Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Convention 09 Retrospective

I may be too worn out from convention -- the logistics !!! -- to give a coherent reflection on it, but by the time I'm rested up it will be old news, so here goes:

We had a more relational convention this year -- less focus on transacting business; more emphasis on developing relationships among people who did not know each other. We did that through a lot of story telling, worship, and Bible study. We spent less time with the whole gathered assembly listening to individuals give reports (talking at) and more time for small groups with common interests to network with each other (talking with).

We also formed new relationships with a place. A lot of folks who had not experienced Camp Galilee before set foot on the land, saw the lake and the mountains, and were of course instantly converted. The reception at Galilee and the Galilee tour connected many of us to this magical place which is both the historic heart of the diocese and the key to our future.

How do we assess that kind of convention? All I know is that it looked to me as if people were having lively conversation. It looked as if people spoke from the hearts while others listened caringly. I hope we came away as better friends.

On the downside, we invited a lot of non-delegates to attend this year. I regret that we failed to prepare for them properly. We ran out of worship books. Guests were not always welcomed in the way I would have hoped. That is a failure of foresight on my part. I apologize and will try to make convention more welcoming next year.

There were three major items on the business agenda: First, we formed a companion diocese relationship with the Diocese of Santiago in the Philippines. This is not a charitable mission. The Diocese of Santiago is indpendent and strong. Our companion diocese bond is a friendship and a partnership so that we can work together, learn from each other, and be in closer communion across the ocean and cultural divides.

Second, we funded a program of Ministry Development led by a Canon for Adult Formation. I believe this will strengthen all our parishes, large and small, urban and rural.

Finally, we funded a Hispanic Ministries inititiave. The centerpiece of this initiative is to hire a Hispanic Missioner but there is more to it than that. We hope to have several more strong Hispanic worshiping communities by this time next year and that those communities will be the cutting edge of some of our most important social ministries.

The Vatican Invitation To Disaffected Anglicans

I am just emerging from Diocesan Convention, so this is my first chance to respond to those who have wanted to hear my thoughts on the Vatican Statement inviting disffected Anglican congregations to become Roman Catholics, but the priests can still be married and they can use Anglican liturgies.

I really think it's perfectly fine. Some disaffected Anglicans are focused on issues where they will line up better with the RC Church -- particularly those who are opposed to the ordination of women. They will have to come to terms with some of the hot button issues in the RC Church, but if they can do that, their unity with a larger group of Christians will sustain their faith, help them be financially viable, and generally promote the gospel mission. We wish them well. We wish the Roman Catholic Church well. It is a good thing.

Other disaffected Anglicans are of a more evangelical persuasion and may not find the RC Church to be a good home. That will be for them to discern and not for us to judge.

Meanwhile, we will continue to seek reconciliation and greater unity with all our fellow Christians.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Johnny Yuma And The Rabbit

Yesterday I drove North along 93 and 318 up toward Ely on my way to Elko. North through a golden October afternoon with the desert grasses tan, red, orange, and green. After Alamo, I was drinking Arizona Green Tea with Honey and Ginseng, eating trail mix, and listening altenately to Sarah Brightman singing operatic Italian and Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire album -- indulging in Walter Mitty fantasies of myself as an ecclesiastical Johnny Yuma. "Dan Edwards was a bishop. He roamed through the West. He packed not star as he wandered far where the only law was a hook and a draw. The bishop. Away, away, away rode the bishop . . . etc."

Night had fallen by Ely. Between Wells and Elko -- it was getting late and I was pretty tired -- I was confronted by a rabbit -- an exceedlingly large rabbit. He was not hippity hopping across the highway. He was standing upright smack dab in the middle of my lane, facing me -- eyeball to eyeball. Which one of us would blink? Who would surrender the lane? Not Jack. I went around him. He never flinched. I bet Johnny Yuma was never stared down by a rabbit.

Today I did my 3rd Roving Workshop on the Eucharist. It was great. We had a good turnout from Elko plus folks from Fallon and Las Vegas. A good time was had by all. Tonight I am trying to finalize the sermon for tomorrow. I have Eucharists in Elko and Eureka with an animal blessing in Eureka.

Happy St. Francis Day everyone. An especially happy Frank's Day to the good folks in Macon, Georgia celebrating their 50th anniversary as a parish -- the youngest Episcopal parish in Macon. Wow.