In one month I will be in Salt Lake City for General Convention! It’s hard for me to fathom that it’s been over a year and a half since I was elected as a deputy. Maybe some of you, dear readers, think I’m a bit crazy for being so excited to sit in hearings and legislative sessions but this seems a fitting culmination to my work on the Resolution Review Committee. Yes, my term as a member on Diocesan Council will come to an end after our Diocesan Convention this year. When all this began, I honestly had little interest in resolutions or canonical legislation but all it took was reading through the vast array of resolutions after General Convention in 2012 and I was hooked. I will admit that it’s not the legal verbiage of the resolutions that excites me; it’s the broad areas of interest that are reflected in the resolutions. To me, each resolution represents the people whose experience will be affected for good by these words. It’s seeing our Church try to live into God’s mission for us that enables me to slog through difficult wording and grapple with the intent behind the words.
The “Blue Book” reports are all out. You can read any of the reports from the many agencies and boards, committees of the House of Bishops, committees of the House of Deputies, Executive Council, Joint Standing Committees, Standing Commissions and Task Forces. There’s something for everyone: liturgy, music, small congregations, health, Christian formation, social justice, marriage and world mission. And this is only a partial list! Here’s where you can find all of these reports ready for download – http://www.generalconvention.org/home/bluebook
Are you particularly interested in any of these areas? Do you have concerns about the work we’re going to be doing in Salt Lake City? This is the time to check out some of these reports and then speak to your deputation about your feelings. We’re going to be doing the best we can to represent you, dear friends of EDOMI, but if we haven’t heard from you, we can’t represent you as intentionally as we might if we had the chance to hear your voice. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lizzie Anderson at email@example.com
Here’s the rest of the deputation –
Julia Huttar Bailey
Lizzie Anderson, chair
And our alternates:
Margaret Wessel Walker
One report you might find very interesting is from the House of Deputies State of the Church Committee (SOTC). You can find the report in its entirety here – https://extranet.generalconvention.org/staff/files/download/12702.pdf
They have also joined with Forward Movement to create a summary available for you to add as a half-page bulletin insert – http://www.forwardmovement.org/Content/Site170/Basics/TheStateoftheCh_00000088056.pdf
Or as a 8 ½ X 11 inch, full-page document – http://www.forwardmovement.org/Content/Site170/Basics/TheStateoftheCh_00000088026.pdf
Share this summary with your congregation so that we are all on the same page in understanding the state of our Church today. I have always found it helpful to know where I am before I can figure out where I want to go. This is true for the Church, too. We need to be honest about the state we’re in before we can begin to move on from there.
I’m also excited about the many events that will take place in conjunction with the legislative work. I read of one such event today in the Episcopal New Service. A group of nearly 60 Bishops called Bishops United against Gun Violence is sponsoring “Claiming Common Ground against Gun Violence,” a prayerful procession through the streets of Salt Lake City on Sunday evening, June 28. Bishop Mark Beckwith of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark commented to the ENS:
The debate over gun violence in our country has become polarized, but it need not be that way. There is broad agreement among people who own guns and people who don’t that universal background checks and other common sense measure save lives while protecting the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms. We want to focus the attention of our church and the broader public on these common sense reforms, and muster the political will to see them enacted.
The procession, lasting about an hour, will include prayers and testimony by Bishop Scott Hayashi of the Diocese of Utah, who survived a gunshot wound as a young man. I’m eager to see what other special events are offered!
P.S. Of course, information about General Convention isn’t all that’s worthy of our attention. Last week, I wrote about the plight of the thousands of refugees sitting in boats off the coast of Malaysia. And the boats are still there though the humanitarian outcry has prompted some nations to relax their positions and accept these homeless individuals. With the Philippine decision not to return the Rohingya boat people back to sea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand have also agreed to accept the migrants for a year. Even Cambodia has welcomed some refugees held on the Pacific island of Nauru by Australia in return for additional financial aid after Tony Abbott, Australia’s Prime Minister, was quoted as saying:
Nope, nope, nope….Australia will do absolutely nothing that gives any encouragement to anyone to think that they can get on a boat, that they can work with people smugglers to start a new life.
I’m sorry. If you want to start a new life, you come through the front door, not through the back door.
That’s quite the contrast to Gambia’s statement recorded this last Wednesday:
The government of the Gambia notes with grave concern the inhumane condition of the Rohingya people of Myanmar – especially those referred to as “boat people” – currently drifting in the seas off the coast of Malaysia and Indonesia. As human beings, more so fellow Muslims, it is a sacred duty to help alleviate the untold hardships and sufferings fellow human beings are confronted with.
To end on another positive note that I read on the Episcopal Migration Ministries Facebook page, St Paul, Minnesota, has sworn-in its first female Somali police officer, Kadra Mohammed. She is just the second police officer to wear a special hijab with her uniform. You can read the original article here – http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/28948495/first-somali-woman-police-officer-in-minnesota
As we celebrate the birthday of the Church this Sunday in the Feast of Pentecost, let us remember that we are the Church, God’s beloved children, empowered to do God’s mission in the world!
Let us pray…
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
~ Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council