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Committee will propose comprehensive revision of the Book of Common Prayer

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 6:38pm

Members of the Committee to Receive the Report of Resolution A169, which is considering revision of the Book of Common Prayer, clap along while singing a hymn before the start of their morning meeting on July 5. Photo: Melodie Woerman/Episcopal News Service

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

The Committee to Receive the Report of Resolution A169, which is considering resolutions to revise of the Book of Common Prayer, on July 5 voted to propose to General Convention a plan for comprehensive revision of the current 1979 prayer book. The resolution, which will be an amendment to Resolution A068, authorizes the start of a revision process that could culminate in a new prayer book in 2030. 

The resolution was developed by a subcommittee appointed on July 4 to incorporate the process of revision specified in Resolution A068 and incorporating calls for inclusive and expansive language, for God and human beings, which was presented during hearings, also on July 4.

The proposal calls for the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to begin the revision process using the 1979 prayer book as the starting point and to utilize “inclusive and expansive language and imagery for humanity and divinity” in making changes. It also will “incorporate and express understanding, appreciation and care for God’s creation.”

Exempted from the inclusive language revision will be Holy Eucharist Rite 1 and the church’s historical documents printed in the prayer book. In a split between the deputies and bishops, who meet together but vote separately, exempting the Lord’s Prayer from revision was adopted by the bishops but rejected by deputies. 

That means that the deputies’ version will be presented to the House of Deputies when the matter is taken up in a special order of business on July 6 at 4 p.m. If adopted there with that clause intact, the bishops’ version will be debated in the House of Bishops. Reconciliation then would be needed between the two versions.

This resolution carries through the background materials associated with the original A068, which describes a 12-year process of prayer book revision. This includes a comprehensive survey of the liturgies in use in congregations, consultation with other provinces of the Anglican Communion, drafting committees and an overall editor. The plan is to gather data over the next three years, with a complete revision by 2024. 

That proposed book would undergo three years of trial use throughout the Episcopal Church, with a first vote by General Convention in 2027. Because revision of the prayer book is part of the church’s Constitution, adoption of a new book requires votes in two consecutive General Conventions to take effect, placing final approval on the agenda in 2030.

– Melodie Woerman is director of communications for the Diocese of Kansas and is a member of the ENS General Convention reporting team.

Presiding Bishop urges Episcopalians to embrace ‘Way of Love’ for spiritual growth

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 4:58pm

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry delivers a sermon at the opening Eucharist at the 79th General Convention in Austin, Texas. Photo: Mike Patterson/Episcopal News Service

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The opening Eucharist  of the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church on July 5 included lively music in many styles, communion for thousands of people and a sermon by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry calling on members of the Episcopal Church to embrace spiritual practices that can help lead them to a Jesus-centered life.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry delivers sermon at the opening Eucharist at the 79th General Convention in Austin, Texas. Photo: Mike Patterson/Episcopal News Service

Called “The Way of Love,” the seven practices provide a Rule of Life that all Episcopalians are encouraged to adopt:

  • Turn: pause, listen and choose to follow Jesus
  • Learn: reflect daily on scripture, especially the life and teachings of Jesus
  • Pray: spend time with God in prayer every day
  • Worship: gather in community for worship every week
  • Bless: share one’s faith and find ways to serve other people
  • Go: move beyond one’s comfort to witness to the love of God with words and actions
  • Rest: dedicate time for restoration and wholeness

Curry said that several months ago he had asked a group of bishops, clergy and lay people to meet with him to explore how the church could move more deeply into being the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, a statement that has been the theme for his first three years as presiding bishop. He said he wanted to find a way to “help people throw themselves into the arms of Jesus.”

That group concluded that the Episcopal Church did not need a new program but instead should call upon spiritual practices that for centuries have helped Christians draw closer to God. The result, the Way of Love, is an adaption of monastic traditions that Curry said would help church members “open up the soul and spirit.”

He also encouraged everyone at General Convention to spend time meditating on the life and teachings of Jesus before they take action, including before they get up to speak at a microphone.

Volunteers handed out brochures describing the practices to people as they left the worship hall.

Materials explaining the Way of Love have been posted on the Episcopal Church website. https://www.episcopalchurch.org/explore-way-love

– Melodie Woerman is director of communications for the Diocese of Kansas and is a member of the ENS General Convention reporting team.

‘Now is the time,’ witnesses say, to work harder against sexual abuse, discrimination in the church

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 3:54pm

Oklahoma Deputy Julia Ayala Harris, the proposer of Resolution D016, testifies July 5 to the Committee on Safeguarding and Title IV. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] People of all genders told the Safeguarding and Title IV Committee July 5 that the Episcopal Church must do more to eliminate sexual discrimination and abuse.

“What we witnessed last night was just a beginning,” the Rev. Cynthia Taylor, a Georgia deputy, told the committee, referring to the House of Bishops’ “Liturgy of Listening,” a service of lament and confession centered on stories of sexual abuse and exploitation in the Episcopal Church. “That work is incomplete, my sisters and brothers.”

Taylor said the work is incomplete if “we pat ourselves on the back for being open to discussion of the role of institutional discrimination, harassment and abuse of women.” The church must find a way to continue “not just the conversation but the hard work of seeking the truth, respecting the dignity of all human beings through the restoration of their God-given rights as children of God.”

Since she became the first woman ordained in the Diocese of South Carolina more than 32 years ago, Taylor said she has “had personally experienced gender biases in the form of equality of pay, sexual harassment, sexual abuse and gross misuse of power by ecclesiastical authorities” in clergy discipline cases.

“Things have changed somewhat, but the abuses of the past are not only still with us. There is a sense that by just speaking up about injustices, such injustices have been addressed,” she told the committee. “They have not.”

The committee held an open hearing on Resolution D016, and Resolution D020.

The Committee on Safeguarding and Title IV’s hearing room was crowded for a July 5 hearing on two resolutions pertaining to sexual harassment. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

D016 would have the General Convention “confess our sins of gender-based discrimination, harassment, and violence against women and girls in all their forms as we understand these sins.” It would call on the Episcopal Church to “turn from the systems of oppression, patriarchy, heteronormativity, white supremacy, and our colonial legacy, among them, and seek to engage in restoration of the dignity of women and reconciliation from past acts.” It would establish task force to help accomplish that work.  The resolution is “meant to address issues related to gender-based violence and discrimination on an overall structural and cultural level,” said Oklahoma Deputy Julia Ayala Harris who proposed the resolution.

Citing the work of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church, she said “we find ourselves in the midst of a movement that has already begun within other mainline denominations. This is not uncharted territory.”

D020 would appoint a task force to conduct a survey on “gender-based discrimination, harassment, and violence against women and girls in all their forms as we understand these sins, which include, but are not limited to, sexual and gender harassment, sexual assault, physical, spiritual, and emotionally abusive behavior, and oppression based on gender.” The results of the survey would be publicly reported online no later than early 2021, the year of the 80th General Convention.

When asked by a committee member if she would accept a move by the committee to combine the two resolutions, Ayala Harris said she had anticipated such a suggestion and had prepared a draft for such a move.

The Rev. Brian Baker, Northern California deputy and member of Executive Council, said, “The church is a hostile work environment for women and it’s just not okay.”

“I am embarrassed that the church is being led by the culture of the #MeToo movement,” he said. “We’re responding because they woke up when we should have woken up first.”

The Very Rev. Craig Loya, a Nebraska deputy, told the committee that he agreed to be an official endorser of D016 because “it is long past time for us as a church to fully account for the ways that we have been complicit in – in ways that we have actively perpetrated – sexism, misogyny, sexual harassment and gender discrimination.”

Rowan Pantalena, a postulant from the Diocese of Connecticut and a self-described “nonbinary trans person,” described for the committee the aftermath of being raped while in seminary. That experience, Panatlena said, showed “how hard it is to speak up.”

“Please consider the difficulty that comes for anyone who speaks about their own experience of sexual harassment and violence, whether perpetuated by people employed by the church or external.”

The members also heard testimony on two memorials, or petitions, to convention, one titled “Women and Social Justice,” which tells convention that “this is our moment to offer healing and to bring our laws closer to the justice and equity that God envisions for us.” The other, “Gathering of Gen X and Millennial Clergy,” asks the church to work for gender equity and “expend resources to create a more equitable church.”

The two D resolutions are among the 24 resolutions proposed by the members of the special House of Deputies Committee on Sexual Harassment and Exploitation appointed in February by the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, House of Deputies’ president. They focus on inclusive theology and language; disparities in pay, hiring, leave and pensions; changes to the Title IV disciplinary process and training; truth and reconciliation; and systemic social justice beyond the church.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is the Episcopal News Service’s senior editor and reporter.

Evangelism committee members pair up to share faith, find Jesus on streets of Austin

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 3:01pm

Three members of the Evangelism and Church Planting Committee met and talked with this group of people who have formed a sidewalk community next to the Episcopal Church-owned parking lot on Trinity Street. The Rev. Alex Montes-Vela, deputy from Texas, stands on the sidewalk with arms crossed. Photo: Frank Logue

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] For a committee assigned to take up resolutions related to evangelism, the activity taking place in JW Marriott Grand Ballroom 8, however worthwhile and, didn’t look much like evangelism.

The committee chairs, acknowledging the limitations of ballroom evangelism, decided to try something different. In addition to leading discussion of how the Episcopal Church will foster evangelism in the coming triennium, the chairs encouraged the bishops and deputies on the Evangelism and Church Planting Committee to practice a bit of street evangelism on the streets of Austin.

“Believing that Jesus is already present and that the gospel is already working itself out in this place today, what we are to go and see is what Jesus is already doing,” Rhode Island Bishop Nicholas Knisely told the committee, which he chairs with the Rev. Frank Logue, deputy from Georgia.

“Our role isn’t so much to tell people, this is what you should believe … but really to see what God’s doing and where can we participate in that mission, where can we take part in it,” Knisely said.

When the committee’s business for the day was done, the members paired up on their own and went outside the hotel, two by two, and practiced evangelism in any way the spirit led them.

Indianapolis Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows and Delaware delegate Lee Ann Walling talk with Keifred Townsend on Third Street in Austin on July 4. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

Some simply spoke to people they met on the street or in coffee shops. Indianapolis Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows teamed up with Lee Ann Walling, a deputy from Delaware, and walked west of the hotel. Baskerville-Burrows, dressed in her purple bishop shirt and collar, said evangelism opportunities already had found her since arriving in Austin.

“I’ve had two people ask me to pray with them just because I’m walking down the street,” she said as Episcopal News Service tagged along for the walk.

Their target destination was a downtown running store, where Baskerville-Burrows hoped to engage in evangelism with fellow runners, though she and Walling also found God on the sidewalk along the way. They soon met a man, Keifred Townsend, 40, who was drawing in a notebook on a bench.

Townsend was wearing black wristbands with the message, “God is big enough.”

“He’s always on time when you need him,” Townsend told Baskerville-Burrows and Walling.

The committee members took time July 5, after their first hearing of the day, to share some stories of their street evangelism from the day before. Baskerville-Burrows and Walling said they also found Jesus at the running store in the form of the store owner, Ryan.

“I made an assumption of the young man in the running store that he was not interested in church,” Walling told her fellow committee members. “He actually evangelized me.” The store owner said he is part of a congregation called Auston Stone Community Church.  and he shared his faith story with his two Episcopal visitors.

Logue was part of a trio of deputies who visited the Episcopal Church-owned parking lot across Trinity Street from St. David’s Episcopal Church. The lot is the future site of the Episcopal Church Archives.

Logue, the Rev. Michael Sells of Navajoland and the Rev. Alex Montes-Vela of Texas met found a group of people congregating at the edge of the lot – “a community on a strip of sidewalk. They had placed a Bible in a tree overseeing their community,” Logue told ENS after the experience.

The Rev. Michael Sells of Navajoland listens to Clifton, a member of the sidewalk community that has formed on Trinity Street. Photo: Frank Logue

One man in a Hawaiian shirt named Clifton was talkative and shared that he was active in the Methodist Church, Sells said, and he and the other Episcopalians learned that this was a close-knit and rather spiritual community of hope, in contrast with other parts of Austin where drugs and violence are all too common.

“I saw a funny dichotomy there,” Sells told the committee. “On the other side is the side of despair … but this side is the side of hope. I think I saw Jesus there.”

Montes-Vela said that he was impressed – and surprised – by the creed followed by this community living on society’s margins. They picked up their trash. They didn’t ask anyone for money. They defied stereotypes that Montes-Vela admitted he initially brought to their interaction.

“I think that Jesus showed me, through them, that I could not do that,” Montes-Vela said.

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.

79th General Convention digest for July 5

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 2:45pm

Bishops and deputies pray in a corner of the Austin Convention Center for the victims of those who have committed suicide with a gun. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Much happens each day during General Convention. In addition to Episcopal News Service’s primary coverage, here are some additional news items from July 5 and the days leading up to the first legislative day of the 79th convention gathering.

Praying for the victims of gun violence

Just before the House of Bishops and House of Deputies officially convened for the first time, some members of Bishops United Against Gun Violence held a prayer service in a hallway of the Austin Convention Center. It was the first of nine planned sessions, each praying for the victims of a specific type of gun violence: suicide, domestic violence, urban shootings, school shootings and other mass shootings, police shootings, children shooting children, accidental shootings, shootings during the commission of a crime and gang-related shootings.

Bishops United Against Gun Violence has scheduled a public witness event at Brush Square Park at 9:30 a.m. July 8. Speakers will include Philip and April Schentrup, Episcopalians from Florida whose daughter, Carmen, was one of the 17 students and educators killed by a gunman Feb. 14 at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Abigail Zimmerman, a ninth-grader and Episcopalian from Texas, also will speak. She co-led a school walkout in March in response to the Parkland, Florida, massacre.

– Mary Frances Schjonberg

Each day, Bishops United will distribute 96 small crosses to symbolize the 96 people who die from gunfire each day in the US. We ask you to wear the cross during #GC79, and pray for victims of gun violence. Join us at 7:45 in the solar atrium, 1st floor, convention center. #GC79 pic.twitter.com/cVOXcFrRHK

— The Cross Lobby (@TheCrossLobby) July 5, 2018

The running of the Michaels

Some deputies named Michael head to the House of Bishops on July 5 to tell Presiding Bishop Michael Curry that their house is ready for business. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, House of Deputies president, decided to fulfill in a unique way the house’s job of reporting to its colleagues in the House of Bishops that the deputies were organized and ready to conduct the business of the church. She sent a delegation of deputies named Michael, 11 men and one woman, to inform to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. They were all sporting navy blue baseball caps emblazoned with “Michael” in white letters on the front of the crown.

The Michael deputies gave Presiding Bishop Michael Curry one of their Michael hats. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

House of Deputies Sergeant-at-Arms Beth Rowley led the group to the House of Bishops’ hall. The bishops stood to welcome them. After the group made its way to the dais and addressed Curry and the house, they presented Curry with his own hat.

“I am glad to know that at least one house of this house is organized,” Curry said as the deputies left the house to the strains of “Michael, row the boat ashore.”

— Mary Frances Schjonberg

Former Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori takes up committee duties

The Social Justice and International Policy Committee kicked off its work at this General Convention with an organizational meeting July 3 featuring one of those tried-and-true welcoming exercises, the circle of introductions. But there was one woman among the bishops and deputies who arguably needed no introduction.

Former Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori introduces herself July 3 during an organizational meeting of the Social Justice and International Policy Committee. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

Assisting Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is on the committee roster as representing the Diocese of San Diego, where she has served since 2017, but she is better known as the Episcopal Church’s previous presiding bishop, and the first woman in that role.

Jefferts Schori didn’t mention her past role as churchwide leader during committee introductions, though she said she’s had the opportunity to travel around the world and advocate for peace, including in the Middle East, and she emphasized the need to engage people in “deep conversation” on such issues.

Several resolutions relating to Israeli and Palestinian relations are being discussed by the committee, with an open hearing on those resolutions scheduled for 7:30 a.m. July 6.

— David Paulsen

Bishops lament and confess the church’s role in sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 9:41am

Central New York Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe, left; Central Pennsylvania Bishop Audrey Scanlon, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Olympia Bishop Greg Rickel and House of Bishops Vice President and El Camino Real Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves pray July 4 during the House of Bishop’s “Liturgy of Listening” session at General Convention in Austin, Texas. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] In a hushed worship space in the Austin Convention Center late in the afternoon of July 4, bishops of the Episcopal Church stood and collectively offered laments and confession for the church’s role in sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse in a service called a “Liturgy of Listening.”

The service featured 12 stories – six from women and six from men – from victims of sexual misconduct perpetrated by someone in the church. These were among 40 stories submitted by people in May in response to a bishops’ request for reflections from those hurt by the church.

House of Bishops Vice President and El Camino Real Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves reads one of the 12 stories that formed the backbone of the “Liturgy of Listening” July 4. Standing at the altar with her are Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Diocese of Olympia Bishop Greg Rickel. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Each story was read by a bishop of the same gender as the victim, in first-person accounts of what had happened to them and how the church’s response had failed them. The stories included a church employee made uncomfortable by lewd comments from the male rector; an ordinand placed in a sexually awkward position by her bishop; a young man seduced by his priest’s wife; a woman raped by a priest from whom she was receiving spiritual direction; a choir boy subjected to emotional, physical and sexual abuse. One included a plea that bishops care for all vulnerable people in their dioceses and “take seriously the plague of sexual misconduct that affects our branch of the Jesus Movement.”

The service was planned by Central New York Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe, who chairs the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Response to #MeToo Planning Team. In remarks in Episcopal News Service in late June, she said the service was designed to help set a framework for General Convention’s consideration of resolutions dealing with sexual misconduct, exploitation and gender disparity. These sins occur “because we aren’t seeing the image of Christ in one another,” she told ENS.

This format was chosen, Duncan-Probe said, because “Episcopalians believe in the transformational power of liturgy.”

Central New York Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe speaks to attendees before the July 4 “Liturgy of Listening.” She chaired the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Response to #MeToo Planning Team.
Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

After the service opened with two reflective songs, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said that “the Church has failed her people.” He said that as successors to the apostles, bishops “hold a particular responsibility to acknowledge the past and help the church move forward.” He said the service would be “a sacred container” for stories of abuse that never should have happened. He added, “There is pain in these stories, there is courage in the people who have offered them.” He then called on bishops and the entire church to honor the courage and vulnerability of victims by being committed to the work of repentance and reconciliation.

Several hundred people attended the 90-minute service, and almost 1,000 others watched via livestream on the General Convention Media Hub.

Planners also had teams of people available to provide emotional or spiritual support to anyone who needed it. As the service ended in silence, some people wiped away tears and others hugged those nearby.

— Melodie Woerman is director of communications for the Diocese of Kansas and is a member of the ENS General Convention reporting team.

Broadening the Church Calendar and Commemorations

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 7:50pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Committee 12, the Legislative Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music, held its first open hearing the morning of July 4 before the official opening of the 79thGeneral Convention. General Convention mandates that this legislative committee “receives and proposes Resolutions on the Book of Common Prayer, liturgy and music of this Church,” and today’s open hearing focused on revising the Church Calendar of commemorations, and the request to authorize the use of “Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018,” the proposed revised edition.

This committee began working on the big issues around calendar inclusion criteria, definitions and servanthood early in General Convention, according to bishop co-chair the Rt. Rev. Neil Alexander of Atlanta, to have the time it needs to fully explore the issues surrounding its mandate.

And as the Rev. Susan Anslow Williams of Michigan, committee co-chair representing the House of Deputies, put it on July 3 during the committee’s first gathering, the work of this committeeis “more than deciding who is in and who is out,” referring to the Church’s commemorative calendar and published resources.

Those who signed up before the 8 a.m. open hearing could speak to one of the nine resolutions regarding the Church Calendar and “Lesser Feasts and Fasts” that are before the committee. These include A065, which authorizes “Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018” for optional use by churches and the collection of feedback on the resource – not a trial use, but close.

Resolutions also request the inclusion of new commemorations, from A066 to add to “Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018” Thurgood Marshall, Pauli Murray, and Florence Li Tim-Oi, and D012to add the Four Chaplains of the USAT Dorchester to the Church Calendar.

It was D012 that garnered the most attention at the open hearing. Mr. Louis Cavaliere, board chair of The Chapel of Four Chaplains in Philadelphia, spoke on behalf of including the Dorchester Four, who he said embody “holy innocence,” on the Church Calendar. In 1943 the Army troop transport Dorchester was sunk off the coast of Greenland. The four U.S. Army chaplains, all from different faiths, gave up their life jackets and perished, saving the lives of four soldiers. “Behind every person who perished or survived that sinking is a story. And there are four people whose stories continued because of the four chaplains who gave over their life jackets.”

Seeking clarity

A criterion for inclusion on the calendar is two generations or roughly 50 years since the death of the candidate. The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music in the last triennium recommended expanding the criteria to include, for example, non-Christian individuals who exemplify the Gospel, such as the Jewish chaplain of the Dorchester Four.

The committee is also working through how to increase inclusivity and diversity among those commemorated. One committee member suggested that excluding words of power, such a patriarch and matriarch, for language of servanthood.

Questions around the calendars – of which there are multiple versions at this time – arose during the meeting. Another committee member observed that having different criteria for different calendars is adding to the confusion. “Holy Women, Holy Men” and “Great Cloud of Witnesses” were both developed to widen the inclusivity of the sanctoral calendar but have specific criteria for inclusion.

The Rt. Rev. Robert Hirschfeld of New Hampshire noted that there is an ecology in the Church that allows for people of diverse backgrounds to “come to the table.” People in New Hampshire have asked him “Why isn’t Mahatma Gandhi in ‘Lesser Feasts and Fasts’? It’s because he wasn’t a Christian. And they respond, ‘But we welcome non-Christians to communion.” The bishop continued saying that the Church has a culture of inclusivity that is not reflected in the current criteria of “Lesser Feasts and Fasts.”

Anslow Williams said “the criteria used in the past (from 2009) is still in effect. Are these persons lasting models of Christian exemplary living?” While the committee does review recommendations for new candidates, “looking at the larger criteria” is the committee’s focus.

Alexander added “The work of the SCLM following 2015 is a commentary on the existing criteria.”

Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music committee is responsible for revisions to and the simplification of the Episcopal Church’s sanctoral calendar, and revisions to the Book of Occasional Services, among other liturgical functions. Committee 12 has formed two sub-committees, one for Lesser Feasts and Fasts and the other for Book of Occasional Services.  A General Convention Committee to Receive the Report of Resolution A169 has been formed to focus on the revisions to the Prayer Book and the marriage liturgy. Known as Committee 13, this group is meeting separately from Committee 12.

– Sharon Tillman is a freelance writer for Episcopal News Service at the 79th General Convention.

Committee plans further study of small congregation resolution

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 7:33pm

[Episcopal News Service] The Christian Formation and Discipleship legislative committee on July 4 formed a sub-committee to further study a consolidated resolution that proposes the creation of a referral hub and provide additional resources for clergy and lay leadership development in small congregations.

Consolidated Resolution A022 was submitted to the committee by the Task Force on Clergy Leadership Formation in Small Congregations. The revised resolution combines Resolutions A022-26 into one proposal and reduces the initial budget request to $300,000 from $900,000.

Full ENS coverage of the 79th General Convention is available here.

Consolidated Resolution A022 asks that the 79thGeneral Convention, meeting in Austin, Texas, direct that a Theological Education Networking Team (TENT) be established to serve as a networking referral hub for existing and specially developed resources for the discernment, theological education and formation of clergy and licensed lay vocations in small congregations, which comprise 69 percent of Episcopal churches.

The team would be available by telephone and email to individuals, clergy, commissions on ministry, discernment committees, congregations and dioceses and would eventually create a website of curated resources for users to evaluate the suitability of approaches, strategies and materials for their particular needs and contexts.

The resolution grew out of the task force, which was formed three years ago at the 78thGeneral Convention to “develop a plan for quality formation for clergy in small congregations that is affordable, theologically reflective and innovative.”

The task force concluded that there is “already a wealth of resources available for leadership formation” from many different cultural and theological orientations, yet there is a lack of awareness of the existence of the resources, staff to access them and a “siloing” effect that hinders the sharing of resources throughout the Episcopal Church.

Availability of “appropriate and culturally-sensitive vocational discernment and formation materials and strategies for clergy leaders called from ethnic minority communities” was also found to be lacking.  And “there is also a clear need for greater availability of suitable resources in Spanish,” the task force found.

The legislative committee heard a half-dozen speakers voice their support of the task force’s proposed resolution. “We welcome a fellow network joining us in our work. We support the intent of this,” said William Campbell, executive director of Forma, an organization that provides professional opportunities and resources to clergy and lay leaders in the Episcopal Church.

The committee wrestled over lack of specifics in the resolution, such as the source of funding, who the team reported to, the amount of time team members would spend on the project and whether the educational resources were already available and could lead to the duplication of efforts.

Committee member Kay Bowman-Harvey, a deputy from Oklahoma, expressed concern that the consolidated resolution was “way too cumbersome” and that she needed a “better clarification of what we’re actually looking at.”

“I think it needs some shape,” said the Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa.

Another concern was the lack of emphasis placed on developing lay leadership in small congregations. However, the Rev. Susanna Singer explained to the committee that the primary charge given the task force was to focus on clergy rather than lay leadership. Singer served as chair of the task force and is also associate professor of ministry development at Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California.

The sub-committee’s job will be to review consolidated Resolution A022, address concerns expressed by committee members and return with any recommended changes. The legislative committee also asked the sub-committee to review Resolution A055 to determine whether it should be incorporated into an omnibus resolution with Resolution A022 or continue to stand on its own.

Resolution A055 would have the 79thGeneral Convention “invite the multicultural ministers” of the church to further develop “channels and pathways for sharing he gifts of ministry that exist in abundance in our Black, Latino/Hispanic, Asian American and Native communities with the wider church.”

In discussing the resolutions, the committee expressed an interest in weighing how to balance the various funding requests coming before it during the General Convention.

– Mike Patterson is a San Antonio-based freelance writer and correspondent for the Episcopal News Service. He is a member of ENS General Convention reporting team and can be reached at rmp231@gmail.com.

Episcopal Church of Cuba, Episcopal Church reunification discussed

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 7:30pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] After more than five decades of separation, the Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Church of Cuba may once again unite.

Reunification would not only be good for the churches, but also for the country, said the Rt. Rev. Griselda Delgado Del Carpio, during a July 4 open hearing of The Episcopal Church in Cuba Committee held at the Hilton. “I believe, whether it’s in five, 10 or 20 years, God will see that all good things happen for us,” said Delgado, through an interpreter.

The 79th General Convention officially gets underway with legislative sessions July 5 at the Austin Convention Center and runs through July 13.

Resolution A052 calls for general convention “to welcome with joy the request of the sisters and brothers of the Episcopal Church in Cuba to reunite with the Episcopal Church”; for diocese and congregations to establish relationships with the Cuban church; to provide financial support for the church and bring clergy into the Church Pension Fund;  he formation of a three-year interim body to accompany the Diocese of Cuba as it fully integrates into the Episcopal Church.

During her testimony, Delgado mentioned the diocese’s scarcity of resources, it’s crumbling infrastructure and its inability to compensate clergy, and the isolation both the church and she and previous bishops have felt. But, she said, despite the church’s isolation and the fact that it functions in a largely secular society, it is a part of the Jesus Movement.

Should reunification happen, the Cuban church wishes to join Province II, which includes dioceses in New York, New Jersey, Haiti and the Virgin Islands.

Rena Turnham, who is a member of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota’s Commission on Cuba Ministry and has observed the church’s ministry firsthand, testified to the church’s ability to provide for people in need despite having few resources. The church, she said, often steps in to provide assistance when the government cannot do so.

Ernesto Medina, an alternate from the Diocese of Nebraska and who also has visited the Cuban church, testified to the strength of the church’s laity.

“I actually think the Episcopal Church cannot survive without the church in Cuba,” said Medina. “I have never seen such lay empowerment; that’s a skillset that this church does not have.”

Medina suggest it be written in the resolution that the Cuban church share its method for empowering lay members with the Episcopal Church.

Archbishop of Canada Fred Hiltz, who has served on the Metropolitan Council of Cuba for 11 years, said the Episcopal Church in Cuba and its bishop would be less isolated should the churches reunite and that the Episcopal Church stands to gain a strong partner in ministry.

“What awaits the Episcopal Church is the receiving, in my opinion, of a diocese deeply committed to the [Anglican] Marks of Mission, though poor financially, extraordinarily generous.”

The committee formed four subcommittees to study a covenant committee, constitutional and canonical issues with reunification, pension and Resolution A052. While the committee held its hearing, a second resolution, D060, Establish a Covenant with the Diocese of Cuba was filed.

The Episcopal Church of Cuba is an autonomous diocese of the Anglican Communion under the authority of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba. The council is chaired by the primates of the Anglican churches of Canada and the West Indies and the Episcopal Church. The council has overseen the church in Cuba since it separated from the U.S.-based Episcopal Church in 1967.

The Episcopal Church of Cuba traces its origins back to an Anglican presence beginning in 1901. Today there are some 46 congregations and missions serving 10,000 members and the wider communities. During the 1960s, Fidel Castro’s government began cracking down on religion, jailing religious leaders and believers, and it wasn’t until the Pope John Paul II’s 1998 visit to Cuba, the first ever visit by a Roman Catholic pope to the island, that the government began a move back toward tolerance of religion.

The Cuban Revolution, led by Castro, began in 1953 and lasted until President Fulgencio Batista was forced from power in 1959. Batista’s anti-communist, authoritarian government was replaced with a socialist state, which in 1965 aligned itself with the communist party. In 2008 Raul Castro replaced as president his ailing brother, who died in November 2016.

In April, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez was elected president of Cuba, ending decades of Castro-led rule. Díaz-Canel had served as vice president since 2013 and was expected to become president.

In December 2014, President Barack Obama restored full diplomatic relations with Cuba, and loosening travel and trade restrictions. The Trump administration later tightened those restrictions.

– Lynette Wilson is a reporter and managing editor of the Episcopal News Service.

Church leaders set tone for General Convention in rousing welcome to bishops, deputies

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 7:19pm

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry addresses the joint opening session of the 79 th General Convention in Austin, Texas, on July 4, 2018. Photo: Sharon Tillman/Episcopal News Service

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The presiding officers of the Episcopal Church delivered a rousing welcome July 4 to the hundreds of bishops and deputies who have gathered in Texas’ capital city this week for the 79th General Convention.

The remarks by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, each lasted about 20 minutes and set the stage for an active 10 days at the Austin Convention Center and surrounding hotels. Committees began holding hearings earlier in the day on some resolutions, though the legislative session doesn’t officially convene until July 5.

Curry’s and Jennings’ remarks highlighted the work of the church in the past three years while also directly referencing current events that have drawn the church’s response and will be discussed by General Convention, most notably immigration and the Trump administration’s so-called “zero tolerance” policy on border security.

“I’ve seen Episcopalians stand with others no one else would stand with,” Curry said. “I’ve seen Episcopalians stand with immigrants. I’ve seen us stand with refugees. I’ve seen us stand up for justice, not in the name of secular values but in the name of Jesus Christ, in the name of love.”

Jennings urged the Episcopalians gathered in the large convention hall to not let themselves remain comfortable in their positions of relative privilege when others are suffering. She set the tone with a reading from Deuteronomy: God “loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

“On this day, when some of us are perhaps most inclined to feel at home in the United States, the Bible tells us not to get so comfortable,” Jennings said. “We were once strangers. It’s possible that we could be strangers again one day.”

The emphasis on immigration and welcoming refugees coincides with plans for bishops and deputies to travel July 8, after Sunday worship, to an immigration detention facility about 40 minutes from Austin for a prayer service there. General Convention has assigned 10 resolutions to its committees so far under the topic of immigration,  and more could be added by the July 6 filing deadline.

Resolution A178 specifically calls for an end to federal policies that separate migrant children from their parents. President Donald Trump, after facing intense pressure over the family separations, signed an executive order in June to keep migrant families together in detention facilities, though questions remain about how this policy change will be carried out and how separated families will be reunited.

At the welcome gathering on July 4 of the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry each addressed the bishops and deputies. Photo: Sharon Tillman/Episcopal News Service

“We cannot lose sight of the parents and the children on the border who have been torn apart by our government,” Jennings said in urging the bishops and deputies to take the immigration resolutions seriously. “We need to be uncomfortable enough to remember these are issues of life and death.”

The issue of immigration also loomed large at a news conference earlier in the day with Curry, Jennings and the Rev. Michael Barlowe, the church’s executive officer and secretary of General Convention.

Jennings hoped General Convention would provide a “counterpoint to a vicious, vindictive interpretation to what it means to be a Christian.” Curry referenced Genesis to underscore that the church is basing its advocacy in scripture.

“We start from a premise that … all people are created in God’s image and likeness,” Curry said. “We must structure our social arrangements and structure our lives in ways that respect the dignity of every human being.”

Curry was also asked about his sermon at the royal wedding in May and what lasting effect it might have on the church’s success in evangelism.

“What I really did pray… one, I didn’t want to mess it up. This was a pretty big congregation,” he said. “But the second, that I could actually say something that would represent the good news of Jesus Christ. In our culture, there are versions and representations that don’t look anything like Jesus.”

An estimated 10,000 people are expected to be in Austin at some point this week and next week for General Convention, whether they be bishops, deputies, church employees, volunteers, exhibitors or others interested in participating somehow in the conversations underway. The centerpiece of the two weeks will be a revival event July 7 at the Palmer Events Center with Curry preaching, followed by a barbecue hosted by the Diocese of Texas.

The excitement heading into this General Convention drew from many sources, from Curry’s reputation as the church’s charismatic “chief evangelism officer” to the spirited debate expected on issues ranging from prayer book updates to policy toward Israel and Palestine. There has been much talk, too, about how the church should respond to concerns raised by the #MeToo movement about sexual harassment and abuse in society and in the church, and the House of Bishops was holding a listening session on those issues in the evening July 4.

“The energy’s high as we begin General Convention, and hope is in the air,” Jennings said at the morning news conference.

That energy filled the convention hall in the afternoon as Curry boomed through his welcoming “presentation” – “this is not a sermon,” he said, to knowing laughs – his voice rising and falling as it echoed off the walls. Bishops and deputies sat with their deputations next to poles labeled with the names of their dioceses, similar to a political party’s convention.

Bishops and deputies gathered with their diocesan deputations for the opening remarks in the convention hall in Austin, Texas, on July 4. Photo: Sharon Tillman/Episcopal News Service

Curry began with an extended metaphor centered around Starbucks, suggesting that an Episcopal Church that forgets its roots is like a coffee chain that forgets it’s about coffee, not cheese goods and other food products. “My brothers and sisters, we are not in the baking cheese business, we’re in the coffee business, and the name of that coffee is Jesus of Nazareth.”

But it was his reference to the Independence Day holiday and to the origins of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” that provided a more profound motif to convey how the Episcopal Church marches on, in service of the Lord.

“I’ve seen the movement of Jesus among us in the church,” Curry said, citing Episcopalians’ relief efforts after hurricanes struck Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Florida and Texas. He said he saw it in how Episcopalians stood with other Christians against the hate groups that marched in Charlottesville, Virginia. He said he saw it in the Episcopalians who rallied behind the Standing Rock Sioux as they sought to protect their drinking water from an oil pipeline.

“God’s truth, this movement, is marching on,” he said.

Jennings opened her remarks by alluding to the popularity of Curry’s sermons and joking that she occupied “what is widely acknowledged to be one of the least coveted speaking spots in all of Christendom, the person who comes after Michael Curry.”

Jennings, too, spoke forcefully to the crowd about its duty to follow the way of Jesus.

“We are embarking on hard and holy work in the next 10 days. We are going to talk about some of the issues that cut close to our heart,” she said. “Let us do our work as strangers and sojourners bound for kingdom of God.”

Among the other speakers at the welcoming event were National Episcopal Church Women President Lisa Towle and Church Pension Group President Mary Kate Wold. Barlowe served as master of ceremonies.

“We are delighted to be in the Diocese of Texas,” Barlowe said, a sentiment he has repeated often this week, with slight variations. “You all have welcomed us with legendary Texas hospitality.”

Barlowe introduced Diocese of Texas Bishop C. Andrew Doyle, who said Episcopalians in Texas were proud to stand with the church on border issues and against the epidemic of gun violence in the country. And Doyle mentioned that Houston, Texas, hosted the General Convention in 1970, when women first were allowed to serve as deputies.

Doyle also gave the convention a taste of Texas talk as it pertains to the Jesus Movement.

“Texas is big, and just about whatever you wish to tell us about, we’re going to listen politely, and then we will tell you about how there’s one bigger, larger, stronger, stranger, more bizarre or weird than whatever you have,” he said. “Texans love to imagine crazy, big ideas like the Jesus Movement, and we are glad to be part of the very big Episcopal Church.”

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.

Creation care committee begins its legislative work

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 6:35pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Advocating for a fair and ambitious climate agreement, a carbon fee and planting trees in commemoration of the Paris Agreement topped the agenda July 4 during the Environmental Stewardship and Care of Creation Committee’s first open hearing at the JW Marriott.

The 79th General Convention officially gets underway with legislative sessions July 5 at the Austin Convention Center and runs through July 13.

The Rev. Leon Sampson, a deacon and deputy from the Episcopal Church of Navajoland, spoke to the importance of Resolution C008, which calls for the further advancement of the House of Bishops’ 2011 commitment “ ‘to advocate for a fair, ambitious, and binding climate treaty’ by making every effort to fully and completely participate in future meetings of the United Nations Conference of Parties on Climate Change as an active, faithful and engaged voice for all of God’s good earth.”

Bishops addressed the earth’s unfolding environmental crisis during a meeting in Quito, Ecuador, in a pastoral teaching to the church in which they said:

“The mounting urgency of our environmental crisis challenges us at this time to confess ‘our self-indulgent appetites and ways,’ ‘our waste and pollution of God’s creation,” and “our lack of concern for those who come after us’ (Ash Wednesday Liturgy, Book of Common Prayer, p. 268). It also challenges us to amend our lives and to work for environmental justice and for more environmentally sustainable practices.

“Christians cannot be indifferent to global warming, pollution, natural resource depletion, species extinctions, and habitat destruction, all of which threaten life on our planet. Because so many of these threats are driven by greed, we must also actively seek to create more compassionate and sustainable economies that support the well-being of all God’s creation.”

Further extraction of natural resources in Bears Ears – which extends into Navajoland – and other proposed oil, gas and mining projects in Navajoland provide much-needed jobs, but also threaten people’s health and the environment, said Sampson.

In December 2017, the Trump administration announced it would reduce by 2 million acres two national monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. The shrinking of the two monuments in Utah opens up the possibility of oil, gas and other natural resource development and represents the largest reduction of federal land protection in U.S. history.

In April, a Native American advocacy group appealed the Trump administration’s decision to the United Nations, claiming desecration of a sacred site is a human rights violation.

Most of the environmental stewardship and care of creation resolutions are listed here. In September 2016, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry identified care for creation as one of the three pillars, along with reconciliation and evangelism, of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.

The committee called on the Rev. Melanie Mullen, the church’s director of reconciliation, justice and creation care, to testify to Resolution A013 as to the need of an officer to oversee the stewardship of creation. The officer would oversee the Advisory Council on the Stewardship of Creation’s grant program.

The 78th General Convention created an Advisory Council on the Stewardship of Creation during its meeting in Salt Lake City in 2015. It took some months for the advisory council to convene, but once it did it quickly began a small grant program, awarding 40 grants to projects throughout the Episcopal Church and it oversees three environmental justice sites.

Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers Director Bill Slocumb spoke in favor of Resolution A010, which calls for planting “Paris Groves” at each of the church’s 85 camps and conference centers. The groves – planted with native tree species – would “serve as a visible witness to the significance of the Paris Accord and do the practical work of sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere.” The resolution also calls on General Convention to commend all Episcopal Schools, Camps and Conference Centers in making environmental stewardship and care of creation key components of formation in the 2019-2021 triennium. It also asks for Episcopalians’ support and that each person reaffirm their baptismal vows and plant a tree in one of the groves.

Emily Hopkins of the Diocese of California testified to Resolution C020, which calls for the Church to “support a national tax on carbon-based fossil fuels based on the Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which would impose a carbon fee on all fossil fuels and other greenhouse gases at the point where they first enter the economy; align U.S. emissions with the physical constraints identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to avoid irreversible climate change; and use this carbon fee through a trust fund to make equal monthly per-person dividend payments to all American households.”

The committee suggested modifying the resolution’s title, making it clear that it is a “fee” not a “tax.”

Hopkins acknowledged that the Province IX dioceses located in the Caribbean and South America would not benefit from a carbon fee and dividend; she acknowledged the contribution of resource-rich states to the building of the United States and the need for extractive dependent states to be assisted in their transition to clean energy.

Over the years, General Convention has passed more than 50 resolutions addressing environmental stewardship and creation care. This year, the Advisory Council on the Stewardship of Creation submitted 14 resolutions (read its Blue Book report here), many strengthening previous resolutions, some addressing more contemporary concerns.

– Lynette Wilson is a reporter and managing editor of the Episcopal News Service.

Gun violence, voting rights, social safety net discussed

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 5:45pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The Social Justice and United States Policy Committee kicked off its hearings at the 79thGeneral Convention on July 4, taking up resolutions relating to gun violence, the social safety net and voting rights while

Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton speaks in favor of a gun violence resolution July 4 at a hearing of the Social Justice and United States Policy Committee, held in a ballroom of the JW Marriott in Austin, Texas. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

leaving resolutions on immigration for an upcoming hearing.

 

The morning hearings, held in a ballroom at the JW Marriott hotel in downtown Austin, covered eight resolutions and lasted about an hour. More than 15 people spoke to the resolutions, and most of their voices were in favor. The committee next will meet to modify the resolutions as needed and decide whether to send some or all on for full legislative consideration.

“This is a wonderful committee that’s ready to go prayerfully to work,” Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple of North Carolina said to draw the day’s hearings to a close.

Another eight resolutions relating to immigration were assigned to the committee and presumably will generate even more debate. Those resolutions will all be taken up at the committee’s hearing scheduled for 8 a.m. July 7.

The committee opened its July 4 hearing by inviting all in attendance to join in singing a hymn, “We All Are One in Mission,” followed by an opening prayer.

Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton, who was due to attend another one of the morning’s meetings, spoke on behalf of Bishops United Against Gun Violence in favor of Resolution B005, recognizing gun violence as a public health issue.

“We are in an epidemic,” Sutton said after highlighting some statistics showing the sheer volume of deaths in the United States due to guns. “Think of the cost to our families, our communities, our health systems.”

Virginia Bishop Shannon Johnson, a member of the committee, spoke in support of Resolution B002, a measure he proposed to engage the church in working against government and institutional corruption.

Few people would argue with the evils of corruption, Johnston said, but his resolution seeks to push Episcopalians to actively speak out again it at all levels, and in this country and countries around the world.

“Corruption is danger evil,’ he said. “For far too long, religious communities and churches have not spoken up to challenge corruption and to work alongside other partners in the global transparency movement. … As Episcopalians, we have an obligation to root out corruption where we see it.”

A couple of people spoke in favor of D013, which seeks to end the loophole in the 13thAmendment to the U.S. Constitution that abolished slavery except for prison labor. There also were passionate pleas for passage of two resolutions targeting voter suppression and gerrymandered legislative districts (C047).

Harold Patrick, an alternate deputy from Southern Ohio, who spoke on several resolutions, emphasized the hearing was happening on the United States’ Independence Day, and the voting-related resolutions are “really about the fundamental right that we all have to vote, and to vote equally and properly.”

Patrick and others provided firsthand witness to the need to repair the United States’ deteriorating social safety net, as called for by Resolution C041. Patrick spoke from his experience as an affordable-housing developer. Several young adult members of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship spoke about poverty-related issues they have worked on, including education and health care.

One resolution that wasn’t warmly welcomed was C015, which calls for stricter punishment for manufacture and possession of guns without serial numbers.

Hodges-Copple noted that the resolution was submitted by the Diocese of Bethlehem without explanation. After a member of the Official Youth Presence read info from the diocese’s website, Stan Runnels chose to speak against the resolution, saying it sounded like the measures referenced would simply put more people in prison, and the lack of an explanation leaves the committee with little reason to believe otherwise.

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.

Committee hears call for inclusive-language Book of Common Prayer

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 5:43pm

The Rev. Ian Stanford testifies in favor of non-gendered language during testimony on resolutions dealing with prayer book revision. Photo: Melodie Woerman/Episcopal News Service

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The legislative committee charged with providing a pathway toward revision of the Book of Common Prayer took preliminary steps July 4 after a hearing filled with impassioned testimony.

The committee – officially titled the Committee to Receive the Report of Resolution A169 (https://extranet.generalconvention.org/governing_and_interim_bodies/interim_bodies/690/roster) – heard speakers say that prayer book revision is needed immediately to correct the overwhelming use of masculine language to refer both to God and to human beings, as well as a lack of imagery calling for the care of creation.

Two resolutions on the Prayer Book – A068 and A069 – were presented by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music in response to calls from the 78th General Convention in 2015 to begin prayer book of revision. Resolution A068 sets out a process of full prayer book revision, beginning in the next three years and culminating in a new authorized Book of Common Prayer in 2030. Resolution A069 offers instead a process of deeper engage with the current 1979 Prayer Book, to help members explore riches of services and prayers that are seldom used.

At the end of its first meeting, which stretched to four hours including testimony and member comments, the committee created a subcommittee of six members to craft a way forward, noting both the process outlined in A068, and the need for inclusive language detailed in Resolution D036.

‘Let’s let God be God’

Most of those who testified in hearings on prayer book revision resolutions called for new ways of talking about God that don’t rely on masculine nouns, pronouns or imagery.

The Rev. Ernesto Medina, an alternate deputy from the Diocese of Nebraska, said that his church counted 125 masculine references in a single Sunday morning service. He urged the committee to think beyond question of revision or not, saying that the Episcopal Church “has been transformed by the Baptismal Covenant” of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. He urged the committee to “dig deep and come up with a courageous response” to help the church share the love of Jesus.

Rowan Pantalena testifies in favor of non-gendered language during testimony on resolutions dealing with prayer book revision. Photo: Melodie Woerman/Episcopal News Service

Rowan Pantalena, a postulant from the Diocese of Connecticut, said that as a non-binary trans person, “I am not your brother or your sister. I am your sibling.” Pantalena called for new liturgical language that doesn’t erase existing images from scripture and liturgy but expands upon them.

Two clergy who identified themselves as transgender men, the Rev. Ian Stanford of the Diocese of Oregon and the Rev. Cameron Partridge of the Diocese of California, described how gendered language in the prayer book is an impediment to people with whom they minster. Stanford said that if he can get young people who don’t care about religion to even think about giving the Episcopal Church a try, he worries about how they will receive what they hear. “What am I inviting them into?” he asked.

Kathleen Moore, a seminarian from the Diocese of Vermont, said that in her work to evangelize young people she tries to help them see that God is bigger than any human construct, but gendered language gets in the way. “Let’s let God be God,” she said.

The Rev. Ruth Myers, alternate deputy from the Diocese of California, described her discomfort in presiding at the funeral for a woman and having to use the opening words of the service referring to the deceased as “he” and “him,” with its implication that being male is normative. She also noted there are no prayer book collects that refer to God’s role in creation and called for a more robust theology for creation care. Susie Burk from the Diocese of Connecticut called for adding care for creation to the Baptismal Covenant.

Some who testified thought the cost – both financial and pastoral – of full prayer book revision was too high. The Rev. Jordan Hylden of the Diocese of Dallas asked how the church today could adequately revise rites to be used by the church of the future.

Cost estimates are that full Prayer Book revision outlined in A068 would cost up to $9 million over nine years, and deeper Prayer Book engagement described in A069 would cost $1.1 million in the next three years.

The Rev. Timothy Nunez, deputy from the Diocese of Central Florida, wondered if by 2030 the church would even need a book at all. “We are going to need a more nimble way to approach liturgies to reach into the diversity of our church,” he said.

— Melodie Woerman is director of communications for the Diocese of Kansas and a member of the ENS General Convention reporting team.

Groundbreaking document shows how Anglicans and Roman Catholics can learn from each other

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 3:35pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] An agreed statement produced by the official commission for dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches has been heralded as “ground-breaking” and an “important step on the pilgrimage towards fuller unity in Christ.”

Read the entire article here.

Church of England responds to pre-Synod satirical blog

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 3:33pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Church of England has issued an official statement following the publication of a blog which suggested next week’s General Synod in York was to consider “abolishing” the Holy Trinity.

Read the entire article here.

Deputies’ president ought to be paid fees for work, committee tells convention

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 3:22pm

Diocese of Maryland Assistant Bishop Chilton Knudsen, chair of the House of Bishops’ Legislative Committee 16 – Churchwide Leadership, July 4 holds up the witness list and invites others to testify on any of three resolutions dealing with compensation for the House of Deputies president. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] A General Convention legislative committee said July 4 that General Convention ought to adopt a resolution that would pay the House of Deputies’ president director’s and officer’s fees “for specific services rendered in order to fulfill duties required by the church’s Constitution and Canons.”

Legislative Committee 16 – Churchwide Leadership spent three hours discussing three resolutions each proposing a different way to compensate the deputies’ president. The committee members also heard from five witnesses as well as Episcopal Church Chief Legal Officer Doug Anning before making their decision.

“We’ve taken historic action,” Diocese of Maryland Assistant Bishop Chilton Knudsen, chair of the House of Bishops’ Committee 16, told the committee after its unanimous vote to recommend Resolution B014 for adoption.

Each house has the same legislative committees and they regularly meet together to hear testimony and debate resolutions. Bishop and deputy members voted separately.

The issue of compensating the president has been discussed for decades. General Convention considered the salary issue in 1997, 2000 and 2015. Each time, the deputies were clear that they wanted to see their president compensated.

The question of a salary for the House of Deputies president prompted a rare conference committee between bishops and deputies in the waning hours of the last convention. The 2015 meeting of convention eventually agreed to postpone making a decision, instead calling for the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies to appoint a task force to study the issue.

In addition to chairing the House of Deputies during convention, the president also is canonically required to serve as vice chair of Executive Council and vice president of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, or DFMS, the nonprofit corporate entity through which the Episcopal Church owns property and does business. He or she has a wide swath of appointment powers. The president also travels around the church, speaking at conferences and other gatherings, meeting with deputies and other Episcopalians.

The position, which is filled by election during each meeting of convention, has a travel budget and a paid assistant. Each president is limited to three consecutive terms.

Supporters say making the office a paid job in some way would broaden the pool of people able to consider running for election. The task force said that only people who are older and/or have what it called favorable “personal economic circumstances” can realistically hold the office. Thus, presidents are not always chosen based solely on gifts and skills, the members said.

Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania Sean Rowe testifies July 4 to the Legislative Committee 16 – Churchwide Leadership, about Resolution B014 dealing with compensation for the House of Deputies president. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania Sean Rowe, B014’s proposer, told the committee during the open hearing on the resolution that the reason the issue of compensation for the House of Deputies president failed in the House of Bishops in each of the last three attempts “has to do with the matter of polity.”

The resolution recognizes that the president of the House of Deputies has “extraordinary duties, that it is a matter of justice, that it is a matter of the pool of candidates that could present themselves for such a position [in its current unpaid form] and that it is fair for what the Constitution and Canons require of the position that it be compensated.”

Rowe told the committee that he would “put the cards on the table” and say that bishops wanted “nothing that looks like a co-primate, nothing that creates another independent body within the church structure.”

Diocese of Western New York Bishop Bill Franklin, one of the two required endorsers of B014, told the committee that the resolution recognizes that the president position has evolved beyond that of a volunteer. The resolution is “completely in line with the historic evolution through which the office of the presiding bishop came to be compensated.”

“Our proposal proposes a similar step-by-step model,” he said, adding that it was a model “that could be adjusted in the future as the needs arise.”

Diocese of Southern Ohio Bishop Tom Breidenthal is the other B014 endorser.

Others disagree with any proposal to pay the deputies president, some saying they fear “mission creep” and those polity implications in the form of an expansion of the president’s duties and authority. Some cite Resolution A099 proposed to this convention that would allow the president to call a meeting of the House of Deputies at times other than the triennial gathering of convention.

The Rev. Stan Runnels, an outgoing member of the Executive Council from Diocese West Missouri, told the committee that he was concerned about the polity questions. Runnels said there is no mention in the church’s constitution that provides for the House of Deputies president to be what he called “a presiding or senior officer of the Episcopal Church.”

Runnels also suggested that not all of the work that recent presidents have taken on is mandated by the constitution and could be delegated to others. The presidents “increased the burden of the position” by choosing to take on that work, he said.

Diane Pollard, chair of the Task Force to Study Church Leadership and Compensation, signs up July 4 to testify to Legislative Committee 16 – Churchwide Leadership, about Resolutions A028 (proposed by the task force) and B014, proposed by Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania Bishop Sean Rowe. She told the committee it could support either one. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The Task Force to Study Church Leadership and Compensation, called for by the 78th General Convention, concluded in its report to this meeting of convention that the work of the House of Deputies president amounts to a full-time job. Its Resolution A028 calls for a salary but does not set an amount.

Runnels was specifically testifying against that resolution. He was one of five people who testified, and the only one who opposed either A028 or B014.

The task force asked Executive Council to include a proposed salary in the draft 2019-2021 budget, which it gave to the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) in January. The task force did not suggest an amount, but it included $900,000 for a full-time salary and benefits for the three years in the draft budget (line 557 here).

Resolution C042, from Province IV, proposes a different approach to the salary issue. It would have Executive Council set what it calls per diem compensation for the president when she or he is at council meetings, consults with the presiding bishop in making appointments required by canon, and is doing official work related to General Convention. Calling it a way to address the “short-term fairness issue of compensating the president,” the resolution also proposes that a special task force “clarify and enumerate the comprehensive role” of the president.

Rowe had proposed B014 last week to direct the Executive Council to pay the president director’s fees as a possible compromise between the other two resolutions. During debate on July 4, the committee amended the resolutions to fully describe the fees as both director’s and officer’s fees.

The amendment, Rowe said in proposing it, ensures that the resolution “conforms with New York State law and allows us to expand the range of motion that Executive Council can have and, again, it has no effect on polity,” he said.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is the Episcopal News Service’s senior editor and reporter.

Voici le guide récapitulatif des principales questions qui seront abordées lors de la 79ème Convention générale à Austin

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 6:16am

La 79ème Convention générale débute officiellement le 5 juillet et se poursuit jusqu’au 13 juillet au Centre de conventions d’Austin. Photo : Centre de conventions d’Austin

[Episcopal News Service — Austin (Texas)] Les épiscopaliens commencent à arriver ici avant le 5 juillet, date officielle du début de la 79ème Convention générale au Centre de conventions d’Austin.

Comme à l’accoutumée, l’ordre du jour qui attend la Chambre des Évêques et la Chambre des Députés est si rempli que les réunions des comités législatifs sont fixées aux 3 juillet au soir et 4 juillet au matin. La version préliminaire du programme complet de la convention se trouve ici. La Convention s’achève le 13 juillet.

Pour consulter le guide général de la convention, veuillez vous reporter à l’article d’Episcopal News Service intitulé « Episcopalians preparing for 79th General Convention in Austin can expect ‘a real Texas welcome’ » [Les épiscopaliens qui se préparent pour la 79ème Convention générale à Austin peuvent s’attendre à « une véritable bienvenue texane »].

Voici le récapitulatif de certains des principaux travaux qui seront accomplis à la Convention générale :

Égalité face au mariage

Le Groupe de travail sur l’étude du mariage à la Convention générale a suivi de près l’utilisation de deux nouveaux rites de mariage que la Convention générale a approuvés en 2015 pour une période d’essai (Résolution A054), à l’intention à la fois des couples de même sexe et des couples de sexe opposé, et il a connaissance de certaines préoccupations concernant l’accès inégal à ces liturgies à l’essai. Dans son rapport dans le Livre bleu, il dit avoir trouvé une large acceptation du rite dans toute l’église, exception faite de huit évêques diocésains dans 101 diocèses nationaux qui n’ont pas autorisé leur emploi.

« Liturgical Resources 1: I Will Bless You, and You Will Be a Blessing » [Ressources liturgiques 1 : je vous bénirai et vous serez une bénédiction] est l’un des rites dont la Convention générale a autorisés l’emploi à l’essai en 2015. Photo : Church Publishing Inc.

Le groupe de travail propose que la convention exige que tous les évêques en ayant le pouvoir « prennent des dispositions pour que tous les couples demandant à se marier dans l’église aient un accès raisonnable et commode à ces rites à l’essai ». Il fera également dire lors de la convention que les évêques « continueront leur travail de mener l’église dans un engagement total envers ces documents et continueront d’apporter une réponse pastorale généreuse qui satisfasse les besoins des membres de l’église”.

Les épiscopaliens qui soutiennent cet effort ont été actifs dès avant la convention. Claiming the Blessing [Revendiquant la bénédiction], qui a été formé en 2002 pour défendre la « pleine inclusion de tous les baptisés dans tous les sacrements de l’église », selon son site Web, a publié un plaidoyer. Certains épiscopaliens du Diocèse de Dallas ont élaboré un site Web appelé « Dear General Convention » [Chère Convention générale] qui comporte des vidéos et des récits écrits sur les couples qui ne peuvent se marier dans ce diocèse.

Le groupe de travail demande également la poursuite de la période d’essai des liturgies en tant qu’ajout au Livre de la prière commune ainsi que des modifications au livre de prière ayant trait à d’autres rites de mariage ainsi que des préfaces et des parties du catéchisme pour rendre le libellé non sexospécifique.

Cinq évêques diocésains de la Province IX et un évêque en retraite représentant les diocèses d’Équateur Littoral, Équateur Central, République dominicaine, Venezuela et Honduras ont prévenu le groupe de travail que, si la convention effectuait des modifications concernant le mariage qui les forceraient à « accepter des pratiques sociales et culturelles qui n’ont aucun fondement biblique ni acceptation dans le culte chrétien », la mesure « approfondirait grandement la brèche, la division et la Province IX devrait apprendre à faire son chemin seule ». Les évêques de Colombie et de Porto Rico n’ont pas signé la déclaration.

Le 28 juin, l’évêque de Long Island Lawrence Provenzano, l’évêque de Pittsburgh Dorsey McConnell et l’évêque du Rhode Island Nicholas Knisely ont proposé la Résolution B012, qui continuerait la période d’essai des rites de mariage, sans limite de temps et sans chercher à réviser le Livre de la Prière commune de 1979. La résolution propose que l’accès aux liturgies soit donné dans tous les diocèses, sans exiger l’autorisation de l’évêque diocésain. Au lieu de cela, les congrégations souhaitant utiliser les rites mais dont les évêques ont refusé l’autorisation, pourraient recevoir d’un autre évêque de l’église un DEPO (Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight) qui leur donnerait accès à ces liturgies.

Un article antérieur d’Episcopal News Service sur la question de l’accès au mariage se trouve ici.

Le groupe de travail propose également deux liturgies pour la bénédiction des relations de couples qui choisissent de ne pas se marier pour des raisons juridiques ou financières. Il recommande aussi que l’église réfléchisse à de nouvelles manières de servir le nombre grandissant de gens qui cohabitent dans une relation engagée et monogame plutôt que de se marier. La couverture par ENS de ces recommandations se trouve ici.

Révision du Livre de la Prière commune ?

La Convention générale de cet été est invitée à examiner comment elle ordonne sa prière commune et pourquoi.

La Commission permanente en matière de Liturgie et de Musique (ci-après dénommée SCLM) propose aux évêques et aux députés un plan global de révision, comme l’a demandé la Convention générale de 2015, ainsi qu’une manière pour l’église de prendre le temps de discerner la forme future de sa prière commune. La première option entrainerait immédiatement l’église dans un processus majeur de révision du livre de prière qui s’achèverait dans neuf ans. La deuxième demanderait à l’église de sonder les profondeurs de la théologie actuelle du Livre de la Prière commune ainsi que son utilité en tant qu’outil d’unité dans une église diversifiée, en matière d’évangélisation et de discipulat. Si la convention convient de la seconde approche, ceci inclurait de nouvelles traductions du Livre.

La SCLM a inclus des « hypothèses directrices », des plans de travail, des suggestions de méthodes et d’outils, des centaines de pages de documents complémentaires et des budgets pour chacune des approches. Les approches sont décrites dans la partie du rapport de la SCLM publié le 13 février dans le Livre Bleu . Le rapport du sous-comité pour le livre de prière se trouve ici.

Un article d’Episcopal News Service sur les possibilités se trouve ici.

L’Église épiscopale et le mouvement #MeToo

La Convention va réfléchir au rôle de l’Église épiscopale et à sa réponse au mouvement #MeToo par des résolutions, des réflexions et un espoir de réconciliation.

Pour ce qui pourrait être une séance extraordinaire, la Chambre des Évêques invite les épiscopaliens le 4 juillet à un événement intitulé « Liturgie de l’écoute ». La séance, prévue de 17h15 à 19h00 heure d’Austin, dans le lieu de prière installé au Centre de conventions d’Austin, a été dénommé « un espace sacré pour l’écoute et la réconciliation ».

Entretemps, près de 30 résolutions sur ce sujet ont été déposées. La majorité d’entre elles provient des 47 membres du Comité spécial de la Chambre des députés en matière de harcèlement sexuel et exploitation, nommé en février par la révérende Gay Clark Jennings, présidente des Députés.

Un article d’Episcopal News Service sur ce même sujet se trouve ici.

Un salaire pour le président de la Chambre des Députés

Présider la Chambre des Députés n’est que l’une des nombreuses responsabilités du président de la Chambre des Députés qui sont exigées canoniquement. Photo : Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Cette question, qui a déclenché un rare comité de conférence entre évêques et députés dans les dernières heures de la dernière convention, sur la question de savoir si le poste actuellement non rémunéré de président de la Chambre des Députés devrait être salarié, va de nouveau être examinée.

La convention de 2015 a demandé que l’évêque primat et le président de la Chambre des Députés nomment un groupe de travail pour étudier la question. La question de rémunération pour ce poste a fait l’objet de débats depuis des décennies et le Groupe de travail visant à étudier Direction de l’église et rémunération, a conclu que le travail du président de la Chambre des Députés équivaut à un travail à plein temps. Sa Résolution A-028 demande un salaire mais n’en fixe pas le montant. Le groupe de travail a demandé au Conseil exécutif d’inclure un salaire dans son avant-projet de budget 2019-2021. Le Conseil a budgété 900 000 dollars pour un salaire à plein temps avec avantages sociaux pour trois ans.

Les partisans du changement disent que faire de ce poste un emploi rémunéré élargira le réservoir de candidats en mesure d’envisager de se présenter à l’élection. D’autres ne sont pas d’accord, certains disant qu’ils craignent une « dérive de la mission » sous la forme d’une expansion des responsabilités et du pouvoir du président.

Un groupe d’évêques a proposé un compromis sous la forme de la Résolution B014 qui demanderait au Conseil exécutif de verser au président des jetons de présence d’administrateur « pour services spécifiques rendus dans l’accomplissement de ses responsabilités requises par la Constitution et les Canons de l’église ».

Un article d’Episcopal New Service sur cette question se trouve ici.

Et la Résolution C042, proposée par la Province IV de l’église, verserait au président ce que l’on appelle une indemnité journalière pour certains aspects de son travail puis réétudierait la question plus vaste de la rémunération.

Suivi des trois priorités de l’église : l’évangélisation, la réconciliation et la justice raciales, et le respect de la création

La majeure partie du débat sur l’évangélisation à la Convention générale sera centrée sur la continuation du soutien accru de l’église à l’implantation d’églises et de nouveaux ministères régionaux, comme prévu dans la Résolution A005. Mais d’autres résolutions attribuées au Comité d’évangélisation et d’implantation d’églises montrent la large gamme de réflexion sur ce fertile terrain spirituel, y compris le rôle des médias sociaux et les liens entre l’évangélisation et la gestion de l’environnement. Le comité examinera également une proposition qui accorderait davantage d’attention à la façon dont l’origine démographique des responsables de ministère reflète celle des communautés qu’ils cherchent à servir.

L’Évêque Primat Michael Curry au pied de la statue de Robert E. Lee à Charlottesville (État de Virginie), le 7 sept. 2017, avec le rév. Paul Walker, recteur de la Christ Episcopal Church voisine. La statue avait été enveloppée de plastique tandis que la ville était confrontée à une contestation en justice s’opposant à l’enlèvement du monument. Photo : David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

Une série d’incidents raciaux choquants dans les mois précédant la 78ème Convention générale, notamment le massacre perpétré à l’Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church à Charleston (État de Caroline du Sud), avaient contribué à stimuler l’adoption à Salt Lake City d’un certain nombre de résolutions sur le racisme. Parmi celles-ci, la Résolution C019, qui demandait aux dirigeants de l’église d’élaborer une réponse à l’injustice raciale pour toute l’église. Comment mener ces efforts jusqu’au bout est la question fondamentale qui est posée au Comité de justice et réconciliation raciales. Mais le racisme et l’apaisement racial sont des sujets si vastes, tant sur le plan social que spirituel, que l’on s’attend à ce que les débats s’étendent bien au delà d’une simple résolution, voire même d’un seul comité. Parmi les autres résolutions qui seront débattues en figure une qui étudie les antécédents de l’église en matière de diversification de ses dirigeants et une autre qui pose la question de savoir si le terme anti-racisme doit être remplacé par un terme qui fasse allusion à la transformation spirituelle recherchée dans ces travaux.

Le soutien aux agriculteurs locaux, aux taxes et crédits carbone, l’opposition au racisme environnemental et la participation soutenue des épiscopaliens à l’Accord de Paris sur le climat sont quelques-unes des résolutions en matière de gestion de l’environnement et de respect de la création qui seront débattues à la 79ème Convention générale. Une liste de résolutions sur la gestion et le respect de la création se trouve ici.

Formulation du budget triennal 2019-2021

Le Comité permanent conjoint Programme, Budget & Finance (PB&F) a déjà commencé ses travaux sur l’avant-projet de budget triennal 2019-2021 que le Conseil exécutif a adopté en janvier.

Le revenu total de 133,7 millions de dollars de l’avant-projet de budget du conseil paierait un montant égal de dépenses, avec un très petit excédent de 2 654 dollars. Le budget triennal dépasse d’environ 8,7 millions de dollars celui qui a été approuvé par la Convention générale de 2015 pour le triennat 2016-2018 actuel.

Lors de la Convention générale de 2015, les évêques et les députés ont transformé le système actuel de quote-part volontaire en une évaluation obligatoire, à compter du cycle budgétaire 2019-2021. L’avant-projet du Conseil prévoit que jusqu’à 20 diocèses obtiennent des exonérations entières ou partielles de ces paiements dans le cadre du système qui entrera en vigueur pour le nouveau triennat.

Il sera demandé au PB&F d’étudier la Résolution B001 de rejet de l’évaluation obligatoire systématique et d’adoption d’un système de financement diocésain du budget triennal de l’église sur la base du montant que chaque diocèse dépense en moyenne par congrégation dans son budget annuel.

PB&F prévoit une audience publique sur le budget à 19h30 le 5 juillet. Son budget définitif doit être présenté lors d’une séance conjointe des Chambres des Évêques et des Députés au plus tard le troisième jour avant l’ajournement prévu de la Convention. Selon la version préliminaire du programme de la Convention, cette présentation est fixée à 10h30 heure d’Austin le 11 juillet.

Paix au Moyen-Orient

L’Évêque Primat Michael Curry, à gauche, et Suheil Dawani, l’Archevêque anglican de Jérusalem, marchent le 26 mars dans la zone désertique entre un poste de contrôle israélien et la ville de Gaza. Ils se rendaient à l’hôpital anglican Al Ahli Arab. Leur voyage s’est déroulé cinq jours avant que la violence n’éclate le long de la clôture qui sépare Israël et la bande de Gaza. Photo : Sharon Jones

De nombreuses résolutions de la Convention générale sont attendues sur des sujets ayant trait à Israël et la Palestine d’ici le moment où démarre la convention. Au moins trois ont été soumises jusqu’à présent, dont une proposée par le Diocèse de Californie qui réintroduit une pression pour le désinvestissement de « ces sociétés qui profitent de l’occupation par Israël des terres palestiniennes ou dont les produits ou actions soutiennent l’infrastructure de l’occupation ».

L’engagement des entreprises ne sera pas le seul sujet relatif à la Terre Sainte. Deux autres propositions de résolutions demandent qu’une plus grande attention soit prêtée au sort des enfants palestiniens, notamment ceux qui sont poursuivis devant les tribunaux militaires israéliens.

Un groupe d’évêques et de députés à qui l’on a demandé de trouver un moyen de naviguer les débats souvent épineux de la politique de l’Église épiscopale envers Israël et la Palestine, a annoncé ses recommandations pour susciter un débat ouvert et productif sur ces questions lors de la Convention. Un article d’Episcopal News Service sur cette initiative se trouve ici.

Comment suivre les travaux de la Convention générale

Un pôle médias, géré par le Bureau de la Communication de l’Église épiscopale, offre à tous et partout la possibilité de suivre les travaux de la Convention. Y seront inclus des diffusions en direct de séances de la Chambre des Évêques et de la Chambre des Députés, un programme, les services religieux quotidiens et les conférences de presse quotidiennes. Les gros titres d’Episcopal News Service seront annoncés sur le site. Vous pouvez trouver le pôle médias ici.

Le pôle médias offre la possibilité de suivre les travaux de la Convention. Y seront inclus des diffusions en direct de séances de la Chambre des Évêques et de la Chambre des Députés, un programme, les services religieux quotidiens et les conférences de presse quotidiennes. Les gros titres d’Episcopal News Service seront annoncés sur le site.

The media hub offers the opportunity to follow convention’s proceedings. It will include live streams of sessions from the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, a calendar, daily worship and daily media briefings. Episcopal News Service’s headlines will feed into the site.

Ceux qui ne sont ni évêques ni députés peuvent suivre l’avancement des résolutions législatives par le biais du dénommé Classeur virtuel ici. Le site reflète la configuration des iPads prêtés aux évêques et aux députés et les modifications se font en temps réel. La version en ligne comprend également l’ordre du jour quotidien de chaque Chambre, les programmes de chaque jour et les journaux (c’est-à-dire la liste des messages envoyés entre les chambres informant l’autre des mesures prises), les programmes et les rapports des comités. Elle contient des onglets pour vérifier les mesures en cours et les amendements proposés par l’assemblée dans chaque Chambre.

En outre, une application gratuite est disponible pour tout smartphone ou tablette sur Android 4.4 ou IOS 8.0 ou plus récent. L’appli contient les horaires, les cartes, les informations fournisseurs, les ordres quotidiens des services religieux et d’autres documents utiles.

Téléchargez l’appli ici ou sur App Store ou Google Play puis saisir le code 79GC lorsque vous y êtes invité. L’application peut également être utilisée sur un ordinateur. Le lien se trouve ici.

— Ce guide a été compilé à partir de reportages des rédacteur/reporters David Paulsen et Mary Frances Schjonberg d’Episcopal News Service, et de la rédactrice en chef d’ENS Lynette Wilson.

General Convention is grounded in daily worship

Tue, 07/03/2018 - 5:40pm

Worship and other opportunities for prayer are at the heart of the Episcopal Church’s 79th General Convention, July 5 – 13, at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas in the  Diocese of Texas).

“The liturgies of the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church embody the Jesus Movement – that loving, liberating, and life-giving way of Jesus Christ,” said the Rev. Michael Hunn, Canon to the presiding bishop for ministry within the Episcopal Church. “His is a way of joy, which is deeply concerned with the plight of all people, especially those who are hurting or in need. It is a way which welcomes people of ‘all stripes and types,’ as our Presiding Bishop likes to say.”

Charged by the presiding bishop with creating liturgies using authorized texts and also representative of the diversity of the Episcopal Church, the liturgy team reached out to more than 30 different groups and the church’s ethnic missioners.  Each group was asked about their experience using the authorized Episcopal liturgies, what advice they would like to share, and for recommendations for music, preachers, or personnel. The liturgies developed for this General Convention reflect this listening process.

Hunn adds, “What stood out for the planning team was the strong support for integrating the diversity of cultures and languages throughout all the liturgies. These liturgies have been designed to weave a tapestry of the diverse languages and cultures of the Episcopal Church together under the common prayer of our Church which binds us all. And, for the first time, every liturgy will be available in all three official languages of the Episcopal Church – English, French, and Spanish.”

Permission was requested from the presiding bishop to use the eucharistic prayer from the Missa del Immigrantes for the July 9th racial reconciliation liturgy. This prayer, although not an authorized Episcopal text, is widely used throughout Province IX and in Spanish-speaking Episcopal Churches.

All services will be live streamed on the Media Hub, with worship bulletins available there for download. See listing below for specific worship times.   Eucharist will be celebrated at most services, with presiders, preachers, deacons, altar guild members, and musicians from across the church, offering their talents and skills to lead worship.

Four special worship opportunities are planned for the 79th General Convention:

  • On July 4, beginning at 5:15 p.m. CT, the House of Bishops is offering a liturgical listening session in response to the #MeToo movement, anchored in the Episcopal belief in the transformative power of liturgy. This “Liturgy of Listening,”written specifically for this session by the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Response to #MeToo Planning Team, will include music, silence, spoken prayers, sacred listening and a litany of repentance without a specific absolution. It is understood that this liturgy is our beginning, and our absolution will be the work we do in the days ahead.
  • Worshippers at Friday, July 6’s UTO Ingathering and Festival Eucharist will hear part of the liturgy in Gwich’in, the language spoken by Indigenous people in the interior of Alaska. This translation is part of a UTO grant project in that diocese to translate the Book of Common Prayer into Modern Gwich’in.
  • On Saturday, July 7, instead of Eucharist at the Convention Center, there will be an Episcopal revival at the Palmer Center, 5:30 p.m. CT. “All across the church, people are saying they want to be revived so they can serve the Jesus Movement,” said the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism, Reconciliation, and Stewardship. People curious about Episcopal revivals are invited to participate via the live stream of the Revival service. Following the Revival, convention goers are invited to a Texas Backyard Barbecue hosted by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
  • Worship on Sunday, July 9, will be a simple Eucharist, with Andrés Gonzélez-Bonillas, a high school student, from the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, preaching.  Gonzélez-Bonillas presented the Spoken Word at the closing Eucharist of the 2017 Episcopal Youth Event (EYE).

Worship information, including bulletins, can be found here and in the mobile app, available here or download it from the App Store or Google Play, and then enter the code 79GC when prompted.

Worship schedule
Note: This information was accurate at time of release and may be subject to change.

Wednesday, July 4: House of Bishops Liturgy of Listening, 5:15 p.m. CT

Thursday, July 5: Opening Eucharist, 9:30 a.m. CT
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will preside and preach.

Friday, July 6: Holy Eucharist Festival and UTO Ingathering, 5:45 p.m. Central
Presider: Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Preacher: The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies
Celebrant: Bishop Andy Doyle, Episcopal Diocese of Texas
Assisting: Bishop Mark Lattime, Episcopal Diocese of Alaska

Saturday, July 7: General Convention Revival at Palmer Center, 5:30 p.m. CT
Preacher: Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Also participating: Hon. Bryon Rushing, Vice President of the House of Deputies; Bishop Andy Doyle, Bishop Jeff Fisher, Bishop Dena Harrison, and Bishop Hector Monterroso, Episcopal Diocese of Texas

Sunday, July 8: Holy Eucharist, 10:30 a.m. CT
Preacher: Andrés Gonzélez-Bonillas, high school student, Episcopal Diocese of Arizona
Celebrant: The Rev. Shannon Kelly, Officer for Young Adult and Campus Ministries, the Presiding Bishop’s staff

Monday, July 9: Eucharist of Reconciliation, 5:15 p.m. CT
Preacher: Bishop Prince Singh, Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Celebrant: Bishop Mary Grey Reeves, Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real and Vice President, House of Bishops

Tuesday, July 10: Eucharist for the Care of God’s Creation, 5:15 p.m. CT
Preacher: The Rev. Winnie Varghese, Trinity Wall Street, Episcopal Diocese of New York
Celebrant: Bishop Marc Andrus, Episcopal Diocese of California

Wednesday, July 11: Benedict of Nursia, Abbot of Monte Cassino, c. 540, 5:15 p.m. CT
Preacher: Brother Aiden Owen, Holy Cross, Episcopal Diocese of New York
Celebrant: The Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, Secretary of the General Convention and Executive Officer

Thursday, July 12: Closing Holy Eucharist, 7:30 p.m. CT
Preacher: Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis
Celebrant: Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

Britain’s Methodists debate Church of England full communion proposals

Tue, 07/03/2018 - 5:30pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Methodist Church of Great Britain has debated proposals that could see it enter into a full communion agreement, including the interchange of ministries, with the Church of England. The proposals are contained in a report “Mission and Ministry in Covenant”, which was published last year. The Church of England’s General Synod debated the report in February, and called for additional work to be undertaken on it. On July 2, the Methodist Church adopted similar motion at its annual conference, which is meeting this week in Nottingham.

Read the entire article here.

Editor’s note: Full communion between the Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church has been proposed. The General Convention, meeting now until July 13, will discuss that proposal via Resolution A041. The resolution would have convention receive “A Gift to the World, Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness” and commend it for “prayerful consideration by all Episcopalians during the coming triennium of this significant step forward in response to our Lord’s fervent wish ‘that all may be one.’”

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