Day Two – Beverly Gibson+

In her sermon at the Community Eucharist on Day 2 of the 77th General Convention, House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson reflected on courage in remembering the life and death of John Hus. Anderson held up courage as the foundational virtue in Christian living, as it is in living out courageously the other virtues that we are ourselves changed and that we participate in God’s transformation of this world.
As I have reflected on her words and on my experiences in these first few days of General Convention, I am aware of the courage being lived out here by so many people. In my service on the legislative committee for ministry, I have witnessed the courage of people who are proposing changes to the way we live our lives together in the church–to the ways we form people for ministry, to the ways we deal with the “hard spots” in our relationships within the church. We are being called as deputies to demonstrate courage in welcoming those who feel at home in our church, even when they don’t seem to be like us. We are called to act courageously in facing those places where the church has failed to act well, addressing them honestly, and seeking a healthier way.
In yesterday’s legislative session in the House of Deputies, we experienced the call to courage in making a move that has been long studied and discussed–the sale of the Episcopal Church Center at 815 Second Avenue in New York City. We have no certainty about exactly where the church will go, about how our shared ministries will be funded and structured. But we must have the courage to take the initial steps into the unknown in order to find our way.
We do not know with certainty what the week ahead holds. We do not know what the realities of our budget for the next triennium will be. We do not know what the restructuring of our church will look like. There are courageous people here working long hours to live into the unknown. They are listening carefully to many voices, attempting to make room for the Holy Spirit to move in our acting together within the Body of Christ.
The foundation of all this activity is our prayer and worship together. Those of us who love the church may hear playing in the background of our minds the words of Harry Fosdick in one of our beloved hymns: “God of grace and God of glory, on thy people pour thy power. Crown thy ancient church’s story, bring her bud to glorious flower. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the facing of this hour.”  
Please pray for your deputies and your bishop, and for all bishops and deputies to General Convention as they go about their courageous work in the week ahead.

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About Steve Pankey

A disciple, husband, dad, and priest who struggles to keep it all in the right order. Thankfully God, my wife, and the Church are all forgiving. This is my personal blog, not the opinion of The Episcopal Church or Christ Church in Bowling Green.
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