This year parishioner Michael Moore was blessed to be a lay alternate in the House of Deputies. The National Convention of the Episcopal Church is held every three years. There is a House of Bishops and each Diocese sends four clergy and an alternate as well as four lay persons and an alternate to make up the House of Deputies. It was a very busy year of preparation. The deputies and alternates began meeting regularly in the summer of 2014, reading issues and concerns, and meeting mid-way through the process to decide the focus for our Diocese. Once the group finally arrived in Utah for the nine day conference, the time they had spent in preparation had come full circle. There was a sea of delegates on the floor each day, lay and ordained. Each Diocese had a space to sit together at the Convention and each representative was either on the floor or serving on a committee with other Diocesan representatives. A “base camp” was set up to give the masses an opportunity for interaction via social media with the hope that this technology can bridge the three years between Triennials to help facilitate and drive energy for each Convention.
Michael was grateful for the opportunity to serve the Church he grew up in, “It’s a gift – a challenging gift – to represent our Diocese…to be able to contribute the knowledge gained from being immersed in reading and study.” In Michael’s words, “Our Church is alive and well and we’re just growing. Younger people are assuming the mantle, looking at our Church in a different framework. There’s an evolving diversity of race, gender, and culture to meet the challenges of ministry. As a faith, we can’t just be comfortable and move on. We have to actively meet the needs of people around us so we are not indifferent.” The week spent at the National Convention has produced a fresh perspective for the individuals involved, as well as a new Presiding Bishop Elect in Michael Curry and a rejuvenated drive for the National Church.
You have an opportunity to hear more at one of three regional meetings where Bishop Young and deputies will talk about General Convention and answer questions. The first meeting will be offered at St. Elizabeth’s in Farragut, on Tuesday, August 25, at 6:30 pm. The other two regional meetings will be in Chattanooga and Kingsport.