Dear friends in Christ,
As I write this, I am on a plane on my way home from the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, where I was honored to serve in the House of Deputies. Normally, I would have spent some time in a Forward Movement booth in the exhibit hall, too, but the convention was downsized and shortened this year due to the pandemic.
I’m still mulling over the results of convention. We acted on over 400 resolutions. If you’re curious what all happened, you can read a quick summary of the convention over on the Episcopal News Service. And I was one of the photographers for Deputy News, and I posted some snaps on my Flickr album.
A couple of quick thoughts come to mind. I wish we spent more time and energy considering how our church can more fully carry out the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. We need to do this not because our churches are in decline, but because the Good News of Jesus Christ can transform lives and change the world.
There was plenty of Good News at the convention, however. I always marvel at our democratic process for making decisions as a church. Lay people are essential—and involved—at all levels of church governance, along with bishops, priests, and deacons. In our deliberations, there was careful listening even when we disagreed.
It was a joy to be together, even for a brief time, with people who are united in their passion to make our church better. Our vision of what “better” looks like might differ, but each person is there because they love the church and the Lord Jesus.
Sometimes people say General Convention is disconnected from the lives of our congregations. If you only look at the content of some of the resolutions, that might seem true. But General Convention manifests something essential about our identity as Episcopalians: we believe that the Holy Spirit still works in the church, and we believe that lay people, bishops, priests, and deacons together discern where the Spirit is calling us to go. That charism is true at the churchwide level, at the diocesan level, and in our congregations.
Let us give thanks for the Spirit’s work. And let us pray for the grace and courage to be even more open to the winds of the Spirit and the winds of change.
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