You didn’t? Well, it was in his daily General Convention update entry, to which I cannot link every single day. I bet you can find the link (and no I am not going to spoil it). You can also follow John on Twitter.
Daily Archives: July 7, 2012
She just led Noonday Prayer based on the Romans 8 reading for today–read it all.
…average Sunday attendance in Episcopal churches has plunged 23% in the past decade to 657,831. In the Michigan diocese — which includes southeast Michigan, Lansing and Jackson — attendance has dropped 31% from 2000 to 2010. During the same time period, the number of baptized Episcopal members in the diocese dropped 30% to 20,825; nationally, it dropped 16% to 1,951,907.
Some say the drop is because the Episcopal Church has drifted too much to the left on social and political issues. But [Bonnie] Anderson notes that other mainline Protestant denominations have also seen declines in membership; regardless, the church won’t shift its views because people are leaving, she said.
“We’re prayerful, we’re careful, and we pay attention to what we believe the Holy Spirit is calling us to do. And if we lose members because of that, it’s still the right thing to do.”
I consider this a moment of sanity and light–KSH.
Attorneys for the Diocese, Corporation, and congregations have filed a Motion to Expedite Oral Argument in our appeal to the Texas State Supreme Court. This extraordinary request was prompted, in part, by the threat of ecclesiastical discipline against the seven TEC Bishops who filed a brief in April as friends of the court, describing the structure of TEC hierarchy, as expressed in the Constitution and Canons which govern TEC’s General Convention and its relationships with member dioceses.
The Motion seeks a date for oral argument not later than October 16 this year. That is the date the Court has set to hear arguments in the appeal of Church of the Good Shepherd, San Angelo.
Because the Court is currently in recess, it is not expected to consider the Motion before it reconvenes in August. Action against the bishops was initiated at the end of June.
After a long and complicated debate Friday afternoon and evening of General Assembly, the gathered commissioners chose to maintain the Biblical definition of marriage. They voted down overtures to redefine marriage and to issue an authoritative interpretation to allow teaching elders to conduct marriages for same sex couples in states where that is legal. Instead, the assembly approved a two-year “season of serious study and discernment” for presbyteries and congregations regarding the meaning of Christian marriage.
Commissioner Bill Thro remarked, “This is a Gideon moment ”“ a victory that never would have happened. I think God saved the PCUSA from schism tonight. I am humbled that God called my colleagues and me to play a role in this drama.” Thro was a member of the Civil Unions and Marriage Committee and presented one of the minority reports.
Today, the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) discussed two different ways to expand the 2 million member denomination’s understanding of marriage to include committed same-sex couples. While neither option ultimately collected the majority of votes needed to begin the ratification process, this discussion marked another step towards making the Presbyterian Church (USA) a truly inclusive church.
“While it is disappointing that the Church missed this historic opportunity to move toward full inclusion, the fact that so many Presbyterians from around the country called for the Church to recognize love between committed same-gender couples was awe-inspiring to see.” said Michael J. Adee, Executive Director, More Light Presbyterians. “We have more work to do to show those who oppose full inclusion how truly wonderful the gifts that committed, married same-sex couples bring to our church. We’re inspired by the progress we’ve made together and are just as committed to continuing this work, together.”
Commissioners’ opinions were varied on the season of study.
For the past two years, presbyteries have been wrapped up in discussions about changes to ordination standards and a new Form of Government, both of which were approved by the 219th General Assembly (2010), said Allen Foster, a teaching elder from Glacier Presbytery. They need this time to focus on studying marriage, he said.
But other commissioners saw the study as a way to delay action.
“While we are thrilled with yet another study, it doesn’t give any relief to those of us in states where same-sex marriage is legal,” said Karen Bartel, a ruling elder from the Presbytery of East Iowa.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) on Friday did not approve a proposed constitutional amendment to change the church’s definition of marriage from between “a man and a woman” to between “two people.” The vote was 308 in favor, 338 against, and 0 abstentions.
The vote, at the church’s biennial convention held Downtown this week, followed over three hours of personal testimony and sharp debate by the general assembly.
Jodi Craiglow of Miami Valley Presbytery said she loved “unashamedly and unequivocally” gay members of the church and that her “heart breaks from your pain and frustration.” However, she continued, “God’s words tell us he established the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman.”
The 2009 General Convention of The Episcopal Church is justly known for its landmark passage of resolutions (D025& and C056) that moved the church into a new, more open era with regard to same-gender couples and the episcopate. Less noted is the Convention’s unprecedented recognition of the “T” in LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender).
The 76th Convention passed four resolutions lifting up the lives and ministries of transgender people both within and outside the church (D012, D090, D032, and C048). Two (D012 and C048) put The Episcopal Church on record in support of transgender equality at the federal, state and municipal levels. Two more called upon the church to make facets of its own life more accessible to gender minorities””to design its forms to be open to a wider variety of gender designations than simply male or female (D090) and to hire its lay employees without regard to gender identity or expression (D032).
Through committee hearings, deputy testimonies, writings, informal conversations and the presence of transgender people at Anaheim and beyond, the church has begun to bear witness to the human dignity of a deeply stigmatized, yet strongly resilient population.
On Saturday, July 7 at 7:30 am, the National and International Concerns Committee (Committee 09) will hold a hearing on D018 “Urge Congress to End Discrimination Against Same-Sex Marriages.” If you would like to speak to this issue, please attend the hearing in the Downtown Marriott, Indiana E.
Resolution D002, “Affirming Access to Discernment Process for Ministry,” is now pending in the House of Bishops.
It seems likely that the House of Bishops will take up D002 and D019 on transgender equality in its session that begins at 11:15 am on Saturday.