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Video: Presiding Bishop preaches at St. George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem

ENS Headlines - Monday, January 26, 2015

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached at St. George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem, on Jan. 25. She was leading an interfaith pilgrimage to the Holy Land. ENS coverage of the pilgrimage is here.

The full text of the sermon follows.

Conversion of Paul[1]
25 January 2015
St. George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem, Arabic service
Abrahamic Interfaith Pilgrimage


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

I bring you greetings from Episcopalians in the United States and in 16 other countries in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Taiwan. The people of this diocese – in Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon – continue in our prayers. We ask you to pray for us.

I am here as part of an interfaith pilgrimage, with a group from the U.S. composed of Jews, Muslims, and Episcopalians. We are here to meet God in one another and in the midst of the Abrahamic traditions we share. We have spent the last week in conversation with people who are working to build bridges and make peace. We have remembered that the work requires vulnerability, and a willingness to make space where God might enter and make peace in us and in the world around us. Listening deeply to the story another person tells is an essential and holy way of opening that space. What does that require of us? Slowing down, sitting down in patience, breathing deeply, and focusing our attention on another rather than ourselves. It is a kind of prayer, listening for the creative word of God in another. It is a conscious act of loving our neighbor as ourselves.

This pilgrimage had its genesis in a focus on peace in this land. Yet in listening to the stories of struggle we discover the need for peace, and its possibilities, everywhere. In this land we call holy, what Archbishop Suheil calls the Land of the Holy One, we rediscover that peace is born in setting aside both space and attention for the sake of another. It is an act of blessing, or making holy, that reflects the Holy One who has created us in God’s own image, that we might also be one and holy.

Today churches around the world mark the end of a week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Those who have traveled here will return home filled with ongoing prayer for religious unity, that we may show forth the love of God within us and among us, and make evident the one human family God has created.

There is some real irony in the readings for this morning, which commemorate the Conversion of St. Paul. Originally called Saul, he was a pious and observant Jew who found the new movement of Jesus’ followers deeply objectionable. Their preaching was disrupting the peace in the synagogues, he’s afraid of further chaos, and seems honor-bound to do all he can to expel and end this havoc. You heard how Luke begins to tell the story in Acts: “Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord…” Threats and murder are hardly a sign of holiness, yet they are often the companions of zealotry in every religious tradition. Zealotry is in many ways the opposite of that act of holy space-making that will slow down enough to breathe in the words and story of another.

Saul has a blinding encounter on his road toward further threats and possible murder. It stops him in his tracks and takes away his sight. It takes three days and an encounter with another before he begins to see a different way. That encounter is with Ananias, who lives on Straight Street (an indication that he brings a direct and truthful message), and he has good reason to fear Saul, but his prayerful listening prompts him to go and find his persecutor.

Ananias prays that the breath of God might fill and heal Saul and let him see. Saul has a conversion; he turns around, expands his vision of what is possible, and embraces a former enemy. His changed attitude astonishes people who knew him only as an angry and threatening zealot: “Isn’t this the guy who used to terrorize us?”

Yet the sad reality is that others soon began to tell his story as one of reversal, as trading violence toward one group for power plays over his own people. What originated in an expanded awareness of truth gets narrowed down again to a tale of winners and losers. Listen again to the last sentence we heard in Acts: “Saul became increasingly powerful and confounded the Jews… by proving that Jesus was the Messiah.” That is the story told by a group that still feels afraid and anxious – ‘see how powerful our leader is, how thoroughly he conquers the unbelieving.’ It is not exactly the story of Jesus the humble carpenter, the undefended teacher and prophet of wisdom, or the one who refused verbal battle with Pontius Pilate. It’s antithetical to the words of the Son of Man who called people blessed when they’re hated, excluded, and defamed, who said they should jump for joy, because they should know they’re acting like prophets.[2]

Listen again to the heart of this gospel reading: “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life… many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” If you want to find life that endures and expands beyond human limitations, then let go of what you hang on to so tightly – possessions and positions and the supreme truth of your own story. Set those down and receive infinitely more.

Matthew follows this story with one about workers in the vineyard who all get the same pay, whether they work all day or only an hour. At the end the vineyard owner asks, ‘Can’t I do what I want with what belongs to me?’ “Or are you envious because I am generous? The last will be first and the first will be last.”[3] Who owns that vineyard? And whose land is this, but the Holy One’s?

There is something about holiness traditions that cannot stand other holiness traditions, and usually only receives them as threatening and murderous. It’s an attitude that insists that boundaries between traditions have to be strong and high, or something essential will be lost.

There is also something about holiness traditions that can rise above those boundaries, or descend deeper into the heart of all that is, to remember and rediscover the One and only source, who alone is Holy. That way seeks oneness rather than division, and remembers that God’s universe is larger and far more curious than human beings can imagine. That is the truth the psalmist proclaims about God’s mercy and justice being for all people.[4]

Deep in the heart of the Holy One there is no division. Distinction emerges in creation, yes, but it is distinction that is bound in relationship, rather than division. We human beings so often want to focus on the distinctions between us, and deny relationship with those who differ. It only divides us from the Holy One, particularly when we judge ourselves more righteous than another. The first shall be last, the last first, and ultimately we are all in this together.

The distinctions of our traditions – rote and ritual, habit and custom and theological formulations – are guideposts, laws, and patterns that shape us for holiness. They help us stay on Straight Street, the way of the Lord, the road of righteousness. But those distinctions are not the fullness of our created nature. If we have the courage to look beyond the fences and guardrails we can catch a glimpse of the Holy One creating new possibility in our hearts. Those roads are flowing from the same source. Slow down, and rest in the truth of God’s oneness. God’s creation reflects its source, and no part can be diminished by that oneness. Slow down, and breathe in God’s creative, loving breath. Fear and suspicion cannot long survive that slowing down. Breathe deeply, receive the breath of God, and listen for the Holy One, creating peace in your heart.

[1] The readings in Jerusalem’s lectionary are Acts 9:1-22; Psalm 67; Galatians 1: 11-16a; Matthew 19: 27-30

[2] Luke 6:22-23

[3] Matthew 20:15-16

[4] Psalm 67:1-2, 4

Georgia bishop asks pardons board to spare inmate’s life

ENS Headlines - Friday, January 23, 2015

[Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta] Bishop Rob Wright Jan. 26 sent a letter to the chair and members of Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Paroles asking them to spare the life of an intellectually disabled death-row inmate. Warren Lee Hill is scheduled to be executed Jan. 27.

Warren Hill

Hill, whose intellectual disability has been twice confirmed by lower courts, had his final appeal to the State Supreme Court denied Jan. 20. The Board of Pardons and Paroles, which meets Jan. 26, provides Hill with a last opportunity for avoiding the death penalty unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes.

In his letter Wright made a biblical argument against executing Hill. “While many people support capital punishment, Holy Scripture clearly shows Jesus never taught that we should murder a human being, no matter how heinous the crime.”

He told the board that he was greatly encouraged in July 2014 when they commuted the death sentence to life without parole in the case of Tommy Lee Waldrip.

“Your decision was a victory for morality and human dignity and I praise you for your action. Today I urge you to again take the courageous path and spare the life of Mr. Hill,” he said.

Since 1984, Georgia has executed 56 people, an average of two per year. However, in the past year Georgia has increased the frequency of executions with six scheduled executions.

Since 1954, The Episcopal Church has called repeatedly for an end to executions. Wright said in a letter to more than 200 clergy in his diocese that he hopes they will express concern to state officials — and physically witness their opposition to the death penalty. “As we all know, capital punishment can never bring an end to killing,” he said.

This is not the first time Wright has called an end to Georgia executions. In December, he wrote a letter to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal urging a halt to the practice. At that time Robert Wayne Holsey was facing execution. Holsey was executed Dec. 9 for the murder of Baldwin County sheriff’s deputy Will Robinson.

On Jan. 13 the state also executed Andrew Howard Brannan, a decorated war veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to court records. Brannan was put to death for the 1998 murder of 22-year-old Laurens County Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle Wayne Dinkheller.

Georgia is the only state to require evidence of intellectual disability to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. All other states use a less-strict standard of proof.

In a New York Times editorial published Jan. 23, the editors said “Mr. Hill’s case is a catalog of everything that is wrong with the death penalty.”

Vigils protesting the death penalty are planned for outside Georgia’s death-row prison and in Atlanta and 10 other locations throughout Georgia, according to Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty website.


ENS Headlines - Friday, January 23, 2015

La visita del papa Francisco a Filipinas reunió una multitud que se considera la más grande de las visitas papales hasta la fecha. Francisco celebró una misa al aire libre que se vio matizada por una pertinaz lluvia en la que instó al mundo a “aprender a llorar” por la suerte de los pobres, los hambrientos, los sin techos y los niños que han sido víctimas de abusos. El papa se detuvo a lo largo de su recorrido para besar a los niños y bendecir las estatuas religiosas en el día en que el calendario eclesiástico se celebra la fiesta del Niño Jesús. Filipinas es una de las naciones asiáticas donde hay más cristianos. En su homilía, el papa instó a los filipinos a rechazar las “estructuras sociales que perpetúan la pobreza, la ignorancia y la corrupción”, un tema que tocó en sus conversaciones con el presidente Benigno Aquino, que también asistió a la eucaristía. El papa se emocionó cuando una niña de 12 años lo abrazó y le dijo que había sido abandonada.

Argentina está pasando desde hace pocos días por una crisis política que puede tener consecuencias en el gobierno y en los políticos de alto rango: todo se debe a la muerte inesperada y misteriosa del fiscal argentino Alberto Nisman, un abogado de 51 años encargado de investigar el atentado a la mutual judía AMIA en 1994. Nisman acusa a la presidenta argentina Cristina Fernández de encubrir a Irán en el atentado a la sede judía.  Nisman fue encontrado muerto en el baño de su casa en el barrio porteño de Puerto Madero, según informó la prensa local. Algunos observadores sospechan que se suicidó pero otros piensan que fue víctima de un homicidio. Todavía hay memoria de la bomba que explotó el 18 de julio de 1994 en la mutualista israelita causando la muerte a 85 personas. Los cuerpos de seguridad investigan los hechos.

Según una encuesta realizada por la firma PEW Center estos son los índices de

personas en América Latina que dicen no tener religión alguna: Uruguay 38%,
Chile 25%, Argentina 13%, Nicaragua 12%, República Dominicana 12%.

Durante la celebración del Día de Martín Luther King, Jr. se repitió una y otra vez  que en materia de relaciones raciales “se ha progresado mucho pero todavía hay que hacer mucho más”. Varios oradores se quejaron de que los jóvenes afroamericanos tienen restricciones académicas y laborales que les impiden avanzar como el resto de la población.

La disputa entre miembros de la facultad y seminaristas del Seminario General de Nueva York, una institución de educación teológica de la Iglesia Episcopal fundado en 1817 ha llegado a su fin. Las partes litigantes llegaron a un acuerdo para beneficio de todos. El seminario tiene alrededor de 120 estudiantes, cursando estudios de maestría y doctorado en teología.

La guerrilla islamista de Boko Haram constituye una seria amenaza para la paz mundial cuyas atrocidades se repiten con frecuencia. Su más reciente acto es el secuestro de unas 200 mujeres cristianas en Nigeria que días más tarde fueron puestas en libertad. Las mujeres dijeron que recibieron maltratos físicos y ultrajes. Hasta ahora la prensa internacional y los países vecinos se han contentado con relatar los hechos. Y nada más. En Nigeria 55 por ciento de sus habitantes son cristianos y 45 por ciento son musulmanes.

Según un informe de las Naciones Unidas aunque muchas mujeres están mejor preparadas académicamente ahora que hace 20 años, todavía siguen sufriendo la violencia física, sexual y sicológica de sus esposos o compañeros.  Esta violencia es ejercida contra la mujer por su condición de mujer siendo ésta, “consecuencia de la discriminación que sufre tanto en leyes como en la práctica, y la persistencia de desigualdades por razones de género”. Una de cada tres mujeres de la población mundial se habrá visto afectada por esta violencia, señala el informe.

CONFUSIÓN. Al llegar a la casa de un feligrés al clérigo le presenta a un jovencito al que con toda cortesía le pregunta: “Jaimito ¿Quieres ser cristiano?” Contesta Jaimito: “No, señor, prefiero ser Messi”.

RIP: Marcus Borg, theologian and historical Jesus expert, dies at 72

ENS Headlines - Thursday, January 22, 2015

Marcus Borg

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 10:15 a.m. EST Jan. 23 to include information about a memorial service and additional details.

[Episcopal News Service] Marcus J. Borg, a New Testament scholar, theologian and author who was associated for years with the search for the historical Jesus and who sought to put the New Testament in what he believed was its proper context, died Jan. 21.

Borg, 72, had been suffering from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, according to an announcement from at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, where he had been a member for years.

He died peacefully and without pain at his home in Powell Butte, Oregon, at 7:05 a.m. PST, the Rev. Nathan LeRud, acting cathedral dean, said in the announcement.

The Rev. Marianne Borg said “Marcus rose before the sun,” according to the announcement.

There will be a memorial service honoring Borg’s life at the cathedral on March 22. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will officiate.

“Marcus Borg was a gifted teacher and profoundly significant voice of reasoned faith for many, both in and outside the church,” Jefferts Schori said via e-mail from the Holy Land where she is leading an interfaith pilgrimage. “His teaching and writing led countless numbers of people into deeper and more authentic relationship with the Holy One. His gifts of insight, profound faith, and the ability to show others a path will be greatly missed.”

“Marcus also modeled for the world and the church what it is like to build collegial relationships with people who hold deep and differing convictions, and to discover greater truth and friendship in the midst of that kind of dialogue,” she continued. “I had the great privilege to know him as a teacher and a colleague over more than 30 years, and I will miss him deeply. May he rest in peace and edify the angels. Pray for Marianne and his children and give thanks for a life well lived in the search for truth.”

Borg, 72,  was a leader in the Jesus Seminar, which worked to construct the life of Jesus through historical critical methods that looked at ancient texts such as the Bible to discern the world they described. The seminar’s fellows voted on the relative authenticity of about 500 statements and events concerning Jesus.

The seminar portrayed Jesus as a Jewish wise man and faith healer who traveled the countryside, dining with and healing people whom Jewish dogma and social norms treated as outsiders. This Jesus was seen as a prophet who preached about the possibility of liberation from injustice.

Not all theologians and religious scholars agree with the seminar’s approach and findings. Yet others passionately agreed and many Christians credit Borg and others such scholars with reviving their faith.

“Very many people who had left the Christian faith have returned to it through Marcus’ evangelism (though he would grimace at my use of the word, I suspect),” the Very Rev. Barkley Thompson, dean and rector of Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, wrote in his blog after learning of Borg’s death. “Marcus was a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ in word and in deed.  He understood Jesus (and especially the Resurrection) differently than I do.  But the veracity of his faith was clear.  And calm.  And passionate.”

“Imagine that Christianity is about loving God. Imagine that it’s not about the self and its concerns,” Borg suggested in his last book. Photo: Marcus Borg/Facebook

Borg had been national chair of the Historical Jesus Section of the Society of Biblical Literature and co-chair of its International New Testament Program Committee and president of the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars.

Borg was installed May 31, 2009, as canon theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, where he had taught frequently and where the Rev. Marianne Borg was on staff at the time. Since their retirement, the Borgs have attended Trinity Episcopal Church in Bend, Oregon.

“Adult theological re-education at the congregational level is an urgent need within American churches today,” Borg said at the time. “It is essential to Christian formation. And from my own experience and from a number of studies, I know that it has been a source of re-vitalization in hundreds of congregations around the country.”

As a lecturer and author, Borg traveled as much as 100,000 miles a year. He was the Hundere Chair of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University where he taught for 28 years until his retirement in 2007. He was the author of 21 books, including Jesus: A New Vision (1987) and the best-seller Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time (1994); The God We Never Knew (1997); The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (1999); Reading the Bible Again for the First Time (2001), and The Heart of Christianity (2003), both best-sellers.

His latest books are Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most (2014) Speaking Christian (2011); Putting Away Childish Things (a novel – 2010); Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary (a New York Times Best-Seller – 2006); Conversations with Scripture: Mark (2009); and three books co-authored with John Dominic Crossan, The Last Week (2006), The First Christmas (2007), and The First Paul (2009). He is the co-author with N. T. Wright of The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions.

In Convictions, a book that he said grew out of a sermon he preached at Trinity Cathedral on his 70th birthday, Borg wrote that there was “nothing remarkable about my life, nothing heroic.” And he said that while it was hard for him to turn 60 because that milestone felt “like the end of potential and the beginning of inevitable and inexorable decline,” turning 70 in 2012 felt “interestingly empowering.”

Borg said that from this vantage point he was exploring what it meant to be Christian and American, having been shaped by those two memberships, and more especially “to be Christian and to live in the richest and most powerful country in the world, often called the ‘American Empire.’”

He called God “real and a mystery,” in Convictions and asked his readers to “Imagine that Christianity is about loving God. Imagine that it’s not about the self and its concerns, about ‘what’s in it for me,’ whether that be a blessed afterlife or prosperity in this life.”

More information about Borg can be found on his website.

– Religion News Service contributed to this obituary.

Church of England makes history with online pastor role

ENS Headlines - Thursday, January 22, 2015

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Church of England’s Lichfield Diocese has broken new ground by advertising for a lay or ordained diocesan pastor to connect and support people online.

According to Bishop of Stafford Geoff Annas, the Diocesan Online Pastor is “a brave new role” with a focus on enabling teenagers and young people to “build up and nurture each other in the Christian faith.”

Speaking on the Church of England’s weekly podcast Annas stressed that while it was “not a substitute for face-to-face contact” the role would help the church meet needs that young people had and that weren’t currently being met.

“The emphasis is about how [young people] can better join in in their churches, but it’s also about keeping them aware of what’s going on in other churches,” he said.

“A lot of young people nowadays don’t see themselves even in denominational terms they see themselves as young Christians and the way they live out their faith is very different from traditional ways. It’s all part of reimagining of what it means to be ‘church’ in the coming years.

“I think where we’ve got problems is that young people see church in a totally different way. We’re not going to get them to sign up to endless meetings…the Church of England particularly is at an interesting moment. It’s at a turning point.”

Archdeacon of Stoke on Trent Matthew Parker told the Church of England’s Jillian Moody that success in this role “will look like more of our young people feeling that they are involved, connected. Relating not just to one another, not just to the wider church, but ultimately relating to God in a way that feels appropriate to them and speaks to where they are.”

The job description states, “To reach new generations we recognise that we must learn to relate more effectively to the world and the experience of young people and young adults. Increasingly, this generation inhabits a virtual environment sustained by an array of social media applications and digital devices.”

It cited recent research that found that adults in Britain spend more time in each day using devices than they do sleeping. Those aged 16-24, doing more than one task at a time, squeeze 14 hours and 7 minutes of media activity into each day, in just over 9 hours.

The job advert continues, “If Christian mission requires a commitment to going where people are and speaking the language they speak, then we cannot afford not to have a focused and engaged online presence if we wish to reach new generations with the gospel.”

The Online Pastor’s work would enable younger people to:

* become Christians through hearing the gospel in the language of digital media;
* grow in their faith and discipleship if they are already Christians;
* connect with other Christians in the diocese both on and offline;
* worship regularly and participate in their local church as well as a wider fellowship and lived out faith online;
* receive invitations to local Christian worship, events and gatherings appropriate to their age group;
* engage online in fellowship and the lived-out faith of transforming communities and practicing generosity;
* receive alerts, post and respond to prayer requests, access daily devotional material and discover links to appropriate and helpful online communities and resources;
* safely report any concerns they may have to the appropriate person (particularly in respect of safeguarding issues)

This is not the first time an Anglican has been appointed exclusively for an online ministry – the Rev. Mark Brown was ordained to a digital ministry by the Anglican Church of Australia more than a decade ago and, among other things, set up an Anglican Cathedral in the online virtual world Second Life.

Nevertheless, this is thought to be the first time a Church of England diocese will appoint someone specifically to a ministerial role that puts the digital space, and young people, at its heart.

For more information is here.

Virginia missionaries spend week visiting church in Cuba

ENS Headlines - Thursday, January 22, 2015

[St. James’s Episcopal Church – Richmond, Virginia] Thirteen missionaries from St. James’s Episcopal Church returned on January 17 from Cuba after a week within the Episcopal Church of Cuba working on a variety of projects including the development of a rural retreat named after a Virginian, Bishop Alexander Hugo Blankingship, who was the diocese’s Bishop from 1939 until the Cuban Revolution, reported The Reverend Carmen Germino, associate rector of St. James’s.

“It was exciting to be back in Cuba just after hearing the news of our governments’ thawing relationship,” said Germino.

“While the economic needs in Cuba are still immense, we felt a palpable spirit of hope from our friends there. The development of Camp Blankingship will only increase that sense of optimism and unity. The forty-four Episcopal churches in Cuba are separated by great distances, and Camp Blankingship will offer a central meeting place in a beautiful setting,” she explained.

Planning for the trip began in mid-2014 as a result of initial visits to the country in 2013 as part of an inter-faith team that included members from Temple Beth Ahabah and St. James’s, neighbors in faith on West Franklin Street in Richmond.

“On our initial trip, I felt an incredibly strong attraction to the Blankingship project,” said DeWitt Casler, one of the mission team in 2013 who returned to Cuba in 2014 on a church fact-finding trip and as part of the 2015 mission.

“When Bishop Griselda started talking about [Blankingship’s] dream of a youth camp, I felt that there was a reason for this connection and attraction,” he explained.

Bishop Blankingship’s daughter, Toni Donovan, lives in Richmond and worships at St. James’s. She and her family arrived here after fleeing Havana in 1961 as Castro turned the Cuban government towards communism. One of her sons, Anthony Donovan, was on the recent mission and represented the family’s hopes for Camp Blankingship. That retreat was the recipient of a 2014 United Thank Offering grant from the Episcopal Church Women’s foundation through the Diocese of Florida’s Cuba Committee to continue work on the project.

Germino added, “Bishop Blankingship’s legacy in the Cuban Episcopal churches is strong, even after many years. We met Cubans who were confirmed and ordained by him decades ago, and still remember him fondly. The Blankingship family’s ongoing connection to the Church of Cuba was fortified when Anthony presented Bishop Griselda with a gift—his grandfather’s framed Certificate of Consecration as a Bishop. It was a heartwarming moment.”

Missionaries this past week were DeWitt Casler, Anne Daniel, Anthony Donovan, Jane Dowrick, Carol Ann Fuller, Sam Fuller, the Reverend Carmen Germino, Edward Leake,  Judy Philpott, Moses Reid, Zach Reid, Barbara Robinson, and Bobbie Smith.

St. James’s Episcopal Church is at 1205 West Franklin Street near Virginia Commonwealth University.  It was established in 1835 and has been located at the intersection of West Franklin and Birch Streets since 1912. Over the past twenty years, St. James’s has sent over 600 missioners on sixty trips, making it one of the most active mission programs in the Episcopal Church.

For more information, visit the church’s website at www.doers.org.

JNCPB report includes updates

ENS Headlines - Thursday, January 22, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) has released the following statement with an update of progress following its recent meeting:

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) met January 12 – 14. After nearly two years of conducting its work electronically, the committee gathered for the purpose of discerning the list of candidates to continue in the process. Committee co-chair, Bishop Edward Konieczny, said that during the time together the committee’s “passionate, emotional, and difficult work laid an incredible foundation that we will aim to continue with grace.”

More than 165 people representing over 60 dioceses submitted names during the nomination period last fall. Bishops whose names were submitted were invited to continue in the discernment process as established by the JNCPB by submitting information and materials for consideration. Video conferencing afforded the opportunity for committee members to talk with the candidates.

The Canons charge the Committee to present a slate of no fewer than three nominees. The JNCPB will announce the names of its nominees in early May. During the 10 days following release of the slate, deputies and bishops may indicate their intent to nominate any other bishop from the floor. The JNCPB will release names of any additional nominees in early June.

The JNCPB will present all the nominees to both Houses of General Convention on Wednesday, June 24. A formal nomination of candidates will follow on Friday, June 26. Bishops will elect the next Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church during a sequestered session on Saturday, June 27. The House of Deputies will then vote to confirm or not confirm the election by the House of Bishops.

Please keep all those who entered the discernment process, the candidates, their families and dioceses, and the members of the JNCPB in your prayers.

The JNCPB committee is composed of a lay member, a priest or deacon, and a bishop elected from each of the nine provinces of the Episcopal Church, plus two youth representatives who were appointed by the President of the House of Deputies, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings. The General Convention Deputies and bishops serve a three-year term to conclude at the close of General Convention 2015 in Salt Lake City.

Members listed here.
On Twitter at: @PB27Nominations or #JNCPB

Lilly Endowment awards $500,000 to Virginia Theological Seminary

ENS Headlines - Thursday, January 22, 2015

[Virginia Theological Seminary press release] Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded $500,000 to Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) for a program entitled “Deep Calls to Deep: A Program to Strengthen Episcopal Preaching.”

“The task of preaching is central to the work of formation,” said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D., dean and president of VTS. “This four-year program will create options for our graduates to grow, develop and hone the craft of preaching. We are honored that the Seminary has been recognized as an appropriate home for this exciting project.”

The Rev. Ruthanna Hooke, Ph.D., will oversee the program as executive director. Hooke is also an associate professor of homiletics and incoming associate dean of chapel. Donyelle McCray, Ph.D., instructor of homiletics and director of the Office of Multicultural Ministries, will serve as associate director. The core of the program is peer learning in groups to invite the connection between preaching and the rest of one’s life.

“‘Deep Calls to Deep’ seeks to help working preachers and seminarians to renew their preaching practices by deepening their connection to the Holy Spirit,” said Dr. Hooke. “At the core of our program is the opportunity for peer learning in community, as we believe that through this collegiality preaching is best developed and supported. We want to reach out to those who undertake the crucial and yet taxing work of preaching in our churches, to provide them with the nurture and challenge that will support them in this ministry for the long haul.”

A central goal of the program is to explore embodiment and spirituality as two tools to rejuvenate the preaching of those who have been in ministry for at least five years. This grant from Lilly Endowment recognizes the outstanding work that the Seminary does both in preaching and in continuing education with its graduates.

Christ Church Alexandria hires interim rector

ENS Headlines - Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Vestry of Christ Church, Alexandria is pleased to announce that they have called The Reverend John Hood Branson to serve as the Interim Rector to lead the congregation during the search process for a new permanent rector, usually a one to two-year period. The Rev. Branson will conduct a forum from 9:00 to 9:45 a.m. on Sunday, January 25 in the Auditorium at Christ Church to introduce himself and discuss the role of interim rectors in Episcopal parishes and his role at Christ Church.

The Rev. Branson is an experienced parish priest who has capably led large congregations similar to Christ Church for over 30 years. Most recently, he served as the Interim Rector at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest Illinois, the largest church in the Diocese of Chicago. Prior to serving there, he was the Rector at Christ and Holy Trinity Church in Westport, Connecticut for 22 years. The Rev. Branson, and his wife Judyth, will reside in the Old Town area of Alexandria during their time at Christ Church.

“The Vestry was impressed by Reverend Branson’s commitment to shepherding his flock, his collegial style and ability to deeply connect with all around him, and the breadth and depth of his church management skills,” according to Janet Osborn, Christ Church Senior Warden.

The Episcopal Church considers it a best practice to have a period of time with an interim rector after a long-term rector retires in order for the congregation to identify their goals as a community, define and prioritize the skills and attributes that are most important in the next rector, and hire the next permanent rector.

For additional information or additional photo, Contact: Tara Knox, Development Director, Historic Christ Church; Alexandria, VA, 703-626-4837 (cell), 703-778-4928(direct), 703-549-5883 (fax), tknox@ccalex.org.

Historic Christ Church is a historic church with an active congregation. Located at 118 N. Washington St. in Alexandria, VA, Christ Church is home to 2,400 parishioners and provides ministry to communities local and global. The parish home of George Washington and many other government and legislative leaders since, Historic Christ Church has long been at the center of the religious and public life of the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. Nearly all the Presidents have attended Christ Church during their term of office. Other visitors include British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Senator Elizabeth Dole, former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, Rosa Parks, and Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Presiding Bishop leads interfaith pilgrimage to Holy Land

ENS Headlines - Thursday, January 22, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is currently leading an Interfaith Abrahamic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

The pilgrimage is in response to Resolution B019 approved at General Convention 2012, recommending the interfaith pilgrimage. Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori recently noted to Executive Council that this resolution “asked me to develop an interfaith pilgrimage to the Holy Land, with equal representation of Episcopalians, Jews, and Muslims, to model and encourage similar efforts and dialogues by others.”

The Presiding Bishop is joined in leadership of the pilgrimage by Rabbi Steve Gutow, President and CEO of the Jewish Council on Public Affairs, New York City, and a trustee of Faith in Public Life; Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, National Director for the Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); and their respective delegates.  The Episcopal Church delegation includes Bishop Prince Singh of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester and the Rev. John E. Kitagawa, Rector ofSt. Philip’s in-the-Hills, Tucson, AZ.
Note: Episcopal News Service will provide full coverage of the pilgrimage upon its return to the United States.

Episcopales que enfrentan la lección más difícil: el perdón

ENS Headlines - Thursday, January 22, 2015

[Episcopal News Service] Entonces se le acercó Pedro y le dijo: Señor, ¿cuántas veces perdonaré a mi hermano que peque contra mí? ¿Hasta siete? Jesús le dijo: No te digo hasta siete, sino aun hasta setenta veces siete”. Mateo 18:21-22.

Al menos el 90 por ciento de la labor de consejería de la psicóloga Ona Graham con individuos y familias conlleva el asistir a aquellos a los que anima el resentimiento y guardan rencores… enseñarles a las personas a identificar donde guardan la ira y el odio” y buscar y extender el perdón.

“La ira es una capa que nos envuelve y que nos separa de Dios. Le digo a la gente que ser rencoroso es como beber veneno y esperar que otro muera. Eso no es lo que Dios quiere para uno”, afirmó Graham, feligresa de la iglesia episcopal de San Nicolás [St. Nicholas Episcopal Church] en Hamilton, Georgia.

Richard Blackburn, director ejecutivo del Centro Menonita por la Paz en Lombard con sede en [la ciudad de] Lombard, Illinois, dijo que la creciente ansiedad social repercute en las familias y las congregaciones. Pequeños malentendidos pueden convertirse aceleradamente en un conflicto eclesial crónico y afectar a las congregaciones e incluso la vida diocesana.

“El perdón es fundamental si vamos a ser capaces de transcender el conflicto y concentrarnos en la misión y en el propósito que tenemos como Iglesia”, afirmó Blackburn, en una entrevista con Episcopal News Service. Él calcula que dedica aproximadamente unos 180 días al año a enseñar sobre los conflictos o a mediar en disputas con una amplia variedad de grupos religiosos, entre ellos los episcopales.

“Parte de los efectos de la ansiedad crónica… es que las personas parecen cada vez menos capaces de mirarse a sí mismas y de reconocer su parte en el desarrollo del conflicto”, dijo Blackburn. “La gente se aferra a su versión de la culpa y no puede ni siquiera ver su propia parte. Esa es la clave para perdonar: todas las partes dispuestas a mirarse a sí mismas y a reconocer que dondequiera que existe un conflicto de relaciones todos tienen un papel en él”.

Ayuda también, agregó, a inculcar una cultura de perdón, reconciliación y conciencia de la omnipresente gracia de Dios que a todos nos es dada.

Perdonarse a sí mismo y cultivar la transformación

Hace aproximadamente cuatro décadas, Jon Bruno, el obispo de Los Ángeles, mató a un hombre de un disparó, algo que él recuerda todos los días.

Antes de ser ordenado sacerdote y obispo, era agente secreto de la policía en Burbank, California, y tuvo que tomar una decisión instantánea para salvar la vida de otro policía que lo acompañaba.

Un sospechoso les había comenzado a disparar, contó Bruno a ENS recientemente. “Hizo un disparo que vino a dar en el poste que estaba a mi lado”, recordaba él. “Mi compañero se levantó con una linterna en la mano y lo alumbró, lo cual no se supone que uno haga. El hombre se volvió y levantó el brazo para disparar y yo le tiré”.

El sospechoso era alguien a quien había llegado a conocer durante una investigación encubierta, dijo Bruno. “Me había invitado a su casa y yo había hecho cabalgar a sus niños en mis rodillas…Le disparé con una escopeta de dos cañones y murió en el acto. Durante mucho tiempo me despertaba todas las noches soñando con lo que había ocurrido. Resultaba muy doloroso revivir eso todas las noches de mi vida”.

Una investigación y la encuesta del médico forense exculpó a Bruno de cualquier delito, pero no fue hasta que buscó ayuda de un sacerdote episcopal que pudo comenzar un proceso de perdón que finalmente habría de transformarlo.

“Me dio la absolución después de hacer la Reconciliación de un penitente en el Libro de Oración”, recordaba Bruno. “Yo había creído que teníamos que sufrir las razonables consecuencias de nuestras acciones. Estaba convencido de haber cometido un pecado contra Dios. En ese tiempo, pensaba, ¿qué es esto, qué me va a librar de esto? Pero esa noche volví a casa y dormí apaciblemente”.

Eso condujo a la transformación. “Cambió mi actitud respecto a lo que era el perdón, que sale del corazón y de la mente así como de la presencia de lo santo, todo en paralelo al mismo tiempo, y he estado dispuesto a perdonar a la gente desde entonces”.

Ahora, “siempre que oigo de un policía involucrado en un tiroteo, oro por esa gente”, agregó Bruno. “Durante años, he sido capellán del departamento de policía aquí en Los Ángeles, y trabajo con tipos que han matado a personas. Y lo que les digo es, debes perdonar a esa persona para que puedas perdonarte, porque el pecado de la ira es tan malo como el de segar una vida.

“Te arranca de tu centro. No te deja ser plenamente humano, no te deja ser un verdadero seguidor de Dios”.

Maryland: una tragedia que se tornó transformadora.

Frank Kohn dijo que no tuvo que esforzarse para perdonar al asesino de su hermana, tan sólo recordar como ella había vivido.

Su hermana, la Rda. Mary-Marguerite Kohn, co-rectora de la iglesia episcopal de San Pedro [St. Peter’s Episcopal Church] en Ellicott City, Maryland, fue herida de muerte en un incidente ocurrido en mayo de 2012 que tuvo amplia divulgación. También murieron [en el mismo incidente] Brenda Brewington, administradora de la parroquia, y Douglas Jones [el autor de los hechos] que volvió el arma contra sí mismo”.

“Al parecer, él visitaba con frecuencia la despensa de la iglesia y nadie sabe lo que realmente sucedió porque no sobrevivieron testigos”, dijo Kohn a ENS.

“Obviamente, yo no conocía a esta persona y en verdad estaba enojado con alguien que le había hecho algo así a mi familia y que había afectado mi vida de esa forma, pero estoy seguro de que no es la manera en que mi hermana se hubiera enfrentado con esto”, afirmó él. “Ella habría entendido la situación en que él estaba”.

Su hermana era siete años mayor que él. Había dedicado su vida a ministrar a los marginados y a las víctimas de traumas, dijo Kohn, de 57 años, que es fitopatólogo. Cuando se produjo la agresión, él inmediatamente salió de su casa en San Luis para Baltimore donde “el apoyo de toda la parroquia y la comunidad me arroparon, y fueron extraordinarios. Como resultado he terminado haciéndome muy buen amigo de algunos de sus amigos más cercanos”.

Más de un mes después del funeral, en otro viaje a Baltimore, también conoció a miembros de la familia de Jones en un momento transformacional. “Ellos alquilaban una casa contigua a la propiedad de la iglesia. Esa puede haber sido la razón de que este tipo estuviera rondando por allí. De manera que la parroquia y esta familia se conocían bien”, apuntó Kohn.

“Enseguida resultaba evidente por cuánto sufrimiento estaba atravesando esta familia por lo que había sucedido”, dijo él. Ciertamente, eran víctimas y no tenían nada que ver con lo que su hermano y cuñado había hecho”.

El perdón fue inmediato, contó Kohn. “Digo que yo no creo que ellos hubieran hecho algo por lo cual ser perdonados, pero resultaba obvio que era como quitarles un gran peso de encima. También tuve la oportunidad de expresarles mi condolencia y mi comprensión por lo que estaban pasando”.

El Rdo. Tom Slawson, vicario de San Pedro, dijo que la iglesia renovó el lugar donde se produjo la agresión, extendiendo la capilla que ya ha sido dedicada para conmemorar allí el ministerio de Kohn.

Los hechos también suscitaron “una especie de arrepentimiento colectivo” entre los miembros de la congregación que antes habían tenido algún conflicto.

Eugene Sutton, el obispo de Maryland, dijo que toda la comunidad diocesana se había concentrado en cultivar el espíritu de perdón y reconciliación. “El hecho cierto es que la Iglesia anuncia constantemente que el reino ha venido con un espíritu de reconciliación, de compasión, de perdón, de justicia y de paz, y nadie más dice eso. La Iglesia es la institución que nos va a llevar allí”, recalcó Sutton.

Perdón a cortos pasos

Sutton y otras personas dicen que la Iglesia tiene una posición privilegiada para ayudar a la sociedad a avanzar hacia el perdón, afirmó también Sutton.

“La Iglesia es el único lugar que dice eso en todos los oficios eucarísticos, a quien se sienta junto a ti o tu alrededor, le deseas las bendiciones y la paz de Dios… que estoy reconciliándome contigo y debo hacerlo porque Dios me ha perdonado y no puedo acercarme a la mesa del Señor para que él me alimente si no trato de ser bueno con los que me hicieron mal.

“Todos nos hemos portado mal con el Señor y él aún nos acoge”, añadió Sutton.

El Rdo. Jeff Jackson, rector de la iglesia de San Nicolás [St. Nicholas] en Hamilton, cerca de Atlanta, dijo que el rito de la reconciliación es otra “forma maravillosa de enseñar el perdón”.

“La Iglesia Episcopal tiene una estupenda tradición, el don que Dios le ha dado a los sacerdotes de poder escuchar [el arrepentimiento] y de pronunciar ese perdón, esa absolución, y eso nos permite oír tangiblemente las palabras que Dios de manera intangible nos dice todo el tiempo, que nos perdona y nos ama y nos restaurará”.

Graham, la neuropsicóloga, ofrece una receta para aprender a perdonar:

  • Renunciar a la venganza
  • Refrenarse o “dejar de pulsar el botón de respuesta”.
  • Librarse de la ira
  • Olvidar el dolor asociado con ella “aprender la lección que te está reservada”.

“Si estás enojado con alguien”, dijo ella, “durante las próximas dos semanas pídele a Dios que le dé a esa persona todo lo que quieres en tu vida y yo te garantizo que, al cabo de las dos semanas, verás a esa persona de manera diferente.

“Empezarás a ver a esa persona desde el punto de vista de Dios y entonces tendrás libertad de espíritu”.

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

Claire Miller Colombo names SSW Writing Center head

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

[Seminary of the Southwest press release] Academic Dean Scott Bader-Saye has announced the appointment of Claire Miller Colombo to serve as director of the Writing Center at Seminary of the Southwest. Dr. Colombo has already contributed significantly to the seminary in recent years — teaching courses in theopoetics, serving as a writing consultant, and leading several well-attended and highly praised writing workshops for our students. She brings a wealth of wisdom and experience to the task of teaching effective writing and critical thinking.

Claire received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas at Austin in 1997 and holds a Diploma in Theological Studies from Southwest. She has taught writing and literature in a variety of settings — including university and secondary school — and has published articles on topics ranging from English poetry to faith-filled parenting. As an educational writer and consultant, she develops religion and language arts curricula for Loyola Press of Chicago, is managing editor of their Seasons magazines, and contributes regularly to their Finding God newsletters. Claire also serves as co-literary editor of Theopoetics: A Journal of Theological Imagination, Literature, Embodiment, and Aesthetics.

“Claire already enjoys a great reputation among the students. She combines writing expertise, pedagogical skill, and theological depth in ways that will impact all of our degree programs,” said Dr. Bader-Saye.

The previous director of the Writing Center, Dr. Greg Garrett, will continue to serve as writer in residence and to contribute his gifts to the life of the seminary.

Dr. Colombo began her new position at Southwest on January 1, 2015.

Miller Colombo to serve as director of Southwest Writing Center

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

[Seminary of the Southwest] Academic Dean Scott Bader-Saye has announced the appointment of Claire Miller Colombo to serve as director of the Writing Center at Seminary of the Southwest. Dr. Colombo has already contributed significantly to the seminary in recent years—teaching courses in theopoetics, serving as a writing consultant, and leading several well-attended and highly praised writing workshops for our students. She brings a wealth of wisdom and experience to the task of teaching effective writing and critical thinking.

Claire received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas at Austin in 1997 and holds a Diploma in Theological Studies from Southwest. She has taught writing and literature in a variety of settings—including university and secondary school—and has published articles on topics ranging from English poetry to faith-filled parenting. As an educational writer and consultant, she develops religion and language arts curricula for Loyola Press of Chicago, is managing editor of their Seasons magazines, and contributes regularly to their Finding God newsletters. Claire also serves as co-literary editor of Theopoetics: A Journal of Theological Imagination, Literature, Embodiment, and Aesthetics.

“Claire already enjoys a great reputation among the students. She combines writing expertise, pedagogical skill, and theological depth in ways that will impact all of our degree programs,” said Dr. Bader-Saye.

The previous director of the Writing Center, Dr. Greg Garrett, will continue to serve as writer in residence and to contribute his gifts to the life of the seminary.

Dr. Colombo began her new position at Southwest on January 1, 2015.

Staff changes at Episcopal Health Ministries

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Retired Diocese of Maryland Bishop Suffragan John L. Rabb, chair of the Board of Directors of Episcopal Health Ministries (http://www.episcopalhealthministries.org/) issued the following press release Jan. 20.

The Board of Directors of Episcopal Health Ministries, facing the reality of the funding environment, has concluded that we can no longer maintain our current staffing.

In appreciation for the excellent work done by Matthew Ellis, CEO, and Sue Nelson, Office Manager, we have made appropriate arrangements for them to be able to seek other opportunities while assisting the board’s transition team with essential duties.

We are all quite grateful for Matt’s leadership for these past eight years and it is with thanks and sadness that we take these actions. The board remains committed to health and wellness and is exploring our next steps for a volunteer-driven ministry.

We have appointed a team of board members to manage this transition. I ask for your prayers during this time of discernment.

About Episcopal Health Ministries: EHM promotes health ministry in Episcopal congregations, assisting them to reclaim the Gospel imperative of health and wholeness. We provide resources and links to national partners, highlighting new program models and connecting health ministers throughout the church.

Episcopalians tackle the toughest lesson – forgiveness

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

[Episcopal News Service] Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”                                         Matthew 18:21-22

At least 90 percent of Georgia neuropsychologist Ona Graham’s counseling work with individuals and families involves assisting those “who feel resentment and carry grudges and … teaching people how to identify where they’re holding onto anger and hatred” and to seek and extend forgiveness.

“Anger is like a cloak we wrap ourselves in that cuts us off from God. I tell people that being resentful is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. This is not what God wants for you,” said Graham, 62, a parishioner at St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Hamilton, Georgia.

Richard Blackburn, executive director of the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center in Lombard, Illinois, said rising societal anxiety impacts families and congregations. Minor misunderstandings can accelerate into chronic church conflict and damage congregational and even diocesan life.

“Forgiveness is crucial if we’re going to be able to get beyond conflict and stay focused on mission and the purpose we have as the church,” said Blackburn, in an interview with the Episcopal News Service. He estimated that he spends about 180 days yearly either educating about conflict or mediating disputes with a wide variety of church groups, including Episcopalians.

“Part of the fallout of chronic anxiety … is that people seem increasingly less able to look at [themselves] and to acknowledge their own part when conflict develops,” Blackburn said. “People get stuck in this blaming mode and can’t even see their own part. That is the key to forgiveness – all parties being willing to look at themselves and acknowledge that whenever there’s conflict in relationships we all play a part in it.”

It also helps, he said, to nurture a culture of forgiveness, reconciliation and awareness of God’s ever-present grace given to everyone.

Forgiving self, cultivating transformation
About four decades ago, Los Angeles Bishop Jon Bruno shot and killed a man, something he still remembers daily.

Before he was ordained a priest and a bishop, he was an undercover police officer in Burbank, California, and had to make a split-second decision to save his partner’s life.

A suspect had opened fire on them, Bruno told ENS recently. “He took one shot and it landed in the pole next to me,” he recalled. “My partner stood up with a flashlight in his hand and shined it on him, which you’re not supposed to do. The man turned and raised his arm to fire, so I shot him.”

The suspect was someone he had come to know during his undercover investigation, Bruno said. “He had invited me into his home. I had bounced his kids on my knees,” he said. “I shot him with a double-barreled shotgun and he died there at the scene. For a long time I woke up every night dreaming about what had happened. It was very painful to relive that every night of my life.”

An investigation and coroner’s inquest cleared Bruno of any wrongdoing but it wasn’t until he sought counsel with an Episcopal priest that he was able to begin a process of forgiveness that ultimately led to transformation.

“He gave me absolution after I’d done the Reconciliation of a Penitent in the prayer book,” Bruno recalled. “I had believed we had to suffer the reasonable consequences of our actions. I was convinced that I had committed a sin against God. At the time, I thought, what is this, that’s going to take these things away? But I went home that night and slept peacefully.”

It led to transformation. “It changed my attitude about what forgiveness was, it comes from the heart and mind as well as the presence of the holy, all in parallel at the same time and I’ve been open to forgiving people ever since.”

Now, “every time I hear about a police-involved shooting, I pray for those people,” Bruno said.  “For years, I’ve been a chaplain for the police department here in Los Angeles, and I work with guys who’ve killed people. And what I tell them is, you need to forgive that person so you can forgive yourself, because the sin of anger is just as bad as the taking of a life.

“It tears you away from your center. It doesn’t allow you to be fully human, it doesn’t allow you to be a true follower of God.”

Maryland: A tragedy turned transformational
Frank Kohn says he didn’t have to search for ways to forgive his sister’s murderer, but only to remember how she’d lived her life.

His sister, the Rev. Mary-Marguerite Kohn, co-rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Ellicott City, Maryland, was fatally shot in a widely publicized May 2012 incident. Also killed were the parish administrator, Brenda Brewington, and the shooter, Douglas Jones, who turned the gun on himself.

“Apparently, he was a frequent visitor to the church’s food pantry and nobody knows what really happened because there aren’t any living witnesses,” Kohn told ENS.

“Obviously I didn’t know this person and there’s certainly anger I had for somebody who would do something like that in my family and affect my life that way, but I’m pretty certain that’s not the way my sister would have dealt with it,” he said. “She would have understood the situation he was in.”

His sister was seven years his senior. She’d dedicated her life to ministry to the marginalized and those affected by trauma, said Kohn, 57, a plant pathologist. When the shooting occurred he immediately left his St. Louis home and headed to Baltimore where “the whole parish and community support enveloped me, and they were wonderful. As a result I have become very good friends with some of her close friends,” he said.

More than a month after the funeral, on another trip to Baltimore, he also met members of Jones’ family in a transformational moment. “They were actually renting a house adjacent to the church property. That may be the reason this guy was hanging around there. So the parish and this family knew each other well,” Kohn said.

“It was immediately apparent how much suffering his family was going though because of what happened,” he said. “They were certainly victims and they had nothing to do with what their brother and brother-in-law did.”

Extending forgiveness was immediate, Kohn said. “I said I didn’t think they had done anything to be forgiven for, but it was obvious it was like a huge weight off their shoulders. I had a chance to express our sympathy and understanding for what they going through as well.”

The Rev. Tom Slawson, St. Peter’s vicar, said the church renovated the space where the shootings happened, enlarging a chapel which since has been dedicated in commemoration of Kohn’s ministry there.

The shootings also sparked “an almost collective repentance” among the previously conflicted congregation.

Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton said the entire diocesan community has focused on cultivating a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation. “The real issue is, the church constantly announces the kingdom has come with a spirit of reconciliation, compassion, forgiveness, justice and peace, and nobody else is saying that. The church is the institution that’s going to get us there,” Sutton said.

Forgiveness in baby steps
Sutton and others say the church is uniquely positioned to help society move toward forgiveness, Sutton said.

“The church is the only place saying that during every Eucharist whoever’s sitting next to you or around you, you wish them God’s blessings and peace … that I’m reconciling with you and I need to do that because God has forgiven me and I can’t go to the table of the Lord and be fed by the Lord if I don’t try to be a good host to those who’ve wronged me.

“We’ve all wronged the Lord and he still bids us welcome,” Sutton said.

The Rev. Jeff Jackson, rector of St. Nicholas in Hamilton, near Atlanta, said the rite of reconciliation is another “wonderful way of teaching forgiveness.

“The Episcopal Church has a wonderful tradition, that God has given priests the gift of being able to listen and to pronounce that forgiveness, that absolution and it allows us to tangibly hear the words that God is speaking to us intangibly all the time, that we are forgiven and loved and that he will make us whole.”

Graham, the neuropsychologist, offers a prescription for learning to forgive:
• Forego seeking vengeance
• Forbear or “stop pressing the replay button”
• Forgive or release the anger
• Forget the pain associated with it “and take the lesson that’s there for you.”

“If you’re angry at someone,” she said, “for the next two weeks ask God to give that person everything you want in your life and I guarantee you that, at the end of two weeks, you will see that person differently.

“You will start to see that person from God’s point of view and then you’ll have freedom of spirit.”

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

CARTA ABIERTA a Ban Ki-moon, Secretario General de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

“…algunas cosas no funcionaron bien porque el gobierno y el FMLN no cumplieron totalmente los compromisos que asumieron en los acuerdos de paz…”[i]. Marrack Goulding, ex supervisor de la ONU para los Acuerdos de Paz. Enero del 2007

Ha sido anunciado que su próxima visita tiene el significado de que “… El Salvador también es visto en el escenario internacional como un país que es único, en el que los procesos de paz han dado paso a la construcción de una nueva sociedad democrática[ii], afirmación que si bien plantea un respaldo al proceso de pacificación salvadoreño, demanda tanto para los salvadoreños como para la comunidad internacional plantearse el alcance real de dicho proceso 23 años después de su principal logro, la finalización del conflicto armado con la firma de los Acuerdos de Paz.

Entre los años de 1990 al 201,  al menos 73 mil personas han sido asesinadas en El Salvador, una cifra cercana al número de 75 mil muertes registrada durante el conflicto armado transcurrido entre 1980 a 1992[iii].  La violencia letal ha sido un desafío constante a lo largo de la etapa de posguerra. Después de más  de dos décadas, la ausencia de un enfrentamiento armado no ha representado para el salvadoreño común vivir en paz.

El informe 2013 del Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD), señala que en El Salvador las muertes violentas suman 41.2 por cada 100,000 habitantes, lo que convierte al país en el cuarto más peligroso del mundo. Asimismo, diferentes encuestas coinciden en plantear que  la inseguridad y el desempleo son los que mayor problema representan para la población.  Una encuesta realizada por la empresa  JBS-Opinión Pública reflejó que el 86 % de la población encuestada dijo que la inseguridad –  delincuencia y pandillas- les genera zozobra a diario. Otra encuesta realizada por el matutino “La Prensa Gráfica” en septiembre 2014 reportó que un 43% de los salvadoreños encuestados manifestaron su deseo de abandonar el país por el actual clima de inseguridad[iv].

El Alto Comisionado de Naciones Unidas para Refugiados (ACNUR), identifica que luego de los conflictos armados de los 70 y 80, y de una reducción de refugiados y asilados en los países de Centroamérica, a partir de 2009, se presenta un incremento en los países del Triángulo Norte. A finales de 2013, había más de 18,500 personas refugiadas provenientes de estos países  Conforme ACNUR, esta tendencia se acentúa con el incremento de solicitudes de asilo, que pasó de 6,900 en 2009 a cerca de 15,700 en 2013.

Estudios sobre las “necesidades de protección de personas retornadas” muestran que una parte de las personas deportadas que llegan a El Salvador (5,2 -5,6% del total de deportados), migraron por motivos de inseguridad o amenazas[v]. Sin embargo, sólo una pequeña proporción de las personas necesitadas de protección, es reconocida como refugiada o se beneficia de alguna forma de protección complementaria. En El Salvador, sobre la base de una muestra representativa de 1,268 personas, 2,1% de las personas entrevistadas declararon que cambiaron su lugar de vivienda debido a amenazas. Un tercio de estas personas cambiaron 2 o más veces en el transcurso de un año[vi].

Ante la magnitud y la complejidad de esta nueva  dinámica de desplazamiento, la respuesta institucional es poco efectiva y la capacidad de protección es limitada. Específicamente en El Salvador, los mecanismos de protección de víctimas de la violencia son insuficientes y la figura del desplazamiento interno no se reconoce como un fenómeno grave ni aparece en el diseño de políticas públicas ni marcos normativos. Aunque si existe a nivel  alguna normativa penal relacionada a protección de víctimas, no hay una mención específica para la protección de las personas desplazadas víctimas de la violencia. En un posicionamiento divulgado por la Procuraduría para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, se plantea que “…las acciones de las instituciones del Estado dirigidas a la protección y asistencia de las víctimas de la violencia sean, en el presente período, tan precarias e insuficientes como en el pasado…”[vii].

Partiendo de esta situación Sr. Secretario General, es importante que en el marco de su visita a El Salvador y en las reuniones programadas en su agenda con diferentes autoridades estatales, pudiese ser abordada esta grave problemática. Por parte de las organizaciones e instituciones que integran y participan en la  Mesa Permanente para la Protección de Personas Forzosamente Desplazadas por la violencia social y el Crimen Organizado en El Salvador, es apremiante el desarrollo de los siguientes puntos,  tanto en  el seno del recién conformado Consejo Nacional de Seguridad Ciudadana y sus mesas específicas como al nivel más amplio posible de las instancias estatales:

  • Reconocer la existencia y actual gravedad del fenómeno del desplazamiento forzado interno de víctimas de violencia social y crimen organizado en El Salvador.
  • Iniciar acciones concretas e inmediatas para el abordaje de este fenómeno de manera participativa e institucionalizada a fin de incluirlo en el diseño de políticas públicas, programas y proyectos estales focalizados en la atención especializada y protección a víctimas.
  • Creación y ejecución de programas específicos para la atención y protección de víctimas desplazadas por violencia social y bajo condiciones de riesgo por amenazas  del crimen organizado en El Salvador.
  • El Salvador requiere de estructuras económicas y sociales garantes de mayores niveles de equidad y transparencia, mayor participación ciudadana, un tejido social fuerte y mucha más movilidad social. Estos elementos no fueron componentes de los Acuerdos de Paz cuya firma se conmemora este 16 de enero, razón por la cual es urgente profundizar en acciones concretas focalizadas en las raíces de la violencia y no solo en sus causas a fin de garantizar un integral proceso de pacificación nacional.

San Salvador, miércoles 14 de enero 2015

Celia Medrano,
Directora de Programas
Fundación Cristosal

Abraham Abrego
Fundación para el Estudio y Aplicación de Derecho (FESPAD)

Iliana Ramírez
Directora Ejecutiva
Coordinadora Nacional de la Mujer Salvadoreña (CONAMUS)

[i] Entrevista realizada por Periódico Digital “El Faro” en el mes de enero 2007.

[ii] Presidente Salvador Sánchez Cerén en el programa radial “Gobernando con la gente” correspondiente al pasado sábado 09 de enero 2014.

[iii]  Instituto Universitario de Opinión Publica  (Iudop) de la Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas”  (UCA) / septiembre 2014.

[iv] Diario Digital “Contrapunto”, julio 2013.

[v] (Gaborit, UCA – OIM, Diagnóstico sobre Caracterización de la Población Salvadoreña Retornada con Necesidades de Protección, Informe Preliminar (2014).

[vi] (IUDOP, Encuesta de Evaluación del Año 2012, Consulta de Opinión, UCA San salvador, 2012).

[vii] “Posicionamiento del Procurador para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos sobre la situación de Inseguridad en el país y las políticas estatales de seguridad”-  12 de mayo 2014

Episcopal Church in Minnesota awards local partnership grants

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

[Episcopal Church in Minnesota press release] The Episcopal Church in Minnesota (http://episcopalmn.org/) (ECMN) announced Jan. 14 that they have awarded 12 grants totaling $70,500 for Missional Innovative Partnerships (MIPs) between Episcopal faith communities and local organizations. A Grant Discernment team was assembled and received 32 applications. Applicants were asked to demonstrate through their proposal that the MIP would meet the following criteria:

•    Missional: Work that is firmly rooted in God’s desire to reconcile the world.
•    Innovative: New imaginings that help address community needs.
•    Partnership: Inviting others into community to build capacity.

The 12 recipients of this year’s grants are:

• Neighbor Helping Neighbor (Holy Apostles, St. Paul) – $7,500

• Partnership with Dodge County Drug Court (St. Peter’s, Kasson) – $2,000

• Churches United in Ministry: Planning, creating, and sustaining edible gardens at Steve O’Neil Apartments (Trinity, Hermantown and St. Andrew’s, Cloquet) – $7,500

• The St. Cloud Coalition for Homeless Men (St. John’s, St. Cloud) – $6,000

• Cass Lake Area Food Shelf (St. Peter’s, Cass Lake) – $15,000

• Drake Hotel and The Family Partnership: Helping families in need (Gethsemane, Minneapolis) – $5,000

• Echo Food Shelf (St. John The Evangelist, Mankato) – $10,000

• Rhythms of Grace Worship Service for autistic children and their families (St. Clement’s, St. Paul) – $2,500

• Austin Human Rights Commission (Christ Church, Austin) – $4,000

• St. Christopher’s Community Dinner (St. Christopher’s, Roseville) – $1,000

• Pilot Program: Rapid Response Team for families in transition (Trinity, Excelsior) – $2,000

• RezCycle Inc.: Earn a Bike Program for youth on the White Earth Reservation (Church of the Epiphany, Plymouth) – $8,000

The field of proposals for this year’s grant applications was highly competitive. The above recipients successfully demonstrated all of the key elements of a Missional Innovative Partnership.

Cinco años después de un devastador terremoto, Haití da señales de recuperación

ENS Headlines - Friday, January 16, 2015

Las aulas de la escuela primaria y secundaria de la escuela episcopal de la Santa Trinidad, en Puerto Príncipe, están llenas de alumnos. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service] Las aulas de la escuela primaria y secundaria en el complejo de la catedral de La Trinidad en Puerto Príncipe, están llenas de alumnos, los estudiantes de música siguen preparándose en lo que fue un convento y se ha levantado un espacio provisional para el culto en los terrenos, señales de vida todas ellas que la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori advirtió cuando estuvo en la catedral durante su visita a Haití a mediados de diciembre.

“La Iglesia Episcopal en Haití sigue desempeñando un papel importante y esencial en este renacimiento. La iglesia catedral de Puerto Príncipe fue considerada durante mucho tiempo el alma espiritual y cultural de Haití. En la actualidad, sus campanas guardan silencio (en un almacén), casi todos sus murales de fama mundial están destruidos (tres de ellos han sido preservados para reutilizarlos) y la desnuda plataforma de su altar aguarda la reconstrucción de la catedral”, dijo Jefferts Schori en una declaración dada a conocer el 8 de enero por la Oficina de Relaciones Públicas de la Iglesia Episcopal.

“Los terrenos de la catedral están animados, con una escuela primaria y secundaria que ahora tiene más niños que antes, una escuela de música que sigue preparando a coros e instrumentalistas de renombre internacional y una escuela técnica que se está levantando en el mismo sitio donde yacieron cadáveres durante días en las ruinas del edificio anterior que se desplomó” [agregó la Primada].

El 12 de enero de 2010, Haití sufrió un catastrófico terremoto de magnitud 7 que causó más de 300.000 muertes, dejó igual número de heridos y desplazó a más de millón y medio de personas, en lo que ha sido uno de los peores desastres naturales de la historia reciente. La Diócesis Episcopal de Haití, la mayor en número de fieles de las 109 diócesis de la Iglesia Episcopal, en cuestión de segundos perdió el 80 por ciento de su infraestructura en Puerto Príncipe y Léogâne, el epicentro del terremoto a menos de 30 kilómetros al oeste de la capital.

La obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori, el obispo de Haití Jean Zaché Duracin y Alexander Baumgarten, director del Departamento de Actividad Pública y Comunicación de la Misión de la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera, contemplan uno de los tres murales que se conservan de los 14 mundialmente famosos —que representaban relatos bíblicos, escenas religiosas y motivos haitianos— que alguna vez adornaron los muros de la catedral. Los murales que sobrevivieron se conservan en los terrenos de la catedral. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS.

Inmediatamente después del terremoto, gobiernos y organismos internacionales de socorro, se comprometieron a contribuir con miles de millones de dólares para ayudar a reconstruir la nación caribeña, considerada durante mucho tiempo la más pobre del Hemisferio Occidental.

“El 13 de enero de ese año, el mundo estuvo en Haití ayudándonos”, dijo el Rvdmo. Ogé Beauvoir, obispo sufragáneo de la Diócesis de Haití, en una declaración que conmemoraba el quinto aniversario del terremoto. “En marzo de 2010, estuve en la sede de las Naciones Unidas en Nueva York viendo que todo el mundo se comprometía con unos 11.000 millones de dólares para ayudar a reconstruir Haití”.

El millón y medio de personas desplazadas buscaron albergue y ayuda humanitaria en 1.500 campamentos que se crearon después del terremoto. Y durante meses fue casi imposible para vehículos y peatones transitar por las calles de la capital, dijo Beauvoir.

Por el momento, los miembros de la catedral de La Trinidad se reúnen en un espacio temporal techado en los terrenos de la catedral. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS.

Además del progreso visible en los terrenos de la catedral de La Trinidad, también puede apreciarse en la manera en que han limpiado los escombros de las calles, se han construido nuevos edificios gubernamentales y se han puesto en vigor nuevos códigos de construcción, y ya más del 90 por ciento de las personas que vivían en campamentos se han ido.

“El gobierno le ha dado ayuda a esas personas para que se mudaran a sus antiguos barrios, les ha ayudado a renovar sus viviendas y ha construido nuevos complejos de apartamentos para los demás. La zona del Campo de Marte [Champs-de-Mars] y otros lugares de Puerto Príncipe y Léogâne ya están libres de esos campamentos”, dijo Beauvoir. “El gobierno actual ha hecho muchísimos esfuerzos”.

Electo en 2011, el presidente Michel Martelly ha supervisado el grueso de la reconstrucción del país, aunque en los últimos meses las violentas protestas contra su gobierno y el llamado a elecciones legislativas y locales, demoradas durante mucho tiempo, han debilitado su papel.

El 12 de enero, el mismo día en que se cumplía el quinto aniversario del terremoto, el parlamento del país estaba a punto de disolverse y el presidente a gobernar por decreto si no se llegaba a un acuerdo.

Beauvoir integró recientemente una comisión de 11 miembros compuestas de ex funcionarios y líderes religiosos para ayudar a resolver el impasse político que ha atascado las elecciones desde 2011.

Siempre ha habido inestabilidad política en Haití, dijo Duracin, durante una entrevista con Episcopal News Servicie a mediados de diciembre en Haití, en la que hizo notar que muchos jóvenes se sienten abandonados por el gobierno.

Beauvoir reconoció la inestabilidad y las preocupaciones de los jóvenes en su declaración.

“En el quinto aniversario del terremoto, nuestro mayor reto es reconstruir a la persona haitiana en mente, espíritu y cuerpo. Debemos desarrollar un nuevo haitiano, una nueva haitiana, que proporcionen el nuevo liderazgo que exige llevar a Haití al siglo XXI”, afirmó.

Una pared exterior de la catedral de la Santa Trinidad que aún se mantiene en pie y que se integrará a la nueva catedral. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS

La Obispa Primada hizo una visita histórica al norte de Haití a mediados de diciembre y predicó en la parroquia del Espíritu Santo en Cabo Haitiano, visitó la escuela parroquial y la cercana escuela técnica del Espíritu Santo, antes de dirigirse al sur para pasar un día en la capital. Fue su sexto viaje a Haití, siendo el primero en 2008.

Después del terremoto, la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera comenzó a recaudar dinero para reconstruir la catedral y su ministerio.

La Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera (DFMS por su sigla en inglés) es el nombre legal y canónico con que la Iglesia Episcopal está incorporada, realiza sus negocios y lleva a cabo la misión.

Ya se han aprobado los planos arquitectónicos y la catedral se construirá en tres fases, dijo Elizabeth Lowell, directora de la Oficina de Desarrollo de la DFMS, añadiendo que hasta ahora se han recaudado $2,5 millones para financiar la reconstrucción. El proyecto total se calcula que cueste entre $21 y $25 millones.

Además, muchas de las pequeñas escuelas rurales de fuera de la capital ya han sido reconstruidas, gran parte de las cuales con la ayuda de las 600 parroquias y entidades episcopales que han formado asociaciones haitianas, dijo Lowell.

Sin embargo, “desde el punto de vista de lo que hemos hecho, las necesidades aún son muy grandes y costosas”, añadió ella, citando un hospital episcopal que sigue afectado en Léogâne.

Desde 2012, la DFMS ha conducido siete peregrinaciones a Haití en un empeño por asociar a los episcopales en Estados Unidos con la reconstrucción de la Iglesia y del país, y ha trabajado con asociados locales para determinar sus necesidades.

La Diócesis de Haití incluye a 46 clérigos que atienden a más de 200 iglesias, 254 escuelas, dos hospitales y 13 clínicas.

El ochenta por ciento de los haitianos viven en la pobreza; el terremoto puso al descubierto las luchas diarias por la vida. Los campamentos, que les proporcionaron vivienda a personas desplazadas por el terremoto, también atrajeron a haitianos de las zonas rurales que buscaban ayuda de organizaciones internacionales de socorro y de gobiernos extranjeros comprometidos con la ayuda y los empeños de reconstrucción.

Finalmente, las organizaciones no gubernamentales y los donantes se dieron cuenta de que necesitaban invertir en desarrollo rural y urbano fuera de la capital para alentar a los haitianos a regresar a sus lugares de origen. Esa labor puede verse tanto en el Centro de San Bernabé para la Agricultura cerca de Cabo Haitiano, donde la diócesis está preparando a 54 estudiantes en labores agrícolas, como en la escuela técnica donde ofrece cursos de mecánica, plomería y electricidad.

Con más de 120 hectáreas de tierra fértil en una país donde la inseguridad alimentaria es común, San Bernabé ha atraído el apoyo de socios episcopales, de otras organizaciones, así como del gobierno y las universidades haitianas.

– Lynette Wilson es redactora y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Communiqué from the Council of Episcopal Seminary Deans

ENS Headlines - Thursday, January 15, 2015

Seminary Deans/Presidents at annual Council of Deans meeting, January 11–13, 2015. L-R, front row: Salmon, Ragsdale, Ferlo, Kittredge, Mapangdol; back row: Markham, McGowan, Richardson, Dunkle, Terry, Alexander.

The Council of Deans met in its annual meeting at the Bexley Seabury campus in Columbus, Ohio Sunday, January 11 to Tuesday, January 13, 2015.

All 10 seminary deans were present at the meeting, joined by their academic deans, as well as the dean and president of St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary in the Philippines. Across a range of theological viewpoints, there was a shared commitment to theological education and formation as well as mutual recognition of the distinctive gifts of each school.

The Council of Deans recognized the many opportunities and challenges facing theological education in the United States. There was an appreciation of the sheer variety of programs that, collectively, Episcopal seminaries are providing in response to our changing world and church. In addition to the three-year residential MDiv, the MDiv can be taken in hybrid, distance, and part-time forms. Theological studies can be as short as a summer or a January term, to a quarter, to a semester, to a full year or more. Training is provided in Spanish language and Latino/a culture, and different tracks are offered in missional leadership; hospital, school, and military chaplaincy; and community organizing. MA and other degrees are offered in counseling, Christian formation, ministry, and all the major academic disciplines. There is a plethora of certificate and short-residency courses for lay and ordained leaders.

In recent years, three seminaries have completed or are in the process of completing capital campaigns. In all, over $40 million has been raised thus far. The demographics of Episcopal seminary student bodies are increasingly young and diverse. Placement rates are high, with many seminaries reporting over 90% of graduates placed within six months. This confirms the data from the Church Pension Fund that established the high placement rate and subsequent vocational progress made possible by an Episcopal seminary education. Several seminaries are engaged in thoughtful restructuring and reorganization that will ensure long-term sustainability and relevance.

The Council of Deans will seek conversation with diocesan leadership to recruit gifted candidates for leadership in the church. Discussion began about sharing opportunities for cross-cultural immersion among the 10 seminaries, as well as exploring cross-registration among our programs.

The Council of Deans concluded its meeting by affirming its commitment to continue to serve the church both domestically and globally. The Council welcomes conversations with all parties in the Episcopal Church about the future needs of the church.

The Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, Dean of the School of Theology of the University of the South
The Very Rev. Kurt Dunkle, Dean and President, General Theological Seminary
The Rev. Roger Ferlo, President, Bexley Hall Seabury Western Theological Seminary Federation
The Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Dean and President, Seminary of the Southwest
The Very Rev. Ian Markham, Dean and President, Virginia Theological Seminary
The Very Rev. Andrew McGowan, Dean and President, Berkeley Divinity School at Yale
The Very Rev. Gloria Lita D. Mapangdol, St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary, Quezon City, Philippines
The Very Rev. Katherine Ragsdale, Dean and President, Episcopal Divinity School
The Very Rev. Mark Richardson, Dean and President, Church Divinity School of the Pacific
The Rt. Rev. Edward Salmon, Dean and President, Nashotah House
The Very Rev. Justyn Terry, Dean and President, Trinity School for Ministry

Yancy appointed interim missioner for young adult ministry in North Carolina

ENS Headlines - Thursday, January 15, 2015

[Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina press release] The Rev. Stephanie Yancy has been appointed Interim Missioner for Young Adult Ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. Yancy most recently served as interim rector of St. Luke’s, Durham.

Yancy is excited about taking on the interim young adult missioner role, a position expected to last four to six months. Though a different kind of interim ministry from that to which she is accustomed, Yancy believes the goals are the same. “Change is constant,” she says. “I see my role as keeping things going and keeping people focused on mission during the times between settled leaders. I love knowing that our ministries are all connected.”

Yancy will also direct A Movable Feast (AMF), a new mobile outreach ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. AMF is focusing upon Durham Technical Community College and North Carolina Central University this semester.

Yancy comes to this diocese from the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, where she was ordained deacon and priest in 2007. After serving as assistant to the rector at St. John’s in Hagerstown, Maryland, Yancy received additional training in interim ministry and served as interim rector for three congregations in Maryland before moving to North Carolina. She is an M. Div. graduate of The General Seminary in New York.

“I am thrilled to have a priest with the experience as well as the wisdom and passion that Stephanie Yancy brings,” says the Rt. Rev. Anne E. Hodges-Copple, bishop suffragan for the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. “I am especially grateful that Stephanie brings a rare combination of warm heart, pastoral spirit and business organizational skills. This will be especially important as we enter this next phase of grant administration.”

Yancy began her tenure earlier this week.