This experience is marred by my feeling lousy. It could be the 2 root canals I had the afternoon before my flight, or the antibiotics I am taking, or the altitude, or being too old to travel this much. But I wouldn't miss it. Connecting with the other bishops is so energizing, edifying, and spiritually important.
it is spiritually important because this is how we form and sustain the church. The church is not at heart an authority structure. It is a web of relationships. Human friendships with people in other dioceses --not canons or commissions -- expand our identity beyond Nevada. Relationships make us bigger and bigger hearted. Each day I pray for this diocese Ecuador Central and it's bishop Luis, for the diocese of Machakos (Kenya) and it's bishop Joseph, and for the diocese of Santiago (Philippines) and its bishop Alexander. Knowing, appreciating, and praying for each other is how we form the church. We do some of that in Nevada. Many of our priests this year resolved to pray on a daily basis for 5 other priests. That's a start. I wonder what other networks of people might undertake to intentionally get acquainted and pray for one another.
Today we began with Holy Eucharist and a great sermon by Bishop Katharine on our duty as Christians to act and advocate for peace, reconciliation, and justice. Leading the church in the way of Jesus is bound to get resistance from those our scriptures call "worldly minded" (meaning that their secular ideologies trump their faith). But that resistance does not compare with the risks taken by Christians in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, or the Philippines when they defend the poor and the outcasts. We need the Anglican Communion so they can inspire us with their strength and courage.
After the Eucharist we had small group check in followed by a report from the Medical Trust on our insurance premiums. That is a big problem for some dioceses including ours. They are working on it.At lunch, I slipped off with two buddies, Prince Singh of Rochester and Scott Mayer of Northwest Texas. We compared notes on Bishoping and told stories from our dioceses. This too is how we keep the chuch knitted together.In the afternoon we heard from a Kansas theologian about the place of peace and justice advocacy in the Anglican tradition going back to the 17th century on up through 19th century when Bishop Charles Gore grounded social justice in the Incarnation and the 20th Century's Archbishop William Temple who tied justice to the sacraments. Then we head from a Brazillian bishop about the church's on the ground experiences with social justice ministries.
After a pleasant dinner of Ecuadoran dishes most of which I did not recognize I have called it day well spent.