Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!
We are in Indianapolis, after all, and yesterday, Secretary Gregory Straub celebrated that fact with one of his more, hmmmm, striking sports coats.
Today the House of Deputies organized itself and opened for business. On this, our first legislative day, we met for an hour in the morning to elect a vice president — The Very Rev. Scott Kirby of Eau Claire — and other officers necessary for the running of a meeting the size of the House of Deputies. We then notified the House of Bishops that we had done so, and they did the same to us.
We then adjourned for worship, which meant 800 deputies, nearly 100 bishops, ECW delegates and God only knows how many alternates, volunteers, spouses, and guests began moving from the Convention to the third floor of the JW Marriott (the hotel where the Fort Worth deputation is staying). It was a tsunami of Episcopalians flowing across the skybridges and up the escalators in such numbers that alarms began going off on the moving stairs.
The worship space is a large hotel ballroom, with all that implies about bland decor, but the Indianapolis diocesan altar guild had tried try to turn it into sacred space.
But it was the music and the comforting familiar words of worship that did their usual job of bringing this already-tired, somewhat heat-frazzled mass of Episcopalians into the quiet calm place where holiness lives.
The sound of a thousand-plus Episcopalians singing in harmony, accompanied by organ, horns and choir was enough to stop hotel employees in their tracks, pulling groups of them to gather outside to listen.
The ancient dance of Communion was well choreographed, with ushers moving enormously long lines of people to the several stations for bread and wine, feeding all in a remarkably small period of time. Through it all, the sound of trumpets and a euphonium soared overhead, the sound moving through the room along with the people.
And then we were blessed and sent out to do the work we are given to do, refreshed in soul if not in body.
So it was off to committee meetings, then a lunch on the run, more committee meetings, and then back into legislative session. The HOD moved swiftly and efficiently through several resolutions, among other things hearing from several members of the Official Youth Presence about restoring funding for the Episcopal Youth Event.
I was asked to take part in the Daily News Briefing with clerical deputy Ruth Myers from the Diocese of Chicago and Bishop Edward Little of the Diocese of Northern Indiana. We each briefly addressed the media and then took questions. It was pretty low-key, given that Convention has barely started.
But stay tuned. Things will be revving up soon.