Getting to Know the Daily Office

by Linda Buskirk on July 6, 2015

The beautiful worship of the Episcopal Church can be a bit daunting for newcomers, especially those coming from nonliturgical traditions. But oh, once you get the hang of it, warmed by the inspiration, peace and teaching of our common prayers and calendar, it’s hard to imagine worship any other way.

There is another beautiful tradition of prayer, not weekly, but daily. It’s right there in the beginning of our Book of Common Prayer (starting on page 37), yet its treasures are undiscovered by many. Happily, there are many clergy and lay leaders intentionally encouraging people to give the Daily Office a try, and helping them get started.

The Rev. Ryan R. Whitley of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, has written a fun and easy-to-understand Daily Office Tutorial.  Acknowledging that the Daily Office might seem a bit complicated and time-consuming, St. George’s web site reminds us that it is part of our Anglican heritage to be in a global community of daily prayer: 

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Digital Evangelism at General Convention

by Julie Shea on July 3, 2015

One of the hot topics at the General Convention is the use of social media in communication and evangelism. Discussion around a resolution to support digital evangelism (B009) resulted in a significant number of tweets on Twitter (#YesB009 and #B009).

Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and blogs, people not present at the General Convention were able to follow resolutions and to express opinions using #gc78. Whether they were following the results of the election of our Presiding Bishop, offering their opinions on the marriage resolution, or asking questions about the structure resolutions, the participation in the General Convention was broadened and deepened by the use of social media. 

This leads me to wonder how participation in our church can be broadened and deepened by the use of social media. If #gc78 can trend on Twitter (meaning that it is being tweeted about frequently), why can’t we make the Episcopal Church or our dioceses trend? Over the next three years, the Episcopal Church will be further exploring how to effectively evangelize using digital media.

This post first appeared on The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts' General Convention e-newsletter and is reprinted with permission.

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Permalink  |  0 Comments Communications, Evangelism

July 2015 Editor’s Letter: Vision and Planning

by Nancy Davidge on July 1, 2015

Who are we? What is our vision? Where are we going?

For July, Vestry Papers invites congregations to consider these questions, reflecting on the gifts God has granted to us while also listening – and watching – for what God is calling us to do in our communities. Our offerings include: 

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Alcohol & The Church, An Update From General Convention

by Greg Syler on July 1, 2015

In addition to all the other very exciting things happening at General Convention there’s a lively conversation on an important, sensitive, and timely topic – our church’s relationship with alcohol, addictions, recovery, substance misuse, and healing. This summer, a special committee has been appointed, of which I am a member: Committee number 22 on Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse. Though it’s hard to eclipse the energetic spark that is the storyline about Presiding Bishop-elect Curry, I’d also say that this may be one of the most important conversations we’re going to have this summer, mostly because we’re hoping it’s a conversation that only begins in Salt Lake City and one that trickles down into the life of every local community in our church.

In short, we’re striving to find a new normal in our church’s relationship with alcohol, in particular, and a newer, more holistic understanding of how we deal with substance misuse in our individual lives and communities. We’re also trying to name that we need to keep our eyes fixed upon the gifts of healing and forgiveness and compassion when dealing with addiction and recovery – we are the Body of Christ, after all – at the same time that we also need to learn how to have hard conversations with one another. Will this happen because of General Convention resolutions? No, of course not. But this will begin by the conversation we have at General Convention, and that conversation has been going on in our committee as well as on the floor of both the House of Deputies and, soon, House of Bishops. This conversation is one I hope the rest of the church will also start to have, and soon.

Here are the details, and you can see everything at the website here to look up resolutions by their number.)

First, the House of Deputies has already passed resolution D014, a resolution calling on dioceses and bishops and other bodies in the ordination process to “explore directly [with nominees, postulants and candidates for ordination] issues regarding substance use in their lives and family systems.” This passed the House of Deputies with substantial engagement and conversation; as I write on Tuesday morning, it is awaiting House of Bishops consideration and action.

Second, again as I write, the House of Deputies is set to consider resolutions A158 and A159. These are both resolutions the committee spent time discussing, writing, and revising. The committee, as such, was charged with updating our church’s policies on alcohol and drug abuse – last updated in 1985 – and even though the committee only had one resolution submitted before us, it’s no small thing for a legislative committee to become a policy-writing committee. That said, I commend these resolutions (as they look going into House of Deputies floor debate) and trusting the Sprit, as we all do, I’ll bet that I will also commend whatever version comes out post-GC.

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Permalink  |  0 Comments Administration, Change, Leadership


by Richelle Thompson on June 30, 2015

Thousands of people from across the United States have hunkered down in Salt Lake City for the triennial General Convention. It is an intense, marathon-length, sprint-pace gathering for leaders of the church to make decisions about policy, direction, and finances. We worship together each day and connect in convention center hallways and at exhibit booths.

And sometimes Jesus shows up. (To be more accurate, Jesus is always here; sometimes we recognize him.) Forward Movement invited people to share their Jesus encounters, using the hashtag #JesusAtGC, and there have been some wonderful encounters. Of course, we have experienced some big-Jesus moments, like the historic election of North Carolina’s bishop, Michael Curry, as the next presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church. This is a man who loves Jesus and isn’t afraid to tell others about it. His election and leadership will galvanize and inspire the wider church, and I’m excited to see the plans God has for us through Bishop Curry.

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