Boy, yesterday was A BIG DAY! We celebrated "Harvest Thanksgiving" (as it has been called at this church long before I arrived), even though our harvests in Panamá tend to be year-round. We had a single, bilingual service. As posted Saturday, the Altar Guild had decorated with fresh fruit and vegetables. Lisa, a member of the Coro de Jóvenes (whom you may recognise from last Sunday's post as she had her First Communion), led the congregation in the Gloria Típico. Mr. Thomas, who is our retired organist and presently our Director of Music and Liturgy, came out of retirement and served as organist, and Ricardo Staple has returned from his month-long trip to the U.S.A., so we had great music (I played guitar on the Gloria Típico). El Revdo. Canonigo Luis Cáceres, our Assistant Rector, preached and did a wonderful job, as always. The parish has a Thanksgiving tradition in which children of the parish bring up baskets and cornucopias of fruit to the altar during the Presentation of the Gifts. There was so much stuff around the altar that it was a bit difficult when I censed the altar (we is a smells and bells church). Mrs. Eva Roberson from the U.S.A. sang two lovely pieces as part of our celebration. Here are some photos:
Mr. Thomas at the organ
Lisa sings the Gloria
Padre Cáceres preaching
Presentation of the Gifts
Padre smokin' the place up agin'
Ms. Eva Roberson
After the service, we all went across the street to the patio at Instituto Episcopal San Cristóbal, where we held our Thanksgiving luncheon. The youth choir sang "Dona Nobis Pacem." but we don't have any photos of that as both the Lovely Mona and I were helping the choir. We had lots of good food: coco-rice with peas; yellow rice; carrots and chayote; ham; chicken; turkey; plantano; salad; even some of that cranberry jelly stuff. We all ate our full and had a great time.
Lisa and her mom
Hillary and Daniel
Now, normally, this would be enough for me, but I received a telephone call from the Bishop's office on Friday, asking me to represent the Bishop at a function that would take place in the Bishop Hayes Gymnatorium at IESC on Sunday afternoon. La Parroquia San Pablo (St. Paul's parish) held their Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon and Fashion Show, for which the theme was Depicting Women of the Bible. My job as the Bishop's representative was to give the benediction at the end of the program. My good friend and the man I work with in the Theological Education department and person with whom I share duties for the Panama Project, Canon Walter Smith, gave the Invocation. Then lunch was served. Now, since I had just had my lunch, I watched everyone else eat, which is always entertaining. About an hour later the program began. Some young girls, the Praise Dancers from Instituto Bilingüe de San Juan Bautista danced to some hip-hop gospel en español. They were followed by Ms. Omaira de Prescott, who sang two inspirational gospel songs. Then we met some of the women from the Old Testament. My favorite part was when "the Servant who had served Abraham the longest" met Rebecca at the well (in Panamá, by the looks of the flag in the background). I had wondered where Walter had gone, but there he was, up on the stage, wearing a sheet. He also sang "Go Down, Moses" when Miriam, Sister of Moses, was portrayed. After the Women of the Old Testament portion of the show, the Praise Dancers returned, dancing in cheerleader outfits, complete with mylar pom-poms. Some dancers from a Methodist Church Youth Group also did a kinda Michael Jacksony kinda dance. Ms. Prescott sang two more numbers. Then, this being a program in the Diocese of Panamá. we had a tómbola, in which numbers from ticket stubs are drawn for Door Prizes (it is not a successful event in the Diocese of Panamá if there is no tómbola!). After the tómbola, Mrs. Daisy Scantlebury, who pretty much put the program together, gave some certificates to honor a few women of San Pablo. This was followed by the portrayal of Women of the New Testament. I'm not posting all those photos as those New Testament women moved across the stage quickly and rarely faced the crowd, so it was difficult to take photos of them. The Blessed Virgin Mary was portrayed last, and she walked from the stage to the back of the hall to the strains of Ave Maria. Then she walked back to the stage, followed by the women of the Old and New Testaments, who gathered together on the stage to receive our applause. After some words of thanks, I finally did my bit. What a day!!!
The Praise Dancers
Omaira de Prescott
Walter Smith acts and sings! (with Aurelia Burgess)
Rahab and the Spies!
Orpah, Naomi, and Ruth
Praise Dancers return!
Dancers from the Methodist Youth Group
Mrs. Daisy Scantlebury presenting a certificate
Following the BVM
The Women of the Bible