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Friday, July 17, 2009

Random thoughts from Day 9

As Ron said, we passed the budget Thursday. It was hard and it will mean a lot fewer face-to-face meetings of various committees and commissions and more "online collaboration."One of the program staff cuts which is bothering a lot of people is that there will be no more "Women's Desk" at 815 (although I believe the "Status of Women" committee of Executive Council will continue.) There is a plan to have a slightly shorter General Convention in 2012 and to do much more of it "online." I would be more sanguine about all this use of new technology if I had not seen how much trouble many of the deputies seem to have with the electronic voting machines, which makes me wonder how they would do with an internet based General Convention paper flow. But I guess we'll see.

The other interesting thing about the budget was that the "asking" from each diocese is being incrementally reduced, in a manner that our own diocesan council had passed a resolution requesting. It will be 21% in 2010, 20% in 2009 and 19% in 2012. (I think the percentages are right but am too sleepy to check right now.)

We also passed two "political" resolutions. One D048 calling for a "single payer" national healthcare system and the other C023 opposing DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act.) They passed but by "squeak through" margins. I think that this reflects a real division in the House of Deputies about whether or not the church should engage in this kind of advocacy for matters of civil law. Everybody agrees that we need to do something about Health Care in the US and that Health Care is something Christians should care about but people were uncomfortable with the wording of the resolution which seemed to call upon all Episcopalians to approach the political solution to this problem in a particular way which may or may not be the best way.

We passed other resolutions which seemed to be focused on current events: one about Israel, asking for humanitarian aid for people in Gaza, one against torture and exraordinary rendition, one against"preemptive attacks."

I don't think any of us has mentioned that we passed a huge revision of the Lesser Feasts and fasts called "Holy Women, Holy Men." It contains many, many new commemorations. It will be available for trial use with some parishes chosen to offer specific feedback in an intentional way. Our bishop has spent quite a lot of time and energy at this convention getting this giant piece through the process. It will be interesting to pray our way through Holy Women and Holy Men whom we have never heard of before like Bartolomé de las Casas, Friar and Missionary to the Indies, 1566 who is on the calendar on July 18th. And there are plenty of people we HAVE heard of but have not had on the calendar before, not least Lydia seller of purple from Acts who will share January 27 with Dorcas and Phoebe. All will broaden our sense of how God has been glorified in the lives of holy people.

There is a huge amount of legislation yet to get through. A lot just on the consent calendar. Some will never make it through the consent process (House of Deputies and House of Bishops must concur on every resolution for it to have effect.) We may pass things tomorrow that the bishops don't have time to consider. One item likely to "die" in this way is C061 which Don discussed upstream. The Deputies will probably not concur with the House of Bishop's changes. We may amend it back to the original motion or simply vote against concurrance. But whatever we do, it is unlikely that the canon will be changed because the resolution will not have been concurred by both houses.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this report, Lydia -- and for all those others posted by our deputies.

    My prayers continue for all of you on this last day of GC. You must be exhausted by now. I am grateful for your all's faithful service.

    ReplyDelete

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