Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Opening Events

July 7, 2009

At noon today the exhibit hall opened with the sound of drums as the Korean Drum Band of St. James' School, Los Angeles, paraded into the hall and wound its way between the display booths.
Exhibiters include ministries, institutions and vendors from around the church—and around the world. There are ample opportunities to learn about a variety of organizations and issues, support missions and ministries, explore educational programs—and to BUY: books (lots of books), vestments, altar vessels, jewelry, calligraphy and other original art and, of course, food.

This afternoon Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson gave their opening addresses.

Bishop Katharine spoke of crisis and opportunity, telling the deputies that the crises that the Church faces at this General Convention—the environment, the world economic crisis, our continuing struggles about issues of inclusivity, and our diminished financial resources—provide “an opportunity to refocus on what is most essential.”

She also spoke of the convention theme of “ubuntu”—“I am because you are”—as a response to “the great Western heresy –that we can be saved as individuals.”

"If we want to be faithful we need to be continually rediscovering that my needs are not the only significant ones. We are our sibling’s keepers and their knowers, and we cannot be known without them -- we have no meaning, no true existence in isolation. We shall indeed die as we forget or ignore that reality."

She concluded, "This crisis is a decision point -- one which may involve suffering," she said. "But it is our opportunity to choose which direction we’ll go and what we will build.

"We will fail if we choose business as usual. There will be cross-shaped decisions in our work but if we look faithfully, there will be resurrection as well. This is our moment of judgment, our crisis. We can make our decisions in hope, and we can speak the love of God through this church. And we can do it together."

The full text of her address is at

Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies, also emphasized our interdependence and God’s call to all of us to the mission of working to eliminate poverty in the world.

“We are only effective in responding to God’s call to the extent that we fully grasp the reality that we cannot do this ministry alone, as individuals,” she said. “We must no longer be afraid to ask other people to join us in action.”

The full text of her address is at

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