The 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church (TEC) is winding down as I write this post. The exhibition hall closed Tuesday afternoon. Both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops have approved most of the potentially contentious legislation:
· A provisional liturgy for blessing same-sex relationships;
· An initiative to relocate the national office out of New York City and to conduct a study that will lead to restructuring TEC’s national office and governance;
· Responding to the proposed Anglican Covenant by declining to accept or reject it (the Covenant is in effect a dead issue because of its rejection by other provinces) while concurrently reaffirming TEC’s commitment to the Anglican Communion.
After House of Bishops approval yesterday, ninety minutes of discussion on the budget for the next triennium this morning and then relatively quick approval in the afternoon session reflected widespread agreement in the House of Deputies about the budget.
This General Convention has been far less contentious and more obviously grace filled than the last few conventions have been. A new, encouraging spirit of mutual respect seems to be emerging among those present. Hopefully, this spirit will continue to grow and find expression in a renewed missional focus.
Anecdotally, many attendees express a desire for TEC to shift its focus and agenda from internal institutional concerns to mission. For example, a representative of Integrity (the GLBT Episcopal network and interest group) informally told me that we needed to shift focus from changing the institution to changing the world. Unless we successfully refocus and energize for mission, TEC will become ever more marginalized and irrelevant at an accelerating pace.
I leave Indianapolis encouraged that God still values and works through The Episcopal Church.