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GC2009: Day One at General Convention - Cheryl Wetzel

GC2009: Day One at General Convention

by Cherie Wetzel reporting from Anaheim, CA
July 8, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA: The Convention has begun. While there reportedly was not a quorum in the House of Bishops this morning at 8:00 AM, there was in the House of Deputies. Normal procedures for any opening convention took place: the welcome from the President, the opening prayer and remarks by the Chaplain; election of a secretary, election of a treasurer, announcement of a quorum and the first several pieces of legislation, which were all rules of order.

The first Press Briefing took place at 8:45 with a panel of 3 Deputies (2 lay women and 1 priest), two people from the Communications office and two bishops, Bp. Michael Curry of North Carolina and Bp. Ed Little of Northern Indiana. Three questions were asked: one about the Presiding Bishop's speech yesterday at the orientation for the Deputies and then the Bishops. I have not found the text of that speech yet and will post it as soon as I have it.

The second question was about the Millennium Development Goals and where they would be placed in the budget. the third was my question about the two moratoria requested by the Lambeth Conference and the Anglican Consultative Council on rites and services for gay marriages and the consecration of another gay bishop. Where did Bishop Little think the House of Bishops stood on this issue and where did the Rev. Charlie Osberger, Diocese of Easton, think the House of Deputies stood.

Bishop Little replied that there were multiple resolutions on each of these two issues and he did not know if any would survive their legislative committees and actually make it to the floor of either House. Later, he said privately that he believed many bishops were affected by the Lambeth Conference last summer, surprised by the amount of anger and stories they heard from around the Communion. But, was that enough to stop these resolutions? It is not known.

The Rev. Charlie Osberger responded that there are a significant number of resolutions on B033 (no consecrations of gay bishops adopted at 2006 General Convention) and the hearing process would be inportant in the drafting of the final resolution, should the committee agree that would occur.

The press conference ended and we went to the Opening Eucharist, which was a very normal, and beautifully done service of worship. I will post the Presiding Bishop's homily as soon as it is finished.

The rest of the morning has been spent doing the usual: finding the restrooms, figuring out which building and what time these many committees will meet and finding the Convention Center from the hotel. This Convention Center is vast with 3 public floors full of rooms large and small. The Press room is on the 2nd floor, near an escalator and drinking water. There is security present, but it is low key. The longest lines are at Starbucks.

Tonight is the Global Economic Summit with a panel discussion led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. They will be joined by two economists. I will report on that tomorrow morning.

Yes, the Archbishop of Canterbury is here. He will be in Anaheim about 36 hours, as he must fly back to London for the Church of England Synod. There will not be a time for press to speak with him, but we will have a special seating section at tonight's gathering, with good seats.

I am off to the committee on resolutions re: gay marriage rites. More on that later.

Please remember to pray for this Convention. Many important decisions beyond the sexuality issues will be made here.

---Cheryl M. Wetzel is the Editor of The Anglican Voice, published monthly by Anglicans United & Latimer Press, Dallas, TX. anglicansunited@sbcglobal.net

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