So much has happened since last I shared my activities. I've had some very busy time and plenty of quiet reflective time which has made for a good balance. If I had several meetings crammed into an afternoon, either the day before or the day after I had a completely free day at home which I could spend with an entertaining comfort read, in the jacuzzi tub, or doing creative and new and special meals in the kitchen.
Tuesday's elections had a profound impact on my colleagues in the State House--of both parties. It was a change election, as often happens in these polarised times. I wasn't part of it in this cycle, having decided last spring not to seek re-election for a host of reasons. Many of my friends--in both parties--are surpised and dismayed not to be elected, others perhaps regret that they were elected, other will be relieved, some are elated, and all face a lot of uncertainty about the next Legislation. I'm a very bi-partisan girl at heart, feeling goodwill and frustration towards colleagues on both sides of the aisle. I was blessed to serve on and eventually co-chair a non-partisan committee. Although I've charted my political activities through this blog from time to time, I made a deliberate choice not to be political and that won't change now. So my very mixed reactions to all that happened, whether nationally or locally, will remain private.
And I've had other matters taking up my time and my emotional energy. As with my work as a state representative, I do refer at times to my ministry within the Diocese of New Hampshire,without delving into matters religious or spiritual. I was part of the Search & Nomination Committee prior to the election of our current bishop. I'm moderator of the Council, serve on various committees, attended the triennial General Convention in 2009 as a lay deputy, and ever since his consecration have been blessed to work closely for and with our Bishop.
Late this week I learned that he has chosen to retire at the start of 2013. I shall not share how I learned, except to say that I did know in advance of yesterday's annual diocesan convention. On Friday I was authorised to speak to a New York Times reporter, for a story that was embargoed until Saturday evening, after the adjournment of our convention. (A brief quote of mine made it into the online edition.)
Let me confess here that I truly love convention. For me, it's just a big, busy family reunion, a chance to see and visit with people I know and many I dearly love who are scattered throughout this state in amazing congregations. We had a fantastic Part 1 of the Bishop's address, a creative and wonderful Eucharist, the release of our new 2-part Evangelism Toolkit and debut of a cool video about it, a United Thank Offering in-gathering, collection of toys and gifts for children of incarcerated parents, and the installation of a new Canon for Lay Leadership (yay!) We had some diocesan positions to fill by balloting...I'm happy to report that the Chap was elected to something. He was uncontested so we felt pretty sure he would prevail!
And eventually, as an officer of convention, I had a significant duty to perform as moderator of our legislative session. Despite a few forays into parliamentary thorns, the discussion of our 8 resolutions and the voting went fairly smoothly overall and directly preceded Part 2 of the Bishop's address, in which he announced his plan for retirement.
During his address from podium, I was still seated at the high table with the Chancellor and the Secretary of Convention, facing two hundred-plus people who were receiving an unexpected message. It was an experience I shall never forget--emotional, to be sure, and tearful for nearly everybody, including him. But also lovely, and a moment filled with mutual care and consideration.
An AP photographer captured this meaningful moment of mine with the Bishop, just before my husband and I departed the convention hall.
This image appears in various postings and printings of the AP story filed by Rachel Zoll last night. In some places it ran wtih an identifying caption...including my own hometown. Meaning my parents probably saw it at breakfast, long before receiving my email with a link to the full article. (Thanks HWH for the evidence posted below!)
I know the final two years of his episcopate will be busy and productive. Although we aren't by any means in the "goodbye" stages of his time with us, the calling of a new bishop takes about 2 years (trust me, I know it all too well, by experience!) To retire at the desired time, he needed to initiate the extensive process with the announcement of his decision.
Oh--my name was on the ballot this week, after all. I was one of the candidates to be lay deputy at the 2012 General Convention of the church, and again was chosen to represent the people of my diocese. The surreal aspect of this development is that GC 2012, our diocese will be requesting the Convention's consent to the consecration of our next bishop. Something I did not know or imagine possible when I submitted my candidacy papers. Strange and wonderful--at least to me.
The news about the Bishop and other aspects of our common life were shared at church this morning. This afternoon the Chap and I have a lunch date planned at our fave Mexican restaurant in Manchester.
I hope you are enjoying your weekend.