Diocesan Council – Northern Convocation Rep, Lay – Mark Hansen
Mark Hansen: The son of Episcopal missionaries serving over three decades in Brazil and Japan, I am the product of a lifelong immersion in global Anglicanism. My own sense of vocation to a life of domestic Christian mission came during the mid-1980’s while doing seminary field placement as a bi-lingual tutor in the South Bronx at a predominantly Puerto Rican parish. Today, I teach English as a Second Language for Mexican immigrants at St. Clement’s, Massey, where for the past four years I have served as Lay Pastor in a team-ministry model to this small, bold, mission-oriented – and now growing – congregation. My experience in diocesan-level affairs encompasses four dioceses and includes: Chair of the Spanish Language Ministries Commission, and Member of Executive Council (Connecticut); Companion Diocese Committee (CT and New Jersey); Immigration Committee (Newark); Northwest Bronx Interparish Council (New York). In the local community of Kent County I serve as chair of the finance committee for the Samaritan Group homeless organization, and as an active member of the NAACP. In an academic vein, my PhD is in Latin American history with a minor in religion from Columbia University, and I am currently affiliated as a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Religion, Politics, and Culture at Washington College.
I am enthusiastic about the vision of “a prayer-centered church and a mission-shaped diocese” in large measure because it is not just our bishop’s idea nor is it merely a marketing slogan. Bishop Santosh’s spiritually-grounded and collaborative leadership style has been evident in the emergence of this vision, insofar as he was the leader in urging diocesan representatives to craft such a statement, while being a respectful listener in guiding it through its various iterations. The result is a well-ordered statement of two indispensable priorities: prayerful connection with the living God, resulting in missional outreach to the wider world. Too often we Episcopalians fall into a bandwagon mentality, with the “cart” of social action coming before the “horse” of prayerful, scripture-based reflection. In all things, we must never forget that “the Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.” (William Temple)
Diocesan Council – Middle Convocation Rep, Clergy – Charlie Osberger
The Very Reverend Charlie Osberger: Rector Wye Parish, Dean of the Middle Convocation, member of the Commission on Ministry, Board of Camp Wright and Deputy to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church 2018.
Jesus is the Foundation of the movement bearing His Name for his Kingdom’s cause. We are living witnesses to the presence of the Kingdom of God among us. This means to me participating in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, unifying a Diocese of missions, ministries and congregations, all ages, youth and leaders who are a spiritual offering of real hope, real grace and real peace to the world through real lives changed by the love of God. As we live into the next 150 years of Easton’s vision, decisions and commitments that demonstrate true compassion and the joy of our Lord’s salvation we will be good news for the communities and people we serve.
Diocesan Council – Southern Convocation Rep, Lay – Phil Tilghman
Philip L. TIlghman:
Grew up in Federalsburg MD
Graduated Washington College 1964 and married college sweetheart same year.
3 children, 9 grandchildren and two great granddaughters
Member St. Philips, Quantico since 1966. Senior Warden several times and just retiring from most recent stint.
2 previous terms on Diocesan Council. Member of Bishops selection committee.
Elected member Wicomico county council 1984 thru 2000
Host local interview program on local access TV 2000 thru 2014
As a Diocese we expressed to those who would be our Bishop that ” status quo is not an option”. Now we must embrace the challenge that Bishop SAN has set for us in terms of commitment to Christ centered service to mankind starting in our own communities. As a Diocese we should take every opportunity to meet, worship and dialogue with each other as fellow Episcopalians to bolster that commitment. The more the “flock” is together the stronger we become and thereby more receptive to the Shepard.
Diocesan Council – At-Large Rep, Lay – Lisa Webb; Tim Strack
Lisa Webb: I grew up in the Presbyterian Church, the granddaughter of a Presbyterian minister. My favorite memories of that time are of participating in the church choir, dance choir and bell choir. I began attending the Episcopal Church in high school, when my step father joined my family. His family ties to leadership in the church go back several generations. But it was in college when the Episcopal Church really grabbed me, and I haven’t looked back since. I am now the mother of a teenage daughter and an OB-Gyn physician. I have had many roles in my home church, Emmanuel Church, Chester Parish, including being an Eucharist minister and visitor, lector, intercessor, acolyte, chair of the Pastoral Care Committee, and recently helping to develop our Creation Season. The most special role has been as a student and then mentor for four years of EFM. I still have an ecumenical spirit, as I also again play bells again at the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown. I am honored to be considered to be more involved with the church on the Diocesan level.
I believe that in order to become a prayer-centered church and mission-shaped diocese, we first need to come to believe, and then live it out, that each and every person is a loved child of God. As 1 John states (3:2) “My dear people, we are already children of God”. We don’t have to earn it; God’s grace has already given us this blessing. Once this knowledge shines forth from our hearts, being prayer centered and mission shaped will come automatically, we can’t help but want to commune with God and to share our abundance. So how do we learn to live this conviction? Our church leaders can preach it on Sunday mornings. We model it for each other through loving words and actions. Worship can encourage and reenergize us when we have doubts. Bible studies and seminars can help to reinforce it. We put ourselves in situations where we can experience that both we and the “other” are loved children of God. Being prayer-centered and mission shaped is our natural state. Worship, study and community can help us be who we truly are.
Tim Strack: “I grew up on Kent Island and now live in Denton. I am a member of Christ Church Denton who serves both on the Vestry and as a Eucharistic Minister. In 2017 I was an Alternate Delegate to Diocesan Convention, and in 2018 I am a Delegate. I enjoy being involved in my community. At Christ Church Denton I started a monthly Game Night, open to the public, where families and individuals can come play board games. I also volunteer at the His Hope Haven homeless shelter every Friday night when the shelter is open (September-May).
Along with Bishop San’s vision for us being a prayer-centered church and a mission-shaped diocese, I feel a call to both pray AND to take action. I believe prayer is a two way communication, as in we also have to listen to what the Holy Spirit is asking us to do, and in some cases that is to take action. I believe we should work with other non-profits in the area to help our local community as well larger non-profits to help the world. Perhaps we could organize a set of days as a diocese to do physical work with Habitat for Humanity or start new fundraisers to sponsor, though the Department of Social Services, an alcohol or drug addicted individual to go to rehab — especially with the opioid epidemic the US is facing. The possibilities are endless.”
Diocesan Council – At-Large Rep, Clergy – Joe Rushton; John Schaeffer
The Rev. Joseph M. Rushton: Rector – Church of the Holy Spirit, Ocean City, Maryland.
I am a native Marylander, currently living in Georgetown, DE. I have served the people of God in the Dioceses of Maryland, Delaware and as of October 2017 the Diocese of Easton. During the past 12 years I have served on Diocesan Councils, Companion Diocese Committee, Convention Program Committee and as Co-Chair of several Diocesan Conventions. I have worked as a Masters Level Social Worker in mental health positions for over 2 decades.
Prayers-Centered Church and Mission-Shaped Diocese: My initial thoughts take me to the lyrics of a Folk Song (now referred to as a contemporary Christian song) “… What would you have us do … -We who claim to be your followers …” Praying keeps us in communication with God, mindful that we are continually blessed and invited to share our blessing with others to the Glory of God. Mindfulness and attentiveness are essential if we are to hear, recognize and respond to the one we follow, Jesus.
The Rev. John Schaeffer: I have been the Rector of St. Mary Anne’s in North East, MD for the past two years. My wife Karen and I have been married for 33 years, and we have three adult children, David, Eric and Jennifer. I sensed the call to ministry as I raised our children and participated in lay ministry at my local church in Pittsburgh, PA. I attended seminary part-time for many years while I was employed full-time in financial services industry. I obtained a Master in Divinity from Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA in 2012. I was ordained as priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh in December of 2012; and served as a Priest in Charge for three years in a small Pittsburgh parish, prior to my call to St. Mary Anne’s.
I abundantly support Bishop San’s vision of being a prayer-centered church and mission shaped diocese, and believe that it is an appropriate response to last year’s Diocesan-wide study of the Book of Acts and our corporate and personal charge in the Great Commission. Members of those early churches recognized that growth required God’s power; and that God responds to His people’s prayers. We know that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us and will give us what we request (1 John 5:14-15). Therefore, we need to ask. Clergy and lay leaders have a responsibility to teach the necessity of corporate and personal prayer and all are encouraged to utilize Scripture to emphasize its importance and example. Readings such as: Acts 1:24 and Acts 6:6 demonstrate the importance of praying before choosing leaders; and Acts 22:17 supports praying in worship and receiving guidance as to future ministry plans. With this solid prayer-centered approach, God will continue to reveal His will and mission for our Diocese, churches, and people. We can and will with Gods help.
Standing Committee, Lay – Nancy Dick; Nancy Linck
Nancy M. Dick: As a lifelong Episcopalian at Emmanuel Church, Chester Parish, I have served in a variety of roles, some more than once: Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Choir member, Eucharistic Minister, lector, church school teacher, Acolyte. In the Diocese of Easton I am currently a member of the Commission on Ministry and the Secretary of Convention. I have been a deputy to General Convention seven times, have served on Diocesan Council, and on the Standing Committee. I am retired from my work as a Community Health Nurse.
The Discernment Resolutions that have been adopted by the Diocese of Easton coupled with the ten Gifts of Spiritual Life give us guides for growing into the Bishop San’s vision of a prayer-centered church and mission-shaped diocese. I think that the Spiritual Gifts should be fleshed out carefully one or two at a time; these underlie prayer centeredness and missionally shaped. The recommendations of the Discernment Resolutions strengthen the diocese in seeking collaboration among parishes and identifying our strengths and weaknesses. The growth will not be fast paced but thoughtfully and prayerfully done.
Nancy Linck: I joined the Episcopal Church around 20 years ago having come from a long Catholic tradition including graduating from the Catholic University of St Thomas in Houston, Texas. Having been a member of St. Alban’s in Salisbury, I have been a member of the vestry, the choir, Agape Ministry and am finishing my service on the Diocesan Council for the past 3 years. It has been my privilege and honor to work with very knowledgeable, passionate and loving people from all over the Diocese. I believe that the continued focus on working together within the Diocese and our individual communities to foster hope and love in Jesus’ name will promote lasting and strong relationships now and in the future. Thank you so much. Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Men.
Standing Committee, Clergy–Mary Garner; Rob Laws
The Rev. Mary Garner: I graduated from Episcopal Divinity School in 2006. As a seminarian I took a number of classes in urban/community outreach mission work. I served as chaplain for a low cost housing development for the elderly in Norfolk, Virginia and in addition to providing pastoral care, I developed many social service programs and connections to local churches for the benefit of the residents. I moved to Easton in 2008 and supplied in many of our congregations until I became the assistant rector at Christ Church, St. Michael’s in 2010.I was the chaplain at Heron Point in Chestertown from 2012-2014.I have served at St. Paul’s, Centreville since 2014. During my tenure as rector we have initiated many mission programs including the Haven Ministries Resource Center, the Micah Ministry for Social Justice and the Backpack Program for children in poverty. I believe that my education and experience in community outreach and my years of serving as a supply priest in all three convocations will be of use to the Standing Committee.
I believe a prayer centered church must not just pray on Sunday mornings! Contemplative prayer, lectio divina,Bible Study, retreats and spiritual direction could have a greater presence in our churches. Being mission centered means knowing our neighbors, stepping out of the doors of our church and into the community, respectfully listening to what is needed to further the kingdom of God and using our resources to bring that kingdom to the Eastern Shore.
The Rev.’d Dr. Robert James Laws: Fr. Rob was born and raised in a small town in North Carolina. He was raised in a devout Pentecostal family, where the church was central to their lives. He was always active in church, singing in the choir and participating in youth group, but he never felt quite at home in the church of his youth. While attending Duke Divinity School, where he was studying for a Master’s in Religious Education, he attended a chapel service in which the Holy Eucharist was celebrated by an Episcopal priest. There was chanting, beautiful music, and clouds of incense. Fr. Rob was profoundly impacted by this Mass, and started a journey which would eventually lead to his becoming confirmed in the Episcopal Church, and answering God’s call to serve the church as a parish priest. Fr. Rob was ordained in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and has served congregations in Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. He has served as rector of St. Andrew’s, Somerset Parish in Princess Anne for four years, and has been active in both the diocese and the community. He has served on Diocesan Council and the Bishop’s Transition Committee. In the community he serves on the Somerset County Long Term Recovery Board- where he has served on the Spirituality subcomittee, and where he currently chairs the Neighborhood Affordable Housing Committee. He is also a trustee of the Somerset County Library Board and is active in the ministerial association. He has one son, Zachary, who is studying at Temple University in Philadelphia. Fr. Rob has strong interests in art and spirituality, and has a DMin in Christian Spirituality (with an emphasis on Franciscan Spirituality) from Washington Theological Union. His thesis explored how the Franciscan practice of gazing with icons can help help one to practice the presence of God.
The vision of a prayer-centered church and a mission-shaped diocese really is rooted in the ancient understanding that prayer and action together are important elements of holistic spirituality and faithful and engaging discipleship. In fact, it is this kind of vision which shapes us to engage in our work in such a way that our action becomes prayer, and our prayer becomes the work of love. This practice is the one that Jesus modeled for us in his own life and ministry, and only by embracing a life of prayer and action can we live into St. Paul’s admonition to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Unfortunately, the Church has not always taught its members to embrace prayer and mission in this way. A voice continues to persist in the Church which teaches that some are called to the life of prayer and others to the life of action- that prayer and action are two separate but equal ways of living out one’s faith in the world. But as I read the Gospels, I don’t see Jesus offering us an either/or, a la carte plan of spirituality and discipleship. If we are to grow into the vision of being a prayer-centered church and a mission-shaped diocese, then our first task is to educate and form laity, clergy and diocesan leaders to embrace the life of prayer and action, prayer and mission- prayer which nurtures mission, and mission which drives prayer. Prayer is foundational because it is by prayer that we hear the voice of God, that we discern our calling, and that we offer our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, and engage in the work of intercession. But the face of God is seen in the faces of those with whom we are engaged in mission; life-changing and transforming encounters with God occur as we do the work of the Gospel; and when we are attentive and intentional about loving and serving God in every task that we do, then we come to learn that everything that we do in the Name of Christ and for the love of Christ and neighbor, is in fact prayer. Similarly, the way in which we think about mission needs to be re-shaped. How many of us have seen mission as a tool for growing our congregations? How many of us, faced with the pressures and demands of pastoral ministry and parish life, have reduced mission to the administration of the parish and to the development of programs- all worthwhile, all important, and all necessary- but this is not what mission is. The mission of the Church is the mission of God; we are only faithfully engaging in mission inasmuch as we are discerning ways to participate with God in God’s ongoing work of reconciling all of creation through Jesus Christ. In order to discern the mission of God in the world, the church must re-imagine what mission looks like. Instead of engaging in church-shaped mission, which is insular and focused on meeting the needs of church members and structures, we are called to become a mission-shaped church- a church driven and empowered to do the work of God in the world, to follow the Holy Spirit into the world to meet Christ in the poor, the weak, the suffering, and the stranger, and to take seriously the dream of Jesus that the Church would not only continue his work, but that we would do greater works than he (John 14:12), as together we work to draw all of creation to unity with God and one another.
Board of Managers, Lay – Ray Munsch; Fred Welsh
Ray Munsch: Education: BS, Economics, University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School); MBA, Finance, University of Virginia (Darden School). Military: Officer, U.S. Coast Guard, 3½ years active duty. Professional Experience: Investment Manager, over course of 40 years served as portfolio manager for institutional investment accounts such as those of Fortune 500 companies, state and local government retirement systems, endowments, mutual funds and private accounts. Enjoyed an active managerial role in the companies for which I worked in addition to my investment responsibilities. Employers included a state retirement system, two large regional banks and three private investment management firms. For the 15 years prior to my retirement, I served as President, Chief Operating Officer and Mutual Fund Co-Manager for a private investment manager in suburban Philadelphia with approximately $3.5 billion under management. Firm managed the Berwyn Funds, a small family of no-load mutual funds and sub-advised other mutual funds. Board/Trustee Experience: Community Center, Private School, Yacht Club, Endowment, Charitable Institution, Private For-Profit Company. Personal: I grew up in Richmond, VA where I graduated from St. Christopher’s School. Most of my professional career was spent in Philadelphia, where my wife and I lived in Center City for 38 years and raised a family. I have served on Vestries in both Richmond and Philadelphia and have been active in church-related activities, including being Endowment Committee Chair for 20+ years. My wife and I reside in Oxford where we are active members of The Church of the Holy Trinity and she currently serves on the Vestry.
I think we can grow into Bishop San’s vision by, in part, taking our cue from the early Christians as recorded in the Book of Acts. We must exhibit compassion, inclusiveness and sharing, not just among ourselves but throughout the broader community and the world. This starts with seeking God’s guidance in all things through prayer – personal prayer, group prayer and parish-wide prayer. Then we must trust in God and move forward in faith, casting a wide net and engaging a diverse universe.