Early Monday morning, as the car turned west on 1-70 and we headed to Indianapolis and the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, I began to wonder: What sort of convention might this be? I was traveling with two veterans of all things Episcopal-Scott Bellows (Rector of St. David’s, Roland Park) and Alma Bell (Memorialite and Episcopalian extraordinaire) They both were giving me all kinds of tips about convention-from how you open your binder during each session to meeting for lunch to evening receptions and much, much more. But I kept wondering: To what could I compare this 10 – day church convention that meets once every three years?
Would it be like a political convention with crazy hats and banners and cheering (incuding Bronx cheering) in the convention hall? Would there be nominating speeches amid the resolutions? Or would it be like the convention I saw gathering in the lobby of the Sheraton hotel in downtown Denver-the Beta Gamma Phi sorority with women of all ages in cowboy hats having a good ole’ time of fun and fellowship? Or would these 10 days feel more like a business convention with educational events and ways to do church better? Would this feel like work or play? Would it be inspirational or workmanlike in character? Since this is my first General Convention, I imagine that it will feel a bit like both-with the business of running the church in resolutions and committee meetings combined with the inspiration of a community that tries to build its foundation and ministry on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But what I know from my friends that have come to Convention before is this fact: They absolutely LOVE it. But why?
Here’s my initial guess: What I’ve found already is that General Convention feels a little like another summer-type gathering: a family reunion. Since arriving Monday afternoon, I have seen friends in the Episcopal Church from all over the country. I’ve seen Karen from Massachusetts, Ken from Idaho, Luke from Florida, Margaret from New York, and Bruce from Atlanta. And that’s just in the first 24 hours! All these folks are from different time periods of my life and have influenced my ministry in some way over the years. I can only imagine how this will grow over our 10 days in Indianapolis. Just like a family reunion, you begin to realize how blessed you are with the great cloud of witnesses that are part of your life-and that you only see from time to time. We all need to be reminded that when we choose to accept Jesus’ invitation to join Christ’s Body, the Church, we gain a whole amazing family that extends past our parish, across the country, and around the world. Alleluia for the Episcopal Family Reunion!
Blessings in Christ,
The Rev. Martha N. Macgill
Read more posts by Martha at Mother Martha’s Meditations