Of course the big item of local news is the joint statement from our Bishop and Bishop-elect concerning same-sex blessings. There were a number of items of some significance taken up on the floor of the House of Deputies on Wednesday. One biggie was the budget. The budget development process is complex and often hurried. The budget that was passed is based on asking diocese to contribute 19% of their income (the formula is slightly more complex, but that's the gist of it). However, our diocese and a number of others have called for 15% and intend to contribute that, so the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church may well have to do some cutting during the next three years (until the next General Convention).
The Deputies also passed a resolution on "open table" (communion of the not yet baptized). This compromise resolution reaffirms baptism before Eucharist as the normative practice of the church while also recognizing the exercise of pastoral sensitivity (intentionally somewhat ambiguous). It remains to be seen what the House of Bishops will do with that resolution, but there were conservative bishops on the committee that crafted the compromise so it /may/ pass.
The Deputies also elected a Vice President of their House for the next three years, Byron Rushing of the Diocese of Massachusetts, also well-known as the Majority Whip in the Massachusetts State House.
We have a long list of resolutions before us today and the House is doing its best to organize the business to proceed effectively.
On the more whimsical side, Wednesday was "Dress like Secretary Straub" day. If you have tracked John Cheek's posts, then you know he is a flamboyant dresser, known for his bow ties and colorful jackets. A number of deputies wore real and improvised bow ties (including a twisted balloon), etc. The Official Youth Presence ended their participation at the end of the day, and were warmly thanked. They had devised a game called Bonnie Ball (Bonnie Anderson is the retiring President of the House of Deputies). One scores points for such things as wearing something strange on one's head while speaking at one of the microphones, for wearing a bow tie, and for working the words Bonnie Ball into their speech. Even the President intentionally scored a few points.
Peace and blessings to you all! Eliot Moss, Clergy Alternate