Tag Archives: Middle East

Communities of Liberation, Cuernavaca Mexico (3)

This is the third in a short series about my two week Spanish language and social justice immersion program in Cuernavaca, Mexico, with Pacific School of Religion‘s Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion (CLGS) and CILAC Freire.

Costumbres y Tradiciones (customs and traditions) – One of our talks included the charming concept of Mexico’s own “Vitamin T” – tacos, tostadas, tamales, tortas, tlacoyos and, of course, tequila. In Dora’s kitchen, we happily ate a great deal of Vitamin T. One Dora’s oldest kitchen tools was her mother’s molcajete (mortar) and temolote (pestle) for grinding spices. We saw more modern molcajetes in the market, painted with dog and pig faces. Even when our group got up early for day trips to visit Tepotzotlán and Mexico City, Dora was always there to be sure we were well fed and cared for. On our last day, she took us on a special trip to the municipal market to buy flameware pots after we admired those she used so well.

 

   

Another part of the Costumbres y Tradiciones talk was about the Virgin of Guadalupe whose 1531 image was ubiquitous during our travels in Mexico. We learned that Guadalupe has a connection to Tonantzin, the Aztec mother goddess, and that many believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe who do not believe in Jesus Christ, or even God. I did not know until hearing this talk that there is an Arabic connection to Guadalupe: the name (probably) derives from that of a Spanish river, the name for which has Arabic roots. Since my house in San Jose, California, is on the Guadalupe River, I was very interested!

 

 

One of the lovely old churches we walked by every time we went to downtown Cuernavaca was Parroquia San José El Calvario which not only has a variety of images of the Virgin of Guadalupe inside but a special building for her statue on the street outside. In addition to the prominent outside image of Mary, inside San José El Calvario I found a saint I never heard of before, San Charbel Makhlouf – a Maronite monk of Lebanon. I found another statue of San Charbel in the Parroquia de la Asuncion, Sagrario Metropolitano, in Mexico City. In both churches, his image stood above collections of many colored satin ribbons. A Catholic friend from Michoacán told me that San Charbel is very popular and powerful and that each ribbon represents thanks for a healing. In 2013, during our visit to Lebanon, TechWomen Fellow Adla Chatila took my daughter Jessica and me to see the Cedars of Lebanon, Khalil Gibran‘s home, and the Mar Bishay Hermitage, Qozhaya. The Monastery of Qozhaya is close to where San Charbel is from. I was not expecting to see so many connections to the Middle East while in Mexico.

 
Parroquia San José El Calvario, Cuernavaca 2019

 
San Charbel Makhlouf in Parroquia San José El Calvario, Cuernavaca, and in Mexico City, 2019

  

 
Monastery of Qozhaya, 2013

Iglesia del Río de la Plata y La Colectiva Diversa – In addition to the Spanish lessons and talks, our class went on a variety of field trips, including spending an evening with an inspiring community church in Cuernavaca called Iglesia del Río de la Plata y La Colectiva Diversa, lead for over thirty years by Rev. Alfonso Leija. Rev. Alfonso generously shared his remarkable story of developing the church and small hospice to support the LGBTQ community during the early AIDs epidemic. We heard from some of the church members and briefly shared something about ourselves. I only wish the air pollution had been less intense that night so that we could have learned more.

Photos Copyright 2013-2019 by Katy Dickinson

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TechWomen Team Morocco – Connect to Impact


I have been proud to team up with Mercedes Soria and Fatema Kothari for a third year as TechWomen impact coaches, to work with five remarkable leaders from Morocco: Safaa Boubia, Nisrine Oukacha, Fatima Zzahra Meziane, Fatima Zahra Oumenni, and Imane Nassif. We have been working together since the ladies arrived in September to create Connect to Impact – a new online platform offering resources for nonprofits in Morocco to showcase their actions plans, increase their awareness and access to donors, and in time, improve their skills through fit-for-purpose training. Connect to Impact will provide a bilateral matchmaking algorithm between donors and nonprofit organizations.

Team Morocco presented about Connect to Impact at TechWomen Pitch Day yesterday. We find out at the Community Event on Monday, 22 October 2018, which of the twenty country teams won.

What is TechWomen?
TechWomen empowers, connects and supports the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East by providing them the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and inspire women and girls in their communities.

TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). TechWomen, launched in 2011, supports the United States’ global commitment toward advancing the rights and participation of women and girls around the world by enabling them to reach their full potential in the tech industry.

Part of the joy of TechWomen is its large and supportive community. My daughter Jessica Dickinson Goodman is also a TechWomen mentor, again coaching Team Palestine, which also gave an excellent pitch yesterday.  During the intermission, we got to see videos from TechWomen Fellows of prior years, including Solve24, created by our own 2017 Team Lebanon. Wish us luck in winning the pitch competition!







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Photos Copyright 2018 by Katy Dickinson

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Solve24 from TechWomen of Lebanon

TechWomen Katy Maya Lara Rasha Washington DC October 2017

I am very proud of three of my TechWomen mentees from Lebanon who just launched the Solve24 – a new technical camp for teens in Beirut.  Our 2017 TechWomen Fellows from Lebanon (Lara Chikhani, Maya Itani, and Rasha Sukkarieh) have been working hard – with some advice from their three experienced mentors from the Silicon Valley (Mercedes SoriaFatema Kothari, and me) for many months to create this new program – while working at regular jobs, of course.

About Solve24:

A project-based program, designed to train students aged 13 – 17 to think outside the box while inquiring about and solving real-life challenges. The program allows them to explore design thinking processes and STEAM tools to find ways for creating usable and innovative products and finding solutions for real-life problems, in 24 hours, spread over 2 weeks. Throughout this camp, students will attend workshops and engage in specific activities that will guide and shape their way of thinking and provide them with the needed strategies for solving problems in an innovative way. First Session: 30 July – 9 August 2018

Lara, Maya, and Rasha are inspiring and remarkable and creative leaders!

Katy Dickinson, Mercedes Soria, Fatema Kothari, TechWomen October 2017

Facebook post by Maya Rasha Lara 1 July 2018

TechWomen Lebanon Rasha Maya Lara October 2017

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Images Copyright 2017-2018 by Katy Dickinson and TechWomen.

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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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Day 3, Episcopal General Convention

Episcopal Diocese El Camino Real Delegation GC79 discussion 6 July 2018

This was the second 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).  Early this morning, I gave testimony at a hearing for resolution D027 “Pursuing Justice for Gaza” before the Committee on Social Justice and International Policy. Episcopal Church News published an article quoting me this afternoon: “Israel-Palestine resolutions spark impassioned testimony under expedited process for review”.

After the hearings, the House of Deputies held a joint morning session with the House of Bishops discussing racial reconciliation. This featured inspiring presenters, including a hip hop poet. Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves lead the El Camino Real Deputies to the section of the hall where the Alternate Deputies sit so the whole Delegation could discuss together – since Alternates are not allowed to come onto the House floor unless we are formally substituting for a Deputy. The Alternates gallery applauded her!  After the discussion, we took a photo of the whole El Camino Delegation.

This afternoon, the House of Deputies began its discussion on whether the revise the Book of Common Prayer – a subject of much passionate and prayerful consideration.  The final vote was put off until tomorrow morning to allow for additional discussion.  After the worship service, most of our Delegation ended the day with a (late) birthday party for Bishop Mary – including spouses and kids of some of the Delegates.

The Austin weather continues to be very hot and humid – going outside feels like having a soggy warm blanket dropped on you.

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

Barbara Miller GC79 Committee hearing 6 July 2018

Katy Dickinson giving testimony on Social Justice - International Policy, General Convention, 6 July 2018

Maurice Dyer and Katy Dickinson GC79 6 July 2018

Diocese of El Camino Real Delegation, Episcopal General Convention, 6 July 2018

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Canon Stephanie Spellers, and El Camino Real Delegation GC79 on 6 July 2018

stairs Diocese of El Camino Real Delegation, Episcopal General Convention, 6 July 2018

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