Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Southern Virginia's resolution advances to General Convention

At Southern Virginia’s 2018 Annual Council, a resolution (R4) was brought forward by the Rev. Brenda Overfield, rector of St. Matthias in Midlothian, and the Rev. Julia Dorsey Loomis. Resolution R4 was passed by Annual Council in February, then forwarded to our Province III Synod in May, and now it will come before the 79th General Convention. 

This is one of 307 resolutions coming before this General Convention. It is now numbered C036, and has been assigned to the Ministry Committee. It's status as of this writing is "awaiting committee action." Although General Convention does not get underway until July 5, there is so much work to get done that committees are meeting July 3 and 4.

Each resolution is assigned to one of the joint legislative committees in the House of Bishops and in the House of Deputies. The committees meet jointly to review resolutions and hold hearings, but vote separately on their recommendations. The committees decide if the resolutions are accepted as is, or are amended or combined with another resolution. The committees then decide to whether to endorse the resolution. Resolutions then go to the House of Bishops and House of Deputies where they are debated, sometimes amended, and then voted on. Once a resolution is adopted by one House, it then goes to the other for debate, amendment and adoption. Both Houses must concur on a resolution for it to be adopted by General Convention. 

Resolution C036 asks that General Convention appoint a task force to implement Title III, Canon 1 of the Episcopal Church Canons. According to the resolutions authors, Title III Canon 1 has been underutilized.  For example, few dioceses have a Commission on Lay Ministry or its equivalent that focuses on empowering all the Baptized in their daily life. This resolution seeks to provide a remedy. Adopted in 2003, Canon 1 calls on The Episcopal Church to “equip the saints for ministry” (Ephesians 4). The proposed task force’s work would be to recommend processes so that the church can affirm the calling of all the baptized, especially its lay persons, and empower them in all the areas of their ministry in work, home, community, and wider world as well as in the Church.