So, What Happened? On Prayer Book Revision and Same-Sex Marriage Liturgy

Patrick Keyser on the take-home lessons on Prayer Book revision: comprehensive BCP revision later, better BCP translations soon, trial-use inclusive BCP language now. “With General Convention wrapped up, some may be asking what was actually decided, especially on the topic of Prayer Book revision. Headlines like ‘Bishops Kill Comprehensive Prayer Book Revision’ (The Living Church) left many with an incomplete picture of what transpired at the 79th General Convention.”

Go Forth in the Way of Love

We can resist the urge to fight solely for our own individual perspective and consider first-and-foremost the Body of Christ. We can pray and patiently exercise deep listening across the divide. Try on what the Very Rev. Sam Candler referred to in a presentation to the House of Deputies as the Via Comprehensiva: the wider way where contraries do not always contradict.

Love Delayed is Love Denied

My brothers and sisters, how long? Will you use the next three years to ensure that resolutions turn into actions both at the Church and local level? Will you begin planning, now, to ensure that your brothers and sisters of color, of diverse cultures, have a firsthand invitation to the table that doesn’t feel like an afterthought?

#MeToo: Let’s Get to Work

Truth telling is powerful. And there has been a lot of it here at General Convention. Truths never before spoken have been exposed to the light. While I’ve seen powerful examples of this across a range of significant topics – racial justice, gender identity, compensation parity for lay employees, and marriage equality – I’ve been most impacted by those testifying to their experiences of sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse within our Church.

Why Are We Afraid to Talk About God?

Reading time: 3 minutes By Patrick Keyser Staff Writer Evangelism is a loaded and difficult word for me. I was raised in the Southern Baptist tradition, and evangelism was a major feature of my early life of faith. The evangelistic approach of my youth was focused on conversion. […]

What Holds Us Together, or Getting Back to Basics

The Rev. Randy Alexander, rector of Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill, Alexandria: “During this Convention, my first as a deputy, I have been thinking a lot about what really holds together this vast array of folks and ministries and causes. In a gathering like this, we can lose perspective when we’re focused on resolutions and when we’re staking claims for funding for our own important ministries.”

Why Formation Matters

There are many ways that a General Convention is like a fabulous ingathering. Certainly, there is serious work going on here, but it is nice to be surrounded by so many people who are in love with this Church. The question I’m left pondering is how many of these people are equally in love with Jesus?

Cuba Sí: It’s Time for Reunification

In 1966, the House of Bishops expelled the Diocese of Cuba from the Episcopal Church in, as some describe it, an action outside of our constitutional responsibilities. Under an oppressive regime, the Episcopal Church in Cuba survived in the living rooms of the grandmothers who maintained the practices and relationships. They continued to minister to one another in Christ’s name.

Humans of General Convention

We’re getting to know the thousands of Episcopalians here at GC79, a handful at a time. Here’s Center Aisle’s second installment of our world-famous series (read: Church-famous series), Humans of General Convention!

Encountering the Holy Spirit in Marriage Liturgy Debates

When the time came for Committee 13 to hear testimony on resolutions related to marriage liturgies, people came to the microphones and spoke their truth, often with boldness and profound vulnerability, and always with conviction. Some rose to speak of how meaningful it had been for the Church finally to recognize and to bless their relationships. Others rose to express their concern about the impact on ecumenical dialogue that could result from defining marriage as a covenant between two people. 

Justice, Access, and Theological Education

“People who are called to serve should not be dissuaded by the process of seeking options to fulfill their call,” the Rev. Dr. Susanna Singer asserted. She went on to explain that, while traditional, residential seminary education has been normative for many years, the rise of highly adaptive virtual classrooms allowing for low-residency education, as well as expanded options for local formation mixed with seminary study, now offer a larger range of opportunities with expanded access.

We See You

This moment of public witness comes in the midst of General Convention, a time when I am also hearing rallying cries of people “back in the pews” at home: listen to us, see us. Although I am on the sidelines watching from the media section, I am also here to bear witness and tell you: We see you. We hear you on social media, and we talk about the concerns of old and young, conservative and progressive, Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical, black and white.

Racial Formation, not Racial Reconciliation

We like to use the language of reconciliation when we are talking about racial justice, racial relationships. But, I want to say that to reconcile essentially means that we were together, we broke apart, and now are coming back together. When we look at the history of this country and many countries around the world, there is not a time where we can look back to as a frame of reference, like, “man we really had our stuff together then. Let’s use that as our guiding star into the future.”

Photos: A Sunday Devoted to Public Witness

Bishop Bob Ihloff: “The Detention Center was stark and foreboding. Before we got closer, it was as if it were deserted. Then there were hands and pieces of paper moving in the slot windows, and acknowledgement there were people within. They could see us and we them. It was both frustrating and moving: frustrating because they couldn’t hear us and moving that we had made contact across a deep and unjust divide.”

Faith Responders: The Opioid Epidemic Needs the Episcopal Church to Do Better

In 2017, more than 65,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose. Millions more suffer from opioid addiction in every corner of our Church. GC79 will consider only one resolution concerning the opioid epidemic. Of course, the number of resolutions considered on any given issue is not the standard for how deeply we care, but Jan Brown, deacon of Bruton Parish in Williamsburg, Va., issues an urgent call for us to do more as a Church.

Who Gets a Voice in the Room Where It Happens?

I was relieved to hear someone say yesterday, “We can’t hear the voices of the poor, because they are not here.” That silence can be deafening. Those living with poverty and oppression in this world have so much to share with us about where Jesus is made known in their midst. But, if we cannot hear those voices because our privilege is speaking too loudly, then it might be time to turn down the volume and listen.

La Palabra Importa (Language Matters)

As General Convention considers the question of Prayer Book revision, it is imperative that new and better Prayer Book translations be authorized and funded. Producing translations that are truly accessible to the people who will use them is not only a matter of justice for our siblings in the Episcopal Church, it is deeply consistent with the history of Anglican liturgy.

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Stories

Bishop Susan Goff: “As the Episcopal Church, how will we respond in love when confronted yet again with the political decision about the ethical complexities of reproductive rights? How will we hear the voices of women and men who have been caught in the web of these complexities? How will we incarnate these conversations so that they are not merely abstract theological debates?”

It’s Time for a Dramatic Reaching Out

Ian Markham, Dean & President of VTS, on #GC79: “The concerns around immigration, racism and the environment will be given prominence. The Episcopal Church will offer an appropriate witness for our time. … In other areas, I am less confident this Convention will seize the challenge of the moment. This is the moment for a dramatic reaching out to those brave conservatives who have stayed with the Episcopal Church.”

Keep [Your Trip to] Austin Weird: 5 Truly Austin Experiences to Make Time for During #GC79

Austin has long been known as the weirdest city in America: a haven for hippies, outlaws, and outcasts of all stripes. I came to know Austin as a teenager—growing up not far from here in a town that seemed to stifle difference and dissent. Austin was the one place where those of us who didn’t fit in anywhere else were welcomed for the weirdos we were, so we made the trek as often as we could.

Reflecting on a New, ‘New’ Prayer Book

“I admit to a deep and abiding love for the 1979 Book of Common Prayer as well as a deep desire to be open-hearted rather than wistful about prayer book revision.” Sarah Kye Price considers BCP revision through the lens of her own journey from evangelical, to Episcopalian, to seminarian.

The More We Polarize, the More Anglican I Become

The more I reflect on the polarizations within Church and society, the more convinced an Anglican I become. The Episcopal Church is not perfect, of course. We aspire to the via media, but we never completely achieve it.  We can be guilty of veering off towards extreme or dogmatic positions as much as the next Christian group.

GC79: Issues We’ll Be Watching

By the Center Aisle Editorial Staff The hallways, meeting rooms and dining spots of Austin, Texas could heat up July 3-11, as thousands of Episcopalians gather to talk about issues ranging from the Middle East to the health of our marriages. We can’t focus our lens of “radical […]

Young Adults on Our New Presiding Bishop

By Rachel Shows, staff writer Young adults have come to General Convention to serve as volunteers, deputies, and representatives of Episcopal organizations. Generally, talking about “young adults,” can be a tricky thing. The Church often associates young adults with positions that are “less than” more important positions. However, […]

Issue Six: Lauren Winner on the Michael Curry She Knows

Talking one-on-one with your bishop is intimidating. Chances are you don’t actually know your bishop that well, and chances are the whole office feels mysterious and infused with authority. This is, perhaps, the exact person who was interviewing you for postulancy five years before; this might be the exact person who determined that you would be ordained; this might be the very bishop who laid hands on you at your ordination. And then maybe you’ve been in the same room with him five times over as many years. And it’s intimidating.

Unimpressed

The following was originally published on June 26 on the Rev. Connor Gwin’s blog, outward and visible signs. Connor serves as Canon Missioner for Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia. He was ordained a deacon by the Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston, bishop of […]

Issue Four: A Seminary Dean on TREC’s Proposals

Print edition: Issue Four, for Saturday, June 27 In this issue: “TREC’s Seminary Proposals? They Are Already in Place” by the Very Rev. Roger Ferlo, President of Bexley Seabury Federation. “Latino/Hispanic Ministries and the Future of the Episcopal Church” by Aisha Huertas Michel, Communications Director, Episcopal Diocese of Virginia “Baptism […]