[Anglican Communion News Service] The news service of the Anglican Communion has today launched its first ever purpose-built news website AnglicanNews.org.
The site comes almost 20 years after the electronic news service was first launched. Since then subscribers around the world have received thousands of news articles via e-mail.
“This site brings the Anglican Communion’s ability to share its stories of life and mission to a whole new level,” said Jan Butter, director for communication at the Anglican Communion Office.
“Until now we’ve been restricted to sending news stories to people’s e-mail inboxes. Anglicans and Episcopalians around the world can visit the new site for, not just news, but also comment, feature stories, podcasts, videos and photos. We hope that the diverse content helps to reflect the richness and variety found across our Anglican Communion.”
Butter added, “Existing subscribers will still receive email alerts, but just one a day summarizing the newest content on the site.”
In a comment piece written exclusively for the new website, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby highlighted the importance of effective, grace-filled communication between Anglicans, saying it was part of the gift of the Anglican Communion.
“If the Communion is a gift, then communication between us is part of that gift. This means sharing insights into what God is calling us to do, wherever we are. It means sharing our witness and our inspiration.”
He added, “There have been times [members of the Anglican Communion] have used communication as a tool to hurt each another. But we must remember that above all we are called to share the love of Christ with the world. That means nothing less than communicating in a way that reflects Christ – a way that is loving and generous, patient and forgiving.”
The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, said he was excited about what this site would mean for the Churches of the Anglican Communion.
“It has been suggested that the theology of Web 2.0 is Body of Christ theology,” he said. “If so, then good communications is the lifeblood that allows that body to work together to fulfill God’s mission.
“I am delighted that we are able to offer this resource to the people of the Anglican Communion and I invite them to contribute content that they think will be of interest to their brothers and sisters around the world.”
The site was made possible thanks to funding from The Compass Rose Society and the Church Mission Publishing Company, and to support and guidance from members of Anglican Communion worldwide. It was built by Zebedee Creations Ltd.
It is part of a broader communications strategy that includes the relaunched Anglican World magazine (available at http://shop.anglicancommunion.org) and a new website for the Anglican Communion due in 2014.
Visit the new website at http://www.anglicannews.org
Read Archbishop Welby’s article in the comment section.
[Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town] Open letter from Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba.
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, dear friends of South Africa everywhere, I invite you to join with me in praying for God’s tender merciful hand to be upon our former President, Nelson Mandela at this time, and for his love to enfold dear Madiba, and all who are close to him. The Bible reassures us that ‘God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble’ (Psalm 46) and it is often when we feel most weak and vulnerable that God’s reassurance comes to us most powerfully. It reminds us that in life, and in death, nothing can ever separate us from his love, and that his everlasting arms will never let us slip from his safe June grasp.
As I pray for Madiba, I also join many others, around the Anglican Communion and around the Commonwealth, in praying too for Prince Philip, as he recovers from surgery in a London hospital.
We thank God for these men who, in very different ways, have each given so much of their lives in the service of their nations, and of the wider good.
May God hear our prayers, and may his perfect will be done, in their lives and in ours. Amen.
[Episcopal Diocese of Texas] Last summer, Melissa Peter had the idea of helping children in Houston’s Third Ward and began asking how to help at Blackshear Elementary School. To her surprise, the administration told her they received almost no community support, and she resolved to make a difference with the help of Holy Spirit Episcopal Church and School in Houston.
Together with Holy Spirit’s director of parish life, KariAnn Lessner, and volunteers throughout the church and school, Shear Blessings in a Backpack was born in September 2012. The program, which was inspired by the national Blessings in a Backpack organization, originally provided weekend food for 50 qualifying children, but as word spread, the program grew. By the spring, Shear Blessings delivered their 5,000th food bag.
[Episcopal Diocese of Texas] The smooth trumpet of Jeff Lofton filled the local eatery near St. Matthew’s in northwest Austin on June 9. It was the 15th offering of Soul of a Musician, a collaboration of St. Matthew’s and Spicewood Tavern, just across the street from the church.
The series is designed to provide a more intimate musical encounter with some of Austin’s finest musicians. It provides a unique setting in which to discover a deeper meaning to the themes of the music as well as to support musicians and their gifts to the community and the church.
Introducing the evening’s performers, the Rev. Merrill Wade told his audience that the series is meant to offer hospitality and encourage conversation. He prompted Lofton with a few questions about the origins of jazz.
“Jazz is the music of free people, developed after the turn of the (20th) century, by people who had never been slaves,” Lofton explained, in contrast to the Blues, which came from a less sophisticated environment and originated within the slave society in the South, “simplistic, beautiful at the same time.”
Between soulful numbers, Lofton, backed by Grammy-winning drummer Ernie Durawa and Pat Harris on bass, bantered with Wade, talking about the sense of interplay between musicians in the free-flowing, more improvised pieces, and their reading of the audience’s response.
“There’s nothing like jazz music to teach us how to live,” Wade said, remarking on the relationships the music creates.
An audience member asked what the church had to do with the evening and Wade explained that St. Matthew’s was paying for the musicians, firstly. “God talks with music,” he added. “Friends gather from the neighborhood and touch each others’ lives in unique ways … How many times do you gather to ‘feel the spirit,’ to feel the jazz move you?”
Wade spoke of musicians and the depth of their creativity. “What you do matters to God. There is no jazz without God,” he said. “It takes a higher power to inspire that level of creativity,” he added, leaving the questioner nodding his head and having another sip of beer.
Durawa took the microphone to punctuate the conversation with a bit of Scripture: “Remember First Timothy,” he said, quoting, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you.”
Wade has a deep interest in the local music scene in Austin, and participates in South by Southwest (SXSW) offering a seminar at the annual international music gathering in Austin. St. Matthew’s also supports local musicians by hosting an annual Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (H.A.A.M) Benefit Day Concert. H.A.A.M. is a community partner of the Soul of a Musician Series.
[Seminary of the Southwest press release] Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, who has served as professor of New Testament since she joined the faculty in 1999 and as academic dean since 2010, began her tenure as dean and president of Seminary of the Southwest on June 1, 2013.
The Rt. Rev. Dena Harrison, chair of the board and bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Texas, announced the board’s appointment of Dr. Kittredge in March when Douglas Travis made known his plans to retire after leading the seminary since 2007. “On behalf of the board of trustees, it is my great joy to announce the Rev. Dr. Kittredge’s appointment as our eighth dean and president. She is the perfect person to lead the seminary at this time, and we are extraordinarily blessed to have her gifts and talents devoted to our institution and its faithful service to the church,” said Bishop Harrison.
Martha J. Horne, dean and president emerita of Virginia Theological Seminary, will preach at Dr. Kittredge’s installation onFriday, September 13 in Austin. Horne was the first woman appointed president of an Episcopal seminary, and Kittredge is the third. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale is president and dean of Episcopal Divinity School, which she has led since 2009.
Dr. Kittredge holds degrees from Williams College and Harvard Divinity School where she earned a Th.D. in 1996. She was ordained priest in 1985 and is canonically resident in the Diocese of Texas. She has served as assisting clergy at Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd since 1999.
Dr. Kittredge’s research has centered on early Christian communities, Paul’s letters, the Fourth gospel, and hermeneutics. She has published Community and Authority: The Rhetoric of Obedience in the Pauline Tradition and Conversations with Scripture: The Gospel of John and co-edited Walk in the Ways of Wisdom: Essays in Honor of Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and The Bible in the Public Square. She contributed “Biblical Studies for Ministry: Critical and Faithful Interpretation of Scripture in an Either/Or World” in Transforming Graduate Biblical Education: Ethos and Discipline, Kent Richards and Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, eds., Society of Biblical Literature.
Dean Kittredge served on the Theological Education in the Anglican Communion Steering Committee from 2009 – 2012. She was elected president of the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars in 2008 and has served on the board of Evangelical Education Society since 2005 and now chairs the board.
Dr. Kittredge and her husband Frank D. Kittredge, Jr. live in Austin and have three grown children.
[Lambeth Palace press release] The Archbishop will travel to Rome, accompanied by Mrs Welby, for a personal and fraternal visit to Pope Francis on 14 June. The two clerics have shared interests in global justice, ethical regulation of financial markets and conflict resolution. Archbishop Nichols, leader of Catholics in England and Wales, will accompany Archbishop Welby on the visit.
Earlier in the day, Archbishop Welby will visit the excavations beneath St Peter’s Basilica to pray at the tomb of St Peter, as his predecessor Dr Rowan Williams did on his first visit to Rome. Archbishop Welby will also pray at the tomb of the late Pope Blessed John Paul II, who died in 2005.
A more extended visit, when the Archbishop can engage with various other Vatican officials, will take place later in the year.
[Episcopal Diocese of Texas] In the Fall of 2012, Jimmy Graves saw the Rev. Robin Reeves at a Texas City business leaders meeting and knew that he wanted to see her kitchen at St. George’s Episcopal Church. Though she admits to feeling caught off guard, Reeves invited him to visit St. George’s parish hall. Graves, a former restaurant chef, had a vision for a children’s cooking class, teaching kids and their families to make good meals out of just about anything. And he was convinced the local Episcopal church was the place to make it happen.
“God told me we were going to have 30 kids in this place,” Graves said after seeing the facility. “I told Robin that, and she kind of looked at me like I was crazy.”
Though she didn’t exactly hear the same message, Robin was determined to bring new life into this aging congregation.
“I thought really?” Reeves said. “That seemed far-fetched, especially because it was hard to get in that kitchen. That and the altar are the two sacred places in this church. But I was trying to follow the organic way of God and listen to the spirit.”
Reeves and Graves formed a partnership for the Kids Cooking Club, a monthly class for kids and their parents. They work with the local food banks and grocery stores as well as generous parishioners of St. George’s to get ingredients.
In an effort to eliminate crime from the main thoroughfares near St. George’s, leaders in Texas City have worked hard to clean up the main streets in the town, putting up new lights and beautifying the area. According to Reeves, Graves asked the business leaders what the community could do besides sweep the crime under the rug. His idea was to help children of all backgrounds grow into better adults, knowing that their community cares about them.
“[This ministry] is about serving the latch-key kids, single parents and the families who shop at the food bank, because Jimmy was a latch-key kid,” Reeves said. “It was amazing because I had never thought of that.”
Graves now works as an account executive for The Post, a faith-based newspaper in Galveston County, but he admittedly has a checkered past.
“My life was in total turmoil,” Graves said, referring to his state of mind just two years ago. “I had a job and money, but in the past I had been homeless and had addictions. All of that didn’t make me turn to God, but on January 18, 2012, I woke up and was ready, and God threw me in.”
After much persistence from the newspaper owners, Graves joined The Fellowship Church in Texas City, and his perspective since then has completely changed. He has committed his life to following what God tells him, and the newly attentive Graves makes it clear that he hears God all the time.
“God put it on my heart to go back and start cooking and to do it for kids,” Graves said. “When I met Robin, God told me that’s the person I need to talk to about my cooking class.”
Graves leads his new life following this intuition, often not deciding his menu until just a few hours before the class. To organizers, this can sometimes be disconcerting, but the results speak for themselves.
When the program started, a few months ago, six children came–most of them related to Graves. But by Easter, the class had reached about 30 children along with their parents.
“Jimmy is like the town crier,” Reeves explains. The success of the program is largely due to St. George’s hospitality and Graves’ willingness to invite just about anyone he meets.
Chris Williams, a father of three, brought his family after parishioner Kent Ross invited him at a Chinese restaurant. Amazingly, Graves had also invited him the week before.
“Everything just kind of worked out perfect,” Williams said. “My kids love to cook and they love to eat, so I thought, why not?”
The kids and their parents arrive and sign in at noon and then make arts and crafts as Graves prepares the ingredients. Then, after a blessing of the food, “Chef Jimmy” demonstrates for the families how to prepare the food as they each make their meals together. Graves then cooks the food, and they all feast together.
“Its amazing to me how all the kids respond to Jimmy,” said Jean McKnight, St. George’s senior warden. “They will try and taste all kinds of things that my kids never would have eaten.”
St. George’s is a community that has been searching for a way to infuse some life and youth into their ranks, but had no idea where to start. For years, young families would visit but leave to find another church that had more children. Though the young families that attend the cooking class don’t usually show up on Sunday, there is new hope among the faithful.
“At least they are here,” McKnight said. “Some people think they should come to the service too, but maybe they will in a few months or next year when they are more comfortable.”
“My hope is to be a neighborhood gathering place and resource for the community,” Reeves said. “My sense is that the spirit is working organically. When I was in seminary, they told me the way to grow things is to look at where God is doing things and join in.”
For Graves, it is all about the chance to change a child’s life. “We are planting a seed with kids and letting them take it home to let God work,” he said.
– Luke Blount is staff writer and communications specialist in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
[World Council of Churches press release] In a World Council of Churches (WCC) consultation in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong, participants reflected on “Asia’s human security challenges” today and how to strengthen efforts of working towards “sustainable peace with justice in Northeast Asia.”
In a communique issued at the end of the consultation, participants affirmed the diversity of their ethnicities and nationalities as a “celebration of God’s image” compelling them to “protect human dignity and assert human rights in faithfulness to our God.”
Addressing the socio-political realities of Asia, the communique stated: “God’s justice is about the victims, the helpless and the hurt. Touching their lives in solidarity and accompaniment is the true measure of Christian discipleship. Ensuring the fullness of life together and collectively with them is the true mark of Christian stewardship.”
Organized by the WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) and the Christian Conference of Asia, the consultation was held from 3 to 6 June.
The consultation brought together fifty participants from Asia, Europe and North America representing churches, ecumenical councils, specialized ministries, peace activists and academia, contributing reflections on the theme of the WCC’s upcoming assembly.
The theme of the WCC assembly is “God of life, lead us to justice and peace”. The assembly is set to take place in Busan, Republic of Korea, 30 October to 8 November.
“Our lament on Asian realities must be turned to affirmation of every effort and endeavour by all religions and ideologies to work tirelessly and sacrificially to make a more just and compassionate world and a friendlier, brighter tomorrow in Asia,” read the communique.
It concluded, “We must triumph over militarism and militarization and move from militarized economies to peace economies.” The communique urged the churches to be the “agents of justice and peace”.Asia’s human security challenges
At the consultation, Bishop Duleep de Chickera from Sri Lanka said, “To know what justice is, we need to know what injustice is. And to know what justice is we need to experience the plight of the victims”.
He said that in order to establish the “reign of God” as Jesus preached, we have to rethink human relationships and obligations that can challenge the unjust structures in our societies.
At the consultation there was discussion of the role of Japan for human security in Asia. Prof. Kaseda Yoshinori, a presenter from Japan and a political scientist from the University of Kitakyushu, said, “Powerful countries such as United States, Japan and South Korea play with double standards”.
He added that the approach these countries have towards North Korea is not helpful in protecting human security and sustainable peace in the Northeast Asia.
At the consultation, representatives of the WCC member churches in Korea and the National Council of Churches in Korea’s committee for peace and reunification in the Korean Peninsula discussed the proposal for a public issue statement. They made suggestions for the content of the statement from the perspectives of the Korean churches.
The public issues statement on “peace, reconciliation and reunification of the Korean peninsula” was proposed by the CCIA and was mandated by the WCC Central Committee meeting in Greece, 2012. It will be presented at the WCC assembly in Busan.
Dr Mathews George Chunakara, director of the CCIA, said that several speakers at the consultation expressed the need for lifting economic sanctions against North Korea.
He added that participants’ suggestion for the statement was to highlight “steps to realize peace in Northeast Asia by ending economic, financial and commercial sanctions against North Korea and turning from the armistice agreement to a peace treaty, effectively ending today’s de facto war”.
[World Council of Churches press release] “Uganda is a country of strong Christian witness. It is a country of Christian martyrs like Archbishop Janani Luwum, who lost his life at the hands of Idi Amin. It is therefore natural that we get together in Uganda to see what peace, justice and dignity mean to the African churches.“
Canon Grace Kaiso shared these views in an interview on 5 June, following his presentation at the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) 10th Assembly, currently underway in Kampala, Uganda.
Kaiso from the Church of Uganda, a member church of the World Council of Churches (WCC), explained that it was Archbishop Janani Luwum’s criticism of arbitrary killings and disappearances which resulted into his arrest and his assassination at the hands of Idi Amin regime in 1977.
Histories like these, as well as the establishment of the AACC in 1963 which also took place in Uganda, are affirmations of churches’ struggles for justice in the country, according to Kaiso.
Yet, the issue of dignity is a challenge for the African churches.
“We have suffered from massive dehumanization in Africa,” said Kaiso. “Unfortunately our image is constituted by the leaders of impunity like Idi Amin, corruption and conflicts. Therefore, dignity is a pertinent element in our struggles for lasting peace in the African region.”
His reflections pointed towards the theme of the AACC’s assembly “God of life, lead Africa to peace, justice and dignity”. The AACC is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a regional ecumenical organization.
“The dignity of a person is closely attached to the dignity of the Creator. Therefore churches in Uganda have to live up to the challenge of ensuring the dignity of its people who are faced by a scarred image created by wars, religious intolerance, disease and poverty,” said Kaiso.
Uganda is predominantly Christian, with Islam as the second major religion. People of both faiths have suffered from political instability and economic disparities, Kaiso reported.
“Uganda has a lot of potential for growth and progress. If we harness human capacities as churches, and continue working with our rich faith traditions, we can built a stable and thriving country,” he said.
Kaiso, an ordained minister of the Anglican church and general secretary of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, thinks that churches should move from “diagnosis to the healing of communities”.
He pointed out that the realities of churches in Uganda include inequalities, HIV and AIDS, threats of globalization, environmental issues and the welfare of women and children. He said that the “prophetic role” of the churches in Uganda is to engage with the political powers in addressing these issues.
Kaiso added that churches can play their “prophetic role” only with a strong engagement of women and youth in the communities. He said that women are the “wheels of the churches”; without their time, contributions and commitment, churches cannot achieve their vision for justice, peace and dignity.
There are still issues to be addressed when it comes to the leadership position of women and youth in the churches, yet they are in the forefront of Christian witness in Uganda, said Kaiso.
The AACC’s theme is inspired by the theme of the WCC’s upcoming assembly “God of life, lead us to justice and peace”. The WCC gathering is set to take place from 30 October to 8 November in Busan, Republic of Korea.
The seven week course will include:
- an induction week in London with visits to the Office for Standards in Education, the UK’s Department for Education and a visit to Lambeth Palace.
- a bespoke day course at the Institute of Education on gender and development in education
- week placements with two London education authorities
- week placements with two diocesan education authorities
- school visits
- a bespoke week course at Nottingham University
A university lecturer in gender and development studies will be the facilitator working with the participants during the course.
The programme will be open to women who are either education administrators delivering education services for Anglican provinces or dioceses, or who are headteachers in substantial Anglican education institutions. They must be committed to continuing in the provision of education, and to improving the provision of church education services in their own countries. They will also need to leave their jobs and families for seven weeks to travel to the UK for the programme.
The programme is funded by the UK Government through the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. It is open to people from developing Commonwealth countries. For more information on this see the CSC website. Application is a competitive process assessed by set criteria, and the CSC has to approve both the details of the scheme and the participants nominated to take part for the funding to be provided.
This will be the third of the Commonwealth schemes run by the Anglican Alliance, and aims to focus specifically on the importance of women’s education in development. The Millenium Development Goals set women’s empowerment as a target, and the goals of reducing infant and maternal mortality are also strongly related to women’s educational attainments. Previous schemes have been for education and health administrators and have been very popular and effective.
If you are interested in the programme please email the alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. The scheme will go live for applications later in the year.
[Historical Society of the Episcopal Church press release] The Historical Society of the Episcopal Church Holds Annual Meeting in San Antonio
The Historical Society of the Episcopal Church (HSEC) held its annual meeting 10-11 June 2013 in San Antonio, Texas.
On Monday night the Society’s members re-elected the Rev. Dr. Robert W. Prichard (President), the Rev. Dr. Marilyn McCord Adams (Vice President), Dr. J. Michael Utzinger (Secretary); and Mr. George DeFilippi (Treasurer), as well as electing three members to its Board of Directors for their first terms: Dr. David Contosta, Professor of History at Chestnut Hill College (Philadelphia, PA); Ms. Nancy Hurn, archivist of the General Synod Archives of the Anglican Church of Canada; and the Very Rev. Dr. Sylvia A. Sweeney, the Dean and President of Bloy House, the Episcopal Theological School at Claremont (CA).
The Rev. Will Wauters delivered the keynote address to the Society. A graduate of Stanford University and Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Wauters has served churches in East Los Angeles, San Francisco, Jersey City and Trenton in New Jersey and currently serves at Santa Fe Episcopal Church in San Antonio. For seven years he was Chaplain and taught Religion and Ethics at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. In San Antonio The Rev. Wauters also teaches at Haven for Hope, a transformational center for the homeless, and is a Chaplain with the Bexar County Detention Ministries. His address, entitled “The Borderland Cultures Encounter the Church and a Church Gave Birth to a New Chicano Culture,” described how the Church of the Epiphany in East Los Angeles, the oldest standing Episcopal Church in Los Angeles, opened its doors in a new way to the revolutionary times of the 1960′s in the barrio and how both the Church and Los Angeles culture and history were transformed by one another.
Each year the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church also recognizes and supports scholarship that furthers historical understanding of the Anglican Communion. The Nelson R. Burr Prize recognizes the article published in the Society’s quarterly journal, Anglican and Episcopal History, that best exemplifies excellence and innovative scholarship in the field of Anglican and Episcopal history. This year Dr. Edward Bond, chair of the Publications Committee and editor of the Society’s journal announced John Wall and Zola Packman as winners of the Burr Prize for their article entitled “Worship at Trinity Chapel,” which appeared in the June 2012 issue of the society’s journal. The selection committee commented that Wall and Packman’s work proved “a beautifully researched and written portrayal of the importance of prayer book worship in the 17th century.”
The HSEC’s Grants and Research Committee, chaired by the Rev. Dr. Craig Townsend, announced that the Society would support four individuals for the next year. Katherine Sawyer Robinson will receive a research grant for her dissertation, entitled “Networks of Nonconformity: A Prosopographical Examination of Early English Presbyterianism;” David Ney will receive a research grant for his dissertation entitled “Divine Oracles and Modern Science: Newtonianism, Hutchinsonianism, and the Old Testament. Filmmaker Margo Guernsey will receive a grant to support continuing research of her latest project, a documentary on the life of Pauli Murray, lawyer, civil and women’s rights activist, and Episcopal priest. And Daniel Loss will receive a grant to further his research on the controversy regarding liturgical reform in the 1960s and beyond to explore the public and cultural role of the Church of England, even among avowed non-believers.
Further information about the Society, as well as its publications and grants can be found on the Society’s website: http://www.hsec.us
Asignaciones de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias: $1,5 millones para la misión y el ministerio de la Iglesia Episcopal y la Comunión Anglicana
[11 de junio de 2013] La Ofrenda Unida de [Acción de] Gracias ha concedido 48 subvenciones por un total de $1.517.280,91 para la misión y el ministerio de la Iglesia Episcopal y la Comunión Anglicana. Las subvenciones de 2013 se les concedieron a proyectos en 38 diócesis de la Iglesia Episcopal, seis provincias internacionales y las oficinas de misión de la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera (DFMS).
Conocida a nivel mundial por UTO [su sigla en inglés], las subvenciones de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias se les otorgan a proyectos que abordan necesidades humanas y ayudan a mitigar la pobreza, tanto nacional como internacionalmente.
Las asignaciones fueron desde $2.000 para la Diócesis de Mississippi hasta $162.817 para la Diócesis de la República Dominicana
Se recibieron, en total, 86 solicitudes de subvenciones. La asignación de las subvenciones de 2013 se concentraron en dos (de las cinco) Marcas Anglicanas de la Misión: Responder a las necesidades humanas con amoroso servicio y procurar transformar las estructuras sociales injustas, enfrentar la violencia de cualquier clase y buscar la paz y la reconciliación.
“Las subvenciones representaron muchas necesidades de nuestro mundo”, comentó Barbi Tinder, presidente de la Junta de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias “Las primeras 15 subvenciones calificadas abordaban la enseñanza de la horticultura y de la preparación creativa de alimentos, sufragaban el continuo suministro de agua potable, proporcionaban [fondos] para la obtención de madera para calentarse durante los meses de invierno y para múltiples necesidades infantiles; creando construcciones que edificaban la comunidad.”
La lista completa de subvenciones puede encontrarse aquí.
Los fondos de asignaciones de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias se derivan de recolecciones/fondos/contribuciones recibidas a través de las ofrendas de las conocidas y fácilmente reconocibles cajitas azules de la UTO.
Este año, el Comité de Subvenciones llevó a cabo toda su labor electrónicamente, asumiendo por consiguiente una política de conservación ambiental, proceso este iniciado por Sarita Redd —que era la presidente cuando falleció repentinamente en enero— y por Tinder.
“Como resultado del empeño inicial del Comité de Subvenciones de crear el nuevo proceso de asignación, y la participación de toda la Junta [directiva] en poner en práctica las medidas necesarias [para ello], la Junta de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias puede ahora anunciar que su impacto medioambiental se ha reducido dramáticamente”, explicó Tinder. “El año pasado la Junta calculó que aproximadamente se habían gastado 10.000 hojas de papel en el proceso de concesión de fondos; este año el único papel que se usó fueron las 86 cartas oficiales a los solicitantes de subvenciones con 86 sobres, y 48 certificados impresos para presentarlos a los recipiendarios de las subvenciones cuyas solicitudes fueron atendidas. ¡Un total de 134 hojas de papel y 86 sobres! ¡Una reducción enorme en la utilización de árboles!”.
La Ofrenda Unida de Gracias crea el Premio John Hines
La Junta de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias creó un Subvención Especial Trienal que aborda los problemas de justicia social.
Llamado así por el 22º. Obispo Primado de la Iglesia Episcopal, el Premio a la Justicia Social John E. Hines se presentará después de cada Convención General trienal.
Un hito de cada Convención General es la Eucaristía de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias, en la cual cada diócesis hace donaciones. Durante este oficio, las ofrendas de bandeja se le entregan a la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias. Esta ofrenda se usará ahora para financiar una solicitud de subvención que presente un proyecto de base, innovador y creativo, que responda a importantes problemas de justicia social y a la manera de cambiar estructuras injustas en una comunidad.
En la Eucaristía de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias de la Convención General de 2012 se recaudaron $34.280,91. El primer Premio de Justicia Social John Hines se le ha otorgado a una solicitud de subvención titulada Five Smooth Stones [Cinco piedras lisas] una película infantil creada por niños de la iglesia episcopal de San Antonio [St. Anthony’s] en Winder, Georgia (Diócesis de Atlanta) para abordar el problema del acoso escolar. La subvención se usará para financiar la publicación inicial de la película sobre el acoso escolar y la guía de estudio que le acompaña, así como para su distribución, mercadotecnia y venta con el propósito de transmitir un mensaje educativo en contra del acoso escolar.
“El Premio de Justicia Social John Hines ha sido creado para honrar la historia de la relación entre el Obispo Primado y las Mujeres Episcopales, relación permanente apoyada por la Junta de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias”, explicó Tinder.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] The United Thank Offering of the Episcopal Church has awarded 48 grants for a total of $1,517,280.91 for the mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. The 2013 grants were awarded to projects in 38 Episcopal Church dioceses, six international provinces and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS) Mission offices.
Known worldwide as UTO, the United Thank Offering grants are awarded for projects that address human needs and help alleviate poverty, both domestically and internationally.
The awards ranged from $2000 to the Diocese of Mississippi to $162,817 to the Diocese of the Dominican Republic.
A total of 86 grant applications were received. The awarding of the 2013 grants focused on two (of the five) Anglican Marks of Mission: To respond to human need by loving service; and to seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation.
“Grants represented many needs in our world,” commented Barbi Tinder, United Thank Offering Board President. “The top 15 rated grants addressed the teaching of gardening and creative food preparation; providing for continuing clean water; providing wood for warmth during cold months; providing for many forms of special needs for children; creating buildings that built community.”
The complete list of grants is located here.
The United Thank Offering award funds are derived from the Ingatherings/funds/contributions received through offerings from the well-known and easily recognizable UTO Blue Box.
This year, the Grants Committee conducted all of its work electronically, thereby “going green,” a process initiated by Sarita Redd, who was president when she died suddenly in January, and Tinder.
“As a result of the Grants Committee’s initial effort in creating the new granting process, and the participation of the entire Board in implementing the needed steps, the United Thank Offering Board can now state that the footprint of the Board in terms of environmental impact has been dramatically reduced,” explained Tinder. “Last year the board estimated approximately 10,000 sheets of paper were used in the granting process; this year the only paper to be used will be 86 official letters to grant applicants with 86 envelopes, and 48 printed award certificates to be presented to grant recipients whose applications were funded! A total of 134 pieces of paper and 86 envelopes! An enormous reduction of use of trees!”
United Thank Offering Creates John Hines Award
The United Thank Offering Board created a special Triennial Award that addresses issues of social justice.
Named for the 22nd Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the John E. Hines Social Justice Award will be presented after each triennial General Convention.
A highlight of each General Convention is the United Thank Offering Ingathering Eucharist, in which donations are provided by each diocese. During this service, the plate offering is given to the United Thank Offering. This offering will now be used to fund a grant application that presents a grassroots, innovative and creative project that addresses significant issues of social justice and how to change unjust structures in a community.
At the 2012 General Convention United Thank Offering Ingathering Eucharist, $34,280.91 was received. The first John Hines Social Justice Award has been given to the grant titled “Five Smooth Stones,” a film created for kids by kids from St. Anthony’s Episcopal Church in Winder, Georgia (Diocese of Atlanta) to address the issue of bullying. The grant will be used to fund the initial publishing of the film on bullying and its companion Facilitator/Study Guide, for distribution, marketing and sales for the purpose of anti-bullying education.
“The John Hines Social Justice Award has been created to honor the history of the relationship between the Presiding Bishop and the Women of the Church, still a continuing relationship supported by The United Thank Offering Board,” explained Tinder.
[Episcopal Diocese of Washington] This blog is the first in a series from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington on LGBT and faith topics in honor of LGBT Pride Month.
I was recently talking to a friend about summer plans, now that June is upon us. He asked if my church would be marching in the Capital Pride Parade. I said, “Yes, and we’ll have a booth at the Pride Festival the next day. What about you? What are your plans?” “Oh,” he said, “I don’t know. I’m really over the whole ‘pride thing.’ I’ll probably just stay home.”
June has become a month of pride and celebration for people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), and for our allies, families, and friends. Across the country and around the globe, there will be celebrations. While I respect my friend’s choice to avoid crowds and follow his own way, I’m definitely not “over the ‘pride thing.’” As much as ever, I think there needs to be a parade, and especially as a gay Christian, I need to be a part of it.
I’ll be at the parade because I feel safe there. This weekend, there is safety in numbers. Even though I write from a point of extraordinary privilege—I’m able to serve as an openly gay priest in a friendly diocese, I’m in a relationship that is recognized by the District of Columbia as a legal marriage, and I serve a supportive congregation and enjoy a loving family—I also know that I live in a bubble. Most of the churches in our country would not allow an openly gay person to be their leader and many people of faith would probably have me stoned or worse. In over half the states of our country, one can be fired from any job simply for being gay or transgender. In some 76 countries around the globe, homosexuality is still illegal. I can preach a Gospel of welcome and salvation all I want, but the reality is that I have enemies. Though I pray for them, it is nice to have a day or two in June when I can let down my guard and breathe freely.
I’ll be at Capital Pride events also because I experience real diversity there—diversity like nowhere else. There will be people of many colors, ethnicities, cultures, opinions, educational levels, languages, and sexualities. The wealthy, powerful, and educated will not always be in charge. I’ll be challenged by some of what I see and hear. I won’t understand some things and I won’t like or approve of everything. But I’ll learn and engage, as I ask God to help me grow with open eyes and an open heart.
Finally, I’ll be at Capital Pride because I’m compelled to try to convey the love of Christ to the world—especially to a segment of the world that has so often been derided, misunderstood, mischaracterized, legislated against, prohibited, controlled, abused, feared, and cheated of the liberating love of Jesus Christ. Though I cannot adequately apologize for the sloppy theology and biblical illiteracy inflicted on so many LGBT people, I can stand with others of faith and try to convey the experience and grace that God loves us more than we can possibly imagine.
The scripture lessons appointed for this Sunday have to do with healing and raising up (Elijah heals a child and Jesus raises up a young man thought to be dead). At Capital Pride, I’ll be praying that God will continue to raise up, to encourage and empower, to lift up the lowly, fill the hungry with good things, and come to the help of all those who yearn for the fullness of love.
– John Beddingfield is the rector of All Souls Memorial Episcopal Church in Washington, DC. Share your thoughts and reactions with the Diocese of Washington community on Facebook.
[Episcopal News Service] With the rap of his crosier on the church door and a trumpet fanfare, San Joaquin Bishop Chet Talton on June 9 formally ushered in the future of St. Francis Episcopal Church in Turlock. “We’re moving forward with mission, ministry and the work of reconciliation,” he said.
The standing-room-only gathering of about 150 sang “All are Welcome,’ a theme reflected throughout the homecoming festival celebration of the church, the first to be returned to the diocese after negotiated settlements with former members who left the Episcopal Church in 2007.
“We can now turn all of our resources to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and engaging in Christ’s mission in the world,” Talton said.
“At the heart of that mission is reconciliation. All are welcome. All means all, including those who differed with our churches and left; they are welcome. At center in our celebration of return is that we can devote ourselves wholly to mission and ministry.”
Vera Sahlstrom, who turned 94 a day earlier, said she couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present.
“I spent 30 years on the altar guild here and 30 years in the choir. I’ve got so many memories here. It’s good to be home,” she said.
Her grandson, Paul Voorhees echoed the sentiment: “I was born and raised in this church. It’s good to be home, it’s happiness.”
The Rev. Kathie Galicia, priest-in-charge of the congregation, said she received the keys to the church a week earlier and the returning congregation held its first service there June 2.
“It’s wonderful to have the church back,” she said. Overwhelmed by the support of visitors from across the diocese, she added: “This is like having a giant open house. I want to do this every Sunday.”
St. Francis members had worshiped in various locations the past six years, after theological differences split the diocese in 2007. Former members had left the Episcopal Church but had attempted to keep the property.
State and federal courts have consistently ruled that church properties are held in trust by the diocese for the mission and ministry of the wider Episcopal Church.
Returning Episcopalian Nedra Voorhees, 74, echoed an often-repeated sentiment that coming back to worship “felt like coming home. It was a strange sensation, when I walked in that first Sunday morning, it felt like I had never been gone.”
The congregation numbered about 40 at that first Sunday worship, she added. While meeting elsewhere, members had drawn sustenance, she said, from each other.
“It was a wandering and a soul-searching time,” she recalled. “My commitment to Christ was strengthened by not having that security that somehow a building provides for you. You come to rely more on your relationship with God than on a building … when you’ve got to do a lot more work to make it happen.”
She added that: “It’s an exciting time for the whole diocese, a turning point.”
Her sister Beryl Simkins, agreed. “It’s time to move on,” she said. “We need to be about being Christians in Turlock. We have learned so much from this experience. I learned that the people are the church.
“We’ve learned never to take the church for granted. We appreciate each other so much. Everybody helps these days. Everybody takes responsibilities and does whatever needs to be done.”
In Ridgecrest, where St. Michael’s Church was also returned to the diocese, the Rev. Linda Huggart said she’d just moved into the church rectory.
The congregation, which had been meeting as All Souls at the historical society building, was adjusting to returning to their property.
“If we can do it out of a box for five years, we can certainly do it in a church,” she said. “We’re kind of taken aback now that we’ve got pews and sound systems and organs.”
For Dee Dee Cox, 88, a long-time member, the return was joyous.
She said the church “was very precious to me. The church has meant a lot to me in my life here and my life in general,” she said. “So, it was difficult to be removed from it, but we carried on in a different way.
“Now, I’m feeling joyful,” she said but added that “it’s also sad. What happened was an unfortunate loss for both congregations.”
As the result of favorable rulings by the Kern County Superior Court, conversations are also underway regarding the return of other congregations in Bakersfield, Delano and Sonora. Other disputed properties throughout the diocese are in various stages of litigation, according to diocesan chancellor Michael Glass.
Another church property, St. Paul’s, Modesto, was returned July 1, 2009 prior to litigation.
“It’s been really emotional,” said Terrance Goodpasture, a St. Francis member since 2000. “There’s lots of enthusiasm that we’d like to keep going forward.”
[Episcopal Church Foundation -- Press Release] The Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) is extremely pleased to announce that Nancy Davidge has been named Associate Program Director, and will be chiefly responsible for developing leadership tools and resources for Episcopal congregations. Further, Nancy will continue in her capacity as editor of ECF Vital Practices.
“Nancy has done a terrific job as editor of Vital Practices,” remarked ECF President, Donald V. Romanik. “Not only has she been instrumental in helping to transform what had been a very good newsletter into an incredibly rich web-based resource, but she brings a broad perspective of the Episcopal Church, keen strategic insights, and a strong background in multimedia communications to the table. Her contributions will enable ECF to provide even more resources in the area of lay and clergy leadership.”
“Nancy has helped ECF stay focused on the practical needs of grassroots lay and clergy leaders,” added Miguel Angel Escobar, ECF Program Director. “She has a passion for lifting up the stories of small Episcopal congregations who are engaged in remarkable ministries, especially those doing vital work in mission and outreach. Her work over the past three years has been a gift to ECF and to the wider Church and I am thrilled that she will now lend her perspective and expertise to the many other projects in the leadership resources area.”
Nancy began her career working for the Girl Scouts, and then spent 20 years in senior level marketing and communications positions for regional and national health care companies. She made a career shift to educational institutions, including Episcopal Divinity School, where she served as director of marketing and communications for eight years before joining the ECF as editor of ECF Vital Practices in 2010. She has been recognized for her outstanding work in the Episcopal Church, receiving multiple Polly Bond awards from Episcopal Communicators. Nancy also served as president of Episcopal Communicators from 2010-2013. Her primary focus as a communicator has been matching message to an intended audience.
[Episcopal Church in South Carolina -- press release] The lawsuit filed by a breakaway group against the Episcopal Church and its local diocese in eastern South Carolina will be heard in state court, not federal court, U.S. District Court Judge C. Weston Houck ruled June 10.
The Episcopal Church in South Carolina had sought to have the case heard in federal court, citing First Amendment issues raised by the case. The lawsuit will now return to South Carolina Circuit Court and Judge Diane S. Goodstein in Dorchester County, said Thomas S. Tisdale, Jr., chancellor of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. Judge Houck’s order cannot be appealed.
“We are obviously disappointed with the result, but we are confident in our legal position going forward,” Mr. Tisdale said.
The lawsuit was filed in January by a group of former church leaders and some 34 parishes in eastern South Carolina who say they have “disassociated” from The Episcopal Church, seeking control of the name, seal and properties of the diocese. The group continues to call itself “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” and recognizes Mark Lawrence as its bishop.
Defendants in the suit are the Episcopal Church and its local diocese, which is currently using the name “The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.” Its bishop is the Right Reverend Charles G. vonRosenberg, who was elected by local Episcopalians in January after Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori accepted Mark Lawrence’s renunciation of his orders as a bishop in The Episcopal Church.
“We believe that the critical First Amendment issues at the center of this case would have been most appropriately resolved in federal court, but we respect the court’s decision to return this case to state court,” said Matthew D. McGill of the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, who spoke for TECSC in last week’s hearing before Judge Houck.
“The federal court recognized that The Episcopal Church is a hierarchical church and we hope that the state court will recognize the First Amendment right of all such churches to organize and administer their affairs without government interference,” Mr. McGill said. “Our federal litigation against Bishop Lawrence continues and we hope soon will confirm that he is no longer the Bishop of the Diocese because he left the church of which the Diocese is a part.”
A separate federal lawsuit is still before Judge Houck. Filed in March by Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg against Mark Lawrence, it asks the court to find that only Bishop vonRosenberg, as The Episcopal Church’s recognized bishop, should control the name and marks of the diocese.
The federal suit, vonRosenberg v. Lawrence, cites federal trademark law and a 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich. Under that decision, civil courts may not interfere in decisions made by hierarchical churches, such as The Episcopal Church, about decisions as to who is the true bishop of a diocese.
[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council agreed June 10 to increase the church’s aid to continuing Episcopalians in South Carolina and in the Diocese of San Joaquin, while also adding money to the budget of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of a Presiding Bishop.
Council also heard various reports on progress towards new initiatives that will be funded in each of the Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission, according to goals General Convention set out in the 2013-2015 budget.
And council continued the process it has developed for formulating the 2016-2018 budget, which it must propose to the next meeting of General Convention in 2015.
Aid to continuing Episcopalians
Answering a request from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, council agreed to expand a promised line of credit by $300,000, which will make available a total of $550,000 through the end of 2013.
Episcopalians in South Carolina have been reorganizing their common life since late in 2012 after Bishop Mark Lawrence and a majority of clergy and lay leadership said that the diocese had left the Episcopal Church.
In the case of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, council agreed to provide additional line of credit of $785,000 to be accessed through the end of 2014 to support the continuing diocese.
The reorganization in that diocese has been ongoing since late 2007 when a majority of the clergy and lay deputies to the San Joaquin diocesan convention took a vote purporting to realign the diocese with the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.
Council established a covenant committee in 2011 to document work of the continuing San Joaquin diocese. That committee regularly reports to council’s Joint Standing Committee on Local Ministry and Mission. Council members at this meeting asked the presiding officers to appoint a similar committee to work with the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.
Facilitating the election of the 27th presiding bishop
The church will elect a presiding bishop at the 78th General Convention in Salt Lake City in July 2015. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s nine-year term ends later that year.
Council acted on two fronts to facilitate that process, a move that was needed because the 2012 General Convention added (via Resolution A-105) responsibilities to the work of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of a Presiding Bishop but the committee told council its funding, which has been reduced, is not adequate to do that work.
The 2006 meeting of General Convention called for $22,000 to accrue annually between 2007 and 2009 triennium to fund the nominating process and the 2009 General Convention designated an annual accrual of $10,000 during the 2010-2012 triennium, according to a funding resolution council passed on June 10. The 2012 convention set aside $630,449 to be distributed by council to all of the church’s committees, commissions, agencies and board (CCABs). Executive Council designated a $10,000 annual contribution for the nominating committee between 2013 and 2015, for a three triennial total of $126,000.
The committee has said that it needs $262,000 to meet the expectations of the revised canon. However, council’s Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission concluded at this meeting that that amount “would require more funds than we felt the church could invest in this particular task,” Ohio Bishop Mark Hollingsworth, FFM chair, told the council.
FFM proposed and council agreed to add $100,000 to the nominating committee’s budget. The addition will bring its total funding to $226,000.
Part of the difficulty in determining the cost of the new canonical expectations is that the lack of specificity about the tasks outlined revised canon, according to Steve Hutchinson, chair of council’s Governance and Administration for Mission committee.
The revised canon calls for the nominating committee to develop a process that would allow any bishop or deputy “to express the intent to nominate any other member of the House of Bishops from the floor when the committee presents its nominees to the joint session of the two Houses,” provide pastoral care for each nominee and his or her family and diocese, and determine and provide for transition assistance to the outgoing presiding bishop and the presiding bishop-elect. The first item would increase the amount of money the nominating committee has to spend on background checks beyond ones for those it nominates.
In addition, “there’s confusion about at what point the responsibility of this committee ends … and responsibility for other parts of transition and installation of the newly elected presiding bishop picks up,” Hutchinson told the council members, adding that “none of that is contemplated in this triennial budget.”
Hutchinson’s committee proposed to council – and it agreed – that it instruct Jefferts Schori and the Rev. Gay Jennings, House of Deputies president and vice chair of council, to appoint a committee to work with the nominating committee to plan, budget and oversee the transition work. There will be $20,450 available for that work, according to money annually set aside since Jefferts Schori was elected.
Five Marks of Mission work
The proposals about how to target work around each of the Five Marks of Mission are being developed by teams made up of council members and church-wide staff that also consulted with people involved in such work throughout the church.
Jefferts Schori said during a post-meeting press conference that a “significant aspect of the meeting centered on the continuing development of work around the Five Marks of Mission.”
She highlighted the work of the Young Adult Service Corps and the possibility of developing “gap year” mission work for youth between high school and college or work, as based in the third Mark of Mission (respond to human need in loving service), and efforts by the offices of communication and government relations to develop an online platform for networking people involved at all levels of the church in work related to the fourth (to transform unjust structures of society) and fifth (to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth) marks.
Two or more of council’s five standing committees often met together during the three-day meeting to discuss mission work and other matters, and the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, the church’s executive officer, said that those gatherings “broke through some of the traditional committee boundaries.”
“This council is not waiting for this church to reimagine itself – or restructure itself – we’re already reimagining and restructuring ourselves as leaders of the Episcopal Church and in the broader communities,” Barlowe said during the press conference.
In a related matter, council members agreed with a recommendation from it Governance and Administration for Mission committee to form a group to “assure the effective, thorough and collaborative implementation” of 2012 General Convention Resolution A135, which among other things commits the church to a triennium of “teaching, preaching, organizing, advocating, and building mutually transformative relationships with those who are poor to focus our hearts and the mission of our congregations and dioceses on reducing poverty and increasing economic and racial justice.”
The members of the committee will include representatives of council and general convention committees, local faith-based organizations, church center staff concerned with domestic poverty and, where needed, outside experts.
“Just as A135 reflected a sea change on how we’re addressing domestic poverty, we’re also looking at new ways to coordinate that work,” Jennings said during the press conference, noting that at the last council meeting members called for similar coordination of the church’s response to convention Resolution B019, which reaffirmed the church’s commitment to just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
Bishops, deputies will be asked about ‘the ask’
Council member the Rev. Susan Snook, from Arizona, reviewed progress on council’s process for developing a 2016-2018 budget to propose to General Convention. She said that nearly all of the council and staff liaisons to the church’s CCABs have been trained in how to guide their groups through a “budget visioning process.”
The actual discernment envisioned by that process is beginning as well and reports are due by Aug. 16. Snook said the visions discerned in that process will be made available to the wider church.
Snook, who chairs FFM’s subcommittee on the budget process, said that she had been asked what a liaison should be if the group to which he or she is assigned is not interested in participating in the process. “I think that is very fine information for us to know as we go into the budget process, and will send its own kind of message, so please do convey that to your CCAB,” she suggested. “By the way, if somebody is not interested in doing a budget request, all the better.
As part of the budgeting process, Snook said, FFM wants to “engage the church in a discussion of the fact that not all dioceses meet their full asking percentage formula” to fund the churchwide budget. She noted that “there are no particular consequences for not meeting the full asking.
In the 2013-2015 triennium, the dioceses are asked contribute 19 percent of their annual income to help fund the churchwide budget. Each year’s annual giving in the three-year budget is based on a diocese’s income two years earlier, minus $120,000. The list of 2012 and 2013 diocesan commitments is here.
Council agreed with a FFM suggestion that bishops and deputies be surveyed on their ideas on how the asking process could be improved with the goal of greater participation in paying the full ask. The resolution also asks the House of Bishops to discuss the asking question during it fall meeting in Nashville.
“Susan is absolutely right when she says that in one sense there are absolutely no consequences to non-payment in the sense that there are no penalties but, there are huge consequences to not paying the asking,” Hollingsworth told the council. “The consequences are that we are not able to do the work that God has proffered for us to do in ways that we envision doing it productively in the church, so this is a really important discussion for us to have.”
In other business, the council:
* elected Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine, a former council member from the Diocese of the Virgin Islands, to serve as the Episcopal Church lay representative on the Anglican Consultative Council for a term to last for three meetings of that body. Ballentine was one of four nominees presented by the Executive Committee of Executive Council following a review of 11 applications, and she was elected on the third ballot. The other nominees were current council member Katie Sherrod of Fort Worth, Lawrence Hitt of Colorado and Thomas Little of Vermont. She succeeds Josephine Hicks, of North Carolina whose term expired at the end of the ACC’s most recent meeting in 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Ballentine has “extensive experience in matters related to the Anglican Communion,” Jennings noted during the post-meeting press conference, including having spent six years as chair of the task forces on the church’s response to the Anglican Covenant and serving as chair the 2012 General Convention’s legislative committee on world mission.
* Awarded $535,000 in the latest round of Constable Fund grants. The grants fund mission initiatives that are not provided for within the General Convention budget. The fund received 22 applications totaling $1,621,452, and funded seven of those applicants. Details are here.
* Received a report and plan from the task force of the House of Bishops Committee on Pastoral Development related to 2012 General Convention Resolution A144 which calls for tracking the inclusion of women and other under-represented groups in episcopal elections. Council asked the presiding bishop to direct the Office of Pastoral Development to continue that work by first establishing a base line of all nominees in episcopal elections from available 2012 data, and then by tracking the ratios of all persons nominated for episcopal elections in 2013, 2014 and first quarter of 2015, and considered by diocesan search/nominating committees 2013, 2014 and the first quarter of 2015. Council’s resolution also asks that the office review the consistency and effectiveness of anti-racism training and other practices that inform search and nominating committees to issues of gender and ethnic bias and that necessary adjustments in transition process for episcopal elections be created, recommended, and monitored by the pastoral development committee. Council also asked the committee to consider including a letter with transition process materials that reminds diocesan standing committees and diocesan search committees of “the importance of authentic inclusion.”
A summary of all the resolutions council passed at the meeting is here.
The Executive Council carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1)(a). The council is composed of 38 members, 20 of whom (four bishops, four priests or deacons and 12 lay people) are elected by General Convention and 18 (one clergy and one lay) by the nine provincial synods for six-year terms – plus the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies.
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] During its June 8-10 meeting here, the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council adopted several resolutions, which are summarized below.
Thank British Columbia Bishop James Cowan upon his pending retirement and the ending of his term as liaison from the Anglican Church in Canada to council.
Advocacy & Networking for Mission
Adopt proxy voting policy recommended by the Executive Council Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility, authorize Glass Lewis & Co., LLC, Glass Lewis to vote the proxies of companies held by Episcopal Church (in accordance with instructions found in the policy), extend its appreciation to the Church Pension Fund for its continuing support of church’s longstanding effort to promote corporate social responsibility, and commit to encourage those dioceses and parishes not currently voting their proxies with the Episcopal Church to do so (AN009)
Affirm and support, domestically and globally: the right to safe and healthful working conditions as a fundamental human right and enactment and enforcement of standards for such safe and healthful working conditions in all domestic and global jurisdictions; affirm responsibility of jurisdictions to provide for research, information, education, training in occupational safety and health; the importance of exchange of information and good practices on prevention and the promotion of preventative measures and role of governments, professional safety and health organizations, and worker organizations in promoting prevention, in support of safe and healthful working conditions; responsibility of employers to provide workplaces that are free of known dangers that could harm their employees; find and correct safety and health problems, and in case of domestic employers, to follow the employer responsibilities mandated by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, its state counterparts, and rules applying to government employees; the right of workers to organize and to participate in activities to ensure their protection from job hazards, including those rights mandated by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, its state counterparts, and rules applying to government employees; acknowledge that products enjoyed by consumers worldwide link everyone inextricably to worker safety and health in every industry, including agriculture, in every nation; affirm that international cooperation among manufacturers, distributors, retailers, firms affiliated with them, and human and worker rights organizations, along with the implementation and enforcement of concrete governmental laws, are necessary to protect the safety and health of workers; and encourage Episcopalians to be mindful of their individual links to worker safety and health through the exercise of their personal choices in making consumer purchases and investments in corporations that produce, import, or sell consumer goods, including to agricultural firms (AN010).
Affirm and support: equal access to higher education for all qualified students “as a crucial step for many individuals and families to escape cycles of poverty, live into their vocations, and make use of their gifts to bring about a more just and peaceful world;” consistent standards for transparency, clarity, appropriate protections against predatory lending and collection practices, and humane disposition of education loans in the event that proven, lasting, and severe economic hardship, disability, or death should befall the borrower; programs and policies providing interest rates on education loans fixed for the life of loan at the point at which loan is taken and that education loans provided by the federal government and private lenders should follow best practices for fair lending, transparency, collections and interest rates; ease of access to Income-Based Repayment (IBR) programs for education debt, particularly for those on public assistance, and that IBR programs take into account cost of medical insurance and care, housing, food for borrowers and their dependents, and cost of higher education in which borrowers’ dependents are enrolled; support equal opportunity in employment, housing, and access to government assistance programs for which education borrowers are otherwise qualified; support programs providing education debt relief for those providing two or more years in careers of public service and/or provision of vital community services for underserved populations and/or in poverty relief; support policies increasing access to and affordability of state and community colleges without compromising educational quality, across all academic disciplines, including liberal arts, sciences and mathematics, thereby allowing qualified students a lower-cost alternative to more expensive private institutions; support policies that promote transparency by providing data regarding graduation rates, employment rates following graduation, and median income of employed graduates of programs, any ties between for-profit educational institutions and any private lenders with financial ties to and benefitting institutions for which they provide education loans, borrower protections similar to those provided by federal education loans and that encourage all educational institutions to make students aware of governmental aid and loans for which they may qualify (AN011).
Extends “heartiest congratulations” to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a full communion partner with Episcopal Church, on its 25th anniversary; commend celebration’s theme of “Always being made new;” acknowledge ELCA is deeply rooted in Scripture, tradition, and the Lutheran Confessions, “as well as in the vibrant communities and rich histories of its congregations, and that these roots are an ongoing source of nourishment, enabling the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to be a church that is resilient, always reforming, and guided by the Holy Spirit;” commend ELCA it plans to make Sept. 28 its “God’s work. Our hands” Sunday for its four million members, nearly 10,000 congregations, 65 synods to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a day of service; “joyfully recognizes and celebrates twelve years of journeying together” with ELCA in full communion partnership; recognizes and celebrates a number of Episcopal and Lutheran congregations across the United States becoming more and more integrated by sharing buildings, clergy, and worship with each other, in the spirit of full communion, and that our two churches are also planting new ministries together and cooperating in outreach ministries; recognizes and celebrates our two churches pooling resources to help respond to the victims of natural disasters, from floods in Iowa to hurricanes in Mississippi; recognizes and celebrates shared campus ministries, training for federal prison and military chaplains, as well as an international policy and advocacy staff person in Washington, D.C.; asks that these greetings be conveyed to our full communion partner in suitable form (AN012).
Finances for Mission
Direct treasurer to pay $132,472.83 for contributions to tax-deferred retirement savings accounts at the Church Pension Group as one-time contributions for past service (FFM018).
Establish Church of Our Savior Endowment Fund as an investment account for Episcopal Church of Our Savior in North Platte, Nebraska (FFM019).
Authorize expansion of line of credit of up to $300,000 to the Episcopal Church in South Carolina which will provide a total amount of $550,000 to be accessed prior to Dec. 31, 2013 for support of continuing operations; ECISC will present projected operating needs for the first six months of 2014 for consideration by council Joint Standing Finances for Mission Committee at October 2013 meeting and for second six months of 2014 for at its February 2014 meeting (FFM020).
Authorize additional line of credit to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin of $785,000 to be accessed through December 31, 2014 for support of the continuing diocese, related Executive Council joint covenant committee appointed in 2011 continue to document work and make it electronically available to the Executive Council and report two times annually to council’s Joint Standing Committee on Local Ministry and Mission (FFM021).
Make available to Navajoland Area Mission the balance of block grant authorized for the 2013-2015 triennium by General Convention 2012 (FFM022).
Request House of Bishops to engage in conversation about diocesan asking for the 2016-2018 budget for the Episcopal Church at its September 2013 meeting in Nashville; presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies to authorize survey of bishops and deputies regarding the diocesan asking (FFM023).
Authorize additional $100,000 for the work of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of a Presiding Bishop, bringing its total funding to $226,000 for the three triennia leading up to the election of a presiding bishop at the 78th General Convention in 2015 (FFM024).
Governance and Administration for Mission
Reaffirms commitment of 77th General Convention expressed in Resolution A135-Focus Mission Funding on Alleviating Poverty and Injustice to “a triennium of teaching, preaching, organizing, advocating, and building mutually transformative relationships with those who are poor to focus our hearts and the mission of our congregations and dioceses on reducing poverty and increasing economic and racial justice;” direct Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies to appoint an A135 coordinating council by July 31 to assure “effective, thorough and collaborative implementation” of policies adopted in A135; members shall include representatives of council and general convention committees, local faith-based organizations and church center staff concerned with domestic poverty; committee to conduct business by teleconference and that any other activities, including possible consultation of outside experts to be done at the expense of groups represented in the coordinating committee; committee’s report to council will included in council’s triennial Blue Book report for the 78th General Convention (GAM005).
Instruct Presiding Officers to appoint a committee to work with the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop and DFMS staff to planning, budgeting, and oversight of transition tasks not otherwise assigned by canon to the joint nominating committee and installation of the presiding bishop to be elected at the 78th General Convention in 2015 (GAM006)
Change name of Episcopal News Advisory Council be renamed to the Episcopal News Service Resource Council; change mandate to: “This council shall engage with Episcopal News Service staff members about their newsgathering, distribution, creative and publishing work. Council members shall lend their experience, expertise and perspectives to the ENS staff, with the goal of helping Episcopal News Service in its efforts to serve effectively the needs of the church at all levels (international, churchwide, diocesan, congregational) while keeping the voice of the whole church in a prominent place in the operation of the news service;” Presiding Officers to appoint members who have a proven track record of evolving their church communications efforts, have a relationship of support, trust, and candor with ENS, demonstrate forward-thinking use of current and evolving communications technologies in the service of communications evangelism and to include leading communications professionals outside of Episcopal Church circles who have an interest in lending ENS their expertise (GAM007).
Formulate report format for presidents of provinces to use to report to council, as called for in General Convention Resolution 2012-A106 (GAM008).
Change DFMS Employee Handbook Section 103B to clarify definition of lay employee in non-discrimination (GAM009)
Appoint covenant committee to work with Episcopal Church in South Carolina to provide redevelopment advice, support and collaboration; committee to document work, make it electronically available to council and report two times annually to council’s Standing Committee on Local Ministry and Mission (http://www.generalconvention.org/ccab/roster/440) (GAM010).
Local Mission and Ministry
Award latest round of Constable Fund grants (recipients to be notified immediately and list to be then released publically) (LMM004).
Receive report and plan from the task force of the House of Bishops Committee on Pastoral Development related to 2012 General Convention Resolution A144 which calls for tracking the inclusion of women and other under-represented groups in episcopal elections; ask presiding bishop to direct Office of Pastoral Development to monitor gender and racial/ethnic ratios in episcopal elections by establishing a base line of all nominees in episcopal elections from available 2012 data, by tracking ratios of all persons nominated for episcopal elections in 2013, 2014, and first quarter of 2015, and by tracking he ratios of all persons considered by diocesan search/nominating committees 2013, 2014 and the first quarter of 2015; ask presiding bishop to direct Office of Pastoral Development to review the transition process for episcopal elections with particular emphasis on consistency and effectiveness of anti-racism training and other practices that inform search and nominating committees to issues of gender and ethnic bias; that necessary adjustments in transition process for episcopal elections be created, recommended, and monitored by the House of Bishops Committee on Pastoral Development; ask House of Bishops Committee on Pastoral Development to consider developing a letter to accompany transition process materials that remind diocesan standing committees and diocesan search committees of importance of authentic inclusion (LMM005).
Offer support of and thanksgiving for all who give themselves in service of God and neighbor, especially those in church’s Young Adult Service Corps, and for those at the Church Center who support their work (WM009).
Commends Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada on their “For the Love of the World” initiative as they gather in Joint Assembly in Ottawa, Ontario, July 3-7; assure the churches of council’s encouragement and prayers for work and witness this gathering offers to Christian communities and the wider culture both in Canada and the world (WM010).
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs - Press Release] The Episcopal Church Executive Council announced the recipients of the Constable Fund Grants, totaling $535,000, for the 2013 grant cycle.
The announcement was made by Anne Watkins, an Executive Council member from the Diocese of Connecticut and chair of the Constable Fund Grant Review Committee, during the Executive Council meeting, currently gathered in Baltimore, Maryland.
The Constable Fund provides grants to fund mission initiatives that were not provided for within the budget of the Episcopal Church General Convention/Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS).
Watkins said seven grants were awarded from the 22 applications received, the most ever submitted for consideration. “We received applications from Provinces, Commissions/Committees/Agencies/Boards (CCABs), and DFMS offices/affiliates/seminaries or others,” Watkins explained. “They were quite worthy of consideration, and we had very difficult decisions to make.”
Watkins said that the 22 applications requested a total of $1,621,452 in grant requests.
A Constable Grant Management Task Force was constituted by the Executive Council Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Mission (EC-GAM) which made subsequent recommendations resulting in the establishment of the Executive Council Constable Fund Grant Review Committee. That committee was charged with promoting the fund, widening its access to more of the Church, and making award recommendations. Committee members are: The Rev. Canon James G. Callaway, D.D., General Secretary, Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion; Marian Conboy of the General Convention Office; Margareth Crosnier de Bellaistre, DFMS Director of Investment Management and Banking; Executive Council member Dr. Anita George; Executive Council member the Rev. Marion Luckey; Sam McDonald, DFMS Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission; Executive Council Member the Rev. Sylvestre Romero, Jr.; and Watkins.
“This cycle of recommendations confirmed something we already know: that we are a church of great creativity, with an abundance of ideas and gifts for God’s mission and for doing the work of the Church,” Watkins continued. “That meant that the Constable Fund Grant Review Committee had an even more challenging job than before. The decisions made were not so much between good and poor applications. It was rather, decisions between good and good. While each application stood on its own merit, we did also try to remain aware of the distribution of awards. And in many cases, decisions had to be made simply because of the amount of funding available. We could only fund about one-third of the grant amounts requested and there are certainly some good proposals that could not be met through this particular fund.”
The recipients, the projects, the amounts and brief explanations (taken from the applications) follow:
• Province II (for The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti) to establish a network of three radio stations in the northern region of the Diocese of Haiti; $130,000
The Diocese of Haiti has created an Episcopal region in the north part of the country and The Rt. Reverend Ogé Beauvoir, Bishop Suffragan in the Diocese of Haiti, is overseeing the expansion of the diocese in that region under the leadership of the Diocesan Bishop. While strengthening the six existing parishes made up of 18 congregations, there is an urgent need to start doing some religious education by using mass media. The plan is to open 15 new congregations. This proposal is to help the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti establish a network of three radio stations in the north to better proclaim the Good News to the population of the great north, teach the Christian faith and further nurture the believers.
• Province III (for The Diocese of Pittsburgh) for Reconciling Conversations of Sexuality and Communion; $30,000
The diocese has brought in a team from the Public Conversations Project (PCP) to help design and facilitate diocesan-wide conversations, not only on the critical matters of human sexuality, but on related questions of communion and fellowship in the midst of our differences. Through this process we hope to produce a cadre of PCP-trained facilitators sufficient to engage up to500 people, representative of the diocese as a whole, in a process of conversation to help heal division, build consensus and inform the bishop’s decision-making in relation to these critical questions. We hope this cadre will help facilitate future dialogue to help create a common mind around a range of matters, from mission strategy to resource allocation.
• Standing Commission for Small Congregations for Conference on Lay and Clergy Leadership in Small Ethnic Congregations; $43,000
The Standing Commission for Small Congregations proposes to hold one or more conferences on providing education and training for lay and clergy leadership and development in small congregations. Participants will be invited to meet with the Commission members and each other to study and discuss ways to provide cost-effective education and training for persons working or intending to work in small congregations. The conferences will include study of non-traditional educational means and formats such as on-line study and training courses utilizing the internet, cooperative programs among dioceses, and study of education and training of persons whose primary language is not English.
• Forward Movement for a Catalyst for Transformational Spiritual Growth: Adult and All-ages Christian Formation Materials; $94,000
This project will publish Christian formation materials that have been piloted successfully in several congregations, as well as create new materials, including a Basics Course in the Anglican expression of the Christian faith. The Good Book Club is a four-year congregation-wide program for all ages that includes the narrative of the Bible, the Gospels, Christian history and saints, and spiritual practices. All materials will be provided for free download online, and printed materials will be available for a modest cost. Materials will be published in English and Spanish.
• Office of Black Ministries for New Visions Initiative for Transforming Congregations of African Descent; $142,000
New Visions Initiative for Transforming Congregations of African Descent is a multi-tiered collaborative initiative, grounded in Faith Formation and full participation of children, youth, young adults, middle and older adults in transforming the congregation. New Visions congregations form mutual partnerships for ministry, and participate in activities to Renew spiritual vitality, Reimagine mission and Revitalize energy and participation in order to focus outwardly toward the mission field. Program will enable congregations to develop their ministries, strengthen the ties in their communities, provide reports on their progress and share experiences, as well as participate in meetings, training sessions and ministry evaluations.
• Asiamerica Ministries Office, Partnership Office for Asia and the Pacific and Episcopal Divinity School for EAMS-EDS Theological Project; $66,000
This project addresses the need of Episcopal Asiamerican clergy and lay leaders to obtain advance pastoral studies and continuing theological education that will enable, empower and equip them for effective ministry in the 21st century. The program uses brief residential training, on-line technology and distributive learning. The goal is to develop “working theologians” so the training does not take clergy out of their ministerial context, except for the intensive study in January and June terms. At the end of their study-reflection, the successful candidates will obtain a Doctor of Ministry diploma from EDS and their dissertation papers will be accessible for use in the Episcopal Church.
• Office of Government Relations, Bishops Working for a Just World for Advocacy Collaboration for Bishops and Young People; $30,000
The purpose is to fund a joint advocacy-focused gathering of Episcopal bishops and young persons, to be held in Washington, DC, with the aim of creating a “ready bench” of young social justice advocates in the Episcopal Church. These young people will return to their dioceses and provide sustained “grass tops” leadership toward all Episcopalians living into their baptismal covenant to “strive for justice and peace and promote the dignity of every human being. The proposal is for funding that will allow the Office of Government Relations to provide scholarships for young people to be invited to partner with the bishops at this conference, thereby widening the diversity of young adults who can participate.
Named for Miss Constable
The Constable Grants were named for Miss Mary Louise Constable, who was a visionary philanthropist. Watkins pointed out, “Hers is an example of faithful witness and generosity in response to an obviously mature and deep understanding of herself as both a disciple of Jesus Christ and as a steward of the blessings bestowed upon her by God.”
In 1935, in the midst of economic catastrophe known as the Great Depression, Miss Constable made a monetary gift to the Episcopal Church to establish the Constable Fund. Her desire and intent to add periodically to the fund during her lifetime was realized and culminated with a very generous final gift at the time of her death in 1951.
Watkins further explained, “Stipulations for use of the fund were also visionary and generous, recognizing in and trusting those who came after her to comply with her wishes while allowing them flexibility in order to carry the mission of God through God’s Church forward into new eras.”
The language of Miss Constable’s will states that the fund exists “in perpetuity … to apply the net income for the purposes of the Society, preferably for the work in religious education not provided for within the Society’s budget.”