What'cha Doin'?

11 hours and counting.

As promised, an update on exactly what your volunteer delegation will be doing in Minneapolis.

Just to clarify, first of all, none of us are voting members. We will not be directly involved in making the ultimate decisions described in yesterday's blog entry. We are volunteers, working with an LGBT lobbying group called Goodsoil, which is affiliated with Lutherans Concerned (if you don't know about this latter organization, visit their website at lcna.org). We hope that we will be able to influence the outcome of the votes through the use of several means:

  • Prayer, first and foremost -- Some of us will be holding prayer vigils throughout the proceedings; in the assembly worship space when it is not being used, in the assembly room itself during sessions, and in the hearing rooms during open presentations on the matters at hand. Pray-ers will be wearing rainbow colored shawls to indicate their prayerful intentions. There are expected to be hundreds of these color-splashed pray-ers.
  • Graceful Engagement -- These trained volunteers will be available during sessions in the hallways, during meals, and whenever the opportunity presents itself, to talk to voting members about inclusivity issues. Graceful engagement means just what it says. We are not out to argue, or to get into philosophical or biblical debates, or to protest, or to cause any sort of a ruckus. Rather, our approach is prayer-led and grace-filled. We meet with others to tell our real and personal stories about why we care about these issues, to listen to their stories, and to work, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to find common ground. We do not expect to change anyone's mind, really. For those who are firmly opposed to LGBT inclusion, we would just be an irritation. However, there is a significant percentage of people out there who haven't yet made up their minds on the subject. They are what we call the "movable middle," and it is these people we hope to reach with our stories. Graceful engagement is a powerful method of communicating, and our prayer is that it shows real results at this conference.
  • Singing -- The power of the grace-filled message of the Gospel is especially felt through song, and we'll be doing plenty of song-making this week. Each morning, groups of strolling rainbow-shawled singers will greet the voting members as they move from the hotel to the convention center. This is a terrific witness, and is a lot of fun, as well! Singing will also be front-and-center at the Goodsoil worship service on Wednesday evening. This service is expected to draw over 1000 attendees, and will feature inspiring, rousing congregational singing as well as the offerings of the wonderful RIC Choir -- also made up of volunteers. Don't be surprised if we bring some new music ideas back to Houston with us!
  • Volunteers will also be handing out literature and prayer resources to voting members, staffing the hospitality suite named (appropriately enough) Goodsoil Central, helping to set up and break down various activity venues, and conducting graceful engagement and story telling training. There is also a very gifted Legislative Team which will be preparing allied voting members for effectiveness on the floor.

All in all, this is an effort which takes hundreds of committed volunteers and thousands of hours of heartfelt labor, between preparation for the assembly and then working it.

Say a prayer of thanks today, if you will, for all of the folks who care enough about justice to work so hard to help make it happen. They are, each and every one of them, truly a gift of God's grace.

Laura B

Tomorrow: We arrive!

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