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Day 1, House of Deputies

Day 1, House of Deputies

Melodie Woerman of Episcopal News Service reports on day one of the House of Deputies:

The House of Deputies expressed its commitment to a national Episcopal Youth Event and expanded funding for evangelism in its first full day of business at General Convention. Those resolutions now go to the House of Bishops for consideration.

It adopted resolution C100, which calls for funding the Episcopal Youth Event and earmarking $300,000 for it. …

Deputies also asked for $1 million to establish diocesan “mission enterprise zones” to assist a diocese or a group of parishes in reaching out to under-represented groups in the church (resolution A073) and called for helping parishes and dioceses engage in evangelism, especially to those they don’t normally reach, through creating a multimedia evangelism guide (resolution A070).

Resolution D034 proved controversial by seeking to amend rules on how deputies are required to identify themselves to include stating the percentage of each deputy’s diocesan income is given to the Episcopal Church. …. The resolution was defeated.

In a morning organizing session, deputies elected the Very Rev. H. Scott Kirby of the Diocese of Eau Claire to serve as vice president for this General Convention, …

A much-anticipated relaxation of House of Deputies Rule 67 on the use of electronic devices on the floor also was announced. …

The House of Deputies approved multiple other actions, all of which now must receive approval of the House of Bishops to take effect. They include resolutions that:

Urged enactment of legislation to permit same-gender legal domestic partners and spouses of United States citizens and permanent residents to seek permanent resident status in the same manner as different-gender spouses (resolution D011).

Affirmed the “Website Challenge,” which calls on all congregations to have an effective, dynamic and current website by 2015 (resolution A025) and affirmed communications as an essential ministry of the church (resolution A024).

Consented to the election of eight bishops: A. Robert Hirschfeld as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire, Dorsey McConnell as bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, W. Nicholas Knisely (the Café’s man! ed.) as bishop of the Diocese of Rhode Island, Susan E. Goff as bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Virginia, Jeff Wright Fisher as bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Texas, Jacob Wayne Owensby as bishop of the Diocese of Western Louisiana, Robert C. Wright as bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta and Douglas John Fisher as bishop of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts.

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Diocese of Wyoming has a Facebook page for reporting on General Convention using video and text as well as photos. Dean Marilyn Engstrom reports:

Today began with another wonderful walk (though hotter and muggier) along the canal. It amazes me as I realize how many different things I noticed this morning–different sculptures, buildings, etc.–when I wasn’t so focused on getting lost. Similarly as a 6 time deputy, I notice different things and move through the rigmarole without the same anxious focus.

The initial legislative meeting was devoted to organizing the House–and letting the Bishop’s know that we were set up for business. We actually got the the point of passing the first few resolutions which gave consent to 4 of the new bishops and a few courtesy resolutions. With only an hour we didn’t accomplish much, but the new deputies got a feel for how the business in formally conducted.

Then we all moved from the Convention Center to one of the hotels for the first Eucharist. Brass and vocal soloists did an amazing job in a pretty traditional service. Unlike previous years, we are seated in rows rather than at tables. But singing familiar hymns with several other thousand people is a wonderful experience. The PB preached another great sermon weaving in the “saints” of the day: Walter Rauschenbusch, Jacob Riis, and Washington Gladden who were all social activists in the late 19th century. They were each committed to building God’s reign in the here and now as they worked to end poverty, opposed segregation, denounced corruption, classism, graft and corruption. She called us to follow their example in our time to make common cause for the healing of creation and society.

In the committee I’ve been assigned to, we had a great discussion relative to transparency in the consent process. But with that we completed all the work assigned to us, so I have an unexpected amount of time to attend other hearings and meetings.

Following a quick lunch with our deputation, I spent a bit of time cruising the Exhibit Hall and seeing numerous old friends; then sat in on a hearing regarding the work on “Holy Women, Holy Men. Then back to the House for more legislation and some minor debate. The big issues won’t come up for a while yet, so they allow debate to go on a bit longer now. After supper I attended another hearing on Structure/Restructure of the church. Most folks were calling for radical change now: things are broken and now is the time to do something, but just how that will weigh out is anyone’s guess at this point. After a brief time of refreshment and laughter in our “hospitality room” with some of the deputation and some of our women who are attending the Triennial Meeting of the Episcopal Church Women,I packed it in to share a few thought with you, gentle and inquisitive readers.


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