From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[ENS] Resolutions Fly as Convention Nears End

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Thu, 07 Aug 2003 23:25:45 -0700

August 7, 2003

Resolutions Fly as Convention Nears End
Deputies tackle social justice issues, canons, youth, international affairs

By Sarah T. Moore

[ENS] A resolution from the Social and Urban Affairs Committee asking that
General Convention to support a legislative bill authored by U.S. Rep. John
Conyers calling for restitution for Africans enslaved in America for 246
years was defeated Wednesday after much discussion, pro and con (C003).

Deputy the Rev. Billy J. Alford of Georgia, urged passage of this
resolution. It is not about money but restitution and justice. We need an
open, truthful discussion of the wrongs done, and we need to recognize that
the wealth of this nation is due in part to unpaid, slave labor. And we
need to recognize that the slaves could not hand down their possessions or
benefit from their labor, or even keep their families intact. We need to
mend and heal the nation, and this will help.

Commenting against adoption, Deputy Anneke Bertsch of Central Florida said
that reparations will not heal the suffering of the past; nothing will. I
know. I was imprisoned in Japanese concentration camps of Southeast Asia
during World War II because of my white skin. The only thing that has
healed me is reaching out in Jesus name to those who are suffering.

Returning to the issue of reparations at the opening session Thursday
morning, the chaplain called the house to prayer at the request of Deborah
J. Stokes, deputy of Southern Ohio, acknowledging the emotion and divided
opinion on this issue.

We have caused deep injury to our fellow deputies who are Episcopalians of
color, our brothers and sisters. Sufficient numbers of this house, myself
included, failed to perceive the literal and symbolic importance of
reconsidering resolution C003. I therefore would like to express my own
apologies and repentance for this action, said the Rev. Susan Williams,
deputy from Western New York.

Copies of a petition to provide signers to personally commit to support
legislative efforts to seek reparations were made available to all deputies
through the convention.

On Wednesday, however, working under self-imposed special order of business
limiting the time of debate and aiming at pushing legislation out from the
House of Deputies to the House of Bishops, the deputies spent hours rolling
resolutions out the door.
The house passed a resolution supporting the World Council of Churches
Decade to Overcome Violence and its work with other faith communities and
called for governmental diplomacy rather than warfare (C024).

This is appropriate discussion on the anniversary of the atomic bomb on
Hiroshima in 1945, said Deputy Betsy Madsen of Massachusetts, noting what
a difference it would make if the dollars spent on the Iraq war were sent
instead to the World Court.
Deputies passed a resolution from the National and International Affairs
Committee recognizing that Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in the
Gaza Strip and the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem
is illegal and a deterrent to the peace process, and called on the
president and government to urge Israel to end its policy of demolition of
Palestinian homes (D008).

In addition, the deputies approved a resolution from the Social and Urban
Affairs Committee to establish a fund to which Jubilee Ministry centers
could apply for grants (including request to Episcopal Relief and
Development) to further their ministries to the poor and oppressed (D061).

Deputies adopted a substitute resolution recommending ministry to youth at
risk. This includes programs such as literacy, conflict resolution and
religious education curricula recognizing socioeconomic, ethnic, racial,
linguistic and cultural diversity of the church (A128).

This is my fourth General Convention, and there are still aspects of the
convention in which I am unable to participate. I approve of this
resolution so that other persons with disabilities can participate as
well, said Margo McMahon of Western Massachusetts, speaking to the
adoption of a resolution recommending that meetings of the Episcopal
Church, churchwide, be accessible to persons with disabilities (D051).

Adopting a resolution from the Ministry Committee that asks recognition of
the ministries of persons of color and ordained women, deputies agreed that
each diocese should assess the extent to which it recruits, trains and
deploys women and persons of color for ordained ministry and report these
data to the office of the assistant to the presiding bishop by March 31,
2005 (D043).

Deputies passed a resolution to recommend that diocesan conventions elect
deputations to General Convention that reflect the diversity of the church,
including representatives of the next generation, multilingual and
multicultural character of its congregations (A079).

Youth being involved in leadership of this church is important, said
Aaron Ferguson, representing the official youth presence. Our deputation
needs young people in diocesan conventions so we can hear from all parts of
the church what motions we want to get across and what voices we hear.

Speaking to issues of just and unjust war, the deputies adopted with
amendment a resolution calling congregations to discuss war, especially the
strategy of pre-emptive strike, recalling the Episcopal Church view adopted
at a 1930 Lambeth Conference and the 1931 General Convention that war as a
method of settling international disputes is incompatible with the teaching
and example of our Lord Jesus Christ (A033).

Other actions

In other actions the deputies:

Adopted a special order of debate on the report of Program, Budget and
Finance (X034).

Adopted a resolution from the Evangelism Committee stating that each
congregation foster a mission perspective or culture, partner with others
for mission and ministry and undertake congregational self-study for
strategic plans looking at its transformation for mission (A075).

Adopted an amendment that every congregation of the church review its
common life with specific questions, including ones of mission,
transformation, how it impacts its community and how leadership is
exercised (A074).

Adopted a resolution transferring specified territory from the Diocese of
Wyoming to the Diocese of Idaho (C052).

Adopted a resolution recommending a procedure to select site for General
Convention that includes more lead time for site and date negotiations

Adopted resolution on the culture of nonviolence, asking awareness and
training promoted for use in dioceses and congregations (D031).
Adopted with amendment a resolution that a Israeli security wall under
construction is an impediment to peace and negotiated settlements of
Israeli-Palestinian conflict and support of ongoing questioning to the
president and national security advisor of the construction of the wall

Adopted with amendment a resolution recommending endorsing and implementing
four resolutions on sustainable development passed by the 2002 Anglican
Consultative Council, including endorsement and action on the declaration
of the Stewardship of Creation (D066).
Adopted a resolution that the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops
prepare a study on new warfare situations addressing the Just War theory
and other related issues (D068).

Adopted with substitute a resolution that the Office of Government
Relations work to encourage the U.S. Congress to hold public hearing
examining the relationship between the extension of police powers and USA
PATRIOT Act (Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct
Terrorism Act 2001) and that the convention go on record opposing the use
of federal legislation passed since Sept. 11 violating fundamental civil
rights guaranteed by the Constitution (D063).

Adopted with amendment a resolution condemning domestic and international
trafficking in all persons for sexual purposes and request an Episcopal
Church committee prepare educational campaign for parishes and diocese on
the subject to make faith-based people aware of issues and agencies
surrounding the welfare of people in these circumstances (D034).

Adopted with substitute a resolution that General Convention support
several issues relating to HIV/AIDS, including urging the government to
keep Americas Promise to Africa by fully funding the presidents
proposed five-year, $15-billion budget request for HIV/AIDS relief for
Africa and the Caribbean, encouraging the government to find new ways to
combat the disease, honor and support trade policies that promote access to
essential AIDS medicines and the global fund to fight AIDS (D054).

Adopted a resolution from the International Relations Committee on the
status of forces agreement with South Korea that the convention urge the
government in such renegotiation give special attention to the rights of
South Korean citizens to equal treatment and concerns for negative effects
of U.S. military presence and activity, and recommend the eventual goal of
phasing out U.S. military bases in South Korea (A037).

Adopted a resolution affirming actions by the church on discrimination
issues of the Japanese-American internment in World War II and to uphold
the dignity of every human being supporting the civil liberties of all,
regardless of ethnicity and religious beliefs and that the government be
instructed by this deplorable history when considering any reauthorization,
expansion or implementation of legislation of the PATRIOT Act (D014).

Adopted a substitute resolution as amended on human affairs regarding
support for Palestinian and Afghani women and encourage all Episcopalians
to learn about their plight and provide support for women and children of
all faiths in war-torn areas (A028).
Adopted with amendment a resolution to amend the canons on court for Trial
of a Bishop, presented by the Committee on Ministry (D056). This was passed
after a constitutional change was adopted on a vote by orders to amend the
constitution, Article IX, the second reading to establish one or more
courts for the Trial of Bishops (D062). This completes the work started in
1997 to make the discipline process for bishops parallel to that for
priests and deacons, said Deputy Sally Johnson of Minnesota.

Adopted with amendment a resolution from the Communications Committee that
broad, diverse and multifaceted communications is central to and essential
for the mission of the Episcopal Church, that effective communication is an
overarching ministry and cannot be fulfilled as either a list of tasks or
an addendum to other facets of the churchs mission and ministries, and
that a national strategy for communication must meet the needs of and be
reflective of a broad and diverse church; and that a Standing Commission on
Episcopal Church Communication participate in the strategic planning and
share in oversight of implementing a comprehensive communication strategy
for the Episcopal Church (D069).

Deputies also adopted several resolutions from the Social and Urban Affairs
Committee including:

7	a resolution encouraging work on public policy to ensure that clean
water is accessible and available to all (D070).
7	a resolution opposing federally sponsored marriage promotion
through governmental assistance programs (Temporary Assistant to Needy
Families [TANF] ) and that the office of government relations advocate on
behalf of all needy families (D071).
7	a resolution that the 75th General Convention report on responses
by dioceses of the churchs charge encouraging dioceses to establish
commissions on marriage and that the National Concerns Committee of
Executive Council make available to dioceses and congregations the
developed programs for marriage enrichment and renewal and premarital
counseling (D036).
7	referred to the Standing Commission on National Concerns a
resolution calling for the church and related organizations within the
church to withdraw membership in and financial support for the Religious
Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) (D045).
7	adopted with amendment a resolution that the convention reaffirm
its commitment to providing rental and owner-occupied housing that is safe,
accessible and affordable for low-income and moderate-income persons and
their families and for persons with disabilities.

Also, the resolution urged that the Episcopal Network for Economic Justice
identify existing and new opportunities for involvement in the creation and
investment in affordable housing and report through the Jubilee Ministries
Advisory Committee on the status and opportunity for greater involvement at
the next General Convention (D040).

Adopted a resolution supporting the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride by
educating members about immigration law reform and engaging in supportive
activities and education (C028).

Adopted a resolution from Social and Urban Affairs commending the formation
of Episcopal Community Services in America as an umbrella organization for
member organizations within the Episcopal Church that seek to serve those
in need through health and social services (D073).

Adopted a resolution supporting the 20/20 goal that the Episcopal Church in
teh year 2020 reflects the diversity of society and that the presiding
bishop and Executive Council include in future triennial reports to
convention faith-based reconciliation models particularly regarding effects
on the churchs membership, mission and ministry (D017).

Adopted a resolution encouraging all dioceses, congregations and Episcopal
affiliate organizations to append the phrase, with appropriate connecting
wording Anglican Communion to their signage, publications, advertising
and communications so that churches and organizations of the Episcopal
Church may be easily identified as part of the wider fellowship of churches
in the Anglican Communion by persons of other member churches of the
Communion (D011).

Adopted with amendment a resolution charging the Church Center staff and
particularly the ethnic ministries desks to continue to develop strategic
resources for transformation, to continue to hold up new paradigm models,
including multicultural congregations, and to continue developing training,
gatherings for leadership and resource sharing, and developing educational
resources and maintaining awareness of opportunities for learning and
transformation in congregational life (A076). 

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