I started out my day by attending church at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin. It was a short 4 or 5 block walk. It has a long history in Austin, believed to be the oldest Episcopal Church building in constant use west of the Mississippi. Their normal attendance of 25 at the 8:00am service was more like 100 today.
The next event for me, was to join the public witness by Bishop’s United Against Gun Violence which was held in a small park across from the Convention Center. Some of the featured speakers were April and Phil Schenstrup, whose daughter Carmen was one of the Parkland School shooting victims, and Abigail Zimmerman, a high school freshman who gave a rousing, impassioned speech that included a call for common sense gun laws, and the hope that her younger brothers, and eventually her own kids will not have to be afraid to go to their own school.
The highlight of the day was a trip to the T. Don Hutto Detention Center near Taylor, Texas. The organizers of this trip thought they might get 150-250 people to come – instead they had over 1,000 Episcopalians who came on 16 buses and by private vehicles to pray, and share a message of love and hope, for the 512 women detained within the walls. The heat did not deter the passion of the crowd as spontaneous songs and hymns were sung followed by prayers, and a speech by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry who told us we can make America great again by making America good again. We were told the women inside could hear us, and they watched out the windows, where they could, until the last bus was gone.
There was still work waiting to be done after we got back. The House of Deputies elected people to several boards and re-elected Rev. Gay Clerk Jennings to her 3rd and final term as President of the House of Deputies. Debate started on Resolution B012 which deals with “Marriage Rites for the Whole Church” Due to the session time running out, this will continue tomorrow.
Cheryl Dobrzynski is a member of St. Peter, Sheboygan Falls. To learn more about our General Convention Deputies, visit diofdl.org/gc.