Monday, July 13, 2009

Thoughts On The General Convention

I am sorry that this is taking longer to convey than I planned, but now I will share my thoughts about the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church.
The triennial convention is being held deep in Red California in Anaheim this time around.
So, as I relayed in the earlier post, a family friend, Mrs. rightviewfromtheleftcoast and your humble blogger trekked to the convention site yesterday to participate in the Sunday service.
The preacher and celebrant was none other than the so-called Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schorri. Imagine a better looking Jane Hathaway, aka Nancy Culp, from the Beverly Hillbillies and there is the Most Rev. Schorri.
I was expecting a sermon of epic politically correct garbage. Much to my pleasant surprise, the sermon was rather bland and unremarkable. FTR, I can not remember it. And, that is probably a good thing. I will go under the assumption that because it was a gathering of the whole Episcopal Church, which includes many traditionalists that are not leaving any time soon, she was wise not to go off on some PC tangent.
To the credit of the organizers, the service started promptly at 10am and ended at 11:30am. And, there were many communion stations and at least 120 lay Eucharistic ministers, or LEMs assisting.
But, I have noticed a disturbing trend among many celebrants of Holy Communion of late.
Once the bread/wafer is broken and the celebrant lifts the bread/wafer and wine to heaven, the celebrant says the following:

The Gifts of God for the People of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for
you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith,
with thanksgiving.

But, our illustrious so-called presiding bishop simply said:

The Gifts of God for the People of God.

Now, call me old fashioned, but since we still are a nominal Christian denomination, I think that we should remember why we celebrate the Holy Communion. I kind of think that the trend makes us who worship in the Episcopal Church seem rather unitarian.
Anyhow, after the service the fun part was walking around the exhibit hall at all the booths of different groups mostly within the Episcopal Church.
Mrs. rightviewfromtheleftcoast made the comment that it reminded her of a county fair. I laughed and agreed. Too bad the Sham-Wow guy was not there. It would have added a whole different dimension to the hall!
And, when I comment that being at an event like this is what it must be like at a Democrat meeting, I was not disappointed!
There were the Anglicans for Animal Welfare. Innocuous named group. I even kind of agree with some of their stances on animal welfare. But, unfortunately for the most part, it was really animal rights with a slight Christian twist.
Oh, of course there are those that want the Church to follow the United Nations Millennial Development Goals, what ever the heck that is. But it is the United Nations, and I do not see the spiritual connection between meeting some UN goal and one's personal salvation. They were well represented.
Without a doubt, gay and lesbian Episcopalians had a nice, big booth. Integrity is the name of the group. They were all over the place. Oh, the there were those promoting an AIDS quilt. In and of itself, I have no problem with those memorializing those who have died from the ravages of AIDS. It is just the general feeling that if that was not one's cup of tea for whatever reason, you can be made to feel a twinge of guilt.
Lets see, oh yes, baby murder was celebrated.
A group that has the laughable name Pro Family and Pro Choice, Christians for Reproductive Rights, had a nice, big booth trying to somehow make a case that one can be pro family and for the killing of unborn babies. No matter the reason. Tragic thinking. And, there is no longer a group called Episcopalians For Life. It has gone with those who are leaving the Church in droves. It is now Anglicans For Life. And no, they were not represented.
But, it was not all political correctness run amok.
There were some of the groups from the seminaries. My favorites are Trinity and Nashotah House. Trinity is evangelical and Nashotah House is High Church.
And there were contingents from Cursillo and Faith Alive, both evangelical groups within the Church.
Deep in the bowels of the exhibit hall was the last bastion of overall sanity in an increasingly insane group called Episcopalians.
The American Anglican Council had their booth and two very nice ladies that I spoke with, took their info and told them to keep up the fight for traditionalism within the Episcopal Church. Mostly, they need to be there for those of us who want to engage with those that seem to have a different, worldly-centered vision of the Church.
Well, who knows what will happen at this General Convention. Maybe our so-called presiding bishop will pronounce that we will become Wiccans. Who knows. But it is always entertaining and in a strange way making my personal relationship with Jesus and God stronger and more pronounced.

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