That's right folks. I'm back from Columbus, OH, and the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. I went there to participate in the Young Adult Festival as well as Convention itself. Aside from the awesome young adults I met from all over the country, and my conversation with Professor Britton at Berkeley Divinity (at Yale...which is where I want to go to seminary), there were a few things that were especially good.
First, we elected the first ever female presiding bishop. AMAZING!!! I hadn't even counted Katherine Jefferts Schori as one of the contenders, because I NEVER thought that the bishops would vote for a woman. But the Spirit moved them...and THEY DID!!!! The reaction in the House of Deputies was amazing. There was literally a huge gasp when they said her name, and then everyone started clapping (which we weren't supposed to do). I had chills down my arms, and my friend Bart literally fell out of his chair. There were women crying, and men got up to speak in favor of the nomination. Thinking about it makes me tear up...as a young woman who will (hopefully) one day be ordained in the Episcopal Church, there is nothing more affirming. Nothing whatsoever.
Second, there was a TON of energy around the millenium development goals (for more info go to www.episcopalchurch.org/one). I think that there is no better way to show the Anglican Communion that we are commited to such a communion than to commit our souls and resources to helping our brothers and sisters in the global South who go to bed hungry every night, are oppressed because of their sex of indigenous status, or are ravished by HIV/AIDS, TB, or malaria. Part of this energy centered around a U2charist, which was the most amazing spiritual service I've ever been too. Seriously. 750 people packed into this ballroom. The Spirit was moving there. Michael Curry preached an amazing sermon and had a whole room of God's frozen chosen saying Amen! Then the convention voted to make the MDG's a budget priority. The PB-elect has also made them one of her priorities, which is great!
Third, we approved shared communion in the interim with the United Methodist Church. This is a great move, in my opinion, towards a more unified Church. We're not becoming Methodist, bu t we're recognising the shared heritage of all Christians. I ate lunch at a pub and the chief officer for ecumenical relations (a bishop whose name escapes me at the moment) was very pleased. So yahoo!
As for the Windsor Report, and everything surrounding it, I feel that this General Convention worked so hard to wrestle seriously with issues of communion and what that entails. Some may feel that the resolutions were not good enough, either because they went too far or not far enough. But the Archbishop can't say we didn't try. I sat in on the debates, and there was a real willingness (as far as I could tell) to work out these issues and come to some resolve.
All in all, it was an amazing experience. Anyone who can should check out General Convention in three years...