General Convention Day 4 Recap

Most of the action was in the House of Bishops on this final day. In the Deputies, they finished up most legislative business with the real hero of this convention, the consent calendar. There was an effort to remove a resolution supporting the Green New Deal, but that was defeated and the calendar passed. The President offered her closing remarks and at the end passed the gavel along to her successor as this 80th General Convention comes to a close.

 

House of Bishops

The day got off by approving the budget for 2023-24, which unlike the HoD was passed without question or comment. Probably because they’ve already heard the presentation and have had ample opportunity to make their inputs, not to mention that there isn’t much time to approve it if they decided to start making changes.

The bishops then took up the reformation of the budget process (A048) already approved by the Deputies. Bishop Jeff Fisher, who has been involved with the budget in the past, gave a good description of the why’s and how’s of the new proposed system and how it should address the current limitations (most notably all the unfunded resolutions from GC’s past). Bishop Ely (formerly of Vermont) asked a good question, “who will be on the new budget committee?” The simple answer is that the exact membership isn’t defined, but the authority to determine it is. Also, there was assurance that despite the elimination of the current standing committee (PB&F) there would still be hearings and opportunities for input. The question was then divided into three parts (well, technically four but the bishops don’t get to vote on House rules) for parliamentary concerns and all three were passed easily.

After that they took up A059, the redefinition of the prayer book resolution, which was mostly created by the Bishops, but amended by the Deputies to add a couple of technical fixes without changing the substance. Bishops Sumner (Dallas), Bauerschmidt (Tennessee) and Smith (interim, Albany), all of whom are conservative and members of the Communion Partners expressed concerns about how this change will impact the memorialization of the 1979 BCP passed at the previous GC which they seemingly hoped would keep the liturgy for same-sex marriage at bay. Bishop Hunn then rose to remind his three colleagues that ordained members of the church don’t vow to uphold the canons and prayer book of the moment they were ordained, but that they are part of a living church that at every General Convention responds to the discerned call of the Spirit to make adjustments and changes. In the end, unsurprisingly, the resolution passes overwhelmingly.

Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce, Secretary of the House of Bishops, is crowned Queen by Bishop Sutton of Maryland in a light-hearted moment

Aside from a number of courtesy resolutions, the last major piece of business was approving the merger of the dioceses of North Texas (formerly Fort Worth) and Texas.

And with phone call from the President of the House of Deputies, the session was closed and the work of convention completed.

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