Sunday, July 26, 2009

Some more GC thots...

I know I promised some more brilliant comments! Or at least
After GC ended, the LW and I were in Santa Barbara for a few days - what a beautiful place! I preached at Trinity, Santa Barbara, a wonderful parish that is helping St. Patrick's rebuild. They are tremendous folks there, had a great time. AND they put us up in a hotel ON THE PACIFIC OCEAN. We had a blast.
Back home now a few days, and really enjoyed being back at St. Pat's. Held a post-GC session with any interested folks after church - had a good turnout and really good conversation.
Some of what I shared with them plays off of what I've been saying here - that I think GC is too big, too clumsy. It's too much of a political bureaucracy. I know it's our polity, I get that. But the system is too flawed.
Take the position of the President of the House of Deputies (PHOD). Our current PHOD, Bonnie "We don't need no stinkin bishops" Anderson, by canon, appoints all legislative committee members (at least the HoD members, the Presiding Bishop appoints bishops to those committees). This year she decided, arbitrarily, to not appoint any 1st time deputies to committees. On the surface, this seems a good idea, GC is quite overwhelming your first trip and new deputies, by not serving on committees, will have a chance to observe any committee meetings and take in the scope of GC. BUT this also limits voices, especially young adult voices, on the committees, we have so few of those it's a shame to keep them off committees of interest. I know committee assignments must be a very tough job, but it is a very powerful factor. The same goes for dispatch of business and secretary of the house, they too, with the PHOD, can greatly influence what comes before the house and when it does.
I have stated before my disappointment in a "Committee of the Whole" to spend 2 hours of legislative time, in addition to lengthy committee hearings, on the D025 resolution (the non-repeal repeal of B033 of 2006 discussed previously). Again we spend time, energy, focus, attention on matters of sexuality, when we NEED to be looking at growth, mission, evangelism, and the decline of our numbers. To top it off, the budget presented on the next to last day eliminated lots of program from the national office. This is not a bad thing, in my opinion, except we removed the new office of evangelism! Really? We did agree to cut the next GC back by 2 days, to cut budgets for the CCABs (thank goodness - they are a post for another day), and thankfully limited some requested funding for PHOD travel allowance. Do we really need (or want) the PHOD traveling around the country / world speaking for the church, or even for the HoD? I don't see that in the job description (I could be wrong, wouldn't be the first time). Unlike the PHOD and quite a few others in the HoD, I am really ok letting our bishops be bishops, and particularly letting our Presiding Bishop speak for us when that is necessary (not that I always agree with the PB, whomever it may be, but that is an expected role of our Primate).
Unfortunately, we also greatly sliced the new program for Hispanic / Latino ministry and removed most of the funding for our mission initiative designed to raise significant funds over the next few years. I fear those decisions will come back to haunt us.
If I was king, there are a few standing committees and legislative committees I would just eliminate completely, but to mention that to the "regulars" of GC is to aim directly at the sacred cows they must protect - and trust me when I say they really can't hear you when you propose that they have served their purpose, and in this new age are not really where our time and energy and money should be spent. We must become a mean and lean church at the national level, and these budget realities will force that. That's ok - the diocese and local parishes are where the rubber meets the road, anyway. I anxiously look forward to how we in this diocese will address evangelism and growth issues, near and long term.
Lastly, please don't take my comments as a total disavowing of GC. I think I can be a voice from the "outside" that perhaps can help us see a better way forward. But meanwhile, there is much goodness about GC. Worship is amazing, and connecting with so many folks across this church is really terrific - especially the legions who have helped us in our rebuilding. I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve, and hope to get the chance to do so again in 2012.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Preach it, brother!