Day Five – Vince Currie

By: Vince Currie

Greeting from General Convention. Your delegation appreciates the continued prayer and support as we deal with the issues facing our church. The fifth day of Convention began with a Eucharist and sermon from the Rev. Dr. Mary Crist. I encourage you to take the time to read or watch the sermon by accessing the following link: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/notice/media-hub-metrics-prove-interest-general-convention

Legislative Committees continue to meet early in the morning and late into the evening. Tomorrow the convention will address the resolution regarding the structure of the Church’s governing bodies and conduct a Joint Session on Program, Budget, and Finance. Deputy Quittmeyer (Secretary-Program, Budget & Finance) the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance completed its work on the proposed 2013-15 budget on Monday morning, July 9, at 9 a.m. PB&F reviewed the final copy of the budget spreadsheet and adopted it for presentation to the 77th General Convention. The budget is being translated into Spanish and will be forwarded to the printer on Monday afternoon.

The schedule of the General Convention precluded receiving more than a few concurred resolutions from the two Houses. However, PB&F believes that it has listened hard to the church, both before General Convention and here in Indianapolis, and is pleased that the budget includes many of the requests for continuing support and for new work.

The proposed budget is structured according to the Five Marks of Mission and based on a 19% asking for each year of the 2013-15 Triennia. The proposed budget will be presented to a Joint Session of the General Convention at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10.

There were two legislative sessions, the highlights are below:

Morning:

On the first anniversary of the formation of the Republic of South Sudan, the Episcopal Church, meeting here in its 77th General Convention, re-affirmed advocacy support for peace in Sudan through the passage of Resolution A019.

Three people were nominated for election to President of the House of Deputies: Rev. Canon. Frank Lugue, Diocese of Georgia; Mrs. Martha Alexander, Diocese of North Carolina; and the Rev. Gay Jennings, Diocese of Ohio. Elections for this position will occur on Tuesday, July 10.

Afternoon:

The House of Deputies approved two resolutions aimed at supporting Christians being persecuted in Palestine.

The House of Deputies approved a resolution appointing a Task Force to Study and develop theological resources relating to Marriage over the next three years.

The House of Deputies approved a resolution amending the Canons of the Chhurch to extend protection from discrimination in Church participation or ordination to the ministry to include transgendered indivuals. The House of Bishops approved a provisional use of a Liturgy for the Blessing of Same Gender Relationships. this resolution will come before the House of Deputies on July 10.

For a complete list of the actions taken during the legislative sessions may be accessed on the general Convention website at the following link: http://www.generalconvention.org/

You can follow the evolution of resolutions in Committees through the General Convention website: http://www.generalconvention.org/gc/resolutions? by=cat

Please pray for your deputation as it considers these and other issues. We appreciate your confidence and trust in sending us to represent the Diocese.

Thanks for taking time to read this summary and we shall continue to appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

Vince Currie

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Day Four – Thack Dyson

Message from Indianapolis

 

God’s peace and blessings to you from your deputation in Indianapolis. Our day began yesterday with the UTO Ingathering service.  At the offertory, every diocesan UTO representative presented a check to the Presiding Bishop to fund this wonderful ministry.  Elisabeth Welch, our UTO Commission chair from Dothan, represented the Central Gulf Coast at this festive event.

 

The Presiding Bishop’s sermon focused on the challenges of being a prophetic voice in the world.  However, she insisted that we are all called to be prophets and to share God’s truth regardless of these challenges.

 

Following the service there was a picnic sponsored by the Diocese of Indianapolis in the adjoining Victory Field stadium. The host diocese graciously provided us with plenty of food and live entertainment.

 

Our afternoon legislative session was opened with prayer and a meditation by The Rev. Dr. Frank Wade of Washington.  Frank is currently the Interim Dean at the National Cathedral and was the Chaplain to the General Convention in Anaheim in 2009. Hismeditation consisted of reflections on the General Convention from the late Pamela Chinnis who was the President of the House of Deputies from 1991-2000.

 

Reflecting on restructuring of the church, Ms. Chinnis cautioned against rapid restructuring until we had done the work of self-discovery. She observed, “I feel it best to not rush to solve the problems (of structure) until we have given the time to share our common gifts.  From ‘who’ we are will come the ‘how’ to transform the church structure.” Quoting Ms. Chinnis on the concept of “unity” within the church, she said, “Sameness does not constitute unity.”  He concluded his meditation about the importance of respecting each other’s differences when debating the issues before us.

 

We considered a number of resolutions during our Legislative Session yesterday.One important piece was a constitutional change concerning the election of bishops.  Under the Constitution, any person elected bishop within 120 days of the General Convention had to have his or her election ratified by the General Convention.  All bishop elections more than 120 days from the next General Convention are ratified by the majority consent of the Standing Committees of all the dioceses of The Episcopal Church. Yesterday’s vote has now removed this power from the House of Deputies andall bishop elections will be ratified solely by the Standing Committees of the Church.  

 

In other matters, the House also voted to continue financial support for the Forward Movement, Episcopal Church in Haiti, and Indigenous Theological Training for Native Americans.

 

The Legislative session concluded with a presentation by Robert Radtke, Director of Episcopal Relief and Development.  ERD is one of the better outreach missions of The Episcopal Church.  It’s “Nets for Life” initiative has purchased over eight and half million mosquito nets for the people of Africa since 2009.  The result of this endeavor is that the lives of over 100,000 children under five were saved from the fatal effects of malaria and other mosquito borne diseases.  

 

We will address the issues of the budget tomorrow and church structure and liturgy on Wednesday.  We will report to you daily on the work of the House of Deputies.

 

It has been an honor to represent the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast at this General Convention. It has also been a pleasure to work with the Bishop and the other fine deputies.  Please know we are grateful to you for allowing us to represent you in Indianapolis.  As always, you remain in our thoughts and prayers.

 

Peace, Thack

 


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Day Three – Scott Remington

The third day of Convention began with a Eucharist and resounding sermon from Bishop Michael B. Curry, of North Carolina.  I encourage you to take the time to watch Bishop Curry’s sermon.  You may see a video of the sermon by accessing the following link:  http://www.episcopalchurch.org/notice/media-hub-metrics-prove-interest-general-convention

Legislative Committees continue to meet early in the morning and late into the evening.  Deputy Currie (Vice Chair -Structure) and Deputy Quittmeyer (Secretary-Program, Budget & Finance) are working extremely long hours on these committees.  Their hard work will continue coming to the floor of the House of Deputies in the coming days.  Your thoughts and prayers for these two delegates are particularly encouraged.

There were two legislative sessions.  The highlights from these sessions were:

Morning:

Vincent C. Currie Jr., was re-elected to a six-year term as a Trustee of the Church Pension Fund on the first ballot.  We are pleased and proud for Vince.

Afternoon:

The House of Deputies approved a resolution which amended the Canon 2, Section 3(a) & (b) eliminating the requirement that a Presiding Bishop resign from his/her position as Bishop Diocesan upon election as Presiding Bishop.  This resolution will now go before the House of Bishops for consideration.

A variety of additional resolutions relating to education, funding, ministry, and liturgy were passed by the House of Deputies.  These resolutions will now move on to the House of Bishops.  For a complete list of the actions taken during the legislative sessions may be accessed on the general Convention website at the following link: http://www.generalconvention.org/

Closing Remarks:

The most talked about issue at the Convention is the potential changes to the structure of the Church.  The Structure Committee will meet again tonight to review initial drafts of  a proposed resolution to address the structure issue.  There is a group of Bishops and Deputies that feel the existing structure of the church is too cumbersome, too expensive, and therefore we must “imagine” a new more “nimble” system of governance.  A resolution addressing the structure of the Church is forthcoming from the Structure Committee.  You can follow the evolution of resolutions in Committees through the General Convention website: http://www.generalconvention.org/gc/resolutions?by=cat If you are for more insight or inside-baseball, spend some time on Steve Pankey’s blog: http://draughtingtheology.wordpress.com/

Additionally, tonight there will be public hearings on the draft budget before the Program, Budget and Finance Committee and separate public hearings on the proposed Liturgical Resources for Same-Gender Blessings  by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music.  Those matters will come before the General Convention in the coming days.  Please pray for your deputation as it considers these and other issues.

If you have specific questions, comments, or concerns you would like your Deputation to be aware of, please feel free to respond through this blog or directly by email to individual deputies.

Thanks for taking time to read this summary and God’s Speed.

SAR

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Bishop Duncan Video

Seminary of the Southwest has posted a video of Bishop Duncan answering the question, “what does the Church need from her leaders?”  Check it out here.

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Day Two – Beverly Gibson+

In her sermon at the Community Eucharist on Day 2 of the 77th General Convention, House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson reflected on courage in remembering the life and death of John Hus. Anderson held up courage as the foundational virtue in Christian living, as it is in living out courageously the other virtues that we are ourselves changed and that we participate in God’s transformation of this world.
As I have reflected on her words and on my experiences in these first few days of General Convention, I am aware of the courage being lived out here by so many people. In my service on the legislative committee for ministry, I have witnessed the courage of people who are proposing changes to the way we live our lives together in the church–to the ways we form people for ministry, to the ways we deal with the “hard spots” in our relationships within the church. We are being called as deputies to demonstrate courage in welcoming those who feel at home in our church, even when they don’t seem to be like us. We are called to act courageously in facing those places where the church has failed to act well, addressing them honestly, and seeking a healthier way.
In yesterday’s legislative session in the House of Deputies, we experienced the call to courage in making a move that has been long studied and discussed–the sale of the Episcopal Church Center at 815 Second Avenue in New York City. We have no certainty about exactly where the church will go, about how our shared ministries will be funded and structured. But we must have the courage to take the initial steps into the unknown in order to find our way.
We do not know with certainty what the week ahead holds. We do not know what the realities of our budget for the next triennium will be. We do not know what the restructuring of our church will look like. There are courageous people here working long hours to live into the unknown. They are listening carefully to many voices, attempting to make room for the Holy Spirit to move in our acting together within the Body of Christ.
The foundation of all this activity is our prayer and worship together. Those of us who love the church may hear playing in the background of our minds the words of Harry Fosdick in one of our beloved hymns: “God of grace and God of glory, on thy people pour thy power. Crown thy ancient church’s story, bring her bud to glorious flower. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the facing of this hour.”  
Please pray for your deputies and your bishop, and for all bishops and deputies to General Convention as they go about their courageous work in the week ahead.

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Day Two – Lynn Ferren

Day two is in the books. I am still here even if I was a bit lost at times. There is so much to see and learn in so many different places. It is very exciting and I am learning so much that it is hard to put it all in words.

I always love the opening Eucharist Service at our Diocesan Conventions when the people, the music, and the words seem to soar as they fill the church. This morning was the opening General Convention Eucharist Service and it was awesome! There were over a thousand people in the room and the prayers and the music fill every square inch and soared well beyond the room. It was truly inspriational to hear The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori give her sermon in which she asked all in attendance to work for the good of all the Church and not just an individual Diocese, Congregation, or person.

I attended three legislative sessions which were extremely interesting. The main order of business was to review the many resolutions that had been submitted for consideration by the Convention. At the meeting on Education, it was a priveledge to hear several very articulate young people speak in favor of the resolution “Affirming the Compatibility of Science and Christian Faith”. It will be sent to the House of Deputies to be voted on with a recomendation to adopt. In the meeting for Evangelism, several people spoke about the importance of Eevangelism in the church and the importance of having people trained to use their gifts of Evangelism effectively. It will be interesting to see if the resolution passes in the House of Deputies.

After a delightful dinner, I attended an evening meeting on the Structure of the Church. Their work appeared to be some of the most daunting of the day. There were many resolutions and many people with strong opinons to hear. It is wonderful to belong to a Church which allows and encourages people to think and speak their mind. l hope that the entire Convention remembers to honor that freedom with Peace and Joy.

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Day One Thoughts – Lynn Ferren

I am Lynn Ferren, Alternate Lay Deputy, from St. Patrick’s, Panama City. This is my first time at General Convention. I hope to share some observations as a “First Timer”. I am here with the Rev. Julia Phillips who is the Priest at ST. Patrick’s and a good friend.

The first day of The 77th General Convention is almost over and I learned several things. I learned that it takes almost twenty-one hours to fly from Panama City to Indianapolis when it rains in Atlanta. I learned that the Blue Book of Reports to the Convention is really pink and heavy and full of very interesting information. Then when you register at Convention you get another large notebook of resolutions to read before the real work of the Convention begins. I found out that Julia knows many people at Convention and they know her and greet her as an old friend. I am having a great time meeting some of her many friends and making new friends of my own.

Tonight at the Church Periodical Club Banquet, we learned first hand from some of the Bishops whose congregations have received help from CPC, in the form of much needed books for all ages, just how wonderful and important that work is to people all over the world. At our table there were people from Utah, Rhode Island, Kansas, and Florida. lt was a fantastic time to meet new friends and share ideas as we learned about the good work the CPC does. A wonderful moment came at the end of the banquet when the voices of the many people came together each in his or her own language to sing of Joy and Peace. My hope is that the whole Convention will find the same Joy and Peace.

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