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Jul 13, 2018 | The Rev. Patrick Miller

Many Parts-One Body

This is my third General Convention, and our church’s 79th. I discover something new every time. 

For this convention, I was assigned to committee #6, The Episcopal Church in Cuba. Our committee was chaired by Becky Snow from Oregon, and Bishop Stokes of New Jersey.  The committee members were people from all over the church—New York to Idaho, Puerto Rico to the Dominican Republic. What our committee did was diligently work to bring Cuba back into the Episcopal Church. La Ingelsia de Cuba had been tragically absent since 1966. The reunion was sealed by unanimous action in The House of Bishops and the House of Deputies. Participating in that effort was humbling. In a few days of focused work, strangers came together to craft legislation that changed the church in Cuba for the good. It was an example of the power of our Episcopal Church following the Holy Spirit to bring the Gospel together for the world. 

While the Cuba effort was uplifting, I was most proud to serve with Deputy Sarah Watkins. Her dynamic persistence pushed the convention to create a task force for the good of the deaf and disabled members of our church. When she rolled her wheel chair to the microphone and spoke to the 811 members of the House of Deputies, my emotions had to be kept in check. I was inspired to see this small woman with a mighty voice change the world of the church. 

My other convention work involved designing the worship space of the daily worship and the Revival. I was privileged to work with talented people from across the country. We each had a specific role, either music, liturgy design, or daily management of worship for the convention. I witnessed 3000-5000 people brought together by our team. My work with them, and the lessons I learned have made me a better priest. 

This 79th convention renewed my sense of the body of Christ. Our church came together to show its support of each other and the broader world. We were witnesses of solidarity with those detained in Hutto, Texas. We were witnesses for an end the gun violence that plague our country.  We were witnesses of support for the different ways humans live, move and have their being. We were witnesses to the love of God in Jesus. The body of Christ moved at this convention in many profound ways.  Many parts coming together to witness as one body for our church’s commitment to live out the Gospel in our own time. I am grateful for that witness, my own renewal, and for our Episcopal Church. 

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