Marti and I, and the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, are off to Taiwan.  We left Monday morning from SeaTac, flew to San Francisco, met our flight there along with many other members of the House of Bishops.  It was a 13 and a half hour flight.  Chuck Robertson graciously took a picture of us just before we left SFO.

mart and greg

I can promise you we did not look nearly as “chipper” on the other end, but I was more awake than I thought I might be.

After customs and an hour drive we made it to the Grand Hotel, which is indeed Grand, beautiful, thought of by many as the most beautiful building in Taipei.  Its architecture and beauty are stunning.

Grand Hotel

We have been most warmly welcomed by the diocese here.   Their people are so excited that we have come.  Some forget that Taiwan is part of our Episcopal Church, not just connected through the Anglican Communion but actually part of Province 8, the same Province as Olympia, in the Episcopal Church.  This is a big reminder why we should not call ourselves ECUSA, we are not only the Episcopal Church in the USA, we are an international Church.  I know that many in the church look askance, or at least with great suspicion, at this meeting being held so far away and at great expense of time and money.  I have heard the words “boondoggle” and “junket” bantered about.  Such things are always a judgment call, and there is probably a little truth to both sides of this story.  But I will tell you it is not such to our friends, and fellow Episcopalians here, who cross those waters, on that long flight all the time to be part of our offerings.  It is quite true that we are never sure how, or who, should represent us in going, but there is no doubt we should go, more often, and learn, and then share.  We will do that here.

Bishop David Lai, who is a wonderful man and colleague, welcomed us today.  He opened his talk with these words, “my dream has come true, thanks for coming”  He went on to say, I know you were tired last night, I know, because for many years I have made that trip to be part of our meetings, thank you for coming this way.

David Lai

Our opening Eucharist celebrated Hildegard of Bingen and our Presiding Bishop presided and preached a beautiful sermon which pointed out just how” ahead” Hildegard was.  She was a mystic, a scientist, a playwright, a politically savvy person.  I can’t remember who she quoted as saying this, but the quote was, “If Hildegard had been a man during that same time, she would be thought of as one of the most important people who had ever lived”  I will post the sermon when I have it.

The day we left, September 15th, was the seventh anniversary of my consecration and ordination as your bishop.  That day Bishop Richard Chang was the chief Consecrator since the Presiding Bishop had to be in Oklahoma to do the same.  I have always loved that Bishop Chang was there and it was great to see him here and to catch up.  He has had some physical issues of late but is on the mend and looking great.

Bishop Chang

I am going to look for the “picture of the day” on our travels. Sometimes i will comment, and other times they shall speak for themselves.   This one is today’s picture.  It is in the main restaurant in the Grand where most of us are eating right now.  On the buffet at night there is beer included, from this tap.  But in the morning it looks like this, which says a lot, and well too

beer at the Grand

…Until tomorrow, Blessings to all of you from Taipei,