GLBT INCLUSION: I have been hoping there would be Inclusion Resolutions I could support. In that respect D 025 was a blessing. It is a mostly well-crafted resolution affirming our commitment to the Anglican Communion and affirming the ministry of gay and lesbian people in all orders of ministry. I could readily endorse those principles especially when held together in the same resolution. After passing the House of Deputies by a margin of about 2 to 1, it passed the House of Bishops by a vote of 99-45-2. I was pleased to be voting along with Bishop Katharine in support of this Resolution. I was also pleased to see the provisional bishops for San Joachim, Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, and Quincy support it. That’s the good news.
The down side is that any resolutions we pass (or reject for that matter) are open to interpretation. D 025 is no exception. This resolution will be interpreted by some in divisive ways that will wound the Church and impair our mission. There will be a price to be paid in some of our other dioceses, in our international relationships, and in Anglican churches in developing nations. But the Resolution simply acknowledges what we have already discerned and affirms that we will continue discerning calls to ministry following our own canons. I feel we have done the right thing. Now it is time to pray and exercise forbearance with one another as we proceed with Christ’s mission.
Today we took up a resolution to study and develop rites for same sex unions to be formally considered in 2012. The Liturgy and Music Commission and Theology Committee would be acting in parallel and in communication. I support this more readily than I supported D 025 – but then came the amendments and amendments of amendments. The resolution is currently caught up in a parliamentary tangle. Some folks think it doesn’t go far enough fast enough, but their efforts to amend it at this point could torpedo the whole thing. I hope we can get it worked out to the satisfaction of all.
COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS: We have just passed a resolution encouraging parishes to form partnerships with local public schools to insure the education and well being of children in our communities. This is what Nevada has already begun this year through our developing partnership with Communities in Schools. It is great to have the whole church getting behind our mission and to know we are ahead of the curve. BTW, I did not introduce the resolution. It is out of New York. But I did speak in support.
LIFE LONG CHRISTIAN FORMATION: We passed the Charter for Life Long Christian Formation. This is precisely what our Ministry Development Commission and the Frensdorff School for Christian Formation are about. The new Charter will give them a boost. It calls for each diocese to develop a plan for lifelong Christian education. Again, it’s good to see Nevada just ahead of the curve.
5 MARKS OF MISSION: We endorsed the 5 Marks of Mission articulated by the Anglican Consultative Council: Proclaiming the gospel; baptizing and forming new Christians; acts of mercy; social justice advocacy, and sustaining the environment.
LATINO EVANGELISM: We asked for the allocation $3.5 million for Latino evangelism, with a goal to increase the number of Latino congregations by 15% in the next three years and to increase attendance in existing Latino congregations by 30%. We voted to fund Spanish language curricula for church camps and for use in Province 9 (our largely Spanish speaking dioceses outside the US). Todos Los Santos in Las Vegas is ahead of the Latino ministries curve but Nevada as a whole is not. I plan to ask for seed money from the diocese to grow our Latino ministries next year, and then explore other funding options to make this a major priority in Nevada for the following years.
COMPANION RELATIONSHIPS: We revised the curriculum of College for Bishops to help new bishops develop international companion relationships such as the one Nevada is working on with the Diocese of Santiago, Philippines. 20 Provinces around the world have sent visitors to this convention. 13 of the visitors are the Primates of their Province. We formed a Companion Province relationship with Brazil, which is particularly good because Brazil will support us in the wake of the other decisions made here. And we endorsed common mission projects by Anglican Churches in the Americas. So we should have more chances to work together with fellow Anglicans in the Western Hemisphere.
NATIVE MINISTRIES: We endorsed a program for domestic poverty with a focus on community development projects in Native communities. We also endorsed a plan to protect Indigenous burial sites.
HEALTH INSURANCE FOR CHURCH EMPLOYEES: A canon was passed requiring all Dioceses to participate in the Medical Trust of the Episcopal Church. Nevada already participates so this will reduce our premiums a bit in the near future and a great deal in the long run. It is a particular boon to small dioceses. We will be asking parishes to study and discuss health care issues on the United States.
DISCIPLINARY CANONS: Title IV, the canon law for disciplining clerical miscreants, has been in the process of revision since the year 2,000. A completed new Title IV was submitted in 2006 and shot down. Now, after 9 years of work, we have it back, new and improved. This time it passed.
EVANGELISM: Multiple evangelism resolutions passed including covenant partnerships with other mainline denominations; strategies for evangelism, and an innovators network.
Along the way, we were greeted today by the interfaith clergy of Los Angeles. A male trio sang a blesssing for us -- a Christian in English, a Muslim in Arabic, and a Jew in Hebrew -- all singing together. Yesterday we had a great children's choir from the Bronx offering an African folk song and folk dance. I enjoyed a dinner with my bishop schoolmates (class of 08) last night. It was good to have fellowship with my friends after a long hard day of legislation.