Sunday, April 7, 2013

Solomon Episcopal Conference Center

It's a cool Sunday evening and while dinner is simmering, I've come to realize that I am FOREVER behind in my posts.  Nonetheless, I thought I'd write a few quick notes about today's experience at the Solomon Episcopal Conference Center in Robert, Louisiana as it set the tone for a wonderful day!
Our Bishop, The Rt. Rev'd Morris K. Thompson and the Solomon Episcopal Conference Center invited everyone in the diocese (EDOLA) to celebrate 20 years of service and hospitality to EDOLA and neighboring communities with a Bluegrass Eucharist followed by a picnic and activities on the grounds. Brilliant! This was SUCH a fantastic use of
"low-Sunday". I was not able to stay the whole time, but I did go up for the service. The bishop said that he was hoping for 200 people and that we had far exceeded that number! I saw an update from Canon Mark E. Stevenson this evening and it read: " Nearly six hundred people attended today's celebration at the Solomon Episcopal Conference Center. For the first time in history, three bishops of the Diocese of Louisiana vested for the same liturgy. It was a glorious day indeed!" It was a wonderful service and as I looked out onto the lake while listening to the music and the lessons, I could feel layers of stress fading away. I had to leave right after the service, but I definitely will plan on coming back and I highly recommend anyone going to the center to experience the restful and spiritual atmosphere!

Here is a link to the history of the center.
Bishops Brown and Jenkins were here today and participated in the service. Bishop Brown told us that Teddy Solomon, who had become involved with supporting the center in 1982, had passed away. I was struck at how amazing a moment this was - all of us here, celebrating the beauty of this place and his passing in the night. Truly, I am sure that he would have been thrilled at today's service.

The Last Chance Bluegrass Band played for us today and while the keys were low for the singer types on some hymns, it went well and was a great idea to have them! I enjoyed hearing them.

Everyone brought folding chairs, blankets, or used rockers and chairs provided. Children were everywhere and I even saw a CUTE PUPPY that someone brought with the family! :-) My friend Bonnie and I sat down front and sang harmony to all the hymns. My shirt was a hit! I thought that since it was a bluegrassy day, it was very appropriate :-) (Here's a link where you can get the shirt from Altar Press)
One more picture from the service - Bishop Thompson leads us in prayer. He is a wonderful and kind man and I am so happy to have had this experience today.

I am planning to visit the center before I go to Innsbruck this summer. I need it. I need to competely immerse myself in thought and prayer. Who doesn't these days? For many years now, I have had spiritual tuggings to further my work and service in The Episcopal Church. For the past three and a half years, it's been more pronounced and the last six months has not gone away from my thoughts. It's been much closer to the surface in my activities. The level of student counseling / listening I do has more than quadrupled in the last few years as well. I will be beginning spiritual advising soon and see where that takes me.... That is certainly a loaded topic about which I will blog some this summer when I have time in Austria! It is certainly not new and those who are close to me know this, but it's new for me to discuss out loud with more than a handful. I am currently in a stage of reading recommended books.
I'll leave this post with one more view of the Solomon Center. Blessings to all! :-)


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