Reflections on Day 1: Tuesday, April 24
You know what’s scary? Getting a call at 9:10 p.m. on the eve of a big trip from an automated service that says “Your flight to Tampa at 6:50 a.m. has been cancelled”. That happened, and then I freaked out. I frantically called Delta’s help line and then heard an incoming call beep in. “You have been protected on Flight 1991 to Tampa at 7:10 a.m.” Funny trick, Delta. In the future – put those calls together to prevent crazy, sleep-deprived women from freaking out.
So we got up at 4:00 a.m., my brother took us to the airport at 4:45 a.m. and we were on our way at 7. 96 lbs. of luggage later, we boarded the plane. I’m a light packer – having grown up believing that “thou shalt only carry on” was somewhere in the Bible – but it just wasn’t happening for this trip. Between business clothes for ten days, Emmalyn and Eric’s clothes, and everything needed to feed and take care of her, we were busting through our luggage. Emmalyn slept through our first flight (after making great friends with everyone around us, especially three women who were behind us in security and then behind us on the flight), and was happy through the second flight (where she could still see her new friends). After the flight, one of those ladies said she wouldn’t be surprised if they were all pregnant in a month after seeing Emmalyn – ha! My parents arrived in Tampa right as we did, and we got straight into our hotel. We’re staying in adjoining suites, and it is luxurious and wonderful - such an oasis in the midst of a time of much stress and busyness. After lunch and some reading, Dad and I headed to opening worship.
Opening worship is always a big deal. All of the active and retired bishops proceed through the assembly of gathered people, and it gives me goosebumps every time. Despite what can be said about our episcopal leadership, I’m grateful for our bishops. They have taken a strong and united stand about our need to change in recent years, and they are leading us well. Seeing generations of our leadership walk to the stage reminds me of the great faithfulness of the saints who have gone before us. Our worship service lasted 1:45, and Bishop Goodpastor (appropriate name, huh?) addressed us. TThere were 4700 people present for opening worship, and singing together is a great joy. he music was a mix of hymns, contemporary worship, spirituals, and other genres –I’m hoping we can hear more of these things, but maybe not blended together so much, in the future. Here is a picture of some of our bishops gathered around the communion table (which is located in the middle of our meeting space).
We had an hour and a half for dinner, but that time goes fast when we are waiting for a restaurant and trying to breathe for a moment before evening session. Evening session started at 7:30 and we adjourned at 10:00. Our first evening of plenary session was centered around approving the rules for discussion and procedure of our time together. This included 1595 lines of words to be approved. It took two-and-a-half hours to do this, and we aren’t done yet ! That’s part of the hard thing about having 1000 voices together. Every voice is important but it’s hard to value every opinion in the midst of minute details.
After 10:00, I back to the room, and crashed at 11, wondering if Emmalyn or my alarm would wake me first in the morning. …