Here’s our roundup for July 9th
House of Bishops
The House of Bishops today moved along a number of Resolutions via the Consent Calendars, some highlights of which include;
- Approving D047 on looking for institutional barriers to new forms of ministry beyond the self-sustaining parish
- C065 directs the Pension Fund (CPG) to look for ways to fund 12 weeks of maternity leave equally for lay and clergy church employees (now complete)
- A011 lays out a process for developing local commemorations and sharing them with the wider church to be included in Lesser Feasts and Fasts
- But the bishops rejected A080 which would have shortened the time for consents to episcopal elections
In the legislative session, after a great deal of conversation and a failed amendment, the Bishops Concurred on A125 to further the work of the Building Beloved committee by establishing the Episcopal Coalition for Racial Equity and Justice and setting up dedicated funding for its work from the unrestricted endowments of the Church.
And related to the continuing work of Building Beloved Community, the bishops also concurred on A127 to establish a truth telling process to uncover the church’s engagement in Indigenous boarding schools and its complicity in the evils of that system.
The resolution to provide some funding for church planting, A096, was also approved by the bishops setting aside $2 million for the work over the next two years.
Later on, the bishops began the conversation about defining what exactly we mean by the “prayer book.” As Bishop Doyle of Texas said there is a constitution which defines the boundaries of our church and canons which lay out and define our current practices. And the problems that became clear at the previous General Convention was that, regarding liturgies, the constitution and canons were a little unclear. So, the convention began a two-step process to bring clarity to the constitution and canons around the church’s liturgies. They took time to talk at their tables, and then worked through some questions together. It was decided to await voting until the Spanish translation could be completed, so the topic was taken up again in the evening session where it was unanimously approved.
The Evening session also offered a long debate with sharp words (for the HoB anyway) over a mind of the House motion concerning climate change, mindful that everything the church cares about is impacted by the health (or lack) of the planet. In what is becoming something of a theme here, it was decided to finish talking about it tomorrow.
There then followed a conversation about concerns over the direction of political life in the United States and the sense that things are unwinding in dangerous ways, and how might the church continue Jesus’ work of peace and reconciliation? And as the evening would down they decided, you guessed it, to talk about it more at a later time.
House of Deputies
Lots of elections in the morning, the most important one being the next President of the House of Bishops who will take office at the conclusion of this General Convention. Julia Ayala Harris, Deputy from Oklahoma was elected on the second ballot (see our earlier story here)
D054, which would have moved the next General Convention out of Louisville, KY to somewhere where abortions were legal was rejected by the House but A001 was passed which left the same set of potential sites for GC82 in 2027 but sets up three criteria for choosing future sites for GC, which were:
- that conditions at the site, including political conditions, do not pose an immediate threat to the physical safety and well-being of the members of this Church
- that intentional care will be taken by the presiding officers, Executive Council and the Joint Committee for Planning and Arrangements to ensure the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of those at General Convention at all times
- that General convention, being a visible manifestation of the Body of Christ we represent, will in all places, concretely witness to the countercultural way of Love that Jesus models, particularly in those places where the children of God are disenfranchised, so that we may point toward the reign of God through our presence and actions.
There was also a real positive response after the House passed D050, which will finalize the reunion of the former diocese of Fort Worth (now known as the Episcopal Church in North Texas) with the diocese of Texas. Kudos to the faithful Episcopalians in North Texas who have been on a long difficult journey since the former bishop led much of the diocese out of the Episcopal Church more than ten years ago.
After some debate, the House also approved A063 which would provide support for a churchwide staff person to implement and expand upon the work of the Task Force to Study Sexism in the Episcopal Church and Develop Anti-Sexism Training.
Then began a discussion about how the church’s archives are handled which frankly was a little confusing to follow but would seem to get rid of the Board of Archives and replaces it with an Archives Advisory committee and give more authority to the PB an PHoD.
The night ended with debate on a resolution to streamline the budgeting process by effectively eliminating the Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance and instead having the budget move directly from the Executive Council to the General Convention without the PB&F middleman. Everyone was tired so it was decided to finish in the morning and vote on a new vice President of the House of Deputies instead.
So far this has been a wonderfully substantive convention and I am looking forward to what tomorrow might bring.