I was young when I first came to Diocesan Convention.  (Think yearly business meeting of the regional Church.)  I’ve come every year (except during seminary) since then.  I still remember watching all of the clergy process arrayed in albs and wearing stoles those first few times.  Ordained people were new and still slightly ‘other’ to me in those days.

Yesterday, I was one of those clergy walking in wearing funny clothes.  11 years after that first time I attended Diocesan Convention, I vested as a cleric of my Diocese surrounded by my peers, who have also been my friends, my mentors, and those strange people in the funny attire.  It has happened before.  It will happen again.

But today, this time, I was particularly struck by all that has changed since the first time I came to Diocesan Convention.  Parliamentary procedure is now familiar.  I recognize the names and faces and stories of many of the people here.  Many of the people here recognize my name and face and story.  I have confidence that I can and will speak and be listened to.  There is a deep sense of being at home with this community.  The clergy are no longer a strange, slightly intimidating group.  I am both more cynical and more hopeful about the Church.

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