Debriefing General Convention

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There is a great deal of misinformation circulating about what the Episcopal Church did at its just completed General Convention. Maybe the editors and the community here at Episcopal Cafe can help set a few records straight for our readers. Or maybe we can point you at someone who can. If you’ve got questions about what the convention did or didn’t do, pose them in the comments, and we will do our best to answer them.


You will find numerous answers at the General Convention website, although the convention office is still in the process of creating a list of which resolutions passed, and in what form. (Update per Christopher Barajas.)

A few preemptive points:

The convention did not pass legislation calling for the sale of the Church Center at 815 Second Avenue. The House of Deputies passed such legislation, but the House of Bishops did not. The bishops instead called for the church to move into new headquarters, and the deputies concurred. Note that there is no deadline for this move.

The convention did not pass legislation banning guns from Episcopal churches. The convention may have passed legislation that “requests” that Episcopal facilities “declare” themselves either Gun Free Zones, or violence free zones, but our collective memory isn’t clear on whether both the Houses of Deputies and Bishops passed the same language.

The convention did not pass legislation advancing the cause of those who favor permitting people to receive Communion before they are baptized. The House of Deputies passed a resolution containing one resolve recognizing the need for “pastoral sensitivity” in this matter. The House of Bishops struck that clause. The Deputies then approved the bishops’ version of the legislation, which, in effect, reaffirms the ecclesial status quo.

Who wants to ask questions, offer information, or rewrite the paragraph just above this one which is correct on the big question of whether we moved toward Communion without Baptism, but may be lacking in nuance.

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Carole May
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Carole May

For how resolutions move, there is a terrific flow chart here:

http://media.monkserve.com/EKK/5326/how-resolutions-move.pdf

I'm still not quite sure on why some resolutions go to the HoB first, then to the HoD, and some are the other way around.

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Jim Naughton
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Jim Naughton

A ha! Word comes from Christopher Barajas via Twitter that the status of resolutions on the General Convention website is not final. Thanks, Christopher.

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Jim Naughton
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Jim Naughton

John, I can help with some of that. Each legislative committee has a "house of initial action," meaning the house its legislation goes to first. There are probably, in some cases, good reasons that a certain committee reports out first to Bishops rather than Deputies, but I don't know what those are, and to some extent, I think they just divide things up to keep legislation flowing.

You "concur' if the other house has already passed the legislation. It may be that you "approve" if you are the initial house, but I am not sure about that. Likewise, it may be that you "reject" if you get the legislation first, but vote "not [to] concur" if the legislation passed the house of initial action, but you still don't care for it.

What confuses me is whether, the word that follows the phrase "action is to" on this page http://www.generalconvention.org/gc/resolutions indicates in every case the action that was actually taken, or whether it sometimes describes the action that was recommended by the committee that brought the legislation to the floor the final time.

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John B. Chilton
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John B. Chilton

(Whinging follows.)

I, for one, need an Idiot's Guide to the language.

1. What's the difference between "accept" and "concur".

2. What's the difference between "reject" and "not concur".

Is someone willing to give a mini-civics lesson the paths that resolutions follow at General Convention. I have the feeling of being excluded from understanding what happened because I don't exactly know what "the House of ___ concurring" means as in concurring with who? With whom is plain enough, I suppose, and required in a parliamentary sense I presume. But the language does stand in the way of your average Joe understanding what his GC did.

For example, is there any reason they begin in one house and not the other? What happens after a house passes a resolution -- it moves to the other house (right?) but will that house necessarily get to it? And how do we know the state of those resolutions still up in the air at the close of General Convention? How do I determine which ones passed at least one house, which passed both houses but in different forms, etc.

Is it fair to say that there is still some dust to settle? Or is it accurate, instead, to say the link Jim gave to the GC website is final and not subject to further revision (barring errors that might be discovered)?

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tobias haller
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tobias haller

The GC website lists concurrence on the amended form of D016, and IIRC ["if I recall correctly", ed.] the Deputies did approve that changed language...:

Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That it is the will of this Convention to move the Church Center headquarters away from the Church Center building at 815 2nd Avenue, New York City.

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