By The Rev. Bill Locke, Chair of the Rhode Island Deputation to General Convention
General Convention doesn’t officially start until Thursday, July 5, but the
deputation has already been hard at work. The first task was to have dinner together
once all had arrived on the 3rd. Joining with Rhode
Wolf and Tom Bair, Bishop Joslin, the women of the ECW, and
Liz Crawley – who keeps us all organized – it was an essential team building
exercise. More seriously, it was probably the last leisurely meal for the next
Those of us who are assigned to committees began the 4th of July with meetings; others were off tracking issues of interest. However, we all convened at meeting rooms F and G at for the meeting of Committee #7: Consecration of Bishops. There, Scott Avedesian, RI Standing Committee President, presented our Bishop-elect. Dean Knisely then addressed the Committee, followed by support from Bishop Wolf. The result? A unanimous vote to recommend approval of Bishop-elect Knisely to be the next Bishop of Rhode Island. That recommendation will come to the floor of the House of Deputies – perhaps as early as the 5th – for a final vote.
The rest of the day sped by: addresses from the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies, orientation session, committee hearings until .
The Episcopal Church has gathered. Even the third time around, it is an impressive and encouraging thing to see the church in its fullness. We so easily spend most of our church lives in our parish settings, not connecting all that well to neighboring congregations, let alone the larger diocese. Now comes General Convention to remind us that the Episcopal Church is Black and Hispanic, Native American, White, Asian, poor, wealthy, old, young (although it’s frightening that I am apparently in the younger group of deputies)...
Encouraging, too, is the commitment to prayer and attentiveness to God. It can be easy to criticize General Convention, and our structures and patterns will get a tougher than usual examination this time, I think – and rightly so. But it is also true that this is a group of people seeking to be faithful and to do the best for God’s church. In the midst of the arcane details, the fussiness, the sometimes downright silliness, in the midst of 71 Rules of Order with multiple sub-sections, there stands Rule Number One: “…following the example of primitive Councils,
a copy of the Holy Scriptures shall always be reverently placed in view at the meetings of this House”. Not a bad way to begin.