Saturday collection - General Convention Edition

Updated. Monday, July 20, 2009 Here is a collection of a few of the good things Episcopalians did at General Convention these past two weeks that did not necessarily make the news.

The following list is based on a list from the Diocese of Connecticut web-site. Thanks to Karin Hamilton for keeping up with this and sharing it with the folks at home.

Updated: When we first posted this, we said that the "view legislation" page is broken. It is now fixed. We will begin the process of updating links.

We have been cautioned that it will take time, a week or two maybe, for the legislation page to be completely updated and for a summary of every action that was taken to be created.

Here is the link to view the legislation of the 75th General Convention.

Here is a sample of items that have passed both Houses. This is not a complete list of all legislation presented or passed by General Convention. It has been checked against the Final Resolution Status Report found here. Links are to the final forms of the resolutions.

Three resolutions dealing with the ministry to the incarcerated and their families were passed: A019 Model Prisoner Ministry, C075, Camps for children of the incarcerated, and D095, Prison Ministry

A065 a resolution Convening and Supporting Evangelists including the addition of the role of "lay evangelist" to the list of possible licensed lay ministries in the ministry canons.

Several resolutions were adopted concerning Ecumenical relationships: A072 about Interim Eucharistic Sharing with the United Methodist Church as well as D054 which outlines interim Eucharistic Sharing with the United Methodist Church & authorizes the start of dialog with the Historically African American Methodist Churches. A075, an agreement between the Presbyterian Church USA and the Episcopal Church was passed. The passage of A076 means the start of dialog with the Church of Sweden.

A077 on Episcopal Health Ministries.

A082, Charter for Lifelong Christian Formation.

Three resolutions passed concerning the revision of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, now known as Holy Women, Holy Men: A096 included additional calendar commemorations. A097 authorized the trial use of these commemorations over the next triennium. and A098 contained principles for future revisions of Holy Women, Holy Men. Additional Commons were also passed in A099.

A138, Established a mandatory lay employee pension system.

On racism, two resolutions were passed: A142 Recommit to being anti-racists and A143 which extend encouragement to research the complicity of the Episcopal Church in the slave trade..

A154 continues Jubilee Ministry grants.

A177 detailing the denominational health care plan.

A185 Proposed Title IV--clergy discipline canon-- revisions passed both Houses with an amendment to remove the "self-incrimination" clause. This resolution passed after nine years of intensive work over three General Conventions.

A191 on Ministry formation.

B003 on camping ministries. This passed both Houses but does not appear in the budget.

B006 on the conomic justice implications of immigration.

B013 on quipping the baptized for ministry in The Episcopal Church.

C013 on the Financial Support for Those Studying Ordained Ministry passed both Houses though with less funding than requested in the original resolution. What funding that was approved will flow through the Society for the Increase of the Ministry.

C051 on ministry to wounded soldiers and veterans.

Read this ENS report on D038 . This is a major resolution detailing a strategic vision for reaching Latinos/Hispanics. D038 was passed enthusiastically early in the Convention but final budget includes only 8.5% of the original asking. The reduced amount is seen as "seed money."

D055 reaffirmed the tithe as the minimum standard of giving.
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A complete list may be found here.
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If you want to get a flavor of what it was like to sit in the House of Deputies at General Convention, as well get a handy summary of legislation that passed the House of Deputies, read Lowell Grisham's blog "General Convention." A priest and deputy from Arkansas, he did a great job of summarizing each days activity as well as giving a flavor of the preaching and worship each day through out the Convention. While he does not list resolution numbers, it is a useful commentary on the day-to-day flow of the meeting and he makes what was talked about very accessible. Find it here.
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Here is the Episcopal News Service report on other work of the Convention.

Resolution D018 urges bishops to develop a pastoral teaching resource on God's mission and the global economic crisis and invites dioceses and congregations to use Lent 2010 as a time of "penitential reflection on the brokenness of the global economic order and its reformation in light of the gospel."

Resolution B029, approved on first reading, will amend the church's constitution to remove the provision that bishop elections within 120 days of General Convention receive approval at convention. All other bishop elections receive consents by diocesan bishops and Standing Committees, and this resolution would make that process apply to all elections.

Deputies voted not to concur with actions by the House of Bishops July 16 on Resolution C016 dealing with nondiscrimination language in church canons. Deputies earlier had added gender identity and expression to the list of factors for which people cannot be discriminated against. The House of Bishops then struck the entire list and replaced it with "all baptized persons." Deputies said the church needs to be specific in its nondiscrimination canons and chose not to accept the bishop's proposed language.

Deputies also adopted on second reading Resolution A051, which changes the church's constitution to make it easier to license clergy from other denominations to officiate in the Episcopal Church, a move made in anticipation of possible full communion with the United Methodist Church.

Deputies also adopted several resolutions dealing with the church's liturgical life. They included:

B020, requesting that Thurgood Marshall be added to the church's liturgical calendar of observances;
A178, encouraging dioceses, congregations and individuals to remember and support Episcopal Relief and Development's work during Lent;
A088, adopting Rachel's Tears, Hannah's Hopes, liturgical resources to assist with healing after abortions or other childbearing-related losses;
C078, directing development of a liturgy for the loss of a companion animal; and
A099, adding various observances and prayers to the church's liturgical calendar.

Comments (7)

Lowell Grisham is near and dear to my heart. When I entered into the EC as a 16 yr old, he was the new priest at my parish in Fort Smith, and played a huge, foundational even, role in my spiritual formation. The tale is long, but my heart is warmed to see him linked here. You can trust his insight and gentle humor.

So let me get this strait.
We are, once again, suspending our ordinal in order to have some sort of specious unity with Churches who only share the vaguest similarities in terms of what the Ministry and the sacraments are?

JohnRobinson,
Is your objection to Eucharistic sharing with the United Methodists? On what basis are you claiming that they "only share the vaguest similarities [with TEC] in terms of what the Ministry and the sacraments are"? I'm guessing that your objection is coming from an Anglo-Catholic basis (correct me, please, if I am wrong). My confident guess is that you'd find lots of Episcopalians who would disagree with your particular notion of what "the Ministry and the sacraments are." The Methodists certainly have a legitimate claim to having continued an authentically Anglican position on these issues.

Be this as it may, I would argue that our common baptism and our faith in the Triune God trump our denominational ordinal.

Might I suggest a review of the Lambeth-Chicago Quadrilateral (pgs. 876-878 in the BCP)?

I'm especially intrigued by "B013 on quipping the baptized for ministry in The Episcopal Church.

So all we really need is some good quipping? ;-) Count me in!

[Sorry, Andrew; I just couldn't resist.]

That's why I love the Episcopal Church. We quip the saints.

William Gilders-

I've read the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, and wish that it had been adhered to as carefully as it deserves.
For one thing we have the utter refusal of the UMC to adhere to the "elements ordained by (Christ)." As picky as it sounds, they use, as a rule not an exception, pasteurized Grape Juice. That is a reflection of their theology and comes out of the Pietism that so affected Wesley. This seems to just be papered over and ignored rather than directly addressed. Poo-pooing it dosn't make it go away.

And now we come to the crux of the matter with section 4 of the Quadrilateral. A UMC Bishop is not seen in the same light as our Ordinal sees the episcopate. There has been little to no attempt to preserve the Historic Episcopacy in any of the Methodist Churches in the United States, and the foundation of the Methodists here after the revolution included a repudiation of the concept of the Historic Episcopacy (Not to mention the slightly different concept of Apostolic Succession) with the ordination and sending of Coke and Asbury.

Papering over these differences with bold proclamations about Baptism (which are becoming increasingly cheep as that Sacrament is increasingly downplayed in some quarters) don't really aid Christian unity. Rather, it just allows them to go unadressed just under the surface.

To answer your question/accusation I am not am Anglo-Catholic. I am a residual High and Dry, a Reformed Catholic if you will. What you may find surprising if many Episcopalians might share my concerns but are not able to articulate them. As I said, papering over differences dose not serve Christian unity, and neither dose condescending dismissal.

JohnRobinson,
I agree, "condescending dismissal" does not serve Christian unity. That's why I had such a problem with what I took to be(correctly, it turns out) your condemnation of the steps towards Eucharistic sharing with the United Methodists.

I'm sorry that you thought was levelling an "accusation" of Anglo-Catholicism. I don't regard Anglo-Catholicism as a crime... simply as an identity within the Big Tent of Anglicanism. I'm myself in the process of moving from Anglo-Catholicism to a much more "Reformed Catholic" stance. Part of this movement involves becoming VERY unconcerned with whether the Eucharistic wine is fermented or not. Sorry, but I just can't see the alcoholic quality of the element as being essential to Christ's ordinance. Yes, making an issue of it does strike me as "picky."

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