General Convention Day 3 and 4…
Day 3 and 4 at General Convention did not disappoint. Day 3 (yesterday) was filled with lovely chats and interviews with alumni of SSW and Bishops from several Dioceses. I actually had conversations with the Bishops of Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Virginia, and North Carolina. I am amazed at how generous everyone has been with his or her time. All have been willing to answer our question: “What does the Church need of her leaders.” The answers have been diverse, truthful, and inspiring. I love Bishop Sloan’s answer, “We need people that are willing to live in the joy in the Holy Spirit.” So wise and true!
The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Bishop of North Carolina, preached one of the most powerful sermons I have ever had the privilege of hearing. I encourage you to all go to my Facebook page and watch the video. He asked us to be “crazy Christians” and live the Gospel. I attended one of the committee meetings of the Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Music Committee. My Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Kee Sloan is the Secretary of this committee. The committee heard testimony both for and against the trial same sex blessing liturgy that will be voted on at this General Convention. I was astonished at how this committee worked. Robert’s Rules of Order were certainly in affect. The meeting was civil, both sides of the issues were heard, and I hope that the testimony will be helpful to the committee as they make their decision on this historic vote.
The Southwest Six were treated to a fantastic dinner by our dean, The Very Rev. Doug Travis. Several board members, faculty, and staff were present as well. Last night was the one night that all of the Southwest Six were at the Convention at the same time. I really enjoyed spending time with the Southwest family.
Today, my final day at General Convention, began by attending a Festival Eucharist. Over 4,000 people were in attendance. I got there a little late, so I decided to head downstairs to the overflow room. All of the sudden, the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies came in to the room. I received communion from the Presiding Bishop - it is a moment I will not forget.
We spent time at Victory Field today as the Diocese of Indianapolis hosted us all for a fun day at the ballpark. A few more hours at the SSW booth, and it was time for me to say goodbye.
I have made it back to my parent’s home and I am tired. Tired, but happy. Happy for all the good work that the Episcopal Church is doing. Thrilled in the effort that we take to listen to one another, but most importantly love one another. My prayers are with everyone that is in attendance at General Convention. May we continue to practice peace and harmony in the love of God.
Blessings as the ride continues… Mary Balfour
PS- Thank you Seminary of the Southwest for this amazing experience. I am honored to be a part of the SSW community and loved being included in the Southwest Six :)