In 2004 I was asked by members of St. Columba’s, Kent if they could nominate me to be a deputy to General Convention, to be held in 2006 in Columbus, Ohio. At the time I had no real understanding of what I was agreeing to, and remained unfortunately ignorant for awhile.
I was elected as the 4th Lay Alternate, which is the last in line. As 4th Alternate I was only supposed to be on the floor of convention and voting if four out of the eight people elected before me were unable to be there.
As a way to ensure that my trip was worthwhile and to save money (the Diocese of Olympia can only provide financial support for the regular deputies and the 1st alternate) I joined with the Young Adult Festival. I was excited to get a look at convention from the outside and meet other young adults interested in the national church.
Then the unexpected happened. One of our lay deputies fell ill the day before General Convention officially began. His doctors insisted he return home immediately. Normally his seat would go straight to the 1st Alternate, and if she was unavailable the 2nd, then the 3rd. However, by chance of scheduling I was the only Lay Alternate in Columbus for the first two days of convention, and before we knew what was happening I was registered and sitting on the floor trying to figure out how to work my giant 400-page legislative binder.
It was an honor to sit on the floor on convention, if only for a short time. I had a wonderful time with the Young Adult Festival, and most importantly I figured out how to survive 10 days at General Convention while only paying for two meals.
Originally I was going to be out of the country for most of 2008, and felt it did not make sense to run for the 2009 General Convention. However, life goes in ways we do not expect, and suddenly I found myself at dinner with a good friend a week before Diocesan Convention agreeing to let her nominate me again.
I was so late to the game, my information was not included in the regularly distributed papers and my name had to be written in on the ballot by the voters. I was running against individuals who have been going to General Convention for years. But somehow I made it: elected as 3rd lay deputy. I was overwhelmed by my experience in Anaheim in 2009. I kept a daily blog called “Slouching Towards Anaheim,” which has been archived here.
After the excitement in 2009, I knew I wanted to run for General Convention again. This time my name was on the ballot, and I had two conventions of experience under my belt. What I did not expect was being elected to the deputation by the highest margin of all the candidates, and being named head of the deputation. I was honored that the people of my diocese had so much faith in me, and was proud to be the youngest person holding one of the special voting machines reserved for the deputation heads.
This time I feel like an old pro, elected 4th lay and happy to be a regular old deputy again. There’s a good chance this will be my last convention for awhile, and it should be an exciting one.