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The 239th Diocesan Convention

Bishop Dietsche’s Address

Resolutions Passed

Election of Trustees of Estate and Property
Submitted by The Trustees of Estate and Property
[3] Resolved: That the following persons are hereby elected Trustees of the Estate and Property of the Diocesan Convention of New York, for terms expiring 2018:

Mr. Jesse d. Aadelaar
Mr. John B. Gilliland
Mr. Morihiko Goto

Resolutions Against Caste-And Descent-Based Discrimination
Submitted by The Rev. Michael G. Shafer, India Network

Whereas, The Diocese of New York recognizes the human rights violation of discrimination based on caste and descent:

[4] Resolved: that the 239th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New York condemn the human rights violation of discrimination based on caste and descent and supports its elimination particularly as it occurs within the United States both within and outside the Church; and further
[5] Resolved: that the 239th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New York call on congregations in the Diocese of New York to acknowledge the fundamental injustice of caste-and descent-based discrimination, a clear human rights violation; and further
[6] Resolved: that the Episcopal Diocese of New York engage in legislative advocacy and education to raise awareness of the pervasive nature of this human rights violation; and further
[7] Resolved: that the Episcopal Diocese of New York charge the India Network with the preparation of an e-mail document outlining caste-and descent-based discrimination and the atrocities associated with it, such document to be distributed to all Diocesan parishes before the next Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

Task Force Recommendations: Diocesan Community Development Investment Program and Applying Ethical Standards in the Management of Church Investment Assets
Submitted by W.B. McKeown, chair, Task Force on Socially and Environmentally Responsible Investing

Whereas: the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York at the request of the 237th Diocesan Convention appointed a Task Force on Socially and Environmentally Responsible Investing (the “Task Force”) to study the merits of socially and environmentally responsible investing for Diocese and make recommendations at this 2015 Diocesan Convention, and the Task Force has made a report to this Convention (the “Task Force Report”):

[9] Resolved, the 239th Convention of the Diocese of New York urges the Trustees of the Diocese to take such actions as may be necessary and appropriate to establish an Episcopal Diocese of New York com-munity development investment program consistent with the discussion and principles laid out in the Task Force Report and to report thereon to the Diocesan Convention in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
[10] Resolved, the 239th Convention of the Diocese of New York urges the Trustees of the Diocese to take such actions as may be necessary and appropriate to cause the Diocese of New York to adopt sustain-able investing as an investment policy goal and to become a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing, all consistent with the Task Force Report.
[11] Resolved, the 239th Convention of the Diocese of New York urges the Trustees of the Diocese, the Trustees of the Diocesan Investment Trust, the governing board of every entity related to the Diocese, and the vestry, board of trustees or other governing board of every church, parish, or congregation in the Diocese to take the following actions consistent with the Task Force Report:(i) to carry out a substantive review of its own investment policies and practices for the management of Church investment assets in light of its understanding of the Church’s faith and mission, including the Church’s social and environmental responsibilities; and(ii) to develop ethical guidelines for socially and environmentally responsible investing (or strengthen any existing ethical guidelines), and in developing such guidelines, to include, among other things, consideration of justice for non-human creation, the interests of future generations of humanity, and support for environmental sustainability and justice; and(iii) in developing such guidelines, to consider divesting from industries involved primarily in the extraction or distribution of fossil fuels, and particularly (but not exclusively) industries involved in the extraction or distribution of coal; and(iv) to report on the foregoing to the Bishop and the Convention in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
[12] Resolved, the 239th Convention of the Diocese of New York desires that Diocesan funds not be in-vested in coal companies and urges the Trustees of the Diocese to take such actions as may be necessary and appropriate consistent with the Task Force Report to cause the Episcopal Diocese of New York to divest from companies that derive 10% or more of their revenues from the extraction or distribution of coal and do so within a reasonable time, such as three years.

Response to Systemic Racial Injustice
Submitted by Diane Pollard, Chair, The Diocesan Reparations Committee
Whereas, The Diocese of New York acknowledges in the wake of the brutal, overtly racist murders of nine of our Christian brothers and sisters of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015, and the numerous deaths of unarmed black men and youth at the hands of certain law enforcement personnel; and
Whereas, The Diocese of New York has affirmed as a top priority in the coming year the challenging and difficult work of racial reconciliation through prayer, teaching, engagement, and action:
[13] Resolved: that every congregation in the Diocese understands and affirms that the call to pray and act for racial reconciliation is integral to our witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to our living into the demands of our Baptismal Covenant and commits to take action in furtherance thereof.

Combating Mass Incarceration
Submitted by Diane Pollard, The Anti-Racism Committee of the Diocese of New York and The Diocesan Reparations Committee

Whereas, the Diocese of New York recognizes the moral atrocity of mass incarceration in which a overly disproportionate number of persons of color have been unjustly caught in the net of the criminal justice system:
[14] Resolved: that all congregations, missions, schools and other faith communities over the next year study one of the most pressing social justice issues of our time, “mass incarceration”; and further
[15] Resolved: that congregations, missions, schools and other faith communities consider using the New York Times bestseller, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness” by Michelle Alexander as a common text that invites the people of the Episcopal Diocese of New York into engagement; and further
[16] Resolved: that the Reparations Committee of the Diocese of New York along with the Anti-Racism Committee of the Diocese of New York work together to compile and distribute to all congregations, missions, schools and other faith communities and to make easily accessible on the website of the Diocese of New York a tool kit of relevant study and discussion guides, print, video, and Internet resource materials and other information, all in connection with combating mass incarceration.

Conversion to Green, Renewable Energy
Submitted by The Rev. Canon Jeff Golliher, Chair, Committee on the Environment of the Social Concerns

Whereas, the 237th Diocesan Convention (2013) passed resolution “Auditing Energy Use
in Church Buildings,” urging member congregations to work with the Diocesan Property
Support Committee in auditing energy use in their church buildings; and

Whereas, subsequent to that resolution, sixteen congregations have conducted energy audits, many with the generous support of the Mid-Hudson Executive Committee, bringing the Diocesan total, to date, to forty-two; and

Whereas, these audits are a first and necessary step in considering the transition to renewable energy in our church buildings:

[17] Resolved: That the 239th Convention of the Diocese of New York asks every congregation to renew its commitment to conduct an approved energy audit with all due speed; and on that foundation, be it further
[18] Resolved: That the 239th Convention of the Diocese of New York asks diocesan and parish organizations to make resources available to congregations to help them pursue energy audits; and be it further
[19] Resolved: That the 239th Convention of the Diocese of New York asks every congregation, with the assistance of Property Support and the Committee on the
Environment, to develop a “self-study” plan for the conversion to renewable energy sources within the next ten years.

Sharing the Proceeds of Sales and Leases of Air Rights
Submitted by The Trustees of the Episcopal Diocese of New York

Whereas, the 210th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New York passed a resolution in 1987 urging parishes “which receive a substantial sum of money from the sale or lease of air and other property rights . . . to share a percentage of that amount with the Diocese to establish a fund, the income of which would be used for the repair and restoration of church buildings in the Diocese”:

[20] Resolved: that the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of New York be instructed that, before approving any sale or lease of air rights, the Standing Committee receive a written commitment from any parish selling or leasing its air rights to share a tithe of the proceeds of the sale or lease of air rights with the Diocese for the benefit of other church buildings within the Diocese

Achieving Parity between Clergy and Lay in our Health Plans
Submitted by the Reverend Susan Fortunato
WHEREAS: the General Convention of The Episcopal Church has mandated that all dioceses achieve parity in health plans between clergy and lay employees no later than December 31, 2015; and
WHEREAS: The Episcopal Diocese of New York is committed to achieving parity in health benefits between clergy and lay employees; and
WHEREAS: a resolution to achieve parity in the Episcopal Diocese of New York was presented by the Diocesan Personnel Committee to the 2014 Diocesan Convention and, after much discussion, the resolution was tabled; and
WHEREAS: the proponent has determined to submit modified resolutions to address the concerns raised in 2014 and to achieve parity in clergy and lay employee health plans; and
WHEREAS: because more time is needed for congregations to prepare for parity, the proponent recommends that the revised health benefits policy become effective no later than January 1, 2017; and
WHEREAS: the proponent proposes that all congregations review their lay health plans and make any necessary adjustments to assist employees in paying a portion of their health benefits.
[21] Resolved: that effective January 1, 2017, the following health benefits policy be adopted:
1. The Episcopal Diocese of New York shall conform to the requirements of General Convention, including (but not limited to) participation in the Episcopal Church’s Denominational Health Plan and parity in employer health benefits for lay and clergy employees working full-time. Full-time is defined as lay employees and clergy working at least 1500 hours per year and receiving a W-2.

2. All congregations and other employing entities in the Episcopal Diocese of New York are employers required to provide health coverage to their employees as specified in this policy with the exception of schools, day care facilities and other Diocesan institutions that the Bishop may exempt.

3. Eligibility and Employee Contributions
a. Lay and clergy employees working and paid full-time are provided:
• Single coverage with an employee contribution of 1% of the premium for the basic plan.
• Employee + 1 coverage with an employee contribution of 2% of the premium for the basic plan.
• Family coverage with an employee contribution of 3% of the premium for the basic plan.
b. Lay and clergy employees working and paid less than full-time, but at least 30 hours per week (1500 hours per year) are provided:
• Single coverage with an employee contribution of 1% of the premium for the basic plan.
• Employee + 1 with an employee contribution of 2% of the premium for the basic plan.
• Family coverage with an employee contribution of 3% of the premium for the basic plan.
c. Clergy working and paid less than 30 hours, but at least 20 hours per week are provided:
• Single coverage with an employee contribution of 1% of the premium for the basic plan
• Employee + 1 with an employee contribution of 2% of the premium for the basic plan
• Family coverage with an employee contribution of 3% of the premium for the basic plan
Lay employees working and paid less than 30 hours per week, but at least 20 hours per week, must be allowed access to participate at their own expense in the plan of their choice among those offered by the Diocese of New York.
Clergy and lay employees may choose to participate in a higher cost plan than the basic plan.  In the case of each of parts a, b and c above, in the event a lay or clergy employee chooses a plan whose premium exceeds that of the basic plan, such employee will be responsible for any excess premium.
d. Clergy and lay employees (in the case of lay employees, under special circumstances defined by The Episcopal Medical Trust) working and paid less than 20 hours per week may participate in The Episcopal Church Medical Trust at their own expense.  Employers are encouraged to assist them with the cost of purchasing health insurance either through the Episcopal Church Medical Trust or on a marketplace exchange.

4.  Coordination of coverage
a. When an employee qualifies for coverage of the spouse or domestic partner (hereafter, “spouse”), but the spouse has health coverage provided elsewhere, it is suggested that the church employer pay the entirety of the employee’s remaining health coverage plus an amount into a designated account for the employee, totaling 25% of the amount saved by the employer.
b. When an employee qualifies for coverage of a dependent child or children, but they are covered under the other parent’s health plan, it is suggested that the church employer pay the entirety of the employee’s remaining health coverage, plus an amount into a designated account for the employee, totaling 25% of the amount saved by the employer.
c. If the employee him-or-herself is covered under the spouse’s plan, the church employer pays   25% of the amount saved by the employer into a designated account for the employee and is suggested to set aside the remaining 75% of the insurance cost into a designated parish account.

5. Adult Children
Employees bear any additional premium cost for insuring dependent children ages 26-29, except in the case of disability or other extenuating circumstance; and further
[22] Resolved: that effective January 1, 2017, the current Clergy Compensation Guidelines of The Episcopal Diocese of New York be revised as follows:
Current: 4. Health Benefits
Congregations shall pay 100% of the premium costs for adequate medical and dental coverage for their priests and their dependents. The Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) offered through The Episcopal Church Medical Trust are considered adequate medical coverage. (Note: The congregation is not required to contribute more than the HMO rate for medical insurance.) The dental plan offered through The Episcopal Church Medical Trust is considered adequate dental coverage.
Replace with: 4. Medical and Dental Insurance
Congregations and other church employers shall provide adequate medical and dental coverage for their clergy employees and their dependents in accordance with the Diocese of New York Health Benefits Policy; and further
[23] Resolved:  that effective January 1, 2017, Items 4 and 12 of the Diocese of New York Lay Compensation Guidelines (last adopted by Diocesan Convention in 1999) be revised as follows:
Current: 4. Health Insurance: Each congregation shall provide all of its lay employees with access to the HMO or Indemnity Plans of The Episcopal Church Medical Trust or a comparable carrier.  (Note: see Item 4 under Section B. Items strongly urged by Convention.)
Replace with: 4. Medical and Dental Insurance: Each congregation or church employer shall provide all of its lay employees – with the exception of schools and day care facilities and other diocesan institutions that the Bishop may exempt — working and paid at least 1000 hours per year (20 hours per week) with access to The Episcopal Church Medical Trust plans offered through the Diocese. Each congregation or church employer shall provide adequate medical and dental coverage for all of its lay employees and their dependents to employees working and paid at least 1500 hours per year (30 hours per week) in accordance with the Diocese of New York Health Benefits Policy.

Current: 12. Health Insurance: Although only “access” to health insurance is mandated, it is strongly urged that congregations contribute to the cost of the health insurance premiums for lay employees.
Replace with: 12. Congregations and other church employers are urged to contribute toward the cost of premiums for lay employees working at least 1000 hours per year (20 hours per week) but less than 1500 hours per year (30 hours per week); and further
[23] Resolved: that all congregations of The Episcopal Diocese of New York review their lay health plans and make any necessary adjustments to assist employees in paying a portion of their health benefits.

Resolution form the Floor of Convention
A resolution arising from the Bishop’s Address:

Resolved, That this 239th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New York approves the conversion of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Newburgh, New York from a Parish to a Mission Congregation to be administered in accordance with Canon 29 of the Canons of this Diocese.

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