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New Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society Department focuses on strengthening services

ENS Headlines - Friday, November 21, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] With a focus on strengthening and enhancing the services and resources to The Episcopal Church, Bishop Stacy F. Sauls, Chief Operating Officer, has announced the creation of a new Department of Public Engagement and Mission Communication intended to enhance the role of communication in furthering the mission of The Episcopal Church.

“We are creating a new department intended to bring the work of mission and communication closer together to serve our common purpose, furthering mission at all levels of The Episcopal Church, which is the origin and reason for our existence as an organization,” Bishop Sauls explained in his November 21 announcement.

The new department, Public Engagement and Mission Communication, combines a section of the Mission Department together with the Communication Department.

“This will allow us to further engage God’s mission, proclaim good news, and especially, serve the poor and the oppressed through whom we have a particular opportunity to meet Jesus,” Bishop Sauls noted.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishop Sauls appointed Alex Baumgarten, Episcopal Church Director of Government Relations/Justice and Advocacy Ministries, to direct the new Department of Public Engagement and Mission Communication.

The new department will include four teams: (1) Communication, led by Anne Rudig, Director of Communication; (2) Public Affairs, under the direction of Public Affairs Officer Neva Rae Fox; (3) Justice and Advocacy Ministries, which will continue to be supervised by Baumgarten; and (4) Episcopal News Service, which will also report to Baumgarten.

“Our aim in creating a single Department of Public Engagement and Mission Communication is to bring maximum cohesion and effectiveness to our efforts to facilitate a dialogue within the Church and between the Church and the world about how we strive together to build the Kingdom of God,” Bishop Sauls concluded.

The reconfiguration took effect immediately.

For more information contact Bishop Sauls, ssauls@episcopalchurch.org, or Baumgarten, abaumgarten@episcopalchurch.org.

La Obispa Presidente sobre el plan de inmigración del Presidente

ENS Headlines - Friday, November 21, 2014

[21 de noviembre de 2014] La Obispa Presidente de la Iglesia Episcopal  Katharine Jefferts Schori ha emitido la siguiente declaración sobre las políticas de inmigración recientemente anunciadas por el presidente Obama:

Junto con las familias y las comunidades de Estados Unidos, doy gracias por el anuncio del presidente Obama de que casi cinco millones de inmigrantes indocumentados pronto serán elegibles para el alivio de la amenaza de la deportación. Demasiadas familias han vivido durante mucho tiempo continuamente preocupadas porque los padres son separados de los hijos, los asalariados y los cuidadores de los que dependen de ellos, e incapaces de participar plenamente en sus comunidades y en la economía de la nación. Una reforma permanente e integral de nuestro quebrado sistema de inmigración mediante la acción del Congreso es todavía una necesidad urgente, pero la acción del Presidente es un paso constructivo hacia un sistema que honra la dignidad y el valor intrínseco de cada ser humano. Fortalecerá inmediatamente a las comunidades de nuestra nación al permitir que las familias de inmigrantes participen mucho más plenamente en la vida cívica y económica de Estados Unidos.

La Iglesia Episcopal trabajará con los líderes del Congreso y de la Casa Blanca para presionar en favor de la aplicación del plan del presidente lo más rápida, justa e inclusivamente que sea posible. El plan del Presidente no es perfecto. Algunas personas y familias que lo merecen son excluidas, lo que significa que queda trabajo adicional por delante. Todas las personas merecen por igual la capacidad de perseguir sus sueños y contribuir en sus comunidades y familias con libertad y dignidad. Rezo para que la decisión del Presidente conduzca a nuestra nación hacia un futuro en el que esas sagradas posibilidades están abiertas a todos.

Jon Stratton to serve Trinity, St. Louis

ENS Headlines - Friday, November 21, 2014

The Vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church (St. Louis/Diocese of Missouri) is very happy to announce that The Rev. Jon Stratton has accepted the call to be the next Rector at Trinity. The Rev. Stratton will be starting at Trinity in January 2015. He is currently the Executive Director of The Episcopal Service Corps STL (The Deaconess Anne House) and a priest associate at Christ Church Cathedral.

Jon is a native of south eastern Illinois, and has lived in St. Louis for six years. He and his wife Susie love the city and are proud parents of a four month old daughter (Alice). Before serving as Executive Director at The Deaconess Anne House and priest associate at Christ Church Cathedral, Jon served as youth minister for The Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion and Diocesan Youth Missioner for The Diocese of Missouri. Besides his ecclesial duties, Jon co-chairs the Faith and Labor Alliance for Missouri Jobs with Justice and enjoys pedaling around the city on his bicycle.

We give thanks to the Search Committee for their demanding and prayerful ministry, to the Vestry for its leadership and affirmation, and to the entire parish during this fruitful and productive interim time. May God bless all that is, and all that is still to be.

Presiding Bishop on president’s immigration plan

ENS Headlines - Friday, November 21, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued the following statement on President Obama’s recently announced immigration policies:

Together with families and communities across the United States, I give thanks for President Obama’s announcement that nearly five million undocumented immigrants will soon be eligible for relief from the threat of deportation. Too many families have lived for too long continually worried about parents being separated from children, wage-earners and caregivers from those who depend on them, and unable to participate fully in their communities and the nation’s economy.  Permanent and comprehensive reform of our broken immigration system through congressional action is still urgently needed, but the President’s action is a constructive step toward a system that honors the dignity and intrinsic value of every human being.  It will immediately strengthen our nation’s communities by allowing immigrant families much fuller participation in American civic and economic life.  

The Episcopal Church will work with Congressional leaders and the White House to press for implementation of the President’s plan as quickly, fairly, and inclusively as possible.  The President’s plan is not perfect.  Some deserving persons and families are excluded, meaning that additional work lies ahead.  All persons equally deserve the ability to pursue their dreams and contribute to their communities and families with liberty, dignity, and freedom.  I pray that the President’s action will lead our nation toward a future in which those sacred possibilities are open to all.

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

Los nuevos deanes de Minnesota enfrentan el cambio con vocación y confianza

ENS Headlines - Friday, November 21, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] En la Iglesia Episcopal en Minnesota han instalado dos nuevos deanes en sus dos históricas catedrales con nueve días de diferencia [entre las dos ceremonias]. Ambos están encargados de producir cambios. Ambos enfrentan desafíos. Ambos son jóvenes y decididos.

El Muy Rdo. Justin P. Chapman, de 35 años, fue instalado como el 19º. deán de la catedral de Nuestro Misericordioso Salvador [Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour] en Faribault, el 13 de noviembre, y el Muy Rdo. Paul J. Lebens-Englund, de 40 años, fue instalado como el 7º. deán de la catedral de San Marcos [St. Mark’s Cathedral] en Mineápolis, el día 2.

El Muy Rdo. Paul J. Lebens-Englund, recién instalado deán de la catedral episcopal de San Marcos, Mineápolis, de pie junto a la Rosa Náutica Anglicana, en el crucero de la catedral, que conmemora el Congreso Anglicano Mundial de 1954. Foto de Joe Bjordal.

En San Marcos, profunda sed de Dios

Lebens-Englund desempeñó anteriormente varios cargos en la Diócesis de Spokane, entre ellos el de canónigo del Ordinario. En tiempos más recientes fue el sacerdote encargado de la iglesia episcopal de San David en Spokane. Es graduado de la Escuela de Teología Eclesiástica del Pacífico en Berkeley, California.

La instalación de Lebens-Englund marcó la conclusión de dos años de liderazgo interino en San Marcos. Durante ese tiempo, tanto el número de miembros como el apoyo económico descendieron significativamente. Una encuesta que se llevó a cabo durante ese período, los resultados de la cual se publicaron en la página web de la catedral, mostraba que era necesario emprender importantes cambios para recuperar la vitalidad y la salud. Lebens-Englund dijo que él se sentía atraído por los retos que tenía por delante y por el liderazgo laico que se había creado durante el período de transición.

Dijo también que había “una perfecta conjunción de factores: miembros divertidos y creativos, liderazgo talentoso, hermosa liturgia, ubicación sinérgica, retos fascinantes, visión expansiva, fe profunda, genuina esperanza y expresiones concretas de amor y compasión”.

“A pesar de mis mejores empeños para evitar la angustia y el auténtico quebradero de cabeza de mudar una familia de un lado a otro del país, sencillamente se hizo evidente para mí, para mi esposa Erica y para nuestros hijos, Isaac y Owen, que Dios hacía el llamado; que mis dones particulares y mis experiencias singulares en la Iglesia me convertían en la persona idónea para el puesto en este momento. En un sentido muy real, estoy redescubriendo mi ‘profundo regocijo’ que coincide con la ‘profunda sed [de Dios]’ de San Marcos”, dijo Lebens-Englund.

Al describir las transiciones de liderazgo que incluso en las mejores circunstancias son “una mezcla de alegría y tristeza, de esperanza y desesperación”, Lebens-Englund dijo que su punto de partida “es simplemente encontrar la comunidad de fe donde la misma se halle: en la aflicción o en la celebración, mirando hacia atrás o hacia delante según sea necesario y garantizando que hay lugar para todas las respuestas emocionales a nuestra realidad actual”.

“Al mismo tiempo, debido a que las transiciones de liderazgo pueden ser tan emocionalmente desconcertantes, siempre aportamos lo ‘mejor de nosotros mismos’ a estos momentos de cambio”, afirmó. El contraer un claro compromiso de sana conducta y mutua responsabilidad dentro de la comunidad de fe tuvo lugar el mismísimo primer domingo en el micrófono y, desde entonces, [se estableció] un pacto de patrones de comunicación positiva que se ha hecho público en la catedral y en la página web”.

El nuevo deán de San Marcos dijo también que otra contribución esencial que él puede hacer en el curso de los próximos meses es formular todos los ‘resultados’ desde el punto de vista de la sostenibilidad. “¿Es algo esencial? ¿Es vivificador? ¿Es una iniciativa individual o es una iniciativa de toda la comunidad religiosa? ¿Hay alguien mejor situado o preparado para hacerlo? ¿Qué programas deben mantenerse y cuales deben abandonarse?”

“Nuestro deseo de ser todo en todos y de abordar todos los problemas e intereses que nos rodean, no obstante ser bien intencionado, con frecuencia nos ha dispersado demasiado —hasta el punto de que, en efecto, nuestras aptitudes esenciales a menudo se desequilibran y las ‘salidas sobrepasan a las entradas’. El cuerpo se fatiga, y a veces se resiente, hasta que al fin el ‘qué’ y el ‘cómo’ de nuestra vida religiosa llega a desconectarse completamente del ‘por qué’”, expresó Lebens-Englund.

“Lo que buscamos es un sano equilibrio: una congregación a través de la cual los individuos y las familias puedan llevar a la práctica su fe de una manera significativa, concreta y vivificadora. Queremos que la experiencia que la gente tiene de Dios, de sí mismos y de la vida se expandan por haberse conectado con nosotros, no que disminuya, y eso exige claridad, ardua labor y disciplina”.

El obispo Brian N. Prior instala formalmente al Muy Rdo. Justin P. Chapman en la silla del deán de la catedral de Nuestro Misericordioso Salvador en Faribault, Minnesota, el 13 de noviembre. Foto de Joe Bjordal

En Faribault, un espíritu optimista

Chapman, [el nuevo deán] de la catedral de Nuestro Misericordioso Salvador, sirvió anteriormente como sacerdote adjunto en la iglesia episcopal de San Lucas [St. Luke’s] en Rochester. Él también es graduado de la Escuela de Teología del Pacífico.

La instalación de Chapman marca el fin de una transición relativamente breve y exenta de problemas. Sin embargo, la catedral de Nuestro Misericordioso Salvador enfrenta diversos desafíos —algunos de ellos semejantes a los que han enfrentado infinidad de otras congregaciones pequeñas en pueblos pequeños. Faribault, situada a unos 80 km. al sur de Mineápolis, tiene una población de aproximadamente 24.000 habitantes, y no ha habido ningún crecimiento en la membresía ni en la asistencia al culto a lo largo de la última década.

“Somos afortunados de tener un espíritu optimista”, dijo Chapman. “No obstante, el reto que encaramos es que nuestra transformación va a llevar tiempo y que no va a parecerse a lo que imaginamos”.

Chapman hizo notar que uno de los grandes retos es la ausencia “casi total” de familias con hijos.

“Es una especie de dilema sin salida: un buen programa infantil es fundamental para atraer niños, pero se necesita una masa crítica de niños para un buen programa infantil. Sin embargo, este vacío aparente resulta estimulante porque nos brinda la oportunidad de construir algo enteramente nuevo, algo que relacione a las personas con Dios y a unas con otras; algo que comience a formar discípulos de un modo que responda a nuestra comunidad y a nuestra cultura”.

Chapman dijo que una comunidad apasionada está dispuesta a asumir esos retos.

“Me sentí inicialmente atraído hacia la catedral de Nuestro Misericordioso Salvador por la comunidad —la gente, su hospitalidad, su participación en la misión e incluso su capacidad de discrepar apasionadamente entre sí, pero luego juntarse para el culto y la comunión. Eso me dio el sentido (y aún me lo da) de que esta comunidad tiene los dones necesarios para crecer. Estamos enamorados de la comunidad, pero no tememos decirle las cosas como son”.

“Mi sentir es que estoy llamado a ayudar a la comunidad de la catedral a identificar, a crear y a desarrollar lo que ya ella posee: una pasión por la misión y la conexión”, dijo Chapman.

Relación con los barrios
El llamado de los dos deanes se presenta en un momento en que la Iglesia Episcopal en Minnesota (a la cual ya no se le llama “la Diócesis”) ha avanzado bastante en un cambio de paradigma respecto a lo que cree acerca de la misión —se han hecho cambios bajo el liderazgo del obispo Brian Prior, ahora en el quinto año de su episcopado.

Prior ha descrito ese cambio como proveniente de un mayor comprensión de la misión de Dios (Missio Dei) en el mundo y de un cambio de orientación, de la vida interna de una particular comunidad de fe a la vida de Dios en el mundo. Él ha retado a las comunidades religiosas de Minnesota a descubrir lo que Dios puede hacer en sus barrios y a examinar el singular contexto en el que son llamados a misionar y a ministrar.

Los nuevos deanes de Minnesota están descubriendo sus nuevas barriadas.

“Tenemos suerte de contar con un campus inmenso con hermosos edificios en el mero centro de Faribault”, dijo Chapman. “Quiero que nos hagamos tres preguntas importantes: ¿Cuál es el tuétano de nuestra fe y de nuestra comunidad? ¿Cuál es la mejor manera de formar personas para la misión? ¿Cuáles son las necesidades en torno nuestro con las que Dios nos llama a comprometernos? Luego quiero que hagamos uso de nuestra ubicación y espacios para ayudar a otros”.

En Mineápolis, Lebens-Englund contempla las conexiones de barrio basadas tanto en el papel de San Marcos en su condición de congregación local en una importante área metropolitana como de catedral principal para la Iglesia Episcopal en Minnesota.

“Los vecinos más obvios con quienes debemos entablar un diálogo como ‘congregación’ son, a primera vista, el Centro de Arte Walker, el Instituto Tecnológico Metropolitano, la Asociación Vecinal de Loring Park, las comunidades episcopales de la Zona de Misión Central y la comunidad interreligiosa del centro de Mineápolis”, dijo Lebens-Englund.

“Los vecinos más obvios con quienes debemos entablar un diálogo como ‘catedral’ son, a primera vista, las comunidades de fe de toda la Iglesia Episcopal en Minnesota, la oficina del alcalde, el Capitolio estatal, las otras catedrales de la Iglesia Episcopal y aquellas catedrales con las que compartimos una asociación más global”.

“La hospitalidad radical —pese a haberse convertido en un cliché a lo largo de la última década— es a todo lo que aspiro, confiando en que la alteración con frecuencia es un signo de la presencia del Espíritu, aunque por lo general aspiremos a una ‘profunda paz’”, afirmó Lebens-Englund.

Ningún temor al fracaso
Ambos jóvenes deanes de Minnesota están orientados hacia el éxito al tiempo de comenzar sus nuevos ministerios con una interpretación positiva de sus papeles.

“Creo que puedo tener éxito porque no pienso que soy el centro de la misión y no tengo miedo de fracasar”, dijo Chapman. “Veo mi llamado como una [manera de] ayudar a la comunidad a materializar el sueño de Dios para nosotros y a comenzar a dar los pasos para vivirlo. Nuestro éxito no depende de mí, depende de Dios. Mi trabajo —nuestro trabajo— es hacer lo mejor que podamos para discernir el llamado de Dios y llevarlo a la práctica. Eso significa ensayar un montón de nuevas ideas, a sabiendas de que algunas están destinadas a fracasar, pero confiados en que llegará el éxito”.

“El fracaso resulta duro al principio porque estamos acostumbrados a la idea de que es negativo —de que estamos haciendo lo incorrecto— pero ese no es el caso en modo alguno. El fracaso es una señal de que estamos probando y que estamos concentrándonos en la misión que Dios tiene para nosotros. Una vez que uno se ha acostumbrado al hecho de que el fracaso es simplemente uno de los escalones hacia el éxito, en verdad llega a ser algo divertido. No es necesario hacer las cosas perfectamente, basta con empezar. Dios se ocupará del resto”.

El deán de Mineápolis tiene una opinión semejante.

“La buena nueva aquí es que al final no se trata de mí, sino de conectar a la comunidad de fe con el corazón de Dios”, dijo Lebens-Englund.

“Cuando se trata de Dios, soy un eterno optimista, confiando, como dicen, que el arco de la historia sí tiende, ciertamente, hacia la justicia. Pero, como pastor, cundo se trata de personas de carne y hueso que se esfuerzan por su salvación en el contexto de una comunidad experimental y deliberadamente constituida, soy realista. Los atisbos del Reino a veces son pocos y espaciados, pero están presentes, sin duda, y mi tarea es sencillamente nombrarlos, celebrarlos y ver si podemos posibilitar el próximo avance más temprano que tarde”.

“No sé todo lo que Dios nos tiene reservado”, dijo Chapman. “Pero sí sé que va a ser increíble”.

¿Cómo la Iglesia Episcopal en Minnesota llega a tener dos catedrales?

La historia que rodea a ambas abunda en la esperanza y la promesa que poblaron ese estado norteño.

La congregación de la Misión Libre de San Marcos se estableció en 1858 en Mineápolis Norte, una misión de la iglesia episcopal de Getsemaní [Gethsemane Episcopal Church] en el centro de Mineápolis, que comenzó 29 congregaciones a través de la diócesis. San Marcos se relocalizó en el mismo centro de la ciudad a fines de los años sesenta del siglo XIX y luego se mudó a su nuevo edificio estilo catedral en el límite suroeste del centro de Mineápolis en 1910.

San Marcos fue consagrada catedral en 1941 por el obispo Stephen Keeler. Keeler desempeñó un papel decisivo en llevar el Congreso Mundial Anglicano a Mineápolis y a San Marcos en 1954. Durante 10 días, en agosto de ese año, cerca de 700 obispos, sacerdotes y laicos de las 15 provincias que tenía entonces la Comunión Anglicana se reunieron por primera vez en una asamblea de este tipo fuera de Gran Bretaña. Fue para este congreso que se diseñó y se usó por primera vez la Rosa Náutica Anglicana, que ahora es el emblema internacionalmente reconocido de la Comunión. De manera que a San Marcos también se le conoce como el lugar de nacimiento de la Rosa Náutica Anglicana.

La catedral de Faribault pervive gracias a su singular historia. El Rvdmo. Henry Benjamin Whipple, consagró al primer obispo de la Diócesis de Minnesota en 1858 y colocó la primera piedra de la catedral de Nuestro Misericordioso Salvador el 16 de julio de 1862. Fue el primer templo construido como catedral en la Iglesia Episcopal. Debido a la falta de fondos en la joven diócesis misionera, la catedral tardaría siete años en terminarse. Fue consagrada en 1869.

El obispo Whipple supervisó la obra de la Iglesia en Minnesota durante un año, contemplando las posibles ubicaciones para el asiento de la nueva diócesis. Las instituciones de educación primaria de la joven diócesis (algunas de ellas fundadas por el legendario misionero episcopal Rdo. James Lloyd Breck): la Escuela de Varones Shattuck, la Escuela de Niñas de Santa María [St. Mary’s School for Girls] y la Escuela de Teología Seabury [Seabury Divinity School] se agruparían allí. Finalmente, él eligió Faribault. Por ser la encrucijada de los asentamientos ojibwas, dakotas y europeos; el punto de convergencia de las tierras boscosas y la pradera y estar situada en la confluencia de dos ríos, se suponía que llegaría a convertirse en un importante centro mercantil. No ocurrió así. El pueblo, 80 kilómetros al sur de la capital, tiene una población de sólo 24.000 habitantes.

Al igual que San Marcos, la catedral de Nuestro Misericordioso Salvador ha sido la sede de históricas reuniones anglicanas. Los delegados a la Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal en 1895, celebrada en Mineápolis, se tomaron un día de receso y viajaron a Faribault en vagones ferroviarios que facilitara James J. Hill, un amigo de Whipple. En Faribault los recibieron con 400 coches de caballos para ofrecerles un paseo por el pueblo que la revista Harper’s habría de bautizar, ese mismo año, como “Episcopal Faribault”. Los delegados al Congreso Mundial Anglicano de 1954 también visitaron Faribault y la catedral —que, en muchas cartas al obispo Keeler, definieron como el momento culminante de la reunión.

– Joe Bjordal es escritor, diseñador, fotógrafo y organizador de eventos radicado en Mineápolis. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Presiding Bishop calls for prayer for Liberia, West Africa

ENS Headlines - Thursday, November 20, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has urged Episcopalians to observe the Second Sunday in Advent, December 7, as a day of prayer for those in the Diocese of Liberia and the entire Anglican Church of the Province of West Africa, areas heavily affected by the current Ebola pandemic.

“The Diocese of Liberia was founded by Episcopalians in 1836, and was a diocese of The Episcopal Church until the early 1980s, when it joined the Province of West Africa,” noted Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori. “Today we continue in a covenant relationship of mutual support and fellowship.”

She continued, “Liberia is at the epicenter of the recent Ebola outbreak, and Episcopalians have turned Cuttington University (Suakoku) into a center for response in rural northern Liberia.  The Anglican Province of West Africa includes all three nations (Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone) where the pandemic continues to develop.  The suffering and death is enormous, the economy is devastated, schools are closed, yet the caring and compassionate response continues.”

The Presiding Bishop concluded, “I ask your prayers for the people of West Africa in the midst of this plague.  Please include this in your intentions on the Second Sundayof Advent.  With Isaiah, pray for comfort and strength for all God’s children; seek out the builder of straight roads and giver of healing balm for all on this difficult journey.  Learn about this crisis, and instead of fear, let your hearts be moved to respond in generosity of spirit and of purse.”

Led by the Most Rev. Dr Daniel Sarfo, Archbishop and Primate, and the Most Rev. Jonathan Hart, Internal Archbishop, the Anglican Church in the Province of West Africa includes the dioceses of Accra (Ghana); Bo (Sierra Leone); Cameroon (Region Missionaire); Cape Coast (Ghana); Dunkwa-on-Offin (Ghana); Freetown (Sierra Leone); Gambia; Guinea; Ho (Ghana); Koforidua (Ghana); Kumasi (Ghana); Liberia; Sekondi (Ghana); Sunyani (Ghana); Tamale (Ghana); and Wiawso (Ghana). More infohere.

Current efforts

Episcopal Church in Liberia and the Dioceses of Bo (Sierra Leone) and Guinea are participating in government-led task forces on all levels of government, and are coordinating activities, sharing information, and providing pastoral care.

Episcopal Migration Ministries is coordinating with its affiliates, the Department of State Bureau for Populations, Refugees and Migration (PRM), and the CDC in sharing information.

Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Episcopal Diocese of Liberia and the Anglican Diocese of Bo in Sierra Leone to offer care and support for communities affected by the Ebola outbreak. They are providing critical food, hygiene supplies and protective equipment as well as delivering key health messaging. For more information, visit here.  Donate to Episcopal Relief & Development here.

The Liberian Episcopal Community In The United States (LECUSA) recently collected and shipped of container of food and medical items to Liberia, collected from Liberians living in the United States.

What churches are doing

Currently the Global Partnerships Office of the Episcopal Church is compiling a list of churches and congregations in which relief and fundraising work is underway for Liberia and West Africa.  The Dioceses of Virginia and Northern California as well as churches in Washington, DC have shared their activities.  To present your work, contact the Rev. Ranjit Mathews, Episcopal Church Network Officer for Mission Personnel and Africa, at rmathews@episcopalchurch.org.

Collect

Collect for the Day of Prayer
O God, our creator and preserver, we cry out to you along with our brothers and sisters in West Africa, especially Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, where so many lives have been lost. We pray that as they continue to live and struggle with the Ebola Virus Disease, you will grant them your grace and mercy that an end to this virus will come soon; and that life and community will be restored. Give us the courage and strength to respond willingly to this great human need. We ask this in the Name of the One who came and gave his life, so that we might live life fully, Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen

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

ENS Headlines - 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

ENS Headlines - 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

ENS Headlines - 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

ENS Headlines - 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

ENS Headlines - 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

ENS Headlines - 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

ENS Headlines - 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

ENS Headlines - 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

ENS Headlines - 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,

ENS Headlines - 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

ENS Headlines - 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

ENS Headlines - 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

ENS Headlines - 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

ENS Headlines - 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