Expressing concern about the proposed dates of the 75th General Convention, the House of Bishops moved to table a resolution until Friday that would set the site in Columbus, Ohio. Several bishops said the proposed dates of June 12-19, 2006, would make it difficult for young people who are still in school to attend. They asked the Presiding Bishop’s office to explore whether it was possible to change the dates.
The Rt. Rev. Ken Price, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Southern Ohio (which would be the host diocese), explained the convention center already had gone out of its way to accommodate the requested dates, even moving the dates of the National Hockey League draft. “I think changing it now would be extremely difficult,” said Price.
But the Rt. Rev. Catherine Roskam, bishop suffragan of New York, said it was worth the effort to consider changing the dates. Otherwise, it “delivers a terrible double message to our young people.”
The bishops passed several other pieces of legislation on Monday, including the adoption of the Revised Common Lectionary for liturgical use. If the House of Deputies concurs, it would replace the table of readings currently printed in The Book of Common Prayer on the first day of Advent in 2004.
While some bishops argued against the measure, citing costs and concerns about usage, others said it would conform with many of the available teaching and preaching resources. It also includes more of the Biblical stories about women, Roskam said.
ELCA Bishop Hanson visits
The Rt. Rev. Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, addressed the House of Bishops Monday morning, outlining both the successes of Called to Common Mission and its future challenges. “It’s very clear that because of our full communion relationship, together we are hearing and heeding God’s call to be engaged in God’s mission, together we are receiving, respecting and reconciling,” he said.
Episcopal and ELCA congregations around the country are working together in starting new missions, developing resources, building campus ministries and working closely on advocacy for public policy issues.
Hanson said both denominations face challenges of addressing complex issues of human sexuality, biomedical ethics and moving from the principles of just war to a just peace.
“I am convinced these challenges will not overwhelm us … because of our firm belief that the Holy Spirit is at work among and with us,’’ he said.
Hanson also told the bishops: “We will uphold you in prayer during these next few days.”