Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday, June 24

Wednesday, June 24

7:00 a.m. First Committee meetings. Every resolution proposed at General Convention is fully considered. The first step is to offer public hearings on each resolution. We welcome testimony from deputies and others about the content of each resolution.

So this morning, I had good news and bad news. The good news: the resolution to authorize a comprehensive revision of the Book of Occasional Services had good support in the testimony, committee conversation and final vote passed our committee. The bad news: while that was going on I wanted to be at another committee to testify on behalf of a resolution supporting efforts on behalf of LGBT Anglicans in Africa. I think that other resolution had other good supporters. Can't be two places at one time.

We did good work in our morning committee work and reported out several resolutions. We had a half hour break, and then convened with both the House of Bishops and House of Deputies for an orientation session that included presentations from Presiding Bishop Jefforts-Schori and HOD President Jennings.

Above the dais are the flags of the 19 nations who are part of The Episcopal Church. We are more than a "national church."

The Presiding Bishop used her background as a biological scientist to offer images for the journey and relationships that constitute the living body of the Church. In her talk, among the things the Presiding Bishop mentioned was creative ministries like Magdalene House.

The Rev. Gay Jennings, the President of the House of Deputies, took some time to share the gospel of the day—the Nativity of John the Baptist. (Also the 4th birthday of my granddaughter Laura.) Gay invited us to follow the example of John's father Zechariah—to listen and to understand your identity. Be surprised by the rising of the new in our midst. The new is being born in us, in the quiet of our souls, arising from what is in the corner of our soul, often that which is neglected or discounted.

We were greeted by the President of the Episcopal Church Women who are simultaneously holding their Triennial meeting. A great deal of their focus is in conversation about healing the wounds of the trafficking of women, which is of interest to St. Paul's and our new Magdalene ministry.

We then went through some extensive orientation to the mechanics of operating a nearly paperless General Convention. Every deputy and bishop has been issued an iPad with a Virtual Binder software that will take the place of the enormous paper binders of previous Conventions. (I'm writing a hymn, in process, to the tune "St. Patrick's Breastplate" – I bind unto myself today… is becoming My binder and myself today, will follow convention so virtually… -- more coming.)

Quick lunch in order to return for the finale of nearly three years of work. I've been serving on the Joint Nominating Committee for the Presiding Bishop. Our committee lead the process of presenting the four nominees to the whole Convention: Bishops Dabney Smith, Ian Douglas, Michael Curry, Thomas Breidenthal. Each bishop was introduced by a brief self-produced video and opening statements. Our committee had collected questions from the whole church and organized them into categories. We went through several rounds of questions. I got to be one of the questioners.

The candidates did a beautiful job. Each was himself. I heard a lot of people saying that they were pleased with the nominees. We will formally nominate them in a subsequent session and then the House of Bishops will elect. It's been a delight to be part of this process, and I'm glad that the nominees seem to be well received.

After we finished I went to a reception given by the Washington Cathedral. The Dean Gary Hall is a friend. I especially wanted to say thank you to him and to Bishop Budde who allowed me to perform a marriage in the Cathedral House last year for a faithful gay couple from our congregation. The National Cathedral truly serves as a House of Prayer for All People.


At our evening committee meeting we got pretty bogged down in perfecting the procedure for recreating the church calendar of observances, now being called A Cloud of Witnesses. There's a lot of energy around whether or not John Muir will be added to the calendar. 

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