General Convention 2006

Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. Then I will go to the altar of God, and I will praise you . . . Psalm 43:3-4

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church
met in Columbus, Ohio from June 11-21, 2006.
This blog offers a view of the convention and beyond from the perspective of Lydia Evans, a two-time lay deputy from the Diocese of South Carolina.
Visit the links found below for additional resources
as well as pre- and post-convention coverage.
Thank you for remembering the convention deputies and their families in your prayers. For further resources, visit my webpages.
For all posts from the month of June, click here.
For all posts from the month of July, click here.


A Look Back: The 2003 Annual Convention of the Diocese of Nevada

The PB-elect of the Episcopal Church, ++Katharine Jefferts Schori, attended her first General Convention as Bishop of Nevada in July of 2003 in Minneapolis. At GC2003, she voted for the confirmation of Gene Robinson as Bishop-elect of New Hampshire. In October of the same year, Bp. Jefferts Schori presided over the Annual Convention of the Diocese of Nevada where a resolution authorizing the blessing of same-sex partnerships was passed.

Below are, in part, the opening remarks of the Bishop of Nevada, along with the text of the resolution.

"I have come to understand that sexual orientation is primarily a given characteristic, rather than one that is chosen. I have come to this conclusion after reading the results of scientific studies, and hearing the stories of those who know themselves to have a same-sex orientation."

"...At the same time, I recognize that there are many good and faithful Christians who hold a view that is very different from my own...I am very much aware that there is a fair bit of anxiety in this room about the resolution we will debate this afternoon.

"Before we get there, I want to say that part of our difficulty lies in not having a fully developed and uniformly held theology of marriage, let alone what is being asked for in blessing same-sex relationships. That is largely the result of the way in which Anglicans do theology. We are not a people who figure everything out and then develop a liturgical rite that spells that out in great detail."

"...Our theology continues to develop...We understand marriage far differently today than we did in 1549. We have discovered new things about the centrality of baptism in using the Prayer Book of 1979.

"What gay and lesbian people are asking of the church is a prayer form, a liturgical container, in which partners may make promises to each other that their unions be faithful and lifelong. If we are going to contemplate moving in that direction, I want to make several things clear. No priest can be forced to preside at any service of the church...The nature of blessing a relationship, whether a marriage or a same-sex partnership, means that the community who stand with the couple also promise to bless them. Not every community can bless every relationship.

"Let me summarize my expectations by saying that in any request for the church's blessing on either a marriage or a same-sex union in this diocese I expect the parish to have a policy in place, I expect that counseling has taken place to determine the soundness of the relationship, and I expect that the Christian community who will gather with the couple can also bless their relationship.

"...One of the learnings for me since General Convention has been that Nevada never participated in the church-wide dialogues about human sexuality which the larger church asked of us about ten years ago...I am going to ask every congregation to engage in study, prayer, and dialogue about these issues in the coming year.

And after members of the convention committed themselves to study and dialogue on issues of human sexuality, they passed the following resolution:

Recognize Ceremonies to Celebrate Relationships of Mutuality and Fidelity

“Whereas, the Episcopal Church professes that at its best, a Christian community lifts up its members, freeing their gifts and supporting their life;

"THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: That the 33rd Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada, desiring to support relationships of mutuality and fidelity which mediate the grace of God between those persons for whom the celebration and blessing of a marriage is not available, does hereby recognize that ceremonies to celebrate the relationships of such persons who are baptized members in good standing in this diocese may be conducted by clergy in the diocese, with the approval of the bishop, respecting their pastoral discretion.”

[passed by a 113-58 margin]

October 2003


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