General Convention Report #5
Wishing you all many blessings on this day that God has made. We here at General Convention are certainly receiving the Spirit’s outpouring in work, in our growing relationships with the wider church, and in the spirit led worship that is an integral part of General Convention. I have yet to be in any session that has not started with prayer, ended with prayer and, on many occasions, paused for prayer during moments when the participants were at a point of exhaustion or in need of it. I truly feel that God is invited into every space being shared here.
Today our morning and early afternoon was devoted to worship. There were opportunities at area churches as well as the Convention Center. In the morning, many representatives participated in the Bishops Against Gun Violence, witness and prayer service. At this service the Schentrup family, whose daughter Carmen, who was one of 17 students and educators who was killed by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, High School on Ash Wednesday this year. The Schentrups belong to St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs, Florida. Speaking with them was ninth grade student, Abigail Zimmerman (St. Alban’s, Waco, TX) who was eight years old when the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting took place and only 14 at this year’s shooting. She spoke about the 239 shootings that have taken place between Sandy Hook and Marjory Stoneman Douglas; shootings that have shaped the childhood experience of what school is for her and her contemporaries. For more information, you can read the Episcopal News Service coverage here.
Following the service in the park, more than 1000 Bishops and Deputies “at least two for every one female incarcerated at the Hutto Detention Center stood under the blistering sun July 8 in public witness to the actions of the U.S. government in its enforcement of immigration policies that have separated families over the last couple of months.” (ENS 7-8-2018). We sang and prayed. We were assured they could hear us by the Vicar of the Episcopal Church in Taylor, TX, and many walked (respectfully) to the front where the women could look out of tall narrow windows and see us. We were there to let them know in this time of despair that they are not alone. One deputy from Washington state noticed that some women were able to be at the windows, they were waving to us and one held up a small sign that she moved on the window so that we would see. I am saddened that our distance prevented us from seeing what she wrote, thinking that this was, perhaps, a message to her family, or a request for help. Read the full coverage here.
As the prayer service ended, it was time to return to the Convention Center for our 3pm-7pm legislative session during which, in the HoD, was dedicated to in large part to elections - the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings was re-elected to a third and final term as President of the House of Deputies. We then began the initial work of looking at resolution B012, and how we will moving forward into the next triennium for continued trial use, in accordance with Article X of the Constitution and Canon II.3.6, for “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage” and the “Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2”. Questions and debate had just begun when our evening session ended. We will continue with discussion and voting on this amendment Monday morning.
On a lighter note, there has been a pigeon in the House of Deputies this past week. It choses interesting moments make its presence known and has developed quite a following. Yesterday during the tedium of multiple ballot elections, facilitated by technological glitches, the young adult presence garnered quite a bit of applause by creating a digital version of the pigeon which was projected on the monitors in the house for all to see. You can read more about our delightful pigeon experiences here.
The Rev. Dr. Erin Kirby is Rector of St. Matthias, Minocqua. To learn more about our General Convention Deputies, visit diofdl.org/gc.
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