The Episcopal Church has general convention every three years and this year it was held in Austin Texas. Brother Dennis and I were able to attend and stay in a house with two other nuns; a Franciscan and Mother Hillary, the prior of Julian of Norwich. We all helped out in the CAROA (Conference of Anglican Religious Orders of the Americas) booth which provided information about the diverse and rich life of monastics. It was great fun to be with our monk and nun family who are so supportive and encouraging to us.
One of the important events that we attended was sponsored by Bishops United Against Gun Violence. It was a prayerful rally across the street from the convention center.
There were hundreds of people attending including Our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Bishop John Taylor, and dozens of other bishops. A Florida bishop had brought an Episcopal family of four whose daughter/sister was murdered at the Parkland shooting in Florida. The mother and father spoke to us in their devastating grief asking us to get engaged in reforming gun laws. It is hard to imagine the pain that they live in day in and day out. They are using their voices and story to inspire action to put restrictions on assault weapons and make background checks universal.
A young high school student from Waco Texas spoke also. The bishop who introduced her called her the PROPHET Abigail. She told us about her efforts to lead her school in participation in the walk-out and her thrilling surprise to see not just a few students but nearly the entire school and many teachers join in the peaceful event. She has found her purpose and her voice, and we believe she will be a mover and shaker impacting countless young and not so young people. Our friend the Reverend Lester McKenzie led a rousing song ending the peaceful and prayerful rally.
There were many wonderful moments during our time in Austin and many important issues addressed. Gabe, Taylor, and their daughter Harper were there too and will be offering reflections on their experience in the coming weeks.