“There are different spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; and there are different ministries and the same Lord; and there are different activities but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
Aloha my dear Siblings in Christ Jesus,
We are now just over three weeks after the first all virtual Diocesan Convention and two weeks after the most contentious election in modern United States history. All of that during the greatest pandemic since the early Twentieth Century. These have been “interesting” times.
Our life goes on in new ways. Things are not as they were a year ago. Our life continues, however, together as God’s people. The new Church year will be upon us soon on the First Sunday of Advent (November 29), then Christmas and 2021.
Before the new liturgical year begins, I want to share my gratitude with some of those that helped the Diocese and especially during the months of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
First, there were transitions in Diocesan leadership with this past Convention. Dan Garrett, Dixie Kaetsu, Wilma Namumnart and Moki Hino rotated off of Diocesan Council. I will miss each of them. Dixie and Wilma brought the keen eyes of congregational treasurers, and they were particularly careful to speak up for the congregations and for the mission of the Church. Dan was always the voice of faith admonishing us to keep the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the center of all our decisions. I appreciated having three strong lay voices on Council.
Dan, Dixie, and Wilma, thank you for serving on Diocesan Council during this time.
Many in the Diocese know Moki as the longtime Secretary of Diocesan Convention. He served the same role on Council in his efficient way. Moki has also been on Standing Committee or Diocesan Council off and on for most of my years as Bishop. At my request, he left Holy Apostles, Hilo, for a three-year emergency tour of duty as Canon Administrator at the Cathedral including the first months of the Pandemic. I am delighted that he seems much happier now off Council and “back home” on a neighbor island, and especially as “Priest-in-Charge” of Good Shepherd on Maui. Check out Moki’s Wednesday Chicken Chat online and you’ll see the joy in his face.
Moki, thank you.
Two people rotated off Standing Committee: Ruth Smith and Paul Lillie. Ruth was a diligent and engaged member of Standing Committee. She was the mover behind the revision of the Constitution and Canons that we will take up again next year. Paul is the ideal Priest advisor for a Bishop on Standing Committee. He is faithful and thoughtful. During these unusual times, they have been most helpful to me.
Ruth and Paul, thank you for serving on Standing Committee during the days of the Pandemic.
During the virtual Diocesan Convention, I highlight those on the Diocesan Support Center staff and the many volunteers who made that online adventure possible. It required many hours of training and work to pull it off, and I did not want anything to distract in that moment from them. Let me be frank, they made it easy for me. I only attended two rehearsals. Others spent hours and hours in planning, preparation and training before the Convention began. I expressed my appreciation to them by name during the virtual Convention and the recording of that is available through the Special Convention edition of the eChronicle
Even before Convention, the Diocesan Support Center staff faced an unusual time – like everyone else. The official list of duties and roles can be found on the Diocesan Website on the Diocesan Support Center page
. Keep in mind, your Diocesan Support Center staff members have had to work from home during “stay at home orders” and some still must do so. There aren’t many of us in the office. They have done an amazing job.
Rae Costa and Danny Casey have kept the daily business of the Diocese going without a hiccup. Denise has managed huge changes in my calendar from canceling complicated travel plans to arranging innumerable Zoom meetings all around the world. Sandy has overseen clergy transitions and consulted with congregations in the midst of the travel ban. Under Rae’s leadership this crew along with Sonny Liu (the part-time Office Assistant) and Sybil Nishioka (Communications Contractor) truly managed the virtual Convention and did the heavy lifting to make it happen while being sure the Diocese ran smoothly.
Rae, Danny, Denise, Sandy, and Sonny, thank you!
And speaking of Sybil, she gets her own note of appreciation. She has taken my homemade video messages to the Diocese and other such things, and then cleans them up and adds the graphics. She really makes me look good while working from Kauai. Sybil, thank you!
Like me, our Diocesan Treasurer, Peter Pereira, had less to directly do with this year’s virtual Convention. As many Treasurers and Wardens know in congregations, he has focused on helping congregations with the Paycheck Protection Program loan program and the various County grant programs. The rules and deadlines for these have changed in mid-stream. This special focus has been invaluable to our congregations and keeping our Diocese moving forward in the midst of the Pandemic. It has taken a great deal to keep track of all the moving parts. I suspect this focused work will continue in 2021 and particularly as Hawaiʻi faces the months ahead. He continues, of course, with his oversight of the Commission on Investments and the other usual Treasurer duties (the annual audit, loans, budget oversight, etc.).
Peter, thank you.
Lastly, our volunteer Diocesan Chancellor, Wayne Yoshigai, has been a mainstay during this Pandemic. He has had to help with some interesting problems that have arisen during the Pandemic, but which have had nothing to do with current events. Our monthly Zoom conversations have been a great help to me.
Wayne, thank you.
All in all, I finish the Church year with gratitude. I appreciate those who will continue and are newly elected to Diocesan leadership in the months ahead. I am thankful for our staff and our Chancellor.
The Diocese of Hawaiʻi is blessed. I am blessed to be the Bishop of Hawaiʻi.
Everliving God, whose will it is that all should come to you through your Son Jesus Christ: Inspire our witness to him, that all may know the power of his forgiveness and the hope of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.