Sunday, July 8, 2012

I know why God rested on Sunday

Saturday was so busy that I didn't even have time to blog.  We started at 7:30 and ended about 8:30.  Lunch was the only real meal of the day.  Breakfast was a cup of tea and a Zone bar in the room before the first meeting.  Dinner was cheese sandwich crackers and a glass of water.  But lunch was Jambalaya spaghetti at California Pizza Kitchen.  I think we will be going back there again.  We did end the day in the bar for drinks, food, sharing of information and a lot of laughter.

While it seemed to many who were sitting in the House of Deputies yesterday that we did very little other than nitpick one or two resolutions, the Journal of actions taken indicates we were ripping right through the legislation before us.  We dealt with aid to the Horn of Africa where there is terrible drought, committed the Church to continue interreligious talks, funded covenantal relationships of longstanding with dioceses in other parts of the world, increased funding for mission in general and missionaries specifically.  We voted to financiallly support the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza, restored some funding to Christian formation for youth and children, passed a resolution raising awareness of the ubiquity of human trafficking throughout our geographical area and, finally, elected twelve trustees to the Board of the Church Pension Fund.  There were many other resolutions dealing with changes in both canons and the rules of the House.

You can find all of these reports and the full texts of the resolutions on the General Convention website:

This morning was a no-meeting morning for most of us so we got to sleep a bit later, eat a more leisurely breakfast and then go upstairs in our hotel for the UTO Ingathering Eucharist.  This service is often the highlight of our daily services.  There was a combined choir from three Indianapolis churches - including a children's choir from the Cathedral - brass, organ and tympani.  Oh my!  The music, needless to say, was sublime and marvelously sung/played!  Bishop Katharine preached and celebrated - in English and Spanish alternating.  Her sermon was a call to action based on Ezekiel 2:1-5 - Stand up!  Stand up (and we all did!).  Get out there and go to those impudent and stubborn people.  Let them know there has been a prophet among them.

After church - a congregation of about 2,000 - most everyone went across the street to the baseball field again where the Diocese of Indianapolis set up ballpark food and fun and games for everyone.  There was a chance to be part of an Indy pit crew - I think all one could do is change a tire but I'm sure that was enough! - or play a game and win a prize.  It was still sufficiently hot - a mere 97 degrees - that I returned to the hotel after about an hour.  I do think a good time was had by all and Indianapolis really did put on a fun party.

Suzanne Smitherman and I traded off this afternoon and I spent my time in the exhibit hall.  The first stop was the Church Publishing/Cokesbury store.  The good news is that I got $100 off on my book purchases.  I'll just say that everything was 37% off and let you all figure out the bad news. :-)  I did some Christmas shopping, looked at wonderful stoles and decided I didn't need to spend that kind of money when I already have more than I need  - want being another matter.  There are some beautiful crosses and icons, too.  I may go back for an icon but I think I won't add to my cross collection, particularly since I wear the same one every day.

This evening, our Bishop took all the East Tennessee folks out for dinner.  Now, you are thinking that this would just be the 8 deputies and three alternates.  But there are three young adults here for the Young Adult Festival and two ladies here for the Triennial meeting of ECW.  Gordon Brewer is here for Episcopal Appalachian Ministries, Stephen Askew and Vikki Myers are here from Diocesan staff and Claire Keene and Ben King - along with year-old Fred - are here with their spouses.  So we were a room full of people.  And now we are people with no room left!  It was a wonderful dinner - other dioceses kept stopping in to visit and see what all the hilarity was about, I guess - with good food and fabulous company.  We did laugh a bit, I confess.

So it's off to bed at a reasonable time - 11:00.  Tomorrow begins with switching seats with Cal Calhoun at 7:15 (we take turns having a day off) before both of us head for committee meetings.  At the moment, it is only a four meeting day for me, ending with the Integrity Eucharist, another highlight of every General Convention.

Peace to you all.  Please know that we in the East Tennessee deputation are dedicated to the cause of re-imagining General Convention; new ways to do what needs doing with a fresh emphasis on The Great Commission to go forth and spread the Good News to all the world.  What will that look like?  None of us knows but many of us here are determined to step out in faith and see where the Spirit will lead us, letting go of everything so that we can discover what is really necessary and what has just become "what we have always done before."

Good night!

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