Poof! It’s 2020

I feel it is important to preserve this woman’s blog

Suddenly Mad

Suddenly Mad- Poof (self portrait with feathers)Self portrait with Guinea hen feathers – Dec 2019

I began writing this on the last day of 2019, the last day of the decade. It’s obvious that it will be 2020 when I’m able to complete it. It doesn’t matter. The date has nothing to do with this ongoing battle. I remain truthful about the unraveling of my brain. Can’t hide the truth.

Inspiration and imagination have been hard to come by so this drawing surprised me. It’s not one of my best, but it showed that I could still be imaginative. The inspiration was a mixed media sculpture I made 40 years ago. It was a birdhouse I crafted out of wood, and  covered it in green and black polka dot astroturf. The top looked like a house with it’s gabled roof flung open. On the wall near the sculpture, I glued guinea hen feathers in an arrangement…

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Postcards from the Road: Final, at least for this Journey

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, 8th Bishop of Olympia

Well, four months seems like forever, and at the same time like it was yesterday.  I think pilgrimages are best when that is the feeling at the end, a bit of both all mixed in.  That is how I feel.  I have called this the “last postcard from the road” but in reality we are always sending them, and I hope to be too.  The “road” is not just those we travel far away places to walk, but certainly are every step of life.  That is a great lesson from this time away, known to a degree when we set out, but deepened I believe now, with that time past.

In my last post, which I do admit was some time ago, I had just returned from the hike in Yosemite.   After that the wheel started spinning even more.  I traveled to New York City for the Church Pension…

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Postcards from the Road, #9, Yosemite

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, 8th Bishop of Olympia

After Poland I got a few days at home and then was off again to, what has become an annual event, the St. Francis Backpacking Pilgrimage or in lighter moments our leader, the Rev. Stephen McHale calls it “Priests Gone Wild-Yosemite Edition” because that is where we went, Yosemite, and that is who we are, a bunch of priests. Yosemite, what a mystical place, and long on my bucket list, as I had never been there until this visit. Getting my first glance of Half Dome and El Capitan as I drove into the valley made me fully realize what people had always told me, that pictures do not do it justice. That was true. Nothing can prepare you for the magnitude or to be able to take it all in. No camera lens could fully capture it.

Yosemite1

This pilgrimage began three years ago with our first hike in the…

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Postcards from the Road, #7, Tycocin and the Forest Lupuchowo

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, 8th Bishop of Olympia

When I last blogged, I mentioned the end of our second day, and something that happened that was so profound, and so spirit filled, I decided to reserve my description of it, to be the sole focus of this post. It happened in a place called Tycocin. A small village, one of the many in Poland, once filled with Jews and Jewish life, that are now silent. Wiped clean by the evil deeds of the Third Reich. We first visited what was the synagogue there, near the center of town, a remarkable building that, through the better angels of those Christians and others left in the town, has been restored as a museum, and a town center, for concerts and other uses. It looks like a synagogue inside, but it is no longer active, because there are no longer Jews there. I left you there, with a few pictures, in…

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Postcards from the Road, #2, July 20, 2019

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, 8th Bishop of Olympia

When I last reported in, we were at just about the midway part of our 113 kilometer journey.   We had just arrived in Palas de Rei.  It was the first sizable town that we encountered.  It had a real downtown you might say, a bus stop, restaurants, clothing stores, hardware stores, and blessedly, what we were in need of pharmacy’s!   And that was plural.   This was the point that Marti and I started truly feeling our mid 50 year old, “not in the best shape,” bodies.   One word in particular, KNEES.  By the end of this journey we both had knee braces on one knee and we had purchased a lot of other helpful pharmaceutical gadgets to get us through too.   In fact, I was convinced we had become the darlings of Farmacia all over Galicia.  I had thoughts of them eagerly calling ahead to…

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Postcards from the Road, #1

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, 8th Bishop of Olympia

Marti and I have made it to Spain, in several uneventful and on time flights, which in this summer hustle and bustle is a miracle in and of itself.   Some have said a pilgrimage begins the minute you dream of it.  I think I would agree with that.  And I would say the more particular part of our sabbatical pilgrimage actually started on July 5th, about a week before we boarded a plane to head to the Camino.   The sabbatical actually started officially on July 4th.  Like many of you around here on July 4th I stay put, don’t leave my house, and this one was no different.  And then, promptly on July 5th, Marti and I were privileged to be invited to join the annual pilgrimage to Minidoka.   If you don’t know what that is, that is one of many concentration camps set up by our…

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Holy Land 2019 Days 2 and 3

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, 8th Bishop of Olympia

Our days begin early here, and on day two we began by heading to Nazareth, first to visit our good friend and long friend of the Diocese of Olympia, Archdeacon, the Rev. Samuel Barhoum, Head Master of Christ Episcopal School, a School begun in the 1850s and now one of the major educational institutions in Nazareth with over 1000 students in all grades, Muslim and Christian, living and learning together in harmony.   Christ Church School is a beneficiary ministry of the American Friends of the Diocese of Jerusalem, the Board of which I serve.

hl 2019 samuel

We had a presentation, some warm hospitality and then moved to the actual Christ Anglican Church, where we celebrated the Eucharist together.

hl 2019 samuel and barry

Then, to lunch, and then on to the Basilica of the Annunciation, and then the Synagogue Church, and then the Orthodox Church which is the keeper of Mary’s well.

hl 2019 mary's wellhl 2019 jesus icon nazareth

Then back to Pilgerhaus for…

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Holy Land 2019, Day 6 and 7

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, 8th Bishop of Olympia

On Day 6 we left Bethlehem and traveled to the ancient town of Hebron, site of the Tomb of the Patriarchs.  it is also the largest city in the West Bank and one of the most tense in the region.  The part we visit, just around the Tomb is a highly militarized zone and looks a  lot like a ghost town.  We arrived and visited first the Mosque which houses the tombs of Abraham and Sarah, Issac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah.   It is also a synagogue and considered the second most holy site among Jews, second only to the Temple Mount.

After the visit to the Mosque we traveled into the Souk, the market, in old Hebron.  It too is a heavily guarded place, and very tense.  Here, Jewish settlers live just above the souk, often throwing trash and even excrement out the windows onto the shoppers and vendors…

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Holy Land 2019, Days 4 and 5

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, 8th Bishop of Olympia

This is the day we had to pack up and leave blessed Galilee.  It was also Sunday morning which meant worship, and this year we tried a new spot, the Church of Scotland Church in Tiberias, where the Rev. Kate McDonald, Church of Scotland pastor and social justice worker in the area welcomed us to use the beautiful space along the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  It is also a place where a woman is allowed to preside, and so the Rev. Canon Jennifer Daughtery, of St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle did just that.

hl 2019 jennifer

From there we headed south, down the Jordan Valley, into the West Bank and then on to the baptismal site on the Jordan.  There we renewed our baptismal vows and took in the wonderful sight of people from all denominations doing the same.

After that we went to lunch in Jericho, after viewing the Mt. Temptation…

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