General Convention: Day 9

The last, final, long day of General Convention 2015 did not begin with 7:30 a.m. committee meetings, as had so many other days. It began with worship. Worship started an hour earlier to accommodate more time for legislative business. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presided, and the Presiding Bishop Elect, the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, bishop of North Carolina preached a rousing, fiery sermon. The text and video are available here. The video on its own is available here

The House of Deputies was extremely productive throughout the final legislative day. After approving D075 Reinvigorate the Accountability of GTS to General Convention, the house took up B013 Peacemaking Through Political Action. Many people supported the resolution, and it passed, but some rose to speak against the resolution because they thought it was not strong enough or because their understanding that The Episcopal Church does not have direct holdings in any of companies most often named as supportive of Israeli occupation of Palestinian areas. After lunch a deputy moved to reconsider the resolution — with the intention to amend it — but the motion to reconsider was not successful, despite Diocese of California Deputy Sara Lawton speaking in favor of reconsideration. 

Throughout the morning, the Rev. Ruth Meyers, alternate from California, spoke strongly about two resolutions A066 Amend Article X of the Constitution: The Book of Common Prayer [first reading] and C050 Presbyteral Confirmation. The House of Bishops had previously approved A066, which sought to amend the constitution of The Episcopal Church to authorize liturgies that were not intended for Prayer Book revision — liturgies and resources such as Enriching Our Worship, The Book of Occasional Services, and Lesser Feasts and Fasts. Meyers (successfully) argued that a rubric on page 13 of the Book of Common Prayer allow for governing bodies to authorize liturgies. C050 was to direct the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to study the theological implications of permitting “Presbyters of this Church to celebrate the Sacramental Rite of Confirmation for adults as part of those adults’ baptismal liturgy.”

The House of Bishops opened their afternoon session by approving D031 Amend Title IV and D058 Dominicans of Haitian Descent. The House of Bishops voted to concur with the House of Deputies on D004 Create a Task Force to Study Episcopal Elections and Appointments of Bishops. After some discussion, the bishops approved C031 In Support of Diocesan Mergers. While waiting for the final actions of the House of Deputies, they elected officers for the coming triennium. The Rt. Revs. Mary Gray Reeves, El Camino Real, and Dean Wolfe, Kansas, were elected as joint vice presidents, and the Rt. Rev. Diane Jardine Bruce was elected secretary. 

For most of the day, with the few exceptions noted above, debate on resolutions was very limited. Rather, deputies and bishops actively moved to end debate and vote on matters to get through the business before their houses.

After some debate, the House of Deputies concurred with the bishops on D050 Authorizing “An Order for Celebrating the Holy Eucharist” as a Principal Service. While the bishops took a 20-minute break waiting for the House of Deputies’ last report, the deputies debated hymnal revision. Both houses were finished with their business by 6:30 p.m. on the final day of convention. A full reporting of actions taken by the General Convention should be available by the end of July, and Pacific Church News online, along with the DioCal Serves blog and the Peace, Justice, and Hunger commission will be making further information and resources for action available.