GENERAL CONVENTION 2003
approve procedure for Robinson consent
by David Skidmore
2003[ENS] In their first session of convention, the House of Bishops
welcomed new and visiting bishops, and approved procedures for
considering the consent to 10 potential new bishops, including the Rev.
Gene Robinson, bishop-elect of New Hampshire.
Acknowledging the controversy and public interest surrounding Robinson's
election, Griswold said he was recommending that discussion be limited
to a half-hour of table conversation and an hour of conversation as a
committee of the whole, after which the ballots will be distributed to
each table. Only bishops with jurisdiction, meaning in nearly all cases
bishops with oversight of a diocese (an exception is the presiding
bishop who has jurisdiction of the Convocation of American Churches in
Europe) will be allowed to vote. Bishops will be allowed up to an hour
to complete their ballots.
presiding bishop emphasized that the consent process is independent
of the house's regular business and thus is not open to resolutions and
amendments. "There can be discussion, but the decision is [made by]
bishops of jurisdiction marking their ballot," said Griswold.
Although only bishops with jurisdiction may vote, the discussion will be
open to all members of the house, he said.
Moving into executive
session-an option raised by Bishop William
Winterowd of Colorado-does not seem appropriate given the intense
interest surrounding Robinson's election, said Griswold, noting that the
house has time for private table conversations each session. Given the
heightened interest, "there will be a great deal of frustration, to say
the least, if the public were excluded from hearing the conversation,"
said the presiding bishop.
each consent vote is taken, including that for Robinson, the vote
count will be announced by the house's secretary. Later a record of each
bishop's vote will be made available, said Griswold.
-- David Skidmore is
Director of Communications for the Diocese of
Chicago, and a volunteer reporter for ENS General Convention news
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