Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summary of the Acts of the 77th General Convention

The Reverend Dr. Elizabeth Keaton, outgoing President of the Episcopal Women's Caucus (http://www.ewc-ecusa.org/) (and who blogs at Telling Secrets: http://telling-secrets.blogspot.com/?m=1) put together this very helpful overview of actions taken at the General Convention earlier this month. Many thanks to her for sharing it!

- General Convention approved the $111,516,032 budget for 2013-2015. The
budget is based on the Five Marks of Mission.

- The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings of Ohio was elected President of the House
of Deputies. Byron Rushing of Massachusetts was elected Vice President of
the House of Deputies.

- Anglican Covenant: General Convention affirmed the commitment to
building relationships across the Anglican Communion, especially through
the Continuing Indaba program, but declined to take a position on the
Anglican Covenant.

- Eight bishops received approvals to their consent process: Atlanta,
New Hampshire, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, Texas (Suffragan), Virginia
(Suffragan), Western Louisiana, and Western Massachusetts. Related, General
Convention approved a change in rules so elections held close to General
Convention no longer need to go to General Convention for the consent
process.

- Israel-Palestine: General Convention supported a resolution on
positive investment in the Palestinian territories. Bishops agreed to
postpone indefinitely the conversation on corporate engagement.

- Bishops rejected several resolutions attempting to postpone
implementation of the Episcopal Church Medical Trust.

- Executive Council elections: The House of Deputies elected seven lay
and two clergy members: Lay members elected for six-year terms are: Joseph
S. Ferrell of North Carolina, Anita P. George of Mississippi, Fredrica
Harris Thompsett of Massachusetts, Karen Ann Longenecker of the Rio Grande,
Nancy Wonderlich Koonce of Idaho, and John Johnson of Washington (DC). Lay
person, Elizabeth L. Anderson, of Connecticut was elected for three years.
Clergy members elected for six-year terms were the Rev. Susan B. Snook of
Arizona and the Rev. James B. Simons of Pittsburgh.

- A030: establishes how clergy who want to leave the Episcopal Church
for another part of the Anglican Communion can do so without renouncing
their Holy Orders

- A033 and C049 enact a series of revisions to Title IV, the clergy
discipline canons, to fix some errors while maintaining the underlying
principles of the canons

- A036: commends the 11-year relationship of full communion with the
ELCA and asks the Lutheran-Episcopal Coordinating Committee to address
areas where Episcopal and Lutheran practices differ, especially who can
preside at Holy Communion and the role of deacons.

- A049: a denominational response to same-sex blessings. The approved
liturgy is for provisional use. The diocesan bishop has to grant approval
for use in his/her diocese even in those states where same-sex marriage has
been legislated. It is effective first Sunday in Advent 2012 (December 2).

- A050: authorizes a task force to study marriage.

- A054: new rites and prayers for pastoral responses to people caring
for animals, including the death of a pet

- A102, the first reading of an amendment to the constitution that would
help dioceses that want to merge with another diocese or divide itself into
two dioceses to do so without requiring sitting bishops in all dioceses
involved.

- A122: Standing Commission on the Structure of the Church should study
the current budgeting process and matters of financial oversight and make
recommendations to next General Convention

- A158: clarifies the status in the Episcopal Church of pastors in the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who had been ordained by other
pastors and not by bishops.

- A167: creation of an �HIV Welcoming Parish Initiative� to help
congregations to become more engaged with people living with HIV/AIDS.

- B009: with the bishop�s permission, use the lectionary in the BCP
rather than the Revised Common Lectionary

- B019: affirms positive investment in the Palestinian Territories. It
also calls on the church to support �the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian
study on peace with justice in the Middle East,�

- B021: amends the canons to provide a mechanism for addressing
disagreements in the pastoral relationship between a diocese and its
bishop;

- B023: solidarity with the poor and indigenous people who bear great
burdens because of climate change, with special mention to the Inupiaqs of
Kivalina, Alaska

- B026: gives dioceses and parishes an additional three years to provide
parity in health insurance cost-sharing between lay and clergy employees.
That deadline now is extended until Dec. 31, 2015.

- B028: urges Congress to modernize the nation�s refugee resettlement
program

- C029: baptism as the normative entrance into Holy Communion

- C095 Church structure: a special task force of up to 24 to meet in the
next two years from all levels of the church on reforms to structure,
governance and administration. There will be a special gathering from every
diocese to hear what recommendations the task force plans to make to the
78th General Convention. The final report is due by November 2014.

- D016 - Selling �815�: The House of Bishops approved a move away from,
but did not authorize the sale of, the Episcopal Church Center headquarters.

- D018: calls on Congress to repeal federal laws, such as the Defense of
Marriage Act, that discriminate against same-gender couples who are legally
married in the states where that is permitted;

- D019 and D002: Support for the transgender community by adding
gender expression and identity to two canons that prevent discrimination:
the ordination discernment process is open; and guarantees equal place in
the life, worship and governance of the church.

- D022: a church-wide response to bullying

- D023: affirms that all Episcopalians are called to be evangelists to
help grow the church

- D025: establishes a Development Office to solicit major gifts and
other resources

- D049: creates a pilot student loan fund for seminarians who agree to
three years in under-served areas of the Episcopal Church.

- D055: urges the government to enact stricter controls on the use of
carbon-based fuels

- D059: urges a halt to the Immigration and Custom Enforcement�s
practice of detaining people suspected of being in the country illegally
without filing any charges against them.

- D066: develops a network of retired Episcopal executives to assist
dioceses and parishes, modeled on SCORE

- D067: urges passage by Congress of the DREAM Act

- D069: a �social media challenge� calling upon every congregation to
use social media in its current and future forms

- D081: directs the Standing Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious
Relations to initiate dialogue between the Episcopal Church and the Mormon
Church in anticipation of General Convention 2015 in Salt Lake City.

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