The New Northeast

tracking the Spirit in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine

Three days to go – News, video, photos from General Convention

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It’s picture day on the floor of the House of Deputies, when bishops, alternates, visitors, and media types are allowed to gather with the deputation.

As of today, the Episcopal Church is two-thirds through its nine day General Convention in Salt Lake City. Members of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops are deeply engaged in the consideration of 334 resolutions that have come through the 22 cognate legislative committees. Maine deputies have worked hard and into the wee hours crafting resolutions and preparing testimony to present to various committees. Some deputies have participated on committees while others have tracked resolutions on certain topics moving through the committee process. As of lunchtime on Wednesday only 72 resolutions have been resolved.

First a couple of congratulations are in order.

Congratulations to Sherri Dietrich, Maine’s United Thank Offering coordinator, upon being elected to represent Province 1 (New England dioceses) on the national board of the UTO.

Congratulations also to Calvin Sanborn, rector of St. George’s, York Harbor, upon being elected to a three-year term to the Committee to Nominate the Presiding Bishop. (While a new PB won’t be elected until 2024, it is necessary to have a committee in place in case of an unexpected need to elect a new PB arises.

Check out our photo albums from General Convention: Early Days, March Against Gun Violence, Days 2 and 3, Later Days. Also visit Bishop Steve’s GC Video page on his blog for a collection of his daily video updates from Salt Lake City.

Here’s his latest:

2016-2018 Budget

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Canon Mally Lloyd of the Diocese of Massachusetts and Bishop Lane just before they present the budget to the joint houses on Wednesday afternoon.

Bishop Lane has been extremely busy as the Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance. The budget was completed late on Monday and is available at www.generalconvention.org,  The budget, for the second triennium, is structured around the Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission.

  • To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.
  • To teach, baptize and nurture new believers.
  • To respond to human need by loving service.
  • To seek to transform unjust structures of society.
  • To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

The three-year budget includes $2 million for racial justice and reconciliation, strengthened funding for the Episcopal Youth Event and the Young Adult Service Corps, a pool of $3 million for grant programs to support local efforts: church planting, mission enterprise zones, and ethnic and indigenous ministries. It also includes $750,000 for a Digital Evangelism Initiative and as well as funds recommended for prayerbook revision and creation care.

On the income side, the current diocesan assessment of 19% will be stepped down to 15% in 2018 -18% in 2016, 16.5% in 2017, and 15% in 2018. This reduction continues the trend to free up funds for ministry and mission at the diocesan and local levels.

On Wednesday afternoon, the House of Bishops joined the House of Deputies for a presentation by Bishop Lane and the committee chair Canon Mally Lloyd of Massachusetts. The budget will be considered in both houses on Thursday.

Other issues under consideration: 


Marriage Liturgies

The House of Bishops and the House of Deputies approved a resolution that continues the work of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage.

The House of Bishops have approved A054, which provides two new marriage liturgies for trial use, and A036, which amends the Canons to allow for gender neutral language in the Book of Common Prayer. Check out the Episcopal News Service story for a detailed explanation of the actions and implications of these actions. The House of Deputies will take up A054 and A036 on Wednesday afternoon.

The Rev. Calvin Sanborn, clerical deputy and rector of St. George’s, York Harbor, has been tracking the work of the Special Committee on Marriage. In this video he unpacks the resolutions about marriage.

Changing the Structure of The Episcopal Church
The legislative committee on Governance and Structure listened to testimony and worked hard to consolidate the resolutions brought to Convention by the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC). Three resolutions come to the House of Deputies for initial action.

The House of Deputies has approved A004 that will reduce the size of the Executive Council from 39 to 20 while preserving geographical representation as well as a balance of orders – bishops, clergy, lay people – among its membership. Now it heads to HOB.

A006 reduces the number of Standing Commissions to two bodies: a Standing Commission on Theology, Liturgy, and Music and a Standing Commission on Governance and Structure. This resolutions passed overwhelmingly in the HOD and now go to HOB.

Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse

The House of Bishops passed A159 The Role of the Church in the Culture of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and it now goes to the House of Deputies. Also passed by the bishops is A158 creating a Task Force to Review and Revise Policy on substance abuse, addiction, and recovery.  A third resolution, D014 Question Ordinands About Addiction, proposed by Maine Deputy Ben Shambaugh,  passed by both houses with slight amendments by the HOB, must now return to HOD for concurrence.

Brenda Hamilton, Maine deputy and vice-chair of the Committee on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse talks about the work in this video.

Climate Change

Two resolutions were passed by the House of Bishops: CO45, Environmentally Responsible Investing; and A030, which would create a Climate Change Advisory Committee. Both will go before the House of Deputies in the next few days. A resolution submitted by the Diocese of Connecticut, C015, to consider adding a promise in the Baptismal Covenant to protect God’s creation was referred by the House of Bishops for study to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music.

Here’s a comprehensive story on climate change resolutions from Episcopal News Service.

Liturgy and Prayerbook revisions

The Very Rev. Ben Shambaugh, dean of St. Luke’s Cathedral and a member of the legislative committee on Prayerbook, Liturgy, and Music speaks to the work of his committee and the resolutions it has put forward.

Assisting church communities whose churches have been burned down by arsonists
Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, Missouri, has set up a fund to assist with the re-building of the several black churches that been destroyed across the south in recent days by arsonists. Learn more about the effort and make a donation here.

And finally, it’s time to get to know Presiding Bishop-Elect Michael Curry better.

Here’s an interview he conducted with Episcopal News Service at General Convention.

In case you never saw it and have a spare 18 minutes…

Here is Bishop Michael Curry’s “Crazy Christian” sermon from the 2012 General Convention. The first few minutes are pretty subdued. Then watch out!

More stories are available on the Episcopal News Service website.

Good reporting on General Convention is also coming from House of Deputy News.

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