The Very Rev. George L. W. Werner was re-elected president of the House of Deputies at the opening session of the house on the fourth day of meeting, Saturday afternoon, Aug. 2. Werner will serve a three-year term, through the 2006 General Convention to be held in Columbus, Ohio, June 12-21. Werner retired as dean of Trinity Cathedral, Pittsburgh, Pa., in 2000.
Werner thanked the house and Louie Crew, lay deputy from Newark, who also ran for election, and asked Crew to join him in “servanthood the next three years.”
Responding to international concerns, the house also approved a resolution, now sent to the House of Bishops, to consider the implement of humanitarian goals in Africa. This resolution responds to concerns presented at the Presiding Bishop’s Forum on Global Reconciliation on July 31, attended by nearly 1,000 people at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Minneapolis.
These goals – to fight AIDS, poverty and injustice and to call the church to partner with Anglican churches in Africa and other agencies to implement the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in Africa – would commit the church to allocate $100,000 per year for three years to support a churchwide campaign to raise issue awareness and action (A035).
The house also approved, with amendment, resolution X011, the special order of business to consider the consent to the election of the Rev. V. Gene Robinson as bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of New Hampshire (C045). That special order followed the nominations for vice president of the House of Deputies. The house convened at 2:30 p.m.
Rules of debate include two minutes for the chair of the Consecration of Bishops Committee to speak to the report and five minutes to respond to questions of information or clarification. The house agreed to add an amendment to allow a spokesperson to present a minority report for a two-minute period.
Deputy Mark Seitz of West Virginia asked that limited debate in the resolution after the reports be expanded to 60 minutes from 45 minutes, but that was defeated, and the debate time remained limited to 45 minutes.
After some discussion, a second amendment passed to use three microphones instead of the designated two (one pro and one con) for the floor debate. The third microphone was designated for procedural motions only.
Deputy James Bradberry of Southern Virginia opposed establishing a microphone for procedures, saying, “We are setting ourselves up for a diversion from the whole issue.”
After clarification from the parliamentarian that “procedural motions take precedence over argument” and also that discussion would go on for at least 30 of the 45 allotted minutes before anyone would be recognized at the third procedural microphone, the debate ended. Vote to add the third microphone passed 460 yes to 351 no.
Deputies wholeheartedly approved a resolution from the Committee on World Mission commending the Executive Council for recognizing the collaboration of the Episcopal Partnership for Global Mission (EPGM) (A152).
“This is an organizational model for the whole church,” said Nancy W. Broadwell, deputy from East Carolina. “It shows how many diverse organizations agreed to covenant and theology, saying God’s mission is more important than their differences. We need to celebrate this because it works.”
In other action, deputies:
- Accepted a procedural resolution on the special order for election of members of the Executive Council, which will take place at 11:15 a.m. on legislative day 7, Tuesday, August 5 (X023).
- Accepted a resolution from the Diocese of Newark authorizing an energy audit at the Episcopal Church Center to share with the wider church and that plans to renovate the center incorporate energy and environmental concerns (C017).
- Approved resolution to change "three months next" to "120 days" so the resolution reads that if a diocese elects a bishop within 120 days before the meeting of General Convention, the consent of the House of Deputies shall be required in place of that of the majority of Standing Committees, noting that it often takes more than three months to obtain required consents to the election of a bishop (A039).
- Adopted to concur with a resolution defining communicants of the church as those who have received Holy Communion in the church at least three times during the preceding year and, for statistical consistency, are at least 16 years of age (A045).
- Concurred with a resolution from the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons that clarifies the right of the church attorney, the complainant and victim to be heard by the bishop on the substance of a sentence to be pronounced (A049).
- Concurred with a resolution from the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons that accomplishes the same result in the provision regarding bishops in resolution A049 with respect to priests and deacons (A050).
- Approved from the Committee on Structure a resolution regarding parochial reports and participation of lay leadership in preparing and approving such reports before submitting them to the bishop of the diocese (A072).
- Discharged a resolution regarding length of convention as it already had been enacted by convention (C034).
- Approved to concur on a resolution from the Committee of the Church in Small Communities that the publication Expanding Mission and Vitality in Small Congregations is a resource to be printed, distributed and promoted throughout the Episcopal Church (A133).