Listed below are the resolutions that have been PASSED (one is marked as "tabled") by the convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas since 2008, listed by year. This list does not include resolutions to admit new missions and parishes or courtesy resolutions.
Resolution for Racial Reconciliation and Becoming Beloved Community
Be it Resolved, That the 147th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas recognize the ongoing need to dismantle racism and facilitate racial healing, justice, and reconciliation; and be it further
Resolved, That the 147th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas encourage congregations make use of the resources for Becoming Beloved Community and other programs that foster dismantling racism and promoting racial healing, justice, and reconciliation; and be it further
Resolved, That the 147th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas encourage parishes to learn about and to share information about diocesan and state figures pertaining to black history during Black History Month.
Submitted by the Rev. Sara Milford; Co-sponsors, the Rev. Ray Brown and Judge Robert Brown.
Resolution for Seeking Truth, Reconciliation, and Restoration
Be it Resolved, That following Resolution D016 of the 79th Annual General Convention of the Episcopal Church, the 147th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas recognize any form of gender-based discrimination, harassment, and violence against all children of God (including, but not limited to: sexual and gender harassment, sexual assault, physically, spiritually, and emotionally abusive behavior, and oppression based on gender) as contrary to our baptismal vows; and be it further
Resolved, That the 147th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas acknowledge our corporate sin and seek to repent, seeking reconciliation and restoration of dignity, that all would be restored to God and to one another; and be it further
Resolved, That the 147th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas invite all congregations in the diocese collectively to fast and repent for these sins and for individuals to seek healing for sexual harassment, discrimination, and violence perpetrated against them on Ash Wednesday, March 6th, 2019.
Submitted by the Rev. Sara Milford; Co-sponsors: The Revs. Teri Daily, Peggy Cromwell, Gwen Fry, Marna Franson, Susan Payne, Suzanne Stoner, Joyce Hardy, Stan McKinnon.
Resolution for Providing Spanish Translation
Be it Resolved, That the 147th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas recognize the need of translation and interpretation to allow for the full inclusion of all participants; and be it further
Resolved, That a translator and translated material will be provided for native Spanish-speakers at diocesan-wide events from this point forward to the extent that it is required and is possible to facilitate full participation and understanding.
Submitted by the Rev. Sara Milford; Co-sponsor, the Rev. Guillermo Castillo.
Resolution for Support of the Immigrant and Refugee
Be it Resolved, That the 147th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas encourage the parishes, parishioners, and organizations of the diocese, to engage in dialogue with and to extend hospitality to the immigrant community among us; and be it further Resolved, That the 147th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas support immigration laws, policies, and practices at national, state, and local levels that affirm the dignity of every human being and do “not wrong or oppress a resident alien” (Exodus 22:21); and be it further
Resolved, That the 147th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas affirm congregations that become places of welcome, refuge, and healing; that offer other forms of material and pastoral support for those targeted for deportation due to immigration status or some perceived status of difference; and that work alongside friends, families, and neighbors to ensure the dignity and human rights of all people; and be it further
Resolved, That congregations in the Diocese of Arkansas are encouraged to partner with Episcopal Migration Ministries and other ministries and organizations that support immigrants and refugees, especially at the local level, to become part of the Episcopal Public Policy Network, to take part in the ministry of public policy advocacy, and to share their experiences and successes so that they might be communicated throughout the diocese.
Submitted by the Rev. Sara Milford.
Resolution Acknowledging the Work of the Poor People’s Campaign
Be it Resolved, That the 147th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas acknowledge the unfinished work of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign; and be it further
Resolved, That the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas lead in action, ministry, and official support of the efforts of the 2018 Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, and other efforts to address matters of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation, and distorted morality in Arkansas and our nation; and be it further
Resolved, That the clergy and laity of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas strive diligently to reclaim the moral narrative to proclaim the Good News that is loving, life-giving, and liberating for all.
Submitted by the Rev. Sara Milford.
Resolution on Equality for Transgender Persons
Resolved, That the 145th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas, meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas, February 17-18, 2017, affirms the God given dignity, integrity, and equality of transgender people, and the faithful, courageous witness of transgender Episcopalians.
Resolved, That we encourage the Bishop’s office to recommend or offer education programs to congregations and groups wanting to learn more about the Christian transgender community in the Diocese of Arkansas and the church at large, and to better understand the theology, philosophy and science pertaining to gender identity and expression.
Resolved, That we recognize that to those charged with pastoral responsibility for youth in schools, camps, and other ministries and programs, considerations of biological sex and gender identity are both important, requiring loving, careful consideration and case by case discretion.
Resolved, That the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas encourage Episcopalians to support laws, policies, and practices that enhance the safety, privacy, and dignity of transgender persons, and to oppose those that do not.
Explanation: In 2012, the 77th General Convention passed two resolutions (D002 and D019) that added gender identity and expression to the Episcopal Church’s non- discrimination canons. Other resolutions at the 76th and the 77th General Conventions have lifted up the lives and ministries of transgender people both in and outside the church, and further affirmed the equality of transgender people in the life of the church and support of transgender equality at the federal, state and municipal levels.
In that spirit, Arkansas Episcopalians are called to guard the dignity and God- given equality of transgender people. By advocating for the creation of just laws, policies, and practices, by seeking to more fully understand gender identity as part of God’s creation, and where appropriate by communicating our position as Christians to our leaders and elected officials, we make tangible our baptismal promise to respect the dignity of every human being.
Resolution against Hand Guns on Campus
Whereas the Episcopal Church speaks a language of peace and non-violence;
Whereas handguns can be dangerous in the hands of persons who are not adequately trained in their use;
Whereas certified law enforcement officers have the proper training in respect to active shooter situations;
Whereas college and university administrators and their law enforcement know best the needs and appropriate methods to protect students, faculty, and staff;
Whereas current law allows Board and Administrators of Universities and Colleges to make decisions for each campus with respect to guns on campus;
Whereas Board and Administrators at Arkansas Colleges and Universities have made the unanimous decision to disallow guns on campus;
Whereas legislation is under consideration by the Arkansas legislature that mandates that faculty and staff of Arkansas Colleges and Universities who hold Arkansas conceal carry permits may carry hand guns on campus without the decision of Board and Administrators at Arkansas Colleges and Universities;
Now be it resolved by the 145th convention of the Diocese of the Episcopal Church in Arkansas that the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Arkansas opposes legislation that removes the decision of Arkansas institutions of Higher Education to make their own decisions with regards to guns on campus, and encourages the members of the Arkansas legislature to vote against the proposed legislation.
Social Justice Resolution
Whereas God has called the prophets to bring His people to do justice, love, kindness and walk humbly with our God.
And as Jesus has always called us to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, cloth the naked, visit the sick and to be with those in prison.
And as our Bishop has asked us to have faith, be the resurrection to those who are on the margins, and step into the waters that surround us.
Therefore, be it resolved, that the 145th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas encourage our congregations to extend hospitality and welcome to our refugee and immigrant neighbors, to encourage the preservation of families, and to celebrate the cultural and economic benefits we enjoy thanks to their energy and sacrifice.
Furthermore, remembering our baptismal vows, we pledge to the extent of our individual abilities to defend the rights of those to whom justice has been denied, and support the right of all people:
- To be free from hunger
- To have clean water
- To live in safe haven
- To adequate healthcare, and
- To access a fair justice system.
A Resolution on the Rights and Dignity of Every Human Being
Whereas Jesus instructs his disciples to “love your neighbor as yourself”; and,
Whereas the Episcopal Church respects the dignity of every human being; and,
Whereas the Rt. Rev. Larry Benfield, Bishop of the Diocese of Arkansas has voiced his opposition to cloaking the desire to discriminate in the language of religion,
BE IT RESOLVED that the 143rd Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas supports the Rt. Rev. Larry Benfield in his position and declares its opposition to Arkansas House Bill 1228, allowing discrimination against gay, lesbian, and transgender people if that discrimination is based on religious conviction; and against Senate Bill 202, barring localities from passing anti-discrimination laws.
A Resolution to Recommit to Reduce Gun Violence [TABLED]
Whereas the 141st Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas passed a Resolution to Reduce Gun Violence submitted by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship in Arkansas that called for faith communities to take an appropriate stand against gun violence; and,
Whereas gun violence has continued to be a serious public health issue in Arkansas and in the United States,
BE IT RESOLVED that the 143rd Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas recommits itself to the Resolution to Reduce Gun Violence from the 141st Convention.
Lowell Grisham made a motion to table the resolution and there was a second. The motion passed.
Action to Reduce Gun Violence
Resolved, that the 141st Annual Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas, in response to the high number of mass shootings and daily deaths from gun violence, joins with many faith communities in an emerging moral consensus by calling for the following steps to be taken by lawmakers:
- A clear ban on all future sale of military-style semi-automatic weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines and high-impact ammunition (i.e. ammunition more deadly than ordinarily used in hunting);
- Making gun trafficking a federal crime;
- Requiring universal background checks on all gun sales;
- Mental health care reform, including increased funding and improved care for our most vulnerable citizens;
- A critical look at our culture’s glorification of violence;
and be it further
Resolved, that the 141st Annual Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas encourages all members of this Diocese, individually and with our faith communities, to take the following pledge, as requested by The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs and The Episcopal Public Policy Network:
“As an Episcopalian committed in baptism to seeking justice and peace and promoting the dignity of every human being, I commit to being part of the solution to the violence in our culture that claimed the lives of 28 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School and that claims the lives of 2000 innocent children through gun crimes each year. I commit to the pursuit of laws that keep guns out of the hands of criminals, prioritize the needs of at-risk children, provide care for mental illness, and address the many ways in which our culture both celebrates and trivializes violence. I commit to holding my lawmakers, my community, and my own household accountable. I commit to accomplishing these things in 2013. I commit to being the change we need;”
and be it further
Resolved, that the 141st Annual Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas encourages all members of this Diocese to work within our churches through prayer, preaching, education (including an examination of how Christianity has been complicit in the culture of violence), and advocacy, toward reducing gun violence in our nation and in the world.
Resolution to the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas
Whereas the church is in a unique position to offer the message of hope and reconciliation in the context of a deeply divided nation and world, and
Whereas, civil discourse has been shown to promote peace in situations defined by strife, and
Whereas, the newly formed Arkansas chapter of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship contends that prayer and participation in peace-oriented organizations serve to bring about positive change in this regard,
Be it therefore resolved that the 139th Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas encourages membership and active participation in the Episcopal Peace Fellowship.
Explanation: The mission of the newly formed Arkansas Chapter of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF) and the national EPF is to: 1.) Do justice. 2.) Dismantle violence and 3.) Strive to be peacemakers. It takes its mission as having a biblical mandate from Matthew 5:9 ("Happy are those who work for peace; God will call them his children," Good News Bible) and Psalm 34:14 ("Turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it").
Concerning the Campaign for a Death Penalty Moratorium and Study Commission
Whereas, the Episcopal Church of the United States of America assembled in General Convention has long expressed opposition to capital punishment through the passage of resolutions; and
Whereas, the Thirteenth Bishop of the Diocese of Arkansas, the Right Rev. Larry R. Benfield, has gone on record as opposing the state sponsored execution of persons, and
Whereas, the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has presented its plans to Bishop Benfield regarding its intentions to conduct a campaign requesting Gov. Mike Beebe to declare a moratorium on executions in Arkansas while a study commission appointed by the Governor explores the application and ramifications of the death penalty practices in Arkansas, and
Whereas, this moratorium effort seeks to collect the signatures of 100,000 registered Arkansas voters as an expression of the will of Arkansans toward this moratorium and study commission; now therefore,
Be it resolved by the 136 convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas gathered in convention in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on February 22-23 go on record as being in favor of the moratorium and study commission campaign of the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty ; and
Be it further resolved that the representatives to the diocesan convention urge the members of their local parishes to express their support of the moratorium and study commission campaign by signing the moratorium petitions and assisting in the gathering of signatures.
Submit a Resolution
Submit a resolution to the Resolutions Committee by Feb. 1 for consideration at diocesan convention in Feb. 2020.
Resolutions may be submitted in person to the chair of the Resolutions Committee by 8:00 a.m. on the Saturday of diocesan convention (Feb. 15, 2020), but any resolutions so submitted must focus on a topic of immediacy that precluded its submission by the deadline (Feb. 1, 2020).