Convention Officially Opens

Convention Officially Opens

The convention officially opened yesterday when the Rev. Gay Clark-Jennings (President) called the House of Deputies to order and Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori called the House of Bishops to order. We then spent much of the session electing the officers, attending to organizing matters and voting on the House Rules of Order (how we chose to conduct business during the convention). It all seems pretty “dry” (and it is), but there are moments of hilarity. For instance, an amendment that would have prohibited applause after a vote was offered and debated. When it was defeated, the House burst into applause! Priceless!

In the early stages of convention, most of the action takes place in the Legislative Committees. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit in on the Social Justice and International Policy Committee. I heard moving testimony on both sides of the issue regarding the divestment of funds and boycott of companies supporting the Israeli government's occupation of Palestine. I am glad I attended because the testimony will inform me when the matter comes to the floor of the House for a vote.

All of us have opportunity to testify before the committees. I testified before the Committee on Constitution and Canons about Title IV Disciplinary matters. NorCal Deputy Jim Jordan offered testimony before the Committee on Governance and Structure on the issues of a unicameral house, restructuring of Executive Council and proposed elimination of the Province structure. One of the interesting features of General Convention is that in some ways all of us are equal. Right before Jim testified, the Committee heard from the Presiding Bishop, and after Jim testified, Bishop Ian Douglas (one of the candidates for Presiding Bishop) testified as well. Bishop Beisner was also at work, chairing a hearing of the World Mission Legislative Committee. They are hearing testimony about the conditions of the church in Pakistan (see photo at left).

The highlight of the day for me was attending the opening Holy Eucharist. It's hard to describe how you feel when sitting in the midst of thousands of people and you hear the Presiding Bishop ask, "What gifts do you bring as we build the road to the Kingdom of Heaven?" The Body of Christ needs all of our gifts.

One of the real joys of convention has been seeing many old friends from different parts of my life. I have run into people who helped me discern my call to the priesthood, seminary classmates and professors, and people from all over our diocese. I even ran into the former President of the House of Deputies, Fr. George Werner, and was able to give him greetings from Roy and Lois Larson, a couple he had married 50 years ago!

This was all on Day 1!

So Day 2 begins…



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