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Artistas cristianos, musulmanes y judíos se unen en oración por el mundo

ENS Headlines - Monday, October 20, 2014

El Rdo. Paul-Gordon Chandler, presidente y fundador de CARAVAN, una organización interreligiosa sin fines de lucro que une culturas y credos de Occidente y el Oriente Medio mediante las artes, de pie junto a una obra de Mahmoud Hamdy en la exposición artística de CARAVAN 2014 que con el título de “AMÉN: una oración por el mundo” se muestra en la catedral de San Juan el Teólogo de Nueva York hasta el 23 de septiembre. Foto de Amy Sowder.

[Episcopal News Service] El Rdo. Paul-Gordon Chandler creció en Senegal, país predominantemente musulmán de África Occidental donde su padre fue ministro.

A lo largo de su infancia, percibió la tensión entre musulmanes y cristianos.

“Creía que debía haber un mejor camino. La mayoría de mis mejores amigos eran musulmanes, y todavía hoy, abundan los musulmanes entre mis amigos más íntimos”, dijo el sacerdote episcopal, sentado en un banco de madera de San Juan el Teólogo [St. John the Divine] la catedral episcopal de Nueva York y el templo gótico más grande del mundo. Él respondía a llamadas y mensajes de texto de su teléfono celular mientras tomaba un receso en el montaje de CARAVAN 2014, una exposición de artes visuales titulada: “AMÉN: una oración por el mundo”.

La muestra artística, abierta al público hasta el 23 de noviembre, encarna la misión de Chandler de toda la vida: suavizar las tensiones religiosas y culturales concentrándose en las características compartidas en lugar de intentar sobreponerse a las diferencias. Con el extremismo y la persecución religiosos tan predominantes y tan densamente entrelazados con la política, especialmente en el Oriente Medio, la misión es necesaria ahora más que nunca, afirmó.

Obra de arte de Reda Abdel Rahman, cocurador de la exposición CARAVAN 2014, “AMÉN: una oración por el mundo” que se exhibe en la catedral de San Juan el Teólogo in Nueva York hasta el 23 de noviembre. Foto de Amy Sowder.

Reda Abdel Rahman es un artista egipcio que participa y que es cocurador de la exposición con Chandler, fundador y presidente de CARAVAN, organización de arte interreligioso sin fines de lucro, con la exposición anual de CARAVAN como iniciativa principal. Este año, seleccionaron a 48 artistas —30 artistas egipcios de origen musulmán y cristiano, y 18 artistas occidentales de origen judío y cristiano. CARAVAN surgió en El Cairo en 2009, para tender puentes entre las culturas y credos del Oriente Medio y Occidente a través de las artes.

La obra de 30 artistas egipcios se presentó primero en junio en el Museo de Arte Moderno de El Cairo, y luego se le agregó la obra de 18 artistas occidentales para una exposición conjunta en la Catedral Nacional de Washington, antes de su última escala en Nueva York.

Esta sexta exposición anual incluye por primera vez a artistas judíos.

Chandler and Rahman eligieron tanto a artistas destacados como noveles que comparten su misión de utilizar el arte para fomentar la unidad, la amistad y la paz en todo el mundo. Los artistas están encargados de interpretar el tema de la exposición en la forma escultórica que les han dado. Este año, es la figura humana en oración a partir de poses tomadas de las fes abrahámicas. La cara del modelo tomado para la oración escultórica es Amón, la deidad de la antigua Tebas en la XI dinastía (en el siglo XXI A.C.) que se considera el primero en inclinar la religión hacia el monoteísmo.

El tema “Amén” también encarna el espíritu de la revolución egipcia de enero de 2011, cuando multitudes de musulmanes y cristianos, de diferentes niveles de educación, antecedentes económicos y etnias, se unieron en solidaridad contra las violaciones a los derechos humanos del gobierno autocrático encabezado durante casi 30 años por Hosni Mubarak. Luego de la caída de Mubarak, las primeras elecciones parlamentarias libres del país eligieron como presidente a Mohamed Morsi líder de la Hermandad Musulmana. Pero las protestas contra el autoritarismo de Morsi dieron lugar a un golpe de Estado en 2013 y a la elección del ex general Abdel Fattah el-Sisi en 2014. Chandler estaba residiendo en El Cairo durante todo este período de agitación política.

Obras de la exposición de arte CARAVAN 2014 “AMÉN: una oración para el mundo”. Foto de Amy Sowder.

Cualquiera que usurpe el poder [en Egipto] inevitablemente tiene nexos con los grupos religiosos, ya se trate de la Hermandad Musulmana, la Iglesia Copta, los musulmanes moderados u otros aliados religiosos, y con frecuencia la secta religioso-política que pierde influencia en las altas esferas del gobierno pierde dignidad, libertad y muy a menudo también la vida de sus partidarios. De manera que los conflictos culturales y religiosos continúan.

“Lo que necesitamos es gran visibilidad en los medios de información de cristianos y musulmanes trabajando juntos”, dijo Chandler. “Empieza por configurar la visión del mundo”, afirmó. “Ese es su objetivo al unir a los artistas para los eventos de CARAVAN.

Rahman nació en Ismailía, Egipto, y es uno de los más destacados artistas de su país en la actualidad. Creció rodeado por monumentos faraónicos y monasterios coptos, y ello es evidente en su obra. También resulta clara su admiración por la figura femenina y por el papel clave de la mujer en la familia y en la sociedad en general.

Para contribuir a la exposición “AMÉN”, Rahman creó una antigua reina egipcia en torno a la cual sólo había emanaciones del bien, sentada encima de Set, el antiguo dios egipcio del mal, que muestra su control sobre las fuerzas del islam político que han agredido a la civilización. Muchas de sus obras combinan diferentes sistemas de creencias.

“Pensamos de una sola manera”, dijo Rahman, “por eso yo hago mis retratos de muchas maneras, con la estrella judía y la cruz cristiana y la media luna musulmana. Quiero que diferentes personas sientan que somos lo mismo, también el mismo Dios, tan sólo difiere la cultura”.

Rahman conoció a Chandler mientras el sacerdote episcopal atendía, como rector, la iglesia de San Juan el Bautista/Madi [St. John the Baptist/Madi] en El Cairo, la iglesia internacional episcopal/anglicana de habla inglesa de la Diócesis Episcopal de Egipto y el Norte de África. Chandler es también compañero en misión de la Iglesia Episcopal, dedicado al Oriente Medio. Rahman participó como artista en la exposición inicial de Artes Visuales CARAVAN en El Cairo. Ésta es la segunda vez que participa en la curaduría de la exposición de arte CARAVAN. Él vive con su esposa e hijos en Queens, Nueva York, y tienen también una casa en El Cairo.

Durante los últimos años, el arte de Rahman ha abordado el tema del conflicto religioso y político en Egipto, el cual se aplica a muchas áreas del Oriente Medio, particularmente al extremismo islámico en Irak y Siria.

“En el mundo de hoy, necesitamos paz”, dijo Rahman. “No tenemos que producir todos estos problemas”.

Para su obra de arte en la exposición, la artista judía Lilianne Milgrom disfrutó investigando sobre los ángeles, o mensajeros alados, en los textos sagrados islámicos, judíos y cristianos. Nacida en París, Milgrom vivió parte de su infancia en Australia y luego pasó 17 años en Israel antes de establecerse en Washington, D.C.

Ella tomó la forma escultórica “AMÉN” en la tradicional pose devota judía, y le añadió alas. El frente del pecho de su ángel aparece blasonado con el código QR para conectar el mundo espiritual con el mundo digital. Los visitantes pueden mover sus teléfonos celulares frente a su escultura para escanear el código que los llevará a www.virtualangel.weebly.com, donde pueden publicar una oración.

“La oración es un diálogo, no importa cuál sea la religión, y yo quería hacerla interactiva en cualquier nivel en que se encontrara el espectador, desde ateo a creyente”, dijo Milgrom.

Chandler usa un anillo que simboliza el puente que una persona puede tender para conectar a musulmanes y cristianos. Foto de Amy Sowder.

Las oraciones en la página web van desde el ateo al cristiano, pasando por el humanista ético y más allá, con toda una variedad de accesos: “Por favor, sálvanos de nosotros mismos”, “Paz para el mundo”, “¿Por qué?” y “Que las personas puedan verse mutuamente lo bueno”.

Milgrom y Chandler compartirán la curaduría de la exposición CARAVAN 2015, que se inaugurará en París. Chandler insiste en que la misión de CARAVAN va más allá que alentar el diálogo interreligioso.

“Soy un apasionado de las amistades interreligiosas”, dijo Chandler, quitándose el anillo de plata que usa y que muestra a una persona salvando la brecha entre los símbolos de la cruz cristiana y la media luna musulmana.

“La amistad implica tiempo y la dedicación a la otra persona”, afirmó. “CARAVAN es un catalizador creativo para eso”.

– Amy Sowder es corresponsal de ENS. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Presiding Bishop preaches at Western Kansas Diocesan Convention

ENS Headlines - Monday, October 20, 2014

Western Kansas Diocesan Convention
Feast of Ignatius
17 October 2014
Opening Eucharist

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

Ignatius was a martyr. He didn’t just die for his faith, he agitated for martyrdom. When he heard the Roman emperor Trajan was nearby, he went and stood in front of him and publicly proclaimed himself a Christian. Since being a Christian was a crime against the state – essentially treason – the emperor did what he was supposed to do. He had him arrested and taken to Rome to be executed. His sentence was to be thrown to the beasts in the Coliseum,[1] and he was likely the first Christian to die in that way – in 115 CE.

A martyr is a witness, someone who gives evidence (as in a trial) or testifies to the truth he or she knows. Ignatius gave public testimony to his allegiance to Jesus Christ, rather than the emperor or the traditional gods of the state – which is why Christianity was counted as treason. Ignatius made the ultimate witness with his very life.

Most of what we know about Ignatius is the result of seven letters he wrote to other Christian communities while he was being hauled in chains to Rome. He was escorted across the Middle East by ten Roman soldiers, whom he referred to, perhaps with some affection, as “my savage leopards.”[2]

Ignatius was probably born in Syria about the time Jesus was crucified. There is a sweet legend told that he was the child Jesus was talking about when he said, “whoever humbles himself and becomes like this child will be greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”[3] In any case, Ignatius was evidently a follower of Jesus by the time he was an adult and called into service as the second Bishop of Antioch – after St. Peter. He continued as bishop for more than 40 years, and his whole life as a Christian was a witness and a testimony, not just the last few months.

His letters tell us a lot about the debates in early Christianity – he insists that Jesus was fully human, rather than only appearing to be, and that he really died and rose from the dead. He offers a developed understanding of the Trinity; firm teaching about the order of the Church – including bishops, priests, and deacons; encouragement to see baptism as what unites the church across the world; and the Eucharist as what most sustains the Christian community. Here’s a sample: “Try to gather more frequently to celebrate God’s Eucharist and to praise him… At these meetings you should heed the bishop and presbytery attentively and break one loaf, which is the medicine of immortality…”[4]

He is an old man by the time he’s arrested. At the age of at least 80, he knows he is at the end of his life, and he yearns to give the ultimate witness, “let me be a meal for the beasts, I am God’s wheat, to be ground fine by the teeth of lions to become purest bread for Christ.”[5]

Most of us never have to worry about savage wild beasts or being executed by the state for what we believe. What connects us with those first century realities? The Episcopal bishops who met in Asia in September learned a lot about the challenge of being a Christian in non-Christian societies. It may not be illegal to be Christian in Taiwan, Japan, or mainland China, but it’s definitely not normative. Only 5% of the population in Taiwan and China is Christian; 2% in Japan; less than that in Pakistan; 10% in Syria[6] – at least before the recent violence. People who leave their ancestral religious traditions are often shunned and disowned and disinherited by their families. In parts of India, every baptism requires a license from the local government. We read about Muslim women arrested for the crime of apostasy for marrying Christian men. The Christians who are being driven out of Syria today date their presence from the time of Ignatius.

Yet the more immediate connection is about the foundation of baptismal witness, which Ignatius insists is most characteristic of the body of Christ. Aren’t those responding to the Ebola crisis offering their lives as witnesses to the love of God? Liberia is one of the epicenters of Ebola, and the Diocese of Liberia has turned the campus and resources of Cuttington University over to the work of caring for the sick, burying the dead, and seeking healing for a nation – and ultimately, the world. That is a very particular kind of martyrdom.

During the 19th century yellow fever outbreaks in the eastern and southern United States, Episcopalians and other people of faith stayed to care for the sick, rather than fleeing to disease-free territory. A number of them made the ultimate witness, and the Martyrs of Memphis are remembered on our calendar of saints.

There have been plenty of unsung heroes and saints and martyrs here on the plains as well – those who tended the sick and buried the dead, who sought peace with Native Americans, the Kansans who stood up for integrated and equal schools for all our children,[7] and those who continue to fight for justice everywhere.

Hisanori Kano was a Japanese martyr who lived a couple of hours north of here.[8] He became a Christian as a teenager in Japan, and then came here in the early 20th century to teach farmers and serve Japanese immigrants. He was a bold and public advocate for their inclusion in American society – and the only Nebraskan interned during WWII. He became a priest and continued to serve for decades – much like the clergy and people here.

There’s an old saying that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.[9] Today, we might say that the witness of Jesus’ friends keeps the blood of Christ circulating in the world around us. You’ve lived with that awareness about baptismal ministry for a century. Your local Ignatius, Sheldon Griswold, the first missionary bishop, put it this way in 1916, “Lay-people… must be our most active missionaries unless we are to remain a small religious body in Kansas regarded as peculiar in habit and narrow in thought and sympathy.”

The Episcopal Church today is anything but ‘peculiar in habit and narrow in its understandings.’ When we’re being faithful, we continue to offer our life for the healing of the world. It can be painful, particularly when some people decide to leave because we’re not narrow enough. A piece of our common life departs with them. Maybe we do seem peculiar to some when we say, ‘you’re welcome here, whoever you are, and we’ll hear your opinions, tell you ours, and together find ways to expand the conversation.’ As a body, we’re trying to live out what Jesus said to his disciples, “lose your life in service and witness, and you will find it.” Until Jesus comes back again, we will never end our wrestling and witnessing. For we know that nothing can separate us from the love of God – not life or death, not struggle or being called vile heretics, not wild beasts or epidemic viruses. We know that when grains of wheat die to themselves, they become part of the wild and creative possibility God continues to unfold, even if we have to push up through the dirt to find it.

What sort of martyrs do we have here? Witnesses to the love of God through 60 years of marriage. Two women, bound by baptism, who started Camp Runamok for kids from the inner city. Faithful priests who stay and serve and serve and stay some more. Friends who go to each other’s churches and learn and grow and testify to the love of God in Christ wherever they go. The nearly 60 years of witness of what is now St. Francis Community Services, transforming lives, families, communities, and the world.[10] Your current Ignatius is walking a new journey of witness to the love of God that is teaching the wider Church about the possibilities of new models amid the goodness of old ones.[11] Martyrs abound around here, and even though they may seem quiet, they’re offering persistent witness to the power of God to do a new thing when we’re willing to offer what we have and who we are.

So pray for good counsel together here in this Convention, make a witness of God’s love in Jesus Christ, die a little or a lot, and trust that together we can help to create a healed and reconciled world of peace for all.

[1] Damnatio ad bestia

[2] Ignatius, Epistle to the Romans

[3] Matt 18:2-4

[4] Ignatius, Epistle to the Ephesians 20:2

[5] Ignatius, Epistle to the Romans 4

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_by_country#Sovereign_states_and_dependent_territories

[7] Brown v Board of Education http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/brownvboard/brownaccount.html

[8] http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2012/07/26/legendary-japanese-american-priest-celebrated-in-nebraska/

[9] Tertullian, Apologetics

[10] http://www.st-francis.org/

[11] Bishop Michael Milliken announced a shift from serving both as rector of a congregation and as bishop of Western Kansas at this Convention. He will resign as rector at the end of 2014 and serve about two more years as bishop, with the aim of leading the diocese into a pattern of episcopacy that will serve the future.

General Seminary trustees issue statement

ENS Headlines - Friday, October 17, 2014

[General Theological Seminary press release] On October 17, 2014, The General Theological Seminary issues this statement:

“Shaping the future leaders of our Church is a responsibility we take very seriously; to that end, the concerns raised by eight members of the Faculty were given full consideration by both the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee. Our chief goal is a fruitful and fulfilling school year for our students.

“We are above all an institution of the Church, and we – both as individuals and as officials of the Seminary – strive to conduct ourselves in a manner befitting our guiding Christian principles. In this spirit, the Board has reviewed the findings of an independent investigation and reached three resolutions.

“First, the Board has heard the findings of an independent report and the advice of the Board’s Chancellor, and has concluded after extensive discussion that there are not sufficient grounds for terminating the Very Reverend Kurt Dunkle as President and Dean. We reaffirm our call to him as President and Dean and offer him our continuing support.

“Second, all eight Faculty members are invited to request provisional reinstatement as professors of the seminary. Our goal in the immediate term will be to promote an atmosphere of reconciliation so that the Seminary can turn the page and move forward with a full focus on the student body.

“The Executive Committee stands ready to meet next week to hear requests of any of the eight former faculty members for reinstatement and to negotiate the terms of their provisional employment for the remainder of the academic year.”

“Lastly, the Board commits itself to repairing the significant damage this issue has inflicted upon our Seminary, and calls upon all members of the GTS community – the Board, the Dean, students, Faculty, staff, and alumni – to foster greater accountability, repentance, reconciliation, and healing.

“For nearly 200 years, the General Theological Seminary has shaped current and future leaders of our Church. In an ever more challenging and volatile world, our Christian faith is an invaluable beacon that we all must strive to protect. We thank our Executive Committee, our Church leadership, our Faculty, and most of all our students for their continued faith during this challenging time. We commit ourselves to meditate upon these scriptures: Matthew 18:15-20, 2 Corinthians 5:16-20, and Ephesians 2:13-14.

Trinity Wall Street grants include response to Ebola outbreak

ENS Headlines - Friday, October 17, 2014
[Trinity Wall Street press release] At its October meeting, the Trinity Wall Street vestry approved more than $1.7 million in new grants. A grant of $300,000 was made to the Province of West Africa for emergency relief and response to the Ebola outbreak. These funds will go directly to the Dioceses of Bo and Freetown in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

The dioceses are coordinating with national governments and organizing local responses to educate communities about prevention; provide medical supplies for health workers; provide emergency food, particularly to those in quarantined areas; and assist with detection and case management in local communities.

Other grants approved include $396,000 to various education initiatives in the United States, $50,000 to the Metropolitan Industrial Areas Foundation to curb gun violence, and several grants totaling over $1.1 million, to Anglican dioceses in Africa to support projects of financial sustainability.

Click here for a full list of grants.

Requiescat in pace: Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE

ENS Headlines - Friday, October 17, 2014

The Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE

[Diocese of Massachusetts press release] The Society of St. John the Evangelist has announced that the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, monk and, for 20 years, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, died on Oct. 17 in the care of his SSJE brothers at Emery House in West Newbury, Massachusetts. He was 69.

“During his last days, our brother Tom spoke of how very, very thankful he was for the life God had given him:  for the many wonderful people he had met, for the opportunities and challenges he had faced and for the amazing grace he had experienced throughout his life,” the Rev. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE, Superior of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, said in the announcement.

Shaw “was a man of deep prayer, a charismatic figure who connected easily with young and old alike and a leader whose creativity and entrepreneurial spirit led him to invent what was needed and new. He was known for his sometimes-mischievous sense of humor, his tenacious courage and his passion to serve Jesus, both among the privileged and the poor,” the SSJE announcement said.

Funeral service arrangements are pending.

“The whole of The Episcopal Church gives thanks for the life and witness of Bishop Thomas Shaw.  He was a light in our generation, and his quiet and committed passion will not soon be extinguished.  May he rest in peace and rise in glory,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said in a written statement. “And may his brothers in the Society of St. John the Evangelist, and his family, know that we share their grief – and their joy in Tom’s return to the One who loves beyond imagining.  The hosts of heaven sound the refrain, ‘well done, good and faithful servant – rest in peace.'”

Marvil Thomas Shaw III was born in Battle Creek, Michigan, on Aug. 28, 1945, the son of Marvil Thomas Shaw Jr. and Wilma Sylvia (Janes) Shaw. He grew up in the family’s parish, St. Mark’s Church in Coldwater, Mich., and graduated from Alma College. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from General Theological Seminary and a Master of Arts degree in theology from the Catholic University of America. Ordained to the priesthood in 1971, he served as curate at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire, England, from 1970 to 1971, and as assistant rector of St. James’s Church in Milwaukee, from 1972 to 1974.

In 1975 Shaw entered the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE), the oldest religious order for men in the Episcopal/Anglican church. Life-professed in the order in 1981, he was elected its superior the following year and served a 10-year term. During that time, according to the SSJE, he was instrumental in developing the society’s rural Emery House property as a retreat center, establishing the Cowley publishing imprint for books on prayer and spirituality and renewing the society’s longtime commitment to at-risk children in Boston through Camp St. Augustine in Foxborough, Massachusetts. He also initiated the brothers’ rewriting of their The Rule of Life of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, an eight-year process that resulted in a unique contemporary monastic rule.

He was in demand nationwide as a preacher, retreat leader and spiritual director, and served, beginning in 1993, as chaplain to the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church.

Shaw was elected bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Massachusetts on the first ballot at a special Diocesan Convention on March 12, 1994, at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston. He was ordained and consecrated a bishop on Sept. 24, 1994, and succeeded the late Rt. Rev. David E. Johnson on Jan. 15, 1995, to become the 15th bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts.

At a retirement celebration for Shaw in June, the Rt. Rev. Frank T. Griswold III, former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, acknowledged the difficult circumstances of Shaw’s abrupt entry into office following the suicide of his predecessor, and how the subsequent years were about both diocese and bishop shaping one another “according to St. Paul’s notion of the church as Christ’s risen body constituted by the relationship of its diverse limbs one to another.”

Calling his friend and colleague “a catalyst and at times a provocateur,” Griswold highlighted Shaw’s success at fundraising, his initiatives focused on young people and his work to build global relationships.

“During these last 20 years he has exercised a ministry of accompaniment in various parts of our Anglican Communion that has both respected and transcended difference,” Griswold said.

Shaw traveled frequently and led groups to Israel and Palestine, Africa and Central America, developing and strengthening mission relationships with Anglican partners to further the church’s work of reconciliation and service in the world, with particular focus on peacemaking and alleviating poverty and disease. In 1998 he contributed to the work of the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops on international debt and economic issues.

When Shaw returned for his second Lambeth Conference 10 years later, there was rift in the Anglican Communion over issues of sexuality surfaced by the 2003 consecration of the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire, the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson.

Shaw, himself a gay man, often spoke of conversation as the hard work that is necessary to conversion — a theme of his 2008 book, Conversations with Scripture and with Each Other — and he attended Lambeth with a commitment to sharing the experience of the Diocese of Massachusetts, where the ordination process was open to all qualified candidates and same-sex marriage had been legal statewide since 2004.

“You know, we didn’t come to where we are around ordaining gay and lesbian people or blessing same-sex unions lightly. It is the context out of which Christ has called us to minister, and we’re trying to do that as faithfully as we can to tradition, to Scripture and to the experience that we have,” Shaw said in an interview upon his return from Lambeth. Remaining faithful to God’s mission in the world — particularly where that meant advocating and implementing poverty-alleviating measures — was the communion’s way forward, he said.

Shaw saw no dichotomy between the daily hours he spent in solitary prayer and the public demonstrations he joined on city streets and State House steps; he believed that prayer leads to action, and sought to make the Episcopal Church a visible and vocal presence in the public arena.

“We are what God has to do good in the world.  Every one of us has a voice and can make a difference if we exercise that,” he said in a 2004 interview. “I don’t think that on most civil rights issues, for instance, we can point to one huge event that’s changed everything.  I think instead it’s thousands of ordinary people doing what they think is right, taking risks, speaking out in their lives in big ways and small ways.  Eventually that turns the tide.  God really depends on us for that.”

He spoke out over the years against the death penalty and for immigration policy and gun law reform, marriage equality and transgender civil rights, among numerous other social justice issues. Annually he led groups of Episcopalians across Boston Common to the Massachusetts State House to be lobbyists for a day. In the spring of 2000, he spent a month in Washington, D.C., as a congressional intern, exploring the church’s role in public life. In 2001 he caused an uproar when he and his assisting bishops joined a peace witness outside Boston’s Israeli consulate to bring attention to the situation of Palestinians.

Monk in the Midst,” Shaw’s 2013 blog of videos and personal reflections, “encapsulates the dual blessing he brought to his episcopate,” according to his successor, the Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates. “Because he was a monk, he brought the heritage of a Christian spirituality which invited us to deeper prayer, deeper reflection, a more disciplined approach to ‘going deep.’ But he was also ‘in the midst’ — fully present to the realities of societal change and communal need far beyond the walls of his monastic dwelling, realities which demanded the church’s engagement and response,” Gates said.

Within the diocese, Shaw was especially committed to ministry with young people, advocating full inclusion of children, youth and young adults in the life of the church. He was unstinting in his support for start-up projects to serve them, including the establishment of tuition-free schools for economically disadvantaged children in Boston and Lawrence; summer programs for city children hosted in Episcopal churches located in violence-plagued neighborhoods; the creation of a youth leadership training program for high school-aged Episcopalians; and the financing and construction of the Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center in Greenfield, New Hampshire.

He would clear his calendar to chaplain children’s summer camp sessions, travel with teens and college students on mission trips and venture into downtown bars to speak to young adult gatherings, often returning with enthusiasm for replicating something transformative he had learned or experienced.

Recognizing that young adults are more inclined to seek out faith connections through engagement with their peers and public service, for example, he fostered vocational discernment and intern programs in the diocese that, in their current iteration, deploy young adults trained in community organizing to serve in churches and nonprofits while devoting themselves to spiritual practices and living together in intentional Christian community.

Shaw proved over his tenure to be a bishop who was not only unafraid to talk about money but who also didn’t mind asking people for it when he believed it would do Gospel good in the world. On the heels of the recession, he persistently  launched a $20-million fundraising campaign, completed a year-and-a-half later, for an array of initiatives focused on building up congregational life and mission in the diocese through collaboration and by expanding the reach of successful diocesan programs that had begun as experiments. Campaign funds are now making possible “green” grants and loans to help churches make energy-efficiency improvements to their buildings and reduce their carbon footprint; regional “mission hubs” through which Episcopal churches are collaborating on community service projects to meet local needs; a Mission Institute to provide ministry and leadership training; and renovations to the diocese’s Cathedral Church of St. Paul to make it more accessible and energy efficient and better configured to host and model innovative worship, ministry and public witness.

“I don’t think this is a time that is appropriate for raising endowment to preserve the institution,” Shaw said of the campaign’s success, in a 2013 interview. “God is calling the church into change, and to have funding for experimentation and to further mission in ways that we know are capturing people’s attention is critical.  From that we’ll discover what has lasting value,” he said.

Shaw announced in January 2013 his intention to retire; later that year, in May, he was diagnosed with brain cancer.  He resigned his office on Sept. 13, 2014, at the consecration of Gates as his successor.
“To follow in the footsteps of Bishop Tom Shaw is a very great gift, and a very positive challenge. Christ’s ministry through the church in this diocese is strong and vital, the legacy of leadership left by Bishop Tom is inspiring,” Gates said.

Throughout his years as bishop, Shaw continued to live at the SSJE monastery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, retreating regularly to his cottage studio at Emery House where he enjoyed crafting pottery. He is survived by his SSJE brothers and his family, including his sister, Penny (Lee Deters) Shaw, of Louisville, Kentuckey, brothers Sam (Nancy) Shaw of Boulder, Colorado, and Stephen (Linda) Shaw of Sherwood, Oregon, and his nieces, nephews and godchildren.

–Tracy J. Sukraw is director of communications of the Diocese of Massachusetts.

RIP: The Rev. John Andrew, former rector of St. Thomas Fifth Avenue

ENS Headlines - Friday, October 17, 2014

[St. Thomas Fifth Avenue] The Rev. Canon John Andrew, faithful priest and XI rector of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, entered into glory at 5:20 a.m. (EDT) on Friday, Oct. 17 at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

On Wednesday evening, Father Andrew had dinner with Bishop John O’Hara, of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. On his way home, Father Andrew suffered a massive cardiac episode and collapsed. He was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital but never regained consciousness.

Father Carl Turner, XIII Rector, celebrated the last rites of the church with Father Andrew Thursday afternoon. Father Andrew was not in pain and was receiving exemplary care. He was surrounded by many prayers and much love as he died.

Bishop O’Hara told us that he had a wonderful evening with Father Andrew; he was reminiscing with great happiness and especially about Saint Thomas Church. Very appropriately, he died furthering ecumenism and feeling loved by his friends and family.

Details of his funeral arrangements will be posted here in due course.

Andrew OBE, DD, who was born in Yorkshire, England, was a priest in the Church of England and served as domestic chaplain to Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey, a position from which he was called to Saint Thomas in 1972. As XI Rector, he had a distinguished tenure, in which his preaching, pastoral presence and leadership of the liturgy drew large congregations to the Church, an achievement especially notable during an era of general decline in the Episcopal Church. He was awarded honorary degrees from several Episcopal/Anglican seminaries in recognition of his work.

John Andrew was a friend and confidant of many church leaders both within and outside Anglicanism. He was a particular friend of Cardinal Terence Cooke and was a promoter of ecumenical relations between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.

Father Andrew’s ministry was remarkable for his ability in social conversation, humor, and joyousness – for which reasons many were eager to claim him as their friend. The secret of his influence was a gift he received and passed on from Archbishop Ramsey – namely, his transparent faith in Jesus and the miracles of the Gospel.

After a brief retirement to England, Father Andrew returned to New York in 1999 where he eventually returned to Saint Thomas at his successor’s invitation to be the “junior curate” as Rector Emeritus. In this role he took part in the liturgy, in social conversation with parishioners, and in fund raising. He departs this life as a beloved member of the Saint Thomas family for over 40 years.

Gibaut named as Anglican Communion director of unity, faith and order

ENS Headlines - Friday, October 17, 2014

Canon John Gibaut (left) meets Pope Francis.

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Rev. Canon John Gibaut has been appointed to succeed the Rev. Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan in March 2015 as director for Unity, Faith and Order of the Anglican Communion.

Gibaut is currently the Director of the World Council of Churches’ Commission on Faith and Order based in Geneva Switzerland. Faith and Order is the theological commission that resolves issues of Christian disunity, and promotes a vision of the Church as a communion of unity in diversty.

A priest and canon theologian of the Diocese of Ottawa, Anglican Church of Canada, Canon Gibaut is currently an assistant priest of Eglise St-Germain, Geneva, église catholique-chrétienne (Old Catholic Diocese of Switzerland).

Previously to his appointment to the WCC position, he was a professor at Faculty of Theology, Saint Paul University, Ottawa. Here he taught in the areas of ecumenism, liturgy, church history, historical theology, homiletics, and Anglican studies. Canon Gibaut has also served at Toronto’s St James’s Cathedral and St Clement’s Mission Centre in the Diocese of Quebec.

Well known in ecumenical circles, the 55-year-old Canadian has served on several national and international dialogues and commissions including the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue, the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations, and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order.

Responding to his appointment, Canon Gibaut said, “I am excited to take up the post of Director of Unity, Faith and Order of the Anglican Communion, and to continue the fine work undertaken by Alyson Barnett-Cowan and her predecessors in this office.

“The Anglican Communion has a robust tradition of ecumenical engagement that has contributed so much to the unity of the Church, including the World Council of Churches. It is a particular privilege for me to bring to the Anglican Communion the experience that I have gained during the past seven years working at the World Council of Churches and its Commission on Faith and Order.

“I look forward to accompanying the Anglican Communion, as together we rediscover and proclaim a compelling vision of Communion as the gift by which the Church lives, and at the same time, the gift that God calls the Church to offer to a wounded and divided humanity.”

Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Canon Kenneth Kearon welcomed the appointment, “There are few more important positions in the Anglican Communion than that of Director for Unity, Faith and Order, a role which supports and enables our relationships with other Christian churches and communions, our ecumenical dialogues, and our internal conversations about our faith.

“In Canon Gibaut we will have someone of immense experience, ability and wisdom to lead us. I am truly delighted he has accepted this position, and wish him and his wife Terri every blessing as they prepare for this transition to London and the Anglican Communion Office.”

Welby visits reconciliation projects in Ireland

ENS Headlines - Friday, October 17, 2014

[Church Times] The Archbishop of Canterbury spent two days earlier this month with Church of Ireland leaders, congregations, and their communities, on both sides of the Border, as part of his worldwide visitation among provinces of the Anglican Communion.

Accompanied by his wife, Caroline, he visited reconciliation projects led by Anglican churches in their communities in Belfast, Armagh, and Dublin.

He was welcomed by the Church of Ireland Primate, Dr Richard Clarke, and other bishops, and visited the historic peace-wall that divides the Protestant Shankill from Roman Catholic Falls, in West Belfast.

Full Story

Islamic State poses ‘once in a millennium threat,’ says Welby

ENS Headlines - Friday, October 17, 2014

[The Daily Telegraph] Isil poses a “once in a millennium” threat to the survival of Christians in the Middle East, the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Thursday.

The Most Rev Justin Welby compared the Isil terrorists who have seized large areas of Iraq and Syria to the Mongol hordes who invaded the Middle East in the thirteenth century, massacring whole populations.

In an interview with ITV, Archbishop Welby recalled a meeting in London of Christian leaders from the Middle East.

“They had flown here for this meeting from situations of the utmost horror – indescribable horror,” he said. “We spent two hours listening to their stories. The memorable comment was ‘this is the worst threat we’ve faced since the Mongol invasion of 1259’. This is an extraordinary once in a millennium threat.”

Full Story

‘We are still begging for justice’ – Peshawar Anglicans

ENS Headlines - Friday, October 17, 2014

[Anglican Alliance] In a recent visit to the Diocese of Peshawar, Pakistan, Andy Bowerman, Co-Director for the Anglican Alliance, heard from those affected by the bombing of All Saints Church last year.  He writes this reflection.

“Last year was the worst year of my life. I do not see things getting better in the near future,” says Uzma Insar, a 33-year-old homemaker, who belongs to the Christian community of Peshawar.

Uzma lost her two children on September 22, 2013, when two suicide bombers blew up All Saints Church located inside the Kohati Gate of the old walled city of Peshawar after a Sunday service, killing nearly 100 worshippers.

She tells me that she remembers she tried to convince her nine-year-old daughter, Nehar, who was running a fever that day, and her 11-year-old son Eshan Gohar to miss Sunday school at the church. “They were excited to attend school, as they had done their homework and wanted to show it in the class,” she says. For Uzma time has not moved on, it’s frozen. She vividly recalls every detail of the explosion – the two blasts and then destruction, smoke, painful cries, blood, bodies. “I wish I had not lived to see it at all”, she says quietly.

The explosion had critically injured Uzma. She was kept in the intensive care unit for a week and then in the ward for two months, where her injuries were treated. One year on, Uzma and her community members live under the shadow of the two blasts. She says there is no respite from fear. “I could not weep or smile for two months after the incident. I had to go through psychological counselling for a month to feel anything like normal,” says Uzma’s husband Insar Gohar.

The tragic incident has however enabled him to find what he calls a deeper faith. “We go to church regularly but avoid the All Saints Church. We go to other churches because All Saints Church reminds us of our children,” he says. “But we count it as a privilege that we have been enabled by God’s grace to go through this trial and come out with a stronger faith.”

Insar is part of the religious counselling programme and visits the survivors of the bomb attack at their homes. Many are still dealing not just with the physical but the mental affects of the tragic events.

All of the Christian families that I met in the Kohati area of Peshawar have a heart-wrenching story to tell. According to data collected by the Diocese of Peshawar, the September 2013 attack, left 54 children orphaned, 16 widows, seven widowers. Five people that were critically injured are still recovering and seven others have been significantly disabled.

Several people belonging to the Christian community have already moved from Peshawar to Sri Lanka and Malaysia. “Most of the families who have links or resources have either left the area or are in the process of moving,” says Danish Younis, 35, who was injured in the blast.

Danish goes to the church regularly but feels the place has changed. “We have to go through strict security checks. There are signs of destruction from the blasts on the walls of the church. Every visit to the church reminds me of September 22, 2013. My two children were also with me. They were saved but I saw dozens of children getting killed,” he says, adding, “It is not easy to forget those scenes.”

Although the religious leaders of the community still preach faith and hope, Rev. Joseph John, priest at Diocese of Peshawar says, “the current situation is difficult. Yes, there is hope because ours is the God of hope but the entire Christian community feels insecure after the attack”.

Rev Joseph continued, “There is a danger that the church will lose its identity. It is no more the All Saints Church — but the church that was attacked in September 2013 when nearly 100 people were killed.”

Haroon Sarab Diyal, chairman of All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement and executive member of Commission for Peace and Minority Rights, says every second non-Muslim Pakistanis (he refuses to use the word minority for them) and even members of some Muslim sects want to leave this country: “Nine members of the Sikh community were killed in Peshawar in the last year. In January, this year, a Hindu temple was attacked,” he said.

The Director of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, I.A. Rehman said “Minorities in Pakistan are increasingly feeling insecure since the present government came to power in June last year. He referred to their 2013 annual report saying that the last year was “one of the darkest ” for Christians in Pakistan, with the deadliest ever attack on the community mounted in Peshawar in September.

A year on, and the Christian community in Peshawar is still waiting for justice and fulfillment of promises by the government. “We are still begging for justice,” says Bishop Humphrey Peters, Diocese of Peshawar and Anglican Alliance board member. “But we don’t simply want handouts from people, we want recognition and them to support us to be the church that God has called us to be”

The federal government pledged to fund Rs200 million for an endowment for orphans and widows. “We decided to develop a church house for orphans and widows with the promised amount but it has not been released yet. The struggle for justice and compensation has already become too long,” says Bishop Humphrey.

Facilitator’s guide now available for Episcopal Church forum

ENS Headlines - Thursday, October 16, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Facilitator’s guide to assist in group discussions and better understanding is now available for downloading here for the Episcopal Church live webcast, Civil Discourse in America: Finding Common Ground for the Greater Good on October 22.

Political, interfaith and education leaders will offer provocative insights and views during the discussion on Civil Discourse in America: Finding Common Ground for the Greater Good on October 22.

Produced by The Episcopal Church, the 90-minute live webcast will originate from historic Christ Church, Philadelphia (Diocese of Pennsylvania), the birthplace of the Episcopal Church and the home of our country’s beginnings. In partnership with the Diocese of Pennsylvania, Civil Discourse in America will begin at 2 pm Eastern (1 pm Central, noon Mountain, 11 am Pacific, 10 am Alaska, 9 am Hawaii). The webcast will be viewable here.

Facilitator’s guide
The forum is ideal for live group watching and discussion, or on-demand viewing later. It will be appropriate for Sunday School, discussions groups, and community gatherings.

The Facilitator’s guide offers questions and insights for discussion.  Also included in the guide are:

  • Preparation for facilitators
    • Pre-viewing points
    • Prayer and Scripture resources
    • Materials
    • Resources
    • Bibliography of books, webs and articles

The Facilitator’s guide is available at no fee.

Forum Participants
The forum will be moderated by well-known journalist and commentator Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Executive Religion Editor for the Huffington Post.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will present the keynote address.

Two panel discussions will focus on main themes: Civil discourse and faith; and Civil discourse in politics and policy. Panelists include:

  • David Boardman, Dean of the School of Media and Communication at Temple University in Philadelphia. He serves as president of the American Society of News Editors and chairs the National Advisory Board of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in Florida. He is an accomplished investigative journalist, past Executive Editor of the Seattle Times, and a four-time Pulitzer Prize jurist.
  • Dr. John J. DeGioia, President of Georgetown University, Washington DC. Dr. DeGioia is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Forum for the Future of Higher Education and among other board endeavors, serves on the Boards of the Carnegie Corporation, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and the Executive Committee of the Council on Competitiveness. He has received national recognition as an advocate for civil discourse and a commitment to the common good.
  • Rabbi Steve Gutow, President and CEO of the Jewish Council on Public Affairs, Washington DC. A trustee of Faith in Public Life, which helps shape public debates and advance faith as a positive and unifying force for justice, compassion and the common good, he has been recognized as one of the country’s most influential Jewish leaders.
  • Hugh Forrest, Director of the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, which each year brings together more than 30,000 creative professionals from around the world to foster a global community of ideas and creativity. TIME Magazine refers to him as an “interactive agent,” ushering new, groundbreaking technology into the popular culture that changes the way we share, learn and think.
  • Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, Executive Director of the National Institute on Civil Discourse and a leader in the field of deliberative democracy. She founded AmericaSpeaks, which promotes nonpartisan initiatives to engage citizens and leaders through innovative public policy tools and strategies. Dr. Lukensmeyer also has served as a consultant to the White House Chief of Staff and as a chief of staff for Ohio’s governor, the first woman in this capacity.
  • Dr. Elizabeth McCloskey, President and CEO of The Faith & Politics Institute, a national organization devoted to advancing reflective leadership among members of Congress and congressional staff to bridge the divides that arise in a thriving democracy.  She has taught and published numerous articles and book chapters on faith, ethics and politics, and is a former columnist for Commonweal magazine.
  • Bishop Prince Singh of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY.  Bishop Singh is a frequent contributor to regional and national publications on topics related to accepting and embracing people with views and beliefs other than his own.

The Forum
There is no fee to view the live webcast. The webcast will be viewable here as well as YouTube.

Registration is not required for the live webcast.

  • Questions can be emailed prior and during the live webcast; send questions to publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org.
  • The forum will be available on-demand following the live webcast.
  • The forum is ideal for live group watching and discussion, or on-demand viewing later.  It will be appropriate for Sunday School, discussions groups, and community gatherings.
  • Resources such as bibliography, on-demand video, materials for community and individual review, discussion questions, and lesson plans will be available.
  • #EpiscopalForum – follow the discussion

Forum information is available here

For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer, publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org.

 

Gifts for Life features 75th Anniversary Christmas package

ENS Headlines - Thursday, October 16, 2014

[Episcopal Relief & Development press release] Each year, hundreds of congregations around The Episcopal Church make Gifts for Life, Episcopal Relief & Development’s alternative giving catalog, a part of their Advent and Christmas celebrations.  With more than 30 gifts to choose from in categories such as “Animals & Agriculture” and “Green Gifts,” Gifts for Life provides a way for Episcopalians and friends to include their communities and loved ones in creating a thriving future.

Gifts for Life choices range from a $12 mosquito net, which includes installation and follow-up by a trained health volunteer, to $5,000 for a village well, which includes maintenance training and hygiene education.  Along with popular gifts such as literacy education to empower women and fruit trees to produce nutritious food, a new gift joins the catalog this year: medicine packages and training for health workers and parents to stop the three leading killers of children in Africa ­– diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia.

Additionally, in honor of the organization’s 75th Anniversary Celebration, Gifts for Life now features a 75th Anniversary Christmas Package with five of the most essential building blocks for strong communities.

“The 75th Anniversary Package includes Clean Water, Care for Moms and Newborns, Micro-Credit Loans for Women, Reforestation and Goats – which are one of the hardiest and most versatile animals kept domestically around the globe,” said Judy Sawler, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Manager of Direct Response Marketing, who oversees the catalog.  “Together, these items support the holistic well-being of families around the world, improving health, nutrition, livelihoods and the environment.”

Giving Gifts for Life is a fun and simple way to nurture a world where communities are strengthened and empowered from within.  Individuals and families can send gifts to friends and relatives through the print catalog or by ordering online, and choose to send recipients an attractive printed card or convenient e-card.

Banding together to create an even bigger impact, churches and school groups can use Gifts for Life as an Advent campaign to raise awareness and funds for Episcopal Relief & Development’s life-giving work. The Advent Toolkit available on the organization’s website (http://www.episcopalrelief.org/advent) provides helpful planning and activity resources such as an Advent Calendar, bulletin inserts and special prayers.  Handy tri-fold brochures highlight the special 75th Anniversary gifts and are perfect for fundraising events and alternative gift markets.  These tools are designed to help groups engage and motivate their whole communities to join hands in outreach.

“The spirituality of Advent is one of joyful expectation, as we await the Christ Child; but it is not a dead season of waiting, it is a living season of action,” said Sean McConnell, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Director of Engagement.  “Building God’s Kingdom takes all hands, which means striving alongside our neighbors toward economic, food and environmental justice worldwide.  Giving and organizing around Gifts for Life helps us see how small boosts – a chicken, a garden, a water tank – can lead to lasting change, and it creates connections in our own communities and across the globe that can have an impact for generations to come.”

The easiest way to order Gifts for Life is with a credit card, by visiting http://www.episcopalrelief.org/giftsforlife or calling 1.855.312.HEAL (4325).  To order with a check or money order, download an order form and mail to Episcopal Relief & Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.  E-cards are not available for orders made by phone or mail.  Gifts to Episcopal Relief & Development are tax-deductible.

Episcopal Relief & Development works with more than 3 million people in nearly 40 countries worldwide to overcome poverty, hunger and disease through multi-sector programs that utilize local resources and expertise.  An independent 501(c)(3) organization, Episcopal Relief & Development works closely with Anglican Communion and ecumenical partners to help communities rebuild after disasters and develop long-term strategies to create a thriving future.  In 2014-15, the organization joins Episcopalians and friends in celebrating 75 Years of Healing a Hurting World.

 

Christian, Muslim and Jewish artists unite in prayer for the world

ENS Headlines - Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, president and founder of CARAVAN, an interfaith nonprofit organization that unites cultures and creeds of the West and Middle East through the arts, stands next to an art piece by Mahmoud Hamdy in the 2014 CARAVAN art exhibition, “AMEN: A Prayer for the World” at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City until Nov. 23. Photo: Amy Sowder

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler grew up in Senegal, a predominately Muslim country in West Africa where his father was a minister.

Throughout his childhood he observed the tension between Muslims and Christians.

“I thought there has to be a better way. Most of my best friends were Muslims, and today still, Muslims number among my closest friends,” the Episcopal priest said, sitting on a wooden bench at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. He answered logistics calls and texts on his cell phone while taking a break from working on the 2014 CARAVAN Exhibition of Visual Art, “AMEN: A Prayer for the World.”

Open to the public until Nov. 23, the art show embodies Chandler’s lifelong mission: to ease that religious and cultural tension by focusing on commonalities rather than trying to overcome differences. With religious extremism and persecution so prevalent and interwoven so thickly with politics, especially in the Middle East, this mission is needed now more than ever, he said.

Artwork by Reda Abdel Rahman, co-curator in the 2014 CARAVAN art exhibition, “AMEN: A Prayer for the World” at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City until Nov. 23. Photo: Amy Sowder

Participating Egyptian artist Reda Abdel Rahman co-curated the show with Chandler, founder and president of CARAVAN, an international interfaith arts nonprofit organization, with the annual CARAVAN exhibition as a flagship initiative. This year, they selected 48 artists – 30 Egyptian artists with Muslim and Christian backgrounds, and 18 Western artists with Jewish and Christian backgrounds. CARAVAN originated out of Cairo, Egypt in 2009 to build bridges between the cultures and creeds of Middle East and West through the arts.

The work of 30 Egyptian artists was first unveiled in June at the Museum of Modern Art in Cairo, Egypt, and joined the work of 18 artists in the West for a joint exhibition at Washington National Cathedral, before its final stop, in New York City.

This sixth annual exhibition includes Jewish artists for the first time.

Chandler and Rahman chose prominent as well as emerging artists who share their mission of using art to foster unity, friendship and peace worldwide. The artists are charged with interpreting the exhibition’s theme on the sculptural form they’re given. This year, it’s the human form in prayer in poses from the Abrahamic faiths. The face on the model for the sculptural prayer form is Amun, the deity of ancient Thebes in the 11th dynasty (in 21st century BC) who is considered the first to develop religion toward monotheism.

The “Amen” theme also embodies the spirit of the January 2011 Egyptian Revolution, when hordes of people from Muslim and Christian backgrounds, levels of education, economic background and ethnicity joined in solidarity against the human rights violations of the almost 30-year rule by the Hosni Mubarak-led autocratic government. After ousting Mubarak, the country’s first free parliamentary elections chose Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi for president. But protests against Morsi’s authoritarianism led to a 2013 military coup d’etat and the election of former general Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as president in 2014. Chandler was residing in Cairo during all this political turmoil.

Art pieces in the 2014 CARAVAN art exhibition, “AMEN: A Prayer for the World.” Photo: Amy Sowder

Whoever usurps power inevitably has ties to religious groups, whether it’s the Muslim Brotherhood, the Coptic Church, moderate Muslims or other religious allies, and often the religious-political sect that loses clout in top government loses dignity, freedom and all too often, their lives as well. So the cultural and religious clashes continue.

“What we need is high visibility in the media of Christians and Muslims working together,” Chandler said. “It begins to shape the world view.” That’s his intent with uniting the artists for CARAVAN events.

Rahman was born in Ismailia, Egypt, and is one of his country’s leading contemporary artists today. He grew up surrounded by Pharaonic monuments and Coptic monasteries, and it’s evident in his work. Also clear is his admiration for the female figure and women’s key role in the family and society at large.

For his contribution to the “AMEN” exhibition, Rahman created an ancient Egyptian queen emanating good all around her while sitting on Set, the ancient Egyptian god of evil, which demonstrates her control over the forces of political Islam that have damaged civilization. Many of his works combine different systems of belief.

“We’re only thinking one way,” Rahman said, “so I do my portraits in many ways, with the Jewish star and Christian cross and Muslim crescent. I want different people to feel we are the same, the same God also, just different culture only.”

Rahman met Chandler while the Episcopal priest served from 2003 to 2013 as rector of the Church of St. John the Baptist/Maadi in Cairo, Egypt, the international English-speaking Episcopal/Anglican church within the Episcopal Diocese of Egypt and North Africa. Chandler is also a mission partner of the Episcopal Church, focused on the Middle East. Rahman was a participant artist the initial CARAVAN Exhibition of Visual Art in Cairo. This is his second year co-curating the CARAVAN art exhibition. He lives with his wife and children in Queens, New York, and they also have a home in Cairo.

The last few years, Rahman’s art has dealt with the religious and political strife in Egypt, which applies to many areas of the Middle East, particularly the tumultuous Islamic extremism in Iraq and Syria.

“In today’s world, we need peace,” Rahman said. “We don’t have to make all these problems.”

For her art piece in the show, Jewish artist Lilianne Milgrom enjoyed researching about winged messenger angels in the Islamic, Jewish and Christian sacred texts. Born in Paris, France, Milgrom lived in Australia during part of her childhood and later spent 17 years in Israel before settling in Washington D.C.

She received the “AMEN” sculptural form in the traditional Jewish sitting prayerful pose, and she added wings. The front of her angel’s chest is emblazoned with a QR code to connect the spiritual world with the digital world. Visitors can wave their cell phones in front of her sculpture to scan the code, which will take them to www.virtualangel.weebly.com, where they can post a prayer.

“Prayer is a dialogue no matter which religion, and I wanted to make it interactive on whatever level the viewer is on, from atheist to believer,” Milgrom said.

The prayers on the website do range from atheist to Christian, ethical humanist and beyond, with a variety of entries: “Please save us from ourselves,” “Peace for the World,” “Why?” and “May people see the good in each other.”

Chandler wears a ring symbolizing the bridge a person can build to connect Muslims and Christians. Photo: Amy Sowder

Milgrom and Chandler will co-curate the 2015 Caravan exhibition, which will launch in Paris, France. Chandler is adamant that Caravan’s mission is to go further than encouraging interfaith dialogue.

“I’m passionate about interfaith friendships,” Chandler said, slipping off the silver ring he wears, which depicts a person bridging the gap between the symbols of the Christian cross and Muslim crescent.

“Friendship involves time and investment in the other,” he said. “CARAVAN is a creative catalyst for that.”

– Amy Sowder is an ENS correspondent.

Sudanese Air Force bombs church complex in Nuba Mountains

ENS Headlines - Thursday, October 16, 2014

ENS Editor’s Note: The Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS), as referenced in this article from the Morning Star News, is now officially called the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan.

[Morning Star News] The Sudanese Air Force dropped four bombs on an Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) complex in the Nuba Mountains on Friday (Oct. 10), church leaders said.

“The bombs have completely destroyed our church compound in Tabolo,” the Rev. Youhana Yaqoub of the ECS in Al Atmor, near the Tabolo area in South Kordofan state, told Morning Star News. “A family living at the church compound miraculously escaped the attack, although their whole house and property were destroyed.”

Kamal Adam and his family thanked God for their safety as they watched their house burn from the bombing, he said.

Full Story

‘Please pray for us,’ say Bermuda Anglicans facing hurricane

ENS Headlines - Thursday, October 16, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] Anglicans in Bermuda have called for urgent prayer support as the country steels itself for another battering at the hands of Mother Nature.

Some 64,000 inhabitants of the North Atlantic Ocean island have been dealing with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Fay which hit on Sunday morning. Winds of up to 100mph caused flooding from sea swell in coastal areas. They also left many roads impassable because of fallen trees, and left most people without electricity, cellphone coverage or access to the Internet

According to news reports the country’s ability to receive much-needed supplies have been put at risk after shipping containers were blown into the harbor. The only airport lost its roof and was flooded with thousands of gallons of water rendering the customs and immigration departments useless.

Sunday’s storm thankfully caused no fatalities, though there were numerous injuries as windows and doors blew out under the pressure of the wind. However, Bermuda is now facing another, more severe weather system. Tropical Depression Gonzalo* has become a Category 4 hurricane and is predicted to make a direct hit on Bermuda on Friday morning with wind speeds in excess of 130mph.

As the island and its churches prepare for the next onslaught of bad weather, the Archdeacon of Bermuda, The Ven. Andrew Doughty asked the Anglican Communion to pray. “We ask them to pray for safety and security,” he said, “for of our churches – a couple of whom have been hit quite badly. St. James in Sandys Parish lost part of its roof. Also, please pray for the government and emergency teams as the island recovers.”

The Church there has spent the time since Sunday’s storm working hard to ensure the most vulnerable inhabitants had access to water, food and shelter.

One church which was among the first to have power restored was St. Paul’s in Paget Parish. The Priest-in-Charge the Rev. Anthony Pettit said, “We opened our doors to anyone needing a place to prepare food, wash, get water, iron clothes, charge electronics and use the internet. Over three days, the church had a steady stream of folk using our facilities.

“Our motto is A loving family of God, serving our community and this was a very simple way to do just that. Community is what St Paul’s is all about. Although, we’re hoping we’re not practicing for this weekend but if we have to we’ll do this again.”

Bermudians are used to keeping an eye on each and every tropical depression throughout the season, knowing that any of them could become severe. Local people remember the names of each Hurricane which struck the island and what damage it did – Fabian and Emily being the two most common. However, they do not usually come this late in the season – the last time a hurricane hit Bermuda this late was 1851.

Comments made to clergy there demonstrate the fear among locals as Hurricane Gonzalo approaches. Mother-of-three Nicole Simons said, “We did OK in Fay – we lost power but my children were fine. I’m concerned for this next one and just praying that we make out ok. I’m really worried about the people who don’t have a roof – my friend doesn’t have a roof and her upstairs tenants have had to move out and now the whole roof might come off. It’s scary – crazy! I’m going around now just trying to get ready with food and clearing up the yard, buying batteries and whatever”

These tropical storm have even affected Bermudians who are living off-island. The Anglican Church of Bermuda’s current Ordinand, Jamaine Tucker, training at the School of Theology at Sewanee in Tennessee reached out to his family in Bermuda to find out what was going on – “I chatted with my brother. I haven’t heard from my mum since Saturday. I’m quite concerned.”

ENDS

Notes
*Gonzalo is a character in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” which was supposedly inspired by the discovery of Bermuda in 1609 by Sir George Somers and those aboard his ship “The Sea Venture” which foundered on the reefs during a hurricane.

Griswold moderará la reunión entre profesores y administradores del Seminario Teológico General

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] El ex obispo primado Frank Griswold moderará la reunión del 16 de octubre entre los administradores del Seminario Teológico General (GTS) ocho profesores cuyo empleo es el centro de la controversia que conlleva quejas sobre la conducta del decano y presidente de la escuela.

Los administradores del seminario convinieron, durante una teleconferencia el 13 de octubre, sostener un debate con moderador a fin de lograr mayor claridad, entendimiento y reconciliación, según Mark Sisk (obispo jubilado de Nueva York) que preside la junta de administradores.

Una reunión entre los administradores y los profesores ya estaba programada para el 16 de octubre. El agregarle un moderador es una variante nueva, al parecer sugerida por los profesores y aceptada por la junta. La junta le pidió a Griswold que desempeñara ese papel.

Cuando Sisk le escribió a los ocho profesores el 1 de octubre reiterándoles una oferta que, según dijo, ya se les había hecho con anterioridad, expresó que la reunión tenía que ser “totalmente confidencial y que nadie que participara en ella haría uso de nada de lo que en ella se dijera”.

El conflicto entre el Muy Rdo. Kurd Dunkle, que se convirtió en decano y presidente en julio de 2013, y ocho de los 11 miembros del profesorado del seminario que tiene casi 200 años de existencia, se hizo público a fines de septiembre cuando circularon correos electrónicos y cartas de los profesores salientes a los estudiantes en que los primeros anunciaban que cesaban de trabajar.

Los profesores Joshua Davis, Mitties DeChamplain, Deirdre Good, David Hurd, Andrew Irving, Andrew Kadel, Amy Lamborn y Patrick Malloy le escribieron a la junta el 17 de septiembre para resumir sus problemas con Dunkle. Ellos describieron lo que el seminario más tarde llamó “presuntas declaraciones inadecuadas y de acoso por parte del Decano”. Los ocho también señalaron que la manera en que [el Decano] dirige al profesorado y al personal, así como sus relaciones con los estudiantes, han creado un clima de “profundo desaliento, ansiedad, hostilidad, temor y represalias” en la comunidad del GTS.

Los ocho profesores presentaron una lista de cinco decisiones que querían que los administradores tomaran, a saber:

* Nombrar un comité de miembros de la junta, aprobado por el profesorado, para reunirse con los ocho durante la reunión de octubre de la Junta de Administradores.

* Darle al profesorado inmediata supervisión del currículo, el calendario, el culto y la totalidad del programa de formación del seminario.

* Contratar una persona de afuera para el apoyo pastoral del personal, los estudiantes y los profesores; y nombrar un decano del cuerpo estudiantil.

* “Restaurar y garantizar” que el profesorado obtenga un debido proceso [de participación] en relación con los nombramientos, el culto, la formación y la implementación del currículo y que le dé al decano docente autoridad para “implementar adecuadamente el programa académico” conforme a las normas de la Asociación de Escuelas de Teología (ATS) y la Declaración del Camino de la Sabiduría del profesorado; y

* Contratar a un recaudador de fondos para comenzar una campaña de obtención de capital.

“Puesto simplemente, queremos informarles respetuosamente que si el decano Dunkle continúa en su puesto actual, entonces nosotros no podremos continuar en el nuestro”, le dijo el grupo a los administradores.

Una semana después, Sisk le escribió a los administradores, a Dunkle y a los profesores, para decirles que la junta había contratado al bufete de abogados Covington and Burling “para determinar las bases de las presuntas declaraciones inadecuadas y de acoso de parte del Decano”.

Al día siguiente, los ocho profesores calificaron esa decisión como un rechazo “a tratar el meollo de la cuestión” y anunciaron que dejarían de trabajar a partir del 26 de septiembre y que no regresarían a trabajar hasta que la junta como un todo programara inmediatamente una ocasión para encontrarse con ellos durante la reunión de los administradores en octubre.

Y agregaron que habían creado el Sindicato de Profesores del Seminario Teológico General y que habían contratado a un abogado.

El comité ejecutivo de la Junta de Administradores del Seminario hizo saber el 30 de septiembre que “después de mucho orar y deliberar y luego de consultar con nuestro consejero legal” sus miembros habían “aprobado con gran pesar aceptar las renuncias” de los ocho miembros del profesorado.

Los profesores han dicho que ellos nunca presentaron sus renuncias.

Los ocho que se encuentra en el centro de la controversia pertenecen a una lista de 11 que componen el profesorado [del seminario] además de Dunkle. El Seminario General tiene cuatro catedráticos titulares y once profesores adjuntos, dijo a ENS Chad Rancourt, portavoz del Seminario. Esto no incluye a ninguno de los instructores que puedan traerse para impartir clases que antes eran competencia de los ocho.

Ochenta y seis estudiantes están matriculados en el semestre actual, dijo Rancourt. El Seminario General espera poder completar todas sus clases de este período. De las 23 clases programadas, 13 no se vieron afectadas por la salida de los profesores. El Seminario ha tratado de cubrir las 10 restantes, explicó él, “recurriendo al resto de los profesores titulares y a notables eruditos del área metropolitana de Nueva York”.

La escuela se encuentra actualmente en su receso de otoño y en sus días de lectura hasta el 20 de octubre. La junta de administradores celebrará el 17 de octubre su reunión anual.

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

Rapidísimas

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

La epidemia del ébora es mucho más seria de lo que originalmente se pensó, dicen expertos médicos. En África ya se cuentan por miles las personas que han muerto a causa de este virus que hasta el momento se conoce su origen, su forma de contagio pero no su cura. En Estados Unidos, España y Francia se han detectado potenciales enfermos. Hasta ahora Cuba ha sido uno de los pocos países que ha mandado un contingente de profesionales de la medicina y equipos a los países afectados. En Miami epidemiólogos han dicho que es loable la labor del personal médico cubano pero que los enviados no tienen los recursos necesarios para la misión que piensan realizar.

Louis Sako, patriarca de Babilonia de los Caldeos, dijo en Roma que “la masa musulmana no simpatiza con el Califato Islámico, pero tiene miedo reaccionar”. Añadió que miles de musulmanes han sido asesinados por los extremistas y millón y medio de otros han sido desplazados de su país y tienen que vivir en condiciones de miseria. Añadió que los países occidentales tienen que intervenir para evitar las masacres de cristianos.

La conocida presentadora cubana Cristina Saralegui ha hecho declaraciones en la Cadena Univisión que han dejado atónitos a muchos de sus fans. Con tono sobrio y visiblemente emocionada dijo que “confiesa su arrepentimiento” por haber herido a mucha gente con su carácter agresivo. Explicó que una tragedia familiar ha marcado su vida. Confesó que su hijo Jon Marco padece de problemas psiquiátricos y que en una ocasión estuvo a punto de suicidarse. Cristina es conocida por ser “una mujer de carácter fuerte” pero sin embargo “lloro y me deprimo”. Añadió que se refugió en el alcohol y esto trajo una fuerte dependencia que ya ha sido superada.

Ian Parsley, el pastor evangélico que dedicó toda su vida a evitar concesiones a los católicos romanos en Irlanda del Norte, ha fallecido en Belfast a la edad de 88 años. Su retórica encendida ha sido considerada en gran parte responsable por la violencia que dejó un saldo de 3,700 muertos en las últimas décadas del siglo pasado. Su secta evangélica, la Iglesia Presbiteriana Libre de Ulster, calificó al Papa de anti-Cristo y de Judas a las mayores denominaciones ecuménicas. En más de una ocasión fue considerado como “un maníaco prejuiciado”.

La cadena CNN presentó un programa especial de una hora el domingo 12 de octubre sobre los problemas de los abusos sexuales en varias diócesis católicas romanas del mundo. La situación es generalizada y más grave de lo que se piensa, dijo un observador vaticanista. Se citaron los casos recientes de Irlanda, República Dominicana, Paraguay, México, Estados Unidos y  Puerto Rico. Al final del programa el papa Francisco dice: “Para mí no hay cosa más triste que ver a un sacerdote esposado y custodiado por guardias uniformados”.

El sínodo de obispos católicos romanos que se reúne en Roma ha hecho una declaración que favorece a la comunidad homosexual: “los homosexuales tienen dones y cualidades que ofrecer a la comunidad cristiana”. Estas palabras distan mucho de las condenas del pasado, dicen observadores.

La ecologista evangélica brasileña Marina Silva quedó en tercer lugar en la carrera presidencial de Brasil y por tanto, fuera de la contienda. Se predice que si sus votos se suman a los de Aécio Neves, el candidato que quedó en segundo lugar, Dilma Rousseff puede perder las elecciones. Veremos.

El asesinato en Caracas del diputado chavista Robert Serra ha dado un cambio brusco en cuanto a la violencia imperante en la tierra de Bolívar. Ya no es solamente la acción de la delincuencia común con fines de robo. El asesinato de Serra y otros más parece tener un móvil político. Ya el gobierno ha anunciado que tiene presos a los presuntos autores. Las cosas no parecen mejorar en una tierra tan bella y tan rica que cuenta entre sus hijos a hombres y mujeres de gran valor intelectual, moral y espiritual.

Evo Morales ha sido reelecto por tercera vez como presidente de Bolivia. En su discurso de aceptación envió saludos a Fidel Castro y al difunto Hugo Chávez, palabras que han sido destacadas en los medios de comunicación.

Ángel Carromero, el joven político español que viajaba en el auto con el líder opositor cubano, Oswaldo Payá, en julio de 2012. Ha dicho que fue un “accidente planeado”. Sus palabras están en su libro Muerte bajo sospecha.

VERDAD. No se puede tapar la luz del sol con un dedo.

Seminary of the Southwest celebrates successful fundraising campaign

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

[Seminary of the Southwest press release] Seminary of the Southwest has announced that it reached—and exceeded—its Campaign for Leadership fundraising goal, receiving gifts of more than $16 million.

The announcement came October 9 as the seminary celebrated John Hines Day, its annual recognition of its founder. Alumni and church leaders joined members of the Hines family, faculty, staff and seminary trustees in the celebration.

“The confident and hopeful spirit that was present at its founding in 1952 still animates the community of teaching and learning at Seminary of the Southwest,” said Dean and President Cynthia Briggs Kittredge. “Faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the conviction of its power to transform, shapes us for ministry. I am grateful beyond measure to all who support the work of this seminary.”

Campaign for Leadership, the largest fundraising campaign in the seminary’s history, increased the endowments that support faculty positions and scholarships and increased its annual fund by 38%.

Donors’ gifts brought five faculty chairs to fully funded status at $2.5 million each and provided generous support to several others. Those completed include:

  • Peter H. Coffield Memorial Chair in Pastoral Theology
  • J. Milton Richardson Chair of Anglican Studies
  • Loise Henderson Wessendorff Fund
  • Duncalf/Villavaso Endowed Chair in Church History
  • Bishop John Elbridge Hines Chair in Preaching.

President Kittredge worked closely with the Rt. Rev. Dena Harrison, chair of the seminary’s Board of Trustees and bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Texas to increase endowments for professorships and scholarships to honor beloved leaders of the church whose vision strengthened the church for ministry.

Tara Elgin Holley, vice president for institutional advancement at Southwest, expressed gratitude to the families who have strengthened the seminary through the years and who were generous with their memories and support during this campaign. “Throughout the campaign, we heard moving stories of these faithful leaders of the past who each played a vital part in the seminary’s history and in its formation for the present,” she said.

“Seminary of the Southwest is a great place where leaders are being trained to take the Episcopal Church into a hopeful future amid all the challenges we now face,” said Bishop Claude E. Payne, campaign co-chair with Mrs. Barbara Payne. “Barbara and I were honored to be ambassadors for our excellent school, which is in essence a community of leadership development with enormous promise.”

Dean Emeritus Douglas Travis facilitated the outstanding $2.5 million gift from The Henderson-Wessendorff Foundation of Richmond, Texas. Their gift named and supports the Loise Henderson Wessendorff Center for Christian Ministry and Vocation at the seminary.

Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas is an Episcopal seminary offering master’s degrees in divinity, religion, counseling, chaplaincy and spiritual formation.

Griswold to facilitate meeting between GTS professors, trustees

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] Former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold will facilitate the Oct. 16 meeting between trustees of the General Theological Seminary and eight professors whose employment is at the core of the dispute involving complaints about the conduct of the school’s dean and president.

The General trustees agreed Oct. 13 during a teleconference to have the facilitated discussion with the aim of achieving greater clarity, understanding, and reconciliation, according to trustee Chair Bishop Mark Sisk (retired of New York).

A meeting between trustees and the professors was already scheduled for Oct. 16. The addition of a facilitator is a new development, one apparently suggested by the eight professors and agreed to by the board. The board asked Griswold to fill that role.

When Sisk wrote to the eight on Oct. 1 reiterating an offer he said had been previously made to the professors, he said the meeting had to be “wholly confidential, off the record, and no one involved will make use of anything said at it.”

The conflict between the Very Rev. Kurt Dunkle, who became dean and president in July 2013, and eight of the 11-member faculty at the nearly 200-year-old seminary was made public late in September when e-mails and letters from the departing professors to students were circulated and the professors announced a work stoppage.

Professors Joshua Davis, Mitties DeChamplain, Deirdre Good, David Hurd, Andrew Irving, Andrew Kadel, Amy Lamborn and Patrick Malloy wrote to the board on Sept. 17 to outline their issues with Dunkle. They outlined what the seminary later called “alleged inappropriate and harassing statements by the Dean.” The eight also said his management of the faculty and staff and his relationship with students has created a climate of “deep despondency, anxiety, hostility, fear, and retaliation” in the GTS community.

The eight professors listed five actions they wanted trustees to take, including:

* Appoint a committee of board members, to be determined by the faculty, to meet with the eight during the October meeting of the Board of Trustees;

* Give faculty immediate oversight over the curriculum, schedule, worship, and overall program of formation for the seminary;

* Hire an outside person for pastoral support to staff, students, and faculty; and appoint a dean of students;

* “Restore and ensure” that faculty get due process in connection with appointments, worship and formation, and curriculum implementation and give the academic dean authority to “implement properly the academic program,” according to Association of Theological Schools (ATS) standards and the faculty’s Declaration of the Way of Wisdom; and

* Hire a fundraiser to begin a capital campaign.

“Simply put, we must respectfully inform you that if Dean Dunkle continues in his current position, then we will be unable to continue in ours,” the group told the trustees.

A week later, Sisk wrote to the trustees, Dunkle and the faculty to say that the board had hired the law firm of Covington and Burling “to determine the basis for the alleged inappropriate and harassing statements by the Dean.”

The next day the eight professors called that decision a refusal “to deal with the heart of the matter,” and announced that they would stop working beginning Sept. 26 and would not return to work until the board as a whole immediately scheduled a time to meet with them during the trustees’ October meeting.

And they said they had formed the General Theological Seminary Faculty Union and hired an attorney.

The executive committee of the seminary’s Board of Trustees said Sept. 30 that “after much prayer and deliberation and after consulting our legal counsel” its members had “voted with great regret to accept the resignations” of the eight faculty members.

The professors have said they never tendered their resignations.

The eight at the center of the controversy had been among a roster of 11 faculty members plus Dunkle. General now has four full-time faculty and 11 adjunct faculty, seminary spokesman Chad Rancourt has told ENS. This does not include any instructors who may be brought in to teach classes previously handled by the eight.

Eighty-six students are matriculated for the current semester, Rancourt said. General expects to be able to complete all of its classes this term. Out of 23 scheduled classes, 13 were not affected by the departure of the eight professors. General has tried to cover the remaining 10, he said, “drawing upon our remaining full-time faculty and noted scholars in the New York City metropolitan area.”

The school is currently on its fall break and reading days until Oct. 20. The trustee board is to gather Oct. 17 for its annual fall meeting.

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

Deadline nears for Constable Fund Grants applications

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The November 1 deadline is nearing for applications for the Constable Fund Grants 2014-2015 cycle.

The Constable Fund provides grants to fund mission initiatives that were not provided for within the budget of the Episcopal Church General Convention/Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS).

Anne Watkins, an Executive Council member from the Diocese of Connecticut and chair of the Constable Fund Grant Review Committee, noted recent Constable Grants have ranged from $5,000 to $200,000

Applications can be submitted by: (1) a programmatic office of the DFMS; (2) one of the General Convention CCABs (committee/commission/agency/board); or (3) one of the Provinces of the Episcopal Church.

Specific guidelines, suggestions, application form and timetable are available here.

Deadline for applications is November 1. Grants will be reviewed in December and recommendations forwarded to the Executive Council for action at its January 2015 meeting. Recipients will be notified at the close of that meeting.

For more information contact Watkins at annemw630@gmail.com, or Samuel McDonald, Episcopal Church Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission, smcdonald@episcopalchurch.org.

Named for Miss Constable
The Constable Grants were named for Miss Mary Louise Constable, who was a visionary philanthropist.  Watkins pointed out, “Hers is an example of faithful witness and generosity in response to an obviously mature and deep understanding of herself as both a disciple of Jesus Christ and as a steward of the blessings bestowed upon her by God.”

In 1935, in the midst of economic catastrophe known as the Great Depression, Miss Constable made a monetary gift to the Episcopal Church to establish the Constable Fund.  Her desire and intent to add periodically to the fund during her lifetime was realized and culminated with a very generous final gift at the time of her death in 1951.

Watkins further explained, “Stipulations for use of the fund were also visionary and generous, recognizing in and trusting those who came after her to comply with her wishes while allowing them flexibility in order to carry the mission of God through God’s Church forward into new eras.”

The language of Miss Constable’s will states that the fund exists “in perpetuity … to apply the net income for the purposes of the Society, preferably for the work in religious education not provided for within the Society’s budget.”

“It is the desire of the Executive Council Constable Fund Review Committee that Miss Constable’s example of stewardship, generosity, flexibility, and creativity be values that continue to be honored,” Watkins concluded.