BLOGFORCE: Where did you see resurrection at General Convention?

As we all recover from General Convention #78, it’s time for a little reflection. The question is simple:

“Where did you see resurrection at work at the General Convention?

Responses and abstracts are due by 5PM Central Time on Sunday the 19th of July and will be posted on the 20th.

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


How do I participate in the Blogforce?

Simply blog your answer on your own site, then:

1. Paste the code you can find here at the bottom of your post – note that it is code so you will probably need to switch to HTML view in your blog editor. It should look like this on your blog when posted or previewed:

2. Send the permanent link and a 120 word or less origin story abstract to blogforce@acts8moment.org.  This should be done by no later than 5PM Central Time on Sunday the 19th of July.  On Monday, the abstracts will be re-posted with links.  At that point, the provided code will point to the round-up page instead of here.

The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.

#GC78 Resurrection Report: July 1, 2015

Resurrection is not an easy thing.  It requires death before it can occur.  Today at General Convention has been a day celebrated by many, and mourned by others.

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 12.43.42 AMThe day began with worship to the sound of Japanese Taiko Drums by Kenshin Taiko, with a moving sermon by The Rev. Becca Stevens, founder of Magdalene and Thistle Farms.  The commemoration was of Hiram Hisanori Kano, who was a missionary among the Japanese-American population throughout the Southwest.  The presider was the Rt. Rev. Scott Hayashi, Bishop of Utah.  During the day, testimony was given by deputies and visitors of Japanese-American descent as to how powerful the service was and how much it affirmed their ethnic identity within the church.

The budget was presented today.  It will go to deliberation in the House of Deputies tomorrow.

Many of the structure resolutions that evolved from the TREC report, Episcopal Resurrection, and other sources were passed through the House of Deputies.  Many of them are still being weighed in the House of Bishops.

Of course, the biggest news is the passage by votes of orders of the rites and canonical changes made to bring about the possibility of same-gender marriage in states where such is legal.  It is a cause of great happiness for much of the convention, and of sadness for others.  The House of Deputies acted with great decorum, restraining applause and celebration.  A deputy from Albany thanked the convention for showing restraint and care for the minority.

At the end of the day, the Union of Black Episcopalians and Acts8 gathered at the Hilton ballroom for a discussion of race and mission.  It was an event that had many positive aspects, but also highlighted in it’s very format the fact that we still have a long way to go in the way we talk about race as a church, even among those of us who consider ourselves dedicated allies.  Acts8 would like to thank all those who participated.

Resurrection cannot happen until we die to the things that hold us back.  What is it that holds us back?  Racism and privilege?  Buildings and endowments?  Political constructions of liberal or conservative?  The Gospel tells us we must give up all that does not serve the kingdom.  We must die to ourselves so that we may receive everlasting life now, and in the age to come.

Where do you see resurrection?

BLOGFORCE Roundup: Question for Executive Council Candidates

There are not a lot of good ways for deputies across the country to get to know candidates for the Executive Council, so the BLOGFORCE provided a small opportunity for candidates to answer a question about what we try to do here at Acts8 – Proclaim resurrection.  Submissions from others who are not candidates were also accepted.

The question, to be answered in 350 words or less was:

“How will you share your love of Jesus inside and outside the church, and how must the church change in order to be more effective at proclaiming resurrection?”

Responses from those who are candidates for Executive Council are listed below in alphabetical order.

Jabriel S. Ballentine blogged,

I share my love by sharing the Word as the Spirit grants it to me, as best I can with everyone that I can. I share my love beyond the church by maintaining strong relationships with the unchurched, the spiritual not religious, and those on the margins of society. I recorded and published an album of poetry as a ministry to others who find themselves searching, hurting, questioning, broken. I maintain a strong social media network with that touches thousands.

I share my love within the church, when called upon, by standing for service in the councils of the church. Beyond standing for nomination to Executive Council, I work in my Diocese to lead efforts at racial reconciliation. I was appointed to serve serve on the Commission on Ministry and Clergy Events committee, helping to discern the will of the Spirit for those presenting themselves for Holy Orders, and nurturing my brother and sister clergy with events for continuing education.

In order to become more effective in its responsibility to proclaim resurrection, I believe the church must return to deep theological work on living in the newness of life granted to us by the Resurrection. I believe that we need a common belief that resurrection is something the church is invited to embrace in this life and not something for which we idly wait. It will remain difficult for the Church to proclaim resurrection when we have clerics who don’t believe in the Resurrection and a Church that appeases such views.

The resurrected life is a life on the Straight Way of Jesus Christ. And that straight way is the way of love. Yet to structure the Church in ways that help it become more effective in its responsibility to proclaim resurrection will take more than most want to bear. It will take an effort not unlike what we are witnessing in the efforts of His Holiness Pope Francis.

It will require us to truly love: to love God so much that what we believe truly matters, and love one another enough to ensure we all stay on the Way.

Yamily Bass Choate wrote,

We know that love of God is shared in so many different ways, both in the church and also especially with our community at large. For me the Church and its members are called to go out into the world with good cheer, serving and being present to all God’s children.  Our churches proclaim the Risen Christ with palpable actions of love and compassion. After sharing in the Eucharist on Sundays, we are reminded at dismissal that our liturgical celebration has ended, but that our work now begins: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!

This service that is our task, to proclaim the Resurrection, is both as individual Christians and also as a church community, to be present to the people as Jesus was present to the crowds. When Jesus was followed by the people, he did not retreat into his own home (synagogue, church); rather, Jesus engaged the community, went to meet them where they were, and had compassion. We get compassion from Latin, meaning ‘to suffer with’. As a Church, as the Body, we must meet people, ‘suffer with’, if we are to live the Resurrection. To be a diverse and visible presence in community is the Church’s responsibility as bearers of the Gospel.  As Christians the light of Christ is shared when our mission is incarnational.  Our church buildings are the tools to enhance the incarnational presence of Christ in our communities, but our partnerships, interfaith alliances, feeding programs, children’s education, immigrant/refugee services, and prison ministries are where the Body of Christ is saying “Here I am. I am with you” to God’s people.

Each church should see itself as a missionary center, exploring and equipping its members with relevant cultural competencies and evangelist strategies to go out into the community. The Episcopal Church needs to be intentional in celebrating multiculturalism and diversity, transforming its members and empowering them to be tools for transformation, agents of love and hope in their communities.

Julia Ayala Harris blogged,

I am inspired by our Baptismal Covenant with its radical call to love that flows into our call to create the Kingdom of God and proclaim resurrection. I share this love and participate in kingdom building through my ongoing efforts to develop ministries that empower women, mobilize my community to against sexual and gender based violence, advocate my city government to include fully inclusive language regarding sex and gender in their nondiscrimination ordnance, and when I look for ways to include the experiences of people of color in my community. As a proud Episcopalian, I believe I best show Christ’s love by challenging my community to be a more loving and inclusive environment that upholds the dignity of all.

Our Baptismal Covenant and belief in resurrection requires our structure to be more egalitarian and open to those whose ministry or identity has often placed them on the margins of our society and of our own church. As we follow Jesus into our neighborhoods our church needs to be overtly intentional about identifying and including stories of creative and vibrant ministries at the frontiers of love. This is where our resurrected church lives. When I was a member of the Task Force for Reimaging the Episcopal Church (TREC) and a delegate representing The Episcopal Church to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women I heard amazing stories of love in action from those at the margins from Fort Worth to Honduras to Virginia.

Though these stories are in our midst they often go unheard and unheralded. We need to gather these stories lift them up, and learn from them as they are our present and future church. They must be supported through fully inclusive networks and widely accessible funding streams designed to encourage full participation by the whole church body. The Holy Spirit moves us, as it always has, to think beyond the boundaries we set for ourselves. We are being called to be doers, risk takers, and experimenters. We are being called to take a leap of faith, rely on the Holy Spirit and proclaim resurrection.

Moki Hino wrote,

Before I went to seminary in 2002, I was a third-grade teacher. One of the most valuable lessons I learned in my teacher training was that we had to model the behavior we wanted in our students. I think the same holds true for life inside and outside the church. We have to model the love of Jesus; not just talk about it. I think this is especially true when working with young adults. I find that young adults today are extremely adept in perceiving authenticity and they are looking to church leaders to walk the talk. To quote a tenet in many Twelve-Step programs, it’s about, “attraction rather than promotion.”

In terms of the church doing more to proclaim resurrection, I offer a similar response. Rather than proclaiming resurrection, I think the church is called to witness to resurrection. Not long ago I officiated at a same-sex wedding in the church sanctuary for two parishioners who have been living together for seven years. Many of their non-church friends and family came to the ceremony and were touched by the notion of possibility. Three years ago the state in which I live did not allow same-sex marriage and the bishop had not authorized the use of the rite. That changed. And we witnessed that day to resurrection. We didn’t proclaim it as much as we embodied it. I think we need to build on that and do more of the same.

Steven Nishibayashi wrote,

My love for and continued commitment to the Episcopal Church is summarized in a three-fold answer (in addition to the obvious trinity):

1. Inclusivity
2. The three-legged stool
3. “We are the Easter people”

In my over more than 60 years of experience in the Episcopal Church, there have been multiple hymnals and liturgies, ordination of women, blessing of same-sex relationships, and acceptance of Cuban immigrants in the 1960’s. Did any of these examples appeal to all? Of course not! However, they provided opportunities to proclaim our belief in the commandment to love one another.

The ability to adapt to changes in society demands a reasonable interpretation of scripture and create new traditions. If we cannot or do not adapt, we are doomed to live and die in the past. Our tradition, however, is that “We are the Easter people,” a phrase I first learned from the Rt. Rev. Oliver B. Garver, Jr. We are challenged to resurrect our personal and corporate lives when faced with a potentially gloomy future.

Discernment is a dynamic process of on-going education. As a former trustee of Church Divinity School of the Pacific and current vice-chair of Bloy House, the Episcopal Theological School in Claremont, I have been actively involved in the development of new models of theological education. We can maintain the traditional model of theological education. But, if we are to adapt to and prepare for the future needs for the vitality of the Episcopal Church, we must also develop contemporary models.

We will not always choose a path that results in the expected or popular outcome. But we make decisions based on the best and faithful interpretation of the data available at that time. Times change and choices change. And we must change, too. Then we must proclaim our commitment to our beliefs by the words from our mouths, the meditation in our hearts and the actions of our lives. And may they always be acceptable in God’s sight in the building of God’s kingdom in our homes, communities, this nation and the world today and in the future.

Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale blogged,

At Saturday’s Indianapolis Pride parade, two others and I were assigned to carry our diocese’s banner, with some 100+ Episcopalians walking behind us. In large print the banner read: “God loves you. No exceptions.”

The streets on the parade route are narrow enough to allow direct interaction with the crowd. It turns out that when you’re the bearer of Good News, electricity can spark. The crowd greeted our procession with cheers and shouts of “Amen” and “we love you, too!” Don’t take my word for it – Indy’s ABC station’s report backs me up.

I suspect we got such a big reaction because our message was what we believe about God, not who we are. Or, in Paul’s words, “we [did] not proclaim ourselves, we proclaim[ed] Christ Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:5).

Yesterday’s experience exemplifies a principle about proclaiming resurrection. Lead with the message of the faith that has changed my life; follow with the institution that helps form it. I’ve had a lot of practice having this kind of conversation lately through co-hosting a podcast about faith with my friend Holli, that’s also affected the conversations I have in daily life.

That principle of proclaiming not ourselves but our Lord applies equally to the institutional church. Among the more popular items of Episcapparel are t-shirts featuring Robin Williams’ (apocryphal?) top 10 reasons to be Episcopalian. Whatever its resonance when first published, we need to put its status as a lighthearted creed to bed. “You can believe in dinosaurs” and “You don’t have to check your brain at the door,” presuppose an audience that already assumes church is important, with the main question for a denomination to answer being “which one?”

Our activities now and going forward should assume a culture that knows little about Jesus and may be hostile to hearing what we have to say. Except that maybe I’m overplaying that hostility. Because if my experience of yesterday’s parade tells me anything, it’s that our world longs to hear for word of God’s love. But we need to be proclaiming that message much, much more clearly.

Steve Pankey blogged,

Sharing the love of Jesus is my full-time job, not just because I happen to be ordained, but because I am a baptized member of the Body of Christ. As a disciple of Jesus, among the many demands that makes on my life, I am called to share the Good News of God’s saving love in word and deed. As a member of the Executive Council, I would have the unique privilege of working alongside some of the best minds in the Church to encourage the lifting up the gifts of every member toward the goal of bringing the whole world to know of the saving embrace of Jesus. I would continue to use my blog, Draughting Theology, to help committed disciples, both lay and ordained, engage the Scriptures in that place where those holy words meet everyday life. In my ministry context, I would continue to reach out to the underserved in my community, particularly lifting up the voice of the more than 70% of students in our public schools that live in poverty. The world is hungry for love, and there is no love like that of the God of all Creation.

With that in mind, my suggestion to the Church is simply this: in order to proclaim resurrection, you must know and embrace your own story. The author of the First Letter of Peter admonishes his audience to “always be ready to give an account for the hope that lies within.” Whether we find ourselves seeking after marriage equality, prison reform, educational enrichment, or holiness of life, we need to be prepared to answer the inevitable question, “why?” Why do we do the things we do? Because God’s love is so compelling that I can’t help but share it with the whole world. For you, sharing the love of God might mean picketing for immigration reform, while for others it is opening a soup kitchen. No matter the manifestation, the saving love of God shown in the resurrected Jesus must always under-gird the work of the Church and her members.

Holli Powell blogged,

In Twelve Step communities, the eleventh tradition deals with “attraction, rather than promotion.” In other words, rather than spend money on billboards and advertisements, the groups rely on the idea that people will be drawn to an organization that transforms the lives of its members. My position on the Episcopal Church is much the same. Our organization has the potential to change lives. In 2004, I was confused by my faith, searching for a church home that didn’t require me to deny my deeply-held beliefs around equality, justice, and love. Then the Church did something extraordinary: they consecrated Bishop Gene Robinson. And from the publicity that surrounded that transformative decision, I found the place I belonged. I’m certain there are others out there like me, longing, searching, hoping. When we do bold work in Jesus’s name, the world will take notice. When we leave our worship spaces and walk into our communities filled with excitement and the love of God, people will notice. When we are transformed, we can begin to transform the world around us.
So how does the church need to change? Honestly, I think that’s putting the cart before the horse. We as Episcopalians need to change. We need the resources to help us tell our own stories of faith. We need to recommit to our own relationships with Christ, and then we can faithfully discern how the church can support that. We need to focus less on where resources are being spent, and more on the Giver of those resources. I believe in this church. It has transformed my life. With God’s help, I’d like to give back to it by serving on Executive Council.

Sandino Sanchez wrote,

I firmly believe the Church is the seed of love that God has planted, so through the development of His mission of salvation, the world and the whole creation can have the possibility to obtain it.

Working with missionary groups that come from churches and partner dioceses from the United States that have visited the congregations where i have developed my ministry (Dominican Republic), we have offered medical services to members of the Episcopal Church, people of other denominations and other people that do not attend any church, answer to the people´s needs with loving service inside and outside the Church.

Even when the Church is the family of God, it has it relatives who although they do not congregate and neither have confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they are ones whom God considers His creatures, hoping that our life’s testimony and our ministry gets them closer to Him through Jesus Christ.

I will continue to share my love for Jesus Christ, inside and outside the Church with a full service as a collaborator in this team called Executive Council (in case I am elected), for the mission of God is fulfilled through TEC, according to the Resolutions of the General Convention.

Yes, the Church has to change in order for it to be more effective in the proclamation of the resurrection.

The resurrection of Jesus represents reconciliation of the human being with God as well as eternal life for all who accepts Him as Lord and Savior. That is our job.

And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again…All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Co. 5:14-15, 18).

Edgardo Umana wrote,

The Love to Jesus must be shared by living the Gospel in the company of my family, brothers and sisters of the local church; striving to build a more just society with equal opportunities and brotherhood among people of my congregation, fellow professors and students at the university where I teach. Facilitating the understanding between parents and children, promoting harmony among family members. Promoting tolerance, forgiveness and respect for human dignity. In addition, we do not feel forgive and to be forgiven as a sign of weakness but as a way to grow in more human and deeper relationships.

The church should stay in her mission of proclaiming the Good News to every people, race and language. Supporting communities and individuals persecuted by the defense of their rights, the poor and the excluded.

Following the teachings of Jesus, giving love to all existence. “Love one another as I have loved you”. Specially in the church, we do not to forget the role of the good shepherd, where each sheep is important and is known by its name; if lose one, is for the shepherd as if he had lost all the flock, so he should follow up those sheep who have strayed from the mission.

Offering confidence to the downcast, hope to those have experienced failure and encouragement to those defrauded of life.

Demanding of our leaders to seek the good of the people, universal peace and justice above partisan interests.

Promoting hope in resurrection, and this feeling should be stronger than our fear of death, having in mind that only “earn life” that who “offers it” at the service of others.

That the Church (we all are) promotes to all religions of the world, reflect on the meaning of the existence of other religions, and all prepare for approachment and mutual collaboration to build and safeguard world peace.

In addition, we had one independent entry:

Drew Downs blogged,

Words.

I’ve always been drawn to words. Even before I ever thought I wanted to be a writer, long before I wrote poetry, plays, or short stories, I liked to put words together. I liked to experiment and use the words I heard and put them into creative combinations.

In high school, I became much more infatuated with Faulkner while the rest fawned over Hemingway. The evocatively parsed salad bar of words meant much more to me than sparse communication.

Lately, though, words have begun to mean even more to me. Not simply because I write, teach, and preach as a priest or as a sentry posted to defend orthodoxy from the heretics. [That’s all nonsense to me, by the way.] But because our faith keeps coming back to words.

Simply words. Having words. Words to say, to share, to explain, to invite, to invoke, to provoke, to inspire, to proclaim, to hope, to give thanks. Words to be there when we need them.

A couple of General Conventions ago, we got into storytelling as a church, or at least the church wanted to. But we didn’t understand it. We didn’t see the connection between Sunday worship, the altar guild, vestry: all that church maintenance stuff and telling our stories of faith. What we needed was something more elemental, something that made more sense in the context. Not proof, not the solution, not the rule to follow. We needed it.

We needed to know that what was missing from our experience was access to the words.

We love our Book of Common Prayer which provides the words for us. We aren’t used to being without words in prayer or worship. We aren’t ever thinking about the times without the book: without our pre-prepared words.

We need words. And we need to be prepared to share them.

As Jesus reminds the apostles not to worry what to say, for the words will be given to them, we must be ready to speak, for that is the only way the words will come.


Respectfully submitted,

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander

If there are any missing entries or corrections, please send them to blogforce@acts8moment.org.

BLOGFORCE: Question of Resurrection for Executive Council Candidates

We’re now in Pentecost and heading quickly towards General Convention at the end of the month.  At convention, we elect members to the Executive Council, which functions kind of like the vestry of a church or the board  of a non-profit.

There are not a lot of good ways for deputies across the country to get to know the EC candidates, so we thought we would provide a small opportunity for candidates to answer a question about what we try to do here at Acts8 – Proclaim resurrection.

Acts8 will not be endorsing any particular candidates.  We will simply post the answers here on our website as a resource.

The question, to be answered in 350 words or less so we can list them all in one post is:

“How will you share your love of Jesus inside and outside the church, and how must the church change in order to be more effective at proclaiming resurrection?”

Candidates who do not have a blog can simply send their answer as noted below and it will be published in the summary.  Those who do will have the full answer published in the summary along with a link to their blog.  All submissions are due by 5PM Central on June 15.

If you are not an Executive Council candidate and wish to blog or send your answer, we will list those in a section below the candidates.  It’s a good question for us all.

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


How do I participate in the Blogforce?

If you have a blog, Simply blog your 350 word or less answer on your own site, then:

1. Paste the code you can find here at the bottom of your post – note that it is code so you will probably need to switch to HTML view in your blog editor. It should look like this on your blog when posted or previewed:

2. Send the permanent link to blogforce@acts8moment.org.  This should be done by no later than 5PM Central Time on the 15th of June.  On Monday, the abstracts will be re-posted with links.  At that point, the provided code will point to the round-up page instead of here.

If you do not have a blog, simply send your 350 word answer to blogforce@acts8moment.org. This should be done by no later than 5PM Central Time on the 15th of June.  Make sure you let us know your full name.

The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.

BLOGFORCE SCRAMBLE Roundup – A Memorial to the Church

Last week, a “group of Episcopalians who are passionate about our church’s health and witness to the world” released “A Memorial to the Church” along with several enabling legislative resolutions.  Here’s is a roundup of responses (with abstracts when submitted):

The Crusty Old Dean (AKA Tom Ferguson) writes, “Memorialize This: Calling for Resurrection

Susan Snook writes, “Pray a New Church into Being

Frank Logue writes, “Yearning for a Church Transformed

Nurya Love Parish writes, “This is how renewal starts – reflections on #EpiscopalResurrection

Rodger Patience writes, “The spiritual disciplines at the core

As a practitioner and promoter of one of “the spiritual disciplines at the core of our common life,” in fact the first-named of those disciplines (see BCP 13), I have endorsed the Memorial to the Church found here. I urge you all to do likewise.

The Memorial also calls upon the church to go into our neighborhoods boldly and to restructure our church for the mission God has in mind for us.

The Daily Office is a portable discipline (I use a prayer book/Bible combo, but you could show your neighbor the Forward Day by Day app on your iPhone), and praying it means living in the “big, exciting room” of the Scriptures, the “house built on rock” (Matthew 7:24).

Steve Pankey writes, “A MEMORIAL TO THE CHURCH.

Keith Voets writes, “A Memorial To The Church: The Missing Piece

We have lost focus of the purpose of the Church – to worship God and to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  This memorial calls us back to our central identity and asks General Convention to reprioritize its budget initiatives so that we can continue the work that Christ has given us to do and it calls on the rest of us to a spiritual transformation, to be bold in our faith and proclamation of the Gospel.  No General Convention resolution or memorial will fix our spiritual crisis, but both can call on us to refocus our attention on the One who granted us new life through his death and resurrection.

Lee Ann Walling writes, “Following Jesus.  Into the Neighborhood.

As a first-time deputy, I am starting to write about the issues from my perspective including TREC.  Frankly, the TREC recommendations were overly structural and not what I expected. I was very excited to start seeing the Tweets about the #EpiscopalResurrection and started reading the resolutions and related blogs.  I am now much less intimidated about being a newbie and more excited about joining in on this journey. I signed on as a supporter.

Adam Trambley writes, “An Ascension Day Call to the Church.

I hope you will go to the website episcopalresurrection.org and read the Memorial. I hope you will join us and others throughout the church as we pray and fast for the restructuring and the health of the Episcopal Church and for the growth and spread of the Kingdom of God more generally. I hope that you will take up the gospel call to witness to Jesus’ life, death and resurrection in whatever neighborhoods you walk into. We honestly believe that the church is at a crucial junction in its history that offers us a great opportunity to follow the Holy Spirit into new places that will bring new people into the church. I also hope that you will consider signing on to this memorial and adding your name to those re-imagining the church.

Miranda Hassett writes, “Thoughts on Revitalization and Restructuring.

Brendan O’Sullivan Hale writes, “Nine Resolutions That Won’t Rescue the Church.

The fact is that no piece of legislation, no matter how finely crafted, will save the church. Nor will any memorial or open letter save it, no matter how persuasively its authors make their points. Fortunately we Christians believe that the work of salvation has already been taken care of. Instead our task is to respond as a redeemed people.

This is the hard work of discipleship. At the very best the work of General Convention will clear a few obstacles, maybe offer a few new tools – and it should do those things! But the practices the memorial enumerates…General Convention can’t make any of those things happen. These are the works of a people with hearts aflame, continuing in the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and the prayers, with God’s help.

David Simmons writes, “All This Has Happened Before

No matter what you think about the specifics, a group of volunteers who are unauthorized by any church body and are self-funded have put together a proposal for change in the church that has caught the attention of the wider body.  What I am most excited about is the process by which the memorial and resolutions itself were generated. It’s really nothing new – this is the way we generally did things back before the denomination became more of a corporate entity in the 20th century. It’s probably the way things will be in the future as resources become more scarce and the luxury of a grand central administration becomes unaffordable.

Other responses noted on Acts8 Social Media include:

Everett Lees – A Memorial for the Church

Jonathan GrieserI won’t be signing on

Kirk Smith – Bad News, Good News

Lionel Deimel Another View of Reimagining the Church

Grumpy Episcopal Cat grumped,

ff

I will be glad to add others to this list!  Please submit them to blogforce@acts8moment.org.

Respectfully Submitted by David Simmons, BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


This was a

Scramble!

The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.

“A Memorial to the Church” and BLOGFORCE SCRAMBLE!

cropped-resurrectionicon-wideGroup calls for The Episcopal Church
“To act with boldness to proclaim the gospel”

A group of General Convention deputies, bishops, and others have released A Memorial to the Church, calling for The Episcopal Church to “act with boldness to proclaim the gospel.” One member of the group, the Rev. Adam Trambley, deputy from the Northwest Pennsylvania said, “We hope this letter to the church will jumpstart significant action both at General Convention and among Episcopalians across the church.”

Inspired by the conversation begun by the Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church, the memorial calls for the church “to recommit itself to the spiritual disciplines at the core of our common life, to go into our neighborhoods boldly with church planters and church revitalizers, and to restructure our church for the mission God is laying before us today.”

General Convention typically considers resolutions, but The Episcopal Church’s canons and rules of order also provide for memorials, which are written in the form of letters to the church. The Muhlenberg Memorial of 1853 is perhaps the most famous of the the memorials, and while its immediate effect was slight, it changed the conversation inside the church in a way that later led to liturgical change and other shifts to meet the needs of that time. The hope is that this memorial will lead to change within our church to promote evangelism and discipleship.

The Rev. Susan Brown Snook, deputy from Arizona, said, “In addition to the memorial, our group is offering several resolutions to enable the call to discipleship and transformation.” She added that signers to the memorial do not necessarily support any or all of the nine resolutions.

The package of resolutions includes action
— Encouraging a significant commitment to church planting
— Promoting revitalization of existing congregations
— Amending the Constitution & Canons to permit more structural flexibility
— Clarifying roles of churchwide officers
— Creating a task force to look at episcopal elections
— Eliminating the provincial structure within The Episcopal Church

The text of the memorial and all nine resolutions, along with explanatory material is available at www.episcopalresurrection.org. Those who wish to add their names as signatories should email endorse@episcopalresurrection.org and include their full name and whether they are a bishop, deputy, alternate deputy, or other. Those who endorse the memorial may not necessarily agree with the nine resolutions proposed by the drafting committee.

These materials were written by a drafting committee consisting of Trambley and Brown Snook, along with the Rev. Tom Ferguson; the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, deputy from Southern Ohio; the Rev. Canon Frank Logue, deputy from Georgia; Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale, deputy from Indianapolis; and the Rev. Steve Pankey, deputy from Central Gulf Coast.

As a result of the release of this memorial and its accompanying resolutions, there will be a BLOGFORCE Scramble in order to gather responses.

This BLOGFORCE scramble will end Monday, May 18th at 5PM.

David Simmons
BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


How do I participate in the BLOGFORCE Scramble?

Simply blog your answer on your own site, then:

1. Paste the code you can find here at the bottom of your post – note that it is code so you will probably need to switch to HTML view in your blog editor. It should look like this on your blog when posted or previewed:

2. Send the permanent link and a 120 word or less abstract to blogforce@acts8moment.org.  This should be done by no later than 5PM on Monday, May the 18th.  After that, the abstracts will be re-posted with links.  At that point, the provided code will point to the round-up page instead of here.

The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.

BLOGFORCE Roundup: Where have you seen resurrection?

This week, we challenged the BLOGFORCE to answer the following question: “Where have you experienced resurrection, either in the church or otherwise, this Holy Week and Easter Season?”

The submissions for this week in order of being received were:

Brendan O’Sullivan Hale blogged, “These Bones

No one told us what to expect when we picked up my mother’s ashes from the crematorium.

The taxi turned into the parking lot at the top of the hill, across from the Chinese cemetery. Some chickens pecked around in the grass. The funeral director led us around to a table on the far side of the building, and then they brought her out.

She was in what looked like a large lasagna pan. She was fine dust, some ribs, an arm bone. The heat of the oven had broken her skull into three pieces.

“Mortal, can these bones live?” came uninvited into my mind. No, I said to myself. No.

Steve Pankey Blogged, “Experiencing resurrection

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering this week’s question; thinking back over the particularities of Holy Week and Easter… Even as I took the time to remember all those events, I felt like I was still missing the point.  I had done plenty, but I wasn’t sure I had actually experienced resurrection.  Sometimes I’m not even sure I know what that means.  Life is just so busy, I wonder how much I really experience anything.

David Simmons Blogged, “Resurrection and the Trembling Giant

In a time where so much is focussed on disunity and struggle in the church, I found resurrection in Rachel Held Evans, “Searching for Sunday.”  The “Assumed Ecumenism” of this book points to the essential unity in Jesus that seems to be on the rise among the young.  Her journey of embracing an Episcopal congregation gives me hope that if we concentrate on the essentials of being Anglican liturgical Christians, rather than pushing “The Episcopal Church” as an entity unique and closed off to ecumenical currents, that we have something significant to offer.

Andrew Leigh Amanda LeAnn Bullard Blogged, “Finding Resurrection in Despair

In the midst of an Easter light overcast by the shadow of rejection, Andrew Amanda explores what resurrection can mean for those who were never supposed to survive. Drawing on their experiences as a psychiatric survivor, and transgender person of faith they demonstrate how the triumph of resurrection can start with the simple act of waking up each morning.

Linda Mizwicki Blogged, “The Peaceful Pain of Pruning Shears

 As I managed my responsibilities so I could check another item off my list, God told me to “Settle down, chick.  Settle down, let it be, and smell the roses.  Or rather, become a rose for others to smell.  Let me help help you grow.”  The knot in my chest loosened, the furrows on my brow smoothed, and the weight on my shoulders lightened.  This, my friends, is what church can do.  This, my friends is what it means to let Christ prune us, to allow ourselves to grow in the love of God.  As my inspiration died in my heart and withered on the vine, I found resurrection in the gospel, in the liturgy, in the community of my church.  I may be a rotten gardener, but with, God’s help, I pray to be a fruitful plant.

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


 Continue the Conversation on Twitter!

tweetchatActs8 will be hosting a one-hour tweetchat on the evening of this roundup (5/4) at 9PM EDT/6PM PDT.  Use the hashtag #acts8tc.


The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.

BLOGFORCE: Where have you seen resurrection?

As we move through the latter weeks of the Easter season, it’s important to keep the story in our heads.  Theres a lot of doom and gloom around cultural change and restructuring, but we are a people of the Resurrection.

The BLOGFORCE question before us:  “Where have you experienced resurrection, either in the church or otherwise, this Holy Week and Easter Season?”

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


How do I participate in the Blogforce?

Simply blog your answer on your own site, then:

1. Paste the code you can find here at the bottom of your post – note that it is code so you will probably need to switch to HTML view in your blog editor. It should look like this on your blog when posted or previewed:

2. Send the permanent link and a 120 word or less origin story abstract to blogforce@acts8moment.org.  This should be done by no later than 5PM Central Time on Sunday the 3rd of May.  On Monday, the abstracts will be re-posted with links.  At that point, the provided code will point to the round-up page instead of here.

The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.


tweetchatLook during the week for more information on our next Acts8 tweetchat, which is scheduled for Monday, May 4th at 9PM EDT using #acts8tc

BLOGFORCE Roundup: Why the (DF) Missionary Society (of the PECUSA)?

This week, we challenged the BLOGFORCE to answer the third of three questions about the different levels of the church:

1. What is the mission of the congregation?  How should it be structured to serve its mission?
2. What is the mission of the Diocese?  How should it be structured to serve its mission?
3. What is the mission of the (Domestic and Foreign) Missionary Society (of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America) or whatever you currently insist on calling it? How should it be structured to serve its mission?

The submissions for this week in order of being received were:

Andy Doyle blogged, “Thoughts on the Future Diocese and Future Wider Church Structure

 At the core of a missionary Episcopal Church is a bishop serving God’s people and  undertaking service and evangelism for the sake of reconciliation. The only reason to have a diocese is to help organize the mission of a particular area, and to stay out of the way of a living Church making its missionary journey. The only reason to have a wider church organization is to organize the mission for a particular region. Everything else is extra. This has been the essence of our structure and it continues to be so today. Sure, we can add a lot of other things to it. Those who are the elite power brokers in the organization will tell us that their parts are also essential.  This is not true, though. It is a lie one leader tells its Church citizens in order to maintain their place in power. The Church would continue to make its way in the world without all that we pretend is necessary. Our structures have been and forever will be a utilitarian exoskeleton for the real work of God’s Holy Spirit. What we know today is that this skeleton and all its scaffolding and framework which we have so labored to construct no longer works. It no longer protects us. It no longer enables us to be agile in the culture. It no longer supports the mission efforts of our Church. The present church is organized to operate in a context that no longer exists. The same pressures that all major manufacturing companies and institutions face in this time period are the same pressures the church faces.

Steve Pankey Blogged, “What is the mission of the (DF) Missionary Society (of the PECUSA)?

Where The Missionary Society (the in house term for that long title above) gets its mission comes, I believe, in the next question in the Catechism
Q. How doe the Church pursue its mission?
A. The Church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace and love.

It seems to me that this is the mission of the Church-Wide Structure: to enable Common Prayer, to support the proclamation of the Gospel, and to promote through education, advocacy, and study; justice, peace, and love.

Christopher Arnold Blogged, “BLOGFORCE: Why The Episcopal Church?

Parish and Diocese I can talk about. The provincial level of TEC is far more muddled for me. I think I feel about it the way many Americans feel about the federal government: a bit suspicious, not sure it represents my interests, wanting it to be better than it is, and not sure how to make it that way.

Nurya Love Parish Blogged, “How should the church work? A post for church geeks.

According to the logic of our polity, the diocese would be the basic mission unit of the church and the churchwide structure would primarily exist to facilitate growth and health of the dioceses. But that’s not what I see.

Susan Snook Blogged, “The Mission of the Church-wide Structure.

Lots of people talk about mission and mean completely different things by it. I think the church-wide structure’s mission is fairly simple and straightforward. But there’s one component of it that has not been done well at all: providing inspirational, strategic leadership for the whole church.

Gay Clark Jennings Blogged, “Structure, Identity, and Magical Thinking.

In the last few years, there’s been an identity crisis brewing in some of the churchwide structures of the Episcopal Church. When structure and identity get confused, we run the risk of thinking that if we make a few big, grand gestures—change the name of the church, rearrange some departments, get rid of our bicameral General Convention—we have taken the problems that confront us seriously. When we talk about structure as if it will save us, we’re not really talking about structure. We’re talking about our identity and our vision for the future.

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


 Continue the Conversation on Twitter!

tweetchatActs8 will be hosting a one-hour tweetchat on the evening of this roundup (3/23) at 9PM EDT/6PM PDT.  Use the hashtag #acts8tc.


The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.