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Weeping for Baltimore: A statement by Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

[Episcopal Diocese of Maryland] Episcopal Diocese of Maryland Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton issued the following statement April 28.

Jeremiah 29:4-7
Psalm 137:1-6
Luke 6:17-31

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Weep and pray for Baltimore.  Violence never works.  Ever.

Today we need to mourn. The City of Baltimore in many of its parts is burning. Righteous anger over the death of Freddie Gray, who was injured while in Baltimore City Police custody and later died, has turned into a destructive anger that is destroying the fabric of many of our communities. Schools and businesses have been closed, and many of its citizens are afraid to go out into its neighborhoods. We are in an official State of Emergency, but we are also in an unofficial State of Despair.

Sometimes the most healing thing you can do in a state of despair is to allow yourself the freedom and the dignity to cry. Jesus did. The shortest verse in the New Testament is John 11:35, when our Lord went to the tomb of his good friend Lazarus, the verse says simply, “Jesus wept.” Apparently Jesus did that a lot, weeping not only for human beings, but for whole cities. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!  How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:37) If our Lord could weep for the city of Jerusalem, then surely we can weep for our beloved city of Baltimore.

Today we also need to remember how we came to this point. Of course, all of us in Baltimore and around the world remember Freddie Gray. And we still remember Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the two unarmed black men killed last year by police officers who were not indicted for their part in their deaths.

We remember Trayvon Martin, who died unarmed from gunshot wounds two years ago. Those of us with longer memories recall Amadou Diallo, the young man immortalized in Bruce Springsteen’s haunting “American Skin (41 Shots).”

But how many of us have ever heard of Patrick Dorismund, Rekia Boyd, Orlando Barlow, Ousmane Zongo, Timothy Stansbury Jr., Aaron Campbell, James Brissette, Ronald Matison, Travares McGill, Shantel Davis, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Jerrod Miller, Victor Steen, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Steven Eugene Washington, Alonzo Ashley, Wendell Allen, Ramarley Graham, Kendra James, Ervin Jefferson, Kendree McDade or Kimani Gray?  Who were they?  All were shot by police officers or security guards between 2000 and 2013. All were African American men and women, including one child, averaging just 23 years of age, and all were unarmed.

In addition to these, America was also shocked by the shooting deaths of two young African American males, John Crawford (22) and Tamir Rice (12) who were both killed while carrying toy BB guns in Ohio, an “open carry” state, in which the carrying of firearms is legal with or without a license.

“According to data stretching from 1999-2011, African Americans have comprised 26 percent of all police-shooting victims. Overall, young African Americans are killed by cops 4½ times more often than people of other races and ages.” (quote from the Daily Beast, Nov. 26, 2014)

We need to remember these statistics, because each of those black lives mattered – if not to all of us, then at least they mattered to God. Those of us who regularly attend an Episcopal church renew our baptismal vows several times a year. At the renewal, the presider asks this question: “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?”  To which the people respond, “I will, with God’s help.” (Book of Common Prayer, pgs. 292-294) That’s one of the most difficult vows for all of us to keep in a nation that has struggled with the sin of racism since its inception.

“From the 1787 Constitutional ‘Three-fifths Compromise’ – meaning an African American was to be counted as 3/5 of a person in a census – to the legacy of lynching in the Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras, to the continued stereotypes that blacks (especially male blacks) are essentially criminally inclined, beastly aggressive, and lacking fundamental intellectual and social qualities to merit human dignity.” (From a reflection on Ferguson by Bishop Nathan Baxter, 11/26/14)

We all know, of course, of the tragic situation of black on black violence emanating from the political and economic cages we call “inner-city ghettos” in America. In many of our communities, we have reason to be scared of some of our neighbors. But when the police – the very ones who are supposed to protect you from those predators roaming our streets are themselves the ones who are killing you – then that gives rise to rage.

Black and white citizens of good will throughout this nations are outraged that black lives seem to matter less than other lives in our communities.  We are enraged that we have to have rallies and hold signs that say, “BLACK LIVES MATTER.”

The dream of living in a community where justice and peace prevails has been seriously tested here in Baltimore for the last two weeks, and particularly with yesterday’s violence. That dream has been deferred for far too long. In Langston Hughes’ famous poem, he writes:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Last night, the deferred dream exploded in Baltimore, and it’s going to take a long time to get it back. We need to constantly, diligently and faithfully keep the dream alive, especially for those who cannot see it right now. I want so desperately to say this to all those young people who are wondering whether or not to take to the streets today: “Don’t kindle buildings. Kindle dreams.”

In the final analysis that’s why it’s so important that we gather together. We need to each other in order to make a difference in our city.

Last night I had a long conversation with a reporter who kept asking me this question: “Who is the leader of the black community in Baltimore?  Who’s the one whom angry youth listen to?” The reporter couldn’t understand my reticence to answer her question with one short answer. I gave her names of some prominent pastors in the city, of course, but the point I was trying to get across to her is that there is no single person or one church or one religious group or organization that’s going to get the job done of reaching out and capturing the hearts and minds of all toward healing and peace – thank God.

I told her of the efforts of hundreds of unsung heroes who are leaders in their own right…

…the mother who verbally reprimanded and physically moved her grown up son away from the violence and looting at Mondawmin Mall.

…the small business owner who is determined to rebuild her business from the burnt ashes, not only for herself and her family, but to provide jobs in the community.

…the unnamed woman who at 5:00 am this morning was sweeping up the litter on North Avenue, which sparked others to do the same thing.

…the pastor who chooses to commit himself to serving in an impoverished area to uplift dispirited souls.

…the tiny congregation who feeds many times the number of its members so that poor families can have at least one hot, healthy meal that day.

…the beleaguered police officer under attack for just trying to do his job of protecting innocent people from looters and rioters, and the firefighter who has a brick thrown at her trying to save somebody’s business and somebody’s home.

All unsung, ordinary men and women – and all of them leaders.

My brothers and sisters, don’t expect me or anybody else to be the savior of this situation we find ourselves in today.  I am not a savior…but I serve a Savior.  My Savior is not afraid to weep, not afraid to get angry, not afraid to say and do the right thing because it’s hard, not afraid of anyone or any neighborhood – and not afraid of fear. He is strong to save because he’s strong in love, and my Lord God came down from heaven in human form to show us His children the way.

When Jesus said to his disciples, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will rejoice,” he gave us a great gift. Our tears today are going to fuel our tomorrows. Baltimore weeps today, but that’s just a prelude to what we’re going to do tomorrow and every day for the rest of our lives: we are going to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get to the work of striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of EVERY HUMAN BEING.

So, weep, pray for and rebuild Baltimore. Violence never works. Ever. Amen.

Supreme Court cases prelude to marriage debate at General Convention

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Supporters of same sex marriage rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court before the court heard arguments about gay marriage in Washington April 28. The nine justices of the Supreme Court are deciding whether the Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry, taking up a contentious social issue in what promises to be the year’s most anticipated ruling. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalians who followed the April 28 U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments on whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to be married were no doubt looking ahead to the implications of the court’s eventual ruling for this summer’s General Convention.

The Episcopal Church officially has advocated for equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in both the civil and ecclesial arenas for years. However, it was not until 2012 that the General Convention voted to consider anew the church’s theology of marriage, and LGBT Episcopalians’ access to the sacramental rite.

Thus, while the court’s ruling, expected to come before the current terms ends in late June or early July, may settle the issue of access to civil marriage and fulfill one of The Episcopal Church’s long-held public-policy stances, its decision could come as the convention is debating the church’s understanding of sacramental marriage and the accompanying canonical definition of marriage. The 78th meeting of the General Convention takes place June 25-July 3 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The church’s advocacy for civil equality for LGBT persons began in 1976 with Resolution A071 in which it said “homosexual persons are entitled to equal protection of the laws with all other citizens, and calls upon our society to see that such protection is provided in actuality.” That same convention said (in Resolution A069) that “homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church.”

From then on, the trend continued, including these resolutions:
1994: Resolution D006 called for local, state and the federal government to give gay and lesbian couples the same rights and protections as non-gay married couples.
2000: Resolution D039 affirmed that some people in the church live in relationships outside of marriage and outlined the expected characteristics of those relationships.
2006: Resolution A095 said the church opposed state or federal constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex civil marriages or civil unions.
2009: Resolution D025 recognized that the baptized membership of church includes same-sex couples living in lifelong committed relationship, that LGBT people participate in lay and ordained ministry.
2012: Resolution D018 noted the church “is a period of discernment about the meaning of Christian marriage, with faithful people holding divergent views,” and urged Congress to repeal federal laws that discriminate against same-sex civilly married couples; and pass legislation allowing the federal government to provide benefits to them.

Also in 2012, bishops and deputies allowed clergy to bless same-sex relationships with the permission of their bishop. They authorized a rite for those blessings (Resolution A049) and called (in Resolution A050) for a task force to “identify and explore biblical, theological, historical, liturgical, and canonical dimensions of marriage.” The convention asked what became known as the Task Force on the Study of Marriage to examine the “changing societal and cultural norms and legal structures” surrounding marriage.

(A complete list with links to all related General Convention resolutions from 1976 to 2012 on liturgy, marriage and ordination in addition to resolutions on LGBT civil rights is here).

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

“Personally, I continue to give thanks for the way in which Episcopalians and people of good faith in the U.S. and far beyond are learning to see the image of God in all God’s children, whether gay, straight, transgender, short, blonde or anything else,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told Episcopal News Service on April 28. “God’s ability to create in diverse ways is a sign that we will never fully know the divine mind and that we have gifts to receive from all that God offers us. The task of the church is to help people live lives of holiness, loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves – all our neighbors.”

House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings

In an interview with ENS on April 28, House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings said she believed that “our church’s long discernment on LGBT equality in civil law and our subsequent discussion about sacramental marriage equality are part of what’s moved the broader culture to the point of today’s Supreme Court arguments.” The Episcopal Church’s work joins “with other religious traditions that are also wresting with their legacy of homophobia,” she added.

The Rev. Canon Susan Russell, a longtime advocate for the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church and who proposed Resolution 2012-D018, told ENS that “the Holy Spirit is smack dab in the middle of both our General Convention and the Supreme Court schedule.”

Convention will face various same-sex marriage proposals
The marriage task force, the standing commission that proposed its creation and, to date, four dioceses are urging this summer’s meeting of convention to move toward greater clarity in its understanding of the availability of the sacramental rite of marriage to both different- and same-sex couples.

The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music asks in its report (beginning on page 3 here) that convention authorize an expanded version of “Liturgical Resources I: I Will Bless You and You Will Be A Blessing,” the liturgy for blessing same-sex relationships and accompanying resources whose use was authorized in 2012. The new version (on pages 2-151 here includes three additional liturgies: “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage”; “The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2”; and “The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony.” Those rites offer the option of using “wife,” “husband,” “person,” or “spouse,” thus making them applicable for both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

The commission’s proposed Resolution A054 says diocesan bishops must approve use of the rites. It also says that bishops within civil jurisdictions where same-sex marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships are legal may continue to provide “generous pastoral response” to meet the needs of church members (an echo of Resolution 2009-C056).

And the proposed resolution repeats the provision in Resolution 2012-A049 that “no bishop, priest, deacon or lay person should be coerced or penalized in any manner, nor suffer any canonical disabilities” as a result of his or her theological objection to or support of the resolution. The resolution also would extend to these new rites the provision in the church’s Canon I.18.4, which says that clergy may decline to solemnize any marriage.

The Task Force for the Study of Marriage asks that The Episcopal Church go further, proposing in its Resolution A036 to revise Canon I.18 titled “Of the Solemnization of Holy Matrimony” (page 58 of The Episcopal Church’s canons here).

Among many edits, the revision removes references to marriage as being between a man and a woman.

The revision would recast the requirement in the canon’s first section that clergy conform to both “the laws of the state” and “the laws of this Church” about marriage. The rewritten portion would require that clergy conform to “the laws of the State governing the creation of the civil status of marriage, and also to these canons concerning the solemnization of marriage.”

And the proposal preserves the canon’s provision that clergy may decline to solemnize any given marriage and extends that discretion to include the choice to decline to bless a marriage.

Among the four diocese-proposed actions, Resolution C017 from the Diocese of Chicago and Resolution C0022 from the Diocese of California both ask the convention to authorize the use of the marriage rites in The Book of Common Prayer 1979  and in Liturgical Resources I “for all marriages legal in the civil jurisdiction in which the liturgy takes place.” In civil jurisdictions with same-sex marriage, the rites’ language would be interpreted as gender-neutral. C022 also proposes a rewrite of the solemnization canon.

The Diocese of Rochester, in Resolution C007, and the Diocese of Los Angeles in C009 simply ask that convention “take any and all steps necessary to make the Rite of Holy Matrimony available to same-sex couples throughout The Episcopal Church immediately.”

All of these resolutions and other related ones that might arise have been assigned to the General Convention’s Special Legislative Committee on Marriage, formally a bishop committee meeting alongside a deputy committee but voting separately, announced in July 2014 by Jefferts Schori and Jennings.

Facing the issue of making space for dissenters
A possible crux of the issue at convention could be the question of whether and how to provide space for those Episcopalians who oppose changing the definition of marriage in either the civil or ecclesial contexts, or both.

Diocese of Northern Indiana Bishop Ed Little

Diocese of Northern Indiana Bishop Ed Little told ENS recently that The Episcopal Church has a “mixed economy” with “a progressive majority that would be in favor of redefining marriage in terms of its civil expression and would also be in favor of redefining marriage in it sacramental expression.” And, there is a not-insubstantial conservative or traditional minority that is “concerned that both sets of developments move us away from marriage as it’s been experienced by both the human community and ecclesial community for thousands of years.”

Both groups have “space to flourish,” which “gives the Holy Spirit space to work,” Little said, because of the provisions in resolutions 2009-C056 and 2012-A049.

“At the moment, I have the space to live my conscience within the church, but it’s worrisome if marriage is redefined canonically,” he said. “That seems to narrow the options and seems to say that those who hold to ancient and traditional perspectives don’t have an honored place in our community.”

Russell said both the SCLM and the task force proposals exhibit the “Anglican genius” of recognizing that “as a church, we are a big tent; that we do hold in tension the difference that exists amongst us.” The Episcopal Church has always moved forward on divisive issues striving for “comprehensiveness, not unanimity,” she said.

“No matter what we do at General Convention, it will be too much for some and too little for others,” she predicted.

The trajectory of women’s ordination is, Little said, a “cautionary tale” in which those opposed to female priests and bishops were “sort of honored and then eventually merely tolerated and then ultimately canonically excluded.”

After General Convention agreed in 1976 that women could be priests and bishops (they already were being ordained deacons), then-Presiding Bishop John Allin told an October 1977 House of Bishops meeting he did not think “that women can be priests any more than they can become fathers or husbands,” and he offered to resign as presiding bishop. Instead, the bishops affirmed his leadership and adopted “A Statement of Conscience” saying that “no Bishop, Priest, or Lay Person should be coerced or penalized in any manner, nor suffer any canonical disabilities as a result of his or her conscientious objection to or support” of women’s ordination.

Since the “conscience clause” was never adopted by the House of Deputies, it had no canonical authority. But, a handful of bishops and their dioceses used it to bar women from the priesthood for 33 more years.

Twenty years later, General Convention said that refusing to ordain women was no longer an option. In 2000, it called for monitoring of the three dioceses (Fort Worth, San Joaquin and Quincy) that still did not ordain women.

“The result has been that people of a very traditional perspective who were not able to embrace, for theological reason, the ordination of women no longer felt welcomed,” Little said. “Most are gone. There are a few still in the church, but they are on the margins of the church”

Little said he has ordained more women than men, “but I also grieve that that traditional perspective is really canonically no longer viable in the church.”

In Salt Lake City, during what he intends to be his last General Convention as a diocesan bishop, Little will oppose any revision of the solemnization canon that would redefine marriage, he said. He would like the convention to preserve the “conscience” provision in the blessing resolution.

Russell said she thought the discretion that has always been granted to clergy in the marriage canon and the protections afforded to clergy in all of the states currently allowing same-sex marriage were sufficient protection.

And Jennings, while not commenting directly on the issue of a conscience clause, said, “I don’t think where a couple can get married should be an accident of geography, either civilly or within the church.”

No matter what happens in Salt Lake City, Little said, he will “continue to advocate for the recognition that across the church people are dealing with these difficult issues in different ways – people of deep commitment and deep integrity – and so we’ve got to find a way that their consciences could be honored.”

“The issues are significant. They impact the deepest places of our heart, but I hope that all of us will recognize, wherever we come down on these issues, that our commitment to Jesus Christ, our love for him and above all his for us, is what binds us together,” he said. “We have to recognize that in fractious times Jesus is our only hope. You can’t legislate that, but in the end the only thing that will keep us together is Jesus himself.”

The Rev. Canon Susan Russell

Russell cited Jesus as well, saying, “I firmly believe in my deepest heart of hearts that nothing short of full inclusion of the gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender baptized is good enough for Jesus and us, and it’s a journey to get to that goal.”

Insisting she is not an “incrementalist,” but instead an “Anglican pragmatist,” Russell said she’d like to see that full inclusion enunciated in the Book of Common Prayer. “And what I want to come out of Salt Lake City with is approval from The Episcopal Church that will stand unequivocally for ending discrimination against same-sex marriage, recognizing that we have people within this body for whom that is not congruent with their theology.”

Little said he was “in it for the long haul whatever happens and to retain whatever voice I can” and continue to try to build bridges in the church. Russell said she was not going anywhere either. “The only threat we have ever made is to continue to keep coming back,” she said, adding that the patron saint of her and her like-minded colleagues is the persistent widow. “We haven’t threatened to leave, we haven’t threatened to pull our pledges, we haven’t threatened to do anything other than to keep showing up.”

Episcopalians advocate for marriage equality
The Supreme Court justices earlier this year announced they would consider same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Michigan that had been upheld in November by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. All other federal appeals courts that have ruled on the issue have struck down such bans.

The justices also took the unusual step of framing the issues for which it would use the cases to make their decision.. The first is whether the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex. The second is whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state.

The Supreme Court’s decision to consider the cases, known as Obergefell v. Hodges and Consolidated Cases, has attracted much attention and 145 amicus curiae, or “friend of the court,” briefs had been filed as of April 27. The filers range from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to labor unions, and include the Columbia Law School Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic, and the Historians of Marriage together with the American Historical Association.

One brief was filed by the mayors of 226 U.S. cities and another came from 167 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 44 U.S. senators. Nearly 380 employers, including Microsoft, the National Football Champion New England Patriots and small businesses such as Crazy Misfits Pets Service in Kent, Washington, filed another.

Nearly 2,000 individual lay and ordained religious leaders, led by lead signers Jennings and Episcopal Church bishops in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee (the states included in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals), filed one of those briefs.

Those bishops include Kentucky Bishop Terry Allen White; Lexington Bishop Douglas Hahn; Michigan Bishop Wendell N. Gibbs Jr.; Western Michigan Bishop Whayne M. Hougland Jr.; Northern Michigan Bishop Rayford J. Ray; Eastern Michigan Bishop Todd Ousley; Ohio Bishop Mark Hollingsworth Jr.; Ohio Assisting Bishops David C. Bowman, William D. Persell and Arthur B. Williams Jr.; Southern Ohio Bishop Thomas E. Breidenthal; retired Southern Ohio Bishop Suffragan Kenneth L. Price Jr.; Southern Ohio Assisting Bishop Bavi Edna Rivera; West Tennessee Bishop Don E. Johnson; and East Tennessee Bishop George D. Young III. All of the bishops have authorized the blessing of same-sex couples in their dioceses, including for couples who have already entered into civil marriages in other jurisdictions.

Diocese of Vermont Bishop Tom Ely, Diocese of Hawaii Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick, Diocese of Southeast Florida Bishop Leo Frade, Diocese of Maine Bishop Steve Lane, Diocese of Atlanta Assistant Bishop Keith Whitmore and nearly 200 ordained and lay Episcopalians also signed onto the brief.

The brief outlines how a number of Protestant denominations, branches of Judaism and certain Muslim groups have come to call for marriage equality. It notes that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), the largest U.S. Presbyterian denomination, last summer asked its members to redefine marriage as being between “two people, traditionally a man and a woman.” The necessary constitutional change has since earned the approval of the majority of that church’s presbyteries.

The brief’s signers argue that “eliminating discrimination in civil marriage will not impinge upon religious doctrine, conscience, or practice. All religions would remain free … to define religious marriage in any way they choose.” The brief notes that such freedom currently exists in the 37 states which, along with the District of Columbia, permit same-sex couples to marry.

“The reason I signed the brief is that it’s long, long past time to end any kind of legal discrimination against God’s children in this country,” Jennings told ENS. “A reversal of the Sixth Circuit’s decision would bring us closer to the day of justice and reconciliation that I think people of all faiths long to see”

Little, of Northern Indiana, said he was concerned about the Supreme Court advocacy by some Episcopalians because it seemed to show the majority of the church moving away from the recognition of the “mixed economy” he appreciates. Those advocates, he said, “may be attempting to portray the church as monochromatic when it comes to these very difficult, very sensitive theological, pastoral issues.”

The advocacy, he said, “often does not recognize the fact that those who are signing briefs and so on are not speaking for the church; they’re speaking for themselves, but it sounds as though they’re speaking for the church.”

Jefferts Schori declined to join the brief because while The Episcopal Church has an official policy of seeking civil marriage equality, she said, “we do not have such policy for sacramental marriage.”

“I do not believe this church can or should sign amicus briefs where our own community has not formally accepted the premises that underlie such briefs,” she said. “I believe that most Episcopalians would assert that our theological position about the sacrament of marriage has greater moral weight than civil law.”

“Until our canon law changes, I see no other option,” she said. “We have come a long way, but we have not yet reached a conclusion.  I ask your prayers as the Church seeks greater clarity.”

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

Editor’s note: The U.S. Supreme Court has posted audio recordings and written transcripts of the April 28 oral arguments on its website here. The New York Times, among other news sites, live blogged the arguments.

Se añade un candidato a la lista electoral para obispo coadjutor de la República Dominicana

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

[Episcopal News Service] El Comité Permanente de la Diócesis Episcopal de la República Dominicana ha dado a conocer un candidato adicional a postularse a la elección de obispo coadjutor.

El Rdo. P. Salvador Patrick Ros Suárez, de 59 años, rector de la iglesia del Buen Pastor [Church of the Good Shepherd] en Rahway, Nueva Jersey, Diócesis de Nueva Jersey.

Ros se une a la lista de otros tres candidatos, cuyos nombres se anunciaron en marzo. Ellos son:

  • El Rdo. Ramón Antonio García de Los Santos, de 50 años, vicario de las misiones de San Lucas y La Anunciación, en Santiago, director de una escuela y arcediano de la región norte del país.
  • El Rdo. Moisés Quezada Mota, de 58 años, vicario de las misiones de Jesús Nazareno y El Buen Samaritano en San Francisco de Macorís, y director de una escuela; y
  • El Rdo. Daniel Samuel, de 58 años, vicario de las misiones de Santa María Virgen, Divina Gracia y San Cornelio, y director de una escuela.

El obispo Julio César Holguín Khoury solicitó la elección de un obispo coadjutor durante su alocución a la Convención Diocesana de 2014. El próximo 25 de julio tendrá lugar una convención especial para elegir al obispo coadjutor. El obispo coadjutor servirá con Holguín hasta la jubilación de éste último, la cual, según la Constitución de la Iglesia Episcopal (Artículo II, Sección 1 aquí) debe tener lugar en el transcurso de los 36 meses que siguen a la consagración del obispo coadjutor.

Los detalles acerca de la elección pueden encontrarse aquí.

Presiding Bishop restores David Bane to ordained ministry

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has restored the Rt. Rev. David Bane to ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church.

As such, he returns to The Episcopal Church as a bishop and is a member of the House of Bishops. The Presiding Bishop took this action following a request from Bane and in consultation with her Council of Advice and with Bishop Robert Skirving of the Diocese of East Carolina.

The restoration took effect April 8 and was celebrated at an April 27 service of reconciliation with Bishop Skirving in the Diocese of East Carolina.

The notice signed by the Presiding Bishop, called Restoration to Ordained Ministry, reads as such:

Upon retraction of his Renunciation of Ordained Ministry in this Church made to me in writing on March 21, 2015, and his execution of the Declaration of Conformity prescribed by Article VIII of the Constitution of The Episcopal Church, and with the advice and consent of the Advisory Council to the Presiding Bishop, I have rescinded the Declaration of Removal and Release from the Ordained Ministry of this Church, executed by me on May 22, 2009, of The Right Rev. David C. Bane, Bishop of Southern Virginia, Resigned, who is, therefore, restored to the Ordained Ministry of this Church, with the attendant obligations of Ministerial office, and endowed with the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God’s Word and Sacraments in this Church conferred on him in Ordinations.

Blessing of the fleet on Bayou Dularge

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Rt. Rev. Morris K. Thompson Jr., Bishop of Louisiana, during the blessing of the fleet along the muddy waters of Bayou Dularge. Photo: Karen Mackey

[Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana] On April 26, gaily decorated boats with colorful flags and horns blaring paraded along the muddy waters of Bayou Dularge in Louisiana for the annual “Blessing of the Fleet.” For over 60 years St. Andrew’s Episcopal Mission, along with St. Eloi Catholic Church, in the small fishing town of Theriot have hosted this annual boat blessing and parade.

This day offers a bit of respite for the hardworking shrimpers who make their living on the waters in south Louisiana. For months they have been preparing their boats. Now it was time for fun and companionship before the rugged work of shrimping continues. The Louisiana brown shrimp season opens soon.

At precisely one o’clock in the afternoon, the bell in front of St. Andrew’s was rung to call people to the bayou. The Rt. Rev. Morris K. Thompson Jr., Bishop of Louisiana, offered prayers for the fisherman, the boats, and the community. He then boarded the Brother’s Pride shrimp boat captained by Charles Lovell Jr.

The boat parade wound its way on the 20-mile route along Bayou Dularge to Lake De Cade. Throughout the whole journey Thompson moved back and forth from port to starboard sprinkling holy water on people and boats.

“Pour that water on me. Give us extra blessings this year,” spectators shouted from the shores.  People smiled and waved as the parade passed.

Not everyone had the day off though. The crab fisherman were busy with their chores of mending traps. The oyster fisherman were bringing in their haul. Hundreds of sacks of oysters were being loaded to trucks for transport to restaurants across Louisiana and Mississippi. Life is never still on the bayou.

When the shrimp boats turned into Lake De Cade, they were tied together to complete the next step of the annual ritual. Thompson offered prayers for those who died while making their living on the waters. A memorial wreath of daisies was thrown into the lake. “May rest eternal be granted unto them, O Lord,” he said after a moment of silence.

Meanwhile back at St. Andrew’s, a crawfish lunch fundraiser was taking place. Visitors from Houma to New Orleans sat underneath sprawling oak trees draped with Spanish moss while eating their fill of spicy crawfish, corn, and potatoes. The funds from the lunch will be used to pay for insurance for the church building and to cover expenses for the Christmas time Santa on the Bayou, a ministry that provides toys and food for families in need.

Making a living on these waters is tough, especially over the past decade dealing with hurricanes and the aftermath of the 2010 oil spill. The community is close-knit though. They rely on families and friends to make it through the bad times and celebrate the good times. St. Andrew’s has been a part of the family for over 100 years.

The Blessing of the Fleet takes place each year on the last Sunday of April.

— Karen Mackey is communications coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana.

Voces indígenas episcopales se pronuncian sobre la autoagresión y el suicidio en un foro de la ONU

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Las tasas de suicidio y de autoagresión entre jóvenes indígenas de Estados Unidos y de todo el mundo han alcanzado niveles epidémicos, según los jóvenes —hombres y mujeres— que testificaron en la sesión del 21 de abril del Foro Permanente para las Cuestiones Indígenas de la ONU.

Las voces de indígenas episcopales, parte de una delegación organizada y apoyada por la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera (DFMS), se encontraban entre los que brindaron testimonios y recomendaciones durante la sesión general que se centró en la autoagresión y el suicidio, el segundo día del foro sobre cuestiones indígenas que tiene lugar del 20 de abril al 1 de mayo en la sede central de la ONU en Nueva York.

La DFMS [Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society] es el nombre con el cual la Iglesia Episcopal está incorporada, funciona empresarialmente y lleva a cabo la misión. Es también el nombre reconocido por las Naciones Unidas de la presencia consultiva oficial de la Iglesia Episcopal aquí.

“Como pueblos indígenas, nos consideramos conectados no sólo unos con otros como familia, sino también con la Tierra. Los efectos adversos de hábitos ambientales nocivos y de las industrias de extracción que provocan cambios en nuestro clima y en el medio ambiente equivalen a una autoagresión colectiva y social” dice una declaración de la Iglesia Episcopal presentada por Jasmine Bostock, de 24 años, joven adulta y presidenta del Comité sobre Ministerio Indígena del Consejo Ejecutivo.

“Estos hábitos destruyen nuestra comprensión de nosotros mismos como parte de la sacralidad de toda la creación. Nuestra relación con la tierra y el agua se ve interrumpida por la remoción de nuestras tierras y la violación de nuestros lugares sagrados. Les instamos a pensar en el mensaje social enviado a los jóvenes hawaianos nativos que están viendo como arrestan a sus mayores por [tratar de] impedir que se apropien de Mauna Kea, su montaña tradicionalmente sagrada, para fines científicos”.

Bostock, que es hawaiana nativa, de la Diócesis de Hawái, representó a la DFMS en la sesión, junto con Cohen Adkins, de 26 años, de la tribu chickahominy en la Diócesis de Virginia, quien presta servicios como asesor nativo de la Sociedad, y Frank Oberly, de 72 años, de las tribus comanche y osage, de la Diócesis de Oklahoma, quien también es parte del Comité sobre Ministerio Indígena.

El Foro Permanente sobre Cuestiones Indígenas de la ONU es un organismo asesor del Consejo Económico y Social, y su misión es discutir cuestiones indígenas relativas al desarrollo económico y social, la cultura, el medioambiente, la educación, la salud y los derechos humanos. A la Iglesia Episcopal le otorgaron un estatus consultivo especial en el Consejo Económico y Social en julio de 2014; más del 80 por ciento de la labor de la ONU tiene lugar en el Consejo, que también es el organismo a través del cual las organizaciones no gubernamentales tienen una afiliación y una relación oficiales con la ONU y sus agencias.

“Esta acreditación le permite a la Iglesia Episcopal, bajo el liderazgo y supervisión de la Obispa Primada, presentar declaraciones y hacer intervenciones orales en reuniones específicas de la ONU a tenor con la política y las posiciones de la Iglesia”, dijo Lynnaia Main, la funcionaria encargada de relaciones globales de la DFMS. “También le permite a la Iglesia traer delegados como observadores a ciertas reuniones de la ONU, entre ellas el Foro Permanente sobre Cuestiones Indígenas. El foro consta de expertos que consultan con los pueblos indígenas en asuntos de interés social y económico, y los expertos funcionan como un cuerpo asesor del Consejo Económico y Social de la ONU y los estados miembros”.

El foro, que se encuentra en su 14º. año, le brinda la oportunidad a los delegados indígenas de presenciar las sesiones, adquirir experiencia con las tareas del organismo internacional e identificar la manera en que las cuestiones indígenas que se discuten se relacionan con la Iglesia Episcopal. Aunque los episcopales han asistido a foros anteriores, como integrantes de las delegaciones de la Comunión Anglicana, esta ha sido la primera vez que la Iglesia Episcopal tiene una representación propia.

“Junto con la Sociedad Misionera, los delegados pudieron experimentar de primera mano el proceso global de diálogo mediante el cual los expertos del foro permanente escuchan y consultan a los representantes y organizaciones de los pueblos indígenas y a otras organizaciones no gubernamentales”, dijo Main.

Tener acceso a un foro global les ofrece a los episcopales una avenida adicional de hacer realidad el Pacto Bautismal de “buscar y servir a Cristo en todas las personas” y de cumplir las marcas tres, cuatro y cinco de las Cinco Marcas de la Misión: responder a las necesidades humanas con amoroso servicio, procurar la transformación de las estructuras sociales injustas y luchar por salvaguardar la integridad de la creación y por el sostenimiento y la renovación de la vida en la tierra, respectivamente, añadió Main.

“Todas estas marcas de la misión son compartidas en un espíritu común con los que se reúnen en las Naciones Unidas. La comunidad de Naciones Unidas proporciona un micrófono por el cual podemos exponer los asuntos que nos preocupan y compartir experiencias, un espacio común en el cual podemos relacionarnos y participar en diálogos sobre muchos asuntos importantes y [constituye] una plataforma de aprendizaje para las mejores prácticas y entrenamiento globales que podemos llevar de vuelta a nuestras comunidades”, afirmó ella.

El suicidio es la segunda causa de muerte entre jóvenes y jóvenes adultos indígenas, con edades entre 15 y 24 años, siendo la probabilidad de suicidarse tres veces más alta en las mujeres que en los hombres, según el Servicio de Salud Indio de EE.UU.

La ira, la depresión y la desesperanza son las emociones subyacentes que llevan a los jóvenes indígenas a autoagredirse y a suicidarse en tasas mayores que el promedio, dijo un joven indígena que habló durante el foro sobre autoagresión y suicido en la sesión matutina del 21 de abril.

Después de tratar de destruir físicamente al pueblo indígena, la mayoría blanca que domina la sociedad emprendió la destrucción de la cultura y la espiritualidad indígenas, prosiguió.

“La Iglesia desempeña un papel singular en reconocer y restaurar el quebranto del mundo; creo que eso es esencialmente bautismal y central a la fe cristiana”, dijo Bostock, durante una entrevista con ENS el 21 de abril antes de testificar en la sesión matutina.

“He visto al ministerio indígena una y otra vez buscando por dónde la espiritualidad indígena se entrecruza con nuestra identidad como cristianos, y para mí, obviamente, de manera más especifica, con nuestra identidad como episcopales. Y yo creo que este problema es aquel en que las dos realidades se intersectan. En nuestra declaración hablamos mucho de la espiritualidad indígena y de la comprensión indígena del ser de uno relacionándose con todas las cosas de la creación, siendo familia de todas las personas, siendo familia de todas las cosas —y de este modo viendo el suicidio y la autoagresión no como algo independiente de todo lo demás, sino como resultado directo de las diferentes maneras en que se han quebrantado nuestras relaciones con la tierra y las de unos con otros y con nosotros mismos”.

La DFMS, respondiendo al criterio colectivo de la Iglesia Episcopal, que incluyó el repudio de la Doctrina del Descubrimiento en su Convención General de 2009, ha participado activamente en una variedad de ministerios, orientados hacia los jóvenes, con vistas a sanar el trauma histórico y generacional.

“Restaurar las relaciones justas con los pueblos indígenas es una prioridad de nuestra Iglesia. Como cristianos, creemos que todos los seres humanos son creados a imagen de Dios y que nuestras escrituras, el camino de Jesucristo y nuestro Pacto Bautismal nos llaman a ‘buscar y servir a Cristo en todas las personas’. Nos dolemos y lamentamos con nuestros jóvenes indígenas, sus familias y sus comunidades cuando ellos sufren”, dice la declaración que la DFMS presentó ante la ONU.

Basándose en la experiencia y el testimonio de la Iglesia, la declaración hizo recomendaciones orientadas a erradicar “las nocivas raíces que le infligen dolor “ a los jóvenes dando lugar a que se autoagredan:

  • Promover imágenes positivas de los pueblos indígenas en entornos sociales y eliminar lesivas imágenes paternalistas, de manera que los jóvenes puedan enorgullecerse de su identidad indígena en lugar de sentirse devaluados por la sociedad en general.
  • Expandir el currículo escolar para incluir contribuciones positivas e importantes de los pueblos indígenas a las narrativas acerca de la formación, la historia y la sociedad de cada país.
  • Restaurar a los pueblos indígenas su justo lugar en las tierras y en las estructuras de gobierno, de manera que no estén oprimidos, marginados, injustamente representados o carentes de recursos y servicios.

Hay 566 tribus reconocidas federalmente a través de Estados Unidos, explicó Adkins, entre las cuales la Iglesia Episcopal tiene una pujante presencia entre los alasqueños y hawaianos nativos, los navajos, los lakotas, los oneidas, los ojibwas y otros.

Una de las formas en que la Iglesia y la DFMS laboran para reducir los índices de suicidios y de autoagresión es mediante la conexión con los jóvenes, en persona y a través de los medios sociales, dijo Cohen, añadiendo que la comunidad indígena se suscribe a una Iglesia de culto alto muy tradicional, de manera que los indígenas sienten el estigma asociado con el suicidio y la autoagresión más que otros.

Y esto es algo en que Oberly y otras personas han estado trabajando. Como ex presidente del comité sobre Ministerio Indígena del Consejo Ejecutivo y habiendo desempeñado papeles de liderazgo en la Iglesia durante mucho tiempo, Oberly creó el Instituto Indígena de Capacitación Teológica, el cual se ocupa de crear materiales para parroquias y otras organizaciones comunitarias que trabajan en áreas con índices elevados de suicidio y de autoagresión.

La Iglesia, dijo él, no sólo está hablando de trabajo, sino que lo está haciendo, lo cual la convierte en un sólido asociado de otras organizaciones e instituciones.

Es importante para la Iglesia Episcopal estar presente en foros como el que se presenta en las Naciones Unidas y participar en conversaciones y diálogos constructivos, afirmó Bostock, añadiendo que a ella le gustaría ver a la Iglesia convertida en una asociada al abordar los conflictos de los pueblos indígenas.

“La Iglesia no puede hacerlo sola”, dijo ella, y agregó que tanto la Iglesia como las Naciones Unidas tienen sus propios métodos y procedimientos para presentar resoluciones y adoptar normas, pero sólo mediante la colaboración pueden verse los resultados.

“Cuanta más colaboración podamos ver, tanto más feliz podemos ver al mundo. Si uno no está dispuesto a conectarse y a colaborar, uno siempre será una voz que clama en el desierto, y ése no es nuestro llamado”, afirmó Bostock. “Nuestro llamado es…buscar y reconocer a Cristo en todas las personas y servir a toda la gente”.

Responding in prayer to the situation in Baltimore

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

[Episcopal Diocese of Maryland] Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton said in an April 28 Facebook post, “Pray for Baltimore. Violence is not the answer, ever.”

With that in mind, please join with others in the diocese on April 28, at the Cathedral of the Incarnation, Baltimore:
11:30 a.m.-12 noon: Centering Prayer, Peace Chapel. Join Bishop Sutton in contemplative prayer.
12:15 p.m.-1 p.m.: Tuesday Eucharist
1 p.m.-2 p.m.: Open forum discussion on the current situation in the city.
2 p.m.-6 p.m.: Prayer Vigil, the cathedral will be open for prayer, reflection and solace throughout the afternoon.

At 6 p.m. Bishop Sutton will represent the diocese at an interfaith gathering being planned in Baltimore.

Blue Mass
6:30 p.m., St. John’s in the Village, Baltimore
The annual “Blue Mass” will be celebrated for Baltimore’s police, firefighters and paramedics. Plan to be present as we pray for the protection, guidance and encouragement of our men and women in blue.

The Prayer For Cities
Heavenly Father, in your Word you have given us a vision of that holy City to which the nations of the world bring their glory: Behold and visit, we pray, the cities of the earth. Renew the ties of mutual regard which form our civic life. Send us honest and able leaders. Enable us to eliminate poverty, prejudice, and oppression, that peace may prevail with righteousness, and justice with order, and that men and women from different cultures and with differing talents may find with one another the fulfillment of their humanity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Effects of earthquake ‘devastating’ reports Anglican Deanery of Nepal

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

[Anglican Communion News Service] Based on reports from Anglican Alliance.

The effects of the 7.9 Richter scale earthquake that hit Nepal 80 km northwest of Kathmandu Saturday just before noon local time and the aftershock an hour later have been “devastating,” said the Revd Lewis Lew, Dean of Nepal Deanery of the Diocese of Singapore of the Church of the Province of South East Asia.

At least 3,617 people are confirmed to have died, police say, and more than 6,500 people have been injured, according to the National Emergency Operation Centre. Dozens of people are also reported to have been killed in neighbouring China and India.

The death toll from the most powerful quake to hit the region in 81 years is likely to rise as information comes in from remote outlying areas of the mountainous country. Massive damage to property and infrastructure has been reported in Kathmandu and outlying villages, access to which has been cut off by landslides. Tremors were felt as far afield as Delhi and Dhaka.

“Many buildings in Kathmandu, especially those in old Kathmandu city, have collapsed,” said Dean Lew. “We are [having great difficulty] contacting our churches outside of Kathmandu, as communication is [nearly] totally cut off outside of Kathmandu. We are particularly concerned for our churches near the epicentre, those in Gorkha, Bhaktapur & Dhading districts. I am working with our brothers to see what kind of help is needed and how we can support them.”

The quake also hit Mt Everest, and resulted in many avalanches, he said. Authorities were still trying to account for the mountaineers.

The government of Nepal has appealed to the international community for emergency assistance as the scale of the disaster is beyond the response capacities of national authorities.

‘Nothing is standing’

Many of the Deanery’s churches are located in villages in the Dhading district which was badly hit by the quake. Buildings, houses, schools and churches have all collapsed. “Nothing is standing,” said one of the local priests.

“The death toll is expected to be high. The survivors are badly shaken. They are waiting for aid. There is a shortage of clean water and food and electricity has been cut off. This disaster has claimed so far more than 2000 lives and more than 8000 are injured. Tremors are still being felt every half an hour, even in Kathmandu,” said Dean Lew.

Many people are reportedly sleeping outside, even those who have not lost their homes, for fear of further tremors causing building collapse.

Gearing up to respond

Currently, work is being done to assess the situation on the ground in Nepal, according to Dean Lew.  “I hope to get more ground reports on [the needs] and how we can help practically, and also this will give me a chance to consult our bishops on how we can come alongside our folks in the deanery,” he said.

Churches and agencies around the Anglican Communion have launched appeals and preparing for the massive relief response that will be needed. The Anglican Alliance would be standing ready to give support, said Co-Executive Director Rachel Carnegie.

The Rt Revd Rennis Ponniah, Bishop of Singapore, reported that Bishop Kuan Kim Seng, Director of Missions of the Diocese of Singapore, had put the ACROSS Crisis Relief team in ‘ready to move’ mode. “We stand ready to come alongside with practical help. We long to be with you and will do so soon.”

Dean Lew asked for prayer for all those affected by the earthquake and for disaster and relief teams mobilising to respond.

The Interim General Secretary of the Anglican Communion Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan has assured the Church of the Province of South East Asia of the support of the Anglican Communion.

Notes

For more details on appeals and links to more information, please consult the Anglican Alliance website.

Share prayers for Nepal and the region on the Prayer Wall of the Anglican Communion website.

JNCPB sets process for presiding bishop nominations from the floor

Monday, April 27, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) has released the following concerning nominating bishops from the floor for the position of Presiding Bishop.

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) wishes to announce its process for nominating bishops to the office of the Presiding Bishop from the floor at General Convention in June 2015.

The JNCPB is canonically charged with “establishing a timely process for any bishop or deputy to express the intent to nominate any other member of the House of Bishops from the floor at the time the Joint Nominating Committee presents its nominees to the joint session of the two Houses, and for each Bishop so nominated to be included in the information distributed about the nominees.” Canon I.2.1(e)(2)

The procedure established by the JNCPB for nominations from the floor is as follows:

Any bishop or deputy may indicate his/her intent to nominate a bishop who is not included on the list of nominees for Presiding Bishop which will be announced on May 1.

The intent to nominate period will be Friday, May 1 to Tuesday, May 12.

Any bishop or deputy wishing to nominate a bishop must have that bishop’s written permission to do so.

To indicate the intent to nominate a bishop, send the following information via email to both the co-chairs of the JNCPB, Bishop Edward Konieczny of Oklahoma and Sally Johnson, Esq. of Minnesota (bishoped@epiok.org and sallyjohnson53@gmail.com)

1.  Full name of the bishop you wish to nominate and contact information for him/her including:
•    Diocese (or other position) in which the bishop currently serves
•    Home address
•    Work address
•    Work/office phone number
•    Cell phone number
•    Work email address
•    Personal email address

2.  Copy of the written permission for nomination from the bishop.

3.  Full name of the bishop or deputy submitting the nomination with his/her intention to nominate a bishop including:
•    Diocese (or other position) in which the deputy or bishop currently serves
•    Work/office phone number
•    Cell phone number
•    Work or personal email address

In order to be nominated at General Convention, any bishop whose name is submitted in this process will have to undergo the same background screening process that the JNCPB completed for all of its nominees including, but not limited to, criminal records check, credit check, civil court records check, driver’s license check, psychological examination, and submission of a physical examination report.

In order to complete the background screening process in a timely manner, all bishops whose names are submitted through this process must complete extensive questionnaires by Friday, May 15 at 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

For that reason, the JNCPB encourages bishops and deputies to submit their intent to nominate information as soon as possible after May 1.

Thank you.

For more info: pbnominatingcommittee@gmail.com.

 

Episcopal Relief & Development issues statement on Nepal earthquake

Monday, April 27, 2015

[Episcopal Relief & Development] Episcopal Relief & Development is working with the ecumenical ACT Alliance in Nepal and local partners in northern India and southwest China regarding urgent needs and assessment efforts following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck near Kathmandu on the morning of April 25.

The earthquake was centered east of Nepal’s capital, near the town of Pokhara, though the initial quake and subsequent aftershocks were felt as far away as Pakistan, more than 800 miles away. The death toll reported late April 27 exceeds 3,900, including 17 who died in an avalanche on Mt. Everest, with the number expected to rise over the coming days. Due to the rough terrain and isolated nature of communities in Nepal and across the Himalayas, search and rescue efforts are being carried out on foot and by helicopter.  Communications are still down across wide areas of the region, further hampering assessment and rescue efforts.

“The mountain communities that we suspect are in most need of help are also the hardest to get to, accessible only by foot under normal circumstances,” said Nagulan Nesiah, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Senior Program Officer for Disaster Response and Risk Reduction. “Getting assessment teams there to gather information will be a challenge, as will transporting the relief supplies that are needed so urgently.”

Responding to immediate needs for food, clean water and shelter, as well as the need for accurate information through on-the-ground assessment, Episcopal Relief & Development will support ACT Alliance efforts implemented through a partner office in Kathmandu.  The ACT Alliance works in coordination with major international groups such as the UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs to maximize efficiency and impact of aid, mobilizing local networks to reach remote areas.

Episcopal Relief & Development is in contact with the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia regarding support for the work of the Deanery of Nepal, which is part of the Diocese of Singapore.  The organization may also support other partners in the region including CASA, the humanitarian arm of the National Council of Churches in India, and the Amity Foundation, an independent Christian organization in China.

“It is a frightening time, with so many homes and buildings already destroyed and the threat of aftershocks causing others to collapse,” said Abagail Nelson, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Senior Vice President of Programs. “People need spiritual support as they try to keep their families safe, or find and save those who are missing. We urge prayers for all those impacted by the quake, and for those who are bringing relief, support and encouragement to people in need.”

Please donate to the Nepal Earthquake Response Fund to enable Episcopal Relief & Development to support its partners’ emergency relief efforts and on-the-ground assessment in the region.

Indigenous Episcopal voices speak out on self harm, suicide at UN forum

Monday, April 27, 2015

[Episcopal News Service] Suicide and self-harm rates among indigenous youth in the United States and worldwide have reached epidemic rates, according to the young men and women who testified during the April 21 session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Indigenous Episcopal voices, part of a delegation organized and supported by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, were among those who offered testimony and recommendations during the general session which focused on self harm and suicide, on the second full day of April 20-May 1 forum on indigenous issues taking place at U.N. headquarters in New York.

The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is the legal and canonical name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business, and carries out mission. It is also the name recognized by the United Nations for The Episcopal Church’s official consultative presence there.

“As indigenous peoples, we consider ourselves connected not only to each other as relatives, but also to the Earth. The adverse effects of harmful environmental practices and extractive industries that provoke changes in our climate and environment are equivalent to collective, societal self harm,” read a statement on behalf of The Episcopal Church submitted by Jasmine Bostock, 24, a young adult and chair of the Executive Council Committee on Indigenous Ministry.

“These practices destroy our understanding of ourselves as part of the sacredness of all creation. Our relationship to land and water is broken by the removal of our lands and violation of our sacred sites. We urge you to think of the social message sent to native Hawaiian youth who are watching their elders be arrested for protecting their traditionally sacred mountain, Mauna Kea, from being appropriated for science.”

Bostock, who is a native Hawaiian from the Diocese of Hawaii, represented the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society at the session along with Cohen Adkins, 26, of the Chickahominy tribe in the Diocese of Virginia, who serves as an indigenous consultant to the Society, and Frank Oberly, 72, of the Comanche and Osage tribes, from the Diocese of Oklahoma, who also serves on the Committee on Indigenous Ministries.

The U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council; its mandate is to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. The Episcopal Church was granted special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council in July 2014; more than 80 percent of the U.N.’s work happens in the council, which also is the agency through which non-government organizations have official affiliation and relationships with the U.N. and its agencies.

“This accreditation allows The Episcopal Church, under the leadership and oversight of the presiding bishop, to submit statements and make oral interventions, in line with the church’s policy and positions as expressed at General Convention and Executive Council, at particular UN meetings,” said Lynnaia Main, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s global relations officer. “It also allows the church to bring delegates to observe certain U.N. meetings, including the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The forum consists of experts who consult with indigenous peoples on matters of social and economic concern, and the experts act as an advisory body to the UN’s Economic and Social Council and member states.”

Now in its 14th year, the forum presents an opportunity for the indigenous delegates observe sessions, gain experience with the workings of the international body, network and identify how the indigenous issues being discussed connect with The Episcopal Church. Though Episcopalians have attended previous forums, joining Anglican Communion delegations, it was the first time Episcopalians represented The Episcopal Church.

“Together with the Missionary Society, the delegates were able to experience firsthand the global process of dialogue by which the permanent forum experts listen to and consult with indigenous peoples’ representatives and organizations, and other non-governmental organizations,” said Main.

Having access to a global forum provides an additional avenue for Episcopalians to live out the Baptismal Covenant to “seek and serve Christ in all persons,” and to live out marks three, four and five of the Five Marks of Mission: to respond to human need by loving service; to seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation; to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth, respectively, added Main.

“All of these Marks of Mission are shared in a common spirit with those who gather at the United Nations. The United Nations community provides a microphone by which we can voice our issues of concern and share expertise, a common space in which we can network and take part in dialogues on many critical subjects, and a learning platform for global best practices and training that we can take back home to our communities,” she said.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for indigenous youth and young adults ages 15-24, with women three times more likely to commit suicide than men, according to the U.S. Indian Health Service.

Anger, depression, hopelessness: All are emotions that underlie the thoughts that cause indigenous youth to harm themselves and commit suicide at higher than average rates, said one indigenous youth member who spoke during the forum on self harm and suicide during the April 21 morning session.

After trying to destroy indigenous people physically, the majority white-dominated society turned to destroying indigenous culture and spirituality, he continued.

“The church holds a particular role in recognizing and healing brokenness in the world; I think that is so baptismal and so central to Christian faith,” said Bostock, during an interview with Episcopal News Service on April 21 before testifying at the morning session.

“I’ve seen in indigenous ministries time and time again this sort of search for where indigenous spirituality crosses with our identity as Christians, and for me obviously, more specifically our identity as Episcopalians. And I think this issue is one where the two really intersect. In our statement we talk a lot about indigenous spirituality and indigenous understanding of one’s self being related to all things in creation, being a relative to all people, being a relative to all things – and so seeing suicide and self harm not as independent from anything else, but as a direct result of the different ways in which our relationships to the earth, to one another and to ourselves have been broken.”

The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, responding to the collective discernment of The Episcopal Church, including the 2009 General Convention’s repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery, has actively engaged in a variety of ministries for healing historical and generational trauma, directed towards youth.

“Restoring right relations with indigenous peoples is a priority for our Church. As Christians, we believe that all human beings are created in God’s image and that our scriptures, the way of Jesus Christ and our Baptismal Covenant call us to ‘seek and serve Christ in all persons.’ We grieve and lament with our indigenous young people, their families and communities when they suffer,” read the statement submitted to the U.N. by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.

Based on the experience and witness of the church, the statement made recommendations aimed at eradicating the “harmful root causes that inflict pain” on young people causing them to harm themselves:

  • Promote positive images of indigenous peoples in social settings and remove harmful mascot images, so that young people can take pride in their indigenous identity rather than feel devalued by the larger society.
  • Expand school curricula to include the positive, meaningful contributions of indigenous peoples to the narratives about each country’s formation, history and society.
  • Restore to indigenous peoples their rightful place on lands and in government structures, so that they are not oppressed, marginalized, unfairly represented, or bereft of resources and services.

There are 566 federally recognized tribes spread across the United States, explained Adkins, with The Episcopal Church having a strong presence among Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians, the Navajo, the Lakota, the Oneida, the Ojibwa and others.

One of the ways the church and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society are working to reduce suicide and self-harm rates is through connecting youth in person and through social media, said Cohen, adding that the indigenous community subscribes to a very traditional high church, so indigenous people feel the stigma associated with suicide and self harm more than others.

And it’s something Oberly and others have been working on. As the former chair of the Executive Council Committee on Indigenous Ministries and who has long served in leadership roles in the church, Oberly formed the Indigenous Theological Training Institute, which is working to develop a resource for parishes and other community organizations that work in areas where suicide and self-harm rates are high.

The church, he said, isn’t just talking about work, but is doing it, which makes it a strong partner for other organizations and institutions.

It’s important for The Episcopal Church to be present at forums like the one presented at the United Nations and to be involved in constructive conversation and dialogue, said Bostock, adding that she’d like to see the church utilized as a partner in addressing the indigenous people’s struggles.

“The church can’t do it alone,” she said, adding that both the church and the United Nations have their own methods and procedures for introducing resolutions and adopting policy, but only through collaboration can results be seen.

“The more collaboration we can see, the happier world we can see. If you are not willing to connect and collaborate, you will forever be a voice calling out in the wilderness, and that’s not our call,” said Bostock. “Our call is … to seek and recognize Christ in all persons and to serve all people.”

One candidate added to Dominican Republic bishop coadjutor slate

Monday, April 27, 2015

[Episcopal News Service] The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic has announced an additional candidate to stand for election as bishop coadjutor.

The Rev. P. Salvador Patrick Ros Suarez, 59, rector, Church of the Good Shepherd, Rahway, New Jersey, Diocese of New Jersey.

Ros joins three other candidates who were announced in March. They are:

  • The Rev. Ramon Antonio Garcia De Los Santos, 50, vicar of Misiones San Lucas and La Anunciacion in Santiago, a school principal and archdeacon in the north region of the country;
  • The Rev. Moises Quezada Mota, 58, vicar of Misiones Jesus Nazareno and Buen Samaritano, in San Francisco de Macoris, and a school principal; and
  • The Rev. Daniel Samuel, 58, vicar of Misiones Santa Maria Virgen, Divina Gracia and San Cornelio, and a school principal.

Bishop Julio Cesar Holguin Khoury called for the election of a bishop coadjutor during his address during the 2014 Diocesan Convention. A special convention to elect the bishop coadjutor will be held on July 25. The bishop coadjutor will serve with Holguin until his retirement, which according to The Episcopal Church’s Constitution (Article II, Section 1 here) must take place within 36 months of the consecration of the bishop coadjutor.

Details about the election are available here.

Episcopalian gives $1 million for journalism education on LGBT issues

Monday, April 27, 2015

Timothy Blair

[University of Missouri press release] The University of Missouri has received a $1 million gift to support journalism education and research into the connection between American journalism and the advancement of human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from Timothy Blair, an alumnus of the MU School of Journalism and a member of All Saints Parish in Beverly Hills, California.

Blair says he is giving the gift to MU — the first gift of its kind among American universities — to advance the education of students of the world’s first school of journalism on the role media have played in reinforcing stereotypes and shaping new understandings of LGBT people in American culture.

“We at the School of Journalism are deeply grateful for this gift,” said Dean Mills, dean of the MU School of Journalism. “It will support teaching and research on topics that have been historically under-covered or covered badly. Mr. Blair’s family has had a long legacy at Mizzou, and it is wonderful that Mr. Blair has chosen to continue that legacy with his generosity.”

MU is still in initial planning stages as to how the Blair Fund will be implemented. Possibilities include attracting faculty interested in LGBT journalism; supporting research and travel for media coverage of LGBT issues; creating fellowships, internships and workshops; and developing course curricula to better educate students on how media coverage shapes and reinforces social, political and legal issues across the nation and world.

Timothy Blair, a native of Joplin, Missouri, graduated from the MU School of Journalism in 1973.  Seven generations of his family are MU graduates; four generations are graduates of the School of Journalism. Blair’s grandfather, Clay Cowgill Blair, an alumnus of the MU School of Journalism, was chairman of the board of the Joplin Globe.

Blair began his career in journalism when he was 15 years old, as a copy boy at the Joplin Globe. After graduating from MU and earning a master’s degree at Washington University in St. Louis, he worked in marketing and public relations for several St. Louis-based companies.  In 1993, he moved to Los Angeles and launched BlairPR Inc.

A lifelong Episcopalian, he has been deeply involved in many activities in his church, including service as a licensed lay minister, hospital chaplain and a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern California Bishop’s Commission on LGBT Ministries.
Blair also has spent much of his life as a member of advocacy organizations to provide low and moderate-income housing to underserved minorities and gay and lesbian senior citizens.
The MU School of Journalism, founded by Walter Williams in 1908, is the world’s first and oldest journalism school.

Presiding Bishop preaches at St. Mary’s, Falmouth

Monday, April 27, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on April 26 preached at Episcopal Church of St. Mary in Falmouth, Maine, in celebration of its 125th anniversary.  

St. Mary’s, Falmouth, ME
125th anniversary
26 April 2015

 

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

There’s something profoundly tender and moving about celebrating your long presence and faithfulness on Good Shepherd Sunday. This congregation began with the death of a young woman on the cusp of adulthood, and it’s named for another young woman whose vocation was to bear a child also destined to die young. Each has been a shepherd, for Mary gave us a Good Shepherd in the flesh, and Alida’s death began to gather this flock.[1]

I don’t know how many sheep there are around here. This part of the world is far more famous for lobsters, seagulls, and bluefin tuna, none of them easily herded, in spite of local free-range lobster![2] Yet the lives of beloved children of God have shaped this community for a life of shepherding. We’re all sheep – and when we hear the Good Shepherd calling us to come and follow, we become shepherds. If we’re going to love God fully, and love our neighbors as ourselves, then we’ve got to go searching for the lost and sick and wandering, and help them find a place in the fold.

You are shepherding young people at Long Creek Youth Development Center, and here through RAY and Godly Play. Preble Street Kitchen and Souper Supper feed hungry sheep, and your ministry in Haiti guides the young toward right pathways, still waters, and green pastures.

St. Mary’s began with a fairly small fold of sheep and shepherds that primarily welcomed familiar and closely-related sheep. The Brown family and their friends and relatives made up most of the congregation for quite a long time. This was an enclave of sheep who “belonged.” It would likely still be filled with those 99 sheep Jesus says are already safely ensconced in the corral, if some here hadn’t begun to go searching. What helped you go searching for the lost ones?

Alida’s untimely death was part of the original DNA of this place, even if those genes weren’t robustly expressed for a while. Today the care and nurture of children characterizes a lot of your ministry, both within and beyond this congregation. Healthy and growing congregations almost always make that a priority.

Jesus notes that sometimes wolves get into the sheepfold, or hired hands fail to notice their presence, and the sheep suffer. The other sheep in the fold share a responsibility to keep the wolves at bay, and to care for those who are injured. If we ignore the wolves, or don’t tell the truth about their presence, there will never be real healing, growth, and wholeness. Jesus and the disciples had to deal with Judas and his legacy. So must we.

It takes discernment and wisdom to tell the difference between intruders with evil intentions and sheep who simply represent the diversity of God’s creation. Christians, and indeed most human beings, are usually surprised by the presence of sheep who seem to be other. Loving our neighbors as ourselves implies we see the image of God before anything else. There must be a place for every other kind of sheep in the fold, and Jesus is clear about it: “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.” That includes the ones who go astray – that’s what forgiveness and seeing the image of God are about. There’s a wonderful understanding in Orthodox Christianity that between the crucifixion and resurrection Jesus went down into hell and searched and searched until he found Judas and dragged him out. That’s part of our shepherding work, too.

The sheep in this fold have all been called to help shepherd others. We all have one Good Shepherd, who asks us to come and follow, to seek the lost and serve the least. There will always be more sheep of other folds to discover, meet, befriend, feed, and heal. Sometimes that lost sheep is you or me. When we’re feeling lost, who brings us home again? It’s usually a friend or a loved one, who knows our name and says, come on, come in, come home, you are well loved, treasured, God’s own beloved.

The Brown family might be surprised to learn about the diversity of this congregation today, and perhaps even more by the sheep you’re discovering in Haiti and Preble Street. Who has surprised you?

What about those who have no close friend to show them a loving God with skin on?

When I go out early for a run in the city, I almost always discover sleepers on the street, or park benches, or tucked in behind a bush. Sometimes I have to look a little harder in places where the camouflage is better. Is that a person wrapped in a blanket in that dark corner? I can’t see a face, but I’m fairly sure it is. Are those bags of treasured possessions or is it garbage? And I wonder – where will this one break his fast? Where will she sleep tonight?

Sheepfolds like Preble Street[3] begin to gather and care for lost sheep. The bishop of Costa Rica tells of a small group of women who came to the city regularly for medical treatment, and had no place to wait or rest. They asked for shelter in church after church, who turned them away. Finally, one congregation opened its doors to those whom some see as pariahs.[4] Today those first eight women have become 200, who go back into their communities to help others heal and find hope after learning they have AIDS.

A congregation in North Carolina was closing its doors for lack of members. Its shepherds found the courage to look outside those doors, and today that building houses a church of “holy chaos,” a truly catholic mix of homeless and housed, rich and poor, black, brown, and white, sober and not so much, and even a few dogs who bring their owners.[5] They worship on Wednesdays; host AA groups; cultivate a vegetable garden and run a clothes closet; feed all comers a bounteous gourmet feast; and they offer eight respite beds so that those without homes may recover from hospitalization or medical treatment. Sheep of all sorts are finding a home.

There’s some powerful shepherding work going on in Maine that is seeking to heal relationships between the Abenaki, the first people of this land, and descendants of later immigrants. We have often treated one another as predators rather than fellow sheep, and we have miles to go before we all sleep in one fold.[6]

The heart of the gospel is about the immensely abundant love of God for all his children and creatures. It’s summed up in that wonderful song, “All God’s creatures got a place in the choir.”[7]

All God’s creatures got a place in the choir,
Some sing low and some sing higher,
Some sing out loud on a telephone wire,
Some just clap their hands, or paws, or anything they’ve got now…

There is a place for every child of God, and a fold for every sheep, where each is welcomed as Christ himself, fed and watered, safely housed, and encouraged to grow toward the abundant, loving way of life for which we were created. That’s why St. Mary’s exists, and why it has endured for more than a century, and why it will continue into the future, if it keeps answering the voice of one who says, “follow me.”

What kind of shepherd are you? What sheep are you tending or searching for? Where do you look for your own shepherding?

And perhaps most important, how will the flock of shepherds here keep searching for the lost and the least? Keep on looking until the very last one has found a home in the sheepfold.

[1] http://www.smary.org/our-history/

[2] https://www.freerangefish.com/

[3] http://www.preblestreet.org/

[4] http://www.epicenter.org/costa-rica-partnership/

[5] Haywood Street Congregation, Asheville, NC https://www.faithandleadership.com/welcome-church-holy-chaos

[6] http://bangordailynews.com/2015/04/23/living/blogs-and-columns-living/aroostook-county-residents-work-to-ally-with-wabanaki-people/

[7] http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/celticthunder/aplaceinthechoir.html

La primada predica en Costa Rica

Monday, April 27, 2015

Sesquicentenario de la Iglesia Anglicana/Episcopal en Costa Rica
22 abril 2015
El Buen Pastor, San José, CR, 7 de la noche

 

La Rvdma. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Obispa Presidente y Primada
Iglesia Episcopal

El Buen Pastor ha estado buscando ovejas sin pastor durante 150 años. Esta congregación comenzó porque algunas ovejas inesperadas vivían aquí – ovejas que no eran necesariamente Católica Romana. La fundación de esta comunidad reconoció que el buen pastor que conocemos en Jesús tiene “otras ovejas que no son de este redil, y él debe traer los también, porque también ellos oyen su voz.”

Cristianos, aun la gente de toda clase y condición, son frecuentemente sorprendidos por la presencia de otras ovejas. Está claro que en los últimos años Costa Rica ha sido sorprendida por el número de inmigrantes de Nicaragua y otras partes de América Latina. La diócesis que creció desde los inicios en Buen Pastor hoy está cuidando a las necesidades de muchas ovejas que han sido invisibles u olvidados por el mundo. Las Hogar Escuelas están trayendo corderos al dentro del redil, donde se les ama y alimentado, enseñados y preparados para ser pastores a los demás. Familias enteras están descubriendo un poco más de la vida abundante en el amor compartido por la gente de la iglesia en Costa Rica. Las madres en particular se les recuerda que son valoradas y que son atesoradas hijas de Dios, dignas de respeto y dignidad.[1]

Ese es un tema que sigue resonando a través de la historia del Buen Pastor y muchos de sus pastores. Varias partes de la Comunión Anglicana son responsables de la vida del rebaño aquí. La Iglesia de Inglaterra le ayudó a fundar; ministerios de capellanía de Inglaterra y las Indias Occidentales le ayudó a crecer y perdurar; la obra fue trasladado a TEC en la década de los 50s, con la intención de nutrir una iglesia indígena; y Costa Rica se convirtió en parte de IARCA cuando se inició en 1998.

David Richards fue el primer obispo residente en 1951 y sirvió hasta 1968, y luego pasó a ser pastor para otros pastores en TEC. Todavía ofrece asesoramiento a las mujeres y los hombres en busca de sanación y la integridad – y a la edad de 94 años, sigue como ejemplo asombroso de fiel pastoreo, sobre todo en busca de las ovejas pérdidas o errantes.

Tony Ramos era el sucesor de Obispo Richards, cuando vino a ayudar a esta diócesis desarrollar el liderazgo indígena. Su buen pastoreo es en parte la razón por qué las mujeres están sirviendo hoy como pastores ordenadas. Él era el único obispo activo dispuesto a participar en la primera ordenación de mujeres como sacerdotes en TEC. Yo no estaría aquí hoy si no hubiera estado allí, en 1974 – y yo no estaría aquí esta noche sin su persistencia en pidiéndome que encontrar una posible fecha. Doy gracias por su narración urgente de buenas noticias sobre todas las mujeres líderes que están conectados a esta congregación – la primera mujer piloto en Costa Rica, que es el miembro más antiguo de este rebaño; el primer congresista en Costa Rica, y las muchas y los muchos fieles ministros en el mundo y la iglesia que han nutridos en esta comunidad por un siglo y media.

La realidad es que las ovejas en estos rediles han todos sido llamados para ayudar a pastorear a los demás. Todos tenemos un Buen Pastor, que nos invita a venir y seguir, para buscar a los perdidos y servir a los más pequeños. Siempre habrá más ovejas de otros rebaños para descubrir, conocer, alimentar y ser amigos con los demás. A veces esa oveja perdida es usted o yo. Cuando nos sentimos perdidos, ¿quién nos trae a casa otra vez? Por lo general es un amigo, una persona querida, que conoce nuestro nombre y dice, “vamos, entrar, volver a casa, estás bien amado, atesorado, y la propia amada de Dios.”

Pero ¿qué pasa con aquellos que no tienen un amigo cercano para mostrarles un Dios amoroso con actual piel humano?

Cuando salgo muy temprano en la mañana para correr y orar en la ciudad, casi siempre descubro gente que duermen en la calle, o en los bancos del parque, o escondido detrás de un arbusto. Aquí en San José estaba un poco más difícil, para el camuflaje es mejor. ¿Es eso una persona envuelta en una manta en ese rincón oscuro? No puedo ver una cara, pero estoy bastante seguro de que es un durmiente. ¿Contienen esas bolsas preciadas posesiones o es basura? Las calles están tan bien barridas que debe ser ropa y lo poco que esta persona llama a su propia cuenta. Y yo me pregunto – donde ésta oveja va a romper su ayuno? ¿Dónde se ha de dormir esta noche?

En medio de mí preguntando, lo recuerdo. Obispo Monterroso me ha hablado de un pequeño grupo de mujeres que acuden a la ciudad para recibir tratamiento médico, y que no tenía lugar para esperar o descansar. Pidieron a varias iglesias, quienes les dieron la espalda. Una congregación ha abierto sus puertas a ellas que algunos ven como parias – se llama apropiadamente Ascensión.[2] Hoy en día las ocho que comenzaron son ahora unos 200, que regresan a sus comunidades para ayudar a otras a sanar y encontrar esperanza después de aprender que tienen SIDA.

Hay otros ejemplos de pastores buscando ovejas perdidas. Una congregación en Carolina del Norte, anteriormente Metodista, estaba muriendo y listo para cerrar sus puertas por falta de miembros. Sus pastores tuvieron el coraje de mirar fuera de sus puertas, y hoy ese edificio alberga una iglesia de “caos santo,” una mezcla verdaderamente católica de personas sin hogar y las con casas; ricos y pobres; negro, marrón y blanco; sobrio y no tanto; e incluso algunos perros que traen a sus amos. Se celebran el culto el miércoles; reciban a los grupos de Alcohólicos Anónimos; cultivan un huerto; ofrecen ropa limpia a los que no le tienen; se alimentan todos los interesados un banquete generoso y rico; y mantengan ocho camas de respiro para que los que no tienen hogares pueden recuperarse de hospitalización o tratamiento médico. Ovejas de todo tipo están encontrando un hogar.[3]

Oí otra historia poderosa sobre los pastores en esta diócesis. Cuando otro perdió su cargo remunerado, el clero de la diócesis pastoreaban uno de los suyos por compartir un porcentaje de sus propios salarios con él durante 6 meses, mientras que se encontró una nueva posición.

El corazón del evangelio es sobre el inmenso amor abundante de Dios para todos sus hijos y criaturas. Se resume en una canción popular, “Todas las criaturas de Dios tienen lugar en el coro.”

Todas las criaturas de Dios tienen lugar en el coro
Algunos cantan bajo y algunos cantan alto,
Algunos cantan alta sobre cable telefónico,
Algunos sólo aplaudir sus manos o patas, o cualquier cosa que tienen ahora…[4]

Hay un lugar para cada hijo de Dios, y un rebano para cada oveja – una casa donde cada uno es acogido como Cristo su mismo, donde recibe alimento y agua, alojamiento seguro, y alentó a crecer hacia la abundante, cariñosa forma de vida para que estábamos creado. Por eso El Buen Pastor comenzó, por eso ha florecido durante un siglo y medio, y por eso podemos esperar que la iglesia costarricense continúe en siglos del futuro, si seguimos en este papel, oyendo la voz de lo que dice, “sígame.”

Nuestro ministerio pastoreo también tiene que cuidar el pasto y agua que las ovejas necesitan para prosperar. Estamos empezando a recordar que este jardín es para todas las criaturas de Dios, y tiene que ser atendido, también. Recientemente me di cuenta de una hermosa planta verde en una olla que se estableció por una ventana con barrotes. La hoja mayor de la planta estaba asomada a través de la ventana en la brisa fresca. Alguien había puesto esa planta cerca de lo que se necesita – la luz y el aire – y se garantiza que llegó el agua y los nutrientes que necesita para prosperar. Como el jardinero resucitado, somos pastores de cada criatura del mundo.

¿Qué clase de pastor estás? ¿Cuáles ovejas estamos tendiendo o buscando? ¿Cómo y dónde y por quién encuentras el cuidado de un pastor?
Y quizás lo más importante, ¿cómo va el rebaño de pastores aquí seguir buscando a los perdidos y los más pequeños
Seguir buscando las ovejas perdidas hasta que el último ha llegado a casa, a la grey de Dios.

[1] http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2013/08/23/un-grupo-de-carolina-del-norte-explora-su-colaboracion-en-costa-rica/

[2] http://www.epicenter.org/costa-rica-partnership/

[3] Haywood Street Congregation, Asheville, NC https://www.faithandleadership.com/welcome-church-holy-chaos

[4] http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/celticthunder/aplaceinthechoir.html traducción por KJS.

Advancing to General Convention: Eucharist presiders and preachers, worship, prayer opportunities announced

Friday, April 24, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The daily Eucharist presiders and preachers for The Episcopal Church 78th General Convention have been named. Additionally, opportunities for prayer both for those attending General Convention as well as those following from afar have been announced.

The Episcopal Church’s 78th General Convention, June 25 – July 3, will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah (Diocese of Utah).

The Rev. Sandy Webb, Diocese of  West Tennessee and a member of the General Convention Worship Committee team, spoke about worship at the General Convention: “The worship space is designed to celebrate the beauty of God’s creation as reflected in Utah’s grand and mountainous landscape. The lectionary celebrates the saints in ages past who inspire us to live more fully the life of faith. The liturgies, and the people who will lead those liturgies, reflect The Episcopal Church’s diversity, reminding us that we are one Church, gathered in Christ’s name. The Prayers of the People will be the prayers of God’s people, rising up from around the world over the Internet.”

Daily Eucharists
Eucharist will be celebrated daily at 9:30 am Mountain, except Sunday, June 28 at 10 am Mountain and Friday, July 3 at 8:30 am Mountain. Eucharist will be live webcast on the Media Hub which will be available here.

Thursday, June 25: Opening Eucharist
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will preside and preach.

Friday, June 26: honoring Isabel Hapgood, women poets and musicians
Presider: Bishop Suffragan Mary Glasspool of Los Angeles
Preacher: the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies

Saturday, June 27: honoring Native American Cornelius Hill;
Presider: Bishop Michael Smith of North Dakota
Preacher: The Rev. Cathlena Plummer of Navajoland

Sunday, June 28: United Thank Offering Ingathering
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will preside and preach.

Monday, June 29: honoring St. Peter and St. Paul
Presider: Bishop Mike Klusmeyer of West Virginia
Preacher: Archbishop Vicken Aykazian of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in America

Tuesday, June 30: honoring James Weldon Johnson
Presider: Bishop Wendell Gibbs of Michigan
Preacher: The Rev. Kimberly Jackson, chaplain and vicar of the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center, Emmaus House Chapel, Atlanta

Wednesday, July 1: honoring Hiram Hisanori Kano
Presider: Bishop Scott Hayashi of Utah
Preacher: The Rev. Becca Stevens, founder of Magdalene and Thistle Farms

Thursday, July 2: honoring  Charles Barnes
Presider: Bishop Julio Holguin of the Dominican Republic
Preacher: The Rev. Colin Mathewson, St Paul’s Cathedral, San Diego (Diocese of San Diego)

Friday, July 3: Closing Eucharist
Presider: Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori
Preacher: the Presiding Bishop-Elect

Prayer near and far
The Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE) has developed a social media campaign for General Convention to connect people near and far in prayer during General Convection. The General Convention’s home base for interactive prayer is www.prayersofthepeople.org.

Each day’s prayers will follow one of nine themes, seven of which are the forms of prayer identified in the Book of Common Prayer: life, thanksgiving, praise, intercession, adoration, oblation, penitence, petition, and celebration. Prayers can take the form of words or images, and will be received through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Hashtag is #prayersof with individual hashtags to be established for each day’s theme. A selection of the prayers received through social media will be prayed at the Salt Palace, and privately by prayer networks across The Episcopal Church.

SSJE will provide another way to connect to the themes of daily worship through morning and evening meditations. Each eight- to 10-minute podcast will include a prayer, a brief reflection, and a chant.

General Convention
The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years, and is the bicameral governing body of the Church. It comprises the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay deputies elected from the 109 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church, at more than 800 members.

Kayla Massey receives first UTO/YASC Internship

Friday, April 24, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, has announced that Kayla Massey of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina has been named the first Julia Chester Emery United Thank Offering/Young Adult Service Corps intern.

Massey currently serves as a Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) volunteer in the Diocese of Santiago in the Philippines.

“Kayla was selected for her dedication to mission and ministry in the example of the principles of United Thank Offering,” Bishop Sauls said.

The United Thank Offering is a ministry to promote thankfulness and mission in the whole Church. Known worldwide as UTO, the United Thank Offering awards grants for projects that address human needs and help alleviate poverty, both domestically and internationally in The Episcopal Church.

This new internship is an innovative collaborative effort among the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and General Theological Seminary. Massey will be based in New York City and will reside at General Seminary.  Her focus will be two-way: with the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers in the Mission and Reconciliation Program at General  Theological Seminary; and with the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society supporting the work of the Global Partnerships team and United Thank Offering.  Massey will serve as a Young Adult Ambassador for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society supporting the ministry of the United Thank Offering at specific events, including General Convention, during her internship year.

“The fact that this collaboration has resulted in the creation of an internship for a young adult is a fine model for partnership throughout the Church,” Bishop Sauls noted.

YASC is a ministry for Episcopal young adults, ages 21 – 30, who are interested in exploring their faith in new ways by living and serving in communities around the Anglican Communion. Previously the United Thank Offering awarded grants to support the YASC program.

“In 2014, the Board decided to use this tradition as an opportunity to include young adults in the ministry of the United Thank Offering and give a returning YASC volunteer an opportunity to continue their ministry among us by naming a specific volunteer as the Julia Chester Emery United Thank Offering/Young Adult Service Corps volunteer,” explained the Rev. Heather Melton, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s Missioner for the United Thank Offering.  “Kayla was chosen for this position because she embodies what Julia Chester Emery exemplified: outgoing; prayerful; hardworking; innovative and dedicated to mission.”

Julia Chester Emery, honored on January 9 in The Episcopal Church’s Holy Women Holy Men, is credited with creating the United Thank Offering in 1916.

For more information contact Melton, hmelton@episcopalchurch.org

New Jersey offers resources from first formation conference

Thursday, April 23, 2015

[Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey press release] More than 400 people from throughout the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey participated in the April 18 FORMATION: The Bishop’s Spring Conference, an inaugural event held at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Trenton.

The conference featured three leaders in the field of Christian formation. More details on the conference are available here; a full range of resources and materials from the conference, including a video presentation, audio downloads of the complete conference, PowerPoint presentations, photography and more, is available here.

Conference leaders included the Rev. Canon Angela S. Ifill, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s missioner for black ministries; the Rev. David W. Anderson, an ecumenical and international presenter on faith formation; and John Roberto of LifelongFaith Associates and  editor of the journal Lifelong Faith. Audio recordings of all three leaders’ presentations are available at the above links, as well as a high-definition multi-camera video of Roberto’s presentation, “Reimagining Church in a Digital World.”

Roberto’s presentation was streamed live on the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey’s website. Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s New Jersey Synod and the Episcopal Diocese of Newark watched the streamed presentation together at a viewing held at Cross Roads Camp and Retreat Center in Califon, New Jersey.

“It’s really about a cultural change going on in our diocese and our church that will help us deepen faith in our congregations and beyond,” said New Jersey Bishop William H. (Chip) Stokes. “I hope that vestries and Christian formation committees will watch or listen to the talks and then engage in conversations about them.  I hope we will find ways to implement what we learned into our congregation’s practices. It’s an exciting time to be the church. “

The Bishop’s Spring Conference was the result of a year’s worth of planning by the Diocese of New Jersey’s Lifelong Christian Formation committee. Susan Stokes, Bishop Stokes’ wife, chaired the event. The momentum created at the conference will continue in diocesan initiatives throughout the year; weekly updates will be included in “Good News in the Garden State,” the diocesan newsletter, emailed every Thursday. Interested parties may sign up for the newsletter here.

The diocese’s new church growth program, The Way of St. Paul, will also explore and expand upon themes presented at the Bishop’s Spring Conference. More information about this new program can be found here.

Central Maryland faith leaders speak on the death of Freddie Gray

Thursday, April 23, 2015

[Central Maryland Ecumenical Council press release] Faith leaders of central Maryland released a statement April 23 on the death of Freddie Gray, who was injured while in Baltimore City Police custody and later died.

Members of the Baltimore Interfaith Coalition, the Ecumenical Leaders Group of Maryland and the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council gathered on the steps of the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore to give their statement.

The statement follows.

As leaders of Baltimore’s faith communities, we have followed with increasing concern the unfolding events surrounding the tragic and untimely death of Freddie Gray. We appeal to the members of our faith communities and to all citizens of good will to remain calm and to express their anger and frustration in peaceful and constructive ways, allowing the various investigations now underway to proceed so that all of us will soon have the answers we seek.

This latest incident threatens to deepen the divide between the community and law enforcement, and, regardless of the eventual outcome of the current investigations, prompts renewed questions about how the Baltimore City police relates to citizens in certain areas of the city. While deeply troubling and deserving of the increased scrutiny currently taking place, these issues are but symptoms of much larger problems plaguing our City. As faith leaders present with congregations and services that help to anchor the neighborhoods of Baltimore, we fear the other widespread effects of the lack of access to quality education and employment opportunities, as well as to quality health care. The issues before us will not be satisfactorily resolved until every man, woman, and child in our city and nation are treated with the human dignity deserving of all God’s children, and until all vestiges of the sins of discrimination, prejudice and racism are wiped from the face of the earth.

Specifically, as religious leaders in metropolitan Baltimore, we …

  • offer condolences and prayers for the family and friends of Freddie Gray, giving thanks to God for his life, commending his spirit to our gracious and merciful Lord and praying for comfort and peace of mind for those who knew and loved him;
  • commend the many citizens who have turned out in protest over these past several days for their peaceful demonstrations and restraint. Protests are a natural and necessary part in a democratic society, giving voice to a frustrated community and hopefully leading to action on the part of those who provide leadership in the city;
  • pray for our mayor, police commissioner, state’s attorney and other city leaders and law enforcement officials and call on them to facilitate open, thorough and public investigations that lead to real answers in a short time frame;
  • pray for the six police officers who have been suspended in the wake of these tragic events, in accordance with Christian charity and our belief as Americans that all  are presumed innocent until proven guilty and that they are, even if guilty, still children of God;
  • call on the members of all churches, synagogues and mosques to pray for a timely  and peaceful resolution to this incident during worship services this weekend, and to engage constructively in conversation about racial injustice;
  • invite the faith community before or after worship services this weekend, as a group, to step outside their buildings and assemble in front of the entrance to their houses of worship as a visible sign of solidarity  with the surrounding community and to observe a minute of silence and reflection.

The challenges facing our city are immense. Too many feel unvalued, and the absence of adequate economic opportunities, affordable housing, drug treatment resources and other social safeguards have resulted in a growing sense of hopelessness in our community. Now, more than ever, there is the need for deliberate conversation, accountability, respect, and unity of purpose.

We, as leaders of Baltimore’s faith communities, have come together to call upon all segments of the community, inclusive of the corporate leadership and philanthropic leadership, to work with us to undertake an earnest and immediate dialogue in pursuit of long-term solutions to the pervasive cycle of poverty and violence that besets the otherwise beautiful City of Baltimore.

We profess that every life is precious to God, and are committed to building a city marked by peace, unity and opportunity for all.

May our gracious God bless us all!

Baltimore Interfaith Coalition
Bishop Denis Madden, Bishop Doug Miles, Co-Chairs

Central Maryland Ecumenical Council
The Rev. Fred Weimert, President

CMEC Ecumenical Leaders Group
Bishop Wolfgang D. Herz-Lane, President

Massachusetts Episcopal Church bishops speak against death penalty

Thursday, April 23, 2015

[Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts press release] As the jury convenes this week in the sentencing phase of the trial of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the bishops of the Episcopal Church’s two Massachusetts dioceses April 23 issued the following statement against the death penalty.

As bishops of the Episcopal Church in Massachusetts, we join with others in the Commonwealth and across the nation in offering our continued prayers for all those affected by the traumatic legacy of the Boston Marathon bombing, and for those administering justice in the Tsarnaev trial.

We take this opportunity to affirm our church’s opposition to the death penalty, a position which has been articulated by the Episcopal Church since 1958, and reaffirmed repeatedly by resolution of the wider church and by our two dioceses in Massachusetts.

The wanton disregard for life displayed by the Marathon bombing is repugnant and morally inexcusable. Evidence offered in the trial has served only to deepen our awareness of the calculated mercilessness of this act.

Moral reasoning, however, often requires us to transcend our emotional and visceral responses. The church’s teaching insists that institutionalized violence neither answers nor prevents other forms of violence, and that execution is an unjustified violation of the prohibition against taking a human life.

As the family of bombing victim Martin Richard has movingly asserted, justice will be fully served by a life sentence without parole.

The laws of Massachusetts have rejected state-sponsored execution.  We affirm that position and reaffirm our opposition to the death penalty in this and every case.

The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts
The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts
The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts