Let’s get one things straight from the start: the book isn’t blue.
In fact, this year it isn’t even a book, it’s a whopping 753 page PDF available to all on the General Convention website.
The Blue Book is a the official report of the Committees, Commissions, Agencies, and Boards (CCABs) of General Convention to the General Convention. It has a nice “of the people, by the people” ring to it.
Remember that the General Convention is not only a massive legislative body, it’s also an infrequent one. With hundreds of people meeting only every three years, there’s a lot of work to be done that simply can’t be handled in committee or on the floor during the two weeks we’re together. So we have these smaller bodies that continue to meet and do focused work during the triennium. The people who serve are either elected or appointed depending on the committee. To give you an idea of the range of the CCABs, here’s a few chosen at random:
Joint Standing Committee on Nominations
Executive Council Committee on Anti-Racism
Ad-Hoc Committee on the Study of the United Thank Offering
Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility
Disciplinary Board for Bishops
These CCABs report back on what they have been discussing and working on prior to each meeting of General Convention. Many include with their report resolutions that they have developed (known as A Resolutions). For example, at the last General Convention in 2009, a resolution was passed instructing the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) to develop same-sex blessing rites. In this year’s Blue Book, the SCLM gives a report of the work they did, provides the blessing rites that have been created, and suggests some resolutions, such as A049, which would authorize the trial use of such blessings.
Oh, and this year the color of the Blue Book is salmon. ApparentlySecretary Straub likes it.So what good is the Blue Book? It lets you see what’s happened and it shows you what’s coming. Whether we take the recommendations of the CCABs or not, it’s important to see the work that’s been done, and the proposed resolutions give an idea of the next steps to be taken.