Severe internet connection problems have plagued my attempts in the last 30 or more hours to be able to submit my news stories. I was denied accreditation to use the press room here at the convention, so I had to rely on my own personal Internet Service Provider, and I've had problems calling them from Philadelphia.
At least my computer ("Thor," Powerbook of Mystery) has been working well.
As many or most of you will already know, much has transpired since my last report was filed. Although my ISP (the usually excellent Pipeline/MindSpring) has robbed me now of some timeliness, I will cite merely a few of the biggest things, though they are now longer hot off the press.
Short versions of giant stories:
The deputation from Chicago also seems quite smiley--but perhaps my perceptions have been colored by the glowing but seemly joy of my dear roommate here at the convention, who is deputy from Chicago. Hmm... She and her fellow members went to bring their Bishop into the Hall to be received and greeted, and enjoyed a few blessed private moments of joy and commiseration. Their gift to the Church national will also be their personal loss, but the joy outweighs all. You should see them.
Dr. Louie Crew and the Rev. Kendall Harmon (both well-known to online Anglicans everywhere) spoke to the resolutions, now passed. The language of an amendment appended to the resolution, also now officially adopted, assures that mechanisms of accountability regarding emerging online and related technologies (and planning and implementation decisions concerning these emergent technologies/transmission methods) will be put in place as we move as a Body into our shared future. Decisions regarding these new methods of open conversation and immediate engagement with the World outside our usual spheres of influence will now also include opportunity for the expertise of outside professionals in these sciences, mostly devout Anglicans not in the employ of the church, to be included and sought.
The Anglican Communion has always been recognizable by its desire to engage with the whole world. The world is the arena for our action as a people of God. I rejoice that this important legislation was understood and affirmed. Evangelism can be a powerful thing. (A goofy aside: It is with special pride that I have noted so many "Via Media Via Modem" T-shirts in the crowd. Everyone asks--and many want one or three of their very own! YAY!)
A more personal note, here: Today, Ana and I and assorted musicians will perform at the lovely St. Stephen's Church here in Philadelphia, very near to the Convention Center--a 7:30 p.m. benefit concert for the National Episcopal AIDS Coalition headed by the Rev. Ted Karpf. I have been hoping and praying that my ragged voice will return, and soon--not merely to make a good showing, but to claim the power of Love to lift hearts, the strengthen the worried, the disappointed, the tired--those here for whom things have not gone well in legislation, or those for whom things have gone too well and now face a changed landscape in their home parishes, etc. Music can go deep into the heart, and it is still my preferred vehicle of grace. But, I am whispering, betrayed by my throat and my ISP.
I have a huge backlog of commentary which will soon flood your heretofore languishing mailboxes; I am trusting that my editor will be able to parcel it out into stories for you. I must now leave this room to gather today's impressions and move a ton or two of strange and exotic musical instruments to their appointed place.
Be of good cheer. Our Church still stands! Most are in amity still with each other; although some snarling is apparent, love and respect still mark our shared endeavors. Our prayer and worship unite us--clearly. Thunderous waves of Amens...
As Patti Browning (the gracious wife of PB +Ed Browning) said in a speech last night praising the estimable Brian Grieves+, (director of the national office for Peace and Justice Ministries, who received the John Nevin Sayre Award for courageous witness in the cause of peace and justice): "One of Brian's gifts is the gift of hope, and through the hope that is in him, he sustains others. Hope is a necessary quality ...." She began her speech quoting from Micah: "And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
Friends: This Church is alive!--we still speak and move and have our being, in community--in difference--but still: we persist. ALL OF US. Alleluia.
We move forward, guided by our lights--our history, our past, our present, our future--and all of it, strangeLy and often miraculously --is still visible and palpable here in Philadelphia.
p.s. The most popular booth in the exhibit hall is the Amish Fudge and Candy Booth.