General Convention 2012 begins on Tuesday, so bishops, deputies, and everyone else who will be attending are making their final preparations for the trip. That means things are rather quiet on the web after a very intense couple of weeks.
Several commentators have offered their final thoughts. Nick Knisely, head of the deputation from the Diocese of Arizona (and recently elected Bishop of Rhode Island, offers his reflections here. He writes:
The issues confronting this Convention are different in my experience than the ones we’ve been facing. For the last two decades, the primary energy of General Convention has been focused on issues of marriage equality and inclusion. Those questions have been settled for a significant majority of the Episcopal Church, and I don’t think they will occupy much of our time next month, though there will be some important votes taken regarding them. What I think will occupy our time is our response to a broad recognition in mainline churches that our existing governance structures no longer serve the needs of the 21st century church. The Diocese of Arizona joined more than 30 other dioceses in calling for a special General Convention to deal with the issue. I know we will deal with the question somehow, but I couldn’t predict at the moment what we will end up doing. There are many different voices and ideas right now, but there’s no sense of consensus. Given that most of our work as Convention for the past decades has been centered on balancing the desire to speak prophetically and minimize the attendant conflict, arriving at consensus on matters of financial and structural reform is unfamiliar territory for most of the deputies. We know something needs to be done. But we’re not sure, as a body, what that ought to be yet.
Finally, there’s an ongoing broad change in the leadership of the Episcopal Church. The President of the House of Deputies has announced that she will not seek reelection, we don’t have a Vice President at the moment, and many among the rest of the leadership are beginning to retire and step-down. As the House of Deputies considers the election of its next president and vice president, it will be making decisions about leadership style, the nature of the relationship between itself and the House of Bishops, and how the next generation of leaders will be formed. If you’re planning on following the news out of General Convention, that group of decisions seems to me to be the most important ones to track.
Crusty Old Dean prognosticates here.
He also reports on one new development. Along with Susan B. Snook and Scott Gunn, COD will be hosting a meeting, called The Acts 8 Moment:
Together, the three of us would like to invite anyone who is interested to come together in Indianapolis at 9:30 p.m. on July 5 (location TBA – like us on Facebook or follow the Acts 8 Moment on Twitter for details). We want to start the process by gathering, praying, reading the Bible, and talking together about the church we dream of seeing. Let’s listen for where the Holy Spirit is calling us to go! Let’s hear each other’s prayers and dreams! Let’s enter into our own Acts 8 Moment.
If I were at GC, I would be there. I will be there in spirit, and via twitter.
To keep up with General Convention, the official website has everything you could want to know about the proceedings. Andy Jones has assembled some resources here. He will be blogging as will Bishop Miller.
Other blogs to follow are:
- Crusty Old Dean
- Susan B. Snook
- Scott A. Gunn
- Center Aisle, from the Diocese of Virginia, has offered a great deal of commentary and news at past conventions and is already producing high-quality material this year.
- And the Episcopal Digital Network Mediahub is pretty cool
And of course I will be offering my own commentary from afar.