Thursday, July 5, 2012

Impressions of a First Timer

First, to echo what has already been stated here: we have indeed all arrived, in fits and starts. And yes, it is hot here; very hot. But the Convention Center and Hotel are quite cool, maybe even too cool. And everything is connected  by walkways, so we are fine.

And the Opening Eucharist was indeed pretty terrific, as we gathered to remember and give thanks for the life and witness of Walter Rauschenbusch, Washington Gladden, and Jacob Riis. Our Presiding Bishop preached and presided. When I arrived I was on a bus with a bunch of excited Episcopalians; one of them (from Fairfield County, CT) said to me: what I love the most is being at the Eucharist and seeing the breadth and depth of TEC in all of our diversity. Indeed. A marvelous thing to be a part of.

Debbie has reported on her committee hearings and others all are very busy with their own committees. I am glad, as a first-timer, not to be assigned to a committee. It makes the schedule way more manageable and also gives one time to poke around and explore. This morning after our first legislative session and Opening Eucharist I sat in on Meredyth's committee (Prayerbook, Liturgy, and Music). They were not yet to the more controversial stuff but I found the conversation fascinating and cordial. As a parish priest who has faithfully used, and enjoyed using, Holy Women, Holy Men, I could appreciate those who support this expanded repertoire of saints, representing a wider cross section of the life of the Church. I could also understand those who lament the loss of Lent and Easter as seasons primarily focused on Baptism, and wondered if the more crowded saints calendar adversely affects that focus.

Ah, but who to cut? Some said that maybe we could be more focused on those where there is greater clarity about their witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. I get that. I've also liked some of the more "mundane" characters along the way who invite us to re-evaluate our definition of holiness.

All good stuff to ponder among God's holy women and holy men gathered here this week.

(Rich Simpson, C-4)

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