08 July 2009

Day One at General Convention

Today (Wednesday) is officially the first day of General Convention, so I felt a bit embarrassed yesterday when I realized I was already tired!

But there was good reason for it. I am the House of Deputies chair of Committee 13, "Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Music," (Bishop Wayne Smith is the chair on the House of Bishops side); and, at this point, some fifty-six resolutions have been referred to our work. I chaired our first meeting, and it lasted four hours. We introduced ourselves. We discussed. We organized. We laughed.

Some of my colleagues were wary of my introductions idea. Since the entire city, and much of the world, were to be entranced with the funeral for Michael Jackson to be held in the next few hours, I asked each committee member to offer his or her impression of "Michael Jackson." I was fascinated by the division of responses.

Some of our committee were great fans of Michael Jackson, at least at some point in their lives. Others claimed to have no knowledge of him at all. My interior point was that we who love liturgy and music in the Episcopal Church really ought to have some impression of a man who did liturgy and music in a new and extraordinary way. Sure, he was a talented and tragic figure. Can we not say the same about most of us? And about the Episcopal Church at times?

After an afternoon of structured introduction and welcome (from the Presiding Bishop, from the President of the House of Deputies, from the leaders of a "public narrative" project, from the House of Deputies orientation team), it was time for a quick supper.

Then, I chaired our committee's first open hearing, devoted to resolutions about a document named "Holy Women, Holy Men." For two more hours, our committee heard very astute and faithful testimony, and then discussed among ourselves how to proceed. We made progress, and this morning we meet again; I hope we can deliver a recommendation to the two houses quickly.

So, I was tired yesterday. But there was good reason for it. The church needs legislative work, and that work takes effort. It pays off when we see the fruit of the spirit around this place. I do see some fruit around here, and that is inspiring!

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