Fixin' to Git
The Rev. Stephen E. Moore
Clergy Deputy to General Convention
All over the church, people have been praying for the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church (GC77) which will convene on the 5th of July in Indianapolis, Indiana. Congregationally and individually, many have been using this prayer:
Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel in the General Convention of the Episcopal Church meeting in Indianapolis for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
While trying to figure out what to pack for this trip, I checked the on-line weather report for Indianapolis last Thursday. The high was 106 degrees F! There are some potentially hot issues which are likely to warm up the deliberations as much as will the sun. This general convention is front-loaded for fireworks by the number of people flying into Indianapolis International Airport who are mad as hell about one thing or another already.
The 2013-15 budget proposed by the Executive Council is thoroughly screwed up. It doesn’t balance and the income projections are based on the economy of Fantasyland. It is so screwed up that the Presiding Bishop has broken with tradition (and the canons) and presented her own proposed budget, which differs from that of Executive Council, of which she is (ironically) the chair.
Both proposed budgets attempt to do something which is canonically illegal. There are no funds provided in it for the General Ordination Examinations, which are required to be administered by the canons. Executive Council has a duty to fund all canonically required programs. The GOEs are canonically required. There is gonna be a fight.
There are those who will arrive at the Indiana Convention Center convinced that the Episcopal Church ought to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant and those just as convinced that we ought not.
One resolution would provide a draft proposed form for the blessing of same-sex unions for use on a trial basis.
There will be an attempt to repeal or modify the church-wide health care plan which creates equality between clergy and lay employees, due primarily to its expense.
There will be a push back on the new (2009) Title IV disciplinary canons to afford more procedural protections to clergy accused of misconduct.
Bonnie Anderson, the President of the House of Deputies, has announced that she will not run for a third term. There is much jockeying for position among those who might succeed her.
There will be an attempt to load the calendar of saints with a whole lot of people who would not normally be considered saints in the same way that most people think of saintly saints.
There will be an ill-considered attempt to callously discard the wisdom of retired bishops by disenfranchising them in the House of Bishops.
The Psalm appointed to last Sunday began "Oh, how good and pleasant it is, when brethren live together in unity!" [Brethren, in this context, is understood to include both genders.] At many points in salvation history, this has been more of an aspiration than a reality. There will be many stresses on the fabric of the church during General Convention, which is why the faithful need to lift it up continually in prayer. Pray, brethren and sistern, for the church.