... and another one is in the books. Here I am with my table mates. We've been together since the meeting right here at Camp Allen two years ago, and will remain together through General Convention, after which we will get shuffled and re-dealt.
This meeting is a day shorter than has been the case for several years--four full days instead of five. The compressed schedule is more demanding, to be sure, with less down time for rest or recreation. But, on balance, I prefer it. I am especially grateful not to be here over a Sunday.
The Eucharist this morning (straight Rite II, Prayer C) was celebrated by the Presiding Bishop. The preacher was Jeff Fisher, Bishop Suffragan of Texas. He did a fine job. I always enjoy hearing other bishops preach to bishops. They invariably bring their lives and ministries to the task in ways that their hearers can readily identify with.
The morning's work was a continuation of yesterday's conversation around the proposal to make the President of the House of Deputies a paid position. It seems to be an emotionally fraught subject. Much of our time was spent in executive session (informally, since we weren't technically under Roberts' Rules). There was a lot of parsing the distinction between leadership and governance. Lunch was spent in Province groups, so I was with bishops from the 14 dioceses of Province V, where we talked about ... you guessed it ... the matter of paying the PHOD. I think it's safe to say there are efforts underway to amend the resolution in a manner that will not yield a legislative showdown, with winners and losers, but produce a win-win solution. We'll see what happens in Austin.
The afternoon's activity consisted of our regular "Fireside Chat." This has always happened on an evening, so it was a little weird. There were even images of burning logs projected on the screens. The Fireside Chat, at which the Presiding Bishop ... well, presides ... is just a time for whatever ... this and that ... odds and ends of announcements, publicity schticks, and soapbox speeches (with a ready hook).
We found ourselves finished early, around 2:30. The next item on the agenda was a liturgy for the Renewal of Ordination Vows, scheduled for 4:00. We made a collective executive decision to just go ahead and do it right then. There was no actual vote taken, but I would have been in the Aye column. Most of our time has been pretty nonstop mentally demanding, and there was a palpable sense of fatigue in the room. We adjourned upstairs to the chapel to renew our vows.
With a chunk of time on my hands, I was resolved to get a stiff dose of exercise. Serendipitously, my good friend the Bishop of Dallas had the same idea, so we walked a full four miles together, solving most of the problems of the church and starting in on those of the world along the way.
After cleaning up, it was time to join the pre-dinner hospitality hour. Dinner on the last night of HOB is always banquet-style, with white table cloths and table wine. The collegiality is always a blessing.