Reflections on the Diocesan Convention

josOn November 24 I had the privilege of attending the 198th convention of the Diocese of North Carolina along with our delegates Kathie Knip, David Lavoie, and Doug Hutto. Besides getting to know our delegates better, my favorite part of the convention was hearing Bishop Curry’s pastoral address. (You can watch it online here.) The refrain of the address was “Go deep; Go Speak; Go Do!”

“Going deep” is about engaging in spiritual practices that remind us of our deepest identity as beloved children of God. Specifically, Bishop Curry wondered how we might be transformed if we prayed the Daily Office or engaged in another daily spiritual discipline. (In this context, “office” is a traditional liturgical word meaning service.) Perhaps not so coincidentally, a dedicated group of lay leaders enables St. Peter’s to offer Morning Prayer at 7:30 a.m. every weekday.

“Go speak” is a tougher challenge for many of us who have notions of evangelism as being coercive or manipulative. One of the most compelling descriptions of evangelism that I’ve heard is “sharing what we love with the people we love.” There are many ways, I believe, to speak in a world desperate to hear stories of hope, genuine community, and promises fulfilled—stories I hear around St. Peter’s every day.

“Go and do something for God’s dream” is the Bishop’s final challenge for us. The diocese is engaging in a campaign called the Harvest for Hospitality to ensure the financial stability of the Episcopal Farmworker’s Ministry, which assists over 3,500 migrant farmworkers in our state each season. Whether we support this ministry or become involved in Outreach and Social Justice ministries at St. Peter’s such as the Augustine Project, Habitat for Humanity, Samaritan House, Room in the Inn, or others, the invitation to “go do” doesn’t come only from Bishop Curry, it comes from Jesus himself.

In the midst of the digging deep, speaking courageously, and generous doing, I wish you wonder and joy above all as we wait together for the mysterious incarnation of God in a vulnerable baby named Jesus.

Pax.

The Reverend Deacon Joslyn Ogden Schaefer, Associate Rector