Sunday, June 18, Day 6
At 11:08 we went into silence before beginning consideration of the first resolution to make it to the floor from the Special Committee #25 charged with consideration of the resolutions prompted by our opportunity to respond to the Windsor Report. A163 is a resolution providing for Delegated Pastoral Oversight to allow congregations "who do not feel able to receive appropriate pastoral care from their own bishops" to delegate another bishop to provide oversight; it reconfirms "maintenance of historic diocesan boundaries, the authority of the diocesan bishop, and respect for the historic relationships of the separate and autonomous Provinces of the Anglican Communion." The argument in the house centered on the phrase "when requested in good faith" as a characteristic for a request for delegated oversight. The phrase was retained. Portions or all of the deputations from South Carolina, Fort Worth, Quincy and Central Florida called for a vote by orders.
Going back to Friday, something I didn't report earlier. The secretary general of the Anglican Communion commended the Episcopal Church for the way we have responded to the recommendations of the Windsor Report. "General Convention is a very careful body. I commend the Episcopal Church for the way it has taken seriously the requests of the Windsor Report, and you see this seriousness in the way that business is being conducted on this particular issue at Convention. ...We need to remember the Listening Process is a mutual process."
Another event that has set up some buzz around the convention is the screening of a rough cut of a movie, "Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North." This documentary tells the story of the DeWolfs, the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. The DeWolfs are also a prominent part of the Episcopal Church in Rhode Island. James DeWolf Perry was the 18th Presiding Bishop. The film is produced and directed by a DeWolf descendant, Katrina Browne. She and nine other family members retraced the route of the "Triangle Trade" in slaves, rum, sugar, and other goods as the family addressed complex issues of atonement and reconciliation. It is hoped that the completed documentary will be shown on PSB eventually.
One of the things that troubles me is the selective way that some dioceses choose to participate in the General Convention and the Triennial Meeting of the Episcopal Church Women (ECW). Yesterday when the dioceses of the church presented their United Thank Offering gifts at the big service (some said more than 5,000 attended), it was pretty awkward when our Province presented our UTO checks. Arkansas went first, then Dallas and Fort Worth were announced, and no one went forward. According to our ECW Triennial participants, the bishops of both of those dioceses have told their women not to participate in the ECW.
It does seem encouraging that several diocesan bishops are present for this meeting who do not regularly participate in other House of Bishops meetings. It is discouraging, however, that once again at this General Convention, whenever there is a Convention Eucharist scheduled, there is another Eucharist occurring simultaneously nearby for those members of Convention (deputies, bishops and others) who do not feel that they can share communion with the rest of the Convention. I believe that has been happening ever since the ordination of women, though I could be mistaken. That saddens me, but it is a long-standing reality of our church.
There is something else that doesn't sadden me but makes me mad. A number of dioceses have chosen not to contribute financially toward their apportionment for the work of the Episcopal Church, They do not contribute, or do so minimally, to the general budget of the Episcopal Church. (Some individuals in many of those diocese do send offerings to the budget as a sign of their disagreement with their diocesan policy.) I got real irritated yesterday when an outspoken deputy from one of those dioceses that does not contribute to the church's budget went to the floor to support a funding proposal. This was a proposal that had not been through our budgeting process and seemed to me to be a financially irresponsible overspending. It really bugged me when a deputy from diocese that has no money in the budget is arguing that we should be spending more for something he supports. I'd like these dioceses to put their money up if that's where their mouths are going to be. Thus endeth the rant.
The House of Bishops is sequestered at Trinity Church nearby for the election of the new Presiding Bishop, who if confirmed would become the 26th PB. They are in our prayers.
Yesterday the convention had events to honor, and roast, the outgoing Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and the outgoing President of the House of Deputies, George Werner. Our new president of the House will be Bonnie Anderson. Yesterday we elected a new Vice-President, Brion Prior of Spokane. He was chaplain of the previous Convention, serves on the national Executive Council, and is noted for his work with youth.
We have adjourned early, not having heard from the House of Bishops about their election. (They were supposed to call after their third ballot.)
1:15 p.m. Sunday
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Keep us in your prayers.