Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Of Loaves and Fishes

Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?" He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, "Six months' wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?" Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost." So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world."

For the last two nights Steve and I have been taking a bread making class (rustic breads) at the Black Market Bakery here in Irvine. It has been a dream for Steve to do this, and I was happy to go along to learn as well. We worked as a team, and there were three other teams of people also learning at the Bakery under the keen eye of Baker Extraordinaire Rachel Klemek, owner of the Bakery.

We worked over two nights to learn the basics of bread making, including how to handle different types of bread. In the end Steve and I made ciabatta, sourdough loaf and rolls, hamburger buns and rosemary dinner rolls. You can see a bit of our work and Steve in this picture.

As we were getting ready to leave, most of the members of the class were asking "what are we going to do with all this bread?" -- for we weren't the only ones baking all the bread -- the other groups came away with an equal amount of what they had made.

You know, I've always wondered about the story of the loaves and fishes. While I certainly believe that Jesus performed miracles, I've often wondered if the miracle that was REALLY performed that day was that, humbled by the words of Jesus and being in Jesus' presence, when he blessed the boy's bread and fish, those who had actually brought something and were hoarding it softened their hearts and offered it around, so that those who had none had some -- with leftovers!

Isn't it the same with the treasures that we hold close to us, our time/talent/treasure? We are called to share joyfully from our first fruits giving back to God a tithe of what we have been blessed with in our lives. We are never called to hoard, but to share.

By the time we reached home, 1/3 of our bread was already given to my good friend and neighbor. More will leave the house today.

I wonder what we will be making in the weeks ahead to be shared with others -- especially at the upcoming Laundry Love on August 8th?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

On being "down"

I have a confession to make -- it's hard for me to be "down".

This past week, I was supposed to be at Camp Stevens, but when I went to the doctor on Monday and found out that this nasty cough I had was bronchitis, I was given antibiotics, cough medicine, and told to stay home. I wasn't happy. I felt very weak and tired -- could have been a bit of post-General-Convention deep tiredness mixed in with being ill. While I did stay in the house and I stayed hydrated, drinking water and tea, I was restless. It's not easy for me to not be busy -- and I was groggy enough from the medicines not to want to read a book. What was I to do? Well, the great Card Make 2012 began!

 I've made cards every summer for over 10 years -- I usually take one week of my vacation, work in the garden in the morning and work on cards in the afternoon -- catching up on movies and TV shows (or doing "marathons" of Harry Potter or NCIS). This time, as I was not feeling much like working in the garden, I spent a lot of time on making cards. I'm not done yet (I took long breaks), but when I'm done, I will have made about 1,500 cards. More than 1/2 of them will go to PRISM ministry for them to sell, and the rest will go to our Cathedral Bookstore -- to be sold to benefit the bookstore. The rest I will use during the year, as I always do.

 Some might say that I can't stay still -- that's not quite true, I can and I do. It's just that I can't just do nothing all day long. The same was true for me while I was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Chemo and radiation slowed me down a bit, but I still kept up with all my work.

So, now you know. My wandering keeps me wondering -- and on the move. Here's some pictures of the "process" and progress:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Important Take-Aways from General Convention

Well, here we are at the end of our last day of General Convention.

There are some things to understand that we take away from here that passed both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies voted:
  • to provide a rite for provisional use for the blessing of same-sex unions. You should know that there is language in this resolution that allows Bishops and priests NOT to offer this rite in their congregations if they feel that they do not want to do so. For those who DO want to offer this rite, it will be available. 
  • a budget that is focused on the Five Marks of Mission -- it is a mission oriented budget, with more monies being funneled into program than in prior budgets.  
  • to create a group to study the structure of our Church and to make recommendations as to how we can improve how we work together to the glory of God.This is VERY important work, and a move on the part of the church to look at all aspects of our life together.
  • we talked extensively once again and passed resolutions that talk about justice and equality for ALL persons, and which dealt with access to ordination, fair wages, our denominational health plan, and the environment. This convention once again looked at issues where anyone is marginalized and shed light on the situation, calling for an end to any injustice.
  • to approve rites for dealing with the adoption, care or death of pets. As a pet owner myself, I understand the importance of the rites offered here -- they will be available for use, and the language is beautiful.
There have been laughs and tears during this convention. You may have read that part of the deputation from South Carolina left the day after both houses passed the same-sex blessing resolution. I will share with you that their bishop left also, which saddened me greatly. Their voices are greatly needed at the table -- and even with the provision that "you don't have to do this" -- they still felt that they needed to leave to think and pray about this.I am praying for them all -- and for everyone involved in this convention.

Bishop Sean Rowe is a friend and favorite of mine. He is witty and smart, and consistently steady in his work as Parliamentarian. I admire him greatly.

I have this shot of the dais and the flags behind it --  you can see this below.

It has been the most amazing time here. The "five marks of mission" were talked about in many of our works together. At the end, five Bishops who just so happen to be named MARK came up with a song to "mark" the occasion:

Five Marks of Mission
(to the tune of “We all are one in mission…”)

We are five Marks of mission, though not all spelled the same;
The Good News of the Kingdom to all we proudly proclaim.
We teach, baptize, and nurture believers new and old,
By loving service responding to human needs untold.

Society's unjust structures, we five seek to transform.
From New York to Alaska, we labor for the Lord.
In dioceses from coast to coast and ’cross the great Midwest, 
We are Marks of God's mission, seeking to do our best.

Integrity of creation, we're striving to safeguard;
To sustain Earth's life and renew it, we five are working hard.
We disagree on many things, but of this we are sure:
We are five Mark's of mission, committed to the core.

If you feel that God's mission is calling out to you,
Marked as Christ's own forever, there's plenty you can do.
We have five marks to guide our work, to keep our efforts true;
We are five Marks of mission, and surely you are one, too.

 Performed by: The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr. (Ohio)
                        The Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk (New York)
                        The Rt. Rev. Mark A. Lattime (Alaska)
                        The Rt. Rev. Mark M. Beckwith (Newark)
                        The Rt. Rev. Marc H. Andrus (California)

Words:             The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr.
 A short snippet of the video of this event can be found here.

The closing prayers by our chaplains were, as always, appropriate and wonderful -- here is the text of the closing Litany from Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero:

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying 
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confessions brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about: We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything 
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do  something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for God's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results,
but that is the different between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

It was a long convention in many ways, although shorter in time than the last. I leave you with a  picture of the dais and the flags of all the countries represented at our General Convention below. I am very tired, but happy to have been here and been part of the House of Bishops for this important time in the life of our church.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Home Stretch

Well, we are ALMOST done! One more day to go.

Woke up and went to the Dispatch meeting. As Assistant Secretary to the House of Bishops, I'm in training to help the Secretary of the House of Bishops. It has been a great joy to serve with the Rt. Rev. Ken Price, Bishop Suffragan in Ohio, Provisional Bishop in Pittsburgh. He is amazing in his knowledge and energy, and I have already learned so much from him!

The House of Bishops was able to get through all of our legislation today. I know that what we passed is available on a website somewhere, so I'm not gong to go over all of that. What I will say is how impressed I am with the House of Bishops about how we work together. I love my table mates, and will miss them when we change tables (we get "reset" to new tables each triennium), but will look forward to being with new colleagues in March at the next House of Bishops meeting.

Steve and I went to dinner with Bishop Coadjutor Andy Dietsche and his wonderful wife Margaret. What a relaxed dinner! Andy and Margaret are down to earth, very centered people. He is a wonderful pastor and an accomplished graphic artist and cartoonist. Some of his work can be found here.

We are all tired, ready to head home, but we have one more full day here in Indianapolis.

Here are some pictures from today:
At Table 21 at the House of Bishops -- this was my table 3 years ago when I started, the first HOB meeting after General Convention 2009, and right after my election as Bishop Suffragan. I've sat at this table with Prince Singh, Herb Donovan, Keith Whitmore, Chilton Knudson and Jim Mathes at Camp Allen (twice), Phoenix, Kanuga, Quito, and now Indianapolis -- and gratefully so!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The tiara and the beginning of the budget.

I am still fighting a cold, but I am hanging in with all the work we have before us!

I was at the Dispatch meeting this morning in order to be prepared to be on the dais this morning. It was a very well organized meeting (as always). Afterwards, as I wasn't feeling well, I took the opportunity to find a quiet place to rest, reflect and pray, which I did with a grande non-fat cappuccino. By the time I took my seat on the dais I was centered and feeling just a bit better.

My time this morning on the dais was punctuated with the use, at the appropriate time, of my tiara. When the House giggled at my accent as I read the contents of the consent calendar, I put on tiara and my respect quotient rose considerably. Seriously, it was a fun way to address the House, which I had permission from the Presiding Bishop to do.

We tackled lots of legislation, with good discussion and a prayerful process. I am very impressed with the House of Bishops as it meets in Convention!

After a quick lunch we gathered with the deputies of our Diocese in the House of Deputies. We took group pictures and then gathered together as a joint meeting of the Houses to hear the budget presentation. The presentation was very helpful and the budget itself was based on the five marks of mission. It will be discussed first in the House of Deputies and will then go to the House of Bishops.

Back for more legislation. At 4:00 Canon Bonnie Anderson came to address the House. Among sharing her greetings with us, she announced the election of the new President, and that person, the Rev. Gay Jennings, came in to speak with us as well. I have known Gay for a while now and have found her to be wise and kind.

One aspect of our work together that I haven't written about is the work of our Chaplains, Stephanie Spellers and Simon Bautista. Offering noonday and end of day prayers and reflections have been invaluable in our keeping the meeting centered where it should be -- on our relationship with Jesus. They also come and offer prayers with and for us when a vote or a topic may be difficult -- they are Spirit and love-of-God filled!

After dinner with Steve and a friend, I went up to the "Los Angeles" gathering, where Angelenos past and present gathered. It was great to see our deputation as well as Jenny Ladefoged, David Jackson and Ernesto Medina, to name a few. And of course, Bishop Chet and April were there -- I love LA! People spoke about missing Jon, but his presence was definitely felt!

Well, my voice is now gone and I'm going to rest.

I wonder if I will have a voice in the morning?

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Location:General Convention

Monday, July 9, 2012

Another big day

Well, I accidentally slept in and missed my committee meeting this morning. I felt horrible about this (I'm not in charge of the committee, but I still felt bad missing it). I talked with the chair of the committee and all is well -- we are done now, and I shouldn't have to attend another one. I think I really needed the sleep though.

Started out the day with the beautiful Eucharist at which our own Mary Crist preached, and did a phenomenal job! I can't find the video link to it, which I know must be out in cyberspace somewhere, but I will try to find it and post it tomorrow.

Here is the video of Katharine's sermon from yesterday. I know I posted the text yesterday, but it is WELL worth the listen! Speaking of videos, Mary and I took a moment at the lunch hour and went to the Digital Faith booth and filmed a quick, uncut Just Action Video thanks to Patrick, the founder of Digital Faith.

We were in session twice today as the House of Bishops -- the most controversial resolution we discussed was a resolution providing resources for provisional use of liturgies for the blessings of same sex unions. The news article about it can be found here. I will tell you that the discussion was balanced and we all listened to one another. Discussion was not rushed, and many took to the microphone to speak. In the end the resolution prevailed and it was done is a spirit marked with great prayer.

This evening was the Bishop and Spouse dinner in which we "graduates" of the College for Bishops  (otherwise known affectionately as Baby Bishop School) received our awards. It was good to be recognized but also good to be done. During the program portion of the evening, the retiring Bishops and Spouses were honored, which was great to see. At the end, Bishop Cathy Roskam who was honored as one who has just retired took to the microphone and formally passed the tiara of "the shortest active bishop" to me!

It is very late again, and I'm tired! Trying to fight off a cold so I will sign off for now.

I wonder what will happen tomorrow when I'm back up on the dais again in the morning? Might have to sport that tiara!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Stand up Mortals!

The day started off after yet another night of not-quite-enough-sleep with a delicious class breakfast. We met at the hotel many of us are staying in, and enjoyed good time together. Afterwards, we put on our Rochets and Chimeres and headed for the festive Eucharist and UTO ingathering. We took two pictures together -- one of just the Bishops of our class, the other with the Bishops and most of our spouses. You can see these on this blog today.

We were then part of  the "sea of red and white" procession into the ballroom where the Eucharist was held.

The Presiding Bishop preached one of the best sermons I have ever heard. The text will not do justice to her delivery and energy -- let me just say, the Holy Spirit was moving fast and furious! The rest of the day into the evening was spent in meetings or in talking with colleagues. However, I want to leave you with the text of the Presiding Bishop's sermon. Again, it was amazing to hear -- if I can get a link to a video version at some point I will post that later.

Here it is:

General Convention July 8 Sermon:
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori
[July 8, 2012] The following sermon was presented today at the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, meeting in Indianapolis IN through July 12.

Sunday, July 8
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
Did you hear Ezekiel?  Mortals!  Stand up and listen!  God is sending you to a rebellious house, full of impudent and stubborn folks.  Your job is to go tell them, “listen up – here’s the deal, from the Big Man himself.”  And if they don’t listen, at least they will have met a prophet.
Garrison Keillor is famous for noting that nobody wants a prophet at a birthday party.  Our image of prophets is something like fire-breathing dragons or maybe Nunzilla, but a prophet is simply somebody sent to speak for God, to tell it like it really is.  Sometimes prophets speak words of comfort and strength, the kind of words the psalmist is asking for – mercy and relief.  And sometimes the prophet speaks words that are harder to hear, reminding us that we’re supposed to love God with all we are and have and love our neighbors as ourselves.  The reminder usually comes because the audience hasn’t been living up to that expectation.  Whatever Jesus said in the synagogue seems to have been that kind of challenging word.
Jesus’ friends and neighbors obviously don’t expect to hear anything prophetic from the ordinary carpenter down the street or from the brother of their friends.  He has never stood up in their synagogue before and said anything particularly challenging – so who does he think he is?  Mark doesn’t tell us what he reads or says.  Luke says that it’s the part of Isaiah that says, “the Spirit has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives, healing to the blind, justice to the oppressed, and to announce the year of the Lord’s favor.”  And his friends and neighbors are offended.

It is offensive – and confronting and challenging – to hear that even though you think you’re getting along OK, you’ve missed the boat.  Yet until we can see the chasm between what is and what ought to be, we don’t have any hope of changing.  Indeed it is the act of crossing that boundary between what is and what ought to be that is so characteristic of prophets.  When Jesus is called a prophet, it has to do with erasing the boundary between God and human flesh.  Prophetic words of comfort or challenge urge a kind of frontier work – getting across the fence between fear and possibility, reconciling division, transforming injustice, urging the lost onto the road home.

Sometimes those encouragers of boundary crossing come in very ordinary, even quiet, packages – and that may be what the people in Jesus’ hometown were so annoyed about.  It’s harder to ignore somebody you respect or know pretty well.

A prophetic invitation arrived in my inbox a couple of months ago.  A group of Christian leaders and politicians was asked to come to Washington, DC, to consider the state of public discourse in the United States.  The invitation made reference to one of our better known political figures, Senator Jack Danforth. [1]  A conversation about civility seemed a highly appropriate endeavor, but as the day grew closer, getting ready for this gathering seemed a lot more urgent, and I came very close to canceling.  But those who went heard a prophetic chorus of voices – Roman Catholic clergy and religious, Southern Baptist preachers, Senators and Representatives from both parties, Lutheran and Methodist bishops, evangelical pastors from the Assembly of God and Pentecostal traditions.  Each one lamented the loss of respect for political opponents and the inability to make common cause for the greater good.  We didn’t read today’s psalm, but it certainly fit the conversation: 

Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy, we’ve had more than enough contempt.
Please!  No more ridicule from the arrogant,
or abuse from proud and conceited people!

We started our gathering by talking about the hope of Americans and indeed people across the world for change, in the face of the contempt and arrogance they hear from Congress and other politicians.  We soon moved to talking about the abuse and ridicule we hear from our brothers and sisters in Christ.  That sort of confession brought hope, and urged us into other kinds of frontier crossing, beginning with finding a prayer partner.  Mine is the Rev. Franklyn Richardson, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon, New York and Port St Lucie, Florida.  Other kinds of prophetic action and word are going to emerge from this process, including a statement and a number of positive actions to encourage more civil and effective discourse in politics and in our religious lives.  Words matter profoundly, and as Christians we affirm that every time we gather to give thanks for the frontier crossing incarnate Word in our midst.

Prophets speak and act for God, with spoken and incarnate words of strength, hope, and challenge.  That ministry comes in many forms.  Today we’re going to give thanks for the prophetic work of the United Thank Offering, reaching out in creative possibility around the globe.  Each triennial gathering of the Episcopal Church Women begins with a blessing and distribution of crosses, and the hands that are extended to receive them are a sacrament of blessing for this kind of prophetic work.  When Jesus lays on hands and heals a few, even in a place that doesn’t think he’s got much to offer, he’s doing something prophetic.  The work those hands of ECW members do in gathering and blessing ministries around the globe is another way of reaching out across borders, boundaries, walls and fences of division.

What about your hands?  They, too, are instruments of healing, reconciling, re-creation – let’s see those hands!  Here is a sacrament of God’s mission.  How will you use those hands in an impudent and rebellious house?  These hands can be instruments of warning, or to comfort and strengthen the wavering.  Hands can be instruments of prophetic communication, a gift only some among us have learned. 

When Jesus goes off to other villages to teach, he is using words and hands in prophetic ways, announcing the reign of God close at hand, healing, feeding, and drawing people into community.  He sends his friends out to do the same things:
- to announce the good news of the reign of God
- to teach new believers
- to heal the hurting
- to challenge injustice
- and to tend the garden we share with all the rest of creation.

Those five marks of mission are the work and mark of prophets, of all Jesus’ friends and their partners.  All of his commentary about what to take on the trip across the border is a reminder to keep it simple – to go as emissaries of the incarnate word, to be a gift and to speak and act for God’s dream – to GO into the world of God’s dream.

When we gather like this to make Eucharist, we offer all that we are and have for this work.  That little exchange that starts, “lift up your hearts,” is about entering another reality – some old translators put it, “hearts aloft!”  Get moving!  Go cross the frontier between heaven and earth – boldly go where Jesus has gone before – and invite others to go with you to help build the world that God intended at creation.  

So – mortals, prophets – stand up!  God is sending you to a rebellious house, full of impudent and stubborn folks.  As the prophet Pogo said, “is us.”[2]   Your job is to go and say, “listen up – here’s the deal, God’s got a better world in mind, and you are needed to help make it happen.”  And once you’ve started the conversation about good news, keep moving, keep showing and telling the world what God’s dream looks like.

Eventually, the world will know they’ve met a prophet – a whole community of prophets.
[1] An Episcopal priest as well, he’s been a prophetic force in the search for peace in Sudan.
[2] “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”  Walt Kelly, cf. The Pogo Papers, 1953.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Didn't get to sleep until almost midnight last night and then up at 5:30 this morning to meet up with a good friend from another diocese for breakfast.

Bishop Ken Price, Secretary for the HOB asked me as an Assistant Secretary to the House of Bishops to sit in for him on the dais this morning. This meant that I was invited to attend the morning meeting with Dispatch and the Secretary in the House of Bishops Secretariat. It was a thrill to be with this group, and humbling to be up on the Dais.

At 11:15 I was on the dais next to the Presiding Bishop and the meeting began. With just a few flubs I was able to perform the duties of Secretary. Next time I will know how to order my papers in a better way. It is very much a detail-oriented assignment, and the Presiding Bishop is a joy to work with. I will note that when I made the announcements some of the Bishops giggled at my New Jersey accent. We good heartedly laughed together. I can tell that they will need to have further training and/or exposure to "jersey-eeze".

While on the dais I received word that I was elected to be a Trustee of the Church Pension Fund by the House of Deputies. I am humbled and honored by this election. The House of Bishops must concur -- I'm praying that goes well.

I was able to enjoy a VERY quick lunch with my husband, Bob Williams, Janet Kawamoto and Pat McCaughn. It is always good to be with them and to catch our breath a bit.

Back to the HOB after lunch during which we dealt with varied resolutions.

At the end of the meeting I attended the meeting of Dispatch. What an incredible group of people that come together to make sure everything runs smoothly on the floor of the House of Bishops -- and on the dais. I can attest to the dedication and hard work of everyone involved!

At 7:00pm I attended the reception honoring Bishop Barahona of El Salvador and Cristosal. What a joy to be  with my brother Bishop and so many gathered to see him and be with people who support the incredible ministry in El Salvador! Bishop Mary and I were happy to be the hosts from the Diocese of  Los Angeles for this wonderful event.

In addition, Diocesan Staff Member Petra Barragan (there at the request of the ECW) was at the reception for Bishop Barahona.. Another picture of friends new and old are down below. At the end of this evening I had the opportunity to talk with Bishop Bruno -- he sounds WONDERFUL!  -- and it was so good to speak with him. I am so blessed to be a Bishop Suffragan in the Diocese of  Los Angeles -- and I thank you all for your love and support.

Please continue to pray for Bishop Bruno, our Diocese and this General Convention.

I wonder after this most amazing day what else might I wander into tomorrow?
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Friday, July 6, 2012

Day Two -- Long and Wonder-filled

Woke up early to an already warm day -- and it was early, very early after a long day yesterday. The high today eventually hit 104 degrees! Thank goodness there are indoor "skywalks" between buildings.

Started out the day at 7:30 with a vente nonfat cappuccino and the first Stewardship and Development hearing of the day. I don't normally order vente any-things at Starbucks (except on my birthday when I had a free drink coupon and the young man behind the counter said to me when I tried to order a grande, "Ma'am, it's your birthday. Go for the vente.")
Little did I know I needed that vente.

The hearing dealt with a series of related resolutions that address the giving level of dioceses to The Episcopal Church. There were 4 -- A091, B016, C010, D040 which were dealing with the same issue. The committee discharged all but B016, and passed that along with an amendment. The committee then moved on to deal with A146 regarding funding for the next triennium for the Episcopal Archives. I became passionate in this discussion, having served on the Archives Strategy Board.

Eucharist followed with house of Deputies President Cn. Bonnie Anderson preaching.

The House of Bishops met afterwards. I always love meeting with my brother and sister Bishops.

A very quick lunch followed, where afterwards I went to meet our own Rev. Tom Callard's sister Genevieve who is working at the Convention with youth. I also ran into Lily Chang who hosted us for a day in Taiwan.

Another Stewardship and Development hearing started at 2:00. We took up two resolutions, A155 and A150. Both were discharged. An early dismissal meant a little time to go through the exhibit hall. I ran into Winnie Varghese, an amazing priest and advocate for the Episcopal Service Corps. I also went back to the Integrity booth and hugged Vivian from our Diocese, and the other volunteers in the booth.

Next-- back to the House of Bishops and a closed session for one hour, then an open session where we conducted business including welcoming Anglican Communion Partners.

After the meeting I attended a meeting at the Secretariat and then literally ran, more than one hour late, to the Stewardship Awards Dinner. Well, I arrived in time to get some great food and hear watch the presentation of four awards, including one for Charles, the wonderful not retired but refired priest from Taichung. I'm including a picture of him here,

Off to sleep because I have a 6:30am breakfast (and it is nearly midnight here). I love General Convention!
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Thursday, July 5, 2012

First "Official" Day

It was the first "Official Day" but it seems like we've been in process for this day for the last few days. We had a session of the House of Bishops early this morning and then I went over to the Opening Eucharist. The Presiding Bishop preached a wonderful sermon, the music was beautiful, and distributing communion to so many people went flawlessly and quickly. The picture displayed is a tight shot of a VERY LARGE room!

I then went over to my legislative committee hearing, which went very well. We had only one resolution to deal with, AO87. We dealt with that, and then had a conversation about the fact that there was no collection taken at the Eucharist. It was said that even just $1.00 per person each day over the course of convention would allow us to collect monies for mission initiatives. So the rest of our time was spent crafting our own resolution to be submitted.

The Spirit was moving and my calendar became open for lunch. This provided me with the opportunity to have lunch with a Professor/Presenter from my DMin at Seabury (who was also the reader of my thesis ) Derek Harbin and his wonderful wife Clifford. It was great to spend time with them and catch up with them as to all the happenings of our lives!

Back after lunch to discuss two opposing resolutions -- DO24 and DO25 regarding the creation of a Development Office for the Episcopal Church. We heard testimony from 15 people. After much discussion and a few amendments we discharged DO24 and amended DO25. I believe this is a good resolution which seeks to ensure funding of mission and ministry opportunities for the Church in the future, and is headed in the direction of some other successful denominations and many successful philanthropies are in.

After this hearing I ran over (literally) to the House of Bishops legislative session. We were in closed session at the beginning and then opened to address the legislation given to us this day, which we did.

At the end of the meeting I went over to Dispatch and listened in. I will be seated on the Dais to take the place of the Secretary this Saturday while he is away. This gave me the opportunity to see what goes on.

After this I went to the reception for Foreign visitors and saw friends new and old. Below are a series of pictures from the evening. After that I had dinner with Archbishop Kim, his wife and one of his daughters as well as Korean clergy from the US and Korea. Enjoy the pictures below. Signing off as I have a VERY early meeting tomorrow!

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Opening Committee Meetings, Joint Gathering, first Hearing and baseball!

The day began early with Committee meetings. I found my way, through the skywalk which connects the buildings, to Marriott Ballroom 9 and 10. Being on Stewardship and Development, you can imagine the array of legislation currently assigned to us. It is a great group with a wonderful energy and a zeal for this work. We went around the room and introduced ourselves first -- it is a good mix of "seasoned" and newer deputies and bishops to General Convention. Everyone on this Committee has a passion for this work. We reviewed the work ahead of us and set up the schedule for which resolutions would be addressed at each of the hearings during the General Convention for our  Committee.. This meeting lasted about 3 hours.

After a quick lunch with my husband, I headed back to the Convention Center for a joint meeting of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. I was able to be seated with our deputation in the House of Deputies. I loved the way they decorated the pole! )(Please see the picture -- can you tell what's on top of our pole?

Next, the Rev. Cn. Dr. Gregory S. Straub, Executive Officer and Secretary of  the General Convention greeted the group gathered. We were opened with a beautiful prayer by Deputy Cornelia Eaton of the Diocese of Navajoland, the Chaplain to the House of Deputies.

The Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori then addressed the gathering. I commend to your reading the full text of her address here.

The President of the House of Deputies, Canon Bonnie Anderson then addressed the gathering. I commend to your reading the full text of her address here.

The Presiding Bishop closed this joint meeting with a benediction.

We Bishops then went to our Room and met at our tables. It was good to be back again with the same people I've been sitting with during this triennium: Jim Mathes, Prince Singh, Keith Whitmore, Chilton Knudsen and Herb Donovan.  Leo Frade who is normally at our table wasn't there -- I will have to ask about him tomorrow. The orientation was presented primarily by Ken Price, and was very helpful as this is my first time as at General Convention as a member of the House of Bishops.

After the Orientation I went to the first hearing we set up earlier in the day for Stewardship and Development. A few people signed up to speak regarding the resolutions that were on the agenda for this late afternoon. Good discussion followed, and all 8 resolutions were passed on to the consent calendar.

For those of us going to the baseball game at Victory Field, we adjourned in time to join our spouses and friends and walk over (it is literally directly across the street from the JW Marriott hotel). I was warned that it was still, at 6:00 pm, 100 degrees outside and it was humid out. Well, I made it for 1/2 an hour because it was too hot and humid. Our seats were in the sun -- I didn't even bother to sit down there. I just stood at the top of the steps under the overhang -- couldn't take it. I left my husband and friends and headed back to the hotel. I know -- I melt in the combination of heat and humidity!

I'll spend the rest of this evening updating my binder, working on some emails and getting ready for tomorrow.

I wonder what is in store for us all tomorrow at General Convention?
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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The gatherings before the THE GATHERING.

Some of the gatherings before THE GATHERING happened today. After obtaining my registration name badge and binder, I decided it would be a great idea to walk the convention exhibit hall. I wasn't disappointed -- it was a great joy to see friends who are also vendors. It was informative to see the different Episcopal organizations and to hear what they are doing. I went around twice, as I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything!

Late in the afternoon Integrity held a reception at which our own Bishop Mary briefly addressed the group gathered. It was a warm gathering, and I so enjoyed meeting new people and talking with people I have known over the years.

Next I headed over to the Province VIII Synod meeting. The picture above is our LA Synod delegates.

During the meeting --
1. We heard reports from the President -- Jack Easterwood and the coordinator Patricia Erskine.

2. Barbara Ross gave us an update on Education Ministries, Carmen Guerrero presented on Peace, Justice and Multicultural Ministries, and .willie Follett presented on Women's Ministries.

3. Charles Mack gave the Nominations Committee Report. By Acclamation we elected Bishop James Mathes (San Diego) as President, Barbara Ross (Oregon) as Vice President, the Rev. David Jackson (Hawaii) as Secretary, and Nancy Koonce (Idaho) as Treasurer. We then cast a ballot for clerical member for Executive Council. We then elected by acclamation the Rev. Jay Watan (California) and the Rev. Glenn Libby (Los Angeles) to the CDSP Trustees, who are actually serving currently.

4. The financials for this past Triennium and the upcoming budget were then presented by Nancy Koonce.

5. There was no election for the clergy to Executive Council, so another ballot was cast.

6. Michael Barlow was elected Executive Council from the Province.

7. Resolutions were then presented. Miller Adams, Province Chancellor, offered changes to the ordinances of the Province, which were adopted. Warren Wong then reported on West Coast Ports resolution, which passed to be sent to General Convention. Carmen Guerrero then presented a comprehensive immigration reform resolution, which passed to be sent to General Convention. Barbara Ross then presented a resolution on Mission Funding (which is being considered by all 9 Provinces), it was passed to be sent to al Convention.

8. Dianne Smith, Director of Recruitment at CDSP gave a report on CDSP and the changes they are making.

9. Mary Kate Wold, President and CEO of the Church Pension Fund addressed the gathering regarding CPF.

10. Paul Colbert presented Courtesy Resolutions, thanking various people for their work, including our own Glenn Libby for their work this past Triennium. Butch Gamarra was also thanked for his work this past Triennium with Peace and Justice as well as his work on Executive Council.

11. We thanked Jack Easterwood for his years of service as the gavel was passed to James Mathes Bishop of San Diego as the new President of Province VIII.

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General Convention -- Registration

Today is the day we officially register and the Exhibit Hall opens. Tonight Province VIII Synod meets -- I will be there.

I have a habit of arriving one day early at events like this to become acclimated and get the lay of the land. So yesterday Steve and I learned that is is possible to walk most of this downtown area without ever leaving a building -- the skywalk allows you to do so. We walked from where we are staying through the convention center to the mall and back. We found the meeting rooms for the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. We found the various hotels where meetings will be held and restaurants where various luncheons or dinners are planned. We also took a little time and watched a movie at the theater in the mall.

I love gathering at General Convention and seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Yesterday we ran into Barbara Harris, Bonnie Anderson, Dan Daniels, Stacy Sauls, Lisa Gray, Wendell Gibbs, Ellie Rencher, Keith Whitmore, Skip Adams, Sally Johnson, Neva Rae Fox --among many others including LA folk Jim Newman, Keith Yamamoto, Pat McCaughn, Kirby Smith, Cliff Chally and Paul Lawson. Everyone asked about Jon, and I was happy to report that he is doing very well.

My prayer for this convention is that we as a body can work together, pray together, and allow the Spirit to continue to move the church forward.
I will try to post daily, putting up pictures as I am able. I ask your prayers for us all.

I wonder what I will find as I wander over to the Exhibit Hall when it opens at noon today?

Location:Indianapolis Convention Center

Saturday, June 30, 2012

BBQ with the Archbishop of Korea

Last evening my husband Steve and I welcomed some amazing people to our home for a BBQ: the Rev. Anna Olson, her husband Steve and daughters Lea and Naomi, the Rev. Ada Wong-Nagata and her husband Ronnie, the Rev. Joshua Ng and his wife Allison, the Rev. Peter Browning, the Rev. Barbara Stewart, Canon Robert Williams, Chris Tumilty, the Rev. John Kim, the Rev. Aidan Koh, the Rev. James Park (from Korea) and Archbishop Paul Kim of Korea. The purpose was to meet the Archbishop and to talk with him about ministry opportunities here in our diocese with the Korean community.

Among the most endearing moments of the evening was when the Archbishop was introduced to Peter Browning. When I introduced them, I said to the Archbishop, "Sir, this is the Rev. Peter Browning" -- the Archbishop looked at Peter, smiled deeply and said, "You look just like your father!" The picture here captures that exact moment! Peter smiled in return and with a big smile on his face responded, "I am actually better looking" -- that made them both laugh!

Ada and Joshua were with me in Korea when we were hosted there by the Archbishop, so they came to see their new friend again. When people started to go out to our backyard, Ada and the Archbishop had the opportunity to share a few moments together. Here is a picture of them -- so typical of Ada! The discussion among the participants was lively! Barbara Stewart was there as a member of the Program Group on World Missions. I invited Peter Browning and Anna Olson because they have an interest in potentially starting a service in Korean in their congregations. Chris Tumilty and Bob Williams came to help with any news coverage -- and Chris began the filming of a Just Action video on the Archbishop's visit -- he will be celebrating the Eucharist and preaching at the Cathedral Center tomorrow (July 1st) at 1:00 for a service with all the Korean congregations coming together to hear him. John Kim and Aidan Koh came as they travel with the Archbishop when he is here. James Park is accompanying the Archbishop on this trip from Korea as he is the Provincial Secretary for that Province.

After dinner, with Aidan acting as interpreter, the Archbishop answered questions from the group. A great connection was made through the Archbishop for Barbara Stewart to the GFS group in Seoul (which I visited when I was in Korea in 2011). Anna asked great questions about the needs of the various communities, and how we can best reach out to Koreans here. We also talked about the continuation of the Diocese of Seoul sending clergy over to the CPE program at Good Samaritan Hospital -- that will continue. The clergy will go to selected parishes as part of the experience and lead Bible studies.

It was a relaxed evening, yet it was one in which mission and ministry was discussed and new friendships were forged. Among the most wonderful moments was when Lea, Anna's daughter spent time with the Archbishop and the Korean clergy -- she can understand and speak Korean as she is in a bilingual school in Koreatown! The Archbishop was MORE than impressed. All the Korean clergy were raving about Lea. It was wonderful!

I wonder what the Archbishop will find the next time he wanders back to Southern California? Certainly I'll be ready with another BBQ!

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Dream Come True

It happened last night in Koreatown. Members of the Diocesan staff and some clergy, the CEO of Good Samaritan Hospital, the Pastoral Care team at the hospital, and the Archbishop of Korea all sat down for a meal.

Why was this group together at a restaurant last night in Koreatown?This group came together as a result of a breakfast at the Hospital last year. The Reverends Jerry Anderson and Ron David invited me to breakfast. We met first with Susan Harlow, their boss. Over breakfast I asked them ,"What demographic do you have problems serving?" They told me that at any given time up to 30% of the hospital patients are non-English speaking Koreans. As I had just come from Korea where the Archbishop asked me to help him find a 3 to 6 month opportunity for his clergy to experience the American Church, the bells went off in my head.

In January of this year a priest and a seminarian came over for the six month Clinical Pastoral Education program at Good Samaritan. It was a match made in heaven.

During dinner, the CEO of the hospital and the Archbishop hit it off and quickly discovered they shared similar dreams of mission opportunities. Their faces lit up like Christmas trees as they spoke together. Listening to their conversation was like watching two long lost brothers meet and realize their lives were on parallel tracks. The Spirit was moving very quickly in the room!

I give thanks that I was able to pull this group together, but I give even greater thanks to the hospital, the Diocese of Seoul for embracing the original idea, the clergy in this diocese who embraced the women and made them feel that they are part of our diocese, and of course the two women who were the ambassadors for this project from Korea. Most importantly, I am in awe of the Spirit and her wisdom. For me, it was a dream come true.

I wonder what will happen the next time these two men come together and talk?

Location:Los Angeles

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Leaving with two bangs

Well, the entire trip it never rained on us! That was a blessing. But you have to read the rest of this blog to figure out why this entry is entitled "leaving with a bang."

Here is a parting shot with Bishop Lai at the Chapel in the diocesan headquarters:

and with Mrs. Lai at lunch:

The first bang: We left Diocesan headquarters and headed to the airport. A member of Bishop Lai's staff was driving Bishop Lai's car when we were rear ended on the freeway. We made sure the driver was okay. You see, a car had cut into the lane in front of us causing our driver to slam on his brakes. While we barely touched the car in front of us, one car hit us from behind, and then another car hit that car and we were hit again. The airbags didn't deploy.

Joshua Ng got out of the car as we were late getting to the airport and flagged down a cab (in the middle of the free), who had to park in front of the car that had caused this problem. Joshua rushed to get the bags transferred, having me sit in the car to make sure the driver didn't take off. The driver kept saying we had too many bags (we knew that), but we got them all into the cab. We said goodbye to Bishop's staff member and we raced to the airport. We got all the bags out (so we thought), and the cab driver drove off. Joshua realized his backpack with his passport was in the backseat of the cab and took off running after the cab. He caught up to it, banged on
the trunk and the driver stopped. That was the second bang. Ada says God doesn't want us to leave.

We are now waiting at the gate, a bit sore but grateful that no one was hurt more than just being sore in any of the cars. We are also grateful for this time in Asia, and for being on our way home.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tai Chung

We took the train from Taipei to Tai Chung, which took approximately one hour. We were greeted at the train station by the Rector of St. James's Church, the Rev. Philip Lin and an ordinand Joseph Ho who has started a mission south of Tai Chung -- Church of the Living Star. The Rector Emeritus, the Rev. Dr. Charles Chen met us and actually gave us the tour, thinking that the Rector's English isn't very good, but it is. Fr. Philip's English teacher Warren teaches at the school and was confirmed at All Saints Pasadena.

St. James has a kindergarten with 330 students. It also has an after school program with 130 students, and an adult education language program offering classes in English, Japanese and Spanish. They also have a counseling center on site.

The kindergarten program not only has turtles and fish, but an amazing butterfly garden and a "touch and smell" garden. Here's some images from the kindergarten:

So nice!:

The turtles are from Brazil, we were told:

A poster with sample pictures of the butterflies in the butterfly garden for the children to study before they enter the garden:

And the entry to the butterfly garden and the garden itself follows:

A butterfly that looks like a dried leaf:

The children learn about the lifecycle butterflies? Here is caterpillar:

The touch and smell garden and the playground:

The church has an average Sunday attendance of approximately 80 people at two services. One service is in English, the other service is offered in Mandarin. There are two multistoried buildings, one which has the rectory and a hostel, the other a series of classrooms and meeting rooms. Here are some photos of the church and various rooms:

New conference room:

View from the hostel:

We went to lunch together, then we said goodbye to the Chen's (Mrs. chen gave us tea and a snack at the hostel and accompanied us with Fr. Chen to lunch). We then headed to Sun Moon lake with Philip and Joseph. It is a little over an hour from Tai Chung, but you feel as though you are in a different world. The drive up was beautiful. Here are some pictures from different places we stopped around the lake:

And a few shots of the front of a temple along the way.

To realize that although you are in Taiwan you are with your brother and sister clergy of TEC made this last leg of our trip more meaningful. Bp. Lai is a member, of course, of our House of Bishops. The voice of this Diocese is important in Asia, and I'm so grateful that we were able to visit Taiwan!

We are headed back to Taipei a little earlier than we had initially planned. The last time we will pack for this trip is this evening. Tomorrow we will spend the late morning and early afternoon with Bp. Lai before heading to the airport for our 5:00 flight to Haneda, then our midnight flight to Los Angeles. We leave Thursday at 5:00 in afternoon and return to Los Angeles on Thursday at 6:00 in the evening thanks to the 13 hour difference in time. Tonight we need as much rest as we can get!

This has been an incredible journey, an amazing learning experience, and we have made many contacts and new friends. As long as my iPad holds up (the cracks are getting larger and the glass flakes bother me), I will try to post tomorrow. If not I will post a reflection on the trip when I get home.

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Location:Tai Chung, Taiwan