Friday, March 27, 2015

Headed Down to San Antonio for #ADDD15 and the AED Board Meeting

Last weekend, there was not post on my blog. If any of you, dear readers, were crestfallen, I heartily apologize. But the reason that I did not post was because I was on a plane, heading to San Antonio to hang out with a bunch of deacons!

Some of the incoming board members and new board officers
at a celebration of ministry Saturday night

So a little bit of context, and then I will let the pictures speak for themselves. The Archdeacons' and Deacon Directors' conference (#ADDD15), hosted by the Association for Episcopal Deacons, began in San Antonio on Wednesday, March 18 and went through Sunday morning, March 22. The picture above was from our service that happened on Saturday night. There were presentations and round table discussions, OpenSpace meetings and panels of experts that came in to work with the archdeacons that were present at the conference.

Unfortunately, I did not fly into San Antonio until Saturday, so I missed most of that. However, thanks to my friend Maureen Hagen, most of the pictures from the conference made their way onto the AED Facebook page. Additionally, I was very grateful that the modus operandi of the OpenSpace meetings included a scribe, so there are notes for all those conversations on the AED website.
We were tweeting DURING dinner, not ABOUT it.

With the time that I did have to rub elbows with all the archdeacons, it became apparent that I was just a pup amongst all the accumulated experience in diaconal ministry that was in any one room at the conference at any one time. I did, however, get a chance to give an impromptu Twitter tutorial at dinner before the celebration of ministry service. I was very glad that I was able to offer that particular bit of insight!

L to R: Geri Swanson, Michael Kitt, Elaine Bellis, Pam
Nesbit, Jo Weber, Lauren Welsch

Meanwhile, the AED Board meeting (which was my primary reason for going to San Antonio) did not start until Sunday afternoon. I am please to say that I genuinely enjoyed the meeting! I must admit that there have been times in my life that I have sat on boards for various church organizations and my personal experiences have not been so stellar; at those times, I have found myself becoming filled with trepidation and cynicism for meetings of that sort. However, that all quickly melted away the more and more I interacted with my fellow board members.

That's Lauren Welsch again on the left, followed by Lori
Mills-Curran, Tina Campbell, Kate Harrigan, and Gen
Grewell to the right.
I had the opportunity the present to the board a plan for reviewing and revamping The Seven, the diaconal discernment program to which I owe so much of the clarity of my vocation. We had time for sharing personal narratives with our fellow board members, so one-on-one we got to know more about each other and what it meant for each of us to be present at the meeting and serving the AED in this way. Another piece that I got really excited about were the breakout sessions for committee work that we had. I was able to be a part of the session for the General Convention Planning Committee. I'm glad to say that plans are well underway for the AED to show up in force and in service at #GC78 this summer in Salt Lake City (and I may or may not have made sure to introduce the discussion around social media in that committee meeting... we all know that it's an important growing edge for ministry, and I'm glad that I can offer my experience to an organization like the AED).

My excitement is palpable in this picture, isn't it?
That's Bradley Peterson on my left and Douglas Argue
on my right.
It wasn't all work at the meeting, however. There was enough free time that I was able to wander up and down the Riverwalk, to take in the sights and begin thawing out from life in my frozen tundra of a home (I guess I shouldn't say that; Minnesota hasn't been near as harsh this year as last year... we've just been teased by so many false thaws this winter!) All of that is also not to mention how I made sure to go for a run each morning that I was in San Antonio, before the meetings started. So there are plenty of pictures from those more casual times, as well!

Blooms! I haven't seen those for so long...

Running water! I tried to get a little artsy with my phone's
camera at this fountain.

I had a wonderful lunch with Pam, Gen, and Jo (who was
sitting next to me when I took this one, so she's not in it...
Sorry, Jo)

Carving of Juan Diego in the San
Fernando Cathedral... made me feel sorry
that I hadn't voted for him in Lent Madness

The San Fernando Cathedral is huge; nearest
me you can see the chancel and pulpit, then
beyond those are transepts on either side (hard
to see, I know) and beyond that,
finally, is the reredos

Gen and Jo were both on their phones at the same time... I couldn't resist the
photo documentation because I thought I was supposed to be the token tech-head

Riverwalk selfie! I had to do at least one...

So I'm glad to report that I had fun at the Board of Directors meeting for the Association for Episcopal Deacons in San Antonio last weekend. I met a lot of really great, hard-working, big-hearted people who have been encouraging the Church to engage its diakonia of all believers.

Let me leave you with this anecdote: after all this work and envisioning that we have been doing, I was sitting in the hotel and waiting for my airport shuttle to arrive. I was the last one there, everyone else having had earlier flights than me. And suddenly my phone buzzes because Maureen has sent me this from the airport:

Captioned: "This says it all. See you at #GC78!"

These guys rock.

~ ~ ~

Still curious about what the Association for Episcopal Deacons is up to? Leave me a question in the comments below and I will do my best to get you plugged in! Otherwise, you can join with me in conversation on Facebook or Twitter (you can also get excited for an AED Twitter feed coming soon to a mobile device near you)! Additionally, you can subscribe to my blog by email with the subscription bar in the navigation menu on the right-hand side of this page, and/or send me a friend request/follow me to make that social connection and participate in a deeper dialogue that way. Thanks!