Tuesday, June 20, 2006

General Convention - Days 7&8

Dear Friends,

Well, we are almost there - one more day of legislation to go. I sat out this morning to let our Alternate Deputy sit "on the floor" for a session. We always try to get all the Alternates on the floor at least one time. I remember what it's like sitting in the Alternate Section for days and then getting to vote on some resolutions. So, my idea was to do some laundry, take a nap, have some "down time", but I had to stay in the Alternate Section instead. We had a resolution on the floor from the Special Committee #26 about our relationship with the Anglican Communion. Ian Douglas said that is was not a great revision of the original one, but the best that the committee could do given the composition of the group. Then we started debate with a new motion that quoted from the Windsor Report. So I stayed to see how the debater had to say. We didn't take a vote during that session because the word "moratorium" in two resolves was questioned as being against our cannons. Our President, George Werner, called for a committee of the Cannons Committee Chairs, the Chairs of the Constitution Committee, and and our parliamentarian to discuss the question during the lunch recess.

So I was back on the floor when the decision was announced. The use of the word "moratorium" was declared against our Constitution and Cannons so the substitution amendment was declared "out of order." That put us back to the original resolution from the Committee 26. We had to vote by orders. Both the Lay and the Clerical Orders of our deputation voted "no". I have the report of all the "no" or "divided" votes by diocese, but the outcome was that the resolution failed. Both liberal and conservative dioceses voted against the resolution - obviously for different reasons.

We did get some other business finished before we took a supper recess. We went back to work at 7:30 until 9:30. During this time, we did pass a resolution agreeing to start the listening, following, and discussing a covenant - that may take up to nine years before it comes to us to ratify. We also revise Title III on the Ordination Process. There are a few changes from the committee, but most of them were minor (in my opinion). One change would be to have the local congregation who recommends a person for ordination should also be prepared to support the person financially, too. The question was asked what about small parishes who just can't afford to financially support a person? The response was, "At least the conversation should be held. And perhaps an occasional bake sale could help."

We also passed the resolution that consented to the consecration of Beisner for the Diocese of Northern California. He was put on hold until after we passed the resolution that failed because Beisner has been divorced twice and married three times. The House of Bishops concurred with the consent.

Yesterday, we were introduced to the many ecumenical and interreligious representatives invited and attending the General Convention. When the lined up to be introduced, they took the whole front line across the House of Deputies. By the way, I have put in a nomination for the interim Ecumenical and Interreligious Commission. Byron Rushing supported my nomination saying that he has known me for 18 years! (Seems like a long time to me, but I love this "ministry".)

Guess that's it for tonight. We end tomorrow at six o'clock no matter what. I'll send a final report in. Catch the plane on Thursday morning, and should be home that afternoon sometime. The humidity is just as bad as I remembered it growing up here in Ohio. I'll be glad to get back to the Cape and salt air!

Please keep those prayers coming! Thanks, Becky