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Broadening the Church Calendar and Commemorations

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 7:50pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Committee 12, the Legislative Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music, held its first open hearing the morning of July 4 before the official opening of the 79thGeneral Convention. General Convention mandates that this legislative committee “receives and proposes Resolutions on the Book of Common Prayer, liturgy and music of this Church,” and today’s open hearing focused on revising the Church Calendar of commemorations, and the request to authorize the use of “Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018,” the proposed revised edition.

This committee began working on the big issues around calendar inclusion criteria, definitions and servanthood early in General Convention, according to bishop co-chair the Rt. Rev. Neil Alexander of Atlanta, to have the time it needs to fully explore the issues surrounding its mandate.

And as the Rev. Susan Anslow Williams of Michigan, committee co-chair representing the House of Deputies, put it on July 3 during the committee’s first gathering, the work of this committeeis “more than deciding who is in and who is out,” referring to the Church’s commemorative calendar and published resources.

Those who signed up before the 8 a.m. open hearing could speak to one of the nine resolutions regarding the Church Calendar and “Lesser Feasts and Fasts” that are before the committee. These include A065, which authorizes “Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018” for optional use by churches and the collection of feedback on the resource – not a trial use, but close.

Resolutions also request the inclusion of new commemorations, from A066 to add to “Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018” Thurgood Marshall, Pauli Murray, and Florence Li Tim-Oi, and D012to add the Four Chaplains of the USAT Dorchester to the Church Calendar.

It was D012 that garnered the most attention at the open hearing. Mr. Louis Cavaliere, board chair of The Chapel of Four Chaplains in Philadelphia, spoke on behalf of including the Dorchester Four, who he said embody “holy innocence,” on the Church Calendar. In 1943 the Army troop transport Dorchester was sunk off the coast of Greenland. The four U.S. Army chaplains, all from different faiths, gave up their life jackets and perished, saving the lives of four soldiers. “Behind every person who perished or survived that sinking is a story. And there are four people whose stories continued because of the four chaplains who gave over their life jackets.”

Seeking clarity

A criterion for inclusion on the calendar is two generations or roughly 50 years since the death of the candidate. The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music in the last triennium recommended expanding the criteria to include, for example, non-Christian individuals who exemplify the Gospel, such as the Jewish chaplain of the Dorchester Four.

The committee is also working through how to increase inclusivity and diversity among those commemorated. One committee member suggested that excluding words of power, such a patriarch and matriarch, for language of servanthood.

Questions around the calendars – of which there are multiple versions at this time – arose during the meeting. Another committee member observed that having different criteria for different calendars is adding to the confusion. “Holy Women, Holy Men” and “Great Cloud of Witnesses” were both developed to widen the inclusivity of the sanctoral calendar but have specific criteria for inclusion.

The Rt. Rev. Robert Hirschfeld of New Hampshire noted that there is an ecology in the Church that allows for people of diverse backgrounds to “come to the table.” People in New Hampshire have asked him “Why isn’t Mahatma Gandhi in ‘Lesser Feasts and Fasts’? It’s because he wasn’t a Christian. And they respond, ‘But we welcome non-Christians to communion.” The bishop continued saying that the Church has a culture of inclusivity that is not reflected in the current criteria of “Lesser Feasts and Fasts.”

Anslow Williams said “the criteria used in the past (from 2009) is still in effect. Are these persons lasting models of Christian exemplary living?” While the committee does review recommendations for new candidates, “looking at the larger criteria” is the committee’s focus.

Alexander added “The work of the SCLM following 2015 is a commentary on the existing criteria.”

Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music committee is responsible for revisions to and the simplification of the Episcopal Church’s sanctoral calendar, and revisions to the Book of Occasional Services, among other liturgical functions. Committee 12 has formed two sub-committees, one for Lesser Feasts and Fasts and the other for Book of Occasional Services.  A General Convention Committee to Receive the Report of Resolution A169 has been formed to focus on the revisions to the Prayer Book and the marriage liturgy. Known as Committee 13, this group is meeting separately from Committee 12.

– Sharon Tillman is a freelance writer for Episcopal News Service at the 79th General Convention.

Committee plans further study of small congregation resolution

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 7:33pm

[Episcopal News Service] The Christian Formation and Discipleship legislative committee on July 4 formed a sub-committee to further study a consolidated resolution that proposes the creation of a referral hub and provide additional resources for clergy and lay leadership development in small congregations.

Consolidated Resolution A022 was submitted to the committee by the Task Force on Clergy Leadership Formation in Small Congregations. The revised resolution combines Resolutions A022-26 into one proposal and reduces the initial budget request to $300,000 from $900,000.

Full ENS coverage of the 79th General Convention is available here.

Consolidated Resolution A022 asks that the 79thGeneral Convention, meeting in Austin, Texas, direct that a Theological Education Networking Team (TENT) be established to serve as a networking referral hub for existing and specially developed resources for the discernment, theological education and formation of clergy and licensed lay vocations in small congregations, which comprise 69 percent of Episcopal churches.

The team would be available by telephone and email to individuals, clergy, commissions on ministry, discernment committees, congregations and dioceses and would eventually create a website of curated resources for users to evaluate the suitability of approaches, strategies and materials for their particular needs and contexts.

The resolution grew out of the task force, which was formed three years ago at the 78thGeneral Convention to “develop a plan for quality formation for clergy in small congregations that is affordable, theologically reflective and innovative.”

The task force concluded that there is “already a wealth of resources available for leadership formation” from many different cultural and theological orientations, yet there is a lack of awareness of the existence of the resources, staff to access them and a “siloing” effect that hinders the sharing of resources throughout the Episcopal Church.

Availability of “appropriate and culturally-sensitive vocational discernment and formation materials and strategies for clergy leaders called from ethnic minority communities” was also found to be lacking.  And “there is also a clear need for greater availability of suitable resources in Spanish,” the task force found.

The legislative committee heard a half-dozen speakers voice their support of the task force’s proposed resolution. “We welcome a fellow network joining us in our work. We support the intent of this,” said William Campbell, executive director of Forma, an organization that provides professional opportunities and resources to clergy and lay leaders in the Episcopal Church.

The committee wrestled over lack of specifics in the resolution, such as the source of funding, who the team reported to, the amount of time team members would spend on the project and whether the educational resources were already available and could lead to the duplication of efforts.

Committee member Kay Bowman-Harvey, a deputy from Oklahoma, expressed concern that the consolidated resolution was “way too cumbersome” and that she needed a “better clarification of what we’re actually looking at.”

“I think it needs some shape,” said the Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa.

Another concern was the lack of emphasis placed on developing lay leadership in small congregations. However, the Rev. Susanna Singer explained to the committee that the primary charge given the task force was to focus on clergy rather than lay leadership. Singer served as chair of the task force and is also associate professor of ministry development at Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California.

The sub-committee’s job will be to review consolidated Resolution A022, address concerns expressed by committee members and return with any recommended changes. The legislative committee also asked the sub-committee to review Resolution A055 to determine whether it should be incorporated into an omnibus resolution with Resolution A022 or continue to stand on its own.

Resolution A055 would have the 79thGeneral Convention “invite the multicultural ministers” of the church to further develop “channels and pathways for sharing he gifts of ministry that exist in abundance in our Black, Latino/Hispanic, Asian American and Native communities with the wider church.”

In discussing the resolutions, the committee expressed an interest in weighing how to balance the various funding requests coming before it during the General Convention.

– Mike Patterson is a San Antonio-based freelance writer and correspondent for the Episcopal News Service. He is a member of ENS General Convention reporting team and can be reached at rmp231@gmail.com.

Episcopal Church of Cuba, Episcopal Church reunification discussed

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 7:30pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] After more than five decades of separation, the Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Church of Cuba may once again unite.

Reunification would not only be good for the churches, but also for the country, said the Rt. Rev. Griselda Delgado Del Carpio, during a July 4 open hearing of The Episcopal Church in Cuba Committee held at the Hilton. “I believe, whether it’s in five, 10 or 20 years, God will see that all good things happen for us,” said Delgado, through an interpreter.

The 79th General Convention officially gets underway with legislative sessions July 5 at the Austin Convention Center and runs through July 13.

Resolution A052 calls for general convention “to welcome with joy the request of the sisters and brothers of the Episcopal Church in Cuba to reunite with the Episcopal Church”; for diocese and congregations to establish relationships with the Cuban church; to provide financial support for the church and bring clergy into the Church Pension Fund;  he formation of a three-year interim body to accompany the Diocese of Cuba as it fully integrates into the Episcopal Church.

During her testimony, Delgado mentioned the diocese’s scarcity of resources, it’s crumbling infrastructure and its inability to compensate clergy, and the isolation both the church and she and previous bishops have felt. But, she said, despite the church’s isolation and the fact that it functions in a largely secular society, it is a part of the Jesus Movement.

Should reunification happen, the Cuban church wishes to join Province II, which includes dioceses in New York, New Jersey, Haiti and the Virgin Islands.

Rena Turnham, who is a member of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota’s Commission on Cuba Ministry and has observed the church’s ministry firsthand, testified to the church’s ability to provide for people in need despite having few resources. The church, she said, often steps in to provide assistance when the government cannot do so.

Ernesto Medina, an alternate from the Diocese of Nebraska and who also has visited the Cuban church, testified to the strength of the church’s laity.

“I actually think the Episcopal Church cannot survive without the church in Cuba,” said Medina. “I have never seen such lay empowerment; that’s a skillset that this church does not have.”

Medina suggest it be written in the resolution that the Cuban church share its method for empowering lay members with the Episcopal Church.

Archbishop of Canada Fred Hiltz, who has served on the Metropolitan Council of Cuba for 11 years, said the Episcopal Church in Cuba and its bishop would be less isolated should the churches reunite and that the Episcopal Church stands to gain a strong partner in ministry.

“What awaits the Episcopal Church is the receiving, in my opinion, of a diocese deeply committed to the [Anglican] Marks of Mission, though poor financially, extraordinarily generous.”

The committee formed four subcommittees to study a covenant committee, constitutional and canonical issues with reunification, pension and Resolution A052. While the committee held its hearing, a second resolution, D060, Establish a Covenant with the Diocese of Cuba was filed.

The Episcopal Church of Cuba is an autonomous diocese of the Anglican Communion under the authority of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba. The council is chaired by the primates of the Anglican churches of Canada and the West Indies and the Episcopal Church. The council has overseen the church in Cuba since it separated from the U.S.-based Episcopal Church in 1967.

The Episcopal Church of Cuba traces its origins back to an Anglican presence beginning in 1901. Today there are some 46 congregations and missions serving 10,000 members and the wider communities. During the 1960s, Fidel Castro’s government began cracking down on religion, jailing religious leaders and believers, and it wasn’t until the Pope John Paul II’s 1998 visit to Cuba, the first ever visit by a Roman Catholic pope to the island, that the government began a move back toward tolerance of religion.

The Cuban Revolution, led by Castro, began in 1953 and lasted until President Fulgencio Batista was forced from power in 1959. Batista’s anti-communist, authoritarian government was replaced with a socialist state, which in 1965 aligned itself with the communist party. In 2008 Raul Castro replaced as president his ailing brother, who died in November 2016.

In April, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez was elected president of Cuba, ending decades of Castro-led rule. Díaz-Canel had served as vice president since 2013 and was expected to become president.

In December 2014, President Barack Obama restored full diplomatic relations with Cuba, and loosening travel and trade restrictions. The Trump administration later tightened those restrictions.

– Lynette Wilson is a reporter and managing editor of the Episcopal News Service.

Church leaders set tone for General Convention in rousing welcome to bishops, deputies

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 7:19pm

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry addresses the joint opening session of the 79 th General Convention in Austin, Texas, on July 4, 2018. Photo: Sharon Tillman/Episcopal News Service

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The presiding officers of the Episcopal Church delivered a rousing welcome July 4 to the hundreds of bishops and deputies who have gathered in Texas’ capital city this week for the 79th General Convention.

The remarks by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, each lasted about 20 minutes and set the stage for an active 10 days at the Austin Convention Center and surrounding hotels. Committees began holding hearings earlier in the day on some resolutions, though the legislative session doesn’t officially convene until July 5.

Curry’s and Jennings’ remarks highlighted the work of the church in the past three years while also directly referencing current events that have drawn the church’s response and will be discussed by General Convention, most notably immigration and the Trump administration’s so-called “zero tolerance” policy on border security.

“I’ve seen Episcopalians stand with others no one else would stand with,” Curry said. “I’ve seen Episcopalians stand with immigrants. I’ve seen us stand with refugees. I’ve seen us stand up for justice, not in the name of secular values but in the name of Jesus Christ, in the name of love.”

Jennings urged the Episcopalians gathered in the large convention hall to not let themselves remain comfortable in their positions of relative privilege when others are suffering. She set the tone with a reading from Deuteronomy: God “loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

“On this day, when some of us are perhaps most inclined to feel at home in the United States, the Bible tells us not to get so comfortable,” Jennings said. “We were once strangers. It’s possible that we could be strangers again one day.”

The emphasis on immigration and welcoming refugees coincides with plans for bishops and deputies to travel July 8, after Sunday worship, to an immigration detention facility about 40 minutes from Austin for a prayer service there. General Convention has assigned 10 resolutions to its committees so far under the topic of immigration,  and more could be added by the July 6 filing deadline.

Resolution A178 specifically calls for an end to federal policies that separate migrant children from their parents. President Donald Trump, after facing intense pressure over the family separations, signed an executive order in June to keep migrant families together in detention facilities, though questions remain about how this policy change will be carried out and how separated families will be reunited.

At the welcome gathering on July 4 of the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry each addressed the bishops and deputies. Photo: Sharon Tillman/Episcopal News Service

“We cannot lose sight of the parents and the children on the border who have been torn apart by our government,” Jennings said in urging the bishops and deputies to take the immigration resolutions seriously. “We need to be uncomfortable enough to remember these are issues of life and death.”

The issue of immigration also loomed large at a news conference earlier in the day with Curry, Jennings and the Rev. Michael Barlowe, the church’s executive officer and secretary of General Convention.

Jennings hoped General Convention would provide a “counterpoint to a vicious, vindictive interpretation to what it means to be a Christian.” Curry referenced Genesis to underscore that the church is basing its advocacy in scripture.

“We start from a premise that … all people are created in God’s image and likeness,” Curry said. “We must structure our social arrangements and structure our lives in ways that respect the dignity of every human being.”

Curry was also asked about his sermon at the royal wedding in May and what lasting effect it might have on the church’s success in evangelism.

“What I really did pray… one, I didn’t want to mess it up. This was a pretty big congregation,” he said. “But the second, that I could actually say something that would represent the good news of Jesus Christ. In our culture, there are versions and representations that don’t look anything like Jesus.”

An estimated 10,000 people are expected to be in Austin at some point this week and next week for General Convention, whether they be bishops, deputies, church employees, volunteers, exhibitors or others interested in participating somehow in the conversations underway. The centerpiece of the two weeks will be a revival event July 7 at the Palmer Events Center with Curry preaching, followed by a barbecue hosted by the Diocese of Texas.

The excitement heading into this General Convention drew from many sources, from Curry’s reputation as the church’s charismatic “chief evangelism officer” to the spirited debate expected on issues ranging from prayer book updates to policy toward Israel and Palestine. There has been much talk, too, about how the church should respond to concerns raised by the #MeToo movement about sexual harassment and abuse in society and in the church, and the House of Bishops was holding a listening session on those issues in the evening July 4.

“The energy’s high as we begin General Convention, and hope is in the air,” Jennings said at the morning news conference.

That energy filled the convention hall in the afternoon as Curry boomed through his welcoming “presentation” – “this is not a sermon,” he said, to knowing laughs – his voice rising and falling as it echoed off the walls. Bishops and deputies sat with their deputations next to poles labeled with the names of their dioceses, similar to a political party’s convention.

Bishops and deputies gathered with their diocesan deputations for the opening remarks in the convention hall in Austin, Texas, on July 4. Photo: Sharon Tillman/Episcopal News Service

Curry began with an extended metaphor centered around Starbucks, suggesting that an Episcopal Church that forgets its roots is like a coffee chain that forgets it’s about coffee, not cheese goods and other food products. “My brothers and sisters, we are not in the baking cheese business, we’re in the coffee business, and the name of that coffee is Jesus of Nazareth.”

But it was his reference to the Independence Day holiday and to the origins of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” that provided a more profound motif to convey how the Episcopal Church marches on, in service of the Lord.

“I’ve seen the movement of Jesus among us in the church,” Curry said, citing Episcopalians’ relief efforts after hurricanes struck Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Florida and Texas. He said he saw it in how Episcopalians stood with other Christians against the hate groups that marched in Charlottesville, Virginia. He said he saw it in the Episcopalians who rallied behind the Standing Rock Sioux as they sought to protect their drinking water from an oil pipeline.

“God’s truth, this movement, is marching on,” he said.

Jennings opened her remarks by alluding to the popularity of Curry’s sermons and joking that she occupied “what is widely acknowledged to be one of the least coveted speaking spots in all of Christendom, the person who comes after Michael Curry.”

Jennings, too, spoke forcefully to the crowd about its duty to follow the way of Jesus.

“We are embarking on hard and holy work in the next 10 days. We are going to talk about some of the issues that cut close to our heart,” she said. “Let us do our work as strangers and sojourners bound for kingdom of God.”

Among the other speakers at the welcoming event were National Episcopal Church Women President Lisa Towle and Church Pension Group President Mary Kate Wold. Barlowe served as master of ceremonies.

“We are delighted to be in the Diocese of Texas,” Barlowe said, a sentiment he has repeated often this week, with slight variations. “You all have welcomed us with legendary Texas hospitality.”

Barlowe introduced Diocese of Texas Bishop C. Andrew Doyle, who said Episcopalians in Texas were proud to stand with the church on border issues and against the epidemic of gun violence in the country. And Doyle mentioned that Houston, Texas, hosted the General Convention in 1970, when women first were allowed to serve as deputies.

Doyle also gave the convention a taste of Texas talk as it pertains to the Jesus Movement.

“Texas is big, and just about whatever you wish to tell us about, we’re going to listen politely, and then we will tell you about how there’s one bigger, larger, stronger, stranger, more bizarre or weird than whatever you have,” he said. “Texans love to imagine crazy, big ideas like the Jesus Movement, and we are glad to be part of the very big Episcopal Church.”

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.

Creation care committee begins its legislative work

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 6:35pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Advocating for a fair and ambitious climate agreement, a carbon fee and planting trees in commemoration of the Paris Agreement topped the agenda July 4 during the Environmental Stewardship and Care of Creation Committee’s first open hearing at the JW Marriott.

The 79th General Convention officially gets underway with legislative sessions July 5 at the Austin Convention Center and runs through July 13.

The Rev. Leon Sampson, a deacon and deputy from the Episcopal Church of Navajoland, spoke to the importance of Resolution C008, which calls for the further advancement of the House of Bishops’ 2011 commitment “ ‘to advocate for a fair, ambitious, and binding climate treaty’ by making every effort to fully and completely participate in future meetings of the United Nations Conference of Parties on Climate Change as an active, faithful and engaged voice for all of God’s good earth.”

Bishops addressed the earth’s unfolding environmental crisis during a meeting in Quito, Ecuador, in a pastoral teaching to the church in which they said:

“The mounting urgency of our environmental crisis challenges us at this time to confess ‘our self-indulgent appetites and ways,’ ‘our waste and pollution of God’s creation,” and “our lack of concern for those who come after us’ (Ash Wednesday Liturgy, Book of Common Prayer, p. 268). It also challenges us to amend our lives and to work for environmental justice and for more environmentally sustainable practices.

“Christians cannot be indifferent to global warming, pollution, natural resource depletion, species extinctions, and habitat destruction, all of which threaten life on our planet. Because so many of these threats are driven by greed, we must also actively seek to create more compassionate and sustainable economies that support the well-being of all God’s creation.”

Further extraction of natural resources in Bears Ears – which extends into Navajoland – and other proposed oil, gas and mining projects in Navajoland provide much-needed jobs, but also threaten people’s health and the environment, said Sampson.

In December 2017, the Trump administration announced it would reduce by 2 million acres two national monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. The shrinking of the two monuments in Utah opens up the possibility of oil, gas and other natural resource development and represents the largest reduction of federal land protection in U.S. history.

In April, a Native American advocacy group appealed the Trump administration’s decision to the United Nations, claiming desecration of a sacred site is a human rights violation.

Most of the environmental stewardship and care of creation resolutions are listed here. In September 2016, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry identified care for creation as one of the three pillars, along with reconciliation and evangelism, of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.

The committee called on the Rev. Melanie Mullen, the church’s director of reconciliation, justice and creation care, to testify to Resolution A013 as to the need of an officer to oversee the stewardship of creation. The officer would oversee the Advisory Council on the Stewardship of Creation’s grant program.

The 78th General Convention created an Advisory Council on the Stewardship of Creation during its meeting in Salt Lake City in 2015. It took some months for the advisory council to convene, but once it did it quickly began a small grant program, awarding 40 grants to projects throughout the Episcopal Church and it oversees three environmental justice sites.

Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers Director Bill Slocumb spoke in favor of Resolution A010, which calls for planting “Paris Groves” at each of the church’s 85 camps and conference centers. The groves – planted with native tree species – would “serve as a visible witness to the significance of the Paris Accord and do the practical work of sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere.” The resolution also calls on General Convention to commend all Episcopal Schools, Camps and Conference Centers in making environmental stewardship and care of creation key components of formation in the 2019-2021 triennium. It also asks for Episcopalians’ support and that each person reaffirm their baptismal vows and plant a tree in one of the groves.

Emily Hopkins of the Diocese of California testified to Resolution C020, which calls for the Church to “support a national tax on carbon-based fossil fuels based on the Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which would impose a carbon fee on all fossil fuels and other greenhouse gases at the point where they first enter the economy; align U.S. emissions with the physical constraints identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to avoid irreversible climate change; and use this carbon fee through a trust fund to make equal monthly per-person dividend payments to all American households.”

The committee suggested modifying the resolution’s title, making it clear that it is a “fee” not a “tax.”

Hopkins acknowledged that the Province IX dioceses located in the Caribbean and South America would not benefit from a carbon fee and dividend; she acknowledged the contribution of resource-rich states to the building of the United States and the need for extractive dependent states to be assisted in their transition to clean energy.

Over the years, General Convention has passed more than 50 resolutions addressing environmental stewardship and creation care. This year, the Advisory Council on the Stewardship of Creation submitted 14 resolutions (read its Blue Book report here), many strengthening previous resolutions, some addressing more contemporary concerns.

– Lynette Wilson is a reporter and managing editor of the Episcopal News Service.

Gun violence, voting rights, social safety net discussed

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 5:45pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The Social Justice and United States Policy Committee kicked off its hearings at the 79thGeneral Convention on July 4, taking up resolutions relating to gun violence, the social safety net and voting rights while

Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton speaks in favor of a gun violence resolution July 4 at a hearing of the Social Justice and United States Policy Committee, held in a ballroom of the JW Marriott in Austin, Texas. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

leaving resolutions on immigration for an upcoming hearing.


The morning hearings, held in a ballroom at the JW Marriott hotel in downtown Austin, covered eight resolutions and lasted about an hour. More than 15 people spoke to the resolutions, and most of their voices were in favor. The committee next will meet to modify the resolutions as needed and decide whether to send some or all on for full legislative consideration.

“This is a wonderful committee that’s ready to go prayerfully to work,” Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple of North Carolina said to draw the day’s hearings to a close.

Another eight resolutions relating to immigration were assigned to the committee and presumably will generate even more debate. Those resolutions will all be taken up at the committee’s hearing scheduled for 8 a.m. July 7.

The committee opened its July 4 hearing by inviting all in attendance to join in singing a hymn, “We All Are One in Mission,” followed by an opening prayer.

Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton, who was due to attend another one of the morning’s meetings, spoke on behalf of Bishops United Against Gun Violence in favor of Resolution B005, recognizing gun violence as a public health issue.

“We are in an epidemic,” Sutton said after highlighting some statistics showing the sheer volume of deaths in the United States due to guns. “Think of the cost to our families, our communities, our health systems.”

Virginia Bishop Shannon Johnson, a member of the committee, spoke in support of Resolution B002, a measure he proposed to engage the church in working against government and institutional corruption.

Few people would argue with the evils of corruption, Johnston said, but his resolution seeks to push Episcopalians to actively speak out again it at all levels, and in this country and countries around the world.

“Corruption is danger evil,’ he said. “For far too long, religious communities and churches have not spoken up to challenge corruption and to work alongside other partners in the global transparency movement. … As Episcopalians, we have an obligation to root out corruption where we see it.”

A couple of people spoke in favor of D013, which seeks to end the loophole in the 13thAmendment to the U.S. Constitution that abolished slavery except for prison labor. There also were passionate pleas for passage of two resolutions targeting voter suppression and gerrymandered legislative districts (C047).

Harold Patrick, an alternate deputy from Southern Ohio, who spoke on several resolutions, emphasized the hearing was happening on the United States’ Independence Day, and the voting-related resolutions are “really about the fundamental right that we all have to vote, and to vote equally and properly.”

Patrick and others provided firsthand witness to the need to repair the United States’ deteriorating social safety net, as called for by Resolution C041. Patrick spoke from his experience as an affordable-housing developer. Several young adult members of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship spoke about poverty-related issues they have worked on, including education and health care.

One resolution that wasn’t warmly welcomed was C015, which calls for stricter punishment for manufacture and possession of guns without serial numbers.

Hodges-Copple noted that the resolution was submitted by the Diocese of Bethlehem without explanation. After a member of the Official Youth Presence read info from the diocese’s website, Stan Runnels chose to speak against the resolution, saying it sounded like the measures referenced would simply put more people in prison, and the lack of an explanation leaves the committee with little reason to believe otherwise.

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.

Committee hears call for inclusive-language Book of Common Prayer

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 5:43pm

The Rev. Ian Stanford testifies in favor of non-gendered language during testimony on resolutions dealing with prayer book revision. Photo: Melodie Woerman/Episcopal News Service

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The legislative committee charged with providing a pathway toward revision of the Book of Common Prayer took preliminary steps July 4 after a hearing filled with impassioned testimony.

The committee – officially titled the Committee to Receive the Report of Resolution A169 (https://extranet.generalconvention.org/governing_and_interim_bodies/interim_bodies/690/roster) – heard speakers say that prayer book revision is needed immediately to correct the overwhelming use of masculine language to refer both to God and to human beings, as well as a lack of imagery calling for the care of creation.

Two resolutions on the Prayer Book – A068 and A069 – were presented by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music in response to calls from the 78th General Convention in 2015 to begin prayer book of revision. Resolution A068 sets out a process of full prayer book revision, beginning in the next three years and culminating in a new authorized Book of Common Prayer in 2030. Resolution A069 offers instead a process of deeper engage with the current 1979 Prayer Book, to help members explore riches of services and prayers that are seldom used.

At the end of its first meeting, which stretched to four hours including testimony and member comments, the committee created a subcommittee of six members to craft a way forward, noting both the process outlined in A068, and the need for inclusive language detailed in Resolution D036.

‘Let’s let God be God’

Most of those who testified in hearings on prayer book revision resolutions called for new ways of talking about God that don’t rely on masculine nouns, pronouns or imagery.

The Rev. Ernesto Medina, an alternate deputy from the Diocese of Nebraska, said that his church counted 125 masculine references in a single Sunday morning service. He urged the committee to think beyond question of revision or not, saying that the Episcopal Church “has been transformed by the Baptismal Covenant” of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. He urged the committee to “dig deep and come up with a courageous response” to help the church share the love of Jesus.

Rowan Pantalena testifies in favor of non-gendered language during testimony on resolutions dealing with prayer book revision. Photo: Melodie Woerman/Episcopal News Service

Rowan Pantalena, a postulant from the Diocese of Connecticut, said that as a non-binary trans person, “I am not your brother or your sister. I am your sibling.” Pantalena called for new liturgical language that doesn’t erase existing images from scripture and liturgy but expands upon them.

Two clergy who identified themselves as transgender men, the Rev. Ian Stanford of the Diocese of Oregon and the Rev. Cameron Partridge of the Diocese of California, described how gendered language in the prayer book is an impediment to people with whom they minster. Stanford said that if he can get young people who don’t care about religion to even think about giving the Episcopal Church a try, he worries about how they will receive what they hear. “What am I inviting them into?” he asked.

Kathleen Moore, a seminarian from the Diocese of Vermont, said that in her work to evangelize young people she tries to help them see that God is bigger than any human construct, but gendered language gets in the way. “Let’s let God be God,” she said.

The Rev. Ruth Myers, alternate deputy from the Diocese of California, described her discomfort in presiding at the funeral for a woman and having to use the opening words of the service referring to the deceased as “he” and “him,” with its implication that being male is normative. She also noted there are no prayer book collects that refer to God’s role in creation and called for a more robust theology for creation care. Susie Burk from the Diocese of Connecticut called for adding care for creation to the Baptismal Covenant.

Some who testified thought the cost – both financial and pastoral – of full prayer book revision was too high. The Rev. Jordan Hylden of the Diocese of Dallas asked how the church today could adequately revise rites to be used by the church of the future.

Cost estimates are that full Prayer Book revision outlined in A068 would cost up to $9 million over nine years, and deeper Prayer Book engagement described in A069 would cost $1.1 million in the next three years.

The Rev. Timothy Nunez, deputy from the Diocese of Central Florida, wondered if by 2030 the church would even need a book at all. “We are going to need a more nimble way to approach liturgies to reach into the diversity of our church,” he said.

— Melodie Woerman is director of communications for the Diocese of Kansas and a member of the ENS General Convention reporting team.

Groundbreaking document shows how Anglicans and Roman Catholics can learn from each other

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 3:35pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] An agreed statement produced by the official commission for dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches has been heralded as “ground-breaking” and an “important step on the pilgrimage towards fuller unity in Christ.”

Read the entire article here.

Church of England responds to pre-Synod satirical blog

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 3:33pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Church of England has issued an official statement following the publication of a blog which suggested next week’s General Synod in York was to consider “abolishing” the Holy Trinity.

Read the entire article here.

Deputies’ president ought to be paid fees for work, committee tells convention

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 3:22pm

Diocese of Maryland Assistant Bishop Chilton Knudsen, chair of the House of Bishops’ Legislative Committee 16 – Churchwide Leadership, July 4 holds up the witness list and invites others to testify on any of three resolutions dealing with compensation for the House of Deputies president. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] A General Convention legislative committee said July 4 that General Convention ought to adopt a resolution that would pay the House of Deputies’ president director’s and officer’s fees “for specific services rendered in order to fulfill duties required by the church’s Constitution and Canons.”

Legislative Committee 16 – Churchwide Leadership spent three hours discussing three resolutions each proposing a different way to compensate the deputies’ president. The committee members also heard from five witnesses as well as Episcopal Church Chief Legal Officer Doug Anning before making their decision.

“We’ve taken historic action,” Diocese of Maryland Assistant Bishop Chilton Knudsen, chair of the House of Bishops’ Committee 16, told the committee after its unanimous vote to recommend Resolution B014 for adoption.

Each house has the same legislative committees and they regularly meet together to hear testimony and debate resolutions. Bishop and deputy members voted separately.

The issue of compensating the president has been discussed for decades. General Convention considered the salary issue in 1997, 2000 and 2015. Each time, the deputies were clear that they wanted to see their president compensated.

The question of a salary for the House of Deputies president prompted a rare conference committee between bishops and deputies in the waning hours of the last convention. The 2015 meeting of convention eventually agreed to postpone making a decision, instead calling for the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies to appoint a task force to study the issue.

In addition to chairing the House of Deputies during convention, the president also is canonically required to serve as vice chair of Executive Council and vice president of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, or DFMS, the nonprofit corporate entity through which the Episcopal Church owns property and does business. He or she has a wide swath of appointment powers. The president also travels around the church, speaking at conferences and other gatherings, meeting with deputies and other Episcopalians.

The position, which is filled by election during each meeting of convention, has a travel budget and a paid assistant. Each president is limited to three consecutive terms.

Supporters say making the office a paid job in some way would broaden the pool of people able to consider running for election. The task force said that only people who are older and/or have what it called favorable “personal economic circumstances” can realistically hold the office. Thus, presidents are not always chosen based solely on gifts and skills, the members said.

Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania Sean Rowe testifies July 4 to the Legislative Committee 16 – Churchwide Leadership, about Resolution B014 dealing with compensation for the House of Deputies president. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania Sean Rowe, B014’s proposer, told the committee during the open hearing on the resolution that the reason the issue of compensation for the House of Deputies president failed in the House of Bishops in each of the last three attempts “has to do with the matter of polity.”

The resolution recognizes that the president of the House of Deputies has “extraordinary duties, that it is a matter of justice, that it is a matter of the pool of candidates that could present themselves for such a position [in its current unpaid form] and that it is fair for what the Constitution and Canons require of the position that it be compensated.”

Rowe told the committee that he would “put the cards on the table” and say that bishops wanted “nothing that looks like a co-primate, nothing that creates another independent body within the church structure.”

Diocese of Western New York Bishop Bill Franklin, one of the two required endorsers of B014, told the committee that the resolution recognizes that the president position has evolved beyond that of a volunteer. The resolution is “completely in line with the historic evolution through which the office of the presiding bishop came to be compensated.”

“Our proposal proposes a similar step-by-step model,” he said, adding that it was a model “that could be adjusted in the future as the needs arise.”

Diocese of Southern Ohio Bishop Tom Breidenthal is the other B014 endorser.

Others disagree with any proposal to pay the deputies president, some saying they fear “mission creep” and those polity implications in the form of an expansion of the president’s duties and authority. Some cite Resolution A099 proposed to this convention that would allow the president to call a meeting of the House of Deputies at times other than the triennial gathering of convention.

The Rev. Stan Runnels, an outgoing member of the Executive Council from Diocese West Missouri, told the committee that he was concerned about the polity questions. Runnels said there is no mention in the church’s constitution that provides for the House of Deputies president to be what he called “a presiding or senior officer of the Episcopal Church.”

Runnels also suggested that not all of the work that recent presidents have taken on is mandated by the constitution and could be delegated to others. The presidents “increased the burden of the position” by choosing to take on that work, he said.

Diane Pollard, chair of the Task Force to Study Church Leadership and Compensation, signs up July 4 to testify to Legislative Committee 16 – Churchwide Leadership, about Resolutions A028 (proposed by the task force) and B014, proposed by Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania Bishop Sean Rowe. She told the committee it could support either one. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The Task Force to Study Church Leadership and Compensation, called for by the 78th General Convention, concluded in its report to this meeting of convention that the work of the House of Deputies president amounts to a full-time job. Its Resolution A028 calls for a salary but does not set an amount.

Runnels was specifically testifying against that resolution. He was one of five people who testified, and the only one who opposed either A028 or B014.

The task force asked Executive Council to include a proposed salary in the draft 2019-2021 budget, which it gave to the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) in January. The task force did not suggest an amount, but it included $900,000 for a full-time salary and benefits for the three years in the draft budget (line 557 here).

Resolution C042, from Province IV, proposes a different approach to the salary issue. It would have Executive Council set what it calls per diem compensation for the president when she or he is at council meetings, consults with the presiding bishop in making appointments required by canon, and is doing official work related to General Convention. Calling it a way to address the “short-term fairness issue of compensating the president,” the resolution also proposes that a special task force “clarify and enumerate the comprehensive role” of the president.

Rowe had proposed B014 last week to direct the Executive Council to pay the president director’s fees as a possible compromise between the other two resolutions. During debate on July 4, the committee amended the resolutions to fully describe the fees as both director’s and officer’s fees.

The amendment, Rowe said in proposing it, ensures that the resolution “conforms with New York State law and allows us to expand the range of motion that Executive Council can have and, again, it has no effect on polity,” he said.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is the Episcopal News Service’s senior editor and reporter.

Voici le guide récapitulatif des principales questions qui seront abordées lors de la 79ème Convention générale à Austin

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 6:16am

La 79ème Convention générale débute officiellement le 5 juillet et se poursuit jusqu’au 13 juillet au Centre de conventions d’Austin. Photo : Centre de conventions d’Austin

[Episcopal News Service — Austin (Texas)] Les épiscopaliens commencent à arriver ici avant le 5 juillet, date officielle du début de la 79ème Convention générale au Centre de conventions d’Austin.

Comme à l’accoutumée, l’ordre du jour qui attend la Chambre des Évêques et la Chambre des Députés est si rempli que les réunions des comités législatifs sont fixées aux 3 juillet au soir et 4 juillet au matin. La version préliminaire du programme complet de la convention se trouve ici. La Convention s’achève le 13 juillet.

Pour consulter le guide général de la convention, veuillez vous reporter à l’article d’Episcopal News Service intitulé « Episcopalians preparing for 79th General Convention in Austin can expect ‘a real Texas welcome’ » [Les épiscopaliens qui se préparent pour la 79ème Convention générale à Austin peuvent s’attendre à « une véritable bienvenue texane »].

Voici le récapitulatif de certains des principaux travaux qui seront accomplis à la Convention générale :

Égalité face au mariage

Le Groupe de travail sur l’étude du mariage à la Convention générale a suivi de près l’utilisation de deux nouveaux rites de mariage que la Convention générale a approuvés en 2015 pour une période d’essai (Résolution A054), à l’intention à la fois des couples de même sexe et des couples de sexe opposé, et il a connaissance de certaines préoccupations concernant l’accès inégal à ces liturgies à l’essai. Dans son rapport dans le Livre bleu, il dit avoir trouvé une large acceptation du rite dans toute l’église, exception faite de huit évêques diocésains dans 101 diocèses nationaux qui n’ont pas autorisé leur emploi.

« Liturgical Resources 1: I Will Bless You, and You Will Be a Blessing » [Ressources liturgiques 1 : je vous bénirai et vous serez une bénédiction] est l’un des rites dont la Convention générale a autorisés l’emploi à l’essai en 2015. Photo : Church Publishing Inc.

Le groupe de travail propose que la convention exige que tous les évêques en ayant le pouvoir « prennent des dispositions pour que tous les couples demandant à se marier dans l’église aient un accès raisonnable et commode à ces rites à l’essai ». Il fera également dire lors de la convention que les évêques « continueront leur travail de mener l’église dans un engagement total envers ces documents et continueront d’apporter une réponse pastorale généreuse qui satisfasse les besoins des membres de l’église”.

Les épiscopaliens qui soutiennent cet effort ont été actifs dès avant la convention. Claiming the Blessing [Revendiquant la bénédiction], qui a été formé en 2002 pour défendre la « pleine inclusion de tous les baptisés dans tous les sacrements de l’église », selon son site Web, a publié un plaidoyer. Certains épiscopaliens du Diocèse de Dallas ont élaboré un site Web appelé « Dear General Convention » [Chère Convention générale] qui comporte des vidéos et des récits écrits sur les couples qui ne peuvent se marier dans ce diocèse.

Le groupe de travail demande également la poursuite de la période d’essai des liturgies en tant qu’ajout au Livre de la prière commune ainsi que des modifications au livre de prière ayant trait à d’autres rites de mariage ainsi que des préfaces et des parties du catéchisme pour rendre le libellé non sexospécifique.

Cinq évêques diocésains de la Province IX et un évêque en retraite représentant les diocèses d’Équateur Littoral, Équateur Central, République dominicaine, Venezuela et Honduras ont prévenu le groupe de travail que, si la convention effectuait des modifications concernant le mariage qui les forceraient à « accepter des pratiques sociales et culturelles qui n’ont aucun fondement biblique ni acceptation dans le culte chrétien », la mesure « approfondirait grandement la brèche, la division et la Province IX devrait apprendre à faire son chemin seule ». Les évêques de Colombie et de Porto Rico n’ont pas signé la déclaration.

Le 28 juin, l’évêque de Long Island Lawrence Provenzano, l’évêque de Pittsburgh Dorsey McConnell et l’évêque du Rhode Island Nicholas Knisely ont proposé la Résolution B012, qui continuerait la période d’essai des rites de mariage, sans limite de temps et sans chercher à réviser le Livre de la Prière commune de 1979. La résolution propose que l’accès aux liturgies soit donné dans tous les diocèses, sans exiger l’autorisation de l’évêque diocésain. Au lieu de cela, les congrégations souhaitant utiliser les rites mais dont les évêques ont refusé l’autorisation, pourraient recevoir d’un autre évêque de l’église un DEPO (Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight) qui leur donnerait accès à ces liturgies.

Un article antérieur d’Episcopal News Service sur la question de l’accès au mariage se trouve ici.

Le groupe de travail propose également deux liturgies pour la bénédiction des relations de couples qui choisissent de ne pas se marier pour des raisons juridiques ou financières. Il recommande aussi que l’église réfléchisse à de nouvelles manières de servir le nombre grandissant de gens qui cohabitent dans une relation engagée et monogame plutôt que de se marier. La couverture par ENS de ces recommandations se trouve ici.

Révision du Livre de la Prière commune ?

La Convention générale de cet été est invitée à examiner comment elle ordonne sa prière commune et pourquoi.

La Commission permanente en matière de Liturgie et de Musique (ci-après dénommée SCLM) propose aux évêques et aux députés un plan global de révision, comme l’a demandé la Convention générale de 2015, ainsi qu’une manière pour l’église de prendre le temps de discerner la forme future de sa prière commune. La première option entrainerait immédiatement l’église dans un processus majeur de révision du livre de prière qui s’achèverait dans neuf ans. La deuxième demanderait à l’église de sonder les profondeurs de la théologie actuelle du Livre de la Prière commune ainsi que son utilité en tant qu’outil d’unité dans une église diversifiée, en matière d’évangélisation et de discipulat. Si la convention convient de la seconde approche, ceci inclurait de nouvelles traductions du Livre.

La SCLM a inclus des « hypothèses directrices », des plans de travail, des suggestions de méthodes et d’outils, des centaines de pages de documents complémentaires et des budgets pour chacune des approches. Les approches sont décrites dans la partie du rapport de la SCLM publié le 13 février dans le Livre Bleu . Le rapport du sous-comité pour le livre de prière se trouve ici.

Un article d’Episcopal News Service sur les possibilités se trouve ici.

L’Église épiscopale et le mouvement #MeToo

La Convention va réfléchir au rôle de l’Église épiscopale et à sa réponse au mouvement #MeToo par des résolutions, des réflexions et un espoir de réconciliation.

Pour ce qui pourrait être une séance extraordinaire, la Chambre des Évêques invite les épiscopaliens le 4 juillet à un événement intitulé « Liturgie de l’écoute ». La séance, prévue de 17h15 à 19h00 heure d’Austin, dans le lieu de prière installé au Centre de conventions d’Austin, a été dénommé « un espace sacré pour l’écoute et la réconciliation ».

Entretemps, près de 30 résolutions sur ce sujet ont été déposées. La majorité d’entre elles provient des 47 membres du Comité spécial de la Chambre des députés en matière de harcèlement sexuel et exploitation, nommé en février par la révérende Gay Clark Jennings, présidente des Députés.

Un article d’Episcopal News Service sur ce même sujet se trouve ici.

Un salaire pour le président de la Chambre des Députés

Présider la Chambre des Députés n’est que l’une des nombreuses responsabilités du président de la Chambre des Députés qui sont exigées canoniquement. Photo : Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Cette question, qui a déclenché un rare comité de conférence entre évêques et députés dans les dernières heures de la dernière convention, sur la question de savoir si le poste actuellement non rémunéré de président de la Chambre des Députés devrait être salarié, va de nouveau être examinée.

La convention de 2015 a demandé que l’évêque primat et le président de la Chambre des Députés nomment un groupe de travail pour étudier la question. La question de rémunération pour ce poste a fait l’objet de débats depuis des décennies et le Groupe de travail visant à étudier Direction de l’église et rémunération, a conclu que le travail du président de la Chambre des Députés équivaut à un travail à plein temps. Sa Résolution A-028 demande un salaire mais n’en fixe pas le montant. Le groupe de travail a demandé au Conseil exécutif d’inclure un salaire dans son avant-projet de budget 2019-2021. Le Conseil a budgété 900 000 dollars pour un salaire à plein temps avec avantages sociaux pour trois ans.

Les partisans du changement disent que faire de ce poste un emploi rémunéré élargira le réservoir de candidats en mesure d’envisager de se présenter à l’élection. D’autres ne sont pas d’accord, certains disant qu’ils craignent une « dérive de la mission » sous la forme d’une expansion des responsabilités et du pouvoir du président.

Un groupe d’évêques a proposé un compromis sous la forme de la Résolution B014 qui demanderait au Conseil exécutif de verser au président des jetons de présence d’administrateur « pour services spécifiques rendus dans l’accomplissement de ses responsabilités requises par la Constitution et les Canons de l’église ».

Un article d’Episcopal New Service sur cette question se trouve ici.

Et la Résolution C042, proposée par la Province IV de l’église, verserait au président ce que l’on appelle une indemnité journalière pour certains aspects de son travail puis réétudierait la question plus vaste de la rémunération.

Suivi des trois priorités de l’église : l’évangélisation, la réconciliation et la justice raciales, et le respect de la création

La majeure partie du débat sur l’évangélisation à la Convention générale sera centrée sur la continuation du soutien accru de l’église à l’implantation d’églises et de nouveaux ministères régionaux, comme prévu dans la Résolution A005. Mais d’autres résolutions attribuées au Comité d’évangélisation et d’implantation d’églises montrent la large gamme de réflexion sur ce fertile terrain spirituel, y compris le rôle des médias sociaux et les liens entre l’évangélisation et la gestion de l’environnement. Le comité examinera également une proposition qui accorderait davantage d’attention à la façon dont l’origine démographique des responsables de ministère reflète celle des communautés qu’ils cherchent à servir.

L’Évêque Primat Michael Curry au pied de la statue de Robert E. Lee à Charlottesville (État de Virginie), le 7 sept. 2017, avec le rév. Paul Walker, recteur de la Christ Episcopal Church voisine. La statue avait été enveloppée de plastique tandis que la ville était confrontée à une contestation en justice s’opposant à l’enlèvement du monument. Photo : David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

Une série d’incidents raciaux choquants dans les mois précédant la 78ème Convention générale, notamment le massacre perpétré à l’Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church à Charleston (État de Caroline du Sud), avaient contribué à stimuler l’adoption à Salt Lake City d’un certain nombre de résolutions sur le racisme. Parmi celles-ci, la Résolution C019, qui demandait aux dirigeants de l’église d’élaborer une réponse à l’injustice raciale pour toute l’église. Comment mener ces efforts jusqu’au bout est la question fondamentale qui est posée au Comité de justice et réconciliation raciales. Mais le racisme et l’apaisement racial sont des sujets si vastes, tant sur le plan social que spirituel, que l’on s’attend à ce que les débats s’étendent bien au delà d’une simple résolution, voire même d’un seul comité. Parmi les autres résolutions qui seront débattues en figure une qui étudie les antécédents de l’église en matière de diversification de ses dirigeants et une autre qui pose la question de savoir si le terme anti-racisme doit être remplacé par un terme qui fasse allusion à la transformation spirituelle recherchée dans ces travaux.

Le soutien aux agriculteurs locaux, aux taxes et crédits carbone, l’opposition au racisme environnemental et la participation soutenue des épiscopaliens à l’Accord de Paris sur le climat sont quelques-unes des résolutions en matière de gestion de l’environnement et de respect de la création qui seront débattues à la 79ème Convention générale. Une liste de résolutions sur la gestion et le respect de la création se trouve ici.

Formulation du budget triennal 2019-2021

Le Comité permanent conjoint Programme, Budget & Finance (PB&F) a déjà commencé ses travaux sur l’avant-projet de budget triennal 2019-2021 que le Conseil exécutif a adopté en janvier.

Le revenu total de 133,7 millions de dollars de l’avant-projet de budget du conseil paierait un montant égal de dépenses, avec un très petit excédent de 2 654 dollars. Le budget triennal dépasse d’environ 8,7 millions de dollars celui qui a été approuvé par la Convention générale de 2015 pour le triennat 2016-2018 actuel.

Lors de la Convention générale de 2015, les évêques et les députés ont transformé le système actuel de quote-part volontaire en une évaluation obligatoire, à compter du cycle budgétaire 2019-2021. L’avant-projet du Conseil prévoit que jusqu’à 20 diocèses obtiennent des exonérations entières ou partielles de ces paiements dans le cadre du système qui entrera en vigueur pour le nouveau triennat.

Il sera demandé au PB&F d’étudier la Résolution B001 de rejet de l’évaluation obligatoire systématique et d’adoption d’un système de financement diocésain du budget triennal de l’église sur la base du montant que chaque diocèse dépense en moyenne par congrégation dans son budget annuel.

PB&F prévoit une audience publique sur le budget à 19h30 le 5 juillet. Son budget définitif doit être présenté lors d’une séance conjointe des Chambres des Évêques et des Députés au plus tard le troisième jour avant l’ajournement prévu de la Convention. Selon la version préliminaire du programme de la Convention, cette présentation est fixée à 10h30 heure d’Austin le 11 juillet.

Paix au Moyen-Orient

L’Évêque Primat Michael Curry, à gauche, et Suheil Dawani, l’Archevêque anglican de Jérusalem, marchent le 26 mars dans la zone désertique entre un poste de contrôle israélien et la ville de Gaza. Ils se rendaient à l’hôpital anglican Al Ahli Arab. Leur voyage s’est déroulé cinq jours avant que la violence n’éclate le long de la clôture qui sépare Israël et la bande de Gaza. Photo : Sharon Jones

De nombreuses résolutions de la Convention générale sont attendues sur des sujets ayant trait à Israël et la Palestine d’ici le moment où démarre la convention. Au moins trois ont été soumises jusqu’à présent, dont une proposée par le Diocèse de Californie qui réintroduit une pression pour le désinvestissement de « ces sociétés qui profitent de l’occupation par Israël des terres palestiniennes ou dont les produits ou actions soutiennent l’infrastructure de l’occupation ».

L’engagement des entreprises ne sera pas le seul sujet relatif à la Terre Sainte. Deux autres propositions de résolutions demandent qu’une plus grande attention soit prêtée au sort des enfants palestiniens, notamment ceux qui sont poursuivis devant les tribunaux militaires israéliens.

Un groupe d’évêques et de députés à qui l’on a demandé de trouver un moyen de naviguer les débats souvent épineux de la politique de l’Église épiscopale envers Israël et la Palestine, a annoncé ses recommandations pour susciter un débat ouvert et productif sur ces questions lors de la Convention. Un article d’Episcopal News Service sur cette initiative se trouve ici.

Comment suivre les travaux de la Convention générale

Un pôle médias, géré par le Bureau de la Communication de l’Église épiscopale, offre à tous et partout la possibilité de suivre les travaux de la Convention. Y seront inclus des diffusions en direct de séances de la Chambre des Évêques et de la Chambre des Députés, un programme, les services religieux quotidiens et les conférences de presse quotidiennes. Les gros titres d’Episcopal News Service seront annoncés sur le site. Vous pouvez trouver le pôle médias ici.

Le pôle médias offre la possibilité de suivre les travaux de la Convention. Y seront inclus des diffusions en direct de séances de la Chambre des Évêques et de la Chambre des Députés, un programme, les services religieux quotidiens et les conférences de presse quotidiennes. Les gros titres d’Episcopal News Service seront annoncés sur le site.

The media hub offers the opportunity to follow convention’s proceedings. It will include live streams of sessions from the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, a calendar, daily worship and daily media briefings. Episcopal News Service’s headlines will feed into the site.

Ceux qui ne sont ni évêques ni députés peuvent suivre l’avancement des résolutions législatives par le biais du dénommé Classeur virtuel ici. Le site reflète la configuration des iPads prêtés aux évêques et aux députés et les modifications se font en temps réel. La version en ligne comprend également l’ordre du jour quotidien de chaque Chambre, les programmes de chaque jour et les journaux (c’est-à-dire la liste des messages envoyés entre les chambres informant l’autre des mesures prises), les programmes et les rapports des comités. Elle contient des onglets pour vérifier les mesures en cours et les amendements proposés par l’assemblée dans chaque Chambre.

En outre, une application gratuite est disponible pour tout smartphone ou tablette sur Android 4.4 ou IOS 8.0 ou plus récent. L’appli contient les horaires, les cartes, les informations fournisseurs, les ordres quotidiens des services religieux et d’autres documents utiles.

Téléchargez l’appli ici ou sur App Store ou Google Play puis saisir le code 79GC lorsque vous y êtes invité. L’application peut également être utilisée sur un ordinateur. Le lien se trouve ici.

— Ce guide a été compilé à partir de reportages des rédacteur/reporters David Paulsen et Mary Frances Schjonberg d’Episcopal News Service, et de la rédactrice en chef d’ENS Lynette Wilson.

General Convention is grounded in daily worship

Tue, 07/03/2018 - 5:40pm

Worship and other opportunities for prayer are at the heart of the Episcopal Church’s 79th General Convention, July 5 – 13, at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas in the  Diocese of Texas).

“The liturgies of the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church embody the Jesus Movement – that loving, liberating, and life-giving way of Jesus Christ,” said the Rev. Michael Hunn, Canon to the presiding bishop for ministry within the Episcopal Church. “His is a way of joy, which is deeply concerned with the plight of all people, especially those who are hurting or in need. It is a way which welcomes people of ‘all stripes and types,’ as our Presiding Bishop likes to say.”

Charged by the presiding bishop with creating liturgies using authorized texts and also representative of the diversity of the Episcopal Church, the liturgy team reached out to more than 30 different groups and the church’s ethnic missioners.  Each group was asked about their experience using the authorized Episcopal liturgies, what advice they would like to share, and for recommendations for music, preachers, or personnel. The liturgies developed for this General Convention reflect this listening process.

Hunn adds, “What stood out for the planning team was the strong support for integrating the diversity of cultures and languages throughout all the liturgies. These liturgies have been designed to weave a tapestry of the diverse languages and cultures of the Episcopal Church together under the common prayer of our Church which binds us all. And, for the first time, every liturgy will be available in all three official languages of the Episcopal Church – English, French, and Spanish.”

Permission was requested from the presiding bishop to use the eucharistic prayer from the Missa del Immigrantes for the July 9th racial reconciliation liturgy. This prayer, although not an authorized Episcopal text, is widely used throughout Province IX and in Spanish-speaking Episcopal Churches.

All services will be live streamed on the Media Hub, with worship bulletins available there for download. See listing below for specific worship times.   Eucharist will be celebrated at most services, with presiders, preachers, deacons, altar guild members, and musicians from across the church, offering their talents and skills to lead worship.

Four special worship opportunities are planned for the 79th General Convention:

  • On July 4, beginning at 5:15 p.m. CT, the House of Bishops is offering a liturgical listening session in response to the #MeToo movement, anchored in the Episcopal belief in the transformative power of liturgy. This “Liturgy of Listening,”written specifically for this session by the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Response to #MeToo Planning Team, will include music, silence, spoken prayers, sacred listening and a litany of repentance without a specific absolution. It is understood that this liturgy is our beginning, and our absolution will be the work we do in the days ahead.
  • Worshippers at Friday, July 6’s UTO Ingathering and Festival Eucharist will hear part of the liturgy in Gwich’in, the language spoken by Indigenous people in the interior of Alaska. This translation is part of a UTO grant project in that diocese to translate the Book of Common Prayer into Modern Gwich’in.
  • On Saturday, July 7, instead of Eucharist at the Convention Center, there will be an Episcopal revival at the Palmer Center, 5:30 p.m. CT. “All across the church, people are saying they want to be revived so they can serve the Jesus Movement,” said the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism, Reconciliation, and Stewardship. People curious about Episcopal revivals are invited to participate via the live stream of the Revival service. Following the Revival, convention goers are invited to a Texas Backyard Barbecue hosted by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
  • Worship on Sunday, July 9, will be a simple Eucharist, with Andrés Gonzélez-Bonillas, a high school student, from the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, preaching.  Gonzélez-Bonillas presented the Spoken Word at the closing Eucharist of the 2017 Episcopal Youth Event (EYE).

Worship information, including bulletins, can be found here and in the mobile app, available here or download it from the App Store or Google Play, and then enter the code 79GC when prompted.

Worship schedule
Note: This information was accurate at time of release and may be subject to change.

Wednesday, July 4: House of Bishops Liturgy of Listening, 5:15 p.m. CT

Thursday, July 5: Opening Eucharist, 9:30 a.m. CT
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will preside and preach.

Friday, July 6: Holy Eucharist Festival and UTO Ingathering, 5:45 p.m. Central
Presider: Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Preacher: The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies
Celebrant: Bishop Andy Doyle, Episcopal Diocese of Texas
Assisting: Bishop Mark Lattime, Episcopal Diocese of Alaska

Saturday, July 7: General Convention Revival at Palmer Center, 5:30 p.m. CT
Preacher: Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Also participating: Hon. Bryon Rushing, Vice President of the House of Deputies; Bishop Andy Doyle, Bishop Jeff Fisher, Bishop Dena Harrison, and Bishop Hector Monterroso, Episcopal Diocese of Texas

Sunday, July 8: Holy Eucharist, 10:30 a.m. CT
Preacher: Andrés Gonzélez-Bonillas, high school student, Episcopal Diocese of Arizona
Celebrant: The Rev. Shannon Kelly, Officer for Young Adult and Campus Ministries, the Presiding Bishop’s staff

Monday, July 9: Eucharist of Reconciliation, 5:15 p.m. CT
Preacher: Bishop Prince Singh, Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Celebrant: Bishop Mary Grey Reeves, Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real and Vice President, House of Bishops

Tuesday, July 10: Eucharist for the Care of God’s Creation, 5:15 p.m. CT
Preacher: The Rev. Winnie Varghese, Trinity Wall Street, Episcopal Diocese of New York
Celebrant: Bishop Marc Andrus, Episcopal Diocese of California

Wednesday, July 11: Benedict of Nursia, Abbot of Monte Cassino, c. 540, 5:15 p.m. CT
Preacher: Brother Aiden Owen, Holy Cross, Episcopal Diocese of New York
Celebrant: The Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, Secretary of the General Convention and Executive Officer

Thursday, July 12: Closing Holy Eucharist, 7:30 p.m. CT
Preacher: Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis
Celebrant: Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

Britain’s Methodists debate Church of England full communion proposals

Tue, 07/03/2018 - 5:30pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Methodist Church of Great Britain has debated proposals that could see it enter into a full communion agreement, including the interchange of ministries, with the Church of England. The proposals are contained in a report “Mission and Ministry in Covenant”, which was published last year. The Church of England’s General Synod debated the report in February, and called for additional work to be undertaken on it. On July 2, the Methodist Church adopted similar motion at its annual conference, which is meeting this week in Nottingham.

Read the entire article here.

Editor’s note: Full communion between the Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church has been proposed. The General Convention, meeting now until July 13, will discuss that proposal via Resolution A041. The resolution would have convention receive “A Gift to the World, Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness” and commend it for “prayerful consideration by all Episcopalians during the coming triennium of this significant step forward in response to our Lord’s fervent wish ‘that all may be one.’”

Social media updates from General Convention 2018 in Austin, Texas

Tue, 07/03/2018 - 12:50pm

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalians and Episcopal leaders from across the U.S. Episcopalians are beginning to gather in Austin, Texas, for the 79th General Convention, with committee meetings kicking off July 3 and legislative sessions on July 5.

You can follow social media updates from General Convention by following and posting with the hashtag #GC79, and we will be maintaining a feed that pulls in Tweets and Instagram photos below.

Guía sucinta de los principales asuntos que se abordarán en la 79ª. Convención General en Austin

Tue, 07/03/2018 - 12:16pm

La 79ª. reunión de la Convención General comienza oficialmente el 5 de julio y se extiende hasta el día 13 en el Centro de Convenciones de Austin. Foto del Centro de Convenciones de Austin.

[Episcopal News Service — Austin, Texas] Los episcopales empiezan a llegar aquí días antes del inicio oficial, el 5 de julio, de la 79ª. Convención General en el Centro de Convenciones de Austin.

Como es usual, la agenda a que se enfrenta la Cámara de Obispos y la Cámara de Diputados está tan repleta que se han fijado reuniones del comité legislativo para la noche del 3 de julio y la mañana del día 4. Todo el programa provisional de la Convención se encuentra aquí. La Convención concluye el 13 de julio.

A continuación los resúmenes de algunas de las principales tareas que enfrenta la Convención General:

Igualdad matrimonial

El Equipo de Trabajo [de la Convención General] para el Estudio del Matrimonio  ha supervisado el uso de dos nuevos ritos matrimoniales que la Convención General aprobó para uso experimental en 2015 (Resolución A054) tanto para parejas del mismo sexo como para parejas de sexos opuestos y está consciente de la preocupación por el acceso desigual a esas liturgias experimentales. Su Informe del Libro Azul dice haber encontrado una amplia aceptación del rito a través de la Iglesia, a excepción de ocho obispos diocesanos, de las 101 diócesis nacionales, que no han autorizado su uso.

“Medios litúrgicos 1: Te bendeciré y serás una bendición”, fue uno de los ritos que la Convención General autorizó en 2015 para uso experimental. Foto de Church Publishing Inc.

El equipo de trabajo propone que la Convención le imponga a todos los obispos con jurisdicción que “faciliten a todas las parejas que soliciten casarse en esta Iglesia un acceso razonable y conveniente a estos ritos experimentales”. También la Convención tendría que decir que los obispos “continuarán la labor de dirigir a la Iglesia en una participación integral con estos materiales  y [que] seguirán proporcionando una generosa respuesta pastoral que cubra las necesidades de los miembros de esta Iglesia”.

Los episcopales que apoyan ese empeño han estado activos antes de la Convención. Demandando la bendición [Claiming the Blessing], [organización] que se creó en 2002 para abogar por la “plena inclusión de todos los bautizados en todos los sacramentos de la Iglesia”, según aparece en su cibersitio, ha publicado un texto de promoción o apoyo. Algunos episcopales de la Diócesis de Dallas han creado una página web llamada Querida Convención General [Dear General Convention] que incluye vídeos y testimonios escritos acerca de personas que no pueden casarse en esa diócesis.

El equipo de trabajo también propone el continuo uso de las liturgias como adiciones al Libro de Oración Común, así como enmiendas a otros ritos matrimoniales, prefacios y secciones del Catecismo del libro de oración para adoptar un lenguaje de género neutro.

Cinco obispos diocesanos y uno jubilado de la IX Provincia, en representación de las diócesis de Ecuador Litoral, Ecuador Central, República Dominicana, Venezuela y Honduras le han advertido al equipo de trabajo que si la Convención adopta cambios acerca del matrimonio que los obligaran “a la aceptación de prácticas sociales y culturales que no tienen base bíblica ni aceptación en la adoración cristiana”, esos cambios estarían “ahondando mucho más la brecha, la división, y la Novena Provincia tendrá que aprender a caminar sola”.  Los obispos de Colombia y Puerto Rico no firmaron la declaración.

El 28 de junio, los obispos Lawrence Provenzano, de Long Island; Dorsey McConnell de Pittsburgh y Nicholas Knisely de Rhode Island propusieron la Resolución B012, la cual continuaría el uso experimental de los ritos matrimoniales sin límite de tiempo y sin procurar una revisión del Libro de Oración Común de 1979. La Resolución propone que se facilite el acceso a las liturgias en todas las diócesis, sin que se requiera el permiso del obispo diocesano.  En lugar de eso, las congregaciones que quieran usar los ritos, pero cuyos obispos  hayan rehusado la autorización, pueden solicitar y recibirán una Supervisión Pastoral Episcopal Delegada (DEPO) de otro obispo de la Iglesia que facilitaría el acceso a las liturgias..

Un artículo anterior de Episcopal News Service sobre el tema del acceso al matrimonio se puede consultar aquí.

El equipo de trabajo también propone dos liturgias para bendecir las relaciones de parejas que hayan decidido no casarse por razones legales o económicas. Recomienda también que la Iglesia sopese nuevos modos de ministrar al creciente número de parejas que cohabitan en relaciones comprometidas y monógamas en lugar de casarse. La cobertura de ENS sobre estas recomendaciones pueden encontrarse aquí.

¿Revisar el Libro de Oración Común?

A la reunión de la Convención General este verano la invitan a considerar la manera en que ordena su oración comunitaria y por qué.

La Comisión Permanente de Liturgia y Música [SCLM, por su sigla en inglés] le ofrece a los obispos y diputados un plan para una revisión integral, tal como pidió la reunión de la Convención General en 2015, así como una vía para que la Iglesia dedique tiempo a discernir la configuración futura de su oración común [o comunitaria]. La primera opción llevaría a la Iglesia inmediatamente a un proceso de revisión completa del libro de oración que concluiría dentro de nueve años. La segunda llama a la Iglesia a sondear las profundidades de la teología del actual Libro de Oración Común, así como su utilidad como instrumento para la unidad en una Iglesia diversa para la evangelización y el discipulado. Si la convención acepta el segundo enfoque, éste incluiría nuevas traducciones del LOC.

La SCLM ha incluido “supuestos orientadores,” planes de trabajo, procesos y herramientas que se sugieren, cientos de páginas de material suplementario y presupuestos para cada enfoque. Los enfoques se describen en una porción del informe de la SCLM en el Libro Azul que se dio a conocer a la Iglesia el 13 de febrero. El informe del subcomité del libro de oración se encuentra aquí.

Un artículo de Episcopal News Service sobre las posibilidades se encuentra aquí.

La Iglesia Episcopal y el Movimiento #MeToo

La Convención sopesará el papel de la Iglesia Episcopal y su respuesta al movimiento #MeToo con resoluciones, reflexiones y la esperanza de la reconciliación.

En lo que podría ser una sesión extraordinaria, la Cámara de Obispos invita a los episcopales a un evento que han llamado “Liturgia de la Escucha”. La sesión del 4 de julio, programada de 5:15 PM a 7 PM (hora del Centro) en el espacio de culto reservado en el Centro de Convenciones de Austin, se ha definido como “un espacio sagrado para escuchar y para ulterior reconciliación”.

Entre tanto, se han presentado cerca de 30 resoluciones relacionadas con el tema. La mayoría de ellas provienen de los 47 miembros del Comité Especial de la Cámara de Diputados sobre Acoso y Explotación Sexuales nombrado en febrero por la Rda. Gay Clark Jennings, presidente de los diputados.

Un artículo de Episcopal News Service relacionado con el tema se encuentra aquí.

Salario para el presidente de la Cámara de Diputados

Presidir la Cámara de Diputados es sólo una de las obligaciones canónicas del presidente de la Cámara de Diputados. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

El asuntó que suscitó un excepcional comité de conferencia entre obispos y diputados en las últimas horas de la pasada convención —si el cargo de presidente de la Cámara de Diputados, actualmente sin paga, debería ser remunerado— se debatirá nuevamente.

La Convención de 2015 le pidió al Obispo Primado y a la presidente de la Cámara de Diputados que nombrara un equipo de trabajo para estudiar el asunto. El compensar económicamente a la persona que ejerza ese cargo [el de presidente de la C de D] se ha debatido durante décadas, y el Equipo de Trabajo para estudiar el Liderazgo de la Iglesia y la Compensación  ha llegado a la conclusión de que el trabajo del presidente de la Cámara de Diputados equivale a un empleo de jornada completa. En su Resolución A-028 [el equipo de trabajo] pide que se le otorgue un salario, pero no fija la cuantía del mismo. El equipo de trabajo le pidió al Consejo Ejecutivo que incluya un salario en su anteproyecto de presupuesto para 2019-2021. El Consejo asignó $900.000 para salario y beneficios de un empleo de jornada completa para un período de tres años.

Los partidarios del cambio dicen que convertir el cargo en un empleo remunerado ampliaría el número de personas dispuesto a postularse para una elección. Otros discrepan, diciendo que temen una “ampliación de funciones”, en forma de expansión de los deberes y autoridad del presidente.

Un grupo de obispos ha propuesto un acuerdo en forma de la Resolución B014 que instruiría al Consejo Ejecutivo a pagar los honorarios del director presidente “por servicios específicos prestados a fin de cumplir deberes requeridos por la Constitución y Cánones de la Iglesia.

Un artículo de Episcopal New Service sobre el tema aparece aquí.

Y la Resolución C042, propuesta por la IV Provincia de la Iglesia, pagaría lo que llama compensación per diem para la Presidente por ciertos aspectos de su trabajo, y de nuevo estudia el tema más amplio de la compensación.

Seguimiento sobre las tres prioridades de la Iglesia: evangelización, reconciliación y justicia raciales y cuidado de la creación

Una parte importante del debate sobre la evangelización en la Convención General se centrará en la continuación del mayor apoyo de la Iglesia por la fundación de iglesias y nuevos ministerios regionales, tal como se incluyen en la Resolución A005. Pero otras resoluciones asignadas al Comité de Evangelización y Fundación de Iglesias muestran la amplia gama de criterios sobre este fértil terreno espiritual, incluido el papel de las redes sociales y los nexos entre evangelización y la mayordomía del medioambiente. El comité también revisará una propuesta que pondría más énfasis en cuán bien los antecedentes demográficos de los líderes del ministerio reflejan los de la comunidad que ellos buscan servir.

El obispo primado Michael Curry de pie ante la estatura de Robert E. Lee en Charlottesville, Virginia, el 7 de septiembre de 2017, con el Rdo. Paul Walker, rector de la vecina iglesia episcopal de Cristo. La estatua aparece cubierta de plástico, en tanto el municipio se enfrenta a la impugnación legal a la remoción del monumento. Foto de David Paulsen/ENS.

Una serie de impactantes incidentes raciales en los meses que antecedieron a la 78ª. Convención General, especialmente  la masacre ocurrida en la iglesia metodista episcopal africana Emmanuel, en Charleston, Carolina del Sur, ayudó a aprobar en Salt Lake City varias resoluciones acerca del racismo. Entre ellas se destacaba la Resolución C019, que llama a los funcionarios de la Iglesia a desarrollar una amplia respuesta denominacional a la injusticia racial. Cómo llevar adelante esos empeños será la cuestión crucial a que se enfrente el Comité de Justicia y Reconciliación Raciales. Pero el racismo y la reparación racial son temas tan amplios, tanto social como espiritualmente, que se espera que el debate se expanda mucho más allá de una sola resolución o incluso un solo comité. Otras resoluciones a debatir incluyen una que estudia la trayectoria de la Iglesia en la diversificación de su liderazgo y otra que cuestiona si el término “antirracismo” debería reemplazarse por otro que aluda a la transformación espiritual que se busca en esa tarea.

En apoyo a los agricultores locales, a los impuestos al carbón y las emisiones, la oposición al racismo medioambiental y [a favor] de la continua participación de los episcopales en el Acuerdo Climático de París son algunas de las resoluciones de la mayordomía del medioambiente y el cuidado de la creación que serán debatidas en la 79ª. Convención General. Una lista de las resoluciones sobre mayordomía medioambiental y cuidado de la creación se encuentra aquí.

Formulación del presupuesto trienal 2019-2021

El Comité Permanente Conjunto de Programa, Presupuesto y Finanzas  (PB&F por su sigla en inglés) ya ha comenzado a trabajar en el anteproyecto del presupuesto trienal 2019-2021 que el Consejo Ejecutivo aprobó en enero.

El total de ingresos en el anteproyecto presupuestario del Consejo de $133,7 millones cubriría un monto igual en gastos, con un pequeñísimo superávit de sólo $2.654. El presupuesto trienal  es aproximadamente unos $8,7 millones más que el aprobado por la reunión de la Convención General de 2015 para el trienio actual 2016-2018.

En la reunión de la Convención General en 2015, los obispos y diputados cambiaron el actual sistema de solicitud voluntaria por una tasación obligatoria, a partir del ciclo presupuestario 2019-2021. El anteproyecto del Consejo prevé que hasta unas 20 diócesis obtendrán dispensas totales o parciales de esos pagos conforme al sistema que entrará en vigor en el nuevo trienio.

Al PB&F le pedirán también que tome en consideración la Resolución B001 que propone abolir la tasación universal obligatoria y adoptar un sistema de financiación diocesana del presupuesto trienal de la Iglesia que se basa en cuánto gasta cada diócesis como promedio por congregación en su presupuesto anual.

El PB&F se propone tener una audiencia abierta sobre el presupuesto a las 7:30 PM del 5 de julio. Su presupuesto final debe presentarse a una sesión conjunta de las cámaras de Obispos y de Diputados a más tardar tres días antes de que la Convención concluya. Según el programa provisional de la Convención, esa presentación está programada para las 10:30 AM (hora del Centro) el 11 de julio.

Paz en el Oriente Medio

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, left, and Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani walk March 26 through the barren area between an Israel checkpoint and Gaza City. They were going to visit the Anglican Al Ahli Arab Hospital. Their journey took place five days before violence broke out along the fence that separates Israel and the Gaza Strip. Photo: Sharon Jones

En la Convención General,  se esperan numerosas resoluciones sobre temas relacionados con Israel y Palestina General cuando la reunión comience. Al menos tres se han presentado hasta ahora, entre ellas uno propuesta por la Diócesis de California que reintroduce una presión para desinvertir  en “esas compañías que lucran de la ocupación de Israel de territorios palestinos o cuyos productos o acciones apoyan la infraestructura de la ocupación”.

El compromiso empresarial no será el único tema relacionado con Tierra Santa. Dos resoluciones adicionales piden mayor atención al sufrimiento de los niños palestinos, incluidos los que son juzgados en tribunales militares israelíes.

Un grupo de obispos y diputados a quienes se les pidió que encontraran una manera de capear las discusiones, con frecuencia espinosas, de la política de la Iglesia Episcopal hacia Israel y Palestina, ha anunciado sus recomendaciones de auspiciar un debate abierto y productivo sobre estos asuntos en esta reunión de la Convención.  Un artículo de Episcopal News Service sobre esos planes se encuentra aquí.

Cómo seguir el quehacer de la Convención General

Un centro mediático, dirigido por la Oficina de Comunicaciones de la Iglesia Episcopal, ofrece a personas de todas partes la oportunidad de seguir las actuaciones de la Convención. Eso incluirá transmisiones en directo de las sesiones de la Cámara de Obispos y de la Cámara de Diputados, un calendario, cultos y conferencias de prensa diarios. Los titulares de Episcopal News Service se utilizarán en el sitio. Puede encontrar el centro aquí.

El centro mediático brinda la oportunidad de seguir las actuaciones de la Convención.  Eso incluirá transmisiones en directo de las sesiones de la Cámara de Obispos y de la Cámara de Diputados, un calendario, cultos y conferencias de prensa diarios. Los titulares de Episcopal News Service se utilizarán en el sitio.

Personas que no son obispos o diputados pueden estar al tanto del progreso de las resoluciones legislativas a través de la llamada Carpeta Virtual aquí. El sitio reproduce la configuración de los iPads prestados a obispos y diputados y cambia con ella en tiempo real. La versión de Internet también incluye las agendas diarias de cada cámara, calendarios para cada día y diarios (una lista de mensajes que se intercambian las cámaras en que se informan mutuamente de las decisiones tomadas), calendarios e informes de comités. Contiene fichas para verificar las actuaciones que están teniendo lugar y las enmiendas que se presentan desde el pleno en cada cámara.

Además, se puede disponer de una aplicación [app] gratuita para cualquier teléfono inteligente o tableta que funcione con Android 4.4 o IOS 8.0 o posterior. La app contiene horarios, mapas, información de proveedores, órdenes del día, servicios de culto y otros materiales útiles.

Descargue la app aquí o de la App Store o de Google Play, y luego ingrese el código 79GC cuando se lo pidan. La app también puede usarse en una computadora. Ese enlace está aquí.

— Esta guía se compiló a partir de los redactores y editores David Paulsen y Mary Frances Schjonberg de Episcopal News Service, y la jefa de redacción de ENS Lynette Wilson. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Here’s a summary guide to the major issues facing the 79th meeting of General Convention in Austin

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 6:06am

The 79th meeting of the General Convention ofically begins July 5 and runs until July 13 at the Austin Convention Center. Photo: Austin Convention Center

[Episcopal News Service — Austin, Texas] Episcopalians are starting to arrive here ahead of the official July 5 start of the 79th General Convention at the Austin Convention Center.

As usual, the agenda facing the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies is so packed that legislative committee meetings are set for the evening of July 3 and the morning of July 4. The complete draft convention schedule is here. Convention concludes on July 13.

For a general guide to convention, see the Episcopal News Service story “Episcopalians preparing for 79th General Convention in Austin can expect ‘a real Texas welcome’

Here are summaries of some of the major work facing General Convention:

Marriage equality

General Convention’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage has monitored the use of two new marriage rites General Convention approved in 2015 for trial use (Resolution A054) by both same-sex and opposite-sex couples and is aware of concern about unequal access to the trial use liturgies. Its Blue Book Report says it found widespread acceptance of the rite across the church except eight diocesan bishops in the 101 domestic dioceses have not authorized their use.

“Liturgical Resources 1: I Will Bless You, and You Will Be a Blessing” was one of the rites General Convention authorized in 2015 for trial use. Photo: Church Publishing Inc.

The task force is proposing that convention require all bishops in authority to “make provision for all couples asking to be married in this church to have reasonable and convenient access to these trial rites.” It also would have convention say that bishops will “continue the work of leading the church in comprehensive engagement with these materials and continue to provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church.”

Episcopalians who support that effort have been active ahead of convention. Claiming the Blessing, which formed in 2002 to advocate for the “full inclusion of all the baptized in all sacraments of the church, according to its website, has published an advocacy piece. Some Episcopalians in the Diocese of Dallas have developed a website called “Dear General Convention” that includes videos and written stories about people who cannot be married in that diocese.

The task force is also calling for continued trial use of the liturgies as additions to the Book of Common Prayer, as well as amendments to the prayer book’s other marriage rites, prefaces and sections of the Catechism to make language gender neutral.

Five Province IX diocesan bishops and one retired bishop representing the dioceses of Ecuador Litoral, Ecuador Central, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Honduras warned the task force that if convention makes changes about marriage that would force them “to accept social and cultural practices that have no Biblical basis or acceptance in Christian worship,” the action would “greatly deepen the breach, the division and the Ninth Province will have to learn to walk alone.” The bishops of Colombia and Puerto Rico did not sign the statement.

On June 28, Long Island Bishop Lawrence Provenzano, Pittsburgh Bishop Daniel Gutiérrez and Rhode Island Bishop Nicholas Knisely proposed Resolution B012, which would continue trial use of the marriage rites without a time limit and without seeking a revision of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. The resolution proposes that access to the liturgies be provided for in all dioceses, without requiring the permission of the diocesan bishop. Instead, congregations that want to use the rites but whose bishops have refused permission may receive Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) from another bishop of the church who would provide access to the liturgies.

An earlier Episcopal News Service story on the marriage access issue is here.

The task force also proposes two liturgies for blessing the relationships of couples who choose not to marry for legal or financial reasons. It also recommends that the church ponder new ways to minister to the growing number of people who cohabitate in committed and monogamous relationships rather than marry. ENS coverage of those recommendations can be found here.

Revising the Book of Common Prayer?

This summer’s meeting of General Convention is being invited to consider how it orders its common prayer and why.

The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music is offering bishops and deputies a comprehensive plan for revision, as requested by the 2015 meeting of General Convention, as well as a way for the church to spend time discerning the future shape of its common prayer. The first option would move the church immediately into a full-blown prayer book revision process that would be completed in nine years. The second would call on the church to plumb the depths of the current Book of Common Prayer’s theology, as well as its usefulness as a tool for unity in a diverse church, for evangelism and discipleship. If convention agrees to the second approach, this would include new BCP translations.

The SCLM has included “guiding assumptions,” work plans, suggested processes and tools, hundreds of pages of supplemental material and budgets for each approach. The approaches are described in a portion of the SCLM’s Blue Book report released to the church Feb. 13. The prayer book subcommittee’s report is here.

An Episcopal News Service story on the possibilities is here.

The Episcopal Church and the #MeToo movement

Convention will ponder the Episcopal Church’s role in and response to the #MeToo movement with resolutions, reflections and the hope for reconciliation.

In what could be an extraordinary session, the House of Bishops is inviting Episcopalians to a July 4 “Liturgy of Listening” event. The session, planned for 5:15 to 7 p.m. CT in the worship space set up in the Austin Convention Center, has been called “a sacred space for listening and further reconciliation.”

Meanwhile, close to 30 related resolutions have been filed. The bulk of them are from the 47 members of the special House of Deputies Committee on Sexual Harassment and Exploitation appointed in February by the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, deputies’ president.

A related Episcopal News Service story is here.

A salary for the president of the House of Deputies

Presiding over the House of Deputies is just one of the canonically required duties of the president of the House of Deputies. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The issue that prompted a rare conference committee between bishops and deputies in the waning hours of the last convention – whether the currently unpaid position of president of the House of Deputies should be salaried – will return for consideration.

The 2015 meeting of convention called for the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies to appoint a task force to study the issue. The issue of compensating that officeholder has been discussed for decades, and the Task Force to Study Church Leadership and Compensation has concluded that the president of the House of Deputies’ work amounts to a full-time job. Its Resolution A-028 calls for a salary, but does not set an amount. The task force asked Executive Council to include a salary in its draft 2019-2021 budget. Council budgeted $900,000 for a full-time salary and benefits for the three years.

Supporters of the change say making the office a paid job would broaden the pool of people able to consider running for election. Other disagree, some saying they fear “mission creep” in the form of an expansion of the president’s duties and authority.

A group of bishops has proposed a compromise in the form of Resolution B014 that would direct the Executive Council to pay the president director’s fees “for specific services rendered in order to fulfill duties required by the church’s Constitution and Canons.”

An Episcopal New Service story on the issue is here.

And, Resolution C042, proposed by Province IV of the church, would pay what it calls per diem compensation for the president when for certain aspects of her or his work, and once again study the larger issue of compensation.

Following up on the church’s three priorities: evangelism, racial reconciliation and justice and care of creation

A major part of the discussion on evangelism at General Convention will focus on continuation of the church’s increased support for church planting and new regional ministries, as encompassed by Resolution A005. But other resolutions assigned to the Evangelism and Church Planting Committee show the broad range of thinking about this fertile spiritual ground, including the role of social media and the ties between evangelism and stewardship of the environment. The committee also will review a proposal that would focus more attention on how well ministry leaders’ demographic backgrounds mirror those of the communities they seek to serve.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry stands at the foot of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Sept. 7, 2017, with the Rev. Paul Walker, rector of the nearby Christ Episcopal Church. The statue had been wrapped in plastic while the city fights a legal challenge to the monument’s removal. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

A range of shocking racial incidents in the months leading up to the 78th General Convention, especially the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, helped fuel passage in Salt Lake City of a number of resolutions about racism. Prominent among them was Resolution C019, which called on church officers to develop a church-wide response to racial injustice. How to follow through with those efforts will be the core question before the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee. But racism and racial healing are such big topics, both socially and spiritually, that the discussion is expected to expand well beyond a single resolution or even a single committee. Additional resolutions to be discussed include one studying the church’s track record of diversifying its leadership and another that questions whether “anti-racism” should be replaced with a term that alludes to the spiritual transformation sought in this work.

Supporting local food growers, carbon taxes and offsets, opposition to environmental racism and Episcopalians’ continued participation in the Paris Climate Agreement are some of the stewardship of the environment and creation care resolutions set for discussion at the 79th General Convention. A list of environmental stewardship and care of creation resolutions is here.

Formulating the 2019-2021 triennial budget

The Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) has already begun work on the draft 2019-2021 triennium budget that Executive Council passed in January.

The total income in council’s draft budget of $133.7 million would pay for an equal amount in expenses, with a very small surplus of just $2,654. The triennial budget is up about $8.7 million from that approved by the 2015 meeting of General Convention for the current 2016-2018 triennium.

At the 2015 meeting of General Convention, bishops and deputies turned the current voluntary asking system into a mandatory assessment, beginning with the 2019-2021 budget cycle. Council’s draft anticipates that up to 20 dioceses will get full or partial waivers of those payments under a system that will go into effect in the new triennium.

PB&F will also be asked to consider Resolution B001 to scrap the mandatory across-the-board assessment and adopt a system of diocesan funding of the church’s triennial budget based on how much each diocese spends on average per congregation in their annual budget.

PB&F plans an open hearing on the budget at 7:30 p.m. July 5. Its final budget must be presented to a joint session of the Houses of Bishops and Deputies no later than the third day before convention’s scheduled adjournment. According to the draft convention schedule, that presentation is set to take place at 10:30 a.m. CDT on July 11.

Middle East peace

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, left, and Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani walk March 26 through the barren area between an Israel checkpoint and Gaza City. They were going to visit the Anglican Al Ahli Arab Hospital. Their journey took place five days before violence broke out along the fence that separates Israel and the Gaza Strip. Photo: Sharon Jones

Numerous General Convention resolutions are expected on topics related to Israel and Palestine by the time the gathering gets. At least three have been submitted so far, including one proposed by the Diocese of California that reintroduces a push for divestment from “those companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands or whose products or actions support the infrastructure of the occupation.”

Corporate engagement won’t be the only topic related to the Holy Land. Two additional proposed resolutions call for greater attention to the plight of Palestinian children, including those being tried in Israeli military courts.

A group of bishops and deputies who were asked to find a way to navigate the often-thorny discussions of Episcopal Church policy toward Israel and Palestine has announced its recommendations for fostering open and productive debate on those issues at this meeting of convention. An Episcopal News Service story about those plans is here.

How to follow the work of General Convention

A media hub, operated by the Episcopal Church’s Office of Communication, offers people everywhere the opportunity to follow the convention’s proceedings. It will include live streams of sessions from the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, a calendar, daily worship and daily media briefings. Episcopal News Service’s headlines will feed into the site. You can find the hub here.

The media hub offers the opportunity to follow convention’s proceedings. It will include live streams of sessions from the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, a calendar, daily worship and daily media briefings. Episcopal News Service’s headlines will feed into the site.

People who are not bishops or deputies can check the progress of legislative resolutions  via the so-called Virtual Binder here. The site mirrors the setup on bishops’ and deputies’ loaner iPads and changes along with it in real time. The online version also includes each house’s daily agendas, calendars for each day and journals (a list of messages sent between the houses informing the other of actions taken), committee calendars and reports. It contains tabs for checking on current action and floor amendments in each house.

In addition, a free app is available for any smartphone or tablet running Android 4.4 or IOS 8.0 or later. The app contains schedules, maps, vendor information, daily orders of worship services and other useful materials.

Download the app here or from the App Store or Google Play, and then enter the code 79GC when prompted. The app can also be used on a computer. That link is here.

— This guide was compiled from reporting by Episcopal News Service editor/reporters David Paulsen and Mary Frances Schjonberg, ENS Managing Editor Lynette Wilson.  

Episcopalians preparing for 79th General Convention in Austin can expect ‘a real Texas welcome’

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 6:00am

The 79th General Convention will be held at the Austin Convention Center from July 5 to 13, with registration and orientation already underway.

[Episcopal News Service] Is Austin, Texas, ready to welcome thousands of Episcopalians for the two weeks of church business and socializing known as General Convention? Episcopalians from around the church certainly are ready for Austin.

“It is my hope and prayer that this General Convention will truly embody and model what it means to follow the way, the teachings and in the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in a written statement to Episcopal News Service. “That means taking seriously being a part of the Jesus Movement, not only in the church but in the world.

“My prayer is that our GC will truly be a witness to the way of love that Jesus taught us.”

The 79th General Convention officially gets underway July 5 at the Austin Convention Center, though registration, orientation and pre-convention activities start July 1. According to the House of Deputies, this is the first time since 1970, when women were permitted to be seated as deputies, that the deputies will be majority female, and this General Conventions boasts the youngest and most diverse group of legislative committee officers ever.

“As Christians, we know that scripture tells us over and over again not to be afraid, and we know that we are called to make a faithful and courageous response when the people of God are hurting and vulnerable,” the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, said in a statement to ENS. “And so, while we are at General Convention, we need to be faithful in considering the many creative and hope-filled proposals related to the three priorities established by the last General Convention: racial justice and reconciliation, evangelism and church planting, and environmental stewardship and care of creation.

“As we do so, we will be called upon to make challenging decisions about how to fund our hopes for vastly increased mission and ministry and how to follow where God is leading us.”

Planners of the Episcopal Church’s largest churchwide gathering, held every three years, already are on the ground in Texas’ capital, putting the final pieces in place for a successful convention.

“There’s a new energy in general in our church, and I think most everybody knows that. And General Convention is no exception,” the Rev. Michael Barlowe, General Convention’s executive officer, said in an interview with ENS. “We have a lot of serious matters that we’re going to look at, but they’re being done in an atmosphere of hopefulness and a real conviction that God is going to be with us.”

Estimating attendance can be difficult until General Convention gets underway, but Barlowe said around 10,000 people are expected to participate in all or part of the convention.

Come visit the Office of Development at The Episcopal Church's General Convention in Austin, TX, July 3 – 13!#GiveEpiscopal #GC79 #LoveIsTheWay pic.twitter.com/gFdeUtlZh5

— TEC Development (@EpiscopalDev) June 28, 2018

Unlike at some past General Conventions, no single issue is expected to boil over into controversy over the nine days that the House of Bishops and House of Deputies are in session, though bishops and deputies are looking forward to thoughtful discernment and spirited discussion on a long list of resolutions, addressing topics ranging from Israel-Palestine to spending more money on church planting, as well as whether to revise the prayer book and how to settle the question of same-sex marriage access.

This General Convention also has several new focal points, including TEConversations, three joint sessions that will feature panel discussions on evangelism, racial reconciliation and care of creation.

“General Convention is one of our most important churchwide convenings. It felt important to invite the whole church into this deep and diverse engagement around ministries we share in the Jesus Movement,” the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, the presiding bishop’s canon for evangelism, reconciliation and creation care, said in an email.

Additional events have been scheduled to highlight the church’s outreach on the issues of sexual harassment, gun violence and immigration. And General Convention organizers are expecting the biggest turnout of convention at a revival service planned for July 7, similar to the series of revivals led by Curry in various Episcopal dioceses since February 2016.

For Episcopalians who are making their way to Austin for General Convention and for those planning to follow along from home, here’s a summary of what to expect.

How to prepare and to follow along

The best place for any General Convention participant or observer to start is the convention’s own website, generalconvention.org, which is loaded with orientation materials, schedules and legislative information, as well as video introductions from Curry, Jennings and Barlowe.

You’ll also find the Blue Book Reports generated by the various advisory bodies that were formed in response to past General Convention resolutions.

General Convention also has a mobile app again this year with a robust collection of digital tools to help navigate everything from the convention hall to the legislative agenda. The app can be downloaded onto a smartphone or accessed on a web browser at eventmobi.com/79gc.

Once legislative sessions get underway, Episcopalians anywhere in the world can watch live video streams of the hearings and discussions through General Convention’s Media Hub.

“We’re trying to make this much more open to everybody, whether they’re in Austin or not,” Barlowe said.

Schedule and agenda

Registration will begin at 9 a.m. July 3, and the exhibit hall opens that day at noon. Barlowe said General Convention sold out all available exhibit space, so look for a wide variety of interactive exhibits, presentations and featured ministries, such as a ministry from the Diocese of California that makes communion bread from what are known as ancient grains.

Legislative hearings get underway July 3, and Curry and Jennings are scheduled to address General Convention later that day. Legislative sessions will be held beginning at 8 a.m. July 5 and will continue through the final day, July 13.

Diocese of Newark Deputies the Rev. Joseph Harmon and the Rev. John Mennell show off the loaner iPads assigned to all deputies and bishops for the Salt Lake City meeting of General Convention in 2015. They contain a “Virtual Binder,” electronically replacing most of convention’s until then-traditional paper systems. Photo: Nina Nicholson/Diocese of Newark

This is the second time General Convention has gone paperless by giving bishops and deputies tablets and pointing them to the Virtual Binder, where information on all assigned resolutions appears. The Virtual Binder is a great tool, too, for those following General Convention remotely to find out what is on the agenda of each of the nearly two dozen committees.

ENS also has produced preview stories on a variety of issues expected to come before General Convention, and you can review those stories and updated coverage here. ENS’s summary guide to the issues can be found here.

The convention center

Formally known as the Neal Kocurek Memorial Austin Convention Center, the center in downtown Austin has just over 880,000 square feet, including five exhibit halls with a combined 247,052 square feet of column-free space. That is the sort of space General Convention requires, given that the gathering requires room for more than 1,000 to worship, a hall big enough for more than 800 deputies, one for the smaller House of Bishop, plus an exhibit hall and all the offices that will house the convention support staff.

The 79th meeting of the General Convention ofically begins July 5 and runs until July 13 at the Austin Convention Center. Photo: Austin Convention Center

The convention center is completely powered by renewable energy, primarily from two solar arrays, the most visible of which is a vertical array above the Trinity Street entrance.

House of Bishops’ meeting space is on level four. House of Deputies will meet on the first floor, next to the exhibit hall. One of the more discrete features of the convention space – its restrooms – became an unexpected flashpoint during the planning of General Convention because of legislation proposed by Texas lawmakers.

The bill would have required people to use public restrooms labeled with the gender shown on their government-issued identification. Such a measure threw into question plans for gender-neutral bathrooms at this General Convention, similar to those offered three years earlier at General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Curry and Jennings issued a statement suggesting the Episcopal Church might change the convention location to a different state if the bill passed, depriving Austin of a much-sought-after economic boost.

But Texas’ so-called bathroom bill failed in August, and General Convention stayed put.

Introducing TEConversations

In 2015, General Convention established evangelism, racial reconciliation and care of creation as the three priorities for the subsequent triennium, and Curry has championed those priorities in his first three years as presiding bishop, including by hiring Spellers to oversee efforts on all three fronts.

The three 90-minute TEConversations organized by Spellers’ team will offer prominent showcases for such efforts while seeking to deepen the discussion on the core theological issues.

“The TEConversations are a way to open up a different kind of learning and engagement at General Convention,” Spellers said in an email. “We wanted to hear fascinating and unique perspectives on evangelism, reconciliation and creation care; mix the talks with art and song and film, and then open up an intentional space for small group sharing and conversation.

“The great hope is that it extends into the exhibit space and into churches far beyond who live-stream and host their own small groups.”

The racial reconciliation discussion is 10:30 a.m. July 6 and will feature Arno Michaelis, an author and former skinhead; Catherine Meeks, who heads the Diocese of Atlanta’s anti-racism commission, and the Rev. Nancy Frausto, a “Dreamer” from the Diocese of Los Angeles who was brought to the United States from Mexico as a child.

The discussion of evangelism will be at 2:30 p.m. July 7, and the panel will feature the Rev. Lauren Winner, a priest and author; Iowa Bishop Alan Scarfe, who led revivals at every congregation in his diocese last year, and the Rev. Daniel Velez-Rivera, a church planter in the Diocese of Virginia.

Care of creation will be the topic at 10:30 a.m. July 10. Panelists will be South Africa Archbishop Thabo Makgoba; the Rev. Stephanie Johnson, co-chair of the Stewardship of Creation Advisory Council, and Bernadette Demientieff, leader of a Native Alaskan group defending the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

New worship times and a Saturday revival

One big change at this General Convention is the worship times. In the past, by celebrating Eucharist each morning, it segmented the legislative schedule and sometimes led to truncated late-morning sessions. This time, the worship each day will take place in the evening.

The two exceptions are opening Eucharist at 9:30 a.m. July 5 and the Sunday worship on July 8, when attendees are encouraged to attend services in local parishes in Austin or the simple Eucharist that will be offered at the convention center at 10:30 a.m.

There will be nothing simple, however, about worship on July 7. That Saturday evening service, the revival-style worship featuring preaching by Curry, is expected to be the largest event of General Convention. It is open to the public, and turnout may get a boost from Curry’s increased profile after his royal wedding sermon in May.

“There’s never been anything like it,” Barlowe said of the revival. “For one thing, it’s going to be at a separate venue” – the Palmer Events Center across the Colorado River from the convention center.

Worship is scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and will be followed by a barbecue organized by the Diocese of Texas, which has been a gracious hometown host, Barlowe said.

“The clergy and lay leader have gone the extra mile,” Barlowe said. “They’re going to give us a real Texas welcome.”

Coming next week to #GC79… ready to learn more about the #WayofLove? #Episcopal #JesusMovement pic.twitter.com/MFfSEX8M1o

— C. Andrew Doyle (@TexasBishop) June 28, 2018

Parallel events during convention

Plenty of activities, in addition to legislative business, will be taking place in and around the convention center while the Episcopal Church gathers in Austin. One prominent example is the Episcopal Church Women’s Triennial, which is more than 100 years old. It will be July 5 to 11.

Barlowe also noted the Official Youth Presence, which is a group of 16 teens, two from each province, who have seat and voice in the House of Deputies and visit the House of Bishops. They often testify at committee hearings. The Young Adult Festival will be underway, as will General Convention’s program for children, including educational activities.

The bishops and deputies also have scheduled high-profile events on specific issues, starting with the House of Bishops’ listening session for Episcopalians to share stories of sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation at 5:15 p.m. July 4. The session, “Pastoral Response to #MeToo,” will include a selection of reflections submitted in advance.

Bishops United Against Gun Violence has scheduled a public witness event at Brush Square Park at 9:30 a.m. July 8. Speakers will include Philip and April Schentrup, Episcopalians from Florida whose daughter, Carmen, was one of the 17 students and educators killed by a gunman Feb. 14 at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Abigail Zimmerman, a ninth-grader and Episcopalian from Texas, also will speak. She co-led a school walkout in March in response to the Parkland, Florida, massacre.

Heading to General Convention? Please join Bishops United Against Gun Violence at 9:30 am on Sunday July 8, for a public witness at Brush Square Park, across the street from the convention center in Austin. https://t.co/CtZMuYENat #gc79 #Episcopal

— The Cross Lobby (@TheCrossLobby) June 21, 2018

And the House of Deputies announced last week that church leaders were organizing a visit to an immigration detention facility to highlight the recent controversy over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy toward migrant families crossing the border illegally with children. A prayer service is planned for about noon July 8 outside the T. Don Hutto Residential Detention Center. The privately owned prison is operated for U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, in Taylor, Texas, about a 40-minute drive northeast of Austin.

Curry and Jennings, who plan to attend the prayer service, arranged to delay the Sunday legislative calendar by an hour to accommodate bishops and deputies who also want to participate.

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org. The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg, senior editor and reporter, contributed to this story.

Tres obispos proponen una solución para el acceso pleno a los ritos matrimoniales de parejas del mismo sexo

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 5:54am

“Medios litúrgicos 1: Te bendeciré y serás una bendición”, fue uno de los ritos que la Convención General autorizó en 2015 para uso experimental. Foto de Church Publishing Inc.

[Episcopal News Service] Tres obispos han propuesto una resolución sobre el matrimonio [de parejas] del mismo sexo que “busca garantizar que todo el pueblo de Dios tenga acceso a todas las liturgias matrimoniales de la Iglesia, independientemente de la diócesis, si bien respetando la dirección pastoral y la conciencia del obispo local”.

Lawrence Provenzano, obispo de Long Island; Dorsey McConnell, obispo de  Pittsburgh  y Nicholas Knisely , obispo de Rhode Island dijeron en un comunicado de prensa en las últimas horas del 28 de junio que su Resolución B012 es “un intento de hacer avanzar la Iglesia en una atmósfera de respeto mutuo, reconciliación y el amor de Jesucristo”.

La resolución sigue autorizando los dos ritos matrimoniales de uso experimental aprobados por la reunión de la Convención General en 2015 sin límite de tiempo y sin procurar una revisión del Libro de Oración Común de 1979.

“Dado nuestro particular momento en la historia, esta resolución ofrece una manera de progresar para toda la Iglesia sin la posible interrupción de un ministerio que podría provocar la propuesta revisión del Libro de Oración Común”, dijeron los tres obispos.

La Resolución B012 propone que en todas las diócesis se facilite el acceso a las liturgias, sin que requiera el permiso del obispo diocesano. En lugar de eso, las congregaciones que quieran usar los ritos, pero cuyos obispos  hayan rehusado la autorización, pueden solicitar y recibirán una Supervisión Pastoral Episcopal Delegada (DEPO) de otro obispo de la Iglesia que facilitaría el acceso a las liturgias. La DEPO es un mecanismo concebido por la Cámara de Obispos hace 14 años para congregaciones que discrepen con sus obispos diocesanos en materia de sexualidad humana y otros asuntos teológicos.

El acceso a los sitos ha sido un punto de fricción desde el comienzo en un pequeño número de diócesis.

La Convención General en 2015 autorizó los dos ritos matrimoniales para uso experimental (Resolución A054) tanto para parejas del mismo sexo como de sexos opuestos. Los obispos y los diputados también hicieron la definición canónica (mediante la Resolución A036) del género neutro del matrimonio.

El Equipo de Trabajo para el Estudio del Matrimonio dijo en su Informe del Libro Azul haber encontrado una amplia aceptación del rito a través de la Iglesia, excepto que ocho obispos diocesanos, de las 101 diócesis nacionales, no habían autorizado su uso.

El equipo de trabajo propone (por vía de la Resolución A085) que la Convención exija a todos los obispos con jurisdicción que “tomen medidas para que todas las parejas que soliciten casarse en esta Iglesia tengan un acceso razonable y conveniente a estos ritos experimentales”. La Convención también tendrá que decir que los obispos “continuarán la labor de dirigir a la Iglesia en una participación integral con estos materiales  y seguirán proporcionando una generosa respuesta pastoral que cubra las necesidades de los miembros de esta Iglesia”.

Los episcopales que apoyan ese empeño han estado activos antes de la Convención. Demandando la bendición [Claiming the Blessing], [organización] que se creó en 2002 para abogar por la “plena inclusión de todos los bautizados en todos los sacramentos de la Iglesia”, según aparece en su cibersitio, ha publicado un texto de promoción o apoyo. Algunos episcopales de la Diócesis de Dallas han creado una página web llamada Querida Convención General [Dear General Convention] que incluye vídeos y testimonios escritos acerca de personas que no pueden casarse en esa diócesis.

La  Resolución A085 del equipo de trabajo también pide la adición de las liturgias de uso experimental al Libro de Oración Común. Y propone cambios a otros ritos matrimoniales, así como a prefacios y secciones del Catecismo del libro de oración para adoptar un lenguaje de género neutro.

La Iglesia Episcopal incluye 10 diócesis en jurisdicciones civiles fuera de Estados Unidos que no permiten el matrimonio de parejas del mismo sexo. Puesto que los Cánones de la Iglesia exigen acatamiento tanto a los requisitos civiles como canónicos para el matrimonio, la Convención de 2015 no autorizó el uso de liturgias experimentales en esas diócesis.

Cinco obispos diocesanos y uno jubilado de la IX Provincia, en representación de las diócesis de Ecuador Litoral, Ecuador Central, República Dominicana, Venezuela y Honduras le han advertido al equipo de trabajo que si la Convención adopta cambios acerca del matrimonio que los obligaran “a la aceptación de prácticas sociales y culturales que no tienen base bíblica ni aceptación en la adoración cristiana”, esos cambios estarían “ahondando mucho más la brecha, la división, y la Novena Provincia tendrá que aprender a caminar sola”. Los obispos de Colombia y Puerto Rico no firmaron la declaración.

Para abordar sus preocupaciones, la Resolución B012 también pide la creación de un Equipo de Trabajo sobre la Comunión frente a la Diferencia, “encargado de encontrar una senda duradera para todos los episcopales en una sola Iglesia, sin retroceder a la clara decisión de la Convención de extender el matrimonio a todas las parejas, y su firme compromiso de proporcionarles acceso a todas las parejas que buscan casarse en esta Iglesia”, dice el comunicado de prensa de los tres obispos. El equipo de trabajo buscará una vía coherente con la normativa de la Iglesia y la declaración de la Cámara de Obispos ““Comunión frente a la Diferencia” en 2015, que dio lugar a que varios obispos objetaran las decisiones de la Convención sobre el matrimonio.

Siete obispos, cinco de los cuales rehusaron autorizar los ritos y dos de los cinco que firmaron la declaración de la IX Provincia, dijeron el 28 de junio que acatarían la Resolución B012 si era aprobada.

“De aprobarse la propuesta que tenemos ante nosotros, confiaríamos en caridad las congregaciones que no lean la Sagrada Escritura de esta manera al cuidado de otros obispos en la Iglesia Episcopal con quienes nos mantenemos unidos en el bautismo”, escribieron. “Si bien no podemos respaldar todos los aspectos de esta propuesta, agradeceríamos si nos ayuda a seguir contendiendo unos con otros por la verdad [y] en amor dentro de un solo cuerpo”.

ProvenzanoMcConnell y Knisely encomiaron esa promesa. Dijeron, además, “puesto que los Cánones de la Iglesia dicen que la Convención General puede fijar normas y condiciones para ritos de uso experimental, las normas y condiciones que se especifican en esta resolución tienen por extensión fuerza canónica. Todos los obispos están obligados a aceptar esas normas y condiciones, conforme al derecho canónico. Creemos que ellos las defenderán si las impugnan”.

Los obispos proponentes afirman en su comunicado de prensa que su propuesta “les permite a los conservadores florecer dentro de las estructuras de la Iglesia Episcopal, pero no a expensas de congregaciones progresistas en diócesis conservadoras. Si bien a primera vista puede sonar innecesariamente complejo, es una ‘vía intermedia’que les da sitio a todos en una misma Iglesia”.

– La Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg es redactora principal y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

La Convención General se prepara para conversaciones expansivas sobre racismo y reparación racial

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 5:52am

El Rdo. Paul Walker, rector de la iglesia episcopal de Cristo en Charlottesville, conversa con el obispo primado Michael Curry frente a la estatua del general Robert E. Lee en septiembre pasado. La estatua está cubierta con una lona en tanto el municipio enfrenta los desafíos a su decisión de quitar el monumento al general confederado. Foto de David Paulsen/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service] Líderes de la Iglesia Episcopal ya habían comenzado a pensar en las respuestas espirituales al racismo en 2015 cuando el impacto de los acontecimientos resaltó la urgencia de ese discernimiento.

Un joven supremacista blanco, entusiasta de la bandera confederada, abrió fuego el 17 de junio de 2015 en la iglesia africana metodista episcopal Emanuel, en Charleston, Carolina del Sur, y mató a nueve personas. La masacre, junto con noticias de incendios en iglesias negras y de policías que baleaban a negros desarmados, ayudó a la aprobación de la Resolución C019, que les pedía a los funcionarios de la Iglesia la creación de una respuesta denominacional a la injusticia racial, y hasta $2 millones fueron aprobados para esa tarea.

La masacre de Charleston, en particular, dejó a los obispos y diputados “con una sensación de conmoción e indignación, porque no creo que ellos pensaran que eso podía ocurrir en 2015” dijo, a Episcopal News Service, Heidi Kim, funcionaria del personal para la reconciliación racial.

Kim había estado en su cargo aproximadamente un año en ese tiempo. Desde entonces, ella ha colaborado en dirigir un equipo de miembros del personal de la Iglesia en llevar a cabo el mandato de la Resolución C019 a través de un marco convenido por los funcionarios de la Iglesia, incluido el obispo primado Michael Curry, que fue electo en 2015 como el primer líder negro de la Iglesia.

El equipo de reconciliación racial ha creado el marco para convertirse en la Amada Comunidad, que ahora es el eje central de los empeños de reconciliación racial de la Iglesia Episcopal. La manera de llevar adelante esos empeños será la interrogante esencial ante el Comité de Justicia y Reconciliación Raciales cuando se reúna en la 79ª. Convención General la semana próxima en Austin, Texas.

Pero el racismo y la reconciliación racial son temas de tal importancia, tanto social como espiritualmente, que se espera que el debate se expanda más allá de una sola resolución , o incluso de un solo comité, para incluir reuniones, eventos y exposiciones y  mostrarse en todos los  ámbitos del centro de convenciones del 5 al 13 de julio.

La Rda. Stephanie Spellers, canóniga del Obispo Primado par la evangelización, la reconciliación y el cuidado de la creación, pronuncia el discurso principal el 17 de enero en la  Conferencia Todos Nuestros Niños, en Columbia, Carolina del Sur. Foto de David Paulsen/ENS.

“El mundo nos necesita para tomar en serio la regeneración , la reconciliación y la justicia raciales”, dijo la Rda. Stephanie Spellers, canóniga del Obispo Primado para la evangelización, la reconciliación y el cuidado de la creación, en un correo electrónico. Eso sólo sucede cuando decimos la verdad sobre nuestras iglesias y la raza, proclamamos el sueño de la Amada Comunidad, ponemos en práctica el camino de Jesús de amarnos los unos a los otros y  reparamos las violaciones en nuestra sociedad y nuestras instituciones.

“Estoy ansiosa de ver a nuestra Iglesia compartir el saber y los recursos en apoyo de una adaptación aún más local y de compromiso con esta visión”.

La Resolución C019 fue sólo la más prominente de una serie de resoluciones sobre el racismo en 2015, y no era en modo alguno la primera vez que la Convención General abordaba el racismo. Resoluciones que datan de varias décadas han ayudado a orientar a la Iglesia a responder al racismo y a expiar por su propia complicidad en la injusticia racial y por su apoyo a sistemas racistas, desde la esclavitud a la segregación. El mandato en 2015 procuraba llevar esos empeños un paso adelante.

“La abominación y el pecado del racismo siguen plagando nuestra sociedad y nuestra Iglesia a un gran costo de vida y dignidad humanas; formalmente reconocemos nuestra participación histórica y contemporánea en este mal y nos arrepentimos de él” reza la C019Otra resolución, la A182, le pedía a la Iglesia que abordara el racismo sistémico en todos los niveles.

La Convención General de 2015 también identificó la reconciliación racial como una de tres prioridades para el trienio 2016-18, junto con la evangelización y el cuidado de la creación. Las tres prioridades se destacarán en Austin en tres sesiones conjuntas de la próxima Convención General.

Esas sesiones,  llamadas Conversaciones de la IE [TEConversations], presentaran discusiones con paneles de tres miembros sobre cada tema. La conversación sobre reconciliación racial abrirá la serie el 6 de julio, de 10:30 AM a mediodía, con los panelistas Catherine Meeks, que encabeza la comisión de antirracismo de la Diócesis de Atlanta; la Rda. Nancy Frausto, una de los “dreamers” de la Diócesis de Los Ángeles a quien trajeron de México siendo niña, y Arno Michaelis, autor y  ex cabeza rapada (La discusión sobre la evangelización es el 7 de julio y el tema del cuidado de la creación será el 10 de julio).

Meeks es también fundadora del Centro Absalom Jones para la Reparación Racial en Atlanta, Georgia. El centro  ofrecerá un almuerzo sobre reparación racial al mediodía del 6 de julio en el hotel Hilton que queda frente al Centro de Convenciones de Austin.

Están planeadas otras exposiciones sobre reparación racial  para el mismo día en el salón de exhibiciones, dijo Kim.

“Es realmente un momento emocionante”, dijo ella. “La Convención tendrá la oportunidad de hablar acerca de lo que estamos intentando emprender”. Y ella espera que esos diálogos sean intensos y esclarecedores, así como instructivos para el próximo trienio.

Por ejemplo, una resolución ante el Comité de Justicia y Reconciliación Raciales (B004) cuestiona , si “antirracismo” debería reemplazarse por un término que recoja mejor la transformación espiritual que se busca en esta labor. El obispo de la Diócesis de Atlanta Rob Wright aparece como el proponente.

Una resolución (A042) que presentó por separado el Comité sobre Antirracismo del Consejo Ejecutivo, busca cambiar el nombre del comité añadiéndole la palabra “reconciliación”.  “Una resolución compañera (A043) se ajustaría adecuadamente al mandato del comité.

Otra resolución (A138) se centra en el historial de la Iglesia en la diversificación de su liderazgo. La resolución, presentada por el equipo de trabajo sobre el episcopado y remitida al Comité del Liderazgo de Toda la Iglesia, le daría a las diócesis 60 días después de la elección de un obispo para presentar una información demográfica de todos los nominados.

“El progreso hacia los objetivos y las aspiraciones de la Iglesia en la diversidad de su liderazgo, incluidos los obispos, depende en gran medida del acopio de datos clave que conforman los planes para lograr esos objetivos y ser fieles a esas aspiraciones”, dijo el equipo de trabajo.

La labor de la Iglesia para Convertirse en la Amada Comunidad se describe en detalle en el informe del Libro Azul generado por funcionarios de la Iglesia en respuesta a la Resolución C019 de 2015. Convertirse en la Amada Comunidad se divide en cuatro partes que se ilustran como un laberinto: decir la verdad acerca de nuestras iglesias y la raza, proclamar el sueño de la Amada Comunidad, practicar el camino del amor de Dios en el modelo de Jesús y reparar la brecha en la sociedad.

Becoming Beloved Community with Heidi Kim and Charles Wynder Jr – #episcopal church Executive Council’s critical Board Development #excoun pic.twitter.com/x9OFfs0T2d

— Frank Logue (@franklogue) October 20, 2017

Ese marco concluyó a principios de 2017, dijo Kim, y se dio a conocer a la Iglesia en mayo de ese año. Hasta el momento,  se ha gastado aproximadamente la mitad de los $2 millones aprobados para esta tarea de poner en práctica el Convertirse en la Amada Comunidad en el ámbito diocesano y congregacional, y esa implementación se espera que prosiga en el nuevo trienio, dijo Kim.

El Convertirse en la Amada Comunidad hace referencia el Comité de Antirracismo del Consejo Ejecutivo en sus resoluciones remitidas al Comité de Justicia y Reconciliación Raciales. El objetivo expreso de la Resolución A044 es “fomentar la capacidad de Convertirse en la Amada Comunidad”  y recomienda un marco de certificación para el adiestramiento en antirracismo que fue lo dispuesto por una resolución en 2000. El Comité de Antirracismo también presentó una resolución a esta Convención General (A045), clarificaba ese adiestramiento requerido y se lo recordaba a las diócesis. Y proponía un programa de reconocimiento a la reconciliación racial (A046) a fin de premiar los empeños locales exitosos.

La Resolución D002 aprobaría $1 millón para ofrecerles subvenciones a ministerios locales dedicados a la obra de reconciliación racial. Ese tipo de ayuda económica directa no se incluye en el alcance de las anteriores resoluciones que produjeron y han apoyado el Convertirse en la Amada Comunidad.

Leona Volk saluda al obispo primado Michael Curry durante la visita de Curry en septiembre a Dakota del Sur, donde hubo episcopales que participaron en manifestaciones contra el oleoducto de acceso a las Dakotas cerca de la reserva sioux de Roca Enhiesta Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

La importancia de tales empeños se ha visto marcada a lo largo de los últimos tres años por la continua conmoción de los acontecimientos actuales , desde violencia armada de la policía de gran resonancia, hasta los violentos enfrentamientos del año pasado en Charlottesville, Virginia, entre grupos supremacistas blancos y contramanifestantes. Kim dijo que ella también ve la necesidad de una reparación racial en la manera que los estadounidenses responden a los migrantes en la frontera mexicana. Y los asuntos medioambientales con frecuencia están interrelacionados con la raza, como se ha visto en la lucha de los sioux de Roca Enhiesta [Standing Rock] por preservar el agua potable de la tribu y los empeños de los nativos alasqueños en proteger las zonas de reproducción del caribú en el Refugio Nacional de la Vida Salvaje en el Ártico.

Ella espera también que los episcopales hagan suya la labor de reconciliación racial como una andadura espiritual permanente, no como una manera de avergonzar a los que podamos ver como racistas.

“Todos tenemos nuestra propia obra que hacer, de manera que no podemos solamente externalizar el problema del racismo”, señaló ella. “Todos podemos ser mejores siendo reconciliadores y reparadores”.

Spellers dijo que se siente esperanzada en la labor visionaria de la Convención General [al adoptar] medidas tales como la Resolución C019 de 2015, y espera que esa sea la visión que haga suya la Iglesia a través de las próximas dos semanas de discernimiento sobre el racismo sistémico.

“Cuando contemplo la labor que nuestra Iglesia emprendiera tan recientemente para Convertirse en la Amada Comunidad, y cuando escucho las intensas conversaciones sobre justicia y  reparación raciales entre obispos, diputados y redes dedicadas a ello, me siento profundamente motivada”.

– David Paulsen es redactor y reportero de Episcopal News Service. Pueden dirigirse a él en at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.


El Obispo Primado encabeza una oleada de entusiasmo por la evangelización en vísperas de la Convención General

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 5:44am

Pan y Rosas, un ministerio de la iglesia episcopal de la Trinidad en Charlottesville, Virginia, se ha asociado con el Comité de Rescate Internacional para celebrar demostraciones de cocina en un mercado agrícola de la ciudad con vistas a promover técnicas culinarias nutricionales y cultivo de verduras de parte de refugiados que viven en Charlottesville. Pan y Rosas recibió subvenciones de la Zona de Iniciativa de Misión. Foto del Comité de Rescate Internacional.

[Episcopal News Service] El Rvdmo. Michael Curry, en sus tres años como Obispo Primado, ha definido regularmente a los episcopales como parte de “la rama episcopal del Movimiento de Jesús” subrayando el llamado de la Iglesia a la evangelización.

El impulso de la Iglesia Episcopal hacia una mayor evangelización no es nuevo. La asunción de Curry de su autotitulado papel de “director general de evangelización”continúa años de crecimiento en el apoyo organizacional y económico de la Iglesia para tales empeños.

“Creo que teníamos una tendencia hacia un incremento en nuestra obra de evangelización y de fundación de iglesias antes de la elección de Michael Curry como obispo primado”, dijo el Rdo. Frank Logue, miembro del Consejo Ejecutivo con un énfasis de larga data en la evangelización. Curry ha aumentado esos esfuerzos desde 2015, dijo Logue.

La Convención General aprobó $1,8 millones para fundación de iglesias y Zonas de Iniciativa de Misión en el trienio 2013-3015, y $3,4 millones se asignaron para tales ministerios de 2016 a 2018. Al Comité de Evangelización y Fundación de Iglesias, que preside Logue, se le ha asignado una resolución (A005) que aprobaría $6,8 millones en gastos en el transcurso de los próximos tres años para avanzar a partir de los éxitos logrados en estos “santos experimentos”.

Algunos estudiantes aprenden a jugar ajedrez en la sesión de 2017 del Ministerio Episcopal Appleton en una escuela libertad de su Fondo para la Defensa de la Infancia. El ministerio se benefició de una subvención de Zona de Iniciativa de Misión. Foto del Ministerio Episcopal Appleton.

“Veo que hay un movimiento dentro de la Iglesia para invertir en esta área”, dijo Logue. Y si bien la fundación de iglesias desempeña un papel importante —Episcopal News Service  destacó recientemente varios ejemplos de exitosos beneficiarios de subvenciones—  la Iglesia está invirtiendo en innovación en todos los niveles, incluidas las congregaciones establecidas y por diócesis.

Hasta ahora, se han remitido ocho resoluciones al Comité de Evangelización y Fundación de Iglesias, aunque muchas más pueden añadirse para el 6 de julio, la fecha límite de presentación [de resoluciones]. Entre ellas hay una medida (A030) presentada por el Consejo Ejecutivo para renovar la financiación de un pequeño programa para subvencionar la evangelización en $100.000.

Esas subvenciones están limitadas a $2.000 por congregación y hasta $8.000 por diócesis o ministerios regionales, y usualmente respaldan eventos puntuales en lugar de la obra continúa de fundación de iglesias, explicó Logue. Al igual que las fundaciones de iglesias, algunas de estas iniciativas más pequeñas pueden proporcionar modelos para nuevos ministerios en el ámbito denominacional.

“Hemos visto que suceden algunas cosas buenas con pequeñas cantidades de dinero”, dijo Logue, que es canónigo del Ordinario en la Diócesis de Georgia.

La evangelización es una de las tres prioridades que la Convención General ha fijado para el actual trienio, junto con la reconciliación racial y el cuidado de la creación. Las tres servirán como puntos focales para sesiones conjuntas y separadas de la Convención General en una nueva serie de discusiones en paneles llamados TEConversations [Conversaciones de la Iglesia Episcopal].

El diálogo sobre la evangelización tendrá lugar a las 2:30 PM del 7 de julio, y el panel estará integrado por la Rda. Lauren Winner, sacerdote y autora; Alan Scarfe, obispo de Iowa, que dirigió [campañas] de avivamiento en todas las congregaciones de su diócesis el año pasado, y el Rdo. Daniel Vélez-Rivera, fundador de iglesias en la Diócesis de Virginia. El diálogo sobre la reconciliación racial es el 6 de julio y el cuidado de la creación será el tema del 10 de julio.

Todas estas prioridades conforman la misión de la Iglesia Episcopal  y se relacionan entre sí, dijo el obispo de California, Marc Andrus, que es copresidente de un organismo asesor que presentó una resolución (la A019) sobre la interrelación de la evangelización, la fundación de iglesias y el cuidado de la creación. La resolución del Consejo Asesor sobre la Mayordomía de la Creación pide que se cree un equipo de trabajo para estudiar y estimular esas conexiones.

“En verdad no hay cosas separadas”, dijo Andrus, y si bien muchas fundaciones de iglesias ya enfocan su trabajo incorporando en su evangelización, la reconciliación racial y la mayordomía medioambiental, él espera que el equipo de trabajo propuesto proporcione las bases para hacer de ese enfoque algo habitual.

“Un enfoque integrado de fundación de iglesias y evangelización es una manera sana de evangelizar”, afirmó. “ Se relaciona con el único espíritu de Cristo, que no está dividido. Cristo no favorece una causa justa por encima de otra”.

La Rda. Stephanie Johnson, otra copresidente del consejo asesor, se muestra de acuerdo.

“Al reconocer que el cuidado de la creación es central a nuestra fe, entendemos que la reconciliación con todas las criaturas de Dios es parte de quienes somos”, dijo Johnson, rectora de la iglesia episcopal de San Pablo [St. Paul’s] en Riverside, Connecticut.

Esto también podría extender el alcance de la Iglesia a generaciones más jóvenes, lo cual fue otra consideración aludida en la resolución que presentó el Consejo Asesor sobre la Mayordomía de la Creación.

“Para ellos es importante saber que la Iglesia vela por su futuro y el de las generaciones que vendrán después”, añadió Johnson.

Algunas resoluciones asignadas al comité de evangelización proponen continuar con la labor que ya está en marcha, tales como la resolución presupuestaria presentada por el Grupo Asesor Génesis sobre fundación de Iglesias y la resolución del Consejo Ejecutivo sobre pequeñas subvenciones para la evangelización. El Consejo Ejecutivo también presentó una resolución (A031) para la creación de un nuevo cargo de funcionario del personal para ayudar a administrar la red de fundación de iglesias.

Otra resolución presentada por el Grupo Génesis (A006) pide el acopio de información demográfica  sobre los líderes de la Iglesia que se encuentran detrás de los nuevos ministerios de evangelización, de manera que los datos puedan compararse con la información sobre las comunidades a las que intentan servir.

La resolución no pide ninguna acción ulterior en respuesta a esa información, pero Logue, que es el enlace del Consejo Ejecutivo con el Grupo Génesis, dijo simplemente que tener esa información puede alentar a los ministros a pensar más en la representación. Por ejemplo, un ministerio de participación latino se beneficiaría de líderes latinos, del mismo modo que tiene sentido tener a una persona joven al frente de un ministerio orientado hacia la generación Y [o del milenio].

Otra resolución le pide a la Convención General que le recomiende a la Iglesia los resultados de los organismos asesores. Uno de ellos es la Carta de la Evangelización (A029) redactada por el Comité de Ministerio y Misión Locales del Consejo Ejecutivo para promover un lenguaje común para describir y llevar a cabo la obra de la evangelización.

El obispo primado Michael Curry en la noche del 17 de noviembre ayuda al comienzo de la campaña de avivamiento de tres días en la Diócesis de San Joaquín. El inicio del evento tuvo lugar en el campus de la Universidad del Pacífico, en Stockton, California. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

Curry ha tomado la delantera en los últimos 16 meses de presidir, en general, los avivamientos públicos en diócesis de toda la Iglesia, pero pese a lo que el Obispo Primado dice acerca de ser parte del “movimiento de Jesús”, muchos episcopales pueden no entender plenamente el llamado a la evangelización que subyace en ese término, dijo Logue. En consecuencia, la Carta de la Evangelización es un punto de referencia para la acción común

Logue, enfatizó también que es importante no interpretar la evangelización como una sugerencia de que la Iglesia Episcopal o los episcopales tienen todas las respuestas. La evangelización “también nos cambiará”, expresó.

El Equipo de Trabajo sobre Aprovechar las Redes Sociales para la Evangelización presentó una resolución (A081) en que le pedía a la Convención General que diseminara su ponencia, “Teología práctica de la evangelización episcopal: cara a cara y en el ciberespacio” [A Practical Theology of Episcopal Evangelism: Face-to-Face and in Cyberspaceque se incluye en su informe del Libro Azul.

El informe hace una profunda inmersión teológica en lo que significa promover la evangelización en el mundo contemporáneo donde gran parte de nuestra comunicación con otras personas tiene lugar vía Internet.

“Nuestro llamado a compartir las Buenas Nuevas no desaparece cuando entramos en Facebook o Instagram”, dice la ponencia. “Tenemos la oportunidad de seguir la invitación del Espíritu Santo en una aventura jubilosa y sorprendente que nos cambia tanto como cambia a las personas y comunidades con las que compartimos”.

Gran parte de los consejos del documento pueden ser útiles para los evangelistas episcopales que operan en cualquier plataforma, desde esquinas de calles hasta el ciberespacio. Walker Adams, el presidente del equipo de trabajo, dijo que las redes sociales son una valiosa herramienta para la evangelización, pero un evangelista digital sigue necesitando fundamentar esa labor en una trayectoria de fe personal.

“Creo que sería mejor si dedicáramos algún tiempo a pensar quiénes somos, en qué creemos y cómo lo expresamos”. Dijo Adams, miembro de la Diócesis de Misurí Occidental que ahora trabaja en admisiones en Sewanee: la Universidad del Sur. “Si no podemos proponer alguna especie de conceptos básicos para compartir tu propia historia y tu relación con Jesús, realmente no importa cómo ponerlo online.

La Convención General pidió la creación del equipo de trabajo en 2015, para crear un currículo para la evangelización digital. Al mismo tiempo, agregó Adams, los empeños de Curry como director ejecutivo de evangelización, “realmente puso la evangelización a la vanguardia” incluida la contratación de la Rda. Stephanie Spellers, canóniga para la evangelización, la reconciliación y el cuidado de la creación, y de Jeremy Tackett, evangelista digital. El equipo de evangelización  de Curry creó algo llamado los instrumentos de la evangelización, concebidos para adiestrar a los episcopales en todos los niveles en nuevos métodos de compartir su fe.

It's Social Media Sunday this Sunday. Time to share the Good News in word and image. #SMS17 #chsocm #evangelism pic.twitter.com/BjdQAWFjua

— Episcopal Maryland (@episcomd) September 21, 2017

El equipo de trabajo de Adams presentó una segunda resolución (A082) en que solicitaba de la Convención General $100.000 para proseguir ese adiestramiento. Una opción, dijo él, sería identificar, en cada diócesis, una persona responsable de la evangelización que pueda trabajar con congregaciones y feligreses. En lugar de esperar porque el personal del Obispo Primado visite cada congregación, puede resultar más efectivo para preparar a más adiestradores regionales.

“Creo que la evangelización no es algo que pueda esperar”, afirmó Adams. “La Iglesia está volcada a la evangelización ahora. La Iglesia está entusiasmada”.

Spellers le dijo a ENS en un email que ella, también, se siente entusiasmada respecto a dónde habrá de llegar en la Convención General el continuo diálogo sobre la evangelización.

“Al entrar en esta Convención General, nuestra Iglesia tiene docenas de pujantes nuevos ministerios con la orientación, el apoyo y el adiestramiento que la Convención ha soñado”, dijo Spellers. “Hemos visto dos cumbres y conferencias de La Evangelización es Importante y hemos lanzado una red de evangelistas episcopales. Nos hemos asociado con diócesis para organizar seis avivamientos episcopales y hemos adiestrado a más de mil evangelistas en esas comunidades anfitrionas. Hemos conseguido una serie de recursos globales, multilingües, en la Internet que llamamos los Instrumentos de la Evangelización y un nuevo programa de subvenciones para la evangelización.

“Si la  ‘evangelización episcopal’ era antes un oxímoron, esos tiempos han pasado”.

– David Paulsen es redactor y reportero de Episcopal News Service. Pueden dirigirse a él en at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.