"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
Wednesday, July 30, 2003 Today was the first "official" day of Convention (the first day the houses of deputies and bishops were called to order and began organizing themselves and dealing with legislation). Wayne (our bishop) aptly described it as alternating between tedious legislation and infomercials. A pretty accurate description. Things will get more interesting in the days ahead.
Today was also the beginning of our worship life together ... which is one of the high points of a General Convention. You get literally thousands of people together in a room the size of an airplane hangar ... most of them sitting at 200+ round tables so that part of the sermon time can be conversation. The pure scale of it is incredible. Having that many people praying and singing together is nothing short of amazing. Even the shortest liturgical responses roll and echo like waves, and the singing is like being in a giant Cathedral.
But my favorite part is receiving the Eucharist. There are stations all over the hall for people to go up and receive ... and there are lines going every which way that are always moving -- with everyone singing while this is all going on. It FEELS like the Body of Christ -- a living organism with these lines of people like pulsing blood vessels. And in the moments of silence between hymns, all you can hear is the footsteps and the echoes of the ministers saying "the Body of Christ" ... "The Blood of Christ" ... with the words washing over each other.
Friday is my favorite day ... we have the whole morning dedicated to prayer, with meditations by the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies.
As far as newsy stuff ... things are slowly starting to pick up speed. There's a really cool resolution about addressing the whole seminarian debt issue ... that got just eviscerated in committee (they turned it from something that had some really great ideas about debt amortization to a study group that will report back in three years -- thereby delaying any action until then). I talked with Wendell Gibbs (bishop of Michigan and a HUGE friend of campus ministry and young adult vocations) about it and he was going to try to reinsert some guts in it in the House of Bishops (where it is now). If not, I'll try to do the same when it hits our house.
The Title III (ordination canons) changes had their hearing today and Douglas Briggs (whose monitoring it for us) reported that most of the speakers were positive. A few spoke against direct ordination, and there was some other minor wrangling over the reduction of the role of standing committees in the ordination process --- but the the vast majority of people spoke in favor. Now it's up to the committee to figure out how to bring this monstrosity to the floor ... but so far, so good.
Oh ... and Eve will be happy to know that we consented to the election of the new bishop of Nebraska!!
A sad note. Robin called today and said her grandmother (her mom's mom), who is 93, might not make it through the night. SHe has stopped eating ... not even eating ice chips. Robin's mom (Suzanne) is on her way to Indianapolis now to try to be with her. Unless she takes a sudden turn for the better, it looks like I'll have to leave convention in the next few days for a day or two to do the funeral. Please keep the family in your prayers.
Steve Scharre just stopped in .... he's a networking fiend! He just came from the Global Missions reception and has been rubbing elbows with people from all over the Anglican Communion (being the token young person and asking for more money for Young Adult Service Corps). He's really in his element here. He has an amazing gift for connecting with people, and is so honestly and authentically passionate about God and the work he's been doing (and so honestly and authentically unimpressed with bullshit!) that it really makes an impression. It's great having him and Steph here.
Well, gotta be at committee at 7 a.m. so it's time to get some sleep. Be well, everyone. And keep us in your prayers.
P.S. - for those of you who are new to blogging who asked, the "shout out" function is a way you can leave a message in response to what you read -- one that I and others can read.
| Mike at 7/30/2003 11:08:00 PM
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"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."