He is one of eight emerging faith leaders from across the United States selected for the annual award.
“We are delighted that Sean is one of our game-changing new leaders,” said The Rev. Anne Howard, Executive Director of The Beatitudes Society. “We are working toward the day when we will see a thriving nationwide web of courageous, authentic, innovative faith leaders and their communities who are engaged in the public square on behalf of inclusion, compassion, and the common good, and Sean will be a vital part of that network.”
The Beatitudes Fellowship identifies and equips a select group of young entrepreneurial faith leaders with the resources and relationships that empower them to create new models for church and social justice, and grow vital communities of faith in a pluralistic world.
The yearlong curriculum for the Fellows is project-based: each Fellow develops their own model for progressive ministry within their local faith community. The Fellows gather four times throughout the year for a week of coaching and customized mentoring to bring their idea to fruition. The curriculum is designed to develop each individual Fellow’s capacity for authentic leadership, while also building a community of peers for long-term mutual support.
The Beatitudes Fellowship provides each Fellow:
· A $10,000 award (not a project grant);
· A yearlong series of four Fellows’ gatherings at Easton Hall, in Berkeley, CA;
· Customized, project-focused mentoring and coaching;
- Project evaluation: how to figure out what projects need, from the tangible (people, money, time) to the intangible (faith, hope, courage);
- Teaching, preaching, story-telling and community-building workshops: how to deepen faith, build community, inspire justice and engage communities in transformative change;
- Sustaining spiritual practices: contemplative spiritual prayer and the Center for Courage and Renewal’s practices and principles for “leading from within”;
- Peer community with other entrepreneurial leaders: time to relax and connect.
To find out more, please visit: www.BeatitudesSociety.org
[Episcopal News Service - Bogotá, Colombia] Two to three families seeking shelter arrive weekly at Divine Savior Episcopal Church in Barrio Los Libertadores, a low-income community on the outskirts of Colombia’s capital, Bogotá.
“Many people need to flee their homes and their land for fear of their lives,” said the Rev. José Antonio Romero, referring to the internally displaced people who seek shelter in his church. “They had farms, homes, businesses, but because of the war, they leave with nothing.”
Families arrive at the bus station in Los Libertadores, or The Liberators, from all over Colombia, a country almost double the size of Texas with a rugged geography of mountain, rainforest and tropical plains.
They find Divine Savior by word of mouth.
The parish began 20 years ago with a chapel, which is now the basement of a four-story building that has a kitchen, a shelter, a sanctuary and an apartment on the top floor, where Romero has lived for the past 16 years since coming to Divine Savior.
For the families that come to the city in search of safety and employment, the church provides temporary housing, food, medicine and clothing with financial support Romero says he raises through friends, while the families apply for government assistance.
Even for those families the government determines have legitimate displacement claims – and which receive compensation sometimes in land, other times in housing – Colombia’s 4.7 million displaced people still struggle to find employment, security and often are targets of discrimination. More than half a million people have become refugees.
Since the mid-1960s government forces, left-wing guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries have been fighting a civil war rooted in inequality that has killed more than 200,000 Colombians. The Colombian government and the largest guerilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, have been involved in peace talks in Havana, Cuba, since 2012. It is speculated that the country’s June 15 presidential runoff election will determine whether the peace talks – accords have been reached concerning three of five agenda items – continue.
Fighting and related violence associated with organized crime, drug trafficking, land distribution, and resource extraction in recent years has disproportionately affected rural areas where 44 percent of the population lives in poverty. The violence forces people living in rural areas to seek safety in cities.
Located on a high plateau in the Andes, Bogotá is surrounded by these informal communities populated by internally displaced people; places like San Cristobal, where Los Libertadores is located, Suba, Ciudad Bolivar, and Soacha, where Holy Spirit Mission provides space for Mesa de Organizations de Mujeres de Soacha, a women’s rights and empowerment cooperative, supported by the World Health Organization.
A working class, industrial area 40 minutes southwest of the capital, Soacha, population 490,000, is home to more than 45,000 displaced people.
“All the problems, drug trafficking, armed gangs, converge here,” said the Rev. Carlos Eduardo Guevara, the priest serving Holy Spirit Church.
In addition to the dangers of everyday life in Soacha, where mothers live in fear that their sons will be recruited by armed groups and criminal organizations, human rights workers and community organizers face other dangers.
Human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings committed by armed groups, the government and criminal organizations have been well documented in Colombia. Human rights workers, labor activists, community and religious leaders often are targets of violence.
To engage in human rights work is perceived to be working against the state, similar to the way armed groups are seen, explained Clemencia Lopez, the cooperative’s legal representative.
Lopez and her family – she has three children, two in their teens, and the third 9 years old – were displaced three times, twice because of the armed conflict and once because of criminal activity and violence happening around them. Once there were three grenades thrown in front of the restaurant she and her husband owned, she said.
“We were in the middle of the confrontation,” she said during an interview in her office on the second floor of Holy Spirit Mission in May of 2013.
Around the time of the incident in front of the restaurant, Lopez participated in a workshop on women and gender equality; in 2007 she became involved with the women’s cooperative, which has grown to include some eight organizations.
“[In the beginning] we didn’t even know how to use computers,” said Lopez, who finished high school in 2009 by taking accelerated night classes.
In mainstream society, women typically don’t receive the necessary support and leadership training to participate in politics. The women’s cooperative provides women with access to human rights workshops, leadership training, education and the skills, said Lopez.
Additionally, Colombia’s patriarchal society often excludes women.
In 2012, the Colombian government adopted public policy on gender equality and a comprehensive plan against violence. Still, a 2013 report by the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women found “the persistence of patriarchal attitudes and deep-rooted stereotypes regarding the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and society.” Moreover, those attitudes and stereotypes are responsible for women’s disadvantaged position in political and public life, the labor market, the prevalence of violence against women and gender segregation, as related to educational opportunities for girls, the report said.
In addition to the discrimination displaced people experience – which is in addition to other forms of gender, race and economic discrimination – displacement puts a strain on families, with husbands and wives often blaming one another for their situation, said Lopez, adding that involvement in human rights work can also strain relationships.
“Women involved in human rights work put themselves at risk,” said Romero, who often accompanies the women in marches and demonstrations.
The women’s cooperative came to be located at Holy Spirit Church in 2010, after friends of Lopez introduced her to Diocese of Colombia Bishop Francisco Duque. Lopez has since become involved as a lay leader in the diocese.
One of the things the women have accomplished is a public policy platform for women, including the right to live a life free of violence, access to education and health care, economic opportunities, and the right to a vacation, something a life of displacement and social exclusion doesn’t afford them.
“They have dignified the role of women here in Soacha,” said Guevara, to a group of visitors in May 2013.
– Lynette Wilson is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Trinity Wall Street press release] The Parish of Trinity Wall Street has called the Very Rev. Dr. William Lupfer, the dean of the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, as its next rector. Lupfer was named at the vestry’s June 11 meeting.
Lupfer will succeed the Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper to become the 18th rector of the historical Episcopal parish, chartered in 1697.
“Early in the Call process, a rector from another church advised us to seek someone ‘who loves the people.’ We believe we have found such a person in Dr. Lupfer. The Visitation team that went to see him at Trinity Cathedral in Portland was struck by the palpable affection that seemed to flow within that Congregation and between the Congregation and their Dean. We have faith in the Holy Spirit that as the steward of Trinity Wall Street, Dr. Lupfer will be a profound leader who will forge a strong and pastoral bond with the members of our parish and engage the diverse viewpoints of our community and our world,” said Church-Warden Christopher McCrudden.
“I am humbled and blessed by the opportunity to follow the extraordinary spiritual leaders whose presence has graced, guided, and sustained this historic and vibrant parish for more than three centuries” said Lupfer. “The ministry of Trinity Wall Street echoes for the ages, a faith community whose mission work throughout the Anglican Communion, from Lower Manhattan to the Global South, is both broad and personal and rich with promise. I am honored to dedicate myself to its ministry and future. With the help of the Holy Spirit, together we will seek the betterment of human life according to God’s vision, for a world of good.”
Lupfer is dean of the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Oregon, an urban congregation of 1,800 members from the greater Portland area. He is also active ecumenically with other leaders around the country.
He joined Trinity Cathedral in 2003. Before coming to Trinity Cathedral, Lupfer served parishes in Kenilworth, Illinois and Plymouth, Michigan. He has also spent time serving campus ministries in Evanston, Illinois and Baltimore, Maryland, and as a prison chaplain in Connecticut.
He was a vice president of the Psychological Studies and Clergy Consultation Program and served on the Commission on Ministry in Michigan. In Oregon, he was on the board of directors of Legacy Health, the largest nonprofit, locally owned health system in the Portland-Vancouver area and also served as co-chair of the Companion Diocese Committee.
Lupfer earned his bachelor’s degree in Comparative Religions from the University of Colorado (1983), and his Master of Divinity degree from Yale University (1987). He was awarded a Doctor of Ministry degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary (2003), completing his dissertation, “The Rector as Parish Leader: Leveraging Vestry Leadership for Spiritual Formation.”
Lupfer was ordained deacon in 1993 and priest in 1994.
He and his wife, Kimiko Koga Lupfer, married in 1990. They are the parents of teenagers, their daughter, Sarah, and their son, Kyle.
“Trinity was honored and blessed by the caliber of candidates in the call process. Each one has a special gift they bring to the Church. In Dr. Lupfer, we found a priest who embodies the bright future of Trinity as a spiritual leader, inspiring preacher, talented teacher and communicator. We see the future in Dr. Lupfer’s strong capacity to bring people together in the service of God, and as a parish we are tremendously excited to support him in his ministry at Trinity,’ said Church-Warden Joseph E. Hakim.
Cooper had announced previously that he would retire in early 2015 after serving for 11 years at Trinity Wall Street.
“Dr. Cooper has served our congregation and the church’s mission here and abroad with devotion and distinction. Under his leadership, Trinity’s congregation has grown, its ministries have thrived and its traditions have been enriched,” said Church-Warden McCrudden.
In 1698, services commenced at the first Trinity Church to stand at the head of Wall Street in Lower Manhattan. The third Trinity Church, circa 1846, stands there today.
[Episcopal News Service – Phoenix, Arizona] During its June 10-12 meeting here, the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council adopted multiple resolutions, which are summarized below.
* Accept audited financial statements covering fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2013 (EC010).
Advocacy and Networking for Mission
* Declare that electronic cigarettes, also known as E-cigarettes, be considered tobacco products for the purposes of the church’s policies regarding socially responsible investments (A&N028).
* Invite Episcopalians to join Anglicans in Canada in observing the Seventh Sunday of Easter each year, commonly known as the Sunday after Ascension Day, as Jerusalem Sunday and on that day to give special attention to the spiritual heritage of all Christians in the land of Our Lord’s birth, death, and resurrection, and the continuing witness in our day of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, and commit to learning about the role of the Diocese of Jerusalem and its affiliated institutions in providing healthcare, education, and other vital social services to the communities of the Holy Land, and to supporting the ministry of those institutions; council requests that the staff of Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s Office of Justice and Advocacy Ministries make available appropriate resources for commemoration of Jerusalem Sunday and fulfillment of this resolution; council expresses “its solidarity with all Israelis, Palestinians, and others around the world working for peace in the land called holy by all the children of Abraham” (A&N029).
* Give thanks for the life and service of Chester Nez, one of the original Navajo Code talkers who was recruited in World War II to serve in the United States Marine Corps to help develop an unbreakable code that aided U.S. forces in the Pacific; commend and express deep gratitude for the service of all veterans and in particular the many veterans of native and indigenous descent who have sacrificed much in the service of our nation (A&N030).
* Commend the City of Seattle and other cities for passing minimum wage ordinances higher than $10.10 an hour; express disappointment at the U.S. Senate for failing to bring to debate legislation to raise the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 an hour and the U.S. House of Representatives for its refusal to consider at all the legislation; endorse the work of church’s Office of Justice and Advocacy Ministries on behalf of all Episcopalians in continuing their work with interreligious and ecumenical coalitions that address economic insecurity, wealth disparity, and the pursuant social inequalities in the United States; council says it is committed to this advocacy and encourages Episcopalians and dioceses to study and stand in public solidarity with our low-wage brothers and sisters in legal work actions for legislative change at the federal, state and local level that give low-wage workers greater access to the economic prosperity so many in our nation enjoy (A&N031).
Advocacy and Networking for Mission & World Mission
* Reaffirm Episcopal Church commitment to comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship as a primary solution to the plight of undocumented immigrants who have established roots in the United States as members of our communities and as substantive social, economic, and spiritual contributors to our nation; to proportional and humane immigration enforcement policies; deplore unprecedented levels of detention and deportation carried out by the [federal] Administration against individuals who pose no threat to society such as individuals who have committed reentry violations, traffic related offenses, minor criminal offenses, and actions that are retroactively considered deportable offenses, and individuals with U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident status, spouses, or parents; urge the Administration to provide for timely and readily available access to the child welfare system for detained parents, so that they have real and appropriate opportunities to make informed decisions on behalf of their children and families, increased use of alternatives to detention for those who pose no threat, elimination of detention bed mandate, which requires the federal government to detain 34,000 immigrants on a daily basis and encourages the use of detention over more humane and cost-effective alternatives; urge that, when deportations do occur, individuals be repatriated in a safe and humane manner with their belongings, during daylight hours, to secure locations, with appropriate facilities for women and children; and that, when multiple members of a family are deported, they are not needlessly separated or returned to different ports of entry from one another; urge all Episcopalians to advocate and pray for humane comprehensive immigration reform so that immigrants, their families, and their communities may know peace, safety, and respect for the dignity of all people (A&N/WM001)
Finances for Mission
* Establish Trust Fund # 1063 as the National ECW Board Scholarship Memorial Fund (FFM044).
* Establish Trust Fund # 1064 as the St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Fort Thomas, Kentucky, Donor Restricted Endowment Fund (FFM045).
* Establish Trust Fund # 1065 as the St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Fort Thomas, Kentucky, Unrestricted Endowment Fund (FFM046).
* Ratify the approval made on March 25, 2014, by the Executive Committee of Executive Council to enter into a refinancing of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s Credit Agreement with U.S. Bank, continuing the existing term loan and expanding the line of credit to $15 million. (FFM047).
* Authorize DFMS treasurer to enter into agreements with U. S. Bank to renegotiate the current term loan outstanding in the principal amount of $31,162,800 as of June 4, 2014, with a term of no less than five years and an effective fixed interest rate below the current 3.69 percent per annum; authorize treasurer to incorporate an interest rate swap or similar derivative instrument to reduce the effective fixed interest rate further; authorize and direct treasurer to take such further action on behalf of DFMS as is deemed necessary to effectuate the foregoing (FFM048).
* Authorize DFMS chief operating officer and treasurer in collaboration with the chairs of the joint standing committees on Finances for Mission and World Mission to negotiate a loan of up to $2.5 million to the Diocese of Honduras to enable it to further its plan of sustainability by refinancing loans the diocese has previously undertaken with external lenders; that the analysis, terms and repayment of loan shall consider and reflect the consolidated operations and assets of the consolidated activities of the diocese; that the lender and borrower agree a mutually satisfactory sustainability plan (FFM049).
* Authorize additional line of credit to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin of $785,000 to be accessed through December 31, 2015, for support of the continuing diocese; authorize a separate additional line of credit to the diocese of $775,000 to be accessed through December 31, 2015, if necessary to support maintenance of any recovered property; lender and borrower agree on a mutually satisfactory sustainability plan that the lender and borrower regularly review; terms and conditions of this line of credit to be developed by DFMS chief operating officer and treasurer in collaboration with the chairs of Executive Council’s Joint Standing Committees on Finances for Mission and Local Mission and Ministry (LMM); that the repayment shall be secured by liquid assets of the diocese; that the diocese provide semi-annual financial reports to DFMS chief operating officer, treasurer and the chair of FFM (FFM050).
* Approves an increase in the triennial disbursement for Navajoland Area Mission of $225,000 to a total of $1.225 million, to be made available before December 31, 2015 (FFM051).
* Add $256,000 be added to the existing $863,245 in the Information Technology budget, bringing the triennial total to $1,119,245 to cover department costs, including an upgrade of DFMS technology platforms to MSOffice 365 (FFM052).
Governance and Administration for Mission
* Amend Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society Employee Handbook Policy number 110 on Anti-Fraud, Dishonest Activity, and Whistleblowing (GAM017).
* Amend Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society Employee Handbook Policy number 112 on Nepotism (GAM018).
* Adopt a revised and restated Conflict of Interest Policy Statement and Disclosure Form for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (GAM019).
Finances for Mission & Governance and Administration for Mission
* Directs the Finances for Mission & Governance and Administration for MissionSubcommittee on the Location of the Church Center to continue to evaluate the location Episcopal Church headquarters based on a wide range of factors including cost and financial affordability, travel and geographic accessibility, employment and justice concerns, partnership opportunities; charge subcommittee with continuing to gather all available data to complete evaluation, and to hire or retain necessary professionals and consultants to complete task; authorize subcommittee to spend up to $100,000 to accomplish work (FFM-GAM002).
Local Mission and Ministry
* Affirm the following ministries as Jubilee Ministries: Fundacion Pastraol Para La Promocion Humana, Parroquia El Buen Pastor, Cucuta (Diocese of Colombia); All Saints’ Community Center; Lakewood, New Jersey (Diocese of New Jersey); Holy Spirit Emergency Food Pantry,
El Paso, Texas (diocese of the Rio Grande) (LMM010).
* Recognize companion diocese relationship between the Diocese of Southeast Florida and the Diocese of Toliara until such time as this relationship is terminated by mutual consent (WM020).
* Recommend approval of United Thank Offering grants as listed in nava report (WM021).
* Acknowledge the good work of the Rev. Heather Melton in this new UTO grant process (WM022).
* Recommend UTO individual grant summaries prepared for Executive Council include the “Focus or Criteria” guideline(s) under which the grant application is approved by UTO (WM023).
* Affirm the good news of the 75th Anniversary of Episcopal Relief & Development and encourage all Episcopalians and Anglicans everywhere to fully participate in this season of celebration with Episcopal Relief & Development (WM024).
[Episcopal News Service – Phoenix, Arizona] The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council concluded its three day meeting here June 12 by taking a series of actions focused on the good order of the church and answering the call to speak out for justice.
More support for mission and ministry in Navajoland
Council members agreed to increase the triennial disbursement to the Navajoland Area Mission, also known as the Episcopal Church in Navajoland, by $225,000 to $1.225 million.
The decision came after a June 11 committee presentation about the history of the church’s work in Navajoland, including its failings.
Navajoland Bishop David Bailey said during that presentation that when he came into the diocese in 2010 “there was no plan for sustainability; there was no plan about how do we live into the future.” He added that his description of the history of Navajoland is not meant to be a criticism but rather an acknowledgement that there was “a different understanding of ministry than what we have today.”
As such, Bailey has made raising up indigenous leadership a priority. In the first four decades of Navajoland’s existence, there were five ordained Navajo, he said. With two ordinations planned for June 14, there will be eight recently ordained Navajo and three others are in training, according to Bailey.
A number of council members and staff will travel to Fort Defiance in northern Arizona to attend Navajoland’s annual convocation and those ordinations.
“We truly are reorganizing and rebuilding Navajoland,” Bailey said. “That’s exciting but in the midst of that we’ve got continual difficulties in terms of infrastructure.”
The Rev. Daniel Gutierrez, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of the Rio Grande, has helped Navajoland formulate a sustainability plan that he called a “sacred accountability of the funds of the Episcopal Church” that the area mission has received. He said the plan “addresses the major components” of what has to be done there.
Council member Steve Hutchison, who is also chancellor of the Diocese of Utah and of Navajoland, said the area mission had not had a consistent system of budgeting and documenting expenses “but we’re changing all that” and the mission is committed to a transparent and accountable process.
He added that the entire church has a responsibility to its only area mission.
Jefferts Schori echoed that sentiment, saying during the June 11 presentation that providing support to Navajoland “is a piece of accountability of the Episcopal Church to Navajoland of not providing adequate resources and oversight in the decades that it has existed.”
In 1978, the Episcopal Church carved out sections of the dioceses of Rio Grande, Arizona and Utah – areas within and surrounded by the 27,000-square-mile Navajo reservation – to create the Navajoland Area Mission. It encompasses 26,000 square miles over Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
In a related action, council passed a resolution giving thanks for the life and service of Chester Nez, one of the original Navajo Code talkers, who was recruited in World War II to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps and help develop an unbreakable code that aided U.S. forces in the Pacific. The resolution expresses “deep gratitude for the service of all veterans and in particular the many veterans of native and indigenous descent who have sacrificed much in the service of our nation.”
In other justice-related actions, council:
* Commended the city of Seattle and other cities for passing minimum wage ordinances higher than $10.10 an hour, expressed disappointment at the U.S. Congress’ refusal to consider raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and encouraged Episcopalians and dioceses to study and “stand in public solidarity with our low-wage brothers and sisters” in advocating for legislative change at the federal, state and local level that give low-wage workers greater access to economic prosperity.
* Reaffirmed the Episcopal Church commitment to comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship and called on the U.S government to improve the way it deals with families of detained parents. Council also discussed the unprecedented increase in the number of unaccompanied children attempting to cross U.S. borders
* Invited Episcopalians to join Anglicans in Canada in observing the Seventh Sunday of Easter each year as Jerusalem Sunday and to learn more about and support the role of the Diocese of Jerusalem and its affiliated institutions in providing healthcare, education, and other vital social services to the communities of the Holy Land.
A summary of all of the resolutions council passed during this meeting is here.
Location of the Episcopal Church Center
Among the items under the category of “good order,” council decided to spend up to an additional $100,000 to continue to evaluate the location of the Episcopal Church headquarters.
Council agreed to allow its Finances for Mission & Governance and Administration for MissionSubcommittee on the Location of the Church Center to continue to consider a wide range of factors, according to the resolution council passed, including cost and financial affordability, travel and geographic accessibility, employment and justice concerns, and partnership opportunities. The subcommittee can use what the resolution calls “necessary professionals and consultants” to do that work.
Prior to making the decision in open session with no discussion, council met in two closed plenary sessions, one on June 10 and one at the beginning of June 12, to discuss a new report from that subcommittee.
Jefferts Schori said during a post-meeting news conference that the council is “trying to do our best” to make fiduciary decisions “and we still feel we need more data and so we’re going to collect some more data and continue our consideration.”
The decision to continue the location work, the Rev. Gay Jennings, House of Deputies president, said during news conference ought to be seen as a “a signal to the church that council is taking [General Convention Resolution] D016 very seriously.”
That resolution, passed in July 2012, said “it is the will of this convention to move the church center headquarters” away from that building. The final text of the resolution was significantly amended during convention debate to remove directives that would have required council to sell or lease out the entire property and relocate the Church Center headquarters. The original text of the resolution and the final versions are here.
Five months earlier in February 2012 council’s Finances for Mission committee asked church management to study the possible relocation of the church center. It was conducted by the 10-person Executive Oversight Group. That report concluded the church’s headquarters ought to remain at 815 Second Ave. in Manhattan and consolidate operations to free up even more space to rent to outside tenants than the 3.5 floors that were then leased out.
In February of this year, council authorized spending up to $95,000 for additional professional expertise to assist in the review and analysis of future options for the church center.
Update on 2016-2019 budget process
Council members also got an update on the work that its Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission (FFM) is doing to prepare a draft 2016-2019 budget for the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to use as it builds a budget to propose to General Convention in 2015.
The Rev. Susan Snook, who chairs FFM’s subcommittee on the budget process, said the committee is on track with its plan to have a version of its eventual draft budget done by the end of council’s Oct. 24-27 meeting. Some FFM members will stay at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, after that meeting to discuss the document with PB&F during its Oct. 27-29 meeting.
That version of council’s budget will also be released to the church for comment, according to the timeline Snook outlined. Then FFM will revise the budget based on those comments and plans to have a final draft budget ready to give to the full council during its Jan. 9-11, 2015 meeting.
PB&F is due to meet Feb. 23-25, 2015, to begin work on that draft budget. According to the joint rules of General Convention (joint rule II.10.c.ii), council must give its draft budget to PB&F no less than four months before the start of General Convention (essentially by February of convention year). PB&F uses the draft budget and any legislation passed by General Convention to create a final budget proposal, which is presented to the bishops and deputies for consideration and approval.
Snook also told council that FFM is considering a change in how dioceses are asked to fund the church-wide budget. She said a subcommittee will look at a progressive system of brackets based on diocesan income, where those dioceses with income in the first bracket would pay nothing. The percentage of the diocesan asking would be progressively higher with each higher income bracket.
“We feel that a system like this might very well allow us to give a break to lower-income dioceses while recognizing there are some wealthy dioceses can afford the full 19 percent or possibly even higher,” she said.
In the 2013-2015 triennium, dioceses have been asked to contribute 19 percent of their annual income to help fund the church-wide budget. Each year’s annual giving in the three-year budget is based on a diocese’s income two years earlier, minus $120,000. The list of 2012 and 2013 diocesan commitments is here.
The subcommittee also will consider some sort of “system of accountability,” Snook said. One idea involves council establishing a diocesan asking review committee to review the payments of any diocese that doesn’t pay the full amount of the asking. The committee would work with such a diocese to create a plan to bring it to the full asking and would have the power to grant a waiver to dioceses that cannot afford to pay the full asking. It would do these things “in an encouraging and inviting way to being people into the life of the church rather than isolate them or shut them out,” Snook said.
“We also have considered possible gentle sanctions against dioceses that do not receive a waiver and do not pay,” she said, adding that such sanctions might include being ineligible for Episcopal Church grants and loans.
Snook also showed members a spreadsheet that she said looked like a budget but “it’s not a budget at all yet.” It included projected income for the 2016-2019 triennium and all budget requests from church center staff, council committees or one of the church’s other committees, commissions, agencies and boards.
The document was projected on the screen in the meeting room. Snook and other members of FFM were hesitant to release it when some council members asked for copies to study. Diocese of Ohio Bishop Mark Hollingsworth, FFM chair, said his committee was concerned that the document would “get misinterpreted or signal a direction we don’t intend.”
Some council members said that if they could not study the document they will not know whether a specific line item in the eventual budget was proposed by church center staff, council committees or one of the church’s other committees, commissions, agencies and boards.
Council member Joe Ferrell, echoing the concern first raised by member Martha Gardner, said his committee was asked to comment on various requests but “we had no background information as to who had made the request and on what basis they had made the request.”
“If the entire council is going to accept responsibility for the final work product, I think we are going to need to have access to the background information in some way,” he said. “I am going on faith that you are doing a good job and I think you are. I’ll vote for your proposal but I’ll vote for it because I trust you, not because I have reached an independent judgment.”
Jennings told the members that this was the third council budget process she has been through and “this process without exception has asked for and received more input not only from individuals and committees of Executive Council but also from staff and committees, commissions, agencies and boards.”
While she said that she appreciated “passion” that people have for the budget request they made, “it’s clear to me that [FFM is] not favoring one group of suggestions over another” but is instead engaged in a “thoughtful deliberative process.”
She urged her colleagues to let FFM do the work council asked it to do in the way that council approved more than a year ago.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori suggested that FFM ought to work with the rest of council after the meeting to devise a way to securely share the document.
As a coda to the discussion, Hollingsworth noted that Internet was currently “abuzz with the conversation we are having right now.”
Some council members were tweeting about the discussion, which he did not criticize, but he noted a posting on the listserv for members of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops that read “Budget Discussion at Executive Council meeting #ExCoun062014 on Twitter. Lower ‘asking’ Punish slackers? Some of richest dioceses pay zip!”
“I just ask us in our leadership role to remember how important long, thoughtful discussion is to us,” he said, adding that such discussion will “help the whole church get this.”
Some council members tweeted from the meeting using #ExCoun062014.
The Executive Council carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1)(a). The council is composed of 38 members, 20 of whom (four bishops, four priests or deacons and 12 lay people) are elected by General Convention and 18 (one clergy and one lay) by the nine provincial synods for six-year terms – plus the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies.
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affair press release] The United Thank Offering of the Episcopal Church has awarded 48 grants for a total of $1,525,407.78 for the mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. The 2014 grants were awarded to projects in 36 domestic and overseas dioceses.
The grants were announced at the Episcopal Church Executive Council meeting in Phoenix, AZ on June 12.
Known worldwide as UTO, the United Thank Offering grants are awarded for projects that address human needs and help alleviate poverty, both domestically and internationally.
A total of 83 grant applications were received and reviewed by the United Thank Offering Grants Committee. Those recommendations were presented to the Executive Council Joint Standing Committee on Worldwide Mission, which is charged with the responsibility of reviewing the recommendations. The Joint Committee presented the final recommendations to the Executive Council for approval.
The grants ranged from $2,500 to the Diocese of Iowa to $124,750 to the Diocese of California and their companion diocese, Malawi.
- Diocese of California – The Health & Wellness Center of Holy Child & St. Martin’s: $37,500.00
- Diocese of California (Companion – Malawi) – Building Malawi’s Nursing Workforce, St. Anne College: $124,749.98
- Diocese of Central New York – The Trinity of the Undercroft: $84,000.00
- Diocese of Colorado (Companion – Haiti) – Increasing Career Readiness of Students In Rural Haiti: $62,000.00
- Diocese of Dominican Republic – Church/Shelter Mission Santa Ana, Mendoza: $105,874.00
- Diocese of East Carolina (Companion – Dominican Republic) – Colegio Episcal Prof, Laura Morrow Playground Project: $27,842.00
- Diocese of Ecuador Litoral – Creation & Equipment of a Community Helping Center: $48,010.00
- Diocese of Florida – Healing Hands Dental Ministry: $46,000.00
- Diocese of Florida (Companion – Cuba) – Camp Blankingship in Cuba: $51,750.00
- Diocese of Georgia – Dairen Community Youth Group: $30,000.00
- Diocese of Honduras – Vehicle for Self-Sustainability in Honduras: $15,000.00
- Diocese of Idaho – La Gracia Van: $15,000.00
- Diocese of Iowa – Jubilee Community Center: $2,500.00
- Diocese of Kansas – Education Promoting Hope: $9,645.00
- Diocese of Kentucky – Christ Church’s Wednesday Lunch Program $4,180.00
- Diocese of Long Island – Immigrant Wellness Program: $24,960.00
- Diocese of Long Island (Companion – Ghana) – Establishment of Rural Health Centre: $35,000.00
- Diocese of Louisiana – St. Paul’s Community Center : $37,800.00
- Diocese of Massachusetts – B-Peace for Jorge Campaign: $20,000.00
- Diocese of Massachusetts (Companion – Tanzania) English Immersion & Enrichment Program at Hegongo Holy Cross HS: $8,850.00
- Diocese of Mexico – Community Room and Reception Area: $23,173.90
- Diocese of Michigan – Refurbishment of Kitchen for Daily Breakfast Program: $76,275.34
- Diocese of Mississippi – Trinity Episcopal Church Casket Lift: $36,975.00
- Diocese of Mississippi (Companion – Panama) – Renovation of Bishop Gooden Center: $43,738.00
- The Church of the Province of Myanmar – St. Peter Bible School Building: $43,067.00
- Navajoland Area Mission – Waging Hozho: $47,601.00
- Diocese of Northern California – Homeless Seniors Needs Study: $17,160.00
- Diocese of Rochester – Building a Safe/Healthy Neighborhood: One Family at a Time: $25,195.65
- Diocese of Southeast Florida (Companion – Haiti) – A Joyful Sound: Empowering Haitian Children Through Music: $30,875.00
- Diocese of Southern Ohio – Confluence House: $9,875.00
- Diocese of Southwestern Virginia – Dental Equipment for a Mobile Unit to Reach Underserved: $41,239.00
- Diocese of Upper South Carolina (Companion – Haiti) – Ecole Bon Saveur Latrine Project, Cange, Haiti: $25,000.00
- Diocese of Virginia – Bread & Roses Ministry of Trinity Church: $17,000.00
- Diocese of Virginia (Companion – South Sudan) – School Vehicle for Hope & Resurrection Secondary School: $49,575.00
- Diocese of Western Massachusetts – Support for Victims of Domestic Violence: $11,349.00
- Diocese of Western Michigan – El Corazón: $11,500.00
The United Thank Offering award funds are derived from the Ingatherings/funds/contributions received through offerings from the well-known and easily recognizable United Thank Offering Blue Box.
United Thank Offering: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/united-thank-offering
[Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil] Today the World Cup begins in Brazil. This topic has been explored in various ways and sometimes the ideology of the debate has caused impassioned conflict, especially this election year.
But what should we in fact see? As an event, the Cup is an opportunity for reconciliation between peoples. The passion for sport is very healthy for humanity. Sport has, in many contexts, been a source of dignity of life and a celebration of peace.
What we should not permit, as it were, is the commodification of sport to further affirm inequalities and injustices. Football, or soccer, on its own is not to blame for the ills and state to which its leaders and stakeholders have reduced it in the name of capitalist exploitation. Lovers of the sport can’t be anesthetized in exercising their citizenship — which, unfortunately, has happened in the last few years. We should guarantee that football is not exploited as a commodity by huge multinational corporations solely interested in profits. Businesses and media organizations have captured the beauty of the sport and are offered huge profits. FIFA — which in theory is a beneficial organization – will generate 5 billion dollars from the Cup in Brazil. Sponsors will gain another huge amount. And Brazil?
The Brazilian people have demonstrated much maturity in confronting the way the Cup is being managed, and we cannot give up our stance that people are more important than profit. The billions spent on works related to the Cup should, in the name of equity, be invested in implementing social rights and public services in our country.
Every cent invested in the Cup should be converted into bettering health, education and public transport and the many other basic services in a country like ours of such large inequalities.
Lines should exist at every entry to the stadiums, and not at public health postings!
But football is not to blame for this. Who holds the blame are those who exploit it for business and politics. We should be attentive — that at this Cup, we have one eye on the ball, and one eye on our citizenry.
Celebrating the Cup as an event of reconciliation and humanity is very good. Letting ourselves numb ourselves in regards to our civil responsibilities is like playing with a flat ball!
May God bless our people in these days and may we exercise hospitality as we always do!++ Francisco – Francisco de Assis da Silva is primate of the Episcopal Anglican Church in Brazil.
[12 de junio de 2014] Actualmente se están aceptando solicitudes para las subvenciones 2014 para la formación teológica indígena de la Iglesia Episcopal
Las subvenciones están disponibles para laicos y miembros ordenados de la Iglesia Episcopal. La solicitud e información están disponibles aquí.
Entre las posibilidades de educación se encuentra la formación espiritual, liderazgo, desarrollo ordenación. Cada solicitante debe tener el aval de su obispo(a).
La fecha límite para presentar las solicitudes es el 15 de julio.
Para obtener más información comuníquese con Sarah Eagle Heart, Misionera para los Ministerios Indígenas, email@example.com.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Applications are currently being accepted for the 2014 Episcopal Church awards for Indigenous Theological Training.
The awards are available to lay and ordained members of The Episcopal Church. The application and information are available here http://www.episcopalchurch.org/form/indigenous-theological-training-2014-award-application
Among the educational possibilities is spiritual formation, leadership development, or ordination. Each applicant must have the endorsement of his/her bishop.
Deadline for all applications is July 15.
For more information contact Sarah Eagle Heart, Missioner for Indigenous Ministries, firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Anglican Communion News Service] Japanese Anglicans have strongly condemned racism in the country and vowed “to eradicate hate crime and hate speech and strive to establish a true multiracial and mutlicultural society.”
In a statement issued after their 61st synod, representatives of Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican/Episcopal Church in Japan) Synod pulled no punches as they criticized a lack of government legislation against hate crimes and hate speech.
“Hate speech is now rampant in Japan,” it said. “The targets range from ethnic Koreans to various social minorities such as other Asians, foreigners in general, [people considered to be from lower castes], Okinawans, atomic bomb survivors, Ainu people, and sexual minorities.
“Negating and ignoring the very existence of victims, hate speech is a serious crime that physically and mentally scars people in a profound way.”
The statement was signed by representatives of the houses of bishops, clergy and laity as well as members of the Committee for Peace and Justice and the Youth Committee.
It pointed out that Japan is one of only five countries that have limited their support for an international convention on eliminating racial discrimination. It also highlighted groups such as Zaitokukai (translated as Citizens against the Special Privileges of Korean Residents) that have held “dreadfully racist public demonstrations”.
The bold statement made the Synod’s feelings quite clear: “In this globalizing modern world, a multiracial and multicultural society is not just an inevitable consequence, but is an ideal that must be actively worked towards. The racist movements are totally against our goal and should never be tolerated as “freedom of expression”.
“[With] the merciful Lord going before us, (Psalm 59:10), we vow to eradicate hate crime and hate speech and will strive to establish a true multiracial and multicultural society.”
Read the full declaration below:
The 61st General Synod of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, Resolution 25
Declaration of Support for the Eradication of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech and the Creation of a True Multiracial and Multicultural Society by the NSKK (Nippon Sei Ko Kai, the Anglican/Episcopal Church in Japan)
Diocese of Osaka
House of Bishops: The Rt. Revd. Osamu Onishi
(Bishop in charge of human-rights issues)
House of Clergy: Revd. Akira Iwaki, Revd. Makoto Yamamoto
Diocese of Kyoto
House of Bishops: The Rt. Revd. Takashi Kochi
House of Clergy: The Revd. Yutaka Kuroda, The Revd. Izumi Ida,
Diocese of Tokyo
House of Bishops: The Rt. Revd. Nobumichi Ohata
House of Clergy: The Revd. Tazu Sasamori
House of Laity: Ms. Keiko Kurosawa
Committee for Justice and Peace: The Rt. Revd. Ichiro Shibusawa
Youth Committee: The Revd. Satoshi Kobayashi
We declare the adoption of the following statement at the 61st general synod
“The NSKK declares its unanimous support for the eradication of hate crime and hate speech and for the creation of a truly multiracial and multicultural society”
Since the latter half of the first decade of the 21st century, racist groups such as Zaitokukai (Citizens against the Special Privileges of Korean Residents; formed in 2007) have continuously held, as “active conservatives,” dreadfully racist public demonstrations. In December 2009 they raided Kyoto Chosen Shokyu Gakko (Korean elementary school) while children were still in class, and severely traumatized not only children but also school officials, and the local community. This triggered a broad recognition of the term “hate speech” in the Japanese society.
The historically accurate view of Japanese invasions and their subsequent military reign in Asia based upon colonialism, imperialism and militarism after the Meiji Restoration has not been properly atoned for. Furthermore, the former colonized peoples’ persecution, forced assimilation and subjugation by ethnocentric policies have not been fully acknowledged. In particular Korean people and their descendants have borne the brunt of this history. This is arguably the root of the current problems surrounding ethnic Koreans in Japan.
The NSKK has promoted a convivial society through the restoration of St. Gabriel Church in the Diocese of Osaka and support of the NSKK Ikuno Center (a community center located in an ethnic Korean area), and through mutual exchanges and cooperation with the Anglican Church of Korea. In the meantime, “Anti-Korean sentiment” has become conspicuous, particularly on Internet blogs and demonstrations held in predominantly ethnically Korean communities. A rightward trend in Japanese politics, in evidence of the aforesaid lack of remorse for Japan’s military colonization, has become more and more prevalent.
As hate speech is now rampant in Japan, the targets range from ethnic Koreans to various social minorities such as other Asians, foreigners in general, “Burakumin (*see below)” outcasts, Okinawans, atomic bomb survivors, Ainu people, and sexual minorities. Negating and ignoring the very existence of victims, hate speech is a serious crime that physically and mentally scars people in a profound way.
In November 2013, the Kyoto District Court made a landmark ruling that the December 2009 school attack was considered a deliberately discriminatory action. In regard to hate speech in Japan, the United Nations formally urged the Japanese government to take measures against it on February 2014. Although Japan has been a member of International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), Japan is one of only five countries that have made reservations on Article 4(a) and (b) condemning hate crime and hate speech, and the United Nations strongly requires the member states to withdraw these reservations. While western countries extensively regulate hate crime and hate speech to protect racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities based on remorse over their own historically documented racial atrocities (typified by the Holocaust), Japan still has almost no legislation for regulating hate crimes and hate speech.
The bible records the outcries of people threatened by hatred and accusations.
Save me from the contempt from those trample on me. My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts – the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. – Psalm 57:4-5.
See what they spew from their mouths – the words are sharp as swords. Who can bear such words from their lips? – Psalm 59:7.
The Psalms tell us that the Lord is full of compassion and mercy for those who are threatened, and goes in front of them (Psalm 59:10). The Lord once ordered the Israelites not to persecute foreigners (Deuteronomy 24:19) and to protect their life and rights (Leviticus 19:10, Deuteronomy 10:18). And the Lord has promised that the day as “they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid (Micah 4:4.)” will come, and want us to live towards that day.
In this globalizing modern world, a multiracial and multicultural society is not just an inevitable consequence but is an ideal that must be actively worked towards. The racist movements are totally against our goal and should never be tolerated as “freedom of expression”. Following the merciful Lord going in front, (Psalm 59:10), we vow to eradicate hate crime and hate speech and will strive to establish a true multiracial and multicultural society.
(*Burakumin are ethnically Japanese, but are members of caste restricted to certain areas of residence, descent and occupations , in particular abattoirs, meat processing, garbage collecting, or leather working. Considered unclean, burakumin for centuries have suffered continuously from segregation and degradation as outcasts. Their official numbers vary, but most estimates put their population at around two million.)
Article 4(a) and (b) of ICERD
(a) Shall declare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin, and also the provision of any assistance to racist activities, including the financing thereof;
(b) Shall declare illegal and prohibit organizations, and also organized and all other propaganda activities, which promote and incite racial discrimination, and shall recognize participation in such organizations or activities as an offence punishable by law;
<Reason for Declaration>
All churches and dioceses of the NSKK have supported and prayed for the NSKK Ikuno Center which was established in 1992 for the purpose of supporting a local community where non-Japanese residents (mostly, but not exclusively, ethnic Koreans) and Japanese residents could live harmoniously together. The NSKK had declared in 2012 its dedication to “create a communion in which we walk together with each individual person, respect the dignity of individual life and positively encounter people, without simply grouping them as “aged”, “youth”, “female”, “male”, “children”, “disabled”, “foreigners””. Recent activities of Zaitokukai and its sympathizers, which clearly violate human rights, are totally against this declaration of the NSKK, and we hereby steadfastly declare our position with this resolution.
[Diocese of Atlanta] Three Episcopal seminarians from the School of Theology at Sewanee: The University of the South have begun 10 weeks as chaplains at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
The seminarians are supervised by Episcopal priest the Rev. Donna Mote, a member of the interfaith chaplaincy at the Atlanta airport. Mote is also assisted by two part-time ordained and one part-time lay chaplain.
Mote is one of three full-time chaplains at the airport, augmented by some 50 volunteers representing 10 faiths. The airport, the world’s busiest, serves over 225,000 passengers a day.
Atlanta’s Episcopal Bishop Rob Wright, who assigned Mote to the airport, said the Episcopal chaplaincy “is to be an active, visible and positive Episcopal presence at the world’s busiest airport — drawing the circle of inclusion wider, welcoming more people home to the Episcopal Church and representing the church and Christ in the world.”
McAllister was born in San Antonio on Feb. 16, 1923 and graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. He was ordained to the diaconate Sept. 30, 1953 and married Helen Black Teague two days later. He was ordained to the priesthood on Sept. 24, 1954. He served in the Diocese of West Texas at Epiphany, Raymondville as a deacon from 1953-54, priest-in-charge at St. Francis, Victoria from 1958-63, canon to the ordinary from 1963-70, and rector of St. David’s, San Antonio from 1970-77. He was consecrated bishop of the Diocese of Oklahoma on April 15, 1977 and served there until 1989.
In his later years, McAllister served as a bishop-in-residence at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin and chaplain to Clergy Families in the Diocese of West Texas from 1991-1993.
The funeral is set for 11 a.m. on Friday, June 13 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio, Texas.
In addition, a memorial service is being planned for St. Paul’s Cathedral, Oklahoma City at a later date.
[Lambeth Palace press release] Archbishop Justin sends a video message to the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which is taking place in London from 10-13 June.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby gave this video message today to the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, hosted in London by the UK government.
The message was played at a panel discussion on the role of faith leaders in preventing and responding to sexual violence in conflict.
The panel, chaired by Nicky Morgan, Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Minister for Women, discussed examples from across the faiths where religious leaders and communities have played a distinctive role in addressing the root causes and consequences of sexual violence. They also considered how barriers to their effective participation can be transformed.
The speakers, who represented different faith communities, included the Anglican Archbishop of Rwanda, Onesphore Rwaje.
A transcript of the message follows:
“I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to say something to this extremely important gathering. The Foreign Office has committed itself, and the British government generally has committed itself, to combatting sexual violence across the world – and that is a project of such value and significance that it is hard to describe.
“A few weeks back I was with my wife in the eastern DRC and seeing what – funded by the British government – churches and NGOs are doing to combat sexual violence. And when you see what happens to people, it is breathtakingly terrible; and when you see what targeted, careful work does it is extraordinary in what can be achieved.
“Let me give you an example. On both visits over the last few years I’ve gone to see churches working with women who had been raped. The society of the eastern DRC is being progressively more brutalised by war, by rampaging militias, by extractive industries misbehaving, and that brutalisation is slipping into the general population. The churches are the main bulwark against this brutalisation. They love the women who come to them for help. They show them love and human dignity – that is extraordinary in itself.
“Through wonderful organisations like HEAL Africa they treat their physical injuries. And then individual clergy, trained and equipped, with their wives, begin to deal with the issues of deskilling – and so they teach them a craft. They enable them to re-enter society. They show them that they are of unique importance as people; not merely the objects of other people’s lust, rage and disempowerment.
“Historically, as we are seeing in wars also in the South Sudan where I’ve been recently as well, there has been a culture of impunity. Faith leaders are challenging that culture fiercely, and saying that rape and sexual violence in war is absolutely unacceptable and will result in consequences. It’s hugely important.
“Secondly, the churches are deeply involved in the restoration of relationships – particularly the relationships, the proper relationships between men and women, in which there is equal valuing.
“In other words, with the right collaboration on the ground, this is an issue where we can, in this world, make a significant difference.
“I want to end by again commending the British government for a costly and deliberate policy of attacking this terrible crime. And to commend this conference for giving the time to seek to make a difference that is achievable if we work together. Thank you.”
Read more about the Global Summit on the Anglican Alliance website:
[Episcopal News Service – Bogotá, Colombia] Lo que se inició como una capilla donde se habla inglés donde los diplomáticos expatriados británicos, canadienses y estadounidenses se reunieron a principios y mediado del siglo 20, cuando el Catolicismo Romano era la religión del estado, se ha convertido, en el último siglo, en la Iglesia Episcopal Colombiana.
“Hoy celebramos 50 años de vida comunitaria… ustedes son el apoyo de esta familia, la familia que es el fruto de la semilla plantada por aquellos que vinieron antes que nosotros”, dijo el Obispo de la Diócesis de Colombia Francisco Duque Gomez durante su discurso en la convención diocesana en la Catedral de San Pablo en Bogotá afines de mayo.
Al igual que las otras diócesis de la IX Provincia, Colombia está trabajando para lograr la auto-sostenibilidad financiera mientras equilibra el crecimiento.
En 1963, la Diócesis de Colombia se separó de la Diócesis de Panamá para formar su propio distrito misionero. Medio siglo después, la diócesis es una iglesia a nivel nacional con 35 parroquias y misiones, presentes en las zonas urbanas y rurales que cubre alrededor de 439,000 kilómetros cuadrados de montaña, selva y regiones de llanuras tropicales.
Para mantener y avanzar su ministerio y para que la misión cumpla con las necesidades espirituales de crecimiento, sociales e humanitarias en la comunidad que sirve, la iglesia necesita una infraestructura permanente y más clero que trabaje a tiempo completo, dijo Duque en una conversación en su oficina después de la convención.
“Hay una necesidad de programas de atención infantil y desarrollo y para atención a las personas mayores, para programas después de la escuela para niños de padres que trabajan y de madres solteras… así como atención a las personas que fueron desplazadas, y para esto necesitamos espacio”, dijo Duque.
Veinte de las 35 parroquias y misiones tienen edificios en la iglesia; otros se reúnen en Iglesias casas. Hay seis sacerdotes a tiempo completo de los 36 que existen, diáconos y laicos evangelizadores. La mayor parte de los clérigos son profesionales con carreras en derecho, educación, negocios, administración; otros son policías jubilados y trabajadores del gobierno.
Colombia es un país de ingreso medio, pero el 33 por ciento de su población de 47.7 millones de personas viven en o debajo del umbral de la pobreza. Colombia es el segundo país más poblado en América del Sur después de Brasil, y el cuarto más grande geográficamente.
La mayor parte de los colombianos viven en áreas urbanas: Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, Cartagena. Muchos han huido de la violencia asociada con la guerra civil continua de 50años y el tráfico de narcóticos .La violencia ha desplazado alrededor de 4.7 millones de personas y cerca de medio millón se han convertido en refugiados.
Bajo la administración de Duque, la diócesis ha desarrollado programas sociales que incluyen micro-finanzas, preescolares, servicios para las personas de edad avanzada y varios programas para los pobres y desplazados colombianos. Estos incluyen la fundación de La Trinidad en Cali, que administra un programa de mico-finanzas; un programa de alimentación para las personas de edad avanzada; y un programa que proporciona servicios a 70 niños indígenas, apoyado por Ayuda y Desarrollo Episcopal.
Otras misiones con sede en Bogotá incluyen la Misión del Espíritu, el cual proporciona espacio para un programa de respaldo para la Organización de Salud Mundial para fortalecer a las madres solteras y a las mujeres sin hogar y ayudarles a obtener una educación y atención de salud. La Misión del Divino Salvador proporciona alimentos y refugio para personas de edad avanzada que no tienen hogar y un programa para después de la escuela en uno de los vecindarios más pobres de la ciudad. La Catedral San Pablo administra un programa de desarrollo y liderazgo juvenil. La Iglesia San Pablo tiene un evangelismo financiado por la subvención y el programa de alcance comunitario.
El Rdo. Ted J. Gaiser, es el director de la diócesis de misión para desarrollo y un misionero asignado por la Iglesia Episcopal que se encuentra ahora en su Segundo años de servicio, y ha estado trabajando para promover la misión de alcance comunitario y la auto-sostenibilidad en toda la diócesis.
Gaiser, quien tiene una maestría en administración de empresas y un doctorado en Sociología con énfasis en justicia social, escribió un programa de formación de desarrollo de proyecto y administración dirigido a dotar a las parroquias con las habilidades para desarrollar proyectos y programas bien organizados, incluyendo vivienda a bajo costo, escuelas de propiedad de la iglesia, oportunidades de empleo y vivienda para las personas de edad avanzada que han sido desplazados internamente.
El entrenamiento, que utiliza un enfoque de desarrollo comunitario basado en los activos para evaluar los recursos existentes, e incluye un análisis del proyecto, financiación y presupuesto, ha sido realizado en toda la diócesis para ayudar a alcanzar la meta de auto-sostenibilidad financiera para el 2021.
Además, Colforpaz, una organización sin fines de lucro ha sido fundada para poyar la misión y la sostenibilidad de la diócesis.
La diócesis en los últimos años ha establecida su presencia en Cúcuta a lo largo de la frontera norte con Venezuela, donde refugiados que huyen de la guerra civil de Colombia cruzaron la frontera hacia Venezuela, y donde los venezolanos huyen de la violencia y los problemas sociales y económicos en su propio país ahora y cruzan a Colombia en busca de refugio. Y en Pasto, una ciudad al noreste de la frontera con Ecuador en el camino a Tulcán, el alto Comisionado de los Refugiados de las Naciones Unidas tiene una oficina local para solicitantes de asilo.
“En estas dos ciudades importantes está en marcha la construcción de nuestros propios templos que nos permitirá desarrollar el trabajo [social] permanente y una presencia pastoral estable”, dijo Duque.
El catolicismo romano fue la religión oficial del estado hasta que la Constitución de Colombia establece la protección para la libertad religiosa en 1991. Ahora, el 93 por ciento de la población es cristiana con más del 80 por ciento de ellos identificados como Católicos Romanos.
La mayor parte los sacerdotes y diáconos activos en la diócesis asistieron a los seminarios católicos romanos, y fueron sacerdotes en la Iglesia Católica Romana antes de unirse a la Iglesia Episcopal, y muchos ven el sacerdocio como un “llamado vocacional” en vez de una carrera, dijo Gaiser.
Tener una congregación activa, incluyendo el de alcance comunitario, es un requisito para ser sacerdote en la diócesis. El “proceso” explicó Gaiser, funciona de la siguiente manera: Los aspirantes, con el apoyo de un sacerdote o diácono en su área, empiezan a construir una comunidad de servicio de adoración. La ordenación al diácono y un largo período de Anglicanización” sigue antes de la ordenación al sacerdocio.
La formación Anglicana-Episcopal va más allá del clero. En los últimos años, la diócesis se ha comprometido a “ensenar, bautizar y formar a los nuevos creyentes”, que es la segunda de las Cinco Marcas de la Misión, y el Rdo. Alberto Pinzón, de la iglesia San Pablo en Bogotá, está trabajando para implementar un programa de evangelización diocesano amplio para invitar, inspirara y transformar personas, y desarrollar parroquias.
“Ellos [la gente que se une a la Iglesia Episcopal] necesita entender lo que significa ser anglicano”, dijo Duque.
Dada la geografía del país y el costo asociado con las reuniones, el clero, laicos, y líderes diocesanos se reúnen típicamente dos veces al año. Además de proveer un lugar para que las elecciones y debates sobre el presupuesto, la convención brinda tiempo para talleres centrados en continuar el desarrollo de la educación y el liderazgo. La convención diocesana más reciente incluyo talleres sobre género y sobre la inclusión plena no solo de las personas LGBT pero además de los desplazados y otros grupos marginados; historia de la iglesia; y la auto-sostenibilidad.
El Obispo Carlos López-Lozano, Obispo de Iglesia Episcopal Española Reformada, viajo desde Madrid para asistir a la convención. En más de dos sesiones, él dio una historia de la iglesia, incluyendo la historia de sostenibilidad de la iglesia reformada.
En su mayor parte, él dijo, la Iglesia Episcopal en España empezó como una iglesia indígena y por tal motivo no recibió apoyo del exterior, con la excepción de un período posterior a la Guerra Civil Española cuando la iglesia pago a sus sacerdotes salaries con fondos del Consejo Mundial de Iglesias.
“Cuando terminó la iglesia necesitaba reorganizar las cosas”, dijo Lopez. “Cuando se tiene dinero, uno no piensa en la auto-sostenibilidad”.
Es importante que la gente en la iglesia entienda que la iglesia necesita dinero para llevar a cabo su misión, y que en la campaña de mayordomía todos participen, él dijo. En solidaridad, las iglesias más grandes ayudan a las iglesias más pequeñas con su misión.
“Se trata de cambiar la manera de pensar sobre lo que somos capaces de hacer”, dijo Lopez.
Duque y otros obispos de la IX Provincia se han dado cuenta de que las circunstancias regionales imperantes exigen una nueva dirección, dijo. “En virtud de ello, hemos decidido adoptar una estrategia de desarrollo de sostenibilidad integral en cada una de nuestras diócesis”.
La Iglesia Episcopal históricamente ha apoyado a las iglesias de la IX Provincia mediante el programa de subvenciones en bloque, el cual proporciona a las diócesis con fondos de operación por un valor de $2.9 millones en el trienio actual. Colombia recibe la cantidad de $127,400 anuales para su presupuesto de $241,250.
Durante una reunión en Julio de 2013 de laicos y líderes ordenados de la IX Provincia, y el personal de la oficina principal de la Iglesia Episcopal, el consenso fue que la “relación actual entre las Diócesis de la IX Provincia y el resto de la Iglesia Episcopal está influenciado por la naturaleza de las subvenciones en bloques que establecen una relación de dependencia. Esto no es espiritualmente saludable, ni para el ‘dependiente’ o para del que se depende’”, de acuerdo a un documento que fue publicado después de la reunión. El documento creado por el grupo de la Misión 2 nación de una larga conversación que se he inició en marzo del 2011 con una conferencia en Tela, Honduras.
En febrero, por recomendación del grupo de trabajo de la Segunda Marca de la Misión (un grupo convocado por el personal de la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera), el Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal acordó un plan de18 años para la “auto-suficiencia” para llegar a obtener la sostenibilidad de la misión y del ministerio de la IX Provincia.
Las otras iglesias de la IX Provincia, están en América del Sur, el centro de Ecuador Litoral y Venezuela; en el Caribe, República Dominicana y Puerto Rico; y en América Central, Honduras.
– Lynette Wilson es una editora/reportera para Episcopal News Service.
[Episcopal News Service – Scottsdale, Arizona] If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, then a new traveling photo exhibition previewed here June 10 is a more-than 33,000-word photo essay about Episcopal Relief & Development’s 75-year legacy.
The 75th Anniversary Photo Exhibition shows the organization’s global reach of its mission “healing a hurting world,” as its tagline says, from China to Ghana to El Salvador to Louisiana to New Jersey, and points in between.
“As you look at the images in this exhibit, I hope what you’ll see are not images of something we do but images of who we are as one body, working with others around the world,” Diocese of Colorado Bishop Robert J. O’Neill, chair of Episcopal Relief & Development’s board of directors, told the church’s Executive Council, meeting June 10-12 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
O’Neill said that the anniversary is a good time to take stock of the “collective witness” and work that has taken place since 1940, including the more than $560 million that has been raised and dedicated “to meet urgent human needs” all over the world.
In the last 14 years, he said, Episcopal Relief & Development has raised and spent more than $220 million, including $68 million for global needs, $69 million for disaster response and long-term recovery work, slightly less than $40 million for malaria prevention and $14 million for to promote health and alleviate hunger.
Those numbers, O’Neill said, reflect “what we can do collectively as we work in partnership with our sisters and brothers around the globe” in more than 40 countries.
“All of these numbers and figures tell a story about our collective heart,” he said, thanking the council and General Convention for the support it has given the organization.
O’Neill spoke during the announcement portion of a special Eucharist for members of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council at the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Scottsdale. The exhibit is on display at the church through June 12 and council members got a chance to view the exhibition during a reception that followed the Eucharist at the end of the first day of their three-day meeting here. The Rev. Susan Snook, Nativity’s rector, is a member of council.
During her opening remarks earlier in the day, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori called the exhibit “an opportunity to give thanks for the ways in which Episcopalians continue to partner with others here and across the world. God’s mission is indeed being served.”
Details of the exhibition
The photographs are meant to portray Episcopal Relief & Development’s four core areas of work: alleviating hunger and improving food supply, creating economic opportunities and strengthening communities, promoting health and fighting disease; and responding to disasters and rebuilding communities. And they give context to its organizational story and its program partnerships with Anglican and ecumenical institutions around the world, and dioceses in the United States.
Two of the exhibit’s 22 panels feature a historical timeline showing the evolution of The Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief to present day Episcopal Relief & Development.
The preview at Nativity allowed Episcopal Relief & Development staff members an opportunity to experiment with different configurations of the post-and-panel exhibit in a church setting.
Joanna Lehan, a New York-based curator, editor, and writer curated the exhibit. She has served as co-curator of the International Center of Photography’s Triennial exhibition. She has also worked as a book editor, Aperture Foundation, and a freelance photo editor at The New Yorker and Newsweek magazines. Lehan’s writing on photography appears on Time’s “Lightbox” blog, as well is in Photograph and Aperture magazines.
For the Episcopal Relief & Development exhibit Lehan worked with the organization’s staff to choose from among 20,000 photos taken by professional photographers as well as the organization’s staff, partners, donors and friends, according to O’Neill.
The exhibition’s travels will begin officially with an installation in New York’s Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, including an opening event on Sept. 16. It is expected to visit more than 20 cities across the church. Among the planned stopovers are Los Angeles, Denver, San Francisco and Charlotte, North Carolina.
To inquire about having the 75th Anniversary Celebration Photo Exhibition to visit your diocese, contact Engagement Director Sean McConnell at email@example.com or call 855-312-HEAL (4325).
A virtual tour of the photo exhibition is available on a special 75th anniversary web section on Episcopal Relief & Development’s website at www.episcopalrelief.org/church-in-action/75/photo-exhibition.
Part of a larger celebration
Episcopal Relief & Development’s official celebration of its 75th anniversary begins in September but there are already resources and online tools related to the milestone available here.
The organization wants to use its anniversary to thank those who have been an integral part of its history, growth and success as the Episcopal Church’s international development agency. Episcopal Relief & Development also sees it as an opportunity to educate a new generation of friends and supporters about the agency’s life-saving work that reaches more than 3 million people annually in almost 40 countries, according to McConnell.
Episcopal Relief & Development plans a fundraising campaign to raise $7.5 million by the end of 2015 for programs that promote health, alleviate hunger and create economic opportunities.
Donors can make contributions to the campaign. Congregations, dioceses and groups are also invited to organize local fundraising campaigns and inspire others to participate. Online tools and resources are available on the website to assist with planning local activities and events. There are five campaign areas:
- 75th Anniversary Campaign: The most powerful way to make an impact, your gift will engage communities worldwide in creating lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and disease
- Carry the Water Campaign: Improving hygiene, sanitation and overall health by building water systems to ensure communities can access this crucial natural resource
- Fast to Feed Campaign: Expanding everyone’s supply of nutritious food by empowering families to raise healthy animals and utilize sustainable agricultural practices
- Thrive to Five Campaign: Enabling children and families to get the best start in life through maternal health, malaria prevention and early childhood development programs
- Pennies to Prosperity Campaign: Generating opportunities for local entrepreneurs by promoting micro-finance, vocational training and small business development
In addition to the photo exhibit, special web section and the fundraising campaign, other elements of the commemoration include:
- publishing on its website 75 stories over 75 weeks about Episcopal Relief & Development’s programs, partnerships and supporters;
- offering an interactive timeline that explores Episcopal Relief & Development’s history and life-saving work worldwide; and
- offering ways for individuals to engage in meaningful discussion on the organization’s online communities.
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Diocese of Melbourne] Parishes need to welcome men as important bearers of anti-violence messages to other men and boys, according to a report of the Diocese of Melbourne Violence Prevention Program.
Nudging Anglican Parishes to Prevent Violence Against Women said the reach and influence of Anglican organisations and parishes were a significant asset in reducing violence against women locally.
“Changes in violent tolerant attitudes and behaviour toward women and girls require a lengthy commitment from the Diocese, its program partners and parishes to continue with the work,” the report said.
The report, prepared for the Anglican Social Responsibilities Committee in collaboration with Anglicans Promoting Respectful Relationships for Violence Prevention by Dr Ree Bodde, was launched at St Peter’s Eastern Hill on 23 May by Archbishop Philip Freier and Mrs Andrea Coote, the Parliamentary Secretary for Families and Community Services and a member of the parliamentary committee that produced Betrayal of Trust last November after its Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations.
It said the next steps were to extend violence prevention training across the Diocese, share promising practices, disseminate research and online communication, strengthen monitoring and evaluation of the program and seek a three-year extension of the program at the Diocesan Synod in October.
“It is important to use a language and context for parish mobilisation that includes and welcomes men and that recognises that they too are important carriers of anti‐violence messages to other men and boys.”
The Revd Dr Stephen Ames, Program Chair of Anglicans Promoting Equal and Respectful Relationships for Preventing Violence Against Women, said: “We are all shamed by this violence, which so often is ‘payback’ to a woman as the way a man handles his anger, fed by deep dissonances about gender roles and an actual inequality of power.”
Dr Bodde said: “The challenge is for more Anglican communities to shift their paradigm to that of helping prevent violence in the first place and not only responding to the people damaged by violence.”
The report said 34% of women who had had an intimate partner had experienced violence from a partner or ex-partner and one woman was killed in Australia almost every week by a partner or former partner. An estimated one in four children and young people had witnessed domestic violence against their mother or stepmother.
Nudging Anglican Parishes to Prevent Violence Against Women was launched against a backdrop of recent highly publicised incidents of violence against women and children, including the deaths of 11-year-old Luke Batty at the hands of his father after cricket training at Tyabb on 12 February and the fatal daylight stabbing of Fiona Warzywoda, a mother of four children, in a Sunshine street on 16 April, allegedly by her former partner.
Mrs Coote praised the report, and the Anglican Church’s leadership in responding to the parliamentary inquiry last year.
She said violence against women was not inevitable and could be prevented.
“It’s very clear that this is not going to stop unless we do something differently,” Mrs Coote said.
The Revd Scott Holmes, a member of the steering committee for Anglicans Promoting Equal and Respectful Relationships for Preventing Violence Against Women, said there was no underestimating how challenging it was to practise and promoting gender equality and respectful relationships as a way of preventing family violence.
“Society may agree that we want to see an end to men’s violence against women, but when we begin to talk about changing the patriarchal structures that fuel gender inequality and stereotyping, the level of agreement starts to fall away,” he said. “Men, and more often than you think women, challenge the link between gendered violence and gender inequality, they challenge the statistics, they challenge that violence is gendered. As a species we seem to find it more comfortable to live with the injustice we know about rather than make the deep changes that will create a fairer world.”
Mr Holmes, who is Healthy Workplaces senior adviser at YMCA Victoria, cited his experience as coordinator in 2011 of the final year of a three-year project based at Darebin City Council, the Northern Interfaith Respectful Relationships project. People working in the sector would regularly ask him why anyone would bother with such a project.
“For these people, faith communities were far too much part of the problem to ever be able to be part of the solution,” Mr Holmes said. “Women who worked in refuges knew too many stories of women who had been told by their pastors to stay with their violent husbands, who were told that putting up with the violence was the cross they had to bear, who were pointed to scriptures that spoke of the holiness of suffering and sacrifice. There are absolutely faith communities where this still happens, and for this reason many people working in the domestic violence sector would consider faith communities as places where women can never expect to be treated equally, or to be safe.
“I have a lot of sympathy for the people who think this way. I have too many of my own experiences and stories not to. I’ve seen and heard the way female clergy colleagues are treated at clergy gatherings. Or the way women are spoken about more generally.
“I love the fact that Ree has called this report, Nudging Anglican Parishes. Because that’s exactly where we are at the moment – nudging. Not just in faith communities, but pretty much everywhere we are doing this work… We nudge. We ask tricky questions. We poke and prod and try and get a reaction. And we hope that over time – probably a long time – we will see people begin to change. This is why it is so important that we have a long-term, bipartisan approach to this work. We must be committed to it for the long haul.
“So, the work is hard, but it is not impossible,” Mr Holmes said. “Faith communities have a role to play in preventing this violence before it occurs. I am proud that our Anglican Diocese of Melbourne has been taking the lead in this work, but we cannot afford to be complacent. There is still far too much inequality in our world, and there are still far too many women and girls who are suffering because of that inequality.”
Un reciente estudio de la Organización Mundial de la Salud revela que 5.9 por ciento de las muertes en el mundo “están relacionadas con el consumo excesivo de bebidas alcohólicas”. Un oficial de la OMS dice que esa cifra equivale a “una muerte cada 10 segundos”. Europa es el continente que más alcohol consume. África y Estados Unidos han llegado a un índice estable no así los países del sudeste de Asia y el Pacífico. En América Latina aumenta el consumo.
El nombramiento de una abogada abiertamente lesbiana como jueza del Tribunal Supremo de Puerto Rico ha creado un gran “revolú” entre quienes ven un “paso de equidad” en la decisión y quienes consideran que es una “falta de respeto” al pueblo. Muchos se sintieron ofendidos cuando ella dijo en la ceremonia de su nombramiento: “A mi pareja Gina, gracias…Sin ti yo no estaría aquí”. Maite Oronoz tiene 38 años, posee una maestría en leyes de la Universidad de Columbia y fue directora de Asuntos Legales del municipio de San Juan. Los que se oponen al nombramiento son principalmente las iglesias evangélicas.
El arzobispo de Cantórbery, Justin Welby, ha viajado a Nigeria para expresar su dolor por los recientes eventos que afectan la vida del país africano especialmente los bombardeos en la ciudad de Jos y el secuestro de casi 300 jovencitas hace dos meses. El arzobispo visitó al presidente Goodluck Jonathan en Abuja para ofrecerle su condolencia personalmente. El primado de Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh, el presidente y el arzobispo oraron juntos. Welby dijo que entendía la situación de Nigeria porque la catedral de Coventry en Inglaterra fue destruida durante la II Guerra Mundial.
El proceso de la regularización de haitianos indocumentados en Higüey en la República Dominicana ha sido suspendido temporalmente por los desórdenes causados por las personas que pretendían entrar por la fuerza al recinto gubernamental sin respetar su turno. “Golpes y empujones estaban a la orden del día”, dijo un testigo. El orden fue restablecido por la presencia de Grisane Almonte Willman, consultor jurídico del consulado de Haití. La próxima vez mujeres en cinta y niños tendrán prioridad, dijo. En la República Dominicana hay 524,632 inmigrantes, de los cuales 458,233 son haitianos.
En varias partes de Europa y Estados Unidos se ha celebrado el 70 aniversario del “Día D”, (6 de junio) la fecha en que las tropas aliadas realizaron un gran desembarco en las playas de Normandía en Francia que dio comienzo al triunfo aliado. El desembarco se considera una de las más grandes acciones bélicas de todos los tiempos. Dice un historiador que el número de bajas fue pequeño si se le compara con el total de participantes. El número de embarcaciones se cuenta en 5,000.
En España está previsto que la proclamación del nuevo rey tendrá lugar el 19 de junio. Quizás siguiendo el ejemplo del papa Francisco, el rey Juan Carlos y la reina Sofía no usarán ningún título honorífico a que tienen derecho. El príncipe Felipe hará lo mismo según información del Palacio de la Zarzuela. En su proclamación no habrá invitados extranjeros ni ningún servicio religioso. El nuevo rey asumirá el título de “capitán general de los Ejércitos de España”. Se anticipa que habrá protestas en contra del nuevo rey. En España abundan los anarquistas, dice un comentarista. Un portavoz de La Zarzuela dijo que este momento no debe considerarse como “una nueva etapa” como ocurrió con el rey Juan Carlos pues en aquella época se pasó de una dictadura a la democracia.
El opositor venezolano Leopoldo López ha sido sometido a un riguroso interrogatorio que ha durado más de tres días. La jueza Adriana López que lo interrogó considera que los delitos que se le imputan son muy serios pero hasta el momento no ha presentado prueba alguna. Los llamados delitos son: asociación para delinquir, incendio, instigación pública a delinquir y daños a la propiedad con motivo de las protestas. La jueza no dejó a Leopoldo hablar con su esposa Lilian Tintori que estuvo sentada en un banquito oscuro en uno de los pasillos. La jueza ha citado a la diputada María Corina Machado a presentarse para rendir declaraciones. Ella y sus seguidores piden la renuncia de Maduro y prontas elecciones.
Un encuentro ecuménico tuvo lugar el día de Pentecostés en la Iglesia Episcopal Poderoso Salvador de Vigo, España. En el evento participaron el obispo Carlos López de la Iglesia Española Reformada Episcopal y el obispo Luis Quinteiro de la diócesis católica romana de Tui-Vigo. Paso a paso se llega lejos.
VERDAD. Señor, que todos seamos uno para que el mundo crea.
[Episcopal News Service – Phoenix, Arizona] The liveliest discussion during the opening session of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council June 10-12 meeting here surrounded how much money the General Convention ought to ask dioceses to contribute to the church-wide budget – and what should be done about dioceses that do not pay the full amount.
The discussion took the form of an informal poll of council members by Diocese of Ohio Bishop Mark Hollingsworth, chair of council’s Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission. FFM, as the committee is known, is in the process of helping to shape the draft 2016-2019 budget that council must construct by February 2015. Hollingsworth gave each council member 30 seconds to share what they are hearing around the church about the budget-funding process, and what they think ought to be done.
In the 2013-2015 triennium, dioceses are asked to contribute 19 percent of their annual income to help fund the church-wide budget. Each year’s annual giving in the three-year budget is based on a diocese’s income two years earlier, minus $120,000. The list of 2012 and 2013 diocesan commitments is here.
The Episcopal Church’s three-year budget is funded primarily by pledges from the church’s dioceses and regional mission areas. While the budget asks for 19 percent from the dioceses each year, not all dioceses give the full amount and thus the 2013-2015 projected diocesan income was forecast, in part, on giving trends. For instance, during the 2012 meeting of General Convention when its Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) was formulating the budget to present to convention, Episcopal Church Treasurer Kurt Barnes told the committee that the average rate of giving in 2012 had been 15 percent, even though the asking was 19 percent.
Most council members said during the polling here that they were hearing sentiment for a lower asking percentage, some sort of a progressive system with varying asking percentages based on dioceses’ varying financial resources, and accountability for dioceses that are financially able to pay the full percentage but choose not to, and for those for those dioceses that want to move towards paying the full ask.
When council members in their comments cited a number for a reduced ask, most named 15 percent. The Rev. Jim Simons from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, said he had been hearing calls for a reduction in the ask “even as low as 10 percent.”
He added that he thought “we have not done a particularly good job explaining what the funds are used for.”
Katie Sherrod, from the Diocese of Fort Worth, said Episcopalians in that diocese have seen what happens when diocesan leaders choose to separate themselves from the rest of the church. “I think the asking is a very tangible symbol of us as a body in this world,” she said, adding that the reconstituted Fort Worth diocese is paying the full ask “for the first time in a very long time.”
“We will continue to do so at whatever level this church decides but we would be concerned if it went too low because we value those church-wide programs,” Sherrod said.
Deborah Stokes of the Diocese of Southern Ohio suggested “the chief concern is about accountability — those who are not paying [the full ask] and still getting the benefits of the church.”
Marion Luckey said that although she generally hears calls for a lower asking, her Diocese of Northern Michigan pays the full 19 percent asking even though “it does use money that could be used in other areas but we feel that that’s our commitment to the church.”
Bryan Krislock, Diocese of Olympia, said a lower ask ought to be coupled with a progressive system that takes into account the high fixed costs that all diocese have, and acknowledges that some dioceses have more financial resources than others.
Bishop Stacy Sauls, the church center’s chief operating officer, voiced no opinion on the amount of the asking but said the “order of the questions” is wrong. Rather than ask what the level of the asking should be, the question “ought to be what do we want to do, how much does it cost and then how do we fairly allocate the cost of that?”
The Rev. Gay Jennings, House of Deputies president, said she agreed with the need for accountability and noted that council talked about that issue two triennia ago “and did not make much progress.” A diocese that does not pay the full asking faces no sanctions such as what happens to parishes that do not pay the full amount asked by their dioceses, for example a loss of voting rights at diocesan convention or ineligibility for diocesan grants.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who was the bishop of Nevada when she was elected presiding bishop, said Nevada has historically paid the full asking “often at great sacrifice.”
“The reality is that poorer diocese generally benefit from the church-wide programs and cannot fund those on their own,” she said. “I believe we need a missional conversation about … what can only be funded at the church-wide level and then figure out how to pay for it. I applaud the ideas of progressivity and accountability.”
Earlier during her opening remarks Jefferts Schori had said that she “still hopes that the Task Force of Reimagining the Episcopal Church will consider how, as a whole church, we can best support the local work of dioceses – and sharing resources is an essential part of that. But we need to think beyond the percentage asking from each diocese. Do current geographic boundaries make the most sense for a sustainable future for each mission unit – otherwise called diocese? Dioceses have always had these conversations about local parishes and congregations, and they make considered decisions about how to allocate personnel, financial, administrative, and building resources for the good of the whole. As a whole church, we’re being called into similarly strategic perspectives and decision-making.”
Hollingsworth concluded the discussion with a promise of more conversation to come. Having served two terms on PB&F and now chairing FFM, he said he knows that the church “cannot do the things that we aspire to do” with the revenue that is being paid in by dioceses.
He said his “greatest concern” is that the entire funding process “is not good for our soul, it is divisive.”
Jefferts Schori told the council during her opening remarks that she wanted “to point to the fact that as a Church, we are making progress toward a far more interconnected and networked structure.”
“We are focusing strategically on those areas where only the church-wide structure is able to support particular local mission efforts. Support for Navajoland and the renewing dioceses are examples, so is the sustainability work in Province IX. I believe and expect those efforts toward sustainability will increase in the future. We are bound to one another, and the health and growth of each part of the body of Christ is the concern of the whole.”
Jennings told the council during her opening remarks she had been thinking about “our discourse—our habitual way of speaking about the structure of the church” and how it might color “our discussions and decisions in ways we don’t intend.”
“What well-worn patterns of discourse are shaping our thinking in well-worn ways that no longer serve us well?” she asked. “Where can we admit new meanings, healthy tension, and opportunities to promote resilience? How can we work together to expand our discourses about the church to include more people, more contexts, more perspectives and more followers of Jesus?”
Also during the opening plenary
The rest of the council’s agenda
“We’ve got a number of significant issues at this meeting, all of which are related to how best to use the gifts we have as resources for church-wide mission,” said Jefferts Schori in her opening remarks.
Among those issues is the ongoing discussion about the use of the Church Center in New York. There are two executive sessions on the council’s agenda for members to discuss a new report from its Subcommittee on the Location of the Episcopal Church Center. One session was held at the end of the opening plenary June 10 and the other is scheduled as the first item on the plenary agenda for June 12. Prior to the meeting council members had to sign in to receive sealed printed materials related to the discussion; they will have to turn those materials after the meeting.
Council members will also discuss mission and budgetary issues in the Navajoland Area Mission; responses to justice issues such as human trafficking, Middle East peace, and environmental and climate concerns; hear about the church’s communion-wide covenant relationships; and will review policy in several areas.
The meeting is taking place at the Embassy Suites Phoenix Scottsdale. Council will travel to the Episcopal Church of the Nativity late in the afternoon of June 10 for Eucharist and a reception. The Rev. Susan Snook, Nativity’s rector, is a member of council. During the reception members will get a preview of Episcopal Relief & Development’s 75th Anniversary Photo Exhibition.
The council will meet in committee all day June 11. On June 12, the council meets in plenary session all day to hear committee reports and to consider resolutions.
The next day, a number of council members and staff will travel to Fort Defiance in northern Arizona to attend the annual convocation of the Navajoland Area Mission.
Some council members are tweeting from the meeting using #ExCoun062014.
The Executive Council carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1)(a). The council is composed of 38 members, 20 of whom (four bishops, four priests or deacons and 12 lay people) are elected by General Convention and 18 (one clergy and one lay) by the nine provincial synods for six-year terms – plus the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies.
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
Editors’ note: This story was updated June 11, 2014, to clarify the terms “progressive system” and “accountability”.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Episcopal Church President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings presented the following opening remarks to the Executive Council, currently meeting in Phoenix, AZ, through June 12.
Executive Council Opening Remarks
June 10, 2014
Not too long ago, I had an alarming moment when I opened a book to read an essay by my friend and former colleague Dr. Matthew Sheep. The book is What We Shall Become: The Future and Structure of the Episcopal Church, edited by former council member and Deputy Winnie Varghese and published last fall by Church Publishing, Inc. I’m honored to have an essay in it along with Bishop Katharine, Susan Snook, and other people you may know from your work in the wider church.
The experience was alarming not because of the book, which is excellent, or Matthew’s essay, which is insightful. It was alarming because the further I read, the more it became clear that his project was to explore the “discourse” of the restructuring of the Episcopal Church by doing what my English professor used to call a “close reading” of Bishop Katharine’s and my remarks to the first meeting of the Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church in February of 2013.
It made me feel a little bit like I had become the kind of summer reading assignment that every teenager dreads.
I became fascinated by Matthew’s thesis. He says that it is through our “habitual lines of argument or ways of speaking”—often called discourse—that we “make sense of our past, construct our present reality, and shape the expansiveness as well as the limits of our future.”
A couple of weeks ago, we had a conversation at my Council of Advice meeting that drove home this point for me. Some of us were talking about “shared governance” as one of our highest values in restructuring. You know, as in phrases like, “our fundamental value of shared governance makes God’s mission possible.” I said that in a speech recently, and I believe it in my bones.
But then one member of the Council piped up and said that for some people he talks with, the very word “governance” is a problem. Microsoft Word’s synonyms for “governance” include “supremacy, ascendency, domination, power, authority, control,” he pointed out, and just modifying it with the adjective “shared” doesn’t do the trick.
So at that meeting, I learned that our discourse—our habitual way of speaking about the structure of the church—might just include a word, almost certainly more than one word—that is loaded with a meaning that we don’t recognize and that shapes our discussions and decisions in ways we don’t intend.
In his essay, Matthew addresses this very issue: “While we use existing words or ‘labels’ when we talk with others—words that are found in the dictionary or defined in our historic documents—their meanings are not always as fixed or universally understood as we might assume. Thus, can meanings reliably be taken for granted when we seek to implement words to enact changes in social contexts? Should they be, particularly in earlier stages of organizing or reorganizing?”
In the year between now and General Convention, I want to pay close attention to the issues of discourse that Matthew Sheep has raised. We might think about this at this meeting. What well-worn patterns of discourse are shaping our thinking in well-worn ways that no longer serve us well? Where can we admit new meanings, healthy tension, and opportunities to promote resilience? How can we work together to expand our discourses about the church to include more people, more contexts, more perspectives and more followers of Jesus?
Sometimes just thinking about discourse leaves me a bit tongue-tied. But as Christians, we know that this is the season for learning new languages of faith. Like the disciples at the Ascension, we have been promised power to be witnesses in new places. Like the followers of Christ at Pentecost, we have been given the Holy Spirit to guide us.
As we begin our meeting, I take comfort that on Pentecost, the disciples were gathered together when the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began to speak in new languages. Let it also be so for us.
The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings
President of the House of Deputies
The Episcopal Church