The 46th Episcopal Women's Triennial Meeting opened July 8 with its traditional greeting from the church's presiding bishop. This just happened to be the first time they were greeted by another woman.
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori shook the hand of every woman in attendance and handed each a golden cross pin bearing the ECW symbol. "It was very exciting for all of us," said President Kay Meyer, who stood by handing the crosses to the Presiding Bishop.
Other firsts for opening day included having a video camera operator on hand to send live coverage to people around the country via the General Convention Media Hub. ECW members and husbands of delegates phoned to say that they were being viewed in a live webcast of opening proceedings.
The Rev. Dr. Ellen Sloan, chaplain for the gathering, blessed the plenary space and presented the first of her daily meditations on the meeting's theme, "Grow in Grace."
"Grace is one of those words like 'love,' so ever present that I fear we may not hear or feel it as intently as we should," she said.
Music provided by a choir led by David Stankey and Nancy Beach inspired participants with a variety of numbers from classical to folk to gospel. Meyer called it "magnificent." A bagpiper playing "Amazing Grace" led the procession of diocesan presidents and provincial and national leaders.
The first plenary session included introductions, roll call, adoption of standing rules and the program for the meeting.
More than 370 delegates and guests are registered for the 10-day Triennial Meeting.