Sunday, July 12, 2009

General Convention Journal, Day Six (Saturday)

I awoke (at a more decent hour, finally) without any specific plans, but something told me that Committee 8 (World Mission) was where the action would be, and I was right. When I arrived, they were in the process of "perfecting" (a technical paliamentary term) Resolution D025. If you follow my Twitter stream (also available here), you saw some of the play-by-play. This one will come to the Deputies first. We've already been forewarned that there will be a "special order" for debate, as is always the case for highly controversial issues, with stricter time limits (two minutes per speaker, total of one hour), and minimum time-into-debate requirements before procedural motions and amendments/substitutes are in order. Here's my take: I'm going to speak and vote against it. Peel way all the irenic verbiage, and it's an unmistakable swipe at B033. That said, it's not the worst possible outcome for the matter. I can agree with about 95% of it, everything except the penultimate Resolved clause. If this is as bad as it gets, I will be somewhat pleasantly surprised. I can guarantee that Integrity & Friends will not be overjoyed by it. As someone said to me, "It doesn't give B033 a middle finger; just a polite wave goodbye." Either way, though, B033 will still be gone, so I must oppose this resolution.

An unexpected moment of muted drama came when a resolution was put before us that would have changed the Rules of Order to require all, rather than a majority, of three deputation "halves" (i.e. either the clergy or laity) to ask for a vote by orders. (A vote by orders is a parliamentary maneuver that has the effect of making it more difficult for a resolution to be adopted. It requires a majority vote by a majority of all the clergy deputations and a majority vote of a majority of all the lay deputations. A divided vote [i.e. 2-2] is recorded as a Nay.) Since the "minority party" in the House will certainly want to call for a vote by orders on a handful of critical resolutions, this attempt to raise the bar was not welcome, and I am happy to say it was defeated by super-majority of 72%-28%.

For lunch, a friend and I walked briskly up the western (outer) edge of the Disney theme parks to an area styled Downtown Disney--a Main Street-like arcade of shops and eateries. We both thought the exercise would be salutary, and it was. We were warm, though; temps were in the mid-80s (yes, I know, it's a "dry heat"; point conceded). Our meal was tasty and served promptly, but, like everything else around here, horrendously overpriced.

The afternoon legislative session was fairly routine. The highlight ("lowlight," actually) was a presentation by representatives of five other Anglican provinces (Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Canada, and New Zealand). The final speaker--Dr Jenny Te Paa, a theologian of some renown and a member of the original Lambeth Commission that produced the Windsor Report)--went on for a good fifteen minutes and effectively said, "Episcopal Church, be yourself! Do what you know you're called to do. The rest of the Communion needs your witness and nothing is going to break up because of you." In my opinion, this was a rather blatant abuse of the courtesy of the floor. Three years ago, when the Archbishop of York was present for several days, and the Bishop of Durham was conspicuously present by proxy, there were angry cries against "foreign interference." This year, when the House of Deputies is subjected to what amounts to an hour of propoganda from Integrity & Friends, what do we hear? A standing ovation and a request for transcripts of their remarks. Disconnect, anyone?

This was the evening customarily dedicated to dinners put on by the various seminaries. The Nashotah House event was cocktails and "heavy hors d'ourves," which, of course, it's easy enough to make a meal of. I'm not much of a "mixer," but I ended up having three fairly long and significant one-on-one conversations, two with people I have known from the past, and one with someone I've only met personally at this convention. I'm amazed and gratified by the feedback I'm getting that my writing--including my writing on this humble blog--touches people's lives positively.


Dale Matson said...

Fr. Dan,
Thanks for the update. I'm somewhat bogged down in the details in other posts from convention reporting. It seems as if there is quite a split between Bishops and Lay delegates. I give you kudos on predicting this. Perhaps the Bishops have more of a WWAC perspective.

Jane Ellen+ said...

"...but it's a dry heat." My father lives in Mesa, AZ, and says the same thing. My response: "Uh-huh... so's my oven."

The bisectional vocalist said...

Thanks for giving me one more reason, besides my daughter-in-law, to LOVE New Zealand!