Delegates Prepare for Episcopalian Convention

Delegates Prepare for Episcopalian Convention

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(KSL News) -- The election this summer of a gay Episcopal Bishop in New Hampshire is just one of the headline-making topics that delegates will discuss and vote on in an international convention next week.

Eight clergy and lay deputies from Utah's Episcopal Diocese will attend the meetings in Minneapolis. Leading that delegation is Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish.

Episcopal bishops and their delegations from throughout the country and some parts of the world gather every three years for a General Convention to vote on issues affecting the church and its clergy.

Heading Utah's delegation is Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish.

Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish, Episcopal Diocese of Utah: "The fun, the interest and the goodness of this bizarre way of running a church, this very inefficient way of running a church, is that people get to voice their views, and they get to vote on the matters that affect them."

Some of those matters are very high profile, most recently the election of gay bishop in New Hampshire. His ordination will come up for approval at the convention next week.

Bishop Irish: "In our own baptismal covenant, we say, that we will seek and serve Christ in all persons. It doesn't say everybody except gay and lesbian persons. It says in all persons."

If a gay bishop is approved, it will widen an already existing rift in the worldwide Episcopal Church. Those in England and Africa are opposed, but Americans say the Africans clergy should be devoting its attention to severe humans rights problems in Africa.

Bishop Irish knows something about controversial ordinations. She was the first woman Episcopal Bishop in the Western U.S.

Bishop Irish: "There were people who were bothered about my Mormon baptism and who came to protest at the consecration because of that."

The protests didn't materialize. She says controversy can bring unity. At the last convention, when the Episcopalians welcomed the Evangelical Lutherans into the fold, they joined together in song.

Utah's Episcopal Delegation will travel to Minneapolis for the General Convention, which meets from July 30th to August 8th.

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