OUR GENERAL CONVENTION 2000 COVERAGE includes this report from Anglicans Online correspondent Judy Fleener. Other reports are listed here.

In Denver: the Convention begins
4 July 2000

Legislative committtees met early and late on this day. Bishops and deputies consider all the legislation submitted to General Convention in these smaller groups. In the legislative committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Music it is difficult to avoid wordsmithing, reworking the proposed texts for our common worship as well as all the resolutions that come before us. In all of the matters reviewed to this moment, there has been no dispute. Every proposal has passed unanimously. There is so much that we agree about. Convention goers watched as members of Soulforce held a peaceful demonstration at the entrance to the Convention Center. Soulforce is the interfaith pro-inclusion group that held non-violent protests on behalf of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people at the conventions of the United Methodist, Presbyterian, and Southern Baptist Churches earlier this summer. Hundreds of their members have been arrested. Here the demonstration was well orchestrated. Lines were neatly drawn and quietly crossed. Police were in evidence. The demonstrators spent about 45 minutes speaking and singing. Then they moved to block an exit and 73 were arrested. There was no resistence.

Inside the building deputies and bishops convened together to hear welcoming messages from the presiding officers of the two houses. Both Dr. Pamela Chinnis and Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold spoke about listening. Dr. Chinnis spoke of her hope that "Christ's way might be clarified in the thin air of Denver." Bishop Griswold began by urging us to avoid altitude sickness. "Buy nasal spray," he advised. He went on to speak passionately about conversion and conversation, about jubilee. He congratulated us for our offering to our church.

In this session we learned about using the eletronic voting mechanisms that work much like our TV remote controls. We did an exercise to practice and to demonstate the effectiveness of this system. Unfortunately it failed, and deputies were not able to view, on the screens in the auditorium, the results of the voting for our favorite baseball teams.

In the evening hearings were held. The most heavily attended was the hearing of Special Committee #25 that deals with sexuality. No votes were taken, testimony from anyone who chose to speak was heard. The procedings were without fireworks, quiet and controlled, with speakers from the opposing sides of the arguments alternating. I was reminded of the moment in Bishop Griswold's opening address when he quoted Rowan Williams, "membership in the Body of Christ brings us solidarities not of our own choosing."

Judy Fleener

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