Top Ten things from General Convention, so far

GC79 isn’t yet wrapped up, and deputies are not yet through the resolutions that they will deal with; they continue through Friday. These are ten of the most important things:

1 Marriage for All (Resolution B012)

This important resolution (B012) seeks to make marriage rites for same-sex couples available in every diocese where such marriages are legal (which rules out some non-US dioceses). On Monday, July 9, the House of Deputies (HOD) discussed it. There was much passionate debate. Deputy Scot McComas spoke in favor of it – watch his testimony:

Our deputation supported it:

It overwhelmingly passed the HOD and went to the HOB.

Wednesday, the House of Bishops (HOB) passionately discussed it, amended it with a small technical clause and passed it overwhelmingly (with a voice vote). It went back to the HOD because both houses must pass the same text. On Friday, July 13, it was overwhelmingly passed.

So what does it do?

B012 directs that provision be made for same-sex couples to marry in local churches under the direction of the clergy member in charge of the congregation. Bishops cannot prohibit this; that episcopal oversight is removed. It authorizes continued trial use of two marriage rites in current use, and authorizes publication of two more. Those two additional marriage rites are the Blessing of a Civil Marriage 2 and an Order for Marriage 2. These two rites fulfill a pastoral need for people who have had civil marriages and seek blessing from the church, and for people who want to make a lifelong, monogamous commitment other than marriage (perhaps so they can keep retirement benefits). The new rites will be available on Advent 1.


2 Book of Common Prayer Revisions

2A Plan for the Revision of the Book of Common Prayer(Resolution A068)

Fear about Book of Common Prayer (BCP) revisions has been rampant: fear that it would be done, and comforts and traditional concepts lost in a cultural re-do; fear that it wouldn’t be done, and our church’s pledge to welcome LGBT and non-binary siblings would seem false and insufficient. Rest easy. A plan has passed both houses that works toward the desired goal of updated, inclusive, and approved liturgies:

  • The 1979 BCP has been memorialized. It may continue to be used with no end in sight.
  • Work is authorized to proceed on liturgical and prayer book revision. An important goal is to have inclusive and expansive language and imagery, and expression of care of God’s creation. Translations will be provided.
  • There will be a more dynamic process for discerning common worship. A new 30-member task force on liturgical and prayer book revision with diverse voices will be formed. Bishops are to engage worshiping communities in experimentation and creation of alternative texts to offer the wider church. There will be churchwide engagement on liturgical development.

The church will bring new things forward as it considers how new and revised liturgies can be given to the church without long and expensive road of BCP revision.

2B Holy Eucharist Rite II with Expansive Language (Resolution D078)

Resolution D078 is essentially another form of prayer book revision. Rite II Prayers A, B, D expansive language versions have been authorized for trial use; Prayer C is referred back to committee for possible revision for trial use. Translations will be provided.

This resolution gives the church the immediate option to use language in our worship that has other than male-gendered images of God, and male-referenced pronouns for humanity. We’ll have expression of a bigger God and our human siblings who are not male and female, immediately. This matters because the words we pray form what we believe.


3 #MeToo

Convention faced the Episcopal Church’s role in and response to the #MeToo movement with resolutions, reflections and the hope for reconciliation. The House of Bishops invited Episcopalians to a July 4 “Liturgy of Listening.” This service of lament and confession centered on stories of sexual abuse and exploitation in the Episcopal Church. The need for work to rectify gender-based discrimination is seen in equality of pay, sexual harassment, sexual abuse and gross misuse of power. Before convention, close to 30 related resolutions were filed.

A video of deputies responding to #MeToo and Church is here:

4 Racial Reconciliation

This Convention has offered expansive conversations on racism and racial healing and spiritual transformation. This topic launched the first TEConversation, held in joint session, with bishops joining deputies in the HOD. The racial reconciliation team developed a reconciliation framework into Becoming Beloved Community, which now is the centerpiece of the Episcopal Church’s racial reconciliation efforts.


5 Revival

Saturday evening Convention learned more about the work and life of love in a revival at Austin’s large Palmer Center. The revival combined inspiring worship, compelling teaching, prayer, and engagement with God’s mission – all for the sake of the spiritual renewal and transformation in our church. Presiding Bishop Curry brought some fire!

Read, watch:

6 Public prayer & public witness

There were three opportunities for public prayer and public witness.

  1. Bishops United Against Gun Violence led daily prayer in the convention center lobby before afternoon legislative sessions.
  2. Bishops United Against Gun Violence sponsored a prayer and witness event at Brush Square Park. Deputies and bishops gathered on Sunday morning to pray and act against gun violence. Read Alternate Deputy Brent Walker’s Revival and Witness and  Episcopalians Unite Against Gun Violence and watch Public Witness: Bishops United Against Gun Violence
  3. A prayer vigil at the Hutto Detention Center was where over 1000 Episcopalians practiced their beliefs, gathering to support parents and children who have been torn apart by our government in harsh immigration law enforcement. Read: Alternate Deputy Kevin Johnson’sJoining Episcopalians at Hutto Detention Center and also Episcopalians Gather in Public Witness Outside Immigrant Detention Center.

7 Translations

There is a hunger in our church (remember always that we’re not a national church, we’re international) for authorized translations of liturgy that actually work, certainly in Spanish, French, and Haitian Creole. A couple of points to make here. 1. The Spanish and French translations of the 1979 BCP are wooden, almost word-for-word translations, thus often unspeakable and generally unworkable. “It’s like you’re thinking in English and trying to write in Spanish,” one speaker shared. 2. On Haitian Creole: Haiti is our largest diocese, and the translation of the 1979 BCP provided for them was French, which only a small part of their population speaks. A Haitian spoke about this, calling out something like this: “Y’all know that the language of the colonizer is still thrust upon us, right?” It’s kind of a double whammy for Haitian Episcopalians.

Our church recognized the need for translations and is moving quickly to provide professional dynamic equivalence translation in Spanish, French, and Haitian Creole for any new liturgies materials. Translations should reflect the idiomatic style and cultural context of their languages.

8 ¡Cuba Sí!

We welcomed Cuba back into The Episcopal Church after we cut them off 52 years ago in a tense geopolitical time. Both houses voted unanimously to re-admit the Episcopal Church of Cuba as a diocese of the Episcopal Church. Cuba will become part of Province II. The Bishop of Cuba and her delegation were greeted with a standing ovation. Cuba Libre!

Read: Both Houses of the Episcopal Church’s 79th General Convention vote unanimously to admit Cuba as a diocese

9 Media Hub continues to improve

The church’s media hub allows people to watch from afar via livestream and catch up on what they missed with on-demand viewing. Anyone interested in the Convention can tune in to worship, follow legislation, or listen to conversations taking place. The hub features ten separate streaming channels, including four dedicated Spanish streams. Two shows, a talk show Inside General Convention/ Adéntro de la Genéral, and TEConversations, a new format for discussion, are new this year. Viewing rates are high and viewing time is reasonably long. Read: Episcopal Church Media Hub Engages Thousands, Remotely

10 Pigeon

The pigeon in the House of Deputies offered a brilliant levity. Read: Impeccable pigeon captivates 79th General Convention with real, digital presence

There will be more to reflect on

So much didn’t make this top-ten list: creation care, equal pay, immigration, social justice, ministry growth, Book of Occasional Services, Lesser Feasts and Fasts revisions,  leadership, evangelism, Israel-Palestine, rules of order changes to allow nursing moms on house floor with babies, the budget, inspiring sermons… it’s a long list. Seek out information on what matters most to you. One great place to start is at the Episcopal News Service’s General Convention 2018 news category.


Inclusive, expansive language at General Convention

I’ve written a little about liturgical revision at the Episcopal Church’s 2018 General Convention, and I’ve tracked some of the legislation as it was worked in committee and appeared in legislative sessions. A commitment to inclusion is very present in the actions of our church. Part of that is inclusive language in our worship. Another part of that is language that expresses the expansive image of God. This is a multi-layered thing, intersecting other Convention initiatives, and it’s  been visible in many ways.

A wee look at inclusive language

Let’s have a wee look at inclusive language, courtesy of the church glossary:

Inclusive language:
Spoken and written language that intentionally avoids word use that is needlessly gender-specific or exclusive. Inclusive language also means the use of male and female imagery and metaphors in a balanced way to express the truths we know of God. Inclusive language may challenge the church to discover new depths of meaning and possibility in the words of faith that we use.


Traditional English usage referred to God and humanity with male pronouns. A male pronoun was often used “generically” when the pronoun could refer to either a woman or a man. This traditional English usage came to be perceived as demeaning and exclusive of women. It was judged to be offensive by women and men who called for a more inclusive use of language, especially in the life and worship of the church. This call for inclusive language was rooted in the theological understanding that God includes and transcends human masculinity and femininity. God is neither male nor female. Both women and men are equally loved and included by God and should be valued and shown respect in the church’s language.

The overwhelming use of masculine language for God and for human beings is inescapable in the BCP. And there is a plea from our siblings throughout the church to include them, along with proposed legislation to change it.

A wee look at expansive language

Now, a wee look at expansive language, which isn’t in the church glossary :-(. Expanding the words we use to describe God demonstrates that God can’t be contained by our language, and certainly not be contained only in a male form with male nouns and pronouns. Expansive language can communicate the nature and activity of God. Throughout Scripture, God is referred to as a king, a consuming fire, a fortress, a creator, and a still small voice… you get the gist. There is value in a gender-based image of God, but not if it’s always just one gender, and not your gender. God’s bigger than that.

Lex orandi, lex credendi

Lex orandi, lex credendi is a key concept in all these discussions. Commonly put, “as we pray, so we believe.” It means that how and what we pray not only expresses what we believe, it forms what be believe. So if you want to know what Episcopalians believe, you look at what and how we pray.

This formation part is crucial. Our liturgy mostly excludes women and non-male gendered ideas. Shedding patriarchal language isn’t just a knee-jerk cultural response; our worship words show what we value.

Intersecting #MeToo

This convention had listening sessions and soul-searching worship and is paying attention to the harm the church has done or allowed to people. People of all genders harmed by the church are seeking honesty, justice, and reconciliation. And moving past this lamentation, it is hard to avoid that the BCP language doesn’t move us forward in equalizing how we embrace our whole community. “The western European patriarchal decidedly male and decidedly white worldview of our current BCP provides a theological framework in which women and others at the margins are much too easily seen as “less” and therefore more easily exploited, abused, and harassed,” as deputy Katie Sherrod wrote.

The convention is confronted with the low number of bishops who are women – the glass ceiling is real. On Monday, July 9, people wore purple scarves to support electing women to the episcopacy.

Intersecting racial reconciliation

The Church is committed to and is hard at work on the holy work of racial reconciliation, and it is a focus of this General Convention. The venom of racism runs deep and lurks in places unaffected by policy change. I find it inescapable that our BCP worship is fundamentally white Anglo-Saxon and has little option for embracing worldwide cultures. There have been calls for language that includes and welcomes all people, whatever their race or ethnic or regional background. This can go beyond proposals to expand the holy people included in the church commemorations, feasts, and fasts. My friend Katie Sherrod shared, “Revising it [the BCP] to make more expansive and inclusive is not only theological work but also work toward gender and racial reconciliation work.”

We do have some of this already, right?

Yes, Enriching our Worship (EOW) already offers expansive and inclusive language, and has a normal Anglican liturgical flow in all services. But, as a supplemental liturgical text, it may only be used with the permission of the diocesan bishop. And until that bishop-approval caveat is removed, or bishops’ hearts are turned in allowing its use, many in our pews cannot experience common worship with what the church already has created. And until that bishop-approval caveat on use is removed, using what the church has available today cannot expand.

People in our pews and speaking at General Convention are calling for expansive and inclusive language to become mainstream and available to everyone. Freeing up EOW is one way.

Cruise control in worship

A lot of Episcopalians seem very complacent doing cruise control worship. I knew the 1928 BCP words well from my childhood and adolescence. I know most of the 1979 BCP prayers and responses by heart, and I admit that it is comforting. That depth of connection is sustaining in our lives.

That desire that I’ve heard expressed at home and at General Convention to NOT have worship disrupted by anything new is totally self-centered. I’m calling that out right now. It’s “me” over “we.” It’s not wrong to be challenged to see God and other anew, and speak new words together aloud, and share and digest new spiritual food. Change calls us out of complacency and out of a half-a-lifetime of the same words, to experience something new and inclusive for all in.

What if the church liturgy doesn’t change? How many people fed up with the male-only image of God and with the masculine- or binary-dominated concepts of “other” will become infrequent attenders, or seek an accepting community outside of church? Belonging and acceptance are primary motivators in community.

We can’t ignore that shifting church attendance patterns bring oodles of challenges in new liturgy. When people don’t attend as often, understanding liturgy takes longer. And that takes more verbal guidance and instruction from our worship leaders and priests. That’s a change, but it’s not all bad – there’s opportunity there. I hold that inviting and explaining in worship is formational and that it gives us all better tools for evangelism.

So why not leave it all alone?

We can’t ignore the pleas of our siblings (not just sisters and brothers) for whom the words in our BCP are not inclusive. We can’t ignore that the father-king-lord, supreme-and-distant ruler, stratified-anglican-court “power” language doesn’t fulfill all we believe about the image of God, and it doesn’t reflect how God’s people live and move in today’s world in American or other cultures. There is a spiritual hunger in our church for more.

We don’t have to deconstruct what we have. We don’t have to sacrifice the core of liturgical tradition. We do have to offer some moneypay to make a change. We do have to unselfishly sacrifice some comfort. We do have to see community and inclusion as vital – and growing in this new way is evangelism!

Something more, something new

This “more” or this “new” is waiting to be released, or born. I don’t know which. The Holy Spirit is among us pulling the church into this work.

What if there’s no revision, no path for change?

Given the length of time for BCP revision, I can logically expect to be buried with the 1979 Book of Common prayer in its current form.

Grant to us who are still in our pilgrimage, and who walk as yet by faith, that thy Holy Spirit may lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days. Amen

Hearing on marriage rites

My first open hearing at my first in-person Episcopal General Convention was regarding marriage and liturgy changes for marriage rites at the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church. I attended part of the Convention as a guest and wanted to witness discussions on liturgy changes because that’s what I think will most affect people in our communities and churches.

Mawwiage meme via GIPHY

A wee history to catch you up

Let me give a little history to catch any newcomers up, hitting the high points. In 1976, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church declared that

“homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church” (1976-A069).

Since then, Episcopalians have been working toward a greater understanding and radical inclusion of all of God’s children.

Lord help us, we have been wrestling.

We wrestled with ordination: in 2003, General Convention discussed the blessing of committed, same-gender relationships and passed “Consider Blessing Committed, Same-Gender Relationships” (2003-C051). Also in 2003, the first openly gay bishop was consecrated – Gene Robinson in New Hampshire. In 2009 the church affirmed that “God’s call is open to all,” meaning all orders of ministry were open to include all baptized LGBTQ members of the church.

And Lord help us, we wrestled with marriage, again and again. In 2009, the 76th General Convention resolved to develop resources on blessings of same gender relationships, and authorized bishops to provide a pastoral response to the relationships of all church members (2009-C056). In 2012 the church commended a provisional rite “Liturgical Resources I: I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing” for same gender lifelong unions (2012-A049) – subject to the permission of and under the direction of a diocesan bishop. After a quirk of Supreme Court timing, we wrestled through approving same-sex marriage rites in 2015 just a few days after same-sex marriage became legal throughout our nation. The 2015 General Convention authorized the trial use of two liturgies for marriage, available for use by all couples (“The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage” and “The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2”), as well as authorized the continued use of “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” (2015-A054). However, Convention allowed individual diocesan bishops to approve use of these rites (or not approve them), acknowledging “the canonical provisions and theological diversity of the Church in matters of human sexuality.”

So marriage for same-gender people in The Episcopal Church is IMO a cobbled-together thing as we began this 2018 convention. And LGBTQ people have been waiting.

I’m waiting meme via GIPHY

The marriage resolutions in the hearing

The resolutions in the open hearing at my first in-person Episcopal General Convention was regarding marriage and liturgy changes proposing marriage rites. Specifically, these three resolutions:

Now, go read those 3 resolutions linked above. I’m not explaining them here, I’m just sharing comments and observations from what I experienced in Austin at the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

Committee 13 representatives from the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops were hosting the hearing on Thursday, July 5, and the room overflowed well beyond capacity. The committee chose not to move to a larger room that would have held more people, so people stood along the walls, plopped in the aisles, and huddled in the doorways to hear. I was told by a volunteer that the committee had the option of moving to a larger room but chose not to. That was an inhospitable move on their part. This was a hot-topic hearing, at a convenient time. Tsk, tsk.

Everyday people, not just Convention deputies, were invited to sign up to testify to the committee; to speak, one had to register 30 minutes before the hearing.

I’ll share some of what I heard. There were many voices from our neighbors in the Diocese of Dallas, in the state of Texas, the Diocese of Tennessee, the Diocese of Albany, and Province Nine. There were voices from other places, too.

In opposition to including LGBT people in our BCP marriage rites, I heard:

  • It “negates my marriage vows” for others to have access to the same rite.
  • We’ve worked to “restore faith in the National Church.”
  • It’s “culturally driven.”
  • It will “widen the gap” between the Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches.
  • It’s “revisionist Christianity.”
  • A change in the Prayer Book is a “change to doctrine.”
  • “Don’t separate us from the Church catholic.”
  • Same-sex marriage is not in the Bible. So it’s not biblical. So we shouldn’t have it in the BCP.
  • Sameness” will make people leave the church.
  • Theologically redefining marriage is not aligned with scriptures. A085 “alienates conservative churches and dioceses.”
  • BCP revision labels “faithful Episcopalians” as perpetrators. Drop the “Puritainizing” efforts.
  • Proposed changes alienate those with traditional views.
  • BCP change is divisive. Unity matters now. Don’t break parts off of the church.
  • God made us man and woman. His word is perfect. Now at my age I have to learn he is wrong?
  • “Better to obey God than man.”
  • “DEPO works!” (That’s Delegated Episcopal Oversight, where a congregation moves out of the oversight of their geographical bishop.) “There’s something in B012 for ‘both sides!’”

In favor, I heard and noted these stories:

  • One member of Transfiguration in Dallas shared, that the church who baptised her son now denies him the sacrament of marriage. She urged the church to move forward and provide all the sacraments of the church to all the baptised, and stop telling people they are unworthy of some sacraments.
  • A psychologist who sees LGBT children afraid. They have fear of conversion therapy. They have fear of church. The Episcopal Church has mixed messages in some ways: all are welcome, but policy contradicts that.
  • “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Make marriage rites available to all clergy to administer.
  • A married gay priest who was denied marriage but who was blessed in his marriage with, “I will bless you, and you will be a blessing,” has a daughter who was recently baptised. He shared, “explain to my daughter baptised in our church how her parents’ relationship is unequal.”
  • A non-binary person, themself a postulant, recounted feeling “lesser” in the Roman Catholic church. It’s a “fluke of geography” that the postulant and their fiancé are welcome. Don’t continue to “perpetuate bigotry against people like me.” These changes don’t take away anything, they give more rights and options.
  • We are in a spiritually-hungry time. This is good, spiritual change.
  • An immigrant who would have been outed from her original diocese in Peru shared that “marriage for all unites.” “Many of you have been loved by this church for a very long time. Some of us have not.”
  • A rector in Dallas voiced that he’s prohibited from extending an approved church sacrament to LGBT people living faithful, holy lives in commitment to one another. Yet bishops and their consciences are more important than people and their sacraments.

I heard quite a lot of perspectives as I saw Episcopalians wrestling with marriage, this sacred ritual that acknowledges and celebrates, before God and the community, the desire of the couple to enter a lifelong covenant.

Ah, twue wuv. And the role of the church in blessing it in a lifelong union. And the role of community in what they embrace.

News story on this hearing

The Episcopal News covered this hearing and a hearing later Thursday evening. Read their story Marriage-equality resolutions get long airing during committee hearings.

Marriage in the Diocese of Fort Worth

What is marriage in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth? When two people desire to form a lasting, lifelong partnership with each other in God’s love, they turn to marriage. Read about this union.

Marriage in The Episcopal Church

The Princess Bride mawwiage scene

In case you are unfamiliar with the mawwiage references here, or if you want more mawwiage and twue wuv from the 1987 romantic comedy, go here. (And do note the power plays and manipulation as you watch.)

OMG, General Convention is Busy!

I’ve not been to Episcopal General Convention before, but I went as a guest Thursday through Saturday.

It’s eye opening. 

Now, I’m not a complete noob to this churchwide convention. In my role on the Diocese of Fort Worth communications team, I published information for our deputies in 2012 and 2015. I watched the live stream, I read and tracked important legislation so I could publish about it on Facebook & Twitter, and I voiced what mattered for our diocese and our people.

But I have to say this from my three in-person days at this Convention – our deputation is crazy busy! Legislative committees meet at 7:30 am, after lunch, and again at 7:30 pm to deal with the important resolutions they want to put before the Convention. There are morning and afternoon legislative sessions in the House of Deputies and House of Bishops, and our people are tracking discussion about and progress of each resolution in each house. Our deputies are discussing the “big picture” of resolutions as well as the small details.

The work of committee meetings and hearings

I want to say more on committee work and committee meetings and committee hearings. We have many members of our deputation who are serving on committees:

  • Katie Sherrod is the chair of the deputation and serves on the Committee on Churchwide Leadership
  • Kathleen Wells and Janet Waggoner are serving on the House of Deputies Resolution Review Committee
  • Katheen is also serving on the Constitution and Canons committee
  • Aidan Wright is assistant secretary to the committee working with the Episcopal Church in Cuba
  • Marti Fagley is serving on the Credentials Committee
  • Carlye Hughes is the Secretary for the Racial Justice and Reconciliation committee
  • Tracie Middleton is serving on the committee for the Certification of Minutes
  • Janet Waggoner is also serving on the House of Deputies Special Committee on Sexual Harassment and Exploitation
  • Bishop Mayer serves on the Christian Formation Committee

And our deputies and alternates who aren’t on committees are constantly working to gain insight from other committees where we have no diocesan representatives. They are attending open committee meetings and tracking resolutions and reporting back to the deputation on what’s happening and the details of how it unfolded in committee. Plus, if they want to speak in open committee meetings, they must arrive 30 minutes before the start to sign up to speak publicly; this speaking cuts into lunch or dinner time. You’d think that lunch and dinner would be a respite, and it can be, yet luncheons and dinners and gatherings with partner organizations are added into individual agendas. Folks are always rushing to whatever’s next.

Oh, and don’t dismiss the preparation it takes to to speak convincingly to the public!

When we next elect deputies to General Convention…

Some people may have the incorrect perspective that General Convention is like a conference with an education and social focus; it barely has those things squeezed in.

General Convention is the diverse Church at large, with individuals doing hard work at a quick pace in long meetings. It takes preparation. It takes grace to listen and speak when viewpoints differ drastically. It takes guts to speak and act to give voice to what our changing church can become when others around you don’t share a similar vision of that future. So, we need to continue to elect deputies who are willing to do this hard work. We elected a great bunch to serve in 2018:

Writing About the 2015 Episcopal General Convention

Who, me? Write? I’m not a Reporter!

by Susan Kleinwechter, social media coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

It might have gone down like this: the bishop said, “You folks are all going to write during General Convention, and we are going to publish it. We’re not waiting until we get home.” Blank stares around the room, curt, affirmative nods, except from the excited communications director, who worked late into the night to get a small team very busy on the how. (There will be more on that). Did something like that happen with your convention possee?

For the next few weeks, deputies and alternates from all over the country are asked to become content creators and to publish things digitally. So here are some basic instructions for folks who are writing and publishing:

  1. You must contribute.
  2. Write about what is going on.
  3. Write about the context surrounding what is going on.
  4. Write what you think about what is going on.
  5. Write about how you feel about what is going on.
  6. Write about your spiritual experiences, connections and revelations.

    Continue reading Writing About the 2015 Episcopal General Convention

Who, me? You say I should “be social” at General Convention?

The Strategy of Using Social Media at the Episcopal General Convention

by Susan Kleinwechter, social media coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

The 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church brings the opportunity for participants to share so much of their experiences in the governance of TEC and the shaping of the future of the church. And it is vital to do so, in ways perhaps unfamiliar to many. It’s insufficient in 2015 to simply go home and write a 2-page reflection and publish it along with the rest of your July news and email or snail-mail it to your normal recipients in your newsletter. Yes, by all means, do that, but do more, and do it during General Convention.

The “more” is important. It is vital to the life of our church in a time that we so clearly need to grow and reach further, especially to younger audiences, ones that will become the leadership of our church. It is vital to help “folks at home” understand the topics and discussions and decisions that shape our church. It is important that we do this in a social context, because that’s where our reach is both strategic and effective.

It is heartening that so many dioceses have launched their convention publishing initiatives and sites, realizing why social media coverage is so important now:

  • Social networking has twice the click-throughs as email, reaching more of your audience.
  • Conversation about a subject engages more people than reporting about a subject.
  • Pictures and videos elicit more engagement than other forms of digital publication.
  • Social networking is a powerhouse for encouraging online engagement, improving and driving how people connect to your information.
  • When people feel more connected, they participate more and give more.

Continue reading Who, me? You say I should “be social” at General Convention?

Handy WordPress Tutorials for 2015 General Convention

Good stuff to get you started being a General Convention blogger

by Susan Kleinwechter, social media coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

Not everyone on our deputation is familiar with our website platform WordPress, so we’ve found some information for our self-starting deputies to equip themselves with the details of posting in our General Convention blog.

We’ve found the handiest bunch of video tutorials: WordPress101Tutorials 

Capturing Video to Tell Your Episcopal General Convention Story

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 cKeep it steady! Pan slowly!onnect 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

Using Facebook for 2015 Episcopal General Convention

by Susan Kleinwechter, social media coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

What Facebook is: Facebookit’s the largest social network in existence, used more than any other on the planet.

Not on Facebook? GetStarted! Go to and create an account. Set up your account, upload your image/avatar. Find some friends! You’ll find people you know on Facebook, along with organizations you care about. Need help? Facebook has help here; you bet they want you to understand and succeed using their services. One good tutorial if you’re not familiar with Facebook is Facebook 101 from the Goodwill Community Foundation; they walk you through various privacy settings in your account and help you master posting.

Connect with the Diocese: Go to and “Like” the diocese page. This will allow you to receive updates to the page and post to the page.

Post to our Diocesan Facebook Page: Our page allows posts by fans. Go for it! Post your resources, information, and links to blogs on our page; post to your personal profile as well. Page admins may re-post your information to extend its reach.

Continue reading Using Facebook for 2015 Episcopal General Convention

Using Pinterest for 2015 Episcopal General Convention

You mean I can Pin about GC78? Sweet!

by Susan Kleinwechter, social media coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

What Pinterest is: CNET says, “If Tumblr and StumbleUpon had a baby, they would likely give birth to Pinterest. Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board with pins; users grab things from around the internet and pin them to boards. Boards, owned by a user, possibly with other contributors, are the organization tool, organized loosely around a topic or interest. The shareable content is called a pin; it is usually an image of some kind, with a description, links, and descriptive tags. In Pinterest the focus is on on quality images. It’s about (1)content (2)sharing and (3)sharing & commenting. Got that? Sharing is real big on pinterest.

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