July 11, 2018
Women bishops welcome Bishop of Cuba to their number
Women of the House of Bishops welcome their new member Griselda Delgado del Carpio (at center front in red shirt), bishop of Cuba, who was seated in the House immediately after the bishops voted unanimously to re-admit the Diocese of Cuba as a part of The Episcopal Church. Bishop Suffragan Diane Jardine Bruce of Los Angeles is at far left; right of Delgado is Bishop Barbara Harris, retired suffragan of the Diocese of Massachusetts and the first woman elected a bishop in the Anglican Communion; second from right is Katharine Jefferts Schori, immediate past presiding bishop. Photo / Janet Kawamoto
Bishops vote unanimously
to admit Cuba as a diocese
[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops voted unanimously on July 10 to admit – or re-admit, really – the Episcopal Church of Cuba as a diocese of the Episcopal Church. The Diocese of Cuba will become part of Province II.

“I feel the breath of the Holy Spirit. Thank you, everyone, for the support right now, but really for the support all these years,” Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio said in Spanish through an interpreter. She took a moment to remember generations past who’d longed for reunification, “those who’d suffered but always hoped we’d return to the church.”

Delgado received a standing ovation, and many hugs were shared as Presiding Bishop Michael Curry asked her to take her seat at table No. 7.

Reunification was a long time coming. In response to the geopolitics of the time, the House of Bishops in 1966 voted unilaterally to separate from the Episcopal Church in Cuba.

The House of Bishops “stabbed Cuba in the heart, and it refused to die,” said retired Southeast Florida Bishop Leo Frade, a Cuban who was 23 years old when the house voted to expel Cuba.

“House of Deputies did nothing, the House of Bishops acted … it was an unconstitutional action by a House of Bishops that had no authority to kick us out,” said a tearful Frade. “As Cubans, Cubans refuse to die. The reality is that the Church of Cuba is still alive, and it belongs here.”

The full article is here. Photo / David Paulsen
Bishop Jefferts-Schori proposes
that dioceses help fund Cuba's pension fund contributions
In earlier debates, some people expressed concern that Cuba's clergy and lay employees have not been part of the Church Pension Fund plan during their working years, and that reunification might therefore have some unintended consequences unless funding was found.

The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, who served from 2006 to 2015 as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church and is now bishop assisting in the Diocese of San Diego, pointed out to the House of Bishops that to fully fund pensions for the Cuban clergy and employees would cost 50 cents per Episcopalian. She proposed that when bishops returned to their dioceses that they undertake fundraising for this purpose.

Two other bishops rose soon after to pledge one dollar per member of their dioceses for this purpose, challenging others to match them.

In the photo above, Jefferts Schori speaks during a committee meeting before the first legislative day of convention. Photo / David Paulsen, ENS
TEConversation calls on
Episcopalians to care for creation
[ Episcopal News Service, Austin, Texas] When Native Alaskan Bernadette Demientieff took the stage in front of a joint session of the 79th General Convention assembled for the final TEConversation on July 10 she didn’t so much give a presentation, as scheduled. Instead, she testified in a trembling voice to the destruction of the Gwich’in way of life.

“We are not asking for jobs, not asking for schools, we are asking for the respect to live as we always have and keep our identity as Gwich’in,” said Demientieff (pictured at left).

The Gwich’in people’s existence has for centuries depended on the Porcupine caribou, whose calving ground lies within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain. To the Gwich’in, the refuge is sacred; to energy companies the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, particularly its 1.5-million acre coastal plain, is a potential oil and natural gas bonanza. This conflict has fueled for more than 30 years a contentious debate over whether this coastal plain should be opened to oil drilling or kept as an unspoiled habitat.

In December 2017, the Trump administration and congressional Republicans opened the refuge to oil exploration. Earlier this year in April, it took its first step toward allowing drilling.

Read more here. Photo / David Dreisbach

Los Angeles in Austin
The Rev. Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook and her daughter, Rachel, paid a visit to convention. Kujawa-Holbrook attended a luncheon for graduates of Claremont School of Theology, where she is vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty and professor of Practical Theology and Religious Education, and Bloy House, where she is a professor of Anglican Studies.
The Rev. Keith Yamamoto of St. Mark's, Upland, and the Rev. Kate Lewis of St. Columba's, Camarillo, are both serving as volunteers at General Convention, as they have for many past gatherings. Yamamoto is coordinator for Community Awareness (we think that's a softer term for "security"). Lewis is coordinator for House of Deputies Logistics.
The Rev. Rachel Nyback, rector of St. Cross Church, Hermosa Beach, also paid a visit to convention.
Austin bats, again
The bats that fly out over the Colorado River every summer evening are not the only bats in Austin -- there are also these more stationary versions, which await the locking of bicycles in front of the Austin Convention Center. We also spotted bike racks in the shape of musical notes, befitting Austin's self-imposed epithet of "Live Music Capital of the World."
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 Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops voted unanimously on July 10 to admit – or re-admit, really – the Episcopal Church of Cuba as a diocese of the Episcopal Church. The Diocese of Cuba will become part of Province II.

The House of Bishops on July 10 adopted a proposal for what it calls “liturgical and prayer book revision for the future of God’s mission through the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement.”

When Native Alaskan Bernadette Demientieff took the stage in front of a joint session of the 79th General Convention assembled for the final TEConversation on July 10 she didn’t so much give a presentation, as scheduled. Instead, she testified in a trembling voice to the destruction of the Gwich’in way of life.

Faced with a record number of resolutions, many of them asking for money, but also aided by a strong financial foundation, General Convention’s budget committee finished crunching numbers July 10 on the Episcopal Church’s 2019-2021 budget.

The text of the sermon that Bishop Prince Singh, Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, delivered at the General Convention Eucharist on July 9, 2018.

The reasons why bread baked from ancient grains are so much better for the body, and the Body of Christ, are simply that “these are the same grains that Jesus ate,” said the Rev. Elizabeth DeRuff, an agricultural chaplain with the Episcopal Church and founder of Honoré Farm and Mill. “This bread is life-giving.”

There are 110 dioceses represented at the 79thGeneral Convention, and for most of them, World Cup fever passed them by, without a U.S. soccer team to cheer for. There is one obvious exception: The Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe.

About two dozen clergy and lay leaders gathered the evening of July 9 at the 79th General Convention to bear witness to the gun violence they have experienced in their lives, share their frustration at the inability to curb the death tolls from guns and listen for steps they can take to end gun deaths and injuries.
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.