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The Killer B's at General Convention

Bishop Mark Beckwith addressing the House of Bishops. DIANA WILCOX PHOTO

Buildings, budgets, boilers and boards. These killer B's, which always seem to bring their own sense of urgency, have the capacity to take over an organization's focus, and distract it from its mission.

A unique strain of killer B's has infiltrated this General Convention.

There is a growing consensus that the way we have organized our church and the process of setting up a budget needs to be reformed. Given the press of business that we are facing, there is a temptation to reform the budget and board process one resolution at a time. We will receive over 300 resolutions from 16 or so different committees -- which include structure, social and urban concerns, ministry, liturgy, constitutions, evangelism, stewardship and others. Each committee has to deliberate on 20 or so resolutions, many of which have budget implications. And each resolution helps to shape the overall mission of the church.

It is a lot to take in. And a lot to put out -- in terms of decisions and direction for the next three years of church life. The budget committee of General Convention needs to send a budget for the next triennium to the printer by Monday noon, so a joint session of Deputies and Bishops can vote on it on Wednesday afternoon.

We have inherited a process that worked reasonably well for many Conventions. It is not working so well now. Most people here recognize that. We will change some things as we go, but deep change -- which I think the Holy Spirit is beckoning us to do, will require a bit more reflection and time -- and invites us into more audacious faith.

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