My legislative committee decided not to meet this morning so I received the gift of getting to sleep in until 7AM (seriously that is huge for General Convention)! After breakfast I made my way to the House of Deputies for a Joint gathering of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops to hear opening remarks form the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. After the opening remarks the Bishops were dismissed and we began our orientation session.
This was basically a two hour tour of our iPad and the virtual binder. I knew it was going to be a long session when the question was asked, “How many of you have figured out how to open the iPad case and turn the iPad on?” For some of my fellow deputies I’m sure the session felt like they had been cast out where to the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. At times it was rather painful, but it is important that everyone knows how to use our materials to be able to conduct the business of the house. The other new technological advance for the House of Deputies. Our voting devices have been updated and every deputy gets their own voting card. The card goes into the voting device and it knows exactly who you are. I’m sure confusion of these devices will ensue as the kinks get worked out over the next couple of sessions.
After concluding this session and lunch, it was time for the presentation of the nominees for Presiding Bishop. I’ve had the honor and privilege to serve as the lay representative from Province One (New England) on the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop. We are the committee that produced the slate of nominees. The presentation was a pretty historic event. Never before had anything ever been done like this, a “walk about” in a joint session of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies. Each nominee was asked to produce an introduction video. Those were played before each nominee came onto the stage. They made opening statements, responded to a committee crafted question based on their vision statements. Then we turned to questions submitted from people form across The Episcopal Church. The four Bishops picks cards out of a bowl called out the color and number and were given their question. It was a great session and presented the nominees in a way unlike any other. This session definitely shifted my order of nominees and who I would vote for if I were in the House of Bishops. It was most interesting to hear what others in the House of Deputies had to say.
After the presentation of the nominees it was time for dinner with some folks from the deputation and it was off to my committee meeting.
We discussed out resolutions, a statement given to us on divestment from Executive Council, and spilt into small groups to discuss resolutions and begin to discern out work with each piece of legislation submitted. The Food subcommittee had interesting conversation on supporting and encouraging food ministries and very interesting conversation on GMOs. I’m learning so much and have only begun to realize how much more I have to learn about this area of ministry. I wonder how many of you have hear of environmental racism before? I do not think I have ever heard the phrase until today and I’m not totally sure I understand what it means. Tomorrow we will have hearings on all of our resolutions, I’m really looking forward to being on the other side of the table at a legislative hearing.
Tomorrow we have our opening Eucharist and first legislative session in the House of Deputies. Tomorrow things get really interesting.