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General Convention reinforces its creation care stance

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 6:02pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] General Convention addressed some 18 resolutions further strengthening its position on the stewardship of the environment and creation care, sending a message of engagement to Episcopalians churchwide.

“The number of care of creation resolutions that passed General Convention 79 was remarkable and a sign of a growing, vital spirit in the Episcopal Church around creation care,” said California Bishop Marc Andrus, a member of the Environmental Stewardship and Care of Creation Committee and co-chair of the Advisory Council on the Stewardship of Creation, in a statement emailed to Episcopal News Service.

The 79th General Convention met at the Austin Convention Center from July 5-13. Creation care is one of the three priorities of the Episcopal Church. The other two are evangelism and racial reconciliation and justice.

Several creation care resolutions, including A018, addressed Episcopalians’ participation in the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement calls on the countries of the world to limit carbon emissions voluntarily, which will require a decrease in dependence on fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy sources; and for developed countries, those responsible for the majority of emissions both historically and at present, to commit to $100 billion in development aid annually by 2020 to developing countries.

In June 2017, as part of his “American First” strategy, President Donald Trump announced the United States’ withdrawal from the international agreement, saying it undermines the economy and places the United States at a disadvantage.

By addressing participation in the Paris Agreement, the Episcopal Church joined the We Are Still In movement.

“We said we valued our participation in the United Nations climate summits and resolved to fully engage in them,” said Andrus.

“At the level of us as Episcopalians, and in our congregations, institutions and dioceses we began the beautiful, big commitment to daily choices leading to sustainable lives. It is possible that the Episcopal Church is the first denomination to join the partnership of businesses, cities, states, regions, faith bodies and tribes working together to keep the United States’ commitment to the Paris Agreement.”

Resolution C049 encourages churches to serve and promote locally grown food. B027 introduced gender inclusivity in climate change action. A213 promotes energy and water efficiency across the church. B025 urges the church to learn about regional watersheds and aquifers, recognizes water as a commons and access to water and sanitation as a human right.  C063 advocates for ocean health through public policy advocacy, for example “to prevent or limit adverse effects to species and ecosystems from offshore oil, gas, and mineral exploration, drilling, and extraction and to support sustainable fisheries”; and “to prevent illegal fishing, over-fishing, and by-catch.”

D081 helps communities affected by change in energy use as they transition to clean energy economies. And D053 encourages stewardship of creation with church-owned Land.

“[What] these resolutions are helpful for is, that while we do live on the frontline of creation, we do have a lot of variety in the sorts of parishes and property that we use,” said Alaska Bishop Mark Lattime, who served as the committee’s secretary.

“I’ve got churches in our urban areas that have been asking about what kind of support we can get so that we can perhaps change some of our properties, how we could be more energy efficient, how we can be more active in reducing greenhouse gases, and I think the resolutions that we adopted and looked at this year will help to provide those resources, as well.”

Not all the creation care resolutions, however, originated in the stewardship and creation care committee. On July 12, the House of Bishops received “with open and broken hearts the witness of Bernadette Demientieff to the struggle and plight of the Gwich’in people” by unanimously passing Resolution X023.

Even in times of food shortage and starvation, the Gwich’in have chosen not to go into the coastal plain, which they consider “the sacred place where life begins,” said Demientieff, during a July 10 TEConversation focused on creation care.

Energy companies view the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, particularly its 1.5 million-acre coastal plain, as a potential oil and natural gas bonanza. This conflict has fueled for more than 30 years a contentious debate over whether this coastal plain should be opened to oil drilling or kept as unspoiled habitat.

In December 2017, the Trump administration and congressional Republicans opened the refuge to oil exploration. In April this year, a first step was taken toward allowing drilling.

“The Episcopal Church has historically stood in solidarity with the Gwinch’in, but right now is a very crucial time because of course the 1002 section of the ANWR has been opened for further exploration and development in the extractions field, and that’s of great, great concern,” said Lattime.

Finally, A068 called for eventual liturgical revisions to the Book of Common Prayer “that incorporate and express understanding, appreciation, and care of God’s creation.”

During convention, the Diocese of California launched a web-based carbon tracker for the Episcopal Church intended to support personal and communal choices. The fully functional carbon tracker will be available to U.S.-based diocese of the Episcopal Church by spring 2019 and the rest of the church by the fall.

–Lynette Wilson is a reporter and managing editor of the Episcopal News Service.

Convention backs evangelism spending as leaders develop tools for the Jesus Movement

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 5:54pm

Postcards with the Evangelism Charter were distributed in the House of Deputies before the vote on A029. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] It never inspired the fiery passion of the debates on marriage or Israel-Palestine. It never threatened to upset the Episcopal Church’s status quo like the debates on prayer book revision.

But evangelism was a constant theme at the 79thGeneral Convention – and not only at the large revival July 7 when Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached to a crowd of thousands.

The bishops and deputies who gathered here from July 5 to 13 embraced their inner evangelists in ways subtle and grand throughout the church’s triennial gathering. They engaged people on the street in conversations about faith. They pledged to follow Curry’s “Way of Love” when they return home. And they approved a three-year church budget that allocates $5.2 million for evangelism, including $3 million for redeveloping declining congregations and starting new congregations, also known as church plants.

The Rev. Stephanie Spellers, the presiding bishop’s canon for evangelism, reconciliation and creation care, has felt a lot of momentum since the last General Convention, starting with simply reclaiming the word “evangelism.”

“At this convention, what we’ve said is we’re taking it further and figuring out how is it that we as Episcopalians share and celebrate the good news of Jesus, with no shame, but also in a way that feels uniquely Episcopalian,” Spellers said in an interview with Episcopal News Service on July 12, the day before the end of General Convention.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry begins an impassioned sermon before a packed audience at a revival held on July 7 at Austin’s Palmer Center. Photo: Mike Patterson/Episcopal News Service

Curry’s revival sermon set the tone for the work to come, with a message of love’s power to bring people together.

“Love heals the wounds. Love can lift us up. Love is the source of setting us free, and it is the root source of life,” Curry said at the Palmer Events Center, across the river from the Austin Convention Center where General Convention was held. “In fact, the truth is, the only reason we’re here is because of love.”

Evangelism was one of three priorities set for the church three years ago by General Convention, along with racial reconciliation and care of creation. Curry took on the self-described role of “chief evangelism officer” and has preached at a series of revivals in dioceses around the church since February 2017.

The call to evangelism also has been taken up by church planters in community after community thanks to the Episcopal Church’s increased investment in new congregations and ministries over the past several years. General Convention approved $1.8 million for church plants and Mission Enterprise Zones in the 2013-15 triennium, and $3.4 million was allocated for such ministries from 2016 to 2018.

The main church planting resolution assigned the Evangelism and Church Planting Committee, A005, initially called for $6.8 million in total spending on that network over the next three years to build on recent successes of these “holy experiments.” The committee recommended $5.8 million, though the final budget only sets aside about $4.3 million for the church-planting network, said the Rev. Frank Logue, a deputy from Georgia and chair of the committee.

The final figure is hardly a disappointment for people in the church, like Logue, who have fought to make evangelism a priority.

“The budget gives us everything we need to continue that movement,” Logue, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Georgia, told ENS. The spending rightly emphasizes the support system needed to enable new communities of faith to grow and thrive, he said. It includes money to provide potential church planters with skills assessments, coaching and regular follow-up meetings with church staff members.

“At the end of the day, money doesn’t get churches planted like know-how does,” Logue said.

The budget also includes $380,000 over three years to create a churchwide staff officer to oversee evangelism, taking over responsibilities that had been covered part-time by three different contract workers.

Spellers thinks the person who fills that position will take the lead in following through on Curry’s “Way of Love,” seven practices that provide a Rule of Life that all Episcopalians are encouraged to adopt.

Curry, in his sermon July 5 at the opening Eucharist of General Convention, said the “Way of Love” was developed to encourage Episcopalians to embrace more fully their role in the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.  The response has been overwhelmingly positive, Spellers said, and her team printed and distributed more than 100,000 cards with details during General Convention.

“Episcopal Evangelist – it’s part of our identity now,” Spellers said. “It’s a growing part of our identity as a church.”

The budget includes $100,000 in small evangelism grants, a renewing program outlined in Resolution A030.

Another evangelism resolution, A006, was rejected by the committee. The resolution sought to collect additional demographic data on church leaders involved in church planting and ministry development as a way to encourage those ministries to greater reflect the communities they serve. Concerns were raised about how the data might be used in determining funding and whether the data’s benefits would merit the extra work.

Bishop Nicholas Knisely of Rhode Island, who chairs the bishops’ committee on evangelism, said he wishes more people had come to testify about the committee’s resolutions and engaged more directly with the questions.

Three members of the Evangelism and Church Planting Committee met and talked with this group of people who have formed a sidewalk community next to the Episcopal Church-owned parking lot on Trinity Street. The Rev. Alex Montes-Vela, deputy from Texas, stands on the sidewalk with arms crossed. Photo: Frank Logue

“I think everyone wants to be an evangelist. I don’t think we are keeping our eyes on that ball,” Knisely said. He was referring to other major issues at this General Convention that drew much more attention, such as same-sex marriage and liturgical reform.

Even so, he was heartened by the emphasis on evangelism at this General Convention, and early on, he and Logue led other committee members in some street evangelism. On July 4, when the committee’s business for the day was done in the JW Marriott, the members went outside the hotel, two by two, and practiced evangelism in any way the spirit led them, talking with the people they encountered in downtown Austin.

Logue held up the vote to approve A029 as an important next step for the church. That resolution adopted what is known as the Evangelism Charter, outlining how and why Episcopalians vow “to proclaim with our words and our lives the loving, liberating and life-giving good news of Christ.”

Logue, who helped distribute cards outlining the tenants of the charter to all deputies before the vote, said the endorsement of a document may not sound like groundbreaking work, but it is important to make clear to all Episcopalians what the church means when it talks about evangelism. That talk doesn’t end in Austin.

“It will be on the quiz,” he said. “You will see it again.”

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.

Convention makes Thurgood Marshall, Pauli Murray, Florence Li Tim-Oi permanent saints of the church

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 5:43pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Three 20th century figures are now a permanent part of the Episcopal Church’s calendar of saints.

Thurgood Marshall on May 17, Pauli Murray on July 2 and Florence Li Tim-Oi on Jan. 24 “are already very widely commemorated within the Episcopal Church,” the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music told the 79th General Convention in proposing the three’s permanence.

Marshall, the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court, lived in New York while serving as an attorney for the NAACP, and joined the historically black St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Harlem in 1938.

Murray was an early civil rights activist, fiery feminist and the first African-American woman ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church.

Tim-Oi was the first woman ordained a priest in the Anglican Communion when then-Hong Kong Bishop Ronald Hall, made her a priest on Jan. 25, 1944, in Macao. Her ordination caused much controversy after the end of World War II, and she decided not to continue exercising her priesthood until it was acknowledged by the wider Anglican Communion.

HoD: In a vote by order, the HoD has adopted A066, add Thurgood Marshall, Pauli Murray, and Florence Li Tim-Oi to Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 2018. #GC79 pic.twitter.com/mU7g0PvjXX

— HoD News (@DeputyNews) July 13, 2018

Both houses of the convention agreed July 13 to bypass (via Resolution A066) the normal expectation that people would not be added to the church’s Lesser Feasts and Fasts calendar until at least two generations have have passed.

(Lesser Feasts and Fasts is a collection of proper collects, lessons and psalms for the Eucharist on each of the weekdays of Lent, weekdays of Easter season and each of the lesser feasts of the church year. It is used in addition to the major feasts and saints included in the Book of Common Prayer.)

All three people have been on the calendar of saints since the General Convention added them on a trial basis in 2009. Normally they would have been permanently added at a future convention, but none of the calendars on which they were listed passed convention in 2012 or 2015.

Resolution A066 was crafted in light of the trajectory of movement on Resolution A065 to authorize a news version of Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018 for trial use over the next three years. The action ensures that Marshall, Murray and Tim-Oi remain on the church’s calendar regardless of what the next meeting of convention in 2021 decides about the 2018 edition of Lesser Feasts and Fasts.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is the Episcopal News Service’s senior editor and reporter.

July 13 dispatches from 79th General Convention in Austin

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 5:42pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Much happens each day during General Convention. To complement Episcopal News Service’s primary coverage, we have collected some additional news items from July 13.

Bishops express gratitude to witnesses against gun violence

The House of Bishops, meeting on the last day of the 79th General Convention, expressed their “deep gratitude” to the Schentrup family and Abigail Zimmerman for their “presence and witness” against gun violence.

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

At a downtown Austin park on July 8, Philip and April Schentrup, members of Saint Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs, Florida, shared their emotional and spiritual journey before dozens of bishops and hundreds of onlookers following the Ash Wednesday murder of their daughter Carmen in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

Carmen was among the 17 students and educators killed by a gunman at the Parkland, Florida. Resolution A279 also commends the keeping of Carmen to the “Almighty God” as well the 16 others killed and all victims of gun violence.

Specifically, the resolution “expresses our deep gratitude to Philip and April Schentrup and their children, Evelyn and Robert” and to Abigail Zimmerman “for their presence and witness among us.”

Also at the July 8 gathering, Zimmerman, a ninth-grader and member of Saint Alban’s Episcopal Church in Waco, Texas, who co-led a school walkout in March in response to the Douglas High School massacre, shared the story of her work to organize students to campaign against gun violence.

The bishops’ resolution “supports the young people of this church and their fellow students who have been striving to turn a moment into a movement for lasting chance in the culture of violence that infects our countries at every level of our societies.”

– Mike Patterson

General Convention considers issues affecting lay employees

The issue of equity for lay church employee pensions arose at General Convention from a proposal by a subcommittee of the special House of Deputies Committee on Sexual Harassment and Exploitation. They called for increasing required employer contributions to lay pension plans from the current nine percent to 18 percent, to match what is contributed for clergy.

While Resolution A045  was amended to remove the mandated increase and instead have the Church Pension Fund study the steps necessary to provide equity in the pension plans for lay and ordained church workers, it did affirm “that in the interests of justice the pension plans for clergy and lay employees should be as equitable as possible.”

During debate in the House of Deputies, the Rev. Teri L. Bays, deputy from Northern Indiana, said clergy and lay deputies who serve on vestries can go home and immediately address the issue of equity by virtue of their responsibility to negotiate compensation packages with lay employees. “Just because there is not a mandate, that does not mean that we cannot go back and demand this equity every time we negotiate a letter of agreement with our lay employees,” she said.

Bays, who handles the diocese’s transition ministry process, said she regularly gets calls from vestry members “who want to know exactly where that cut-off point is so that they can avoid giving benefits to their lay employees.” She said, “We can put a stop to that, case by case, even as we await a decision on the steps necessary for a churchwide mandate.”

Another action that could affect lay employees is Resolution B006, which requests that church employers provide a letter of agreement for any church employee, as part of a transparent hiring process and in accordance with the guidelines of the Manual for Business Methods in Church affairs.

The resolution says such letters of agreement can describe duties and responsibilities of the position, including details about salary and benefits, and may also include provisions for an annual performance evaluation, procedures for the reconciliation of disagreements, and policies concerning dissolution.

-Melodie Woerman

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, presented seven deputies with the 2018 House of Deputies medal for distinguished service to the Episcopal Church. Photo: Amy Peden Haynie

Special award is given to seven members of the House of Deputies

The Rev. Gay Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, during General Convention awarded the House of Deputies Medal to seven people – five deputies and two alternates – for distinguished service to the House of Deputies and the Episcopal Church. The award was established in 2012

Recipients are:

  • Deputy Katie Sherrod from Fort Worth, a three-time deputy, for her decades of work in support of the Episcopal Church in Fort Worth.
  • Deputy Lonnie Hamilton from South Carolina, a six-time deputy, for his work in his parish and the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.
  • The Rev. John Floberg, deputy from North Dakota, for his work in rebuilding St. John’s, Cannonball, after a devastating fire eight years ago, and for his prophetic witness at Standing Rock.
  • The Ruth Meyers, alternate deputy from California, for her years of teaching in seminaries of the church, as well as her work on the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music and the Task Force on the Study of Marriage
  • Deputy Tom Little from Vermont, an eight-time deputy who is chancellor of his diocese and has served on the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons, the Standing Commission on the Structure of the Church and many other committees.
  • Alternate deputy Diane Pollard from New York, who has attended 14 General Conventions and has served on the boards of Episcopal Urban Caucus and the Church Pension Group, as well as chairing legislative committees of the convention.
  • Deputy Richard Miller from Southeast Florida, a 12-time deputy and two-time sergeant-at-arms, who has served on multiple committees at General Convention and in his home diocese.

New, simpler parochial report to be designed

Based on the actions of the 79thGeneral Convention, a new and simplified parochial report will be designed over the next few years. Resolution A053 charged the House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church with designing a simplified report that is “relevant to the diversity of the Episcopal Church’s participation in God’s mission in the world.”

The resolution further asks that the data in the report be “easily collected and compiled” and relevant to the work of those who utilize the data. Finally, the resolution requests an improved user interface for entering and downloading data.

During testimony, skeptical legislative committee members on July 5 expressed concerns that the changes specified in the resolution might place too much of an added burden on congregations. There was also concern expressed about the relevance of the data collected. The resolution that was approved at the convention is an amended and streamlined version of what was originally proposed.

– Mike Patterson


General Convention commits to racial reconciliation and becoming a ‘Beloved Community’

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 5:24pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Efforts that began in 2015 with action by General Convention, when racial reconciliation was identified as a priority of the Episcopal Church, is bearing fruit in work done during the 79th General Convention.

That emphasis was made clear early on in the convention, when a joint session of deputies and bishops spent 90 minutes focused on racial reconciliation, one of three TEConversations.

Three speakers – Arno Michaelis, a former leader of a worldwide racist skinhead organization who now works to get people out of similar hate groups; Catherine Meeks, director of the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, Georgia; and the Rev. Nancy Frausto, who is a “Dreamer” who come to the United States without documents as a seven-year-old child.

Framing discussions throughout the convention was the concept of “Becoming Beloved Community,” the Episcopal Church’s long-term commitment to racial healing, reconciliation and justice. It represents a series of interrelated commitments around which Episcopalians can organize efforts to respond to racial injustice and build a community of people working for reconciliation and healing:

  • Telling the truth about the church and race
  • Proclaiming the dream of beloved community
  • Practicing the way of love
  • Repairing the breach in society and institutions

Resolution D022 provides $5 million over the next three years to help dioceses and other entities of the church to respond to racial injustice. The Rev. John Kitagawa, deputy from Arizona and a member of the joint legislative committee on Racial Justice and Reconciliation, said most of the money will go to grants to help this work in communities – dioceses,  congregations and regions. “Many things in the past have been top-down.” He said. “This is bottom-up.”

Bishop Prince Singh of Rochester, bishop chair of the legislative committee, said he was most excited about a new initiative adopted by the convention – a Beloved Community summit. Resolution A228 provides for a gathering of leaders working in racial reconciliation and racial justice across the Episcopal Church before the end of 2019.

Singh said the summit will “share best practices, build networks and strengthen curricula. It’s building capacity so Episcopalians can play a leadership role in their communities and not just in the church.”

Kitagawa said the event will be an aid to people who are engaged in this work. “It can be lonely,” he said, so understanding who is in the work together will help.

The convention also tackled the issue of expanding anti-racism efforts to include racial reconciliation. That is reflected in Resolution B004, which started as a resolution calling for end to use of the term “anti-racism” as spiritually imprecise. It was amended to encourage continuing work to address institutional and systemic racism while acknowledging the need to work for healing, justice and reconciliation.

Singh said some people welcomed the chance to move forward with racial reconciliation, healing and justice, while others feared losing a commitment to dismantle racism.

He also said he was excited about a new framework for training that “can be a part of transformation and formation.” Resolutions A045 reaffirmed the necessity and importance of anti-racism training while calling for ongoing spiritual formation and education focused on racial healing, justice, and reconciliation.

“Racism isn’t a binary black-white issue,” he said, with it affecting Asians, Latinos, Native Americans and others. With the church made up of diverse languages and cultures, “training needs to take that into account,” he said.

– Melodie Woerman is director of communications for the Diocese of Kansas and is a member of the ENS General Convention reporting team.

General Convention responds to the voices and stories of women

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 5:15pm

Some of the 47 members of the special House of Deputies Committee on Sexual Harassment and Exploitation appointed in February by the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, deputies’ president, gathered at microphone 3 in the House of Deputies July 13 to thank Jennings for the work she had given them to do. They also presented her with a sculpture of the Virgin Mary. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The voices and stories of women played a significant role in the workings of the 79th General Convention, from a liturgy where bishops offered laments and confession for the church’s role in sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse, to Resolution D087 that allows deputies to bring infant children on the floor of the House of Deputies to feed them.

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

On the night of July 4, before the convention officially opened, a Liturgy of Listening featured stories from women and men who were victims of sexual misconduct perpetrated by someone in the church. Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe of the Diocese of Central New York, who planned the service, said it was designed to help set a framework for General Convention’s consideration of resolutions dealing with sexual misconduct, exploitation and gender disparity. As part of a response to that liturgy, the House of Bishops on July 8 adopted a covenant that commits them to seek changes in their dioceses to combat abuse, harassment and exploitation. The document, which applies only to bishops, is entitled “A Working Covenant for the Practice of Equity and Justice for All in The Episcopal Church.” Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves of the Diocese of El Camino Real said the covenant grew out of the Liturgy of Listening because it was clear that “there is no way we can do this and nothing more.” She said, “Sexual abuse, harassment and exploitation are part of the system. This is about acknowledging and accepting that.”

Special House of Deputies committee offered resolutions

In February, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, appointed a 47-member special committee to draft proposed legislation on sexual harassment and exploitation. This followed a letter to the Episcopal Church in January from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Jennings, calling for the church to “examine its history and come to a fuller understanding of how it has handled or mishandled cases of sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse through the years.”

The special committee, sometimes dubbed the “MeToo Committee,” proposed more than two dozen resolutions on topics ranging from changes to the canons on clergy discipline to issues of clergy compensation and pension equity for lay employees. Other resolutions touching on issues of gendered language and clergy employment were proposed by deputies from outside the committee.

The convention adopted many of the proposals.

Changes to Title IV canons on clergy discipline:

  • D034 adds an extra three years to the existing 10-year statute of limitations for victims of clergy sexual misconduct.
  • D074 amends the start of the process for filing charges.
  • D076 protects people who file charges against a member of the clergy from retaliation and allows confidential filings for those who fear retaliation.

Several resolutions dealt with changes to structures inside the church:

  • D016 creates a Task Force on Women, Truth and Reconciliation to help the church “engage in truth-telling, confession, and reconciliation regarding gender-based discrimination, harassment and violence against women and girls.”
  • D021 removes from the materials that clergy file with the Office of Transition Ministry any reference to gender or current compensation, since statistics show women in the church are paid less than men of comparable experience.
  • D022 creates a task force to track resolutions from this convention that relate to challenges of women in ministry and to report findings twice a year to the Executive Council.
  • D025 creates a task force on clergy formation and continuing education, especially regarding preparation for ordination.
  • D026 adds family status, including pregnancy or child care plans, to the list of things for which no one in the church can be denied rights, status or access to an equal place in the life, worship, governance or employment of the church.
  • D037 directs the Church Pension Group to expand its Clergy Compensation Report to include more specifics on items relating to gender.
  • D045 affirms that pension plans for clergy and lay employees need to be more equitable and calls on the Church Pension Group to study how to make that happen.
  • D046 continues reauthorizing the expansive-language rites in the Enriching Our Worship series and calls on the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to create principles to use in developing additional expansive-language liturgical texts.
  • D067 encourages the use of inclusive and expansive language for God and humanity, offering examples of how to do that based on the stylebook of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Addressing the needs of women in society:

  • A178 calls for a halt to inhumane and unjust immigration policies that are harmful to migrant women, parents and children.
  • D017 calls for policies that reduce sexual harassment, assault and exploitation in the workplace.
  • D031 encourages clergy and congregations to educate themselves on resources to combat and deal with domestic violence.
  • D032 advocates for equal access to quality health care regardless of gender.
A thankful committee

The Rev. Laurie M. Brock, deputy from Lexington and member of the special committee, led some of the 47 committee members to Microphone 3 in the deputies’ hall on July 13 to present Jennings with a sculpture of the Virgin Mary.

Brock thanked Jennings for asking them in February to serve on the committee and “for recognizing that as Christians we have the responsibility to respond to the plight and exploitation of women and all who are victims of abuses of power in this culture.”

She noted that Jennings invited many first-time deputies and other young women across the church and giving them the opportunity “to have our voices heard.”

“Thank you for giving this house and the House of Bishops a way to engage in the holy work of reconciliation and of love. Thank you for helping us all magnify the Lord and filling those who were hungry for good things of equality, of justice, of safety and, most importantly, of love,” Brock said.

While the House of Bishops is overwhelming male, 53 percent of the deputies to this General Convention are women. That is just slightly lower than the Episcopal Church as a whole, which according to 2014 statistics, is 55 percent women.

– Melodie Woerman is director of communications for the Diocese of Kansas and is a member of the ENS General Convention reporting team.

Task force to ‘collaborate’ with Presiding Bishop’s Office of Pastoral Development on bishop searches

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 4:09pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The 79th General Convention House of Deputies called for a task force to assist the presiding bishop’s Office of Pastoral Development in its work to assist dioceses in the discernment, nomination, search, election and transition processes for bishops.

There was some discussion by deputies on Resolution A147 after Pauline Getz of San Diego, deputy chair of the legislative Committee for Churchwide Leadership, introduced it, saying its intent was to “create a collaborative relationship with the Office of Pastoral Development.”

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

Deputy Benge Ambrogi of New Hampshire asked to clarify the “problem we are trying to solve with this resolution.” Getz responded, “Up until now, the process in episcopal elections has been based on what was done before. The purpose of the task force is to clarify the process, help the Office of Pastoral Development define a formal process and structure, and establish clearly what needs to be done in a search.”

Originally, the resolution called for a “Pilot Board for Episcopal Transitions.” The committee amended that language to “task force.” The other change was to alter the proposed length of time the task force would function from six years to an initial term of three years.

Additionally, the new task force will assist the Office of Pastoral Development in establishing guidelines and materials for the training and evaluation of transition consultants who work with dioceses throughout the election process. And, lastly, the members will help enhance “guidelines for reference, background, medical, and psychological screening of persons considered for nomination for episcopal elections and guidelines for the dissemination, evaluation, and record keeping of the screening information gathered.”

— Sharon Tillman is a freelance writer for Episcopal News Service.

Diocese of Arizona announces slate of 3 candidates for next bishop

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 3:58pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Arizona] The Standing Committee of The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona has announced a slate of candidates who will stand for election as the VI Bishop of Arizona at Diocesan Convention on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.

The candidates, in alphabetical order, are:

The Rev. Dr. Dena Marcel Cleaver-Bartholomew
The Rev. Jennifer Anne Reddall
The Rev. Andrew Wallace Walter

The Bishop Search/Nominating Committee, after careful and prayerful discernment, recommended these candidates to the Standing Committee, which voted to approve the slate.

“We believe these individuals possess the skills, qualities, experience and spiritual grounding necessary for the office of Bishop, and we are excited to commend them to the diocese,” said The Rev. Canon Daniel Tantimonaco, President of the Standing Committee.

The Standing Committee also announces the opening of the Petition Process on Friday, July 13, 2018, by which nominees may be added to the slate. The Petition Process closes at 5 p.m. (Arizona time) on Friday, July 20, 2018.

The introductions of the candidates, in the form of brief bios and answers to essay questions posed by the Search Committee, can be found on the diocesan website.

Parishioners across the diocese will have the opportunity to meet the candidates in person at “walkabouts” to be held in three locations across the diocese from Sept. 24-28, 2018, before the Oct. 20 election at Diocesan Convention.

Book of Occasional Services, 2018, approved for use by General Convention

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 3:44pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] On July 11, the evening of the so-called “after-dark legislative sessions,” the House of Bishops voted on Resolution A218, which called for the 79th General Convention to approve a working version of the Book of Occasional Services 2018, containing specific services that have been updated by the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music during triennium, and tweaked by the Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music at this convention.

This was a substitute resolution for A064 on revision of the Book of Occasional Services revision,originally submitted by SCLM. A064 was substituted with three more specific resolutions, all of which have been passed by convention:

  • A218 to offer the revised sections of the BOS for use and review in the next triennium.
  • A219 that refers specific liturgies in the BOS back to SCLM for revision.
  • A283 that adds three “Multicultural Liturgies for Occasional Services,” specifically Las Posadas, the Feast of the Virgen de Guadalupe (Dec. 12) and El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) to the 2018 version of BOS.

Bishop Neil Alexander of Atlanta, chair of the bishops’ Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music, told the bishops on July 11 that there were no major substantive changes in the amended Resolution A218 to the liturgies, but editorial corrections and clarifications to liturgical directions in the rubrics had been made. The committee softened the language “so that someone reading it would not throw the book across the sacristy,” said Alexander, referring to directions that could have been interpreted as “snarky, bordering on offensive.”

The recommendation to the House of Bishops was to adopt the resolution as amended.

The Rev. Susan Anslow Williams, deputy from Michigan and chair of the deputies’ committee, said in her introduction of Resolution A218 to the House of Deputies on July 13, that the resolution contains texts ready for use from SCLM or the committee. “A crack team reviewed these texts, and any typos will be tagged and corrected.” She asked that these corrections not stand in the way of concurring with the HOB.

“SCLM had not had enough time or funding in the last triennium to complete the revision of the entire Book of Occasional Services,” Williams said. In the meantime, a separate resolution had passed, referring the sections not completed back to SCLM for work over the next triennium. The services offered in Resolution A218 will be available for use in a digital format, and the previous printed edition [2003] is still available for use.

An example of one of the revisions made by the committee can be found in paragraph 80 of the resolution. In the Service for the Anniversary of a Marriage, the revision changes the language to be inclusive: “Immediately after the Sermon (and the Creed if appointed), the Husband and Wife Couple present themselves before the presider, who stands facing the people.”

Most of the comments from the floor of the HOB were editorial corrections and bishops pointing out typos. For example, paragraph 118 of the resolution states, “We who are many in one body, share one break, one cup…” The bishops got a good laugh about that one in particular.

Flags also were raised about potential issues with the translation into Spanish. Bishop Lloyd Allen of Honduras said, “I’m sorry if I am going to be a little picky about this: In the copy I have, there is one copy translated into Spanish, but we have to be very careful because a word can mean one thing in one country and another (thing) in another.” He cited paragraph 33 in which “We welcome new people into a new parish”; in Spanish it can be translated into “We receive…,” which has a very different liturgical meaning.

Alexander responded that the Task Force on Translation provided input to the committee throughout the process of revising the text received from the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music. The task force advised that the committee work to “perfect the English text the best we could” and the task force would translate it into Spanish with consideration for dialect and culture differences.

Another point was raised that some titles are not used universally. Not every cathedral has a “dean,” one bishop said – some are provosts and others might be interim deans – but the text refers to “dean” throughout the Seating of a Bishop in a Cathedral service. “These are optional texts in italics that can be freely used, so the committee expected that a cathedral with a provost or interim would make that change as needed,” Alexander responded.

Satisfied with the brief discussion, the bishops voted unanimously to adopt A218. The House of Deputies concurred on July 13 with no debate or comments, and the final version of the resolution is here.

In addition, Resolution A283, adding three multicultural liturgies to the Book of Occasional Services, 2018, passed both houses during the morning July 13 legislatives sessions. Deputy Ariana Gonzalez-Bonillas of Arizona stood in favor of the resolution, saying, “as one of the reviewers of this resolution, I am excited.” Gonzalez-Bonillas realizes that this is not the last time the church will review multicultural liturgies, but that she is loves new beginnings.

The Rev. Carlos de la Torre, deputy from Connecticut, was also excited about what he said were the new beginnings that these liturgies bring. However, he cautioned that as the church “thinks about multicultural liturgies, there is such a big raft of different celebrations; this is the reality of Latinx culture and identity. As we move forward, we have to look at the Pan-Latino culture.”

When the resolution reached the House of Bishops for concurrence, about an hour after passing HOD, it was passed with no debate.

– Sharon Tillman is a freelance writer for Episcopal News Service.

Dioceses can now explore establishing ties with different provinces

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 3:40pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Over the next three years, dioceses will have an opportunity to review the province they are currently in and explore whether they wish to become affiliated with a different province.

As approved by the 79thGeneral Convention, Resolution A072 (https://www.vbinder.net/resolutions/A072?house=hb&lang=en) is an outgrowth of a review by the Task Force to Study Provinces. The task force was charged with studying the potential effects of eliminating the provinces and to consider what structures might replace them that would support the ministry and mission of the church.

Rather than recommend that provinces be eliminated, the task force instead proposed allowing dioceses to align with the province that “best suits their identity and needs.”

The resolution specifically enables each diocese to “review its involvement in and relationship to its current province, and faithfully discern whether, based on its identify, gifts and needs, it may wish to explore established constitutional and canonical paths toward becoming a constituent diocese of a different province.”

In making its recommendations, the task force said that “the pattern of having some type of structure connecting the diocesan level with the church is important. Rather than invent something new, the recommendation is to look at what already exists and maximize what is working, as well as shifting what may not be working in each of the provinces.”

– Mike Patterson is a San Antonio-based freelance writer and correspondent for the Episcopal News Service. He is a member of ENS General Convention reporting team and can be reached at rmp231@gmail.com.

General Convention approves support for small congregations

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 3:05pm

 [Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The 79thGeneral Convention took steps during its triennium meeting to provide support for clergy and lay leadership development in small congregations.

The convention approved Resolution A022 that directs the creation of a Theological Education Networking Team (TENT) to “collect, assemble, evaluate and publicize” the resources in the Episcopal Church “for the training of commissions on ministry and discernment committees.” The focus would be on the “education, training and formation of leaders who serve in small congregations with a special emphasis on alternative theological education pathways.”

TENT would also work with others in “collecting, disseminating and encouraging the use of resources and best practices for identifying, educating and forming clergy and lay leaders of small congregations.”

The resolution grew out of the Task Force on Clergy Leadership in Small Congregations, which was formed three years ago at the 78thGeneral Convention to “develop a plan for quality formation for clergy in small congregations that is affordable, theologically reflective and innovative.”

In a related move, the convention also approved Resolution A027, which authorizes a task force to “develop and implement a plan to provide need-based central scholarship funding to individuals” pursuing a theological education to serve as priests or deacons in small congregations.

General Convention speaks against humanitarian crisis in Israel-Palestine despite shelving ‘divestment’

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 1:29pm

The House of Bishops votes on one of the four Israel-Palestine resolutions it took up July 13, the last day of the 79th General Convention in Austin, Texas.

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The 79th General Convention wrapped up its consideration of resolutions relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on July 13, with mixed results due largely to the House of Bishops unwillingness to take many of the bolder steps urged by the House of Deputies.

Of the 15 resolutions submitted on Israel-Palestine going into General Convention, only six passed both houses, though the successful resolutions still touch on a range of issues, including the plight of Palestinian children, the status of Jerusalem, the disproportionate use of lethal force on both sides and ways the Episcopal Church can press for peace through its investments.

Bishops and deputies, even those arguing for a tougher stance against the conditions of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, took pains to affirm Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself, citing longstanding church policy toward the region. And while the bishops rejected the most controversial resolution, D019, saying it amounted to a dangerous “divestment” from Israel, General Convention’s deliberations over the past week have highlighted what many see as an escalating humanitarian crisis in the region.

“We need to really stand with Palestinians at this point,” Virginia Bishop Associate Robert Ihloff said in the morning session on the final day of General Convention. “It is not an even playing field.”

Ihloff was speaking in favor of Resolution C038, which calls on Israel to safeguard the rights of Palestinian children in Israel’s military detention system. Joining the House of Deputies, the bishops passed C038 in a rather one-sided voice vote. Related resolutions were approved earlier in the week by both houses with relatively little objection: B021, supporting the resumption of humanitarian aid to Palestinians; B003, regarding the status of Jerusalem as shared Holy City, and D018, reflecting on the deterioration of negotiations toward a two-state solution.

Even allowing debate on D019 in the House of Deputies was seen as progress over three years ago, when a similar measure at General Convention was defeated by the bishops before it got to the deputies’ calendar.

The Rev. Brian Grieves, deputy from the Diocese of Hawaii, speaks in favor of the resolution he proposed about ending the church’s complicity in the Israeli occupation. “Palestinian lives matter.” The Rev. Hillary Raining, deputy from Pennsylvania, speaks against Resolution D019 during the special order of business on Israel-Palestine in the House of Deputies on July 9. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

D019 sought to end what proponents say is the church’s financial complicity in the Israeli occupation through its investments in companies that profit from human rights abuses there. That resolution was taken up as a special order of business July 9 through an expedited process recommended by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies. That process also established the House of Deputies as the house of initial action for all Israel-Palestine resolutions.

Resolution D019 would have asked Executive Council, based on 70 years of church policy toward the Middle East conflict, to research and develop a plan by 2019 for a “human rights investment screen” for church investments in the region. The deputies voted 74 percent in favor, but the bishops defeated the resolution July 11, with 62 percent voting no.

After that vote, Sarah Lawton, deputy from the Diocese of California and chair of the Social Justice and International Policy Committee, said she was disappointed by the bishops’ decision to reject D019 but still saw opportunities for General Convention to raise its voice on the conflict through the other resolutions.

“Given how things are getting so much worse and dire, both the [Israeli] settlements and the human rights issues, I think it would be useful to understand how things are shifting and also the role of the U.S. government,” Lawton told Episcopal News Service on July 11. “I wish the bishops would have more time to reflect on how that situation is changing there.”

The bishops on July 13 joined the deputies in speaking out on some of those issues, even passing Resolution B016, which echoes D019 in its use of the phrase “human rights investment screen.” Bishop Dan Edwards of Nevada spoke in favor of B016 before the vote, saying it balances use of targeted divestment when appropriate with the use of shareholder activism when that might produce greater results.

“There is a time to disinvest, and there is a time to do shareholder activism,” Edwards said. “This resolution provides for both of those. To do one without the other is to limp badly.”

The voice vote on that resolution was close enough that Curry requested a show of hands to confirm it had passed.

The bishops were far less divided on the other Israel-Palestine resolutions. While support was nearly unanimous for the resolution regarding Palestinian children, the bishops’ response to D038, raising civil rights concerns,  and D039, describing Israel as an “apartheid” state, was nearly united in opposition.

“Israel is not an apartheid state,” said retired Bishop Ed Little of Diocese of Northern Indiana, a consistent voice against the Israeli-Palestinian resolutions.

Use of that word alone may have been enough to defeat D039, though some of the bishops agreed that an unjust system of segregation and discrimination exists in Israel. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Anglican leader who was a pivotal figure in the fight to end apartheid in South Africa, also spoke in favor of taking a tougher stance toward Israel in a statement he released before General Convention with former House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson and Patti Browning, widow of former Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning.

“I speak from a place of deep and profound respect for Archbishop Tutu,” Los Angeles Bishop John Taylor began his remarks on D039, but he disagreed that the “powerful word” chosen by the resolution was appropriate – at least not yet.

“Episcopalians are famous for taking words seriously. I would support this resolution without the word “apartheid,’” he said. “I fear that we may need the word back in another more appropriate context.”

Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton rose not only to speak against D039 but also to question why General Convention had spent so much time on Israel-Palestine. He said he supported and voted for some of the measures but asked, “Why the fixation on Israel?”

“I’m disturbed by the number of resolutions brought forward about this conflict, as if we here can suggest that we actually know what the problems are,” he said. “There’s a sense of piling on here in these resolutions.”

The apartheid resolution was defeated easily, as was D038, on civil rights in Israel, after a concern was raised about some of the later resolution’s supporting material.

General Convention has voted in support of Middle East peace for decades, though Israel-Palestine has become one of the thorniest topics at recent General Conventions, particularly the question of divestment.

Tarek Abuata of the pro-Palestinian Friends of Sabeel North America testifies July 6 at a hearing on General Convention resolutions related to Israel and Palestine. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

The expedited process at this year’s General Convention was intended to ensure full, open and productive discussion of the issues, and that openness was on display July 6 at the hearing on the resolutions. Nearly 50 people testified, most of them in favor of passage.

After D019’s defeat, Lawton suggested there remained a disparity between the deputies and bishops in time spent deliberating on that and other resolutions. Some bishops expressed their own reservations about the process, saying they would have welcomed more substantive discussions before voting on what all agreed were complex issues.

Bishop Suffragan Jeff Fisher of Texas, who is on the board of Episcopal Peace Fellowship, offered that organization’s participation if the bishops wished to pursue such conversations formally. The topic is expected to be on the agenda when the House of Bishops meets next, in March.

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.

Exclusive: General Convention Pigeon reveals its human avatars/agents to ENS

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 1:02pm

General Convention Pigeon has been on the move in the House of Deputies — on foot and on the wing — throughout the 79th General Convention. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The bird has been the word for 10 days here and, as the 79th General Convention prepares to fly the coop, its human avatars can now be revealed, ending countless days of speculation.

The Rev. David Sibley, Long Island deputy and rector of Christ Church in Manhasset, New York, right, hatched the General Convention Pigeon with the Rev. David Simmons, alternate deputy of Milwaukee and rector of St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Waukesha, Wisconsin. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The Rev. David Sibley, deputy from Long Island, revealed the bird’s creation story to Episcopal News Service during an exclusive, secret and embargoed late-night interview outside the Austin Convention Center following the rare night legislative sessions July 11. Sibley, the rector of Christ Church in Manhasset, New York, announced that he and the Rev. David Simmons, alternate deputy of Milwaukee and rector of St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Waukesha, Wisconsin, hatched the General Convention Pigeon.

@gc79pigeon gained more than 800 followers in the first few days after the account’s creation on July 4.

The bird’s birthnest was in what Sibley referred to as the “alternates’ pen,” the area to the side of the actual floor of the House of Deputies where alternate deputies roost, waiting for the chair of their deputations to get to them in the pecking order and have them fly into the legislative action. This account would confirm the pigeon’s earlier claim to ENS that it was a “nested Episcopalian,” apparently similar to the human designation of “Cradle Episcopalian.”

On July 4, as house leaders were explaining how to use the deputies’ loaner iPads to access the Virtual Binder, a pigeon swooped low over the alternate’s coop. Great bird brains instantly thought alike as Sibley and Simmons texted each, concluding that “this thing needs a Twitter account.” Thus, @gc79pigeon was hatched.

“The idea that coalesced very quickly after that was, OK, let’s be funny. Let’s not pick on anyone. Let’s not advocate for any particular issue,” Sibley said. “Let’s just try to make jokes about the things that pigeons do and, at times, the absurdity of the process and the current happenings in the house.”

Hey Deputies, here’s hoping you get your queues working tomorrow! #gc79 pic.twitter.com/tzA7S5we8G

— General Convention Pigeon (@gc79pigeon) July 7, 2018

Rumor has it that @gc79pigeon has introduced a resolution to use the Syriac translation of Leviticus, which mistakenly called not for the sacrifice of "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons" as a sin offering, but rather of "a pair of turtledoves or two young PRIESTS". #gc79

— Liza Anderson (@ecclesiangst) July 5, 2018

There would be no comments on the tough issues the convention faced, such as prayer book revision, full access the marriage rites by same-sex couples and the church’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The pigeon was not in the business of crying fowl or rustling anyone’s feathers.

@gc79pigeon I feel a sense of comfort to see you flying about today for the conversation about Prayer Book Revision. Yesterday you reminded us about the importance of listening-may we remember that today. #GC79

— Liz Wendt (@Rainstormgal) July 6, 2018

The occasional flaring of differences of opinions between bishops and deputies was also off limits, Sibley said.

The over-perching goal was “just to keep it light for everyone at convention because it can be really stressful,” he added.

“This is something that pretty much everyone has found amusing at convention,” Sibley said. “This was a good way to continue trying to keep people laughing when you’re in the middle of a floor debate.”

No allocations for pigeon operations from PB&F. #youcantalwaysgetwhatyouwant

— General Convention Pigeon (@gc79pigeon) July 11, 2018

In an earlier interview with ENS during July 7 and 8 (the bird is busy) via Twitter direct message, @gc79pigeon said it hoped it could be “part of the movement of the spirit that brings something to keep people relaxed, laughing, and in good spirits when things get tense.”

Thus, @gc79pigeon opined at opportune times about donuts (or lack thereof), crumbs on the floors or whether it could get a pension.

I’m out of order – as usual. Just tried to get myself a pension, y’all.

— General Convention Pigeon (@gc79pigeon) July 10, 2018

I have been informed that a pension would have involved green pieces of paper once a month, not food. HOW DO YOU FLIGHTLESS BIPEDS LIVE? #GC79

— General Convention Pigeon (@gc79pigeon) July 10, 2018

It occasionally made its presence known in other ways.

In other news, @gc79pigeon dropped a bomb on the table right next to my computer. That was a close one! OK, you win, feathered foe. I’m heading back to the (bird-free) newsroom. #gc79 pic.twitter.com/jpgvI2s5hj

— David Paulsen (@thisispaulsen) July 12, 2018

The most surprising thing about @gc79pigeon’s flight path through General Convention, Sibley said, was that its Twitter account earned more than 800 followers in about three or four days. In addition, he and Simmons are pleased that “for the most part everyone has received it really well.”

“We haven’t seen a lot of folks who are upset or who take convention so deathly seriously that this is a betrayal of the decorum of convention.”

Sibley said it has been fun to see that some of the bird’s followers aren’t even in Austin.

I posted this earlier on my Instagram and really, it's a "I wish I could be at #GC79 for real" moment. But as I've been following the into as best as I can… the highlight of Gen-Con 18 is @gc79pigeon!
After all, this Episco'bird IS the word! pic.twitter.com/k8mGTQIFSg

— Jennifer Villalobos (Sunny to most, Riley to some) (@StarKnight1Sun) July 9, 2018

I’m asking all my friends for caffeine via osmosis. Convention is tiring! https://t.co/SILHvy9pVX

— General Convention Pigeon (@gc79pigeon) July 10, 2018

Over the course of convention, @gc79pigeon began to influence more and more of the deputies’ work, winging its way into floor proceedings, prompting various “communications from the chair” and even being scape-birded for certain errors.

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

On July 12, Deputy Barbara Miles of Washington, chair of Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance, presented Resolution A295 on the 2019-2021 budget and announced the correction of a revenue number in the text. “I have neither explanation or excuse,” she said the error. “But there is a rumor about pigeons.”

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, House of Deputies president, reported at the start of the July 12 morning legislative session that the Rev. Mary Janda, deputy from Utah, informed her that Deputy Pidge and Deputy CooCoo Mydove “have enjoyed convention and plan to join their cousins in Baltimore about 2021.” The Charm City is the site of the next and 80th meeting of General Convention.

“The chair regrets to inform the deputy from Utah that, because the secretary did not receive a certification from the diocesan bishop or the secretary of the diocesan convention, that these two deputies are in fact pigeons, not deputies,” Jennings explained.

A kit of pigeons surrounds the Rev. Matthew Cowden, a Northern Indiana deputy, July 12 as he reads their statement to the House of Deputies. Photo: screenshot of House of Deputies livestream

Near the start of the July 12 afternoon session, Jennings invited the Rev. Matthew Cowden, a Northern Indiana deputy, and “his cohorts” to microphone 4 to “please entertain the house.”

Cowden, who claimed a “specialty in ornithological languages,” said he had been blessed to be able to translate a statement from Deputies Peck, Peep and Poop of Birdlandia (three clergy persons wearing bird masks who surrounded Cowden and periodically pecked at his head). “We are not influential birds; not one of us comes from a cardinal parish,” they said in their “point of pigeonal privilege.”

They said they were disappointed that all of their motions have been ruled out of order, acknowledging that they were conducting themselves on a wing and a prayer, suggesting they might even be called “birds of pray.” Cowden wrapped up the statement by quoting the birds as saying they did “not wish to be robbin’ this house of any more time.”

At the beginning of the House of Deputies’ morning legislative session on convention’s last day, July 13, the house’s Committee 24 on Privilege and Courtesy presented Resolution A301 “Gratitude for Special Guest” to, in part, give “thanks and shows its appreciation for the General Convention Pigeons. We give thanks for their representation of the Holy Spirit when necessary, for providing vital entertainment when needed, and for being gentle guides when ‘crumbs are left under thy table’ or on the floor.”

The resolution, which was approved, was the second item on the deputies’ legislative calendar. It followed Resolution A289 which expressed appreciation for Jennings, who received a standing ovation after that resolution passed. She warned deputies that they should not clap more for the pigeon than her. The resulting clamor was strong but somewhat muted. She also received a stuffed pigeon toy from the Diocese of Vermont.

Soon, it was onto Baltimore.

A little bird told me today is #gc79 last day. Please leave your donuts, crumbs, and assorted food items with an appropriate volunteer so that I may feast sumptuously in the days ahead.

— General Convention Pigeon (@gc79pigeon) July 13, 2018

I’m gonna go with three years. The better question is whether they’ll let me into the convention center. https://t.co/EZLFYZXjPS

— General Convention Pigeon (@gc79pigeon) July 10, 2018

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is the Episcopal News Service’s senior editor and reporter.

Convention lets its ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ agreeing to give church full access to trial-use marriage rites

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 1:01pm

The Very Rev. Sam Candler, deputy from Atlanta and chair of the legislative committee that considered all of the convention’s marriage resolutions, urged the House of Deputies July 13 to accept the bishops’ technical amendment to Resolution B012 and not make any changes. The deputies agreed. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Deputies dotted the last i and crossed the last t on July 13 with a historic resolution giving all Episcopalians the ability to be married by their priests in their home churches.

Resolution B012 had gone from the House of Deputies to the bishops and back to the deputies on its road to approval. Deputies overwhelmingly approved a heavily amended version of the resolution on July 9, and the House of Bishops added a technical amendment two days later that does not change B012’s goal of giving full access to two trial-use marriage rites for same-sex and opposite-sex couples approved by the 2015 meeting of General Convention (via Resolution A054).

The vote was:

* Clergy: 99 yes, 3 no, 4 divided
* Lay: 101 yes, 5 no, 1 divided

A Lexington deputy holds up the deputation’s paper ballot documenting its vote. During votes by orders, deputies vote on paper ballots and then deputations calculate the results and cast their vote electronically. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Fifty-six votes in each order were required for passage. Divided votes are recorded when the clergy or lay members of a deputation split their votes between yes and no. General Convention resolutions must be adopted by both houses with the same text, and that is what deputies did early in the morning session of the last day of the 79th meeting of General Convention.

Scattered applause started to be heard among the deputies, but the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the house, cautioned that the body’s rules forbid such celebrations.

The resolution provides for:

  • Giving rectors or clergy in charge of a congregation the ability to provide access to the trial use of the marriage rites for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Resolution A054-2015 and the original version of B012 said that clergy could only use the rites under the direction of their bishop.
  • Requiring that, if a bishop “holds a theological position that does not embrace marriage for same-sex couples,” he or she may invite another bishop, if necessary, to provide “pastoral support” to any couple desiring to use the rites, as well as to the clergy member and congregation involved. In any case, an outside bishop must be asked to take requests for remarriage if either member of the couple is divorced to fulfill a canonical requirement that applies to opposite-sex couples.
  • Continuing trial use of the rites until the completion of the next comprehensive revision of the Book of Common Prayer.

The resolution also eliminated the original B012’s call for a Task Force on Communion across Difference. Such a group was created via a separate resolution, A227.

“We have already engaged in a grace-filled debate – an honorable and healthy debate, discussion and struggle,” the Very Rev. Sam Candler, deputy from Atlanta and chair of the legislative committee that considered all of the convention’s marriage resolutions, told the House of Deputies in urging passage without further tinkering. “We were reminded of the significant compromise that was made by various committed constituencies and holy saints of this church.”

No one spoke against the resolution during the House of Deputies’ short debate.

A House of Deputies page collects the written version of the Diocese of Southern Virginia’s vote by orders on Resolution B012. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The Rev. Scot McComas, Fort Worth deputy, told his colleagues that if they passed B012 they would be acting as pastors to all the people of the Episcopal Church. Yet, he noted, “For 40 years our LGBT brothers and sisters have been at the back of the bus and, every so often, they are invited to move forward one row at a time.”

The Rev. Susan Russell, Los Angeles deputy and longtime leader in the effort for full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the life of the church, described the “long and winding road” that the Episcopal Church had traveled to get to this point. She said she supported B012 “recognizing that this is a hard-won compromise but one which I believe will lead us forward into that work as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.”

She reminded the house that its debate was being livestreamed and that Episcopalians in the dioceses of Tennessee, Dallas and Florida (three of the places in which the bishops have not allowed the rites to be used) “where the faithful in the pews are waiting for us to let our ‘yes’ be yes – to say, ‘we do’ to marriage for all.”

East Carolina Deputy Joan Geiszler-Ludlum, who chaired General Convention’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage, implored deputies to complete convention’s actions on marriage. “We are fond of saying around the Episcopal Church that all are welcome, and all means all, y’all.”

Long Island Bishop Larry Provenzano offered B012 in response to proposed Resolution A085 from the task force, which was proposed in part to give a way for Episcopalians to use the rites in eight of the church’s 101 domestic dioceses in which the diocesan bishop refuses to authorize use of the trial-use marriage rites.

“I think this is a really important moment for the church,” Provenzano said in an interview with Episcopal News Service just after the deputies’ decision. “We do this without there having to be one side wins and one side loses. Very much like the theme of the whole convention, there’s a great movement for the church to really be the church in this time.”

Vermont Bishop Tom Ely, who has long been involved in crafting resolutions to move the church closer to full sacramental inclusion of LGBTQ, said Episcopalians also need to know that the rites described in B012 are available to everyone in the church, not just same-sex ones. The resolution calls for studying how the rites are used across the church.

“So, let’s see if we like the actual liturgies,” Ely said. “Do these liturgies convey the spirit of what we want? Do they pray well? Do they work for all couples? Are these worthy of inclusion, at some point, in the Book of Common Prayer?”

Chicago Bishop Jeff Lee called B012 “an elegant solution for moving forward in a way that respects the role of bishops as the chief liturgical officers in their diocese” similar to that achieved earlier in the contentious issue of prayer book revision. Lee chaired the bishops’ part of the cognate legislative committee that reviewed the marriage resolutions.

The compromise was “built on the generosity of people who would rather have seen it go further in one direction or another,” Lee said. “And, that’s a remarkable thing about this convention, I think: that willingness on the part of people who cherish and really invested themselves in having ‘all this’ or ‘all that’ being willing to let go of the things they cherish for the sake of moving forward together.”

Resolution A054-2015 said that clergy could only use the rites under the direction of their bishop. This convention’s A085 would have required bishops to make provision for all couples asking to be married to have “reasonable and convenient access” to the two trial-use marriage rites. However, it also would have added the two trial-use marriage rites to the Book of Common Prayer and amend the prayer book’s other marriage rites, prefaces and sections of the Catechism to make language gender neutral. That change was a sticking point for many.

The original version of B012 would have required bishops who would not authorize the rites to allow congregations to receive Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) from another bishop who would provide access to the liturgies. It removed the prayer book element.

Deputies agreed to a version of B012 that took away the DEPO option and placed the decision-making power for using the rites with rectors or other clergy in charge of congregations. The bishops’ amendment comes in the seventh resolve of the resolution and adds the words “provided that nothing in this resolve narrows the authority of the rector or priest-in-charge (Canon III.9.6(a)).”

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is the Episcopal News Service’s senior editor and reporter.

Bishops’ ecumenical appeal for calm as riots hit Northern Ireland city of Londonderry

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 10:04am

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has said that bombs were thrown at officers as they policed a sixth successive night of violence in the Bogside area of Londonderry the night of July 12. Despite the Irish peace process, a number of annual events continue to cause tension. This week’s rioting was sparked by a July 12 march in the city, which commemorated the 1688 victory by Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic King James II. Earlier this week, bishops from the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches made a joint visit to the area to meet people affected by the petrol bombs and to appeal to calm.

Full article here.

Rare 1616 King James Bible found in cupboard of 57-year-old New Zealand church

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 10:02am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Only 30 copies of the 1616 edition of the King James Bible are thought to exist – and one of them has recently surfaced in the cupboard of a 1960s church in Manawatū, in the lower North Island of New Zealand. It was discovered during a search for Palmerston North’s oldest Bibles for a display by neighboring church St Johns, for New Zealand’s Bible Sunday this weekend. The assistant priest at St. Peter’s, Amy Houben, believes the Bible may have been passed to the Church in 1912, but there are no records of the gift other than an inscription on its cover.

Full article here.

Young Pakistani Christians hold discussion on the role of youth in nation-building

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 10:00am

[Anglican Communion News Service] A group of 40 young Christians from the united Church of Pakistan, the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, and the Roman Catholic Church have met to discuss the country’s forthcoming general elections. The event, on the role of young people in nation building in Pakistan, was organized by the National Council of Churches in Pakistan and the Christian Conference of Asia with the Centre for Social Justice. Organizers say it was designed to build awareness among young Christians and encourage them “to exercise their democratic rights to choose the future leaders of the country.”

Full article here.

La Convención acepta un plan trienal de gastos de $134 millones

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 2:49am

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Después de rechazar tres enmiendas que les presentaron, los diputados aceptaron, el 12 de julio, el presupuesto 2019-2021 y lo remitieron a la Cámara de Obispos para su consideración.

Los obispos actuaron minutos después, aproando el presupuesto en una votación a mano alzada sin debate.

El Comité Permanente Conjunto de Programa, Presupuesto y Finanzas [PB&F, por su sigla en inglés] había presentado su propuesta de un presupuesto de $133,8 millones para [el trienio] 2019-2021 durante una sesión conjunta de la Cámara de Obispos y la Cámara de Diputados.

Toda la cobertura de ENS de la 79ª. reunión de la Convención General se encuentra aquí.

El presupuesto refleja las prioridades del Obispo Primado en evangelización, reconciliación y justicia raciales y cuidado de la creación. Esas prioridades ya se conocen como los “tres pilares” de la rama episcopal del Movimiento de Jesús.

También sigue desarrollándose en lo que Steve Lane, obispo de Maine y vicepresidente del PB&F, dijo en la sesión conjunta que es “el fundamento de nuestro continuo ministerio como Iglesia y de nuestros compromisos con otros tanto dentro como fuera de nuestra Iglesia”. Además, incluye la base del “continuo compromiso de la Iglesia con el gobierno conciliar, y los servicios legales, financieros y de otra índole del Centro de la Iglesia [las oficinas denominacionales en Nueva York]”.

De las tres enmiendas propuestas desde el pleno, una pedía traspasar los disputados $650.000 de pagos de director y funcionario asignados al presidente de la Cámara de Diputados para justicia y reconciliación raciales. Las otras dos proponían añadir dinero al presupuesto para apoyar la labor de La Red Episcopal para la Mayordomía, o TENS.

Curtis Hamilton, diputado de Misurí Occidental, le dijo a sus colegas que deberían aceptar su enmienda de no ofrecerle compensación monetaria al presidente de la Cámara de Diputados porque la Iglesia no debía pagarle a más personas cuando el PB&F se enfrentaba con $15 millones más en solicitudes de programa de lo que había recaudado o cubierto.

“Se tomó una decisión de priorizar un asunto de gobierno interno por encima de otras prioridades tales como la justicia y la reconciliación raciales a fin de balancear el presupuesto”, dijo Hamilton.

El diputado Scott Haight, de Tennessee Occidental, objetó la sugerencia de Hamilton diciendo que la Cámara había intentado durante 40 años obtener alguna especie de compensación para su presidente. Parte de ese objetivo era responder al sentir de que “las personas de color han sido, a través del tiempo, desproporcionadamente excluidas de desempeñar ese cargo”. Él instó a lo diputados que no trataran de enfrentar prioridades.

La Rda. Winnie Varghese, diputada de Nueva York se mostró de acuerdo. “Esta enmienda enfrenta dos síes de esta Cámara, uno contra otro”, dijo Varghese, quien dejó el estrado donde fungía de secretaria de votación, para participar del debate.

La Rda. Nina Ranadive Pooley, diputada de Maine, dijo que el esfuerzo para obtener una compensación para la presidente de la Cámara de Diputados era “un asunto de reconciliación racial para esta cámara” porque ofrecer compensación significa que cualquier miembro de la Cámara puede aspirar al puesto. “De cualquier raza, de cualquier etnia, de cualquier género, de cualquier situación socioeconómica”, aseveró.

La jueza Tess Judge, diputada de Carolina Oriental y ex presidente del Comité de Finanzas para la Misión del Consejo Ejecutivo que redactó el anteproyecto del presupuesto para el PB&F, instó a la derrota de la demanda.

“Estamos también muy complacidos de que nuestros obispos se hayan unido y quiera colaborar con nosotros en esto y hacer avanzar esto”, dijo ella. “Pido que la enmienda sea derrotada y que laboremos por la equidad de manera que otros que quieran servir en el papel de presidente de la Cámara de Diputados sean capaces de hacerlo también desde un punto de vista económico”.

La enmienda de Hamilton fue rechazada en un voto de viva voz con un respaldo diseminado.

Ninguna de las enmiendas de los TENS (0116 o 126) de devolver $150.000 al presupuesto tuvo éxito.

El presupuesto 2013-2015 le había dado $385.264 a la organización, que es independiente de la estructura denominacional, definiéndola (en el renglón 138 aquí) como una asociación “en apoyo de una red local para empoderamiento del ministerio de mayordomía en toda la Iglesia” El [presupuesto] 2016-2018 redujo esa cantidad d $150.000, advirtiendo (en el renglón 138 aquí) que la financiación originalmente se había contemplado como un copatrocinio de una sola vez.

La Rda. Candice Frazer, diputada de Alabama que propuso la primera enmienda, dijo que 65 diócesis de la Iglesia Episcopal así como diócesis de otras partes de la Comunión Anglicana pertenecen a TENS y usan sus materiales y adiestramientos en mayordomía. “Mi enmienda simplemente pide que sigamos sosteniendo y valorando la mayordomía como una práctica que nos compete tanto bíblica como tradicionalmente”, afirmó ella.

Ambas enmiendas fueron rechazadas en votaciones de viva voz.

El presupuesto se convierte ahora en el ámbito compartido del PB&F y el Consejo Ejecutivo. Entre una y otra reunión de la Convención, los cánones le asignan la supervisión del presupuesto al Consejo, si bien las Reglas Parlamentarias Conjuntas de la Convención le asignan responsabilidades semejantes al PB&F.

El Consejo elabora presupuestos anuales a partir del plan de gastos que aprueba la Convención General. Normalmente, el Consejo ajusta cada uno de los tres presupuestos anuales basándose en los cambiantes ingresos y gastos. Al menos un miembro del PB&F suele asistir a cada una de las nueve reuniones del Consejo durante el trienio.

– La Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg es redactora principal y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Sandra Montes emociona a la Convención General con su testimonio y su voz

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 2:48am

Sandra Montes canta durante el culto de avivamiento en Austin el 7 de julio. Foto cortesía de Thompson/Diócesis de Alta Carolina del Sur.

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Durante la 79ª. Convención General, Sandra Montes ha sido una de las voces más destacadas a favor de los inmigrantes. Ella habla a partir de una experiencia de primera mano.

Además de su convincente testimonio en las sesiones legislativas, ella también impresionó a la Convención con su bella voz de cantante.

Nacida en el Perú, Montes pasó su niñez en Guatemala antes de que sus padres se mudaran con ella a Estados Unidos, donde su padre fue pastor evangélico. Luego de una escala en Río Grande Valley, en Texas, terminaron por asentarse en Houston en los años 80.

“Fue una suerte que no tuvimos que pasar por lo que otros han pasado para llegar aquí”, dijo Montes en una entrevista con Episcopal News Service. Esos que huyen a Estados Unidos ahora, afirmó, “huyen para mantenerse con vida. Gente que viene aquí producto de la desesperación”.

La Convención General está estudiando varias resoluciones que ofrecen declaraciones amplias y convincentes de los problemas de la separación de familias en la detención de inmigrantes, el movimiento de iglesia santuario y la dignidad del inmigrante frente a políticas federales que los diputados y los obispos dicen que van contra los valores cristianos de la Iglesia Episcopal.

Toda la cobertura de ENS de la 79ª. reunión de la Convención General se encuentra aquí.

Respecto a las resoluciones, Montes instó a los obispos y a los diputados a mostrar compasión hacia los inmigrantes que están tratando de entrar al país. “Como cristianos nos han dicho que amemos a todo el mundo”, dijo ella. “Eso significa ser compasivo”.

El 8 de julio, Montes estuvo entre los 1.000 episcopales que se reunieron en el centro de detención T. Don Hutto, en Taylor, Texas, para pronunciarse contra las acciones del gobierno de EE.UU. y su aplicación de políticas migratorias que han separado a familias durante los últimos meses.

“Hoy es el cumpleaños de mi hijo, si alguna vez me hubieran separado de él, no sé lo que yo habría hecho… sólo por estar tratando de traerlo a un lugar donde pudiera tener libertad, donde pudiera tener vida”, dijo ella en la manifestación.

“Para mí, es muy importante que estas mujeres”, que están detenidas en el centro, sepan que estamos aquí, dijo ella. “Yo incluso no puedo poner en palabras la desesperación que sentiría si estuviera allí y mi hijo estuviera en alguna otra parte. O incluso si estuviera conmigo, sólo porque queremos algo mejor, porque buscamos libertad”.

Después que llegaron a Houston, el padre de Montes terminó siendo ordenado sacerdote episcopal y atendió como rector la iglesia episcopal de San Mateo, una de las congregaciones latinas más grandes de la Iglesia Episcopal. Aunque ahora esta jubilado, él ayuda en una iglesia luterana en Houston.

Su hermano, el Rdo. Alex Montes-Vela, es presidente de la diputación de Texas y atiende como sacerdote la iglesia episcopal de Santa María Magdalena [St. Mary Magdalene] en Manor, Texas, que inició con una reunión de cinco personas en su casa en 2010. Su sobrina, Luz Montes, es también diputada de Texas, asiste al Seminario del Sudoeste en Austin y espera ser ordenada sacerdote episcopal.

Su padre creía que “Dios había llamado a toda la familia al ministerio” cuenta ella.

Montes hizo una carrera como maestra de escuela pública antes de jubilarse. Actualmente, sirve a la Fundación de la Iglesia Episcopal como asesora en español, un puesto en el cual ayuda a la fundación en la elaboración de materiales prácticos sobre asuntos que tienen que ver con el liderazgo y los retos económicos a que se enfrentan las congregaciones episcopales de habla hispana; prepara y dirige presentaciones para la Internet y otros eventos educacionales y colabora con el personal de la fundación para desarrollar una mayor capacidad en esta área.

A ella se le han acercado en la Convención los que buscan su ayuda para la creación de materiales bilingües para sus propias diócesis e iglesias.

Además de ser defensora de inmigrantes, Montes enardeció al público con una impactante actuación antes del sermón del obispo primado Micahel Curry en el avivamiento del 7 de julio. Ella también cantó durante la manifestación frente al centro de detención Hutto en Taylor.

Aunque nunca tuvo adiestramiento profesional en música o canto, a ella le gusta cantar y escribe sus propias canciones. “Mi mamá dice que yo nací cantando”, afirma.

En la ciudad donde reside, Montes dijo que no asistía a una iglesia específica, Como latina que lleva el cabello lila, reconoce que se destaca —pero está en la misión de aprender cuán acogedora es una congregación cuando ella entra por la puerta.

“Lo que hago ahora es que visito diferentes iglesias y escribo en mi blog acerca de ellas”, apuntó. En algunas de las iglesias a las que asiste en que todos son blancos, “nadie me dice ‘hola’. [aunque] hay algunas que soy muy acogedoras, amistosas y serviciales”.

Basada en su experiencia, ella ofrece unas cuantas sugerencias respecto a hacer que los visitantes se sientan bienvenidos, tales como tener espacio de estacionamiento reservado para visitantes, sonrisas y pulcritud. “Una de las cosas que más aprecio es si me piden que me quede para el café y bien me llevan y están conmigo o me relacionan con otras personas” explica.

Ella dijo que tuvo emociones contradictorias mientras asistía a la Convención General, empezando por la Eucaristía de apertura. “ En el estrado había mujeres blancas vestidas con trajes africanos y tocando tambores”, esta fue una desafortunada apropiación cultural.

Los blancos, siguió diciendo, no se dan cuenta de la impresión que esto puede causar en los afroamericanos, los latinos o los asiáticos. “Yo no sé cuál era el mensaje que querían transmitir, pero sé lo que yo sentí”.

También echó de menos en la Convención una diversidad de música y actuaciones. “La música ha sido estupenda, pero no ha sido diversa. Seguimos siendo muy blancos”, afirmó.

Sin embargo, dijo, “amo a esta Iglesia. Amo a Jesús sobre todas las cosas. Me siento muy agradecida de ser parte de ella. Porque conozco esta Iglesia, sé que podemos ser mejores. Todo proviene del amor.

Ella reconoce que a veces puede enojarse, pero dijo. “Intento ser la voz de las personas que no tienen voz”.

— Mike Patterson es un escritor independiente radicado en San Antonio y corresponsal de Episcopal News Service. Es parte del equipo de información de ENS en la Convención General y pueden dirigirse a él en rmp231@gmail.com. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Leadership impairment resolutions pass, take effect Jan. 1, 2019

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 8:24pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The 79thGeneral Convention passed three resolutions brought to convention the Commission on Impairment and Leadership,  which refers to intervention, evaluation and possible re-entry or action needed related to various forms of leadership impairment.

The three resolutions,  D057D058 and D059, speak to issues surrounding leadership impairment due to alcohol and substance misuse and behavioral addictions.

The resolutions will take effect Jan. 1, 2019, in the new budget year.

D057 calls for the Training on Alcohol and Substance Misuse, and “directs the Executive Council to take the necessary steps to develop a mandatory training program with respect to alcohol and substance misuse and other forms of addiction (to be renewed at designated intervals) for all persons in the process of formation for ordination and for all priests and deacons currently licensed.”

A Rapid Response Team for Crisis Intervention is called for in D058, “recommends that the Presiding Bishop, drawing on the research of the Commission on Leadership and Impairment, establish a team of advisers or consultants to serve as a resource on alcoholism and substance misuse and other forms of addiction to provide a rapid response to issues of questionable impairment, to provide clergy or other concerned individuals with confidential advice, and to assist with monitoring and recovery.”

And in D059, Executive Council and the Pastoral Development Committee of the House of Bishops evaluate their policies and practices surrounding alcohol and substance use so that changes can be made that “may contribute to a healthy environment with regard to alcohol and substance misuse and other forms of addiction” in the context of meetings and gatherings. This resolution also “recommends that CREDO https://www.cpg.org/active-clergy/learning/credo/develop a program component to help participants explore their relationship to alcohol and substance misuse and other forms of addiction.”

All three resolutions were passed by the House of Deputies as part of the July 8 consent calendar. There was no debate in that house. Resolution D059 passed the House of Bishops on July 9, and Resolutions D057 and D058 were approved on the House of Bishop’s July 10 consent calendar.

– Sharon Tillman is a freelance writer for Episcopal News Service.