Day 6 opened with a 7:30 am meeting of Committee 5 in preparation for the debate of three substantive resolutions this afternoon. Much time and deliberation has gone into these resolutions. Like others on the committee, I came to Salt Lake City with viewpoints that have now changed. I was, for example, initially in favor of the call to reduce the size of Executive Council by 50%. Having heard more of the working nature of the group and the need to populate its various subcommittees and task forces, I have landed in a different place.
Worship was, once again, nourishing to mind, soul and spirit. Not since my seminary days have I enjoyed the discipline and joy of daily Eucharist, and certainly not with this caliber of preaching and music. All bulletins from worship have been made available to us, and can be found here.
Our first session was a joint session with bishops and alternates around the 5 Marks of Mission:
- To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
- To teach, baptize and nurture new believers
- To respond to human need by loving service
- To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth
It was a gift to spend time in conversation with one another and our Bishop noting how we might translate some of what we how observed in Salt Like City to our context as the Body of Christ in Western New York.
The afternoon session was scheduled to be a marathon running from 2:15 to 7:30 pm. Debate on Resolutions A159 and A158 from Committee #22 – Alcohol and other Drug Abuse – was rich and passionate. We claim a desire to welcome all to our communities, but need to acknowledge the unwelcoming and damaging role alcohol can play in our efforts to build the Kingdom. Responsibility for this lies with Rector and Vestry, and I’m grateful for the suggested guidelines proposed.
We held elections for 18 members to the Joint Nominating Committee for the Presiding Bishop. This group would serve in case Bishop Curry became unable to fulfill his ministry over the first three of his nine year term. We pray that these fine folks will not be called to serve and that this committee will not meet until it is time to elect the 28th Presiding Bishop! I spent time reviewing the biographies of these candidates over the lunch period, but it is a lot to digest. Several around me, including other deputations, seemed disengaged from this process, voting based on which name they preferred or simply not voting at all. I wonder if perhaps the provinces should elect their own representation.
A focal point was the introduction of three resolutions from Committee #5 on Governance and Structure: A004 (Restructuring Executive Council), A006 (Eliminating most Standing Commissions of Council) and D013 (Budget Process).
These three resolutions were presented, followed by a lengthy question and answer period. The rules of debate were suspended to allow all questions to be answered without a deputy calling for an immediate vote. Just as the question period ended and debate was about to begin on the first structure resolution, a point of order was made that translations of these three resolutions were not available. It was decided, in fairness and respect to our Spanish speaking deputies, that the House would table this discussion until 11 am on Wednesday.
I had been looking forward to Tuesday evening since arriving as this was the suggested time for seminary gatherings. Virginia Theological Seminary had well over 200 in attendance. It was a treat to sit with classmates who now serve in Mississippi and Kansas and talk about our families.
All of us left with a copy of Bishop Andrew Doyle’s new book, published by the VTS Press. It was a great night; I’m so blessed to have spent time on the Holy Hill in Alexandria, and thankful to Dean Markham for providing this opportunity to reconnect.
So, another full day at General Convention. One final note: we learned that the budget has been published and may be found on the General Convention homepage. This will no doubt consume much of the precious little legislative time we have left. Hard to believe we’ve been here for over a week!
Blessings and peace,
Chris Streeter, Clergy Deputy