Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Moving On: Convention is almost ready to start (finally)

In what we think was a bold move showing just how serious the Episcopal Church is about moving on, the first Web cast in the ‘revolutionary’ Media Hub featured the four continuing Episcopal dioceses: Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, and San Joaquin. Filmed this afternoon, they talked about the sense of excitement and new life that is coming to the dioceses as they discover a new sense of possibility in inclusive mission. For example, in Pittsburgh 20 parishes have remained Episcopal, and in San Joaquin not only was the first ever woman, Suzanne Ward ordained to the priesthood but one of the larger churches, St. Paul’s Modesto has returned to The Episcopal Church (TEC). The quality of the video just cannot possibly communicate the sense of excitement in the movement of God’s Spirit which was in the speakers’ voices. Katie Sherrod, a long-time ally and member of Integrity from Fort Worth said, “I think the thing that strikes me most about our diocese… is the joy!” The speakers all reflected briefly on the pain and conflict but emphasized the new sense of freedom, inclusion and joy they are experiencing.

Stand Firm in Faith are reporting that Matt Kennedy has been denied media credentials at General Convention. It’s puzzling that the TEC media department has made that determination – it doesn’t seem to make sense other conservative writers are here. Our commiserations are with Matt who did a sterling job of reporting the Special Committee in 2006. Fortunately being kept out of the press room doesn’t stop his being able to attend hearings and legislative sessions. All are welcome really DOES mean, ALL are welcome, right?

The Presiding Bishop gave her address to the full convention today even though it doesn’t really start until the opening Eucharist tomorrow. Her central theme was crisis which she described as helping us focus on the most important and essential things first; in disease the crisis is a turning point when the fever will break, or not. She described this Convention as one of critical decision making and referred to two historic General Conventions: 1967 when the General Convention Special Program was set up, which allocated three million dollars to empower inner-city groups as a response to urban rioting; and 1976 when womens’ ordination was approved. We might, she suggested, hear echoes of those debates in our conversations, as well as revisiting some of the 75th General Convention’s discussions.

She stressed that we are all connected and described as the "great western heresy" the idea that we can be saved as individuals. Interestingly related, the Presiding Bishop's message connects with a great radio commentary about Integrity and the General Convention which was aired on KPFK’s program IMRU (get it: I am are YOU?). Terry Garay said that the work Integrity is doing is good for all LGBT folk, regardless of whether they are Episcopalians or even religiously inclined. A huge thanks to Terry for that!

As the evening sets in (and night is turning to morning) we are aware of our connections with each other, with our allies in Claiming the Blessing, The Consultation, the Chicago Consultation, and with YOU. Thank you for your support and prayers.

Tomorrow Convention starts (finally) and IntegriTV will be launching Day 1 from Anaheim, and we have got some really great shows and interviews in store. So glad to have you along with us.

By Caro Hall, Communications Team, IntegrityUSA

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