A word about our schedule. It consists of colored-coded blocks so you know what’s going on in the course of the day. Legislative meetings are represented by blue blocks, worship is green, joint sessions are a different shade of green, deputy certification is orange, and legislative sessions are pink. At the beginning of General Convention, the days were rainbow colored, a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Now that we are in the last two days of General Convention, our days are dominated by huge pink blocks. We have almost 8 hours of legislative session today (Thursday) and 9 hours tomorrow. So this morning began the long slog to the end.
And make no mistake; it is a long slog. This morning’s four-hour block of debate and deliberation is a long time to sit still and pay attention. Thankfully, our sessions are broken up by prayer, bits of humor, and bathroom breaks.
A couple of days ago, we were told that the total number of resolutions we would be considering was over 500. We were also given this tip, “The consent calendar is your friend.” For inquiring minds who want to know, the consent calendar is a list of resolutions that we vote on in one fell swoop. Just now we cleared 44 resolutions from our plate in the course of fewer than 5 minutes. That’s good news because it took us 3 ½ hours to get through about 10 resolutions this morning, and we have 31 more on this afternoon’s schedule.
And these resolutions range from courtesy resolutions such as A288 “Gratitude for the Children’s Program (Yes, people bring their children to General Convention, and there is a program of activities for them) to more in-depth resolutions. Earlier this morning, we passed The Episcopal Church’s budget of $134,000,000 for the next three years.
And sitting through hours and hours of legislative meetings, hearings, debate, and deliberation, I have to wonder if any of this will make a difference, especially when a lot of the resolutions are worded thusly: “that Executive Council be encouraged to… .,” or “that dioceses be requested to . . .” Are we making a difference?
Yes, we are. Last night our deputation gathered to put together bags of healthy snacks (granola bars, string cheese, fruit, oatmeal, peanut butter, tuna), personal hygiene items, and socks. Early this morning, members of our deputation hit the streets to pass out these bags to our homeless neighbors in Austin. So thanks to you, the Episcopal Church in Central Pennsylvania—because you are the ones who called and sent us to represent you at General Convention—God’s beloved children, whose beds are the sidewalks of Austin, received a tangible sign of God’s love and care. A special thank you goes to A.L.E.R.T., who funded this morning’s mission.
Before heading off to our pink block of legislative time, we gathered for breakfast tacos of scrambled eggs, cheese and beef brisket, certainly a foretaste of that heavenly banquet we will all share one day.
Thank you for the privilege of representing and serving you at General Convention.
The Rev. Regina Bautista, St. John’s, Marietta
Alternate Clergy Deputy