I could have survived all of General Convention using only my iPad and iPhone. And . . . that was without any access to WiFi in the Convention Center. Boingo was a total Fail in the Convention Center. Like many deputies, I could never get my $9.95 per month Boingo account to work in the Convention Center, although it worked great at Denver International Airport. Thankfully, I had paid for the data packages on both devices ($29.99 monthly fee for each device), and Downtown Indianapolis has LTE (Long Term Evolution mobile communication standard), which makes for a fast, dependable cellular connection on the iPad and iPhone.
|Deputy Matt Hall, Secretary of Legislative Committee 18-|
Ecumenical Relations, taking notes on his laptop at the
orientation session for Legislative Officers and Aides.
The only time I needed to refer to the B, C, and D resolutions printed out for our DUMB books (as in Damned Unwieldy Musty Binders) was on the one or two occasions when I wanted to read the Explanation of a resolution. If the GC All Resolutions Web page printed a third category of "Resolution with Explanation" in addition to "Original Resolution" and "Current Resolution," that would obviate the need for the DUMB book completely.
continuing the practice of passing out paper (if we have to). Elections and appointments were reported on a GC Web page that contained the original resolution calling for the election or authorizing the appointment and the current resolution that detailed the results.
The General Convention Legislation Web Page had every Daily and Supplemental Calendar of both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops and the most recent Messages from both houses so that I could track the status of legislation. This was particularly helpful when I retired to my room each evening and prepared for the next day's legislative sessions.
|Two deputies comparing notes on their smart phones.|
(On the right, Deputy Larry Hitt, Colorado.
I'm sorry I don't know the deputy on the left.)
It was also very evident that many deputies used iPads to write their testimony and carried them to the mircophones both on the floor and at hearings to give their testimony. Many preachers now preach from notes on their iPads instead on pieces of paper or index cards. The electronic notepads like iPads are slim and relatively lightweight, have long battery life, and fit easily into purses and slim briefcases.
|Deputy Lelanda Lee testifying at microphone, using an iPad.|
[photo by Beckett Stokes]
I understand that electronic devices are costly to own and maintain, and money should not be a barrier to participation. I suggest that diocesan offices consider buying some iPads that could be loaned to standing committee members and GC deputies for their meetings and otherwise deployed by diocesan staff and volunteers for other meetings. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) experimented with loaning iPads to several synods (comparable to our dioceses) to try a paperless churchwide assembly in 2011, and The Episcopal Church should try something similar in 2015. Perhaps funding could be obtained through a grant from an outside source for such a churchwide endeavor.