TEC General Convention

Jul 9, 2018 by

by Barbara Gauthier: (received by email)

General Convention 2018 opened a day early with a #MeToo lament and “listening liturgy” for the House of Bishops led by TEC’s women bishops, who each voiced a letter of complaint/lament submitted anonymously by women (and men) who had experienced sexual misconduct in the church. It was intense. The House of Bishops later passed a resolution committing themselves to “listen to and take to heart the stories that reflect the biases deeply embedded in our structure.”

The first few days also saw friction developing between the Province IX bishops and delegations from Latin America who accused GC organizers of racism because they were frequently left without translators and at least one delegate’s translator refused to translate her testimony before the Marriage Task Force Committee because he disagreed with what she had to say. The delegations were also promised Spanish translations of proposed resolutions and supporting materials, which turned out not to be available. Bp. John Allen of Honduras then interrupted the House of Bishops discussion on giving a salary to the House of Deputies President to formally complain that he and those with him had been made to feel unwelcome and they were tired of being treated like second-class citizens. PB Curry agreed to meet personally with Bp. Allen so that the Bishops could resume their business. The next day Bp. Mary Gray-Reeves, vice chair of the House of Bishops, apologized for the lack of translation services which had “fallen through a crack.” Bp. Allen and the other Latin American delegates accepted her apology.

Meanwhile, the House of Bishops agreed that the House of Deputies President should be paid, but they rejected offering her a salary commensurate with that of the Presiding Bishop because that might be seen as an indication that she would also have authority equal to his, thus making her the equivalent of a “co-primate” in The Episcopal Church. The bishops decided instead to award her a “director and officer fee” in lieu of a salary.

There was also some very heated discussion in the House of Deputies on Resolution B012 on making same-sex blessings fully available to all Episcopalians through Delegated Episcopal Provisional Oversight in the eight remaining dioceses that do not permit them. Impassioned testimonies from both liberal and conservative delegates revealed the tension in the church over the possibility of officially changing TEC’s definition of marriage and making its new doctrine mandatory on all bishops in all dioceses. An amended version of the resolution was passed and sent over to the House of Bishops for their approval.

Episcopal Cafe has provided an excellent summary of the the first three days activities. Below that you will sections on each of the major developments: #MeToo “listening liturgy,” HoD President’s compensation, accusations of racism from Province IX Hispanic bishops and deputies, competing testimonies on Resolution B012 and responses from the Communion Partners.

Next up is the proposal to authorize a complete overhaul and revision of the BCP to accommodate more expansive language for both God and humans and make it more reflective of what Episcopalians actually believe.

SUMMARY OF DAYS 1 & 2 from Episcopal Cafe

GC2018 OPENS WITH #MeToo “LISTENING LITURGY” AND LAMENT LED BY WOMEN BISHOPS: TEC’s women bishops lead #MeToo with graphic accounts of sexual harassment in The Episcopal Church, from Living Church

Mary Ann Mueller cites key excerpts from the dozen laments read aloud by TEC’s women bishops: Virtueonline

The House of Bishops later gave their unanimous approval to an “equity and justice” working covenant July 8 that commits them to “listen to and take to heart the stories that reflect the biases deeply embedded in our structure.”  They also committed themselves to implement a number of practices they will engage in diocesan cultures and structures to help resolve sexism and sexual abuse in the church: from The Living Church

HOUSE OF DEPUTIES PRESIDENT WILL RECEIVE “DIRECTOR FEE” BUT NO SALARY from The Living Church

PROVINCE IX HISPANIC BISHOPS ACCUSE TEC OF RACISM: Episcopal News Service.  Bp. John Allen of Honduras and his delegation were joined by other Province IX bishops and deputies in accusing TEC of anti-Hispanic racism, stating that they felt unwelcome, ignored and were being treated like second-class citizens by General Convention

Racism accusations hurled in GC’s first fracas  by George Conger, Anglican Ink: Symptomatic of their complaints was a dispute that arose when a TEC-appointed Spanish-language translator refused to translate the testimony of a deputy from the Diocese of Honduras when she began expressing her belief that same-sex marriage was contrary to God’s word

Honduran Bishop Protests Translation Negligence, The Living Church– The very next day, years of frustration from Spanish-speaking Episcopal leaders boiled over n the House of Bishops, as the Bishop of Honduras twice interrupted the scheduled order of business to express anger over the lack of Spanish translations in a committee hearing the previous day.

Translation ‘Fell Through a Crack’, The Living Church. The vice chair of the House of Bishops the next day explained the logistics and costs of translation and interpretation services ($180,000 just for GC2018 alone) and admitted that what should have been done “fell through a crack”:

RESOLUTIONS A085 and B012 on GAY MARRIAGE RITES, The Living Church– Liberal  proponents of A085 (changing the BCP to include gay marriage) are doubtful about the wisdom of supporting B012 (providing gay marriage for all, but not changing the BCP).   LGBT supporters say they won’t settle for anything less than full inclusion “marriage for all” made mandatory for all by official revision of the Prayer Book marriage liturgy

Marriage Resolution Ready for Houses, The Living Church– At the end of the day Resolution B012 was revised by the committee and was ready for submission to both houses for discussion, amendments and approval

Input from Communion Partners:  Bp Dan Martins recounts his testimony before the B012 committee and underscores the predicament of the Communion Partner bishops the face of impending approval of gay blessing rites throughout all The Episcopal Church

+Martins also summarizes his (and his fellow bishops’) position going into GC2018

What kind of organization holds their convention on the 4th of July? + Same Sex Marriage and The Episcopal Sect: Communion Partner Bishops Put Up a Hail Mary, from Not Another Episcopal Church blog– A member of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina reflects on the Communion Partner Bishops’ statement indicating their willingness to compromise by allowing same-sex blessings in their dioceses if liberal bishops offer to provide provisional episcopal oversight for  progressive-minded parishes.  Based on discussions posted on various progressive Episcopalian websites, opposition to Resolution B012 is so intense that it will likely have very little chance of passing as written — and the Communion Partner bishops will find themselves in a quantum-sized quandary.

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