ENS Headlines

Syndicate content
The news service of the Episcopal Church
Updated: 44 min 41 sec ago

Becas para el Estudio Teológico Otorgadas a Episcopales y Anglicanos en el Caribe, América Latina

Thursday, November 20, 2014

[20 noviembre de 2014] Samuel McDonald, Director de Misión y Director Deputado de Operaciones, ha anunciado las becas del 2015 de la Comisión para la Educación Teológica en América Latina y el Caribe (CETALC). Las 26 becas cubren cuatro categorías, además de la financiación administrativa por más de 319.630 dólares para apoyar las necesidades educativas, teológicas y formativas de la iglesia en América Latina y el Caribe.

Las becas fueron aprobadas por el Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal en la reunión de octubre de 2014.

CETALC se formó después de que en 1976 se cerrara el Seminario Episcopal del Caribe, situado en Puerto Rico. En ese momento, el Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal estableció el Fondo Fiduciario para la Educación Teológica en América Latina y el Caribe, con los fondos de la venta de los bienes destinados a apoyar los programas de educación teológica de las diócesis que estaban utilizando el seminario.

“Las becas para la educación teológica siguen desempeñando un papel importante en el apoyo a la preparación de hombres y mujeres para el ministerio en América Latina”, señaló la Rev. Glenda McQueen, Oficial de la Iglesia Episcopal para América Latina y el Caribe. “Las becas representan una de las pocas fuentes disponibles para becas de estudios teológicos en la región. Las demandas siguen aumentando y la CETALC se enfrenta al reto de definir las prioridades para el futuro”.

Añadió, “a medida que la Iglesia en América Latina se esfuerza por obtener la sostenibilidad de la misión, la labor de CETALC debería tener un impacto significativo en el nuevo liderazgo de la Iglesia”.

Las seis categorías de las becas de CETALC son: provincial, diocesano, la educación continua, la investigación y publicación, los estudios de posgrado y la beca para la tierra santa.

Programas diocesanos

• Brasil, Sur Occidental  $7,000.00
• Colombia  $12,500.00
• Costa Rica  $10,000.00
• Cuba  $11,000.00
• República Dominicana $14,000.00
• Ecuador Litoral  $9,000.00
• El Salvador $11,000.00
• Guatemala  $11,000.00
• Haití  $11,000.00
• Honduras  $11,000.00
• México Cuernavaca $8,000.00
• México DF $14,000.00
• México Occidente $6,000.00
• México Norte $12,320.00
• México Sureste $10,000.00
• Panamá  $11,000.00
• Porto Velho, Rondonia $10,000.00
• Puerto Rico $13,000.00
• Las Islas Vírgenes $10,000.00

Programas provinciales y regionales

• IX Provincia  $30,000.00
• IARCA, CAETS $30,000.00
• México (vocaciones)  $11,000.00

Educación continua 

• Rvdo. P. Josue Soares Flores  $4,000.00
• Alma Louise Bode Olten  $3,300.00

Otras becas

Rvdo. P. Ramón Ovalle Leiva Investigación y Producción  $3,000.00
Izalas Torquato da Silva  (posgrado) $6,667.00

Trabajo administrativo

• CETALC  $29,843.00

Membresía 

Los siguientes son miembros de CETALC:
• Iglesia Episcopal: El Revdmo. William Gregg; El Rev. John L. Kater,
• México: La Rev. Alba Sally Sue Hernández; Ms. Magali Zarco Osnaya
• IARCA: El  Rev. Eduardo Chinchilla; El Revdmo. Carlos Enrique Lainfiesta
• Provincia IX: El Revdmo. Julio César Holguín; La Rev. Emilia Morales-Vega
• Brasil: El Revdmo. Filadelfo Oliveira
• Cuba: La Rev. Dr. Marienela de la Paz
• Haití: La Rev. Abiade Lozama
• Islas Vírgenes: Rosalie Simmonds Ballantine, Esq.
• Ex-Oficio: Ms. Amanda de la Cruz Ybert de la República Dominicana – Tesorera de CETALC
• Personal: La Rev. Glenda McQueen

Para ulterior información, contacte a the Rev. Glenda McQueen, Oficial de la Iglesia para América  Latina y el  Caribe, gmcqueen@episcopalchurch.org.

Theological educational grants awarded in Caribbean, Latin America

Thursday, November 20, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Samuel McDonald, Episcopal Church Director of Mission and Deputy Chief Operating Officer, has announced the Commission for Theological Education for Latin America and the Caribbean (CETALC) grants for 2015.  The 26 grants cover four categories plus administrative funding for more than $319,630 to support the educational, theological and formational needs of the church in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The grants were approved by the Episcopal Church Executive Council at its October 2014 meeting.

CETALC was formed after the 1976 closing of the Episcopal Seminary of the Caribbean, located in Puerto Rico. At that time, the Episcopal Church Executive Council established the Trust Fund for Theological Education for Latin America and the Caribbean, with the funds from the sale of the property earmarked to support the theological education programs of the dioceses that were using the seminary.

“The theological Education grants continue to play a significant role in supporting the preparation of men and women for ministry in Latin America,” noted the Rev. Glenda McQueen, Episcopal Church Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean. “The grants represent one of the only sources available for  theological studies scholarship in the region. The demands continue to increase and the CETALC is challenged to define priorities for the future.”

She added, “As the Church in Latin America strive for the sustainability of the mission the work of the CETALC should have significant impact in the new leadership of the Church.”

The six categories of CETALC grants are: provincial, diocesan, continued education, research and publishing, graduate studies. and holy land scholarship.

Diocesan programs 

• Brazil, Sur Occidental  $7,000.00
• Columbia  $12,500.00
• Costa Rica  $10,000.00
• Cuba  $11,000.00
• Dominican Republic  $14,000.00
• Ecuador Litoral  $9,000.00
• El Salvador $11,000.00
• Guatemala $11,000.00
• Haiti  $11,000.00
• Honduras $11,000.00
• Mexico Cuernavaca $8,000.00
• Mexico DF  $14,000.00
• Mexico Occidente  $6,000.00
• Mexico Norte $12,320.00
• Mexico Sureste  $10,000.00
• Panama $11,000.00
• Porto Velho, Rondonia $10,000.00
• Puerto Rico  $13,000.00
• Virgin Island  $10,000.00

Provincial and regional programs

• IX Province  $30,000.00
• IARCA, CAETS  $30,000.00
• Mexico (vocations)  $11,000.00

Continued education   

• Rvdo. P. Josue Soares Flores $4,000.00
• Alma Louise Bode Olten  $3,300.00

Other scholarships

Rvdo. P. Ramon Ovalle Leiva Research & Production  $3,000.00
Izalas Torquato da Silva  (post graduate)  $6,667.00

Administrative work

• CETALC  $29,843.00

Membership 

The following are the CETALC members:
• The Episcopal Church: The Rt. Rev. William Gregg; the Rev. John L. Kater,
• Mexico: The Rev. Alba Sally Sue Hernandez;  Magali Zarco Osnaya
• IARCA:  The Rev. Eduardo Chinchilla; the Rt. Rev. Carlos Enrique Lainfiesta
• Province IX:  The Rt. Rev. Julio Cesar Holguin; the Rev. Emilia Morales-Vega
• Brazil: The Rt. Rev. Filadelfo Oliveira
• Cuba: The Rev. Dr. Marienela de la Paz
• Haiti:    The Rev. Abiade Lozama
• Virgin Islands: Rosalie Simmonds Ballantine, Esq.
• Ex-Oficio:  Amanda de la Cruz Ybert of Dominican Republic – CETALC Treasurer
• Staff: the Rev. Glenda McQueen

For more information, contact the Rev. Glenda McQueen, Episcopal Church Officer of Latin America and the Caribbean, gmcqueen@episcopalchurch.org.

NCC issues statement on upcoming grand jury action in Ferguson

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

[National Council of Churches statement] At its meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches issued the following statement in anticipation of the grand jury action regarding officer Darren Wilson:

We live in the hope expressed by the prophet Isaiah:

Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.

-Isaiah 58:12

The National Council of Churches is a fellowship of Christian communions that seeks justice for all and stands with all those who are oppressed.  We are in partnership with pastors and congregations who are preaching, seeking justice, and providing pastoral care in Ferguson’s churches in the midst of the current tensions.  We celebrate the long-standing presence of members and leaders of this community that care for, and have cared for, the welfare of their congregations and the community at large. We are led by their love and by their stories and counsel.  We are also inspired by the young people who, in their quest for justice, are embodying a faith and courage that we find to be an example to our churches.

We join the community of Ferguson, and all of those who seek justice and fairness for all people. We applaud those who practice the very best in Christian tradition by responding through prayer and non-violent, peaceful action, and we join with other faith traditions who urge the same.  It is our hope that the city and its citizens, churches, law enforcement officials, justice-seekers, and media, will all be shepherded by the teaching of Jesus to love God and to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love of God and neighbor motivates us to seek justice and fairness for everyone.  We wish to see a society in which young people “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.).”  This vision is jeopardized by issues that revolve around mass incarceration.  The trend toward privatization of prisons creates monetary incentives for incarcerating people for minor crimes, the vast majority of which are young black men.  The national militarization of local policing increases the likelihood of grave injustice.  Time and time again we are witnessing the use of lethal force against unarmed persons.

Loving neighbor does not include exploiting others. We call those who exploit emotions surrounding this grand jury action in ways that bring further division to consider their motivations and act compassionately.   We urge all parties, in all things, to be guided by the words of the apostle Paul, that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things (Galatians 5:22-23).”  Where the Spirit of God is, God motivates us to live this way.

Peace is not merely the absence of conflict; it is also the presence of justice.  Peace is found in the ability to dialogue, to see each others’ side, and to come to a point where relationships are transformed from those of conflict to conversation.  The bridge between justice and peace is mercy and grace, and as people of faith, we affirm this bridge, and that the Church, its pastors, and its members, must be those who proclaim it.

In the weeks that will follow these days of anger, indignation, and accusation, we call for peace — one full of robust love that utilizes our best qualities as human beings. We call on the member communions of the National Council of Churches in Ferguson to stand in solidarity with the community to seek liberty and justice for all.

Se aceptan solicitudes para la Presencia Oficial de la Juventud en la Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal del 2015

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

[19 de noviembre, del 2014] Se aceptan solicitudes y nominaciones para que jóvenes participen en la Presencia Oficial de la Juventud en la Convención General (GCOYP) en la 78a Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal que se celebrará del 25 de junio al 3 de julio, del 2015 en Salt Lake City, UT.

En colaboración con la Oficina de la Convención General y el Presidente de la Cámara de los Diputados, la Oficina de Ministerios de la Juventud está coordinando el proceso de solicitudes y de discernimiento de los adolescentes de la escuela secundaria para que participen de la GCOYP.  Las solicitudes y nominaciones están disponibles aquí.

Bronwyn Clark Skov, Oficial de los Ministerios de la Juventud  de la Iglesia Episcopal, explicó que varias resoluciones de la Convención General, que datan desde el 1982 hasta el 2000 requieren una Presencia Oficial de la Juventud. Los seleccionados se limitan a no más de dos jóvenes de secundaria de cada una de las nueve provincias de la Iglesia Episcopal, y se les concede asiento y voz en las reuniones de la Cámara de los Diputados en virtud de las actuales Reglas de Orden de la Cámara de los Diputados.

Criterios
Para poder pedir una solicitud, los candidatos deben cumplir con los siguientes criterios:

•  Ser miembros activos y comulgantes en buen estado en una congregación de la Iglesia Episcopal
• Tener por lo menos 16 años de edad y no más de 19 durante la Convención General
• Ser un estudiante actual de escuela secundaria, matriculados en 9, 10, 11, o 12 ° grado durante el año escolar 2014/15
• Ser capaces de viajar solos en avión o en tren hacia y desde las reuniones tenidas en Estados Unidos sin escolta
• Estar disponible para viajar a la orientación y entrenamiento obligatorio del jueves 9 de abril al domingo 12 de abril del 2015 – Ubicación se determinará
• Estar disponible para estar presente en la Convención General en Salt Lake City, Utah, del miércoles 24 de junio al viernes, 3 de julio del 2015

Skov explicó que los jóvenes que sirvan como miembros de la Presencia Oficial de la Juventud participarán en un fin de semana de entrenamiento/orientación de creación de comunidad, de adoración y de proceso legislativo antes de la Convención General.

“Se les animará a asistir a las reuniones sinodales locales antes de la Convención General del 2015 y se beneficiarían de la reunión con los diputados adultos de sus propias diócesis para aprender más sobre el proceso de las resoluciones”, dijo ella. “En la Convención General del 2015 van a asistir a las audiencias de los comités legislativos, se les animará a hablar sobre las cuestiones en las audiencias, y pueden participar en el debate en las reuniones de la Cámara de los Diputados. Estos jóvenes deben estar seguros de sí mismos, hablar con propiedad y estar llenos de energía”.

La Oficina de la Convención General proporciona la financiación para que cada uno de los participantes cubra el costo de los viajes, alojamiento y comidas durante el fin de semana de orientación y durante la Convención General.

La fecha límite es el 23 de diciembre. Todos los solicitantes también deben identificar a un nominador, no miembro de la familia, que pueda completar en línea un formulario antes del 23 de diciembre.

Se contactará a los nominadores a principios de enero y los solicitantes serán notificados de su situación en febrero. La Presencia Oficia de la Juventud se dará a conocer en marzo.

Las preguntas deben ser dirigidas a Skov en bskov@episcopalchurch.org o al 646-242-1421.

 

Applications now accepted for official youth presence

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Applications and nominations are now accepted for high school teens to participate in the General Convention Official Youth Presence (GCOYP) at the Episcopal Church 78th General Convention to be held June 25 – July 3, 2015 in Salt Lake City, UT.

In collaboration with the General Convention Office and the President of the House of Deputies, the Office for Youth Ministries is coordinating the application and discernment process for high-school teens to become a part of the GCOYP. Applications and nominations are available here.

Bronwyn Clark Skov, Episcopal Church Officer for Youth Ministries, explained that several General Convention resolutions dating from 1982 to 2000 provide for an Official Youth Presence.  Those selected are limited to no more than two high school youth from each of the Episcopal Church’s nine provinces, and are granted seat and voice on the floor of the House of Deputies under the current Rules of Order of the House of Deputies.

Criteria
To be eligible to apply, candidates must meet the following criteria:

• Be an active member and communicant in good standing of an Episcopal Church congregation
• Be at least 16 years old and no older than 19 during General Convention
• Be a current high school student enrolled in 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade during the 2014/15 school year
• Be capable of traveling alone by plane or train to and from the meetings in the United States with no escort
• Be available to travel to the mandatory orientation and training from Thursday April 9 – Sunday April 12, 2015 – location to be determined
• Be available to be present at General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, from Wednesday, June 24 – Friday, July 3, 2015

Skov explained that youth who serve as members of the Official Youth Presence will participate in a training/orientation weekend of community building, worship, and legislative process prior to General Convention.

“They will be encouraged to attend local synod gatherings prior to General Convention 2015 and would benefit from meeting with the adult deputies of their own dioceses to learn more about the process of resolutions,” she said.  “At General Convention 2015 they will attend legislative committee hearings, will be encouraged to speak to issues in hearings, and may participate in debate on the floor in the House of Deputies. These individuals must be self-confident, articulate, and energetic. “

The General Convention Office provides the funding for each of the participants to cover travel, lodging and meals for the orientation weekend and General Convention.

Deadline is December 23. All applicants must also identify a non-family member nominator who can complete an on-line essay nomination form by December 23.

Nominators will be contacted in early January and applicants will be notified of their status in February. The Official Youth Presence will be announced in March.

Questions should be directed to Skov at  bskov@episcopalchurch.org or 646-242-1421.

Minnesota, Bexley Seabury forge partnership

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

[Episcopal Church in Minnesota press release] The Episcopal Church in Minnesota (ECMN) and the Bexley Seabury Theological Seminary Federation today announced a partnership that will bring the resources and expertise of the seminary to bear on Christian formation and leadership development ministries in numerous ECMN communities.

Through the partnership, Bexley Seabury will collaborate with ECMN’s formation and leadership development initiatives among the Ojibwe and Dakota communities, and provide several scholarships to ECMN participants in the well-respected Bexley Seabury Leadership Institute, a three-day summer program offered in conjunction with the Center for Nonprofit Management, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

The seminary will also collaborate with ECMN on an “incubator initiative” that will gather young adults and other stakeholders to visit emergent congregations in the Episcopal Church and bring back the best wisdom from those faith communities, to Minnesota.

“ECMN is committed to assisting every faith community to acquire the resources they need to engage God’s mission in their context,” said the Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior, Bishop of Minnesota. “This emerging partnership with Bexley Seabury has the potential of offering significant faith formation opportunities.”

The Rev. Roger Ferlo, president of Bexley Seabury, said ECMN and the seminary federation are well matched. “Episcopalians in Minnesota have understood since the days of Bishop Henry Whipple in the mid-19th century that it is essential to root theological education in the context and culture of local communities of faith,” he said. “Bexley Seabury shares this historic willingness to work collaboratively, to try new approaches, and to find ways to ensure that the best in Christian formation and training are available to people and communities that are sometimes overlooked.

“My hope is that this joint commitment to excellence in contextual formation will become a model for the church at a time when such models are keenly needed.”

ECMN and Bexley Seabury share some history relevant to their new partnership. Seabury Divinity School, one of the forerunners of Bexley Seabury, was founded by Whipple in Faribault, Minnesota in 1858. Enmegahbowh, the first Native American ordained to the Episcopal priesthood, was closely associated with Seabury from the start. The new partnership between ECMN and Bexley Seabury will be made possible by income from an endowment, known as Bishop Seabury Mission Fund, begun in 1933 when Seabury Divinity School and Western Theological Seminary merged.

The Rev. Susan Daughtry, ECMN Missioner for Formation, said she hopes that “the development of a strong relationship between ECMN and Bexley Seabury will allow the experiments and learning that blossom from the partnership to be a gift to the wider church.”

She added, “As the Episcopal Church leans back toward local formation and innovative networks, this partnership can be an icon of good news — that seminaries can work in partnership with the specific needs of local communities, and that the wisdom of those local communities can shape and inspire our seminaries.”

Input invited on next secretary general of the Anglican Communion

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

[Anglican Communion Office] Anglicans and Episcopalians from Anglican Communion provinces worldwide are being invited to share their thoughts on the ministry priorities and qualities of the next secretary general of the Anglican Communion.

The invitation echoes that issued before the appointment of the current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. [Read the article about that here]

Bishop James Tengatenga is chair of the Standing Committee which is tasked with appointing a successor for the current secretary general, the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon.

Tengatenga said, “The Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) which was tasked with selecting the new Archbishop of Canterbury received hundreds of emails and letters from around the world. Such an invitation had never been issued before, and for the first time in history the CNC heard from a wide variety of Anglicans and Episcopalians worldwide before making its decision.

“This time it is the Standing Committee — comprising members of the Primates Standing Committee, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Archbishop of Canterbury as its president — who would like to hear from our brothers and sisters around the globe.

“What are your thoughts about the ministry priorities and qualities of the next Secretary General*? We really hope as many people, from as wide a variety of backgrounds and provinces, will get in touch.”

To write to the Standing Committee with your suggestions email SGcomments@anglicancommunion.org or send a letter to The Standing Committee, c/o The Anglican Communion Office, 16 Tavistock Crescent, Westbourne Park, London, W11 1AP, UK

The deadline is 27 November, 2014.

For a description of the current secretary general’s role click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

San Joaquin honors pioneer Filipino priest

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Rev. Justo Andres and those who attended the celebration for him at St. John’s, Stockton. Photo: Lewis Gale

[Episcopal News Service] The pioneering missionary spirit of the Rev. Justo Andres just may help spark a revival of Filipino ministry at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist in Stockton, California, according to the Rev. Fred Vergara, missioner for Episcopal Church Asiamerica Ministries.

Some 30 years ago, Andres founded the Holy Cross Filipino Mission at St. John’s, in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, and on Nov. 16 the diocesan community gathered to celebrate that legacy and his 85th birthday as well as possibilities for new ministry.

San Joaquin Bishop David Rice officiated at a Eucharist in Andres’ honor. He said the service commemorated Andres’ 1983 call to the Stockton community and “the ministry he has provided and the significant place he represents in the life of the Diocese of San Joaquin and in the Filipino community and ways in which he has so faithfully lived out his priesthood in our midst.

“This is a response to our context as we’ve seen, experienced and engaged it in the Stockton area,” added Rice. “We think that responding to that part of our landscape, part of our population and community is the right thing to do.”

Andres often conducted services for migrant workers in the fields and for the sailors aboard ocean-going ships that docked at the Port of Stockton. The Holy Cross Mission served as a satellite agency of the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, assisting many in attaining their naturalized U.S. citizenship.

He also served as a translator within the Stockton court system and was a member of a police advisory committee.

In a telephone interview with the Episcopal News Service, Madeline Ruiz, sister-in-law of Andres, speaking for Andres who suffers from age-related hearing loss, described him as excited “but surprised about the celebration.

“He asked me why are they honoring him,” said Ruiz. “I said it’s because you started a Filipino ministry at St. John’s and now that they got the church back, they want to honor you.”

Under Andres’ leadership, the Holy Cross congregation flourished and included Filipinos, Latinos, Southeast Asians and Anglos among its membership. The congregation disbanded when theological differences split the diocese in 2008. St. John’s property had been held by a breakaway group, but was returned to the Episcopal Church earlier this year.

Rice said the diocese is considering revitalizing its ministry among the Filipino community. “We are discerning, praying through, contemplating, pondering and giving thought to how we might continue to engage and develop that ministry.”

The Rev. Canon Kate Cullinane, diocesan canon to the ordinary and St. John’s priest-in-charge, said nearly 200 well-wishers attended the gathering and a joyous reception afterward.

The reception included traditional Filipino food and dancing as well as line dancing, she said. There was also a serenade of Andres, with participants each presenting him a flower.

“I loved the fact that so many people from the neighboring Filipino congregations and the neighboring congregations from the deanery came” to support Andres and this service, Cullinane said in an e-mail to ENS.

Rekindling the ministry will be a collaborative effort within the diocese, she added. “We don’t see this as a St. John’s project, but a northern deanery project,” she said.

Andres was born in Bacarra, in the Ilocos Norte Province of the northern Philippines, the youngest of seven children. He was educated at St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary and the Far Eastern University in Manila and was ordained to the priesthood in 1955 by the Most Rev. Isabelo Delos Reyes Jr., obispo máximo of the Philippine Independent Church.

His first parish assignment was to Ozamiz City in the southern Philippines’ region of Mindanao, before accepting a call to Maui. He was among a trio of priests who were part of the first wave of Filipino priests called to the Episcopal Church.

Two other priests, the Rev. Timoteo Quintero and the Rev. Jacinto Tabili, also accepted calls to Hawaii. Quintero founded St. Paul’s Church in Honolulu and Tabili served in Hilo on Hawaii’s big island but later returned to become a bishop in the Philippines, according to Vergara. In the early 1960s, Andres was called to serve Good Shepherd Church in Wailuku on the island of Maui.

In 1983, Andres accepted a call to St. John’s in Stockton. He is the sole survivor of that first wave of Filipino priests serving with the Episcopal Church, Vergara said. Raquel Nancy Andres, his spouse and partner in ministry, died in 2009.

Vergara, who preached at the Nov. 16 Eucharist, noted that St. John’s was organized a year after the city of Stockton was founded and played a key role in the development of the city. The church has an equally important role in the future of the California city, he said.

Asians and Pacific Islanders account for 22 percent of Stockton’s 300,000 residents, according to 2013 U.S. Census data.

“We gather here today in the name of Christ to witness the work of a creating and re-creating God,” Vergara told those who gathered at the bilingual worship service at St. John’s.

“In this beautiful city of Stockton, God will start this work with you and me. Together, we shall be God’s instrument in starting the revival, renewal and re-creation of St. John’s.

“This is the challenge to us, to rediscover the treasure that is at St. John’s and to invest our talents to pray for the revival of Stockton’s destiny,” he said.

“Just as its history is tied with Stockton’s history, so is the revival of Stockton to be tied to the revival of St. John’s – and the destiny of Stockton be tied to the destiny of St. John’s. With the spiritual revival of St. John’s, will follow Stockton’s revival in peace, progress and prosperity.”

–The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

‘Creating Common Good’ essay competition on economic inequality

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

[Trinity Wall Street press release] From January 22-25, 2015, a diverse group of scholars and faith leaders will offer strategies for developing a more just economy and instill the confidence to take action for social change at Trinity Institute’s 44th National Theological Conference, “Creating Common Good: A Practical Conference on Economic Equality.”

In keeping with the theme, Trinity Institute is holding an essay competition to inspire theological scholars to examine the post-2008 economic context and offer solutions about how best to pursue God’s promise of abundant life against the backdrop of the global financial crisis.  Essays should envision alternatives to the status quo that are consistent with scripture, theological traditions, and contemporary understandings of human flourishing.

Entries should answer some aspect of the following three questions: (1) When does economic inequality become sinful?;  (2);How can theological and biblical sources help turn the economy toward the common good?; and  (3) What individual and community practices could be created to confront the sin of inequality and cultivate theological visions of the common good?

The first-place prize is a $10,000 award, with essay publication in the Anglican Theological Review and a public lecture at Trinity Wall Street.  Two runners-up will receive prizes of $2,500 each.

Entries must be original, unpublished work, not exceeding 6,500 words in length including footnotes,   accompanied by a 100-150 word précis and brief author’s biographical statement for publication purposes.  Style sheet information may be found here.

Manuscripts must be submitted before July 1, 2015 by e-mail attachment in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format to Jackie Winter at: ATRsubmissions@gmail.com.  Please include “Trinity Essay Competition” in the subject line.  Prizes will be announced on Sept. 1, 2015.

For more information about attending Trinity Institute’s 2014 National Theological Conference in person at Trinity Church, visit http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/trinity-institute/2015/register, call 1-212-300-9902 or e-mail institute@trinitywallstreet.org.

For more information about Trinity Institute, visit TI2015.org.

Se Nombran Delegados Provinciales de la Iglesia Episcopal para la Reunión de las Naciones Unidas de 2015,

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

[18 de noviembre de 2014] La Obispa Presidente Katharine Jefferts Schori ha nombrado a la reverenda Joan Grimm Fraser de la Diócesis de Long Island para que sirva como delegado provincial y represente a la Iglesia Episcopal en la 59ª Sesión de la Comisión de las Naciones Unidas 2015 sobre el Estado de las Mujeres (CSW), en la reunión del 9 al 20 marzo de 2015.

La Obispa Presidente también nombró a delegados de toda la Iglesia para que representen a la Iglesia Episcopal en el evento. La delegación UNCSW es: HelenAchol Abyei, Diócesis de Colorado; Nellie Adkins, Diócesis de Virginia; (Lesley)Gracia Aheron, Diócesis de Virginia; Delores Alleyne, Diócesis de Connecticut;Digna de la Cruz, Diócesis de la República Dominicana; Jayce Hafner, Analista de Política Interior en la Iglesia Episcopal; Julia Ayala Harris, Diócesis de Oklahoma;Pragedes Coromoto Jiménez de Salazar, Diócesis de Venezuela; Heidi Kim,Misionero de la Iglesia Episcopal para la Reconciliación Racial; Lelanda Lee,Diócesis de Colorado; Rev, Gawain de Leeuw, Diócesis de Nueva York; Rev.Vaike Marika Madisson López de Molina, Diócesis de Honduras; Lynnaia Main,Oficial de Relaciones Globales en la Iglesia Episcopal; Hollee Martínez, Diócesis de Texas; Rev. Glenda McQueen, Oficial de Alianzas para América Latina y el Caribe en la Iglesia Episcopal; Erin Morey-Busch, Diócesis de Pittsburgh;Consuelo Sánchez Navarro, Diócesis de Honduras; Barbara Schafer, Diócesis deNevada; Rev. Stacy Walker-Frontjes, Diócesis de Chicago.

La delegado provincial y los delegados de la Iglesia podrán asistir a las actuaciones oficiales de UNCSW en la ONU y representarán a la Iglesia Episcopal/Comunión Anglicana en abogacía ante la ONU, incluyendo abogacía conjunta con la coalición Mujeres Ecuménicas.

El tema de UNCSW de 2015 es una revisión de los progresos realizados en la implementación de la Declaración y Programa de Acción de Beijing, 20 años después de su adopción en la Cuarta Conferencia Mundial sobre la Mujer en 1995. Vea más aquí beijing20.unwomen.org/

“La experiencia, cualidades de liderazgo y diversidad de los delegados elegidos por nuestra Obispa Presidente asegurará que la Iglesia Episcopal esté bien representada en la reunión UNCSW de marzo”, comentó Lynnaia Main, Oficial de Relaciones Globales en la Iglesia Episcopal. “Esperamos poder centrarnos en equipo sobre las cuestiones que se nos presenten cuando revisemos los progresos realizados de la Declaración y Plataforma de Acción de Beijing”.

Para obtener más información acerca de UNCSW, póngase en contacto conLynnaia Main, Oficial de Relaciones Global en la Iglesia Episcopal,lmain@episcopalchurch.org.

UNCSW 59: www.unwomen.org/en/csw/csw59-2015

UN Women’s Beijing  Turns 20 beijing20.unwomen.org/

UN Women: www.unwomen.org  

Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations www.aco.org/ministry/un/  

Global Partnerships: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/office-global-partnerships

Ecumenical Women: www.ecumenicalwomen.org

Iglesia  Episcopal: www.episcopalchurch.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/episcopalian

Twitter: www.twitter.com/iamepiscopalian

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/EpiscopalChurchYT

New Minnesota deans face change with calling and confidence

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] In the Episcopal Church in Minnesota two new deans have been installed in its two historic cathedrals within nine days of each other. Both are charged with bringing about change. Both face challenges. Both are young and determined.

The Very Rev. Justin P. Chapman, 35, was installed as the 19th dean of the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour in Faribault on Nov. 13, and the Very Rev. Paul J. Lebens-Englund, 40, was installed as the seventh dean of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Minneapolis on Nov. 2.

The Very Rev. Paul J. Lebens-Englund, newly installed dean of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Minneapolis, stands next to the Anglican Compass Rose in the Cathedral’s crossing, commemorating the 1954 World Anglican Congress. Photo: Joe Bjordal

At St. Marks, deep hunger
Lebens-Englund previously served in several roles in the Diocese of Spokane, including canon to the ordinary. Most recently he was priest-in-charge of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Spokane. He is a graduate of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California.

The installation of Lebens-Englund marked the conclusion of two years of interim leadership at St. Mark’s. During this time both membership and financial support dropped significantly. A survey conducted during this period, the results of which were published on the cathedral’s website, indicated that major changes are necessary to regain vitality and health. Lebens-Englund said that he was attracted by the challenges ahead and the lay leadership that had developed during the transition period.

He said it was “a perfect constellation of factors: fun and creative members, gifted leadership, beautiful worship, synergistic location, intriguing challenges, expansive vision, deep faith, real hope, and concrete expressions of love and compassion.”

“Despite my best efforts to avoid the very real heartache and headache of moving a family across the country, it simply became clear to me, to my wife Erica and to our sons, Isaac and Owen, that God was doing the calling; that my particular gifts and unique experiences in the church make me the right person for the position right now. In a very real sense, I’m rediscovering my ‘deep gladness’ as it intersects with St. Mark’s ‘deep hunger,’” said Lebens-Englund.

Describing leadership transitions that even under the best of circumstances are “a mix of joy and sadness, hope and despair,” Lebens-Englund said that his starting point “is simply meeting the faith community where it’s at: grieving or celebrating, looking backward or forward as needed and ensuring there is room for every emotional response to our present reality.”

“At the same time, because leadership transitions can be so emotionally disorienting, we don’t always bring our ‘best selves’ to these times of change,” he said. “Casting a clear commitment to healthy behavior and mutual accountability within the faith community occurred the very first Sunday at the microphone and a covenant for healthy communication patterns has since been posted around the cathedral and on the website.”

St. Mark’s new dean also said that another essential contribution he can add over the next several months is to frame every ‘output’ in terms of sustainability. “Is it essential? Is it life-giving? Is it an individual initiative or an initiative of the whole faith community? Is there someone else better-positioned or equipped to do it? Which programs should persist and which should be laid to rest?”

“Our desire to be all things to all people and to address every care and concern around us, while well-meaning, has often spread us all to thin – to the point, in fact, that our core competencies as faith communities often fall out of balance and ‘outputs outpace inputs.’ The body gets tired, sometimes resentful, until at last the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of our church lives become completely disconnected from the ‘why,’” said Lebens-Englund.

“What we’re looking for is a healthy balance – a congregation through which individuals and families can put their faith into action in a meaningful, concrete and life-giving way. We want folks’ experience of God, self and life to be enhanced for having connected with us, not diminished, and that takes clarity, hard work and discipline.”

The Very Rev. Justin P. Chapman is formally seated in the dean’s chair at the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour in Faribault, Minnesota, by Bishop Brian N. Prior on Nov. 13. Photo: Joe Bjordal

In Faribault, a hopeful spirit
Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour’s Chapman previously served as priest associate at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Rochester. He is also a graduate of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

Chapman’s installation’s marks the end of a relatively brief and smooth transition. Yet, the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour faces a number of challenges – some similar to those faced by countless other small congregations in small towns. Faribault, located 50 south of Minneapolis, has a population of approximately 24,000. There has been no growth in membership or worship attendance for the past decade.

“We are fortunate to have a hopeful spirit,” said Chapman. “Yet, the challenge we face is that our transformation is going to take time and that it isn’t going to look like we think it will.”

Chapman noted that one of the big challenges is a “near-total” absence of families with children.

“It’s sort of a catch-22: A good children’s program is critical to attracting children, but a critical mass of children is required for a good children’s program. Yet, this apparent vacuum is exciting because it gives us the opportunity to build something entirely new, something that connects people to God and to each other; something that begins to form disciples in a way that’s tailored to our community and culture.”

Chapman said a passionate community is ready to take on the challenges.

“I was initially attracted to the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour because of the community – the people, their hospitality, their participation in mission and even their ability to passionately disagree with each other but then truly come together for worship and communion. It gave me the sense (and still does) that this community has the gifts it needs to thrive. We’re in love with community, but we’re not afraid to tell it like it is.”

“My sense is that I’m called to help the cathedral community identify, bring forth and develop what it already possesses: a passion for mission and connection,” said Chapman.

Connecting with the neighborhoods
The calling of the two deans comes at a time when the Episcopal Church in Minnesota (no longer referred to as “the Diocese”) is well into a paradigm shift about how it thinks about mission – changes made under the leadership of Bishop Brian Prior, now in the fifth year of his episcopate.

Prior has described that shift as coming from a greater understanding of God’s mission in the world (“Missio Dei”) and a change of focus from a particular faith community’s internal life to the life of God in the world. He has challenged the faith communities in Minnesota to discover what God is up to in their neighborhoods and examine the unique context in which they are called to mission and ministry.

Minnesota’s new cathedral deans are discovering their new neighborhoods.

“We are fortunate to have a huge campus with beautiful buildings in the heart of downtown Faribault,” Chapman said. “I want us to ask three important questions: What is at the core of our belief and community? How do we best form people for mission? hat are the needs around us that God is calling us to engage? Then I want us to leverage our location and spaces to help others.”

In Minneapolis, Lebens-Englund has a vision for neighborhood connections based both on St. Mark’s role as a congregation located in a major metropolitan area and as the lead cathedral for the Episcopal Church in Minnesota.

“The most obvious neighbors with whom we need to be in conversation as a ‘congregation’ are, in my early estimation, the Walker Art Center, Metropolitan Community Technical College, the Loring Park Neighborhood Association, the Episcopal faith communities in the Central Mission Area and the downtown Minneapolis interfaith community,” said Lebens-Englund.

“The most obvious neighbors with whom we need to be in conversation as a ‘cathedral’ are, in my early estimation, the faith communities of the entire Episcopal Church in Minnesota, the mayor’s office, the state Capitol, the other cathedrals in the Episcopal Church and those cathedrals with whom we share a more global partnership.”

“Radical hospitality – despite its having become a cliché over the last decade – is still what I’m all about, trusting that disruption is often a sign of the Spirit’s presence, though we generally aspire to ‘deep peace,’ ” said Lebens-Englund.

No fear of failure
Both young Minnesota deans are focused on success as they begin their new ministries with a healthy understanding of their roles.

“I think I can succeed because I don’t think I’m the center of the mission and I’m not afraid to fail,” said Chapman. “I see my calling as helping the community to tap into God’s dream for us and to begin to take steps to live that out. Our success does not depend on me, it depends on God. My job – our job – is to do our best to discern God’s call to us and to live it out. That means trying a bunch of new ideas, knowing that some are bound to fail, but being confident that success will come.”

“Failure is hard at first because we are used to the idea that it’s bad – that we are doing the wrong thing – but that’s not the case at all. Failure is a sign that we are trying and that we are zeroing in on the mission God has for us. Once you get used to the fact that failure is just one of the steps to success, it actually becomes kind of fun. It’s not necessary to do things perfectly, it’s just enough to begin. God will take care of the rest.”

The Minneapolis dean has a similar understanding.

“The good news here is that it’s not all about me in the end, but is about connecting the faith community to the heart of God,” said Lebens-Englund.

“When it comes to God, I’m an eternal optimist, trusting, as they say, that the arc of history does, indeed, bend toward justice. But, as a pastor, when it comes to real people working out their salvation in the context of an intentional, experimental community, I’m a realist. The glimpses of the Kingdom are sometimes few and far between, but they are there, for sure, and my task is simply to name them, to celebrate them, and see if we can’t enable the next breakthrough sooner than later.”

“I don’t know fully what God has in store for us,” said Chapman. “But I do now that it’s going to be incredible.”

How did the Episcopal Church in Minnesota come to have two cathedrals?

The history surrounding both is rich with the hope and promise that settled the northern state.

The congregation of St. Mark’s Free Mission was established in 1858 in north Minneapolis, an outreach mission of Gethsemane Episcopal Church in downtown Minneapolis, which started 29 congregations throughout the diocese. St. Mark’s relocated to the heart of downtown Minneapolis in the late 1860s and moved into its new, cathedral-like building on southwest edge of downtown Minneapolis in 1910.

St. Mark’s was consecrated a cathedral in 1941 by then Bishop Stephen Keeler. It was Keeler who was instrumental in attracting the 1954 World Anglican Congress to Minneapolis and St. Mark’s. For 10 days in August of that year nearly 700 bishops, priests and lay people from the then 15 provinces of the Anglican Communion met for the first such gathering to be held outside Great Britain. It was for this congress that the now internationally-recognized emblem of the Communion – the Anglican Compass Rose – was designed and first used. Thus, St. Mark’s is also known as the birthplace of the Anglican Compass Rose.

The Faribault cathedral abides because of its unique history. The Right Rev. Henry Benjamin Whipple, consecrated the first bishop of the Diocese of Minnesota in 1858, laid the cornerstone of the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour on July 16,1862. It was the first church built as a cathedral in the Episcopal Church. Because of lack of funds in the young, missionary diocese, the cathedral would not be completed for seven years. It was consecrated in 1869.

Bishop Whipple visited the work of the church in Minnesota for a year, considering potential locations for the seat of the new diocese. The primary educational institutions of the young diocese (some established by the legendary Episcopal missionary, the Rev. James Lloyd Breck): Shattuck School for Boys, St. Mary’s School for Girls and Seabury Divinity School would be clustered there. He finally chose Faribault. Because it was at the crossroads of the Ojibwa, Dakota and European settlements; at the meeting point of the woodlands and prairie; and at the confluence of two rivers, it was anticipated to grow into a major center of commerce. It was not to be. The town, 50 miles south of the capital, has a population of only 24,000.

Like St. Mark’s, the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour has hosted historic Anglican gatherings. The delegates to the 1895 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, held in Minneapolis, took a day off from business and traveled to Faribault on train cars provided by Whipple’s friend James J. Hill. In Faribault they were met by 400 horse-drawn carriages providing transportation for a tour of what Harper’s Magazine that same year called “Episcopal Faribault.” The delegates to the 1954 World Anglican Congress also visited Faribault and the Cathedral – described to Bishop Keeler through many letters as a highlight of the gathering.

– Joe Bjordal is a writer, designer, photographer, and event planner based in Minneapolis.

WCC condemns attack on worshippers at Jerusalem synagogue

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

[World Council of Churches press release] The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary, the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, has expressed concern and sadness over the attack on a synagogue in west Jerusalem on Tuesday 18 November. The incident has resulted in the killing of four Jewish worshipers, and the injury of others.

“There is a particular horror in any such attack which takes place at a place of worship. I condemn this violence unequivocally, as I do all violence between the peoples and communities of this region which has seen so much bloodshed in the name of religion. Violence, collective punishments and communal attacks can only further damage the prospects of peace and justice for all,” said Tveit in his statement issued from the WCC headquarters in Geneva on Nov. 18.

“I am therefore also deeply concerned about the heightened tensions, some of an explicitly religious nature, which are being experienced in Jerusalem during the current time – and the risk that such tensions may spill over into further acts of violence or incitement,” Tveit added.

He said that it is important that all responsible authorities – including civil, religious and law enforcement – take proactive steps to prevent any reprisals by extremist groups.

“The tensions and tragedies of this city, holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims, are a reminder both of the need for all parties to continue to work intensively for a just peace in Israel and Palestine, and of the vital place that Jerusalem itself plays in that  longed for peace,” Tveit said.

“There has been too much prevarication, postponement and obstruction: all parties and powers need to work proactively to find a solution which will meet the demands of justice and the hopes of all people of good faith,” he stressed.

“The frustration over the failing peace processes, as well as the increasing settlements and continued occupation, will require new initiatives that can overcome the obstacles to peace and build trust in a common future,” Tveit concluded.

Read full text of the WCC general secretary’s statement

WCC programme “Churches in the Middle East”

Archbishop of Cape Town to deliver online Advent reflections

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba is to “broadcast” a series of Advent reflections over the internet in the pilot program of a planned audio ministry for the Anglican Church in Southern Africa.

The reflections will be available online on his blog, and through church websites, from one or two days before each Sunday in Advent. An introduction to the reflections can already be heard here.

“Communication is part and parcel of the glue which binds the Church together,” he said in a statement on the pilot.

“We have bishops, theologians and others in the Church who have gifts in audio ministry which until now have not been used properly because of the limited opportunities on radio.

“But now the internet makes it feasible to make material available ‘on-demand’ easily and cheaply using technology which is accessible to all.

“I hope that as we develop our communication strategies in the Province and the dioceses, we can integrate audio ministry into an integrated range of initiatives, from the Provincial website and the new online ‘Southern Anglican’ to the E-Reader project based at Bishopscourt.”

Anglicans are urged to share the reflections widely on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media and to send the Archbishop comments on his blog.

Listen the Advent reflections online on Soundcloud, or download them to listen to later by clicking on the Download button here.

Or listen to them on the Archbishop’s blog here.

Bishop Charles vonRosenberg adresses South Carolina convention

Monday, November 17, 2014

[Episcopal News Service – Charleston, South Carolina] Episcopal Church in South Carolina Bishop Provisional Charles vonRosenberg addressed the church’s 224th annual convention Nov. 15. The convention was held at Church of the Holy Communion in Charleston. After thanking those who organized the convention and those who have helped in the reorganizing of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, vonRosenberg began an address anchored in the metaphor of the Exodus and outlined “two essential marks of our community life on the journey – identity and accountability.”

Video and text of vonRosenberg’s address follows.

[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

 

Bishop’s Address
The 224th Annual Convention
of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina
November 15, 2014 at Church of the Holy Communion, Charleston

Once again, I want to begin my Address with words of thanks – thanks which are as well-deserved as they are inadequate. For our diocesan staff, I and you should be especially grateful – to my Executive Assistant, Lauren Kinard; to the Archdeacon, Callie Walpole; to the Communications Director, Holly Behre; and to the Administrative Assistant, Andrea McKellar. I am the envy of my colleagues in the House of Bishops with this fine staff, even though each staff member is officially “part time.” Our diocesan officers likewise do noteworthy and admirable work, and we are certainly grateful to them – Tom Tisdale, Chancellor; and Jim Taylor, Treasurer. Along with these folks, of course, many others – many of you who are present, in fact – have labored hard and well in the vineyard which is The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. Please accept my thanks and the thanks of this convention gathered.

Also on behalf of us all, I want to thank the staff and parishioners of the Church of the Holy Communion. For your care in making preparations and for your graciousness in extending hospitality to us all, we are grateful indeed.

Another significant object of our thanks are the people of our newly recognized mission congregations – Church of the Messiah, Myrtle Beach; the East Cooper Episcopal Church; and The Episcopal Church in Okatie. We are grateful for your efforts, and we join you in this time of celebration.

Thanks, also, to our guests at this convention, for joining us here – Bishop James Tengatenga, Canon Tom Brackett, Canon Mark Stevenson, and Paul Nix. You honor us by your presence.

In addition, a personal word of thanks to my wife Annie surely is appropriate. I know that you join me in this indication of gratitude because on the occasional times that Annie does not accompany me to some event, my presence alone is often met with disappointment. So, thanks to you, Annie, on behalf of me and of everyone here.

A Look Back at the Journey Thus Far

As we turn our attention to the past year or – more accurately – to the past nine months since the last convention, we may appropriately observe that it has been a busy time! We have found ourselves in the headlines more often than I would have wished and, sometimes, for reasons that are not very appealing. For instance, we have spent more time in court and on legal matters in general than is probably in the best interests of the church.

As we travel this journey, a particular biblical image may be especially enlightening. The Exodus event seems to relate to our experiences in various ways. For instance, I have heard from many of you about the sense and reality of oppression in this part of the church, in previous times. Then, a kind of separation and exodus took place. And now, people of God, we find ourselves traveling through the wilderness. Our Red Sea may be Lake Marion; our wild beasts may be forty-four lawyers and a judge; and our Mt. Sinai may only be Mt. Pleasant. But, we do know something about being pilgrims in the wilderness!

In this time of wilderness wandering, we realize that we cannot make it on our own. We must rely on each other and on God’s grace – known through many people – to help us through these times and this place. And – very importantly – we have hope for a better time and place … a promised land. We are being led toward that destination, even though we may sometimes seem to wander along the way.

Two Marks of the Journey – Identity and Accountability

In the wilderness of this time, I want to hold up two essential marks of our community life on the journey – identity and accountability. Identity and accountability are landmarks for us to keep in our sight as we travel through the wilderness. Indeed, we must remember who we are, and we must remember to whom we are accountable – or else, we will lose our way.

We are The Episcopal Church in this part of the Kingdom of God. As such, we possess a wonderful heritage of faithfulness in prayer, commitment to community, and dedication to service. We are marked by the cross in baptism, as the sign of our identity. This baptismal seal, indicating Christ’s presence, is confirmed at various points on our journey. Thus, we affirm our commitment to the way. And, we are sustained by Christ himself in Eucharist as well, providing strength for the journey. Indeed, we are The Episcopal Church here – as we have been in the past and as we will continue to be.

Also, in terms of our identity, we are the Anglican Communion in this part of God’s Kingdom, regardless of what you may have heard or read elsewhere. The Episcopal Church is the only recognized member of the Anglican Communion in this country – and that membership provides us with a sign of our catholicity as a church. That is, the Anglican Communion provides the sign that we are members of Christ’s one, holy, catholic church. Please recognize that the body in convention here represents the Anglican Communion in this part of South Carolina.

It is important for us to remember such indications of our identity – who we are – especially in this wilderness time of our journey.

We also must remember to whom we are accountable, as we travel along this way.

We are accountable, first of all, to God who created us and who sustains us, as Christian pilgrims. That accountability is lived out, in practical ways, through The Episcopal Church – that part of the Body of Christ of which we are members. Without such practical accountability, we simply would be fooling ourselves about any claim of authenticity and authority. Like the people of God in the wilderness, we need to be held accountable to our pledge of faithfulness. Without accountability, our pledge would lack substance and meaning. Therefore, we cannot make up our own rules because we are accountable to a greater body. Such membership curbs our tendencies toward self-righteousness and self-deceit – and, in biblical terms, toward sin. We need each other within the Body of Christ – and as parts of the Body of Christ – to hold us accountable.

Therefore, on this journey, I call your attention to those fundamental marks of our life in community – identity and accountability. May we give thanks to God – regularly and often – for who we are in the Body of Christ. And may we not forget as well the importance of accountability – as parts of that Body – in the life and journey of faith.

Reorganizing and Repacking for the Journey

Related to those topics of identity and accountability is the matter of the on-going task of reorganizing our diocese. To continue with the idea and image of journey, we are repacking … and we have fewer bags to carry now. As we look at this matter, perhaps remembering some recent history at this point will be instructive.

After the former bishop and Standing Committee left The Episcopal Church, there was no diocesan organization left for the church here. Church canons are clear about authority in terms of bishop and Standing Committee. However, our canons do not anticipate that neither of those authorities will be present. Thus, what developed – thanks primarily to Tom Tisdale – was something called a “Steering Committee.” As the only loosely organized group, in pre-organizational days, this body had a wide variety of responsibilities. In fact, it did everything that got done, as The Episcopal Church here, beyond local church communities. And, this group steered us to the point that a bishop and a Standing Committee were elected for The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

As you might imagine, members of the former Steering Committee provided significant leadership in various groups of the reorganizing diocese – groups like the Standing Committee and the Diocesan Council. Soon afterwards, though, it became my responsibility to remind each group that we do not have a Steering Committee, which did everything, any longer. Rather, we now have a Standing Committee and a Diocesan Council – each with distinct and separate responsibilities. Thus, you see, matters of identity and accountability continue to be significant ways to mark who we are and what we are called to do, as we reorganize ourselves as a diocese. In theological terms, these are important steps, as we grow into that part of the Body of Christ we are called to be.

More recently, our Finance Committee has taken on matters relating to identity and accountability, also, as we continue this journey of reorganizing. In the process, particular and specific responsibilities have come to light, in addition to handling diocesan assets – for instance, facilitating church audits, developing diocesan stewardship practices, and evaluating personnel and compensation. Some of these responsibilities appropriately fall within the prevue of the Finance Committee, while others do not. Therefore, this committee has added some matters to its job description, and we have identified other groups to accomplish other responsibilities. Again, then, as we continue the journey of reorganization, we need to ask questions related to identify and accountability … and, then, to put into practice the answers which come to light.

Traveling Our Way as the Body of Christ

Soon after the first of next year, we plan to initiate a capital funds drive, to help us take next steps on our diocesan journey of faith. Specifically, we must address two financial needs beyond what the annual budget can meet. Those needs are funding for a full-time bishop and additional support for our mission congregations. You will hear more about this capital funds drive soon. When you do, please be aware of the importance of addressing these needs on our journey ahead … and please respond generously.

I want to highlight a specific biblical image here that I have mentioned already in this Address. St. Paul often wrote to Christians elsewhere, and he used the analogy of the church as the Body of Christ. For instance, to the church in Rome, he wrote, “As in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members of one another” (12:4-5). In our efforts toward reorganizing, one goal should be to define particular responsibilities for each part of the body, for the good of the whole. Identity and accountability provide important measures for this task. The whole Body of Christ offers the framework. And, it is that whole Body of Christ that we pray benefits from the particular efforts and offerings we are able to make.

Questions for the Way

I want to sum up this combination report and reflection by asking several questions, which I hope you will find compelling. These questions intend to direct our attention to who we are and to what and why we are called to be – identity and accountability as the church. Further, I hope that dealing with such questions will help us understand the part we are called to play in the whole Body of Christ. Then, after asking the questions, I want to share a story with you … a story which has helped me address these very questions.

First, then, how are we – as churches and as a diocese – living into our identity as the Body of Christ in the world today? That really is the foundational question. How are we – as churches and as a diocese – living into our identity as the Body of Christ in the world today? The next two questions deal also with the matter of accountability, given our identity. Secondly, then, how can we grow more fully into the part we are called to play in Christ’s Body? And finally, how can we hold this image of the Body of Christ before us, more convincingly, so that we and the world may recognize our very reason for being? It seems to me that these questions serve to provide us with a clear and definite framework for our self awareness, as churches and as a diocese. Further, these questions direct us outwardly, in mission, toward the world for which our Lord gave his life.

As we consider such questions, we come squarely to the theme of our convention – “The World to Christ We Bring.” Indeed, that phrase is one way to state our responsibility as the Body of Christ. “The World to Christ We Bring.”

A Story About the Body of Christ on the Pilgrimage of Faith

Now, let me offer you a story about an experience I had some years ago – a story that helps me consider questions like the ones I just posed to you. This is a story that some of you have heard before. With apologies to you, though, I offer it here.

While I served as rector of Church of the Resurrection in Greenwood, South Carolina, we opened a soup kitchen in the church basement, in response to a community need that the police department there had identified. Some months later, I was walking downtown one day. And, a homeless man accosted me. We talked for a few moments, and then he asked me what church I served. I pointed across the town square and said, “That one, over there.” His response was something I have not forgotten. “Oh, that’s the place that feeds people”, he said.

Now, I was just about to point out that we did a lot more than that. We have worship services; we provide Christian education; we offer fellowship opportunities. But then, I closed my mouth and nodded. Indeed, I realized the church often is known in ways less appropriate to our mission. “That’s the place that feeds people.” That will do, just fine.

So, again, the questions I have for you today are these. How are we – as churches and as a diocese – living into our identity as the Body of Christ in the world today? How can we grow more fully into the part we are called to play in Christ’s Body? And, how can we hold this image of the Body of Christ before us, more convincingly, so that we and the world may recognize our very reason for being?

Conclusion, As We Consider the Rest of Our Journey

My friends, without a clear answer to these questions, then we lack integrity as we identify ourselves as the church which claims Jesus as Lord and Savior. May we, therefore, claim our identity and respond to our accountability – as The Episcopal Church in South Carolina – even as we travel through the present wilderness. Further, may we grow into full membership in the Body of Christ, living out the calling we are receiving from Jesus himself – even now.

Thank you for who you are and for your efforts to respond to who you are called to be, in this time and in this place!

The Right Reverend Charles G. vonRosenberg

Bishop James Tengatenga preaches at South Carolina convention

Monday, November 17, 2014

[Episcopal News Service -- Charleston, South Carolina] Former Southern Malawi Bishop James Tengatenga, who chairs the Anglican Consultative Council, was the preacher Nov. 14 during the opening Eucharist of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina’s 224th annual convention. The Eucharist and convention were held at Church of the Holy Communion in Charleston. Tengatenga was appointed in May as distinguished visiting professor of global Anglicanism at the University of the South’s School of Theology.

Video and text of Tengatenga’s sermon follows.

[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

 

Sermon at South Carolina Convention
11/14/14
Isaiah 49:513
Ephesians 3:112
Matthew 28:1620

Talk about mission has become the in thing these days. Some think that it is a new fad and will go away. Others think it is a diversionary tactic to avoid the real issues. Is it?

I thought this was in our DNA as Christians and for Episcopalians it’s actually in your very being. As a registered entity your national church is “the Domestic and Foreign Mission Society”! God is a God in and of mission and the church is an agent in that mission.

As Wayne Schwab in his study, When the Members are the Missionaries, puts it, “the mission has a church”! and we are that church.

What happens when things do not work or do not work out? More often than not, we go to plan B. God’s people, Israel, have become desperate if not completely despondent about their future. Exile has taken forever. God does not seem to be on their side. At the same time God is frustrated with them. They are his chosen people and they have a responsibility to be his servant to all the world. On that score they have failed miserably hence their exile. As is God’s nature he does not give up on them. In his plan he raises up a servant (an individual) not only to revive his people Israel for the purpose for which he created them but also for the whole world, “the ends of the earth”.

As a Communion we find ourselves in a similar place today. What happens when the collective has lost its way? God has a plan B! “Whom shall I send, Who will go for us?” remains God’s question. You may recall this from Isaiah 6. The prophet on that occasion says: “Here I am. Send me”.

In Jeremiah we find something similar to our passage today when God says he chose him before he was born. Ezekiel is also given a task in a similar way. V3 of our Isaiah lesson says, “You are my servant you are Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” These words have a familiar ring to them, don’t they? They are almost verbatim the words by God at Jesus baptism and also at the Transfiguration!

Today’s Gospel just falls short of saying the same words, as Jesus gives the charge to the disciples to Go! They are a chosen bunch just like this servant in Isaiah is a chosen one. A special one.

There is some kind of destiny enunciated here. The servant was destined for it. Kind of an Esther moment. Remember Esther who is reminded by her uncle that “it is for times like this that she was “chosen”? Israel has lost its way. Israel is in the diaspora. Israel has lost the plot. God desires their restoration. In their restoration is the restoration of the world.

The servant takes this destiny as an honor for in verse 5 and 6 he says:

“And now the LORD says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the sight of the LORD, and my God has become my strength — he says, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Isaiah 49)

It does not get any clearer than that, does it? The servant is destined for this task. In fact there is a hint of blackmail. I usually call this Godmail. You are nabbed and pinned in a corner and do not have much of a choice. As Saint Paul would put it, one is “constrained by the the love of Christ”. In our Epistle, St Paul illustrates this constraint by saying that it is the very reason why he is in prison! Of course in this case it is the consequences of that obedience.

We all know how he was zapped into this ministry, don’t we? God was actually very direct with him: “Why are you kicking against the pricks?” God asked him. Once marked you have no choice. You can kick against the pricks all you want! You either do or die. “Ouch!” you may say.

Just to bring it close to home, do you remember what was said to you at baptism? In the midst of all those other words one pronouncement on you should stand out. It is “You are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever.” You are marked. You become a person of interest to God. Yes, just like the television series! Nowhere to hide.

As we noticed earlier, the scope of the mission is not just Israel but the ends of the earth. Very similar words to the ones Jesus uses as he gives the disciples a charge to Go, in the Gospel we read.

In mission studies there is a concept known as Manifest Destiny. It states that the reason behind the mission activity of the church in Europe and the USA in the 19th century was that these countries felt that due to their development progress and the resources they had, they were destined to “save” the world. That they were so endowed was not by accident but that God intended it that way for mission’s sake. Of course this is fraught with all sorts of complexes, hegemonic and homogenizing tendencies. In fact the impression that all mission work during that time was linked to colonial expansion comes from one interpretation of this concept.

No doubt God endows people with gifts and other goods for a purpose. It would be wrong to be hung up on the complex that arises from this concept and ignore the fact that there is truth in that some (if not all) of us are destined for mission. Doesn’t the Bible say that all gifts are for the edification of the body of Christ? Notwithstanding the fraughtness of this concept I would like to suggest that, as the Isaiah reading says, the servant of the Lord is so destined and that that servant is you!

It is therefore not a matter of choice (whatever the reasons for the choice) for the Episcopal Church, the Diocese of South Carolina or any other part of the body of Christ to talk about and engage in Mission. In fact, what I am suggesting is that everyone (each one individually) of us here is destined for mission. What form that takes is another story but the matter is that you are destined for Mission. God in his design has called you and marked you and thus sealed you for this purpose. You have no choice in the matter!

The fascinating thing about the servant of the Lord, if we go back to the first of the Servant Songs in Isaiah 42 is that his disposition is that of a learner. As Isaiah puts it. He is one that is woken up every morning to hear from and thus learn from God. So if you ask me what your particular mission is, I refer you to this servant stance. Attentive listening to God’s bidding. If one does not do that one is in danger of actually doing the right thing wrongly! And God does not take kindly to that.

Jeremiah 28 gives an apt narrative warning about those who would go without having been sent by God. Those who would dare speak in God’s name without his sanction. God says he has no pleasure in them.

I find this fascinating in the light of having just said that all are destined to go. The thing to note in the Jeremiah account of these prophets is that they were true prophets, recognized as such by all. So we are not talking about imposters here. What happens in the story is that they become a little presumptuous about their prophetic calling and authority. They cease to listen to God. In fact they are too excited about God’s impending salvific act that they presume to give it their own timetable. For all intents and purposes they are doing what they are supposed to be doing except that this time they got the timing wrong as they did not listen to God. Jeremiah is the one that has taken the time and gives a different timing. For this they ridicule him. But he was right! Being a prophet does not give one license to presume to know God’s plans without learning from God.

The same goes for mission. We can all get excited about this calling and our place in God’s mission. We can all be excited that finally the Episcopal Church and indeed our diocese, has woken up to its destiny but unless God makes the pronouncement “This is my child in whom I am well pleased Listen to him! or this is my servant…!” our excitement can be in vain. This calls for what in Spirituality is called the practice of the presence of God. How in tune with God and God’s designs are we?

To be the servant as portrayed in Isaiah and to be the servant after Jesus Christ example is to be in constant touch or rather in complete reliance on and in unity with God as one participates and engages in mission. In fact Jesus, as Evangelist John reminds us, says that without him we can do nothing. Remember the vine analogy and the unity of the Father and the Son and that of the

Son with the disciples which in turn is the unity of the disciples to the father! This is more than synergy! Its participation in God as God does his business!

This is also what the final line in the great Commission implies when Jesus Christ says “Behold, I am with you to the end of the age”. Very suggestive of a continued presence and thus reliance of the disciples on that presence in the accomplishment of the charge given to them. Presumption would suggest taking God for granted, taking the task too lightly. This is what the servant is warned against. Listen to v6 of Is. 49, “Is it too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

As you can tell from this, it is easy to get carried away having heard the call and forget to be attentive to the Lord’s bidding in it. It is easy to make it your mission. Yes, to make it all about you! Too action oriented or shall I say too agenda oriented that one has not taken time to hear what agenda God has for his people.

Manifest Destiny on our part is not license to do what we want, the way we want but to do what God wants; the way God wants. Is this why it is that sometimes when we get into it and do the right thing we get a reaction that puzzles us? Isn’t this too familiar for American ears? Some of you may wonder what I am suggesting here. Let me indulge your curiosity a little.

Have you not heard some quarters of the Anglican Communion on the other side of the Atlantic (and this side too) suggesting that the Episcopal Church is talking mission as a diversionary tactic from dealing with “Gospel issues”? In the secular world where America (as the USA sees itself) lives this Manifest Destiny for all to see, have Americans not been baffled by the hate and distrust the world feels in spite of all the good intentions of the US foreign policy and all the good deeds performed on behalf of the poor through state organs, the church and other humanitarian organizations? It may be because of the world’s blindness and deafness to the thunderous affirmation by God of these activities. But may I suggest that it may be that you are doing the right thing or think you are doing the right thing in the same way that the prophets in

Jeremiah 28 referred to above did. Is it not time to take seriously the servant attitude that Isaiah expounded in Isaiah 42? The Psalmist puts the challenge differently. He says “unless the Lord builds the house the builders build in vain and unless the Lord watches over the house the watchman watch in vain.” This in no way questions your Manifest Destiny as the ones sealed as God’s own but it is a call to be the servant whose attitude is to be in tune with God as opposed to doing good for its own sake or as a fad or even as a self identified and self imposed duty.

The other commissioning we read about in the Bible is in Acts 1. The disciples already knew that they had work to do for Christ. They may have had some fear and trepidation (as we all know) but they were obedient to the one who told them that it will be only when the Holy Spirit, the promised one has come upon them that they will be witnesses everywhere.

So what I am asking is this: “As you have heard the bidding of God to join him in his mission, have you sought out what it is he is actually sending you out to do and say?” The fact that we have been called does not mean we know the contents of the operation we are called to. Unless we sit in God’s presence and seek his face we may do the right thing the wrong way. If indeed we know that (as the prophet said) “it is not a light thing” that God has called us to, we have no choice but to seek his presence with us. I am talking about the kind of attitude Moses had when he had led the Israelites out of Egypt (Ex 33). Do you the remember the part of the Exodus when Moses seeks God’s assurance and says something to the effect that, “If you will not go with us we are not leaving here”? Let me read it to you: “Moses said to the LORD, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.” The LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”

This regrouping is paramount if we are to engage in mission. It is imperative if we are not to get it all wrong even as we have been called. What I am saying is that I believe you have heard God right and it’s time to check in with him in order for you to get the details of his plan. Need I say more?

Now is the time.

Now is the moment to affirm this.

You heard right!

The challenge now is to live into this calling in God’s mission knowing like Paul that “this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” (Eph 3).

That is your destiny for which Christ has gotten hold of you.

Let those who have ears hear God’s word!

Archbishop on the Communion’s challenges and the way forward

Monday, November 17, 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby addresses the Church of England’s General Synod, meeting in London. Photo: Church of England

[Lambeth Palace] In his presidential address to the General Synod on Nov. 17, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke about the issues faced by the Anglican Communion and possible ways forward.

Read the full text of the address below:

During the last eighteen months or so I have had the opportunity to visit thirty-six other Primates of the Anglican Communion at various points. This has involved a total of 14 trips lasting 96 days in all. I incidentally calculated that it involves more than eleven days actually sitting in aeroplanes. This seemed to be a good moment therefore to speak a little about the state of the Communion and to look honestly at some of the issues that are faced and the possible ways forward.

A Flourishing Communion

First of all, and this needs to be heard very clearly, the Anglican Communion exists and is flourishing in roughly 165 countries. There has been comment over the last year that issues around the Communion should not trouble us in the Church of England because the Communion has for all practical purposes ceased to exist. Not only does it exist, but almost everywhere (there are some exceptions) the links to the See of Canterbury, notwithstanding its Archbishop, are profoundly valued.  The question as to its existence is therefore about what it will look like in the future.   That may be very different, and I will come back to the question.

Secondly, Anglicanism is incredibly diverse. To sit, in the space of a few months, in meetings with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Primate of Australia, the Primate of South Africa, the Moderator of the Church of South India, the Primate of Nigeria and many others is to come away utterly daunted by the differences that exist.  They are huge, beyond capacity to deal with adequately in the time for this presentation.  Within the Communion there are perhaps more than 2,000 languages and perhaps more than 500 distinct cultures and ways of looking at the world.  Some of its churches sit in the middle of what are literally the richest parts of the globe, and have within them some of the richest people on earth.  The vast majority are poor. Despite appearances here, we are a poor church for the poor. Many are in countries where change is at a rate that we cannot even begin to imagine.  I think of the man I met in Papua New Guinea who is a civil engineer and whose grandfather was the first of his tribe to see a wheel as a small aircraft landed in a clearing in the forest.

At the same time there is a profound unity in many ways. Not in all ways, but having said what I have about diversity, which includes diversity on all sorts of matters including sexuality, marriage and its nature, the use of money, the relations between men and women, the environment, war and peace, distribution of wealth and food, and a million other things, underpinning us is a unity imposed by the Spirit of God on those who name Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. This diversity is both gift and challenge, to be accepted and embraced, as we seek to witness in truth and love to the good news of Jesus Christ.

Thirdly, the potential of the Communion under God is beyond anything we can imagine or think about. We need to hold on to that, there is a prize, the quest for which it is worth almost anything to achieve. The prize is visible unity in Christ despite functional diversity.  It is a prize that is not only of infinite value, but also requires enormous sacrifice and struggle to achieve.  Yet if we even get near it we can speak with authority to a world where over the last year we have seen more than ever an incapacity to deal with difference, and a desire to oversimplify the complex and diverse nature of human existence for no better reason than we cannot manage difference and dealing with The Other. Yet in Christ we are held together.  In Christ the barriers are broken, peace is held out to us as a gift established, which needs living. In Christ there is hope of a life that provides hope of peace.

Fourthly, the Communion is extremely active. Let me give you a few examples. In Mexico, a small community abandoned by all, of people who had lost their homes and were living in the bad lands, where a priest (otherwise unoccupied apart from a full-time career in a professional area and running another church, as well as being unpaid) was sent by his bishop, to start a church, something he thought might well cost him his life. But there he went, to the poorest of the poor, and a community has been established with numerous baptisms, growing spirituality and a love and concern and compassion for one another that speaks of the living presence of Jesus among them.

Another example, a conference in Oklahoma City, in which from people around The Episcopal Church, with patience and courtesy to one another, there was discussion over the issues around the use of firearms and the meaning of the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, in practice in the modern-day USA.

The South Sudan, and after a day spent burying the dead of a great massacre, the Archbishop stood up with extraordinary courage and called for reconciliation.  Those from the rebel group would already have opposed him, those from his own group would not necessarily have been impressed. To do that puts any of our struggles into a real perspective.

In England a church in the middle of an extraordinarily mixed area of religious faith, faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, active in its worship, lively in its preaching, yet being the centre and focus of religious leadership in the area so as to enable difference to be handled well.

There are so many others that merit a presentation of its own.

We live in a community that exists, that is deeply engaged with its world almost everywhere, that is diverse and argumentative and fractured, but yet shows in so many places both known and unknown the power and love of Christ through His Spirit at work in our world. We live in a Communion which merits celebration and thanksgiving as well as prayer and repentance.

A flourishing Communion but also a divided Communion.

I do not want to sound triumphalist. There are enormous problems. We have deep divisions in many areas, not only sexuality. There are areas of corruption, other areas where the power of the surrounding culture seems to overwhelm almost everyone at one point or another.

Our divisions may be too much to manage.

In many parts of the Communion, including here, there is a belief that opponents are either faithless to the tradition, or by contrast that they are cruel, judgemental, inhuman. I have to say that we are in a state so delicate that without prayer and repentance, it is hard to see how we can avoid some serious fractures.

In an age of near instant communication, because the Communion exists, and is full of life, vigour and growth, of faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and love for him, everything that one Province does echoes around the world. Every sermon or speech here is heard within minutes and analysed half to death. Every careless phrase in an interview is seen as a considered policy statement. And what is true of all Provinces is ten times more so for us, and especially us in this Synod. We never speak only to each other, and the weight of that responsibility, if we love each other and the world  as we should, must affect our actions and our words.

A Communion under threat

There is persecution in the Communion, in many, many areas. We are a poor, and a persecuted Church.

We are well aware of that and need to remember it constantly. In very many parts of the world, particularly parts of Africa and the Middle East, but also South East Asia, persecution comes from jihadist attacks which have killed many, many Anglicans, other Christians and in largest number Muslims, over the last few years. Not a day goes by without some report being received of the suffering and persecution of churches around the world, and of cries for help and requests for support. Not a day goes by without something which should break one’s heart at the courage and the difficulties involved.

There is immense suffering in the Communion. The terrible spread of Ebola, indescribable, a Black Death sweeping through three Dioceses of West Africa, is by itself a catastrophe of historic proportions. I was briefed on it two weeks ago in Accra, and the suffering of people in the afflicted countries makes the blood run cold. We must help, pray and call for more help.

In the South Sudan the human created food shortage threatens to turn into a terrible famine. In DRC the war continues with the utmost cruelty, usually including rape.

The list could go on and on, especially in the Middle East, Palestine and Israel, the Levant and the Euphrates valley.

Where do we go?

So what do we do? Where does this extraordinary, fractious, diverse, argumentative, wonderful, united, ferocious, peaceful, persecuted, suffering  body that is the Communion go, and what is the impact on us here in the Church of England?

First, as I have said nothing we say is heard only by us.

Secondly, we should rejoice in being part of this monumental challenge, of this great quest for the prize of being a people who can hold unity in diversity and love in difference.  It is almost unimaginably difficult, and most certainly cannot be done except with a whole-hearted openness to the Holy Spirit at work amongst us. It comes with prayer, and us growing closer to God in Jesus Christ and nothing else is an effective substitute. There are no strategies and no plans beyond prayer and obedience.

Thirdly, the future of the Communion requires sacrifice.  The biggest sacrifice is that we cannot only work with those we like, and hang out with those whose views are also ours.  Groups of like-minded individuals meeting to support and encourage each other may be necessary, indeed often are very necessary, but they are never sufficient.  Sufficiency is in loving those with whom we disagree.  What may be necessary in the way of party politics, is not sufficient in what might be called the polity of the Church.

In this Church of England we must learn to hold in the right order our calling to be one and our calling to advance our own particular position and seek our own particular views to prevail in the Church generally, whether in England or around the world. We must speak the truth in love.

In practice that has to mean the discipline of meeting with those with whom we disagree and listening to each other carefully and lovingly. It means doing that as much as when we meet with those with whom we do agree, whether it is during sessions of General Synod or at other times. It means celebrating our salvation together and praying together to the God who is the sole source of our hope and future, together. It means that even when we feel a group is beyond the pale for its doctrine, or for its language about others or us, we must love. Love one another, love your neighbour, love your enemy. Who in the world is in none of those categories?

All of us prefer being with those whose tradition we know and in which we were brought up. I am as much part of that as anyone else here. But I have gained far more in my own walk with Jesus Christ through being willing to meet with others whose traditions I did not find sympathetic, and be as transparent with them as I am with my closest friends, as from anything else that I have ever done.

And for the future of the Communion? I have not called a Primates’ Meeting on my own authority (although I could) because I feel that it is necessary for the Anglican Communion to develop a collegial model of leadership, as much as it is necessary in the Church of England, and I have therefore waited for the end of the visits to Provinces.

If the majority view of the Primates is that such a meeting would be a good thing, one will be called in response.  The agenda for that meeting will not be set centrally, but from around the Primates of the Communion.  One issue that needs to be decided on, ideally by the Primates’ meeting, is whether and if so when there is another Lambeth Conference.  It is certainly achievable, but the decision is better made together carefully, than in haste to meet an artificial deadline of a year ending in 8. A Lambeth Conference is so expensive and so complex that we have to be sure that it is worthwhile. It will not be imposed, but part of a collective decision.

The key general point to be established is how the Anglican Communion is led, and what its vision is in the 21st century, in a post-colonial world? How do we reflect the fact that the majority of its members are in the Global South, what is the role of the Instruments of Communion, especially the Archbishop of Canterbury, and what does that look like in lived out practice?  These are great decisions, that must be taken to support the ongoing and uninterrupted work of ministering to a world in great need and in great conflict. Whatever the answer, it is likely to be very different from the past.

So, the good news. The Communion exists and is doing wonderful things. The bad news.  There are great divisions and threats. The challenge. There is a prize of being able to develop unity in diversity and also with deeper and deeper ecumenical relations demonstrating the power of Christ to break down barriers and to provide hope for a broken world. We must grasp that challenge, it is the prize of a world seeing Christ loved and obeyed in His church, a world hearing the news of his salvation. So let us here, in the Church of England and above all in its General Synod, be amongst those who take a lead in our sacrificial, truthful and committed love for the sake of Christ for His mission in His world.

England: Legislation on women bishops becomes law at General Synod

Monday, November 17, 2014

[Church of England] The General Synod has today enacted the measure enabling women to be ordained as bishops in the Church of England.

The formal enactment of the legislation – Amending Canon 33 – followed the vote on final approval by the synod at its meeting in July of this year. Since that time the legislation has been approved in the U.K. Parliament and received Royal Assent.

The final legislative requirements took place during a session chaired by Archbishop of York John Sentamu, on the first day of the synod’s meeting in London.

With the Instrument of Enactment having been read to synod, the motion was put without debate, with only a simple majority required for approval. Following the item being passed the legislation was signed into law by the archbishops of Canterbury and York before the whole synod.

Following the vote, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “Today we can begin to embrace a new way of being the church and moving forward together. We will also continue to seek the flourishing of the church of those who disagree.”

The text of the amending canon and instrument of enactment can be seen here.

ENS coverage of the July synod debate and vote is available here.

Sacerdote de la Florida acusado de alimentar a desamparados aspira a defenderse ante tribunal

Monday, November 17, 2014

El Rdo. Canónigo Mark H. Sims (portando estola), rector de la iglesia episcopal de Santa María Magdalena en Coral Spring, recibió una citación judicial por alimentar a indigentes.

[Episcopal News Service] Un sacerdote de la Florida, que recibió una citación judicial por alimentar a indigentes en un parque local defiende su actuación.

“Estoy demandando al municipio de Fort Lauderdale por mi derecho a seguir alimentando a los indigentes en las calles de la ciudad”, dijo el Rdo. Canónigo Mark H. Sims, rector de la iglesia episcopal de Santa María Magdalena [St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church] en Coral Springs.

Sims declaró a Episcopal News Service el 13 de noviembre que ha contratado a los abogados locales Bill Scherer, jurista procesal muy conocido, y a Bruce Rogow, abogado constitucionalista que enseña en la Universidad Nova del Suroeste, para que lo defiendan “en el tribunal contra una citación judicial que le enviaron”.

“Quiero impugnar la constitucionalidad de la ordenanza municipal que aprobaron. Como alguien me hizo una citación, tengo capacidad jurídica y voy a aprovechar esa oportunidad”.

La policía llega al parque Stranahan donde Sims y otras personas reparten alimentos a indigentes que residen en el lugar.

Scherer le dijo al Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel que la ordenanza municipal, aprobada el 31 de octubre, que prohíbe alimentar a los indigentes en lugares públicos, es inconstitucional y discriminatoria.

El 2 de noviembre, los agentes de la fuerza pública le impidieron a Sims y a otros dos individuos que alimentaran a los indigentes que viven en el parque Stranahan. Sims, de 57 años, contó que la policía lo detuvo, le tomó las huellas dactilares, le entregó una citación judicial y lo puso en libertad. Él está a la espera de la fecha en que debe comparecer ante el tribunal que puede imponerle una multa de $500 y posiblemente 60 días de prisión.

“Si me imponen una sentencia de cárcel, voy a la cárcel”, dijo Sims. “Pero, estoy dispuesto a esperar allí [en la cárcel] por el derecho a alimentar compasivamente a personas que viven en la calle, agregó.

Los funcionarios municipales han dicho que quieren que los programas de alimentación operen de puertas adentro, pero Sims y los demás aducen que sencillamente no hay suficientes locales disponibles para acomodar al creciente número de familias e individuos indigentes.

“Estoy decidido a defender el derecho a alimentar compasivamente a los indigentes y a los hambrientos en las calles de la Florida. No me explico cómo podemos aprobar una ordenanza que restrinja la solidaridad humana”, añadió Sims, que ha creado un fondo de defensa legal en “gofundme.com” y espera enfrentarse a “un difícil reto en el tribunal”.

Reiteró que seguiría alimentando a los indigentes y, el 12 de noviembre, se unió a otras personas que hacían precisamente eso en una playa de la localidad.

“La Iglesia Episcopal en esta diócesis le da de comer a la gente [necesitada] todos los días a través de varias agencias”, afirmó Sims. “Contamos con locales que usamos y hay muchas agencias de servicio social que hemos creado en el Sureste de la Florida para ayudar a familias e individuos tanto como podemos, pero aún no hay suficientes”.

Como presidente de la junta de Organizaciones Caritativas Episcopales del Sureste de la Florida “acabamos de aportar $600.000 para un ciclo de dos años en subvenciones a parroquias y al menos la mitad de eso se invierte en programas que se ocupan de alimentar a los hambrientos, a los indigentes y a los ancianos”, puntualizó Sims.

Normalmente, durante los meses de invierno, las familias y los individuos que no tienen hogar migran a Florida desde climas más fríos, de manera que ha habido un aumento notable de su número en la localidad, señaló.

El domingo 9 de noviembre, algunos miembros de la parroquia regresaron al parque y sirvieron una comida caliente de pollo salteado, arroz, verduras y postre y distribuyeron “bolsas con emparedados de jalea y mantequilla de maní y manzanas. Vimos más mujeres de las que suelen verse. Resultó algo sorprendente y un poco triste”, dijo Sims.

Pero añadió que “el municipio quiere eliminarlos de las calles. Yo no quiero hacer nada para alentarlos a quedarse en las calles. El problema es que no hay ningún otro lugar adonde ir. [En el municipio] quieren convertirlo en un problema ajeno”.

Alimentar a personas que no tienen hogar no es nada nuevo para Sims, quien dijo que “esto ha estado ocurriendo desde que estaba en el seminario en 1999 y antes de eso cuando era un feligrés del Sur de la Florida. He estado haciendo esto durante 20 años”.

Su objetivo, agregó, es que los funcionarios municipales rescindan la ordenanza “y quiero sentarme y ayudar a rehacerla a partir de un nuevo compromiso”.

Entre tanto, comunidades locales, nacionales e internacionales de la Iglesia se han solidarizado con Sims, según la Rda. Canóniga Donna Dambrot, directora ejecutiva de Organizaciones Caritativas Episcopales. Ella comparó su enfrentamiento legal a la resistencia no violenta del Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a las leyes injustas.

La zona “ha presenciado un asombroso aumento en las necesidades de indigentes y hambrientos”, añadió Dambrot. “Cuando Fort Lauderdale adoptó esta ordenanza ya se estaban sirviendo alimentos en las calles. Hemos recibido… solicitudes de fondos adicionales porque la necesidad es muy grande y las despensas se han quedado sin comida y no disponen de acceso a las fuentes de alimentos del gobierno”.

Dijo también que Organizaciones Caritativas Episcopales del Sureste de la Florida “sirve cientos de miles de comidas al año” a través de agencias asociadas y que ella ha advertido recientemente un aumento de por lo menos un 10 por ciento en el número de comidas servidas.

El problema de la indigencia es complejo y diverso, añadió. “Tenemos a personas provenientes de los bosques y manglares de los Cayos [de la Florida]; hay gente sin hogar que vive en campamentos. En Pompano Beach, las hay que duermen debajo de la autopista. Incluso tenemos algunas personas que viven en botes en el agua, y que desembarcan para ir a las despensas de Cayo Hueso”.

Hay niveles de indigencia, contando con los que se encuentran temporalmente sin hogar que reciben preparación laboral y entrenamiento de empleo y que terminan por encontrar vivienda permanente.

“Existe también esa capa de personas a las que atendemos en la capilla de San Lorenzo [St. Lawrence Chapel] y en nuestro Centro de Jubileo del Sur de Broward, que serán indigentes crónicos”, afirmó. “Constituye un reto permanente y estaremos en esto durante mucho tiempo”.

No obstante, ella agregó que la campaña de Sims ha inspirado a otros “a tomar las medidas necesarias para cambiar lo que percibimos como regulaciones injustas”. Sims, la agencia y la comunidad de la iglesia simplemente estamos intentando responder el mandato de Jesús de ayudar a los demás.

“Seguimos a Mateo 25” que enfatiza el llamado de Jesús a servir a los necesitados, dijo. “Esa es nuestra hoja de ruta. Esa es nuestra deliberada misión vocacional”.

–La Rda. Pat McCaughan es corresponsal de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

South Sudan Anglican Church promotes new paradigm for peace

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Peace Mobilisers group is an independent peace and reconciliation body in South Sudan meant to “build bridges across political and social divides and promote healing and reconciling among all South Sudanese.” Photo: South Sudan Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Church in South Sudan has joined other stakeholders in the region to address the country’s continued conflicts by using a team of community members called “Peace Mobilisers.”

Peace Mobilisers are a group of about 80 well-trained community and faith-based practitioners from across South Sudan brought together to share knowledge and experiences on the various approaches to reconciliation and sent back into their communities to influence change.

At the end of a 30-day training period for this group last month, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan told the media: “Peace in our country is paramount but building the unity of our people will be challenging and will need commitment and courage. But we are a big group, a battalion of peace and we can make peace in this county if we make a step together and we listen together,.”

Deng is the chairperson of the institution which organized the training, the South Sudan Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation. It is an independent peace and reconciliation body in South Sudan meant to “build bridges across political and social divides and promote healing and reconciling among all South Sudanese.”

Bishop Moses Deng Bol of South Sudan’s Diocese of Wau, who also attended the training, believes that this approach is effective and could be the solution to bringing lasting peace in the region.

He told ACNS in an interview: “We believe that this is a very effective approach in bringing peace to South Sudan because the mobilizers will be based in the communities and so they will be listening to their communities’ narratives, which is part of the healing process.”

He added, “Since they are based in the communities we hope that they will report anyone who does activities which may disturb peace or provoke conflict.”

The Peace Mobilisers represent different groups within the country such as the religious leaders, women’s associations, and youth unions among others. They were selected by the National Committee on Healing Peace and Reconciliation from the 10 states of South Sudan and Abyei Administrative Area and were brought to the town of Yei in the Central Equatorial State for one month to be trained as trainers of other Peace Mobilizers in their communities.

They are guided by a newly created and agreed on charter which indicates that members of this group are “peacemakers who do not take any sides and who see all people as equal in the face of God and who also endeavor to build trust and mutual understanding between divided communities, families and individuals.”

Churches continue to fight, pray against Ebola

Monday, November 17, 2014

[Anglican Alliance] The Ebola epidemic is still raging through Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.  Anglican leaders and communities are joining other faith groups to take action and share accurate messaging to help in the fight against Ebola and prevent any further spread.

According to latest reports there are 13,042 confirmed, probable and suspected cases.  There have been 4,818 deaths so far (6 November 2014), mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.  Recent reports suggest that cases are declining in Liberia, but still on the rise in the other affected countries.

Local churches have used all their resources in responding to this crisis, and call for support through their partners:

Episcopal Relief & Development

Us (formerly USPG)

Anglican Board of Mission

Primates World Relief and Development Fund

Christian Aid

Prayer resources are also available through Christian Aid and Us.

On a recent visit to Ghana the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and his wife Caroline met with the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Repsonse and the Ministry of Health to discuss the key needs in the region.  Caroline Welby has asked the Anglican Communion to join them in prayer and action on these key needs:

  • For countries to send teams to staff the treatment centers that are being built
  • For traditional leaders (chiefs) as well as religious leaders to speak out with clear messages about Ebola.
  • For a simple liturgy to help the bereaved as traditional grieving practices cannot be used at the moment.
  • For Ghana and the current outbreak of cholera in Accra.

Dioceses in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are working closely with government agencies to support the response to the Ebola crisis. The central need is to strengthen and support health systems to focus on containing any outbreaks, while also working with the  wider community on prevention awareness. Anglicans are responding in many ways with their own resources and with support from Anglican/Episcopal agencies such as Us, Episcopal Relief & Development and Trinity Wall Street.

In the East End of Freetown, Bishop Thomas Wilson has provided land for the construction of a 21 bed Ebola isolation unit for Ola During Children’s hospital, responding to a request from hospital management and its partner NGO.  Freetown is one the cities worst affected by the Ebola outbreak, according to the World Health Organisation, and the isolation unit will allow children and parents there to be screened for Ebola and thus allow the hospital to continue its normal life saving activities.

Nagulan Nesiah, of Episcopal Relief & Development, recently shared about a valuable feeding programme that the Diocese of Liberia facilitated with technical advice from WHO at a newly opened Ebola Treatment Unit called Island Clinic in Monrovia, which was struggling to feed the patients.   The provision of a hot-nutritional meal for four weeks led to the full recovery of at least 150 patients.

Rt Revd Jacques Boston, Bishop of Guinea, wrote to Us recently and said, “Let me start by thanking all those who are supporting the Anglican Diocese of Guinea during this difficult time.  The diocese is working nationally alongside other institutions to sensitise people to the situation, to distribute protection kits, and to equip our church clinics with materials to meet the need of the population. This is possible thanks to the support of Us and other agencies.”

One of the key messages is that anyone who has come into contact with someone sick with Ebola should be quarantined for 21 days. In Liberia, the Very Rev. Herman Browne, the Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Monrovia, lived this reality.  He went into voluntary quarantine with his family when they learned that his wife had visited and comforted a friend who was sick with Ebola.

Very Rev. Browne told the public about their situation to reinforce the messaging that is being given out. One of the reasons Ebola continues to spread is that people who know they’ve been exposed to the virus often keep it a secret until they’re desperately ill and highly contagious. They fear the embarrassment, the stigma and the prospect of losing their income.

In this way the church is able to show communities how to work together to prevent Ebola.  As well as providing hand washing facilities, churches are making changes during their services: the embrace or hand shake when sharing the peace has changed to a bow; communion is given by intinction (dipping the wafer in the cup) rather using a shared cup.

Getting the messaging out as widely as possible is key to controlling the epidemic and seeing it come to an end in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Church leaders can have a real impact, as churches are one of the few places that people are still allowed to congregate. Church leaders, like other religious leader and traditional chiefs, are also trusted, which enables them to share correct messaging to communities at the grassroots. Simple messaging and communication is one of the key activities being planned and implemented by dioceses across these countries, with the support and funding from Episcopal Relief & Development, Us and Trinity Wall Street.  The messaging is taken out to communities along with hand washing facilities and food packages for the quarantined and vulnerable.

Other activities include using radio broadcast for messaging, providing accommodation for orphans and widows during their quarantine period using abandoned schools, and working with the UN and international NGOs to distribute hygiene kits, mother and child kits and other materials.

The epidemic is critically serious.  Despite the current international response the number of people infected is expected to continue to increase. Other countries are preparing in case Ebola spreads further afield.  Many of the most vulnerable, like those currently affected, have under-resourced health systems that will struggle to cope. Countries need to plan and prepare, with early detection and response systems in place.  That way if they do come into contact with an Ebola patient they can contain the disease, identifying all the patient’s contacts to contain the spread, and treating the person in an isolation unit with good infection control.

The Anglican Alliance is working to learn from the response of the Church in West Africa and share this learning across the Anglican Communion so that other countries can prepare in case Ebola comes to their country.  Anglican leaders recently gathered in the Caribbean, for an Anglican Alliance consultation of churches, requested this to help them prepare and respond effectively, should Ebola come to their shores.

Links and communication with other organisations are also being shared by the Anglican Alliance to support the local church’s response.  For example, talks with World Vision are taking place to consider how Anglicans can be a part of the training for their new Channels of Hope module on Ebola. This builds on World Vision’s experience of working with communities in these countries and with the Channels of Hope methodology on other health issues, including HIV.