In our daily life at All Saints’, it’s easy enough to forget that we’re part of a much larger body of Christians. We are located in the Diocese of Olympia, from which comes our Bishop. Our diocese is part of the Episcopal Church in the United States which is then part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, based in England.
The Episcopal Church completed in July the first General Convention held since Covid. It was in Baltimore, at four days half the usual length. I had two friends elected as delegates from my former parish, and they were quite pleased at the results. They particularly lauded the atmosphere of good will and a Christ-life listening to each other which hasn’t always been the norm. I thought it good to share some of what happened. Evan Doyle, one of my friends, summarized it, and his report is here:
“The House of Deputies elected its first Latina president, and its first Indigenous woman vice-president. The Church committed to investigating its history of profiting from enslavement, and its role in running Indigenous boarding schools. The Church committed significant (yet, still insufficient) financial resources in establishing a permanent Episcopal Coalition for Racial Equity and Justice. We committed to investigating the ways in which white supremacy infests our liturgy and music.
“We added a diverse list of individuals to the list of saints in our Church. We established a framework for paid family leave for ALL employees of our churches, clergy and lay. We overhauled the budgeting process for our church to help us fund key priorities for our future.
“We planned to investigate how to make our Church’s health plan more affordable. We acknowledged the reality of the post-COVID world and passed resolutions to help us understand how that is changing the Church. We planned to revise our measures of church membership and viability.
“so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God”
― Colossians 1:10
“We honored the victims of the shooting at St. Stephen’s in Alabama. We reunited two dioceses in Texas, helping to promote healing after one of them experienced a painful schism. We finalized our full communion with several Lutheran and Anglican provinces across North America. We made the governance of our church more accessible through online meetings (though there is still more to do). We took up the good work of the Task Force on Liturgical and Prayer Book Revision and established guidelines for revising the liturgies of our church to be more inclusive.
“We moved the Church towards closing the gaps in gender equity and lay involvement. We committed ourselves to doing ministry well-informed about mental health. We mandated anti-racism training for everyone in the House of Deputies.
“We committed ourselves to returning the right of ecclesiastical self-determination to our Indigenous siblings in the Navajoland Area Mission. We made important statements on reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ inclusion, racism, climate change, and much more.
“I am leaving Convention struck by just how many people care so deeply about perfecting our work as a Church. We still have a long way to go, and we do not always agree about how to get there. Sometimes we get it wrong. But from committee chairs, election candidates, President of the House of Deputies Gay, Secretary Michael, Parliamentarian Bryan, long-suffering Voting Secretary Nina, the GCO staff and volunteers, to each and every deputy, I saw people who care so much about the Church we all love.
“We have much to do, but we are going there together.”
In more local news, Bishop Greg Rickel has announced his resignation, effective at the end of this year. He notes that he is resigning, not retiring. He has something else in mind but can’t tell us about it yet. Standing Committee will arrange for a provisional bishop while the Diocese develops a profile and arranges the election of Bishop Greg’s successor.
Diocesan work will go on as normal. I am happy to announce that our Canon to the Ordinary, the Rev. Arienne Davison, will visit us and preach on September 11th, and we look forward to welcoming her.
As Evan said, we have much to do, but we are going there together.
Father Jim Warnock, All Saints’ Tacoma