It is the day after. My head hurts. I am writing as if I wrote this reflection on Day 4 before Day 5... are you confused yet? If so then you might begin to be able to appreciate the space my head is in!
|Breanna Redden-Kelly waiting at the microphone.|
|Table Group 19|
Add to the picture to the right, a band playing in the corner, imagine your bum in the hard plastic chairs that swivel and squeak and contort a body in strange angles... and them imagine words, words and more words flowing from the light emitted from a projector onto a screen at the front of the room... and a poor volunteer running from person to person with a microphone... and voices, voices and more voices speaking on and on and on... and you have some idea of what it was like to be in Commission!
We could not see the Agenda on the screen at the same time as the item presently before us... after a few minutes a wise person reminded us there was a chalkboard in the room! One of the Co-Chairs agreed to list the Proposals in the order would would consider them. This was so helpful - BUT - I cannot begin to remember the order, nor can I remember all the details, but let me reflect on a few of the items and the process and implications for the Church...
|Some distracted themselves |
from the word smithing!
We began to understand this as we started to debate the proposal from the All Native Circle Conference calling on the General Council to support them as they categorically reject the Northern Gateway Pipeline... there was good debate. There was a decision. And then tweeting started... The first tweet of a decision fromt he Commission was "The #UCCan categorically rejects the construction of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. #GC41" As I read this, I saw error in the tweet - a subtle difference - but an important one... The Commission voted to support the ANCC and BC Native Ministeries Council..." Unfortunately I cannot quote the decision as I do not have the minutes... Alas, a news report has been made by GC41 and you can read it here.
I did not receive complete clarity to my questions, but, it would appear that as soon as a decision is made by a Commission it becomes a decision of the Council.
I continue to remain concerned. Given the world of instant communication we live in, there needs to be clarity in who is responsible for communicating official decision and when. Search Twitter with the phrases "GC41 purple", "GC41 green", "GC41 orange" if you want some examples of how decisions of the 41st General Council have been communicated - almost as gossip? Perhaps not with malice but with incomplete even inaccurate information?.
Gossip was also a topic referred to the Green commission... and there was a much debate - even more time on this topic then on the decision to support the rejection of a pipeline that could affect so many communities in both positive AND negative ways! Eventually the proposal passed with some amendments... and then we moved on to some of the proposed Manual/policy changes...
All of the proposed Manual changes were adopted - but not without some struggle - and laughter! Early in the meeting Cythina Gunn, Legal Counsel for the Church admitted that this was likely the first meeting that she had ever come to without bringing her copy of the Manual... the Chair quipped, "And your sins will find you out."
Its about trust. And this will be a huge issue for the Church as it seeks to adjust to the new simplified Manual and processes. We need to begin to trust one another again. The health of our faith communities will never be sustained by a line in the Manual - but by the relationships we nurture and sustain with one another. This faith community of ours is not about rules and regulations and restrictions and prescriptions. Its about trust and relationship. This true whether we are talking about gossip, the Northern Pipeline, the makeup of Ministry and Personnel Committees the Israel/Palestine issue or most anything else. Trust. Trust God. Trust others. Be in relationship. With God. With one another.
By 11:00 PM I found myself at Mike's with a beer in my hand listening to some music and wearily reflecting on the day... and what a day it was, "On the Sabbath Road..."