Yesterday began with my first ever meeting of the House of Bishops at Convention. We began with a roll call of all of the bishops eligible for entrance into the house. I got to the meeting shortly after the roll call began and it took me a minute to discover how the list was being read out. Not alphabetically, not geographically, but by consecration order from the senior bishop eligible to the newest. I was not late for my name and in fact I was able to hear the names of many bishops I have known in the past. While for many this was a simple detail for me it was important to add my, “here” to the list. We are indeed all here!
Next we experienced our first convention Eucharist. Imagine a big hotel ballroom filled with Episcopalians! It was wonderful and the Presiding Bishop’s sermon was a blessing! I understand that the text is available online. Our hymn at the offertory was from the Hymnal, number 597. I wonder if anyone knows why it was special to me?
The day continued with a committee hearing then our first real delegation meeting. The work has begun in earnest now and it will become difficult now to keep from getting tired. My thanks to my good wife Marla for her suggestion that we take breakfast cereal to have in our room in the mornings, this way I can remain in the room getting ready until just before the first event of the day! What a small thing and yet so important to keeping a handle on this amazing and challenging event called General Convention.
The afternoon and evening were filled with committee and legislative meetings. Things are not business as usual. The convention seems to be very interested in structure, how we do the work that we do, and in the vision that drives the work we are about. The question is how do we structure for mission?
Another part of this convention is the conversations we have with those we see only occasionally. One example: a young priest I have known since he was in high school testified about a very important issue. What an amazing moment, to hear him speak with power and authority, while also being vulnerable.