6/16/2018

The expansion of Presidential (House of Deputies) powers...why?


The General Convention will meet in a few weeks to consider a wide range of legislation. Among the items to be considered are the following:

A059 on the duties of Deputies, which proposes, among other things that "4. Deputies shall serve as a conduit to their Dioceses of any items of importance disseminated by the President of the House of Deputies until such time as their successors are elected."

A099 proposes this addition at its close: "The President of the House of Deputies may, from time to time, assemble the House of Deputies of this Church to meet as a House of Deputies, and set the time, place, and manner of such meetings."


A028 proposes "that this General Convention authorize and direct its Executive Council to fix a salary for the President of the House of Deputies as an officer and agent of the Council and as an agent of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society [DFMS]"

The President of the House of Deputies will, if these three pieces of legislation pass, have considerable new duties, powers, and a salary to go with it.

The proposed power to assemble the House of Deputies is without qualification. The President of the House of Deputies will be empowered to call for such a meeting at will.

The proposed additional duties of Deputies will include the duty to act as a conduit to disseminate items of importance determined by the President of the House of Deputies.

These two pieces of legislation give the President of the House of Deputies the right to call meetings and to require as a matter of duty, that Deputies act as a conduit of such matters as the President may wish to disseminate.

No wonder it is being proposed that the President of the House of Deputies receive a salary! It will be hard work pulling together the House of Deputies meeting separately from the House of Bishops, and harder still to get deputies to act as a conduit for information from the President to the Dioceses.

These new duties and powers make the notion of a General Convention a farce. General Convention is a two house thing. And for normal purposes that should suffice.

The argument that the House of Bishops meets outside convention, so why not the Deputies is bogus. The House of Bishops conducts some business in its separate meetings, but those items are in line with specific canonical responsibilities of the House. There is no specific responsibilities of the same sort for the House of Deputies.

We are, it seems to me, an Episcopal Church, not an Assembly of Representatives. Bishops may represent their Dioceses as bishops, but more they are together share episcopal oversight of the Church. The two houses are not the same.

More to the point, the aggregation of powers, duties to the President of the House of Deputies, and the salary to go with it, would make that office the head of a separate and parallel agency of the Church along side the College of Bishops. This is a bad idea. Bad theologically, bad practically, bad in terms of polity.

And why should we do it?

The only skin I have in this game anymore is opinion and an abiding love for the Church. I'm not a voting member of General Convention. This is the first convention since 1969 that I have not attended (although I didn't go for more than one day in 1973, having been so discouraged by what I saw happening then). If I were there I'd push to have all three of these legislative propositions defeated. And so I think should the members of both houses.

6/11/2018

What gives? And why? Salaries for PB and other executives in The Episcopal Church.

The salaries for the Presiding Bishop and other executives of the Episcopal Church are posted online for our information. The big five are as follows:

"Presiding Bishop 291,832
Chief Financial Officer  235,448
Executive Officer  213,282
Chief Operating Officer 204,000
President, House of Deputies, Volunteer"

The designation of the PoHD as "volunteer" is really misleading. The PoHB is unpaid, not volunteer. That person may, among several persons, have volunteered to serve. These persons were then candidates for election. But the PoHD was elected by the House of Deputies. That distinction makes it not a matter of personal will alone, but community decision. 
 
A good deal of discussion has gone on regarding a resolution to pay the President of the House of Deputies (PoHD) a salary. The resolution (A028) if passed would require further determination of actual pay and benefits for the PoHD, but up to $900,000 has been earmarked for that from the three year budget proposed at General Convention.

The total paid out per year for the the four already paid, plus something like $250,000 to $300,000 for the PoHD, brings in the annual salaries of these five (if PoHD is funded) at roughly $1,200,000 per year. 

Leading up to the 2015 General Convention there was a study done to "re-vision" the church. While it can be argued that the current Presiding Bishop has re-visioned the Episcopal Church as "a branch of the Jesus Movement," the more prosaic re-visioning has not been as dramatic.  This resolution expands the number of paid chief executive officers soon after the effort was made to reduce the bureaucratic bloat. 

Perhaps a better way to approach the issue of appropriate payment for the DFMS chief officers would be to have a line item for paying chief corporate officers, and let the Executive Council,as the Board of Directors, determine how to use the funds.

From out here in the small town on the bay, by the big water, I fail to see just why the Presiding Bishop ought to receive $290,000 a year or just why we need both an Executive Officer and a Chief Operating Officer, or why the rather sizeable support staff doesn't reduce the work load for the PoHD, thereby making the argument for paying the PoHD upwards to $300,000 a year a bit of a reach (that being the budgeted "outside figure" being proposed).

But I can say this: From here it may smell like the Episcopal Church, but it doesn't smell much like the Jesus Movement.



6/10/2018

Deputies and Bishops, vote NO on A099: Who needs this?

A099 proposes this addition at its close: "The President of the House of Deputies may, from time to time, assemble the House of Deputies of this Church to meet as a House of Deputies, and set the time, place, and manner of such meetings."

This is a bad idea. 

In the first place, assembling a meeting of the House of Deputies is costly, and the budget is already getting bloated by the same excesses of administration that, in part, led to the need for a full review of the work of the national structures of the Episcopal Church. (What ever happened to that?)

In the second place, the House of Deputies as a house exists only at General Convention. Between Conventions Executive Council carries the work of General Convention forward. No matter what the intent, the reality is that the temptation will exist for interim meetings of the House of Deputies to speak its mind on issues, and sometimes counter to the work of the various committees of Executive Council and General Convention. The House of Bishops needs to be reminded at times that its meetings are, with the exception of areas where that House acts alone, are a gathering, not a formal meeting of the House.  During the time between conventions, the Presiding officers of General Convention do not act in that capacity, but as officers of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and Executive Council. 

In the third place, the notion that the President of the House of Deputies can call such meetings and setting the time, place and manner of such meetings, is a massive reach for new powers by that office.

This thing involves the creep towards governance by the membership of both houses, with agendas set by their own officers,  and not by the instruments of Executive Council and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. 

Don't do it.

6/04/2018

Diocese of Haiti elects Delicat bishop coadjutor



The Very Reverent Joseph Kirwin Delicat, Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral, Port-au-Prince, has been elected bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Haiti.
 

On the second day of voting, June 2, 2018, Dean Delicat was elected by a majority of both lay and clergy delegates on the second ballot of the day. This followed five inconclusive ballots on Thursday, May 17th. The report of the first day can be found HERE.

An official announcement was made today. Episcopal News Service posted it this afternoon HERE.

"The Ven. Joseph Kerwin Delicat, dean of Holly Trinity Cathedral in Port au Prince Haiti is elected bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Haiti during the electoral convention of June 2, 2018, convention held at the nursing school of the University Episcopal of Haiti in Leogane, Haiti.

Pending the consent process, Ven. Joseph Kerwin Delicat will succeed the current bishop, the Rt. Rev. Jean Zaché Duracin who is retiring after serving the diocese as its bishop since 1994.

The ordination and consécration is set for Saturday, January 5, 2019."

It was signed "For Ecclesia, Rev. Dr. Kesner Ajax, Chair."

The Ven. Fritz Bazin, of the Diocese of Southeast Florida, wrote,

"The people have spoken" There is, he says," no question as to the validity of the procedures...The votes are there, stating the choice of the majority of delegates. Their participation in this exercise is an example to the nation that in spite of the protest of those who felt that the elections should note take place,which is their right,the majority has decided."

He reported the final vote as follows:
 

"Clergy vote:
87 clergy
Bernier/11
Delicat/51

Lay vote111
Bernier/14
Delicat/59"

Bazin writes, "The time should now be for reconciliation and planning the future...As soon as possible retreats and conversation towards reconciliation should start. It is our hope that the newly elected coadjutor will be ratified. Then the church of Haiti will move on a new path guided by The Holy Spirit.

Prayers,lots of prayers! Better days are coming!"

A number of votes were voided, but the final majority in both orders were for Delicat.

The Episcopal Church of Haiti continues to grow in strength and its ministries are increasingly vital to the future of the country.



5/31/2018

Diocese of Haiti in Process of Electing a Coadjutor Bishop

And, as far as I can tell, no one in Episcopal / Anglican land thinks it is worth noting.

The calendar of events in The Episcopal News Service has no current note of the fact that the second round for the election of a Bishop Coadjutor for Haiti will take place this Saturday, June 2, 2018. Google search gives no reference for this except the "event calendar" from the Episcopal Church Center, which has not been updated to include the June 2 date, the Diocese of Haiti calendar which includes the June 2nd date as a possibility, and my last post .  That post is mostly unread.

So, why does no one seem to think it worth noting?  

The Episcopal Church in Haiti is one of the largest dioceses in The Episcopal Church.  It is a vibrant church in difficult circumstances. The next bishop of Haiti will probably carry the Diocese forward into some sort of union with other Caribbean area dioceses to form a province within The Episcopal Church, and may return Haiti to its former status as a fully independent diocese in the Anglican Communion. 

The Diocese has a much greater congregational population than the whole of the Diocese of Chile, which is in the process of determining to become a Province of the Anglican Communion.  

So why isn't its election process even newsworthy enough to warrant even a small story in the Episcopal / Anglican news world? 

What gives?

Let those who pray and work and give for the life of the Church in Haiti, which apparently is mostly people OF that Church, pray for a completion of the election process on Saturday, June 2nd., for mutual respect and forbearance among electors, and for a good transition to the new episcopate there.