The Public Affairs Office

The Public Affairs Office provides statistics, biographies, photos, background information, and other resources to media representatives reporting on the mission and ministries of the Episcopal Church.

The Toolkit:
The Toolkit of the Public Affairs Office is designed for your use to help enhance your message, broaden your reach and offer tips for placements into regional, secular, and other media – both traditional and social. It is located on the Public Affairs pages of the Episcopal Church website here.

Subscribe to the Public Affairs Office’s e-mail lists to receive the latest information about The Episcopal Church. “Media Releases” provides up-to-the-minute information about news, events, and resources from The Episcopal Church. The “Daily Scan” is a daily list of links to news stories in the mass media that highlight The Episcopal Church, Episcopal parishes and dioceses, and Episcopalians. Subscribe here.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2015-2016 awarding of educational scholarships from The Episcopal Church, according to Samuel A. McDonald, Director of Mission/Deputy Chief Operating Officer and convener of the Scholarship Committee.

“As a result of bequests, The Episcopal Church makes available a modest number of scholarships that assist students primarily enrolled in theological education and training,” explained Margareth Crosnier de Bellaistre, Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society Director of Investment Management and Banking  “Funding for the program is derived from annual income of designated trust funds established by generous donors.”

Scholarships are available for ethnic communities, children of missionaries, bishops and clergy, and other particular wide-ranging eligibility for education and training.

The amounts of the scholarships vary according to the availability of payouts from the funds.  The maximum is $5000.

The lists of trust funds and scholarships as well as key information are here. http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/episcopal-church-scholarships  Applicants are strongly encouraged to read each trust and identify in the application those trust funds that best fit their own profile.

Requirements for applying for the scholarships include: the applicant must be an Episcopalian and must have the endorsement of his/her bishop.

Application form is available here. http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/scholarship-application-2015-2016-academic-year Except in extraordinary circumstances, students should complete the online application available here. http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/scholarship-application-2015-2016-academic-year

Applications are reviewed by a scholarship committee which includes staff of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society: the Director of Mission, the Director of Human Resources Management, representatives of various ministries, and the Treasurer’s office.

Deadline for applications is April 30.  Only complete applications will be considered.

For information, contact Ann Hercules, Associate for Grants and Scholarships for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, ahercules@episcopalchurch.org

Applications are now being accepted for the 2015-2016 awarding of educational scholarships from The Episcopal Church, according to Samuel A. McDonald, Director of Mission/Deputy Chief Operating Officer and convener of the Scholarship Committee. “As...

The 18 members of The Episcopal Church General Convention Official Youth Presence at the 78th General Convention have been announced.

The Episcopal Church’s 78th General Convention, June 25 – July 3, will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, UT (Diocese of Utah).

“The General Convention Official Youth Presence was established by an initial resolution in 1982,” Bronwyn Clark Skov, Youth Ministries Officer for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society explained.

Members of the Official Youth Presence are permitted seat and voice by the rules of the House of Deputies and will participate in committee hearings and floor debates.

The following youth will be serving as the 2015 Official Youth Presence at General Convention.

 

Province I: Anna Foster, Diocese of Maine; Allegra Robinson, Diocese of Massachusetts

Province II: Uzodinma Kanu, Diocese of Long Island; Joseph Archibald-Bowers, Diocese of Virgin Islands

Province III: Nathan Harpine, Diocese of Virginia; Nancy Brooks, Diocese of Washington

Province IV: Arthur Garst IV, Diocese of Western NC; Levi Thompson, Diocese of Louisiana

Province V: Holden Holsinger, Diocese of East Michigan; Richard Pryor, III, Diocese of  Ohio

Province VI: Summer Murray, Diocese of Nebraska; Sydney Norman, Diocese of Minnesota

Province VII: Amelia Mackey, Diocese of Arkansas; John C. Zuk, Diocese of Oklahoma

Province VIII: Sonja Barba, Diocese of Hawaii; Madelyn Gonzalez, Diocese of Olympia

Province IX: Andrea Pena, Diocese of Honduras; Amanda Zorrilla, Diocese of Puerto Rico

 

Mentoring and shepherding the Official Youth Presence will be: the Rev. Canon Vincent Black, Diocese of Ohio, who will serve as Chaplain to the group; Celia Arevalo, Diocese of Honduras; Mindy Boynton, Diocese of Minnesota; the Rev. Randy Callender, Diocese of Maryland; Cookie Cantwell, Diocese of East Carolina; the Rev. Earl Gibson, Diocese of San Diego; and Christopher Palma, Diocese of Missouri.

Participants will gather in Salt Lake City for orientation and training April 9-12. Two deputies have been appointed by President of the House of Deputies, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, to lead the parliamentary procedure and legislative process training in April: the Hon. Byron Rushing, Vice President of the House of Deputies, Diocese of Massachusetts; and the Rev. LeeAnne Watkins, Diocese of Minnesota.

Over 100 applications were received from across the church from teenagers hoping to serve as representatives from their provinces. Reviewing the applications were Skov, Youth Ministry Liaisons along with two deputies appointed by President Jennings.

For more information contact Skov

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years, and is the bicameral governing body of the Church. It comprises the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay deputies elected from the 109 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church, at more than 800 members.

 

 

 

The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org

General Convention: http://www.generalconvention.org/

Diocese of Utah: http://www.episcopal-ut.org/

Salt Palace Convention Center: http://www.visitsaltlake.com/salt-palace-convention-center/

 

#‎GC78

 

 

The 18 members of The Episcopal Church General Convention Official Youth Presence at the 78th General Convention have been announced. The Episcopal Church’s 78th General Convention, June 25 – July 3, will be held at the Salt Palace Convention...

Report To The Church 2015, an innovative online magazine detailing the mission and ministry, accomplishments and achievements of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society during the current triennium, is now available in Spanish here and in French

Samuel McDonald, Director of Mission and Deputy Chief Operating Officer for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, called Report to the Church 2015 “an exciting, creative and comprehensive mission Report to the Church on some of the impact of our partnerships in churchwide mission and ministry so far this triennium.”

“We’re in the midst of trying to create a change in the culture of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society—toward being a service organization supporting and contributing to mission at the local level and away from being a regulatory agency,” commented Bishop Stacy Sauls, Episcopal Church Chief Operating Officer. “We’re all about leveraging the unique resources that can be made available by the churchwide level—funding to the less-resourced local levels and human resources to supplement efforts on the ground—to make mission happen that might not otherwise happen.  The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is about all mission all the time at all levels of the Church.  We’re making progress.  We’re committed to continuing to make progress with the help of the people of The Episcopal Church.”

With a focus on the Five Marks of Mission, Report to the Church 2015 is an interactive magazine which includes videos, photos and narratives detailing how the churchwide resources have been put to action on the local level. The 200+ page document includes an extensive appendix arranged by diocese for quick reference.

Since The Episcopal Church budget is based on the Five Marks of Mission, “This allowed us together, staff and Executive Council in collaboration together with people from across our church, to develop some of the most creative and compelling impact ministries this triennium,” McDonald said.

“The purpose of the report is to engage the whole of The Episcopal Church in a conversation about mission in order to equip all Episcopalians to be missionaries engaging the wider world in the transformation we encounter in the Gospel,” said Alexander D. Baumgarten, Director of Public Engagement and Mission Communication for The Episcopal Church.  “Throughout the report, you will see the question ‘How can we partner with you?’  We hope this question is answered widely by Episcopalians in every part of the Church, and the report’s page on our website has a response form for that.”

Report To The Church 2015 focuses on the Five Marks of Mission: To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom; To teach, baptize and nurture new believers; To respond to human need by loving service; To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation; To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

McDonald explained that “Report To The Church 2015 is comprehensive, but could not be all inclusive of every mission and ministry effort.” Among the details presented are: new churches and ministries planted this triennium; work toward racial justice; the good news of the Diocesan Partnership program; the Young Adult Service Corps, and other efforts to make missionary service normative; Province IX sustainability; campus ministries; Jubilee ministries; grants and scholarships; missionary zones; Episcopal Youth Event (EYE14).

McDonald concluded, “Report To The Church 2015 has been created to celebrate the incredible work the staff has done in collaboration with many others across the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion.  It reports back on our specific goals and deliverables named in our current budget.  We hope it expresses the excitement we have for mission as the heartbeat of the church, and the inspiration by God’s Spirit we find in that mission.”

 

 

 

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Report To The Church 2015, an innovative online magazine detailing the mission and ministry, accomplishments and achievements of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society during the current triennium, is now available in Spanish here and in...

At the invitation of the Very Rev. June Osborne, Dean, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Katharine Jefferts Schori will preach and lead services at various times at Salisbury Cathedral during Holy Week 2015.

“I am looking forward to joining the Holy Week and Triduum liturgies of a cathedral that is both deeply historic and innovative, to meet new and old friends, and to reflect on the partnerships with Sudan and other parts of the Anglican Communion that continue to teach us all about the Paschal mystery,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori commented.

On Monday, March 30, the Presiding Bishop will preach at the Service of Reconciliation.

On Tuesday, March 31, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will preach at the Tenebrae or Service of Shadows with music by Francis Poulenc, sung by Salisbury Cathedral Choir.  

On Wednesday, April 1, the Presiding Bishop will provide the devotional reflection at the service in which the orchestra La Folia, conducted by the Cathedral’s Director of Music, David Halls, joins the Cathedral choir in a Holy Week Meditation. Music will include Allegri, Hassler and James Macmillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross.

On Holy Thursday, April 2, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will preach at the Eucharist of the Last Supper.

The Good Friday Devotion service from noon – 1:15 pm will be led by the Presiding Bishop.  She will preach again during The Liturgy of the Day at which the Cathedral Choir will sing.

On Easter Sunday, April 5, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will preach at the Easter Eucharist

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori previously preached at Salisbury Cathedral in June 2008.

 

 

 

 

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At the invitation of the Very Rev. June Osborne, Dean, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Katharine Jefferts Schori will preach and lead services at various times at Salisbury Cathedral during Holy Week 2015. “I am looking forward to...

[March 24, 2015] Now available here www.episcopalchurch.org is the Climate Change Crisis, presented by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society on March 24. Addressing one of the most significant topics in today’s society, the 90-minute live webcast originated from Campbell Hall Episcopal School, North Hollywood, CA, in partnership with Bishop J. Jon Bruno and the Diocese of Los Angeles.

The forum was moderated by well-known climatologist Fritz Coleman of KNBC 4 television news.  Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presented the keynote address (listed below). Two panels focused on specific areas of the climate change crisis: Regional Impacts of Climate Change; and Reclaiming Climate Change as a Moral Issue.

30 Days of Action
In addition to stimulating conversation and raising awareness about The Climate Change Crisis, the live webcast served as the kickoff to 30 Days of Action. A range of activities developed by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society are offered for individuals and congregations to understand the environmental crisis. The activities will culminate on Earth Day, April 22.  The 30 Days of Action located here http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/30-days-action

The event supported Mark 5 of the Anglican Communion’s Marks of Mission: To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth. Anglican Five Marks of Mission are here http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/five-marks-mission. The Five Marks of Mission form the basis for the triennial budget of The Episcopal Church adopted by the 77th General Convention in July 2012.

The event is one of the aspects of commemorating The Episcopal Church's 150th year of parish ministry in Southern California.

For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org.

Keynote Presentation
The following is the keynote address presented by the Presiding Bishop.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

                Episcopalians have a prayer that names “this fragile earth, our island home.”[1]  We’ve been praying it for nearly 40 years, yet many are only beginning to awaken to our wanton abuse of this planet.  We profess that God has planted us in a garden to care for it and for all its inhabitants, yet we have failed to love what God has given us.  We continue to squander the resources of this earth, and we are damaging its ability to nourish the garden’s diverse web of life.

                The collective impact of the human species on this planet is prompting many to name this the Anthropocene age[2] – an era characterized by human changes with global impact.  We are unwittingly redesigning the earth on time scales that are infinitesimal compared to previous geological and evolutionary rates.  The carbon dioxide and other gases being pumped into the atmosphere are creating an insulating blanket that accumulates heat faster than it can be radiated into space.  Most of those gases come from burning fossil fuels, removing forests, and producing animal protein for human consumption.

                Scientists have been studying human impacts on our global biosphere for decades, and today there is clear consensus about the effects of these gases on the mean temperature of the planet.  There are a few very loud voices who insist this is only “natural variation,” but the data do not lie.  Those voices are often driven by greed and self-centered political interests, and sometimes by willful blindness.  The Judeo-Christian tradition has always called those motivations sinful.  It is decidedly wrong to use resources that have been given into our collective care in ways that diminish the ability of others to share in abundant life.  It is equally wrong to fail to use resources of memory, reason, and skill to discern what is going on in the world around us.  That has traditionally been called a sin of omission.

                Why do we call this a crisis?  The planet’s regulatory system is being altered.  Like a human being with a runaway fever, the malfunctioning thermostat causes a body to slowly self-destruct as inflammation erodes joints, causes nerve cells to misfire, and prevents the digestive system from absorbing nutrients critical to life.  This planet is overheating, its climate is changing, and the residents are sick, suffering, and dying.

                Climate is a broad description of weather variability and environmental conditions.  We are experiencing more extreme weather and more frequent hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and droughts.  Sea level is rising, because ice sheets are melting and because a warming ocean expands.  As sea levels rise coastal flooding becomes more likely and severe storms more destructive.  The damage done by Katrina and Superstorm Sandy are examples, as is the unusual winter much of this continent is experiencing. 

                Shifting climate alters our ability to grow food crops in historical locales, often leading to food shortages and famines.  Deserts are expanding, snow pack declining, and drought plagues a drying West, where wildfires are more frequent and more damaging, and fresh water is increasingly scarce.  Commercial agricultural practices in the developed world contribute more carbon to the atmosphere, when wiser ways could be storing large quantities of carbon in healthier and more productive soils.[3]  Historic conditions are changing so quickly that species adapted to particular environments over geologic time spans can’t adapt.  Warmer conditions are prompting species to seek cooler environments, with limited success, by moving higher on mountain slopes, deeper in the ocean, or closer to the poles. 

                Life in the oceans has additional challenges.  Species that build skeletons of calcium carbonate find it harder to build or maintain their shells as increasing amounts of carbon dioxide dissolve in sea water and make it more acidic.  Several kinds of plankton[4] are already challenged.  As their populations begin to shrink, other parts of the food chain get hungrier or disappear.  More CO2 in the atmosphere ultimately means fewer fish, shrimp, whales, and seabirds. 

                Coral reefs, which take centuries to build, are also in imminent danger.  As sea temperature rises, corals often respond by expelling the symbiotic algae that provide much of their food.[5]  Debilitated corals may not grow fast enough to keep themselves in reach of sunlight,[6] and dying reefs are quickly destroyed by waves and storms.  Coral reefs rival tropical rain forests as the richest and most diverse ecosystems on the planet.[7]  Both shelter countless numbers of yet-undescribed species.  That diversity is a wondrous gift of life in itself, and is increasingly recognized as a potential source of healing pharmaceuticals.[8]

                The human population explosion of recent millennia, accompanied by exploitation of fossil fuels in recent centuries, have moved this planetary system out of dynamic equilibrium.  Human appetites are responsible for the collapse of that equilibrium,[9] particularly in developed nations, and many species are threatened with diminishment and loss of life.  We are making war on the integrity of this planet.  The result is wholesale death as species become extinct at unprecedented rates, and human beings die from disease, starvation, and the violence of war unleashed by environmental chaos and greed.

                We were planted in this garden to care for it – literally, “to have dominion” over its creatures.[10]  Dominion means caring for our island home, the oikos[11] that gives birth to economy and ecology.[12]  This is housekeeping and husbanding work – caring for what sustains us all.  We are meant to love God and what God has created, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Jesus insists that those who will enjoy abundant life are those who care for all neighbors, especially “the least of these”[13] – the hungry and thirsty, the imprisoned and sick – and that must include all the species God has nurtured on this planet. 

                God’s presence among us in human form changed the nature of relationship with all creation.  Even those who cannot understand the duty to care for birds and sea creatures must recognize that the life of human beings depends on the health of the whole planet.  The poorest human beings are soonest and most deeply affected by climatic changes, and least able to respond.  Ultimately human beings with the most resource-intensive lifestyles are causing the hunger and thirst, displacement, illness, and impoverishment of climate refugees and those without resources to adapt.  There is no escape from that death and destruction, for our fate is tied to the fate of all our neighbors – the salvation of each depends on the salvation of all.

                A crisis is a decision point, a time of judgment.  We can choose to change our destructive and overly consumptive ways, or we can ignore the consequences of our actions and slowly steam like proverbial frogs in a soup pot.  We still have some opportunity to choose, but that kairos moment will not last long.  We have before us this day life and death.[14]  Which will we choose?

 

[1] Book of Common Prayer p 370

[2] E.g., The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert.  Holt, 2014.

[3] For a brief introduction, cf. Norman Wirzba, “Carbon and Compost,” Christian Century 4 March 2015, 28-29

[4] The tiny plants and animals that provide much of the food for larger creatures in the oceans

[5] Often referred to as “bleaching”

[9] Beginning with the hunting of large animal species several tens of thousand years ago.

[10] Genesis 1:26,28

[11] Greek for “house” or “home”

[12] Economy,  ‘house rules’ or ‘home management’; Ecology, ‘study of the house’

[13] Matthew 25:45-46

[14] Deuteronomy 30:19

[March 24, 2015] Now available here www.episcopalchurch.org is the Climate Change Crisis, presented by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society on March 24. Addressing one of the most significant topics in today’s society, the 90-minute live...

“We will find him already there before us, bringing new and verdant life,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori states in her Easter Message 2015. “The only place we will not find him is in the tomb.”

In 2015, Easter is celebrated on April 5.

The following is the Presiding Bishop’s Easter Message 2015.

 

Easter message 2015

It’s still dark when Mary ventures out to find the tomb.  The graveyards around Jerusalem don’t have much greenery today.  The earth is mostly rock and stone, and it is far from easy to make a place to secure a body.  Jesus’ body was put in a cave-like space, with a stone rolled across the opening to close it up.  Mary has made the journey from wherever she’s sheltered over the last day, through darkened streets, perhaps hearing cocks begin to crow and townspeople start to stir.

She nears the place, but somehow it seems different than they left it – this can’t be it, can it?  Who moved the stone?  A trip begun in tears and grief now has added burden– confusion, anger, shock, chaos, abandonment.  His very body has been stolen.

She runs to tell the others.  The three tear back to the tomb – no, the body is not there, though some of the burial cloths remain.  Who has torn away the shroud and stolen him away?  Why must the cruel torture continue, sacrilege and insult even after death?  Who has done this awful thing?  The men run away again, leaving her to weep at even greater loss.

She peers in once more – who are these, so bold appearing?  “Fear not, woman... why do you weep?”  She turns away and meets another, who says the same – why do you weep, who are you looking for?  This gardener has himself been planted and now springs up green and vibrant, still rising into greater life.  He challenges her to go and share that rising, great news of green and life, with those who have fled. 

Still rising, still seeking union with Creator, making tender offering to beloved friends – briefly I am with you, I am on my way.  Go and you will find me if you look.

The risen one still offers life to those who will look for evidence of his gardening – hope, friendship, healing, reunion, restoration – to all who have been uprooted, cut off, to those who are parched and withered, to those who lie wasting in the desert.  Why do we weep or run away when that promise abides? 

We can find that green one, still rising, if we will go stand with the grieving Marys of this world, if we will draw out the terrified who have retreated to their holes, if we will walk the Emmaus road with the lost and confused, if we will search out the hungry in the neighborhood called Galilee.  We will find him already there before us, bringing new and verdant life.  The only place we will not find him is in the tomb.

 

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori

Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Episcopal Church

 

 

 

 

The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org

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“We will find him already there before us, bringing new and verdant life,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori states in her Easter Message 2015. “The only place we will not find him is in the tomb.” In 2015, Easter is...

The Episcopal Church Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance is seeking comments and input on the draft budget that will be presented to the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

The Joint Nominating Committee for Program, Budget, and Finance received Executive Council's draft budget in February.

“As General Convention 2015 approaches, Program, Budget, and Finance would like to hear comments and suggestions from all corners of the church,” commented the Rev. Mally Lloyd of Massachusetts, co-chair of the Program, Budget, and Finance Committee. “This is an opportunity for everyone to have a say in the budget before we arrive at General Convention.”

The Program, Budget, and Finance Budget Explanation, the Executive Council budget narrative, the Draft Budget, and instructions are available:

In English here

In Spanish here 

Deadline for comments is June 21.

General Convention

The Episcopal Church’s 78th General Convention, June 25 – July 3, will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, UT (Diocese of Utah).
 

Important dates at General Convention:

Hearing on Budget Income: Friday, June 26, 7 pm - 9 pm

Hearing on Budget Expenses: Saturday, June 27, 7 pm - 9 pm

Joint Session to present the Budget: Wednesday, July 1, 2:15 pm - 3:15 pm

(Note all times are Mountain)

 

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years, and is the bicameral governing body of the Church. It comprises the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay deputies elected from the 109 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church, at more than 800 members.

 

 

 

 

The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org

General Convention: http://www.generalconvention.org/

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Twitter: #GC78

 

 

The Episcopal Church Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance is seeking comments and input on the draft budget that will be presented to the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church. The Joint Nominating Committee for Program...

The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society has posted a new research report, The Church's Contemporary Response to Racism, detailing the response of The Episcopal Church to racism, presented by the Archives of The Episcopal Church.

The report, prepared for the Executive Council Committee on Anti-Racism, is available here 

“Now we have a researched, documented, vetted, historical narrative that forms the foundation for viewing where the church has stood and how it has progressed or, in many cases, not progressed, in its work on becoming anti-racists,” commented Lelanda Lee of Colorado, Executive Council member and chair of its Advocacy and Networking Committee at the Executive Council meeting. “Now we have the foundation on which we can stand altogether to point our way forward to the work that remains to be done.”

Areas addressed in the report include: Early Recognition of the Effects of Racism, 1954-1978; Naming and Confronting the Church’s Racism, 1979-1989; Initiating Anti-Racism Training, 1990-1999; Anti-Racism as Sustained Cultural Competency, 2000-2014. Additionally, the report contains a complete list of General Convention and Executive Council resolutions approved over the decades.

Key points of the report in the Summary offer an overview of the recognition of racism, response, and training and curriculum offerings. “Racism had to be recognized before it could be addressed,” the Summary states. “These changes in place, Church bodies were equipped to turn to confronting racism as an internal blight. General Convention pushed for greater self-examination and Church-wide awareness training, and Council began to respond with expectations of staff.”

 

 

 

 

The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org

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The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society has posted a new research report, The Church's Contemporary Response to Racism, detailing the response of The Episcopal Church to racism, presented by the Archives of The Episcopal Church. The report,...

The following are the opening remarks of President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings at the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, currently meeting through March 21 in Salt Lake City, UT (Diocese of Utah).

Executive Council opening remarks
March 19

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings
President of the House of Deputies
The Episcopal Church

I’ve recently finished a marathon. I didn’t run 26.2 miles—with the winter we’ve had in Ohio, it would have been more practical to ice skate that far—but I did recently complete the long, absorbing, and fulfilling process of appointing deputies to legislative committees for General Convention. You can find the committee rosters on the House of Deputies website. http://houseofdeputies.org/legislative-committee-assignments.html The canons require that appointments be made public within 30 days of being made (thanks to Resolution D045 submitted by Deputy Katie Sherrod and adopted by General Convention in 2009); I’m proud to say that we did it within 30 hours, and deputy committee chairs have already been instructed to convene their committees and begin work.

I’ve learned in the last few months that making legislative committee appointments is one of the most difficult and rewarding parts of my job. Not all deputies can serve on a committee—the committees would simply be too large to function—and not all deputies can be appointed to the committees on which they most hoped to serve. That’s the difficult part. The rewarding part is learning more about deputies’ skills, experience, and gifts in order to appoint committees with diverse and deep understanding of the issues at hand. I’m grateful to all of the deputies, including many of you, who have answered my calls and emails with grace and patience as I have drafted and re-drafted committee rosters.

This year, thanks to a new committee structure that the Presiding Bishop and I developed last summer and a new House of Deputies Committee on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, I have been able to make 547 appointments to legislative committees—a 27% increase over General Convention 2012. I’m also glad to say that all deputies who completed the committee preference survey and who have served at three or more conventions have been appointed. But legislative committees are not just the purview of long-time deputies; more than 35% of first-time deputies have also been appointed.

These first-time deputies, who make up 46% of the House of Deputies, are only part of the great chance this General Convention will provide to learn more about how our structures can change as our Episcopal identity stays strong. This General Convention will also be a laboratory for learning from young leaders and watching the structures of the church change as its leaders change the way we work. Traditionally at General Convention, senior deputies—those of us who practically remember the first General Convention in 1785—have had the knowledge and expertise to navigate the way things work. But in 2015, as you know, we’re embarking on our first paperless convention. Every deputy and every bishop will be issued an iPad—the old fat binders filled with reams of paper are gone for good. Deputies will carry a keycard with them and will need to swipe it before they speak at a microphone. Instead of sending messages back and forth between the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies on papyrus scrolls, someone will actually push a button and send the message electronically. Amazing!

All of this means that the senior deputies, with their decades of experience, are going to need to learn from deputies who are digital natives—young adults who don’t ever remember a world in which we didn’t carry computers in our pockets. We’re all going to need one another in different kinds of ways, and it’s going to change the way we work, change the way we are networked, and change the way we envision the kingdom of God.

I’m hoping that General Convention also provides us with practical experience in doing the kinds of restructuring that don’t require permission from a task force or    a resolution. You all have that kind of restructuring to do in your congregations, dioceses, and ministries, and so do I. I've spent a good deal of time talking with deputies and former deputies to explore how to move legislation more efficiently through General Convention and reduce the bottlenecks that we have sometimes encountered in previous years. In 2015, we’ll use the tools already available to us to streamline the legislative process.

One of those tools is use of legislative aides. This convention, for the first time, we have an open application process for those volunteers who will help committee officers navigate the legislative process and serve as liaisons with the Dispatch of Business committee. Alternate deputies and volunteers who are planning to attend General Convention are invited to apply by March 31. Please spread the word and visit the House of Deputies website or the General Convention website for all the details.

These next few months will be busy with work as we prepare to return to this beautiful city with several thousand of our friends and colleagues in tow. But it’s essential work, because General Convention is where we ensure that the mission of the Episcopal Church is strong and vibrant. When we serve at General Convention, we are servants of mission. We elect people to serve on policy-making bodies, we adopt a budget to provide resources so people, congregations, and dioceses are equipped and strengthened for ministry, we pass resolutions and adopt policies that point us in the direction of being witnesses for Christ to a world in desperate need of hope and healing. As we do this work, we all need to hold fast to our identity as servants of God and God’s mission in the Episcopal Church, just as surely as our sisters and brothers called to other kinds of ministry in God’s church.

Recently I had the chance to experience just how our governance can make our mission possible. Thanks to Christopher Hayes, chancellor of the Diocese of California, I had the opportunity to put decades of General Convention resolutions into action by being a lead signer on an amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States in support of reversing the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against civil marriage equality. The brief was also signed by 21 of our bishops and more than 200 Episcopal clergy and lay leaders, and it cites five General Convention resolutions:  Resolution D007 from 1994, Resolution D039 from 2000, Resolution A095 from 2006, Resolution A167 from 2006 and Resolution A049 from 2012.

The day after we submitted the brief, media outlets including USA Today, the Christian Science Monitor, the Detroit Free Press, the Living Church and Episcopal Café all covered the news. Thanks to the people who have served faithfully at General Convention for nearly 40 years, we Episcopalians are able to make a witness to the Supreme Court and to the people of this country that we stand against legal discrimination in any form, and that every citizen is entitled to equal protection under the law. So on April 28, when the Supreme Court hears arguments in this case, and in June—perhaps even when we’re at General Convention—when they issue a ruling, remember that your ministry of governance in the Episcopal Church has made it possible for us to take our place as Christians in the public square.

This is our last Executive Council meeting of this triennium. It has been a great privilege to serve with all of you, and I am grateful that each of you has been called to be servants of mission in this way. I must give special mention to Bryan Krislock who has served as a member of Council for 8 years – 26% of his entire life! His reward is to serve as my parliamentarian in the House of Deputies this summer.

As we prepare for the election of a new presiding bishop, I especially want to give thanks for the tireless ministry of Bishop Katharine these nine years, and for the dignity and spiritual clarity with which she has led our beloved Episcopal Church and guided it through turbulent times in the Anglican Communion. Her commitment to the Five Marks of Mission has inspired all of us to care for the poor, remember the outcast, and heal the world. As a woman who entered seminary just weeks after the Philadelphia Eleven were ordained, I have particularly admired her ability to handle with grace the particular challenges that come with being the first woman to hold any position of leadership, and I will always be grateful that we have served together. Thank you, Bishop Katharine, and thanks to all of you. I look forward to our work together these next few days.

 

The following are the opening remarks of President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings at the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, currently meeting through March 21 in Salt Lake City, UT (Diocese of Utah). Executive Council...

The following are the opening remarks of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, currently meeting through March 21 in Salt Lake City, UT (Diocese of Utah).

Executive Council opening remarks
March 19

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

I want to give thanks as well to the members of this Executive Council.  I believe this body has functioned more effectively than any I have seen.  Some of that is the result of greater clarity about what needs to be addressed here and of ensuring that there is a regular cycle of review of the various areas for which we are responsible.  Some is the result of new bylaws and policies that were adopted in the last triennium, which this body has been able to implement.  Some is the result of reorganized standing committees.  And a fair bit has to do with the depth of engagement between our periodic face to face meetings.  The work that is accomplished via extranet and electronic meetings has grown significantly and has contributed to far more effective conversation when we meet face-to-face.  But more than anything else, your attitude toward this work as a ministry, and your understanding that we are here to serve the wider church in its partnership for God’s mission, is responsible for the health that I think we enjoy.  Thank you for taking this vocation so earnestly, and for being willing to lighten up and play on occasion. 

Brother Robert, thank you for your steady and faithful presence among us, and for framing our work here in the context of worship.  We could not have come this far without your ministry to each of us and to the whole body.

This meeting closes much of Executive Council’s work in this triennium, but not all of it.  We will elect continuing members to serve on the Executive Committee, and they will almost certainly have some substantive decisions in the months before a new Executive Council gathers in November.

The task of budget development throughout this triennium has been a work of grace and increased clarity, and we can give thanks for the leadership of FFM, and the hard work of Susan Snook and Mark Hollingsworth.  Thank you.

As we look toward the next iteration of this body, we have some important questions to ask:  Is the committee structure the right one?  Is our committee structure fit for purpose? Is the workload reasonably well-distributed?  Do we have changes in that structure to recommend to the next Council?  Have we made sufficient progress in thinking strategically over the whole of the three years, and building a regular cycle of review of the varied bodies and ministries that connect to the Executive Council? Or are we being reactive, rather than thinking proactive?  Have we paid sufficient attention to all of the bodies that meet here?  There may be fewer such bodies in the next triennium, but what have you learned and what would you change?  Do we need new committees, perhaps a personnel committee or strategic planning committee? 

One particular topic seems essential to address as we look toward the TREC conversation at General Convention.  One of the suggestions of TREC is for the Council to name the gifts it sees in this body that are necessary, and then invite the Standing Commission on Nominations to seek out a diverse group of people with those gifts.  Did the Executive Council have all the gifts it needed?  What, if anything, was missing? 

As General Convention approaches, we can celebrate the creative work that has been possible in this triennium.  The growing edges of The Episcopal Church continue to be found on the margins – in our overseas contexts, in immigrant congregations everywhere, and in the new and experimental initiatives like Mission Enterprise Zones, and the expanding life of the Young Adult Service Corps and Campus Ministry partnerships.  Mission work with the “least of these” continues to draw the center of gravity in this church out toward the margins.  Any biologist will tell you that the most creativity in an ecosystem is found at the boundaries, where one community interacts with another.  All of God’s creation works that way, and we discover the creative spirit of God when we move out of our comfort zones to encounter the new and different.  This church is finding the confidence to explore – and you have helped to support that missional adventure.

We have also seen a remarkable movement toward more interdependent relationships within and beyond this Church.  The work of sustainability in Province IX is grounded in a belief that each part of the Body has gifts to be shared with the others.  Financial gifts are only one kind.  The creativity of the margins is a gift that is essential to the health of the whole Body, and we are only going to keep growing up into the full stature of Christ if we honor and share all the gifts God has given.

General Convention is a churchwide opportunity to practice that kind of interdependence and mutual responsibility.  The work we do there, the relationships that are built there, and the decisions we make there are not ends in themselves, but a crucible or a tool for transformation of the world toward the Reign of God. 

Executive Council and General Convention are part of the work of governance, which is really about practicing holy discourse and discerning the movement of the spirit.  Careful listening is essential, as we try to honor the creative work of the spirit and the image of God in one another.  Governance is deeply about self-control and self-governance of our appetites, both individual and collective appetites.  Good governance is expressed as effective stewardship of all the gifts we’ve been given so that the whole body of God’s creation might live more abundantly.  The practice of governance as holy discourse and discernment can also help to equip and nurture all members of the body in their ability to evangelize, advocate for justice, and build the beloved community.  That’s pretty much what we promise in our baptismal covenant – to love God and God’s dream for the world, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

So as we close this Council, thanks be to God for the work you have done and will continue to do on behalf of God’s vision of healing for all creation.

 

 

The following are the opening remarks of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, currently meeting through March 21 in Salt Lake City, UT (Diocese of Utah). Executive Council opening remarks...