I marvel again at God's timing. First, I was elected as a Lay Deputy to this General Convention. Then, since I am not a member of a legislative committee, I chose to observe the  committee on The Episcopal Church in Cuba. While attending a meeting of that committee, I heard Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio testify eloquently and passionately that the Episcopal Church in Cuba no longer wants to be isolated as it has been since 1966. The church yearns for the love and support of the greater church. Cuban Episcopalians want to reunite with the church that gave them birth. The clergy have no pension plan because the government does not allow that for religious workers. Churches are in desperate need of repair and supplies.
Then today, I was privileged to be in the House of Deputies when we welcomed the Episcopal Church of Cuba back home with a resounding ovation! Bishop Griselda was given seat and voice in the House of Bishops yesterday and a clergy and a lay deputy were given seat and voice in the House of Deputies today. What a glorious time of celebration! 
 
The General Convention involves long hours, earnest listening, thoughtful deliberation and voting on a wide variety of resolutions. Some items are tedious; some are heart-wrenching. The work of the church is done diligently, with respect for everyone. I am proud to be part of a church that deals with tough questions.
 
Thank goodness there is levity, not just on the floor of the House of Deputies, but on the street, in the elevators and in line for coffee. I'll share just a few. "There are a lot of priests on the street now. Makes me uncomfortable!" 
"Episcopalians looove chicken!" said by the manager of Gus's. (Yes, Gus's is here in Austin.) "World Cup update - Croatia beat England." "Did you know that the General Convention pigeon has its own Twitter account?"
 
TEC (The Episcopal Church) is one big family. This is our reunion. I thank you for the honor to represent you here. The joy of being with the wide variety of members of our family is absolutely wonderful! And this retired Spanish teacher shed tears of joy today as we embraced our Cuban family members once again!
 
Mary Beth Seltzer
 






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