Friday, January 23, 2009

Quick Convention highlights

It's that time of year again, as posts from my neighbor to the north, It's Margaret, attest. Diocesan Convention is this weekend in both her diocese and mine, except that Convention isn't called Convention in her neck of the woods.

But I digress.

Highlights so far in our diocese (North Carolina):

- Bishop Curry's address, as always. He rocks the house.

- Smart move by the diocese: in an effort to encourage the singing of the hymn "All Are Welcome" (by Marty Haugen, a Lutheran hugely popular in Catholic circles whom Episcopalians seem just to be discovering), the diocese bought a year-long permission to reproduce from the GIA copyright people and stuck a form with the precise info and wording on all our Convention packets. (Apparently it's made it over the pond to the Methodists in England, too.)

- This is my 3d Convention here and for the first time, I truly did not have to worry about the table for the diocesan committee I chair, now named the Bishop's Committee for Racial Justice and Reconciliation (we used to be called the Anti-Racism Committee). Two years ago it was I alone at half a table (happily shared with the Hispanic Ministry Committee) doing everything. Last year we had our part-time staff person (who got sick the second day and couldn't be there), one hugely dedicated volunteer, and I. With a makeshift flyer, though it wasn't a bad one. This year our (new) part-time staff person was there along with so many volunteers working in shifts that I didn't even know all of them (some were from a couple of congregations to which committee members belong and which are in the city where the Convention is meeting) and one of our subcommittee chairs and brochures and flyers and plans and invitations. Mostly, I wasn't needed -- a true mark of success. What a wonderful group of people. It's a great committee.

- Once again I'd asked the exhibit people to put us next to the other social justice groups. So our table is between the PFLAG table and the Hispanic Ministry table. That group, by the way, is growing and doing great work with excellent participation and leadership. The Latin@ population is growing in North Carolina and we have a couple of Latin@ Episcopal congregations. There are also immigration-related concerns around the state. We passed a good resolution on immigration at last year's Convention, but there's more action needed. I'm going to learn more about this from one of my committee chair colleagues within the next weeks and months when we meet. We're trying to see where we can do some common work.

(Note: my Latina and Latino friends and colleagues use "Latin@" rather than "Latino/a" as a shorthand.)

- The annual bishop's award --accompanied by a moving video-- went to St. Mark's and Guadalupana, two small congregations --the first African American, the second Latin@-- with a common building, common vision, and common pastor, a retired priest (well, allegedly retired) who is white and Anglo and speaks Spanish and loves his double congregation. In 2007 an arsonist burned down the church building. The community center / church hall whose groundbreaking took place in 2005 was almost completed, so everything, in the midst of tragedy, started up again in that one little building. The congregations have a tutoring program with neighborhood children and the video we saw showed retired African American teachers tutoring young Latin@ children and loving it. The building is also the worship space now. Episcopal Church Women got involved both before and after the fire with contributions. The congregations received their award at the liturgy, but we had seen the video earlier in the convention center. These are tiny congregations, but together they have become (this sounds like a cliché but it's true) a beacon of hope in their neighborhood. I get all weepy at these awards.

- Saw Doxy's Dear Friend and had a nice chat. Eat your hearts out.

- One of my favorite bishops in the entire world who is also one of my role models (though it's possible she is a bit younger than I) and whom I knew when she was a priest in San Francisco, The Right Reverend Nedi Rivera, was our guest preacher tonight and is giving a keynote address tomorrow. That's +Nedi below. She's Bishop Suffragan in the Diocese of Olympia.

-Shoutout to the Quadriped Bishops: at the end of Morning Prayer, after our final petition, which had to do with creation and God's creatures, the screen from which we were reading (this saved paper and we could all see) there was a lovely photo of a wolf and a lamb lying down together. I went home early this afternoon and told +Maya Pavlova.

(Then returned this p.m. for the liturgy. I am not a delegate this year and am stewarding my time carefully given the multiple demands in my life right now, so I had decided to skip the afternoon sessions. No legislation for me. I'll read about it and get the scoop from my friends.)

Stay tuned. I'm headed for the decaf Earl Grey and the church of Our Lady of the Slumbers.

+Maya Pavlova, on the other hand, is playing soccer. She recently rediscovered an old soccer ball of hers --a ball of aluminum foil. Heaven knows where it had been all this time, but it is back in circulation since three days ago and +Maya can't get enough of it when she is awake. +Rowan the Dog's good influence, no doubt. He's Bishop of Playing, you know.


FranIAm said...

I hate this - blogger ate my rather clever comment and I can't recall it all with my addled brain.

So I shall simply say - great post and with downcast eyes and reddened cheeks I admit that I did not know that Marty was Lutheran!

Jane R said...

Frannylish, for years I did not know either! In the 80s and 90s we sang him so often at the Paulist Center that I didn't realize till sometime in the 90s that he wasn't Catholic.

Darn Blogger for eating your clever post!

Always good to have you visit here.

Word verification is "opaquati" -- which sounds like some kind of fancy variation on "opaque." Maybe the elite who write opaque academic essays are the opaquati.

Oh, and speaking of Catholics - I have not gotten bent out of shape about anything Catholic in a long long time but the latest move by B16 Ratzinger to reinstitute the 4 excommunicated bishops from the Society of St. Pius X --including a Holocaust denier-- has me infuriated on several levels.

Ken said...

Echo of Fran: I would have made book that Haugen was one of the St. Louis Jesuits. This is a good reason that I do not gamble.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

I am ill that I didn't get to hear +Nedi! I was actually in Winston, but holed up trying to meet a deadline. Dear Friend didn't tell me that she was preaching until AFTER the service... (So see, he isn't perfect after all. ;-)

But then he took me out for dinner, cosmos, and dancing to the tunes of the St. Ambrose jazz ensemble. So I forgave him. ;-)

Jane R said...

Her sermon was really good, but even better was her keynote address the next day. You would have loved it. It's the kind of message you want our congregations and clergy to hear.

I had to skip the dessert and dance thing because of work so you and I just missed each other :-(. Glad you got to dance! I heard one of the St. Ambrose ensemble members the previous weekend at Deidre Crumbley's book event at St. Ambrose, so at least there was some saxophone in my life this month.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

They are just awesome! The penultimate dance was "At Last." When the song ended, Bobby Moody said "Y'all look just like the Obamas!"

Couldn't ask for a nicer compliment than that!