Most of the House meetings since my first one in March 2002 have left me with a sense of uneasiness and looming trouble, or at least incompleteness. Not this one. For whatever reason--and pray God, may it be the work of the Spirit--we seem to be moving toward one another. Whatever disagreement arose this time came largely without intimations of dire consequences or threats. Conflict will be a necessary part of the life in any community, but the good news is that it does not always have to become toxic-- not always an obvious axiom in my experience of the House.
Our pastoral letter this time, you will notice, is much more focused than the letters in the past few years. It addresses the economy, directly, and suggests some spiritual meanings and responses to the difficulties we face.
The election of a bishop for Ecuador Central, Luis Fernando Ruiz, was a matter taken seriously and prayerfully by the whole House, and a clear outcome came in the balloting.
I will spare you the endless details of the meeting over the course of these concluding days, when the attention was given over mostly to business meetings presentations from Church agencies and committees. But one impression seems important. We had heard back-to-back presentations, first, about Latino ministries in the Episcopal Church , and next, about the ongoing process toward an Anglican Covenant. One bishop spoke with words resonating for me, when he remarked that he felt within him a burgeoning of energy, when considering the Church's mission among a growing population in this country, and a corresponding diminution of energy, when we turned to internal Church matters.
I depart this afternoon for Lubbock, Texas, where Saturday my home diocese, Northwest Texas, will ordain Scott Mayer to the episcopate. Sunday I will preach and preside at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Brownfield, a little community whom I served (and loved) my first two years out of seminary.
For the clergy of Missouri: we will be together for retreat next Tuesday, and my plan that first evening is to reflect with you on this meeting of the HOB, (a little reflection of my own, a little q & a) as well as whatever else might need attention, for our common life.