Category Archives: Massachusetts Bishops

More New England bishops weigh in

In his “Articles of Faith” blog on Friday, Michael Paulson updated his July 21 Boston Globe story on New England bishops’ response to General Convention’s action regarding “generous pastoral response.”

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Bishops share impressions, invite members to Aug. 13 hearing

With the Episcopal Church’s triennial General Convention having concluded last week, the Diocese of Massachusetts’ bishops today wrote to diocesan clergy and lay leadership to share some impressions and an invitation to an Aug. 13 hearing.  The text of the letter follows.   Continue reading

“Pastoral generosity” vote tally still pending

It’s the last legislative day, and the House of Deputies spent this morning’s session mostly in debate of resolution C056, calling for the collection and development of theological and liturgical resources for blessing same-gender relationships.  Of note to dioceses in states such as Massachusetts where same-gender marriage is legal, the resolution also says that bishops “may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of the church.”

Some of the ongoing debate has been focused on exactly what “generous pastoral response” means.  Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE said in this Religion News Service story posted at Beliefnet that he is not putting forth an interpretation until he’s had a chance to confer further with colleagues and members of the diocese.

“I am pleased they gave us the pastoral generosity we need to deal with our context in Massachusetts,” Bishop Shaw said.

The results of this morning’s vote by orders in the House of Deputies were not announced before the break for the convention’s closing Eucharist at 11:30 a.m. Pacific time.  The final legislative session of convention resumes at 2 p.m.

How roomy?: A Day Nine message from Bishop Cederholm

Bishop Bud Cederholm writes:  

Bishop Bud Cederholm in the House of Bishops yesterday

Bishop Bud Cederholm in the House of Bishops yesterday

“I realized these two weeks how much I feel at home in the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion.  It’s not always a comfortable home, but it is where I am loved and accepted by all.  It is the strength and gift of the Episcopal Church to be a haven and home to all people, including those we disagree with.

“During the conversations regarding blessing same-sex marriages and unions, bishops on either side spoke passionately about making room for each other when we disagree.  I go home knowing we have sincerely sought to listen to each other and sought to have our resolutions reflect that roominess.  I like that in our congregations but am heartbroken when people with different agendas do not make room and engage in power struggles (overt and covert) leading to conflict.  I go home knowing our call continues to make room for all people.  Every congregation and diocese, like every home, is charged with making sure there is generous hospitality and room for all.  How roomy does it feel in your home?  Your home congregation?  Our diocese?  Admittedly, we all have work to do in making room for all.   Continue reading

Health and lay pension plans for the whole church

Even with all the attention being paid to high profile matters in recent days, not to be overlooked is this significant action which will affect congregations on a day-to-day basis:  The House of Deputies yesterday concurred with the bishops to make mandatory a denominational health insurance plan (resolution A177)  and a lay pension plan (resolution A138).  

The health insurance plan (which the Diocese of Massachusetts switched to earlier this year) will be administered by the Church Pension Fund, working through the Episcopal Church Medical Trust.  It applies to clergy and lay employees working a minimum of 1,500 hours a year for dioceses, parishes, missions and other designated organizations.  It will be implemented gradually over a period starting this fall and into 2012.

The lay pension plan, also administered by Church Pension Fund, applies to persons working a minimum of 1,000 hours a year, and will be implemented in 2011.

The committee work and hearings leading up to these votes have been pretty complex.  Bishop Gayle E. Harris, who chaired the Church Pension Fund Legislative Committee, tells us a little bit more about the results here.

Economy and generosity: A Day Eight message from Bishop Shaw

07/15/09:  Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE writes:

Bishop Laura Ahrens of Connecticut and Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, on the floor of the House of Bishops today.

Bishop Laura Ahrens of Connecticut and Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, on the floor of the House of Bishops today.

“Convention buzz today has been partly about the budget for the next triennium.  According to the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance this proposed budget of just over $141 million for the triennium (down from $164 million for 2007-2009) was built around ‘hope, mission, accountability, transparency and honesty.’   Continue reading

Two bishops, a covenant and a campaign

07/15/09:  Today’s General Convention Eucharist theme was care for creation, and Bishop Steven Charleston’s sermon got frequent mention throughout the day around the convention halls.  It’s available in the on demand section of the General Convention Media Hub.

Resolution C070 asks the Episcopal Church to sign on to the Genesis Covenant, committing to work to reduce greenhouse emissions from its facilities by a minimum of 50 percent within 10 years.  Bishop Charleston, former president and dean of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge and now assistant bishop in the Diocese of California, and Massachusetts’ Bishop Bud Cederholm sat down at the close of a long day of business to talk about the Genesis Covenant, the 350 Campaign and what they hope people of all faiths will do to join in urgent care for creation.  (This was recorded in a cavernous room.  Turn up your volume so you don’t miss a word.)