Dry Desert
He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna... in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 8:3

This Saturday, our two St. Paul’s delegates and I will “go” to the Episcopal Church in Connecticut annual convention! I put “go” in quotation marks because the convention is online again this year due to COVID. So, we won’t be sitting in a convention center or large hotel ballroom. As for so many major events in the past 20 months, I’ll be sitting at my desk in my home office.


A racially diverse group of people sit in auditorium seating, facing an implied stage.
Photo by Luis Quintero from Pexels

At convention, all the clergy in Connecticut and the lay delegates from each parish come together. Usually, we spend some time worshiping and praying together, some time learning about and discussing the state of our church, and some time passing resolutions for our work together going forward.


The resolutions always include the budget for the coming year, of course. But we do other important work as a gathered body, as well. For example, in 2020, we passed Resolution #7, entitled “Acknowledging & Confronting Systemic Racism, White Supremacy, & Anti-Black Bias.”


This Saturday, the topics we’re considering in resolutions are:

  1. Budget of Convention

  2. Clergy Compensation

  3. Care for God’s Creation and Creatures

  4. Fostering Right Relationship: ECCT, Indigenous Episcopalians and our Indigenous Neighbors

  5. Sharing in the Work of Creating a Safe Church

  6. Evangelism of and by Young Adults: Faithfulness to God’s Mission into the Future

  7. Addressing Racism within Title IV Complaints and Processes

You can read the full text of each resolution, as well as the people sponsoring that resolution.


If you read Resolution #6, Evangelism of and by Young Adults, you’ll notice my name among the sponsors! That resolution came out of two years of work of the Young Adult Task Force, of which I was one of the co-conveners. We’re also submitting a comprehensive report of our research findings, which you can download and read.


Please pray for all the delegates to convention, and for the many people working hard to make it happen this year. It’s important that we be attentive to the way the Holy Spirit is leading us in this collective work, so your prayers are much appreciated.

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

Did you know that our House of Bishops has a theology committee? They released a report entitled “Reparations and Beloved Community” after their meeting last month. (You can download and read the 10-page report at that link.)


My favorite part of the report is where they talk about what it means for us, as Christians, to passively participate in the sin of racism. They write,

“The failings in our common life are no less sinful if we have not individually committed them: systemic sins are real sins, and complicity is a form of participation in them.”

Even I’m not actively, loudly being racist—even if I never enslaved people or forced someone to sit in the back of the bus—I’m still out of step with God when I benefit from the racist structures in our society.


All too soon, we’ll be in the season of Advent. That’s a season when we prepare for the coming of the baby Jesus, yes.


dBut it’s also a time to repent, as John the Baptist will no doubt remind us in our Bible readings. Part of repenting of the sin of racism is recognizing my passive participation in it. Only when we recognize where we’ve diverged from God’s path can we begin to make our way back to it.


So, today, I offer this prayer to God, written by the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops:


Creator God, you call us all your children,

inviting us to be renewed in your love season after season and in every age and time.

We gratefully accept your love and blessing,

acknowledging the abuse and rejection

we as a church have willfully handed out.

We seek your healing streams of life,

aching to honor those whom we have hurt

and repair the broken places.

Abide with us, Creator God,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

loving, living and true. Amen.

This week's post comes from Regan Plourde, who wrote the following testimony and shared it at worship on Sunday, September 19. The first part of this story, as told by Hannah Cooper, was posted last week.


Hi. For those of you who don't know me, I am Regan, one of the pilgrims this summer. Before I pick up to where Hannah left off, I would like to say that this trip was extremely impactful and I learned so many new things. I believe Hannah left off on Thursday which is where I will continue to tell you all about.


Thursday

Thursday morning we all woke up early and headed to another lake, Jenny Lake. As you can tell we visited many lakes over the week. Not one lake was the same. They all were so different and beautiful in their own ways. We all piled into our van full of all us kids and headed off to Jenny Lake. When we arrived there we were lucky enough to find a parking spot as it was very busy that day. We didn’t know much about what to expect as we were not given many details about what this day would bring.

After everyone was ready we set onto our hike. A little ways into our hike we experienced something that I will never forget. After all week of hearing about the dangers of bears and the need to have bear spray… we finally saw a bear. We were hiking on the trail as the people in front of us stopped. When we looked to see what it was they were looking at we saw a bear. Immediately we all turned around and ran in the opposite direction. I’m not sure about the rest of the group but after all our talks about bears I was terrified. Eventually the bear moved on and we continued our hike.


About halfway through our hike we came across a beautiful waterfall. I had seen waterfalls before but nothing like this. After the group was all together we sat down to have a service. We found rocks to sit on by the waterfall and had a really wonderful service. Between what I consider a usual service, Church by the Pond, and the service by the waterfall, the waterfall service was my favorite because we were able to connect with God and with nature all at once.


After our service we continued our hike all the way to the top which was called inspiration point. It was a breathtaking view of the whole lake.


After eating our lunches and feeding the squirrels we headed back down to the surprise we had been told about even though we had already figured out what it was. There was a boat ride back to the main parking lot. This was good as we were all tired from a long day. That evening we closed with prayer and talking about our God moments for the day.

Friday

Friday was our last official day. This was the day everyone was looking forward to. It was the day we went white water river rafting on the Snake River. We all woke up and drove into town to where we got the bus to take us to the river. We got into our raft, everyone was excited. The river rafting was a blast. There were some heavy rapids which made it all the more thrilling.


We got back onto the bus to go back into town where we went shopping downtown Jackson Hole. On our ride back to the campground we came across buffalo. After watching them for a bit we realized the baby buffalo was eating a mask. This really brought me back to reality as it made me think about the impact we have on nature and how harmful we can be. I worry that that one baby buffalo may not be the only buffalo, or animal in general, that may be doing the same thing.

This day of all days the mountains were the most clear as the smoke had started to go away. As Hannah said, from the second we stepped off the plane, smoke was visible and the mountains were not clear. We learned this was due to fires in Idaho which is something I would never have known was occurring.


After a week of new experiences we took that evening to have a final group discussion. We received letters from our parents, a great way to end the week. We then went around and talked about ways we saw God work through others, ways God worked through us, and our God moments for the week. This discussion was rather emotional as we all had such a wonderful experience together that we knew was coming to an end. We discussed our returns to reality and how we would see things differently and what going back to normal and busy everyday life would be like.


Saturday

The next morning was back to reality. We all packed up and headed to the airport. After gate changes and other obstacles we made it back to Bradley at midnight. After driving through pouring rain we made it back to the church where we were greeted by our families after having not seen them for so long.


Final Reflections

Overall, this trip changed the way I look at things. I look more closely now at how God has an impact on things. I learned more about how God helps me get through tough times such as camping or not showering for two days. God created the beautiful mountains that I was so lucky to see. He created the lakes, and all the animals we saw. And the most impactful of all, God created the many wonderful and kind people we met along our trip.


This was a truly life changing experience and I am so grateful for the chaperones that experienced this with us as well as our parents and the parish for all the help with fundraising and the many well wishes we received.