79th GENERAL CONVENTION
OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
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2018 GENERAL CONVENTION
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry delivers a sermon during the Opening Eucharist of the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church.
Deputies, bishops and visitors packed a meeting room in the Austin Hilton Hotel the afternoon of July 5 to testify on three marriage-related resolutions.
"We do not come in hatred, we do not come in bigotry, we do not come to put anybody down, we come to lift everybody up. We come in love," Presiding Bishop Michael Curry told a crowd of more than 1,000 gathered in prayer at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry begins an impassioned sermon before a packed audience at a revival held on July 7 at Austin's Palmer Center.
Bishops gather before the start of the public witness against gun violence July 8. The event was organized by Bishops United Against Gun Violence.
CARE OF CREATION
Bernadette Demientieff, Alaska Native Gwich'in, Fort Yukon, Alaska, offers an emotional witness to the destruction of sacred lands and waters of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during the third and final TEConversation, Care of Creation, on July 10.
WELCOME BACK CUBA
President of the House of Deputies, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, July 11 welcomed Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio and the Episcopal Church of Cuba back into the Episcopal Church.
"Something is different about this convention. In all my life I have never been more hopeful about the Episcopal Church. We are not the same as when we arrived. We have been changed," Indianapolis Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows tells the congregation gathered for the closing Eucharist of the 79th General Convention.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry celebrates the closing Eucharist.
Grains grown by Honoré Farm and Mill guild members were baked early every morning into communion bread for the 79th General Convention.
(Images and captions are from the Episcopal News Service website where complete coverage and more photos/videos of the General Convention can be found HERE.)
THE BISHOP'S REFLECTION ON THE 79TH GENERAL CONVENTION OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
(Bishop's Reflection dated July 25, 2018)
Na ke aloha o ke Akua ma loko o Iesu Kristo, e aloha iā ʻoukou ā pau!
I have been back from the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church for a little over a week. Over the course of ten days or so, a great deal of work was accomplished. There were literally hundreds of resolutions adopted. A summary of what happened can be found online from the Episcopal News Service
. Your Deputies and I were quite busy on committees. For example, I was the co-chair of the World Mission Committee and in the two legislative Houses (the House of Deputies with priest/deacon and lay representation and the House of Bishops). I write to share a couple of highlights and what I think will be most important to us in the Diocese of Hawaiʻi.
The Presiding Bishop challenged those gathered to embrace the "Way of Love: Practices for a Jesus-centered life." I urge everyone to listen to his sermon which can be found
, and then to go to "The Way of Love" website
for more materials. The Presiding Bishop is calling all Episcopalians to the practices of faith that will shape our lives as the followers of Jesus Christ. I will be calling all Episcopalians in the Diocese of Hawaiʻi to take up "The Way of Love" in preparation to the Presiding Bishop's visit with us March. Be sure to be on the lookout for this in the near future.
We decided not to move forward with a full formal revision of the Book of Common Prayer at this time.
".... authorize the ongoing work of liturgical and Prayer Book revision for the future of God's mission through the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement. And, that to do so based upon the core theological work of loving, liberating, life-giving reconciliation and creation care."
We also "memorialize[d] the 1979 Book of Common Prayer as a Prayer Book of the church preserving the psalter, liturgies, The Lambeth Quadrilateral, Historic Documents, and Trinitarian Formularies ensuring its continued use." Bishops are called to ".... engage worshiping communities in experimentation and the creation of alternative texts to offer to the wider church, and that each diocese be urged to create a liturgical commission to collect, reflect, teach and share these resources with the [Task Force on Liturgical and Prayer Book Revision].
By October's Annual Meeting of our Diocesan Convention, I will name a new diocesan group to oversee this work. I will ask this new group to help me in providing guidelines for the creation of alternative texts and offer opportunities for the limited trial use of such liturgies in local congregations. I am particularly keen that liturgies be developed that reflect the cultural context of these Islands. We have some exciting work ahead of us in the next three years.
Of importance to us is the commemoration of Queen Liliʻuokalani in the liturgical calendar of The Episcopal Church. In the end, that did not quite happen. The Queen is noted in a calendar for local commemorations in the 2018 edition of "Lesser Feasts and Fasts." In keeping with historic Church practice, that commemoration is noted on November 11 (the date of the Queen's death, and, therefore, when she entered into the greater glory of God and the communion of saints). In the end, the Church still hasn't settled on a clear plan for including new commemorations in the liturgical calendar. The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music was directed to present "the 80th General Convention [in 2021] with a clear and unambiguous plan for a singular calendar of "Lesser Feasts and Fasts."
Local commemorations are strongly encouraged and the Queen is accounted as such. I think we must encourage commemorations throughout the Diocese providing liturgical resources (I will look to the Native Hawaiian Ministry Committee to take up this work for the good of the whole Diocese). We then need to share it nationally and internationally (encouraging a cultus of particular popular devotion in remembrance of the Queen). We also need to build an argument about why the Queen should be more than a "local" commemoration and is a witness to the whole Church. We can then return in 2021 to press for her inclusion in the liturgical calendar (or maybe in 2024). The desire for fewer and focused commemorations is leading to a tougher process for inclusion in the liturgical calendar and fewer new additions. For details about "Lesser Feasts and Fasts" and the future, click
In the end, this was the most positive and productive of the six General Conventions that I have attended (two as a Deputy and four now as Bishop). We continue to focus on three priorities established by the Presiding Bishop, of evangelism, racial reconciliation and justice, and creation care. These priorities are the "three pillars" of the "Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement" (in the unique phrase of the Presiding Bishop). We were not caught up in internal conflicts, but focused on the mission of God and on Jesus Christ. As the Presiding Bishop urged in his sermon at a revival (yes, literally a revival during a General Convention of the Episcopal Church):
"My brothers, my sisters, my siblings, we have work to do. To stand for Christianity, a way of being Christian that looks like Jesus of Nazareth. A way of being Christian that is grounded and based on love. A way of being Christian that is not ashamed to be called people of love. So, go from this place and be people of the way. Go from this place as people of Jesus. Go from this place as people of love! Go from this place and heal our lands! Go from this place and heal our world! Go from this place until justice rolls down! Go from this place until the nightmare is over! Go from this place until God's dream is realized! Go from this place and help us live! God love ya! God bless ya! And GO!"
(Click HERE to view a video and full text of the revival.)
In the end, the charge to our Diocese and to the entire Episcopal Church is to follow the way of Jesus.
Aloha ma o Iesu Kristo, ko makou Haku,
The Right Reverend Robert L. Fitzpatrick
HE LANAKILA MA KE KEʻA:
Victory through the Cross
"No ia mea, e nā hoahānau, e kupaʻa ʻoukou, me ka nāueue ʻole, me ka hoʻomau i kā ʻoukou hana nui ʻana i ka hana a ka Haku, no ka mea, ua ʻike nō ʻoukou, ʻaʻole i make hewa kā ʻoukou hana ʻana ma ka Haku." Korineto I 15.58
"Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58
The House Of Bishops during an afternoon legislative session on July 10.
(Photo by David Paulsen, ENS)
WHAT IS GENERAL CONVENTION?
The General Convention is the governing body of The Episcopal Church that meets every three years. It is a bicameral legislature that includes the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops, composed of deputies and bishops from each diocese. During its triennial meeting deputies and bishops consider a wide range of important matters facing the Church. In the interim between triennial meetings, various committees, commissions, agencies, boards and task forces created by the General Convention meet to implement the decisions and carry on the work of the General Convention.
For more information, visit the General Convention website
GENERAL CONVENTION WRAP-UP:
FOLLOWING THE WAY OF JESUS
By Episcopal News Service Staff, Posted July 16, 2018
[Episcopal News Service]
Responding to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's call to "Follow the Way of Jesus," deputies and bishops at the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, meeting July 5-13 in Austin, Texas, acted on a record number of resolutions on key issues such as
, prayer book
, and readmitting the Episcopal Church of Cuba as a
. Convention also passed a $134 million
that reflects for a further three years the presiding bishop's priorities of
. Meanwhile, the legislative processes were overseen by a resident roost of avian
, one of which adopted a social media presence to bring a steady flow of light-feathered moments to convention amid the often-intense and passionate debates on the key issues before the church.
Outside the legislative chambers, several events brought together bishops, deputies and visitors to mingle, socialize, pray, worship and advocate, with a public witness against
and another outside an immigrant
challenging the actions of the U.S. government in its enforcement of immigration policies. A revival
at Austin's Palmer Events Center on July 7 drew a crowd of more than 2,500 people who listened to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's rousing sermon about how "God is love and gives life."
In his opening sermon on July 5, Curry challenged every Episcopalian to embrace the "
Way of Love
: Practices for a Jesus-centered life" as a way to help the church enter into a new era of spiritual growth.
to view the article in its entirety containing links to full-coverage on some of the major topics such as the budget, trial-use marriage rites, liturgical and prayer book revision, responding to voices and stories of women, acting on immigration, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and welcoming Cuba back. To view full day-by-day coverage on all topics and activities, visit the ENS webpage
EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF HAWAI'I DEPUTATION:
REPORTING ON GENERAL CONVENTION
Along with Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick, the Diocese of Hawai'i was well represented with a strong and dedicated field of deputies to address the pressing issues of our time along with regular orders of business. In what would become a record-setting convention, Deputies and Bishops worked hard, oftentimes late into the night, to address and debate the hundreds of resolutions set before them.
The deputies and alternates for the Diocese of Hawai'i were:
- Lay Deputies: Ryan Kusumoto (Co-Chair), John Decker, Pamela Fern, Mimi Wu
- Clergy Deputies: The Rev. Cn. Robert "Moki" Hino (Co-Chair), The Rev. Paul A. Lillie, The Rev. Cn. Brian Grieves, The Rev. Malcolm Keleawe Hee
- Lay Alternate: Stanley Yon
- Clergy Alternates: The Ven. Steven Costa, The Rev. Irene Tanabe, (Alternate the Rev. Kathleen Cullinane did not attend)
The Diocese of Hawai'i also had representatives in the Official Youth Presence (OYP). Angela Cainguitan from Good Shepherd was one of 18 members of the OYP, chosen to represent the nine Provinces, and the Rev. Annalise Castro Pasalo was asked to be one of the OYP mentors. Following are reports and reflections from the Deputation (shared in alphabetical order) and the Official Youth Presence.
We give thanks and praise to each and every participant for their passion, their time, and enduring commitment to the glory of God.
(Pictured above from left: Rev. Malcolm Keleawe Hee, John Decker, Rev. Cn. Moki Hino, Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick, Mimi Wu, Rev. Paul Lillie, Rev. Cn. Brian Grieves, Pam Fern, Ryan Kusumoto, Rev. Irene Tanabe, Stanley Yon. Missing: Dcn. Steve Costa)
| The Ven. Steven Costa
Thank you to everyone in the Diocese of Hawaiʻi for allowing me the honor and privilege of representing the Diocese at this year's General Convention in Austin, TX. As a first-time attendee of the event, there was a lot to take in. There were Episcopalians and Anglicans from all over. Southern Hospitality and the Love of God were evident everywhere. The number of people there was astounding, but to think that I could walk into any of their churches, even not knowing the
language, and follow along in the worship was comforting and unifying.
Speaking of worship, I was given the privilege to serve as the deacon at the table (pictured below) which was the main worship service for the Friday Eucharist. I was also asked to proclaim the Gospel in Hawaiian. Mahalo to braddah Roth (Puahala) who helped me beforehand with my enunciation and cadence.
As an alternate, I was able to observe the House of Deputies, the House of Bishops and attend the committee meetings that spoke to my heart: social justice. I sat in on some moving meetings about reconciliation. After hearing people talk about how their culture was being lost/stolen/overrun, I felt compelled to add the story of the Hawaiians, after which some folks came up to me and said they didn't know. It felt wonderful to be in a safe environment where our stories could be told and heard!
To help in the work of Recovery Ministries, I attended a Recovery Ministry AA meeting and a local AA meeting, at the First United Methodist Church.
The theme of "different but same" kept repeating itself. Worship, homeless shelter, AA -- they were in a different city, but so similar to what we do here in Hawaiʻi.
Our visit to the T. Don Hutto Residential Detention Center was very moving and very hot. It made subsequent discussions about our nation coming from a place of fear and not from a place of faith in Christ Jesus much more meaningful. As we traveled to the Federal Detention Center, we passed a large homeless shelter.
The next morning, I took a walk in that direction, compelled to visit and offer my services there. I prayed with a few of the mentally ill "guests," was given a tour of the facility, and was told that St. David's next door would be serving breakfast soon. I was directed over to St. David's Trinity Outreach Center, where a line of hungry people stretched around the block (pictured at left). I walked in and introduced myself. I told them I was a cleric visiting from Hawai'i at the National Convention, and wanted to see what I could do to help. We promptly set up to feed the 5,000 with five loaves and two fish. We blessed, we broke, and we shared, and all who were fed were satisfied.
Inspired by the Jesus Movement and its message of love (twice), and after members of our delegation went out to eat dinner, we collected the leftovers and fed the hungry on the streets of Austin.
I also experienced a Good Samaritan moment when I saw two homeless men on the sidewalk. Knowing that these are the children of God we are called to love, I stopped to talk with them. John and James (yes, those were their names) thanked me for stopping and giving them a few dollars and a moment of
my time. They said many other clergy crossed the street to avoid them. Different time, different city, same story...
As Jesus said, you will always have the poor with you. This has re-energized me, to continue the work our Lord has called us to do: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, invite in the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the prisoner.
Mahalo again for allowing me to experience this triennial event in the life of our Church!
| John Decker
In the past two General Conventions, I served on the Ministry Legislative Committee (this year on its Education Sub-Committee) and, as in the past two Conventions, I was greatly moved by the mood and spirit of the Committee. Bishops, priests, deacons and lay persons worked together with no sense of "rank" or "seniority" -- we worked as a group of Christians considering together some of the serious issues facing the Church. That, again, was the best model for the Christian Life which I have yet experienced.
The Convention as a whole dealt successfully, I believe, with a number of key issues. We authorized the beginning of the long process to revise the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, and authorized for trial use three "inclusive and expansive language" modifications to Rite II. We also continued the trial use of the "inclusive language" (ie, same-sex) marriage rites, and in both trial-use cases extended the availability of these liturgies to dioceses in which the bishop was not in agreement. We welcomed the church of Cuba back into the Episcopal Church. And, of course, we approved a budget for the national church and passed numerous housekeeping and position-paper resolutions.
But it was working in my Legislative Committee, and, in particular, my small sub-committee of a bishop, two priests, a deacon and three lay persons, as an example of how the Christian community ought to function, which made the most lasting impression.
| Pamela Fern
"Loving like Jesus,
Giving like Jesus,
Forgiving like Jesus,
Walking humbly, With God,
Just like Jesus."
-The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church
Familiar, but not the same.
Orientation, community services, committee hearings and testimonies, legislative sessions, presentations... it was all so familiar, but compared to my first General Convention three years ago (when I was so ready to come home after the first day), this meeting was not the same.
Evangelism is a big word and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, personifies it. One cannot go away from any of his sermons unmoved and still, as a cradle Episcopalian from Hawai'i, the zeal leaves me breathless and wondering what to do, how to "go forth."
The prayer service at the Hutto Detention Facility for women and children left an indelible impression: A stark cement building enclosed by double fencing 12' or more high; no people in sight except a few in uniform. As we exit the buses I look at the facility, a "football-sized" field away where another fence separates us. I look to the right at the train tracks and parked cattle/freight cars; a chilling reminder of pictures seen in WWII documentaries. We gather, hundreds strong, in a small area in the hot sun (hoping for clouds and perhaps a light rain), singing songs of hope and support. We pray for the incarcerated, the most innocent, looking for a better life. I feel embarrassed by our government. When the service is over, we wait for our buses. We can leave and go back to our free lives. A woman comes by with another very young woman with a small child and shares that this woman and child were once held in this facility for 11 months. She thanks us for our efforts and prayers and again, I feel embarrassed and angry at our government ... and also helpless ... what can we do?
Back at convention, all I can think of is "VOTE!" For all who think their one vote doesn't count, shame on you. Every vote counts and it's our privilege and responsibility to vote.
A Revival was on the schedule. I'd never been to one and didn't know what to expect, but I am sure there will be no "snake charming" or "call to the altar," after all, we're Episcopalians! There was music, subtle dancing (of course), then Bishop Curry starts with an interpreter (Spanish-speaking).
"LOVE, always love, the last word is love." They perform almost a dance. She is keeping up with the Presiding Bishop's enthusiasm and rhetoric (not so easy), but the message is strong and the message is LOVE. I am moved to quiet tears. Wow! Powerful! But again, I question myself what to do? How to do? So much to do! Issues, issues, testimonies, pro/con, frustration, fear, beliefs... who is right and who is wrong? Is there a right or wrong? Or should we just try to get along and be flexible as we keep avowing "be inclusive!" Don't talk, just live it! Anti-racism/discrimination training? Of course, but it's not just a class or a seminar, as one person testified, it's an everyday lifetime practice, like breathing.
Beloved Community... the Goal... no justice without truth... unbind ourselves and others...
So much more happened and didn't happen, but I will leave that to those of our deputation who are more knowledgeable and eloquent. I truly appreciated and enjoyed my time at convention with our deputation. It was very long, but much was done given the hundreds of resolutions that were addressed, adopted, rejected, and sent back for reworking. There is so much more left to do. We remain hopeful as we try to follow Presiding Bishop Curry's message. It's not easy, but we try.
| The Rev. Cn. Brian Grieves
Being a deputy to General Convention is an honor bestowed by delegates to our diocesan convention. This was my 13th time to attend a General Convention, eight of them as the Church's Peace and Justice Officer under three Presiding Bishops. So, for me, Convention has always been partly a giant reunion, with some 850 deputies plus alternates, almost 200 bishops and 5,000 visitors. This marked my first Convention as a deputy.
I was appointed to the legislative committee on Stewardship and Socially Responsible Investing. Among the issues we grappled with were gun violence
and the Church's complicity in the Israeli occupation of 4 million+ Palestinians living in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
On gun safety, the committee recommended and Convention adopted a resolution allowing the Church to purchase enough stock in gun manufacturers to be able to engage those companies in shareholder dialogs and shareholder resolutions. Our purchasing a stock with the intention to change the company's way of doing business is precedent setting, but is only intended for this particular instance. It allows the Church to join other faith investors who have enjoyed some success in mobilizing shareholders to vote for a company to stop manufacturing certain types of guns such as military-style weapons. This action bypasses state and federal legislative bodies and appeals directly to the gun manufacturers as a strategy for addressing this national crisis. The work will be based on the Mosbacher-Bennett Principles for Investors in the Gun Industry developed by Do Not Stand Idly By.
n the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the committee recommended and Convention adopted a resolution to "create criteria for Israel and Palestine based on a human rights' investment screen" as was similarly adopted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 2016. Usually, once a screen is created, divestment from certain companies follows, and are placed on what is called a No Buy list. This work will be done by the Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility. Executive Council will receive and act on the work. I have chaired CCSR in the current triennium and was staff to the committee from 1988-2009.
There were also other resolutions adopted by Convention on Israel/Palestine including defending the rights of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention, recognizing the possibility of one binational state as an option to the two state resolution of the conflict, urging the restoration of U.S. funding of refugee work in the occupied areas and calling for U.S. support for a UN investigation into Israeli and Palestinian violations of international human rights laws against unarmed civilians in Gaza. This latter resolution called for withholding of U.S. military aid to Israel if Israel is found responsible for these violations of law.
Thank you to all for the privilege of representing the diocese at this all important triennial event called the General Convention, which helps to define who we are and what we might become as disciples in the Jesus movement during challenging times.
Note: The Rev. Cn. Brian Grieves appeared in an ENS General Convention feature article about the financial complicity in Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands, that can be viewed
. The accompanying photo and caption are shown below.
The Rev. Brian Grieves, deputy from the Diocese of Hawaii, speaks in favor of the resolution he proposed about ending the church's complicity in the Israeli occupation. "Palestinian lives matter." Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service
| The Rev. Malcolm Keleawe Hee
This was my first time being elected to the General Convention's House of Deputies. Little did I know what I was getting into. More than 500 resolutions were addressed and voted upon by this house and the House of Bishops.
Both clergy and lay spoke passionately for what they believed in. Equality in liturgy for all unions (regardless of sexual preference), compensation and pension (male/female inequality, clergy/lay inequality), gender discussions (LGBTQ), hearing impaired/disabilities access, and social justice (including detainment centers) to name a few.
Long days often started early in the morning and ended late into the evening with uplifting services. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry lit us on fire with rousing sermons that called the Holy Spirit to descend upon us.
Reconnecting to other Episcopalians from across the nation and around the world was also a highlight for me. Seeing old friends and making new ones connect us as the one body we are, the Episcopal Church.
| The Rev. Cn. Moki Hino, Co-Chair
The 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas was my third convention as a deputy from the Diocese of Hawaii, and my second chairing our deputation. In addition, I served as the Assistant Voting Secretary and when an electronic vote was taken, I went to the platform to give instructions to the deputies on how to cast their vote with their voting machines. That was a really fun aspect of this convention for me.
There was a lot of legislation at this convention around the topics of Prayer Book revision, the authorization of rights for same-sex marriages, parity between clergy and laity in the pension plan, sexual misconduct prevention, and providing the President of the House of Deputies with a salary for his/her services.
But in years to come when I look back on this convention, I will remember that we voted to bring the Diocese of Cuba back into the Episcopal Church, that 1,000 of us held a prayer vigil outside the Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas where 40 mothers inside had been separated from their children at the US border, and that Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop, quoted Verna Dozier who asked this question: Do you want to be a follower of Jesus, or are you content just to worship him?
I am grateful to the Diocese of Hawai'i for sending me to represent us at this convention. We worked very hard and all of us who were there came home feeling a sense of accomplishment that we worked for the good of the broader church and that we gave glory to God through our thoughts, words, and deeds.
| Ryan Kusumoto, Co-Chair
If you asked the attendees in the House of Deputies what the highlight of the Convention was, in jest they would say it was a pigeon*. At the opening of the Convention while Presiding
Bishop Curry was speaking, a pigeon flew across the House. He called it out and it was etched in General Convention history.
That being said, Bishop Curry opened us with inspiration around the Jesus Movement. It set a pathway for us to think about how Jesus would respond to the issues we were about to discuss.
The Episcopal General Convention is held every three years. General Convention is the governing body of the Episcopal Church and it has a bicameral legislative system. The two houses are the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies. I and my fellow deputies were a part of the House of Deputies which was lead gracefully by the Rev. Gay Jennings. The two Houses meet separately and act separately and both must concur to adopt any specific legislation. This year we broke a record and had over 500 resolutions to deal with.
Here are some key pieces of legislation:
- Re-admission of the Diocese of Cuba - This GC marked a historical moment. We saw Diocese of Cuba take a seat in both Houses as the Convention unanimously voted them back into The Episcopal Church.
- Prayer Book Revision - We voted to designate a task force to look into more inclusive language that reflects the diversity of our church. Note - the last revision of the Prayer Book was in 1979.
- Immigration - There were many resolutions concerning immigration. The Convention voted to support the rights and dignity of immigrants and to seek reform to provide paths to citizenship.
- Racial Reconciliation - We also voted to affirm the work on racial reconciliation, recognizing that we still have much work to be done. We passed a significant resolution to allocate $5M toward these efforts.
We had a chance to participate in a rally entitled, "Bishops United Against Gun Violence." There was mass action/advocacy to show support for safe schools and communities by reducing violence from guns.
We also had a presentation by the Schentrup Family. Mrs. Schentrup shared how her daughter Carmen went to school one morning and never returned. C
armen was one of the victims in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It was hard to hold back tears during their presentation.
The other opportunity we had was to attend a prayer service outside of the Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas. This is a detention center that at the time, wom
en seeking asylum were being detained. These mothers were separated from their children at the border. They were detained as part of the current policy of the current Trump administration. The women inside their detention cells held paper in the windows and moved them up and down to let everyone know they heard the prayers.
I had the pleasure to serve on the platform as the vice-chair on Dispatch. As a result, I was able to see Convention through a different lens. I appreciate the ability of our church to come together and wrestle with important matters that we face each day. That is what I love about our church. What I did see in this convention is a move to be better listeners. I believe the guidance from our Presiding Bishop was key in setting us on this path. I walked away from Austin feeling the power of the Jesus movement and hopeful that we will continue to engage in conversation with one another that bring us closer to God.
Mahalo for this opportunity to share my reflections with you.
* For a light-hearted read and photos about the Convention pigeon, (who had its own Twitter feed) click HERE.
| The Rev. Paul Lillie
This was my third time serving as a deputy to General Convention, and it continues to be an honor to serve. In many ways General Convention is a great festival of the Episcopal Church's work in the world. There are large worship gatherings every day, inspiring messages to hear and enjoy, presentations on issues important to our church and society, and the work of resolutions translating into our official policies when it comes to politics, society, worship, governance, and more.
This year I was appointed to serve on the Social Justice and International Policy Legislative Committee. Our main focus, due to our church's interest, was Israel and Palestine, and we heard emotional testimony from Palestinian Christians and Muslims, and Israeli Jews, about the vanishing prospects for peace in the Holy Land due to the ever-growing occupation. Beyond the Holy Land, our committee also grappled with immigration, refugees, human rights investment screens, and caste systems among others. So often we read about these issues in the press. The beauty of our legislative process at General Convention is that we get to hear firsthand from people who face these issues. The hearings can be extremely emotional, especially when you hear how people are suffering daily.
There were many great moments of reconciliation at this General Convention. Cuba was re-admitted as a diocese of the Episcopal Church, the parents of a Parkland gun violence victim addressed the conventions' houses, we travelled to the Hutto Residential Center to stand in solidarity with immigrants and refugees, and there was a Liturgy of Lament for the #metoo movement. Time and time again we witnessed how the Episcopal Church is a healing corrective for so much of the brokenness in our world.
Finally, General Convention did some important liturgical work. Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018 has been approved for trial use, and this is good news for Hawai'i, for Queen Lili'uokalani is commemorated in the calendar on November 11, the day of her death or new life in Christ. I spent some time after convention studying Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, and I have been pleasantly surprised. In the recently issued calendars, we often confused genius of achievement with holiness of life. This new calendar does not make this mistake, and at St. Mark's we have already begun to incorporate this calendar into our daily mass celebrations. There is also a new Book of Occasional Services that has been authorized for trial use.
Even though General Convention can be very tiring due to the twelve-to-fourteen-hour days, it is ultimately very rewarding to serve the church in this capacity. The convention has a rhythm of its own - we might even call it a holy process - and within that structure our church continues to speak with great wisdom. It was a pleasure to serve.
| The Rev. Irene Tanabe
There was so much that happened in a jam-packed ten days at convention, days that begin at 7:00 AM and end with meetings well into the night. But I do want to share with you a memory or two.
As a participant in the Hawaii delegation as a second clergy alternate deputy, I would have to say it is the best way to be involved in the work of the Convention. My attendance was funded by Episcopal Asian Ministries, so my schedule was quite full. Each day, I attended various legislative hearings, not just to show support through my presence, but to speak to the committee members about how a resolution impacted me, or people like me. For instance, to the resolution on halting harmful and racist immigration practices that separated families, I testified about the harm done to my family and west coast Americans of Japanese ancestry when they were forcibly removed from the west coast and were incarcerated in camps in the inland deserts. I spoke about how Japanese-Americans have vowed "nidoto no nai yoni," to never let it happen again, and our conviction that no group of people should be treated so unjustly. I was amazed at the feedback I got throughout the convention. There are still people who are hearing for the first time that this happened!
In another hearing I attended and testified at was on a resolution encouraging liturgical and worship planning teams for diocesan-wide events be representative of the racial and ethnic diversity of the diocese. We here in Hawai'i are probably surprised to hear that this doesn't happen as a matter of course! Every day ended late in the evening to caucus with the Deputies of Color (Asians, Latinos, Blacks, Native Americans) alternating nights with the Asian Deputies (convened by our own Ryan Kusumoto). It was a time to discuss the resolutions that mattered to us and get the information on the resolutions that were coming up for vote.
As far as the legislative sessions itself, alternates can't sit with their delegation but sit in a cordoned area off to one side. That turned out to be a good opportunity for the other alternates, The Rev. Archdeacon Steve Costa and Stanley Yon and I, to compare notes each day. I was fortunate to fill in for a clergy deputy needing a break, which meant that I got to cast a vote to reestablish The Episcopal Church covenant with Diocese of Cuba. It was especially meaningful to me as I have gotten to know the Bishop of Cuba from my service on the Standing Commission on World Mission, and on the covenant relationship with Brazil.
One of the most memorable events was the prayer vigil held at an immigration detention facility, called Don Hutto Residential Center, outside of Austin. 1,200 Episcopalians were bussed to the site to show support for the detainees. While the prayer vigil was held some distance away from the facility, some of us walked up to the buildings. We were told that the women being held in there could hear us, but we couldn't be sure, until we saw their hands up against the windows, and a piece of white paper was held up against the glass. Later, we heard that someone was able to text that they watched until the last of the buses carried us away. She wrote that she didn't feel so alone...
General Convention is a big commitment, especially for lay deputies who must somehow get ten days off to attend to the work of the church. But if you are so moved by our stories, I hope you will consider being nominated to attend the next convention. It's true, whether you go to General Convention or not, each and everyone of you do make a difference! Everyday, what you do matters. But at Convention, you know it. You do it. You live it. So, yeah, just go for it!
| Stanley Yon
I feel most privileged for having been elected to serve as Alternate Lay Deputy to the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church in Austin. My role, as I see it, was to observe and engage, and is now to report and act.
The Convention either acted or initiated clear processes to act on a wide array of items. The following were certainly among the most important from my lay perspective (non-administrative):
* Prayer Book Revision
* Lesser Feasts & Fasts - Liliʻuokalani
* Diocese of Cuba
* Witness at Immigration Detention Center
* Bishops United Against Gun Violence
* Human Rights Investment Screen applied to Palestine & Israel
* Truth & Reconciliation on Treatment of Women & Girls in the Church
* Inclusive and Expansive Language
* Languages of the People
* Marriage Equality
* Deaf and Disabled
* Advocacy for Ocean Health
What was particularly striking was the sense that we are a Church in the midst of transformation bringing to its heart ALL who have been marginalized: younger and more diverse. Empowering women, people of color, persons of all sexual identities, those who are deaf or disabled, multicultural in language and tradition.
The guiding principle of today's Episcopal Church, led and exemplified by Presiding Bishop Curry, is that we are "The Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement" called to action, living Jesus-centered lives in "The Way of Love". This is a call for evangelism.
But how do we go about this evangelism? How do we affirmatively engage in the context of today's deeply polarized social and political environment? How can we, who lack the charismatic talents of PB Curry and other of our leaders, be effective?
The General Convention itself, in form and substance, provided a toolbox for effective evangelism: Messaging, Messaging, Messaging. In a time of increasing incivility, we are called to engage with love. In a period of endless negativity, we are called to be affirmative of ALL our brothers and sisters.
It is not complicated. Call to mind these images/logos. What do we mean by "The Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement"?
What is Jesus saying and calling you toward personally, how might our churches and institutions respond to this call collectively? Sharing our stories (talk story); then sharing Our Story.
Adopt our own personal Rule-of-Life for a Jesus-centered life.
As we engage with each other - as well as with those outside our Church - we need to always focus on personal relevance. Then we need to craft our message in action that builds rapport, inspires and empowers, and strengthens. And how we talk to each other should be affirming one another's worth in the sight of God.
Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows charged to us at the final Eucharist of the Convention:
So, I'm going to ask you, Saints, are you ready? Are you ready? Being the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement, are you ready? Let me just tell you now, just to be sure, 'cause this means we cannot stay where we are. Movements move, right? Movements move. Movements move. These are decisions we make moment by moment to live a particular way and Saints - this is our moment. This is our time. Meaning, if we were ever called to claim the counter cultural Christian mantle that is about turning the world upside down so that we can normalize love instead of hate - it is now. Right now. And guess what? You know the way. You know what to do. You have totally got this. Now go!
When I consider "The Way of Love" as a faithful Episcopalian, I find that I am pretty comfortable with the practices of turning, learning, praying, worshipping, blessing, and especially resting. The challenge for me is "going", crossing boundaries, listening deeply, and living like Jesus. At this time and place, I feel called to GO and:
- Facilitate spiritual growth practices through Sacred Listening at my parish, neighboring parishes and throughout the diocese
- Serve the elderly in my community who yearn for spiritual enrichment
- Bring men together, wherever they are, for prayer, study and service through The Brotherhood of St. Andrew
Join me in "The Way of Love" practicing a Jesus-centered life - and GO!
GENERAL CONVENTION OFFICIAL YOUTH PRESENCE
The Official Youth Presence (OYP) was established by an initial resolution in 1982. The members are permitted seat and voice by the rules of the House of Deputies and participate in committee hearings and floor debates. Two youth from each of the Episcopal Church's nine Provinces are selected to make up the 18 member delegation of the OYP. This year, over 100 youth applied, and our very own Angela Cainguitan of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church on Maui, was one of the representatives from Province VIII. She is pictured above in the front row, first from left.
The members of the General Convention Official Youth Presence addressed the House of Deputies on July 9, 2018. Below, Angela recounts her experience at General Convention as well as the application process, training, and the impact it made on her life.
To view more pictures and videos of General Convention involving youth and young adults, visit the Episcopal Youth Ministry Facebook page
Pictured above are members of the 79th General Convention Official Youth Presence. Youth members who attended are (listed in Province order): Georgia Atkinson, New Hampshire; James-Paul Forbes, Connecticut; Anthony Baldeosingh, Long Island; Wentao Zhao, Long Island; Alexander Ward, West Virginia; Andrew K. Kasule, Washington; Justin Mullis, Diocese of North Carolina; Helena Upshaw, South Carolina; Claire Parish, Western Michigan; Alexander Koponen, Indianapolis; Emily Jetton, Iowa; Luisa Van Oss, Minnesota; Michaela Wilkins, Texas; Cecelia Riddle, Kansas; Angela Cainguitan, Hawaii; Maria Gonzalez, Olympia; Diana Marcela Abuchar Sierra, Colombia; Fernando Jose Aguilar Sanchez, Honduras. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service
|Angela Cainguitan on the 79th General Convention
The following are excerpts from a presentation by Angela Cainguitan given on July 29, 2018, to her home parish, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church on Maui. In a poignant and bold reflection, she shares her experience at the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, and how it impacted her life.
I am Angela Cainguitan, 18 years old. I was in Austin, Texas, from July 1 through July 13. Before I start talking about my experience at the General Convention, I think it would be good to tell y'all briefly about how I got there.
Last year, Father John Tomoso [informed the youth] about an application to possibly attend the General Convention in Austin, Texas. As I was reading the application, I learned that only 18 youth from all the provinces were to be selected. I got a little discouraged because the Episcopal Church has a large amount of passionate young people, but I applied anyway. I believed in myself. I believed in my judgment and thoughts about problems our church is facing, and that was very important.
So, out of the 107 applicants, I was selected to be one of the two youth from Province VIII to attend the convention. I shed tears of joy. It made me realize that my voice matters, that someone appreciated and cared about the issues regarding my local church. The voice of the youth matters.
When I attended the training back in April, I learned that the Official Youth Presence was created by an initial resolution in 1982, where it stated that the members of the Official Youth Presence are permitted seat and voice by the rules of the House of Deputies and will participate in committee hearings and floor debates. That week was my opportunity to get a glimpse into a different aspect of the Church-- the politics. So, thank you so much Father John for telling me about the Official Youth Presence application. It only took our church 36 years, or 12 conventions, to learn that the Official Youth Presence exists.
The 79th General Convention was where diverse Episcopalians from all over the world met to discuss issues concerning the Church. During the whole conference, the OYP members were seated at the House of Deputies, which means I saw and heard the process of how the resolutions were debated, amended, rejected, concurred and adopted. I saw the long debates regarding the Revision of the Book of Common Prayer, Marriage Rites, and the Middle East. I celebrated along with [everyone there] when Cuba was welcomed back into the Church. I spoke in favor of resolution A033, Supporting and Expanding Episcopal Youth Events, because EYE was where I was first exposed to the youth portion of the Episcopal Church. Out of all of the resolutions the youth spoke for, tracked and followed every single day, every one of those proposals were passed.
At General Convention, the OYP members chose which legislative committee meeting they want to go to everyday. The meeting that stood out to me took place on July 4, concerning resolution A055,: Develop Multicultural Ministry Pathways, with Committee 14 on Christian Formation and Discipleship. All the leaders of Ethnic Ministries were present.
When the debate ended, I glanced at my peers from OYP and noticed there was a mixture of color: White, Latino, Asian, and Black. It was as if God intentionally placed us all in that room to tell us, "Hey this is what y'all need to be reminded of."
Presiding Bishop with the OYP and adult mentors.
In the Episcopal Church, we need more people of different backgrounds to be leaders. Presiding Bishop Curry is the first African American to serve at that level, and by what I have witnessed at General Convention, he is a leader of Christian faith and love for ALL people which is all we need. But if we do not equip new people (of diversity) to become leaders, we are asking for a downfall because I believe that a multicultural community is what's going to keep the church vital. I am begging you to please be inclusive and welcoming to different cultures, the LGBTQ+ Community, women, and most especially, the youth.
Speaking of youth, have you noticed youth ministry in this church has decreased dramatically in the past few years and continues to grow less? This is because our youth ministry does not have [leaders]. When it was my turn to attend camps and events to strengthen my faith and find out who I am with the help of mentors, why was no one there to lead? I felt as if no one wanted to nurture us, and it is excruciating to feel as though I am not significant to the church that I love. And so I question that love. When I got accepted to be a part of the Official Youth Presence, I felt as if I was celebrating my acceptance alone, but I wasn't. I was forgetting I had someone looking out for me all the time, and that was Him. He purposely placed me with OYP because He knew my strengths and my weaknesses. With all the knowledge I acquired at the convention, I'm here to tell you that these young people you see in this church today are passionate and they know how to work together. Trust in your youth and allow us to contribute in leadership because we're here to help grow and stabilize our home church.
OYP with Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies who spoke with them during a luncheon.
The General Convention was a place for me to collectively put my knowledge, experience, and whole heart to business. The convention taught me to think, stand, and speak up. I was transformed into a brave young woman, who fears nothing and no one but Jesus. A woman who lifts women. A woman who has the ability to generate reasoned and well thought out arguments. I am not afraid to voice my opinion regarding the hardest topics our world faces. I will never be ashamed to stand up for what I believe because I have faith in integrity. I dream of a church compassionate to all people including the youth. I envision a church captivated by the intelligence and love the youth can offer. The youth and young adults are essential to this church, so in every decision, please remember to think about the youth and do not be afraid of change. Thank you.
During the final day of General Convention.
|The Rev. Annalise Castro Pasalo, Official Youth Presence Mentor
Joining the Official Youth Presence members were the adult mentors who shepherded them throughout General Convention. Our own Rev. Annalise Pasalo served as one of the mentors, hand-picked by Bronwyn Clark Skov, the
Director for Formation, Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Episcopal Church.
"I cannot begin to describe the blessing it is to be at General Convention with this amazing group of young people," said Pasalo in a Facebook post. "They are teaching me so much, and I am thankful they have allowed me to come along on this journey!"
Pasalo was able to witness the work and efforts being made to address social justice issues, and especially the General Convention's response to the voices and stories of women. "[I am] thankful for this action and proud of the women who stood together to say that things need to change in our church," posted Pasalo. (An article by ENS on this topic can be found HERE.)
She also shared that her experience with this group of mentors was exceptionally special, and how well everyone worked together as a joyful cohesive team.
Sybil Nishioka, Editor & Communications Contractor
The electronic Hawaiian Church Chronicle is the official news publication of the Episcopal Diocese of Hawai'i. All policy, editorial and administrative decisions are under the direction of the editor in consultation with the Bishop's Office. The Chronicle welcomes suggestions, story ideas, comments and opinions from its readers. Send articles, letters, news and photographs (electronic files preferred) to:
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