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General Convention is underway

Geberal Convention 2012

The General Convention has started, but it hasn't yet officially begun. That happens this morning in the opening Eucharist. But the committees have been meeting for two days now -- sorting out the legislation that is coming before them, scheduling hearings and then making recommendations to the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. It is an ecclesiastical version of the Houses of Congress.

And the networking has begun, as has the rekindling of relationships. We come from all over the country, and indeed from all over the world. I have just accepted the chair position of the Liberia Covenant committee, and so I am spending time with the deputation from that country. There are more than thirty of us from the Diocese of Newark -- deputies, alternates, youth, exhibitors, committee members and representatives to both the Episcopal Women's Caucus and the Episcopal Church Women.

Already it is a hive of activity. I am the vice-chair of Social and Urban Concerns. I convene a subgroup on economic justice -- and we are trying to synthesize the various resolutions on poverty so they go beyond simply scoring a point and instead make a difference.

In her opening remarks yesterday, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori spoke passionately about the need for the church to more intentionally engage in mission. She described mission as "God's beating heart in our midst." She challenged us to organize our lives and our ministries around mission. "Find a gift that serves God's dream," she said.

Much of church life is organized around institutional concerns. That certainly is the case with General Convention. There is an elaborate and finely-tuned infrastructure that serves the complex needs of Convention. It is time tested. They work well for the nine days that we are here. But while the efficiency can help serve the mission tasks before us, the Convention will need to work hard at not allowing the efficiency to get in the way of Christ's mission.

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