An early morning of ‘chuck it’ on the lawn in front of the residence began my day… and it bore an uncanny resemblence to some other parts of the day: throwing the ball to almost the same place each time and Rasta running back to me dropping it at my feet in exchange for a dried liver treat… round and round we went – thinking we were going in straight lines…
After breakfast, following a deeply moving gathering of song and scripture and story we moved into our first plenary listening session where we were invited to reflect on dominant culture, white privilege, racism and colonialism as they related to the seven proposals contained in that ‘theme box’. Intercultural and Global Partners were then introduced and this his was followed by five minutes presentations from the first five nominees for Moderator. You can see their offering here. They begin at about the 45 minute mark.
We then broke into three listening session, choosing individually which session to attend: Administration of Sacraments, Small and Rural Ministry, Leadership or Governance, Right Relations and Ministry Personnel. I chose to go to the one Leadership and had some questions answered – and more questions developed.
Lunch was consumed. A walk was taken. A nap was had and then – we were back at it again: listen to the Moderators Accountability Report, the General Secretary’s Report and five more five minute speeches from the final five nominees for Moderator. You can watch the recording of afternoon business session here. The Moderator begins her report at about the 14 minute mark.
This brings me to the most frustrating part of the day: the first discussion session. We gathered in a room set up in rows to have a discussion… There was no agreed upon process… There was no agreed upon outcome… and as a result of this the gathering I took part in got off to a very rough start and as a result did not, I think, generate much material of use for the Facilitation Team. Many did not feel heard or even acknowledged. There were numerous instances of people trying to speak over each other… I left at 6PM as Rasta had clearly had enough and I had committed to host a dinner table speaking about our Embracing the Spirit project: Campus/Community Social Justice Liaison. It was encouraging to receive positive feedback on the project and compliments on the faithful work that Sackville Pastoral Charge is engaged in!
With my belly full and Rasta’s still grumbling we headed back to the room where I fed him and connected with family back home – thankful FaceTime that allowed me to see their faces and connect with them in the stories of their day! As my chat with Jen ended she asked about the chairs… and as I complained she suggested I do something about it – so I did. I went to Costco and bought two very comfortable folding chairs… at least tomorrow my butt will be comfortable, though my head may continue to spin at the speed and magnitude of change that is before us – wondering if we’re not just going in circles, thinking we’re going in straight lines…