Monday afternoon -5:30 PM Long


Monday afternoon -5:30 PM

Long day so far today.

(By way of explanation let me mention that computer I’m using to write the entries only gives me 30 minutes of time and has an old keyboard that has – shall we say – issues. I apologize for the paucity of detail – and the spelling and grammar. I don’t have time to write and check. Hopefully these can be considered a do it yourself editing project. Grin.)

I met with Bishop Meshack today. It was wonderful to see him again. I brought him a laptop computer for his use and a whole pile of pens. I need to give away almost 75 pens a day. (I brought along close to 750 in total.) I’d fallen behind over the weekend, but I’m back on quota again.

We had a long conversation and then went to lunch at the diocesan convention center. Bishop invited me to stay there for the rest of my visit, but the thought of trying to move all the supplies that I brought for distribution again made me decline his generous offer. I did have a chance to meet with Fr. Shelby who is the Conf. Center manager. We spoke with him and the bishop about the possibility of building a computer and internet training center at the site for use by the clergy and people of the diocese and as a site for local youth to continue their computer training as well. It looks like a real possibility and is frankly quite exciting.

I keep telling people that they must share their story with the rest of the world. This new center, if we can make it come true, will give the people of the Diocese that chance. We have a lot of work to do find out the total costs of the project etc… but once it’s up and running Bishop Meshack has already found a plan to make it sustainable.

Sustainable is the word of the day. It’s easy to start a program and to do something once. It’s much harder to make a program continue from year to year. Many grants are for start up funds only… when the funds run out, often the program ends. We are looking at ways to make whatever program we put in place work and work over a long period of time. Sustainability.

Bishop told us of his dream to work with the Mother’s Union here to provide a place for children orphaned through AIDS to have a chance to spend the weekend nights together. These children are ostracized by their school peers because their parents died of AIDS. They have no one to play with and no one to talk to. The Mother’s Union in the Diocese brings these children together on the weekend and feeds them, teaches them basic life skills like cooking and mending, and gives them a chance to play with each other. It’s the only opportunity these children have to be children during their week. The Bishop is dreaming of finding the funds to construct a residence for the children so that they don’t have to go home on Saturday night and will be able to spend more time with each other instead – and have as a result a greater taste of normal relationships than otherwise are possible.

Ned and I spent the rest of the afternoon with the two extraordinary woman who are coordinating the Diocesan AIDS ministry. They have just received the exciting news of a significant grant from our own ER-D. They are just starting the planning process to find out what the best ways to use the funds made available might be.

These are two very capable people. They took Ned and I in hand, walked us through the present program of the Diocese and what they hoped for the future. They have so many needs. They are struggling to find ways to transport the visiting nurses to the home hospice patients. They are trying to find sources of medicine for the sick. They are trying to teach the people of the parishes how to care for those dying of AIDS in the community.

We planned our visits for the next 3 days. We will have a chance to visit with technical people to consult on the real communication needs of the area. We will meet with clergy who are running important AIDS outreach ministries. We have a meeting with the US Ambassador on Thursday. We plan to meet back with the Bishop on Friday to debrief and plan together what the next steps might be.

I’m off to write up my diary of the day… There’s so much more to report than I have time to write now. I’m keeping a daily report so that I can keep all the details and the nuances straight. There’s so much happening.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...