Saturday, February 6.
The fellas from the Interior woke up around 5:30 am and started talking in loud voices. I heard water running. I determined that it wasn't raining (it had rained hard the night before, which is unusual for this time of year) so the sound was probably from the showers, so I was planning to shower once I got up. However, I wasn't getting up until my alarm went off at 6:20 am, as a matter of principle. The other city fellas were still asleep, too. When the alarm went off I gout up, grabbed my towel and toiletries and headed for el baño. When I passed Guillermo, he informed me that the water had been turned off to fill the tank and would be off for at least a half hour. We all sat on the edges of our beds waiting for the water. I eventually went into the bathroom searching for a toilet with a full tank and discovered that the water had been turned on! Yay! I announced the good news to those waiting and we all got to shower and brush our teeth. We all marched off to the refectory for breakfast. I sat down, opened my breakfast container and was amazed to see johnny cake and bistec picado (a savory-seasoned chopped beef). ¡Qué sopresa! I told my table companions about the bet we had made the night before in regards to breakfast. When Luther sat down, he opened his container and said, "I lost the bet!" which made everyone laugh. There was still water running in the bathroom after breakfast, so I was able to brush my teeth. Yay!
It was the Business Day of Diocesan Convention, so we all had to pick-up our packages and name tags. Some of my former students from the Interior led a bilingual Morning Prayer and asked me to provide the music. They did an excellent job finding people to read passages in English, and they did a fine job of leading Morning Prayer. The meeting started with roll call and approval of the agenda, and then Bishop Murray gave his address. After his address he gave a certificate to Revdo. Carlos Austin in recognition of his help for the diocese by visiting the region of Bocas del Toro once a month to perform sacerdotal duties (there are no Episcopal clergy in Bocas at this time). The Rev. Canon Dennis Josiah was made Rector of Christ-Church-By-The-Sea in Colón, where he has been helping out. Padre Josiah is my predecessor at San Cristóbal. He retired in 2000; that's why I became Rector, but he has spent his retirement working in Colón, so the Bishop recognized his efforts and made him Rector. I received a certificate in recognition of my "constant help in producing the liturgical materials used in the Diocesan celebrations of the Episcopal Church of Panamá." Elections to Diocesan Offices were held next. I was appointed Chair of the Commission on Ministry again; I can not escape (since I am not canonically resident in the diocese, I can't vote or run for any office, but the Bishop can appoint me to various offices, and he does!). My actual responsibility during the meeting was to play guitar when music was needed. Padre Francisco led Noonday Prayer and announced that when we sing we pray twice so we sang a lot! After lunch we discovered that the water had been turned off, again.
The convention business ended around 4:30 pm. We were given a half-hour to get ready and head down the street to St. Mary's for the Closing Eucharist. There are been a few liturgical and musical problems at Thursday's Eucharist, and even though I was not in charge of the liturgies this year I wanted to help in any way. I had suggested to the musicians that we go over the music and rehearse on Friday, but that never happened (I waited for them but no one appeared). I had a conversation with Revda. Glenda McQueen about "co-celebrating" (I am a student of Louis Weil and don't like doing it, but it is the tradition here) and how there is no consistency in how the clergy participate. She said that the problem was we never discuss that kind of stuff in Clericus or even before a service. So I suggested to the Bishop that we have such a discussion before Saturday's service. He agreed, and also agreed that hands should be raised during the epiclesis and not during the Words of Institution. So far, so good.
I arrived at the church early to talk with the musicians. The keyboard was set-up but the keyboardist "don't reach yet," as we say here. I noticed some problems with the bulletin and notified the Bishop and other participants so that they would be prepared. At five minutes to 5:00 pm I was getting nervous as the keyboardist had yet to appear, so I started chording the hymns in my head. I asked the bishop about incense, and I guess he thought I was volunteering to serve as Thurifer, as he sent an acolyte to find out about the incense. About two minutes later the acolyte came to me and said, "The bishop says 'There isn't any coal, so play the guitar instead.'" So I was the musician for the Liturgy of the Word. The keyboardist appeared during the sermon. At the Peace I told him, "I have to go to priest stuff now, but I'll come play on the final hymn."
As the clergy gathered around the bishop and the altar for the Eucharist, I turned to Glenda and said, "I talked to the Bishop but we didn't have the conversation with everyone else." She told me that the Bishop spoke with the clergy before the procession and told them that we would be raising our hands during the epiclesis and not during the Words of Institution. I thought, "great!" However, at the Words of Institution several priests raised their hands. I whispered "No, not now." They did it again as the chalice was raised, and others joined them. Glenda and I looked at each other, and shrugged. We did raise our hands during the epiclesis and I whispered "¡ya!" so everyone joined in. I think this may take time. . .
The Mass ended around 7:15 pm or so, and then we all headed over to the Fire Station where we had "Calypso Night!" The band which provided the music at the Eucharist now provided the music for Calypso Night. We had a lovely Bocas-style dinner and there was lots of dancing. At one point I heard Carnaval Practice taking place outside the Fire Station so I went out with my trusty camera to catch a few shots. Many members of the ECW were out there dancing and I snapped a few photos. We all returned to our hotels and the lovely Centro San Agustino (motto: Waddaya Want For $5.00?), where we Austinos learned that the water was still turned off. We all packed and then went to bed, as we were catching a water taxi at 6:00 am.
Delegates from churches in the región de La Chorerra
Delegates from churches in the región de Colón
Delegates from churches in the región de Chiriqui
Delegates from churches in the región de Panamá Metro
Table on the left: Delegates from Parroquia San Pablo. Table on the right: Delegates from Parroquia San Cristóbal
The Diocese of Panamá in Convention
Sara keeps herself entertained
Bishop Murray gives his address
Bishop Murray announces that the Rev. Canon Dennis Josiah is Rector of Christ-Church-by-the-Sea.
The Congregation at the Closing Eucharist
The Bishop with new Diocesan Officers
Winners of the Bishop's Award
The Band sings the offertory anthem. . .
. . .and a half-hour later are providing the music for Calypso Night. Now THAT'S versatility!
Sara takes a twirl on the dance floor
Sara learns to line dance with abuela's friends
UPDATE: Here's a photo of the certificate I received.