Sunday, July 19, 2009

Reflections on General Convention: Women and Girls

At one point during the week, my co-worker lured me away from the Confirm not Conform booth to go sit in the House of Deputies when they were reporting on the final vote on D025, the resolution that affirmed that the conferring of holy orders is a mystery and that God calls all sorts of people. There was a bit of a glitch in the reporting and so we sat there for some time watching Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies, at work. We could barely see her on the big screens waaaay at the front of the room, but her calm steadiness was impressive and frankly somewhat intimidating. "For what reason does the delegate approach microphone 2?" she would say. And at another time, "If those of you at the microphones wish to continue this discussion, I will not be happy."

Here's what it looked like from where we were sitting in the very last row of the visitor's gallery:

We also snuck into the House of Bishops VERY briefly, just to see, but didn't stay for more than a minute or two. And I didn't take a picture.

The thing that only hit me much later is that the presidents of both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops are women. And when it hit, it hit on a visceral level.

And so it was with that in mind that I heard this story from another co-worker who worked the CnC booth later in the week.

He was the only man who worked in the booth during our tenure at GC. On our last day, he was approached by a representative from the American Anglican Council who had a booth kitty corner and behind our own.

The AAC is a conservative organization in high opposition to the Episcopal Church's current positions on all sorts of things. Towards the beginning of my time in Anaheim, a man from AAC had approached me and growled, "What's the mission of this here outfit?" I'd answered, "The mission of this here outfit is for young people to get confirmed and mean it," which is quite true. He muttered, "I can get behind that," and walked off.

He'd had something different to say to my male co-worker. He had explained that the AAC had a confirmation program "for the development of young Christian men" called Kairos. And that they also had one for girls called (and I am not making this up) Me Too.

Good luck to 'em.

I don't have any deep thoughts about the significance of these events. I'm still mulling them over. But the difference was so vast and so striking, I had to write it down. I hope we're moving past being "Me Too" church to the point where we don't even think about inclusion any more. Not because we're oblivious to people but because everybody's already included. Here's hoping.

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