Every deputy or bishop who is keeping some sort of personal account of General Convention (through posts on blogs, reports to dioceses or home parishes, or even facebook) is remarking by now how long the days are. Most of us admit some fatigue. Will Sunday be a day of rest? (Yes: we can sleep a bit later. But there is the grand UTO Ingathering on Sunday morning, followed by an afternoon legislative session).
Yesterday, I was up early, preparing for our 7:30 am committee meeting. We have begun the untangling and review of eleven resolutions having something to do with same gender commitment blessings and/or marriage rites. This work will be complicated, as almost everyone in the church knows by now. Pray for the committee, for the House of Deputies, and the House of Bishops!
As usual, I was barely on time for the 9:00 legislative session. The special order resumed, in which the House of Deputies heard forty articulate and faithful statements about the effects of 2006-B033. All of us have heard most of this material “by title.” We all know the various arguments, justifications, and pain. Still, I was touched by almost every speaker, whether or not she or he was justifying or critiquing B033. Every person on the floor of the House of Deputies has a strong and faithful story.
After the 11:30 worship service, which I am continuing to enjoy, I snuck away for a quick thirty minute lunch, before the lunch meeting I had arranged with a subcommittee of Committee 13 at 1:00. (I can never actually eat while I am leading, or even participating in, a meeting!)
Then, we were back in the House of Deputies at 2:00, for a four-hour legislative session. We glimpsed some of the pain and confusion over the recent election of a bishop for Equador Central. We began to vote, finally efficiently, for trustees of the Church Pension Fund. At one point, a live and lovely pigeon flew over the assembly; actually, I could not quite tell if it was a dove or not.
I forgot to mention that one of our deputation had a serious accident just as the afternoon legislative session was beginning. She fell, and, it turns out, dislocated her shoulder. Another of our deputation, Claiborne Jones, left the floor and accompanied her to the hospital. I spoke to Claiborne later in the evening, and I hope and pray that bodies are mending. I mention this to point out that life –with glory and accident—continues in the midst of General Convention. We adjust. We pray for grace.
In the evening, my committee had no meetings. I attended the Integrity Eucharist, not only because I have so many friends involved there, but also because that worship service really is energetic! We sang some lovely pieces and heard an enchanting Kenyan anthem. Afterwards, I enjoyed a very late and important dinner with two old friends and finally got to bed about 11:30 pm.
General Convention continues to be part “family reunion,” part “county fair,” and part “state legislature.” At our best, maybe we approach “federal legislature!” There is important legislation. But there is also invigorating worship, old friends, new friends, crazy events – and everyone clamoring and claiming a piece of this grand extravaganza. We find some grace, but sometimes it is a bit bedraggled.