I learned the difference between the EWC (Episcopal Women’s Caucus) and the ECW (Episcopal Church Women). I think my church had a chapter of ECW going when I was a kid. It was a group of women that sat around and did stuff. Since I’ve been coming to General Convention I’ve learned that the ECW also has meetings every three years in the same place as General Convention. These are the women that collect the coins in those little blue boxes that are iconic in so many Episcopal Churches. Between 2012 and 2014 they collected almost $4.5 million dollars in those boxes. The ECW was (and perhaps still is) mainly composed of the wives of the leaders of the Episcopal Church. The triennial meetings of the ECW were what the wives of the priests, bishops, and deputies did during Convention. Now on to the Episcopal Women’s Caucus. They are a small but dedicated group of women who fight for equal rights within (and outside of) the Church. They were a key player in women’s ordination. This year their booth was just behind the EPF booth. I bought a tote, coffee mug and bumper sticker with the slogan “God is not a boy’s name”. These are the people that fight for equality rather than simply celebrating what already is.
God is not a boy’s name. In this convention we have elected the first African American Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. We have also ended our separate but equal treatment of marriage by my church. We claim that we are not simply satisfied with what is we are imagining what can be. We can claim that God is not male nor is God female but God encompasses both which is why we can (and should) call God our mother and our father. God can be so much more than this church. God can be so much more than we can imagine. For too long we saw God as only a man – a very powerful man – but now we can begin to imagine what it means to embrace God as more than and inclusive of masculinity but God not being a stand in for a boy’s name.
As we draw to the end of convention I am tired, so very tired. But I am also renewed. I sometimes wonder what is the point of us coming together and spending all this money. I often think that perhaps we shouldn’t be so extravagant. But we are also celebrating that the God we worship is magnificent. The God we worship is extravagant. Sometimes it is good to focus on the love and mercy of our God and celebrate together as we plan together how to be this holy body of disorder that is called the Church.