|THE BISHOP ELLIOTT SOCIETY
|What a remarkable year this has been for our ministry in The Bishop Elliott Society (BES)!
We have received extraordinary blessings that make it difficult to believe that less than a year
ago the Society comprised only those who were members of the Board, who had been
struggling since December 2003 to define our mission and figure out the first steps to carry it
out. Prior to the 2005 Board meeting, our accomplishments were limited to legal chartering
of the Society as a non-profit corporation, applying for tax-exempt status, developing the
Board, and coordinating resolutions in Diocesan Council.
Associates. Beginning in the late spring, we conducted a drive to contact the entire clergy
and lay leadership of the Diocese of West Texas through mailings and E-mail contacts to
over a thousand households, to invite them to participate in the BES. A brochure was
completed, which has now gone through two printings. Over 75 persons have now
contributed to the Society and accepted Associate or Friend status, for a total contribution of
$29,925 as of the end of 2005. That includes eleven new Life Associates during 2005, each
contributing at least $1,000.00. A total of 23 clergy committed themselves to support of the
Society this year.
Website. As the drive for support was going on, a web site on the Internet was created
during the summer, which made available a number of resources for the Society. Web
advertising of the lectures with detailed information about the speakers, as well as resources
for continuing education, links to other sites with similar interests, and information about our
mentor, Bishop RWB Elliott is available at www.bishopelliott.org. Copies of the lectures are
posted there, as is the list of our contributing associates.
The Bishop Elliott Lecture. The primary objective of the year was accomplished with the
revival of the Bishop Elliott Lectures after a hiatus of over a decade. The Very Reverend
Philip W. Turner III gave three lectures on “Redeeming the Times” at St. Luke’s Church,
San Antonio, October 14-15, as 83 persons gathered for the event, which included some
very fine meals provided by the St. Luke’s staff. An important feature of the lectures was a
response panel including three West Texas clergy and our own John Warren, Esq.—we hope
to use this process to good effect in the future for further conversation with those of diverse
viewpoints. Press releases by Thurma Hilton provided promotion of these lectures through
diocesan and provincial publications and spread the news of BES activities beyond West
The Christmas Clergy Book Selection. Clergy of the BES Board assisted with
contributions to provide the active clergy of the Diocese with a copy of the Rt. Rev. Dr. N.
T. Wright’s book, Mark for Everyone, chosen by the Book Committee comprised of Betty
Fuller, Stockton Williams and Paul Frey. Many of the clergy expressed their thanks for this
text, which will apply to their preaching for the entire year, since Mark is the proper gospel
for 2006. This is an important method of helping affect the teaching of the Gospel in all the
congregations of the Diocese, and it is an important part of our ministry for the future.
The Anglican Communion Institute. The fall of the year saw us preparing to host the
annual conference of the Anglican Communion Institute—one of the most notable gatherings
of scholars in the Anglican world—for an experience that brought tremendous hope not only
to traditional Episcopalians in south Texas, but churchmen from all over the country who
seek to remain faithful Anglican Christians while continuing our commitment to the Episcopal
Church. Over half the 180-plus participants were from outside the Diocese, including
international visitors from Canada and Nigeria. Participation by our own Bishops Lillibridge
and Frey showed West Texas at our best, and the lectures by Professors Seitz, Turner,
Radnor and Sumners and Bishops Salmon and Fearon encouraged and enlightened all who
were there, including some who found our vocabularies expanding geometrically as we
listened. We were enabled to give the ACI scholars not only a south Texas welcome but
also a sense of renewed call and dedication, and I hope and believe we can look forward to a
continuing relationship with them in the years to come.
Resolutions for Council. As we have the past two years, we coordinated the creation of
another significant resolution in support of the Windsor Report for the forthcoming 102nd
Diocesan Council. Continuing to uphold the necessity of affirming the Windsor standard of
communion will be a key role as the Episcopal Church attempts to recover its balance in the
years to come.
For the future. The Society must continue to expand its role as a teaching ministry,
witnessing tirelessly to the power of God in Jesus Christ to transform lives and churches.
We must patiently and lovingly confront deviations from the Faith as expressed in the Prayer
Book and help those in places where it is not taught to persevere and not despair. We will
continue to build a base of support and funding that will keep this ministry alive, whatever
course the national church may steer in the coming years. We will continue to present a
vibrant, living teaching of the loving God who will never be satisfied with a Church that is
less than committed to his Son, our universal savior.