July 4th The Celebration of the Independence of our Country

Day 2 General Convention July 4, 2018

Second Day of General Convention

Today I started our morning with my first listening session of a Legislative hearing, the committee on “The Episcopal Church in Cuba.”  

Deputies and Alternate Deputies are encouraged to attend the committee hearings because eventually, we will be voting on the proposed Resolution A052.  The Legislative Hearing that I attended began studying the resolution, the Hearing also solicits testimony.  If the committee approves of it, the Resolution continues to the GC floor for a vote.  Resolution A052 resolves to start the process for reunifying the Cuban Diocese with the Episcopal Church.

I decided to go to this hearing two days ago because of Natalie Pukas and Cheryl Leong, our Altar Guild Directresses.  Last year, they visited Havana and expressed an interest in going to the Cathedral on their next visit.  I thought it might be good to learn a bit more about the relationship between the Cuban Church and our Church.  

The Episcopal Church of Cuba traced its formal origins to 1901 when the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church established the Missionary District of Cuba under the jurisdiction of the Presiding Bishop. The 1959 Cuban Revolution made communication and travel between the churches difficult, and in 1966 the Episcopal Church of Cuba was made an autonomous Diocese within the Anglican Communion, under the oversight of a Metropolitan Council comprising the Primates of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Church in the Province of the West Indies and the Episcopal Church.

Four people were also invited by the committee to testify. They included Frank Armstrong from Church Pension fund, David Copley from the Presiding Bishop’s staff, Kurt Barnes, treasurer and the Rt. Rev. Griselda Delgado.  The testimony was riveting while eye-opening as I gradually understood the complex issues surrounding the reunification of the Cuban Diocese with the Episcopal Church.   

I hope to learn of more issues before casting a vote for resolution A052 or any other resolution related to Cuba.  

There are many more happenings at GC, don’t miss my video blog found on our website and Facebook account. Tomorrow I will be including my thoughts on the opening session of the Convention.  All I can say is “Powerful work!” 

Your priest,

Father Sunil Chandy+

Monday July 2, 2018

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

It is now 2:15 pm. I have finally arrived at the Hilton Hotel in Austin Texas. It has been a long journey, which included a 2 am wake up time and a hurried push to finish some last minute packing before finally arriving at T.F. Green airport. I am grateful for Simi, my understanding wife, and Phillip my son, who woke up early (2 am) to help me and drive me to the airport. 

As they dropped me off, I knew that for two weeks I will not see them. Also, I will miss all the boys and Simi. Moreover, yes, perhaps I feel a little worried because in our busy household, all my usual chores are supposed to be handled by the boys. Although, I have been assured by Daniel (the youngest) that he will take care of things. Yes, even the dishes! As my mother used to say "we shall see"! After they leave, I focus on the trip ahead. I feel a nervous excitement. I am privileged to attend the National General Convention in Austin Texas. 

The General Convention is a remarkable experience for faithful Episcopalians. I see it as a big family reunion. The Episcopal family that is spread out all over the US will come together to remember what makes us family while also sharing our concerns. At the convention, we Episcopalians will discuss and make important decisions that will help us nurture God's love in the world. Many of us will also joyfully reconnect with old friends from dioceses that we have served in the past, and I anticipate making of new friends that will bring new insights. 

This process of meeting, discussing, discerning, and decision-making is not new to our Episcopal Church. It is part of our Christian DNA since the first century as described in the book of Acts since that first meeting of Apostles in Jerusalem. The Historical Church notes the Seven Ecumenical Councils beginning with the first in Nicaea, which led to the outline of our faith in the Nicene Creed. These councils called together people of faith as they struggled to live and proclaim the Gospel of Christ in their daily lives. 

Practically, the councils brought together the local concerns of Christians along with the teachings of the Jesus, and as the church prayerfully deliberated, guidance from the Councils helped churches to live out the Gospels faithfully. Some of these councils have made decisions that have reverberated to our present day, even leading to conflicts that have divided Christians. However, others have clarified our vision and purpose, leading to a renewed hope to establish the loving Kingdom of God that Jesus came to proclaim. 

I am hopeful for GC 2018 because although there will be many with differing opinions, some with passionately held beliefs, all of us are people of faith committed to building a better world through the Gospel. 

Blessing, Sunil Chandy

Your priest and friend