The 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Austin, TX - July 5-13

General Convention, the Episcopal Church’s tri-annual event through which the Church conducts its legislative business, is over.

Some of the flavor and excitement of this remarkable event is captured in the videos that highlight key resolutions that were discussed. See https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/.

Following is a summary of some of the major issues under discussion at General Convention. A summary of the results of these discussions will be posted in the Epistle next week.

Marriage Equality

General Convention’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage has, for the last three years, monitored the use of two new marriage rites General Convention approved in 2015 for trial use by both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, aware of concern about unequal access to the trial use liturgies. Except for eight diocesan bishops, the report found widespread acceptance of the rite across the church. The task force proposed that convention require all bishops in authority to “make provision for all couples asking to be married in this church to have reasonable and convenient access to these trial rites.”

Revising the Book of Common Prayer?

The Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music offered bishops and deputies a comprehensive plan for revision, as requested by the 2015 meeting of General Convention, as well as a way for the church to spend time discerning the future shape of its common prayer. The first option would move the church immediately into a full-blown prayer book revision process that would be completed in nine years. The second would call on the church to plumb the depths of the current Book of Common Prayer’s theology, as well as its usefulness as a tool for unity in a diverse church, for evangelism and discipleship.

The Episcopal Church and the #MeToo Movement

Convention pondered the Episcopal Church’s role in and response to the #MeToo movement with resolutions, reflections and the hope for reconciliation.

Following up on the Church’s Three priorities: Evangelism, Racial Reconciliation and Justice and Care of Creation

A major part of the discussion on evangelism at General Convention focused on the continuation of the church’s increased support for church planting and new regional ministries. Conversations included the role of social media and the ties between evangelism and stewardship of the environment.

Middle East Peace

Numerous General Convention resolutions on topics related to Israel and Palestine were discussed, including one proposed by the Diocese of California to divest from “those companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands or whose products or actions support the infrastructure of the occupation.”