Thursday, July 5, 2012

I will be brief this evening because we have had a very full day and it is now 11:00 p.m., having just gotten a light bite of supper with other members of the Mississippi deputation after a large hearing on church structure this evening.

We began this morning with our first official legislative session of the House of Deputies.  It was all pretty formal -- doing the various things we have to do in order to get Convention officially started.  On the floor today for our deputation were, in the laity, Kathryn McCormick, Anita George, Margaret McLarty, and Ed Sisson; and clergy, myself, Marian Fortner, David Knight, and Margaret Ayers.  The opening legislative session ran from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. 

At 9:30, we had the opening Eucharist of convention.  The Presiding Bishop was the preacher and celebrant.  The propers were for the commemoration of Walter Rauschenbusch, Washington Gladden and Jacob Riis, 19th and early 20th century Christian social activists.  It was a wonderful service with outstanding music.  The Presiding Bishop preached an excellent service.

It is a bracing and wonderful experience to be in a service with 2,000 fellow Episcopalians.

Later, we had two rounds of committee meetings. Mine, of course, is the Committee on Structure. We met and continued to plod through a number of resolutions dealing with very dry canonical changes. Suffice it to say we put a very fine edge on everything -- wordsmithing resolutions to a farethewell. We were not yet to the matters of substance that our committee will ultimately deal with. A large crowd of visitors -- maybe 70 or 80 at each committee meeting -- indicates the level of interest in the she subject, thought the vast majority of the visitors almost certainly have been disappointed by our not taking up the most important resolutions yet. I expressed a hope that we would be prepared to deal with larger issues and that we would not restrict our options by acting too soon on some resolutions which seem to assume "business as usual."

Between legislative committee meetings, the Mississippi deputation met for lunch, as we do each day.  It is a good time for the deputies to meet with Bishop Gray and for all of us to "get on the same page."  Kathryn McCormick is making sure that a suitable lunch is catered to our meeting space each day.  Her hospitality and organization have been invaluable.

Tonight we had our BIG hearing.  The Structure Committee met in a massive ballroom for a public hearing on all resolutions addressing the serious restructuring of the church that has been so much in discussion.  It was largely a univocal exercise, with more than 40 witness (allowed two minutes each) endorsing the idea of restructuring the Episcopal Church's administration and governance.  Bishop Gray and David Knight spoke at the hearing; I was seated with the committee.  We will see where this goes.  The real work begins tomorrow.

Please keep us in your prayers.

No comments: