Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Episcopal Buffet: the pre-game Convention roundup

There are several topics of information and news I wish to touch on and get out to my local parish as well as everyone else who stops by and reads my offerings. There is a survey that the Episcopal Church is urging everyone to participate in so we have an idea of where the Church might be in 2019.

There is also a wonderful account of the first woman priest to be ordained in the Diocese of San Joaquin! The House of Deputies may hold some unusual sessions regarding the controversial Bo 33 resolution that was passed at the last minute at GenCon 06 and which has large ramifications for this year's Convention as well as the Church at large.

Archbishop of the Church of England, Rowan Williams, will be making an appearance at this year's Convention in Anaheim. See the article below to know more about it.

Hat tips to the Episcopal News Service and their reporters as well as Bob Smietana at The Tennessean online "paper".

Survey invites Episcopalians to shape the future of the Church

What do you want the Episcopal Church to look like in 2019?

An eight-question survey posted online June 24 asks Episcopalians—lay and ordained—to envision the church in 10 years’ time and to prioritize the strategies toward that vision.

Do you favor a multicultural church? Is evangelism "less important," "important," or "very important" to you? Should advocacy and social justice define the church? Or should the church be a combination of mission and worship?

"We are looking at where we are as a church today and addressing hopes and desires," said the Rev. Christopher Johnson, a member of the Strategic Planning Committee formed by Executive Council at its January 2009 meeting in Stockton, California.

The committee’s mandate is to develop a strategic plan for the Episcopal Church Center and the Executive Council that would address mission and ministry, growth, finance, challenges and opportunities, issues and concerns, and to map a way to address those themes. Executive Council expects the committee to present a draft strategic plan by December 31, 2009.

"The survey results will provide us with feedback on the values and priorities of stakeholders … information that will allow us to be mindful in developing a strategic plan," Johnson added. "Of course one of the things that motivates us is, like most mainline Protestant denominations, we've experienced a loss of membership; we'd like to reverse that and initiate growth."

The survey may be completed anonymously. It is composed mostly of option buttons, but also includes text boxes that allow the participant to expand an answer. It can be completed in five to 10 minutes. July 28 is the deadline to complete the survey; the communications office plans to publish the aggregated survey results in fall 2009. You can read the rest of the article here.

SAN JOAQUIN: All-new spirit' prevails as diocese ordains first woman priest

By Pat McCaughan

[Episcopal News Service] Tears, cheers, joy, applause and an "all-new spirit" filled the packed Church of the Saviour in Hanford, California, June 27 as the Rev. Suzanne Lynn Ward became the first woman ordained a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

"This, my brothers and sisters, is a big deal day," said the Rt. Rev.
Edna Bavi "Nedi" Rivera, bishop suffragan of the Seattle-based Diocese of Olympia, and provisional bishop for the Diocese of Eastern Oregon, who was guest preacher.

Full story:

Episcopal Church disputes don't shake [presiding] bishop

From The Tennessean

The smile on Katharine Jefferts Schori's face was a mile wide.

A group of Sudanese women had just finished singing, opening a service honoring the 150th anniversary of St. Ann's Episcopal Church in East Nashville. And now a string ensemble and nearly 300 worshippers had joined in a familiar hymn, as St. Ann's choir, pastor and other clergy began entering in processional.

Near the end of the line was the Most Rev. Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, in all her vestments, clearly enjoying the moment. All this despite the heat, which was already close to 90 degrees, even at 9 in the morning.

"It was God's people gathered to give thanks," she said after the service was over. "What could be better than that?"

Jefferts Schori's visit to Nashville comes at an uneasy time in the Episcopal Church.

You can read the rest of the news story here.

House of Deputies may convene unusual sessions on Resolution B033

By Mary Frances Schjonberg

[Episcopal News Service] The House of Deputies will be asked to consider meeting in two unusual sessions early in the 76th meeting of the General Convention to discuss Resolution B033 passed by the last convention.

"The purpose of this discussion will be to exchange information and viewpoints among the deputies, and to inform Legislative Committee #8 World Mission, to which committee all the resolutions relative to B033 have been assigned," House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson wrote in a June 29 letter to deputies and first alternate deputies.

Anderson wrote that she believes the House of Deputies "will benefit by having an opportunity to discuss B033 apart from the context of legislative procedure" and noted that "many deputies have indicated their longing to discuss B033 together as a house."

Full story:

Private meeting with Williams at convention will address sexuality, ministry

By Mary Frances Schjonberg

[Episcopal News Service] Eight members of the Episcopal Church's House of Deputies are scheduled meet privately with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams at General Convention in a session that is intended in part to address lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in the church.

General Convention meets July 8-17 in Anaheim, California, and Williams will be present July 7-9.

The session is not an official convention meeting and thus there has been no announcement of the plans. However, when contacted by Episcopal News Service, the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe of the Diocese of California confirmed the details.

Full story:

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