12 May 2006

Friday Five

This Friday Five is all about Conferences. Since the Episcopal General Convention is coming up, it is on the brain. I keep to the theme in anticipation.

1. Describe a memorable conference, retreat, workshop or convention you've attended.
At General Convention in 2000, I was innocently sitting in my Kansas deputy chair when some guy from Dallas poured salt under Louie's chair; apparently this was an effort at exorcism since Louie is gay. The deputy from Dallas was asked to leave and some of us gathered and sang We Shall Overcome on the convention floor. I felt both old and young in that group at that moment. I was only 18 among a lot of 60-and-ups, but I was witnessing something that was profoundly tragic, and then hopeful and inspiring. Many of the General Convention votes are made through prayer and silent deliberation; I remember once exchanging teary smiles with my neighbors after we'd voted. After the vote for Gene Robinson in 2003, I ran to the back as soon as we took a break and Matt and I hugged and hugged. That was a time when I knew I had to vote my conscience because nothing else was worth following.

2. Tell us about a memorable speaker or preacher you've heard.
I remember when Mark McDonald preached at Convention eucharist in 2003 -- "We dare not change the good news for the poor into a chaplaincy for the rich!" and the woman next to me yelled, "PREACHER!" and I felt myself tear up. I'd never heard an Episcopalian preach like that before, to yells and claps from the crowd and "amen!" punctuating rhythmic exhortations. I felt a new pride in my tradition that day. I heard Michael Curry and Steven Charleston both preach that week, too, and the pride swelled more.

3. Do you attend all of the scheduled events, or play hooky? If the latter, what do you do with your free time?
I go strong until about Day 4 and then I have to regroup somehow. Usually I hole up with coffee and a totally unrelated project for a few hours and then return to the world. This year it will be my knitting! Last year I made scrapbook notebooks for deputies to put memorabilia into when the big top came down and we were all in planes, trains, and lexii for the journey home. In the evenings I like to try the weirdest, most hole-in-the-wall food I can find, off the beaten path. Last General Convention it was a quirky Vietnamese place where the pho got me through five days of being sick. Thank you, quirky Vietnamese place! I will always remember you. I also tend to gravitate toward ice cream shops and bookstores when I have free time at conferences.

4. Do you like having a roommate or would you rather have a room to yourself?
Room to myself unless it is with sisters or husband. I'm rawther like Eloise when I'm traveling--very particular requirements and circumstances become essential. I must be free to fart, wear lowrise pants and tank tops, and sing light rock at the top of my lungs without inducing anyone's suffering. Sometimes I have to smoke a cigarette in the middle of the night. During General Convention I must be able to keep strange hours emailing everyone the day's highlights and pouring over legislation, sometimes while watching Law and Order reruns and clipping my toenails. You don't want to be there for that, do you?

5. What's the most exotic location you've conferenced or retreated?
elizabeth, new jersey! Oh, it was simply marvelous!!! :)

Learn about the Episcopal General Convention here.

3 Comments:

Blogger Ann said...

1. Memorable meeting - Council for Women's Ministries gathering in Puerto Rico at the church camp. Like a long slumber party - full moon - warm ocean - good friends - not much sleep - the National Church videotaped it to show circular leadership process. Great fun!
2. Bishop Tutu when he spoke to General Convention in New Orleans. We were all ready to walk across the ocean wherever he might lead. Also the site of the least memorable - the first Bush spoke right after Bishop Tutu (Bush had a choice) and tried to tell "in" Episcopal jokes - we laughed in all the wrong places - we tried to be nice - as we WERE Episcopalians.
3. I have always gone to all sessions and committee meetings - not a plan for this year. I do like it when our deputation is seated at the back of the hall - can come and go - talk, hang out. One year one of our group had a sterno BBQ with Vienna sausage and BBQ sauce.
4. NO roommate - I have to have "down time" to keep up with 10 days of convention.
5 Most exotic - Dar es Salaam Tanzania - I was on a Partners in Mission consultation. Life changing.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Zinnhead said...

Those are awesome! Someday I hope to have memories made like these...

9:01 AM  
Blogger TheCrowdBelow said...

1. memorable meeting - dreamscape in a room with multiple televisions, people sitting languidly staring at me from folding chairs in every angle around the edge of the room. i was looking for the bathroom.

2. no particular sermon. the jokes within the formal convention framework, the 'in' crowd.

3. i have never been an official part of general convention. if i was i would have to know the consequences and what i was interested in. i would probably have to fight the urge to control everything and be at every meeting.

4. no roomate.

5. most exotic and only: minneapolis. the polis of minnea, the warm tubes running through usually cold air.

10:44 PM  

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