Via ENS: At today’s Eucharist, the Rev Kimberly Jackson gave voice to the breadth and impact of General Convention.
Sisters and brothers in Christ, our gathering here — this 78th Convention of The Episcopal Church has been incredible! It has been amazing. We’ve seen history made in the Supreme Court’s decisions of last week. We’ve made history here in the election of our Church’s first Black Presiding Bishop! Friends, the energy in this place is exciting, invigorating and I have so much hope for us, for the Church, our nation and indeed world!
Friends, we serve a mighty God! And we, we are so blessed so abundantly blessed, to be a part of God’s Church!
In the midst of all of this excitement and good news, we have chanted and cheered, shed tears of joy, and some of us have sang ourselves hoarse. These feel like happy times in our Church. So in many ways, today’s readings just don’t seem to quite fit.
Remember the gospel reading? John is calling people snakes and warning about the wrath to come! And then the Epistle has all of this militaristic language about putting on armor so that we can fight. Fight? We’ve been fighting in this Church for decades. We don’t want to fight. These are happy times. But in truth, if we’ve learned anything at all about last week, we know that while many of us were celebrating marriage equality, we were also grieving the racist murders of the Charleston 9.
Now, I know this may make me sound like I’m not an Episcopalian, but friends here’s the truth, “the spiritual forces of evil” that Paul talks about are real. We are wrestling against “rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers in this present darkness.” Those powers, those systems of oppression, and authorities – they have many names! They are named: white supremacy, sexism, trans* and homophobia and racism. We are called to find strength to shield ourselves and others from the fiery darts of classism, environmental injustices, and xenophobia…. We called to reject the notion that some people’s lives are of greater value than others.
So, yes we do celebrate, but we also must fight. For as the young people at Black Lives Matter rallies have reminded us, it is our duty to fight. And I know, I know that I’ve rattled off a long list of -isms and phobias that seem way too big for us to ever defeat. But my friends, I flew out here from Stone Mountain, Georgia with some good news. Friends, the good news is that we do not fight alone. We fight against the forces of darkness with ourselves together. We fight as one. We fight with the power of the Holy Spirit providing us with strength and wisdom.
ENS reports on a joint morning session to discuss the Five Marks of Mission.
Developed by the Anglican Consultative Council between 1984 and 1990, the Five Marks “are summed up in the image of pursuing God’s kingdom here on Earth as it is in heaven,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said in her opening remarks. …
“All of God’s mission in which we are engaged is done in a particular, incarnate context,” Jefferts Schori said. “We can’t do this in theory. We do it personally through our own interactions, our own relationships, our own stewardship, our own reconciliation, our own ministry in the world. These Five Marks of Mission are a summary of what it means to be a Christian in the world.”
In the hourlong conversation period that followed, brief videos introduced the Five Marks, one by one, and after each video, deputations engaged in conversation, using a set of questions related to each Mark, such as: How are we proclaiming the Good News to different demographic groups? How do our current diocesan structures enhance or impede our proclamation? What is the relationship between outreach and evangelism? How can people see Jesus in our work of caring for the earth?
Find the videos here.
In the afternoon, the House of Deputies took up debate on an update to the 30-year-old policy on alcohol in the church, with a resolution that
acknowledge[s] The Episcopal Church’s long-standing tolerance for the use of alcohol which, in some cases, has contributed to its misuse, and has undermined a climate of wholeness and holiness for all; that our Church culture too often avoids hard conversations about alcohol use, and the role of forgiveness and compassion in healing and recovery; and that The Episcopal Church now commits to create a new normal in our relationship with alcohol. We aspire to be a place in which conversations about alcohol, substance misuse, or addiction are not simply about treatment but about renewal, justice, wholeness, and healing.
The TREC report and recommendations then came to the fore, with discussion of Standing Commissions, and examination of the role of Executive Council.
Who is the ultimate authority in the decision making processes for the church? #GC78 Committee answers “General Convention”
— The Episcopal Cafe (@episcopalcafe) June 30, 2015
In the meantime, the House of Bishops rejected a call
for the formation of a task force, the members of which shall be jointly appointed by the Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies, to study and facilitate church-wide dialogue concerning the practice of
Open Tableinviting all persons, baptized and unbaptized, to receive Holy Communion…
More to come tomorrow. Follow the live twitter feed: @episcopalcafe
Posted by Rosalind Hughes