Saturday, May 21, 2022

es.sen.tial [noun] "a thing that is absolutely necessary"*

*Merriam Webster

Deciding what is essential ... what is "absolutely necessary"... is tricky business. What is essential to me might be expendable to you and vice versa. And yet, sometimes we have to make those choices together -- even though it will be tricky.

Which is exactly where the Episcopal Church finds itself in this moment, as those empowered to make decisions on behalf of the whole church are working to make decisions about what is "essential business" for our upcoming, already postponed once and now abbreviated 80th General Convention.

The focus of the work of convention was described as a “short, focused meeting, to hold elections, approve a budget and address other critical issues and essential legislation that cannot wait until 2024”  in the May 11 Episcopal News Service article summarizing the work of the most recent meeting of Executive Council.

All of this is out of the laudable concern for protecting the health and safety of the Deputies and Bishops from the COVID-19 virus as they gather under the shadow of the ongoing challenge of this global pandemic.

And so as the plans are being made to decide what will or will not rise to the level of "critical issues and essential legislation" I write today in the service of what I believe is another laudable concern: protecting the health and safety of the whole church as it continues to meet the ongoing challenge of other viruses that infect our human family -- including but not limited to systemic racism and the rising tide of homo/trans-phobia variants which continue to marginalize and terrorize God's beloved LGBTQ children.

I write in hope that the important work represented by resolutions calling the church to continue the Gospel work of dismantling oppression in all its forms (see also Luke 4:18) will not end up on the COVID cutting room floor, but will be considered as critical issues that cannot wait until 2024.

Let us be a church where we prioritize the health and safety of the most marginalized as intentionally as we prioritize the health and safety of those we have elected to make decisions for us in the councils of the church.
Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel in the General Convention of the Episcopal Church for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP Page 818)