Tag Archives: general convention 12

Feed My Sheep

Anyone who knows me knows how much I dislike our never-ending hot summers here in Florida.

Best Dude & I are watching my parents’ Labrador Retriever, Casey this week while Parental Units are in Pittsburgh this week. Brother & his wife arrive tomorrow afternoon , so after church I’ll need to clean The Homestead in preparation for their summer visit. I am hoping that the weather gets better in time for their visit—it has been rainy, humid and YUCKY here since the Parental Units left for their annual Burgh Visit.

But the long summer we have here has its perks, and one of those perks is Pensacola’s monthly ” Gallery Night”.

Last evening Best Dude & I met some friends downtown for the monthly Pensacola block party known as ” Gallery Night” Our priest is a bass player in a band,and the band was featured as part of the festivities last evening. I must admit that pizza & mixed alcoholic drinks are NOT part of my healthy-eating plan ut I’ve learned that it is fine to deviate from healthy eating on occasion. :O)

Anyhow, I FINALLY got to meet a Facebook friend of mine whose work I greatly admire. Father Nathan Monk is an Orthodox priest in town who has started and maintained a ministry to feed homeless other very poor people in the city. Fr Monk has received several sanctions from the City government–but nothing stops this young man of God from doing exactly what Jesus would want His followers to do. Father Monk was at Gallery night with his now-famous ” FEED THE POOR ” sign and was selling handmade rosaries to help further his mission work with Pensacola’s most needy. I’ve wanted to meet Fr Monk since I first read about him & his ministry in the local newsrag & was delighted to meet him in person and shake his hand.

In the aftermath of my own branch of the Church’s general Convention, meeting Fr Monk reminded me again that we are , above all else, supposed to serve others . This world is full of hurting & needy people{ and many right near where we make our comfortable homes} who are truly poverty-stricken. Fr Monk’s sig ” FEED THE POOR” was a stark reminder to me that the Church isn’t about polity & politics.

The wake of some of the actions voted upon at The Episcopal Church’s 77th triennial General Convention has caused a media blitz that is causing many Church members sorrow. While I recognize their deeply felt pain, at the same time our Church{ and any church in Christendom} is first and foremost about following Jesus & doing what he would do. If I had my wish, I’d remove ALL social politics from the life of the institutional Church so that we and our leaders can focus more on what Our Lord wans us to do regarding loving Him and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Why don’t we discuss more about how to feed hungry ” sheep” rather than build socioidealogical barriers between our fellow & sister Christians?

Stop the Fighting. Lets Work on UNITING!

Amen.

Healing & Helping while looking towards to the future

My bishop issued a pastoral letter that was read in all churches in my diocese yesterday. He explained what had happened at General Convention and how he voted , alongside with his reasoning for the way he voted. He also told us how this resolution to allow liturgy for same-sex blessings will ” play out” here in my Diocese .

I am saddened by the actions of General Convention, as this is affecting people in my parish & diocese whom I know & love . Inasmuch as I find myself disagreeing with people who are shaken by the idea of same-sex couples now having a channel for the Church’s blessing upon their relationships, I want them to still feel loved by the changing Church. It will break my heart if I lose ANY of my sister & brother Episcopalians over what { to me} is a trivial issue. I want to minister to and with these folks, but I do not know how to proceed.

I am sad, because I want to help those who are hurt the most by he passing of this resolution but I cannot.

While I rejoice at the fact that a portion of our Church will finally be permitted to have their relationships blessed in the Church, my main concern is how this motion affects my parish & Diocese NOW. I realize that not everyone interprets Scripture & Tradition as I do & know that this passing of the same-sex blessing liturgy has shaken some people’s very faith. I pray for them & for our entire Church I pray daily that somehow God will show us how to BE Christ’s hands & feet here at this time & place .

Amen.

Day 10:It is finished{ General Convention 77 , that is..}

General Convention #77 is over.

I saw a Facebook post from my friend “Spankey , who served as a clergy deputy to this GC{ and to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for keeping we Episco-geeks in the know of the GC happenings.THANK YOU!} The deputies & bishops are all returning to their own dioceses tonight or tomorrow. although I only experienced GC77 vicariously via the Internet, it was also a life-changing step in my personal faith journey. I’ve met several fine ” tweeps” from GC { as well as using my Twitter account more than I’ve ever used it since I reluctantly signed up}

I’ve prayed a lot–mostly I’ve prayed { and will continue to pray} for our Church universal. This General Convention made some historic { and I believe important} inroads to be truly inclusive & for that I applaud our GC. But some of these resolutions that passed both houses in GC are & will continue to be controversial for our Church. Mostly I’ve prayed for unity & a continued discussion of these controvesial resolutions. Only time will tell.

Yesterday I saw that the local newsrag ran a very short, generic Associated Press piece on one of the resolutions passed. The newsrag failed to contact our Bishop for an accurate explanation on how this decision will affect parishes in this Diocese. The national & International news media were no better–if not worse in their slanted & inaccurate misinformation regarding this particular resolution.

I am PROUD of our Deputation & Bishop for representing us this triennium. From what my FB friends & tweeps who were there reported daily, GC is a grueling fe days of meetings, presentations and { of course} worship. We are blessed to be par of a Church who allows for persons of all orders{ laity, deacon, priest & bishop} to participate in the democratic decision making

After GC77: Onward Together

If you have read or listened to the news media this morning, you are aware that the Church voted to allow liturgy for same-sex blessings { a BLESSING is not the same thing as a marriage, by the way} for same-sex couples.

I actually read the news via Twitter from a clergy Twitter pal of mine who was a deputy to GC77 last evening. I’ve had some time for this news to ” sink in” my mind. I know I should be celebrating the social progress the Church has made this year, but part of me is weary. I am wary of the backlash that this new resolution will bring both nationally & within my own Diocese.

I know, at last in theory, that the Church shall move onward, regardless of the bellyache that will surely occur among the right-wing faction of our Church. I am praying that we can ALL remember that we are ONE universal Church. I stated last night that belief in our Creeds is what SHOULD be he most important factor in any Church. But humans being who we are, sociopolitical opinions are a powerful force. I pray that the Church can move beyond this GC resolution and remember that being Church is not supposed to be about self-affirmation. Christians of various stripes are united by one thing, our faith in the knowledge that Jesus of Nazareth was born , lived and was killed on a cross and rose from the dead three days later.

We do not attend church in order to validate our own sense of what is “acceptable”. Look in all the Gospels, Jesus tells us to withhold judgement lest we also be judged. No one is perfect, nor is anyone correct about anything 100 percent of the time.

We re the Church & we will continue to do & be Church.

Day 8: Praying and waiting

As I sit here on a rainy Tuesday afternoon I am very much aware that there is a vote happening at General Convention 77 that , to some people, is of utmost importance. { you all know which vote , I do not need to elaborate }

At the figurative and literal end of the day, the Church will go on the way she has been for 2000 years. It is by the grace of God & through the work of the Holy Spirit that Christianity survives. I must remind myself that ALL Christians, regardless their stances on social issues, are truly about following Jesus Our Lord and Savior.

What is imperative to me is if a person truly believes what we say in our Creeds{ Nicaean an Apostles’ Creeds}
In my mind, the heart of Christianity cannot be defined by one social worldview and/or political party { sorry, Republican sisters & brothers— the GOP did not exist in 1st century Judea. Logic says that Jesus could not have been a Republican}

We are all trying hard to follow Jesus, but oftentimes our egos & sense of self-righteousness inhibits our progress on our walk with God.

Remember, God works through ALL of us. God does not care of we are liberal or conservative, God only asks that we love God and{here is the tricky part…drumroll please} Love our neighbors as ourselves. Nowhere does God say that we must agree with our brothers & sisters in Christ. We are to LOVE them as God loves us.

Those who have been charged with serving as deputies to General Convention 77 are all faithful Christians. We’ve elected them o do this task at this time & in that place{ Indianapolis}Pray fr them this night.

God Bless y’all.

Amen.

Day 6 and 7: About Primates

No, I am not discussing monkeys & other furry bipeds here. The bishop in charge of a particular church within the Anglican Communion is called a primate . {Prime= first}

In today’s Episcopal News Service report from GC77, it said that the deputies passed a resolution allowing for future Presiding Bishops to also maintain his or her position of diocesan bishop during the nine-year term as Presiding Bishop.

I cannot understand why this was passed nor the logic associated with wanting to adopt this practice. But since this resolution will never affect MY life n the Church, I do not have much to say on this topic.

General Convention worshipped together yesterday with a Mass led & celebrated by our current Presiding Bishop, ++Katharine Jefferts-Schori. I heard from a deputy from my diocese that the Mass was wonderful. ++ Katharine’s homily appeared online on the official GC77 website & I read it yesterday afternoon.

Also, the Episcopal Camps & Conference Centers presented ++Katharine & her husband, Richard a ” Hero of CAmping” award . One of the reasons why I adore ++ Katharine is the fact of her committment to a healthy lifestyle full o exercise . I read somewhere that she runs an insane amount of miles EVERY DAY! Wow! Although I am not much of a camping enthusiast, I do love spending days in the Creation that is the outdoors.

In other official convention business, our own Vince C was re-elected to the Church Pension Fund.

My Twitter feed pretty much is *all* about GC77 lately & I’m LOVING being part of this triennial conversation ” from the pews”.

Shalom, y’all.

Day 5: What is an ” Abomination?”

Last night I read all of Ezekiel Chapter 8. I’d seen several hash-tag references to this Scripture in several GC deputies’ Twitter feeds, so I satisfied my curiosity with Scripture.

One word that caught my attention as a read & re-read this chapter in the OT was “abomination” I lost count of how many times that the author used that word to describe the ancient temple rituals of the Israelites.

Words are powerful and very subjective.

Even back in OT times, what one group { or individual} considered an ” abomination” might be standard practice for another group. For instance, the author in Ezekiel called the temple rituals used by the Israelites at that time & place” abominations” I noticed that the use of incense was cited in this chapter as ” An abomination” in the eyes of God. I TOTALLY disagree with tis statement— as a high Church Anglo-Catholic the use of images & incense is part of my spiritual heritage. But even now, some Protestant Christians see using incense in worship as { at best} a detractor.

Anyhow, my thoughts ” from the pew” during this General Convention are that we need to remember that words carry loaded meanings. What one person’s ” abomination” is might be someone else’s normalcy. I agree that some behaviors & actions that humans are capable of ARE an abomination. { for instance , murder, rape & other sich violent crimes} Someone else’s different preference for ANYTHING that does not cause harm to others} is really none of my business.

One of the pet peeves I carry concerning all Church conventions is that such meetings tend to polarize attendees { and those of us at home in the pews] in such a way that threatens the unity of our Church. While I admit to my tendency to *always* think that my views on pretty much everything are * correct* I make it a practice to tolerate others’ views. tolerance & unity remain my hope and prayer fo this 77th Convention of The Episcopal Church.

Amen.

Days 3 & 4: ” I dream of a Church that…..”

I dream of a Church that….

… Does not forget the God of the Old Testament, but practices its communal life according to the teachings of Jesus as seen in the New Testament.

….Recognizes that both men & women are called to all levels of Holy Orders.

….A Church that is truly one catholic { “small-c”} church that is free from schism or the threat of schism.

….Where we are more focused on living the message of the Gospel & less about using Holy Scripture as a weapon against women & minorities.

….A Church where ALL have access to basic Christian education that is free from any sociopolitical slanting towards the extreme right-wing sector of the political spectrum.

… I dream of a Church where people do not wish to restrict financial giving so that our financial resources can make the most impact by spreading the Gospel in more ways & in more places.

… I dream of a Church that validates & celebrates all forms of families.

…. Church should be less about institutional government & more about ACTION in the world. We should be more concerned with feeding the hungry, helping to heal the sick, and engaging in interfaith dialog than arguing about doctrine .

What is the Church that YOU dream of How can we make that Church a reality in the near future?

Day 2:Dialog = good. Schism= VERY BAD

I solicited reposes for yesterday’s article & received a variety of responses. Those people who agree with the GC77’s proposed resolutions totally open Holy Communion to the unbaptized presented me with some strong reasons why they feel this way about that topic. I’m glad to know that there are many Anglicans who can discuss Church issues without resorting to ugly name-calling & stereotyping.

The morning , via his blog, a young clergy deputy from my Diocese reminded me that the Church will go one, regardless what happens after GC77. In my heart I know that JESUS is the Head of our Church & He won’t let her whither & die.

It is human to worry. Since I love the Church so much I want her to remain intact. Schism has proven throughout the history of Christianity to hinder what each & every Christian is called to do: spread the Gospel. Schism prevents whole branches of Christianity from being Christ’s Body in the here & now. Think for a mnute, would a non-Christian see a Church embattled in schism & want to learn more about our faith? I doubt it.

It makes me nervous to hear talks of schism. Not only does the idea of a split in the Church make me ill with sadness but I’ve read numerous property disputes regarding parishes & Dioceses who have left the Church. When I read or actually hear people talk in favor of schism I just want to present them with a PowerPoint slide show of ALL the losses that dissenting parishes & dioceses have lost in terms of real property. {Sadly, some people only understand logic in terms of dollars & cents}

On the other hand, mature dialog moves the Church forward & solidifies the bond that we have an American Episcopalians. If we ake time to listen to one another, we’ll grow stronger as a Church at all levels of the hierarchy. I can worship at any church that acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord & believes in the Trinity, but I know people who think that the Church ” belongs to ” people like me”.

Christ is the Head of our Church. And according to our Nicene Creed, we believe in ” one holy catholic apostolic Church”.

Keep the dialog coming.

Amen. Amen. Amen!

Day 1: Baptism & Holy Communion.

Today the bishops & deputies will convene in Indianapolis, Indiana for the 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church. There is a whole list of resolutions that the Church as a whole must consider this year & some seem to be more ” hot-button” issues than most .

My big concern is the resolution put forth by someone in Oregon that the Holy Communion be totally open to all persons regardless of baptismal status.{ i.e unbaptized persons may receive the Body & Blood of our LORD if they so desire.}

As progressive as I am regarding the Church & social issues, when he subject turns to liturgy I am very traditional. Let me say ‘on record’ that if General Convention votes to change the canons to completely open Holy Communion to unbaptized persons I will be sad.

However, my strong feelings about this liturgical & theological matter will NOT cause me to abandon our Church. The Church is composed of imperfect people & we must allow our leaders to make mistakes without acting on cowardice & running away from our family of faith. If GC votes to open Holy Communion to unbaptized persons, I will quietly live with that change. I will never agree with such a radical change to my understanding of our Baptismal Covenant but I can live wth it.

While I vehemently disagree with the logic behind this resolution, I can see where the people who wish to pass it are coming from. I, too, hope & pray for an inclusive Church. But being a Christian requires some sort of statement of faith & when an unbaptized adult wishes to become a Christian I believe that baptism in necessary for a full membership in the Church.

Inasmuch as I hate to admit it: I hope that the delegates to GC77 vote to uphold our Canons as they are regarding baptism & reception of Holy Communion. There are many reasons why I feel this way.

I do not understand why someone who has never professed belief that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed God’s only begotten Son wish to partake in our sacrament? My mother is Jewish & she has absolutely no desire to come to the altar for even a blessing by the priest on the rare occasions she attends Mass with me.

I do not understand why a non-Christian would want to actively participate in something that is so central to our identities as Christ-followers. My theology of the Eucharist stems from the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ last Supper with His disciples { and yes, I * am* aware that the Last Supper was a Jewish Passover meal.}

At that particular time & place, Scripture tells us :
” Then He took a cup & after giving thanks He said ‘ Take this & divide it among ourselves, for I tell you that from now on I will not drink from the vine until the Kindom of God comes. Then He took a loaf of bread & when He had given thanks, broke it & gave to them saying ‘This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance o Me.'”. { Luke 22:17-19}

To Christians, the elements presented for a blessing at the altar become more than the sum of their parts. To us, partaking in Holy Communion is done to remember what Jesus did for s so many years ago. It is a visceral reminder that WE are Christ’s Body on Earth. While we pry that ALL may come to know about Our LORD, in my opinion baptism is something that one must prepare one’s heart & mind. Our Baptism seals us as Christ’s own forever–thing we do an ever remove us from the family of Christ one we’ve received the Christian rite of initiation at Baptism.

I am not saying that we should discourage seekers from coming to church. Quite the opposite: if a seeker comes to one of our parishes & is so moved by the Celebration of The Eucharist, he or she has an option to ask the resident priest to tell him or her more about what it means to BE a member of Christ’s Body { a Christian}