A Message from Bishop Hirschfeld at General Convention 2018

The Presiding Bishop just preached a rousing sermon on John 15—the Vine! And he linked “abiding” with “holding on: keeping our eyes on the prize of the life and teaching of Jesus.” He urges all Episcopalians to renew a commitment to learning about Jesus in order to form our hearts, minds and souls before we go into the world to witness to his love and justice.

It’s great to hear our Presiding Bishop’s message resonate with what we are about in NH… focusing on abiding in the vine of Christ, welcoming Christ to abide in us as we hope to grow and bear fruit… and this starts with our renewing the faithful by practices of learning, prayer, spiritual growth. There seems to be a synchronous alignment of the Spirit as we turn again toward Jesus.



Information on General Convention 2018

Visit the General Convention information portal for all things General Convention including Blue Book reports, Calendars, Resolutions and other legislative information, Registration and other attendee information, Orientation materials, Worship bulletins, links to the new Virtual Binder online app and the mobile event app, and much, much more.


Play Praise Connect Heartsong at St. Paul's Church July 29, 2018

JULY 29, 2018 AT 11:30 AM
(603) 224-2523
A creative worship experience
in the chapel with renowned
Episcopal teacher, composer & author
Ana Hernandez
Beginning with a potluck lunch
downstairs in Ordway Hall
$10 donation gratefully accepted to cover costs

2018 Media Hub Connects the world to the Episcopal Church's General Convention

The 2018 Media Hub for the Episcopal Church’s 79th General Convention launched earlier this week, offers everyone, whether at home or on-site, free access to live streaming and on-demand coverage of daily worship, legislative sessions from the House of Bishops and House of Deputies, as well as media briefings and other featured events. Live coverage begins July 4, 2018.
New this General Convention is Inside General Convention.  This daily news broadcast begins July 4 and will be offered on the Media Hub at 4:30 p.m. CT (English) and 6:30 p.m. CT (Spanish) through July 13th. Also new are TEConversations.  Each conversation is focused on one of the convention’s three priorities: Racial Reconciliation, Evangelism and Care of Creation. TEConversations take place during a joint session of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies and feature speakers, videos, music, and opportunities for small group engagement. TEConversations will be live streamed; off-site participants will have access to handouts and be able to participate in the ongoing conversation via social media.
The live stream of worship, the legislative sessions of both Houses, and the TEConversations will also be offered in Spanish.
Other program highlights:

  • The House of Bishops is inviting Episcopalians to a “Liturgy of Listening”. The July 4 session, planned for 5:15 to 7 p.m. CT in the worship space set up in the Austin Convention Center, has been described as “a sacred space for listening and further reconciliation.”


  • And, an Episcopal revival is coming to Austin.  “All across the church, people are saying they want to be revived so they can serve the Jesus Movement,” shares the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism, Reconciliation, and Stewardship. People curious about Episcopal revivals are invited to participate via the live stream of the Revival service scheduled during General Convention (Saturday, July 7 at 5:30 p.m. CT at The Palmer Center).

The Media Hub is available here .
The 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church will be held July 5 - July 13 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas (Episcopal Diocese of Texas). The General Convention is held every three years and is the bicameral governing body of The Episcopal Church. It comprises the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay deputies elected from the 108 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church, at more than 800 members.
The Media Hub offerings provide avenues for following all the action:

     Live streaming and on-demand access to House of Bishops and the House of Deputies legislative sessions (provided in both English and Spanish)

     Live streaming and on-demand access to daily worship (provided in both English and Spanish)

     Live streaming and on-demand access to Inside General Convention and Adentro de la convención general (provided in both English and Spanish)

     Live streaming and on-demand access to the three TEConversations (provided in both English and Spanish)

     A comprehensive listing of daily events

     Daily media briefings

     Episcopal News Service headlines

     Link to legislative tracker

     The twitter feed #GC79

     Videos featuring mission and ministry of The Episcopal Church

     Episcopal Church Resources for all Episcopalians

     Links to Convention-related websites
     The Media Hub is mobile-friendly for Android or Apple.


Bishop appoints the Rev. William Coyne as the new Missioner for Returning Congregations

Bishop appoints the Rev. William Coyne as the new
Missioner for Returning Congregations

 Bishop Skip Adams has appointed the Rev. William Coyne as the new Missioner for Returning Congregations for The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, a new diocesan staff position created to assist parishes and missions that are returning to The Episcopal Church.

“This new ministry is a way for our diocese to manifest good care of God’s people, live out our Diocesan Vision, and always seek the goals of reconciliation and unity in Christ during this important time of transition,” Bishop Adams said.

As Missioner, Fr. Coyne will report directly to the Bishop, while developing teams and support systems around the diocese for the successful return of churches to The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC), which is the diocese of The Episcopal Church in eastern South Carolina.

“Bill Coyne brings great gifts to this position, both in his education and abilities and in his many years of experience at the parish and diocesan levels,” the Bishop said. “His passion for congregational vitality and service to God’s people will be a great blessing to everyone who will be working with him in the months ahead.”

“What does a 21st-century mission-focused congregation look like in the Episcopal Church in South Carolina?” Fr. Coyne said. “That is my priority question as we begin this transition time together.”

Scroll down to read ‘A Word from the New Missioner’

At least 28 parishes in the region are returning to TECSC under a South Carolina Supreme Court ruling in August 2017 in a lawsuit filed by a breakaway group. Prior to 2012, all the parishes were operating as Episcopal churches in the then-unified Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

The transition moved into a new phase on Monday, when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the decision. The 1st Circuit Court of Common Pleas is now responsible for implementing the final ruling, a process which may take several months.

Fr. Coyne will be the chief diocesan contact person for every returning parish and mission, meeting with their leaders and identifying what is needed for an orderly return to TECSC. He also will help them with assessing their clergy and staff needs, determining their financial position, and setting up their governance and bylaws in accordance with church law.
One initial goal is for every congregation to be able to continue to worship on Sunday mornings without interruption through the transition period.

Fr. Coyne has served in TECSC since August 2015, when he was called as Interim Rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Charleston. He led that parish for two years through their successful call of a new rector last summer. In August 2017 he was named priest-in-charge of The East Cooper Episcopal Church, and will continue in that role alongside his new responsibilities.

Before coming to Charleston, he served for 15 years as Archdeacon of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, where he was responsible for congregational development for 65 congregations. After retiring from that ministry in 2013, Fr. Coyne served in two interim positions in Western Massachusetts before he and his wife Janet moved to Charleston. The Coynes have three grown children and five grandchildren.

Fr. Coyne can be reached at wcoyne@episcopalchurchsc.org or 843-614-0679.

A Word from the New Missioner

 I recently watched again the inspirational Ron Howard movie “Apollo 13” -- the story of a crippled spacecraft with astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert finding a way to survive a malfunction and return to earth. Mission Control in Houston is working just as hard to bring them home. The mission changed from landing on the moon to getting the astronauts safely home. The malfunction demanded innovation, creativity and teamwork to accomplish the new mission. There was a sense of urgency.

Remember this scene?

Several technicians in Houston dump boxes containing the same equipment and tools that the astronauts have with them in space onto a table.

A technician says “We've got to find a way to make this [square CSM LiOH canister] fit into the hole for this [round LEM canister]... using nothing but that” [pointing to the stuff on the table].

The Church needs to realize the mission demands a similar response to a new environment – we need innovation, creativity and teamwork for reaching new people and forming new disciples for Jesus. We need to take risks, make mistakes and ‘double down’ on our core mission.

At the end of the movie Jim Lovell (the voice of Tom Hanks) narrates the following: Our mission was called "a successful failure," in that we returned safely but never made it to the moon.

The Church needs similar ‘successful’ or ‘excellent’ failures – we try some new things to enlarge the Kingdom, plant new seeds of faith and hope in a malfunctioning world – and trust the results will bring us all… ALL – Home. This is the type of work we will do to welcome people, parishes and property returning to the Mission of The Episcopal Church.

The Rev. William Coyne
Missioner for Returning Congregations
wcoyne@episcopalchurchsc.org | 843-614-0679

The Immigrant's Creed by Jose Louis Casal, General Missioner

The Immigrant's Creed:

I believe in Jesus Christ, a displaced Galilean, who was born away from his people and his home, who fled his country with his parents when his life was in danger, and returning to his own country suffered the oppression of the tyrant Pontius Pilate, the servant of a foreign power, who then was persecuted, beaten, and finally tortured, accused and condemned to death unjustly. But on the third day, this scorned Jesus rose from the dead, not as a foreigner but to offer us citizenship in heaven.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the eternal immigrant from God's kingdom among us, who speaks all languages, lives in all countries, and reunites all races.

I believe that the church is the secure home for the foreigner and for all believers who constitute it, who speak the same language and have the same purpose.

I believe that the Communion of the Saints begins when we accept the diversity of the saints.

I believe in the forgiveness, which makes us all equal, and in the reconciliation, which identifies us more than does race, language or nationality.

I believe that in the Resurrection God will unite us as one people in which all are distinct and all are alike at the same time.

Beyond this world, I believe in Life Eternal in which no one will be an immigrant but all will be citizens of God's kingdom, which will never end.


- by Jose Luis Casal, General Missioner
Tres Rios Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church USA

General Convention to consider new approach to Israel-Palestine issues promoting open debate

Link to the article, written by David Paulson for the Episcopal News Service on June 5th:

[Episcopal News Service] A group of bishops and deputies who were asked to find a way to navigate the often-thorny discussions of Episcopal Church policy toward Israel and Palestine has announced its recommendations for fostering open and productive debate on those issues at General Convention this July.

Five bishops and five members of the House of Deputies served on the Israel and Palestine Working Group, which was formed last year by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, House of Deputies president. Curry and Jennings have accepted the working group’s three core recommendations, according to an email to members of the two houses sent May 31 by the Rev. Michael Barlowe, General Convention’s executive officer.

“Members of the working group were not asked to guide General Convention in any particular way on the underlying issues, about which members have various points of view,” Barlowe said. Instead, the 10 members issued the following recommendations to enable “a prayerful, thoughtful and respectful engagement that facilitates genuine discernment”:

  • All members of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies are encouraged to review a resource list assembled by the working group. The list includes suggested reading on issues related to Israeli-Palestinian relations and background about the Episcopal Church’s past engagement on those issues.
  • Each house agrees to take up these issues through a “special order of business,” which will allow hearings and discussions to take place early in General Convention and ensure debate isn’t sidelined by procedural barriers. (See page 204 here for more on the special order of business.)
  • The House of Deputies will be the house of initial action for each resolution pertaining to Israel and Palestine.

“I am so grateful to the task force for their work,” Curry said in an emailed statement. “Their work will make it possible for the convention to have a thoughtful, prayerful discussion and consideration of the humanitarian concerns in Israel Palestine. In so doing may we pray and work for the peace of Jerusalem.”

Jennings alluded to the challenges ahead in a written statement.

“We’ve got some hard conversations about the Holy Land ahead of us at General Convention,” she said. “I’m grateful to the deputies and bishops of the Israel and Palestine Working Group for recommending a structure that will help us have those conversations in ways that are respectful, substantive and representative of the wide range of Episcopalians’ experiences and opinions.”

Beginning the debate in the House of Deputies, which is a larger and more diverse body, will help ensure a broader debate, said the Rev. Brian Grieves, a member of the House of Deputies who served on the Israel and Palestine Working Group. Both houses have an interest in moving this debate forward.

Underlying the working group’s deliberations was the imperative to “have a discussion that is open and respectful and transparent in the process,” Grieves told Episcopal News Service. “Because there have been concerns in the past that it has not been. Things got bottled up in committees.”

General Convention has voted in support of Middle East peace for decades; however, the question of whether to apply more forceful economic pressure on Israel for its occupation of the Palestinian Territories has been a hot-button issue in recent years. In 2012, the bishops joined deputies in approving a resolution in favor of “positive investment” in the region as part of a show of support for peace among Jews, Muslims and Christians in the Holy Land, but the two houses were unable to agree on a second resolution calling for greater engagement in corporate social responsibility through the church’s investment portfolio.

At General Convention in 2015, a resolution calling on the church to divest from companies engaged in certain business with Israel failed in a vote of the House of Bishops, which meant it never made it to the House of Deputies for consideration.

Grieves, who is a member of the Stewardship and Socially Responsible Investing legislative committee in the House of Deputies, said the church already participates in corporate engagement related to Israel and Palestine based on a 2005 report by what was then known as the Executive Council’s Social Responsibility in Investments committee. That report was endorsed by Executive Council, and the results can be seen this year in church-backed shareholder resolutions seeking to influence Motorola and Caterpillar, two companies that have contracts with the Israeli government.

“I think corporate engagement has been very good, but I do think here may be a point where we as a church would end our complicity in continuing to work with these companies,” Grieves said. “I don’t know when that point should be reached. I think we need to do some careful thinking about that, and that’s part of the discussion that’s going to happen at convention.”

Numerous General Convention resolutions are expected on topics related to Israel and Palestine by the time the gathering gets underway on July 5 in Austin, Texas. At least three have been submitted so far, including one proposed by the Diocese of California that reintroduces a push for divestment from “those companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands or whose products or actions support the infrastructure of the occupation.”

Corporate engagement won’t be the only topic related to the Holy Land. Two additional proposed resolutions call for greater attention to the plight of Palestinian children, including those being tried in Israeli military courts.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict should eventually generate a greater diversity of resolutions at this General Convention, said Sarah Lawton, who chairs the Social Justice and International Policy committee for the House of Deputies. That variety is related to the number of big developments in the region in recent years, from the breakdown of the peace process to global outrage at the Trump administration moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In the past, General Convention has sometimes debated single larger resolutions addressing multiple aspects of the conflict together, making it difficult to move forward on individual measures, but Lawton said this time should be different. “It’s not just one big resolution going forward but a number of them,” said Lawton, who also was a member of the Israel and Palestine Working Group.

Bishop Barry Beisner, another member of the working group, has submitted a resolution seeking to reaffirm the church’s stance in support of Jerusalem as an open city, where Christians, Muslims and Jews have free access to the city’s holy sites. He doesn’t expect that resolution to generate much controversy, but “there’s a broad spectrum of opinion on any number of related issues.”

Beisner emphasized the value in the list of resources assembled by the working group, to help General Convention prepare for those discussions. And the bishops aren’t giving up their voice by agreeing to start deliberations in the House of Deputies, he said.

“It will help to expedite the consideration of these resolutions to have them all under that one tent initially,” said Beisner, who serves on the Social Justice and International Policy committee.

With so many issues at stake, Lawton thinks people on all sides of these debates have an interest in avoiding the procedural pratfalls that can lead to inaction.

“We’ve had a hard time with this conversation [about Israel and Palestine]. One of the ways that it was hard was played out in the process,” she said. “These are important issues, and we should be able to speak to them and not feel afraid to say something.”

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.

Community Signing and Celebration of the Governor's signing of HB 1319


The Governor has signed HB 1319, making New Hampshire the 19th state to fully protect transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations.

This is a momentous day for who have worked so hard to make it happen.

Sign up now if you would like to join Freedom NH outside the State House for their Community Signing & Celebration on Thursday, June 14th at 6PM.