I have not attended a General Chapter, (major decision making and election of leadership) of my Congregation. I was able to take a few days off and attend the final two days of these meetings in Los Angeles. Communion has been a major emphasis over the past 12 years. As we moved it to deeper level and with specific calls to action appropriate to these times. Final statements about our commitments to communion with earth community, partnering with new eyes (challenging us to expanding our world views and enabling us to speak as one Congregation on issues of justice), our communion with the church and areas where we will work collaboratively and stand in solidarity with those who are marginalized have been approved and are now being word-smithed.
As I was sitting through a terribly boring section of the meeting, where we were slogging through a committee proposal, I was struck by the quality of deliberation occurring contrasted with that of the US Congress. Make no mistake, we have very polarized views on different topics. However, we listen to each other and show an openness to new and different solutions when impasse occurs. There is not posturing or coalition building. There are no good guys or bad guys, no winners or losers. We move forward with the hope that we have prayerfully discerned God's will for us.
For me, the meeting was a chance to catch up with good friends from Peru and Hawaii, to greet sisters from Japan and the 4 provinces that I have not seen for a while. One of the interesting aspects of my Federation position is the number of sisters in my own congregation that I have met over the last two years as I travel. When we are together, the sense of belonging to a movement bigger than my own local community is powerfully felt and energizes me for the future.