10th Day General Convention: Budget, Structure, Conservation, and Courtesy

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The General Convention (GC) finished its second-to-last legislative day – one more day in the House of Deputies  (HoD) for the Deputation of the Diocese of El Camino Real (ECR).  We start every day at the GC here in Salt Lake City with worship, and every day there is a focus for our celebration. The biographies provided have been inspiring! Today, we heard about the Rev. Charles Barnes, an American who spoke against the murder of over 20,000 Haitians by the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic. During the sermon, we heard part of the poem “Parsley” by Rita Dove – because in 1937 the Haitians who could not say “parsley” in Spanish were killed. Others honored during GC workshop have included: the Rev. Hiram Hisanori Kano (Nebraska), James Weldon Johnson (Florida), the Rev. Cornelius Hill (Oneida, Wisconsin), and Isabel Florence Hapgood (Massachusetts, Russia).

Today was a forced march through the budget, plus structure, stewardship/conservation, courtesy and other legislative resolutions, ably managed by Rev. Gay Clark Jennings (President of the HofD).  She started off with a charming variation on Mr. Roger’s saying: “It’s a great day in the Kingdom!”  Her humor, grace, and world-class management skills kept us going until 7:30 pm tonight after many had started in committee meetings at 7:30 am. Some resolutions were for HofD to concur with the House of Bishops (HofB) and others have been passed back to the HofB for consideration. The closest vote of the day was a remarkable 50.73% against and 49.27% for.

We sidled up to the very controversial subject of bringing HofD and HofB into a unicameral model in D008 Amend Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution – sent to the HofB for consideration today:

Sec. 1. There shall be a General Convention of this Church, consisting of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, which Houses will sit, debate, and vote separately, unless otherwise provided for by this Constitution or the Canons. The Houses by majority vote of each House may call for the Houses to sit, debate, and vote, or any combination thereof, together. The General Convention may by Canon establish procedures for such sessions. In all deliberations freedom of debate shall be allowed. Either House may originate and propose legislation, and all acts of the Convention shall be adopted and be authenticated by both Houses.

There were also many many resolutions of courtesy to thank everyone: those who run our worship services, the secretariat and leadership of HofD, the people and Diocese of Utah, the Official Youth Presence, HofD Chaplain, etc.  While they do add significantly to the time and work of our day, I acknowledge that resolutions of courtesy serve two clear purposes:

  • Community building and acknowledgement
  • Allowing HofD to stand up from time to time to offer ovations and applause

At the end of today’s legislative session, the Deputation from Honduras asked to read a communique from a group of bishops setting forth their dissent to the marriage equality resolutions known as A036 and A054. The HofD President allowed them the full time for a translated Point of Personal Privilege. Unfortunately, they spent half their time reading the names and titles and locations of the signatories so it did not make much sense as presented.

We finished our day with an ECR Deputation dinner with our Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, including giving her an early surprise birthday dessert!

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Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson

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