Episcopal Life Convention Daily
Saturday, 8 July 2000

This is a web version of the ECUSA General Convention Daily. Anglicans Online has produced this web version, from the official PDF edition, for your reading convenience. Other days' issues are here.

State-of-the-art technology updates many of the conventions exhibits in Denver. While Church Publishing uses laptops to show off “The Rite Stuff,” others have websites readily available to help tell their stories to visitors.


It's a wired, wired world

The 73rd General Convention is wired and in touch. Even more than three years ago, deputies and bishops are using technology to make their work easier.

Unlike the 1997 convention, when only a handful of deputies brought personal computers, this year deputies and bishops can be seen hauling laptops to and from the Colorado Convention Center along with the ubiquitous 3-ring legislative notebooks and water bottles. Even the Blue Book rose to new heights with a CD-ROM including committee reports and resolutions that could be referenced by topic.

The presence of laptops on the floor of the House of Deputies caused concern for some, an issue that was addressed in Resolution D030 prohibiting "external communication devices" on the floor while the house is in session. But, as the Rev. Christopher Keough (Milwaukee) pointed out, "if we follow it to the letter [the resolution] would prohibit the use of [electronic voting] devices," being used for the first time this convention. Keough successfully urged deputies to exempt the voting devices.

While large screens have offered a clear view of speakers on the floor of the house for some time, the plethora of smaller high-tech tools poses a dilemma. Palm Pilots and wireless e-mail, cell phones and vibrating pagers, sometimes threaten to overshadow the order of regular business.

Deputy Charles Crump (West Tennessee), a veteran of the days of voting by red and green cards, prevented the addition of a laundry list of exempted devices to the resolution by proposing that the whole matter be referred back to more technologically savvy committee members. The house affirmed a ban on communication devices and empowered the president to make exceptions.

Convention legislation since '76 on the Web
Pictured left to right, Mark Duffy, Caroline Higgins and Jennifer Peters, members of the Archives' staff, review convention legislation (1976-1997) now available on the web at www.episcopalarchives.org. The site is equipped with a search engine to identify, view and print the final text and the legislative history of resolutions on a particular topic. Though convention participants may use this resource independently, the Archives' staff is available for research assistance and can be reached in the General Convention office, room A205; phone 303-228-8521.


A "paperless" newsroom

All news releases produced by the Episcopal News Service (ENS) this year are posted to the General Convention Web page. Reporters simply plug their laptops into modem ports installed in the press room and download releases directly to their hard drives. In past years, reams of paper were consumed making multiple copies, which were then faithfully stuffed into individual mailboxes several times a day.

In an heroic example of cross-country use of technology, Diocese of Los Angeles communications officer Bob Williams found himself at Thursday evening's Integrity Eucharist across town at the Cathedral of St. John in the Wilderness, needing to file a story. Lacking a laptop, Williams phoned his assistant in Los Angeles on his cell phone, dictated the story, and then had his assistant e-mail the completed story back to the Convention press room. Colorado to California to Colorado, in less than an hour.

—ENS reporter Jan Nunley contributed to this report.

Addendum note from Anglicans Online: you will note that you are reading this story on our web site, not on any ECUSA site. There is a reason for this: ECUSA's use of technology is structured more to help them than to help us. We applaud the steps that they have made, but wish they would continue along the path of making technology useful, rather than just present.

This web page is a converted copy of information from the ECUSA General Convention Daily, produced by the staff of Episcopal Life for people at General Convention 2000. If you have any issue with its content, please refer to the original. Many times we later find better-quality photographs than those from the Convention Daily, and we replace the original photographs with them if we believe that they are equivalent for the purposes of the story.

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