Church-wide discernment before September 30th

Episcopal News Service reports that the HoB Theology Committee has put together a process to information and response from the whole of the Episcopal Church prior to their September meeting:

"The Theology Committee of the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops on June 1 released a study document aimed at helping the bishops respond to the requests made to them by the Primates of the Anglican Communion.

...Theology Committee chair and Alabama Bishop Henry Parsley told Episcopal News Service that the report is meant for bishops to use in conversation with the people of their dioceses in the three and a half months between now and the mid-September meeting of the House of Bishops in New Orleans. Rather than call for responses from individual Episcopalians, Parsley said the committee will in late August and early September gather input from bishops on the result of their conversations in their dioceses.

He said the committee hopes that Episcopalians will 'read, mark, inwardly digest and then come talk' about the document with their bishop.

'Every diocese will have to do that in their own way,' he said. 'We didn't want it to be an individual thing. We wanted it to be a diocesan, corporate process overseen by the bishop.'"

This process seems to be in addition to the responses being collected by the Episcopal Church Executive Council which are due by June 4th.

Read the rest here, along with links to the documents: Episcopal Life Online - NEWS

Web site for President of House of Deputies

A new web site for Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies is available at the Episcopal Church's online presence. In her welcome statement Anderson says:

General Convention meets once every three years, but the work and ministries of the deputies continue throughout the triennium. On these pages, you can keep up with my ministries on behalf of the House of Deputies and hear from other deputies about their ministries. Whether a deputy or not, I hope you will find useful information on these pages. This website is a place that will continue to inform you about how the House of Deputies carries out its unique role in empowering all of us to continue to live into our Baptismal Covenant.

Click here to explore the offerings for all the members of The Episcopal Church.

Story from Episcopal News Service is here

General Convention Logo

ELO_090308_ubuntuLogo_md.gifThe theme of the 2009 General Convention is "Ubuntu", an African concept that's not only difficult to translate into American idiom but harder still to picture visually. But in spite of the difficulty, The Rev. Paul Fromberg, has risen to the challenge.

His submission to a logo design contest sponsored by the General Convention Office was chosen out of field of 82.

The full story is published here by Episcopal Life.

Voices of the House

There's a new feature on Bonnie Anderson's webpages. It's called "Voices of the House. Bonnie is the President of the House of Deputies (the larger and more senior portion of the Episcopal Church's General Convention.) The Voices series has profiles of various deputies who have been elected to General Convention and who are expected to be present in Anaheim this coming summer.

The featured deputy at the moment is Charles Crump, one of, if not the, longest serving deputies in the whole of the House.

From the end of his article:

"Charles Crump is a 17 time lay deputy to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church and has served as Vice President, parliamentarian, and a member of multiple Legislative Committees."

Read the full article by Deputy Crumphere.

There are also pieces by Brian Prior, the Vice President of the House and by Michael Battle who has helped flesh out the meaning of the chosen theme of "Ubuntu" for the upcoming Convention.

You will find the previous articles linked from this page.

Bonnie Anderson in California

President of the House Deputies, Bonnie Anderson greeted the Diocese of California convention Saturday, October 18, at the invitation of The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, Bishop of the Diocese of California. President Anderson presented the Bishop and the President of the Standing Committee with a Pewabic Tile, symbolic of their mutual commitment to Christ and the ministry of God's church. During lunch at the convention Anderson provided an informational and informal workshop. She co-facilitated the workshop with the General Convention Deputies from the Diocese of California and gave a brief background and overview of the governance structure as well as answering questions. A video of this presentation will be available at the PHOD (President of House of Deputies) website.

Sunday, President Anderson participated in the Grace Cathedral live broadcast talk show. She was interviewed by The Very Rev. Alan Jones, Dean of Grace Cathedral.

Read more and listen here. Below is the sermon she preached at the 11 a.m. service at Grace Cathedral:

Read more »

Putting Resolution B033 behind us

Update: read Herb Gunn's encyclopedic account of the saga of B033, and the statement of dissenting bishops.

Last week, the Chicago Consultation hosted a gathering of bishops, activists and General Convention delegates at Seabury Western Seminary. The group’s three goals, as stated on its Web site are:

• To strengthen the movement toward the blessing of same sex relationships.
• To advance the inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in all orders of ministry.
• To strengthen the Anglican Communion’s witness against racism, poverty, sexism, heterosexism, and other interlocking oppressions.

In planning for General Convention, the group began to ponder the issue of Resolution B033 passed in the waning minutes of the General Convention in 2006. It states:

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention receive and embrace The Windsor Report’s invitation to engage in a process of healing and reconciliation; and be it further

Resolved, That this Convention therefore call upon Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.

There is general agreement within the Chicago Consultation that something has to be done about that second "Resolve", but the group is looking for input on which tack should be taken in attempting to get rid of it, or at a minimum, to reduce its influence.

The CC has considered three strategies, but there may be others.

1. Outright repeal

This is the strategy embodied in a recent resolution passed by the Diocese of Maine:

RESOLVED, that the Diocese of Maine calls for the repeal of B033, passed at the 75th General Convention and be it further

RESOLVED that the Diocese of Maine calls upon the 76th General Convention to refrain from restricting the field of potential candidates for future episcopates on the basis of gender or sexual orientation and to reject interference from outside the Convention that would attempt to affect its parliamentary process or negate the polity of The Episcopal Church, and be it further
RESOLVED that the Diocese of Maine maintain its commitment to participation in the Anglican Communion and to the listening process described in the Windsor Report. And be it further Resolved to direct its deputation to the 76th General Convention to submit a resolution to this effect. ("RESOLVED that the 76th General Convention will refrain from restricting the field of potential candidates for future episcopates on the basis of gender or sexual orientation and will reject interference from outside the Convention that would attempt to affect its parliamentary process or negate the polity of The Episcopal Church.")

Straight forward and plain spoken. Some, however, worry that such a resolution cannot pass the House of Bishops, whose members are fresh from the Lambeth Conference at which Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, urged a continuing moratorium on the consecration of GLBT people in committed monogamous relationship from the episcopacy. So, what about

2. Clarifying the nature of B033

This approach is embodied in a resolution passed by the Diocese of Rochester.

Resolved … that this 76th General Convention affirms that standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction are not bound by any extra-canonical restraints—including but not limited to the restraints set forth in Resolution B033 passed by the 75th General Convention—when considering consents to the ordination of any candidate to the episcopate.

In a way, this resolution simply seeks to call the Church’s bluff. B033 does not compel bishops or Standing Committees to vote against a gay candidate for the episcopacy; that would require a change in the canons, rather than a simple resolution. However, both the Episcopal Church—particularly its House of Bishops—and the Anglican Communion, have frequently behaved as though B033 had the force of law. This resolution makes it clear that it does not.

But some worry that this approach, while it certainly undercuts the authority of B033, does not go far enough in stating opposition to that resolution. So what about…

3. Sunsetting B033

This strategy has yet to be embodied in a resolution. It is based on the notion that the best way to get past B033 without bogging down in a fight over whether we are technically repealing it is to pass a more recent resolution with different content.

GC2006 “call[ed] upon Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.”

GC2009 can just as easily “call upon Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction to” fill in the blank “when considering whether to consent to the consecration of candidates to the episcopacy.”

abide by the non-discrimination provisions in Title 3 Canon 1 Section 2” might work.

Integrity maintains a data base on all known resolutions regarding the full inclusion of all of the baptized in the life of the Church. They are also sponsoring a survey that addresses some of the issues raised above.

Which approach makes the most sense? Which one can work? Your thoughts are welcome.

Here is some of our coverage of B033 from the Daily Episcopalian, June 2006.

If it worked for the Boston Celtics...

...it can work for the Episcopal Church. The theme of the 2009 General Convention is ubuntu, a Swahili word meaning (roughly) "I am because we are."

Turns out, as these videos attest, it was also the concept the Celtics coach Doc Rivers instilled in his team during its NBA championship-winning season.

Read more »

Anderson calls for full discussion of B033

Episcopal Life reports on resolutions coming to General Convention 2009 from the dioceses of The Episcopal Church. A majority of them have to do with blessing of same sex couples and with B033, the controversial resolution from GC 2006 about consenting to the election of bishop "whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion."

Read more »

General Convention legislative committee chairs announced

Legislative chairpersons for this summer's 76th General Convention in Anaheim have been announced.

According to the Bishop and Deputy Handbook:

Legislative committees are appointed. The President of the House of Deputies appoints the deputies. The Presiding Bishop appoints the bishops. A Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary are designated for each committee by the Presiding Officers.

In the House of Deputies the appointment process begins when each diocese notifies the General Convention Office of the election of its deputies and alternates. Data sheets containing committee preferences are collected from each deputy and are used in the appointment process.

The list of committee chairs is as follows:

Legislative Committees

01 Dispatch of Business: The Rev. James Simons, The Rt. Rev. Wayne Wright
02 Certification of Minutes: Ms. Linda Freeman, The Rt. Rev. Don Johnson
03 Rules of Order: The Rev. Brian Prior, The Rt. Rev. Kenneth Price
04 Constitution: Mr. William Cathcart, The Rt. Rev. Neff Powell
05 Canons: Mr. Tom Little, The Rt. Rev. Catherine Waynick
06 Structure: Mr. David Pitts, The Rt. Rev. James Curry
07 Consecration of Bishops: Ms. Lynn Schmissrauter, The Rt. Rev. Neil Alexander
08 World Mission: The Rev. Gay Jennings, The Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf
09 National and International Concerns: Deputy TBD, The Rt. Rev. John Chane
10 Social and Urban Affairs: Ms. Diane Pollard, The Rt. Rev. Bavi Rivera
11 Church in Small Communities: The Rev. Ivette Linares, The Rt. Rev. Thomas Ely
12 Evangelism: The Rev. David Ota, The Rt. Rev. David Jones
13 Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music: The Very Rev. Sam Candler, The Rt. Rev. G. Wayne Smith
14 Ministry: The Rev. Silvestre Romero, The Rt. Rev. Barry Howe
15 Education: Mr. Scott Evenbeck, The Rt. Rev. John Rabb
16 Church Pension Group: Ms. Katherine Weathersbury McCormick, The Rt. Rev. Gayle Harris
17 Stewardship and Development: Ms. Pat Abrams, The Rt. Rev. Bud Shand
18 Ecumenical Relations: Ms. Cecily Sawyer Harmon, The Rt. Rev. Edwin Gulick
19 Communications: The Rev. Peter Strimer, The Rt. Rev. Kirk Smith
22 Committees and Commissions: Deputy TBD, Bishop TBD
23 Credentials: The Rev. Elizabeth Tattersall
25 Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F): Ms. Pan Adams

Rowan Williams at General Convention?

We have heard from a pair of well-placed and unrelated sources that Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, may be coming to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Anaheim in July. These reports are still unconfirmed, but details from the two sources are similar. They suggest the ABC would arrive on the first or second day of the convention, possibly participate in some sort of forum about the world economic situation, offer a meditation at the daily Eucharist on the third day of convention and then depart. A number of other Primates are invited as well. We will keep you posted.

Susan Russell weighs in.

ABC to attend first 2 days of General Convention

Confirming The Lead's story of February 20, Episcopal News Service reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury will attend the first two days of General Convention in July 2009.

Global concerns and Anglican Communion issues will be a major focus of the Episcopal Church's 76th General Convention when it meets July 8-17 in Anaheim, California.

The church's main legislative gathering, which meets every three years, also will welcome many international guests from various Anglican Communion provinces. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will attend General Convention for the first time July 8-9. He will participate in Bible study and be a keynote speaker at a global economic forum on the evening of July 8.


Read more here.

Integrity gears up for the General Convention

The Rev. Susan Russell: It is critical that the Episcopal Church move beyond B033 and toward marriage equality. Watch the nine-minute video.

General Convention committee appointments posted

Legislative Committees are where the real work of General Convention takes place. They receive the reports of Standing Commissions and the included resolutions as well as all the other resolutions that have been proposed by dioceses, bishops and deputies. They are charged with trying to mix the whole lot together into a coherent whole.

Read more »

The blue book has been released

Just posted this morning on the Episcopal Church's website:
"The Blue Book, the collection of reports to the Episcopal Church's General Convention of the work done by its committees, commissions, agencies and boards (CCABs) during the 2007-2009 triennium, is now available online [].

Read more »

The case for putting 0.7% back into the budget

From Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation (more here):

By now you have probably heard that the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church has sent a draft budget to General Convention that eliminates the 0.7% line item for the Millennium Development Goals.

Be not afraid. Be very excited.

Why? Because this has provided us a moment of great opportunity -- an opportunity to give everyone a vision for prophetic and inspirational living out of our Christian call through our budgets. This is an opportunity for us to take a joyful and exciting leap of faith in a time of fear. We need to approach it as that. Read on, and we'll show you how.

Read more »

Comprehensiveness for the sake of truth

The Rev. William Carroll and Mr. Christopher Evans offer a statement for unity in the Episcopal Church based on the tenets of the Lambeth Quadrilateral:

Read more »

Live webcast about General Convention

The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs announces a live webcast on Wednesday, May 13 which will address topics related to the Episcopal Church General Convention. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson and others will field questions from audience, online.

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General Convention webcast previews General Convention

Episcopal Church leaders held a webcast previewing General Convention yesterday, May 13. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson, General Convention executive the Rev. Gregory Straub, and Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the host diocese of Los Angeles were the presenters.

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Variety of voices to preach at General Convention

epiScope reports:

Eight preachers – ranging from the Presiding Officers and the Archbishop of Canterbury to a popular TV correspondent and an internationally-known activist – will be among the many voices at the daily worship services during General Convention 2009 of The Episcopal Church July 8 – 17 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California (Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles).

Read more »

End the de facto ban on gay and lesbian bishops

Watch the history of the infamous B033 and the need for change at General Convention 2009.

Text of resolution below:

Read more »

Why marriage equality in the church?

Why should General Convention 2009 seek marriage equality for same sex couples? Integrity USA responds with this video.

Read more »

President Bonnie Anderson announces special guests for General Convention

The President of the House of Deputies of General Convention, Bonnie Anderson, has announced her special guests for General Convention. From a letter send today:

Laity and Clergy from the Anglican Communion will be the Special Guests of the President of the House of Deputies at General Convention

Read more »

What exactly is this General Convention anyhow?

As the Episcopal Church's attention turns to the fast approaching meeting beginning in July, those who are new to the denomination, or those who haven't been paying close attention until now may find the following video a helpful quick start:

The video was posted by Jim Dela, President of Episcopal Communicators.

Thanks Jim!

Bishops seek "pastoral generosity" in addressing same-sex marriage

Episcopal bishops in the six states that have legalized same-sex marriage are asking the Church's General Convention to "permit the adaptation of the Pastoral Offices for The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage and The Blessing of a Civil Marriage for use with all couples who seek the church's support and God's blessing in their marriages."

Read more »

"Cliff notes" for the true blue General Convention junkie

Ann Fontaine, clergy deputy from the Diocese of Wyoming, and news blogger for Episcopal Cafe, has read her way through all 192 of the A resolutions in the 2009 General Convention Blue Book so you don't have to. (And, yes, we know the Blue Book is actually maroon this year.)

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House of Deputies to discuss B033 in a committee of the whole

The Episcopal Church's House of Deputies will discuss whether it wants to explore the revision of controversial Resolution B033 in a committee of the whole before the relevant legislative committee begins its work, Bonnie Anderson, president of the house, disclosed tonight in an email to deputies.

Read more »

Countdown to Anaheim

IntegriTV, Integrity's video presence in Anaheim launched Sunday, June 28th -- 10 days before the beginning of General Convention 2009. A 10 part "MARCHING TO ANAHEIM" series promotes Integrity's ministry and message.
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Watch for it daily at here.

Read more »

The Rhythm of Ubuntu

Mel Ahlborn, president of Episcopal Church in the Visual Arts (and, more important to us, the editor of the Art Blog at Episcopal Café is deeply involved in designing the visual environment for worship at General Convention.

Today she sent us this message:

Read more »

ABC to meet with LGBT Episcopalians

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will meet privately with a select group of Episcopalians concerned with LGBT issues.

Episcopalians during his time in California to participate in General Convention. The meeting is not part of General Convention, and it is not clear that it was meant to come to light.

Read more »

Bonnie Anderson's Church Times interview

Pat Ashworth in The Church Times:

Lay people at the General Con­vention of the Episcopal Church in the United States will have some hard questions for the Archbishop of Canterbury when he visits, says the president of the House of Depu­ties, Bonnie Anderson. ...

Read more »

Guide to General Convention

Updated. A version of Episcopal Life's Guide to General Convention and all the major documents a deputy or General Convention junkie could ever need are all available on-line.

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Few dioceses respond to racisim resolutions

ENS reports on the work of Social and Urban Affairs Committee:

Efforts to deal with the Episcopal Church's legacy of complicity in slavery have been difficult and slow, and the church needs more time to deal with the issue, say several resolutions pending in the Social and Urban Affairs Committee.

In recent hearings at General Convention in Anaheim, members of the committee have considered resolutions A142, A143 and C050, which would extend and expand the Episcopal Church's exploration of its role in the institution of slavery and its modern-day repercussions.

General Convention 2006 passed several resolutions on the subject of the church's complicity in slavery as well as other forms of exploitation and abuse of non-white peoples. The resolutions called on dioceses to explore the history of slavery and its aftermath and to find ways to seek reconciliation and healing.

"The reality is that the two resolutions [on slavery] that were passed in 2006 have elicited a paucity of response," the Rev. Canon Ed Rodman, a retiring member of Executive Council, told ENS. "Only 12 or 13 dioceses began to do the work."
...
Even though the progress towards repentance and reconciliation is slow, said Rodman, it's essential that resolutions calling for this work be passed. "If you don't have this mandate on the books," he said, "there's no chance that anyone will do anything about it out of the goodness of their own hearts.

Read it all.

How to interpret D025

How to interpret D025. It depends who you ask.

Read more »

Bp of Durham: HoB is "formalising schism initiated 6 years ago"

Tom Wright, the Bishop of Durham writes in an op-ed in The Times entitled "The Americans know this will end in schism":

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States has voted decisively to allow in principle the appointment, to all orders of ministry, of persons in active same-sex relationships. This marks a clear break with the rest of the Anglican Communion.

Both the bishops and deputies (lay and clergy) of TEC knew exactly what they were doing. They were telling the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other “instruments of communion” that they were ignoring their plea for a moratorium on consecrating practising homosexuals as bishops.
...
The question then presses: who, in the US, is now in communion with the great majority of the Anglican world? It would be too hasty to answer, the newly formed “province” of the “Anglican Church in North America”. One can sympathise with some of the motivations of these breakaway Episcopalians. But we should not forget the Episcopalian bishops, who, doggedly loyal to their own Church, and to the expressed mind of the wider Communion, voted against the current resolution. Nor should we forget the many parishes and worshippers who take the same stance. There are many American Episcopalians, inside and outside the present TEC, who are eager to sign the proposed Covenant. That aspiration must be honoured.

Contrary to some who have recently adopted the phrase, there is already a “fellowship of confessing Anglicans”. It is called the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church is now distancing itself from that fellowship.

Read it all.

#ecgc

Denominational Health Plan passes

According to several tweeterers the House of Deputies have in the last hour concurred with the HOB and passed A177, the denominational health plan. Check out the stream at twub/#ecgc.

That can be confirmed from the official site for resolutions. Here is A177 final version, concurred.

A138, Establishing a Mandatory Lay Employee Pension System, is pending before the House of Deputies. It has not been to HOB.

Bishops back blessings

With overwhelming support in the House of Bishops legislation on rites for same sex couples passed and was sent on to the House of Deputies for concurrence.

Read more »

This week's Church Times

In Friday's (tomorrow's) edition of Church Times -- the news weekly covering the Church of England -- there are stories on General Convention, the Porvoo accord and same sex blessings, and an editorial on General Convention's actions.

Item 1. Editorial: Schism must not be allowed to happen

The Episcopal Church has not really broken the Communion any more than it was already.

The decision exposes the flaw at the heart of attempts to order the Communion on the basis of single issues. There is no less reason to join together at the eucharist, share theological ideas, engage in jointly funded enterprises, and so on, this week than last. A few Episcopalians have said more clearly what they have believed for some time; many still disagree with them. Nothing much has changed.

Item 2. http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=78081
Before the vote, more than 1000 people crowded into the Pacific Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel to hear the testimony of 51 people, all but ten of whom wanted the Church to move beyond B033. It could have been repealed or re­affirmed, but neither happened. Instead, 13 resolutions relating to B033 were combined into D025, a multi-part resolution “on Commit­ment and Witness to Anglican Communion”, intended to describe the mind of the Church on the issue.

Like B033, it has no canonical force, and the moratorium will technically be broken only if the Episcopal Church ordains another gay bishop. The final wording of the motion was described as “descriptive, not prescriptive”.

Item 3. English bishops say Swedish proposal redefines marriage
The letter from the English Bishops, dated 26 June, notes that Swedish approval of such blessings is already “problematic” for the Church of England, and reiterates the position expressed by the 1998 Lambeth Conference that same-sex sexual relationships should not be blessed, and those in such a relationship should not be ordained.

Describing the new Swedish proposal, as currently understood, to be apparently “a fundamental redefinition of the Christian doctrine of marriage”, FOAG says it is “acutely conscious of the immediate and negative consequences of moves within any of the Porvoo churches to revise Christian teaching and practice in matters of sexuality”. Such changes would have “particular implications for the limitation of the interchangeability of ordained ministry”, and could even “further undermine the fragility of the Anglican Communion”.

FOAG also says that “from a Church of England perspective it is vital for the Church to maintain a critical distance from the state.” It suggests, however, that the alternative, of ceasing entirely to solemnise marriages in church, which a majority of the Swedish bishops may favour, would still indicate a significant difference between the two Churches.


The Local, Sweden's news in English, carries this report:
The Church of England has condemned a proposal by the Church of Sweden to grant same-sex couples the right to religious wedding ceremonies.

In a sharply worded letter to Swedish archbishop Anders Wejryd, two high ranking bishops from the Church of England call the proposal “problematic”, adding that it risks causing “an impairment of the relationships between the churches”.
...
The critique comes following March correspondence from Archbishop Wejryd in which he informed his colleagues in England of ongoing discussions within the Lutheran Church of Sweden about allowing gay marriages in Swedish churches.

Following Wejryd’s letter, the governing board of the Church of Sweden proposed that it should continue to perform wedding ceremonies in accordance with new legislation granting same-sex couples in Sweden the same legal marriage status as heterosexuals.
...
The critique, in addition to expressing concerns about the Church of Sweden’s stance on gay marriage, appears to also be a less-than subtle reference to the recent election of Eva Brunne, an openly gay woman, to be Bishop of Stockholm.

Bishop Gary Lillibridge reads statement in private session

A press release from the Diocese of West Texas:

Speaking for a group of about 15 bishops, Bishop Lillibridge read a statement on Thursday during the House of Bishops’ private time that “reaffirms our constituent membership in the Anglican Communion” while seeking to “find a place in the Church we continue to serve.” The statement was drafted by several bishops, including Lillibridge and Bishop David Reed, wanting to articulate their place in the Anglican Communion.

The statement represents the voices of many bishops who consistently find themselves in the minority at the 76th General Convention. “It is apparent that a substantial majority of this Convention believes that The Episcopal Church should move forward on matters of human sexuality,” says the preamble to the statement. “We recognize this reality and understand the clarity with which the majority has expressed itself.”

The bishops say they “seek to provide the same honesty and clarity” and invite all bishops who agree with them to sign the statement. About 25 bishops had signed the statement by late in the day on Thursday.

The statement asks for reaffirmation of commitment in five areas:

- membership in the Anglican Communion, communion with the See of Canterbury, and commitment to preserving those relationships

- the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church

- the three moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion

- the Anglican Communion Covenant process

- the apostles’ teaching and fellowship that is “foundational to the baptismal covenant” and the apostles’ teaching in “interpreting the Gospel.”

“The majority voice has spoken at this General Convention,” said Lillibridge later. “But I think it is important to also hear from the significant minority that represents about one-third both in the House of Bishops and House of Deputies.”

He said that in the Diocese of West Texas, the focus will remain on being a part of The Episcopal Church and continuing as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion.

“Out of all of this,” said Lillibridge, “what I want to bring home to the diocese is the deepening of our conversation regarding the issue of human sexuality as well as the relationship between minorities and majorities as we all seek to work together.”

He said that he and Bishop Reed will have more to say about this General Convention when they return to San Antonio.

The General Convention ends on Friday, July 17.
__________

Bishop Lillibridge discusses the "Anaheim Statement" in his audio report for the day. ENS has a report in which they interview other bishops who signed the statement.

Addendum. In its reporting The Living Church says the number of signatures has reached 29. It includes a partial listing of those signing and notes the list of names "included bishops who voted on both sides of D025 and C056."
__________

Read more »

Morning roundup

Below is a sampling of news and comment on the morning of General Convention's closing day.

Huffington Post: TEC is the canary in the coal mine

[T]he Episcopal Church is seen as the canary in the coal mine by other mainline Protestant Churches. They are waiting to see if accepting gays and lesbians as full members of the church will lead to a breaking away from the international church, or whether different views will be able to co-exist happily.
NYT: Episcopals’ (sic!) First Openly Gay Bishop Speaks
I think maybe that’s what people don’t get about the House of Bishops. We have longstanding relationships. We meet several times each year, at length, and relationships build over time. We have a commitment to hang in there with one another, though we have disagreements. The ones that did not have that commitment are gone. The conversation has been a lot less shrill this year because a lot of those shrill voices are gone. It’s given people permission to listen better.
ENS: Convention adopts severely reduced triennial budget - Deputies refuse to tinker with proposal; bishops act without debate
Some church-wide programs will be eliminated under the budget, encouraging more mission work to take place in dioceses and congregations. At least 30 of the 180 people employed by the Episcopal Church in its New York and regional offices could lose their jobs.

The next General Convention could be two days shorter, and interim church bodies will meet face-to-face less frequently during the triennium. The Episcopal Church's provincial contribution to the budget of the Anglican Communion Office would decrease by a third.
...
After the deputies approved the budget, the Rev. Ann Fontaine (Wyoming) called for "a moment of silent prayer for all the staff that will be axed, that they might find healing and hope."

ENS: Brian McLaren speaks at General Convention
[T]he Episcopal Church must rid itself of "institutional rigidity," McLaren said.

"From my outsider's perspective, your most urgent issue of institutional rigidity is related to the complex ways candidates are accepted and trained into ordained ministry. To put it bluntly: For all your system does well, it is perfectly designed to scare away from Episcopal leadership almost everyone with the spiritual gift of evangelism," he said.

In the future, McLaren said, he hopes the Episcopal Church will not make potential postulates choose between the church and their call to evangelism.

WSJ op-ed:
Schism is considered such an ugly development that it is usually avoided at all costs -- until tensions become intolerable. Even then, it is preceded by patched-up compromises and interventions. We may well see a process like this in the Anglican world over the next four or five years.

But is schism truly so awful? A lot depends on the outcome.

RNS: Episcopalians ask who should lead: church or culture?
Even liberals here have said the church should not depend on the state to make decisions for it. Former New Hampshire Bishop Douglas Theuner, who retains a vote in the House of Bishops, argues that all bishops -- not just those in states where same-gender partnerships are legal -- should be allowed to adapt rites of blessings for gay couples.

"If we say we'll only do what the state allows us to do, then in effect we're saying that the state effects our theological decisions, and that shouldn't be," Theuner said.

Episcopalians have taken cues from the culture on marriage mores before, particularly in the 1970s when it voted to allow divorced people to remarry in the church, said Bishop Stacy Sauls of Lexington, Ky.


News reports roundup

Here is a round-up of how the press understood and interpreted General Convention.


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Integrity, Chicago Consultation issue statements

Following the close of the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, there were statements issued by the Chicago Consultation, and by Integrity.

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Bishops post reactions to Anaheim

There will probably be a number of notes published by diocesan bishops over the next week regarding the decisions made or not made at General Convention in Anaheim. Here's a sampling of a few that have already appeared.

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Chicago Consultation work at convention recognized

One of the major players in the months leading up to General Convention, and during the actual meeting was a group that is called "The Chicago Consultation". The decisions that were made at Convention were influenced by the work of the Consultation, in part through the words of members of the Anglican Global South that spoke to the bishops and deputies.

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Bishop Robinson describes how the House of Bishops decided

There's been a great deal of reporting about the passage of two key resolutions by General Convention last week. One of the major surprises of Convention was the level of strong support that the House of Bishops gave to both the resolutions. That support came as a surprise to many.

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Of birthdays and Ubuntu, General Convention as seen in the press room

Trying to describe General Convention and its atmosphere is hard enough in any year, but trying to make sense of the subtleties of this most recent Convention has been a stretch for everyone, whether deputy, visitor or reporter. Rebecca Wilson, who served in the press room of General Convention writes of how the atmosphere in that place was different this year.

She starts by recounting an impromptu birthday party by the gathered press for conservative blogger and reporter David Virtue and then observes:

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Lack of stewardship tackled during Church of England Synod

The Church Times wins this Friday's award for "Best Headline of the Week" with a report on the stewardship debate at the recently concluded Church of England Synod. The article headline? "Stewardship: Let's talk about wallets, not willies."

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Icons of Resolve

From Susan Russell's blog: "A slide show of members of the Episcopal church, ... icons of what this church can and will be as it lives into the resolution passed at the 76th General Convention ... to collect those liturgical resources the church has asked to compile for consideration at the 77th General Convention." Watch here.

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Archbishop of Canterbury responds to General Convention

The Archbishop of Canterbury has posted his thoughts on the actions of the most recent General Convention.

His paper opens:

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Bishops of Massachusetts respond to General Convention resolutions

The bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts have written to the people of their diocese and outlined a plan of widespread conversation to determine the appropriate diocesan response in light of the resolutions on human sexuality and pastoral care from General Convention.

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Reactions to +Rowan's essay vary

Earlier today the Archbishop of Canterbury posted an essay detailing his thoughts on the actions the most recent General Convention of the Episcopal Church has taken. Reactions to his reaction are starting to be posted. Not surprisingly the reactions fall along a rather broad spectrum. And people tend to see what they expected to see.

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Ohio clergy featured in article about General Convention

The Cleveland based Plain Dealer has an unusually well done article on the most recent General Convention. They report with a focus on their local clergy, Gay Jennings and Mark Hollingsworth who served at General Convention in the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops respectively in particular but with other Ohio clergy quoted as well.

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Letter from President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson

President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson writes to Deputies and First Alternates about their continuing responsibility to serve and requests comments on the Ridley-Cambridge of the Covenant by September 1.

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Summary of General Convention

The Episcopal Church's General Convention office has produced a 25-page summary of actions of the 76th General Convention available as a downloadable, searchable PDF.

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Speaking faith to power

Thanks to Mary Getz and the Episcopal Public Policy Network for this handy summary of the actions of our just-completed General Convention on public policy issues. Resolutions call upon Congress to act on the following issues:

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Respectfully disagreeing

The Syracuse Post-Standard reports on the respectful debate at both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Episcopal Church (TEC) conventions as they approved measures on full inclusion of gay and lesbian clergy.

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Bonnie Anderson writes to House of Deptuties

Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies has sent a letter to members of that body detailing her plans going forward after the 2009 General Convention in Anaheim.

Speaking to the challenges the Episcopal Church is facing, she writes:

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TEC Executive Council takes up unfinished business

The Executive Council will take up the unfinished business of General Convention as unaddressed resolutions head for the next step.

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Plan to replace Brian Prior announced

Brian Prior, who is at present the Vice-President of the House of Deputies of The General Convention, was elected bishop in the Diocese of Minnesota recently. As a bishop, he is no longer eligible to serve in the House of Deputies.

There is no canonical procedure to follow when something like this happens, so President Bonnie Anderson has announced that she will follow the precedent established during the term of Pamela Chinnis.

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Bonnie Anderson: Greetings of Advent and Christmas

Dr. Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church sends Advent and Christmas greetings to all:

PHOD%20Christmas%20Message.jpg

Bishop Gulick on "pastoral generosity"

We here at the Episcopal Cafe reported yesterday that the work directed by General Convenation regolution C056 has begun. Ruth A. Meyers, the Chair of the the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music reported that work has begun the work directed by Resolution C056, “Liturgies for Blessings.”

Today, Bishop Gulick, of the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky, has issued a statement which interprets the term "pastoral generosity."

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Have we not "done the theology," or not owned what we've done?

Bishop Pierre Whalon has written a thoughtful essay for Anglicans Online arguing that while blessing gay and lesbian relationships and consecrating LGBT candidates to the episcopacy may be a good thing, the Episcopal Church has not yet explained why it is a good thing.

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Churches are political institutions, and that's a good thing

In a speech to the Episcopal Communicators' annual convention last week in Salem, Mass. The Hon. Byron Rushing, who has been reelected to the Massachusetts State Legislature two or three dozen times, and to the Diocese of Massachusetts Deputation to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church at least as often said that churches, like towns and cities, states and nations, are inescapably political organizations, and that churches get into trouble when they pretend otherwise.

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Episcopal budget process: 'Irresponsible ... unpastoral ... scandalous'

At the most recent General Convention in Anaheim, as the Episcopal Church passed resolutions that affirmed that policy of allowing all persons full access to the ordination process, including that of bishops, the almost unnoticed story was the conflict surrounding the creation of the triennial budget. Recently Province III of the Episcopal Church meeting passed a resolution highly critical of the way the budget was put together. Executive Council has responded to the resolution by promising to have a conversation about these concerns based on an ongoing review of Church Center policies.

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Seminary receives major grant to support General Convention work

The Arcus Foundation has granted external funding to help support the work of Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music over the next three years as it responds to the charge assigned it by General Convention and resolution C056. That resolution, passed last year in Anaheim, directed the Episcopal Church to begin gathering liturgical resources used in blessing same-gender relationships.

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Charles Crump: rest in peace, rise in glory

The Diocese of West Tennessee reports the sad news of the death of Charles Crump, well known Deputy to General Convention:

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Episcopal Church called to consider the Covenant

The Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies, and the Chair of the Covenant response Task force have co-signed a letter to the Episcopal Church calling on congregations to study the Anglican Covenant in advance of General Convention in 2012. If General Convention is going to reflect the mind of the Church when it decides on the Episcopal Church's participation in the Covenant, it can only happen if there is the broadest possible participation in the process.

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Commission asks help in research on rites for same-sex blessings

From the Rev. Ruth Meyers, chair of The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music:

INTRODUCTION

We are inviting members of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion to help us know what resources are or have already been used in a congregational discernment process to welcome same-gender blessings and to prepare couples for a Christian life together and for a blessing ceremony.

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Nominations open for elections at General Convention 2012

ENS reports that Nominations for membership on seven bodies or positions to be elected at the Episcopal Church's General Convention in 2012 are now being accepted by the Joint Standing Committee on Nominations.

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Anderson names first recipient of Medallion for Exemplary Service

On a night when it seems all but certain that southern Sudan will soon become an independent country comes this news via press release:

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Executive Council considers restructuring

The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church (the interim governing body between General Conventions) concluded its meeting in Fort Worth yesterday and reported that a key portion of their conversation focused on responding to calls to reconsider the structure and governance of the Episcopal Church.

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Is change coming to Episcopal Church governance?

Last week, Bonnie Anderson, President of the Episcopal Church's House of Deputies wrote a column for Episcopal News Service that was also released by the Church's Office of Public Affairs. Her essay developed ideas she had expressed in her closing remarks to the Church's Executive Council in mid-February. These feel like important contributions made at an important moment, and if the pace of news permits, I'd like to slow things down a bit today on The Lead and give them their due consideration.

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Historic rites consultation held

UPDATE:
ABC News reports that over half of all Americans now support marriage equality. General Convention 2009 C056 (see below for full text) called on the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to "collect and develop theological and liturgical resources" for liturgies of blessing for gay and lesbian couples and to devise an open process for its work with participation by provinces, dioceses, congregations and individuals.

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Thoughts on the Atlanta meeting

On Friday and Saturday, I was one of the nearly 200 people who traveled to Atlanta to take part in the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music's (SCLM) General Convention mandated consultation on resources for same-gender blessings. I went as the chair of the deputation from the Diocese of Arizona. It was an exhausting, satisfying and, for me, intriguing event. But I found myself thinking about on the long flight home was what the process used might mean to the Episcopal Church.

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Congratulations Deputy Byron Rushing

On Monday morning, The Honorable Byron Rushing, state legislator in Massachusetts, will be receiving the "Mass History Commendation" award for his work as a historian of slavery. Many of us know Byron, an active Episcopal lay person through his long tenure as a deputy to General Convention.

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UPDATED: Rise in Glory Dr. Pamela Chinnis

(Updated with statements)

Pamela%20Chinnis.jpgDr. Pamela Chinnis, 30th President of the House of Deputies, died last evening (the 24th) at 6:31 p.m. Dr. Chinnis, a lay person, was the first woman to serve as President of the HOD. She is remembered for her many achievements, writings and service to this Church she loved so much.

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Scott Kirby nominated for VP of the House of Deputies

ENS reports that House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson has nominated The Very Reverend H. Scott Kirby, the retired Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Eau Claire, WI, to fill the vacancy of Vice-President.

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Bishop Sauls' resolution for a Special Convention

At the recent House of Bishops meeting, Bishop Stacey Sauls, Chief Operating Officer for The Episcopal Church, distributed a "model resolution for structural reform" for dioceses to discuss and submit to the 77th General Convention." The resolution is available here.

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Bishop Sauls' proposal, II: assumptions about mission

In my last post, I promised that we would attempt a substantive discussion of Bishop Sauls' proposals for reforming the governance of our church. With your forbearance, I'd like to begin on the abstract level. The bishop suggests that our church is too top-heavy in its governance--an assertion with which I agree--and that we should be diverting more resources to mission.

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Bishop Sauls' proposal, III: reducing overhead

In his presentation on reforming the structures of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Stacy Sauls argues that our overhead is too high. He suggests several way to reduce it, giving particular attention to the cost of the General Convention, and the various bodies that either help to govern the church or prepare resolutions when the convention is not in session. He identifies certain savings that could be realized by having fewer interim bodies, and having the convention meet less frequently.

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President of House of Deputies responds to Sauls' proposal

Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, sent a letter to Deputies and First Alternates regarding the "model resolution" proposed to the House of Bishops by Bishop Stacy Sauls, chief operating officer of the Episcopal Church. Here is the text:

September 30, 2011

Dear Deputies and First Alternates,

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General Convention to vote on use of same-sex blessing

Received from Episcopal News Service

Liturgy and Music will call for church to reflect on marriage

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In Anaheim, Disneyland settles with workers

Many who attended General Convention 2009 will recall that Disneyland labor was then battling with management over critical employment matters.

AP reports that although the matter still requires employee ratification, it is largely settled for the time being.

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General Convention 2012: what are the issues?

The Rev. Stephen E. Moore also known as "The (Humble) Vicar of (All) Bellevue" and Clergy Deputy from the Diocese of Olympia (Western Washington state) asks:

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Presiding Bishop and General Convention

The Presiding Bishop talks to the Bishops and Deputies about the Church Center Budget and Canons as a prelude to General Convention 2012. Looking forward to President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson's view of our tasks ahead from the Deputies' perspective.

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President of House of Deputies clears up confusion

Received via email from Dr. Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies:

January 29, 2012
Dear Deputies and First Alternates:

A confusing situation has arisen and I’d like to set the record straight:

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Reforming General Convention? Or watering it down?

The Diocese of Georgia passed a resolution over the weekend calling up on the church to re-imagine General Convention. This section interested me.

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77th General Convention Website

The new website for General Convention is up and running.

Check it out here.

Included:

Convention schedule

Deputies to General Convention

2012 Legislation

Additional Resources.

A one-sided conversation about reform

I continue to be dismayed by the manner in which Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, formerly Bishop of Lexington, and now chief operating officer of the Episcopal Church, are pursuing their efforts to reform the structures of the church. Bishop Sauls has proposed legislation requesting that a special committee be created to devise resolutions regarding the restructuring of the church, and that this committee’s recommendations then be debated at a special General Convention to be held before the date of the next regularly scheduled General Convention in 2015.

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What the PB and Bishop Sauls misunderstand about mission

One of the more thoughtful critiques of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishop Stacy Sauls' plan for restructuring the Episcopal Church in ways that would vest more authority in the offices they currently hold, was written by Tobias Haller. He is particularly good on the two bishops' faulty understanding of mission, a word they use as a weapon against those who think it is worth spending money to include clergy and lay people in the decision making bodies of the church.

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Episcopal Church proposed 2013-2015 budget released

The draft proposed 2013-2015 budget adopted by Executive Council in January has now been posted on the General Convention website.

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Restructuring by de-funding

The proposed budget to be presented to General Convention was released late this week. There are people across the church pouring over the details to see what has changed. Tom Ferguson, formerly the Ecumenical Officer for the Episcopal Church and presently the Dean of Bexley Hall Seminary points out that the changes he's seeing indicate that the debate over whether or not the church needs to restructure may be moot. The proposed budget is already doing that.

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TEC budget: Complain here, constructively, of course

It is hard to tell whether there are more complaints about the most recent proposed three-year budget for the Episcopal Church than previous budgets, or if social media simply allows those complaints to be heard more clearly. Whatever the case, the Program Budget and Finance Committee, which is charged with producing the budget that will be voted on at the General Convention, is setting up a website that will offer, among other things, an opportunity to offer one's opinion to PB&F members on the draft budget that has been prepared by Executive Council.

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Integrity focuses on transgender issues for GC 2012

IntegrityUSA announces the release of a new video featuring transgender laity and clergy of The Episcopal Church. The video will be sent to all Deputies and Bishops to prepare and educate them on the issues facing transgender persons and legislation at General Convention.

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Should General Convention meet as a unicameral house

We don't have much by way of details yet, but scuttlebutt from the House of Bishops suggests that it may be worth discussing whether the Episcopal Church would be better served if General Convention abolished the Houses of Bishops and Deputies and met unicamerally.

What are your thoughts? I don't have a well developed opinion on this issue in the abstract, and would like to hear from people who pay attention to this sort of thing.

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Eastern Oregon proposes Communion without Baptism resolution

The Diocese of Eastern Oregon will present a resolution to the next General Convention to change the Constitution and Canons and the Prayer Book to " invite all to Holy Communion, 'regardless of age, denomination or baptism.' :

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Surprised by Article XII, or What can be achieved at a special convention?

Someone who knows the Constitution of the Episcopal Church better than I do called my attention to an issue that has been hiding in plain sight in the church’s debate on structural reform.

More than 15 dioceses, and one province, have put forward a resolution calling for the creation of special commission on church structure that would make a thorough review of the way in which our church operates. The commission would

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Weakened addition: proposed budget does not add up

A statement from Ms. Diane Pollard and Bishop Stephen Lane, chairpersons of the Program Budget and Finance Committee about the 2013-2015 Budget for the Episcopal Church:

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Blue Book published

The Blue Book, information and resolutions for General Convention 2012, is now on web for downloading. Information for purchase of a printed copy or copy for e-books is also available.

For the pdf. click here.

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The Methodists are wrestling with structure too

As General Convention draws near there is a growing consensus that this year the presenting issue is how to best structure the Episcopal Church to do its work as we move into a new era. We're not the only denomination facing the challenge. The Methodist General Conference has just looked at the same question, and it didn't go well.

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Bp Provenzano: "William White is dead"

Bp Larry Provenzano, the bishop of Long Island, has something to say about the structure questions facing the Episcopal Church. Taking a cue from a presentation given to his diocese earlier this year that "Eisenhower is dead", meaning that the centralized, corporate, model for church government that came to full bloom in the 1950's is no longer useful, he is suggesting that the bicameral structure of General Convention, created during the time of the first Presiding Bishop needs to be discarded.

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Blue Book reports unearth more anxieties over structure

From ENS, word of a trend in Blue Book reports: everyone wants to do something about perceived structural liabilities and inequities, "from the over-arching to the extremely specific."

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The Consultation Platform for General Convention 2012

The Consultation has published its platform for General Convention 2012:

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Dreams of a church

The President of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church has requested video submissions from young adults of their "Dreams of Church." This video shares [the] Rev. Ballentine's dream for an Ethiopic Rite within the Episcopal Church, as a vehicle by which the Church can honor the African Identity of many of its flock, through the ancient liturgies and witness of this Ancient African church.

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What the PB is saying at provincial synods

The presentation that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is making at provincial synods is now online. Here is an excerpt, what do you think about it?

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The young resist hymnal revision

One of the reports submitted to General Convention this year analyzes the interest in the Episcopal Church in revising the 1982 Hymnal. The task of doing the research was passed to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, and they've posted their long report on the Church Pension Group website. (See update below for more information regarding the report itself.)

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CWOB resolutions at General Convention study guide

Sharing communion without first baptizing a person is a small but common practice in the Episcopal Church right now. There's been a great deal of discussion on the question here on the Episcopal Café over the past few years.

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Is 'open table' the next big controversy?

It's befuddling - to me, at least - that The Christian Post, in having had the same amount of time to look over resolutions proposed for Indianapolis this summer as everyone else, has decided to highlight resolution C040, which promotes "open table" by eliminating Canon I.17.7, the requirement of baptism as necessary for reception of Holy Communion.

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Presiding Bishop on communion and baptism: 'Don't separate them.'

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori believes that the sacraments of communion and baptism should not be separated. At a townhall meeting in North Carolina a few months ago, she said, "If we're aware that there are people coming to the table who have not been baptized, it's time to do something.

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A "missional polity." How does that work?

"A More True Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society: Toward a Missional Polity for The Episcopal Church," an essay by the Rev. Dwight Zscheile published in the Journal of Religious Leadership in 2006 has been receiving renewed attention as the church turns its attention to restructuring its governance and administration. Why not read it and tell us what you think.

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General Convention teaching resources

Looking for resources to teach about General Convention in advance of its meeting this summer? The Diocese of Texas has put out a helpful six minute video (see below) perfect for a Sunday forum and the Episcopal Church Foundation's Vital Practices blog has made the following books and online resources available:

Learn About General Convention Graphic Booklet

'What Is General Convention?' (Audio Slideshow)

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Bonnie Anderson won't seek re-election

May 23, 2012

Dear Deputies and First Alternates,

I write to you for two reasons: to thank you for your support, friendship, prayers, challenges, brilliance and love that has inspired and humbled me during these 6 years and second, to let you know that I do not plan to stand for election as President of the House of Deputies for another term.

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Timetable: House of Deputies will elect new president and VP

Bonnie Anderson sent this email to the House of Deputies mailing list this morning. A broader release will soon follow.

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Reading the "Blue Book" for General Convention

Preparing for General Convention and overwhelmed reading the Blue Book? Two deputies have offered "cliffs notes" style commentaries and reflections on the content and resolutions:

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Questions for the candidates for PHoD and VPHod

Hi folks,

If you have questions for the (as yet unannounced) candidates for President and Vice President of the House of Deputies, submit them in the comments, and we will do our best to get them answered.

Cheers,
The Café

(UPDATE) Mark Harris has a similar question posted on his blog, and he uses an observation by Pittsburgh Deputy Jim Simons that the job of PHoD has significantly expanded over recent years, and there's been no concurrent increase in funding or any stipend. Harris wonders how people who will run will be able to afford to do that ministry… So maybe that's a question we need to be asking too.

Wish List for Next PHoD

The unanticipated election of a new person from the House of Deputies to serve as President has been on a lot of minds this past weekend. We posted some questions earlier in the day that you might like to ask people thinking about running. And over the weekend Lelanda Lee, a member of the Episcopal Church's Executive Council, posted some thoughts about what she'd like to see in a candidate.

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Turning Outwards

Susan Snook has some concerns about the way the conversation on restructuring the Episcopal Church is headed.

Imaging what someone from outer space might think of the claims that the Episcopal Church wants to refocus itself outwardly towards mission she writes:

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Understanding the Denominational Health Plan and its implementation

The Rev. Susan Snook, Vicar of Church of the Nativity, Phoenix, Arizona, writes a detailed analysis of the current state of the Denominational Health Plan passed by General Convention in 2009 and the proposals coming before Convention this summer.

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Annotated 2013-2015 proposed budget posted

From the Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs:

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A brief commentary on the budget commentary

Late Friday afternoon the Episcopal Church’s Office of Public Affairs released a commentary on the church’s draft budget including a foreword by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, commentary by Bishop Stacy Sauls, the church’s chief operating officer, and a line-by-line explanation of the budget produced by Kurt Barnes, the church’s treasurer, in consultation with Bishop Sauls.

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General Convention deputation blogs

We're starting to hear that a number of diocesan deputations to General Convention this summer are setting up blogs to keep their dioceses informed of what's happening in the lead up, during and afterwards.

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"Shared Governance: The Polity of The Episcopal Church"

With General Convention nearly upon us and a conflicted church be asked to make some fundamental decisions about its common life, taking some time to think about how we have traditionally managed our common life makes a lot of sense.

To that end a new resource is being made available for all deputies and diocesan bishops for their reading prior to meeting in Indianapolis. From a post on the House of Deputies website:

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Electing a new President of the House of Deputies

President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson updates information on elections in the House of Deputies - note change of date and times of schedule for election:

June 8, 2012

Dear Deputies and First Alternates,

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Newark votes down canonical amendment on health care

The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton discusses the background on the amendment. Today, according to Kaeton, "A canonical amendment to be in compliance with A177 was defeated." More here.

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General Convention wish list

General Convention starts in 16 days. What would you like to see happen in Indianapolis? What would you like not to happen?

General Convention predictions

Okay, we've compiled our wish lists for General Convention. Now tell us what you think will happen to key legislation.

Two guess from me: the resolution to permit Communion before Baptism or without Baptism, or regardless of Baptism will not be approved. The degree of alarm over this resolution has always seem disproportionate to the likelihood of its approval. But I have enjoyed the conversation.

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Don't restructure for mission, restructure through mission

The Rev. Lauren R. Stanley has written an opinion piece on the restructuring of the Episcopal Church for Center Aisle, a publication and, this time around, a website, offered by the Diocese of Virginia.

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Martha Alexander to run for president of House of Deputies

Martha Bedell Alexander, a trustee of the Church Pension Fund and a North Carolina state legislator, had announced that she will stand for election as president of the House of Deputies.

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Sally Johnson is a candidate for VP of House of Deputies

Sally Johnson, chancellor to the President of the House of Deputies, has announced she will run for Vice President of the House of Deputies should a clergy person be elected president.

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GOEs: Defunding a canonical mandate

The Rev. Canon Dr. Raewynne J. Whiteley posted, on the bishops and deputies listserve, a thoughtful exploration of questions surrounding the defunding the General Board of Examining Chaplains (GBEC). A history and the purpose of the GBEC and its canonical mandate can be found here. She writes:

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Polly Getz stands for election as Vice Pres of House of Deputies

From the Facebook page of Pauline Getz:

I have been asked by some Province VIII leadership to stand for election as Vice President of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church. After a great deal of prayer and consideration, the answer is Yes, and here's why:

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Analyzing the PB's budget proposal

Steve Smith and Susan Snook have analysed the Presiding Bishop's budget.

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Is $2 million for church planting a good idea? Yes! No! Help!

I would love to hear today from people who know something about church planting. The Presiding Bishop has included a new $2 million line item in the budget document she submitted to the Program, Budget and Finance Committee, and I have had a difficult time forming an opinion about it.

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The Lament over the Doctrine of Discovery

Episcopalians everywhere are invited to add their voices to the Lament Over the Doctrine of Discovery at a special event at General Convention on July 10th:

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Pension fund limits employees' role in wider church

We've learned that The Church Pension Group has a new policy as of last week’s Board of Trustees meeting. It limits the role that its employees can play in the Episcopal Church. Part of the policy reads:

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Resolution for unicameral General Convention combines clergy, lay orders

We don’t have text we can post yet, but several of us here at the Café have read a resolution that has been submitted to General Convention calling for the establishment of a unicameral governing system. The new house would consist of diocesan bishops, bishops co-adjutor and suffragan bishops; two clergy deputies and two lay deputies from each diocese. The presiding officer would be a bishop chosen by the bishops eligible to vote at the convention and approved by the deputies.

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HoD Chaplains and Musician announced

The chaplains and musician for the House of Deputies have been announced.

ENS:

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Transgender Christians and the Church's mission

Sarah Lawton, a Deputy from the Diocese of California writes about Resolutions D002 and D019, and the full inclusion of trangendered persons into the life of the Church.

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Help! We need a theme song for GC2012

Episcopal Café has just received this urgent request:

As you may recall, GC2009 say the introduction of an unofficial theme song for the gathering: "I Will Survive (General Convention)."

I have now been tasked with writing an appropriate theme song for GC2012. The possibilities are, of course, nearly endless in terms of matters to spoof and tunes to employ. You can imagine how greatly this great responsibility weighs on me.

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Deadline nears for nominations to Standing Commission, other governing bodies

[July 23, 2012] Now that the 77th General Convention has concluded, the work of the Church continues.

There is still time to submit a nomination to the General Convention office for clergy and lay volunteers to serve on committees and commissions of the General Convention and committees of the Executive Council.

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Bishop of Alabama: Yes, but no on same-sex blessings

Bishop Kee Sloan, who voted yes at General Convention to approve the new ritual for same-sex blessings, will not allow the blessings to be performed in the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.

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PB clarifies comment on 'thick' interpretion of General Convention

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said earlier this week that Executive Council members "can't always take General Convention decisions literally." Asked about this at a press conference today, she offered some clarification. From Episcopal News Service:

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Breaking: Presiding officers announce members of Structure Task Force

The Office of Public Affairs has just sent a media release announcing the membership of the new Task Force for Church Structural Reform. We hope to have a new post with about half an hour with more information about who some of the members are, as we suspect many are not widely known in the church--which we further suspect may be a good thing.

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Structure Task Force members: who they are, what they do

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies, today announced the names of the 24 members of the task force charged by General Convention with presenting a plan to the next General Convention “for reforming the Church’s structures, governance, and administration."

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Michael Barlowe named Executive Officer of General Convention

The Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe has been named Executive Officer of General Convention of the Episcopal Church. From TEC's Office of Public Affairs:

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Letter on TEC's Middle East policy stirs controversy

From Episcopal News Service:

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Tutu, Anderson, others urges Executive Council to "hold Israel accountable"

Last night the Cafe published a story from Episcopal News Service that began:

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The structure task force begins its work

The special task force of the structure of the Episcopal Church, created by the passage of Resolution C095 (which you can read below the fold) begins its work on Thursday at a conference center near Baltimore Washington International Airport.

What are your hopes and fears concerning the restructuring of the church? If you had two minutes to speak with the task force, what would you say?

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President of House of Deputies communicates

The President of the House of Deputies Gay Jennings reports on the many events and activities of various members of the House of Deputies of General Convention as well as her work on behalf of us all. Here is her speech to Episcopal Church Women

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The End: commissions and committees of The Episcopal Church?

Steve Waring of The Living Church interviews President of the House of Deputies about restructuring The Episcopal Church, the Task Force (TREC), and what she sees happening to the committees and commissions of the church:

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2018 General Convention to be in Austin, Texas

The 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church will be held in July 2018 at The Austin Convention Center, Austin, Texas (Diocese of Texas).

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Re-imagining the Office of Presiding Bishop

The history of the Office of the Presiding Bishop (PB) shows a variety of configurations and responsibilities as well as length of term. Currently the Presiding Bishop is the chief pastor and primate of the national church and its nine ecclesiastical provinces, is charged with responsibility for leadership in initiating, developing, and articulating policy and strategy, overseeing the administration of the national church staff, and speaking for the church on issues of concern and interest. She is the President of the House of Bishops and is elected by the church's General Convention to serve a nine-year term. (from the Constitution and Canons) As the Task Force for Re-imagining the Episcopal Church (TREC) looks at various models of doing church, one wonders how our leadership model might change. As TREC reports to General Convention 2015 and we elect a new Presiding Bishop (or re-elect the current one), is this the time to make changes?

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Restricting General Convention's ability to consider social justice resolutions is unwise

The recent paper from the Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church is troubling in some ways and encouraging in others. As it is a long paper, I will probably return to it a few more times. As the part that troubles me comes at the beginning of the paper in the discussion of General Convention, I will start there.

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Examining TREC's proposals to reform General Convention

I began my first essay blog posting about the paper on governance and administration from the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church by focusing on some aspects that deeply troubled me. This time I’d like to do the opposite. I think this insight is the most important one in the paper:

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On General Convention and the proposed Missionary Convocation

With the exception of its proposal to limit the legislation that comes before General Convention by topic, perhaps the most significant proposal the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church makes in its recent paper is to introduce a Missionary Convocation as a second but equally important part of the church’s triennial meeting. I image that I could be talked into thinking that this was a good idea, but currently I think it is a questionable one.

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Plea for feedback on study of marriage

(The Reverend Canon) Susan Russell asks her General Convention colleagues for feedback:

Dear HoB/D Colleagues,

The A050 Task Force on the Study of Marriage is hard at work responding to the charge we were given by GC2012, outlined here ...to create a report for the 78th General Convention in 2015.

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