Indianapolis, I may tell you, is having a heat wave. 100 degrees plus humidity to welcome the Episcopal Church in all its glory.
I arrived here on Monday, but today is the first full day of legislative committees and orientation in the House of Deputies.
No lie– we had orientation in the House of Deputies today. How the Rules of Order work, how the Courtesy rules work, how the voting mechanisms work. To work out the voting, we practiced on the question “Shall acolytes in TEC wear closed toed shoes on the altar?”. It was a squeaker, but voted yes. (Problematically, the esteemed Scott Gunn tweeted this event, and many in the twitterverse took him seriously.). The vote by orders decided the question of whether we should archive Gregory Straub’s sports costs. This vote was not close.
And we’re off and running. The Legislative Committee for Canons has much work ahead of it– most of which we can’t touch until the other committees hold hearings first, and report the resolutions out. Meanwhile, the Title IV changes that were made last time around….turns out that several dioceses don’t think they were constitutional. But guess what I learned today! We don’t have a Supreme Court in this church. The only institution empowered to decide if the actions of General Convention are constitutional is…..General Convention. (It’s slightly more complex than that, having to do with our historical preference for context over theory, but there you go.)
Meanwhile, Program, Budget and Finance began the hearings today regarding the budget. They were packed. I mean, people against the walls, in the hall, out the doors, etc. PB&F surprised everyone at the start by announcing that they were starting with the outline of the PB’s budget. NOT the Executive Council’s draft budget as passed. This is procedural drama of a sort, but really, PB&F writes the budget themselves. I presume they can take from wherever they want to draft the budget they will present to Convention. There’s no call to flip the toddler tantrum switch over this.
I testified before the committee. There was no shortage of very articulate young adults and youth speaking to the importance of youth and young adult ministries, including campus ministry. (We have organized well, clearly.) I was very proud. It’s a terrified blur at this point, but basically, I said: “I am 28 years old, and I’ve been a priest for 4 years. This is because a generation ago, people like you thought young people were important enough to fund on a church wide level. But this budget wasn’t about me. It’s about the students I work with, every day. Who are told, day in and day out, that they are crazy for going to church. Or that they are bad liberals. Or that they aren’t Christian enough, because they don’t hate the right people.
But the gospel we know, as Episcopalians, the Jesus we know, the God we know who loves everyone unconditionally, is needed by these people. That gospel is life giving for people. And every cent we cut from that is damaging to the news that people are hungry for. And we should be concerned about that.”
We’ll see what happens tomorrow.