The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, meeting November 10-11 at Wheeling, Illinois, in its 169th Annual Convention, honored Frank Griswold, former Chicago Bishop and the 25th Presiding Bishop; his wife Phoebe Griswold; and the Rev. Canon Carlson Gerdau who served Griswold during his term.
The convention also heard Bishop William Persell call the diocese to change.
"We need not, and must not, accept mediocrity, lack of compassion, indifference, waste of resources, lack of mutual interdependence and accountability, racism, sexism, judgementalism, and lack of creativity in our life and worship," he said.
"From death God creates new and vibrant life. But sometimes we have to do our part of letting go of what is dead, that resurrection life may burst forth," he said. "Too often we want to hang on to dead bodies rather than reach out with our hands free to embrace new life."
Persell said that a "major task we face as the Episcopal Church is to work now and in the coming years to overcome the scourges of deep poverty, environmental degradation and war."
"We will do so by educating ourselves and others about the Millennium Development Goals, advocating for their support by our government, and giving generously starting with today's offering, to achieve them," he said.
The offering collected $24,000.
"With the human and financial resources wasted world-wide on war and weaponry we must be seriously about beating swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks," he said. "However, in this fallen world there will always be a need for military and police forces. Right now the world needs troops and the will to stop the brutal conflict in Darfur. We have a responsibility to protect oppressed peoples. But we waste so much, investing huge sums in weapons research, with far smaller investments in such things as renewable energy resources which could help reduce the dangers of global warming."
"Again, we seem locked in an embrace of death, rather than free to reach out to life. It is imperative that as a Church and as individuals we discover what it means to be the body of Christ in the 21st Century. We need a new vision for our common life, new ways of being the Church."
The full text of Persell's sermon is available here (http://www.epischicago.org/DownloadResource.cfm?RecID=569).
The convention passed resolutions to:
The convention defeated a resolution that would have directed the Diocesan Council to develop and present to the 170th annual convention for approval, a system of mutual accountability for congregations based on their level of compliance with the guidelines for giving established by the convention.
The text of all passed, defeated and withdrawn resolutions is available here.
The Diocese of Chicago comprises about 44,000 Episcopalians worshipping in 130 congregations in 22 counties in northern Illinois.