Sunday, July 8, 2018

Day four of #GC79: Prayers and public witness

Bishop Hollerith participates in public witness against gun violence

Bishop Hollerith at top right. Photo by Diocese of Louisiana.
Bishop Hollerith was one of the bishops taking part in Sunday morning’s Public Witness event at Austin’s Brush Square held by Bishops United Against Gun Violence. Hundreds of General Convention participants attended the event.

Speakers included Phil and April Schentrup, whose daughter, Carmen, was killed in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas on Ash Wednesday of 2018. Since Carmen’s death, both April and Phil have spoken out publicly against gun violence, as well as pushed hard for solutions that bring our country together. Phil and April generously shared their story of grief and pain, and urged the church to advocate against gun violence and promote public safety so that our nation can live together in peace.

Also addressing the crowd with a powerful call to speak up and take action was Abigail Zimmerman, a rising 9th grader and member of St. Alban’s in Waco, TX. She co-led a school walkout in March to remember the victims of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, and spoke at her city’s March for Our Lives event.

Women held at detention center encouraged by General Convention’s presence and prayers

Photo by the Rev. Mark Wilkinson, St. Aidan's, VB
Busloads of General Convention participants, including Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and House of Deputies President Gay Jennings, departed the convention center today for an hour ride to the Hutto Immigration Detention Facility in Taylor, TX.

The event, organized by deputy Megan Castellan (rector of St. John’s in Ithaca, NY, and formerly assistant rector at Eastern Shore Chapel, Virginia Beach), offered a prayer service outside the detention center. According to Castellan, the event offered “support and solidarity for the women held captive.” 

Grassroots Leadership, a non-profit organization that works with communities across this nation to abolish for-profit private prisons, jails, and detention centers, tweeted on Sunday afternoon, “A woman called from Hutto after today’s prayer and told us they were glued to the windows until the last bus left the detention center. Women inside were crying, saying they knew they weren’t alone after seeing so many people there. Thank you @iamepiscopalian.”

Organizers of Sunday’s prayer service plan to provide follow-up advocacy resources and opportunities. 

UTO Ingathering exceeds $3 million 

The United Thank Offering (UTO) Ingathering ceremony for the 2015-2017 triennial took place on July 6 at General Convention and brought in $3,738,989.47. UTO provides annual grants in support of mission across the Episcopal Church. Province 3, of which the Diocese of Southern Virginia is a member, brought the second highest amount - $719,618.33.