The School of Theology. Sewanee: The University of the South


General Convention 2012, July 4


It is my intent that this daily posting from Indianapolis will be informative to readers and provide the key legislative issues as they are debated and voted. I will also beg your indulgence as I occasionally add a personal observation as this is my first General Convention and I am a bit awe struck by the magnitude of the event and the richness and diversity of the people that make up this Church.

Tuesday began with an early morning rush to set up Sewanee’s collective booths that displayed the theme — Sewanee: An Episcopal Center for Learning. I wish we had caught it on time-lapse photography, as it would have been amusing in all its sweaty speediness! Yes, the heat wave that plagues most of the country is firmly entrenched here in Indianapolis. All fell into place right in time, and at noon, when the doors opened to the delegates of the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, Sewanee was ready to share the good news.

Education for Ministry officially launched its new Alumni/ae Association to an overwhelmingly positive response. The $25 membership fee will go to a fund that will help underwrite scholarships for the program. Benefits to members include inclusion and a special reception at this year’s DuBose Lectures.

Tuesday evening, I was privileged to attend the Union of Black Episcopalians (UBE) tribute and gala Tuesday night with Assistant Dean Nikki Mathis and Karen Meridith. The event, hosted by our former associate dean, the Very Rev. Dr. Walter Brownridge, celebrated the 35th anniversary of women’s ordination in the Episcopal Church. The women bishops in the Episcopal Church were honored and many were present to accept the applause and standing ovation from the attendees. Since the beginning of the Church in the United States, 1066 bishops have been consecrated but only 15 have been women, and no women of color have been diocesan bishops. Speakers during the evening called for the ordination of more women as bishops, as they explained that women are natural leaders and ready for the call.

In addition to the bishops, several new awards were established and presented to distinguished Episcopal women. The Pauli Murray Award for distinguished humanitarian service went to the Rev. Altagracia Perez. The Anna Julia Hayward Cooper Award was given to the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas for her notable work as an author and teacher. The Verna Dozier Honors Award was presented to Canon Bonnie Anderson for her leadership in social justice and representation of the laity. The Mattie Hopkins Honors Award went to Deborah Harmon Hines for her work with the UBE.

This morning I attended the first of the daily morning debriefings provided by the Church’s Officer for Public Affairs, Neva Rae Fox.  As the convention’s legislative sessions begin on July 5, we were given the calendar of events for today, Wednesday, July 4. The sessions will open today with a welcome by the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Shori and the President of the House of Deputies, Canon Bonnie Anderson. I will have details of that tomorrow.

As a service to my readers, I am asking for questions that you might have for any of the attendees. Submit your questions to my email address, mapatter@sewanee, with the subject line “Question for General Convention,” and I will do my best to track down the person and get your answer. Successful interview results will be included with the daily postings.

Episcopal News has established a Media Hub that will include news, features, and videos, live streaming from both houses and more. Click here to access the Media Hub. You can also follow tweets from attendees by using #GC77.

Happy 4th of July everyone!