After a week working alongside the TransEpiscopal delegation, and members of Integrity, it was sad to be leaving General Convention with the final outcome of the Trans non-discrimination resolutions, D002 and D019, still undecided. In this photograph, taken on Monday, I am in the Westin Hotel lobby with Cameron Partridge, Gari Green and Donna Cartwright, just before leaving for the airport while they made their way to the House of Deputies where the resolutions were scheduled to be heard later in the afternoon.
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Compared to the House of Bishops, the House of Deputies is a huge body comprised of 4 clergy representatives and 4 lay representatives for each of the 111 dioceses of the Episcopal Church. In the House of Bishops voting is still done the old fashioned way (‘those in favour say aye’ – ‘those against say no’) with the occasional show of hands if the two sets of voices sound evenly matched.
In the House of Deputies, with nearly a thousand people, voting can be done electronically, but I’ve seen a photograph of Sarah Lawton at the end of this particular debate – Sarah was one of the sponsors of D002 and D019 – and it seems that there was a vote by orders (clergy and lay) with each diocesan delegation voting on paper, which can be quite time consuming. As the TransEpiscopal delegation waited, in the public area, for the resolutions to be brought forward and then for this tortuous vote on D002, they were nervous but expectant. It was the President of the House of Deputies, Bonnie Anderson, who relieved the tension, making people laugh, when she admitted that she had been waiting for the vital piece of paper with the totals only to learn that its was already on the desk in front of her. This is what it said:
Yes: Lay: 94 Clergy: 95
No: Lay: 11 Clergy: 16
Divided: Lay: 5 Clergy: 0
I would love to have been there to share in the joy that followed, and which continued last night at the celebration for Louie Crew, followed by the Integrity Eucharist, when Bishop Gene Robinson preached and Bishop Mary Glasspool presided. It seems a shame to have gone all the way to Indy, played my small part, and then to have missed the scenes of jubilation, but my heart is pretty full anyway with all that I have seen and heard at the 77th General Convention where further steps are being made on the road to full inclusion. As I said several times while I was there: the Episcopal Church is an inspiration and a beacon of hope to many of us in the Church of England and in the Anglican Communion.