Friday, July 6, 2012

GC: July 4th and 5th

Legislative Committees held two meetings on July 4th, one day before the "official" start of General Convention, which is marked by the beginning of legislative sessions. The committees met from 8:00-12:00 in the morning and again from 5:00-7:00 in the afternoon. Some ambitious committees and those with large numbers of resolutions scheduled hearings as early as the afternoon session. All pieces of legislation must receive a public hearing that is required to be announced at least four hours in advance by posting to the announcement board near the Secretariat offices of both houses (House of Deputies and House of Bishops).
Kevin Lindahl, a candidate for
Church Pension Group trustee from 
Colorado, with Deputy Lelanda Lee. 
Kevin, a pension attorney 
by the Police & Firefighters
Fund in Colorado, aslo serves 
the Colorado Episcopal Foundation
board of trustees. 
At 12:30-1:30, Program, Budget and Finance held its first hearing on Priorities, which was a standing room only, or sit-on-the floor only, event. There were a large number of young adults from the Official Youth Presence as well as campus ministers who signed up to speak on behalf of funding for youth, young adult and campus ministries, as well as many who spoke in favor of continuing funding for Lifelong Christian Formation. 

View of the Program, Budget & Finance hearing as people
were still streaming in.
Also as well organized in getting their speakers onto the list to testify were those who spoke on behalf of increasing funding for Native American ministries, especially in underserved and under-resourced areas like Alaska and Navajoland. A quick review of the A-resolutions from Committees, Commissions, Agencies and Boards of The Episcopal Church that are contained in the "Blue Book" reveals many resolutions in support of youth, young adult and campus, and Indigenous ministries.
Another view of the Program, Budget & Finance hearing.

Senior deputy Diane Pollard, the House of Deputies chair
of the Program, Budget & Finance Committee at the microphone.
On her right in the purple shirt is Bishop Steve Lane, her House
of Bishops co-chair. Others on the dais are the committee
secretary and legislative aide, who do the recordkeeping
and coordination with the Secretariats of both houses.

And what would July 4th be without fireworks? The Colorado deputation went to the ballgame at Victory Field, across the street from both the Convention Center and the JW Marriott where we are staying. President of the House of Deputies, Bonnie Anderson, organized sections of tickets to be sold to Episcopalians. I took these photos from the street after dinner, when I was walking to my last meeting of the day at 10:00 PM, which is not unusual for special interest group caucus meetings.

I was at a dinner for the ecumenical guests of The Episcopal Church earlier in the evening. I serve as Co-Chair of Legislative Committee 18 - Ecumenical Relations. Many of the ecumenical guests attended my committee's afternoon meeting in order to observe our proceedings. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) presiding bishop, the Rt. Rev. Mark Hanson, came to speak with us on testifying to a piece of legislation about the continuing dialogue between the ELCA and The Episcopal Church, which was scheduled for the next morning and afternoon legislative committee sessions. Bishop Hanson's testimony influenced the committee to appoint a subcommittee to write a substitute resolution with more felicitous language that would serve the purpose of encouraging ongoing dialogue between our two churches on important areas such as the diaconate and lay presidency where our churches' practices differ.

I have had the privilege of serving as the Executive Council's liaison to the ELCA's Church Council, which has afforded me the opportunity to observe their council's proceedings and to learn about their church's concerns. I have also in those meetings been able to meet leaders from the Reformed Church in America, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, and the Southern Province of the Moravian Church. What has been unique for us is that I am a lay representative serving among primarily ordained representatives.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori making her opening
remarks in the House of Deputies hall where both the Houses
sat together during this convening of the General Convention.
The flags behind her represent the countries in which The
Episcopal Church has a presence all over the world.
House of Deputies President, Canon Bonnie Anderson, addressing
both Houses.
Deputies Christy Shain-Hendricks, Jack Finlaw, and
Ruth Woodliff-Stanley sitting in row 2 of our deputation's
assigned two rows towards the rear of the House of Deputies,
on July 5th, the first legislative day. See Jack's big binder?
A fuller view of the front of the House of Deputies
Secretary of the General Convention, the sartorially
splendid Rev. Dr. Gregory Straub, who sits with the
House of Deputies.
Chair of Legislative Committee 1 - Dispatch of Business the
Rev. Jim Simons, making a report to the House of Deputies.
Dispatch of Business organizes the routing and scheduling
of the legislation as it is presented to the House of Deputies.
They have a huge job, and Colorado's deputy Andrew Cooley
has served on this committee numerous times.
An important part of General Convention and a place to
gather, meet friends, and buy church things like vestments
and books is the Exhibit Hall. This is taken from the small
food court in the Exhibit Hall. That deputy with the cup of
coffee is a typical sight as it takes a lot of caffeine to keep going!
This is the Leader Resources booth from a food court view.

This is a view of Legislative Committee 18's gallery as photographed
from my seat at the front of the U-shaped table where our 25
committee members plus a legislative aide and a liaison to
Legislative Committee 1-Dispatch of Business are seated. I sit
next to the House of Deputies co-chair in my role as vice-chair
to assist him in keeping track of the legislation, background
materials, canons, and hearings schedule we discuss.
At the end of the second legislative committee meeting on July 5h.
That's me with Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, and Mrs. Ione
Hanson is on my right. I'm sorry that I don't have the name of
the gentleman next to Bishop Hanson handy.

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