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.


At 4:01 AM , Anonymous Susan said...

Lowell, thanks for your updates. Other news of the convention is spotty, difficult to locate and lacking color. I always look forward to reading your take on what's happening. Your personal insights and experiences make me feel as if I've been there.


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