Went to the dinner on Friday night. There was a cool jazz musician who played a bunch of stuff, then the after dinner entertainment was a dance troupe of Chinese origin. Now, which of these activities seems not to fit:
1) Lion dance
2) Peacock dance
3) Sing along to The Carpenters' "Top of the World"
4) Martial arts demonstration
Yes, that was what they did, and yes, the third part was really quite surreal. The rest was pretty cool, apart from the excessive banging on what appeared to be a frying pan. The banging was really penetrating and I was really sad the Advil container was sitting on the back seat of my car, ten minutes walk away.
Of the actual convention business there wasn't anything too momentous. The Bishop's address was more direct and candid this year than previously, which was refreshing. I especially liked his acknowledgement about being stubborn on insisting we go ahead and bring in a Bishop Suffragan, even though the budgetary situation looks pretty dire (20% shortfall on congregational giving.) The last two or three years have not been kind to him, what with his divorce and numerous injuries - he had lost focus on leadership, so it was good to see that back.
Probably the most intense moment was a nasty unprovoked personal attack from some delegate from Blaine (actually two, on separate occasions) who called on the Bishop to apologize as called for in the Windsor Report which the attacker claimed to have read thoroughly. However, the Windsor Report only calls for regret from the bishops who were actually at Gene Robinson's consecration, and our bishop was not. He would have been there had it not been for illness, but technicality or not, he doesn't fall under the guidelines of the Windsor Report. The bishop gave the guy his full two minutes both times and bore the criticism with good grace. After the second tirade, a brief rebuttal was made by another delegate which prompted a standing ovation for the bishop.
The bishop also mentioned that two parishes have announced their intent to leave the diocese and become part of the Brazilian diocese of Recife. We all knew this, of course. I got a chance to talk to a parishioner from one of those churches who was an objector to the leaving. Apparently the vote at St Stephens in Oak Harbor (Navy base town, so very conservative) was 70-8 to leave. Interesting that the turnout was so low. Apparently a lot of moderate folk left as the temperature of the rhetoric heated up. Tough situation for those who are now essentially without a church home.
The last thing I stuck around for was a presentation by Karen Ward and the Church of the Apostles, the only mainline emerging congregation I know of. They had a well put together video maybe 10 minutes long on what they've been up to and where they are headed. More on that at Karen's blog, and I'll write more later.
Other than that it was mostly business as usual. There was a resolution to "explore" the Earth Charter which seemed harmless until you realize that it's an extremely political document that has ramifications far beyond being kind to the ozone layer, whales and the rain forest.