By John Hammock
Today my thoughts go to the EGR volunteers here at Convention—and all over the country—that have been so tireless in their work to promote the MDGs. It is a testament to their faith and their commitment to the Gospel. It is the volunteers who have led the charge in getting the 0.7% reinstated into the Church budget. It is impossible to name all the people who have contributed to this team effort. But we have had folks working the booth, selling t-shirts and passing out literature on the MDGs and EGR. We have had people testifying for the EGR supported resolutions; we have had volunteers handing out leaflets to delegates as they enter Convention to remind them of tonight’s U2charist. And we have had our EGR members and Board members as delegates working tirelessly to get specific legislation approved.
Today I want to spend a moment reflecting on the volunteer work of the EGR Board. We have a Board meeting today. It will be a short meeting where we welcome Devon Anderson as our new Executive Director. It is hard to believe that we have made a transition of Directors right in the time leading up to Convention! Devon has been front and center in the legislative EGR work at Convention—as has been Ian Douglas and Jeffrey Rowthorn. Dahn Gandell, in addition to being a Delegate to Convention has been tireless in organizing the work at the EGR booth and the U2Charist. Her energy and drive put together much of the EGR presence at Convention—very much helped by Debbie Shew, who spent countless hours at the booth with me day after day. For the first week of Convention we were joined in the booth by Arington Chambliss and in the last few days we have been joined by Board member Gary Cartwright. Yesterday Craig Cole joined us, though he is looking after the Five Talents booth also. And Laura Smith has been in and out—letting us know about what has transpired. Truly the Board members at Convention have been involved—given their time and talents to the EGR work.
I focus on the Board because this is an active board—one that takes time to work on the real issues. As Board Chair it is a pleasure to work with these committed individuals. And here at Convention we see directly the passion of our other volunteers—folks who make all the work possible. I cannot thank everyone by name, though in my next blog I want to single out several of the volunteers that have been so helpful.
With our wonderful booth and our legislative presence, some people may think that we have a large paid staff and a large budget. Neither is true. We have a staff of one and a half and a budget that is about $150,000 a year—for all that we do. And our Board is committed to keeping this a volunteer organization—building a movement for social change and personal transformation. With the help of all our volunteers, the Episcopal Church (TEC) has recommitted itself to the MDGs. Thanks be to God.