The Rev. Scot McComas, rector of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, has recently been elected to two positions to serve our diocese and our broader church. McComas will serve as a member of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, and as member at large of Province VII of The Episcopal Church.
Priests are charged with service outside of a congregation when they are ordained:
Now you are called to work as pastor, priest, and teacher, together with your bishop and fellow presbyters, and to take your share in the councils of the Church.” ~BCP p. 531
Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
Father Scot was elected to the Standing Committee of our diocese to serve the remainder of the Rev. Carlye Hughes’ three-year term ending in 2021. Hughes, formerly rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, now serves as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark.
The Standing Committee is a governance committee that includes lay and clergy leaders elected at diocesan Convention. The committee serves as the bishop’s council of advice. In the absence of a bishop canonically authorized to act, the Standing Committee is the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese. The Standing Committee is requested to give consent for all bishops elected in the Episcopal Church, recommends persons for ordination, gives the bishop advice and consent on property matters, gives the bishop advice and consent as to any judicial sentence given to a clergy person or concurs in allowing a clergy person to cease functioning as a member of the clergy. It investigates and reports to the bishop on the charge that a deacon or priest has abandoned the Episcopal Church. It also receives the bishop’s resignation when that occurs.
Member at large – Province VII of The Episcopal Church
Father Scot was elected to this position by the General Convention Deputies of Province VII. He will serve a three year term ending in 2021. He was prompted to let his name stand for election at the provincial level in large part because of his experience serving as a deputy to the General Convention this summer in Austin.
This past summer I attended The General Convention of the Episcopal Church as a first-time deputy and was surprised at how much I loved being a part of the legislative process and becoming a ‘policy wonk.’
I’ve always been interested in the structure of the church at a micro and macro level and examining what helps or hinders doing Christ’s work in a particular context.
I thought there was no better way to observe how a province does this than from the inside. I look forward to learning and serving our church and diocese as a member at large in Province VII.
People serving the Church in our province are:
- The Rev. Scot McComas (Diocese of Fort Worth) – Member at Large
- Mr. Lee Spence (Diocese of Dallas) – Member at Large
- Ms. Andrea Marie Rabalais Petrosh (Diocese of Western Louisiana) – Member at Large
- Ms. Jo Ann Rachele (Diocese of North West Texas) – Secretary
- The Rev. Jim McDonald (Diocese of Arkansas) – Treasurer
- The Rev. Victoria Heard (Diocese of Dallas) – Vice President
- The Rt. Rev. Larry Benfield (Diocese of Arkansas) – President
So… tell me all about this province business
Province VII, the Province of the Southwest, is one of nine geographical provinces in The Episcopal Church. Fort Worth is one of the 12 dioceses assigned to Province VII.
The province works a lot like the dioceses and larger Episcopal Church. It is guided by canons, or rules. Provincial canons may be changed at its provincial Synod, the general meeting of the province. Synod consists of a House of Bishops and a House of Deputies, and these houses sit and deliberate either separately or together. The Synod meeting is usually every three years, and usually before the church’s General Convention. Each diocese and mission area within the province is entitled to representation in the provincial House of Deputies by four lay deputies and four clergy deputies. Every bishop who has an active role as a bishop in the province may be seated in the House of Bishops in the provincial Synod, so active and retired bishops may be seated. In the time between Synods, the business of the province is handled by a Provincial Council. Officers and the three members at large are elected at Synod for three year terms. The Synod provides representatives to The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council for six-year terms.
The ministry of Province VII is carried out largely through its active ministry networks, each of which has an appointed network chairperson:
- Christian Formation
- Episcopal Relief and Development
- Episcopal Church Women
- Higher Education
- Older Adult Ministries
- Prison and Restorative Justice
- Young Adults
Province VII describes its work rather well on its website; you will find plenty of good information there.
Whenever we talk about governance…
Whenever we talk about governance in our church, we’re actually talking about serving the people in our church, and in doing that, we serve Christ. If you want to know more about opportunities at St. Martin’s, in our diocese, or in the broader church, please connect with Father Scot.