I’m home now and starting to feel normal again. I’ve been reading people’s reactions and questions about what we did and what we didn’t do at General Convention. Most of what I’ve thought about during the Convention I’ve already posted elsewhere, so I won’t go into that here. I do reserve the right to revisit those ideas however as time and distance from these past weeks in Columbus allow a wider horizon and context in which to view them.
A friend asked me to write up a short summary of my thoughts about General Convention, and another suggested I make a list of five things that could be listed in a bulletin…
So, what can I say about General Convention in summary?
- Reconciliation can not happen via a legislative process. But reconciliation is possible for us. Look at the difference between the discussions on the legislative floor where we hurled debating points at each other, but didn’t have the time or the space to listen and carefully respond – and the way the Special Committee, chosen to represent the breadth of our Church, was able to do the opposite. They managed in the course of their two weeks of work to come to a common mind because they came to trust each other and to know each other. That fact is what gives me hope for the Church.
- We have a new Primate for the Church whom I think has just the right gifts for the coming nine years. +Katharine is no stranger to conflict or to controversy, and her background in reconciliation is going to real asset. I’m of course delighted to learn that she is a scientist, comfortable with technology and committed to openness in the Church.
- The Episcopal Church is struggling to find a way forward that will bring as many as possible of us into a place where we can find the healing we need so that we can do the mission work we have been given. I think all of the events of the past week need to be viewed through that perspective.
- We all agreed that what we really want right now is to put the fighting behind us and to focus on things like the Millennium Development Goals. The extraordinary excitement and unanimity about this is stunning.
- There is a great deal of thoughtful and dedicated work being done in the name of Jesus in thousands and thousands of places in the Episcopal Church. We tend to lose sight of that sometimes, but hearing the testimonies that we did at Convention, we were forced to remember that what we were fighting about is something worth fighting for. We Episcopalians are bearers of Good News to people who need to hear and experience it. Don’t let the rhetoric of the loud voices caught up in their struggle let us ever forget that. Perhaps now that the Windsor Process belongs to Canterbury, we can back to doing that work again.
Perhaps you can come up with a different list? I’d love to read them if you do.