Day 3 of the Lancaster Convocation Immersion Excursion began in the hotel lobby, jockeying for a cup of coffee against a tide of ebullient field hockey players who were all in town to play in a tournament at the local sports arena/ convention center, the Spooky Nook (home to our upcoming Diocesan convention in October!)
I gave up on the coffee and headed across the street to the Turkey Hill gas station where I met- wait for it- field hockey players. I waited in line and mused at the array of junk food that these young, calorie-burning athletes were purchasing to fuel them for competition... and I must have sighed as I bought my coffee and old-lady-gluten-free-2-grams-of -sugar,-sawdusty- protein-bar. (Even with the name of "Peanuty-chocolate-chocolate chip" it was disappointing.) The salesclerk wished me a "good day" with an extra level of cynicism that I couldn’t decipher- was it the sigh, the sad breakfast, or the purple shirt, collar and giant pectoral cross?
I made my way over to St. Thomas and was swept up in to the joy of the day- celebrating Holy Eucharist in two services and the Rite of Confirmation for 4 young people at the later service.
I realized this afternoon, on the way home, what made this so joyful- I had met and spent time with all 4 of the confirmands in previous events: three of them at the winter "Happening” event and the fourth at a THRIVE event last fall. I had the joy of sort-of-knowing the people on whose head I was to lay my hands and... it made a difference.
St Thomas, in fact, is one of those churches in our diocese where I feel at home. It was the site of our first walk-about (16 months ago!) and I have worked closely with the search committee and vestry in their time of transition. Further, it is the home of The Venerable Jane Miron, Archdeacon for deacons in our diocese; Jane and I work closely to oversee the ministry of our two dozen diocesan deacons.
I have read in the past couple of days of the difficulty that my fellow preachers across the country were having in putting words to the sorrow, grief, sadness and loss that they felt after the shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas. While I cannot say that this was the easiest of sermons to write, I was privileged to preach today and call us, collectively, to share in the responsibility for and work that we have yet to do in eliminating racism.
When I participate in the sacramental rite of Confirmation, I tell the confirmands that it is not I, but the Holy Spirit who is doing the work in the moment. Together, we wait, in silent prayer for the Spirit to arrive, often a long moment while we join in prayer. Those moments in that “holy huddle,” with godparents, parents, rectors, family and friends gathered around is... sacred. It is a gift to be part of this transformative moment.
We enjoyed a lovely lunch organized by Lois Shadwell and her crew. Lois had a great idea to put a purple placemat at each of the dozen or so tables so I could take my plate and rotate throughout the room, sharing a few moments at each table for conversation. I failed at this, liking to talk too much, and made it to only 5 tables. (We had 5 “quality conversations,” though.)
Following a good vestry meeting in which we talked about parish-diocesan leadership relationships, Fair Share, the call of a new Rector and other business-y things, I was presented with a box of Wibur Chocolate buds (love!), a beautiful flower arrangement and a St. Thomas cookbook.
A winning day, for sure, and the perfect final series of events for my 3 Day Lancaster Convocation Immersion Excursion.
In another week, I’ll be off to the Harrisburg Convocation for their 3-Day. Can’t wait!