Yesterday was quite the hectic day, so I didn't get a chance to sit down and blog about what was happening. Most of my attention was focused on giving the report of the Commission for Women and working with the special advisory committee on Church Order and Governance. I suspect that if I have time, I'll be reflecting on those things today as well. The big thing that is going on, however, is the approval of the appointment of Tom DeVries as General Secretary.
The way that this appointment was presented by the GSC was interesting. By interesting, I mean unhelpful. They chose to present the process in great detail, but no information at all about the candidate himself. Those who had interest in the process had more than ample opportunity to learn about it on the RCA website, through the many communications that were sent out about it, from their GSC representatives, and in the General Synod workbook. Yes, yes, I realize that there are a bunch of delegates who have not prepared in the least and didn't look at the workbook, let alone other supporting materials, before they sat down at their tables. But the fact remains that it was possible to learn all about the process before Synod. There was also opportunity to learn about Tom's background, which was published in RCA Today and on the website, and which anyone with an internet browser could easily find online.
What delegates did not know, and could not know unless they were in a position to speak directly to him, was the answer to several questions that were floating around. It's strange to me that it didn't occur to those planning this discussion and vote that people would want to know the candidate better, or that we would have questions that we needed to ask to feel that we had been diligent in our work. So, finally, this morning, Tom had an opportunity to speak about some of these issues.
I had an unfair advantage in all of this, I suppose. To be honest, when he was nominated, I was fairly irate. I did some internet searching to learn more about him, and I wasn't pleased with what I learned. I was dissatisfied with the answers I was getting from GSC and the search committee. I was ready to go to battle against his appointment. But then I actually met with him, and much to my surprise, I can work with him. I was impressed by many of his answers. We don't agree about everything, and he's not as proactive about some things as I might like him to be, but he brings other tremendous gifts to this position. One of them is that he can deal with nosy, suspicious, irritable, opinionated people like me - and if we can work together, I think there is pretty good hope for the RCA with him as General Secretary.
As it happens, the appointment has just been approved. I am curious and hopeful as I look toward how the character of the RCA will develop in the coming years.