If you look at the official web site for the General Convention you will see that it is scheduled to run from June 25th through July 3rd. The truth is that everyone is here already and the “work” of convention has already begun.
This morning deputies and Bishops lined up starting at 9 am to be certified (some of us have been certifiable for a long time but that is another story) to register and to receive the iPads that are going to make this a nearly paperless convention. It turns out that it is cheaper to rent an iPad for every Bishop and Deputy than it is to print the reams of paper that have traditionally been handed out during the week and a half of convention. You could see impromptu tutorials in iPad navigation happening all over the convention center as we all work to become accustomed to this “innovation.”
The Exhibit Hall was open at 9 am this morning with displays from vendors, Episcopal Seminaries, outreach organizations and ministries. I walked through the Exhibit Hall about six times today, not because I was looking for something to buy (didn’t spend a cent) but because every time I went into the space I ran into someone else I know but haven’t seen for a while: seminary classmates, colleagues form other dioceses, people with whom I correspond regularly on Facebook but have never met in person. The Episcopal Church isn’t really that big, we are very much like a family, and General Convention is our family reunion.
Legislative Committees began their work today, beginning to sift through the resolutions and proposal that fall under their purview, establishing schedules for open hearing and working sessions that will help to craft the resolutions that finally come before the floor of convention. And as all of this work was happening our iPads were magically populated with files, calendars, resource documents and draft resolutions.
The Deputation from the Diocese of Milwaukee met for an hour tonight to look at the legislative sessions scheduled for 7 am and 7 pm tomorrow, making notes about who would cover each of these sessions that they might report back to the larger group. The day will begin before seven am and will go close to ten o’clock tomorrow night and there isn’t much down time in the schedule between those legislative meetings and hearings tomorrow.
At 9 am both houses, The House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, will meet in joint session to hear presentations from Presiding Bishop The Most Rev. Dr. Katherine Jefferts Schori and from the President of the House of Deputies, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings.
At ten o’clock the houses will adjourn to their respective halls for a two hour orientation and then at 1:30 we all will reconvene to meet the four candidates for Presiding Bishop. All of that will happen tomorrow, prior to the first “official” day of General Convention.
Check back tomorrow for “General Convention – Zero Minus One and Counting” and then again on Thursday for “General Convention – Day One!”
There are lots of resources for following General Convention on the Diocese of Milwaukee Deputation’s web site and regular updates will be posted to our facebook page.