From a distance I could hear the screams. The machine was alive with light as it gyrated back and forth to the sound of music. As I approached the sounds of screams were punctuated with sounds of laughter. The more I listened, the more the screams and laughter merged into one sound of delight.
Outside of the arena where General Council was held, a mini carnival was set up. Some quipped of the irony that a carnival was going on just as the business of the meeting ramped up and we got into the thick of the Comprehensive Review. As we occasionally descended into wordsmithing or got bogged down by procedure, there were moments when I wanted to scream. And yet there were also moments of laughter and joy as we agreed to enter into full communion with the United Church of Christ (USA) and affirmed mutual recognition of ministry agreements with the Presbyterian Church of the Republic of Korea and the United Church of Christ of the Philippines. What a joy to begin walking in mutuality and partnership.
There were also tears mixed with joy as TRC Commissioner Marie Wilson and AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde challenged us to lift up the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Final Report. Living into right relations means facing our complicity in wrong doing so that we can walk together in a new way. It's difficult but we need to shed some tears so we can finally look at each other with respect and love.
The great work of potential restructuring at times felt like a carnival ride as my laughter and screams merged together. Like on a tilt-a-whirl, there were times when I wasn't sure where we were anymore - both in the document and in the process. But it's part of the ride as feeling unsure gives way to confidence and we realize that we need to trust in the one operating the ride. When you are released from the carriage, all you feel is joy, and an odd desire to do it again.
While at times frustrating, we were brave this General Council. Did we venture as far as some would have liked? Perhaps not. Did we go too far for others? Undoubtedly. But having been through the ride I know that we moving in the right direction, rooted in the Creator's love, holding onto the cross of Christ, walking in gratitude for screams that gave way to laughter.