An Update from GC79: Bishop Benfield

An Update from Bishop Benfield:

The 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church has settled into its work. There are nine legislative days of convention, and we have finished three of them. The six that remain will be filled with legislative action.

Much of convention so far has been spent in committee work. These meetings begin at 7:30 a.m., and often end at 9 p.m. We are lucky to get thirty-minute meal breaks. The committee meetings are important. The testimony of people regarding proposed legislation has, on more than one occasion, helped me see things differently than I saw them before coming to Austin. As we continue, the focus of work will move from committees to the floors of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies. When we are not meeting to work on legislation, we are attending sessions dealing with racial reconciliation, evangelism, and the care of creation.

In the House of Bishops, we are still waiting to take up issues surrounding worship, such as a proposal to begin work on updating the Book of Common Prayer. Saturday the House of Deputies voted to proceed with a twelve-year project to do so. Debate among the bishops will definitely be lively.

A unique aspect of General Convention is seeing the breadth of the Episcopal Church. Through the hallways will walk Spanish-speaking Hondurans, ecumenical representatives from Europe, young people attending their first large church meeting, and long-time monks and nuns of our Religious Orders. The face of the risen Christ is taking many forms.