The Bishop's Address -- page 2

This past Spring saw the formation of The Bishop Davies Planned Giving Society, and I would like to invite each of you to become members of it before the year is out. All you have to do to join is to make some provision for the diocese in your estate planning, and to notify our office of planned giving that you have done so. As the key lay leaders and clergy of this diocese, I invite each of you to join Donna and me in making some provision in your will for the ministry of this diocese after your death. Such a plan will offer us great resources for the future growth and development of the diocese in a number of tangible ways. I hope you will take this invitation to heart and will act upon it this year. Can you imagine what resources for development we would have if every household represented here today left something to the diocese in their will?

Another exciting place where God is bringing forth life and giving growth in our diocese, is in the area of vocations to the ordained ministry. I am delighted to tell you that we currently have seven young men studying for the priesthood in seminary and that their average age is 28, which is far below the national average. In addition to that, there were another ten young men who are aspirants for the priesthood who attended our vocations conference this past summer at Camp Crucis. This speaks very well for the future of our diocese, does it not? Thank God for raising up these priestly vocations and providing pastoral leadership for the church for many years to come.

Speaking of the education and training of young people for leadership, I also want to say a brief word about the ministry of the Episcopal schools in our diocese. Here indeed is a setting where God is bringing forth life and giving growth, in the ten schools that we sponsor. In particular, I want to commend All Saints’ Episcopal School in Fort Worth and St. Vincent’s School here in Bedford on what they have achieved in their new buildings and sports facilities. All Saints’ completed a new chapel and stadium this last year, and a new high school building and baseball field are under construction as we speak. (My office, by the way, looks out on this site and is located in deep left center field of the new ball park – though some suggested it should be re-configured to put me in right field!) You can look around you to appreciate all that St. Vincent’s accomplished this year as they move into providing a senior high school, by adding a new grade level each year. This means that along with St. Alban’s School in Arlington, we will soon have three Episcopal high schools in the diocese, and this is something we all can rejoice in. Quality education, building character, and spiritual formation are all things that our schools are known for, and there is nothing we are doing in the diocese by way of life and growth that is more important than this.

In order to build upon this theme of teaching and training leaders, and this time focusing upon adults, I want to urge all of you, clergy and laity alike, to attend the Bishop’s Leadership Conference on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2005. It will be held all day on that Saturday at St. Andrew’s Church in Fort Worth, and it is my goal to have all of our key lay leaders present for this event. There is an invitation in the packets of all lay delegates, telling you a little more about it. Please put it on your calendar when you get home and plan to attend. All vestry members, treasurers, convention delegates, and committee or commission heads in every congregation are urged to participate. Our goal is "to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ," and one of the key ways we can do that is through this Leadership Conference.