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Two issues will dominate convention

6/1/2006
Resolutions by the score will be approved by bishops and deputies at the 75th General Convention at Ohio’s Greater Columbus Convention Center, June 12-21, but no decisions will be as important as those concerning the church’s relationship with other bodies in the Anglican Communion, and its selection of a presiding bishop to provide strong leadership in the next decade.

Eleven resolutions, drafted by a special commission appointed by Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold and the House of Deputies president, Dean George Werner, will help the church to repair deep divisions with other Anglican churches caused by General Convention decisions in 2003 that confirmed the election of an openly gay bishop and declared that same-gender blessings exist within the church’s common life.

Although cautious in their thrust, the commission’s resolutions, if approved, could help strengthen ties and give reassurance that Episcopalians want to remain within the worldwide communion. They also could help to dramatically reduce tension among Episcopalians themselves.

 “The big thing is to get all this business of the Anglican Communion done by Friday or at least Saturday morning [the fifth and sixth days of convention],” said Werner. “Neither the presiding bishop nor I want to go to the election without that being settled.”

The election to which Werner refers comes the following day, June 18, when both active and retired bishops, numbering close to 200, will closet themselves in nearby Trinity Episcopal Church to choose from among seven nominees a man or woman to be the next presiding bishop.

Running concurrently with the convention in the same locale, 300 delegates to the Episcopal Church Women’s Triennial will meet for worship, workshops, plenary discussions and social occasions. A highlight will be the major General Convention service and the ECW Ingathering on June 17, at which diocesan representatives will present to Griswold money collected through the UTO Blue Boxes during the past year.

Other convention business includes welcoming more than 40 guests from other churches, including England’s archbishop of York; honoring Griswold and Werner, both whom will retire; electing a new president for the House of Deputies; and passing probably close to 200 resolutions, including the one setting the next triennium’s budget.