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INDIANAPOLIS: Bishop tells convention to have no fears about church's future

By Mary Frances Schjonberg
12/3/2006

Bishop Catherine Waynick   

 
[Episcopal News Service]  The Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, meeting October 19-21 in its 169th annual convention, called for an end to the war in Iraq, reaffirmed the diocese's support for the Millennium Development Goals and asked its clergy to lead a process of study and discernment about Anglican identity.

Bishop Catherine Waynick told the convention that the Episcopal Church has nothing to fear, even from "those who have been the most critical of us within the Communion."

"The Episcopal Church is not alone; we have many friends and allies within the Communion, and the overwhelming majority of our own bishops, even in our disagreements, are determined to maintain a shared identity as Episcopalians and members of the worldwide Anglican Communion," she said. "How that identity will be articulated in the future we cannot know, but fear not -- we are secure in our identity as servants of the risen Christ."

Waynick said that her "hope and prayer is that as the crafting of an Anglican covenant proceeds the awareness of our imperfection will keep all involved humble and open-hearted."

"It will not be easy, at least in part because the constituent churches have always been autonomous. The thought of losing a sense of independence may be especially difficult for those of us whose common life was forged in the fight for freedom from foreign rule," she said. "But we must remember that independence and autonomy are not the point. Being human always includes interdependence, and being the Church always includes utter dependence on the grace and love of God. If the work of crafting an Anglican covenant is rooted in prayer and theological reflection we may find the holy patience to discern what God wants of us."

The complete text of Waynick's address is available here.

Among the resolutions the convention passed were ones to:

designate February as Debt Awareness Month each year and offer education and resources that promote the healthy role of money in people's lives;

  • encourage congregations to use the prayers and liturgies in both volumes of Enriching Our Worship;
  • ask congregations to begin the transition to the Revised Common Lectionary effective the First Sunday of Advent 2007 while allowing continued use of the Episcopal Lectionary for purposes of orderly transition, until the First Sunday of Advent 2010 when the RCL will become the authorized lectionary;
  • urge congregations to use Christian education materials that teach nonviolent methods for dealing with conflict and change;
  • ask congregations to express, through word and action, "their opposition to any war that ignores or violates the church's teaching on just war, encourage the President and Congress to take proactive steps to end U.S. occupation of Iraq," and continue to honor and support, through prayer and action, men and women serving their country;
  • urge all Episcopalians to work to ensure that local, state, and federal governments provide adequate funding "for programs that combat social and economic conditions which place children at risk and diminish their ability to achieve their full potential in the world;"
  • ask congregations to continue prayers for the Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East and encourage congregations to visit Christian congregations in the Holy Land and work for justice, peace, and reconciliation;
  • urge the clergy to take leadership in committing to a process of study and discernment "as to the nature and unity of the Church, and to pursue a common life of dialogue, listening, and growth formed and informed by the baptismal covenant and Eucharistic fellowship;"
  • reaffirm its commitment to the conservation of and education concerning use of renewable sources of energies to help reduce or alleviate dependency on fossil fuels;
  • request the director of the diocesan damp and conference center to plan and provide for some type of camping opportunity for children of persons in prison in the diocese;
  • call upon the Standing Committee to appoint a task force on disability concerns;
  • continue to strengthen campus ministries and seek to plant new campus ministries;
  • reaffirm diocesan commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and seek to involve everyone in the implementation of the goals;
  • direct the Standing Committee to appoint a task force to implement the collection and documentation regarding the complicity of the diocese in the institution of slavery, segregation and discrimination;
  • call upon the Standing Committee to appoint a task force to determine "whether the diocese is called to provide for truth and reconciliation work;
  • urge Diocesan Center staff to use companies that provide a living wage for their employees and commend to the diocese at all levels services such as those of Informed Meetings Exchange, a non-profit agency committed to helping organizations make informed decisions regarding convention and meeting plans;

The completed texts of all the resolutions passed by the convention are available here.

The Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis comprises about 11,570 Episcopalians worshipping in 47 congregations.