Saturday, July 7, 2018

Day two of #GC79: Reconciliation

The 79th General Convention includes something new and different – TEConversations (The Episcopal Church Conversations), held during joint sessions of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. Racial Reconciliation was the topic of the July 6 session. Powerful, moving speakers included Arno Michaelis, former leader of a worldwide skinhead organization; Austin poet and hip hop artist Charles Dawain Stephens, aka Chucky Black; Dr. Catherine Meeks, director of the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing; and the Rev. Nancy Frausto, a priest and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) beneficiary. Following the speakers, bishops and deputies engaged in guided conversation about racial reconciliation and direct ministry and action they can take. Click here to learn more about the speakers and to access resources for your parish to use.

The next two TEConversations will focus on evangelism and care of creation. All three sessions will be recorded and available, along with accompanying discussion materials, for use at a later date – perfect for a small group study or an adult forum. The next TEConversations at General Convention will be:

  • Evangelism - Saturday, July 7, 2:30 to 4 p.m. Central (3:30 to 5 p.m. Eastern)
  • Care of Creation – Tuesday, July 10, 10:30 to noon Central (11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern)

Bishop Hollerith stands with the Bishop of Honduras in asking General Convention to provide better translation services

Bishop Lloyd Allen of Honduras addressed the House of Bishops on July 6 about what he called a critical lack of translation services and interpretation during General Convention. Bishop Allen said that this has had the effect of making him and many bishops and deputies from Province 9 feel unwelcome.

Bishop Allen rose to address the House of Bishops during its legislative session on July 6, because the first order of business, the proposed “Covenant for the Practice of Equity and Justice for ALL in The Episcopal Church,” was not translated. The vote on the covenant was postponed and the House moved to the next item of business.

Bishop Allen again rose to speak and asked for his fellow Province 9 bishops, Latino bishops and bishops of African descent to stand with him and about 20 gathered around him at the microphone. He told the Bishops that postponing vote on the Covenant did not address his concern. “Tabling the matter is just brushing it off again,” he said. “Something needs to be done. No more.”

Bishop Hollerith, Bishop Andrew Doyle of Texas and Bishop Ely of Vermont were the first to stand in support of Allen, and the rest of the House of Bishops slowly began to follow suit. Allen then led the house in prayer. After a period of silence, Presiding Bishop Curry asked for a recess so that he, Bishop Allen and some others could “out our heads and hearts together” to address this important issue.

General Convention approves compensation for president of House of Deputies

On July 6, the House of Bishops voted in favor of a plan to provide compensation to the president of the House of Deputies. Resolution B014 was approved by the House of Deputies on July 5. The resolution calls for the payment of fees “for specific services rendered in order to fulfill duties required by the church’s Constitution and Canons” This compromise resolution was proposed by Bishop Sean Rowe of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Rowe stated that the resolution had been vetted by experts in canon and secular law and would not change the polity of the church or expand the authority of the president’s position. The resolution does specify an amount with regards to payment. The Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance will determine that, with the approval of the Executive Council.

Over $1 million in UTO Grants awarded

The Episcopal Church Women (ECW) is meeting in Triennial concurrently here in Austin with General Convention. The United Thank Offering (UTO) announced that it has awarded 34 grants totaling $1,257,778.17 for the mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.  Focus of the 2018 grants is “Becoming the Beloved Community: Racial Healing, Reconciliation and Justice.” Click here to learn about recipients and projects.