Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Deanery Conference

This past weekend we hosted the deanery conference at St. Phillip’s Church in Buluan. Forty members from seven parishes were present. At first, I encountered nothing unexpected from the meeting. We held a mass, went over finances, trained lay ministers, had a class on the meaning of the liturgy, ate, and drank A TON of coffee. For my part, I presented the Sunday school curriculum I developed and trained a batch of high schoolers as teachers.

Saturday was coming to a close when I was suddenly hit with a great worry. How was everyone going to get home? It had poured rain all day long and some of the folks had at least an hours walk ahead of them. Well of course, they could all just stay the night. But where were all these people going to stay?

Everyone unpacked and stayed at the church. Men stayed in the church building and women slept in the rectory. I have been to many youth retreats in my day, and heard of many adult retreats. Never before had I seen, at least by my reckoning, four different generations spending the night together under one roof. Everyone, young and old alike spread out on the floor with blankets, talking, eating, joking, anything but sleeping.

I had a priest once tell me that the biggest problem she faced in her parish was the people were flat out mean to each other. I believe it too. And frankly, I find it hard to imagine ALL the members of any church I have ever gone to willingly having a middle school style sleep over together. Heck, I find it hard to imagine most families I know freely submitting to such close quarters. It was a great piece of love. 

The Deluge

Holding Court

Church Puppy

Lunch Break


Padi Sacki's Singing School

New Sunday School Teachers

SKEP the Youth Organization of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines

Rice and Rice and Rice

Here in Han Han

My first week in the Philippines I stayed in Han Han with a member of St. Titus’ Church. The church was directly behind the house, the graveyard is directly in front of the house, and to the side is the church co-op.

There were a lot of celebrations this first week. The day I arrived there was a thanksgiving mass for a parishioner who passed an exam. So, we slaughtered a pig. Then there was the mass for the blessing of a new home. So, we slaughtered a pig. Next came the celebration of a death anniversary. We slaughtered a pig. Finally we celebrated All Soul’s day. No pig slaughter. Instead, people spend the week cleaning the graves of their loved ones. On the day of, there is a mass followed by a house visits and consuming of macaroni salad. In the evening, people take candles and light the graves. Then, the party starts. Food and drink while sitting casually atop the graves. Someone brought a guitar and everyone sang late into the night.

Life here is taking a little getting used to.

Things we don’t have:
Running Water
Phone Signal
Air Con

Things we do have:
1 “Channel” (12 hours a day it broadcasts lizards, the other 12, chickens)
Dogs in Church
Lots of Children all around
People Making music
Unlimited fresh fruit
Mosquito nets
Homemade fruit wine
Motorcycles as taxis
House visits
Coffee (currently averaging 6-8 cups a day)
Sincere and Honest conversation
A worn out copy of The Brothers Karamazov 

Girls at The House Blessing

View From My Bedroom Window

Didn't Know This Was Real

24 Hour Chicken Vision

St. Titus' Church with Drying Palay