If you have never attended a diocesan convention, I think you are missing out. Of course, you must also consider the source. I’m not just a church nerd. I grew up going to convention with my family. First in the Diocese of Michigan and then with the forming of the Diocese of Eastern Michigan. So the experience of being with the wider church as it gathers to do its work is something I’ve always known.
It also means that I have seen the church continue traditions and end them; to try new things and stick with old ways. Some experiments do fail and some traditions totally overstay their welcome. But always, I’ve seen the diocese always strive to be its best self. Or at least the best one it knows to be.
This year, we gathered on a single day. Some in person and some virtually. And the staff worked very hard to make everyone feel included. And in it all, I felt the mixing desires that are so naturally part of our existence: of wanting a “return to normal” and innovation; of doing new things and maintaining important traditions. Tensions that every single one of us knows intimately. Even if ideologies color our preferred choices in the end, we kid ourselves if we don’t consider that same tension is present within us and our own church.
And what I experienced at convention was not only that familiar desire to connect with others, but the common humanity that transcends structures and expectations, budgets and canons. That each of us is gifted for this moment.