Dear friends at home,

I write you from the Episcopal Church's General Convention in Minnesota. We began meeting July 29 and I will be here until August 9. As you are probably aware from the news media, this may be a very intense and politicized conference as we deal with issues of human sexuality, ordination policies and our relationship to the worldwide Anglican Communion.

This is a real education for me. As one of the 40% of first-time delegates, I am on a steep learning curve regarding what our business is and how we do it. This involves extensive reading and attending hearings for the nearly 200 resolutions which deal with everything from "pest management" to "recognition of saints." The committee I serve on is "Miscellaneous
Resolutions" so you can guess how I know about pest management! In reality, our committee has been given two politically sensitive resolutions and we have wrestled together on how we might best deal with them. The process is similar to how many of you wrestle in your jobs and schools and communities with the different positions and approaches to any issue. I am learning that our differences can also be our strengths.

Our committee is composed of a Caribbean Bishop from Florida, a Jamaican priest, a British archivist living in Pennsylvania, a powerful female Rector from Atlanta, a laywoman from the traditionally Anglo-Catholic Diocese of Quincy, a french man from Louisiana and yours truly. It is safe to say that we do not all think alike.

And yet, together we do good work, laugh a lot and have grown to respect one another. I see a similar dynamic at work in our very own St. Paul's parish. We are not all called to agree, but we are called to "respect the dignity of every person," to listen to one another carefully, to learn and even to have our minds changed. I know our strong and forthright Vestry have often helped me re-think my position and it works both ways.

While we are away from one another, you are constantly in my prayers. I give thanks for the vitality of our parish and the growing depth of spirituality. Your generosity and willingness to grow are a constant joy and challenge to keep up with! Many of you who are ill or in trouble are in my prayers daily as we hold one another up to God.

When I return we begin to gear up for the school year. I want to let you know about some exciting opportunities for multi-generational worship and small study group which will start in September. One of the most effective ways we have to grow in Christ and listen to one another in the Spirit is through small prayer and study groups. There will be a list available in
the September Epistle and I hope you will consider participating in one of the offerings.

We who are many, are one body, for we all share the one bread.

Rev. Britt

4/30/03 -j