Saturday, July 11, 2009

General Convention, Day Five

While this is not technically my last day of General Convention, it is the last day I'll be blogging about for a bit, primarily because tomorrow will be largely a travel day for me. I will attend the UTO Ingathering and Eucharist tomorrow morning, then head back to my hotel for my airport shuttle and then home. I had a certain sense of sadness as I left the convention center this afternoon--knowing that I would not be attending any more legislative sessions which, though occasionally tedious, have some really bringht spots as well.

This morning at the Community Eucharist, Ray Suarez preached an outstanding sermon saying, in effect, that we need not apologize for who we are and that we as a church have weathered a long series of conflicts over the years and will weather the one about sexuality, too. It frankly made me change my mind about some of the things I've said in previous blog entries regarding the Episcopal Church. Rather than scaling back, I think we need to ask for a committment from each and every perosn in the pews to help us to fully live into the structures and programs that do so much for so many. While there is certainly room and need to focus, it seems like it makes more sense to do a little judicious pruning rather than wholesale limb removal, to use a gardening analogy.

That was the first shoe to drop for me. The second was a long speach by Jenny Te Paa, one of several international guests of House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson. She said, in part, "

"I am a little surprised and saddened that too many Episcopalians are being affected by their sense of loss of face or vulnerability in belonging to the Anglican Communion," she said. "I am dismayed at the extent to which that seems to be prevalent. I don't believe that that is so … it is not how I perceive the rest of the communion regarding the Episcopal Church to be honest." Citing her own province's experience of being the only province to be censured by the Anglican Consultative Council for its constitutional changes empowering indigineous people, she went on toe encourage the Episocpal Church to make the decision it feels in needs to make in terms of its own sense of justice. I was, frankly, stunned. From reports, it would seem that the Episcopal Church is viewed by the rest of the Anglican Communion as stubbornly going our own way in spite of pleas to hold back. From what I head from Te Paa, that is hardly the case with any number of provinces.

I then travelled to the Disney California Hotel for a wonderful Virginia Theological Seminary dinner where I was reminded of how great a seminary it is and how much it also is tied in to the Anglican Communion. I return home acutely conscious not only of the breadth of the Episcopal Church, but the worldwide communion of which it is a part.

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