Saturday, July 04, 2009

Wisdom for General Convention

As I prepare to fly to Anaheim first thing Monday for my first "official" involvement in the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, a few tidbits of wisdom have spoken greatly to me in recent days. Here are two. . .

The first is an admonition for all of us offered with Tobias Haller's usual succinct wit:

One of the tragedies of institutions is that they so often betray their mission to preserve their structure.

Can't wait to see ya' in Anaheim, Tobias!

The second nugget of wisdom, while longer, offers an insight with which I am wholly sympathetic. In a way, it sums up why I have largely stopped opining on the formation of a new North American "province" hostile to The Episcopal Church out of various splinter groups. And it is offered by one of my favorite people in all of the Anglican Communion, Jenny Plane Te Paa, whom I look forward to seeing in Anaheim, even if only from afar:

I have, on one hand, become especially afraid of those very few bishops and archbishops of this our beloved Communion who have demonstrably indicated their unwillingness to serve the common good, and also in a sense to betray their own baptismal and ordination vows by refusing to participate in eucharistic worship with other baptised Anglicans in their insistence that God loves only some, and who further insist that there is indeed a portion of humanity who are not worthy of full respect, dignity or inclusion.

I have not, on the other hand, been unduly distracted by the clamour of these aggressive alarmists because, as one immensely privileged to move around the Communion, what I also bear witness to serves to relativise everything, and so it is with absolute confidence that I can say there are far more Anglicans getting on with the pressing business of being God's mission people than there are those fretting over whether or not inclusion is a gospel imperative.

I have believed and have been saying for some time now that for the sake of the Communion it is imperative for us all to look beyond the vitriol, the hysteria, the noisy gongs, instead to notice anew all that has and all who have actually remained constant, to notice anew all those whose dedication, sacrifice, service and commitment to God’s mission has not altered and will not ever be altered one tiny bit no matter how many threats, claims and abuses are being made at the level of male church leadership struggles. I have been encouraged to look again at the exemplary work and witness of many thousands of unsung Anglican men and women, young and old, lay and ordained, those whose lives of selfless mostly voluntary service, will not and cannot ever be disrupted by the prospect of schism, by legal claims and counter claims or by indecently ferocious doctrinal arguments.

from Episcopal Café

If you’re gracious enough to still be reading my occasional posts these days, you'll find a lot more from me and a sea of insightful fellow bloggers over at Episcopal Café quite soon. Thanks to Jim Naughton for generously welcoming more of my ramblings! For more local folk (or local at heart), check out, too, the Diocese of California's General Convention site.

Blessings all, and pray for everyone gathering in Anaheim, that the truth may be told with a grace that only the Spirit can bring and that Christ may move among this portion of the Body for the sake of all God's beloved children.

1 comment:

June Butler said...

It will be good to hear from you again, Richard. I'll be in Anaheim for a few days in an unofficial capacity. I hope that we run into each other during that time.

I've had the prayer for the convention posted at my blog for a couple of months now. May God bless you all.