Two resolutions that could fundamentally alter Episcopal Life

1. Prayer Book conceptual change

What General convention didn’t do ? A comprehensive Prayer Book revision was not on the agenda.

Instead the idea of a Prayer book that is broader adding other liturgies and may go beyond a printed book.

The Book of Common Prayer for the first time would be “those liturgical forms and other texts authorized by the General Convention.” In other words, liturgies that are not in the current prayer book that could be elevated to “prayer book status,” whether they are replacing parts of the prayer book or standing on their own. In the past they revised the existing Prayer Book under Article IX. Article IX has never specifically provided for adding authorized liturgies that are not part of the revision of the entire book . Now, they will be revising Article IX to broaden the prayer book to include authorized liturgies .

Over a dozen liturgical texts have been “authorized” – for trial use, experimental use, or simply “made available.” These include Marriage Rites, Holy Eucharist: Rite Two expansive language, Enriching Our Worship Series, Book of Occasional Services, Liturgies from other communions with bishop permission, Daily Prayer for All Seasons. Proposed changes must still go into trial use status and be approved over two General Conventions.

The substitute left the specific process of authorizing new texts open to future canonical definition, focusing just on the constitutional change that would enable such work.

Why is this important?

The struggle in the past has been a comprehensive edit of the entire book, a massive task. This allows for associated liturgies that stand on their own but become prayer book content and not worry about the existing content.

2. Tackling racism on the local level

The Convention created Episcopal Coalition for Racial Equity and Justice, a voluntary association of Episcopal dioceses, parishes, organizations, and individuals that will be charged with facilitating, coordinating, encouraging, supporting, and networking efforts of Episcopal dioceses, parishes, organizations, and individuals for racial justice and equity, and the dismantling of white supremacy as part of the goal to become the “beloved community.”

There is an implementing structure intended and associated funding. “Resolved that the Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies appoint a Constituting Group for the development, implementation, and creation of the Episcopal Coalition for Racial Equity and Justice, whose work includes determining and proposing all necessary organizational, canonical, legal, and other actions necessary to constitute formally and oversee said Coalition.”

It would bring anti-racism training oversight to the province and diocese levels and create a permanent foundation moving forward where we can learn from each other on what works.

Why is this important? This brings needed resources in content and support to this effort depending on how many join into the group.

The racism of the church is one of the shortcomings identified in an extensive survey. A quote from the survey talk from Bishop Curry at General Convention. “Among non-Christians in particular, those who are not Christian, 50% associated Christians with the word hypocrisy; 49% with the word judgmental; 46% with self-righteousness; and 32% with arrogance. And then, nearly half of non-Christians in America—hear this—nearly half of non-Christians in America believe that racism is prevalent among Christians in the church.”

Related is D044 the creation of an independent Reparations Fund Commission, creating a fund from the Episcopal church assets. The magnitude of this fund and date for accomplishing the target amount will be determined by the Commission.

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