The Rev. Mike Flanagan covered major topics, such as the reports on the Task Force for the Study of Marriage (of which our own bishop is a member), the Task Force on Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC, which is looking at the governance/mission ratio in the current structure of The Episcopal Church); and the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion, which are comparable to our Baptismal Covenant. Did you know that Anglican Communion doesn't have the Baptismal Covenant we have?
Province IV President Angela Daniel, member of our diocese and our #GC78 deputation, commented on the heart side of Convention.
Here are three things everyone should know about General Convention:
1. Deputies are not delegates, nor are bishops. Deputies are called to vote their conscience. They are not truly representative. It's the same for bishops. Their vow is to guard the faith, unity and discipline of the Church. A bishop can be personally be subject to the conversations in a diocese and listen carefully, but must say to himself or herself, "What is my conscience calling me to do at this time? How much caution do I need and how much adventure am I willing to bear?" Bishops take their vows and this calling very seriously, thought their approaches are individual.
2. Although there are enormous issues on the table, there are more than 500 resolutions that The House of Deputies and The House of Bishops will wrestle with over the course of two weeks. The issues tying into paradigm shifts are important, but so are the smaller one. Our work is a process. Province IV President Angela Daniel attended her first convention in 2003. She was horrified to know that the majority of what the folks at home knew about convention they learned on TV News. "Hearing that news, you’d think there are only 2 or 3 topics that the bishops and deputies talk about, pray about, etc.," Angela says.
3. You are called to pray for your deputation, the bishops, and all involved. Prayer matters. Angela says that she can absolutely feel the power of prayer while she is participating in General Convention. "It helps enormously to know that our people here are praying for us while we're there. We're blessed to be there, and it's exhausting." There is so much business that some people often feel "Jesus wasn't present" on the floor on a given day. Yet, Angela says, there is much work done to constantly call the deputies and bishops back to their faith. Part of our job is to help them in that calling by holding them up in prayer so that they can do the true work of the Church.
Special prayers will be held during General Convention at your cathedral in Columbia at 8:00 am and 5:30 pm each week day (4:30 pm the Friday of #GC78). All services held in Seibels chapel.
Links to resources on all of General Convention can be found on our website at http://www.edusc.org/78th-general-convention/