Jul 20, 2022Bishop Diane’s reflection on the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church

Bishop Diane’s reflection on the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church

Bishop Diane Explains the power of the Tiara to the House of Bishops. (L-R) Emily Davenport, Bishop Diane, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Video screen grab

It was one “for the books” – condensing work into four days for the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. To say it was grueling would be an understatement, especially for those of us who had work to do in the Secretariat before and after each session.

Sitting on the dais next to the Presiding Bishop, my work in the House of Bishops consisted of helping to work through the agenda at each session. It is an honor and a great privilege to be the Secretary of the House of Bishops – I was re-elected to that position on the last day of convention. Sitting next to me was our own Emily Davenport – not only did she do an excellent job in notating who was speaking, what resolution or action was being talked about and the time (so the minute takers could go back and find anything they missed), but she was a joyful addition to the Secretariat. Emily, as Emily can, made many new friends!

The talented deputies and alternates from The Diocese of West Missouri can fill you all in on various pieces of legislation which moved them, or for which they had great interest. What I want to share with you all is something that happened in the House of Bishops. Our Presiding Bishop was asked a question as a ‘Mind of the House’ resolution that was being discussed. The Presiding Bishop shared these words with the House of Bishops:

I’m very concerned about a country that I do love, 
and about us potentially being on the verge of living out 
the opposite of unselfish, sacrificial love. 
And I don’t mean that as rhetoric: 
I mean that as the only way that we will live together 
and have life together because the opposite is self-destruction. 

I say that as a follower of Jesus and as a human being. 
How can we help this country—
and help our people to help this country—
to bind up our wounds, to learn to live democracy, 
and to truly be a country where there is liberty and justice for all. 
That’s at stake. 

I never thought I would think this in my life. 
As a child of the Civil Rights movement—
those who fought for equal rights and justice, 
and freedom for all, 
never questioned the fact that the democracy itself would hold. 
We have been forced to ask the question: 
Is e pluribus unum really possible? 
Is democracy possible? 
Is human equality possible? 

And I just believe that if we can help our people—
and this is not partisan—
if we can help our people to find their voice 
and claim the values and the ideals that most people probably believe, 
then maybe we can help find their voice 
and they can help others, 
and we can help to heal this land, 
and help this country join with others and heal God’s creation. 

That is the calling of the God who called us into being in the first place.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, spoken to the House of Bishops on July 9, 2022 at the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church. 

You can watch a video of Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry’s address below.

I was sitting next to the Presiding Bishop when he said these words. There was a tone in his voice that made me quickly understand that he felt these words deeply – to the core of his being. It was as if the Spirit came alive in and through him as each word passed his lips. The House of Bishops was silent when he finished. The small task force formed to address the resolution knew that the Presiding Bishop had just given them their insight into the work ahead. It was the most profound moment of any of the five General Conventions I have attended.

What does this mean for us? The resolutions which are passed by the General Convention mark who we are, what we say we believe, and where we are going (or hope to go!) as a church. Some of the resolutions you may not agree with – that’s okay. Some of the resolutions you may be passionate about – that’s great. Sometimes the things our leadership say may affect you the same way as the resolutions. All I can tell you about what he said and how he said it, the Presiding Bishop moved the whole House of Bishops in a way I have never experienced. I, too, love this country and love this church. I want the best for both – and for me, at the heart of this is working for justice, peace and equality.

I am happy to speak with any of you about any of the resolutions which were passed, or about the Presiding Bishop’s words. I would also recommend you view the four sermons preached at the General Convention by the Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies, our Host Bishop, the Bishop of Maryland, and by the President-elect of the House of Deputies.

Sermon Videos

For links to the video feeds from the convention, news, other information, and links to information sources, visit the diocesan General Convention webpage.

The Rt. Rev. Diane M. Jardine Bruce is the bishop provisional of West Missouri.

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