Today is pretty quiet in Columbus as bishops, deputies, and various hangers-on are just arriving. The exhibition hall opened this afternoon, with everything from Native American jewelry, spiritual books, and vestments, to advocacy groups and free popcorn aSalty Vicart the Claiming the Blessing booth. More than 200 vendors will hawk their ideas and wares to more than 10,000 visitors who will come through the hall in the next 12 days.
Last night, the Integrity volunteer orientation began with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist, including an inspiring sermon by the Rev. Michael Hopkins. Integrity volunteers will be tracking legislation, tesitifying at committee hearings, and supporting our efforts to advocate for LGBT people in church and society. While Michael+ was inspiring, no doubt the Salty Vicar provides the most succinct and amusing description of General Convention.
I've spent the today connecting with friends and colleagues. Trinity Church, Columbus, was packed as we celebrated Trinity Sunday with Episcopalians from all over the country and beyond, including at least three bishops. Before mass I had breakfast with Louie Crew, founder of Integrity, and the Rev'd Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude, one the Church of England LGBT advocacy groups. We had a fascinating conversation that ranged over episcopal elections in ECUSA, the Anglican-wide process of listening to the voices of LGBT people, especially those in Africa, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and ways we might work more closely together. One of the gifts of the Windsor Report is that the collective response to it may give birth to a truly global Anglican LGBT movement. Finding ways to connect this burgeoning movement with global human rights and development goals is critical to our justice agenda.
After mass, I was delighted to run into Brother Timothy Solverson, SSJE, a former member of my parish, who is now in Cambridge, MA. It was a wonderful reminder that General Convention is not just a legislative meeting, but also a homecoming and family reunion. The presence of religious like Bro. Timothy is also a much-needed reminder that our prophetic work needs to be grounded in contemplative practice. May all of the work of General Convention be bathed in prayer.