I had heard that General Convention was difficult – if not impossible – to describe to someone who had not attended. I never realized how true that was until I attended a General Convention for myself.
Being at General Convention 2012 with the Young Adult Festival was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had. It was wonderful to get to meet so many other active young adults from within the church and get to play a role in the leadership of the church for the next three years. It was also incredibly busy – a typical day for me required waking up at 6 or 7 a.m. and running nonstop from hearing to convention floor and back until about midnight.
While at the convention, I met more bishops than I could count, shared meals with many people in very high places in the church, and had the chance to testify before two of the Standing Committees of the church on topics of interest to me. One of the things I found most striking about General Convention was how thoroughly people listened to the young adult voices that were present. If a young adult stood to testify before a Standing Committee on some topic, that person received every bit as much attention – if not more – from the committee and audience as the most experienced priests and bishops. It was amazing and humbling that the Episcopal News Service, Living Church Magazine, and MSNBC quoted my testimony before the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music.
I also had the opportunity to intern with Integrity USA while in Indianapolis. Integrity is an organization that works for the full inclusion of LGBT Episcopalians within the church. Interning with them absorbed any free time I might have had, but was definitely worth the experience! Through this internship, I did work I was passionate about and met some of the most amazing people I have ever encountered. I hope this will lead to more opportunities to partner with them in the future. At the end of September I will be flying to Pasadena, California, to join the executive board at Integrity’s General Strategic Planning Meeting for the year, which I am very excited about.
Attending the Young Adult Festival at General Convention was wonderful in itself, but the real joy of the experience was found in the connections the young adults were able to make. I made incredible professional connections, but the connections between young adults were even more valuable. The Young Adult Festival provided a forum for the young adults – the current and future leadership of the church – to meet and discuss and learn from one another, and that is invaluable. I didn’t get the chance to meet everyone at the festival, which is one of my big disappointments from my trip to Indianapolis, but I have no doubt that we will all be seeing quite a lot of one another in the next few years.