Six years ago today, Larry Bingham wrote the final report for the 77th General Convention. This is my first convention without Larry, yet his presence was still with us. In his posting, Larry described the church as being in good hands. I can affirm today that the church is still in good hands.
This year, I served on the Safeguarding and Title IV committee. We reviewed resolutions on safeguarding policies and Title IV disciplinary canons for clergy. Our committee reviewed 43 resolutions, adopting 31, referring seven to other committees, took no action on 4four and rejected one resolution.
Among the resolutions approved by our committee and the House of Deputies and House of Bishops was D016, which authorized the establishment of a Task Force for Women, Truth and Reconciliation for the purpose of helping the church engage in truth-telling, confession and reconciliation regarding gender-based discrimination, harassment and violence against women and girls in all their forms.
We also approved D034, which waives the statute of limitations for three years for cases of sexual misconduct. As I indicated in testimony before the House of Deputies, I had to confess to a great deal of naiveté on my part regarding the extent and degree of discrimination, harassment and violence against women. I was deeply troubled and moved by the testimony of numerous victims. As a church, we have failed to provide a safe place for women. These and other resolutions we adopted will help to provide practical and meaningful steps to deal with this issue.
Regarding Prayer Book revision, for the next three years we will continue to study the issue, with proposals to be considered at the next general convention in three years. However, we did not authorize the preparation of a new Prayer Book at this time.
On marriage, we authorized all priests to utilize marriage rites for all persons, including same-sex couples. No longer can diocesan bishops prohibit their use (eight diocesan bishops had prohibited their use). Same-sex marriage is now permissible throughout the church.
When I think back when I was in high school and college in the 1970s, it simply was not possible to acknowledge being gay in Kansas, and living in a same-sex relationship was condemned by the church. I marvel at how the Holy Spirit has led us since then.
Finally, I want to thank the excellent work done by all our deputies and our three alternate deputies; all eight of our deputies had committee assignments (only 55 percent of deputies receive committee assignments). We began our work on Tuesday, July 3 and finished today, July 13. Our committee meetings began at 7:30 in the morning, and we often worked until 9:00 in the evening. We had committee and legislative sessions on Saturday and Sunday.
We look forward to returning to Kansas and reporting in more detail on the results of the 79th General Convention.