This summer is the 79th Annual General Convention of The Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas. Deputies from the Diocese of Oregon were elected at our 128th Annual Convention in 2016, and are beginning their preparations for this important time of fellowship and church administration.
Alan Murray, a member of Trinity Cathedral, Portland is one of our deputies, and shares the following reflection on why he is participating in General Convention.
Last September, PBS released a new survey indicating the share of Americans who identify as white and Christian has dropped below 50 percent, a transformation fueled by immigration and by growing numbers of people who reject organized religion altogether. What was striking during the Deputies of Color gathering is that we are still not very well represented across church leadership. There are significant challenges in recognizing and developing leaders among the people of color. Our church is not reflecting the change of demographics in our churches. Our liturgies continue to be very Anglo-Sexton and there is desire to see more cultural sensitive liturgical resources. Many deputies of color are passionate about legislative priorities that fall into the three pillars of the Jesus Movement – evangelism, reconciliation and care of creation.
As a person of color and as a gay person, I see the importance of having my voice at the table. I have received and developed so many gifts all because of how the Episcopal Church has given me the safe space to grow and develop spiritually and I want to offer my gifts back to the church. I love church governance, not for the sake of politics but when we come together as a church when all God’s children’s voices are represented, we are becoming the Beloved Community. Good church-wide policies can shape our future church and how missions are carried out at local level and I want to be part of those decision making process. The General Convention allows me to meet new people across the church, to have new opportunities to network with people and to share resources and best practices. This work is deeply transformational.
And of course, who doesn’t like a good Texan BBQ!