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Bishops offer support to President’s Immigration Executive Action

Monday, January 12, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] One hundred Episcopal Church bishops have joined Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in welcoming President Obama’s decision to offer relief from deportation to millions of undocumented community members and to reform certain harmful immigration enforcement policies.

“I give thanks for President Obama’s announcement that nearly five million undocumented immigrants will soon be eligible for relief from the threat of deportation,” the letter states.

In the statement, the Presiding Bishop and the bishops call upon the 114th Congress and the Obama Administration to work together to implement the executive orders quickly, fairly, and inclusively, and ask that Congress and the Administration continue to work together in pursuit of just and permanent solutions to our nation’s broken immigration system.

The statement will be sent to members of the 114th Congress and to the White House.

The statement and the signatories follow:

Together with families and communities across the United States, I give thanks for President Obama’s announcement that nearly five million undocumented immigrants will soon be eligible for relief from the threat of deportation. Too many families have lived for too long continually worried about parents being separated from children, wage-earners and caregivers from those who depend on them, and unable to participate fully in their communities and the nation’s economy.  Permanent and comprehensive reform of our broken immigration system through congressional action is still urgently needed, but the President’s action is a constructive step toward a system that honors the dignity and intrinsic value of every human being.  It will immediately strengthen our nation’s communities by allowing immigrant families much fuller participation in American civic and economic life. 

The Episcopal Church will work with Congressional leaders and the White House to press for implementation of the President’s plan as quickly, fairly, and inclusively as possible.  The President’s plan is not perfect.  Some deserving persons and families are excluded, meaning that additional work lies ahead.  All persons equally deserve the ability to pursue their dreams and contribute to their communities and families with liberty, dignity, and freedom.  I pray that the President’s action will lead our nation toward a future in which those sacred possibilities are open to all.

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

The Right Rev. Stacy F. Sauls
Chief Operating Officer
The Episcopal Church

The Right Rev. James B. Magness
Bishop Suffragan for Armed Forces and Federal Ministries

Arizona
The Right Rev. Kirk Stevan Smith, Ph.D, D. D.
Bishop of Arizona

Arkansas
The Right Rev. Larry Benfield
Bishop of Arkansas

California
The Right Rev. Marc Andrus
Bishop of California

The Right Rev. J. Jon Bruno, D.D.
Bishop of Los Angeles

The Right Rev. Diane M. Jardine Bruce
Bishop Suffragan of Los Angeles

The Right Rev. Mary D. Glasspool
Bishop Suffragan of Los Angeles

The Right Rev. Frederick H. Borsch
V Bishop of Los Angeles

The Right Rev. Barry L. Beisner
Bishop of Northern California

The Right Rev. James R. Mathes
Bishop of San Diego

The Right Rev. David C. Rice
Bishop of San Joaquin

Colorado
The Right Rev. Robert O’Neill
Bishop of Colorado

Connecticut
The Right Rev. Andrew D. Smith
XIV Bishop of Connecticut

The Right Rev. James E. Curry
Bishop Suffragan of Connecticut (Ret)

Delaware
The Right Rev. Wayne P. Wright
Bishop of Delaware

District of Columbia
The Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde
Bishop of Washington

The Right Rev. John Bryson Chane
VIII Bishop of Washington

Florida
The Right Rev. William H. Folwell
II Bishop of Central Florida

The Right Rev. Philip M. Duncan II, D.Min.
Bishop of the Central Gulf Coast

The Right Rev. Leo Frade
Bishop of Southeast Florida

The Right Rev. John L. Said
Bishop Suffragan of Southeast Florida (Ret)

The Right Rev. Rogers S. Harris
III Bishop of Southwest Florida

The Right Rev. J. Michael Garrison
Assisting Bishop of Southwest Florida
(X Bishop of Western New York)

The Right Rev. Barry R. Howe
Assisting Bishop of Southwest Florida
(VII Bishop of West Missouri)

Georgia
The Right Rev. Robert Christopher Wright
Bishop of Atlanta

Hawaii
The Right Rev. Robert L. Fitzpatrick
Bishop of Hawaii and the Episcopal Church in Micronesia

The Right Rev. Richard S.O. Chang
X Bishop of Hawaii

Idaho
The Right Rev. Brian Thom
Bishop of Idaho

Illinois
The Right Rev. C. Christopher Epting
Assisting Bishop of Chicago
(VII Bishop of Iowa)

The Right Rev. Jeffrey Lee
Bishop of Chicago

Indiana
The Right Rev. Catherine Waynick
Bishop of Indianapolis

Kansas
The Right Rev. Dean E. Wolfe
Vice President of the House of Bishops, Bishop of Kansas

The Right Rev. William E. Smalley
VIII Bishop of Kansas

Kentucky
The Right Rev. David B. Reed
VI Bishop of Kentucky

The Right Rev. Douglas Hahn, D. Min.
Bishop of Lexington

Maine
The Right Rev. Stephen T. Lane
Bishop of Maine

Maryland
The Right Rev. Martin G. Townsend
IX Bishop of Easton

The Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton
Bishop of Maryland

Massachusetts
The Right Rev. Bud Cederholm
Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts (Ret)

The Right Rev. Douglas Fisher
Bishop of Western Massachusetts

The Right Rev. Gordon P. Scruton
VIII Bishop of Western Massachusetts

Michigan
The Right Rev. Todd Ousley
Bishop of Eastern Michigan

The Right Rev. Dr. Edwin M. Leidel, Jr.
I Bishop of Eastern Michigan

The Right Rev. Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr.
Bishop of Michigan

The Right Rev. R Stewart Wood, Jr.
IX Bishop of Michigan

The Right Rev. Rayford Ray
Bishop of Northern Michigan

Minnesota
The Right Rev. Brian N. Prior
Bishop of Minnesota

Missouri
The Right Rev. Hays Rockwell
IX Bishop of Missouri

The Right Rev. Martin S. Field
Bishop of West Missouri

Montana
The Right Rev. Charles I. Jones, DD
VIII Bishop of Montana

Navajoland Area Mission
The Right Rev. David E. Bailey
Bishop of Navajoland Area Mission

Nebraska
The Right Rev. Joe Goodwin Burnett
X Bishop of Nebraska

New Hampshire
The Right Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld
Bishop of New Hampshire

The Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson
IX Bishop of New Hampshire

New Jersey
The Right Rev. Mark M. Beckwith
Bishop of Newark

The Right Rev. William H. (Chip) Stokes
Bishop of New Jersey

New Mexico
The Right Rev. Dr. Michael Louis Vono
Bishop of the Rio Grande

New York
The Right Rev. Gladstone B. Adams III
Bishop of Central New York

The Right Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano
Bishop of Long Island

The Right Rev. Chilton Knudsen
Assisting Bishop of Long Island
(VII Bishop of Maine)

The Right Rev. Prince G. Singh
Bishop of Rochester

The Right Rev. Jack M. McKelvey
VII Bishop of Rochester

North Carolina
The Right Rev. Michael Bruce Curry
Bishop of North Carolina

The Right Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple
Bishop Suffragan of North Carolina

The Right Rev. J. Gary Gloster
Bishop Suffragan of North Carolina (Ret)

The Right Rev. G. Porter Taylor
Bishop of Western North Carolina

The Right Rev. Robert Johnson
V Bishop of Western North Carolina

North Dakota
The Right Rev. Harold A. Hopkins, Jr.
IX Bishop of North Dakota

Ohio
The Right Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr.
Bishop of Ohio

The Right Rev. David C. Bowman
Assisting Bishop of Ohio
(IX Bishop of Western New York)

The Right Rev. William D. Persell
Assisting Bishop of Ohio
(XI Bishop of Chicago)

The Right Rev. Arthur B. Williams, Jr.
Bishop Suffragan of Ohio (Ret)

The Right Rev. Thomas E. Breidenthal
Bishop of Southern Ohio

Oregon
The Right Rev. Bavi Edna Rivera
Provisional Bishop of Eastern Oregon

The Right Rev. William O. Gregg, Ph.D.
VI Bishop of Eastern Oregon

The Right Rev. Michael J. Hanley
Bishop of Oregon

Pennsylvania
The Right Rev. Robert R. Gepert
Provisional Bishop of Central Pennsylvania

The Right Rev. Nathan D. Baxter
X Bishop of Central Pennsylvania

The Right Rev. Charlie F. McNutt, Jr.
VIII Bishop of Central Pennsylvania

The Right Rev. Clifton Daniel
Bishop of Pennsylvania
(VII Bishop of East Carolina)

The Right Rev. Charles E. Bennison, Jr.
XV Bishop of Pennsylvania

The Right Rev. Allen Bartlett
XIV Bishop of Pennsylvania

The Right Rev. Rodney R. Michel
Assisting Bishop of Pennsylvania
(Bishop Suffragan of Long Island (Ret))

The Right Rev. Edward L. Lee, Jr.
Assisting Bishop of Pennsylvania
(VII Bishop of Western Michigan)

Rhode Island
The Right Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely
Bishop of Rhode Island

South Carolina
The Right Rev. W. Andrew Waldo
Bishop of Upper South Carolina

Tennessee
The Right Rev. George D. Young, III
Bishop of East Tennessee

The Right Rev. Don E. Johnson
Bishop of West Tennessee

The Right Rev. James M. Coleman
II Bishop of West Tennessee

Texas
The Right Rev. Rayford B. High, Jr.
Provisional Bishop of Fort Worth

The Right Rev. J. Scott Mayer
Bishop of Northwest Texas

The Right Rev. C. Andrew Doyle
Bishop of Texas

Vermont
The Right Rev. Thomas C. Ely
Bishop of Vermont

Virginia
The Right Rev. Frank Neff Powell
V Bishop of Southwestern Virginia

The Right Rev. Susan E. Goff
Bishop Suffragan of Virginia

Washington
The Right Rev. Gregory H. Rickel
Bishop of Olympia

The Right Rev. Sanford Z. K. Hampton
Assisting Bishop of Olympia

The Right Rev. James E. Waggoner, Jr.
Bishop of Spokane

West Virginia
The Right Rev. William Klusmeyer
Bishop of West Virginia

Wyoming
The Right Rev. Bob G. Jones
VII Bishop of Wyoming

Europe
The Right Rev. Pierre W. Whalon
Bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe

Haiti
The Right Rev. Jean Zache Duracin
Bishop of Haiti

For more information contact Katherine S. Conway, Immigration and Refugee Policy Anaylst, kconway@episcopalchurch.org

WCC expresses shock over killings in Nigeria

Monday, January 12, 2015

[World Council of Churches press release] The World Council of Churches (WCC) has expressed deep shock over the attacks by extremist group Boko Haram in Nigeria, which is said to have cost the lives of more than 2,000 people, including children used in suicide bomb attacks.

“A mind-set which deploys young children as bombs and which indiscriminately slaughters women, children and elderly people is beyond outrage, and disqualifies itself from any possible claim to religious justification,” reads a statement issued by the WCC headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on 12 January.

In the statement, the WCC calls on the Nigerian government to respond meaningfully to these attacks and to ensure protection of the people from any and all such atrocities.

The WCC also joined its voice with those of Nigerian religious leaders who have called for the international community’s solidarity and engagement, expressing deep disappointment at the relative – even discriminatory – lack of international media coverage. “As much as the WCC joins in the international solidarity with the people of France in the aftermath of the recent attacks in and near Paris, we are deeply saddened that the tragic events in Nigeria have not attracted equivalent international concern and solidarity,” reads the statement.

The WCC has member churches in Nigeria. The Council have been actively engaged in inter-religious peace initiatives in the country in cooperation with local partners. A high-level Christian-Muslim visit to Nigeria in 2012 was co-led by the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit and Prince Ghazi of Jordan of the Royal Jordanian Aal Al-Bayt Institute (RABIIT). The two organizations have been working together to establish a centre to monitor religiously based violence and promote inter-religious harmony, justice and peace. The centre in Abuja will open during the first half of 2015.

Read full text of the WCC statement on Nigeria

WCC member churches in Nigeria

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2013 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 140 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway.

Presiding Bishop writes to congregations about Good Friday Offering

Monday, January 12, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] “The Episcopal Church has been in partnership with the Diocese of Jerusalem for a very long time,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori writes in the annual Good Friday letter to all congregations asking them to consider assistance for Jerusalem and the Middle East.

“The offering we collect on Good Friday carries on the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, through support for the many ministries of healing, feeding, and teaching among the dioceses of the Province,” the Presiding Bishop writes.

Funds collected from the Good Friday Offering are gathered and distributed to the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East which includes the Dioceses of Jerusalem and Cyprus and the Gulf, all members of the Anglican Communion.

“May our offering this year strengthen the bonds among all God’s people, and bless each one with concrete and eternal signs of more abundant life,” she concludes.

Information and resources for the Good Friday Offering are available here.

For more information contact the Rev. Canon Robert Edmunds, Episcopal Church Middle East Partnership Officer, redmunds@episcopalchurch.org.

The following is the Presiding Bishop’s letter:
_______________________________________________________

My brothers and sisters in Christ:

The Episcopal Church has been in partnership with the Diocese of Jerusalem for a very long time.  Since 1922, we have taken an offering in our churches on Good Friday to support the work of the gospel in the Land of the Holy One.  That Land is still the place of deep division and conflict, more than 2000 years after the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.  He and his earthly family suffered under threat of oppressive regimes, fled as refugees to another land, labored to supply their bodily needs in the face of dire economic realities, and he himself was executed as an enemy of the state.  All of those realities are present today in the Anglican/Episcopal Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

The offering we collect on Good Friday carries on the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, through support for the many ministries of healing, feeding, and teaching among the dioceses of the Province.  Refugees are cared for, the sick and injured are healed, the dead are buried, children educated, women empowered by these ministries – and all are welcomed with open arms, like Abraham and Sarah’s guests.  Jesus cared for all in need, without regard for nationality or creed, and these ministries do the same.  It is the work of shalom and salaam, building peace in the hearts of suffering individuals and communities.

I urge you to learn more, to pray for the people of the Land of the Holy One, and to give generously this year.  I would encourage us all to use the fast of Lent to focus on the hunger (both spiritual and physical) of these peoples, and contribute out of our abundance and our poverty.

May our offering this year strengthen the bonds among all God’s people, and bless each one with concrete and eternal signs of more abundant life.

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

___________________________________________________________

La Obispa Presidente de la Iglesia Episcopal escribe a las congregaciones sobre la ofrenda del Viernes Santo para Jerusalén y el Oriente Medio

[12 de enero de 2015] “La Iglesia Episcopal se ha mantenido en colaboración con la Diócesis de Jerusalén desde hace mucho tiempo”, escribe la Obispa Presidente Katharine Jefferts Schori en la carta anual del Viernes Santo a todas las congregaciones pidiéndoles que consideren la ayuda a Jerusalén y al Oriente Medio.

“La oferta que recogemos el Viernes Santo ayuda al ministerio de Jesús de Nazaret, mediante el apoyo a los muchos ministerios de sanidad, alimentación, y la enseñanza en las diócesis de la Provincia”, escribe la Obispa Presidente.

Los fondos resultantes de la Ofrenda del Viernes Santo son recogidos y distribuidos a la Provincia de Jerusalén y al Oriente Medio, que incluyen las diócesis de Jerusalén y Chipre y el Golfo, todos ellas miembros de la Comunión Anglicana.

“Que la ofrenda de este año fortalezca los lazos en todo el pueblo de Dios, y bendiga a cada uno con signos concretos y eternos de una vida más abundante”, concluye.

Información y recursos sobre la Ofrenda del Viernes Santo están disponibles aqui

Para obtener más información, comuníquese con el Rev. Canónigo Robert Edmunds,  Oficial de Compañerismo de la Iglesia Episcopal con el Oriente Medio,  redmunds@episcopalchurch.org.

Lo siguiente es la carta de la Obispa Presidente:
_______________________________________________________

Mis hermanos y hermanas en Cristo:

La Iglesia Episcopal se ha mantenido en colaboración con la Diócesis de Jerusalén durante un tiempo muy largo. Desde el 1922, hemos recogido una ofrenda en nuestras iglesias el Viernes Santo para apoyar la obra del Evangelio en la Tierra Santa. Esa tierra es todavía el lugar de profunda división y conflicto, más de 2000 años después del nacimiento de Jesús de Nazaret. Él y su familia terrenal sufrieron bajo la amenaza de regímenes opresivos, huyeron como refugiados a otra tierra, trabajaron para abastecer sus necesidades corporales ante realidades económicas nefastas, y él mismo fue ejecutado como un enemigo del estado. Todas estas realidades están presentes hoy en la Provincia Anglicana/Episcopal de Jerusalén y el Oriente Medio.

La oferta que recogemos el Viernes Santo ayuda al ministerio de Jesús de Nazaret, mediante el apoyo a los muchos ministerios de sanidad, alimentación, y la enseñanza en las diócesis de la Provincia. Los refugiados son atendidos, los enfermos y los heridos son sanados, los muertos son enterrados, los niños educados, las mujeres capacitadas por estos ministerios, y todos son recibidos con los brazos abiertos, como Abraham y los huéspedes de Sara. Jesús se preocupó por todos los necesitados, sin tener en cuenta la nacionalidad o el credo, y estos ministerios hacen lo mismo. Es el trabajo de shalom y salam, construyendo la paz en los corazones de los que sufren y de las comunidades.

Les insto a que aprendan más, para orar por la gente de la Tierra Santa, y dar generosamente este año. Me gustaría animarlos a todos a utilizar el ayuno de la Cuaresma para centrarse en el hambre (tanto espiritual como físico) de estos pueblos, y contribuir de nuestra abundancia y de nuestra pobreza.

Que la ofrenda este año fortalezca los lazos del pueblo de Dios, y bendiga a cada uno con signos concretos y eternos de una vida más abundante.

La  Reverendísima Katharine Jefferts
Obispa Presidente y Primado
Iglesia Episcopal

Good Friday resources in English here

In Spanish here

In French here

Meditaciones de Cuaresma del 75 Aniversario de la Agencia Episcopal de Alivio y Desarrollo

Monday, January 12, 2015

NUEVA YORK – La edición del 75 Aniversario de las Meditaciones de Cuaresma de la Agencia Episcopal de Alivio y Desarrollo se encuentra ahora disponible en Inglés y Español para la temporada de Cuaresma de 2015.

Las meditaciones de este año, preparadas por un grupo diverso de líderes de la Iglesia Episcopal y la Comunión Anglicana, se centran alrededor de las cinco afirmaciones “Yo creo”, las cuales son el núcleo del trabajo realizado en el 75 Aniversario de la Agencia Episcopal de Alivio y Desarrollo:

  • Yo creo que todas las personas deben tener acceso a agua limpia.
  • Yo creo que ninguna persona debería padecer de hambre.
  • Yo creo que todos los niños y las familias merecen un inicio saludable en la vida.
  • Yo creo que ninguna persona debería vivir en pobreza.
  • Yo creo que juntos podemos sanar a un mundo que sufre.

“Estas cinco afirmaciones encabezadas por las palabras ‘Yo creo’ reúnen nuestro compromiso para con las personas que viven en situación de pobreza y sin las básicas necesarias para vivir” afirma Sean McConnell, Director de Participación. “A lo largo de los últimos 75 años, la Agencia Episcopal de Alivio y Desarrollo ha trabajado con sus socios para contrarrestar la escasez y el desbalance, primero a través de la entrega de ayuda urgente a los refugiados y luego también a través de programas de desarrollo de largo plazo. La Cuaresma nos da la oportunidad de reflexionar sobre el llamado que hace Jesús en Mateo 25 de atender a los que tienen necesidad y de redoblar nuestro esfuerzo por vivir con actitud compasiva y por elevar la dignidad de cada uno de los seres humanos”.

En conmemoración de los 75 años de trabajo conjunto por sanar a un mundo que sufre, las congregaciones de toda La Iglesia Episcopal se darán la mano el 22 de febrero, el primer domingo de Cuaresma, día en que celebraremos el Domingo Episcopal de Alivio y Desarrollo. En esta fecha, se invita a los Episcopales a orar por las personas que viven en la pobreza y a dedicar una ofrenda especial para ayudar a los que más lo necesitan, a través del Fondo del 75 Aniversario.

Las congregaciones que participen en el Domingo Episcopal de Alivio y Desarrollo tendrán disponible un folleto especial para insertar en su boletín dominical.

“Me siento profundamente agradecido por las tantas personas y congregaciones que mantienen en sus oraciones a lo largo del año a la Agencia Episcopal de Alivio y Desarrollo y sus socios”, dijo Rob Radtke, el presidente de la organización. “Este aniversario 75 es una oportunidad especial en que los episcopales podemos enfocar nuestras prácticas espirituales de Cuaresma en esfuerzos que alivien la pobreza, el hambre y la enfermedad, a través de sus meditaciones diarias y del Domingo Episcopal de Alivio y Desarrollo”.

Los folletos en PDF y otros recursos materiales para la cuaresma aparecen publicados en la página web de la Agencia Episcopal de Alivio y Desarrollo en episcopalrelief.org/cuaresma. Las personas que deseen recibir devocionales diarios por correo electrónico pueden inscribirse en dicha página.

Los folletos impresos deben solicitarse antes del 4 de febrero para poder recibirlos antes del 18 de febrero, Miércoles de Ceniza, y pueden pedirse en línea desde Marketplace Episcopal o llamando al1.866.937.2772.

La Cuaresma fue designada en la Convención General de 2009 como un momento para animar a las diócesis, congregaciones y personas a recordar y apoyar el vital trabajo que realiza la Agencia Episcopal de Alivio y Desarrollo. Aunque el primer domingo de Cuaresma es el día oficial, las congregaciones pueden observar la celebración Episcopal de Alivio y Desarrollo durante cualquier domingo de la temporada de Cuaresma.

“Los Cristianos aprovechan esta temporada para considerar cómo sus vidas reflejan las enseñanzas de compasión, justicia y entrega sacrificada de Jesús”, comenta McConnell. “La Agencia Episcopal de Alivio y Desarrollo ayuda a los episcopales a poner en práctica esos valores al conectarlos con las necesidades globales y al crear oportunidades para participar de forma más profunda en problemas que nos impactan a todos. Nos sentimos agradecidos y orgullosos de trabajar juntos por un futuro brillante de las comunidades en todo el mundo.”

Episcopal Relief & Development’s 75th anniversary Lenten meditations available

Monday, January 12, 2015

The 75th Anniversary edition of Episcopal Relief & Development’s Lenten Meditations is now available in English and Spanish for the 2015 Lenten season.

This year’s meditations, authored by a diverse group of Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion leaders, center on the five “I Believe” statements at the core of Episcopal Relief & Development’s 75th Anniversary efforts:

  • I believe that everyone should have access to clean water.
  • I believe that no one should go hungry.
  • I believe that all children and families deserve a healthy start in life.
  • I believe that no one should live in poverty.
  • I believe that together we can heal a hurting world.

“These five ‘I Believe’ statements encompass our commitment to those living in poverty and without the basics for life” said Sean McConnell, Director of Engagement. “For the past 75 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has worked with partners to counter scarcity and imbalance, first through urgent relief to refugees and now through long-term development programs as well. Lent is a time to reflect on Jesus’ call in Matthew 25 to care for those in need, and to redouble our efforts to live compassionately and uphold the dignity of every human being.”

Commemorating 75 years of working together to heal a hurting world, congregations across The Episcopal Church will join hands in mission on February 22, the first Sunday in Lent, for Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday. On this day, Episcopalians are invited to pray for those living in poverty and dedicate a special offering for where help is most needed, through the 75th Anniversary Fund.

A special bulletin insert is available in English and Spanish for congregations participating in Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday.

“I am deeply grateful for the many individuals and congregations who keep Episcopal Relief & Development and its partners in their prayers throughout the year,” said Rob Radtke, the organization’s President. “This 75th Anniversary year is a special opportunity for Episcopalians to focus their Lenten spiritual practices on efforts to alleviate poverty, hunger and disease, through the daily meditations and on Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday.”

The 2015 Lenten Meditations booklets can be ordered in English and Spanish from Episcopal Marketplace, or downloaded in PDF format from Episcopal Relief & Development’s website atepiscopalrelief.org/Lent. Individuals wishing to receive daily email meditations may sign up online.

Printed Lenten Meditations booklets and other resources should be ordered from Episcopal Marketplace by February 4 for delivery by Ash Wednesday, February 18. Orders may be placedonline or by calling 1.866.937.2772.

Lent was officially designated at the 2009 General Convention as a time to encourage dioceses, congregations and individuals to remember and support the life-saving work of Episcopal Relief & Development. Although the first Sunday in Lent is the official day, congregations may observe Episcopal Relief & Development on any Sunday during the Lenten season.

“Christians take time during this season of reflection to consider how their lives mirror Jesus’ teachings of compassion, justice and sacrificial giving,” McConnell said. “Episcopal Relief & Development helps Episcopalians live out these values by connecting them to global needs and creating opportunities for deeper engagement on issues that impact us all. We are grateful and proud to work together toward a thriving future for communities worldwide.”

Executive Council awards Episcopal Church Constable Fund Grants

Monday, January 12, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Episcopal Church Executive Council, at its January meeting in Linthicum Heights, MD, approved the recipients of the Constable Fund Grants, totaling $187,250 for the 2015 grant cycle.

The Constable Fund Grant Review Committee was chaired by Anne Watkins, an Executive Council member from the Diocese of Connecticut.

The Constable Fund provides grants to fund mission initiatives that were not provided for within the budget of the Episcopal Church General Convention/Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS).

Watkins said the committee received and considered 16 grant applications, and four grants were awarded.

Recipients

The recipients, projects, amounts and brief explanations (taken from the applications) follow:

New Edge International Symposium: A journey to discover God’s ever-evolving mission for the church through the ministry of all the baptized

Province III

The New Edge International Symposium will bring together from across The Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion a variety of folks who have been working independently of one another for a number of years in developing new, creative, and flexible ways to effectively proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom through collaborative ministry-models. Its goal is to provide ongoing connections and development/sharing of resources in order to strengthen the changing embodiment of the Church in a post-industrial world.

Grant amount: $10,000.00

A Pilgrimage to Ferguson: Advocacy Training for Young People Confronting Racism & Promoting Reconciliation

Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministries and Office of Racial Reconciliation

The purpose is to fund a gathering in St. Louis, MO for young adults from across The Episcopal Church.  As part of the application process, candidates would propose a project in their own parish, campus ministry, or community, focused on racial justice and reconciliation.

Grant amount:  $52,250.00

• Empowering Latina Women and Congregations

Office of Latino/Hispanic Ministries (in partnership with the ELCA and several Episcopal Church dioceses)

This proposal requests funding for a comprehensive Christian Education and leadership development program whereby Latina Episcopal women and other Latino church leaders engage in ongoing programs created by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). These programs have proven to be successful in developing, training, and empowering participants in the areas of Christian Education and church planting. Funds will allow The Episcopal Church to partner with the ELCA in three of their programs: Mission Developer Training, the Academia Ecuménica de Liderazgo (Ecumenical Leadership Academy), and Talitha Cumi (Woman rise-up!).

Grant amount:  $100,000.00

• Deputies of Color Pre-Convention Conference

Episcopal Church Diversity and Ethnic Ministries Team

This two-day conference provides orientation and learning opportunities for deputies to the General Convention who have identified themselves as “persons of color.” Sponsored by the  Diversity and Ethnic Ministries Team, this conference brings new deputies together with seasoned deputies for orientation to the processes and structure in the General Convention which promotes fuller participation, interaction, mentoring relationships and creates caucuses and collegiality.

Grant amount: $25,000.00

Named for Mary Louise Constable
The Constable Grants were named for Mary Louise Constable, who was a visionary philanthropist.  Watkins pointed out, “Hers is an example of faithful witness and generosity in response to an obviously mature and deep understanding of herself as both a disciple of Jesus Christ and as a steward of the blessings bestowed upon her by God.”

In 1935, in the midst of economic catastrophe known as the Great Depression, Constable made a monetary gift to the Episcopal Church to establish the Constable Fund.  Her desire and intent to add periodically to the fund during her lifetime was realized and culminated with a very generous final gift at the time of her death in 1951.

Watkins further explained, “Stipulations for use of the fund were also visionary and generous, recognizing in and trusting those who came after her to comply with her wishes while allowing them flexibility in order to carry the mission of God through God’s Church forward into new eras.”

The language of Constable’s will states that the fund exists “in perpetuity … to apply the net income for the purposes of the Society, preferably for the work in religious education not provided for within the Society’s budget.

La obispa sufragánea de Maryland enfrenta numerosos cargos por accidente fatal

Monday, January 12, 2015

Marilyn Mosby, fiscal estatal de Baltimore, anuncia el 9 de junio los cargos iniciales contra Heather Cook, obispa sufragánea de Maryland, en el accidente fatal en que murió un ciclista. Junto a ella se encuentran la teniente coronel Melisa Hyatt y Don Giblin, jefe de la sección de homicidios de la Fiscalía del Estado. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

Nota de la redacción: Este artículo fue actualizado a las 6:13 P.M.

[Episcopal News Service – Baltimore, Maryland] Heather Cook, obispa sufragánea de Maryland, se entregó a los agentes de la autoridad en Baltimore horas después de que fuera acusada el 9 de enero de ocho delitos asociados presuntamente con un accidente fatal en el cual ella abandonó el lugar de los hechos luego de atropellar y matar a un ciclista.

Cook se presentó a la policía en la tarde del viernes y fue instruida de cargos en la Oficina Central de Procesamiento, dijo la policía a The Baltimore Sun. Se espera que un comisionado del tribunal determine su fianza por la noche, dijo una portavoz de la judicatura, según informó el Sun.

Horas antes, la fiscal estatal de la ciudad de Baltimore, Marilyn Mosby, decía en una conferencia de prensa que se había encausado a Cook en el tribunal de distrito, a la cual se le acusaba de cuatro delitos penales: homicidio imprudente por negligencia en la conducción de un vehículo (que conlleva una pena máxima de 10 años de prisión o una multa de $5.000 o ambas cosas), homicidio culposo por negligencia en la conducción de un vehículo (tres años o $5.000 de multa, o ambas cosas), conducción [de un vehículo] de manera negligente bajo los efectos del alcohol que da lugar a un homicidio (cinco años y $5.000 de fianza, o ambas cosas) y homicidio por negligencia que involucra un auto o una embarcación mientras se tiene la capacidad [física o mental] disminuida (tres años o $5.000, o ambas cosas).

Cook también enfrenta cargos por no permanecer en la escena de un accidente que ha dado lugar a una muerte, por no permanecer en la escena de un accidente que ha dado lugar a lesiones corporales, por enviar mensajes de texto mientras conducía dando con ello lugar a un accidente con muertes o lesiones graves y de conducir bajo los efectos del alcohol.

Representantes de los medios de información abarrotan, el 9 de enero, el pequeño salón de las conferencias de prensa en las oficinas de la fiscal estatal de Baltimore Marilyn Mosby. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

Mosby dijo que una prueba con el alcoholímetro a la que se sometiera a Cook después del accidente arrojó que la obispa tenía un contenido de alcohol en la sangre de .22 por ciento. El límite legal en Maryland es de .08 por ciento.

Thomas Palermo, de 41 años, casado y padre de dos hijos pequeños, falleció en la tarde del 27 de diciembre en un hospital cercano a la escena del accidente. Murió de lesiones en la cabeza sufridas  en el choque.

Mosby recordó a los presentes en la conferencia de prensa que Cook se considera inocente hasta que se sea encontrada culpable, si tal cosa sucede, más allá de toda duda razonable.

Mosby dijo también que, en su reunión con la familia Palermo el 8 de enero, “les garanticé que buscaríamos que se hiciera justicia”.

La fiscal estatal resumió el accidente, citando la declaración de causa probable que se presentó en el tribunal. Dijo que tanto Palermo como Cook viajaban en dirección sur por la Avenida Roland, con Palermo en la senda de las bicicletas y Cook en la del tránsito motorizado. Cook, que en ese momento estaba escribiendo un mensaje de texto mientras conducía, golpeó la parte trasera de la bicicleta de Palermo. La colisión causó que Palermo chocara contra el techo y el parabrisas del Subaru 2001 de Cook, explicó Mosby. [Él golpe] lo lanzó a la derecha antes de ir a dar finalmente sobre la cuneta.

Ella agregó que la declaración de causa probable alega que Cook no se detuvo en la escena del accidente y siguió rodando por la Avenida Roland con rumbo sur. Unos 30 minutos después, volvió al lugar, viajando por [la avenida] Roland con rumbo norte, pero pasó de largo y siguió con dirección norte hasta su residencia, según Mosby.  La cronología en la declaración de causa probable alega que Cook abandonó el lugar por un período de tiempo más largo del que se reportó antes en varios noticieros.

Cook salió de su residencia poco después de llegar allí y regresó al lugar de los hechos. Mosby dijo que luego algunos agentes del Departamento de la Policía de Baltimore llevaron a Cook a una estación de policía donde la sometieron a una prueba de la llevaron a una estación de policía donde la sometieron a una prueba de alcoholímetro que arrojó el resultado de .22 porciento.

Mosby agregó que el casó se presentará ante un gran jurado que debe elegirse el 12 de enero. El jurado pudiera sobreseer algunos de los cargos y añadir otros o ambas cosas.

Mosby, de 34 años, actuaba en su primer día como Fiscal del Estado en la ciudad de Baltimore, ya que había jurado su cargo el día anterior.

Inmediatamente después de que Mosby concluyera su conferencia de prensa, Eugene Sutton, obispo [episcopal] de la Diócesis de Maryland dio a conocer una declaración en la que decía en parte: “Sepan que estamos profundamente afligidos por todos esto, y que lloramos por la familia Palermo, por nuestra hermana Heather y por toda la comunidad que sufre.

“Nuestro Señor Jesús sería una presencia restauradora en medio de esta trágica situación, y buscamos la manera de andar en sus pasos en los días y meses que tenemos por delante”, y añadió: “Al hacer esto estamos siendo verdaderamente la Iglesia, y siempre nos guiarán nuestros esenciales valores cristianos de responsabilidad personal, compasión y respeto por la ley”.

Neva Rae Fox, encargada de relaciones públicas de la Iglesia, también emitió una declaración en la que reconocía los cargos y decía “como esto es un asunto legal, no haremos comentarios sobre los cargos ni sobre los procedimientos que seguirán”.

“La obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori mantiene una relación canónica y pastoral con la obispa Cook”, dijo Fox. “Como resultado, a Cook no se le permitirá ejercer su ministerio ordenado en el futuro inmediato”.

Sutton le había dado a Cook licencia administrativa poco después del accidente y el proceso disciplinario de la Iglesia Episcopal ya se ha puesto en marcha. El Título IV de los Cánones de la Iglesia Episcopal rige la disciplina eclesiástica de los miembros del clero. El Canon 17 del Título IV describe el proceso disciplinario de los obispos. El Título IV exige confidencialidad en este punto del proceso.

Cook se convirtió en la primera mujer en llegar al episcopado en su diócesis cuando fue consagrada el 6 de septiembre. La biografía de Cook puede verse aquí en la página web de la diócesis.

El accidente fatal del 27 de diciembre sacó a relucir un incidente de tránsito de 2010 en el cual Cook fue arrestada por conducir bajo los efectos del alcohol y por posesión de marihuana. En ese incidente, Cook se declaró culpable de conducir en estado de embriaguez y le retiraron los cargos por posesión de marihuana. Un juez la sentenció el 25 de octubre de 2010 a pagar una multa de $300 y a libertad condicional vigilada. Los archivos del tribunal que se pueden consultar vía Internet no precisan la duración ni las condiciones de la libertad condicional.

Un comunicado que se divulgó en la página web de la diócesis el 30 de diciembre decía que durante el proceso de búsqueda que dio lugar a que Cook resultara electa obispa sufragánea en 2014, ella había “revelado todo” [lo concerniente ] al arresto de 2010 por el cual el tribunal le impuso “libertad condicional previa al juicio”.

“Después de una extensa discusión y discernimiento acerca del incidente, y luego de ulterior investigación, que incluyó un extenso examen de antecedentes y de [su] perfil psicológico, se determinó que este único error no debería de impedirle [a Cook] el que fuera tomada en consideración como [posible] líder”, decía el comunicado.

Sin embargo, a la convención que eligió a Cook, el 2 de mayo de 20014, no se le informó sobre el arresto de 2010, confirmó a ENS el 9 de enero Sharon Tillman, directora de comunicaciones de la diócesis.

La información anterior de ENS sobre el accidente se encuentra aquí.

– La Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg es redactora y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Council proposes draft budget with reduced churchwide asking

Sunday, January 11, 2015

[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council Jan. 11 approved a draft budget for the 2016-2018 triennium that is based on reducing the amount of money asked of dioceses to 15 percent by the last year of the triennium.

In a related move, council agreed to establish a Diocesan Assessment Review Committee to work with dioceses that do not to meet the full churchwide asking.

The Episcopal Church’s three-year budget is funded primarily by pledges from the church’s dioceses and regional mission areas. Those entities are currently asked annually to contribute 19 percent of their income from two years earlier, minus $120,000.

Council’s draft budget increases that exemption to $175,000. Its revenue projection is based on asking the church’s dioceses and regional mission areas to give 18 percent of their income to fund the 2016 budget, 16.5 percent for the 2017 budget and 15 percent in 2018.

The budget is far from final. Council must give (Joint Rule II.10.c.ii) its draft budget to the General Convention’s Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) no less than four months before the start of the next meeting of convention (essentially by February of convention year). The budget will be released to PB&F and the rest of the church in early February, said Bishop Mark Hollingsworth, chair of council’s Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission (FFM).

PB&F is due to meet from Feb. 23-25 to begin work on council’s draft budget. The committee uses the draft budget and any legislation passed by or being considered by General Convention to create a final budget proposal. PB&F must present its budget to a joint session of the houses of bishops and deputies no later than the third day before convention’s scheduled adjournment. The two houses then debate and vote on the budget separately. The budget needs the approval of both houses.

Out of 109 dioceses and three regional areas, 49 dioceses paid the full asking or more in 2014. A list of 2013 diocesan commitments and payments made, and 2014 commitments, is here. Kurt Barnes, treasurer for The Episcopal Church, told ENS that if all dioceses participated fully in the asking adopted by General Convention for 2014, nearly $7.4 million more would have been available for churchwide ministry. Payment of the full asking is not canonically required and there are no penalties for not paying the full percentage.

The Task Force for Reimagining The Episcopal Church called in its final report, issued Dec. 15, for a lower and canonically mandated diocesan assessment. In her opening remarks to council on Jan. 9 Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori noted that TREC’s requirement could be seen “in the same way that audits are expected of every diocese, in the same way that every part of the body is expected to care for the dignity of vulnerable persons, in the same way that each diocese is expected to share the same canonical limits and privileges adopted by the General Convention.”

TREC did not suggest a specific percentage for a lowered assessment. At the last meeting of General Convention in 2012, the House of Bishops overwhelming passed a mind of the house resolution (B016) calling for a 15 percent rate for the 2016-2018 budget.

Hollingsworth told the council during a Jan. 10 briefing on FFM’s work to that point that the committee is “very realistic” about the chances that all dioceses will meet the asking described but not mandated in the church’s canons (Title I.4.6). However, Hollingsworth said, if in 2018 the dioceses that pay less than 15 percent moved up to that level, it will result in an additional $2.7 million for that year.

Barnes told ENS that the three-year movement to reduce the asking to 15 percent results in $74,931,206 in total revenue. This total assumes a $175,000 diocesan exemption and assumes that each diocese not paying the full asking will increase its percentage contribution by 10 percent above the rate it is contributing in 2014. Full participation in a mandatory 15 percent assessment for all three years of the 2016-2018 triennium, with the same diocesan exemption and growth in giving assumptions, would result in $80,236,645 in revenue, he said.

FFM’s decision to move to a 15 percent asking in 2018 came in part as a response to the “overwhelming support” for a reduced asking expressed by those who commented on a version of the budget after its November release, Hollingsworth said. Many of those people called for 15 percent while a few wanted the churchwide budget to go to an annual biblical tithe of 10 percent, he said.

FFM received 334 responses, he said, and 90 percent of them came from Episcopalians who are not bishops and deputies.

In her opening remarks Jefferts Schori challenged the council to change its fundamental approach to budgeting. She wanted them to consider whether the proposed budget asks “each part of the body of Christ for what is needed to support the growth toward full and abundant life of the more dependent parts of the body of Christ.”

“I believe that means it ought to start with need, rather than an artificially determined base income,” she said of the budget. “It should expect and plan for full participation by all who are able.”

She told the council that “we have embarrassed the parts of the body that lack the basic financial resources necessary to full and vigorous life as a diocese in this Church. We have often failed to respond to their cries for help.”

“At the same time, we failed to expect the full participation of other parts of the body in response to those cries for help. We need new courage and honesty, and we may need more accurate definitions of what a diocese is, and what constitutes a missionary district.”

Jefferts Schori based her challenge in the Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ statement developed at the last Anglican Congress in Toronto in 1963.

The resolution calling for a Diocesan Assessment Review Committee says FFM will discuss “further practical details/refinement” of the plan during the March 19-21 council meeting in Salt Lake City. However, at present, the resolution calls for committee members, appointed by the presiding bishop and president of the House of Deputies, to talk with leaders in those dioceses that do not pay the full asking to learn the reasons for that decision. The committee could also review diocesan financial statements and “encourage and work with” dioceses to create a plan for reaching the full assessment amount.

The committee could recommend that Executive Council grant a full or partial waiver of assessment to any diocese, based on financial hardship, having developed a plan for reaching the full assessment over time, or other factors, according to the resolution. Any diocese that does not plan to pay its full assessment amount, and has not received a waiver will be asked to “account in writing to Executive Council and the wider church for that choice,” the resolution said. And a diocese that does not pay its full assessment in any year, and has not received a waiver of assessment, shall not be eligible to receive any grants or loans from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.

The Jan 9-11 meeting took place at the Maritime Institute Conference Center.

Summaries of the resolutions council passed at this meeting are here.

Some council members tweeted from the meeting using #ExCoun.

The Executive Council carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1)(a). The council is composed of 38 members, 20 of whom (four bishops, four priests or deacons and 12 lay people) are elected by General Convention and 18 (one clergy and one lay) by the nine provincial synods for six-year terms – plus the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies.

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

A summary of Executive Council resolutions

Sunday, January 11, 2015

[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] During its Jan. 9-11 meeting here, The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council adopted multiple resolutions, which are summarized below.

Executive Council

* Approve council’s Blue Book report to the 78th General Convention.

* Express gratitude for the hospitality, service and care shown this Council by the people of the Maritime Institute of Technology during our five meetings at the center this triennium; express its appreciation to Brian Senft, director of sales and marketing; John Krikorian and Rachel Geise of conference services; and the staff of Presentation Media; give thanks to the entire staff for their efforts in making council’s time in Linthicum Heights so enjoyable (unnumbered courtesy resolution).

Advocacy and Networking for Mission

* Accept and adopt the updated proxy voting recommendations made by the Executive Council Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility (A&N037).

* Accept the report made by the Executive Council Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility (CCSR) on corporate responsibility and climate change (see attachment); direct CCSR to continue to engage in shareholder activism, including corporate dialogues, proxy voting in favor of resolutions seeking changes in corporate behaviors vis-à-vis greenhouse-gas emissions and climate change, and shareholder resolutions; direct CCSR to coordinate its efforts with regard to shareholder activism on greenhouse-gas emissions climate change with The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations and other religious organizations (including members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility; direct CCSR to study additional options for witness and to report back to council at its fall 2016 meeting (A&N038).

* Request that the presiding bishop and president of the House of Deputies appoint a task group to consider how The Episcopal Church can better support Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including financial, administrative, leadership, and other forms of support; task group to report its progress to Executive Council at the first meeting in 2016 (A&N039).

Finances for Mission

* Establish Trust Fund 1073 as an investment account for the Episcopal Diocese in Lexington, Kentucky (FFM069).

* Establish Trust Fund 1074 as an investment account for Trinity Episcopal Church in Staunton, Virginia (FFM070.

* Allocate 50 percent of the income from Trust Fund No. 815, The Vincent Astor fund, to the Diocese of New York and 50 percent to the Diocese of Long Island for 2015-2017 (FFM071).

* Approve modifications to the 2015 Budget for The Episcopal Church (FFM072).

* Approve draft budget for The Episcopal Church for the 2016-2018 triennium (FFM073).

* Approve creation of a Diocesan Assessment Review Committee, under the oversight of the Joint Standing Committee Finances For Mission, to work with dioceses that do not commit to pay their full assessment to The Episcopal Church in any year, to talk with diocesan leaders about the reasons for not paying the full amount, including reviewing diocesan financial statements, to encourage and work with such dioceses to create a plan for reaching the full assessment amount; presiding bishop and president of the House of Deputies shall appoint the members; Diocesan Assessment Review Committee to have authority to recommend that Executive Council grant a full or partial waiver of assessment to any diocese, allowing it to pay a lower assessment amount than levied in The Episcopal Church’s budget, based on financial hardship, an appropriate plan for reaching the full assessment over time, or other factors;

Council will have the authority to consider the Diocesan Assessment Review Committee’s recommendations and determine whether a waiver of assessment shall be granted; any diocese that does not plan to pay its full assessment amount, and has not received a waiver of assessment be asked to account in writing to Executive Council and the wider church for that choice; a diocese that does not pay its full assessment in any year, and has not received a waiver of assessment, shall not be eligible to receive any grants or loans from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (FFM is responsible for further practical details/refinement at the March council meeting) (FFM074).

*Authorize the Executive Officer of The Episcopal Church to make any editorial changes to council’s Blue Book report that are needed to harmonize the report with council’s actions on the 2016-2018 draft budget; that any financial requests previously contained in council’s Blue Book report be forwarded to FFM at its November 2015 meeting for consideration in allocating general budget line items to particular projects for the 2016-2018 triennium (FFM075).

Governance and Administration for Mission

* Consent to the nomination by the presiding bishop of the slate of nominees for election to The Episcopal Church Women National Board recommended by the ECW National Board Nominating Committee with the exception of the Province IX representative who shall be recommended by the Province IX Synod (GAM025).

* Extends the expiration date for the following committees of Executive Council to December 31, 2015: Episcopal News Service Resource Council and Executive Council Investment Committee (GAM026).

Local Mission and Ministry

* Affirm six entities as Jubilee Centers, including Servicios Sociales Episcopales Inc., Saint Just, Puerto Rico (Diocese of Puerto Rico); Jovenes Salvando Jovenes (Iglesia San Juan Evangelista), Tegucigalpa, Honduras (Diocese of Honduras); Trinity of Woodbridge Outreach Ministries,

Woodbridge, New Jersey (Diocese of New Jersey); Path To Shine, Smyrna, Georgia (Diocese of Atlanta); Cathedral of St. John, Denver, Colorado, (Diocese of Colorado); Denver Urban Ministries, Denver, Colorado (Diocese of Colorado) (LMM012).

* Approve Constable Fund grants for four projects, totaling $187,250 (LMM013).

* Approve resolution to General Convention celebrating the work initiated by GC2012-A073 Establish Diocesan Mission Enterprise Zones, honoring the “holy experiments emerging throughout the Church,” that the 78th General Convention continue to fund the start-up of Mission Enterprise Zones and New Church Starts with a significantly increased budget allocation over the 2012-2015 budget; that the Church continue to develop the Mission-Centered Episcopalians web-based sharing platform and to bring together mission developers for a face-to-face gathering; that diocesan leaders be encouraged to share what they learn from these Mission Enterprise Zones; that applications for partnership and funding from these new ministries will be discerned, supported and called to accountability by a 1st Mark of Mission task force appointed by the Missionary Society and The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, with the seed money administered by the Church’s Missioner for New Church Starts and Missional Initiatives, for the 2016-2018 triennium; that the 78th General Convention request that the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance allocate not less than $3 million (the amount designated in council’s draft budget for the 2016-2018 triennium) to continue funding the start-up of Mission Enterprise Zones and New Church Starts to implement this resolution during the 2016-2018 triennium (LMM014).

World Mission

* Celebrate U.S. government initiatives in opening up new lines of communication and dialogue with the government of Cuba in order to achieve the objective of normalizing relations between our two nations; applaud the work of the Episcopal Diocese of Cuba (a part of the Anglican Communion since 1901 and currently an extra-provincial diocese of the Communion overseen by a Metropolitan Council comprised of the Primates of the provinces of Canada, West Indies, and The Episcopal Church); look forward to renewed opportunities to enter into ministry with The Episcopal Church in Cuba, learning from them and sharing with them (WM033).

Mission Centered Episcopalians Networking for Ministry

Saturday, January 10, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The mission and ministry focus of Episcopalians throughout the church is varied, focused and Christ-like. Feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, making disciples, protecting the environment and advocating for those whose voice is often overlooked occurs in all corners of The Episcopal Church. A website created to enable networks across the Church engaged in mission has been launched: Mission Centered Episcopalians Networking for Ministry.

Developed through a collaborative effort among the Missionary Society, its networks and those doing mission at the local level of The Episcopal Church, the site brings those engaged in mission and those engaged in advocacy together to connect, chat and share resources and discuss ideas.

“Mission Centered will connect the many and varied associations across the Church without replacing any existing online networking,” noted the Rev. Mark Stevenson, Domestic Poverty Missioner. “In fact, this initiative is driven and populated by such networking. It will serve as a place of gathering and telling stories, inquiring after and sharing resources, and providing inspiration and an opportunity to be inspired. Mission Centered is to be a “community watering hole” of sorts, at which we may all gather to be empowered for mission.”

Alex Baumgarten, director of the Episcopal Church Department of Public Engagement and Mission Communication, said: “Mission Centered is a reminder that the Church exists first and foremost for the sake of God’s mission in the world, and that the Church lives out mission in a variety of local contexts ‘as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace and love’ (BCP Catechism).  I pray that the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s role of equipping, resourcing, and connecting mission work at a local level might find new levels of creativity and accessibility through Mission Centered.”

The networks currently connected through the Mission Centered Episcopalians website include AFRECS; Episcopal Communicators; Jubilee Ministries; Episcopal Public Policy Network; Mark 4 and 5 Fellowships; Immigration Advocacy Network; Global Episcopal Mission Network; Episcopal Community Services in America; and Global Episcopal Mission Network.  Additional networks will be added as this area grows.

Report To The Church 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Report To The Church 2015, an innovative online magazine detailing the mission and ministry, accomplishments and achievements of the Domestic and Missionary Society during the current triennium, has been unveiled at the Executive Council meeting on January 9.

Calling Report to the Church 2015 “an exciting, creative and comprehensive mission Report to the Church on some of the impact of our partnerships in churchwide mission and ministry so far this triennium,” Samuel McDonald, Director of Mission and Deputy Chief Operating Officers, said as he presented the online magazine.

Report To The Church 2015 is available here and can be downloaded at no charge.

“We’re in the midst of trying to create a change in the culture of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society—toward being a service organization supporting and contributing to mission at the local level and away from being a regulatory agency,” commented Bishop Stacy Sauls, Episcopal Church Chief Operating Officer. “We’re all about leveraging the unique resources that can be made available by the churchwide level—funding to the less-resourced local levels and human resources to supplement efforts on the ground—to make mission happen that might not otherwise happen.  The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is about all mission all the time at all levels of the Church.  We’re making progress.  We’re committed to continuing to make progress with the help of the people of The Episcopal Church.”

With a focus on the Five Marks of Mission, Report to the Church 2015 is an interactive magazine which includes videos, photos and narratives detailing how the churchwide resources have been put to action on the local level. The 200+ page document includes an extensive appendix arranged by diocese for quick reference.

Since The Episcopal Church budget is based on the Five Marks of Mission, “This allowed us together, staff and Executive Council in collaboration together with people from across our church, to develop some of the most creative and compelling impact ministries this triennium,” McDonald said.

“The purpose of the report is to engage the whole of The Episcopal Church in a conversation about mission in order to equip all Episcopalians to be missionaries engaging the wider world in the transformation we encounter in the Gospel,” said Alexander D. Baumgarten, Director of Public Engagement and Mission Communication for The Episcopal Church.  “Throughout the report, you will see the question ‘How can we partner with you?’  We hope this question is answered widely by Episcopalians in every part of the Church, and the report’s page on our website has a response form for that.”

Report To The Church 2015 focuses on the Five Marks of Mission: To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom; To teach, baptize and nurture new believers; 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

McDonald explained that “Report To The Church 2015 is comprehensive, but could not be all inclusive of every mission and ministry effort.” Among the details presented are: new churches and ministries planted this triennium; work toward racial justice; the good news of the Diocesan Partnership program; the Young Adult Service Corps, and other efforts to make missionary service normative; Province IX sustainability; campus ministries; Jubilee ministries; grants and scholarships; missionary zones; Episcopal Youth Event (EYE14).

 McDonald concluded, “Report To The Church 2015 has been created to celebrate the incredible work the staff has done in collaboration with many others across the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion.  It reports back on our specific goals and deliverables named in our current budget.  We hope it expresses the excitement we have for mission as the heartbeat of the church, and the inspiration by God’s Spirit we find in that mission.”

See Episcopal News Service for additional coverage of these Episcopal works in action.

Pryor elected to Executive Council

Friday, January 9, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Carole Pryor of the Diocese of West Missouri has been elected the Province VII lay representative on the Episcopal Church Executive Council.

The announcement was made by the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of General Convention, during the opening session of the Executive Council meeting on January 9 at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, MD (Diocese of Maryland).

The vacancy on Executive Council was created by the resignation of Vycke McEwen.

Pryor was elected by the board of Province VII. Pryor’s term begins immediately and continues until a Province VII board member is elected in 2015.

Pryor is an elected lay deputy to General Convention 2015 for the diocese.

Executive Council

According to the website: “The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church is an elected body representing the whole Church…The Executive Council has the duty to carry out programs and policies adopted by General Convention. It is the job of Executive Council to oversee the ministry and mission of the Church. The Executive Council is comprised of twenty members elected by General Convention (four bishops, four priests or deacons and twelve laypersons) and eighteen members (one clergy, one lay) elected by provincial synods.

Executive Council: http://generalconvention.org/ec

House of Deputies President’s opening remarks to Executive Council

Friday, January 9, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The following are the opening remarks of President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings at the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, currently meeting through January 11 the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, MD.

Executive Council opening remarks
January 11
Maritime Center, Linthicum Heights, MD

 

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings
President of the House of Deputies
The Episcopal Church

Here we are in January of 2015. In a few short months, General Convention will be before us.  I find that the mood is expectation and anticipation, and it feels a bit like Advent. Christians believe in the future return of Christ in glory to judge the living and the dead, a return that will result in the end of the present world order. Early Christians believed that the return was imminent. Christians today have become complacent – perhaps because so much time has passed, but perhaps even more likely due to the uncertainty of when it will happen coupled with a strong distaste for the judgment of the Second Coming.

The disciples, not surprisingly, asked Jesus, “When?”  Jesus told them it can happen at any time on any day. And instead of giving them details, he told a story about a man who goes on a journey and leaves his slaves in charge of things, each with work to do. The message is clear. Don’t worry about things over which you have no control. Instead, be alert and watchful, doing the work you have been given to do.

None of us knows what will happen at General Convention – who will be elected to serve as Presiding Bishop, as President or Vice President of the House of Deputies, as Church Pension Fund trustee, or any other elected position. None of us knows what will happen to the TREC proposals, or resolutions regarding marriage, or how the triennial budget will look at the end of the budget process.

The question this raises for me is, “How do we live in the meantime?” How do we live and act between now and General Convention?

Make no mistake – Executive Council has important work to do between now and when we gather in Salt Lake City. We need to complete the draft proposed budget, consider the Constable Grant applications, determine how all diocese and missionary areas can fully participate in General Convention, develop a response to the TREC proposals, evaluate mission enterprise zones, develop resolutions to submit to General Convention on a variety of subjects, assess progress on Province IX sustainability, review grant activities and procedures, make decisions about sunsetting or continuing various Executive Council committees – the list goes on.

How should we function as Executive Council to get it all done between now and then? I’ve got three suggestions.

Travel light. There is a great story about a woman named Mary Smith who went to the cemetery to visit the grave of her husband, John Smith. She had not visited for a number of her months, and she couldn’t find the gravesite. Frustrated and upset, she found the groundskeeper and asked his assistance. He looked through the records and finally said, “I’m very sorry, Mrs. Smith, I cannot find any record of a John Smith buried in this cemetery.” “Oh, well that’s no surprise,” she said. “Everything is in my name.” As we live in the meantime, we need to remember that nothing is in our name. Everything is in the name of God and we are stewards of God’s creation, including the Episcopal Church.

The second is to live courageously. Living in the meantime, we have a choice:  A life of complete safety or a life that risks the unknowable and takes a dare. We can be the lump, or we can be the leaven. While we generally do not have the opportunity to be courageous every day, we are all faced with opportunities to take a stand, to speak on behalf of what is right and just to tell the truth. There is a cost to living courageously, even here at Executive Council, but it is a price worth paying.

The third is to live a life beyond yourself. To live in the meantime is serious business, and how we choose to live impacts not only other people but also the Church we love and serve. Twenty-seven years ago I was driving on the interstate when, right in front of me, a small truck went off the road, flipped over and rolled down a steep incline. It looked like something out of a movie. I pulled my car over, got out of the car, jumped over the guardrail, and ran down the hill to the truck.  There was the truck on its side. The truck was smoking, and the driver was half in and half out of the car. He was alert and I asked him if he was okay. He was fine and I helped him out of the cab and pulled him away from the truck. His injuries were slight, even though the truck was completely totaled. It turned out he was an off-duty police officer and soon the scene was swarming with police and fire personnel. I was pretty much ignored, so I finally asked a police officer if I could leave. He said sure, never took a witness report, and off I went to work.

At dinner that night, I relayed the exciting events of the day and my then eight-year-old daughter, Lee, said, “Mom, you’re a heroine. I’ll bet you’re on the news tonight!” I told her no one knew my name and that I was sorry to disappoint her, but I wouldn’t be on the news – not on one single channel. “Well isn’t that just like life,” she said. “You risk your life pulling a guy out of a smoking truck and no one notices. You pick your nose, and the whole world sees you!”

In the meantime, we are called by God to live a life that extends beyond ourselves, and even beyond this Executive Council. We don’t need an audience. It doesn’t matter if there is recognition. We are called to do what the moment requires.

We are called to be servants and leaders in the meantime.  Don’t miss your opportunity.

Travel light. Act courageously. Live your life beyond yourself.

Thank you.

Maryland bishop suffragan faces numerous charges in fatal accident

Friday, January 9, 2015

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby Jan. 9 announces the initial charges against Diocese of Maryland Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook in the Dec. 27 fatal accident that killed a bicyclist. Standing with her are Lt. Colonel Melissa Hyatt and Don Giblin, chief of homicide for the State’s Attorney’s Office. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 6:13 p.m.

[Episcopal News Service – Baltimore, Maryland] Episcopal Diocese of Maryland Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook surrendered to Baltimore law enforcement hours after she was charged Jan. 9 with eight offenses for allegedly causing a fatal car accident in which she temporarily left the scene after striking and killing a bicyclist.

Cook turned herself in to police mid-Friday afternoon and was being processed at Central Booking, police told The Baltimore Sun. A court commissioner was expected to determine her bail in the evening, a judiciary spokeswoman said, the Sun reported.

Earlier in the day, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said at a news conference that charges had been filed in district court accusing Cook of four criminal charges. They include negligent manslaughter by vehicle (maximum penalty 10 years and/or $5,000 fine), criminal negligent manslaughter by vehicle (three years and/or $5,000 fine), negligently driving under the influence resulting in a homicide (five years and/or $5,000 fine) and negligent homicide involving an auto or boat while impaired (three years and/or $5,000 fine).

Cook also faces traffic charges of failing to remain at an accident resulting in death, failing to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in bodily injury, using a text messaging device while driving causing an accident with death or serious injury, and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Media representatives crowd the small news conference room in the offices of Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby Jan. 9. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS

Mosby said a breathalyzer test administered to Cook after the accident showed the bishop had a blood alcohol content of .22 percent. The legal limit in Maryland is .08 percent.

Thomas Palermo, 41, the married father of two young children, was pronounced dead on the afternoon of Dec. 27 at a hospital near the accident scene. He died from head injuries suffered in the accident.

Mosby reminded those at the news conference that Cook is presumed innocent until and unless she is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

When Mosby met with the Palermo family Jan. 8, she said she “assured them that we’re going to pursue justice.”

The state’s attorney outlined the accident, citing the statement of probable cause that was filed in court. She said both Palermo and Cook were traveling southbound on Roland Avenue with Palermo in the bike lane and Cook in the traffic lane. Cook, who was texting while driving at the time, veered off to the right and into the bike lane, striking Palermo from the rear. The collision caused Palermo to strike the hood and windshield of Cook’s 2001 Subaru, Mosby said. He was thrown to the right-hand side before coming to a final rest against the curb.

She said the statement of probable cause alleges that Cook did not stop at the scene of the accident, and continued south on Roland. Roughly 30 minutes later she drove past the scene, heading northbound on Roland, but continued past the scene northbound to her residence, according to Mosby. The timeline in the statement of probable cause alleges that Cook was gone from the scene for a longer period of time than what was reported in earlier news accounts.

Cook left that residence shortly after her arrival there and returned to the scene. Mosby said that Cook then was taken from the scene to a police station by members of the Baltimore Police Department where she was given a breathalyzer test which resulted in the .22 reading.

Mosby said that the case will be presented to a grand jury scheduled to be impaneled on Jan. 12. The jury could drop some of the charges and/or add others.

Mosby, 34, was acting on her first full day as Baltimore City State’s Attorney, having been sworn into office the day before.

Just after Mosby concluded her news conference, Diocese of Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton released a statement saying in part: “Please know that we are deeply heartbroken over this, and we cry for the Palermo family, our sister Heather and all in the community who are hurting.”

“Our Lord Jesus would be a healing presence in the midst of this tragic situation, and we are seeking ways to walk in his footsteps in the days and months ahead,” he said. “As we do so we are truly being the church, and we will always be guided by our core Christian values of personal accountability, compassion and respect for the rule of law.”

Neva Rae Fox, Episcopal Church public affairs officer, also issued a statement acknowledging the charges and saying “as this is a legal matter, we will not comment on the charges or the proceedings that will follow.”

“Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori maintains a pastoral and canonical relationship with Bishop Cook,” Fox said. “As a result, Cook will not be permitted to exercise her ordained ministry in the foreseeable future.”

Sutton had placed Cook on administrative leave shortly after the accident and The Episcopal Church’s disciplinary processes have been put in motion. Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church governs ecclesiastical discipline of clergy members. Canon 17 of Title IV outlines the disciplinary process of bishops. Title IV requires confidentiality at this point in the process.

Cook became the diocese’s first female bishop when she was ordained and consecrated Sept. 6. Cook’s biography is here on the diocesan website.

The Dec. 27 fatal accident brought to light a 2010 traffic incident in which Cook was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and for marijuana possession. Cook pleaded guilty to drunken driving in that incident, and the prosecution of marijuana possession charge was dropped. A judge sentenced her on Oct. 25, 2010, to pay a $300 fine and supervised probation. Court records available online do not note the length or conditions of Cook’s probation.

A Dec. 30 statement on the diocesan website said that during the search process that resulted in Cook being elected suffragan in 2014 she had “fully disclosed” the 2010 arrest for which she received “probation before judgment” from the court. “After extensive discussion and discernment about the incident, and after further investigation, including extensive background check and psychological investigation, it was determined that this one mistake should not bar her for consideration as a leader,” the statement said.

The convention that elected Cook on May 2, 2014, however, was not told about the 2010 arrest, Sharon Tillman, the diocese’s director of communications, confirmed to ENS Jan. 9.

Previous ENS coverage of the accident is here.

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

Presiding Bishop’s opening remarks to Executive Council

Friday, January 9, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The following are the opening remarks of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, currently meeting through January 11 at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, MD.

 Executive Council opening remarks
January 9
Maritime Center, Linthicum Heights, MD

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

I want to begin by telling you something of the responses made to two initiatives requested by this body and by General Convention.

I made a visit to the Dominican Republic and to Haiti just before Christmas, to learn more about the difficulties experienced by people of Haitian descent who live in DR, particularly those whose ancestors have been there for nearly a hundred years.  The Executive Council considered the plight of the stateless persons of Haitian descent last February, and, among other things, asked me to lead a fact-finding mission to those two nations and dioceses, and that as a Church we both advocate and educate Episcopalians about their circumstances.[1]  We had a series of very informative encounters with people who are directly affected, with human rights workers, and with Haitian and Dominican Episcopalians who are working to respond.

The history is long and more complicated than I can address here today.  You can expect a series of stories from Episcopal News Service on this topic, and A&N will get a fuller report in their committee meeting.  The reality is that people of Haitian descent who have been born in the DR since the 1920s are liable to have their citizenship and identity papers revoked, if they haven’t already lost them.  That means they cannot go to school, get formal employment, marry legally, cannot register the births of their children, or cannot travel.  They can’t even get a cell phone without identity documents.  The governmental responses when people complain often seem frivolous, yet experience shows that when challenged with the help of human rights lawyers, local courts often decide in favor of the people who have lost their documents.  But it is an expensive, lengthy, and complex process.  The Supreme Court rulings there that have led to this crisis have been denounced as illegal by the Latin American Human Rights Court, to which the DR is subject, as a signatory to human rights covenants.  Activists and intellectuals in the Dominican Republic believe this is part of larger political ploy to keep the populace anxious about immigration and the current political leaders in power.

As a Church we are considering a variety of advocacy responses, and I know that A&N will discuss these possibilities further.  I have already raised the issue with other members of the US National Council of Churches, and we are seeking other partners.  Let me note that there have been similar attempts in the United States to remove the guarantee of citizenship for those who are born here.  The Dominican situation has moved beyond that stage to deny citizenship to people whose parents or even grandparents were born on Dominican soil.  Nor is this kind of situation unique to people of this hemisphere.  Many Latvians are also effectively stateless.

I ask your prayers, your awareness, and your solidarity with people who know something of what it is to be a slave in Egypt.

At the same time, there is abundant good news in Haiti, in terms of progress and healing after the earthquake, and hope for a beginning to the reconstruction of the cathedral and for St. Vincent’s School for the Handicapped.[2]

The second matter I want to make you aware of is the result of a resolution of the last General Convention that asked me to develop an interfaith pilgrimage to the Holy Land, with equal representation of Episcopalians, Jews, and Muslims, to model and encourage similar efforts and dialogues by others.[3]  I am happy to tell you that a group of about a dozen have been assembled and will make that pilgrimage shortly.  After hearing a variety of narratives and meeting with a broad spectrum of residents, religious leaders, and government officials, we hope to return with learnings that can be translated into our own congregations and local communities. I will have a more detailed report for you at our March meeting.

I want to devote the rest of my time about the remainder of our work leading up to General Convention.  I understand the work of this Council to be the facilitation of God’s mission – through shared financial resources, program initiatives, and active solidarity with the least of these.  In this triennium we have organized that work through the 5 Marks of Mission.[4]  We engage in God’s mission as a way of loving our neighbors, and find ourselves transformed in the process of sharing one another’s joys and burdens.  It’s a very concrete witness of the principle of Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ, claimed by the Anglican Communion (MRI) more than 50 years ago.[5]

The center of that statement of principles is probably this sentence, “Every church has both resources and needs.”  It is a call to share what each church has for the welfare of the whole body.  The language sometimes sounds dated, but the meaning is contemporary:  “We need to examine our priorities, asking whether in fact we are not putting secondary needs of our own ahead of essential needs of our brothers.  A new organ in Lagos or New York, for example, might mean that twelve fewer priests are trained in Asia or Latin America.” While this document was written to address realities across the Anglican Communion, it applies equally to more local parts of the body of Christ – to congregations, to dioceses, and to this province called The Episcopal Church:  “Full communion means either very little, if it be taken as a mere ceremonial symbol, or very much if it be understood as an expression of our common life and fortune.  We all stand or fall together, for we are one in the body of Christ.  Therefore we must seek to receive and to share.”

The budget that we will pass on to Program Budget and Finance should reflect that theological understanding.  The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, if it is being faithful, should employ its resources for the welfare of the whole body of Christ and indeed the whole world.  Our constituent parts, i.e., the dioceses that make up this part of the body of Christ, should expect this challenge to participate in the life of the body of Christ joyfully, in ways that demonstrate love of neighbor equal to love of self.

The TREC report proposes a canonically mandated level of financial participation in the churchwide response to God’s mission, in the same way that audits are expected of every diocese, in the same way that every part of the body is expected to care for the dignity of vulnerable persons, in the same way that each diocese is expected to share the same canonical limits and privileges adopted by the General Convention.

We have not held one another to account for the life and the hope that is within us.  We have embarrassed the parts of the body that lack the basic financial resources necessary to full and vigorous life as a diocese in this Church. We have often failed to respond to their cries for help.  At the same time, we failed to expect the full participation of other parts of the body in response to those cries for help.  We need new courage and honesty, and we may need more accurate definitions of what a diocese is, and what constitutes a missionary district.  We live with a theological and ecclesiological tradition that says that a diocese has most of what is needed to be self-governing, self-sustaining, and self-propagating.  If a diocese is unable to do those things, it ought to be understood as something more like what we formerly called missionary districts –parts of the body that are dependent on the larger body for support and partnership.  Our current situation has a number of dioceses that are transparently dependent on churchwide resources for their growth and development – most of Province IX, the four dioceses in the United States that have large indigenous populations, the Convocation of Churches in Europe, the dioceses of Haiti and the Virgin Islands and I would add the dioceses that experienced the exodus of church leadership. We have some level of churchwide agreement that it is important to encourage and support their growth toward that ideal of a healthy diocese.

We also have a number of dioceses that cannot or do not share of their resources in ways that are asked by the General Convention.  We should not shame them.  We should be providing the necessary assistance toward self-governance, self-sustenance, and self-propagation.  Some dioceses seem to be capable of self-sustenance and even of self-propagation within their own bounds, but not of the form of self-governance that understands that no part of the body ultimately stands alone.  Self-governance is perhaps more about loving neighbor as one loves oneself than it is about passing resolutions and budgets.  After all, budgets are concrete demonstrations of where we have put our heart and treasure.

I want to leave you with some questions for the budget work we will do here.

Does this budget give evidence of mutual responsibility and interdependence?

Does it ask each part of the body of Christ for what is needed to support the growth toward full and abundant life of the more dependent parts of the body of Christ?  I believe that means it ought to start with need, rather than an artificially determined base income.  It should expect and plan for full participation by all who are able.

Does this budget strengthen and heal the whole body, raise its capacity, and increase its generativity for mission? Generativity may be a better word for self-propagation –it means to make more life and liveliness, not only daughter communities.

Does this budget serve the least of these, whether we’re talking about individuals, dioceses, or other mission efforts?

Does this budget increase dependence, or does it encourage growth toward generativity?

Some of the most creative work that has happened in this triennium has been the result of open-ended partnership possibilities in the Five Marks budget, like the Mission Enterprise Zones, like growth in the Young Adult Service Corps, and the grant to Episcopal Service Corps to help it become self-sustaining, and the self-sustainability initiatives in Province IX.  Those initiatives invited risk-taking, growth, and creativity – they did not foster dependence.  They are the fruit of a response that’s based on abundance rather than scarcity.  Jesus’ read on this is, “I came that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.”  That’s ultimately the work that our budget is meant to foster.

[1] AN019, February 2014  https://extranet.generalconvention.org/staff/files/download/9410

[2] http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2015/01/08/presiding-bishop-on-the-fifth-anniversary-of-the-earthquake-in-haiti/

[3] B019, www.generalconvention.org/resolutions/download/372-1343999763

[4] proclaim good news of the kingdom; teach, baptize, and nurture new believers; respond to human need through loving service; transform unjust structures, challenge violence, pursue peace and reconciliation; care for the earth: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/five-marks-mission

[5] http://anglicanhistory.org/canada/toronto_mutual1963.html

Episcopal Church to host ‘Climate Change Crisis’ forum

Friday, January 9, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] On March 24, The Episcopal Church will host and produce a groundbreaking forum on one of the most critical issues facing today’s world: The Climate Change Crisis.

The 90-minute live webcast will originate from Campbell Hall Episcopal School, North Hollywood, CA. In partnership with Bishop J. Jon Bruno and the Diocese of Los Angeles, The Climate Change Crisis will begin 11 am Pacific/noon Mountain/1 pm Central/2 pm Eastern/10 am Alaska/9 am Hawaii.

In addition to stimulating conversation and raising awareness about The Climate Change Crisis, the live webcast will serve as the kickoff to 30 Days of Action. A range of activities will be offered for individuals and congregations to understand the environmental crisis.  The activities will culminate on Earth Day, April 22.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will deliver the keynote address.  The forum will be moderated by well-known climatologist Fritz Coleman of KNBC 4 television news.

Two panels will focus on specific areas of the climate change crisis; Regional Impacts of Climate Change; and Reclaiming Climate Change as a Moral Issue.  The panels, each 30 minutes, will feature representatives of faith groups, government officials, environmental policy leaders and NGOs.

The live webcast will be available on demand following the live webcast. There is no fee. Registration is not required

The forum is ideal for live group watching and discussion, or on-demand viewing later.  It will be appropriate for Sunday School, Adult education, discussions groups, and community gatherings.

The event supports Mark 5 of the Anglican Marks of Mission: To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

The event is one of the aspects of The Episcopal Church’s 150th year of parish ministry in Southern California.

Resources
Resources such as bibliography, on-demand video, materials for community and individual review, discussion questions, and lesson plans will be available.

For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer, publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org.

Líderes religiosos condenan ataque terrorista en París

Friday, January 9, 2015

Amandine Marbach de Estrasburgo, Francia, participa en una vigilia en tributo de las víctimas del atentado del 7 de enero en París. Foto de Carlo Allegri/Reuters.

[Episcopal News Service] Líderes cristianos y musulmanes han denunciado enérgicamente el ataque del 7 de enero en París en que presuntos terroristas islámicos asaltaron las oficinas de la revista satírica Charlie Hebdo y abrieron fuego contra los asistentes a una reunión editorial. Doce personas resultaron muertas, entre ellos dos agentes de la policía, y otras 10 fueron heridas en la agresión, el peor acto de terrorismo en Francia de los últimos 50 años.

Francia amaneció el 8 de enero con los informes de que se habían practicado varios arrestos en Reims durante la noche en conexión con el ataque y con la noticia de que un pistolero había asesinado a una mujer policía en un incidente al sur de París. No resulta claro si este último incidente está relacionado con la masacre de Charlie Hebdo.

La policía está ahora a la caza de dos hermanos que son los principales sospechosos en el ataque. Dos hombres que se ajustan a esta descripción se dijo que habían asaltado una gasolinera en el norte de París en la madrugada del 8 de enero. Un tercer sospechoso se entregó a las autoridades, según informan los noticieros.

“Debe quedar claro que este intento de dividir e intimidar al pueblo ha fracasado”, dijo el obispo Pierre Whalon de la Convocación de Iglesias Episcopales en Europa en una declaración, haciendo notar que están teniendo lugar reuniones espontáneas de solidaridad con las víctimas en docenas de ciudades a través de Francia. También se producían manifestaciones y vigilias en todo el mundo.

Charlie Hebdo es [una publicación] bien conocida por sus representaciones satíricas de la religiones, entre ellas las caricaturas del profeta Mahoma, por las cuales la revista ya había sido atacada anteriormente y su personal editorial había recibido amenazas. “Charlie Hebdo es adicta a satirizar la religión y también se burla rutinariamente de toda otra clase de temas y de personas”, dijo Whalon. “Ese es su derecho. La libertad de expresión es el único garante de la libertad, incluida la libertad de cultos”.

Whalon llamó a “todas las personas de buena voluntad a orar en la medida en que puedan por el descanso de las víctimas, por sus familiares y amigos cuyas vidas ya nunca volverán a ser las mismas. Debemos pedir también por la curación de los heridos. Y también debemos orar por los asesinos, para que abandonen la violencia y acepten el juicio. Y nuestras oraciones deben acompañarse de acciones para ayudar a que la nación se restaure y se fortalezca en solidaridad”.

El arzobispo de Cantórbery, Justin Welby, calificó el ataque terrorista de “un acto de la más extraordinaria brutalidad y barbarie. Esta violencia es demoníaca en su agresión a los inocentes, y cobarde en su negación del derecho humano básico a la libertad de expresión”.

Welby dijo en una declaración que el pueblo de Francia “se sobrepondrá valientemente al desafío de esta agresión vil y seguirá mostrando la fuerza y la confianza que surgen de su extraordinaria historia. Nuestras oraciones y pensamientos están especialmente con los muertos y los heridos y con sus familias. Oro también por los que participan en la persecución de los terroristas”.

Whalon reconoció que las primeras voces en expresar su indignación fueron los líderes musulmanes. “Entre ellos estaba el imán Hassen Chalghoumi, a quien conozco y a quien he admirado durante muchos años. Me uno a él en deplorar esta agresión infame, ‘indigna del islam’ y me hago eco de su llamado a no confundir a los musulmanes con los ‘criminales’ que perpetraron esta vil acción”.

Chalghoumi, imán de la mezquita de Drancy en el suburbio de Seine-Denis de París, calificó a los agresores de “criminales, bárbaros. Han vendido su alma al infierno. Esto no es la libertad. Esto no es el islam, y espero que los franceses salgan unidos al final de esto”.

La Gran Mequita de París emitió una declaración poco después del ataque, diciendo que su comunidad estaba “conmovida” y “horrorizada” por la violencia. Llamamos a la comunidad musulmana a ejercer la mayor vigilancia contra las posibles manipulaciones de grupos considerados como extremistas de cualquier tipo”.

La Muy Rda. Lucinda Laird, deana de la Catedral Americana en París, dijo que todo el mundo estaba anonadado y afligido luego de la agresión, pero que la más importante tarea a llevar a cabo era orar. “Oren por las víctimas y sus familias. Oren por la paz y la justicia, aquí y en todo el mundo. Oren por esta ciudad, que los perpetradores puedan ser hallados y detenidos, y por un fin a este odio y a esta violencia”, escribió ella en una carta dirigida a la comunidad de la catedral. “Y muy especialmente, oren, por favor, por aquellos cuyo odio es tan avasallador que hace posible este tipo de acción. Oren para que nosotros no reaccionemos con odio”.

Georges Lemopoulos, secretario general interino del Consejo Mundial de Iglesias, dijo que el asalto fue un “ataque a la vida humana, a la dignidad humana y a los derechos humanos de todos… Junto a todas la personas de verdadera fe y buena voluntad, oremos por las víctimas y sus familias, porque los perpetradores sean llevados a la justicia, porque se extinga la ideología extremista que inspiró este ataque, y que la indignación justificada no conduzca a represalias contra los musulmanes ni alimente el sentimiento antiislámico”.

Los líderes políticos, incluido el presidente de EE.UU. Barack Obama, también condenaron el ataque.

Obama describió la agresión como un “ataque cobarde y malvado” y prometió ayudar a Francia en su empeño de “perseguir y llevar a la justicia a los perpetradores de este acto específico, [y de] recoger las redes que ayudan a promover este tipo de conspiraciones… El hecho que este fuera un ataque a periodistas, un ataque a nuestra libertad de prensa, también resalta el grado en que estos terroristas temen a la libertad de expresión y a la libertad de prensa”.

Los dos sospechosos, que aún se encuentran prófugos, han sido identificados como los hermanos Cherif y Said Kouachi y se ha dicho que “están armados y son peligrosos”. Francia declaró el 8 de enero como día nacional de duelo por las víctimas del ataque.

– Matthew Davies es redactor y reportero de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Michael B. Curry named chair of Episcopal Relief & Development board

Thursday, January 8, 2015

[Episcopal Relief & Development press release] The Right Reverend Michael B. Curry, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, has been appointed as Chair of Episcopal Relief & Development’s Board of Directors.  The appointment was made by the board’s Honorary Chair, The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church.

Bishop Curry succeeds The Right Reverend Robert J. O’Neill, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, who has served since 2009.

“Bishop Curry will bring vigor, passion, and insight to his work,” said Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori.  “I give thanks for his willingness to serve in this way, and pray that his ministry may help to bless the world with healing.”

A key leader in The Episcopal Church and a prophetic voice for social justice, Bishop Curry joined Episcopal Relief & Development’s board in 2013.  Prior to his consecration as Bishop of North Carolina in 2000, he served parishes in North Carolina, Ohio and Maryland, implementing social development programs that improved the lives of children and youth in inner-city neighborhoods.  As bishop, in addition to championing Episcopal Relief & Development at the diocesan and Church levels, Bishop Curry plays an important role on the Task Force for Reimagining The Episcopal Church (TREC).

“Serving as Chair of Episcopal Relief & Development’s Board of Directors is a privilege and a responsibility that I take very seriously,” Bishop Curry said.  “I am grateful for the leadership of Bishop O’Neill in the growth, professionalization and demonstration of expertise that has solidified the organization’s standing as a global leader in development – and as something of which all Episcopalians can be incredibly proud!  I believe that the work of Episcopal Relief & Development is one of the finest and most important things we do as followers of Jesus in ​T​he Episcopal Church.  It really is a way we can all together share in God’s work of helping and healing a hurting world.”

In support of Episcopal Relief & Development, Bishop Curry notably co-chaired the Advisory Committee of the church-wide NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund and spearheaded diocesan efforts in support of the campaign.  Altogether, the NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund raised $5 million over three years to grow the award-winning, flagship malaria prevention program, which to date has distributed over 11 million nets and saved the lives of more than 100,000 children under age five.

“I am delighted by Bishop Curry’s appointment to chair Episcopal Relief & Development’s Board of Directors,” said Bishop O’Neill.  “I am grateful to Episcopal Relief & Development’s staff and partners for their courageous work on behalf of communities worldwide, and I look forward to seeing what creative and deeper engagement will flourish under Bishop Curry’s leadership.”

Bishop O’Neill finishes his board term at the end of 2014 after eight years, including six as chair.  Under his leadership, the organization has developed and expanded through two transformative strategic plans – broadening the scope of NetsforLife®, strengthening Church capacity to respond to emergencies through the US Disaster Program and increasing focus on robust monitoring and evaluation practices.  This organizational growth has enabled Episcopal Relief & Development to secure significant grants from leading foundations, including the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and a Grand Challenges Explorations Grant funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“In addition to taking Episcopal Relief & Development to the next level as an organization and further professionalizing our operations, Bishop O’Neill has also been an invaluable mentor to me in my role as President,” said Rob Radtke, President of Episcopal Relief & Development.  “He has created a tremendous legacy, and I very much look forward to working with Bishop Curry to build on our organizational successes, reaching more people and saving more lives through our partnerships worldwide.”

Bishop Curry assumes Board leadership at an exciting time in the organization’s history, as it celebrates 75 years of healing a hurting world.  The 75th Anniversary Celebration brings together Episcopalians and friends to commemorate and engage more deeply with its work.  This celebration has been made possible by contributions from leaders across The Episcopal Church, notably outgoing Chair Bishop O’Neill.

“Bishop O’Neill has served faithfully and creatively as a member and as Chair of the Board,” said Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori.  “His experience and his persistent energy have given important impetus to the 75th Anniversary we celebrate this year.  He will be missed, and as we give thanks for his service, we pray that his gifts will be offered in new ways in the years ahead.  Well done, good and faithful servant!”

La Obispa Primada sobre el quinto aniversario del terremoto en Haití

Thursday, January 8, 2015

[8 de enero de 2015] El 12 de enero marca el quinto aniversario del terremoto que devastó Haití. La obispa primada de la Iglesia Episcopal Katharine Jefferts Schori presenta el siguiente resumen y revisa el progreso alcanzado desde ese día infausto de 2010.

Sobre el quinto aniversario del terremoto que afectó a Haití el 12 de enero de 2010

Haití y su pueblo son sobrevivientes: de la ocupación colonial y de una economía esclavista, de guerras, rebeliones e invasiones, de una larga historia de gobiernos corruptos e ineficaces y, cuando las cosas parecían estar en su peor momento, hasta de una enfermedad importada. A través de todas las pruebas y tribulaciones que el mundo puede imponer, Haití continúa respondiendo con una resistencia creativa. El contraste entre las condiciones existentes poco después del terremoto de 2010 y el día de hoy es notable: las ciudades de tiendas de campaña ya casi han desaparecido, el número de viviendas va en aumento, las carreteras han sido reparadas y repavimentadas y un nuevo auge comercial es evidente en Puerto Príncipe y en otros centros urbanos. Las escuelas están llenas y funcionando, aunque no haya suficientes pupitres para todos los que deberían estar ahí. Están capacitando a jóvenes adultos para trabajar en el turismo, la construcción, la agricultura, la atención sanitaria y los emergentes campos tecnológicos. Los artistas están atareados creando nuevas obras y estilos. El contraste es enorme —y la realidad de hoy excede en mucho a las condiciones existentes antes del terremoto. La solidaridad y el apoyo del mundo han marcado una diferencia significativa. Haití puede y debe superar su estatus como la nación menos desarrollada del hemisferio, si el mundo cumple su promesa y mantiene el rumbo.

La Iglesia Episcopal en Haití sigue desempeñando un papel importante y esencial en este renacimiento. La iglesia catedral de Puerto Príncipe fue considerada durante mucho tiempo el alma espiritual y cultural de Haití. En la actualidad, sus campanas guardan silencio (en un almacén), casi todos sus murales de fama mundial están destruidos (tres de ellos han sido preservados para reutilizarlos) y la desnuda plataforma de su altar aguarda la reconstrucción de la catedral. Los terrenos de la catedral están animados, con una escuela primaria y secundaria que ahora tiene más niños que antes, una escuela de música que sigue preparando a coros e instrumentalistas de renombre internacional y una escuela técnica que se está levantando en el mismo sitio donde yacieron cadáveres durante días en las ruinas del edificio anterior que se desplomó.

El museo de arte que la diócesis fundó hace muchos años se encuentra en las inmediaciones, y guarda numerosos tesoros que exceden su capacidad de exposición. La escuela de enfermería de Léogâne gradúa un creciente número de enfermeros [mujeres y hombres] a los que prepara como trabajadores comunitarios de la salud. La escuela de San Vicente [Saint Vincent] para niños discapacitados está a punto de un importante empeño reconstructivo. La Universidad y las escuelas técnicas crecen y prosperan. Los obispos, el clero y los líderes laicos siguen proporcionando la orientación que tanto se necesita dentro de la sociedad haitiana. En todas partes de Haití, la Iglesia Episcopal está curando, enseñando, infundiendo esperanza y señalando el camino hacia el reino de Dios, así en la tierra como en el cielo.

Que abunden la resurrección y la esperanza, y no sólo en Haití. Que la continua esperanza y el proceso dinámico hacia el reino de Dios sea el resultado de la asociación creativa de pueblos y naciones. La participación activa en una parte del mundo afecta las otras partes del cuerpo de Dios, como bien lo sabe cualquier comunidad que haya enviado misioneros, que los haya recibido o que haya contribuido a que los sueños se realicen. La transformación por asociación se proyecta en todas direcciones ¡y se acrecienta en el proceso!

Este aniversario brinda abundante oportunidad para dar gracias. Que nos sintamos movidos a responder con actos de gratitud concretos y específicos, y que redunden para gloria de Dios.

Rvdma. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Obispa Presidente y Primada
de la Iglesia Episcopal