From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[ENS] Deputies wrap up General Convention with final concurrences

From "Mika Larson" <>
Date Tue, 12 Aug 2003 13:19:04 -0400

August 10, 2003

Deputies wrap up General Convention with final concurrences

by James Thrall
[ENS] In a final push to the end over the last two days of General
Convention, the House of Deputies dealt with a wide range of
resolutions, for the most part concurring with actions of the House of
In a last-minute flurry of action Friday on a resolution to replace the
current Prayer Book lectionary with the Revised Common Lectionary used
by several other denominations, including the Lutheran Church (A103),
deputies first narrowly rejected concurrence on the resolution, and then
reconsidered, approving a substitute resolution.

Some deputies who voted against concurrence Friday morning said they did
so because they wanted to preserve the possibility of choice between
using the Revised Common Lectionary and the current Prayer Book
lectionary. But the Rev. Francis Wade of Washington, co-chair of the
Prayer Book, Liturgy & Music Committee, later explained that because the
Revised Common Lectionary was approved for only three years, the vote
not to concur with its authorization meant that it could no longer be
used in Episcopal churches at all. The substitute resolution, which
deputies adopted, permits but does not require its use. The bishops, who
had completed their work, remained in session Friday afternoon in order
to be able to also approve the substitute.

Deputies also concurred with bishops in approving an amendment to the
constitution that will restrict voting rights in the House of Bishops to
"bishops having jurisdiction, bishop coadjutors, bishops suffragan,
assistant bishops and bishops holding offices created by the General
Convention (B005). Other bishops, such as retired bishops, not in those
categories will still have "seat and voice." Michael Rehill of Newark
said he supported the move, even though he voted to reject a similar
resolution at an earlier convention, because "I've come to believe that
this is the way to go." The resolution was "brought by 49 retired
bishops" and received overwhelming support from the House of Bishops, he
pointed out. 

Deputies chose not to concur with the bishops in calling on the
Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a Commission on Faith and Order to
consider the theological issues related to human sexuality (B009), after
deputies argued that the archbishop has already proposed a meeting of
primates in October in response to the Convention's actions on
sexuality. The concurrence failed, 390 to 226.

Deputies concurred with a resolution that would establish a Standing
Commission on Health (A124) despite arguments that the move would be at
cross-purposes with efforts to reduce expenses for national meetings.
The Rev. Willa Goodfellow of Iowa recalled testimony that "one day of
one meeting for one person costs this church $900," and the cuts made in
the budget for committees, commissions, agencies, and boards to try "to
get that line item in the budget under control." Deputies had commended
"the newest standing commission on communications for saying they will
work with no money," she said, adding that the church needs to have an
opportunity to "practice new ways of doing business, before we add any
more commissions."

But James Bradberry of Southern Virginia argued that "if we are going to
have a meaningful voice in trying to bring health care issues into a
proper perspective in the church, we need to have this commission
working at a national level." In earlier discussions, deputies expressed
"considerable interest" in addressing health care concerns, recalled J.
Patrick Waddell of El Camino Real. He also pointed out that "the wording
of the resolution also just provides the canonical language needed "if
we decide to fund it." The deputies concurred by a vote of 386 to 227.

Deputies concurred with bishops in referring to the Committee on
Constitution and Canons a proposed change to the constitutional
requirement for approval of the election of a bishop. The change, which
bishops did not adopt, would have required only the consents of the
majority of standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction in the
province where the election occurred (B023). 

Deputies concurred with bishops in supporting the Archbishop of
Canterbury and other Anglican leaders who have "jointly affirmed with
Islamic leaders in various countries our shared desire to honor those
teachings in our respective traditions which work to avoid coercion and
respect individual liberty" (D020). The resolution also urges that
future dialogues pay particular attention to vigorously opposing "any
nation's or other governmental body's imposition of or continuation of a
legal system which violates fundamental human rights."

Programs for youth

Deputies concurred with bishops on several resolutions directed toward
ministry with youth and young people. While the resolutions often
included requests for financial support through the budget, the Joint
Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance chose to allocate an
additional $1 million for such ministries without designating which
proposed programs would be funded. Executive Council, working with
national staff in consultation with young people, will decide how to use
the $1 million. Possible initiatives endorsed by Convention through the
bishops and deputies action included:

- A call for the Ministries with Young People Cluster, dioceses,
congregations, educational institutions, and other organizations to
identify and develop internships and leadership programs for 18- to
30-year-old members of the church (A065). The resolution requested
$500,000 per year for a total of $1.5 million for the triennium. 
- A call for Executive Council, dioceses, and congregations to affirm
existing campus ministries and explore "new and creative forms of campus
ministry, new sources of funding and to commit adequate resources in
time, talent and treasure to ensure a significant and effective ministry
at each campus (A066).

Educational issues

Deputies concurred with bishops in calling on members and congregations
to "take the lead in insuring that all methods used to prevent the
spread of HIV are taught in school curricula, Church School curricula
and in other educational settings" (A021). The resolution was amended by
bishops to remove a statement that "educational efforts shall be
intentionally directed toward the prevention of HIV among men who have
sex with other men."

Ecumenical relations

Deputies concurred with bishops in designating the Report of the
Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations on The Gift of Authority as
the official response of the church, and stipulating that it be referred
to the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) for
further dialogue (A088). Deputies also concurred with adjustments
renaming the commission as the Standing Commission on Ecumenical and
Interreligious Relations (D010).

World mission

Deputies joined bishops in endorsing a worldwide "Anglican Gathering" of
lay people, priests, deacons and bishops from every diocese of the
Anglican Communion that is tentatively planned to be held in South
Africa in 2008 in place of the traditional Lambeth Conference of
bishops. The resolution (D009) calls on every diocese to begin to plan
and make financial provisions for representation at the gathering, and
directs the Standing Commission on World Mission, the Executive Council,
and the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to
prepare a plan for the national church's financial support of the

National and international affairs

Deputies supported continuing the full funding of the Episcopal Church's
Washington office by rejecting a resolution that would have reduced the
funding to under $200,000 a year (D030). The resolution would have
redirected the funds saved to support regional ministries in the nine
provinces. The Rev. Gary Waddingham of Montana supported the resolution,
noting that the provinces do an "enormous amount" of work in various
ministries that could be supported by the funding. 

Marge Kilkelly of Maine urged the rejection, however, pointing out the
wide range of national and international issues addressed by General
Convention resolutions. "We will not have voice if we don't have an
office in Washington," she said.  Karen Paterson of Southwest Florida
agreed, saying she had found the Washington office invaluable in her
work as an advocate for the elderly. The resolution was rejected 589 to

Deputies concurred in calling for immediate action on applications to
release pension payments, restricted endowment, and trust income held by
the Episcopal Church for the Diocese of Cuba, as well as other grants
held up by the Patriot Act following September 11 (D050). The
resolution's explanation notes that the interruption of the payments has
"inflicted real hardship to those who earned and planned on these

Social issues

Deputies returned briefly to an earlier discussion of a resolution
advocating research on human stem cells (A014) to concur with the
bishops' removal of a sentence that stated the Convention "urges that
adult stem cell research continue."

Deputies concurred in calling for an inter-denominational and
inter-disciplinary study titled "Surviving Loved Ones of Murder Victims:
The Impact of Executions on Healing and Pastoral Care" that will be
conducted through the International Center for Healing and Law (B020).

Stewardship and Development

Deputies concurred with bishops in endorsing The Alleluia Fund and
similar funds and urging dioceses to participate in the "Alleluia Fund
process of planning, giving, and spiritual transformation" (A134).
Deputies also concurred in encouraging congregations to take special
offerings whenever martyrs of Africa are being commemorated and to send
those offerings to Episcopal Relief and Development (B022).


Deputies concurred in urging all church groups to "recognize the
Episcopal Church's international membership beyond the boundaries of the
United States when producing informational material, documentation,
publications, web sites, and advertisements" (C037). Deputies also
concurred in supporting the revised strategy to establish Church
Publishing Incorporated as a "significant provider of books, software,
and related services" (D021).

Liturgical issues

Deputies concurred in inviting abortion recovery programs and the
National Organization of Episcopalians for Life (NOEL) to participate in
developing a liturgy for a healing/memorial service ministering to those
suffering from post-abortion stress (D047). They also concurred in
directing the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to develop
supplemental liturgical materials that hold up the ministry of the
baptized in ordination services (C025).

In other actions, the deputies concurred with bishops in 

- Referring to committee a call to support "biodiversity in food
production" (A016) 
- Supporting the church's participation in the International Anglican
Liturgical Consulation (A109) 
- Referring to the Standing Commission of Liturgy and Music a request
for propers and collects to commemorate the anniversary of the "First
Communion on the Moon" (D049) 
- Correcting the catechism in the Book of Common Prayer to accurately
quote Micah (D003) 
- Referring to committee a request to change the date of Harriet
Tubman's commemoration from July 20 to March 10 (D035) 
- Urging congregations to welcome in their buildings and facilities
"certified service animals" people need for assistance (D041) 
- Amending the disciplinary canons (D012) 
- Commending the use of Fresh Start, a resource for congregations and
clergy in transition to new clergy leadership (B017).

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