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.
The session was held to address the two bishops demand that the “House of Bishops set the record straight on the polity of this Church regarding its hierarchical character.”
Details of the discussions have not been disclosed, though one bishop who asked to remain anonymous said they were rather “warm”.
At the evening press conference, House of Bishops spokesman the Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel, Bishop of East Carolina did not mention the discussion in his briefing on the bishops’ day. However, he said that the bishops, as was their custom had “met in private for an hour.”
For [Bishop Wallis] Ohl, the first goal of the request “is to bring some reconciliation into the House of Bishops” because the fact that the bishops acted as they did without at least informing either him or Buchanan was “a violation of the norms of our house.”
The other goal is to “give some indication to the people in the dioceses of Quincy and Fort Worth that they have the support of the House of Bishops,” he said.
The two bishops, [Bishop John} Buchanan said, hope for “a message to the world in general about our view of the polity of this church, and the reason that would be helpful is that the view of polity of this church that others have presented is, in my opinion, erroneous.”
Lionel Deimel of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and founder and Episcopal Church convener of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition, had no issue with strongly urging the rejection of the covenant.
“The Anglican Covenant is a reaction to developments in church understandings in a fast-paced world,” Deimel said. “Coming from Pittsburgh, I see in the Anglican Covenant the same dynamics that nearly destroyed my own diocese. ”¦ The underlying purpose of the covenant is not to explicate Anglican theology nor to manage change, but to suppress change and preserve a mythical ”˜biblical Anglicanism’ that never was.”
Be thou unto us at this time, O Lord, a tower of strength, a place of refuge, and a defence in our day of trouble. Keep us calm and brave, because our trust is in thee. Let thy comfort support us, thy mercy pardon us, and thy wisdom guide us; and give us, if it please thee, deliverance from all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Read it all (and there are over 50 comments as well).
Friction over shares of a shrinking financial pie has animated the opening days of the 77th General Convention meeting 5-12 July 2012 in Indianapolis. The House of Deputies has called for the sale of the church’s national headquarters at 815 Second Avenue in New York, while deputies have protested proposed cuts in funding for favored projects.
While the Church’s Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) has yet to submit a final budget to convention for approval, competing interest groups have sought to preserve their share of the church pie.
Friction over shares of a shrinking financial pie has animated the opening days of the 77th General Convention meeting 5-12 July 2012 in Indianapolis. The Standing Committee on Structure has called for the sale of the church’s national headquarters at 815 Second Avenue in New York, while deputies have protested proposed cuts in funding for favored projects.
(Please note the headline is ENS’ not mine, I intensely dislike the Open Table language and use Communion of the Unbaptized [or Communion without Baptism] instead–KSH).
Emma Grandhauser, from Minnesota, a member of convention’s official youth presence, testified that she didn’t attend church until she was six, and she was baptized at 13.
“I still remember my first Sunday in church at St. John the Evangelist in St. Paul,” she said. “It’s a church with their own open table policy.
“I was blown away by how welcoming the community was,” she said. “They didn’t just tell me about God’s love, they showed me that God’s love is for everyone….
But the Rev. Jason Wells, a deputy alternate from the Diocese of New Hampshire, said that to the unbaptized he offers a blessing at the altar rail “and prepares them for baptism, to make their first communion immediately after that. I don’t do that because there’s a canon on the books. I do it for the theological and biblical rationale. To remove this one line from our canons does not change what my practice would be in the church.”
He called the resolution’s language “confusing and somewhat self-defeating.”
The text of the original resolution D016 [amendment(s) are currently being attempted] is as follows:
Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That it is the will of this Convention to move the Church Center headquarters away from the Church Center building at 815 2nd Avenue, New York City, as soon as it is economically feasible; and be it further Resolved, That Executive Council is directed to appoint a Task Force on Real Property including knowledgeable real estate and finance professionals, to explore alternatives and make recommendations for the most effective economic way of a sale, lease, or other disposition of the Church Center building; and be it further Resolved, That the Task Force on Real Property is to make its report to Executive Council by February 2013; and be it further Resolved, That Executive Council will proceed with all appropriate speed to implement the Task Force Recommendations, including (if so recommended) placing the Church Center building on the market for sale, lease, or other disposition, as soon as it makes economic sense to do so; and be it further Resolved, That Executive Council is directed to appoint a separate Task Force on Church Center Location to identify other suitable alternatives for locating the
Church Center, giving special attention to available properties owned by Episcopal-affiliated entities, locations close to large airports, ease of travel, cost of living for Church Center employees, and cost of acquiring or leasing the properties; and be it further
Resolved, That the Task Force on Church Center Location will make its report to Executive Council by June, 2013; and be it further Resolved, That Executive Council will be prepared to relocate the Church Center headquarters to the new location or locations as soon as it is economically feasible; and be it further Resolved, That the General Convention request the Joint Standing Committee on Program Budget and Finance to consider a budget allocation of $20,000 in the 2013-2015 triennium budget to pay for expenses associated with the work described in this Resolution.
Americans of all political stripes invoked the Declaration of Independence this Fourth of July week. Some read the document and found, as Harvard Prof. Alan Dershowitz has, that it “rejected Christianity, along with other organized religions, as a basis for governance.” Others saw the same language proving the opposite, that our nation was founded on “Judeo- Christian values.” Such definitive statements do not tell the full story. The American Framers, in their desire to unite a nation, were theologically bilingual””not only in the Declaration of Independence but beyond.