[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church is meeting in retreat at the Camp Allen Conference & Retreat Center in Navasota, Texas (Diocese of Texas) from March 16 to March 20. The following is an account of the activities for Tuesday, March 20.
The spring retreat meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops continues the House’s ongoing theme of The Church for the 21st Century, with a focus on The Gift of Episcope/El Don el Episopado. The schedule calls for prayer-filled sessions, and bishops participate in daily Bible study, reflection and worship.
Morning Prayer was officiated by HOB chaplain the Rev. Simon Bautista of Washington, D.C.
The morning hours were devoted to retreat, prayer, reflection and discussion on Mission, led by Bishop Julio Holguin of Dominican Republic. Bishop Holguin reminded us that we are the missionaries of this era, sent, working with all the baptized, to share the Good News of Christ. He highlighted the Five Marks of Mission and used these to illuminate his points. Following his meditation, like in other days, we were offered some time of silence and reflection.
HOB’s visitor, the Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, Church of England offered his reflections at the close of the morning.
He was well received by a standing ovation.
Emcee for the day was Bishop Victor Scantlebury of Ecuador Central.
HOB conducted its business meeting throughout the afternoon. Among the topics/actions:
Resolution of greeting to the Archbishop of Canterbury: Bishop Wayne Wright of Delaware explained this resolution came at the request of many bishops. In it, HOB sends greetings “as you begin a new season in your ministry.” It concludes: “We wish you Godspeed and many blessings in the coming days.” It was received by acclimation.
Text of the Greetings to the Archbishop of Canterbury:
Resolved; We the bishops of the Episcopal Church send our greetings to the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury as you begin a new season in your ministry. We remember with deep appreciation your pastoral visit with us as we met in New Orleans, Louisiana following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. At the 2008 Lambeth Conference we were recipients of your personal hospitality, teaching ministry, and leadership. The “indaba” spirit of that gathering continues to influence and shape our common life and ministry. We wish you Godspeed and many blessings in the coming days.
Revised Delegated Episcopal Oversight (DEPO) document: Bishop Ed Little of Northern Indiana moved for its adoption. “We are serious about including a wide range of voices in our church,” he explained. The document was approved and will be available shortly.
Social Media and Electronic Communication: Bishop Gayle Harris of Massachusetts spoke on behalf of the Pastoral Development Committee and asked that the guidelines become part of the norms of HOB.
Election of Board member for College for Bishops: HOB elected Les Callahan, a lay member of the Diocese of Atlanta.
Reports were provided on: College for Bishops by Bishop Neil Alexander of Atlanta and Bishop Dean Wolfe of Kansas: Episcopal Schools by Bishop Tom Breidenthal of Southern Ohio; ministry to servicepersons and veterans by Bishop Jay Magness of Federal Ministries; Solitaries by Bishop Russell Jacobus of Fond du Lac; toward General Convention by Bishop Dean Wolfe of Kansas.
The Presiding Bishop concluded the meeting calling it “grace filled,” which was met with applause.
Closing Eucharist was celebrated by Bishop Dean Wolfe; preacher was Bishop Dena Harrison of Texas.