Come along to General Convention in Austin

You’re invited to come along to General Convention – virtually or in person. Since it’s in Texas, in Austin, think: ROAD TRIP! It’s close enough for a car, train, bus, or plane trip – any way you can cook it up. General Convention is a great opportunity to see the wideness of the Episcopal Church, observe how church business gets done, and worship with hundreds of other Episcopalians.

Get started with your planning by understanding the attendee information and schedules on the General Convention website

Some interesting things are happening!

July 7-8 General Convention activities – public worship, public witness

Can’t come to Austin in person? Get connected!

Get connected!

Education resources

In addition to worship and legislation, General Convention always features an exhibit area with all kinds of resources. Take a look at a few below.

Norm visiting an exhibit
Norm visits a booth hosted by the Episcopal Conference of the Deaf and visits with a representative about their ministry.

Hope shopping at an exhibit

On the last day exhibits were open, Hope Benko took some time to look at some of the many books and other resources on display.

Forma – Christian Formation

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Forma, an organization dedicated to Episcopal Christian Formation resources, had a booth to show curricula and other resources. Take a look at Forma’s YouTube channel for several short videos on aspects of faith formation.

Education for Ministry

Hope Benko passes by the Education for Ministry booth
Hope Benko passes by the Education for Ministry booth

Education for Ministry (EfM) is one of the adult learning resources profiled in the exhibit hall.  The ministry of theological education celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. If you haven’t been through the EfM program, check it out on our diocesan website and find a group near you.

Forward Movement

The Forward Movement publishes several popular formation resources such as Daily Devo devotionals for families, Confirm, Not Conform resources for confirmation classes, and the Forward Day by Day devotionals that are often found in the tract racks and back tables of churches throughout The Episcopal Church.

In addition to all of these, Forward Movement is involved in the immensely popular Lent Madness. If you haven’t made a bracket of saintly souls and voted on your favorites, try it this coming Lent.

Jordan Haynie Ware stops for a photo with the winner of this year's Golden Halo - St. Francis of Assisi.
Jordan Haynie Ware stops for a photo with the winner of this year’s Golden Halo: St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis is wearing a purple scarf in support of more women bishops in higher offices of The Episcopal Church.


Removing the Confederate battle flag from churches

The House of Deputies adopted resolution D044 – Removal of Confederate Battle Flag. The proposer of the resolution, the Rev. Betsy Baumgarten spoke on behalf of the entire Mississippi deputation. “We felt as deputies of Mississippi we need to speak to this issue, but it’s not just our issue.”

“Symbols are important; they help to shape our belief and our continued understanding of God… We believe it is time we remove that symbol which for some is claimed as a symbol of heritage but for many more has been and continues to be a symbol of slavery, racial injustice, and, now more than ever, a sign of the white supremacist movement.” – The Rev. Betsy Baumgarten

Read the story from Episcopal News Service about this vote.

Help fill in the asset map

Episcopal Relief and Development, in its US Disaster Program, is creating an asset map. Take a look at this video to see how it can help us help each other in our ministries.

Ethan Lowery and Katie Mears of Episcopal Relief and Development
Ethan Lowery and Katie Mears of Episcopal Relief and Development

Ethan Lowery, who works with the Episcopal Asset Mapping initiative, says that our own Tracie Middleton is one of his favorite people to work with.  Katie, who coordinates disaster relief in the United States through Episcopal Relief and Development is a longtime friend of Canon Waggoner.

You can see from the photo below that the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is participating in the asset map.

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We need help filling in the details of what’s going on at each of our churches. Help us out – take a look at our volunteer job board and click on “Map your congregation’s assets.”

Go now in peace… General Convention is adjourned

General Convention has now concluded. Watch for articles to continue to be released detailing some of the events of this very full nine-day session.

Adjournment in the House of Bishops

The Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase presented a courtesy resolution honoring The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori:

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, that the 78th General Convention voice its profound thanksgiving for the leadership and ministry of the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori as she soon completes her nine-year term of office as the 26th Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church, and;

Be it further resolved, she has served this Church as Presiding Bishop and as Bishop of Nevada with great distinction and faithfulnessness, and;

Be it further resolved, she has represented The Episcopal Church in the councils of the Anglican Communion with humility and generosity of spirit, and,

Be it further resolved, her witness has inspired us to see the world through the eyes of one who loves all of God’s creation, and,

Be it further resolved, this 78th Convention offers her our fervent prayers and best wishes as she embarks on her continued ministry after she resigns her office on All Saints’ Day, 2015.

The House stood to applaud for quite some time.

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20150703-applause for KJS

The chaplain concluded with a litany, referencing the words of the Gospel: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

My sisters and brothers, now that your work here is done, we send you back to the fields where God calls you to work – to your people, the people you were chosen to serve.

God, your world is broken, so we respond: Here I am, send me.

God, your people are living in fear, and many are hopeless and lonely, so we respond: Here I am, send me.

God, your people need help, so we respond: Here I am, send me.

God, your children are suffering from the effects of violence, racism, human trafficking, poverty, discrimination, and injustices of every kind, so we respond: Here I am, send me.

God, we know you need someone to be a light in a dark world, so we respond: Here I am, send me.

God, we know you need someone to bring hope and good news to your people, to announce salvation, to proclaim that you reign, so we respond: Here I am, send me.

God, we know that you need to send someone, so we respond: Here I am; send me.

Bishop Shannon then led the House in singing “Abide with me.”

The Presiding Bishop then blessed those present, praying, “The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his son Jesus Christ our Lord, and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you this day and forever more. Amen”

After the dismissal, Jefferts Schori said,

We are now adjourned.

 Adjournment in the House of Deputies

Not long afterward, the President of the House of Deputies, Gay Clark Jennings, rapped the gavel in another room and proclaimed

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Sine Die!

20150703-sine dieAnd the House of Deputies’ chaplain, Lester McKenzie, prayed to close the day:

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Lord Jesus, stay with us, for evening is at hand and the day is past. Be our companion in the way; kindle our hearts and awaken our hope, that we may know you as you are revealed in scripture and in the breaking of bread. Grant this for the sake of your love. Amen.

Then, he added, “I want you to look around as I sing a song to you,” and the House joined him in singing

Go now in peace. Go now in peace. May the love of God surround you everywhere, everywhere you may go.

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Bishop Curry says, “Go!”

Holy Great Commission, Batman! You do not invite Presiding Bishop-elect Michael B. Curry to preach without expecting him to bring down the house, but I think he may have brought down the whole block.

Bishop Cury was helped by the fact that our theme today was the Mission of the Church. It was fascinating to me, as a liturgical enthusiast, that the Collect for the Day, however, spoke not of mission but of reconciliation and forgiveness.

“God of compassion, you have reconciled us in Jesus Christ who is our peace: Enable us to live as Jesus lived, breaking down walls of hostility and healing enmity. Give us grace to make peace with those from whom we are divided, that, forgiven and forgiving, we may ever be one in Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns for ever, one holy and undivided Trinity. Amen.”

Our mission flows forth from our reconciliation to God and to one another.

Bishop Curry built on that theme throughout his sermon. He spoke of the Babylonian Exile, of valleys being lifted up and mountains and hills made low. He told the story of Congressman John Lewis forgiving one of the men who brutally beat him during the Freedom Rides decades before. He mentioned St. Paul and +Barbara Harris (the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion) in the same breath, and quoted “that great philosopher, Frank Sinatra.” Ultimately, he told us,

“God came among us in the person of Jesus to reconcile us to God, to reconcile us to each other, and in so doing, to change the world.”

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The Great Commission then, is us – ALL of us, every single person baptized into the Triune God – going forth, reconciled in Christ Jesus, to do that world-changing work.

“If you remember nothing else from my sermon this morning, remember that first part of the Great Commission: ‘GO!'”

Before worship had ended, Bishop Andy Doyle of Texas had started a hashtag proclaiming #BpCurrySaysGo to exhort his diocese to go forth, listening to Jesus and sharing the Good News of the Jesus Movement.

Whether you were physically present with us in Salt Lake City, you watched the livestream, followed #GC78 on Twitter, or are just tuning in now: #BpCurrySaysGo.

How will you go forth and make disciples of all nations? However you do it, let’s go together!

Watch the video:

Presider – The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate
Preacher – The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop-Elect
Deacon – The Rev. Deacon Jane Holmes
Lector OT – Amanda Zorilla, Official Youth Presence (Spanish)
Lector NT – Diane Pollard
Master of Ceremonies – Margaret McLarty

What’s happening on the last day of General Convention?

On the last day of General Convention, deputies and bishops will have a 10:30 am legislative session and a shorter, final session from 2:30 – 5:30 pm.

The worship service will be a little earlier this morning, at 8:30 am in Salt Lake City, which is 9:30 am our time.

You can also watch legislative sessions in the House of Bishops or the House of Deputies live on the General Convention Media Hub. Here’s what they’ll be talking about:

House of Deputies – view the calendars.

House of Bishops – view the calendars.

Since it’s the last day, the only additional event, besides children and young adult programs, is:

5:30 PM – Joint Adjournment Sine Die

And on the 8th day…

Convention deputies probably wanted to rest… but instead they

Read ENS’ 78th General Convention digest for July 2

Read Episcopal Cafe’s #GC78: Roundup for July 2

Read Act 8 Moment’s #GC78 Resurrection Report for July 2

Worship on Day 8 of General Convention

The sermon this morning was given by the Rev. Colin Mathewson, Priest Associate for Mission, St. Paul’s Cathedral, San Diego

There is a single, eternal, and glorious Word whom we worship here today: the Word of God made flesh who dwelt among us, died on the cross of shame, and rose victorious. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection form the basis of a story that has changed each of us in this room.

Read the sermon text. 

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Presider – The Right Reverend Julio Holguin, Bishop of the Dominican Republic
Preacher – The Reverend Colin Mathewson, Priest Associate for Mission, St. Paul’s Cathedral, San Diego
Deacon – The Rev. Deacon Ema Rosero-Nordalm
Lector OT – Lauren Fallen, Volunteer Coordinator
Lector NT – France Vixamar (reading in French)
Master of Ceremonies – Margaret McLarty


Addressing alcohol and drug abuse

The 38 members of Committee 22 on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse was a last-minute committee put together by the President of the House of Deputies and the Presiding Bishop to look from a wide perspective at the use of alcohol and other drugs by those in our churches – both clergy and lay, as well at as our use of alcohol within church activities.

Unlike most Committees that respond to resolutions submitted, we only had one to review but thought the moment warranted other possible resolutions. That one resolution was changed substantially with the expertise in our midst. The substitute resolution we created, along with two more, were ultimately submitted and made it through the process. All three passed the House of Deputies and moved to the House of Bishops with minimal change and good discussion on the floor of the House of Deputies. The House of Bishops also concurred.

The Bishop of Ohio, Mark Hollingsworth and the Very Rev. Steven Thomason of Olympia were most capable co-chairs, and I am honored to have been a member. The committee’s hope and desire is that each Diocese and congregation will now either begin or continue a conversation regarding our churches being a safe place for all: for those that do not use alcohol, those that may choose to do so, and those in recovery.

Since alcoholism and drug addictions all have biological, psychological, social, and spiritual dimensions, how can we as a church better promote lives of wholeness and holiness and be a positive ongoing support for each person’s journey? May the conversation continue in our Diocese of Fort Worth.

Also it is our hope that the Executive Council will consider a committee to look into other issues of misuse and addiction that may arise in the future. Possible issues are E-cigarettes now as well legalized use of marijuana, as in three states. What should be and will be our response to these “legalized” drugs?

What about other areas of addiction such as gambling, food, shopping, and sexual addictions? How do we now and how can we in the future be a place of support and recovery? While these were determined not under the Committee’s charge, they remain issues.

Let’s continue the conversation.