Friday, June 26, 2015

Thursday, June 25

Thursday, June 25 – First Session

After going through the formal ritual of organizing the House of Deputies, President Jennings called all of the young deputies (born in the 1990's) to deliver the message of our organization to the House of Bishops. Among the group was Arkansas' own Thomas Alexander, 19, a student at Hendrix College. As the group processed down the center aisle of Convention, Thomas stopped for me to snap a picture. At our earlier meeting of Province VII, Thomas was elected to the Executive Council of the church, essentially the Vestry of The Episcopal Church.

Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori was the celebrant and preacher for our opening Eucharist. In a later note I will send a link to the sermon text and the video. I found myself sitting together with three old Oxford, Mississippi friends—Duncan Gray, III; Chip Marble, and Kee Sloan. Chip was my parish priest who presented me for discernment to priesthood; Duncan and I grew up together in the church his dad led; Kee and I went to seminary together and were close friends. Chip and Dunc are retired Bishops of Mississippi and Kee is the Bishop of Alabama. I feel like I've known these friends nearly all m life. We're not growing older; we're growing bigger.

11:15 – Legislative Committee. We listened to testimony on several resolutions. The most energy is around a proposal to allow lay leaders to carry consecrated Eucharistic elements from another location to congregations without ordained leadership.

The committee then took up work on the calendar. It is complicated work. Much sausage making. One resolution had five amendments, with much wordsmithing. Takes energy and concentration.  We adjourned for lunch and returned to work all afternoon. Made a lot of progress and finished the resolution that would authorize the Standing Commission on Music and Liturgy to continue the revision of the calendar of observations, now to be called Great Cloud of Witnesses.

We left Legislative Committees and went back to the larger Legislative Session. We had a big job – a complete re-write of the Rules of Order of the House. A team has been working to revise the rules and has done some remarkable work. Lawyers being constructive! It's tedious, but the new President's team has improved our process significantly. Their careful creativity was approved by an unbelievable margin – 794 for, 31 against (that's 96% for and less than 4% against). Wow!

Toward the end of the session we adopted a report and resolution  expressing our "pain, grief, and sorrow" with the families and friends of those killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. We will send a Letter of Condolence from the General Convention.

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