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:
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the focus of two hours of passionate testimony July 6 at a public hearing in the National and International Concerns Committee. About 40 people testified on the 14 resolutions that are currently being considered by General Convention.
The resolutions range from calling the church to support more intentional economic investment in the Palestinian Territories that would support the creation of a future state to asking the church to divest from Israeli companies that profit from the occupation of Palestinian land.
All of the resolutions acknowledge the need for the church to engage in education and advocacy concerning the conflict, but many of the speakers held divergent views on how such an effort should be accomplished, including which resources would be helpful for study.[An earlier ENS story that outlines the content of the resolutions and additional context is available here.]
The hearing comes one day after the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), following two hours of speeches at its General Assembly in Pittsburgh, rejected divestment in favor of positive investment as part of its position on peace in the Middle East.
Another issue comes from the Dioceses of Fort Worth and Quincy who want clarification about the interference in court cases between the Dioceses and those who have broken away from The Episcopal Church:
Episcopal Church Diocese of Quincy Provisional Bishop John Buchanan and Fort Worth Provisional Bishop Wallis Ohl want the House of Bishops to “set the record on the polity of this church regarding its hierarchical character.”
Buchanan and Ohl wrote to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori July 5 to make the request and the House of Bishops discussed their letter during a closed session here July 6. The house is due to continue that discussion at the beginning of their afternoon legislative session July 7, Buchanan and Ohl told Episcopal News Service in an interview after the house recessed.
In their letter Buchanan and Ohl detail four ways in which they say nine bishops made false claims about the nature of Episcopal Church governance in two court filings concerning property litigation in Fort Worth and Quincy. They say those claims “aid and comfort breakaway factions” who want to cripple the church by taking title and control of the church’s real and personal property.
Those court filings have also been the subject of reports July 2 that two Title IV disciplinary complaints have been filed about five active bishops and four retired bishops.
“This is not a matter of a few unhappy bishops stating their personal views on church polity,” Buchanan and Ohl wrote in their letter. “They each affirmatively and officially acted by injecting themselves, intentionally and without invitation from the bishops exercising jurisdiction, into local litigation, opposing this church and sister dioceses on core ecclesiastical issues regarding the very identity of other dioceses.”