The school year is over for me and vacation and travel have begun! Last week I missed the Blog deadline because I journeyed off to Nashville with 3 dear friends from my church, St Michael and All Angels, Cambridge Junction, for the Festival of Homiletics. What an inspiring experience to share with some 1500 preachers from many different mainline denominations! We shared worship experiences, sat through sermons and lectures, sang along with the voices of our music ministers, and laughed together at a theological musical variety show! The Festival brought to mind a Resolutions from General Convention (yes, I can make connections anywhere if I just look around!). Resolution A035: Commit to Continued Interreligious Engagement affirms the importance of shared experiences outside of denominational church walls. It reads:
Resolved, That the 77th General Convention reaffirm the commitment of The Episcopal Church to engage in interreligious relations; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention commend the Statement on Interreligious Relations, Resolution 2009-A074, approved by the 76th General Convention to all dioceses, seminaries, congregations, and other organizations; and be it further
Resolved, That all members of the Church be encouraged to be involved actively and appropriately on every possible level in interreligious work such as, but not limited to, services, prayer groups, educational programs, community service, and study groups; and be it further
Resolved, That diocesan ecumenical and interreligious officers gather and report the interreligious activities in their respective dioceses to the Standing Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations, which will then report these findings to the 78th General Convention.
The full text of the Statement on Interreligious Relations can be found at http://www.episcopalarchives.org/cgi-bin/acts/acts_generate_pdf.pl?resolution=2009-A074
My experience at the Festival of Homiletics truly brought home to me how much we share in common with our brothers and sisters in other denominations and just how much we gain by taking time to look for the ties that bind us rather than the differences that could tear us apart. As the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Episcopal Bishop of North Carolina, boldly proclaimed in his sermon to the Festival audience: “Love God; love your neighbor; change the world! For, in the end, love wins!!” Amen.
– Judith Schellhammer, Chair of the Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council