15 June 2006

General Notes Part 6


To briefly cover Wednesday and Thursday: Wednesday my commitee met but was unable to complete its work as planned. Read about this more at the ENS website I've linked here. So, the "sleeping in" to 8:00 am I was looking forward to has been delayed further to do some more good work. Knowing we are starting up again in the morning means I took the night off and opted out of attending the Presiding Bishop's Forum on Reconciliation. There is a great speaker line-up for this event and I wish I didn't have to miss it, but I'm confident I needed to take a time-out.

While making this post I am watching the CNN Larry King Live interviewing Bi
shop Gene Robinson, Canon Anderson of the American Anglican Council, an openly gay lay Roman Catholic, an openly lesbian UCC pastor in Dallas, a Roman Catholic priest and a Southern Baptism seminary leader. It is almost laughable to know so much about the role of sexuality in this Church, the depth of scriptural interpretation and tradition, and the complicated nature of our Communion and relationships among each other and listen to these sound bites that supposedly explain the whole thing to the American viewers. It's just laughable. It's just more complicated than that.

The special committee hearing held last night in the
1500-person ballroom was charged but disappointing. The committee set such a good tone that though comments were sometimes biting and divisive, there wasn't much snorting or disrespecting. I exchanged looks with people next to me, but we honored the standards set by the committee for respect and good listening. The Archbishop of York spoke again, as did the usual all star sexuality line-up. If anyonen wanted a crash course in the superstars of the Episcopal sexuality debate, last night's few hours would have been a good venue.

Our work goes on. People in the ho
use of bishops want to eliminate my legislative committee's role from the General Convention process and have all bishop elections consented to by the Standing Committee's of each diocese as they except for the 3 months prior to each General Convention. I tried to lobby my opinion that we should definitely take this process out of General Convention, where these consents tend to become sensationalized and used to argue positions having nothing to do with the candidate who has been held up by the diocese in which they were elected after long discernment processes. The use of litmus-tests seems, to me, no different between the two processes, and the General Convention one takes up more money, energy, and controversy and drama than is necessary. I'm for eliminating it. We took a vote by orders, however; if you want to know what that is, begin your google search. I couldn't find anything right away, so godspeed.

After attending the special commitee hearing and having the work of my own committee heavy on my heart and mind, a time spent with old and new friends and Matt having a drink in the hotel was good for my soul. We talked about shaving, South Africa, casinos, college, and relationships, and I was renewed. My friends here with the Young Adult festival, other seminary friends, fellow young deputies and especially my husband
have really bouyed me up in my time here. Through lack of sleep, confusing controversies, and the sometimes overwhelming amount of available wisdom around ever corner - I've turned to Matt and my friends with weariness and found hugs, support, and smiles and jokes.



The Main Thing...

I remember, only two days ago, my energy as I took to the floor of the House of Deputies. Today a familiar feeling set in – a weariness with the debate on the floor among all 800 of us gathered to pass our legislation.

Since we are such a beast of a debating body, we divide into committees. Each committee, something like 26 of them, takes a portion of all the resolutions before us. Each committee then holds hearings on their resolutions. Anyone wishing to speak on these resolutions, for or against, or to propose amendments, is expected to sign up and do so at the appropriate hearing.

Part of the frustration of many of my sisters and brothers in the house is that we cannot go to all the committee meetings and hearings we would like. Many of us serve on legislative committees ourselves, and would have liked to speak at hearings but cannot since we are in our own committee’s sessions.

Therefore, when the resolution emerges out of the committee after hearings and deliberations and is up on the floor of the beastly House of Deputies, some have then had the time to draft an amendment, gain support for it, and attempt to “improve” it. The dynamics of the House are not altogether simple, though. The time of day things come up seems to make as much difference as anything else at times. If it is almost time to go, or if the President preps us suavely, some things tend to go quickly and if we have just heard some fluffy resolutions and feel ready for a good fight, the microphones tend to form long lines behind them.

I propose in response to this that each deputy be given an intern of their own to follow and speak on their behalf! ☺ Otherwise, it’s a sticky mess moving the 800-member small group along.

2 Comments:

Blogger Debbie of Boise said...

Sarah,
Glad you decided to get some sleep. It’s hard to make good decisions with a sleep deprived mind. I so appreciate your reports from the trenches. I am praying for you and all the deputies. May you experience something encouraging and inspiring today.

In regards to vote by orders, you can find a good explanation here: here It’s written by Louie Crew, who knows his way around the Episcopal Church.

Blessings!

7:40 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

One thing we are not good at - trusting our fellow deputies who have done the committee work and recommended to pass or not legislation. The whole process is a group one. Not that we have to follow blindly - but we also do not have to re-do all the work just because we were not "there" - so we do our homework to be informed we listen to what has been done in the "micro" and decide in the House.

2:14 AM  

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