The School of Theology. Sewanee: The University of the South

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General Convention 2012, July 12

The 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church is winding down but there was a flurry of activity on the floors of both houses yesterday. After 10 days of harmonious debate and discussion, the issues around the same-sex blessings and the Anglican Covenant resolutions have created dissent among some of the deputies and bishops.

The Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith, bishop of North Dakota, issued a statement and a minority report yesterday on behalf of 12 bishops. “Those of us known as the Communion Partners have expended a great deal of energy for at least the past six years working to persuade theological conservatives to remain in the Episcopal Church and theological liberals to remain in the Anglican Communion.”

In another show of protest, many of the deputies from the Diocese of South Carolina left the General Convention yesterday because of the passage of resolutions that they say "violate the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church." However, a remaining deputy, the Very Rev. John B. Burwell, told Episcopal News Service in an interview “we are not leaving the Episcopal Church.” Read more.

Yesterday, Byron Rushing from the Diocese of Massachusetts was elected vice president of the House of Deputies. Rushing has been a General Convention deputy since 1973 and has served as a member of the Massachusetts State Legislature since 1983. He is founding member of the Episcopal Urban Caucus, and serves on the boards of the Episcopal Women’s Caucus and the Episcopal Network for Economic Justice. He currently serves on the council of advice for the president of the House of Deputies. Read more.

The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, Bishop of Virginia, reflected on what was fundamental at this triennial gathering of the Church’s people — worship. “Whatever our programs and issues, however we go about our mission to proclaim and serve the Gospel, it is the font and the table that make us who we are, most recognizable to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.” Read more of his reflection here. You can watch the final Eucharist at 11:30 a.m. EDT here.

Today is the final day of the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. The House of Bishops and the House of Deputies will have two final sessions with the closing Eucharist in between. As I reflect personally on the past 10 days, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to watch, learn, and report the daily happenings with my fellow communicators here in Indianapolis. I have enjoyed meeting everyone —bishops, deputies, alumni/ae, and the other seminary representatives — that make up this body of Christ. Convention offers a venue filled with faith and hope where relationships can be formed for a lifetime. Thanks be to God!