Tuesday, June 27, 2006

General Convention Thoughts, Part One

I know, I know. My adoring public has waited anxiously for me to post since leaving for the Episcopal General Convention 2006. I did intend to post during GC, but I was always just too tired! Here are some initial thoughts:
The process is, well, to me, VERY FRUSTRATING! To veterans of GC (this was my 1st time), they just smiled and laughed and nodded, knowingly. It is a legislative process, with committees assigned "legislation" (resolution) to work on, hold hearings on, amend or change or recommend discharge, etc. The committees meet every day, early and late. They debate resolutions assigned to them amongst themselves, and they schedule hearings where anyone can sign up to speak to resolutions. These hearings are posted daily so you can track resolutions you are interested in and be at those committee hearings, speak if you desire, etc.
Our deputation had 7 of 8 deputies assigned to committees, three of them as vice-chairs. We rock! Those of us not on committees were free agents and divided up to follow different resoltuons. I focused on the Evangelism committee and also committee 26, who had the very difficult task of dealing with Windsor Report resolutions.
The committee work is ok, sometimes a struggle but a good way to have different voices heard. It's the House of Deputies floor stuff that drove me insane! When you have over 800 deputies on the floor at once, with a high percentage of large egos, it can get nuts. Obviously there are some people who feel no resolution is worth anything if THEY don't get up to address it. There are others who gleefully wait for their turn at the mic to "move the question" - and thank God for them! I got so tired of debate where people just said the same things over and over and over - look, if your thought has been addressed - KEEP IT TO YOURSELF! The other frustating part was when people would propose amendments that drastically changed resolutions, instead of doing so at committee hearings.
Again, the process is difficult for me. But maybe that's just me.

In addition to that, the other enlightenment was for me to see how much time we spend majoring in the minors. Everyone's pet issue is addressed. Often it's hard to see a connection between one more resolution on global warming and how the Mission of Christ is to be addressed by our church. I missed hearing a lot about Jesus. Instead I heard a lot about Iraq and reperations and environmental waste from Katrina (more on that later) and on and on and on. For instance, the Liturgy and Worship committee had 50 resolutions to deal with. Some of them on some important stuff. Yet on the HoD floor deputies wanted to spend time debating the appropriate date for the feast day of Thurgood Marshall - GO TO THE COMMITTEE MEETING FOLKS and talk about that. Sigh.

The most exciting part of GC was the announcement and then reception of the new Presiding Bishop, The Right Rev. Katherine Jefforts-Schiori. I will have more to say about her election, and the really disappointing behavior of certain bishops in the voting, but for now I can say the Spirit was really alive in the room as the election results were announced and SHOCKED all of us. I don't know her well, or know much about her, so I will withold any judgement of her. Bottom line, she won - and although some intended her election for ill, God, I pray, intends it for good. I heard that line in the Bible.....

More later, friends.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

My Hero

It's not that often in life when the "rest of the world" actually gets to see and understand what you already know. But that happened in the life of my family this week.
My LW was honored as the Hero of the Week by our local TV station. They have been selecting folks each week for acts above and beyond the call of duty during and after Hurricane Katrina (or as we call it "the storm". We almost never say the name of it down here).
My LW is an RN and lost her job from the storm. She had been on enough Honduras medical missions to know how to setup and run a medical clinic, so with our Bishop's permission, she did so. Beginning in a school gym (where we now hold church) without walls and missing some roof, she took some donated meds and with the help of some medical folks who showed up out of nowhere (initially from Virginia and from Meridian, MS), they got busy. They saw 350 patients the 1st day!
A web of docs and other medical personnel from all over the country was soon established - I cannot even describe to you how MUCH she was on her cell phone every day and night coordinating the army of volunteers. They came from everywhere and each of them was deeply touched by the work. When the free clinic was finally merged into a local clinic that she helped setup nearby, they had seen over 22,000 patients for free medical and mental health care. It was an amazing operation, truly amazing.
I am proud of my hero - I hope you are too. To see the video just go to here.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Back Briefly

Returned from D.C. Wednesday night. 6 adults and 31 teens! We stayed at the National Cathedral and did a "pilgrimage" there Sat. nite. Had the place to ourselves, it was pretty cool. It's an awesome cathedral (duh). Attended church there on Sunday, then we went to the National Zoo for a few hours. It was WAY TOO HOT and WAY TOO CROWDED. From there to Union Station where we took a trolley tour called Monuments by Moonlight. It was awesome. Our guide, Sooner Steve, was the best. We saw so much but as the evening wore on the kids kinda faded. It was a great tour though.
Monday morning (Memorial Day) we split into 3 groups for some service work. My daughter and I took the senior high kids to serve breakfast at So Others May Eat. We left at 620 am. Worked hard and served over 350 folks. Had a good time, I was proud of all of them.
Monday afternoon we did shopping / bowling / movie. Got home late and played some games (gargoyles is a fav of this bunch).
Tuesday was our final day. We went to the National Mall and split into groups based on interest. My group did the Holocaust Museum - it is an amazing and sobering place. I highly recommend it. We also did Air and Space (I loved it). Others did Natural History and Art Museum.
THat night we drove to Baltimore and took in Camden Yards, watching a great game b/t Orioles and Tampa. The kids loved it and we had perfect seats.
Wed. we flew back home and SLEPT a while!
Our Pentecost service was wonderful, with a baptism of the sweetest baby! We had our "traditional" Pentecost picnic and shared it with the wonderful volunteers of Camp Coast Care.
In between returning from DC and Sunday, I drove to Jackson for a GC2006 meeting (I am an alternate deputy), then after church drove an hour to do some family stuff with the LW's family. On the road tooooo much, for sure. I leave Sunday after church for General Convention and will post thoughts from there as often as I can.......