Wednesday, July 15, 2009

General Convention, Day 8, Wednesday, July 15

NOTE: I was so sleepy last night, that I forgot to send my report to this blog after I sent it to the Arkansas Clergy and to the Parish Constant Contact list.

I just posted yesterday (Tuesday) a few minutes ago in the blog entry just below this one. Sorry.

General Convention, Wednesday, July 15
Day 8 of 10

7:30 a.m. Committee meetings
The committee discussed our hope that both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies will be able to have an opportunity to discuss legislation around same gender blessings. It is expected that the House of Bishops will take up C056 this afternoon – that is the resolution that our committee passed earlier.

The Liturgy and Prayer Book Committee recommended referring all resolutions dealing with commemorations or additions to the calendar to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music.

We passed out of committee a recommendation to have a Sunday during Lent for support of the work of Episcopal Relief and Development.

We recommended sending a proposed alternative form of the Baptismal Covenant to the Standing Commission.

We passed a resolution for rites of thanksgiving and loss for a companion animal.

All of these will go to the House of Bishops for first consideration.

9:30 a.m. Legislative Session

Frank Wade's Meditation:
Hezekiah – He's not that well known. Not many children are named for him. But he was a remarkably successful ruler of Israel. He was a builder. Hezekiah built the conduit that allowed for water to enter Jerusalem during a seige, and created the pool of Siloam where Jesus famously healed. Hezekiah also got along well with the prophet Isaiah, no mean feat. Hezekiah was a strong and good ruler.

And yet we have a record of a remarkable act of selfishness from Hezekiah. Isaiah prophesied to Hezekiah – after your death, the kingdom and the city will fall to Babylon and your sons and daughters will be carried away into captivity.

Hezekiah's response: "The Word of the Lord is good. Why not? There will be peace and security in my day."

Wow!! (Frank went on for a while. Did you hear that? ...etc) Can you imagine such selfishness? Who would be capable of such selfishness.

Someone like Hezekiah would go on polluting the environment, not worrying about the effects on later generations as long as his own convenience is not troubled, would not be bothered by endangering species or dying ozone or contaminated skies. Hezekiah ethics could incur debt beyond imagination, spending of endowments, acting with policies that ignored relevance to the younger generation and could let the education system rot, knowing the bad fruit won't rot until I'm gone. Such selfishness is almost beyond imagining.

And yet, many of us are living by Hezekiah's standards. What sets him apart from us is his candor.

Ubuntu links us not only with those who live now but also those who will live after us.

Are we trapped by our Hezekiah lifestyle? What will our church's "I am" be for our children when we have done with our "we are"?

The House of Deputies passed a major piece of legislation by concurring with the Bishops to extend health care to our lay employees.

Things moved pretty slowly otherwise in the house this morning. When we stopped for Eucharist, I gave in to my deep tiredness and went back to my room to sleep for a while. I missed Steven Charleston's sermon, which I heard was outstanding. He's one of the finest preachers in the church today. Here's a link to an article about his sermon:
You can view the sermon online at

Cheryl Clark sat in the house for me this afternoon, and I caught up on a lot of needed rest. I feel much better now.

The afternoon was highlighted by a joint session of both houses meeting to receive the draft budget proposal. Arkansas' own Pan Adams-McCaslin is the co-chair of the Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) Committee that prepared the budget. It calls for a decrease of $23 million and for lowering the asking from dioceses by 1% per year. For more about the budget presentation go to

The House of Bishops took out language in the canon listing groups who would not be excluded from the discernment process – "race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities or age" and other proposed categories of gender identity and expression – and they replaced that with the words "all baptized persons" have access to the ordination process.

A lot of legislation moved through the House of Deputies today, including the final passage of a lay pension plan for employees who work 1000 hours a year or more. The deputies passed the statement. The deputies passed a resolution encouraging study of the current and any future draft covenant plans for the Anglican Communion. I was disappointed to miss the debate about the approval of a theological statement that will guide our interreligious dialogs. It was one of the most interesting offerings in the Blue Book.

The big news this evening is that the House of Bishops overwhelmingly passed an amended version of C056 that our Prayer Book and Liturgy committee sent to them. It will need to come to the House of Deputies next. We hope to see it tomorrow.

Here is the text that the Bishops passed, 104 Yes; 30 No; 2 Abstained:

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 76th General Convention acknowledge the changing circumstances in the United States and in other nations, as legislation authorizing or forbidding marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian persons is passed in various civil jurisdictions that call forth a renewed pastoral response from this Church, and for an open process for the consideration of theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same gender relationships; and be it further

Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, collect and develop theological, and liturgical resources and report to the 77th General Convention; and be it further

Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, devise an open process for the conduct of its work inviting participation from provinces, dioceses, congregations, and individuals who are engaged in such theological work, and inviting theological reflection from throughout the Anglican Communion; and be it further

Resolved, That bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church; and be it further

Resolved, That this Convention honor the theological diversity of this Church in regard to matters of human sexuality; and be it further

Resolved, That the members of this Church be encouraged to engage in this effort.

I plan to go to bed early tonight. I should be rested for the final sprint to the end of Convention.



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