July 6, 2018
At General Convention, Presiding Bishop Curry
calls Episcopalians to follow 'The Way of Love'

Legislative sessions begin as committees continue work

[Austin, Texas] Legislative committee meetings dominated the first official day of General Convention, though both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops held their first legislative sessions in the afternoon of July 5.

A highlight of the day was the opening Eucharist, at which Presiding Bishop Michael Curry celebrated and preached an uplifting and inspiring sermon (editorial note -- he doesn't seem to know how to do any other kind) in which he called on all Episcopalians to adopt a rule of life he calls "The Way of Love: Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest, Turn." An Episcopal News Service story on the service, including a video of the sermon, is here; Bishop Curry's sermon text is here; resources for The Way of Love are here. Photo / Mike Patterson-ENS
Taylor joins voices for marriage equity

Among the topics being discussed in committee is Resolution A085, a proposal that same-sex marriage rites be authorized for inclusion in the Book of Common Prayer on a trial basis. Bishop of Los Angeles John Harvey Taylor rose to speak in favor of the resolution. Saying that "we live in a spiritually hungry time," Taylor pointed out the ancient value of covenant: "When we teach couples about covenant, we teach about life-giving, outpouring and self-sacrificial Christ-like love, which is the only thing that makes marriages work; it’s the only thing that makes any kind of relationship work. And it’s unfortunate to deprive a whole category of individuals access to that wisdom because we haven’t wholly embraced their right to marry."

In addition, he said, "While I don’t want to make an idol of the worldly mind, I think we’ve all seen polling that shows that among the younger cohorts of Americans, the issue of marriage equity comes pretty close to being what constitutional scholars call 'a settled matter.' Young people, he said, when they are drawn to a church, will need one "that’s done the same work with moral ethics that they have." Echoing a phrase used by supporters of the resolution, he added, "So I would urge us to simplify our messaging at long last and 'let yes be yes.'" Clergy Deputy Susan Russell posted a Facebook video of Taylor's remarks here.

Taylor was only one of many who spoke to this resolution, which is opposed by some who argue that the church is not unanimous in its support for same-sex marriage. An ENS story on the July 5 committee hearings is here. Full text of Resolution A085 is here.
Eric Law speaks on racial justice issues

The Rev. Canon Eric Law, founder of the Kaleidoscope Institute, which fosters relationships in diverse communities, testified July 5 at a meeting of the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee (9).

Other topics under discussion by the legislative committees July 5 were evangelism, sexual abuse and discrimination in the church and society, possible Prayer Book and Book of Occasional Services revision, and the question of whether the president of the House of Deputies should receive a salary or be otherwise compensated. To read articles on these topics, see the ENS listings below. Photo / Lester Mackenzie
Nancy Frausto will be among presenters at 'TEConversation' July 6

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] The Rev. Nancy Frausto of the Diocese of Los Angeles will be among the presenters at the first of three TEConversations (The Episcopal Church Conversations), which will be held during three joint sessions of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies. Each conversation will offer multiple speakers, video presentations and engaging interludes around three priorities of this gathering: racial reconciliation, evangelism and care of creation. Speakers represent international leaders, well-known Episcopalians, and rising voices in the Church.
Each TEConversation will be available live so people can participate concurrently with deputies and bishops. Each will also be available online, with support materials, for local use in churches at a later date.
In addition to Frausto - a native of Zacatecas, Mexico and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) beneficiary priest - speakers for the first TEConversation include Arno Michaelis, a reformed former leader of a worldwide racist skinhead organization, and Catherine Meeks, director of the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, Georgia. The Racial Reconciliation Conversation will take place July 6, 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. CDT (8:30 a.m. PDT). A discussion guide may be found here.

For information about the other two TEConversationsm, on Evangelism and Care of Creation, click here.
Michaels row the boat ashore
House of Deputies President Gay Jennings gently trolled her episcopal counterpart when, as required by canon law, she sent "runners" to inform the House of Bishops that the deputies were organized and ready to conduct the business of the church. For this task, she chose all the deputies named "Michael" -- including Clergy Deputy Michael Bamburger of the Diocese of Los Angeles, second from left in the photo above -- outfitted them with baseball caps inscribed with their collective name, and sent them to deliver the news -- and a similar cap -- to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. (At left, Bamberger models his cap for the rest of the L.A. delegation.) “I am glad to know that at least one house is organized,” Curry said as the deputies left the hall and the bishops began to sing “Michael, row the boat ashore.” In return, the two bishops who entered the House of Deputies on a similar errand wore tiaras borrowed from Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce. Photo above / Mary Frances Schjonberg, Episcopal News Service. Photo at left / Kathryn Nishibayashi
Straightening the tiara

For the record: In yesterday's report, in an item about Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce's role as secretary of the House of Bishops, The News misstated a point about her tiara when we said she jokingly threatened to pull it out if the bishops "crossed" her. She told The Episcopal News on Thursday that in fact she told the House that it would be her job to tell them if they spoke too long during a debate. "Don't make me put on my tiara!" in such circumstances, she told them. She also pointed out to The News that her term as assistant secretary to the House started in 2012, not 2015. Apologies to Bishop Diane and our readers for the errors. Photo / Alex Dyer
ECW Triennial begins with visit
from the presiding bishop

Five delegates from the Diocese of Los Angeles were among those who received crosses from Presiding Bishop Curry at the first session of the Episcopal Church Women Triennial, which meets concurrently with General Convention. Pictured above, from left, are Martha Estes, immediate past president of the Diocese of L.A.'s ECW; the Rev. Julie Bryant, rector of Church of the Transfiguration, Arcadia and ECW chaplain; Martha Watson of the Daughters of the King; ECW President Christine Budzowski; and UTO chair Diane Askren. At left, Watson receives her cross from Bishop Curry.

The Triennial heard from two keynote speakers; retired Bishop of Alaska Steven Charleston, a member of the Choctaw tribe; and the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, the presiding bishop's c anon for Evangelism, Reconciliation, and Creation. To read more about Triennial, click here for links to Triennial Today.
Diocese of Los Angeles expats

Plenty of people around the convention have ties to the Diocese of Los Angeles, although many now minister in other places.

The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool, former bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles - pictured above with Bishop John Harvey Taylor and Colleen L. Hintz of "Fruit of the Vine, maker of liturgical vestments and hangings - now serves as bishop assistant in the Diocese of New York.

At left: The Rev. Will Wauters, who previously served at Church of the Epiphany, Los Angeles, now lives in San Antonio, Texas. Although he is semi-retired, he leads a small congregation and is chair of the board of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, continuing a long career in social justice ministry.
And finally: Austin weird

Th city's unofficial motto is "Keep Austin Weird," and we'd have to say this giant spear of cocktail olives -- not to mention the wooden eagle dressed for Independence Day -- spotted above a restaurant patio near the convention center definitely qualifies.

Then there is the famous Austin bat colony -- more on that tomorrow.
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 opening Eucharist of the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church on July 5 included lively music in many styles, communion for thousands of people and a sermon by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry calling on members of the Episcopal Church to embrace spiritual practices that can help lead them to a Jesus-centered life. (Resources for the spiritual practices Curry suggested are here. The full text of his sermon is here.)

People of all genders told the Safeguarding and Title IV Committee July 5 that the Episcopal Church must do more to eliminate sexual discrimination and abuse. “What we witnessed last night was just a beginning,” the Rev. Cynthia Taylor, a Georgia deputy, told the committee, referring to the House of Bishops’ “Liturgy of Listening,” a service of lament and confession centered on stories of sexual abuse and exploitation in the Episcopal Church. “That work is incomplete, my sisters and brothers.”

The Committee to Receive the Report of Resolution A169, which is considering resolutions to revise of the Book of Common Prayer, on July 5 voted to propose to General Convention a plan for comprehensive revision of the current 1979 prayer book. The resolution, which will be an amendment to Resolution A068, authorizes the start of a revision process that could culminate in a new prayer book in 2030. 

The legislative committee charged with considering changes to the Book of Common Prayer heard from supporters and opponents of Resolution A085, which would strengthen the church’s commitment to sacramental marriage equality.

For a committee assigned to take up resolutions related to evangelism, the activity taking place in JW Marriott Grand Ballroom 8, however worthwhile and, didn’t look much like evangelism. The committee chairs, acknowledging the limitations of ballroom evangelism, decided to try something different. In addition to leading discussion of how the Episcopal Church will foster evangelism in the coming triennium, the chairs encouraged the bishops and deputies on the Evangelism and Church Planting Committee to practice a bit of street evangelism on the streets of Austin.

The House of Deputies voted July 5 by overwhelming majority in favor of creating a system for paying its president for the work of the office, in recognition of how that work has expanded significantly over the past several decades.

The Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music heard testimony July 5 on General Convention Resolution A064, which calls for the authorization of the use of the Book of Occasional Services, 2018. It has been 39 years since the supplement was first published and 15 years since its last revision. These revisions have been underway since the 2012 General Convention A056 called for them.
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 the July 5 opening Eucharist, at which Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was celebrant and preacher.

Daily broadcasts in English and Spanish, anchored by the Rev. Lorenzo Lebrija. The broadcast for July 4 features interviews with Presiding Bishop Curry and House of Deputies President Gay Jennings.

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.