Hello, General Convention!

This is the official blog of the Fort Worth deputation to the Episcopal Church’s 78th General Convention. Stay tuned for news, events, stories, observations, food, pictures, and all the fun you would expect from a bunch of Texas Episcopalians.

2015 Deputation

Every three years, The Episcopal Church has a governance meeting called General Convention. Well, it’s more than legislative activities. According to Fort Worth deputy Katie Sherrod, “it’s combination of family reunion, tent revival, legislation session, county fair, liturgical fashion show, and giant sing-along.”

The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church is June 25 – July 3, in Salt Lake City, in the Episcopal Diocese of Utah.

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is the bicameral governing body of our church. It comprises the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with more than 800 clergy and lay deputies elected from the 108 dioceses and three regional areas of the church. The Episcopal Church Women will hold their triennial meeting concurrent with General Convention.

Our bishops and deputies from the Diocese of Fort Worth will be there to participate in the decision-making of the church, from selecting the next presiding bishop to detailed committee work responding to resolutions to grappling with the recommendations of the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC).

Meet our deputation to the 2015 General Convention and our delegates to the ECW triennial meeting

  • House of Bishops: Rayford High, Scott Mayer
  • House of Deputies – Lay: Marti Fagley, Kathleen Wells, Katie Sherrod, Brent Walker; Alternates Bob Hicks, Norm Snyder
  • House of Deputies – Clergy: Carlye Hughes, Curt Norman, David Madison, Hope Benko; Alternates Jordan Ware, Amy Haynie
  • Deputation Facilitator: Janet Waggoner
  • ECW delegates: Cynthia Eichenberger, Sandy Schockley

Several our deputation members are serving or assisting on legislative committees:

  • Hope Benko is serving as assistant secretary for Evangelism and Communication
  • David Madison is on Dispatch of Business
  • Katie Sherrod is on Governance and Structure
  • Brent Walker is on the Special Legislative Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse
  • Jordan Ware is on the Episcopal Church – United Methodist Dialogue Committee on Full Communion
  • Kathleen Wells is on Constitution and Canons and the House of Deputies Resolutions Review Committee
  • Rayford High is serving on the Church Pension Fund committee

Please pray for Bishop High, Bishop Mayer and the Fort Worth deputation as they attend General Convention and the ECW triennial meeting.

20150626-gc78-General Convention2015 _ 2015_Cynthia L Black_OMG_0260 lo
Front row: Katie Sherrod, Marti Fagley, Amy Haynie, Hope Benko. Second row: Norm Snyder, Joan Hicks, Cynthia Eichenberger, Sandy Shockley, Jordan Ware, Kathleen Wells, Rayford High. Back row: Scott Mayer, Bob Hicks, Louis Eichenberger, Janet Waggoner, Curt Norman, Brent Walker, Carlye Hughes, Wallis Ohl, David Madison.
Carlye Hughes, Cynthia Eichenberger, Curt Norman, Rayford High, Scott Mayer, Katie Sherrod, Janet Waggoner, Hope Benko, Brent Walker
Carlye Hughes, Cynthia Eichenberger, Curt Norman, Rayford High, Scott Mayer, Katie Sherrod, Janet Waggoner, Hope Benko, Brent Walker

You’re invited

You’re invited, too, to come along to General Convention – at least virtually. Subscribe to email updates on this site. We will have links to other websites here, and social media will provide the opportunity to encounter a wealth of information, most searchable on your favorite social sites and apps with the hashtag #gc78 (for General Convention) and #diofw (for the Diocese of Fort Worth). You’ll find links to the General Convention website and to our deputation blog on the front page of our diocesan website.

O God of peace, you have taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be our strength: By the might of your Spirit lift us, we pray, into your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bishop Stacy Sauls’ letter to the Wall Street Journal, and links to more conversations

As a followup to our post on the misleading Wall Street Journal op-ed by Jay Akasie on July 13,  read what Bishop Stacy Sauls wrote to the WSJ. Bishop Sauls’ letter appeared July 20, 2012, on page A10 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal.

Episcopal Church Is Radically Faithful to Its Tradition

Space does not permit a correction of the numerous factual points I could dispute in Jay Akasie’s “What Ails the Episcopalians” (Houses of Worship, July 13). Instead, I offer a spiritual correction.

The church has been captive to the dominant culture, which has rewarded it with power, privilege and prestige for a long, long time. The Episcopal Church is now liberating itself from that, and as the author correctly notes, paying the price. I hardly see paying the price as what ails us. I see it as what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Many years ago when I was a parish priest in Savannah, a local politician and disaffected Episcopalian began a conversation with me. In that case the subject was homosexuality. It could have been any of the things mentioned last week as our ailments. “I just think the church should not be governed by the culture,” he said. I replied that I agreed with him, but that “I just hadn’t noticed that the culture was all that hospitable toward gay people.” He stammered. “Well, maybe not here in Georgia.”

The Episcopal Church is on record as standing by those the culture marginalizes whether that be nonwhite people, female people or gay people. The author calls that political correctness hostile to tradition.

I call it profoundly countercultural but hardly untraditional. In fact, it is deeply true to the tradition of Jesus, Jesus who offended the “traditionalists” of his own day, Jesus who was known to associate with the less than desirable, Jesus who told his followers to seek him among the poor. It is deeply true to the tradition of the Apostle Paul who decried human barriers of race, sex, or status (Galatians 3:28).

What ails the Episcopalians is that this once most-established class of American Christianity is taking the risk to be radically true to its tradition. There is a price to be paid for that. There is also a promise of abundant life in it.

Bishop Stacy F. Sauls
Chief Operating Officer
The Episcopal Church

Many other previous responses to the original WSJ are:

Kirk Smith, Bishop of Arizona
Scott Gunn, deputy from Rhode Island
George Conger
, senior correspondent at the Church of England newspaper (which not an official publication of the Church of England)
Margaret Waters, rector of St Alban’s Episcopal Church, Austin, TX
Winnie Varghese, Priest, St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, New York City
Diana Butler Bass, Author
Sam Lloyd, bishop and former dean of the National Cathedral
Gay Clark Jennings, the new president of the House of Deputies

Tom Erich, writer, church consultant and Episcopal priest, sums up the attacks of both the New York Times  and Wall Street Journal:

“Neither do Douthat and Murdoch’s mouthpieces understand the present moment. Mainline Protestant church leaders are finally getting ready to do what they should have been doing for 50 years, namely, looking outside their walls at a deeply troubled world, resolving to turn their congregations toward being responsive and effective, and allowing young adults into leadership.”

“Now leaders can look outward and onward. Conservatives will find themselves ignored, not because mainline traditions have lost their way, but because they are determined to find their way, and my-way-or-the-highway conservatives have cried wolf too often.

Their next round of emotional and financial blackmail won’t find much of an audience, except, of course, on the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal.”