Well, partway through “official day one” of our 77th General Convention. The mood is a mixture of some anxiety, but strangely “low energy” at this point. I’m not sure how to sort that all out right now, and maybe I’m just projecting! Basically, the two Houses have gotten organized and are beginning to do some legislation. The Legislative Committees are where the action is now and are hard at work.
Jeff Lee is on the Liturgy and Music committee and they are, of course, always busy. Especially this time with rites for same gender unions, some new daily offices, and various and sundry changes to Holy Women, Holy Men. I was asked to attend the Ecumenical Relations committee to help redirect a potentially harmful resolution asking for a new dialogue between us and the ELCA to iron out some neuralgic issues between us concerning the diaconate and lay presidency in the ELCA.
I think they will re-direct it to the Lutheran Episcopal Coordinating Committee which is the body already set up to deal with these issues. That will not raise Lutheran concerns that we are trying to “remake them in our own image” but still allow us to discuss important issues together. The Presiding Bishop of the ELCA — Mark Hanson — helpfully addressed the committee on this matter.
He and the President of the Northern Province of the Moravian Church “concelebrated” with our Presiding Bishop in the opening Eucharist thereby helping us to celebrate our two most recent full communion relationships. We celebrated Walter Raushenbush and two other 19th century social activists in the Liturgy today, thereby allowing Katharine Jefferts Schori to preach a fine sermon about our call to help build the Kingdom of God in the here and now…on earth as it is in heaven…and our role in this Convention is trying to make that happen in our midst and in the world.
So, we’re launched and basically in good spirits. (Unlike our sisters and brothers in the Presbyterian Church who, we understand, are in the process of tearing each other apart in their Convention over Middle East policy, same gender unions, and the inevitable issues of budget and restructure. Their Vice Moderator actually resigned yesterday over it all! We need to keep them in our prayers…as we rely on theirs.)