The Rev. Randy Alexander, rector of Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill, Alexandria: “During this Convention, my first as a deputy, I have been thinking a lot about what really holds together this vast array of folks and ministries and causes. In a gathering like this, we can lose perspective when we’re focused on resolutions and when we’re staking claims for funding for our own important ministries.”
There are many ways that a General Convention is like a fabulous ingathering. Certainly, there is serious work going on here, but it is nice to be surrounded by so many people who are in love with this Church. The question I’m left pondering is how many of these people are equally in love with Jesus?
In 1966, the House of Bishops expelled the Diocese of Cuba from the Episcopal Church in, as some describe it, an action outside of our constitutional responsibilities. Under an oppressive regime, the Episcopal Church in Cuba survived in the living rooms of the grandmothers who maintained the practices and relationships. They continued to minister to one another in Christ’s name.
When the time came for Committee 13 to hear testimony on resolutions related to marriage liturgies, people came to the microphones and spoke their truth, often with boldness and profound vulnerability, and always with conviction. Some rose to speak of how meaningful it had been for the Church finally to recognize and to bless their relationships. Others rose to express their concern about the impact on ecumenical dialogue that could result from defining marriage as a covenant between two people.
“People who are called to serve should not be dissuaded by the process of seeking options to fulfill their call,” the Rev. Dr. Susanna Singer asserted. She went on to explain that, while traditional, residential seminary education has been normative for many years, the rise of highly adaptive virtual classrooms allowing for low-residency education, as well as expanded options for local formation mixed with seminary study, now offer a larger range of opportunities with expanded access.
This moment of public witness comes in the midst of General Convention, a time when I am also hearing rallying cries of people “back in the pews” at home: listen to us, see us. Although I am on the sidelines watching from the media section, I am also here to bear witness and tell you: We see you. We hear you on social media, and we talk about the concerns of old and young, conservative and progressive, Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical, black and white.
Dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, Andrew McGowan: “A profound question remains largely untouched in [the BCP revision] debate: How will our liturgy reveal and help create the unity of the Body of Christ, whose relationship with the Episcopal Church is, well, inexact and incomplete?”