assessment was 5% of a congregations first $61,232 of operating income and 20% on income above that amount; in 2011 it will be 5% of $62,000, and 20% of income above that amount. The 2011 salary resolution raised the clergy minimum salaries by 1.1%.

Social issues governed three resolutions, and those were:


Addressing the Needs of the Poor, wherein it was “Resolved, That the congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of California complete a minimum of two projects or events per year to address the needs of the poor, with a new emphasis on advocacy:

  • One (1) congregational letter-writing event to support legislation which benefits the poor, and
  • One (1) project of charitable aid to raise awareness and involve parishioners in action on behalf of the poor, locally or globally. We ask that existing programs be added to our Facebook page and that the Holy Spirit inspire new projects in this time of great need.”

Reducing Gun ViolenceResolved, That the Convention urges passage of Assembly Bill 1934 or similar legislation in the California Legislature that would repeal California’s “Open Carry” law; and


Resolved, That the Convention directs all congregations, schools, and diocesan institutions to ensure that no firearms, whether concealed or openly carried, other than weapons carried by law enforcement officers in the conduct of their official duties, be allowed on their premises.”

Lasty, Strategies for Peace in Israel/PalestineResolved, That the Convention directs the Peace, Justice and Hunger Commission to conduct a series of forums around the diocese to inform and educate clergy and laity about conditions in Israel/Palestine and to discuss possible strategies to bring about a non-violent end to the occupation, an end to attacks of violence upon both Palestinians and Israelis, and the establishment of a just and lasting peace between the two peoples; and


“Resolved, That the Convention directs the Peace, Justice and Hunger Commission, on the basis of those discussions, to recommend to the 162nd Convention whether or not a modification of the Episcopal Church Guidelines on Responsible Investments to accommodate a policy of divestment, boycott and economic sanctions would be helpful to those ends.”

Canon changes

The following canon changes were adopted without amendment:

Canon 3.06, Official Youth Presence at Convention.
Canon 6.09, Committee on Nominations. (Also repealed Canon 16.01(h).)
Canon IX, Sections 9.01-9.05, Deaneries.
Canon XV, Sections 15.01-15.21, Implementation of Revised Title IV (Clergy Discipline).
Canon 16.03, Corporation Sole.
Canon XXI, Sections 21.01-21.02, Amendment of the Canons.

Proposed amendments to Canon 13:08 that declare an expectation that clergy attend deanery convocation was rejected by convention. An amendment to the methodology of assessment for Grace Cathedral in Canon 18.02(b)(ii) was recommitted to the Department of Finance; and an amendment to Canons 8:02(d) and 16:01(d) outlining the keeping and sharing of minutes for Standing Committee and Executive Council was referred back to the Committee on Canons with instructions to change some archaic language and allow for executive sessions.


The following officers were elected by convention:


Standing Committee (Class of 2014)
The Rev. Sue Thompson in the clergy order and Mr. Christopher Butler in the lay order.


Ecclesiastical Court (All terms expire June 30, 2011)
The Reverends Mauricio Wilson and Ellen Ekstrom in the clergy order and Ms. Elaine Foreman in the lay order.


Executive Council (Class of 2013)
The Rev. Dana Corsello and Mr. Gary Hunt.


Provincial Synod
The Rev. Katherine Salinaro in the clergy order and Mr. John Cumming and Ms. Dianne Audrick Smith in the lay order.


Deputies to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2012:

Clergy Deputies: The Rev. Vanessa Glass, the Rev. David Ota, the Rev. Stacey Grossman, and the Rev. Michael Barlowe. Alternate deputies in the clergy order are the Rev. Richard Helmer, the Rev. Paul Fromberg, the rev. Sylvia Vasquez, and the Rev. Victoria Gray.


Lay Deputies: Mr. Warren Wong, Ms. Carolyn Gaines, Ms. Sarah Lawton, and Dr. Rod Dugliss. Alternate deputies in the lay order are Ms. Kay Bishop, Mr. Scott Pomerenk, Mr. Alan Aw, and Ms. Patricia Smith.


Mr. David Frangquist was elected Secretary of Convention and Mr. Robert McCaskill was elected Treasurer of the Diocese.


Reports on the lunchtime breakout conversations will be posted in the near future and more information on the diocesan budget will follow upcoming meetings of Executive Council.