This is a live blog covering the afternoon session of the House of Deputies that took place July 8, 2022.
The house is adjourning. Numerous members are planning to participate in a march sponsored by Bishops United Against Gun Violence that will take them near the site of a fatal shooting that occurred several blocks from the convention center yesterday. The group will assemble shortly at the corner of Pratt and Charles.
The Emotional Passage of Resolution A127
The House moves on to Resolution A127 Resolution for Telling the Truth about The Episcopal Church’s History with Indigenous Boarding Schools.
In the end it resolves “that the 80th General Convention appropriate $2,500,000 over the next biennium, or some other degree of funding commensurate with The Episcopal Church’s commitment to the work of truth-telling and reconciliation around its role in Indigenous residential boarding schools, to adequately fund the provisions of this resolution, specifically 1) to fund the creation and support of a fact-finding commission; 2) to fund the work of the Office of Indigenous Ministries to create an education resource regarding the church’s role in Indigenous residential boarding schools; 3) to fund a grant program to support the work of the dioceses of The Episcopal Church in both conducting their own research into the diocesan role in Indigenous residential boarding schools and preserving the stories of boarding school survivors and their families; and 4) to support the establishment of community-based spiritual healing centers in Indigenous communities across The Episcopal Church to address the intergenerational trauma rooted in the church’s role in Indigenous residential boarding schools.”
Testimony on the resolution is emotional.
Deputy Minnie Steele of Minnesota, “a proud black woman of indigenous descent” supports the resolution and says the amendments it underwent during the committee process were essential in expanding the scope of the exploration into the church involvement in indigenous boarding schools.
“My hell began at a boarding school in New Mexico,” says Deputy Ruth Johnson of Navajoland.
Deputy Lauren Stanley of South Dakota tells of bringing home from the Carlisle Indian School the body of a young indigenous man who kept running away from the school because he missed home so much.
Deputy Cornelia Eaton on Navajoland says “we must heal from the harmful past. Justice work is healing.”
Deputy Leon Sampson of Navajoland says there are generations of trauma that must be healed. “There is a lot riding on these resolutions so that we can start to have a healing process.”
Deputy Paul Williams of Alaska says: After all these generations and decades, it finally came to the floor and I encourage you to really vote for us. My dad was a victim at a boarding school. He knew his name only as number 89. Many of my relatives were in the same situation.”
Deputy Ron Bramen of Idaho says: “I hope all my brothers and sisters here can see the issue is living and breathing among our people.”
Deputy Rachel Taber-Hamilton, says, “The Episcopal Church is in a position … to say to indigenous people of all our provinces… that … we have healing work to do.”
No one is testifying against the resolution.
It passes overwhelmingly. But it appears that only $125,000 of the requested $2.5 million is in the current draft of the budget.
Deputy Mark Szen of South Carolina opposes the funding mechanism in A125 , arguing it commits funds to a single purpose in perpetuity and deprivest future budget-makers of flexibility.
Deputy Elaine Ellis Thomas of Newark, who served on the Working Group, says that making a commitment in perpetuity was done intentionally to keep the church from wavering from this commitment.
Deputies Zena Link of Western Massachusetts and Diane Pollard of New York support the resolution saying the church must make an enduring commitment to explore and repent of its racism.
The tide of testimony is clearly with this resolution.
It passes overwhelmingly
Resolution A125 is among the most significant resolutions the convention will consider. It “establish[es] the Episcopal Coalition for Racial Equity and Justice as a voluntary association of Episcopal dioceses, parishes, organizations, and individuals dedicated to the work of becoming the Beloved Community.”
It states further: “Once the Coalition is constituted, it shall be funded with an annual draw on one-tenth of the trusts and endowment funds available for general use in the Episcopal Church’s budget.”
In addition it requires “the draw percentage applied to fund the Coalition be the same percentage as that applied to fund the Episcopal Church’s budget.“
The House of Deputies has begun a special order on the resolutions put forward by the Presiding Officers’ Working Group on Truth-Telling, Reckoning, and Healing. These were considered by the legislative committees on Racial Justice and Reconciliation. Deputy John Kitagawa, who chaired the deputies legislative committee is speaking on the importance of this work.
The Great Big Consent Calendar Passes
The House of Deputies’ lengthy first day consent calendar is here. It includes ~135 resolutions. Removing an item from the consent calendar requires a one-third plus one vote. A resolution removed from the consent calendar returns to the Dispatch of Business Committee for scheduling.
A motion to remove Resolution C047, regarding the compensation of deacons, from the consent calendar is defeated on a voice vote.
A motion to remove Resolution A016 regarding the number of nominees put forward for various elections is defeated.
A motion to remove Resolution D005, regarding funding for implementation of the curriculum on internalized oppression, is defeated.
A motion to remove Resolution A063 required an electronic vote. It succeeded. The issue at the heart of this resolution originally came to the convention as Resolution D096 and was assigned to the legislative committees on Christian Formation and Discipleship. That committee voted to refer it to the 81st General Convention. The legislative committees on Churchwide Leadership disagreed with that decision, and crafted A063 as a substitute resolution to create the staff position,Director of LBGTQI and Women’s Ministries, at this convention. Leaders of the legislative committee on Christian and Discipleship successfully removed the resolution from the consent calendar.
A motion to remove Resolution A154 regarding the archives was removed from the consent calendar.
A motion to remove Resolution D076 regarding the “ongoing harm of crisis pregnancy centers” is defeated.
A motion to remove Resolution D083 on the “erosion of reproductive rights” from the consent calendar fails.
A motion to remove Resolution A139 on the constitution of General Seminary from the consent calendar fails.
A motion to remove Resolution A069 regarding a manager for the church’s Safe Church website from the consent calendar fails.
The consent calendar with more than 130 resolutions passes. Those resolutions move to the House of Bishops.
The Consent Calendar
Deputy Jordan Hylden of Dallas offers an amendment lowering the threshold to take resolutions off the consent calendar from one-third plus one, to one-tenth plus one. Today’s consent calendar is lengthy.
Deputy Sarah Lawton of California opposes the amendment. Give the shortened time frame, she says taking items off the consent calendar might mean they never come up. So one-tenth of the house could, in effect, kill legislation.
Deputy L. Zoe Cole of Colorado supports the amendment. She says placing an item on the consent calendar suggests it is fully understood, and that’s not true in many cases.
This may seem like a procedural conversations, but it could have a dramatic effect on how many resolutions are acted up.
Deputy Christopher Hart of Pennsylvania, who served on the Rules of Order Committee says the rule was carefully crafted. He opposes the amendment. “If you want to have evening sessions every night, vote for this amendment.”
Deputy Katherine Karr-Cornejo supports the amendment. The convention should not rush through legislation, she says.
Deputy Anne Kitch of Newark opposes the amendment. She says the one-third threshold is sufficiently low for people to remove sensitive resolutions from the consent calendar.
Deputy Tieran Sweeny-Bender of Olympia opposes the amendment. “If we pass it we will pass fewer resolutions there are resolutions we cannot afford not to pass.,” he says. “We have to be able to pass critical urgent resolution. This amendment would kneecap our ability to do that.”
The question is called, and the amendment fails on a voice vote.
The special rules of order embodied in X002 passes on a voice vote.
All the General Convention’s technical problems have not been resolved, but the House of Deputies is debating its special rules of order, X002. One potentially difficult question is whether the 1/3 threshold needed to take a resolution off of the consent calendar is too high. We will keep you updated when the Wi-Fi is in our favor.