The 75th
GENERAL CONVENTION 2006
June 13-21, Columbus,Ohio

 

 

THE Flavor OF CONVENTION

Comments from other Deputations around the country [Last entry June 23, 2006 1:44 PM ]

POST CONVENTION COMMENTS:

In delicatessens and places where they eat bialys, we occasionally hear that someone is a lamedvavnik — just about the highest possible praise in this world of bagels, lox and pastrami. Lamedvavnik is a Yiddish term that refers to the Talmudic idea of 36 invisible righteous people in every generation who hold the world together by their prayers, their goodness and their blamelessness before God. (The Hebrew letters lamed and vav are used numerically to represent 30 and 6.)

The lamedvavnik is not just a mensch among mensches, nor even a mensch squared or cubed; his or her place in the world is on a completely different level of necessity in the economy of life on earth. Lamedvavniks are hidden, and probably do not even know that they are among the tiny group who maintain the health of the world. Since, then, there exists the possibility that each person is a lamedvavnik, it is incumbent to live, pray, and love in light of that potential holy calling.

We suspect that Martin Thornton was writing from a Christian perspective about something like the idea of the lamedvavniks in his extended explications of the 'remnant' in pastoral theology. (Pastoral Theology: A Reorientation, 1956 and Christian Proficiency, 1961.) The remnant are those quiet souls who have aspired to Christian proficiency in their lives. They remain to pray and live in their parishes even longer than the one hour for which Christ asks in Gethsemane. They are the dependable, praying, beating heart of each parish, the core who mean what they live and live what they meant by their baptismal vows. They are the people of whom Saint Seraphim of Sarov said 'Acquire the spirit of peace, and a thousand around you will be saved.'

We are sure for our part that some unnoticed person in each parish — or perhaps a handful of them — does more good in the course of a lifetime than most church committees, meetings or strategies will ever bring about. As the secular and ecclesiastical media continue to spin votes and events in their own ways, we give thanks for this core of real, pure-chemical goodness in the Church and the world. In them abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; even when conventions are in session and pass on their way into history. - Anglicans Online

Are you a lamedvavnik? See you next week.

WEDNESDAY, June 21 (LAST DAY) -

On Bishop Jefferts Schori's sermon at the Closing Eucharist:

Sometimes at Eucharist, no matter how many people are in the church, you get the feeling that the preacher is speaking directly to you. I had that feeling this morning. Bishop Jefferts Schroi spoke of believing something is so essential that it “takes the place of God.”

That thing, she said, can be a bank account, or a theological framework. For me, and perhaps for other participants in the Episcopal/Anglican debate, that thing is winning the argument, getting the best quote out there, having the last word.

The sin in this, she said is a failure to understand one’s self as “beloved of God.” It is only when we know ourselves as beloved of God, that we can “respond in less fearful ways” to others. Among those others she listed “a rhetorical opponent.”

“We children of Jesus can continue to squabble over our inheritance,” she said, or we can claim it, and live in a way that reflects our claim.

On one level, it is in the nature of my job to have rhetorical opponents. But there is a danger that I am particularly aware of this morning in living primarily—during General Convention, one might say exclusively—on that level. Developing and articulating strategy and executing tactics become the things that “take the place of God.” Trying to shape the future of the Church gets in the way of actually being a Christian.

Yesterday in the House of Bishops, Bishop Gene Robinson, reflecting on the dilemma our Church finds itself in—alienate others in the Communion or cause pain to our gay and lesbians brothers and sister—said “I don’t know what humility looks like in this context.”

I am not sure what it looks like either, but I think I have a better idea, after these 10 days, of what it sounds like. And I am in hopes of reproducing that sound in what I write and what I say as this struggle continues. - Jim Naughton (Washington)

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A Statement of Conscience from 30 members of the House of Bishops

We, the undersigned Bishops of this 75th General Convention, in the confidence of the Gospel and out of love for this great Church, must prayerfully dissent from the action of this Convention in Resolution B033 (on Election of Bishops). We do so for the following reasons:

The process used to arrive at Resolution B033 raises serious concerns about the integrity of our decision-making process as a Church. In particular we note that we discussed a resolution, A162 , on Tuesday, but were never given an opportunity to act upon it. Instead, we were presented with a different resolution this morning, and were given only 30 minutes for debate and discussion. This resolution bears great consequences both for the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church and unfortunately was not adequately discussed.

Our conversation has been framed in a flawed paradigm, forcing us to choose between two goods—the full inclusion in the life of the Church of our brother and sister Christians who happen to be gay or lesbian and our full inclusion in the life of our beloved Communion.
The process that brought about the reconsideration of this matter failed to honor the integrity of the House of Deputies by bringing undue pressure to bear on that body.

Our witness to justice has been prophetic in this nation and in the wider Anglican Communion on the issues of the full inclusion of people of color and persons who are differently-abled. For more than 30 years women have been permitted to be included in the councils of this Church as lay deputies to this Convention and as deacons, priests and bishops. This witness to full inclusion has borne the fruits of the Spirit and is incarnate in the faces and lives around these tables and throughout the Church. The language of this resolution too much echoes past attempts by the Church to limit participation of those perceived to be inadequate for full inclusion in the ordained ministry.

Any language that could be perceived as effecting a moratorium that singles out one part of the Body by category is discriminatory.
We are absolutely committed to the future of this Communion and the process of healing the strain that we readily admit and regret exists, and has been exacerbated in our own house by events today. We must participate in this process with our own integrity intact and thus we are obliged to make this dissent. We intend to challenge the rest of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion to honor the promise to include the voices of gay and lesbian in the conversations about the future of the Communion. We pray for the Church, for our Communion, and for our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters. - posted by Bishop John Chane (Diocese of Washington)

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TODAY WAS A VERY DIFFICULT DAY, for me personally but even more so for others.

We knew today would be difficult last night. The presiding bishop signaled just how hard it would be last night when he called a joint session with us for this morning. We had defeated legislation that would have effected a moratorium on same sex bishops and he wanted to talk to both the house of bishops and the house of deputies about it. On Tuesday the House of deputies said no to a moratorium on the election of Bishops in a same gender relationship. On Wednesday we were asked to reconsider that decision

In the joint session Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold asked the deputies to consider a resolution that would effect a moratorium. Then the bishops went off and passed that resolution declaring that they wanted to agree not to consecrate anyone bishop whose, "manner of life" would be hard for the rest of the communion to accept. The resolution then came to the house of deputies.

During the debate the new PB elect, Katharine Jefferts Schori, asked to speak to the house. She did and she asked us to pass the resolution. We took up the resolution and began to debate it. The conservatives wanted to defeat the legislation because they wanted stronger language that would specifically name homosexuality as the issue. The moderates wanted to agree with the resolution because they want to remain in the Anglican communion at any cost. The liberals were torn. We want communion but not at the cost of saying that we will not affirm the ministries of gay and lesbian Christians. The full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in the life of the church is important to us. Our hearts were ripped out as some faithful gay and lesbian Christians spoke in agreement to the resolution. It seemed to many that we are being asked to do this so that the new Presiding Bishop, as a woman, would be accepted at the table with the other primates of the communion. As we dealt with this issue I had a very visceral experience. My heart was ripped apart by the debate.

In the end the resolution passed. I think the resolution stinks. It is as if we are denying the truth we spoke in Minneapolis. My only consolation is that I believe we did it in order to keep the new woman primate of the church at the table with the other primates of the communion.

The final hours of the convention are a blur. We attempted to get as much legislation passed as we could and I am sure we did some good things, but my heart was still back at the debate. It will take some time to process what we have done. It may take months to discover if we did a good and right thing or not.

I look forward to returning to Minnesota and to speaking to all of you about these issues.

For now, peace and blessings, -- Michael+ [Hanley] (Minnesota)

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What Happened On Wednesday? --"Wednesday was a fine day for a media frenzy.." more - lots more! - Mark Harris (Delaware)
published in PRELUDIUM

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NOT A MALE DISEASE: ….I was shocked this morning as I read the material from the AIDS booth [IN THE EXHIBIT HALL]. How can 50 percent of all new AIDS cases be in the age bracket of 18-25? The booth is passing out material, including male contraceptives that are water-based. They state that most males think they are protected but that all brands of contraceptives do not not prevent AIDS. They are seeing an alarming trend in women who now have AIDS. It is definitely not a gay male disease. The booth was informative and well done.. -- Fr. Ray Waldon, (Centeral Gulf Coast)

 

 

 

 

 

THE MIDDLE WAY? --------------------Show us your mercy, Lord; and grant us your salvation.

I plead this morning for mercy, mercy from our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion, from within our own Episcopal Church, and from the world itself that is waiting and watching for salvation.
Have mercy on us as the Episcopal Church clings to two different, and perhaps competing, truths.

One truth is that we commit ourselves to this evolving and sacred mystery that is the Anglican Communion. We are Anglicans and proud of it. We earnestly desire the highest degree of communion possible with other Anglicans. We want to walk together with folks who share our common heritage (and with Christians everywhere, for that matter).

The second truth, just as urgent for many of us, is the truth of blessed same-sex unions among our faithful local communities. We have witnessed some of that blessed grace on the very floor of convention, and many of us believe that God can call such leadership to the episcopate.

How, and where, can these truths be expressed together in a coherent way?

I believe there is such a place, a place described in Psalm 85, where “mercy and truth meet together, where righteousness and peace kiss each other.” Let us cling to that place.

I believe we can go forward in the name of mercy and truth, and with deep, deep respect for the right and for the left in this church. The Episcopal Church walks in the Spirit when we do not discard the right and when we do not abandon the left.

The Episcopal Church is not the middle way. The Episcopal Church is the comprehensive way, which includes fully the right and the left. Mercy and truth can meet together. It will be a miracle, yes, and I believe in miracles.

The Very Reverend Samuel G. Candler
Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip
Atlanta, Georgia

 

TUESDAY, June 20

"Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has a heart of compassion, a spirit of grace and the way to deal with our issues by relationships," -- the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno (bishop, Los Angeles). [L.A. Times]

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Donn Morgan, president and dean of Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, where Jefferts Schori received her master's degree in divinity in 1994, said he believes Jefferts Schori "can and will make a positive difference for the Episcopal Church … as it addresses the many issues which presently divide it."

"I am proud of the church for electing Katharine to this important position. She is, on the one hand, a careful and rigorous thinker who doesn't accept easy and simplistic answers to difficult questions and issues. On the other hand, Katharine is an open and gracious colleague who sees and covets the value of cooperation and collaboration. All of her actions seem to be characterized by patience, tolerance and a very strong will or desire to move forward together." -- Donn Morgan (dean, CDSP) [L.A. Times]

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WE ARE BOUND IN COMMUNION, ALL OF US -- General Convention, is a pretty exciting place to be right now. Oh, who am I kidding - this convention has been nothing short of inspiring and hopeful. I've been working with Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation all week, and they are a fantastic group.

For the first time both the new president of the House of Deputies (Bonnie Anderson) and the new presiding bishop (Katharine Jefferts Schori) are women. And on the thirtieth anniversary of the convention that ruled to ordain women to the priesthood, it seems fitting that two women should lead us fully into the new century.

But I think more exciting and more important than Jefferts Schori's gender are her mind and her faith. She consistently emphasizes her passion for mission, and not in the creepy "come to Jesus or go to hell" sense but in the sense that the Millennium Development Goals are central to the vision of our church and that in the next nine years they can be achieved. She's brilliant, well-spoken and a person of incredible faith. She talks about the spirit moving through us as a body at convention, and as a Church being bound in communion.

This brings me to the Anglican Communion. There are a few people here terrified that this is the end and we will be officially booted out of the greater international church. All I can say is that I don't believe that can happen. Part of being a Church is being truly in communion with one another. We can disagree and we can argue, but we are always bound by our Baptismal Covenant and in the Eucharist. We as a Church are only as good as we are collectively as individuals. Every voice is vital to the integrity of this body, and just as expulsion from the Anglican Communion would cause me grief, so too would the splintering of groups in the Episcopal Church that aren't yet ready to ordain women and homosexuals.

I don't think there is any going back from our position now as a Church that had outwardly shown its commitment to recognizing God's gifts and God's call in all of our members. There are some who would say out of fear that we must recant, apologize for and retreat from this bold position, but the spirit moving through people at this convention has made it clear to me that that is not an option. We are bound in communion, all of us, one to each and every other.

I would urge us to embrace, as this convention has, the Millennium Development Goals as a brilliant articulation of the mission of the church. These eight goals can be achieved within the next nine years, and we can make it happen. Someone here said me to when I asked what one person can do, "groups are made up of people, and groups can change the world." I think that's true, I think that through embracing the Christ in one another, we can come to know the people we've already met better, and we can come to serve the needs and spirits of people we have yet to meet. We can affect change and we can live out our Baptismal Covenants, but we cannot let fear pull us back.

I can't really describe the energy and the joy that have filled this convention hall all week. I can only tell you that I am leaving Columbus transformed. I have truly found in the people here a hope that we can be what we say we are. That we can be, and are working to be, Christ in this world – to me, that's good news. -- Cat Crowder (Cathedral Youth, Maryland)

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Gulf Coast Convention-goers are wearing “Thanks Y’all” stickers on their official name badges as a way to say, well, “Thanks Y’all” ----- for all the ways the Episcopal Church has supported their communities after last year’s hurricanes

 

 

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Most of the retired bishops who showed up to elect a Presiding Bishop have packed their bags and gone home. Bishops and Deputies are beginning to show the signs of fatigue. But the most difficult work of Convention stares us in the face today, tired or not.

This morning, following the Eucharist, opening prayers, odds and ends of legislative messages from the House of Bishops and such, we [voted down resolution A161], a wretched piece of legislation that not even its mother, the Special Committee, can love. The worse sort of patch job has been put together, with phrases such as, “Accordingly, we are obliged to urge nominating committees, … refrain from nomination…”

Worse, this resolution attaches to the previous resolution on elections of bishops a resolution on rites of blessing of same – sex unions. (That one includes the ethical morass of recommending that there be no movement on authorizing Rites of Blessing, affirms the need to maintain a “breadth of response” to Lesbian and Gay folk -- which is code for allowing “unofficial” blessings, -- and then turns around and says, “Resolved that this General Convention apologize to those gay and lesbian Episcopalians and their supporters hurt by these decisions.”

This is what might be known as preemptive apology. It works very well for those in power in our society and is closely related to the moral stance that suggests that justice must be delayed because the society is just not ready. Such suggestions are almost always accompanied by statements such as, “I know segregation makes for suffering, but if you can just suffer a little longer…” It is important to note that it is seldom the sufferer who holds up such arguments.

It echoes as well that other famous preemption in our days,"the preemptive strike doctrine." Preemption requires the ability to take action against potential aggression by stepping in first and dealing a blow. It is often accompanied by saying, “sorry about all the dead bodies.”

Saying we are sorry about the suffering of others, but they have to suffer so that we avoid some terrible state of affairs is the worse sort of hypocrisy. There was considerable talk on the floor about the idea of suffering for the cause of unity, the church, the faith, etc. The Archbishop of York earlier in the week had raised the question as to whether the Episcopal Church (or its Gay and Lesbian members) was being called to bear the marks of Christ’s crucifixion, the print of the nails, etc, suggesting that perhaps we must suffer for a while until the Anglican Communion comes to consensus on the questions raised by Bishop Robinson’s consecration.

If we ask Gay and Lesbian persons in the Church to stand down from their hopes and requests for blessing, perhaps we should stand down as well. If there is no salt for their bread, then there should be none for ours. Perhaps the moratorium of common suffering should be invoked: No blessings for them, no blessings for us. -- Mark Harris (Delaware)

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In addition to being the place to do church business every three years, General Convention has qualities that resemble a county fair and a family reunion. For some, that's enough reason to make it a vacation of sorts.

Hazel Gerber of Alpharetta and Ruth Vaught of Atlanta, both members of the Cathedral St. Philip, photographed here enjoying lunch at a hotel near the convention center, are not elected deputies.

Gerber calls herself "the official visitor" of the Atlanta crowd. She so enjoyed the convention in Minneapolis in 2003, she decided to come to Columbus. She finds sitting in the House of Bishops gallery to be the most interesting way to spend her time. "It's smaller, and you can hear more." She also likes the Exhibit Hall. "It's a fascinating microcosm of the different parts of the church," Gerber said.

Vaught has spent the time as a volunteer, first in the people's-needs area, then at registration and secretariat. "Don't ask me what the secretariat does! But I've met wonderful people from all over," Vaught said. "It's all very well organized. I applied to volunteer on the Internet. All I had to do was tell them what my skills are and they found things for me to do." - Nan Ross (Atlanta)

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I just want to offer a reminder that women with young children make most of the decisions in this country about who is going to go to church where. I think these women are going to respond very positively to what we've done, especially when they have a chance to see and hear Bishop Jefferts Schori. She is a powerful messenger. - Jim Naughton (Washington DC)

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MONDAY, June 19-

THE SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE: Bishop Jefferts Schori is a person of Christian commitment, an intelligent and articulate leader, a bishop who cares deeply for the unity of the church. I have pledged to her my support and my prayers, and I ask that all of you hold her in prayer as she prepares to assume the burden of a most challenging office in a most challenging time.

My own life has been consumed – I hope that’s not too dramatic a word! – with work on the Episcopal Church’s response to the Windsor Report. Christopher Wells, lay deputy from Northern Indiana, and I both serve on the Special Legislative Committee on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, the body tasked with crafting resolutions sent to the floor of Convention dealing with Windsor response. The committee has been remarkably balanced, hard working, and focused; but the work has been slow and difficult.

Last night we held our fifteenth meeting! Most of the effort is behind us. We have produced resolutions on our interdependence in the Anglican Communion; on our eagerness as a church to participate in the development of an Anglican Covenant and in a Communion-wide “listening process”; on our regret for breaching the bonds of affection in the Communion regarding the actions of the 2003 General Convention; and, just last evening, on the request in the Windsor Report for a moratorium on the consecration of further bishops living in same sex partnerships and a moratorium on liturgies for the blessing of same sex unions.

The language we’ve come up with, I believe, makes a good faith effort to honor Windsor’s requests. Because the committee’s membership is so diverse, we have listened carefully to one another and been “stretched” in the give and take of significant conversation. Now these resolutions go to the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, where they may be amended further. -- Bishop Edward S. Little II (Northern Indiana)

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Many here are expressing very mixed feelings about the election:...
 
Prospectively, Bishop Schori may turn out to be a fine PB.  She is brilliant.  She is generous as a person.  She is, by nature, something of a reconciler.  Not a few people have suggested that, perhaps with the exception of Bishop Jenkins, she may have been the best candidate for conservatives.  On the negative side, her profound lack of experience may get her into trouble as she attempts to negotiate the bureaucracy in New York.  Her gender will put further strains on the Communion.  Time will tell.
 
Politically, her election appears to be a triumph of liberals over moderates and conservatives, who seem to have gone for Bishop Parsley.  Today we vote on the most sensitive of the "Windsor" resolutions.  Will this victory embolden the liberals?
 
Principally,  Whatever else may be said about her, good or bad, Bishop Jefferts Schori voted for the consecration of Gene Robinson.  Further, she openly permits same-sex blessings in her diocese.  For these reasons, and for these reasons alone, I voted against her, as did most of the deputation from Central Florida.  In addition, mixed feelings flow from the tears of joy shed by the many woman priests on the floor of convention.  As one evangelical female priest told me, "As tears of joy streamed down my face, I marked my ballot 'no'." -- John Liebler (Central Florida)

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I encourage the people of the Diocese of Southwest Florida to join me in congratulations to [The Right Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori] and in prayer for her and her family.

In her response to the questions of the Nominating Committee concerning the most important priorities for the next Presiding Bishop, she named concerns that will resonate with the priorities of the Diocese of Southwest Florida. Embracing the growing cultural diversity within our Church and implementing the Millennium Development Goals are important to her as she assumes this new office. I applaud her desire to “move our sanctuaries into the streets to encounter and transform the bad news of this world…to realize the dream of God for all creation.” -- The Right Reverend John B. Lipscomb, Bishop & The Rev Dr John S. Adler, President, Standing Committee (Southwest Florida)

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PButton

 

Several conventioners on the last day of Convention
were seen wearing buttons proclaiming "It's a girl! ..."
in celebration of Bishop Katharine's election
as Presiding Bishop.

 

 

 


AN INCARNATIONAL RESPONSE: - A special committee of convention has been working mightily and faithfully to agree on a Windsor Report response they might recommend to us. They have prayed and struggled fervently. They join many, many others, around the world praying and struggling, too. The Episcopal Church is committed to two different realities: commitment to the Anglican Communion, and commitment to the full membership of gays and lesbians in the church.

However, as the world -and the press-awaits the careful crafting of the Episcopal Church's response to the Windsor Report, the Episcopal Church delivers not words, but a person. The election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as presiding bishop represents a different sort of response to Windsor, and it will probably be far more powerful than any document we adopt.

When she is consecrated, the Episcopal Church will be represented by a woman, when just over thirty years ago women were not even allowed to be ordained priests. Only two other members of Anglican Communion churches (Canada and New Zealand) have women bishops. Thus, the Episcopal Church is choosing to respond incarnationally, with flesh, as is proper for any church who is part of the Anglican Communion. And the Episcopal Church is responding in a way that is faithful to our local expressions of Christian faith. In the sixth century, Pope Gregory famously advised the first Archbishop of Canterbury not to impose upon the new church in England customs which were unfamiliar to them: "Choose, therefore, from every Church those things that are pious, religious, and upright..." That remark set the tone for local respect.

The Anglican tradition of Christianity takes flesh seriously, and it takes local expression seriously. We are an incarnational church that respects local custom and order. Of course, we take words and doctrine and creed seriously, too. But we find our greatest authority in the Word made flesh, Jesus our Lord. We believe that God became flesh in Jesus Christ, and we believe that God continues to become flesh, in a correlative way, in men and women today.

The Episcopal Church formally realized thirty years ago our church could ordain women as priests and bishops. The Lambeth Conference of 1988 stated that "each province respect the decision and attitudes of other provinces in the ordination or consecration of women to the episcopate." The Windsor Report's rather incomplete summary of the women's ordination process yet relies on that Lambeth statement. Today, the Episcopal Church benefits from the ordination and consecration of women, and we will benefit from the person of Katharine Jefferts Schori as our next presiding bishop. -- The Rev. Samuel G. Candler (dean, Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta)

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In Quincy, at least, Bishop Jefferts Schori would not be welcome; Just like we can't use grape juice and saltines for Communion, because it isn't the right matter, we do not believe that the right matter is being offered here," - Rev. H. W. Herrmann rector, St. John's (Quincy) [N.Y. Times, June 19, 2006]

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First, let me say how proud and thankful I am that our own Brian Prior was elected this past weekend to serve as Vice President of the House of Deputies. This is a great honor for Brian and our diocese and carries with it the highest level of trust and respect from Brians colleagues in the House of Deputies. Brian will now bear substantial responsibilities for the leadership of the General Convention and contribute generously and faithfully to the future of our Church. Congratulations to Brian!

Second, I rejoice in the election of Katharine. She is colleague with whom I have worked closely these last give years and for whom I have great respect and confidence. Her gifts will serve the Church well and I believe she will surprise many with her gracious spirit toward all and her exceptional clarity in communicating the Gospel.

About the election experience: As the prospect of Katharine being elected began to shift from being a remote possibility to a likely probability the atmosphere in the House of Bishops was one of being swept forward by the Spirit! Significant disbelief was overcome by reality when Bishop Griswold announced the vote tally and declared, "We have an election." Tears flowed all around because of the power of the moment and the unspoken, indescribable magnitude of the event that no one could have planned or fully anticipated. It was genuine, and seemed unquestionably of God in what was a worshipful, prayerful, even solemn (in the best sense) setting.

Please join me in giving thanks for this historic event and in ceaseless prayers for God's guidance through the Holy Spirit in our midst as convention continues. +Jim (Bishop Jim Waggoner Diocese of Spokane)

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CDSP RECEPTION - Last night, when the alumni of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific gathered at a seminary-sponsored reception, Bishop Jefferts Schori, a fellow alum, was toasted. Offering toasts were two other CDSP alum bishops, the Rt. Rev. Gayle Harris of Massachusetts and the Rt. Rev. Nedi Rivera of Olympia. My, how the Church has changed in ways I never dreamed of 29 years ago when I was ordained.

In reading the statements of visitors to this convention from around the Anglican Communion, I see good support and affirmation of Bishop Jefferts Schori. However, we know that everyone in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion is not thrilled with the House of Bishops' choice of Presiding Bishop. We could see that in the faces of at least one deputation that is seated near us in the House of Deputies. Leaders of conservative movements have also begun to speak out in press releases and internet postings.
This, of course, is part of our celebrated diversity. The opportunity for the Church is to maintain that large tent, that table with many places.

The place where that happens -- literally -- is the table of the Eucharist. A few days ago at the daily convention Eucharist, we sang a communion hymn by Bernadette Farrell, the second stanza and refrain of which were:
"This bread we break and share was scattered as your grain: just as now it is gathered, make your people one. Bread of life, hope of the world, Jesus Christ our brother: feed us now, give us life, lead us to one another." May it be so. -- Kristi Philip (Spokane)

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General Convention Report to the Diocese of El Camino Real

It was exhilarating, electrifying, exciting! The news that the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori had been selected as the next Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church ignited what had been a fairly tame and quiet Convention. For many of us it was the work of the Holy Spirit setting the church on fire with a passion for mission, ministry and hope for the future. This election offers a vision for the dream of God in which all people are respected and valued. Under the leadership of our next Presiding Bishop the Episcopal Church will be challenged to take our baptismal promises very seriously, particularly as they impact the needy in our world.

This election also impacts me personally. It is rare for me to cry, but at the announcement I put my head down on the table and began to sob and shake. For months I had been saying that no matter how unlikely Bishop Katharine’s election may have seemed, the Holy Spirit works in the life of this woman in the most unexpected and transformative ways.

The first time I heard of Katharine was when I was accepted as a student at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. As a first-year student I had been assigned a senior mentor, another woman from my diocese, Oregon. At that time there were 5 powerful women from Oregon at the Seminary, all of whom have been role models to me. But Katharine was the one who reached out to me. She took her responsibility as a senior mentor as she takes all of her duties, very seriously. Before my arrival she wrote to me offering her help and prayers and giving me some idea what to expect.

Over the years I have saved the many cards and notes she has sent me. There are cards welcoming me into shared ministry with her as priests in the Diocese of Oregon. There is a card celebrating my call as Rector of St. Paul’s, Sparks. There are many thank you cards for any gift or occasion when I was able to share my gifts with her. There are annual cards from her when she served as my Bishop in Nevada celebrating my birthday, and each of my ordination anniversaries. And there is a card she delivered in person as she attended my installation service as Canon for Evangelism and Congregational Development in the Diocese of El Camino Real.

I cannot imagine or think about my ministry in the Episcopal Church without being grateful for this amazing person, priest and Bishop. She is first and foremost a pastor. Her loving, listening, thoughtful presence along with her willingness to provide support, resources and clear council have benefited anyone who has ever consulted with her. She possesses a deep well of kindness and compassion as well as genuine respect for all people. She is magnanimous. This gracious outlook has enabled her to develop relationships with everyone and will bring together persons who might otherwise have been estranged.

She is a mature and disciplined leader. She is firmly planted in reality while allowing the dream of God and the vision of God’s reign to soar. The Episcopal Church will be safe in her hands, but it will not be staid, stagnant or risk-free. She is the pilot to guide us into our destination in Christ but we are not going to be passive passengers. Her passion for the ministry of each Christian in the world will demand a rigorous, mature and heartfelt response from each of us. She will hold us to high standards for the sake of God’s Kingdom.

This is not business as usual. This is a hope-filled vision for the 21st Century and a journey into a more engaged and outward-focused practice of our faith in the living Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Hang on and fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a wild and exciting ride! -- Rev. Canon Britt Olson (El Camino Real)

 

SUNDAY, June 18--

QUOTE OF THE DAY: -- Happy Father’s Day ! Dad, you rock !”
(From the teenage son of a deputy who called home to tell his family that the Church had elected a woman as presiding bishop) -- Suzanne Smitherman (East Tennessee)

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As the Mariner baseball team announcer says as the team hits a home run - MY OH MY! What a day -

The House of Deputies was working its way through the piles of resolutions - prison ministries, lowering the age of vestry members and other offices to 16, etc but always with the awareness of the bishops over in Trinity Church voting for PB. Then came the word that they had an election - messengers came with the news, which was then given to the Committee on the Consecration of New Bishops to meet and decide to make a resolution for the House of Deputies to Consent (we are still waiting and working, yikes!). They began to file back in - women moved to the eight microphones just in case (not really believing). And then the amazing announcement of the name and a gasp and shouts (not really allowed) in the gallery.

Then Marge Christie who has worked all her adult life for the full inclusion of women spoke first in favor of our consent. And on and on and on. Men began to get a chance to speak about their daughters and their wives and the moment. Blanca Lucia Echeverry - the wife of the Bp of Columbia (Bp. Duque) gave the most gracious blessing upon the election... "I stand before you to urge you to support her election," Echeverry told the gathering in Spanish, through an interpreter, before the vote was taken. She praised Jefferts Schori as someone who understands the church in Latin America." - Ann Fontaine (Wyoming)

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In his address ("Toward a Reconciled World."), Rev. John Danforth recounted the many divisions among the people of the world, the people of our nation, and the people of our church and he asked this simple question, "Do we intend to be part of the problem, or [do] we intend to be part of the answer?"

You see the truly amazing thing about the Episcopal Church is that we’ve always claimed to be the via media, the middle way. We’ve always sought to be the place where widely divergent people can still gather together around one table and worship the one God. We’ve always sought the middle ground between Roman Catholics and Protestants, between the North and the South, and between conservatives and liberals, on any given issue. There are so few places in our world today where people on either side of any particular wedge issue still gather for fellowship, to care for one another, and to acknowledge our common bond as sisters and brothers in Christ. The Episcopal Church, Danforth noted, is still such a place.

The Episcopal Church is still such a place. And thus you and I participate in a true and special rarity. We continue to be a place where all are welcomed and judgment is reserved for the one, true judge. -- Rich Nelson (Northwest Texas)

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JUBILATION IN COLUMBUS:-- This is what it looked like when her name was read out.

People here are bouncing off the walls. As Caryl Frink, chair of our deputation, said to me just after the vote, "this is a vote for the future, for mission." Indeed. We are a church who will be led by a bishop, a scientist, a woman, and a person of deep faith. - Scott Gunn (Rhode Island)

 

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I MEAN REALLY, WOW. .... I am proud to be a part of the Episcopal Church. We began ordaining women exactly 30 years ago this convention. 3 years ago The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson was consecrated the first openly and honestly gay bishop. Some "radical" moves have happened within my big church. And if you were to ask me how I feel, right now, today, I would simply say, "proud." Proud that we call upon the Spirit to lead us, and there are people who are radically open to listen and act.

At the Eucharist this morning, I heard my dear friend R.C. singing and began to weep. It was exactly three years ago that I was introduced to the Episcopal Church. It was R.C. who took me in, under his wing, and cracked the faith and life of the church and worship wide open for me. He led me around, introduced me to his friends and to opportunities I am not sure I would have stumbled into on my own. Frankly, I would not be here if it were not for him, and the sound of his voice reminded me today what a gift he is to me. My hope would be that I can do for others what he has done for me. -- Rachael Swan (Minnesota; Young Adult Festival)

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WHAT A DAY: What a wonderful day in the church. The election of Katharine Schori as presiding bishop is the right decision. Whether male or female, Katharine is the right choice for this time and this place. .... When Katharine was introduced to the house of deputies we heard the sound of several thousand people cheering wildly. People I know to be quiet and sober fellows where cheering! Set aside the gender issue and you still have a great decision. Katharine, I predict will do good things for this church you and I love so much.

The most telling thing I can say about her is about how she has conducted herself during this convention. She has gone about her business as if the election was the farthest thing from her mind. She has engaged people, she has debated the issues, and she has proclaimed her passions. This is a good thing.

One specific. On the second day of convention, (I think), she was the only bishop to come to the P,B and F meeting, (Program, Budget and Finance), and to testify to her beliefs concerning what we should be about in the Episcopal Church.

What a day. ------blessings, Michael Hanley (Minnesota)

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I am profoundly grateful to the House of Bishops for the prayerful and careful way in which they set about to discern who would best serve the church as its 26th Presiding Bishop and carry forward Christ's ministry of reconciliation.

The decision today is the fruit of the witness and ministry of women bishops, priests, and deacons in the life of our church.

Bishop Jefferts Schori is a person gifted in mind, heart and spirit, and I am fully confident that the Church and the Communion will be blessed by her ministry in the years ahead. - The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold (Presiding Bishop and PrimateThe Episcopal Church)

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The whole event is still feeling a bit surreal for me, but as a young woman of the church, I am ecstatic over the events of the day... When GC first consented to the ordination of women in the Episcopal Church, I was a mere 4 or 5 months old, and now at the age of 30 I was priviledged to see our church call a woman into the office of Presiding bishop, something I wondered if I would ever see in my lifetime...

In the whole of the House of Deputies, only one Deputy spoke up against her election. I expected much more outcry, to be honest. What I heard instead was a constant testament to her faithfulness, leadership, committment (and ability to speak Spanish)! She is a woman committeed to our church, our church's priorities and our mission, both domestic and international.

I pray that, as a church, we support her as our Presiding Bishop, lifting up to God the challenges that lay before her. I pray that we continue to acknowledge and lift up the ministry of women as fully capable and gifted members of the church. I don't think I've ever been prouder to be a member of the Episcopal Church, a community that looks at the gifts and talents of people, not the gender of our leaders.

I am so proud to be a member of a community that continues to lift up women, young and old! - Pia Irene (Spokane)

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As for me, I am at peace with this election. I am proud of our Church. I am proud to be an Episcopalian.

Some of you may know that the Schoris were briefly at the University of Washington in Seattle where she was a Ph.D. Oceanographer doing research and he was a Ph.D. Mathematician. They attended my parish for a short period before returning home to Oregon. Sometime later she entered the discernment process for ordination in Oregon. I feel as though I had a small part in Katherine’s remarkable journey to becoming the spiritual leader of 2.3 million Episcopalians.

Please keep her in your prayers. Please keep The Episcopal Church in your prayers. Please keep us who continue our work at General Convention in your prayers.

Yours in Christ, -- +Michael W. Creighton (Bishop of Central Pennsylvania)

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WHAT A WILD, AMAZING, SPIRIT-FILLED, HISTORIC DAY behind us -- may God give us grace for the wild, amazing, Spirit-filled journey ahead of us!

I am still fairly stunned by the rapidly accelerating sequence of events that left us at the end of the day with the historic choice of the first woman primate in the Anglican Communion ... Thrilled on so many levels at her election I am also deeply, powerfully aware of how far this church has traveled in order to allow it to MAKE this courageous and historic (I know -- third time I've used historic ... well it IS!!!) choice possible.

I remember the deep pain, division and anguish of the 1970's when the ordination of women (the last great threat to global Anglicanism and Western Civilization as we know it) was the thing that was going to split the church. I remember the lines for communion stretched out at diocesan convention with folks jockeying to get into position so they wouldn't have to receive communion from (horrors!) a woman priest. I remember my own Aunt Gretchen whose congregation (one of four) tried to "leave the Episcopal Church" over the ordination of women in the Diocese of Los Angeles in 1977. And I carry with me, close to my heart, the stories of sister priests who had to cross police lines to get to their own ordinations because of the bomb threats.

And so the very idea that the bishops of the Episcopal Church could elect a woman to lead them ... and the House of Deputies concur OVERWHELMING to that election with barely a murmur of dissent is so overwhelming I'm almost afraid to go to bed tonight lest I wake up and find out it was all a dream.

I am so proud of this church I could just burst. -- Susan Russell(Los Angeles)

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LATE TO THE DANCE! - I went to seminary in 1969. From time that I left my beloved Michigan to the time that I reached New Haven, Connecticut I realized that something important had changed. What I left was a low church (it just seemed normal) Morning Prayer 1928 Prayer Book parish built on the 1955 or so model of the Church. What I found in the seminary chapel was a different (green book) Book of Common Prayer, incense and protests against the war in Vietnam. Women could certainly not be ordained as priests. Women bishops would have been a psychedelic trip. Berkeley Divinity School was absorbed by Yale. I was ordained a priest in 1973, women were ordained to the priesthood in 1976, in 1979 there was a new Prayer Book. Women began to be elected as Bishops. Issues of sexuality began to be talked about and now in 2006 we have a new Presiding Bishop-elect, ... I struggled vehemently with the ordination of women. I worked for the preservation of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. I wondered about the issues of sexuality. Many was the time that I believed that this was not what I had signed up for.

Why am I still here? I believe that God has a plan. Maybe better said, we continue to discover the will of God set down from the beginning of time. I am also aware that there are those who believe that the present state of affairs in the Episcopal Church is certainly not of God. I wish that I was as sure of God's will as so many seem to be. I rejoice with those who rejoice and I grieve with those who grieve. I wrestle with God and God prevails.

Now that I begin to contemplate retirement, I realize that my faith journey would have been easier had I just gone along for the ride. That was not to be. I couldn't just go along. This was all too important. I am still here and the Church is still here and my faith is still here. The joyful music of heaven plays on and I realize that I am late for the dance but I am here and the dance with God goes on and we learn the new steps for a new time "and the beat goes on". May God bless and challenge and protect our blessed Episcopal Church for this time and the time to come. -- Dean Hurley (Nebraska)

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You wouldn’t believe what’s going on here in Columbus!
They’re in the streets... They’re crying... They’re breaking out in song... They’re hugging.

It’s unbelievable. It’s a time of great rejoicing and hope; The young people are on fire.

Everyone is calling their friends.

Katharine’s acceptance was delivered in both English and Spanish. Anyone who speaks Spanish is over-the-top thrilled.

Katharine will be at the CDSP reception tonight and the whole Nevada delputation has been invited.

I give thanks for the Holy Spirit; I give thanks for the church. --Britt Olson - (El Camino Real) (former rector of St. Paul’s Sparks, Nevada; by phone to friends in Nevada)

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There were no sad faces among the youth. The kids here were all very excited. How cool! We've got a woman PB, they were saying. This will play well among young people, they are saying, especially for those who think of the church as woefully square and old-mannish. Lowell Grisham (Arkansas)

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I support it; May God bless her with fresh perspective and may she honor all the people of the Church. - Rev. Ed Henley, (the chair of the deputation from Southwest Florida)

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CATHOLIC, EVANGELICAL, REVOLUTIONARY: This Episcopal Church has indeed done something catholic, evangelical and revolutionary, all in one).

Electing women and men as bishops is catholic, even if all Catholics can’t bring themselves to think of women in that role, for catholicity is a function of baptismal call.

Electing women and men as bishops is evangelical, even if all Evangelicals can’t abide bishops all that easily, for bishops are our evangelical tool and this election says something quite mighty about the good news of God’s working in the life of the Church.

Electing a women who is a bishop as our primary bishop, as the head of the church is revolutionary, even if revolutionary change is always suspicious of hierarchy, be it patriarchal or matriarchal. In electing Bishop Schori there is the momentary possibility of revolutionary engagement with a principle that permeates even the greatest of hierarchical schemes. “let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.” Luke 22:25-26...

In one fell swoop, the Bishops of this Church chose a woman to preside over them and guide us all. There is here a possible revolutionary, catholic and evangelical moment.

It was a grace filled occasion. Having served on the Joint Nominating Committee I was overjoyed that the candidates we had chosen were so well received, and that it remained clear that Bishop Schori was no "token" anything, but indeed catholic, evangelican and revolutionary.

Now it is time to go to work making her ministry in this office a blessing to her and to all of us. - Mark Harris (Delaware)

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ALIVE WITH JOY!: - I hardly have words to explain... Imagine Pentecost. Read Acts 2 – especially vs. 15 when Peter says,

Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning (substitute 4 o’clock in the afternoon).”

“No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

‘In the last days it will be,
God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams,
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days, I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heave above and signs on the earth below
.

That’s what it was like.

At least, that’s what it was like when I walked into the floor of General Convention a little after 3:30 PM. The place was absolutely alive with joy! ...

Marge Christie was the first lay deputy to confirm Bishop Katharine’s election. Marge, now in her mid-70’s, was one of the founding members of the Episcopal Women’s Caucus and one of the major pioneers for the ordination of women. This is, no doubt, her last convention. Hearing her confirmation at the microphone was like hearing the Song of Simeon,

O Lord, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word;"

I’m told that, after the election was announced, Bishop Barbara Harris, tears streaming down her face walked over to Bishop Katherine to embrace her. As she did, she was overheard to say, “I never – ever – thought that in my lifetime, I would see this.” And then, they both sobbed in each other’s arms.

. . . for mine eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

Elizabeth Kaeton (Newark)

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This [Election] was an historic event that I felt privileged and honored to be apart of and I am sure the rest of the deputies felt the same. The energy and enthusiasm in the house today was overwhelming and you could definitely feel the outpouring of the spirit. - Bryan K (Spokane)

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A COLLECTIVE GASP OF BREATH... THEN SMILES AND CHEERS: - We’ve received word that there has been an election of a Presiding Bishop. The gallery is filling up and the press are coming in as well. The platform folks seem pretty distracted...

We were right... We have received the deputation from the House of Bishops with news that there has been an election. Chair of Consecration of Bishops have been called to the front of of the hall where they will go off to a secure area to discuss the decision of the House of Bishops.

We’re back to the routine legislative work as we wait. And people are now streaming into the gallery...

It’s standing room only now - though to be honest there’s plenty of room for everyone.

Rumors are flying. We have a new PB and he’s a she! People’s mouths are dropping. I see folks from the press actually paying attention for the first time. There are folks rushing around with big smiles inside the house. The news, if it’s true has not actually carried to all the corners yet.

People must know something is up - we’ve just moved to suspend debate on the HIV/AIDS resolutions. The committee is coming forward. George Werner is warning the gallery to be quiet. It must be +Katherine.

There was a collective gasp of breath as her name was read. People started to spontaneously cheer in the gallery. George Werner broke into to ask them to be silent. Women have all gone to the microphones to speak as soon as they are given the opportunity. Folks rushed to the hallways to start calling home with the news.

I’m wondering at the moment what the House is going to do as the debate begins to confirm. I’m not sure this is going to be a simple thing.

Andy Gerns just reminded us that +Katherine would not be the first woman Primate - that was the Archbishop of New Zealand as best we all can remember.

Someone has just stood up to object to the issue. He’s expressed what I’m sure is the pain from parts of the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Episcopal Church.

Men are just now starting to get to the microphones. They’re speaking in favor of her election as well.
The most striking thing right now is the very real smiles on the faces of the women present - especially those who were present for the vote to authorize the ordination of women. They are looks of real joy.

I’ve got to stop wearing my Berkeley pin with it’s motto: In illa quae ultra sunt. Every Sunday that I wear it, something extraordinary happens. Into the regions beyond once again.

The discussion has been closed and the vote by orders (at the request of the deputation from Central Florida) is now underway. I can see reason to think that this isn’t going to pass.

We’ve finished our voting here in the Bethlehem Deputation. We’ve all voted “yes” to consent to the election. And now people are sharing their memories of the first time they met encountered the ministry of an ordained woman.
(Just a note, now that Bonnie Anderson is the President of the House of Deputies and +Katherine is the PB, we have a Church that is run entirely by women. Wow!)

The more I think about this, the more convinced I am that this is not the working of Man. This is clearly the work of the Spirit. Let’s see where we are going! -- Nick Knisely (Bethlehem)

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"A Chain of Women, instead of women in chains"

This day [Thursday, June 15] turned out to be one of my most touching moments in my ministry. Joyce and Jean Law had gone to our Diocesan Center and obtained the names of all of the women who had ever been ordained in the Diocese of Central PA, and they wrote those names on pieces of rose colored construction paper.

While we sat at the table we put these pieces together into a paper chain. Each table representing each Diocese in the USA did the same. As we heard stories of women’s ordinations, we assembled the paper chains from one table to another.

Some chains were short but many were very long. Ours was of 25-30 links.

Finally all of the chains were connected and the women completely circled the outside of two ballrooms as we sang “Lift High the Cross.” They asked those of us present and ordained to stand as everyone prayed the Prayers of the People specially written to give thanks for all women and men in ordained ministry. There were more than a few tears and hugs. Carol Burkey Snell - Central Pennsylvania
[On the right, Sharon Scott of Nevada holds a part of the chain]

 

SATURDAY, June 17---

LISTENING TO THE PAIN OF THE WORLD -- CREATING A SPACE TO HEAL: ...Our Committee on National and International Affairs has heard electrifying testimony from a bishop from Northern Uganda, speaking of the genocide of children; a lay person from Cuba describing the pain and suffering of church people involving food and medicine due to the U.S. blockade; the bishop of Jerusalem and several clergy and workers in Palestine speaking of the pain and suffering caused by the occupation, as well as the injury to Israelis, both physically and psychologically. Dealing with all these issues is invigorating, inspiring and compelling.

What has impressed me the most about this Convention both in committee work and on the floor of the House has been the focus: it has consistently been on the needs, the hopes and the suffering of people in our nation and world... -- Ernest Cockrell - El Camino Real

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FLAGS IN THE HOUSE OF DEPUTIES: ..there are flags on the dais for every nation that is part of The Episcopal Church. With sixteen flags there now, it is clear we aren't exactly a US-only church. In addition to the Stars and Stripes, we have the flags of Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Taiwan, and Venezuela, plus the host nations for the American Churches in Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy)... all with dioceses of The Episcopal Church. Of course, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands also fly the American flag. - Richard Certain - San Diego

 

 

 

The hanging of the flags was undertaken at the request of the Very Rev. George Werner, the outgoing president of the House of Deputies.

Seen on the right are Dean Werner and The Rev. Howard Anderson, former rector of St. Paul's Church, Duluth and now president of the Cathedral College at the National Cathedral, holding Naomi Kramer .  Naomi, the daughter of Minnesota deputy Sara McGinley and the Rev. Aron Kramer, is--at five months of age--taking in her first General Convention.

 

 

 

One of the most interesting people I met today was a gentleman from the Bronx, New York, named Poppa T who wrote the Hip Hop Prayer Book. So, I'll bet you didn't even know there WAS a Hip Hop Prayer Book, right?! - Kathy Copa (Indianapolis)

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WHAT IT'S REALLY LIKE: I suspect all of us in the Arizona deputation are feeling somewhat sheepish about not writing more for the blog that was intended to give Arizonans little tid-bits about what is going on. Some of the deputies are having trouble with their computers, or didn’t bring one, but some are mostly overwhelmed with the amount of work and activity here. Honestly, it is difficult to get it all done. Often it is hard to find time for lunch or dinner because of the number of people trying to access eating places within the short time between legislative hearings and legislative sessions. Notwithstanding lots of places to eat, when everyone tries to access the hotel elevators or a fast food outlet in the Food Court at the same time, the wait can be up to 30 minutes. (Someone said there may be up to 10,000 people in town for this Convention, but I have no way of knowing if that is accurate.)

...There are still lots of resolutions in committees. By my count, the House of Deputies has acted on 68 resolutions to date, [from a total of 332] which means that most of the resolutions are going to come before us in the last days of the convention. Another way of putting it is to observe that most of the work on resolutions is going on in committees, and that is probably good. Most of the resolutions debated on the floor of the House of Deputies get no more than 5 or 6 comments in floor debate before someone moves the previous question in the attempt to close debate. It is obvious that any serious attempt to influence the language of resolutions needs to be made before the resolution hits the floor of the House.

Given our priority on new church starts in Arizona, one of the more important resolutions passed yesterday in the House of Deputies is one that would charge the Office of Congregational Development with increasing the staff required to identify and nurture new sources of revenue in grants, gifts, endowments, and/or capital fund drives, and require further that if adequate funds for new church planting, mission, and college campus development cannot be raised by the 76th General Convention, that the Executive Council be directed to invest church assets (the principal in endowment accounts) in new church planting. This is a hopeful resolution addressing a fairly common complaint. Those who have a passion for new church planting often find that their diocese and national church offices have very limited financial resources with which to help in the effort. Hopefully this will change.

Certainly it is a highlight for me, and I think for everyone, that we are putting a great deal of energy into our worship and prayer life while we are here. And I think it shows. Everyone has commented on the extraordinary amount of grace that is observable in even the most contested hearings. However, I think we are interested in the worship not simply for the obvious benefits of such grace, but for the guidance we are receiving through the activity of the Holy Spirit among us. It is clear that our process is very much driven by prayer and worship. It is also a delightful fact that the worship has been wonderful--diverse, multi-lingual, energetic, artistic, traditional, and imaginative—and filled with reverence. As a first-timer, I didn’t really know what to expect of General Convention, but I’ll confess, I’m hooked! -- Richard Morrison (Arizona)

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General Convention is a bit shorter this year, but there are just as many events to attend, just as much legislation to process and just as many fascinating and enticing optional programs that are available to us. That makes for some pretty long and exhausting days that have often begun with 7:30 a.m. committee meetings and ended around 9:30 p.m. after a hearing or major event. Several of us agreed that we consult our little traveling pill case each morning just to check what day it is!

Paul Lebens-Englund and I serve on the Committee on the Church in Small Communities. [as does Rev.Kay Rohde- St. Christopher's, Las Vegas] While this committee only produced two pieces of legislation, it did draw a fair amount of attention during its sessions from people who have a love and a concern for small churches. (It is estimated that about two-thirds of the churches in the Episcopal Church could be considered "small." Depending on who is defining "small," that means an average Sunday attendance of 70 or fewer -- or 100 or fewer. (The newer thinking is that it is 70 or fewer).

One piece of [legislation] which has been passed by both houses of convention, will provide resource materials aimed at congregational vitality. Another, which has yet to be heard in a legislative house, will direct the Standidng Commission on Small Churches (the body that carries this work on between General Conventions) to continue finding ways to strengthen leadership and congregational development resources for small churches; build collaboration among those already working with small church issues; find ways to celeberate the work of small churches and continue a conversation on pension benefits for those who serve in part-time ministries in small congregations. - Kristi Philip (Spokane)

 

FRIDAY, June 16----

CAN WE TALK?: - Don’t worry about getting lost in those mind-boggling debates over Church and Communion structure. There’s good news about Windsor: It’s really about relationships, conversations and process – in other words, about how we Anglicans talk to one another. That’s the essence of much of what the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, has said in conversations following his testimony to Committee 26 this week.

How does the archbishop rate our consultation with the Communion on Gene Robinson? Weak. He’s right. We regret that and need to do better. And we will, thanks to the Communion listening process that’s about to get under way. Local conversations throughout the 38 Provinces will be monitored and shared. But don’t expect a summing up next week – or next year. On one topic before the Communion, a proposed Anglican Covenant, the secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council has predicted that discussions could go on for six to eight years.

Too long? Not when the conversation is as rich as we expect it to be. - Cebter Aisle (Diocese of Virginia)

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WORK ON THE RESPONSE TO WINDSOR REPORT: Another good day at General Convention. I begin the day early sitting in on the work of Special Committee 26. This is the committee charged with the task of listening to deputies concerns about how we should respond to the Windsor Report. The committee is made up of around 15 to 20 individuals, bishops, priests and laity, (sorry no deacons!) from around the church. The committee has liberals, conservatives and moderates all gathered together to work and pray about how to craft legislation that speaks the mind of the convention.

They hold all that they do in prayer. They listen well to each other and to the rest of convention. I believe the Holy Spirit is at work in them and I believe they will bring forward to the convention legislation most of the church can support. There may be points in their report that liberals find troubling. There may be points in their report that conservatives find troubling. There will also be parts that both groups find appealing. With God's help there will be room at the table for everyone. No winners and no losers.

I pray we can find a way to speak our several truths to each other and that we can respect each others deeply held convictions. It is the way we Episcopalians have followed for a long time. -- Peace, Michael Hanley (Minnesota)

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[Yesterday, Dr.] Jenny Te Paa [dean, Anglican Theological College, Aukland, NZ, & member of the Lambeth Commission that wrote the Windsor Report] spoke to hundreds and to my heart at the Presiding Bishop's Forum: Toward a Reconciled World. We are baptized into Christ's path of reconciliation - the practical love of one another. We are commissioned to carry on the work of Jesus, to listen and to love and to bear each others' pain. In the whirlwind of this Convention, this busy busy life she reminded us that the success of our mission depends not on how much we do, but on how much love we put into doing it.

Today as I hobble off on my crutches toward the morning Eucharist I give thanks for the intervention that has slowed me down, made me vulnerable, and given me a chance to truly be present, face to face, ear to ear, to cherish the amazing stories of grace and resurrection that lift us up, and carry us forward. -Susan Langle (New Hampshire)

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MORE ON Dr. Te Paa's ADDRESS: - Dr. Jenny Te Paa of New Zealand preached for us on the power of God's Holy Spirit, who not only holds us together against separation, but who also demands that we do the hard work of holding ourselves together in a "just peace" that confronts and challenges systems of domination and exclusion, both personal and institutional. Dr. Te Paa noted, quite rightly, that there's far more value in cultivating a Church built on relationships of mutuality and trust -- though this hard work can cause pain and discomfort -- than to maintain something of a "false peace" based on inherited systems that dominate and exclude, or simply run for the desert and start over.

God's Holy Spirit, Dr. Te Pa suggests, not only disapproves of this kind of "tearing asunder what God has joined together" (ie. the Body of Christ; also see the marriage covenant), but the Holy Spirit also disallows it because we, who are knit together as one Body through the gift and graces of holy baptism, can never "undo" what God has done (think Thanksgiving Dinner -- family can be strange and family can be difficult to love sometimes, but they are nonetheless family). So, too, and even more, with baptism.

Our job, this side of God's Kingdom, is to work it out. A denial and destruction of this reality -- of our essential (and actual) oneness in God -- is, as today's Gospel suggested, the great blasphemy against the Holy Spirit...the one thing Jesus suggests is the only unforgiveable sin. Tough stuff, I know. And we're to deal with it...for God's sake.

Grace & Peace & Cheers from Columbus! -Paul (Spokane)

 

This week has been a panoply of sights, sounds, tastes, and emotions. Some of our group tasted Buckeye candy or milkshakes for the first time. For those who didn't grow up in Columbus, both of those feature a delicious combination of peanut butter and chocolate. Some have tried blueberry barbeque sauce on ribs; others have raved about strawberry ice cream with huge chocolate chunks in it.

The youth are so impressive here. We were all inspired by Jessica, from our province, who gave the official youth presentation to all 800 deputies and was so articulate, so poised, so inspiring, and so faith-filled in reminding us that we can still learn from those who are young, just as they learn from us. The youth were still raving about the packed U2charist attended by 700 people, with music by U2, inspiring sermon by Michael Curry, and the sight of the youth holding up their lit cell phone screens as we used to hold up candles as lights in the world. The youth said their favorite U2 song was “One”: - Marjie Mack (Maryland)

 

THURSDAY, June 15----

... Remind me to tell you about the faux-pas and double entendre that happened when a deputy rose to the microphone to report about his electronic voting machine, which he referred to as his "do-hickey," was broken.

The new President of the House of Deputies, Bonnie Anderson, then requested that he bring his "do-hickey to the podium to be checked, at which point the entire floor of of convention burst into laughter. It was one of those moments when I knew Shekinah was in the house... Elizabeth Kaeton - Newark

 

...it was a beautiful evening so the restaurants, bars, and sidewalks downtown had Episcopalians everywhere, eager to enjoy some fresh air and warm weather. (The air conditioning here is often cold enough to hang meat!)… Kathy Copa (Indianapolis)

 

CLOSER COMMUNION DESIRED -- Day 2 brought some great experiences my way. I started my morning in the World Mission legislative committee which I am a part of. It has been truly eye-opening discovering all of the ways that World Mission works for us. I'm not ready to go out as a full-time missionary by any means, but I am seeing the need for mission in our church, and know that it needs to be a priority in our own diocese.
The thing that struck me deepest during our meetings is that it is not necessarily the Episcopal church seeking out these relationships, but our foreign partners, companion dioceses, and anglican churches that are also seeking closer communion with us. I think that's important to hold onto in this post-Windsor era...other nations continue to want closer bonds with our church despite differences of opinion about the actions of the 2003 G.C. -- Pia (Spokane)

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...Reflecting on the hearings last night... the core hope I hold for this church: that if we can keep coming back to Jesus in our discourse the Prince of Peace will bring us to place of both peace AND justice for all.…
….[Bp] +Gene [Robinson] in his remarks yesterday stated clearly that in the Episcopal Church the "gay agenda" IS Jesus -- the way, the truth and the life. That is the witness Integrity has been making in this church for the last 30 years and -- God willing -- the witness we will continue to make not only in this church and in this communion but to those outside the faith yearning to hear that God's abundant love is REALLY abundant enough to include them. - Rev Susan Russell - Los Angeles

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After the Big Hearing: A Conversation with the Archbishop of York (England)

MISSION IS OFTEN DECIDED IN THE BUDGET PROCESS: - I spent the first part of last evening at the PB&F [Program, Budget & Finance] hearing listening to all of the people asking to be included in the budget. What was marvelous was to see all the energy for ministry that is alive in and formed by the love of the people of TEC. Poignant comments were made by those ministering with and among our deaf brothers and sisters, reminders of the contribution of our African American colleges, encouragement to fund greater education in non-violent dispute resolution, a marvelous presentation by an incredibly poised Spanish speaking youth about ministry to children, youth and young adults, the only full time child advocate spoke of her work, and I offered words in support of grassroots parish participation in the MDG related goals. -- Mike Russell - San Diego

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on MDGs: - ...The Millenium Development Goals (to significantly reduce extreme poverty throughout the world) are getting a lot of positive response from all generations and demographics represented here, as far as I can see. I saw one compelling visual piece that lists the 7 goals, with a caption at the bottom, "Real Instruments of Unity." -- Rev. Paula M. Jackson - Southern Ohio

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We seek to be a hospitable presence for Christians from any nation and any group who cares to have a home with us for however long they need it," said Bishop Clive Handford, who is also the bishop of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf.

Echoing the broad hospitality offered to seventh-century pilgrims in the same area by Nastorian monasteries built along the Persian Gulf, congregations in that area host people from many Christian denominations and as many as 30 nationalities at any time.

"In Dubai, more than 30,000 Christians come to our compound weekly," he said, adding that traditions range from Coptic orthodox to Filipino evangelicals.

 

 

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THE WINDSOR REPORT: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO "REGRET" & to "FAIL TO CONSULT"? --The Windsor Report is the international document responding to the turmoil over ECUSA's consecration of the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson and a the Canadian Church authorizing liturgies for blessing gay couples who make permanent vows of faithful monogamy.

"To Set our Hope on Christ" is a response from ECUSA to Windsor's request for an explanation of why we think we were not violating scripture and tradition by making these important decisions.

There is a further "Report from the Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion." All of these can be read from the General Convention website, at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/53785_10765_ENG_HTM.htm?menu=menu71830

One question that comes up repeatedly from these documents is about "regreting;" another is about "failure to consult."

Does "regreting" mean we are sorry that our actions caused unintended anguish for other people, and promise to be more careful in helping others understand why we feel we must do what we believe the Holy Spirit is leading us to do? Or have we "regretted" only when we renounce and even reverse previous decisions and actions?

Does acknowledging failure to consult mean that in the future we will be even more diligent about explaining where we're coming from, so that others will understand, even if they disagree, why we feel that we are acting under guidance of scripture, tradition, and the living presence of Christ in our midst? Or does it mean we won't do anything unless we are assured that everyone else agrees with us?

There is also language in the Windsor Report about "instruments of unity" and about developing criteria and agencies to assure greater uniformity in teaching and practice throughout the Anglican Communion. For many, this seems to be a significant departure from the founding spirit of Anglicanism: that we not impose uniformity of thought or interpretation on each other but rather agree to worship together at one altar and to act together wherever possible, in our mission to a broken world in the Name of Christ.

On the whole, if you read through the "Blue Book" of resolutions presented by the various Commissions, Agencies, and Boards of ECUSA (also available at the same website), you will find a Church deeply concerned to eliminate poverty, racism, and violence. You will find a Church committed to evangelism, nurture of believers, and justice within our own religious institutions as well as in society.

While media attention will be almost exclusively focused on our responses to the Windsor Report, I believe most Bishops and Deputies will be concerned to make those responses within the defining framework of our Baptismal Covenant and our mission as a Church in this society in the 21st Century. -- Rev. Paula M. Jackson - Southern Ohio

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The Mississippi Deputation meets over lunch each day with Bishop Gray presiding.  Members of the deputation share notes on work within the various committees and coordinate schedules to cover important hearings.…
On Wednesday, the House of Deputies dealt with three World Mission Resolutions which would establish opportunities for mission pilgrimages around the world.  The resolutions are aimed at reinvigorating the church's mission activities and to help Episcopalians connect more fully with other parts of the world... (Mississipi deputation)

WEDNESDAY, June 14----

This evening I was able to testify before the special committee working on the Episcopal Churches response to the Windsor report. The ballroom was packed with 1500 people, many cameras and many recording devices. Many views were expressed. Some wanted to support Gay and Lesbian brothers and sisters and to respond to Windsor by making it clear that this church fully supports the ministries of these persons. Others made it clear that they wanted the resolutions to affirm a reading of the Windsor report which sees Gay and lesbian partnerships and incompatible with scripture. We were in our debate respectful of each other...

While the mind of this Convention is still being made up, I sense a deep desire in this convention to remain a part of the world-wide Anglican communion. I sense despair on the part of some, particularly a few conservatives who do not think we can find a common middle way. I sense hope on the part of the vast majority and I feel certain we will indeed find a way through this challenge as long as we hold to Christ as our partner in this journey.

I spoke to particulars in the resolutions knowing that the committee listens best to specifics. I hope my comments were helpful for I also want to remain in the Anglican Communion but I do not want to hold to a position that keeps gays and lesbians out of the conversation or make them suffer the burden of this challenging time alone.

the following is what I said:

... In general I find all of the resolutions to be more reactive than proactive. I believe that we need to be proclaiming in our legislation what we hold to be true about our understanding of the gospel and not simply reacting to the statements of others. As we respond to the Windsor report let us keep in mind that it is the Windsor Report we are responding to and not the words or actions of other bodies in the Anglican Communion that have occurred since the report was issued...

Specifically in A160 I would ask you to consider changing the language about breaching the bonds of affection back to language more consistent with the Windsor report. The report states that the bonds of affection have been breached but does not claim we alone have been the cause of the breach. Thus language that states that there have been breaches in the bonds of affection that have occurred and in which we have a part, is preferable to language that makes this church solely responsible for breaches in the bonds of affection.

In A161 a litmus test is being proposed for ordination. I believe we need to reject all litmus tests as incompatible with our understanding of how God works with the church and I believe we need to proclaim that to the wider church.

In A162 a "broader consensus" is called for in the communion. This language is messy. For this church to agree to either act or refrain from action until a "broader consensus" is reached is unhelpful...

Peace and good night! - Rev. Michael Hanley (Minnesota)

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IMPRESSED: - Wow! Over the years, I’ve heard a number of amazing things about our General Convention, so I thought I knew what to expect as a first-time attendee. But I was not prepared for this astounding event. The shear number of Episcopalians is incredible in itself... Of course, that doesn’t count the hundreds and hundreds of other people here: guests of all sorts from a myriad of organizations within and supporting our Church, vendors and volunteers (without whom such an event would not be possible).

Each morning prior to and after the service, and while communion is being distributed, pictures of various forms of art by Episcopalian artists are projected on the screens while a variety of musical groups plays/sings live music...

In this early part of our nine-day convention, our morning and late afternoon legislative sessions have dealt mainly with routine, non-controversial items; while most of the more difficult issues are being worked in the numerous legislative committees that meet early in the morning, just after lunch and in the evening. As committees begin to wrap up their work over the next few days they will bring recommendations to each of the houses for debate and voting. - Mike Ehmer, Northwest Texas

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A PICTURE OF DIVERSITY: ….On the west side of the cavernous convention hall where the House of Deputies is convened there was a visible demonstration of some of the diversity of this body. A portable sound booth sits high on a platform, from which Spanish language translations of the proceedings are transmitted to headsets throughout the room.

Below the booth sat the delegation from Liberia, which has been given voice in this Convention. Just beyond this sat a grey-bearded man in a motorized wheelchair, translating the words spoken into American Sign Language. A short distance away sat the official youth delegation, representing the younger members of the Church.… Sam Smith - Indianapolis

…diversity was reflected in worship as well as business. The first Convention Eucharist was celebrated in three languages, English, Spanish and Oneida. “The mixture of languages really enhanced the service for me,” - Mitzi Roy, Milwaukee.

I found the colorful large-scale visual displays of the worship service inspiring and refreshing... - Rev. Patrick Raymond, Milwaukee [see “Visual Preludes” ]

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..One of the most wonderful things about being here is the opportunity to experience the worship time. Each morning, convention business comes to a halt so we can all worship and reflect together. Imagine being in the midst of a huge congregation where most really know and participant in the liturgy!

For me, there is a very real sense of community in that time and space. This morning as we sang "Spirit of the Living God" I really felt that sense of spirit in and amongst us! The worship this morning featured a visual arts presentation projected on large screens in the worship space highlighting liturgical art from around the church. Quite stunning and beautiful... Kathy Copas - Indianapolis

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"The Verbosians"

What a wonderful beginning to General Convention!

Several of the deputies who have been, well, somewhat verbose on the Bishops and Deputies e-mail listserve decided to get together .... I reluctantly confess that I am among this group of rather active contributors (some may call us "bandwidth hogs"!) It was an odd and unlikely group: extreme liberals and conservatives, we have argued and debated for months. We have from time to time strained the bonds of polite discourse. We have distrusted each other and baited each other.

One of us came up with the rather odd, and I think spirit-filled idea to celebrate Communion together, socialize, and share our spiritual stories with one another. Lesbians, gays, Network activists, bloggers, people I'd consider heretics, Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics....a motley assortment!

What did we share in common? Not much, except that we all love the Lord and the Episcopal Church. Oh...yeah...we are all extroverts! We had a delightful time and truly came to love each other. No, none of us were "converted" to the other side. But a deep sympathy, compassion, and understanding for each other began to blossom.

I don't know what God has in store for the Church we love. But last night, the Lord worked a miracle among us!

Thanks for your prayers! - The Rev. John Liebler, rector of St. Andrew's, Fort Pierce, Central Florida

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TUESDAY, June 13 -

Because you just can't make this stuff up - Elizabeth Keaton (New Jersey)

Today, the Most Rev'd and Rt. Hon. Jon Tucker Mugabi Sentamu, Archbishop of York (England), came to the House of Deputies, ostensibly to deliver a message to us from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

When George Werner, President of the House of Deputies, announced that the Archbishop of York was present and the purpose of his visit, a wave of anxiety overtook the House. Some of us were quite certain that some cagey old British man in a purple shirt was going to get up and wag his finger at us and tell us how naughty we had been and how we should behave.

Imagine our surprise when a short man with mahogany skin and an absolutely stunning smile stepped into the podium and took over the microphone. His warmth, his charm, his amazing Christ-filled graciousness filled the room like a balm to our quivering anxiety.

He told us the story – the highly shortened version – of his life as a child in Uganda, under the cruel reign of Idi Amin. “It was not an easy childhood,” he said, in what was an obvious understatement. He spoke of his flight to England – how he was taken in as a refugee and attended school where his religiosity was taunted and he was nicknamed “The Pope.”

“And, look now,” he said, with genuine incredulity, “See what God has done! Who knew that the young boy, a poor refugee from Uganda, would one day become Archbishop of York.”

Smiling even more broadly he said what was to many ears in that convention hall the real message we so desperately needed to hear. “This is because, with God, all things are possible.”

Then he closed with this story from South Africa. He said that, while he was there, he saw this written on a wall:

When I was born, I was black.
When I go out into the sun, I am black.
When I am cold, I am black.
When I am ill, I am black.
When I die, I am black.
When I am dead and in the grave, I am black.

When you are born, you are white.
When you go out into the sun, you are brown.
When you are cold, you are blue.
When you are ill, you are jaundiced.
When you die, you are purple.
When your are dead and in the grave, you are black.

So tell me, why is it that I am called ‘colored’?

It was a delightful story about the difference of language and culture and the power of God to work through it all to bring something new into being.

Imagine! A Ugandan refugee as the Archbishop of York!

You just can't make this stuff up! - EMK+ - (New Jersey)

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ON THE EUCHARIST ….I am probably beginning to see apparitions of politics even when they aren’t there. Most of the words in the Eucharist here sound strange to me, and I suspect political motives underlay the differences. Where I am accustomed at St. John’s to saying “It is right to give Him thanks and praise,” they say here, “It is right to give ‘our’ thanks and praise.” Here in Columbus we don’t talk of “Jesus born of the Virgin Mary,” but instead we confess “Jesus born of ‘our sister’ Mary.” (I’m not sure if it’s the immaculate conception or the whole principle of virginity that people object to here.)

Another political dimension that was totally new to me during the Eucharist was a “Gluten Free Communion Table” where the Host tasted more like a Dorito than a communion wafer. I made a bee-line for that table, because even though I didn’t know there were Glutens imprisoned anywhere in the world, I certainly wanted to stand up and be counted as being in favor of their freedom... - -Diocese of Texas Reflections

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Early evening skuttlebutt -

A friend of mine is supporting Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori of Nevada for presiding bishop. Bishop Schori is generally believed to be an attractive candidate who has no chance of winning because she is a woman. My friend says, half-jokingly, that if everyone who says they plan to vote for her on the first ballot actually does vote for here, she may surprise people.

The committee dealing with Windsor Report related resolutions apparently hasn’t moved into its new digs yet. I dropped by their hearing this afternoon and found the door jammed with people. Wiggled inside to find every chair occupied, and people lining the walls and sitting on the floor. I’d estimate there were 600 people there. Funny thing is, the committee was talking about a resolution involving letting people from other provinces sit in, but not vote, on our governing committees. This is a resolution that, were it not yoked to the Windsor Report resolutions, wouldn’t draw a crowd large enough to fill my bathroom. Meanwhile there was enough space in some of the other hearing rooms for an impromptu game of polo.

I met Kendall Harmon at the door of one of these empty-ish rooms. He and I have traded friendly emails and not-so-friendly opinions on the Windsor Report, but had never met. Kendall runs the best conservative Episcopal blog, Titus 1:9. I have been wanting to meet him for a long time. - Jim Naughton (Washington DC)

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TUESDAY - June 13 - ...Behind the scenes, 26 legislative committees are meeting, and some are already starting hearings on the resolutions referred to them. In addition to the Bishops and the 825 deputies, there are many registered visitors at the Convention. Many of the visitors hope to be able to speak at the legislative hearings, and many no doubt will do so, although the time for hearings is relatively short considering all of the business that is on the agenda.

As of the beginning of the convention, there were already 246 resolutions filed for us to consider, and the deadline for submission of resolutions does not come until tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday afternoon). I have talked to several deputies who were on their way to file additional resolutions today. So the agenda is very, very full.

Of course there is a great deal of interest in the resolutions pertaining to the official response of the Episcopal Church to the Windsor Report. I have been monitoring the work of Special Legislative Committee Number 26, the one dealing with the resolutions on this subject. To my knowledge, this committee has 20 resolutions pertaining to the Windsor Report, and two others have been re-assigned to other committees. At this hour the first of several hearings is being held on the resolutions dealing with the Windsor Report, and I am anxious to get to the hearing. So I’ll be brief, probably too brief, in this initial posting. Most of the interest, however, seems to be in the resolutions that will go to hearing tomorrow night (Wednesday night).

In fact, the special committee has made arrangements for a room that will seat 1500 people for the conduct of that hearing. Each delegation is getting only 5 tickets, ... I am assuming the Wednesday night hearing will draw most of the in-depth news coverage dealing with the Windsor Report. This morning, members of the special committee were asking preliminary, but appropriately sensitive questions about many of the obvious and not so obvious aspects of fashioning a response. For example, “How are we to understand communion in the light of our autonomy?” One member of the committee said this question has been posed since 1987, obviously pre-dating the actions of the North American churches in recent years.... . - Richard N. Morrison (Arizona)

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TUESDAY - June 13: Deputies managed to follow directions so that the 800 of us (or more) were assembled 8 - 10 people at each of the round tables with no two people from any one diocese sitting together! We then had an hour-and-a-half of very personal, “from the heart” dialogue responding to the following series of questions:

Think back over your life. What is it about the Christian Faith that you are most passionate about? Tell me how God's love in Jesus is important to you.
What do you really value about the Episcopal Church? What is the most important thing that the Episcopal Church has contributed to your life?
Imagine that this Convention has been an incredible success. In the years to come, imagine telling a friend or family member what you accomplished. What would you tell them was the most important thing you did or decision you were part of?
My group had people from a wide range of dioceses including Liberia and the Virgin Islands. The truly moving thing was the depth of sharing and personal risk-taking that occurred during the course of our time together. It is clear that the Holy Spirit is already moving among us to build up the Body of Christ.

Today, we will assemble together for the first of our daily Eucharists and Scripture Reflection. Then we will start the hard work of shaping our witness through the many resolutions being worked on in committees.

God's Peace to you all,
Mary Glasspool+ (Maryland)

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TUESDAY - June 13: We did ... begin this community building Monday afternoon. In an exercise first proposed by the President of the House of Deputies, George Warner, we deputies gathered around tables in groups of ten to share something of our faith in Jesus Christ, our passion for the Gospel, and our hopes for General Convention. It was a guided conversation, closely monitored so that everyone got five to eight minutes to give personal testimony to faith, passion and hope.

It was amazing! The building of a shared listening and language of faith, and a witness to passions in ministry and hopefulness for our work actually took place. It was true at my table, and I am sure from reports, at others as well. I felt honored to hear the faith, passion and hope statements of others, and delighted to share my own. The sharing was not easy and the stories were not easy, but the doing of the thing lifted the load considerably.

We also “started the engines.” Monday we set the wheels in motion that drive the legislative process. The strange city of meeting halls, legislative committee sites, offices, and exhibit areas, all surrounded by food kiosks and lobbies (the better to lobby my dear) came together almost overnight, and Monday, in one swoop, the legislative committees scheduled and posted first hearings, deputies and bishops got their procedures in order, and the engines are running. - Mark Harris, Washington (DC)

DEPUTY CONVERSATION FROM MONDAY, June 12

OVERSEAS BISHOPS' DINNER - Monday Evening, June 12

SURROUNDED - from the Diocese of San Joaquin - Monday, June 12

 

 

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