Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Being the Lord's Day, the schedule was appropriately relaxed (in welcome contrast to Sundays in previous meetings). After breakfast, I got a vigorous workout in on one of the treadmills in the exercise room. Eucharist was at 10, with a meditation from Porter Taylor, Bishop of Western North Carolina, taking the place of the homily. His subject was the vow bishops make at their ordination to be faithful pastors to their people. Different in style than either of the two previous meditations, it was nonetheless rich and stimulating. I am feeling spiritually fed by these talks. Today there was no table group unpacking session, so we adjourned to the common area and engaged in informal conversations as we waited for lunch to be served. Such moments of casual exchange are arguably the most valuable aspect of these gatherings.

After lunch, various recreational opportunities were offered. I chose to go on a horseback trail ride with eight others. Interestingly, the last time I rode a horse was six years ago, and it was right here at Camp Allen (where I was reading General Ordination Exams). Following the ride, I had an extended conversation with a retired bishop over some mission-related issues. Then I did some work--processed a bunch of emails and scheduled a bunch of tasks.

After dinner there was an event--a regular one at HoB meetings--styled a "fireside chat." With over a hundred bishops in a large room, sharing one microphone, it was hardly a chat. The Presiding Bishop presides (how appropriate) but the agenda is open, whatever anybody wants to bring up. The subject that dominated the discussion was the need, perceived very strongly, to radically restructure the governance and management of the Episcopal Church. I will not go into any of the details in this venue, since we were not in formal business session and thus incapable of taking any official actions, and even if we were were in session, the sort of actions we might have taken would not be available to us outside a meeting of General Convention. Suffice it to say that everything--absolutely everything, by way of polity and governance--was "on the table" in this discussion.

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