[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] You can participate in #Giving Tuesday on December 2 and directly help the needs of the Episcopal Church in Navajoland.
This year marks the first time The Episcopal Church will participate in #Giving Tuesday, an international movement. Through the efforts of the Episcopal Church Development Office, donations can be made to the building of hogans in Navajoland.
Donations can be made here.
#Giving Tuesday is “a global day dedicated to giving back,” according to the website.
“#Giving Tuesday is defined as a charity-centered alternative to Black Friday, only four days prior,” explained Elizabeth Lowell, Director of Development.
The Navajoland Area Mission is 26,000 square miles, spreading over Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Hogans, a traditional Navajoland dwelling, cost $40,000 to build and are used for traditional ceremonies as well as educational purposes.
Donations for hogans will be accepted through June 2015.
For more information contact Lowell at email@example.com.
[Episcopal News Service] The Rt. Rev. James Michael Mark Dyer, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem from 1982 to 1995, died Nov. 11 after battling multiple myeloma for several years. He was 84.
Bishop Provisional of Bethlehem Sean W. Rowe said that Dyer’s death “represents a significant loss to our diocese and to the church.
“Whether as an advisor to several archbishops of Canterbury, chief pastor to his diocese, mentor to countless priests and seminarians, or advocate for the poor, he represented the very essence of the servanthood that can be found at the heart of the episcopate,” Rowe said. “A master teacher, Bishop Mark drew on the joy and tragedy of the human condition, including his own, to bring to life the ministry of Jesus and the narrative of God’s work in the world in ways that made for real and lasting transformation. Those of us who had the privilege of sitting at his feet as students caught a glimpse of what it must have been like to sit at the feet of Jesus.”
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS), said: “The sense of loss is palpable. I was among many who found tears in my eyes as I learned the news … Mark Dyer was a giant of this seminary. He was a profound gift to the church and to this seminary.”
Dyer joined the VTS faculty in 1996 as professor of systematic theology and director of spiritual formation. He also served as professor of theology and mission. While at VTS he was a senior consultant for the Center for Anglican Communion Studies. After his retirement from VTS, Dyer maintained a presence within the VTS community as an adjunct professor until his death.
A widely respected leader in the worldwide Anglican Communion, Dyer was called upon frequently by Robert Runcie, George Carey and Rowan Williams for significant assignments during their tenures as archbishop of Canterbury.Under Runcie, Dyer was the sole representative of the bishops of the Episcopal Church on an international committee of 20 Anglican bishops who prepared theological position papers for the 1988 Lambeth Conference of bishops.Carey named Dyer to the 12-member steering committee that planned the 1998 Lambeth Conference. In 1998, he also named Dyer to the Eames Commission that attempted to quell controversy in the communion over the decision by some provinces to ordain women to the priesthood and the episcopacy.
In 2004, Williams named Dyer to the Lambeth Commission on Communion, which attempted to restore unity in the communion during the ongoing controversy over the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians in the life of the church.
Dyer was also a committed and respected ecumenist, and his was an important voice in dialogues between the Episcopal Church and Lutheran and Orthodox churches in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s. He served as co-chair of the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue, which produced an agreed statement on the theology of the Church in 2006, published as The Church of the Triune God.
Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu, remembered his friend Dyer, who he worked with on many issues in the Anglican Communion. “He had a gentle manner. His mouth was always ready to laugh. And he was an affirming presence in every situation in which I encountered him,” said Tutu.
Born June 7, 1930 in Manchester, New Hampshire, Dyer served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War before studying contemporary philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in theology magna cum laude from New Hampshire’s St. Anselm College in 1959.The following year, he was professed a monk in the Order of St. Benedict at St. Anselm Abbey, on the college’s campus. He was ordained priest of the abbey in 1963. He earned a master’s in theology and licentiate in sacred theology at the University of Ottawa, Canada, in 1965, while teaching at St. Anselm seminary. He also taught theology at Queen of Peace Mission Seminary in New Hampshire and as an adjunct professor at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts.
He entered the Anglican Church of Canada in 1969 and was received as a priest in the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Massachusetts in 1971. He served the Massachusetts diocese as missioner to the clergy; priest in charge of Trinity Church, Bridgewater; and rector of Christ Church, Hamilton and Wenham, before being ordained bishop of the Diocese of Bethlehem in 1982.
In her 2008 book, “The Great Emergence,” Phyllis Tickle revised for a wide readership Dyer’s insight that the church’s history can be thought of as a series of “ecclesiastical yard sales.”
While bishop of Bethlehem in the early 1990s, Dyer wrote: “Christianity has had five significant yard sales. Each one has had to do with the church’s struggle to resist the temptation to domesticate God’s vision, to settle for change when God seeks transformation. The sixth is now. It’s something that seems to happen every three or four hundred years. In Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, God empowers the church to discover its roots and its center, and transform itself in new, exciting and wonderful ways. Jesus announced the first yard sale. Then Benedict, in the sixth century. Then the Franciscan Spring in the thirteenth century. Then Martin Luther and the reformers in the sixteenth century, the only yard sale led by an ordained person. It’s time once again for a massive yard sale, a transformation led by lay people. Our 400 years are up.”Dyer is predeceased by his son Matthew and survived by his children John and Jennifer Dyer; his stepchildren, Robyn and Amanda Gearey; two grandchildren, Sam and Ava Wandler; and his spouse, Amelia J. Gearey Dyer, Ph.D., who serves VTS as the James Maxwell Professor of Christian Education and Pastoral Theology, and director of the Ministry Resident Program. He is also survived by a sister, Patricia Cashin.
Dyer’s first wife, the Rev. Marie Elizabeth Dyer, died in 1999. She was an Episcopal priest and they were married 29 years.
– Adapted from various press releases and statements.
[Anglican Communion News Service] Members of Anglican Communion Churches worldwide are being invited to celebrate Advent through prayer, meditation and by contributing to a global Advent calendar on Instagram.
Advent — from Nov. 30 to Dec. 24 — is the season when Christians observe a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas.
The Anglican Communion Office and the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE) are teaming up to offer Anglicans and Episcopalians around the world a daily word, meditation and beautiful image sent to their e-mail inboxes.
Playing around with time
The brothers use technology that allows their daily Advent e-mail to arrive in people’s inboxes at 5 a.m. wherever in the world the recipient is.
“5 a.m. is about the time we get up to pray,” said SSJE’s Brother Jim Woodrum. “Of course you can look at your e-mail after 5 a.m., but we want to make sure it’s there when you wake up.”
Though people are used to the idea of monks involved in prayer and meditation, they might be surprised to know that monks have camera phones too.
“We are hoping that people will join us in praying with their phone this Advent,” said Woodrum. “After reading the meditation, we’d love for people to snap a picture that reflects the theme or their response to it and post it to Instagram.”
Participants are invited to take a photo with their phone or tablet to share their interpretation of the word for that day – these include #Abide, #Thrive, #Become, #Imagine – and post the picture to Instagram adding the day’s tag plus #Adventword.
“People need help with their daily spiritual practice,” said Brother Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE superior. “During Advent, we anticipate the coming of Christ, an event that awakens our deepest desires and longings. This Advent, we are inviting you to join us in looking clearly and honestly at our lives and taking action.”
Jan Butter, director for communications at the Anglican Communion Office, said, “It’s all too easy for Christians to be consumers in today’s world — especially during the Advent season. Here we have a chance to not only receive during Advent, but also take part in a global action; to give back to other Anglicans and Episcopalians worldwide by sharing our photos with each other.
“This is also a chance for people who might never have connected with an Anglican religious community before to benefit from the deep thought, meditation and prayer that emanates from such communities all around the world.” (Visit http://communities.anglicancommunion.org/ for a list of other Anglican Communion religious communities.)
Brotherhood President Robert Dennis cites too many instances of veterans struggling to get the help they need: jobs, disability payments, health care and treatment for such afflictions as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, physical disabilities and military sexual trauma.
In the 12 years since American troops were first deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, more than 2.6 million veterans have returned home to a country largely unprepared to meet their needs.
“The suicide rate, broken families and unemployment among families is inconceivable to all of us,” Dennis said Nov. 11 upon the announcement of his organization’s attempt to promote Veteran Friendly Congregations in its chapters and churches.
“Some 37 percent of returning veterans suffer from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder and 62,619 are homeless,” Dennis said. “Their unemployment rate of 15 percent is twice the national average.”
The project began in 2009 at St. Peter and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Marietta, Georgia, when then-rector the Rev. Robert Certain was approached by IBM executive and West Point graduate Peter McCall, who sought a way to help what he saw as a major problem.
“Peter and his wife Cathy have been stalwart leaders in the creation of Veteran Friendly Congregations,” Certain says. There are about 200 VFCs throughout the southeastern U.S. and the Brotherhood has begun a major push to take the program nationwide.
A retired Air Force colonel, Certain is also the Brotherhood’s national missioner to the U.S. Armed Forces and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Peter and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church offers training for mental health professionals regarding post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues, arranges living accommodations, provides financial support, helps veterans find employment and will help any veteran in any possible way.
The church and its Brotherhood chapter organized Care For The Troops, that provides information any chapter to get started caring for servicemen and women.
“We are delighted the Brotherhood is pushing this program,” Certain says. “It has spread to many other denominations here in Georgia and we would love for this to be expanded to other regions of the country. It started with the Brotherhood and the Brotherhood would be a good vehicle to get it going nationally.”
The Veteran Friendly Congregation initiative continues a long-standing Brotherhood commitment to helping returning servicemen.
At the conclusion of World War I, 729 churches out of the 1,165 that existed at the time organized church welcoming committees, thanks to the work of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, which kept a file on each and every serviceman. When a soldier returned home – many suffering from “shell-shock” and which is now called “post-traumatic stress disorder” – a local Brotherhood chapter knew about him.
Statistics from that era show that 56 percent of men asking to be baptized at Episcopal churches did so after initially being ushered into a church welcoming home committee organized by the Brotherhood of St. Andrew.
Building upon its success in World War I, the Brotherhood refined its methods of keeping up with servicemen, even as the task in the U.S.’s five-year involvement in World War II proved much more difficult. The Brotherhood’s helpfulness to the military in the First World War earned it a great deal of trust among the Army and Navy brass. To its surprise, the Brotherhood found itself being recommended by U.S. Army and Naval officers.
Due to the international stature of the Anglican Communion, Brotherhood chapters already existed in much of the English-speaking nations. But during – and especially after – World War II, Brotherhood chapters spread to non-English speaking countries and regions such as the Philippines, Korea and Japan, a legacy of the Brotherhood’s efforts that began in 1945 by helping wounded servicemen.
Offering injured servicemen a home in a Brotherhood chapter that can offer them substantial help for their afflictions – whether physical, psychological or both – can play an important role in the life of the Brotherhood as well as the lives of servicemen returning from the longest wars the U.S. has ever fought.
“There is no set way to accomplish this – every church and chapter is different,” Dennis notes. “Either way, you are transforming the life of a man who gave his all for his country.”
[Washington National Cathedral] Washington National Cathedral and five Muslim groups have announced that the first celebration of Muslim Friday prayers (Jumaa) at the cathedral will be observed on Friday, Nov. 14.
“Leaders believe offering Muslim prayers at the Christian cathedral shows more than hospitality,” according to a cathedral media advisory. “It demonstrates an appreciation of one another’s prayer traditions and is a powerful symbolic gesture toward a deeper relationship between the two Abrahamic traditions.”
The prayers will be held between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and will be attended by the Rev. Canon Gina Campbell, director of liturgy for Washington National Cathedral, South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, Masjid Muhammad of The Nation’s Mosque,
and representatives from the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Public Affairs Council.
The opportunity grew out of a “trusted relationship” between Campbell and Rasool, who met while planning the national memorial service for Nelson Mandela, the advisory said.
“Deep relationships come out of prayer,” said Campbell. “Different connections come out of being in prayer — beyond the political or academic.”
Rasool thanked Campbell for the cathedral’s generous offer to use Friday prayers as a beginning to a deeper conversation and partnership. “This is a dramatic moment in the world and in Muslim-Christian relations,” said Rasool. “This needs to be a world in which all are free to believe and practice and in which we avoid bigotry, Islamaphobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Christianity and to embrace our humanity and to embrace faith.”
The cathedral has welcomed Muslims in the past, often at interfaith services and events, as well as at the Interfaith Conference of Greater Washington’s annual concert and specific programs such as the 2008 Ramadan Iftar at the Cathedral College. But this is the first time the cathedral has invited Muslims to come and lead their own prayers in a space known as a house of prayer for all people.
Planners hope that the people around the world will take note of this service and the welcome extended by the cathedral so that Muslims everywhere will adopt a reciprocal welcome of Christians by Muslims.
The prayers will be offered in the north transept, an area of the cathedral with arches and limited iconography that provide an ideal space — almost mosque-like — with the appropriate orientation for Muslim prayers.
The prayers will also be webcast live from the cathedral’s website.
[Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina] The ordination and consecration of the Rev. Robert S. Skirving as the 8th bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina capped off a celebratory weekend of festivities, bringing people from all over North America to Greenville, North Carolina.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori served as the chief consecrator. The Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel (East Carolina, Resigned), the Rt. Rev. Peter J. Lee (East Carolina, Provisional), the Rt. Rev. Julio Holguin (Dominican Republic), the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley (Eastern Michigan), and the Rt. Rev. Graham Rights (Bishop of Moravian Unity) were the co-consecrators.
The dioceses of East Carolina and the Dominican Republic have shared a companion relationship since 2010. Skirving, through his previous parish of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Midland, Michigan, led many groups to the Dominican Republic.
Skirving says he hopes to strengthen the ties between the Episcopal Church and the Moravian Church in Eastern North Carolina. The two traditions are in full communion with each other. The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry (North Carolina) preached, telling the 1,200 worshipers that God’s mission for humanity is to tell people how loved they are.
The ordination and consecration took place at the Rock Springs Center. Clergy of the diocese had the opportunity to meet with the presiding bishop during a luncheon on Friday. She facilitated conversation about effective ministries throughout the church, including the Farmworker Ministry, a joint ministry with the dioceses of East Carolina and North Carolina.
Later in the afternoon, students and campus ministers from Episcopal Lutheran Campus Ministries at East Carolina University, Episcopal Lutheran Ministries at UNC-Pembroke, and Episcopal Campus Ministries at UNC-Wilmington had the opportunity to gather for coffee and conversation with the presiding bishop at St. Timothy’s, Greenville. The conversation included LGBT inclusion and each campus’ outreach efforts: ELCM at ECU sponsoring a partner program with the Muslim Student group, ELM at UNCP working with a Native American Literacy Project in their local Community, and ECM at UNCW working at the Farmworker Festival earlier in the fall. The students were deeply engaged by the presiding bishop, and she encouraged them to continue in their strong work of reaching out.
There was no day of rest for the new bishop. He preached and presided at three services at Christ Church, New Bern, on Sunday, Nov. 9. He performed three baptisms, 12 confirmations, four receptions, and seven reaffirmations.
Skirving was elected bishop on May 17 in a special convention. He was serving as rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Midland, Michigan, when he was elected. Prior to arriving at St. John’s in 2005, Skirving served as rector of Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church in London, Ontario, Canada. His work in Canada provided him experience working in churches of varying sizes, from small, rural congregations to large, program-sized parishes in suburban and urban areas.
He has served on the House of Deputies State of the Church Committee and represented the Diocese of Eastern Michigan on the Province V Executive Board. He was a deputy to General Convention in 2012 and has served his diocese as dean and chair of its Commission on Ministry.
He was awarded a BA from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada in 1982. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Huron University College in London, Ontario in 1986. He has completed additional course work towards advanced degrees in religious studies and congregational development at the University of Windsor, University of Notre Dame and Seabury Institute.
He and his wife Sandy have two grown children. When he can, he enjoys reading biography and historical fiction. He has also begun to learn Latin American Spanish to help in the missional partnership with the Episcopal Church in the Dominican Republic.
The Diocese of East Carolina is composed of nearly 70 parishes in 32 counties and covers the area from I-95 to the coast and from Southport up to Gatesville. The diocese is home to several major military bases, a large Hispanic community, and small congregations. The diocesan office is located in Kinston.
[Lambeth Palace press release] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has appointed the Rev. Anders Litzell as prior of the Community of St. Anselm, a radical new Christian community at Lambeth Palace.
Litzell, 34, is an Anglican priest from Sweden, who has experience of the Pentecostal and Lutheran traditions as well as three provinces of the Anglican Communion. He will pioneer the Community, which launches in September 2015, and direct its worship and work. He will work as prior under the auspices of the archbishop, who will be Abbot of the Community. Litzell will take up the role on Jan. 5, 2015.
The Community will initially consist of 16 people living at Lambeth Palace full-time, and up to 40 people, who live and work in London, joining as non-residential members. The archbishop hopes that the Community will be definitive in shaping future leaders to serve the common good in a variety of fields, as they immerse themselves in a challenging year of rigorous formation through prayer, study, practical service and community life.
Litzell was ordained in the Church of England in 2012. He is currently serving at St George’s, Holborn, in the Diocese of London, where his ministry focuses on students and adults in their 20s and 30s. At the same time he is pursuing a doctorate which focuses on the relevance of St. Benedict for contemporary leadership. He trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, U.K., including a sojourn at St. Agnes, Diocese of Natal in South Africa.
Litzell grew up in the Swedish Pentecostal Church. During his undergraduate studies at Wheaton College, Illinois, he discovered ‘high church’ Anglicanism through St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Glen Ellyn – where his journey to ordination began. Back in Sweden he served in the Lutheran church, Sollentuna Parish in Stockholm, while directing the Alpha Sweden office, before moving to London to work with Alpha International.
Welby said: “My vision for the Community of St. Anselm is that it be both ancient and postmodern: that young adults be steeped in the rich monastic traditions of the likes of Benedict, Francis and Ignatius, while discovering their striking relevance for the transformation of self and society today. I am delighted at the appointment of Anders Litzell who will help to work this out at Lambeth Palace.”
The archbishop’s chaplain, the Rev. Jo Wells, who has pioneered the setting up of the Community, said: “Anders brings an experience and hunger for spiritual formation which is both wide and deep – crossing a variety of continents and traditions. He brings much energy and imagination to the work, a work in which he will participate even as he leads.”
Litzell said: “I am hugely excited about taking on this role and, through God’s grace, turning Archbishop Justin’s vision for the community into reality. We pray that the Community will be identified by prayer, by learning, by love of each other and of the poor – all with one intention above all others: to become more like Jesus.”
Further information is available here.
[Anglican Communion News Service] Anglican youth worldwide have been called on to help determine the Anglican Communion’s strategy to protect the environment.
Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba, primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, has issued an invitation to young Anglicans and Episcopalians worldwide to use social media to let the eco-bishops know what they think should be in a Communion-wide strategic plan to address global climate change.
“I write to you today in order to strengthen our Christian witness in a difficult time and, by doing so, mobilizing the entire Anglican Communion around the urgent matter of global climate change,” wrote Makgoba, who is the chair of the Anglican Communion Environment Network.
“I have invited a few bishops from around the Anglican Communion to meet with me in South Africa in February 2015. These bishops have already begun conversations together involving an exchange of ideas and concerns, and information about the responses we have already made in relation to climate change, and those we hope to make.
“Wherever we live in the communion, each of us already feels the impact of climate change in our home provinces and dioceses – rising sea levels, stronger storms in some areas, longer droughts in others, shortages of food and clean water, waves of refugees.
“This could lead to social and political upheaval in many countries. Unless more direct and faithful action, in addition to the reduction of greenhouse gases, is taken soon, the consequences for the church and all of humanity will be even more profound.
“Our goal will be to develop a Communion-wide strategic plan that meets the challenges ahead and builds ‘confidence in God’s future’ for present and future generations.”
Calling on future leaders
The archbishop stressed that he needed to hear from Anglican youth worldwide because it was they who would soon be the leaders of the church and “nations in which we we minister in these important matters.”
“What do you want to say to a group of eco-bishops? I ask you to post a selfie or record a video on your smartphone or mobile device. Speak in English, French, Spanish or other language. If you are on Facebook visit our Anglican eco-bishops community page.”
Makgoba invited visitors to the social media platform to post comments, pictures and short videos there and see what others had posted also.
Further information about the Anglican Communion Environment Network is available here.
[Anglican Communion News Service] Anglicans need a deeper understanding of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations so they can better pray and respond to interfaith situations.
Chair of the Anglican Network for Inter Faith Concerns (NIFCON) and Archbishop of Dublin the Most Rev. Michael Jackson made the comments in a letter to primates and provincial secretaries of the Anglican Communion.
Writing to promote the latest NIFCON Christian Muslim Digest he said, “As the events in Syria and Iraq, and in other countries where Muslims are in a majority, impact upon increasingly wider areas, we are reminded that within all of the provinces of the Anglican Communion we need to have a deeper knowledge of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations so that we can reach a better understanding of the issues and how they might impact upon us and other Anglicans, and will be able to pray more effectively.”
Andrew Sharp has spent the past few months, on behalf of NIFCON, monitoring worldwide news coverage of Christian-Muslim affairs and has subsequently compiled the Christian Muslim Digest.
The present issue looks at the activities of Islamic State and the responses to these from other Muslims. It also features the story of Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for apostasy, acquitted, and granted asylum in the United States.
It can be read online or downloaded as a pdf, and is accessible at http://nifcon.anglicancommunion.org/digest/docs/digest22.cfm. To be put on the circulation for future editions email email@example.com