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July / August
2006
Lauding the election
A special moment came on the floor of the House of Deputies when Blanca Echeverry, wife of nominee Bishop Francisco Duque-Gomez of Colombia, stood to support Jefferts Schori, saying through an interpreter that she was someone who understands the church in Latin America.
Historic election
Surrounded by a historical timeline recounting the countless contributions and sacrifices that women have made to the church, 188 bishops sang many hymns, prayed many prayers and then, on the fifth ballot, took a historic step on June 18 to elect the church’s first female presiding bishop.
Confessing past betrayal
The Episcopal Church issued a mea culpa for slavery and segregation at General Convention. With an admission of sin, an apology and a promise to document its own complicity in what they called “a fundamental betrayal” of humanity, deputies and bishops voted to find ways to repair the breach “both materially and relationally.”
Saints added to calendar
The revised lectionary, which follows a three-year cycle, was developed ecumenically and adopted by several major North American Protestant churches -- including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America -- and many Anglican churches worldwide.
Iraq withdrawal supported
General Convention dealt with relatively few of the proposed international resolutions as its work bogged down with debates about Windsor Report responses.  Some wondered aloud if that failure might weaken the church’s strong voice of witness to Congress.
unConventional experience
The favorite item this year was a small pink button designed, produced and distributed almost over night. “It’s a girl!”  it proclaimed  in bright white lettering above the name “Katharine Jefferts Schori, 18 June 2006, EWC.”
Anderson is deputies’ president
With 35 years as an active member of the Episcopal Church laity, Anderson, 63, is no stranger to controversy or hard work. She said she felt uniquely called to this particular role at this time, considering it simply “a little bit of a change of venue.”
Fighting poverty and hunger
The Episcopal Church took a bold step in the campaign to rid the world of hunger and poverty.  In a ringing endorsement of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals and the ONE campaign, General Convention promised total support – political, spiritual and financial.
Many react skeptically
"What ever happened to the Anglican three-legged stool of Scripture, tradition and reason?" asked a deputy to General Convention from the Diocese of Connecticut. "Even allowing for the special responsibility of bishops to safeguard the unity of the church, this man is trying to sell his Anglican birthright for a bowl of unity porridge."
New appointment
A plan for Bishop Mark MacDonald of the Diocese of Alaska to be the assisting bishop of Navajoland Area Mission while continuing to provide episcopal oversight in Alaska was approved by Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold.
Nigeria elects Virginia bishop
Our intention is not to challenge or intervene in the churches of ECUSA or the Anglican Church of Canada but to provide safe harbor for all those who can no longer find their spiritual home in those churches.”
Special honors
Advocates and leaders received awards from several Episcopal organizations at events during General Convention.
Musical career reborn
McKendree has come a long way from his days as the frontman of McKendree Spring, the folk band he toured with in the 1970s. While his guitar rests in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, today McKendree is more minister than rock star.
Multitasking in worship
Her hands streaked in a rainbow of marker ink, a young girl sat at a table near the back of the General Convention worship space, carefully coloring green around the edges of fabric flower petals. Around the table and at others nearby, her compatriots worked with adult volunteers to attach their flowers to colorful pipe-cleaner stems, secure them with florist’s tape and display the blossoms in Playdough “vases.”
Bread, wine and rock ’n’ roll
“I love U2, oh gosh yes,” said Bev Fawcett, 74, from the Diocese of East Carolina. “I have four sons, and if they ever hear that I went to an Episcopal service with a bishop and U2 music, they’re going to ask, ‘What are you on, Mom?’”
Celebrating a ministry
Essays, poems, open letters and a literary analysis by 26 contributors are collected in this tribute, the first such festschrift for a presiding bishop.
New Mass setting
Composed by Craig Phillips, associate director of music and composer-in-residence at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Beverly Hills, Calif., the Festival Eucharist follows a standard Mass setting with a Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Benedictus, Christ our Passover and Agnus Dei.
Here Comes Everybody!
Christian Communities that Work, an online telecast that explores the increasing interest in building inclusive and progressive faith-based communities with a commitment to mission, is available for on-demand viewing and on DVD.
Voices of General Convention
Excerpts from sermons preached by Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori, retired Sen. John Danforth, Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, Maori Anglican theologian Dr. Jenny Plane Te Paa, the Rev. Dr. Harold T. Lewis.
Resurfacing after Columbus
I’ve had a love-hate relationship with convention since the first one I attended in a sweltering Phoenix. At my first two conventions, my response would best be described as: “Who are these people, and what are they doing to my church?”
Lessons don’t come easy
The Episcopal Church in Sudan has spent the last two decades struggling to survive. Sometimes, when I am talking about Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther, Barth, I wonder: Is this what they need to know? Or am I being some sort of dreaded neocolonialist, imposing Western values on an African society where Christianity is relatively recent?
Convention observations
It is my earnest prayer that, as the listening process unfolds; deep conversation will take place across the communion that will allow us, in the midst of our differences, to discern the presence of Christ in one another.  May we then be drawn together with a renewed sense of mission for the sake of the world.
Letters to the Editor
Episcopal Life welcomes letters and will give preference to those in response to stories. Letters should be no longer than 250 words and must include the writer’s name, address, phone number for verification. Pictures are welcome. Send to Letters, Episcopal Life , 815 Second Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017; or e-mail to letters@episcopal-life.org. All letters will be edited for brevity and clarity.