Monday, April 30, 2012
So here we were, sitting in St Margaret's of Scotland in Moultrie, Georgia, to share this life changing occasion with a dear friend of being Ordained a new Deacon. There are Clergy, Church friends and Community friends also sharing together this important day in the life of our church and the service could be considered a 'high' service; lots of bell but no incense and lots of wonderful hymns and songs. As Kay happens to look around at who has joined this collection of friends; Kay tells me to look across the isle and one row behind us. There happens to be sitting, two young men in white shirts, tie, black pants and the familiar pocket name tag that Kay and I knew so well.
These were two men from the Mormon Mission that had been walking down the street and were invited to join our Celebration. Some older man standing outside had waived them down and just said to them, won't you please join us today. I was watching them out of the corner of my eye when it came time to extend the Sign of Peace ande I only saw one or two people greet them. So I immediately crossed the isle and extended my hand in the Sign of Peace and welcomed them and thanked them for taking the time to join us in Celebration that afternoon.
After the service, Kay and I went to them again and introduced ourselves and I asked them how they knew about Sally and what kind of work they did together; it was then we learned that they were asked by a greeter to join the day's service. We chatted for a while and then Kay asked them if they knew her 'daughter' and family who were also Mormon who attends the service at the 1st Ward for Valdosta. One of the young men told us the story of how he actually came to know this family. We didn't ask how they enjoyed or thought of our service, but they got a full dose of the Episcopal Church, especially with our wonderful Bishop presiding. They stayed and join the invited to share in food and drink and seemed to be have a great time chatting with those who also stayed. We left them to enjoy the company as we return home for the day. What a story they have to tell as they sit around trying to 'one up' each other as they share their Mission story to others.
To experience what turned out to be such an inclusive event for the Church community in Mourtrie, Georgia; I can't help but shake my head in not understanding why some of our Church door's are shut fagainst our gay brothers and sisters. Member's of Christ's church community who are waiting to be called in off the street into our churches to join in the celebration and share with other the community Christ's Body and Blood.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
A few days ago I returned to my mother's new grave site; the tent was still up as a shelter to give shade from the summer sun for those who would visit in the days after she was laid to rest beside her first love she lost those many years ago. But now it must seem the time is counted like moments for her.
Our schedule has resumed its hectic course as I performed in our choral concerts the next Sunday and Monday. Then Tuesday evening we officiated at our monthly PFLAG support meeting and on Friday we attended the first day of our Convention of Episcopal Church Women. Today was a meeting with our Bishop and a small group of members to discuss issues that would be presented at our Tri-Annual National Convention for the Episcopal Church.
The two more important issues that will be discussed is how to restructure the Governing Body from its current form with the purpose of downsizing the need for so many committees and having the National Convention every 4 years instead of every 3; would save a lot of money.
The other issue, which will get more national press coverage, will be on the discussion of adopting a Rite of Blessing for couples; more specifically designed for same-gender/sex couples. Kay and I spoke from our hearts about couples needing to receive the Church's Blessing but I believe some people only thought they heard the words; "Union or Marriage". These were the topics of discussion at today's listening session, as it was call be the Bishop of Georgia. The Bishop emphasized more than once that this rite is for the "Blessing" of couples; ONLY. Opinions were heard from both sides; when someone begins a conversation with; "I have gay friends and know and socialize with many gay people, but....."; that's a downer from a person who is in the minority these days.
If only we could engage a group of Episcopalian's in encouraging discussion as we have done on so many occasions in college classrooms; if we could put people's fear to rest that our marriage has nothing to do with theirs. That would help change hearts. But we do our best to educate, advocate and support the huge task of changing minds and hearts of all.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
Friday, April 6, 2012
Ever since my mother came home from the hospital my sister, Kay and I have kept a presence at her bedside attending to her needs and just being with her in her room. As this night is the traditional Maundy Thursday services where some tradition keep a 24 hour watch in the presence of the Elements; this is our ‘Watchful time’, a vigil if you will as we keep our own hours at our mother’s bedside. A lot of the times my sister will sit with us in mom’s room just talking and telling stories we know about mother when we were growing up. I have learned a great deal about my mother; stories that I might have heard but wasn’t interested in knowing and forgot or never knew. Stories about how my Mother was such a ‘fighter’ when it came to her children.
This is a picture of my mother and father when thy were much younger and dad was in his Army uniform, (dad had hair, by the way) but they are standing face to face with each having a pair of boxing gloves. She learned will the fighting lessons my farther taught her. My mother has always been a fighter, and she is still fighting her fight as she lays on her hospital bed. We are all amazed that she has been able to keep up her fight, as she only takes 8 to 12 oz of liquids a day; no other ‘solid’ foods.
My story about my mother fighting for me was when I was 7 or 8 and Catholic School and I was really a ‘left-handed’ child. The Nun that was my teacher that year was determined to make me into a ‘right-handed’ child and would whack my hand with a ruler if I picked up my pencil with the ‘wrong’ hand. I remember we had to use those huge round pencils and write all of our words and practice cursive strokes on the ‘Big Chief’ notebooks; you know the ones, those with the broad well space solid lines and a thiner dotted line dividing the space between? The tablet and the writing exercising where we had to draw our circles, and lines and the never ending ‘m’ and ‘n’s. Pages and pages of writing exercises written with a Nun in her black habit with a wooden ruler poised over your hands ready to strike if she thought you were not doing something right. Well, when I told mother what the Sister were doing to me in class, boy was she ever mad. She marched down to the school and my classroom to find this Nun and proceeded to give her ‘hell’ for what she was doing to her son; for demanding that I change my writing hand from ‘left’ to my ‘right’. Oh and that night my father was vocally upset that she talked in such a confronting, vocal manner. I have learned that I might have been the first of her many school confrontations, but I wasn’t the last time she had words with teachers and school official.
Sometimes I will sing to her as I sit at her bedside watching her shallow breaths and dream filled sleep. I learned that her favorite song was “Beautiful Dreamer” and I sing that one as well as several other songsI have added that I thing are songs that she would like to hear and remember. When I finish I always tell her that I love her; once she replied, “thank you, I love you”. It seems that she does respond and calms down after I have sung to her as I keep my vigil watch over her. And at the end of our vigil, I, at least, am a peace. We have had the many days to laugh and sing and tell stories at her bedside keeping our own private vigil with mother, and these will be the memories I shall be able to take with me in the days and months after she has left this world to be with her husband, our dad; who went so early in our lives.