By Bishop Robert Johnson
It was wonderful for me to be at General Convention as the Episcopal Bishop in Pittsburgh. Together with our diocesan clergy and lay deputies, we worked tirelessly in taking our places in this council of our Church. And now all of us feel Joyful, Thankful and Tired. Overall, it was a good General Convention.
We are joyful because we were received and affirmed by the rest of the Church with open arms – legislatively, individually and corporately. Numerous people came up to us and told us how good it was to have our diocese fully involved once again. Others were joyful to see us and we were joyful to be in our rightful place in our beloved Episcopal Church.
We are thankful that it was truly a Spirit-filled convention with huge daily eucharistic worship services. The music was moving as were most of the sermons and the open-hearted, open-minded discussions that were involved in the legislative process. In our gratitude, we passed resolutions that moved us forward in describing and clarifying where we are on issues of human sexuality having to do with ordination and with pastoral response to same gender blessings. All points of view were heard and respected. Also in our gratitude we passed a mandatory diocesan health plan for all clergy and church lay employees who work at least 1500 hours a year. In addition, we passed a mandatory retirement plan for all church lay employees who work at least 1000 hours a year. Both of these mandatory programs were major steps forward for our Church in the name of Christian justice. We made an historic decision to be in full communion with the Moravian Church, we recommitted ourselves to continued work on the Millennium Development Goals and, even with a reduced budget, to strengthen our Church’s mission and ministry both here at home and abroad during the next triennium. Yes, we’re grateful!
All of us are tired. Along with all the bishops and deputies to General Convention, we put in ten long days (7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.) filled with worship, committee work, legislative sessions, evening hearings on issues and Christian fellowship. But, it’s a good tired!
And so we return to Pittsburgh and our diocese Joyful, Thankful and Tired. We are also filled with hope about what God’s love in Christ is at work doing in our Spirit-filled Episcopal Church.
If you want to hear more, plan to attend the General Convention Report Session at St. Paul’s, Mt. Lebanon, on Saturday, July 25th from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. Until then, I ask each of you to join me in continuing to pray for our Church.
Gracious Father, we pray for thy holy Catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior. Amen.
Photo courtesy Herb Gunn, Episcopal Diocese of Michigan