Today is the last day of the 79th General Convention in Austin, TX. I will begin this day in the House of Deputies serving as an Alternate Deputy. There will be nine hours in the legislative session, so I am writing this early because I may need to relieve a lay delegate currently serving on the floor, sometime later today. I have taken the responsibility of my position very seriously. I’ve had the opportunity to attend legislative committee meetings and hear testimony on several issues of concern to me and our church. Some of the meetings I’ve attended were on the topics of Prayer Book Revision, Marriage Rites of the Whole Church, the use of Expansive Language in Liturgical Resources, Safeguarding and Title IV. The testimonies heard were eye-opening, heart wrenching and in some instances, mind changing. When I thought about voting for a particular resolution, the testimonies I witnessed were not forgotten. I was privileged to vote on several issues. I give thanks to my colleagues for this opportunity. My most exciting day was on day 7, when we were called to vote on Resolution, A238, to readmit the Episcopal Diocese of Cuba as a diocese of the Episcopal Church. This was a historic vote and I was honored to be a part of it.
All of my time here has not been spent sitting in meetings. We’ve had fun as deputation as we shared meals, conversation, and worship. Making new acquaintances, running into long-time friends from other dioceses, visiting the exhibit hall, and going out in mission to love and serve those living on the streets of Austin has been incredibly exciting.
I will leave Convention tomorrow a proud member of the Episcopal Church, with a great sense of hope. This is an exciting and hopeful time for us. We have been shown how to have a Revival, Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry style! It has been an uplifting experience. We have been given the tools we need, to go out and serve our brothers and sisters in our communities and the world as dioceses, convocations, and parishes of The Episcopal Church. My hope is that, together, we can be a more vibrant example of love, the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. With God’s grace, we can do the work we have been given to do.
Cathy Cummings Rippeon, Lay Alternate to General Convention
St. Andrew’s in the Valley, Harrisburg