I arrived late last night in Austin, Texas, for the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. General Convention is the main governing and legislative body of the Episcopal Church and meets every three years. I am with the Deputation of the Diocese of El Camino Real (Central California). Our Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves is in the House of Bishops (of which she is a Vice President) and we are in the House of Deputies. This is the second time I have participated in General Convention – and I will again be blogging about the event.
I am not assigned to any committees, so I plan to attend as many Social Justice resolution hearings as I can. For United States policy, I am particularly interested in the resolutions on mass incarceration and immigration. For Social Justice and International Policy, I want to sit in on the hearings about Israel and Palestine. I am also showing interested groups the first half of the “Transforming Literature of the Bible” course materials I have edited and am already using at Elmwood Jail. In addition, I looking forward to meeting with the Education for Ministry staff who are here in the Exhibit Hall with the University of the South – School of Theology.
According to the Episcopal News Service, the big topics for discussion at this General Convention are:
- Marriage Equality
- Revising the Book of Common Prayer
- The Episcopal Church and the #MeToo movement (for which we had a moving Bishops Listening service tonight)
- A salary for the president of the House of Deputies
- Following up on the church’s three priorities: evangelism, racial reconciliation and justice and care of creation
- Formulating the 2019-2021 triennial budget
- Middle East peace
In many ways, General Convention is like a family reunion every three years. We get to talk with folks with whom we have a great deal in common but do not see very often. Today, I already met briefly with the Rev. Canon Eric Law (Kaleidoscope Institute, Los Angeles), some of whose work I am using at Elmwood Jail. We had a rousing welcome (“not a sermon”) by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry who received two standing ovations. I will be here until 13th July.
These blog posts and other GC79 news are posted on the Diocese of El Camino Real website.
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Images Copyright 2018 by Katy Dickinson.