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From The Rector

Hello friends. This month, let’s look at our recent General Convention of the Episcopal Church. 

The General Convention is the primary governing and legislative body of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. With the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Constitution and Canons, it is the highest authority in the Episcopal Church. Not an Archbishop, not a council of bishops, but the General Convention. General Convention is made up of two houses: the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. It meets regularly once every three years; though, the House of Bishops meets regularly in between sessions of General Convention.

All bishops of the Episcopal Church, whether active or retired, have seat and vote in the House of Bishops. Each diocese of the Episcopal Church, as well as the Navajoland Area Mission and the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, are entitled to representation in the House of Deputies by four clergy deputies, either priests or deacons, canonically resident in the diocese, and four lay deputies who are confirmed communicants in good standing. Resolutions must pass both houses in order to take effect.

Some of you will have read one of a few articles printed in the news disparaging our Church in the wake of our General Convention in July, and quite possibly will also have read the many articles written in riposte. In short, some see what they think of as “progressive” or “liberal” Christianity, notably the Episcopal Church, headed to the graveyard, having lost the moral center of the gospel in the effort to become socially relevant. Others see “progressive” and “liberal” Christianity as not only viable, but likely to be the only survivor in an increasingly post-Christian America. I think that both perspectives have some of the truth in them, and consequently both have flaws and miss the mark entirely. Such is life. We will, as a Church, as well as parishes and as individuals, continue to take wrong steps, and we will also, with the help of God, be able to correct our course to more closely follow the path laid down for us by Jesus.

If you would like to read some good and thoughtful articles, the following links are easily followed:

Diocese of Kansas Article

Washington Post Article

Washington Post Blog

Wall St Journal Article

Presiding Bishop’s Message

What stands out for me in offering a sense of hopefulness about our Church and where we are headed is perhaps something on which no votes were taken; the solid reality that for the first time in decades, our Church gathered to discern the will of God in a gathering of delegates and bishops that did not end in stalemate diatribes or histrionic proclamations. Rather, in the words of our Presiding Bishop:

“The hot-button issues of the last decade have not been eternally resolved, but we have as a body found creative and pastoral ways to live with the differences of opinion, rather than resorting to old patterns of conflict. There is a certain expansive grace in how these decisions are being made and in the responses to them…”

I think that we miss the mark when we engage in zero-sum end-game thinking, casting those with who we disagree into the ranks of heretics or fanatics. I cannot help but hear the passionate prayer of Jesus that we love each other as he loved us, and that we may be one even as he and the Father are one. While some of the decisions that we took will remain controversial for some time, what matters the most is that we are learning to live with the tension and anxiety of what seems to be a diminishing Church with deeper grace, hope, and courage.

I, for one, feel deeply hopeful about our parish, our diocese, and our Church. I feel hopeful not because we will discover some new formula, or program, that will make us marketable and powerful, but because I trust in God, who promises to be with us always, to love us always, and to empower us always to be faithful disciples in the times and places in which we live.

In hope,

Fr. Troy+

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