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. 


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