In the Episcopal Church, there are annual meetings not only for parishes but also for dioceses, which are geographic regions in which multiple congregations, under the leadership of a bishop, work together as God’s people. Today, a little north of Houston in The Woodlands, the 167th Diocesan Council convenes for the bishops, clergy delegates, and lay delegates from across the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
It’s like an extended family reunion, with everything, good and bad, such an image encompasses. Sometimes these conventions inspire the faithful. Sometimes they’re blessedly boring. I say “blessedly” because occasionally metaphorical fireworks are set off. The 113th Diocesan Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia in 2005 was an example of high drama. Sometimes we move beyond past divisions.
There will be an opportunity for that kind of movement to happen this weekend if Diocesan Council votes to approve a reordering of our diocesan canons that omits Canon 43. That canon, or church law, bars gay and lesbian clergy in same-gender marriages from serving in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. We’ll see what happens.
In the meantime, I invite you to comment or share a memory or make a prediction — in the form of haiku — about Diocesan Council or about whatever conventions or annual meetings that you’ve witnessed. All you need for this is one verse with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line. Here’s mine, which links to a relevant newsletter article from a friend:
Canon 43 —
shorthand for a lot of things.
Untangle this knot.