Tag Archives: Israel

Summary: General Convention GC79

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry with Episcopal General Convention at Hutto Detention Center outside Austin TX 8 July 2018

Written after the final legislative day of the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church “GC79” (in Austin, Texas).  I was with the Deputation of the Diocese of El Camino Real (Central California).  In my first GC79 blog, I gave a list of the big topics for discussion at this General Convention.  Here is that same list, linked to an Episcopal News Service article about what happened:

  1. Marriage Equality: approved a historic resolution giving all Episcopalians the ability to be married by their priests in their home churches
  2. Revising the Book of Common Prayer: adopted a resolution that allows all congregations in the Episcopal Church to use optional, expansive-language versions of three Rite II Eucharistic prayers in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer
  3. The Episcopal Church and the #MeToo movement: voices and stories of women played a significant role, from a liturgy where bishops offered laments and confession for the church’s role in sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse, to passing a resolution so that deputies can to bring babies on the floor of the House of Deputies to feed them
  4. A salary for the president of the House of Deputies: agreed to a plan to pay the president of the House of Deputies for the work of the office
  5. Following up on the church’s three priorities: evangelism, racial reconciliation and justice and care of creation
  6. Formulating the 2019-2021 triennial budget: accepted $134 million three-year spending plan
  7. Middle East peace: of 15 resolutions on Israel-Palestine, only six passed both houses, on topics including Palestinian children, the status of Jerusalem, the disproportionate use of lethal force on both sides, and ways the Episcopal Church can press for peace through its investment decisions

Other GC79 big topics and actions of interest:

Part of General Convention is spending casual time with the remarkable people who attend – and visiting Exhibit Hall booths of programs and institutions and vendors. I bought so many books I had to ship them home in a separate box – which has not yet arrived. Pictures below are of some of the other giveaways and publications I collected. On my flight home from Texas to California, I spotted Dr. Catherine Meeks of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing who gave a remarkable talk at GC79. The Rev. Rob Fisher of our Deputation reported that he spent his flight home reading The Agile Church, which he bought at the GC79 Exhibit Hall.

These blog posts and other GC79 news are on the Diocese of El Camino Real website. Here is my complete set from GC79 as the official diocesan  blogger:

On 16 July 2018, Episcopal News Service published a summary of GC79.

Note that the GC79 Virtual Binder will only be available online through Labor Day (3 September 2018).

El Camino Real Deputation dinner GC79, Rob Keim picture 13 July 2018

GC79 stuff to bring home 13 July 2018

GC79 stuff to bring home 13 July 2018

Dr. Catherine Meeks flight home from GC79, 13 July 2018

The Agile Church book by Dwight Zscheile, Rob Fisher picture 14 July 2018

Episcopal General Convention 4 July 2018

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Images Copyright 2018 by Katy Dickinson.

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Day 8, General Convention

Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado Del Carpio welcomed to House of Deputies, GC79, on 11 July 2018

This was the seventh legislative session day of the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church “GC79” (in Austin, Texas).  I am with the Deputation of the Diocese of El Camino Real (Central California).

Today, the GC79 legislative calendar was so full that we had to add an after-dinner session.  Very long day!  Bishop Griselda Delgado Del Carpio was welcomed with a sustained standing ovation and joyous singing to the House of Deputies after the enthusiastic passage of a historic resolution welcoming the church of Cuba as a diocese of the Episcopal Church.  We considered the budget for the first time in a joint session of the House of Deputies and House of Bishops.  The House of Bishops rejected the Isreal-Palestine resolution but passed a “Marriage Rites for the Whole Church” resolution with a small amendment.

Marriage Rites now return to the House of Deputies for a final vote.  The House of Deputies today agreed on a plan for liturgical and Prayer Book revision plus a great many less-controversial resolutions (including one welcoming nursing mother Deputies).  We are proud of El Camino Real Deputy Jeff Diehl who appeared briefly on the House of Deputies big platform as Co-Chair of the Environmental Stewardship and Care of Creation committee today.

Deputies in wheelchairs and Deputies who find it hard to hear spoke passionately in support of a resolution to “Establish an Advisory Council on Disability and Deaf Access” – which was passed.  Deputy Sarah Watkins of Texas said “nothing about us without us.”  She and Deputy Charis and others made the point that there had been nine such resolutions passed in General Convention since 1985 but little effective change has been made – perhaps because few who are themselves impaired have been represented in the groups making the decisions.  There have been signers for the deaf at House of Deputy and House of Bishop sessions and worship services but not at most other meetings.  There was an interesting moment during Tuesday evening’s worship service when flute player Dakota Wind from Standing Rock spoke silently in Lakota signs with the GC79 deaf interpreter on the stage.

These blog posts and other GC79 news are posted on the Diocese of El Camino Real website.

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Tim Gee, Katy Dickinson, gc79 on 11 July 2018

Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real Deputation with Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves GC79 on 11 July 2018

Bishop Griselda Delgado Del Carpio and colleagues from the Episcopal Diocese of Cuba GC79 on 12 July 2018

GC79 House of Deputies and House of Bishops consider budget on 11 July 2018

GC79 House of Bishops on 11 July 2018

Jeff Diehl on House of Deputies podium GC79 on 11 July 2018

Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real Deputation with Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves GC79 on 11 July 2018

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Day 6, General Convention

Worship with House of Deputies Chaplain, Father Mackenzie, GC79 on 9 July 2018

This was the fifth legislative session day of the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church “GC79” (in Austin, Texas).  I am with the Deputation of the Diocese of El Camino Real (Central California).  Pigeon jokes continued (Twitter @gc79pigeon) and most of the House of Deputies wore purple scarves to honor Women Bishops.

Among many smaller decisions, two of the big GC79 topics were discussed today: B012 – “Marriage Rites for the Whole Church”  and D019 – “Ending Church Complicity in the Occupation”. The Rev. Lester V. Mackenzie, House of Deputies Chaplain, opened the afternoon legislative session with a shoulder-to-shoulder prayer. The discussion process is complex and time consuming and requires much checking of parliamentary procedure. The capable President of the House of DeputiesRev. Gay Clark Jennings, keeps us to time and in order with humor and charm.

Deputy Celeste Ventura allowed me to substitute for her in the House of Deputies in the afternoon.  Since I have lived and worked in Israel, and because of my many years of work with the TechWomen of the Middle East, I have been particularly interested in the many resolutions on Israel and Palestine and was glad to be able to testify and vote.  Both the Marriage Rites and Israel-Palestine resolutions were approved – and will move to the House of Bishops next.

Our Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves presided in English and Spanish over the evening worship service which, as usual, offered excellent music and a peaceful interlude in a busy day.

These blog posts and other GC79 news are posted on the Diocese of El Camino Real website.

Purple scarf to support Women Bishops at General Convention GC79 on 9 July 2018

Episcopal General Convention pigeon under table GC79 on 9 July 2018

Katy Dickinson and Celeste Ventura, General Convention gc79 on 9 July 2018

Kathryn Nishibayashi and Katy Dickinson at General Convention gc79 on 9 July 2018

Rev. Rob Keim and Katy Dickinson, House of Deputies, General Convention, GC79 on 9 July 2018

Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real Deputation in House of Deputies GC79 on 9 July 2018

Katy Dickinson speaking on Israel-Palestine resolution GC79 on 9 July 2018

General Convention voting device GC79 on 9 July 2018

Charis Hill light up wheels Episcopal General Convention GC97 on 9 July 2018

Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real Deputation in worship GC79 on 9 July 2018

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves presiding over Episcopal General Convention GC79 worship 9 July 2018

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Three Border Walls

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Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down. …
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
– Robert Frost, 1914

After watching John Oliver’s 20 March 2016 comic-news analysis on the proposed Border Wall, I remembered the lines in “Mending Wall“, the first poem I read by the great American poet Robert Frost.  I have had experience with three border walls in recent years:

Israel-Palestine Wall – Bethlehem, 2016

Between the TechWomen Delegations to Jordan and Zimbabwe, last month a group of us visited Gaza and the West Bank in addition to more usual Israel-Palestine tourist locations such as Jerusalem and MasadaBethlehem is a mixed Muslim-Christian city in the West Bank, typified for me by Manger Square, which has the Church of the Nativity at one end and the Mosque of Omar at the other.  The wall runs through Bethlehem, in one case right around an existing home.

This wall is regularly a target location for violent confrontations between citizens and soldiers, one of which we regrettably observed from two blocks away, as we were preparing to leave the city.  The wall is also a ground for artistic and political communication: it is covered with paintings and graffiti, including some by famous artists like Banksy. In a Bethlehem shop, we saw a traditional olive wood nativity scene – with the addition of a barrier wall keeping out the three wise men.

Israel-Palestine Wall in Bethlehem 2016 . Israel-Palestine Wall in Bethlehem 2016

Israel-Palestine Wall in Bethlehem 2016

Berlin Wall Sections – Mountain View, California, 2010

Two graffitied sections of the 1961-1989 Berlin Wall lived in an office park near where I worked in Mountain View, California, for many years. I used to visit them sometimes during lunch, thinking of the people who died climbing the Berlin Wall trying to get to freedom.  In 2013, the sections were moved to the front of the public library.

The original sign in front of these sections said: “…Between November 9 and 12, 1989 the Wall was breached; not from without with bombs or bullets, but from within by the sound of freedom and the vision of a better life that had drifted over the Wall. The World must not forget that it was America’s resolve and its political and economic ideals that made this bloodless revolution and most significant historical event possible.”  I don’t know if that sign is still with the sections since they moved.

Berlin Wall Section, Mountain View, California, 2010 . Berlin Wall Section, Mountain View, California, 2010

California USA-Mexico Wall, 2008

In 2008, my husband and I flew with friends to Baja California to see the grey whales at Laguna San Ignacio. Coming home, we got fuel and checked out with Mexican customs in Mexicali, then flew 9 miles north across the US border to check in at Calexico. The Calexico general aviation airport is directly on the USA-Mexico border fence.  It was strange to see our two nations that are culturally and economically one family – with a line drawn between them.

California USA-Mexico Wall, 2008 . California USA-Mexico Wall, 2008

California USA-Mexico Wall, 2008

Photos Copyright by Katy Dickinson 2008-2016

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Understanding Gaza

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In the month since I was in Gaza City, I have been thinking through that journey. Living in East Palo Alto for 20 years and teaching in a prison are two experiences that have given me some perspective on Gaza. I lived in EPA when it was named the murder capital of America. (EPA was where I could afford a house as a single mother working in the Silicon Valley – lower house prices being one of its virtues.)  I recently started mentoring an EfM seminar at Elmwood Jail in Milpitas. Both EPA and jail can be dangerous and depressing places, but they can also be home and a ground for community support, growth, laughter, and love. When we visited Gaza, I saw devastation, poverty, and political anger but I was warmly welcomed by hundreds of locals who are building their lives and working to raise their community from the ruins.  Five of us went to Gaza together: Erin Keeley, Eileen Brewer, Aliya Janjua, my daughter Jessica Dickinson Goodman, and me.  It was the first visit by a group of executive technical women ever hosted by MercyCorps and Gaza Sky Geeks. Ours was also the first group visit by TechWomen mentors to our Palestinian mentees.

When I got back from three weeks in the Middle East and Africa, I briefly described Jordan, Israel – Palestine, and Zimbabwe to the men in my class at Elmwood. Trying to explain Gaza, I compared its twenty-year siege to lockdown, when inmates are immediately locked in their cells and all jail visitors must quickly leave because of an emergency situation.  While we were with the TechWomen Delegation in Jordan and during the two days we toured Israel before going to Gaza, we often heard deep surprise that we would be allowed in at all.  While we were in Gaza City, people on the street were very surprised to see us shopping and eating out.  We were told that many outsiders who visit Gaza drive through quickly, surrounded by guards.  We did follow MercyCorps’ rules to only go out during the day and early evening and always to be accompanied by a MercyCorps staff member but we were treated with hospitality and respect whereever we went.  Of course, I mostly was with my 2014 mentee Mai Temraz and her charming family!

Although Gaza is primarily Islamic, we visited the 50-bed Ahli Arab Hospital (supported by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem) and the Church of Saint Porphyrius (Greek Orthodox) between giving presentations on mentoring, venture capital, design thinking, crowd funding and other professional topics.  One effect of the long siege of Gaza is that the small Ahli Arab Hospital treats tens of thousands of patients per year with a mortality rate for diseases such a breast cancer at about triple – partly because of a lack of local medical facilities and the difficulty in getting patients out of Gaza promptly for treatment elsewhere.

One of the most difficult conversations I had several times with professional women in Gaza was whether they should stay or go.  Gaza is blessed with many talented and educated people whom it needs to rebuild after each conflict ends.  However, those are the people who can most easily qualify for graduate school, jobs, and programs elsewhere – which may be the best choice for them and their immediate families. My prayers are with the people of Gaza every day.

 

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Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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TechWomen in Zimbabwe

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Catching up on my blogging with my adventures as a member of the TechWomen Delegation to Zimbabwe, 20-28 February 2016. This was my 8th Delegation trip since 2011, and 4th trip to the region of Sub-Saharan Africa. Zimbabwe was the third country of a three-week trip, after a week in Jordan and a week in Israel-Palestine. Each of these journeys has been fascinating and different from the others!

The Delegation stayed at the Meikles Hotel in Harare but made day trips to Mbare, Bindura, and Bulawayo among other locations nearer the capital. We visited girls in school as well as programs and universities focused on STEM, including: TechWomen Zimbabwe’s Pamusha Project (at Chitsere Primary School, Mbare), University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers, Harare Institute of Technology, Bindura University, African Regional Intellectual Property Organization, and the National University of Science and Technology (Bulawayo).

We had some opportunities to see Zimbabwe’s famed wildlife (zebras, giraffes, antelope, wildebeests, lions, leopards, baboons…) but that was not a big focus for our trip.  I was much more interested in the technical challenges and entrepreneurial accomplishments of a country which has at least 80% unemployment (for which the most common computing device is a cell phone) – and in their creative artworks. I found many chances to use the Notable Technical Women materials to present role models and career choices to the hundreds of friendly and fascinating women and girls with whom I spoke.

After the delegation ended, I had an opportunity to meet with some of the leaders of the Anglican Diocese of Harare and to shop for Shona stone sculptures, printed cloth, and reclaimed metal work art at the remarkable Newlands craft street market in Harare.

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Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson, photo at Pamusha Project by Molly Pyle

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Traveling in Palestine

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A group of TechWomen mentors, Fellows, and friends have been traveling together in Israel and Palestine this week – between the official TechWomen Jordan and Zimbabwe delegations. We started with a tour of Jerusalem, Masada, and Jesus’ Baptism site on the Jordan River among other inspiring and historic locations. We spent two days in Gaza City as guests of Mercy Corps working with Gaza Sky Geeks, making presentations on mentoring, design thinking, venture investments, and crowd funding to audiences of up to 125 – mostly women. We met with the leadership of the Al Ahli Arab Hospital, Gaza.

We then spent two days in the West Bank – presenting at HCIE (the Higher Council for Innovation and Excellence) in Ramallah, and at PPU (Palestine Polytechnic University) in Hebron. We even got to see the Cave of the Patriarchs – the mosque above the tombs of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah. Today, we will be walking around the Bethlehem area with our TechWomen Fellows.

It has been a pleasure to travel with my daughter Jessica, Eileen Brewer, Erin Keeley, and Aliya Janjua. We have been given overwhelmingly generous and loving support by so many of our mentees, including Mai Temraz, Maysoun Ibrahim, Ibeer Imtair, Nadiah Saba’neh, and Sandra Al-Arja. What an amazing and thought-provoking trip this has been so far! Tonight, we fly to Zimbabwe.

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Photos Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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