Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Orientation and Introductions

The focus of much of the 78th General Convention today was on orientation and the introduction of the four nominees for Presiding Bishop – the election for which will be Saturday.

Legislative committees met early this morning, with my subcommittee (Subcommittee 1 of the Governance and Structure Committee) paying close attention to the resolutions restructuring the General Convention and Continuing Commissions, Agencies and Boards (interim bodies which continue to work outside of General Convention).  There was little consensus in the subcommittee, and our hope was for much meaningful testimony at tonight’s hearings on those issues.

The General Convention came together for the first time as a joint session, at which we heard Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies Gay Jennings make their opening comments.  That session – about an hour in length – preceded the two houses going into separate orientation sessions.  It was in this orientation that we were briefed on the high technology which will be used for voting and dissemination of information at this Convention.

The Mississippi Deputation met for lunch –as is our practice – to discuss issues coming before committees and General Convention.  It was in this meeting that we began discussing the idea of submitting a resolution discouraging the display of the Confederate Battle Flag in public, governmental, and church arenas.  Two deputies offered to draft the resolution.

This afternoon, there was another joint session of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies.  The session provided a public forum for the four nominees for Presiding Bishop – Tom Breidenthal of Southern Ohio; Michael Curry of North Carolina; Ian Douglas of Connecticut; and Dabney Smith of Southwest Florida.  The two-and-a-half hour session included videos by the nominees, statements by the nominees, and responses to multiple questions from Deputies and Bishops.

The Mississippi Deputation met again at 5:00 p.m., and finalized a draft of the proposed Confederate Battle Flag resolution.  The entire deputation – Deputies and Alternates – agreed to sponsor the resolution.  It will be submitted tomorrow, with the deadline for submission of resolutions being at 5:00 p.m.

Tonight was set aside for various hearings.  My committee heard testimony – of marginal use – on the subject of restructuring General Convention and Continuing Commissions, Agencies and Boards.  There seemed to be a failure to communicate the hearing’s schedule, and so there was a significant absence of informed testimony.  The committee agreed to hear testimony on the same resolutions at a later meeting.

With all the technology we are using at this Convention, some breakdown in communication is to be expected.  That appears to be the case this evening.

I am told there was a large turnout for hearings on the Task Force for the Study of Marriage tonight.  I do not have first-hand information on that hearing, so I cannot write about what was said there.  I will, I am sure, have ample opportunity to comment on that legislation in the days ahead.

We have learned late tonight of the untimely death of David Jones, husband of Peggy Jones, Bishop Seage’s assistant.  Our hearts go out to Peggy and her family.  They are in our prayers.

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