Friday, March 28, 2008

San Joaquin Special Diocesan Convention

San Joaquin Diocesan Convention update

We are now comfortably ensconced in the Best Western I-5 Inn at Lodi, having returned from the Reception, Healing Service, and Q and A Session at St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Stockton (not too far from Lodi...).

We arrived a bit late due to a fire drill that kept us out of our offices on campus (false alarm) and a wrong turn, so we showed up as the reception was winding down—still managed to snag some refreshments. People milled around and greeted each other. I saw the PB from afar. Jan displayed the newly created banner for Grace Episcopal, Bakersfield.

St. Anne’s Church is very lovely! High ceilings, stained glass, my photo is a bit blurry but may give you somewhat of an idea. The placed was starting to fill up and in no time all the pew space was taken. Some nice young lads were bringing in folding chairs and placing them along the outer aisles. I nabbed two for Liam and me. We were pretty far from the front
It was hard to tell numbers but easily 200+: parking overflowed into neighboring streets;

The service was beautiful.
“An Order of Worship for the Evening with Prayers for Healing”:

A short lesson (Matt. 5:14-16)
A prayer for light
The Lucernaria for Easter
Phos Hilaron
Psalm 118 1-18
(these verses seemed especially appropriate:

I called to the LORD in my distress; *
the LORD answered by setting me free.
The LORD is at my side, therefore I will not fear; *
what can anyone do to me?
The LORD is at my side to help me; *
I will triumph over those who hate me.)

Gloria Patri
Luke 24: 1-12
Gloria Patri
Lord’s Prayer
Litany for healing
Prayer attributed to St. Francis.
Then the PB anointed all the priests, and they in turn offered unction to all while hymns were sung.
Then Easter blessings.

Then the Peace.

People just kept on passing the peace for about 5 minutes or so when Father Mark Hall called us back to order. He formally introduced Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop Lamb and their spouses, and Bonnie Anderson He made a special presentation of a gift basket of St. Anne’s beers to the PB (“PB Stout”) and to Bonnie Anderson (“Anti-Schism Ale”), quipping that “this church is just a front for a brewery.” He didn’t skip Bishop Lamb however, noting that he will soon get a “key to the sacristy where all the beer is stored.”

Then the Q and A started. The questions were all in the same vein for the most part: what might happen next, what should we do in divided parishes, how should we move forward… for clarification about the HOB vote on the deposition. The PB is a very eloquent speaker. She noted that the vast middle of the Anglican Communion is annoyed that so much time and effort is spend on issues of human sexuality when there are people dying of hunger and disease in our midst.

One person expressed our thanks to the PB, to Bonnie Anderson and to Bishop Lamp for their support. At one point we gave PB a standing ovation.
She later said, “It is you who deserve a standing ovation for your hard work.”

After the Q and A we milled around and talked. I enjoyed a glass of St. Anne’s Porter: a humble little beer, not overly complicated, but smooth and comfortable.

So the big questions whether any of the Standing Committee will show tomorrow. I’ll go out on a limb and say that I think Father Snell and Father Eaton will show up. And I hope they do. We will welcome them back in if they want to be welcomed back in.

In closing, it was an evening marked by optimism, hope, and love. A fitting beginning to the work that continues tomorrow, and a big step toward healing for this battered diocese.

More tomorrow! Pax vobiscum,



Wormwood's Doxy said...

Thanks so much for this, Aghaveagh! I knew I could count on you to bring us the news. :-)

Prayers for all of you today.

Aghaveagh said...

Thanks, Doxy Dear,

"It is a glorious time" as Liam would say.

Grendel, however, is Not Happy as he is stuck at home with the Dog-sitter....amazing how well one sleeps when the entire bed is not taken up with two dogs with turf issues...

Ginny said...

Hoping all goes well today. Thanks for the post about last night - the beer/ale/porter sounds delish.

Padre Mickey said...

You're in our prayers. It's so exciting that things are finally happening.