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.

Reflections on Worship – Wednesday, Day 7

The Eucharist this morning honored Hiram Hisanori Kano, a Japanese-American modern saint. As is traditional in Japan, the call to worship was done by the Kenshin Taiko Drummers.

What a welcome to worship!!

The Bishop of Utah, Rt Rev Scott Hayashi was our celebrant with Rev Rebecca Stephens as the preacher. Two weeks ago, I was attending the Daughters of the King Triennial on the mountain top in Midway, UT and Rev. Stephens had addressed us there so I knew we were in for a treat!


The Gospel lesson was on the lost sheep. She shared her story of having been sexually abused by a trusted adult after the loss of her father at a young age. She has turned these painful experiences into ministry for other lost sheep–women who have been “pushed out of the herd by overwhelming issues of injustice in this world.”

She shared the power of healing by love that Magdalene House has had on human trafficking victims in their two-year program. She also shared how The Episcopal Church has taken the lead in housing first to get women off the streets.

Another aspect of her ministry is Thistle Farms that gives these women skills to make their own way and wages. They invest in geranium farms in Africa that gives the women in African villages a way out of poverty after the ravages of war have destroyed their villages and their lives.  The products they sell are made with the geranium oils and tea these women grow.  She reminded us that “love is the most powerful force of change in our world.”  We are called to effect change. Another charge we were given was “heal women, heal a village and leave no one behind.”

We continued our service with the passing of the peace and the consecration of the elements.


Members of the National Altar Guild are responsible daily for setting the altar, providing the loaves of fresh bread and wine for thousands. I have tried to count the baskets of bread and pitchers of wine that are blessed but it is almost impossible – the altar is quite large and is totally covered with all of these. An army of Eucharistic ministers and priests systematically take their designated items from the alter after the consecration to go to the multiple stations around the worship hall. For every basket of bread, there are two chalice bearers and there are 2-3 teams serving a minimum of six stations. Our own Sandy Shockley and Brent Walker have been Eucharistic servers.  It is a well-orchestrated event that is quite impressive.

As we concluded our service our postlude was again the Taiko Drums reminding me to listen to the rhythm of the Holy Spirit in my life and do what I can to bring the lost sheep back into the fold.

Lord of the ages, hear my prayer.

Presider – The Rt. Rev. Scott Hayashi, Bishop of Utah
Preacher – The Reverend Becca Stevens, Thistle Farms
Deacon – The Ven. Betsy Bennett
Lector OT – Kevin Smallwood, Episcopal Service Corps
Lector NT – Bernadette Ellorin (Tagalog)
Master of Ceremonies – Margaret McLarty

Thistle farms on Twitter:

@ThistleStopCafe , @SharedTrade, @RevBeccaStevens.

What’s happening on Wednesday, Day 7 of General Convention?

Legislative committees are meeting Monday through Thursday this week from 7:30 to 9:00 am, with worship at 9:30 am (Utah time).

Join the service live at 10:30 am our time on the Media Hub.

The House of Deputies and the House of Bishops will meet separately for the morning legislative sessions, from 11:15 am – 1:00 pm and for the last half of the afternoon session, from 3:45 pm – 6:15 pm. Since the General Convention is a bicameral (or two-house) body, whatever legislation one of them passes must then be sent to the other for concurrence.

In the early afternoon, the deputies and bishops will meet together for a Joint Session on Program, Budget and Finance from 2:15 – 3:15 pm.

You can watch either session 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.

Today, the exhibits will close at 3:00 pm.

There are numerous other activities going on today. Here are some that are scheduled:

All Day – Children’s Program
All Day – Episcopal Relief & Development: I believe that no one should live in poverty
All Day – Murals from Haiti
All Day – Young Adult Festival at General Convention
1:00 PM – AA/Recovery
1:30-2:30 PM – Tea with Bp. Li, Diocese of Taiwan
2:15 PM – Joint Session PB&F
3:00 PM – Exhibits Close
3:15 PM – Photo Day
3:45 PM – Legislative Session
7:00 PM – Diocese of Utah Event
9:00 PM – Black Caucus
9:00 PM –  Latino Caucus