House of Deputies
This evening promised to be a bit of a slog as the House is asked to debate and vote on the budget as well as the Resolution (A059) that redefines the meaning of Prayer Book which was significantly reworked in the House of Bishops yesterday. In the end the process was little drawn out, but the evening was filled with courtesy, respect, and humor and the business of the church moved along very positively.
There was some small frustration that the budget doesn’t necessarily reflect all of the resolutions that may be passed at this General Convention, leaving their actual funding in question.
An amendment was offered that would reduce the amount asked of the dioceses by 0.25% and draw more heavily on the reserves but would also direct that future budgets be based on a 1/3 reduction in how much is asked from the dioceses. FYI, each diocese is supposed to offer to the whole church an amount equal to 15% of their own revenues. In the past this was an ask, and a number of dioceses (including Texas which is relatively well off) refused to pay anything. This was changed to make it mandatory, but there is till no effective mechanism to ensure dioceses actually do so.
The amendment failed on a voice vote, but then it was sked to do an electronic vote just make sure and it still failed by a significant margin. Finally, the budget is put to the vote and it passes. The budget for the next two years is balanced with income of $100,493,452 and total expenditures of $100,493,452.
Book of Common Prayer (A059)
This resolution is a constitutional amendment, so if passed it will need to be passed again in 2024. This would be a rewritten Article X which maintains most of the current processes for approving liturgies for this church, but the key difference is that it redefines the prayerbook as the 1979 book plus other liturgies approved in the same manner (such as Enriching Our Worship). The debate is a very Episcopal one with everyone professing their love of the BCP, no matter whether they or in favor of or against the resolution. In the end, the resolution is adopted with a small amendment to specify that the working group to be formed have nine members, and now it goes back to the House of Bishops to concur (or not).
We are “all” Saints
Some new “saints” were officially added to the calendar of commemorations in the prayerbook (and new editions of Lesser Feasts and Fasts) by the passing of A007. But they weren’t quite finished with finding more saints, so they also passed A008 to add three more for trial use.
House of Bishops
A pair of Resolutions were offered and approved that will eventually impact our record keeping, namely the annual Parochial Report;
- A155 Revising the Parochial Report Finance Page will empower a Task Force of parish and diocesan treasurers to review and revise, and …
- A156 Establish a Task Force on the State of Membership will also empower a Task Force to look at and perhaps offer revisions to the canons which define “membership” in the church (as someone who fills out the report every year, the current categories are do not meet the needs of today’s church)
Two other resolutions also passed that offer some hope for the church reimagining itself for effective (and successful) ministry in the 21st century;
- D047 Addressing our Models for Mission and Ministry which will look at models of community beyond the self-sustaining parish, and…
- A132 Task Force to Study Congregational Vitality Indicators, which will create a group to look at ways to “measure” the strength of the Spirit in communities of faith. As someone who has worked on this at the diocesan level, most instruments in use today merely measure how closely one adheres to the vision of a suburban parish in 1970 or so and misses so much life while simultaneously offering false hope to parishes that cannot see the fire has long ago gone out (even if the bank accounts haven’t).
And that’s it for Day 3 part 2. Tomorrow is the final day of this 80th General Convention and we’ll be here to pass along whatever happens.