I find myself a late addition to the Diocese of Chicago convention which begins tomorrow. I was added to my congregation's deputation at the last (or at least nearly last) moment. I have few illusions at this point in my life - if someone else wanted the seat, I would not have it. Still, it is mine for a day and a half. Here then some thoughts:
- This will be our first with our new deanery, which contains the loyal parishes of the former diocese of Quincy. That alone should be momentous and fun. We are, I hope and pray, finally a diocese that is comfortable with itself. The relatively small agenda is representative of that, as is the news that the diocese is among the fastest growing in TEC.
- We have our problems, as any religious organization does in this time of ascendancy of the "spiritual but not..." meme. We manage, wounded by schism, limping as did Jacob, with chronic financial issues, and critics on all sides, we manage. In fact we manage rather well.
- My parish is currently seeking a priest-in-charge. The involvement and care coming from the diocese is to those of us who recall the last search, stunning. I think Fr. Jim's care may know the way to La Grange on auto pilot!
- Look out 21st century. The Episcopal church, bleeding surely, limping surely, refined definitely, and yet triumphant, will be crying out for justice to the powerful, and seeking the care of the poor, the widows, and the unempowered. We have come through the valley of death, and emerged renewed.
- In Chicago, renewal means inclusiveness, and not merely inclusion of our favorite groups. Diversity here really is diverse. We actually walk the walk.