Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 15--Eighth day of General Convention

The celebrant for this morning’s Eucharist was our friend and former archdeacon, Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves of the Diocese of El Camino Real. The theme for today was Creation Care, so the Eucharist was “paperless”—there were no worship booklets, and all songs, prayers and responses were projected on screens behind the altar.

The preacher was Bishop Steven Charleston, assistant bishop of California and provost of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. He gave a passionate (as he said, “prophetic”) plea for the Episcopal Church to join with other faith communities to address what he called the two critical questions facing humanity: Can human beings live together in peace, even when they disagree, and can we make the changes in our civilization necessary for us to reverse the damage we have done and live in harmony with all creation?

Click here for the video of Bishop Charleston’s sermon.

At least 15 resolutions on environmental issues are before General Convention. Bishop Charleston said later that he feels the most crucial one is Resolution C070, which would commit the Episcopal Church to the Genesis Covenant.
This afternoon the bishops came into the House of Deputies for joint session at which the proposed budget for 2010-2012 was presented. In anticipation of greatly reduced income, due to the current economic situation, the proposed budget reflects a reduction in the amounts requested from dioceses—and a $23 million cut, which could eliminate some churchwide programs, as well as the positions of 30 of the 180 people employed by the Episcopal Church in its New York and regional offices.

The House of Bishops was due to begin discussion on the budget this afternoon, and the House of Deputies must concur with the bishops' decision in order for the budget to be adopted. Either house may amend; but if a specific line item is increased, the amendment must specify which other line item would be decreased.

More information about the proposed budget is available here.
A major topic of conversation today around the Convention Center was Resolution D025, which was passed yesterday. The resolution recommits the Episcopal Church to continued participation in and financial support of the Anglican Communion, but also affirms the openness of the ordination process to all people.

More information is available here.

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