One of the special gifts I am enjoying at General Convention in Salt Lake City is the opportunity to stay with a devout member of the LDS Church. One of my parishioners has a home here, so I’m staying at her home and getting to know one of her friends who is also staying at the house. I mentioned to her last night that one of our tasks at General Convention was to elect a new Presiding Bishop. I asked how bishops were selected in her church. She described a prayerful process that involves just a few people selecting leaders. It was interesting to describe how our process differs.
I thought about that conversation today as House of Bishops and House of Deputies were introduced to the Presiding Bishop nominees. The bishops, of course, already know them, but most deputies do not. Though bishops will elect the next Presiding Bishop, deputies will need to confirm that election, and can say no if they disagree, so it was important for everyone to hear the candidates. I am grateful for our prayerful, open process, in part because of the great gift of hearing what all of these candidates have to say about mission and our work together. Though many (hopefully) listened in to this joint session, I thought it important to attempt to summarize the many comments of the afternoon in writing. I type quickly, so I got about 75% of what they had to say. This is a long blog post, and I did not edit their comments. I hope you are as blessed by this conversation as I was to hear it. In case you missed it, here is a video with some reactions from deputies. The afternoon began with introductory videos produced by candidates – too difficult to summarize, so I hope these will be posted somewhere. The nominees then offered opening statements. The order for every presentation throughout the afternoon was chosen by lot. Douglas opening statement – The next PB needs to comfortable in the midst of ambiguity and able to lead the church in that rich temporal space between now and yet to come. Change is all around us. Christianity is teetering on edge between decline and irrelevance. Who can afford to place our security in historic privilege and power of Christendom? We have to find another way of being church. Fortunately, God has already given it. The Body of Christ in service to the mission of God. In Jesus God crosses the boundaries of separation, alienation and division that distort our relationship with God, each other, and creation. In Jesus God brings about a new creation – right relationship. In baptism we are invited to participate in God’s mission. Our co-mission in the mission of God. Our yet to come is not in fixing the church as we know it. It is in God’s mission. The primary question is not who is our next PB. It is Will we be the church God needs? Our yet to come is still in front of us. Curry opening statement – Some have asked, “We know you as a preacher and evangelist and a parish priest. We know you did street evangelism. We know you as a social activist. Can a preacher be an administrator? Can an orator be an organizer?” Ask the Diocese of NC. We have reduced our asking, but we now have more to do mission becasue 100% of churches are contributing. We made some hard decisions and leveraged real estate to free up money for mission. We established a mission action plan in 2005 to practically implement a way of helping congregations make disciples for real. All of that is important but these are only technical fixes. The adaptive change is coming. In 1867, when St Augustine’s was founded, Episcopalians founded that school in a time of crisis. What they did in that time we must do in ours. Blessed Assurance. This is our story. Smith opening statement – Thank PB Katharine for her pastoral care to me in a time of grief. PB’s role is as vast as it can be and can be one heart to one heart. Any of the 4 would be an outstanding PB. Each is here because we are available to the call of our Lord and our church. We are not competitors. This is a role TEC utilizes for our mission purposes. Within that mission context it is my heart’s desire to build up our church. We have a rich legacy and a hopeful and necessary future. Building up our church happens in our congregations and happens one heart at a time. It is necessary to work toward congregational vitality, life transformation, the sanctification of our souls. It is my intention to create space for all of our hearts and attitudes because together we are better than separate. Together we are a compelling witness for God. Breidenthal opening statement – What’s the good word? A rabbi who came to study Exodus with me would always ask this. I was a new school chaplain and he was a new school parent. I felt like I had to come up with an answer, to speak of some success. But for the Rabbi the good word was the relationship. What is the good word for us today? What is the good word God has planted in our tradition? It is our capacity for relationship. Episcopalians are very good at relationship – for good or ill. We can be so closely related to each other no one else can get in. But when we do it well we are so committed to our connection – with a diocese and a neighborhood and a people around us. We are good at it when we give ourselves to it. The rounds of questions then began. The first questions were about the nominees’ vision statements . Smith – In your vision statement you talked about TEC as a theologically big tent church. How would you pursue this? In Diocese of Southwest Florida, like the rest of the church, we have every perspective possible. We put this into practice by learning to listen to people who are there and loving them first. Everyone is necessary at the table. We have had to work at building trust. Our baptismal covenant asks Do you put your whole trust in his grace and love? Trust is a lifelong effort. My work would be as a bridge builder and trust builder, to work toward reconciliation, to stay connected with people in the pews, and work toward turn around issues. Douglas – You encourage us to discover and join what God is up to in the world and in our neighborhoods. Elaborate. What would you as PB do to make that happen? I believe in a God that’s alive, who actually meets those in need of healing, wholeness, and new life. That’s what God did in Jesus and what God continues to do in us. It is in the world where we are called to be faithful. It is in our neighborhoods where the healing action of God needs to be met, celebrated, and made real. By virtue of our baptism we are commissioned to participate in the new life of God in Christ. Coming together as the body of Christ to celebrate that work is what church is. It is the result of our faithfulness. Wherever there needs to be healing, wholeness, and reconciliation, that is where we are called to be. In the neighborhood is where God calls us to be. Curry – You propose PB must be two kinds of CEO –Chief Executive Officer and Chief Evangelism Officer. As PB how would you balance the fiduciatry responsibilities of the Executive Officer while being Chief Evangelism Officer? The technical work is finding the best and most capable people to keep the trains running and guide the organizational infrastructure. But there also has to be a reason for doing this. I think evangelism is critical because the way of Jesus Christ matters. The way of Jesus we have learned in this Episcopal Church is good and awesome. Jesus is awesome. Billy Sunday once said, “Heaven help the rest of Protestantism if the Episcopal Church ever wakes up.” We are waking up. We’ll find the best people and build the best organization, but we’ll do it because we are following Jesus. Breidenthal – How does your vision for the future make room for people who seek to deepen their faith but can’t find a place in TEC? We have to stop trying to attract more people to our pews. That is the wrong question. We have to go out into the world. If we are willing to learn from them, enter into the equivalent of interfaith dialogue with people who do not know God, then sacred ground makes itself available to us. The problem with connection is that connection also makes us sinners, closed in on ourselves. How can we make room for the spirit of Jesus in our worship, in our legislation, in our missionary work? Paradoxically, we need to start telling the story of our faith and our doubt. The next questions were submitted in advance by people all over the church through an open invitation. The committee organized them into eight themes and grouped the themes by color. Each candidate was instructed to choose a different color each for each round of questions. The order for each round was determined by lot. Smith – How would you promote reconciliation among all Episcopalians – those of progressive and conservative theologies? It is important to recognize and emphasize that our primary identity is as baptized people, not as anything else. Most people are progressive on some things and conservative on others. The labels begin to break down. Baptism does not break down. We are committed to each other for this life and the life to come. We can proudly say we are a church that spends a significant amount of time dealing with complex issues. Choosing to do so together is a commitment we must make together. Regarding marriage equality, we have been discussing issues and topics for some 40 years – the important thing for me is that everybody stays at the table so that we listen and do not force people to do anything except stay together. Breidenthal – What process did you use in your diocese regarding decisions around authorization of same sex blessings? I thought I would not be elected in my diocese because I was in favor of same sex blessings. After I was elected, I said we would take no action in isolation from the rest of the church. I pulled together a focus group of people from a wide spectrum on this matter to talk about what they thought would happen in the diocese if we authorized same sex unions. They said the diocese was ready and would at least welcome the possibility of speaking openly about this. I appointed a committee of theologians and liturgists to develop a liturgy that would coincide with a change of policy the following Easter. We made it clear clergy were not required to do this. We created a process for asking for permission. Douglas – What is the importance of theological education for clergy and laity? I believe in theological education. I’ve been blessed to be part of theological faculty at EDS for over 2 decades. It is a privilege to spend time with people who are wrestling deeply with questions – Who is God? What is the nature of God? What is our vocation as followers of God? That’s THE theological question. At the heart is What is the mission of God? God uses our minds to help us understand what God is up to in the world. As we grow in that understanding and are more empowered. That is the heart of what education is. Education is growing more fully into our stature in Christ. Theological education for all the baptized, lay and ordained, is fundamental. The economics of Christendom have priviledged us with a professional class of clergy and the guild of education is unravelling. We need to rethink the finances of this not only for clergy but for all the people of God. Curry – How will you move the church to carry out its mission to strive for justice and peace among all people? I really do have a dream and a vision that one day the face of the Diocese of NC reflects the face of NC in all its variety. I would hope for a day when the face of TEC reflects the face of the community in all its variety, where everybody is truly welcomed. Then the church has authenticity going into the world and saying what God has dreamed, for we are doing in the church, and we want to see in society. It is gospel work to be sure no child goes to be hungry. It is gospel work to care for creation. When we go forth and are who we are and the world sees us, the world may well respond. Become the change you want to see. Curry – How have you responded pastorally to people who have disagreed with your policy of same sex blessings? We have offered same sex blessings in NC since 2004. When Jesus said make disciples of all nations he meant it. There is room for us all to follow Jesus together. I tell people, “I’m not the pope – I don’t have all the answers.” It is okay to disagree with me. Jesus does love all of us – there is room for all of us even in our profoundest disagreements. It takes spending time with people, being in relationship, being real with people so they can trust you. Seems to work. Smith – Is there still room in TEC for traditional parishes and aspirants for holy orders from those parishes? Yes. (pause – laughter). Certainly it exists. One of the largest and finest parishes in Southwest Florida is traditional on practically every level. I have talked with young people who enjoy traditional ritual. We have a wide variety of approaches and a great wealth that we can bring to the journeys of all people. Breidenthal – How will you support reorganized dioceses and work to ensure we keep enough room in the big tent for all of our varying beliefs? Reorganized dioceses are part of a larger group – small, poor dioceses. Though there is some talk about combining, etc. it is even more important to talk about partnerships between large and small, rich and poor dioceses. Both have much to teach. Reorganized dioceses have something to teach all of us about how to walk through pain and come through on the other side. The crucial matter is relationship. We can’t simply pat ourselves on the back for bringing dioceses through reorganization. We need to be present with them and them to be present with us to understand how in a broken world we can make use of the fact that we are a broken church. It is in God’s grace we can be an icon of the Kingdom of God in a world that deeply needs to see that. Douglas – How have you and how would you engage the rest of the Anglican Communion toward further reconciliation with those who find problematic the actions we have taken? I believe the Anglican Communion is still in the process of becoming a communion. It is a modern phenomenon that came into being with the consecration of Samuel Seabury. The western church has been a product of Anglo-American hegemony. Only in the 20th C have our differences been able to blossom. Those of us in the west who have been privileged by structures of colonialism have been threatened by these differences. But this is a new Pentecost. What we are called to do and be is our full selves – present in ways that humbly and honestly acknowledge and celebrate how God has been incarnate in other cultures. The pangs of the past few decades are birth pangs. The Anglican Communion at its best is a wonderful community of differences. There has never been a better time for the Anglican Communion. Breidenthal – What needs to be done about theological education and what is the PB role? We can’t count on having 10 or 11 traditional seminaries any more. Nor do we need to get rid of traditional seminaries altogether. Traditional seminaries are transforming themselves. Other experiments are happening, like local formation. We have work to do to bring those elements together. Traditional seminary education with capacity for residency and community building is precious. But not all of our students are participating in that experience. It is also important to be in contact with local schools so that perspectives can be shared. I have sent people to the Church of England to explore Fresh Expressions process for training people for ministry in urban and rural settings. I would like to see the two tracks happen more here. Douglas – What is most important change to church’s structure being proposed and why? – So much of our current structures are products of the 20th C. While alive and important they continue to be a focus of our energy and time. I believe God has gifted us with a bicameral structure. I would love for General Convention to be a time of celebration of all of our dioceses – about how we are best at the local level in the mission of God. The fundamental purpose of structures are to enable us to participate in the mission of God. Our structures need to ask what is needed at the local level to be more faithful to the mission of God. Create space to try experiments. Share learnings with each other. I believe the Holy Spirit will show us new ways to participate in the mission of God. Curry – How did your practice of prayer change when you moved from being a priest to a bishop? How would it change to PB? I’m pretty traditional. I say the Daily Office. I keep a prayer list. I study a book of the Bible at a time. I take an annual retreat. I take a half a day for prayer and study each week. I would hope to continue some form of that. I have close friends not tied with TEC. I have learned that you can’t do any of this by yourself. This prayer thing is real. I had colorectal cancer surgery last year – I believe in prayer. As PB I’m going to keep on praying. Smith – How does the resurrection of Jesus figure into your vision for the future of the church? I am a lifelong Episcopalian. I know the creeds. I know what the church teaches. But when my late wife became ill and died in 6 months I was confronted with what do I really believe. She was buried during Holy Week. The scriptures during Easter tide became very real for me. I am absolutely convinced that the resurrection is THE truth. Jesus is alive. We are honored to be here as leaders in his name. He sends us into the world to tell them that they don’t need to be afraid of anything because God loves them and wants to show them that in this life. Douglas – What support will you need in order to be successful in office of PB? Sabbath time. This position requires a level of vision, oversight, and possibility. For me personally as a bishop for me to gather the vision God wants for the people of CT I need time away from office, emails, and phone. In that time away I spend it with a loving family, outdoors, Crossfit, in prayer, dwelling in the word, praying about what God would have me do next. As PB it would be vitally important to have Sabbath time. Spend time with my Lord, deep breathing, breathing in the work of the Holy Spirit. Curry – How as a church can we shift our financial investments to align with the social and political standards and beliefs of the Episcopal Church? In NC we used the standards of socially responsible investment for our entire portfolio. Our managers know what the no sell/no buy categories are. We get an annual report on that. Our portfolio is competitive with Duke and the Ivy Leagues. It can be done responsibly. If we don’t walk the walk we talk no one has any reason to believe us. Smith – What role do economics play in the church’s witness to social justice? How important is it to put our money where our mouth is? Two options – positive investments to try to change a situation, or divestment. But there are also things the church can do directly rather than focus on investments. It can use its resources for microloans to help people, for example. Dio of SW Florida established an Episcopal charities fund. Money God has entrusted us with is for the care of all of God’s people, whether they are in our congregations or not. Breidenthal – Given the demands of position of PB how would you care for your own needs and the needs of your family? Having time with my wife is extremely important to me. I had stopped walking when I became a bishop and was suddenly driving and eating more. I took a sabbatical and started walking all the time. I feel more connected and less defended from the world. I plan to keep that as part of my life. My relationship with a spiritual director is important – I finally have a good one and meet with him regularly. Every bishop should have a good therapist and I have one. Balance is not the be all and end all of the Christian life – sometimes imbalance helps us – but we need to know when to throw ourselves into something or take care and wait. Curry – Do we believe in the Great Commission? Boy do I believe in God! Yes, we do. We do need more joy and laughter, even in the midst of the sorrows and troubles of the world. We have something good to share. Jesus is real. He offers us a way of life and love that sets the captive free. Everything Jesus was about was about healing this world and setting it free from the nightmares we have created. Yes, go and preach the good news to the ends of the earth. Yes – Go! Breidenthal – What are your beliefs and policies concerning open communion? This is one of the deepest questions facing our church today. I have some problem with open communion as the norm because I think it runs roughshod over our theology of baptism. Baptism is our radical welcome to the Christian life. The life of pilgrimage which is the life of exodus – moving out of privilege into connection with the world – is a hard life. Part of that life is learning hospitality but hospitality is not the highest value. We have to learn to be open to the stranger away from our own turf. Jesus has called us to be his body and accept our own weakness so that we can receive it back as the body of Christ We are not just inviting guests to our table when we celebrate the Eucharist. We are inviting people to something hard. So we need to keep talking about it. Smith – How do you maintain balance in your life and ministry? I ask my wife Mary! The daily office that I learned many years ago in a seminary community – it has captivated my heart. The knowledge that the church across the globe is praying what I pray makes my life deeper and more secure in the knowledge of who I am. As a priest I had the ability to go to my people and pray specifically for them. As a bishop I am sent to the world. Douglas – What are the most important charisms the Episcopal Church has been given that it can share with the world? The first is that we believe in the Trinitarian God. Putting all of our being and trust in the Triune God is the most fundamental charism. The second charism gifted to us as Anglicans is that charism of provinciality, openness, embracing the other. We can’t keep to ourselves. Left to ourselves we will fall into sin. The Body of Christ known as the Anglican way is that body that genuinely recognizes and embraces the other as fundamental to our salvation. We need to see the face of Christ in those different from us. As Anglicans we have been gifted with that both/andness, that breadth of reality that embraces the other. I need those who are so different from me and different from us to live into the fullness of what God is. Anglicanism is particularly good at embracing and living that provisional and comprehensive way with the other. Breidenthal – In light of Israel’s appropriation of Palestinian land for Israeli settlements, should TEC review its investment portfolio? That is a loaded question which contains its own answer. I have a fairly good understanding of the injustices the Palestinians are experiencing. I have also been informed and trained by Jewish Christian dialogue. I know the pain and confusion our Jewish brothers and sisters undergo when they face these question but also when they consider the state of Israel, which was given to them after great distress. We are weighing two different weighty things. I do not think the way for us to move forward as fair brokers of a two state solution can be furthered by divesting form Israeli companies. I think that is the worst thing we can do. We need positive investment in Palestine to make relationships and friendships of trust. It is the way forward – it is the Christian way. Curry –With the growth in the use of paper bulletins and electronic bulletins in church liturgy, what do you envision as the evolving role of the BCP in print and in use? That wasn’t part of my initial vision, but . .. I don’t know the answer to that. I suspect there will always be both. I suspect electronic means will be available. I don’t think the means matters as much that we actually pray the prayers. Worship forms us, shapes us, and makes us ready to go and make disciples. Anything that calls us to worship God and make disciples – even if it is a quill pen -whatever it takes, do it. Douglas – What is the good news of Easter? The good news of Easter is that Jesus is alive The forces of death that seek to deny the love of God will not in the end win. What will win is the love of God in Jesus.The goodness of creation was diverse – in that it was full and abundant. We sought our own will instead of the will of God. That mutuality became distorted in power-over constructs. God sought us in a covenanted people to give us a way to be in right relation. We kept on turning away. God joined us in the incarnation. The world could not handle that goodness and destroyed Jesus. Yet God said that is not the end. I will triumph – I will give new life. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, all of us are called to herald and be about that good news, that life in a world of so much division. God’s mission of reconciliation will always win out. Smith – What work remains to be done to live into the Episcopal Church’s 1976 position that “homesexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern of the church?” Much work has to be done. Our basic identity is that of the baptized. Within the church, when we talk about gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, we are talking about the family of God. Outside the church, there are hateful things happening to all kinds of people. The church needs to be about recognizing that we are first and foremost the forgiven ones. Therefore in the work we do in the church, we have issues of canonical responsibility and theological astuteness. We recognize we have different civil settings. We have a whole variety of options and have to stay together because we are God’s people. We need to communicate the gospel that God loves everyone and that means everyone. Our decisions politically and culturally need to reflect that as we live them in the church. Curry – What sacrifices have you made or might you be willing to make or ask the church to make to mend relations with Anglican Provinces known under the label Global South? The greatest sacrifice might be the sacrifice of time. It is important to be in relationship and conversation with folk. As I’ve said to congregations in our own diocese who have disagreed with decisions I’ve made, you need to know Michael Curry believes in Jesus. My fingers are not tied behind my back when I say the Creed. I believe the brother was down for the count and rose up from the grave. The sacrifice is the willingness to be in conversation and relationship long enough for the Holy Spirit to bring us together and move us forward. Douglas – Do you support calls for the Church Pension Fund and Investment fund to divest from fossil fuels and invest in clean energy companies? One of the greatest risks for creation as we know it is the threat of climate change. I also believe climate change is advanced by the use of fossil fuel. I stand with Pope Francis where he links the reality of our abusive use of fossil fuels to perpetuate a global economic order that profits a small number compared to the rest of the world. We cannot look at this only in environmental terms – also need to ask about the sustainability of our current economic order. We have holdings in this order. What we need to ask is what are we doing with the resources we have to sustain the goodness of God’s creation so that the goodness and fullness of God’s creation for all people can be advanced? We need to back up, ask the questions about who we are as the household of God, and what are the death dealing realities, and engage those questions economically. Smith – What has happened in the diocese you serve to evaluate or look at how the structures of the diocese can be more supportive and effective in enabling local congregations? Much has transpired in the last 8 years. There was a sense of unevenness in the life of the diocese. Many pieces of diocesan structure were unwell. Lots of mistrust. Much of the work had to do with building trust among colleagues and leaders. As that has taken place, the impact on congregations has improved mightily. Congregations are doing well. There are also congregations who are fragile and in need of further assistance due to cultural or demographic issues. Diocese has taken great pains to bring resources to bear. Diocesan staff are instructed to be of service. We exist for the health, welfare, and vitality of the local congregation. Breidenthal – What sorts of things would you be willing to surrender, renounce, or leave behind, to make a credible witness to the gospel in the 21st C? Good music, old buildings, fancy liturgy, the prayer book as I know it. All of these are things I love but they are not as important as the good news or the existence of a community ability to demonstrate the importance of connection globally and locally. One of the great shows of unity was in 1870 when we sent a letter to the Christian world and said we were willing to give up everything except these four things – the scriptures, the creeds, baptism & communion, and bishops. What is the one thing you love so much about your identity it is getting in the way of faithfulness? Candidates were then asked if there were any questions they wished to revisit or answer. Douglas – Return to a question about structure. There is a proposal to remove the clause that says we are all members of the missionary society. I oppose this. The structural change we need is a reenergized missionary society where each of us sees ourselves as missionaries. We all need to own our vocation and calling to be missionaries no matter where God puts us. Breidenthal – We have talked a lot about mission today. I would also like to talk about formation. The kind of mission my colleagues are talking about is the product of deep study, formation in prayer, spiritual discipline. I love the image of the church as a school, coming together week after week to practice getting along with each other. The point is that we can’t always be charging into the world. We also need to recognize that Jesus is in our midst. We have to slow down and listen to what the Lord is saying to us. The church is the boat. Jesus is in a deep place making his home with us. We need formation to help us notice he is here. Two sides of the coin – formation impelling us to service, mission drawing us back to deeper formation in Jesus Christ. Smith – I want to say something about structure and the mission of the church. I actually trust our polity. Interestingly enough, with all of the complicated resolutions regarding how we may shift our self-governance, our own polity will make decisions about our polity. We need to consistently work on building trusting relationships with each other. Our humble gratitude for each other is a gift we can own. We work on polity because it helps the mission of the church to transform lives in the living and loving Jesus. Curry – No further comments. The nominees then offered closing statements. Douglas closing statement – What I have to say is not so much a closing statement, as it is a word of thanks, gratitude and love. Thank the nominating committee. Thank Tom, Michael, Dabney. Thank family for their incredible generosity and support. Thank the people of CT. I love you and you’ve been so wonderful to me in these past months. Thank all of you for your faith, for the love of God in Jesus that manifests in each and every one of you. I thank God for what God is doing in us and in our church at this time. I opened by talking about the church that is yet to come. That church is always in front of us until we join with all the creatures and with God. Thanks be to God our yet to come is still in front of us. Curry closing statement – When I was a parish priest in Baltimore, I found myself burying young men who had been gunned down in drive by shootings, gun warfare. On one of those funerals we went to the cemetery, and the friends of the young man were pall bearers. They were about to lower him into the ground. We were ready to finish and greet the family when the pall bearers just stood still. One put his hand on the coffin and said, “We’ll see you real soon.” That was the day Michael Curry changed the way he does ministry. For an 18, 19 year old man to have no hope in this world but the grave is a travesty. We have a calling to help this world end its nightmare and realize God’s dream. Breidenthal closing statement – The Book of Acts shows us it took only a few days after Pentecost for the church to discover it was not the Kingdom of God yet. The people who didn’t speak the language were being overlooked in the daily distribution. The people in charge said, “You’re right – this has to be fixed.” What they did was change the constitution of that fledgling church to create a structure that would require the community to push out and stay on the road to Exodus. I consider that not only the first ordination of deacons but the beginning of ordination itself to create those who lead us on Exodus – priests to hold communities together as they go out into the world, bishops to float around and remind the strong congregations that there are others on the journey as well. Smith closing statement – I’ll close with a couple of anecdotes. A staff member recently asked me, “Tell me about your first memory of church.” My first memory is the Sunday after Hurricane Donna. My father was the rector. We went to church. One other person arrived – my kindergarten teacher. I realized in that moment and memory that everything going on outside was crisis but the feeling inside was personal safety. That is a good way to view the church at times – chaos and crisis go on all the time but within the family we can be safe with each other. Second – I got a physical for this process. The question on the form was “Does this person have what it takes to do ministry? “ The doctor said, “What does that mean – show up?” I said yes! We all have to show up. What a gift to hear all of these nominees and share together in this time of dreaming about God’s future for us. We are blessed with such a strong slate of candidates. Regardless of who is elected, we will be in good hands. Thanks be to God.