Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Still Pre-Convention!

For the day before Convention, I must say my day has been every bit as busy as a Convention day. I started with a Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music committee meeting at 8:00. We spent four hours deciding how we are going to proceed with hearings and meetings on the 65 resolutions that have been assigned to our committee, knowing that there will likely be a few more added once the deadline for submitting resolutions passes. It was a good morning although I suppose people who are not detail oriented might have felt like they had fallen down the rabbit hole.

After lunch, we met at 2:00 for presentations from the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. In introducing the theme of this Convention - Ubuntu - Bishop Katherine spoke of the Great Western Heresy, which is believing that we can be saved as individuals, putting ourselves at the center of life rather than putting God there. Ubuntu says that I can only become a person in relation to other people, that community and relationship are central to who I am and who you are, that my salvation depends on yours.

President Bonnie Anderson introduced Public Narrative, a way to tell our stories in relationship to mission, a process we were introduced to at our Provincial Synods. Mission, she said, is the reason the church exists.

Marshall Ganz, the man who developed Public Narrative, spoke next, relating how he came up with the process and pointing out that it is an ancient practice by citing Moses' encounter with God at the burning bush.

The last meeting of the afternoon was an orientation session for the House of Deputies. Voting procedures were reviewed and an amusing "play" about how resolutions are introduced on the floor of the House and then debated and voted on kept us all laughing.

After a short gathering in the Bishop's quarters, several of us headed out to committee hearings. For me, that meant hearings on the Blue Book resolutions regarding acceptance of Holy Women, Holy Men - the proposed revision of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. We heard testimony from several people about changes they would like to see made. After the hearing and an hour of committee deliberation, several of us met in subcommittee to redraft the resolution to put this revision into trial use. It became clear that we either ask the churches to use the whole revision for three years or spend all of General Convention picking and choosing who should and shouldn't be included. As many of you know, I have serious questions about many of those recommended for commemoration; however, if we will take seriously the fact that this is for trial use and that we are encouraged to make our feelings about that use known to the committee, I believe we will end up with a good list of commemorations to add to our Calendar.

Now, it remains to be seen if this passes the House of Bishops and is concurred by the House of Deputies! I'll let you know the continuing saga.

A media heads up. We have scheduled hearings on same sex blessings for Thursday afternoon. That same day, there will be hearings on Resolution B033 which passed the last Convention. This resolution says we will not consent to the consecration of anyone whose life style will cause further conflict within the Anglican Communion (my words, not the exact wording of the Resolution). There will also be two sessions on Thursday and Friday to deliberate on B033 as a Committee of the Whole. So Friday's news outlets may well pick up on that. Do please remember that it is likely not to be as sensational as they make it out to be. Also remember to check official Episcopal sites for more reasonable coverage.

And now it is almost 10:00 out here in California. The fireworks at Disney are over for another day - I can hear them even if I can't see them - and it is time for all good deputies to go to bed. We begin our legislative day at 8:00 tomorrow and end the day with a speech on global economics from Archbishop Rowan.

Good night all!

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