#GC78 Resurrection Report: July 3, 2015

From beginning to end, the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church was filled with resurrection moments, moments where it was clear to everyone in attendance that this church was alive and kicking, or as the Presiding Bishop said last week, “Get up, girl! You’re not dead yet!” Here are a few of my favorite moments from today.


 

Presiding Bishop-elect Curry preached at the Convention’s closing Eucharist today. His sermon is well worth your time.


 

Not long after Bishop-elect Curry finished his sermon, he got a surprise from Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and another somewhat important person.

 

 


 

The House of Bishops also sent Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori off with a resounding round of applause.

Photo credit: @LIDiocese on Twitter.
Photo credit: @LIDiocese on Twitter.

 

Both houses adjourned before the scheduled “Sine Die” time of 6:30 pm, with the House of Deputies ending at 6:10 pm after one final song from our beloved chaplain, Lester Mackenzie. Ever wonder what Sine Die means? It means to adjourn a meeting with no appointed time for resumption.


 

Overall, if I had to describe this General Convention in three words, it would be “Go–follow Jesus!” From our choice of a new Presiding Bishop to the priorities made clear by the Houses to the spirit permeating the Salt Palace, everything we did pointed towards the love and redemption of Jesus. We are poised to do amazing things this next triennium–I can’t wait to hear all about them! Don’t wait until Austin 2018 though–we always want your stories on Facebook or Twitter.

Until next time, respectfully submitted, yo yo yo,

Holli Powell, Chief Resurrection Reporter

#GC78 Resurrection Report: July 2, 2015

Wow. What a legislative day. Today the House of Deputies stood in session for almost seven full hours. Some resurrection moments from the floor today:

  • The House of Deputies voted through an amended budget which included nearly $3 million in additional money for evangelism efforts (church planting and Latino ministries) as well as additional funding for The Episcopal Network for Stewardship. The House of Bishops concurred.
  • Both Houses also passed new structure resolutions, reducing CCABs and changing Executive Council’s authority with regard to executive officers. See here for more details.
  • The House of Deputies concurred with two amendments from the HoB (C045 and A030), creating a climate change advisory committee and directing the Investment Committee of Executive Council and the Episcopal Church Endowment to divest from fossil fuel investments and reinvest in clean energy.
  • The president of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina rose to the floor of the House of Deputies to say, “We aren’t going anywhere!” and to thank the House for its support.
Photo credit: Chuck Stewart, Twitter at @stewartcn.
Photo credit: Chuck Stewart, Twitter at @stewartcn.

 

We also received several mentions of today’s worship service as particularly uplifting, from the baby being held by the lector to the featured music to the invigorating sermon preached by the Rev. Colin Mathewson from the Diocese of San Diego (read full text or watch here).


Are you on Instagram? Have you taken a scroll through the #gc78 hashtag to see what people are seeing here in Salt Lake City? If not, check it out here. (You can access this link without logging into Instagram, by the way.)


 

Today I received this text from a friend. What we do here matters. What we do here is a witness to the love of Jesus in the world. Thanks be to God!
Today I received this text from a friend. What we do here matters. What we do here is a witness to the love of Jesus in the world. Thanks be to God!

Tomorrow’s the final day! Don’t forget to send any pictures, stories, blog posts, or notes to gcreporting@acts8moment.org before you pack up and go in peace to love and serve the Lord!

 

#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?

#GC78 Resurrection Report: June 30, 2015

As the weather in Salt Lake City turns windy (seriously, did anyone else whisper to themselves “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore” this evening?), resurrection keeps on happening, just like the Lord intended.


 

Worship this morning was particularly lovely, featuring the Rev. Kimberly Jackson from the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center as preacher.


 

The House of Bishops today passed two resolutions about climate change: C045, calling for divestment from fossil fuel investing, and A030, establishing a climate change advisory committee. These resolutions will now move to the House of Deputies for concurrence.


 

In possibly one of the most photographed moments of General Convention so far, the past, present, and future Presiding Bishops of the Episcopal Church appeared together in the House of Deputies.

Bishop Curry, Bishop Jefferts Schori, and Bishop Griswold. Photo credit: Susan Brown Snook.
Bishop Curry, Bishop Jefferts Schori, and Bishop Griswold. Photo credit: Susan Brown Snook.

Raves are flooding into the Resurrection Report about the Episcopal Service Corps dinner this evening, where Presiding Bishop-elect Curry spoke. One quote I received from his speech: “We who follow Jesus do not settle. Because we have a savior who did not settle for powers of evil but rose above them.”


 

And finally, in another point of personal privilege, The Collect Call’s first live recording is now available on iTunes, Soundcloud, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Featuring Kyle Oliver, Lisa Kimball, Sean Maloney, David Simmons, and a lively studio audience, this has so far been the most fun I’ve had at General Convention hands down.

 

#GC78 Resurrection Report: June 29, 2015

Happy Hump Day, General Conventionistas! That’s right–it may not seem like it now, but we’ve now reached the downhill slope, with only four legislative days remaining until adjournment.


We received a photo submission from The Very Rev. Cliff Haggenjos of the Diocese of Northern California. Taken at Sunday’s march against gun violence, he notes, “It is for these little ones that we march and witness to love.”

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How often do you hear Jesus being talked about in a budget meeting? Thanks be to God for Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry for bringing his message to the Programs Budget & Finance Committee today.


The House of Bishops passed resolution A054 today, the resolution which will allow same-sex marriages in the Episcopal Church. This resolution now heads to the House of Deputies for concurrence.

Not to be outdone, the House of Deputies passed several key evangelism resolutions, including $5 million for church planting, $1 million to revitalize existing congregations, and $3 million for digital evangelism. (Read an excellent summary of these resolutions here.) These resolutions will move to the House of Bishops.


 

Also today, on the floor of the House of Deputies, a moving moment submitted by many readers occurred when the entire deputation of the Diocese of Mississippi rose to the platform to support resolution D044, encouraging removal of the Confederate battle flag.

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What’s your resurrection story? What’s been giving you life–other than coffee and the free candy in the exhibit hall? Send your tweets, blog posts, pictures, or stories to gcreporting@acts8moment.org.

 

#GC78 Resurrection Report: June 28, 2015

No day of rest here in Salt Lake City, people of God. Your elected representatives at General Convention were a busy group today just like any other day.


The day began early, with a march organized by Bishops United Against Gun Violence which had over 1500 attendees walking through the streets of SLC. More details, including video, can be found here.

Photo credit: Bishop Ian Douglas, @ctbishopian on Twitter.
Photo credit: Bishop Ian Douglas, @ctbishopian on Twitter.

Following that, the convocation gathered for the traditional UTO Ingathering and Eucharist. The crowd audibly gasped when the final total was announced–over the last triennium, UTO had raised over $4 million for their work.


 

For those of you at home, here’s a short video showing just how incredible worshipping with so many fellow Episcopalians can be.


 

Overheard: “Look around–resurrection is always emerging.”–Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, in her sermon today.


Tonight, TransEpiscopal held a Eucharist service. Thanks to Kori Pacyniak for posting this clip.


 

Nurya Love Parish of ChurchWork writes this helpful post about how General Convention is doing with caring for God’s creation.


Finally, in a point of personal privilege (sorry, I’ve been in the House of Deputies too long), the Acts 8 Moment’s podcast about prayer, The Collect Call, held a live recording of its show this evening. Joining hosts Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale and yours truly were Kyle Oliver and Lisa Kimball from Easter People, Sean Maloney from Padre’s Pods (via the telephone), and the Rev. David Simmons as our special live music DJ. Look for the episode on the Acts 8 Moment website later this week!

From left to right: Oliver, Kimball, Powell, O'Sullivan-Hale, Simmons. Front row: Grumpy Episcopal Cat.
From left to right: Oliver, Kimball, Powell, O’Sullivan-Hale, Simmons. Front row: Grumpy Episcopal Cat.

 


Where are you seeing new life at General Convention? Send me your stories, pictures, blogposts, roundups at gcreporting@acts8moment.org!

 

 

 

#GC78 Resurrection Report: June 27, 2015

Our apologies–the Resurrection Report is a little late due to technical difficulties. Insert your own “at least you didn’t have to wait three days” joke here.


 

Well! Did anyone hear anything cool going on yesterday at General Convention? Maybe on CNN or over the Associated Press wire? By now, of course you know that Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina has been elected the 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. This is the first time I heard Bishop Curry speak–at the 2012 General Convention in Indianapolis. I won’t soon forget it.


 

Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale brings us this report:

Lurking on the consent calendar for the House of Deputies tomorrow is resolution B004: Commend Report on Relations with Church of Sweden. Until I saw it, I was only dimly aware of the Church of Sweden and not at all aware that dialogue was happening between The Episcopal Church and the Church of Sweden.

This afternoon I met with The Reverend Dr Christopher Meakin, head of ecumenical relations for the Church of Sweden to find out what is going on. The dialogue began several years ago at the request of Bishop Pierre Whalon of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, to see if there were ways for the Episcopal and Swedish churches scattered throughout Europe to cooperate.

Dr. Meakin noted that the Swedish and Episcopal churches have never not really been in communion. Though the Church of Sweden is Lutheran, Dr. Meakin said that Sweden’s revolution was “comparatively mild”, and that the Church of Sweden never lost sight of apostolic succession, and that our liturgies and understanding of the Eucharist are compatible. Many Church of Sweden congregations established in the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries became Episcopal churches as the cultural ties to Sweden waned.

What the present dialogue is doing is uncovering a communion we weren’t really that aware we had, other than incidentally. For instance, the Rt. Rev. Barbara Brown Harris, the first female bishop on The Episcopal Church, participated in the ordination of the first female bishop in the Church of Sweden in 1997. But otherwise the fact that our churches have a great deal in common has been under the radar. Cooperation among our churches does not require the technical accommodations and clarifications of Call to Common Mission (which allowed full communion between the ELCA and The Episcopal Church).

Dr. Meakin observed that he found the election of our next Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, “particularly American,” in a positive way. He said that if Swedes had been making the selection, the choice might have been different due to a more reserved Nordic culture, but thought that Curry appears to be the right man for our church at this time.

Given that I live nowhere near Stockholm, the chances of me worshiping in a Church of Sweden congregation any time soon. But it does my heart good to know that the bonds of the faith I treasure stretch to still another land.

Read the full report on dialogue with the Church of Sweden.


Overheard: “It delighted me that I was told I could keep wearing my Acts 8 button while serving the Eucharist at GC, since Acts 8 is considered a non-political organization.”


 

The #GC78 hashtag was blowing up on Twitter yesterday with support for resolution B009. What a witness to digital evangelism on the ground!


 

Finally, even though this report is late, you still have time to plan to attend The Collect Call’s live show tonight.

#GC78 Resurrection Report: June 26, 2015

Day 2 of the legislative sessions began with a bang, as the news from the Supreme Court about marriage equality started filtering into Salt Lake City in the early morning hours. I received many reports of spontaneous applause, song, and even tears throughout the Salt Palace as legislative sessions turned into spontaneous celebrations. Deputy Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale took this video of the pre-Eucharist exuberance.

The Rev. Scott Gunn captured this photo in Salt Lake City.
The Rev. Scott Gunn captured this photo in Salt Lake City.

 

The other item that received multiple nominations for resurrection is the Theodicy Jazz Collective, the musicians featured in the above YouTube video and in our daily worship today. The TJC is “committed to making justice real through the creative, spiritual work of making music in community.” You can find their music on iTunes or at theodicyjazz.com.


 

Your random fact about Salt Lake City: If you leave the Hilton heading for the Hotel Monaco, and you get lost in a deserted alley, you might encounter this street art and deem the experience worth it.

Photo credit Holli Rickman Powell.
Photo credit Holli Rickman Powell.

 

Anyone interested in a prayer walk through the halls of General Convention should meet in the back of the House of Deputies hall at 1:00 pm local time on Saturday, June 27.


 

As part of the Acts 8 Moment prayer gathering on June 25, the group invited attendees to share their resurrection stories on video. Here is Andrea McKellar of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, sharing hers.


And finally, a group of musicians from Texas began playing music outside the exhibit hall this afternoon. It was a wonderful backdrop to an already wonderful day. Enjoy.

Before closing, tomorrow is the big day–the election of the 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Please take a quiet moment and join me in prayer:

Collect for the Election of a Presiding Bishop
Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose and confirm a Presiding Bishop for this church, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

#GC78 Resurrection Report: June 25, 2015

First full day of legislative sessions, but who needs legislation when you’ve got resurrection? Let’s get to it.


 

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“A sign of resurrection in a Salt Lake City pedestrian crossing.” Shared on our Facebook page by Beth Marquart.

Overheard: “At the PB&F hearing, a student from Voorhees College (a historically black college affiliated with the Episcopal Church) stood up and spoke about how his life had been changed because of Voorhees. It was one of the most moving pieces of testimony I’ve ever heard.”


 

There is literally nothing that could have delighted me more than seeing a nun in habit working the virtual binder tech desk.
There is literally nothing that could have delighted me more than seeing a nun in habit working the virtual binder tech desk.

Submitted from Grace Burton-Edwards: “The Acts 8 Moment has challenged us to look for signs of Resurrection at General Convention. I saw one today – over lunch in the Exhibit Hall.” Read more here.


 

Resurrection on Twitter:

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And the Rev. Megan Castellan tweeted us to report that one of her young adults leapt up to help direct Eucharist traffic in today’s worship service.

 

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Your random daily fact about Salt Lake City: Just down the road, in Park City, Utah, is the world’s only distillery that has a ski-in/ski-out bar. (No word on whether there are other ski-in/ski-out bars that don’t make their own products.)


 

The House of Deputies sent the Official Youth Presence and all deputies born in the 1990s to deliver the ceremonial report to the House of Bishops today. (Photo by Sierra Wilkinson Reyes)

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And finally, a statue depicting Jesus as a homeless person sleeping on a park bench made its appearance in the Exhibit Hall today. The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society hosted its exhibition, as well as giving away 300 small replicas of the statue. To learn more about the statue’s history, read this NPR article.

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That’s it for this resurrection report. Where have you seen signs of new life at General Convention? Send us an email at GCreporting@acts8moment.org.

 

 

 

#GC78 Resurrection Report: June 25, 2015

Greetings from Salt Lake City! Today was the first official day of General Convention’s legislative activity, but your Roving Resurrection Reporters bravely took a break from practicing tapping the home button on their iPads to bring you all the news that’s fit to post on a blog.

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Opening this morning’s orientation session, The Rev. Lester MacKenzie, chaplain of the House of Deputies, prayed that the deputies successfully manage to deal with their gadgets during this year’s mostly paperless convention. The house stifled laughter while attempting to retain some semblance of reverence.

Describing the origin of that prayer, MacKenzie said, “I got onto the platform…and I was aware of the context of what we were moving toward…new technology, newness. How do you bring that all together in prayer creatively, honestly, truthfully, so that we can affirm patience. Because anxiety is already high. And how do you lessen anxiety? Through laughter.”

Reflecting more broadly on his ministry at the convention, MacKenzie said, “As chaplain I’m hoping that over these next days of our work together, that I’m able to help us remember that we are here for Jesus, here for mission. We are here to do the business of the church, but with getting lost in what my grandfather used to call ‘churchianity’.”

Hear The Collect Call podcast’s complete interview with MacKenzie, including a discussion of how his upbringing in South Africa influences his views on how the church in America might act on race relations, in an episode to be released on Friday.


Overheard: “I was greatly inspired–and excited–by listening to the discussion in the Evangelism Committee hearing about resolution D019.” (You can read more about resolution D019, Conducting an Online Digital Evangelism Test, here.)


11650783_10152871689901987_578529806_nWinifred Follett of ECW speaks during the Province 8 Synod. Is she the new Gregory Straub?


 

Grumpy Episcopal Cat has been spotted all over the Salt Palace, but be careful if you spot him in the wild, lest you get led into a fascinating discussion about the merits of communion wafers made from tuna. You can follow Grumpy Episcopal Cat’s adventures on Facebook.


 

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Two of our favorite Episcopal communications groups colliding–The Rev. Jimmy Abbott and the Rev. Christine Faulstich of Episcopal Herald chatting with The Rev. Scott Gunn of Forward Movement. Don’t forget to follow Forward Movement’s #JesusatGC campaign on social media!


 

Your daily random fact about Salt Lake City: The Great Salt Lake is larger than the state of Delaware.


And I close with my favorite resurrection report of the day:

Speaking at the presentation of the candidates for Presiding Bishop, Dabney Smith was asked, “How does the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth figure into your vision of the future of the church?”

“Oh my God, thank you,” Bishop Smith answered, before delivering an answer that left many wiping their eyes.

You really can’t do any better than watching his response yourself – start the video at 1:20:45.


 

Send your photos, anecdotes, and questions to the Resurrection Report! Email GCreporting@acts8moment.org.