General Convention wrap-up and ongoing ministry

For a summary wrap-up of General Convention, please read the article on Episcopal News Service highlighting the big headlines. We will continue to follow the legislation of General Convention with stories on the Diocese of Maryland’s response to actions taken at General Convention and how we, as a Community of Love, are following the mission and ministry set forth by our wider Church in the local communities in our diocese.

Highlights from your Maryland deputation, fun moments and other important events not to be missed

As the House of Bishops branch of our church government unanimously voted on July 10 to formally welcome Cuba back into The Episcopal Church after a separation in 1966, there were explosions of clapping, shouting and joy. Bishop Chilton Knudsen explains why in this video, which has reached 2,000 views on Facebook. The Rev. Dina van Klaveren of St. Andrew’s, Glenwood and head of our diocesan deputation to General Convention, served on the legislative committee that addressed this resolution at GC79. Read more in The Rev. Dina van Klaveren shares testimony on Cuba and learn more about the issue from the Living Church.

Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio of Cuba with The Rev. Dina van Klaveren at the 79th General Convention

One of the most moving and powerful events the deputation experienced at General Convention was a prayer vigil held at the Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas on Sunday, July 8. Bishop Michael Curry gave a rousing speech, surrounded by Episcopalians who were there to let the refugee women being detained in the facility that they were not alone. Many described seeing the women’s faces in the windows of the center. The women were able to communicate that they felt loved. For more on the event, see coverage by the Austin NBC Affiliate of the the Bishops United Against Gun Violence Rally, held earlier that morning in Brush Square across from the Austin Convention Center, and on the detention center vigil. See pictures shared by The Rev. Ramelle McCall of Holy Trinity, Baltimore. Last week, the diocesan Latino Ministries Committee met to discuss way in which we can carry on the legislative work centered on immigration and refugee issues done at General Convention in our diocese. Be on the lookout in upcoming posts and news for events, training and advocacy opportunities.

 

Bishop Sutton hands out orange ribbons from our own Diocesan Convention to honor those who have died as a result of gun violence. Photo credit ~Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

 

Outside the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas. One of the most moving moments for many who participated was seeing a white flag being held out through one of the slitted windows. Photo credit ~The Rev. Ramelle McCall

Our deputies and bishops chaired and served on numerous legislative committees. They actively engaged in testimony and leadership within the larger Church. The Rev. Jason Poling of St. Hilda’s, Catonsville traveled to Austin for a few days to testify about Israel and Palestine. See Jason’s message +HERE. The Rev. Ramelle McCall testified on resolution A029 – Commend the Evangelism Charter for the Church to All Episcopalians. See his testimony on the floor of the House of Deputies branch of church government +HERE. Ramelle also offered his thoughts on why being at General Convention is important to his work and to the work of the diocese in a video +HERE. He serves as Urban Missioner for the Diocese of Maryland, practicing ongoing community building. The Rev. Scott Slater testified in a hearing on resolution A147Pilot Board for Episcopal Transitions, and The Rev. Dina van Klaveren testified in support of improved and more thorough background checks for candidates for election of bishops in the Episcopal Church. The measure on background checks passed the House of Deputies unanimously, Deputy Mark Garcia reported.

Mark served on legislative committee 12 – Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Music as a dispatch liaison. The committee dealt with prayer book revision, as well as revision of Lesser Feasts and Fasts and the Book of Occasional Services. See more on the prayer book revision in this story by Episcopal News Service, House of Bishops proposes expanded path for prayer book revision (ENS).

 

Lisa Marie and James Ryder, co-executive directors of the Claggett Center, show off the Claggett banner with Bill Slocumb, executive director of Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers (ECCC) at General Convention. Photo credit ~Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

Our new co-executive directors of the Claggett Center, James and Lisa Marie Ryder, along with Baby Fletcher, came out in full force to promote and support Claggett’s presence at General Convention. The Claggett labyrinth was featured on the banner for the Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers booth at GC79 and Claggett had its own day of promotion in the booth July 7. July 9 was “camp day” at General Convention. The Maryland crew wore their Claggett shirts and lanyards and came out in full force to support our camp and conference center. For more about how Claggett was featured at General Convention, read The garden of the Diocese, the Claggett Center, featured at General Convention.

The days of hard work, serious prayer and action and long hours of legislation at General Convention were interspersed with moments of pure joy, fun and celebration. The Episcopal Church put on a revival at the Palmer Events Center in Austin on Saturday, July 7. Bishop Curry’s “sermon” contained quite a few mentions of St. James, Baltimore, his former parish. You can check it out +HERE. Dinner followed at “Texas night,” a BBQ and live music event sponsored by The Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Be on the lookout for what Maryland will come up with for a Maryland-themed night when we host General Convention 80 in 2021!

 

A touching moment at the Revival when, to his surprise, Bishop Curry received a laying on of hands, symbolically by the 5,000 gathered, as well as prayers to grant him rest, strength, courage, love and revival on his continued journey as our presiding bishop. Photo credit ~Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

 

The Rev. Dina van Klaveren digs into her corn on the cob at “Texas Night.” Photo credit ~Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

On Tuesday, July 10, the Maryland crew hosted a luncheon for the bishop and deputation of Puerto Rico, with whom we have a companion diocese relationship. The two deputations and guests bonded and shared hopes and dreams for future exchange programs, including a youth trip next summer, as well as ongoing clergy and lay relationships and common ministry. A desire to learn more Spanish was a hope for many in the Maryland crowd. At the end of our time together, the whole group posed for a photo. The picture below (prepping for formal photo) says it all. Please keep the Diocese of Puerto Rico and the people of Puerto Rico in your prayers, especially as they continue to recover from Hurricane Maria. Bishop Sutton will be a guest at their diocesan convention in October of this year.

Great teamwork and uproarious laughter as Maryland and Puerto Rico construct the group photo pose! Bishop Sutton is doubled over. Photo credit ~Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

As mentioned above, General Convention 80 will take place in Baltimore in 2021! Many thanks to Caroline Bomgardner for her hard work at General Convention 79, learning what it takes to host the event. Did you know this event requires more than 1,000 volunteers? The Diocese of Texas and all of the volunteers who came in from around the Church did an amazing job. They were especially excited when the moment came to “pass the torch.” Bishop Andy Doyle of Texas took a hand-crafted torch from hard-working Texas volunteer Scott Madison. From there it was passed in a relay race to the sound of Chariots of Fire until it reached Bishop Sutton, who accepted it. Later the torch was passed through the House of Deputies to The Rev. Scott Slater, who accepted it on behalf of the diocese in that House, accompanied by a slide show of Orioles, crabs and more. Excitement about General Convention in Baltimore abounded.

Texas volunteer Scott Madison joyfully hands the torch to Caroline Bomgardner in the House of Bishops at GC79. GC80, here we come!

With all this action it’s hard to imagine there could be more. As one last salute to hosting General Convention in Baltimore, the Marylanders cooked up a surprise. In case you hadn’t heard, there was a certain pigeon who graced the hall of the House of Deputies throughout convention. By mid-convention he had his own Twitter (@gc79pigeon), and even Instagram, accounts. The General Convention Pigeon prompted the obtaining of pigeon hats and other shenanigans from various deputations. But we had them beat. No one can top the POEgeon and his dark priest from Baltimore!

The General Convention POEgeon. Imagine we’ll be seeing more of these in 2021!

Other highlights from Maryland include our Archdeacon Ruth Elder serving at the table at GC79, another General Convention under the belt for our longest serving and most experienced deputies, David Mallory and Alma Bell and the excellent impromptu host of our version of Inside General Convention, The Rev. Stewart Lucas of The Church of the Nativity and Holy Comforter. Our videos were a hit. Stewart did a great job connecting everyone at home to what was happening in Austin. Be sure to check out our Facebook page to view all of the videos.

The Rev. Ruth Elder serves at the table at a General Convention Eucharist. Photo credit ~Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

To view the worship services, Inside General Convention television show, sermons preached at General Convention Eucharists, Bishop Curry’s speeches and sermons and so much more, please visit the General Convention Media Hub of The Episcopal Church. To read stories about the Diocese of Maryland at #GC79, please visit our General Convention blog. Welcome home, Everyone. We’ll see you all in Baltimore in 2021! In the meantime, the work continues. #JesusMovement #EpiscopalEvangelism #CommunityofLove #EncounterEngage