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Communique from Global South Primates Steering Committee

Friday, February 21, 2014

[Global South Anglican press release] Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3).

1. The Global South Primates Steering Committee met at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt from 14-15 February 2014. We were delighted to have The Most Rev. & Rt. Hon. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, the Chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA), and Canon David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director for Reconciliation, as guests joining this important meeting in which we discussed the way ahead for the Anglican Communion and other matters. The Most Rev. Dr. Eliud Wabukala, the Primate of Kenya, and The Most Rev. Henri Isingoma, the Primate of Congo, apologized for not being able to attend.

2. We thank God for the times of fellowship, Bible study and prayer together. We also appreciated the frank discussion, open sharing, and spirit of unity among us. We are also encouraged by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s emphases on renewal, mission and evangelism within the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion.

3. As we reviewed the current situation, we recognized that the fabric of the Communion was torn at its deepest level as a result of the actions taken by The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church in Canada since 2003. As a result, our Anglican Communion is currently suffering from broken relations, a lack of trust, and dysfunctional “instruments of unity.”

4. However, we trust in God’s promise that the “gates of hades will not overcome” the church. Holding unto this promise, we believe that we have to make every effort in order to restore our beloved Communion. Therefore we took the following decisions:

a) We request and will support the Archbishop of Canterbury to call for a Primates Meeting in 2015 in order to address the increasingly deteriorating situation facing the Anglican Communion. It is important that the  agenda of this Primates Meeting be discussed and agreed upon by the Primates beforehand in order to ensure an effective meeting.

b) We decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council, in following-through the recommendations taken at Dromantine in 2005 and Dar es Salam in 2007, to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to dissenting individuals, parishes, and dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion.

c) We realize that the time has come to address the ecclesial deficit, the mutual accountability and re-shaping the instruments of unity by following through the recommendations mentioned in the Windsor Report (2004), the Primates Meetings in Dromantine (2005) and Dar es Salam (2007), and the Windsor Continuation Group report.

5. We appreciate the costly decision of the House of Bishops of the Church of England, as well as the pastoral letter and pastoral guidance of The Archbishop of Canterbury and The Archbishop of York, in regard to the decision of the Westminster Parliament for same-gender marriage. The faithfulness of the Church of England in this regard is a great encouragement to our Provinces, and indeed the rest of the Communion, especially those facing hardships and wars.

6. We stand in solidarity with The Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul and the people of South Sudan and Sudan, calling for the cessation of fighting, an end to violence, and for a process for peace and reconciliation. We call upon the international community to give every help and support to those displaced as a result of fighting. We commit ourselves to pray for the people of Sudan.

7. We were encouraged to learn about the new constitution of Egypt and how the interim government is achieving the roadmap that was decided by its people on the 3 July 2013. We support the people of Egypt in their efforts to combat violence and terrorism.

8. We decided to activate the Task Forces established at the 4th Encounter of the Global South, which are: Economic Empowerment (coordinated by Archbishop Eliud Wabukala), Theological Resourcing (coordinated by Archbishop Bolly Lapok), Emerging Servant Leaders (coordinated by Archbishop Ian Ernest), and Inter-faith Relations (coordinated by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh).

9. We decided to hold the 5th Encounter of the Global South in 2015 and also organize a seminar for Global South leaders on “How Africa shaped Anglicanism”.

Click here for more

25 years after consecration of Bishop Barbara C. Harris

Friday, February 21, 2014

[Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts] The world was watching on Feb. 11, 1989, when Barbara C. Harris was consecrated before a congregation of nearly 8,000 at Hynes Auditorium in Boston, thus becoming the worldwide Anglican Communion’s first female bishop.

The historic and, at the time, controversial nature of that event signalled for many a hoped-for sea change toward church leadership that looks more like the church’s actual membership, a majority of which is women.

Twenty five years later, however, the reality is more ripple effect than tidal wave as women are still only gradually making their way into the episcopacy; communionwide, the church is still counting its firsts.

Bishop Harris at the 25th anniversary celebration. Photo: Tracy Sukraw

Roughly half of the Anglican Communion’s 38 member churches, or provinces, allow women to be ordained bishops.  Sarah Macneal was elected the first female diocesan bishop in Australia last November, and Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland, consecrated in November 2012, is Africa’s first.

New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, South India and the extra-provincial Anglican church in Cuba have also elected and consecrated women as bishops.  About a dozen others have cleared the way canonically (Wales most recently) but have yet to elect and consecrate a woman.

The Church of England, the communion’s mother church, itself still does not allow for women to become bishops, but its General Synod on Feb. 11–the 25th anniversary of Barbara Harris’s consecration–approved a measure that, if accepted by a majority of its dioceses and then Parliament, could enable women to become bishops in England this year.

Closer to home, just 20 of the 239 bishops consecrated in the Episcopal Church since Barbara Harris in 1989 are women, most recently Anne Hodges-Copple, the bishop suffragan, or assisting bishop, of North Carolina, last year.

Thirteen of them are currently among the 139 active members of the church’s House of Bishops, according to numbers provided in January by the Office of the Presiding Bishop.  (When retired bishops are counted, there are 19 women out of a total of 291 currently in the House of Bishops.)  One, Katharine Jefferts Schori, is presiding bishop and primate of the province–another Anglican Communion first for a woman.  Only three are active diocesan bishops: Mariann Budde in the Diocese of Washington (D.C.), Mary Gray-Reeves in the Diocese of El Camino Real in California and Catherine Waynick in the Diocese of Indianapolis.

“What the numbers say to us is that we haven’t broken through the unconscious assumption  that bishops will be men,” said Dr. Fredrica Harris Thompsett in a phone interview.  She is the Mary Wolfe Professor Emerita of Historical Theology at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge and a historian who has written extensively on women’s roles in the church.

“There’s a hesitancy to see this as a continuation of sexism, and an assumption that we’ve dealt with sexism in the church because women are ordained.  But if women are the majority of the church and 40 percent of its ordained leadership, but only 20 of its bishops, then those are assumptions that should be rigorously and structurally challenged.”

The church’s numbers mirror those for women in corporate America.  Catalyst, a nonprofit devoted to women and business, reported at the end of 2013 that, for the eighth year in a row, there was no significant change in the number of women on corporate boards (16.9 percent of board seats in 2013 compared to 16.6 percent the previous year) or in executive officer positions (14.6 percent last year versus 14.3 percent in 2012).

In the church, it’s not an issue of there not being qualified women, Thompsett said, citing women currently serving as cathedral and seminary deans and in leadership at the diocesan level.  “My historical work tells me that unexamined systems perpetuate themselves, and when there is a lag like this, it takes investigation and structural support to move things forward.”

The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, elected bishop suffragan in Massachusetts 11 years ago, said in an interview that what’s notable to her about the number of women in the episcopate 25 years after Barbara Harris’s consecration is not only that there are so few women serving as diocesan bishops, but also that so few women of color have been elected–out of relatively few candidates of color, male and female.  She and Barbara Harris, together with Carol Gallagher, are the only three.

Bishop Gayle Harris, Bishop Barbara Harris and Bishop Carol Gallagher at General Convention in 2012. Photo: Tracy Sukraw.

“To me it’s striking that the first woman elected bishop was a black woman, and we’ve stepped back from that bold path, in my opinion.  Barbara Harris was no token–she was the most able and fit person for that role.  Where we’re at now reflects the fact that the color line is still an operating principle in our church and in our society, and that racism and sexism walk hand in hand,” she said.

In a Feb. 10 phone interview, Bishop Barbara Harris herself conveyed ambivalence about the progress and lack thereof that the numbers convey.  She took a broad view, sharing the hope that 25 years from now the Episcopal Church in general will look “more like our total society looks, with all kinds and conditions of people being actively involved.”

Now 83, she volunteers about a day a week in the offices of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in downtown Boston and keeps up an active schedule of travel and speaking engagements nationwide and abroad.  Preaching the Gospel is where her ministry is focused now, she says.  “I’m just grateful that I’ve had this opportunity to serve, in my lay ministry, which was active, and in all three orders of ordained ministry, as deacon, priest and bishop,” she said.

The full interview follows.

Bishop Harris at her consecration in 1989. Photo: David Zadig

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think back to your consecration service in 1989?
Well, I remember that I was overwhelmed by the crowd of people when I came into the auditorium in the procession.  Then as the procession that I was in came down the aisle, the choir from St. Paul’s AME Church was singing “In That Great Getting’ Up Mornin’” and then they segued into “Ride on King Jesus, No Man’s Gonna Hinder Me.”  They didn’t know exactly when I was coming in, but anyhow, that’s how it happened.  That was breathtaking.

Fast forward 25 years.  What do you think it’s notable to say about women in the episcopacy in 2014?
It is great to see that we have three women diocesan bishops.  It would be great if there were more—and not just because they are women but because of their call to leadership. Unfortunately, 25 years later, not enough women’s names are going forward in election processes.  It is good to see that there are women’s names coming up on slates of nominees and not just by petition.  In the recent election for suffragan bishop in North Carolina, for example, there were four women and one man on the ballot.  That’s the first time I’ve seen that happen.  And of course, in Los Angeles [in 2010] there were two, both of whom were elected as bishops suffragan.  That was unusual, too.

What kind of leadership does the church need right now?
I think the church needs imaginative bishops to lead dioceses, people who will think a little outside the box, who will dare to do things like Tom Shaw has done with initiatives for youth and young adults, for example, and with embarking on major fundraising initiatives to fund new and exciting ministries.  A little experimentation is in order, absolutely, and a little courage, too.

You are often called a courageous person.  Can you say a little more about courage in leadership?
I think you have to have the courage of your convictions and be willing to speak them, both in preaching and in your interactions with people.  I have tried to make that a hallmark of my ministry, speaking the truth in love.  And I think that people have come to expect that of me and have been accepting of it.

What have you been preaching about lately?
I certainly have been talking about women in lay and ordained ministry, and I continue to preach about justice issues and serving and caring for the poor and the disadvantaged.  They are major themes with me.  I hate that expression “What would Jesus do?” but, indeed, that is what Jesus would do.  And I think that’s what we’re called to do as followers after Christ.

What do you think the church will look like 25 years from now?
I would hope that 25 years from now the church would look a lot more like our total society looks, with all kinds and conditions of people being actively involved in the life of the church.  And I certainly would hope that there would be a lot of young people involved in leadership roles.  I would hope that that would be true sooner than 25 years from now.  And, I would hope that we might recapture some of that sense of missionary urgency, of small groups of people actively working and doing things with a sense of urgency of drawing others in.  I think that’s absolutely imperative.  We can’t continue to be bogged down in structures that do not allow us to be agile in ministry.

What do you most like to do at this stage in your ministry?
I think that I have been given something of a gift for preaching, and I still enjoy that aspect of ministry.

How do you go about preparing to preach?
I think about the group to whom I will be speaking and what they might need to hear.

Need to hear rather than want to hear?
Exactly.  You got it.  Then I try to think about what I can say that is faithful to the Gospel as I understand it, and how that aligns with what we face in our present day society.  I’m a great believer that some of the Gospel is captured most effectively in poetry and song, and so I always try to think of and make reference to hymns that relate to what I’m preaching about.

You must be looking forward to hearing the St. Paul’s AME Choir again at the service honoring your anniversary.
I am.  They’re going to sing a thing they sang at the consecration, which is very special to me.  It’s a hymn called “Close to Thee.”  I think it captures what I have hoped my life and ministry have represented, and it goes:  “Thou my everlasting portion, More than friend or life to me, all along my pilgrim journey, Savior, let me walk with thee.”  There is a second verse that says:  “Not for ease or worldly pleasure, nor for fame my prayer shall be; gladly will I toil and suffer, only let me walk with thee.”  Then the chorus:  “All along this Christian journey, savior let me walk with thee.”  That’s one of my real favorites.

I’m just grateful that I’ve had this opportunity to serve, in my lay ministry, which was active, and in all three orders of ordained ministry, as deacon, priest and bishop.

View photos from Bishop Barbara C. Harris’s consecration and the past 25 years here, and photos from the Feb. 16 anniversary celebration here.

South Sudanese churches ask warring parties to end conflict, build peace

Friday, February 21, 2014

[World Council of Churches press release] Member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in South Sudan say “we are tired of war”, stressing the urgency to “work for peace and rebuild what has been destroyed”.

The South Sudanese churches conveyed this stance in a statement they issued in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 10 February, where negotiations between the South Sudanese government and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement opposition rebels are currently underway following a ceasefire deal signed on 23 January.

The conflict which broke out in December last year has cost thousands of lives in the world’s newest country, while United Nations reports say that about 723,000 people have been displaced in South Sudan and some 145,000 people have fled to nearby countries.

The South Sudanese church leaders, representing diverse denominations, underlined the need for “comprehensive peace” in their statement, asking the parties involved in negotiations to end the war, protect civilians and support humanitarian initiatives. “…[W]e are one nation, sharing one identity, rich in culture, blessed by diversity, which is to be celebrated, not resented,” stress the South Sudanese churches.

“Let us, therefore, endeavour to build our nation on a strong foundation of truth, justice, reconciliation, diversity and peace. These noble values are drawn from the Gospel and they can provide a solid national foundation for our new republic,” the statement continues.

The churches expressed their wish to “see a just and peaceful South Sudan inspired and transformed by Godly values towards holistic and equitable development for all people. To this end, we are committed and we shall not rest until we achieve it with the help of God.”

The signatories of the statement included Bishop Enock Tombe Stephen, Bishop Isaiah Majok Dau, Bishop Arkangelo Wani Lemi, Rev. Tut Kony Nyang, Rev. Peter Gai Lual, Isaac Kunguru Kenyi, Bishop Michael Taban Toro, Rev. Mark Akec Cien, Agnes Wasuk Sarafino, Gladys Dommy Mananyu and Jim Long John representing various churches and ecumenical organizations in Sudan and South Sudan.

The urgency for peace in South Sudan has been expressed by the WCC on several occasions, including in a recent Minute adopted by the WCC Central Committee. The Minute calls for “immediate cessation of hostilities”, asking “all warring parties to respect, honour and implement in good faith the cease-fire agreement”.

The WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit also expressed his concerns over violence in the country in his letter to the South Sudanese president Salva Kiir Mayardit, whom he met in April 2013.

“The people of South Sudan have suffered for several decades and are now longing for peace and justice. We pray that the situation will quickly normalize and that peace will prevail again soon,” Tveit said in a letter to Kiir following the conflict in December.

Read full text of the statement from the churches in South Sudan

Read WCC Central Committee Minute on South Sudan

WCC member churches in South Sudan

Video: One young adult…and a provincial archives

Friday, February 21, 2014
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[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalian Katie Webb is spending a year as a Young Adult Service Corps volunteer, working in the provincial archives of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui. As an archivist, Katie is responsible for keeping the Anglican Church’s history alive and making sure important records are safely and accurately preserved for future generations.

March 2: World Mission Sunday

Thursday, February 20, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] World Mission Sunday is March 2 in The Episcopal Church.

Traditionally celebrated on the last Sunday after Epiphany, the purpose of World Mission Sunday is to focus on the global impact of the Baptismal Covenant’s call to “seek and serve Christ in all persons” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 305), and to raise our awareness of the many ways in which the Episcopal Church participates in God’s mission around the world.

“The Episcopal Church works hand in hand with neighbors around the world and down the block, praying for partner congregations and dioceses, and offering relief to our brothers and sisters during times of crisis,” noted the Rev. David Copley, Mission Personnel Officer. “Episcopal missionaries around the world serve as the church’s eyes, ears, hands, and feet on the ground.”

Currently, Episcopal Church missionaries are located in many international locales, including Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Ghana, Japan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Tanzania, and many places in between.

Resources and information on World Mission Sunday are here.

A Bulletin Insert in English and Spanish is here.

Many Episcopal missionaries maintain blogs and are available here and here.

Mission Personnel here

Global Partnerships here

For more information, contact Elizabeth Boe, Global Networking Officer, at eboe@episcopalchurch.org.

2013 Matching Gift Challenge benefits programs worldwide

Thursday, February 20, 2014

[Episcopal Relief & Development press release] A generous pledge of $500,000 in matching funds from a group of committed Episcopal Relief & Development donors led to an overwhelming response during the 2013 Matching Gift Challenge.  Inspired by the agency’s mission and moved to action by the opportunity to have gifts matched dollar-for-dollar, Episcopal Relief & Development’s community of supporters contributed a total of $953,098 during the fall campaign.

“I am continually moved by the generosity of our donors, especially those whose help made the 2013 Matching Gift Challenge such a tremendous success and allowed us to leverage this significant $500,000 match,” said Joy Shigaki, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Senior Director of Advancement.  “Thank you to everyone whose support enables Episcopal Relief & Development to serve those in greatest need and transform communities in places beyond the end of the road.”

Donations to all funds – including Gifts for Life purchases – were eligible for matching, with the $500,000 match helping to sustain Episcopal Relief & Development’s work through the Global Needs Fund.  Partnering with local Church bodies and affiliated agencies in close to 40 countries, Episcopal Relief & Development develops and expands community-based programs that address poverty, hunger and disease.  Donations to the Global Needs Fund enable Episcopal Relief & Development to respond to urgent needs and continue these vital programs across the globe.

Episcopal Relief & Development’s integrated programs impact the lives of more than 3 million people annually.  Here are some of their stories:

  • Mariana in Angola started a business with a small loan from her savings group, and was able to welcome her new baby in health and comfort
  • Antonio in Nicaragua learned new ways of growing crops that gave more abundant harvests while protecting the environment
  • Liqin in China worked with her fellow senior citizens to clean up a local river and build a protected water supply with piping to her home

Churches, dioceses, schools, seminaries and individuals all make a difference by contributing in different ways.  To give a gift that can help strengthen communities worldwide, please click here.

For more information on Episcopal Relief & Development’s programs, please visit www.episcopalrelief.org/what-we-do.

Episcopal Relief & Development is the international relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church and an independent 501(c)(3) organization. The agency takes its mandate from Jesus’ words found in Matthew 25. Its programs work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Episcopal Relief & Development works closely with the worldwide Church and ecumenical partners to help rebuild after disasters and to empower local communities to find lasting solutions that fight poverty, hunger and disease, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.

Why Serve 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Young adults of color are invited to examine their gifts and explore opportunities at a June Episcopal Church retreat, Why Serve 2014: We are all called by God, but what does that mean for you?

Sponsored by Diversity and Ethnic Ministries of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS), Why Serve 2014 will be held Thursday, June 5 to Sunday, June 8, hosted by Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) in Berkeley, California.

Invited to attend this conference of fellowship, training, discernment, and self-care are young adults (age 18-30) from the Asian, Black, Indigenous and Latino communities of the Episcopal Church, Lutheran Church (ELCA), and other churches in communion with the Episcopal Church, including the Moravian Church, the Old Catholic Churches, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, the Mar Thoma Church and the Churches of South India (CSI) and North India (CNI).

“Wherever you are on your journey, young adulthood is a time of transition and choices, but you don’t have to do it alone,” commented the Rev. Winfred Vergara, Asiamerica Minister.  “Join us on the campus of CDSP and continue discovering the possibilities, whether you are feeling called to be a clergy person, a vestry member, a nurse, a father, or a cook; whether you’re in school, working, or just in-between; whether you’re a regular church-goer, a used-to goer, or a seeker, we hope you’ll join us for this transformative experience.”

The conference is sponsored by Church Divinity School of the Pacific; the DFMS Asiamerica Ministries, Black Ministries, Indigenous ministries, Latino/Hispanic Ministries, and Young Adult Ministries; and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Cost is $70 which includes meals, lodging, conference fees; fee does not include travel.

Registration deadline is May 5.

Why Serve Conference info and registration here.

For more information please contact Angeline Cabanban at 212-716-6186 or acabanban@episcopalchurch.org.
For those from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), contact the Rev. Albert Starr at albert.starr@elca.org.

Ukraine: ‘I am no longer shocked to see bodies’

Thursday, February 20, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] Fresh clashes were breaking out in the Ukrainian capital Kiev this morning, even after President Viktor Yanukovych announced that he was pulling security forces away from Independence Square – the scene of bitter fighting in recent days between pro-government forces and demonstrators demanding the president’s resignation and the repeal of the 2004 constitution.

Journalists reporting from the scene have reported that police snipers have opened fire on the protestors, and that some protestors are armed. At least 17 people are said to have been killed this morning, bringing the total death toll to more than 40.

“I am not shocked any more when I see dead people, but can cry any time without any reason,” said Alla Gedz, a member of Christ Church Anglican Church, part of the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe. Speaking to the Anglican Communion News Service, Gedz said: “Today we saw how the dead were pulled out of St. Michael’s [Ukrainian Orthodox] Cathedral and piled near those who died during the night.”

Gedz said that she witnessed a gathering of “Titushkas” – a state-sponsored civilian militia – outside the main police station in Kiev earlier this week. The church is preparing to become Patronage Parents to orphans and had to visit a number of government and charity offices: “From early morning till late at night we were at different places in the center of Kiev. We hardly left the center, because all the roads were blocked by the police.

“The traffic lights were off. The Metro, the main means of transport in Kiev, has been closed. People have to walk and Kiev is not a small village – it takes hours to get somewhere. All the entrance roads to Kiev are closed.”

The leadership of Christ Church has remained neutral about the political position in Ukraine. “To understand Ukrainians, people either have to be born with a Ukrainian heart and know the history or to serve this nation,” Alla said.

“We are very grateful for your prayers,” she said, “because being in the midst of the revolution we do have supernatural peace in our hearts.”

Black History Month: St. Barnabas ‘keeps hope alive’ in Pasadena

Thursday, February 20, 2014

In conjunction with Black History Month, the Episcopal News Service is featuring articles on historically black Episcopal congregations during February. Resources for Black History Month are available here.

Michael Mims, retired Pasadena City College professor who borrowed from his family archive to create the retrospective. Photo: Keith Yamamoto

[Episcopal News Service] Ishmael Bracy had come to experience the 32nd annual Black History Parade and Festival in Pasadena, California on Feb. 15.

Along the parade route, the 24-year-old Pasadena resident was drawn in by an eight-panel photographic retrospective spanning nine decades of the life of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church located on the historically black congregation’s front lawn.

“I feel honored to be exposed to the legacy of their contributions to the community, spiritual and otherwise,” said Bracy, of the display. “I’d like to see more people my age here, embracing the history that has kept hope alive for so long, and embracing the church and the community.”

(St. Barnabas is the second church to be featured in a Black History Month Episcopal News Service series in February focusing on historically black congregations. The historically black congregations were founded by African Americans who were not welcome in mainline Episcopal churches post-slavery and during racial segregation in the United States.)

As spectators and supporters mingled with vendors, hawking ice cream, T-shirts, black, red and green Pan-African flags, and balloons, Michael Mims, 75, a retired Pasadena City College photography professor and St. Barnabas member, was offering goods and services of another kind.

“I’m here to answer questions, to invite people to come and take a look, to give them information,” said Mims, who calculates that he has attended the church since he was three years old.

The “Early Years” panel included photos of his aunt, Rosebud Mims, who along with seven other African-American women founded the church in 1923. Nine years later, it was officially recognized as a mission in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

The Rev. Mayra Macedo-Nolan of Lake Avenue Church gazes at the St. Barnabas retrospective. Photo: Keith Yamamoto

For the Rev. Mayra Macedo-Nolan and her two-year-old daughter Zion, the photos were captivating.

“I’ve learned a little bit about the history of St. Barnabas, and I want to learn more,” said Macedo-Nolan, a pastor at nearby Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena.

“We’re going to be doing a community stations of the cross during Lent, and we want St. Barnabas to be included as the station where Christ is denied,” she said. “We chose to do that one here because of the way St. Barnabas started — the way things were done in the past was denying Christ – and also to look at the ways we still do that today.”

Church history, family history
Mims said he reached into his family archives to create the photographic display of the church’s history.

“I have pictures of my great-aunt, who was responsible for taking me to St. Barnabas in 1941,” Mims said. She was Laura Kennedy, who moved to Pasadena in the 1930s from Greenville, South Carolina to help Mims’ mother raise six children.

The photographs tell the story: of the first meetings, in the home of Georgia Weatherton on nearby Del Mar Street, where some 30 worshippers attended on Sunday mornings; of the 1933 dedication of the sanctuary; a 1947 confirmation service; the groundbreaking and 1972 dedication of the new parish hall envisioned as a community center; and of scores of gatherings, fundraisers, barbecues and celebrations.

From left, the Rev. Jesse Moses (third rector); the Rev. Alfred Norman (second and fourth rectors); the Rev. Alfred Wilkins, first rector; and the Rev. Ivor Ottley, fifth rector, who took the church to parish status. Photo: St. Barnabas archives


Also included, a snapshot of the church’s and the country’s history, the first vicar the Rev. Alfred Wilkins (1933-1943), who heeded “the call of his country, joining the U.S. Army as a chaplain,” according to a written history.

He was followed by the Rev. Alfred Norman (1943-1946, 1951-1970); the Rev. Jesse Moses (1946-1951); the Rev. Ivor Ottley (1977-1990).

Ottley challenged the congregation “to find its true vocation as black Episcopalians” and to commit to an ethic of stewardship, authenticity, education, leadership, ecumenical fellowship, social justice and outreach, “embracing the community beyond the walls of the church,” according to Mims.

The fruits of those efforts are apparent today, as members gathered curbside in front of the church on Feb. 15, applauding and cheering parade passersby, more than a dozen local school marching bands, African dancers and drummers, the Omega Psi Phi and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternities and Delta Sigma Theta and Alpha Kappa Alpha sororities, equestrians and other service organizations.

They received accolades and shouts out of their own from parade participants like Pasadena City Councilman John Kennedy.

“Yeah, St. Barnabas is in the house,” Kennedy called out, waving to parishioners as he passed the church, nearing the last leg of the parade route. “Thank you for being here, St. Barnabas.”

‘Embracing the community’
At least a part of that vocation has been a tradition of community involvement, according to the Rev. John Goldingay, a Fuller Theological Seminary Professor of Old Testament, who now serves as priest-in-charge.

“We’re only a tiny congregation,” but he and about a dozen church members regularly take part in cooking for, serving and eating with members of the homeless community at the Union Station Shelter in Pasadena, he said.

Together, they serve about 50 homeless adults every third Friday and it is an opportunity to enrich the lives of others as well as that of the congregation, he said.

“It is kind of a transitional place for people who are on their way toward being able to get back to work,” according to Goldingay, a Church of England priest for 30 years. He moved to Pasadena to teach and with his wife visited the nearby church of St. Barnabas “not knowing we’d find ourselves the only white people there,” he recalled.

“But we got this fantastic welcome, so much so that we stayed,” he said. “They seem to accept me as a human being, and as a priest, and a Christian.”

Radical welcome, belonging
That kind of radical hospitality is one way the church has attempted to navigate the contemporary challenges of shifting demographics, aging population, dwindling membership and resources.

With an average Sunday attendance of about 50 between two services, the congregation is weighing “how we can reverse that trend,” Goldingay said.

Over the years the congregation’s traditional African-American population increasingly has broadened to include members from across the diaspora, including the Caribbean and Central America, and also whites like himself, Goldingay said.

Mark Bradshaw, 32, a seminarian serving at St. Barnabas, agreed. “I am not black,” he said during a telephone interview with ENS, but added that he and his wife Katie were so warmly welcomed when they visited the church that “we became Episcopalians. We were confirmed at St. Barnabas and it has become everything my wife and I had been hoping and praying for in a congregation.”

He and the congregation have embarked upon several projects, he added. “I’m in the process of meeting people, updating the website, spending time during the week at the Jackie Robinson Park across the street,” he said.

“And I’ve been meeting with people in the congregation and we’re thinking about starting a new service or altering one of our services that would be very true to who we are and very liturgical but that might also be a service that would better meet the needs of younger persons,” he said.

He hopes that other newcomers can experience the same sense of belonging he has found. “I have never been a part of people so welcoming,” he said.

“Two years ago, Fr. John asked the congregation to share some of their stories from the civil rights movement and it was incredible,” he recalled. “Almost everybody had marched with Dr. King or had met him. The congregation takes a lot of pride in their history.”

Which made preaching about the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. feel a bit overwhelming, but it was an opportunity “to talk about how far we’ve come and the work of Dr. King, and to thank the congregation for how they welcomed us,” he said.

“It’s amazing,” he added. “This congregation that started because they weren’t welcome has become so welcoming. I’ve never witnessed before the kind of warmth with which they welcome new people into their midst. It’s a wonderful gift.”

St. Barnabas members gather in front of the church to cheer on the parade. Photo: Keith Yamamoto

Looking forward to the next generation
Showna Edwards, 31, seated in a folding chair in front of the church, had a bird’s eye view of the parade, and was patiently awaiting sight of the church’s parade entry –including several young people, along with Bradshaw bearing the St. Barnabas banner.

“It’s an exciting feeling to know the church is participating in the parade, to have our church known in this small part of Pasadena,” said Edwards, as she bounced one-year-old August Bradshaw on her knee.

“We’re a close-knit church family. I grew up here,” added Edwards, who sees signs of the church rebounding. Now, her three-year-old son Kaden is part of the Sunday programs.

“We have a Sunday school again. Young people are here. The church is growing. It’s very nice to see that, because it’s good support, to grow up with friends together in a church home.”

Gail McKinnon (far left) with Gloria Huffman (second left) St. Barnabas members who brought their Red Hat Society Nubian Roses of the Nile chapter sisters to the church and parade. Photo: Keith Yamamoto

Gail McKinnon and Gloria Huffman, long-time members, brought along some of their Red Hat Society Nubian Roses of the Nile chapter sisters – an international society of women who wear red hats and purple dresses and are dedicated to reshaping the way women are viewed in society.

“St. Barnabas is a family,” agreed McKinnon. “I’ve been here since 1995. I had been away from church for many years and I was welcomed back so whole-heartedly that it became my home. We love each other. We do a lot of eating. I joined and I’ve never looked back.”

The church, located across the street from the park named after baseball great Jackie Robinson, a native son, where the crowd had already begun to gather for food, fun and festival, the church also held an open house for the community.

For Pasadena residents John and Tina (who asked that their last names be withheld), the day was an opportunity to make historic and future connections for their five-year-old twins Phoebe and Perry.

Karla Enrequez and her son Matthew carry the St. Barnabas banner in the 32nd annual Pasadena Black History Parade. Photo: Keith Yamamoto

They visited Mims’ photographic retrospective and then pointed out the church’s parade entry, as Karla Enrequez and her son Matthew, along with Mark Bradshaw, bearing the St. Barnabas banner, waved to the crowds.

“This is so informative,” Tina, a professional singer, said as cheers and applause erupted for St. Barnabas.

“This is a whole historical perspective of the African-American past in Pasadena … This is a thriving community,” added Tina, who said she’d be back to visit the church.

Goldingay agreed, noting a growing interest among numerous parade watchers who visited inside the church. “Next year, we want to see how we can develop what we did this year,” he said.

As for Michael Mims, he spent much of the day telling family and church stories, stories of his aunt and about the many others who set the standard for keeping faith and hope alive in Pasadena and for moving the tradition forward for future generations.

“It’s been a good foundation,” he said of the church. “From a spiritual aspect, a community aspect, a family aspect, it’s been such a big part of my life. I don’t know what I’d be without St. Barnabas. I had a lot of mentors.”

–The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a correspondent for the Episcopal News Service. She is based in Los Angeles.

Investing In Each Other: Savings Groups in Angola

Thursday, February 20, 2014

[Episcopal Relief & Development press release] Every Friday morning at 7am, Mariana meets with her fellow members of the Amor (“Love”) Savings Group in Bairro Fofoca – a neighborhood of Luanda, the capital of Angola.

With their combined savings, the group members have formed a rotating fund that enables individuals to take out loans for small business enterprises.  As a member in good standing, Mariana was able to borrow 10,000 Kwanza ($100) from the loan fund to start a business selling children’s shoes, purchasing them wholesale and selling them at a profit of about 300-400 Kz per pair.  At the end of the two-month lending period, Mariana faithfully repaid the full amount plus 10% interest, knowing that this would enable another group member to borrow funds and keep the cycle going.

“When micro-finance programs are built upon members’ savings, they can have a sustainable impact,” said Tammi Mott, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Program Officer focusing on integrated programs in Angola.  “Since the members themselves create the revolving loan fund, they are literally invested in each other, and this feeling of solidarity and accountability encourages everyone to contribute and do their part.”


Click to download in Word document format.

National Cathedral awards contract for Phase I of earthquake repairs

Thursday, February 20, 2014

[Washington National Cathedral press release] Since the day of the August 23, 2011 earthquake, Washington National Cathedral has been planning for the repair of the damage incurred as a result of the 5.8 magnitude shake.

Thanks to the generosity of the Lily Endowment, the American Express/National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Partners in Preservation program, the Save America’s Treasures program, as well as grants and gifts from other organizations and individuals, the Cathedral has been able to raise approximately $10 million toward the total $26 million needed to complete all repairs.  An initial portion of that the initial funding was spent to stabilize the building post-earthquake.  The Cathedral is now poised to begin the first phase of repair work with the remaining funds restricted to earthquake repair.

After going through a competitive bidding process that started at the beginning of January 2014, the Cathedral is pleased to announce that the James G. Davis Construction Corporation has been selected from a group of three qualifying bids to implement the Phase I Earthquake Repairs.  This 12-14 month project will address the restoration of the interior ceiling, the removal of the existing interior protective netting and the restoration of the exterior east end, including the six flying buttresses where the most significant earthquake damage occurred.  All other repairs will be implemented as further funding becomes available.

Presiding Bishop to preach at St. Paul’s in London

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] At the invitation of the Very Rev. Dr. David Ison, dean, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Katharine Jefferts Schori will preach at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, on Sunday, March 9 at the 11:30 a.m. GMT service.

“I look forward to joining the St. Paul’s community again and meeting the new Dean,” the Presiding Bishop said.  “I give thanks for the remarkable witness and ministry of this cathedral, and pray that its faithful leadership may continue to bless the people of London and far beyond.”

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori previously preached at St. Paul’s on July 25, 2010.

Day of Prayer is emotional experience for Sudanese congregation

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Members of St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, Moorhead, Minnesota (Diocese of North Dakota) gather with their new vicar, the Rev. Michael Paul, following the worship service on the Day of Prayer for South Sudan on Feb. 16. Photo: Joe Bjordal/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] The observance of a Day of Prayer for South Sudan on Feb. 16 took on a very personal nature at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church in Moorhead, Minnesota. The congregation is predominantly made up of Sudanese refugees and their prayers were not just for peace in the war-torn country half a world away, but specifically for mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers — family members left behind.

Many wiped away tears as their vicar, the Rev. Michael Kiju Paul, himself a Sudanese refugee, prayed “Father, save South Sudan!”

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori called for the Day of Prayer saying “the world is increasingly concerned over the rampant violence in South Sudan.” The Day of Prayer was also observed in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and in the Reformed Church in America.

The Rev. Michael Kiju Paul, new vicar of St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, Moorhead, Minnesota (Diocese of North Dakota), leads the congregation in prayer for South Sudan before celebrating Holy Communion on Feb. 16. Photo: Joe Bjordal/Episcopal News Service

“I want to thank the presiding bishop for designating this day as a Day of Prayer for South Sudan. It means a lot to me and it means a lot to the Sudanese people here,” said Paul in an interview with ENS following the worship service. “We are badly hit and affected by what is happening back home. We weep for our country and the Americans here in our midst weep with us. The hearts of the members of this congregation are torn apart by what is happening back there.”

Massive loss of life and displacement
A 2011 referendum resulted in the division of the African country of Sudan into two nations —Sudan and South Sudan. The referendum was one of the conditions of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005 that brought an end to civil wars that spanned more than five decades. But peace has been fragile. Last year a division in the government of the Republic of South Sudan brought about the ousting of the vice president and fueled rising unrest within the army. On Dec. 15, fighting broke out in the capital city of Juba between rival tribal factions of the Presidential Guard. Within days thousands of members of the Nuer tribe had been murdered in Juba and the unrest spread to other regions of the country and took on an ethnic dimension.

The International Crisis Group estimates that more than 10,000 people have been killed since mid-December. The United Nations, which has observers on the ground in South Sudan, reports that hundreds of thousands have been displaced by the fighting and that 80,000 South Sudanese have crossed the borders in search of safety into neighboring Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Sudan. U.N. observers also report that nearly two-thirds of the country’s population is at risk of food insecurity.

On Feb. 10, the Anglican Communion News Service published a report from World Watch Monitor saying that scores of female church workers were raped and massacred in the South Sudanese town of Bor. The report quotes Episcopal Bishop of Bor Ruben Akurdit Ngong, who said that women had sought shelter in a church compound and that most of the churches in the diocese had been destroyed by rebel soldiers.

In her call to prayer, Jefferts Schori noted that the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan “is partnering with others on the ground in that work of peace-building.” Speaking in Moorhead following the prayer service, Paul said the church in Sudan “has been in the forefront, mediating and talking and attempting to bring the warring parties together to discuss peace.” He said that the church was also “fully involved in the war that brought us independence and has never left its people.”

“Right now, in the bushes of South Sudan, in the cities and towns, the church is standing up and really trying to bring these people together to bring peace and allow people to begin to rebuild that country that has been ravaged by war for over 50 years,” said Paul.

On Feb. 10, the South Sudan Council of Churches issued a statement from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the site of peace talks, saying that church representatives, including Sudanese Episcopal Bishop Enoch Tombe, were on hand to “accompany the peace talks with prayers and to deliver a prophetic message of peace from God and the people of South Sudan … ‘We want peace in our beloved land. We are tired of war!’”

Deacon Zechariah Reng and Daniel Mabiroh Suhiuk pray before leading the weekly worship service in the Sudanese dialect of Dinka at St. John the Divine, Moorhead, Minnesota on Feb. 16. Photo: Joe Bjordal/Episcopal News Service

Remembering; praying; hoping
Emotions ran deep at St. John the Divine on Feb. 16 as prayers and memories focused on a homeland far away and left behind long ago – for some nearly 20 years.

Vestry member Helen Lodu was among the first Sudanese refugees to settle in the metropolitan area of twin cities Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead, Minnesota in 1995. She said “the war was just so bad we had to get the children out of the country.” They lived in Kenya for two years before they found an opportunity to go to the United States and join her brother, who had previously settled in Northern Minnesota.

Lodu, whose husband recently returned from Sudan and witnessed the current violence first-hand, said it was sad to have been at war for so long, to have fought to gain independence and yet be back at “square one.”

She was nonetheless buoyed by the Day of Prayer.

“This day means a lot to me because I have never been able to go back to Sudan and see my people. I pray that God will listen to the prayers of all who unite themselves; that one day peace will come; that those who suffer can enjoy the land that God has given them; and we can go back.”

Another vestry member, Albert Simbe, fled Sudan with his late wife in 1998 and settled in Fargo-Moorhead. He said he has recently received reports from relatives in South Sudan about the violence that has erupted since Dec. 15.

“I really feel grateful that people in the United States are thinking about the suffering people in South Sudan. What broke out there on Dec. 15 is terrible, with thousands of people killed, displaced and suffering with no food, no water, no essential commodities. I am praying very hard that the peace talks in Addis Ababa will succeed. If they do not, as one rebel leader said, the country will crumble,” said Simbe.

“I am praying that Almighty God will be among them in the peace talks, so that they will agree and the country can be at peace,” he said.

Hospitality brings a change of character
Lodu and Simbe are but two of nearly 3,000 Sudanese refugees who have settled in the Fargo-Moorhead area. The influx started in the mid-1990s and gained momentum around 2000 when dozens of the Lost Boys of Sudan began to arrive. They were refugees who fled war-torn Sudan without parents, often alone and seeking asylum initially in neighboring countries to avoid being drafted into war. Many would eventually settle in locations around the world.

Many of the arriving Sudanese refugees were members of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and Episcopal faith communities in the United States rose up and stepped forward to provide assistance. One of those communities was St. John the Divine in Moorhead, a congregation of the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota.

Barbara Glasrud, a 60-year member of St. John’s and its current senior warden, said on Feb. 16 that she remembers “vividly how it all started,” recalling a visit in the late 1990s from Andrew Fairfield, then bishop of North Dakota.

“He told us that these people were coming into our area; that they were Episcopalians and Anglicans; that they needed a church home; and that he would like us to welcome them. We did and the rest is history,” she said.

Glasrud said that in the beginning it was just a few of the Lost Boys. She recalls members of the congregation meeting them at the airport; helping to find housing, and for many basic clothing needed for a climate in sharp contrast to the deserts of Africa. Then, she said, families started coming and “soon we had a big population of Sudanese people in our congregation.”

Having changed the character of the Anglo congregation with Scandinavian roots that had worshiped in the historic church building since 1858, St. John’s called its first Sudanese priest in 2000. It was Lodu’s husband, Alex, who was ordained in the Episcopal Church of Sudan and was serving as a professor at a theological college in Mundri at the time of their departure. He served St. John’s for 10 years.

Paul arrived in mid-2013. He was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Kajo Keji in South Sudan and after settling in the United States served St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in San Diego, California for six years. When financial resources no longer allowed St. Luke’s to have a full-time priest, Paul sought employment outside the church.

Aware that there was a Sudanese congregation in the Fargo-Moorhead area, he found work in window and door manufacturing. He asked his bishop in San Diego to introduce him to North Dakota Bishop Michael Smith, who eventually asked Paul to volunteer at St. John’s.

“Father Michael seemed to fit right in,” said Glasrud, and in December the congregation called Paul to be its vicar, a part-time position for the timebeing.

Paul notes that without a Sudanese pastor, participation in the congregation’s three Sunday worship services – in English, Dinka and Arabic – had dwindled but have now started to revive.

“As the new vicar, I am working day in and day out, calling the Sudanese community to come back. There is a large Sudanese community here and there is no reason why we cannot gather as brothers and sisters to worship together.”

He also said that members of the congregation will launch new efforts to educate the community and other congregations in the diocese about the issues surrounding South Sudan and invite them “to pray for our country.”

Paul will formally be installed by Smith at a Celebration of New Ministry on Feb. 22.

Task Force on Study of Marriage wants your videos

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Episcopal Church Task Force on the Study of Marriage wants videos from Episcopalians throughout the church.

The videos should focus on the topic: Give us your first name and tell a one minute story about your relationship or one you know well in which you have seen the image of God.

“We invite Episcopalians to prepare, produce and submit a one-minute video sharing their thoughts and feelings that we can use in our reporting,” commented Task Force member the Rev. Canon W. (Will) H. Mebane, Jr., Diocese of Ohio. “The videos don’t need to be professionally recorded – feel free to use a Smartphone or flip cam.”

The videos should be sent to wmebane@dohio.org

These videos will be used as part of upcoming presentations and reports to the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies.

Task Force Facebook page here

Task Force YouTube here.

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

Task Force Members
The members of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage are:
The Rev. Brian C. Taylor, chair, Diocese of the Rio Grande
Carolyn M. Chilton, Diocese of Virginia
The Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Ely, Diocese of Vermont
Joan Geiszler-Ludlum, vice-chair, Diocese of East Carolina
The Very Rev. Gail Greenwell, Diocese of Kansas
The Rev. Tobias S. Haller, Diocese of New York
The Rev. Canon W. (Will) H. Mebane, Jr., Diocese of Ohio
The Rev. J. David Knight, Diocese of Mississippi
The Rev. Dr. Cameron E. Partridge, Diocese of Massachusetts
The Rev. Canon Susan Russell, Diocese of Los Angeles
The Very Rev. Dr. Sylvia A. Sweeney, Diocese of Los Angeles
The Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo, Diocese of Upper South Carolina

Resolution A050 is available in full here.

Anglicans urged to carbon-fast for Lent

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Communion’s Environmental Network (ACEN) is encouraging Christians around the world to take part in a “carbon-fast” this Lent.

The network is calling on Anglicans to take a deeper challenge than fasting from coffee, alcohol or chocolates this Lent, by reducing the use of carbon based fuels on which we all depend.

“We will take small steps for a more sustainable world, and by doing so rediscover a different relationship with God, with Creation and with one another,” the group says on its website, adding: “I can change the world a little in 40 days, but I can change myself a lot!”

For each week during Lent, which runs from Ash Wednesday on March 5 to the Saturday before Holy Week on April 12, the network has developed themed materials to focus on “a time of reflection and action.”

Under the headings, “Stuff,” “Water,” “Energy and Mobility,” “Food Production,” and “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Fix,” there is a prayer, a resource to read or watch, actions to take as an individual, some suggestions of community actions you can take, and something you can consider doing to “change the system.”

The network is also asking people to share the initiative using social media, and has produced cover photos and profile pix that people can use on Facebook.

More details are available at carbonfast2014.wordpress.com or facebook.com/greenanglicans.

Proposals invited for Native American program assistance

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Episcopal Church Office of Indigenous Ministries and the Executive Council Committee on Indigenous Ministries invites Episcopal communities with Native American initiatives to submit proposals for the New Opportunities Grants, which provides funding for programs in 2014.

“The New Opportunities Grant was a project established to assist native people throughout the Episcopal Church to develop new and innovative approaches to their ministry,” explained Sarah Eagle Heart, Episcopal Church Program Officer for Indigenous Ministries.

Grant guidelines, requirements, forms, further information and application instructions are located here.

Deadline is April 15.

For further information contact Angeline Cabanban at acabanban@episcopalchurch.org

Prayers, support for South Sudan shared in Kentucky diocese

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Kentucky Bishop Terry White offers prayers of healing for family members of those who have died in the recent fighting in South Sudan. Photo: Brian Funk-Kinnaman, Diocese of Kentucky staff

[Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky] Calling for prayers for the dead, and those grieving, orphaned, wounded, and displaced due to the recent escalation of violence in South Sudan, Episcopal Bishop Terry White led the Diocese of Kentucky in a Day of Prayer on Sunday, Feb. 16 at Messiah-Trinity Church in Louisville. A Eucharist commemorating the Martyrs of Sudan was followed by a time of fellowship and story-sharing.

The blended Episcopal-Lutheran parish is also a joint Anglo-Sudanese congregation. Louisville’s significant Sudanese population has grown out of more than 200 “Lost Boys” who arrived in Kentucky in 2001 after fleeing war in the Sudan. Many of the young refugees were assisted in their resettlement by Kentucky Refugee Ministries, an affiliate partner of Episcopal Migration Ministries.

Bishop Terry White greets a young parishioner during the exchange of the peace. Photo: Brian Funk-Kinnaman, Diocese of Kentucky staff

White called the diocese to the Day of Prayer as a show of solidarity and support for its Sudanese members after hearing “sad and sobering” reports from Deacon Daniel Kuol, who serves at Messiah-Trinity. Kuol and his wife, Deborah, have lost seven family members in the fighting in and around Bor, the birthplace of many of Louisville’s Sudanese population. In sharing the news of his family’s losses, Kuol called the community to act for peace and unity, saying, “We are Christians. We do not take sides. We must be peacemakers between those who are fighting.”

Kuol and a group of drummers led the congregation in a Dinka song recounting the journey of the “Lost Boys.” A candle lighting ceremony followed, during which church members read aloud the names of more than 40 relatives who have died in the fighting. Representatives from the families gathered around the bishop and received prayers for healing and hope. Representatives of other parishes in the diocese were present in person or through messages and gifts, as were ecumenical representatives of other Sudanese communities, including nearby Presbyterian and Missouri Synod Lutheran congregations.

In a statement released Feb. 4, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori encouraged Episcopalians to pray, and to help spread awareness of needs of those in South Sudan, writing, “The Prince of Peace serves the whole world.  As his disciples, may we do no less!”

Scripture readings were available in English and Dinka, and the sermon was translated into Arabic as well. White enjoined those gathered to work for a solution, saying, “We must all be peacemakers! Courageous reconcilers! We must all be filled with the unconditional love of God for all people, including our enemies.” After the sermon, the bishop invited the congregation to renew their baptismal covenant, calling on the community to “stay faithful to Jesus who died and rose again and who has destroyed death forever.”

Dan Dykstra presents a healing blanket to Mario Luwal, elder of the Dinka community, as a gift from St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Louisville. Photo: Brian Funk-Kinnaman, Diocese of Kentucky staff

The congregation processed out of worship to the traditional Easter hymn “Lift High the Cross” and gathered for a shared meal of traditional Sudanese and American potluck dishes, including ham sandwiches and Khoodra Mafrooka, a spinach stew.

The meal was followed by a time of story-telling, during which a panel of local Sudanese leaders shared their hopes for a united, peaceful life for the people of South Sudan. “We come from a great nation, and we must be united to one another,” said Alier Mareet, one of the seven speakers. The group thanked their “fellow Americans” for the support they have shown by welcoming the stranger and by participating in relief efforts intended to alleviate the suffering of the South Sudanese. John Deng, pastor of United Sudanese Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) urged those gathered to call on American political leaders to use their influence to work for an end to the violence, saying,  “We need the world to put pressure on the leaders of South Sudan to stop this terrible war.”

Bishop White’s sermon can be read here, and his Call to a Day of Prayer for South Sudan is here.

A statement from the United Thank Offering Board

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The members of the board of the United Thank Offering have issued the following statement.

Please join the United Thank Offering Board in giving thanks to God for the collaborative work between the Board, staff of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and members of Executive Council, the result of which is the creation of organizational documents that clarify and implement the work of the Board, grow the ministry of the United Thank Offering, and facilitate the relationship between the Board and Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS).

It has come to our attention that some confusion remains over how the Bylaws and Memorandum of Understanding were created, approved and even over their content.  The Board wants to share some basic information regarding the process and content with the hope of helping those of you with concerns about the status of the United Thank Offering.  Please know that we are always open to questions; we welcome the opportunity to clear up any confusion that may impede participation in the United Thank Offering.

In October, members of our Board, along with the UTO Coordinator, met with members of Governance and Administration for Mission (GAM) of the Executive Council.  We discussed the state of the Board in Executive Session and then decided that a small group of Board members and Executive Council members would meet to look at the governing documents of the Board, along with Paul Nix, who serves as legal counsel for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.  We left the meeting in October feeling optimistic and hopeful that this process of working together would be mutually informative and help us chart a way forward.  In January 2014, the working group met in Texas to draft Bylaws and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). We spent a great deal of time discussing and deciding what was needed in these documents and those of us who represented the Board feel that the quality of these documents will give us a firm foundation for success moving forward.  These documents were then approved unanimously by the Board at the end of January and then by Executive Council at the beginning of February.  The Bylaws and MOU are available here.  As the life and work of this Board changes, these documents and our new policies and procedures will continue to change also.  We believe that these documents are an excellent and transparent description of the work we do, and highlight how the Board is growing structurally.

In spite of the Board’s approval and comfort with the new governing documents, we continue to hear concerns from within The Episcopal Church.  We will try to address some of the common concerns here.

1. Some people have shared the concern that the Board will no longer be responsible for the granting process, administration and ministry of the United Thank Offering. The Board continues to be responsible for the work and ministry of the United Thank Offering, including but not limited to granting.  As we have for many decades, we will work closely with the trained staff available to us through The Episcopal Church who continue to support our work and help us continually grow our ministry.  The ultimate responsibility of grants resides with the Board.  The Board bears responsibility for the annual granting process and the administration of the United Thank Offering. Like all of the granting agencies of The Episcopal Church, we do this in cooperation with Executive Council.

2. We have heard that there is a concern that the DFMS staff will take over granting ingathering funds or the operations of the United Thank Offering.  Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer, Sam McDonald, Director of Mission and the Rev. Heather Melton, UTO Coordinator are firm supporters of the work of the United Thank Offering and each has a Blue Box on his or her desk.  They have championed our ministry, supported our work, and listened to our concerns. Bishop Sauls is committed to making sure we are able to do that work and that we have access to the staff and resources we need in order to accomplish our goals, but he, or other staff members, do not approve or recommend grants, mission, or ministry undertaken by our Board.

3. The trust funds are legally held by The Episcopal Church (DFMS), as are all trust funds of the Church.  The Board creates a budget for the management of these funds for the triennium and updates it yearly.  We are aided in the financial work by the Finance Department of The Episcopal Church. They carry out our requests, and they help us follow sound financial practices.

2013 was a year of tremendous change for the United Thank Offering Board.  Not only did the president of the Board die suddenly, but also we were without a staff UTO Coordinator and were coming out of a time of study: INC 055 AD Hoc Committee. We began the process of searching for a new staff UTO Coordinator and we are pleased and excited to have the Rev. Heather Melton, who was hired in June, on the journey with us.

At the beginning of September, four members of the Board chose to resign. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori did not fill these vacancies, as some have suggested. Instead, they were filled by the appropriate Provinces of The Episcopal Church in accordance with the 2011 Bylaws, which were then in force.  The majority of the Board remained and they continue to bring new ideas and hope to this important ministry.   As difficult as all of the changes which took place over the last 13 months have been, we believe that we are poised to move into the next 125 years of the United Thank Offering with a much better understanding of our history and the role of this Board in strong, supportive partnership with the staff and leadership of The Episcopal Church.

Please know that we are very interested in supporting the work and ministry of the United Thank Offering in your diocese.  We are currently developing new resources for parishes, children and youth as well as specific initiatives for our 125th anniversary. Our website: www.episcopalchurch.org/uto is a wonderful resource for basic information. We hope that you will continue, or begin to participate in the annual ingathering of funds that are then given out each year as grants to support local ministry.  We hope you’ll apply for grants so that we can hear the good work that you are doing and partner with you in it.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or concerns that we have not addressed in this letter.  The Rev. Heather Melton, hmelton@episcopalchurch.org, is available if you need further information about the United Thank Offering, have questions regarding the process that unfolded or how your congregation might participate in this ministry.  She can also put you into contact with your province representative on the Board if you have specific questions.

Barbara Schafer, UTO Board President/Province VIII UTO Representative

UTO Board Executive Committee Members:
Marcie Cherau, Vice President/Province IV Representative
Dena Lee, Secretary/Province III Representative
Susan Howland, Financial Secretary/Province I Representative

La I.E. en la República Dominicana se propone alcanzar el autosostenimiento para 2016

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Los episcopales desfilan en procesión, por la avenida George Washington, más conocida como el Malecón, desde la catedral de la Epifanía en la Avenida Independencia hasta el Ministerio de Cultura, para la eucaristía de clausura de la 56ª. Convención Anual de la Diócesis de la República Dominicana. Foto de Julius Ariail.

[Episcopal News Service – Santo Domingo, República Dominicana] Según la Diócesis de la República Dominicana sigue avanzando hacia el autosostenimiento, las relaciones de compañerismo y un creciente sentido de la mayordomía se mantendrán como componentes claves en el plan de la diócesis para lograr un mayor crecimiento y desarrollo.

“Es posible alcanzar la autosuficiencia con la ayuda de diócesis compañeras y con los empeños que hemos puesto en la mayordomía local”, dijo Julio César Holguín, obispo de la República Dominicana.

Para que la Iglesia prosiga su misión, siguió diciendo él, necesita del apoyo de las iglesias locales, de las escuelas y de otras instituciones, así como el apoyo de las Mujeres Episcopales, la diócesis compañeras y los individuos particulares que apoyan la Iglesia y su misión.

El presupuesto de 2014 fue aprobado durante la convención diocesana que sesionó del 14 al 16 de febrero y el cual incluyó acápites, conforme a los cuales cada una de las 55 misiones de la diócesis asumirían la mayor parte de sus propios costos operativos y pagarían un porcentaje de los salarios del clero. El lema de la Convención fue tomado de Juan 15:16: “Llamados a dar frutos que permanezcan”.

Durante su alocución a la Convención, en la que Holguín pidió oficialmente la elección de un coadjutor, dijo que la diócesis se había esforzado por garantizar su autosostenimiento económico, para lo cual, según sus palabras, había contado con apoyo en varios frentes:

  • Las congregaciones locales, la mayoría de las cuales tienen recursos limitados, han comenzado a asumir la responsabilidad por algunos de sus propios gastos, tales como mayordomía, servicios públicos, mantenimiento, salarios del clero, educación cristiana y programas sociales.
  • Las congregaciones han comenzado programas empresariales.
  • Las escuelas, centros de conferencias e instituciones de la diócesis continúan desarrollándose en sus propias capacidades administrativas y en los servicios que brindan, aumentando sus ingresos, así como su contribución a la diócesis y su misión en el país.
  • El Grupo Dominicano de Desarrollo y el subsidio anual de la Iglesia Episcopal proporcionan un apoyo continuo.

El subsidio, sin embargo, no se mantendrá para siempre y las diócesis de la IX Provincia de la Iglesia Episcopal, extendidas a través del Caribe y de Centroamérica y el norte de América del Sur, han comenzado a poner en práctica estrategias con vistas a obtener la independencia económica del histórico programa de subvención global de la Iglesia Episcopal, que en el trienio actual asigna $2,9 millones a la IX Provincia.

El obispo de la República Dominicana, Julio César Holguín, pidió oficialmente un obispo coadjutor durante la Convención diocesana que tuvo lugar del 14 al 16 de febrero. Foto de Julius Ariail.

Recientemente, por recomendación del equipo de trabajo de la Segunda Marca de la Misión, un grupo convocado por el personal de la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera (DFMS), el Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal, durante su reunión del 5 al 7 de febrero en Maryland, convino en un plan de 18 años para [lograr] la “autosuficiencia”, en apoyo de una misión y ministerio sostenibles en la IX Provincia, que incluye la República Dominicana.

“Esto surge de una necesidad para la IX Provincia de que los líderes de esas diócesis dependan de sí mismos”, dijo Sam McDonald, subdirector operativo y director de misión de la Iglesia Episcopal.

“Intentamos entrar en una relación espiritualmente más sana sustentada en la mutualidad y no en la dependencia”.

A partir de las tres diócesis que están más cerca de alcanzar la autosuficiencia —República Dominicana, Honduras y Colombia—, el plan requiere que cada diócesis reciba una infusión de fondos basada en una plan estratégico para lograr el autosostenimiento. En la medida en que puedan sostenerse a sí mismas, [las diócesis] se comprometen a colaborar con las otras diócesis de la provincia para ayudarlas a lograr el mismo objetivo.

Las otras cuatro diócesis de la IX Provincia son: Ecuador Central, Ecuador Litoral, Venezuela y Puerto Rico. La Diócesis de Puerto Rico se autosostiene. El presupuesto trienal también incluía $1 millón adicional para la IX Provincia con el objetivo de [contribuir al]  “fortalecimiento de la provincia para la misión sostenible”. Este dinero se le facilitará a las diócesis para acelerar su avance hacia el autosostenimiento.

El próximo paso para [las diócesis de] la República Dominicana y Honduras consiste en presentar propuestas que resuman cómo se empleará el dinero para promover el autosostenimiento, dijo Martha Gardner, presidenta del Comité Permanente Conjunto sobre Misión Mundial del Consejo Ejecutivo, en una entrevista telefónica con ENS el 13 de febrero. Las relaciones de compañerismo, dijo Gardner, desempeñarán un papel importante en ayudar a las diócesis a alcanzar el autosostenimiento.

El obispo de la República Dominicana, Julio César Holguín, ordenó a cuatro diáconos durante la eucaristía de clausura de la 56ª. Convención Diocesana Anual de la Diócesis [Episcopal] de la República Dominicana. Foto de Julius Ariail.

La fuerza de las cifras
La República Dominicana es un caso a destacar. A lo largo de los últimos 20 años el número de relaciones de compañerismo ha aumentado de cuatro a 15; en los últimos 15 años, la diócesis ha crecido hasta llegar a tener más de 11.000 episcopales, 55 iglesias y más de 30 escuelas e instituciones. La diócesis tiene un presupuesto anual de $1 millón cien mil.

En 1998, se creó el Grupo Dominicano de Desarrollo con el objetivo fundamental de buscar los “recursos humanos, materiales y económicos que se necesiten para mantener el ritmo de crecimiento de la diócesis y proporcionarle a la diócesis la capacidad de mantener programas de ‘calidad’”.

En 15 años, el GDD ha recaudado más de $10 millones para financiar la construcción de instalaciones de infraestructura, categoría que incluye iglesias, escuelas, guarderías infantiles y clínicas, en la República Dominicana. Esto se ha mantenido como modelo de espíritu emprendedor a través de la IX Provincia.

Si bien “el autosostenimiento” significa que la Iglesia en la República Dominicana llegará el momento en que ya no dependa del programa de subvención global, el GDD desempeñará un papel importante en ayudar a mantener el desarrollo que ya está en marcha, dijo Bill Kunkle, director ejecutivo del grupo.

“El objetivo sería continuar el crecimiento, no querríamos estancarnos”, apuntó. “Es aquí donde los equipos intervienen en apoyo del crecimiento, expandiendo los ministerios y las asociaciones”.

Como director ejecutivo, Kunkle sirve de enlace, desde EE.UU., en la relación de compañerismo de la diócesis. Junto con Karen Carroll, misionero de la Iglesia Episcopal que ha prestado servicios en la República Dominicana durante nueve años, ayuda a coordinar de 50 a 70 equipos de misiones que viajan a la República Dominicana para ayudar a construir y mantener propiedades de la Iglesia, a dirigir escuelas bíblicas de vacaciones y a dirigir misiones médicas y de otras clases.

Los equipos de misión suelen visitar la República Dominicana anualmente; lo que puede comenzar como una relación de tipo “colonial” en el cual los norteamericanos quieren dirigir proyectos e iniciativas, con el tiempo da lugar a asociaciones sólidas en las cuales cada parte se beneficia.

El Rdo. Adolfo Moronta describe —a Todd Ousley, obispo de Michigan Oriental, y a Bill Kunkle, director ejecutivo del Grupo Dominicano de Desarrollo— una construcción que se encuentra en proceso en San Isidro. Foto de Julius Ariail.

Fue el concepto de asociación, más que el de simplemente enviar dinero para apoyar proyectos, lo que atrajo y ha sostenido la relación de compañerismo entre [la Diócesis de] la República Dominicana y la Diócesis de Michigan Oriental.

“Habíamos estado en ‘relaciones coloniales’ y esto es algo diferente”, dijo el obispo de Michigan Oriental Todd Ousley, que asistió a la convención diocesana.

Resulta claro también, dijo Scott Mayer, obispo de Texas Noroccidental, cuya diócesis también tiene una relación de compañerismo con la de República Dominicana, que las diócesis estadounidenses de la Iglesia Episcopal podrían aprender muchísimo de la manera en que la diócesis [de la República Dominicana] planta sus misiones.

“Plantan misiones donde perciben una necesidad, plantamos iglesias donde percibimos un ritmo de crecimiento”, afirmó.


Los asistentes a la convención diocesana se dividieron para discusiones en grupos sobre las Cinco Marcas de la Misión. Foto de Julius Ariail.

Los planes de autosostenimiento se configuran
Durante una reunión —en julio de 2013— de líderes laicos y ordenados de la IX Provincia y miembros del personal del Centro denominacional, el consenso fue que “la actual relación entre las diócesis de la IX Provincia y el resto de la Iglesia Episcopal está influido por la naturaleza de las históricas subvenciones globales que establecen una relación de dependencia. Esto no es espiritualmente sano, ni para la parte ‘dependiente’, ni para aquella de la cual ‘se depende’”, según dice un documento que se hizo público después de la reunión.

El documento, creado por el grupo de la II Marca de la Misión, surgió de una larga conversación que comenzó en serio en marzo de 2011 con una conferencia en Tela, Honduras.

En marzo de 2012, durante una reunión del Sínodo Provincial en la República Dominicana, las diócesis adoptaron oficialmente el autosostenimiento como un punto focal. En mayo de 2013, la conferencia de la Red Global de la Misión Episcopal que se celebró en Bogotá, Colombia, también se concentró en el tema del autosostenimiento.

Cada diócesis se encuentra en una etapa diferente del proceso. Aunque las diócesis de la IX Provincia comparten un idioma común, algunas están bien establecidas y otras son nuevas. Por ejemplo, la diócesis más reciente de la provincia, Venezuela, sólo ha sido oficialmente una diócesis de la Iglesia Episcopal desde 2006. La [diócesis de la] República Dominicana celebró, en 2013, 100 años como parte de la Iglesia Episcopal, y 116 de existencia. Colombia celebra 50 años este año.

El obispo Victor Scantlebury ha servido durante dos años y medio como obispo provisional de la Diócesis de Ecuador Central, la cual se ve muy diferente de la de República Dominicana.

“Mi trabajo consiste en reconstruir la diócesis y, al mismo tiempo, ayudarles a crear un plan de autosostenimiento”, dijo Scantlebury, añadiendo que sus tres principales áreas de concentración incluyen ayudar a la Iglesia a encontrar su identidad, a conservar a sus miembros y a enseñar mayordomía.

El plan de 18 años, apuntó, le toma a la diócesis hasta 2030.

“Parecería como que tenemos mucho tiempo, pero no a mí”, dijo Scantlebury. “Estoy laborando esforzadamente para hacer que el clero y el laicado cobren conciencia del hecho de que estamos en este proceso, y que pronto la Iglesia Episcopal [las subvenciones globales] habrá dejado de existir”.

Parte de ese reto es, dijo él, que en América Latina, donde la cultura catolicorromana sigue siendo dominante, los feligreses suelen dar una ofrenda a la iglesia durante los oficios, pero la gente no se ven a sí mismo como “mayordomos” [de Dios], afirmó.

En la República Dominicana, la diócesis ya ha comenzado a asumir el papel de la mayordomía, el cual también conduce a una dinámica más saludable dentro de la diócesis y estimula a los sacerdotes a desarrollar sus propias estrategias para el autosostenimiento.

“Tenemos que ser creativos y pensar en lo que podemos hacer”, dijo el Rdo. Vicente Peña, quien, por ejemplo, gestionó con el gobierno para que le permitieran usar gratis el centro cultural para el oficio dominical de clausura de la convención, porque la catedral no era lo suficientemente grande para darle cabida a las más de 1.500 personas que asistieron.

En sus conversaciones acerca del autosostenimiento y de la dinámica más sana que crearía entre las diócesis de la IX Provincia y la Iglesia Episcopal, el equipo de la II Marca [de la Misión] reconoció “la pragmática realidad de que existe un futuro potencial de disminución de ingresos a nivel denominacional para que puedan sostenerse las históricas subvenciones globales”.

Y afirmó, “puede que esto sea una convergencia providencial del deseo y el reconocimiento de la importancia espiritual de liberarse de la dependencia y la realidad muy probable de que los modelos actuales no son sostenibles indefinidamente”.

– Lynette Wilson es redactora y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Students to develop life, job skills through Kansas youth program

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

[Episcopal Diocese of Kansas] High school students in inner-city Kansas City, Kansas, soon will get the chance to develop life and job skills, thanks to a new program at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church that has received funding from the Episcopal Church.

A $35,000 Jubilee Ministry grant will fund the start-up this fall of “Youth in Transitions,” which the church’s priest, the Rev. Dixie Junk, described as a youth development program.

The need that sparked the church’s grant application was simple – the local school district sends students home at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays to provide time for staff training. Through a series of meetings with community groups, church members heard that there was a real need to find something meaningful for high school students to do during that time.

The new program will provide selected students help in several areas:

  • Life skills – personal finance, nutrition and healthy eating, and communications;
  • Job-readiness skills – how to complete a job application, interviewing and networking;
  • Community service training to become a volunteer in one of the church’s existing food ministry programs – food pantry, Saturday morning hot breakfast and community garden; and
  • Quiet time for reflection, something school officials identified as a missing element in many homes.

About half of the one-year grant is earmarked for hiring a part-time program coordinator, which Junk said is the key to the program’s success. This person will oversee the program’s selection of student participants and recruit the volunteers who will teach the skills classes.

The rest of the grant funds will provide curriculum materials and technology equipment for instructors and students, as well as classroom tables and chairs.

Junk said the church, which is located in the city’s urban core, will rely on volunteer labor and in-kind donations to convert some existing rooms, like an under-used library and chapel, into spaces where students can learn and study.

Grant recognizes an innovative program
The Rev. Mark Stevenson, who became the Episcopal Church’s first domestic poverty missioner last September, oversees the Jubilee grants. He made a trip to St. Paul’s in late January to get a first-hand look at plans for the start-up of the new program.

He said that St. Paul’s was selected from 59 applications because this program can be used by other churches around the country. “What we liked about this program was the ability for it to be replicated in different contexts,” Stevenson said.

The grant committee was searching for a model ministry that showed innovation and creativity, had an educational component, and could be duplicated elsewhere.

Junk said she has received support for the new program from Kansas City Mayor Mark Holland and Commissioner Ann Murguia. In a letter that accompanied the grant application, Holland praised the church’s outreach efforts that support its neighborhood and reach thousands of people each year. He said the youth start-up will bring “our kids up to speed on important job readiness and life skills that can be harder to come by in urban environments.”

Murguia’s letter said St. Paul’s will fill a gap that currently isn’t being met by schools or the local community, to help “prepare young people for the realities of the work force and the responsibilities of citizenship.” She called St. Paul’s efforts “a great service and benefit to our city.”

Junk said area employers told her some of their young employees lack the work and life skills the church’s program will teach. They have promised to send them to the church’s new program to catch up.

She said government officials also have pledged their help in connecting businesses with the church to provide additional trainers and to enhance the course content.

Culinary program is long-term goal
Junk said that if St. Paul’s can find the money, they would like to provide an expansion of the successful Culinary Cornerstones chef training program operated by Episcopal Community Services, a social service agency of the Dioceses of Kansas and West Missouri.

That program is based at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City, Mo., and teaches high-end cooking skills to students whose backgrounds (often drug addiction or jail time) make them hard to employ. The program helps place graduates in restaurant kitchens across the metro-Kansas City area.

To make that expansion a reality, St. Paul’s would need nearly $20,000 to buy restaurant-grade equipment for its kitchen, and another $125,000 to put in a parking lot to accommodate events that Culinary Cornerstones students cater as part of their training. On the church grounds there is room for only about a dozen cars now, so the church relies on street parking for Sunday services and weekday outreach efforts.

In the meantime, Junk hopes they can begin to offer training for other kinds of restaurant jobs, such as waiters and waitresses, which can provide meaningful jobs for high school students.

She admits expanding into the culinary program is ambitious, given that St. Paul’s has a small membership, operates with a barebones budget and receives financial help from the diocese. But if the Youth in Transitions program is a success, Junk hopes it can serve as leverage and incentive for community partners to want to make the culinary training possible. Episcopal Community Services has pledged to help make those connections.

Junk said this grant goes a long way to showing others that St. Paul’s is committed to helping create a better neighborhood. “The larger our position as a vital member of this community, the more likely there will be resources to help us,” she said. “There will be more people in our corner fighting to make sure we make it.”
Encouraging people to work with the poor

Stevenson said that one of his roles as the church’s domestic poverty missioner is to encourage more people to work directly with poor people, as St. Paul’s already does and will expand with its new program. “Our goal is that one in four people will work with the poor,” he said, “and one in four parts of the budget and every program.”

Cuts to the Episcopal Church budget in recent years mean there is less money at the denominational level to put into this work, but Stevenson said “that’s a good thing. It gets us out of our silos and celebrates the fact that all good ministry happens at the local level.”

Stevenson saw the transformational power of fighting poverty when he was canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. “When you sit with someone who had nothing and lost that, who had a job and lost that, then you see how God starts working in their lives,” he said. But it also transforms the lives of people who help. “When you start living this, you are changed.”

Stevenson said he wants to offer Episcopal Church members a new approach in the ministry to help people get out of poverty. Instead of starting with the needs of the community, he suggests looking at the passion of people who are ready to give. In that way, well-intentioned programs don’t wither when people have no interest in participating in them “It’s more about helping people determine what their treasure is, so they can begin to give that away,” he said.
“The reason I’m in this job is to define new ways to help you do the work God is calling you to,” he said.

– Melodie Woerman is the director of communications for the Diocese of Kansas.

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