Thursday, July 19, 2012

My blogs have moved!!

I finally did it. I have merged my blogs into one single web site, making it easier for you to follow all my activities, postings, and 'musings'. And it will make it easier for me to keep everything updated and 'fresh'.

So point your browsers and bookmark my new site:

This site will include multiple blogs covering all the things I am doing, so now you can have a one-stop shop. I hope you enjoy the new virtual space! Feel free to leave me comments at the new site for things you would love to see added or changed. I am always looking for new ideas!

This site will no longer be maintained.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

GC77: The Episcopal Church authorizes provisional rites for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships

In a strong mandate vote, the House of Deputies concurred with the House of Bishops and passed Resolution A049: Authorizing Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Sex Relationships.

The voting was done by orders (meaning the votes were counted separately between the Lay Deputies and the Clergy Deputies in the House). The results were as follows:


The proceedings were governed by the special resolution X023 which explained the way in which the debate and voting would be carried out. Specifically,

  • Following the introduction of the legislation by the Committee (done by Ruth Meyers), a minority report shall be presented lasting no longer than four minutes. After which, debate shall be limited to 30 minutes.
  • Each speaker shall be limited to two (2) minutes
  • To the extent practicable the Chair shall recognize speakers of opposite views in alternate succession
  • No procedural motion or ammendments shall be in order during the first 15 minutes of debate

A049 had already been debated and passed in the House of Bishops yesterday. All legislation before General Convention must be passed by both Houses in order for it to become law in our Church. So it was time for the House of Deputies to take on this matter and decide for the Church whether or not rites for the blessing of same-gender relationships would be permitted.

Many Deputies, both for and against, spoke before the House. It was pretty amazing to see the decorum displayed among the House as people spoke passionately, yet respectfully, to one another.

Ian Hallas, a Deputy from the Chicago Deputation, made an impassioned plea for passage of this resolution because "his sister deserves the same love that he receives from the Church" (referring to his sister's impending civil union and blessing).

Before we got to the actual vote, there were several procedural requests made which threatened to eat up so much time that the legislative session would have expired without a vote. It was agreed to vote by 'orders', and it was proposed that the various 'resolves' that were included in the Resolution be voted upon separately (which provides for a type of line item veto). But in the end, the Resolution was voted for in its entirety.

The vote results were announced right before the House was called to recess for the day. House members were quiet as the decision was read out. There were no shouts or clapping, nor any outburst that would have been considered insensitive or inappropriate to those present who may not have been in agreement with the outcome. I was very proud of my Church today.

So now the three-year provisional period begins. It will be very interesting to see how the larger Church responds to this. I am very grateful that our General Convention has taken this important step to truly living up to the statement "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!"

Friday, July 6, 2012

GC77: House of Deputies supports Youth Ministry

Thursday was a busy day in the House of Deputies. Our opening legislative session at 8AM was a short one-hour of getting all 800+ deputies organized and ready to tackle the hundreds of resolutions expected to be addressed, debated, and voted upon during the remaining eight days of General Convention.

One of our first actions in the morning session was to elect a new Vice President of the House of Deputies. Upon the recommendation by Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, we elected the Very Rev. H. Scott Kirby of the Diocese of Eau Claire to fill this position, which has been vacant since Brian Prior became bishop of the Diocese of Minnesota in 2010. The remainder of this organizing session was to elect a Secretary for the House and several other officers that will be required for the House to operate efficiently.

Bonnie Anderson also made that statement this morning that “I won’t be the electronic police,” in response to concerns regarding the use of electronic devices during the Convention (particularly in the House and on the floor itself). Deputies were asked to remain focused upon and attentive to the business of the House, and not let technology interfere with that focus (or the attentiveness of their colleagues).

This year more than in the past three Conventions I have attended, it is easy to see the explosion of electronic devices being utilized. There are plenty of deputies with tablet devices like the iPad, laptops, and smartphones. And with so much Convention content being published online at, and so many people who are live-tweeting and blogging, it will be an interesting experiment.

Then we broke for our first Eucharist at Convention. It is always an awesome thing to see over 1,000 Episcopalians gathered together to proclaim the Good News and celebrate at the Lord's Table.

In our afternoon legislative session, one of our first resolutions of note was C100, which calls for restoring the $300,000 in funding for the triennial Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) to the Youth Ministries budget. ENS writes, "The every-three-year gathering of youth of the Episcopal Church had been slated for elimination in previously released draft budgets. Several young deputies, along with members of the Official Youth Presence, described the impact attending EYE had on them and its value in energizing a new generation of leaders for the church. Deputies voted to direct the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to place the funding in the youth ministries budget."

As a Youth Minister, this was a significant win for me. I have personally experienced how the spirit, fellowship, and witness that happens during EYE impacts the lives and spiritual formation of youth in our Church. There are usually 1,500 youth from across the Episcopal Church gathered during EYE, which offers a wide variety of workshops, programs, and formation opportunities as well as plenty of time for fellowship, worship, and fun.

The decision is not set in stone yet, however, The resolution still has to go to the House of Bishops for their consideration. I fully expect that they will concur with the House of Deputies. Then, the larger hurdle will be within the PB&F, where although they are being 'directed' to restore the funds, they have to 'find' those funds (likely at the expense of other budgetary line items). It remains to be seen whether PB&F will be successful. We won't know that until next week. I pray that they see the wisdom of the vote today and find the means to implement it.

Location:Indianapolis, IN

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

GC77: Ready, Set, Go for Day 1

The morning started with a 3.2 mile run with Joshua, Mallory, and Sarah. We met at the White River Trail at 5:30am (it was still dark outside and 75F). It was a nice 39-minute run, while we watched the skies brighten to start the day. Mallory and I ran together while the two speedsters leapt ahead. It was fun to run with Mallory, and grab the chance to chat about our lives. We ended the run with a 6:30/mm sprint to the end.

Then, after getting all cleaned up, I had the pleasure of meeting up with my Mom. First, we visited the House of Bishops Secretariat, then the Exhibitor Hall, and finally to the hotel to share a meal together. Mom had to leave for MIchigan afterwards, so it was a treat to be able to eat and talk together. She will be back here on Saturday for the duration.

Then I rested a bit before heading over to the Westin Hotel to listen to testimony at the Program, Budget, & Finance (PB&F) committee meeting at 12:30pm. Many Chicagoans testified before the Committee, requesting that funds be reallocated for key ministries like Youth and Young Adult Formation programs, the Episcopal Youth Event, the official Youth Presence at General Convention, etc.

One person testified saying "If it takes a village to raise a child, then the whole church needs to be engaged and funded to support young adult ministry programs, particularly those young adults who are not touched by campus ministry programs" ( for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being to attend a non-traditional college).

Every penny we take away from youth and young adult ministries represents a person who may not receive our message of hope -- people who need to hear the good news but who may have never heard it, or worse, may have heard a distorted version of His Word.

We heard story after story about how the drastic, sometimes draconian cuts in the proposed budget will impact the effectiveness of our ministry and mission as a church. The Bishop of El Salvador made an impassioned plea saying he "had no words" to explain the devastating impact the cuts would have upon South American dioceses. "Cuts have been made to our budget since 2007. We cannot continue like this."

The meeting room was way too small for this gathering, with people sitting on the floor (like I did) to people outside the room several rows deep who were trying to peer in and listen to what was being said. I am told that subsequent meetings will be held in larger space. I surely hope so.

After the budget hearing, we moved to the Convention Center to the House of Deputies where we listened to presentations by both the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. Both deputies and Bishops attended this joint meeting, followed by orientation meetings to explain the rules of order, how to use the voting technologies, etc. This instruction is very useful, particularly to new Deputies who may not be familiar with how legislation is handled in a body of our size.

By the time we concluded, it was 5:00pm and I had been awake for 12 hours. But now the fun part of the day began. Joshua, Lee Gaede, and I went to the baseball stadium next door to the Convention Center and watched the Indianapolis Indians dominate a game, winning 5-1 with four home runs during the game. We sat in a block of seats reserved for Convention Deputies and had a great time. It was 104F when the game started, so we were quite thankful that we were sitting in a shaded section of the stadium!
After the game, we went to Champions for dinner (they make an awesome Cobb Salad) and then visited our Deputation Hospitality Suite. We had quite the discussion about Palestine and the Peace and Justice issues involving the Middle East and our country's actions regarding that region.

Then Pat Abrams and I left to go to the Deputies of Color meeting at 10pm. This meeting was also quite interesting as discussions surrounding the budget cuts and certain resolutions, and how they will reduce the effectiveness of the larger church in its Anti-Racism commitments -- its ability to conduct trainings, encourage diversity, and hold diocese accountable to their efforts to reduce institutional racism. It seems that the church has fallen back upon its commitment to addressing institutional racism in recent years and this is unfortunate. Funding for anti-racism trainings may now be delegated to the Provinces rather than Dioceses, which I do not believe will lead to adequate oversight, accountability, or consistency in implementation.

Today was a very long day. I am almost too tired to blog (so if my words are not as cogent as they ought to be, I apologize). I am heading to bed now so that I can get some sleep before tomorrow's 5:30am run. Thursday will be a full day of legislation, hearings, committee meetings, and our first Eucharistic celebration as a convention.

May the fun begin!

Location:Indianapolis, IN

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

GC77: Arrivals, preparations, celebrations (and Spiderman?)

On Tuesday at 8:30am, Joshua and I, both Alternate Deputies for the Diocese of Chicago, began our journey down to Indianapolis, IN to participate in the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. This convention is Joshua's first and my fourth.

The drive down was pretty simple, with only one major construction-related traffic jam to contend with on I-65 South. We had breakfast along the way at an 'oasis' over I-294, where we ate at Panda Express . Yeah, not exactly breakfast food but it was tasty nonetheless. The drive only took us about 5 hours, including our stopover at Panda. Not bad!

We parked the car, got checked into the Marriott hotel, and immediately ran into Shawn Schreiner from Chicago and letting her know that we were here. Then we headed over the Convention Center (right across the street!) to get our badges and take a quick tour of the Exhibitor Hall, where we picked up a few packets and some cool 'Episco Swag'. We met up with several friends along the way, Jed Holdorph, Mallory Holding, Ted Main, Richard Hogue, and friends from the Episcopal Conference of the Deaf. We also spent some time in the Episcopal Service Corps booth as well as the National Cursillo booth (whose next conference is in Chicago in 2013!).

Then we walked over to the White River State Park, which is only a couple of blocks from the Downtown Indianapolis Marriott hotel, to check out the start of the White River Wapahani Trail where we planned to run on Wednesday morning. Man, is it hot! It was 98F as we walked to the trail.

Once satisfied that we knew how to get to the trail tomorrow morning, we decided to head back to the hotel. I needed to change into nicer attire because I was heading to the Dinner/Gala of the Union of Black Episcopalians at 5:30pm with my Mom. There were celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Women's Ordination in the Episcopal Church. That was an awesome celebration, and I was honored to meet one of the honorees: Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas. What an amazing person! And my mother was the person who spoke about Kelly's accomplishments and made the award presentation (how cool was that!). They also honored Canon Bonnie Anderson who is the President of the House of Deputies.

Later that evening, I had some fun with Joshua and another running buddy Kipp. We decided to go see the new Spiderman movie since there was a theater within walking distance of the hotel. Great movie! Of course, that meant our first day at General Convention ended at 1245AM! (And of course, that means little rest before we get up at 5AM to go on a 3-4 mile run to start the next day)

Tomorrow will be the first day of the Convention. For those on legislative committees, they have an all morning meeting to kick off their process for conducting themselves during the Convetion. For the rest of the Deputies and Bishops here, we get started with a presentation by the Program on Budget and Finance (PB&F) of the proposed budget for national church. The budget is going to be a critical business issue facing this Convention so it is fitting that this will be the first item to hear about formally (we have already received the budget proposal online).

After that will be presentations by the Presiding Bishop, Rt. Rev. Katharine Schori, and Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies. Then we have Deputy Orientation sessions. After dinner will be Legislative Committee meetings, followed by a gathering of the Chicago Deputation to conver and discuss the plans for the following day.

Location:Indianapolis, IN

Monday, July 2, 2012

The 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church

Yes, it is that time once again, when literally thousands of representatives from the 110 dioceses that make up The Episcopal Church convene to discuss matters, both sacred and secular, that impact the spiritual and daily lives of Episcopalians across the globe.

And in addition to those representatives, whom we refer to as Deputies (and Alternate Deputies) and Bishops, are thousands of fellow church members who gather to participate in committee meetings and hearings, and watch the legislative process of our Church as we make decisions on Canon Law, church structure, liturgy, worship, ministries, and our common life together.

I will be attending as the First Alternate Lay Deputy for the Diocese of Chicago. I am very honored to have been elected to this responsibility and will be very engaged in the events and legislative process of the next two weeks. I am also very excited about the chance to worship with such a large body of the Faithful, as I know from past experience that the daily Eucharist is always a special time of connection with The Holy and with those in attendance.

It is also a wonderful time for fellowship and reunions, as we see old friends from across the globe and meet new friends as well. My mother used to be the priest at a parish in Indy, and she will be coming to spend time here. I am looking forward to seeing her and my aunt!

I will be posting my thoughts and reflections about the goings-on during General Convention. I do not pretend to be a liturgical, biblical, or legislative scholar. Just an Episcopalian with a sincere interest in the continuing ministry, witness, worship, and outreach by the members of this Christian body to the world as decreed by our Baptismal Covenant.

Stay tuned and we will travel this journey together. Feel free to respond to my posts and I will try to provide you with intelligent and cogent responses.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Time for a "gut check" on my Goals

So in January, I laid out some goals for this year. I felt it was time to 'come clean' with my progress, re-assess, and re-commit for the last six months of this year.

Losing another 50 pounds

Well, gotta be honest on this one. I have lost and regained, and lost and regained the same 5-10 pounds all year long. Partly due to doing a little too much snacking and a few too many splurges (mostly during lunches with my office mates). My meals at home are great, but I really have to stop the snacking.

Other players here are my training and race schedules. I do need to eat to maintain the energy levels necessary to run 20-30 miles every week. If I don't nourish my body, it will not perform and I increase the potential for injury. People have told me that it is hard to lose weight and train for marathons. I am beginning to see their rationale.

Lastly, my body is accustomed to my running regimen. It is becoming more efficient in handling the demands I am placing upon it during running. That is a good thing. But it also means that I have to really start 'changing up' my workouts in order to 'shake up' the body into working harder. I plan to use cross-training to accomplish this.

I do not believe in the time remaining this year, with my race schedule as it is, that I will achieve a 50-pound loss in 2012. But I would at least like to see 20-25 pounds of it gone.

Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle

On this score, I am doing a great job! I said that this would be the year of the Half Marathon. And to date, I have run four Half Marathons, and I have four more left to run, plus a 20-mile race. I qualified for membership in the Half Fanatics running club which was another goal I achieved in January.

I walked the AVON Walk for Breast Cancer and had a phenomenal experience! I raised $2500 for the cause, walking a total of 39.3 miles (a full marathon and a half marathon distance) in two days in early June. I cannot even begin to express how amazing that weekend was. I wrote up some thoughts on my Healthy Living blog if you are curious.

Lastly, I did register for the Chicago Marathon this October and have been busy training for this event. This will be my first 'running' Full Marathon. I am very excited and nervous about this one. But I will be prepared! I have run 11 races so far in 2012, and have another eight remaining including the Chicago Marathon.

Read the entire Bible

I began this journey but in recent months have allowed this to slip behind. I have been maintaining a spiritual discipline in other ways, listening to sermons and spiritual podcasts as well as keeping current on issues that will be discussed at our Episcopal General Convention starting July 3rd.

But nonetheless, I need to get back to the Bible and finish what I started. Reading the Bible can be enlightening and rewarding, and sometime a bit confusing. It was not laid out to be read 'in sequence'. That is why we have what's called a "Lectionary" to help put the readings in a chronological sequence that follows the Church Year (I hear those readings at church on Sundays).

Learn a new skill

I have decided to learn more about the Java programming language, specifically in relation to web development. This has become even more significant given the recent developments with Oracle and their 'ownership' of Java and what ripple-effects that is having on the development community.

So, there you have it. I will touch base again on my goals later in the year and see if my progress is continuing.