It’s General Convention week! Your deputation will be leaving over the weekend so that we can be ready to work bright and early on Tuesday. My laptop is ridiculously heavy so it’s staying home and the blog will take a break for the next two weeks but I will be posting frequently on our Facebook page so you will have a sense of what’s happening! If you haven’t “liked” our page yet, now would be a good time so you can receive updates.
I’ve had many friends ask to let them know when the “white smoke” rises from chimney with the election of the new Presiding Bishop (oops, wrong church!). The House of Bishops will be voting on Saturday, June 27.. Once the bishops have voted, the House of Deputies confirms the result, as prescribed by our Constitution and Canons. I will post on Facebook as soon as we know the name – and will send out a text to a few friends who have asked to be informed.
It’s also not too late to let us know of any concerns you have about the budget for the next triennium. The site for comments will be open through June 21st and you can find instructions here as well as the links for the draft budget and the form for leaving any thoughts you might want to share – http://www.generalconvention.org/home/budgetfeedback-pbf
If you’re wondering why you should have an interest in this budget, let me remind you that every diocese pays an apportionment to The Episcopal Church every year just like every congregation needs to support the Diocese of Michigan through their pledges. The draft budget for TEC suggests a lowering of the diocesan payments from its current 19% to eventually reach 15% by 2018. This is good news for all of us if the amount is sustainable for the work that the Church needs to do! So…when you think about it, each one of you is supporting TEC when you give of your tithes and offerings to your congregation. This is your budget to support God’s mission. You do have a personal interest in the decisions that are made!!
In fact, we each are personally affected by all the decisions made at General Convention which is why your deputation is so eager to hear from you! Have you read the report from the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC)? All of the reports submitted for Convention bring along resolutions that might make changes in the way we have known the Church but the resolutions from the TREC report are significant since they could change some of the structure of TEC if adopted as currently written. I am guessing that we will have some lively discussions about this report! We’d love to hear from you before we attend hearings and legislative sessions that will deal with these resolutions. If you can’t reach a deputy in person, please leave your comments on this page or on our Facebook page which I will check regularly. Here’s the link for the report –
Another report that will generate much discussion comes from the Task Force on the Study of Marriage. You might want to take a look at this one also and share your thoughts. The report includes some very helpful essays in its appendix. You’ll find the essays beginning on page 9 of the report – https://extranet.generalconvention.org/staff/files/download/12485.pdf
You might be able to tell that I am pretty excited about this time in Salt Lake City. I am unashamedly a “church nerd” but, more than that, I love having the opportunity to learn new things and meet new people. Truthfully, I don’t like change for change’s sake but I also see the struggles of diminishing congregations and increasing numbers of “nones” and “gones” and “spiritual but not religious” and I know that we have a God who calls us to go out and “do the work God has given us to do.” We need to bring the message of God’s love to all – even if it means in a different way than we have before and even if it means we might be a little uncomfortable at first. When I return, the blog will have new stories to tell about the work we need to do together!!
Please pray for our Church as we meet together. Pray that we hear God’s voice and know the leading of the Spirit in our discussions and decisions. Pray for our health. It looks like the days will be long and the altitude is not something we’re used to in Michigan.
Let us pray –
God our Wisdom, who eternally makes all things new:
encourage by your Holy Spirit
those who prepare for General Convention
to labor together
for the building up of your world and your Church;
counsel them when to act and when to wait;
turn their hearts always toward those in greatest need,
and away from their own preoccupations and fears;
help them never forget that love and mercy are your
greatest gifts given us all to offer one another
as we see in them Jesus Christ who alone
is our joy, our way, our truth, and our life.
~ Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council
PS – Remember, June 20 (and 21) is World Refugee Day!! Check out last week’s blog for a full list of resources but here’s at least a collect to use –
Almighty God, you have set before us numerous stories of prophets and sages that at one time were forced to flee from their homes in order to build your kingdom in this world. Abraham, Sarah, Ruth and Moses were all refugees for your name’s sake.
Help us to realize that when we speak of immigrants and refugees, we are really speaking of your son, Jesus Christ, the One, who like millions today, had no place to lay his head, and who felt unwelcome in his homeland.
Knowing that we often turn away from the Christ present in one another, we ask you, O God, to open our minds and hearts to the challenge brought by the current refugee crisis, and to help us welcome the stranger in our midst with radical love and hospitality.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.