Tuesday, March 17, 2015

House of Bishops 2015 Spring Meeting, Day Five

The last day. Everyone pretty much wants to be out of here. We had a little extra time after breakfast before gathering at 10am for Morning Prayer (again, with a selectively emended version of Psalm 97), followed by the only on-the-record-with-Roberts'-Rules business session of this meeting. You can go here for the official press release, which I certify as the truth and nothing but the truth. You may be curious about the item proposed by the Pastoral Development Committee regarding "core values" in the run-up to General Convention. I don't mean to trivialize it, but it's basically "We promise to play nicely." Nothing nefarious; no hidden agendas that I could detect. I do, of course, as you might suspect, generally have a hermeneutic of suspicion. But sometimes things are indeed as they appear.

I did raise a concern--a couple of times, in fact--about the House being asked to vote on things with very little or no notice. Again, it can be a way of sneaking substantive things by under the guise of something routine or innocuous. For instance, the report of the Ecclesiology Committee. To my suspicious eyes, this document had all the earmarks of an attempt to provide cover for TEC's legal arguments in property disputes, with its (erroneous, IMO) assertions about the hierarchical polity of TEC from General Convention downward. So I was relieved when the resolution was merely that the House receive it, rather than commend it. But it did have language about disseminating it throughout the church for further study, which I found problematic, because, whatever the resolution actually says, it would have the appearance and the weight of an action of the House of Bishops when, in fact, only a minority of the bishops have even read it yet. So, after some parliamentary haggling, we appended the word 'Draft' to the title, and removed any reference to dissemination. I felt good about this result, even though I would rather it have gone away completely. After the meeting, I had a good talk with the bishop who is the primary mover and shaker behind this, and I think we understand one another much better as a result. There may even be some cooperation in the offing.

The resolution asking the Presiding Bishop to appoint "an independent commission" is an outgrowth of the recent tragic events in the Diocese of Maryland. I think it might be compared to an NTSB investigation of an airline accident.

We adjourned the business session early enough for some more down time before lunch. After lunch, I had time for another circumambulation of the lake, on what turned out to be another gorgeous day.

The afternoon was devoted to preparation and orientation for General Convention, which happens in late June/early July. We're going virtually paperless this time, with rented iPads being handed out to all bishops and deputies. These will contain an intranet link to whatever business is before the house, with amendments to resolutions made in real time, along with supporting documents. Should be interesting.

Dinner on the last night of an HOB meeting is modestly upscale, and many of the bishops dress up a bit. Lots of bow ties. Not me, though. I just came as I am. What you see is what you get. Looking forward to heading out tomorrow morning on the 11:30am shuttle to the airport in Asheville. Ready to be home.


Charlie Clauss said...

re: iPads

Will convention need to hire an army of jr high students to help with this? ;-)

Dale Coleman said...

Congratulations. Infortunately what you have to look forward now is to cheer on a team that last won against Ty Cobb and the Tigers in 1908, the year of Taft's victory!

Dale Coleman said...

And I just coined infortunately!

Dale Matson said...

"modestly upscale" This would probably termed "lavish" for the pew sitters.