The Rev. Marshall Scott, chair of the deputation from the Diocese of West Missouri, and a regular contributor to Daily Episcopalian, offers this brief account of July 3, this first day at General Convention.
There has been a remarkable sense of calm before the storm in Indianapolis today. I have written about all the excitement and activity of General Convention; but that will start tomorrow. Today there was a different feel entirely.
This is not to say that nothing was going on. Registration began today, and the Exhibit Hall was open for business. This was something of a pleasant surprise. In the busy-ness of legislative committees and legislative sessions it can be hard for deputies and bishops to get much of a sense of all the organizations that want their attention. This year the early opening made it easier to check out the exhibitors, and at least have some sense what one might want to see again.
Still, it all seemed unnaturally quiet, unnaturally empty. The tall, wide halls seemed almost empty. The Exhibit Hall lacked, well, some hubbub. Tomorrow it will be noisy and busy and will verge at times on chaos; but today it has been peaceful and calm.
That has made space for many conversations. Some have been social. Folks who meet elsewhere in the Church will meet again at General Convention. Some of us have friends that we only see at General Convention, picking up once again every three years.
Some have been related to the business of conventions. Resolutions have been discussed. Issues have been identified. Like any large organization, a good deal of information gets shared in these small conversations.
Which is not to suggest anything untoward. A thoughtful conversation among colleagues isn’t secret, and the Exhibit Hall is hardly a smoke-filled room. These concerns will still be discussed in the open forums of the legislative committees and the legislative sessions. The conversations aren’t shortcutting the proper process for making decisions. They are, however, sharing perspectives and supporting relationships that will enrich further discussions.
But, conversations notwithstanding, this day before has had a sense of unreality about it. Tomorrow we’ll all be busy. We will gather in all our numbers and be about the business of the Church. Today has been about planning, preparation, and anticipation, carried out while there’s still a little time to think.
Thank God for small favors.