Fixing What Doesn’t Show

Starting construction, 19 July 2022
Starting construction, 19 July 2022

John Plocher and I are in the process of fixing up our 90-year-old Spanish Mission style home in Willow Glen (San Jose, California). One of the duties of homeownership is maintenance, particularly fixing what does not show. We just completed Phase One of a maintenance project, including adding new French drains to redirect water away from the house, repairing some rocky tiles on the side porch, replacing a front porch post, adding better support for the ground floor so that the front door opens all the way, and replacing a walkway-with-a-step with a ramp. This work will not meet the realtors’ goal of “increasing the value of your home” for resale, but since this is our family’s forever home, it is enough that the work increases its comfort and value to us. We got virtual tours of the ongoing work under the house using FaceTime.

Some of maintenance challenges come from ours being an old (if well-built) house, and others from the land being part of the original Willow Glen swamp of the Guadalupe River. The ground shifts annually with seasonal moisture changes, causing stucco cracks and sometimes making doors stick. The most unhappy person with the construction has been Princess, our porch cat, who resented the disruption of her royal domain. Phase Two is being planned now!

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Reached My Weight Goal!

Katy Dickinson, 17 July 2022
Katy Dickinson, 17 July 2022 (with earrings erased by John‘s iPhone Portrait setting)

As I wrote in April, I have been using the  Noom program for weight loss and wellness. I am proud of myself that as of today, I met my 145 pound weight goal – hooray! Changing my eating patterns, losing over 60 pounds, and reducing my size from extra large (XL) to small (S) was not easy. There were many frustrating weeks when nothing seemed to happen. When I started in October 2021, Noom’s original estimate for my completion date was months ago. Nonetheless, today I am in the new phase of weight maintenance rather than loss. I had fun buying new clothes for my changed figure, since nothing but my shoes and scarves still fit. I have discovered by trial and error that I am now a Talbots size 8, Chico’s size 1, t-shirt size small, Gloria Vanderbilt size 10, Land’s End size 12 swimsuit but size 10 shirt, and Zuri medium size dress (but small shirt).

Read to the end of this post for a funny poem by my Grandma…

Katy Dickinson, 11 Oct 2021-17 July 2022 Noom Weight Graph
Katy Dickinson, 11 Oct 2021-17 July 2022 Noom Weight Graph

Weight management is a family problem, as illustrated by the following poem written by my Grandma, Evelyn Van Gilder Creekmore. I expect to work on maintenance for the rest of my life but am happy to have reached today’s milestone. Thank you to friends and family who have patiently supported my journey toward better health.

Visiting Grandchildren

Katy came first, a slender girl
Afraid to gain one ounce of weight,
Her diet worried me no end –
Grapefruit was almost all she ate.
But next came Pete, a teenage boy
Who loved roast beef, and cake, and pie,
Milk by the gallon, ham and steak –
(We gained a few pounds – he and I)
Then after Pete his brother came,
I stocked the freezer well with meat,
But Mark’s a vegetarian now –
So I fixed salads and cracked wheat.
Then after Mark came Rip whose diet
Consists of steaks (by choice T-Bone)
So we lived high on rare cooked steak,
(I couldn’t let him eat alone.)
My budget fluctuated much,
As likewise did my weight,
In matching menus day by day
To choice of food each grandchild ate.

(p.58 in Day’s Journey by Evelyn Van Gilder Creekmore, Copyright 1985. All Rights Reserved.)

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Day 4, GC-80, General Convention

El Camino Real sign decorations, General Convention, 11 July 2022
El Camino Real sign decorations, General Convention, 11 July 2022

This is the fourth and final legislative day for the deputation of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real (ECR) at the General Convention (“GC-80”) in Baltimore, Maryland. Today, after morning worship and an inspiring sermon by the newly-elected President of the House of Deputies, Julia Ayala Harris, we discussed changes to the Book of Common Prayer, heard a health report by Dr. Rodney Coldren (only 26 COVID cases reported during GC-80) who thanked us for protecting our fellow deputies, celebrated many House of Deputies awards by outgoing President, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, thanked many remarkable people who have worked for years to make this event happen, planned for GC-81 in Louisville in two years, and filled a variety of positions by election. We particularly celebrated the ten years of the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings as HofD President and gave her many standing ovations.

The historic change of leadership was symbolized by a hand off of the President’s gavel from the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings to Julia Ayala Harris. Both are inspiring and remarkable women who make the world change for the better. In her concluding remarks, Rev. Gay Clark Jennings said it was not enough to appoint and elect change makers, we must also actively encourage and support them to stop the racism and misogyny endemic in our church. People of color and women face real gritty situations and structural barriers, not theoretical problems. We must commit ourselves to this work, seize the opportunity, and not assume others will take care of it.

Check out the Diocese of El Camino Real’s daily GC-80 “Updates from the Floor.”

Handoff of gavel between House of Deputies Presidents, General Convention, 11 July 2022
Handoff of gavel between House of Deputies Presidents, General Convention, 11 July 2022

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Day 3, GC-80, General Convention

Rev. Ruth Casipit Paguio, General Convention, 10 July 2022
Rev. Ruth Casipit-Paguio of the Diocese of El Camino Real, Episcopal General Convention, 10 July 2022

This is the third legislative day for the deputation of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real (ECR) at the General Convention (“GC-80”) in Baltimore, Maryland. Today, despite persistent technical challenges, the House of Deputies (HOD) passed a variety of resolutions and amendments, including the church’s budget, the election of Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton as Vice President of the HOD (the first ordained woman to be so elected), and the celebration of the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, the first woman to serve as President of HOD as her term nears its end. There are so many remarkable faith and community leaders here – it is inspiring!

I have mostly stayed in the hotel and convention center but from time to time we go out to eat. Tomorrow night, we celebrate Maryland Night, so I will see more of Baltimore. Check out the Diocese of El Camino Real’s daily GC-80 “Updates from the Floor.”

El Camino Real Diocese, General Convention, 10 July 2022
El Camino Real Diocese, General Convention, 10 July 2022
Episcopal Bishops Mary Gray-Reeves, and Lucinda Ashby, General Convention, 10 July 2022
Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, and Bishop Lucinda Ashby, General Convention, 10 July 2022
Chaplain Rev. Lester Mackenzie, General Convention, 10 July 2022
Chaplain Rev. Lester Mackenzie, General Convention, 10 July 2022

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Day 2, GC-80, General Convention

El Camino Real, Episcopal General Convention 80, 9 July 2022
El Camino Real, Episcopal General Convention 80, 9 July 2022

This is the second legislative day for the deputation of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real (ECR) at the General Convention (“GC-80”) in Baltimore, Maryland. The big excitement so far was this morning’s election of Julia Ayala Harris as the next President of the House of Deputies (PHoD). She is the first Latina lay person to hold that role, was endorsed by the LGBTQ+ Caucus, and is from the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma. After the HoD ballot count was announced, Ayala Harris thanked the other candidates who ran, thanked her predecessor the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, and said her election was “for justice, for inclusion, and for Jesus.” A good start!

Today’s House of Deputies session opened with worship and a sermon by the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings. There are about 800 deputies from 107 Episcopal dioceses present. We get a health and safety update from Dr. Rodney Coldren daily. As of this morning, only eight people had reported having COVID-19, which is about 1% of the House of Deputies. Dr. Coldren urged us to follow the guidelines not only to protect the immunocompromised but to respect and protect other people’s choice not to get your COVID. In these pandemic times, assume that symptoms of “just a cold” means COVID, even if you test negative. In more general news, it is raining in Baltimore. Our deputation enjoyed pizza dinner together between the afternoon and evening sessions.

If you want to follow General Convention in real time and detail, check out the Virtual Binder: “The Virtual Binder contains all of the legislative information for the meeting of General Convention. The website is vbinder.net and accessible to the public.” Also, read the Diocese of El Camino Real daily GC-80 “Updates from the Floor.”

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GC-80, Episcopal General Convention

Episcopal General Convention 80, 8 July 2022
Episcopal General Convention 80 in Baltimore, 8 July 2022

I am part of the deputation of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real (ECR) to the General Convention (“GC-80”) in Baltimore, Maryland, this week. This is the eightieth General Convention since the House of Deputies was formed in 1785. (The House of Bishops was formed in 1789.) This is the third time I have been part of an ECR deputation: you can read about my adventures at GC-79-Austin and GC-78-Salt-Lake-City on this blog. Many of us arrived in Baltimore from California and registered yesterday. Today is the first day of business. The Episcopal Church has taken many measures to try to minimize the potential danger of the pandemic to GC participants. For example, GC-80 was postponed for a year, the event was shortened from two weeks to four days, all participants must prove that they are vaccinated or exempted, and we all must mask and test every day. This morning’s sessions opened with worship, including an inspiring sermon by our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

Baltimore is different than where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, especially in terms of water. It is hot and humid here and rain is frequent, unlike our drought-plagued west. Attending a convention in a big city presents dangers beyond the pandemic. As we were arriving at our hotel, a man was killed on the street nearby. Tonight, Bishops Against Gun Violence is holding a prayer service for him.

Episcopal General Convention 80, 8 July 2022
Episcopal General Convention 80, 8 July 2022

Additional photos after the legislative session:

9 July 2022 update: check out the Diocese of El Camino Real daily GC-80 “Updates from the Floor

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In Memory of Susan Broaddus

Susan Broaddus and the Rev. Bisoke Balikenga

Susan Broaddus and I worked together for many years on the Congo Network, a project of the worldwide Anglican and Episcopal churches to support the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She passed away on 3 December 2021 after a lifetime of faithful activism, including twelve years as an Episcopalian missionary in the Congo. This is to honor and remember her. May Susan rest in peace and rise in glory.

Susan’s church home was Christ & St. Luke’s Church in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia which published this memorial resolution in her honor. The resolution was presented to and approved by the diocese’s Annual Council on 26 February 2022 and will be part of the journal for the year.

Update: On 26 July 2022, the Congo Network’s Chair, and Africa Partnership Officer for the Episcopal Office of Global Partnerships, Rev. Daniel N. Karanja, Ph.D., presented the linked Brief to the Congo Network honoring Susan Broaddus and her inspiring life of advocacy and lay leadership. The Rev. Daniel reviewed over 400 pages of Susan’s letters and documents to create the Brief. He spoke of Susan’s outstanding and inspiring contributions developing the role of women leaders and educational programs, especially at the Université Anglicane du Congo.

Susan Broaddus memorial gathering, Congo, Dec 2021
Susan Broaddus memorial gathering at the Université Anglicane du Congo parish church in Bunia, December 2021

Susan’s obituary was published by The Virginian-Pilot from 8 December – 10 December 2021. A longer version was published on Facebook by Women to Women for Congo on 8 December 2021:

It is with great sadness that we are sharing the news of the death  of Susan Broaddus, founder of the Women to Women for Congo and primary moderator of this page.

Susan Broaddus

Susan Broaddus succumbed to cancer on December 3, 2021, in Norfolk, Va., where she was born in 1946.

Her life’s greatest passion centered on The Democratic Republic of Congo, where she served as an Episcopalian missionary for over 12 years, dedicated to improving the lives of the people in that lawless and war-torn region.

She was especially concerned for the women and children there, because many militias continually attacked the towns and villages. The militias often kidnapped or killed the men, sexually attacked the women, and left the children orphaned.

About a decade ago, Susan revisited the Congo and was inspired to do more by raising awareness and money in the United States to help her beloved Congolese people. She founded a group called Women-to-Women for Congo, which joined her mission to pray for and financially assist the people there. She also supported the Anglican seminary in the Congo, both through individual scholarships and by supporting the seminary’s capital projects.

She was at the forefront locally of assisting with the immigration of the Sudanese “Lost Boys,” personally assisting many of them with tutoring, housing, bureaucracy, and more. 

Susan was a lifelong Francophile. Before retiring, she taught high school French in several school systems throughout the greater Hampton Roads area.

Her fluency in French enabled her to stay in touch with her friends and contacts in the Congo. When Susan’s health was declining rapidly from her second battle with cancer, the Most Rev. Henri Isingoma, who was the Archbishop of the Congo while she served there and is now retired, e-mailed a letter to Susan, which captured Susan’s spirit. It reads, in part (roughly translated): “I have no other words but to congratulate you for having led a life consecrated to the holy ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am convinced that you do not fear anything because, together, we have worked in the direction of ensuring the continuity of his mission to proclaim the Eternal Kingdom of God. Knowing that our human capacities have time limits, we had trained others among us and for subsequent generations. The mission continues.”

In addition to her work with the Congo, Susan was an avid reader and member of a book club. Shelves and stacks of books on many subjects filled her home. She also was active in her church, Christ & St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

Susan was preceded in death by her parents, John and Margaret Broaddus, and her sisters, Margaret (Midge) Hutchison, and Ann Broaddus. She is survived by her nephew, Jason Nowell, and extended family and hometown friends….

If you would like to remember Susan in a meaningful way, please contribute to Episcopal Church Women, designating “Broaddus/Congo” in the memo line (mail to: ECW, Christ & St. Luke’s Church, P.O. Box 11499, Norfolk, VA 23517)

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