We’re getting to know the thousands of Episcopalians here at #GC79, a handful at a time. Center Aisle returns to our world-famous series (read: Church-famous series), Humans of General Convention!
By Crystal Hardin
Staff Writer & Photographer
The Rev. Alastair Votaw, Chaplain to the Retired Clergy in the Episcopal Church in South Carolina
“My hope for General Convention is that the Church will make reasoned and inclusive decisions that represent the full spectrum of the Episcopal Church. I believe we need a recommitment to reconciliation internally – within our own body. How can we be a reconciling force in the world if we are not first reconciled within ourselves? I feel strongly that, if we focus on reconciliation, the issues will begin to take care of themselves.”
The Rev. Terri Hobart, Rector of St. Luke’s in Woodland, California
“I’m on vacation! Really! I’m here for four reasons. First, my partner is a deputy and she’s here. Second, I look forward to connecting with friends and colleagues from across the Episcopal Church. Third, I grew up in Texas, and now I’m looking forward to making this a Texas vacation. Finally, I’m here for all of the cool activist buttons. Now, let me introduce you to someone wonderful that I just met…” [Dr. Meeks, below]
Dr. Catherine Meeks, Executive Director, Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, Georgia
“My hope is that my presence, in addition to the Center’s presence and the presence of those who are volunteering here with us, will result in spreading the word about this resource, which is truly meant to be church-wide. As I’m traveling and meeting people, I find hope in people’s desire to do this work and to be who God truly wants them to be. There is a hunger and a desire to reach out and to do this work, even if people don’t quite know how. My hope is affirmed through the energy in speaking with people about how to do this most important work.”
The mission of the Absalom Jones Center is to provide tools and experiences that allow faith communities – and the larger community of individuals – to engage in dismantling racism through prayer, dialogue, pilgrimage and spiritual formation.
Dr. Courtney Cowart & the Rev. Dr. Hillary Raining
Cowart: “I am a formation person, and I am excited about the incredible collaboration that’s taking place between networks and groups here at General Convention. Collaboration is necessary to having a bigger impact, and I really feel a new spirit in the air and an excitement about what’s possible. This is in part due to leadership.”
Raining: “This is my fifth time as a deputy, and it’s the most I’ve heard about Jesus yet. And, it’s still early. The energy and conversation around Jesus feels both old and new at the same time. I am excited about how the Episcopal Church is embracing its Christian identity.”
Crystal Hardin is a seminarian at Virginia Theological Seminary, a recovering attorney, and an accomplished writer and photographer. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Alabama School of Law, where she served as an editor of The Alabama Law Review. She blogs at Seeking Sacrament. Her Alabama ex-pat drawl makes her constant cursing sound very charming.