It’s church conference/convention season. Last weekend was the Central District Conference annual meeting in Bluffton, Ohio. Next week is the biennial Mennonite Church USA convention, held this year in Orlando, Florida….conveniently close to Harry Potter World, which will be a Christmas in July for our girls.
I was so disheartened by the last convention in Kansas City that I have largely disengaged from denominational discussions. My main involvement has been through conversations around “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine,” the only resolution we’ll be voting on this year. Yesterday I had two separate conversations with Columbus rabbis, leaders of BREAD congregations, as a way of being accountable to local relationships for what we’re saying in this resolution.
A key part of the Orlando Convention will be the Future Church Summit. The national level of the denominational structure is recalibrating its role and seeking input from delegates and stakeholders. There is talk of movement away from policing the borders (my words, not theirs), moving toward a focus on resourcing conferences and congregations which will be given more autonomy. The Future Church Summit will be an attempt to reimagine what we can do together.
The best phrase that comes to mind for my own attitude entering this is “Holy Indifference.” It’s taken from Ignatian spirituality, and can be a bit misleading. Indifference doesn’t mean apathy, or not caring. It means openness to the Good, whatever that may be. Loosening one’s grip on the form that the Good will take.
I am much more optimistic about local church than national church, but am trying to have something resembling “Holy Indifference” in my mind entering next week. I will try to blog with a couple updates during the week on how it’s going. Prayers welcome for all gathered.