A reflection by Lisa Brown, Parishioner, and Deputy to General Convention
(General Convention is the governing body of The Episcopal Church. It meets every three years, and is made up of deputies and bishops from each diocese, who consider important matters facing the Church.)
And so begins my second week of General Convention of the Episcopal Church at which I am honored and humbled to serve as a deputy. Fun fact – I’m a “deputy, meaning I vote my conscience, not a “delegate” who is called to represent the will of the people. That being said, the people of St. Paul’s and the Diocese of Pittsburgh are always very much in my heart, prayers, and advocacy during this experience.
So far it’s been a roller coaster of emotions. Joy at seeing so many people from across the church who I dearly love. Angst at hearing the stories of immigrants and refugees, and victims of gun violence, shared in legislative hearings and in the Bishops Against Gun Violence public gathering. Rejuvenation thanks to an Episcopal chaplain’s therapy dog who gave me a big sloppy dog kiss. Power drawn from the witness of over 1000 Episcopalians protesting in the hot, hot Texas sun outside of a detention facility holding immigrant women who were separated at the border from their children. Entertainment at the #gc79pigeon and #gc79andthreequarters hashtags on Twitter that reflect the unique wit and snarky sense of Episcopal humor. Pride at seeing friend and diocesan priest Eric MacIntosh on the big screen, whose work in reestablishing St. James as a parish in Penn Hills was featured in a video shown to 2500 bishops, deputies, media, and guests. Intellectual engagement at the thoughtful, informed and well-formed arguments in support or opposition to any of the 400+ resolutions we are considering as a legislative body. Exhaustion at 14-hour days followed by a mere 5 hours of sleep. A little homesickness at dot representing Calvary Camp on the Episcopal Camp & Conference Center map, thinking of my daughter who is on staff there right now.
I admit it, I’m hooked. I’m a policy wonk by training – I double-majored and earned an MBA in Public Policy. The polity and the process intrigue me. I’m ready to sign on for another triennium, God and the diocese willing. I love that our denomination has room for humor, intellectualism, messy debate and disagreement. But most of all, I have a profound sense of the movement of the Holy Spirit, working through all of us here, and working through so many Episcopalians across 16 countries. We are the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, and I truly believe we have a role to play in transforming our world and bringing about the kingdom of God.