General Convention: Day 2

Friday, June 26, was a vey busy day for Diocese of California Episcopalians! The General Convention morning began with committee hearings at 7:30 a.m., and the Diocese of California was active, present, and engaged throughout. In Committee 8, Social Justice and US Policy, the committee considered resolutions on conversion therapy for LGBT people (D028), disability advocacy in the criminal justice system (D032), and ongoing support for the Americans with Disabilities Act (D034). DioCal alternate* Alan Murray spoke in favor of D028, and DioCal Executive Council member Karma Quick-Panwala spoke in favor of both D032 and D034.

After roughly 30 minutes of testimony and committee meetings, the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality was announced, though information came very slowly at first. It is very easy during General Convention to forget the rest of the world is moving on. As information became available, the Committee on Marriage elected to adjourn early so that gallery participants and members of the committee could get more information and reach out to other’s. The Diocese of California’s statement about the marriage equality ruling is available here, and a special article about the marriage committee is available here.  

Before the daily Eucharist began, a conga line of worshipers moved through the worship space, celebrating the marriage equality ruling and singing “Siyhamba” or “We are walking in the light of God.” The President of the House of Deputies, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, preached at the Eucharist. Her sermon is available here. A summary of the Eucharist is available from The Living Church.

After Eucharist, the House of Deputies gathered and broke into small groups to discuss proposed structure changes. How The Episcopal Church will be governed and organized is one of the biggest items on the agenda for this General Convention. Members of the media were given a tour of St. Mark’s Cathedral, where the Presiding Bishop will be elected. Press will not have access to the cathedral during the Presiding Bishop’s election.

While General Convention took place in Salt Lake City, Bishop Marc was in San Francisco to participate in a United Nations roundtable on climate change with the Secretary General of the United Nations. Climate change is one of Bishop Andrus’ signature foci for education and advocacy. The diocese’s press release about the roundtable is available here

In the afternoon legislative session, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings was elected to another three-year term as President of the House of Deputies. Canon amendments on sexual misconduct prevention, safeguarding materials, and the ordination process were all passed. The full list of actions is available as a PDF download here. The House of Bishops adopted a resolution to Authorize New Liturgical Resources: A Great Cloud of Witnesses; Weekday Eucharistic
Propers, passed a number of courtesy resolutions, and authorized the development of Title IV (clergy misconduct) training materials. The full list of the House of Bishops’ actions is available as a PDF download here.

Big works coming to the House of Deputies from committees includes, among other things, a large resolution concerning anti-racism, which more specific resolutions, will reference with regard training, policy, and advocacy. Other resolutions to watch coming from committee include a resolution authorizing more joint sessions on between the two houses, potentially as a move toward a unicameral General Convention, which is one of the current proposals for re-organizing the House of Bishops. 

June 27 includes fewer committee meetings and more legislative action, including the election of the Presiding Bishop. Follow the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #gc78, and watch the Diocese of California’s Facebook page for photos and updated news. 

*The article was updated to indicate that Alan Murray is an alternate, not a deputy.