Friday, July 13, 2012

ENS Convention Wrap-Up

For an excellent wrap-up of the 77th General Convention (GC) of The Episcopal Church, I commend the Episcopal News Service article entitled "Convention wrap-up: Re-envisioning church for the 21st century" to you. It highlights the actions of GC with numerous links to other articles and actual resolutions for more in depth information.

Reflections After the Close of General Convention

I still have several more posts to make about General Convention at this site and some opinion pieces on specific legislation to post on my personal blog at So, stay tuned. ~ from Lelanda Lee, Lay Deputy 3

Bishop Rob O'Neill with the Colorado deputation on the floor of the House of Deputies on
July 10th, the sixth legislative day of General Convention, when the House of
Bishops joined the Deputies to hear a presentation of the budget from
Legislative Committee 25-Program, Budget and Finance.
(back row, L to R) Deputies Andrew Cooley, Larry Hitt, Brooks Keith and Jack Finlaw
(front row, L to R) Deputies Zoe Cole, Lelanda Lee, Christy Shain-Hendricks, and Ruth Woodliff-Stanley

The Rev. John Floberg
This photo was taken during an
Anti-Racism Training conducted by me
in North Dakota in March 2012. The
paper hat is part of an exercise on being
grounded in our baptismal identity.

Anti-Racism Training was re-emphasized
as a necessary part of our ongoing work
in the church through several GC
resolutions that passed resoundingly.
General Convention (GC) may be officially over with the closing gavel going down in the late afternoon of July 12th, but the work is just beginning in this 2012-2015 triennium. I continue for another three years as the Lay Representative from Province VI to Executive Council (the interim governing body and board of directors of The Episcopal Church during the three years when GC is not in session). 

I will be joined by the Rev. John Floberg of North Dakota, who was elected as the provincial clergy rep at our Province VI Synod in Omaha in April. We covet your prayers for the work of Executive Council, the welfare of The Episcopal Church, the Dioceses of Colorado and North Dakota, and our spiritual, mental, and physical well-being as we strive to serve you faithfully, with generous and open hearts.


4th of July fireworks over baseball stadium, Victory Field
There were fireworks, but they were the 4th of July variety, on the day before the first legislative day of GC. Even though we call it an 8-day GC, it really is ten days if you count the day of orientation for legislative committee chairs, vice chairs, secretaries, and aides, and the first day of legislative committee meetings, both of which precede GC's "official" start. 

For the most part, what I saw of GC, which was mostly the action in the House of Deputies (HoD), the proceedings of Legislative Committee 18-Ecumenical Relations (to which I was assigned as vice chair), a couple of evening hearings for other legislative committees, some caucus meetings, and a quick couple of turns through the Exhibit Hall, this 77th GC was civil, welcoming, and mutually respectful. 

There were a few instances of barbed comments from HoD microphones during debate, when deputies challenged the words and characterizations of contexts spoken by other deputies, but they did not typically rise to the level of ad hominem attacks. There was a widely reported point of personal privilege that Bishop Gene Robinson raised in the House of Bishops (HoB), in which he reported personal attacks on his character behind the scenes of the HoB. 

The South Carolina deputation made a pointed statement about some key pieces of legislation passed by GC when five of their seven deputies left the floor of the HoD. Their bishop raised a point of personal privilege in the HoB, and South Carolina released statements. The Episcopal News Service (ENS) article may be found here, and The Diocese of South Carolina's Facebook page contains its statement in full. That statement indicates: "He [South Carolina's Bishop Mark Lawrence] also expressed his 'grievous concern' with changes to the canons through resolutions D002 and D019, which have to do with transgender identity and expression, as well as with resolution A049, which authorized a provisional rite for the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions."

Participation and Testifying

Five of Colorado's deputies spent time at the microphones, with Deputy Zoe Cole rising in the ranks of the players in Bonnie Ball and Deputy and Co-Chair Andrew Cooley making a last session effort to gain Bonnie Ball points. The ENS article Game Over: Bonnie Ball Closes Out Inaugural One-Game Season and Episcopal Cafe's Some fun at General Convention report on both Bonnie Ball and Bingo, which interjected community-wide fun into GC and invited all, including the Official Youth Presence and visitors to join in.

Deputy Andrew Cooley at microphone 5, with ski googles on,
getting ready to testify in the last legislative session of GC.
Andrew is trying to win Bonnie Ball points by wearing
something strange while testifying, earning 5 points.
From the Colorado deputation, several of our deputies gave testimony at the microphones. 

Deputy Zoe Cole, a lawyer, testified on both substance and rules of order, as one of the canon geeks of the GC. Deputy Larry Hitt, also a lawyer and Colorado's chancellor, is another one of those canon geeks. GC and the Diocese would be poorer without their knowledge of our constitution and canons and their ability to interpret and articulate them for us. Zoe served as secretary of Legislative Committee 5-Canons at this GC and was kept busy into the last legislative session with secretarial paperwork to file the actions of her committee. Incidentally, Bishop Rob O'Neill was the bishop chair of the Canons legislative committee.

Senior Deputy Andrew Cooley sat in the first row and coordinated our deputation's votes by order, which came up on all canonical matters and frequently by request. Voting by order allows the official record to reflect how the clergy and lay order of each deputation voted on specific resolutions. In addition to the information of how deputations voted, voting by order is sometimes used as a legislative strategy. Andrew's leadership role on the C056-Same Sex Blessings Task Group informed his testimony. Also, as a senior deputy with broad experience of the wider church and his membership on Legislative Committee 1-Dispatch of Business, Andrew had a wealth of information and understanding of numerous pieces of legislation.

Deputy Lelanda Lee testified several times, referencing the work done by Executive Council in a couple of instances. Lelanda's testimony on Resolution B005-Ongoing Commitment to the Anglican Covenant Process can be found at her blog. Since Lelanda's term on Executive Council extends until the end of the 78th GC in 2015, many deputies lobbied her during GC, asking her to carry their concerns about pieces and nuances of legislation that didn't make it to the HoD floor.

Deputy Brooks Keith testifying on the last day
of GC, in the last legislative session of the HoD.
First-time Deputy Ruth Woodliff-Stanley gave her first testimony in the HoD at this GC on an important social justice issue, reflecting her leadership in her parish church where the Gospel gets lived into in a variety of peace and justice initiatives. Ruth has many friends from her previous Diocese of Mississippi with whom she spent time in addition to being with our deputation. Ruth's recent walk-about experience in the Diocese of Pittsburgh as one of their bishop nominees and her many consultations as a church consultant meant that many deputies know her. Ruth has served as the deputation's chaplain in 2006 and 2003, and she followed Legislative Committee 5-Structure, reporting to the deputation's daily caucus. 

Deputy Brooks Keith finally got his chance at the microphone in the last legislative session. Brooks had stood in line before, but time ran out for testimony before he was called on. It's especially frustrating when you have something of substance that is both relevant and perhaps even timely to offer, and you're shut out by the clock running out. This happened to Lelanda when she tried to offer testimony which would have saved a piece of legislation from her legislative committee being referred back to committee, because she knew the answers that her chair couldn't access while at the podium. Too bad we didn't take a photo of Lelanda practically jumping up and down with both her red and green cards waving in the air! (To help the President of the HoD from her view of the entire floor from the dais, deputies are often asked to hold up green cards to signify a Yes vote or agreement with the motion and red cards to signify No or opposition to the motion.)

Deputies Jack Finlaw and Larry Hitt had also been active in the leadership of the C056-Same Sex Blessings Task Group along with Andrew. Jack served on the sub-committee on Pastoral and Teaching Responses, Larry on Canonical and Legal Considerations, and Andrew on Liturgical Resources. Their insights helped the deputation follow C056 through the legislative process knowledgeably. Jack served on Legislative Committee 14-Ministry, after having served on the Standing Commission on Ministry Development. Larry served on Legislative Committee 4-Constitution and had been on the Board of the Archives of The Episcopal Church, to which he was reappointed for another 6-year term at this GC. 

Alternate Janet Farmer was kept busy throughout GC in her capacity as Aide to Legislative Committee 13-Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Church Music, which handled 36 pieces of legislation, including Resolution A049-Authorize Liturgical Resources for Same Sex Blessings. Janet recently moved from Galveston, TX, and is a transplant from Province IV, and she also spent time visiting with her friends from other dioceses. The Legislative Aides do the running to and from the committee to the Secretariats of each house and the GC Secretariat, and they share responsibility with the committee secretaries and liaisons to the Legislative Committee 1-Dispatch of Business for ensuring that the resolutions follow their proper paths in sequence, with the current language, in order to reach the floors of both houses to be acted upon. It takes a lot of dedicated, knowledgeable people to make GC work effectively, and aides and secretaries are equally as important as chairs and vice chairs.

Structure and Budget

On the left, Deputy Christy Shain-Hendricks in conversation with
Deputy Zoe Cole. That's Deputy Larry Cole in the white shirt.
Deputy Christy Shain-Hendricks helped track the myriad pieces of legislation on structure along with Ruth and Alternate Erica Hein. Legislative Committee 6-Structure handled 92 resolutions, almost twice as many as the 54 resolutions handled by Legislative Committee 9-National and International Concerns. Of particular interest was watching how the many interrelated structure resolutions were compiled into an omnibus substitute Resolution C095-Structural Reform, which was passed by both the HoD and HoB; however, the budget passed by GC only has $200,000 in it for the work of the proposed structure task force versus the $400,000 requested in Resolution C095.

The Joint Standing Commission on Program, Budget, and Finance and Legislative Committee 25-Program, Budget, and Finance were both led by the very capable, hard-working, and patient Deputy Diane Pollard and Bishop Steve Lane. Their committee's final budget, prepared on the template of the proposed budget of the Presiding Bishop and populated by dollars reflecting the formal and informal testimony of the entire church and GC over many months resulted in Resolution A005-Adoption of the Budget, which passed in both houses. [See ENS article Convention Approves Triennial Budget for more details and a link to the budget here.] As a member of Executive Council, I can say without reservation that this is a budget that the church can work with. 

I'll post more as soon as I catch up with life at home, probably in the next day or two. ~ Lelanda

General Convention Enters the Digital Age

One observation about this General Convention is that the event has entered the technological age …mostly. Broad adoption of new technologies were evident in many places – deputies offering amendments or speaking before and against resolutions spoke not from notes on paper, but from iPads. While paper is still in evidence, and deputies and bishops are still toting large three-ring binders, just as many are pulling up resolutions on iPads, cell phones and other electronic reading devices.

You could follow all of the Convention’s actions – down to high points from sermons
– on Twitter. Walking down the hall in the Convention Center, visitors could photograph large QR codes with their smart phones, and access short films about Episcopalians.

There are some logistical issues. While up-to-date legislative materials are all available online, there is very limited internet access in the legislative halls. All the legislative sessions and worship services were available streaming online, but the feeds did go down occasionally, especially on the last few days. Of particular note, the General Convention became a Twitter event. There were many people live-tweeting events in both legislative houses, and some of the movements of General Convention actually became Trending Topics on Twitter, meaning that Tweets that contained General Convention tags (#gc77, for instance) were showing up more than other tags on Twitter at particular times. The significant Twitter traffic did make it possible to sit, say, in the House of Deputies, and also follow the action in the House of Bishops in real time.

The Convention also took concrete actions to bring the whole Church into the digital age. Two pieces of legislation – the Website Challenge and the Social Media challenge – passed both houses without much opposition. The Website Challenge states that online resources provided by the Standing Commission on Communications and Information Technology will empower every congregation with the tools and knowledge to build an effective, dynamic and current website, no matter their size or budget. The Social Media Challenge challenges every congregation in the Church to engage with social media.

So, the reality and the recognition of the role technology can play in our governance, our ministry and our ongoing conversation is here, and will carry us into the next General Convention in Salt Lake City, by which time, surely the tools and technology will have changed and evolved.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hear From Members of the Deputation

Erica Hein - Lay Alternate

Erica Hein july9 from Beckett Stokes on Vimeo.

The Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, Clergy Deputy

ruth woodliff-stanley july9 from Beckett Stokes on Vimeo.

Jack Finlaw, Lay Deputy

jack finlaw july9 from Beckett Stokes on Vimeo.

GC: July 8th & 9th

Okay, Colorado. I'll try to catch you up on some of the happenings here at General Convention (GC). Also, see my personal blog at, where I am posting opinion pieces.

Larry Hitt
GOOD NEWS - Lay Deputy Larry Hitt was reappointed to the Board of the Archives for another 6-year term. The Archives are an important resource to GC. The Archives staff provide background reports on GC resolutions to aid the deputies in their consideration of legislation.

Lelanda Lee
Lay Deputy Lelanda Lee, was nominated as one of two lay deputies from Province VI to stand for election in the House of Deputies for the Joint Nominating Committee for Election of the Presiding Bishop. This particular iteration of the Joint Nominating Committee will actually participate in the search and vetting process for the next Presiding Bishop. Lelanda felt uniquely qualified at this juncture because of her experience on Executive Council and working relationships with a large number of bishops across the church gained through her anti-racism training and other churchwide service.

Kevin Lindahl
BAD NEWS - Two-time Church Pension Group (CPG) Nominee Kevin Lindahl, St. Barnabas, Denver, was not elected. The Colorado Deputation believes that this is a real loss for the CPG, because Kevin was one of the most qualified nominees. However, elected office at the churchwide level is highly political, and both name recognition and affiliation with other churchwide groups carry a lot of weight. We are thankful for Kevin's willingness to offer himself and his gifts to the wider church and grateful for Kevin's service on the Colorado Episcopal Foundation's board of trustees.

Ruth Woodliff-Stanley showing off new earrings and a necklace
handcrafted by an artist and sold in the Exhibit Hall along with
books, vestments, and handmade items from craftspersons
supported by ministries around the church. There are also exhibits
from groups like the Church Pension Group, Integrity, various
seminaries, Episcopal Women's Caucus, and others.

PARTICIPATION BY THE ENTIRE DEPUTATION - An ethos of the Colorado Deputation is to ensure that all alternates also have some floor time in the House of Deputies. Alternates this GC include Max Bailey, A1 in the Clergy Order, and Erica Hein, L1, and Janet Farmer, L2, in the Lay Order. All three have spent time on the floor, with Max doing extra duty as the only clergy alternate. This experience is invaluable to the entire deputation, because floor time heightens awareness of the flow and debate of legislation and places into context what has already transpired in the legislative committees and hearings where the resolutions are perfected and debated prior to coming to the floor of the house. Things happen fast on the floor, and even experienced deputies find themselves occasionally having to ask someone next to them where they are in the proceedings. This typically happens when a deputy has gotten up to speak to a resolution, is writing an amendment, or is strategizing with another deputy on an upcoming resolution. 

In this GC, three of our deputation have leadership roles on legislative committees. Lelanda Lee is vice chair of Committee 18-Ecumenical Relations. Zoe Cole is secretary of Committee 5-Canons. Janet Farmer is legislative aide to Committee 13-Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music. Andrew Cooley serves on Committee 1-HoD-Dispatch of Business. These four deputation members are particularly busy, because their roles involve paying attention to the status and flow of the resolutions passing through their committees. Lelanda and Zoe are also involved in perfecting resolutions, which means extra sub-committee times spent conversing and writing with other committee members to get resolutions into a form that will be likely to win support on the floors of both the house of initial action, either the House of Deputies or House of Bishops, and the concurring house.

Each of our deputation members who is not assigned to a legislative committee has committed to following certain topics on behalf of the deputation. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley and Christy Shain-Hendricks have reported on Structure discussions. Brooks Keith has been following the Program, Budget and Finance hearings on priorities, funding, and spending. Erica Hein has attended hearings on Same Gender Blessings. We care about how and when the Denominational Health Plan will be implemented, because some of our Colorado congregations are severely adversely impacted with an immediate implementation, and a breathing space would be helpful. We want continued emphasis on Anti-Racism Training in the church. We want a strong commitment to Lifelong Christian Formation with emphasis on youth, young adult, and campus ministry. We want technology to inform and serve our needs for sharing information and resources on a timely basis and at low cost. We care that the church center offices have updated email software that ensures our emails are received.

Victory Field
WE COMBINE FUN WITH BUSINESS! - On Sunday, July 8th, everyone at GC had a day of respite. There were no legislative committee meetings on the official schedule, although some committees did meet of their own choosing. The festive United Thank Offering Ingathering and Eucharist was held in the morning.

Sudanese church members as they were presented to the
House of Deputies on July 6th. That's Fr. Oja Gafour (on 

right) from the Sudanese Community Church that 
worships at Saint John's Cathedral in Denver.
Next came an outdoors event hosted by the Diocese of Indianapolis at Victory Field, the baseball park directly across from the Convention Center and our hotel, the JW Marriott. Among the featured guests were Sudanese church members, and support was urged for the Sudan Peace, Security and Accountability Act of 2012 (H.R. 4169), calling for a comprehensive strategy to end human rights violations in Sudan.

We had an exceptionally well attended Provincial Caucus at the JW Marriott where we elected the nominees for the Joint Nominating Board for Presiding Bishop. Then province members walked about a mile to the upper room of a local restaurant for hors d'oeuvres and drinks.

Members of Province VI relaxing at a social event on
Sunday night. On the left in the background is
Ellen Bruckner, Senior Deputy and Provincial Coordinator
from Iowa, and in the purple shirt
is Marianne Ell, vice president of the province.
Winter Count of Jesus' Life, ink on buffalo hide. Thanks to
Terry Star for posting this photo on his Facebook wall.

The exhibition hall features opportunities to learn about other ministries in the church and to pick up that book, vestment, or handcrafted item that you've had your eye on. The Episcopal Church's Diversity, Social, and Environmental Ministries' booth featured the Winter Count of Jesus' Life rendered in ink on a buffalo hide. 

As you entered the Altar Guild's ecclesiastical art exhibit.

Artwork by church artists was available to excite our senses and soothe our souls in several venues. The National Altar Guild held an exhibition of ecclesiastical art in a separate room that was definitely worth a visit. I especially liked the many pieces of vestments and altar cloths that were combinations of quilted, dyed, painted, and sewn pieces. See here for a slide show.

I hope to post at least one more time while I'm at General Convention. I'm going to leave a recap of the legislation passed until after I get home from GC. There is a lot to report, but not enough time while here and still in the middle of business to stop to recap what has been passed and the impact on Colorado. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

GC: July 6th & 7th

Hello, Everyone! Here are some quick photos with captions from General Convention (GC). When there's some time, I'll post some more commentary here. Meanwhile, you can also catch me at my personal blog at where I have posted "Early Impressions" of GC!

The decoration on top of our deputation's name post
- ski goggles and pole - was provided by
Co-Chair Andrew Cooley and
reflects his and Colorado's fondness
for the sport of skiing. 
Deputy Brooks Keith's sense of humor and whimsy show up
in the super hero (and villain?) figures decorating his spot.
Lelanda Lee took this photo from the Alternates Gallery to the
left of the deputation's two tables. Alternate Erica Hein sat in
for Lelanda, who attended the Episcopal Church Women's
Triennial in the Westin Hotel to receive the Distinguished Woman
Award for the Diocese of Colorado.
Microphone #5 is right next to the Colorado Deputation's seats.
A page is walking up to the mic volunteer, and the alternates'
gallery is to our right, behind those blue dividers.
Lelanda Lee, flanked by Colorado ECW President Robin Woods Sumners
and UTO Chair Nel Benton-Hough. Lelanda was the Colorado recipient 

of the 2012 Distinguished Woman of the Year award.
Photo by Beckett Stokes.
Deputy Zoe Cole is at Microphone #5 testifying to a piece of
legislation. The timer shows how much of her 3 minutes is left.
Colorado's deputies are active as testifiers, because we serve
on legislative committees, or follow them, and are keeping ourselves
and each other informed through daily oral reports at caucus meetings.
The only way we can see what is happening at the podium or
microphones is on camera on two large screens up front.
Caucus meetings alternate between 6:30 AM breakfasts and
mid-day lunches. Staff and other Colorado volunteers join us.
A view of the other side of the breakfast room.
At the evening legislative hearing on the proposed Anglican
Covenant, at which Lelanda Lee testified to Resolution D007 that
she endorsed. (L to R) Jack Finlaw, volunteer Kim Seidman,
Christy Shain-Hendricks, Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, and Erica Hein.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Morning Prayer on July 7

Lay Deputy Jack Finlaw led those gatherednat the Diocese of Colorado's breakfast caucus in morning prayer, using an order of service that is part of a set of Liturgical Materials Honoring God and Creation designed by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music.  These prayers are available on pages 445 and 446 of the Blue Book, which you can download from the General Convention website.

Discernment Prime (Traditional hour: morning/start of the day)

As we begin the day, we focus on our calling to live faithfully, for who knows what today holds?
Opening Holy God, you are always with us.
Open our eyes to your presence.

God of faithful surprises, throughout the ages you have made known your love and power in unexpected ways and places: May we daily perceive the joy and wonder of your abiding presence and offer our lives in gratitude for our redemption. Amen.

Benedicite Omnia Opera All you works of God, bless your creator;
praise her and glorify her for ever.
Let the wide earth bless the creator; let the arching heavens bless the creator; let the whole body of God bless the creator;
praise her and glorify her for ever.
You returning daylight, bless your creator; twilight and shadows, bless your creator; embracing darkness, bless your creator;
praise her and glorify her for ever.
Let all who live and grow and breathe bless our creator,
praise her and glorify her for ever.
Janet Morley
Scripture I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit because, apart from me, they can do nothing. You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. John 15:5, 16a
Meditation People say that walking on water is a miracle, but to me, walking peacefully on the earth is the real miracle. --Thich Nhat Hanh108

How will we walk in peace today?

We believe in God, the creator of all life and beauty, who blesses our journey. We believe in Jesus Christ, who lived as a friend and savior to all he met as he traveled, and who ate and laughed, wept and celebrated with them in love. We believe in the Holy Spirit, who rides on the gentle breeze, who strengthens our bindings, and who offers hope eternal.
We believe in the church, which stands open to all travelers, and bears witness to the everlasting love of God.


As we turn to the tasks before us this day,
Fill us, gracious Lord.

In making faithful choices, great and small,
Guide us, gracious Lord.

As we seek to notice and serve those in need,
Teach us, gracious Lord.

Here, the people may add particular intercessions or thanksgivings.

As we offer our lives to you,
Hear us, gracious Lord.

With our hearts ready to serve,
Accompany us, gracious Lord.

Lord’s Prayer

Generous Giver, you pour forth your extravagant bounty without measure upon your whole creation: Teach us such generosity, that the fruits of our spirits and the works of our hands may build your commonwealth of blessing. Amen.
Going Out

Holy God, you are always with us.
Open our eyes to your presence.