The Episcopal Church Resolutions You DIDN’T Hear About
Sure, all the attention went to making Canon law say that you WILL hire a person of unspecified gender and sexual history for your church nursery. That, and giving your bishop a handy dandy little ritual to hand to your priest when the folks who detest marriage as a primitive livestock and rape exchange come demanding to be married. You might be yelling at said priest and bishop about that stuff, but they’re reassuring you, “Hey, it will be only one part of our local missional contextualization. Besides, did’ja hear about all the really great mission and ministry work that General Convention did for us? The stuff those hateful fundy bloggers ignored?”
Well, not to be lumped in with hateful fundy bloggers, SF proudly reports some of those great resolutions that will create enthusiastic and effective action in your congregation. (Yep, just like during those heady days of GC 77, go to the link and scroll down. For some reason, TEC still uses oppressive, hierarchical Western alphabetical and numerical order rather than symbols reflecting the diversity of expression in our global faith communities. But I digress).
A040, declaring your parish or mission as the moral voice of health care in your town! Although the final resolution backed away from giving you a pastoral command to support the current health care law, check out the explanatory material:
Episcopalians who live in the United States should be aware of the legislative commitment made to improve health care through the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Unless Episcopalians make the moral commitment to support the provisions of that law, the goal of the legislative commitment will be eroded away as budget decisions are made on federal and state levels.
Given what we know from the Presidential campaign, your church just told you that you have to vote for President Obama. So all those conservative jokes about “The Anointed One” were prophetic!
The resolution also assumes the continued funding of that cool Episcopal lobbying office and staff in DC, which your giving will support to the tune of $2,700,000 over the next three years (see lines 111 &113 at the link).
But wait, there’s more great stuff…
B023 says you will “resist the development of…fossil fuel,” but also says that you will support all the workers and families put out of work and impoverished by your resistance.
B026, sponsored by no less than V. Gene Robinson, extolls the denominational health plan that is presently containing costs for older singles and “couples” (let the reader understand) in affluent communities while busting the budgets of congregations in rural and sparsely populated mission fields, or with the hubris to hire married clergy with kids. It also tells your congregation to get on board if you are one of the 25% who haven’t yet funded VGR’s quality of life.
GC rejected C022, from the squalid, fly-over people of West Missouri. That resolution would have suspended the forced participation in the VGR & friends’ denominational health plan until some way of holding down rates for normal congregations like yours could be achieved. Pay up.
Likewise nuked was Central New York’s C027, which would have allowed your congregation to shop around for staff health care instead of be forced to buy the plan that takes care of singles and their partners in REAL New York.
C033 says that you want Washington, DC to
send a couple of extra Democrats to the Senate be the 51st State.
C043, from uncool Ohio, was another evil resolution against your deepest, truest interest. It would have allowed your diocese to substitute its own work for that of the national church by negotiating health insurance that could save your parish some big bucks on premiums. Thankfully, it was defeated by the wisdom of GenCon.
We know, dear reader, that you are not like the rubes out there who don’t appreciate what old, gay clergy couples are doing for the church. The losers in Province VI ALSO put up a resolution, C068, to suspend the TEC health plan. Rejected, of course, in your name and best interest.
Ah, but to your rescue comes C077, a searing “Condemnation of Wage Theft,” which is
...not paying employees the wages and benefits to which they are entitled
Your rector, wardens and vestry will be all up in your boss’ face until you get that raise and bennies. Hopefully, you will show your gratitude by contributing more to help them cover your priest’s health care premiums.
Just in case your rector, wardens and vestry are busy next time your contract is negotiated, C078 was passed to “Restore Episcopal Network for Economic Justice.” You should be in good shape because this group will have funds to
...collaborate with and report to the Diversity, Social and Environmental Ministries Team at the Episcopal Church Center…
OK, OK, is our report causing you anxiety? Blood pressure up a bit? Well, GC had your health in mind with C114. Annoying people like us won’t be around to bring you disturbing news if TEC has its way,
...the creation of a joint task force with the Presbyterian and United Methodist denominations to: access the threat to religious freedom posed by the activities of the Institute on Religion and Democracy and related groups, develop recommendations to mitigate such threats, and ascertain the cost to the three denominations of litigation…
That one, by the way, was sponsored by Episcopalians in the Diocese of REAL New York.
Hey, did you notice some funk the last time you took a flight? Well, the folks flying to Indy for GC 2012 sure did. They passed C119 to
...support federal legislation, directed at the nation’s ports: to require local and regional port authorities to reduce air pollution…
More than that, it assures your clean, healthy travel by supporting union organizing in the ports.
Live in a ghastly state like South Dakota, where you can legally carry your unconcealed firearm? Well, suffer no longer. D003 requests EVERY parish and diocesan place of work to declare their establishments as Gun Free Zones.
Now stop whining, you gun wingnut. Your safety is protected by D005, by which your rector’s next sermon will bring the blessings of peace to your community, the nation and the world, as s/he echoes GC 77’s
...call on all Episcopalians to respond to terrorism, not by demonizing and dehumanizing terrorists, but rather with a courageous passion for justice… (and) for the United States government to shift rhetoric and responses to terrorism away from treating terrorists as warriors in the context of a “war on terror”...
If only GC could be in operation all the time! Sadly, D028 comes too late to stop the hateful, genocidal Governor of Wisconsin, but perhaps it will be taken up by your congregation, to keep your city or state hurtling toward bankruptcy:
...the General Convention opposes legislative attempts to eliminate or reduce the collective bargaining rights of public or private sector employees as running contrary to our gospel understanding of community…
You heard all that news about unpaid student loans and their role in our national debt? Well, GC 77 will bring some of that action your way with D049,
...(TEC will) start a pilot program of student loans for covering seminary costs to seminarians… who will commit to spending their first three years after ordination in an under-served area of the Church… at the end of which time their loans would be forgiven…
I am trying to find the companion resolution that says “a loan is a grant.” Will let you know when I do.
The world IS going to get better very soon, though, thanks to D050. Clergy all across your town will launch like rockets from the pulpits some upcoming Sunday:
...all Diocesan Bishops (will) distribute to their clergy “A Prophetic Call to Clergy Action” encouraging them to sign the Call to Action and to commit to teaching, preaching and organizing to unify people of faith around reducing poverty and increasing economic and racial justice.
I’m sure this will dovetail with negotiating a new contract with your boss so you don’t suffer that wage robbery thing.
While your priest is busy with that stuff, D055 requires you to
...urge (your) members of Congress to enact…legislation… to enact stricter controls on the use of carbon-based fuels…
Hopefully your Congress folks aren’t jokesters who respond by impounding your car.
D057 was “discharged” as having been covered by other resolutions. Too bad, because I was all set to have fun with its title, “Tools for Committees.” I mean, who else runs for those things these days?
D061 might need attention from your inclusive faith community! It creates a dangerous loophole, calling for
...solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered persons and all other sexual minorities who are threatened or persecuted in the name of Christ.
This leaves, say, hanging homosexuals in the name of Allah pretty much in the clear.
If your inclusive community doesn’t have a seminarian to take out one of those new TEC student loans, D067 says you should be honoring other students under the DREAM Act:
...congregations, dioceses, and/or provinces encourage undocumented youth to apply for such scholarships.
D087 calls for
A bold new federal program, solely focused on the creation of new jobs
D092 allows your congregation to focus on all of the good works listed so far, by rejecting a call for the church to look at the barriers that prevent dioceses and individuals from participating in the just-perfect-if-you’re-an-old-gay-couple TEC health plan. Its rejection was well deserved, as its mean sponsors put a hateful statement in the explanatory notes:
This negatively affected minority inlcudes eligible employees younger than the median age of the risk pool, who can often find comparable individual plans for less than half the (Denominational Health Plan) rate, and churches in rural areas, who are paying annual family premiums upwards of $35,000.
If you’ve read through all of this material, which is only a sliver of the mighty works wrought by General Convention, you might be despairing of finding the time and resources to act on any of it. But fear not. I’ve reviewed it and it can be accomplished by focusing on only two priorities:
1) Work, pray and give for the re-election of President Obama;
2) Work, pray and give for low cost, Cadillac medical coverage for Bishop Gene Robinson and his partner.
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