There was movement on the big issues of marriage equality and BCP revision, but other business continued apace as well.
The House of Deputies (HoD) approved B012 Marriage rites for the Whole Church, with amendment. The resolution now goes back to committee to try to craft a compromise between the slightly different versions passed by each house.
Prayer Book Revision
The House of Bishops (HoB) took up A068 Plan for the Revision of the Book of Common Prayer
In their discussion, there were concerns expressed about retaining the traditional Trinitarian formula (Father, Son & Holy Spirit), the extensive cost of the project (2 million dollars in the first 3 years of an [at least] 12-year process), and whether or not this is the best project to undertake at this point in the life of the church.
Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple, Suffragan Bishop in North Carolina, rose to speak in support of the revision, saying she wasn’t concerned about the cost and timing because the history of BCP revision has shown increasing engagement with the world in mission at each step. Calling on the bishops to trust she said; “I hear fear, and th;s surprising to me for a group that talks a lot about courage.”
Ultimately, the bishops decided to put off their vote until tomorrow.
Also best line in the debate from bishop Johnston of Virginia: “Prayer C, the lesiure-suit of liturgics”
Seminaries and Seminarians
HoB adopted with amendment A027 New Funding for Clergy Formation
The task force committee shall be made up of two (2) bishops, three (3) priests or deacons, and five (5) members of the laity. It shall develop and implement a plan to provide need-based central scholarship funding to individuals pursuing theological education who are preparing to serve as priests or deacons in non-stipendiary, or part-time positions or in bi-vocational ministries in small congregations. This plan shall work to expand the funding available to aspiring priests and deacons who are engaged in theological education other than full-time seminary education. In addition to considering other funding sources, the task force committee shall examine the possible use of donor-directed endowment funds held in trust by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society [DFMS] as a partial means to fulfill this mandate; and be it further
HoB approved with amendment A005 Continue a Church-wide Network for Planting Churches that deleted language requiring matching funds from dioceses, reduced funding level by 1 million (to 5.8 million)
Transgender Identities in Church Records
HoD approve (a substitute) A088 Proposed Guidelines for Amending Church Records that directs the office of the Archives to determine a process for changing genders in church records for Trans folks. They are to have a plan in place and approved by Executive Council by the end of 2019
Two Resolution moved through the HoB regarding Parochial reports. A051 Modify Parochial Report would add information on Safe Church Audits as required by the Model Policies for the Protection of Children and Youth and the Model Policies for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults approved in 2017 and A053 Design a New Parochial Report would direct a redesign with input from key stakeholders and also directs a redesign of the online interface that would allow data to be integrated into other networked tools for broader sharing and analysis. These are scheduled for the HoD tomorrow.
The theme of today’s worship was Reconciliation, with the Right Reverend Dr. Prince G. Singh, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, New York, preaching; he came to the United States 25 years ago with his wife, Dr. Roja Singh.
“You, the Episcopal Church, have received us with abundant grace. People like me belong in this church. I think we can help ‘curry up’ the Jesus Movement.”
“Sorry, that was tacky. But seriously, I stand here in solidarity with my many siblings from Asia and other parts of the world who do not get represented in leadership very often…
I take comfort that I am among practitioners of love.”
He drew from the Old Testament reading, the story of Noah (Genesis 8:12-17, 20-22) as well as from the Gospel of Luke (23:32-43).
“Listen to God in the Noah story. ‘I will never again curse the ground because of humankind…’
Noah’s generation received a wake-up call from God.”
“If God can repent, people in power can repent, and say sorry, not necessarily because they were wrong, but because they did not show mercy, or they went too far.”
“The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation. Watch out! …. This is more than comfort food.” #GC79
— Sarah SSM (@sarahrandallssm) July 9, 2018
General Convention celebrated camps and conference centers today.
Many expressed the need for more women in the House of Bishops by wearing purple scarves:
Today is Purple Scarf Day at #GC79. Currently, the House of Bishops is less that nine percent women and over 91 percent men. Episcopalians are wearing purple scarves in support of more women in the House of Bishops. Show your support today! #EDOT #girlpower #womenbishops pic.twitter.com/Wk6064IXGz
— Episcopal Diocese TX (@TexasDiocese) July 9, 2018
Today was also declared Lent Madness Day, and the vote was held and results announced for the 2019 first bracket:
— Lent Madness (@LentMadness) July 9, 2018
Social Media Commentary
All due respect, Bishop Johnson, but no it’s not.
— Knox Liberal (@LiberalKnox) July 10, 2018
…and Flat Jesus and General Convention Pigeon continued to make the rounds:
— Jamie McMahon (@luminousdrkness) July 9, 2018
— jewlz (@RJ_JWM) July 9, 2018
People are passing Flat Jesus to the front of our #GC79 congregation. It looks a bit like he’s body surfing. Which of course he would do…
— Anne Schnaare (@revanneschnaare) July 9, 2018
–social media and worship additions from contributing editor Cara Modisett