#GC79 Roundup for July 12

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With General Convention’s legislative work set to end at 6:30 CST on July 13, the rush to work through more than 500 resolutions continued on Thursday.   Here is a run down on some of the day’s events:

Cuba
After historic votes by the House of Bishops and House of Deputies to restore Cuba as a Diocese of the Episcopal Church, a crowdfunding campaign was launched on GoFundMe in order to assist the Diocese of Cuba in closing the gap in pensions for the Diocese of Cuba.  The GoFundMe page, started by the Rev. Nic Mather of Spokane, states:

“Part of the challenge in the reentry is that the clergy of Cuba have not been able to pay into the pension fund throughout their time in ministry to God’s Church and its people.

As mentioned in the House of Bishops, if every Episcopalian gave $0.50 the gap in pension funding would be made up. Some Bishops from our smallest dioceses have committed $1 per member of their diocese, but it’s really up to us to ensure this happens.”

Mather’s initial goal is to raise $5,000 as a show of support for the Diocese as they are welcomed back into the Episcopal Church.

 

Budget and Finances
The House of Deputies and House of Bishops both accepted the proposed budget of $133.8 million dollars for the 2019-2021 triennium.   Although several amendments were proposed, none passed. The presiding bishop’s priorities of evangelism, racial reconciliation, and creation care are the first three sections of the budget, revealing a church-wide commitment to those priorities.

In addition to passing the budget, General Convention also had several other actions related to finances throughout the day.

General Convention passes a resolution calling on the Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies to create a task force on the Church’s Theology of Money.  The resolution calls upon this task force to:

 “… use scripture, approved liturgical resources, other theological texts,  and previous actions of General Convention to summarize the ways in which The Episcopal Church understands the theology of money and financial resources in the way we give, invest, and spend…”

The resolution also calls upon the task force to study ethical investing, including as it related to shareholder activism, responsible outcomes, and ethical selection and management.

Liturgical Revision
Both houses of General Convention passed Resolution D078 which provides alternative language options in Prayers A, B, and D; the revisions will be available for trial use until the next comprehensive prayer book revision.  The resolution provides these alternative language versions of prayers in addition rather than instead of the existing prayers.  Changes in the alternative language prayers include:

  • Priests may begin any of the three rites by saying “Blessed be God: most holy, glorious and undivided Trinity.” The current Opening Acclamation of “Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit” is also an option. In either case, the people’s response is “And blessed be God’s reign, now and for ever. Amen.”
  • Eucharistic Prayer B contains an optional wording for the sentence “Unite us to your Son in his sacrifice, that we may be acceptable through him, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” The option reads “Unite us in the sacrifice of Christ, through whom we are made acceptable to you, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”
  • Eucharistic Prayer D offers the option of adding the word “matriarchs” after “patriarchs” in this sentence: “And grant that we may find our inheritance with [the Blessed Virgin Mary, with patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, (with ____) and all the saints who have found favor with you in ages past.”

The revisions will be available electronically at no cost.

Israel-Palestine
The House of Deputies passed five resolutions related to the Israel-Palestine conflict although the fate of some of the resolutions in the House of Bishops is uncertain.

Both houses passed Resolution D027which condemns Israel’s use of lethal force against unarmed Palestinians.

Resolution B016, which was passed by the deputies, calls on the Episcopal Church to follow in the footsteps of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and develop criteria for responsible investment in Israel-Palestine, with particular attention to investment in Palestine and other areas where human rights violations impact residents.

For a rundown of the final day of General Convention, check back tomorrow.

 

Photo Credit: House of Deputies Parliamentarian Bryan Krislock offers a visual explanation July 12 of how to consider the efficiency of debate. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

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