The 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church convenes in Austin Texas, July 5th - 13th, 2018

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Day 5 - Deputy Booker

Dan Appleyard from the Diocese of Missouri, making sure that things keep working.

We are definitely down to business.  It's Monday, and we have to wrap everything up by Friday.

We learned this morning that, of the 842 Deputies, the ages range from 17 to 90.  There are more Deputies under the age of 30 than at any previous General Convention.  The gender split is 51% male, 49% female.  The breakdown by ethnicity is 77% Caucasian, 9% Black, 7% Hispanic, 3% Native American, and 3% Asian.

The mechanics are going better than I expected.  There have been issues here and there with the electronic binders and voting, but nothing that couldn't be fixed.  As Mike Clark noted below, the President, the Rev. Gay Jennings, has run a tight ship and is careful to explain where we are and what we're doing...and she's willing to be corrected when she gets it wrong.

Just before General Convention I learned that there were a number of proposals concerning the calendar of "saints" in the church (I use the quotation marks because that's not actually how we define them, but it's a familiar shorthand.)  As I suspected, the topic produced a great deal of passionate discussion.  We have a calendar of commemorations in the Book of Common Prayer, and there is a supplemental text with the horrid name of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, and you may know about the reference, Holy Women, Holy Men.  There's work under way to add yet another reference, A Great Cloud of Witnesses.   One of the points of disagreement was whether we should list non-Christian but inspirational figures or not.

The House of Bishops is working on sending us a report on marriage rites.  We are getting word about that document, but I haven't seen anything official yet.

Tomorrow afternoon we will be discussing another big issue, the reorganization of the Church.  That will be complicated, because there are many ideas being proposed and it's not clear how they might all work together

I rose to spoke again today, which is a daunting activity since (a) there are over a thousand people in the room and (b) we're in the back, so there's a serious delayed echo whenever you say something.  At any rate, I was concerned that the Social Justice issues coming before the General Convention were all written as if the U.S. was that whole of the Episcopal Church.  As we are reminded on a daily basis, we have sixteen nations represented outside of the U.S.  Issues that might make some sort of sense in a U.S. context (like a $15 dollar minimum wage) reflect neither the laws nor the economic realities of those other countries,

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