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Young radio reporters in Liberia to spread the word about Ebola

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Children’s Radio Foundation partners with local radio stations and community organizations on more than 50 projects across Africa to create opportunities for broadcast, youth dialogue, leadership, and social engagement. Photo: Children’s Radio Foundation

[Anglican Communion News Service] Young radio reporters in Liberia will soon be broadcasting programs to teach people there about how to prevent the spread of Ebola.

The Children’s Radio Foundation, led in the U.K. by Anglican priest the Rev. Charlotte Bannister-Parker, has worked hard to build up this network of youth reporters across 29 of the country’s radio stations.

The charity exists to provide young people in countries across Africa with the skills to make radio and connect them with local radio stations where their packages can be aired.

“We already have an army of young people who are active youth reporters,” said Bannister-Parker, “So what we’re doing now is putting together an Ebola Health Information Pack (EHIP) to send out to their 29 stations containing accurate, effective information about Ebola.”

Over the years CRF quickly learned from young people in the countries where they worked that there can be a lack of trust among children and young adults about public health messages that come from government officials.

“Government messages can often fall on deaf ears because they’re not created by young people for young people,” she said. “What we’ve been doing is putting together an information pack that is also appropriate for young people to engage with and use.”

Bannister-Parker added that CRF’s radio packages will also compliment the work and appeals of those charities that would normally respond to such a multi-national crisis.

“Thanks to the other appeals people are getting buckets and soap and protective clothing, but if they don’t know how best to use them there’s almost no point in getting them. So our radio messages come in at a crucial point in that educational process.”

She added that radio is also a safe, contact-free form of distributing information and is locally contextual: CRF-trained young reporters exist in five other countries South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania, the DR Congo and Kenya and the organization works in 25 languages.

“Because there’s a chance Ebola may spread to other countries across Africa we’re going to use these EHIPs in all our other radio stations, with all our other children in the other partner countries.”

Bannister-Parker, who used to work in television broadcasting, explained that the charity has also been invited to connect with the Disasters Emergency Committee and other major humanitarian charities as well as to consider bringing their radio education model to Sierra Leone — another country affected by the killer disease.

She added that she considers the charity’s presence in Liberia was “God-given. It’s a very unusual country for us to be in in the first place—I believe Unicef invited us in because of the high infant mortality and low education levels. It’s the epicenter of the disease and we’ve been given an incredible opportunity to help.”


The Children’s Radio Foundation http://www.childrensradiofoundation.org/ has launched a £20,000 appeal at https://www.justgiving.com/crffightsebola/ to help create an Ebola-ready continent.

Donations will go towards creating and distributing CRF’s EHIPs (Ebola Health Information Packs), using these information packs for radio outreach in schools, clinics and community centres; training their radio youth reporters to air the EHIP’s accurate health information via community radio stations; and hiring a full-time Health Educational Director to launch the EHIPs and training across Liberia and their other partner counties.

Episcopal Relief & Development’s $750,000 Matching Gift Challenge

Thursday, October 30, 2014

[Episcopal Relief & Development press release] In honor of Episcopal Relief & Development’s 75th Anniversary Celebration, a group of generous donors has pledged $750,000 in matching funds for the organization’s 2014 Matching Gift Challenge.

“We are excited and extremely grateful for this 75th Anniversary match, which is our largest ever match amount,” said Joy Shigaki, the organization’s senior director of advancement. “I am inspired by the energy and commitment of our donors around the 75th Anniversary Celebration, and hope that our supporters will take advantage of this special opportunity to see their contributions have double the impact toward healing a hurting world.”

Any donation to the organization between Oct. 30 and Dec. 31 will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to the total match amount.  This includes contributions through Gifts for Life, Episcopal Relief & Development’s alternative giving catalog, and monthly donations scheduled during the Challenge period.

The matching amount for all donations will go to the 75th Anniversary Fund, which enables the organization to respond to needs where they are greatest.  The overall fundraising goal of the 75-week-long celebration is to secure $7.5 million to support programs that touch the lives of more than 3 million people in nearly 40 countries.

“This is a time for all Episcopalians to commemorate their shared legacy of compassionate care and striving for justice through the work of Episcopal Relief & Development,” said Rob Radtke, the organization’s president.  “It is with much gratitude that I invite everyone to join the celebration and consider how their gifts of time, talent and treasure can contribute toward the growth of relationships and initiatives that create thriving, connected communities.”

Gift matching is automatically activated when a contribution is made – online, via mail or by phone – to one of the organization’s listed funds. For an even bigger impact, Episcopal Relief & Development’s 75th Anniversary Campaign toolkits provide fun and engaging resources to help congregations rally around a particular program area.

To have a gift matched, simply make a donation between now and December 30.  Click here to donate online, or call 1.855.312.HEAL (4325).  Gifts can also be mailed to Episcopal Relief & Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.

Programa, Presupuesto y Finanzas comienza a trabajar en el presupuesto trienal

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Stephen Lane, obispo de Maine y vicepresidente del Comité Permanente Conjunto sobre Programa, Presupuesto y Finanzas, plantea un asunto durante la última sesión plenaria del comité el 29 de octubre. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] El Comité Permanente Conjunto sobre Programa, Presupuesto y Finanzas (PB&F) de la Iglesia Episcopal dio inicio a los muchos meses de trabajo que resultarán en el presupuesto 2016-2018 que le será propuesto a la 78º. Convención General en julio de 2015.

Los miembros del PB&F dedicaron la mayor parte de su reunión del 27 al 29 de octubre a recibir un curso intensivo sobre cómo se ha elaborado el presupuesto trienal en el pasado y cómo el proceso ha cambiado en esta ocasión.

Tanto a la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori como a la presidente de la Cámara de Diputados, Rda. Gay Clark Jennings, le preguntaron que describieran para beneficio de los miembros del PB& su visión para el presupuesto 2016-2018 y el proceso que se estaba llevando a cabo para elaborarlo.

“Mi sentir es que el presupuesto denominacional debe hacer en verdad lo que no podemos hacer como diócesis individuales”, dijo Jefferts Schori. “Yo sí creo profundamente que nuestro presupuesto debe basarse en nuestra perspectiva de la misión. Eso es lo que somos y lo que nos proponemos ser, eso es lo que Dios nos envía a ser y hacer en el mundo, trabajar por el reino de Dios —una visión de shalom— para reconciliar al mundo con Dios en Cristo”.

Otro fundamento de su visión para el presupuesto, dijo la Obispa Primada, proviene de la definición histórica que dice que una comunidad cristiana madura es “misional en su más profundo sentido y al hacer eso es autosuficiente, autopropagadora y autónoma [y] no se interesa tan sólo en su vida interior, sino que se proyecta hacia el exterior y hace la obra de Dios en el mundo”.

Jefferts Schori bosquejó lo que llamó “tres amplias categorías” de la labor que ella ve como la más adecuada para ser llevada a cabo por las estructuras denominacionales.

La primera es el servicio a la Iglesia Episcopal en su sentido denominacional, dijo, lo cual incluye ayudar a las poblaciones pequeñas, nuevas y aisladas; responder a crisis en nombre de toda la Iglesia; responder a realidades cambiantes en la Iglesia y en la sociedad; ayudar a fomentar la vida de otras comunidades episcopales y anglicanas que todavía no alcanzan el autosostenimiento y mantener y supervisar los legados financiero, institucional, de honorabilidad y de gobierno “de manera que resulte fructífero a las generaciones venideras”.

La segunda categoría, dijo Jefferts Schori, es fomentar relaciones con otras iglesias y comunidades religiosas, incluidas las relaciones dentro de la Comunión Anglicana, así como las relaciones ecuménicas e interreligiosas.

La tercera categoría, administrar las relaciones con gobiernos e instituciones supranacionales, lo cual incluye la promoción social a nivel federal y estatal, la obra de la Iglesia en las Naciones Unidas, la labor de desarrollo tal como la que lleva a cabo Ayuda y Desarrollo Episcopales y a través de otras subvenciones, y proporcionar el respaldo ministerial que necesitan algunos ministros, tales como los capellanes.

Afirmando que los procesos del presupuesto para los últimos dos trienios “fueron muy difíciles por varias razones”, Jennings dijo que muchas personas “ansiaban un proceso presupuestario más transparente, menos contencioso y más basado en el evangelio con sobrado tiempo para llevar a cabo esta seriecísima labor”.

Jennings dijo que el proceso del Consejo Ejecutivo para elaborar su proyecto del presupuesto 2016-2018 es “inclusivo, transparente, receptivo, colegiado y en colaboración”. Hizo notar que es la primera vez que tiene noticia de un plan para publicar el borrador de un proyecto presupuestario del Consejo en el que toda la Iglesia tendrá la oportunidad de hacer comentarios sobre el presupuesto trienal en ese punto de su elaboración.

El Rdo. Doug Sparks, de Rochester, Minnesota y secretario del Comité de Programa, Presupuesto y Finanzas, toma nota mientras sus colegas expresan sus preguntas iniciales sobre el proceso presupuestario 2016-2018. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

Como otra forma de perfeccionar el proceso presupuestario en general, la Cámara de Diputados manejará las resoluciones de manera diferente durante la Convención de 2015, dijo Jennings. Habrá un Comité de Revisión de Resoluciones para estudiar los proyectos de resoluciones que se presenten y de este modo garantizar que están en consonancia con el sistema de gobierno, en la forma que exigen los Cánones y para valorar si tienen implicaciones económicas. El comité informará sobre cada resolución al presidente del comité legislativo idóneo.

Y, una propuesta revisión a las reglas le permitiría al Comité de Diputados sobre el Despacho de Asuntos programar el flujo de resoluciones, de manera que las que tengan implicaciones económicas puedan ser atendidas con mayor rapidez. El cambio propuesto debe aprobarse antes de que empiecen los asuntos de la Convención.

Ambas medidas tienen por objeto aliviar las tensión que se crea cuando las resoluciones que tienen implicaciones presupuestarias llegan tarde al PB&F en ese proceso de comité.

Refiriéndose a otro carril paralelo que funcionará en la Convención, Jennings dijo que ella cree que “el PB&F necesita elaborar un presupuesto sobre lo que existe actualmente respecto a gobierno, estructura y administración”, en lugar de lo que el Equipo de Trabajo para Reinventar la Iglesia Episcopal podría proponer a la Convención y lo que la Convención pudiera hacer respecto a esas propuestas. Si el proceso del TREC da lugar a importantes cambios, entonces el Consejo Ejecutivo tendrá que enmendar el presupuesto después de la Convención dijo.

Jennings dijo también al PB&F que ella esperaba que los miembros escucharían lo que la Iglesia ha dicho respecto a tener un presupuesto basado en una solicitud diocesana más pequeña. Añadió que le gustaría verlo reducido de una manera que fuera “estratégica y sensible”.

Stephen Lane, obispo de Maine y vicepresidente del PB&F, dijo a sus colegas que su labor les llama al equilibrio, escuchando los deseos de la Iglesia con “nuestras propias pasiones y compromisos”.

“Recibiremos los datos provenientes de toda la Iglesia… no son agendas, son datos; escuchando a las personas [y aprendiendo] cuáles son sus preocupaciones contenidas en los datos”, afirmó. “Comenzamos con los datos y habrá muchísimos, pero finalmente tomaremos esos datos y decidiremos al respecto. Es ahí donde nuestras propias visiones resultan verdaderamente decisivas”.

El obispo Mark Hollingsworth, presidente del Comité Permanente Conjunto sobre Finanzas para la Misión (FFM) del Consejo Ejecutivo y la Rda. Susan Snook, que encabeza el subcomité de presupuesto del FFM, debatieron con el PB&F el actual presupuesto trienal y el proceso presupuestario del Consejo hasta el momento.

Snook le dijo al PB&F que su comité había utilizado algunos principios básicos para su proceso presupuestario, entre ellos que el presupuesto debía ser un “documento visionario” basado en “alguna visión de alto nivel” y que debe elaborarse a través de un proceso que fuese tan inclusivo como sea posible.

El FFM ha debatido cuánto dinero pedir a las diócesis como contribución al presupuesto nacional, dijo Snook, y muchos miembros reconocieron que abordar la llamada “solicitud diocesana” puede ser difícil.

El presupuesto trienal de la Iglesia Episcopal se nutre fundamentalmente de las promesas de las diócesis de la Iglesia y de las zonas de misión regionales. La donación anual en el presupuesto trienal se basa en el ingreso que tuvo una diócesis dada dos años antes, menos $120.000. Los compromisos diocesanos para 2013 y 2014, basados en la solicitud del presupuesto de una contribución del 19 por ciento, se encuentran aquí. No todas las diócesis pagan la totalidad de su solicitud por toda una variedad de razones.

Un conversatorio sostenido en la reunión de la Cámara de Obispos de septiembre de 2013, dirigido por Hollingsworth y Lane, “afirmó lo que siempre creímos, el debate sobre el proceso de solicitud es el más difícil que tenemos en la Iglesia”, según Hollingsworth.

Lane dijo que si bien la respuesta diocesana a la solicitud es una “fuente de división” entre los obispos, “ninguna diócesis quiere ser atípica”.

“En todas existe el deseo de participar plenamente [en la financiación del presupuesto denominacional] y parte de lo que resulta arduo respecto a este diálogo es llegar a ese punto donde podemos hablar acerca de las cosas en que todos debemos participar plenamente”, afirmó.

Hollingsworth se mostró de acuerdo, añadiendo que “el sistema que usamos no invita a la participación de la manera que nos gustaría y es vulnerable a la vergüenza, la crítica y la división”.

Snook le dijo al PB&F que el FFM le sugerirá al Consejo Ejecutivo que, en el próximo trienio, cree una comisión para revisar la solicitud diocesana a fin de dirigirse a las diócesis “de manera inclusiva y alentadora respecto al hecho de que no pagan la solicitud en su totalidad”. Por ejemplo, explicó ella, la comisión podría negociar una cantidad menor con las diócesis cuyas dificultades económicas las excluyen de la plena participación.

También podría negociar planes con las diócesis que pueden pagar la solicitud completa, pero no lo hacen. Y el Consejo podría crear “consecuencias” para esas diócesis si insisten en no participar plenamente, sugirió Snook, tales como privarlas del derecho a recibir subvenciones.

Esa sugerencia se basa en parte, agregó, en el supuesto del FFM de que la Convención General rechazaría la legislación que hiciera obligatoria la plena participación en la solicitud, o que impusiera sanciones a las diócesis que pudiendo pagar el total del monto [a que se hubieren comprometido] no lo hicieran.

Snook también le hizo recorrer al comité a través de las actuales versiones de trabajo de lo que finalmente será el proyecto de presupuesto del Consejo en que el FMM estuvo trabajando durante los cuatro días de la reunión del Consejo Ejecutivo que acaba de concluir aquí.

Jefferts Schori le ha pedido tanto a los miembros del Consejo como al Comité del PB&F que no revelen los detalles de la versión de trabajo debido a que su publicación está pendiente.

Próximos pasos en el proceso del presupuesto

  • Inmediatamente después de concluir la reunión del PB&F, el FFM dará a conocer la versión de trabajo del proyecto presupuestario en la página web de la Oficina de la Convención General, junto con un texto que está aún en proceso de redacción en que explica sus supuestos y la elaboración [del mismo]. Hollingsworth le dijo al PB&F, el 29 de octubre, que la publicación también contendrá una breve encuesta, incluida una indagación acerca del nivel de la solicitud diocesana. Habrá una dirección electrónica específica para las personas que quieran hacer comentarios sobre la versión inconclusa.
  • El FFM revisará el presupuesto en base a los comentarios del PB&F y de toda la Iglesia, y tendrá lista una versión final del presupuesto para someterla a la consideración del Consejo durante su reunión del 9 al 11 de enero de 2015. Según las reglas conjuntas de la Convención General (regla conjunta II.10.c.ii), el Consejo debe entregarle su proyecto presupuestario al PB&F no menos de cuatro meses antes del comienzo de la Convención General (esencialmente para febrero del año de la Convención).
  • El PB&F debe reunirse de nuevo del 23 al 25 de febrero de 2015, para comenzar a trabajar en ese proyecto de presupuesto. El PB&F utiliza el proyecto de presupuesto y cualquier legislación aprobada por la Convención General o sometida a la consideración de la misma para crear una propuesta presupuestaria final. Los comités legislativos de la Convención y el PB&F comenzarán a reunirse en Salt Lake City el 23 de junio, antes de la reunión de la Convención que sesionará entre el 25 de junio al 3 de julio en la capital de Utah.
  • El presupuesto del PB&F debe presentarse a una sesión conjunta de las cámaras de Obispos y de Diputados no más tarde del tercer día ante de la clausura de la Convención. Según el calendario provisional de la Convención, esa presentación tendrá lugar a las 2:15 P.M. (hora local) el 1 de julio.
  • Luego, las dos cámaras debatirán y votarán por separado sobre el presupuesto. Ambas cámaras deben aprobar la misma versión del presupuesto, que entrará en vigor a principios de 2016.
  • Normalmente, el Consejo Ejecutivo a menudo tiene que revisar cada uno de los tres presupuestos anuales en base a las fluctuaciones de ingresos y egresos.

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

Archbishop Makgoba tackles South African government on corruption

Thursday, October 30, 2014

[Anglican Church of Southern Africa] The “insidious cancer of corruption” is “the most egregious threat” to South Africa’s democracy today, Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba has said in a public lecture.

Delivering the Beyers Naude Memorial Lecture at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on Oct. 27, Makgoba also criticized suggestions that criminalizing corruption was a “Western paradigm.”

“Actually, I think it’s the other way around,” he said. “Corruption is a two-way street, a two-way transaction. For corruption to happen, you have to have a corrupter, someone willing to pay the bribe, and what I will call a “corruptee,” someone willing to take a bribe. For Africans, over the 50 or 60 years since liberation, the Western paradigm — if indeed there can be said to be one — is one in which Westerners have been the corrupters, and African elites the corruptees.”

The archbishop also quoted from the African Union’s 2003 “Convention On Preventing And Combating Corruption,” which said corruption and impunity had “devastating effects on the economic and social development of the African peoples.”

“The most egregious threat to our democracy today is the insidious cancer of corruption. I cannot say it any more simply than that corruption is anti-democracy,” he added.

Quoting his Roman Catholic counterpart in Cape Town, Archbishop Stephen Brislin, he said corruption was not new in South Africa – the colonial and apartheid systems were highly corrupt. Nor did corruption affect only governments, it affected business, corporations, NGOs and even churches.

“So, while all of must be concerned about corruption, no institution can be holier-than-thou about it,” Makgoba said.

“Corruption is paralyzing progress across South Africa today … The moral compasses guiding our leaders and public servants are misaligned.”

The full text of the address is available here.



Thursday, October 30, 2014

El papa Francisco habló recientemente sobre las necesidades y derechos de los pobres y añadió que existe el peligro que digan que es comunista. Hablando en español ante la Reunión de Movimientos Populares, el pontífice dijo que los pobres necesitan “terrenos, un techo y trabajo”. Añadió que estas cosas están en el centro de la fe cristiana.

La agencia noticiosa Entre Cristianos  informa que tres pastores evangélicos han sido sentenciados a 6 años de cárcel por razón de su fe en Irán. Los pastores estaban presos acusados de “propagar la corrupción en la tierra” delito que generalmente conlleva la pena de muerte.

En México continúa la violencia y muchos se preguntan cuál será la suerte de los 43 estudiantes que fueron secuestrados en el estado de Guerrero. Se han encontrado fosas clandestinas en varios lugares pero ningún indicio de que los restos correspondan a los jóvenes desaparecidos. En varias partes del país se han hecho demostraciones callejeras pidiendo la acción efectiva de las autoridades pertinentes. En más de una ocasión se ha pedido la renuncia del presidente Enrique Peña Nieto. Los jóvenes que pensaban servir como maestros fueron secuestrados el 26 de septiembre.

Por primera vez en su historia la Iglesia Mormona ha admitido la investigación de un grupo de historiadores que afirma que el fundador de la iglesia, Joseph Smith, tenía como esposa a una jovencita de 14 años y cohabitaba con las esposas de varios dirigentes de la iglesia en la época en que la poligamia era práctica común a mediados del siglo 19 en estados como Illinois y Ohio. La sede central de la denominación está en Salt Lake City, Utah.

La diócesis de Connecticut de la Iglesia Episcopal ha vendido los edificios y el terreno de una parroquia a un grupo musulmán en Avon, Connecticut. La iglesia estaba inactiva desde el 2012. La diócesis recibió un millón cien mil dólares que serán depositados en un fondo para necesidades especiales. El obispo diocesano Ian Douglas dijo que existen muy buenas relaciones con los musulmanes y que juntos “trabajaremos por la paz y la convivencia”.

En varias partes del mundo se han elevado oraciones por la paz en el Medio Oriente y en especial por la seguridad de los cristianos. Uno de esos grupos tuvo lugar en la Plaza de los Dos Congresos en Buenos Aires. La comunidad cristiana en el Medio Oriente ha sufrido discriminación, hambre y torturas que en algunos casos han llegado hasta la muerte.

Un reciente informe dice que sólo el 1 por ciento de las noticias en inglés que se reportan en Estados Unidos tienen que ver con la comunidad hispana y de ahí el 67 por ciento trata de crímenes, violencia y problemas de la inmigración. El informe sugiere que el pueblo norteamericano debe estar mejor informado para bien de todos.

El recién terminado sínodo de obispos en el Vaticano no aprobó una resolución que hubiera dado “mayor aceptación a los homosexuales y a los católicos divorciados”. La resolución no fue aprobada por estrecho margen.

El sínodo tuvo la Familia como su principal agenda. Al final del evento el papa Francisco recibió una gran ovación por todos los presentes. “Estos temas son muy delicados y seguiremos estudiándolos en el futuro”, dice una nota de prensa. El sínodo se reunirá el año que viene con una agenda similar.

Las encuestas en Venezuela revelan que la popularidad del presidente Nicolás Maduro sigue en declive pese a los esfuerzos por mejorar la economía y controlar la violencia. En un gesto para apuntalar su gobierno Maduro ha anunciado que a partir de enero los miembros de las fuerzas armadas recibirán un aumento de 45 por ciento.  El año pasado este mismo grupo recibió un aumento de 60 por ciento. Según economistas del sector privado, la inflación en Venezuela será del 75 por ciento para fines de año.

La policía de Haití sigue patrullando la residencia del ex presidente y ex sacerdote Jean-Bertrand Aristide que está acusado de corrupción, tráfico de drogas y lavado de dinero. “El presidente Aristide nos ama y por eso debemos protegerle de los que quieren perseguirlo”, dijo Juste Wuilson Jean, uno de los líderes del movimiento que protege al ex mandatario desde la calle frente a su casa donde se congregan grupos de simpatizantes.

El Servicio de Guardacostas informa que desde el 1 de enero de este año el número de balseros procedentes de Cuba ha llegado a la cifra de 2,059. Muchos han perecido en su intento en las aguas del Estrecho de la Florida.

VERDAD. La vida sin libertad no es vida.

Li Tim-Oi Center for Chinese Ministry awarded grant for Asian ministries

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Bishop Stacy Sauls, Episcopal Church Chief Operating Officer, has announced the awarding of a $150,000 grant devoted to Asian Ministries at the Li Tim-Oi Center for Chinese Ministry in San Gabriel, CA (Diocese of Los Angeles).

The funding, to be distributed in increments of $50,000 annually, was approved by the Episcopal Church Executive Council at its October 2014 meeting.

The grant will be dedicated to building costs, program funding, staffing, and spiritual offerings at the center to be located in five+ acres in San Gabriel Valley in connection with the Church of Our Savior.

The Li Tim-Oi Center  will be “the nexus of Chinese ministry services: connecting people to needed social services; providing sacramental and pastoral care; supporting evangelism and seeker discovery; creating resources regarding Chinese ministry; and sustaining the ministry through a mission driven business enterprise,” the proposal outlines.

Among the myriad of programs are a summer cultural exchange program; an after-school program; a theological Institute; and parish, health, youth and community services.

“The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Los Angeles have taken this great step to partner for ministry at the Li Tim-Oi Center,” noted Bishop Stacy Sauls, Episcopal Church Chief Operating Officer.  “I am particularly pleased that we, as The Episcopal Church, can reach out to meet the needs of an underserved community in this way.”

“I give thanks for the willingness of The Episcopal Church and the Executive Council to assist with the new Li Tim-Oi Center begun by the Diocese of Los Angeles,” said Bishop J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles. “This partnership unites us in service and strategic ministry serving God’s people in both local and international contexts.”

“We are very excited to have been awarded this grant to aid us in developing our dream to enhance and expand Chinese mission and ministry, which has already begun here in the Diocese of Los Angeles and which we hope to spread throughout The Episcopal Church,” commented Bishop Suffragan Diane Jardine Bruce of the Diocese of Los Angeles.

The Li Tim-Oi Center is named for the Rev. Florence Li Tim-Oi, the first woman to be ordained to the priesthood throughout the Anglican Communion in 1944 and who is honored in Holy Women Holy Men January 24.

The website for the Li Tim-Oi Center is currently being finalized; link will be announced shortly.



Cuestiones relacionadas con la justicia captan la atención del Consejo Ejecutivo

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Heidi J. Kim, misionera de la Iglesia Episcopal para la reconciliación racial, al extremo derecho de la foto, hace un señalamiento el 25 de octubre durante un conversatorio sobre racismo de comités del Consejo Ejecutivo. Navita Jones, presidenta del Comité sobre Antirracismo del Consejo Ejecutivo, al centro, y Chuck Wynder, misionero de la Iglesia para la Justicia y Promoción Sociales, reaccionan a sus comentarios. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] Además de trabajar con miras a un proyecto del presupuesto 2016-2018, el Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal aprobó el 27 de octubre varias resoluciones sobre diversos asuntos sociales que enfrentan la Iglesia y el mundo.

Motivado por la labor de sus comités permanentes conjuntos sobre Promoción Social e Interconexión (A&N) y Misión y Ministerio Locales (LMM), el Consejo hacía constar que:

Los miembros del A&N y el LMM se reunieron juntos el 25 de octubre durante la mayor parte del día para un conversatorio acerca del racismo, la justicia racial en la Iglesia y en el mundo, y lo que la Iglesia podría hacer para continuar combatiendo el racismo. El debate también incluyó al misionero de la Iglesia Episcopal para la Justicia y Promoción Sociales Charles Allen Wynder, Jr., la misionera de la Iglesia Episcopal para la Reconciliación Racial Heidi Kim y Navita Jones, presidente del Comité sobre Antirracismo del Consejo.

Lelanda Lee, presidente del A&N, le dijo al resto del Consejo que el conversatorio surgió en parte debido a un deseo de hacer una exploración significativa que fuera algo más que una “encuentro breve, superficial y de suyo frustrante”, con el tema.

“Todos necesitamos hacer esta labor [de importantes conversatorios], cada uno de nosotros, por nuestra salvación y la salvación de nuestra amada comunidad”, dijo Lee.

Actuando de motu proprio, el A&N también propuso resoluciones, que el Consejo aprobó, respecto a:

  • Condenar las violaciones y otras formas de violencia sexual en la guerra como un delito de lesa humanidad.
  • Apoyar la legislación y los empeños no legislativos que exigen ponerle fin a la discriminación de la mujer respecto al libre acceso a la atención sanitaria.
  • Apoyar la “Neutralidad en la Red” conocida también como “Internet Abierta”; y
  • Solicitar a la próxima reunión de la Convención General la financiación de un Comité Coordinador de Reforma de la Justicia Penal para la elaboración de información educativa, instrumentos de promoción social y política eclesiástica para asistir a las diócesis y a los miembros de la Iglesia en su ministerio para con los presos, las personas liberadas de prisión que se reintegran a sus hogares, sus familiares y la defensa de una reforma global de la justicia penal. La resolución también querría que la Iglesia se pronunciara sobre varias reformas del sistema de justicia penal.

El Consejo Ejecutivo celebró la eucaristía en la mañana del 26 de octubre durante su reunión en el Centro de Conferencias del Instituto Marítimo de Linthicum Heights, Maryland. Muchas otras conferencias se estaban celebrando en el centro, al mismo tiempo que algunos marinos recibían un adiestramiento especializado, y el Rdo. Dahn Gandell, miembro del Consejo, pegó una serie de avisos en que los invitaba a ellos y al personal del centro a esa eucaristía. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

Los miembros del Consejo aprobaron también una resolución del A&N acerca de las pérdidas sufridas por palestinos e israelíes como resultado de la Guerra de Gaza en 2014 y, entre otras cosas, solicitan que el Comité de Préstamos de Justicia Económica considere suplementar sus inversiones de 2013 en los Territorios Palestinos y retar a las diócesis a hacer inversiones semejantes.

El consejo también dijo estar en oración “con nuestras hermanas y nuestros hermanos de Liberia, la Iglesia de la Provincia de África Occidental y todos los países donde este virus [el ébola] amenaza la salud humana y las estructuras sociales y donde ha cobrado la vidas de millares [de personas]”. La resolución aplaude la labor de la Iglesia Episcopal en Liberia, a la comunidad religiosa en ese país, a las organizaciones de base y a los individuos, incluido el clero liberiano, y todas las organizaciones e individuos que han “fomentado esperanzas, conciencia y materiales y fondos”. La resolución reta a las comunidades religiosas del mundo a alentar una respuesta más enérgica y generosa frente a los desafíos [que impone] la epidemia del ébola”.

Finalmente, la resolución, que se originó en el Comité Permanente Conjunto sobre Misión Mundial del Consejo, “encomienda las almas de los que han muerto a la amorosa protección de Dios y ora por los que están en duelo” y dice que los miembros del Consejo “viven con la esperanza del día en que celebraremos la buena nueva de que este virus ha sido contenido y que podamos aclamar a nuestros hermanas y hermanos según rehacen sus vidas en su país”.

En otra decisión

También durante la última sesión plenaria, el Consejo:

  • Otorgó $150.000 en incrementos anuales de $50.000 a partir de este año al Ministerio Chino de Li-Tim Oi en la Diócesis de Los Ángeles como una manera de posibilitar la extensión del ministerio a personas de ascendencia china. El dinero provendrá de fondos fiduciarios dados por el ministerio a los chinos luego de que los comunistas tomaran el poder.
  • Dedicó casi dos horas al comienzo de la jornada a una sesión ejecutiva para debatir el último informe de su subcomité sobre la reubicación del Centro Denominacional de la Iglesia en Manhattan. No se tomó ninguna decisión sobre el informe.
  • Instruyó a los funcionarios que presiden (la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori y la presidente de la Cámara de Diputados Rda. Gay Clark Jennings) a nombrar un equipo de trabajo que estudie el problema de las diócesis que no pueden costear su plena participación en la Convención General a fin de identificar los problemas en torno a esta dificultad así como las fuentes de financiación a que haya que recurrir. El equipo ha de informar al Consejo Ejecutivo en enero de 2015. La resolución comenzó con la preocupación de Misión Mundial respecto a la capacidad de las diócesis de la IX Provincia de participar en la Convención, según Martha Gardner, presidente del comité.
  • Aprobó y revisó el presupuesto de 2015 para la Iglesia Episcopal. La Convención General aprueba el presupuesto trienal, y el Consejo con frecuencia revisa los tres presupuestos anuales, a partir de cambios ocurridos en ingresos y egresos. El presupuesto revisado de 2015 pronto se publicará aquí.
  • Debatió si podría responder al informe anticipado del Equipo de Trabajo para Reinventar la Iglesia Episcopal (TREC) y cómo podría hacerlo. El debate se produjo en torno a una resolución propuesta para formar un grupo de trabajo que prepare una respuesta del Consejo al informe del TREC, que debe dársele a conocer a la Iglesia en diciembre. Ese informe incluirá las recomendaciones que el TREC quiere hacer a la próxima reunión de la Convención General en el verano de 2015.

El hermano Robert Sevensky, superior de la Orden de la Santa Cruz y capellán del Consejo Ejecutivo, habla antes de la eucaristía del 26 de octubre, mientras el Rdo. Brandon Mauai, diácono y miembro del Consejo proveniente de Dakota del Norte; la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori, y el predicador y miembro del Consejo Dahn Gandell, de Rochester, lo escuchan. El Consejo celebró la eucaristía durante su reunión en el Centro de conferencias del Instituto Marítimo de Linthicum Heights, Maryland. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

Steve Hutchinson, presidente Comité Permanente Conjunto sobre Gobierno y Administración para la Misión (GAM) del Consejo, que había propuesto la resolución, dijo que estuvo motivada por la preocupación de parte de algo de lo que el TREC ha dicho hasta ahora. “Sé que esto suena crítico, pero…no refleja una comprensión realmente plena de lo que el Consejo Ejecutivo hace y de la manera en que funciona, del alcance y el aliento y la profundidad de nuestra responsabilidad”.

El Rdo. Brian Baker, miembro del GAM, dijo que parte del objetivo de la resolución propuesta era el sentir que el Consejo debía “tener una voz en el diálogo” acerca de la labor del TREC, El Rdo. Nathaniel Pierce, otro miembro del Consejo, dijo que él se había sentido motivado a sugerir la resolución debido a una “propuesta muy específica que está ahora sobre la mesa” de parte del TREC de reducir el tamaño del Consejo y la forma de elegir a los representantes provinciales.

Al final, el Consejo remitió la resolución a su comité ejecutivo al objeto de considerar un proceso a utilizar en la reunión de enero de 2015, y posiblemente más allá [de esa fecha] para que el Consejo contemple cualquier respuesta que pudiera querer hacer al informe del TREC.

La reunión del 24 al 27 de octubre tuvo lugar en el Centro de Conferencias del Instituto Marítimo [Maritime Institute Conference Center].

Los resúmenes de las resoluciones que el Consejo aprobó en esta reunión se encuentran aquí.

La cobertura previa que ENS hizo de esta reunión se encuentra aquí.

Algunos miembros del Consejo enviaron mensajes por Twitter desde la reunión valiéndose del código #ExCoun.

El Consejo Ejecutivo lleva a cabo los programas y políticas adoptadas por la Convención General, según el Canon I.4 (1)(a). El Consejo está compuesto de 38 miembros, 20 de los cuales (cuatro obispos, cuatro presbíteros o diáconos y 12 laicos) son elegidos por la Convención General, y 18 por los nueve sínodos provinciales (un clérigo y un laico cada uno) por períodos de seis años, además del Obispo Primado y el Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados [que son miembros ex oficio].

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

16 Days of Activism – Anglican men speak out

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] “As men of faith, we can take responsibility to speak out and end violence against women and girls.” This is the core message of a short video just released in the run-up to the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence.

The video features 10 men in different parts of the Anglican Communion. They are (in order of appearance) Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Canada; Felipe Saravia, Chile; Bishop William Mchombo, Eastern Zambia, Central Africa; Archbishop Barry Morgan, Wales; Bishop Andy Doyle, Texas, USA; Archbishop Philip Freier, Melbourne, Australia; Archbishop Francisco da Silva, Brazil; Revd Professor Renta Nishihara, Rikkyo University, Japan; Bishop Chad Gandiya, Harare, Zimbabwe, and Archbishop Winston Halapua, Polynesia.

“Typically, activists during the 16 Days have been women”, said the Rev. Terrie Robinson, director for women in church & society at the Anglican Communion Office. “So it’s always very encouraging when men stand in solidarity with women, speak out and make a commitment to act to end and prevent gender based violence – and encourage other men to do the same.”

“The video is an inspiring addition to the growing collection of resources we now have to help us plan for participation in the 16 Days in our dioceses and parishes. I am so grateful to the Anglican men who were filmed separately in their home locations for the final video. They didn’t hesitate for a second when asked to take part in the project. Their positive message will affirm work that’s already going on around the Communion to end the misery caused by gender-based violence and it will inspire new work too.

“We know that men and boys can be victims and survivors of gender based violence too. For the 16 Days, the focus is on ending violence against women and girls but any activism that promotes equal and respectful relationship will be good news, all year round, whoever and wherever we are.”

The video is at http://youtu.be/8OUjabyVJJk. An accompanying leaflet is at http://bit.ly/10yvamZ.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence begin on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and end on 10 December, Human Rights Day.

The Anglican Communion is a member of the We Will Speak Out coalition against sexual violence

For more resources for the 16 Days, see:
Follow @AnglicansEndGBV

Contact: The Revd Terrie Robinson terrie.robinson@anglicancommunion.org

Program, Budget and Finance begins triennial budget work

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Maine Bishop Stephen Lane, vice chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance, makes a point during the committee’s final plenary session Oct. 29. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] The Episcopal Church’s Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) has begun the many months of work that will result in a 2016-2018 budget being proposed to the 78th General Convention in July 2015.

PB&F members spent the bulk of their Oct. 27-29 meeting getting a crash course on how the triennial budget has been constructed in the past and how the process has been changed this time around.

Both Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings were each asked to describe for PB&F members their vision for the 2016-2018 budget and the process being used to build it.

“My sense is that the churchwide budget really ought to do what we cannot do as individual dioceses,” Jefferts Schori said. “I do deeply believe that our budget ought to be based on our vision of mission. That’s who we are and who we are meant to be, that’s what God sends us into the world to be and do, to work toward the kingdom of God – a vision of shalom – to reconciling the world to God in Christ.”

Another foundation for her vision for the budget, the presiding bishop said, comes from a historic definition that says a mature Christian community is “missional in that deep sense and in doing that is self-sustaining, self-propagating and self-governing [and] not just concerned with its inward life but it is outwardly directed and doing God’s work in the world.”

Jefferts Schori outlined what she called “three broad categories” of work that she sees as most properly being done by churchwide structures.

First is service to the wider Episcopal Church, she said, which includes attending to small, new, isolated populations; responding to crises on behalf of the whole church; responding to changing realities in the church and society; helping to foster the life of other Episcopal and Anglican communities that are not yet self-sustaining; and maintaining and overseeing the church’s financial, institutional, reputational and governance legacies “so it will be fruitful in generations to come.”

The second category, Jefferts Schori said, is fostering relationships with other churches and religious communities, including relations within the Anglican Communion and ecumenical and interfaith relationships.

The third category, stewarding relationships with governments and supranational institutions, includes advocacy at the federal and state levels, the church’s work at the United Nations, development work such as that done by Episcopal Relief & Development and through other grants, and providing the ministerial endorsements required for some ministers such as chaplains.

Saying that the budgeting processes for the previous two triennia “were very difficult for a number of reasons,” Jennings said many people “longed for a more transparent, less contentious, more gospel-based budget process with ample time to do this very serious work.”

Jennings said Executive Council’s process for crafting its proposed draft of the 2016-2018 budget is “inclusive, transparent, responsive, collegial and collaborative.” She noted that a plan to release the working draft of council’s proposed draft budget is the first time she knows of where the church at large will have a chance to comment on the triennial budget at this point in its development.

The Rev. Doug Sparks, Program, Budget and Finance secretary from Rochester, Minnesota, keeps notes and his colleagues list their initial questions on the 2016-2018 budgeting process. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

As another way to improve the overall budgeting process, the House of Deputies will handle resolutions differently during the 2015 convention, she said. There will be a Resolutions Review Committee to study pre-filed resolutions to ensure that they are consistent with polity, are in the form required by canons and to assess if they have funding implications. The committee will report on each resolution to the appropriate legislative committee chair.

And, a proposed rule revision would allow the Deputies Committee on the Dispatch of Business to schedule the flow of resolutions so that those with funding implications can be handled more quickly. The proposed change is to be voted on before the business of convention begins.

Both steps are aimed at easing the tension that develops when resolutions that have budget implications come to PB&F late in that committee’s process.

Speaking of another parallel track that will be running at convention, Jennings said she believes “PB&F needs to build a budget on what currently exists in terms of governance, structure and administration” rather than on what the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church might propose to convention and what convention might do about those proposals. If the TREC process results in major changes, then the Executive Council will have to amend the budget after convention, she said.

Jennings also told PB&F she hoped the members would listen to what the church has said about having a budget based on a smaller diocesan asking. She said she would like to see it reduced in a way that is “strategic and sensible.”

Maine Bishop Stephen Lane, PB&F vice chair, told his colleagues that their work calls them to balance listening to the church’s desires with “our own passions and commitments.”

“We will receive data from across the church… it’s not agendas, its data; listening to people [and learning] what their concerns are is [the] data,” he said. “We start with data and there will be lots of it, but eventually we take that data and make choices about it. That’s where your own visions are really critical.”

Executive Council Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission (FFM) chair Bishop Mark Hollingsworth and the Rev. Susan Snook, who heads FFM’s budget subcommittee, discussed with PB&F the current triennial budget and council’s budget process thus far.

Snook told PB&F that her committee had used some basic principles for its budget process, including that the budget should be a “visionary document” based on “some high-level visioning” and that it ought to be built via a process that is as inclusive as possible.

FFM has discussed how much money to ask dioceses to contribute to the churchwide budget, Snook said, and many members acknowledged that talking about the so-called “diocesan asking” can be difficult.

The Episcopal Church’s three-year budget is funded primarily by pledges from the church’s dioceses and regional mission areas. Each year’s annual giving in the three-year budget is based on a diocese’s income two years earlier, minus $120,000. Diocesan commitments for 2013 and 2014, based on the budget’s asking of a 19 percent contribution, are here. Not all dioceses pay the full asking for a variety of reasons.

A conversation at the September 2013 House of Bishops meeting, led by Hollingsworth and Lane, “affirmed what we thought all along, the discussion about the asking process is the hardest discussion to have in the church,” according to Hollingsworth.

Lane said that while diocesan response to the asking is a “source of division” among the bishops, “no diocese wants to be an outlier.”

“There is a desire for everyone to participate fully [in funding the churchwide budget] and part of what’s hard about the conversation is reaching that point where we can talk about the things that are necessary for all of us to participate fully,” he said.

Hollingsworth agreed, adding that “the system that we use doesn’t invite participation the way we would like it to and it is vulnerable to shame, judgment and division.”

Snook told PB&F that FFM will suggest to Executive Council that, in the next triennium, it create a diocesan asking review commission to talk to dioceses “in an inclusive and encouraging way about the fact that they don’t pay the full asking.” For instance, she said, the commission could negotiate a lower amount with dioceses whose financial challenges prevent them from fully participating.

It could also negotiate plans with dioceses that are able to pay the full asking but do not. And council could create “consequences” for those dioceses if they still choose not to participate fully, Snook suggested, such as making them ineligible to receive grants.

Snook also walked the committee through the current working version of council’s eventual proposed draft budget that FFM worked on during Executive Council’s just-concluded four-day meeting here.

Jefferts Schori has asked both council members and the PB&F committee not to disclose the details of that working version because of its pending public release.

Next steps in the budget process

  • Soon after PB&F’s meeting concludes, FFM will post its working version of the proposed draft budget on the General Convention Office’s website, along with a narrative that is still in the works explaining its assumptions and construction. Hollingsworth told PB&F on Oct. 29 that the posting will also have a short survey, including an inquiry about the level of the diocesan asking. There will be a dedicated e-mail address for people who want to comment on the yet-to-be-finalized version.
  • FFM will revise the budget based on comments from PB&F and the wider church, and have a final draft budget ready for the full council’s consideration during its Jan. 9-11, 2015 meeting.
  • According to the joint rules of General Convention (joint rule II.10.c.ii), Executive Council must give its proposed draft budget to PB&F no less than four months before the start of General Convention (essentially by February of convention year).
  • PB&F meets again Feb. 23-25, 2015, to begin work on council’s proposed draft budget. PB&F uses that budget and any legislation passed by or being considered by General Convention to create a final budget proposal. Convention legislative committees and PB&F will begin meeting in Salt Lake City on June 23, 2015, ahead of the June 25-July 3 meeting of convention in the Utah capital city.
  • PB&F’s budget must be presented to a joint session of the houses of Bishops and Deputies no later than the third day before convention’s scheduled adjournment. According to the draft convention schedule, that presentation is set to take place at 2:15 p.m. MDT on July 1.
  • The two houses then debate and vote on the budget separately. Both houses must approve the same version of the budget, which takes effect at the beginning of 2016.
  • Typically, Executive Council often has to revise each of the three annual budgets based on changing income and expenses.

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

Episcopal Church, African primates, bishops issue communique

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The following is a communique issued by Primates and Bishops of Africa and The Episcopal Church on a recent groundbreaking meeting.

A Communique: Transformation through Friendship

October 8-10, 2014
The General Theological Seminary, New York City

We speak as six Primates representing Burundi, Central Africa, Southern Africa, Tanzania, West Africa, and The Episcopal Church, and as four Bishops of The Episcopal Church representing both U.S. dioceses and Haiti.  Two of us participated by Skype while attending another meeting in Bujumbura.  We gathered together at the General Theological Seminary in New York City from October 8-10, 2014.

We are grateful for the hospitality of General Seminary, including its dean, faculty, and students.  We are also grateful for the assistance of the staff of The Episcopal Church, specifically the Rev. Canon Charles Robertson (Canon to the Presiding Bishop), Samuel McDonald (Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission), the Rev. Canon Isaac Kawuki Mukasa (Partnership Officer for Africa), Elizabeth Boe (Global Networking Officer), the Rev. Ranjit Mathews (Network Officer for Mission Personnel and Africa), Sharon Jones (Executive Assistant to the Presiding Bishop) and Su Hadden (Executive Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer and Operations Manager).

Our conversations grew out of the Fifth Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue, May 22-25, 2014, at Coventry, England (info here)). We shared news from our churches, rejoiced in our renewed fellowship, and marveled at the gifts and diversity of creation God has provided. We prayed together, and we worshiped.

Our intention was to build missional partnerships among our churches, taking Jesus’ statement of his mission as our own—“to bring good news to the poor, . . . to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  (Lk. 4:18-19)  We confessed that one thing we have in common is that we all have needs, not the least of which is our profound need for each other.

We also celebrated that each of our churches has gifts to offer the others.  Framing our conversation in the context of human dignity and flourishing, the sustainability of our common ministry, and the care of the Earth, we found several subjects for fruitful collaboration that will allow us to share our gifts with each other.  We committed ourselves to exploring pension schemes, stewardship of finances and other resources (management and investment), health services, mining and related environmental issues, advocacy, migration and statelessness, human trafficking, religious freedom, and theological education.  We made commitments to explore these opportunities for partnership and report back to each other early in the new year.

Over our time together, we found ourselves referring repeatedly to the spirit of the Anglican Congress of 1963, which contributed greatly to the transformation of our understanding of mission in the Anglican Communion.  It gave us the language of mutual responsibility and interdependence in the body of Christ and helped lead us to understand ourselves as partners in mission rather than in categories of givers and receivers.  In that same spirit, and with eagerness to share the blessings we have received in these days, we express our fervent and urgent hope that another Anglican Congress might be held in the next two years, and encourage the active leadership of all who might help to make it a reality for the good of God’s mission to heal and reconcile the world.  We hope that representatives of all the baptized—bishops, priests, deacons, and laypeople—will be present and heard.  We hope that the Communion’s strategy to address the next iteration of the United Nations Development Goals might be part of the agenda.  Aware that Africa is now the demographic center of the Anglican Communion and has always been mother to us all, we deeply hope that our leaders will take this opportunity to call us home to Africa for such an important gathering of our Anglican family.

Two of us from Africa shared proverbs from their own cultures, which spoke authentically to our sense of the Spirit’s calling.  One is Sesotho, lesale le tee ga le lle, meaning, “one bangle does not ring.”  The music of our hearts can only be made together.  The other is Ashanti, Bannu ye, meaning, “if you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go with a team.”  We have made a conscious decision to walk together in order to go the distance.

On the night before he died, Jesus saw his disciples in a transformed way and longed that they would see one another in the same way.  “I do not call you servants any longer, because a servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father”  (Jn. 15:15).  In Christ we have been transformed into brothers and sisters fed at the Lord’s own table.  But we also have been transformed into friends so that we might go from that table into the world to offer ourselves in its service.

Friends walk together.  Friends go the distance together.  Friends make music together.  Friends of Jesus love each other just as he commanded (v. 14).  Friends share their needs and their gifts, their burdens and their joys.  Over the years in the Anglican Communion, we have had the experience of together reconciling the world to Christ in diverse and creative ways.  It is what we call mission, which is grounded in the holy and transforming friendship that comes through our common life in Christ.

Finally, we are aware that in our small but intentional gathering, we engaged the practice of Indaba, and experienced the transformational reality that has characterized so much of the life of the Anglican Communion since our last Lambeth Conference.  We are anxious to encourage this across the Communion and will be calling on our counterparts to do so in the days ahead.

The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi                     The Most Rev. Albert Chama
Archbishop of Burundi                                         Archbishop of Central Africa

The Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba                          The Most Rev. Jacob Chimeledya
Archbishop of Southern Africa                           Archbishop of Tanzania

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori         The Most Rev. Daniel Sarfo
Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church     Archbishop of West Africa

The Rt. Rev. Stacy F. Sauls                                  The Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves
Chief Operating Officer, TEC                              Bishop of El Camino Real

The Rt. Rev. Ogé Beauvoir                                   The Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel, III
Bishop Suffragan of Haiti                                     Bishop Provisional of Pennsylvania

Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music offers meeting overview

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) offers an overview on its recent meeting:

The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music met in Concord, New Hampshire, October 20-23, as it neared the completion of its work for the 2012-2015 triennium.

During its meeting, the commission gave particular attention to resources for blessing same-sex relationships, the church’s calendar of commemorations, and liturgical materials honoring God in creation.  The Commission also considered several other resolutions referred to it by the 2012 General Convention.

The Commission will hold one more meeting, a web conference in mid-November, to finalize its report and resolutions for the 2015 General Convention.

Please send your comments to the SCLM via email or on the SCLM blog.

•         To contact SCLM email sclm@episcopalchurch.org
•         Visit the SCLM blog here
•         Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music

Anglicans, Oriental Orthodox agree on Christ’s incarnation

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] Senior theologians in Anglican Communion and Oriental Orthodox Churches recently made history by signing an agreement on their mutual understanding of Christ’s incarnation.

This was not just a minor point of theology, rather it was a subject that divided the Church following the Council of Chalcedon* in 451 AD, leaving the Oriental Orthodox Churches separated from the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Church of Rome.

The work to reconcile these branches of the Christian family on the question of how the two natures, human and divine, were united in one human being: Jesus Christ began in earnest in the 1990s.

By 2002 an Agreed Statement on Christology had been prepared by the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC) and sent to the participating Churches and an updated statement was recirculated in 2013. By the October meeting in Cairo, AOOIC members were able to finalise the document and Bishop Geoffrey Rowell and His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy of Damietta signed on behalf of their Churches.

This statement, which is a significant step of reconciliation, will now be sent to “the responsible authorities of the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Anglican Communion for their consideration and action”.

Click here to read the Agreed Statement on Christology

Click here to read the Communique from the meeting of the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission that met in Cairo, Egypt from 13-17 October, 2014.


*The Council of Chalcedon was a highly influential church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451 AD, at Chalcedon (a city of Bithynia in Asia Minor), on the Asian side of the Bosporus.

Barnett-Cowan named Anglican Communion’s interim secretary general

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

[Anglican Communion Office] The Rev. Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan will serve as interim secretary general for the Anglican Communion, according to an announcement from the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga and Elizabeth Paver, chair and vice chair of the Standing Committee.

Barnett-Cowan, who will retire at the end of January as director for Unity, Faith and Order, has agreed to be a half-time consultant for the position until the position of secretary general has been filled. She will be based at her home in Canada but will work at the Anglican Communion Office for some days each month.

The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, the present secretary general, will leave the post at the end of December as he has been elected bishop of Limerick and Killaloe in the Church of Ireland. His consecration date is Jan. 24.

Barnett-Cowan said that she has surprised herself by undertaking this task as she was looking forward to her retirement, but that she is happy to fill in to bridge the gap while the search process is going on.

The Standing Committee meets at the end of November to review the job description for the secretary general of the Anglican Communion and to set the appointment process in motion.

Johnson is Episcopal Migration Ministries communications manager

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Bishop Stacy F. Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, has announced that Wendy Johnson has been named Program Manager of Communications for the Episcopal Migration Ministries of The Episcopal Church.

Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) is the program of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS) that serves and welcomes refugees, uprooted by persecution and violence abroad, in communities across the United States. EMM’s work is a continuation of the Episcopal Church’s commitment to welcoming the stranger in our midst.  EMM resettles refugees through a network of 30 affiliate offices nationwide, linking these affiliates with Episcopal dioceses and parishes that together carry out the ministry begun over 75 years ago to relieve the burden of the world’s suffering through refugee resettlement and immigration assistance.

As Manager of Communications, Johnson, working in collaboration with The Episcopal Church’s Office of Communications, will be responsible for all areas of media related to EMM’s mission and ministry, including media relations, publicity, and internal and network communications support.

Among her work experience Johnson was most recently: a partner in Inspiring Mission, an organization that supports and facilitates youth mission experiences; a communications and marketing consultant at www.YourMediaDirector.com; and Communications Director for the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota.

Johnson began her new position on October 27.  She is based in St. Paul, MN.  She can be reached at WJohnson@episcopalchurch.org.

Seamen’s Church Institute chaplains gain access to deepwater oilrigs

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

[Seamen's Church Institute press release] These days not many people can access the secure areas of maritime workplaces, but few places prove more difficult to get to than deepwater offshore oil and gas exploration and production facilities. After months of screening and training, SCI chaplains are now making their way to these remote regions in the middle of the ocean.

Until recently, chaplains for the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) have not strayed far from shore, serving mariners on vessels close to riverbanks or in American ports. Earlier this year, however, SCI initiated a partnership with a major international offshore drilling contractor to provide pastoral care, guidance and support to a workforce carrying out business over a hundred miles away from land.

Since the expansion of SCI’s stateside pastoral care in 2011 to include maritime employees working in the Gulf of Mexico, SCI has served men and women in the diverse maritime petrochemical industry. Those visits have included going to see maritime workers on tugs and towboats and the unique vessels that supply offshore drilling rigs—but not the actual drilling rigs themselves.

Some 150 miles from land and in waters over 6,000 feet deep, these rigs reside in the most remote corners of the Gulf of Mexico. Each rig has typically 150-200 maritime personnel flown in on specially designed helicopters. These multi-million dollar oil operations maintain a high level of security and meticulous standards of safety. Getting on board a deepwater offshore oilrig is not an easy task.

It took a while before SCI chaplains could make a journey out to one of the Gulf’s offshore drilling units. Chaplains Winston Rice and Michael C. Nation had to pass multiple industry safety tests and checks. Perhaps the most nail-biting ordeal involved a crane lifting a mock helicopter over large pool, dropping it and turning it upside down underwater. Each chaplain had to prove his ability by kicking out the helicopter window and swimming out—six times in different types of positions and seats.

The rigor with which companies screen those who travel out to these remote areas gives evidence to a high concern for the safety of the platform operation and employees. On board, companies employ a special team of safety advisors to ensure men and women work safely. In this spirit, companies—like the offshore drilling contractor with whom SCI has partnered—invite chaplains to supplement the care provisions made for employees’ wellbeing in dangerous environments.

Chaplains help workers negotiate the stress and isolation of working in high-risk areas by providing a pastoral presence concerned with the spiritual welfare of persons on board. Additionally, chaplains also assist the families of the offshore workforce. Earlier this year, SCI chaplains responded to a young family dealing with a tragic death.

In August, SCI Chaplain Winston Rice began a presence aboard a sixth-generation, ultra deepwater dual activity drillship in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Chaplains will make further visits in 2014, including three additional deepwater dual activity drillships, with further monthly visits planned to deepwater rigs in the Gulf beginning in 2015. Maritime workers and their families can reach SCI’s chaplains 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week.

About SCI
Founded in 1834 and affiliated with the Episcopal Church, though nondenominational in terms of its trustees, staff and service to mariners, the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York & New Jersey (SCI) is the largest, most comprehensive mariners’ agency in North America. Annually, its chaplains visit thousands of vessels in the Port of New York and New Jersey, the Port of Oakland, and along 2,200 miles of America’s inland waterways and into the Gulf of Mexico. SCI’s maritime education facilities provide navigational training to nearly 1,600 mariners each year through simulator-based facilities located in Houston, TX and Paducah, KY. The Institute and its maritime attorneys are recognized as leading advocates for merchant mariners by the United States Government, including the US Congress, the US Coast Guard, and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the United Nations, the International Maritime Organization, the International Labor Organization and maritime trade associations.

GTS8 issue statement, ‘clarify’ their efforts to return to the seminary

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Eight General Theological Seminary faculty members, who had accepted the GTS board of trustees’ invitation to accept “provisional reinstatement” and to enter a process of reconciliation, have issued an Oct. 27 statement “to clarify just where we are in the negotiating process.” The full text of the statement follows.

The GTS Board of Trustees saw fit last Friday to release a statement that prematurely implied our return to the Seminary was imminent. We therefore believe it is necessary to clarify just where we are in the negotiating process.

From the outset, the central issue we have sought to address is the existence of an abusive environment at GTS. This is why we called our Facebook page “Safe Space.” Many of the details have been well-publicized and do not need repeating here.

The Board of Trustees’ unqualified vote of confidence in President and Dean Dunkle understandably raises a concern about whether anything would be different upon our return other than our reduced academic roles and our new status as “provisional.” Our proposed solution to this concern has been for the Board to name an unaligned, objective ombudsperson who would be available to any member of the GTS community who believes he or she has a legitimate complaint. That doesn’t seem like a radical step to us, but on Monday evening the Board’s attorney informed us that this idea was unacceptable.

Rather than name a single impartial person to act as ombudsperson, the Board proposes to appoint a four-person committee of trustees, chaired by the Rev. Ellen Tillotson, to field any complaints. But a month ago, the Rev. Tillotson sharply criticized us in a 1,200-word essay she posted on social media. One of the first trustees to speak out on the dispute, the Rev. Tillotson said she felt “profoundly betrayed” by us, and she falsely accused us of timing our work stoppage to cause as much distress as possible to the GTS students. Her view of the situation has been made crystal clear, and it is not an objective one.

The other point the Board seems to miss is that, despite deciding that there were not sufficient grounds to terminate Dean Dunkle, the complaints we made about him remain, and continue to create a toxic work environment. A four-person committee chaired by an outspoken critic is not going to rectify that problem.

In its Friday public statement, the Board lifted language from an earlier letter we wrote for an entirely different purpose to suggest that in a “joint response” we had thanked the trustees for giving attention “to a long-term process of reconciliation for the entire Seminary community.” There can be no reconciliation as long as students and faculty lack the confidence that their work, their contributions – even their presence – are valued by the President and Dean.

So here is where we really stand in our efforts to return to GTS: We have made a proposal that we consider reasonable and essential, the naming of an ombudsperson, and the Board has rejected it.

We cannot know whether all the trustees are listening to what we say. For the sake of the institution we all love, we pray that they are.

RIP: Former South Dakota Bishop Creighton Robertson

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

IX Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota Creighton L. Robertson (Mato Ohitika) died of heart failure Oct. 24. He was 70.

The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30, at Calvary Episcopal Cathedral, 500 South Main, Sioux Falls. A wake service will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 29, also at Calvary Episcopal Cathedral. Visitation will be Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 2 p.m., with the family present from 5-7 p.m., and a 6:45 p.m. prayer service at Miller Funeral Home, 507 South Main, Sioux Falls.

Born in Kansas City, Robertson was a graduate of Black Hill State University, the University of South Dakota, and the University of the South’s School of Theology.

He was ordained deacon in 1989 and priest in 1990, and served as priest-in-charge at Santee Episcopal Mission in Nebraska from 1990-94.

Robertson was a Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux, and the first Native American to be elected bishop of South Dakota. While serving as bishop from 1994 to 2009, he emphasized forms of training and deployment that became known as Mutual Ministry.

– With files from Miller Funeral Home and The Living Church.

El Consejo Ejecutivo avanza hacia el proyecto de presupuesto

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] El Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal inició aquí su reunión de cuatro días con la consideración de su proyecto presupuestario 2016-2018 así como con la revisión en comités de las resoluciones que esperan por las decisiones del Consejo el último día de la reunión.

La Rda. Susan Snook, miembro del Comité Permanente Conjunto sobre Finanzas para la Misión (FFM), puso al día a sus colegas sobre la labor del comité sobre el presupuesto hasta la fecha. Debido a que esa labor no está terminada aún, la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori advirtió a los miembros del Consejo y a los observadores que se abstuvieran de informar los detalles del trabajo presentado por Snook. El comité volverá al Consejo el 27 de octubre con un anteproyecto.

Luego de que el Consejo considere esa versión, no tardará en darla a conocer a la Iglesia para recibir comentarios. Además, algunos miembros del FFM se quedarán en el Instituto Marítimo en Linthicum Heights, Maryland, después de terminada la reunión para discutir el documento con el Comité Permanente Conjunto sobre Programa, Presupuesto y Finanzas (PB&F) durante su reunión del 27 al 29 de octubre.

El FFM revisará entonces el presupuesto a partir de los comentarios del PB&F y de la opinión denominacional y dispondrá de un proyecto final para someterlo a la consideración del Consejo durante su reunión del 9 al 11 de enero de 2015. Según las reglas conjuntas de la Convención General (regla conjunta II.10.c.ii), el Consejo debe entregarle su proyecto presupuestario al PB&F no menos de cuatro meses antes del comienzo de la Convención General (esencialmente para febrero del año de la Convención).

El PB&F debe reunirse de nuevo del 23 al 25 de febrero de 2015, para comenzar a trabajar en ese proyecto de presupuesto. El PB&F utiliza el proyecto de presupuesto y cualquier legislación aprobada por la Convención General o sometida a la consideración de la misma para crear una propuesta presupuestaria final. Ese presupuesto debe presentarse ante una sesión conjunta de las dos cámaras —de Obispos y de Diputados— a más tardar el tercer día antes del programado para la clausura de la Convención. La dos cámaras debatirán y votarán por separado sobre el presupuesto que requiere de la aprobación de ambas.

En un asunto relacionado, el tesorero Kurt Barnes puso al corriente al Consejo sobre el estado del actual presupuesto trienal 2013-2015. Informó que el presupuesto del 2014 hasta septiembre está en líneas generales de acuerdo con la versión revisada que el Consejo había aprobado anteriormente.

La Convención General aprueba el presupuesto trienal y el Consejo con frecuencia revisa los tres presupuestos anuales, a partir de los cambios ocurridos a nivel de ingresos y egresos.

Al Consejo se le pedirá que apruebe un presupuesto para 2015 que tiene un déficit, pero, dijo Barnes, el presupuesto trienal, que al menos debe estar equilibrado, mostrará un ingreso de $4 millones por encima de lo que se necesita para cubrir los gastos. Él atribuye ese superávit a $1,5 millones en ingresos no presupuestados provenientes de alquileres de espacios en el Centro Denominacional de la Iglesia en Nueva York. $2,9 millones adicionales provienen de un aumento de ingresos de fondos patrimoniales en apoyo de la obra de la oficina de desarrollo de la Iglesia. El aumento de algunos gastos redujeron la cifra [original] de ese ingreso adicional que era de $4,4 millones, dijo Barnes.

Él hizo notar que si bien el ingreso diocesano ha aumentado a partir de lo presupuestado, ese ingreso es atribuible a un mejor rendimiento de las inversiones diocesanas conducentes a mayores ingresos diocesanos y a un mejoramiento general de la economía.

“No hemos visto ningún aumento [en el número] de diócesis que refuercen con mayores [porcentajes de] contribuciones”, afirmó.

El presupuesto trienal de la Iglesia Episcopal depende fundamentalmente de las promesas de las diócesis y de las zonas de misión regionales. La contribución anual de cada año en el presupuesto trienal se basa en el ingreso de una diócesis dos años antes, menos $120.000. Los compromisos diocesanos para 2013 y 2014, basados en la solicitud presupuestaria de una contribución del 19 por ciento, pueden verse aquí.

La Obispa Primada dice que la Iglesia debe aprender a compartir sus recursos de nuevas maneras

La obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori centró su discurso de apertura al Consejo en cómo la Iglesia debe cambiar la manera de educar a sus líderes y cómo ello podría fomentar la autonomía económica para todas las diócesis y otras jurisdicciones de la Iglesia.

“No somos llamados a edificar una Iglesia que deje a sus parientes pobres y en apuros avergonzados o incapacitados por su pobreza”, dijo. “Somos llamados a construir sociedades de abundancia donde los recursos se dirijan hacia donde se necesitan, y donde nadie viva con carencias… Deberíamos retar a todos los episcopales a ver la abundancia que disfrutamos como dones a ser compartidos. Cuando esos dones se comparten, sabemos que eso aporta alegría y prosperidad a todos los miembros del cuerpo [de Cristo]. Se manifiesta como vida abundante”.

Jefferts Schori también felicitó a todo el Consejo por el “incremento de su capacidad en este trienio”.

“Estamos dedicados a la misión y el ministerio de esta Iglesia de maneras más amplias y estratégicas de lo que hemos estado en años recientes”, afirmó. “Sigo creyendo que la misión fundamental de esta organización es mucho mayor que las cuestiones estratégicas, y espero firmemente que la Convención nos ayudará a esclarecer ese papel”.

El texto completo del discurso de la Obispa Primada puede encontrarse aquí.

La presidente de la Cámara de Diputados bosqueja los cambios de la Convención General

En sus observaciones de apertura al Consejo, la Rda. Gay Clark Jennings, presidente de la Cámara de Diputados, bosquejó una serie de cambios para la reunión de la Convención General en 2015 que dijo estaban destinados a “la creación del proceso legislativo que pueda ayudarnos mejor a discernir nuestra misión y ministerio”.

Esos cambios incluyen una nueva lista de comités legislativos que estén más estrechamente alineados con el marco de las Cinco Marcas de la Misión, dijeron Jennings y Jefferts Schori en una carta enviada en julio a los obispos y los diputados. Los nuevos comités pueden verse aquí.

Jennings dijo que se propone nombrar comités legislativos de la Cámara de Diputados para el fin de este año e instruir a los presidentes de comités a comenzar a trabajar antes de la Convención General. Las actuales Reglas de Orden permiten comenzar a trabajar con esa antelación y Jennings le dijo al Consejo que ella espera que [el Consejo] hará lo posible para que consideramos la legislación mucho más eficientemente una vez que lleguemos a la Convención General”.

Otro cambio en la convención es la programación de las cuatro sesiones conjuntas de la Cámara de Obispos y la Cámara de Diputados, a saber:

* 24 de junio, el día antes de la primera jornada legislativa, una sesión vespertina durante la cual se presentarán los nominados para [el cargo de] Obispo Primado.

* 26 de junio, sesión conjunta para recibir oficialmente las nominaciones del Comité de Nominaciones Conjunto para la Elección del 27º. Obispo Primado y para recibir nominaciones que puedan haberse producido a través del proceso de peticiones. (La Cámara de Obispos elige al Obispo Primado el 27 de junio, después de lo cual se le pide a la Cámara de Diputados que confirme o no, mediante votación, la elección hecha por los obispos). Esa sesión también incluirá un conversatorio sobre la estructura de la Iglesia, según dijo Jennings.

* 30 de junio, sesión conjunta para un conversatorio sobre la misión.

* 1 de julio, para que el Comité Permanente Conjunto sobre Programa, Presupuesto y Finanzas presente su proyecto de presupuesto para el trienio 2016-2018 (ambas cámaras debatirán el presupuesto y deben convenir sobre el mismo presupuesto para que resulte aprobado) y

* 3 de julio (última jornada legislativa), una eucaristía especial para que la Convención le dé la bienvenida al Obispo Primado electo. Jennings dijo que aunque el nuevo Obispo Primado también será investido en la Catedral Nacional de Washington más adelante en el año, “nos proponemos que el oficio en la Convención General sea la celebración fundamental de manera que todos podamos participar del evento con sólo algunos modestos costos adicionales”.

El texto completo de las observaciones de Jennings se encuentra aquí. Y la carta del 22 de octubre que ella le escribió a los diputados explicándoles los cambios en la Convención General se encuentra aquí.

El resto de la agenda de la reunión

El consejo dedicará todo el 25 de octubre a reuniones de comités. Después de la eucaristía del 26 de octubre, las sesiones de comités continuarán hasta media tarde cuando todo el Consejo se reunirá para otra sesión sobre el proyecto del presupuesto 2016-2018. El 27 de octubre, el consejo se reunirá como un todo para considerar varios informes y para pronunciarse sobre las resoluciones propuestas de sus cinco comités. Ese día incluirá una sesión a puertas cerradas para que el Consejo oiga el informe de su subcomité respecto a las opciones para el uso del Centro Denominacional de la Iglesia en el No. 815 de la Segunda Avenida en Nueva York.

La reunión del 24 al 27 de octubre tiene lugar en el Centro de Conferencias del Instituto Marítimo [Maritime Institute Conference Center].

Algunos miembros del Consejo están enviando mensajes por Twitter desde la reunión valiéndose del código #ExCoun.

El Consejo Ejecutivo lleva a cabo los programas y políticas adoptadas por la Convención General, según el Canon I.4 (1)(a). El Consejo está compuesto de 38 miembros, 20 de los cuales (cuatro obispos, cuatro presbíteros o diáconos y 12 laicos) son elegidos por la Convención General, y 18 por los nueve sínodos provinciales (un clérigo y un laico cada uno) por períodos de seis años, además del Obispo Primado y el Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados [que son miembros ex oficio].

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

Executive Council defers proposal to make diocesan asking progressive

Monday, October 27, 2014

[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council Oct. 27 tabled until its next meeting a resolution calling for the 2016-2018 budget to be predicated on a progressive diocesan income asking structure.

The action came as council’s Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission (FFM) prepared to release to the church for comment its “current working draft” version of next triennium’s budget.

Council member John Johnson, who proposed the resolution via his membership on the Joint Standing Committee on Advocacy and Networking, moved to table his proposal just after it was introduced, saying that he was doing so because of that opportunity council will soon have to hear from the wider church on its work on the 2016-2018 budget thus far.

The tabled resolution would have asked dioceses with annual income of $2 million or more to give 19 percent of their income to the churchwide budget, those with incomes between $1,999,999.99 and $1 million to give 15 percent and those with less than $1 million to give 10 percent.

The Episcopal Church’s three-year budget is funded primarily by pledges from the church’s dioceses and regional mission areas. Each year’s annual giving in the three-year budget is based on a diocese’s income two years earlier, minus $120,000. Diocesan commitments for 2013 and 2014, based on the budget’s asking of a 19 percent contribution, are here.

FFM spent a great deal if its time during this meeting building on the proposed draft budget that council is required to give to the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) prior to the start of the next meeting of General Convention.

The current working draft’s revenue lines included a diocesan commitment amount that was based on assumed levels of the diocesan asking but council has not yet decided how it will calculate diocesan income for purposes of drafting its proposed budget. That decision will be articulated when council delivers the final version of its budget proposal to PB&F following council’s Jan 9-11 meeting.

After FFM had worked most of Oct. 25 and 26 in executive session, FFM chair Bishop Mark Hollingsworth and the Rev. Susan Snook, who headed FFM’s budget subcommittee, presented council during an open session late in the day on the 26th with what Hollingsworth called its “current working draft.”

Similar to her request when council got a budget review in its opening session on Oct. 24, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori instructed all who attended the Oct. 26 session not to publicize the details of the budget, pending its publication.

Hollingsworth, Snook, Jefferts Schori, House of Deputies President Gay Jennings and Chief Operating Officer Stacy Sauls will stay at the Maritime Institute here to discuss the working draft and council’s budget process with PB&F during its Oct. 27-29 meeting.

Soon after PB&F’s meeting concludes, FFM will release the working draft to the church along with a narrative to explain its assumptions and construction. It will be posted on the General Convention Office’s website and there will be a dedicated e-mail address for those who want to comment.

“Please do not hold us to a date as to when this will be sent out to everybody,” Hollingsworth said to council on Oct. 26, adding that FFM members need time to write the narrative and be sure that the budget document correctly reflects the committee’s thinking at this point in the process. He predicted a release in the “next week or so.”

On Oct. 26, Hollingsworth reminded council that when the working draft is posted it will not reflect a decision by council “but rather to continue the conversation” that will enable council to make “the best decision we can make.” He also noted that the comment mechanism on the General Convention website “won’t be a format for dialogue but for us to be able to receive input” and that FFM members will frequently access the comments.

During a post-meeting news conference, Jefferts Schori said that she hoped those who commented on the budget would consider whether it “expands our capacity for mission on behalf of the whole Episcopal Church.”

Jennings said she hoped that people “would not make a false dichotomy between, on the one hand, governance and administration and, on the other hand, mission,” adding that the portion of the budget devoted to governance and administration “is always as a servant of mission.”

FFM, she said, “is looking always at how mission is facilitated but also how local ministry is empowered,” predicting the working draft of the budget will include expenditures meant to encourage mission work at the local level.

The Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, executive officer of the General Convention, said during the news conference that he hopes those who decide to comment on the budget “not become too fixated” on their particular interest, but instead consider “what God is calling us to do collectively to expand God’s mission.”

FFM will revise the budget based on comments from PB&F and the wider church and have a final draft budget ready for the full council’s consideration during its Jan. 9-11, 2015 meeting. According to the joint rules of General Convention (joint rule II.10.c.ii), council must give its draft budget to PB&F no less than four months before the start of General Convention (essentially by February of convention year).

PB&F is due to meet next from Feb. 23-25, 2015, to begin work on that draft budget. PB&F uses the draft budget and any legislation passed by or being considered by General Convention to create a final budget proposal. That budget must be presented 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 and the budget needs the approval of both houses.

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

Social justice issues attract Executive Council’s attention

Monday, October 27, 2014

Heidi J. Kim, Episcopal Church missioner for racial reconciliation, right, makes a point Oct. 25 during an Executive Council committee conversation on racism. Navita Jones, chair of the Executive Council on Anti-Racism, center, and Chuck Wynder, the church’s missioner for social justice and advocacy engagement, respond. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] In addition to working towards a draft proposed 2016-2018 budget, the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council Oct. 27 approved resolutions on a number of social issues facing the church and the world.

Prompted by the work of its Joint Standing Committees on Advocacy and Networking (A&N) and Local Mission and Ministry (LMM), council went on record as:

A&N and LMM members met together Oct. 25 for most of the day to have a discussion about race, racism and racial justice in the church and in the world, and what the church might do to continue to combat racism. The discussion also included Episcopal Church Missioner for Social Justice and Advocacy Engagement Charles Allen Wynder, Jr., Episcopal Church Missioner for Racial Reconciliation Heidi Kim and Navita Jones, chair of council’s Committee on Anti-Racism.

A&N Chair Lelanda Lee told the rest of council that the conversation arose in part because of a desire to have a meaningful exploration that was more than a “frustratingly short and superficial brush” with the subject.

“We all need to do this work [of meaningful conversations], every single one of us for our salvation and for the salvation of our beloved community,” Lee said.

Acting on its own, A&N also put forward resolutions which council approved on:

  • condemning the use of rape and other forms of sexual violence in war as a crime against humanity;
  • supporting legislation and non-legislative efforts calling for an end to discrimination against women’s access to healthcare;

The Executive Council celebrated Eucharist the morning of Oct. 26 during its meeting at the Maritime Institute Conference Center in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. The center hosts many other conferences, along with sailors taking specialized training, and council member the Rev. Dahn Gandell posted a number of flyers inviting them and center staff to that Eucharist. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

  • supporting “Net Neutrality,” also known as “Open Internet”; and
  • asking the next meeting of General Convention to fund a Criminal Justice Reform Coordinating Committee for developing educational information, advocacy tools and church policy to assist dioceses and church members, in their ministry to prisoners, people returning home from prisons, and their families, and in advocacy for comprehensive criminal justice reform. The resolution also would have the church take a stand on various criminal-justice system reforms.

Council members also passed an A&N resolution about the losses suffered by both Palestinians and Israelis as a result of the 2014 Gaza War and, among other things, requesting that council’s Economic Justice Loan Committee consider supplementing its 2013 investment in the Palestinian Territories and to challenge dioceses to make similar investments.

The council also said it stands in prayer “with our sisters and brothers in Liberia, the Church of the Province of West Africa, and all countries where this virus [Ebola] threatens human health and societal structures and has claimed the lives of thousands.” The resolution applauds the work of the Episcopal Church in Liberia, that country’s religious community, grassroots organizations, and individuals, including Liberian clergy, and all organizations and individuals that have “raised hope, awareness, and materials and funds.” The resolution challenged the world faith communities to encourage a more aggressive and generous response to the challenges of the Ebola epidemic.

Finally, the resolution, that originated in council’s Joint Standing Committee on World Mission, “commend[s] the souls of those who have died into God’s loving care and pray for those who mourn,” and says council members “live in hope of the day we will celebrate the good news that this virus has been contained and we can cheer our sisters and brothers on as they rebuild their lives and their country.”

In other action
Also during the final plenary session, council:

  • granted $150,000 in increments of $50,000 annually beginning yet this year to Li-Tim Oi Chinese Ministries in the Diocese of Los Angeles as a way to enable expansion of ministries to people of Chinese descent. The money will come from income of specific trust funds given for ministry to Chinese after the Communist takeover.
  • spent nearly two hours at the beginning of the day in an executive session to discuss the latest report from its subcommittee on relocation of the Church Center in Manhattan. No action was taken on the report.
  • directed the presiding officers (Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings) to appoint a working group to study the issue of dioceses that are unable to afford to participate fully in General Convention to identify the issues surrounding this challenge and identify funding sources that might be brought to bear. The group is to report to Executive Council in January 2015. The resolution began with World Mission’s concern about Province IX dioceses’ ability to participate in convention, according to committee chair Martha Gardner.
  • approved a revised 2015 budget for the Episcopal Church. General Convention approves the triennial budget, and the council often revises the three annual budgets, based on changes in income and expenses. The revised 2015 budget will be posted here soon.

Brother Robert Sevensky, superior of the Order of the Holy Cross and chaplain to Executive Council, speaks before Eucharist on Oct. 26 as the Rev. Brandon Mauai, deacon and council member from North Dakota; Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, council member and preacher the Rev. Dahn Gandell from Rochester listen. Council celebrated Eucharist during its meeting at the Maritime Institute Conference Center in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

  • discussed if and how it might respond to the anticipated report of the Task Force for Reimagining The Episcopal Church. The discussion happened around a proposed resolution to form a working group to prepare a council response to TREC’s report, which is due to be released to the church in December. That report will include the recommendations TREC wants to make to the next meeting of General Convention in the summer of 2015.

Steve Hutchinson, chair of council’s Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Administration for Mission which had proposed the resolution, said it was prompted by concern on the part of some that from what TREC has said thus far, “I know this sounds judgmental but it … does not reflect a really comprehensive understanding of what Executive Council does and how we operate, the scope and breadth and depth of our responsibility.”

The Rev. Brian Baker, GAM member, said part of the intent of the proposed resolution was a sense that council should “have a voice in the conversation” about TREC’s work. The Rev. Nathaniel Pierce, another council member, said he was prompted to suggest the resolution because of a “very specific proposal that is on the table now” from TREC to reduce the size of council and the way provincial representatives are elected.

In the end, council referred the resolution to its executive committee to consider a process to use at the January 2015 meeting and possibly beyond for council to consider any response it might want to make to the TREC report.

The Oct. 24-27 meeting took place at the Maritime Institute Conference Center.

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

Previous ENS coverage from this meeting is 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.