Wednesday, July 15, 2009

General Convention, day 10

Okay, first there is a correction to be made. The full communion with the Moravians was on today's consent calender, not yesterdays. We get the calendar a day in advance so that we can read it over, and that is what I mixed up. So, we have now passed it; we are in full communion with the Moravians.

And that error pretty much sums up what is happening right now. When we started this, the house rules were that we would debate an issue for up to 30 minutes, and each speaker got three minutes to talk. That was taking forever. It went to 20 minutes per issue and only 2 minutes per speaker. Today it went to 1 minute per speaker, and then to 15 minutes per issue. What is happening is that we have many more resolutions than we have time. The consent calendar is also getting rather thick.

Our North Carolina resolutions on adding Pauli Murray (the first African American female priest) and Manteo and Virginia Dare (the first baptism in North America) to the calendar got reported out favorably; they go to the bishops first, so I do not know what happened with them. The plan is to refer them to the Standing Committee on Liturgy for study. The bishops on the Liturgy Committee did not like the resolution about an alternative baptismal covenant (see somewhere below), but hopefully they presented it to the rest of their colleagues today.

We will have a national health plan! And the laity will have pensions if they work over 20 hours per week. To be fair, most of them already do, but this will require it. We had the usual arguments about it hurting small congregations. Sorry folks; if we require pensions for the clergy who make more money, this is a simple matter of justice. Just my conscience along would force me to vote in favor.

This afternoon, we got the budget. It looks bad. Lots of cuts in National staff and program. But the MDGs got put back. And the youth staff position is in there--they tried to take it out because the position is not currently filled. But the youth presence mounted a good offense. Most of the money for starting new chaplaincies stayed in. Our young adult and college staff still have jobs, but their budgets shrunk.

And the budget will drop to 19% asking from dioceses by 2012 instead of the 21% it is now. It will be interesting to watch the debate tomorrow. In order to add something to the budget, you have to indicate where you will take money from. There ain't a lot of wiggle room, and you will piss someone off if you try to take their money.

The L.A. night was interesting. Only about 500 people showed up for Genesis, an emergent church experience. Brian McLaren spoke. As I learned later, this was put together byt wo different emergent congregations and leaders. Since no two emergent people do things the same, it seemed like a bit of a hodgepodge. A great piece of poetry in the middle, a wonderful confession of the business of life. And an artist was making images on a paint screen all through. And lots of video images. And music. And yoga. And drumming. And glow sticks. You get the picture. A bit too much. McLaren talked about how the broken body of Christ is made whole within us. But there was no Eucharist. Anyone who knows what CD of Bruce Cockburn has the song "Mystery" on it will be welcome to respond.

Well, that is it for today. I barely scratch the surface with all the issues we are handling, so if you want to know about a particular subject, write a note. Time for me to go to bed. Too bad those folks doing the U2charist on Thursday will be playing to an empty hall. I am certain the bishops and deputies will be having evening sessions tomorrow night.

1 comment:

Tripp said...

i totally didn't realize you were in LA. how long will you be around? maybe you can come have a beer with Tripp. there is a sweet brewery next to my house. email me.