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.
I watched the live stream from the House of Deputies this afternoon, from home, and watched #GC77 fly past on Twitter, as debate ensued and resolutions were proposed to amend Resolution A049 “Authorize Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships.” Opponents proposed several amendments, all of which were defeated.It was a long, well-debated process, handled with grace and with at least one stop for centering, discerning prayer.
A vote by orders was called, which meant that deputies of the laity and clergy deputies would be tallied separately in the end. Katie Sherrod tweeted this picture immediately after the vote:
Yes, folks, that’s a clear voice of inclusion from the Fort Worth deputation.
It took FOREVER for the electronic votes to be tallied; why, only God knows! The House moved on to other business, namely, nominating people for the vice-president of the House of Deputies. Meanwhile, the clock ticked. As the last action before recess, the results of the A049 vote were announced:
Lay: yes=86, no=19, divided=5; 78% voted yes
Clergy: yes=84, no=22, divided=4; 76% voted yes
Pretty clear, isn’t it?
Shock, joy, tears, leaping, outrage were all sentiments expressed in the twitterverse on this historic vote. At this point, Episcopal legislation is complete; a liturgy has passed both houses of General Convention and will become available for use later this year. The name of the liturgy is, “I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing.”
Members of the Universal Christian Church (UCC) reminded the #gc77 Twitterverse today that they were the first mainstream protestant church to openly bless same-sex unions. Well, now there are two churches.
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.”
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!
We are in Indianapolis, after all, and yesterday, Secretary Gregory Straub celebrated that fact with one of his more, hmmmm, striking sports coats.
Today the House of Deputies organized itself and opened for business. On this, our first legislative day, we met for an hour in the morning to elect a vice president — The Very Rev. Scott Kirby of Eau Claire — and other officers necessary for the running of a meeting the size of the House of Deputies. We then notified the House of Bishops that we had done so, and they did the same to us.
We then adjourned for worship, which meant 800 deputies, nearly 100 bishops, ECW delegates and God only knows how many alternates, volunteers, spouses, and guests began moving from the Convention to the third floor of the JW Marriott (the hotel where the Fort Worth deputation is staying). It was a tsunami of Episcopalians flowing across the skybridges and up the escalators in such numbers that alarms began going off on the moving stairs.
The worship space is a large hotel ballroom, with all that implies about bland decor, but the Indianapolis diocesan altar guild had tried try to turn it into sacred space.
But it was the music and the comforting familiar words of worship that did their usual job of bringing this already-tired, somewhat heat-frazzled mass of Episcopalians into the quiet calm place where holiness lives.
The sound of a thousand-plus Episcopalians singing in harmony, accompanied by organ, horns and choir was enough to stop hotel employees in their tracks, pulling groups of them to gather outside to listen.
The ancient dance of Communion was well choreographed, with ushers moving enormously long lines of people to the several stations for bread and wine, feeding all in a remarkably small period of time. Through it all, the sound of trumpets and a euphonium soared overhead, the sound moving through the room along with the people.
And then we were blessed and sent out to do the work we are given to do, refreshed in soul if not in body.
So it was off to committee meetings, then a lunch on the run, more committee meetings, and then back into legislative session. The HOD moved swiftly and efficiently through several resolutions, among other things hearing from several members of the Official Youth Presence about restoring funding for the Episcopal Youth Event.
I was asked to take part in the Daily News Briefing with clerical deputy Ruth Myers from the Diocese of Chicago and Bishop Edward Little of the Diocese of Northern Indiana. We each briefly addressed the media and then took questions. It was pretty low-key, given that Convention has barely started.
But stay tuned. Things will be revving up soon.
It happens every three years. It’s a combination of family reunion, tent revival, legislation session, county fair, liturgical fashion show, and giant sing-along. It’s General Convention and the bishop and deputies from the Diocese of Fort Worth will be there. What’s more, the whole diocese is invited to come along — well, at least virtually.
The 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church is July 5 through July 12 in Indianapolis, Indiana. General Convention is the governing body of our church.
Registration begins Wednesday, July 4, and legislative committees begin their work that morning. The first legislative session is at 8 a.m. Thursday, July 5.
Several people from the Diocese of Fort Worth will be attending General Convention. Below you will find who they are, what they will be doing, and how you can stay connected to them and to the news from Indianapolis.
WHO THEY ARE:
The Fort Worth deputation is led by Bishop Wallis Ohl. Lay deputies are Deputation Chair Kathleen Wells (Trinity FW), Victoria Prescott (ECPC), Katie Sherrod (St. Lukes’s FW) and Bob Hicks (St. Christopher FW). Clerical deputies are David Madison (All Saints, FW), Susan Slaughter (St. Luke’s, FW), Fred Barber (retired) and Amy Heynie (St. Martin, Keller). First lay alternate is Lisa Neilson (St. Martin, Keller) and fIrst clerical alternate is ClayOla Gitane (ECPC).
Delegates to the Triennial meeting of the Episcopal Church Women are Sandy Shockley, Jackie Meeks, Lynne Minor and Cynthia Hill.
Ministry Developer and Administrative Officer Demi Prentiss also is attending. Lay alternates Norm Snyder (Good Shepherd, Granbury) and Brent Walker (St. Stephen’s, Wichita Falls) are paying their own way to attend.
WHAT THEY WILL BE DOING:
Bishop Ohl will be attending legislative sessions of the House of Bishop. The Deputies will attend legislative sessions in the House of Deputies.(The two houses will meet in joint session on the July 10 for the presentation of the budget). The ECW delegates will be attending daily sessions of the Triennial. During the Sunday, July 8, worship service, they will participate in the UTO Ingathering.
Much of the business of General Convention in done in legislative committees and our deputation will be playing a role in several of them. Bishop Ohl is vice chair of the Constitution Committee, and Chancellor Kathleen Wells is a member of that committee. Deputy Katie Sherrod is the chair of the Communication Committee, and Deputy David Madison is on the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget & Finance.
Every resolution submitted to Convention is referred to one of the several committees or commissions. An open hearing is held on every resolution, and members of the Fort Worth deputation will be monitoring as many of the committees as they can and reporting back to the whole deputation each day.
Eucharist will be celebrated everyday day at 8:30 am Central, except the final day (July 12) when it will be celebrated at 10:30 am Central. Each day, Eucharist and the sermons will center on an important figure from Holy Women Holy Men, a listing of saints who are commemorated in the calendar of the Episcopal Church.
General Convention worship services will be featured live on the Media Hub athttp://
There are many other events held in conjunction with General Convention — seminaries have banquets, various church-related organizations have events (films, tributes, dinners, breakfasts, etc) and various ministries have gatherings. The Exhibits Hall is enormous and is always filled with interesting and enticing goods and information.
HOW TO STAY CONNECTED:
Diocesan website: Episcopaldiocesefortworth. org – This will be the place where you can get connected to everything else we will be doing, or you can go directly to any of the other places we will be posting content. See below.
General Convention blog: FortWorth.GoesTo.EpiscopalGeneralConvention.org This will be our primary publishing vehicle while in Indy. You can visit it, or subscribe to it to receive updates. Feel free to ask questions and add comments.
Social media: Follow breaking news and engage in the conversation on
Twitter (twitter.com/DioFW or follow hashtag #GC77)
We also will be posting content on a site set up by the Diocese of Maine that will feature 3-minute video updates — http://indy300.net/
The Media Hub presented by the Office of Communication of The Episcopal Church. Will include Episcopal News Service reports, videos, blogging, Twitter feeds, photo galleries, live webcasting, legislation tracking and commentary. The Media Hub will be available July 1 at http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/gc2012/
Policy wonks can see every resolution filed at Scott Gunn’s blog Seven Whole Days
http://www.sevenwholedays.org/2012/06/22/resolutions2012/ Scott will be blogging daily during convention.
The General Convention website http://www.generalconvention.org/ run by the General Convention Office, provides no subscription content, but you can get information on legislative committees, download the Blue Book and schedules, and track the progress of resolutions as they move through committees and onto the floor of the House of Bishops or House of Deputies. Tracking will become available July 5, the first legislative day.