VOLUNTEER SHIRT, DIOCESE OF TEXAS
79th GENERAL CONVENTION OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
A LETTER FROM BISHOP STOKES:
Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,
for building up the body of Christ…
Greetings from Austin, where the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church is in full swing. During the first few days of convention, most bishops and deputies spend time working in Legislative Committees. I am Chairperson of The House of Bishops Committee #6 – The Church in Cuba.
In 1966, in response to the political situation between The United States and the Cuban Government at the time, the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church formally separated the Missionary District of The Episcopal Church of Cuba from The Episcopal Church, leaving the Episcopal Church of Cuba an isolated member of the Anglican Communion without a provincial home. A “Metropolitan Council” consisting of the Primate of the Church of Canada, the Primate of the West Indies and a representative of The Episcopal Church was established to work with La Iglesia de Episcopal in Cuba (IEC). Before the 2015 General Convention of The Episcopal Church, the IEC petitioned The Episcopal Church to be reunited. A Task Force was created from that 2015 Convention to pursue the work of reunification. While this might seem like an uncomplicated thing, it’s more difficult than one might guess. There are constitutional, canonical and practical matters, such as back-funding of pensions for clergy who have been serving in Cuba, that have to be explored and settled in order to effect true reunification.
The Task Force that was created wrote a report and proposed a resolution to move toward reunification. The Legislative Committee on which I serve, and part of which I Chair, has responsibility for this work. It has been fascinating. The past few days we have worked to understand the issues involved. Now we are working on legislation that will, we pray, lead toward reunification, if not at this General Convention, at least by the 80th General Convention in 2021. Canon Paul Ambos and Canon Noreen Duncan, both of the Diocese of New Jersey serve on the Church in Cuba Legislative Committee #6. Any resolutions we work on or create will be presented to both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops and must pass both houses in the same form. You can track resolutions here.
This gives you an idea of some of the work and processes of General Convention. I invite you to keep track of all of that is happening at General Convention in Austin through the Episcopal News Service. Please keep the General Convention, the Episcopal Church Triennial and especially those of us from New Jersey in your prayers.
Blessings and peace,
The Right Reverend William H. (Chip) Stokes, D.D.
Bishop of New Jersey
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