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Reflections from General Convention #2

We are moving forward. Not as quickly as some of us would like, but it seems that more people are coming in the movement forward, and with less rancor. Yesterday afternoon the House of Deputies overwhelmingly passed a resolution that moved the church beyond B033 to allow full inclusion.

The several resolves that were presented affirm both the rights and privileges of gay and lesbian people, as well as expressing commitment to our participation in the Anglican Communion.
This resolution sends a strong message to the House of Bishops, which by all accounts seems to be more cautious than the House of Deputies. I have been working with the Chicago Consultation, which is a group of bishops, clergy and laypeople who are working to advance full inclusion at all levels of ministry. We are continually living in the tension between what we want and what we think we can get through legislation.

I am involved in many conversations about tactics and strategy. There is a level of organization and communication that is very helpful - and a level of mutual respect that seems to be sustaining us all. We seem to be moving forward - not quickly enough for my soul, but I am consoled somewhat by the fact that more people are coming along.

There are a number of bishops here from various parts of the Anglican Communion, including 13 primates. We are learning a lot from each other. At the Integrity Eucharist on Friday evening, the Primate of South Korea told me he was amazed to see so many gay and lesbian clergy join Gene Robinson at the altar for the final blessing. I would guess that at least 100 clergy came forward. It was an Incarnational moment, and clearly transforming for one bishop who had never had such an exposure before.

The pace is gruelling, the legislative work is hard - but the gifts are many. Interspersed between committee meetings and legislative sessions - and all the other claims on our time, are sessions on public narrative. Led by Marshall Ganz of Harvard's Kennedy School, we are learning to tell the essence of our our own story - and connect the story of self with the story of us and the story of now. We have been coaching each other in telling about our passion, and where that passion comes from. We are doing this in diocesan groups. The exercise has not only brought us together, but has - for me anyway, revealed yet again how our stories generate deeper understanding and community. We are discovering that public narrative is an important tool for organizing - and for evangelism.

Blessings on you all.

Mark M. Beckwith

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