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.
Tips for Flips and Smartphones
by Susan Kleinwecher, Social Media Coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
Publishing video to explain and show your event is a great way to connect to your audience. Using your smartphone, tablet, or Flip video camera is an easy way to capture your video. Planning for success includes understanding the capabilities and limitations of these recording devices and how to overcome them.
Smartphones and Tablets: Most mobile device users take decent HD video. Most mobile devices capture poor sound, because the internal microphone is not powerful. Having said that, we always use what we have, because the worst camera ever is the one you don’t have with you. The major challenges while shooting are stability and lighting. This article offers easy-to-read, common-sense tips for lighting and stability, as well as overcoming the limitations of your camera’s sensors: Continue reading Capturing Video to Tell Your Episcopal General Convention Story
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
“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.”
Your bishop and deputies from the Diocese of Fort Worth have just returned home from a wonderful General Convention, filled with a new sense of working together and enthusiastic about a restructuring effort aimed at creating a more efficient church intentionally focused on ministry. A time will be scheduled soon to present to the diocese a formal summary of our impressions and the actions taken at General Convention.
Several follow-up articles and videos about the Fort Worth experience of General Convention will be presented on this blog. We also will share the many reports forthcoming about General Convention from many points of view from around the church. Sadly, an opinion piece published yesterday (Friday) in the Wall Street Journal was wildly inaccurate and misleading.
Responses followed swiftly from Kirk Smith, Bishop of Arizona; Scott Gunn, deputy from Rhode Island; and George Conger, senior correspondent at the Church of England newspaper (which not an official publication of the Church of England).
We urge you to read the responses.
And here’s one from Taylor Burton-Edwards, a Methodist who is married to an Episcopal priest. Interesting perspective.
Something interesting happened at General Convention, and even though I am not present in Indy, I have followed resolution D069 and am compelled to write about it. D069 is, in spirit and intent, a sibling resolution to A025. These resolutions read:
A025 passed by the House of Deputies: “Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church challenges every congregation in The Episcopal Church to have an effective, dynamic and current website by 2015.”
D069: “Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church challenge every diocese and congregation in The Episcopal Church to actively engage social media in its current and future manifestations.”
You may need these definitions:
GC77: the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church
Chsocm: church social media
OYP: official youth presence
Tweep: person on twitter
Before I went to sleep last night I read a Twitter conversation (yes, all conversations in Twitter are public, except for Direct Messages). It started with this proposal:
Affirmations that “testimony by Twitter” was an idea worth pursuing rolled in. Tweeps, from far and wide, listening to #GC77 conversation on Twitter, started chiming in with their thoughts about the importance of the church’s participation in social media. Now, if you think this conversation was just by young adults at convention, but you’re mistaken. Bishops, grandparents, older people proclaiming their advanced age, teenagers from the Official Youth Presence, folks from everywhere chatted about #D069 online late into the night and beginning again in the early morning. They shared their ideas in 140 characters or less. They tweeted links to their blogs where they had already written about social media’s role in the church today. Some wrote new blog posts to give information to those who would speak at the morning committee hearing.
I put my personal thoughts out there after 11pm Texas Time, using my Twitter handle @skwechter, in 140-character-or-less chunks, but I’ll kindly spare you the text-message shorthand I used:
- Episcopalians have always used available technology for evangelism.
- Social media isn’t a quirky playground, it can be used strategically.
- Church social media is as much an idea space as a coffee shop is, full of conversation between real people separated by geography and time.
- Social media puts a church/christian where people ALREADY are.
- “Willful ignorance” of social media is no longer an option.
- Demographically, the younger people TEC needs to reach often DON’T WANT to be reached by email.
- Don’t use http://episcopalchurch.org as example of socially integrated website; the only way to get info is email subscription.
- episcopalchurch.org and its email-only media releases showcase how to be completely disengaged from 2012 Cchurch social media (yes, I really tweeted that).
- There’s so much ground to cover with church social media that our churches need to be challenged to enter the social media arena.
- Wake up the Official Youth Presence to speak about church social media relevance.
- A priest friend says “I’ve done more ministry through my blog and Facebook than any other way since retiring.”
Then I went to bed.
Before I made it to my keyboard late this morning, I knew something interesting had happened, because my phone buzzed. There was a Twitter direct message from DioFW seminarian Jordan Haynie (@GodWelcomesAll); she had quoted me in testimony before the Communications Committee. Great, I thought, hopefully not the jabs at episcopalchurch.org about their frustrating lack of social media integration on their brand-spanking-new website. But I learned from following #GC77 on Twitter that something remarkable had happened in the 07:35am communications committee hearings this morning. Here are some of the Twitter conversation and before, during, and after the hearings:
@#amyphaynie #gc77 #chosm twitter allows me to be present in one committee while “listening in” on others and praying for those also.
@billjoseph “While parishes may not be on FB and Twitter, there are people on FB and Twitter who are not in our parishes”. Well said #D069 #GC77
@Conductor222 #d069 Twitter is enabling me to feel like I have a voice even though I’m not at #GC77 I have a vested interest & it helps.
@stevepankey “Our baptismal covenant challenges us to take Jesus where people are, and people are online.” #OYP at #D069 tweetup #GC77
@EPFYoungAdults #d069 what we do is talk about Jesus. The Church has always mastered communication and we need to master this media. #weneedchange #gc77
@EPFYoungAdults #d069 Episcopal generations speaks to the need for youth and elders to inform each other. #weneedchange #gc77
@episcovol My 3rd GC as an observer from my nursing chair (w 4 different babes) #GC75 #GC76-mostly bloggers #GC77 tweeters have brought it closer #D069
@Conductor222 #chsocm #DO69 #GC77 Relationships are being formed that are affecting me positively in my faith & theological development, I am inspired!
@PamelaGRW “Jesus went out into the marketplace” The marketplace right now is online. #GC77 #D069
@GodWelcomesAll Chair Sherrod: Twitter turned out more people for this hearing than we’ve had for any other. #gc77 #d069 #chsocm #benotafraid
@scottagunn @KatieSherrod3, chair of cmte, suggests that we change sign-in sheet to include twitter handles. #GC77 #GettingModern
@JosephPMathews we want to be clear that social media should not replace face2face communication. #gc77 #benotafraid #D069
@stevepankey: “Our baptismal covenant challenges us to take Jesus where people are, and people are online.” #OYP at #D069 tweetup #GC77
@EPFYoungAdults: #d069 Episcopal generations speaks to the need for youth and elders to inform each other. #weneedchange #gc77
@GodWelcomesAll Chair Sherrod just referenced trolls as she names community policing as a safeguard. #gc77 #d069 #benotafraid
@TheRevEJ No one showed up to speak against #do69 … That’s the future!#GC77
@theologybird: #D069 goes forward with motion to adopt. #GC77
@dianabutlerbass: #GC77 I’m (way) over 35, love words & nuanced ideas & I tweet! Loving that this GC is available via social media. More, please!
Being at home instead of Indy, I don’t know whether the committee needed much convincing, since they had already grappled with A025. But the committee’s decision to send D069 forward was heartening, cementing their belief in the relevance of newer communication channels to the ministry of our church. The creative way in which people of all ages from all places collaborated to fuel the speakers who awoke early to stand before a microphone in a hearing was inspring. #GettingModern #BeNotAfraid #WeNeedChange #ThingsYouWillHearMoreAboutInTEC #AndGodGrinned
The House of Bishops today (July 8, 2012) passed a Mind of the House Resolution unanimously by roll call vote.
A Mind of the House Resolution:
“Resolved, That Episcopalians in the Dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin – lay and clergy – be commended for their unflagging efforts to continue to witness to God’s mission as The Episcopal Church during recent difficult times as they reorganize their continuing dioceses in that same spirit; and be it further
Resolved, that the leadership in each of those four continuing dioceses be commended for their similar efforts, including in particular the Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth, the Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price, Assisting Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Rt. Rev. John Buchanan, Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of Quincy; and the Rt. Rev. Chester L. Talton, Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, and especially the strong lay leadership of each diocese.”
Cynthia Hill, from All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, is serving as an ECW delegate at the ECW Triennial Meeting. She will be blogging about her convention experiences in Indianapolis, and she invites all to join her. Her blog is called Cynthia’s Blog at http://cadhill.wordpress.com. Head on over to her blog and subscribe to get her updates! We have a link to her blog on our homepage sidebar in the Fort Worth sidebar.