Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I took time today to "catch my breath" after relentless and long days of committee meetings and legislative sessions at the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church.  I appreciated that the Reverend Margaret Ayers, one of our alternates, sat in on the floor for me today.  Thankfully, the committee on which I have served, Structure, has completed its work.

However, I do have some reports to share:

  • I failed to mention yesterday that the House of Deputies voted to continue conversations concerning the Anglican Covenant.  Though the Convention did not ratify it, we expressed desire to remain in communication about the possibility of a covenant.  I would be derelict to not note that several provinces of the Anglican Communion (including the Church of England) have refused to endorse the covenant.  It is a sign of good will on our part to express a desire to continue the conversation.
  • The House of Bishops today ratified the resolution calling for restructuring and reorganization of the Episcopal Church's finances, governance and administration, passed yesterday by the House of Deputies.  The Bishops took the same action as the Deputies -- passing the resolution unanimously without amending it.  I had mentioned the various aspect of the resolution in my blog posting of Monday.  This is a very good development for the Episcopal Church, and it has been both a delight and an honor to be on the committee which developed the resolution.
  • The House of Deputies today passed a resolution dealing with the much-debated Denominational Health Plan, which was enacted by the 76th General Convention three years ago.  The change in the plan made by today's resolution is to postpone the required parity for health insurance of ordained and lay employees in the church to the end of 204, instead of the beginning of 2013.  This gives congregations and other institutions more breathing room in the implementation of the plan.
  • The House of Deputies today approved a resolution reaffirming that Holy Baptism is needed in order for admission to communion in the Episcopal Church.  The resolution made provision, however, for admission to communion of the unbaptized in pastorally-appropriate circumstances.
  • The House of Deputies today elected Deputy Byron Rushing of the Diocese of Massachusetts as it Vice President for the next three years.  Byron has served as a Deputy to General Convention since 1973 and is Majority Whip in the Massachusetts Legislature.  He is widely regarded as a thoughtful leader within the House.  His candidacy had much support in the Mississippi Deputation.  He was one of five candidates for the office, and was elected on the second ballot, after having missed election on the first ballot by a single vote.
  • The House of Bishops had a fairly quiet day, waiting for the House of Deputies to act on many resolutions.  Tomorrow is the last day of Convention, and Deputies have around sixty resolutions to consider tomorrow.  Some of those are of significant importance.  We adjourn at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow.
Our closing Eucharist of Convention will be at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow.  The Diocese of Mississippi sent an excellent deputation to this Convention.  I have been thankful for their presence here.  It has been an honor to work with them.

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