Like the Suk or bazaar of a mid-east market place the Exhibit Hall of General Convention is a place of many booths, swarm of people, of activities and of all manner of goods and services. In a brief stroll through the hall this morning I found expected booths from Church Pension Fund and the Church Publishing bookstore as well as Episcopal Relief and development,. Also present are organizations related to the Episcopal such as the Women’s Caucus and the union of Black Episcopalians,the Verger’s Guild, ECW and the Brotherhood of St Andrew’s to name a few. There are related organizations and businesses such as purveyors of various church goods and vestment manufacturers, Eerdmans children’s books, publishers of formation materials for adults and children, and seminaries various educational organizations.antiquarian bookstore, There are also a number of organizations representing viewpoints and issues such as the religious coalition for reproductive choice, Episcopal Network for Animal Rights, Freidns of Saheel, the Voice of Palestinian Christians, The Living Church, Integrity, Consultation (a number of social justice ministry organization), the 1928 Prayer book society, and others. Social good is done and programs supported here as well. Tee shirt sales to benefit a diocesan program, soap and personal care items to benefit Zion House for homeless female veterans, African Team Ministries items helping artisans in Africa.
The exhibit hall also is the place of the Diocese of Indianapolis Hospitality Booth offering a place to sit and rest, to converse, to meet others, And there is prayer space set aside. A reminder that what we are doing needs to be
The Very Rev. Ronald Clingenpeel referred to the Exhibit Hall as the place of the ” Episcopal tribal dance” where all the various people and elements meet in the market place. Here bishops and delegates have significant conversations with people from across the church and across the spectrum of opinion. New friendships are formed and old friendships are renewed. During legislative sessions the Exhibit Hall is almost empty awaiting the breaks in and end of sessions where people move back in like a rising tide to talk, buy, decompress and engage in the tribal dance of being an Episcopalian in a changing church in the midst of an even more changed and changing world.