Today is the last legislative day, we begin on the floor at 8am. We have quite a few resolutions to slog through, including a slightly amended B012 (access to marriage liturgies – more on that below), but for the most part we have dealt with the most controversial resolutions already.
Yesterday I had a brief conversation with the Reverend Gay Jennings, President of the House of Deputies (PHOD) and a friend. Gay was one of the chaplains the Episcopal Church sent to the coast of Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina to work with the Episcopal clergy on the coast. She was wonderful in that role, and desperately needed, and I will always be grateful to her. That was in 2005. She was elected President in 2012, has presided over the HoD the last two conventions, and was reelected for her final 3 year term at this convention. One thing we passed at this convention was to actually PAY the PHOD, it is amazing to think how much time and work is required of this position, year round, yet until now it was a volunteer position! Gay does a tremendous job presiding over the House of Deputies both during convention and in between conventions.
Gay asked if I had had “fun” being on the Committee for Dispatch of Business. I told her “fun” was not the word I would use. It is important work of course, and I did enjoy being the liaison for Christian Formation and Discipleship. Teaching is something I really love to do, so connecting with people on that committee who develop materials for all ages, are dedicated to forming disciples of Jesus, and looking for creative ways of partnership across the church for Christian Formation was great. Their committee did good work and dealt with a lot of resolutions, most of whom we will deal with today on the floor.
It has truly been an honor to serve as Chair of our Deputation. The Deputation from Central Gulf Coast has done yeoman’s work at this GC. We also have enjoyed each other’s company and had great conversations around the work we are doing. We met together each day over lunch (where we usually only had a 30 minute window in between legislative sessions or committee meetings), which allowed each of us to update the others on work of the respective committees we either were part of or were following. It is so helpful to have testimony from members of our deputation regarding how resolutions are going to look before we get them on the floor, and this group of dedicated lay and clergy deputies and alternates were open and honest about how they felt about things. We did not, of course, always agree but the information was invaluable and it is always good to be able to share our thoughts with one another. And we like each other, which always helps.
I am grateful to the Rev. Peter Wong, who has submitted video interviews of each member of the deputation, along with other folks from Central Gulf Coast who are here for various purposes. I commend the videos to you, you can access them HERE. Peter – great job!
I must say a word about worship at GC this time. Worship has always been a highlight of GC for me. Certainly the opening Eucharist and the Texas Revival stand out, and the closing Eucharist last night was outstanding. But it’s been different this time and I can only believe it is because they moved worship to late in the day this GC. Usually at 5:15 right after a legislative session, or even later (7:30 last night). This was a mistake in my opinion. Typically we worship in the mornings, beginning our day with corporate prayer and Eucharist and outstanding preaching. The later times definitely impacted attendance – people were either worn out from the day or wanted to get to dinner before returning to committee hearings and meetings each night which usually began at 7:30. I would usually pass a LOT of people leaving for their respective hotels as I made my way to worship each evening. Hopefully they will hear this from a bunch of folks and will return to the schedule of old for the next GC.
Meanwhile you can click HERE for the GC Media Hub where you can (by scrolling down) see videos of both of Presiding Bishop Curry’s amazing sermons , as well as those of all our outstanding preachers during GC.
By now you may have heard about Prayer Book revision. Passed by the HoD, the House of Bishops (HoB) rewrote the resolution and produced something I could fully support (I voted against the original in the HoD version). You can read the resolution by clicking HERE. A068 calls for a task force to work on revision while “memorializing” (keeping official and allowing the use of in perpetuity) the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Instead of a 2 million dollar price tag to begin the complicated task of revision, the task force will cost far less and will be gathering information from dioceses across the church and focus on developing liturgies, while true to who we are and the things we hold dear, will offer the option of more expansive language for God and humanity. It is a great compromise and I am happy to discuss this more fully with any of you.
The original proposal from the Task Force on Marriage was to add the same sex versions of the marriage liturgies to the Book of Common Prayer. A compromise resolution, B012, was approved instead and establishes those liturgies as ongoing trial liturgies until a new prayer book is actually produced (which will be quite a ways down the road now). B012 also provides a way for a parish in a diocese to offer these liturgies even if their bishop is theologically opposed to them, including receiving help if necessary from a bishop of another diocese. The resolution puts the approval of these liturgies back under the authority of the Rector or Priest in Charge, which is where any approved liturgies of the church have almost always been allowed or disallowed (of course we cannot as Rectors allow any liturgies the BCP or General Convention have not approved without the Bishop’s permission).
Go HERE to read B012.
I am looking forward to returning home tomorrow. GC is truly exhausting, invigorating, challenging and delightful. I leave this one more excited about the Episcopal church than ever. Our Presiding Bishop sets such an amazing example for all of us striving to be the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement, reminding me and all to keep the main thing, the main thing – Jesus! See my video with Peter Wong which will be posted with the others later today for more on that.
God bless and thanks for visiting my blog!