The 2017 Diocesan Convention is coming up on October 14. We are seeking nominations for several committees throughout the diocese.
Have you ever considered serving the Church at the diocesan level? Are you curious about what diocesan committee work is like? Here are some words from Jamie Cairo (St. Matthew’s, Kenosha), who is currently serving on the Standing Committee.
Communications Officer, Sara Bitner (CO): What sparked your interest in serving on the Standing Committee?
Jamie Cairo (JC): Actually my parish priest approached me and told me that he thought I would be a good candidate for the Standing Committee (SC) based on how active I have been in the life of my parish. He thought that it would also be a good experience for me as a way to learn a little more about what goes on outside of the parish, about the diocese and the canons of the church and this was what appealed to me as I have not had much prior involvement outside of St. Matthew’s.
CO: What are some of the significant tasks that you undertake as the Standing Committee? Why are those actions important for the life of the diocese?
JC: The major responsibility of the Standing Committee is to serve as the Bishop’s counsel of advice, which is a big task. We need to be available to the bishop should he need our input about a situation. In addition, we review, interview and approve candidates for ordination to the diaconate or priesthood, which has been very interesting, and we also review and give consent for all bishops elected in the Episcopal Church. We also give advice and consent about the purchase or sale of any property held by a congregation or the diocese.
CO: How would you describe the sense of community among the members of the committee?
JC: When a group of people is brought together and tasked with the kinds of responsibilities that the Standing Committee has the group needs to become cohesive and communicate well and I have been very pleased with how that has easily evolved with this group, even when members rotate in and out. It has been a good experience.
What qualities do you think are important characteristics for a Standing Committee member to possess?
I think that it is important for SC members to be able to listen patiently and consider prayerfully when confronted with challenging information or situations. One must be able to truly listen, to ask questions and to be able to respectfully take a stand or position without fear of conflict.
Are there any personal highlights from your involvement on the committee that you would share?
I have truly enjoyed getting to know the other members of the Standing Committee, and my favorite experiences have involved our interviews of new clergy. It’s exciting to see their faith in action and their passion for ministry.
Do you have any words of encouragement for people considering running for election to the Standing Committee?
I think that participation in any church (or life) activity requires prayerful consideration. If you feel called to serve, then don’t be afraid to ask questions about what is required. When I first joined the SC, I felt a little intimidated because so much of this was new territory but it’s OK to not know everything and to be the “newbie.” My fellow committee members have been great about supporting me as I learn.
What do you suggest for people looking for a way to start getting involved on a diocesan level?
Attend the Diocesan Convention. Talk to your clergy and vestry and let them know that you are looking to become involved. I feel that new people and fresh perspectives are welcomed in the diocese!
Bishop Miller presiding at Grace, Madison
If you feel called to serve the wider church, prayerfully consider the variety of opportunities available through election at the diocesan convention.