Massachusetts deputy Bill Parnell reports on Wednesday’s getting-started activities, and shares his photos from the opening joint session with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the president of the House of Deputies, The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings:
“Though many bishops and deputies have been here since the beginning of the week, Wednesday, July 4 was the first day that we met in plenary. In the early afternoon there was a joint meeting of bishops and deputies to hear from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and President of the House of Deputies The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings. Each gave an opening address to the combined Houses. Episcopal News Service has reported on it here.
“Much of the afternoon was an orientation to the mechanics of General Convention. This year, as was the case in Salt Lake City in 2015, each bishop, deputy and alternate deputy have been issued an iPad which contains all the documents for what is essentially a paperless convention. The iPads enable legislation to be tracked and updated easily, provide worship materials for the daily Eucharist and a calendar of all committee meetings and events. For those of us who remember the constant clicking of huge three-ring binders and bishops and deputies carting wheeled luggage around the technology is a huge advance. [Everyone can access the Virtual Binder here.]
“Early Wednesday evening the bishops sponsored a worship service during which they read stories of abuse, harassment and unequal treatment that had been submitted from around the church. The #MeToo movement has given voice to many women and men who have remained silent for many years and who now are telling their painful stories. The service was an opportunity to listen, to confess the church’s failure to respond appropriately and to commit ourselves to creating a safe place for all. [Read more here and watch it on demand on the Media Hub by clicking on “Worship” and then look for “Liturgy of Listening” in the list at the right.]
“Also on Wednesday evening, about 400, including most of our Massachusetts deputation, gathered for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Union of Black Episcopalians. There was singing and a lot of stories were told about UBE and its leaders from its founding in 1968. A video produced by the Rev. Canon Dr. Lynn Collins (Long Island) conveyed a lot of UBE’s history and included interviews with Bishop Barbara Harris, Canon Ed Rodman and House of Deputies Vice President Byron Rushing.
“Thursday, July 5 is the first legislative day of General Convention so resolutions will begin to flow from the various committees to either the House of Bishops or the House of Deputies for initial consideration. A resolution is not adopted until it has been approved by both Houses.”
Find the list of resolutions receiving legislative committee hearings today here.
Watch House of Deputies and House of Bishops legislative sessions live on the Media Hub.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, July 6: Tomorrow is the resolutions filing deadline (334 filed to date…). Also, the Special Joint Session on Racial Reconciliation convenes at 11:30 a.m. Eastern (watch on the Media Hub).
We close this post with a celebrity sighting: The pigeon strutting around the House of Deputies now has its own Twitter following @GC79Pigeon. Check it out here.