Here’s the big fear I had going into General Convention this year. Because our time together was dramatically shortened to lessen the risk of Covid infections, I feared we might rush through the 425 resolutions. There would be no time for serious conversation. There would be no time to deal with complexity. There would be no time to distinguish between what is important and what is foundational. There would be no time to hear all the diversity of voices in the room. Prayer time would be greatly reduced. There would be little time to listen for the Spirit, no room for the Spirit to breathe.
This fear has not come true. On Saturday the House of Bishops had some of the most profound and productive dialogue in my experience. This is just my limited perspective but I believe people felt heard. There were disagreements that we worked through. Some bishops admitted changing their minds because of the testimony of others! The newly ordained bishops of the last three years (many of whom are female, many of whom are people of color) participated with holy energy that is so very welcome and needed in this community. Several times when there was no consensus, the decision was to wait and come back to the issue instead of having a vote where a resolution would be accepted or rejected by a tiny majority. That was not “kicking the can down the road” but leaving the question open for a while to give subcommittees time to work out a compromise and time for all of us to pray and let the Spirit breathe in us. Last night around 9:30, after deep dialogue about what we are called to do in a highly fractured country, several bishops asked our Presiding Bishop what he thought. As always, he offered holy wisdom and then paused and said, “let me sleep on it.”
We still got a lot done. There are many places where you can find full reports, but here are some highlights:
- With the House of Deputies we made a serious commitment to Racial Equity within our Church and within our society. A plan is in place and substantial financial resources are allocated for it.
- The House of Bishops developed a process that should allow for continuing expansion and inclusivity of our prayers and giving us a structure as to what goes into The Book of Common Prayer (acknowledging that The Book of Common Prayer includes, but is more than, the physical book itself).
There is a growing concern in our country and in Canada about abuse in ”Indian Boarding Schools” run by the Church. The Anglican Church in Canada has, and is, facing this traumatic reality. As is the Roman Catholic Church.
- Today, The Episcopal Church took a major step in committing ourselves to uncovering the truth of what went on in those schools, the continuing trauma in families and doing everything we can to work towards healing.
Those are just a few decisions made today. I could keep going but I need to exercise and pray before another full day. I’m blessed to be in this Church.