Tag Archives: marriage

Shakespeare in Ashland for our 16th Anniversary

Nut Tree Train Vacaville California 1 July 2016

John and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary last weekend with a road trip to Ashland, Oregon.  On the drive north from San Jose, we visited the Nut Tree Train in Vacaville and saw Shasta Lake full of water (a welcome sight after a long drought).

While in Ashland, we enjoyed a clever and entertaining production of Twelfth Night by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (set in 1930’s Hollywood, with twins Viola and Sebastian doubled by one actress), celebrated with an excellent dinner with Rogue River Valley wine at Amuse Restaurant, and enjoyed long walks in historic Lithia Park.

On the drive home, we visited our favorite rock shop (Consolidated Rock & Mineral in Vacaville) and commemorated our anniversary with the purchase of a Crinoidea sea lily double fossil, originating in the Paleozoic Era by way of Morocco. On the way home, we had dinner at Bud’s Pub & Grill in Dixon, which has more animal hunting trophies hanging on its walls than anyplace I have seen. It was a delightful celebration!

Lake Shasta California 1 July 2016

Twelfth Night at Oregon Shakespeare Festival Ashland 2 July 2016

Katy Dickinson and John Plocher Ashland Oregon 2 July 2016

Amuse Restaurant dessert Beignets, Ashland Oregon 2 July 2016

Lithia Park Ashland Oregon 2 July 2016

Meyer Lake ducks in Lithia Park, Ashland Oregon 2 July 2016

deer in Lithia Park, Ashland Oregon 2 July 2016

Cascade Range, Shasta River California 3 July 2016

Mount Shasta on Highway 5, California, 2 July 2016

sunflowers Dixon California 2 July 2016

Crinoidea sea lily fossil from Paleozoic Era from Consolidated Rock and Mineral, Vacaville California 2 July 2016

Buds Pub in Dixon California 2 July 2016

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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Diplomacy and Community-Building

San Jose California City Hall, 28 June 2016

Just over a year ago, I was in Salt Lake City as one of the Official Bloggers from the Diocese of El Camino Real (ECR) for the Episcopal General Convention (GC).  At GC, I witnessed remarkable diplomacy and community-building, especially with regard to the historic approval of the very controversial resolutions to create marriage equality in the Episcopal Church.  The way this debate was managed has become my standard for excellence in respectful balancing of sides during heartfelt controversy.  An excerpt from my 1 July 2015 post:

“Marriage equality has been passionately discussed for 39 years in our church and even today there were serious, prayerful, and heartfelt objections raised.  Rev. Gay Clark Jennings (President of the House of Deputies, HofD) asked that the House maintain decorum and respect – as celebrations on one side could only be hurtful to our brothers and sisters taking the opposite view. Chaplain Rev. Lester V. Mackenzie lead HofD in prayer and song before each vote. Over a thousand people were present for this historic decision. We will be processing what is means to us and to our church for many years to come.”

In a highly-local and much less important community debate, on 28 June 2016, the San Jose Mayor and City Council voted to approve that the highly-controversial Road Diet be made permanent in my home neighborhood of Willow Glen.  This final decision was welcomed by many and deeply regretted by as many.  The way the discussion was handled did little to rebuild the community strength that the discussion has eroded during the last year. My husband John Plocher and I were among those who formally spoke against the decision, out of about a dozen citizens who were given one minute each to address the Mayor and City Council.  We only came away with a tiny win: as part of making the “Lincoln Avenue Pilot Project” permanent, the City Council also voted to ban adult bicyclists from riding on the sidewalks of Lincoln Avenue – a welcome change for the better!

I wrote on 17 June 2016  how the problems with the Willow Glen Road Diet sort into categories, of which one was Community Trust:

“The way that the Road Diet was managed caused anger and mistrust of city government among most of the people I interviewed.  …  Many Willow Glen residents are looking forward to electing a new City Council representative in November 2016.  Of the five problems, this loss of trust has the greatest destructive potential for our community.”

When I compare the diplomacy and sensitivity with which the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings managed the raging discussions last summer with the rough  “take it or leave it” style in which our local Road Diet controversy was managed, I feel that San Jose’s leadership does not shine.  I hope that now the decision is made, San Jose’s City Council and neighborhood groups like the Willow Glen Business Association (WGBA), and Willow Glen Neighborhood Association (WGNA) will start to rebuild the community peace that was lost to the Road Diet controversy.

WGBA Board meetings are open to the public: 8 am on the Second Tuesday of Every Month, at the Willow Glen Community Center (2175 Lincoln Ave., San José).

The next WGNA Board meeting will be Thursday, 28 July starting at 7 pm at the Willow Glen Public Library (1157 Minnesota Ave., San José). Meeting is open to Members and Residents.

Katy Dickinson speaking to San Jose Mayor and City Council 28 June 2016

John Plocher speaking to San Jose Mayor and City Council 28 June 2016

Candidate Dev Davis speaking in favor of the Road Diet, to San Jose Mayor and City Council 28 June 2016

Walk Your Bike. Make a Friend. poster, San Jose CA 28 June 2016

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher

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Lovely 15th Anniversary Train Ride: Amtrak (Salt Lake City – Emeryville)

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John Plocher and I were married 15 years ago on 4 July 2000, so on our way back from two weeks at the Episcopal General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, we took the train. Amtrak’s California Zephyr goes across vast lovely spaces on its way west. John booked a Superliner Bedroom for our 15 hour trip. Of course, the train was running hours late (don’t get me started on why America’s basic infrastructure is so poorly supported) but we had planned for that. We boarded in Salt Lake City just as the day dawned and got into Emeryville, California, long after sunset. We saw plains and mountains, farms and ranches, towns and cities. Other trains passed us and we even went slowly through the vast Union Pacific Roseville Yard, so John got his fill of trains for once. It was a glorious day.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern impassion’d stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

“America the Beautiful” 1910 by Katharine Lee Bates

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Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson

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10th Day General Convention: Budget, Structure, Conservation, and Courtesy

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The General Convention (GC) finished its second-to-last legislative day – one more day in the House of Deputies  (HoD) for the Deputation of the Diocese of El Camino Real (ECR).  We start every day at the GC here in Salt Lake City with worship, and every day there is a focus for our celebration. The biographies provided have been inspiring! Today, we heard about the Rev. Charles Barnes, an American who spoke against the murder of over 20,000 Haitians by the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic. During the sermon, we heard part of the poem “Parsley” by Rita Dove – because in 1937 the Haitians who could not say “parsley” in Spanish were killed. Others honored during GC workshop have included: the Rev. Hiram Hisanori Kano (Nebraska), James Weldon Johnson (Florida), the Rev. Cornelius Hill (Oneida, Wisconsin), and Isabel Florence Hapgood (Massachusetts, Russia).

Today was a forced march through the budget, plus structure, stewardship/conservation, courtesy and other legislative resolutions, ably managed by Rev. Gay Clark Jennings (President of the HofD).  She started off with a charming variation on Mr. Roger’s saying: “It’s a great day in the Kingdom!”  Her humor, grace, and world-class management skills kept us going until 7:30 pm tonight after many had started in committee meetings at 7:30 am. Some resolutions were for HofD to concur with the House of Bishops (HofB) and others have been passed back to the HofB for consideration. The closest vote of the day was a remarkable 50.73% against and 49.27% for.

We sidled up to the very controversial subject of bringing HofD and HofB into a unicameral model in D008 Amend Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution – sent to the HofB for consideration today:

Sec. 1. There shall be a General Convention of this Church, consisting of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, which Houses will sit, debate, and vote separately, unless otherwise provided for by this Constitution or the Canons. The Houses by majority vote of each House may call for the Houses to sit, debate, and vote, or any combination thereof, together. The General Convention may by Canon establish procedures for such sessions. In all deliberations freedom of debate shall be allowed. Either House may originate and propose legislation, and all acts of the Convention shall be adopted and be authenticated by both Houses.

There were also many many resolutions of courtesy to thank everyone: those who run our worship services, the secretariat and leadership of HofD, the people and Diocese of Utah, the Official Youth Presence, HofD Chaplain, etc.  While they do add significantly to the time and work of our day, I acknowledge that resolutions of courtesy serve two clear purposes:

  • Community building and acknowledgement
  • Allowing HofD to stand up from time to time to offer ovations and applause

At the end of today’s legislative session, the Deputation from Honduras asked to read a communique from a group of bishops setting forth their dissent to the marriage equality resolutions known as A036 and A054. The HofD President allowed them the full time for a translated Point of Personal Privilege. Unfortunately, they spent half their time reading the names and titles and locations of the signatories so it did not make much sense as presented.

We finished our day with an ECR Deputation dinner with our Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, including giving her an early surprise birthday dessert!

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Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson

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9th Day: General Convention – Structure and Marriage

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Rev. Tom Sramek and I are the Official Bloggers on General Convention (GC) from the Diocese of El Camino Real (ECR).  Tonight, Tom got his blog entry done before me, so check out “Sex(uality), Money, and Power Take Center Stage at GC” for a good summary of today’s wild day in legislative session of the House of Deputies (HofD).

HofD had six key resolutions so important that they were given priority with special timing and discussion limitations so that there was a hope of finishing by Friday night:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori lead the joint session at which the budget was presented and discussed. HofD voted to concur with the House of Bishops (HofB) on A006. Two other key decisions made today – in which the HofD concurred with the HofB – approved marriage equality in the Episcopal Church. That is, these resolutions affirm that same sex couples are as capable of holy marriage as different sex couples, and provide resources, rites, and rules to support marriage equality.  There were many attempts to divert or stop the decision (parliamentary motions to refer, amend, vote by orders, etc.) but as you can see by the vote tallies in the photos below, the Deputies overwhelmingly approved both A054 and A036.

Marriage equality has been passionately discussed for 39 years in our church and even today there were serious, prayerful, and heartfelt objections raised.  Rev. Gay Clark Jennings (President of the HofD) asked that the House maintain decorum and respect – as celebrations on one side could only be hurtful to our brothers and sisters taking the opposite view. Chaplain Rev. Lester V. Mackenzie lead HofD in prayer and song before each vote. Over a thousand people were present for this historic decision. We will be processing what is means to us and to our church for many years to come. ECR is proud of our Deputy Jeff Diehl who served on the Special Legislative Committee on Marriage that presented their two resolutions today. I am proud of my church for taking this important step to include all of God’s people.

After the legislative session, many of us walked to the Salt Lake Tabernacle to enjoy an evening of music with choirs, dancers, and drumming as guests of our generous hosts, the Right Reverend Scott B. Hayashi, Bishop of Utah, and the Diocese of Utah.

5 July 2015 – Several people have asked for the text of what the Rev. Terry Gleeson said to GC about A036 on 1 July. Here it is:

Madam President, I rise in support of the resolution.
Six years ago I hesitated before baptizing my newly-born, newly-adopted, bi-racial daughter. I wasn’t concerned about her becoming a child of God, I was concerned about her taking on the church. Like any parent I had to distinguish between what I was prepared to endure for myself and what I should inflict on an unsuspecting infant.
That was in July of 2009 and at the time I took heart from the actions of this house, how it heeded then, and continues to heed now, the prophetic call for freedom for all God’s children, how it committed itself to gathering not scattering the flock, to breaking down walls that divide and exclude, and strove to continue Jesus’ ministry of going out to the lost and forgotten, the demonized and demeaned, bringing healing and restoration to those who had been shunned. And so I took a chance and baptized her – I took a chance on US, that here among us, in our church at least, her baptism would be sufficient statement of her dignity and equality and worth, that no ministry, no office, no sacrament or rite would be denied her because of who she is, where she came from, or who she might grow up to be.
For her sake, for the sake of every one of our babies, and for our own integrity as prophets and disciples of that Jesus who brought only healing and restoration and reconciliation, I urge you to concur with this resolution.

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Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson

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7th Day: General Convention – Some Big Votes

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Today, the 78th Episcopal General Convention (GC) got into some of its bigger legislative discussions. Our Deputation is here in Salt Lake City, Utah, from the Diocese of El Camino Real (ECR) on the Central Coast of California.  I wrote on June 18 that most of the discussions this past year among the ECR Deputation members have been about the serious issues to be considered by this legislative body that meets every three years, especially:

  • Restructuring Church governance to enhance mission and ministry (TREC)
  • Marriage equality
  • Care of creation and social justice
  • Election of the next Presiding Bishop to a 9 year term

On 27 June, Bishop Michael Curry was elected to become Presiding Bishop. General Convention has been holding hearings and committee meetings for the last week and is starting to make decisions on the remaining major issues.  Today was the first day that Rev. Tom Sramek and I moved from the outer darkness of the Alternates seating onto the hallowed floor of the House of Deputies – as actual Deputies. We replaced Jeff Diehl and the Rev. Rob Fisher for today so that they could sit in on House of Bishop discussions.  To change status from Alternate to Deputy requires the signature of our Head of Deputation (Rev. Maly Hughes) or of Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves and must be done well before the legislative session starts.  Jeff and I, and Tom and Rob had to get all of our paperwork done before 7:30 this morning.

After getting a new red and white Deputy badge to replace my yellow Alternate badge, I sat in on the “Formation and Education for Ministry” committee of which Bishop Mary is a member.  The resolutions discussed included: financial support for immigrants and undocumented college students, and General Theological Seminary  (GTS) management, style, and financial relationship to General Convention.  Morning committee hearings were followed by worship service and then we went into the first to two legislative sessions for the day.  Elections held by the House of Deputies today included Executive Council (lay members only – clergy members were elected yesterday), GTS Trustees, members of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops, Treasurer and the Vice President for General Convention.

In addition to elections, House of Deputies also approved or concurred with the House of Bishops on resolutions on some key topics today, including:

Tom and I both spoke to the House of Deputies in support of resolutions where our experience and understanding could further the discussion. After the legislative session ended, John Plocher and I went to the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Education for Ministry program by the University of the South – School of Theology.

A sideshow are the continuing problems with the ECR Deputation’s hotel which has been having catastrophic plumbing problems, including an exploding boiler causing fire alarms in the middle of the last two nights. Cold showers and interrupted sleep have not made us big fans.

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Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson. Photo of Katy Copyright 2015 by Rev. Tom Sramek

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4th Day at General Convention: Joy in the Morning

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The US Supreme Court decision supporting marriage equality came out just before the morning worship service here in Salt Lake City at the 78th Episcopal General Convention (GC).  The Deputation from the Diocese of El Camino Real (ECR) joined a wildly joyous crowd of thousands singing and dancing in thankful celebration. The rest of the day’s legislative meetings were not nearly as exciting!

The four candidates to be 27th Presiding Bishop were formally accepted for election tomorrow. GC started discussions on church restructuring (TREC) and worked through a variety of small votes.  The uncontested re-election of the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings for House of Deputies President was a happy moment. (She is the first ordained woman to hold the position – first elected in 2012.) She gave up her seat to the House of Deputies Vice President Byron Rushing and returned to sit with her home Deputation of Ohio during the vote process. She returned to a standing ovation by the House of Deputies. The National Association of Episcopal Schools was congratulated on its success and 50th anniversary. Episcopal Relief & Development was likewise commended for its excellence and 75th anniversary.

The Rev. Lester V. Mackenzie, GC Chaplain from Los Angeles, lead us in song and prayer. Everyone was asked again to “turn off their WiFi, MyFi and Hotspots – we have ways of finding you!” because these interfere with the GC Virtual Binder updates. I am not sure if it was this interference but we all enjoyed the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings making an exception to nominating procedure “because of malfunction of the thingy”.

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Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson

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