Greetings from Austin, Texas, and the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Tomorrow the convention ends, and I look forward to seeing all of you soon. This convention has had many highlights, and I will share them with you more adequately on Sunday, July 29, at 9:00 am at our General Convention Recap Forum. Please make every effort to attend. Our senior warden, Sandy Leialoha, has also been here this week for the Triennial Gathering of the Episcopal Church Women, running simultaneously with the convention.
Overall I think we can be proud of the Episcopal Church and our efforts in evangelism, justice, and reconciliation. (For the moment I am declining to talk about liturgy and worship.) The photo is from the prayer service last Sunday at the Hutto Residential Center. Over a 1,000 deputies and bishops from the General Convention gathered outside the Hutto Center to stand in solidarity with the women immigrants and refugees who are being detained by our government. I will share more about this witness, as well as other exciting moments of the General Convention, on July 29.
Finally, no doubt many of you saw the damage to stained glass window in the Blessed Virgin Mary Chapel this past Sunday. Members of the vestry are working quickly to obtain quotes to repair the damage. Other vestry members are currently researching various security options we might initiate at the church. This is the second time within recent weeks the window has been damaged, and police reports have been filed. We are finding that the incidences of vandalism and abuse within the neighborhood are increasing. Some of you may recall the graffiti damage recently done to the St. Mark statue in the front of the church. We know who perpetuated that damage, as she was caught early in the morning defacing the statue. Unfortunately, the poor woman suffers greatly from mental illness, and she cannot understand the consequences of her actions, and thus, no charges have been filed. These times call for holy patience along Kapahulu Avenue. For now I am simply grateful that we have been able to mitigate the various abuses the church has incurred.
Our world is hurting in many ways, and I give thanks for the healing work that I have witnessed at the General Convention and at St. Mark's. Whether in Austin or along Kapahulu Avenue, the Episcopal Church is patiently transforming our world for the better.
Father Paul Lillie