Forward Today: Changing church for a changing world

Evening session in the House of Deputies. Photo: Scott Gunn

Dear friends in Christ,

If you follow news of the Episcopal Church, you will know that leaders from across the church gathered recently in Louisville, KY for our triennial General Convention. Just about 1,000 lay leaders, deacons, priests, and bishops from 16+ nations spent a little over a week deliberating matters important for our common life as Episcopalians.

We also worshiped together and enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new ones in fellowship time. There was much joy.

For the first time, I was dreading General Convention before I went. I was worried that the bitter and angry discourse of our wider cultures would permeate our conversations. But I am pleased and inspired to report that, though at times we sharply disagreed on important things, all the conversations I heard met the standard to which we hold ourselves, to “respect the dignity of every human being.”

Perhaps this is because we spent plenty of time in prayer. It turns out that when we open ourselves to God’s presence, the Holy Spirit really does lead us. It’s a good lesson to ponder.

The President of the House of Deputies, Julia Ayala Harris, asked me if I would take photos for the House of Deputies, since I was sitting there with my camera anyway. I was glad to play my small part in the process, and you can have a look at some photos of General Convention (mostly the House of Deputies) on my flickr album.

Some of my Forward Movement colleagues came to staff our booth in the exhibit hall, and I know they had some wonderful time with lots of folks. We always learn so much when we listen to one another.

But the thing that excited me the most about this convention is our willingness to embrace our calling in a challenging time. We’ve chosen a new Presiding Bishop who has said he will lead our church to realign its resources for the mission God has given us in this time and place, not for an age that no longer exists. We chose new ways of doing things at several points.

It won’t be easy. But the Gospel is never about making our lives easy. Just when we need him, Jesus always shows up. And if we can have the strength and courage to embrace our calling, we can offer our Lord’s saving message of mercy and grace to the whole world.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn's signature

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

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