Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Live From Indianapolis V

Yesterday there was no time or energy to write. Today there is only a little. The pace is intense. Here is what I can still remember:

The Committee on Structure unanimously passed the Resolution creating an independent task force to develop a proposal to revamp our governance structures. It includes a special gathering of representative for all dioceses to review and comment on the proposal before it is finalized. That gathering will be 25% young adults. I would prefer to have guaranteed the role of young adults on the task force but the Committee did not include it in the same resolution They did pass another Resolution, over some objection, to make the task force 33% young adults. That might yet happen. But if not, we can still urge the presiding officers to use their discretion to appoint young people to the task force or make some other special provision for young adult input early in the process. I would also have preferred stronger language on prayer, but what matters is how we implement it, not the wording in the resolution. See my previous blog. Some deputies are already on this, planning flash mob prayer events at random times and places here.

Then, even more surprisingly, the House of Deputies passed the Resolution unanimously. Of course, this does not mean we have changed anything. We have merely opened the door. But that is a big step.

We also sent on to the House a Resolution abolishing the majority of the Standing Commissions and leaving the presiding officers authority to appoint such task forces as are necessary at the time. I predict this will be considerably more controversial than the big kahuna task force resolution. It gores some people’s oxen now.

The Bishops voted 111-41-3 to authorize a provisional rite for blessing same gender relationships. To call the conversation civil would be a gross understatement. There was no parliamentary game playing. Conservatives who voted no expressed their gratitude to those who supported the resolution for making it as livable for them as possible. Progressives who voted yes did so in a spirit of humility and respect. That Resolution also passed the House of Deputies the following day.

I attended the Integrity Eucharist the night after the Bishops passed the same gender blessings resolution. The Deputies had not acted yet, but the folks at Integrity were already happier than I have ever seen them. But there has been a calm to the happiness around this resolution. It really has not been triumphal. It hasn’t been “we won!” It is more like a peaceful easy healing.

This won’t be headline news but it is going to save jobs and make mission possible in poorer dioceses and parishes. The mandate to buy health insurance from the denominational health plan has bee postponed to Dec. 31, 2015. By then, the pricing structure is supposed to have been adjusted so that the smaller dioceses will not get slammed by high premiums as we do now. To all the folks struggling to meet church budgets out there, this is a godsend.


Bishop Dan said...

My news on the health insurance was a mistake. That resolution was about pensions. We are still on the hook for the insurance. The issue is not whether to provide insurance to our employees! (I get so tired of hearing people say "It's a justice issue," and treat it as if we were not insuring employees. The issue is having to insurer at exorbitant prices with Church Insurance. The promise was we would all be in one pool and that would drive down over all rates. But smaller diocese are forced to pay vastly higher rates that larger dioceses. it's a small diocese killer. The question is whether we an postpone mandatory participation until the price structure is adjusted to make it equitable and affordable.

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