I think today is the lull before the storm--the storm being the flurry of activity that is no doubt ahead of us. Today, we had one legislative session in the afternoon that included the introduction and formal nominations of the candidates for Presiding Bishop. We did some voting and moved a little more through the calendar. I had hoped that some of the work of Special Committee #26, working on the response to the Report of the Lambeth Commission on Communion (aka Windsor) would be out today. That was not to be. We gave our appreciations to Dean Werner as outgoing House of Deputies and of the Most Rev. Frank Griswold, who finishes his work at 25th Presiding Bishop. Met with many friends and acquaintances again as well.
I hope that Fr. Frank Wade posts or publishes his comments from emceeing the tribute to George Werner. There were some real gems there such as:
We have a strange church...we exchange the peace for 10 minutes and then speak to no one at the coffee hour...we believe and hope for the second coming of Christ, but have a 7 billion dollar pension fund just in case we're mistaken.
One major vote we did today may tell us something of where the mind of the House of Deputies is going when the hotter items like Windsor and the related resolutions come our way and that was the election of the Vice President of the House of Deputies.
Unlike the vote for President, this one was contested with three candidates. The Rev. Gay Jennings, a priest from Ohio, the Rev. Brian Prior, Diocese of Spokane and the Rev. Robert Sessum, Diocese of Lexington were the candidates for the position. The good news is that we used our re-charged voting do-hickees without a glitch...although I had to turn mine in and get a new one because mine developed a strange malady. The screen showed a continous exclamation point on the screen ("!") that would not go away...just too excited, I guess.
Prior was elected on the third ballot. Jennings came in a strong second. Prior seems to have won when most of the relatively small number of Sessum voters went over to Prior. Nothing unusual about that in an of itself. Some deputies on the floor have speculated that many of the liberals voted for Jennings and for the most part stayed put. The conservatives voted for Sessum and that the moderates voted for Prior. Given a choice, most of the conservative votes went to Prior. I don't know...it's sheer speculation, and it is probably a mistake to read too much into these sparse and scattered tea leaves...but it may hint at what's to come.
Please pray for us and for the House of Bishops tommorrow as we elect a New Presiding Bishop. The process will be for the Bishops to repair to Trinity, Columbus. (A very nice downtown church whose sanctuary is just a tad smaller inside that my own Trinity, Easton but from the same era it looks like.) When they finish voting, there will be no white smoke, but we in the House of Deputies will have to confirm the voting. After that we will be introduced to the new Presiding Bishop. I don't know if he takes his seat right away or if she or he waits until after General Convention.