Monday, July 28, 2008

Feeling Beachy

Well i'm here. We got to the house in time for dinner and had a nice relaxing evening which involved a fire built by my cousins and some singing of musicals.

Now i'm sitting on the beach for awhile. We are celebrating birthdays tonight - all of them from March to August plus Erin since she'll be gone for her birthday. That means there will be lots of food.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Shitama Family Road Trip

I'm actually taking real vacation days! Jurisdictional Conference didn't count as vacation, but going to the Outer Banks does! I'm only going until Tuesday night at which time I am taking Erin up to the Philadelphia Airport because she leaves for Indonesia Wednesday morning. Then its back to camp.

Currently I am sitting in the parking lot at Chesapeake College. I really wanted to get on the road earlyish and get down there. The boys were supposed to meet me at camp at 9:30 or so but of course that didn't happen. So they got there at 11. And we're waiting for Erin now. Gah.

Well now she's here so we can go.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Peggy Johnson elected bishop!

This afternoon we elected a new bishop! HER name is Peggy Johnson and I could not be more happy. I kept joking that I wanted a woman of color to be bishop, and honestly I do long to see more peoples represented in our leadership. I saw a few wonderfully inspiring women of color who have inspired me to keep pushing for racial justice, but they were not elected. That said Peggy represents a group that is even more under-represented: people with disabilities. She teaches the immersion into deaf culture for Wesley Theological Seminary. She spoke passionately (and signed) about how people with disabilities need a voice. I could see the joy of the two deaf young men when the election was announced. This is such a great day for our Jurisdiction and I hope it is affirming for our members with disabilities.

This week has done a lot to encourage me about the state of the church. Last night we celebrated the retirement of two female bishops, and today we heard preaching from the first Japanese-American bishop. There is a lot of talk about going out into communities and meeting people wher they are. There is talk about starting new ministries that reach people who were previously ignored by the church. We created a new jurisdictional council on young adult ministries, which is an important step. We're still talking about the loss of members and money, but I think people are encouraged by some of the ministries and movements that are happening.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

No blogging?

Ok, I just said that I was impressed at the efforts to include young people, but I also wanted to comment on the fact that it seems like the church doesn't get young people at all. As often happens, "including" seems to mean inviting people to show up and speak, but without being culturally accommodated. In our attempts to be a global church, we often forget to speak slow enough or provide interpreters for those who do not speak English (and things generally operate in English), and we forget to make space for people who are culturally more hesitant to step up to the microphone. (Although today one of the Bishops did ask people who are white or older to pause and allow space for youth, young adults, and people of color to step up first).

But lets get back to the youth. I was having a conversation with someone last night, and we were talking about the laptop and cell phone ban as a sign of the cultural age divide. I am sure these things are considered a distraction, but for us they are a way of life. I was planning on blogging throughout Jurisdictional Conference as a way of connecting people to the process (and a way for me to process the experience). Teens are often out of hand with texting, but one of our youth delegates was texting all day yesterday - to our Conference YPM Director. This was his way of responding and reacting to the candidate interviews. Personally, I can't sit still for more than two hours without multi-tasking or I will lose focus. If I had my laptop during the 13 interviews yesterday, I could have been googling the candidates, looking for more info on them, reading their blogs, etc. These rules about electronics are hardly a human rights violation, but they are another way that the next generation is subjected to the social norms of the previous generation.

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Jurisdictional Conference

I'm currently in session at Jurisdictional Conference in Harrisburg. I am blogging illegally because not only are we not allowed to have laptops out but we also aren't supposed to have cell phones on in session.

Yesterday I sat through 35 minute interviews with 13 episcopal candidates (people who could become bishop). It was a long day, but I was also inspired to see so many wonderful female pastors. Many of them talked about attending seminary in a time when many still considered it unbiblical for women to become pastors. This was only 50 years ago! Of course we are still in the midst of the ascent to racial and gender equality.

At this moment we are hearing about Bishop Roy Sano, he first Japanese-American bishop. We have several Asian bishops but as yet no female Asian bishops.

I have been impressed at the efforts to include young people, including two deaf teens.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


I am on a whirlwind trip to Kane, PA for my great-uncle Ron's funeral. We left camp yesterday around 4 and now, 24 hours later we are headed back to Maryland. We didn't see Uncle Ron much but he was the last living sibling of my Grama who died in 2000. I don't think I've been to Kane since Great-Grampa Harry died in 2004. Who knows when I'll be back again.

We stopped by the house where my Grama grew up, since it will probably be sold now that Uncle Ron is gone. It is smaller than I remembered but the lawn is still cushy and the huge willow tree is still there. Erin and I were remembering hours of playing and picking blueberries in that yard when we were really little. Its sad to think that we probably won't ever go back to that house (without trespassing).

Its been nice hanging out with family today. Erin and I came to a few conclusions:

We are glad we have the type of family who has fun at funerals while still mourning our loved ones.

Our family is crazy.

The final test for a potential spouse is whether they can hang with our families.

When relatives ask what we're up to they are probably wondering how close we are to getting married.

Those relatives shouldn't hold their breath for weddings soon.

We are glad to have crazy families who like to see each other.