It could not be clearer. Resolution D016 of the 2012 General Convention states:
"Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That it is the will of this Convention to move the Church Center headquarters away from the Church Center building at 815 2nd Avenue, New York City."
This is a greatly modified and simplified version of the resolution initially presented, which began,
"Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That it is the will of this Convention to move the Church Center headquarters away from the Church Center building at 815 2nd Avenue, New York City, as soon as it is economically feasible;" That resolve was followed by detailed recommendations as to how the process would proceed.
So, for better or worse, the General Convention simplified the matter. It stated the will of convention that the headquarters of The Episcopal Church be moved away from the specific building in New York. Period.
"It is the will of..." is an odd beginning point for a resolution. Does it give more teeth to the matter or less than saying, "The Church Center headquarters must be relocated away from its current building" or "the Church Center headquarters will be relocated to another site within two years of this Convention..."
But however forceful "it is the will" is, the recommendation from Church Center leadership to recommend not following the will of General Convention is itself a push back, a forceful response.
From what I can understand from the lengthy report in The Episcopal News Service (ENS) the counter to the "will of General Convention" is in the argument from the report of Church Center leaders. That report states that,
“the real underlying energy
in examining the location of the church center is less about its
location and more about how it actually functions,”
ENS quotes the report as stating that the desire for relocation “only a mask for the real reform
needed and called for.”
The risk of the report is its audacity in deflecting the matter of "will" and making it a "mask" for some other agenda. It is a risky business to tell the governing body of TEC that its statement of its will is a mask covering over deeper problems.
Executive Council is sometimes thought of as the continuation of the work of General Convention between General Conventions. It is mostly tasked with carrying out the will of Convention, although, granted, it can move beyond the resolutions and instructions from Convention on occasion. But if Executive Council backs away from the clear intent of a resolution of General Convention it will have to do so understanding that the next General Convention may need to readdress the powers of Executive Council itself.
The report from Staff seems very well organized, and I believe they have a strong argument for staying at 815 Second Avenue. The Resolution does not state when the move should take place, and perhaps staff can appropriately argue that given what they have discovered, and given the re-imagining of structure, Executive Council should recommend that Convention should consider again its will in the light of the report and other matters at the next Convention.
However it finally presents its recommendation to Executive Council the report should strike "mask" language and psycobabel abut the "real energy" of the resolution.
Resolutions often have long explanatory pieces attached, but they do not last through the legislative process. Only the resolution passes through to the holy land of the General Convention record. What we have is a clear "will of Convention" statement. Countering that will can involved recommended delay in fulfilling that will, or reconsideration of that will. Executive Council will have to decide at some point what to do with the report from Church Center leaders, perhaps now, perhaps in June. And they will have to decide what to report to General Convention if they expressly counter the "will of General Convention" statement.
This whole think has an edge of the idea that "real policy is to important a matter to be left to the voters" kind of thinking. This voter at General Convention is watching.
Prayers for Executive Council, the Staff, and General Convention. It seems to me the matter of structure is being formed (if not reformed) day by day.