Today's report comes more as a personal reflection than as a journalistic endeavor. This day was filled with music and liturgy. These things are very close to the center of my being and I find that I cannot write about them impassionately.
The day began with committee work. Committee # 13 on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music opens each meeting with song. This day started with the singing of the African American hymn, "In Times Like These You Need A Savior". The committee was looking at images of Jesus as the rock. We also sing very well. Hearings were held on the inclusion in the calendar of three individuals; Philip, the Deacon, Enmegahbowh, the first Native American to be ordained to the priesthood, and Florence Nightingale. This is a second attempt at the admission of Florence Nightingale to the calendar. It appears that she will find the passage easier this time than several years ago when charges of apostasy kept her from being approved.
The opening Eucharist brought me to tears as music and liturgy often do. A small procession of the Presiding Bishop, a deacon and two readers was led very slowly by a huge processional cross, so huge that it had to be carried by two crucifers working together. As at previous conventions, we are seated at round tables in order to facilitate sharing. This morning we looked at questions about Jubilee and how we are called to respond to this theme both individually and collectively.
We moved into legislative session. Charles Crump of West Tennessee was honored as the most senior deputy. He has attended every General Convention since 1959. There is not a great deal of legislation ready for us to act upon. Soon the flood will come.
Conversations were on the schedule for this evening. Deputies were asked to choose one of five options; it was not an easy choice. Topics ranged from "Death and Dying" to "The Church's Role in Confronting Violence", from "Racism" to "Mission with a Hurting World". I chose to attend Story and Song: Windows into Worship. It was created and led by members of the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music. Featured in the presentations were Roberta Nobleman, actress and playwright and Horace Boyer, musician and editor of Lift Every Voice and Sing II. The evening was pure fun and joy. We heard stories about the wife of Thomas Cranmer and Hilda of Whitby. The we related our own stories to liturgy. Then we sang our hearts out. Music from many different cultures filled the room. We lifted our voices to Native American, Japanese, and African American tunes. Our conversation following the singing focused on the state of music in our parishes. The question was asked "Can we worship without music?" It was obvious that in some cultures that is impossible.
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