We can resist the urge to fight solely for our own individual perspective and consider first-and-foremost the Body of Christ. We can pray and patiently exercise deep listening across the divide. Try on what the Very Rev. Sam Candler referred to in a presentation to the House of Deputies as the Via Comprehensiva: the wider way where contraries do not always contradict.
My brothers and sisters, how long? Will you use the next three years to ensure that resolutions turn into actions both at the Church and local level? Will you begin planning, now, to ensure that your brothers and sisters of color, of diverse cultures, have a firsthand invitation to the table that doesn’t feel like an afterthought?
Truth telling is powerful. And there has been a lot of it here at General Convention. Truths never before spoken have been exposed to the light. While I’ve seen powerful examples of this across a range of significant topics – racial justice, gender identity, compensation parity for lay employees, and marriage equality – I’ve been most impacted by those testifying to their experiences of sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse within our Church.
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?
“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.
We like to use the language of reconciliation when we are talking about racial justice, racial relationships. But, I want to say that to reconcile essentially means that we were together, we broke apart, and now are coming back together. When we look at the history of this country and many countries around the world, there is not a time where we can look back to as a frame of reference, like, “man we really had our stuff together then. Let’s use that as our guiding star into the future.”