Yesterday was officially only the 2nd day of General Convention, but most of us have been at it for three full days or more (since legislative committees began work before GC began). We're at it 14-16 hours per day.
Eyes are getting red. Gaits are slowing, more haggard, or both. Attention span and focus are a bit off, at least in our least favorite parts of the day – night people are slower ascending from the dull of night, whereas morning people like me begin our descent earlier in the afternoon.
Moods seem good, though. It feels like something new may happen. And right now people I'm encountering seem more energized than frightened by that.
We took a series of actions in the House of Deputies (HoD) yesterday that, as a series, caught my attention, voting to do the following things [if the House of Bishops (HoB) concurs]:
· Move toward a paperless General Convention in 2015, with all materials made available electronically before and during GC, and WiFi made available on the floor of HoD & HoB [yes = 477/56.92%; no = 349/41.65%] (There’s no WiFi on the floors this year, but all materials and updates are available to everyone – including you – electronically through the General Convention 2012 website.)
· Reaffirm commitment to the Millenium Development Goals as a mission priority for the budget
· Endorse statehood for the District of Columbia
· Challenge every diocese and congregation to read the Bible through during 2013 (This seemed to be headed for failure, following the legislative committee's recommendation to reject, until a deputy from North Carolina, whose advice I’ve learned to listen to, pointed out how it would look on the front page of the paper if The Episcopal Church is against reading the Bible! Lots of chuckles and a resounding vote in favor.)
· Affirm the compatibility of science and Christian faith
· Sell the office building for the offices of The Episcopal Church in New York City and relocate
Most of these items involved significant debate among deputies – in a House of over 800 voting deputies.
Some of this is about grinding political or theolgical axes. Some of it is about updating ourselves as an institutional church.
But the mood in the HoD feels opened to change. We’ve discussed selling 815 Second Avenue (church offices) in New York City before, and we’ve moved toward going paperless. But the HoD seems to be getting impatient. Let’s act! Both came to the HoD with committee recommendations to reject, yet the HoD approved them. Both are about shedding baggage. Lightening our load.
We’ll know more in the coming days of Convention about what we’re lightening our load *for*.
Postscript: This morning my legislative committee finalized the procedure for tonight's hearing on Resolution A049 about blessing same-gender unions. You can learn about this at: