By Grace Sears
The Order of the Daughters of the King met in Baltimore June 22-26 after being delayed for a year, as was General Convention, by COVID-19. Their theme was “Come to the Table,” and more than 550 Daughters attended — from the Americas, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe.
The Triennial table was spread with renewed friendships, inspiring messages, a wide range of workshops and exhibits, music from the Glory Bound Singers and lively Juniors, and times of deep prayer and worship.
Bishop Eugene Sutton welcomed the Daughters to Baltimore, and discussed his diocese’s commitments. Bishop Jo Bailey Wells and Fiona Richardson reflected on the Shepherd’s table, set in the presence of enemies; Jesus at the door, seeking an invitation to our tables and homes; and the Traveler’s table at Emmaus, which becomes the Lord’s Table.
Two days before the opening service, twelve international Daughters from ten countries met with the International Committee and translators, including Rev. Dr. Margaret Short, who was international chaplain for this Triennial. Leaders of the Order in Malawi, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Mexico gave brief addresses, and on International Night the Daughters saw a video that included altar photos from most of the 20 countries where the Order is active.
Bishop Greg Brewer, chaplain to the Order, led a healing service on Friday, as well as celebrating the opening and closing Eucharists. A procession of banners opened and closed the Triennial. On Sunday, Daughters witnessed the vows of the newly elected council and the passing of Margaret Franklin’s 1890s cross from the retiring president, Krisita Jackson, to the new president, Nancy Severin.
Juniors had their own program, with speaker Stephanie Hogan of Titus Women; musician Brenda Albinger; and the Rev. Dr. Deborah Jackson of Sewanee as chaplain. They made blankets and helped receive donations that Daughters brought for the Karis Home, which provides emergency short-term shelter for homeless women and children in Baltimore. The Brotherhood of St. Andrew also assisted by providing a van and transporting in-kind donations to Karis Home.
Strictly speaking, this gathering was not a Triennial. Four years had passed since the 2018 Triennial in Austin, Texas, postponing elections and delaying efforts to raise dues and update bylaws. Raising dues is always a challenge, but the national office has functioned without a raise since 2003. After debate, delegates representing the 24,000 U.S. Daughters raised annual dues from $40 to $50. They heard reports on membership and finances, and approved eight bylaw revisions.
The eight province presidents who serve on the council are elected by their province assemblies, not by the Triennial delegates. The provinces had proceeded with their elections in 2021, rather than extend terms. Two were re-elected: Monica Burden, Province I, and Katherine Polite-Marshall, Province II. New presidents elected in 2021 are Michel Marini, Province III; Kathy House, Province IV; Celeste Hilliard, Province V; Mary Westcott, Province VI; Andrea Hale, Province VII; and Barbara Shreve, Province VIII.
After 15 council members were elected on June 25, they met with the province presidents to elect their officers. At a gala banquet, retiring officers introduced the new officers: President Nancy Severin, Colorado; First Vice President Jane Searcy, Alabama; Second Vice President Judy Bordelon, Western Louisiana; Secretary Sidney Lowe, San Diego; and Treasurer Shirley Siler, Texas.
Re-elected to the council were Helen Bhagwandin, Southeast Florida; Kathy Paulo, Northwestern Pennsylvania; and Susan Towson, Florida.
New members, in addition to Lowe and Siler, are Terry Kravitz, Dallas; Monica Lewis-Jones, Pennsylvania; Sue McIlrath, Central Florida; Helen Paulsen, Texas; Jackie Smith, Southwest Florida; Shearon Smith, Washington D.C.; and Christine Thorowgood, Kentucky.
The Daughters took precautions to prevent spreading COVID. During the five days, only three people were reported as having come down with COVID, but others tested positive soon after most Daughters had dispersed.