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.

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