GC77: House of Deputies supports Youth Ministry

Thursday was a busy day in the House of Deputies. Our opening legislative session at 8AM was a short one-hour of getting all 800+ deputies organized and ready to tackle the hundreds of resolutions expected to be addressed, debated, and voted upon during the remaining eight days of General Convention.

One of our first actions in the morning session was to elect a new Vice President of the House of Deputies. Upon the recommendation by Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, we elected the Very Rev. H. Scott Kirby of the Diocese of Eau Claire to fill this position, which has been vacant since Brian Prior became bishop of the Diocese of Minnesota in 2010. The remainder of this organizing session was to elect a Secretary for the House and several other officers that will be required for the House to operate efficiently.

Bonnie Anderson also made that statement this morning that “I won’t be the electronic police,” in response to concerns regarding the use of electronic devices during the Convention (particularly in the House and on the floor itself). Deputies were asked to remain focused upon and attentive to the business of the House, and not let technology interfere with that focus (or the attentiveness of their colleagues).

This year more than in the past three Conventions I have attended, it is easy to see the explosion of electronic devices being utilized. There are plenty of deputies with tablet devices like the iPad, laptops, and smartphones. And with so much Convention content being published online at generalconvention.org, and so many people who are live-tweeting and blogging, it will be an interesting experiment.

Then we broke for our first Eucharist at Convention. It is always an awesome thing to see over 1,000 Episcopalians gathered together to proclaim the Good News and celebrate at the Lord's Table.

In our afternoon legislative session, one of our first resolutions of note was C100, which calls for restoring the $300,000 in funding for the triennial Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) to the Youth Ministries budget. ENS writes, "The every-three-year gathering of youth of the Episcopal Church had been slated for elimination in previously released draft budgets. Several young deputies, along with members of the Official Youth Presence, described the impact attending EYE had on them and its value in energizing a new generation of leaders for the church. Deputies voted to direct the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to place the funding in the youth ministries budget."

As a Youth Minister, this was a significant win for me. I have personally experienced how the spirit, fellowship, and witness that happens during EYE impacts the lives and spiritual formation of youth in our Church. There are usually 1,500 youth from across the Episcopal Church gathered during EYE, which offers a wide variety of workshops, programs, and formation opportunities as well as plenty of time for fellowship, worship, and fun.

The decision is not set in stone yet, however, The resolution still has to go to the House of Bishops for their consideration. I fully expect that they will concur with the House of Deputies. Then, the larger hurdle will be within the PB&F, where although they are being 'directed' to restore the funds, they have to 'find' those funds (likely at the expense of other budgetary line items). It remains to be seen whether PB&F will be successful. We won't know that until next week. I pray that they see the wisdom of the vote today and find the means to implement it.

Location:Indianapolis, IN