Back To the House (of Bishops)

Since taking early retirement from my position as the Presiding Bishop’s Deputy for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations at the Church Center and signing on for two years as Interim Dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in my former Diocese of Iowa, I have not been back to a House of Bishops’ meeting. I think retired bishops should stay retired. I certainly think retired bishops should refrain from voting which I will surely do.

However, the current Bishop of Iowa, Alan Scarfe, is on sabbatical and I have been doing some informal, “back up” episcopal ministry since the first of the year. Both Alan and I thought it was important for this diocese of have a pair of eyes and ears (two each!) at the Spring meeting of the House, so I agreed to go. It will be good to see old friends and to spend a few days at the Kanuga Conference Center, near Asheville/Hendersonville, NC. It’s always a pretty time of year up there.

I remember the first Spring meeting we had there after the melt-down General Convention in Phoenix when Ed Browning decided we needed to meet more regularly as bishops, to work on our common life, and to find venues in which to pray and talk and relate to one another, free from the highly-charged “political” atmosphere of General Convention or even the traditional Fall meetings of the House.

I think these meetings have served us well and one doesn’t here the “d” word –“dysfunctional” — thrown around quite so much any more describing the House of Bishops. These Spring meetings used to have more of a ‘retreat’ atmosphere which I always appreciated. I think some of that has gone by the wayside over the years, but the conference/retreat center setting of Kanuga still lends itself to a different feeling for the meeting.

This time we’ll talk about proclamation of the Gospel to teenagers and young adults, spend some time on interfaith matters particularly Christianity and Islam, talk about the proposed Anglican Covenant, and explore the recruitment, selection, and formation of young leaders. I hope to share anything interesting that may come out of these discussions on this blog.

Anyone still out there?




4 Responses to “Back To the House (of Bishops)”

  1. Mary Sue Says:

    As one of those young people who’s going to be talked about*, I would just like to remind you and the rest of my siblings in Christ called to the ministry in the church as a bishop that I am not a demographic.

    I am a child of God.

    And talking about teenagers and young adults must be centered in the latter, most assuredly not the former.

    Safe travels.

  2. Christopher Epting Says:

    Could not agree more, Mary Sue, and certainly HOPE it will be more than just being “talked about.” Expect to have some young adults there and we have all been asked to interview some folks (particularly those who are not currently active in the life of the Church) to hear what they have to say.

  3. Miguel Escobar Says:

    Still out here Bishop Epting. And glad to hear this will be the focus of the upcoming HOB meeting.

  4. Ann Fontaine Says:

    Will be interested to hear what you all say.

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