by the Rev. Nina Pooley
Rector of St. Bartholomew’s, Yarmouth
Saturday – it was a long, fabulous, but very strange day here at GC, and the schedule was a mess, add to that lots of celebrating, and processing… so I am just now getting to the notes. I walked into the Salt Palace today to witness the parade of bishops as they walked down the hallway to leave the building, get on the bus, and go to the church where they would prayerfully elect the next presiding bishop. It was quite a sight.
House of Deputies met to begin our session and celebrated the 230 years of the House of Deputies. To open the party the chaplain of the house, the Rev. Lester Mackenzie, had produced a really fun video.
The president of the House of Deputies had invited several distinguished former leaders of the house to celebrate with us. For me the highlight of that was being present when she presented Dr. Charles Willy with the House of Deputies medal, and the house stood and cheered for him. (Here’s a link to a video interview with Dr. Willy.)
Dr. Willy resigned as president of the House of Deputies in protest when the church invalidated the ordination of the first women ordained in the Episcopal Church, the Philadelphia 11. This man was part of the pressure that helped the church realize that we needed to ordain women. When asked to come to this party and be recognized, he was surprised. President Jennings recounted that the phone line got so quiet that she worried that the call had dropped, but then Dr. Willy told her that he didn’t think anyone remembered. Well, today we had a chance to show him that we remember. Looking around it’s amazing how many lives he helped to change, so many deputies of color, so many women clergy. How do we say thank you enough?
I just had the chance to shake his hand and thank him for his courage. And tell him that he helped change my life. It made him cry, which of course made me cry… it was quite the morning!
And that was before the representatives from the House of Bishops came to report to the House of Deputies on the election of the next Presiding Bishop. Things would get a great deal more overwhelming soon. After the committee returned with their recommendation that we accept the bishop’s nomination for the presiding bishop elect, we were called back into order – and the president of the House of Deputies told us the results of the election – and the gallery erupted with cheers.
Bishop Michael Curry had been elected on the first ballot – remarkable. The whole house started cheering, people were crying and hugging and otherwise being completely overcome…
When Presiding Bishop-Elect Curry was escorted into the house, we were chanting a song the chaplain had taught us, “we are one together, yo, yo, yo,” the most incredible moment, really.
After we finally were recessed for lunch, we returned to get some work done – our deputation had a good afternoon on the floor of the house as well.
Brenda and her committee presented resolutions around substance abuse and the need for pastoral conversation.
Mark spoke to a resolution calling us to address the implicit racial bias in the criminal justice system and the need for a multi-faceted response on our part to bring justice to the prison system.
The house passed a resolution funding anti racism programming which was overwhelmingly popular. The committee I am working on had to go before the Program, Budget and Finance Committee (which Bishop Lane co-chairs) to testify to that group about a resolution coming out of our committee for environmental stewardship, for which we are asking for funds from the budget. It was interesting to see so much of how things work in the GC process.
I am hopeful that we will be able to get our resolution into a form that the GC can approve it, I’ll let you know more when I do! Off to crash, another long day tomorrow!