Thousands of Episcopalians will descend on the capital of Texas next week for General Convention. With the elevated profile of our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and his global message about the power of love, there is excitement and hope that we can be a witness and a force for change.
The official dates are July 5-13, but committee meetings start on the 3rd. So we have a full day of hearings and a joint session with Bishops and Deputies planned on the Fourth of July.
Austin is the 11th largest city in the United States and bills itself as “The Live Music Capital of the World.” In the summer, a nightly exodus of a million bats from under the Congress Street bridge has become a tourist attraction. It sprawls along the Colorado River on the edge of Texas’ Hill Country. Austin’s slogan is “Keep Austin Weird.” More on that later.
This blog is our attempt to update you on the events and actions of General Convention and to keep you informed about what your deputation is doing.
In a video (see Bishop Brown tab), Bishop Brown explains why Delaware Episcopalians should care about what happens at General Convention and discusses some of the major issues. They include:
- Whether to proceed with a revision of the Book of Common Prayer;
- Whether to move forward with full communion with the United Methodist Church;
- Whether to approve overhauls of both Lesser Feasts and Fasts and the Book of Occasional Services;
- Whether to provide additional funds to evangelism and church planting initiatives;
- Whether to provide for even more inclusion of gender-neutral marriage rites in our liturgy;
- Whether to reunite with the Episcopal Church in Cuba;
- Whether to adopt measures that would seek to increase the diversity of bishops in the Episcopal Church;
- Whether to direct the Church Pension Fund to adopt more socially responsible investment strategies;
- Whether to pay the President of the House of Deputies a salary; and
- Whether to approve the three-year budget of the Episcopal Church.
This list is just a sampling of what will be before us. But it demonstrates that deputies must become mini-experts on a range of issues from liturgy to pension investments.
On Sunday, July 8 the convention will conduct a prayer vigil on the grounds of a detention center in nearby Taylor, Texas, where female immigrants and asylum seekers are being housed.
We will be blogging, tweeting and posting to Facebook throughout the convention. You can always tune in to watch worship and floor debate on the church’s media hub.
You can also download the same event app we will be using, on your desktop or mobile device. There you can see all resolutions, the legislative hearing schedule, seating chart and worship booklets.
Lee Ann Walling is a second-time deputy at General Convention. She is a 1977 journalism-school graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She attends Christ Church in Milford.