Dear Cathedral Ohana:
As I write to you from the General Convention here in Austin, I see light at the end of the tunnel and our business coming to an end. The time here has been fulfilling, but intense and I look forward to flying home on Saturday and being with you all on Sunday.
I’d like to thank Canon Sandy Graham who was with you last week Saturday and Sunday, and Father JaR Pasalo who was with you on Wednesday morning and will be with you on Saturday evening. I’d also like to thank the wardens and the office staff for keeping me abreast of things while I am away. FYI: my next out of state trip will be on September 10th when I will be on silent retreat for eight days in the Philippines.
At the Austin convention we grappled and debated issues like beginning work to undertake revisions to the Book of Common Prayer, alternative marriage rites, and sexual harassment and abuse in churches. Of particular concern to our Diocese and Cathedral was the status of Queen Lili’uokalani on the liturgical calendar. To quote our bishop:
It appears that the Queen is in a proposed supplemental calendar for “local” commemorations on the day of her death (with no propers or collect), but not in the “official” national calendar or the new proposed “Lessor Feasts and Fasts”. The proposed revision of “Lesser Feasts and Fasts” went back to previous commemorations (2009) and has a few additions from subsequent years (or proposed additions). It strongly encourages local commemorations. I suspect over the next three years we will need to settle on the diocesan date (birth, baptism/confirmation, death) and encourage commemorations throughout the Diocese providing liturgical resources. We then need to share it nationally and internationally (encouraging a cultus if you will). We also need to build an argument about why the Queen is more than a “local” commemoration and is a witness to the whole Church. We can then return in 2021 to press for it (maybe 2024).
The most emotional part of the convention for me was going to an ICE detention center in Taylor, Texas for a prayer service with both the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. We sang songs, listened to scripture, took in a sermon, said prayers, and then took a moment of silence to face the detention center and raise our hands toward it with our prayers for the 40 women inside who had been separated from their children at the border. While we were there, the women took pieces of paper and brushed them up and down the glass in front of them so that we could see that they knew we were there. We later received a communication from them with their thanks and gratitude, saying that they were in tears during the entire time we were there and that they watched from the windows until the very last of the nineteen buses left the site. Over 1000 of us gathered for this service, and no matter what side of the issue one stands on, I believe that no one can argue with saying prayers for mothers who have been separated from their children.
We also readmitted the Diocese of Cuba back home into the Episcopal Church this morning. Their bishop visited Holy Apostles Hilo as well as the Cathedral several years ago. This is historic, right, kind, loving, and good.
I ask for your continued prayers as we continue to undertake the work of the broader church. I look forward to seeing you all on Sunday. Please take care until then.
See more photos from the Convention and detention center below. (hint: to see the newest, scroll left)