The First Theological Council, April 8-9
Feast of the Epiphany, 2011
May the Lord help us to “preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord,
and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor. 4.5)
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace and peace to you in Christ Jesus.
As I stated at convention and have repeated several times since, how we are in relationship with one another is the canvas upon which our common life is painted. It is utterly fundamental and colors all the claims we make to the world about the loving grace and salvation of Jesus Christ as Lord of the universe. Getting right with each other is at the very heart of our Christian vocation. It is a sign of our relationship with Jesus himself.
Since last March at the Clergy Business Day and continuing with the Fall Clergy Conference and the October Diocesan Convention, we have begun a disciplined process of open dialogue on matters of critical importance to our common life. Through these initial efforts at establishing norms for how we are in relationship with each other as Episcopalians in Upper South Carolina, we have already experienced some measure of new understanding and compassion for one another.
Call for Special Convention:
The 1st Theological Council of the Episcopal Church in Upper South Carolina
In light of our call to continue and deepen our disciplined practice of open dialogue, I am, with the full support of the Diocesan Executive Council, calling a special, non-legislative convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina. The purpose of this 1st Theological Council of the Episcopal Church in Upper South Carolina is to engage in substantive biblical and theological dialogue on norms for how we are in relationship with one another and to practice these norms in a dialogue on human sexuality.
How will we go about this dialogue?
Our first priority will be to ensure a safe, secure, and open environment that will keep us mindful of our unity in Christ Jesus. The introduction to the proposed Anglican Covenant, as well as The Rule of St. Benedict, provides helpful scriptural guidance for being together in this way. We will ground our dialogue in a rhythm of prayer and worship, flowing from meals, to worship, to spoken meditation, to reflection, to small group discussion, and then to plenary discussion.
How can I prepare for the Council?
We will send to all attendees reference materials that will assist our dialogue on norms and on human sexuality. These materials will include readings from scripture, the Anglican Covenant, The Rule of St. Benedict, and the fall clergy conference norms.
What will the result of this Council be?
Again, the dialogue is the purpose. We will issue no statements from this Council but only a reporting of the event and how it unfolded. We will have no voting. We will have no hidden agendas. The goal is to expand how we understand one another and how deeply we engage one another in Christ. We do know that General Convention will make decisions in 2012 and 2015 that will affect our common life, and I believe strongly that before then, we must make biblically informed, healthy dialogue a norm for all of us, so that we will be able to discuss those decisions with grace and integrity. We must know more fully who we are as a people.
Who will participate?
◦All clergy who are canonically resident or currently licensed in Upper South Carolina
◦Certified 2011 lay delegates*
◦Certified 2011 youth deputies**
◦Lay members and officers of Diocesan Executive Council
◦Lay deputies to General Convention
◦Convocational lay wardens
◦Postulants, candidates, and seminarians
◦2011 senior and junior wardens
* Certification forms will be available online
** To be elected at March convocation meetings
When and where will the 1st Theological Council take place?
We will gather on Friday and Saturday, April 8 and 9, 2011, at Christ Church, Greenville. The Council will begin at 4:30 pm on Friday the 8th and conclude by 5:00 pm on the 9th. Registration will open at 2:00 pm on Friday.
How much will it cost?
The cost will be $25 per person, and includes Friday dinner and Saturday lunch. I hope the churches will pay this fee for their delegates. A block of rooms has been reserved at The Phoenix Inn. The cost of $79/night includes a full hot breakfast buffet. Reservations can be made by calling 800-257-3529 or 864-233-4651 and providing the block title “Episcopal Diocese.”
I recognize that, by calling this 1st Theological Council, I am asking churches and delegates to make a special and additional commitment. Because of the overnight schedule, we have decided to shorten the October 2011 business convention to one day. At the time of the Council, we will be in the heart of Lent, our season of repentance, reconciliation, fasting, and preparation for the Feast of the Resurrection. I can imagine no better way to prepare for that feast than by reconciling ourselves to God and to one another through deep and holy dialogue.
Faithfully in Christ Jesus,
The Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo, Bishop
The Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina
Friday, January 07, 2011
First Theological Council For Upper SC
This came via the EDUSC yesterday. I can't comment right now; I haven't gotten up off the floor after its first pass through my digestive system.