Convocation XV (1996)

Convocation XV


Saturday 9 October A.D. 1996

The First Church in Salem, Massachusetts

I., I. The Clerk, the Rev. Mr. W. Scott Axford of Providence, R.I., called the meeting to order at 1:25 p.m. in the Meetinghouse of the Church which enabled the Rev. Mr. Roger Williams to found his City 260 years ago, and proceeded to call the roll of churches. Present were: Permanent Members Charlton (1 clergy, 0 lay): Sterling (1,1), Chestnut Hill (1,0), Deerfield (2,0), Lancaster (1,1), Malden (1,5) Weston (4,4), Wilton, NH (1,2), Providence, RT (1,3), Barnard, VT (1,0), King’s Chappl (1,6), Red Hill, NC (1,1), General Member Burrilville, RI (0,1); Fraternal NACCC Churches Bingham, ME (1,0), West Warwick, RI (1,0); Brooklyn Heights, NY (1,0), Bushnell/Detroit (1,0); and Observers Leicester (110), Nottingham, NH (1,2), Walpole, NH (0,1), St. Louis, MO (1,0) – and the host church (0,1), which per 9/29 vote and 10/9 Coordinating Committee approval will be received into Permanent Membership at today’s closing Holy Communion service.

III. It was MOVED, seconded, and VOTED unanimously by voice (as all subsequent votes) to elect Professor W.W. Park of King’s Chapel, Boston, as the Council’s Moderator, who thereupon assumed the gavel.

IV. The Registrar, Ms. Patricia Henden of the host church, reported 58 persons representing 24 churches registered and present.

V. The Clerk MOVED approval of the Convocation XIV Minutes (mailed to the churches in September and also in the Registration packets), with second by the Chairman, Mr. Peter J. Coccoluto of King’s Chapel, which was PASSED.

VI. The Treasurer, Mr. Lawrence H. Coburn of Weston, distributed his Report (attached), and commented that, given the not-necessarily Christian turn of the New Church Project, the money specially donated for it would be held separate from regular Council funds. The Rev. Dr. Judith L. Hoehler of Weston, the Council’s conduit to the donor, had raised this matter and also that of the money earning interest in the meanwhile. The Treasurer again noted the need for incorporation and full tax-exempt for the CXCUUA, and that efforts on this continue. The Rev. Dr. Thomas D. Wintle, of Weston suggested funds could be placed within UU Christian Fellowship accounts in Trust for interest purposes. The Treasurer’s report was the APPROVED upon motion by Mr. Coccoluto with second by the Rev. Mr. Howard Andrews of Sterling.

VII. Only one Coordinating Committee term having expired, the Chairman MOVED with second by Mr. Coburn, that the, Rev. Mr. James E. Chase of Charlton be REELECTED to another two-year term thereon. This PASSED. The Moderator cited the Committee’s wish to broaden the churches’ participation on the Committee and exhorted the delegates to let the Chairman or Clerk know of possible nominations; the latter noted one need endure only three committee meetings between Convocations.

VIII. a) Leading Old Business was the major item from earlier in the day, the presentation of the Hymnal Study Committee’s Final Report by its Chair, the Rev. Mrs. Andrea LaSonde Anastos of Deerfield. Her oral presentation was now followed by distribution of the written Report. It was RECEIVED with great thanks for the thorough work thereof, and the Committee DISMISSED with appreciation upon motion by the Rev. Dr. Carl Scovel of King’s Chapel seconded by Mr. Coccoluto. A time for discussion of its recommendations ensued, with H.S.C. member William Shepard of King’s Chapel urging the active work be taken back and implemented by the Churches (not shelved). He MOVED with second by the H.S.C. Chair: that the Convocation strongly urges the delegates to impress upon their congregations the significance of the Hymnal Study Committee Final Report, and urges its recommendation of trial use for one year of two hymnals, The New Century Hymnal and Voices United, with a view to return to Convocation XVI with their report “of which one they prefer; and instructs the Coordinating Committee to send the Final Report to Council Members; with notice of the Council’s Convocation XV action.

The H.S.C. chair said the recommendations shouldn’t be a surprise, and that the congregations were told they’d he asked to support the findings. The Clerk rejoined that this is a very high-impact recommendation on our local weekly worship for delegates to commit their churches to, having only just learned of it two hours ago. The Rev. Mr. Chase noted that this was not a uniform process as different congregations are in different places in hymnal consideration; Charlton, for example, having already evaluated and disapproved the New Century Hymnal. Mr. Shepard acknowledged all this but was concerned that something be done with the Committee’s work, in order that the process continue in the churches. The Rev. Mr. Duke T. Gray of Malden noted this was a process recommendation and it needed wide distribution. The Rev. Dr. Hoehler said that the churches most interested will be those already in a hymnal search process, and any newly formed congregations; and affirmed the sending of the report, stating we have come thus far in the discussion, and that it will be on the Convocation XVI agenda. Mrs. Deborah Chandler of Red Hill, NC, urged sending such a letter. Discussion culminated, the motion PASSED.

VIII.b)(i) The Chairman began the Council Committee reports by supplementing his own written one for the Coordinating Committee: thanking the First Parish in Weston, and especially our Meta-Registrar Mrs. Mary F. Parker, for their ongoing administrative help; and claiming that 501(c)3 attainment lies to his charge, not the Treasurer’s. (ii-iv) Supplementing the attached submitted reports: the Rev. Mrs. Anastos noted her original Seminarian appointment for this joint committee was from the U.U. Christian Fellowship, and that their new bylaws, if adopted, will place this function in their Vocations Committee, to whom she has turned her portfolio. The Moderator noted we’ll need to ascertain through our UUCF Liaison what the current situation is; Mrs. Anastos noted this Committee is in a position to reform afresh on both sides.

Mrs. Joan M. Hunt of Weston introduced the Rev. Mr. Earl Holt of Saint Louis, MO, who spoke of his new “Bible Workbench” Lectionary-based Bible Study curriculum, now out for 3 years. Among his advisors is Dr. Walter Wink; samples are available for perusal today. VIII.c) The Rev. Dr. Scovel, Chief Ecumenical Officer, added to this Reports a MOTION contained therein to send a supportive letter to the new grassroots Christian church in Fenton, MI, and following a second by the Rev. Dr. Wintle, this PASSED. The Rev. Edwin J. Moreano of Weston labored, let the delegates know of another new-start issue an which he and the Rev. Ms. Jean M. Sullivan of Weston labored in Illinois a few years ago, from the grassroots, which foundered when the “diversity” issue took over the primacy of the Gospel as the cornerstone of the project, paralleling in this respect the Raleigh-Durham, NC, experience. VIII.b)(v), d), e). The Rev. Mr. Joseph A. Bassett of Chestnut Hill was then en route to Logan Airport with our theme speaker, the Rev. Mr. Steven H.W. Bailey of Detroit (NACCC). The Rev. Mr. Axford welcomed all the Congregational Christian attendees. VIII.f)(i). The Rev. Dr. F. Vernon Chandler of Red Hill, NC, brought copies the Universalist Herald, which he edits, and urged subscriptions. He reinforced the call to attend the Council’s first-ever Convocation South, at Red Hill, 15 February 1997, noting expected attendance from Clayton Memorial Universalist, Red Hill Universalist, Canon Universalist (all permanent members), and Outlaws Bridge Universalist, Our Home Universalist, and Camp Hill Universalist Churches, and their interest in validating their decisions (or consideration of) Council Membership. He noted also the pending Pastoral vacancy at Red Hill, asking help on their behalf to find one interested who will honor the liberal Christian Universalist tradition. VIII. All other Reports were as written, and all were voted ACCEPTED.

IX. (a) The Treasurer’s proposed Budget, upon motion by the Rev. Dr. Scovel with second by the Rev. Mrs. Anastos was ADOPTED.

(b) After noting Convocation South time and date, the Moderator entertained Other Old Business under (c). The Rev. Dr. Scovel urged provision of home hospitality at all our fall convocations to encourage folks coming from away. Ms. Susan Burchell of Malden noted with joy the great numbers joining us today from outside Massachusetts. This drew hearty APPLAUSE.

X. Convocation XVI was announced for Saturday 4 October 1997, and Dr. Scovel rose on behalf of King’s Chapel offering to host the same.

XI. He then MOVED the ever-popular ADJOURNMENT which with second by the Rev. Mr. George Anastos of Deerfield PASSED, whereupon the Moderator declared adjournment at 2:30 p.m.

A true record.

Faithfully submitted,

s/The Rev. Mr. W. Scott Axford, Clerk

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