It’s October so you know what that means…It Convention time!!! Well, obviously there are some other things going on, and I will address them in up-coming weeks, but we need to get ready for our “party” in Novi on the 23rd and 24th of this month. And it looks like a great event, indeed!!!
I know that most of you think that convention is just for the delegates and clergy but there you’re wrong. Convention is for all of us!! This is our “Family Reunion,” so to speak, and there is something for each of us to do with our “family” members. Since many of you might not be delegates and have not received the Convention booklet, let me offer some highlights! You can also download a copy of the booklet here – http://www.edomi.org/edomi/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/30-Day-Convention-Booklet-2015.pdf
This year’s theme is “Waters of Reconciliation: Race Relations and Diversity,” a very timely topic as we continue to live out our Baptismal Covenant in a society where injustice and discrimination run rampant. Let’s begin with the educational opportunities. On Friday morning from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, the Pre-Convention workshop, Race and Privilege in America will be led by Dr. Ivy Forsythe-Brown, assistant professor of sociology in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at U of M, Dearborn. We all have been witness to the tragic results of continued racial discrimination specifically over the last few years so we are acutely aware of the need to continue the conversation of toward eliminating injustice and inequality.
I listened to a guest speaker the other evening at the college where I work who spoke about his political perspective and how his party loved the Constitution and The Declaration of Independence – which he quoted well:
We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…
Sadly, he made it sound as though his was the only party that valued these words! I venture a guess that all Americans deeply love the spirit behind these words; we just don’t see them lived out around us It doesn’t take much to look and see that we are failing as our society when some people seem to be treated “more equally” than others. Plan to attend this workshop to gain insight on the social inequality and the consequences that plagues us as a nation.
Then, from 2:00 – 3:30 pm, there a workshop, “Lamentation in Art: Oren Goldenberg’s A Requiem for Douglass (2015) and the Practice of Public Ritual.” The Rev. Dr. William Danaher, rector of Christ Church, Cranbrook, will be the presenter. Here’s what the convention booklet says about this event:
Requiem is an interactive installation. Entering a dark room, viewers deconstruct a sculpture of bricks salvaged from the project. Each brick initiates videos documenting rites of mourning – by Christian choirs, Jazz funeral bands, Modern and African dancers, indigenous practitioners, slam poets, and artists – filmed during the demolition. In this way, Goldenberg writes, he “brings not only the documentation of ritual to the viewer, but the act of ritual as well.” Requiem raises questions regarding the role lamentation might play in religion and contemporary art, which we explore.
The “work” of Convention will begin with the Opening Session at 4:00 pm where you’ll get to hear who are the new clergy in our Household, meet the Diocesan staff, and honor any new retirees. Our legislative session continues on Saturday. Besides approving the budget for the next year, we will be addressing 7 resolutions. The first three resolutions have to do with funding for Justice and Peace Advocacy, Social Service Ministries of the Diocese and allowing the solicitation of funds for these efforts. Resolution #4 addresses ending mass incarceration, reducing the length of stay and assuring that conditions are livable. The 5th resolution speaks to our response to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and Resolution 6 asks us to support paid sick time for Michigan workers. Resolution 7 asks for a change in the wording of our Canon Section 2.5.5 to reflect the historical practice of the Cathedral Chapter. You can find all the details at this link – http://www.edomi.org/a-rundown-of-information-for-the-181st-diocesan-convention/
Add to all this the a spirit-filled Eucharist with the Rev. Dr Jay Emerson Johnson preaching, an enlightening report by your deputies to General Convention, a reception for the Emrich Retreat Center, the luncheon for Clergy Spouses and Partners hosted by Karlah Gibbs, stuff to buy and ministries to learn about in the Exhibit Hall, and the opportunity to network with 500 of your closest friends, and you’ve got the making of a valuable 2-day get-away!! There is even Camp Convention on Saturday for your children, ages 5 to 12, so that they can share in the excitement of our Family Reunion! Please check out the Convention Booklet for more information and to RSVP – http://www.edomi.org/edomi/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/30-Day-Convention-Booklet-2015.pdf
In all seriousness though, the work of our Household at Convention is important work in the life of our diocese. We are the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan; it’s not a building or the Bishop’s staff. It’s us! Together we can make our work reach out to change the culture in which we live and help to meet the needs of the people in our communities and region.
The delegates you elect to represent you at convention need to know how you feel on each of the resolutions and the budget because they are charged with voting their congregation’s opinion. Read the resolutions, attend your pre-convention deanery meeting, ask about the issues during coffee hour, and talk to your delegates. Then come to Convention and see how it’s all put together! We are looking forward to seeing you there!
Let us pray –
Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who will take counsel in Novi for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council