- In a Land Far, Far Away: Crossing from Southeast Florida to Silicon Valley takes a long, long time. And such a totally different landscape...My friend B has let me borrow a book called The Solace of Fierce Landscapes. Saratoga, where I stayed in California, is picture-perfect, with gentle hills, vineyards and pastel colored flowers. I realized how accustomed I've become to the harshness of much of the landscape here in South Florida where so much is gritty and exposed. Strange to find myself more comfortable here than there...
- Where We Are: I have never blogged about the deep, horribly painful conflicts that are tearing at the Episcopal Church. Words fail me when it comes to all that. I am better able to focus instead on the work at hand, with the Centro, All Saints, and the Diocese I am a part of. On Friday evening, all the participants in Mary's ordination were invited to a reception at a church in Cupertino. There was the usual milling around when our Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori walked in. A tall, lanky presence of quiet, her face looked tired. As part of a presentation honoring Mary, Bishop Schori presented her with a plaque of the stunning quotation by Dom Helder Camara: The bishop belongs to all. Let no one be scandalized if I frequent those who are considered unworthy or sinful. Who is not a sinner? Let no one be alarmed if I am seen with compromised and dangerous people, on the left or the right. Let no one bind me to a group. My door, my heart, must be open to everyone, absolutely everyone. One sees the cost of that call in her eyes.
My friend C, another Hispanic clergy woman from our diocese was with me. She was determined to get a picture with Bishop Schori and dragged me along with her (I was quite mortified!). At first, Bishop Schori was a bit guarded, though gracious. But when C and I spoke to her in Spanish and explained that we do Latino ministry, her eyes sparkled and she thanked us. It is I who am deeply, deeply grateful for her leadership.
- Bearing Witness: There were probably 15 bishops present for the ordination. But almost the entire service revolved around Bishop Schori and Bishop Mary. The service was completely bilingual and both women speak impeccable Spanish. For a woman clergy like me, watching these two strong and gentle women, listening to them speak of God and to God in the tongue of my land, it felt like a dream. Our church is changing and opening its doors wider. I also kept thinking about all the young girls sitting in the congregation, how they will never have known a time when there weren't women doing brave, important work of all sorts. Amazing...
It is traditional in the Episcopal church for the one to be ordained to enter the service wearing a simple white alb. So when Mary knelt to take her vows and be ordained, even she, who is tall and assured, looked small and vulnerable up there in the presence of Bishop Schori in her miter and cope. At the consecration, all the rest of the bishops, all of them men, except one, quietly gathered around her in an almost circle to lay hands on her. They were dressed in sweet garb--fru-fru sleeved vestments that many in our church laughingly say are a straight man's excuse for dressing in drag. Watching them come to be with her, I was somehow reminded of the way so many species in the animal world gather around a new-born or injured, or otherwise vulnerable member of their kind. I was glad that in that moment, when the weight of her new ministry pressed down on Mary, there was that protective circle around her. I have a feeling that it is a moment of deep solidarity, when those who have already been ordained remember that this is the moment when some more weight of the cross comes to rest on only too human shoulders.
- Letting Go: I was one of the people who presented Mary on behalf of the Diocese of Southeast Florida. It felt strangely like being a parent of the bride. Mary is doing what she was called to do, and there was great pride in presenting her. And also a deep sense of sorrow. Yet another couple in our parish, people Spouseman and I love dearly, have let us know they are moving away. I hate all this leave-taking and loss. It's not just the holes people leave as they move. It is about how much I enjoy getting to see people's stories unfold with the kind of detail and complexity that only proximity allows. So on Saturday, as we presented Mary, I was unspeakably sad at the same time that I rejoiced with and for the Diocese of El Camino Real.
- There is a place to come home to: I have more work than hours in the day to get it done in. I am glad to be back.