Now I lay me down to sleep... and I am going to bed with a sense of hope after listening, and reading, about the opening day of the General Convention in Anaheim. Our Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, was her usual steady, forceful, and unwavering self... and spoke words in both her opening address and her sermon on Ezekiel 36 at the daily eucharist. You can see video on demand of both by clicking here.
Jefferts Schori, in her sermon, spoke of the "new heart" and the need for the Church to listen to the beat of "mission, mission, mission". And, as part of that, she made it clear that it can not happen by staying inside our pretty sanctuaries, talking to ourselves, and swinging our incense and thinking all is right with the world. She is absolutely right.
In her opening address to the Convention, Jefferts Schori acknowledges that there is "crisis" within the Church. And she wasn't just talking about the "crisis" around human sexuality issues, but also about the environment. We have been pretty lackluster stewards of God's creation, and it's time to snap-to-it and take responsibility. God's creation is not only the earth, water and plants and animals... I believe it stretches to that last piece of creation: us, human beings, and how we treat each other and take care of each other--or not!
The line that gave me the most hope was when Jefferts Schori said:
"This crisis is a decision point, one which may involve suffering, but it is our opportunity to choose which direction we'll go and what we will build. We will fail if we choose business as usual. There will be cross-shaped decisions in our work, but if we look faithfully, there will be resurrection as well."
She finished with saying that we can make decisions in hope, and we can do it together. Again, she is absolutely right. And I hope there are more than a few members of the House of Bishops, which really isn't the strong arm at these conventions, who got that line about "business as usual". Change will happen. Status quo is not a winning position.
Meantime, the Archbishop of Canterbury took a half-hour to meet with eight LGBT delegates to the House of Deputies in a private meeting to listen to their stories. That's a half-hour more than he's given to +Gene Robinson! The privacy of this private meeting, apparently, has kept anyone from saying exactly what happened beyond that these eight people got to share their stories of being gay with the ABC. Sadly, I'm sure he'll decide this BRIEF meeting constitutes his required "listening" as part of the listening process. We'll see.
And in the meantime, you can watch the convention live at the Media Hub.