Deputy Kate Bell is a member of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Syracuse.
There were cheers when House of Deputies President Gay Jennings gaveled the House into session. We’ve waited a long time for this.
By that point we had already opened with an acknowledgement of the peoples whose land this had been, and a Eucharist service that featured prerecorded preaching from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry [watch the sermon here]. Various motions were made to accept appointed officers for the work of the House for this General Convention.
There was an orientation to the iPads that had been provided to us, which was interrupted by the fact that many Deputies had no internet connection. While there was surely frantic work behind the scenes, the President, Secretary, and Parliamentarian, kept the business flowing with good will.
A moving introduction of the Alabama Delegation and brief speech preceded voting on a Resolution honoring the martyrs and survivors of St. Stevens, Vestavia Hills.
Anything that could be done without the electronics was, and we adjourned for lunch only a half hour early after a productive morning.
The afternoon included two deeply moving resolution discussions after the discussion about and approval of a Consent Calendar with over 140 items on it, one of which was removed. Many of the things we had been following were finished in that one vote (the House of Bishops Concurring)
We then moved to the work of the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee. After they made a presentation about the Presiding Officers’ Working Group on Truth Telling, Reckoning, and Healing, we began working on their resolutions. A125 A Resolution Extending and Furthering the Beloved Community was discussed with passion by people who valued its purposes. Debate was mostly about how it would be implemented and whether it did enough. A127 Resolution for Telling the Truth about The Episcopal Church’s history with Indigenous boarding schools led to speeches from people affected by boarding schools, including one survivor.
When we adjourned for supper, a large group, led by Bishops Against Gun Violence, walked and had a brief worship. The night before, on almost the doorstep of our hotel, there had been an altercation that ended in one of the people involved shot to death. We prayed for all involved, for an end to hate and violence, and for the strength to continue to work for peace and love. The final speaker was Presiding Bishop Curry.
So for me this has been one day of Holy Listening. If you know me, you might be surprised at how little I have spoken. I have been humbled and taught. It is a great blessing to be here.
Peace and love to everyone back home!