Evening: Day 2 – some thoughts

General Convention

I’m back in my room after a very full day of meetings. Nothing really newsy to report with respect to the big issues that everyone seems to be following, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of things going on.

We met this morning in the Communications Legislative Committee and were able to work our way completely though our existing legislative docket. All of the resolutions that the Standing Commission that I served on had proposed have been accepted by the committee and passed on to to be voted on by the full House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. The reworked mandate for the Standing Commission was tweaked a bit. The resolution on Best Practices and the formation of consulting groups to make tech decisions was tweaked stylistically but not substantively. The most esoteric of our resolutions – the one calling on the church to move to open, published data formats was made stronger. I was delighted that both the Archivist of the Episcopal Church and the IT lead for the Pension Group strongly supported this resolution. It passed the committee and was sent on to the Houses with the recommendation that it be adopted.

It may seem totally zany for the Episcopal Church to be worried about what form of data (html, text, pdf, sql, word..) people are using, but without urging people to use open formats, there’s going to be no way for us to share what we’re doing. And if we manage to do this right, very smart people are going to be able to come along and munge all our content up into new things that we can’t even begin to imagine at the moment – blogs, video feeds, text messaged prayers, etc. are all a result of people being intentional about opening sharing their work.

The day began with a Eucharist. I have to say that as Convention Eucharists go, this was not my favorite. They’re still working out the right sound levels, the treble is turned up WAY TOO HIGH and the people where I sat had trouble hearing at times. PLUS the specific worship liturgy left me flat. The good news is that we’ll have something completely different tomorrow. And the next day. And the next… It’s just a matter of waiting and eventually the liturgy will be done just the way “I” like it. Grin.

The House of Deputies got itself officially underway. We’re just about as efficient at our work as we were in Minneapolis on the first day. The special treat this year is the use of electronic keypads so that speakers can be identified in advance when they wish to address the President of the House. Good idea, and it’ll probably work great when there are lots of people who want to testify… but right now it’s taking too long to get the information entered into the system. It’s not possible to just go to the mike and ask a question directly. (Perhaps this will be fixed by tomorrow.)

The Bethlehem deputation is in the second row from the very back of the House. We can just barely make out the podium from where we sit. The projection screens aren’t working very well as they are so far away that we cant read what is posted on them. Noonday prayers came to a crashing halt for us when we were asked to recite the 101st psalm – but couldn’t make out the text on the screen. Hopefully that will be fixed too. George Werner says that it will be.

I missed the hearing of the Special Committee tonight that is dealing with the Windsor Report recommendations. By the time I got back from dinner, they had finished. I’ll check out the online reports to find out what happened.

The Archbishop of York addressed the House of Deputies near the end of the day’s work. It was the first moment that I really felt the stirrings of something special in the room. He read us a message from the Archbishop of Canterbury, commending the Windsor process to us as just that, a process. Not an end but a means to move forward together. I see it that way too – and am looking forward to the hearings tomorrow night on the BIG issues to find out where other people are as well.

More in the morning. We’ve decided not to meet as a legislative committee, so I should have time to get a real breakfast (not a just a large cup of coffee) and maybe do some writing about what I’m seeing.

I did do a podcast with Sean McConnell this afternoon. He thinks he’ll have it ready to be listened to sometime tomorrow. I’m both looking forward to it and dreading it…. Grin.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...