By Margaret Miron
Diocesan Convention Youth Delegate
I am not a stranger to long car rides. Transient stays in hotel rooms are not a new experience, and I’m certainly not unaccustomed to navigating the Church Family. So the first time the magnitude of Diocesan Convention really “hit” me, so to speak, was my first step into the ballroom. It was huge, full of tables, and people, and for me, a past. My grandma, Chris Black, had been a delegate many, many times. She’d even been to General Convention once or twice. She had also passed away four months before. It was not sudden or painful, and the family has dealt with it well. But in the doorway all I could think about were her hands, and her voice, and the perfume she would have worn, and the immense sense of legacy I bore. But I was only overwhelmed for a moment before I wove my way to the youth delegate table, honored and excited to be where I was.
There were five other youth delegates, one of whom I knew from my many weeks at Episcopal Youth Camp. There were also two adults “assigned” to us who have been Counselors at EYC multiple times, and Gennie Callard, who is on Diocesan Staff and has a very official title, but can only be (quite fondly) known to me as Camp Director. Each youth delegate had “voice, seat, and vote,” and we helped pass the budget, appoint delegates to General Convention, and review information on diocesan structure. We listened to the Bishop’s address and heard Eric Law speak on holy currencies. We even went to the Bishop’s party Friday night and were a feature on the dance floor. Saturday morning we witnessed confirmations a few blocks away at St. Thomas’ of Battle Creek before returning to the ballroom. That afternoon we exchanged contact information and faced the long drive home.
I took a lot from convention – and not only a renewed appreciation for my (oh so strange) love of parliamentary procedure. Most of all I have carried with me the words of Eric Law, our speaker, and his concepts of the holy currencies of relationship and truth. Relationship is fundamental to spirituality. To me God is most abundant in his children, and their interactions with each other. Too often, I think, we get so caught up in “doing” church, we forget to be a church, and be with each other. It’s certainly my greatest struggle, at the very least. And in being together we can learn about each other, and what each other need, thus the currency of truth. The combination of the two, however, is imperative to me. Without relationships we only attempt at truth. And in ministry, we especially give what we assume is needed, instead of what time and trust would show to be most helpful. To give blindly and without relationship is not giving at all, but a gratuitous act of good intentions. I made friends, learned loads, and had a moment of connection with my Grandmother.