June 6, 2012
June 2012 Editor's Letter
As July approaches, and with it our church’s 77th General Convention, I find myself looking forward to the 10 days I plan to be in Indianapolis. My first General Convention was 2003 in Minneapolis and, despite having taken an “Introduction to General Convention” course at Episcopal Divinity School – and working many large conferences and conventions during my career in for profit marketing – I was unprepared for the enormity of the event. Walking to and from the hotel each day, it appeared that downtown Minneapolis had been taken over by Episcopalians.
Yet, within days, I felt at home. I’d mastered the layout of the convention hall, made friends in the media room and exhibit hall, and experienced incredible hospitality and welcome. And, because I had taken the intro course, I understood the legislative process taking place in the House of Deputies and House of Bishops and could explain it to the secular media covering the convention.
This month, ECF Vital Practices’ Vestry Papers continues to offer articles related to the governance of The Episcopal Church. In The Episcopal Church we choose our leaders – both lay and ordained – and elect representatives from our congregation to participate in decision making at the diocesan level, and elect deputies from our dioceses to do the same at the denominational level. The effectiveness of this system relies on congregational leaders who give their time and talent in service to God’s mission.
Our June 2012 Vestry Papers articles include:
- “Connecting the Dots” by Bonnie Anderson makes the connection between congregational, diocesan, and denominational governance reaching back to 1782 when William White proposed an ‘unheard of and revolutionary process for selecting bishops.
- Lelanda Lee’s reflection on “Our Call to Leadership” looks at how cultural context impacts our understanding of invitations to leadership and how recognizing these differences may encourage greater diversity of leaders. This is also available in Spanish.
- In “Episcopal and Baptist Governance,” David Perkins shares his experience of being called to Baptist ministry as a 14 year old and how 17 years later, he accepted a call to ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church. His description of these two very different processes underscores the difference between the governance of these two faith traditions.
- “Called to Common Mission” by Mary Frances Schjonberg shares the story of the first Lutheran Episcopal Congregation in Florida, creating a church that is boldly inclusive, intentionally challenging, and joyfully Christian.
I’d like to call your attention to a new feature on ECF Vital Practices: the new TOPICS button on the green menu bar at the top of the page. Clicking on this button lets you search for articles and resources from across the entire site by topic.
- Babies, Bathwater, and Structure a blog post by Richelle Thompson
- Conversations on Governance a list of ongoing conversations related to the 77th General Convention and thoughts re: restructuring, compiled by Nancy Davidge
- Learn About General Convention a collection of tools and resources related to General Convention
- Talking to Ourselves a blog post by Miguel Escobar
I invite you to add to this content by sharing your stories and resources related to congregational governance in the Your Turn section and by posting comments related to our articles, blog posts, or other content.
Editor, ECF Vital Practices