[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, has announced the final group of recipients of the grants for Mission Enterprise Zones and for New Church Starts.
Eleven grants totaling $700,000 were awarded to 14 dioceses.
Mission Enterprise Zones and New Church Starts are Episcopal Church initiatives funded through the Five Marks of Mission triennial budget, approved by General Convention July 2012. In the budget, $2 million was allotted for the work of establishing Mission Enterprise Zones and for supporting New Church Starts for the First Mark of Mission, To proclaim the Good news of the Kingdom.
Matching grants were available for up to $20,000 for a Mission Enterprise Zone and up to $100,000 for New Church Starts. Applications were reviewed and considered by the Local Mission and Ministry Committee of Executive Council, serving as the review committee for the grant applications.
The following are the grant recipients, the sponsoring diocese and the amount:
• “Bi-lingual rebirth”, San Pedro y San Pablo, Diocese of Oregon, $60,000
• Be the Change: Alabama, Diocese of Alabama, $20,000
• Calling the Circle, Diocese of Arizona, $20,000
• Iglesia Episcopal San Pablo Apóstol, Diocese of El Camino Real, $100,000
• Indigenous Ministry Development through the Bishop’s Native Collaborative, Dioceses of Alaska/Montana/Navajoland/North Dakota/South Dakota, $60,000
• PINE (Pacific Inland Northwest Exchange), Diocese of Spokane, $20,000
• St. Gabriel’s, Diocese of Virginia, $100,000
• St. Joe’s Unplugged, Diocese of Southeast Florida, $20,000
• The Abbey, Diocese of Alabama, $100,000
• The Abundant Table Farm Church, Diocese of Los Angeles, $100,000
• Worcester Urban Mission Strategy, Diocese of Western Massachusetts, $100,000
Continuing the work
As this is the last round of grants, no more funding is available for this program for this triennium. Nonetheless, the Rev. Thomas Brackett, Episcopal Church Missioner for New Church Starts and Missional Initiatives, will continue to partner with others in new church and enterprise efforts.
Brackett pointed out that a focus on the grant work doesn’t end with the awarding of the funds. Rather, continues the resources through monthly web calls for mutual support, accountability, partnership, and ongoing learning together.
“These round-table videoconferences are bringing together a wise community of practice,” Brackett noted. “This gathering of practitioners has so much to share with the church at large, as they learn to share their gifts in these emerging ministries.”
Next steps also include the work of the Standing Commission on Mission And Evangelism, which will collect the experiences of those receiving the funding and will share best practices and accomplishments.
For more information contact Brackett at firstname.lastname@example.org
In December 2013, 30 grants totaling $1.3 million were awarded. List is here.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] A total of $106,360.08 has been allocated through the Conant Grants for the year June 1 to May 31, 2015.
Conant Grants funds are provided for the improvement of seminary-based theological education. The grants are directed for the support of research, writing and course development undertaken by faculty members at the recognized Episcopal seminaries in the United States.
The following grants were approved:
The Rev. Dr. William Brosend of Sewanee: The University of the South, $6300
Cynthia Crysdale of Sewanee: The University of the South, $4912
The Rev. Dr. Jason Fout of Bexley Seabury, $6734.50
The Rev. Dr. David Gortner of Virginia Theological Seminary, $15,000
The Rev. Dr. Ruthanna Hooke of Virginia Theological Seminary, $14,615
Dr. Elisabeth Kimball of Virginia Theological Seminary, $5192.40
The Rev. Dr. William Roberts of Virginia Theological Seminary, $14,412
John Solomon of Sewanee: The University of the South, $2998
The Rev. Dr. Susanna Singer of Church Divinity School of the Pacific, $14,338
The Rev. Dr. Allison St. Louis of Virginia Theological Seminary, $14,258.18
The Rev. Dr. John Yieh of Virginia Theological Seminary, $7600
The next cycle of grants will be awarded in 2015.
The funds are derived from a trust fund established by William S. and Mary M. Conant in 1953. Applications are reviewed by members of the Standing Commission for Ministry Development.
For more information contact Samuel McDonald, Episcopal Church Director of Mission and Deputy Chief Operating Officer, email@example.com.
[Episcopal Diocese of New York] Announcing the death of retired Vicar Bishop of New York, the Rt. Rev. E. Don Taylor, Bishop Andy Dietsche wrote:
Bishop Taylor suffered a stroke in February and had pursued faithfully a long and difficult process towards recovery. This past week, however, his body began to fail, and he was admitted to the ICU of Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow. He died last Saturday, May 24, 2014, with his daughter Tara and other members of his family by his side.
Bishop Taylor held the distinction of being the first West Indian to become a Bishop in The Episcopal Church. Born and raised in Jamaica, he was ordained a priest in 1961 and began a ministry at St. Mary the Virgin, then a small mission in Kingston, Jamaica. In 1970, he left a flourishing congregation to take up his next appointment as Headmaster of Kingston College. He came to the United State in 1973 and served communities in Buffalo and Atlanta for some 14 years, until election in 1987 as Bishop of the Virgin Islands. As Bishop, his strong pastoral ministry contributed to significant church growth. A former radio announcer, he established a Diocesan Radio Studio and proclaimed the gospel in weekly broadcasts.
In 1994, Bishop Taylor returned to the United States mainland to assume duties as Assistant Bishop in this diocese, in the newly created position of Vicar Bishop for New York City, an area covering Staten Island, Manhattan and the Bronx. Bishop Taylor was especially beloved for his pastoral ministry and his commitment to promoting community development. Always he cared most about the people he served. “I haven’t done spectacular things, haven’t raised millions of dollars,” Bishop Taylor once said about his ministry as Vicar Bishop. “I’ve just tried to be a faithful, loving and caring bishop.”
Upon his retirement, he answered the call to serve, once again, in his homeland and in 2009, he was appointed Rector of the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, more widely known as the Kingston Parish Church, in the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
I wish again to express my profound gratitude to the clergy and lay leaders of our diocese who, in these last weeks since his stroke, visited Bishop Taylor and joined me in pastoral and sacramental ministry. Many of you offered care and companionship to Bishop Taylor in his journey towards God, expressing the love of this diocese for him. I will add personally that it was my great pleasure to work as friend and colleague with Don on the staff of this diocese through the last ten years of his ministry here. Nothing could be clearer than that he loved being a bishop, and his service to and ministry in this diocese was always characterized by the broad, infectious smile and deep laugh that signaled the profound joy at the center of his being. He also served as a visible link to the Anglican Church in Jamaica and throughout the West Indies for the great number of Caribbean-American Episcopalians in the Diocese of New York. In this last season of his life, I had the privilege to come to him as a brother bishop, and I am confident that I speak for Bishops Sisk, Grein, Roskam and Donovan, all of whom shared episcopal ministry with Don in New York, in expressing our sorrow at his passing, our love for him, and our respect for the legacy he built in the ongoing life of this our diocese.
Letters and cards of condolence may be sent to his daughter:
195-04 90th Avenue
Jamaica, NY 11423
Please continue to remember our brother at your altars, commending him to God’s surpassing peace, abiding love and complete joy. Pray, also, for Tara, Bishop Taylor’s family, and all within the wider church who mourn.”
[Lambeth Palace] The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and his wife, Caroline, landed in Pakistan yesterday for the start of a week-long visit to Anglican leaders in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.
The visits, which are primarily pastoral and personal, are part of Archbishop Justin’s plan to visit every Primate of the Anglican Communion by the end of 2014.
In Pakistan, the Archbishop and Mrs Welby are being hosted by the Most Revd Samuel Azariah, Bishop of Raiwind and Moderator of the Church of Pakistan.
[World Council of Churches press release] A court sentence in Sudan ordering flogging and the death penalty for Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag has prompted an expression of “profound concern” from Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), who has urged President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir to “prevent the implementation of this unjust and unconscionable sentence.”
Ishag, a 27-year-old Sudanese woman, was criminally charged for converting from Islam to Christianity and charged with committing adultery for marrying a Christian man, according to media reports.
In his letter to President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir, sent on 23 May, Tveit expressed shock over the court’s decision. “Whether Mrs Mariam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag was born of Muslim parents or Christian parents, such a sentence runs counter to the letter and spirit of the Sudanese Constitution,” Tveit said. According to the Sudanese constitution, he added, all citizens have the “right to the freedom of religious creed and worship.”
Tveit said that condemning Mariam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag violates a fundamental principle of international human rights law embodied in Sudan’s own constitution.
The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2013 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 140 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway.
[St Paul's Cathedral press release] St Paul’s Cathedral in London is delighted to host Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), the first of two large-scale permanent video installations created by internationally acclaimed artist Bill Viola.
The installation is the first moving-image artwork to be installed in a British cathedral or church on a long-term basis.
Created by Bill Viola and Kira Perov and opened in May 2014, Martyrs shows four individuals, across four colour vertical plasma screens, being martyred by the four classical elements.
As the work opens, four individuals are shown in stasis, a pause from their suffering. Gradually there is movement in each scene as an element of nature begins to disturb their stillness. Flames rain down, winds begin to lash, water cascades, and earth flies up. As the elements rage, each martyr’s resolve remains unchanged. In their most violent assault, the elements represent the darkest hour of the martyr’s passage through death into the light.
The work has no sound. It lasts for seven minutes.
Martyrs will be joined in 2015 by a second piece entitled Mary, which the artist has conceived as a companion work. The installations have been gifted to Tate, and are on long-term loan to St Paul’s Cathedral.
These special web pages will provide you with information about Martyrs, as well as how and when you are able to visit it at St Paul’s.
Full details of the work including artist’s statement and information about the collaboration with Tate
Martyrs in Context
What this work means for St Paul’s, including a video interview with Bill Viola and commentary by Canon Mark Oakley
Art and St Paul’s
Experiences engaging with contemporary art in St Paul’s
St Paul’s Art Programme
Details of the varied Arts Programme run by the Cathedral
How you can see Martyrs whilst visiting St Paul’s, and details of discounted and free entry opportunities
Answers to a number of questions raised by the installation
Including biographies of the main creators
Tiny Deaths at Tate Modern
Information about Bill Viola’s Tiny Deaths, currently on display at the Tate Modern
[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission is the official body appointed by the two Communions to engage in theological dialogue in order that they may come into full communion. It held the fourth meeting of its current phase (ARCIC III), at the Vuleka Centre, Botha’s Hill, Durban (12–20 May 2014). This is the first time in its more than forty year history that ARCIC has met in Africa.
A wide range of papers was prepared for the meeting and discussed, taking the Commission further towards its goal of producing an agreed statement. The mandate for this third phase of ARCIC is to explore: the Church as Communion, local and universal, and how in communion the local and universal Church come to discern right ethical teaching.
At this meeting, ARCIC III discussed its method and agreed that it would build on that of ARCIC I and II, integrated with the method of receptive ecumenism. In the light of this work, the Schema prepared at the first meeting of ARCIC III in 2011 was revised. Discussions concentrated on the first part of the mandate, the Church as Communion, local and universal. Members reviewed texts from ARCIC II, national Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogues (ARCs), and other ecumenical material on the subject. ARCIC III decided to examine the regional level of the Church in addition to the local and universal. It considered, through papers presented, the impact of culture on the thinking of Christians and the role of the baptized in ecclesial decision-making. The ecclesiological work will be advanced by a drafting team which will bring a preliminary text back to the next meeting.
ARCIC III was also mandated to prepare a book presenting the five Agreed Statements of ARCIC II so that they can be received by the respective Communions. The Statements will be accompanied by articles on the method of ARCIC II, its use of Scripture, and major theological themes which emerged in its work, together with introductory material and commentaries. It is planned that the book will be ready for publication following the next meeting.
Members of the Commission are grateful to The Rt Revd Rubin Phillip, Anglican Bishop of Natal, for the generous welcome extended to them by him and his Diocese. Particular thanks are due to Mrs Mary Robinson of the Vuleka Trust, and her colleagues at the Centre, whose mission is to equip young people for leadership in South Africa.
Bishop Rubin visited the Commission at Vuleka and participated in a discussion of local ecumenism. He and his wife Rose welcomed ARCIC members to their home to meet leaders of the local Anglican, Roman Catholic and Methodist Churches. On the Sunday the bishop presided, together with Archbishop Moxon and Bishop Nicholls, at the Eucharist at the 160 year old St Augustine’s, Umlazi, where ARCIC joined in the vibrant worship of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
Members of the Commission visited the Hillcrest Aids Centre, and a project in Nazareth, Pinetown, run by the Diakonia Council of Churches, which works for social justice and community development with the poorest people.
The next meeting will take place near Rome at the end of April 2015, when the Commission will intensify its focus on the second part of its mandate by studying ethical discernment in the Scriptures and by further developing its case study on slavery.
As the Commission welcomed the Revd Antony Currer as the new co-secretary, replacing Msgr Mark Langham, it was also conscious that this was the last ARCIC of Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan. Alyson has served the Commission with great efficiency and grace, and members gave thanks for her five years of service.
APPENDIX: MEMBERS OF ARCIC III present at the meeting
The Most Revd Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham, England
The Most Revd Sir David Moxon, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See
The Revd Robert Christian OP, Angelicum University, Rome
The Revd Adelbert Denaux, Professor Emeritus, Brugge, Belgium
Professor Paul D. Murray, Durham University, England
Professor Sister Teresa Okure SHCJ,Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Professor Janet E. Smith, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, Michigan, USA
The Revd Professor Vimal Tirimanna CSsR, Alphonsianum University, Rome
The Very Revd Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB, Ampleforth Abbey, England
The Rt Revd Christopher Hill, The Church of England
Canon Dr Paula Gooder, The Church of England
The Rt Revd Nkosinathi Ndwandwe, Anglican Church of Southern Africa
The Rt Revd Linda Nicholls, The Anglican Church of Canada
The Revd Canon Peter Sedgwick, The Church in Wales
The Revd Canon Nicholas Sagovsky, The Church of England
The Revd Dr Charles Sherlock, The Anglican Church of Australia
The Revd Odair Pedroso Mateus, Faith and Order Secretariat, World Council of Churches
The work of the Commission is supported by the Co-Secretaries, Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan (Anglican Communion Office), The Revd Antony Currer (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) and Mr Neil Vigers (Administrator, Anglican Communion Office).
[Anglican Church of Canada] The fifth meeting of the Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue takes place in Coventry, England from May 22 to 25, 2014. The Consultation brings together Anglican bishops from Africa and North America in hopes of building common understanding and respect.
Beginning in 2010, a rotating group of approximately two-dozen bishops from Canada, the United States, and a number of African countries, have met annually at locales around the world. Their gatherings facilitate learning about each other’s contexts and finding pathways for healing and reconciliation. Their time together in Coventry focuses specifically on “Reconciliation in the Anglican Communion.”
This intentional dialogue was developed in response to theological controversies that strained relationships across the Anglican Communion in the early 2000s. These included issues relating to human sexuality and the blessing of same-sex marriages. In the face of pain and division arising from these controversies, Archbishop Colin Johnson of the Diocese of Toronto and the Rev. Canon Dr. Isaac Kawuki Mukasa, now Africa Relations Coordinator, spearheaded this important dialogue.
The bishops report this time together as one of powerful transformation and reconciliation. Kawuki Mukasa says that many at the table have grown tired of the tone of past discourse and that there is sincere interest in carving a new, respectful way forward. “There’s growing appetite for conciliatory voices in the Anglican Communion,” he says. There is also deepening appreciation that all who form this unique group carry out their lives and ministries as faithfully as they can in their contexts.
At the close of their last meeting, Canon David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director of Reconciliation, invited the bishops to Coventry for their fifth face-to-face gathering. The setting in Coventry is especially fitting for the theme of the 2014 meeting given the city’s growing reputation as a hub for peace and reconciliation work. This includes strong Anglican contributions. The leadership and community at Coventry Cathedral responded to the World War II destruction of their building with forgiveness and commitment to reconciliation. This commitment is now lived out through a number of ministries addressing reconciliation around the world.
The members of the Anglican Church of Canada are asked to pray for the leadership and staff gathered in Coventry this week as they seek to listen to and learn from each other.
To learn more about the Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue, please visit the Anglican Church of Canada website.
The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi – Diocese of Matana (Primate of Burundi)
The Most Rev. Albert Chama – Diocese of Northern Zambia (Primate of Central Africa)
The Most Rev. J. Chimeledya – Diocese of Mpwapwa (Primate of Tanzania)
The Most Rev. Daniel Sarfo – Diocese of Kumasi (Primate of West Africa)
The Most Rev. J. Idowu-Fearon – Diocese of Kaduna
The Rt. Rev. Garth Counsell – Diocese of Cape Town
The Rt. Rev. Sixbert Macumi – Diocese of Buye
The Rt. Rev. Joel Waweru – Diocese of Nairobi
The Rt. Rev. Johannes Angela – Diocese of Bondo
The Rt. Rev. Julius Kalu – Diocese of Mombasa
The Rt. Rev. Joseph Wasonga – Diocese of Maseno West
The Rt. Rev. Antony Poggo – Diocese of Kajo Keji
The Rt. Rev. Evans Kisekka – Diocese of Luwero
The Rt. Rev. Kobina Ben Smith – Suffragan Diocese of Kumasi
The Rt. Rev. Mensah Torto – Diocese of Accra
The Most Rev. Colin Johnson – Diocese of Toronto (Metropolitan of Ontario)
The Rt. Rev. John Chapman – Diocese of Ottawa
The Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald – National Indigenous Anglican Bishop
The Rt. Rev. Jane Alexander – Diocese of Edmonton
The Rt. Rev. Michael Bird – Diocese of Niagara
The Rt. Rev. Michael Oulton – Diocese of Ontario
The Rt. Rev. Michael Ingham – (Retired) Diocese of New Westminster
The Rt. Rev. Robert O’Neill – Diocese of Colorado
The Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls – The Episcopal Church Chielf Operating Officer
The Rt. Rev. Christopher Cocksworth – Diocese of Coventry
The Most Rev. Justin Welby – Archbishop of Canterbury
Canon David Porter
Ms. Madeleine Walters
Canon Phil Groves
Canon Benjamin Musoke-Lubega
Ms. Sarah Arney
Dr. Andrea Mann
Canon Isaac Kawuki-Mukasa
[Episcopal News Service – San Pedro Sula, Honduras] Some years ago a woman came to the Rev. Pascual P. Torres and said, “I am going to die.”
While she was a patient at a public hospital, she had been tested for HIV without her knowledge, then told the test results were positive. The staff told her: “You are going to die because you have AIDS.” The woman left the hospital and decided to jump off a bridge; she then remembered her 5-year-old daughter at home.
“She decided to kill her daughter first and then herself. But then she ran into a nurse … and she didn’t know if it was God or whatever, ” Torres said.
The nurse told the woman about Siempre Unidos, a ministry of the Episcopal Church in Honduras that provides medical care and comprehensive social services to people living with HIV and AIDS and their families.
“Ten to 15 years ago when people knew they were HIV positive, they tried to take their lives,” said Torres. “Now with information and education, things are better but it’s still not the best news to get.”
The woman looked healthy, though she persisted in saying, “I am going to die,” he said. “I told her that this [Siempre Unidos] was a place for those who want to live. ‘I can help you, I can spend all day with you, but if you have made up your mind…’”
Eleven years later, the woman is a technician at Siempre Unidos; her daughter is 16 years old.
Siempre Unidos began in the 1990s at a time when people in its support community were dying at a rate of nine per month and coffins were one thing the ministry provided.
“At the beginning of the pandemic it was bad,” said Torres during a conversation at the clinic in San Pedro Sula.
In 2003, when patents expired and drugs became more affordable and accessible in the developing world, Siempre Unidos began providing medication to treat the immune system disease.
Today, between 21,000 and 33,000 people live with HIV and AIDS in Honduras, population 7.9 million, according to UNAIDS statistics.
Siempre Unidos operates two additional clinics, one in Siguatepeque, in the central mountains, and the other in Roatán, the largest of Honduras’ Bay Islands, providing care for more than 1,500 people in partnership with the Diocese of Honduras.
The ministry receives medication from Honduras’ ministry of health, international pharmaceutical companies and from individuals in the United States who collect unused drugs, and depends on local and international financial support.
Each year, particularly in the aftermath of the global economic crisis, fundraising is difficult, said Torres.
“Also we have challenges with our beneficiaries: poverty, lack of work, malnutrition, drug dependency … Some don’t have money for transportation so we provide that,” said Torres.
Poverty, unemployment and underemployment are pervasive in Honduras, where the average adult has 6.5 years of education; despite health confidentiality, a positive HIV diagnosis makes finding a job even more difficult.
“It’s against the law to discriminate against a person who is HIV positive, but sometimes they’ll find ‘other’ reasons,” said Torres. “For a man or woman with HIV, it’s hard to find work.”
The waiting room in San Pedro Sula was two-thirds full of patients, men, women, transvestites, on a March morning; in the adjacent kitchen a traditional Honduran breakfast of baleadas was served.
For some, the breakfast, a folded tortilla with refried beans and crema, would be the only substantial meal of the day, said Torres.
Improvements in treatment, including the advent of antiretroviral therapy and other drug cocktails, have led to better outcomes, expectations and quality of life. Eventually, Siempre Unidos added integrated services for HIV- and AIDS-infected individuals and their families, including scholarships, pastoral care and educational outreach to the gay community and sex workers.
The country has one of the highest heterosexual transmission rates in the developing world.
Over the last eight years, in partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development, Siempre Unidos has run a community education and prevention program aimed at reducing the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases among commercial sex workers in San Pedro Sula, the country’s industrial center.
The outreach team provides sex workers with rapid HIV tests, STD prevention education and social and emotional support.
“The work they [Siempre Unidos] do is really important,” said Kellie McDaniel, Episcopal Relief & Development’s program manager for Latin America. “Part of that work is also human rights, gender-based-violence work.”
Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world; criminals and criminal gangs often operate with impunity; the marginalized, including the LGBT community, suffer greater incidences of violence.
Local and international human rights organizations have thoroughly documented violations against LGBT individuals. Between 2009 and 2012 more than 90 homophobic killings were reported in Honduras.
Siempre Unidos receives patients at its clinic by referrals from hospitals and through word of mouth. The program designed to educate sex workers goes out to the streets, and the nurses and educators have gotten to know the people they serve.
“They are closer to the danger, they are exposed to drug dealers, extortion, and are being used by the gangs and the drug cartels,” said Xiomara Hernandez, who works with sex workers. “And the people who live in the streets are targets of the government when they want to do social cleansing.”
Because of its work with the LGBT community, Siempre Unidos has become a repository for documenting human rights violations.
“There’s a lot of hate crimes and social cleansing,” said Torres. “Our files of violence and hate crimes are better than those the police and state institutions have.”
The country’s Congress recently made changes to its penal code to “ensure legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“The authorities ask us for information, but for us it’s also a very dangerous situation because of the corruption that exists in institutions,” said Torres.
– Lynette Wilson is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affair press release] At the invitation of the Very Reverend Dr. Jeffrey John, Dean, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Katharine Jefferts Schori will con-celebrate and preach at noon at the Cathedral and Abbey of St. Alban, England, and will participate in the annual Alban Pilgrimage on June 21.
“I have been fascinated with Alban for years – the first English martyr, newly baptized, who sheltered a priest fleeing persecution and gave his life in the other’s stead,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori said. “He is a remarkable example of baptismal vocation.”On June 22, at the invitation of the Rev. Canon Brian Mountford, Vicar, the Presiding Bishop will preach at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin at Oxford University at 10:30 am.
On June 25, the Presiding Bishop will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity by the University of Oxford.
“I am deeply honored by this development,” the Presiding Bishop said. “None of us comes to a time like this without the teaching, support, and partnership of many, many people. I am immensely grateful for their companionship in this journey.”
[Church of the Redeemer press release] The Very Rev. Fredrick A. Robinson, Rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota, Florida, was honored and thanked for 20 years of outstanding service and leadership to the parish and the local community during an outdoor block party at the church on Friday, May 16. Hundreds of parishioners and friends of the church attended the “Potluck on Palm” event on Friday, which featured a big-screen video presentation chronicling Fr. Robinson’s years at Redeemer. The Right Reverend Dabney T. Smith, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida, attended as well, and formally blessed a gift of a chalice and paten given by the parish to the church in Fr. Robinson’s honor.
Fr. Robinson’s long tenure has provided a stability and continuity in pastoral leadership rarely found among parishes of Redeemer’s size. Many staff members have been working for the church for 20+ years, and his Associate Rector, the Rev. Richard C. Marsden, whom Fr. Robinson hired in 1995, has been with the church for nearly two decades as well.
Under Fr. Robinson’s leadership, church membership has grown tremendously, leading him to establish positions for a full-time youth minister, a full-time priest in charge of the Hispanic ministry, and a Director of Children’s Christian Formation. The church has also expanded its schedule of worship offerings to include a Saturday evening contemporary service, and a Sunday afternoon mass entirely in Spanish.
Over the past 20 years, Fr. Robinson has been the guiding force behind a number of Redeemer’s ambitious outreach ministries. He is currently the President of the Board of Directors for the ecumenical day center for the homeless, Resurrection House, which Redeemer helped found. The walking of the Stations of the Cross down Main Street in Sarasota — a tradition begun by Redeemer 18 years ago, has grown into a partnership with the Downtown Ministerial Association that involves the participation of 60 area churches and faith-based organizations, as well as hundreds of participants from the community. Redeemer is an active participant in Day of Hope each year, and at least once a year since 1999, the church has been sending mission groups of both adults and youth to serve those in need in the Dominican Republic; Fr. Robinson has participated in these trips nearly every year.
With Fr. Robinson at the helm, Redeemer has embarked on many significant improvements to the church facility and campus. The church added a second story to its parish buildings to accommodate the growing number of students in the church school, and in 2003 installed the massive 50-stop Nichols & Simpson organ which highlights Redeemer’s acclaimed Great Music in Sacred Space annual music series. The nave has been improved, new lighting and sound systems and stained glass windows were installed, and the church’s faith has been illuminated by the addition of several masterful works of art including life-size mosaics on exterior walls, and an interior thirty-foot icon painted by world-renowned religious iconographer and Romanian Orthodox Nun Sister Eliseea Papacioc.
Cultivating extensive adult education offerings and a developing a robust program for children, youth and families have been focal points for Fr. Robinson’s energies over the years. To augment in-house programs, he regularly invites noted theologians, preachers and speakers from around the globe to speak to the parish on a diverse range of topics.
Fr. Robinson is the chairman of the Southwest Florida Diocesan Commission on Liturgy and Music; he also serves on the Board of Trustees for Nashotah House and as chairman of the External Affairs Committee for the school. In 2013, he was appointed Dean of the Manasota Deanery.
Prior to being called to Redeemer, Fr. Robinson served as Rector at Grace Episcopal Church in Monroe, Louisiana, and at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Grand Prairie, Texas. He holds a B.A. in psychology from Ohio State University, a Magistri in Sancta Theologia fromNashotah House Theological Seminary and a Master of Theology from Perkins School of Theology. He lives in Sarasota with his wife, Linda; the couple has two children.
[Living Compass] The figure of the harried parent, juggling responsibilities of work and family, is familiar, but teens feel stress, too, and often they have no one to share it with, no safe place to talk about it.
That’s why Living Well with Living Compass for Teens was such a welcome addition to the programing at Our Next Generation (ONG), which offers after school academic support and year round guidance in making life choices to children and teens from disadvantaged neighborhoods in Milwaukee.
“The stress piece was important,” said De’Shawn Ewing, coordinator of the teen program at ONG. “They don’t feel they can always talk to someone when they were stressed out, and it was important to talk about how they shouldn’t be bottling up stress and holding it in.”
ONG, which is based in a former Episcopal church building, received the Living Compass program through a grant from the Charles E. Kubly Foundation, a charity that focuses on mental health issues. The curriculum and facilitators’ guide were prepared by Holly Stoner of Living Compass, who has worked with hundreds of teens and families in her private therapy practice and led scores of Living Compass groups for teens, parents and adults.
The program “is easy to follow,” Ewing said, “and it hit on some key areas for youth, things that they might not often think about but that definitely needs to be discussed like stress, spirituality, being in tune with yourself.”
Dan Rocklin, who is working as an intern at Living Compass, visited the group and was impressed with the material and how it was being used.
“The focus was on the teens accessing their own sense of wellness,” said Rocklin. There wasn’t the moralistic tone to the book. It really had them looking within themselves to figure out what was the best way for them to be healthy.”
Rocklin, who is spending a year with Creating for a Cause, the Milwaukee branch of the Episcopal Service Corps, said Stoner had done an excellent job adopting the Living Compass approach for a teen audience.
“In the adult curriculum that are questions about work and vocation. In the teen version, that section is aimed more toward school. There are questions about making friends, fitting in with a peer group, interacting with your parents, but it is the same basic idea of having individuals assess their own health.”
Like most of Living Compass’ offerings, the teen program is designed to be used in a supportive group. Ewing was curious about whether it would be effective with the five to ten young people who attended the sessions because they didn’t have much experience discussing their personal lives in such a public setting.
“We made a deliberate effort to get them focused on the material, and to get them to understand that we were going to have a discussion.” Ewing said. “’If you want to share, you can. If you don’t want to share, you don’t have to.’ That was just to get the intimidation factor out of it.”
Rocklin said the conversation was lively in the session he observed and that the students praised the curriculum.
“I liked it because it gave me a chance to speak out,” said Julian, a high school student who participated in the program. “It gave me a chance to verbalize my stress without feeling like I’m being a burden.”
El Consejo Latinoamericano de Iglesias parece que está pasando por una seria crisis institucional a juzgar por una carta abierta enviada a todas sus iglesias e instituciones miembros. En una reciente reunión de la directiva celebrada en Colombia se decidió que es necesario hacer más efectivo el trabajo del CLAI para lo cual se necesita “un movimiento continental más dinámico, más fraterno y más cercano en su misión con las iglesias y la sociedad”. La directiva propuso revisar los estatutos y re-estructurar la organización para dar respuesta a los nuevos desafíos de América Latina y El Caribe. También decidió dar por terminada la labor del secretario general Nilton Geise, un clérigo luterano brasileño. El CLAI es una organización de iglesias y movimientos cristianos que se fundó en Huampaní, Perú, en noviembre de 1982, su misión es promover la unidad entre los cristianos del continente y su oficina central está en Quito, Ecuador.
Con una larga ovación fue recibida Lilian Tintori, esposa del opositor venezolano preso Leopoldo López después de un vehemente discurso sobre la situación de Venezuela en el Campus Wolfson del Miami Dade College. Dijo que el gobierno de Nicolás Maduro “tiene miedo” dialogar con la oposición sin condiciones porque no tiene la razón y el cuadro de destrucción del país es prueba de su ineficiencia. Tintori dijo que los estudiantes continuaban las protestas con renovado valor después de tres meses de lucha. “No somos de ningún partido, sólo queremos una patria libre y soberana”, dijo.
Alina Fernández Revuelta, hija natural de Fidel Castro dice en una entrevista que desde que escapó de Cuba a los 38 años de edad en 1993 no ha vuelto a la isla, ni ha visto a su padre. “Yo no regreso a Cuba mientras tenga que pedir permiso para viajar a la isla”, dice con firmeza. Añade que es un derecho humano volver a la tierra donde uno nació “sin permisos especiales”. Con respecto a su padre dice que no lo odia pero que lo considera “una persona con un nivel de crueldad muy elevado”. Añade que nunca la ha llamado y que el día de sus quince le mandó una caja de refrescos como regalo.
Albita Rodríguez, la popular cantante cubana dice que fue “un grave error” que después del triunfo de la revolución cientos de artistas y cantantes se vincularon al grupo triunfante. “Ahora están pagando las consecuencias”, dice la cantante que fue muy popular en Cuba. En 1993 no resistió más y marchó al exilio. La decisión fue inspirada por un tío suyo que le dijo que “cualquier proyecto social, filosófico o religioso que divida la familia no puede ser bueno”.
El antiguo periódico italiano La Stampa ha publicado una carta al papa Francisco pidiéndole que elimine el celibato sacerdotal. La carta está firmada por 26 mujeres que conviven con sacerdotes y tienen hijos. La carta añade que algunas de ellas viven en relación sentimental con sacerdotes y quisieran hacerlo “sin ocultarse”. Añaden también, que “somos un grupo de mujeres que queremos romper el muro del silencio y vivir el evangelio en el estado conyugal dando testimonio a nuestros hijos y a la comunidad”. En el rito latino de la iglesia existe el celibato y la promesa de castidad desde el Concilio de Letrán en 1139. El Vaticano no ha contestado la carta.
Colombia está de luto por el accidente en Fundación, un pueblo de la costa atlántica colombiana, donde 30 niños y dos adultos perdieron la vida y 20 resultaron heridos en el incendio de un autobús que llevaba gasolina en un recipiente al descubierto. El grupo regresaba de un culto evangélico cuando ocurrió el siniestro. Las autoridades locales han dicho que aparentemente el chofer del bus violó varias normas de seguridad. El presidente Juan Manuel Santos pidió un minuto de silencio al conocer la noticia.
La Iglesia Ortodoxa Rusa ha denunciado una competencia artística transmitida por Eurovisión cuando una homosexual austríaca recibió el premio como la mejor canción de la noche. La nota dice que el hecho es un “signo de decadencia moral” y un esfuerzo para introducir nuevos modelos culturales en países como Rusia.
La pastora Gloria Rojas, luterana de Chile, ha sido nombrada por la presidenta Michelle Bachelet como capellana del Palacio de la Moneda sede del gobierno de Chile en Santiago. Ha sido presidenta de la Iglesia Luterana de Chile y ha realizado estudios superiores en Argentina y Estados Unidos. Ella y su esposo tienen tres hijos mayores.
VERDAD. Deja de pensar en la vida y resuélvete a vivirla. Paulo Coelho, novelista brasileño.
[Episcopal Diocese of Texas] Thousands of Episcopalians across the United States gathered in homes, restaurants and churches last Thursday, May 15, to share a meal and share stories of their faith. In the third year of Sharing Faith Dinners, the Dioceses of West Texas, Fort Worth, Northwest Texas, North Carolina and a few individual churches across the country and even Canada joined the Diocese of Texas for the annual event.
Sharing Faith began in 2012, fashioned after Houston Interfaith Ministries’ Amazing Faith Dinners, where people of different faiths gather for a simple meal and to answer questions about their faith experiences. The Diocese of West Texas joined in 2013 and the idea continues to spread.
“It’s funny that we have to plan an evening to talk to friends about our faith, but each time I’ve done Sharing Faith, it’s been a gift,” said Carol Barnwell, director of communications for the Diocese of Texas. “To enjoy the hospitality of people I may not know is always lovely. And to hear the very personal experiences of God from others is a humbling experience. Each time, I feel like I’ve received a gift and each story allows me to see God in a new way.”
The evening is designed to promote listening. A moderator provides guidance for the group, allowing each person to speak without interruption or crosstalk. Every year, participants share stories of great joy and pain, moments when they questioned their faith, and moments when they were affirmed in their beliefs. Friends often share tears and laughter as they learn about each other in a new, deeper way.
At an event in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood, parishioners of St. Stephen’s and St. James’ Episcopal churches gathered at the home of Carvel Glenn and Randall Lamb. A dozen participants shared jambalaya around a table and then chose cards that prompted each person with a question.
“It was a night of sharing heartfelt stories and everybody was feeling safe enough to feel vulnerable,” Lamb said in his distinctive southern drawl. “It’s like one of our dogs, Aretha. She loves to have her belly scratched, and she will flop on the ground to expose her belly to be scratched. I guess everyone was just sort of flopping and having their belly scratched.”
Stephanie Davidson, a member of St. Stephen’s, attended her first Sharing Faith Dinner at the home of Lamb and Glenn. “I learned something from every single person there,” she said. “Normally I’m the kind of person that would interject, but the format really allowed me to listen and learn. I really felt God’s presence among us.”
In North Carolina, organizers designed their own question cards and named the event “Go Speak! Sharing Your Faith” in order to coincide with a wider diocesan theme. On the night of the gatherings, tornado and flood watches were in effect for much of North Carolina, but it didn’t seem to hinder participation. More than 40 percent of churches in the Diocese of North Carolina joined the event.
North Carolina’s communications coordinator, Summerlee Walter, said the feedback has been extremely positive, especially among smaller churches. “We have a lot of very small, rural churches,” she said. “A large percentage of those churches participated. It was really nice to have a diocesan event that didn’t require travel and allowed those smaller parishes to feel they were a part of the wider diocese.”
In a video posted by the Diocese of North Carolina, participants talk about their experience immediately following their dinners. One participant, Reid Joyner, admitted he had little experience describing his faith, but the environment helped him share. “The questions were really helpful for this Episcopalian that doesn’t find it particularly easy to talk about his faith,” he said. “But telling my story was easy, and I was glad to do it.”
In homes and churches, and other creative places, Episcopalians learned a great deal about each other as well as themselves through the simple act of sharing a meal and sharing their faith.
[Anglican Communion News Service] Mothers’ Union leaders from around the world are this week meeting in Zimbabwe to learn how Anglicans there use the Community and Church Mobilisation Process (CCMP) to positively transform themselves and their communities.
The team of thirteen drawn from various countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa began the tour of the Diocese Harare on Sunday, May 18. It will end on May 23.
Juliet Ross, a Trustee and Coordinator for the Action and Outreach Unit Committee in the Mothers’ Union talked to ACNS soon after a tour of some of major CCMP sites in Harare.
She said: “I have heard so many moving stories about the Mothers’ Union and CCMP from Zimbabwe.
“It’s so dramatic what the program has done for the people here, and it seems the impact keeps growing from nothing to enormous. It’s so inspiring to see how the people are open, caring and willing to share information and success stories with others,” she added.
Lizzie Zimunya, the Mothers’ Union Community Development Coordinator in Harare Diocese, has been instrumental in the success of the diocese’s CCMP program.
She told ACNS: “This visit encourages us in Zimbabwe and helps us celebrate our successes. It also motivates many others willing to start the process in their own churches. This is also an indication that this programmis not only for Harare Diocese, because others are also willing to implement it.
Other members of the Mothers’ Union team include the Worldwide Coordinators Programme Officer Robert Dawes, the Head of Action and Outreach Worldwide Nicola Lawrence, and the Worldwide Regional Development Officer, Hannah Taylor.
The Community and Individuals Fundraising Officer, Naomi Mardon is also part of the team, as is the representative from the Mothers’ Union Literacy and Financial Education Program in South Sudan, Anne Gardner.
The team began by visiting three main sites within the city of Harare that are practicing CCMP including an old railway township called Rugare. Others included an old high-density suburb called Mabvuku and the farming town of Glendale on the outskirts of Harare.
CCMP as a community concept is inspired by the belief that poverty is a result of broken relationships between man and God, which can be restored through the word of God. It also challenges communities to build relationships, identify their own problems and to discover how they can use the readily available resources to address them.
It was only November 2012, when Zimbabwe Anglicans were able to reclaim the churches and other properties taken from them by a renegade bishop and his supporters.
“The problem of being in exile for our parish as well as the rest of the diocese made it difficult to bring back God’s flock. The youths were confused and did not understand why they could not worship in their own churches,” explained the Parish Priest of St Christopher’s Anglican Church in Rugare, the Revd Fresh Chamalenga.
“But through CCMP we were able to bring about unity and become one community which cares for one another. Using youth-friendly methodologies such as poetry and drama has made it possible to reach especially the young people in our community,” he said.
From the discussions, which the team had with the local CCMP participants, it was clear that this program has greatly impacted the various communities. Members from Mabvuku community, where St James Anglican Church is found, explained how they are usually faced with the challenge of water shortages, and how quarrels over sharing the little available water were once commonplace.
“CCMP has helped us in the fair distribution of work as well as resources,” said a local parishioner, Charity Matsiwe. “We challenge people in our community to help from as little as they have. We also teach communities how to love and care for each other and let them understand how to best help each other with the little available resources.”
A CCMP Facilitator from St James, Moreblessing Ruhukwa also made it clear that many other human resources such as mechanics, electricians and teachers can be put to good use for the Church.
At a time when many other poorer communities look for outside help to address their local challenges, CCMP is reminding Christians of the many resources that are already available to them like water, soil and human resources and how they can be put to good use within the community.
[Canticle Communications] The Rt. Rev. Sean W. Rowe, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania and bishop provisional of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, released the following statement on Judge John E. Jones III’s ruling that Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional:
“Today is a joyful day for Pennsylvanians who believe as I do that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry in our state. These couples work hard, raise children, volunteer for good causes and pay taxes. Pennsylvania would be poorer without them, and I am pleased that Judge John E. Jones III has moved them one significant step closer to equality under the law.
“The Episcopal Church has struggled faithfully with the issue of same-sex relationships for more than three decades, and in that struggle most of us have come to understand that same-sex couples and their families are blessings to their communities and to their neighbors and friends. Like opposite-sex couples, their love draws them more clearly into fidelity to one another and service to the world. Like opposite sex couples, they are signs and sacraments allowing us to see the boundless love of God more clearly.
“I am aware that faithful Episcopalians in the Dioceses of Bethlehem and Northwestern Pennsylvania disagree with me on this issue. I want to assure them that our dioceses will remain places where people of good conscience can differ charitably and remain united in the hope and healing of Jesus Christ.
“After reflection and consultation, I will write to both dioceses with guidance for clergy who want to officiate at same-sex marriages. For today, I am grateful to live in a state that has taken a step toward justice.”
The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem comprises 63 congregations in the 14 counties of northeastern Pennsylvania. To learn more, visit www.diobeth.org.
The Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania comprises 33 congregations in the 13 counties of northwestern Pennsylvania. To learn more, visit www.dionwpa.org.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] On October 22, The Episcopal Church will host and produce a groundbreaking forum on an important topic in our society: Civil Discourse in America: Finding Common Ground for the Greater Good.
The 90-minute live webcast will originate from historic Christ Church, Philadelphia (Diocese of Pennsylvania), the birthplace of the Episcopal Church and the home of our country’s beginnings. In partnership with the Diocese of Pennsylvania, Civil Discourse in America will begin at 2 pm Eastern (1 pm Central, noon Mountain, 11 am Pacific, 10 am Alaska, 9 am Hawaii).
“This nation’s life is remarkably polarized in the current season,” commented Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. “We have largely forgotten or ignored the need to value the well-being of others as a significant contributor to our nation’s quality of life. We see the evidence in increasing economic inequality, the decreasing quality of public schools, continuing high levels of unemployment and underemployment, and rabid rhetoric that blames the suffering for their own plight. Some of the current polarization is certainly generated by fear – often stirred up for particular ends – fear of the other, whether of other faith traditions or none, immigrants both documented and not, or those who inhabit different social locations – economic, geographic, or cultural. We have forgotten what it is to know our neighbors as human beings with equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
The forum will be moderated by well-known journalist and commentator Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Executive Religion Editor for the Huffington Post. Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will present the keynote address. Two panel discussions will focus on main themes: Civil discourse and faith; and Civil discourse in politics and policy.
Raushenbush noted, “It is encouraging that The Episcopal Church is focusing on civil discourse in America and is recognizing the crucial role spiritual and moral discipline plays in finding common ground for the greater good. At this time of deep divisions within our country and the world, we can only repair the rifts when we encounter the other with respect and openness. I’m honored to be a part of this discussion and fully expect to leave the event better equipped to be the kind of prophetic peacemaker that each of us is called to be, filled with a spirit of hope that we can move forward together in peace.”
Panelists will be recognized leaders from faith groups, NGOs, the media, academia and government. Viewers will be able to submit questions to the participants during the live webcast.
The forum is ideal for live group watching and discussion, or on-demand viewing later. It will be appropriate for Sunday School, discussion groups, and community gatherings.
The event supports Mark 4 of the Anglican Marks of Mission: To seek to transform unjust structures of society.
“People of faith claim to know something about how to respect the dignity of people created in the image of God,” the Presiding Bishop said. “Our own tradition teaches us to be “repairers of the breach, and restorers of cities fit to live in (Isaiah 58:12).” We will consider both how to learn that wisdom more deeply and how to share it in our communities.”
Resources such as bibliography, on-demand video, materials for community and individual review, discussion questions, and lesson plans will be available.
For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Episcopal News Service] Espíritu sin Fronteras, or Spirit without Borders, began with seven women of Amatepec’s Episcopal Church, San Andrés, informally gathered around a kitchen table learning to make candles from a YouTube video. Two years later, they have grown to ten active members of various ages and dispositions, meeting every day from 2 to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, to share, work on the latest crafts, learn new techniques, and most importantly, to drink coffee. Because, as Rosita explained matter-of-factly, “una reunión sin café no es una reunión” (a meeting without coffee isn’t a meeting).
I first met with the women of Espíritu sin Fronteras with Olivia Amadon, Co-Coordinator of the Global School at Foundation Cristosal, a human rights and community development NGO based here in San Salvador. We went to meet with the cooperative at its store in Amatepec, an urban area on the outskirts of San Salvador, to invite them to participate in an upcoming Global School course on gender equality and women’s empowerment. (The courses are weeklong training and exchange opportunities for North Americans and Salvadorans to come together in El Salvador and engage on specific themes related to human rights).
As I sat in my plastic, wobbly chair listening to Olivia and the cooperative members tell their stories, I remembered how I had first imagined my future life as a Young Adult Service Corps volunteer in El Salvador. I had dreamt of working with women’s groups and empowering the poor… phrases I had stolen from white papers I read as an undergrad, studying development out of a textbook and PowerPoint lectures. Yet it wasn’t until nine months after I began my work with Cristosal that those images became a reality… nine months until I was ready to be in this meeting, truly listening and understanding (in Spanish!) instead of waiting to speak.
Women’s empowerment is one of those catch phrases we hear a lot these days. Cristosal takes a particular point of view, as Olivia explained in the meeting: “There are more ways that women need to empower themselves besides economic. One person cannot empower another. People must empower themselves.” The ten cooperative members vigorously nodded in agreement, and said their biggest obstacle to feeling empowered or confident is timidez (shyness). “We live in a society of men,” Wilma said. There is no precedent to show that women deserve a place in the marketplace, that they have just as much a right as men to sell high-quality goods, to run a store, or to demand a fair and equal wage. None of the women in the cooperative have a fixed job and most lived day-to-day, subsisting on informal, unpredictable incomes.
When I learned about cooperatives and women’s empowerment in Sustainable Development 101, I memorized definitions like “triple bottom line” and “positive externalities.” Yet nothing in those books prepared me for the enthusiasm and pride described in that small room. Despite the apparent cultural and generational differences, each member agrees these daily meetings are the highlight of their week. “Estaba deprimida… I was depressed” Norma said of her years before joining the cooperative. “I was home alone all day and it was really hard to find work. Here, more than anything, we share.” Compartimos, she said. “We share the word of God, we share work, and we share community. This group changed my life.”
When the meeting began, the women showed this same timidez in speaking to Olivia and I, and admitted they were nervous to share this small space with two gringa women. Yet as each woman told her story, the ten cooperative members inched forward in their chairs, their voices got louder, broad smiles matching even broader gesticulations. Roxanna, a young, spunky participant and one of the newest in the group, eagerly told the story of how she first arrived at Espíritu sin Fronteras. “I showed up one day and sat in the corner, watching the women making scarves. I came out of curiosity, and soon someone invited me to learn how to make my own. I was so proud of that first scarf, even though it wasn’t very good, but then I was making hats and jewelry. Now this is my other family.”
When it came time to design the Gobal School course itself, it was clear we needed to focus not only on information exchange and learning, but also on building the women’s experience and confidence as independent entrepreneurs. We had to mesh our goals with theirs, mirroring the cooperative’s objective as a communal space not only to learn new skills in arts and crafts, but also an invitation for each individual to experiment, risk, and share as budding businesswomen. “We don’t come here to earn, we come to learn,” Rosita explained.
After those three hours Olivia and I spent with the cooperative – sitting in a circle watching the conversation bounce around the room like a hyperactive tennis match, sipping coffee from mismatched mugs and cradling warm pan dulce or pastelitos – I remember walking away as if filled with something more than food and drink. It was palpable hope, something often amiss in communities where decades of exclusion, violence, and poverty have the power to squelch it out of even the strongest and most stubborn optimists. It was also a true sense of being useful, of lending my skills as a North American while leaving the space required for others to, as Olivia said, empoderarse (to empower themselves). Norma perhaps said it best: “[This work] makes us happy. We can do something here. We can do anything if we apply ourselves and work hard to make it happen.”
– Hannah Perls is a YASC Volunteer from the Diocese of Olympia. She will be serving a second year in El Salvador with Foundation Cristosal.
[Anglican Taonga] The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has become the first province in the Anglican Communion to pledge to divest from fossil fuels.
The provincial synod May 14 passed a resolution that requires the church “to take all reasonable steps” to divest its shares in fossil fuel companies by its next synod, in mid-2016.
Rod Oram, who moved the proposal, told synod that it “gives us the opportunity to offer leadership on, and to make a practical response to, climate change.
“Thus, it speaks to two marks of our Christian mission: care of creation and righting unjust social structures.
“Of all the ways in which we live unsustainably,” he said, “it is climate change that is causing the gravest harm – right now, here and around the world – to the very ecosystem on which our existence depends.”
And climate change, he said, is being driven “simply by pumping a rapidly rising volume of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere.
Oram, who is a journalist specializing in economic issues, said one of the key needs was to “shift the weight of investment away from fossil fuels into sustainable forms of energy” – and that had led to a worldwide campaign to persuade investors to sell their shares in fossil fuel companies.
While the ethical imperatives for divesting are clear, Oram said, there are also a number of practical financial reasons – to do with safeguarding returns for investors – for doing so.
The motion drew impassioned support from Tikanga Pasefika speakers, most notably Bishop Api Qiliho, who said the survival of Pacific Island people was at stake.
There were notes of caution, however, from Mark Wilcox, general manager of the Anglican Pension Board.
He told synod that the pension board manages $160 million of funds on behalf of its members, many of whom are retired or serving clergy.
Wilcox said the board took its ethical investment philosophy seriously, and had wrestled with how to respond “to the growing tide of sentiment around the world for divestment of fossil fuel investments.”
But it also had to take its fiduciary obligations to its members equally seriously.
“Very broadly, if a divestment program risks having a significant financial detriment, we cannot legally divest.”
In other words, if the pension board can’t reinvest the funds into other investments that offer a similarly good return/risk profile, “then we can’t do it.”
Wilcox advised that the board had recently analyzed its portfolio and determined that divestment within two years may not be possible. However, the situation would be monitored on an ongoing basis.
Two of synod’s Tikanga Pasefika members proposed an amendment (carried) which asked synod to set up a group to advise on reinvesting the divested funds into conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity “in regions that are vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise.”
The debate came to an unusual end. Because of one particularly long speech, it had continued well past the afternoon tea break and looked likely to go on a good deal longer.
But the Rev. Michael Wallace called a point of order, asking for the motion to be put to the vote, there and then.
It was – as standing orders require – and was passed.