There are times when I am tired and disillusioned and frustrated by all that goes on in the church. There are times when I get discouraged by all the time we spend on budgets and policy decisions and canon law and parliamentary procedure and I wonder what the heck this all has to do with spreading the gospel and doing God's work and being the church. And then I spend a very long Saturday with a few hundred of my fellow church folk having some intense discussions on budgets and policy decisions and canon law and parliamentary procedures and I see that indeed this too is how we are church with one another, and that indeed this has everything to do with it. People who were in radical disagreement about some very important things came together first to pray and worship, then to speak and listen, then to vote. It was the most respectful debate I've ever heard. Some things turned out as expected, some surprised us. Some decisions made me happy and some did not. And that was true for probably every single person there. The most important thing we agreed on was that our focus is mission and that we are willing to go forth together into an unknown future and try some new and radical ways of being church in order to meet the needs of the world in the 21st century. The first goal of this strategy is a focus on spiritual transformation and theological renewal within the diocese in order to start on solid ground.
It's our 150th birthday as a diocese this year and our motto is "Our Hope for Years to Come" from the hymn....we sang it several times this weekend. I found myself meaning it from the heart. Fed on word and sacrament and hope, I do believe we are going forth together to be the church!