Episcopal Life Convention Daily
Wednesday, 12 July 2000  

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Lack of worship in Spanish angers LA deputies

The Rev. Sylvia Vazquez translates a legislative session. General Convention provides for an extensive network of translation services for Spanish-speaking deputies and bishops.

photo/MARY W. COX

Lydia Lopez (Los Angeles) formally expressed her "astonishment and dismay" to the House of Deputies on Monday for the almost exclusive use of English during General Convention worship services.

Members of the Los Angeles deputation were joined by nearly 50 other deputies who stood in support during her statement, given initially in Spanish, then English. "Many have not heard the Gospel proclaimed in the languages of their speech or their hearts," she read.

In a subsequent statement, Clay Morris, liturgical officer for the Episcopal Church, said that the "basic language" of General Convention is English. "We try to provide translation services, but we don't intend to be entirely inclusive." He noted that during today's Eucharist, the Rt. Rev. Leopold Frade, bishop of Honduras, is scheduled to celebrate in Spanish.

Barry Bowman, master of ceremonies for convention worship, added that music sung during the daily services has included a variety of songs and hymns sung in Spanish as well as other languages.

General Convention provides for an extensive network of translation services for Spanish-speaking deputies and bishops. At any time in the House of Deputies, two people work to provide immediate translation. Shifts last from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the complexity of the debate. A similar arrangement is in effect in the House of Bishops.

During the daily Eucharists, there are also translators available at the tables of people who requested the service in their registration.

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