[Bexley Seabury -- Press Release] The federation of Bexley Hall and Seabury Western Theological Seminary, now known as Bexley Seabury, will be inaugurated on Saturday at a Festival Eucharist in the chapel of Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. The Rt. Rev. Catherine Waynick, bishop of the Diocese of Indianapolis will preside and the Very Rev. Ian Markham, dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary, will preach.
At the service, the Rev. Dr. Roger A. Ferlo will be installed as the federation’s first president and the Rt. Rev. Diane Jardine Bruce, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles, and the Rev. Canon Carlson Gerdau, former canon to Presiding Bishops Frank Griswold and Katharine Jefferts Schori, will be granted the doctor of divinity, honoris causa. Bruce is a 2011 alumna of Seabury’s Doctor of Ministry program, and Gerdau has served on the Bexley board since 1995.
On Friday, the schools will host a free public program titled “Restoring the Biblical Imagination” at Christian Theological Seminary. “We want to explore the richness of Christian symbols, especially the rich language of Scripture, in a way that encourages honest religious conversation rather than stopping it cold,” said Ferlo, who designed the event and secured support for it from the Henry A. Luce Foundation. “Only by restoring our sense of generosity and beauty in our own scriptural traditions can we participate with integrity in the vibrant pluralism that more and more defines the American religious experience.”
The afternoon’s first workshop, titled “A Muslim, a Jew and a Christian Walk into a Cafe: Building Relationships through Scriptural Study,” will introduce participants to a method of interfaith study called “Scriptural Reasoning.”
“In Scriptural Reasoning, Christians, Muslims and Jews come together in conversation around our scriptures, but there is no larger agenda,” said the Rev. Dr. Jason Fout, professor at Bexley and organizer of the workshop. “We engage the scriptures for the sake of God, not for the sake of saying, ‘See, we all believe the same thing.’ One of the wonderful things in Scriptural Reasoning is that we come as a Christian, we come as a Jew, we come as a Muslim. It is through the deep particularity of our faith that we come together. We often have a convergence, but we also disagree.”
Fout will lead the workshop with Sarah Snyder of the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme in Cambridge, England, Joshua Stanton of the Center for Global Judaism at Hebrew College in Massachusetts, and Omar Shaukat, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Virginia.
The second workshop, “The Bible for Nones: Sights and Sounds of Scripture,” will be an experiential workshop that uses images and sound to explore the Bible.
“Scriptural truth beyond words appeals to the heart as well as the mind,” said the Rev. Dr. John Dally, organizer of the workshop and professor at Seabury. “We will explore ways of reflecting on scripture that can provide openings for conversations with the growing number of Americans who identify with no religious group.”
Joining Dally at the workshop will be the Rev. Dr. Frank Yamada, president of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, and the Rev. Shaun Whitehead, associate chaplain at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.
“Restoring the Biblical Imagination” will begin with a keynote address by Ferlo and will conclude with a panel discussion that he will moderate.
[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi has called on all the country’s politicians to avoid “the turncoat habit that is prevalent among them” saying it is “unhelpful for nation building and good governance.”
The sharp rebuke came in a statement following the Diocese’s 7th Holy Synod meeting in Blantyre from April 13 to 14.
“This [habit] exposes their lack of principle and erodes their integrity,” it added. “Being a politician is a calling from God and, as servants of the Almighty for the governance of his people, our politicians are duty-bound to emulate the example of Jesus Christ.”
The synod’s decision to address issues of leadership comes as Malawi prepares for its tripartite elections next year.
“Where are the politicians of nerve and principle? We believe that…the Lord has given us the Holy Spirit as our helper,” the synod said. “Can would-be politicians honestly say that you will do what you do as Christ would have you do it?”
“We are all aware that the race for the next president, next parliament and local government is on through the forthcoming Tripartite Elections 2014. We pray that those would-be politicians would do their electioneering as though they are doing it for Christ,” said the synod.
“It is our prayer that the dignity and integrity of all our politicians will be exhibited in their campaign speeches and behaviour. Hate speech and violence has no place in God-fearing Malawi.”
The synod called upon the church and all people of good will to pray for free and fair elections and for people of integrity to be elected to parliament and local government. “We will set aside a time to pray for our nation and for the elections especially. We pray for all those whose responsibility it is to run the elections and for all our security organs so that they be servants of peace and not of violence.”
While setting their sights on their political leaders, synod members made it clear that all Malawians had a responsibility to work together to address the country’s problems and promote national development.
“We continue to state that failures of development can no longer be attributed solely to the inability of the governments, institutions and people in-charge of implementing it.
“Instead of finger pointing, let us dig into the recesses of our minds and bring out our God-given knowledge and skills and find the answer. In addition it would be prudent for the government to heed the cry of the people over what they perceive to be its tendency to over-expend on the budget.”
Like many other African countries, Malawi has major economic challenges with a very high cost of living and an inflation rate of 37.5%.
The synod also called for the “repositioning of the whole financial sector including the central bank if the country is to create an environment conducive for economic growth.”
It said that the changes are important if the country is “to stimulate large-scale manufacturing, mining and tourism which are capital intensive and which we require to in order to industrialise.”
The synod emphasised that making structural adjustments to the financial sector would spur national economic growth, job creation and price stability.
In recent times, advocacy against gender-based violence has taken center stage within the church in Africa. In the statement, the diocese appealed to all Malawians to take a lead in denouncing all demeaning talk, action and attitudes on gender. It added that all Christians should focus on combating and denouncing violence against women in all its forms.
“We are committed to the physical, psychological, social and economic development of girls and women through education, and organising sports,” said the synod. “We encourage communities to remove barriers and create opportunities for girls and women to live self-determined lives.”
The synod concluded by underscoring the importance of the fight against HIV and AIDS. “The scourge is still with us! We, therefore, plead with all our brothers and sisters to test for HIV,” said the synod.
“We have seen enough suffering and death due to HIV and AIDS. It is time we said no to fear, no to stigma, no to HIV and yes to life. Let the deaths of those who have already died encourage us to desire life.”
The synod’s full statement here.
Parroquia cercana al epicentro de gigantesca pesquisa policial se siente conectada con toda la Iglesia
[Episcopal News Service] Nota de la redacción: Historia actualizada a las 6:20 P.M. del 19 de abril con nuevos detalles de acerca de la búsqueda del sospechoso.
La Rda. Amy McCreath despertó en Washington, D.C. el 19 de abril, con la noticia de que su parroquia de la iglesia del Buen Pastor [The Good Shepherd] en Watertown, Massachusetts, estaba cerca del epicentro de la búsqueda sin precedentes del segundo de los dos sospechosos del atentado con explosivos de la maratón de Boston. También no tardó en enterarse de que la Iglesia Episcopal a veces es tan sólo una pequeña parroquia.
Poco después de recibir una llamada de su obispo, el Rvdmo. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, de la Diócesis de Massachusetts, el teléfono de McCreath siguió sonando. Y había personas que intentaban conectarse con ella por otras vías.
“He tenido noticias de unos cuantos obispos y de parroquias de todo el país —y de amigos— y me he sentido muy conmovida y asombrada del poder de las redes sociales y de la conectividad que tenemos a través de la Iglesia Episcopal”, le dijo ella a Episcopal News Service.
“A la media hora de despertarme esta mañana, resultaba realmente obvio que había toda esta nueve de testigos que estaba orando por nosotros —¡que regalo es eso!”, dijo McCreath en una entrevista telefónica mientras su marido, Brian, la llevaba a ella y a sus hijos de regreso a casa luego de pasar el receso de primavera en Washington, D.C.
Tan pronto como se enteró de la noticia, McCreath contó que ella, uno de los guardianes de la parroquia y otro miembro del clero que hace su práctica allí comenzaron a ponerse en contacto con los feligreses. “Todas las personas de la parroquia que llamé para saber de ellas y preguntarles cómo estaban, su primera respuesta fue [preguntar] qué puedo hacer, qué puedo hacer para ayudar”, dijo. “Comenzaron a hacer llamadas telefónicas y comenzaron a orar”.
Varios miembros de la parroquia viven en East Watertown, “una familia en la [misma] calle donde estaban teniendo lugar gran parte de los sucesos” y añadió que ella había hablado brevemente con una mujer de la zona que estaba recibiendo en su casa a vecinos “que intentaban mantenerse a salvo”.
“Le hice saber que estábamos orando por ella y le pedí a varias personas que oraran por los que se encontraban en Watertown,” dijo McCreath.
Antes de llegar al Buen Pastor en 2010, McCreath fue la capellana episcopal del Instituto Tecnológico de Massachusetts (MIT, por su sigla en inglés). Sean Collier, un agente de la policía del MIT, de 26 años y vecino de Somerville, resultó muerto alrededor de las 10:30 P.M. del 18 de abril durante lo que el Boston Globe llamó “una noche violenta y caótica” que precedió a la gran búsqueda del 19 de abril.
“Estoy de corazón con la comunidad del MIT. Siento enorme simpatía por los policías del MIT”, dijo McCreath. “Son de primera. Comparto el duelo con ellos por la pérdida de un magnífico colega”.
Los acontecimientos comenzaron a desarrollarse en la noche del 18 de abril luego que el FBI publicara las fotos de dos hombres, no identificados en ese momento, a los que describieron como “armados y extremadamente peligrosos”. [Las autoridades] pedían la ayuda del público para identificar a los hombres, pero añadían una advertencia cautelar.
Richard DesLauriers, agente especial del FBI a cargo del caso, dijo durante una conferencia de prensa inmediatamente después de las 5 P.M. (Hora Estándar del Este) que “nadie debía acercárseles. Ni nadie debía intentar arrestarlos, salvo los agentes de la ley”.
La policía del MIT recibió informes de un tiroteo a las 10:24 P.M. del 18 de abril, informó el Globe, y cuatro minutos después se produjo la denuncia de un robo en una tienda cercana al MIT. Los primeros informes sobre los hermanos fugitivos el 19 de abril resultaron ser incorrectos. Un minuto después de denunciado el robo, un agente de la policía del MIT fue encontrado muerto a tiros en su auto, según el Boston Globe.
Dos minutos después los hermanos prófugos se hacían sospechosos de haber secuestrado un Mercedes todoterreno (SUV), decía el Globe. El dueño del vehículo había logrado escapar, y dijo que los hermanos se habían identificado como los autores del atentado en la maratón, según varios informes de prensa.
Los dos hombres llevaron a los agentes de la ley a una persecución en la cual dispararon dos veces contra la policía. En uno de estos encuentros resultó herido Richard H. Donahue, de 33 años y agente de la policía de tránsito de la Autoridad de Transporte de la Bahía de Massachusetts. El Globe informó que otros 10 agentes estaban siendo atendidos en el Centro Médico de Santa Isabel [St. Elizabeth], en Brighton, luego de que resultaran lesionados por explosivos lanzados desde el auto [donde huían los fugitivos].
Durante el encuentro, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, de 26 años, al parecer salió del vehículo y resulto herido. En algún momento, su hermano menor, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, de 19 años, atropelló a Tamerlan mientras huía en el auto, según informes de varios medios de prensa.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev fue conducido a la sala de urgencias del Centro Médico Beth Israel Deaconess alrededor de la 1:10 A.M. con múltiples lesiones traumáticas. Los médicos le dijeron al Globe que esas lesiones incluían heridas de bala y heridas causadas por explosivos. Se le declaró fallecido a la 1:35 A.M.
Los detalles del caos de esa noche y de la cacería que le siguió se mantuvieron surgiendo y cambiando. El Boston Globe actualiza su cobertura aquí.
El Rdo. Samuel T. Lloyd III, sacerdote a cargo de la iglesia de la Trinidad de la plaza Copley [Trinity Church Copley Square], le informó a su parroquia el 19 de abril que el Rdo. Patrick C. Ward, rector asociado de la Trinidad para el culto y las comunicaciones, y quien reside en Belmont, le había informado “que gran parte del tiroteo de la noche estaba teniendo lugar a sólo unas cuadras de su casa”.
En su carta a la parroquia, Lloyd dijo que “en momentos como éste, es decisivo para nosotros que nos acordemos de quiénes somos y a quién pertenecemos”.
“En medio de las tensiones y la ansiedad del momento, seguimos siendo un pueblo amparado en el amor de Dios, confiado en que su seguridad definitiva reside en el cuidado providencial de Dios, y llamados a ser Cristo los unos para con los otros en nuestra ciudad, incluso en los momentos más difíciles”, escribió él.
A casi un millón de personas en Boston y en las comunidades aledañas de Watertown, Waltham, Newton, Belmont y Cambridge, se les pidió que se mantuvieran “guarecidas en el lugar”, dentro de sus casas y que no le abrieran las puertas a nadie, excepto a la policía con una debida identificación. Miles de agentes de policía han pasado el 19 de abril llevando a cabo una intensa búsqueda, a veces yendo de puerta en puerta, para capturar a Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
La búsqueda también dio lugar a la súbita suspensión del tren de cercanías de la MTBA, así como de los servicios de autobuses y trenes subterráneos. También se suspendió el servicio de taxis. Los funcionarios públicos han pedido a los establecimientos comerciales de la zona que no abran.
La Associated Press informó que los hermanos sospechosos provenían de una región rusa cercana a Chechenia, la cual ha estado plagada de insurgencia islámica. Los dos habían estado viviendo juntos en la calle Norfolk, en Cambridge, a menos de cuatro kilómetros de la Escuela Episcopal de Teología [Episcopal Divinity School].
[El obispo] Shaw pidió que oraran en las primeras horas del 19 de abril mientras la policía llevaba a cabo su búsqueda.
“Dada la presente actividad de la policía que ustedes sin duda están viendo en las noticias, quiero hacerles saber que hemos estado en contacto esta mañana con nuestros capellanes del Instituto Tecnológico de Massachusetts y de Harvard, y con el clero y los guardianes de la iglesia del Buen Pastor en Watertown, y todo el mundo allí, así como en la Escuela Episcopal de Teología, está bien, hasta donde sabemos” le dijo él al clero y al liderazgo de la diócesis el 19 de abril.
“Favor de orar por todos en las comunidades afectadas, y por una solución rápida y libre de violencia para estos perturbadores sucesos. Vela, oh Señor, con aquellos que laboran o vigilan o lloran en este día”.
Las oficinas diocesanas y la oficina de la iglesia catedral de San Pablo [Cathedral Church of St. Paul] cerca del parque comunal de Boston [Boston Common] en la calle Tremont No. 138 en Boston, se mantuvieron cerradas.
Miembros del Buen Pastor y de la iglesia de La Trinidad en la plaza Copley se reunieron para orar por las víctimas de los atentados de la maratón de Boston en las primeras horas de la noche del 18 de abril. Durante su oficio de oración vespertina contemplativa en Hidden Brook, el Buen Pastor incluyó oraciones para las víctimas de los atentados y “apoyo para el resto de nosotros a fin de poder lidiar con la tragedia”.
Lo que Lloyd llamó “un número considerable de feligreses de La Trinidad” se reunió para un oficio de música y oraciones en la intersección de las calles Berkeley y Boylston, que él dijo que se ha convertido en el principal lugar de reunión en el desierto paisaje de la plaza Copley y sus alrededores. La meta de la maratón está en Boylston, a sólo unos metros del lado occidental de la iglesia de La Trinidad.
Durante el oficio, los miembros del coro nos dirigieron en el canto de “Maravillosa gracia” [Amazing Grace] y “América la bella” [America the Beautiful]. Los medios noticiosos sobrevolaron para captar la escena, dijo Lloyd.
“No puedo decirles lo bueno que fue ver las caras de nuestra comunidad de La Trinidad, la fuerza que nos brindó para apoyarnos mutuamente, la seguridad que dio de que todos estamos juntos en esto”.
El 21 de abril, el cuarto domingo de Pascua, se conoce como el Domingo del Buen Pastor, porque el evangelio del día es [el pasaje de] Juan 10:22-30, una porción de la historia en que Jesús se llama a sí mismo el buen pastor que da su vida por sus ovejas. Por tanto, es la fiesta patronal de las congregaciones que están bajo la advocación del Buen Pastor. La iglesia de Watertown había planeado un almuerzo para recién llegados el domingo, y McCreath dijo que la parroquia aún tiene planes de tener la comida.
“Pero creo que se va convertir en un almuerzo para todos”, dijo ella. “Cualquiera de la comunidad que quisiera estar allí para ser parte de la comunidad y compartir historias y encontrar valor es bienvenido”.
—La Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg es redactora y reportera de Episcopal News Service.
Traducción de Vicente Echerri
[Episcopal Relief & Development press release] Episcopal Relief & Development has launched a new organizational website featuring an updated look and layout, greater integration with social media and a unified donation pathway to boost interactivity and engagement. In addition to helpful color coding, new icons and special spotlight sections, the redesign also includes improved accessibility and information flow, making it easier for users to learn more and take action to help heal a hurting world.
The new design was developed in line with industry best practices, input received from Episcopal Relief & Development’s staff and board members and feedback from donors and friends of the organization. The update was co-managed by Malaika Kamunanwire, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Senior Director for Marketing & Communications, and Daryn Kobata, the organization’s Social Media and Web Officer, in partnership with digital firm Blue Fountain Media.
“During the development of the new site, we were constantly evaluating our process to make sure that it focused on user needs and interests, while at the same time showcasing who we are as an organization,” said Kamunanwire. “Episcopal Relief & Development serves as a bridge between Episcopalians and communities around the world. The new look and feel of our site matches our ethos, and the content strives to inform and empower our supporters to act and get others involved in our mission.”
Increasing engagement with individuals and institutions is the primary goal of the new site, with robust “What You Can Do” and “Church In Action” sections and an enhanced “Gifts For Life” area. Gifts For Life is Episcopal Relief & Development’s flagship alternative gift catalog, which invites supporters to purchase “items” such as a goat, a share in a community garden or a micro-loan that will benefit families around the world. Gifts For Life items can be used to mark special occasions such as birthdays and holidays, and also make popular fundraisers for Sunday School and youth groups.
“I’m excited about our new Gifts For Life section, in terms of both added functionality and how it’s integrated with the rest of our donation process,” said Kobata. “The design is more colorful and fun, and features ‘related items’ to help people learn about different aspects of our work. Donors can also now make one-time gifts, monthly gifts and Gifts For Life purchases seamlessly through the same portal, which I think will really improve the user experience. Thanks so much to our web team members, staff and friends who helped make this site come to life!”
Along with greatly enriched country and program pages that describe the organization’s work worldwide, the new site also features expanded libraries of resources, photos and videos that supporters can share with friends and fellow church members to get them involved. Social media “share” buttons are conveniently located throughout the site so visitors can share images and stories via Facebook and Twitter. Users can also sign up for press releases, e-newsletters and mailings through the streamlined “Stay Informed” section.
“We worked with the Episcopal Relief & Development team to implement a website based on forward-thinking design techniques, usability-focused information pathways and engaging content,” said Jared Friedman, Business Consultant for Blue Fountain Media. “This has been both a challenge and an awesome undertaking, and together we have created a website that will be a trend setter in the digital non-profit space.”
Episcopal Relief & Development’s new site aligns with its strategic vision for 2013-16, which puts an emphasis on expanding networks of friends and supporters and creating greater opportunities for engagement. Raising visibility and awareness and strengthening the organization’s brand are key components of this strategy, and this is reflected in both the site design and the new domain name, www.episcopalrelief.org.
“I am extremely proud of the efforts that have led to the creation of this new website, and thank everyone whose work has contributed to this success,” said Rob Radtke, President of Episcopal Relief & Development. “There are so many ways for individuals and churches to engage, through giving, volunteering and incorporating Episcopal Relief & Development into congregational life. I believe the new site will help greatly in strengthening the connections between this organization, its supporters and the community-based partners whose efforts are making a lasting impact.”
Episcopal Relief & Development is the international relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church and an independent 501(c)(3) organization. The agency takes its mandate from Jesus’ words found in Matthew 25. Its programs work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Episcopal Relief & Development works closely with the worldwide Church and ecumenical partners to help rebuild after disasters and to empower local communities to find lasting solutions that fight poverty, hunger and disease, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.
[Religion News Service] I wonder if social isolation — not extremist religion or Chechen roots — explains the two brothers who set off bombs during the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding more than 170.
The older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was quoted as saying “I don’t have a single American friend, I don’t understand them.” One emerging theory is that, he dealt with isolation in America by seeking his heritage in Chechnya and there, some think, found purpose in violence against his unwelcoming home.
In feeling isolated, the alleged bomber isn’t alone. Isolation is the new normal in America.
More than one in four Americans have no friends for sharing troubles, a recent study of social isolation found. Those who do have friends tend to have only two. Just half of Americans believe they can count on anyone outside their home for support. Less than one in 10 counts the neighbor next door as a confidant.
Researchers blame television, long commutes and long hours at work to make ends meet. Other factors include aging in place and feeling isolated among new and younger neighbors; being immigrants and non-English speakers struggling to assimilate; feeling cut off from society by illness, physical abnormalities, race, gender and sexuality.
Give credit also to rampant sexual abuse and its lifetime consequence of shame and feeling different, as well as social disruption caused by lost marriages and broken families. Unemployment tends to drive people indoors or into part-time jobs away from their usual circles.
It takes an event like the Boston bombings or recent shootings for us to see how some angry, isolated people are taking refuge in weapons, and dream of revenge.
It’s a wonder that we don’t have more outbreaks of rage and violence. If isolation corrodes the soul and stokes the fires of self-loathing and resentment, we shouldn’t be surprised when some loners — from bullied teens to poorly welcomed immigrants to the jobless to desperately lonely elderly — take arms against their troubles.
It makes me sad when I see churches close their doors to protect their assets, when they could be opening themselves to the isolated, and easing the loneliness. Many social service agencies are cutting back because of funding gaps.
Yet it makes me glad when I see people banding together in women’s support groups, small faith communities, lunch buddies, church choirs, cycling groups, exercise circles — the many ways we are able to get outside ourselves.
Small steps can go a long way. For example, as our church prepared to bring gospel music legend Richard Smallwood to New York to direct singers from Park Avenue Church and Marble Collegiate Church, we knew it would sell out.
Three leaders of Lifeline, our recovery ministry, bought a block of 12 tickets for residents of Greenhope Services for Women, an extraordinary residential program in East Harlem for women seeking recovery from addiction. Several attend Lifeline.
We wanted them to feel connected with a world of sobriety and sanity, to know that life offers more than just the rough times and isolation they have known.
Not just by attending a concert, of course. There are no magic bullets in addiction — or in any of life’s agonies — and no single-shot events. “One day at a time” takes work all the time.
Few of us go to the extremes of building bombs or carrying assault rifles into schools. But the acid of isolation is still there, eating away at our social fabric.
– The Rev. Tom Ehrich is a writer, church consultant and Episcopal priest based in New York. He is the author of “Just Wondering, Jesus” and founder of the Church Wellness Project. His website is www.morningwalkmedia.com. Follow Tom on Twitter @tomehrich.
[Episcopal News Service] The following is a blog from David Copley about the Second Anglican World Peace Conference in Okinawa.
A young mother is holding her son,
Watching planes at the airport.
The child is holding a toy plane,
Excited to see and hear the big jets flying back and forth.
They listen to the roar of the engines
And smell the jet fuel in the air.
A scene that could be anywhere in the world
In this case the family is Japanese,
The planes are American
The airport is U.S. military
The land is Okinawan
Mother and child stand on land soaked long ago,
With the blood of Allied and Japanese soldiers,
And the blood of many, many, Okinawan civilians,
Young and old,
Lives violently cut short.
Guns, bombs, and killing machines of terrifying power.
Ancient family land no longer their own,
Occupied by a foreign power,
Speaking a foreign language.
A constitution pledged to peace,
Japan has no active military,
Lessons learned from past conflicts,
And memories of Hiroshima.
Tension in Korea,
Threats of war,
Safety and security from a friendly neighbor
With powerful deterrents.
What is the price of peace?
Preparing for a just war
And someone has to pay.
We pray for peace,
We wait for the blacksmith,
To beat swords into plowshares.
Meanwhile some live with swords,
And others plough the land.
The mother and child leave the planes
To buy ice-cream.
A day out,
A family living in peace.
The mother offers prays of thanks,
While wishing that the war machines would leave,
And military land returned to farmland.
– The Rev. David Copley is the Episcopal Church’s mission personnel officer and team leader for global partnerships.
[National Council of Churches press release] National Council of Churches leaders and staff expressed shock and sadness April 23 at the sudden death of the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, who served as NCC general secretary from 2000 to 2007.
NCC President Kathryn Lohre expressed the council’s condolences to Edgar’s family and many friends.
“He is universally remembered as a man of tireless commitment and boundless energy,” Lohre said. “We are finding it difficult to grasp the sudden loss of this fine church leader.”
“He was a superb communicator of the moral perspective the churches could bring to critical issues in our society,” said Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, NCC associate general secretary, Faith & Order and Interfaith Relations.
Kireopoulos worked closely with Edgar and traveled widely with him, including to areas of Indonesia flooded by the devastating tsunami of 2004.
“He liked to summarize the urgent ministries of the Council in a single sentence: ‘Peace, Poverty, Planet Earth,” Kireopoulos said.
Cassandra Carmichael, who Edgar brought to the NCC’s Washington office to direct the eco-justice program, remembered Edgar as a tireless proponent of justice issues.
“There was no greater advocate for persons living in poverty or facing discrimination of any kind,” Carmichael said. “He was fully committed to eliminating the causes of climate change, and he thought of this planet as God’s magnificent creation.”
The Edgar years at the NCC were filled with challenges that included the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the War in Iraq, the acceleration of global warming, tsunamis and earthquakes, Hurricane Katrina, and crushing worldwide poverty and human rights abuses.
The first challenge Edgar faced as general secretary was the international debate over a Cuban child, Elian Gonzalez, to decide whether the boy should be permitted to live with relatives in Miami, or with his father and grandmothers in Cuba. Citing humanitarian reasons, Edgar said Elian should be returned to the custody of his father in Cuba. The NCC and the Cuban Council of Churches proposed to serve as intermediaries to facilitate the boy’s return home.
In addition, Edgar’s first days on the job in 2000 were consumed by a crippling financial crisis in the NCC that challenged all the skills he had honed as a community organizer, member of Congress, and seminary president.
He brought to his job a prodigious appetite for hard work, an informal style, and a lifelong commitment to the goals of peace, justice and the relief of human suffering. If he felt the stress of the job, he rarely showed it and he often deflected it with a lighthearted joke and occasionally – as his colleagues recalled fondly today– a painful pun.
At the end of his eight-year tenure, the financial emergency had ebbed but the conditions that caused it – including the financial exigency of many of the NCC’s contributing communions – were still in place.
Perhaps his most useful bequest to his NCC successors, colleagues recalled, was a buoyant Christian faith that is contagious enough to infect others with a joyous optimism for whatever the future holds.
When Edgar departed the NCC in 2007, the Council posted this retrospective of his career.
[Episcopal News Service] This is the latest in a series of articles about Episcopal cathedral deans
When James Munroe was elected dean of Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral in Springfield, Massachusetts, in late 1997, he told his mother his title would change from “the Rev.” to “the Very Rev.”
“She collapsed on the ground in hysterical laughter,” he recounted recently while leading a parish retreat for St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Morristown, New Jersey.
Munroe, 66, takes a humble approach to his job as leader of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts cathedral. During the April 19-21 retreat, held at the Tuscarora Inn and Conference Center in Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania, he focused on the grace given to the well-meaning but fallible apostle Peter, who he called an “everyman.”
“He’s a model for me of how the Lord connects to us,” Munroe told ENS. “I’m so thankful for this picture of somebody who’s a good guy [with] a wonderful heart for whom there were disasters and who just totally blew it, who comes to the point of no excuses … and found at that lowest point unconditional forgiveness and love.
“I don’t see the real action of God starting from anywhere but that spot,” he said. “God save me from a church full of victorious Christian saints. Give me a church full of disasters who are finding amazing grace.”
Part of his role as dean is guiding congregants and the community through disasters, both local and more far-reaching. During his time in Springfield, such events have ranged from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 to a tornado that tore through the city a year ago and a gas explosion that flattened buildings several months ago to the April 15 bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon.
His first role when such events occur is with the cathedral congregation: “Embrace the experience and address it and provide a place for people to acknowledge the fear and the pain and pay attention to it,” he said. His second role, as dean and often in conjunction with the bishop, is saying: “What can we be doing right away?”
“After 9-11, there were instantaneously some [worship] services at the cathedral, and then in the weeks following lots of gatherings with rabbis and imams talking together,” he said. “So there’s a more diocesanwide role of offering worship and offering forums.”
The importance of interfaith dialogue and cooperation at such times is “huge,” he said. “We’re thankful to have a wonderful local rabbi and a very terrific imam and some other people involved in the mosque who are eager when these things happen to meet with us and to present a front of brotherhood and sisterhood in the face of all the fears that come crashing to the surface instantly.”
The two bomb explosions near the finish line of last week’s Boston Marathon that killed three and maimed or injured more than 150 others resonated in a personal way for the former Marine, who was wounded after serving two uneventful months in an artillery unit in Vietnam.
“All was quiet,” he recalled. “And then one night, completely unexpectedly, our unit was attacked and overrun by a unit of North Vietnam soldiers. I ran out and got in a foxhole, and two grenades were thrown into the foxhole, which exploded.”
The blasts killed the man beside him. “I had a fractured skull, punctured eardrums and shrapnel holes. Everything healed physically except for a loss of hearing in my ears. They’ve rung [since] Feb. 23, 1969.”
“When I saw the videos of the two explosions actually happening [in Boston], I understood that the people within the blast zone were having the experience I had and that it is an experience that is impossible to describe with words,” he said. “I also knew that that moment would be a defining moment that they would seek healing from for the rest of their lives and that it may well be years before they’re even ready to begin that healing. For me, when I came home and got out of the Marine Corps, I went back to college and thought … that chapter’s over.”
Only years later did some of the post-traumatic stress of that experience surface. He told retreatants about his surprise at how profoundly shaken he suddenly became 20 years later after a group he was with was mugged in Nairobi’s “Freedom Park,” and how he found grace and healing in the embrace of a woman who greeted them with song and dance at a church they visited. Although they shared nothing in common except that one encounter, he said, “I count her as one of the greatest gifts I have received.”
Munroe’s role as a guest speaker and preacher dovetails with his work as a member of the Veterans Education Project.
“Our purpose is to speak in public forums about our experience,” he said. “Although we’re apolitical, we’re also a subversive group in that we believe that the reality of our stories of what war and combat are actually like will have the effect of saying, ‘Let’s do eight quadrillion other things before the last resort of war because it is so horrific.’”
Veterans of various wars, they speak at churches, schools and prisons. “That has morphed over into my work as the dean. Those two worlds have had some connections,” Munroe said. “So we have gatherings at the cathedral for peace and war-related events.”
Christ Church is a “mid-size” cathedral downtown in a city struggling with drugs and other urban issues. It supports various outreach programs and is allied with Nehemiah Ministries, an intentional Christian community located in a troubled area of the city.
On Good Friday, Nehemiah joined with the cathedral for Stations of the Cross. “I picked out 14 places on the streets of Springfield where bad and good things have happened,” Munroe said. About 80 people participated in the two-hour service, which started outside the cathedral and included prayers and stories of what happened at each station.
One stop was the steps of Sympathy Hall, where a homeless man froze to death. Another was where a homeless gay man, a “dear sweet friend” who was afraid to go into a shelter, was murdered over a bottle of alcohol. Steve Donohue’s funeral was “bigger than any Easter service,” Munroe recalled.
He created the Stations of the Cross after the new diocesan bishop, the Rt. Rev. Douglas Fisher, told him about doing such a service on the streets of Manhattan.
A team approach and sharing of ideas mark Munroe’s modus operandi as dean.
“I’m no good as a solitary, visionary leader. If I do any leading, it’s because somebody else wants to lead with me,” he said. “I’m always thankful to have around me people who come up with ideas and visions. I really never up with anything on my own.”
As dean, he said, “A large part of my role is to be the pastor of the congregation. … I think probably my gifts are more in being a parish priest than in being a diocesan leader, or at least that’s what I enjoy.”
About 215 people attend services at the cathedral on an average Sunday. “One of the privileges of coming to the cathedral was its extraordinary diversity of black, white, tan – every conceivable skin color. We have a service in Spanish every Sunday, which is a great joy,” he said. For that service, “I’ve even learned how to play the drums a little bit. I am a beginner, but it’s fun.”
He’s also taking Spanish lessons.
“We do not call ourselves two separate congregations,” he noted. “The work we’re called to do is to have these different cultures interact and connect with one another,” preserving what’s unique in their own cultures and ways of worship, he said.
The congregation also includes members from Africa and the Caribbean. “On Pentecost Sunday, we read the story from Acts 2 in about 15 different languages.”
Within the city, Munroe also is secretary and one of two Caucasian clergy belonging to the Pastors Council of Greater Springfield, composed primarily of African-American clergy serving African-American congregations. “These are wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ who welcome me into, as much as is possible, the black experience of worshiping. They come once a year and have a worship [service] at the cathedral.”
The role a cathedral plays in a diocese “depends to a certain degree upon the bishop,” Munroe said. “Our new bishop seems to be eager to have the cathedral play a central role.
And Munroe continues to step outside the cathedral doors.
“I do speak from time to time in different places, and I love preaching,” he said. “I recently gave a forum on preaching for some of the lay leaders of the diocese. “I’ve always thought that in retirement it might be fun to go teach a homiletics course somewhere.”
– Sharon Sheridan is an ENS correspondent.
[Episcopal News Service] Scholar, teacher, poet, priest, beloved husband, father, and grandad, the Very Rev. John Booty died at age 87 April 17 at his home in Center Sandwich, New Hampshire. He goes joyfully to join his son Peter who died in 2010, and he leaves behind as witness to his love his wife of 62 years, Kitty Lou, his daughter Carol and her husband Ernie, his son Geoffrey and his wife Helen, Peter’s wife Diane, his daughter Jane and her husband Todd, nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren, all of whom gave him much happiness.
John was born in Detroit, Michigan, on May 2, 1925, earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia, and began his life of service to the Episcopal Church as a curate at Christ Church, Dearborn, Michigan. After earning a Ph.D. from Princeton University, John joined the faculty at Virginia Seminary as Professor of Church History, taught at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and served as Dean of the Seminary at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. A life-long scholar, John was a Fellow of the Folger Shakespeare Library and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he served as Historiographer of the Episcopal Church. He was awarded Honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from Virginia Seminary and the University of the South. Also a gifted writer, John had numerous books published, including “The Church in History, Reflections on the Theology of Richard Hooker,” “John Jewel as Apologist of the Church of England, Meditating on Four Quartets,” and “The Christ We Know.” Secular scholars as well as ecclesiastics respected him, and all who were blessed to know him celebrated him.
John Booty was a man of warmth and humor who loved reading, gardening, and tea on the porch. He struggled at times in life and shared himself freely through his writing and preaching as he brought countless disciples to the Gospel. His last days were populated by loving family, devoted “care angels,” lively memories of his past, and his abiding faith in life everlasting. We are grateful for his life with us, and we rejoice that he has gone to God.
A celebration of John’s life will be held this summer at St. Andrew’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church, Tamworth, New Hampshire.
[Diocese of Fond du Lac] The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Fond du Lac has released information on its search process for the diocese’s eighth bishop. Information about the process, the diocese and forms for making nomination are available in the Diocesan Profile. Nominations are being received until May 15.
The bishop election will take place on Oct. 19 in the Cathedral of St. Paul, Fond du Lac. The ordination and consecration is scheduled to take place on April 26, 2014.
The eighth bishop will succeed the Rt. Rev. Russell E. Jacobus who has served as the diocese’s seventh bishop since 1994.
The Diocese of Fond du Lac is a part of the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion with almost 6,000 baptized members worshipping in 37 locations across the northeast third of the state of Wisconsin.
Many Episcopalians were directly effected by the April 15 bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon and the ensuring manhunt.
[Episcopal News Service] They all may not have been able to get to their churches, but in the hours after the second of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings was captured April 19, Episcopalians in the Boston area continued to support each other and their neighbors.
Police captured Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, as he holed up in a boat parked in a backyard just blocks away from Church of the Good Shepherd in Watertown, Massachusetts. He was weakened by a gunshot wound after fleeing on foot from an overnight shootout with police that left 200 spent rounds behind.
The Rev. Amy McCreath, Good Shepherd’s priest-in-charge, e-mailed her congregation shortly after the capture, calling the capture a “great gift.”
“Your vestry met by conference call while events unfolded tonight, praying for all of you, for your children, and especially for our neighbors on Franklin Street,” she wrote.
Good Shepherd was open during the day on April 20 for “prayer and companionship,” and Angelita Caceda was one member who came to the church the day after the internationally watched drama unfolded in her neighborhood. The evening before, she had been on the floor of her home as the bright light from a police search helicopter illuminated the room.
“When I saw it was Franklin Street I said ‘that’s where I usually walk. I see that boat all the time,’” she told the Salem Patch website.
McCreath said people came in the church and blurted out their experiences from the previous day. “They had it inside and needed to share it.”
That evening about 300 people gathered on Watertown’s Victory Field for a vigil to remember the victims of the Marathon bombings.
“This is one way everyday citizens can really give thanks to everyone that took care of us,” Mary Labadini, a 56-year-old elder care specialist who lives in Waltham and attended the vigil, told the Boston Globe. “You can’t thank them all individually, but this shows the sentiments of the public are with them.”
Residents at the vigil swapped stories about the dramatic police action in their neighborhoods, including gun battles and methodical door-to-door searches by SWAT teams.
Volunteers from a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post passed out American flags.
Residents spontaneously sang the national anthem and other patriotic songs, recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and listened in silence as McCreath led an impromptu prayer of thanksgiving.
Diocese of Massachusetts Thomas Shaw, SSJE, came to Good Shepherd on April 21 “as a sign to us of the prayers and companionship of the larger church,” McCreath told her parishioners.
The church had healing ministers to pray with people during communion and a guided discussion during the Liturgy of the Word for children, “to help them process the events of the week and recover their calm and hope.”
April 21 was the Fourth Sunday of Easter, is known as Good Shepherd Sunday because the gospel appointed for the day is John 10:22-30, a portion of the story in which Jesus calls himself the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. Thus, it is the patronal feast day of congregations known as Good Shepherd.
Not all Episcopalians could be in their church buildings for Good Shepherd Sunday. Trinity Church Copley Square, just yards from where the bombings occurred near the marathon’s finish line, is still off-limits because it is within the crime-scene boundaries investigators have set. The FBI allowed church officials a half hour on April 20 to go inside to gather vestments and the wine and bread for Eucharist, according to one report.
The Temple Israel synagogue opened its doors to the congregation and Trinity’s congregation filled the 900-seat sanctuary. Rabbi Ronne Friedman told CNN that the synagogue was honored to host Trinity in an hour of need. “It was beautiful, moving,” he said. “And it was a reminder of the deep bonds that exist between us. It reminded us all that our proximity is not just geographical.
“After the trauma of the past week, we are in proximate relationship with one another spiritually and psychologically. I think we all very much felt it was one Boston.”
The Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III, Trinity priest in charge, prayed for those who were slain “and for those who must rebuild their lives without the legs that they ran and walked on last week,” Yahoo News reported.
“So where is God when the terrorists do their work?” Lloyd asked. “God is there, holding us and sustaining us. God is in the pain the victims are suffering, and the healing that will go on. God is with us as we try still to build a just world, a world where there will not be terrorists doing their terrible damage.”
Lloyd was among those priests and pastors who shared with Time magazine their thoughts about preaching on the Sunday after the six extraordinary days in Boston. He wrote that people had to name what the bombers tried to do to them and “name the way that has touched our spirits, and then talk about everything we are gathered to do on a Sunday, to care for each other, to remember the grace and mercy at the heart of everything day by day, and claiming the call to live that here and now. All of that is our answer to the terrorists’ efforts to undermine the fabric of our lives.”
The service at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul near Boston Common included a prayer to the “Lord Christ, Risen Victim,” who “even on the cross you prayed for the forgiveness of those who murdered you.” The prayer in part asked that Christ would “remind us to pray for those who persecute us. Keep us aligned with your justice and not our own. Teach us to undo the cycles of violence and retribution and give us courage to act on our faith.”
And, in London on April 20, the Rev. Jacqueline Cameron of the Diocese of Chicago preached for the London Marathon Dedication Service held at All Hallows by the Tower. The next day Cameron ran in the London Marathon for the second time and in her 14th marathon overall.
The London event attracted much attention coming as it did six days after the attack in Boston and, as in Boston, many runners ran with pledges of support for various charities.
“The potential healing power of events such as the London Marathon is at least as staggering as the power of violence,” Cameron said during her sermon. “We do need to remember pain. We do need to remember the suffering and the dead from Monday’s bombing and from all of the acts of violence and destruction that pepper human history. But also we need to learn how not to be burdened by bitterness or poisoned by a desire for revenge. And one of the best ways to do that is to allow our pain to spur us to acts of courage, of joy, and of compassion.”
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Episcopal News Service – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic] The microbus carrying Episcopalians from Michigan and South Carolina hugged the Caribbean coastline as it traveled east on Highway 3 from Santo Domingo to Boca Chica, the first of seven stops to visit missions and ministries of the Iglesia Episcopal Dominicana. In the days following, the microbus would go west and then north, stopping at churches, schools, health clinics and child-care and elder-care facilities.
La Iglesia Episcopal Dominicana and its ministries are growing and thriving through strong leadership, evangelism and the help of its many U.S.-based partners. In 2012 alone, 70 mission teams from the United States visited the Dominican Republic.
“It has a lot to do with ‘emprendedor’ [enterprising] of the bishop [Julio C. Holguín] and his vision for moving the church forward,” said Bishop Wilfrido Ramos-Orench, the Episcopal Church’s global partnerships officer for Province IX.
Clergy and laity have taken ownership and shared in that vision along with the Dominican Development Group, he added. “The goal is to be self-sufficient through partnership by 2015.”
The Episcopal Church of the Dominican Republic is one of seven Province IX dioceses spread across the Caribbean and Central and northern South America, and it is one of the fastest-growing dioceses in the Episcopal Church. In 1998, the Dominican Development Group was established to assist in the development and self-sufficiency of the Dominican Episcopal Church. In 15 years, it has raised more than $10 million to finance the building of infrastructure, including churches, schools, day-care centers and medical clinics.
It is a model, said Ramos-Orench, that can be learned from across Province IX, which in March of 2012 adopted self-sufficiency as a focus. [The Diocese of Puerto Rico, which operates an extensive health-care system, is the only self-sufficient diocese in the province.]
The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, with the other third belonging to Haiti, where the Episcopal Church’s largest diocese is located.
The Dominican diocese has grown by 20 percent in the last 10 years and decreased its dependency on the Episcopal Church from 84 percent to 18 percent in the last 20. Since 1991, the number of churches has grown from 24 to more than 70 missions and preaching stations, including 37 church buildings up from 13. The number of schools has increased from seven to 27, according to statistics kept by the Dominican Development Group. And in 20 years, the number of Episcopalians in the Dominican Republic has grown from 2,500 to 8,000.
Evidence of that growth can be found in both of the Rev. Adolfo Moronta’s churches. At San Pablo y San Lucas in San Isidro, his congregation of 50 to 60 people is preparing to begin construction on a church building. At De La Gracia in Boca Chica, Moronta took the congregation from two members to 42 members in six months.
The church is growing, he said, because of its strong connection to the people.
“We can have a personal relationship with people, visit their homes and get to know their families and their needs and also what their talents are [for lay leadership in the church],” Moronta told ENS. “We’re not just healthy spiritually, but pastorally.”
On March 14, more than 2,000 people gathered for a Eucharist celebrating the diocese’s growth, 116 years of existence and 100 years in the Episcopal Church. Those attending included some 70 Americans in companion relationships with the diocese.
One hundred years in the Episcopal Church holds great significance, Bishop Holguín told ENS, because, “even though we live on an island, we are not isolated.
“The celebration moves us forward to carry out the mission of God; we are a mission church, and that is what we are celebrating, mission,” he said. “That’s why we say ‘encountering mission’ and wanted the participation of companion dioceses.”
The diocese has more than a dozen companion relationships with U.S. dioceses, including East Carolina, Eastern Michigan, Michigan, Western Michigan, Georgia, Nebraska, Northwest Texas, South Carolina, Virginian, Southwest Florida and Western Louisiana. Most, if not all, were represented at the Eucharist and in the preceding days during a three-day encounter hosted by the diocese to educate its partners about the church’s mission projects across the country.
Many of the visitors from the United States stayed on for the bus tour to visit churches and diocesan ministries April 15-17, including members of all three lower Michigan dioceses.
A few years ago, three bishops representing the three lower peninsula dioceses in Michigan – Easter, Western and Michigan – traveled to the Dominican Republic on an exploratory trip and quickly learned “it was not about money, but about bringing people together,” said Eastern Michigan Bishop Todd Ousley, during the encounter, “Juntos Podemos: Encuentro en Misión con Iglepidom” or “Together we can: Encounter in Mission with the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic.”
“Mission like is about relationship, and it takes time,” said Ousley.
Time spent building relationships in the Dominican Republic has opened “our eyes to the possibility of a revitalized spirit,” he said. “We’re a small diocese and small churches, so relationship is key for us. And it’s the same here, [Bishop] Julio helps me see that.”
The Rev. Bonnie Smith, deacon at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Calvary Lutheran in Elk Rapids in the Diocese of Western Michigan, had visited the Dominican Republic before as part of a team of medical professionals. A pediatric nurse, she jumped at the chance to visit the church as a representative of her diocese and to evaluate how best the diocese might get involved more closely, she said.
She was impressed by the diocese’s many building projects underway, as well as its energy and spirit, she said.
“Evangelism is coming from the heart,” Smith said. “In the U.S. we tend to be more cerebral.”
This year, 60 mission teams already are scheduled to visit the diocese, said Bill Kunkle, incoming executive director of the Dominican Development Group. He will take over for Bob Stevens, who has led the organization since its founding and will continue to work with the church in Province IX as a consultant.
Kunkle, a building contractor and a member of St. Mark’s in Tampa, Florida, first visited the Dominican Republic in 200. From there, he said, mission slowly wrapped itself around everything in his life.
Part of his job, he said, is to continue to build strong companion relationships in mission, but he also confronts challenges. For instance, the diocese is looking at new ways to fund the operation of Clínica Esperanza y Caridad, a public-health clinic in the coastal town of San Pedro Macorís that served more than 20,000 patients last year.
The clinic is staffed by the government’s public-health ministry but operated by the diocese, which also offers an HIV/AIDS program out of the clinic run by Dr. Michael Dohn, a long-time missionary. As funding for HIV/AIDS programs has begun to dry up, the diocese needs to find another way to fund the clinic, Kunkle said.
On April 15, the bus tour stopped at the clinic. The bus also stopped at various schools and proposed technical schools and churches. Participants learned that tourism, agriculture and manufacturing in free-trade zones provide most of the country’s job opportunities, but in some regions the unemployment rate exceeds 60 percent and can reach 80 percent.
The hardest thing for Americans engaging in mission in places like the Dominican Republic, where 18 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty, is suppressing the urge to take over, said the Rev. Linda Sue Crane, deacon at Grace Episcopal Church in Port Huron in the Diocese of Eastern Michigan.
“We’re here to show them that they can make their dreams happen,” she said. “As deacons we are icons of the church. Our job is to go out into the world and bring the needs back.”
Loretta Tabor of All Saints Episcopal Church in Hilton Head in the Episcopal Church in South Carolina said she was impressed by what she learned during the encounter and saw on the bus tour.
“These are people who really live the way Christ intended us to live, they share everything,” she said. “What we can do really is a drop in the bucket.”
– Lynette Wilson is an Episcopal News Service editor and reporter.
[Episcopal News Service] Para la Rda. Bonnie Perry, rectora de la iglesia de Todos los Santos en Chicago, practicar kayak en las violentas aguas del lago Michigan mitiga el estrés de navegar por rutas igualmente agitadas de la vida parroquial.
“Es una locura que haya jóvenes a los que asesinan habitualmente en las calles de Chicago”, dijo la rectora de la iglesia de Todos los Santos [All Saints Church] en Chicago durante una entrevista reciente con el Episcopal News Service. “Si estás continuamente inmersa en ese tipo de tristeza y de pena, terminas desmoralizada”.
Renueva tu espíritu “remar y traer gente a lugares agrestes de la costa del lago Superior, o a Escocia, donde la mayoría nunca ha ido y es [un lugar] asombrosamente inspirador”, dijo ella. “El océano es inmenso, y uno no puede controlarlo. Tienes que estar atenta al momento y responder al medio ambiente”.
Perry y otro clérigo episcopal dicen que sus hobbies los ayudan “vivir una vida fuera de la Iglesia” y en ocasiones [esa experiencia] los devuelve nuevamente a ella.
El clero y los demás necesitan una “desconexión” entre lo que son y lo que hacen, según Elaine Hollensbe, asesora de CREDO, un programa del Grupo de Pensiones de la Iglesia que durante 15 años le ha brindado oportunidades al clero y a algunos laicos empleados de la Iglesia de examinar áreas específicas de sus vidas y re-generar su pasión y su compromiso con la salud y el bienestar [físico y mental].
“Debes crearte un lugar para ti donde exista un equilibrio entre tus propios intereses, características y anhelos individuales y los del colectivo, que en este caso sería el sacerdocio”, dijo Hollensbe, profesora adjunta de administración en la Universidad de Cincinnati.
Algunos clérigos a los que ella ha entrevistado “se sentían bastante bien con sólo decir, muy bien, en este momento soy padre, no sacerdote. Pero algunos otros sacerdotes no podían hacer eso”, comentó ella.
“Si no puedes, experimentas muchísimo estrés, y no tienes una idea de ti mismo que no sea la de tu trabajo. Es importante que las personas encuentren un nivel de equilibrio para hallar una identidad separada que los rejuvenezca, de manera que cuando contribuyan al colectivo tengan la energía y la reserva para hacerlo”, añadió.
El pasatiempo y la vocación de Perry, kayaquista desde 1995, a veces coinciden. En Pascua, dijo ella, “Jesús se levantará de los muertos y… tomaré un avión y dirigiré un retiro de kayak para mujeres en Baja [California], México.”
Ella comenzó a enseñar y adiestrar “realmente en serio” a otras personas en el deporte hace unos siete años. Ha ganado numerosos galardones y es una de las cuatro mujeres en Norteamérica certificadas como Líder de 5 Estrellas en el Mar de la Unión Británica de Canoa “que es algo bastante oscuro, pero realmente importante si entiendes de lo que estoy hablando”, agregó.
“Tratar de mantener a ocho personas a salvo en su propia embarcación en medio de vientos de 20 nudos y olas de dos metros… confluye con lo que hago en la congregación, al tratar de resolver la mejor manera de dirigir para que la gente tengan el máximo de diversión, sin que lleguen a estrellarse contra las rocas”, señaló ella. “Pero no puedes controlarlo, puedes dirigir y ofrecer sugerencias”.
Algunas personas vienen a Todos los Santos debido a la “conexión con el remo”, apuntó ella.
Y hay otras formas en que su vocación y sus pasatiempos se unen. “El año pasado, uno de mis estudiantes murió mientras remaba alrededor del lago Superior. Yo no estaba allí, él estaba haciendo un viaje solitario. De manera que terminé celebrando un oficio en su memoria en uno de nuestros simposios. No es un deporte sin riesgos, poro uno trata de atenuarlos”.
‘Uno-dos por el Señor’ – Boxear en Houston
El Rdo. Patrick Miller, rector de la iglesia episcopal de San Marcos [St. Mark’s Episcopal Church] en Houston, dicen bromeando que en principio él comenzó a boxear luego de algunas excesos de reuniones de la sociedad del altar.
“Participaba de estas reuniones y me enfurecía, y enfurecerse en una reunión de la sociedad del altar no es correcto”, dijo Miller, de 46 años, durante una reciente entrevista por teléfono.
Daba la casualidad que su anterior iglesia estaba localizada justo enfrente del Gimnasio Principal de Boxeo de Houston. Se acercó un día y decidió intentar boxear como una disciplina cuaresmal y por el ejercicio.
Una vez dentro del ring, descubrió que el deporte “es increíble”, dijo. “Los entrenamientos son increíbles. La gente es increíble. Adquirí con eso una increíble cantidad de sabiduría. Quiero a mi iglesia. Quiero a la gente de mi iglesia. Pero esto no es una iglesia, es un ambiente completamente diferente”.
Y si bien [boxear] no responde exactamente el llamado del evangelio a poner la otra mejilla, él ha “disfrutado encontrando a Dios en lugares donde no lo esperaba”, dijo Miller, quien parafrasea otro de los mantras del boxeador ‘de lucha, siempre en la lucha’: “siempre estamos en la lucha, los pobres siempre están en la lucha”.
“En el boxeo, hay asaltos de tres minutos con un minuto de descanso”, explica él. “Si tomas eso como una metáfora del vivir, ves que hay ciertos períodos de tiempo en nuestras vidas en que tenemos que estar en la lucha, y otros momentos en que tenemos que descansar, tienes que aprovechar ese descanso para poder mantenerte en la lucha”.
Él señaló otros dichos del boxeo: “mi entrenador aborda [el tema de] la identidad. Me dirá: ‘Patrick, tengo un mal día, pero sabes qué. Sigo siendo Bobby Benton y voy a estar muy bien’”.
Miller recibe una amistosa provocación que su veloz combinación, una ráfaga de golpes de izquierda y derecha, convierten en “uno-dos por el Señor.”
Entre tanto, algunos de sus compañeros del ring se han convertido en feligreses. Algunos piden oraciones antes de una pelea y durante los retos de la vida, como divorcios y muertes en la familia, señaló Miller.
La experiencia le ha dado a Miller una nueva perspectiva respecto a cómo comportarse durante las reuniones de la iglesia. Recientemente, contó, “en medio de una pelea, enfrentándote con alguien que trata de golpearte y tu tratas de golpearlo”, oyó la voz de su entrenador: “Desacelera. Respira. Esquiva. Avanza sobre él. Piensa siempre lo que va a pasar después”.
Boxear lo ayuda a escuchar atentamente durante las reuniones de la iglesia, dijo. “Ahora voy a esas reuniones de la sociedad del altar y ya no me enfurezco”.
Patrullar pistas de esquiar en Ohio
La mayoría de los sábados por la noche, de diciembre a marzo, la Rda. Gay Jennings comienza un turno de ocho horas —no como sacerdote, sino patrullando las pistas de esquiar cerca de su casa suburbana de Cleveland.
“La gente dice, ‘¿esquías en Ohio?’ Hay dos áreas de esquiar a unos cinco kilómetros de mi casa, en el Parque Nacional del Valle de Cuyahoga, un valle surgido de un glaciar, y hay zonas de esquiar a ambos lados del valle”, dijo Jennings, presidente de la Cámara de Diputados de la Iglesia Episcopal, durante una reciente entrevista telefónica. Son pequeñas. Decimos que es mejor que no esquiar”.
Ella se enfunda en ropa muy abrigada, botas y chaqueta de patrulla, se abrocha la mochila de patrullar y se ajusta sus esquís en preparación para un turno de voluntarios que puede ser impredecible.
A veces “es como una unidad MASH”, dijo ella, refiriéndose a las unidades quirúrgicas móviles del Ejército que se usan para emergencias en las líneas del frente. “Por ser los primeros en responder [a una urgencia], ella y su equipo de unas 10 personas reciben un extenso entrenamiento fuera de temporada en primeros auxilios y como técnicos en atención de emergencias a campo raso.
“Esquiamos y vigilamos las pistas para cerciorarnos de que están seguras”, dijo Jennings. “Las lesiones pueden variar desde alguien que viene al cuarto de patrulla y pide una curita hasta una lesión grave en la cabeza o un fémur roto, lo cual exige sacar a la persona de la pista rápidamente y ponerla a salvo de manera que el próximo nivel de asistencia médica de urgencia pueda transportarla a un hospital”, explicó ella.
Cuando comenzó de voluntaria hace 23 años, Jennings, que actualmente tiene 62 años, era canóniga del ordinario en la Diócesis de Ohio. Su vida parecía como si “todo fuera la iglesia”.
En la patrulla, ha servido con el mismo equipo “ecléctico” —un arquitecto, un mecánico, un ingeniero, estudiantes universitarios, un coordinador comunitario— durante unos 15 años.
“Algunos de nosotros asisten a la iglesia, y algunos de nosotros ni se acercarían por una iglesia”, dijo ella. “Nos cuidamos mutuamente dentro y fuera de las pistas. Comemos juntos, cada cual trae lo suyo y lo compartimos. Es como en la iglesia”.
Su participación ha dado lugar a que le pidan que oficie en funerales y bodas de otros patrulleros de esquí a través de los años, y ella cree que ser parte del grupo la ha hecho una mejor sacerdote.
Me ha “proporcionado recreación, fraternidad, amigos, un equilibrio en mi vida. Me ha obligado a ejercitarme, aunque a veces es atrozmente frío”, apuntó. “Me ha hecho una mejor sacerdote en el sentido de que me saca de la iglesia. Obviamente, eso [la iglesia] es el primer foco de mi vocación y ministerio, pero creo que uno puede tener algo bueno en demasía. Para mí, pues, el patrullaje de esquí me proporciona equilibrio y me divierte mucho”.
Carpintería en San Diego
El trabajo artesanal de planificar, serruchar, lijar, ensamblar y terminar un mueble ha sido un pasatiempo para el obispo Jim Mathes, de San Diego, por espacio de 30 años.
A lo largo del tiempo, él ha construido estantes, escritorios y mesas de sala para amueblar los hogares de amigos y familiares; aproximadamente la mitad del tiempo, trabaja a partir de patrones comprados en la Internet. “La otra mitad yo diseño”, escribió en un correo electrónico.
Recientemente, creó un estante de vinos, hecho de caoba para 52 botellas, que subastó durante una recaudación de fondos en beneficio de Servicios Comunitarios Episcopales, una agencia diocesana que ofrece servicios sociales a familias e individuos de bajos ingresos. Se obtuvieron $1.000 de la venta.
“Escogí… caoba porque es una madera con la que me gusta trabajar, dijo Mathes. “Se ve bella con un barniz semibrillante”.
La carpintería le proporciona “tiempo cuando creo algo tangible”, dijo. “Tengo la mente totalmente fuera de la iglesia —¡si no lo hiciera así, no tendría todos los dedos!”.
Carolina del Norte: Una teología de la tontería
El Rdo. Joseph Hensley Jr. dice que disfrazarse de payaso, y más específicamente del personaje de su payaso Ashes, son parte de una teología de la tontería que “conmociona las cosas y ayuda a otros a mirar el mundo de manera diferente”.
“Él ha caracterizado a Ashes —con pantalones negros de enorme talla y tirantes con los colores del arco iris, narizotas y cachetes colorados, sombreros estrafalarios, corbata caprichosamente anudada y camisa blanca, zapatos tenis negros Converse All-Star y a veces un acordeón— en lugares tan diferentes como la iglesia de San Lucas [St. Luke’s Church] en Durham, comunidades de jubilados y en medio del aeropuerto de Miami al regreso de un viaje de misión de la Iglesia a Belice.
“Se trata de llevar este personaje chiflado a lugares donde podría haber necesidad de propagar alguna alegría”, dijo Hensley, auxiliar del rector de San Lucas, durante una entrevista reciente para ENS.
El nombre de Ashes proviene de la canción de cuna “Ring Around the Rosie” [“Rueda en torno a la rosa”], explicó Hensley, que llevará a cabo un taller durante la Conferencia de Formación Cristiana del 10 al 14 de junio en el Centro de Conferencias de Kanuga, en Hendersonville [Carolina del Norte].
“Como líderes de la Iglesia, se espera que tengamos una apariencia impactante”, dijo Hensley, de 39 años. “En alguna medida creo que existe esa expectativa que nos damos a nosotros mismos y que otras personas nos echan encima, y tenemos que comportarnos de cierta manera y hacer ciertas cosas. En el ministerio, lo que he tratado de hacer es poner esa imagen al revés”.
Al igual que en la canción de cuna, que termina diciendo “todos nos caemos”, el espíritu de la payasada “ayuda a darnos un sentido de valor para estar dispuestos a caer —pero caer con gracias y con humildad, y, para mí, eso es una gran parte de la vida de la fe”.
– La Rda. Pat McCaughan es corresponsal de Episcopal News Service
Traducción de Vicente Echerri
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori joined worshippers at Washington National Cathedral April 21 to celebrate Earth Day. She presided and preached at the 11:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist and earlier participated in the cathedral’s forum, discussing how care for the environment participates in the wider mission of the Episcopal Church.
Washington National Cathedral
21 April 2013
Last week an advisory council I’m part of gave the Obama administration a report on human trafficking. It has ten major recommendations on how government, faith groups, and non-profits can work together to end modern forms of slavery. As the Council finished its meeting, we thanked the young woman who guided us through the work as the administration’s liaison. We thanked her for her good shepherding. That’s precisely what this 30-something aide offered a group of strong-minded religious leaders and non-profit CEOs. She kept us on task, set deadlines, organized conference calls and in-person meetings, gathered experts in the field to teach and interact with us, challenged us to write and edit the report, and then produced it in time for publication. And after our meeting, she left for a much-needed and well-deserved vacation!
Most of us in this part of the world don’t see real, live sheep-keepers very often, but we do have abundant examples of shepherding around us. The 23rd psalm may seem like a romantic idyll, but it’s profoundly about what sheep need – food, water, rest, and the ability to fend off predators. The psalmist describes behavior that is just as essential to human thriving as it is for sheep or goats. In order for any human community to be effective or live in productive harmony, it needs leadership. When we start to talk about godly leadership, or shepherds like Jesus, we mean guidance toward what will nurture the life of the community as well as away from what will threaten or end the project. Good shepherding is life-giving and sustaining, and in the kind of language we use around here, it’s eternal. It is about what is ultimate, gracious, and abundantly life-giving. It seeks the welfare of the whole community, not simply the desires of an individual.
That’s the kind of leadership Jesus is claiming. It’s also the kind of leadership that he challenges his followers to exercise – he’s telling his disciples to go and do likewise: ‘Do you want to find that kind of ultimate, life-giving, gracious generosity? Well, then, gather ‘round and get with the program – because we’re going thataway, toward LIFE!’
This kind of holy shepherding is meant for all of us, in all our variety. We aren’t meant to march in lockstep, but to use the varied gifts of our creation and circumstances to gather others and move toward that kind of abundant life. That’s why we’re here this morning – to be fed and challenged to exercise a shepherd’s leadership wherever we live and move and have our being.
We’re using a particular lens to focus that sort of leadership this Earth Day. How do we guide and shepherd our communities to tend the pasture? Ultimately we all depend on the same pasture for our earthly living – the springs of the water of life sustain us all, and the air breathed into us is rebreathed by other parts of this planetary garden. How we use and tend the pasture will either give life or limit it for those around us and those who will follow us.
Think with me a bit more about sheep. Flocks of sheep, particularly undomesticated ones, have internal shepherds – shared leadership by wise elders who warn of danger and guide the flock along trustworthy paths to ancient pastures and water holes. But the capricious young also have a role – they give warning of what may or may not be approaching danger, and they can help discover new grazing in unfamiliar places as they flit about. The adolescent bucks usually wander off in search of territory with greater possibility and some of them develop into leaders of new flocks in the process. In healthy human communities, effective shepherds understand themselves as part of the flock, and use their native gifts to collaborate with other sorts of leaders.
That great dream of Revelation is an image of the flock of humanity gathered around their shepherd. Their wool is clean and white, not just because they’ve had a dip in the creek to wash the dirt off, but because all the burrs and thorns and parasites have been picked out. It’s immensely troublesome work to get a sheep looking like that – it’s not just a matter of a bath. And this isn’t just a single animal, like a country fair champion. An entire flock of sheep has been individually groomed until they reflect the sun like the top of a cloudbank. This great good shepherd cares for each part of creation as precious – beloved, even. These sheep are gathered, confident that one of their number will keep them in good grazing, and clean water, and away from the wolves. The lamb has become shepherd of all by shifting his concern from self to the whole. It is a cosmic image of the ancient challenge to care for the whole community rather than only one’s individual being.
That’s the kind of shepherding we’re in for – recognizing the preciousness of the whole flock of creation. Not just the human ones, or the mammals, or the local pasture, but the vast web of interconnected matter we call creation. Every family, language, tribe, and nation of insect, woodland, coral reef, water vapor, and the rock below. Why do you suppose those sheep are waving palm branches? This cosmic act of salvation is about all creation, not simply a few human beings.
Globally, awareness is growing that caring for the earth is an essential part of the human vocation. The sheep are beginning to become more conscious stewards of the pasture. It’s an aberration that has separated us from knowing that stewarding and reverencing the rest of creation is essential to human life – that aberration about eating an apple of self-centeredness and leaving the primordial garden pasture.
There won’t be green pastures and still waters for all until we become effective shepherds and pasture tenders for the whole creation. This work is about consciousness of our connection to the whole, and tender care of the other parts of that whole. It is simply another form of loving our neighbor as ourselves, for the neighbor is actually part of each one of us.
A very local example. Human beings live in relationship with lots of different bacteria and other microbes. Each of us has about ten times as many microbial cells as human cells, and most of the time that human-microbe ecosystem functions in ways that keep all parties healthy. The bacteria help us digest food, train our immune systems, make vitamins, affect our blood pressure, regulate metabolism, fend off pathogens, and perform a myriad of other functions. We in turn feed, house, and distribute those microbes. We are at the very early stages of understanding these interrelationships and what keeps them healthy. We do know that modern American germ-phobia is actually making a lot of us sick, and making it harder to cure people who are acutely ill. The antibiotics we use so profligately for minor colds or to make livestock gain weight faster only breed resistance. Bacterial populations quickly respond to their use by sharing resistance genes that have been around for eons longer than human beings. We can’t simply target one part of the bacterial ecosystem for extinction – it doesn’t work. Yes, a few are pathogenic, but most of the time, illness or infection is a matter of an imbalance in the system. Microbes are part of us, in a very real sense our intimate neighbors or members, and the task is to learn how to manage the system for better health as a whole and in all its parts.
Good and effective shepherds learn to recognize that we are all part of a far larger and more complex neighborhood than we have imagined. Loving our neighbor, and caring for the garden in which we’re planted, means cultivating respect and compassion for every part of creation. Go tend the sheep – even the ones you can’t see – and care for the pasture that supports us all – and don’t fuss about the dirt and germs – we need almost every single one of them!
 President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/advisory_council_humantrafficking_report.pdf
 Beet This: More Evidence of BP-Lowering Effects of Dietary Nitrate. Medscape. Apr 16, 2013.
Las noticias de Venezuela son tantas que se necesitarían todas las páginas de un periódico dominical para publicarlas. Quizás el mejor resumen de la situación actual lo ha hecho Antonio María Delgado, periodista de El Nuevo Herald: “El régimen bolivariano parece estar dispuesto a cruzar el punto de no retorno para dejar atrás toda apariencia de democracia, al hacer planes para encarcelar al máximo líder de la oposición, silenciar las voces de los diputados en el Congreso y darle carta blanca a la represión.
“Las acciones del régimen de Caracas se producen en momentos en que enfrenta una crisis de legitimidad, con la oposición cuestionando los resultados de los comicios presidenciales del domingo en las que el Consejo Nacional Electoral declaró ganador al líder de la Revolución Bolivariana, Nicolás Maduro, por un margen inferior a dos puntos porcentuales. Las cifras verdaderas son Maduro 44,3 por ciento y Capriles 53,5 por ciento.
Sus decisiones anti-democráticas unidas “a las emergentes dudas sobre la legitimidad de origen del nuevo gobierno, podrían terminar de encasillar al régimen firmemente en la columna reservada para las dictaduras”.
Estados Unidos ha dicho por boca de su secretario de Estado, John Kerry, que espera que Venezuela acceda a una auditoría electoral para dar confianza a la comunidad internacional, pero en Caracas se ha dicho oficialmente que “no habrá que contar los votos nuevamente”. Otros comentaristas dicen que ni el mismo Nicolás Maduro cree en el resultado de las elecciones y esto puede producirle un problema sicológico. Veremos.
Varios letreros en las paredes piden la intervención de las fuerzas armadas a favor del pueblo según lo estipula la Constitución. Nicolás Maduro, anunció el jueves antes de volar a Lima para una reunión “de emergencia” de la Unasur que “mañana seré juramentado” y “estaré en la presidencia por largos años” para continuar los planes e ideales del comandante Hugo Chávez. Añadió que en Venezuela no existe una oposición “sino una conspiración permanente, aupada desde los Estados Unidos”.
El papa Francisco dijo en una breve homilía el jueves pasado que “ser cristiano no es estudiar una carrera para convertirse en un abogado o en un médico cristiano, no. Ser cristiano es un don que nos hace ir adelante con el poder del Espíritu de anunciar a Jesucristo”.
Durante los días 13 y 14 de abril la Iglesia Episcopal Dominicana, celebró, el Primer Encuentro en Misión, con la participación miles de feligreses, representantes de diócesis compañeras de los Estados Unidos y su clero en pleno. El obispo diocesano Julio César Holguín presidió el evento y retó a las iglesias a cumplir el mandato de la Gran Comisión apoyando a los pobres y todos los necesitados. Visiblemente emocionado el obispo dijo “si nosotros que hemos sido llamados por el Señor no lo hacemos ¿quién lo hará?”. La Iglesia Episcopal Dominicana tiene un total de 32 colegios, cuatro centros de cuidado infantil, 62 iglesias, dos clínicas y un asilo de ancianos.
El gobierno cubano ha autorizado a las dirigentes de las Damas de Blanco para que viajen a Bruselas, Bélgica, para recibir el premio Sájarov que les fue concedido hace ocho años por el Parlamento Europeo. El Premio Sájarov para la Libertad de Conciencia, nombrado así en honor del científico y disidente soviético Andréi Sájarov, fue establecido en diciembre de 1985 por el Parlamento Europeo como un medio para homenajear a personas u organizaciones que han dedicado sus vidas o acciones a la defensa de los derechos humanos y las libertades.
Al cumplir su primer mes en el cargo, el papa Francisco nombró un consejo de ocho cardenales de todo el mundo para que le asesore en el gobierno de la Iglesia Católica Romana y estudie un proyecto de reforma de la curia, un anuncio sorpresivo que indica su intención de lograr un cambio importante en el funcionamiento del papado. El chileno Francisco Javier Errázuriz y el hondureño Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga son los únicos latinoamericanos en el consejo.
Familiares de las víctimas de la matanza en Newtown han mostrado tristeza y agotamiento físico con el rechazo del Senado de Estados Unidos a una enmienda que hubiera establecido revisiones más cuidadosas de antecedentes en la compra de armas. En la masacre del 14 de diciembre fueron asesinados 20 niños junto con seis maestras.
El FBI ha señalado a dos personas como sospechosas del atentado dinamitero del maratón de Boston. Tres personas murieron y más de 170 resultaron heridas cuando dos bombas estallaron cerca de la meta el lunes 15.
VERDAD. La vida no se mide por las veces que respiras, sino por aquellos momentos que te dejan sin aliento.
[Diocese of Los Angeles] Music composers ages 18 – 25 are invited to compete for a cash prize for an original choral anthem in honor of National LGBT Coming Out Day. The $1,000 prize will be awarded by the Bishop W. Bertrand Stevens Foundation, whose purpose is to strengthen the connection between youth and the church. The anthem will be performed by professional musicians at the Coming Out Day Liturgy on Oct. 6 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Long Beach.
Judging the contest will be:
Robert Istad, associate professor of music, CSU Fullerton; assistant conductor of Pacific Chorale.
James Buonemani, organist and choirmaster, St. James’ Episcopal Church, Los Angeles.
Christopher Gravis, choirmaster, St. Wilfrid of York Episcopal Church; conductor, Orange County Choral Society.
Criteria for submissions
The text setting for all entries is the ancient prayer “O Gracious Light” (Phos hilaron):
O gracious Light, pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven, O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun, and our eyes behold the vesper light, we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices, O Son of God, O Giver of life, and to be glorified through all the worlds.
– The Book of Common Prayer, p.118
The setting must be written for SATB Choir with a maximum divisi of SSAATTBB. The setting may be either unaccompanied or include organ accompaniment.
The preferred performance duration of the setting is 4 to 6 minutes in length.
The score must be submitted in a fixed and tangible form with all parts clearly notated.
If there is no composition worthy of the prize, the judges reserve the right to forfeit a winning entry, with each score returned without indemnity or intended harm.
Instructions for submissions
1. Submit the original composition in a large envelope. In the interest of anonymity and fairness, the composer’s name must NOT be visible on the score.
2. In the large envelope, include a smaller sealed envelope with a completed information sheet. The adjudicating team will issue a numbering system to categorize entries. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope to have score returned.
3. Entries must be postmarked by June 1, 2013. Announcement of the winning composition will be made via U.S. Mail by mid-July.
4. Mail submissions to:
Christopher Gravis, Choirmaster
St. Wilfrid of York Episcopal Church
18631 Chapel Lane
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Editors’ note: Story updated at 6:20 p.m. April 19 with new details about manhunt.
[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Amy McCreath awoke in Washington, D.C., April 19 to learn that her parish of Church of the Good Shepherd in Watertown, Massachusetts, was close to the epicenter of an unprecedented manhunt for the second of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing. She also soon learned that the Episcopal Church sometimes is really just a small parish.
Soon after a call from her bishop, the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, of the Diocese of Massachusetts, McCreath’s phone kept ringing. And people sought to connect with her in other ways.
“I’ve heard from quite a few bishops and parishes all over the country – and friends – and I’ve been just very moved and amazed by the power of social media and the connectedness we have through the Episcopal Church,” she told Episcopal News Service.
“Within half of waking up this morning, it was really clear that there was this whole cloud of witness who were praying for us — what a gift that is,” McCreath said in a telephone interview conducted as her husband, Brian, drove her and their children home after spending spring break in Washington, D.C.
As soon as she learned the news, McCreath said she, one of the wardens of the parish and an intern began contacting parishioners. “Every person in the parish that I called to check up on them and to ask how they were doing, their first response was [to ask] what can I do, what can I do to help,” she said. “They started making phone calls. They started praying.”
Several parish members live in East Watertown, “one family really on the street where a lot of the action is happening,” she said, adding that she had spoken briefly to one woman in that area who was welcoming neighbors into her home “who were trying to stay safe.”
“I just let her know we are praying for her and I asked several people just to pray for those people in Watertown,” McCreath said.
Before coming to Good Shepherd in 2010, McCreath was the Episcopal chaplain at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, 26, of Somerville, was killed at about 10:30 p.m. April 18 during what the Boston Globe called “a chaotic, violent night” that preceded the April 19 manhunt.
“My heart goes out to the MIT community. I’m a huge a fan of the MIT police,” McCreath said. “They’re top notch. I am grieving with them as they mourn the loss of a fine colleague.”
Events began to unfold on the evening of April 18 after the FBI released photos of two then-unidentified men they called “armed and extremely dangerous.” They had asked the public’s help in identifying the men but added a cautionary warning.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers said during a press conference just after 5 p.m. EST that “no one should approach them. No one should attempt to apprehend them except law enforcement.”
MIT police received reports of gunfire at 10:24 p.m. April 18, the Globe reported, and four minutes later there was a report of a robbery at convenience store near MIT. Early reports on April 19 that the brothers turned out to be incorrect. A minute after the robbery report, a MIT police officer was found shot and killed in his car, according to the Boston Globe.
Two minutes later the brothers are suspected of carjacking a Mercedes SUV, the Globe said. The car’s owner escaped. The owner said the brothers identified themselves as the marathon bombers, according to several media reports.
The two men led police on a chase during which they fired at police. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Transit Police Officer, Richard H. Donahue Jr., 33, was wounded. The Globe reported that 10 officers were being evaluated at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton after they were injured by explosives thrown from the car.
During the gunfight, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, apparently got out of the car and was wounded. At some point, his younger brother, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, ran over Tamerlan as he fled in the car, according to several media reports.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was brought to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center emergency room about 1:10 a.m. with multiple traumatic injuries. Doctors told the Globe that those injuries included both gunshot wounds and explosive-caused wounds. He was pronounced dead at 1:35 a.m.
Details of the overnight mayhem and the ensuing manhunt keep emerging and changing. The Boston Globe is updating its coverage here.
The Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III, priest-in-charge of Trinity Church Copley Square, told his parish April 19 that the Rev. Patrick C. Ward, Trinity’s associate rector for worship and communications who lives in Belmont, reported “that much of the gunfire of the night was happening only blocks from his home.”
In his letter to the parish, Lloyd said that “in moments like this it’s crucial for us to remember who we are and whose we are.”
“Amid the tension and anxiety of the moment, we remain a people held in God’s love, certain of our ultimate safety in God’s providential care, and called to be Christ to each other and our city in even the hardest of times,” he wrote.
Nearly one million people in Boston and nearby Watertown, Waltham, Newton, Belmont and Cambridge, were told to “shelter in place” — stay inside and not open their doors to anyone, except police with proper identification. Thousands of police officers have spent April 19 conducting an intense search, at times going door to door, for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The search has also led to the sudden shutdown of the MTBA’s commuter rail, bus and subway services. Taxi service was shut down. Officials asked businesses across the area not to open.
The Associated Press reported that the suspect brothers came from the Russian region near Chechnya, which has been plagued by an Islamic insurgency. The two had been living together on Norfolk Street in Cambridge, about two miles from Episcopal Divinity School.
Shaw asked early on April 19 for prayers while police conducted their search.
“Given the ongoing police activity that you are no doubt seeing on the news, I want to let you know that we have been in touch this morning with our chaplains at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, and with the clergy and wardens at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Watertown, and everyone there, as well as at Episcopal Divinity School, are safe, as far as we know,” he told clergy and diocesan leadership early on April 19.
“Please pray for all in the affected communities, and pray for a speedy and violence-free resolution to these disturbing events. Keep watch, Lord, with those who work or watch or weep this day.”
The diocesan offices and the Cathedral Church of St. Paul office near Boston Common at 138 Tremont Street in Boston were closed.
Members of both Good Shepherd and Trinity Copley Square gathered in prayer for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings earlier in the evening of April 18. During its weekly Hidden Brook contemplative prayer evening service, Good Shepherd included prayers for the victims of the bombing and “support for the rest of us in dealing with the tragedy.”
What Lloyd called “a goodly number of Trinity parishioners” gathered for a service of music and prayers at the intersection of Berkeley and Boylston streets, which he said has become the main gathering place for taking in the deserted landscape in and around Copley Square. The marathon’s finish line is on Boylston just yards from the west side of Trinity’s building.
During the service the choristers led us in singing “Amazing Grace” and “America the Beautiful.” New media hovered to capture the scene, Lloyd said.
“I can’t tell you how good it was to see the faces of our Trinity community, the strength it brought to catch up with one another, the assurance it gave that we’re all in this together.”
April 21, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, is known as Good Shepherd Sunday because the gospel appointed for the day is John 10:22-30, a portion of the story in which Jesus calls himself the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. Thus, it is the patronal feast day of congregations known as Good Shepherd. The church in Watertown had planned a newcomer’s brunch for Sunday, and McCreath said the parish still plans to host the meal.
“But I think it’s going to turn into an all-comers brunch,” she said. “Anybody in the community who wants to be there to be in community and to share stories and find courage is welcome to come.”
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Diocese of Texas] The Episcopal Diocese of Texas approved today a definitive agreement for the transfer of St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System to Catholic Health Initiatives, a nationally recognized health care system.
As part of the transfer of St. Luke’s, CHI will contribute more than $1 billion to create a new Episcopal Health Foundation, which will focus on the unmet health needs of the area’s underserved population. In addition, CHI has committed an additional $1 billion for future investment in the health system. The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, said in announcing the decision, “We are humbled to be able to preserve the legacy of St. Luke’s, while also expanding the Diocesan commitment to health care.”
The name of the system will be the St. Luke’s Health System. The transaction is expected to be completed early this summer, subject to obtaining required regulatory approvals. The agreement includes the entire Health System: the Texas Medical Center campus, as well as suburban hospital locations in The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Pasadena and The Vintage. CHI has committed to maintain all current physician models and all employees will continue to be employed by St. Luke’s. In addition, CHI will continue to grow and enhance St. Luke’s significant affiliations with Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Heart® Institute, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Texas Children’s Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center.
The 11-month evaluation process undertaken by the St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System Board included 30 prospective local and national partners with multiple strategic alternatives and, in March, this list was narrowed to three well-qualified finalists. “We are enormously grateful to all participants for their earnest and forthright effort throughout this process,” said The Rt. Rev. Dena A. Harrison, bishop suffragan and chair of the St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System Board.
CHI became the choice because it brings many benefits to the community:
- CHI operates across the continuum of care that is so key to the new model in American health care delivery.
- CHI brings cultural compatibility with the St. Luke’s brand of Faithful, Loving Care®.
- CHI values the people who made St. Luke’s what it is today: our patients, our physicians, our employees, our affiliates, our management, our donors and our Board leadership.
“The relationship with Catholic Health Initiatives ensures the Greater Houston area will retain one of its great healthcare institutions, while best preparing St. Luke’s to meet future changes in healthcare,” said Kevin Lofton, CHI president and CEO.
While this decision means the Episcopal Diocese of Texas will no longer provide acute care, the Diocese remains committed to its health care mission through the new Episcopal Health Foundation.
“This new foundation will address a widening gap in healthcare throughout our 57-county area,” Doyle said. “There is a care vacuum that must be addressed, including access to health care, prevention, community and environmental health, poverty, education and health disparities,” he said, adding, “This direction reflects the initial vision of Bishops Quin and Hines in founding St. Luke’s. They called upon ‘all the mountain-moving powers of faith and prayer and human skill which can be brought to bear on individuals in need.’”
[Episcopal News Service – San Salvador, El Salvador] Para los misioneros Tom y Dianne Wilson la parte del servicio que les ha presentado hasta ahora un mayor desafío ha sido aprender español.
La pareja, proveniente de Rutland, Massachusetts, y miembros de la iglesia episcopal de San Francisco [St. Francis Episcopal Church] en Holden, en la Diócesis de Massachusetts Occidental, llegó el 4 de marzo y ha pasado las primeras seis semanas de servicio misionero en la Iglesia Anglicana/Episcopal de El Salvador estudiando español en el Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad y viviendo con una familia anfitriona, lo cual completa su experiencia de inmersión en la lengua española.
“El idioma es el mayor desafío”, seguido por el calor y los mosquitos, dijo Dianne Wilson, de 65 años, jubilada como asesora de impuestos del gobierno municipal.
Antes de llegar, Tom Wilson, de 50 años, dijo que “ellos tenían un millón de preocupaciones” relacionadas con ser “extranjeros en una tierra extraña”, pero que la Iglesia ha llevado a cabo con ellos una gran labor de acogida y los ha ayudado a aclimatarse.
La primera participación de los Wilson con los misioneros de la Iglesia Episcopal tuvo lugar cuando eran miembros de la iglesia de San Andrés [St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church] en Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, e integraban un equipo de apoyo para un amigo que estaba prestando servicios en Kenia. Cuando se mudaron a St. Francis en 2007, la iglesia acababa de establecer una relación con la Fundación Cristosal, explicó Dianne Wilson.
La iglesia de San Francisco se había comprometido a diezmar, a contribuir con el 10 por ciento [de sus ingresos] a la organización de desarrollo comunitario basado en derechos humanos que surge de las iglesias Anglicana y Episcopal que sirven en El Salvador, pero Cristosal no quería el dinero a menos que los miembros de la iglesia se propusieran hacer una visita, contó ella.
“Cuando llegamos allí [a la parroquia de San Francisco] acababan de planear su segundo viaje a El Salvador y yo quise ver el otro lado [el servicio misionero sobre el terreno], dijo Dianne Wilson.
Sin embargo, Tom Wilson, ex director de finanzas de una organización sin fines de lucro, no se sintió inmediatamente convencido, explicó, porque el viaje no incluía la construcción de algo. En lugar de “proyectos” de construcción, Cristosal se empeña en capacitar a los pobres a laborar en pro de la justicia y el desarrollo como ciudadanos iguales en una sociedad democrática, y Tom dijo que a él no le interesaba tener un momento “kumbaya” [una experiencia de confraternización superficial], pero al final decidió que no podía dejar que su esposa fuera a Centroamérica sola.
“El desarrollo basado en los derechos humanos es un concepto difícil, hasta que uno lo ve”, afirmó Tom Wilson, quien luego se convirtió en presidente del comité de misión de la iglesia de San Francisco. No obstante, fue la pasión de Noah Bullock, el director ejecutivo de Cristosal, lo que puso a los Wilson en la senda del servicio misionero, dijeron ellos.
Esa fue la primera de tres visitas que los Wilson hicieron entonces a Cristosal y a El Salvador. Su cuarta visita se produjo en agosto de 2012, cuando pasaron dos semanas viviendo en El Maizal, una pequeña comunidad a dos horas y media en auto de San Salvador y a 32 kilómetros de la frontera de Guatemala, donde la Iglesia tiene una casa de huéspedes y una granja. Los Wilson cumplirán su compromiso misionero en El Maizal, y se mudarán allí en los próximos días.
La primera prioridad de los Wilson, dijeron ellos, es enseñarles inglés como segunda lengua a los niños de la comunidad y a los adultos que les interese, y administrar la casa de huéspedes que, cuando esté funcionando, puede llegar a albergar 12 personas.
Hay unas 30 viviendas de bloques en el área, y también una escuela episcopal. Es una zona que fue destruida por terremotos en 2001 y reconstruida con la colaboración de Ayuda y Desarrollo Episcopales.
En los años 80, El Salvador fue víctima de una brutal guerra civil, librada sobre todo por el problema de la desigualdad [económica y social]. Y en los años que siguieron a los Acuerdos de Paz arbitrados por las Naciones Unidas en 1992, el país más pequeño y más densamente poblado de América Central ha experimentado varios devastadores desastres naturales. Tiene, además, uno de los índices de asesinatos más altos del mundo. La desigualdad aún persiste, con alrededor del 50 por ciento de la población adulta desempleada, y el 47 por ciento que vive en la extrema pobreza.
Los Wilson se han comprometido con tres años de servicio, pero entienden que el trayecto a recorrer no será fácil.
“Esta es una vida dura, para no mencionar lo que a uno le tocará presenciar: personas que viven en una pobreza abyecta”, dijo Dianne Wilson. “Es una vida increíblemente difícil: Nosotros estamos visitándola, ellos la viven”.
Los Wilson están compartiendo su experiencia en un blog que pueden visitar aquí.
– Lynette Wilson es redactora y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Se encuentra actualmente radicada en San Salvador, El Salvador.
Traducción de Vicente Echerri