Episcopal Café at General Convention, or #ecafe @ #GC77

One week from today I will be heading to Indianapolis for the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, July 4-12. I will be blogging and live blogging here at the Cafe, and tweeting and live tweeting both under my own name @JimNaught and as @episcopalcafe. We will also have material appearing with more frequency than usual on our Facebook page.

On Twitter, I will be using the Cafe's hashtag #ecafe and the General Convention hashtag #GC77. Other hashtags may spring up as events--and opportunities for cheap humor--dictate.

We may have another trick up our sleeves, or that might be a baseball cap or a pair of gloves I stuck in there and forgot about. So, more on that later. Or possibly not.

What to expect on the hot button issues at General Convention

I am on my way to Indianapolis for the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which begins, officially, on July 5, although I believe folks began trickling into town yesterday.

I don’t entirely know what to expect at this convention, but I suspect that people may arrive in a state of some agitation and find that there is little immediate legislative reason to be so stirred up.

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On not being too good for General Convention

I had a little very minor moment of self-realization recently. I am not too good for General Convention. I don’t believe that the whole thing is such a mess that I have to stand at an ironic distance and make comments that demonstrate my superior intellect and my more refined sensibility—tempting as those activities may be for a writer and an introvert.

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Corrected: 12 bishops file resolution to reduce diocesan asking to 15% in 2016

My apologies, I have made a significant mistake in reporting this story. A corrected version appears below:

A dozen bishops, led by the Rt. Rev. Thomas Ely of Vermont, have filed a resolution calling on the Program, Budget and Finance Committee to submit a budget to the General Convention that reduces to 15 percent the percentage of diocesan revenue to be committed to the budget of the wider church in 2016-18.

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Pray for General Convention

A Facebook group has been formed to encourage prayer for General Convention starting this week.

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Following General Convention

Episcopal News Service is offering a Media Hub for following General Convention with live streaming of worship services and tracking legislation among other ways of checking the activity in Indianapolis from the comfort of your computer:

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The Diocese of Indianapolis is throwing one heck of a party

From the Diocese of Indianapolis

The 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church is throwing a big party at Victory Field on Sunday, July 8, noon-4 p.m. and everyone is invited.

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Convention eve

The Rev. Marshall Scott, chair of the deputation from the Diocese of West Missouri, and a regular contributor to Daily Episcopalian, offers this brief account of July 3, this first day at General Convention.

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Can we reduce the asking right now?

The Program, Budget and Finance Committee, which is charged with delivering a budget to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church next week, has already begun its work here at convention. I don’t have much to report about it yet aside from the fact more bishops than I might have suspected would like to see the percentage of their budgets that they are expected to contribute to the wider church reduced from 19 percent to 15 percent.

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GC 2012 blogging scan

Highlights from the relatively few posts so far as people get settled in:

The Michigan GC Deputies Blog shares a photo and recap on honoring Bonnie Anderson:

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Opening remarks at General Convention from Bonnie Anderson

From Episcopal News Service:

President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson

Opening Remarks for the 77th General Convention

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Presiding Bishop's opening remarks to General Convention

Episcopal News Service reports the opening remarks to General Convention from the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori:

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View from the Convention: 'The big word is change'

Bishop Steve Lane from the Diocese of Maine presents a nice intro to General Convention in this video message to the folks back home. "The big word here at this General Convention is change," he notes, "and everywhere you go, conversation about change is taking place. Some of it is technical change, things that we can fix in easy ways ... and a lot of it is about adaptive change, our need to try new things, to experiment, to be fleeter of foot and to move more quickly and more flexibly. Lots of conversation about change and I think much less clarity and consensus about what particular changes we should make."

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Will Episcopal Relief and Development take a hit?

Episcopal Relief and Development will lose more than $700,000 that the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church intended to send its way if the church’s General Convention adopts a budget proposal offered by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

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Day 1, House of Deputies

Melodie Woerman of Episcopal News Service reports on day one of the House of Deputies:

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GC2012: The energy and passion of unexpected moments

The Rev. Marshall Scott reports:

At any given General Convention, perhaps the most interesting questions is, “What are
we really going to argue about?” That might seem an odd question. After all, before the
Convention begins there have been meetings and conversations and unnumbered blog
posts to discuss the issues.

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DANGER in the structure debates

Thomas Jackson questions the rush to change the structure of The Episcopal Church at the Diocese of California Pacific Church News, asking for fewer "buzz words" and some honesty about why it is needed:

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GC committee says time to sell 815

UPDATE: House of Deputies votes Yes - sell the building but does not give time frame.

Lauren Stanley reports for Center Aisle:

The Committee on Structure cut to the chase this morning, editing D016 down from eight resolutions to one:

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What the MSM is saying about General Convention

The Mainstream Media (MSM) reports on General Convention. Sex and gender lead the stories, of course:
Chicago Tribune:

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Palestine/Israel and Fort Worth/Quincy controversies at General Convention

Episcopal News Service (ENS) has reports of today's hearings, meetings, and events of General Convention. One hearing with passionate testimony was by the committee dealing with resolutions about Israel and Palestine:

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Frank Logue: nominee for President of House of Deputies

The Rev. Canon Frank Logue has been nominated for election as President of House of Deputies:

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PB&F passes a 19% asking

Updated with more reporting from ENS

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Bishops extend non-discrimination canons

The House of Bishops voted today to include transgender and gender identity to non-discrimination canons for laity and clergy D019 and D002 The legislation now moves to the House of Deputies.

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Knit along at General Convention

UPDATED: more info on project

The Seaman's Institute is sponsoring a "Knit Along" at General Convention. Christmas at Sea (CAS) project knits gifts for searfarers:

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Bishops hold private meeting on hierarchical nature of church

The House of Bishops met in Executive Session to discuss the meaning of hierarchical church by The Episcopal Church. This was requested by Bishops of Quincy and Fort Worth. Bishop Christopher Epting notes on his blog:

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BREAKING: Structure resolution offered by committee

UPDATE: see also Daily Episcopalian

From the blog Feeding on Manna, via David Sibley ‏@davidsibley
Omnibus Restructure Resolution from Structure Committee - fast transcription for twitterverse ‪#gc77, may not be exact transcription‬:

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Bp. Bruno shares inspiration regarding his cancer

He's not attending General Convention, but Bp. J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles had good news to share in a phone call broadcast to the House of Bishops meeting in Indianapolis. The L.A. Times reports:

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Structure in the Spotlight

Center Aisle reports from the Committee on Structure's progress. As reported last night, by the close of last evening's meeting the committee had produced a draft omnibus resolution.

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1963: Church Center opens

It was in 1963 that Church Center opened. It could be sold by 2013. The House of Deputies the other day voted to sell the Church Center at 815 at an opportune time.

Through the magic of the online Archives of the Episcopal Church here's the ENS press release of May 10, 1963:

NEW YORK, --- The new, national Episcopal Church Center, 815 Second Avenue, was dedicated Monday, April 29.

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House of Bishops releases letter on renewing dioceses

UPDATED: ENS report - see below:

The House of Bishops today responded to the controversy initiated when nine Episcopal bishops offered support through either affidavits or an amicus brief to breakaway factions attempting to take possession of the property of the church. The letter names the legitimate bishops of the four renewing dioceses, a matter which is at issue in cases in the Dioceses of Fort Worth and Quincy.

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From the closet to the altar: Integrity at General Convention

Interviews with the original organizer of the Integrity Eucharist to last year's celebration:

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A big day ahead at General Convention

Today should be a big day at General Convention (#GC77).

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Resolution on same-sex blessings heads of House of Bishops

From the Office of Public Affairs of The Episcopal Church

[July 9, 2012] The following statement has been issued by Deputy Ruth Meyers of Chicago and Bishop Thomas Ely of Vermont, chairs of the Cognate Subcommittee on Blessings of the Committee 13, Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Church Music, meeting on July 9 at the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

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After bruising, chaotic lead in, PB&F calmly produces a budget

From The Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs:

[July 9, 2012] The following statement has been issued by the members of the Episcopal Church Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance, on July 9 at the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

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Bishop Robinson has had about enough

UPDATE 7/10: Audio of +Gene's comments:

UPDATE: Complete transcription of +Gene's comments are at Center Aisle

Tom Jackson is live tweeting from the House of Bishops this morning, and he has captured a remarkable moment in which Bishop Gene Robinson, who is soon to retire as the bishop of New Hampshire, told his colleagues in the house that he was fed up with the sniping and mistreatment he has endured as the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop.

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Restructuring resolution clears committee

Here is the text of Resolution C095 Substitute, the omnibus resolution creating the task force that would take the lead in restructuring the Episcopal Church. It was approved this morning by the legislative Committee on Structure:

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Russell: Episcopal Church puts T in LGBT with resolutions' passage

The Rev. Susan Russell on the passage of two resolutions establishing anti-discrimination protections for transgender people in the Episcopal Church:

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Bishops pass blessings

The House of Bishops approve Blessings legislation #A049 on a role call vote of 111 Yes, 41 No, 3 Abstain - goes to House of Deputies next.

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World Mission "punts" Covenant resolution

The World Mission legislative committee led by Bishops Ian Douglas and Ed Little and Deputies Mark Harris and Josephine Hicks has brought forth a resolution on the proposed Anglican Covenant that essentially kicks it down the road to 2015.

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Difficult choices: Israel/Palestine resolutions

Marshall Scott reflects on the resolutions on Palestine and Israel as they came to the floor of the House of Deputies on Monday July 9:

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Another big day ahead at General Convention

The House of Deputies will discuss legislation on the Anglican Covenant today, possibly quite soon. There is deep dissatisfaction with what some consider the wishy-washy nature of the legislation, but it is unclear how broad it is, or whether, with so much on the agenda, there is energy to do much about it.

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Gay Jennings elected President of House of Deputies

The Rev. Canon Gay Jennings was elected President of the House of Deputies on the first ballot.

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The proposed budget of the Episcopal Church

Here is the proposed budget of the Episcopal Church, 2013-2015.

Whaddaya think?

Deputies/Bishops vote no decision on Anglican Covenant

Updated: Bishops Concur

The House of Deputies and the House of Bishops chose to follow the lead of the World Mission Committee and passed both of their recommendations:

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Deputies sing after passing omnibus restructuring resolution

The House of Deputies passed the resolution below and sent it to the House of Bishops. It passed unanimously, and following its passage the house sang "Sing a New Church Into Being, to the tune of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."

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Deputies Concur on Blessings

UPDATED - 12 bishops sign dissenting statement - see Episcopal News Service
UPDATED with News links - see below:

The A049
House of Deputies concurs with House of Bishops

lay 86 yes 19 no 5 divided 5 78%
clergy 85 yes 22 no 4 divided 76%
motion carries in lay and clery orders

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Bishop Roskam preaches truth to House of Bishops

Tom Jackson writing on the Diocese of California news site:

Yesterday Bishop Catherine S. Roskam stood and preached truth to one of the most powerful men’s club’s of the Episcopal Church: the House of Bishops.

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Youthful presence livens Convention

This year's General Convention has a certain youthful energy to it. The Young Adult Festivala for 18-to-30-year-olds drew 95 participants. Eighteen teenagers are participating as non-voting delegates as part of the "Official Youth Presence." Young people are also on hand as volunteers and observers, reportedly having a great time.

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Another day at General Convention

While the budget of the Episcopal Church has been presented, it hasn't yet been approved by either house. The deputies are about to start considering it now (11:30). The bishops will take it up within the next two days.

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Breaking: Bishops pass restructuring resolution. Now to form the task force

The House of Bishops unanimously passed a restructuring resolutions that had already been passed unanimously by the House of Deputies. Now the Presiding Bishop and the new President of the House of Deputies must appoint a special task force of no more than 24 members to begin the job.

New members of Executive Council

New members of Executive Council elected at General Convention:

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Some fun at General Convention

It is not all work and resolutions and parliamentary procedure. Some have developed games to lighten the atmosphere:

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Do we listen? hear?

Marshall Scott continues his reflections on General Convention:

What does it mean, I wonder, when we say that we want to listen to each other?

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Byron Rushing elected Vice President of House of Deputies

Episcopal News Service ENS reports that Byron Rushing has been elected Vice President of the House of Deputies:

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The 'dangerous prayer' of St. Benedict

Wisdom of St. Benedict, from yesterday's homily by the Rev. Stephanie Spellers at the Community Eucharist of the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church:

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Final day of General Convention underway

Today is the final day of General Convention. Much of the most significant legislative work has been done. The Official Youth Presence has gone home. But business goes on.

Today the Deputies will receive legislation that would allow a diocese to dissolve its relationship with a bishop. This legislation has passed the House of Bishops.

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Musical entertainment from Five 'Marks' of Mission

Five bishops named Mark provide a moment of inspiration at General Convention. (Video by Bishop Michael Curry)

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PB to GC: 'Step out there ... and love one another'

From Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's closing sermon, delivered today at the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church:

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Bishops affirm baptism as requirement for communion

At General Convention today, the House of Bishops affirmed baptism as a precursor to communion.The matter now returns to the House of Deputies. In voting today, the Bishops amended this resolution approved by the House of Deputies, striking the last line (in italics):

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General Convention draws to a close: 'There's no stopping us'

Matthew Davies of Episcopal News Service offers this wrap-up of the 77th General Convention:

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Summarizing General Convention #77

Some dioceses summarize of the accomplishments of General Convention and what it means for the local church.

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Rites for animals available

General Convention approved new rites and prayers for the care of beloved animals Thursday.

Resolution A054 recommends the liturgies be made available “for use in a variety of settings to provide pastorally for people caring for animals,” and the committee revised the format to make it easier for worshipers to use at home.

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Thanks for following the Café during General Convention

Thanks to everyone who followed our coverage of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church here on the Café, on our Facebook page, and especially on Twitter, which was the defining medium of the convention.

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Surprising "Truth Squad" takes down WSJ op-ed

An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal published yesterday was so filled with errors and misleading statements that it brought immediate rebuttal from across the Episcopal spectrum.

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A precarious moment for liberal Christianity?

Liberal Christianity would appear to be on the ropes, judging from declining membership numbers in the Episcopal Church and other increasingly progressive denominations. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat describes the Episcopal Church as "flexible to the point of indifference on dogma, friendly to sexual liberation in almost every form, willing to blend Christianity with other faiths, and eager to downplay theology entirely in favor of secular political causes." He posits:

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A thank you (and rebuttal) to Ross Douthat

The Rev. John Ohmer, rector of St. James' Episcopal Church in Leesburg, Va., respectfully and deftly takes issue with key assertions made in Ross Douthat's New York Times column, Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?. He also agrees with Douthat on certain points:

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Hear anything today about General Convention?

On the first Sunday after the close of the 77th General Convention what did you hear (or say) either in a sermon, community forum, announcements, or coffee hour -- or receive in written communication from your bishop, rector or diocesan deputation?

Standing Festivus on its head

In the spirit of "Singing a New Church into Being," as those of us who attended the just-completed General Convention in Indianapolis promised to do, we designate today Festivus Inverted, a day for gracefully letting go of grievances, writing 'em down on little slips of virtual paper, gathering all that paper in the middle of a virtual field and setting the whole pile ablaze.

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Debriefing General Convention

There is a great deal of misinformation circulating about what the Episcopal Church did at its just completed General Convention. Maybe the editors and the community here at Episcopal Cafe can help set a few records straight for our readers. Or maybe we can point you at someone who can. If you've got questions about what the convention did or didn't do, pose them in the comments, and we will do our best to answer them.

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What is stopping you?

During General Convention I frequently heard people speak about the kind of church that they wanted to help bring into being. My question posed not as a challenge, but to gather information was: What is stopping you?

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Once more dear friends...

A surprising number of Episcopalians have rallied to the challenge posed by critics of our recently completed General Convention, particularly New York Times columnist Ross Douthat.

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Can't we all just get along?

More reactions to the reactions to the reactions to General Convention and the Episcopal Church. Popular bloggers, AKMA in Random Thoughts and Rachel Held Evans both discuss the liberal-conservative divide and wonder how to encourage conversation between those who have divided into camps over issues to get beyond tossing snark at one another.

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What is stopping you? more...

In the category of "great minds," the Rev. Canon Frank Logue asks us to continue dreaming along with our siblings in Christ in the video Mainline Summer:

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Where have all the young people gone?

Mark Silk offers some food for thought in his response to the current debate about progressive, liberal, and conservative churches and their decline/growth:

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A bishop-elect moves to a new House

Rhode Island Bishop-Elect Nick Knisely, on his blog Entangled States, shares the experience of moving from the House of Deputies to the House of Bishops:

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Defenders of the faith

Three new articles address Ross Douthat's claim that the Episcopal Church is declining due to its "liberal" progression.

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Bp. Waldo asks prayers for guidance in South Carolina

From The State today in Columbia, S.C.:

The leader of Midlands and Upstate Episcopalians said this week he remains in prayer and open talks with his fellow bishop in the Lowcountry in hopes of staving off a fracture within the state and the national church over gender issues.

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Presiding Bishop reflects on General Convention 2012

The Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori reflects on General Convention 2012. Episcopal News Service:

Message to the Church

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+Douglas to permit same sex blessings and civil marriage in CT

Ian Douglas, Bishop of Connecticut, is a member of the Anglican Communion Standing Committee. His letter on same-sex blessings is below.

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