Tuesday, July 10, 2012

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 http://whatacupoftea.blogspot.com, 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. 

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