I think it's Thursday. Morning. The House of Deputies is in session, plowing through some sixty-plus pieces of legislation left on the docket.
They've done some amazing work in the past few days, including the authorization of the development of liturgical rites of blessing, overwhelmingly approved a difficult and, at times, contentious budget, and unanimously approved a plan to re-image and restructure the church.
There was a bit of drama - what would General Convention be without a bit of drama? - when the deputation from South Carolina read a statement of protest about the blessing of same-gender covenants and all but two walked off the floor. They left one clerical and one lay deputy to make certain that we all understood that they were not leaving The Episcopal Church.
The language that was finally adopted reads, "that a pastoral response to The Episcopal Church, the General Convention declined to take a position on the Anglican Covenant at this convention".
I understand the politics. Honestly, I do. But, I think the statement is inherently dishonest.
We could have easily said "no" to the Anglican Covenant in the House of Deputies.
I think we could have even released ourselves from being held hostage from a very few purple shirts in the House of Bishops and let our 'yes' be 'yes' and our 'no' be 'no'.
The folks on the legislative committee, however, chose to be careful. I keep hearing a line from the Sondheim play, Into the Woods, "....and I was so careful, I forgot how to care...."
I don't know when "pastoral response" became synonymous with "weak" and borderline duplicity. We kicked the can down the road on this one, sacrificing a great chunk of our integrity on the altar of expediency.
I can't imagine that our friends around the Communion can't see right through this one.
Given the other acts of courage in which this convention has engaged, this one is an embarrassment.
|Gay Jennings, PHOD|
The remarkable thing about that was that it was a little more than a 24 hour..... "campaign".... if you can even call it that. No buttons. No flyers. No political speeches. He just put his name in and, a little more than 24 hours later was overwhelmingly elected on the second ballot.
I couldn't be more pleased with our election of Gay Jennings as PHOD and Byron as VPHOD. I can't imagine the feeling is mutual over at 815.
In the midst of it all, there have been conversations - some passionate and heated, some low key and funny - and intense lobbying and delightful reunions and unexpected, unplanned events.
Like....one young Trans-man who learned about the impromptu Baptism and Eucharist at the beginning of GC at which I was honored and delighted to preside, asked if he could be baptized.
|The Hon. Byron Rushing, VPHOD|
It was lovely and funny and painfully honest and emotional and powerful.
While the rest of the General Convention was talking about new structures, some of us were busy creating new Christians.
I'm inclined to say that these are the new faces of The Episcopal Church, but that wouldn't be exactly correct. These faces have always been here. We are, just now, moving them from the corners and shadows of invisibility and acknowledging and celebrating their presence among us.
We are "making all mean all" in terms of Baptism and Eucharist and full access to the corridors and councils of the church.
It's been a bit like entering into the whirlwind of the Holy Spirit, who breaks down nice, neat, tidy human constructs of race and gender and age and class status and sexual orientation and ethnicity and intellect and physical ability and makes us one.
I suppose that's why I'm not really certain of the day. It's not so much exhaustion and sleep-deprivation as it is the work of the Holy Spirit.
It's today. A new day. A new beginning. The present. A gift.
What a blessing!