House of Bishops approves first set of legislation
By Richelle Thompson

July 30:[ENS] With little dissent, the House of Bishops approved Wednesday
afternoon more than a dozen pieces of primarily housekeeping
legislation. They also applauded reports from Episcopal Relief and
Development and a youth representative.

Flanked by other members of the official youth presence, Erin Ferguson
of the Diocese of Southeast Florida urged the bishops to engage in
ministry with young people.

"We must include youth as an integral part of the leadership on the
national, provincial, diocesan and parish level," Ferguson said. Altar
guilds and diocesan councils, vestries and General Convention
deputations all should have youth representation, he said.

"We want to work along with you to achieve these goals. We are willing
to stand by you and work for the accomplishment of these goals. We want
to be a partner in these changes," Ferguson said. "Together we can
preserve the future and the betterment of this church we serve today."
As a token of membership in Episcopal Youth, Ferguson also presented
Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold with a backpack.

Sandra Swan, executive director of Episcopal Relief and Development,
shared with the bishops the work of the international agency since the
last triennium. The agency's successes have been great and small, from
rebuilding homes ravaged by hurricanes or earthquakes to helping a group
of impoverished women in South Africa learn how to quilt - and
ultimately, how to earn a living for their families.

Episcopal Relief and Development received its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status
last summer, an effort the agency hopes will expand its ministry and
enable it to tap into more foundations and grant programs. The agency
will focus its future ministry and outreach in two areas, hunger and
health, said Swan.

The development aspect of the agency works to "give people the tools to
control their own lives, to make their own choices and live into the
fullness of life,'' Swan said. It helps complete "our transformation
from a reactive charity to a proactive agent of change."

After a 30-minute private time of reflection and meditation, the House
of Bishops considered and approved several pieces of legislation,
ranging from the agenda for the 74th General Convention to
clarifications about planning for future conventions.

Following the Constitution committee's recommendation, the bishops
agreed to reject resolution A108, which would have allowed for the
development of alternative liturgies outside the bishop's authority or
the review process provided in the Constitution. They also concurred
with the committee's recommendation to reject A112, which would have
allowed nonconfirmed adult communicants to serve as lay deputies.
In addition, the bishops rejected resolution A114, meaning that
chancellors to the presiding bishop will continue to be "confirmed"
adult communicants.

Resolution A045 restated the definition of a communicant as "All members
of this Church who have received Holy Communion in this Church at least
three times during the preceding year." The bishops unanimously approved
the resolution.

-- Richelle Thompson is Director of Communications for the Diocese of
Southern Ohio, and a volunteer reporter for ENS news coverage.


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