Report from General Convention: July 7
This was a long day, but a very good one. It began with a canceled meeting and ended with a sighting of Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. A new deputy orientation was on the calendar for 8 a.m. today, and I dutifully showed up, only to be told it wasn’t happening. I blogged about the real reason for this. Not a big deal, but I had cut off a good conversation to dash over for this.
I went to a couple of committee meetings — communications and stewardship & development. Around here, people call committees by their numbers, so you have to learn a bunch of lingo. In the local parlance, I was at committee 19 and committee 17. Our deputation from Rhode Island has divided up the committees, and we’re expected to track one committee to report on what’s happening there to each other. I’m tracking communications, which I thought would be fairly quiet. However, there’s been a big brouhaha over Episcopal Life, so it’s gotten pretty interesting, not necessarily in a good way.
Meanwhile, I was asked to testify before committee 17, speaking on behalf of D019. (Thought I’d test your GC lingo skills!) That resolution calls for support of the Millennium Development Goals by the Episcopal Church. I gladly spoke in favor of this direction. I am a big fan of the MDGs, especially when we see them as an outgrowth of our basic mission.
Had lunch with a Lambeth Conference friend, who is now a deputy from Chicago. Throughout the day, I was able to meet lots of online/blogging/twitter/facebook friends in person. That was great. One person almost ran up to me and said, “What kind of sheep are you counting tonight?” (You’d get that if you were my facebook friend.)
This afternoon included opening addresses from the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. The PB was especially good, I thought, though I enjoyed hearing from the PHOD too. Read their talks here. After that was our introduction to “mission conversation.” I’ll try to write more later, when I have more energy. Suffice it to say I’m not a big fan of this process, for any number of reasons. My support was not gained when the presenter gave almost the same talk we had heard him give at our provincial trainings. I despise redundancy.
Finally, at 4 p.m., I entered the floor of the House of Deputies for the first time. Rhode Island has great seats, right up front. It’s a ginormous hall, so I’m grateful to be so close that we don’t need binoculars. On the other hand, it’s hard to sneak out for breaks. We had a humorous and efficient basic training in the legislative process and protocol, including the operation of our electronic voting systems.
After a quick dinner, I did my testifying at the committee, as I wrote above. My last meeting of the day was a meeting between the Director of Communications of the Episcopal Church and the five members of the Board of Governors of Episcopal Life who are here. We had some good conversation, and I think we were able to share and receive information about some of our central issues. I’m still not sure where the communications controversies will end up.
As we were finishing that meeting, Rowan Williams and his posse pulled up, checking in at the hotel for General Convention. I’m a big fan of the Archbishop of Canterbury, so it gladdened my heart to see him. I hope he has a good experience here, and I hope people give him terrific hospitality.
Watch 7WD through the day tomorrow for further updates. If I have a chance, I’ll post some photos. Again, if you have questions or topics for further coverage, let me know.