The last resolution has been concurred with. Deputies and Bishops are packed and heading home. This 2012 General Convention will head into memory and to the history books. There will be debate on the impact of this General Convention on the church and Anglican Communion. It will take months and years to properly evaluate its actions and effectiveness.
But what has been the lasting impact of General Convention on Indianapolis as a city and as a diocese?
There seem to be several.
Bishop Cate spoke to me about many conversations she has had with people from other dioceses who have been most congratulatory about our hosting and hospitality.
This city and diocese have gained a super reputation in the larger church from our volunteers who came forward in great number to do all of the “worker bee” tasks of convention to the site, the Sunday Indiana Experience and on our Hospitality Booth in the Exhibit Hall.
Several volunteers spoke to me about how this experiencing a General Convention has been eye opening about the breadth of the Episcopal Church and the level of our participatory governance. Several spoke of not really understanding what a monumental task it is to be a deputy with all of the hearings, legislation, stamina and attention to detail that is required..
The Secretary of the House of Deputies mentioned two others from the dais on Tuesday:
One delegate took up the challenge of another delegate and left a gratuity each day for the person who cleaned the hotel room. This deputy returned to find a note of thanks and assuring them of the prayers and blessing of the hotel worker whose toil and care had been recognized and appreciated. I susect more than one visitor had done the same thing. The valuing the respect and dignity of others increased at the time of the convention. The workers may not know much about the Episcopal Church but they know there is a difference.
The second was the remark of a member of the wait staff. “This is the first group of Christians I have seen here that I have not been angry with.. I wish you could stay forever.” We don’t know about the other groups this server dealt with but this person evidently found us to be human, humane and grateful. We are not stereotypical Christians in the negative sense of that description. And perhaps if looking for a faith community will remember us and give us a try. What better impact to have than that?
We are leaving a legacy with delegates, we are leaving a legacy with those who have served us. And I believe all of us who have been part of this massive endeavor have been changed in one way or another by the experience. From the interactions with people on Sunday (where we raised about $20,000 for our partners in Bor, Brazialia and Haiti)…
to being part of worship with multi-cultural participants, readings, music and prayers…
we are not the same as we have been – we have been changed by the wind/breath/spirit of God which blew among us as we gathered.