The Day After General Convention

The 76th meeting of the General Convention has come to a close. As you know, this is my first trip to General Convention as your bishop, which I count a great privilege.

I cannot overstate the high level of care exercised within the House of Bishops at this convention: the deep listening, the self-offering, the respect, the affection, and the bond. Bishops came together from the different theological and cultural perspectives which are characteristic of our tradition, seeking to discern God’s will.

The General Convention experience is more than legislation. It’s a family reunion – gathering with long time friends. It’s enjoying time with the deputies, volunteers, and ECW representatives of one’s own diocese, and hearing one another’s stories. It’s celebrating rich and creative worship with thousands of Episcopalians. It’s strolling through the Exhibit Hall and seeing the variety of expressions of our tradition. It’s enduring the daily grind of long hours and hard work.

Having said that, significant legislation was passed at this convention, including:

  • a denominational health plan, which will better serve smaller dioceses in particular;
  • mandatory lay pension plan for the dedicated lay employees of the Church;
  • and a reduction of the overall general budget, as the Church both responds to current economic challenges, and shifts more mission initiatives to the local level.
  • Of course, the legislation most reported in the media concerns the two resolutions regarding human sexuality. Unfortunately, the headlines misrepresented what actually happened. It is my understanding – an understanding shared by our Presiding Bishop and most bishops – that the convention did nothing which goes beyond what is currently provided in our Constitution and Canons. We did not lift the moratoria adopted at the previous convention. We did not authorize the blessing of same-sex unions. The convention did craft resolutions which describe where we are. I will write more specifically about this in another article.

    In the meantime, I return from this meeting of the 76th General Convention as hopeful as ever, and as grateful as ever to serve God in and through this beautiful tradition – especially in Northwest Texas – in the Name of the Holy Trinity, one God, in Whom we live and move and have our being.

    With affection and gratitude,


    July, 2009

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