A proposed enhancement to Episcopal Church polity
As anyone who reads 7WD knows by now, the Episcopal Church gathers every three years for General Convention. We’re doing that now. While we are gathered, we conduct legislative business in a bicameral system, with a House of Bishops and a House of Deputies (made up of lay people and priests/deacons).
It’s time to change. I propose the addition of a third house, reflecting the international character of the Episcopal Church. I propose that we add a third body, the International House of Pancakes.
I’m not exactly sure of all the details yet. This is still in the early stages. It will need to go through many committees and commissions, no doubt. Here’s what I’ve worked out so far:
- The IHOP will be open for members of the HOD and HOB to attend when they reach mental saturation during regular business sessions. They might also gather after hours, especially since IHOP is usually open all night.
- The President of the House of Deputies or the Presiding Bishop could excuse people to the IHOP, provided that an offer is made to bring the presiding officer a stack of warm pancakes.
- While in the IHOP, bishops and deputies would sit together in booths (not tables, for reasons of coziness). No parliamentary procedure is allowed, but conversations may include church matters in an informal setting.
- While resolutions won’t be passed, my guess is that a lot would get done.
- Under a branding partnership, all IHOP locations will have the location of the nearest Episcopal congregations printed on their menus. All Episcopal Congregations will serve IHOP pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and other such days as the Presiding Bishop may designate. The President of the House of Deputies will be in charge of syrup flavors.
- I can’t think of a way to elect a President of the House of Pancakes or what, exactly, this person would do. For now, I intend to hold this post. I will wear a blue cassock (the same shade as the IHOP roof) or at least an IHOP apron. Various esoteric customs will be devised.
In some vague way, I believe that adding this third house will improve our common life in the Episcopal Church. There’s a great IHOP right near the Anaheim Convention Center. Does anyone know if there’s one in Indianapolis? If not, I’m afraid we’ll have to relocate the 77th General Convention. After all, we need our IHOP!