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The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church is meeting in Nashville, TN (Diocese of Tennessee) from September 19 to September 24. The following is an account of the activities for Monday, September 23.
The theme for the fall meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops is Transforming Loss into Possibilities.
The bishops began the session with Morning Prayer.
Emcee for the day was Bishop John Smylie of Wyoming. http://www.diowy.org/
Internationally known and award-winning musician Marcus Hummon opened the morning session with song. Marcus sang his song “God Bless the Broken Road,” which was awarded the Grammy for Best Country Song of 2005.
The day’s theme was Moving Missionally: Practical Applications. A panel addressed this topic: the Rev. Tom Brackett, Episcopal Church Missioner for Church Planting and Ministry Redevelopment; the Rev. Mary Frances of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA); and the Rev. Becca Stevens, founder of Thistle Farms. http://www.thistlefarms.org/
Each presented an overview of their work and their points of mission work. Brackett encouraged us to shed old structures that no longer serve our mission, calling us to “molt bodaciously.” Stevens urged us to think that we can make a difference in the troubled fields of the world. She shared with us that love teaches us as much in failure as it does in success. Frances reminds us that we are too often dying programs looking for revenue streams instead of life streams.
Following their presentation the bishops discussed in small groups, among other things, this question: What are the broken roads God has blessed in your local missional movement?
Noon day prayer concluded the morning session.
The afternoon focused on a conversation with the United Methodists with offerings by Bishop Frank Brookhart of the Diocese of Montana and Methodist Bishop Gregory Palmer of Western Ohio. Among the themes discussed: What does full communion mean? How can we draw on our common roots to work together missionally in new ways? Could what appear to be challenges in fact be gifts of one denomination to the other? Table discussion focused on the following questions: what are roadblocks? Opportunities? What are you personally committed to do to advance cooperation?
The day concluded with Eucharist celebrated by Bishop Clay Matthews, Episcopal Church Office for Pastoral Development; HOB Chaplain the Rev. Stephanie Spellers of the Diocese of Long Island preached.