Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Integrity Attends Provincial Synods: Report from Synod VI

Report on Province VI Synod
Bill Oliver
Integrity - Colorado

For the first time in Integrity's history, we had a presence at the provincial synods this year. I was privileged to be the face of Integrity at the Province VI Synod in Omaha (though certainly I was only one of many Integrity members present).  It was my first visit to Omaha and my first to a provincial synod.

 There were 75-80 attendees from the provinces's eight north-central states (though a single person from Montana), including 5-6 of the diocesan bishops - plus the Presiding Bishop, Bishop Stacy Sauls (COO) and Bonnie Anderson (President of the House of Deputies), all of whom addressed the assembly.  I fully expected to feel welcomed, but was somewhat taken aback by what I felt was such an open-hearted welcome, especially from the folks running it.  Unlike a diocesan or general convention, there were no vendors nor any displays - except Integrity's!   At the Thursday evening's opening, I was one of a handful of people introduced as a guest of the synod.

The only display table in the room was ours, situated at the front near the podium.  An unexpected "bonus" was that, as the only table, ours was also used for the Eucharist service Friday morning, temporarily without our display but prominently with our named table cloth - as noted in the photo album (link below).

My job was to distribute Integrity materials which included the resolutions we support such as bullying, the SCLM resolutions, transgender inclusion and moving ahead on marriage equality. I also answered questions from attendees. I think virtually all of the people there were familiar with Integrity and I believe most of them support us.  People were also interested in grabbing various pieces of literature provided by the Rev Andrew Cooley, who co-led a well-over-an-hour presentation Thursday evening on the SCLM's Blessings Project.  Andrew, a Colorado Deputy, was closely involved with the SCLM study, as were several other Colorado folks.  I was happy to provide half the space on our table to lay out his handout materials.  Their presentation included a simulated blessing using the proposed liturgy, and I would say most everyone was moved and impressed by the beautiful liturgy.

The synod concluded about 6:00 pm Saturday.  I was privileged to join Bishop Robert O'Neill (from my state of Colorado) and four others for dinner out.  Bishop +Rob is well-known as a great supporter of Inclusion and as a friend of Integrity.  

More photos here:    http://bit.ly/Integrity-at-ProvVI


Bill Oliver is a long time Integrity member from Colorado.

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