Sunday, June 18, 2006
General Convention and Being a part of Episcopal Church History
The day began with a celebration of the Eucharist in the large Convention worship space. We might have guessed this was not going to be an ordinary day when we found that the liturgy was a Rite I service but the music up-beat "Sunday jazz!" "The wind blows where it will. You do not know where it comes from or where it is going" Scripture says. God's Spirit blows where it will, like a jazz rift. At the conclusion of the Eucharist, all the bishops left for Trinity Church in downtown Columbus where they were sequestered and began balloting to elect a new Presiding Bishop. The House of Deputies, of which I am a clergy member, sat down to begin working on its own work. There did not seem much that was terribly exciting. Deputies were considering resolutions and quibling about language and punctuation and whether or not a resolution had been passed or not. Periodically I found myself thinking about what was going on in the House of Bishops and about my friends, Neal and Stacy, both of whom were nominees for the office of Presiding Bishop. Just before lunch, we were informed the House of Bishops were completing their third ballot and had not elected and so we recessed for lunch. After lunch, we reconvened and began looking at more legislation. It did not seem terribly long before two representratives came from the House of Bishops and delivered an envelope to the President of the House of Deputies George Werner. It contained the election results from the House of Bishops. Protocol required that the Committee on the Consecration of a Bishop remove themselves from the floor and review the election results and report their recommendation for or against consent to the House of Deputies. It seemed interminably long for this to take place. When the Chair of the Committee announced that Katharine Jefferts Schoori had been elected on the 5th ballot the room was electrified. It took the breath away from the entire assembly. I don't know anyone who expected this result, but it was a thrilling announcement and the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room was palpable. The House of Deputies ratified the election overwhelmingly in a vote by orders. I sat next to my friends Mary, Char and Carol, tears of joy flowing from their eyes. It seemed clear that God was working his/her purpose out. It is a day to celebrate. "Behold, I make all things new," it says in Revelation. That was certainly true today. History, or rather, herstory, was made!