Saturday, August 16, 2008

In New Hampshire, finally

My Facebook status currently reads: Fran is in NH, safe and sound, but with sketchy internet connections. This is true. But it doesn't tell nearly all the story.

We left Michelle's folks' house in Northern Michigan on Tuesday morning (8/12). I planned for us to have about a 10 hour drive. Turns out that I mis-estimated the distance, or Google maps failed me. Whatever. We drove for 13 hours, got a bit lost after dark near Ottawa, and landed in our hotel, without dinner, at 9:45 PM.

The next morning, we figured we had about a five hour drive to our new house, so we took it a bit easy. We arose at 8:30 and went to have breakfast at the little restaurant attached to our hotel. After a wonderful French Canadian breakfast, we congratulated ourselves on the good choice and our short drive. We returned to our room, only to discover that Bird (our 8 year old Alaskan Husky, retired sled dog, and loather of the indoors) had BUSTED OUT of our room (causing $120 worth of damage) and was missing.

To cut to the chase, we found her after 2.5 hours. We wandered around. Lovely people in the neighborhood stopped us, asking first "votre chien?" and then describing Bird sightings. We found her on the highway, and figure she traveled about five miles, before we caught up with her. And SHE was supposed to be the easy pet on this trip. Actual departure time from Plantagenet, Ontario: 1 PM

We hit some serious traffic in Montreal, and took about 15 minutes at customs, which got us to our new house at about 6:45 PM. We were exhausted.

The house closed without a hitch on Thursday 8/14. And now we are waiting for our stuff to arrive. The movers first said Monday, but now say Tuesday. They've also been a bit sketchy, so I'm not even willing to bet on that.

The other big issue has been around getting TV and internet. Jim Kelsey used to have a postcard in his office that said, "The end of the world: 4 Miles, Marquette, MI: 5 miles." Milan is apparently 10 miles past Marquette. Or maybe 100. The cable offerings for Milan are puny, and cable/internet is not available. Verizon offers a phone, internet, TV bundle, but not in Milan. So, we've ordered a satellite dish for our TV options - and another satellite for our internet options. Though there was some confusion about the internet on the part of a dude named Brandon from Direct TV - so our internet installation can't be ordered until Monday (he told me I could get it through the phone line from AT&T - NOT).

So, we're here. And we're tired. And we are very relieved to be in our own place. We won't have internet at home for a while (though there is a wireless connection we can poach at church). So, be patient while we work all this out. More will follow.

Monday, August 4, 2008

All are Welcome

I've been catching up on news of the Lambeth Conference - the gathering of bishops in the Anglican Communion that happens once every 10 years at Canterbury Cathedral, at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

I've been reading a blog called Lambeth Journal, kept by a number of bishops - a sort of American inside view of the conference. The reflections are descriptive and personal. Check it out.

I did have a moment of combined anger and irony while reading my friend Neff Powell's reflections on the Opening Eucharist. He shared the words of a hymn that was sung during the opening Eucharist. I learned this hymn in Northern Michigan; Michelle and I used it as the processional for our service of commitment. Part of it goes like this:

Let us build a house where love can dwell
and all can safely live,
a place where saints and children
tell how hearts learn to forgive;
built of hopes and dreams and visions,
rock of faith and vault of grace;
here the love of Christ shall end divisions:
All are welcome,
all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

The anger and irony? All were not welcome at Lambeth. My new bishop, +Gene Robinson, was not invited. All are not welcome in the church. A number of bishops stated that glbt people "don't exist" in their countries. Ongoing conversation about the place of women and glbt people in the church continued. Sadly, I feel less welcome in the church after Lambeth. And yet, +Gene's witness to the world, on behalf of all glbt folk, has been a real plus. You can read +Gene's blog here.

In the end, I keep reminding myself that the church is an institution made up of flawed human beings, who try, and fail, and try again, to get it right. It has been so since the beginning. All that we can do is try to live faithfully, study scripture, love God and one love one another.