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Recent General Convention News
by the Rev. Sharon Alexander, Chair of the Louisiana Deputation
Thursday was a long day on the floor of the House of Deputies but we made it through the entire calendar of resolutions for the day. After an upbeat worship service done primarily in Spanish we turned to a long list of resolutions. The first order of business was to approve the budget for the 3-year triennium *2016-2018). The House of Deputies approved a $125,000 budget for the 3-year period, adding approximately $2.8 million (to be drawn from an endowment) for evangelism and church planting. Church plants by the Episcopal Church over the past couple of decades have been very successful and reach many who do not have a church home.
Also encouraging is that the House of Deputies approved without significant amendment all of the proposals of the Governance and Structure Committee to reorganize the Episcopal Church. Most of these resolutions still need to be approved by the House of Bishops, but the support in the House of Deputies was solid. The House of Deputies approved resolutions that would reduce the number of standing commissions and replace them with committees or task forces that would sunset every three years (although it is anticipate that many of them, especially those focused on evangelism, stewardship, Christian education and similar core areas would continue to be renewed). Also approved was a controversial proposal for the House of Bishops and House of Deputies to sit, debate and vote together when both Houses agreed to do so. The current rules prohibit this and mandate that the Houses operate bicamerally. It is hoped that bishops and deputies make take advantage of deliberating and voting together in order to better understand their respective positions and to work together more efficiently and effectively. Changes were also made to the Executive Council (essentially the Board of Directors) and a group will study the effectiveness of the provincial system currently in place in which the dioceses are grouped into geographic provinces.
Another major action was to approve a process for potentially revising the Book of Common Prayer. The current Prayer Book was approved in 1979. The Presiding Bishop called for an update of the Book of Common Prayer and the House of Deputies voted for a process to determine what changes might be appropriate.
The Deputies met after the late ending session to have an informal dinner together and discuss the day’s events. Friday is the last day of General Convention and we are looking forward to returning to Louisiana. We appreciate your prayers as we attend to the business of the church.