One of the unique offerings at this triennium’s General Convention are TEConversations (The Episcopal Church Conversations), which are being held during three joint sessions of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies over the coming week. Each conversation offers multiple speakers, video presentations and engaging interludes around three priorities of this gathering: racial reconciliation, evangelism and care of creation.
The first conversation revolved around racial reconciliation. We heard from a reformed, former leader of a worldwide racist skinhead organization, Arno Michaelis. He told us hate and violence was an all-consuming way of life. Compassion and forgiveness are a double edged sword as the way to combat this anger and hate.
The Rev. Nancy Frausto, a native of Zacatecas, Mexico, and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) beneficiary priest was another speaker. Frausto is a dreamer, “which means I entered the country illegally. I ran and hid to be reunited with my father.” Frausto talked about the story of Jesus and Lazarus when Jesus said to the people, “Unbind him. Let him go.” She went on to say, “Imagine us unbinding this country from racism.
We also heard from a local Austin poet, Charles Dawain Stephens, aka Chucky Black, who recited his poem, Black Magic; Dr. Catherine Meeks, Director of the Absalom Joes Episcopal Center for Racial Healing and viewed a video that presented the question – What is a Beloved Community? – was answered by people representing the diversity of the Episcopal Church.
A discussion followed within dioceses surrounding the issues of racism. Our diocese focused discussion on the unbinding of our hatred, fear, oppression and pain within our diocese and churches.
Each TEConversation will be available live and online, with support materials, for local use in churches at a later date. The next TEConversation is on Evangelism. It will be 2:30-4 p.m. CDT on July 7.
The other main order of business before the House of Deputies was Resolution A068 regarding full revision of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. There was much debate and discussion regarding this resolution and there will be more discussion and a probable vote on Saturday morning. Please continue to pray for our delegation as consider and vote on the important resolutions before us.
Anne Peterson is a member of St. Thomas, Menasha. To learn more about our General Convention Deputies, visit diofdl.org/gc.