Friday, July 03, 2015

The Last Day!

Our Presiding Bishop Elect Michael Curry was the preacher and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was the presider for our closing Eucharist. The members of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Presiding Bishop were given seats in the front of the worship space, so I got some good pictures.

Bishop Curry gave a rousing sermon, calling us to "Go" in the strength of the Jesus movement that we have all been baptized into. I encourage you to go online and enjoy the sermon. He is indeed an outstanding preacher and will bring unique energy to the church and to the world.

One of the most contentious debates has been around the church's strategy toward Israel and Palestine. The House of Bishops took out language endorsing divestment in companies doing business in the occupation and continued growth of settlements in Palestinian territories. We did pass a thoughtful, nuanced, and controversial resolution B013 calling the church into active participation in reconciliation toward a just and peaceful two-state resolution.

A group of 20 bishops have released a statement objecting to the General Convention's endorsement of same-sex marriage rites. Among the signers were 7 U.S. bishops, 7 bishops from Province 9 outside the U.S., and 6 retired or resigned bishops. The resolution passed the House of Bishops 129 in favor, 26 opposed, 5 abstaining on Monday. The House of Deputies also passed same-sex marriage on Thursday in a vote by orders – each diocese getting one vote in each order (clergy/lay) determined by the four deputies in each order. It passed:  Clergy – For 85, Against 15, Divided 6. Lay –  For 88, Against 12, Divided 6. These are overwhelming votes of affirmation.

We passed three compassionate resolutions D033 Supporting Refugee Rights in Central America, D041 Advocacy and Prayer for Syria, and D062 Addressing Prison Conditions and Areas for Advocacy. All of these are available on the General Convention website.

I learned something new in our committee testimony some days ago. In many places, creative priests are doing remarkable Sunday liturgies – many outside of the church walls, many appealing to the "spiritual-but-not-religious" and the "nones" and others who are unlikely to be drawn toward our prayer book liturgies. They are vibrant and growing communities. I spoke in support of a resolution making it explicit that bishops can encourage these imaginative and creative "Rite 3" liturgies on Sundays. It passed.

We passed some new canonical regulations that, among other things, will require each diocese to pay it full assessment (15%) by January 1, 2019. The Executive Council of the church will have power to grant waivers. Without such waivers, failure to make full payment would render the diocese ineligible to receive grants or loans from the Church. In my opinion, this is a change that is long overdue.

Late in the afternoon, the President invited our whole committee to the platform to sing a hymn I wrote in praise of the Virtual Binder, our paperless i-pad that we are using for all of our legislative processes and for our worship. It also references our new digital process for voting and for getting in the digital queue to speak.
Here's my hymn:

A Hymn in Praise of the Virtual Binder
Sung to the tune of St. Patrick's Breastplate

My binder and my self today
   will follow Convention so virtually.
With invocations and play-by-play
   my binder leads me day-by-day.
I love my binder, it guides me on.
  Amendments, motions, that blue, blue book.
With optional kick stand
    it frames attention
in endless meetings with just one look.

Pad be with me
Pad beside me
Pad before me
Pad below me
Pad to guide me
   and control me
Pad in hand of friend and stranger.

My binder and my self today
   will follow convention so virtually.
By invocation of the same
   I pray the queue-master sees my name.
My hands empowered to vote and sing,
   My card secured in the voting thing,
Such power for me is a great temptation,
   salvation comes NOT from i-Pad-ing.

It was a big hit and a lot of fun.

After our song, the House passed by a large margin a resolution proposing we explore the development of a new hymnal. We have set in motion a process for updating both the Prayer Book and the Hymnal in tandem as we did in the 1970's.

We passed a resolution commending the efforts of dioceses to reconcile with and welcome those who have previously left The Episcopal Church and wish to return. And one of the last courtesy resolution thanked the PB Nominating Committee that I served on. That was nice.

Our next to last item brought up our opposition to the Dominican Republic's constitutional court which has been ruling as ineligible for citizenship Haitians living in the DR if they were children of migrant, checking birth certificates back to 1929, potentially making hundreds of thousands stateless because of race. Horrible. Our last resolution also decries the suffering of stateless persons. It is nice to end on a compassionate response to the suffering of some of the most vulnerable people in our hemisphere.

It's been fun to blog again for this General Convention. I started this blog so many years ago that I was able to claim the name Now various forms of social media make following General Convention ubiquitous. So... this is my closing entry. I'm not sure what you do with a last blog. How do you close one of these things? Oh, well. I am thankful to you for reading. It has been a delight and honor to serve the church this way and to share it with you.


Thursday, July 02, 2015

Thursday, July 2

For our morning Eucharist, I sat in the front near the children's area in our worship space. We had lively, driving Latino music that the children and many from the Youth Presence enjoyed with dancing. The Epistle Reader held a child in her arms as she read the lesson.

Our preacher was Colin Mathewson from the Dominican Republic. We had the calendar observation for Charles Barnes, martyred in 1938 after writing letters to contacts in the American State Department objecting to the slaughter of thousands of Haitians order by the dictator Trujillo.

Dean Mathewson told part of the story of the massacre. Trujillo's soldiers stopped people in an organized way and asked them to pronounce the Spanish word for "parsley." The French and Creole speaking Haitians, unfamiliar with rolling their "r's," mispronounced the word, and were killed, "for the sake of a word." Today there are tens of thousands of Haitians being forcibly deported from the Dominican Republic. Dean Mathewson decried the way we divide what should be united – all humanity, for we are one – united by the Word made flesh. During our time here in Salt Lake City, black churches continue to burn. People continue to die for the sake of a word, for their faith, for their race. It is time to stop. Just stop. Stop "we/they" and "us/them." We are all one. Every person is created in the image and likeness of God.

I mentioned the "housing first" model that Salt Lake City has adopted, which is successfully lowering homelessness and costs. At the busy crosswalk outside the Convention Center and elsewhere there are red "parking meters" where 100% of the change goes to the housing first project. There is a sign discouraging giving money to panhandlers. A friend of mine and several of his friends took fruit, food and beverages around to those who are sleeping outside around the neighborhood. Deacon Sara Milford carries energy bars to give to anyone on the street who asks her for money. Others shared their "brown bag" when coming back from a restaurant serving more than they could eat. I am impressed with the Salt Lake City work to combat homelessness.

We returned to debate the budget. There is a proposal for increasing the draw on our endowment (from 5% to 5.5%) in order to fund some new church initiatives. According to our treasurer, doing so would be likely to lower the capital in the endowment. It is a four-million dollar gamble. We took the gamble by a 60/30% vote. We also moved some money from the Development Office to the Stewardship Development (TENS) office. That did not seem like a good idea to me. With those two changes, the $127 million budget was passed. (my numbers may be wrong)

We continued with many, many resolutions, most of which did not prompt too much discussion or disagreement. Just taking care of the good business of the church.

Each deputation has its name on a pole in the area where it is designated to sit. We have a hog hat on the top of our pole. Yellow ribbons identify deputations where a senior deputy is so that they can be consulted over questions of procedure. That's my ribbon. You get one after being a deputy for seven conventions. This is my ninth as a deputy, the 11th I've attended. I'm an old deputy.

One of the more interesting resolutions calls for the Church Medical Trust to reevaluate our church health plan. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has been so successful that almost one-fourth of the dioceses can obtain health insurance more economically through the Health Insurance Exchanges if that were allowed. We passed an option for churches to consider other options, but it will probably not be accepted by the Bishops.

We voted to concur with the House of Bishops to encourage divestment from fossil fuel companies and reinvest in clean renewable energy. The matter does not affect the Pension Fund, but does instruct other organizations like the Episcopal Church Endowment Fund and the Episcopal Church Foundation. The resolution urges dioceses and parishes to engage the topic within the coming year.

We concurred with the Bishops to begin a plan for the possibility of a revision to the Book of Common Prayer.

One of the highlights of the Convention has been the wonderful leadership of our Chaplain, the Rev. Lester V. Mackenzie of California, a native of South Africa. Great energy and love. He added so much to our prayers and spirit.

I just learned that my friend The Rev. Gwen Fry has been elected Vice President of National Affairs for Integrity! Delighted. Congratulations Gwen.

The last resolution of the day (past 7:00 p.m.) is an attempt to equalize same-gender couples in the benefits of the Church Pension Fund, including time that they would have accrued had they had the opportunity to marry. We passed the resolution without the sound of a single "nay." This is a good church.

Away for pizza with the Arkansas deputation on the last night we will all be together.

Thursday, July 2

Spanish. We have the Spanish translation side-by-side with the English in our .pdf online worship bulletins.

I read a touching article by Aisha Huertas Michel of the Diocese of Virginia. She moved from Puerto Rico to the US when she was 12, excited to be part of this new, "cool" world. But she also struggled, "as I tried to integrate myself into a new community. I remember also experiencing micro-aggressions because of the way I looked and spoke. I also remember praying and asking God to just let me fit in and to allow me to be just like everyone else."

As she "succeeded" at covering her accent and fitting in, she began to notice she and others like her were losing touch with the culture and language of their origins. At some point she changed, being less cautious with her accent, looking forward "to the hot, summer sun that always enhances the darkness of my skin." She gladly embraced things of her first language and culture.

"I had one of these 'aha,' "yes, I get this' moments earlier this week," she writes, "as I sat in the bilingual Eucharist at General Convention. As Bishop Katharine began celebrating the Eucharist in Spanish, my heart leapt, and I was instantly taken back to my earliest encounters with God – sort of like certain smells and sounds bring us back to our earliest happy memories. I stood there with hundreds of people but, in that instant, it was just  God and me – God as I knew him way back when, with the unshakable faith of a little girl… Worship is allowing god to speak to your heart, to completely overtake you in that moment and to feel the presence of no one but the Holy Spirit. And, for me, …the way for that to happen in its most awe-inspiring form is to hear the words and the name of God in the way I first heard his name and understood his power – 'Dios.'"
from Center Aisle, Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Here are a couple of links about yesterday's big events in the House of Deputies.

The House provides equal access to marriage:

The House passes significant restructuring legislation.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Wednesday, July 1

Magdalene House founder and our great friend Becca Stevens was the preacher at today's General Convention Eucharist. She is always a spectacular speaker. I will send the link to the video and the text of the sermon as soon as I can. Afterwards I went by the Thistle Farm booth in the Exhibit Hall and it was buzzing with business. Becca was posing for lots of pictures. A good day for this wonderful work.

I don't know how long it will be at this link, but I encourage you to watch this video of the Bishops' March Against Gun Violence. You'll get a taste of the inspiring preaching of Michael Curry, our Presiding Bishop Elect. He can bring the word.

Here's a story about yesterday's debate that resumed today over the structure of the church. As I said yesterday, I don't have a dog in this hunt, but for those of you who do, here's a report about it --

I rested today, and I visited the LDS Family History Library where after a bit of tutoring I did some genealogical research at this amazing facility. It was fascinating. I only made a modest bit of progress, but it's given me a direction for some future research sometime down the line.

As the convention recessed, I heard word that the House of Deputies passed authorizations for the church to offer same-sex marriage. I'm sure there are some nuances, and I will link more in-depth reports as soon as I can. I'm getting a bite to eat and retiring early tonight. Should have a lot more energy tomorrow after a pretty relaxing day. 

Wednesday, July 1

I am pretty worn out and taking the day off from General Convention. I met my colleague Stan McKinnon at 7:00 a.m. so we can swap credentials. Stan is our first alternate, and we are working to make sure he sits at a majority of the legislative sessions so he gets full credit for this convention. That helps with future seniority for committee assignment, and if he serves at least seven General Conventions, he could get his "yellow ribbon" as a Senior Deputy.

At this morning's 7:30 committee meeting of Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Church Music we acted on all of our remaining legislation, sending it on to the House of  Bishops. Of particular interest, we recommended beginning a process for hymnal revision (presumably to go along with Prayer Book revision). These processes take several years.
We also passed an interesting resolution that gives more access for using "Rite 3" services on Sunday with a bishop's permission. We heard fascinating stories about creative churches in edgy places designing their own Eucharistic liturgies especially consistent with their communities. The purpose of this resolution is to encourage such ministry.

You can follow online so much of what the General Convention is doing. I'm going to sleep a good part of the day. If I rebound with some new energy, I may do some sightseeing.

For the General Convention web site:
For the Media Center with livestreaming:
For the House of Deputies news:

For a continually updating list of "Top Stories" from Episcopal News Service," go to:

Here's a report what the House of Bishops in their debate on marriage.

Here's a report on the Integrity Eucharist

Here is an 18 minute interview with Presiding Bishop Elect Michael Curry

This link has five very brief videos about the Five Marks of Mission that we talked about yesterday.

A report on yesterday's release of the budget of the church. The Budget will be presented to the General Convention this afternoon.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday, June 30

Tuesday, June 30

Late yesterday when I served on the Media Panel briefing the press on the day's events, I spoke particularly about two things we accomplished yesterday. I'm delighted that we've authorized a comprehensive revision of the Book of Occasional Services. It will be a resource for many different occasions, both for the church and for family use.  I also commented on our continued process of creating a calendar of observances, A Great Cloud of Witnesses. We also spoke of major initiatives to increase our support for Hispanic Ministries and our presence on the internet and in social media.

I was so tired when I finished, I felt like I didn't have enough energy to go to the Integrity Eucharist, one of the highlights of every General Convention. My friend Bishop Mary Glasspool was preaching, and I love her preaching. It was a disappointment, but my reserves are spent.

I didn't sleep well, so I felt pretty bushed this morning. I didn't even try to put my contact lenses in. Wore my glasses – usually a sign that I'm really tired. We had hearings on most of the other legislation that our committee is responsible for. It was enjoyable and passionate testimony. I particularly liked the witness who made an analogy between the early Church's Judaic roots – everyone who was part of the early community was circumcised – and today's conversation about the necessity of baptism for being in the Eucharistic community. The early Church let go of that profound biblical precedent in order to be inclusive. Maybe we should be more welcoming to communion, not requiring either circumcision or baptism before incorporation which leads to baptism.

Our preacher at this morning's Eucharist was The Rev. Kimberly Johnson, preaching on the celebration of James Weldon Johnson, the author of the wonderful hymn "Lift Every Voice and Sing." We sang it with gusto (and I can't sing it without some tearful choking). During her sermon, Kimberly told a story of her student communities working to delay or commute the execution of a Georgia death row resident whose guilt had come into great doubt. He was executed. A dejected group, many angry, gathered in defeat. At some point, a tall, black student stood and began to sing Life Every Voice and Sing, including these words from the second verse:

We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
we have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last
where the white gleam of our star is cast.

This morning we had a special joint meeting of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies to have discussion within each diocese, including alternates and members of the Episcopal Church Women Triennial. Our topic: the Five Marks of Mission.
They are:
   1. To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.
   2. To teach, baptize and nurture new believers.
   3. To respond to human need by loving service.
   4. To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation.
   5. To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

We had a set of three questions for each of the Five Marks, identifying and imagining ways we can implement them in our congregations and dioceses.

We also had a celebration of the ministry of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefforts-Schori in an event hosted by PBS broadcaster Ray Suarez. Former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold was with us and addressed the house.

We passed two resolutions supporting alcohol responsibility supporting policies similar to St. Paul's alcohol policies.

We celebrated 75 years of outreach ministry through Episcopal Relief and Development and its predecessor, the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief. Members of the Convention set a $75,000 fund raising goal. Through many creative means, we raised over $120,000. Many of the leaders celebrated on the podium.

I got word from a friend that the House of Bishops has declined by two votes to authorize a task force to study the theology of opening communion to the unbapized. I'm disappointed. This is one of those issues that creates strange bedfellows. Many believe that we should be inviting people primarily to baptism and that Eucharist is for the family of Christ. Others believe that Christ's example of eating with all is our strong evangelistic tool for inviting seekers to the table and then bringing them to baptism. The discussion has theological implications.

We went into a special session to discuss three significant resolutions about the structure of the Episcopal Church. I'm sorry, but I'm not a very good reporter on this topic. I find I cannot generate much energy and interest around it. One of the most significant aspects would be for the funding of the church budget to change from an "asking" for 19% to an "assessment" of 15%, with some sanctions. I like that. We would have only two permanent standing commissions – Constitutions and Canons, and Liturgy and Prayer Book. Otherwise, we would have Task Forces with sunset dates. We had a long period of questioning about the structure resolutions, which were extended when there were more questions that were not answered within the time frame. Then we had extended debate, which was ended when we realized that we did not have Spanish translations for the resolutions in question. We will take them up tomorrow. We are making such quick progress that the translators can't keep up with the texts. So, instead of recess at 7:30 p.m., we are getting off early at 6:45. Hurray!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday, June 29

Monday, June 29

The Legislative Committee for Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music met at 7:30 this morning. We passed a resolution calling for the Standing Liturgical Commission on Liturgy and Music to begin a process of developing a plan for a revision of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. We also passed a resolution to study the possibility of changing our canons to allow communion to the unbaptized.

Note: When we pass something in our committee, it still has a long route to take. It goes from our committee to the House of Bishops. If they make a change, it must come back to us before going to the House of Deputies. Both houses must pass the exact same resolution for it to be passed.

Our preacher at today's Eucharist was Archbishop Vicken Aykazian of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in America. He spoke with passion about the Armenian genocide one-hundred years ago. As he spoke, my friend Sam Totten came to mind. Sam is a genocide scholar, retired from the U of A, who has risked his life several times to bring resources to the people in the Nuba Mountains who are suffering a genocide by starvation and military bombing from the forces of President Omar al-Basir, indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). St. Paul's has contributed to Dr. Totten's work, and we encourage our friends to write the President and Secretary of State to act to resist this genocide.

We returned to the House of Deputies. We honored our former Secretary Gregory Straub, a delightful and quirky beloved leader. We had some elections. They went much more smoothly. We passed a resolution encouraging Interfaith Engagement. There is a resource for interfaith work on the Episcopal Church website.

We passed support for anti-racism leadership training. We authorized development of an online resource list and library of materials for licensed lay leadership in small congregations.

I joined the other officers of my committee to present two resolutions that Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music has worked on. The comprehensive revision of the Book of Occasional Services was the resource that I chaired through a sub-committee. It was adopted by the House of Deputies without amendment and adopted today by the House of Deputies without amendment. I'm delighted!

Our other resolution was the authorization of the preparation of A Great Cloud of Witnesses (GCW). We took the entire allotment of 30-minutes of time for debate. There was an amendment that downgraded the resource from being "authorized" to being "made available for publication and distribution… for devotional or catechetical use, or use in public worship." With that amendment the resource was passed by a large majority.

We passed a resolution to support Latino ministry. We passed a resolution to create a network for planning congregations and supporting their leadership and development. We passed a resolution to promote revitalization of congregations through collaboration and coaches.

Many of the resolutions we are passing have significant "price tags." All of these will be adjusted in the budget process, many will be unfunded. Some of the resolutions call for external processes for fundraising.

We've set a special order to consider the various resolutions dealing with all of the work during the past three years examining the structure of the Episcopal Church. We will undertake that work tomorrow at 5:00.

We debated a resolution on decreasing gun violence, supporting laws that require criminal background checks for all gun purchases, ban transactions on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, ban full-automatic weapon conversion kits, tighten laws and increase penalties for gun trafficking and "straw purchases," prohibit gun purchases without evidence of gun safety training, and recognize the impact of existing inheritance laws on the transfer of gun ownership. One of the first speakers supporting the bill was a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA). She said that all of the proposals of this resolution are also policies supported by the NRA. The resolution passed. Later we passed a subsequent resolution to support handgun purchaser licensing, also endorsed by our NRA deputy.

We passed a resolution supporting a $15/hour minimum wage or a living wage. We passed a resolution to urge all persons, public, governmental, and religious institution to discontinue the display of the Confederate Battle Flag. We passed a resolution to develop an online evangelism initiative. We passed a resolution requesting dioceses and parishes to study the resources already created in our report on the study of marriage, and to continue the work of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage.

While we were working this afternoon, the House of Bishops passed some liturgies for Same-sex Marriage. For a report about that, see the link below. The legislation still needs to come to the House of Deputies.

As we were finishing the session, I was asked by the media folks to be one of the two briefers from the House of Deputies for the daily Press Conference. Two conventions ago I did the briefings nearly every day. Since I am an officer on the Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music committee, and there was some buzz about what we accomplished today, I got to be part of the daily press briefing. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday, June 28

Sunday, June 28

At yesterday's Eucharist, our preacher was a young Native American priest, the Rev. Cathlena A. Plummer, daughter of the late Bishop Stephen Plummer. She has worked as a shepherd, caring for her family's flock of sheep. She told a moving story of searching for some lost sheep and hearing a voice that guided her. Please enjoy her fine sermon, text or video at:

Yesterday as I was leaving the Convention Center, a priest spoke to me to tell me that it was at St. Paul's, Fayetteville, that he came to faith. He is now a church planter, and he named his new congregation St. Paul's, after our own church. He is the Rev. Michael R. Gilton, Vicar of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Prosper, TX.

Sunday morning – 7:15 –

1,500 people and 79 bishops gathered near our hotel for a march through a portion of Salt Lake City organized by a number of bishops concerned by the "Unholy Trinity of Racism, Poverty, and Violence," marching as Episcopalians Against Gun Violence.

At 10:00 we gathered for the U.T.O. ingathering and the Sunday Eucharist of General Convention, always a highlight. The contributions from UTO representatives from every diocese added up to almost $4.8 million.

So many times at this Convention, I've found myself moved to tears. Another happened this morning during the reading of the Epistle. The lector was a young man overcoming a stuttering impediment. He read with grace and courage. When he was finished, he was met with a generous applause. I love this church.

Katharine Jeffert-Schori preached a fine sermon for our Eucharist, using the compelling readings for this Sunday.

In the afternoon, we passed an excellent resolution urging congregations and dioceses to advocate for sensible and compassionate reforms in our mass incarceration system. Our congregation has begun to know many people who are serving time and many who are being released after doing so. Resolution A011 (the substitute which was passed) has 14 possible initiatives to address the destructive consequences of our mass incarceration system. I went to the podium to encourage deputies to add one more to that list: In many states people convicted of a felony and/or serving time incarcerated are disqualified from many social benefits. A person leaving prison, needed to recreate their lives, may find themselves unemployed, and banned by many potential employers because of their felony record. They find themselves unemployed, impoverished and often in need of creating a life in a new environment away from the influences that may have contributed to their earlier failures. That is the time when they most need the social benefits our society extends to our poor neighbors. Without such benefits, many people find themselves driven back to behaviors and places that create the likelihood of recidivism.

An interesting thing happened as we tried to pass what looked like an innocuous resolution about which cities might be considered as possible host cities for the General Convention six years from now. A deputy added an amendment to exclude any cities in dioceses that do not pay the full 19% asking to the budget. Well… A lot of discomfort ensued. I was glad to see the issue raised, though we are changing our apportionment system in order to get more full compliance. For at least two General Conventions I've tried to get deputies speaking to an issue that has funding implications to say what percentage of asking their diocese gives before speaking about how we should be spending their money. I got a bit of push back on that. Glad to see the anxious conversation today.

We then got bogged down on elections. The new electronic system has some bugs. Off for the night. Kathy is here. We're going out to dinner with some friends.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday Afternoon and Evening

Saturday, June 27 -- Afternoon and Evening

Our afternoon session started a bit late because of the earlier extension to confirm and introduce Bishop Michael Curry as the Presiding Bishop Elect. We passed a significant change in our funding structure, making 15% the norm (lowering from either 18% or 19%, I can't recall) with an expectation of more dioceses reaching that asking.

We passed a strong resolution for combating systematic racism.

We also debated a compelling resolution about study and advocacy to address the high rate of incarceration in the U.S., especially of men of color. In the resolution there are 14 constructive ideas about improving our prison systems. We ran out of time while debating that resolution. I'm in the queue. One of the ideas that is not in the list is something that has troubled me. In many states, when someone finishes serving their time, because they are a felon, they are disqualified from many social services benefits. Many businesses will not hire felons. They can't get jobs; they can't get benefits that help the very poor. No wonder they turn to the familiar quick dollar by an illegal route. You make a mistake, we keep punishing you to make it impossible for you to re-create your life. Our "punishment first" system is deathly to all. Through our prison ministry, I've come to know many of the people who get caught in this system. There's got to be a better way.

In the evening I went to the hearing for PB&F – Program, Budget, and Finance – our appropriations committee. Bishop Wayne Smith joined me to argue for funding for the work of the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music – important work that has been underfunded like many other programs. We had two minutes each to advocate for a remarkable range of work. The church doesn't have the resources to do all that we would want to do.

Saturday morning and afternoon

Saturday, June 27

Our prayer at our Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music Committee meetings is inspiring. We begin with a chant in harmony which continues as we offer our various intercessions. Then we sing a hymn—today Joyful, Joyful, we adore thee. Wonderful way to start the day, as we began at 7:30.

Our hearing involves a number of resolutions. First, a resolution for a process asking the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to begin to make a plan for the revision of the Book of Common Prayer. A169

The next resolutions are hot buttons:
—C010: "Invite All to Holy Communion"—the so-called "open communion" or "Open Table" resolution. More than any other issues, this one seems to divide us unpredictably. Very meaningful conversations. The resolution calls for a Task Force to study the issue. The resolution also acknowledges that many congregations are already experimenting with an open table.
—C023: an amendment to the Canons to relax the prohibition on communion for the unbaptized, making exceptions for those who are receiving communion with an intent to begin or strengthen a relationship with Christ and eventually to become baptized; and congregations which open communion to the unbaptized must do so as part of an evangelistic plan.

Note to St. Paul's people: The Canons of the Episcopal Church require baptism as a prerequisite for receiving communion. Many years ago I asked Bishop Maze to allow St. Paul's to practice an open welcome to communion largely because we live in a university community where many people who are exploring and seeking do so first by experiencing and then by reflecting on their experience. They are first seekers more than joiners. When they have room to explore, they are more likely to go deeper and to be baptized. He gave us permission to do so, and Bishop Benfield when installed renewed that permission for us. It is interesting to me to note that whenever Suzanne or I ask the members of our Inquirers' classes what it was that drew them into St. Paul's community, the welcome to communion is often the most significant and most repeated factor.

The Diocese of Connecticut has proposed trial use of another question to be added as part of our Baptismal Covenant: "Will you cherish the wondrous works of God, and protect the beauty and integrity of all creation?" Response: "I will with God's help."  C015

D036 is a resolution to add to the Book of Occasional Services the "Rite for Claiming New Name" from our alternative service booklet "Changes: Prayers and Services Honoring Rites of Passage." The name change liturgy is used by people changing their names after a marital change, as part of a monastic community, children taking adoptive names, and transgender persons. Among those testifying was my dear friend Gwen Fry, a transgender priest in Arkansas. She spoke of the day when she and her spouse went to the courthouse for her name change. She wished she could have come to her parish church and her parish priest to celebrate that sacred moment. It was beautiful testimony.

When the House of Deputies reconvened, President Jennings awarded the House of Deputies Medal to several great leaders: Dr. Charles Willie, the first African American President of the HOD. He was the preacher at the ordination of the Philadelphia 11, the first women's ordination. When the House of Bishops invalidated those ordinations, Dr. Willie resigned his office. Also awarded were former HOD Presidents Bonnie Anderson and George Werner, and long-time Deputy Vince Curry. Also awarded (in absentia) were former officers David Collins, Scott Kirby, Brion Prior. We continued with a Happy Birthday party – it is the 230th anniversary of the founding of the House of Deputies in 1785.

Business then resumed. A few blocks away at the cathedral, the House of Bishops was meeting to elect a new Presiding Bishop. Not long before our scheduled recess time (1:15), we received word that the Bishops have an election. Our process requires that a committee from the House of Deputies meet with a deputation from the House of Bishops and bring back a recommendation to accept or decline. When the President suggested we recess for lunch, the House refused, wanting to learn who was elected. We continued to work.

The committee eventually returned with the announcement that Bishop Michael Curry was elected on the first ballot. The house confirmed. We have elected a new Presiding Bishop at 1:52 mountain time.

We waited about 20 minutes for the new Presiding Bishop elect to be escorted to the House of Deputies. He entered with Bishop Jefferts-Schori and to thunderous applause. It was particularly moving to see so many African American deputies so tearfully joyful. Bishop Curry addressed us briefly. A JOYFUL DAY!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday, June 26

Today is my birthday. I awoke to find a wonderful video message from my grandson Reid, "Happy Birthday to LoLo!" As our Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music committee came to order at 7:30 I got serenaded with another chorus of the birthday song. We passed a resolution asking for funding for the Standing Commission of Liturgy and Music to begin a plan aimed toward a comprehensive revision of the Book of Common Prayer.

During the committee meeting we got word that the Supreme Court had affirmed gay marriage. That felt like a fine birthday present for me. (But my friend sitting next to me, a bishop from another diocese, felt it was a tragedy.)

As we entered the worship hall, a jazz group was playing and singing "Walking in the Light of God"—a wonderful female singer, pianist-clarinet, trombone, two saxophones, stand-up bass, and drums—singing and playing with such energy that I walked-danced down the aisle to get a seat close to the front. They led us singing several great hymn tunes with delightful accompaniment. The psalm included a sung versicle; while we read the psalm verses the musicians played creatively in the background. I was surprised when we got to the postlude, and our wonderful organist started playing an old favorite—the Widor Tocotta—a favorite of mine that Charlie plays so beautifully. The organ soared, filling the hall. But a surprise. Two or three minutes into the Widor, the organist stopped, and the jazz combo picked up the piece, creatively adapted. It was thrilling! The organ and the combo continued back and forth through the piece, until the final crescendo when they joined together for the ending. I had my phone recording and videoing much of it (once I realized what was going on). I'll try to figure out a way to post it. If you weren't watching on livestream, I recommend that you get on your computer with the speakers turned up high and watch it online. (I'll send a link to the service as soon as I get it.)

After worship we held a joint committee meeting with the House of Bishops in order to have a discussion on our church structure. Half of our Arkansas deputation and half of the Georgia deputation had conversation about what we liked and what we would like to change about the work of General Convention, the Church Staff and Executive Council, the Provinces, and Dioceses.

After a quick lunch we came back for committee work. We had extensive conversation about a resolution asking for ways to bring communion to congregations who rarely have access to priests to celebrate the Eucharist. We passed a resolution instructing bishops and ecclesiastical authorities to make provision for such congregations.

At 4:30 we went back into the big Legislative Session. We started with a series of nominations. I had the honor to again nominate Gay Jennings for President of the House of Deputies, who was the only nominee and thus re-elected.

Thursday, June 25

Thursday, June 25 – First Session

After going through the formal ritual of organizing the House of Deputies, President Jennings called all of the young deputies (born in the 1990's) to deliver the message of our organization to the House of Bishops. Among the group was Arkansas' own Thomas Alexander, 19, a student at Hendrix College. As the group processed down the center aisle of Convention, Thomas stopped for me to snap a picture. At our earlier meeting of Province VII, Thomas was elected to the Executive Council of the church, essentially the Vestry of The Episcopal Church.

Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori was the celebrant and preacher for our opening Eucharist. In a later note I will send a link to the sermon text and the video. I found myself sitting together with three old Oxford, Mississippi friends—Duncan Gray, III; Chip Marble, and Kee Sloan. Chip was my parish priest who presented me for discernment to priesthood; Duncan and I grew up together in the church his dad led; Kee and I went to seminary together and were close friends. Chip and Dunc are retired Bishops of Mississippi and Kee is the Bishop of Alabama. I feel like I've known these friends nearly all m life. We're not growing older; we're growing bigger.

11:15 – Legislative Committee. We listened to testimony on several resolutions. The most energy is around a proposal to allow lay leaders to carry consecrated Eucharistic elements from another location to congregations without ordained leadership.

The committee then took up work on the calendar. It is complicated work. Much sausage making. One resolution had five amendments, with much wordsmithing. Takes energy and concentration.  We adjourned for lunch and returned to work all afternoon. Made a lot of progress and finished the resolution that would authorize the Standing Commission on Music and Liturgy to continue the revision of the calendar of observations, now to be called Great Cloud of Witnesses.

We left Legislative Committees and went back to the larger Legislative Session. We had a big job – a complete re-write of the Rules of Order of the House. A team has been working to revise the rules and has done some remarkable work. Lawyers being constructive! It's tedious, but the new President's team has improved our process significantly. Their careful creativity was approved by an unbelievable margin – 794 for, 31 against (that's 96% for and less than 4% against). Wow!

Toward the end of the session we adopted a report and resolution  expressing our "pain, grief, and sorrow" with the families and friends of those killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. We will send a Letter of Condolence from the General Convention.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday, June 24

Wednesday, June 24

7:00 a.m. First Committee meetings. Every resolution proposed at General Convention is fully considered. The first step is to offer public hearings on each resolution. We welcome testimony from deputies and others about the content of each resolution.

So this morning, I had good news and bad news. The good news: the resolution to authorize a comprehensive revision of the Book of Occasional Services had good support in the testimony, committee conversation and final vote passed our committee. The bad news: while that was going on I wanted to be at another committee to testify on behalf of a resolution supporting efforts on behalf of LGBT Anglicans in Africa. I think that other resolution had other good supporters. Can't be two places at one time.

We did good work in our morning committee work and reported out several resolutions. We had a half hour break, and then convened with both the House of Bishops and House of Deputies for an orientation session that included presentations from Presiding Bishop Jefforts-Schori and HOD President Jennings.

Above the dais are the flags of the 19 nations who are part of The Episcopal Church. We are more than a "national church."

The Presiding Bishop used her background as a biological scientist to offer images for the journey and relationships that constitute the living body of the Church. In her talk, among the things the Presiding Bishop mentioned was creative ministries like Magdalene House.

The Rev. Gay Jennings, the President of the House of Deputies, took some time to share the gospel of the day—the Nativity of John the Baptist. (Also the 4th birthday of my granddaughter Laura.) Gay invited us to follow the example of John's father Zechariah—to listen and to understand your identity. Be surprised by the rising of the new in our midst. The new is being born in us, in the quiet of our souls, arising from what is in the corner of our soul, often that which is neglected or discounted.

We were greeted by the President of the Episcopal Church Women who are simultaneously holding their Triennial meeting. A great deal of their focus is in conversation about healing the wounds of the trafficking of women, which is of interest to St. Paul's and our new Magdalene ministry.

We then went through some extensive orientation to the mechanics of operating a nearly paperless General Convention. Every deputy and bishop has been issued an iPad with a Virtual Binder software that will take the place of the enormous paper binders of previous Conventions. (I'm writing a hymn, in process, to the tune "St. Patrick's Breastplate" – I bind unto myself today… is becoming My binder and myself today, will follow convention so virtually… -- more coming.)

Quick lunch in order to return for the finale of nearly three years of work. I've been serving on the Joint Nominating Committee for the Presiding Bishop. Our committee lead the process of presenting the four nominees to the whole Convention: Bishops Dabney Smith, Ian Douglas, Michael Curry, Thomas Breidenthal. Each bishop was introduced by a brief self-produced video and opening statements. Our committee had collected questions from the whole church and organized them into categories. We went through several rounds of questions. I got to be one of the questioners.

The candidates did a beautiful job. Each was himself. I heard a lot of people saying that they were pleased with the nominees. We will formally nominate them in a subsequent session and then the House of Bishops will elect. It's been a delight to be part of this process, and I'm glad that the nominees seem to be well received.

After we finished I went to a reception given by the Washington Cathedral. The Dean Gary Hall is a friend. I especially wanted to say thank you to him and to Bishop Budde who allowed me to perform a marriage in the Cathedral House last year for a faithful gay couple from our congregation. The National Cathedral truly serves as a House of Prayer for All People.

At our evening committee meeting we got pretty bogged down in perfecting the procedure for recreating the church calendar of observances, now being called A Cloud of Witnesses. There's a lot of energy around whether or not John Muir will be added to the calendar. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday the 23rd at General Convention

This will be the only day I'll have time to eat a normal hotel breakfast. Nice leisurely morning. At 9:00 I went to register. Three lines – credentials, badge, and virtual notebook. This will be an almost paperless Convention. Every deputy is issued an iPad with all of the reports, resolutions, calendars and other information to replace the huge three-ring binders of the past. It's promising, but I had to do some preliminary work to be able to guide the sub-committee I'm chairing so we could all look at the same thing at the same time.

After registration I took an opportunity to go through the exhibit hall. (I never got through the exhibits at the previous Convention.) Our friends from Thistle Farm—Magdalene House were there. Learned some interesting things about the "Living Compass" program that I think I want to bring back to St. Paul's.

At noon our Joint Nominating Committee went through a practice session for presenting the four nominees for Presiding Bishop. That happens tomorrow at 1:30.  You might want to watch the livestream.

At 2:00 the officers and aides for the Legislative Committees had an orientation session. We've made a significant number of changes to the process for handling legislation, all designed to be more efficient and more digital. Hope it works!

The first Legislative Committee meetings were at 5:30. I'm Vice Chair of Prayer Book, Liturgy & Church Music. It's a big committee, with 39 members, as well as consultants and aides. After introductions we went into sub-committees. I'm chairing the sub-committee to consider authorizing a comprehensive revision of the Book of Occasional Services. We had a very productive sub-committee meeting and are poised to report out our resolution favorably. If the legislation passes, it would start us on the road to creating a significant resource for the church's prayers and pastoral services.

I didn't get to eat lunch until 4:00, so when the Arkansas deputation went to a Vietnamese restaurant, I just ordered from the tapas menu.

We start in the morning at 7:00 a.m. with hearings. First from our committee will be hearings on the Book of Occasional Services (BOS) revisions. I'm hopeful that it will get positive input and may be one of the first things from our committee. We're asking for funding of $94,000 to do the hard 3-year work of revising the BOS. I think it is a worthy project that will give the church a compelling set of prayers and liturgies for so many circumstances that aren't addressed in the Prayer Book.

I want to testify about a resolution to encourage efforts to support the safety and affirm the dignity of LGBT people in Africa. I travelled last year to Kenya to be part of a conversation group about the Bible and LGBT persons. I have a similar trip planned to Ghana in September. I've come to know some good people who live threatened lives. I may be unable to speak to the committee about the resolution because it appears to be scheduled at the same time as the Book of Occasional Services hearing is scheduled. Two places to be at 7:00 in the morning. I'm hoping something works out for me to do both.

NOTE: Tomorrow the four candidates for Presiding Bishop will be presented in a meeting of both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, 1:30-4:30.  It will be livestreamed online. 


I landed in Salt Lake City last night just before 8 p.m. and learned I had a first meeting to attend right about then. As soon as I checked in I joined them. It was a working group, my presence wasn't critical, but we're off to a running start.

After we finished, I walked to the nearest grocery to get breakfast things for the next two weeks. With our morning committee work typically starting at 7:30, it saves a lot of time to eat in the room and avoid the lines for breakfast.

Here is another good resource for following General Convention: Deputy News – They will produce a summary story of each day's highlights as well as various special interest columns, video clips, paired opinion pieces, and lots of photos. Highly recommended!

Registration starts at 9:00. I want to visit the Exhibit Hall today. Last Convention it closed before I could go through it.


Monday, June 22, 2015

78th General Convention 2015

The 78th General Convention is right around the corner. I'll be blogging again.

I started this blog three Conventions ago in 2006. Part of my reason was my frustration with the lack of secular coverage of the GC and the poor content and understanding. I ended up writing almost like a reporter (with opinions).

Now that we have live streaming access and robust coverage online, I don't need to work so hard. So I won't. I'll offer more of my observations and thoughts than I will do pure reporting. Since the sermons will be livestreamed and printed online, I won't do as much in-depth reporting on those either.

My jobs this time
-- Deputy from Arkansas
-- part of the presentation of the nominees for Presiding Bishop (I was a member of the Joint Nominating Committee).
-- Vice Chair HOD, Committee 11, Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Church Music
-- Chair HOD, sub-committee on A056, Revision of Book of Occasional Services
-- cutting up a bit. (I don't know how to defend my "Bonnie Ball" Championship from the previous Convention.

Okay -- off to Salt Lake City.

Monday, July 30, 2012

General Convention Summary (Last Blog Post)

I’m closing my General Convention email and blog with this posting.

The Episcopal News Service has published a concise summary of the recent 77th General Convention.  That content is pasted below.

I'll start back with my Morning Reflection blogs on Wednesday.  If you are interested, check it out at  Here's what's on that blog each week:
     (1) On Sunday or Monday – Next week’s scripture readings with suggested questions for your reflection and with a link to a practice of Lectio Divina for praying with the scriptures.
     (2) Most weekdays (starting Wednesday, Aug.1) – a brief Morning Reflection that I write about the day’s readings for the Daily Office. 

If you would like to continue to keep up with news and commentary about the Episcopal Church, here are some suggestions.

Episcopal Café   
            Four blogs:  The Lead, Video, Daily Episcopalian, and Speaking to the Soul.
I think The Lead keeps an especially good finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the Episcopal Church and in the Anglican Communion.  (disclosure: Speaking to the Soul picks up my Morning Reflection four days a week)

The Episcopal News Service does a great job of posting news about the church and picking up media articles from around the nation. 
You can subscribe for email updates:
Connect on Twitter:  @episcopal_news

The Episcopal Church has an official Facebook Page and Twitter account:
Twitter @iamepiscopalian

Highlights and overview of the actions and activities of the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, July 5- 12, 2012, Indianapolis, IN

  • We welcomed guests, visitors and ecumenical partners from throughout the Anglican Communion and the world.  The 10-day program in Indianapolis was attended by almost 850 deputies (lay and clergy) and 165 bishops, and viewed or read about online by more than 60,000 unique visitors, including videos played more than 44,000 times, via the Media Hub, Episcopal Church social media sites, Public Affairs page, and Episcopal News Service throughout the course of the convention.
  • General Convention addressed more than 450 resolutions on topics ranging from church structure and governance, to liturgies, social issues and approval of the Church budget for the next triennium, cast against the Five Marks of Mission (listed at the end). New leadership for the House of Deputies also was elected.

Church Structure

  • Church structure: a special task force of up to 24 representatives from all parts of the church will meet in the next two years to review reforms to structure, governance and administration. (C095) Overall, nearly 100 resolutions were presented to the Committee on Structure and, although most were similar, the Committee on Structure considered the many options offered in making the final recommendation. At this time, no decisions on changes have been made. There will be a special gathering from every diocese to hear what recommendations the task force plans to make to the 78th General Convention. The final report is due by November 2014. 
  • The numerous resolutions including asking the Standing Commission on the Structure of the Church to study the current budgeting process and matters of financial oversight (A122), and proposing an amendment to the constitution that would help dioceses that want to merge with another diocese or divide itself into two dioceses to do so without requiring sitting bishops in all dioceses involved (A102).  The House of Bishops approved a move away from, but did not authorize the sale of, the Episcopal Church Center headquarters (D016).

 Liturgy and Blessings

  • Much discussion was held, and significant national discussion ensued, on our denominational response to same-sex blessings (A049). The approved liturgy is for provisional use, meaning that the diocesan bishop has to grant approval for use in his/her diocese even in those states where same-sex marriage is legal.  The resolution is effective the first Sunday in Advent 2012 (December 2).
  • Baptism as the normative entrance into Holy Communion (C029).
  • With the bishop’s permission, congregations may use the lectionary in the BCP rather than the Revised Common Lectionary (B009).

  • Other resolutions included authorizing a task force to study marriage (A050) and  new rites and prayers for pastoral responses to people caring for animals, including the death of a pet (A054). 

Budget, Pension and Development

  • General Convention approved the $111,516,032 budget for 2013-2015. The budget is based on the Five Marks of Mission (see attached).and calls for a 19 percent asking each year of the Triennia. 

  • Bishops rejected several resolutions attempting to postpone implementation of the Episcopal Church Medical Trust. 

  • Dioceses and parishes will have an additional three years to provide parity in health insurance cost-sharing between lay and clergy employees. That deadline is extended until Dec. 31, 2015. (B026) 

  • Resolutions also passed to establish a Development Office to solicit major gifts and other resources (D025) and to create a pilot student loan fund for seminarians who agree to three years in under-served areas of the Episcopal Church (D049). 

Ecumenical Relations and Pastoral Topics
  • Anglican Covenant: General Convention affirmed the commitment to building relationships across the Anglican Communion, especially through the Continuing Indaba program, but declined to take a position on the Anglican Covenant. 

  • The 11-year relationship of full communion with the ELCA was commended and asks the Lutheran-Episcopal Coordinating Committee to address areas where Episcopal and Lutheran practices differ, especially who can preside at Holy Communion and the role of deacons (A036).  The status in the Episcopal Church of pastors in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who had been ordained by other pastors and not by bishops also was clarified (A158).

  • The Standing Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations was directed to initiate dialogue between the Episcopal Church and the Mormon Church in anticipation of General Convention 2015 in Salt Lake City (D081).
  • Resolution A030 establishes how clergy who want to leave the Episcopal Church for another part of the Anglican Communion can do so without renouncing their Holy Orders.  Separately, canons were amended to provide a mechanism for addressing disagreements in the pastoral relationship between a diocese and its bishop (B021).

  • Several resolutions enact a series of revisions to Title IV, the clergy discipline canons, to fix some errors while maintaining the underlying principles of the canons (A033/C049).

  • A resolution was passed to develop a network of retired Episcopal executives to assist dioceses and parishes, modeled on SCORE (D066).

Government Legislation 

  • Israel-Palestine: General Convention supported a resolution on positive investment in the Palestinian territories. Bishops agreed to postpone indefinitely the conversation on corporate engagement. In addition, positive investment in the Palestinian Territories was affirmed and the church was called upon to support “the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian study on peace with justice in the Middle East (B019).”
  • The Convention urged Congress to modernize the nation’s refugee resettlement program (B028). In addition, Congress was urged to halt to the Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s practice of detaining people suspected of being in the country illegally without filing any charges against them (D059).  Also, Congress was urged to pass the DREAM Act (D067).
  • Congress also was called upon to repeal federal laws, such as the Defense of Marriage Act, that discriminate against same-gender couples who are legally married in the states where that is permitted (D018).  

  • The U.S. government was asked to enact stricter controls on the use of carbon-based fuels (D055).

Evangelism and Mission

  • All Episcopalians are being called to be evangelists to help grow the church (D023) and a “social media challenge” calling upon every congregation to use social media in its current and future forms (D069).

  • An “HIV Welcoming Parish Initiative” effort was created to help congregations to become more engaged with people living with HIV/AIDS (A167). 
  • A resolution confirmed solidarity with the poor and indigenous people who bear great burdens because of climate change, with special mention to the Inupiaqs of Kivalina, Alaska (B023). For more information on the Inupiaqs and Kivalina, visit

  • A churchwide response to bullying was passed (D022).
  • Support for the transgender community by adding gender expression and identity to two canons that prevent discrimination: the ordination discernment process is open; and guarantees equal place in the life, worship and governance of the church.

Additional details available at Episcopal News Service:


  • The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings of Ohio was elected President of the House of Deputies. Byron Rushing of Massachusetts was elected Vice President of the House of Deputies. 

  • Executive Council elections: The House of Deputies elected seven lay and two clergy members: Lay members elected for six-year terms are: Joseph S. Ferrell of North Carolina, Anita P. George of Mississippi, Fredrica Harris Thompsett of Massachusetts, Karen Ann Longenecker of the Rio Grande, Nancy Wonderlich Koonce of Idaho, and John Johnson of Washington (DC). Lay person Elizabeth L. Anderson of Connecticut was elected for three years. Clergy members elected for six-year terms were the Rev. Susan B. Snook of Arizona and the Rev. James B. Simons of Pittsburgh.

  • Eight bishops received approvals to their consent process: Atlanta, New Hampshire, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, Texas (Suffragan), Virginia (Suffragan), Western Louisiana, and Western Massachusetts. Related, General Convention approved a change in rules so elections held close to General Convention no longer need to go to General Convention for the consent process.

Anglican Five Marks of Mission

  • To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
  • To teach, baptize and nurture new believers 
  • To respond to human need by loving service 
  • To seek to transform unjust structures of society 
  • To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

It was an honor to serve as a deputy from Arkansas to the 77th General Convention.
 I've rarely felt prouder of the Episcopal Church or gladder to be part of this wonderful denomination.  I find myself encouraged and optimistic about the health and vitality of our church.  I think we are in an ideal position to respond to the needs of our time with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to connect people to the grace and reality of God.