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"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Plowing The Ocean
If you've been to General Convention, then you know there are at least two "extra curricular" items on your "must do" list (besides shopping the booths). I'm naturally and unashamedly biased about my choices. Others may want to chime in on their favorite before or after hour activities for those who have never experienced this triennial event. Part legislative session, part family reunion, it's what Susan Russell calls, "My big fat Anglican Wedding".
For me, the first is the 'before hour' plenary known as the Triennial Convention Breakfast of The Episcopal Women's Caucus. The second is the 'after hour' Triennial IntegrityUSA Eucharist.
The Triennial EWC Convention Breakfast is held at a most ungodly hour in the morning. Trust me: A 'rubber egg' breakfast is not much better than a 'rubber chicken' dinner. The good news is that, like our own Diocese of Newark Women's Commission Breakfast, the speaker is more than worth the effort of getting up at the crack of dawn to hear (DON folk take note: This year our speaker is the Rev'd Dr. Heather Murray Elkins, professor of Liturgical Arts at the Theological School at Drew University who will speak to us on "Breastplates of Righteousness" You won't want to miss this.)
Bonnie Perry was the Triennial EWC Convention Breakfast speaker for 2003. She absolutely WOWED us in 2003. She was, in a word, amazing. Nedi Rivera was our speaker in 2006 It is an inspirational moment that buoys the spirit to continue the work I have likened unto that of "plowing the ocean."
The Triennial IntegrityUSA Eucharist is held in the evening after a long, hard day in the legislative coal mines of General Convention. The preaching is always inspired but the singing - oh my goodness, the singing! Imagine a congregation - sans choir - singing full throat in four and five part harmony. It's as if the very gates of heaven open up and we are able to listen in on a few cords of the heavenly chorus.
Louie Crew (as if he as nothing else to do, bless his most generous heart) has taken it upon himself to 'convert' the tapes of two of the sermons preached at the Triennial Integrity Eucharist into digitalized versions. Sarah Dylan Breuer has now taken those two digitalized recordings and posted them on her blog.
You can hear Louie Crew's 1994 Sermon, "Welcome to Samaria" here.
You can hear my 1997 Sermon "Our Gift to the Church" here.
I hope we can also get Steve Charleston's 2000 Sermon" Gayle Harris' 2003 Sermon and Gene Robinson's 2006 Sermon posted as well. If anyone has a copy of these or knows how to get hold of one, please do let me know.
You can order a DVD of Gene's Sermon for $12.95 here.
When you listen to these in sequence, they give a snapshot of the of't times frustrating snails' pace of the work of institutional justice. After listening to these two tapes, I can't imagine how anyone is surprised that The Episcopal Church at General Convention confirmed the election of Gene Robinson as the bishop of New Hampshire. Anyone who was surprised by that simply wasn't paying attention.
Plowing the ocean is a apt image for the work of justice - and the work of General Convention. You can hear it all here.
Thank you, Dylan, for your technological skill and wizardry. You have done a marvelous service for the church.