Our convention two weekends ago was a wonderful time of sharing stories, worshipping together, seeing old friends, thinking about our future and… passing resolutions. Resolutions are the grist for the legislative mill when we gather and they speak volumes about what we hold as contemporary priorities for our work together as the Body of Christ. Resolutions give voice to our desire to labor together to build the Kingdom and name, specifically, where we want to put our energy in the coming days, weeks and months.
This year, in addition to the Convention Budget, (which also sends a message about our mission efforts) we were presented with and passed eight resolutions. Three of the resolutions came from the Cathedral of St. Stephen’s and their Dean, the Very Rev. Churchill Pinder. The remaining five grew out of the work of our General Convention 78 held in Salt Lake City (UT) in July, and carried the spirit of that convention home to us here in Central PA. These resolutions were sponsored by the Rev. Canon Kate Harrigan (deputation chair), the Rev. Canon David Lovelace and the Rev. Pat Strohl, deacon, on behalf of the entire deputation.
All eight resolutions passed; some with some minor refinement and in one case, a call for greater accountability.
The work of these resolutions lies before us.
Some of this work will be carried out at a diocesan level as organized by existing committees, some of it will be initiated directly at the parish level, and some of it has been directed for the Bishop and Council of Trustees to manage via the formation of task forces.
Divided by responsible bodies, here’s the work ahead:
BISHOP: The Bishop will recommend to the Council of Trustees the formation of a Committee on Social Justice and Equity. Among other things, this committee will work on the issue of child poverty as named by another resolution, and seek to sponsor a symposium through the “All Our Children National and State Network” This committee will serve to coordinate work that is already underway in our diocese and assist in launching new efforts.
The Bishop will appoint a Task Force on Alcohol and Substance Abuse to study General Resolution A158 and make recommendations to the Council of Trustees on how to implement resolution A158 before our next diocesan convention.
PARISHES: Parishes will develop and share a clear message of the church’s mission and work to the broader community.
Parishes will develop a plan of financial stability and partner with institutions and individuals to do God’s work.
Parishes will study the health of their local watershed and its stewardship and partner in educational efforts regarding watershed conservation.
Parishes will encourage the offering of energy efficiency workshops.
Parishes will respond to racial injustice of their own initiative and design as well as using newly developed diocesan resources.
DIOCESE: The diocese will partner with other PA dioceses to bring a symposium on child poverty to PA by 2017.
The Diocesan Task Force on Eliminating Racism will develop activities for parishes, youth and diocesan-wide use on eradicating racism, will develop internet resources and collect stories on how racism is being combatted in our communities and bring these stories back to convention next year.
The Diocese will call on Governor Wolf to continue the moratorium on the death penalty, forward the diocesan and General Church resolutions on the death penalty to the governor and encourage Governor Wolf and other governors in states where the death penalty is still legal to work towards abolition of said penalty.
This work is very exciting.
This work is very exciting.
It speaks about our passion for environmental stewardship, justice and
equality; our desire to live in a world where hunger, fear, oppression,sorrow
and pain are no more; and the value and dignity of life as a sacred gift from
I’m in. How about you?
This is the work of what our Presiding Bishop-Elect Michael Curry calls the Jesus Movement. It offers specific measures for work that, for some of us, is new… and for others, is now codified- work that’s been going on from some time. It is work that does not supersede the other good work that is already happening- feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, offering special needs ministry, teaching ESL, caring for the aged with dignity- this is important, too, and needs to continue as ways that others of us are living the Gospel Life.
Work does not supplant worship, either. The hours that we spend in quiet prayer in our homes, studying Holy Scripture, coming together on Sunday to be in community and share in sacramental nurture- that is vital to building our strength as people of the Jesus Movement who participate with vitality in the mission of God. It’s not and either/or. Worship is a soul-strengthening act in which we are fortified for service.
I hope that as our work progresses and the invitational net is cast wide, that you will ask of your own soul how God is calling you to participate. I hope that this work will become the work of us by the thousands and that we will make strides in accomplishing good things, to the Glory of God.
Passing legislation is one thing.
Now, we get to go to it.