General Convention Message, July 2, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/fc2cb578ab5d/ey7eu7o5mr-1382341
A Special Message from Cathryn Marshall, Sr. Warden
Dear *|FNAME|*,Today and tomorrow Episcopalians all around the church are making their way to Austin, TX, for the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church—including our rector, Fr. Jared Cramer!
In the Episcopal Church, governance and ministry is always shared between laity and clergy. This is true on the parish level, where the elected lay Sr. Warden (me!) works together with the Rector (Fr. Jared) in the leadership of the church, in particular through the duly elected Vestry of the parish. Rector, Sr. Warden, and Vestry all have distinct responsibilities and areas of authority, but in a healthy church we all work together and always take counsel with important matters.
At the highest level of authority in the Episcopal Church, there doesn't stand an Archbishop or even our Presiding Bishop. Instead, the highest authority in our church is General Convention. This is a bi-cameral legislature which meets every three years and is composed of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. The House of Deputies is comprised for four lay people and four clergy from each diocese in the Episcopal Church. The House of Bishops is comprised of all bishops of the church. Nothing happens in General Convention—and, thus, nothing significant in our church—without a majority of both Houses agreeing on it.
And so, over 1,000 Deputies and Bishops will be gathering for the next twelve days in Austin, TX, to worship, take counsel, and pass legislation that will shape the life or the Episcopal Church. This year's Convention is expected to touch on several important questions, including:
- Possible Prayer Book Revision
- Marriage Equality
- Response to the #MeToo Movement and a review of our church's sexual misconduct policies along with nearly 30 other related resolutions
- Increased work for Evangelism & Church Planting (like our own El Corazón Latino ministry, currently 80% funded by a grant created by the last General Convention!)
- Work on Racial Reconciliation
- A report on the future of provinces
- Reports on studies of the Episcopate and the Election of the Presiding BishopYou can find out more details about many of these issues online here. You'll even be able to watch a live-stream of Convention online here! Daily coverage will also be provided by the Episcopal News Service. Our diocese's Canon for Evangelism & Networking also sent out a special newsletter filled with great information about convention. If you didn't get it, click here and ask Canon Forsyth to add your e-mail to the list!
Fr. Jared was elected as the first clergy alternate from our diocese, so the diocese is sending him along with the rest of the deputation so that he can substitute in for sessions as needed. The schedule for Convention is grueling and it is helpful to have that extra hand. He'll also be participating actively in the legislative hearings for several issues. You can follow him at Twitter during convention online here.In advance of Convention, he has been blogging through the "Blue Book" of reports and resolutions. He made almost half-way through, nearly completing volume 1—which for a book that comes in at over 1,000 pages, is not bad! You can read the whole series online here, including posts on a new proposed Book of Occasional Services and a new proposed church calendar called Lesser Feasts and Fasts—both of which took up over another 1,000 pages of supplemental material!
No matter how closely you are able to follow General Convention over these next two weeks, take a moment and say a prayer for the clergy and lay leaders who are gathering in Austin. And stay tuned, once General Convention wraps up (and Fr. Jared returns from Sabbatical), he will likely have some opportunities for you to learn all about what happened and how it will impact our own congregation of St. John's.
Read more in the Message about General Convention, July 2, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/fc2cb578ab5d/ey7eu7o5mr-1382341
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