One of our regular lunch locations is Victoria’s Mexican Restaurant. It is family owned and has been around since 1983. It looks to me as if the majority of people who eat there have some connection with the family that owns the place.

Our regular waitress is Carmen, one of the owners. She knows what we usually have and depending on her mood she may come over to our table or she may take our order from the “owners table,” where various family members sit as they come and go.

Carmen has a very cute and charming daughter who works at CVS, and who can often be found taking her lunch at the owner’s table. She can also be frequently found at the local gym.

Another person who can be found at the owners table is Donald (Elvis) Prieto, a member of the family who made an amazing comeback from a kidney transplant some years ago. On Tuesdays, though, Carmen has the day off and you’ll find him waiting tables. He’s also a well-known Elvis impersonator in South County.

We’re happy to be part of the extended family at Victoria’s.

The 77th Episcopal General Convention

I’ve long resisted twitter, but I opened a twitter account some weeks back in large part to follow the 2012 Episcopal General Convention. Originally the twitter hashtag was supposed to be #GC12, but the Presbyterians made ample use of that at their own convention earlier this year, so it was switched to #GC77, this being the 77th triennial General Convention of the Episcopal Church. I checked in multiple times a say, and for the most part I was pleased with the results of the convention. You can get the official wrap-up from the Episcopal News Service here, but I wanted to share my own reflections.

The lasting work of the convention is in the resolutions passed or not passed, because that sets the direction for the church for the next three years. Among some of the resolutions I was pleased to see adopted:

  • A resolution authorized provisional use of a rite for blessing same-gender unions. (Watch Susan Russell on CNN debating the topic with an opponent of same-sex blessings.)
  • One resolution makes clear that the ordination discernment process is open to members of the transgender community, and another guarantees their equal place in the life, worship and governance of the church.

The convention passed a resolution on the controversial Anglican Covenant (see also that said: “as a pastoral response to The Episcopal Church, the General Convention decline(s) to take a position on the Anglican Covenant at this convention.” I don’t suppose that there was any chance of the Anglican Covenant ever being approved, but I wish the convention had taken a definitive stand against it.

The one big disappointment was on the matter of Open Communion. Currently the canons officially state that only those baptized can receive Communion, though this practice is rarely enforced. There were two resolutions on this, one to explicitly permit Open Communion and one to study it. What finally was passed was a resolution that doesn’t do much of anything. It simply states, “baptism is the ancient and normative entry point to receiving Holy Communion.” I checked with my spiritual director, who is an Episcopal priest and was a convention delegate this year, and she confirmed that this has no effect at all on Canon 1.17.7, which requires baptism to receive Communion. She emailed me, “I’ll continue to be one of those who acts outside the canon and hope for a different outcome next time.” She will be far from alone in this respect. Disappointing, indeed.

I should mention, since the resolution passed both houses unanimously, that the convention voted to study a significant organizational restructuring. That will be interesting.

On social justice issues, though, and on matters of reaching out and including the disenfranchised, the convention hit the ball out of the park. Susan Russell wrote on Facebook:

Quick breakfast burrito in the airport. Debriefing convention with colleague. Cute, young waitress interrupts. “I just want to thank you for what your church is doing. I have too many friends who are struggling because their church tells them they’re not OK and so I just want to say you guys rock!” Seeds bearing fruit from our GC77 witness.

I have to say that today I am proud to be a member of the Episcopal Church.

Sacred Music Friday: Old 100th

Old 100th (All People That on Earth Do Dwell), arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams.  50th Coronation Anniversary.

summer blog break

I’ll be back at the end of the week with Sacred Music Friday, and then on Monday 16 July with new blog posts. In the meantime, I’m taking a short break from blogging and in doing so will be following the happenings at the Episcopal General Convention. And join me on Facebook. I may have a thing or two to say there this week.

In the meantime, are there topics you’d like to see more of here? Topics you’d like to see less of? Please add your comments.

I was there

I was there to hear your borning cry. Lyrics written by John Ylvisaker in 1985. Arrangement by Martha Lynn Thompson.

rural elements remain

When we moved to Gilroy in 1997 it seemingly had the aspiration of being a bedroom community to Silicon Valley. While there was a strong component of that for a while, I don’t think it ever fulfilled the promise the city fathers were seeking. Nonetheless, the city has grown a lot in that time. Witness the businesses that we did not have in 1997, but which we have today, and have had for several years: Costco, Home Depot, Target, Barnes & Noble, Sports Authority, Lowe’s, Kohl’s, Staples, and Best Buy.

Still the rural element remains. When we get off the freeway and head for our house, we drive through a couple of miles of working farmland. And while our neighborhood is thoroughly suburban in its demeanor, we do not have to go far for a rural appearance and feel. The picture below is right at the halfway point of one on my walking routes.

It’s one of the things we enjoy about where we live.

Communion and Worship

I wrote about my aggravation with the budget politics in advance of the Episcopal General Convention. In a moment of frustration I thought, “Well, I could attend a Presbyterian church.” Immediately it hit me.

I don’t want to attend a church where I cannot receive Communion every Sunday. After receiving Communion that first time at All Saints’ Palo Alto in 1997 my desire for what I need in worship changed forever. Communion is now central to my worship experience.

That of course limits my choices. They amount to Catholic, Lutheran, and Episcopal. I’m not going to become a Catholic, as I have written, despite many areas in which I respect the Catholic faith. I spent more than ten years in a Lutheran church, but all that time I still considered myself an Episcopalian. I never did think of myself as a Lutheran. And I like the rather doctrine-free structure of the Episcopal church in comparison to the Lutheran. Indeed, there’s much I love about the Episcopal Church.

So that is where I will go to kneel, open my hands, and receive the Bread and the Wine each Sunday.

on not having illusions

Turning once again to Susan Russell:

+George Barrett began the funeral sermon for +John Krumm with these words: “John Krumm was never disillusioned by the church because John Krumm never had any illusions about the church.” Arguably the most influential sermon I ever heard.

Something particularly relevant as the Episcopal Church begins its General Convention on Thursday, and nerves start to fray.

I was particularly troubled by the rising budget brouhaha. My thought was, “Do I really want to be part of an organization that behaves in this manner?” Of course all churches have their organizational politics. That’s true wherever you go.

Besides, I looked around and I saw that Susan Russell is still part of the Episcopal Church. So is my rector. And my spiritual director. Those are all people I respect. If I respect them, and they are staying, then why shouldn’t I stay?

Perhaps the trick is to be like John Krumm and never have any illusions about the church.

not a great week, but…

Last week I learned that I was losing my manager to early retirement, and Terry learned that her rep firm was losing its most profitable line. Bummer. But guess what?