By the end of the day Canon Robinson was exonerated, confirmed as a bishop in the Episcopal Church, and we all knew that the life of the Episcopal Church would never be the same again.

One of the youth delegates at the Convention said she suddenly realized that what had happened would be something she would remember and tell her children's children. I only hope they listen with amazement, wondering how life in the church could have been otherwise than accepting of gay and lesbian persons.

It was hard getting there. Emotions had been deliberately dampened down yesterday by the need to respond to the allegations against Canon Robinson in a timely and mature matter. But the emotions were there: Yesterday, after the charges were made public, debate in the House of Deputies suddenly became pedantic and sometimes petty. People who had been living Technicolor lives just twenty-four hours earlier were in a grey land where emotions and energy were drained from us. We were doing what needed to be done, but we were not in very good health.

This morning a small group of people committed to World Mission met and listened to strongly worded statements from overseas friends who felt our actions were disruptive, dangerous and selfish.

Around 10 A.M. I stopped by the news room and talked to a reporter from a Minneapolis paper who really could not believe the openness with which the Episcopal Church dealt with its seeming implosion in public. As we talked I was proud of us in a comforting sort of way. We Episcopalians were out there, with all our laundry out for all to see in an odd but powerful witness to faithfulness.

By the time we started the legislative sessions at 11:00 the rumors were flying and a host of possible scenarios were being floated. By the time we broke at 1 P.M. we had heard from the Presiding Bishop in the House of Bishops that there would be a report in the early afternoon and a continuation of the consent process. Suddenly there was an easing up: something was going to be said, something that seemingly would not end the process.

From there the events documented by the media unfolded: Bishop Struton's report exonerating Canon Robinson; the announcement in the House of Deputies by the Standing Committee from the Diocese of New Hampshire that they saw no reason not to continue with the consent process; the Presiding Bishop's announcement that the consent discussion and vote would go forward; Canon Robinson's return to the floor of the House of Deputies where he is a deputy, and then of course the very late afternoon vote announcement and the minority protest statement.

The progression of events only tells part of the story. Several things stood out for me about the afternoon.

The first was the remarkable place of meditation and prayer in what happened. In considering the matters before them the Bishops took even more than their usually ample time for prayer and meditation. The Bishops started meeting at 2:30 PM but it was not until about 4 PM that the Scruton report was presented to the House.

The second was the strange "Wizard of Oz" feeling I had about what was unfolding: Around noon I had had an oddly delightful meeting with a bishop, her husband and child in the halls where we ended up singing (for no good reason at all) "We are the lollypop kids." I was very aware of the emotional ups and downs to which we were subjected. Dorothy was not alone in feeling overwhelmed by events! It made things seem to move from gray to full color and back again, over and over again.

And then there was the mid-afternoon presentation of the Scruton report. Many of us in the House of Deputies saw the report on screens in the worship space down the hall from our own legislative chamber. The screens were huge. Bishop Scruton's head appeared much larger than life on these giant screens, rising up behind a podium, seeming almost disembodied. It was oddly like the Wizard of OZ breathing possible judgment in his audience hall. And yet, most wonderfully, the judgment here was one of acquittal and release. Canon Robinson had been cleared of the accusations against him.

The third thing that stood out was this: I was struck by the feeling of unreality as we waited. We deputies went back to work after hearing the report on the investigation. We were more relaxed, but there was a constant undercurrent of anxiety about the vote that would come up later. Many of us were confident that the Bishops would confirm Canon Robinson, but our confidence had been crushed before. It was a long wait. I can't even guess how it was for Robinson, his partner, children, and friends. We prayed for him in the House of Deputies.

The late afternoon seemed to go on forever. The shadows were getting long, and people hungry. The House of Deputies let out shortly after 6 P.M. We were not really paying attention to what we were doing. Many wanted to go see the House of Bishops in action on those giant monitors in the worship space. Others were concerned about dinner arrangements.

The press to leave the house was too great, so we were let go.