Tuesday, September 24, 2013

House of Bishop's Day Five

This morning we heard a panel share their experience of how they did mission on the ground. The most impressive was the Rev. Rebecca Stevens, who has begun a women's ministry called Thistle Farms--a program for working with women who are escaping prostitution and drug abuse. She has raised millions of dollars and her program has expanded throughout the world. She spoke with passion and reminded us that "A Church without beggars is a museum." This theme was picked up in our afternoon Eucharist when Stephanie Spellers challenged us to "Go, talk, heal, and dwell" with the communities we serve. Great lively music too!

In the evening I joined two other bishops in planning our trip to the House of Bishops in Taiwan next fall. We hope to extend our stay there for a few days to see more of the work of the church in Asia. Conversation was great, and the food at the cafe we visited excellent too.

Laura returned today to Phoenix, where I will be too in a couple more days!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Marriott Dr,Nashville,United States

House of bishops video

The HOB rocks at the Eucharist yesterday.

YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, September 23, 2013

House of Bishops Day Three, Sunday Sept 22.

September 22, 2013, Sunday. Today our "Sabbath time" continued from yesterday afternoon. We had a leisurely breakfast, then got on a big bus for worship at the cathedral. It was a lovely historic building with a fine organ. The Presiding Bishop preached and the Gospel passage was on "you cannot serve God and wealth." A bit ironic given the beautiful setting. Back to hotel for a quiet afternoon of a rest and then dinner with Chuck Robertson and Laura downtown at Jack's BBQ. I was determined to have some of this famous local delicacy between leaving, and was not disappointed. We returned for a "fireside chat" with the Presiding Bishop--we even had an virtual hearth projected on the big screen. Much on everyone's mind--The massacre in Pakistan and the suffering in Colorado.

The picture is from the inside of Jack's BBQ.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Marriott Dr,Nashville,United States

Sunday, September 22, 2013

House of Bishops, Day Three. September 21, 2013

A rainy morning. Had breakfast with Nick and Karen Knisely. It was good to catch up with them. Then onto morning Eucharist. At the morning session we had a very interesting presentation by Bishop Tom Breidental of S. Ohio about the theology of mission in the church. He gave me some good sermon ideas--on the top of this would be that deacons were the first ordained order in the church and that their engagement with the community should set the tone for the rest of the church. Our "sabbath" time began after lunch, and I used the afternoon to catch up with some reading. It was quite pleasant sitting out by the pool enjoying the early fall weather--too cold to go swimming! The evening was given over our class dinner (those bishops consecrated in 2003/2004. Bishop Mark Hollingsworth of Ohio found a great spot for us in an elegant place with a private dining room. Including spouses, there were twenty of us. As always, a good time was had by all. Here we all are in our "regulation" blue blazers and khaki pants. (Not the best backdrop!) We have all been ordained for 10 years.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Marriott Dr,Nashville,United States

Saturday, September 21, 2013

House of Bishops, Day Two, Friday, Sept 20.

September 20, 2013 Friday. I had two small breakfast meetings with the Presiding Bishop this morning on a couple of sensitive issues. Then onto morning prayer under the "big tent" outside, and a series of presentations on reconcilation, I did a lot of tweeting about this,, good wifi connections. At lunch it was back to the private room to talk with the Bishop of Jerusalem. I think I made some good suggestions as to how we might move forward with his fund raising needs. After lunch it was back into plenary session to talk about what was being done with the committee on restructure of the church and to have some discussion and feedback about this. Then eucharist, with chaplain Stephanie Spellers preaching. Always great to praise God with one's brothers and sisters in ministry! Then most got onto a bus to to downtown for a reception, but we were both tired and had not signed up, so we went to dinner at the hotel with much conversation about the wonderful experience that Laura had with Thistle Farm, a project she visited to helps women who have been abused Her visit there touched her deeply, and I suspect those her know her will be hearing at lot more about this project.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Marriott Dr,Nashville,United States

House of Bishops, Day One. Thursday Sept 19

September 19, 2013 Thursday. Travel Day. We left our hotel a bit before 6 AM in the dark and rain and arrived at the Bilbao airport about 15 minutes later. Easy flight, so we had a lot of time in the very nice lounge at Madrid, free food and drinks, better than the US! Our flight was long and bumpy, but I got a lot of reading done, not so much sleep. It was a bit tight to get to the flight to Nashville, but we made it OK, and took the little jet over to Nashville around thunderheads. Shuttle to the Marriott Hotel where we arrived just in time for the opening reception and dinner. We were feeling pretty good despite the long travel day. It was great to see so many old friends. After dinner We had a great presentation of country music by a local Nashville singer. And so off to bed after 9000 miles.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Trip to Spain, Day 10, Sept. 18

September 18, 2013, Wed. Our last day. After breakfast, we went to the museum of ancient cave painting at Altamira. Picasso said, that after this, art was all downhill. The original cave is closed because of the damage of so many tourists, but there is a exact replica of it in the museum, which also contained a very detailed display about human prehistory and evolution. I was struck about how we can recognize in the work of humans 35,000 years ago, a fellow soul and co-creator. Laura did not like it as much as I though she would, however. And we all wished that we could have seen a real example of the original painting. We were there about two hours, then went back to Santillana for lunch at a different hotel. But we had an hour to kill, so I took a group back to the church and got a (clandestine) picture of one of the statues--St Ann, that I was after to send back to the folks in Old Lyme, CT.

Back on the bus and reflections on how the trip has changed us as we drove to Bilbao.
The main destination in Bilbao was the Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art. It is housed in a very dramatic modern building designed by Frank Gehry, the same architect who did the Disney Concert Hall in LA. Five of us got off the bus to see this, in that we are leaving tomorrow and will not have a chance to visit it with the rest of the group. The building is great, but the contents were very disappointing, in fact downright creepy.
We had given ourselves two hours to see this, but were ready to leave after only 45 minutes. We all felt as though we had seen the beginning of art and the end of art in one day! Picasso was right! One could not get any more downhill than this!

We had a short hike to our hotel, a very modern "european" style building in the downtown area, although sadly their internet was not modern in any way, and I gave up after a while (that is why I am writing this at the Madrid airport). We walked down the main boulevard to a casual outdoor cafe with several members of our group for our last meal in Spain. Lots of good wine and conversation, until it started raining about 10 PM. One of the hardest things to get used to in Spain is the dining hours. They are not on daylight savings time, so the sun comes up about 8, people eat breakfast at 9, lunch--the major heavy meal of the day about 1 or 2 PM, and dinner no earlier than 8.30PM. I will be glad to get back to a more familiar schedule.

As I write this, Laura and I are getting ready to board our flight from Madrid to Chicago after a quick commuter flight from Bilbao, which left in the dark and in the rain at 6.45 this morning. It is a good time to reflect on the journey.

It was a great trip, although my health situation was not at its best. I enjoyed everything one can while nursing a mild cold--which I shared with about half of the group. The food and accommodations were embarrassingly over the top, three huge and delicious meals (five courses at lunch and dinner)each day full of regional specialities. I tried to be careful, but I am sure I gained considerable weight.

Our guide was great. She read us a lot of information we were not really interested in, but she could also handle any question we put to her on almost any subject,and she was upbeat and funny. The company was great too, all fun to be with, and by the end of our time together, to share deeper and

more meaningful topics.

One question I am sure I be asked when I return is--what was the highlight for me? There were many grace filled moments--and lots of times my medievalist blood got really flowing. But the epiphany moment for me was worshipping at Santiago cathedral. I climbed the stairs to "embrace" the statue of Saint James, something pilgrims have done for hundreds of years. Having served the parish of St James in LA for 12 years, I naturally had on my mind the experiences and friends of that place. It occurred to me, "by being next to St James's remains, this is as close to Jesus as I will probably get" But then my old rationalist brain kicked in--but what if these bones aren't really his, after all the legends around it are pretty strange, and they were lost of 500 years, etc. etc. But then came the Mass. And in the enthusiasm of the priest and the joyfulness of the hundreds of pilgrims from around the world, I suddenly realized--No, THIS is as close to Jesus as you will ever get--every time you take the sacrament of bread and wine with the people of God.

So as I get ready to move onto the next phase of my trip, the House of Bishop's meeting in Nashville, I will do so with a renewed awareness of what it means to be part of Christ's body in the world and which includes a history and devotion and a mystery which is always beyond our comprehension.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Trip to Spain, Day 9, /Sept 17

September 17,2013. Tuesday. Overcast this morning and cool. Breakfast in a very modern dining hall, felt like the high school cafeteria. Then on the bus, feeling pretty good this morning, a little congestion, but a few more of the group have come down with the cold. Not too long of a trip brought us up in the Swiss looking mountains and streams to the shrine of Cavadonga) where King Pelayo started the conquest of Spain in the 8th century. The BVM appeared to him there so this not only a political spot but also a religious one. There were many buses of Spaniards there. We stayed for a while, because the place where we were supposed to have lunch had lost our reservations, so we decided to stay put and have lunch there, which we did. First L and I visited the museum. I walked to the grotto. The lunch was excellent. We had specially soup of fava beans with sausage, really good, then pork and potatoes, and then through a little town with a romanesque bridge with a hanging victory cross. Great views of mountains and ocean, including a blowhole. Great rough ocean to our left. About 4 Pm we arrived at Santillana del Mar, which Satre called the most perfect Spanish village in the country. And it was! The whole town wonderfully medieval. I of course headed for the church of San Juliana, which turned out to be my favorite of the innumerable churches we visited this whole trip. Wonderful unspoiled Romanesque with three women saints portrayed at the front of the church. The whole town is great, with unique cobblestone streets and a small but elegant Parador where we stayed with great wood plank floors and a view overlooking the garden. Dinner was superb as always with stuffed cabbage with seafood, grilled chicken with veggies, flan with chocolate for dessert.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Trip to Spain Day 8, Monday

Woke up to drizzle in Santiago. We did not need to get started until later today at 10. So we had a nice breakfast and got packed. Feeling pretty good but some congestion. We had a very long drive through light rain trough Galicia. We were headed for a beach, but it was clear that our guide did not know exactly where she was going. When we got there it was raining hard, so no one looked at the ocean for very long. We had a nice lunch at a seaside place in
overlooking a port with lots of fishing vessels. It looked a bit like Newport, Oregon. Lunch was salmon croquets, fish soup with little clams in it--very good. Then a whole seabass, also very good, and some kind of flan with chocolate sauce for dessert. Then back on the bus with heavier rain and lowering skies and everyone fell asleep.

We arrived at the center of Ovieto, where it was raining hard. Many wanted to stay on the bus, but Laura and I got off with several others. Saw the gloomy cathedral, where there were no pictures allowed, and a priest scolding me for forgetting to take off my hat. Outside in the plaza people were preparing for a festival. Much very loud jazz music. In spite of the rain, Ovieto impressed us as a very livable small city with lovely parks and many modern buildings. Onto our ultra modern hotel. It was too minimalist for even Laura but we enjoyed seeing another aspect of Spain. We were on our own for dinner, so we walked next door to the modern shopping mall, had beer and "bacon" and cheese sandwiches. I bought some new sweat socks to replace my smelly ones. All in all a dreary day, but we got a good antidote to medieval Spain.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Calle de la Carrera,Santillana del Mar,Spain

Monday, September 16, 2013

Trip to Spain, Day 7, Monday

Yesterday (Sunday) in Santiago was great. After breakfast in the Parador--the oldest hotel in the world, started in 1499 by the King of Spain, we were off for tour of the cathedral and its precints. We had a very good guide, and the timing was perfect, so we ended up in the cathedral for the 10 Mass. Before that, we visited the tomb of St Jame's in the crypt, which was very moving for me, since I had my old parish of St Jame's, LA very much on my mind. Then we went up behind the altar to "embrace" the statue of the saint. The Priest at mass (done in several languages) was very enthusiastic, even though I could not understand most of what he said. The moment everyone was waiting for was the lighting of the huge incense boat, which takes several men to swing from one of the cathedral to the other. I have a short video of this which I will try to post on facebook.

We were on our own for the rest of the day. We did some shopping--I bought a small silver shell to add wear around my neck, and Laura good a nice silver and "jet" ring. Jet is a black semi-precious material worked around this area of Spain. We also had a great "tapas" dinner of many items including octopus--another regional speciality.

It was a super day, excellent, weather, and I was only a little bit stuffy from the cold I picked up.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Orvieto, Spain

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Spain trip, Day 6, September 15, 2013

Not too many interesting pictures today, since it was spent mostly in the bus driving from Leon to Santiago. Also I was coming down with a cold, so was not in the best shape of the trip so far. I am one of the youngest of this mostly older group, but I seem to be the only one who has had health problems so far.

Just before we arrived in Santiago, our guide let those of us who wanted to to get out of the bus and walk in the last few miles with the rest of the pilgrims, I was glad I did so, but there was not much to see except the outskirts of a small city. It does not even look "medieval" until about the last half mile, and then the spectacular site of the cathedral plaza is suddenly upon you!

Our parador is even more spectacular than the last--being the oldest hotel in the world, built in 1499 for pilgrims who stayed in luxury at the expense of the kind. The first pilgrimages who arrive every day are still fed gratis by the hotel. We are located right on the main square, which is teaming with pilgrims, tourists, and the kind of people you would find in Times Square, with much excitement and and partying.

After another way to lavish dinner, which included octopus, we were off to bed. More than feeling "fluish" I was also very anxious about my health--what if I could not go on the trip, etc, etc" Finally, at Laura's prompting, I took a one of the emergency Xanax pills my Dr had given me--which knocked me out so deeply, that Laura could hardly rouse me the next morning. But after a few cups of coffee, I was feeling much better and ready to face the cathedral and church services--more on that coming up!

(Again, note that I have having trouble getting this blog site to take pictures--but I am posting a few each day on facebook)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Spain trip Friday, day 4

It was a great day, wonderful weather and three main stops.

1.Right after breakfast we walked next door to the Church of San Domingo.
I was very impressed with the work of this 11th Cent. Saint who was a kind of early St. Francis. He worked to free prisioners and their chains are hung up in the walls of the church.
2. Around noon we stopped in Carrion, and saw some wonderful small churches and ate fried calamari.
3. The big stop of the day was at Leon cathedral. This very large building was done in the french style--like Burgos--but was being extensively renovated. That made it great to look out outside--blinding white, but it was a mess inside, including the voicing of the new organ which made it very hard to hear anything. Although beautiful, most of us found it hard to pray in this place.
After we left the group to walk on our own back to the hotel, I sought out the church of St Isidore, where the saint by that name is buried. Although he died int he 6th century, he was recently picked to be the patron saint of computers--so I said some prayers for my techie friends and for the intercession of the saint when I can't get my own machines to work right!
We had another elegant dinner and then a discussion of the days events in a lovely room with 30 foot high carved ceilings. We are wondering if we--enjoying the luxury of this tour--can possibility have the same experiences as those who put up withe pain and misery of walking.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Leon, Spain

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pilgrimage to Spain, Day Three

It was not the best day for me. Apparently on our mad dash trough the Madrid airport carrying luggage, I managed to pull a muscle in my arm, which strain has resulted in constant "twitching" making it almost impossible to sleep,so I was pretty groggy through most of the day. (I write this on Friday, and thanks to drugs and a good night's sleep, I am 100% better today). It was also a long day on the bus. First stop was a mysterious octagonal churchbult by the Knights Templar about 1200 standing alone in a corn field Then a long trip into the city of Burgos, lunch at a very chic hotel, followed by a great tour of the cathedral, newly renovated, very late gothic. But an even bigger hit was the peace and quiet of a Carthusian monastery outside of town. The monks here help support themselves by selling rosaries made from rose petals so that grounds smell wonderful. Back to St Domino de Cadaza to another lovely "parador' hotel made from old historic buildings, for dinner--which in Spain is not served until 8.30 PM, a debriefing session and bed.

By the way I am having posting pictures on the blog, apparently my files are too big. I am doing better getting them onto facebook.

-osted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Area near Burgos, Spain

Back on line

No Internet last night but will try later

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Morning in Spain

I have been having trouble posting pictures on the blog, this is sort of a test.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sept 11, Day Two

A great day of sightseeing. We began with a walk through the
medieval hill town where we are staying (Sos Del Rey). We were fortunate enough to have a tour of the church given by the local parish priest. Some very interesting 13th Century Frescos, but he would not let us take pictures. On the but and off to Sanguesa famous for the stone carvings of the last judgement over the portal. There was also a town Basque festival going on. Firecrackers, cheering, and people dressed in white and red. Then to the Monastery of Leyre, which was my favorite stop of the day. Anything to do with Benedictines gets my interest, and this was a real gem. Not a whole lot of tourists around here, so one gets to soak up the quiet and peacefulness of this place, founded around 700 AD. A longest ride brought us to Jaca and a great lunch of local ham, salad, fish, and fantastic cheese cake. Not a good prelude to a visit to the Romanesque cathedral, which was dark and grim. Fortunately a chocolate shop across the street made up for. I had read about this place in a guide book, and it did not disappoint. I feel like I should get a rebate for all the candy the owner sold, and she was unaware that her shop was mentioned in print. The afternoon drive back was a time for nap and catching up on the journal.
It will soon be time to eat again!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Sos Del Rey

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Spain Trip, Day 1, Sept 10, 2013

Our trip went very smoothly. We apparently got out of Phoenix just before the big rain storm hit. We made all of our connections, and except for some pretty rough air over the North Atlantic, all went well until we arrived in Madrid and discovered that we had only an hour to make it through customs and get to the other end of the airport for our connection to Pamploma. This mean we had to go out of security and back in again. Fortunately the woman at the desk was extremely helpful, filled out a form and told us to hurry, which we did, sprinting for about a half mile to the gate, where had about 5 minutes to spare. I am still not sure what would have happened if we had missed this flight!

We hooked up with the rest of the group--18 in all, and made our first stop to Roncevalles first stop for pilgrims coming over the mountains from France, and scene of the largelly legendary Song of Roland, when Charlemagnes troops were defeated by the "Saracens", actually irate Christian ciitizens of Pamploma who he had mistreated. You may remember having to read this classic work of early medieval history in a college class.

After a very long and bumpy ride through very scenic countryside, we finally arrived at out stop for the next two nights, the medieval hill town of Sos Del Rey. We hare now having a short rest before dinner--8 PM is the earliest one can eat in Spain!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Sos Del Rey, Spaing

Friday, September 6, 2013

Blogging from Spain and House of Bishops

Beginning this Monday, Sept 9, I will be blogging from a pilgrimage to Spain, and right after that from the House of Bishops meeting in Nashville at Azbishop.blogspot.com

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Test message from iPad

Test message from iPad....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:W Roosevelt St,Phoenix,United States

Blog test from iphone

Test message from iPhone....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Getting ready for Spain

On Monday morning Laura and I will be leaving for Spain to serve as "chaplain" for a pilgrimage trip organized by Christ Church of the Ascension in Paradise Valley.  I hope to be posting from along the way.  Also from the House of Bishops meeting following that.  This is just a test post to see if this blog is still working--since I have not used it for a while!

Chappy says, "Who will take care of me while you are gone?"