General Convention

“Enjoy your time with the one-percenters of the Episcopal Church – try to do some good work for Jesus.”

All this said with a wink and a smirk.

General Convention is an interesting thing. It evokes all kinds of reactions and emotions from Episcopalians. The above comment recently shared with me expresses the opinion of those who see this triennial gathering of the Episcopal Church as a very small group of Episcopalians whose work may not exactly represent the work of Jesus.

Another perspective is that this governing work provides policies and witness to guide the Episcopal Church. It is an opportunity for elected Episcopalians to discern where the Holy Spirit is calling us as a Church – the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, as our Presiding Bishop refers to us.

For some people, it represents petty Church politics. For others, it is a good representation of democratic governance. For some, it is a huge waste of time and money. For others, it is an incredible Episcopal family reunion.

I have been part of General Convention for – believe it or not – my entire adult life. I have served as a part of the official Youth Presence, as deputy, as chaplain, as committee chair and Vice President to the House of Deputies, and this will be my third General Convention serving in the House of Bishops.

I understand and appreciate the diversity of perspectives that people have about General Convention. For me, it has been transformative to my understanding and appreciation of the depth and breadth of the Episcopal Church. I am proud of the work that has come out of the General Conventions that I have served. It has changed the lives of people in the Church and in the world. And along the way, I have been blessed to cultivate great friendships with colleagues from across the Church.

Yes, I could do without the petty, political distractions that are manifested in a gathering such as this. And yes, I am concerned about how much money it costs, how long the convention takes, and how all of this excludes so many from participating.

Yet, even amidst it all, I am ever-hopeful. I ask your prayers that the loving work and Way of Jesus will be ever-present in this gathering, and that what results from it will offer life, love and liberation to us all.

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