Tag Archives: General Convention

Preparing for General Convention

GC81 begins June 21st in Louisville, KY

Five deputies from the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast (DIOCGC) traveled to beautiful Kanuga Camp and Conference Center in the mountains of Western N. Carolina for Province IV Synod, May 8-10. I was joined by Joe McDaniel, Eugene Johnston, Jill Showers Chow, and John Talbert.

It’s a long drive to Kanuga, especially when you consider going through Atlanta is about the only way from here. Several of us experienced quite the challenge on the way up, as an accident and a high speed chase had I-85 north of Atlanta shut down for quite a while. After a strange and winding detour, we got back on 85 just before the South Carolina line, and then made it to Kanuga just in time for the opening reception and worship service.

Province IV incorporates most of the dioceses of the Episcopal Church in the southern and southeastern states. There are 20 dioceses in the Province, making Province IV the largest geographical province, and I believe also the province with the most church members. Lay and Clergy deputies were joined by the bishops of the respective dioceses for the Synod.

Province IV Synod meets a month or two before each General Convention. We have a variety of programming, elections of Provincial officers as well as lay and clergy representatives to the Executive Council, the body which serves sort of as the Vestry for the Episcopal Church in between General Conventions. DIOCGC is very well represented on the Executive Council. Lay Deputy Joe McDaniel was elected to a six year term at the 2022 General Convention (GC meets every 3 years but the 2021 convention was postponed a year due to Covid). And at the Synod our own Lay Deputy, Jill Showers Chow, was elected to a six year term as the Lay member from Province IV! Congratulations to Joe and Jill!

Usually at Synod, the Province will deal with resolutions to be sent to General Convention (resolutions can come from a Province, from a Diocese, from the House of Bishops, from an interim body such as a Task Force or Standing Committee created by GC, or from the House of Deputies (with a minimum of 3 deputies sponsoring the resolution). EVERY submitted resolution is assigned to a legislative committee, which will hold hearings (these are online now) and take action on the resolutions, which are then sent to the floor of each house (Bishops or Deputies). However, there was confusion from the Episcopal Church General Convention office to our provincial officers, who had been told the date of Synod is past the deadline for submitting resolutions to this year’s GC, so no resolutions were dealt with. We found out at Synod, via former DIOCGC priest Steve Pankey, who is deeply involved in the Rules of Order which govern such things, that this understanding was not correct, the only deadline for submitting resolutions is the 2nd legislative day of GC itself. This was a disappointing turn of events, but those interested in Provincial supported resolutions have other means to submit their resolutions by that date.

I know this is a lot of detail and few of my tremendous number of blog readers (j/k of course) may be interested in all this minutia, so my feelings are not hurt if you skip a lot of this!

Synod is also a wonderful time to catch up with old friends across the church. This is my 7th time to serve on a General Convention deputation – 4 times from the Diocese of Mississippi and 3 times from DIOCGC, where I have been honored each time to serve as the Deputation Chair. So I know a lot of these folks from previous conventions, as well as seminary classmates and a whole host of others whom I met through our disaster recovery experience following Hurricane Katrina. So despite Atlanta traffic, it was worth the whirlwind drive over Wednesday and back home Friday travel nightmare.

I plan to update this blog each day/night of General Convention. Along with some important resolutions I will be commenting on, at this GC the House of Bishops will elect our next Presiding Bishop, as the Most Reverend Michael Curry’s term ends this year. The PB serves a 9 year term. Bishop Curry has been a shining light for our church on the world stage. If you haven’t ever watched him preach, please go to YouTube and check it out, he is an amazing preacher, a kind soul, and a wonderful spokesperson for our church.

Stay tuned around June 20 or 21st for more updates. If you have questions or interests you would like me to comment on, please leave those in the comment section! God bless y’all!

General Convention Post 3

Some members of our deputation showing off their Camp Beckwith shirts. It was Camp Shirt Day at General Convention

The legislative process at GC can sometimes drive me batty. Time is limited for debate and those wishing to speak queue up at microphones using an electronic queuing system for fairness. Most speakers are well prepared, knowing they only have 2 minutes (and asked often to slow down in order to allow the translators appropriate time). Also often we hear basically the same thing said by multiple people and when that occurs where there is no one speaking to the opposite side, I tend to get impatient as the will of the house is pretty obvious. But in reality, deputies speaking from their heart or from their experience regarding a resolution and its possible impact are at the core of why we are here. It’s a process (a lot of process in the process) and the diversity of deputies here is delightful to see. I am also very impressed by the number of younger deputies this convention and their willingness to speak to the issues in front of us. So I will resist yelling ”get off my lawn”, and see what I can learn from all the variety of people and opinions.

In her brief remarks after being elected President of the House of Deputies, Julia Alaya Harris said it was a victory for ”church geeks” everywhere. YES! She was speaking to the House but also to a large number of people watching online. She described herself as a church geek who loves the legislative process, canons, prayer book, and other things that make our church in some ways unique, and she also wanted to lift up her fellow church geeks and honor their passion for all things church. Thanks Julia! We look forward to your leadership.

The most moving moment yesterday was the approval, unanimously, of the merger of the Diocese of North Texas (formally called the Diocese of Ft Worth) with the Diocese of Texas, from whence it had been carved out decades ago. The Episcopalians of this diocese have been through incredible trials and tribulations, finally ending up with the vast majority of clergy and churches leaving the Episcopal church to align with another entity. Deputy Kate Sherrod, who has been so steadfast in her fight for her diocese, her church and her people, spoke to the importance of this day for her and so many others. Recently the Texas Supreme Court, in a decision that goes against almost 100% of all other court cases across the country when churches have voted to leave the Episcopal church but learned they could not keep their buildings or money, decided the break away diocese could not only have ALL the stuff, down to prayer books and vestments, they also could retain the name of the Diocese of Ft. Worth. Katie was in tears as she testified to the heartbreak and hardship, along with the delight in their reunion with the Diocese of Texas. Her haunting words were prophetic to me, saying ”the cost of inclusion is a heavy one”. The resolution passed with a standing ovation as the deputies from North Texas and Texas stood on the platform. To quote Presiding Bishop Curry from his sermon on Friday, this is one way we make ”plenty of good room for all God’s children.”

The evening session included two LONG debates, one on a resolution accepting the recommendation of a study group reorganizing how our archives are managed. It’s way too much to get into on here, but who knew so many people would speak passionately on this topic? I voted to support the 4 years of work of the study group. The other resolution which took a lot of time (and will have to be finished with this morning) had to do with resolution A048, which was offered by the legislative committee I serve on. Based on recommendations of a Task Force formed at the last GC, the resolution proposes much needed changes to how the budget for the church is developed, while keeping the authority for approving the budget with the GC. The budget process is currently very convoluted and recognizing this, the Task Force was formed to come up with a better approach. They have done so and I support their work. Our own deputy, David Quittmeyer was part of that process as a member of the Program, Budget, and Finance standing committee and David also supports what the task force has offered.

On a personal note, I was moved to tears as the PHOD awarded the Presidential Medal to Louisa McKellaston. Louisa is a young adult who works for the Diocese of Chicago and is chair of my committee. In addition, Louisa and her amazing family lived across the hall from the Knights our first year at Seabury Western seminary. She was a young teen then and made fast friends with my two daughters who were adjusting to this move and needed a friend. I am so proud of her! She has suffered through the tragic loss of both her parents since the last GC, her mother was my classmate and an amazing person and priest who died very unexpectedly and far too young. Her brother, Ian, is a star with the Chicago Symphony, their whole family being musically gifted. So proud of you, Louisa!

Time for the morning session soon. More to come. Two days to go! Thanks for reading, if you made it this far!

Me with Louisa after her medal award

General Convention – 1st post

Well, after writing a post earlier and having it lost in the internet ether somewhere, here goes a 2nd attempt.

I arrived in Baltimore for General Convention (GC) 80 late last night, storms in the area delaying our arrival a bit. This is my 6th GC and my 2nd as chair of the deputation from the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast. It is an honor to serve in this capacity. While I do have a lot of experience, obviously, at GC, this one will be so different and we are all curious as to how things will work.

Due to the ongoing threat of COVID 19, this GC has been reduced to 4 days, less than half of what we typically have. A lot of work has been done using Zoom and Microsoft Teams as legislative committees have worked on resolutions submitted and assigned to them since January, offering online ”hearings” for any interested parties to attend and comment.

To be honest, I hope this pre-convention committee work does not become the norm. I found it really difficult to attend every meeting, as life and work often would get in the way. When you are physically at GC, you have 100% commitment of time and energy to the work to be done, and while this lends itself to GC being exclusive to those who can afford, in time and money, to attend, I missed not just the opportunity to see and work with people in person, but also the ability to attend meetings and hearings of committees I am not on (I am a member, with Bishop Russell, of the Committee on Governance and Structure – try to stay awake as you read that title). I do not think TEC (The Episcopal Church) did a very good job of promoting hearings on resolutions by the various committees, several times I tried to find when a hearing was taking place (on Zoom) only to be unable to find the information needed. Clicking on a resolution which I knew had hearings coming soon often just displayed ”no meetings scheduled”. I know this is new to everyone and while I hold out hope we do not attempt this same approach at future GCs, if we do we MUST do a better job of advertising to all when hearings are occurring so those interested can ”attend”.

The other possible detriment to this reduced time is that most resolutions will be on the consent calendar, meaning they would be adopted (or rejected) in mass without any debate or discussion. Some of the resolutions we are dealing with are pretty important, involve lots of TEC budget money, make bold statements to the wider church, and change some important aspects of how we ”do” church, and I think many of these are worth the time of the over 800 deputies to discuss and perhaps improve.

That’s enough rant for now. I am headed to registration. Many thanks to Dwight Babcock, our diocesan administrator, for securing us rooms in the Hilton, which is adjacent via SkyWalk to the convention center, AND, more importantly, basically next door to Camden Yards, the Orioles ballpark. Some of us are attending the game tonight and I cannot wait! I have been to Camden once before, with 35 youth from the coast of Mississippi (seems like eons ago, they are all in their 20s and 30s now!) and next to Wrigley Field, it is my favorite MLB park. Go O’s!

Please comment if you have any questions or comments regarding GC, I would love to hear from you!

1st Legislative Day GC77

I know all my loyal fans are wondering “where are David’s blog updates?”. Sorry to be late starting but didn’t have much to say yet.
Arrived in Indy the evening of July 3. On the 4th we could register and start attending committee meetings. I am not assigned to a committee so I am “monitoring” several, including Structure, Social and Urban, and Prayer Book and Liturgy. More on all those below.
Most of our deputation arrived on the 3rd and we began our daily lunch meetings where we discuss legislation and make plans for the next 24 hours. Ed Sisson serves on World Mission, Anita George is Vice-Chair of Education, David Johnson is on Structure, and Kathryn McCormick is on Church Pension Fund. They all have some pretty crucial stuff to look at.
On the afternoon of the 3rd we had opening remarks from the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. The speeches could not have been more different. The PB did her usual mission stuff but in an engaging way and a way that pointed to our efforts to restructure. The President of the House of Deputies (PHOD), Bonnie Anderson, has a nice delivery and presence, but her message was so confusing (at least to me). She talks about change and restructure and how that’s good, then reminds us that by God our polity was established around the time of the Constitution and how dare we change anything. She even (seemed to me) compared the “change agents” (my words not hers) as the Israelites who wanted to go back to Egypt to die, HUH? Later today at the Structure hearings on changing structure of GC and 815 et al, one speaker put it right – we’ve been stuck in Egypt mode too long, it took 40 years for the Israelites to shake it off, now is the time for us to do so.
Early today I was privileged to speak to the Social and Urban Committee concerning resolutions A125 and A127 about Anti Racism. As a recent appointee to the Anti Racism Committee of the Executive Council I thought it important to be there. Then Anita George, member of the Mississippi deputation and long time chair of that same committee, asked me to speak on behalf of the resolutions. Both Anita and I did, and basically we became the “expert witnesses” for questions the committee had about the resolutions (Anita far more than I – she is so beloved by so many for her lifetime of work in racial reconciliation). It was really fun and I think I did a good job with the questions they had.
The first legislative sessions were pretty routine. We did approve reinstituting 300K in the budget for the Episcopal Youth Event. Not only is EYE a great event, restoring this funding makes a statement of our priorities and I hope sends a message to our youth.
Most of the rest was pretty routine.
Tonight was the first really big hearing of GC – the Committee on Structure was holding hearings about all the structural reform resolutions (over 50 of them). I was part of a small working group that met informally on Tuesday night to work on a strategy. Several of us agreed to speak and also to encourage others from all the dioceses who submitted these resolutions. Primarily we are calling for a special task force to be appointed right after GC to put EVERYTHING on the table that has to do with governance, polity, CCABs, General Convention, budget, etc. The idea also includes a call for a special Constitutional Convention to deal with what comes out of that task force, so it doesn’t take the usual 6 years for Constitutional changes to take place. The room was packed and all but one of the 40 speakers spoke in favor of reform. I had my two minutes and I think it went well. The committee was initially reluctant, we think, to act on these proposals. They should have no reservation now of the will of the people for major changes. It’s very exciting!
Well it’s really late here and the day starts quite early. More later.

Remember you can track legislation in real time at http://generalconvention.org .

Idol Worship at General Convention

Idol Worship at General Convention

There is some movement, at long last, in the Episcopal church to take a good, long, and honest look at how we govern ourselves, how General Convention is run and what goes on there, and how we can streamline our church to focus on mission, on reaching others with the Good News of Christ, on offering the special things our church can offer to those seeking to know God, and on how to be servants to people in need. These conversations are springing up all over the place, and they seem to be causing great consternation in some circles.
What follows are just some rambling observations. None of this is meant to be personal, although I am sure some will take it that way. I don’t know Bonnie Anderson, the President of the House of Deputies (POTHOD) on a personal level, although I have heard her talk about her own faith journey (an impressive and moving story) and I have also experienced her being border-line rude to a gathering of clergy (we made the horrible mistake of being ordained people). I know she is admired by many and I am sure she works incredibly hard, I just think she is misguided and in many ways represents the heart of the problem, in my opinion.
I first attended General Convention (GC) in 2006 as a clergy alternate. It was pretty overwhelming. It’s massive first of all. There are over 800 deputies on the floor (half clergy and half lay people) with at least 400 alternates sitting on the sidelines watching. The legislative process is mind boggling at times. Committees meet all week to discuss resolutions assigned to them (resolutions can come from deputies, bishops, CCABs (commissions, committees, agencies, and boards of the church) and from dioceses (by way of Diocesan convention resolutions) and provinces (regional groupings of diocese). The POTHOD appoints committee chairs and vice chairs as well as all committee members. Only deputies (no alternates) serve on committees. This freed me up to attend committee meetings whenever they were discussing something of interest to me. The problem is – SO many of the resolutions are such a waste of time. They have to do with things that really have nothing to do with the mission of the church or they are political in nature and will have no impact on policy. Sometimes we really think more highly of our place in the world than we should. Why does the Episcopal Church spend money on a lobbyist in Washington? We cannot possibly compete with other big money lobbyists and I cannot imagine we have any influence whatsoever on government policy. Spend that money on church plants where we CAN make a difference in people’s lives.
I digress….
Watching how the legislative process on the floor of the HoD is handled was interesting. Wiley veterans know how to work the system, there is a group of deputies always ready to race to a microphone and “Call the Question” whenever debate heats up or their particular agenda is in danger of being defeated. I have more to say about this in a bit. But there is no doubt that being politically and legislatively astute is a big plus to get things done on the floor of the HoD. Somehow that bothers me. And it works for both “sides” of controversial issues, so this is not a knock on any one group, it just seems a strange way for the church to make decisions.
I often find myself searching really hard for Jesus at GC.
The House of Deputies is the “senior” house, as the House of Bishops didn’t join in the legislative process until after a few GCs. The HoD folks love to remind us of that fact all the time. There is undoubtedly a core group of leaders in the HoD, especially the POTHOD, who distrust Bishops and the HoB. In fact in her opening remarks to GC in 2009, President Anderson mentioned how well the Episcopal church did in the early days before we even had any bishops on American soil…a pretty overt statement of how she feels about bishops (We don’t need no stinking bishops!). There is great distrust of bishops exercising “too much” power, and often Executive Council seems to be a real contest between the Presiding Bishop (PB) and POTHOD, often firing off conflicting statements about the role and mission of EC and church leadership. It really seems the POTHOD is circling the wagons and continues to drive a stake between the two houses. Most unfortunate.
We all know of the long and weary battles our church has fought and continues to fight over issues of sexuality, which spill into disagreements regarding interpretation of Scripture, ongoing (or not) revelation, etc. We have become known as that church that fights all the time, and CNN and others love to show us at our worst. Meanwhile, we have a crisis on our hands – our numbers are dwindling remarkably, we are an aging church and many of our parishes are facing severe financial difficulties. Yet we are called, always, to be people of faith and hope, people sent to proclaim the Good News of Christ, people called to serve others and to love the way Jesus loves us….yet….

In 2009 the Committee on the State of the Church had put together a very eye opening report for the Blue Book given to all GC deputies. The report spoke the truth and called the church to radical rethinking to turn this old battleship around. While scary in part, I was encouraged that we were willing to face the music, and hoped this report would be a rallying cry for us at GC 09. So when I heard the POTHOD was calling for two hours of meeting as a “Committee of the Whole” on the floor of the house, I was certain it was to begin the conversation around this report and what changes we need to make as a church. Wrong. It was was again all about sex. This despite the fact that the vast majority of those who opposed the more progressive stance on human sexuality had since either fled the church or were no longer interested in fighting it out at GC, we were called by our President to talk, again, about sex.
Also at the 2009 GC, a dedicated group of people interested in changing the canons to include language that would allow transgendered candidates access to the ordination process. They had a well oiled machine in place, with really excellent speakers testifying at various committee hearings. The proposed resolution (C061) read: “Title III, Canon 1, Sec. 2 of the Canons of the Episcopal Church is hereby amended to read as follows: No person shall be denied access to the discernment process for any ministry, lay or ordained, in this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disabilities or age, except as otherwise provided by these Canons. No right to licensing, ordination, or election is hereby established.” The gender identity and expression clause was the change to the canon and what all the organized testimony was about. The proposed change was sent to the House of Bishops for their concurrence. I was at the HoB when this was debated. The Bishops took a different approach – instead of adding one more group to the canon to whom we cannot discriminate, they changed the wording to simply say that ALL members have a right to the ordination process and would not be discriminated against. Their language was: “Title III, Canon 1, Sec. 2 of the Canons of the Episcopal Church is hereby amended to read as follows: No person All baptized persons shall be denied have full access to the discernment process for any ministry in this Church, lay or ordained, in this Church except as otherwise provided by these Canons. No person shall be denied access or have his or her discernment process terminatedbecause of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disabilities or age, except as otherwise provided by these Canons. No right to licensing, ordination, or election is hereby established.”
Notice the difference. After years and years of different groups fighting for the right to the ordination process, the Bishops changed the game and said all baptized persons have full access. All. It was actually a spiritual moment in the HoB as they realized the message they were sending to the church.
Their excitement was short lived. As soon as this amended resolution was returned to the HoD, shockingly to me the opposition to it was strong. The chair of the committee on World Mission, The Rev. Gay Jennings (who is a wonderful person and was very helpful to us post-Katrina) opposed the change, as did several other speakers. I was stunned! The bottom line – they didn’t trust that “all means all”. As I attempted to get to the microphone to speak in favor of the amendment (waiting behind one speaker), of course someone called the question, debate was terminated, and the amended version was defeated. Defeated knowing full well that the change the transgender folks had worked so hard to include would now NOT be in the Canon, as this was the last session and impossible to send anything back to the HoB for concurrence. So instead of changing the language to where we now emphatically say all the baptized, which has been a rallying cry for those long discriminated against, would have full access to the process, the HoD said that wasn’t good enough! I really couldn’t believe it, but in talking to some folks afterwards they expressed that changing the canon that way would mean special interest groups representing minorities would no longer have a reason to come to GC and campaign for their causes, so they were opposed to the change. I hope that’s not true but if there is any truth in it, it speaks volumes as to what GC has become. But worse than that is the distinct message that the HoD, especially it’s leaders, just do not trust Bishops. Very sad.

So as GC 2012 approaches we are hearing a lot of rumblings about change. Bishop Stacy Sauls, our new Chief Operating Officer, presented some ideas about structural change at the last House of Bishops meeting. Included in his proposal were suggestions for the forming of a task force and perhaps even a special GC to address strictly those concerns. What needs to happen to our Constitution and Canons, for instance? In his presentation he called on conversations at all levels of the church with all people in the church (not JUST Bishops!) and suggested resolutions that could be sent forth from Diocesan Conventions. I liked that approach very much, because having the conversation at the Diocesan Convention level would allow MANY more people, lay and clergy, to join in, to be empowered, and to feel they actually have a voice in all this. Despite what many “GC people” will tell you, in many ways the membership of the HoD is not reflective of our church membership – it’s hard to find people willing to run for deputy, for instance, due to the time and financial requirements to do so. We limit the pool, obviously, by the length of GC and the size of it. So pushing these conversations down to the Diocesan level allows some brilliant and dedicated lay folks and clergy to participate and to be on the front line, so to speak, for changes that may be forthcoming.

Of course, once word got out that Bishop Sauls had made this presentation, the majority of our leaders on the HoD side were outraged that he had done so with the HoB without first (or additionally) presenting to the Deputies, or the EC. While a few folks on the HoB/D listserv talked about the content of the presentation, once it was published on the web, most wanted instead to talk about him doing so to the Bishops alone. The POTHOD was the leader of that charge.

How I would have much rather seen some conversation about the content from our leadership. Instead the obviously highly offended POTHOD claimed that work was already being done by, saying: “In my opening remarks to the Executive Council in February, 2011, I called for Executive Council’s Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Administration for Mission to review the work of various standing commissions, committees and task forces and coordinate the efforts by these groups who are working on ‘structural change proposals for the Church’. As a result, Executive Council, by resolution, directed the Standing Commission on the Structure of the Church, which has a canonical mandate to ‘study and make recommendations concerning the structure of the General Convention and of the Church’, to hold an in-person consultation with representatives of these groups.”

While these committees and commissions are in place with a “call” to do this work, it seems that the work of CCABs goes largely disregarded (see above about the last time a report was presented on the State of the Church). The bigger problem is the pace of the work. In fact, the most terrifying words I heard President Anderson say, in the same letter from September of this year, were: “we need to slow down”.
Good grief! SLOW DOWN??? Is there any wonder Bishop Sauls and others are pushing for a radical approach to the changes we need to make to focus way more on mission, than on governance.

However, systems tend to work hard to maintain the status quo. Recently President Anderson has been making statements about how wonderful our governance is and how our governance has made possible all these great things in our church.
I still am looking for Jesus. Governance, General Convention, the Executive Council in some ways have become idols for many. Seems like there is a commandment about that somewhere.
Recently the POTHOD restarted the official message board for deputies and first alternates. Over several weeks a discussion question or topic was posted and responses called for. With over 800 deputies and 100 or so 1st alternates, you would think the board would be overrun with comments. But it seems only a handful of deputies are participating (and usually it’s the same ones for each question). Maybe it’s because the topics are things like the history of General Convention and did the writers of the U.S. Constitution also write our church constitution, and the history of the House of Deputies! zzzzzzzzz

I find it interesting that the Presiding Bishop talks about how our governance can hinder mission and the POTHOD’s immediate reaction is just the opposite – governance at all cost!
Maybe another response would be something like “I am intrigued and willing to listen to all parties regarding structural changes that will help promote the gospel of Jesus Christ while including all at the table in leadership and participation…..and while I believe firmly in the way things work now and in our governance and polity, evidence shows some changes are necessary for this church to thrive in the 21st century.” That would have given me more hope. Instead a member of the Executive Committee has stated we need to increase the budget of the POTHOD to that of the Presiding Bishop, which I think completely confuses the roles each are given in our church. I didn’t think we elected President Anderson to be a spokesperson for the church (and she’s not the first POTHOD to act that way), instead her role is to preside over the HoD in session (a role she is really good at), appoint committee members and chairs for GC and for interim bodies, and serve as vice chair of the Executive Committee (the PB is the chair). We should adequately fund those functions, of course. If I am mistaken over the canonical role of the POTHOD I am sure some reading this will correct me, but it appears to me that the job has been “self expanded” over time and a new look at what exactly the POTHOD should be doing and how to fund it may warrant some attention before the time comes to elect the next one.

Bishop Sauls highlights in his presentation that there are at least 75 CCABs and 42 Church Center offices and departments! We have bloat that mimics the federal government! He proposes a much flatter system of authority than the pyramid system we currently have (with GC on top all the way down to the people in the pews who must feel completely out of touch). He proposes radically altering funding so that mission is the main piece of the pie, and we shrink the operational (administrative) side down considerably. In his proposal this would require LESS money from the dioceses to the church center, allowing more funds to be used at the local level for mission and ministry.
And Bishop Sauls, to his credit, included comments about the current POTHOD, saying none of this was personal or directed at her, how he admires her and knows she loves Jesus, and how she has always cooperated fully with him whenever he asked anything of her.
I know I have been critical of the POTHOD in this post, but I would agree with the Bishop in his comments about her. However, her reaction, and that of many of the “old timers” who run GC and the EC has been textbook. If it wasn’t sad, it would be funny.

Mission MUST win over governance. Change must take place. We need a more nimble church, focused on the great good news, ready to plant new churches and to reach the millions in our communities who have no faith community yet are yearning for some way to connect and to know that they too are loved. The Episcopal Church can do this. I know we can….and that’s why I keep running for Deputy to GC, because I want to be a part of change for the better.
On Saturday I will join with a group of folks from across the church to discuss structural changes and how we can best implement them. Stay tuned…..and keep praying….