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Jul 8, 2012

Helpful Updates from the Episcopal Church General Assembly from Bishop Greg Brewer

If you follow my travel schedule, you know that I speak at a lot of different denominations. In the last month, I've spoken at four denominational annual meetings-- and will do one more next week. I know what you are thinking-- no one should go to that many denominational meetings in one month. :-)

Yet, nowadays, you can follow a denominational meeting without actually being there. For example, the Episcopalians are meeting this week (and next) and I've been dropping in to see what's going on, partly for historical interest and partly because of some relational connections.

For example, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in Washington, D.C. a couple of weeks ago. We were both a part of a small group discussion on how religious leaders could promote civil dialogue. You can read her opening remarks here.

But, from a more personal perspective, I have a very old friend at the meeting, Bishop Greg Brewer. While I was up in NYC teaching for Gordon Conwell at Redeemer House, we met and visited for a while. He tweeted the meeting in a way that shows how he thinks: of more than one thing a time (as we did not discuss liturgy to my recollection).

Had a good lunch with Ed Stetzer.Question:is church liturgy and traditional hymnody no longer relevant tools for a yound adult church?

– Greg Brewer (@revgregbrewer) January 13, 2012

Anyway, Greg had recently been selected Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Central Florida. (I shared about their innovative and helpful election process here.) I was disappointed I could not go to his consecration as a Bishop, and was honored by the invitation, but I was on the way to Brazil. If you want to watch the consecration, it is almost two hours long in parts 1 and 2. There was lots of smells, bells, and Bishops all in the sanctuary of First Baptist Orlando-- the same room where the Exponential Conference is held. If that is too long, look at his first comments as a Bishop-- and you can enjoy the snappy robe and hat. By the way, the staff is called a "crosier", not a "hook."

Anyway, Greg is doing something unique-- creating video blogs from a denominational meeting. They are short but helpful-- explaining the goings on and the meetings as a whole. They are worth watching (and you might consider doing the same at your denominational meeting.)

Perhaps I find this most interesting because Greg is a newly elected Bishop in a mainline denomination that has become know for its liberal stances and is moving toward the adoption of several controversial statements and actions on sexuality at this meeting. As such, the videos are more that just short updates, they give an insider's view of the process itself.

As a Bishop, Greg is certainly an insider and has chosen to be a cooperative part of the Episcopal Church, yet his theological views have been described as "evangelical" and "charismatic." Years ago, the Episcopal Church had a significant evangelical and charismatic renewal movement but most of Anglican leaders that I know, that were once a part of that movement, are now part of the Anglican realignment. (I have most of my connections and friendships in the realignment.) Yet, Greg has remained a committed part of the Episcopal Church and that makes his participation and insights so interesting.

I'll post Greg's videos in this same blog post as he shares them.

Here are the first three:

Day 1: Bishop Brewer at start of General Convention July 5, 2012

Day 2: Bishop Brewer's report after first legislative day

Day 3: General Convention Day 3: Bishop Brewer's report

One of the big discussions (that Bishop Brewer mentions) is the debate over Open Communion. The ENS has more on that issue here. Also, the mention of charges against the Bishops is explained here.

Day 5: Bishop Brewer speaks about the divergent viewpoints within the Episcopal Church and addresses the issue of blessing same-sex relationships.

Day 6: Bishop Brewer comments on the resolution regarding same-sex blessings, sharing his concerns and commitment regarding the Episcopal Church.

Day 7: Bishop Gregory Brewer reports on the plan to restructure The Episcopal Church; orthodox Episcopalians' reaction to same-sex blessing; and non-Norteamericano bishops' presence at Convention.

Day 8: Bishop Gregory Brewer provides some concluding thoughts on the convention.

Please continue to pray with me for Episcopal Church.

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Posted:July 8, 2012 at 12:00 am

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