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ENS Headlines - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

La situación política de Venezuela sigue igual aunque todos los días hay nuevos acontecimientos. Ya suman 16 los muertos y los estudiantes no ceden en su empeño de tener un nuevo gobierno que sea democrático y dedicado al bienestar del pueblo. Los estudiantes han interrumpido el tránsito por la autopista de Caracas, la principal vía de acceso urbano dentro de la capital. A una invitación de Nicolás Maduro para dialogar con Estados Unidos, el presidente Barack Obama dijo que ese diálogo debe realizarse con los líderes de Venezuela. Roberto Lückert, arzobispo de Coro, dijo en una entrevista que la crisis política que vive el país es “resultado de la insensatez política del gobierno”.

Ante la situación venezolana, el Presbiterio Central de la Iglesia Presbiteriana reunido a mediados de febrero dio a conocer una carta pastoral dirigida al pueblo venezolano “como un modesto aporte por la paz y el entendimiento entre los que vivimos en esta tierra de gracia”. Después de hacer un somero análisis de la situación actual, los presbiterianos dicen en su carta colectiva: “La violencia como recurso para dirimir diferencias, terminará escapando de las manos que la propician y acabará engullendo a quienes la originaron”.

Unión Juárez, fundado en 1870, es un pintoresco pequeño lugar montañoso en el estado mexicano de Chiapas. Es centro turístico y a la vez un lugar de gente intransigente. Cuenta la prensa que los dirigentes del pueblo suprimieron el suministro de agua y electricidad a unas 25 familias evangélicas “por negarse a cooperar con 500 pesos por familia” para la celebración de fiestas católicas tradicionales. ¡Hace falta un buen mediador!

Dos bombas caseras de mediano poder explosivo explotaron el 24 de febrero cerca de la entrada de la Catedral Anglicana de Zanzíbar. Ninguna persona resultó herida aunque sí hubo algunos daños materiales. Las bombas también afectaron el memorial donde existió el Mercado de Esclavos de Mkunazini donde ahora hay un monumento de meditación y oración. La catedral sigue con sus oficios regulares pese al peligro que existe en el lugar. En la isla hay un fuerte sentimiento de independencia de Tanzanía, 98 por ciento de la población es musulmana. La embajada de Estados Unidos ha sugerido a las mujeres  “vestir decorosamente”.

Como prueba de que el Vaticano ha tomado en serio el castigo a los culpables de abusos sexuales en la Iglesia Católica Romana, el papa Francisco ha destituido a su dignidad eclesiástica al obispo de Iquique, Chile,  Marco Antonio Órdenes Fernández, quien afronta una investigación eclesiástica por abusos sexuales. En su lugar el papa ha nombrado a Guillermo Vera Soto, hasta ahora obispo de Calama.

Alice Herz-Sommer, sobreviviente del Holocausto, ha fallecido a la edad de 110 años en Londres. Pianista destacada y miembro de una familia de intelectuales, en 1943 fue trasladada a un campo de concentración en la ciudad checa de Terezin, donde a los reos se les permitía dar conciertos. Según cálculos oficiales de los 140,000 judíos llevados allí 33,430 murieron víctimas del hambre y el maltrato. Aunque nunca supo donde murió su madre al ser arrestada o su esposo que murió en el campo de concentración de Dachau, los que la conocieron admiran su fortaleza ante la miseria, el dolor y la vejación.

La arquidiócesis católica romana de Los Ángeles, la más grande de Estados Unidos, se encuentra en un proceso judicial acusada de ocultar los nombres de las víctimas de abuso sexual. Según consta en documentos oficiales el anterior arzobispo, Roger Mahony, no reveló los nombres de las víctimas para protegerlos. Se cree que desde 2006 la diócesis pagó más de 700 millones de dólares por acuerdos extra-judiciales a cientos de víctimas que presentaron demandas.

El arzobispo Terence Prendergast de Ottawa, Canadá, ha decretado que en los funerales católicos en su jurisdicción quedan prohibidos sermones o pláticas alabando las bondades del difunto. “En su lugar los fieles deben emplear ese tiempo en orar por el difunto y su familia”, dijo el prelado. Debido a las protestas de los miembros de la iglesia Prendergast aceptó tres condiciones: esas palabras se pronunciarán al principio de la liturgia, no podrán tener más de tres minutos de duración y no deberán decirse desde el mismo lugar donde se leen las Escrituras.

La policía de La Paz, Bolivia, ha informado que ha capturado a José Luis Bertón, pastor evangélico de una iglesia local llamada “Eklesia de La Paz” y presunto líder de una banda de secuestradores. Junto con Bertón fueron arrestados su concubina y dos familiares de ésta. En el mes pasado hubo 17 secuestros atribuido a la pandilla de Bertón. El rescate oscilaba entre 100 mil y  250 mil dólares. La policía dijo que a la banda se les decomisó un fusil, una pistola, una motocicleta y un taxi.

VERDAD. Ser honrado significa decidir no mentir, robar, estafar ni engañar de ninguna forma.

Indian churches speak against discrimination faced by Dalits

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

[World Council of Churches press release] Member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in India have expressed deep concern over discrimination faced by Christian and Muslim Dalit communities there, demanding protection of the right to freedom of religion in a meeting with Prof. Dr Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

The meeting attended by a number of church leaders, human rights activists, lawyers, academics, leaders of the Muslim community and representatives of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, was organized by the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI).

Bielefeldt is currently visiting India until 27 February on invitation from the civil society organizations including the Indian Social Institute and Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

According to a news report of the NCCI, Dr Ramesh Nathan from the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights spoke about numerous forms of “untouchability” resulting from the caste system practiced in India. Nathan added that Dalit Christians are most vulnerable to caste-based violence but are not protected by the Prevention of Atrocities Act in the Indian constitution, which is meant to prevent atrocities against the scheduled castes.

The Indian constitution includes Dalits in the list of scheduled castes as the most marginalized communities who need protection. However when converted to Christianity or Islam, these individuals and communities are excluded from these protective and affirmative measures offered by the Indian government.

Haji Hafeez Ahmad Hawari, a representative of Muslim community shared at the NCCI meeting that his nomination to the national elections under the category of “caste with reserved constituency” was rejected because he is a follower of Islam.

Hawari said that he experienced discrimination within the Muslim community as well as in the larger society because he is a Dalit; and yet because of his religion affiliation he could not seek the position reserved in the Indian constitution for scheduled castes.

“Both Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslim are not considered Dalits by our government, and hence, they are denied affirmative action programmes that empower marginalized communities,” said Samuel Jayakumar, the NCCI’s executive secretary for the Commission on Policy, Governance and Public Witness, who chaired the meeting.

“We see this as religion based discrimination against Christian and Muslim Dalits in India,” he said.

Leila Passah, general secretary of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of India also brought to the attention of the Special Rapporteur the “inhumane treatment meted out to the Dalit community by the Indian police, when they organized a peaceful protest in Delhi.”

She said “the police beat up protestors with sticks as Christian and Muslim leaders marched towards the Parliament House to hand over to the prime minster of India a memorandum of demands.”

Around 30 people were injured in this incident and several protestors including church leaders were detained in the police station on 11 December 2013, according to media reports.

Bielefeldt recognized issues of discrimination against Dalits in India, calling religious conversion a test case for freedom of religion. He added that the right to equality has been denied to the Dalit community in India and they cannot be forced to follow a particular religion.

Bielefeldt assured participants in the meeting that the UN human rights mechanism will continue to raise these issues at their forums.

NCCI news release on Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in India

Solidarity with Dalits for justice and dignity

WCC member churches in India

‘Malaria fight needs concerted efforts,’ says Zambia Anglican Council

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Church in Zambia says the fight against malaria in the central African region cannot be won unless all stakeholders come together to address the disease, which remains a “major public health and development challenge on the continent.”

Speaking during a cross-border initiative roundtable discussion last week at the Zambia-Namibia border, the Zambia Anglican Council (ZAC) National Programmes Director Grace Mazala Phiri said, “The elimination of malaria in Zambia and neighburing countries cannot be addressed by government alone.”

Despite improvements in malaria incidence in the past seven years, it still remains the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in Zambia. The improvements have been attributed to efforts made by the Zambian government and key partners such as ZAC through a campaign called Roll-Back Malaria.

Phiri explained, “The overall achievements were made through implementing various strategies which include use of insecticide treated nets, indoor residual spraying, prevention during pregnancy and early diagnosis, case management of malaria and surveillance as stipulated in the National Malaria Strategic Plan of 2006-2010.”

The Anglican Alliance, whose mission is to build a world free of poverty and injustice, also participated in the discussions. Co-Director at the Anglican Alliance the Rev. Rachel Carnegie said, “Church leaders from around the world can learn a lot from this initiative and similar strategies can be applied in different contexts around the [Anglican] Communion.

“The church’s reach in communities is unmatched and this can be used to address various health issues. There is so much to learn in this effective partnership between governments, communities and NGOs.”

Phiri said that the programs have been a success due to the strong partnership which ZAC has made with JC Flowers Foundation, Coke Africa Foundation, Christian Aid, JCP, the Ministry of Health in Zambia and the communities in the operational sites.

“The financial and technical support from these partners has made it possible to implement activities successfully,” she said. “This success especially in the ZAC-operated sites cannot go without mention of the contributions of the community-based volunteers from which we draw our strength in implementing the activities.”

The Zambia Anglican Council which has been implementing the Cross Border Malaria Prevention Initiative since 2010 along the borders with Angola and Namibia, and the roundtable discussions provided an opportunity for sharing experiences among participants from the four participating countries of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola.

There was a general consensus that there is need to integrate the malaria project with other health issues affecting the community such as reproductive health and HIV and AIDS. The team also agreed that the cross-border initiative should continue, even if the malaria burden is lessening, to reach the elimination stage.

Australia: Vigils held for asylum seeker who died on Manus Island

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

[Diocese of Melbourne] An estimated 15,000 people took part in candlelight vigils around Australia on Feb. 24 for Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati, who died as a result of violence at the Manus Island detention center on Feb. 17.

Melbourne Anglican priest the Rev. Jasmine Dow was among the 5,000 people gathered in Melbourne’s Federation Square.

She said, “The “Light the Dark” vigils were advertized only 32 hours before thousands of people gathered around Australia to mourn the death of Reza Berati on Manus Island under Australia’s watch. Not only did we mourn Reza’s death, but also Australia’s unethical and inhumane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.

“At the Federation Square vigil the mood was sombre. The presenters spoke with a clear and unified message. We stood listening, with our candles lighting the darkness, in the hope that our corporate voice would be heard; a voice that says that the actions of our government are done not in our name, a voice that says the current solution is ‘wrong’, a voice that calls for another way, a way of compassion.

“When I reflect on the vigil, I can’t help but reflect on our own faith confession: Jesus, light of the world.  This ‘light of the world’ was himself a refugee. I am challenged by the vigil and by our faith confession on what the church will do, or is doing, as the Body of Christ, to light the darkness of Australia’s refugee policy. How we will hold the leaders of our nation accountable?”

In commenting on Reza Berati’s death in a media statement on Feb. 20, Bishop Philip Huggins, chair of the Anglican Church’s Migrant and Refugee Working Group, said that the federal government’s policies on asylum seekers must be reviewed.

“A civilized government must be able to control its refugee intake without resort to measures of intentional cruelty,” he said.

“We have previously been a generous nation towards refugees. Refugees’ contributions have, thereafter, enriched our common wealth. Our own history tells us what blessings follow when the spirit and detail of the Refugee Convention is honored. Conscience cries out for a review of current implementation measures.”

TREC releases second study paper

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Task Force for Re-Imagining The Episcopal Church (TREC) has released the second of its Study Papers.

Focusing on Reforms to Church Wide Governance and Administration, the Study Paper is available here.

The first Study Paper was released February 6 and is available here.

TREC members previously noted: We ask you to respond in whatever way feels comfortable and constructive for you: email a TREC member privately, email TREC through our common address (reimaginetec@gmail.com), respond publicly by posting on our website, use your name or a pseudonym, write papers we can use and incorporate, or make comments on specific points. You might like to post on the website in which you are reading this, or go to our home website.

TREC Study Papers are here.  

TREC Engagement Kit

Episcopal Church grants available for campus ministries

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Applications are now being accepted for grant proposals from dioceses, parishes or community college/college/university campuses for new as well as current campus ministries in higher education institutions in the Episcopal Church.

“We hope that, through these grants, dioceses, parishes and campus ministries can imagine new ways of ministering to those young adults who are traditionally the least likely to seek out an Episcopal campus ministry,” noted the Rev. Michael Angell, Missioner for Young Adult and Campus Ministries. “There are also opportunities for leaders in dioceses and congregations to imagine ministry with students who have not historically been a part of our campus ministry communities because they are enrolled in a community college or are working while studying.”

There are two categories of grants:

• A series of Campus Ministries grants to provide seed money to assist in the start-up of new, innovative campus ministries or to enhance a current program; grants will range from $3000 to $5000.

• A Leadership Grant to establish a new, or restore a dormant, or reenergize a current campus ministry; the grant will range between $20,000 – $30,000 for a two year period. Leadership Grants reflecting the same amount will be considered for future academic years in this triennium.

The grants are for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Deadline for submitting grant proposals is April 11.

Guidelines, additional information and to submit a proposal(s) here.

For more information contact Angell at mangell@episcopalchurch.org.

San Joaquin embraces next chapter with ‘missional bishop’ David Rice

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bishop David Rice administers the Holy Eucharist to one of the younger members of the Diocese of San Joaquin. Photo: Richard Schori

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, more than a half-dozen other bishops and about 400 Episcopalians on Feb. 23 gave newly appointed Bishop Assistant David Rice a joyous, rousing official welcome to the Diocese of San Joaquin.

Surrounded by an overflow crowd at the festive afternoon service at St. Paul’s Church in Modesto, the presiding bishop administered the oath of conformity to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church to Rice, who most recently served as Bishop of Waiapu in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

Rice is poised to become the next bishop provisional of the diocese; he will stand for election at an upcoming March 29 special convention to be held at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Church in Bakersfield.

Bishop David Rice and his wife Tracy are joined in front of the altar by some of the bishops from the Episcopal Church’s Province VIII dioceses. Photo: Kelvin Yee

Joined by some of the Episcopal Church’s Province VIII bishops – Marc Andrus (California); Barry Beisner (Northern California); Mary Gray-Reeves (El Camino Real); Jim Mathes (San Diego); and Edna Bavi “Nedi” Rivera (provisional, Eastern Oregon) – Jefferts Schori paid tribute to previous provisional bishop Jerry Lamb (retired, Northern California) and Chet Talton (retired suffragan, Los Angeles), who also were present at the service.

“Bishop Lamb was stalwart and creative in encouraging this diocese to discover the reality that … all the baptized are gifted for ministry, those gifts and skills differ from one person to the next, and all of them are essential to the work of the body of Christ,” she said of that chapter in the diocese’s life. “Perhaps the central watchword of this chapter was ‘grow up … into the full stature of Christ.’”

The three successive San Joaquin bishops provisional (from left) Jerry Lamb, David Rice and Chet Talton outside St. Paul’s, Modesto. Photo: Kelvin Yee

She added that Jane Onstad Lamb’s book “Hurt, Joy and the Grace of God” (Applecart Books, 2012) helped the world learn about “the hard work of truth-telling … and it’s been a gift to others in similar circumstances.”

Talton followed Lamb as bishop provisional and his tenure was about “rebuilding, reconnecting, and healing … and encouragement to be an inviting and welcoming presence in the wider community.

“Chet and [spouse] April have continually prodded, lured, and cajoled the people around here to try new things, and to reach out in ways that may seem scary or new, always for the sake of the other,” the presiding bishop said.

This next chapter with Rice “might be summarized, ‘look here and see what God is like, and if you can’t see clearly, look at what I do, and you’ll see what God is up to.’ This diocesan community is engaged in making those words and works evident – so that the world can see healing, reconciliation and good news in the flesh,” she said.

She also challenged San Joaquin Episcopalians to – in the words of former New York Bishop Paul Moore “’getup, get out and get lost!’ Get up your courage, get out there into the world, and lose yourselves in serving God’s world.”

Earlier in the day, Rice had shared a similar sentiment while preaching at St. John the Baptist Church in Lodi, about 40 miles north of Modesto.

Describing himself as a “missional bishop” he said: “What I will perpetually talk about and ask you about is, how are you engaging in the world beyond this lovely house of prayer?”

He challenged the congregation to think about what it means “to redefine for our lives what a neighborhood means, and the reality is that if we take the gospel seriously, if we take Christ’s life seriously, it [a neighborhood] is far more expansive and far more inclusive than perhaps we want to admit sometimes in our lives.”

Foundational themes of his ministry, grounded in the indigenous Maori people of New Zealand’s concepts of “manakitanga” (how you are received) and whakapapa (from whence you come), include extending hospitality not just to those who visit us in church, but broadening and expanding the concept of church, he said.

“From my perspective, church is everything as far as we can see,” Rice said. “It is where God is. The Gospel mandate invites us to join with God wherever God is and God is everywhere at the same time in the most ubiquitous sense.”

Which means that “we allow ourselves to see and experience the living Christ in everyone we encounter,” he added. “Think about how the world in which we live could be dramatically, profoundly different if we allow ourselves truly to see the living Christ in everyone.”

He recalled witnessing thousands of youth playing netball one Sunday morning while on his way to celebrate Eucharist at a church in the Waiapu diocese, a weekly occurrence, according to church members. Rice asked them, “What if some Sunday instead of gathering here, we gather there, and wear our T-shirts and offer bottled water to the people and we could be there and let them know who we are and we could expand our neighborhood.”

Several people were uncomfortable with the idea, he said, saying they preferred to be in the church building on Sunday morning. Others asked if offering water to the netball players would draw more people to church.

“That’s called ecclesio-centric, when everything is focused on this place, just on what happens here [inside the church building],” Rice said. “I’m saying expand your horizon that the church is this and more.

“If we truly believe the life of Christ and the message of our Lord and the ways in which he models living out there, then sometimes we might be slightly uncomfortable. Sometimes we might have to change. Sometimes the pattern of our lives might be altered.

“If we do what Christ did. If we do what he invited us to do, you know what happens? We build relationships, we respond to needs, we go the extra mile … and those to whom we respond want to be a part of community and sometimes – not always – they do come.”

But “this is not evangelism,” he added. “This is something different. This is mission. This is being missional.”

On a personal note, Rice evoked laughter and applause when he told parishioners he’d attended a pub night fundraiser at St. Anne’s Church in Stockton the previous evening and that his former diocese shared a tradition with the Central California Valley diocese – both are located in areas of major wine production.

Born and raised in North Carolina, he said that both his parents have Cherokee ancestry and believes he may hold the record for most ordinations – five, including ordinations as deacon and minister in the United Methodist Church and later as deacon and priest and then as bishop in the Anglican church.

He was also a youth minister and added that he is “extremely keen to be involved in the lives of youth here any way I can.”

Patsy Lithco, 67, a St. John’s parishioner said she “fell in love with” Rice immediately. “I really liked his message about what we need to do outside these walls. He knocked my socks off. He is absolutely a keeper.”

Rice inspired hope for Jim Reeve, a St. John’s member for nine years. “He was very hopefully prophetic. That was probably one of the best messages I’ve ever heard, especially the part about getting outside the church. He made a passionate plea for us to do what the Lord has requested us to do.”

The Rev. Elaine Breckenridge, St. John’s priest-in-charge, agreed that Rice inspired hope. “I’m thrilled. It was such an inspiring sermon. He’s charismatic and a deep thinker at the same time. He will bring a level of hope to the diocese.”

After quite a long talk with Rice, William Bunn, 9, pronounced him “nice. He’s a really good friend. He called my vest a waistcoat and said it was dapper.”

Bishop Provisional Chet Talton appointed Rice an assistant bishop. Rice will begin making pastoral visitations in that capacity. If elected March 29, he will be immediately seated as bishop provisional of the diocese, making him the first active bishop to serve in that capacity since theological differences split the diocese in 2007.

–The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a correspondent for the Episcopal News Service. She is based in Los Angeles.

Two bombs detonated outside Zanzibar’s Anglican cathedral

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

[Anglican Diocese of Zanzibar press release] During the mid-afternoon of Monday, Feb. 24, two small explosive devices detonated sequentially near the main entrance to Christ Church Cathedral and the Former Slave Market in Mkunazini. The Cathedral is a First Class World Heritage Monument and the Former Slave Market an International Site of Conscience. The entire site is presently undergoing significant renovation through a generous grant from the European Union.

The Anglican Diocese of Zanzibar, owner of the site, said it “is grateful to Almighty God that no persons were injured.” There was slight damage to a nearby car and no damage to the structures or facilities whatsoever.

Working in cooperation with local authorities, security measures at the site are being enhanced to ensure the safety of all visitors and staff. The government has increased local security patrols and is thoroughly investigating the incident. The Anglican diocese said it is “thankful for this immediate response and ongoing assistance.”

“The Anglican diocese is undeterred in its mission of promoting peaceful conditions on Zanzibar and the good of all Zanzibaris. This includes an ongoing commitment to securing quality health care, education and job opportunities for all people.

“We call on all people of good will to join with us in prayer for the peace of Zanzibar and the region and committed action towards achieving a safe environment and the prosperity all Zanzibaris.”

Hydroelectric projects to blame for Brazil flooding, primate says

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] The primate of the Episcopal Church of Brazil has blamed hydroelectric projects for major flooding that has left people isolated without access to food, water or medical supplies.

The Most Rev. Francisco de Assis da Silva, also bishop of Santa Maria diocese, wrote to supporters asking for international prayer and local help for those affected by flooding in Rondônia.

“The river Madeira rose up to 17 meters above normal,” he said. “This flood has been tagged as the [worst] flood in the last 70 years…Our Anglican community in Porto Velho (capital city) share with us information that families are isolated with no food or supplies and no possibility to be attended by doctors. There are no more routes. The water took over.”

The primate blamed the flooding, which has been declared a national emergency, on hydroelectric projects that affect the flow of the rivers.

He added that such disasters can be prevented.

Read the full letter below translated from the original Portuguese:

“Sisters and Brothers,

We share our deep concern about the serious situation of the people in Rondônia following the floods last week. The river Madeira rose up to 17m above normal.

This flood has been tagged as the biggest flood in the last 70 years. It has caused lots of damage and loss for the people. Many had nowhere else to go and the economy in the region has been severely affected.

Our Anglican community in Porto Velho (capital city) have shared with us that families are isolated with no food or supplies and no possibility to be attended by doctors. There are no more routes. The water has taken over. The families and their children are isolated because of it. Hunting and fishing are compromised. Our Anglican Mission Moriá, with 36 families, live along the bank of the Rivers Garça and Candeias and they are dangerously affected too.

I call all our Church to pray for the region and the people in that situation and, where it is possible to collect food supplies, clothes and medicines, to help the families [with these]. I make an appeal also to our international partners to support these initiatives of emergency aid via our Provincial Office and by being in contact with our local leaders in Porto Velho (Capital City of Rondonia), where we are present in two communities.

Unfortunately [such disasters] are becoming usual each day in our country. The big hydroelectrics projects are responsible for deeply damaging our rivers, causing changes to their natural pluvial flux. And we all know this is absolutely possible to prevent. Our prayers go out to our sisters and brothers in this part of the missionary district.

As the one responsible for taking care of this flock, I offer my full solidarity to the riverside people and the solidarity of all our Church!

In the love of Christ
++ Francisco de Assis da Silva
Primaz do Brasil e diocesano em Santa Maria”

Integrity condemns new anti-LGBT law in Uganda

ENS Headlines - Monday, February 24, 2014

[Integrity press release] Integrity is shocked and saddened by the news that President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has signed into law the draconian anti-homosexuality law that introduces long prison sentences for gays and lesbians and makes it a crime to fail to report someone you believe to be gay.

This will increase anti-gay hatred and set in place a renewed witch-hunt in which many people will be hurt. We call upon the Church of Uganda to take seriously its commitment to Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 in which Anglican Communion bishops committed themselves “to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and… to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptized, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.”

Such a commitment in a time like this will surely include providing places of sanctuary for those whose lives are threatened. Our hearts go out to our LGBTQ sisters and brothers who this morning are living in fear of betrayal by friends, family and neighbors and of long-term imprisonment. It is unfortunate that Uganda should choose this way, according to a government spokesperson, “to demonstrate Uganda’s independence in the face of Western pressure and provocation.”

Uganda’s symbolic independence is being won on the backs of one class of citizens and this will provoke fear and confusion among the very people Museveni is elected to serve. Integrity hopes that President Obama will follow up on his comment that this could complicate US relations with Uganda and will seriously consider the reduction of US aid until Uganda can show a better record of human rights.

Two candidates added to Massachusetts bishop slate

ENS Headlines - Monday, February 24, 2014

[Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts] The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts announced today two additional candidates for election as bishop, having verified proper petitions and satisfactory background checks for both.  They are:

• The Rev. Timothy E. Crellin, vicar, St. Stephen’s Church, Boston; and
• The Rev. Canon Margaret (Mally) Ewing Lloyd, canon to the ordinary, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.

Crellin and Lloyd join the slate of nominees announced by the Standing Committee on Jan. 15:

•  The Rev. Holly Antolini, rector, St. James’s Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts;
•  The Rev. Ronald Culmer, rector, St. Clare’s Church, Pleasanton, California;
•  The Rev. Alan Gates, rector, St. Paul’s Church, Cleveland, Ohio;
•  The Rev. Ledlie Laughlin, rector, St. Peter’s Church, Philadelphia; and
•  The Rev. Sam Rodman, project manager for campaign initiatives, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.

More information about each of the candidates is available at the site independently maintained by the Transition Committee at www.mabishopsearch.org.

The additional candidates successfully submitted required signed petitions and application materials during a two-week petition period after announcement of the original slate. Both have cleared background checks.

All seven candidates will participate in a series of open meetings around the diocese March 14-18, giving the people of the diocese an opportunity to meet and learn more about them.

The election will take place on Saturday, April 5 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (138 Tremont Street) in Boston.  All canonically resident clergy of the diocese and lay delegates (two elected from each of the diocese’s parishes and missions) vote separately as “orders”; a majority of votes on the same ballot from both the clergy and lay orders is required for election.  (April 12 has been set as the date for reconvening, should the electing convention not complete its business on April 5.)

Pending consent from a majority of the Episcopal Church’s diocesan bishops and a majority of dioceses (via their Standing Committees), the consecration of the bishop-elect is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Agganis Arena at Boston University, with the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding.

The current bishop, the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, became the 15th bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts in January 1995. In preparation for retirement, he plans to resign his office at the time of the new bishop’s consecration.

The Diocese of Massachusetts, among the Episcopal Church’s oldest and largest, in terms of baptized membership, comprises 183 parishes, missions, chapels and chaplaincies in eastern Massachusetts.

Presiding Bishop’s sermon at installation of Bishop David Rice

ENS Headlines - Monday, February 24, 2014

Installation of David Rice as Bishop Assistant
23 February 2014
St. Paul’s, Modesto, CA

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

We’re here today to celebrate the next chapter in a very long story.  The history of this diocese has roots in the first worship by Anglicans, led by Sir Francis Drake’s chaplain north of San Francisco in 1579.  A group of Native Americans stood by and watched.  It took 270 years before there was a settled congregation – which continues today as Trinity-St. Peter’s, San Francisco.[1]  The first missionary bishop of California, William Ingraham Kip, was elected back east in 1853, and shipwrecked en route off San Diego in January 1854.[2]  He held his first service there – in the courthouse.  Never let it be said that the current era is the first to see Episcopalians in court!

Kip was offered hospitality by a wealthy rancher and community leader, Don Juan Bandini.  This eminent resident was dealing with the continuing depredations of American citizens, who were stealing his livestock and plundering his ranch’s outposts.  The desperadoes were white supremacists, led by one William Walker, who thought his manifest destiny was to establish English-speaking colonies in Latin America that could be added as American slave states.[3]  He started in 1853 by capturing La Paz, Baja California.  By the time Kip arrived in San Diego, the Mexican government had forced him out.  Charged with violating the sovereignty of a foreign nation, he was acquitted by an American jury in 8 minutes.  The relationship between the United States of Mexico and the United States of America is still a hot-button issue, in spite of our deep and abiding interdependence.

Kip also found an army chaplain present, John Reynolds, who in 1853 was holding services at St. John’s, Stockton, attending the convention of Episcopalians in San Francisco, and working to develop a church in the San Diego area.  Kip reports the continued lament over low attendance at services and the other attractive, alternative activities available to the population on Sundays – shopping and bars in particular.  Reynolds was also engaged in a war of words in the local newspaper – his day’s equivalent of flaming blog posts.  And we think our age is unique!

Fast forward 155 years.  Exactly six years ago today, Canon Bob Moore and Canon Brian Cox were here in the Diocese of San Joaquin as interim pastors listening to people in deep pain and confusion.  The two canons met with many groups, found widespread mistrust of The Episcopal Church and urgent need for reconciliation, and counseled training and support for that ministry of healing.  Throughout their skilled work here during the interim between December 2007, when leaders voted to leave The Episcopal Churc, and the election and installation of Jerry Lamb as provisional bishop in March 2008, they helped people begin to name their reality and begin to break down the fortifications that had kept individuals and groups from learning what they shared as the body of Christ in this place.  They were led by what Joshua directed his hearers to do:  observe the law of Moses – i.e., love God with all you are and have and love your neighbor as yourself.  The two canons were especially scrupulous about “not turning to right or left” for that kind of taking sides was a good part of what led to the split.  ‘Keep this law in the forefront of your consciousness, particularly as you speak,’ says the prophet, and finally, “be strong and courageous, for God is with you, wherever you go.”  That has been the prime directive around here ever since:  be strong and courageous and love your neighbors.  Be strong and courageous enough to enter into real dialogue with people who hold a different opinion.  You will discover the image of God in them, and you can expect to grow in grace, even if it is very hard work!

Bishop Lamb was stalwart and creative in encouraging this diocese to discover the reality that Paul talks about – all the baptized are gifted for ministry, those gifts and skills differ from one person to the next, and all of them are essential to the work of the body of Christ.  Perhaps the central watchword of this chapter was “grow up… into the full stature of Christ.”  Don’t be misled by despots or tricksters who promise to keep you comfortably in thrall – grow up.  It’s not easy, but it is the way to abundant life.  Speak the truth in love, discover your part in the work of the body, meet the others and figure out how to coordinate this multi-limbed body for the work before us.  Jane Onstad Lamb helped the world learn about the recent history of this community, and the hard work of truth-telling, in the book she edited, and it’s been a gift to others in similar circumstances.[4]

Perhaps the iconic marker of this chapter of the diocese’s history was a report published in 2009 by a Commission on Equality, that challenged the entire diocese to consider the gifts and needs of all, with particular regard to women, the LGBT community, different ethnic and language groups, the disabled and hard of hearing, children and elders, the poor and people of varying educational levels, and anyone who’s been pushed to the margins.  It’s offered a deeply gospel-based response to a history of prejudice and exclusion that reflects Paul’s charge to the Christians in Ephesus to ‘take your part in the body of Christ, which should function as one body, continuing to grow in love.’

The next chapter of ministry here included the installation of Bishop Talton as provisional bishop in March 2011.  Rebuilding, reconnecting, and healing have continued under his leadership, with a new deanery structure and encouragement to be an inviting and welcoming presence in the wider community.  That’s variously looked like blessing animals in a shelter in Atwater, raising funds and friends for Haiti, connecting with the School for Deacons in Berkeley, planting community gardens, and starting campus ministry.

This chapter has been characterized by connecting and kenosis.  Connecting begins with a Trinitarian understanding of God – for being made in the image of God means we are relational beings.  Kenosis is a Greek word that means emptiness, and it’s often used to talk about what God does in taking on human flesh, and the kind of self-emptying ministry Jesus exemplifies.  It’s about humility, and getting out of the way so that others can use their gifts for ministry, and it flows out of an understanding that we all depend on the Body to which we are connected.  Chet and April have continually prodded, lured, and cajoled the people around here to try new things, and to reach out in ways that may seem scary or new, always for the sake of the other.

This chapter of ministry has continued to build on recent ones – finding strength and courage to discover those marginalized or forgotten others around us, and looking inward to discover the gifts God has given each one of us – for the sake of reconciling and healing the world.  Chet and April have modeled that kenotic work in inviting others into leadership and reminding us all that leadership is for a time and includes planning for the next chapter.

We look toward that next chapter today.  Jesus’ words in the gospel about his relationship with God might be summarized, ‘look here and see what God is like, and if you can’t see clearly, look at what I do, and you’ll see what God is up to.’  This diocesan community is engaged in making those words and works evident – so that the world can see healing, reconciliation, and good news in the flesh.

You’re discovering those strengthened connections made evident in the sacrificial generosity of the bishops of Province VIII, funds given to aid this next chapter of your ministry.  It may seem only like a remarkably gracious gift – and indeed it is – but it will challenge you to reflect that sacrificial generosity in your lives and the lives you touch here and around the world.  How will you put that into flesh?  How will you pour yourselves out in love for the broken world around you?  You are calling a new bishop into this community to keep challenging and encouraging you to do just that.

The challenges that faced the first Anglicans and Episcopalians in California are still with us, beginning with the long gaps in physical presence and ministry – don’t wait 270 years for the next chapter.  Use the courts to spread good news.  Share community with earlier inhabitants of this land – the first peoples, both Native and Latino.  Discover the gifts, stories, and insights of new and ancient inhabitants and let them teach you.  Recognize that the popular press and the blogosphere are not your ultimate judges – be courageous and faithful, and keep growing up into the full stature of the Christ who poured out his life for the world.

There is good evidence that one of Kip’s spiritual descendants[5] used to send people on their way at the end of a service with these words:  get up, get out, and get lost!  Get up your courage, get out there into the world, and lose yourselves in serving God’s world.

[1] Founded in 1849 as Trinity Church.

[2] http://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/57january/bishop.htm

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Walker_(filibuster) He went on to invade Nicaragua in 1855, be recognized as its legitimate government by the US, reinstitute slavery, until a Latin American coalition force routed him.  The US Navy took him home under guard.  He tried another coup in Honduras, which failed.  Honduran authorities executed him in 1860.  American adventurism is not new either.

[4] Hurt, Joy, and the Grace of God.  2012, Applecart Books

[5] Bishop Paul Moore of New York

San Bernabé ‘mantiene viva la esperanza’ en Pasadena

ENS Headlines - Monday, February 24, 2014

En conjunción con el Mes de la Historia Negra, Episcopal News Service publicará artículos de fondo, durante el mes de febrero, sobre varias congregaciones episcopales afroamericanas.

Materiales informativos sobre el Mes de la Historia Negra se encuentran disponibles aquí.

Michael Mims, profesor jubilado de Pasadena City College, que tomó en préstamo materiales del archivo de su familia para crear la retrospectiva. Foto de Keith Yamamoto.

[Episcopal News Service] Ishmael Bracy había venido a experimentar el 32º. Desfile y Festival de la Historia Negra en Pasadena, California, el 15 de febrero.

A lo largo de la ruta del desfile, el joven de 24 años, que reside en Pasadena, se sintió atraído por una retrospectiva fotográfica de ocho paneles que abarca nueve décadas de la vida de la iglesia episcopal de San Bernabé [St. Barnabas Episcopal Church] que se exhibía en el jardín frontal de la histórica congregación negra.

“Me siento honrado de tener acceso al legado de sus contribuciones a la comunidad, tanto espiritual como de cualquier otra índole”, dijo Bracy, refiriéndose a la exposición. “Me gustaría ver a más personas de mi edad aquí,  asumiendo la historia que ha mantenido viva la esperanza durante tanto tiempo, y abrazando la iglesia y la comunidad”.

(San Bernabé es la segunda iglesia que se reseña en febrero en una serie de Episcopal News Service sobre el Mes de la Historia Negra que se centra en congregaciones históricamente afroamericanas. Estas congregaciones fueron fundadas por afroamericanos que no eran bien recibidos en las iglesias episcopales tradicionales en la época que siguió a la esclavitud y durante la segregación racial en Estados Unidos).

Mientras espectadores y partidarios se mezclaban con los vendedores, de helados, de camisetas, de banderas panafricanas —negras, rojas y verdes— y de globos, Michael Mims, de 75 años, profesor jubilado de fotografía de Pasadena City College y miembro de San Bernabé, estaba ofreciendo bienes y servicios de otra clase.

“Estoy aquí para responder preguntas, para invitar a la gente a que venga y eche un vistazo, para darles información”, dijo Mims, que calcula que él ha asistido a la iglesia desde que tenía tres años.

El panel que lleva el título de “Primeros Años” incluía fotos de su tía, Rosebud Mims, que junto con otras siete mujer afroamericanas fundaron la iglesia en 1923. Nueve años más tarde, fue oficialmente reconocida como una misión en la Diócesis of Los Ángeles.

La Rda. Mayra Macedo-Nolan de la iglesia de Lake Avenue mira la retrospectiva de San Bernabé. Foto de Keith Yamamoto.

Para la Rda. Mayra Macedo-Nolan y su hija Zion, de dos años, las fotos resultaron cautivadoras.

“He aprendido un poquito sobre la historia de San Bernabé y quiero saber más”, dijo Macedo-Nolan, pastora de la cercana iglesia de Lake Avenue en Pasadena.

“Vamos a hacer un vía crucis comunitario durante la Cuaresma, y queremos incluir a San Bernabé como la estación [de la Cruz] en que niegan a Cristo”, dijo. “Escogimos hacer eso aquí por la manera en que empezó San Bernabé —el modo en que se hicieron las cosas en el pasado fue la negación de Cristo— y también prestar atención a las formas en que aún lo hacemos hoy”.

Historia de la iglesia e historia de familia
Mims dijo que acudió a los archivos de su familia para crear la exposición fotográfica de la historia de la iglesia.

“Tengo fotos de mi tía abuela, que fue responsable de traerme a San Bernabé en 1941”, contó Mims. Se llamaba Laura Kennedy y llegó a Pasadena en los años treinta proveniente de Greenville, Carolina del Sur, para ayudar a la madre de Mims a criar a seis hijos.

Las fotografías cuentan la historia: de las primeras reuniones, en el hogar de Georgia Weatherton, en las inmediaciones de la calle Del Mar, donde unos 30 feligreses asistían los domingos por la mañana; de la dedicación del santuario en 1933; de un oficio de confirmación en 1947; del inicio de la construcción y la dedicación en 1972 del nuevo salón parroquial concebido como un centro comunitario; y de las veintenas de reuniones, recaudaciones de fondos, comidas y celebraciones.

De izquierda a derecha, los Rdos. Jesse Moses (tercer rector), Alfred Norman (segundo y cuarto rector), Alfred Wilkins (primer rector), e Ivor Ottley (quinto rector), quien elevó la iglesia a la categoría de parroquia. Foto de los archivos de San Bernabé.

También se incluía una instantánea de la iglesia en relación con la historia del país, la del primer vicario, Rdo. Alfred Wilkins (1933-1943), quien se hizo eco “del llamado de su país, incorporándose al Ejército como capellán”, según consta en testimonio escrito.

Lo siguieron [al frente de la congregación], el Rdo. Alfred Norman (1943-1946, 1951-1970), el Rdo. Jesse Moses (1946-1951) y el Rev. Ivor Ottley (1977-1990).

Ottley retó a la congregación “a encontrar su verdadera vocación como episcopales negros” y a comprometerse con una ética de mayordomía, autenticidad, educación, liderazgo, hermandad ecuménica, justicia social y servicio comunitario, “llegando a la comunidad más allá de los muros de la iglesia”, según contó Mims.

Los frutos de esos empeños son visibles en la actualidad, cuando los miembros se reunieron frente a la iglesia el 15 de febrero para aplaudir y vitorear a los que desfilaban, más de una docena de bandas de música escolares de la localidad, bailarines y tamborileros africanos, las fraternidades masculinas Omega Psi Phi y Kappa Alpha Psi y las femeninas Delta Sigma Theta Alpha Kappa Alpha; así como a jinetes y a organizaciones de servicio.

[Los miembros de la congregación] recibieron elogios y vítores de su propia gente que participaba en el desfile, como John Kennedy, concejal del municipio de Pasadena.

“Sí, San Bernabé está presente”, gritó Kennedy, al tiempo de saludar a los feligreses al pasar frente a la iglesia, casi al final del recorrido del desfile. “Gracias por estar aquí, San Bernabé”.

‘Acoger a la comunidad’
Al menos una parte de esa vocación ha sido la tradición de tomar parte en la vida de la comunidad, según el Rdo. John Goldingay, profesor de Antiguo Testamento en el Seminario Teológico Fuller, que ahora sirve allí como sacerdote encargado.

“Somos sólo una congregación pequeñita”, pero él y cerca de una docena de otros miembros de la iglesia suelen regularmente cocinar, servir y comer con miembros de la comunidad que no tienen hogar en el albergue de la Union Station de Pasadena, explicó.

Entre todos, sirven a unos 50 adultos sin hogar todos los viernes y es una oportunidad de enriquecer la vida de otros así como la de la congregación, dijo.

“Es una especie de lugar de transición para personas que están en camino de lograr volver al trabajo”, según Goldingay, que fue sacerdote de la Iglesia de Inglaterra durante 30 años. Él se mudó a Pasadena para enseñar y visitó con su esposa la vecina iglesia de San Bernabé, “sin saber que íbamos a ser los únicos blancos allí”, contó él.

“Pero recibimos una fantástica acogida, lo bastante para quedarnos… Al parecer me aceptan como ser humano, como sacerdote y como cristiano”.

Absoluta hospitalidad y sentido de pertenencia
Ese tipo de absoluta hospitalidad ha sido la manera que la iglesia ha encontrado de sortear los retos contemporáneos de cambios demográficos, envejecimiento poblacional y disminución de la feligresía y los recursos.

Con una asistencia dominical promedio de alrededor de 50 personas entre dos oficios, la congregación está sopesando “cómo podemos revertir esa tendencia”, dijo Goldingay.

A lo largo de los años, la tradicional población afroamericana de la congregación se ha ido ampliando cada vez más para incluir a miembros de todo el ámbito de la diáspora, entre ellos caribeños y centroamericanos, y también blancos como Goldingay.

Mark Bradshaw, de 32 años, seminarista que presta servicios en San Bernabé, está de acuerdo. “No soy negro”, dijo en una entrevista telefónica con ENS, pero agregó que él y su esposa Katie fueron acogidos con tanta calidez cuando visitaron la iglesia “que nos hicimos episcopales. Fuimos confirmados en San Bernabé y ésta ha sido todo lo que mi esposa y yo esperábamos y rogábamos encontrar en una congregación”.

Él y la congregación han emprendido varios proyectos, añadió. “Estoy en el proceso de reunirme con personas, de actualizar la página web, de dedicar tiempo durante la semana al parque Jackie Robinson que se encuentra enfrente”, apuntó.

“Y me he estado reuniendo con las personas de la congregación y hemos estado pensando en comenzar un nuevo oficio o en alterar uno de nuestros oficios que sería muy fiel a lo que somos y muy litúrgico, pero que podría también ser un oficio que respondiera mejor a las necesidades de personas más jóvenes”.

Él espera que otros recién llegados puedan experimentar la misma sensación de pertenencia que él ha encontrado. “Nunca he formado parte de un grupo de personas tan acogedoras”, afirmó.

“Hace dos años, el Padre John le pidió a la congregación que compartiera algunas de sus historias sobre el movimiento de los derechos civiles, y resultó increíble”, recordaba él. “Casi todo el mundo había marchado con el Dr. [Martin Luther] King o lo había conocido. La congregación se enorgullece mucho de su historia”.

Lo cual hizo que predicar acerca de la vida del Rdo. Martin Luther King Jr. resultara un poquito apabullante, pero era una oportunidad “de dialogar sobre cuánto hemos avanzado y de la obra del Dr. King y agradecerle a la congregación por la manera en que nos ha acogido”, dijo él.

“Es sorprendente”, añadió. “que esta congregación que comenzó porque [sus miembros] no eran bien recibidos, haya llegado a ser tan acogedora. Nunca antes había presenciado el tipo de amabilidad con que reciben a los nuevos que llegan. Es un don extraordinario”.

Miembros de San Bernabé se reúnen en frente de la iglesia para saludar a los que desfilan. Foto de Keith Yamamoto.

Mirar hacia delante a la nueva generación
Showna Edwards, de 31 años, sentada en una silla plegable frente a la iglesia, estaba atenta al desfile, y esperaba pacientemente ver cuando pasaban los miembros de la iglesia —entre ellos varios jóvenes, junto con Bradshaw, que llevaba la pancarta de San Bernabé.

“Es una sensación emocionante saber que la iglesia está participando del desfile, dar a conocer a nuestra iglesia en esta pequeña parte de Pasadena”, dijo Edwards, mientras mecía al pequeño August Bradshaw, de un año de edad, sobre sus rodillas.

“Somos una familia religiosa muy unida. Yo crecí aquí”, añadió Edwards, que ve señales de recuperación en la iglesia. Ahora, su hijo Kaden, de tres años, participa de los programas dominicales.

“Hemos vuelto a tener escuela dominical. Los jóvenes están aquí. La iglesia está creciendo. Es muy bonito ver eso, porque es un buen apoyo crecer con amigos en el ambiente familiar de una iglesia”.

Gail McKinnon (extrema izquierda) con Gloria Huffman (a su lado) miembros de San Bernabé que trajeron al desfile y a la iglesia a sus hermanas del capítulo Rosas Nubias del Nilo de la Sociedad del Sombrero Rojo. Foto de Keith Yamamoto.

Gail McKinnon y Gloria Huffman, que han sido miembros de la iglesia durante mucho tiempo, trajeron consigo a algunas de sus hermanas del capítulo de las Rosas Nubias del Nilo de la Sociedad del Sombrero Rojo: una sociedad internacional de mujeres que usan sombreros rojos y vestidos color púrpura y que se dedican a rehacer la manera en que las mujeres son vistas en la sociedad.

“San Bernabé es una familia”, convino McKinnon. “He estado aquí desde 1995. Me había alejado de la iglesia durante muchos años y me acogieron de regreso con tanta cordialidad que se convirtió en mi hogar. Nos amamos los unos a los otros. Hacemos muchísimas comidas. Me incorporé y nunca miré hacia atrás”.

La iglesia —localizada frente al parque que lleva el nombre del gran jugador de béisbol Jackie Robinson, hijo nativo del lugar, donde la multitud ya había comenzado a agolparse para comer, divertirse y disfrutar del festival— también celebraba una fiesta de puertas abiertas para la comunidad.

Para John y Tina (residentes de Pasadena que pidieron mantener sus apellidos en el anonimato), la jornada fue una oportunidad de hacer conexiones históricas y futuras para sus mellizos de cinco años Phoebe y Perry.

Karla Enrequez y su hijo Matthew llevan la pancarta de San Bernabé en la 32º. Desfile de la Historia Negra en Pasadena. Foto de Keith Yamamoto.

Ellos visitaron la retrospectiva fotográfica de Mims y luego observaron la participación de la iglesia en el desfile cuando Karla Enrequez y su hijo Matthew, junto con Mark Bradshaw, llevando la pancarta de San Bernabé, saludaban a la multitud.

“Esto es tan informativo”, dijo Tina, cantante profesional, mientras irrumpían los vítores y los aplausos en San Bernabé.

“Esto es toda una perspectiva histórica del pasado afroamericano en Pasadena… Esta es una comunidad pujante”, añadió Tina, quien prometió que regresará para visitar la iglesia.

Goldingay se mostró de acuerdo, haciendo notar un creciente interés entre muchos de los que estaban viendo el desfile que visitaron la iglesia. “El año próximo, queremos ver cómo podemos desarrollar lo que hemos hecho este año”, dijo.

En cuanto a Michael Mims, dedicó gran parte del día en contar historias de su familia y de la iglesia, relatos de su tía y de otros muchos que levantaron el estandarte para mantener la fe y la esperanza vivas en Pasadena y por transmitirle la tradición a las generaciones futuras.

“Ha sido un buen cimiento”, comentó refiriéndose a la iglesia. “Desde un punto de vista espiritual, comunitario y familiar, ha sido una gran parte de mi vida. No sé lo que habría sido de mí sin San Bernabé. He tenido muchísimos mentores”.

–LA Rda. Pat McCaughan es una corresponsal de Episcopal News Service radicada en Los Ángeles. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Episcopal networks issue joint statement on need for a living wage

ENS Headlines - Monday, February 24, 2014

[Episcopal Network Collaborative press release] The social justice networks of the Episcopal Church were given life in the movement for civil rights, but it has always understood that civil rights without access to economic prosperity was at best a protest movement without a vision in reality. We understood that a free and democratic society included the opportunity to better ones human status through meaningful employment, which would then open the door to a better quality of life and hope for the future. The dream of home ownership, a steady and hopefully growing income, the ability to secure a quality and empowering education for self and ones children and the possibility of passing on to the next generation are all what is necessary for full participation in a democracy such as ours and part of the real dream that Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of more that fifty years ago.

The reality is, however, that in 2014, we are living in an America that is increasingly becoming a nation that is divided into the haves and the have-nots. The trickle-down theory and the “rising tide lifting all boats” has not become a reality for the increasing numbers of working poor in this country. Income inequality in the United States is amongst the highest in the world. President Barack Obama referred to the widening income gap as the “defining challenge of our times”. Pope Francis called on world leaders to address the problems of the poor by “attacking the structural causes of inequality.”  Many statements of the Episcopal Church General Convention have called on our legislators to address issues of poverty, unemployment and the rights of workers.

Nothing points out the income gap in this country more dramatically than the issue of providing a living wage to those who work, but cannot begin to move out of poverty. Being locked in a cycle of poverty increases job stagnation, increasing class division and social disorder. Further, globalization has resulted in an economy where disadvantaged groups engage in a race to the bottom as they compete for declining wages and benefits. Working full-time but not earning enough to move out of poverty, limits the access to those things which can improve life overall, such as health care, housing in safe neighborhoods, the ability to buy fresh and nutritious foods, the opportunity to attend an educational system that will provide the tools and resources to enter higher education and employment training programs, both of which are absolutely necessary in this present society that is no longer driven by manufacturing. The Episcopal Networks Collaborative is particularly concerned about income inequality and the raising of a living wage, because most of those impacted, those stuck in poverty although working, are people of color at least in central city areas. Poverty is directly related to the high dropout rates of youth of color and other marginalized groups, the rise in the percentages of youth impacted by hypertension, obesity and diabetes and the increase in violence and incarceration rates because of a lack of hope and any sense that life might change for the better. Child abuse rises with income inequality according to a recent study published in the journal, “Pediatrics,” March 2014. Increasingly we are witnessing class divisions within communities of color around education and income, which further isolates those who would rely on examples of success and possibilities to motivate and to give hope.   The lack of good-paying jobs with benefits is not just a problem of the inner city.  They impact the rural and urban poor everywhere including whole regions such as the Mississippi Delta, coastal Carolina and Appalachia.  Immigrant workers are often among those who suffer the worst working conditions and lowest wages.

Those at the bottom economically are often the first to be impacted by disasters related to industrial pollution, destruction of the environment and the effects of climate change.

We believe that a practical step to meeting the crisis of income inequality in this country is to enact legislation to require a living wage for full time workers. Lifting adults out of poverty also will move thousands of children out of poverty thus impacting future generations. The plight of part time workers also needs the attention of our legislators.  Part time jobs were once the province of students and others who did not seek full time work.  Now many companies hire heads of households for part time, low wage jobs with no benefits.  This should be a big concern for policy makers and regulators.  We know that the work of those who are now making a minimum wage is very much a part of the ongoingness of our society. It is work that needs to be done and enhances the quality of life of us all. In Sirach 38:34 it is stated, “the work they do holds this world together. When they do their work, it I the same as offering prayer.” We in the Episcopal Networks Collaborative believe and pray that it is just and right that all be given the opportunities of a life that can only begin when people are able to move out of poverty. That is why we join with others across this nation who believe that empowering people through economic equality and seeking  legislation that would guarantee a living wage is the next step in the struggle for justice and freedom.

Annette Buchanan

Dianne Aid

The Rev. Frank Edmands

Union of Black Episcopalians

Episcopal Network for Economic Justice

Episcopal Ecological Network

Rapidísimas

ENS Headlines - Monday, February 24, 2014

Los sucesos de Venezuela siguen ocupando  la primera plana de la prensa internacional. Desde hace un poco más de dos semanas grupos estudiantiles han salido a las calles para protestar por la situación de inseguridad y la política económica del país más rico de América Latina. A los primeros manifestantes se les fueron añadiendo más y más estudiantes hasta llenar el centro de Caracas. Los estudiantes también han protestado por el estilo autoritario del gobernante Nicolás Maduro puesto en la primera magistratura de la nación como última voluntad del difundo presidente Hugo Chávez, además de la masiva presencia militar cubana. Las manifestaciones han sido por lo general pacíficas aunque para el fin de la jornada seis personas han perdido sus vidas (incluyendo dos bellas reina de belleza) y cientos de ciudadanos han sido heridos. A pesar de las amenazas y los peligros inherentes a las manifestaciones, los estudiantes se han seguido reuniendo y proclamando sus aspiraciones y derechos. El sábado 22 de febrero habrá una masiva manifestación.

El régimen ha respondido estableciendo el cierre de emisoras y canales de televisión lo que ha enfurecido aún más a  la ciudadanía que hasta hace una semana se mantenía en sus casas. Según observadores políticos Nicolás Maduro no ha sabido controlar la situación y en sus discursos en cadena nacional ha tildado a sus opositores como fascistas y epítetos similares. “Ha sido muy poco conciliador”, dice un corresponsal extranjero. Juan Manuel Santos, presidente de Colombia, le aconsejó a que buscara la reconciliación mediante el diálogo a lo que éste contestó: “A mí no se me pueden dar clases de democracia”. Muchos creen que Maduro no podrá continuar en el poder por más tiempo. El liderato de la oposición también ha sufrido conflictos internos. Así Enrique Capriles ha tenido que ceder su liderato a Leopoldo López, un líder político de 42 años graduado de la Universidad de Harvard, casado y padre de dos niños, que ha demostrado valor y firmeza para hacerle frente a la situación. López está preso en una cárcel militar después de entregarse a las fuerzas policíacas en un gesto patriótico.

 

Mientras el mundo opina y se manifiesta sobre los hechos de  violencia en Venezuela, los famosos reaccionan y participan en paradas cívicas, se sacan fotos con carteles pidiendo la paz, se expresan por las redes sociales, salen en shows de televisión, de radio, la prensa escrita y digital (cerrada posteriormente). Por primera vez en la historia los famosos se comprometen políticamente de esta manera y  con una única consigna piden: paz para Venezuela. Sin embargo, Gustavo Dudamel, el célebre director de la Orquesta Sinfónica de Los Ángeles, ha sido criticado por no pronunciarse en este conflicto a favor de su patria natal Venezuela.

 

Al cierre de esta edición de Rapidísimas el panorama nacional luce confuso y complicado al tiempo que la ciudadanía guarda una “tensa calma meditando y orando” porque vuelva la tranquilidad y no sucedan más hechos de sangre. “Es triste y desalentador” que sólo cuatro países latinoamericanos han brindado su ayuda a la patria de Bolívar. Estados Unidos se ha limitado a sugerir que las diferencias se resuelvan en la mesa de negociaciones diciendo además que “los problemas de Venezuela tienen que ser resueltos por los venezolanos”. La comunidad religiosa oficial se ha mantenido al margen de la situación y si ha hecho alguna declaración, ésta no ha sido recogida por los medios de prensa internacionales.

Venezuela no es el único país que está experimentando violencia. Las agencias internacionales informan que Nigeria está afrontando una seria lucha armada entre musulmanes y  cristianos que ha producido por lo menos 95 muertos. Al tiempo que ocurrían estos sucesos se supo que dos ancianos sacerdotes salesianos fueron muertos a puñaladas en el Colegio Don Bosco de Valencia, posiblemente con la intención de robarles. “Oremos por la paz y el restablecimiento del estado de derecho en el país”, exhortó el sacerdote David Marín, de 64 años, que sólo fue herido en el asalto. Como resultados de larga lucha del pueblo de Ucrania, se logró firmar un acuerdo de paz en Kiev el 20 de febrero.

Una jueza federal de Virginia ha dictaminado que ese estado no tiene la facultad de prohibir las bodas gay entre personas del mismo sexo. Por otra parte el estado deberá reconocer los matrimonios gay celebrados en otros estados. Líderes gay celebraron que “por fin en este estado tenemos los mismos derechos que el resto de la población”.

VERDAD. La sangre de los buenos no se derrama en vano. José Martí, patriota cubano (1853-1895)

‘What were you thinking?’ A letter from the bishop of Atlanta

ENS Headlines - Friday, February 21, 2014

[Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta] A response to those wondering how I can welcome and affirm LGBTQ persons and recommend a book coauthored by Pastor Rick Warren.

“What were you thinking?” is a question that was put to me by a member of one of our congregations when she learned that I had recommended The Daniel Plan for reading during the season of Lent. The question and the concern it voices at my recommendation are fair. And, I am thankful for an opportunity to share my thinking on the matter.

The Daniel Plan is a book about faith, focus, fitness, friends and food, born out of Pastor Rick Warren’s repentance of being over weight and not setting a good example for his congregation. In collaboration with physicians Dr. Amen, Dr. Hyman and Dr. Oz, The Daniel Plan was born: a six week plan to live more healthy and to recognize our bodies as the divine gift they are. The problem for some of us is that Pastor Warren has been an outspoken advocate of traditional marriage and has made remarks that I and others find objectionable about gay and lesbian persons.

For some, this is an open and shut case. Their argument being, ‘I take offense with Warren’s views on the subject of human sexuality and therefore other contributions he may make about Christian discipleship should be rendered invalid.’

While I understand the temptation to make this argument, it seems to miss the mark of Christian fellowship as exemplified by Jesus of Nazareth. Is it our contention that by dining at the home of a tax collector, Jesus is endorsing the man’s financial malfeasance, collusion with Rome and abuses of the poor? And do we understand Jesus’ lengthy interaction with a Samaritan woman as an endorsement of her religious
practices and promiscuity? Remember also Jacob was a liar, Moses a murderer and Peter and Paul struggled with cowardice and arrogance to say nothing of misogyny. Are they also unable to positively contribute to our faith journey? Or, is there something more we are supposed to learn about learning from one another?

By recommending The Daniel Plan I am in no way endorsing Pastor Warren’s views on human sexuality. Having read the book, there is nothing in its content that is inconsistent with our baptismal promises. I therefore am certain his invitation to thoughtfulness about health and spiritual wholeness has merit, is commendable and is useful.

Not long ago, other members of the Diocese of Atlanta were asking me “What was I thinking,” when I made provision for the blessing of monogamous life-long, same-sex relationships. Prior to that as a Rector, my congregation asked me “What was I thinking” when I hired a partnered gay white man as the organist and choir director of a historically black church.

Further back, I had to answer that question by my then bishop in New York, as I planned to bless the relationship of two of my parishioners more than a decade before it was permissible.

No doubt more people will ask that question when I produce a video encouraging teens struggling with questions of sexuality not to consider suicide because God loves them and they are welcome in the Episcopal Church.

I confess to you, I struggle with thin, single issue-based fellowship that gets passed off as Christian fellowship. On both sides of the issue. I deeply believe that human beings are too complex and valuable to write off even when their understandings are deemed deplorable. I am afraid that I have preached and taught about a God of limitless grace, love and mercy too long to banish people to a garbage pile of contempt. Or, to teach polite indifference as an acceptable substitute for Christian fellowship.

For decades in the Episcopal Church we have debated and dialogued about the full inclusion of people. And I am proud of the gains we have made. But full inclusion must mean full inclusion even of those we vehemently disagree with, even those who cannot at present celebrate our humanity or dignity, or it is a hollow sentiment. When we say in our churches on Sunday morning, “Wherever you are on your journey you are welcome here,” do we really mean “wherever you are” or something much smaller?

As an African-American, I am well practiced at embracing those who cannot fully embrace me. I have had too many experiences of being slighted based on race and the injury to dignity that that causes. So I have great empathy with those who have these same kinds of scars and who are asked to love those who hate them. But I am sure that retreating into hermetically sealed conversations and communities is not the way forward for followers of Jesus. Fellowship that has Christ as its center is more durable and life giving than single issue-based fellowship. And, I am sure that people who we differ with on issues and biblical interpretation, still have something to teach us.

By some cosmic alignment, I would have you notice that as I write this response, the gospel lesson for the Church this coming Sunday is Jesus’ mandate for us to “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:38-48

While my positions on issues in the past and no doubt in the years to come may cause some people consternation, perhaps even grief, you have my promise that, “what I am thinking about,” constantly, is Jesus’ invitation to the church to partner with Him in the work of reconciliation.

I am thankful for this opportunity to share my heart with you. I offer this response in all humility. If I have offended you, I sincerely ask for your forgiveness. If you are unable to join me on The Daniel Plan for Lent, I invite you to read The Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. Please always know, my intention is simply to call myself and those souls in my care to Christian maturity.

With gratitude to God for our life together,

The Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright
Tenth bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing

ENS Headlines - Friday, February 21, 2014

From Bishop Kirk Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona

Who among us doesn’t want to support religious freedom? This argument seems to be the tactic of some arch-conservative lawmakers, who have convinced our Arizona legislators that it is fine to deny people basic human rights under the guise of religious freedom. Lawmakers in other states and members of both political parties have been astute enough to see what bills like this really are – a wolf in sheep’s clothing that masks discrimination under a venue of piety. Arizona, however, with its propensity for making itself into the political laughing-stock of the nation, has been duped once again. One can only pray that our Governor will, as the Arizona Republic said this morning, “get out her veto pen.”

I must admit that I wasn’t aware of the details of the State Senate’s action yesterday, but I was immediately aware of the pain that this bill has caused, not only to our own LBGT community in Arizona, but also around the country. Fortunately, Dean Troy Mendez of Trinity Cathedral has been following this issue more closely, and so I asked him to join me in writing about it today. Our E-pistle is thus a bit longer than usual, but we wanted to give you the back ground that will help you convince the Governor that true religious freedom means, as our Prayer Book so clearly states, “respecting the dignity of every human being.”
______________________________________________________

Proclaiming the Gospel of Peace, by The Very Rev. Troy Mendez

As Christians, we’re called to be peacemakers in the world. But sometimes we face unexpected challenges, and scripture helps us find our center, our peace. Paul’s letter to the Romans calls us ever closer to this peaceful center when he writes, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free…for those who walk [now] not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” And in that Spirit, Paul says, we find “life and peace.” (Romans 8:1-2a, 4, 6).

The Episcopal Church has heard this call from scripture to live into our common life with the Holy Spirit, and as recently as the 2012 General Convention in Indianapolis affirmed resolution D019, which states and reaffirms Title I, Canon 17, Section 5: “No one shall be denied rights, status or access to an equal place in the life, worship, and governance of this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, disabilities or age, except as otherwise specified by Canons.” As a former Presiding Bishop Browning said in 1986, “there will be no outcasts in this church.”

No Outcasts. Period. We are fortunate that we have collaborated, prayed, argued, and listened to scripture, tradition, and reason to discern our church’s guidance by the Holy Spirit. However, the majority leadership in the Arizona State Legislature has recently diverted attention from our state’s economy, educational systems and overall well-being, and instead has put forward two articles of legislation (SB1062/HB2153) that will most likely be sent to Governor Brewer’s office for her signature. The intent of this legislation runs contrary to not only our church’s canons, but also to Holy Scripture itself:  the legislation intends to allow people to discriminate on the grounds of their religious beliefs and practices. Individuals and entities will be able to determine who in society is “religiously righteous” or not. (A more detailed description of the legislation is below.)

If we are followers of Jesus, then we must use this time as a call to recognize all the victims of this potentially harmful legislation. Who around you might be shut out from fully participating in society? How might this legislation prohibit the church from exercising ministry in the best ways we see fit? If we’re promising in the Baptismal Covenant to “seek and serve Christ in all persons,” how might this newly enacted legislation fly in the face of what we’ve promised? Where is the church’s presence of peace in all of this?

Arizona Episcopalians, now is time for us to be peacemakers. The Holy Spirit promises to lead us, if we open our hearts, into the fullest life and peace imaginable. Being a Christian means we are asked as a community to follow Jesus to proclaim Good News to the people in the state legislature who seem to be walking in darkness. How do we help them see the great light – the reconciling love and deep peace of Jesus Christ for all people?

Some details about SB1062/HB2153*

What is being proposed?  Actually, several things are being proposed in this bill, including the following:

a)           Enables Discrimination based on “sincerely held beliefs.” The bill expands the term “exercise of religion” to include elements of practice and tacit “observance” of the religion (i.e., enacted beliefs). A person’s “religious practice and liberty” could be used under this bill as an excuse to deny people fair housing, job opportunities, and any kind of equal protection under the law. The framework of the bill is state-sanctioned discrimination.

b)           Expands the legal definition of personhood. In the current legislation, a “person” by definition becomes any and all entities, including “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, estate, trust, foundation, or other legal entity. Personal morals could therefore apply to the way commerce is conducted, theoretically denying access or services to another group, under the grounds that offering them would be religiously reprehensible.

c)           Overrides any municipal non-discrimination legislation. The ordinances of local governments would be subject to the state’s legislation, thereby nullifying the will of the people of a community, including recent legislation passed in the City of Phoenix about a year ago.

Who will be hurt?  In reality, the legislation is targeted towards members of the GLBT community, but women, people of color, non-Christians and anyone who falls out of favor with any religious group for any reason could theoretically be hurt. Anna Tovar, the Senate Minority Leader released a statement saying, “With the express consent of the legislature, many Arizonans will find themselves….separate and unequal under the law.” For example, if it’s against your religion for women to cut their hair, you could, as a business entity, refuse service to women who cut their hair. You could also legally hide behind your religious convictions to deny people fair housing, job opportunities, and any kind of equal protection under the law. On grounds of any religious idea or practice, this statue says other anti-discrimination laws do not apply.

How are we as Christians a catalyst for healing?  At the end of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples to go out into all the world and make disciples of all nations, and Jesus promises to be with them in their ministry, to the end of the age. We call this the Great Commission – to make disciples in the name of Christ, by bringing good news to the poor, proclaiming release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to letting the oppressed go free, and proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor.

Jesus sends the presence of the Holy Spirit to be with us to guide us into new territory. Prayer, discernment, and commitment to community are required to proceed into this new territory. Dialogue is essential, and we cannot rest until all of God’s children are included as full-members of society. Not some. All.

We have all made a covenant in Baptism to uphold one another in our life in Christ. Now is the time to live more fully into our call, and join with all brothers and sisters who are being shut out. As Christians, we must walk with Jesus, and follow him into the midst of this situation, proclaiming peace, justice, and God’s never-failing mercy.

*Special thanks to Grant Miller for his help in compiling material for this summary.

CAPA seeks a ‘unified and self-sustaining Anglican Church in Africa’

ENS Headlines - Friday, February 21, 2014

Bishops from Burundi, Congo and Rwanda attend CAPA leadership training in Kenya. Photo: ACNS

[Anglican Communion News Service] It’s a well-known fact that since the establishment of the Anglican Church in Africa in the 1800s, the Africa churches have largely depended on outside donors for material, mission and financial support. Until recently most Africa Christians did not believe that the church could survive without the support of western donors.

The Rev. Canon Grace Kaiso is the general secretary of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), which coordinates and articulates issues affecting the church and communities on the continent.

He has been very outspoken on issues to do with the independence of the Africa church. In a special interview with ACNS he said: “Africa has realized that it has resources and so we want the Christians in Africa to now own the mission of the church.”

CAPA is a regional faith-based organization that was established in 1979 in Chilema, Malawi, by the Anglican primates of Africa. It operates in 12 Anglican provinces: Burundi, Central Africa (Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe), Congo, and the Indian Ocean (Madagascar, Seychelles and Mauritius); Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Southern Africa (Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa Swaziland), Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, West Africa (Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, Sierra Leone and Liberia), and the Diocese of Egypt.

For about 35 years, CAPA has reached out to individuals, communities and groups through her over 40 million dedicated church members in different communities in Africa. Administratively, CAPA is headed by a council that is led by a chairman, supported by other executives and other officers for the smooth running of the provinces’ activities. It also has a secretariat headed by a general secretary located in Nairobi, Kenya.

“CAPA endeavors to build the capacity of the Anglican Churches in Africa to better understand the issues of mission and development within and outside the Anglican Communion,” said Canon Grace. “We also aim to provide a forum for the Church in Africa to share experiences, consult and support each other as well as establish opportunity for collaboration, learning and joint initiatives.”

Empowering and building the capacity of churches in Africa is among CAPA’s top priorities and over the years training, networking and sharing opportunities have been availed to archbishops, clergy and laity. In October last year, CAPA facilitated for seven bishops from the provinces of Burundi, Congo and Rwanda to attend a weeklong leadership training for French speakers in Nairobi, Kenya.

The general secretary emphasized that the “re-articulation of the moral and spiritual resources of the church in the realm of human development will help bring about a new society in which the weak, the poor and the vulnerable have an equal voice and are not divided by selfish gains of tyranny or by the forces of social fragmentation such as tribalism and nepotism.”

“We’re also challenging the Provinces in Africa to mobilize the professionals which they have so that they can bring their skills to bear on the mission of the church,” said Kaiso. “It’s simply a question of challenging our professionals in the area of discipleship. How can the use the gifts that God has given them be used as resources for mission.”

He added: “In the area of natural resources, the Africa churches are endowed with untapped abundance of resources, social and moral capital to deliver development especially in the most remote parts of the continent. This is a good chance to complement the work of State actors and civil society in education, health, agriculture, rural water supply and infrastructural projects.”

“We are on a mission to effectively coordinate and provide a platform for the Anglican Church in Africa to celebrate life, consult and address challenges in the continent,” said Kaiso. “We would like to fulfill God’s promise for abundant life through fellowships, partnerships, capacity building and promotion of good governance and social development.”

CAPA as a continental fellowship of the Anglican Communion is committed to “deepening of the values of dignity and integrity, healing and social transformation and to enable the people of God to grow in the faith and live life in its fullness.”

In recent years, the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa has been a very positive force on the continent especially in the area of managing conflicts, engaging in peace building initiatives especially in the context of electoral process, which seems to be a big problem in most African countries.

The organization emphasizes self-sustainability for the church in Africa, which in so many ways than one, continues to rely on donor support to implement some if not most of its programs.

Kaiso said that CAPA looks forward to a “unified and self-sustaining Anglican Communion in Africa that it able to provide a holistic ministry to all and fulfilling God’s promise for abundant life.”

The Church in Africa can achieve a lot if it were to take note of the resources that are readily available to them. Drawing on the Gospel where Jesus feeds five thousand people from only five loaves and two fish, CAPA is developing a mapping tool to take note of what the Africa church already has.

“We hope this will help parishes and communities around Africa to look at what is there and also challenge themselves to what extent they have been faithful stewards and how can we harness what is there to get where we want to be,” said Kaiso.

The issue of empowerment takes center stage in most of CAPA’s programs. There is more emphasis towards helping the vulnerable especially with regards to gender injustices, exploitation, child trafficking and assisting displaced families and communities.

It clear that CAPA has a very ambitious program for the Anglican Church in Africa. From organizing meetings for African primates to liaise on issues affecting the continent, building capacity among development workers who address issues of poverty and economic empowerment, to bringing together various clergy and their wives through retreats meant to reflect and meditate on the importance of family life and how that can affect the health and growth of the church.

However raising finances from within the African Church has been a challenge. “We are launching a program called Africa reaching out to Africa,” reported Kaiso. “We seek to mobilize Christians across the continent to own the mission of the church. If we can get local people to commit even US$20 per year towards the mission of the church, that would much a huge difference.”

Despite the emphasis on local partners, CAPA still hopes to establish and develop lasting partnerships from both within and outside Africa and the Anglican Communion as a whole.

Kaiso, who spoke passionately about the potential of Africa, concluded: “We believe very firmly in Africa and the church here. We have a future, but this can only be unlocked if we truly realize the potential that the continent holds.”

Australia: Bishop speaks out after asylum tragedy

ENS Headlines - Friday, February 21, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Church of Australia has called for a review of the country’s asylum and refugee policies after a violent break-out at a regional processing facility on Manus Island resulted in the death of an Iranian asylum seeker.

Twenty-three-year-old Reza Barati was moved to Manus Island last August, a month after he arrived on Christmas Island. He is one of thousands of asylum seekers, mainly from the Middle East, who try to enter Australia on dangerous boat journeys from Indonesia. He was killed on Monday in an incident in which 62 other asylum seekers were injured.

Manus Island, in Papua New Guinea, holds 1,300 asylum seekers. It is one of a number of South Pacific regional processing facilities used by Australia to house refugees and asylum seekers while their claims are evaluated.

A former senior civil servant in Australia’s Attorney General’s department, Robert Cornall, has been appointed to head an inquiry into this week’s violence at the center.

“Following the tragedy on Manus Island, the implementation of government policies regarding asylum-seekers must be reviewed,” said the Rt. Rev. Philip Huggins, chair of the Anglican Church of Australia’s Migrant and Refugee Working Group. “The government has a mandate to ‘stop the boats’, elaborating policies of the previous government. However, the implementation of these policies is causing great harm and is a matter of moral distress to many Australians.”

Huggins, the area bishop of the North West Region of the Diocese of Melbourne, said: “Implementation has involved children in detention centers; off-shore ‘processing’ which is really just holding asylum-seekers in crowded, sub-standard conditions without processing towards any kind of futures; and on-shore prescriptions, which drive asylum-seekers into poverty and depression without access to education or employment.

“It is the implementation of government policy which must be reviewed. A civilized government must be able to control its refugee intake without resort to measures of intentional cruelty.

“We have previously been a generous nation towards refugees. Refugees’ contributions have, thereafter, enriched our common wealth. Our own history tells us what blessings follow when the spirit and detail of the Refugee Convention is honored. Conscience cries out for a review of current implementation measures.”

Anglican Church in Burundi provides aid to flood disaster victims

ENS Headlines - Friday, February 21, 2014

The Anglican Church in Burundi distributes charcoal so flood victims can cook food. Photo: Nasasagare Guy/Anglican Church of Burundi

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Church in Burundi has joined the government and other aid agencies in the country in providing aid to victims of the flood disaster that hit the country’s capital Bujumbura about two weeks ago.

Nasasagare Guy, a member of the church’s communications team, told ACNS in an interview today: “The church here is still dealing with emergency situation. We’re responding to the needs of the victims by providing food and clothing donated by Christians in our church.”

On the night of Feb. 9, Bujumbura experienced what the locals felt were some of the “heaviest thunderstorms and rainfall in contemporary history.” More than 150 people were reported dead and hundreds were injured after the torrential rains washed whole hillsides away.

With the heavy floods, fire for cooking and keeping warm has been a problem. The Anglican Diocese of Makamba, has been distributing charcoal to those affected by the devastating floods.

“Christians world over are encouraged to assist in any way they can,” said Guy. “So far the response has been good with some people making monetary contributions and others helping out in the camps.”

He added, “The Anglican Church here is working with other churches and organizations to look at ways of coordinating aid activities so that together, we can bring substantial aid.”

Burundi Red Cross, some civil society organizations, churches and families are trying their best to supply provisions to victims. Among items urgently needed are temporary shelters, clothes and blankets, medicines, drinking water, food and cooking equipment.

The floods were so devastating with a lot killed and many others injured. Unofficial figures indicate that more than 1000 houses were washed away leaving an estimated 2,500 households affected and about 20,000 people without shelter.

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