By Katy Dickinson, July 1, 2015
The Rev. Tom Sramek and I are the Official Bloggers on General Convention (GC) from the Diocese of El Camino Real (ECR). Tonight, Tom got his blog entry done before me, so check out “Sex(uality), Money, and Power Take Center Stage at GC” for a good summary of today’s wild day in legislative session of the House of Deputies (HofD).
HofD had six key resolutions so important that they were given priority with special timing and discussion limitations so that there was a hope of finishing by Friday night:
- Structure: A004 Amend I.4.1-8 – Restructure Executive Council
- Structure: A006 Amend I.1.2 – Restructure Standing Commissions and Interim Bodies of General Convention
- Structure: A133 Amend Canon IV.7.4 Clarification of Compensation under Restriction
- Marriage: A054 Adopt Resources and Rites from “Liturgical Resources I: I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing, Revised and Expanded 2015”
- Marriage: A036 Amend Canon I.18 Marriage
- Budget: D013 Budget Process for The Episcopal Church
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori led the joint session at which the budget was presented and discussed. HofD voted to concur with the House of Bishops (HofB) on A006. Two other key decisions made today – in which the HofD concurred with the HofB – approved marriage equality in the Episcopal Church. That is, these resolutions affirm that same sex couples are as capable of holy marriage as different sex couples, and provide resources, rites, and rules to support marriage equality. There were many attempts to divert or stop the decision (parliamentary motions to refer, amend, vote by orders, etc.) but as you can see by the vote tallies in the photos below, the Deputies overwhelmingly approved both A054 and A036.
Marriage equality has been passionately discussed for 39 years in our church and even today there were serious, prayerful, and heartfelt objections raised. The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings (President of the HofD) asked that the House maintain decorum and respect – as celebrations on one side could only be hurtful to our brothers and sisters taking the opposite view. Our Chaplain, the Rev. Lester V. Mackenzie, lead HofD in prayer and song before each vote. Over a thousand people were present for this historic decision. We will be processing what is means to us and to our church for many years to come. ECR is proud of our Deputy Jeff Diehl who served on the Special Legislative Committee on Marriage that presented their two resolutions today. I am proud of my church for taking this important step to include all of God’s people.
After the legislative session, many of us walked to the Salt Lake Tabernacle to enjoy an evening of music with choirs, dancers, and drumming as guests of our generous hosts, the Right Reverend Scott B. Hayashi, Bishop of Utah, and the Diocese of Utah.
5 July 2015 – Several people have asked for the text of what the Rev. Terry Gleeson said to GC about A036 on 1 July. Here it is:
Madam President, I rise in support of the resolution.
Six years ago I hesitated before baptizing my newly-born, newly-adopted, bi-racial daughter. I wasn’t concerned about her becoming a child of God, I was concerned about her taking on the church. Like any parent I had to distinguish between what I was prepared to endure for myself and what I should inflict on an unsuspecting infant.
That was in July of 2009 and at the time I took heart from the actions of this house, how it heeded then, and continues to heed now, the prophetic call for freedom for all God’s children, how it committed itself to gathering not scattering the flock, to breaking down walls that divide and exclude, and strove to continue Jesus’ ministry of going out to the lost and forgotten, the demonized and demeaned, bringing healing and restoration to those who had been shunned. And so I took a chance and baptized her – I took a chance on US, that here among us, in our church at least, her baptism would be sufficient statement of her dignity and equality and worth, that no ministry, no office, no sacrament or rite would be denied her because of who she is, where she came from, or who she might grow up to be.
For her sake, for the sake of every one of our babies, and for our own integrity as prophets and disciples of that Jesus who brought only healing and restoration and reconciliation, I urge you to concur with this resolution.
Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson