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March 15, 2011
I was present as an observer for the full Saturday deacon's session at Christ Church Schenectady. I did not take notes, so I'm writing this from memory.
Dean David Collum was master of ceremonies for the day. After Morning Prayer Archdeacon Harvey Huth gave a long presentation on the four year process in the Diocese for becoming a vocational deacon. Then Deacon Paul Carney of St. John's Troy and Deacon Donna Steckline of Christ Church Gilbertsville both gave moving presentations on the living of their vocations.
Following that there was a period of about 45 minutes when the Presiding Bishop took questions. At the beginning she made a short comment, noting the 50 - 70 age concentration of our deacons, that the Diocese should think seriously about trying to raise as deacons people in their 20's.
There must have been about 15 questions in all. The assembled group was slow to present questions. Only two or three questions near the end of the question period were curveballs, but the presentation of them was entirely polite, and the Presiding Bishop handled them with great dexterity.
The morning session ended with a Eucharist celebrated by Bishop Herzog, who was flanked at the altar by Bishop Jefferts Schori and Bishop Love during the Great Thanksgiving.
The relatively short afternoon session had presentations on foreign missionary work and local outreach work by several people. One particularly moving presentation was that of Mtr. Susan Waldron of St. Peter's Albany on work with the homeless. Dean Collum capped the day's presentations with a summary of life and work in the Diocese that was nicely keyed to the Diocesan mission statement.
Bishop Love said, similar to what was reported by John White at Openly Episcopal in Albany from the Friday session, that while many were thrilled by the visit of Bishop Jefferts Schori, there were some who were not. And Dean Callum noted that it would be a very challenging time for the Diocese of Albany should the time arrive when The Episcopal Church was estranged from The Anglican Communion. Neither of these statements had an edge.
Not only I was pleased that I did not hear raised voices nor see angry faces during the session, but also I must say that most of those assembled — certainly those I conversed with — seemed happy to be there.
William F. Hammond
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