LIVE from the Pittsburgh Convention

BB NOTE: I’ve live-blogged the convention which I’ll upload – along with pictures and video – as soon as I find the Starbucks. I’m trying to describe my own feelings right now – both amazement at the courage of this diocese and sorrow that it has come to this. It’s also clear that the divisions amongst the remnant are very deep – it would not be correct to put Jim Simons in the same category of Calvary Church, and that’s an important distinction, though their actions may be similar. Lots of other insights – saw so many old friends here. I think that also is what fills my heart – these friendships, on both sides of the aisle, go back decades. More to come … stay tuned.

LIVE FROM PITTSBURGH – David Wilson, President of the Standing Committee called to order the Convention. The room is packed – standing room only and every inch of open space has a person in it, except for narrow aisles. Mary Hays followed with the invocation. Everyone stands.

THEME: “One Church of Miraculous Expectations of Missionary Giving” – “A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand.”

Now electing a president pro-temp. Jim Simons now have taken the microphone and nominted Jonathon Millard elected unanimously. He is rector of Church of the Ascension.

Jonathon welcomed ecumenical guests and the press. Bishop Duncan is also here on the platform. The convention gave him a rousing applause, very warm. Bob Duncan is here as a member of the Anglican Communion recognized by The Episcopal Church.

Point of Order to call into question the qualifications of the deputies and the chair ruled it was out of order.

Jim Simons asked for a number of the voting delegates. That will be provided.

A rather well-known deputy who knows a version of history just got up and walked rather dramatically to the back of the room, whispered something to someone on the other side of the room, and then walked all the way back up to her seat near the front looking quite purposeful.

Another deputy opposing realignment is now challenging the number of deputies allotted to convention. St. Francis in the Fields Church. There is a motion to seat congregations – with deputies. The chair said that the canons are silent when there is a division in a congregation. On a strict construction of the canons – will defer and deputy may be seated.

A leader of the opposition to realignment and the deputy from St. Francis in the Fields just stepped out into the hall. And now they are back looking serious.

Now another question from the floor – well, that must have been answered rather quickly because that deputy just sat down.

Church of the Savior in Ambridge, Church Planting Task Force is now making a report that four congregations are ready to be admitted to convention.

I’ve learned that the president pro-tem background is as a lawyer. He also has an English accent.

Now there is objection to the four congregations joining convention because the deputy thinks they will vote with the diocese. He’s just making statements.

Another Point of Order about Abstentions – more attempts at stalling. Blank ballots will be accepts as abstaining. The chair writes abstention on their ballot. Joan Gunderson jumped up and then got back down. Whis Hays has now gotten up asking if Abstention is a negative vote, and the chair agrees that an abstention is a negative affect.

The four new churches are now seated into convention.

Now the Adoption of Rules of Order: Amendment for paper ballot. Speaking to it will supply a written record.

A leader of the realignment is now standing in the back of the room and a leader opposing realignment – once allies – got up and their eyes did not meet.

Now we are hearing the reading of the minutes from the last convention.

Now we are hearing objections to the minutes. A deputy has moved to divide the question.

Moving to adopt the minutes as amended but not on the final part. So now they are discussing a final amendment to the minutes. Now the deputy who opposes realignment is speaking to an objection to the minutes – regarding removing a paragraph from the minutes.

Convention struck down the attempt to remove of parts of the minutes.

Now they are taking nominations. Lots of rustling of papers. The chair is quite impressive. Voting now underway for standing committee and other offices.

Deputies are wearing buttons that have a picture of Bob Duncan on them and the words “Still my bishop.”

9:15 Convention Eucharist with the Bishop’s Address

The Eucharist has now begun with the hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” How interesting that the Eucharist comes in the midst of the business meeting. The location of being inside the church really lends to this – from the parliamentary procedures to worship.

Went up for Communion and received the bread from Bishop Henry Scriven and the cup from Jim Simons. The look of recognition washed over his eyes, “where did you come from?” and we embraced at the table, for we are old friends.

This stuff hurts.

The Convention now breaks into District Caucuses. I’m catching up with old friends.

The bell is ringing and the time is at hand.

Voting on Article X – unanimous in both orders

Article I – Gunderson is now raising a point of order; wants to have the proceedings ruled out of order. Chancellor now offering opinion. Article 5 does not apply. Chair accepts advice of chancellor. Chair rules amendments are in order. Becky Spanos is now speaking in favor of Article I. Now we are hearing from a younger clergy, Chris, who is against realignment. We are going back an forth between those who are in favor and those who are not in favor of the amendment. Now Edith Humphrey is speaking in favor of realignment.

Philip Wainwright is now speaking on the con side. He wants to stay in TEC and continue to fight for reformation from inside.

The people gathered are listening very intently to each speaker.

They are now ending debate and preparing to vote.

160 clergy deputies
191 lay deputies (out of a possible 192)

A majority is needed of those present. They are now consulting on how blank ballots should be regarded.

Chair rules that a blank would indicate the number present but it would constitute a no vote

While they count votes, they are now going over the budget.

Passed the budget and are now moving to noon-day prayers.

Bishop Scriven has just made his farewell address.

Mary Hays has now taken the podium and talks about how she is one of the younger members of leadership. “I’m a babe in Pittsburgh,” she says and then realized what she said. The good humor here is amazing, very different than Virginia.

The wrestling has been done with grace, she says. Today we are seated here making this huge decision of immense ramifications with courage and fortitude … and made with prayerful consideration. At this crossroads excited about future, illustrated by the four new congregations established this morning, Mary says.

And then comes the results of the vote:

Clergy vote for Realignment

Total Clergy: 159
Voted Yes to Realign: 121
Voted No to Realign: 33
Abstained: 3

Laity vote for Realignment

Total Laity: 191
Voted Yes to Realign: 119
Voted No to Realign: 69
Abstained: 3

I’m heading out for a press conference led by the one of the dissenters, but not as a group. After that is the Diocesan press conference.

The video-blog is coming.