The 79th General Convention will be in Austin Texas, July 5th - 13th, 2018

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Some Wednesday odds and ends

This morning's Eucharist had some very rhythmic and multi-ethnic music, numbers that I am not at all familiar with, but I did enjoy singing them, especially when sitting next to that talented choir guy from St. Peter's, Ladue. The music was well done by very capable musicians. Some of this was to celebrate the developments with the church in the Phillipines. The gathering hymn, "People of God, gather together" is a very good one - apparently not in the 1982 hymnal, but copyright to Augsburg Fortress Publishers, #109 from a book called "Voices Found". The Sanctus was the one our Cathedral has been using recently at 11:15 (Hymnal S 125).

The real treat for me was the musical treatment given "Breathe on me, breath of God" - Hymnal 508. This is a standard (and meaningful) hymn in many Protestant traditions. This morning, the pianist started out the introduction. I couldn't believe how SLOW it was going - generally a bummer for me. But about the third phrase in, the rhythm started to fill in. It was a wonderful, slow, rich, moving, soul style. Of all the hymn tunes which might be done soul-style, this was not the one I would expect. It was fabulous. It worked with great effect. During communion, they also did one of my favorites, "I want to walk as a child of the light" - Hymnal 490. At several points, the accompanist cut out and let the voices carry it in 4 parts a capella. Again, it's nice to be singing with Jay Kloecker at moments like this.

The Postlude was sung by the volunteer choir with a black woman soloist who reminded me of the young Aretha when she was still in Detroit. Only some of the oldest, die-hard traditionalists could resist moving and singing along with "I'm gonna sing when the Spirit says sing."

Bishop Gene Robinson (New Hampshire) spoke at an informal session in one of the food areas of the exhibit hall. BTW, the exhibit hall is getting to be a pretty lively place to hang around and have a good time and good food. Robinson's message was "Now is the time; now is the time for the Episcopal Church" to do the right thing boldly and confidently. He comes across as a really nice man, sensitive, thoughtful, and yet challenging and inspiring. He was there partly to promote Integrity and the Consultation - pushing lime-green t-shirts!

Tonight (at 6:15 PDT) there was a session for which the Archbishop of Canterbury was the main speaker. It was in a ballroom that seated about 3000, though I think the number in attendance was noticeably less than that. You'll never ever see so many Episcopalians fighting for a front seat - even Mike Clark!! The first introductions were from Bishop Greg Rickel (Olympia) who was at the Flower Festival at the Cathedral this spring. After a really eloquent introduction by Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, Archbishop Rowan Williams spoke very deliberately about economic morality and left several challenges to us at differing levels. One theme was that we have lied to ourselves about a number of things (nicer but less truthful word: "deluded"), and it is high time for us to begin to tell the truth in love (with charity). And then there are issues [pronounced the Brit way - ISS-youse] which we must deal with to get out of the cycle of lies. I understand that this speech will soon be available on-line and also in Spanish, though I don't have a URL for it. It is one that you might want to hear more than once.

I went to the Committee 8 meeting after the session with the ABofC. The central focus was testimony from transgendered people in support of rewording the two anti-discrimination canons so as to include transgender issues. I felt that these witnesses spoke eloquently and thoughtfully on the issues out of their personal experience. The committee members asked very few questions of the witnesses, so it is difficult to assess how the testimony was received. I sense that the reception was positive, but we won't know until the committee votes.

Would you believe? The next Committee 8 meeting is at 7am tomorrow! I don't know whether this old geezer can make it at that hour. The main issue is preparing for the Committee of the Whole on B033 which will take place on Thursday and Friday in the House of Deputies.

I still can't get over wandering through the hotel and the halls of the Convention Center and constantly meeting bishops. Bishops from all over the place. Purple, purple, purple. Virtually all of them are cordial and chit-chatty. They do well at making you feel that you, as a lowly lay alternate, are a welcome part of the process of governing and directing this Church.

The busses, at least the Anaheim Resort Transit busses, must have governors on them set to 20mph. It drives you nuts how slow they move in fast traffic on the main drags. Today, late in the afternoon, I had to use those busses to do the one "tourist" thing that I wanted to: visit the Crystal Cathedral, which is about three or four miles from our Convention. It's a really distinctive building. Did you ever realize that this building, floor space about equivalent to a football field, all made out of windows, has NO air conditioning!!! There are windows they can open, and when that didn't do the cooling job, they installed some fans and motors adapted to the open windows. It still gets warm when the place fills up with people.

One of the Diocese of Missouri resolutions (C053 about the .7% for the MDGs) was discharged by the World Mission committee - sent to Committee 17 to be subsumed in resolution D019. While this may sound disappointing, our resolution was passed at diocesan convention in 2007 and other significant developments have intervened, changing the details. The discharge is not intended to ignore our diocesan concerns, just to streamline the legislative process in dealing with the issue.

I'll be following legislation again tomorrow and will report whatever seems to be significant on B033 and same-gender blessings. I'll be wearing my Integrity t-shirt for the Eucharist tomorrow morning.

Good night, Mrs. Slocombe (Mollie Sugden). We'll always remember you.




  1. Don,

    Thanks so much for the posts. We are keeping you in our prayers.

    Greg Lynch

  2. Don,

    Thanks so much for the posts. We are praying for you. Especially concerning those late nights and early mornings!

    Greg Lynch


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