Thursday, July 09, 2009

General Convention, Day Two

Actually, this is the morning of Day Three for me, but that's just because I'm running a little behind in blogging! Day Two was the first full legislative day of General Convention and I made sure to be up in time to hike the 20 minutes to the Convention Center and arrived in plenty of time to pick up my badge that marks me as a registered visitor and admits me to the exposition hall (marketplace), committee hearings, and the visitors gallery in the House of Deputies. Not sure whether the House of Bishops meetings are similarly open, but I might see later today.

My first impressions of General Convention are many--chiefly that it is a huge event! Part of me wonders how a denomination with under two million members ends up with a legislative structure this complex, but I'm here for the experience, not to single-handedly reform the structure of the church. I've also compared it to a face-to-face Facebook experience--I've seen dozens of people I haven't seen in many years. Folks from seminary but also people I've known in my ordained ministry and, of course, the Deputation from Oregon. I even saw my former boss here! In any case, it has been great to see people and connect. It seems almost a shame that there is work to do and most follks have to rush off to a committee hearing or other official business.

Business-wise, I sat in on the Joint Commmittee on Constitution and Canons, which reminded me why I'm not a canon lawyer. I also sat in on the second (late afternoon) session of the House of Deputies. I have two impressions. First, it is very formal, much more formal than even the school board meetings I'm familiar with. Second, some people will vote "no" on anything, even seemingly non-controversial resolutions. Wierd. After the House of Deputies meeting, I attended the Global Economic Forum with a panel discussion that included the Archbishop of Canterbury. Frank Logue, who sat next to me, blogged about the experience better than I could. After that, it was a late dinner with my friend and colleague Nathan (picture two relatively young guys in clergy attire sitting in a burger joint in LA and I'll let you imagination go from there) and the day was over.

So, this morning is the beginning of Day Three. They are doing "Mission Conversations" this morning, which I don't think lend themselves to exciting spectator sport, so I slept in and am slowly getting out of here. I'm going to try to make the mid-day Community Eucharist at 11:30 a.m. Since I have two hours, that should work. Tonight is the GTNG Gathering, so it should be fun to hang out with friends old and new!

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