From Columbus: Bishops consider variety of legislation; endorse PB&F priorities

June 15, 2006

The House of Bishops was greeted in their morning session June 15 by Bishop Macleord Baker Ochola, II, retired, Kitgum Diocese, Northern Uganda. Ochola, one of many international visitors attending General Convention, spoke passionately about the violence perpetrated in Northern Uganda over the past 20 years by warring factions; he appealed for the help of the American church and government.

In legislative action, the bishops adopted resolution A017, which would establish the "fundamental immigration principles" as Episcopal Church policy. Resolution A010, which asks the General Convention to affirm "Call to Partnership," a communiqué presented to the United Nations calling upon governments to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, was also adopted.

Changes in liturgy and new church calendar commemorations were also a major part of the discussion in the morning session.

The bishops discharged resolution D024: "Gender Equality for Women in the Episcopal Church" and re-referred it to a different committee.

Bishops began the afternoon legislative session by joining Deputies for a screening of "Traces of the Trade," a documentary about the slave trade in the northeastern United States.

After a lengthy and at times emotional debate, the bishops approved resolution A020, which grants retired bishops voice and a seat but not a vote.

"The church in the United States and in the Philippines which is modeled after our church, are the only ones in the Anglican Communion who give vote to retired bishops," said Bishop Robert Ihloff of Maryland.

In other action, the bishops also approved resolutions to: support historically Black Colleges with $300,000 (C045); identify and evaluate curriculum materials for use in faith-based reconciliation training for all ages and to make them available in Spanish (A039); summer camps for children of persons in prison (D012); and concurred on resolution A052 to endorse positions of provincial communications specialist for each of the nine provinces in the Episcopal Church.

Additionally, after some debate, the bishops endorsed the Program, Budget and Finance Committee budget priorities (D031) of: justice and peace; young adults, youth and children; reconciliation and evangelism; congregational transformation and reaffirming the importance of partnerships with provinces of the Anglican Communion and beyond.

For more information about General Convention legislation, visit