This is the season for - event planning and scheduling, the story of my daytime life which I often describe as Airline Traffic Control. Well, it's been an incredibly busy week at the firm and in the midst of it all is the first annual CANA Council in Herndon, Virginia.
The day began with drama. The "slight weather event" with "just a dusting" from the Alberta Clipper turned into what we knew it would be - being that this is DC Metro area and the "snow budget" was all spent in January and there nothing, no nothing left to treat the roads or run the plows. As the snow began to fall past a dusting and then an inch, and then another inch, and then yes, another inch - still there no sign of plows or treating of the roads and people were sliding off and wrapping themselves like iridescent Christmas ribbons around trees, guardrails and other nearby less fortunate cars.
Well, there was a slight pause yesterday when the sun poked out and things were looking up. Then this morning I went out to clear the snow off the car before heading over to the Council meeting when I heard it - yes, the sound of ice pellets bouncing with delight off the roads and the parked cars and the closed windows. As I cleared the three inches of the Alberta Clipper off the trusty Turcel, it was quickly replaced by a lovely sheet of ice.
Yes, we did drive to the council meeting as the ice continued to fall, going at a pace much slower than usual but completely surrounded by evidence that indeed, The Hammersten Hierarchy of Human Behavior Level #2 is completely and most utterly correct. DC Metro area drivers are stupid. As they whiz impatiently past me out on the parkway, I listen to the news reporting a six car pile up on I-95 South, followed by more reports of pileups on other Northern Virginia area roads, including the area I am now driving in. But still, my fellow motorists zoom by, completely abiding by Level #2. Alas. What color will their ribbons be, I wonder?
Yet we do arrive in one piece, car in tack, and safely parked in the Church of the Epiphany parking lot. I go into the church building to the sounds of praise singing coming out of the brand new sanctuary - the place is packed with elected members of Council and CANA clergy, gathered from all over the United States.
Once again I see the faces of friends I have not seen in quite a while, some since General Convention in Columbus. I was in a prayer group with Don and Jesse Armstrong, I had delicious spicy Nigerian food for lunch, listened to a great panel on the Anglican Church and the Arts (and the Q&A that followed which in included lovely inside bits about U2), and ran into Dr. Michael Howell, who was a member of the General Convention special committee that dealt with the Windsor Report, and Chris Sugden from Anglican Mainstream - both of whom I hadn't seen since Columbus.
There were parts of the Council meeting that were quite familiar, the ministry display booths in the corridors, the "Seminary Dinner" presentation, the voting by ballot, the ministry reports, and lots of collars. But what is different are the workshops and the worship. We are actually being refreshed for ministry. Imagine!
As I mentioned earlier today, people will spontaneously breakout in song after a ministry report or even a voting by ballot. No, really! This has usually been led by a Nigerian lay delegate who's beautiful voice can be heard through the sanctuary as she picks up familiar Gospel choruses and then the entire assembly, including the bishops, joins in and start singing - without accompaniment - and in parts! It's just absolutely glorious! Imagine voting on resolutions and canons at General Convention followed by spontaneous bursts of Gospel singing (in parts!) by everyone in the room, worshiping our risen Lord!
Tomorrow the Council continues, followed by the consecration of new CANA Suffragan bishops on Sunday. Folks are flying in from all over the world for the consecrations. What has marked this time together so far is how ministry-oriented it all is, how encouraging it is, how joyful, how real, how deep the theological discussions are, how prayerful are the small groups, and how the worship fills not only the room, but our hearts. To God be the glory.
And this is dedicated to all of us who live dangling off the edge of the plumb line. You know who you are.