Saturday, June 22, 2013
Started out this day with morning prayer, which included a hymn in Korean, and a psalm sung partly in Tagalog that used interesting instruments featured in the pictured here. It's wonderful to hear the readings in Chinese, Korean and Japanese over these few days. We also heard a reflection entitled: The Green Leaves. This reflection focused on looking at where God is calling us to go, what God is calling us to do.
Participants were encouraged to take time to pray, think about and write down where they think God is calling us to go and what God is calling us to do as members of EAM (Episcopal Asian Ministry). Participants wrote their thoughts down on green leaves that were provided and hung their leaves on tree. A beautiful, haunting hymn was sung in Japanese and English about following God's light. We were then asked to bless the young ones in the tradition of "Mano po", a Filipino tradition where the young ones ask for blessings from the elders as a symbol of continuintiy and partnership between generations and empowerment of younth and young adult with and throught the widom of elders. This was beautiful and I asked for many blessings from people I know are younger than me!
I've been looking forward to hearing our keynote speaker for today -- The Rev. Dr. Rodger Nishioka, Professor at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decautur Georgia。 His topic for this keynote is Global Mission.
The title on the screen -- New Wineskins： Asiamerica Mission in a Changing Landscape -- was intriguing. As I've heard Rodger speak before, I couldn't wait to hear what he was going to share. He is fourth generation full Japanese. His ancestors came from Japan to Hawaii, and his family moved to Seattle when he was 11 -- and he was surprised that the world there was so "white" as opposed to the fact that 70 percent of the population in Hawaii are Asian or Polynesian. He showed some videos from Youtube talking about YOU KNOW YOU ARE ASIAN IF..... then a participatory discussion occurred about what EAM members in attendance understand about this topic. He then showed a video about what it means to be Asian Americans.
Asian Americans are the fastest growing group at 2.9 percent in the United States. They are eclipsing Hispanics/Latinos. 16 percent from Philippines, 15.6 percent India, 15.4 percent China including Hong Kong, 10.8 percent Vietnams, 9.4 percent from Korea.
Rodger went on to provide a great deal of statistics, studies, anecdotes and glimpses into the future. I couldn't keep up typing as fast as I could with all he was saying, so I'm grateful that he will be sending copies of his powerpoint presentation with those who attended. I won't try put all the information here, but let me say that I'm excited about his work and this keynote address -- it is along the lines of things we have been thinking about and working towards in Los Angeles.
I attended my first workshop -- lead by Jim Murphy from ECF (Episcopal Church Foundation) on raising resources for the funding of future ministries in the diocese. Jim did his homework with Fred Vegara as well as two other Asian Clergy to do research for this workshop. Jim talked about the fact that there are many types of giving -- Ordinary (annual Stewardship effort -- most people give to this through their regular income, which is affected by the economy -- this is primary work because it is from this giving pool that you can approach for other types of giving), Extra-Ordinary (Capital Campaign/Major gifts -- this is sourced from other assets and is used for enhancing facilities or raising endowment funds), Legacy Giving (Gifts to support the future ministry and security of a parish or its mission -- gifts people make out of their estates, wills or trusts or out of assets being held for retirement.)
Jim went through the different types of giving in detail talking about best practices that work in most congregations. He spent time asking questions, testing out the reality in the congregations represented in the room (it was packed with people -- about 40 people). He spoke about challenges for each type of giving. He talked about the work of ECF and how ECF can be of help in an individual congregation -- but also noted that there would be a fee charged to the congregation for this by ECF. It was helpful that he provided copies of the slides of his presentation. It was a good presentation.
After lunch we headed to the next offering that I signed up for -- lead by Brendon Hunter from ECF (Episcopal Church Foundation) -- Leadership for Vibrant Congregations. The focus was on engaging others, building a team and building a shared mission and vision. Brendan will be sending us copies of his presentation. To start, under the focus of engaging your community -- understanding who is around you and developing relationships with local leaders, as well as just walking your community to understand who is around you is important. Learn what it is to live and work in the community.
Looking for leaders -- Brendan offered that we need to be much more deliberate in looking for leaders. Look for people who are drawn to the vision of the congregation and/or to a particular ministry. Look for people who make commitments and follow through. Balance results, process, and relationships. Make a list of a few names of people who fit into these categories whom you would consider approaching over the next month to discuss where the congregation is headed. One-on-one conversations is the best way to approach a potential new leader, with you listening to them more than talking -- learning who they are. This is a time for an exploratory conversations. Intentionally engaging potential leaders in your congregation as well as leaders and partners in your community. It entails becoming an active presence, a part of the dialogue, and a partner in your community. It is an opportunity for growth and vitality -- and potential for growth in numbers. Brendan used our own St. Mary's Mariposa's story as an example -- I smiled!
We then heard about Mission and Vision -- Mission Statement -- What you Do. Vision Statement -- pictures church/world when "mission accomplished" -- some of the same things we've been saying in the Diocese. ECF quoted the book Leading Change by John Kotter. Again, St. Mary's was used as an example -- go LA!
I chose to do some necessary networking and skipped the third workshop. that proved to be fruitful in getting some needed questions answered and making more contacts for Asian Ministry for the Diocese of Los Angeles -- I am very grateful for this time -- while I was looking forward to our own (the Reverend) Laura Queen's presentation on Clergy pension and retirement information from Church Pension Fund, I did find the Holy Spirit moving in the conversations I was able to have outside the context of the large group gatherings we have been having.
The Province meeting got off to a lively start with the calling of the roll -- both the Los Angeles and California Dioceses were highly represented. It was a good meeting, with Mimi Wu and Warren Wong doing a great job. When the roll was taken it was obvious that the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of California were both very well represented. Warren spoke at length about what he is responsible for, which is justice related. To that end, he will be contacting each Bishop in Province VIII to send 2 to 3 people to a retreat this September to work on a proposed focus for each quarter -- human trafficking, immigration, economic injustice and the environment.
It is a wonderful convocation -- in a few minutes we will have our group picture taken -- then off to dinner.
I wonder what the Holy Spirit has in store for us tomorrow?
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Friday, June 21, 2013
We started out with breakfast early at the Hyatt and then had the opportunity to take a group photograph of most of the people from Los Angeles. Some didn't make the photo, but I hope we will be able to do that at some time.
Morning prayer was offered, with remembering the people, events we celebrate and the challenges that we still face in this ministry. So many people are here, which is wonderful to see! The number of young people here is amazing. They will be heading out after this morning's keynote to head to asian history places today, including Angel Island, China Town, the Asian Art Museum, St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church.
Bishop Stacy Sauls then offered the keynote address on Domestic Mission with a focus on the poor. Bishop Sauls told a wonderful story about meeting Jesus in the Cincinnati airport in the form of a shoe shine man. During the conversation with the shoe shine man, the man offered these wise words -- "If you can't get along with your brother or sister, you can't get along with me." This sparked something in Bishop Sauls, and he went on to offer the words of Jesus in his devotion of the poor. It is in meeting the poor, we meet Jesus ourselves. Jesus said we will always be in close proximity to the poor precisely because we are his disciples. We will always have the opportunity to share with them.
Bishop Sauls went on to offer that the poor are an incarnate reality, and in particular one poor person at the home. Not someone anonymous, but someone we meet and know, not someone anonymous. Jesus is saying -- start being with the poor -- starting being the poor. It is in those who are poor that we meet -- that we meet Jesus.
Bishop Sauls then opened up the group for questions. Good questions and comments were offered.
A panel of all bishops in attendance (10 of us, including 2 bishops from the Philippines, the Archbishop of Korea and 1 bishop from Japan) sat and answered questions from the group. Good questions were asked, and bishops responded as they felt moved to do or asked to do by the person with the question. Here is a picture of me answering a question -- I believe it was during the question of community based developments in any diocese. I just wish you could see ALL the bishops! It was great to hear fellow Bishops Prince Singh, Bob Fitzpatrick, Barry Beisner, Stacy Sauls and Mary Gray-Reeves speak on various issues. More, it was important that we were all there supporting this ministry.
After lunch, the various convocations met to elect new officers, do other business and make reports. I made it to all of them except one -- by the time I got there, they were done and gone.
Tonight I'm heading out with the Chinese Convocation for dinner in honor of two visitors: the Rev. Peter Koon from Hong Kong, and the Rev. Richard Lee from Taiwan.
I'll end by posting some of the pictures from the various convocation meetings -- it was so gratifying to see the faces of so many people from Los Angeles here! The rooms were packed with people! What a great blessing for the Church!
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