[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church is meeting in Nashville, TN (Diocese of Tennessee) through September 24. The following is an account of the activities for Saturday, September 21.
The theme for the fall meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops is Transforming Loss into Possibilities.
The day began with Eucharist, celebrated by Bishop Rob Wright, Diocese of Atlanta; HOB chaplain the Rev. Simon Bautista of the Diocese of Washington preached.
The emcee for the day was Bishop Andrew Dietsche, Diocese of New York.
The first session focused on Formation for Mission led by Bishop Thomas Breidenthal of Southern Ohio. Bishop Breidenthal’s presentation was met with tremendous enthusiasm and provoked deep discussion about theology and ministry. One image that captured the House’s imagination was Baptism as not only washing us from sin but also “expelling us –like birth- away from a life of safety and security and into the vulnerable places of the world.” He noted, “Mission is not what we do but what God does and we are invited to get swept up into it.”
Episcopal Church Chief Operating Officer Bishop Stacy Sauls presented the innovative Diocesan Partnership Program. He started by explaining that The Missionary Society is the simplification of the corporate name of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. It represents the effort of reorienting the work of the churchwide staff to work with the dioceses and to be facilitators of mission. This happens as the staff offers (1) support for diocesan ministry (2) leveraging resources for this ministry (3) makes connections throughout the church. Bishop Sauls stressed that this is in contrast to a “corporate headquarters” model of church where money flows upward and program flows downward.
The Church Pension Group presented information to HOB. Bishop Wayne Wright of Delaware and a member of the CPG board introduced: Mary Kate Wold, CPG President and Chief Executive Officer; the Rev. Patricia Coller, Executive Vice President and Chief Ecclesiastical Officer; and Frank Armstrong, head of the Medical Trust. The presentation centered on the growing positive impact of the Denominational Health Plan, seeking to offer the best care at the best rates. They are aware and looking at the challenges and opportunities of the Affordable Health Care Act as it affects how we care for our clergy and employees.
The session concluded with Noonday Prayer. Sabbath began after the prayer.