I apologize for missing a post last night, but had internet issues in the hotel.
Speaking of, the opening legislative session for General Convention 80 started with a whimper as the WiFi in the convention center would not work for most deputies. Everything we do, including elections, runs on an iPad issued to each deputy. So we can’t do much without WiFi. We settled in for some opening remarks and mandatory approval of certain offices which do not require elections and broke early for lunch.
The afternoon session found the deputies dealing with an enormous consent calendar. Usually this calendar is used for resolutions with little controversy or concerns, things like correcting a word in the canons, and the like. Since GC is so much shorter this year, we were encouraged to put many more resolutions on the consent calendar. In fact the Rules of Order for the House of Deputies (HoD) default to the consent calendar for everything coming out of the various legislative committees, the committee has to vote to change that. The House of Bishops (HoB) do not have this requirement. The Rules allow a resolution to be moved off the consent calendar (if you don’t know, all resolutions on the consent calendar are approved or rejected by a single voice vote). It takes 1/3 vote of the HoD to move a resolution to the legislative calendar and debate it. There is great concern on the HoD that if we do much of that, we won’t have time in this shortened GC to address some pretty important resolutions, so although several resolutions were requested to be moved, only a very few got the 1/3 support.
Debate on several resolutions followed. Most of these were submitted from the Presiding Officers’ Working Group on Truth-Telling, Reckoning and Healing. This article on Episcopal News Services highlights the scope of these resolutions, please read it before you return…..I will wait… .
Thanks! There was great support for most of these resolutions. A125 had some questions about where the funding comes from, but no deputy disagreed with the intent and purposes of the resolution. Again, please read the article to learn more.
A127, submitted by the same Working Group, dealt with truth telling and accurate history of boarding schools for Indigenous children. Several deputies who are Native American testified to the horrors suffered in these schools by themselves or family members. It was quite moving, and to hear how they felt about finally shining a light on this terrible tragedy was inspirational. As noted in the article, the resolution would pledge more than $2.5 million over the next biennium to further The Episcopal Church’s commitment to investigating its role in Indigenous boarding schools; create a fact-finding commission to preserve and to provide a public platform to hear the stories of survivors of any such schools within dioceses’ geographic area; establish Indigenous community-based spiritual healing centers to address intergenerational trauma, and, to create educational resources regarding the church’s role in the schools. But it remains to be seen if this large allocation will fit in the budget which we will debate tomorrow.
The committee on liturgy, prayer book, and music is always quite busy. We dealt with resolution A126 which calls for a review of the BCP and Hymnals with regard to “the colonialist, racist, and white supremacist, imperialistic, nationalistic language and content,” as well as discerning any cultural assumptions they may contain. Testimony on this resolution was also profound. It may surprise you to learn how much of the BCP and Hymnal contain such language and how easy it would be to make some minor adjustments to accomplish this goal. One Deputy who opposed this resolution used the ”prayer for a nation” from the 1928 BCP to, in his mind, support making no changes. That prayer thanks God for ”giving us this land” (a quote from Scripture when Israel was about to enter the Promised Land), a prayer that is offensive to many Indigenous people. Our church has long decried the concepts of Manifest Destiny or the Doctrine of Discovery, it’s high time our language reflected just that.
Day 2 began with a much smaller consent calendar being approved, and then we moved to elections. Highlights – Joe McDaniel, Jr. from our diocese (Central Gulf Coast) easily won election to the Executive Committee. This is a big deal y’all, and Joe has now a 12 year term to continue to make a difference at a high level. We also elected a new President of the House of Deputies, Julia Ayala-Harris. She is a 1st generation Mexican American and amazing gift to our church, she’s been involved at all levels of church governance, and I was delighted she won. She is a lay person from Oklahoma, which means we will elect a clergy person as VP tomorrow.
I am headed back for the afternoon and then evening sessions. All the days at GC are very long, but at least there aren’t as many days as usual. Maybe we’ve learned something from this shortened GC? Time will tell…