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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Legislation at General Convention

How does legislation get through the General Convention?

1. A diocesan convention passes a resolution and sends it to the GC and it is registered with the secretary of convention.
OR
A bishop submits a resolution to the GC
OR
A deputy submits a resolution.
OR
A committee/program/department of the GC submits a resolution.

2. The resolution is assigned to a General Convention legislative committee -- for example, a resolution asking for an ecumenical relationship with the African Methodist Church would be assigned to the committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. All legislative committees of the Convention are cognate -- that is, they are made up of deputies and bishops.

3. During the Convention the committee meets and discusses the resolutions. The committee also schedules open hearings on the resolutions. Anyone can testify at an open hearing. Only deputies and bishops can discuss the resolution when it is being considered on the floor of convention, and only deputies or bishops can offer amendments.

4. The committee may rewrite the resolution -- defeat it -- or pass it as is. If it is defeated, it can still reach the floor of either house by actions of the members thereof.

5. The resolution (if it passes committee) is sent to the appropriate body of the convention -- there is a protocol on which types of resolutions are first assigned to the various houses (Bishops or Deputies).

6. The first house may pass the resolution, defeat it, or pass an amended version. If it passes it is then sent to the other house for consideration. In the second house it can be passed, defeated, or amended and passed. Each resolution must be passed in each house in the same form in order to become an action of the Convention. Resolutions and canons take affect on January 1, following the General Convention. A constitutional change must be passed in the same form at two successive General Conventions.

7. Because of the short length of the General Convention, not every resolution reaches the floor of each house. If a resolution does not get passed by both houses for lack of time to consider, it is not held over to the next General Convention. It must be resubmitted at the next meeting of the Convention.

Friday, May 29, 2009

What is a deputy?

Each diocese elects four clerical and four lay deputies for the House of Deputies. Alternates are elected, also, in case a deputy cannot serve or needs to take some time off during the course of the convention.

The dictionary defines deputy as: a person appointed or authorized to act as a substitute for another or others.

Those elected are acting as substitutes for the various dioceses. The General Convention, the governing body of this Church, meets every three years to deal with changes in canons (laws of the Church), the constitution and the program, mission and ministry of the Church. The Missouri deputies attend this meeting as "substitutes" for the entire membership of the diocese.

Deputies are not delegates. Delegates are: persons designated to act for or represent another or others. The assumption here is that delegates are given certain powers to represent a particular constituency's desires. Deputies have more latitude to vote their own conscience. This is important because often issues change or have to be negotiated, and a deputy has more latitude to deal with the changes than a delegate might have.

The General Convention is a bicameral (two house) legislative body. The House of Deputies is the upper or senior house. The House of Bishops is the lower house. Certain types of legislation must originate in the House of Deputies -- funding, for example. Liturgical items must first go to the House of Bishops. There are times when the two houses meet together, but that is only to receive reports and to hear from particular church bodies or individuals. The two houses never vote in a joint session. Each piece of legislation must pass each house in an identical form in order for it to be an action of the General Convention.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Committee on HIV/AIDS

The Executive Council Committee on HIV/AIDS (p. 682ff)

The Committee holds meetings twice a year, and its members have also attended meetings and conferred with numerous other HIV/AIDS service organizations outside the Church.

The Committee’s own stated purpose is four-fold:
1) increasing awareness with-in the Episcopal Church,
2) reduce effects of stigmatizing,
3) identifying those that we are leaving out, and
4) identifying ministries and resources within the Church

The Committee essentially admits failure in the paragraph “Church’s Response”. The only modest “success” seems to come through other church programs, not this Committee. They also admit to “a lack of collaboration among entities working on the pandemic, both within and without the church …”


Resolutions:

A158: Continues the committee.
A117: Restates purposes, but assigns the work of this committee to the Committee on Health, thereby dissolving the HIV/AIDS committee.

Deputies must choose between the two resolutions.

By clicking on the blog title, you will be taken to the Blue Book reports in order to review the entire content of this report.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Task Force on Disciplinary Policies

Task Force on Disciplinary Policies (Title IV Revisions)
Blue Book Pages 766-795

A new set of disciplinary canons are being proposed this year.

Four distinct elements need to be included in any process of discipline:
(1) safety for all persons involved in discipline (sanctuary)
(2) truth-telling, leading to the elimination of toxic secrecy and shame;
(3) healing, with its verbal roots in “salve”, the same root as for “salvation”; and
(4) reconciliation, to free and strengthen the church in its true mission to the world.

To see the details of the canonical changes, simply click on the title of this blog post and you will be directed to the Blue Book source.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How we enter Ecumenical & Interfatih relationships

This is the abstract of the theology the Episcopal Church uses when entering into relationships with other religious bodies. From the Blue Book, pg 134 and following:

The Theological Statement on Interreligious Relations outlines the manner and rational by which we as a church involve ourselves in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue and the context and historical prospective by which we do dialogue. The foundation of scripture, tradition and reason are used to form our understanding of relationships. We profess a particular understanding of salvation, but that is something we ought not to use to disprove others, but rather as a gift we bring to the dialogue table. “Effective and meaningful dialogue will only take place where there is gentleness, honesty and integrity.” In other words, we are uniquely Anglican and yet open to the traditions of others. Witness, pilgrim, servant, prophet, ambassador, host and sacrament are the means by which we share in mission – not denying others, but standing upon the rock of these things we hold dear. Living in a global setting we have new situations for mission and evangelism, standing close to those of religious belief in all places. These new situations call us to be more open and willing to listen to others as we continue our journey of faith. This document is the foundation by which future dialogues will occur.

By clicking on the blog title, you will be taken to the Blue Book page to view reports.

Greetings -- The Blue Book

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Blue Book of the General Convention contains the reports of the bodies that work between our triennial meetings. Standing Committees and official organizations are required to make these reports. The Blue Book contains about 900 pages of information, resolutions and funding requests.

Your deputation divided the reports among us and have provided abstracts for the various parts. Daily I will post one of these abstracts. If you would like to read the entire book, or a complete report, you will find the Blue Book at: www.episcopalchurch.org/gc2009_106480_ENG_HTM.htm

If you have specific questions regarding an abstract or report, please respond here.

Thank you.

The Very Rev. Ronald Clingenpeel
Deputation Chair

Friday, May 22, 2009

Listening Sessions

General Convention of the Episcopal Church in ...Image via Wikipedia

Saturday, June 6, 9:30-11, St. Peter’s, Ladue, facilitated by Canon Ralph McMichael

Saturday, June 13, 10:30-12:00 Columbia Hope, facilitated by the Rev. Tamsen Whistler

Saturday, June 13, 10-11:30 All Saints’, Farmington, facilitated by the Very Rev. Ronald Clingenpeel

Unable to attend and still have a question? Please send it to GC09@diocesemo.org.

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