Wednesday, July 11, 2012

fun in the House of Deputies

 There are many serious articles about the serious work being done at General Convention.  You can read official church posts here:  I am, therefore, going to avoid that repetition.  There are other equally interesting things going on here. 

Dress Like Gregory Straub Day, for example.

Dress Like Gregory Straub Day includes the wearing of bow ties and an astonishing assortment of jackets.
His opening attire (if I have the date correct), was a jacket specially made for the occasion, a blazer in black and white checks in a nod to the Indy 500.  

GC Secretary Gregory Straub's wardrobe brightening up deliberations in the House of Deputies this week
However, the Secretary is not the only one whose sense of color brightens the House of Deputies.  There is also a tradition of decorating the delegation table pole on which is written the name of the diocese.  Maryland, for example, has a large stuffed crab sitting atop theirs. 
The empty  House of Deputies early this morning while I was delivering paperwork during a volunteering shift with Print Distribution
The Diocese of Central Florida wins the decoration prize this year, I think. In any case, they are certainly the easiest to locate on the floor! 

But here is the best, something that intrigued me as I heard little references here and there, and even a nod to it by President Bonnie Anderson herself.

An excerpt from :
Deputies play ball — Bonnie Ball

The members of the House of Deputies conduct the business of the church in an aura of parliamentary collegiality every day. Behind the scenes, however, there is intense competition. A number of the deputies are engaged in a convention-long game of Bonnie Ball.

Participants are able to collect points for engaging in activities or having certain experiences in the course of the participation in the House of Deputies. There are 28 possible ways to earn points. For instance, a member of the house can earn 10 points if he or she has to be reminded of the “decorum of the House” or if one tries to make up a new parliamentary rule or procedure (such as a “friendly amendment”). Fifteen points are earned by a deputy who mentions Bonnie Ball while addressing the chair.

Each day of the convention constitutes an inning and thus the game consists of eight innings.

The Rev. Canon Gregory Straub, the church’s executive officer and secretary of the General Convention, holds a commanding lead of 50 points. His closest competitor is Massachusetts Deputy Samuel Gould with 27 points.

The origins of this moveable feast of point gathering are secret, the Rt. Rev. William White, first bishop of Pennsylvania, told ENS via e-mail July 11.

White, who served as Pennsylvania bishop from Feb. 4, 1787 until his death July 17, 1836, is the umpire of Bonnie Ball. The ump’s/bishop’s comments on the play, along with the comments of some players, are here (

“And I can tell you that we are having a hoot of a good time knowing that others are as well!” White wrote.

The Bonnie Ball website urges players and fans to make a donation to Episcopal Relief and Development’s NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund.

To see the website and catch the latest scores, go to the website and check out the current standings of the players.

Just for the record, I have to say that Bonnie Anderson is amazing. She keeps her cool and her sense of humor even when there is an amendment to the previously amended amendment and someone calls for a vote by orders. Wait, what page of what calendar on what date on which resolution, again?  Pray for her, give thanks for her service during these (six?) years, and pray for the new president who will take over at the end of this Convention.

Bonnie Anderson, outgoing President of the House of Deputies
Pray, too, for all the deputies (and bishops) who are working so hard and getting so punchy as they try to complete this year's legislative work in record time. 
singing our prayer in the House of Deputies today
May the Holy Spirit bless them, guide them, and continue to give them the gift of holy laughter when they need it.

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