Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Reimagine GC: Eight or Ten Days?

How about Ten or Twelve Days? Because, let’s be factual, accurate . . . and honest. The time required to be at General Convention (GC) if you’re a legislative committee chair, secretary, or aide is two days more than the number of legislative days, and it’s one day more if you’re a member of a legislative committee but not an officer or aide. And if you’re a dutiful bishop or deputy and/or new to GC, then you’re also likely to show up in time to hear the opening comments of the presiding officers and to participate in the orientation sessions for each house on the day before GC officially begins. (Reminder: at GC 2012, 44% of deputies were new.)

GC 2012 officially ran from July 5-12, a total of eight days when the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops were organized and in legislative session. However, legislative officers and aides met for three hours on the afternoon of July 3, and July 4 was even more fully scheduled with two legislative committee sessions (8:00-12:00 and 5:00-7:00), a Program, Budget, and Finance (PB&F) Hearing on Budget Priorities (12:30-1:30), presentations by the Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies to the entire GC (2:00-2:45), and orientation sessions for the bishops and deputies in their own houses (3:00-4:30). (See GC schedule here.) Seriously, did anyone associated with GC want to miss the PB&F priorities hearing even though it occurred on the day before GC officially started?

The first Program, Budget, and Finance hearing on mission
priorities on July 4 was standing room only with people seated
on the floor all around the room. [Photo by Pamela Kandt]
Being accurate about the facts of what we are actually talking about will result in better collective decision-making than having each of us starting from a different understanding of the issue. I'm not arguing in this post about whether eight legislative days are sufficient or whether ten legislative days are better, in order to accomplish what we think is the work we are called to do at GC. We have not as a church yet figured out and agreed upon what we think that work is. I would remind us that God gives us everything that we need, and it is our duty to be good stewards of God's blessings.

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