Tuesday, June 23, 2015

An Alternate View: Arrival Day - IT'S ALL GOOD!

Now I'm REAEEEEEEEEEEELLY excited!!!! Upon arrival and our hotel rooms not being available, I was able to grab a mocha frapp and a tasty sausage/egg/cheese sandwich at the Sheraton Starbuck's and head off to the Salt Palace which is Salt Lake City's Convention Center. WOOT!
Panorama of The Salt Palace
I checked in at registration as an alternate. What super-helpful and nice, friendly registration volunteers! There must be thousand (or at least many hundreds) of volunteers for a convention this size and I can only imagine what it must take to get all the details done to get to this final stage in such a large place! THANK YOU to all the many volunteers - those seen and unseen and for all of the preparations underway for the past few years, months, and now days! (I did ask before I took this photo and they said yes :-))
Tons of volunteers. Today, some were training to help legislative committees and groups in various rooms
Next, and got my Virtual Binder iPad. This is what all active floor deputies, chairs, and first alternates have and hold and it contains an amazing intranet with a few apps to examine the Convention Blue Book and amendments and documents. I can't even begin to imagine the undertaking to get such a large convention to the "almost entirely paperless" stage!
Hmmm, it's upside down. Let's just let it stay that way...
Then, I picked up my Media credentials and headed out into the lobby where I immediately met several FABULOUS PEOPLE including the marvelous Secretariat Kory Pacinyak who I follow on Twitter and does a ton of communications.Then, I attended the first #GC78 media briefing. 
Featured speakers were: Neva Rae Fox (Public Affairs Officer), Canon Michael Barlowe (Executive Officer of the General Convention of TEC), Gay Clark Jennings (President of the House of Deputies), and our Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori.

ENS will put out information in tonight's Media Hub, but here are some very general highlights that I can mention:
- We are an international church and will hear many different languages here during GC
- We are a long way from our vision of wholeness
- Almost 900 in the House of Deputies in attendance (I hope I got that right)
- 200 plus in the House of Bishops
- Leaders from several other traditions will be here to share in the good work for the good of the whole that we are doing.
- We are coming together at a particularly tense moment in our nation's history. Deaths, Charleston (and let me insert that I cannot believe this is already a wikipedia link), and Bishops Against Gun Violence were all mentioned. The BAGV will be in a procession for peace this coming Sunday and I do intend to walk with them!
- God is calling us to work to dismantle issues of race and violence
- The PB answered someone's question about how she feels since we are about to elect her successor. She mentioned that it is an enormous undertaking and a privilege to see the church in action and a gift to see what the body decides and that it cannot be predicted in advance. Every time the church gathers, it is a new body and it's engaging new challenges while there will always be some changes that continue to get us - racial reconciliation, violence etc.
- Someone asked about alcohol at General Convention and what might be different or what might people want or expect to see in light of the recent Baltimore incident. Lots of good responses here. It was mentioned that there are always a wide range of responses regarding alcohol usage and there has been appointed a committee to examine policies about alcohol and drug abuse and how we as TEC handle it. There have been many studies, changes, and experiences in the field of addictions in the last 30 years. We want to examine what we do with regards to offering programs and help and how we might approach selection and recruitment and incidents etc.
Afterwards, I entered the exhibits and I'm saving the true run-through for tomorrow and some next week, BUT it looks ASTOUNDINGLY HUGE and I ran into six people I know so now I feel at ease. I also met several new people - I LOVE IT!!!!
Check it out: #EpiscoSwag collection has begun!

Came back to the hotel, got bags, and did a couple of hours of work. This evening, there is an Episcopal Communicators reception, our deputation has dinner together at 8:00 PM and then I get to help pick up a Korean Anglican / Episcopal dignitary from the airport with a friend! :-)
I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!
~ Caroline
PS. THANK YOU, THANK YOU. THANK YOU!! for reading :-)

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