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.
As Episcopalians, let us ask ourselves this question: How, in modern times, is evil organized? In the systematic denial of the dignity of every human being, in the way we want to detach ourselves from our history, from our deep and God-given sense of Ubuntu. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.
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.
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?”
Shannon S. Johnston, Bishop of Virginia: “Sometimes, entire lives are changed by disappointment following a vote; people are even driven into despair. Yet, the larger community often loses touch with that pain, as if it doesn’t matter. I believe that we would do well to keep the kind of perspective that causes us to remember that there are such stories and engage them. We would all be much the richer if we did because there are faithful members of our Episcopal Church who have endured the hurt, the rawness, of losing a ‘milestone’ vote and have nonetheless stayed their course within our Church, even finding new strength.”
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.”
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.