Some of the matters that came before this Convention:
- Approved trial use of a rite for the Blessing of same sex unions.
- Adopted the budget for the triennium – see my personal comments below
- Elected new leadership in the House of Deputies; consented to the election of election new bishops – including our Bishop Doug; elected leaders and several committees, commissions, agencies and boards
- Unanimous adoption in both houses for the creation of a Task Force to look at restructuring of the Church. (See my personal comments below)
- Adopted resolutions affecting a variety the governances and policies of the Church including is Baptism a prerequisite to receive communion and is confirmation an eligibility prerequisite to hold lay leadership positions.
- Focus on evangelism and Church growth to arrest the decline in membership and attendance
Allow me two personal comments:
On the budget – we probably did as good a job as current circumstance allow but I am convinced that we have much work to do. If we are to truly rebuild the Church, more of our energies and resources must be directed to local dioceses and congregations. The Diocese of Western Massachusetts has taken a step in that direction. Our Diocesan Council adopted a resolution that our contributions to the churchwide programs should be no more than 15% of our net disposable income; we now contribute 19%. While support for churchwide level programs is important, some fine tuning to the balance is necessary and appropriate. The House of Bishops adopted a “mind of the House” resolution confirming that further discussion/action of this subject needs to happen. See this link: http://tinyurl.com/cwhycnw
On the matter of restructuring the Church, the time has come to take a hard look at all structures to determine whether
we have the appropriate systems, structures, and organization to carry our God’s mission for the Episcopal Church. We live in a world that is markedly different from the time when these issues were last examined. Because of much reduced size, we need nimble and flexible if we are to be faithful to our calling.
The celebration of the Eucharist ends with a dismissal:
- Let’s go forth into the world rejoicing in the power of the Spirit . . .or
- Go in peace to love and serve the Lord . . . or
- Let us bless the Lord