I’m still trying to process much of what I experienced Friday.
From a personal level, I got to experience several new things. First I got to sit in on a legislative committee, subbing in for Nora Martinez while she served Communion. She sits on the legislative committee: Church and Society A. They were in sub committees and Nora sat on the economic justice subcommittee. I only got to deal with one petition, the rights of workers. It was an interesting process. The petition was for a Resolution which was not set to expire (nice voted, they’re in effect for 8 years). There were 2 petitions related to the resolution, one to substitute the whole Resolution and one to edit. The subcommittee chose to work on the one that edited the Resolution.
One of the issues powerfully before this General Conference is the reality that we are a global denomination. 40% of the delegates are from outside the US!
The rights of workers petition was awfully centric. It was amended to reference international labor law.
I was able to off a friendly amendment adding back in the encouraging of governments to add enforce laws when employee rights infringed. Amendment passed but we took lunch break before we could act on full petition.
That evening, I was able to sit in on the plenary, powerful worship experience that was an act of repentance for harm, violence, and theft that was done to the indigenous people of North America by colonizers and the United States. Let’s hope it’s only a first step.
On other actions: I’m not clear whether it’s in subcommittee or committee but striking “incompatible with Christian Teaching” made it through to next level. Also, allowing clergy to perform same sex unions failed, but closely enough that it will get brought back up on the floor. Here’s a new fact I learned: in Maryland, if you refuse to perform a marriage for any couple, you could lose your state license to perform marriages (Maryland is a state where same sex marriage is legal). The request was to allow this language to pass so pastors can do their jobs!
I heard, again 3rd hand, that when language about divesting from Motorola, HP, and Catepillar came up, it was amended to read investment. I’m not sure whether that meant in Palestinian companies or not.
Changes to pension plan made it forward, the Call to Action restructuring plan was substituted by Plan B.
Security of Appointment has been removed at the subcommittee level.
Non-residential bishop has been approved at subcommittee level.