Sunday Pseudo Live Blog – edited

General Convention

We’re not able to access the Internet while we’re on the floor of the House of Deputies, so I’m not going to be able to post the following observations in real-time. But I’m writing things down as they happen so that you will be able to have a sense of this historic day for the Episcopal Church has progressed.

We had the first real test of the Windsor Report this morning. The resolution on the question of DEPO came out to the floor immediately following the morning Rite I, Jazz Eucharist. There were a number of resolutions made to amend the resolution as it was received from the Special Committee. None of the amendments passed. The resolution as it was presented was commended by Integrity as well as the committee. It was voted on by orders. My expectation is that it will pass. I think we’re starting to see a mood to affirm the compromises that have come out of the Committee. One of the “reliable conservative voices” (Fr. Dan Martin) from the committee stood to speak in favor of the language as it was presented. I think his words and the words of Ian Douglas were what carried the day if that is in fact what has happened.

The mid-day prayers followed a speech by the Secretary of the Anglican Communion. The Secretary was obviously asking us to consider the implications of our actions. When he was finished, the House rose in applause. But not all the deputies were willing to stand… There were maybe 15% or so that didn’t rise. The meditation that followed used a snippet from the movie “Gettysburg.” It was the scene where Col. Chamberlain speaks to a group of deserters to ask them to join the regiment he commands as they prepare to move out and attempt to recapture Little Round Top. The message he speaks to the men makes mention of the special vocation of the American Nation to be a place of freedom for all people… Interesting contrast between the two bits. I don’t think they were intentional.

We’re on recess at the moment. The Bishops have voted at least three times so far, apparently without an election. We’re to return to the House floor at 2:00 sharp to continue with our business.

It’s interesting to read the number of blogs claiming this morning that the Communion is over, barring a miracle. That’s not what I’m hearing at all. It’s not what the feeling is on the floor. There’s actually a bit of optimism that some compromise can be reached. It certainly won’t satisfy all – but it might satisfy enough. Don’t read too much into other people’s pronouncements of what is happening. No one, not even those of us doing it, have the right perspective yet to comment. (I’m reminded of what happened when the Diocese of California elected their bishop earlier this spring. The press in the UK was full of reports that started “Lesbian Priest Fractures Communion.”People in the UK came to church on Sunday morning sad to hear the Communion was over. But that was because the press didn’t issue a follow report to say that the “fracture” had only been a fear – and not a reality. And that the priest in question was not in fact elected to be the bishop…)

We’re back on the floor. The President has just asked the sergeants at arms to move to front of the room – which we think means that we’ve received word that there has been an election of a Presiding Bishop. The gallery is filling up and the press are coming in as well. The platform folks seem pretty distracted…

We were right… We have received the deputation from the House of Bishops with news that there has been an election. Chair of Consecration of Bishops have been called to the front of of the hall where they will go off to a secure area to discuss the decision of the House of Bishops.

We’re back to the routine legislative work as we wait. And people are now streaming into the gallery…

It’s standing room only now – though to be honest there’s plenty of room for everyone.

Rumors are flying. We have a new PB and he’s a she! People’s mouths are dropping. I see folks from the press actually paying attention for the first time. There are folks rushing around with big smiles inside the house. The news, if it’s true has not actually carried to all the corners yet.

People must know something is up – we’ve just moved to suspend debate on the HIV/AIDS resolutions. The committee is coming forward. George Werner is warning the gallery to be quiet. It must be +Katherine.

There was a collective gasp of breath as her name was read. People started to spontaneously cheer in the gallery. George Werner broke into to ask them to be silent. Women have all gone to the microphones to speak as soon as they are given the opportunity. Folks rushed to the hallways to start calling home with the news.

I’m wondering at the moment what the House is going to do as the debate begins to confirm. I’m not sure this is going to be a simple thing.

Andy Gerns just reminded us that +Katherine would not be the first woman Primate – that was the Archbishop of New Zealand as best we all can remember. (Andy was wrong – this is a first!)

Someone has just stood up to object to the issue. He’s expressed what I’m sure is the pain from parts of the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Episcopal Church.

Men are just now starting to get to the microphones. They’re speaking in favor of her election as well.

The most striking thing right now is the very real smiles on the faces of the women present – especially those who were present for the vote to authorize the ordination of women. They are looks of real joy.

I’ve got to stop wearing my Berkeley pin with it’s motto: In illa quae ultra sunt. Every Sunday that I wear it, something extraordinary happens. Into the regions beyond once again.

The discussion has been closed and the vote by orders (at the request of the deputation from Central Florida) is now underway. I can see no reason to think that this isn’t going to pass.

We’ve finished our voting here in the Bethlehem Deputation. We’ve all voted “yes” to consent to the election. And now people are sharing their memories of the first time they met encountered the ministry of an ordained woman.

(Just a note, now that Bonnie Anderson is the President of the House of Deputies and +Katherine is the PB, we have a Church that is run entirely by women. Wow!)

I expect I shall soon get a chance to post all of this… It looks like the votes are easily present to consent.

The more I think about this, the more convinced I am that this is not the working of Man. This is clearly the work of the Spirit. Let’s see where we are going!

The vote is Lay 93 out of 108 in favor. The vote in the Clergy 94 out of 108. She is elected and consented!

The Author

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


  1. Caelius Spinator says

    “Andy Gerns just reminded us that +Katherine would not be the first woman Primate – that was the Archbishop of New Zealand as best we all can remember.”
    Um, no. I think he was thinking of +Penny Jamieson, retired Bishop of Dunedin. She was the first woman Diocesan. I’m afraid we are in uncharted waters, which frankly may be the best place to be.

  2. Stunning – in a good sense! Agreed, this isn’t the work of Man; what else could it be but that of God? It will be very interesting indeed to see just what else the Holy Spirit has up its sleeve in the next few days.

  3. Lisa says

    Thank you for this real-time, first-person account. I am stunned — and quite envious that you got to be a Deputy on the floor on this most illustrious day! Boffo!

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