It may seem that this Convention is about one bishop’s confirmation and one liturgical change, but in fact the work of both deputies and bishops encompasses an array of resolutions: from direct ordination of priests to pest management at church headquarters, from a member’s 101st birthday to the triennial budget for ECUSA.
And, with few interruptions, the committee and legislative process that began last Tuesday will grind on up to the Sine Die on Friday afternoon. By then some action will have been taken on all 315 resolutions submitted, certified, and sent to committee.
And legislative processing system leaders Jane Garrett and Carol LaPlante will once again take quiet pride in a job well done.
Their work began last week, as 97 late-breaking resolutions showed up in their office for certification. As of the deadline, 5 p.m. July 31, there were 17 from bishops, 16 from various dioceses, and 64 from deputies.
Each document required thorough reading for form and style by Garrett, a senior editor at Alfred P. Knopf, and her assistant, LaPlante, a longtime diocesan staffer. Both are from Western Massachusetts.
“It’s a lengthy process that requires scrutiny from numerous perspectives,” Garrett said. She and her staff don’t question content, only form. That includes several rounds of proofreading, to catch errors before they reach a legislative floor. “We wanted to leave them in decent shape so a lot of time wasn’t wasted on the floor – in the House of Deputies especially.”
Submitters must either sign off in advance or promise to return for final reading before their resolutions will be certified.
After that, resolutions go to an archivist, who checks content against previous Convention resolutions, to avoid duplication of effort.
This week, their certification work complete, Garrett and LaPlante have tackled the necessary task of tracking those resolutions through the complex system from committee to Deputies and Bishops.
“If we see something that seems to have been hung up in committee for some time, we check to see if it got lost, why it isn’t emerging, Garrett said.
LaPlante adds: “If there’s any kind of change, even for language, it has to go back through the process. Sometimes, in that little moment, things can easily fall through a crack.”
They publish a daily record of progress, tacked on the committee bulletin board near their office. Here’s a simplified summary of the notation system they use:
A – Adopt; A/a – Adopt with Amendment; A/s Adopt substitute; C – Concur; C/a – Concur with Amendment; C/s – Concur but substitute; D/ac – Discharge, already acted on at this convention; D/aoc – Discharge, already acted on at a prior convention; D/o – Discharge, other reasons; D/rr – Discharge and Re-refer to a different committee; NC – Not concur; R – Reject.