Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 8 at General Convention

Today Becky Alden, St David's (South Yarmouth) lay deputy, swapped for the morning session with Helen Gordon, our one remaining lay alternate deputy from St Barnabas (Falmouth).

With that being said, I (Helen) am returning to using the first person in this post.

Being on the floor with the rest of the deputation was absorbing. They have these little electronic voting machines that are like remote controlsThe clickers are used for all elections and for votes when the President calls for them. I got to vote in some elections for Executive Council.

It is hard to believe I have become the first (only) lay alternate here. Dick Vanderlippe was unable to come to convention, so Lallie Lloyd moved up from first alternate and Christopher Ashley became the new first alternate. Then Byron Rushing had to leave, so Chris moved up to active deputy and I became the first alternate.

We have just had the joint session of the houses for the presentation on the budget for the 2010-2012 triennium. The presentations of a narrative budget overview by the Presiding Bishop and the Progam, Budget & Finance Committee (PB&F) chairs reflected on how the reduction in resources require us to look at doing everything in new ways. It will require increased development of networks - to think 'outside the box'. Mission is the reason for our existence, and this General Convention reflects a greatly deepened sense in our dioceses and congregations that mission is beyond ourselves.

The PB&F listened to the priorities expressed by speakers at their hearings earlier in General Convention. These reflected hope, mission, honesty, accountability, and transparency. Every area of the budget will have cuts, but 'for each challenge, there is new opportunity'. The budget is divided into three major sections: Canonical, Coporate, and Program.

The Canonical section covers the costs of General Convention, the offices of the leadership of the two houses (Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies), and all the committees, commissions, and boards that meet between General Conventions to do the work assigned to them by General Convention.

The Corporate section covers the administrative support for our church. The Program section provides the budget for the mission of the Domestic & Foreign Missionary Society (yet another -older- name of The Episcopal Church).

Discussion and debate with vote will happen tomorrow.