[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City, Utah] During its March 19-21 meeting here, the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council adopted multiple resolutions, which are summarized below.
Advocacy and Networking for Mission
* Condemn the use of religion for the purpose of advancing political agendas directed at terrorizing, victimizing, and oppressing individuals and communities and impairing their ability to enjoy basic human rights because of their religious beliefs and social, ethnic, class, caste, gender, and national affiliations; condemn serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights violations and abuses; call on the governments of the world’s nations to confront the reality of religious persecution, protect religious minorities and civilians within the framework of international and humanitarian law, address political exclusion and economic desperation that are being manipulated by the forces of extremists, scale up humanitarian and development assistance to host countries and trusted NGOs, and accept for resettlement a fair share of the most vulnerable people where return to their countries of origin is impossible;
encourage all Episcopalians to engage in prayers, support, education, and advocacy for displaced people and the churches that are providing succor and hope to those displaced people who have been uprooted by conflict and living in refugee camps (A&N040).
* Recognize the increasing urgency globally for governments, communities, and individuals to take action through legislation and regulation, business and community partnerships, personal initiative, and widespread education and dialogue to address the full range of activities necessary to reduce and eliminate the human-caused detrimental effects on climate and the environment; reiterate the church’s commitment to Jesus’ preferential option for the poor, so that such actions to reduce and eliminate the human-caused detrimental effects on climate and the environment do not disproportionately harm the lives and livelihood of the marginalized among us; encourage all Episcopalians to review the Pastoral Message on Climate Change from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori together with the presiding bishops of our ecumenical partners, to take advantage of the teachings to be offered in the March 24 webcast forum, “The Climate Change Crisis,” with follow-up resources, and to participate in the 30 Days of Action that will kick off on the day of the forum, by signing up to receive a daily e-mail from the Episcopal Public Policy Network here (A&N0041).
* Express support of the efforts of worldwide governmental and non-governmental organizations, working collaboratively, to eradicate the scourge of modern-day slavery commonly known as human trafficking, and commend specifically, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the Global Freedom Network, the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and its April 2013 report “Building Partnerships to Eradicate Modern Day Slavery: Report of Recommendations to the President”, the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking and other emerging networks of governmental and non-governmental organizations working to raise attention, cultivate responses, and generate advocacy around human trafficking and modern-day slavery, including the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the United States Department of State, the Polaris Project, and the United Way Center to Combat Human Trafficking & Slavery; extend the life of the D042 Coordinating Committee on Human Trafficking and direct the committee to provide a report on its activities to the Executive Council to be included in council’s triennial Blue Book report for the 79th General Convention; urge dioceses and congregations to learn to recognize the signs of human trafficking in their neighborhoods, support services to victims and survivors of human trafficking, and urge local, state, and federal lawmakers to pass laws that punish traffickers and those who profit from the slave labor of, or trafficked, women, girls, boys, and men (A&N042).
Finances for Mission
* Establish Trust Fund 1076 as investment account for All Saints Episcopal Church, Concord, North Carolina (FFM076).
* Accept revised investment policy statement of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (FFM077).
* Authorize treasurer, chief operating officer and director of mission to use income distributed annually from all trust funds of Class 100 for individual scholarships, educational and/or theological programs as recommended by the Scholarship Committee in adherence to trust language, donor’s intent, and scholarship guidelines; to use income distributed annually from all trust funds of Class 101 to fund program grants in adherence to trust language and guidelines established by granting committees; to use income distributed annually from all trust funds of Class 13 to effect distributions in adherence to trust language and Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society guidelines; any annual balances not awarded be reinvested (FFM078).
* Establish Trust Fund 1075 as an investment account for the Diocese of Nebraska (FFM079).
* Establish Trust Funds 1077-1115 as investment accounts for the Diocese of West Missouri (FFM080).
* Affirm the March 17, 2015 resolution of the House of Bishops calling for an independent commission to explore the canonical, environmental, behavioral and procedural dimensions of matters involving the serious impairment of individuals serving as leaders in the church, with special attention to issues of addiction and substance abuse, and revise the 2015 budget to include $150,000 to fund the work of this commission (FFM081).
* Authorize a line of credit to the Episcopal Church in Navajoland in the amount of up to $350,000 to be accessed through Dec. 31 for operating support (FFM082).
* Accept amendments amounting to $295,000 in additions to the 2015 Budget for The Episcopal Church (FFM083).
Governance and Administration for Mission
* Require all children and staff participating in the General Convention Children’s Program be vaccinated, as appropriate by age (child may be exempted by presenting a certificate from a licensed physician to the staff stating that due to the physical condition of the student one or more specified immunizations would endanger the student’s life or health); staff of the General Convention Children’s Program, working with the General Convention Office, will verify the immunization records of all children and staff and General Convention Children’s Program will comply with at least all applicable minimum requirements of Utah State Law with respect to such programs (GAM027).
* Adopt changes to the United Thank Offering bylaws (GAM028).
* Adopt amendment to the Episcopal Church Women bylaws (GAM030).
Finances for Mission and Governance and Administration for Mission
* Create an ad hoc committee of Executive Council on the Location of the Church Center to be nominated by council chair and vice-chair of Executive Council and appointed by the Executive Council; membership of the committee may, but need not, be members of council and may be supplemented by additional appointments from time to time; committee charged with examining the missional, strategic, and financial aspects of the location of the Episcopal Church Center; committee will continue the work of the GAM-FFM Joint Subcommittee on the Location of the Church Center and any money allocated to the subcommittee are transferred to the committee; committee charged with providing a final recommendation to the Executive Council on the location of the church center (FFM GAM003).
Local Mission and Ministry
* Affirm six entities as Jubilee Centers, including Iglesia San Bartolomé Barrio Buena Vista, desuio a La Esperanza Siguatepeque, Honduras (Diocese of Honduras); St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Outreach Ministries, Fayetteville, Arkansas (Diocese of Arkansas); Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, Breckenridge, Colorado (Diocese of Colorado); Chaplains on the Harbor, Westport, Washington (Diocese of Olympia); Hope Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland (Diocese of Maryland) and St. Andrew’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, Destin, Florida (Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast) (LMM015).
* Acknowledge the staff of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, giving special thanks for their financial stewardship as demonstrated by consistently ending each fiscal year under the approved budget; recognize various initiatives by DFMS staff to reduce administrative expenses, including renegotiating loans and lines of credit; note and applaud efforts by Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff to improve income, such as the rental of space in the church center, express its appreciation for the consistent, visionary leadership of the chief financial officer and the chief operating officer throughout this triennium (WM034).
* Celebrate the continuing evolution of the relations with the Episcopal Church of Cuba and The Episcopal Church and commit to pray for our brothers and sisters in Cuba during this time of new possibilities and opportunities (WM035).
* Express our deep concern and heartfelt affection for our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church of Melanesia and the Church of Pakistan (United), and their leaders, Archbishop David Vunagi, and the Most Rev. Samuel Azariah respectively, in light of recent crises; and commit The Episcopal Church to a continuing relationship of prayer during these times of challenge faced by the Anglican Church of Melanesia and the Church of Pakistan (United) (WM036).