What happened at General Convention?
I will also be available after the service on July 29 to give more in-depth information and answer questions.
General Convention was very eye-opening. I learned that much of the work of General Convention is done in committee. Each piece of legislation that will go before the House of Deputies or the House of Bishops first goes through a committee. The committee looks at the resolutions, hears testimony from anyone who wishes to speak to the resolution, makes amendments to the resolution as necessary, and then makes a suggestion to the House as to whether or not the committee thinks the resolution should be adopted. Because of this, if you’re serving on a committee (like I was), the hours can be LONG.
Most resolutions must be approved by both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops before they can be put into action. Even after being passed by both houses, if the resolution requires funding, the Program, Budget and Finance Committee must make a decision as to whether it can fit into the budget. There are resolutions that get passed, but never actually put into action because the funding just isn’t there.
There are two pieces of legislation that were adopted that I think will be of the most interest to the most people at St. Thomas: One that deals with Prayer Book revision and one that deals with same-sex marriage.
Prayer Book Revision:
The House of Deputies initially adopted a resolution that would have started the process for Prayer Book revision, with the goal that a new Prayer Book would be created by 2030. This resolution was replaced with a substitute in the House of Bishops. The substitute encourages dioceses from around the Episcopal Church to start experimenting with new liturgies (ones that would be created by Commissions on Liturgy and Music in each diocese, in conjunction with the bishop) and creates a task force to start studying Prayer Book revision. This substitute was also adopted by the House of Deputies, so it will be going into effect in the beginning of 2019.
Same Sex Marriage:
Both Houses also adopted a resolution that gives same-sex couples in dioceses in which bishop’s do not permit same-sex marriage a way to get married. Bishops who do not agree with same-sex marriage can now hand over pastoral oversight to a bishop who does. That bishop would then oversee the priest and the couple getting married. This is a good compromise, as bishops who do not agree with same-sex marriage do not need to be involved in the proceedings, but same-sex couples still have an avenue by which they can get married.