Monday, July 2nd, 2018
It is now 2:15 pm. I have finally arrived at the Hilton Hotel in Austin Texas. It has been a long journey, which included a 2 am wake up time and a hurried push to finish some last minute packing before finally arriving at T.F. Green airport. I am grateful for Simi, my understanding wife, and Phillip my son, who woke up early (2 am) to help me and drive me to the airport.
As they dropped me off, I knew that for two weeks I will not see them. Also, I will miss all the boys and Simi. Moreover, yes, perhaps I feel a little worried because in our busy household, all my usual chores are supposed to be handled by the boys. Although, I have been assured by Daniel (the youngest) that he will take care of things. Yes, even the dishes! As my mother used to say "we shall see"! After they leave, I focus on the trip ahead. I feel a nervous excitement. I am privileged to attend the National General Convention in Austin Texas.
The General Convention is a remarkable experience for faithful Episcopalians. I see it as a big family reunion. The Episcopal family that is spread out all over the US will come together to remember what makes us family while also sharing our concerns. At the convention, we Episcopalians will discuss and make important decisions that will help us nurture God's love in the world. Many of us will also joyfully reconnect with old friends from dioceses that we have served in the past, and I anticipate making of new friends that will bring new insights.
This process of meeting, discussing, discerning, and decision-making is not new to our Episcopal Church. It is part of our Christian DNA since the first century as described in the book of Acts since that first meeting of Apostles in Jerusalem. The Historical Church notes the Seven Ecumenical Councils beginning with the first in Nicaea, which led to the outline of our faith in the Nicene Creed. These councils called together people of faith as they struggled to live and proclaim the Gospel of Christ in their daily lives.
Practically, the councils brought together the local concerns of Christians along with the teachings of the Jesus, and as the church prayerfully deliberated, guidance from the Councils helped churches to live out the Gospels faithfully. Some of these councils have made decisions that have reverberated to our present day, even leading to conflicts that have divided Christians. However, others have clarified our vision and purpose, leading to a renewed hope to establish the loving Kingdom of God that Jesus came to proclaim.
I am hopeful for GC 2018 because although there will be many with differing opinions, some with passionately held beliefs, all of us are people of faith committed to building a better world through the Gospel.
Blessing, Sunil Chandy
Your priest and friend