I was at the front of the line at the end of the legislative session in the House of Deputies on Friday when the house adjourned. Come Saturday, the house voted to end discussion before I could make these remarks. This is what I intended to say.
Madam President. I rise to speak against A068. I am a cradle Episcopalian and for the past 15 plus years I have had the opportunity to work throughout the Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion as an evangelist (an Episcopal evangelist) working with parishes and dioceses seeking how we can embody the good news of Jesus in word and action in our world.
For the past two years I have had the joy of being part of the Presiding Bishop’s revival team seeing revivals happening all over our church from San Joaquin to Pittsburgh to Georgia to West Missouri and Honduras. Literally thousands in Honduras gathered for revival — an 8 hour revival (joy and praise overflowing) and then Honduran young adults went out onto the streets (streets named some of the most dangerous in the world by the U.N.) with the Presiding Bishop and prayed with people for hours.
Brothers and sisters, I have been an Episcopalian my entire life and I have never witnessed such a move of God in our midst as we are seeing now as we come together — placing Jesus at the center of our common life and getting on with the mission of the church, focusing on evangelism, reconciliation, and creation care. There is a fresh move of the Holy Spirit and we all sense it. God is on the move in the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.
What is also evident is that our world is hungry and desperate for good news and the love of Jesus, as was evident in the Presiding Bishop’s royal wedding sermon. Did you know Episcopal was the most Googled word that day? Why? Our world is hungry for the love of Jesus he shared.
People were asking, What is his church? Who is his God?
I implore you, house, to not vote for comprehensive prayer book revision at this time, for the following reasons:
Province IX, composed of Honduras and many of our Latin American brothers and sisters, have said they will have to walk alone and away from the Episcopal Church if we enter into comprehensive revision at this time. They are our brothers and sisters. We cannot lose them. We will be significantly diminished without them.
Furthermore, if this passes, many of us will return to our parishes and the focus will not be on the work of the Jesus Movement but prayer book Revision. This will lead to significant division in some of our dioceses. Division is not the heart of God.
I am not saying that our prayer book does not need some revising. What I am advocating is space for all. I believe there are ways where we can all be at the table — all God’s people holding a rich diversity of theological perspectives. We need each other. God is moving in the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. May we take this season to focus on our mission of evangelism, racial reconciliation, social justice, and creation care.
Our divisive world needs a witness to true Beloved Community that listens and gives space to all voices centered together on Jesus and his way of love. What a witness the Episcopal Church would be if there could be a big tent for all of us. I believe this is possible, but passing A068 is not the way forward. Let’s give our time, talent, resources and focus to prayer, revivals, justice, racial reconciliation, and sharing of the loving, liberating, life-giving Jesus.