Bishops meet: study evangelism, same sex relationships, renew vows

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church will be meeting March 19-24 at Camp Allen in Texas. They will study the episcopacy in the 21st century, same sex relationships, the Anglican Covenant, evangelism and the emerging church movement. The Office of Public Affairs Newsline reports:

More than 115 bishops of The Episcopal Church will gather for the House of Bishops spring retreat meeting March 19 – 24 in Camp Allen, Texas.

The theme of the gathering will be The Church for the 21st Century and, as such, discussions will focus on opportunities and challenges to today’s ministry along with pioneering topics and forward-thinking proposals.

“Our spring gathering will focus specifically on both the nature of episcopacy and on the evangelistic challenges/opportunities presented by the emergent church movement,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote to the bishops.

Well-known authors and lecturers Diana Butler-Bass and Phyllis Tickle along with others will lead discussions about the fast-growing Emergent Church movement. Other discussions will focus on the groundbreaking Around One Table report and the Anglican Covenant.

The Theology Committee will present a study entitled “Same Sex Relationships in the Life of the Church.” Commissioned in 2008 and authored by a diverse group of eight theologians to present a wide spectrum of views, the representative panel will present the study which includes two major papers, each representing diverse views, along with a response to each paper by the other group. The bishops will discuss the entire study during the gathering; following their discussion and review, it will be available online and will be used as a resource for the Church.

“This is not a position paper, but is an educational piece as part of the Windsor Process,” Bishop Henry Parsley, chair of the Theology Committee, said. “It is a contribution to the discussion happening throughout the Anglican Communion.”

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The bishops will elect the Bishop Suffragan of Federal Ministries and the Bishop of Navajoland. Additionally there will be an election to fill a bishop vacancy on the Board of General Theological seminary.

There will be daily worship and, at the concluding Eucharist, the bishops will renew their vows.

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