House of Bishops Daily Account for Thursday, September 16, 2010
The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is meeting in Phoenix, AZ (Diocese of AZ) from September 16 to September 21. The following is an account of the activities for Thursday, September 16, 2010
- The House of Bishops (HOB) opened today"s session with a welcome from the host, Diocese of Arizona Bishop Kirk Smith. He thanked the bishops who participated in the border visit earlier in the week, which he called "a transformative experience for many of us." He also believed that the border trip was "one of the greatest public witnesses that this House (of Bishops) has made on a public issue." He informed the HOB that if they receive comments about attending a meeting in Arizona, "There really is no boycott and no boycott has been endorsed by any religious bodies or Hispanic groups in this state." Laura Smith pointed to a large blue water tank with a dark blue flag on display in the back of the room. She said these are water stations used in the desert for humanitarian reasons for migrants. The tanks are filled and maintained by Samaritans; the diocese will make a donation in HOB"s name to the organization to help to maintain this service, No Mas Muertes.
- Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori welcomed the HOB, introduced new bishops and visitors: ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson; Bishop James Jones of Liverpool (England); Bishop Coadjutor of Cuba Griselda Delgado del Carpio.
- Bishop Ian Douglas presented an introduction for the HOB discussions for the next few days, framing the work in the context for God"s mission in the world. Upcoming sessions will focus on Welcoming Ministries, Migration and Immigration, the Liturgical Life of the church as it relates to blessing same-gender unions, and the context for Evangelism in the Third Millennium. He asked the bishops to focus on what God is up to in all of the changing contexts in which ministry is carried out. "What is the new invitation that God has given us in a changing world?" In engaging each session, three questions will provide the basis for context: What is God doing in my context? What Biblical stories and images illuminate and inform my understanding of the changing context? How can/will/do I respond to my changing contextual realties in light of my biblical reflections and my understanding of God"s mission?
- A panel presentation from four bishops described their ministries in very different context. Bishop Prince Singh of Rochester emphasized that "We cannot be bystanders," but must be integrated into the life of our communities. Bishop Luis Ruiz of Ecuador Central illustrated his point through guitar, singing, and engaging the House to join him as he described the vitality and hope emerging in his diocese. Bishop Pierre Whalon of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe emphasized, "Welcoming the stranger means allowing them to be part of your community." Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves of El Camino Real talked about migrants in her diocese, the economy and social issues.
- Bishop Suffragan James Curry of Connecticut asked HOB members to sign letters in support of the Dream Act, a bipartisan resolution which provides conditional legal status for undocumented young people with good moral character who have lived in US for five years and graduated from high school. The vote will be on Tuesday in Washington DC.
- The Rev. Bob Honeychurch, Missioner for Congregational Vitality for The Episcopal Church, spoke about effective targeted evangelism which invites people to follow Jesus, creates an opportunity for personal transformation, and equips and empowers people for gospel mission.
- Anne Rudig, director of communication, presented research conducted about newcomers to the church which focused on ascertaining positive connections. Research indicated that newcomers were women and mothers with children, Latinas and young adults. She presented ideas for welcoming newcomers to the church.
- Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) addressed the HOB, noting that Called to Common Mission is about ways of envisioning evangelism together. He described the Baptismal Covenant as the "bass chords of the Christian life." He believes the essential tool in evangelism is the Gospel and that people truly want to hear about Jesus.
Media Briefers for Thursday, September 16, 2010
Bishop Dena Harris of Texas
Bishop Steve Lane of Maine
Bishop Jeff Lee of Chicago
Presenters for the day:
Bishop Ian Douglas of Connecticut
Bishop Prince Singh of Rochester
Bishop Luis Ruiz of Ecuador Central
Bishop Pierre Whalon of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe
Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves of El Camino Real
The Rev. Bob Honeychurch, Episcopal Church Missioner for Congregational Vitality Anne Rudig, Episcopal Church Director of Communication
Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA)
The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org