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Action packed Day 6 for Maryland at General Convention

Tuesday, July 10, 2018, was a busy day for the Diocese of Maryland at General Convention, yet its description offers a taste of a typical day at the General Convention of The Episcopal Church. The morning kicked off at 7:30 AM with legislative committees and hearings. Both bishops, and most of the Maryland deputation, are serving on or chairing committees. At 10:30 AM, the third TEConversation of GC79, one on the care of creation, took place in the form of a joint session of both branches of Episcopal government, the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies.

At the lunch break, Bishop Sutton and the Maryland deputation gathered with the Bishop of Puerto Rico, the Rt. Rev. Rafael Morales, and the Puerto Rico deputation, for conversation, prayer, fellowship and breaking bread. Greetings were offered in English and Spanish and the discussion centered on relationship, how we can strengthen bonds with our companion diocese and how we can be of help as Puerto Rico continues to heal from the damage done by Hurricane Maria last Fall. Our friends from Puerto Rico told stories of homelessness, suicide, lack of electricity and even oil to run generators – things that are as much a reality today as they were the day the storm hit. The lunch was filled with warmth and kindness and Bishop Sutton looks forward to being with our brothers and sisters from Puerto Rico at their diocesan convention in October. Youth Missioner for the Diocese of Maryland, Kate Riley, is excited about a youth mission trip to Puerto Rico next July.

Setting up a group photo always gets a good laugh. Fun and fellowship with Puerto Rico!


And now…the official photo!

In the afternoon legislative session, the Rev. Ramelle McCall of Holy Trinity, Baltimore, testified on the floor of the House of Deputies on Resolution A029, Commend the Evangelism Charter for the Church to All Episcopalians:

Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That the 79th General Convention adopt the Evangelism Charter for the Episcopal Church as a framework for joining with our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry in expanding the loving, liberating, and life-giving Good News of Jesus through evangelism of the church, by the church, and for the church; and be it further

Resolved, that the 79th General Convention urges dioceses and congregations to read and study its principles and integrate them into their life of faith as part of living into The Way of Love.

This resolution is on the calendar for the House of Deputies July 12.

Also in the afternoon, the House of Bishops voted unanimously to welcome Cuba back into the Episcopal Church after they were separated from us in 1966. Hear what Bishop Chilton had to say in the moment:

The House of Deputies voted the next morning to welcome Cuba and seat its bishop, the Right Rev. Griselda Delgado del Carpio. Our head of deputation, the Rev. Dina van Klaveren, served on the legislative committee that recommended Cuba be welcomed home. Read more about Cuba from the Episcopal News Service.

Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio with the Rev. Dina van Klaveren

Tuesday afternoon there was a Charles Cloughen sighting in the General Convention exhibit hall. Guess what he was doing? Why, signing his book, of course! Bishop Chilton paid him a visit and may have signed a book or two herself!

At the evening worship on Tuesday, our own Archdeacon Ruth Elder served at the table and read the prayers of the people. The worship at General Convention is filled with love, light and music!

Archdeacon Ruth Elder serves at the General Convention altar

Thank you for your continued prayers for our deputation, volunteers and staff. Pray also for all bishops and deputies, General Convention volunteers and staff, and the city of Austin. Legislation continues on Israel/Palestine, budget, prayer book revision and more. Look for news to come!

Bishop Whittingham in Europe 1834

By Mary Klein, diocesan archivist

Maryland’s fourth bishop, William R. Whittingham, became rector of St. Luke’s Church, New York City, on October 1, 1831, at the age of 26. He had married Hannah Harrison the previous year, and his son Edward was six months old when he moved into the rectory. The Whittingham’s first daughter Mary came along just a year later, and the new rector was busy editing six volumes of standard written works of Christianity, as well as his duties as rector. Unwell with lung and throat ailments which would dog him throughout his life, Whittingham took his wife and small children to Orange, New Jersey, Hannah’s home, to rest and recover in April of 1834. On son Edward’s third birthday, April 22, 1834, Whittingham’s little daughter Mary died, leaving Whittingham despondent and more ill. The Sunday after her burial, two members of St. Luke’s vestry approached their rector with news from his physician, saying that he must stop all work or die of consumption, the old term for tuberculosis. After consulting a specialist who diagnosed Whittingham with chronic bronchitis which would deteriorate into consumption if he did not stop all work immediately and take months in a warm, dry climate, Whittingham resigned St. Luke’s. The vestry generously promised him his full salary through July, and $400 annually for two years, as well as $500 for expenses for the journey. That day, Whittingham saw an advertisement for a vessel ready to sail for Gibraltar, contacted his brother-in-law John van Ingen to secure his services as assistant and companion, and made arrangements to leave immediately. The brig, “William Tell” left New York on May 31, with Whittingham and van Ingen aboard; they would not return for fifteen months.

While in Sicily, Whittingham received word that his wife had given birth to a daughter, whom they named Mary, in loving memory of their first dear girl, and his dark sadness began to abate. On his return to New York, he was no longer broken down by ill health, overwork and personal tragedy, but energized and ready to resume work. He became professor of ecclesiastical history at his alma mater, General Seminary, and four years later was elected Bishop of Maryland, where he would serve the next forty years.


Excerpt from a letter written June 27, 1834 by Captain James Riley of the William Tell

 “Mr. Whittingham had a tough spell of seasickness for nearly ten days which thoroughly emptied his stomach, he soon gained an appetite and his old disorders of soreness of the throat and pain in the side seemed very much to abate, while his general health improved most astonishingly. He is truly a man of great talents, fine education and liberal mind, cheerful in his temperament, unassuming, conciliatory, possessing of all the requisites of a great and good man, as the foundation was laid in common sense and a vigorous and powerful mind. Such a man would do honor to any situation and I look forward with an eye of faith when he will return to his home in health and fine spirits – and become an ornament to the profession he has chosen and be raised to the highest point of honor and usefulness by his merits, and that I may live to see him a bishop.”

The Rev. Dina van Klaveren shares testimony on Cuba

by The Rev. Dina van Klaveren, head of Maryland deputation to #GC79

Cuba, Sí.

Harry Groce, a young person in the Episcopal Church interning presently in the Diocese of Cuba, sent these thoughts for his mother, Julie Groce of Atlanta, (that’s her with me in the first pic, and I’m with Obispa Griselda in the second pic) to share with us as she testified in our committee meeting today for the Cuba Diocese to be fully reunited with the Episcopal Church via Resolution A328:

“The Episcopal Church in Cuba belongs in the American Church. Ripped away from its mother in the 1960s, it is simply trying to come home. The Cubans I have talked to see the American church as family, and desperately wish to reunite. As I understand, this is for two reasons. First, and the reason they stress most heavily, is that they feel alone and abandoned by their mother church and wish to come home. The situation has been described to me as a child whose mother left them but who was adopted by their aunt (Canada). Although cared for, the child was never made to feel at home in its adopted family and so wishes to rejoin its mother. The Cuban church feels alone, and wishes to end that isolation.

“The second reason, though the Episcopalians here are adamant that this is unimportant compared to the former, is the need for a partner – financially and organizationally. The church is on its own here. The Cuban government tolerates the church, but does everything it can to isolate it at every turn. They need an outside partner to ensure their continuity. So far, the church here has survived solely through sheer willpower. Reunion with the American church would go a long way here, especially when it comes to impacting lives. It is the Church that is taking care of the people here. It is the Church that is caring for the elderly, that is working to find gifted children and nurse their talents in the arts, that is supplying the community with a consistent source of fresh water. Some will undoubtedly argue that supporting the Cuban church is tantamount to supporting the Cuban government, but this is far from the reality. It is the Church that is acting where the government will not.

“Furthermore, I am convinced that reunion with the American Church will be an important stepping stone in the inevitable reconciliation of the US and Cuba. This transition will be made much easier if there is already an existing partnership between Americans and Cubans in some form. The exchange that will occur with reunion will be invaluable in the process of creating mutual respect and understanding between our two nations.

“As governments stall and posture, it is the Church’s duty to help the people. Where governments fail to act, the Church must act. We now have a crucial opportunity to draw the circle wider, and it is imperative that we do so. We say that “The Episcopal Church welcomes you”, and now we must practice that – especially since the one knocking at the door is family.”

Testimony from Harry Groce, 2018 Sewanee alum, Diocese of Atlanta – currently interning in the Diocese of Cuba

For more information about the legislation on the Episcopal Church in Cuba, see the resolutions +HERE.

Diocese of Maryland deputation and friends at GC79

We’re on day three of nine of official business at General Convention. Hear from your bishop, the Rt. Rev. Eugene Sutton, the Rev. Stewart Lucas of Nativity and Holy Comforter, Baltimore, and Ms. Alma Bell about how it’s going so far.

The Rev. Jason Poling of St. Hilda’s, Catonsville, came out to Austin for a few days to testify in a hearing on one of the resolutions dealing with Israel and Palestine. You can view a list of them on the GC website. Ms. Alma Bell testified on the same subject on behalf of the Rev. Grey Maggiano of Memorial, Baltimore.

In addition, the Rev. Ramelle McCall of Holy Trinity, Baltimore, talks about his experience as a deputy here at General Convention. Watch and listen!


TEConversations at #GC79 offer way to participate in building a community of love

Dr. Catherine Meeks speaks with vigor about the important work to be done through the Racial Healing Center in Atlanta.

On July 6, the first joint session TEConversation, that on racial reconciliation, took place on in the House of Deputies space at the Austin Convention Center. Truth and reconciliation is a priority in the Diocese of Maryland. The goal of these conversations is to further the work of the Church, deepen relationships and provide resources to help communicants across the Church have conversation in their parishes and communities.

[July 6, 2018] [The Episcopal Church] One of the unique offerings at this triennium’s General Convention are TEConversations (The Episcopal Church Conversations), which will be held during three joint sessions of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies over the coming week. Each conversation offers multiple speakers, video presentations and engaging interludes around three priorities of this gathering: racial reconciliation, evangelism and care of creation.  Speakers represent international leaders, well-known Episcopalians, and rising voices in the Church.

Each TEConversation are available live so communicants can participate concurrently with deputies and bishops. Each will also be available online, with support materials, for local use in churches at a later date.

Arno Michaelis speaks passionately about his turn to forgiveness and love.

Speakers for the first TEConversation include: a reformed, former leader of a worldwide racist skinhead organization, Arno Michaelis; director of the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Catherine Meeks; and the Rev. Nancy Frausto, a native of Zacatecas, Mexico and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) beneficiary priest. The Racial Reconciliation Conversation will take place July 6 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Central. A discussion guide may be found here.

A second TEConversation focuses on Evangelism. Featured speakers include: the Rev. Dr. Lauren Winner, prolific author, vicar and associate professor of Christian Spirituality at Duke Divinity School; the Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe, Bishop of Iowa, whose deep commitment to spiritual renewal and creative thinking has inspired a year of revivals across the state and energized his constituency; and the Rev. Daniel Vélez-Rivera, whose ministry has been one of planting new Latino ministries and creating sustainable dual-language congregations. The Evangelism Conversation is from 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Central on Saturday, July 7. A discussion guide is here.

The third and final TEConversation will consider our Care of Creation as committed Christians. As we safeguard the integrity of creation, how do we embrace responsible use, and encourage more conversation around climate and faith? Speakers include the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Rev. Dr. Thabo Cecil Makgoba, who has a deep resume around ethical leadership and stewardship; Bernadette Demientieff, an Alaskan native and firm protector of Indigenous sacred lands and waters; and the Rev. Stephanie McDyre Johnson, an environmental planner and educator and co-chair of the Episcopal Church’s Advisory Council on the Care of Creation. The Care of Creation Conversation will take place Tuesday, July 10 beginning at 10:30 a.m. and concluding at noon Central. The discussion guide may be found here.

Follow the TEConversations from home, gather friends at church to participate or visit General Convention as a visitor for the day. Visitor passes are available for $50 a day onsite at the Austin Convention Center.