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VTS conference concludes with ‘The Dodoma Statement 2014′

Friday, June 27, 2014
[Virginia Theological Seminary press release - Dodoma, Tanzania] The Center for Anglican Communion Studies (CACS), Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) concluded the 2014 Christian-Muslim Conference in Dodoma, Tanzania, June 26 with the presentation of a statement of intent. The Dodoma Statement 2014 begins: “We are Muslim and Christian faith leaders, scholars, inter-religious workers and peace-builders. Together as descendants of Abraham we believe in one creator God who has called us to be caretakers of creation, to work for the common good and to promote and practice peace.”

The culmination of the three day conference, which brought together over 60 Christian and Muslim faith leaders from Southern and East Africa, the Dodoma Statement 2014 is a historic affirmation of the shared humanity between those who resolve to promote peace and strengthen their commitment to reconciliation.

CACS Director, Dr. Robert Heaney comments, “I have been struck by the incredible wisdom, experience and expertise present at this conference. We must continue to connect and learn from World Anglicanism and the neighbors of Anglicans throughout the world. We have much to learn from our brothers and sisters living as believers in religiously, culturally, historically and linguistically pluralist contexts.”

Co-hosted with Msalato Theological College, conference participants were welcomed on the first day by Archbishop Jacob Chimeledya (VTS ‘03), Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Tanzania, and Sheikh Mustapha, Regional Sheikh of the Dodoma Region, who were both enthusiastic about the potential of this gathering to achieve mutual respect and unconditional compassion between the faiths.

“It is my wish that this conference becomes a vehicle for us, as religious leaders, to lead us to a deeper understanding of one another,” said Archbishop Chimeledya. “So that as we leave here, we can share the truth with our fellow believers.”

Sheikh Mustapha added: “God made humankind so that we may know one another, instead of despising one another.”

Created in 1998, The Center for Anglican Communion Studies at VTS, seeks to bring community to the Anglican Communion through resourcing congregational community, academic community and cross-cultural community. The Dodoma Statement 2014 is the first such statement issued by Virginia Theological Seminary.

Click here to read the full Dodoma Statement 2014.

EPF urges US to stay out of the developing religious civil war in Iraq

Friday, June 27, 2014

[Episcopal Peace Fellowship press release] The Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF) urges President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress to refrain from any military involvement in the religious civil war developing in Iraq.

“Over two decades of war in Iraq has provided ample evidence war as a means to leverage influence in the area is a morally bankrupt policy to peace,” said the Rev. Allison Liles, EPF executive director.

“The cost of almost 4,500 U.S. military deaths, thousands of wounded and maimed veterans and $1 trillion of national wealth that surely could have been more productively spent – in addition to the hundreds of thousands Iraqi deaths and those of other involved nations – as well as those whose lives have been tragically traumatized and disrupted is sufficient to say enough,” said Rev. Liles.

“The political situation in Iraq is quickly deteriorating into a civil war between two Muslim factions. The insurgents are moving towards Baghdad in a vicious lightning campaign that has sadly seen early mass defections from Iraqi army. The recognized government of Iraq is calling for American lethal involvement to stem the potential overthrow of its current regime. It is clear that the conduct of the Al-Maliki government is a significant part of the problem,” she said.

In response to the call for help, President Obama has sent a force up to 300 American military advisors to be embedded with Iraqi troops to assist them to repel the insurgents. U.S. airstrikes may be forthcoming.

“Iraq is a sovereign nation that must solve its own internal political affairs without the intervention of any outside entity. To reengage the U.S. military in any capacity is foolhardy. While recognizing the danger to human rights and respectful and peaceful civic dialogue embedded in a fundamentalist Sharia-imposed governing structure, war is not the answer to real peace. Further military action could have long term negative effects on America’s already frayed relationships with other Middle Eastern countries,” said Rev. Liles.

“We hope and pray Secretary of State John Kerry who has been increasingly in Iraq can negotiate a peaceful settlement to the war. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power should urge the UN Security Council to garner multi-national help in securing a negotiated settlement as well,” said Rev. Liles.

Grupo de Trabajo sobre el Estudio del Matrimonio publica pautas de estudio, recursos de debate

Thursday, June 26, 2014

[24 de junio de  2014] El grupo de trabajo de la Iglesia Episcopal sobre el Estudio del Matrimonio ha publicado Querido Amado, recursos para conversación y debate.

El siguiente es un informe del Grupo de Trabajo sobre el Estudio del Matrimonio.

Querido Amado: Un paquete con pautas para el estudio y debate sobre el Matrimonio

Nos complace ofrecer a la Iglesia Episcopal  un recurso para el estudio y debate sobre el matrimonio. Ha llegado su hora. Ya que este tema es de importancia histórica y de significado intemporal para la iglesia; las prácticas de matrimonio están experimentando un cambio social en nuestros días; y nuestra iglesia, a través de la resolución A050 en la Convención General del 2012, solicitó que desarrollemos herramientas para el debate sobre este tema.

Entramos en esta conversación – como siempre lo hacemos cuando discernimos el camino a seguir – al considerar esas tres fuentes de autoridad anglicana sobre el tema: la escritura, la tradición (incluyendo la teología, liturgia, derecho canónico, e historia), y la razón (incluyendo nuestra experiencia humana).

Nuestro equipo de trabajo está formado por 12 personas designadas: obispos, teólogos, educadores y pastores. A medida que el grupo de trabajo se encarga de la provisión de recursos para esta reflexión, nosotros hemos explorado profundamente el matrimonio a través del lente de las Escrituras, la tradición y la razón. Hemos estudiado y hemos consultado ampliamente.

Si bien no vamos a completar este trabajo hasta que hagamos nuestro informe a la Convención General del 2015, estamos en condiciones, en este momento, de compartir con la iglesia un poco de nuestros esfuerzos hasta la fecha. Y lo más importante, estamos dispuestos a invitar a la iglesia en el debate a nivel local.

Nuestra esperanza es que muchos aprovechen de este momento de nuestra historia para ser parte de discernir el camino a seguir. En nuestros días, ¿qué nos llama Dios a comprender, a decir, y tal vez hacer en lo que respecta al matrimonio?

Sólo podemos responder a esta pregunta si más de 12 personas participan. Obtener una amplia participación ayudará a los diputados y obispos – representantes de todos nosotros – en la Convención General del 2015, cuando ellos reciban nuestro informe y consideren las posibles respuestas al llamado de nuestra iglesia para profundizar esta conversación.

El recurso puede ser utilizado en una variedad de escenarios,  y consta de tres formatos diferentes, que pueden utilizarse de forma independiente el uno del otro: un evento de 90-minutos (que se puede dividir en tres sesiones de 35-minutos); una variedad de foros de 45 minutos; y un extenso artículo de un grupo de estudio. Todos los tres formatos cubren la teología, la historia, la escritura, las tendencias actuales, y más, con las pautas para la presentación y preguntas para el debate en grupo.

El paquete “Querido Amado” se encuentra aquí

https://extranet.generalconvention.org/staff/files/download/10613

El PowerPoint para el recurso de  “Continuar Conversaciones” se encuentra aquí

https://extranet.generalconvention.org/staff/files/download/10446

Obtenga acceso aquí a la página web completa para el Grupo de Trabajo sobre el matrimonio de la Convención General A050 http://www.generalconvention.org/a050 .

____________________

Grupo de Trabajo de la Iglesia Episcopal en el Estudio del Matrimonio está autorizado por la Resolución A050 de la Convención General del 2012.

La Resolución A050 completa está disponible aquí. http://www.generalconvention.org/gc/resolutions?by=number&id=a050

Página de Grupo de Trabajo en Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/A050taskforce

Grupo de Trabajo en YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHbLobftcghgmWgJW72qnwA/playlists

Ofrenda Unida de Acción de Gracias proporciona subvención especial por aniversario

Thursday, June 26, 2014

[[23 de junio de 2014] La Ofrenda Unida de Acción de Gracias de la Iglesia Episcopal proporcionando subvenciones “fondos iniciativos” especiales de $ 12.500 a un obispo en cada una de las nueve provincias de la Iglesia y a la Obispa Presidente, por un total de $ 125.000.

Parte de la celebración del 125 aniversario de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias, son estas extraordinarias subvenciones especiales por el  aniversario que están destinadas a ser utilizadas para un proyecto en cada provincia que reflejará la Cuarta Marca de la Misión Anglicana: Procurar la transformación de las estructuras sociales injustas; retar todo tipo de violencia y buscar la paz y reconciliación.

Este proyecto debe ser completado el 1 de mayo de 2015.  Las subvenciones que se seleccionan se expondrán en la 78 ª Convención General en Salt Lake City, UT en Junio / julio del 2015.

Las solicitudes están disponibles ahora; la fecha límite para inscribirse es el 1 de agosto Las solicitudes están disponibles aquí www.episcopalchurch.org/uto

Para obtener más información comuníquese con la Rda. Heather Melton, coordinadora de la Ofrenda Unida de Acción de Gracias, hmelton@episcopalchurch.org.

Conocido mundialmente como UTO, las subvenciones de la Ofrenda Unida de Acción de Gracias son otorgadas para proyectos que aborden las necesidades humanas y ayuden a aliviar la pobreza, tanto a nivel nacional como internacional.

UTO: www.episcopalchurch.org/uto

Presiding Bishop receives honorary degree from Oxford University

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Oxford University on June 25.

[Adapted from an Oxford University press release] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was among five prominent figures from the worlds of science, the arts and religion to receive honorary degrees from the University of Oxford on June 25.

Jefferts Schori, who received the Degree of Doctor of Divinity, said: “[Oxford] is a place where the life of the mind is honored, where creative thought and connection-making is the primary task of the human being: critical thinking, creative and artistic and beautiful thinking is a way of searching for truth.”

The degrees were awarded at Encaenia, the University’s annual honorary degree ceremony. Lord Christopher Patten, chancellor of the University of Oxford, handed the honorands their degrees in the Sheldonian Theatre before lunch was held in The Codrington Library at All Souls College.

Sir Anish Kapoor, one of Britain’s foremost sculptors, and Robert Silvers, founding editor of the New York Review of Books, received Degrees of Doctor of Letters.

Professor Jean-Marie Lehn, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1987 for his pioneering studies on the chemical basis of molecular recognition, received the Degree of Doctor of Science.

Sir Harrison Birtwistle, a leading British composer, received the Degree of Doctor of Music.

Kapoor said: ‘It’s a wonderful thing. I’m thrilled. Oxford is one of the great universities, and I’m thrilled to be part of it. My daughter’s at university here, so that makes it a doubly wonderful thing. [She couldn't attend the ceremony because] she has exams, alas!

‘‘[Oxford] is a wonder. It somehow remains properly alive, because it has such a big student body. Education in great spaces – what more could one ask for?’

Lehn said: ‘When you’re an academic, university is the place in which knowledge and education is being gained and transferred. Among those places, there are some very special ones. Oxford is among those very special ones. So it’s a great pleasure and an honor to be here today.’

 

#Episcopal ‘Social Media Sunday’ a digital invitation

Thursday, June 26, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] While in church this Sunday, get out your smart phone.

Facebook a selfie, live-tweet a prayer, blog an idea, video the hymn-singing, Instagram photos, Pinterest fun images, Foursquare a location — and use #Episcopal — so “Social Media Sunday” goes viral.

Social Media Sunday is an invitation to Episcopalians to share faith in the digital universe, according to Carolyn Clement and Laura Catalano, church social media administrators, who came up with the idea.

“It’s a way of saying this is what’s going on in my church. We’re just interested in making connections on Sunday,” according to Catalano, 35, who volunteers at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

“It’s just to get people and families comfortable with social media and to talk about the ways you can use it,” Catalano told ENS during a telephone interview from her suburban St. Louis home. “If everyone uses #Episcopal, we’ll be able to find each other and see each other” on the various social media sites, she added.

“People can take a selfie, or a picture of stained glass in their church or something fun going on and post them on Facebook, or Twitter. It’s a neat way to get an idea of what’s happening across the church.”

Clement said the idea “has gotten a lot of buzz. People from Alaska to Florida and California to everyplace in between as well as Canadians are saying they’ll be posting on Facebook or Instagram that day.”

Even the date is significant, because June 29 is typically the day the church commemorates the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, “great apostles and evangelists so we thought it was an appropriate time to evangelize in this way.”

Barry Merer, Episcopal Church manager of web and social media, applauded the effort.

“It’s about people engaging with their church,” Merer told ENS on June 25. “I’m excited that members of churches are finding new ways to engage with their faith. It’s a great idea because church happens at the grass roots, so … let it happen.”

Clement said she first held a Social Media Sunday at Trinity Church in Tariffville, Connecticut, last year.

She offered instructions to the congregation at the start of the service.

“People were tweeting, taking pictures that day, posting them on Facebook and overall, it was a great experience,” she recalled. “Not only did they share images and comments and thoughts from our church that morning with the thousands of aggregate followers and friends and contacts they had on social media, they also found each other.”

Afterwards, “we invited people to bring their devices and we did a help desk, answering their questions about getting set up, how to use and understand social media a little better, helping families learn more about how to keep kids safe online.”

Catalano and Clement met on #Chsocm (pronounced ch-sock-em), a weekly ecumenical Twitter chat on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST about church social media. Catalano liked Clement’s idea of a Social Media Sunday and organized a similar event at St. Timothy’s.

Citing their own digital friendship, they hope to create similar connections and relationships throughout the church. “Laura and I are friends from social media but we’ve never met in real life,” Clement said. “But even though we haven’t met in person, I feel like digital life is real life.

“We bounce ideas off each other a lot,” she added. “We both volunteer; we both manage social media for our churches. We both rose organically in our parishes to do this work. It’s something we were independently called to, as a personal mission, to do social media, evangelism or social media mission, you might want to call it.

“And we just wanted to invite the whole Episcopal Church to have a Social Media Sunday to connect with each other, to share something about church, about faith, and so we said, why not?”

They began tweeting about it and inviting followers, created a Facebook event and “found every Episcopal national organization we could and posted on their Facebook walls and invited them.”

Besides being a fun day, Social Media Sunday “hopefully, will give us some kind of information about how many Episcopalians are out there, actively using social media to share their faith. It’ll be interesting to see,” Clement said.

Meanwhile, she added: “We just want to see #episcopal go viral on June 29.”

–The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

Western Massachusetts: ‘Casino vote is good news for the poor’

Thursday, June 26, 2014

[Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts press release] The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling to allow the casino issue to have a place on the November ballot is good news for the poor. We, as Church, see the great need of the city of Springfield and acknowledge the good intentions of elected officials who see casino gaming as a benefit to people who struggle in this economy. The real temptation of casino gaming is that it is “easy money” – for the Commonwealth, for a city or for its residents – when study after study indicates that this is an illusion – that the most vulnerable in the community will be adversely impacted in the long run. We believe the city of Springfield and all the cities in the Commonwealth deserve better. We offer no alternative idea as it is the task of those duly elected to surface the best options for the growth of our community, but we applaud the city of Holyoke and its 20-year, $128 million dollar plan to invest in the revitalization of downtown neighborhoods. The plan to create beauty, recreational space and a home for the arts and the artisans of Holyoke is a wonderful example of what can be when a community chooses to bless itself – to take a road that may not be easy, but one that yields permanent prosperity and builds up the community.

Upon hearing news of the court’s decision, Bishop Doug Fisher responded from a conference in Rosslyn, VA. “From the beginning this struggle has been described as ‘David vs Goliath’. The Goliath that is the casino industry, plowing through our cities as economic vacuum cleaners and bringing social destruction, especially for the poor. Goliath has been fed by those who say ‘yes to casinos, but not in my neighborhood.’ David is a growing group of underfunded people who have more hope than that for our Commonwealth and our cities. Thanks to the court ruling, we are now at the point of the story where David has his slingshot, has gathered his stones from the river, and is now running at Goliath.”

Jesus came to bring good news to the poor. Casinos are bad news for the poor. We follow Jesus. We invite those of our blessed diversity of faith traditions, and those with no religious faith, to vote for the common good – a common good that includes the most economically vulnerable among us.

Eight new deacons ordained at Houston cathedral service

Thursday, June 26, 2014

On June 21, the Rt. Rev. Dena Harrison, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Texas, ordained eight new deacons: Sharron Leslie Cox, Elizabeth Ruth Dowell, Keith Frederick Giblin, Eric André Cole Holloway, Kellaura Beth Johnson, Paulette Williams Magnuson, Eileen Elizabeth O’Brien and Terry Lee Pierce.

The service was held at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Houston. For a photo gallery visit the diocesan Facebook page.

Pittsburgh Bishop McConnell reflects on the lessons of faith in illness

Thursday, June 26, 2014

[Diocese of Pittsburgh] Bishop Dorsey McConnell of the Diocese of Pittsburgh has released a video reflection on the lessons of faith contained in the new hit movie, “The Fault in Our Stars.”

The film is based on the popular novel by John Green, who often speaks of how his own life and ministry as an Episcopalian influenced his writing this story about two young cancer patients. In his video, McConnell speaks of meeting Christ in those who suffer. Recalling his own bout with illness years ago, the bishop dons a hospital gown and says, “In the end, underneath all our fancy clothes, our masks, our daily situations, we all look like this. We are all waiting for healing.”

The Pittsburgh diocese has several ties to the movie. The producers chose St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Mt. Lebanon to film scenes where the main characters initially meet in a support group and where they return later in the film. A cast member in that support group is Alexander Murph, a teenage cancer patient and member of St. Thomas Memorial Church, Oakmont. His father and St. Thomas rector, the Rev. Jeffrey Murph, also appears as an unidentified extra. Murph told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that church-centered care for those who suffer rang true in his own family’s situation, “because the church really did support us. I don’t know how people manage without that kind of support.”

Bishop McConnell’s video is posted on the diocesan website and on YouTube.

http://youtu.be/j2ZEfXXUkrk

Clay Lein named as rector of St. John the Divine, Houston

Thursday, June 26, 2014

[Episcopal Diocese of Texas] The Rev. Dr. Clay Lein has accepted the call as the fifth rector of St. John the Divine, Houston, according to a statement released by their search committee this week. Lein is the founding rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Frisco, Texas, where he has grown the congregation to more than 1400 members since 2002. His first Sunday at St. John the Divine will be November 23, 2014.

“It has become clear to us that God has laid a strong foundation of faith [at St. John the Divine] and that [the congregation] is poised for a real movement of God’s spirit,” Lein said. “I believe that the best really is yet to be, and I’m grateful that Jill and I get to be part of it.”

Lein previously served as executive pastor at Christ Episcopal Church in Plano, Texas and associate pastor at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Trinity School for Ministry and recently completed his Doctor of Ministry at Gordon-Conwell in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He also received a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri and an MBA from Arizona State University.  Prior to his ordination, Lein was a product-marketing engineer with Intel Corporation. He is the author of Ordinary Faith, published in 2008, about “finding real faith in ordinary life.” Clay and his wife, Jill, have three grown children: Jennifer, John and Joshua.

“We believe that we have called the priest that God has anointed to lead SJD into the next phase of our life together,” wrote the search committee in a letter to the congregation.

St. John the Divine is a congregation of 4000 active members in Houston’s River Oaks neighborhood. The Rev. Larry Hall retired in April after more than 32 years as rector. See video of Lein’s greeting to St. John the Divine below:

Rapidísimas

Thursday, June 26, 2014

La Ofrenda Unida de Acción de Gracias de la Iglesia Episcopal en Estados Unidos ha donado $51,759 (dólares) para las obras de construcción del Campamento Blankingship. Esta obra que ha tenido que esperar más de 50 años ha sufrido toda clase de demoras. El terreno del campamento está cerca de la antigua ciudad de Santa Clara en la parte central de la isla y es un tributo al ministerio y visión del obispo Alexander Hugo Blankingship que fue obispo de Cuba desde 1939 hasta 1961. El obispo falleció en 1975 en su natal Virginia.

Justin Welby, arzobispo de Cantórbery ha visitado al papa Francisco en Roma. Esta es su segunda visita en los últimos 18 meses. Ambos líderes están empeñados en acabar con laesclavitud moderna y el tráfico humano que afecta a millones de personas. Por otra parte, Francisco enfatizó que la libertad religiosa es fundamental para la vida del mundo. Añadió que la encíclica Dignitatis humanae del Concilio Vaticano II habla sobre el tema.

Todas las predicciones de violencia y malestar pronosticadas para la celebración de los juegos de la Copa Mundial fallaron. Los juegos se están celebrando con llenos totales y gran camaradería entre los miles de visitantes. Un ejemplo y una meta para nuestros políticos: “Se puede ser adversarios sin ser enemigos”. Un jugador auxiliando a otro del equipo contrario es un ejemplo que será recordado por muchos años.

María Corina Machado, líder opositora al gobierno de Nicolás Maduro de Venezuela, sigue en pie de lucha pese a las amenazas físicas y verbales del oficialismo y la posibilidad de que vaya a la cárcel y no pueda salir del país. El gobierno la acusa de ser la instigadora de las recientes protestas estudiantiles que comenzaron en febrero y que le han costado la vida a 43 jóvenes. El 24 de junio la policía reprimió una manifestación en Valencia, estado Carabobo, con un saldo de 24 heridos. Según informes de prensa María Corina tiene dos millones de seguidores en Twitter. “Estoy convencida de que triunfaremos”, dijo recientemente.

Tras ganar el concurso The Voice Italia, en sus primeras declaraciones a la prensa, Sor Cristina Scuccia, la popular monja cantante de 25 años de edad,afirmó que ahora “vuelvo a mis prioridades que son Jesús y la oración”.

Algunos observadores de la escena política de Washington dicen que la legislación sobre la reforma integral de la inmigración “está muerta” mientras que el legislador Luis Gutiérrez del estado de Illinois, asegura que el tema es tan importante para la vida de la nación queseguirá adelante “pese a sus detractores”.

Acaba de salir a la venta la novela Tiempo de Canallas del escritor y periodista cubano Carlos Alberto Montaner. El autor recoge pasajes ocultos de la Guerra Fría en una tumultuosa relación de amor. Según el periódico Diario Las Américas “además de amor e intrigas hay lecciones de historia” hasta ahora desconocidas.

La concentración de niños de Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador, sin documentos, en la frontera sur de Estados Unidos se ha convertido en una tragedia humanitaria. Ya el número de niños pasa de los 100,000 a pesar de que el gobierno norteamericano ha dicho que esos niños serán admitidos temporalmente pero que más tarde serán enviados a sus lugares de origen. Varias organizaciones cristianas han respondido con alimentos ropas y calor humano. El gobierno ha alojado a muchos niños en una base naval y se espera que su permanencia allí sea entre 90 y 120 días. “Nuestra fe nos llama con urgencia”, dice el pastor de una iglesia.

El Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Chaco, Argentina, resolvió rechazar recursos contra una sentencia de segunda instancia, el derecho a la propiedad comunitaria indígena. Con este nuevo fallo el tribunal volvió a garantizar la plena vigencia del derecho de los pueblos indígenas a la propiedad comunitaria de sus territorios.

Líderes religiosos en Los Ángeles se ha reunido recientemente para orar por la paz en el Medio Oriente siguiendo el ejemplo del papa Francisco. El párroco de la Iglesia de Santa Cruz en el sur de Los Ángeles les recordó a todos los presentes que “la tierra es una y todos los hijos de Abraham judíos, cristianos y musulmanes que oramos juntos somos hermanos e hijos de un mismo Dios”.

Un sínodo de la Iglesia Anglicana en Japón decidió “condenar fuertemente” cualquiermanifestación de racismo y decidió erradicar “crímenes de odio, discursos ofensivos y luchar por una sociedad verdaderamente multicultural”. El sínodo decidió criticar los poderes del Estado por no aprobar legislación adecuada para hacerle frente a esos problemas.

MANDAMIENTO- “Amaos los unos a los otros”.

Marriage task force releases study guide, discussion resources

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] The Episcopal Church Task Force on the Study of Marriage has released Dearly Beloved, resources for conversation and discussion.

The following is a report From the Task Force on the Study of Marriage.

We are pleased to offer to The Episcopal Church a resource for study and discussion about marriage. This topic is of historic and timeless significance for the church; practices of marriage are undergoing social change in our own day; and our church, acting through resolution A050 at General Convention in 2012, asked that we develop tools for discussion on this subject.

We enter this conversation – as we always do when discerning our way forward – by considering those three sources of Anglican authority on the subject: scripture, tradition (including theology, liturgy, canon law, and history), and reason (including our human experience).

We are 12 appointees: bishops, theologians, educators, and pastors. As the Task Force that was charged with providing resources for this reflection, we have deeply explored marriage through the lenses of scripture, tradition, and reason. We continue to study and we continue to consult as Resolution 2012-A050 directs.

While we will not complete this work until we make our Blue Book report to General Convention 2015, we are able, at this time, to share with the church a bit of our efforts to date. And more importantly, we are eager to invite the church into discussion at the local level.

Our hope is that many will take advantage of this moment in our history to be a part of discerning our way forward. In our day, what is God calling us to understand, to say, and perhaps to do in regards to marriage?

We can only answer this question if far more than 12 people get involved. Broad discussion will assist those deputies and bishops – representatives of us all – at General Convention 2015, when they receive our report and consider possible responses to our church’s call to deepen this conversation.

The resource may be used in a variety of settings, and it consists of three different formats, which may be used independently of each other: a 90-minute event (which can be divided into three 35-minute sessions); a variety of 45-minute forums; and a lengthy article for a study group. All three formats cover theology, history, scripture, current trends, and more, with guidelines for presentation and questions for group discussion.

The Tool-Kit “Dearly Beloved”  here

The PowerPoint for the “Carry-On Conversations” resource here

Access the complete public website for General Convention’s A050 Task Force on Marriage here. 

Task Force Facebook page here

The Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage is enabled by Resolution A050 at the 2012 General Convention.

Resolution A050 is available in full here.

Virginia: Lindsay Ryland to retire as director of transition ministry

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

[Diocese of Virginia] Lindsay Ryland, director of transition ministry, has announced plans to retire in September 2014, after 13 years of service on diocesan staff.

Lindsay joined the staff in 2001 to serve as assistant for deployment, and became the diocesan deployment officer in 2003. She has worked with parishes in search of clergy as well as clergy in search of new ministries.

Lindsay is a member of Immanuel, Old Church, in Hanover County. Her ministry in the wider Church includes serving as a member of the Transition Ministry Conference executive committee and the Board for Transition Ministry, and as a CREDO faculty member. She is a volunteer reader at the Virginia Voice in Richmond and has served as president of the Hanover County Historical Society, as well as in a number of positions with the Mary Baldwin College Alumnae Association. Prior to joining diocesan staff, she served as a senior vice president at Bank of America.

“In her years on staff, Lindsay has built a reputation – both in Virginia and across the Episcopal Church – for excellence in ministry,” said Bishop Johnston. “She has been a pastoral and professional presence for hundreds of clergy and scores of congregations in times of transition. I am most grateful for her unique combination of passion, dedication, knowledge and skill. She has been not only a most valued colleague, but also a good friend.”

Parishes who are currently involved in search processes can be assured that they will continue to receive support from the bishop’s office as they continue their discernment in calling new clergy. The Bishop will soon start a search for a new staff member to work in the transition ministry field.

Video: Alban Pilgrimage pays tribute to Britain’s first Christian martyr

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
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[Episcopal News Service, St. Alban’s, England] June is festival time in St. Albans.

In this ancient city in the south of England, giant puppets dramatize the final journey of third century Alban, paying tribute to Britain’s first Christian martyr and saint.

Hundreds come to join in the pilgrimage, celebrated annually around June 22, the day of Alban’s martyrdom some 1700 years ago when the city belonged to the Romans and was known as Verulamium.

This year special guests included Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, invited to preach at the noon Eucharist in the Cathedral and Abbey of St. Alban.

Inspired by his priest and friend Amphibalus, Alban converted to Christianity in the 3rd century. When Roman soldiers sought out Amphibalus, Alban offered his own life instead.

Alban stood trial and was ordered to renounce his Christianity. But he responded by declaring his faith in “the true and living God who created all things.” Alban was condemned to death, led out of the city, across the river and up a hillside where he was beheaded. A few days later, the Romans captured Amphibalus and he too was beheaded.

Today, in honor of their martyrdoms, the shrines of Alban and Amphibalus can both be found in St. Alban’s Cathedral and attract thousands of visitors every year.

– Matthew Davies is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

RIP: Michael William Reeves

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] A celebration of the life of Michael William Reeves will be held Friday, June 27, at 5 p.m., at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Saratoga, California.

Reeves, 54, the husband of El Camino Real Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, died June 21, after being struck by a car while riding his bicycle in Monterey County.

 

W. Mark Richardson granted 2014 Genesis Award

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Photo courtesy of CDSP President’s Gallery

[ECCSTF press release] The Rev. Dr.W. Mark Richardson (President and Dean, Church Divinity School of the Pacific) was awarded the 2014 Genesis Award from the Episcopal Network on Science, Technology & Faith (ENSTF) following his keynote address at the recentEcumenical Roundtable on Science, Technology & the Church, hosted by The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council Committee on Science, Technology & Faith (ECCSTF).

The Genesis Award recognizes Episcopalian leaders in the ongoing science and religion dialogue.  Richardson was granted the award for his decades of scholarship, teaching, and leadership on issues related to science, technology, and faith.  A priest, scholar, lecturer, theologian, and Episcopal Church Foundation Fellow (1990), Richardson has written extensively on faith, science, and evolution.  He was the founder and director of the Science and Spiritual Quest Project at the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (Berkeley, CA), an effort which led to the publication of Science and the Spiritual Quest: New Essays by Leading Scientists (Routledge, 2002).  He has authored, edited, and co-edited several other essays and books including Faith in Science: Scientists Search for Truth (Routledge, 2001), Human and Divine Agency: Anglican, Catholic, and Lutheran Perspectives (University Press of America, 1999), and Religion and Science: History, Method, Dialogue (Routledge, 1996).

Richardson received his Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in 1991, writing a thesis on the1956/57 Gifford Lectures of the English theologian, philosopher, and priest Austin Farrer (one of the leading figures of 20th century Anglicanism).  Serving as an Associate Professor-in-Residence of Philosophical Theology at the GTU until 1998, Richardson joined the faculty at General Theological Seminary (New York, NY) in 1999, where he served as a Professor of Theology until his appointment as President and Dean of CDSP.  Richardson also served as a Senior Theological Advisor to the Trinity Institute (a continuing education program of Trinity Wall Street, New York, NY) and Chair of the Editorial Committee for the Anglican Theological Review.

The ENSTF gave the first Genesis Award in 2005 to the Rev. Dr. J. John Keggi (a retired priest of the Diocese of Maine who holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, served as a longtime co-convener of the North American Chapter of the Society of Ordained Scientists, and was instrumental in the formation of the ENSTF).  Other recipients of the award include the late Rev. Dr. Peter Arvedson in 2006 (who passed away in 2011, having served in six different parishes over thirty-five years after obtaining a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of Wisconsin and an M.Div. from General Theological Seminary), the Rev. Barbara Smith-Moran in 2007 (a priest in the Diocese of Massachusetts with a background in chemistry and astronomy, founder of the Faith & Science Exchange in Boston, and one of the co-founders and first co-chairs and of the ECCSTF), and Dr. Robert J. Schneider in 2008 (professor emeritus of Berea College, lead author of the Catechism of Creation, and co-chair of the ECCSTF from 2003-2006).  Richardson is the first recipient of the Genesis Award since 2008.

For more on the Episcopal Network on Science, Technology & Faith, see the ENSTF website (http://episcopalscience.org/), like ENSTF on Facebook (fb.com/episcopalscience) or follow them on Twitter (twitter.com/episcosci or@episcosci).

Clergy Couples Conference held for priests, bishops

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Clergy from 12 dioceses met to celebrate the gifts for ministry that clergy couples bring to the wider church at the first Clergy Couples Conference held in the Episcopal Church in more than 20 years.

The conference and retreat, which was underwritten in part by grants from the Virginia Theological Seminary and the Gadsen Foundation at R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church in Lexington, Virginia, was held at Bon Secours Retreat Center in Marriottsville, Maryland. This event was the brain child of the Rev. Diane Vie of St. John’s, Lynchburg Virginia. Vie, who is married to the Rev. Todd Vie of St. Paul’s, Lynchburg, has been passionate about this topic since seminary.

“The project began before I could actually claim clergy status, when I was a seminarian married to a seminarian. I was deeply interested in the gifts and challenges of clergy couples and looked for information from the wider church on how clergy couples navigate this amazing life to which we are called not only as individuals but as a married couple. What I found was that there was little information and few resources for us. So, when I was a senior at VTS in 2006/2007 I began an independent study with my husband Todd and our friends the Revs. Chip and Lisa Graves, another clergy couple.” says Vie.   “My interest in clergy couples has deepened since ordination. Ten years later, I am back at VTS in the third year of my doctoral studies and I continue to study clergy couples in the Episcopal Church. There are still not many other voices out there, but there are many clergy couples who contact me anxious to explore.”

There were plenty of voices in mid-June this year as clergy from all over the United States, from 12 diocese including clergy couples, representatives from Church Pension Group, Transition officers from the Diocese of Atlanta, Virginia and Maryland and a new breed of clergy couples; bishop/priest couples. The conference was held to support, engage and celebrate the ministry of episcopal clergy married to other clergy.

This is an important topic as there are at least 428 couples in the Episcopal Church that are comprised of two ordained persons.

The Rev. Canon Richard H. Callaway, transition officer for the Diocese of Atlanta, says that he was surprised to learn that his diocese has 14 clergy couples. If you had asked him before the conference he would have guessed a much smaller number.

Lindsey Ryland, transition officer for the Diocese of Virginia, reports 15 clergy couples and the Rev. Stuart Wright of the Diocese of Maryland reports 17.

The clergy in attendance agreed that all priests have highs and lows in their journey – and clergy couples share some of those and can claim a few unique ones as well. “It’s not that we have it any better or worse than other clergy,” says the Rev. Lisa Graves of St. John’s Church in Huntington, West Virginia, “it’s that we have a unique set of joys and sorrows. Gathering together to identify the best practices and worst pitfalls is true gift. The camaraderie and immediate understanding among these couples is uplifting.”

Adaptability on the journey was a recurring theme at the conference, as couples spoke about the difficulties of navigating transition and search when there are two collars in the family. Many times one spouse will pursue parish ministry while another spouse pursues teaching, counseling or institutional ministry. Other times, clergy will take turns being the lead person in search with the “trailing clergy spouse” finding interim work, an assistantship or associate work or another call to ministry nearby.

The dual nature of the sacrament of marriage and the sacrament of ordination fed many discussion as couples discussed raising children (double PKs) in two churches, the give and take of discerning call, the joys of having a built-in clergy sounding board and the adaptability of ministry required to maintain marriage and mission.

“In the midst of tough times, I can’t imagine going through it without being married to another priest!” commented Todd Vie.

One of the interesting components of this conference were the two sessions that focused on a new phenomenon; bishop/priest couples. The Rt. Rev. Clay Matthews, head of the Office of Pastoral Development for the Episcopal Church, talked with the group, which had two bishop/priest couples attending, about the fact that the Episcopal Church now has six members of the House of Bishops who are married to clergy, and a seventh is the new bishop coadjutor in Mississippi.

Bishop Doug Fisher of Western Massachusetts is married to Betsy Fisher, vicar of St. Thomas in Amenia Union, New York. Fisher says that “the key to meeting the challenges and developing the opportunities of anything is an understanding of the situation. ‘Clergy couples’ have been part of the church’s reality for forty years. Diane Vie’s research and her willingness to document our stories will help the church go a long way in understanding, so challenges may be met, opportunities developed and God’s mission in the world celebrated.” The clergy in attendance agreed that all priests have highs and lows in their journey – and clergy couples share some of those and can claim a few unique ones as well.

Vie is beginning a registry of clergy couples and hopes to offer another conference for clergy couples that can handle even more clergy couples. “We’ve created a Facebook page and are working on a website,” says Vie. “Knowing other couples and being able to advise or seek counsel from our peers is invaluable and a great gift to us.”

Callaway said that it was an eye-opening gift for the transition officers to attend the event. “It was really meaningful for us to hear of the gifts and wonderful ministries of clergy couples. I came away more aware of the deep richness the couples have – even in the struggles – in their ministries.”

Anglicans to host Hindu-Christian conference

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

[Network for Inter Faith Concerns of the Anglican Communion] The Anglican Communion’s Network for Inter Faith Concerns of the Anglican Communion (NIFCON) is hosting a conference in Birmingham, UK, this October on the Christian relationship with Hindus in the Diaspora.

NIFCON was founded twenty years ago, and has had an influence on the Lambeth Conferences since then1, with a strong emphasis on Christian-Muslim Relations throughout the Communion.

Only once has it significantly looked at Christian-Hindu Relations, during a major conference in Bangalore in 2004. That meeting focused upon India. However, many Indian emigrants are now playing a major part in the interreligious context in their new homes, not least in several Anglican Provinces in the West.

NIFCON has therefore decided to hold a conference from October 29 until November 1, 2014, in Queen’s College Birmingham, to consider Christian relationships2 with Hindus in the Diaspora.

One member of the NIFCON management group who was from the Church of South India but who is now serving as a Church of England priest is The Revd Dr. John Joshva Raja. He said, “We believe that after the recent landslide victory for the BJP in Indian elections, this is a fitting time for us to be meeting and considering how best to engage constructively.”

The conference will be chaired by Archbishop of Dublin the Rt Revd Michael Jackson. NIFCON Management group members Canon Dr Andrew Wingate and Dr Raja are leading the planning group. The conference agenda will include a visit to the prestigious South Indian Temple in Birmingham, the Balaji Temple, where there will be a welcome from local Hindus.

It is expect that the conference will be the precursor to the publication of a book comprising contributions from leading Hindu and Christian scholars. Dr Wingate’s book, The Meeting of Opposites?- Hindus and Christians in the West (to be published by SPCK, and Cascade Books, USA) will be launched during the meeting.

Anyone wishing to attend should contact the administrator, Dr Laura Johnson at lauramichellejohnson403@gmail.com.

The costs for staying at Queen’s have been met by grants, though the organisers cannot, except in exceptional circumstances, pay for travel. The conference is being supported by organisations including the World Council of Churches, the Episcopal Church, the St Augustine’s Foundation, and the Teape Foundation.

Date set for Anglican-Roman Catholic cricket match

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Archbishop Justin Welby meets the Vatican First XI during his recent visit to Rome, June 15.

[Lambeth Palace] Anglican and Roman Catholic First XIs will face each other in Canterbury on Sept. 19 in a historic match to raise awareness of slavery and human trafficking.

Details of a historic cricket match between Anglicans and Roman Catholics to raise awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking have been announced today.

The Twenty20 match, which will be played at Kent County Cricket Club in the shadow of Canterbury Cathedral on Sept. 19 at 4 p.m., will raise funds for the Global Freedom Network, the joint Anglican-Roman Catholic anti-trafficking initiative launched in March.

Entrance will be free but there will be a bucket collection during the match, which will be followed by a gala dinner to raise further funds.

The match will mark the culmination of the St. Peter’s Cricket Club ‘Tour of Light’ initiative, and follows a challenge laid down by the club’s honorary president Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

Welby said: “I was delighted to meet members of the St. Peter’s Cricket Club during a recent visit to Rome, and am greatly looking forward to welcoming them to Canterbury in September for what will be an historic occasion. I would like to express particular thanks to Kent County Cricket Club for so generously offering the use of their ground, and to those who are working hard to ensure the St Peter’s team enjoy a memorable tour. I also pray that the match will draw attention to the very serious problem of modern slavery and human trafficking, which our two churches are working closely together to combat through the work of the Global Freedom Network.”

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said: “’If you want to arrive first, run alone. If you want to go far, walk together.’ For this sporting initiative I recall this Kenyan proverb, as it states so simply our need for teamwork, and with clear reference to the charitable aspect chosen, namely the issue of human trafficking, a plague which hurts most those who are left alone and abandoned. In our culture of massive movement of peoples, sport challenges us to examine not just how hospitable we are, as individual athletes, but also how similar we are, for as Jean Giraudoux affirms, “sport is the real esperanto of the peoples”. Look at the great success of the World Cup in Brazil! We do well to recall this in our pastoral work!”

Read more about the match – including details of the squads – on the Pontifical Council for Culture website.

Rapidísimas

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ocho bailarines del Ballet Nacional de Cuba dejaron el grupo después de una exitosa presentación en Puerto Rico. Un miembro del grupo dijo que “queremos libertad” y que en Cuba su profesión es “precaria y frustrante” y sin incentivos de ninguna clase. Rayseel Cruz, del cuerpo de baile del BNC, dijo que a sus 25 años “de lo único que me arrepiento es de no haber desertado antes”. Desde 2007 por lo menos 35 bailarines han tomado la misma decisión. Alicia Alonso tiene ya 90 años.

Durante una visita a Roma el presidente de México, Enrique Peña Nieto, tuvo  oportunidad de invitar al papa Francisco a que visite el país azteca lo antes posible. El papa aceptó pero no se ha fijado fecha ni duración de la visita.

Dilma Rousseff, presidenta de Brasil, no asistirá a la inauguración de la Copa Mundial. Se dice que la razón es que teme ser objeto de chiflidos y burlas. La popularidad de la mandataria ha disminuido verticalmente en las últimas semanas. Los moradores de las favelas y otros sectores pobres de la sociedad le critican que se use tanto dinero en los juegos cuando el país sufre serios problemas sociales. Algunos comentaristas han dicho que si Brasil no gana los juegos esto pudiera influir en su re-elección, ella misma ha admitido que “la gente estará más furiosa conmigo”.

La diócesis de Sureste de la Florida que tiene su sede en Miami, elegirá un obispo coadjutor (auxiliar con derecho a sucesión) el 31 de enero del 2014. Este obispo sucederá al obispo Leopoldo Frade que comenzó su ministerio en el año 2000 y se jubilará más tarde este año. La diócesis tiene 78 parroquias y 36,667 miembros bautizados y celebra oficios en inglés, español, francés y portugués. Además tiene 10 escuelas elementales y dos secundarias. La diócesis está involucrada en gran número de ministerios sociales y evangelísticos.

La Iglesia Episcopal en Colombia ha celebrado recientemente 50 años de su establecimiento. El trabajo comenzó con visitas esporádicas desde Panamá para atender a las necesidades espirituales de extranjeros de habla inglesa residentes del país. David B. Reed, hoy en su retiro, comenzó el trabajo con colombianos y poco a poco y el trabajo se fue extendiendo a las principales ciudades colombianas. En la actualidad cuenta con 35 parroquias y misiones. Debido a la escasez de fondos la casi totalidad de los 36 sacerdotes y diáconos de la diócesis tienen además trabajos seculares en educación, administración y otras profesiones. Su actual obispo Francisco Duque, es abogado y pertenece a la Iglesia Episcopal desde su juventud. La catedral episcopal de San Pablo, se yergue en una zona residencial de Bogotá.

Un servicio al que asistieron políticos, escritores y otras personalidades ha rendido homenaje póstumo a la vida de Maya Angelou, distinguida escritora afro-americana fallecida a los 86 años el mes pasado en Winston-Salem, Carolina del Norte.  Angelou fue alabada por haber llegado a la cima procedente de una vida de pobreza y sufrimientos. La primera dama, Michelle Obama, dijo que ella “levantó el amor propio” a las jóvenes negras diciéndoles que se sintieran orgullosas de sí mismas y hasta de “sus cuerpos con hermosas curvas”. Angelou es considerada la mejor escritora del siglo XX.

Un informe de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos revela que por lo menos 60,000 niños indocumentados han entrado sin la compañía de un adulto. Los obispos afirman que esto es un “reto humanitario” para niños indefensos y vulnerables. El Wall Street Journal añadió que esto es también un reto fiscal para la nación en momentos que el congreso considera el futuro de 11 millones de indocumentados que ya viven en el país. Activistas de derechos humanos dicen que el número de niños se debe en su mayoría a la situación de violencia y pobreza que se vive  en México. Según la Patrulla Fronteriza la mayoría de los niños procede de Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador, países con altos niveles de violencia. Los obispos urgen una reforma integral al problema migratorio.

Una reciente reunión de los Guías Espirituales del Exilio, grupo ecuménico formado por clérigos de distintas iglesias, parece que está tomando nueva vida después de un año de reposo. El grupo decidió solicitar al presidente Barack Obama y a los siete congresistas de origen cubano que “hagan todo lo posible para aprobar una ley de reforma migratoria este año”. El grupo contó con la presencia de Thomas Wenski, arzobispo de Miami y eligió como moderador del grupo a José Luis Menéndez, pastor de la Iglesia de Corpus Christi de Miami.

ORACIÓN. Señor acuérdate de mí cuando llegues a tu reino.