July 10, 2018
Honoring Episcopal Camps at General Convention
July 9 was "Episcopal Camps and Conference Center" day at General Convention, and Canon Jim White, Kathryn Nishibayashi and Canon Michael Bamberger, members of the Los Angeles deputation, as well as others from the Southland, marked it by sporting Camp Stevens t-shirts. Unfortunately, some of the shirts got a little - or a lot - damp as a summer storm soaked Austin in the morning. "Welcome to soggy camp T-shirt, socks and shoes day!" wrote Bishop John Taylor on Facebook. "Church camp veterans fully understand and embrace the meetness and rightness of this morning’s epic Austin downpour."
General Convention moves one step
closer to sacramental marriage equality

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The House of Deputies overwhelmingly endorsed a heavily amended resolution July 9 aimed at ensuring that all Episcopalians can be married by their priests in their home churches.

Resolution B012, a carefully crafted compromise that its final proposers hope will be accepted by both houses of convention, gives full access to two trial-use marriage rites for same-sex and opposite-sex couples approved by the 2015 meeting of General Convention (via Resolution A054).

The deputies voted by orders and the results were:

Clergy: 96 yes, 10 no, 4 divided
Lay: 97 yes, 8 no, 5 divided.

Fifty-six votes in each order were required for passage. Divided votes are recorded when the clergy or lay members of a deputation split their votes between yes and no.

The resolution, as passed by deputies, provides for:

  • giving rectors or clergy in charge of a congregation the ability to provide access to the trial-use of the marriage rites for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Resolution A054-2015 and the original version of B012 said that clergy could only use the rites under the direction of their bishop.
  • requiring that if a bishop “holds a theological position that does not embrace marriage for same-sex couples” he or she may another bishop, if necessary, to provide “pastoral support” to any couple desiring to use the rites, as well as to the clergy member and congregation involved. In any case, an outside bishop must be asked to take requests for remarriage if either member of the couple is divorced to fulfill a canonical requirement that applies to opposite-sex couples.
  • continuing trial use of the rites until the completion of the next comprehensive revision of the Book of Common Prayer.

The House of Bishops will now consider the matter. Their approval is necessary for the resolution to be passed.

Read more here.
L.A. Deputy Susan Russell outlines path to compromise measure on marriage rites - and explains why it really is a compromise.

The Rev. Canon Susan Russell (pictured at left) has been an advocate for same-sex marriage since the subject first began to arise in the early 2000s. She was a co-founder of Claiming the Blessing, which has sought equal access to all the church's sacraments for all its members, as well as a member and past president of Integrity, the organization for LGTBQ Episcopalians.

As a member of the legislative committee that brought Resolution B012 to the convention floor, Russell worked with her colleagues to craft language that would both guarantee access to marriage rites for all couples and protect priests and bishops whose theology could not accept same-sex unions. B012 itself was a compromise measure that the committee accepted in lieu of a resolution that would have moved to make same-sex marriage rites, which have been in trial use since 2015, part of the Book of Common Prayer.

During the debate on this measure in the House of Deputies, speaking to the original version of the text that the committee had proposed, Russell said: "I rise in favor of B012 — a resolution that will move us beyond the seemingly intractable challenge of living together as a church where the sacramental marriage that has been authorized for all couples in the Episcopal Church is irreconcilable with the theological conscience of some members of the Episcopal Church. 

"Make no mistake about it: it contains costly compromises that come with very real pain. Pain for those who will experience this action as falling short of the full and equal claim for the LGBTQ baptized we have been striving for since 1976. And pain for those who will experience this action as a bridge too far away from their belief that marriage is only between a man and a woman. 

"The question for this General Convention is whether the gift of walking together forward into God's future as members of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement is worth the painful compromises we are mutually being asked to bear in order to make that possible."

Later, Russell tweeted, "You know it's a compromise when your inbox is blowing up with folks from both edges of the aisle telling you you're ruining the church."

Bishop John Harvey Taylor praised Russell and her colleagues for their willingness to accommodate other views on the issue for which she has advocated and worked for many years. "It's a masterful compromise," he said. "It's a generous compromise."

Russell offered further comments about B012 on her blog, "An Inch at a Time," which can be found here.
Committee sends resolutions
calling for dignity, sanctuary and humane policies for immigrants

Immigration - especially as it affects families and children - is a hotly debated topic in many corners of American society, and the Episcopal Church is no exception. On July 7, convention members took a trip to a detention center housing detained immigrant women to protest the Trump Administration's no-tolerance policies that have caused many parents to be separated from their children, including infants and toddlers.

The many resolutions submitted to General Convention by dioceses, deputies, bishops and others is testament to the attention this topic commands. After considerable debate and hard work, the Committee on Social Justice and United States Policy has whittled the dozens of immigration-related resolutions to three (click on resolution number to read the resolution text):

A178: Halt the Intensification and Implementation of Immigration Policies and Practices that are Harmful to Migrant Women, Parents and Children
C009: Becoming A Sanctuary Church
C033: Respecting the Dignity of Immigrants

“Much of the work we were asked to do was essentially reaffirming the work of past General Conventions,” Daniel Valdez, a deputy from the Diocese of Los Angeles and committee member, said July 9 during deliberations on the resolutions. “Sadly, our voices haven’t been loud enough where a change has been made."

During the committee's deliberations, some 25 people testified about their experience with refugee and immigration policies, including Central American bishops, border state priests, and Episcopalians active in refugee resettlement. One of their number was the Rev. Nancy Frausto of the Diocese of Los Angeles, who also addressed the convention's joint session on racial reconciliation held last week.

An ENS story on the immigration resolutions is here.
Photo / Joanna Satorius
Martha Estes of the
Diocese of Los Angeles honored at ECW Triennial
Canon Martha Estes, a longtime member and immediate past president of the Episcopal Church Women - Los Angeles, was one of about 60 women honored on Sunday with the churchwide ECW's Distinguished Woman award at the organization's Triennial meeting, running concurrently with General Convention. Yewande Austin, social activist and honorary U.S. cultural ambassador (at left above) presented the award to Estes; the Rev. Julie Bryant and Christine Budzowski, chaplain and president respectively of ECW-Los Angeles, are also pictured. 

Lisa Towle, president of the National Board of Episcopal Church Women, told the honorees, "I congratulate each of you who has received recognition today as a Distinguished Woman, and I appreciate all those who are here in support of you. Your work in your communities and throughout the church has happened over many years and has been so very diverse. We are inspired by your dedication, and we who are dedicated to women's ministries stand on your shoulders."

At this Triennial, Estes, vice-president of ECW's Province VIII board, is also beginning a term as Province VIII representative to the churchwide ECW's board of directors.
Los Angeles in Austin
Canon Randy Kimmler, retired diocesan staff member and a volunteer at General Convention, encounters Lay Deputy Julie Dean Larsen outside the House of Deputies. At right, Kimmler shows off the volunteer t-shirt, which sports a southern/Texas take on the response to "The Lord be with you": "And also with y'all."
Above: Jim White and Yein Kim, sporting their Camp Stevens tees, welcome the Rev. Aidan Koh of St. James' Church, Los Angeles, to General Convention.
At right: "Flat Jesus" is a favorite companion at this convention. Photos / Susan Russell
Reporting and photos, except as noted, by Janet Kawamoto
Stories from Episcopal News Service
ENS has a team of reporters covering every aspect of General Convention. Following are links to some of their articles: more are here. (Click on the headlines to read the articles.)

The House of Deputies overwhelming endorsed a heavily amended resolution July 9 aimed at ensuring that all Episcopalians can be married by their priests in their home churches.

The House of Deputies on July 9 voted overwhelmingly in favor of pursuing what is known as a human rights investment screen to end the Episcopal Church’s complicity in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, a move that critics call divestment and one they warn will diminish rather than amplify the church’s voice in the region.

And then there were three – three immigration-related resolutions from the Social Justice and United States Policy Committee, including two that were taken off consent calendars and will be open for discussion in the House of Bishops and House of Deputies at the 79th General Convention.

The Episcopal Church in Cuba moved a resolution calling on General Convention to admit the Cuban church, restoring a half-century breach in formal relations. The committee sent Resolution A238, which lays out the terms for reunification, to the House of Deputies legislative calendar. It has not yet been scheduled for the floor.

Arkansas’ decision to schedule eight executions in 10 days last year drew intense national scrutiny, sparked a sudden re-examination of the death penalty and served as a catalyst to a resolution before the 79th General Convention seeking to build on the Episcopal Church’s longtime advocacy on the issue.

Much happens each day during General Convention. To complement Episcopal News Service’s primary coverage, we have collected some additional news items from July 9 and late July 8.
Keeping up with General Convention

This is communication central for the convention. It includes links to livestream and on-demand video of various events, including worship and the July 7 revival.

Daily broadcasts in English and Spanish, anchored by the Rev. Lorenzo Lebrija.

News, commentary features and Twitter.

News of the Episcopal Church Women meeting concurrently with General Convention.

For true church nerds: this is the information used by bishops and deputies as they go about their work at the convention, including texts and progress of all resolutions. It is updated regularly.

You can follow social media updates from General Convention by following and posting with the hashtag #GC79. ENS is maintaining a feed that pulls in Tweets and Instagram photos: visit ENS here for daily reports.