EXCLUSIVE BREAKING NEWS: Color of the next Episcopal Church Blue Book revealed!

Blue Books

Once again, I am thrilled to unveil an exclusive news tidbit, the ultimate scoop for serious church geeks. A highly placed yet anonymous source in the General Convention Office of the Episcopal Church has revealed to me the color of this year’s Blue Book. It will be:

CORNFLOWER BLUE

Cornflower Blue

Cornflower Blue

This is the kind of hard-hitting news you’ve come to expect from your intrepid blogger. Seven whole days broke the news of the Blue Book’s color in 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2021. We’re slightly bitter that we were scooped by the House of Deputies newsletter in 2018. For those who are serious Episco-geeks, you can move on along. Now you know the color of this year’s collection of scintillating reports.

For regular people, I’d like to say a few words about the Blue Book. This collection of reports is published before every gathering of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, normally held every three years. All committees, commissions, agencies, boards, and task forces of the wider Episcopal Church submit reports for this book. So poring over it is an excellent way to learn what hundreds of volunteers have been doing to help our church be more effective in its work and ministry.

These various committees often submit resolutions for action by the General Convention as well. So by reading the Blue Book, you can learn some of the key decisions that our bishops and clergy/lay deputies will make this June when the General Convention gathers in Louisville. Full disclosure: I serve at Forward Movement, and we submit a report to the General Convention. You can see what we’re up to by reading our report.

Back in the day, the Blue Book really should have been titled the So-called Blue Book. That’s because the secretary of General Convention (who gets to choose the color) liked to mix things up by picking colors such as crimson or salmon. This caused some confusion, as the Blue Book wasn’t blue. The current color-picker has avoided confusion by always picking a shade of blue for the Blue Book. Makes sense, no?

Now we have a new wrinkle. For the first time, the Blue Book is more of a Blue So-Called Book. That’s because, as I understand it, the reports will not be available in printed form this time around. You’ll need to read them online. No doubt this is a prudent decision, as only a few hardcore church geeks (your blogger among them) purchased the paper volume, and it’s a lot of work and money to produce a giant tome for just a few buyers. So now we’ll all read it on our screens, not in a paper volume. (The reports are also available online in Spanish.)

In 2021, I had an interview with Michael Barlowe, the executive officer of the General Convention Office and secretary of General Convention. He revealed a bit about why he picked St. Giles Blue.

Vermeer Girl with a Pearl EarringIn the absence of an interview to get to the facts, I must follow the lead of modern media and just create my own narrative. Canon Barlowe has doubtless picked cornflower blue because he loves the outdoors and enjoys his long walks in fields full of cornflowers. If that’s not it, he’s doubtless a fan of Johannes Vermeer, a Dutch painter who loved this hue, as shown in the painting on the right: “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” I’m pretty sure it’s not because he’s a big fan of the German pop song, Kornblumenblau. And while it’s possible that he loves the reference in Fight Club, I do not believe this to be the main reason for choosing such a pleasing shade for our enormous bundle of ecclesiastical bonbons. Whatever the reason, thanks to Canon Barlowe for choosing a lovely shade of blue once again.

A few conventions ago, the Blue Book’s color was reminiscent of Tiffany blue. You might have been tempted to buy some jewelry to celebrate your love of all things legislative. This time around, there are also some excellent opportunities to manifest your church geekery. You might like a simple sticker. You could do your nails in honor of General Convention. If you are a bishop or deputy who likes to pass the time during our triennial resolutionpalooza by knitting, you can make cornflower blue hats and scarves. You can dazzle everyone with some Blue Book Bling. Or celebrate your love…of your partner AND General Convention by having a Blue Book themed wedding.

But all joking aside, if you are an Episcopalian, have a look at the Blue Book. If you are a deputy or bishop, you must start reading! I’ve heard that some folks who attend General Convention do not read the whole Blue Book, but you need to do that to be an informed voter on any number of important issues. If you aren’t voting this summer, it’s still worth your time, though you may want to be selective in what you read.

After reading the Blue Book, if you think the General Convention needs to act in some way that’s different from what you’ve seen proposed, or if you find gaps, you might like the General Convention to take up other topics. Small groups of deputies or bishops can submit their own resolutions for consideration. I’ve done it myself, and it’s amazing to jot something down and then see it enacted for the whole church. Hurry up and get your resolutions in, and make sure you read the submission guidelines.

I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to blog my way through the whole Blue Book this year. It’s a lot of work! But if I do, stay tuned to this blog for a look at the resolutions to be considered by the General Convention. In any case, you’ll be able to find me this summer with the other deputies from the Diocese of Southern Ohio — or occasionally in the Forward Movement booth in the exhibit hall. See you there.

Finally, and most importantly, pray for our church’s leaders. This is a critical moment in the life of our church, and there are important decisions to be made, not least of which is the election of our next Presiding Bishop. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in all things. And when you get stressed, soothe yourself by gazing at something that’s cornflower blue.

6 Responses

  1. Katrina Soto says:

    Your comments on the Blue Book are appreciated. And why have a cover color for a book that is not a book?

  2. I would have expected you to influence it to Lenten purple. Or FMP logo blue

    Just saying.

  3. Helen Spence says:

    I do hope you will blog about the contents of the Blue Book, Scott. Your perspective is useful to all of us.

  4. lafftur says:

    I agree with Helen. As a delegate, I love your analysis and commentary.

    Also, may I ask your prayers for the Dioceses of Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan as we have just passed a vote for juncture, that will come up at GC81…gosh, we need a Bishop Diocesan!

  5. Marybeth says:

    I like The Book of Common Prayer is cornflower blue!

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