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From Columbus: News Briefs

[Episcopal News Service] 

PB&F recommends mission priorities

[ENS]  The Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) has filed a resolution that slightly modifies the existing budget priorities of the Episcopal Church. Resolution D031 makes justice and peace the top priority for budget considerations and specifically includes reference to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), an eight-prong declaration that has at its core the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger by the year 2015.

The resolution also adds children to the existing mission emphasis on young adults and youth.  The other priorities – reconciliation and evangelism, congregational transformation, and partnerships within the Anglican Communion and with ecumenical and interfaith partners – remain the same.  The original five budget mission priorities were adopted by the 2003 Convention and reaffirmed by Executive Council in 2005.

The resolution will first go to the House of Deputies. The full text of the resolution is available at

Approval of 'Rites of Passage' publication delayed

After lengthy and intense debate on Tuesday afternoon, members of the Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music Committee delayed approval of a Rites of Passage Publication resolution (A067).  Instead, the committee created a subgroup for further work on a rite involving induction to military service.  The subcommittee will report back on June 14.  The Very Rev. Ernesto Medina, a Los Angeles deputy and member of the Standing Commission on Music and Liturgy, said the collection includes rites for families for use during such life transitions as the Spanish language "Quincinera" or coming of age celebration, as well as for: adoption of children; for reproductive loss, and Asian ceremonies honoring elders and the anniversary of deaths.  Several people testified that the rites echo the 20/20 commitments by the church to being welcoming and reflecting diversity.  Medina said the intent of the rites is to "include voices and experiences not reflected in the current prayer book."

Bishops vote to address Anti-Jewish Liturgy, Affirm Creation and Evolution

During its first legislative day, the House of Bishops approved a resolution (C001) to address anti-Jewish prejudice "expressed in and stirred by portions of Christian scriptures and liturgical texts."  The bishops directed the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to collect and develop preaching, congregational education and lectionary materials, and to report back to the 76th General Convention in 2009 in Anaheim.

In other action, bishops also approved a resolution (A129) affirming both creation and evolution.  While the theory of evolution provides a fruitful and unifying scientific explanation for the emergence of life on earth, the resolution said, "many theological interpretations of origins of life on earth can readily embrace an evolutionary outlook and that an acceptance of evolution is entirely compatible with an authentic and living Christian faith."  The resolution also called upon dioceses and congregations to seek the assistance of scientists and science educators in understanding what constitutes reliable scientific knowledge.

Resolution urges dioceses to counter culture of debt

"Debt has the capacity to cripple our future," according to the Standing Commission on Stewardship and Development.  A resolution encouraging dioceses to "offer training, education, and resources that promote the healthy role of money in our lives" (A102) was presented to the House of Bishops by the Rt. Rev. James Shand, bishop of the diocese of Easton and chair of the Legislative Committee on Stewardship and Development.  The resolution also encourages dioceses to designate February as "Debt Awareness Month." 
The commission sites the statistic that "the average American family carries over $9,000 in consumer debt."  Taking particular note that people aged 25-and-under are the "fastest growing segment of the population filing personal bankruptcies," the resolution directs that education materials pay "special attention to children and youth."
The Rt. Rev. Orris G. Walker, Jr., bishop of the Diocese of Long Island, called for an amendment, noting the resolution text used the word "direct" in reference to asking diocese to implement the resolution.  He said that the committee could not direct dioceses to do things. The bishops amended the language to urge the dioceses to take the steps outlined in the resolution.
The resolution will now move to the House of Deputies. The full text of the resolution is available at