Wednesday, June 24, 2015

An Alternate View: Orientation and Presentations, June 24 at #GC78

Hello everyone!
This morning, (the day before #GC78 officially begins), legislative committee sessions were held at 7:00 AM until 8:30. THIS "having to be awake AND functionally intelligent" thing - whoa....
Let us pray.
Let's just also say the word espresso.
I attended the committee meeting on Prayer Book & Liturgy. Here are the resolutions and amendments that committee is handling. As an alternate, my job is to step in as needed on the House of Deputies floor when one of our deputation needs a break or is sick or needs a whole day away. In addition, I studied three areas of interest:
1. Liturgy & Music
2. Mission
3. Communications & Evangelism (this is the one that led to my using some communications talents and social media to help get the word out about our diocese's experience here at General Convention.)
(media badge)
We opened the Prayer Book, Liturgy & Music Committee meeting with song (Hymn # 362 "Holy, Holy, Holy") and it was evident in verse one that few of us were "morning people", 
By the fourth verse, harmonies were fully present and it actually sounded good. This video is from verse #1. :-)
video (Won't upload from my phone, but will work on it)

Several amendments were presented, discussed, and a few passed.

After this, I headed downstairs to the House of Deputies. Excuse me, but WHAT A GIGANTIC ROOM! easily 800-900 people in here, slightly reminiscent of C-span, yet LOTS more interesting (in my opinion).

SO MANY PEOPLE! I took my place in the section for alternates and plugged in. 

The morning session was a presentation to GC from the Presiding bishop and Gay Clark Jennings (pres. of the HOD - House of Deputies). Presentations were a little bit of orientation and a little bit of procedure about what we have to work on during the convention, officially beginning tomorrow! (June 25-July 3). 
I actually cannot imagine NOT being here a couple of days ahead to hear committees and hearings and to prep on matters at hand. Last night, I got to go to the airport with a friend and pick up a visitor from Korea. My friend has been here for several days and appeared already thoroughly exhausted.
It's certainly eye-opening to see the amount of work that the governing bodies must review, present, discuss, and vote upon.
After a break, an orientation to General Convention was held from 10-12. Alternates were asked to come and sit with their delegations. I found mind hard at work!

So began an introduction to GC followed by a "how-to" session on using the virtual binder. I can handle it. The GC could not pay for wifi for non-committee members in the legislative sessions so THAT was why I couldn't get to the resolutions and access my virtual binder this morning. I did use my phone to look up resolutions and amendments. Wifi is available in all hotels and throughout most of the Convention Center. That is a pretty amazing feat in itself so I am not complaining!
After all the instructions, the parliamentarian showed us examples of secondary amendments. This got hilarious very quickly! It also included a description of what is considered to be "germane" when discussing amendments or secondary amendments. Things can indeed get bogged down when amending amendments, especially in a room of the sleep-deprived and dehydrated deputies :-)
They also showed us how to use the voting devices. I'm glad they plan on reviewing it before every voting session.

At noon, I went over to the exhibits area in search of food since my breakfast was espresso and being an alternate is a hungry business!
Instead, I ended up watching a discussion by the fellows in mission, led by Canon Mark Stevenson who is the Domestic Poverty Missioner. The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, The Episcopal Church, featured four fellows discussing the inclusion of environmental responsibility and stewardship and care of creation in Christian formation. They also discussed issues such as homelessness and poverty, and what is being done to work towards solving these situations. As I am involved with mission work and lots of you are too, both locally and internationally, I was intensely interested in the conversation. I brought up a point about people who have been displaced and become homeless over a long decline after a natural disaster. A riveting discussion ensued. These fellows and heads of mission programming around the country are doing amazing work and from what I understand, doing it without a very big budget.

After this engaging presentation, I picked up an apple and a bagel and headed back into the HOD for a presentation by each of the four nominees for presiding bishops. 
The nominees are:
The Rt. Rev. Thomas E. Breidenthal, Bishop of the Diocese of Southern Ohio
The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop of the Diocese of Connecticut
The Rt. Rev. Dabney T. Smith, Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida

We then listened to what the spirit was telling the church...

Here is more info on the nominees
After opening videos, each gave his own personal statement to the joint session. Then, we waited a few moments and a big bowl was brought out. Inside the bowl were colorful pieces of paper with the categories pictured below. Each nominee chose a paper and called out the color and number which led to a question being read from someone on the floor. This session lasted a loooooooong time, BUT was extremely worth it with the diversity of the questions and the unique and fantastic answers from each nominee. It felt a wee bit like a game show, but I think some levity is good. Keep it light y'all.

We took another standing/stretching break and all said the Lord's Prayer Together. That was an especially moving moment. It's also what it's all about. It's about us being in community together without division even though we may have distinctions and varying opinions.
I was impressed with each candidate and his eloquence in answering each question given. All were impressive and each had his own moments of truly sharing his own style and way of speaking. If you'd like to know who I think the new PB will be, email me for my prediction or comment below!
After a few breaks and lots more questions, each nominee had two minutes to either return to a question they had been asked or to answer a question they had not been asked. Then, they each had time to give formal, final statements. The two-minute statements were a combination of thanks, gratitude, and love to the nominating committee, their families, to each other, and their dioceses. Such love! All four did well today.
When the session was over, I came back to the hotel for a little rest before this evening's legislative session from 7-8:30 PM. I am already wiped out. Not sure if I'll try to go to dinner, but since I still had delicious leftovers from last night's Beef Stroganoff (YUM), I'll eat some now to tide me over :-) I think the arid environment is also getting to me - I had a small nosebleed earlier today. I've been drinking water almost constantly, but I am simply not used to it being so dry! 
Thank you very much for reading and I hope you'll stay tuned :-)

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