Monday, June 29, 2009

Saturday, part one (Sean)

Photo by Leo Reynolds

We arrived bright and early for the start of Plenary-IV at 8:45. Once again, many reports ran over, and we held the business until the end of the session. That business was to admit AIWs to the agenda. To touch again on the subject of GA-reform, it is clear to me from the many procedural questions, and even some of the discussion from the Pro and Con microphones, that many delegates arrive to GA without a clear understanding of why they are here, or of how business is conducted in a deliberative body, or, for that matter, of the processes for Social Witness and governance within the movement. I also had a sense that delegates were generally unaware of the burden their actions place on the Association and/or their congregations, a sense which would be confirmed later.

For the record, I voted in favor of admitting only two of the proposed AIWs. Nevertheless, all six were admitted by wide margins. I would guess that, had the committee been allowed to forward more than six (I believe there were nine submitted), we would have admitted all of them.

Running over on time meant that many delegates, ourselves included, left in the middle of worship.

Plenary-V, in the afternoon, thankfully ran mostly on time. There were no early reports, other than the Breakthrough Congregation in Peace Dale, RI. These breakthrough reports all feature a video presentation, and I think the pressure is enormous to keep those to their alloted times; since they are prepared ahead of time, the temptation to keep speaking extemporaneously does not exist.

Not on the agenda, but brought to the floor by a delegation of Iranian-American ministers, was a prayer in Farsi and a call for a moment of silence in support of the people of Iran during the current turmoil in that country.

Doing well on time, the report of the Fifth Principle Task Force, chaired by Denny Davidoff, was moved up from Plenary-VI. I was moved by Denny's report to attend the workshop on this topic, "Status Quo is not an Option," later this afternoon, and I will say more on this in another post.

That took us to the debate and vote on amendments to Article-II of the bylaws, which is a big enough discussion to warrant its very own post, immediately forthcoming.

After Plenary, I attended the Fifth Principle Task Force's workshop, which is also a discussion worthy of its own post, followed by an unrelated session entitled "Does Touch Screen Voting Violate the Fifth Principle?" -- and I plan yet another post on that subject as well. I have lots more writing ahead of me, clearly.

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