Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bishops Curry's Installation

Margaret, Queen of Scotland, 16 November 2015
Beloved Brothers & Sisters,   
    I hope you were able to watch the webcast of Bishop Curry's Installation as the 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. It was an exciting weekend. EDEO was well represented with Janet Warner, Helen Keefe and Patty Olson Lindsey also attending. I arrived Friday afternoon and did a little sightseeing before I joined Patty and a friend of mine (who works for the ELCA) for Patty's birthday dinner -- at one of Bon Appetit's 10 Best Restaurants of 2014. John told us we'd love it and we did. It was an amazing evening of creative dishes (including a fantastic sweet potato ice cream with toasted marshmallow garnish) served with graciousness and generosity. And it wasn't expensive!
     Saturday morning I left my hotel in the dark just before dawn so I could tour the White House. I had been told that I was asking my Representative way too late to get tickets, but I asked anyway and he came through! It's such a beautiful place and the stories, photos, art, history and conversations with the Secret Service folks who work there are all thrilling. 
     Later that morning I made my way to the Armory where the Union of Black Episcopalians was hosting a Prayer Vigil in anticipation of Sunday's Installation. The music was soul stirring, the sermon was energizing, the presentations were touching. The photo is of the bishops of African Descent, plus a few Indians--both American and Asian--who are honorary members of that group. This was a milestone event for them!
     The Installation on Sunday was spectacular. It showcased the diversity of our church, celebrated the love of God, called us to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and helped us remember how much we love one another. As you know, Bishop Curry's proclaimed the Good News and challenge us to follow Jesus more nearly. The music was over the top and it was fun to watch PB's #26 and #27 asperge (sprinkle) the congregation. The joy in the cathedral was palpable. The pivotal point in this service happens when the outgoing Presiding Bishop hands over the Metropolitan Staff to the new Presiding Bishop. It started as a formal exchange. Then Bishop Curry reached out and the two of them embraced. I had been a little teary already but this moment filled my heart with so much love and joy- both theirs for one another and mine for both of them--that the tears just poured out. I think we were there for nearly three hours, but I hated having it end. It was indeed a little glimpse into heaven.
     Monday morning I toured a little more. I started at the National Cathedral where I saw these stones that had been loosened and then removed because of the earthquake damage. Makes me think of this Sunday's gospel from Mark 13. 
     I'd never been to the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial, nor the Jefferson Memorial, nor the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and I hadn't even heard of George Mason -- although I was happy to sit with him for a few minutes while I rested my feet. Each of these memorials reminds me of who we as a nation are truly called to be. They are holy places reminding us of holy men (and women--Eleanor Roosevelt is memorialized in the FDR memorial too.) Then it was time to getback on the road. 
     That evening I flew to Pasco and drove to Cove the next morning where Lisa and I caught up on paperwork and I met with folks in my office. Thursday
we drove to The Dalles for a
full afternoon meeting of the
Finanace Committee. It's fun to have a full complement of folks on this committee who actually enjoy doing the work we are called to do. It's not all numbers -- we spend a lot of time talking about the implications and impact of the decisions we refer to Diocesan Council for their consideration.
     That evening I drove to Redmond and spent Friday preparing for preaching and teaching on Sunday. Saturday I drove to Bonanza and back for Deacon Sherry Hartley's Memorial Service. There was a nice crowd there including Ivor and Anthea Hughes. 
     Sunday I was at Church of the Transfiguration, Sisters -- it's probably the only church I've ever been to where the 8.30 congregation is larger than the 10.30. Both services are prayer filled although the early service spends a substantial portion of the service inviting the prayers and praises of the congregation. We Episcopalians can learn from others who are so willing to share their prayer requests publicly. In the afternoon I met with the Vestry to start planning for their transition. Ted retires in early 2017 and they are hoping to have someone in place when he leaves. It's a return to the old way of doing things, but we had a great conversation about the new possibilities this process presents. 
    Monday -- most of the day -- I drove to Cove. Both trips across the state have included snow and those summits are beautiful. Here's the Prineville Starbucks quilt for this month.
    The rest of the week I was in the office. Diocesan Council Retreat and the Fall Youth Retreat both started Friday evening with Evening Prayer in the Chapel. We played people Bingo together before going our separate ways until breakfast. The Youth led us in Morning Prayer and we began in earnest on Saturday morning. The them of our retreat was Songs of Our Souls. We told stories of important songs and musical events in our lives--from childhood to planning our funerals--and we sang songs, hymns, and spirituals that were important to us. We gathered with the youth for meals and they joined us for an evening of gifts discernment playing Pictionary. We concluded with Eucharist and Lunch on Sunday--just before the rain and then the snow arrived.  
     I left Sunday afternoon for Pasco and had dinner with the Lediards in Kennewick. I flew home Monday morning and will be with my daughter and her family for Thanksgiving. It is odd not to be celebrating at Ascension School--but that didn't work this year for a whole bevy of reasons. I'll be back in Oregon just before the Walkabout. Have a grace filled and grateful Thanksgiving. 

Lift Every Voice and Sing 
In honor of Bishop Curry's Installation

Lift every voice and sing  
Till earth and heaven ring 
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty; 
let our rejoicing rise, 
high as the list'ning skies, 
      let it resound loud as the rolling sea 
sing a song full of faith that the dark past has tought us, 
sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us; 
facing the rising sun of our new day begun,   
let us march on till victory is won. 
Stony the road we trod, 
bitter the chast'ning rod, 
felt in the day that hope unborn had died; 
yet with a steady beat,  
have not our weary feet, 
come to the place on witch our fathers sighed? 
we have come over a way that with tears has been watered, 
we have come, 
     treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered, 
out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last   
where the white gleam of our star is cast.
God of our weary years, 
God of our silent tears, 
thou who has brought us thus far on the way; Sa
thou who has by thy might, 
led us into the light, 
keep us forever in the path, we pray 
lest our feet stray frm the places, our God, where we met thee, 
least our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee, 
shadowed beneath the hand, 
may we forever stand, 
tru to our God, 
Tru to our native land.
James Weldon Johnson (1871 - 1928)
From Saint Peter Relates an Incident by James Weldon Johnson.
Copyright © 1917, 1921, 1935 James Weldon Johnson, 
renewed 1963 by Grace Nail Johnson