Tuesday, March 15, 2016

2016 Spring House of Bishops, Day 5

The morning was devoted to what we used to call Town Hall, but is now called Community Gathering. The concept is the same: Bishops ask in advance to be recognized to briefly espouse some program or priority that's important to them. There included (but may not be limited to):

  • Theology Committee (Breidenthal, Ohio)
  • Ecclesiology Committee (Franklin, Western New York for Whalon, Europe)
  • Ecumenical relations with United Methodists (Brookhart, Montana)
  • Environmental curriculum (Ely, Vermont with Rice, San Joaquin)
  • Bishops' Pilgrimage to Ghana (Konieczny, Oklahoma with Wright, Atlanta)
  • Recovery Ministries (Bailey, Navajoland)
  • Issues around election of new Federal Ministries bishop (Fr Razz Waff, Chair of Nominating Committee)
  • News/warning about an imposter priest (Waldo, Upper South Carolina)
  • News/warning about an imposter bishop (Field, West Missouri)
  • Beautiful Authority (program for advancing ordained women into more responsible and high-profile positions) (Gray-Reeves, El Camino Real)
  • General Board of Examining Chaplains, (Benfield, Arkansas)
  • Spiritual Writing Workshop (Hollingsworth, Ohio)
  • Communion Partners (Smith, North Dakota)
  • Migration & Human Trafficking (Rice, San Joaquin)
  • Poverty, Racism, & Gun Violence conference (Lee, Chicago with Fisher, Western Massachusetts)
  • Union of Black Episcopalians (Baxter, Retired of Central Pennsylvania)
  • Departure logistics (Canon Michael Hunn)
  • Holy Land pilgrimage (Rickel, Olympia with Beissner, Northern California)
  • 2018 General Convention (J. Fisher, Texas)
  • Flint, MI drinking water (Ousley, Eastern Michigan)
  • Recognition of consecration anniversaries 
  • Recognition of imminent retirees (Lambert, Suff. Dallas; Rivera, Eastern Oregon; Little, Northern Indiana)

We reconvened at 2pm for a formal business session (hence, the photo).

  • Three bishops were elected to the College for Bishops board.
  • Consent was given for admission to the HOB of Mark Van Koevering, resigned Bishop of Nyassa in Mozambique, to serve as Assistant Bishop of West Virginia.
  • Election of one bishop to fill an unexpired term on the Disciplinary Board for Bishops.
  • Report on plans for future HOB meetings this triennium, based on the work we did yesterday.
  • Consideration of a proposed resolution announcing that bishops "reserve the right" to withhold consent for the consecration of bishops elected in processes that did not include a requisite number of women and persons of color. This matter was deferred until the next meeting of the House.
  • Discussion of procedural details for the election of a new Bishop for Federal Ministries (military chaplaincies, federal prisons, VA chaplaincies).
  • Debate over a resolution offered by the Class of 2013. It was amended on the floor, and the adopted version is as follows:
A Word to the ChurchHoly Week 2016 
On Good Friday the ruling political forces of the day tortured and executed an innocent man. They sacrificed the week and the blameless to protect their own status and power. On the third day, Jesus was raised to life, revealing not only their injustice but also unmasking the lie that might makes right.
In a country still under the shadow of the lynching tree, we are troubled by the violent forces being released by this season's political rhetoric. Americans are turning against their neighbors, particularly those on the margins of society. They seek to secure their own safety and security at the expense of others, There is legitimate reason to fear where this rhetoric and the actions arising from it might take us.
In this moment we resemble God's children wandering in the wilderness. We, like they, are struggling to find our way. They turned from following God and worshiped a golden calf constructed from their own wealth. The current rhetoric is leading us to construct a modern false idol out of power and privilege. We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others. No matter where we fall on the political spectrum, we must respect the dignity of every human being and we must seek the common good above all else. 
We call for prayer for our country, that a spirit of reconciliation will prevail and we will not betray our true selves.

The resolution as amended passed unanimously, which is a rare occurrence.

As per custom, the evening meal was festive--white table cloths, dimmed lights, wine on the tables. But I believe everyone is looking forward to heading home. I know the Bishop of Springfield is.

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