I hope you all had a most blessed Holy Week and celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord. May these glorious Fifty Days of Easter be filled with continued joy as we celebrate that “The Lord is Risen! Alleluia!!”
True confession time, just in case you hadn’t figured this out – It’s true…I’m a “church nerd!” I was working on my report for our Diocesan Council meeting today and traveled over to the General Convention website where I found many of the reports that have been filed for our work in Salt Lake City. I have to admit that I was excited to see them! Now, don’t get me wrong; I am not necessarily looking forward to reading all of them – especially the ones that are really long – but what I do find exciting is the many committees and task forces that are busily engaged in trying to fulfill God’s mission for the Church! It looks like there’s something for everyone!!
I’ve already shared the proposed budget from the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance, the report from the Task Force on the Study of Marriage, and the Report of the Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church (TREC) in previous blog posts. But now the Blue Book Reports are also out – the Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns, Health, Communications and Information Technology, Lifelong Christian Formation and Education, Liturgy and Music, and Small Congregations – just to name a few. Like, I said, something for EVERYONE!! Of particular interest to me is the report by the Executive Council Committee on Science, Technology and Faith since I teach in the sciences and am faced almost weekly with students who think that “our” science conflicts somehow with their faith. You can find the list of all the reports here with links to the documents – http://www.generalconvention.org/home/bluebook And, as you look at the reports, take a look at the names of the people who served on these committees for the last three years – so many volunteers working to bring God’s mission to the world. We all owe them a debt of gratitude!
Of particular note is the report by the Executive Council Committee on
“Now we have a researched, documented, vetted, historical narrative that forms the foundation for viewing where the church has stood and how it has progressed or, in many cases, not progressed, in its work on becoming anti-racists,” commented Lelanda Lee of Colorado, Executive Council member and chair of its Advocacy and Networking Committee at the Executive Council meeting. “Now we have the foundation on which we can stand altogether to point our way forward to the work that remains to be done.”
Areas addressed in the report include: Early Recognition of the Effects of Racism, 1954-1978; Naming and Confronting the Church’s Racism, 1979-1989; Initiating Anti-Racism Training, 1990-1999; Anti-Racism as Sustained Cultural Competency, 2000-2014. Additionally, the report contains a complete list of General Convention and Executive Council resolutions approved over the decades.
Key points of the report in the Summary offer an overview of the recognition of racism, response, and training and curriculum offerings. “Racism had to be recognized before it could be addressed,” the Summary states. “These changes in place, Church bodies were equipped to turn to confronting racism as an internal blight. General Convention pushed for greater self-examination and Church-wide awareness training, and Council began to respond with expectations of staff.”
We all know too well how racism continues to impact our communities and our nation. As Christians, we need to be Jesus’ voice and speak out against injustice. To do this well, we need to be well-informed so I urge you to read through this report. You can find it here – https://extranet.generalconvention.org/staff/files/download/12932.pdf
A few weeks ago, I shared the proposed budget for the next triennium and mentioned that the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance wanted your feedback:
“As General Convention 2015 approaches, Program, Budget, and Finance would like to hear comments and suggestions from all corners of the church,” commented the Rev. Mally Lloyd of Massachusetts, co-chair of the Program, Budget, and Finance Committee. “This is an opportunity for everyone to have a say in the budget before we arrive at General Convention.”
The Program, Budget, and Finance Budget Explanation, the Executive Council budget narrative, the Draft Budget, and instructions are available: http://www.generalconvention.org/home/budgetfeedback-pbf
Now, I’m the “newbie” going to Convention this year so I will be relying on the others to direct me as to how best to use my time. Initially, I was disappointed that I didn’t ask to be on any committees but, right now, I am glad because I will get to go from session to session and glean what will be most helpful. I also realize that I am representing all of you, dear friends, and so I would love to hear of the issues which especially touch your hearts. Please, please, check out some of the reports and let me know what you think. I really want to serve you well! As deputies, I know that we were elected because you have faith that, as we vote our conscience, we will be reflecting the interests and desires of our Household and relying on God’s grace and wisdom to make the best decisions. But that doesn’t mean we work in a vacuum. All of your deputies would love to hear from you!
Salt Lake City or Bust!!!!
Let us pray –
Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and
understanding, be present with those who will take counsel
together in Salt Lake City this summer for the renewal and mission
of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and
glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the
courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council