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Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society reports $2.4 million annual surplus

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City, Utah] Responding to financial reports by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society leadership showing yearly income exceeding expenses (or “surplus”) of nearly $2.4 million, The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, during its March 19-21 meeting here, adopted a resolution celebrating the financial stewardship of the society’s staff and management. The resolution acknowledges in particular the “consistent, visionary leadership” of Chief Operating Officer Bishop Stacy F. Sauls and Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer N. Kurt Barnes in reducing expenses and generating income.

A presentation by Barnes on the meeting’s first day showed a preliminary net result (income less expenses) of $2.4 million in the churchwide budget for fiscal year 2014, the middle year of the 2013-2015 triennial budget.

The surplus, which appears in budget lines overseen by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society management, represents “a better result than budgeted” for 2014, according to Barnes. “The strong financial position of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society comes through taking advantage of opportunities for revenue generation, as well substantial savings in operating expenses,” he said.

The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is the name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business, and carries out mission.

Annual income exceeded projections by more than $2.5 million, primarily a result of unanticipated increases in: rental income generated by making more efficient use of space and the leasing of excess space at the Episcopal Church Center in New York; renegotiation of loans and lines of credit; and steady diocesan giving. Savings in operating expenses came primarily as a result of careful budget management by staff in every area: mission, administration and governance.

These savings do not, however, equate with a reduced mission footprint, according to Sauls.

“We are committed to being held accountable for measureable mission deliverables,” Sauls said, pointing to the recently released Report to the Church 2015, an online magazine published in January that illustrates the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s work to support local communities in The Episcopal Church working toward each of the Five Marks of Mission.

“We are trying to lead the churchwide staff to a cultural shift toward mission and away from maintenance; toward service and away from regulation,” Sauls continued.

“The purpose of a churchwide missionary society is the redistribution and targeting of our resources, both financial and personnel, to the parts of the body which, though financially poor, are among our richest communities in vision and creativity toward mission and have the most potential,” Sauls added. “The present financial picture shows a churchwide structure already living into a future that is mission-driven, Gospel-based, and rooted in ministry at the local level.”

Reaction from Executive Council members
The resolution recognizing the financial leadership of the staff originated with the Executive Council’s Joint Standing Committee on World Mission. The full council adopted it unanimously on the final day of its meeting and several members later praised the financial standing of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.

“A $2.4 million budget surplus indicates the careful oversight of spending, and careful financial stewardship of the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, chief operating officer, and Kurt Barnes, [treasurer and chief financial officer],” said World Mission committee member and Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Provisional Clifton Daniel.

“Many thanks are owed them for their vigilance, which frees additional funding for the growing missionary vision of this church,” Daniel said.

Council member John Johnson, a General Convention deputy from the Diocese of Washington, agreed.

“This surplus is great news for all Episcopalians. Excellent fiscal management and oversight of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society operations and programs demonstrates that we are a church of abundance and opportunity,” Johnson said.

“Moving forward, I believe deputies to General Convention and other church leaders need to create a new strategic vision and mission for a renewed Episcopal Church focused on taking [the] church to the world and not the other way around,” Johnson added.

Another council member, the Rev. Dahn Gandell of the Diocese of Rochester, said, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff “has done an excellent job managing the financial resources of our church. Net income has exceeded expenses in nine of the last 10 years due to increased revenue and expenses coming in under budget while still accomplishing the goals set by the General Convention and Executive Council.”

“It is important that the church is aware of these successes and acknowledges Bishop Stacy Sauls and Kurt Barnes for their leadership and commitment to our church and its mission,” she said.

Several council committee chairs used their final triennial reports to the council to praise a relationship between Domestic and Foreign Missionary staff and the council that they said had improved markedly over past triennia.

Lelanda Lee, a General Convention deputy from the Diocese of Colorado and the chair of the council’s Joint Standing Committee on Advocacy and Networking, noted, “The [staff-council] collaboration has been very welcome and very effective.” Steve Hutchinson, a deputy from the Diocese of Utah and the chair of the council’s Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Administration for Mission, said that “the working relationship this triennium between the standing committees of council and the staff…[is] noticeably more engaged, constructive and helpful, and an improvement from the prior triennium.”

As part of his report to council, Bishop Mark Hollingsworth of Ohio, chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission, praised the “skill, wisdom, creativity, and faith” of the staff members that have worked with his committee during the present triennium, all of whom “have been essential to the carrying out of our mission and activities.”

Revenue generation and staff dispersal
Multiple factors contributed to the generation of $40.6 million in revenue, more than $2.5 million beyond budget projections, during 2014. These include an unanticipated rise in giving as well as rental income that exceeded forecasts.

The lease of unused floors of The Episcopal Church Center to outside tenants dates to 2009, but has increased markedly during the present triennium. Currently, five floors are fully leased by outside tenants. The leasing of space has been made possible, in part, by an initiative of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s management in the present triennium to base increasing numbers of staff outside New York.

“We have made disbursing the staff to connect to local ministry a priority.  A side benefit has been the availability of additional space to rent to others,” said Sauls.

In contrast to six years ago, when nearly all employees of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society lived in the New York metropolitan area and worked out of The Episcopal Church Center, at present approximately 45% of employees – including most mission staff – live and work elsewhere.

“Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff members currently live and work in places as diverse as Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, Minnesota, Dallas, Ohio, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Orlando, Austin, and Buffalo,” said Samuel A. McDonald, deputy chief operating officer and director of mission. “In fact, as part of our international mission and identity, we also have staff living in places like Hong Kong, Panama, and Edinburgh.”

“While revenue generation is one ancillary benefit of the staff’s disbursement, the primary virtue has been that it has allowed the staff to become more responsive and accountable to the wider church, more grounded in local conversations and context for mission, and – perhaps most importantly – more productive in measurable deliverables toward mission,” McDonald added.

An increased mission footprint
Like Sauls, McDonald noted that an accurate picture of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s mission footprint can be found in the Report to the Church 2015, which is available in English, Spanish and French on the website of The Episcopal Church. In addition to extensive narrative presentations, illustrations, and videos related to each of the mission marks, the report contains an extensive appendix detailing specifics of the society’s work in each of the church’s dioceses.

Spanish and French translations of the report are also available online.

“The Report to the Church is all about partnership, illustrating the impact of churchwide resources when matched with local efforts,” McDonald said. “It is organized according to the Five Marks of Mission because the work of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, like the triennial budget, is organized around those marks.”

The 2013-2015 triennial budget of The Episcopal Church was organized according to the Five Marks of Mission for the first time ever after the idea and a model budget were proposed to the 77th General Convention by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Sauls cited church planting as an example of a mission focus in which limited but strategically leveraged investments at the churchwide level have begun to return dividends in local contexts.

“In the last triennium, there were eleven new church starts in all of The Episcopal Church, five of which were in Texas,” Sauls said. “Outside of Texas, there were just six new church starts, and the churchwide investment in this work was zero.

“This triennium, so far, we have planted 38 new churches or ‘mission enterprise zones,’ which are clusters of congregations or communities working in evangelism contexts historically underserved by our church: youth and young adults, communities of color, poor and working-class communities, or communities with little church or religious background,” Sauls continued.

“Approximately half of these are in Spanish-speaking contexts. We’ve done this by making available $1.8 million in grant money,” he said. “Through the miracle of partnerships – meaning matching funds from our partners, the dioceses – we’ve leveraged nearly $4 million toward these new church starts this triennium.”

Other examples of mission expansion cited by Sauls include the Missionary Society’s successful push to double the size of the Young Adult Service Corps this triennium and increase its ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, and recent work toward financial sustainability for Province IX dioceses. At March 13-17 meeting of the House of Bishops, Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society leaders announced that three Province IX dioceses (as opposed to the one originally planned) are on track to secure financial operation by 2019 thanks to partnership with the society.

Sauls cited the inauguration in 2013 of the Diocesan Partnership Program as a turning point in building strong links between the Missionary Society and the dioceses. The program pairs each diocese with a member of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff in order to create an easy contact and point of accountability for mission deliverables.

Each of these initiatives is covered in detail in the Report to the Church.

“The name of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is nearly 200 years old, but as we seek to live fully into that name, it becomes clearer every day that a missionary society grounded outside itself is the future of churchwide organization,” Sauls said. “Churches that turn inward will die. Churches that turn outward will live abundantly.”

El Consejo Ejecutivo recapitula la labor del trienio 2013-2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

El consejo Ejecutivo se reúne el 21 de marzo en su última sesión plenaria del trienio 2013-2015. La reunión del 19 al 21 de marzo tuvo lugar en el centro de Salt Lake City, cerca del Centro de Convenciones Salt Palace, el lugar donde sesionará la Convención General del 23 de junio al 3 de julio. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City, Utah] El Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal durante su reunión del 19 al 21 de marzo en esta ciudad, celebró la labor realizada y se proyectó hacia el porvenir.

“Una buena cantidad de energía durante la reunión se dedicó a los problemas de la transición”, dijo la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts durante una conferencia de prensa. “El Consejo Ejecutivo revisó su labor del último trienio e hizo recomendaciones que serán aprobadas en la próxima iteración del Consejo Ejecutivo”.

“La labor del Consejo Ejecutivo ha sido intensa este trienio y creo que tienen [sus miembros] buenas razones para sentirse orgullosos de lo que han realizado”, añadió.

La Rda. Gay Clark Jennings, presidente de la Cámara de Diputados, dijo durante la conferencia de prensa que “una cosa que distingue a este Consejo es que a través del trienio” [sus miembros] han prestado una mirada crítica en lo que respecta a las funciones del Consejo y a la manera en que el Consejo puede tener un funcionamiento aun más efectivo”.

Cada uno de los cinco comités permanentes del Consejo escribió un memo a su sucesor, en el que bosquejaba el trabajo realizado, así como la labor parcialmente concluida que recomendaban continuar, y la clase saliente ha escrito un memorando semejante sobre el funcionamiento general del Consejo. La mitad de los 38 miembros termina su período este verano después de la 78ª. reunión de la Convención General.

Cuando esa reunión sesione aquí en Salt Lake City, del 23 de junio al 3 de julio, los debates sobre las estructuras de gobierno de la Iglesia Episcopal, incluido el Consejo, se destacarán de manera prominente. En una de sus últimas decisiones del trienio, el Consejo convino en publicar una respuesta a algunas de las recomendaciones del Equipo de Trabajo para Reinventar la Iglesia Episcopal

( o TREC, por su sigla en inglés). El TREC surgió de Resolución C095 de la Convención General, la cual solicitaba la creación de un comité que presentara un plan para “reformar las estructuras de gobierno y administración de la Iglesia”.

“Había pensado que podría haber un modo de encontrar consenso en torno al informe del TREC, [pero] no creo que haya mucho consenso acerca de ese informe”, dijo al Consejo John Johnson, que presidió un pequeño grupo de miembros del Consejo que redactó la respuesta, al tiempo de someter su informe a la aprobación del pleno.

Debido a esa falta de consenso, el comité hizo algunos comentarios generales acerca del informe antes de responder específicamente a lo que el TREC dijo acerca del Consejo Ejecutivo.

La declaración, cuyo texto final estará disponible en breve, decía que las resoluciones estructurales del TREC, “si bien audaces para algunos, seguían una senda con frecuencia concentrada en ahorrar dinero, pero sin una clara visión de cuál sería la misión que le permitiría llevar a cabo a la Iglesia una nueva estructura”.

La declaración decía que el Consejo está “comprometido con un cambio razonado y audaz en la estructura y el gobierno de la Iglesia Episcopal” y añadía que “el alcance de la labor del TREC puede no haber sido presentar una nueva misión audaz para la Iglesia Episcopal a escala denominacional, sino indagar con la Iglesia qué aspecto podría tener esa renovación”.

Deborah Stokes, miembro del Consejo Ejecutivo, dirige la Oración de los Fieles durante la eucaristía del 21 de marzo. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

“¿Es la misión de la Iglesia Episcopal llevar el mundo a la Iglesia o llevar la Iglesia Episcopal al mundo y qué aspecto eso tiene en el siglo XXI?” preguntó el Consejo.

El Consejo Ejecutivo lleva a cabo los programas y políticas adoptadas por la Convención General, conforme al 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]. El TREC ha pedido reducir el número de miembros a 21 “para perfeccionar su eficacia como junta”.


El Consejo dijo que la reducción no perfeccionaría su eficacia. “Si bien entendemos la preocupación respecto a reducir los costos de gobierno, también nos preocupa que falsas economías pudieran afectar a la Iglesia a largo plazo”, decía la declaración.

El Consejo se divide en cinco comités permanentes, además de algunos subcomités ocasionales, y la declaración decía que gran parte de la labor del Consejo tiene lugar en esos pequeños grupos, “lo cual le permite al Consejo participar en un profundo debate sustantivo sobre importantes intereses fiduciarios y misionales en un grupo de tamaño manejable”.

Reducir el tamaño del Consejo “significa inevitablemente disminuir la representación y perspectivas de la Iglesia a escala denominacional”, dijo el Consejo, añadiendo que un Consejo más pequeño también significaría “disminuir su capacidad para la supervisión fiduciaria”.

La última reunión de la Convención también expresó, mediante la Resolución D016, que “es la voluntad de esta Convención mudar las oficinas centrales del centro denominacional” del edificio que la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera posee en el No. 815 de la Segunda Avenida en Nueva York(La DFMS [Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society] es el nombre legal y canónico con el cual la Iglesia Episcopal está incorporada, funciona empresarialmente y lleva a cabo la misión).

El texto final de la resolución fue notablemente enmendado durante el debate en la Convención para eliminar las instrucciones que le habrían exigido al Consejo vender o alquilar toda la propiedad y reubicar el centro denominacional “tan pronto como fuera económicamente factible”.

El Consejo ha dedicado el trienio a estudiar las implicaciones de la D016, y el 21 de marzo convino en conservar y proseguir la labor del subcomité sobre la reubicación del centro denominacional mediante la creación de un comité ad hoc del Consejo Ejecutivo para el próximo trienio.

El comité estará encargado de examinar los aspectos misionales, estratégicos y económicos de la ubicación del centro denominacional y ofrecer una recomendación final al Consejo Ejecutivo. La tarea es semejante a la del subcomité cuya labor está por terminar.

Bryan Krislock, miembro del Consejo, que copresidía el subcomité con Fredrica Harris Thompsett, dijo que el extenso “proceso de escuchar” del grupo (incluida una encuesta a escala denominacional y entrevistas individuales con “miembros clave”) mostraban que “para decirlo sin tapujos, no había consenso”. El [proceso de] escuchar “revelaba una profunda división entre los miembros de la Iglesia, no sólo específica de los miembros del Consejo sino de los miembros de la Iglesia desde el punto de vista de lo que es la mejor estrategia misional para el centro denominacional”, explicó él.

Algunos creen que no es necesario [tener] un edificio, otros dijeron que debía de haber múltiples ubicaciones, otros dijeron que debía de haber una presencia en la zona de Nueva York, pero no en la dirección actual, mientras otros pidieron una localidad más geográficamente central en Estados Unidos. Las “facciones significativas” de opinión provienen de todas partes del país, y en todos los órdenes de ministerio y tienen toda clase de relaciones con la DFMS, dijo Krislock.

El subcomité trabajó con profesionales para analizar posibles sitios alternativos y el costo que conllevaban tales mudanzas. “Tenemos una excelente información económica”, le dijo a sus colegas Harris Thompsett. “Disponemos de alguna información estratégica, pero no contamos aún con una clara orientación respecto a un centro o centros de la denominación”.

Krislock dijo que el subcomité “sigue forcejeando con las más amplias interrogantes estratégicas acerca de dónde el centro denominacional o el personal de la Iglesia debe ubicarse, como esos [sitios] interactúan con los costos y la mejor manera de evaluar la información económica que hemos recibido y analizarla de una manera significativa para preparar una última recomendación”.

Al subcomité le preocupaba que su labor hasta la fecha se perdiera en la transición entre trienios, dijo él. El grupo cree que la labor debe continuar “y no dejar la impresión de que en esencia la hemos abandonado”.

Harris Thompsett estuvo de acuerdo, añadiendo “hemos ido tan lejos como pudimos con inteligencia e integridad”.

Al preguntarle por qué el nuevo comité presentaría sus recomendaciones finales al Consejo y no a la Convención General, Krislock hizo notar que la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera que es dueña de la propiedad del centro denominacional en Nueva York, y el Consejo, como su junta directiva, es la única entidad que puede tomar la decisión de venderla.

El subcomité no tardará en presentar un informe que se propone ser un apéndice al informe del Consejo en el Libro Azul. Ese informe no contendrá especificidades acerca de “impresiones geográficas” o información económica debido al estado incompleto de la labor del subcomité, dijo Harris Thompsett.

En otras decisiones, el Consejo:

  • Ratificó la resolución de la Cámara de Obispos del 17 de marzo por la cual pide que una comisión independiente explore las dimensiones canónicas, ambientales, de conducta y de procedimientos de asuntos que conlleven serias deficiencias de individuos que sirven como líderes en la Iglesia. La comisión, que debe ser nombrada por Jefferts Schori en consulta con Jennings, se supone que le preste especial atención a problemas de adicción y de consumo de substancias estupefacientes. El Consejo revisó el presupuesto de 2015 para incluir $150.000 para financiar la labor de la comisión.
  • Aprobó resoluciones por su Comité Permanente Conjunto sobre Promoción [o Defensa] Social e Interconexiones tocante a instar a los episcopales, así como a organizaciones gubernamentales y no gubernamentales a combatir la trata de personas, la persecución religiosa y el cambio climático.
  • Convino en exigir que todos los niños y el personal que participe en el Programa Infantil de la Convención General sea vacunado. Un niño puede ser exceptuado de la vacunación si presenta un certificado médico que dé fe que el estado físico de la persona excluye una o más inmunizaciones.

La reunión del 19 al 21 de marzo tuvo lugar en el hotel Radisson Salt Lake City Downtown.

Resúmenes de las resoluciones aprobadas por el Consejo en esta reunión pueden verse aquí.

Algunos miembros del Consejo enviaron mensajes por Twitter usando el código #ExCoun.

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

Fornaro named interim president and dean of Episcopal Divinity School

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

[Episcopal Divinity School press release] The Rev. Francis Fornaro has been named interim president and dean of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The announcement was made during a March 23 community Eucharist in St. John’s Memorial Chapel by EDS Trustee the Rev. Warren Radke.

“I am honored to be called to serve an institution that has done so much to form and prepare me for a career in ministry — as it has for so many others,” said Fornaro. “I look forward to working with students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni/ae, and supporters of EDS as together we help our school fulfill its purpose of preparing lay and ordained leaders for Christ’s church and the world.”

The Very Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalski, EDS Board of Trustees chair, issued a statement informing the school community of Fornaro’s appointment, writing: “Please join me in welcoming the Rev. Fornaro in this new role, and on behalf of the Board of Trustees, offer our prayers for his leadership as we successfully pursue the mission of EDS during a period of transition. We are deeply grateful as we take these next steps, confident that we will continue to be enlivened by theologies of liberation and live up to our role as a respected and progressive center for study and spiritual formation.”

Fornaro’s appointment as interim president and dean begins immediately.

Fornaro brings nearly two decades of experience as an ordained leader in The Episcopal Church, including serving as adjunct faculty member at EDS and as a former member of the CREDO faculty where he provided spiritual guidance and support for clergy from diverse parishes across the country. Fornaro’s first career was as a teacher and administrator in the Boston Public Schools. He holds a BS in Education, an MEd in Administration and Organization, and an MDiv from EDS with concentration in Pastoral Theology.

Mensaje de Pascua 2015 de la Obispa Presidente de la Iglesia Episcopal

Monday, March 23, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affair press release] “Le encontraremos allí antes que nosotros, aportando vida nueva y verde”, afirma la Obispa Presidente de la Iglesia Episcopal Katharine Jefferts  en su mensaje de Pascua 2015. “El único lugar donde no le encontramos es en la tumba”.

En el 2015, la Pascua se celebra el 5 de abril.

El siguiente es el mensaje de Pascua 2015 de la Obispa Presidente.

Mensaje de Pascua 2015

Todavía es de noche cuando María se aventura a encontrar la tumba. Los cementerios alrededor de Jerusalén hoy no tienen mucha vegetación. La tierra es principalmente rocosa y de piedra, y no es fácil lograr un lugar para proteger a un cuerpo. El cuerpo de Jesús fue puesto en un espacio como una cueva, con una piedra rodada sobre la apertura para cubrirla. María ha hecho el viaje, desde el lugar donde estuvo refugiada el último día, a través de calles oscuras, quizás oyendo a los gallos que empezaban a cantar y a la gente del pueblo que comenzaba a despertarse.

Se acerca al lugar, pero de alguna manera parece diferente a como lo dejaron, ¿éste no puede ser, verdad? ¿Quién movió la piedra? A un viaje, iniciado en lágrimas y dolor, ahora se añaden: confusión, rabia, shock, caos y abandono. El propio cuerpo de Jesús ha sido robado.

Corre a contárselo a los demás. Los tres regresan a la tumba; no, el cuerpo no está allí, aunque algunas sábanas estaban en el suelo. ¿Quién ha desgarrado el sudario y lo ha robado? ¿Por qué ha de continuar la cruel tortura, el sacrilegio y el insulto, incluso después de la muerte? ¿Quién ha hecho cosa tan horrible? Los hombres huyen de nuevo, dejándola llorar aún más amargamente.

Se asoma una vez más, ¿quiénes son estos, que aparecen tan audaces? “No temas, mujer… ¿por qué lloras?” Se aleja y se encuentra con otro, que dice lo mismo, ¿por qué lloras, qué es lo que buscas? Este jardinero ha sido él mismo plantado y ahora brota verde y vibrante, surgiendo a una vida más plena. Él la desafía a que vaya y comparta esa creciente, gran noticia de primavera y de vida, con los que han huido.

Todavía surgiendo, todavía buscando la unión con el Creador, haciendo un tierna ofrenda a sus queridos amigos, estaré brevemente con vosotros, voy de camino. Id y me encontraréis si buscáis.

El Resucitado todavía ofrece vida a los que buscan evidencia en su jardín – esperanza, amistad, curación, reunión, restauración – a todos los que han sido desarraigados, desconectados, a los que están secos y marchitos, a los que yacen consumiéndose en el desierto. ¿Por qué lloramos o huimos cuando esa promesa permanece?

Podemos encontrar al verde, que todavía surge, si vamos y acompañamos a las Marías en el duelo de este mundo, si vamos a sacar a los aterrorizados que se han retirado a sus agujeros, si vamos a caminar el camino de Emaús con los perdidos y confundidos, si vamos a buscar a los hambrientos en el barrio llamado Galilea. Le encontraremos ya allí antes que nosotros, aportando vida nueva y verde. El único lugar donde no le encontraremos es en la tumba.

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

Presiding Bishop’s Easter message 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affair press release] “We will find him already there before us, bringing new and verdant life,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori states in her Easter Message 2015. “The only place we will not find him is in the tomb.”

In 2015, Easter is celebrated on April 5.

The following is the Presiding Bishop’s Easter message 2015 in English, Spanish and French.

Easter Message 2015

It’s still dark when Mary ventures out to find the tomb. The graveyards around Jerusalem don’t have much greenery today. The earth is mostly rock and stone, and it is far from easy to make a place to secure a body. Jesus’ body was put in a cave-like space, with a stone rolled across the opening to close it up. Mary has made the journey from wherever she’s sheltered over the last day, through darkened streets, perhaps hearing cocks begin to crow and townspeople start to stir.

She nears the place, but somehow it seems different than they left it – this can’t be it, can it? Who moved the stone? A trip begun in tears and grief now has added burden– confusion, anger, shock, chaos, abandonment. His very body has been stolen.

She runs to tell the others. The three tear back to the tomb – no, the body is not there, though some of the burial cloths remain. Who has torn away the shroud and stolen him away? Why must the cruel torture continue, sacrilege and insult even after death? Who has done this awful thing? The men run away again, leaving her to weep at even greater loss.

She peers in once more – who are these, so bold appearing? “Fear not, woman… why do you weep?” She turns away and meets another, who says the same – why do you weep, who are you looking for? This gardener has himself been planted and now springs up green and vibrant, still rising into greater life. He challenges her to go and share that rising, great news of green and life, with those who have fled.

Still rising, still seeking union with Creator, making tender offering to beloved friends – briefly I am with you, I am on my way. Go and you will find me if you look.

The risen one still offers life to those who will look for evidence of his gardening – hope, friendship, healing, reunion, restoration – to all who have been uprooted, cut off, to those who are parched and withered, to those who lie wasting in the desert. Why do we weep or run away when that promise abides?

We can find that green one, still rising, if we will go stand with the grieving Marys of this world, if we will draw out the terrified who have retreated to their holes, if we will walk the Emmaus road with the lost and confused, if we will search out the hungry in the neighborhood called Galilee. We will find him already there before us, bringing new and verdant life. The only place we will not find him is in the tomb.

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

Mensaje de Pascua 2015

Todavía es de noche cuando María se aventura a encontrar la tumba. Los cementerios alrededor de Jerusalén hoy no tienen mucha vegetación. La tierra es principalmente rocosa y de piedra, y no es fácil lograr un lugar para proteger a un cuerpo. El cuerpo de Jesús fue puesto en un espacio como una cueva, con una piedra rodada sobre la apertura para cubrirla. María ha hecho el viaje, desde el lugar donde estuvo refugiada el último día, a través de calles oscuras, quizás oyendo a los gallos que empezaban a cantar y a la gente del pueblo que comenzaba a despertarse.

Se acerca al lugar, pero de alguna manera parece diferente a como lo dejaron, ¿éste no puede ser, verdad? ¿Quién movió la piedra? A un viaje, iniciado en lágrimas y dolor, ahora se añaden: confusión, rabia, shock, caos y abandono. El propio cuerpo de Jesús ha sido robado.

Corre a contárselo a los demás. Los tres regresan a la tumba; no, el cuerpo no está allí, aunque algunas sábanas estaban en el suelo. ¿Quién ha desgarrado el sudario y lo ha robado? ¿Por qué ha de continuar la cruel tortura, el sacrilegio y el insulto, incluso después de la muerte? ¿Quién ha hecho cosa tan horrible? Los hombres huyen de nuevo, dejándola llorar aún más amargamente.

Se asoma una vez más, ¿quiénes son estos, que aparecen tan audaces? “No temas, mujer… ¿por qué lloras?” Se aleja y se encuentra con otro, que dice lo mismo, ¿por qué lloras, qué es lo que buscas? Este jardinero ha sido él mismo plantado y ahora brota verde y vibrante, surgiendo a una vida más plena. Él la desafía a que vaya y comparta esa creciente, gran noticia de primavera y de vida, con los que han huido.

Todavía surgiendo, todavía buscando la unión con el Creador, haciendo un tierna ofrenda a sus queridos amigos, estaré brevemente con vosotros, voy de camino. Id y me encontraréis si buscáis.

El Resucitado todavía ofrece vida a los que buscan evidencia en su jardín – esperanza, amistad, curación, reunión, restauración – a todos los que han sido desarraigados, desconectados, a los que están secos y marchitos, a los que yacen consumiéndose en el desierto. ¿Por qué lloramos o huimos cuando esa promesa permanece?

Podemos encontrar al verde, que todavía surge, si vamos y acompañamos a las Marías en el duelo de este mundo, si vamos a sacar a los aterrorizados que se han retirado a sus agujeros, si vamos a caminar el camino de Emaús con los perdidos y confundidos, si vamos a buscar a los hambrientos en el barrio llamado Galilea. Le encontraremos ya allí antes que nosotros, aportando vida nueva y verde. El único lugar donde no le encontraremos es en la tumba.

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

Message de Pâques 2015

Il fait encore nuit lorsque Marie se risque à sortir pour trouver le tombeau. Aujourd’hui les cimetières autour de Jérusalem n’ont pas beaucoup de verdure. Le sol est la plupart du temps de la roche et des cailloux et il est bien difficile de trouver un endroit où y protéger un corps. Le corps de Jésus a été placé dans une sorte de grotte, avec une pierre roulée devant pour en fermer l’ouverture. Marie a fait le chemin par les rues sombres depuis le lieu où elle avait trouvé abri le dernier jour, peut-être entendait-elle les coqs qui commençaient à chanter et les gens du village qui commençaient à s’éveiller.

Elle s’approche de l’endroit mais pour une raison quelconque, ne semble pas être comme ils l’avaient laissé, cela n’est pas possible, n’est-ce pas ? Qui a déplacé la pierre ? À un voyage commencé dans les larmes et la peine s’y ajoutent maintenant la confusion, la colère, le choc, le chaos, l’abandon. Son corps lui-même a été volé.

Elle court le dire aux autres. Ils reviennent tous trois jusqu’au tombeau ; non, le corps n’est pas là mais une partie du linceul y est encore. Qui a déchiré le linceul et a volé le corps ? Pourquoi cette torture cruelle doit-elle continuer, ce sacrilège et cette insulte même après sa mort ? Qui a fait cette chose horrible ? Les hommes s’enfuient à nouveau, la laissant en pleurs face à cette douleur plus grande encore.

Elle regarde une fois de plus à l’intérieur – mais qui sont-ils pour apparaître avec tant d’audace ? « N’aie pas peur, femme… pourquoi pleures-tu ? ». Elle se retourne et en voit un autre, qui dit la même chose : pourquoi pleures-tu, qui cherches-tu ? Ce jardinier a été lui-même planté et renait maintenant vert et lumineux, ressuscitant en une vie plus pleine. Il la met au défi d’aller faire part de cette résurrection, cette grande nouvelle de printemps et de vie, à ceux qui ont fui.

S’élevant encore, cherchant encore l’union avec le Créateur, faisant cette offrande à ses amis bien aimés – je suis brièvement avec vous, je suis sur le départ. Allez et vous me trouverez si vous regardez bien.

Le ressuscité offre encore la vie à ceux qui cherchent les preuves de son jardinage, à savoir l’espoir, l’amitié, la guérison, la réunion, la restauration – à tous ceux qui ont été déracinés, coupés, à ceux qui sont desséchés et défraîchis, aux gisants rabougris dans le désert. Pourquoi pleurons-nous ou fuyons-nous alors que cette promesse demeure?

Nous pouvons trouver ce vert, qui renait encore, si nous nous rendons aux côtés des Marie en deuil de ce monde, si nous extirpons les terrorisés qui se sont retirés dans leurs trous, si nous parcourons à pied le chemin d’Emmaüs avec ceux qui sont perdus et confus, si nous allons chercher les affamés dans le quartier appelé Galilée. « Nous le trouverons déjà là avant nous, porteur de la nouvelle vie verdoyante. « Le seul endroit où nous ne le trouverons pas, c’est dans le tombeau ».

La Très Rév. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Évêque président et Primat
de l’Église épiscopale

Program, Budget, and Finance Committee seeks input on draft budget

Monday, March 23, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Episcopal Church Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance is seeking comments and input on the draft budget that will be presented to the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

The Joint Nominating Committee for Program, Budget, and Finance received Executive Council’s draft budget in February.

“As General Convention 2015 approaches, Program, Budget, and Finance would like to hear comments and suggestions from all corners of the church,” commented the Rev. Mally Lloyd of Massachusetts, co-chair of the Program, Budget, and Finance Committee. “This is an opportunity for everyone to have a say in the budget before we arrive at General Convention.”

The Program, Budget, and Finance Budget Explanation, the Executive Council budget narrative, the Draft Budget, and instructions are available:

In English here.

In Spanish here.

Deadline for comments is June 21.

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

Important dates at General Convention:
Hearing on Budget Income: Friday, June 26, 7 pm – 9 pm
Hearing on Budget Expenses: Saturday, June 27, 7 pm – 9 pm
Joint Session to present the Budget: Wednesday, July 1, 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm
(Note all times are Mountain)

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

Dominic Barrington named dean of St. James Cathedral, Chicago

Monday, March 23, 2015

[St. James Cathedral Chicago press release] Saint James Episcopal Cathedral in Chicago has called the Rev. Dominic Barrington, an English priest with a background in arts management and a commitment to supporting the Christian communities in Israel and Palestine, to be its dean.

“In Dominic Barrington, St. James Cathedral has called a strong, loving and wise priest to be its dean,” Chicago Bishop Jeffrey D. Lee said. “I believe he will be an inspirational leader at the cathedral, and a strong presence in the city of Chicago, championing the mission and ministry of the cathedral as a place of extraordinary hospitality, significant outreach, and excellence in the arts.”

Barrington, 52, will be installed as the cathedral’s dean on Sept. 13, pending the approval of non-immigrant visas for him and his family. He said he is eager to begin work at St. James, which he described as “a robust, educated, switched-on Christian community that has a sense of who they are as the Body of Christ in downtown Chicago.”

Though he has served in the Church of England throughout his ordained ministry, Barrington spent a year as an exchange student at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, an Episcopal seminary in Berkeley, California. He later developed an extensive network in the United States through his work in the Holy Land, where he organizes and leads pilgrimages structured to provide income and employment for the indigenous Christian business community.

“We were looking for a dean who could help us to open our doors to a greater cross-section of God’s people, deepen our involvement in the life of the city and strengthen our arts and music program,” said Graham Bell, leader of the cathedral’s governing chapter. “We are delighted that Dominic has accepted our call.”

Barrington has been rector of a church in Kettering, England, 90 miles north of London, for 12 years. He and his wife Alison have two sons, Benedict, 7, and Linus, 5. Before ordination he spent five years with Arts Council England where he worked to create and fund new performance opportunities for many internationally renowned ensembles, including the London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic orchestras.

Líderes religiosos se unen a líderes del mundo empresarial para ponerle fin al azote de la esclavitud

Monday, March 23, 2015

Barbara Schafer, presidente de la junta de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias, hace un comentario durante un foro sobre violencia sexual y trata de personas auspiciado por la Oficina de la Comunión Anglicana ante las Naciones Unidas como un evento paralelo a la 59ª. Sesión de la Comisión de las Naciones Unidas sobre la Condición de la Mujer, que tuvo lugar entre el 9 y el 20 de marzo. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service] El número de personas que esclaviza a niños y adultos por dinero se multiplica en el mundo, y los traficantes hacen acumulativamente más dinero que la industria petrolera.

Esa es el cálculo del arzobispo David Moxon, el representante del arzobispo de Cantórbery ante la Santa Sede y director del Centro Anglicano en Roma, quien habló durante un foro reciente en el Centro Denominacional de la Iglesia Episcopal en Nueva York.

Los traficantes tratan a los que esclavizan “como subhumanos, como ganado, como unidades económicas, gente para quienes la dignidad humana, la libertad humana, la oportunidad humana, el potencial humano no existe porque uno puede hacer muchísimo dinero rápidamente”, afirmó.

El foro sobre violencia sexual y trata de personas fue auspiciado por la Oficina de la Comunión Anglicana en las Naciones Unidas como un evento paralelo a la 59ª. Sesión de la Comisión de las Naciones Unidas sobre la Condición de la Mujer (UNCSW, por su sigla en inglés), que se reunió del 9 al 20 de marzo. La capilla de Cristo el Señor en el centro denominacional se llenó de público para la presentación de Moxon el 12 de marzo, la primera parte de la cual se dedicó a que los participantes describieran sus esfuerzos por combatir la trata de personas.

La trata de personas y la esclavitud están “motivadas por un empeño comercial lucrativo, motivado por la codicia, razón por la cual hay una demanda masiva”, dijo Moxon.

Es difícil determinar el número de personas atrapadas en este mercado, dijo él, porque :¿cómo puede uno evaluar algo que está oculto?

Cálculos muy debatidos estiman que [la población esclava] oscila entre 25 millones y 40 millones. Moxon cita el cálculo estimativo del Índice Global de la Esclavitud, de 35,8 millones de personas, pero añade que cualquiera que sea el número “es enorme y tiene que frenarse”.

Sin embargo, cuando la policía intenta concentrarse en los tratantes, “los índices de procesamiento penal son más bien bajos, porque [los traficantes] se desplazan, se mudan, cambian fronteras, atraviesan países¨, afirmó él. A los traficantes “los ayuda la mafia internacional, por ejemplo, de un modo que elude bastante bien la acción de la policía internacional”.

Si bien es importantes rescatar a personas [de las redes] de la trata y de la esclavitud, siguió diciendo Moxon, “no podemos dedicar toda nuestra energía al rescate, sino estaríamos rescatando personas hasta el final de los tiempos”.

Él contrarrestó la desolación de este cuadro al describir lo que llamó una nueva estrategia que vincula a líderes empresariales con líderes religiosos más allá de los límites denominacionales para cerrar la llave comercial de la trata de personas y de este modo propiciar la “quiebra de la esclavitud”.

Las probabilidades están en contra de la eliminación de la trata de personas y su frecuente corolario de violencia sexual, dijo Moxon, pero debemos intentarlo porque “el mundo no será libre hasta que esas personas sean libres”.

Cooperación interreligiosa
La estrategia descrita por Moxon para quebrar el control de los traficantes comenzó hace casi dos años cuando el arzobispo de Cantórbery, Justin Welby, y el papa Francisco se reunieron por primera vez. Welby sabía que Francisco había quedado “profundamente conmovido” al amistarse con una sobreviviente de la trata de personas en Argentina. Welby también sabía que, al principio de su papado, Francisco había pedido que se examinara el papel de la Iglesia en la lucha contra la trata de personas y la esclavitud moderna. Por tanto, dijo Moxon, Welby “se sentía confiado” de que el Papa sería receptivo a la sugerencia de que ambas iglesias trataran de colaborar en la lucha contra la trata.

El papa Francisco y el arzobispo de Cantórbery Justin Welby hallaron un terreno común en el problema de la trata de personas desde la primera vez que se encontraron, dijo el arzobispo David Moxon. Foto de la Red Mundial para la Libertad.

El resultado último fue la formación de la Red Mundial para la Libertad, que tiene por objeto erradicar la esclavitud moderna y la trata de personas para 2020. Ese objetivo fue el tema de un acuerdo que se dio a conocer el 17 de marzo de 2014 en el Vaticano.

Al mismo tiempo, el filántropo y empresario australiano Andrew Forrest, anglicano, decidió legar la fortuna que hizo en la industria mineral. En medio de ese empeño, su hija le pidió que le prestara atención a la trata de personas. [En consecuencia], él creó la Walk Free Foundation, que busca ponerle fin a la esclavitud moderna. Forrest se acercó a líderes religiosos de todo el mundo para instarles a levantar sus voces contra la trata de personas y la esclavitud moderna y a trabajar juntos para combatirla.

Los organizadores dieron un paso aún mayor el 2 de diciembre cuando 12 líderes religiosos —católicos, anglicanos, musulmanes, hindúes, budistas, judíos y ortodoxos— se reunieron en el Vaticano y firmaron la “Declaración Conjunta de Líderes Religiosos contra la Esclavitud Moderna en el Día Mundial por la Abolición de la Esclavitud.

“A los ojos de Dios, cada ser humano es una persona libre, sea niño o niña, mujer u hombre, y está destinado a existir para el bien de todos en igualdad y fraternidad”, decía la declaración que llamaba a la esclavitud moderna un “crimen contra la humanidad”. Sus signatarios se comprometieron a “trabajar juntos por la libertad de todos los que han sido víctimas de esclavitud y trata de personas, de manera que su futuro pueda restaurarse”.

Lograr tal unanimidad “ha sido difícil, escabroso, turbulento”, señaló Moxon, pero al final “toda la teología…cuajó”. Él resaltó, por ejemplo, que los líderes musulmanes, tanto sunitas como chiitas, firmaron la declaración.

La declaración se firmó apenas semanas después de que el Estado Islámico (ES) anunciara que la esclavitud debía ser fundacional para el nuevo califato que [esa organización terrorista] está luchando por crear, dijo Moxon, calificando ese sentimiento de “profundamente repugnante”.

El papa Francisco y el arzobispo de Cantórbery, Justin Welby, a la derecha en la fila del fondo, se contaron entre los 12 líderes religiosos —católicos, anglicanos, musulmanes, hindúes, budistas, judíos y ortodoxos— que, reunidos en el Vaticano el pasado 2 de diciembre, firmaron la “Declaración Conjunta de Líderes Religiosos contra la Esclavitud Moderna el Día Mundial por la Abolición de la Esclavitud”. Foto de la Red Mundial para la Libertad.

La coalición de los líderes religiosos se mantendrá frágil a veces, dijo Moxon, pero los líderes esperan seguir encontrando un terreno común.

“Nunca habíamos hecho esto antes —producir un plan estratégico de tipo práctico, con su importante respaldo espiritual y teológico— y eso es bastante complejo”, dijo Moxon a ENS después del foro. “Pero yo creo que la misión debe dinamizar el ecumenismo y la acción interreligiosa más de lo que lo hace. Y eso nos ayuda muchísimo porque si uno sólo discute conceptos y mociones teológicas —habrá infinitos detalles que podría seguir debatiendo durante mucho, mucho tiempo.

En cambio, Moxon preguntó, parafraseando una declaración del papa Francisco: “¿Por qué no actuamos como si ya fuéramos uno en presencia de un mal mundial?”

Estrategias antiesclavistas
En presencia de ese mal, la Red Mundial para la Libertad se propone actuar en toda una lista de estrategias, comenzando con la que se conoce como auditoría y limpieza de la cadena de suministros. El proceso está concebido para ayudar a las compañías a reducir o eliminar el riesgo de esclavitud moderna que ocurre en sus cadenas de suministros, tanto como un resultado directo o indirecto de sus prácticas de adquisición.

O, como Moxon lo puso, capacitarles “hacerse libres de esclavos para bien de sus propias almas, para bien de su país, para bien del mundo y para bien, sobre todo, de las personas que han sido esclavizadas”.

Auditar la cadena de suministros es fundamental porque “además de la industria del sexo, la única razón porque la cual existe la esclavitud es porque alguien está pagando por el producto hecho por los esclavos”, dijo Moxon.

El arzobispo de Cantórbery, Justin Welby, firma la Declaración Conjunta de Líderes Religiosos contra la Esclavitud Moderna el Día Mundial para la Abolición de la Esclavitud durante una reunión que tuvo lugar el pasado 2 de diciembre en el Vaticano, mientras el gran ayatolá Mohammad Taqi Al Modarresi, de Irak, otro de los 12 líderes religiosos que firmaron la declaración, lo observa. Foto de Red Mundial por la Libertad.

La Walk Free Foundation ofrece una guía (“Enfrentar la esclavitud moderna en la cadena de suministros”) para las empresas que quieran sumarse a ese empeño. Hewlett Packard, la fabricante norteamericana de equipos electrónicos ya ha llevado cabo esta tarea, según Moxon. Porque los líderes religiosos pueden hablarle a los empresarios acerca de la dignidad de todo ser humano, el arzobispo de Cantórbery auspiciará una reunión de líderes de corporaciones británicas para animarles a utilizar el proceso.

En un movimiento afín, la Red Mundial para la Libertad y Walk Free Foundation quieren fomentar programas de microfinanciación a través de los cuales las personas puedan ganar más dinero por su trabajo y de este modo no resultar víctimas de falsas promesas de salarios de parte de personas que han de convertirlas en esclavos.

Otra estrategia, cuidar de los sobrevivientes de la trata de personas, se ajusta especialmente a las comunidades de fe, dijo Moxon. Ofrecer apoyo a largo plazo y “genuina amistad restauradora” es esencial, y algo que las iglesias pueden hacer mucho mejor que los gobiernos, señaló él.

Las agrupaciones también abogan por reformas legales para institucionalizar las auditorías y limpiezas de la cadena de suministros de manera que las empresas que tal hagan se vean recompensadas. Una ley de este tipo se ha propuesto en el Parlamento del Reino Unido, según informó él. Moxon dijo que algunas compañías desconfían de hacer la auditoría porque temen ser procesadas por lo que ésta descubra.

La educación y la toma de conciencia es otra estrategia y la Red Mundial para la Libertad brinda materiales que las comunidades religiosas pueden usar para hacer esa labor entre sí mismas.

La Red quiere identificar los 10 países más propensos a la esclavitud y establecer consejos locales para concebir soluciones locales basadas en las costumbres, leyes, cultura y recursos económicos de cada país, así como en las iniciativas que al respecto ya existen en ellos. Forrest, el filántropo australiano, ha donado $25 millones para comenzar ésta y otras tareas, especialmente la estrategia de la microfinanciación, dijo Moxon.

Otra estrategia es educar a la gente respecto a la trata de personas. La Red Mundial para la Libertad ofrece recursos que las comunidades de fe pueden usar para llevar a cabo esa tarea entre sí.

Conciencia creciente
Moxon describe su propio conciencia creciente del problema. Antes de ir al Centro Anglicano en Roma, Moxon era uno de los arzobispos de la Iglesia Anglicana en Aotearoa, Nueva Zelanda y Polinesia. Nativo de Nueva Zelanda, Moxon dijo que estaba “sólo vagamente consciente” de la omnipresencia de la trata de personas y de la esclavitud moderna antes de que el arzobispo de Cantórbery le pidiera participar. Dos años de estudiar el problema y de ayudar a formar la Red Mundial para la Libertad han dejado su huella en él.

El arzobispo David Moxon preside la eucaristía el 12 de marzo en la capilla de Cristo el Señor del Centro Denominacional de la Iglesia Episcopal. Moxon, representante del arzobispo de Cantórbery ante la Santa Sede y director del Centro Anglicano en Roma, posteriormente dirigió un foro sobre trata de personas y violencia sexual. Asistiéndole en la eucaristía estaban el Rdo. Canónigo James Calloway, secretario general de Colegios y Universidades de la Comunión Anglicana, y Angie Cabanban, asociada del ministerio de diversidad y etnia de la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

“Sirvió para abrirme mucho los ojos; de manera bastante extraordinaria” dijo durante una entrevista con ENS.

También cambió el modo de mirar a las mujeres en su vida.

“La cuestión de la esclavitud me ha hecho hipersensible a cualquier cosa que se parezca a que se espere de alguien que haga demasiado por nada”, afirmó.

También aprendió que gran parte del trabajo necesario para eliminar la trata de personas es “peligroso o difícil o políticamente complicado, religiosamente sensible, y uno no ve necesariamente los gloriosos resultados o incluso la trascendencia espiritual”. Pero el trabajo debe hacerse, dijo él.

Anteriormente ese mismo día, durante su sermón en una eucaristía en la capilla, Moxon contó la historia del monje que anhelaba encontrarse con Cristo en las oraciones que hacía en su celda; pero que en cambio lo encontró en las personas a las cuales tenía que servir todos los días.

La pregunta de “creemos que Cristo está ahí o no es el punto realmente fundamental”, dijo Moxon. “Ustedes lo creen o no, a eso se reduce todo”.

Nota de la redactora: El Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal puede contemplar [el hacer] una resolución el 21 de marzo para expresar su apoyo a los empeños de colaboración de organismos gubernamentales y no gubernamentales del mundo entero para erradicar la trata de personas, y convocar a la Iglesia Episcopal a actuar al respecto en toda una variedad de formas.

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

Agrupaciones de Tierra Santa allanan el camino de la paz con el esfuerzo y la confianza compartidos

Monday, March 23, 2015

[Episcopal News Service] Puede ser un cliché decir que el agua no conoce fronteras, pero para Elizabeth Koch-Ya’ari, navegar la corriente de la ecología y la pacificación es reunir a ambientalistas israelíes, palestinos y jordanos —personas de diferentes religiones de las comunidades vecinas— para movilizar y crear amistades en torno a una fuente de vida común.

Como coordinadora de un proyecto con EcoPaz en el Oriente Medio [EcoPeace Middle East] Koch-Ya’ari encabeza una campaña para rehabilitar el río Jordán. El río, que alguna vez fuera una fuente de agua limpia a través de Tierra Santa, se ha contaminado por el derrame de aguas negras sin tratar y la sequía durante los últimos 50 años.

EcoPeace Middle East reúne a israelíes, jordanos y palestinos en el bajo Jordán para el “Gran Salto”, un evento para crear conciencia de los empeños en pro de la restauración del río. Foto de EcoPeace Middle East.

“Nos juntamos y usamos el medioambiente como una plataforma para la edificación de la paz”, dijo Koch-Ya’ari a Episcopal News Service luego de una presentación en Tel Aviv en enero, cuando ella se reunió con una delegación interreligiosa de Estados Unidos que visitaba la región en peregrinación.

“Es una asombrosa oportunidad para adentrarnos en la comprensión de estas diferentes comunidades limítrofes, que comparten los mismos recursos hidráulicos, que comparten el mismo medioambiente”, afirmó. “En esta zona del mundo, el agua puede juntarnos, porque el agua no ve todos estos muros y fronteras que hemos puesto entre unos y otros”.

El río Jordán tiene una gran significación para el judaísmo, el cristianismo y el islam, por ser el sitio donde los israelitas entraron en la Tierra Prometida, donde Juan el Bautista bautizó a Jesús y donde el profeta Mahoma pronosticó un evento que sucedería años más tarde.

EcoPeace ha creado un repertorio de materiales para comunidades judías, cristianas y musulmanas, llamado Agua y ecología en el río Jordán, al objeto de alentar la instrucción de carácter religioso y el compromiso en torno al problema del agua.

“La realidad es que muchas personas que viven a lo largo del río Jordán no experimentan sus beneficios. En muchas partes su corriente está sucia, contaminada [y] desaparece en las estaciones secas del año”, dijo a ENS la obispa primada de la Iglesia Episcopal Katharine Jefferts Schori, una de las colíderes de la peregrinación, al tiempo de visitar el Sitio Bautismal de Yardenit, junto al río Jordán, en la región de Galilea, en el norte de Israel.

“La labor del instituto EcoPeace es reunir a personas de ambas márgenes del río, de diferentes tradiciones religiosas en comunidades vecinas, para abogar y trabajar en pro del mejoramiento de la situación del agua, para entender las necesidades mutuas, y para que lleguen a entenderse unos a otros como amigos al hacer esa obra”, dijo ella. “Ciertamente es una obra de pacificación”.

El Rdo. John Kitagawa, rector de la iglesia episcopal de San Felipe de las Colinas [St. Philip’s in-the-Hills] en Tucson, Arizona, y participante de la peregrinación, dijo que la desaparición del río Jordán sería trágica. No sólo significa mucho para las vidas de las personas en ambas márgenes del río Jordán, subrayó, sino que “es profundamente importante para nuestra fe. No es posible leer las Escrituras sin encontrar toda clase de referencias al río Jordán”.

Kitagawa dijo que hay muchísimas [situaciones] paralelas en Estados Unidos, donde abundan los problemas de agua.

“Yo vivo en el desierto del sur de Arizona. Nuestros manantiales subterráneos están básicamente exhaustos. Tenemos que importar agua del río Colorado, de manera que la misma substancia de la vida está en peligro”, dijo. “Pero no es sólo aquellos de nosotros que vivimos en el desierto. Estoy viendo cada vez más a personas que tienen que lidiar con problemas de fracturación hidráulica en sus zonas y cómo esto afecta las aguas subterráneas. La explotación del carbón y otras formas de minería tienen mucho que ver con la contaminación del agua, y los granjeros están enfrentándose con crecientes problemas de sequía debido al calentamiento global. El agua es un tema constante en torno nuestro. Tenemos muchísimo en común y sólo necesitamos resolver cómo entender nuestras raíces comunes, y una de esas raíces comunes es nuestra responsabilidad como mayordomos de la creación de Dios”.

“Las comunidades a través de esta región comparten muchas cosas”, dijo Koch-Ya’ari refiriéndose a Tierra Santa. “El agua es una parte fundamental de la vida y al juntarnos para rehabilitar las corrientes de agua que compartimos, como es la parte baja del río Jordán, ganamos muchísimo, no sólo en beneficio del medio ambiente, sino también para aprender los unos de los otros, acerca de nuestras diferentes comunidades de fe y acerca de cómo podemos ayudarnos mutuamente [y] a nuestros ecosistemas compartidos”.

Koch-Ya’ari es una de una serie de líderes de iniciativas de base en Tierra Santa con quienes la delegación interreligiosa de EE.UU. se reunió durante su peregrinación del 18 al 27 de enero.

Ella y otros líderes de base están seguros de que iniciativas de este tipo serán fundamentales para crear confianza y romper las barreras, lo cual garantizará una paz duradera en la región mucho después de que los políticos lleguen a cualquier clase de acuerdo. Sin embargo, las probabilidades de una reanudación de las negociaciones entre israelíes y palestinos parecen complicadas, en el mejor de los casos, después de un año que ha sido testigo del colapso de las conversaciones de paz mediadas por el secretario de Estado de EE.UU. John Kerry, una guerra devastadora entre Israel y el movimiento palestino Hamás en la Franja de Gaza, y una serie de acciones y declaraciones de parte de los líderes israelíes y palestinos que tanto reflejan como contribuyen a un clima que causa divisiones.

El primer ministro israelí Benjamin Netanyahu, cuyo Partido Likud resultó vencedor en las elecciones parlamentarias del pasado martes, dio el último ejemplo de una retórica políticamente cargada esta semana, al declarar, el día antes de las elecciones, que no habría ningún Estado palestino bajo su liderazgo. Anteriormente, Netanyahu había apoyado consecuentemente una solución con dos estados, incluida en el contexto de negociaciones con los palestinos. No resulta claro lo que podría significar la declaración del Primer Ministro esta semana, en el contexto de unas elecciones polémicas y sorprendentemente reñidas, para el futuro del proceso de paz para las propias relaciones de Netanyahu con decisivos partidarios internacionales de una solución con dos estados, incluido el gobierno de Estados Unidos.

Lior Frankiensztajn, del Programa de Negociación Shades, le habla a miembros de la peregrinación interreligiosa de EE.UU. que visitaron Tierra Santa en enero. Foto de Matthew Davies/ENS

Volviendo a enero, el grupo interreligioso oyó el testimonio de cómo el mundo de Lior Frankiensztajn cambió hace unos cuantos años luego de que recibiera en su casa a un palestino durante dos meses. Él logró aprender muchas cosas acerca de sí mismo y de sus raíces, pero lo más importante, vio “como la realidad se contempla desde una perspectiva diferente”, le dijo a los peregrinos interreligiosos luego de un almuerzo en un restaurante en Tel Aviv. Desafortunadamente, “los políticos manejan las relaciones, lo cual limita las oportunidades para el progreso… Debe haber un enfoque distinto para el diseño de políticas, para la educación”.

Fue esta manera de pensar la que llevó a Frankiensztajn a lanzar el Programa de Negociación Shades, que crea oportunidades de que políticos, educadores y otros líderes palestinos e israelíes se reúnan y compartan con sus homólogos. El programa está auspiciado por la Universidad de Harvard y es financiado en parte por el Departamento de Estado de EE.UU.

Reconociendo que es fácil captar a los conversos, Frankiensztajn dijo que Shades intenta identificar los obstáculos, las áreas que requieren mayor atención en ayudar a la gente “a convertirse en mejores negociadores, mejores comunicadores mediante esta experiencia [y] realmente lograr entender los matices y la cultura de la otra parte”. Crear confianza, añadió él, es una parte fundamental del proceso de paz.

Azhar Azeez, presidente de la Sociedad Islámica de América del Norte y miembro de la peregrinación, respondió a la presentación de Frankiensztajn con aliento y felicitaciones por sus esfuerzos a favor de la paz. “Puedo ver cómo este empeño traerá un cambio positivo y una esperanza”, dijo.

La peregrinación interreligiosa de 15 miembros fue codirigida por Jefferts Schori; el rabino Steve Gutow, presidente del Consejo Judío para las Relaciones Públicas; y Sayyid Syeed, director nacional de alianzas interreligiosas y comunitarias de la Sociedad Islámica de América del Norte.

La visita se planeó en respuesta a la Resolución B019, aprobada por la Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal de 2012, que pidió una inversión positiva y un compromiso con la región y que recomendó que la Obispa Primada organizara una peregrinación interreligiosa modelo con múltiples narrativas. Esa resolución reiteraba el antiguo compromiso de la Iglesia Episcopal con una solución negociada de dos estados, en la cual un seguro y universalmente reconocido Estado de Israel coexista con un Estado, libre, viable y seguro, para el pueblo palestino”.

“Sólo cuando las personas en el terreno alcen su voz y digan ‘basta ya’, la posibilidad de la paz y la justicia irrumpirán en la problemática relación entre los palestinos y los israelíes” dijo Gutow. “Cuando nos reunimos con grupos como Shades, Roots y EcoPeace, sabemos que la trayectoria a la resolución y la reconciliación no es sólo posible, sino que es eminentemente factible”.

La obispa primada de la Iglesia Episcopal Katharine Jefferts Schori y el rabino Hanan Schlesinger se saludan al tiempo que los miembros de la peregrinación interreligiosa llegan a Gush Etzion para saber más acerca de la labor de Roots. Foto de Matthew Davies/ENS.

La agrupación Raíces [Roots] reúne a colonos israelíes en Bush Etzion con palestinos de las aldeas cercanas para promover el diálogo y cimentar la confianza como una senda hacia la paz. El liderazgo de Roots cree que es imperativo para las comunidades echar a un lado el atrincheramiento político, las acciones y la retórica divisionistas a fin de comenzar a sembrar las semillas necesarias para que se afiance un definitivo acuerdo de paz.

El rabino Hanan Schlesinger dijo a los líderes interreligiosos que Roots ha transformado la manera que él tenía de ver el mundo.

Hace un año, a invitación de un amigo, Schlesinger salió de su casa y caminó apenas 20 minutos a través de campos y viñedos árabes para llegar al pedazo de tierra donde los peregrinos interreligiosos se reunían ahora para escuchar su historia. Dijo que él corazón le latía apresuradamente cuando entró en el complejo donde aproximadamente 25 judíos y 25 palestinos conversaban.

Schlesinger, coordinador en la actualidad de un proyecto de Roots, había crecido con temor de los palestinos que vivían cerca de su aldea.

“No tenemos conexiones de ninguna clase con el otro lado. Los periódicos son diferentes, las estaciones de radio son diferentes, las casas de culto son diferentes, compramos en tiendas diferentes, tenemos diferentes sistemas de enseñanza. No tenemos ningún contacto en absoluto. Nos cruzamos en las carreteras y no sabemos quién conduce el auto”, dijo. “Cuando tienes esa situación de distancia, tienes miedo y tienes sospechas y tienes odio”.

Pero a través de las conversaciones que él sostuvo durante esa reunión hace un año, llegó a entender que los palestinos que habían sido sus vecinos durante todos esos años también habían vivido con temor de él. “Nunca había pensado en eso antes. Nos temíamos mutuamente”, dijo. Por primera vez en su vida, contó Schlesinger, él le estaba hablando “al otro” como a un igual.

De izquierda a derecha, los coordinadores del proyecto Roots, Ali Abu Awwad, el rabino Hanan Schlesinger y Shaul Judelman escuchan para responder a los miembros de la peregrinación interreligiosa de EE.UU. que visitaron Gush Etzion en enero. Foto de Matthew Davies/ENS.

El palestino Ali Abu Awwad, un cofundador de Roots, estaba en la reunión y compartió la historia de su vida con el grupo. “Era la primera vez en mi vida que yo oía [un testimonio de] la vida desde una perspectiva palestina, y él habló sin rencor, sin odio, y hablamos acerca de su vida”, dijo Schlesinger. “Era realmente difícil escuchar y sentía que estaba siendo atacado personalmente al oír una narrativa tan diferente a la mía. Pero, por diferente que fuera de mi narrativa, no era falsa. Yo no oí mentiras. Oí que él estaba tomando los bloques de historia y de la vida como yo los conozco y ordenándolos en un relato completamente diferente, pero su historia tenía sentido. Y ahora yo me veo en la historia de Ali. Y aunque él no lo dijo, en su historia yo me veo como el opresor. Eso inició un proceso de reconsideración.

Awwad, que se crió en una familia muy politizada y que cumplió condena como preso político, dijo que hay muchos diseñadores de conflicto en ambas partes y que “somos buenos en esta competencia de quien sufre más… Pero cuando se trata de soluciones, perdemos el valor, porque actuamos como víctimas. Las víctimas nunca serán capaces de resolver sus propios conflictos si son los prisioneros de su dolor… El precio de esta guerra ha llegado a ser más fácil que el precio de la paz. Debemos encontrar un medio donde la gente pueda servir a Dios y no perder su humanidad. Juntos podemos marcar la diferencia”.

Shaul Judelman, un coordinador del proyecto Raíces que ha vivido en Gush Etzion durante los últimos 13 años, dijo: “sabemos que hay un gran desacuerdo en muchos asuntos —acerca de los hechos del pasado e incluso acerca de la realidad del presente— pero creemos que el diálogo efectivo es el lugar seguro para el debate y para una comprensión más profunda. Es en este espacio que pueden construirse las soluciones”.

Gutow dijo que Raíces “nos enseña… que los políticos tradicionales oprimen los sueños intrínsecos de las personas de carne y hueso que viven en la tierra.

“Debemos apoyar a los que pueden comprender y hablar con integridad sobre las discrepantes narrativas de las personas normales que levantan sus hogares aquí”, añadió Gutow. “Debemos proporcionarles las plataformas y la ayuda económica y la validez que necesitan para tener éxito. La labor de nuestra peregrinación es servir como testigos interreligiosos de las verdades de ambas partes y ayudar a las personas buenas y nobles que habitan allí a encontrar la paz y la integridad y la calma que tanto desean y tanto merecen”.

Reflexionando sobre la peregrinación, Jefferts Schori dijo a Episcopal News Service que “los tipos de empeños pacificadores de base que hemos visto en la Tierra del Bendito se centran, todos ellos, en la creación de relaciones [No obstante] la triste realidad es que palestinos e israelíes viven vidas casi completamente separadas. La mayoría nunca se encuentra en tiendas de víveres, en escuelas o en la vida cívica… Ese encuentro humano es esencial para humanizar ‘al otro’. Las tradiciones de la fe abrahámica hablan de encontrar la imagen de Dios, la divina capacidad creadora que es parte de nuestra naturaleza”.

Ella afirmó que se sentía estimulada por “la voluntad de pasar por encima de fronteras, de divisiones físicas, así como de sospechas, dudas y temores” y lo definió como “el terreno en el cual la paz comienza a brotar… El ensuciarse las manos juntos crea vínculos que son más profundos que nuestros prejuicios conscientes. Los vínculos nacidos del trabajo compartido perdurarán, e invitarán a otros a venir y ver, a ser un poquito vulnerables, a fin de ver que la recuperación podría ser posible”.

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

Executive Council wraps up 2013-2015 triennial work

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Executive Council meets March 21 in its last plenary session of the 2013-2015 triennium. The March 19-21 meeting took place in downtown Salt Lake City near the Salt Palace Convention Center, the setting of the June 23-July 3 meeting of General Convention. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City, Utah] The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council during its March 19-21 meeting here celebrated its work together and looked forward to the future.

“A fair amount of energy during the gathering was devoted to issues of transition,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts said of the meeting during a press conference. “Executive Council reviewed its work of the last triennium and they made recommendations that they will pass on to the next iteration of Executive Council.”

“The work of Executive Council has been full this triennium and I think they have good reason to be proud of what they have accomplished,” she added.

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, said during the news conference that “one thing that distinguishes this council is that throughout the triennium” they have “lent a critical eye to how the council functions and how the council can be even more effective in how it works.”

Each of council’s five standing committees wrote a memo to its successor, outlining the work it has done as well as partially completed work that they recommend be continued, and the outgoing class has written a similar memo about council’s overall functioning. The terms of half of the 38 members ends this summer after the 78th meeting of General Convention.

When that June 23-July 3 meeting convenes here in Salt Lake City, debates over the governance structures of the Episcopal Church, including council, will feature prominently. In one of its last acts of the triennium, council agreed to issue a response to some of the recommendations of the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church.

TREC grew out of General Convention Resolution C095, which called for a committee to develop a plan for “reforming the church’s structures, governance, and administration.”

“I had thought there might be some way of finding consensus around the TREC report [but] I don’t think there’s a lot of consensus around the TREC report,” John Johnson, who chaired a small group of council members that drafted the response, told council as he presented the report for its approval.

Because of that lack of consensus, the committee made a few general comments about the report before responding specifically to what TREC said about Executive Council.

The statement, whose final text will be available soon, said that TREC’s structural resolutions “while bold for some, follow a path often focused on saving money but without a clear vision of what mission a new structure will allow the wider church to pursue.”

The statement said the council is “committed to thoughtful and bold change in the structure and governance of the Episcopal Church,” and it added that “the scope of work for TREC may not have been to present a bold new mission for the wider Episcopal Church, but we wonder with the church what this renewal might look like.”

Executive Council member Deborah Stokes leads the Prayers of the People March 21 during Eucharist. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

“Is the mission of The Episcopal Church to bring the world to the church or to bring The Episcopal Church to the world and what does that look like in the 21st century?” the council asked.

The Executive Council carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1)(a). It is now 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. TREC called for reducing the membership to 21 “to improve its effectiveness as a board.”

Council said the reduction would not improve its effectiveness. “While we understand the concern about reducing the cost of governance, we also are concerned that false economies could harm the church in the long run,” the statement said.

Council divides itself into five standing committees, plus occasional subcommittees, and the statement said that much of the work of council happens in those smaller groups, “which allows Council to engage in a deep, substantive discussion on important fiduciary and missional concerns in a workable group size.”

Reducing the size of council “inevitably means diminished representation and perspectives from the broader church,” the council said, adding that a smaller council would also mean “diminished capacity for fiduciary oversight.”

The last meeting of convention also said, via Resolution D016, that “it is the will of this convention to move the church center headquarters” away from the building that the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society owns at 815 Second Avenue in New York. (The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is the legal and canonical name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business and carries out mission.)

The final text of the resolution was significantly amended during convention debate to remove directives that would have required council to sell or lease out the entire property and relocate the church center headquarters “as soon as it is economically feasible.”

Council has spent the triennium studying the implications of D016 and on March 21 council agreed to preserve and continue the work of its subcommittee on church center relocation by creating an ad hoc committee of Executive Council for the next triennium.

The committee will be charged with examining the missional, strategic, and financial aspects of the location of the church center and with providing a final recommendation to the Executive Council. The charge is similar to that of the subcommittee whose work is ending.

Council Member Bryan Krislock, who co-chaired the subcommittee with Fredrica Harris Thompsett, said the group’s extensive “listening process” (including a churchwide survey and individual interviews with “key stake members”) showed that “to be blunt, there’s no consensus.” The listening “revealed a deep divide among the members of the church, not just specific to members of council but to the members of the church in terms of what is the best missional strategy for the church center,” he said.

Some believe a building is not needed, others said there should multiple locations, others said there should be a presence in New York area but not at the current address while others called for a more geographically central location in the United States. The “significant factions” of opinion come from all over the country, are in all orders of ministry and have all sorts of relationships with the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff, Krislock said.

The subcommittee worked with professionals to analyze potential alternative sites and the cost involved in such moves. “We have excellent financial information,” Harris Thompsett told her colleagues. “We have some strategic information, but not yet the clear focus for the direction of a church center or centers.”

Krislock said the subcommittee is “still grappling with the broader strategic questions about where the church center or the church staff should be located, how those interact with the costs and the best way to evaluate the financial information we’ve received and analyze it in a meaningful way to prepare a final recommendation.”

The subcommittee was concerned that its work to date would be lost in the transition between triennia, he said. The group believes the work needs to continue “and we do not leave the impression that we have in essence given up.”

Harris Thompsett agreed, adding “we’ve gone as far as we can go with intelligence and integrity.”

When asked why the new committee would report its final recommendation to council and not to the General Convention, Krislock noted that the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society owns the New York church center property and the council, as its board of directors, is the only entity that can decide to sell it.

The subcommittee will soon submit a report that is meant to be an appendix to the council’s Blue Book report. That report will not contain specifics about “geographic hunches” or financial information due to the incomplete state of the subcommittee’s work, Harris Thompsett said.

In other action, council:
* Affirmed the House of Bishops’ March 17 resolution calling for an independent commission to explore the canonical, environmental, behavioral and procedural dimensions of matters involving the serious impairment of individuals serving as leaders in the church. The commission, which is due to be appointed by Jefferts Schori in consultation with Jennings, is supposed to give special attention to issues of addiction and substance abuse. Council revised the 2015 budget to include $150,000 to fund the commission’s work.

* Passed resolutions offered by its Joint Standing Committee on Advocacy and Networking on urging Episcopalians, governments and non-governmental organizations to oppose human trafficking, religious persecution, and climate change.

* Agreed to require that all children and staff participating in the General Convention Children’s Program be vaccinated. A child may be exempted by presenting a certificate from a physician certifying that a person’s physical condition precludes one or more immunizations.

The March 19-21 meeting took place at the Radisson Salt Lake City Downtown.

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

Some council members tweeted from the meeting using #ExCoun.

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

A summary of Executive Council resolutions

Saturday, March 21, 2015

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City, Utah] During its March 19-21 meeting here, the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council adopted multiple resolutions, which are summarized below.

Advocacy and Networking for Mission
* Condemn the use of religion for the purpose of advancing political agendas directed at terrorizing, victimizing, and oppressing individuals and communities and impairing their ability to enjoy basic human rights because of their religious beliefs and social, ethnic, class, caste, gender, and national affiliations; condemn serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights violations and abuses; call on the governments of the world’s nations to confront the reality of religious persecution, protect religious minorities and civilians within the framework of international and humanitarian law, address political exclusion and economic desperation that are being manipulated by the forces of extremists, scale up humanitarian and development assistance to host countries and trusted NGOs, and accept for resettlement a fair share of the most vulnerable people where return to their countries of origin is impossible;
encourage all Episcopalians to engage in prayers, support, education, and advocacy for displaced people and the churches that are providing succor and hope to those displaced people who have been uprooted by conflict and living in refugee camps (A&N040).

* Recognize the increasing urgency globally for governments, communities, and individuals to take action through legislation and regulation, business and community partnerships, personal initiative, and widespread education and dialogue to address the full range of activities necessary to reduce and eliminate the human-caused detrimental effects on climate and the environment; reiterate the church’s commitment to Jesus’ preferential option for the poor, so that such actions to reduce and eliminate the human-caused detrimental effects on climate and the environment do not disproportionately harm the lives and livelihood of the marginalized among us; encourage all Episcopalians to review the Pastoral Message on Climate Change from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori together with the presiding bishops of our ecumenical partners, to take advantage of the teachings to be offered in the March 24 webcast forum, “The Climate Change Crisis,” with follow-up resources, and to participate in the 30 Days of Action that will kick off on the day of the forum, by signing up to receive a daily e-mail from the Episcopal Public Policy Network here (A&N0041).

* Express support of the efforts of worldwide governmental and non-governmental organizations, working collaboratively, to eradicate the scourge of modern-day slavery commonly known as human trafficking, and commend specifically, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the Global Freedom Network, the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and its April 2013 report “Building Partnerships to Eradicate Modern Day Slavery: Report of Recommendations to the President”, the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking and other emerging networks of governmental and non-governmental organizations working to raise attention, cultivate responses, and generate advocacy around human trafficking and modern-day slavery, including the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the United States Department of State, the Polaris Project, and the United Way Center to Combat Human Trafficking & Slavery; extend the life of the D042 Coordinating Committee on Human Trafficking and direct the committee to provide a report on its activities to the Executive Council to be included in council’s triennial Blue Book report for the 79th General Convention; urge dioceses and congregations to learn to recognize the signs of human trafficking in their neighborhoods, support services to victims and survivors of human trafficking, and urge local, state, and federal lawmakers to pass laws that punish traffickers and those who profit from the slave labor of, or trafficked, women, girls, boys, and men (A&N042).

Finances for Mission
* Establish Trust Fund 1076 as investment account for All Saints Episcopal Church, Concord, North Carolina (FFM076).

* Accept revised investment policy statement of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (FFM077).

* Authorize treasurer, chief operating officer and director of mission to use income distributed annually from all trust funds of Class 100 for individual scholarships, educational and/or theological programs as recommended by the Scholarship Committee in adherence to trust language, donor’s intent, and scholarship guidelines; to use income distributed annually from all trust funds of Class 101 to fund program grants in adherence to trust language and guidelines established by granting committees; to use income distributed annually from all trust funds of Class 13 to effect distributions in adherence to trust language and Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society guidelines; any annual balances not awarded be reinvested (FFM078).

* Establish Trust Fund 1075 as an investment account for the Diocese of Nebraska (FFM079).

* Establish Trust Funds 1077-1115 as investment accounts for the Diocese of West Missouri (FFM080).

* Affirm the March 17, 2015 resolution of the House of Bishops calling for an independent commission to explore the canonical, environmental, behavioral and procedural dimensions of matters involving the serious impairment of individuals serving as leaders in the church, with special attention to issues of addiction and substance abuse, and revise the 2015 budget to include $150,000 to fund the work of this commission (FFM081).

* Authorize a line of credit to the Episcopal Church in Navajoland in the amount of up to $350,000 to be accessed through Dec. 31 for operating support (FFM082).

* Accept amendments amounting to $295,000 in additions to the 2015 Budget for The Episcopal Church (FFM083).

Governance and Administration for Mission
* Require all children and staff participating in the General Convention Children’s Program be vaccinated, as appropriate by age (child may be exempted by presenting a certificate from a licensed physician to the staff stating that due to the physical condition of the student one or more specified immunizations would endanger the student’s life or health); staff of the General Convention Children’s Program, working with the General Convention Office, will verify the immunization records of all children and staff and General Convention Children’s Program will comply with at least all applicable minimum requirements of Utah State Law with respect to such programs (GAM027).

* Adopt changes to the United Thank Offering bylaws (GAM028).

* Forward to the wider church a response to the report of the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (GAM029).

* Adopt amendment to the Episcopal Church Women bylaws (GAM030).

Finances for Mission and Governance and Administration for Mission
* Create an ad hoc committee of Executive Council on the Location of the Church Center to be nominated by council chair and vice-chair of Executive Council and appointed by the Executive Council; membership of the committee may, but need not, be members of council and may be supplemented by additional appointments from time to time; committee charged with examining the missional, strategic, and financial aspects of the location of the Episcopal Church Center; committee will continue the work of the GAM-FFM Joint Subcommittee on the Location of the Church Center and any money allocated to the subcommittee are transferred to the committee; committee charged with providing a final recommendation to the Executive Council on the location of the church center (FFM GAM003).

Local Mission and Ministry
* Affirm six entities as Jubilee Centers, including Iglesia San Bartolomé Barrio Buena Vista, desuio a La Esperanza Siguatepeque, Honduras (Diocese of Honduras); St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Outreach Ministries, Fayetteville, Arkansas (Diocese of Arkansas); Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, Breckenridge, Colorado (Diocese of Colorado); Chaplains on the Harbor, Westport, Washington (Diocese of Olympia); Hope Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland (Diocese of Maryland) and St. Andrew’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, Destin, Florida (Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast) (LMM015).

World Mission
* Acknowledge the staff of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, giving special thanks for their financial stewardship as demonstrated by consistently ending each fiscal year under the approved budget; recognize various initiatives by DFMS staff to reduce administrative expenses, including renegotiating loans and lines of credit; note and applaud efforts by Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff to improve income, such as the rental of space in the church center, express its appreciation for the consistent, visionary leadership of the chief financial officer and the chief operating officer throughout this triennium (WM034).

* Celebrate the continuing evolution of the relations with the Episcopal Church of Cuba and The Episcopal Church and commit to pray for our brothers and sisters in Cuba during this time of new possibilities and opportunities (WM035).

* Express our deep concern and heartfelt affection for our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church of Melanesia and the Church of Pakistan (United), and their leaders, Archbishop David Vunagi, and the Most Rev. Samuel Azariah respectively, in light of recent crises; and commit The Episcopal Church to a continuing relationship of prayer during these times of challenge faced by the Anglican Church of Melanesia and the Church of Pakistan (United) (WM036).

New research report addresses Episcopal Church’s response to racism

Saturday, March 21, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society has posted a new research report, The Church’s Contemporary Response to Racism, detailing the response of The Episcopal Church to racism, presented by the Archives of The Episcopal Church.

The report, prepared for the Executive Council Committee on Anti-Racism, is available here.

“Now we have a researched, documented, vetted, historical narrative that forms the foundation for viewing where the church has stood and how it has progressed or, in many cases, not progressed, in its work on becoming anti-racists,” commented Lelanda Lee of Colorado, Executive Council member and chair of its Advocacy and Networking Committee at the Executive Council meeting. “Now we have the foundation on which we can stand altogether to point our way forward to the work that remains to be done.”

Areas addressed in the report include: Early Recognition of the Effects of Racism, 1954-1978; Naming and Confronting the Church’s Racism, 1979-1989; Initiating Anti-Racism Training, 1990-1999; Anti-Racism as Sustained Cultural Competency, 2000-2014. Additionally, the report contains a complete list of General Convention and Executive Council resolutions approved over the decades.

Key points of the report in the Summary offer an overview of the recognition of racism, response, and training and curriculum offerings. “Racism had to be recognized before it could be addressed,” the summary states. “These changes in place, Church bodies were equipped to turn to confronting racism as an internal blight. General Convention pushed for greater self-examination and Church-wide awareness training, and Council began to respond with expectations of staff.”

Presiding Bishop’s sermon from Executive Council

Saturday, March 21, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori delivered the following sermon on March 21 during the opening Eucharist at the Episcopal Church Executive Council meeting currently gathered  at the Radisson Salt Lake City Downtown.

Thomas Cranmer
21 March 2015
Executive Council closing Eucharist
Salt Lake City, UT

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

The Psalm assigned for today includes this line: Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people.[1] Only a few hours more for half of this body, and then you can rest in peace. Like Israel, give thanks for coming into Zion[2] and finding it a land of plenty – of beauty, hospitality, and the invitation to live in peace with family and neighbors.

The Europeans who first settled in this valley came with strong religious convictions, believing that God was sending them into a new and pleasant land. But as Israel discovered, there were already people living in the land of promise. Like many if not most of the early European settlers, the followers of Joseph Smith[3] began by trying to live in peace with the indigenous people, but eventually pushed them out, took their land, hunted their food, stole their water, and sometimes massacred them[4] or others who came after them.[5]

Visions of the holy frequently lead human beings to believe they have seen the whole of God’s salvation in one particular revelation, in one code of behavior, or in one new ecclesial direction. The saint we’re remembering today is a notable example.

Thomas Cranmer had great gifts as well as immense blindnesses. His life was a striking mix of deeply provocative theological wrestling and expedient action, both personal and political. One writer describes his character as encompassing a range “from a champion of the faith to a compromising sycophant and vows-breaker.”[6] He revived Christian worship by insisting on language “understanded of the people.” The Prayer Books[7] that he organized include language that still defines some of the most beautiful of English literature. Yet he was so certain of his own rightness that he forbade any other usage than what he himself had written and authorized.

And then there are the marriage issues, which we still haven’t completely solved. When Cranmer was ordained a priest, clergy were forbidden to marry, but he did so anyway. Maybe that’s why the first Book of Common Prayer counts the primary purpose of marriage was to avoid fornication. When the reality was discovered, he was sacked from his academic position. His wife died in childbirth shortly thereafter and he quickly got himself reappointed to the same post. Some years later, Henry VIII sent him to Europe, where he married the daughter of a Lutheran theologian. When Henry needed to appoint a new Archbishop of Canterbury in 1532, he named Cranmer, and he got him ordained bishop and installed, in spite of his married state. Henry later began to have qualms about that reality, so Cranmer sent his wife back to Europe. Cranmer, you may remember, was also responsible for much of the legal, political, and ecclesiastical work involving Henry’s marriages.

Every religious tradition has its skeletons and its saints, and sometimes they are the same people. Paul is warning his hearers not to count themselves better than their ancestors, for they all depend on the same rootstock – a root that nourishes the olive tree or the grape vine we cling to as intimate connection to God as Creator of all. That root is why we are here, and it is also why the LDS church is here.

When General Convention shows up here just over 3 months from now, many of the volunteers and dispensers of hospitality will be our sisters and brothers from that tradition. Will we recognize their welcome as a product of the same root, or will we assume that they come from a different and unrecognizable species?

Complexity defines human beings and their relationships, which just might convince us of the otherness of God. Difference is part of God’s creativity, from the riotous diversity of the species of creation to the inner chaos of most human beings. Paul names it when he says he wants to do the right thing, but he does something else instead.[8] Nevertheless, when people stay connected to that one rootstock, God can usually be found to bring something new and holy out of the mess.

Branches that seem radically different grow on the same tree and the same vine, even though we love to hate the ones who are not like us. We often in the church focus our attention on differences in reproductive customs and norms – yet both the grape vine and the olive tree has multiple ways to be generative. Flowers can be fertilized by pollen from the same plant or another one. The fruit and seeds that result are eaten by birds and animals and left to grow far from the original plant, yet they are still related. The vine also generates new branches from its rootstock or from distant parts of its branches. But all those kinds of vines and branches are related, however they come about.

God continues to bring new life out of chaos. Some time ago the LDS discovered, in the roots of their tradition, ways to include African-Americans after having long excluded them, and they are beginning to do the same for LGBT folk. Today Salt Lake ranks 7th in the nation for its proportion of gay and lesbian residents.[9] Episcopalians are still wrestling with our own patterns of exclusion: racism, classism, sexism, as well as assuming that everyone who should an Episcopalian already is.

Cranmer was right – worship and gospelling have to be understood by the people or they are utterly in vain. We have seen the evidence, and we are beginning to learn new ways. Jan Butter, who has just stepped down as the Anglican Communion Office’s Director for Communications, left a parting gift in a provocative paper about new ways of communicating. [10] He pushes us to take Cranmer’s genius about the vernacular and apply it to how we share Good News on our journey into Zion. We have opportunities to build and nurture community that didn’t exist even a few years ago. We are beginning to see the possibilities of recognizing and nurturing other parts of the vine for the good of the whole creation. Butter holds up the Episcopal Asset Map as a rare and innovative example of what might be possible.

We have all committed to follow the apostles toward Zion, resisting evil, proclaiming Good News in word and deed, seeking and serving Christ in everybody, striving for justice and peace, and recognizing the dignity of all humanity. That will always challenge us to see past the categories and labels that we use to divide and distinguish ourselves from others. Our repentance must not be just about turning over a new leaf, but about changing our minds enough to recognize a new and different leaf as part of God’s creation, intimately related to us and to all that is. Proclaiming Good News can only begin with listening and beginning to understand the vernacular.

We have much to celebrate in the work of recent years – like the Mission Enterprise Zones and launching into new vineyards. And we must keep learning to talk to different branches of the vine.

What branches can you recognize today that you wouldn’t have three years ago? What are you doing to nurture their growth and vitality? What new vines or olive trees can you see in the distance? Cultivating an eye for recognizing other branches is an act of blessing and affirming what God is up to. Pray that we might see all creation is a grown on God’s own rootstock, and pray that it all might be fruitful.

Blessed be the Lord who has given us a vision of rest and peace for all, and for giving us vines, olive trees, and branches to keep us connected to that vision.

[1] 1Kings 8:56

[2] Both the Salt Lake Valley and the figurative sense of a community of the righteous

[3] Brigham Young led the migration to what is now Utah after Joseph Smith was assassinated in Illinois in 1844

[4] http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/672

[5] http://mountainmeadowsmassacre.com/

[6] John-Julian, Stars in a Dark World, p 613

[7] Both the 1549 and 1552 versions

[8] Romans 7:15

[9] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/21/upshot/the-metro-areas-with-the-largest-and-smallest-gay-population.html?emc=edit_th_20150321&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=44355849&_r=0&abt=0002&abg=0

[10] Jan Butter, “The Choice Before Us” 18 March 2015, Anglican Communion Office. This will be posted at a later date.

Invite Welcome Connect Summit set for April 30-May 2

Friday, March 20, 2015

[Episcopal Diocese of Texas press release] Invite Welcome Connect brings together dynamic speakers and practical workshops for a national audience at Camp Allen, Texas, April 30-May 2, 2015. Many dioceses across the country have hosted the evangelism seminars of IWC and churches that have used its principles report growing numbers and energized parishioners.

North Carolina’s Bishop Michael Curry will preach at the Summit’s opening Eucharist on Thursday evening, with keynote addresses from Back to Church’s Michael Harvey; Radical Welcome’s author, Stephanie Spellers; Texas Bishop Andy Doyle, whose new book Church addresses the future of Episcopal congregations and Mary Parmer, author of the Invite Welcome Connect seminars.

Workshops on how to use the Invite-Welcome-Connect materials will offer ideas and experiences from those who have used the newcomer project resources in their own churches. These materials provide excellent congregational development tools that include creative, concrete resources to form a strategic, intentional and transformational newcomer ministry.  Hear from the people who have learned how to use the gift of hospitality to reach out to new members, bring them into community and connect them to the life and ministry of the congregation.

Clergy and lay leaders who are interested in seeing their congregations grow and flourish and who are open to creative and new approaches will find a full measure of intentional and transformational newcomer ministry ideas and information.

The cost has been partially underwritten by a grant from the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, where the IWC curriculum was developed and piloted. Registration, which includes three days of the Summit, lodging and meals is $200 per person ($245 for single occupancy). Online registration is at campallen.org.

Any questions regarding the Summit may be directed to Mary Parmer, Newcomer Ministry Project

La Cámara de Obispos concluye su encuentro con la mirada puesta en la Convención

Friday, March 20, 2015

[Episcopal News Service] La Cámara de Obispos de la Iglesia Episcopal, reunida en su retiro anual de primavera, ha convenido en escribir una nueva carta pastoral a la Iglesia sobre el pecado del racismo.

La carta, que se espera sea adoptada en la reunión de primavera de 2016, será “la respuesta más perdurable de esta cámara sobre ese asunto”, dijo la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori durante una conferencia de prensa que tuvo lugar a mediodía del 17 de marzo, la última jornada de la reunión de los obispos.

La pastoral seguirá una adoptada por la Cámara en abril de 1994 y a otro emitida el 22 de marzo de 2006. La carta de 2006 advertía que la declaración pastoral de 1994 decía que era necesaria una nueva carta porque “el extendido pecado” del racismo “sigue afectando nuestra vida común en la Iglesia y en la cultura”.

El tema para la reunión del 13 al 17 de marzo en el Centro de Conferencias de Kanuga en Hendersonville, Carolina del Norte, en la Diócesis de Carolina del Norte Occidental, fue Fomentar una cultura de la curiosidad, la compasión y el coraje en Cristo.

“Hemos concentrado nuestra conversación en torno a la curiosidad, acerca del ‘otro’, coraje para encontrar ‘al otro’ y compasión para encontrar ‘al otro’”, dijo Jefferts Schori. Añadió que obispos miembros retaron a sus colegas con ‘provocadoras” mediaciones en lo tocante a raza, cultura, clase [social] y en su relación con otras tradiciones religiosas.

“Las conversaciones han sido más profundas de las que yo jamás haya experimentado en esta cámara y me siento inmensamente gratificada con la profundidad de las conversaciones y lo que creo resultará de esta reunión”, afirmó.

La Obispa Primada encomió la labor del comité de planificación de la Cámara por la profundidad de la participación de los miembros. Todd Ousley, obispo de la Diócesis de Michigan Oriental y copresidente del Comité de Planificación de la Cámara de Obispos, dijo que la reunión se estructuró con el filtro de considerar primero el legado de la esclavitud y luego pasar a la “experiencia contemporánea de los resultados del racismo y las divisiones en este país y en cualquier otra parte en torno a la raza”.

El movimiento permitió a los obispos “edificar a partir de nuestras experiencias de lo que significa ser la Iglesia en medio de una cultura cada vez más plural donde el otro está cerca de nosotros todo el tiempo”, dijo Ousley.

La reunión, que Ousley dijo estuvo “repleta de información y profundos encuentros con nosotros mismos y nuestro papel como obispos” también energizó a los obispos “por haber profundizado tanto juntos y descubrir cómo tenemos que ser en cuanto obispos según nos adentramos en un mundo de creciente celeridad y rápidamente cambiante”.

Los obispos también “consideraron los problemas de discapacidad entre nuestros miembros y otras personas en la Iglesia”, dijo Jefferts Schori, “y esperamos nombrar una comisión que abordará esos temas en un sentido amplio y nos proporcionará algunas reacciones sobre la manera en que podríamos responder a esos problemas”.

Los obispos aprobaron una resolución que le pide a la Obispa Primada, en consulta con la presidente de la Cámara de Diputados, que nombre a una comisión independiente para “explorar las dimensiones canónicas, ambientales, de conducta y procedimiento de los asuntos que conllevan la discapacidad grave de individuos que sirven como líderes de la Iglesia, con especial atención a los problemas de adicción y de consumo de estupefacientes”, según el registro diario de la reunión correspondiente al 17 de marzo.

La resolución dice que los nombramientos a la comisión deben incluir a individuos “con experiencia profesional o personal con diversas discapacidades”, así como miembros de la Iglesia episcopal y de asociados en plena comunión de la Iglesia.

“Se incluyeron, como apropiadas, recomendaciones tanto para la acción así como una ulterior revisión, a fin de esclarecer las líneas de autoridad, garantizar la responsabilidad mutua y promover la justica, el bienestar y la seguridad tanto en la Iglesia como en el mundo” dice el informe de la resolución.

La Obispa Primada dijo que “habrá una conversación continua” respecto a la manera en que esa comisión desempeñaría su labor.

Jefferts Schori puntualizó que el objetivo de la comisión será que la Iglesia entendiera como “podría responder mejor, tanto pastoral como eclesiásticamente” a sus miembros , ya fuesen laicos u ordenados.

El Rvdmo. Dean Wolfe, obispo de la Diócesis de Kansas y vicepresidente de la Cámara de Obispos, dijo que la comisión es necesaria porque “la Iglesia es una institución imperfecta y dinámica y siempre estamos tratando de aprender la manera de ser más fieles y de encontrar vías para ejercer mejor nuestros ministerios”.

Una miembro de la Cámara, Heather Cook, obispa sufragánea de Maryland, está con licencia administrativa de la diócesis en tanto se celebra el juicio en que la acusan de que el 27 de diciembre conducía presuntamente en estado de embriaguez y estaba enviando un mensaje de texto cuando atropelló y mató al ciclista Thomas Palermo, de 41 años.

La Cámara también fijó su atención en la 78ª. reunión de la Convención General de la Iglesia, que sesionará del 23 de junio al 3 de julio en Salt Lake City, Utah. El obispo Ken Price, secretario de la Cámara de Obispos, dijo que los obispos dedicaron tiempo a conversar sobre los temas que la Convención abordará. El 17 de marzo, los obispos comenzaron a cambiar su énfasis “hacia un espíritu más legislativo que imperará en la Convención General”, afirmó Price.

Veintidós obispos nunca habían asistido a la Convención como miembros de la Cámara de Obispos, dijo Price. Tendrán una curva de aprendizaje, pero así sucederá con todos los obispos, advirtió Price, en tanto la convención tiende a convertirse en una operación sin papeles.

“Este es un nuevo aprendizaje [experiencia] para los obispos, de manera que estamos intentando asimilar eso”, dijo Price.

El Rdo. canónigo Michael Barlowe, director ejecutivo de la convención, se reunió con los obispos el 17 de marzo para presentarles el plan sin papeles.

“Hemos pasado de devotos a personales y ahora estamos entrando en el terreno de lo práctico en esta tarde”, dijo la obispa sufragánea de Los Ángeles Diane Jardine Bruce, durante la conferencia de prensa del 17 de marzo.

Price añadió que la Cámara dedicó muy poco tiempo a discutir la inminente elección en la Convención General del[de la] sucesor[a] de Jefferts Schori, porque el Comité de Nominaciones Conjunto para la Elección del Obispo Primado aún no ha dado a conocer la lista de los nominados. Este comité tiene dos reuniones programadas, del 19 al 22 de marzo y del 19 al 20 de abril, y ha dicho que hará ese anuncio a principios de mayo. Antes de la última elección para obispo primado, en 2006, el comité dio a conocer su lista en enero.

Durante la reunión, la Oficina de Relaciones Públicas de la Iglesia Episcopal emitió partes diarios que brindaban un breve resumen de las discusiones y actividades de los obispos en Kanuga. Esos resúmenes se encuentran aquí.

Al público y a los medios de prensa no se les permitió presenciar las sesiones. Durante el retiro, algunos obispos enviaron mensajes a través de sus blogs o por Twitter valiéndose del código #hoblent2015. Esos mensajes de Twitter pueden leerse aquí.

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

Faith leaders unite with business leaders to end scourge of slavery

Friday, March 20, 2015

United Thank Offering board President Barbara Schafer, far right, makes a comment during a forum on sexual violence and human trafficking sponsored by the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations as a side event to the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, meeting March 9-20. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] The number of people who enslave adults and children for profit across the world is multiplying, and traffickers cumulatively make more money than the oil industry.

That’s the assessment of Archbishop David Moxon, the archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See and director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, who spoke during a recent forum at The Episcopal Church Center in New York.

Traffickers treat those they enslave “as sub-human, as cattle, as economic units for whom human dignity, human freedom, human opportunity, human potential do not exist because you can make a lot of money quickly,” he said.

The forum on sexual violence and human trafficking was sponsored by the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations as a side event to the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, meeting March 9-20. A crowd filled the church center’s Chapel of Christ the Lord for Moxon’s March 12 presentation, the first part of which was devoted to participants describing their efforts against human trafficking.

Human trafficking and enslavement are “driven by [a] commercial profit-making endeavor, which is driven by greed, for which there is a massive demand,” Moxon said.

It is hard to determine the number of people ensnared in this market, he said, because, “How do you quantify something that’s hidden?”

Hotly debated estimates range between 25 million and 40 million people. Moxon cites the Global Slavery Index’s estimate of 35.8 million, but adds that whatever the number “It’s huge, and it has to be stopped.”

When police try to target traffickers, however, “the prosecution rate is rather low because they shift, they move, they change borders, they cross countries,” he said. Traffickers “are assisted by international mafia, for example, in a way that eludes international police action quite well.”

While rescuing people from trafficking and slavery is important, Moxon said, “we could devote all our energy to rescue, and we’d be rescuing until the end of time.”

He countered the bleakness of this picture by describing what he called a new strategy linking business leaders with religious leaders across interfaith lines to turn off trafficking’s commercial tap and thus “bankrupt slavery.”

The odds are stacked against eliminating human trafficking and its frequent corollary of sexual violence, Moxon said, but we must try because “the world isn’t free until these people are free.”

Interfaith cooperation

The strategy for breaking the grip of traffickers that Moxon described began nearly two years ago when Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Pope Francis met for the first time. Welby knew that Francis had been “profoundly moved” by befriending a survivor of human trafficking in Argentina. Welby also knew that, early in his papacy, Francis had called for an examination of the church’s role in combating human trafficking and modern slavery. Thus, Moxon said, Welby “felt confident” that the pope would be open to his suggestion that their two churches try to work together against trafficking.

Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby found common ground on the issue of human trafficking from the first time they met, Archbishop David Moxon says. Photo: Global Freedom Network

The eventual result was the formation of the Global Freedom Network, which aims to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking by 2020. That goal was the subject of an agreement announced on March 17, 2014, at the Vatican.

At the same time, Australian philanthropist and businessman Andrew Forrest, an Anglican, decided to give away the fortune he had made in the mineral industry. In the midst of that effort, his daughter challenged him to pay attention to human trafficking. He formed the Walk Free Foundation, which seeks to end modern slavery. Forrest approached faith leaders all over the world to urge them to raise their voices against trafficking and modern slavery and to work together against it.

The organizers took an even larger step on Dec. 2 when 12 Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and Orthodox leaders met at the Vatican and signed the “Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery on World Day for the Abolition of Slavery”.

“In the eyes of God, each human being is a free person, whether girl, boy, woman or man, and is destined to exist for the good of all in equality and fraternity,” the statement said, calling modern slavery a “crime against humanity.” Its signatories pledged “to work together for the freedom of all those who are enslaved and trafficked so that their future may be restored.”

Achieving such unanimity has “been hard, it’s been rocky, it’s been turbulent,” Moxon said, but in the end “all the theology … jelled.” He noted, for instance, that both Shia and Sunni Muslim leaders signed the declaration.

The declaration was signed just weeks after ISIS announced that slavery must be foundational to the new caliphate it says it is fighting to create, said Moxon, calling that sentiment “deeply sickening.”

Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, back row on right, were among 12 Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and Orthodox leaders meeting at the Vatican Dec. 2 who signed the “Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery on World Day for the Abolition of Slavery”. Photo: Global Freedom Network

The coalition of faith leaders will remain fragile at times, Moxon said, but the leaders hope to continue to find common ground.

“We’ve never done this before — hammered out a strategic plan of a practical sort, with its important spiritual, theological backdrop — and it’s quite complex,” Moxon told ENS after the forum. “But I do think mission should drive ecumenism and interfaith action more than it does. That would help us a lot because if you’re just discussing concepts and theological motions, there will be endless details you can go on debating for a long, long time.”

Instead, Moxon asked, paraphrasing a statement from Pope Francis: “Why don’t we act as if we are one now in the face of global evil?”

Anti-slavery strategies
In the face of that evil, the Global Freedom Network intends to act on a list of strategies, beginning with what is known as supply-chain auditing and cleansing. The process is designed to help companies reduce or eliminate the risk of modern slavery occurring in their supply chains, either as a direct or indirect result of their procurement practices.

Or, as Moxon put it, it enables them to “get themselves slave-free for the good of their own soul, for the good of their country, for the good of the world and for the good, above all, of the people who have been enslaved.”

Supply-chain auditing is crucial because, “apart from the sex industry, the only reason slavery exists is somebody is paying for the product the slaves make,” Moxon said.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby signs the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery on World Day for the Abolition of Slavery during a Dec. 2 meeting at the Vatican. The Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Al Modarresi of Iraq, another of the 12 religious leaders who signed the declaration, looks on. Photo: Global Freedom Network

The Walk Free Foundation offers a guide (“Tackling Modern Slavery in Supply Chains”) for businesses that want to embark on that effort. U.S. electronics maker Hewlett Packard already has done this work, according to Moxon. Because faith leaders can speak to business leaders about the dignity of every human being, the archbishop of Canterbury will host a meeting of leaders of British corporations to encourage them to use the process.

In a related move, the Global Freedom Network and Walk Free want to foster micro-financing programs through which people can earn more money for their work and thus not fall prey to false promises of wages from people who turn out to be slavers.

Another strategy, caring for the survivors of trafficking, is especially suited to faith communities, Moxon said. Offering long-term support and “genuine restorative friendship” is crucial, and something that churches can do far better than governments, he said.

The groups also are advocating for legal reforms to institutionalize supply-chain auditing and cleansing in ways that reward companies that do so. One such law is being proposed in the U.K. Parliament, he said. Moxon said some companies are leery of doing the audit because they fear prosecution over what they discover.

Education and awareness-raising is another strategy and the Global Freedom Network offers resources that faith communities can use to do that work amongst themselves.

The network wants to identify the 10 most slave-prone countries and establish local councils to devise local solutions based in each country’s customs, laws, culture, financial resources and existing efforts. Forrest, the Australian philanthropist, has donated $25 million for beginning this effort and others, especially the micro-financing strategy, Moxon said.

Another strategy is to educate people about human trafficking. The Global Freedom Network offers resources that faith communities can use to do that work amongst themselves.

Growing awareness
Moxon described his own growing awareness of the issue. Before he went to the Anglican Centre in Rome, Moxon was one of the archbishops of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. A New Zealand native, Moxon said that he was “only vaguely aware” of the pervasiveness of human trafficking and modern slavery before the archbishop of Canterbury asked him to get involved. Two years of studying the issue and helping to form the Global Freedom Network have left their mark on him.

Archbishop David Moxon presides at Eucharist March 12 in The Episcopal Church Center’s Chapel of Christ the Lord. Moxon, the archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See and director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, later hosted a forum on human trafficking and sexual violence. Assisting him at the Eucharist were the Rev. Canon James Calloway, Colleges and University of the Anglican Communion general secretary, and Angie Cabanban, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s diversity and ethnic ministries associate. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

“It was a huge eye-opener; quite extraordinary,” he said during the ENS interview.

It also changed how he looks at the women in his life.

“The question of slavery has made me supersensitive to anything that looks like someone is expected to do too much for nothing,” he said.

He also learned that much of the work needed to eliminate human trafficking is “dangerous or difficult or politically complicated, religiously sensitive, and you don’t necessarily see the glorious outcomes or the spiritual import, even.” But the work must be done, he said.

Earlier in the day, during his sermon at a Eucharist in the chapel, Moxon told the story of a monk who longed to encounter Christ in his prayers said in his cell. Instead, he found him in the people he was required to serve each day.

The question of “do we believe Christ is there or not is the really fundamental point,” Moxon said. “Do you believe it or not, is what it comes down to.”

Editor’s note: The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council may consider a resolution March 21 to express its support of the collaborative efforts of worldwide governmental and non-governmental bodies to eradicate human trafficking, and call the Episcopal Church to action in a variety of ways.

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

Presiding Bishop’s opening remarks to Executive Council

Thursday, March 19, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Afffairs press release] The following are the opening remarks of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, currently meeting through March 21 in Salt Lake City, Utah (Diocese of Utah).

Executive Council opening remarks
March 19
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

I want to give thanks as well to the members of this Executive Council.  I believe this body has functioned more effectively than any I have seen.  Some of that is the result of greater clarity about what needs to be addressed here and of ensuring that there is a regular cycle of review of the various areas for which we are responsible.  Some is the result of new bylaws and policies that were adopted in the last triennium, which this body has been able to implement.  Some is the result of reorganized standing committees.  And a fair bit has to do with the depth of engagement between our periodic face to face meetings.  The work that is accomplished via extranet and electronic meetings has grown significantly and has contributed to far more effective conversation when we meet face-to-face.  But more than anything else, your attitude toward this work as a ministry, and your understanding that we are here to serve the wider church in its partnership for God’s mission, is responsible for the health that I think we enjoy.  Thank you for taking this vocation so earnestly, and for being willing to lighten up and play on occasion.

Brother Robert, thank you for your steady and faithful presence among us, and for framing our work here in the context of worship.  We could not have come this far without your ministry to each of us and to the whole body.

This meeting closes much of Executive Council’s work in this triennium, but not all of it.  We will elect continuing members to serve on the Executive Committee, and they will almost certainly have some substantive decisions in the months before a new Executive Council gathers in November.

The task of budget development throughout this triennium has been a work of grace and increased clarity, and we can give thanks for the leadership of FFM, and the hard work of Susan Snook and Mark Hollingsworth.  Thank you.

As we look toward the next iteration of this body, we have some important questions to ask:  Is the committee structure the right one?  Is our committee structure fit for purpose? Is the workload reasonably well-distributed?  Do we have changes in that structure to recommend to the next Council?  Have we made sufficient progress in thinking strategically over the whole of the three years, and building a regular cycle of review of the varied bodies and ministries that connect to the Executive Council? Or are we being reactive, rather than thinking proactive?  Have we paid sufficient attention to all of the bodies that meet here?  There may be fewer such bodies in the next triennium, but what have you learned and what would you change?  Do we need new committees, perhaps a personnel committee or strategic planning committee?

One particular topic seems essential to address as we look toward the TREC conversation at General Convention.  One of the suggestions of TREC is for the Council to name the gifts it sees in this body that are necessary, and then invite the Standing Commission on Nominations to seek out a diverse group of people with those gifts.  Did the Executive Council have all the gifts it needed?  What, if anything, was missing?

As General Convention approaches, we can celebrate the creative work that has been possible in this triennium.  The growing edges of The Episcopal Church continue to be found on the margins – in our overseas contexts, in immigrant congregations everywhere, and in the new and experimental initiatives like Mission Enterprise Zones, and the expanding life of the Young Adult Service Corps and Campus Ministry partnerships.  Mission work with the “least of these” continues to draw the center of gravity in this church out toward the margins.  Any biologist will tell you that the most creativity in an ecosystem is found at the boundaries, where one community interacts with another.  All of God’s creation works that way, and we discover the creative spirit of God when we move out of our comfort zones to encounter the new and different.  This church is finding the confidence to explore – and you have helped to support that missional adventure.

We have also seen a remarkable movement toward more interdependent relationships within and beyond this Church.  The work of sustainability in Province IX is grounded in a belief that each part of the Body has gifts to be shared with the others.  Financial gifts are only one kind.  The creativity of the margins is a gift that is essential to the health of the whole Body, and we are only going to keep growing up into the full stature of Christ if we honor and share all the gifts God has given.

General Convention is a churchwide opportunity to practice that kind of interdependence and mutual responsibility.  The work we do there, the relationships that are built there, and the decisions we make there are not ends in themselves, but a crucible or a tool for transformation of the world toward the Reign of God.

Executive Council and General Convention are part of the work of governance, which is really about practicing holy discourse and discerning the movement of the spirit.  Careful listening is essential, as we try to honor the creative work of the spirit and the image of God in one another.  Governance is deeply about self-control and self-governance of our appetites, both individual and collective appetites.  Good governance is expressed as effective stewardship of all the gifts we’ve been given so that the whole body of God’s creation might live more abundantly.  The practice of governance as holy discourse and discernment can also help to equip and nurture all members of the body in their ability to evangelize, advocate for justice, and build the beloved community.  That’s pretty much what we promise in our baptismal covenant – to love God and God’s dream for the world, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

So as we close this Council, thanks be to God for the work you have done and will continue to do on behalf of God’s vision of healing for all creation.

House of Deputies President’s opening remarks to Executive Council

Thursday, March 19, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The following are the opening remarks of the President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings at the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, currently meeting through March 21 in Salt Lake City, Utah (Diocese of Utah).

Executive Council opening remarks
March 19

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

I’ve recently finished a marathon. I didn’t run 26.2 miles—with the winter we’ve had in Ohio, it would have been more practical to ice skate that far—but I did recently complete the long, absorbing, and fulfilling process of appointing deputies to legislative committees for General Convention. You can find the committee rosters on the House of Deputies website. The canons require that appointments be made public within 30 days of being made (thanks to Resolution D045 submitted by Deputy Katie Sherrod and adopted by General Convention in 2009); I’m proud to say that we did it within 30 hours, and deputy committee chairs have already been instructed to convene their committees and begin work.

I’ve learned in the last few months that making legislative committee appointments is one of the most difficult and rewarding parts of my job. Not all deputies can serve on a committee—the committees would simply be too large to function—and not all deputies can be appointed to the committees on which they most hoped to serve. That’s the difficult part. The rewarding part is learning more about deputies’ skills, experience, and gifts in order to appoint committees with diverse and deep understanding of the issues at hand. I’m grateful to all of the deputies, including many of you, who have answered my calls and emails with grace and patience as I have drafted and re-drafted committee rosters.

This year, thanks to a new committee structure that the Presiding Bishop and I developed last summer and a new House of Deputies Committee on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, I have been able to make 547 appointments to legislative committees—a 27% increase over General Convention 2012. I’m also glad to say that all deputies who completed the committee preference survey and who have served at three or more conventions have been appointed. But legislative committees are not just the purview of long-time deputies; more than 35% of first-time deputies have also been appointed.

These first-time deputies, who make up 46% of the House of Deputies, are only part of the great chance this General Convention will provide to learn more about how our structures can change as our Episcopal identity stays strong. This General Convention will also be a laboratory for learning from young leaders and watching the structures of the church change as its leaders change the way we work. Traditionally at General Convention, senior deputies—those of us who practically remember the first General Convention in 1785—have had the knowledge and expertise to navigate the way things work. But in 2015, as you know, we’re embarking on our first paperless convention. Every deputy and every bishop will be issued an iPad—the old fat binders filled with reams of paper are gone for good. Deputies will carry a keycard with them and will need to swipe it before they speak at a microphone. Instead of sending messages back and forth between the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies on papyrus scrolls, someone will actually push a button and send the message electronically. Amazing!

All of this means that the senior deputies, with their decades of experience, are going to need to learn from deputies who are digital natives—young adults who don’t ever remember a world in which we didn’t carry computers in our pockets. We’re all going to need one another in different kinds of ways, and it’s going to change the way we work, change the way we are networked, and change the way we envision the kingdom of God.

I’m hoping that General Convention also provides us with practical experience in doing the kinds of restructuring that don’t require permission from a task force or    a resolution. You all have that kind of restructuring to do in your congregations, dioceses, and ministries, and so do I. I’ve spent a good deal of time talking with deputies and former deputies to explore how to move legislation more efficiently through General Convention and reduce the bottlenecks that we have sometimes encountered in previous years. In 2015, we’ll use the tools already available to us to streamline the legislative process.

One of those tools is use of legislative aides. This convention, for the first time, we have an open application process for those volunteers who will help committee officers navigate the legislative process and serve as liaisons with the Dispatch of Business committee. Alternate deputies and volunteers who are planning to attend General Convention are invited to apply by March 31. Please spread the word and visit the House of Deputies website or the General Convention website for all the details.

These next few months will be busy with work as we prepare to return to this beautiful city with several thousand of our friends and colleagues in tow. But it’s essential work, because General Convention is where we ensure that the mission of the Episcopal Church is strong and vibrant. When we serve at General Convention, we are servants of mission. We elect people to serve on policy-making bodies, we adopt a budget to provide resources so people, congregations, and dioceses are equipped and strengthened for ministry, we pass resolutions and adopt policies that point us in the direction of being witnesses for Christ to a world in desperate need of hope and healing. As we do this work, we all need to hold fast to our identity as servants of God and God’s mission in the Episcopal Church, just as surely as our sisters and brothers called to other kinds of ministry in God’s church.

Recently I had the chance to experience just how our governance can make our mission possible. Thanks to Christopher Hayes, chancellor of the Diocese of California, I had the opportunity to put decades of General Convention resolutions into action by being a lead signer on an amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States in support of reversing the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against civil marriage equality. The brief was also signed by 21 of our bishops and more than 200 Episcopal clergy and lay leaders, and it cites five General Convention resolutions:  Resolution D007 from 1994, Resolution D039 from 2000, Resolution A095 from 2006, Resolution A167 from 2006 and Resolution A049 from 2012.

The day after we submitted the brief, media outlets including USA Today, the Christian Science Monitor, the Detroit Free Press, the Living Church and Episcopal Café all covered the news. Thanks to the people who have served faithfully at General Convention for nearly 40 years, we Episcopalians are able to make a witness to the Supreme Court and to the people of this country that we stand against legal discrimination in any form, and that every citizen is entitled to equal protection under the law. So on April 28, when the Supreme Court hears arguments in this case, and in June—perhaps even when we’re at General Convention—when they issue a ruling, remember that your ministry of governance in the Episcopal Church has made it possible for us to take our place as Christians in the public square.

This is our last Executive Council meeting of this triennium. It has been a great privilege to serve with all of you, and I am grateful that each of you has been called to be servants of mission in this way. I must give special mention to Bryan Krislock who has served as a member of Council for 8 years – 26% of his entire life! His reward is to serve as my parliamentarian in the House of Deputies this summer!

As we prepare for the election of a new presiding bishop, I especially want to give thanks for the tireless ministry of Bishop Katharine these nine years, and for the dignity and spiritual clarity with which she has led our beloved Episcopal Church and guided it through turbulent times in the Anglican Communion. Her commitment to the Five Marks of Mission has inspired all of us to care for the poor, remember the outcast, and heal the world. As a woman who entered seminary just weeks after the Philadelphia Eleven were ordained, I have particularly admired her ability to handle with grace the particular challenges that come with being the first woman to hold any position of leadership, and I will always be grateful that we have served together. Thank you, Bishop Katharine, and thanks to all of you. I look forward to our work together these next few days.

Bishop Kemper School for Ministry adds two new staff members

Thursday, March 19, 2015

[Bishop Kemper School for Ministry press release] The Bishop Kemper School for Ministry (BKSM) is pleased to announce the addition of two new staff members. Deacon Karen Wichael joins BKSM as its volunteer registrar while Casey Rohleder has been hired in the newly created position of Communications and Outreach Specialist. They join the Very Rev. Dr. Don Compier, BKSM dean, and Deacon Bob Hirst, volunteer hospitality coordinator.

Compier said, “These appointments represent a great step forward in terms of institutional development. Casey’s experience and outstanding expertise in communications, marketing and financial management match precisely the needs of our growing programs. Karen’s experience in educational administration has equipped her so well to be registrar. Both are passionate and articulate about the vision that guides all our efforts. I am most grateful for their exemplary dedication and look forward to working collegially with them.”

Larry Bingham, BKSM Board of Directors chairperson said, “The Board of Directors is delighted that we are able to add two part-time staff members to support the growth and expansion of the School. Due to our limited budget, the Board had to ask Dean Compier to perform many of the school’s administrative functions in addition to his primary responsibilities as dean. The addition of Casey and Karen not only relieves Don of those administrative tasks, it allows the School to expand its all-important mission to students, member dioceses, alumni and donors.”

Rohleder is currently a second-year student at BKSM on the priest track. With a diverse professional background in higher education and non-profit organizations, she stepped out of the workforce in 2012 to care for her newborn daughter. “The Bishop Kemper School has become an incredibly important part of my life these past two years” Rohleder said. “I am thrilled to use my gifts and talents to help make BKSM an even better option for formation for ministry, and I am lucky to work from home as I do so.” Rohleder lives in Hays, Kan., and is a member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Western Kansas.

Wichael is a 1999 graduate of BKSM’s predecessor school, the Kansas School for Ministry, where she was closely associated with Deacon Jim Upton, a great pioneer of efforts to provide local formation for lay and ordained leadership. With memories from her two years of formation “to fill a lifetime,” she is overjoyed to join the staff as volunteer registrar. Wichael said, “I am pleased to be able to continue to be an active part of BKSM and work with students as they enter into this journey that will be filled with all that God has for us to do.” Wichael lives in Prairie Village, Kan., and serves as liturgical deacon and clergy support for hospital visitation at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Mission, Kan., in the Diocese of Kansas.

Rohleder’s position is made possible by a 2015 grant award from the Roanridge Trust, which supports transformative work in the Episcopal Church, especially in ministry to small towns and rural areas. This is the second year in a row that the school has received the largest Roanridge Trust grant awarded. The first grant, awarded in early 2014 enabled the BKSM Board of Directors to enhance the position of the dean from half-time to full-time status beginning July 1, 2014.

The school, which holds classes in Topeka once a month for 10 months a year, not only is more affordable than a traditional residential seminary, but students do not have to give up their jobs or uproot their families while they study. The current cost to attend is less than $2,000 a year. Priests normally enroll for three years and deacons for two. Additionally, BKSM offers courses to support a variety of licensed lay ministries.