Monday, July 30, 2012

little Lovely meets her saviors

Haiti Earthquake survivor Lovely Avelus finally meets her saviours
By Catherine Porter/Toronto Star

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI—Some mysteries are like religion. They linger, forever out of reach, promising only possibility and puzzle. Others are like calculus problems, requiring investigation and pencil scribbling before proffering concrete answers.

There are many mysteries about the story of Lovely Avelus and the earthquake that cleaved this country 21/2 years ago. How did her little 2-year-old body, so small and bird-boned, survive the weight of two stories of concrete without even a scratch? How then did she survive there, trapped for six days without food or water or someone to buoy her little spirit with songs of hope and solace?

a hero: Lalanne with his son and the pigeons he raises
Fort National, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
You can read the rest of the article here:
You can see a slide show here:

Thanks to Ruth at for pointing out this article.  Go read her blog, written from Haiti. It's good.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Haiti's Olympic team

flags of many nations fly as the Olympic flag is carried in during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics (one of those interesting moments of transition caught on the television screen)

As many of you were, I was glued to the television last night watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. I laughed at the corgis and the parachuting queen, oohed and aahed over the rings coming together and the lighting of the torch, agreed with a friend via Facebook that we should have the sheep back, and got nostalgic with Paul McCartney. It was odd, it was eccentric, and it was fun in a very strange way. I was impressed with the dancing skills of the medical professionals in the health care piece, but most impressed with the honor guard of 500 construction workers who had built the facility. Great fireworks, too.
Olympic torch seen from below during the opening ceremonies for the Olympics in London 7.27.12
However, I was not impressed with the coverage, or lack thereof, of the Haitian team.  That includes Haitian news sources. 

True, I had forgotten that the Olympics was this summer.  It's not hard to do when you're in Haiti.  But I'm with my parents for a few weeks, and they reminded me about the opening ceremonies.  First thing I wondered: does Haiti have a team this year?  After all, the earthquake was only two years ago.  So I was most glued to the parade of nations as the letters crept up, countries in alphabetical order...  I hadn't realized there were so many countries beginning with Gu- until I had to wait through them to see.  Yes! There they are!  There they go.  And pretty much only a comment about one of them being Mark Zuckerberg's former roommate.  Sigh.

Haiti's flagbearer at the London Olympics as seen all too briefly on television
As I said, not impressed.  So I went hunting for news.

First I found this article, which is posted in quite a number of places:
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: Haiti's Olympic team in London isn't very Haitian - Olympics -
It, too, talks about Mark Zuckerberg - but at least it mentions that his roommate is going to hit him up for a donation to the foundation he wants to form in order to raise up more Haitian athletes.  Here's an excerpt:

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Four of Haiti's five Olympians at the London Games have something in common - they're not from Haiti.

With millions of Haitians living on $2 a day or less and hundreds of thousands of people rendered homeless by a devastating earthquake two years ago, the country struggles to produce world-class athletes. But those with Haitian links are still eager to represent the small Caribbean country.

"I still feel Haitian even if I wasn't born there," 21-year-old sprinter Marlena Wesh said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Wesh, who will run in the 200 and 400-meter races at the Olympics, grew up in Virginia and is a senior at Clemson University. Her parents are from Haiti.

Besides having family ties to Haiti, the four foreign-born Olympians will be competing in track and field, including the former college roommate of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg...

There's nothing unusual about athletes from multiethnic nations like the United States or Britain representing other countries. But what may be surprising to some is that Haiti, which seems to lurch from one calamity to another, is being represented in London at all.

The country does pose unusual challenges for athletes. Three of the country's five competitive running tracks are home to thousands of people in tents and shanties who were displaced by the January 2010 earthquake. The office of the Haitian Olympic Committee overlooks a hillside shantytown and has a budget of only $400,000. The U.S. Olympic Committee's budget is about $170 million.

Still no good photos, so I went hunting via search engine images.  Best I could do was a postage stamp from 1960.  Well, no, there were photos from other Olympics, but nothing current. 

Haitian postage stamp commemorating the Winter Olympics 1960
Tonight, as I sat down to watch the men's gymnastics and the swimming competitions, I decided to search again.  Here's one that I missed: Samyr Laine ’06 Aims for Haiti's First Olympic Medal in 84 Years, found at  Yes, it too has Zuckerberg (logical since it's the Harvard paper), but also some information on one of the athletes representing Haiti, one of those people who are not technically Haitian, but diaspora.  Part of the article explains: HAITIAN AT HEART

Among the curiosities of Laine’s Olympic campaign is the fact that he is competing for Haiti—a nation he had never visited until he was 26.

But Laine grew up speaking Creole at home. While at Harvard, he was heavily involved with both the Caribbean Club and the Harvard-Haitian Alliance, engaging with the sizeable Haitian community in the greater Boston area.

“I would say it was more like a Haitian raised in the U.S., rather than an American choosing to compete with Haiti,” Laine said.

Throughout Laine's childhood, he added, his mother feared returning to the nation that had caused so much suffering for the family.

But after a deadly earthquake struck Haiti two years ago, Laine felt compelled to reconnect with his family's nation of origin and commit himself to improving the lives of his fellow Haitians.

“After the earthquake happened, and at 26 years old, there’s not much my mother could do,” Laine said. “As a Haitian-American, the culture has always been near and dear to me.”

Laine hopes that his Olympic pursuits will help lead to better athletic facilities in Haiti, giving children there the same opportunities he had to improve at his craft and compete internationally.

I tried the site for the newspaper we get. Do you know Le Nouvelliste has NOTHING on the website's sports page? Now that is just sad.  I did manage to learn that Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe was in the UK for political reasons and took advantage of that to accompany the delegation.  That was something, anyway.

Next stop: Radio Television Caraibes.  Nothing on the team per se, but a fun article on the opening ceremonies with a focus on the parachuting Queen Elizabeth.  And, thanks be to God, a photo of the delegation!  At long last.  For your viewing pleasure: 

Haiti's delegation in the Parade of Nations - Olympics 2012, London
Une cérémonie d'ouverture magistrale lance les Jeux - Radio Television Caraibes Haiti

Finally I got wise.  I was expecting it to be up front, but I learned - again - that if you want news, you have to dig.  The magic words are jeux olympiques as search words on sites located in Haiti. 

So, finally an article for you: Haïti aux 20e Jeux Olympiques de Londres - Le Nouvelliste  You can always read it via Google translator if you don't read French but still want the information.
An excerpt:
Moïse Joseph, Marlena Wesh, Jeffrey Julmis, Samyr Lainé (athlétisme) et Linouse Desravines (judo) seront les cinq athlètes qui représenteront Haïti aux prochains Jeux Olympiques d’été, a confirmé Jean-Edouard Baker, président du Comité olympique haïtien (COH), au cours d’une conférence de presse donnée jeudi au local du COH.

Ces athlètes grâce à la Solidarité olympique du Comité international olympique (CIO) et certaines fédérations internationales se préparent actuellement aux Etats Unis d’Amérique et en France afin de pouvoir rivaliser avec les meilleurs et, qui sait, se faire la médaille comme c’était le cas pour Sylvio Cator (saut en longueur) aux jeux olympiques déroulés en 1928 à Amsterdam.

Haitian state television will be showing the games.  I hope it will inspire more Haitian athletes - and more donors to sponsor them for the 2016 Olympics.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


 Not peanut butter and fluff, no matter what my northeastern friends may think...

PB&F budget hearing
PB&F is Program, Budget, and Finance.  In other words, those who determine the budget.  And if you determine the budget, you determine a good portion of the results of Convention.  You can pass all the legislation you want, but if it's not funded, it's not going to happen unless it didn't require funding to begin with.

Saturday evening, General Convention Day #3, there was a meeting on the proposed budget (, and anyone who signed up a half hour in advance could speak. 

Bishop Duracin of the Diocese of Haiti speaking
My understanding is that there was significant funding for Haiti.  I was especially grateful to a young man for stepping up to the microphone in favor of doing so.  We were reminded that there are around 200 Episcopal schools in Haiti, including St. Vincent's School for the Handicapped, one of the only schools in Haiti for disabled students.  (It was the only one for decades, but there are so many amputees now... It's not at all an uncommon sight.   I wonder if the other disabilities are receiving any attention these days.  But revenons a nos moutons, as they say - back to the topic at hand.)  Around 70% of church structures were leveled in 2010, and given that almost all churches have a school, this had a significant impact.  The Millenium Development Goals include universal primary education, so our support of Haiti is related to our support of the MDG's. Bishop Duracin also spoke about the church's involvement in primary education and health care.

Among the other ministries whose advocates spoke in favor of funding:
HIV/AIDS Ministries
Campus and Young Adult Ministries
Office for Pastoral Development (MANY people spoke up for this one)
Association for Episcopal Educators
Episcopal Relief and Development - Nets for Life project and MDGs
Episcopal Network for Stewardship
Episcopal Conference of the Deaf (perhaps the ones who provided interpreters to sign the entire GC )
Navaholand Area Mission, Native American Ministries, and Indigenous Ministries
The Anglican Consultative Council (Ian Douglas spoke, as he is the TEC rep to the ACC)
Episcopal Appalachian Ministries
Episcopal Service Corps
The Diocese of Alaska
The Diocese of Ecuador

Bishops speaking in support of inclusion of an office for pastoral development, which had had its office and staff taken away from the one bishop in charge of it. Based on what I heard over and over, it is a very helpful, very appreciated confidential ministry, if an unexciting one. I hope they decided to fund it fully.

There was a young man, a senior from Voorhees College (, who told a powerful personal story about the effect of this school on his life. He spoke in favor of funding a grant for a program intended to interrupt the cradle-to-prison pipeline.

There was also someone who spoke about the funding for General Convention 2015 and the need for wi-fi for 1300 people, translators for documents (we have quite a number of languages represented), copy equipment, and so forth. 

I believe they voted to have a paperless convention (insofar as possible, I assume) next time, but there will be people who don't have the equipment or don't know how to use it, so that will be an expense even if there is no copying to be done. 

photo of the empty House of Deputies taken while delivering the day's paperwork before the legislative session later that morning
That's a lot of paper for a lot of people, so I'm glad they'll be going paperless for General Convention 78 in 2015.
Eventually the new budget - the final version thereof, that is - will be online.  It will be interesting to see what the final decisions were in light of the testimony given at the hearing.  I did find the final version of the budget resolution ( and noted with approval that they require a balanced budget:
3.1 Each year, the Executive Council, with the advice of the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance, shall adjust the budget to the assured income of the Executive Council so as to carry out the Budget for the Episcopal Church for that year on a balanced budget basis.
However, I haven't yet managed to find the numbers.  Please do put up a comment if you know where they might be found once posted.

Let's see if we really put our money where our mouth is.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

fun in the House of Deputies

 There are many serious articles about the serious work being done at General Convention.  You can read official church posts here:  I am, therefore, going to avoid that repetition.  There are other equally interesting things going on here. 

Dress Like Gregory Straub Day, for example.

Dress Like Gregory Straub Day includes the wearing of bow ties and an astonishing assortment of jackets.
His opening attire (if I have the date correct), was a jacket specially made for the occasion, a blazer in black and white checks in a nod to the Indy 500.  

GC Secretary Gregory Straub's wardrobe brightening up deliberations in the House of Deputies this week
However, the Secretary is not the only one whose sense of color brightens the House of Deputies.  There is also a tradition of decorating the delegation table pole on which is written the name of the diocese.  Maryland, for example, has a large stuffed crab sitting atop theirs. 
The empty  House of Deputies early this morning while I was delivering paperwork during a volunteering shift with Print Distribution
The Diocese of Central Florida wins the decoration prize this year, I think. In any case, they are certainly the easiest to locate on the floor! 

But here is the best, something that intrigued me as I heard little references here and there, and even a nod to it by President Bonnie Anderson herself.

An excerpt from :
Deputies play ball — Bonnie Ball

The members of the House of Deputies conduct the business of the church in an aura of parliamentary collegiality every day. Behind the scenes, however, there is intense competition. A number of the deputies are engaged in a convention-long game of Bonnie Ball.

Participants are able to collect points for engaging in activities or having certain experiences in the course of the participation in the House of Deputies. There are 28 possible ways to earn points. For instance, a member of the house can earn 10 points if he or she has to be reminded of the “decorum of the House” or if one tries to make up a new parliamentary rule or procedure (such as a “friendly amendment”). Fifteen points are earned by a deputy who mentions Bonnie Ball while addressing the chair.

Each day of the convention constitutes an inning and thus the game consists of eight innings.

The Rev. Canon Gregory Straub, the church’s executive officer and secretary of the General Convention, holds a commanding lead of 50 points. His closest competitor is Massachusetts Deputy Samuel Gould with 27 points.

The origins of this moveable feast of point gathering are secret, the Rt. Rev. William White, first bishop of Pennsylvania, told ENS via e-mail July 11.

White, who served as Pennsylvania bishop from Feb. 4, 1787 until his death July 17, 1836, is the umpire of Bonnie Ball. The ump’s/bishop’s comments on the play, along with the comments of some players, are here (

“And I can tell you that we are having a hoot of a good time knowing that others are as well!” White wrote.

The Bonnie Ball website urges players and fans to make a donation to Episcopal Relief and Development’s NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund.

To see the website and catch the latest scores, go to the website and check out the current standings of the players.

Just for the record, I have to say that Bonnie Anderson is amazing. She keeps her cool and her sense of humor even when there is an amendment to the previously amended amendment and someone calls for a vote by orders. Wait, what page of what calendar on what date on which resolution, again?  Pray for her, give thanks for her service during these (six?) years, and pray for the new president who will take over at the end of this Convention.

Bonnie Anderson, outgoing President of the House of Deputies
Pray, too, for all the deputies (and bishops) who are working so hard and getting so punchy as they try to complete this year's legislative work in record time. 
singing our prayer in the House of Deputies today
May the Holy Spirit bless them, guide them, and continue to give them the gift of holy laughter when they need it.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Crazy Christians #2 - North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry preaches at Convention Eucharist

Thank you to Ros, who sent me a link to the real thing!  This includes the official text AND a video.  You want to watch this. You really do.  Thanks be to God for crazy Christians like Michael Curry who can preach the good news and live it.  God give us grace to do the same.

North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry preaches at Convention Eucharist

You want to go to the link above and listen to this sermon. Just do it. Maybe you will end up a crazy Christian, too.  May God bless us all with that.

General Convention Day #3 - Saturday - part 2

After the Eucharist (see previous entry) I went with one of our Associates, the President of the Episcopal Church Women (les Dames) in the Diocese of Haiti, to the gathering at which she and others were being honored for their work and named Distinguished Women of 2012. 

The president of the Diocese of Haiti ECW, presented by Bishop Duracin, is honored as a distinguished woman.

SSM Associates' cross and ECW Distinguished Woman pin

I stopped by the monitors to see what was going on afterwards.  This year they have the resolutions being debated listed on a monitor with pertinent information and eventually how the vote went.

tracking each resolution - live status updates

Next up, back to my room, smoothie for lunch in hand, for some meditation time before heading back to the Ecclesiastical Art Exhibition.  Beautiful things.  I mentioned that I love beautiful textiles, I believe; I'm hoping to do a whole post on them sometime soon.

Great O Antiphons, 2010
Linda Witte Henke, Indianapolis

Day #3, part 3, yet to come.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

"We need some crazy Christians" and Harriet Beecher Stowe

Bishop Curry from North Carolina preached this morning.  He didn't even have to open his mouth before I was excited: I've heard him preach before. 

Bishop Curry preaching at General Convention 2012: We need some crazy Christians!

And I wasn't disappointed. 

Harriet Beecher Stowe was on our calendar for today from Holy Women, Holy Men.  It is Bishop Curry's opinion that, despite the liturgical propers, the best gospel passage for her would be the story from Mark in which Jesus' family tries to restrain him because, depending on the translation, "He has gone out of his mind," "He is beside himself," "He is mad," or, the best in his and my opinion, "They thought he was crazy and they went to get him under control."   As he pointed out regarding the last translation, that is exactly what the Church has been trying to do for centuries.

Because Jesus, by any  normal standards, was crazy.  Love your enemies? Bless them?

"I like being the Right Reverend," he said, "and the Exalted Pooh-bah," but, he said, Jesus said to get rid of all that because the greatest among you shall be your servant.  "Try that," he continued, "at the Republican or Democratic National Conventions."   

Rejoice when you are persecuted? "That's plumb crazy!... and we need some crazy Christians."

Mary Magdalene was crazy, he said.  Jesus gets executed as an enemy of the state. The sensible thing to do is run.  Take the roll call at the cross.  "Peter? Absent.  James? Absent.  Andrew? Absent.  Mary Magdalene? PRESENT.  Hallelujah!"  She was crazy enough to stand at the cross.  And we need to be crazy enough to stand up for Jesus and his love and compassion when it would be an insane thing to do.

We actually have a feast day, he said, for crazy Christians.  It's called All Saints Day.   And not All Sanes Day. Holy Women, Holy Men (formerly known as Lesser Feasts and Fasts) should be known as the Chronicles of Crazy Christians.

Bishop Curry then went on to talk about Harriet Beecher Stowe and all the crazy things she did when she could have been home safely raising a family.  He pictures her as a little old lady knitting and wearing a shawl - with some escaped slaves in her basement.  He sees her slipping slaves up north during a prayer meeting. Apparently Abraham Lincoln, upon being introduced to her, said, "So this is the little lady who started the Civil War" with her book Uncle Tom's Cabin, which so inspired the abolitionists.

We need, he said, more crazy Christians to start civil wars - not bloody ones, but ones against hunger and other evils.  We need Christians who are crazy enough to love like Jesus, crazy enough to give like Jesus, crazy enough to forgive like Jesus, crazy enough to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

Amen, my brothers and sisters. Bishop Curry's got it right.

Later we sang a hymn from her writings set to Felix Mendelssohn's tune Consolation.  Here is the first verse.

Still, still with thee, when purple morning breaketh,
when the bird waketh, and the shadows flee;
fairer than morning, lovelier than daylight,
dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with thee.

          -- Voices Found #30

Gracious God, we thank you for the witnesss of Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose fiction inspired thousands with compassion for the shame and sufferings of enslaved peoples, and who enriched her writings with teh cadences of the Book of Common Prayer.  Help us, like her, to strive for your justice, that our eyes may see the glory of your Son, Jesus Christ, when he comes to reign with you and the Holy Spirit in reconciliation and peace, one God, now and always. 

          -- Holy Women, Holy Men

General Convention Day #2 - Friday

I just saw on the news that it was 105 degrees here in Indianapolis today.  Have I mentioned that I've adjusted to air conditioning fairly well?  I wasn't expecting to come from Haiti and find higher temps!

It's been a busy day.  After breakfast and the Eucharist, I helped someone change her volunteering schedule and then went on to sit in the back of the House of Deputies for a while to watch.  They were talking in part about some of the structural changes that are on the table.  Two of the bits I saw regarded going paperless next time and doing something about inadequate space for the church archives. I believe both passed.  Not, obviously, the most hotly debated items. However, it was interesting to listen in.

House of Deputies
Fredrica Thompsett at the microphone
Voting goes as follows:
1.  Voice vote (all in favor say yes; all opposed, no)
2.  Then if that isn't clear, they go to green and red cards.
all in favor, green cards in the air
all opposed, red cards up
3. And if that isn't clear, they go to the electronic clickers and on-screen results.

House of Deputies electronic voting results on screen

Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, laughing about something - it isn't always completely solemn, even though taken very seriously.

Next stop, the Geranium Farm lunch with Barbara Crafton speaking.  If you are familiar with her eMos or her books, you will know how pleased I was to be there (thanks to my mother).  She is a fine speaker as well as writer.  Her website isn't the best, but the content, once you get to it, is worth it:  Of course you can always look up her books on Amazon or at the library.

Barbara Crafton speaking at the Geranium Farm lunch
sponsored by the ECW Triennial

On to the CAROA booth for my afternoon shift talking to people about religious orders and our work in Haiti (and giving out our brochures for altar linens, of course). 

I had a chance to wander past some of the booths myself as well, meeting and talking with any number of interesting people about their ministries and ours, admiring some of the beautiful artwork, and perusing the books.  I'm glad I have no money. Had I a salary, I would still have no money because it would all be spent on books and art and beautiful stoles (which are also art).  I can think of much better uses for it, but the temptation would be very great indeed.

The Wippells Bear
I came close to petting the beautiful fabrics used in some of the vestments, hangings, and clothing. I hear there is a church textile exhibit somewhere in the convention center, and I need to locate it when I have a free moment.  I'll have to bring my handkerchief, though, in case I start drooling.  I do love interesting fabrics.  They just make me itch to do some artwork or quilting or sewing with batiks and silks and other such lovely things.

Or I could just sit there and admire them, which is much less expensive. (-:

flyer for an exhibit of the work of various church textile artists
I may take pictures of some of these items for your enjoyment.

On a different track, today's award for best booth content goes to Zion House.  I am very impressed with this ministry with homeless women veterans.  I must say I am skeptical of many of our reasons to go to war, but I think it's shameful the way we neglect our veterans after all they have been through on our behalf. This involves not only housing and work, but also any necessary treatment, financial planning, and the development of new business skills as they transition back into a non-military context.

The best summary is from their product website ( We are female veterans who make Goat's Milk soaps and lotions as well as other products to support Zion House - a transitional living home for homeless female veterans. All proceeds go to support Zion House. Boadicea - (pronouced - Bow - De - Ka) - was a Warrior Queen in the 1st Century on the island of Briton.

Zion House is an organization in Avon NY, which provides transitional living and various other services for female veterans who are in the process of assimilating themselves back into society. These women under the leadership and guidance of Rev. Kelly Ayers, have found a niche where they can provide a quality, all natural product for you and your family while at the same time learning how to build, grow and maintain a business from the ground up. The business and life skills they learn at Zion House can and will be of use to them in many facets of their lives.

How you can help:
Wounds of war are not always physical. In the Rochester, Buffalo and New York areas alone, there are roughly 100 female veterans who are treated annually for conditions that have lead to HOMELESSNESS. They need our help. They have done their duty - won’t you help us serve them. We are looking for donations of time, talent and treasure. Your contribution is tax deductible! You can also support the veterans of Zion House through purchases of all natural goats milk products on our sister website

goat milk spa products made by homeless female veterans and the priest in charge of the program
 I've now tried the unscented goat's milk lotion and can recommend it.  I think it's strong enough to be good in winter as well as summer, and for situations where you want lotion without the perfume (think hospital visits), this would be perfect. 
Boadicea Goat's Milk and Shea lotion made by female veterans

After a break during which I came back to my room for a bit and prayed vespers with Sr. K, we were off again to the final event of the day, a dinner for the United Thank Offering and the Episcopal Church Women. The speaker addressed the topic of forgiveness and deserves his own post; I hope I will get to that even if it's just a little blurb.  We sisters sat at a table with the ECW delegates from the Lexington, KY, area. 

Afterwards, I walked back slowly with my mother, who was also there, and had a chance to talk with my sisters and my father on her cell phone.  I think all of us were worn out, but we will all certainly sleep well tonight, so this is not necessarily a bad thing.

And now, if I am going to get that sleep, I had better turn in.  Good night, all.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

General Convention Day #1

I woke up at 6AM today and arranged myself, seated against the headboard of the bed, to have my morning prayer time in quiet and without having to look at my watch. 

Then I woke up again at 8:20. 

St Therese is supposed to have said that God loved her just as much asleep as awake...

There was a bit of a scramble but still time for breakfast before the 9:30 Eucharist.  I lost the rest of the sisters before the service even began, but found some people from the Diocese of Massachusetts as I was looking - nice to see friends again.  Hugs all around. 

And then the Eucharist.  I love the Eucharist.  This morning what moved me first was the music - so many voices singing with all their heart in praise to God, together in harmony.  And then we broke bread - real loaves, large loaves, good bread - together.  Together - all different, all those voices singing together making such a rich sound to the glory of God.  I can't help but think of the communion hymn taken from the ancient text of the Didache:
As grain, once scattered on the hillsides,
Was in this broken bread made one,

So from all lands Thy Church be gather'd
Into Thy kingdom by Thy Son.
(; Hymnal 1982 #302 & #303)

Later in the morning I was talking to someone at the CAROA booth - Conference of Anglican Religious Orders in the Americas ( - and felt this huge hug from behind: my mother.  Haven't seen her since September.  My father was not far behind.  SO good to see them. 

Here are a few of the interesting people and projects I ran across today at the convention:

The Seamen's Church Institute has among their varied ministries several knitting projects. One of our sisters has knit dozens - no, probably hundreds - of scarves for sailors.  They also have a Christmas knitting project called The Knit before Christmas for Christmas at Sea (     I see that Christmas at Sea also has a Facebook page, which I intend to check out.

Here is one of their YouTube videos called Conquering the Sock, Inch by Inch (part 1). If you would like to knit for sailors, check out their videos and their web page.

 What they are doing at the Convention, though, is a bit different.  They are giving out 1200 little bags with yarn and directions to make tiny hats to put on Starbucks tea bottles in NJ in November with information about the SCI and its projects.  I (perhaps foolishly) took a bunch of them to do on vacation.  Which means I will be learning to knit in the round (trusting this video below to teach me).  Feel free to pray... 

  I gather that Starbucks employees will be (or are?) doing some extensive volunteering with the CSI. 

1200 TEAny Hats
General Convention 2012
Seamen's Church Institute booth in the Exhibit Hall

Then two ladies came by the CAROA booth midday, and their signs caught my eye.  I'd love to spend more time talking with them at some point.  Their group is the Palestine Israel Network of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, and they are sponsoring a resolution called "Pursuing a Just Peace in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict." It sounds to me as though it is primarily calling for advocacy and education in the hope of ending the stalemate. One particular desire is to have every diocese study a document called Kairos Palestine 2009, which was written by Palestinian Christians, and a document (or educational program?) called Steadfast Hope, originally developed by the Presbyterians.  I need to read further so as to find out more, as I am not acquainted with either.  In any case, these two women, a Holocaust survivor and a Palestinian Christian, seem to be the kind of people that would be well worth knowing no matter one's stance.

a Palestinian Christian and a Jewish Holocaust survivor at General Convention 2012 to promote advocacy for a peace with justice in the Holy Land

Last on the schedule today was a reception for international visitors to General Convention.  I had an interesting talk with a Korean theology professor currently living in Nashville and with a Korean Anglican parish priest, ran into someone from my seminary, and spoke with a number of people who had been to Haiti recently.  Of course the Haitian delegation was there, and I finally found the sisters again.

Partway through the reception, a number of Spanish-speaking bishops and other visitors got up on the podium and led us in "Ay, ay, ay, ay..." and "Alabare" among other songs.   It was so good to be able to sing along and to remember happily my year at St. Luke's-San Lucas, Chelsea.

Spanish-speaking Episcopal bishops from Cuba and elsewhere leading us in song - Alabare!
Finally, I got to put my Spanish to use again when I was introduced to the Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Cuba, the Revma. M. Griselda Delgado del Carpio, Obispa Diocesana.  I believe she is the first woman bishop of that diocese.  I really enjoyed my brief talk with her, and she encouraged me to come to Cuba for a visit.  I'm not sure how that might happen on a nun budget, but should the opportunity present itself someday, of course I will take it.

My legs have finally recovered from hours of walking around today. I realize in gratitude that I could be hot as well as tired: the temperature reading in the hotel lobby said 100 degrees earlier today.  I am thanking the Lord that I am inside in air conditioning - so different from Port-au-Prince - though I do hate to think of the energy we are using.  It will be easy to sleep tonight, and I think it's time to do just that so as to be ready for tomorrow.  Another full day.  I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Indianapolis Independence

We didn't do much to celebrate the Fourth of July, given that the day was spent getting registered for the Convention and doing our first shifts at the booth for the religious orders, but there were fireworks.  Yea!

gathering in advance of the fireworks - helpful to have a fountain to play in given the temperatures here!

We went to a reception earlier this evening (July 4) sponsored by the Episcopal Public Policy Network. At both the reception and earlier in the day in the exhibit hall, I enjoyed meeting quite a number of interesting people and running into a few old friends. 

Indianapolis kindly welcomed us with temperatures from Haiti.  That's what I'd call going above and beyond the call to be hospitable.

It's a little warm here... I find I noticed it more because most of the day today I was inside in air conditioning, so when I went outside, the temperature change was extreme.  However, I wasn't going to let that get in the way of watching fireworks!  Even in a long-sleeved habit.

watching the Indianapolis fireworks July 4, 2012

fireworks finale July 4, 2012 - Indianapolis

Happy fourth, everyone.

on a jet plane

leaving on a jet plane... Port-au-Prince by air

'Cause I'm leaving on a jet plane.
DO know when I'll be back again!

Good news, that. 

the coast just north of Port-au-Prince

On my way to the church's General Convention in Indianapolis. 

getting ready to celebrate Independence Day at the Miami airport

Miami looks like the inside of a computer from the air...

looks like the inside of a computer to me...

What struck me was how orderly it all seemed.  Oddly so.  All the roads were straight (or evenly curved) and paved, the cars were moving along evenly in straight lines, and everything was so neatly arranged.  It just seemed so...well... tidy. 

sun through clouds, river glinting far below
Beautiful skies between Miami and Indianapolis.

the sun seen through the ice crystams on the plane window - the first frost I've seen in a while, needless to say 

"our eyes behold the vesper light..."
red sun below a layer of clouds

red sun against a dark sky with sunset-lit clouds above  - beautiful skies seen from the plane

orange moon over Indianapolis, city lights below
 It seemed so odd to see the city all lit up like that, especially as the sun had just set and it wasn't very dark.  A bit later, I started to tell Sr. Kethia that it might be best to iron a habit that night in case there wasn't power in the morning... oh. right. Toto, we're not in Port-au-Prince anymore.

And then when I got to the hotel, I remember turning on the water and then pulling my hand back, startled for a second at the hot water (in my bathroom at home, there is no hot water, and the cold water comes out of the left faucet).  And I hesitated a second before putting my toothbrush under the faucet.

It didn't take me long to get used to the air conditioning, however.  It's hot enough here in Indianapolis this week that even Haitians are complaining about the heat.  I'm not laughing. Really.   I think it's kind of them to make us feel so at home by ordering up Haitian weather to welcome us.