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Red Shoes’ Guide to General Convention

It’s that time again:  the ComicCon of Ecclesiastical Polity, the Family Reunion of church geeks, the Carnival of Pious Delights.

It’s time for General Convention 2015!  (Motto: Someone’s got to teach the LDS about scotch and Starbucks.)

Numerous tips and tricks have been flying about the interwebz on how best to attend to this EpiscoFest.  The esteemed HoB/D listserv has many recommendations, for example.  These include such gems as 1.) wash your undies in the sink 2.) bring high energy bars 3.) be sure to wear shoes best appropriate for mountain hiking, since the conference center may become mountainous at ANY MOMENT. 4.) Convention involves many of the following things for which one should be prepared: walking uphill many miles in the snow/rain/deadly heat/swarms of locusts, etc,  endurance trials the likes of which many lesser beings do not survive, lengthy tales of How Things Were in Ye Olden Days When All Was Sunshine and Joy. 

They are not entirely correct—though far be it from me to discount the word of an Episcopal listserv (the Wave of the Future!!)  However, there are several more pressing concerns that might be of interest to you, if by chance, you don’t buy the theory that General Convention is a slightly more polite gladiator contest.  Thus, I give unto you:  The Red Shoes’ Guide to General Convention!

1.) Portable power packs are your friend. 

You will, of course, need your smart phone and your laptop.  You will therefore never be able to find an outlet when you need it.  Invest, therefore, in a solid portable power source. 

If you’re very industrious, charge others for the service.  Or, if you’re running for something, this is a great way to build goodwill.  “Vote for me, and I’ll give EVERYONE POWER!!!!”

2.) It’s not the Exhibit Hall—it’s the EpiscoMall.

Want a new clergy collar?  Want all the buttons to be found outside the Summer Olympics?  Head to the Exhibit Hall, where every blessed group in the Church has come to set up a booth.  EVERYONE.  No matter your political, theological, or culinary leanings, you’ll find someone to hang out with in there.  And they will probably give you free swag. 

For that, you should be leaving extra space in your suitcase, otherwise that new crocheted fair trade stole from Guatemala is getting shipped home,

3.) This is not the Hunger Games.

I mean—it’s not.  Though at times, you will be so busy that you forget what day it is, and whether you believe in the Real Presence or not, much less whether you’ve eaten in the last day.

Therefore, please do take meal breaks.  If not those, take coffee breaks (I’m assuming that like a good Episcopalian, you’ve staked out all the good coffee shops already). 

4.) This is important

While General Convention does frequently feel like a giant summer camp, we do have an important job to do.  It is General Convention that is tasked with running the church—not the bishops, not the PB, excellent though they may be.  It is us.  This matters.

As a side, this is why, when you see me, I’ll be wearing nice shoes and somewhat nice clothes.  Because this is important, and, for me, when I want to take things seriously, I wear nicer shoes and nicer clothes. 

But, you do you.

5.)  This is fun.

Lots of people hate experiencing the councils of the church.  All the Roberts Rules of Order, all the arguing, the arcane debates, the endless politics and vote-getting.

Me, I love it.  Because one of the charisms of our church is that we enjoy each other.  We have conga lines of the floor of the House of Deputies, we establish running jokes, we initiate Bingo games to liven things up. 

The work of God in the world is serious—nothing is more so.  But neither is anything more joyous. 

So, if you’re here in Salt Lake City, and you see me, come over and see me.  But most of all, have fun in our wild little carnival.  We’re lucky to do this.

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About megancastellan

Episcopal priest, writer, wearer of fancy shoes.

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