A truly consciousness-raising and spiritual experience
By Jan Charney
Our Prayer Book (p.855) indicates that “the church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace, and love”, and General Convention reflects one of the ways by which we as a larger church attempt to support, encourage, and provide resources for those faithful congregations whose members actually pursue mission on a daily basis in their own communities – and that’s you who are reading this, folks!
In reality, General Convention is a busy mixture of prayer, worship, politics, legislation, learning, and entertainment – all stuffed into 12 to 15-hour days. A few personal observations:
1. The worship area and services this year had a simpler, less ornate appearance, but both were filled with a large variety of music and liturgical expressions. Preachers and celebrants included women and men from our Presiding Bishop to the Bishop of the host diocese (Los Angeles), the Archbishop of Canterbury (as part of his brief visit), and clergy and lay representatives from across the breadth of the Church.
2. Prayer does undergird the whole process – in both Houses (Deputies and Bishops), at the Triennial of the women of the Church, in small groups, and yes, even in the Exhibit Hall, where many vendors offer not only wares for sale, but the opportunity to see what others are doing as their contributions to the mission and ministry of the church. (We were proud to witness to our mission with Kajo Keji in the exhibit by our World Mission Committee, and by wearing our very own Kajo Keji shirts on our special day.)
3. As a long-time attendee, I felt a definite lack of contentious proceedings as compared to former years – a blessed relief. I recorded that we had 419 resolutions before us, completed action on 360+, and referred 95 to the standing committees of the Executive Council for further consideration…a huge amount of legislation to be acted on in our short time together.
4. The national church budget for the next Triennium reflects both some severe cuts in personnel and programming, but also the desire to use as much as possible for extending the mission we are called to, both locally and worldwide. We need to remember in our congregations that the resources we share with the diocese are then shared with the national church to bolster programs that are vital, but that none of us could do on our own.
General Convention has been a truly consciousness-raising and spiritual experience for me. I thank you for the opportunity to serve, and wish the same for all of you!
[Mrs. Janet Charney, email@example.com, is a parishioner at Trinity Easton. She has been an elected deputy to General Convention eight times.]