Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Big issues facing this General Convention

Book of Common Prayer revision
The 2015 General Convention asked the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music to look at revising the BCP. The Committee has developed a comprehensive plan for revisions, with two options as to how the church might proceed with that work. The Committee’s report is here.

Marriage equality
General Convention’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage has been monitoring the use of the two new marriage rites approved by the 2015 General Convention and is proposing that the Convention make provision for all couples to have access to the rites. Currently eight diocesan bishops have not authorized their use. The Task Force is also proposing the addition of the trial use liturgies to the Book of Common Prayer, and amendments to the BCP marriage rites and Catechism to make language gender neutral. It also proposes two liturgies for the blessing of relationships of couples who choose not to marry for legal or financial reasons, and recommends that the church look for new ways to minister to the growing number of people choosing to live together in committed, monogamous relationships rather than marry. The Task Force’s report is here.

A salary for the president of the House of Deputies
The 2015 General Convention appointed the Task Force to Study Church Leadership and Compensation to consider whether the currently volunteer position of president of the House of Deputies should receive compensation. The Task Force concluded that the position is a full-time job and calls for a salary. This is a controversial issue. Some say the change will make it possible for more people to consider running for election as president. Others say it is a significant first step in expanding the authority of the president’s position.