Monday, May 04, 2009

A Time for Reconciliation


:: reconciliation ::

The University of Portland Chiles Center was packed, as were campus parking lots. Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (EMO) organized this event. Providence Health & Services was one of the main sponsors.

David Leslie, EMO's executive director, delivered the introduction. He and his wife had lunch with our family (me, Tara, Dawn, my parents) in Cape Town in 1999, during the Parliament of World Religions.

Lowen Berman and Bonnie Tinker got to snap close ups right in front of the stage. I sat fairly close as well, taking in the music, poetry, invocation, the lecture, panel, awarding of a degree. Quite a program.

Bishop Tutu was earthy, puckish, ebullient, full of good humor and hope. He focused on the truly positive developments we've experienced, not just in South Africa, but also in Ireland, Rwanda, Liberia, even the USA.

He encouraged us to applaud ourselves for electing president Obama, which we did.

He's a big fan of the Dalai Lama's, made that very clear. Given this was an ecumenical audience, like in Cape Town, this wasn't a tough sell.

Good seeing Carolyn Wilhelm again, a good companion for Dawn during her long illness (she made the shroud).

Hey, wasn't that Rodney Page in the fourth row? He was our EMO boss back when I worked for CUE in the late 1980s, where Dawn and I met.

We saw George and Annis on the way out, the Quaker couple who helped me close down the family estate in Lesotho after my parents' accident.

I took Tara and Luci from the Quaker Meetinghouse in my car. Elizabeth Braithwaite took them home, while I caught up with Ron.