Friday, July 10, 2015

We Are Home!

General Convention Wrap-Up
July 8, 2015

Except for those with extended vacation plans around General Convention, your deputation and staff are back on home turf. The last day of General Convention, July 3rd, started off with a bang. Morning Eucharist was moved up to 8:30 am MT. Presiding Bishop Elect Curry, the preacher for the day, joked in his sermon that the service was moved up so he "would have more time to preach." And preach he did. You can watch a full video of his sermon here.

Just before the Liturgy of the Table, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced that she had something to read to Michael Curry. It turned out to be a letter of congratulations from the President of the United States of America. To view a video of that reading, click here.

After the Eucharist, the bishops and deputies went into a final full day of legislation, the House of Deputies finishing at 6:00 pm MT, after working in session until 7:30 pm the night before. That Thursday night we were afforded the lovely opportunity of sharing community with our friends from The Episcopal Church in South Carolina at a cookout they hosted. We are grateful for their hospitality and welcome.
A spontaneous moment of happiness at the cookout: Upper SC, did you know your clergy were so talented? Introducing The Reverend Mike Flanagan of Holy Cross, Simpsonville (who literally strolled up to the song singing) and The Reverend Grant Wiseman of St. Thaddeus, Aiken on guitar. Thank God for the gift of music.

And yes, it's just as hot in Utah as it is in Columbia - humidity or no. We're glad to be home!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Week 2 of #GC78 Underway!

The Beginning of Week 2, GC, 2015

After a weekend filled with hard work, celebration and excitement, we rolled right back into work on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and things have not slowed down. Monday's legislative sessions resulted in more resolutions being passed that follow contemporary issues in South Carolina and in the United States. 
The House of Deputies, with the House of Bishops concurring, acted to adopt Resolution D044, Removal of the Confederate Battle Flag. This Resolution Falls under Committee 08 of The Episcopal Church - Social Justice and United States Policy. Please read the full text of the resolution and its explanation here.

Online Evangelism in The Episcopal Church?
Resolution B009 (Conduct an Online Digital Evangelism Test), amended, passed by a definite majority. The test is to determine to value of Google Search priority and social media in evangelism. It may surprise you, but click here to see a video interview on what our Presiding Bishop Elect Michael Curry has to say about social media.

Education for Ministry Celebratees 40 Years

EFM celebrated 40 years at a reception at ‪#‎GC78‬ Monday night. Our own Rev. Anne Jolly (serving as Associate Rector for Program at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, Austin, TX) was there. It was great to see Anne and University of the South Chaplin Tom Macfie who has known so many of our seminarians throughout the years and was a student at Sewanee with our own Bishop Waldo. We have a vibrant EFM program in EDUSC. If you are interested in joining a group, please contact Terri Bailey, our diocesan EFM coordinator, at For more information on the EFM program, please visit their website.

June 30, 2015

Governor of Utah Welcomes The Episcopal Church
Governor Gary R. Herbert of Utah was invited as a special guest to the first legislative session Tuesday. With a warm welcome to our Church, he provided a little history: the Episcopal Church is the second largest Church in Utah, next to the Mormon Church. The Cathedral of St. Mark in Salt Lake City is the third oldest Episcopal Cathedral in the country, built in 1870. The Governor of Utah at the time was the single biggest contributor to that building. Please check out the history of the Cathedral on their website here.

Deputation Work on Five Marks of Mission
Our deputation did discernment work around the Five Marks of Mission Tuesday morning. A video was played offering the essence of each mark. Here is a taste of the missional drive of our Church in the Mark 5 video. The other are available on the same web page, as well.

All in session Tuesday, we had a surprise visit from the 25th Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold. He came to honor Bishop Katharine's ministry. We were then advised to get our smart phones out, for we would see something not often seen, "a tableau vivant," a triune of Presiding Bishops, a jubilation of primates. Frank Griswold, Katharine Jefferts Schori and Michael Curry joined each other up front in a moment of history, unity and celebration. 
PBs 25, 26 and 27 Together in Celebratory Moment at General Convention
Photo Credit Ben Sibielski of the Diocese of Rhode Island
See the Waldo Hat in the Foreground?
A Eucharist of Celebration
Worship on Tuesday was a vibrant affair. Our own Voorhees College singers, along with those of St. Augustine's University, Raleigh sang at worship. They sang a folk favorite, Let Us Bread Together along with a gorgeous gospel piece. You don't want to miss this!

ECW Triennial - Fun and Learning
Our ECW deputation has been hard at work, sharing in worship with us and engaging in legislation for this important arm of the Church, as well as in workshops on leadership and ministry. They are having, fun, too! Pictured here are Delores Goodwin of All Saints', Cayce and Kathy Siegel of St. Peter's, Greenville in the Diocese of Utah Antlers. The people of the Diocese of Utah have been truly welcoming. Their spirit has made us feel a part of the larger Church that we are. Thank you, Diocese of Utah!

July 1, 2015

The Rev. Becca Stevens Preaches at GC Eucharist
The day began at morning Eucharist with a powerful sermon from the Rev. Becca Stevens, founder of Magdalene and Thistle Farms. Thistle Farms is a company run entirely by women who were once on the streets. Their products are nurturing, smell great, and support not only the women running the company, but women in third world countries, as well, who make some of the gift bags and other containers the products are in from recycled materials. Take the time to hear Becca's sermon here.

The Rev. Becca Stevens Preaches at General Convention (L)

The Biggest News of the Day - Marriage Equality
Both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies have passed marriage equality in the Episcopal Church. This news comes as a great joy to some and discouragement to others. Please be on the lookout later today for a pastoral letter from Bishop Waldo explaining cleary what this means for we, the people of EDUSC. And please keep your fellow communicants and Episcopal community in your prayers as we move through these times of change together.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What a Weekend at #GC78!

GC Recap June 27, 2015

The Rt. Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, Bishop of North Carolina, Elected as the 27th Presiding Bishop
Bishop Curry of NC was elected as the 27th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church Saturday by an overwhelming majority in the House of Bishops. He is the first Presiding Bishop to be elected by one ballot in the House of Bishops. The House of Deputies voted to skip lunch to await Committee 19's confirmation of the bishops' election. The House of Deputies then voted - 800 For, 12 Against. Again, the people chose to forgo lunch until their new PB Elect arrived with his family to be welcomed by the House of Deputies. There was clapping and singing, and there were tears of joy. Arriving at the podium to speak to his willingness to serve, Bishop Curry promised no sermons right that minute because he knew all were hungry. He expressed the great honor he feels to be called. As he left the House of Deputies, the people spontaneously broke into singing the Doxology. 

A PB, Bishop Curry will identify himself as a follower of Jesus Christ and the dual CEO of The Episcopal Church - Chief Executive Officer and Chief Evangelical Officer. Although he is the first African American Presiding Bishop Elect of The Episcopal Church, The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry is a unifier of ALL people. He preaches that ALL LIVES MATTER.
Bishop Curry at a Press Conference in Salt Lake City Following His Election as the 27th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church Saturday
Our Bishops- PB Elect and Diocesan
A link to national Episcopal news stories on the election

Link to local coverage on Fox 13, Salt Lake City

Sunday, June 28

ECW Triennial 5k Run Benefits Homeless Youth Resource Center in Salt
Lake City and EDUSC Takes Second Place - Twice! - 6:30 am MDT
The Rev. Fleischer (L), Meredith Blocker (R)

Meredith Blocker of St. John's, Columbia and Diocesan ECW Board Secretary, as well as The Rev. Scott Fleischer, Assistant Priest at St. John's, Columbia, participated in the race. The Rev. Fleischer won men's second place and Meredith won second place in the women's competition. Congratulations to Scott and Meredith. Many thanks to all who participated to help the homeless in Salt Lake City. As we spend time in comfort here in Salt Lake City, we are confronted with the homeless on every corner. Please keep this large population of people in Salt Lake City in your prayers.

Claiming Common Ground Against Gun Violence - 7:15 am MDT
Sponsored by Bishops United Against Gun Violence, news sources estimate that 1,500 people and more than 60 bishops participated in a Bishops March Against Gun Violence this morning. Singing prayerfully, all marched to the park in downtown Salt Lake City where we gathered to hear speakers. This video produced by Katie Forsyth of the Diocese of Eastern Michigan captures the spirit of the march and will give you a feel for our Presiding Bishop Elect's powerful preaching.
(3 minutes long)

Canon d'Rue Hazel, The Reverend Susan Heath, The Rev. Grant Wiseman
and The Rev. Alan Leonard Gathered to Walk
For a longer (14 minute) video on the March featuring Bishop Hayashi of Utah, a victim of gun violence himself, and Caroline Tuft, a resident of Salt Lake City whose life was literally blown apart by gun violence, please watch This video was produced by the Diocese of Utah. Many thanks to the wonderful team in Salt Lake City.
Bishops Marching in Salt Lake City
Heading Down the Streets of Salt Lake City
Our Charleston Friends at the March. They Designed Beautiful T-Shirts for the Day. You May Have Seen the Image on Facebook this week. It is a Palmetto Tree Transforming
Into Nine Rising Doves
Bishop Waldo Just Before the March
Province IV Raises Most Money for UTO
Sunday's Convention Eucharist included the United Thank Offering Ingathering. We are happy to announce that Province IV raised the most money in the past three years, $882,000. We are the largest Province in The Episcopal Church. Within Province IV, EDUSC raised the most money. Let's keep it up. UTO grants provide much needed aid of all kinds across the globe.

Regina Ratterree Receives ECW Triennial Most Distinguished Woman 

Every three years, the ECW of each diocese nominates a woman of distinction in the Church. This Triennial, our ECW voted Regina Ratterree of All Saints', Cayce our Most Distinguished Woman in the Church. Bishop Waldo escorted Regina to a luncheon honoring the distinguished woman, as is the tradition. We are so proud of you, Regina, and so grateful for your service. Keep up the good work!

Regina is serving as an alternate deputy to the 78th General Convention. Her biography and some of the boundless work she has done in the Church can be found on the "Meet Your Deputation" post of this blog.
Diocesan ECW Board Members Preparing to Attend the Most Distinguished Woman Luncheon June 28tth. Pictured left to right are Kathy Siegel, Regina Ratterree, Andrew Waldo, Whitney Evans, Delores Goodwin and Meredith Blocker
Cai Armstrong Named National Church Periodical Club President
 Cai Armstrong addressing
ECW June 29th as CPC President
Cai Armstrong of St. Simon and St. Jude, Irmo, has been named national president of the Church Periodical Club. Cai has extensive experience with CPC, which is an independent, affiliated organization of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, dedicated to the worldwide Ministry of the Printed Word and to the Promotion of Christian Mission. It is the only organization in the Episcopal Church dedicated solely to providing free literature and related materials, both religious and secular, to people all over the world who need and request them and who have no other source for obtaining them. Prayer Books, books for seminarians, educational materials, medical textbooks, agricultural manuals and books for those in local and global mission are some of the publications The Church Periodical Club supplies. 

EDUSC Celebrates - 6:30 pm MDT
Bishop Waldo Begins Dinner with a Prayer
Sunday evening, our deputation, staff, ECW Board Members and Kayla Massey celebrated our work together over a joyous meal. With many long days and much work yet to be done at General Convention, a time of fellowship and community was served a as needed break. Bishop Waldo expressed his gratitude to be the bishop of a diocese with so many dedicated people. Among the attendees were Regina Ratterree (Most Distinguished Woman) from EDUSC for the ECW Triennial); Cai Armstrong (National Church Periodical Club President); Kayla Massey (first-ever UTO/YASC Intern); The Rev. Canon d'Rue Hazel (Facilitator for Province IV Transition Ministry); Whitney Evans (youngest diocesan ECW President) and Angela Daniel (Province IV President). We are a group of leaders who love to serve the Church. Please keep all in your prayers.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Most Beautiful Song

GC Recap for June 26 2015

A Powerful and Emotional Day
We woke up in Salt Lake City Friday to see the President of the United States speaking at the White House, letting us know that the Supreme Court of the United States had ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. Given that this topic will be one of large presence at this General Convention of The Episcopal Church, the timing was profound. 

At the same time, wasn't Barack Obama supposed to be in Charleston? We South Carolinians were already emotionally waiting to see what the day would be like in our own state. What else could happen? Could it be more emotional?
It turns out it could. Bishop Waldo attended a luncheon to celebrate Episcopal HBCUs. Our own Voorhees College was one of two schools represented. Voorhees President Cleveland Sellers was on the panel. As attendees were arriving, President Barack Obama nearing the end of his eulogy for The Reverend Senator Clementa Pinckney’s (Mountain Time made this possible). As folks gathered and settled in, several pulled up the  service on computers and phones. The President was singing the most beautiful song, Amazing Grace, singing the victims of the Charleston shooting in heaven with all gathered there and watching from afar.
A group, including The Reverend Michael Wright of Grace Church, Charleston, watches intently as President Obama sings of the grace of the victims of last week's shooting at Mother Emanuel AME.
Dr. Sellers arrived just a little late for the forum that he might finish watching the service in Charleston. When he stood up to speak about Voorhees and the special call of Episcopal HBCUs, he was too emotional to do so. Dr. Sellers was deeply involved in the Civil Rights movement. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His hope is that the Charleston deaths are not yet another tragedy (he has witnessed so many) but a catalyst for true change.
Student Darryl Harper gave testimony to what Voorhees has meant to him. Darryl told his story. As an 18-year-old he was left by his sister to raise his nephew. He had planned to play football at a school in Florida, but his scholarship was canceled when he couldn’t find a way to go to college and be a father.
He gave up on the idea of attending college, thinking all he could do was play football and knowing that wasn't going to happen. A mentor who recognized his talent and intelligence drove him from Buffalo, NY (one of the most destitute cities in the US and where he lived and grew up) to Denmark, SC. He was taken on a tour, interviewed, provided a room in which to spend the night and as he tells it, “woke up a student at Voorhees College.”

Darryl is grateful for the movement of the spirit in his life. He is grateful that he did not attend a traditional school, where he might’ve dropped out without notice. At Voorhees he says he learned who he was in a diverse community of healthy and positive young black students. He learned about his history in a school where a majority of students came from situations where they had no idea whether they’d be able to attend college at all.

Darryl was mentored by people like Dr. Sellers, who spoke to Darryl’s freshman class, telling them his own life’s story. Dr. Sellers served as a father figure for Darryl, something he’d never had before. Darryl knows that Voorhees would never let him go, even if he were to try. They would never give up on him. The slogan his classmates came up with about their beloved school? "Voorhess College attracts broken souls but builds leaders."

Joint Session on Governance and Restructuring

Friday morning began with a joint brainstorming session of the structure of the Church. Deputies and bishops were asked to break into groups and answer the same question in several different ways: "Name up to five structures, programs and activities of GC that support or enable your congregation (or executive council and Church-wide staff; congregation; province, diocese) to more fully participate in God’s Mission of restoring all people to unity with God and one another in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. In keeping with General Convention's attempt to be more eco-friendly, groups were asked to tweet or email answers beginning with the words “Keep” or “Change” before mentioning the structures. GC was able to keep track of the answers and will compile the information.
Our deputation and bishop enjoying discussion and working hard in the joint session of House of Bishops and House of Deputies Friday, June 26th.
President Gay Clark Jennings Re-Elected as President of the House of Deputies 
Gay Clark Jennings Presiding 
Other business in the House of Deputies yesterday - The Reverend Gay Clark Jennings from the Diocese of Southern Ohio was re-elected as president of the House of Deputies, which is celebrating its 230th anniversary this year. 1970 was the first year women were allowed to sit as deputies at GC. EDUSC's own Sarah McCrory of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, Columbia, was the first woman from our diocese to serve as a deputy to General Convention.

ECCC Day at GC Friday! 
Friday was Episcopal Camp and Conference Center day at General Convention. Our deputation, staff and ECW Board (of which the bishop is a member!) wore our Camp Gravatt shirts proudly today. It was fun to see T-shirts from Episcopal camps all over the country.  While most bishops that day were wearing purple clericals. Our bishop was wearing a purple Gravatt shirt!
The EDUSC ECW Executive Board delegates have arrived! ECW members are delegates to their Triennial meeting, which happens in conjunction with General Convention.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Where's Waldo - An Old Joke Still Applies

GC Recap of June 25
Business has begun!
Business began yesterday morning in the House of Deputies. Pictured left is your deputation's row of seats, complete with a "Where's Waldo" hat from the 2012 General Convention. The day began with voting on a few of the more than 500 resolutions the deputation will consider. Legislative sessions go on from early morning to late at night. We discovered working Convention is like having a baby - you sleep and eat any moment you can!

Opening Eucharist – literal feeding of the 5,000?
The opening Eucharist for General Convention took place at 9:30 am, Mountain Time, following the opening sessions of House of Deputies and House of Bishops. The service was conducted partly in Spanish and partly in English. Several thousand were in attendance and all were communicated in the same amount of time (or possibly less) than we can serve communion in our own parishes. It was a miracle! Bishop Katharine opened her sermon mentioning Charleston. The full text is available here.
James G. Ellison and Howard Maltby mentioned in HoD Necrology
Part of yesterday's business in House of Deputies was the reading of a necrology of deputies lost since our last General Convention. We were touched to hear the names of Jim Ellison (charter member of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, Columbia, proponent in the church for civil rights, and General Convention deputy many times) and Howard Maltby.

The Reverend Howard Maltby was the rector of St. Alban's, Lexington and dearly loved by many. His loss in this past year was a big one for our diocese. The floor of the House of Deputies for our worldwide Church joined in prayer for those we've lost. #Prayersof

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Waldo 
In case you missed it yesterday, Bishop Waldo has sent you a pastoral letter concerning General Convention. Please read it here and keep your bishop and your deputation in your prayers.

The Reverend Jordan Hylden Reporting for The Living Church
EDUSC's own Jordan Hylden is blogging for Covenant, a component of The Living Church magazine. Follow his witty and intelligent reports on the blog here! Jordan's wife is The Reverend Canon Emily Hylden of Trinity Cathedral, Columbia.

Committee 8 on Social Justice and US Policy presents resolution A302 for Mother Emanuel
Our worldwide Episcopal Church has voted to write a letter of condolence to Emanuel AME Church, Charleston. We are deeply moved by the overwhelming support by The Episcopal Church for our state.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Last Pre-Convention Day - Bishop "Trivial Pursuit," SC Bishops' Public Ed and More!

GC Recap June 24, 2015

Susan Heath and her fellow Fellows

Today at 12:15 Mountain Time, The Reverend Susan Heath participated in a panel with her fellow Mark IV and Mark V Fellows. Susan's work as the coordinator of the SC Bishops' Public Education Initiative is funded in part by a Mark IV Fellowship. (read about the Five Marks of Mission here). 

Mark Stevenson, Domestic Poverty Missioner of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is in charge of Justice and Advocacy Scholarahips for Poverty Alleviation and Environmental Stewardship (Mark IV and Mark V). The Rev. Canon Stevenson interviewed the fellows. All of the ministries, both on environmentally and poverty-based issues, connected in synchronistic ways
throughout the panel. Susan was able to relate the nature-focused education
initiative of one fellow with the Environmental program at our own Gravatt Camp and Conference Center. Students at Camp AIR (Adventures in Reading) earlier this month were able to participate in the environmental program at Gravatt. Camp AIR was co-sponsored by Camp Gravatt and the SC Bishops' Public Education Initiative. Students not reading at grade level were able to learn and get up to speed in a fun camp setting. The importance of being in nature was an important part of this experience. Click here to see video of Susan on the panel.

So How Big is General Convention Anyway?

Never been to General Convention? Ever wondered what it's like? Take a look at this joint session of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies where the nominees for Presiding Bishop were presented this afternoon. It's a big group ofpeople (some report that 4,500 people are registered for at least one day during the Convention) and visitors and media were allowed, making it even bigger. You've probably seen Mick Jagger more closely at some point in your life than you would've seen these nominees from the floor today!

PB Nominees play "Trivial Pursuit"
PB Nominees played “Trivial Pursuit” on very non-trivial issues in front of a joint session of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies. Part of the presentation of the nominees for PB was a round of questions from the bishops and the deputations. The nominees were advised of the categories before the session, but not the questions, which were collected beforehand. They were asked to draw from color categories for each other. The Categories ranged from governance to theological education. Unlike Trivial Pursuit, there were no right or wrong answers. What was in the bishops' hearts was what mattered. Bishop Michael Curry of the Diocese of North Carolina (our closest neighbor, pictured left on the big screen, and familiar to many of you) had one of his usual fun and to-the-point answers to a reconciliation question: "When God said, 'All Ye,' he meant Ya'll and that means All!"