The Vermont deputation at General Convention served our diocese extremely well. I am very proud of each and every member of our deputation, and of Winnie Grace from Trinity, Rutland who represented Vermont at the ECW gathering, and of all the others from Vermont who were at General Convention in a variety of roles. Each and every person contributed to the gathering.
Here I want to comment on four things: The restructuring effort; The authorization of resources and a liturgy for the blessing of same-sex relationships; the budget; and the worship.
The restructuring initiative that was launched holds a great deal of promise AND it will take a great deal of effort to bring something new and exciting to the next General Convention that will have broad support. There was a deep, deep spirit present at Convention that was hopeful about the future of our church and wanting to move us forward with new structures and a new commitment to help us better serve God’s mission in the world. I will do all I can to help support that effort.
The authorization of resources and a liturgy for the blessing of same-sex relationships was adopted by a large majority in both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, although it was certainly not unanimous. I rejoice that our church is leading the way in terms of the full recognition, blessing and celebration of the lives of faithful, committed, life-long relationships of same-sex couples. At the same time, I am mindful that not all in our church (even here in Vermont) are in agreement with this decision. I will continue in conversation with my colleagues in the House of Bishops who hold a different theological perspective on this from mine, just as we have done throughout the past three years. I have learned much in my listening and I believe I have been listened to with the same mutual respect. I especially welcome conversation with those in Vermont who hold a strong conviction that is counter to the decisions we made in Indianapolis on the blessing of same-sex relationships. Sometime in the not too distant future, I will issues some revised guidelines for clergy and congregations related to the use of the resources our church has authorized for provisional use. The resources, including the liturgy are authorized for use beginning Advent I.
The budget we adopted is centered on the five marks of mission. The five marks of mission are recognized throughout the Anglican Communion as a common way of shaping our life in Christ as we participate in God’s reconciling mission in the world. They include:
There is good energy and momentum coming out of this General Convention and I think we are poised to be bold and confident in our engagement in God’s reconciling mission here in Vermont and beyond. Thanks to all from Vermont who demonstrated at General Convention that we are “Vermont Strong,” and thanks to all who held us in prayer during the long days of General Convention!
I’m home now from General Convention and off for a couple of week’s vacation to Scotland for some R&R, playing golf with friends and then for the Cranmer Cup competition (if you don’t know about the Cranmer Cup, ask me later!).