July 2, 2015
All is Well with the Soul of the Episcopal Church!
I've been here in Salt Lake City at General Convention for over a week with a few days to go. Approximately 170 bishops, 800 plus Deputies (representing all our Dioceses), and several hundred Episcopal Church Women, plus vendors, assistants, and advisors are here to decide a number of important issues for our Church. This happens once every 3 years.
The most exciting day was last Saturday when Michael Curry, Bishop of North Carolina, and former Rector of St. James Church, Baltimore, was elected our new Presiding Bishop by a very substantial margin on the first ballot. He will become the first African-American to become Presiding Bishop. Noted for his dynamic preaching and superb pastoral sensitivity, Michael was the obvious choice to lead us in these times. I was moved to tears as were many others by the excitement and joy surrounding Michael's election.
Another wonderful aspect of the convention is the daily Eucharist; gathering so many diverse people from all across America and several foreign countries brings home what a marvelous diversity of people we have in our church. Each day we celebrate in special ways that diversity in song, language, and customs. We are pulled out of the parochial and sometimes petty aspects of our own setting and drawn into something more truly representative of God's world--most of the time this is wonderfully moving and instructive.
Daily we debate issues, hear stimulating presentations on mission and faith, and work toward mutual respect and a host of ways we can journey together in faith despite differences of opinion. The climate here is especially one of mutual respect and love. For me this has been the most unified, respectful, and uplifting General Convention I have thus far attended. I think it ushers in a new day of unity (not to be confused with uniformity) in our church. We (God-willing) will never all be or think alike. Unity is deeper than that, a mutual respect and forbearance, the kind of working together in harmony, the Gospel announces. We haven't "arrived " yet but we are clearly a Church on the move and more unified in spirit than we have been for many years. It must be the work of the Holy Spirit! THANKS BE TO GOD!