Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Getting Oriented

I arrived late last night at the Plaza Hotel in Salt Lake City, after a long day of travel on a JetBlue flight that got here by way of Orlando, Florida. The view from my room was pretty spectacular but hard to capture on my IPhone last night in the dark. This morning I saw the top of a roof I couldn't see last night - even so, the view is pretty cool, as seen on the left.

Today there is a chance to register at the Salt Palace Convention Center and a legislative committee gathering tonight. But mostly it's a chance to get oriented to the city, catch up on the reading I have put off until now, and try to find my compatriots from Western Mass. In the meantime I am spotting Episcopalians everywhere - or at least they look like Episcopalians!

I've been to (or more accurately through) Salt Lake City only once before on a family trip out west: we flew in and spent a day and a night here before heading toward Idaho and Yellowstone National Park. Mostly, though, it's a new city for me. So this morning after a bit of exercise and an early breakfast (my body is still on east coast time) I went walking to find the grocery store and get in some provisions. I found Harmons, a great store that has everything, including a Park City Brewers IPA, limited  to 3.2% alcohol content.

I work for a bishop who likes to walk, and I've done a bit of walking with him. In fact, when I was in Denver last month for the Festival of Homiletics one of our Presiding Bishop candidates (Bishop Curry) asked me, "is Doug still walking all over the diocese?" I told him I thought after three sixty-mile walks up and down the Berkshires, the Pioneer Valley, and Worcester County, that maybe we were done for a while.But there really is something to be said for walking.

Usually at home when I walk it's to "go for a walk." It's not to get somewhere. When I need to get somewhere I get in my car. But what you see goes by too fast. For example, while walking back from Harmons I paused (my bag was kind of heavy so I needed a couple of little stops along the way) and noticed these amazing flowers. So I "considered them" for a few moments at least - as a first-century rabbi once suggested as a spiritual practice.

I also passed the entrance to "headquarters" for the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints - this is actually one of the places that  we did visit as a family when I was here on that western trip a decade or so ago. Pretty impressive - and I think that being here will leave a mark on us Episcopalians over the course of these days ahead. Context matters.

So here we are, and here we go. I am thrilled to be a part of the work that The Episcopal Church will be doing here at our 78th General Convention. As mentioned in a previous post, members of our deputation will be blogging at Conventional Wisdom: From the 78th General Convention. Check us out!

Here I'll be posting some more personal reflections here, as time allows.

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