Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE writes:
“Today’s program theme at General Convention is ‘God’s People.’ Yesterday I experienced a hearing on B012, a piece of legislation that wants to include all of God’s people in the life of the church. It’s about marriage equality and how the church is going to respond to marriage equality in six states. I think it’s an important piece of legislation that will allow us to pastorally care for people. It is also a tool for evangelism.
“At that hearing, I had the privilege of listening to our deputies Gale Davis Morris and Sam Gould speaking to a packed room. Both Sam and Gale were eloquent and pastoral in their remarks.
“Also notable at that hearing, and so far in hearings of my legislative committee on national and international concerns as well, has been an absence of vocal opposition by an organized conservative presence that is usually in place. To try to say why would just be speculation, since there are certainly conservatives here, and, though it may change as the deputies begin special sessions later today to take up conversation about the controversial B033, for now, at least, there’s a palpable difference in the atmosphere of this convention.
“Our presiding bishop has spoken to us twice, emphasizing mission in her opening speech and her sermon at the Eucharist yesterday, our opening day. Dr. Bonnie Anderson, the president of the House of Deputies, has introduced us to ‘Public Narrative’ as a way to have mission conversation together. This focus on mission in a time of crisis is injecting a much-needed sense of urgency into our conversations and emphasizes that we need to be as generous and as concrete as possible in our efforts to share Christ’s love everywhere through our evangelism and our mission.
“So the Massachusetts deputation is off and running at this 76th General Convention. We have been meeting regularly, tracking legislation, working away in our respective committees and meeting in our respective houses. It is a busy, hectic schedule for all of us, but it somehow does reflect St. Paul’s understanding of the body of Christ, of which he writes in 1 Corinthians 12, all of us playing a role, all of us needed, if we are to be Christ’s healing presence in the world.”