Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Day One Reflection

I am catching my breath from Day One. If I am tired now, I can only imagine what I will be like at the end of Day 12... I imagine myself in a bucket, like the shape-shifting Odo on the old Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Most of today's business was to help us get up and running...formalizing people in their roles so that we can do our work. I am beginning to get a flavor for the somewhat arcane way in which business is done: messages are "sent" to the House of Bishops and "recieved" from them. A Bishop, such as Ken Price who spoke to us on behalf of the Southern Ohio organizing committee, is welcomed to the house by the President. So was the Archbishop of York. While we don't have the Sergeant at Arms first blocking the door, then welcoming then annoucing the President as is the custom in Congress, it reminds me of that. Bishops don't barge in on clergy and lay deputies. We are our own body.

Some of us fell into word-smithing a rather minor resolution. This took time and Dean Werner called it a learning moment to remind us that this kind of minutae really belongs in the hearings and committees. With so many deputies this kind of parliamentary tweaking just won't do. I am told by the vets that this is pretty normal for the first day.

Speaking of hearings I went to two today. I spoke at one, relating to Title IV, and listened this evening to the hearing on the Special Commission on Communion resolutions A165, A166 and C007. The tone was civil and traces of the sides are very strong.

Everyone knows that compromise is in the air. The Conventional Wisdom I hear as I walk around is that no one is spoiling for a fight, and no one is spoiling for a split. So the work right now is to make sure that what is important to all parts of the conversation is not lost in whatever is hammered out later this week.

One sign of the settlement coming was given to me as I walked up to the Convention Center when a volunteer handed me a newsletter from the Diocese of Virginia called "Center Aisle" This is a continuation of work that the same diocese did three years ago. This effort was considered by many, I think, on the conservative side to be something short of traitorous, now it fits right in. In one piece in the newsletter called "How Many R's in Windsor?" it says that Windsor talks about "regret" and "reconciliation" but nowhere is mentions "repentence" or "rollback."

From where I sit, this pretty much tracks with the general sense of the Deputies from many dioceses that I have spoken to.

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