Wednesday, September 8, 2010

TEXAS: House of Deputies President to Headline Inclusion Conference

[From Episcopal News Service]
September 8, 2010

Episcopal Church House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson will be the featured speaker at an October conference about the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians in the life and ministry of the Episcopal Church.

The "Moving Forward: Exploring a New Path to Full Inclusion" conference will be held at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Houston Oct. 1-2.
The conference comes in response to what a press release called "longstanding calls from church leadership for deep theological conversation" about inclusion.

The free conference is sponsored by the cathedral and includes parishes that are "conversation partners" from across the Diocese of Texas who may, or may not, support full inclusion, but who do support conversation, according to the release.

Anderson will preach during the conference's opening Eucharist at 7 p.m. on Oct. 1.

On Oct. 2, the conference will include three panel discussions. In the first session, Anderson and her chancellor, Sally Johnson, will discuss the effort towards full inclusion and what the future holds. Their presentation will include opportunities for conversation about the proposed Anglican Covenant and a "local option" proposal made by former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker in March to allow individual parishes to vote on the position that they would take on sexual issues.

The second session, titled "Home by Another Way, Inclusion Conversations that Work," will feature the Rev. John Bedingfield, rector of St. John's Episcopal Church, Silsbee, who has provided leadership for inclusion conversations in east Texas; Anne Brown, whom the release calls an "inclusion conversation veteran" who serves as the communications director for the Diocese of Vermont; Tamika R. Caston, an African American educator and spiritual director from Houston, who will discuss her experiences finding common ground in potentially hostile environment; and Jason Sierra, who will offer a youth perspective based upon his work in campus ministries for the Episcopal Church.

The panel for "Exploring the Theology: Liturgical and Pastoral Implications of Full Inclusion," the final discussion, will include the Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, a New Testament professor at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin and member of the House of Bishop's Committee on Theology Committee, the Rev. Ruth Meyers, a liturgy professor at Church Divinity School of the Pacific and the chair of the church's Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, and the Rev. Lowell Grisham, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas and co-convenor of the Chicago Consultation.
"This conference will be an opportunity to affirm the ministry and contribution of all members of the Diocese of Texas as well as hear a perspective from the larger church," the Very Rev. Joe Reynolds, dean of Christ Church Cathedral, said in the release.

More information about the conference is available here.

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