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!