Blogging “Blue”: Administrivia

This is a first in a series of posts on the “Blue” Book for General Convention 2012. Next up, the budget. Please see my index of General Convention 2012 resolutions, with a summary of the 7WD position on them.

As I begin this series, I will say — this might be the last time, but probably not — that it’s a bit ridiculous to call a book blue when it is, in fact, pink. I think pink is awesome. I’m tempted to call it the pink book, but I don’t want to add confusion to GC2012, which will have enough confusion on its own.

Reserved for AdministrationA001: Amend Joint Rules of Order VII.17. Likely vote: YES.
This adds the Disciplinary Board for Bishops, as required by the new Title IV canons, to a list of bodies for which the Joint Standing Committee on Nominations shall submit nominations. Fine. I’ll vote yes to this no-brainer. Only suggestion: how about getting rid of the list, so we don’t have to enact legislation every time we add or remove one of these groups. Could the language say, “…shall submit nominations for the election of such bodies as may be required by canon or by the General Convention”?

A002: Amend Rules of Order VII.18. Likely vote: YES.
This provides for continuity when Deputies on the Joint Standing Committee on Nominations lose their seat because they weren’t re-elected. Rather than needing to resign, they would be allowed to finish their terms. Continuity throughout a term helps get work done, so this seems like a good change.

Nominees
This isn’t a resolution, obviously, but the next few pages of the “blue” book are filled with the bios and photos of nominees for various positions. I have no idea who I’m going to vote for. That will take some reading, praying, Googling, and conversation. Last General Convention, I received campaign literature from several nominees in the US Mail. Please. This does not make me want to vote for you. I’m happy to learn more, but email me or set up a Facebook page. The church does not need more leaders who thrive on killing trees when there are alternatives.

A003: Sites for the 79th General Convention. Likely vote: YES, but hoping for an amendment.
Next General Convention (in 2015) will be in Salt Lake City. This resolution sets the parameters for the site selection committee to do its thing as we prepare for General Convention 2018. On the one hand, it doesn’t matter too much where General Convention is held. I trust the folks who work on this to find places that are affordable and which over time help us get around the whole Episcopal Church. It would be nice, at least once, since we are an international church, to meet outside the US. Expensive, sure? Transformational, you bet. But I digress.

Here’s my only beef with this resolution. One of the proposed cities is Austin, TX. I have mixed feelings about the General Convention of the Episcopal Church meeting in a diocese which does not pay anywhere near the asking from the Episcopal Church. I’d like to see us meeting in a place where we know there is an investment in the wider church. Texas plans to pay 5.8% this year. The other places on this list are at or very close to the 19% asking. Don’t get me wrong. I love the Diocese of Texas and I think they do some good work. Perhaps it makes sense to meet there, and I certainly wouldn’t even think of boycotting if that decision is made. But I’d like to know that it was a factor in the decision. An amendment to request this evaluation would be well received, in my view.

A004: General Convention Daily Agenda. Likely vote: YES.
This just lets the Convention set its schedule. One could quibble here and there, but no schedule will please everyone. Please note, however, if you happen to reading this and you are not a deputy or a bishop: your deputies and bishops will work their tails off for the whole of General Convention. Look at the schedule, and you won’t see much downtime. Would love to see more social time so that people could connect with one another, but the newly shortened schedule doesn’t permit that time. Anyway, I am grateful for all the work that goes into a schedule like this. Lots of people spend countless hours working hard so the rest of us can show up and get to work. Thank you.

Coming next: The budget.

4 Comments so far

  1. Grace Matthews on May 21st, 2012

    Scott, I actively supported LentMadness because of its irreverant reverence. Now I feel called to comment on your comments re Austin as a general convention site. I wholeheartedly support the Episcopal Church… my church split 4 years ago when over 80% walked away! A true decimation. I’m still an Episcopalian.

    I’m also a DOK (Daughter of the King). Our Trienniel meets in General Convention’s city. In the past I’ve remarked that we never seem to meet anyplace near Texas noting that the largest DOK attendance is (or now “was”) from Texas.

    You may have supplied the reason.

    To say that Texas is not pulling its share may be revealing in that Texas seems to be the great outback to the Episcopal Church, as it well may be. THE can’t make “converts” or persuade fence-sitters if THE consistently avoids the area. You need to site a missionary convention in Texas for that express purpose. Additionally, a lot of churches are in financial difficulty with all the splits, etc. We don’t make as much income as people on the coasts and upper midland.

    Have a heart. Don’t write us off. Those who have remained in THE have suffered greatly to do so. It hurts for you to comment that we don’t merit a convention in our part of the country because of our giving. Our giving just might go up if people who can’t afford to attend convention in those far off places can actually afford to drive to one and see how it works.

  2. Scott Gunn on May 21st, 2012

    I did intend to suggest that I have written off the Diocese of Texas in any way. To the contrary, I admire much about the diocese and its ministry. However, I think that when a diocesan convention chooses not to support the churchwide ministry, it raises questions. I have mixed feelings, and I am not proposing any solution or outcome. However, I do think that this should be considered–along with many other factors–in thinking about where to hold meetings.

    The House of Bishops meets every year or two at Camp Allen, and I wonder if the presence of leaders from across the church has made a difference in the connection between Texans and denominational HQ.

  3. Grace Matthews on May 21st, 2012

    Yep, 19% is a lot greater than 5.8%; however, 19% doesn’t speak that well of those other parts of the country. Not even a quarter of the asking!

    My understanding is that the location is moved to give all parts of the country a chance to be near the convention, East, West, Mid. It was North in Minnesota 3 conventions ago. Since when has it been South?

    Hopefully the House of Bishops meetings are helping but those are very private affairs without much coverage in the press.

    Still subscribing to your blog anyway.

  4. Scott Gunn on May 21st, 2012

    Actually, the asking was 19%. Dioceses are asked to contribute 19% of their operating income to churchwide work. As I understand it, the Diocese of Texas contributes very, very little. That 5.8% figure includes contributions from parishes and individuals.

    General Convention has been in the southern part of the country not long ago, but it was the southwest. You can see a list of locations at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_General_Conventions_of_the_Episcopal_Church.

    I agree that it would be great if the convention could be in the south. The folks behind the resolution seem to agree also, if you look at the list of cities.

    Thanks for subscribing. It’s great when we get to have good conversation here. I am grateful for your comments.