I hope you are following along with the live feeds and replays of worship services. The Diocese of Texas night on Saturday was billed as a Revival – and boy was it! The Presiding Bishop PREACHED, for almost 45 minutes, and it was amazing. Be sure to watch it and see if you, like me, are mesmerized by the work of the translator. She is a rock star! It was a great night with awesome music and a Texas food truck spread of wonderful food. I had a blast.
Sunday I joined 1000 other Episcopalians at a prayer service in Taylor, TX at the Hutto Detention Center, where a large number of women seeking asylum in the US are held. It was a time for prayer and a call to all our leaders to be our best selves. The issues are complicated, but I believe followers of Jesus would all agree we need to treat people with love and compassion and call upon our government leaders to address all the problems with our immigration systems.
By now you may have heard the House of Deputies passed a resolution approving revision of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Despite what you have heard, the Episcopal church is not redefining who God is! However I am sure the new prayer book, when it is completed around 2030, will include expansive language for both God and humanity. We already do this in authorized liturgies from Enriching our Worship – check them out sometime, some really wonderful prayers are in those resources.
Although I did not vote for the resolution, there are good reasons to take a long, hard look at our BCP. By the time a new book is complete and approved, the 1979 BCP will be 51 years old. The resolution commits us to our Anglican core and the Chicago-Lambeth quadrilateral, to be mindful of our ecumenical partners, to insure voices and experts from across our church, including those in Province IX (dioceses of our church outside of the USA), are included in the process. You can read the resolution by going to generalconvention.org, click the Virtual Binder link, click on Resolutions, and enter “A068” to search for it. And I commend this blog post (LINK) by Bishop Gunter of Fond de Lac who sums up much of how I think about it.
By the way the resolution now goes to the House of Bishops who may reject it or amend it, so this process is definitely not over.
For those who are in a bit of panic over this, these comments from The Rev. Don Compier, a seminary professor, may help:
“The house of bishops will now consider prayer book revision. It is important to remember that if they approve the house of deputies’ action, the process of investigation, study, and deliberation only begins in the next triennium. It will be important for us not to obsess about this, spreading rumors and fears, when what will be proposed is still a long way off. And all of us will have opportunities to actively participate as we give feedback, responding to surveys, eventual trial liturgies, etc.
We have a lot of other work requiring our focus: sharing the love of God and inviting persons into our community of faith, witnessing for justice, overcoming racism once and for all as we embrace all of God’s people, caring for creation. Let’s trust the Holy Spirit and keep our priorities straight.”
I also am a signatory to a Memorial (a unique way to communicate to General Convention) which describes how many of us believe regarding how we refer to Jesus. I am especially glad this Memorial includes signatures from quite a few millennial clergy and lay people, as well as older folks like me. I commend it to you. Link to Memorial…
The next big item on our agenda is B012, regarding the use of new marriage liturgies which were approved at GC 2015. This resolution is a compromise supported by the House of Bishops which does open the door for parishes to use the new same sex marriage versions of the marriage liturgy even if their bishop does not support their use. The final version of this resolution is still forming as we will debate several amendments this morning.