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It’s a Wrap!

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The Diocese of Rhode Island guarded by the anchor in the House of Deputies.

That’s all she wrote folks.  The 78th General Convention has come to a close.  In some ways it went by quickly and in others it feels that we’ve been in Salt Lake City for a month.

This marks the end of my fourth General Convention, third as a Deputy.  In many ways it has been like every other convention and in some ways it has been unlike any other experience.  This triennial gathering, for me, has been marked by historic decisions of my beloved Church, serving on a legislative committee for the first time, continuing to find my voice and passions within the corporate life of The Episcopal Church, and even getting a few job offers (which my Bishop’s wife promptly turned down for me).  Exhaustion has set in so I am having a hard time capturing the day.  I am sure over the days and weeks ahead, as I process and reflect on these last 12 days, more will come to mind, but at the moment there are only two things that come to mind.

First, I am filled with deep and profound gratitude for the people of The Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island for electing me to this amazing ministry opportunity, and I am thankful to my Bishop for allowing me to continue to serve after I became a postulant.  It is a real honor to serve in the House of Deputies, one I do not take lightly.  Thank you to all those who have mentored and supported me over the years so that I may serve faithfully in this way.

Second, I am confident in saying that the highlight of the day was the sermon at the closing Eucharist this morning.  This Eucharist served as the “welcoming” Eucharist for the Presiding Bishop-Elect.  As such Michael Curry preached.  If you’ve ever heard him preach you know the power of this man’s voice.  It’s a great sermon and I think was just right for the day.  I invite you all to watch Bishop Curry’s sermon – particularly if you’ve never heard him preach before.

Friends it is time to go!

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A Reading for Holy Week

Today the House of Deputies considered Resolution A067: Revise Book of Common Prayer for Revised Common Lectionary [second reading].  Those of you who know me are probably not surprised to hear that I am not in favor of these revisions.  For the reasons listed below as well as issues with the psalms I spoke in opposition to the resolution.  Here is what I said:

IMG_1517Madame President, I rise in opposition to this resolution.
While the effort to conform our lections to that of the wider Christian community is a noble one, this process presents a problem to the wider continuity of our Holy Week liturgies.  First these lessons shift our traditional Anglican understanding of Holy Week, as some of the other communities using the RCL understand this important week differently than we do.  Secondly changing the lessons creates inconsistencies in the liturgies themselves.  By shifting the lessons we loose the continuity of the collect of the day and the readings.  It creates liturgies that are disjointed and confusing.
Another issue with these revisions is in regards to the gospel for Maundy Thursday.  The RCL lectionary removes the possibility of commemorating the first celebration of the Eucharist and only recognizes the foot washing – a ritual not every Episcopal congregation participates in.
We are looking at altering our most holy and sacred time in the life of the Church.  This is not something that should be taken lightly or done solely for the purpose of Unity.  If we dare to change these historic recovered liturgies we need to look at the whole of the liturgies not just the lesson.
I hope my fellow members of this house will keep in mind our unique Anglican ethos and identity as we consider a major change in these most solemn and holy occasions of our life together.
Because this was the second reading of a revision to the Book of Common Prayer (changing the lessons listed within the actual liturgies not just in the lectionary pages in the back of the book) it required a vote by orders.  As our deputation chair had taken the afternoon off I was serving as the acting chair.  While the Rhode Island deputation voted against the resolution, the resolution ultimately passed but by a smaller margin than I had anticipated.  In fact, the people who voted against this resolution out numbered those who voted against marriage equality.
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Think about that, more people voted against changing the lesson for Holy Week than those who voted against marriage equality – that says something pretty powerful about the state of The Episcopal Church.

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The Power of Silence

IMG_1508If you have not heard by now, let me be the first to tell you.  Today the Episcopal Church voted to amend the canonical definition of marriage and to authorize for use three liturgies for marriage including a gender neutral version of the marriage liturgy in the Book of Common Prayer.  For more information on the decisions check out the Episcopal News Service article here.

This decision wasn’t just another resolution we pushed through.  This work has been in process for 40 years.  At the last General Convention in 2012, we passed the liturgical resource “I will bless you and you will be a bless” for provisional use.  If you asked me before coming out to Salt Lake City what would happen with marriage I would have guess something along the lines of tweaks to the liturgy authorized in 2012 and a call for more study.  That is exactly what did not happen.

For the three previous General Conventions I have been following closely the debates regarding marriage equality.  Due to my own legislative committee I did not have the opportunity to attend the hearings.  But, I heard the attendance was drastically lower than previous years and only two people spoke against the equality resolutions.  For someone not involved with Integrity, it seemed that there was very little fuss about marriage equality – especially compared to previous years.  Things shifted yet again with the recent Supreme Court decision which I blogged about last week.  Once that decision was handed down, I had the sense that The Episcopal Church would follow right behind.  Frankly, how could we not.

A few days ago the resolutions made their way through the House of Bishops and were sent for concurrence to the House of Deputies.  Today at a time certain (which we were late for due to a continuation of the structure debates and a joint session for the presentation of the budget) the House of Deputies took up marriage equality in both canon and liturgy.  IMG_1507

The chair of the Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Music legislative committee issued their reports on the two resolutions.  We debated each resolution for twenty minutes and then the vote was taken.  There was a small handful of “conservative” dioceses that called for a Vote by Orders (one vote is cast per order per diocese – one vote for the lay order of each diocese and one vote for the clergy order of each diocese.  If three or four deputies vote in favor the order submits a yes vote, if the deputation splits two and two the vote is divided the vote counts as a no vote, and if one deputy or no deputies vote in favor the order submits a no vote.  Hope fully that doesn’t muddy the waters too much.)  The Vote by Orders added some drama to the situation.  The testimonies were powerful and passionate – all opinions did their best to push their way of thinking.  Tears were shed, people rejoiced, and some were saddened and disappointed.  But none of this is what I found the most striking. What was the most profound, what has been imprinted with me is the silence observed after each vote.

After each vote was cast, and before the results were announced, the President of the House of Deputies – Gay Clark Jennings – called the house to refrain from cheering so to recognize the diversity of opinions in the house.  I did not think the House and the visitors gallery would actually follow the directive.  But they did.

Before each vote we prayed, and when then the vote was announced the house was silent.

After the liturgical resolution we moved on to the canonical resolution and the same things happened.  At the end of the debate period, we prayed, voted by orders, the vote was closing, the vote closed, the vote was announced, and we were silent.  There was a serious in the House unlike I had ever experienced before.  As we transitioned from one resolution to the next, from liturgical to canonical and from canonical to the consent calendar there was something almost eerie about the house.  It was silent.  It was serious.  It was powerful.

I was keenly aware that I had just been apart of something historic, something that people will write about some day – the day The Episcopal Church officially supported marriage equality.  The day we changed our canons to say that all people no matter their biological sex can participate in the sacrament of marriage.

I have been in the house when amazing things, historic things happened that garnered the cheering of the house.  This was not one of those events and as a result of the silence this seemed more important.

The Silence of the afternoon carried me out of the session and off for the rest of my evening.  As I sit in my hotel room with nothing but the sound of the clicking keys on my computer I can’t help but be reminded of the silence and power in the house.  That power showed us at our best – celebrating all of God’s beloved children.  No matter how they voted on marriage equality.

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A Long Day with a Perfect Ending

It has been a long couple of days as we continue to make our way through almost 700 resolutions of this 78th General Convention.  Yesterday was a very busy day, testified to two different resolutions.  You can read my comments here and here. Today was likewise a long and busy day but for different reasons.

I want to stress one thing about today – It. Was. Long.

Here is the schedule for General Convention.  We're just a little busy

Here is the schedule for General Convention. We’re just a little busy.

Like any other day, today began with corporate worship.  Worship was followed by a joint session of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops to have a conversation around mission.  We spent two hours watching videos for each of the five marks of mission, and then as a Diocese discussing three questions per mark of mission.  To add to the conversation, the President of the House of Deputies allowed for alternates and the Episcopal Church Women to come on to the follow and join their respective diocese.  From RI we had a pretty large group – 2 bishops, 8 deputies, 2 alternates, and 3 members of ECW.  For those of you who do not know, the Five Marks of Mission are:

To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
To teach, baptize and nurture new believers
To respond to human need by loving service
To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

I thought some of the questions were pretty good, questions like, “what is the connection between outreach and evangelism?” and “What Diocesan structures are in place that enhance or impede mission?”  Unfortunately I did not find the time particularly helpful.  I’m all for the concept of what we did, but 12 minutes for 15 people to talk about 3 questions just isn’t enough.  I could imagine that a smaller group, with a little more time, could do some wonderful things with the exercise given to us today.  After two hours that session was drawn to a close with a presentation honoring the current Presiding Bishop.

After lunch it was back to the House of Deputies to get some work done.  We were slated to have a five-hour session.  Did I mention this was a long day? After prayer, and several points of personal privilege (a personal pet peeve of mine) we got to work.  After 3 hours we made it through 3 resolutions and some more presentations – including a presentation for the 75th Anniversary for Episcopal Relief and Development.  Then it was time to move to the structure resolutions.  This is where things came to a grinding halt, or at least that is what it felt like.  There was a presentation from the Chair of the Structure Committee, and then a period of twenty minutes for questions that the HoD extended to allow for 12 more questions.  Once all the questions were answered, we moved to debate only to discover that the material had not been properly translated – or translated at all for that manner.  So we tabled the conversation and moved on only to discover that the remaining resolutions for the day also lacked a translated version.  With around an hour of our session left we adjourned for the day to allow for translations to be completed.  It was incredibly frustrating, and I am not a deputy that needs the translation.  However, ending early allowed for many deputies to get to their seminary dinners on time.

One tradition at General Convention is that each Episcopal Seminary hosts a dinner for alum and current students.  The dinners serve as a fundraising opportunity for the schools and as a time to gather with others in fellowship.  Tonight was incredibly exciting for me personally as it was my first seminary dinner.  For the previous three triennia I have watched as my clergy colleagues have gone off to their respective dinners, and for the first time I was able to join.

Pictured with The Rt. Rev Nicholas Knisely, Bishop of Rhode Island & The Very Rev. Andrew McGowan, Dean of Berkeley Divinity School.  When did I get so short?

Pictured with The Rt. Rev Nicholas Knisely, Bishop of Rhode Island & The Very Rev. Andrew McGowan, Dean of Berkeley Divinity School. When did I get so short?

The Berkeley Divinity School dinner was held at a lovely hotel a half mile or so from my hotel.  We had an amazing meal, but more importantly I had the opportunity to talk with a wide variety of talented alumni.  The room was packed with bishops, priests, and laity; with alumni who graduated decades ago to current students like myself.  In every conversation about Berkeley, my Bishop, who in the interest of full disclosure is a BDS grad himself, told me of the amazing people I would study with and the amazing people I would stand in line with.  After tonight’s dinner I came to understand that in a new way.  Berkeley Divinity graduates are amongst some of the best and brightest in The Episcopal Church, all of whom are engaged in amazing things around the country and world.  It was an inspiring group to be amongst, and a humbling one as well.  In just two short years I will take my place as an alumnus of Berkeley Divinity School, there are some pretty large foot steps to follow.

Tomorrow is another day – day 7 to be exact.  There is a lot left to do.  Tomorrow’s agenda includes structure conversations, marriage debates, budget presentations to yet another joint session, and a slew of resolutions to consider.  It will be long, and I am confident that at times it will be frustrating.  But we are doing good work.

Please, please pray for us.  Pray for strength to persevere through the frustration and exhaustion.  Pray that we do not get bogged down and lose sight of what is really important.  Pray that we remember to be kind to one another.  Most importantly, pray that the may be open and receptive to how God is working in and through so that we may continue shaping and forming The Episcopal Church to go out and do the work God has given us to do.

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Twitter for the Win #Jesus

imageThis afternoon the House of Deputies considered resolution B009: Conducting an Online Digital Evangelism Test.  You can read the current version of the resolution here.  I was the last person to testify to the resolution, and this is what I had to say:

Madame President – I rise in support of this resolution.

The work of evangelism must happen where people are gathering. The largest place where people are gathering is in the digital world. As a way of demonstrating the power of digital evangelism, I want to read a few thoughts from the twitterverse in response to B009

@FrJody: Folks, most newcomers @stjoeshville have connected via social media & web. I’m asking deputies to vote #yesB009 & watch what happens #gc78

@EpiscoDad: Social media has been key in following #GC78 & it can be used for so much more. Msg. of Jesus doesn’t have to stop at church door. #yesB009

@Fr_Pat: thousands of ppl saw an invitation on Facebook & Twitter to my parish’s Christmas services, our ASA is under 100 and growing #yesB009 #gc78

@davidsibley: KEEPING BEING EXTRAVAGANT ON EVANGELISM, CONVENTION! #gc78 #JesusAtGC #JesusEverywhere

@sarahrandallssm: Indeed, if the message of Jesus stops at the church door, it’s pretty pointless!

@neilwillard: “Go ye into all the world, including Twitter, and preach the gospel to every creature, even those on Facebook.” (Mark 16:15) #gc78 #yesb009

@fr_christopher: I’m good with 4th C theology and 16th C liturgy but communications and evangelism have to be 2015. #yesB009 #gc78

You can watch the twitter testimony here, it begins at 3:18:11. Couldn’t figure out how to embed from Live Stream or have it start at a particular place, let me know if anyone know how to do this.

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On Saints and Calendars

imageThis afternoon, the House of Deputies considered resolution A056: Authorize New Liturgical Resources: A Great Cloud of Witnesses; Weekday Eucharistic Propers.  The resolution was amended by RI clerical deputy, The Rev’d Melody Shobe, to clarify the purpose of Great Cloud of Witnesses (formerly known as Holy Women, Holy Men). You can see the original resolution here, and the amended resolution here.  The resolution, as a result of being amended, now goes back to the House of Bishops for consideration.  Below is my testimony in favor of the amended resolution:

Madame President – I rise in support of this amendment

Just under two months ago I finished my first year of Seminary at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. If I learned one thing this past year it is that as Anglicans we are not an either or people, we are a both/and people. This resolution is maintaining our stance and appreciation of the both/and.

For the last two triennia, there has been considerable confusion about our theology of Saints and our Sanctoral Calendar. Through the process of creating Holy Women, Holy Men; now known as The Great Cloud of Witnesses, there has been uncertainty around if this project is just another resource, a sanctoral calendar, or something else all together. This substitute resolution seeks to clarify this confusion using language that SCLM members have used themselves. The work we are considering is a family story – a family history.

I want to second the comments of my fellow deputy who enumerated the ways in which this work does not conform to the guidelines set forth by previous General Conventions, including the 77th General Convention, as to the standards for adding a commemoration to the calendar.

I both commend the work of the SCLM for compiling this family story, this resource for devotion, catechetical instruction, and liturgical use under the appropriate rubric of the Book of Common Prayer. And I commend this substitute resolution as a means of clarifying our sanctoral calendar and our family history.

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Actions that Matter

One of the most common things I have heard about General Convention is, “But, what does that have to do with the people in the pews?  What does it really matter?”  I’ve always come up with some response that seemed to fit the answer but deep down I’ve often wondered the same thing myself.  As we sit for hours and debate resolutions to death, I wonder what this actually has to do with ministry.  While we certainly had moments of frustration in the House of Deputies today, the first action of the day is the action that mattered.

11124604_10152927437336931_7289783764093218504_oAt 7:15 this morning roughly 2000 people gathered outside the convention center for Claiming Common Ground Against Gun Violence, an even sponsored by Bishops Against Gun Violence.  We were first person testimonies from victims of gun violence and police officers turned preachers.  We went on a mile march, as as we walked through Salt Lake City we sang, “Out of the deep I call unto thee, O Lord.  Consider well the sound of my longing soul.”

This was not the first time I participated in a march like this, but something was different about this march.  Several times along the way I had to stop singing because I was getting chocked up.  So I prayed.  I prayed the petition that we prayed at the beginning of each station:

V. God did not make death

R. Nor does God delight in the death of the living

God did not make death, nor does God delight in the death of the living.  It was a profound, beautiful, and holy experience that concluded with an address from Presiding Bishop-Elect, Michael Curry.

This morning, 2000 people stopped to listen and prayer.  This morning 2000 people got up early when it would have been easier to sleep.  This morning 2000 bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians, lay ministers, deputies, volunteers, and members of the local Salt Lake Community got up to say one more life is too many.

This was our first action of the day, and is one of – if not the – most important actions we will take at this 78th General Convention.  We got out of our respective houses where we talk about the issues of gun violence that something has been done and we let our feet speak for us.  God did not make death, nor does God delight in the death of the living.

After the march it was time for worship.  The current Presiding Bishop preached and presided at the Eucharist and gave one of the best sermons I have ever heard her preach.  Her sermon can be summed up in three short sentences, “Talitha, cum.”  Get up, girl, you’re not dead yet.  Jesus might just as well be speaking to this church.”

The Holy Spirit is trying to do something powerful in our midst – helping us witness to the Jesus movement in our particular Anglican way.  The problem is that too many people have come to believe that the Church is dying.  That the Church is in decline and the only way to survive is to be “relevant” or dilute the standards around participation that have defined our worship for centuries.  We have gotten in the way of God’s marvelous action in our Church, and at times n the world around us.  It is far easier to rattle off a list of excuses as to “why the Church is in decline” instead of getting out of the way, putting our own personal agendas aside, and standing up for the Gospel of Jesus.

I think we are starting to wake up.  You can see this in all corners of the Church – the Church is not dying but growing.  I agree with the current Presiding Bishops – Jesus might just as well be speaking to this church when he says, “Talitha, cum” in today’s Gospel.

We are not dead yet.  This morning, with our first action of the day, we got up.

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A Day Unlike Any Other

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If yesterday was not exciting enough, today was another historic day.  This morning the House of Bishops voted and the House of Deputies confirmed the elected of The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry as the 28th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.  Presiding Bishop-Elect Curry is the first Presiding Bishop to be elected on the first ballot, the first African-American Presiding Bishop, and the first Presiding Bishop to graduate from Berkeley Divinity School.  This last first is particularly cool as I am a rising Middler (Second Year Student) at Berkeley Divinity School.

There are so many emotions coursing through my body.  Mostly I am thankful.  Thankful for the movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church, thankful for my time spent with Presiding Bishop-Elect Curry throughout the discernment process, and thankful for sharing in this process.  As I passed members of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (of which I am the lay representative from Province 1) I remarked, “Today’s the day it all pays off.”  And boy, did it pay off!

Berkeley Divinity School’s motto, “In illa quae ultra sunt” means “into the regions beyond.”  In what I’ve heard from Bishop Curry, prior to this election cycle, during this discernment period, and today gives me every confidence that he is the right person in this time to lead The Episcopal Church into the regions beyond.  As I tweeted out, this is a #MandateForJesus.  The Presiding Bishop-Elect is a passionate evangelist for the Jesus Movement and a fervent support of our Anglican way of living into this movement.  We are embarking on a nine year adventure into the regions beyond following, led by Presiding Bishop-Elect Curry who walks proudly in the footsteps of Jesus.

As I rejoice in the election of Bishop Curry, I give great thanks to Bishop Tom Breidenthal – Southern Ohio, Bishop Ian Douglas – Connecticut, and Bishop Dabney Smith – South West Florida.  These three men are incredibly faithful, gifted, and wonderful Bishops who are engaged in profound ministries in their respective dioceses.  I trust that God will continue to bless them and the people of their dioceses in the ministry they share.

IMG_1416While the Bishops were locked in St. Mark’s Cathedral here in Salt Lake City, the House of Deputies celebrated the 230th anniversary of the House.  As part of that we had the opportunity to offer thanks for several past leaders of the House of Deputies.  One person we honored was the Vice President of the House of Deputies form 1973, Dr. Charles Willie.  Dr. Willie preached at the ordination of the Philadelphia Eleven and ultimately resigned as Vice President of the House of Deputies in protest of the decision to recognize the Philadelphia Eleven and the failure to authorize Women’s ordination to the priesthood.

Like I said, today was a day unlike any other.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Here’s to a Grace Filled Day

As I sat down to write this reflection I had one of those moments, “wait . . . that was this morning?”  I guess that’s to be anticipated for day like this one.  My day began with a legislative committee hearing during which the news broke that SCOTUS made marriage equality the law of the land.  You can read my thoughts on that here or check out this video that I was interviewed for below.

After my morning committee meeting, there was worship, then a joint session of the HoD and HoB to discuss structure.  Deputations were split up to be paired with the deputation of another diocese.  My group from the RI deputation was paired with the Diocese of Southern Virginia.  We were asked to brainstorm 5 things to keep that support mission and 5 things to change that support mission relating to General Convention, Executive Council, Provinces, and Dioceses.  Groups were invited to email or tweet out their responses (tweets can be found with #gcgas – yes they called it #gcgas.  Which is better than #gcsag, I think.)   I thought it was a pretty great conversation and felt some energy.  It may have also been that I was the recorder for our group and had some fun with the tweets. twitter 4twitter 3

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The reality is that, I do not anticipate anything coming from these conversations.  Too much to talk about, with little time, and who knows what the follow up will be like.  It was nice to have some conversation and feel some energy around the structures of the Church.  Hopefully that is a good sign.

After the joint session it was lunch, legislative committee, and a legislative session on the floor of HoD.  There were moments of humor, and moments of frustration.  Things were moving very slowly today, but hopefully that is just because we are settling into our rhythm, and getting used to new voting devices.  What was most frustrating was the fact that the House of Bishops passed resolution A056: Authorize New Liturgical Resources: A Great Cloud of Witnesses; Weekday Eucharist Propers.  Those of you who know me, know that I am not a fan of this project.  More on that tomorrow.  The day ended by going to an evening presentation followed by dinner with one of my fellow RI deputies.  We had a fabulous conversation around substance abuse and the Church.

In the midst of legislative marathons, and the joys and frustrations of the day I had two one on one meals with people I greatly admire and respect.  Sometimes the best part of General Convention are the quiet conversations around a quick bite to eat.  In my experience those moments are some of the most grace filled of all.

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A Pastoral Response to SCOTUS

imageJune 26, 2015 will go down as an historic day in American history. This morning the Supreme Court of the United States, in a 5-4 decision, stated that the law of the land was marriage equality. That all people regardless of their biological sex or the biological sex of the person they love are NOT prohibited from the sacred bond and union of marriage. In fact the closing paragraph of the opinion is a more profound statement of the sanctity of marriage than I’ve heard from a vast majority of people within the Church. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right” (Read the full ruling here.) This is an amazing thing and it should be celebrated. I can imagine that this is one of those days that I will never forget.  I will always remember where I was when I heard that marriage equality was the law of the land in all 50 states of this country. This morning between the hour of 7:30-8:30 (MT) I was sitting in conference room 155D in the Salt Lake City Convention Center, Salt Palace for a legislative committee meeting for committee 16, the Environmental Stewardship and Care of Creation Committee. We were working on wording and debating a resolution when a committee member announced the news. The committee broke out into applause and moments later the committee next door – the committee on marriage – broke out into a roaring applause and cheers. I was struck by the profoundness of the moment, by the fact that so many people have been fighting for this longer thn I have been alive. I was in a state of shock as part of me thought this would never actually happen. Part of me didn’t believe it was true. For part of me, something didn’t feel right. The committee took a break to celebrate and let the moment sink in before going back to our work. The session ended and following the committee meeting was a celebration of the Holy Eucharist. As the time for the liturgy approached the musician announced that in light of the SCOTUS decision they were changing their preludial music. They invited those gathered for worship to stand, dance, and celebrate in the joy of the morning. That is when it hit me. As, what seemed like the bulk of convention, celebrated and danced I realized that there are those amongst us for whom this is not a joyous day. There are those who are saddened and betrayed by what happened. Justice Scalia begins his dissent by saying, “I write separately to call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy.” It seems to me that it is easy for us to bask in the elation of this day and ignore others – to, as some may see it, rub this in their faces. As a Church we have a responsibility to care for all those in our Church, even those who disagree with the majority. It is my hope and prayer that in the midst of joyous celebration we can hold those who disagree in prayer and recognize that we all still need to welcome each other, to join in prayer, and share in the Blessed Sacrament of our Lord and Savior.  Those in the majority opinion should rejoice in this historic day, but not at the expense of our more conservative brothers and sisters. It also seems to me that we all need a word of caution. We should rejoice and celebrate, but we are fooling ourselves if we think this is over. We only need to look at racial integration and abortion rulings to see a single ruling does not solve the problem. If a single ruling of SCOTUS solved racial integration there would never have been Brown v. Board II or Green v. County School Board of New Kent County. If Roe v. Wade solved the question of abortion we wouldn’t still be fighting for a women’s right to control her own body today. Today’s ruling, however historic it may be, is not the end of the struggle for marriage equality throughout the United States. Governors and judges have vowed to ignore SCOTUS. Political figures have threatened violent and extreme political protest. We may be on the verge of serious and tragic backlash. Most of all I worry that this backlash may be played out in aggression and action against my LGBTQ brothers and sisters in more conservative parts of the country. I worry that those who are angered by this ruling will take that agression out on those feeling the joy of this historic day. My joy this day is accompanied by fear and worry of what is to come. Bottom line, this is an amazing and wonderful day. One I will never forget. It is my hope and prayer that we are responsible in our celebration. Responsible in whatever parties and celebrations take place – particularly in regards to substance abuse. Responsible in caring for those who are angered, hurt, and betrayed by this – those particularly in our Churches. Responsible in responding to whatever backlash results from this radical change in Federal policy. Today is a glorious day.   Let us rejoice, let us be glad, and let us bemindful of the true reality of today’s SCOTUS ruling.

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