The video embedded above shows the work in the Diocese of Connecticut toward designing a different way of doing a diocesan convention. I hope this post can spark comments discussing some ways each of us can encourage our dioceses to a different kind of convention experience.
As a part of my work as Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese of Georgia, I have planned the program for our last two conventions and am at work on my third which will be held in February. This is not done in isolation, but with a good bit of back and forth with Bishop Benhase and the whole team in the diocesan office and with input from Diocesan Council and the host parish and convocation.
Two years ago, we used short videos as conversation starters for delegates who were (as was already our practice) randomly assigned seats at round tables for the convention so that one sits with delegates from other congregations and often with folks you don’t know. Before lunch we showed a short video with two people sharing times when God had broken into the here and now in a significant way for them (view video here) and let delegates know they would have an opportunity to share similar stories at their tables after lunch. When we gathered back, we showed this video and then opened up a time of discussion at tables and closed with this video. The following day we offered a similar discussion time designed to counter the low self esteem that can creep into congregations in south Georgia where your church-going neighbors are pretty sure Episcopalians aren’t Christians. The two people in the video answer What do you love about The Episcopal Church? and then conversation at tables followed on this topic. We also showed the crowd pleasing youth presentation with the video Don’t Stop Believing
Showing Good Work in the Diocese
Last year discussions centered on the blessing of same sex unions and we used videos to share some good work going on in the Diocese including smaller congregations doing impressive ministry and the redevelopment of one church and checking in with a church plant a decade in.
Acts 8 Inspired Conventions?
Inspired by Acts 8, I am wondering how we might study a passage of scripture as a convention, or how we might pray and dream together of a different way not of doing convention, but of being the church. I know this work is underway in planning the Diocese of Arizona’s convention with Susan Snook and Megan Catellan challenged to make this a reality. What do you suggest? What is your diocese going to do? What do you wish your convention would be like?
We have a lot to live up to here as the trailer for our convention used zombies, a vampire, a sea battle, romance and explosions to share the dates for the meeting: