Technically, General Convention begins July 5, but a lot needs to be done ahead of time in order to be ready. This is what July 4 looked like for me:
Up at 6:45 a.m. to get ready to testify at 8:00 a.m. before the Committee on Christian Formation and Discipleship (the sign-up sheet for people who wish to testify is available 30 minutes ahead of time). I signed up to testify in support of A024 (Forming Culturally Diverse Clergy), a resolution the Association of Episcopal Deacons (AED) has endorsed. But before testifying, a motion was entered to talk about A022 (Create a Formation Networking Team), which would combine Resolution A024 with Resolutions A025 (Bishops and Small-Congregation Clergy) and A026 (Identify Effective Formation Models), and this motion carries. I still testified on the importance of raising up clergy from culturally diverse backgrounds because that is vital, specifically mentioning the work of Escuela Para Ministerios in the Diocese of Oregon. We heard two minutes of testimony from several people. There was a slight divergence between my Task Force on Clergy Leadership Formation in Small Congregation colleagues and my Forma colleagues, but as a member of both, I see that both needs can be reconciled.
While listening to the committee deliberations, I heard that the Committee on Ministry was about to discuss resolutions which AED had also endorsed, so I ran over to that meeting, just in time to sign up to testify on behalf of three more resolutions – A136 (Establish a Standing Commission on Formation and Ministry Development) and C005 (Appoint Task Force to Study Implementation of Canon III.1)/C036 (Create Task Force to Implement Title III, Canon 1 (Lay Ministry)). These are vital concerns to the AED Board.
I then ran back to the first committee and found my name had been called to testify on A055 (Develop Multicultural Ministry Pathways), which focuses on creating more opportunities for underrepresented groups in lay ministry.
By 11:00 a.m. I’d taken more than 5,000 steps, almost entirely within the Austin Convention Center. I then made my way over to the worship area to get training to participate liturgically in the Eucharists (one every day) and special training to serve as the “platform deacon” at the Opening Eucharist, serving with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. (Video of the Opening Eucharist is available here.)
I made my way back to the Exhibit Hall to serve at the AED Booth until it closed at 5:00 p.m. At 5:15 p.m. there was a special Liturgy of Listening for #metoo that was very moving. After that I headed over to the Hilton for the Province VIII Synod meeting (and had to miss out on the Union of Black Episcopalians gala). This meeting is about to end (8:35 p.m.) and I’ll be heading back to my room to get ready for tomorrow (and perhaps catch up on some work left undone). I hope to also spend a few minutes with the Oregon deputation, if that works out.
It’s an amazing experience!