Sunday, July 12, 2009

General Convention

Anaheim...Sunday, July 12
Dear Deanery Friends,

On Saturday I had the pleasure to attend the committee dealing with all things liturgical and musical. Two themes were prominent in the resolutions being discussed: Adding a liturgy to the Book of Occasional Services (BOS) as well as additional prayers dealing with the loss of companion animals. St. Francis' Church (where else?) in San Diego has an extensive lay ministry that trains and equips companion animals for the elderly and differently abled. Iraq veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome as well as people dealing with mental and other physical disabilities are recruited as trainers, major focus of the training, so the ministry has multiple layers. Several comapnion animals present at Convention were present with their human companions to provide testimony. I learned from others that Angel Grace, Lily and Bron are not the only dogs in church on a given Sunday or weekday Mass. Across The Episcopal Church, literally hundreds of parishes regularly welcome canine friends...and NOT just on St. Francis' Sunday.

The other major area that was discussed was the development of rites of blessing for LGBT couples. The 23+ resolutions have been combined into one, crafted from the best of all being considered. The "common folk" (those of us not on committee) have not seen the text yet. We look for it tomorrow.

During the afternoon, we heard from our Anglican brothers and sisters from Canada, Brazil, South Africa, New Zealand and Liberia. All positive, all moving.

Last night all of the seminaries held their receptions and dinners. It was good to see so many old friends, professors and classmates.

This morning I am off to the Episcopal Women's Caucus breakfast prior to Mass, one of the leaders, Carlin Rankin, is a valued friend and former parishioner from St. Margaret's in Washington. Yet more connections...proving that the world is indeed a small place, and we are all of us blessed in so many ways.

The nice thing about Sunday: no committee hearings, but the House of Deputies continues in session this afternoon.

Have a blessed Sunday. Sunny and 70's here!

Faithfully,
Alternate Clergy Deputy (2), Rob Hensley+