General Convention: Day 5

Although Monday, June 29 did not involve a peaceful demonstration or the UTO Ingathering, it was no less busy. Rather than a 5k to start as on Sunday, committees still with resolutions to hear testimony and take action on began meeting at their typical time: 7:30 a.m. The Eucharist at 9:30 a.m. featured the Lux Singers for the prelude and celebrated the Feast of of Saints Peter and Paul. Bishop Mike Klusmeyer of West Virginia presided at the Eucharist, and the preacher was Archbishop Vicken Aykazian of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in America. Archbishop Aykazian’s sermon is available through the Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs.

The morning legislative session focused largely on debate and discussion in the House of Bishops. The bishops discussed Resolution A054 concerning “Adopt[ing] Resources and Rites from ‘Liturgical Resources I: I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing, Revised and Expanded 2015,’” picking up its work from the day before. After many amendments, attempts at amendments, and discussion, no decision was reached before breaking for lunch.

The House of Deputies in the afternoon actively worked and discussed a taskforce to Study Episcopal Elections and Appointments of Bishops. While some deputies argued against this resolution as additional interference from churchwide structure in a diocese’s electing of its bishops, the Rev. Meg Castellan of Western Missouri noted that churchwide structures are already involved in bishop election from providing consultant to educating on processes to the consent of bishops elect by each diocese’s standing committee.

The House of Deputies also amended A056 to authorize New Liturgical Resources: A Great Cloud of Witnesses; Weekday Eucharistic Propers. The revised text is available here. The most significant change to the resolution previously approved by the House of Bishops was changing “authorize” to “make available for publication and distribution by individuals and in congregations and other church groups for devotional or catechetical use, or use in public worship subject to the provision for optional commemorations on page 18 of the Book of Common Prayer.” 

The deputy who proposed this amendment did so in the hopes that Lesser Feasts and Fasts would continue to be the authorized calendar of saints for The Episcopal Church (whereas Holy Women, Holy Men was only ever authorized for trial use, and A Great Cloud of Witnesses says, “The calendar in A Great Cloud of Witnesses does not purport to be a definitive collection of saints, but rather an additional calendar of optional commemorations that represent the breadth of the Christian family story,” PDF here, p 176ff). 

After lunch the House of Bishops spent just over an hour in private conversations before continuing debate and discussion on A054 (linked above), which eventually passed overwhelmingly. Following A054, the House of Bishops took up A036 to amend Canon I.18 Marriage. After much discussion and a roll call vote, the resolution passed 129 to 26 with 5 abstentions and will proceed to the House of Deputies.

Following their approval of A036, the bishops adopted the day’s consent calendar (having been working through June 28’s business calendar by discussing the marriage resolutions) and moved to elections. While the House of Deputies voted in elections for General Seminary trustees and other offices using electronic voting devices, the House of Bishops — being significantly smaller — cycled through paper ballots. 

Before adopting B009 on Conducting an Online Digital Evangelism Test, deputies worked through social justice and US policy resolutions. The Rev. Carlye J. Hughes of the Diocese of Fort Worth summarized the passed resolutions as, “Reduce gun violence, raise minimum wage, and remove confederate flag,” while noting, “Hard work in our world ramps up.” Concerning B009, the Rev. Paul Fromberg from the Diocese of California expressed some skepticism saying, “Not sure [General Convention] needs $3m to boost Twitter.”

Bishop Andrus proposed an amendment to A030, to Create Task Force on Climate Change, which easily passed. Technological limitations prevent posting the specific amendment’s text, however the online version will be updated as amended. The entirety of the resolution passed and now goes to the House of Deputies.

The evening concluded with the Integrity Eucharist, celebrating 40 years of Integrity’s ministry to and with The Episcopal Church. In 40 years of ministry, this was the first time that the Integrity Eucharist was an official part of the General Convention and held in the official worship space. The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool, bishop suffragan of Los Angeles, preached. The Diocese of California’s photos are available on Facebook