It's the end of the first day, and the rest of the deputation has arrived. My "work" day started at 8 a.m. with legislative committee work. I am serving on the Communication committee and we began by reviewing the resolutions submitted thus far and holding public hearings, hearing comments and questions as well as gathering information from staff members.
The resolutions we are dealing with are certainly fewer in number than many other committees, but a consistent theme I see running through them has to do with utilizing and promoting technology as the most effective and cost efficient way to facilitate the primary work of the church: mission. And that includes making sure church staff has the communication technology tools they need to work most efficiently (saving time cost), as well as helping dioceses and parishes access training and utilize communication technology tools they need to reach outside our own doors into the communities around us to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.
The first significant recommendation is a resolution recognizing Communication as a ministry -- most especially of evangelism -- spreading the good news of the Gospel, which speaks to the first of the Five Marks of Mission. Communication is, after all, about sending and receiving well-crafted messages in an effective and meaningful way, and there is no more important work in the church than reaching people with the message of Jesus Christ.
The Five Marks of Mission are also shaping to be perhaps the most important touchstone at this GC relative to crafting the legislation that will guide TEC for the next three years. The Program, Budget and Finance Committee today announced that it will be using the budget proposal structured around the Marks of Mission recently submitted by the PB, who often stresses keeping mission first and foremost as the church finds its way forward.
Other events of the day included opening addresses by House of Bishops Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson. The afternoon was rounded off with orientation sessions in both houses reviewing rules of order, protocols and voting mechanisms, followed by an early evening round of legislative committee meetings. The Quincy deputation managed to squeeze in a first meeting together before a baseball game and other 4th of July evening festivities.
But as committee work progresses and we move into the first legislative session tomorrow morning, it seems clear that mission will be the centerpiece of the work we do here to reshape a church ready to serve in the 21st century.