The General Ordination Exam is NOT cancelled
The Rev. Stephen E. Moore
Clergy Deputy to General Convention
If the first few days of GC77 were quiet, the Sixth Legislative Day made up for them all!
We took up the Anglican Covenant. I co-sponsored a resolution which said an emphatic "no" to the covenant which is severely flawed in all of its four parts. I had concluded that the covenant was wrong in its motivation -- to punish The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada -- while pretending to be a statement about Anglican fellowship. It was wrong in its assertion of an Anglican ecclesiology which never was, is not now, and (so long as I have anything to say about it) never will be. The legislative committee's resolution -- a hybrid of the many that were filed -- declared that The Episcopal Church "decline[s] to take a position on the Anglican Covenant." While I would have preferred to say much more, a "no" is as good as a "hell no" and I'll take it.
The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings of Ohio was elected President of the House of Deputies for the next three years. Gay is an old friend, an accomplished canonist, an experienced deputy and a good person. The Church will benefit from her ministry in this role.
The Program, Budget and Finance Committee presented a $111.5 million budget for the next triennium. The General Board of Examining Chaplains (those lovely people who bring you the annual General Ordination Examination) was defunded by both of the draft proposed budgets released before the convention. The voice of sanity in these proposals appeared to have been muted to the point of inaudibility. The members of the House of Bishops joined the House of Deputies for the presentation of the budget. Things looked up when one of the presenters said, concerning the GBEC, that the GOEs should not be abandoned through a budgetary process but only by directly repealing the canon which creates and requires them, if at all. The budget was distributed and there were the line items necessary to produce and evaluate the GOE for the next three years. I quickly discarded the outline of the remarks I was prepared to make about redefining the priesthood as something other than a learned profession and inflicting a new era of inadequately-educated clergy upon an unsuspecting church. One has no need of a war speech once a truce has been declared.
We took up the restructuring proposal under which the church must begin to redefine itself and reinvent how it conducts its ministry in the 21st Century. The proposal from the legislative committee was not nearly as radical as many of the resolutions submitted. We adopted the idea that we will create a task force on restructure, set it to work and act on its recommendations at General Convention 78.
The resolution authorizing the blessing of same-sex unions had already passed the House of Bishops (as reported by every news medium in the United States) when it came to us for concurrence. Those strongly opposed to the whole idea were given a respectful and fair hearing before the House of Deputies adopted the resolution (by 78% in the lay order and 76% in the clergy order). The entire deputation of the Diocese of Olympia voted in favour. This resolution came out of the committee on which Katrina Hamilton, the chair of our deputation, served. It does not end the issue. The use of this liturgy is optional (no priest is required to perform such a blessing) and provisional (we will evaluate our experience with it in three years).
The only other news of the day is two items of lexicological interest. (1) Grumbled in the direction of one speaker: "Ma'am, there may be such a thing as the blogosphere but there is no such thing as the Twitterverse." A line must be drawn somewhere. (2) Grumbled in the direction of another speaker: "Father, Colombia is a country in Latin American and a diocese of this church; Columbia is a brand of sportswear. Try to keep them straight."
Tomorrow is the next-to-last day of convention and I may be getting the tiniest bit grumpy.