July 9 Evening Legislative Session


This is a live blog covering the evening session of the House of Deputies that took place July 9, 2022.

Voting for Vice President

Deputies Rachel Taber-Hamilton of Olympia and Edwin Johnson of Massachusetts are the candidates.

The Last Days of PB and F?

Resolution A048 would implement the recommendations of the Task Force on the Budget Process. It is extremely complex, and the debate has been deep in procedural weeds.

In an overly reductive nutshell, it will get rid of the Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to streamline the church’s budgeting process, giving Executive Council a much larger role in the budgeting process.

Veteran Deputies Becky Snow of Oregon and John Floberg of North Dakota worry that it takes too much authority out of the hands of General Convention.

Veteran Deputies Tom Little of Vermont and Sally Johnson of Minnesota, say it creates a much more rational budgeting process that would make sure resolutions that include large financial requests don’t get passed after the budget is largely complete.

Deputy Anne Kitch of Newark says the finance committee of Executive Council is currently in an almost untenable position in having to make an inflexible budget work.

Deputy Mike Ehmer, current chair of PB and F supports this resolution. The handoff between Executive Council, which develop the budget then hands it to PB and F to finalize it and bring it to General Convention, is difficult, as is the handoff back to Executive Council to make the budget work.

Deputy David Sibley of Spokane, “in abject fear of the chair” moves postponing this discussion to a time certain in the morning.

The chair agrees, and tells everyone to go home and read FA006, an amendment from Deputy Paul Ambos of New Jersey that will be discussed in the morning.

The Archives

Resolution A154 would do things of which the live blogger does not have full command. It would seem to dissolve the board of the archives and put authority over the archives in the hands of the presiding officers and a body they appoint.

Deputy Russ Randle of Virginia favors it. He notes the presiding officers proposed the resolution and says acting on it quickly is important in insuring the future of the archives.

Deputy Larry Hitt of Colorado, a member of the board of the archives, says the presiding officers didn’t consult with the board before proposing this resolution. He moves it be referred to a standing committee for closer examination.

Deputy Lauren Stanley of South Dakota says the work of research into Indigenous boarding schools set out in A127 has to begin immediately, and sending the resolution to a standing committee would impede that work.

Deputy Bryan Wilbert of Ohio, secretary of the executive committee of the archives board, says it is important to study this resolution more closely and so it should be referred to a standing committee. He says the presiding bishop and presiding of the House of Deputies and their staffs lack the expertise to handle this work.

Deputy Sally Johnson, chancellor to the presiding of the House of Deputies, says the board of archives is among several in the church that don’t have the monetary authority to do all things necessary for their work. This resolution proposes a reorganization that would rationalize its organization and place the church’s archivist under the presiding bishop.

Deputy Pan Adams-McCaslin of Western North Carolina, chair of the archives board, supports referral and looks forward to a “robust conversation between the archives board, the Executive council and the wider church.”

Deputy Anne Kitch of Newark says this resolution was well aired at its hearing. “I don’t think this is a matter that can wait for two years,” she says. “I do respect the expertise that goes into this work. … this is an opportunity for us to support it, and the resolution at hand has some very good ways for us to do that.”

The motion to refer fails on a voice vote.

The resolution passes.

Deputy Grey Lessesne of Indianapolis requests a vote by orders, but is ruled out of order. That request has to be made before the vote is taken.

Establishing a Director of LBGTQI and Women’s Ministries

Resolution A063 is coming up next. It would create “a staff position, of Director of LBGTQI and Women’s Ministries, which would implement and expand upon the work identified by the Task Force to Study Sexism in the Episcopal Church and Develop Anti-Sexism Training.” But it has a complicated backstory because it began with the legislative committee on Christian Formation and Discipleship which was not going to move it forward in this way. The legislative committee on Churchwide Leadership took up the resolution over the objections of the original committee, and moved it forward.

Deputy Devon Anderson, chair of the churchwide leadership committee, presents the resolution which she says is a collaboration that included TransEpiscopal. She acknowledges the “procedural questions” about how the resolution arrived at convention, but she says Program, Budget and Finance has fully funded it.

Deputy Karma Quick Panwala of California supports the resolution and invokes Deputy Cam Partridge, a key trans leader in the church who is at home with COVID-19. The church is making “uneven progress” in advancing the cause of LGBTQI equality, she says, and at a time when LGBTQI people are under threat from civil law, it is essential to move forward.

Deputy L. Zoe Cole opposes the resolution. She says she speaks with the support of the Committee on Christian Formation and Discipleship. She says the Committee of Churchwide Leadership rejected the prayerful discernment of her committee. “This work is vital and necessary work in our formation as agents of reconciliation formed in the image and likenes of Christ,” she says, mentioning two resolutions on these issues that her committee had passed on the consent calendar. “But this resolution invites us to an old structure,” she says. “Let us put this new wine in new wineskins.”

Deputy Tieran Sweeney-Bender of Olympia supports the resolution. In the face of systematic attacks on the rights of bodily autonomy we must affirm our commitments and take action, he says.

Katherine Karr-Cornejo of Spokane, chair of the committee on Christian Formation and Discipleship, opposes the resolution. “This substitute resolution does not demonstrate trust in our process,” she says. The resolution is a copy, in most ways, of the resolution her committee thought needed further development. Her committee believes there is important work to be done, but thinks A063 is untenable. She says it asks one person to do too many diverse things, and establishes no benchmarks for success. “This makes it look like we are just checking a box to get things done,” she says.

Deputy Diane Wilcox of Newark says her diocese’s training on sexism and LGBT issues is overwhelmingly popular. It is hard to keep up with the demand. She urges passage.

Deputy Terri Bays of Northern Indiana, a member of Christian Formation and Discipleship, says her committee decided to defer the committee because they felt it was counterproductive in its approach. “We sought time to revise the format to reflect the changing circumstances we have discussed here all day.”

The resolution passes on an electronic vote, 442-329.

Evening came and Legislation followed the second day

Privilege and Courtesy is in the house!

We have resolved to commend the Secretary of the House of Deputies. and the General Convention office.

The House thinks its chaplain, the Rev. Lester Mackenzie is pretty swell.

The Rev. Gregory Milliken is also acknowledged to be swell, and he can play the piano.

The House “delights” in the Episcopal Church Women and “rejoices” with them on their 150th anniversary and is grateful for the “bountiful generosity” to the United Thank Offering.

Deputy McKalleston is back to present Resolution D050 on the reunion of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and the Episcopal Church in North Texas. President Jennings calls on the redoubtable Katie Sherrod of North Texas, veteran of all the struggles in the former Diocese of Fort Worth.

The world doesn’t care if Episcopalians can’t get along, she says.

“What the world around us cares about is whether we care about the world,” she said. “Caring for the world around us is what has save us, not just once but twice, after the split in 2008 and then again in 2021 when the Texas Supreme Court awarded all of our property and our name to people who had left the Episcopal Church. It was a terrible. blow. It turns out the cost of inclusion is a heavy one. ACNA has gutted us financially.”

This is a tearful moment, but she is hopeful. “Reunion with Texas will strengthen both parties for while we are tiny, we are fierce,” Sherrod says.

The house responds with a standing ovation.

(Editorial note: Katie Sherrod is a first ballot Episcopal Hall of Famer.)

Deputy Christine Faulstich of Texas has something in her eye. It’s dusty in here. But she manages to say she supports this resolution and looks forward to planting some churches with the people of North Texas.

Deputy Cindy Smith of San Joaquin, which has also fought through schism, gives North Texas its heartfelt good wishes.

Presiding Jennings calls the North Texas deputation to the platform to rousing applause. And resolution D050, reunifying the dioceses of North Texas and Texas is adopted. The House of Bishops will not act on this resolution until the closing moments of convention to allow the deputies from North Texas to serve.