Of Many Things. And an Apology for Imposed Silence.

Philadelphia: Tuesday, 22 July 1997

Dear Friends:

Severe internet connection problems have plagued my attempts in the last 30 or more hours to be able to submit my news stories. I was denied accreditation to use the press room here at the convention, so I had to rely on my own personal Internet Service Provider, and I've had problems calling them from Philadelphia.

At least my computer ("Thor," Powerbook of Mystery) has been working well.

As many or most of you will already know, much has transpired since my last report was filed. Although my ISP (the usually excellent Pipeline/MindSpring) has robbed me now of some timeliness, I will cite merely a few of the biggest things, though they are now longer hot off the press.

Short versions of giant stories:

A more personal note, here: Today, Ana and I and assorted musicians will perform at the lovely St. Stephen's Church here in Philadelphia, very near to the Convention Center--a 7:30 p.m. benefit concert for the National Episcopal AIDS Coalition headed by the Rev. Ted Karpf. I have been hoping and praying that my ragged voice will return, and soon--not merely to make a good showing, but to claim the power of Love to lift hearts, the strengthen the worried, the disappointed, the tired--those here for whom things have not gone well in legislation, or those for whom things have gone too well and now face a changed landscape in their home parishes, etc. Music can go deep into the heart, and it is still my preferred vehicle of grace. But, I am whispering, betrayed by my throat and my ISP.

I have a huge backlog of commentary which will soon flood your heretofore languishing mailboxes; I am trusting that my editor will be able to parcel it out into stories for you. I must now leave this room to gather today's impressions and move a ton or two of strange and exotic musical instruments to their appointed place.

Be of good cheer. Our Church still stands! Most are in amity still with each other; although some snarling is apparent, love and respect still mark our shared endeavors. Our prayer and worship unite us--clearly. Thunderous waves of Amens...

As Patti Browning (the gracious wife of PB +Ed Browning) said in a speech last night praising the estimable Brian Grieves+, (director of the national office for Peace and Justice Ministries, who received the John Nevin Sayre Award for courageous witness in the cause of peace and justice): "One of Brian's gifts is the gift of hope, and through the hope that is in him, he sustains others. Hope is a necessary quality ...." She began her speech quoting from Micah: "And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"

Friends: This Church is alive!--we still speak and move and have our being, in community--in difference--but still: we persist. ALL OF US. Alleluia.

We move forward, guided by our lights--our history, our past, our present, our future--and all of it, strangeLy and often miraculously --is still visible and palpable here in Philadelphia.


p.s. The most popular booth in the exhibit hall is the Amish Fudge and Candy Booth.

Copyright © 1997 Deborah Griffin Bly.
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