Saturday, November 8, 2014

Reflections on the 104th annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, 7-8 November 2014

Good convention. Having sessions in the sanctuary of the UMC church next door to the smaller facilities at St John's Episcopal in Sharon, PA was a little odd and awkward but more than adequate. It was a bit difficult to take notes and those of us with laptops had to balance them on our knees. Not to mention the lack of wifi - which we will have next year. I missed the sociability of having another parish at the table and getting to know people we might otherwise never encounter. Of course it prevented someone I won't identify from once again being somewhat disrespectful during speakers. All in all everyone could see and hear and that was good.

Dear convention planners: PLEASE make readable nametags next year!!! We don't need to know where it is, just who we are in large print.

I LOVE Facebook!!! A person I've known online for several years visited and we got to meet in person for the first time. He's a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, PA with whom we share a bishop. I think I was one of the few outside the Standing Committee who knew him. He's a great guy with lots of good ideas and a wonderful sense of humor. 8-)

I also know the emissary from the Episcopal Diocese of Western NY. She is one of my favorite preachers. Even after I choose a parish home, I will take time to visit St Peters in Westfield, NY occasionally. Our guys got married there before their marriage was legal in PA.

As my friends know, I've been away from Christ Church Meadville for a year this weekend. As a very burned out bishop's warden, I needed to escape. I was goaded into doing that by people in a parish at which I'm no longer welcome. That situation will never be remedied, reconciled or whatever unfortunately. I feel terrible as I had no intention of ever doing anything hurtful. I care very deeply and always will as the other is not healthy. Our energies/life forces are permanently entangled meaning that the other is rarely out of my thoughts and prayers. I still light a votive whenever the opportunity present itself. A brief greeting this morning with another person who had until today turned her back to me felt good. Hopefully part of that situation is relaxed a bit if not healed.

The separation has been good for me however as I could have been tied there. I've enjoyed being a vagabond. Visiting churches is enlightening. Seeing how others do the service and the eucharist is always fascinating. Experiencing the friendliness of or lack thereof by people is a lesson to be learned and someday applied elsewhere. At convention I was able to see many of those people again. Perhaps renewal and establishment of new relationships among the laity are one of the best parts of the annual gathering and should be encouraged?

Congratulations, planners, on a well run event. All went smoothly - at least from my point of view. The speakers were good and had valuable messages. Our time was wisely used. One newbie was shocked that we could get the eucharist done in such short order. The dinner was good tho kinda 'spensive. Letting everyone eat immediately rather than sit around waiting was wonderful. Congratulations, "old" friend Loi on receiving the Bishop's Cross for long faithful service to the church and the diocese.

Now on to the 100th anniversary of the cathedral in 2015.

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