Category Archives: General Convention

Greetings from Presiding Bishop-Elect Michael Curry to the General Convention

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Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori (left) will step down after a nine year term in November. Presiding Bishop-Elect Bishop Michael Curry of the Diocese of North Carolina will be the first African American to hold that leadership role in The Episcopal Church.

And Q&A from his press conference on Saturday, June 27 where Bishop Curry introduced his wife Sharon, his younger daughter Elizabeth, his nephew, a woman from his church who help to raise him when his mother died when he was a child, his baby sister Sharon, and his long-time assistant Margo.

News stories about Bishop Curry in House of Deputies News and Episcopal News Service

On current Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori: “My respect for her is great and strong, deep and wide.”

On what he thinks will be important for the Episcopal Church to consider in the coming days: “The Episcopal Church can ‘be a positive and proactive voice in the public square on issues of poverty and a cluster of problem around racism.’ The religious community can help ‘find a positive way forward.'”

On whether or not he considers himself an Evangelical: “It will be interesting to see what terms are used to describe me.” [laughter] More seriously, “I am a follower of Jesus.”

On how he will work to reconcile the disparate wings of the Episcopal Church: Q: “The Spirit of God will make space for all of us. Time will tell” how that will play out.

On the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage and the revisions considered in the marriage liturgies at General Convention: “There’s a hymn that goes, ‘Where true love is found God himself is there.'” He continued, that the Church needs to be concerned with ‘how to make marriages more wholesome and fulsome for all. Well, we’ll know in a week.”

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Day 2 of General Convention – Bishop Lane’s update

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Deputy of the Day – Calvin Sanborn

by the Rev. Calvin Sanborn
Rector of St. George’s, York Harbor

Calvin celebrates the Supreme Court's decision in downtown Salt Lake City this afternoon.

Calvin celebrates the Supreme Court’s decision in downtown Salt Lake City this afternoon.

Today was a joyfully distracting day for me, I must admit.

By now, of course, you’ve almost certainly heard the news that the Supreme Court has legalized marriage equality across the country. When word began to spread throughout the Salt Palace here in Salt Lake City, the various groups gathered in legislative committee meetings burst into jubilant applause. For many of us, it was a moment of profound joy and deep personal meaning.

One part of my duties here is to follow the work of the special legislative committee on marriage. They are considering all resolutions that have been submitted to General Convention about potential canonical changes, prayer book changes and marriage liturgies, and perfecting them for consideration by both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies.

The night before last the Very Rev. Ben Shambaugh, Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke, and I both testified in support of a resolution that would change the canons of the church to make it possible for same-sex couples throughout the Episcopal Church to receive the sacrament of holy matrimony, and tonight we heard testimony in support of a resolution that would make the marriage liturgy in the Book of Common Prayer (with minor adaptations) and other marriage liturgies that have been developed available to all couples, including same-sex couples.

My testimony last night was deeply rooted in my own personal experience. Ten years ago, my husband Dan and I exchanged vows in a ceremony solemnizing our covenant with each other. We specifically avoided use of the word “marriage,” as we knew that marriage within the church was not available to us. We also knew that our vows to each other, while full of meaning for us, carried no weight with the state in which we lived.

It was seven years later that we watched election returns roll in and saw that Maine had legalized marriage for couples like us. It was a moment, like yesterday, of incredible elation. Our state, along with two others, became the first set to legalize marriage equality by popular vote. Our friends and neighbors had turned out to support families like ours. We decided to get married again, but with rights this time.

To join into a civil status recognized as equal meant the world to us. Dan barely maintained composure from the minute we walked down the aisle with our children, and wept openly when Bishop Stephen pronounced us married. (Admittedly, he is apt to cry at a well-scripted cat food commercial.) Having the same legal status as everyone else means more to us than we could possibly say.

But General Convention is all about recognizing the important, even necessary work that the church does in the world, too. Civil recognition is unmistakably historic, and a deep injustice has been corrected today. But access to the sacramental meaning of marriage is justly ours, as well. I join all couples celebrating this weekend, that their love and commitment are valued by the state just as much as anyone else’s. I work and pray here in Salt Lake City for the church to show these loving couples that it delivers God’s love and blessing equally to them, also.

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News, links, and pix from General Convention Day 2

Welcome to General Convention Day 2!

It's Camp Day at General Convention with lots of deputations sporting shirts of their diocesan camps. Mainers proudly donned Camp Bishopswood shirts.

It’s Camp Day at General Convention with lots of deputations sporting shirts of their diocesan camps. Mainers proudly donned Camp Bishopswood tees.

General Convention is a lot of things, and one of the most important, and certainly most time-consuming, is that it is the legislative body of The Episcopal Church. Committees are cranking away reviewing resolutions, listening to public testimony in hearings, perfecting the language and combining  similar resolutions, and making recommendations to the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops.

In the next few days, we’ll have more to report about resolutions that are making their way through the legislative process. Maine deputies are involved in the resolution-making process some as members of various committees, others by tracking specific resolutions by topic including marriage liturgies, changes to the structure of The Episcopal Church, environmental concerns, policy resolutions on domestic and international topics.

Check out photo albums from our deputation. GC: Early Days and GC: Days 2 and 3.

Here are some links that might be of interest.

Watch video of the Presiding Bishop’s sermon from the opening Eucharist and the President of the House of Deputies sermon at today’s Eucharist. Visit the GC media hub to view the videos. Click the ‘Features’ tab, then ‘Playlist’ and scroll to choose the sermon you would like to watch.

Text versions of those sermons are available here: Presiding Bishop, PHOD.

photoStatements of today’s decision by the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage.

Bishop Stephen Lane, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

The Church’s response to alcohol

Deputy Brenda Hamilton, vice chair of the Committee on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, was interviewed for a nationally-reported Associated Press story about the Episcopal Church’s response to alcohol in the wake of the tragedy in Maryland involving Suffragan Bishop Heather Cook.

More Episcopal News Service stories

June 26 ENS Digest

Israel and Palestine issues addressed at legislative hearings

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Day one of General Convention – Bishop Steve’s daily update

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Deputy of the Day – Ben Shambaugh

by the Very Rev. Ben Shambaugh
Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Portland

General Convention Begins

Dean Ben Shambaugh

Dean Ben Shambaugh

Here we are. After two days of travel, orientation, committee meetings and training, our people, our iPads, and even some of resolutions are ready.   Today – Thursday –  General convention officially begins.

General Convention is the legislative and chief governing body for the Episcopal Church. With more than 1,000 people from all corners of the world — including a wonderful group from Maine — it is well up to the task of prayerfully considering and debating the legislation put before it.  General Convention, however, is much more than that. General Convention is a time of reunion, revival, reconciliation, and renewal. It is the church in action and a model of how our churches, our congregations, could be.

Within a day of being here, I have run into cathedral deans, reconnected with seminary classmates, seen people from every place I have lived and almost every conference I have attended. At an Integrity reception, I was thanked for St. Luke’s work on marriage equality. At the Verger’s exhibit table, I was asked to bring greetings back to the “Davids.” When I ran into a musician from the Diocese of Chicago, he started gushing about the music he had experienced at the cathedral in Portland. The dean of the Seminary of the Southwest did the same about worship she had attended in Portland just a few weeks ago. Every time I walk down the hall, I see familiar faces – and strangers that by the end of the convention will be friends.

It is a reunion. It is also a revival. Yesterday, we spent the afternoon listening to the four candidates for Presiding Bishop (more on that here). Each was realistic about the struggles the church and our world are facing.  Each, however, was profoundly excited about our future and the future of the Episcopal Church. Each was passionate about sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ that the world desperately needs to hear.  Though we had been told not to clap, their words brought tears and cheers. Like the many times of worship and prayer that will happen this week, their presentations brought us back to God, helped us experience the presence of the Holy Spirit, and told us that Jesus Christ — and his church — is very much alive.

While some are enthusiastic about progress being made and feel that change has been too slow and too long in coming, others feel that things are going too fast and that their church and their society has left them behind. Some want the church to be prophetic and lead. Others want the church to be a place of safety and peace. I co-chair my subcommittee with a bishop who disagrees with me on almost every issue. Chatting with him during a break,  I discovered that he is very familiar with the small town in Illinois where many of my relatives came from and that we share some things in common.  Later that day, when our group got into a bit of a muddle, he smiled and turned the leadership over to me.  By bringing people together, General Convention creates opportunities for reconciliation — opportunities to live out the Episcopal Church’s mission to “restore all people to unity with God and each other through Jesus Christ.”

The Deputy of the Day hat must be worn.

The Deputy of the Day hat must be worn.

And if it is about reconciliation, General Convention is about renewal. It is clear that in many ways and many places, the old ways of being and doing church are no longer working.  As part of General Convention, we will be discussing new paradigms for structure and governance, finances and investment, the role of bishops and the training of lay people and clergy. We will be considering new resources for worship and music, striving to truly open all sacraments to all people, and tackling a variety of concerns.

All this is part of re-imagining the Episcopal Church,  discerning God’s vision and plan for our future, and designing a structure that will best help us get there. As one bishop said: “this Jesus thing is real.” With this in mind, another bishop asked “What do you love so much that it is getting in the way of sharing the Good News?” Where is God leading us? Profound questions.  I pray that in this time of reunion, revival, reconciliation and renewal we call General Convention the answers will become clear.  I pray that in the times of reunion, revival, reconciliation and renewal in we experience in our own congregations they will as well.

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Bishop Lane’s daily update from General Convention

Another busy day: a welcome from the Presiding Officers, presentation of the Presiding Bishop nominees, and the start of Committee meetings and hearings.

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Deputy of the Day – Anna Foster

Today’s Deputy of the Day is a member of the Official Youth Presence at General Convention. Anna Foster, a member of St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland, and a recent graduate of South Portland High School, is one of 18 young people from across The Episcopal Church chosen through a competitive process to be involved in General Convention. Yay, Anna!

by Anna Foster

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Anna Foster

Walking into the Salt Palace today, the fact that I was going to be attending General Convention finally hit me. There are many different aspects of Convention that are very exciting. There are endless things to do and people to meet, and it’s all set in beautiful Salt Lake City. It may have been the first day, but it was not a slow start. From early committee meetings, to learning how to navigate the Blue Book on the iPads, the day was jam packed. However it was also very fulfilling. Listening to the Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Katherine Jeffers Schori, and the President of the House of Deputy, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings reminded me of all the amazing opportunities available to me here. I’m excited to work with my fellow Official Youth Presence members to discern and speak about many of the issues and changes facing the church. Listening to the words of the candidates for Presiding Bishop was an enriching experience and added to the excitement.

There are so many exciting things in store for me, and I feel so blessed to have this opportunity. I can’t wait to experience it all with God in my heart and amazing people surrounding me.

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Lots of ways for Mainers to keep up with General Convention

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The Rev. Nina Pooley (St. Bart’s Yarmouth) and Deputation Chair Dick Rozene (St. Ann’s, Windham) in the Diocese of Maine’s corner of the House of Deputies

Maine Episcopalians have lots of ways to get the latest updates on the actions of the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church meeting at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City from June 25 to July 3.

Bishop Stephen Lane, four lay deputies, four clerical deputies, a representative to the concurrent Episcopal Church Women’s Triennial meeting, and a member of the Official Youth Presence have arrived and begun a ten-day whirlwind of committee meetings, daily worship, legislative sessions, and time to connect from Episcopalians from across the U.S. and the 14 countries where the Episcopal Church has a presence.

The New Northeast news blog
This blog, The New Northeast, will serve as the primary portal for daily news summaries, photos, the Deputy of the Day post, and Bishop Lane’s video update of each day’s events.  Join 247 others in receiving email notices of new posts to the NNE by clicking the “Follow this Blog” button on the right sidebar.

The “Mainers in Salt Lake City” group on Facebook
While we’ll be posting to the diocese’s regular Facebook page (which we hope you “like!”), the algorithm that determines what you see on your news feed means that you will probably see very few posts unless we pay to “boost” them, i.e. advertise them. Bag that! Instead, join the Mainers in Salt Lake City group where you will see photos and hear news in real time posted by our deputies and Bishop Lane as well as be able to post your own questions for Mainers here in SLC.

Here’s a photo album of pix from the first few days. You don’t have to be on Facebook to view it.

Follow us on Twitter

 Bishop Steve joins the deputies for the presentation of the Presiding Bishop nominees. Not sure if he aspires to be the Deputy of the Day or the deputation made him wear the hat.


Bishop Steve joins the deputies for the presentation of the Presiding Bishop nominees. Not sure if he aspires to be the Deputy of the Day or the deputation made him wear the hat.

If you’re the tweeting sort, follow Bishop Lane @maine_bishop and the Diocese of Maine @episcopalmaine. Canon for Communication and Advocacy Heidi Shott also tweets @heidomaine about some of the quirkier elements of General Convention. Her tweets are her own. Follow #GC78 for a firehose of tweets from hundreds of people across the Church. Other hashtags to follow include #prayersof (promoted by Society of St. John the Evangelist) and #jesusatgc (promoted by Forward Movement.)

Here’s a list of other resources:

Profiles of the nominees for Presiding Bishop

General Convention Website: a good go-to for general information

The General Convention Media Hub: real-time and video on demand of sermons from daily Eucharists, live streaming of legislative sessions from the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops, and a daily schedule of events.

The Blue Book: This lists all the resolutions from standing bodies of the Episcopal Church as well as their reports from the 2013-2015 triennium. Follow this link to get the report/resolutions for a particular group (rather than download the whole Blue Book.)

We're not in Maine anymore!

We’re not in Maine anymore!

Legislation Tracker: Interested in a particular piece of legislation? Track it by number, committee, subject, or sponsor and follow its legislative progress through committee and the two houses.

Episcopal News Service: Lots of stories about all things General Convention. Just posted are the opening remarks of the Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, and the President of the House of Deputies, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings.

House of Deputy News:  a robust stream of stories and features about members of the House of Deputies

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Bishop Steve’s daily update from General Convention

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