Saturday, July 11, 2009

General Convention Journal, Day Five (Friday)

I got up and out earlier than usual to see whether the Committee on World Mission would be discussing, and attempting to "perfect" B020. When I arrived at the committee room at about 7:45, they were considering other matters, so I came back to my hotel room and took care of various home-related matters by phone.

The first legislative session of the day began at 9:30. After plowing through a few items on the Consent Calendar, we adjourned once again into a Committee of the Whole. For this, there was only enough time allotted for about 30 speakers, and only two minutes apiece. So there was a lottery: Last night anyone interested in speaking took a number. I intended to do so, but got distracted and forgot. So the chair of our deputation, who did not particularly intend to draw a number, was virtually given one unsolicited. When he learned I had forgotten, he gave his to me, which I dutifully accepted. When the time came, the "winning" numbers were projected on the screen and, sure enough, #31 was on the list, about in the middle of the pack.

Most of the speakers had carefully prepared remarks, but I had to wing it. In the midst of a bath of emotion, my plea was for some coolness and objectivity. B033 has accomplished exactly what it was intended to do: It got our Presiding Bishop a seat at the Primates' Meeting, it got our bishops to Lambeth, and it got our delegates to the Anglican Consultative Council seats in that assembly. It has secured the Episcopal Church's place in the Anglican Communion...but only for the time being. The situation is still tenuous. Archbishop Williams warned us only yesterday that our friends in other provinces are waiting with bated breath, hoping we don't take another step away from communion with them.

Of the 30 speakers, only about eight spoke in favor of retaining B033. My favorite images from that side of the discussion: An airplane needs both a left wing and a right wing to be able to fly. Get rid of either one and it can only fly into a death spiral. And ... we need to asked ourselves the question partners in a marriage often need to ask: Would I rather be right, or would I rather be married?

At 11 we broke for the midday Eucharist. I headed for the exhibit hall, which I have not been able to spend enough time in yet, but was waylaid by an old colleague from San Joaquin and someone whom I have "known" well online, but never met in person. I then repaired with a diocesan colleague to the hotel restaurant for an egregiosly overpriced lunch. When choices are limited, gouging happens.

As I looked at a free hour before the next session, I changed out of my clericals and hoofed it hard down Harbor Boulevard in search of a Target that someone told me was there. Sure enough, about a mile south of the convention center, there was Target. I stocked up on sugar-free snacks and headed back--again, at a demanding clip--and arrived at the HOD just in time to go back into action.

The afternoon was spent churning out legislation. A rhythm seems to develop at this point in the convention cycle. I continued to vote against all resolutions requiring program funding and, more particularly, against all resolutions that purport to affect public policy. (Blessedly, there are much fewer of these than there used to be.) The main drama of the day occurred over giving consent to an episcopal election for one of the (two) dioceses in Ecuador. I didn't see this one coming, and am not familiar with the details. But it is a bitter dispute between two impassioned factions in the diocese--one wanting the bishop-elect consented to, and the other claiming foul play in the process. Adding to the tension for members of the house was the fact that the debate was taking place in Spanish, with repeated requests from the interpreter to Slow Down. We didn't resolve the issue and will have to return to it later in the convention.

Since this is the evening of the unofficial but hugely popular Eucharist sponsored by Integrity--always a bit of a sacred cow at General Convention--there were no evening committee meetings. So it was back out to dinner with colleagues, and back to my room to blog!

Tomorrow's schedule is the same. If I were uber-consicentious, I would be studying tomorrow's calendar (to the extent that we have been given it) and getting prepared for things I might want to weigh in on. Realistically, that isn't going to happen, because I can barely stay awake at this moment.

1 comment:

Canon Herrmann, SSC said...

Hang in there Dano, you are halfway through convention.