Thursday, July 12, 2012

Disconnect

There is a sense here at General Convention that we are all ready to be done. And by, "done," I do mean, "cooked like a turkey." I had a teacher who would not let me say, "I'm done," without reminding me that turkeys are "done" while people are "finished." So, with a tip of my hat to her, I proclaim boldly that we are all nearly done.

Two or three separate times yesterday someone made a joke about whether we wanted to stay for a few more days. Those remarks were humorous yesterday, but today they might not get a laugh. We have been pushing at a whirlwind pace for almost two weeks, and, even though we have been diligent with our work, we still have 60 pieces of legislation to consider this morning. I hope we can stay on task. We all need the prayers our our church to make it through.

There is a process of disconnecting that has already begun. We had our last full deputation meeting last night, and the bishop thanked us for our service. Legislative committees met formally for the final time yesterday morning, and there were countless points of personal privilege, upon which member after member rose to say, "thank you," to this person or, "I am proud of our work," for this reason. The friendships that have been forged on the floor and in smaller gatherings will wrap up today as we all prepare to leave this Big Brother glass house and go back home. But, even though we are all preparing to say goodbye, we are not unplugging from General Convention completely.

Of the hundreds of resolutions that we considered and passed, most people around our church will remember two or three. Some of us who paid careful attention throughout this process will remember a dozen or so. But what happens to the 100+ that pass and then disappear? Most of them call upon us--the Episcopal Church--to do one thing or another. When we begin to implement the work of this Convention, will we remember all of the things we said we would do?

For example, yesterday we passed a resolution that calls upon every meeting of the church--whether at the parish, diocesan, or church-wide level--to begin with the agenda item, "How will what we are doing here today affect or include those living in poverty?" That means that in 2013 we are being asked to begin every vestry meeting by asking how our business affects and includes those living in poverty. On the surface, that is a silly thing to say. Digging in a little deeper, we discover that there could be real power in that practice--the kind of habitual work that might actually change the world.

But I am headed home. How many of these things will come with me?

I am proud of the work that this General Convention has done. We have moved beyond all of the "controversial" issues, but we still have 60 resolutions to go. It would be easy to disconnect right now and coast through the rest. And it would be easy for the church to disconnect from the "little" resolutions that do not get much attention. But that is where the work of the church happens. There are wonderful little things to be done today, and I hope and pray that they do not get lost as things wind down.


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