Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Official notice of cancellation

In case ther might be some confusion - still - we have officially cancelled this weekend's Antiracism "Conversations".
We had only four people registered, and with a team of four, it just didn't make sense to continue. It's certainly not due to a lack of notice.  Although, Ciciley received a call today from someone who claimed to have just heard. We announced it at two Deanery meetings, it was in FYI, and on the Diocesan Calendar. Plus Lynn told her Deanery about it.
So now we have to look ahead. How are we going to respond to the resolutions as a Diocese - the resolutions about slavery and how it influenced our congregations and Diocese. I am hopeful that Lynn will be able to get some people to our next Antiracism Ministry Team meeting in April so we can begin to plan.
Thank you all - Becky 
Rebecca A Alden
EarthLink Revolves Around You.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Antiracism Conversations at St. John's

The deadline is quickly approaching for reservations for the Antiracism Conversations on March 19 and 20 at St. John's, Sandwich. The deadline is next Monday, March 8th. Inquiries and/or registration can be made through our registrar: Ms. Cicily O'Bryant, 52 Hillsboro Rd, Mattapan, MA 02126. susobryant@yahoo.com (617-298-5564.
Thank you!
Rebecca A Alden
EarthLink Revolves Around You.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Practical Eco-Stewardship Starts with a Bang!

On August 27, Grace Church (Vineyard Haven) hosted a conversation with Daniel Goleman, author of Ecological Intelligence. This was the first event in our 2009-2010 deanery initiative in Practical Eco-Stewardship. Of the many in attendance at Grace, we were able to identify at least eight congregations from the people we knew. We aren't sure how many congregations, denominations, and faiths were represented in the audience as a whole.

The Very Rev Brian McGurk, Rev. Robert Hensley,
Dr. Fredrica Thompsett, Rev. Deborah Warner and author Dr. Daniel Goleman
From Practical Eco-Stewardship: Goleman

In addition to those present 'in the flesh', we were joined online by parish groups around the deanery and diocese as well as some folks in California and New York. One group that watched the webcast is involved with 'greening' Jewish children's camps. They have been reading Ecological Intelligence and were excited to have an opportunity to hear Dr. Goleman talk.

We were very excited that Episcopal Life Online reported on our event! You can read the story here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Anaheim Day 10

General Convention – Day 10


It seems as if we have been living in a bubble for the last 10 days.  The House of Bishops have finished their business and are waiting on the Deputies.  We have managed to get through Day 8 business and are almost caught up.  Many parliamentary delays by a handful of folks, but  the mood of the House has shifted to "Let's get 'er done" in the words of a Florida deputy.


Significant strides have been made in adopting a denominational health plan which will be administered by the Church Pension Fund.  While not being mandated until 2012, the Diocese of Massachusetts moved to this last Diocesan Convention and we at Grace subscribed to it this year at substantial cost savings and better coverage that is more widely accepted (Blue Cross).


Also mandated was the mandating of offering lay employees pension benefits.  At Grace, we have been doing this for a number of years as a matter of justice, but I was surprised to learn the number of congregations that do not offer this benefit to their employees. 


And the big news of yesterday was the adoption of the Church budget for the next triennium.  $24M in cuts were made from the previous triennium, virtually eliminating anti-racism programming, women's programming oversight and major cutbacks in almost all areas of ministry and mission.  This also meant eliminating almost 35 positions of the current 185 at the New York and regional offices of the Church…the saddest part of the entire convention, knowing the people whose jobs you have had a hand in cutting because of the economic crunch.  As the Presiding Bishop said, much of this may look like death, but we are a people of the Resurrection.


Tempering the sadness is much to celebrate and for which we are thankful:  the continuing dioceses of Quincy, Fort Worth, San Joaquin and Central Pennsylvania deputations were greeted and acknowledged with joy and thunderous applause.  Study of the development of liturgical text for the blessing of same sex unions mandated and a variety of social justice issues received careful attention.


And…of particular import for we environmentalists…next GenCon will be digital.  All materials online, and a shortened convention in Indianapolis, deputies on digital notebooks will also streamline the process…not to mention eliminate all of those pesky papercuts!


One more major piece of legislation this morning and multiple housekeeping issues with adjournment later today....Deo gratias!


God Bless!

Rob Hensley+

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 9 at General Convention

To lighten the mood as we debated and voted on the budget for the triennium, the younger deputies decided that today was 'Dress like Greg Straub' day. Secretary Straub has worn a different colorful jacket and tie combination each day of the General Convention - providing us with something to look forward to each morning. Sam Gould and Christopher Ashley are seen below in their sartorial splendor.

From General Convention pictures

The budget has a leanness that will force us to be creative in our mission. Brian McClaren was today's preacher at Eucharist. He talked about the 'E word' and reclaiming its true meaning from those who have hijacked its meaning in our society.
Episcopalians and Evangelism - a communion no one should rend asunder. Usually, I find myself suppressing an urge to cringe at the word 'Evangelism'. But this time, I didn't feel any cringe at all. Perhaps it is the increased amount of time to talk about the mission of the wider church with people here that has made me able to say the 'E-word' comfortably. I will try to keep this when I am back home. Evangelism is just telling our story, not trying to co-opt someone's mind, and being there to ask the right kind of questions and to listen: What are you seeking? McClaren calls evangelists 'God's peace ambassadors' and 'reconciling co-workers of God' who are agents of change.

McClaren identified three institutional distractions from a focus on evangelism and mission for The Episcopal Church at this point in our history:Bulleted List
  • Institutional Conflict - as long as we use the challenge of conflict to reaffirm a deep incarnational identity, and as long as we stay in conversation, we should receive thanks for wading into turbulent waters ahead of the curve.
  • Institutional Identity - what is the best way to save a beloved institution like the Episcopal Church? Self-preservation is not the answer. Instead, we can focus on leveraging the institution that is our Church for the saving of the world - something we are already beginning to do through our support of the MDGs and the true and deep evangelism that is seen in our outward missional focus.
  • Institutional Rigidity - McClaren pointed to the complex way in which candidates for ministry are trained as an example of a barrier to evangelism. In balance to that statement, he also said the structure of Episcopal Church has powerful capacities for renewal.

I found that I listened to this third point with the lens of my own experience in Anaheim. Being at General Convention and attending numerous Legislative Committee hearings and meetings, and in reading all the reports from the Standing Commissions, I have a new take on how our denomination functions between General Conventions. As the Legislative Committee on Structures noted, the structures of our denomination are perfectly suited for the early 1900s, but they are cumbersome in the present day.

A sermon on evangelism, working on Public Narratives to share our mission story with others - there is a theme here...