Thursday, June 25th
Our day started with legislative session at 8 a.am. Thanks be to God for the many coffee stands nearby! After numerous appointments were made, we got down to our first full day of business of the 78th General Convention.
We took our first vote on our black-Berry like machines, which seem to be much better and faster than the manner in which we voted in years past. Also, our virtual binders on our IPads, which take the place of the large, confusing and very heavy printed Bluebook work extremely well. I think this will be a good thing. We adjourned at 9a.m. And went to the first worship of the convention.
Being in a room with thousands of Episcopalians , reciting prayers we know by heart, has to be one of the most awe- injuring feelings ever. Several of us volunteered to be Eucharistic ministers, which in itself is humbling. But when you combine all of this – well, it’s just over the top!
Then it was off to legislative meetings. I am covering Committee #14 – Stewardship and Development, and we met this morning concerning several topics. A099- Reduce Diocesan Apportionments, C001- Set rates for a diocesan Commitments, and A039-Donor Bill of Rights were three that received much of our time. We broke for lunch at 1 pm, then began again at 2:15 pm- just enough time to take a potty break and grab something to drink before the Legislative session resumed again at 4:30.
A quorum was announced, and friends from many different countries were introduced. To give readers an idea of how long it takes to get documents approved, HD Report A152-rules of Order, was presented to the deputies at 4:45 pm. The floor was opened for debate. Amendment after amendment after amendment was heard – and after all was said and done, the document passed with 94% voting to approve, without amendment! This process lasted until 6:15pm! Our session ended at 6:30, at which time we adjourned and then gathered for our nightly diocesan caucus.
Some of us immediately headed to hearings while others needed some time to simply walk outside and find a place to have a bite of supper. It is 9:30 and I am already in bed! Sweet dreams until tomorrow morning…….
MEDIA MEET REPORTERS FROM BOTH HOUSES AT THE CLOSE OF EACH BUSINESS DAY…..
By Kay Collier McLaughlin
Credentialed media at this convention represent dioceses, religious publications, blogs and web sites, secular press, blogs and web sites….and at least half that number are considered “off-site credentialed media” – endeavor ing to tell this particular story from an ” at- home” vantage point, which this year is aided by more streaming live sessions and online posts than ever before.
At the close of each business day, media are invited to gather in the media room to hear reports from and ask questions of two representatives from the House of Bishops and two from the House of Deputies. The first media briefing this evening included deputy Byron Rushing and a young adult deputy from Arizona, bishop Todd Owsley of Eastern Michigan and Bishop Porter Taylor of Western North Carolina. NevaRae Fox of the Office of Public Affairs organizes and moderates the sessions.
After brief opening statements from each of the reporters, the floor is open for questions.
The focus in both houses on this first legislative day was for organization of their House for the work of Convention.Rushing stressed the decision that had been made at the end of the previous convention to re- look the rules of organization, and emphasized that the mind of the House seemed to be an attitude of openness to new procedures which would be both ‘ fair and rigorous.” Bishop Owsley said that many of the highlights of his day had been ‘ in the margins’ – encountering friends, re- connecting. He spoke of seeing new hope, new possibilities, new spirit, and the exciting presence of deputies born in the 1990’s.
Bishop Porter Taylor of Western North Carolina spoke of Bishop Katherine’s ‘stirring sermon’ , which set an agenda for us. He referred to his interest in ‘ new ways of doing church,’ commenting that as one who will soon turn 65, the paperless, digitalized convention was ‘ a bit disorienting ‘ but good for all.
Among the questions which raised the issue of the use of social media while ballgame scare underway. Bishop Owsley, who is on the Social Media committee for the House of Bishops explained efforts to maintain the ‘sacred ground’ of their private space…
Surely a symbol of this time of major transition in our churches, social media, says Owsley, will be an ongoing conversation about how to find those ñnevlines in relationship and community that keep all in the conversation.