[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is meeting in retreat through March 17 at Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC. The following is an account of the activities for Saturday, March 14.
The theme for the spring meeting of The Episcopal Church House of Bishops is Fostering a culture of curiosity, compassion and courage in Christ.
Saturday began with Eucharist celebrated by Bishop Lloyd Allen of Honduras.
A meditation on Culture was presented by Bishop G. Wayne Smith of Missouri. He shared from experience, in light of events in Ferguson and of his personal history. Bishop Smith challenged the House saying, “The dominate culture denies that there is [white] privilege.” Noting that as a person of faith we live as a “stranger and alien wherever we go…. For the sake of salvation much will have to go, including privilege.”
Bishop Victor Scantlebury of Central Ecuador prepared the House for table discussion on Culture, based on Bishop Smith’s meditation.
After the meditation, the House shared in table groups about the bishops’ personal experiences of alienation and disconnection because of culture. The conversations continued, focusing on the Bishops’ current cultural contexts and the gifts and limitations that each brings to the episcopate from the culture of their upbringing.
The afternoon session focused on the work of the Marriage Task Force and the resolutions that will be presented at General Convention 2015. The conversation was led by Bishop Tom Ely of Vermont and Bishop Andrew Waldo of Upper South Carolina.
The bishops broke into Indaba groups, followed by a discussion by the whole House in plenary. These groups followed the pattern of conversation in which all voices can be heard and was used at the last Lambeth Conference in 2008. These conversations were honest, candid and fruitful as the bishops shared their varying contexts and viewpoints.
The day’s session concluded with a presentation by the Most Reverend Joris A.O.L. Vercammen, Archbishop of Utrecht and Chairman of the International Old Catholic Bishops’ Conference. “The Episcopal Church is our sister church in this part of the world,” he told the House, and he presented the history of mutuality between the two Churches. In addition, Dr. Harald Rein, Bishop of the Old Catholic Church of Switzerland, emphasized in a brief address that The Episcopal Church is the only recognized sister church of the Old Catholics in the United States. The House offered its appreciation for the presence of three additional Old Catholic bishops: Mag. Dusan Hejbal of the Czech Republic, Dr. John Okoro of Austria, and Dr. Dirk Jan Schoon of Haarlem.
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