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The Secular and Sacred are Intertwined

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Sydney Fitzpatrick is a member of St. Paul, Salem. She is currently on the Board of Trustees and previously served on the Standing Committee.

What sparked your interest in serving on a diocesan level?
I hear a lot of people say that they never know what is going on in the diocese, and I was the same. Even though I was a cradle Episcopalian, I didn’t understand what the Board of Trustees or Standing Committee or Diocesan Council did until I joined St. Paul’s vestry and started attending Convocation meetings, where we heard updates from the different governing bodies.

For me, I love the church. It was a social justice leader when I was a kid, and I’m proud of it. As a way of living out my commitment to justice I also served for 18 years on the Commission on Poverty & Homelessness, where I began to connect more with people from throughout the diocese and experienced many wonderful people serve on different diocesan committees.

What are some of the significant experiences that you have had on the Standing Committee and Board of Trustees?

I love doing this work. I find government in general fascinating. In the diocese, it’s an opportunity to help create and expand on our vision and implement and support ministry. It takes a lot of time and commitment to make changes in an institution like the church, which tend to happen incrementally.

Being an attorney, I appreciate the way that the secular and the sacred are intertwined; for instance, according to Oregon state non-profit law, the Board of Trustees is our governing body, but according to the practice of The Episcopal Church, the Standing Committee is. We are fortunate to have both of these groups who work well together. One example is that the Board of Trustees makes plans and recommendations for properties and finances, and then the Standing Committee reviews and approves them. Having so many people involved in running the diocese provides a breadth of perspective and accountability!

This is part of a series of interviews with former and current members of the Standing CommitteeBoard of Trustees, and Diocesan Council, the three main bodies that comprise our diocesan government. All three are accepting nominations for new members, with the election taking place at Convention.

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