[Episcopal News Service – Keene, New Hampshire] As part of a weekend commemoration of Jonathan Daniels’ martyrdom on Aug. 20, 1965, a group of his early friends gathered at his home parish, St. James Episcopal Church, on Aug. 22 to reminisce during a public panel discussion about the seminarian and civil rights worker who was killed when he was 26 years old.
The five, Ted Aldrich, Anne Mccune, Bob Perry, Tony Redington and the Rev. Carlton Russell, formed the panel and conversed for just more than an hour. The video features some of the highlights of the discussion, which was moderated by Keene State College professor Lawrence Benaquist. He can be heard at times in the background. Benaquist and fellow Keene State professor William Sullivan produced the 1999 nearly hour-long documentary Here Am I, Send Me: The Story of Jonathan Daniels. (The documentary, narrated by actor Sam Waterston, is viewable here.)
The Episcopal Church added Daniels to its Lesser Feasts and Fasts calendar of commemorations in 1994. His feast day is Aug. 14, the day of his arrest.
Sales preached during a commemorative Eucharist at St. James on Aug. 23. The Eucharist was followed by a 2.3-mile “walk of remembrance” to the Daniels’ family gravesite in Monadnock View Cemetery for a service.
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Episcopal News Service – Gulf Coast] It was Sunday; just six days after Hurricane Katrina had ripped a swath of death and destruction across the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi. It was time for church.
No matter that Katrina had wiped the building known as St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Gulfport from its Gulf-side lot. The Rev. James “Bo” Roberts had not missed a Sunday service since he became rector of the then-123-year-old church in April 1969 before Hurricane Camille knocked the building of its foundation about the same time in August of that year.
And so, on Sept. 3, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, the particle board sign along debris-strewn Church Avenue just north of sand-covered East Beach Boulevard read “Here! Mass 9:30 Bring Chair.”
Roberts, a Gulf Coast native, rode out Camille in his home but nearly died. He stayed for Katrina, too.
“The reason I stay is because you cannot get back after the storms,” he told reporters that Sunday morning after Katrina. “I wanted to be where I could check on my people and be available to them. Should any of them have died, I wanted to be here for that circumstance also.”
Hurricane Katrina hit land along the Gulf Coast twice on Aug. 29, once near Buras, Louisiana, just after 8 a.m. local time with maximum winds estimated at 125 mph, and then near the Louisiana-Mississippi border about three hours later with slightly reduced winds. The storm caused a storm surge of 24 feet to 28 feet along the Mississippi coast and 10 to 20 feet along the southeastern Louisiana coast. In Mississippi, the surge damage extended at least five miles inland and as much as 10 miles along coastal rivers and bays.
The Rev. Christopher Colby, who was rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Pass Christian, Mississippi, when Katrina tore away all but the church building’s frame and destroyed four other buildings, recalls saying the 8 a.m. Mass on Aug. 29 “wondering what was going to be left and feeling this incredible fear.” He and some parishioners tried to remove as many things as possible from the campus before they evacuated.
“We were staring down the barrel of the gun,” said the Rev. Wayne Ray, who was then the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ocean Springs, Mississippi
The wooden Gothic church building “withstood all the fury of Katrina,” but their home was destroyed by 18 inches of water and three huge fallen oak trees.
Almost as worse as the physical damage was the “enormous sense of betrayal” many eastern Gulf Coast residents felt about the body of water that was almost part of the family and from whom many made their living, according to the Rev. Dennis Ryan, former rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Pascagoula, Mississippi, which was badly damaged but not destroyed in the storm. “All of the sudden this sibling that had nourished us turned against us and killed us, literally killed us,” he said.
Even today, many people believe “that body of water cannot be trusted 100 percent and when the indications are there to get out, you better get out,” he said.
Then-Mississippi Bishop Duncan Gray III and his Louisiana counterpart at that time, then-Bishop Charles Jenkins, spoke by phone soon after the storm. “I only had some vague information, but I thought we’d lost several churches – didn’t know how many” Gray recalled recently. “And you said ‘Well, I think we’ve dodged the bullet.”
“Right,” Jenkins said. “Then of course, the levees broke. And the city flooded.
“And in that moment, I felt as if my ministry had been washed away..
There were nearly 50 breaches in the levees meant to protect the New Orleans metropolitan area, from the surrounding water. By Aug. 31, nearly 80 percent of the city and its eastern suburbs were covered by as much as 20 feet of water that did not drain out until into October.
The world witnessed televised images of the horrific desperation of the 10 to 20 percent of the city’s residents who either could not or would not evacuate as the governmental response to the storm faltered at disastrous levels. The storm exposed the city’s racial divides in new ways. Two years after the storm, Time magazine reported that the charges of racial discrimination that cropped up during the botched response to Katrina still lingered.
Katrina was one of the most devastating hurricanes in U.S. history, according to the National Hurricane Center, and the deadliest hurricane to strike the country since the Palm Beach-Lake Okeechobee hurricane of September 1928. Katrina was directly responsible for approximately 1,300 deaths in Louisiana (the majority were people older than 60 years) and 200 in Mississippi, a center report said. It was the fourth- or fifth-deadliest hurricane in U.S. history, after the hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas, in 1900 and killed an estimated 8,000, and the Palm Beach-Lake Okeechobee with more than 2,500 deaths. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says two 1893 hurricanes killed close to the same number of people as did Katrina.
The Episcopal Church went into action as the storm began barreling north into the interior of the United States. Episcopal Relief & Development immediately sent emergency funds to the Dioceses of Central Gulf Coast, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Western Louisiana to support immediate needs such as food, shelter and medical supplies.
Robert Radtke, Episcopal Relief & Development, had begun working for the organization the month before and was not then, by his own admission, an expert on disaster response. He and the staff monitored the storm’s progress, contacting potentially impacted dioceses ahead of time. “Katrina was absolutely beyond anyone’s imaginations,” he said recently.
Louisiana Bishop Jenkins called Radtke, asking him to come be with him in Baton Rouge north of New Orleans where diocesan staffers were attempting to regroup.
“This was unprecedented. Episcopal Relief & Development is not a boots-on-the-ground sort of operation,” Radtke said. “We weren’t then and we really aren’t today in many ways, but I followed my instinct, which was to go and be with him.”
In the days ahead, the organization helped the diocese build a response. “Those relationships we built there continue to this day,” he said.
Dioceses, congregations, individual Episcopalians and Anglicans from all over the Anglican Communion began asking what they could do to help. Some of the relationships formed across the church, relationships that cut through geographic and theological boundaries, exist to this day, 10 years later.
Jenkins called the outpouring “incredible,” made even more so by the fact that Katrina hit two years after the Communion was rocked by the General Convention’s decision to recognize that same-sex blessings were a part of the church’s life and its official assent to the Diocese of New Hampshire’s election of an openly gay and partnered priest, Gene Robinson, to be its bishop.
Jenkins called outpouring of help “incredible,” and added the givers were not asking if their intended recipients were politically, theologically or liturgically liberal or conservative.
“I don’t want us to forget the generous outpouring not only of The Episcopal Church and the tens of thousands of volunteers who came here,” he said. “We are a family. We are a family that sometimes disagrees and disagrees vehemently, but, frankly, when the chips are down, we’re still family.”
Gray agreed, adding that in 2006 each of the six Mississippi congregations that lost their buildings raised the percentage of their giving to the diocese because “they had experienced what it meant to be one church, connected in the ways Charles mentioned.
“When we are broken there is an access to grace that we don’t know in strength and suddenly grace begins to permeate every part of our lives and the judgmental part of me is broken as well as the church is broken,” he said.
As the extent of Katrina’s wrath became clear, the Episcopal News Service began its coverage of the church’s response. ENS reporter Matthew Davies was at St. Mark’s in Gulfport on the first Sunday after the storm. The video above comes from footage he recorded that morning.
Today and for the next week, ENS is looking back at Katrina and tracing how the church’s response to the storm has evolved over the last 10 years, and how that ministry has helped transform the communities the church serves.
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
Scott MacDougall named visiting assistant professor of theology at Church Divinity School of the Pacific
MacDougall, who earned his PhD at Fordham, is the author of the forthcoming book “More Than Communion: Imagining an Eschatological Ecclesiology” and has written for Huffington Post and Religion Dispatches as well as academic publications. He earned his master of arts in theology at General Theological Seminary in 2007, where the Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, now dean and president of CDSP, was his advisor.
While at CDSP, MacDougall will teach two required theology courses as well as electives titled “Contemporary Theologies of Church” and “Eschatology and Christian Practice.”
“Scott’s theological voice is clear, focused and timely. He interprets the contemporary context and the kind of leadership needed to serve the church in our day. I am confident that students will feel his passion for theological dialogue and reflection as well as the depth of his preparation,” Richardson said.
MacDougall, an experienced grants manager who has worked for the Rockefeller Foundation and consulted for the Open Society Foundations, is married to Michael Angelo, founder and creative director of the prestigious Michael Angelo’s Wonderland Beauty Parlor in New York.
Church Divinity School of the Pacific, a seminary of the Episcopal Church and a member of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, educates students in an ecumenical and interreligious context to develop leaders who can proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world through traditional and emerging ministries. Learn more at www.cdsp.edu.
[Episocopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Samuel McDonald, Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, announced that applications are currently being accepted for the 2015 awards for Indigenous Theological Training.
The awards are available to diocesan and churchwide organizations for lay and ordained members of The Episcopal Church.
“These grants are crucial to support the innovative work of theological education of the Indigenous ministries in dioceses focused on Indigenous Ministry,” commented Sarah Eagle Heart, Missioner for Indigenous Ministries for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.
Among the educational possibilities are spiritual formation, leadership development, and/or ordination. All applications must have the endorsement of the diocesan bishop.
The application and information are available here.
Funding is under direction and supervision of the Office of Indigenous Ministry of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.
Deadline for all applications is September 30.
The General Theological Seminary has appointed the Rev. Emily Wachner as the Director of Integrative Programs. In this newly created position, Wachner will oversee and administer Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), Field Education, and The Wisdom Year, while creating additional integrated formational opportunities for students.
As the Director of Integrative Programs, Wachner will provide a consistent presence throughout a student’s seminary education, bridging classroom education with practical experience. She will assist in the nurturing and selection of CPE sites and assist students in the application process during their junior year. She will also develop and cultivate relationships with Field Education sites and help match students in their second year.
In addition, Wachner will continue to develop and implement The Wisdom Year. As part of The Wisdom Year, students integrate their final year of studies with a part-time, paid placement in a ministry setting. In the lead-up to the full implementation of that program, Wachner will develop best practices for administering this type of ministry, and will coordinate student supervision and specialized guest lecturers. She will continue in the full management of the program, including the assemblage of an advisory team made up of local clergy and educators.
“Emily is smart, quick, determined, and creative and also highly collaborative. It is clear that she is the perfect fit for advancing this important initiative during these next years,” says the Very Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle, Dean and President.
Wachner received her M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and comes to General Seminary from Trinity Church Wall Street where she is the Priest for Welcome, Liturgy, Hospitality & Pilgrimage. There she assisted the development of a new 200-person congregation and participated in the leadership of interfaith and community initiatives at historic St. Paul’s Chapel. She created and implemented new member formation classes and served as liaison for hundreds of newcomers. Before serving at Trinity, she was the Associate Rector at St. Timothy’s Church, St. Louis.
“Emily Wachner has been a trusted staff colleague and has led with creativity and passion in her time at Trinity. We are pleased to see that the next stage of her ministry will be at The General Theological Seminary where she will have a strong impact on the formation of a new generation of leaders for the church. Emily and the entire General community will be in our prayers as you journey forward together,” states the Rev. Dr. William Lupfer, Rector, Trinity Wall Street.
Wachner will take up her duties in mid-September, but is already spending time on campus during Orientation Week connecting with students, staff, and faculty.
About her new position at General, Wachner states, “It is an honor and a privilege to join the General Seminary community. The work ahead of us is to bring The Wisdom Year to life, and I am thrilled to be a part of shaping the future of theological education at The General Theological Seminary.”
[Episcopal News Service] Casi 50 años después de que Jonathan Daniels fuera asesinado por un subalguacil del condado de Lowndes, Alabama, los peregrinos que vinieron a Hayneville, el 15 de agosto, para recordar el martirio del seminarista recorrieron las calles presididos por un auto patrullero del alguacil del condado.
Unas 1.500 personas de toda la Iglesia Episcopal y de otras partes recorrieron la senda que Daniels, de 26 años, Richard Morrisroe, también de 26, Thelma Bailey, de 19 y Ruby Sales, de 17, emprendieron el 20 de agosto de 1965, el día que Daniels murió al interponerse frente a la escopeta que le apuntaba a Sales. Morrisroe, que era un sacerdote católico recién ordenado y que resultó gravemente herido ese día, regresó a Hayneville para participar en la jornada. Los peregrinos iban desde bebés en cochecitos hasta ancianos en sillas de ruedas.
La peregrinación, que comenzó en el juzgado del condado de Lowndes, organizó una extensa liturgia de la Palabra que incluyó un alto en la cárcel donde Daniels y sus compañeros estuvieron arrestados durante seis días, lecturas sobre la vida de Daniels (entre ellas dos del libro Outside Agitator: Jon Daniels and the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama de Charles Eagles y de una carta que Daniels le escribió a su madre desde la cárcel), así como oraciones y la dedicación de un tarja en el sitio donde Daniels fue asesinado.
Los peregrinos regresaron luego a la sala del tribunal donde el asesino de Daniels, el subalguacil Thomas Coleman, fue exonerado de un delito de homicidio. Los peregrinos abarrotaron el salón, ocupando el estrado del jurado y otros asientos, sentándose en el piso y encontrando sitio de pie a lo largo de las paredes. Dos amplias tiendas de campaña que se levantaron en el césped del juzgado le dieron cabida a otros que vieron la eucaristía a través de grandes pantallas de televisión.
La mesa del juez en el juzgado sirvió como el altar donde John McKee Sloan, obispo de la Diócesis de Alabama, presidió la eucaristía. Muchos de los 28 obispos episcopales que participaron en la peregrinación distribuyeron la comunión dentro de la sala del juzgado y afuera en el jardín.
“No estamos aquí porque tengamos buenas ideas, o simplemente porque seamos personas agradables, aunque lo somos. Estamos aquí porque nosotros los que hemos sido bautizados —no somos simplemente bautizados en la membresía de una Iglesia— estamos consagrados al discipulado radical, al Movimiento de Jesús para cambiar este mundo”, dijo el obispo primado electo Michael Curry durante su sermón. “El mismo movimiento que llamó a Jonathan, y a María, y a la reina Esther y a Moisés y a Abraham y a Sara y a Agar, el mismo movimiento que le dio vida al mundo”.
Curry, que tenía 12 años en Búfalo, Nueva York, cuando Daniels fue asesinado, se reunió temprano en la mañana con muchos de los jóvenes que más tarde tomarían parte en la peregrinación. Durante su sermón, Curry dijo que él se dio cuenta durante la reunión de que “nuestra tarea ahora es pasar la antorcha a una nueva generación”.
“Ellos están aquí, no tienen que estar aquí, pero están aquí”, dijo él refiriéndose a los jóvenes.
“La energía juvenil que alimentó el movimiento de los derechos civiles antes y que cambió el rostro de esta nación”, dijo Curry, ahora necesita combinarse con “la sabiduría de los mayores”.
“Debemos levantar una nueva generación y pasarle la antorcha a esa generación para que la marcha continúe, de manera que el movimiento prosiga, de manera que no nos detengamos, que no cesemos, que no desistamos hasta que la justicia corra como un poderoso torrente y la equidad como un arroyo inagotable.
“Ese es el movimiento del que todos formamos parte. Es un movimiento que cree apasionadamente que el amor puede realmente cambiar el mundo”.
“Puede”, respondió la congregación.
Curry concluyó recordándoles a los peregrinos que el filósofo y científico jesuita Pierre Teilhard de Chardin sostenía que el descubrimiento del fuego y la capacidad de los humanos de emplear esa energía fue el más importante descubrimiento científico de todos los tiempos, por los avances que hizo posible en la civilización, hasta llegar incluso a la combustión del fuel en los cohetes que lanzan satélites al espacio, permitiendo así el uso de teléfonos inteligentes. De Chardin llegó luego a decir, recordó Curry, que si los seres humanos llegaran alguna vez a descubrir como manejar el poder del amor, sería la segunda vez en la historia que la humanidad hubiera descubierto el fuego.
“Estamos aquí porque Jonathan Daniels descubrió el fuego”, declaró Curry en una exclamación estentórea. “Martin Luther King descubrió el fuego. Ahora pues vamos a pasar esa antorcha a una nueva generación”.
Luego del sermón de Curry, presentaron a varios peregrinos notables, comenzando con Adrian Johnson, juez del condado de Lowndes, que actualmente preside la sala de justicia que se usara para la liturgia de la Mesa. Johnson, que dijo que él había participado en la peregrinación anual durante los últimos cuatro o cinco años, le dijo a la congregación que era una “experiencia aleccionadora” impartir justicia en una sala que recuerda “una lista de injusticias” cometidas en nombre del sistema legal.
Johnson, que ayudó a preparar el desayuno de los jóvenes esa mañana, contó que le había dicho a los participantes que la lucha por los derechos electorales no es una lucha perdida en el polvo de la historia. “Esa lucha continúa hoy. Hay gente que quiere socavar el derecho al voto. Hay gente que está intentando desmantelar la Ley de Derechos Electorales”, afirmó él. “Debemos seguir siendo vigilantes y guardarnos no sólo de los que intentan arrebatarnos ese derecho, sino, y de mayor importancia, contra la apatía, porque la apatía es tal vez más peligrosa que los que querrían vernos privados de ese derecho”.
El coronel James Inman, jefe de personal en el Instituto Militar de Virginia donde Daniels fue el primer expediente de la clase de 1961, le dijo a sus compañeros de peregrinación que fue el amor lo que llevó a Daniels a actuar como lo hizo ese día de 1965 cuando quitó a Ruby Sales del camino de Coleman, recibiendo en su lugar el disparo a quemarropa de la escopeta de Coleman en el pecho. Inman calificó la decisión de una fracción de segundo de Daniels “un acto de amor que está condicionado por todo lo que le precede”.
Cuando tal acción salva la vida de otro, dijo él, “la acción no sólo perdura; crece y extiende su influencia a través del tiempo”.
Mientras Daniels estuvo en Alabama en el verano de 1965, vivió con Alice y Lonzy West, una familia afroamericana de Selma. Roderick West, uno de los 11 hijos de esta pareja, dijo a los peregrinos que Daniels era un perfeccionista de la educación y que “siempre estaba hablando de Dios.
“Recuerdo esa mañana cuando Jonathan salió de nuestro apartamento —iba al condado de Lowndes para ayudar a las personas a inscribirse para votar. Jonathan realmente regresó tres veces y nos dijo a mi y a mis hermanos y hermanas que él nos quería… dijo ‘quiero que todos ustedes se esfuercen en estudiar. Háganme saber lo que necesitan, lápices, libros, cualquier cosa’, para mí él fue como un hermano mayor”.
Daniels, dijo West, fue la razón de que él, que acaba de jubilarse, hubiera ejercido treinta años como maestro.
La eucaristía incluyó un pase de lista de los mártires de Alabama.
Ruby Sales, la estudiante de 17 años a quien Daniels salvó, no estuvo en la peregrinación, pero habló al día siguiente en la iglesia episcopal de San Albano [St. Alban’s Episcopal Church] en Washington, D.C., donde dijo que su amistad con Daniels salvó la brecha entre su mundo de “élite blanca” y el de ella negro y pobre.
“Él abandonó el banquete del rey”, dijo ella. “Él podría haber tenido cualquier beneficio que quisiera, porque era joven, blanco, brillante y hombre”.
El 14 de agosto, Morris Dees Jr., cofundador y principal abogado procesal del Centro Meridional de la Ley de la Pobreza, le dijo a los presentes en la iglesia episcopal de San Juan [St. John’s Episcopal Church] en Montgomery, Alabama, que “nuestro gobierno tiene que ser neutral en materia de fe, pero la gente de fe no tiene que ser neutral en los asuntos del gobierno, y confiamos en que la gente no lo sea.
“Jonathan Daniels no fue neutral cuando le decía la verdad al poder, cuando luchaba por el derecho al voto y cuando salvó la vida de una persona querida protegiéndola con su cuerpo”, afirmó.
Sólo decir “verdadera reconciliación” puede alejar al país de la tensión racial que lo aqueja. Dees dijo que el asesino de Daniels más tarde crió a dos nietos mestizos. “Algo cambió”, dijo Dees refiriéndose a Coleman, añadiendo que el hijo de Coleman, un policía jubilado del estado de Alabama “es probablemente uno de los tipos más liberales que conozco; él habló en el funeral de mi madre”.todo un año de eventos. El 22 de agosto, comenzará un fin de semana conmemorativo con un panel compuesto por personas que conocieron a Daniels, seguido, en la noche, por una proyección en el Teatro Colonial de Keene, del documental de casi una hora de duración Here Am I, Send Me: The Story of Jonathan Daniels [Heme aquí, envíame a mí: la historia de Jonathan Daniels] de los profesores de Keene State Lawrence Benaquist y William Sullivan.
Sales, que dirige el Proyecto SpiritHouse una organización con sede en Atlanta que labora a favor de la justicia racial, económica y social, está invitada a predicar en la parroquia de Santiago Apóstol en Keene el 23 de agosto. El Rvdmo. Rob Hirschfeld. obispo de Nuevo Hampshire, presidirá la liturgia. A la cual seguirá una “caminata de recordación” de unos tres kilómetros hasta la tumba de la familia Daniels.
El documental sobre Daniels, narrado por el actor Sam Waterston, se puede ver a continuación.
– La Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg es redactora y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.
[Anglican Church of Canada] As the cool evening air settled, Sacred Circle participants congregated around a small evergreen tree ready to be planted as part of a tradition at the end of the gathering.
Before the tree was planted, Bishop Lydia Mamakwa of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh offered a few words.
“Planting a tree is an occasion for us to learn from,” Bishop Lydia said. “This kind of tree, it never loses its branches. It’s always green.”
“Our God wants us to be like this tree,” she added. “He wants us to always be growing … May this be an illustration for our lives that we may be like this tree in our spiritual lives—that the life may never leave us, the life that our Creator who died on the Cross for us gives us.”
It was a fitting end to a momentous day, when Sacred Circle delegates planted the seeds for a historic move towards self-determination by endorsing a draft plan to establish a fifth province and structure for the Indigenous Anglican Church as part of the Anglican Church of Canada.
The mood of the hall was electric that afternoon as Sol Sanderson, a member of the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice, presented a draft statement outlining the proposed structure for a fifth ecclesiastical province.
In this draft proposal, the province’s offices would include a National Anglican Indigenous Primate—retaining the office of National Indigenous Anglican Bishop—as well as regional bishops, area mission bishops and ministry at the community level.
The National Indigenous Anglican Church would have both shared and separate areas of jurisdiction with the existing structure of the Anglican Church of Canada, Canon XXII being amended to accommodate the transition.
Excitement surrounding the draft statement was palpable. One Sacred Circle delegate noted his trepidation at the prospect, due to the fact that it was a challenge that took delegates out of their comfort zone.
But, he added, “It’s only when we step out of our comfort zone that we grow,” and expressed his strong willingness to support the document. Others also spoke in favour, and a consensus among delegates resulted in the draft statement being forwarded to the new membership of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples.
Read more here in Anglican Journal.
[Palmer Trinity School press release] Palmer Trinity School is pleased to announce the appointment of Juan Gomez as the new Director of Development.
“Juan brings energy, enthusiasm, and most importantly experience, which will complement our vision, as well as advance our development programs and School objectives,” stated Head of School, Patrick Roberts.
As Director of Development, Juan will provide strategic insight, direction, and fundraising guidance to advance the mission of the School and build an even stronger culture of philanthropy at Palmer Trinity. Juan has more than 23 years of educational leadership and administrative experience in the private school sector.
Most recently, he served as Development Director at Columbus High School, and spent several years in various roles including educator and administrator. While at Columbus, Juan played an integral part in the capital campaigns for the Mas Technology Building and The All Sports Fitness Complex and Bernhardt Student Wellness Center, as well as increasing alumni participation.
Juan earned both a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, and a master’s in engineering from the University of Florida.
[Historical Society of the Episcopal Church press release] The Historical Society of the Episcopal Church is pleased to announce its recipient of the 2015 Nelson R. Burr Prize, the Rev. Dr. Tim Vivian. Dr. Vivian teaches in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of California State University, Bakersfield. He is honored for his article “Wake the Devil from His Dream: Thomas Dudley, Quincy Ewing, Religion, and the “Race Problem’ in the Jim Crow South” published in the December 2014 issue of Anglican and Episcopal History. The selection committee noted the article makes excellent use of primary and secondary sources to create two portraits in a landscape of racial division that we, sadly, still recognize today.
The Burr prize honors the renowned scholar Nelson R. Burr, whose two-volume A Critical Bibliography of Religion in America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961) and other works constitute landmarks in the field of religious historiography. Each year a committee of the Society selects the author of the most outstanding article in the Society’s journal, Anglican and Episcopal History, as recipient. The award also honors that which best exemplifies excellence and innovative scholarship in the field of Anglican and Episcopal history.
Vivian received a B.A in English and M.A. in Comparative Literature from U.C. Santa Barbara, an M.A. in American Literature at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. (Classics, History, Religious Studies) at U.C. Santa Barbara. Vivian is a dedicated scholar in the field of early Christianity, with emphasis on Coptic Studies and Early Christian Monasticism. He has taught at CSUB in a variety of capacities since 1990.
He serves as priest-in-charge at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Bakersfield and received his M.Div. from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. He has also been a Henry R. Luce Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yale Divinity School.
Vivian has published thirteen books, over fifty articles, and over a hundred book reviews in a wide variety of scholarly publications. His scholarship is also based on substantial archeological field work. He has participated in two excavations in Egypt, serving as a director and faculty member at the excavation of the monastery of John Kolobos. He served as project historian for the team restoring and studying the 13th century wall paintings at the monastery of Saint Anthony in Egypt.
For over a century HSEC has been an association dedicated to preserving and disseminating information about the history of the Episcopal Church. Founded in Philadelphia in 1910 as the Church Historical Society, its members include scholars, writers, teachers, ministers (lay and ordained) and many others who have an interest in the objectives and activities of the Historical Society.
Episcopal Church Development Office 2015 Symposium: Community Engagement and Spiritual Formation: Stories of Transformation
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Development Office will sponsor the Fall 2015 Symposium on fundraising, Community Engagement and Spiritual Formation: Stories of Transformation, on Thursday and Friday, October 8 and 9 in Atlanta, GA.
“This year, we’re taking this very well-received event on the road to Atlanta in response to requests to offer the symposium in other areas,” noted Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer. “Each year, important information is presented and shared at this annual symposium presented by the Development Office, and we are pleased to present it in a new region.”
Bishop Sauls announced that registrations are now accepted, available here.
Designed for development professionals and fundraisers at dioceses, congregations, and other Episcopal organizations, as well as clergy interested in parish/diocesan fundraising, Community Engagement and Spiritual Formation: Stories of Transformation will be held at Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, Atlanta GA (Diocese of Atlanta).
Among the presenters are: the Rev. David Anderson of St Luke’s, Darien, CT; Erin Weber-Johnson from the Episcopal Church Foundation; and the Rev. Mieke Vandersall, a fundraising consultant. In addition to plenary speakers, the symposium will focus on opportunities for participants to share their stories and experiences.
“The 2015 Symposium will look to education, sharing, learning from each other, and spiritual enrichment,” explained the Rev. David Boyd, Interim Development Director for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. “We are building on the foundation of previous symposia to stretch our understanding that formation and transformation are essential elements in a deeper appreciation of stewardship and fundraising.”
Symposium and hotel information available here.
Seating is limited; deadline is September 25. Registration is $250 which includes all meals and program handouts.
For more information contact Maggy Keet, Manager of Donor Relations and Special Events for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Episcopal Diocese of San Diego] The Most Rev. Samir Hana Kafity, twelfth president-bishop and primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East, and bishop-in-residence at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Poway, died on the afternoon of Aug. 21 at home after a stroke. He was 81 years old.
“Bishop Kafity kept a ball of barbed wire on his desk to help him remember that he was pastor to Christians on both sides of the barbed wire,” said the Rev. Mark McKone-Sweet, rector of St. Bartholomew’s, Poway, the parish home of Bishop Kafity and his family for the past eighteen years. “He gave himself relentlessly to bringing peace to all people, regardless of race, nationality, faith or political group, by breaking down differences and collaborating with countless religious leaders around the world.”
The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, said that when he arrived in this diocese over ten years ago as a new bishop, “it was a blessing to have a giant of the Anglican Communion present and active in our diocese.” Bishop Mathes joins “the Kafity family, the people of our diocese, the people of the Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East, and friends around the world in grieving the loss of Bishop Kafity; the church and the world are better because of his life and ministry.”
“Bishop Kafity was passionate for peace,” said the Rev. Canon John L. Peterson, Washington National Cathedral’s canon for global justice and reconciliation. “He was the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem during two major political conflicts, the first Intifada and the first Gulf War. He firmly believed that the foundation stone of peace was always justice and his call for peace always centered around a just world for all people. One of Bishop Kafity’s great sayings was ‘we are all citizens of Jerusalem.’ Today we celebrate Bishop Kafity’s life among us as he becomes a citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem.”
Born September 21, 1933 in Haifa, Palestine to an Anglican family, Kafity was educated at the American University of Beirut and was ordained to the Anglican priesthood in 1958 at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral, Jerusalem. After ministering as parish priest there, he served at St. Andrew’s, Ramallaha; St. Peter’s, Bir Zeit; and All Saints, Beirut, where he served in the capacity of parish priest and archdeacon. In 1976 he returned to St. George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem to be the executive secretary of the diocesan council.
In the late 1970s he was a lecturer at Bir Zeit University and archdeacon of Jerusalem. In 1982 he became coadjutor bishop of Jerusalem and in 1984, he became the twelfth bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East. For the next 14 years he served in that position, only the second Palestinian-Arab to do so.
His jurisdiction covered Israel, the Occupied Territories of Palestine, the Kingdom of Jordan and the republics of Syria and Lebanon. He was instrumental in developing many of the local institutions of the diocese, including St. Margaret’s Hostel in Nazareth, a hostel and conference center for pilgrims, and hospitals serving the large Palestinian refugee population in the West Bank city of Nablus as well as the Gaza Strip. He served two five-year terms as the provincial president-bishop and primate to Jerusalem, prior to his retirement in 1998.
Bishop Kafity was active in local and international ecumenism through the World Council of Churches and the Middle East Council of Churches, which made him an honorary life president. He was also a member of the Anglican Consultative Council, where he served on the standing committee. He participated in numerous interfaith committees, including the Royal Jordanian Committee on Jerusalem, The Interfaith Committee of Jerusalem and the Clergy of the Three Faiths for Peace Bishop Kafity traveled extensively for his work in ecumenical affairs. His efforts took him to Brazil, England, France, Canada, Peru, Ireland, Kenya, Jordan, Cyprus, Trinidad, Morocco, South Africa, New Zealand and many parts of the United States.
Bishop Kafity co-founded of the San Diego Christian-Muslim Dialogue group, along with Jewish scholar and Professor Maurice Friedman.
He received the Star of Bethlehem from the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, was dubbed a Knight of the Holy Sepulcher by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, was made an honorary chaplain by the Order of St. John, was awarded the Royal Jordanian Star, second degree, by King Hussein and was made a life member on the supreme council of the YMCA. He was awarded honorary degrees by Virginia Theological Seminary, Dickson College and the University of Kent at Canterbury.
In 1998, he retired to Poway, California where he served as bishop-in-residence at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church. His involvement in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego began that year with visitations and workshops about the Middle East. His presence here was particularly helpful after the events of September 11th, as was his personal example of love, care, mercy and compassion. He strengthened interfaith relations with Jews and Muslims in this diocese, preaching regularly, leading workshops, and occasionally leading trips to the Holy Land.
He became an American citizen on March 15, 2002 and was made an honorary colleague in the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops in 2004. He was one of the first to welcome the current diocesan bishop, Bishop Mathes, to his position after his election in 2004. The two maintained a warm working relationship over the past 11 years. Bishop Kafity attended annual conventions and participated in the life of the diocese as often as he could.
He Bishop Kafity is survived by his wife of 52 years, Najat Abed, their two daughters, Samar Hireish and Rula Kassicieh, and four grandchildren, Beshara, Serene, Michael and Mark. The wake will is scheduled for Thursday, August 27, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. and the funeral will be Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. Both services will take place at St. Bartholomew’s. An interment service will take place in September for the family.
In lieu of flowers, the Kafity family kindly requests memorial gifts may be made to contributions are made in gratitude for Samir’s life and ministry to his parish: St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, 16275 Pomerado Road, Poway, California, 92064 or online: www.stbartschurch.org.
[Episcopal News Service – Keene, New Hampshire] Fifty years and three days after Jonathan Daniels died in Hayneville, Alabama, by stepping in front of a shotgun aimed at her, Ruby Sales, a human rights activist, said her heart was heavy as she preached in his home parish, St. James Episcopal Church.
But she also said she found joy in this year’s commemorations of Daniels’ death, along with renewed hope for the future.
“I wonder what Jonathan would make of a world where intimacy has been reduced to a virtual experience” where people talk to each other via smartphones, even bring them to the dinner table, said Sales, who operates the Atlanta, Georgia-based SpiritHouse Project to work for racial, economic and social justice.
“The world that Jonathan imagined was a world of intimacy; it created a new intimacy, a stronger intimacy, a new union, a new marriage, between people who never would have met or sat down with each other.”
Sales called on the congregation to take up Daniels’ commitment.
“This is an opportunity to play a critical role at a critical moment in America’s history,” she said. “It is an opportunity to once again be on the front lines of struggle as the country decides which direction it will go.
At the end of Sunday’s Eucharist, the Rev. Judith Upham, a seminary classmate of Daniels’ who went with him to Alabama in the spring of 1965, presented the parish with an award that she said rightly belonged in the Keene church. It was a Martyrs of the Movement award given in Daniels’ memory during a March 29 Palm Sunday “service of reconciliation” at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Selma, Alabama.
Members of St. Paul’s, most of whom are white, joined with members of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Birmingham, most of whom are black, and members of Brown Chapel AME Church for the service. In the spring of 1965, an interracial group of Episcopal clergy and lay people, including Daniels and Upham, who had responded to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to come to Selma in the wake of Bloody Sunday, attempted to worship at the church several times, but were turned away at the door. Those who eventually participated in the first integrated service, held on March 28, 1965, included Daniels, who was murdered by a deputy sheriff in Haynesville five months later, saving Sales’ life.
Daniels became a member of St. James in Keene after he moved there from Keene United Church of Christ and St. James was sponsoring his journey towards ordination when he was killed. Neither of Daniels’ parents or his sister is living and so, Upham said, she was asked to accept the Martyrs of the Movement award, deciding to bring it to Keene.
Sunday’s Eucharist in Keene, which was followed by a 2.3 “walk of remembrance” to the Daniels’ family gravesite in Monadnock View Cemetery for a service, culminated a year’s worth of events organized by members of St. James Episcopal Church, along with others. On Aug. 22, a commemorative weekend included panel discussions featuring people who knew Daniels followed by an evening screening at Keene’s Colonial Theater of the 1999 nearly hour-long documentary Here Am I, Send Me: The Story of Jonathan Daniels, produced by Keene State College professors Lawrence Benaquist and William Sullivan. The documentary, narrated by actor Sam Waterston, is viewable here.
During remarks before the screening, community volunteer Hank Knight read a letter from President Barak Obama in which the president said that the country’s destiny was shaped by “selfless individuals” such as Daniels. Obama wrote that Daniels and other civil rights activists were heroes who embodied patriotism and gave their full measure on the “battlefield of justice.”
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Jericho Road Episcopal Housing press release] In recognition of the impact of volunteerism on the recovery of New Orleans, Mayor Mitch Landrieu calls for 10,000 volunteers on the weekend of Hurricane Katrina’s Anniversary.
On Saturday, August 29, 2015 Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative (Jericho Road) will join forces with the City of New Orleans to highlight volunteerism across New Orleans neighborhoods. The City and its partners and sponsors aim to engage 10,000 volunteers. Nonprofit, neighborhood, faith-based and education organizations will host nearly 100 service projects on the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Projects will focus on seven regions of the city including Central City, Jericho Road’s target development zone.
“Over the past ten years, volunteers from down the street and around the world have contributed millions of hours to help New Orleans build back better than before,” said Mayor Landrieu. “It’s been faith-based groups, college students, corporations, individual residents and countless others facilitating our recovery. On behalf of the City of New Orleans, I want to thank the missions of volunteers for all their efforts.”
Jericho Road volunteers will help with a blight reduction strategy, called the 4-layer-burrito-method, aimed to retard the growth of weeds/grass on blighted vacant lots. The day’s work will affect 5-7 clustered lots in the Faubourg Delassize neighborhood of the Central City area. This blight reduction strategy has a direct impact on litter/dumping, health hazards and crime by eliminating sites of opportunity for these activities. Since the inception of Jericho Road’s Vacant Land Management Program over 25 vacant lots have received the 4-layer-burrito-method’s treatment.
“Jericho Road is thrilled to partner with the City of New Orleans in the Katrina10 efforts to recognize the contribution of so many to the rebirth of our great city,” says Jericho Road’s Executive Director, Nicole Barnes, “We’ve come a long way! It is only through local and national collaborations that we will continue to mark progress on this journey to rebuild an even better New Orleans that we can all call home!”
For more information on the City of New Orleans’ Day of Service activities: http://katrina10.org/serve/
About Jericho Road: Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative is a neighborhood-based nonprofit focused on community revitalization in Central City, New Orleans. Jericho Road provides families with affordable, healthy, energy-efficient housing opportunities, partnering with neighborhood residents, organizations and businesses to create and maintain a stable and thriving community.
Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative website can be found atwww.jerichohousing.org.
The Most Reverend Suheil Dawani, Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem and Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem is pleased to announce the appointment of the Reverend Dr Gregory Jenks as the Dean of St George’s College, Jerusalem. He will begin his position in November 2015 upon Dean Graham Smith’s retirement.
St George’s College, Jerusalem is an Anglican community of education, hospitality, pilgrimage, and reconciliation. Through study, site visits, engaging with the local Christian community, prayer and reflection, lives are transformed and faith renewed.
Dr Jenks is an Australian born Anglican priest. Dr Jenks comes to the role of Dean at St George’s College after serving as Academic Dean of St Francis Theological College in Brisbane since 2007. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Theology at Charles Sturt University.
During his time as Academic Dean at SFC, Dr Jenks has been especially responsible for academic administration relating to courses offered at the College through the Brisbane College of Theology and, more recently, CSU School of Theology. He led the development of an active research culture with the College, including membership of the Consortium for the Bethsaida Excavations Project in Israel.
His new role also includes an appointment as a Residential Canon of St George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem.
The Archbishop and the Executive of the College look forward to working with the new dean as they keep before them their vision statement and live into their ministry to serve faithfully the worldwide Anglican Communion.
[Episcopal News Service – San Juan, Puerto Rico] Insertada detrás de las oficinas administrativas de la Diócesis Episcopal de Puerto Rico en Trujillo Alto, un municipio de ingresos mixtos dentro del área metropolitana de San Juan, se encuentra el Centro San Justo, escuela y guardería infantil que atiende a 140 niños con edades entre los dos meses y los cinco años de edad.
El Centro San Justo funciona 50 semanas al año desde las 6:00 A.M. hasta las 5:30 P.M., con un programa flexible que le permite a los padres trabajadores, muchos de los cuales son madres solteras, optar por la atención infantil que más les convenga. San Justo es parte de VIDAS, Episcopal Social Services, Inc., el brazo de servicios sociales de la Diócesis de Puerto Rico, el cual busca responder a las necesidades de individuos y familias que ofrecen servicios integrados destinados a proporcionar una mejor calidad de vida.
La diócesis tiene un largo historial de servicios de salud y sociales en la isla, que sigue creciendo y expandiendo en lo que es un momento crítico en Puerto Rico.
En años recientes, Puerto Rico, un territorio de EE.UU. cuyos residentes son ciudadanos norteamericanos, ha experimentado cifras récord de migración debido a una arraigada recesión que se remonta a 2006 y a su complicada relación económica con Estados Unidos. En los últimos meses, la crisis de la deuda de 72.000 millones de Puerto Rico y su incapacidad de declararse en quiebra debido a su estatus territorial ha hecho repetidos titulares y ha suscitado comparaciones con Grecia. A principios de agosto, por primera vez en su historia, Puerto Rico incumplió sus obligaciones de pago a sus tenedores de bonos.
“Trescientas mil personas se han ido”, dijo el obispo Wilfrido Ramos Orench, que se convirtió en el obispo provisional de la diócesis en marzo de 2014.
El 8 de agosto, Ramos hizo pública una carta pastoral en que llamaba a las iglesias a unirse para abordar la crisis económica, a la que llamó la peor crisis económica y social desde la Gran Depresión de la década del 30 del siglo pasado. La carta hace un breve resumen de la historia económica de Puerto Rico a partir de la segunda guerra mundial y hasta que caduca el Código de Rentas Internas que le ofrecía exenciones en impuestos federales a las compañías norteamericanas sobre las ganancias obtenidas en Puerto Rico. El Congreso promulgó la exención en 1976 para estimular el desarrollo económico.
“En el momento actual, está más claro que nunca, que estamos atravesando una grave crisis estructural de nuestro modelo económico-político neo liberal,” escribió Ramos en la carta. “El país tiene una gran acumulación de deuda pública y no ha tenido la capacidad de recaudar los fondos necesarios para el pago de la misma.
“La respuesta de nuestros gobernantes ha sido reducir los servicios públicos, la imposición de impuestos regresivos, y utilizar los fondos de retiro de los empleados públicos. La capacidad crediticia del gobierno de Puerto Rico es prácticamente nula. Se auguran serias crisis en los servicios de salud, en los sistemas de retiro, y la perspectiva de un posible cierre del gobierno.”
Respecto a la carta y a la respuesta de las iglesias a la crisis, “aquí es donde debemos estar”, dijo él durante una entrevista con Episcopal News Service el 12 de agosto.
A eso se agrega, de manera más inmediata, una grave sequía que ha obligado a racionar el agua en el área metropolitana de San Juan, incluido Trujillo Alto. Muchos residentes tienen agua un día y luego pasan dos sin ella. El Centro San Justo, explicó la Rda. Ana R. Méndez, directora del mismo y quien también sirve como directora asociada de programa para VIDAS, está funcionando bajo un estado de emergencia y dependiendo de una cisterna.
El gobierno de Puerto Rico proporciona ayuda económica a la guardería infantil para contribuir con su empeño de ofrecer asistencia, educación y oportunidades transformadoras a niños y sus familias. En mayo San Justo recibió un certificado de excelencia de la Administración para el Cuidado y Desarrollo de los Niños en reconocimiento a su labor y su compromiso con niños y niñas.
La mayoría de los estudiantes de la escuela proviene de hogares rotos, donde las mujeres han sido víctimas de altos índices de violencia doméstica, donde uno de los padres, o ambos, pueden estar encarcelados, y en algunos casos las abuelas crían a sus nietos.
“Lo más hermoso es la transformación de los niños y las familias, transformación completa”, dijo Méndez en una entrevista con ENS en su oficina.
Fue Méndez, educadora por mucho tiempo y ordenada sacerdote episcopal hace siete años, quien vio una necesidad en Loiza, un pequeño pueblo empobrecido de la costa noreste de Puerto Rico, donde ella atiende la misión de Santiago y Felipe, para un programa que prepara a adolescentes embarazadas para la maternidad y la independencia económica, y para educar a otras adolescentes en la prevención del embarazo y de enfermedades de transmisión sexual. Ella fundó Canciones de Cuna en 2009.
Además de Canciones de Cuna y de San Justo, el mayor centro de atención infantil, VIDAS dirige otras tres guarderías infantiles, y el Hogar San Miguel, un albergue para menores que han huido de sus familias.
En septiembre, la diócesis empezará la construcción en Ponce —con la ayuda de una subvención de $250.000 de la fundación del cantante Marc Anthony— de una instalación que le permitirá extender sus servicios a adolescentes sin hogar.
– Lynette Wilson es redactora y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri
[Anglican Journal] The very essence of climate injustice—a better word than mere “change” to describe the environmental havoc wreaked by industrial society—is making those least responsible for it suffer most. That was a core message that Mark MacDonald, national Indigenous bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada, sent in his August 17 address on climate change to attendees at the eighth national Sacred Circle, being held in Port Elgin, Ont., August 16–22.
“That’s what climate injustice is all about: those who created it are suffering least; the poorest, those on the land, are suffering the most,” he said.
“The basic problem is that the colonial powers began a process of taking away our land, and that process continues today,” he added, with Indigenous people currently being drawn away from their ancestral territories at a faster pace than ever before. “It is different now, but it is still a powerful thing.” Unlike the naked land theft of the early European colonizers, those in power today do it economically and technologically, MacDonald said. “They give with one hand and take away with two.”
More than any other region on the planet, the Arctic is being impacted by these trends, he said. Disturbingly, many people tend to see the North as a vast uninhabited expanse devoid of inhabitants, he said. “The same culture of invisibility that made Indigenous people invisible to settlers is making the Indigenous people living on the land invisible today.”
And with Russia, Canada and the U.S. all staking disputed claims to the Arctic, matters will only get worse, he said. “It is essential that we stand up for our rights and say what is really happening in that region.”
The bishop also recounted a tour around an Athabascan community in Alaska with Elder Sidney Huntington, who had built six community structures when only one was needed. When MacDonald asked him why, he replied that he had built them for posterity, for the time when all the cranes and engines of industrial development have disappeared. “All of this stuff is going away, and the young people will need to know how to survive,” Huntington said.
It is crucial to keep the elders talking about the traditional values associated with the land, MacDonald said, noting that often elders will see things coming up on the horizon that should be faced today. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations secretary-general, he added, has stressed the critical importance of Indigenous people and their values to the future of the planet. MacDonald also noted that not since the fateful asteroid strike of 65 million years ago are so many of God’s creatures passing so quickly from existence. “It’s amazing to me that people can watch this sort of death and not feel something is wrong.”
MacDonald said that many people across Turtle Island (North America) rejoice at the signs of progress since the end of the residential schools, “but we have to understand that for many people, particularly the poor, things are getting worse.”
Turning to Indigenous people in the Bible, a topic he’s often asked about, MacDonald said that in scripture “when someone wants to get back to God, they become Indigenous. John the Baptist dressed in camel hair and ate locusts.” And when the prophets Elijah, Elisha and Jeremiah wished to find peace with God and call the nations back to righteousness, they, too, returned to Indigenous ways.
The forces of power, money and greed are still destroying children, just as King Herod did in the Bible, and a stand must be taken against them, he said. MacDonald quoted Paul (Ephesians 6:10): “Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
He called on Indigenous peoples to return to “the way of life that God has given us, a spiritual return, a way we are called to by our elders…who have been talking about this for a long time.”
Above all, he urged vigilance about climate injustice in the face of escalating economic development that threatens to destroy the land on which Indigenous people depend for life. “What would a people’s movement against this look like? It would look a lot like you,” he concluded.
City’s faith groups come together to voice differences, similarities as they grapple with social changes
[Diocese of Atlanta — Gainesville, Georgia] A near-capacity crowd of about 300 gathered on a recent Wednesday evening at Grace Episcopal Church to hear local pastors of different denominations explore ways their faith groups respond to social and legal challenges from the secular community.
The Rev. Stuart Higginbotham, rector at Grace Church, said, “Christianity beyond the Catchphrases” was the first such gathering in this Northeast Georgia city of 35,000 some 50 miles northeast of Atlanta.
The event was the result of regular gatherings by local clergy, said Jennifer Williams, director of communications at Grace.
“We’re hoping that by bringing different denominations with different viewpoints together we can learn about our differences, and also our similarities, so that we can build ecumenical relationships and grow closer,” Williams said.
In addition to Higginbotham, clergy participating in the panel discussion included: the Rev. Cynthia Park of Grace Episcopal; the Rev. Marshall Bruner (Methodist), clinical director of Center Point; the Rev. Stephen Samuel of St. John Baptist Church; the Rev. Terry Walton of First United Methodist; the Rev. Bill Coates of First Baptist; the Rev. Don Harrison (Episcopal), chaplain at Brenau University; the Rev. Thomas Jones (Presbyterian) of Habitat for Humanity International; and the Rev. Richard Evans (Baptist), chaplain at Lanier Village Estates.
Panel moderator Dr. Martha Nesbitt, president emeritus of Gainesville State College, focused the evening’s discussion by asking each panel member the same three questions about their denomination’s greatest gift to the Christian church, the greatest issue with which their denomination is wrestling and their denomination’s approach to Scripture.
Dr. Bill Coates, senior pastor at First Baptist Church, said the challenge of how to respond to that issue caused him to remember his first sermon as a pastor, which was based on Micah 6:8.
“What I didn’t realize was that would become the theme of my ministry, and what I believe should be the theme of the life of the church in Jesus Christ: to “do justice to all people, regardless of sexual orientation,” Coates said.
The only African-American member of the panel, the Rev. Stephen Samuel, said gender issues are important but take a secondary position to racial tensions at his church, St. John Baptist.
“How could I not mention Charleston, South Carolina? How could I not mention Ferguson, Missouri?”
“The issue of sexual orientation, for us, seems to me like a political conversation because, as far as we’re concerned, there are some other social issues that the church that represents Jesus needs to put at the forefront,” Samuel said.
“How is it that some issues,” he added, “get so much attention, and there are other issues that are just as Gospel-centered, that require some (level of) attention? Because…there is a cultural barrier.”
The Rev. Terry Walton, senior pastor at Gainesville’s First United Methodist Church, said cultural diversity generally presents a challenge to his denomination.
“We are a church that is of ‘open minds, open hearts, open doors’ and we are diverse,” Walton said. “And our diversity, the contribution we make, is sometimes our greatest challenge because when you have diversity you have a lot of different ways of looking at things.
“We’ll be having a great debate next April about same-sex marriage and transgender,” Walton said. “Personally, I just want to cry out, ‘Why can’t we be open? What are we afraid of?’ There is so much energy put in those debates that the real energy for the gospel gets diluted.”
Walton’s plea drew at least one “amen” from those gathered in the sanctuary.
The Rev. Cynthia Park, Grace’s associate rector, said The Episcopal Church has for decades been wrestling with how to be more inclusive.
“We feel constantly compelled to engage situations we may wish to ignore, to make room in leadership for persons we have kept marginalized and hidden for centuries, whether it’s the voice of women, (disabled) persons or persons who are homosexual or transgender,” Park said.
The Rev. Marshall Bruner, Center Point’s clinical director and a United Methodist minister, agreed with Walton that same-sex marriage was a major issue for Methodists.
“Do we accept people as they are? And how did they get to be how they are?” he said. “Did God create them that way or is it a lifestyle?”
He said the issue has caused churches to pull out of the denomination.
First Baptist’s Coates said he believes his denomination’s guiding principle should be “to do justice to all people, regardless of sexual orientation or anything else, and to love mercy and walk humbly with God. I think Baptists have to fight arrogance.”
Today’s high-tech society is another challenge to Christianity, Park said. “I’m concerned that the digital age of the Generation Zs will come in here and miss meeting God,” Park said.
The Rev. Don Harrison, an Episcopalian and Brenau University chaplain, said he believes those and other challenges are causing decline in the Christian faith.
“There are more mosques in Great Britain than there are Anglican churches,” he said. “About 86 percent of Americans claim that they are God-believing, but only 40 percent go to any church of any denomination.
“I think the struggle is how, in the 21st century, do you believe in a tradition that goes back thousands of years and is very slow to change and very slow to adapt?”
St. John Baptist’s Samuel said racism continues to segregate worship. He recalled one woman’s response when he invited her to his church. She said, “I’m not going to be the only white person sitting up in that black church.”
“I thought we were talking about Jesus,” Samuel said, “but at some point, a wall was built to where culture, or our differences, became more important. Am I to think she’s the exception or the general rule?”
Coates drew applause from the audience when he sought to give a different perspective to the challenges Christians face. “If the sky didn’t fall during the Inquisition, it’s not going to fall now,” he said.
Grace Episcopal’s Higginbotham said he hoped the event will serve as a “launching point for a series of conversations around the richness of different denominations.”
Similar gatherings held quarterly — with a variety of formats such as one featuring all women pastors, a look at topics in the news and an interfaith panel — are among the ideas for future events, Higginbotham said.
— Don Plummer is community and media relations coordinator for the Diocese of Atlanta.
[Anglican Journal] The church’s “absolute and unwavering commitment” to addressing the injustices that Canada’s Indigenous people continue to experience is one of the key elements in achieving meaningful reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada has said.
“I pray that as a church, we will rise up to this challenge, join hands with Indigenous peoples, walk with you, and with you speak truth to power,” said Archbishop Fred Hiltz in a sermon delivered during the opening eucharist of the 8th national Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle on August 17. About 160 Indigenous Anglicans across Canada are gathered at the UNIFOR Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ont., for the triennial meeting, August 16-22.
As he reflected on the day’s readings—“a judgment against Israel, a psalm of penitence and a gospel of invitation to a new way of living”—Hiltz spoke passionately about how both Canada and the church have failed God and Indigenous people.
“…Like the people of Israel, we have followed other gods: the gods of imperialism, the notion of the superiority of some races over others, the institutionalizing of racism, the enacting of policies of assimilation grounded in nothing less than a resolve in cultural genocide,” said Hiltz. “…Dare I say, we provoked the Lord’s anger in the manner in which in the name of colonialism and the spirit of the doctrine of discovery we suppressed Indigenous [people] across Turtle Island and smothered their languages, culture and spirituality.”
Hiltz expressed the hope that the church will address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s Calls to Action and turn them into priorities in its ministry among and with Indigenous people. “For those who have ears to hear, a conscience to stir and a heart to move, the [TRC] has humbled this nation to confess its sin, and to pray for guidance in walking a new and different way with the First Peoples of this land,” he said. “…If we are true to an abiding commitment to an evolving relationship with one another, the church can do no less, for the love of Jesus compels us.”
The primate also referred to the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples’ (ACIP) call for a change in the church’s governance structures to allow greater self-determination for Indigenous Anglicans.
The proposals—which include the creation of self-determining Indigenous ministries, provisions for urban ministry and Indigenous training and ordination programs, among others—will be discussed at the Sacred Circle.
“I hear a number of questions about the call, most in the spirit of understanding it and enhancing our capacity to embrace it, as fully as possible through whatever structural changes might emerge in the church,” said Hiltz, noting that initial discussions have taken place at the National House of Bishops and the Council of General Synod (CoGS).
Hiltz said the call for greater self-determination arises from the crises that Indigenous leaders witness in their communities, mostly as consequences of the Indian residential school system and the lingering effects of colonialism.
“I am continually sobered by the stark reality that 70% of Indigenous peoples are dependent on social assistance and that one in two Aboriginal children live in poverty,” he noted. “I am continually sobered by the awful reality that more Indigenous peoples are living in slums in the downtown core of large cities than in their own communities.” Canada’s Indigenous people also “represent the highest group of death by accident or violence of any culture in the world,” he added.
The Sacred Circle, Hiltz said, presents an opportunity for healing, reconciliation and a new life. “It’s about renewing commitments to ministry. It’s about the nurturing of a friendship in the spirit of Jesus’ teaching,” he said. “It’s about rebuilding trust, nurturing respect, restoring harmony and looking expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities in this church of ours and in this country.”
The church’s commitments will be manifested in various ways—from engaging political leaders in the federal election campaign, to responding to the TRC’s Calls to Action and in heeding Indigenous Anglicans’ call for greater self-determination within the church.
[Anglican Communion Environmental Network] Several bishops around the Anglican Communion have made short videos describing the impact and implications of climate change in their dioceses and calling for prayer and action.
The series of videos – produced by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN) – is intended as a resource for Anglicans and partners who are advocating for climate justice in the run-up to the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21) in Paris on 30 November-11 December.
Typhoons in the Philippines
The Rt Revd Jonathan Casimina, Bishop of Davao in the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, describes the brutal consequences of increasingly severe weather events, and in particular the typhoons that have caused death and destruction in his area. He concludes, “Climate justice is the people’s demand … If we partake of the eucharist, we must be willing to become eucharist for others, blessed, broken and given”.
Deforestation in northern Argentina
In the Diocese of Northern Argentina in the Anglican Church of South America, Bishop Nicolas Drayson relates how the lives of Indigenous people in the Chaco region have been affected by extensive and continuing deforestation: “In a very real sense the [Indigenous communities] weep for the cutting down of the forest because it is the destruction of their home. As we face climate change we mourn for the destruction of our home, our planet. The changes that are taking place don’t affect just one part of the world; they affect us all, and particularly those without a voice – the Indigenous people.”
Climate change denial in Australia
Suffragan Bishop Tom Wilmot in the Archdiocese of Perth in the Anglican Church of Australia welcomes the moral leadership provided by the Papal Encyclical Laudato Si’, reflects on the situation in Australia and, with COP 21 in view, asks for prayers for a change of heart among politicians who continue to deny the human-induced acceleration of climate change.
Bishops for eco-justice
Each of the video contributors was one of the concerned bishops who met in Volmoed, South Africa earlier this year and released The World is our Host: A Call to Urgent Action for Climate Justice in response to the ‘unprecedented climate crisis’.
More video messages from bishops in different parts of the Communion will be published on ACEN’s website in the coming days, including from the Anglican bishops of Swaziland and New York.
Guided by the Anglican Communion Fifth Mark of Mission ‘to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the earth’, ACEN encourages Anglicans to support sustainable environmental practices as individuals and in the life of their communities; provides information about policies embraced by synods, councils and commissions, and especially by the international leadership structures of the Communion; and shares advocacy and information about local best practice and resources.
Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School becomes affiliate partner with National Center for Civil and Human Rights
[Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School press release] Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School has been named an Affiliate Partner with Atlanta’s National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Inc., in downtown Atlanta — an engaging cultural attraction connecting the American Civil Rights Movement to today’s Global Human Rights Movements. The partnership is particularly appropriate for a school whose mission is, in part, to develop in students a respect for self and others.
“As an Episcopal school, we are called and compelled to stand for inclusivity of culture, diversity of thought, and the worth and dignity of every human being,” said Head of School Paul Barton.
The collaboration will not only give Holy Innocents’ access to educational programming, but also provide professional development opportunities, internships, and special admission fees. School-sponsored field trips to The Center will be free for the HIES community, for example, and students and families will enjoy discounts on admission. The Center’s staff will also deliver up to 10 hours of curriculum support.
“Having this type of partnership provides opportunities for inclusive dialogue as we prepare global leaders of tomorrow,” said Keith A. White, HIES Director of Community Outreach and Associate Director of Admissions. “Through this partnership, our community will have access to a plethora of programs and experiences as we foster in our students a respect for self and others and a sense of service to the world community.”
The Center for Civil and Human Rights opened on June 23, 2014, not far from the birthplace of Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., whose speeches, letters and artifacts are exhibited in a special gallery of rotating items from the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection. The Center also includes a powerful exhibit with a mock 1950s lunch counter where visitors can enact the part of protesters, sitting on vibrating stools and wearing headphones that help them to experience the insults, taunts, knocks and other indignities that protestors endured.
Martyrs to the Movement are remembered at The Center—fast becoming a landmark to the struggle for liberty—as well as those involved in newer, broader cases of the inspiring fight for global human rights.
“Our purpose is to create a safe space for visitors to explore the fundamental rights of all human beings so that they leave inspired and empowered to join the ongoing dialogue about human rights in their communities,” said Dina Bailey, The Center’s Director of Educational Strategies.