The New Northeast

tracking the Spirit in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine

Deputy of the Day – Elizabeth Ring

Some of the Maine deputation, including (at right) Elizabeth Ring of St. Bartholomew’s, Yarmouth, out for dinner after a long day of committee meetings and deliberation.

Day two: hearings, a joint session, more hearings, a legislative session, worship, and a delicious dinner.

We had wonderful conversation in my Legislative Committee (Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations) about our Dialogue with the United Methodist Church. Bishop Palmer (UMC) and Bishop Brookhart (TEC), co-chairs of the Dialogue, provided helpful insights into the questions we each have about each other. Both of our churches have deep concerns about racial reconciliation, care of creation, and evangelism – how we share the story of Jesus. There are important conversations still to come, internal for each denomination and in the Dialogue, but the energy around building on our commonalities is exciting. There are lots of resources to support local conversations with our UMC neighbors. The most complete collection is at umc-tec.org.

The House of Bishops joined us for a Joint Session on Racial Reconciliation, which included presentations in person and through visual media of stories of life changing events that have led to abandoning violence as a solution, and the creation of serve2unite.org and the Absalom Jones Center.  This was the first of three TEC Conversations. A wonderful article about this first conversation is available here. I hope the videos will be available soon.

In the afternoon, we proceeded to a legislative session that focused on the process of revising the Book of Common Prayer, outlined in Resolution A068. One particular concern is the quality of our translations and whether or not they honor the nuances of the language into which they are translated. Interesting discussion included some glimpses into the history of revision leading up to the 1928 book and subsequently the 1979 book. Revision has never been a neat and tidy, uncontroversial event. The importance of a transparent process that encourages the members of our congregations to learn and share their thoughts was clear. The length of the process as presently laid out in the Canons is for many a deterrent. More discussion will happen tomorrow and there are more resolutions on this topic to come before us.

General Convention is an intense and exciting opportunity to learn from the experiences and wisdom of people from throughout TEC. The presence of deputies from TEC churches around the world is a real joy and a critical reminder of our diversity. Their voices contribute important perspectives into our discussions.

This is my second Convention as a Deputy and my seventh overall because of my work with the lifelong learning, resource, and ecumenical networks. It is wonderful to be walking along and bump into old friends and colleagues at the same time I am making new ones. Thanks for sending me.

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