The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church is meeting at the Kanuga Conference Center in North Carolina from March 25 to March 30. The following is an account of the activities for Saturday, March 26.
The session was opened by Emcee of the Day Bishop Tom Shaw of Massachusetts.
Following Morning Prayer and Bible Study, the bishops surprised Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on her birthday with rousing singing.
The topics and focus for the day was Proclamation of the Gospel to/with Young Adults: How can we be church in the 21st Century. Presenters were Lisa Kimball of Virginia Theological Seminary, and the Rev. Arrington Chambliss and Jason Long from the Diocese of Massachusetts.
Lisa shared personal vignettes which illustrated work needed to be done with the Episcopal Church and young adults. Defining “young adults” is very complex and depends on context, but she focused on 19 -35 years old. She shared stats and facts about this age group.
Lisa presented discussion questions for the bishops: What are the challenges facing the young adults you know? What are their strengths? To what extent is the Church in your diocese reaching people like this? The bishops shared reactions and comments.
Lisa noted: there is a deep need in the church for faith formation in the home; “sadly” young adults are missing from our worship service; and those in 20s and 30s want to be in relation with the Episcopal Church.
Noon Eucharist was celebrated by Bishop Wendell Gibbs of Michigan. Preacher was the Rev. Stephanie Spellers of the Diocese of Massachusetts and one of the chaplains for HOB.
In the afternoon session, Jason spoke about the Episcopal Service Corps. He shared his story of being evangelized, which was a transformational experience that also transformed the worshiping community. In speaking about Episcopal Service Corps he identified programs that will exist in Massachusetts and 16 other dioceses by this fall.
Arrington spoke about evangelism, and believes that the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion are poised to be the most transformative institutions in the 21st century. Arrington stated that evangelism is not a program, it’s a spiritual practice; it’s not institutional but individual; it doesn’t start with telling but starts with listening.
She led a meditation on remembering a time when someone took you and your gifts seriously.
Small group discussions allowed bishops to explore themes and needs, and to brainstorm on what might occur in the next year to partner with young adults in creating fresh expressions of Church.
The bishops concluded the session with Evening Prayer.