Written by Deputy Pamela Barnes Harris, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Valparaiso
July 6, 2018
This morning we met with the Bishops for a joint session on Racial Reconciliation. There we heard 4 powerful speakers: Arno McMaelis, a former member of the KKK; Charles Darwin Stephens (Charlie Black), DJ and local rapper; Dr. Catherine Meeks of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta; and the Rev. Nancy Fausto, a Dreamer priest who came to this country with her mother at age 7. All of them spoke about their experiences and emphasized the need for truth and love as weapons against the hate which has enveloped this country, and yes the Church, for too long. After the presentations we were asked to discuss what we heard and try to find ways to facilitate engaging our congregations to begin this hard work now.
The afternoon legislative session was largely devoted to debate on resolution A068 on revision of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. We had a total of 60 minutes to debate the resolution. There were so many deputies wishing to speak that we voted to extend debate until tomorrow. This resolution calls upon the Standing Commission on Music and Liturgy to undertake a comprehensive revision of the BCP and that the revision "continue adherence to the historic rites of the Church Universal as interpreted within the Anglican tradition while allowing space for the submission and perfection of rites that arise from the movement of the Holy Spirit among us." Speakers both for and against were passionate in their views. Tomorrow we will vote after a period of silent prayer so that we can listen for the voice of the Spirit.
On a lighter note, as in Anaheim in 2009, we have been reminded of the Spirit's presence in the form of 2 pigeons that have been with us throughout our deliberations.