Thursday, July 09, 2009

Looking for Jesus at GC

Today was a bit slow, but the beginning of all the legislative processes takes time - excruciatingly long time. There were two legislative sessions, that didn't do much, and 3 sessions of committee hearings and meetings, where the real work gets done of preparing resolutions, hearing testimony, etc. before the resolutions get to the floor.
The Mississippi deputation is in the 2nd to the last row from the back - LONG way from the dais and all the "power" players. On the same row we can lean over and throw things at the Rev. Cal Calhoun, who is from Mississippi but now serves in East Tennessee. HEY CAL!
General Convention is huge. There were 812 deputies on the floor for the first session (1/2 clergy, 1/2 laity), and I think over 200 bishops in their house. The enormity is one of the problems with getting folks focused on MISSION and the gospel and Jesus...which brings me to the Presiding Bishop.
She preached a wonderful sermon at Eucharist today. Eucharist is amazing at GC, fun music, great singing, and pretty fast communion distributed to well over 1000 people. Bishop Jefferts Schori preached about the heart beat of God, the heart beat Ezekiel heard. "A new heart results in renewed creation – that reconciling mission we're so fond of talking about....Hearts renewed stay that way, living flesh not hardening into stone, when they continue to share that new life – the exercise of pumping keeps a heart healthy."
She ended equating that heartbeat to a simple word, whispered, hopefully burned into our hearts as well - "mission....mission....mission...." she whispered, and then left the pulpit.
Good stuff.
Legislative committees worked until 9:00 or so tonight, and we start back at 7:00 am. Unfortunately we have set aside an hour tomorrow and another Friday to discuss 2006 resolution B033 as a "Committee of the Whole" - the entire House of Deputies taking part (with the select few allowed to speak chosen by lots). B033, if you don't know, was the compromise resolution passed at the end of GC 2006 where we promised not to consecrate any more bishops whose "manner of life" was a problem for the Anglican Communion. There are numerous resolutions filed to "repeal" B033, so the President of the House of Deputies (PHoD) Bonnie Anderson proposed we set aside legislative session time to discuss it. However, the Presiding Bishop has said she prefers we not go back and repeal legislation from previous GCs, rather we should focus forward on mission.
I wish Ms. Anderson agreed.....but she was pretty clear today in her opening remarks that she doesn't care too much for bishops, or find them very necessary. It's an interesting dynamic, and a little confusing to watch it play out.
I would MUCH prefer we take some time - probably MORE than two hours - looking at how to turn around our dismal numbers. The State of the Church report is gruesome - we are losing members in distressing numbers. We need a focus and a real plan on growth, on reaching youth and young adults, on being relevant, on learning how to share this gift we offer as the Anglican church that can and is a unique and special way to bring people to Christ, to have their heartbeats changed, to learn to serve in Christ's name - WHY CAN'T WE SPEND SOME EXTRA TIME ON THAT?
Thank goodness there are some pretty cool resolutions talking about some real money for church starts and growth, and a strategic plan initiative to help us chart a better way forward. I just hope and pray it doesn't all get lost in the debates over sexuality issues.
More tomorrow.....


Lynne said...

Right on!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I'm proud of you. Lynne

Scott said...

Thanks for posting, David. Your candor welcomed and I am looking forward to following your posts. Keep it up!