Our time in the convention was rich and rewarding. It was such a pleasure to meet up with the folks we had met durring our travels and to meet all new people. I want to impart how loving these people are. However 'loving' dosn't exactly express the full image. In Spanish we say that these folks are 'cariñoso'. It is a word that meens loving, considerate, carring, tender, thoughtfull, generous, welcoming, etc.
So the best part of this weekend was getting to spend time with the people, which I think is a really good conclusion to any event. Beyond this I enjoyed experiencing the whole event. What a different world between the Colombian Episcopal Diocese and my Alabama Diocese. The convention began friday night after dinner and concluded Saturday evening. They planed for 75 people and that is including the guests that weren't going to be voting, like me and Audra, and that is the entire Colombian Diocese being represented. Also here we have one Bishop for the whole of Colombia. He was the president of the convention.
Friday night there was an opening Eucharist service that was soo lovely. The room was full of robed and adorned priests from all over the country; many we know, many we didn't. It was an oportunity ripe for getting to know a lot more people.
Saturday we began our day with a 7am breakfast. By this point, to have to be dressed and ready at 7am is a bit of a struggle, but we made it happen for the sake of sustanance. The first speaker of the conferance was our friend and local 9am priest Padre Juan Carlos. He spoke of discovering and getting to know who you are beyond the context of where you work, what you do, your marital status, etc. Basicaly who you are in God. He is a very dinamic speaker, always conveying his ideas with passion.
Later on we heard form Padre Antonis, from Cali, who spoke about the proposed relationship between the ERD and the Diocese of Colombia. Man did this pirk my ears up. It was wild. I was hearing about this now working relationship when just a month or so before I was in Faca sitting with Matt St.John, the latin american contact for the ERD, and a group from the Diocese discussing the posibility of this relationship. It seems like it will come to fruistion. I have a lot of intrest in seeing if I could work with the ERD here in Colombia.
I happen to get excited when there are discusions and debates, whether it is in a mock UN caucus or in a convention center with the Colombian Diocese. There is something energizing about being amongst so many strong individuals. This segment of the convention occured Saturday evening. People were on the edge of their seats at one point, with hands raising emphaticley, voices calling for the bishops attention, people talking all at the same time. At this point I settled myself behind the right ear of a woman priest who I love! She is spunky and funny. So I used her to help me negociate the language chaos. That made the experience more fullfiling, to not be totally lost in the conversation.
All in all this conference gave me more energy to apply for the sake of the Episcopal Diocese of Colombia. There is a lot of hope, growth and energy within those individuals participating with the church. I am left releived that I still have so much time left to discover, more deeply, what the diocese is all about.