Leaving on a Jet Plane

General Convention is over. We did lots of work. It was wonderful to see so many friends and work with such a wonderful deputation (Delaware). But it is done and I am exhausted. This is my last General Convention as a deputy, I think. 

Delaware has a great bunch of clergy in their 40's and 50's who will move the pieces forward.  I have lots of confidence that we are well represented by both lay and clergy folk.  And, to be frank, some of what I was doing this time was at considerable personal cost.  So it is time to leave. I do so with mixed feelings. And, you never know.  But right now, enough is enough.

As of the closing gavel last evening I am also finished with my term on Executive Council.  Six years is a long time!  Again, it was good, it was hard work, and in the end there were mixed feelings. The last two years in particular have been painful at times. 

So, moving on. I hope to be involved in work in Haiti and am on the Concordat Committee for the Philippine Independent Church and The Episcopal Church. I will stay active, I hope, in Anglican Communion affairs. Perhaps I will write a new book on the Anglican Communion. We will see.

At General Convention I was very pleased take part in the vote to approve for provisional use new liturgies for the blessing of same sex couples. That is, as they say, a big deal. 

Mark Harris and UTO's Serita Redd, 
It was also a pleasure to serve as the chair of the D020 Task Force on the United Thank Offering Study which produced a study with recommendations for the UTO,  several thoughtful essays, and with the help of UTO leaders, a revised set of by-laws. More important, however, were the relations between the UTO Board and the Task Force members. At the UTO ingathering service members of the Task Force were asked to stand with the provincial UTO reps at the receiving of the offering. It was a sign of the new connection between UTO and the Executive Council. 

Hearing on Anglican Covenant
Working on the subcommittee dealing with the resolutions on the Anglican Covenant was a wonderful experience, although coming to the place of having resolutions to place before the Convention required lots of careful listening. And I stand by the work as constructive in spite of later charges that the committee was dishonest and / or weak.  

My sense is that we were in fact courageous, willing to put forward something that mostly did not satisfy our constituents (remembering that we came from across the spectrum on the issue of what to do with the Covenant). Most of us on the committee had to return to our "natural" community in the church and face various levels of criticism. 

We were honest to the best read we could take of the resolutions, the arguments in them, the places of commonality, and our sense of what would be constructive.  

It was of course a multi-layered response. It could be viewed by all takers as compromise, usually away from where ever the reader was coming from. But it also kept the winner - loser temperature down and the doors open to a convention where very few people felt they had to walk out.  Still, in the end some did, siting both the resolution on same sex blessing and the Anglican Covenant in their reasoning.

Time to look to new challenges and new possibilities. Who knows what is next?  But I do know that I am blessed to be able to be part of this strange lumpy beast of burden called The Episcopal Church and I don't intend to step back. But what stepping forward will look like, I don't know.

Those of you in the Lewes / Rehoboth area on the 20th of July (a week from now) might look in on the member's exhibit at the Rehoboth Art League. The Printmakers have one exhibit area for their own work, and I will have about 10 pieces in that show. The opening is July 20th, 5-7 PM.


  1. THANK YOU, Mark. Happy trails!

  2. Yes --thank you for your hard work and willing service and sacrifice. Thank you. Do take some time. Everyone needs a Sabbath.

  3. I hope and pray your "step forward" includes continuing to write for this blog and other publications. Your insights, when shared here are invaluable.
    Your GC Doppleganger.

  4. John (not McCain)18/7/12 8:31 AM

    "I was very pleased take part in the vote to approve for provisional use new liturgies for the blessing of same sex couples. That is, as they say, a big deal."

    Was there also a vote to approve alternate drinking fountains for black people? Long live seperate but equal!

  5. Thanks for your faithful service, Mark. I do not like the notion of an Executive Council without you on it. Much more do I dislike the notion of GC without you as a Deputy. I treasure your voice.

    And I think World Mission did exactly the right thing with the Covenant. I'll confess I came to GC hoping to drive a silver stake thru the dang Covenant. But I thought your committee's resolution to it was brilliant.


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