I got a box of new clergy shirts in the mail this afternoon. The FedEx folks stopped by with a mouse for my laptop. I dug my ‚Äúbig‚Äù suitcase out from the pile of stuff in the basement and am starting to plan what needs to be packed. My books and papers are starting to pile up in my office next to the box they‚Äôre to be packed in. I, like a number of people I know, are starting to prepare in earnest for Convention.
More than 2000 people will be leaving home next weekend and traveling to the 2006 General Convention of the Episcopal Church. We‚Äôll be in Columbus Ohio for almost two weeks, meeting in legislative session, caucusing, visiting and learning. And we‚Äôll be working hard the whole time to try to hear what God is saying to this branch of the Church and then respond to that word.
This will be my second General Convention. Last time I went not really knowing what to expect. Lots of people had told me about one aspect or another of Convention, but nothing really had prepared me for the intensity, work-level and emotional drain that it turned out to be.
This time I think I‚Äôm better prepared practically and spiritually. I have a better sense of what to bring along and what to leave behind. And I realize how profoundly I (and probably all of us who will be in Columbus) will need to be supported by prayer.
It‚Äôs an odd thing to realize that the most important thing you need to bring to a national meeting and convention is the prayers of the people you are leaving behind. I wouldn‚Äôt have guessed it as I prepared three years ago. But the level of conversation, the unrelenting press of business and the magnitude of the issues being discussed are such that you can‚Äôt manage it on your own.
Add to this the fact that I‚Äôve noticed that there is a tension present amongst those planning to attend that wasn‚Äôt there last time. A number of deputies have decided not to attend and given up their places to others because they just couldn‚Äôt muster the energy to face the daily stress and raw emotion. I‚Äôm starting to wonder if maybe those who have chosen not to go haven‚Äôt chosen more wisely than me.
This weekend, beginning on the Feast of Pentecost, the entire Episcopal Church is being called to an Octave of Prayer for General Convention. There are prayers and resources posted for use on each of the eight days. Please consider using them. Or use whatever you‚Äôd like, but do pray for us all. I‚Äôve learned over the years how important prayer is for supporting any spiritually minded endeavor. This particular one needs more than most at the moment.
If God‚Äôs will is going to be done by those of us in Columbus, we will do it through the power of your prayers.