Sunday, January 25, 2009

All are welcome

"All Are Welcome". This was the theme of the 193rd Annual Convention of the Episcopal Church of North Carolina. I admit that when first asked to represent my church at this two-day event I wasn't too keen. Okay, let's be honest, I didn't relish the idea at all. However after much thought and prayer I decided to step up to the mantel. I'm glad I did.

Yes, there was the business of debating, agreeing or disagreeing various changes to Canon law, election of diocesan officers, etc., but that was fine, if a tad confusing at times. Our Bishop delivered a amazing pastoral address, explaining that he has a hope, a dream, "that when we mark the 200th anniversary in the year 2017, that the face of the Episcopal Church here will reflect the face of the peoples of North Carolina in all of our variety and God-given diversity. And that it will be known of us far and wide that, "All are welcome in this place." "

As important as the resolutions discussed were, two especially caught my attention. The first was a resolution to add to Lesser Feasts and Fasts, the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray (1910-1985), American civil rights advocate, feminist, Lawyer, writer and poet and the first African-American woman priest in the US. At age 3, following the death of her mother she lived with her aunt and maternal grandparents in Durham, NC. I'm pleased to say that resolution was passed.

The second was to recognize the very first baptisms in the "Lost Colony", founded by Sir Walter Raleigh on Roanoke Island, North Carolina. Manteo, a Native American of the Algonquian nation, became a liaison between the English and the Native Americans. On August 13, 1587, Manteo was baptized, and by command of "Sir Walt", created Load of Roanoke. Manteo's was both the first recorded baptism of the Church of England on the American shores and the first recorded baptism of a Native American person in the Church of England. On August 18, Governor John White's daughter Eleanor and her husband Ananias Dare celebrated the birth of their first child, Virginia Dare. Virginia was baptized on August 20. She was the first child born to English settlers on the North American continent and only the second recorded baptism in North America in the Church of England. Another resolution passed.

Manteo and Virginia Dare

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