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.

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