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Presiding Bishop’s opening remarks at Executive Council

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office Public Affairs press release] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presented the following opening remarks to the Executive Council, currently meeting in Phoenix, AZ, through June 12.

Executive Council Opening remarks
10 June 2014

Good to see you all; welcome to the desert.  When I landed in Phoenix Saturday evening It felt like coming home – to see those multi-colored mountains, dry air, and fascinating plants!  The culture in this part of the world really is different – people retire here from all across the U.S., others come to work here from around the world, shorts and sports shirts frequently count as formal attire, and you can’t predict a person’s political stance on one issue if you know it on another. The Episcopal Church is thriving here – Bishop Smith tells me they’re working on their 10th new congregation in the last 13 years.  Susan Snook has started a vibrant one, which you’ll get to sample this afternoon.  Carmen Guerrerro has started three Latino congregations, and members of the most recent one visited Susan’s congregation on Pentecost.

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 churchwide mission.  All of you been involved in dreaming and prioritizing about the budget for the next triennium, and that work will continue here.

We’ll consider several items of a more immediate nature, including Navajoland, as well as responses to pressing issues of justice like human trafficking, peace in the Middle East, and environmental and climate concerns.  Executive Council is going to respond to UTO’s grant initiatives, we’ll hear updates on our Communion-wide covenant relationships, and begin to evaluate efforts centered on the first Mark of Mission.  We’ll do some of our regular work of due diligence related to audit and governance issues, and will review policy in several areas.

I want 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 churchwide 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.

We are accounting for the costs of affiliated agencies in the budget work for the next triennium, so that we can be appropriately supportive.  I still hope that TREC 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.

We will engage several other aspects of sustainability here:  new curricula to teach Asset Based Community Development; a partnership of the Development office that’s called Project Resource; and a developing network with Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers, Forma, and the Episcopal Service Corps.  I would encourage us to understand a sustainability focus as essential to our use of the Five Marks of Mission – as the whole body supporting the whole mission of God.

I want to offer a couple of updates.  You may remember that we reported on the positive review of our application for ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) status at the United Nations.  It became official at the beginning of May, earlier than advertised.   This is the result of a lot of hard work, much of it bird-dogged by Lynnaia Main.  It will give us new access to networks of information, conversation, and deliberative decision-making for global good.

Executive Council asked that I investigate the situation of stateless persons in the Dominican Republic, most of whom are of Haitian descent.  There is some good news about that, as the Dominican Republic has passed a law providing relief to some.  I will visit later this year to encourage continued work on this issue, as not all the injustices have been fully resolved.

A word about the MDGs, the timeline for which ends in 2015.  We have made good global progress in some areas, and attained some of the goals already, but there is still much work to be done.  The global development agenda is being reframed for after 2015, so that it will apply to poverty in all nations, not only developing ones.  This is why we’ve had a separate initiative on domestic poverty, because the MDGs are not meant for first-world contexts.  That framework will be further tuned in sessions this August, and presumably adopted in September 2015.  This will be part of the discussion in the World Mission committee.

This evening we help to inaugurate a photo exhibition related to the work of Episcopal Relief & Development, celebrating 75 years of healing a hurting world.  It’s 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.

Finally, I want to celebrate developing strengths across this Church exemplified in events like the Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace gathering in Oklahoma City in April; the continued growth of Episcopal Service Corps; and the Young Adult Advocacy gathering in Washington, DC last month.  I also want to celebrate growth in partnerships across the Anglican Communion, some of which has been facilitated by Bible in the Life of the Church project and Continuing Indaba. These are signs and implements of reconciliation.  All of these have been facilitated by churchwide budget support.  I give thanks for one particular reconciliation effort within The Episcopal Church. In a moving visit to Nashotah House, we celebrated the ministry of Deacon Terry Star, who was largely responsible for that invitation to visit and made that visit into reality.  God is at work all around us in the communion of saints.

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

Mauai elected to Executive Council

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Rev. Deacon Brandon Mauai of the Diocese of North Dakota has been elected by the Episcopal Church Executive Council to serve the unexpired term of the late Rev. Deacon Terry Star.

The announcement was made by the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of General Convention, during the opening session of the Executive Council meeting on June 10 in Phoenix, AZ (Diocese of Arizona).

Mauai’s term begins immediately and continues until the Executive Council elections at General Convention 2015.

Mauai is a deacon with the Standing Rock Episcopal Community at Church of the Cross, Selfridge, St Luke’s, Fort Yates St. James, Canon Ball.

Executive Council

According to the website: “The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church is an elected body representing the whole Church…The Executive Council has the duty to carry out programs and policies adopted by General Convention. It is the job of Executive Council to oversee the ministry and mission of the Church. The Executive Council is comprised of twenty members elected by General Convention (four bishops, four priests or deacons and twelve laypersons) and eighteen members (one clergy, one lay) elected by provincial synods.

Executive Council: http://generalconvention.org/ec

Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota http://www.ndepiscopal.org/

Church of the Cross, Selfridge http://www.ndepiscopal.org/welcome/church-of-the-cross/

St. Luke’s, Fort Yates http://www.ndepiscopal.org/welcome/st-lukes-fort-yates/

St. James, Canon Ball http://www.ndepiscopal.org/welcome/st-james-cannon-ball/

Standing Rock Episcopal Community http://www.standingrockepiscopal.org/

New Hampshire: Kevin Nichols named canon for mission resources/CFO

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire has hired Kevin Nichols as their new canon for mission resources/chief financial officer. Nichols is the former rector of St. Andrew’s Church in Hopkinton, NH. Previously he has served as rector of St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield, NH, and an account manager for Sealed Air Corporation, a nearly $8 billion company with 25,000 employees in 62 countries. He earned a B.A. in business administration from St. Bonaventure University and a Master in Divinity degree from St. Mary Seminary & University, Baltimore, MD.

New Hampshire: Laura Simoes named missioner for communications

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire has hired Laura Simoes as missioner for communications. Simoes is a part-time staff member directing the diocesan communications work. She is also a partner at Louis Karno & Company Communications, working primarily with healthcare and nonprofit clients. She is a former staff member for U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen and the NH Charitable Foundation. She has a B.S. in Communications from Boston University and is pursuing an M.B.A. at Hellenic American University.

Wynder named missioner for social justice and advocacy engagement

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Bishop Stacy F. Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, has announced that Charles Allen Wynder, Jr. has been named Episcopal Church Missioner for Social Justice and Advocacy Engagement.

As Missioner for Social Justice and Advocacy Engagement, Wynder will be responsible for engaging Episcopalians in building, resourcing and empowering advocacy movements and networks for social justice at a local and community level. Additionally, the Missioner will develop and support diocesan State Public Policy Networks; build and support locally led coalitions for social change according to the policy positions of The Episcopal Church (with a particular focus on racial-justice and related issues); and execute other creative-leadership initiatives to mobilize Episcopalians on issues of social change.

Wynder’s position is a member of the churchwide Justice and Advocacy staff with offices in Washington DC.

“Chuck Wynder’s practice of building and enhancing learning communities through engagement and deep listening with individuals and communities is exactly what the church needs to do the work of transforming unjust structures of society,” said Lelanda Lee, an Executive Council member from the Diocese of Colorado and a member of the interview team. “His experience makes him well suited to tackle the many intersectionalities that occur in diverse issues of social justice.”

“Chuck Wynder brings to The Episcopal Church a very deep passion for justice in a variety of contexts, an immense set of relational gifts, and a profound theological depth,” noted Alexander Baumgarten, Episcopal Church Director of Justice and Advocacy Ministries for The Episcopal Church.  “As the Missionary Society increasingly strives to equip the Baptismal ministry of advocacy at a local level, I am confident Chuck’s work will support and enrich the ministry of Episcopalians working to be catalysts for equality, justice, and transformation in their communities.”

Most recently Wynder was the executive director of the Boston Workers Alliance. Prior to that he held leadership positions at such organizations as National Legal Aid & Defender Association; Legal Services of Eastern Virginia; served as an adjunct professor at Hampton University; and maintained a private law practice.

The recipient of many awards, Wynder previously served on the Diocese of Massachusetts Mission Institute Task Force; vestries of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Washington, DC and St. Cyprians in Hampton, VA; Diocese of Washington Task Force on Black Congregations; Washington Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians, and various legal and civic associations.

Wynder is a graduate of Episcopal Divinity School, University of Michigan Law School and Syracuse University.

Wynder begins his new position on June 18.  He will be based in Charlotte, NC.  He can be reached at cwynder@episcopalchurch.org.

Kim named Episcopal Church Missioner for Racial Reconciliation

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Bishop Stacy F. Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, has announced that Heidi J. Kim has been named Episcopal Church Missioner for Racial Reconciliation.

As Missioner for Racial Reconciliation, Kim will be responsible for facilitating the establishment and growth of networks in the Church that confront structural issues of racism in society and the church, including: mapping the assets of The Episcopal Church’s witness against racism; identifying resources where they occur; building connections between, and supporting, those ministries; building relationships with ecumenical, interreligious, and nonsectarian partner; and working to integrate this witness into the wider life of The Episcopal Church.

Kim’s position is a member of the churchwide Justice and Advocacy staff with offices in Washington DC.

“Heidi Kim brings to the church an extensive experience in reconciliation work,” noted Bishop Wendell N. Gibbs of Michigan, an Executive Council member and a member of the interview committee. “I believe she has the skills to recognize injustice in various structures of society and will lead The Episcopal Church to new levels of confronting and challenging racism throughout society and within the church.”

“Heidi’s appreciation for the wide range of stakeholders who will be involved in developing and refining a shared notion of reconciliation will be important as she listens and dialogs with members throughout the church,” noted Lelanda Lee, an Executive Council member from the Diocese of Colorado and a member of the interview committee. “I am heartened by her recognition of the importance of the voices at the grassroots. Racial justice remains at the intersection of many aspects of the way we are the church today.”

“Heidi Kim comes to the Missionary Society with a career and a life built around reconciliation, and a unique passion for helping people and communities find unity in diversity,” said Alexander D. Baumgarten, Director of Justice and Advocacy Ministries for The Episcopal Church. “As The Episcopal Church seeks to engage a conversation about racial reconciliation that is churchwide in scope while also faithful to the context of local communities, I am confident that Heidi’s creativity, insight, and abiding commitment to right relationship will prove to be gifts to all Episcopalians.”

Kim boasts extensive professional experienced in the development of diversity strategy, and she has been active in the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia and St. Mark’s Cathedral. She currently serves as Director of Diversity at the Seattle Preparatory School, Seattle, WA.  Previously she was the Director of Residence at the Annie Wright School in Tacoma, WA; Visiting Instructor, Faculty Resident, and Advisor at Colby College in Waterville, ME. She has been a teacher on the preparatory, college and university levels.

She is a graduate of Brown University in Providence, RI.

Kim begins her new position on July 7.  She will be based in Seattle, Washington. She can be reached at hkim@episcopalchurch.org.

McQueen expands role as officer for Latin America, Caribbean

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Bishop Stacy F. Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, has announced that the Rev. Glenda McQueen,Partnership Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean for The Episcopal Church, will expand her portfolio to include the work of the dioceses of Province IX.

As such, McQueen will assist the seven dioceses in Province IX in coordinating regional activities and will serve as a liaison to Episcopalians and Anglicans in Latin America and the Caribbean to the larger church.

“We deeply appreciate the support and solidarity in missionary work that she is doing and now in the interests of the Province IX,” noted Bishop Francisco Duque – Gomez of the Diocese of Colombia.

Province IX includes the dioceses of The Episcopal Church of Central Ecuador; Colombia; Dominican Republic; Honduras; Litoral Ecuador; Puerto Rico; and Venezuela.

McQueen’s office will continue to be based in Panama.

For more information, contact McQueen at gmcqueen@episcopalchurch.org

 

Archbishop sends message to Receptive Ecumenism conference

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 9, 2014

[Lambeth Palace press release] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has sent a message to the Third International Receptive Conference at Fairfield University, Connecticut, USA, 9-12 June.

In his message Archbishop Justin hails the conference, which is organised by Fairfield University, USA, and Durham University, as “a sign of a rediscovery of the ecumenical spirit, which remains an important element for participation in the life of world Christianity.”

The Archbishop says different churches are very good at doing social mission together, with “remarkable” opportunities in this regard presently opening up, but that we now need urgently to “complement that with a fresh means of growing together ecclesiastically, organisationally, and theologically. Receptive Ecumenism provides an additional way to take us forward.”

Read the full text of Archbishop Justin’s greeting (PDF)

Archive director inducted fellow of the Society of American Archivists

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 9, 2014

[Society of American Archivists press release] Mark Duffy, director of The Archives of the Episcopal Church, will be inducted as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) during a ceremony at the Joint Annual Meeting of the Council of State Archivists, the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators, and SAA in Washington, DC, August 10–16, 2014. The distinction of Fellow is the highest honor bestowed on individuals by SAA and is awarded for outstanding contributions to the archives profession.

Duffy earned a master’s degree in history and archives from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and achieved doctoral candidacy at the School of Information, University of Texas at Austin. Duffy worked in a variety of institutions early in his career. Serving as the chief archivist and project director for the City of Boston Archives, Duffy was responsible for initiating and administering a comprehensive municipal archives and records management program for the first time for the city. Duffy also worked at Harvard University for six years, as associate curator for University Records and Planning and later as associate director for the Harvard Depository. “It is not always easy to make the change from a government records program to a university, nor is it easy to administer records in an academic setting. [Duffy] flourished in the academic setting. . . . The outstanding abilities [Duffy] evidenced by balancing current records work within an academic library setting is a testament to his intelligence and commitment to archives programs,” one supporter wrote.

Duffy has held his current position as director of The Archives of the Episcopal Church since 1992. “He successfully educated the bishop and senior staff about the lifecycle of records and gained their support to build the archives—almost from scratch,” one supporter wrote. His astute and resourceful development of the church archives, and his masterful implementation of records systems and a digital archives program there, has made it one of the soundest programs among religious archives in the country.
As Duffy built the archives of the Episcopal Church, he published articles and manuals on religious archives, which have won awards and become standards in the professional literature. Duffy’s stature in his field of specialization was recognized in 2012 when he was the recipient of the SAA and Society of Southwest Archivists’ Sister M. Claude Lane, O.P., Memorial Award for his significant contributions to the field of religious archives.

Duffy also has made distinguished contributions to SAA. He has served in a variety of leadership positions, starting with the Archivists of Religious Collections Section, then as a member of the Nominating Committee, the SAA Council, co-chair of the 2009 Program Committee, and currently as treasurer of SAA and the SAA Foundation. Duffy was central to the development of the SAA Foundation since first serving on the Council; he initiated and stewarded the 2013 annual fund drive, which brought in $40,000 in donations.

“[Duffy] has never been satisfied with the status quo, and certainly not with mediocrity. He pays attention to the tiny details while always thinking of the big picture, and he never shirks a job that needs to be done if it means progress toward the short- and long-term goals,” one supporter wrote.

Duffy is one of five new Fellows named in 2014. There are currently 179 Fellows of the Society of American Archivists.

Founded in 1936, the Society of American Archivists is North America’s oldest and largest national archival professional association. SAA’s mission is to serve the educational and informational needs of more than 6,000 individual and institutional members and to provide leadership to ensure the identification, preservation, and use of records of historical value. For more information, visit www.archivists.org.

Episcopal organizations partner to advance ABCD

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 9, 2014

[The School of Theology - Sewanee]  Twenty clergy and lay leaders from inside and outside the Episcopal Church, with knowledge of asset-based community development (ABCD), gathered for a conference at the University of the South May 27–30. This diverse group, co-sponsored by The Office of Justice and Advocacy Ministries of The Episcopal Church, Episcopal Relief & Development, and The Beecken Center of The School of Theology, began the process of creating a new ABCD resource for the Church.

Outstanding domestic and international practitioners of the ABCD approach provided detailed input and guidance to a collaborative team that will move the work forward over the summer. This team was led by the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, domestic poverty missioner for The Episcopal Church; Sean McConnell, director of engagement for Episcopal Relief & Development; Dr. Courtney Cowart, director of The Beecken Center of The School of Theology; the Rev. Shannon Kelly, interim missioner for lifelong formation, and Wendy Johnson, both of the Lifelong Formation Office of The Episcopal Church. The outcome will be a toolkit of written and electronic resources for congregations and a strategy for equipping and mobilizing facilitators.

The plan was originally conceived out of joint commitments to Mark Four of the Five Marks of Mission: To seek to transform unjust structures of society. Each of the three national partners (the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, Episcopal Relief & Development, and The Beecken Center) recognized unique assets that could be combined through partnership to resource and empower communities of faith.

Cowart said, “This will be an easily accessible, theologically sound and cost effective way for Christian disciples to live out a new paradigm of what it means to be engaged in ‘mission.’ ABCD is not about doing for. It is about partnering with. That’s part of how this approach transforms unjust structures.”

Asset-based community development builds on existing community resources to create long lasting, local, sustainable economic models. The ABCD toolkits developed as a result of this conference will encourage Episcopal congregations to recognize resources already present in their community and how those resources can be used to engage God’s mission in the world. Congregations will then engage in partnership with their communities to address the needs they discern.

McConnell said, “Episcopal Relief & Development utilizes an asset-based approach in our international development programs. An ABCD methodology helps us to better seek and serve Christ in our work to empower communities throughout the world. It also helps us to recognize and celebrate the abundant gifts that God has given us all.”

The next steps in the process will include building upon the work of the conference with the goal of testing, improving, and making the work available to the Church later this year.

“The work of the group over this past week is truly inspiring,” said Stevenson. “Through prayer, sharing stories, and exploring existing resources, this very diverse gathering found remarkable unity in the celebration of God’s gifts in community. To a person, we looked for and raised up practices that will move faith communities forward in mission with an awareness of abundance instead of a sense of scarcity.”

Other participants were the Rev. David Copley, team leader of global partnerships and mission for the Episcopal Church; Sarah Eagle Heart, indigenous ministries missioner for The Episcopal Church; James Goodmann, associate director of The Beecken Center; the Rev. Canon Angela Ifill, black ministries missioner for the Episcopal Church; Lelanda Lee, deputy and co-chair, Diocese of Colorado deputation to the 77th Convention of the Episcopal Church; Katie Mears, director of U. S. disaster preparedness and response for Episcopal Relief & Development; Karen Meridith, director of Education for Ministry (EfM); Dr. Tronn W. Moller, director of the Faith & Community Development Institute; Tammi Mott, program officer for Episcopal Relief & Development; Abagail Nelson, senior vice president for programs, Episcopal Relief & Development; Theresa Pasquale, MSW; Pamela Penn, program officer for engagement, Episcopal Relief & Development; the Rt. Rev. Michael Smith, bishop of the Diocese of North Dakota; the Rev. Jemonde Taylor, rector of St. Ambrose Episcopal Church, Raleigh, N.C.; and the Rev. Julie Wakelee-Lynch, rector, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Albany, Calif.

Colombia: Episcopal Church marks 50 years

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 9, 2014

The Episcopal Diocese of Colombia recently met in convention and celebrated 50 years. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

[Episcopal News Service – Bogotá, Colombia] What began as an English-speaking chapel where British, Canadian and U.S. diplomats and expatriates gathered in the early to mid-20th century when Roman Catholicism was the state religion has become, over the last half century, the Colombian Episcopal Church.

“Today we celebrate 50 years of community life … you are the support of this family, the family that is the fruit of the seed planted by those who came before us,” said Diocese of Colombia Bishop Francisco Duque Gomez during his diocesan convention address at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Bogotá in late May.

Like the other dioceses of Province IX, Colombia is working toward financial self-sustainability while balancing growth.

In 1963, the Diocese of Colombia split from the Diocese of Panama to form its own missionary district. A half century later, the diocese is a nationwide church with 35 parishes and missions, present in urban and rural areas covering 439,000 square miles of mountain, rainforest and tropical plains regions.

To sustain and advance its ministry and mission to meet the growing spiritual, social and humanitarian needs in the communities it serves, the church needs permanent infrastructure and more full-time clergy, Duque said later explained in a conversation in his office after the convention.

“There’s a need for child-care and development programs and elder-care programs and after-school programs for children of working parents and single mothers … as well as caring for displaced people, and for this we need a space,” said Duque.

Twenty of the 35 parishes and missions have church buildings; others meet in house churches. There are six full-time priests out of 36 priests, deacons and lay evangelists. Most clergy are bi-vocational professionals with careers in law, education, business and administration; others are retired police officers and government workers.

Colombia is a middle-income country, but 33 percent of its 47.7 million people live at or below the poverty line. It is the second most populous country in South America after Brazil, and the fourth largest geographically.

Most Colombians live in urban areas: Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Cartagena. Many have fled violence associated with the country’s ongoing 50-year civil war and narcotics trafficking. The violence displaced 4.7 million people, and close to half a million have become refugees.

Diocese of Colombia Bishop Francisco Duque Gomez delivering an address to convention. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

Under Duque’s leadership, the diocese has developed social programs that include micro-finance, preschools, services for the elderly and various programs for poor and displaced Colombians. These include Trinity Foundation in Cali, which runs a micro-finance program; a feeding program supporting the elderly; and a program that provides services to 70 indigenous children, supported by Episcopal Relief & Development.

Other Bogotá-based missions include Holy Spirit Mission, which provides space for a World Health Organization-supported program to empower single mothers and homeless women and help them acquire education and health care. Divine Savior Mission provides shelter and meals to homeless senior citizens and an after-school program in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. St. Paul’s Cathedral runs a youth leadership-development program. St. Peter’s Church has a grant-funded evangelism and community-outreach program.

The Rev. Ted J. Gaiser, is the diocese’s director of mission development and an Episcopal Church-appointed missionary now in his second year of service, and has been working to promote mission outreach and sustainability throughout the diocese.

Gaiser, who has a master’s in business administration and a doctorate degree in sociology with an emphasis in social justice, wrote a project-development and management-training program aimed at equipping parishes with the skills to develop well-organized projects and programs, including low-income housing, church-owned schools, elder housing and employment opportunities for internally displaced people.

The training, which uses an Asset Based Community Development Approach to evaluate existing resources, and includes project analysis, funding and budgeting, has been conducted throughout the diocese to help move it toward its 2021 goal of achieving financial self-sustainability.

Also, Colforpaz, a nonprofit organization has been founded to support the diocese’s mission and sustainability.

The diocese in recent years has established a presence in Cúcuta along the northern border with Venezuela, where refugees fleeing Colombia’s civil war have crossed into Venezuela, and where Venezuelans fleeing violence and social and economic troubles in their own country now cross into Colombia seeking refuge. And in Pasto, a city northeast of the border with Ecuador en route to Túlcan, the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees operates a field office for asylum seekers.

“In these two important cities construction is underway on our own temples that would let us develop permanent [social] work and a stable pastoral presence,” said Duque.

Vocational call’

Roman Catholicism was the official state religion until Colombia’s Constitution established protection for religious freedom in 1991. Now, 93 percent of the population is Christian, with more than 80 percent of them identified as Roman Catholics.

Most of the priests and deacons active in the diocese attended Roman Catholic seminaries and were priests in the Roman Catholic Church before joining the Episcopal Church, and many see the priesthood as a “vocational call” rather than a career, said Gaiser.

An active congregation, including outreach, is a canonical requirement to be priested in the diocese. The “process,” Gaiser explained, works like this: Aspirants, with the support of a priest or a deacon in their area, begin to build a worship community. Ordination to the diaconate and a long period of “Anglicanization” follows before ordination to the priesthood.

Anglican-Episcopal formation goes beyond the clergy. In recent years, the diocese has committed “to teach, baptize and nurture new believes,” the second of the Five Marks of Mission, and the Rev. Alberto Pinzón, of St. Paul’s Church in Bogotá, is working to implement a diocesan-wide evangelism program to invite, inspire and transform individuals, and building up parishes.

“They [people joining the Episcopal Church] need to understand what it means to be Anglican,” said Duque.

Given the country’s geography and the costs associated with meeting, the clergy, laity and diocesan leadership typically meet twice annually. Besides providing a place for elections and budget discussions, the convention provides time for workshops focused on continuing education and leadership development.

The most recent diocesan convention included workshops on gender and on the full inclusion of not only LGBT people but also displaced and other marginalized people; church history; and self-sustainability.

Bishop Carlos López-Lozano, bishop of the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church, traveled from Madrid to attend convention. Over two sessions, he gave a history of the church, including the reformed church’s story of sustainability.

For the most part, he said, the Episcopal Church in Spain began as an indigenous church and therefore didn’t receive outside support, with the exception of a period following the Spanish Civil War when the church paid its priests salaries with funds from the World Council of Churches.

“When it ended, the church needed to reorganize things,” said Lopez. “When you have money, you don’t think about self-sustainability.”

It’s important that people in the church understand that the church needs money to carry out its mission, and that in stewardship campaigns everyone be involved, he said. In solidarity, the larger churches help the smaller churches with their mission.

“It’s about changing minds about what we are capable of doing,” said Lopez.

Duque and the other bishops of Province IX have come to realize that prevailing regional circumstances call for new direction, he said. “In virtue of that, we have decided to adopt an integral sustainable-development strategy in each one of our dioceses.”

The Rev. Donald Vinson, canon for mission and transmission in the Diocese of West Virginia, addresses the Diocese of Colombia Convention. Colombia and West Virginia have a longstanding companion relationship. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

The Episcopal Church historically has supported the Province IX churches through a block-grant program, which provides the dioceses with operating funds amounting to $2.9 million in the current triennium. Colombia receives $127,400 annually toward its $241,250 budget.

During a July 2013 meeting of lay and ordained leaders of Province IX and Episcopal Church Center staff, the consensus was that “the current relationship between the dioceses of Province IX and the rest of the Episcopal Church is influenced by the nature of the historical block grants that establish a relationship of dependency. This is not spiritually healthy, either for the ‘dependent’ or the ‘depended upon,’” according to a document that was released following the meeting. The document created by the Mark 2 Mission group was born of a longer conversation that began in earnest in March 2011 with a conference in Tela, Honduras.

In February, on the recommendation of the Second Mark of Mission working group (a group convened by the staff of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society), the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council agreed to an 18-year plan for “self-sufficiency” to move to sustainable mission and ministry in Province IX.

The other Province IX churches are, in South America, Ecuador Central, Ecuador Litoral, and Venezuela; in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico; and in Central America, Honduras.

 – Lynette Wilson is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. 

Presiding Bishop preaches at Church of the Nativity, Phoenix, AZ

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 9, 2014

Pentecost
8 June 2014
Church of the Nativity, Phoenix, AZ

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

We’re going to make a prophet today. Actually, we’re going to authorize several prophets. And then we’re going to send them out there. Ready or not, world, here they come!

Garrison Keillor is famous for saying, ‘Who wants to be a prophet? Nobody wants ‘em around. Prophets don’t get invited to birthday parties or wedding feasts.’ [1] The world would rather have the profit of companies than the company of prophets.

What’s your image of a prophet? Somebody who looks a little like John the Baptist, delivering long rants on the street corner? The word actually means to speak forth, or speak for another, in this case, God. They’re spokespersons, newscasters. The prophets of the Bible weren’t fortune tellers or predictors of the future. They did tell people the truth about what was likely to happen if they didn’t change their ways, and they encouraged people who were feeling lost and abandoned.

Prophets have two main tasks in the truth they tell – to announce the news about God’s intention for creation and how we live together, and to both challenge and encourage people to live in ways that lead toward the Reign of God. It’s a vision of a world of peace and justice and right relationship among all its inhabitants. That’s what Jesus means when he says to his friends, “peace be with you. I’m sending you out with the same message – peace be with you and go help make peace for the whole world.”

Baptism is an invitation to become a truth-telling prophet. Like Eldad and Medad, it doesn’t really matter where you are, because somebody with a dose of spirit can prophesy anywhere. It doesn’t just happen in church. The company of prophets moves out into the world to announce the good news about God’s love for each one of us, and the hope for what this world might be if we all lived in ways that reflected the love that is already within us.

Prophets get their bad reputation because they’re willing to point out the gap between the goal of the Reign of God and where we are right now. Sometimes they use pretty strong language: “you cows of Bashan, lolling about on your ivory couches calling for wine while people are starving outside your doors… you’re going to be the first sent into exile.”[2] But they also offer comfort and encouragement to people who are suffering, like those in exile: “comfort ye, comfort ye my people…God is already preparing a smooth road home for you”[3]; or by reminding them that God weeps over them.[4] A prophet speaks God’s healing and renewing and creative word into the midst of life and its suffering.

That is what those baptismal promises are most centrally about – holding up that vision of what God’s world is intended to look like; coming together to learn and be fed for the work of proclaiming that vision, encouraging others by speaking and acting out that vision, and loving our neighbors as we go – encountering each person as Christ himself, with utmost respect for the divine image each neighbor bears.

So, what does that have to do with us, right here and right now? Everybody here has been inspired – we’ve all received spirit – for the journey toward the Reign of God. A prophet would look around and see where the world doesn’t look like that vision. The news is usually full of it – like the bad news of hungry and homeless people on our streets. Every year a lot of people who don’t have shelter from the heat die in this desert. Right now this part of the world is seeing an influx of refugees from Central America – lots of children coming alone, or with their mothers and siblings. Like refugees in Sudan, they’re fleeing hunger, violence, and the inability to make a living. What would a prophet do?

First task is to remember the vision, notice the need of a neighbor and tell the truth about what you see. Then respond to the need – with food, shelter, education – as this congregation does through your partnerships at UMOM here in Phoenix,[5] and in Navajoland and Veracruz.[6] But prophets go deeper, and begin to ask why the need exists, why the systems of this world permit or encourage this suffering. This is where the hard work of self-examination comes – what is my part in this injustice, and what can I do to change it? The theological term for it is repentance and amendment of life – turning back toward God’s vision of a healed world and seeking ways to live in that direction. It’s not easy work, but it’s far more possible in communities like this one that support and encourage and keep pointing the way.

Where have you seen a prophet at work?

I remember visiting a congregation during the depths of the economic downturn in 2008. We heard about the various ministries that had developed to respond to the suffering in that community, and then a middle schooler stood up to tell her story. She realized that the people who were losing their homes or jobs often had pets, whose human companions were finding it hard to feed them. So she organized a pet food bank to care for non-human neighbors. A high school student told about a mission trip he’d taken a year earlier. He’d seen people who’d lost limbs to landmines, and couldn’t make a living except by sitting along the road and begging. They had a very hard time getting around, because they had no access to wheelchairs. He went home and figured out how to build inexpensive wheelchairs out of bicycle wheels and plastic plumbing parts, for about $60 apiece, and he challenged people around him to help fund the work.

The response to Gabbie Gifford’s shooting here has motivated a number of prophets, working to address gun violence, mental illness, and a greater respect for neighbors and their differences as well as what we all share in common.

The ERD photo exhibit that’s been set up here gives you a sense of how prophets see possibilities for healing. I’d encourage you to take a look at how this part of the body of Christ is working to bridge the gap between what is and what ought to be.

Prophets change the world, one person and one situation at a time. They also change the world by inspiring others to notice the difference between current reality and God’s dream. Speaking truth isn’t always easy, but it is the only real route to abundant life.

Garrison Keillor is only partly right when he says that prophets don’t get invited to birthday parties and wedding feasts. Today we’re celebrating the birthday of the church, and all the baptized are being feted today as prophets in this body of Christ. It is indeed a birthday party for truth-tellers and world changers! And we’re all bound for the wedding feast – the heavenly banquet, Isaiah’s great picnic on a hillside, when everyone can sit down in safety and feast in peace because there is justice for all. Welcome to the company of prophets – happy birthday, church! What truth will you tell, and what change will you seek?

[1] Several places, but this one is typical: Garrison Keillor, Lake Wobegon, USA: Fertility. Track 2, “Prophet”

[2] Amos 4:1ff; Amos 6:4ff

[3] Isaiah 40:1-4

[4] Isaiah 16:11; Luke 19:41-44

[5] http://www.umom.org/ Largest homeless shelter in Arizona.

[6] http://nativityscottsdale.org/serving-others/

Presiding Bishop speaks at centennial of St. Andrew’s Chapel, Sewanee

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 9, 2014

Centennial of St. Andrew’s Chapel
St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School
6 June 2014

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

Happy birthday, happy anniversary – you are centenarians! This congregation is celebrating its hundredth anniversary, and even if you don’t join the throng here regularly, you are part of its long history and life in this place. This community took the name of Andrew a hundred years ago, for reasons that are shrouded in the mists of history, but probably linked to Andrew and his brother Simon Peter being the first two disciples.

I have a lot of fondness for Andrew. I became an Episcopalian as a sixth grader in a church named for him. After leaving the convent school I attended as a child, that congregation was my first lively experience of church as a loving and intimate Christian community. Before St. Andrew’s, church had been about doing your Sunday duty, in the company of a thousand anonymous strangers. Many years later, I was ordained a priest on the Feast of Andrew. And, like Andrew, I’ve spent most of my adult life fishing – first from boats, and now for people, in and around overturned boats in naves like this one. Andrew and the Swedish saint I’m named for have been among the most important holy heroes on this journey. Who are yours?

The saintly witnesses who came before us, and the ones we meet walking through life, are human reminders that God is still at work, creating life and more abundant life[1] in us and every part of creation. God desires our flourishing, that we might live full and abundant lives that help others to flourish. That starts with knowing that we are beloved, uniquely created and known by name, and called to be part of building a world that looks more like what God intends for all.

Schools and church communities have remarkable opportunities to plant and deepen that knowledge of the abiding, creative love of God. And when church and school come together, as they have in this place, they can help to shape leaders who will transform the world.

This chapel may only be a hundred years old, but it carries a much longer story of shaping leaders. The indigenous peoples who lived here before settlers came understood Sewanee as a holy place to say prayers and discover the divine at work in their lives and the world around them. That’s what the psalmist is talking about – the heavens and the high places and all the parts of creation declare God’s glory, even if they don’t use words. This mountain is like the dream of Mount Zion, to which many tribes and peoples stream in to learn the ways toward God’s dream for all humanity and all creation. Human beings haven’t always done it perfectly – God knows! – yet the yearning for that eternal and abundant life, and the drawing toward it, continue today. We’re marking a hundred years here, but it is only the latest chapter in a very long story.

The founders of what has become the University of the South saw this mountain as a place to educate their heirs in godly ways. They may have had a very narrow understanding of what that meant, but God has continued to be at work here. Our own understanding of what the Reign of God implies continues to grow and expand, in the same way that Andrew and Peter grew in understanding what it meant to follow Jesus and fish for people.

Formal efforts to educate youngsters started up here in 1857 with the laying of a cornerstone (which was destroyed in the war – by Union soldiers), but the collapse of dreams for coal mining (given the carbon rule announced on Monday, that sounds eerily contemporary) and the intervening Civil War meant that it was 1865 before any real work started. At that point all the original founders were dead, there was no money, no classes had been held and no buildings built. There was plenty of land, but it was going to revert to the donors if no students were being educated. Just before default in 1868, a secondary school opened with nine high school students and four teachers, eventually becoming Sewanee (Military) Academy. A school for the girls in faculty families was started later by the DuBose family, and then the Order of St. Mary began another school for local girls. In 1904 the Order of the Holy Cross began to teach local boys in what grew into St. Andrew’s. The educational heritage of all four schools continues in St. Andrew’s-Sewanee.

The history of this chapel begins “in a little upper room” in the monks’ mountaintop farmhouse. When the congregation of boys and neighbors outgrew the space, they turned a carpenter’s shop into a worship space. That, too, was soon stretched beyond its limits, but there were no funds to build something larger. The story goes that a poor woman sent a small sum, with these words: “I cannot build the chapel, but I send this mite with which to begin the fund, and God will do the rest.” One of the monks had been sent off to Philadelphia to fill in as a parish interim, and as a result the 1913 Easter offering from St. Mark’s was sent here and provided the core of critically needed funds.

The cornerstone was laid by Bishop William Alexander Guerry of South Carolina in 1913. Bishop Guerry had long connections up here, serving as chaplain and professor of theology and homiletics at the University of the South. He is much better known for his fishing work in South Carolina. He knew something about the kind of fishing Andrew was called to – that post-Resurrection haul that was too big and scary for the fishermen to land, the one that started to tear their nets and make them afraid of sinking.

Guerry had a broad and generous understanding of what Christian community means: “We should strive for unity, not uniformity.  Uniformity is mechanical, barren, unfruitful, and unprofitable. Unity is organic, living, and capable of endless growth. If we are to be truly catholic, as Christ himself is catholic, then we must have a church broad enough to embrace within its communion every living human soul.”[2] The year after he laid the cornerstone of this place, he proposed that his diocese elect a suffragan bishop for ministry with African-Americans, to ensure that South Carolina might be that kind of broadly inclusive community. He didn’t prevail, and the fear of a haul like Andrew’s produced even more profound segregation in the Church that continued to deepen for decades.

In 1928 Guerry was murdered by one of his priests who then shot himself. The man was still furious about that dream of an enormous haul of fish, and accused the bishop of trying to “root out the principle of white supremacy in the South.” Guerry the martyr is part of the foundation of this place. That godly word of the fundamental dignity and equality of all human beings is very near you, it’s been seeping into your heart and emerging on your lips if you’ve spent time in this place. The word of God is always at work in ways and places and times we little suspect.

The gospel says that Andrew’s journey of faith, his willingness to let go of old ways and try Jesus’ way of fishing happened in the blink of an eye, that he and Simon left their nets “immediately,” and so did James and John. Methinks the gospel writer doth protest too much. Very few of us do anything quite that quickly, unless out of youthful, perhaps rash, enthusiasm. Enthusiasm means being filled with God. Pray that St. Andrew’s-Sewanee continues to enthuse people here, young and old, and fill us all with enough sheer holy boldness to change the world. Lord, teach us to fish with your abandon, and fill our nets far beyond our puny expectations.

If we can do that, St. Andrew’s–Sewanee will still be here in a hundred years, forming leaders who will change the world.

[1] or as the United Church of Christ puts it, that God is still speaking

[2] http://www.gracechurchcharleston.org/bishop-guerry-chapel

Rapidísimas, Junio 6 de 2014

ENS Headlines - Friday, June 6, 2014

En su discurso inaugural ante la reunión general de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) que se celebra en Asunción, Paraguay, el secretario general del organismo internacional José Miguel Insulza pidió “que no se presione ni se sancione” al gobierno de Venezuela añadiendo que la situación en este país “sigue siendo motivo de preocupación” y espera que el diálogo tenga buenos resultados. En otra parte de su discurso elogió la labor de la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas, un grupo paralelo a la OEA formado por inspiración del difunto presidente Hugo Chávez. Un tema que ha generado polémica en el seno de la OEA es la resolución presentada por Brasil en la que se pide “no discriminar” a las personas que tienen una orientación sexual diferente. Hasta el momento sólo Brasil, Argentina, Uruguay y Ecuador han firmado el proyecto de resolución.

La sorpresiva abdicación del Rey de España, Juan Carlos I, ha ocupado gran parte de la primera plana de los periódicos del mundo. Se cree que el 18 de junio su hijo Felipe de Borbón, de 46 años,  será proclamado rey. Sin embargo, miles de españoles se han reunido en varias ciudades pidiendo el cese de la monarquía y la instauración de una república similar a Francia. Esta decisión se debate en conversaciones personales  y en los medios. Los principales observadores piensan que este cambio no tiene posibilidades de triunfar.

Aunque en Venezuela han disminuido los actos de protesta, ahora está candente el juicio que se le sigue al opositor Leopoldo López por delitos “que no ha cometido”, según la opinión popular. En un largo alegato la fiscalía acusa a López de instigar los recientes hechos pero no ha podido presentar pruebas. El juicio está plagado de irregularidades, dicen sus abogados a los que no se les ha permitido hablar. Su esposa Lilian Tintori dijo que la fiscalía acusa a “Leopoldo por su discurso político” y añade que él es un preso de conciencia y no un criminal.

Kim Jung Wook, un pastor evangélico de Corea del Sur ha sido arrestado en Corea del Norte acusado de espionaje y de establecer iglesias y ha sido condenado a “trabajos forzados de por vida”. El pastor negó los cargos de espionaje.

El celibato sacerdotal sigue teniendo actualidad. El papa Francisco ha dicho que “la puerta está abierta para discutir el celibato” pero algunos medios lo han interpretado que será eliminado “mañana mismo”. El papa añadió que “al no ser un dogma de fe” puede modificarse. Sus palabras llegaron después que 26 mujeres italianas pidieron que se hiciera una revisión del celibato porque ellas están enamoradas o conviven con sacerdotes.

La visita a Cuba de miembros de la Cámara de Comercio de Estados Unidos ha generado polémicas en varias partes del exilio cubano que se oponen a cualquier contacto con el régimen de La Habana. Algunos líderes del exilio han dicho por los medios que mientras el gobierno de Cuba no “dé señales de cambio” especialmente en relación con los derechos humanos, no puede haber contactos.

El ex presidente ecuatoriano Jamil Mahuad que gobernó el país andino en el período 1997-2000 ha sido condenado por la Corte Nacional de Justicia a 12 años de prisión por el delito de malversación de fondos públicos durante la crisis financiera de 1999. La policía internacional busca su paradero. Antes de su búsqueda Mahuad vivía en Estados Unidos e impartía clases en la Universidad de Harvard.

Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu ha sido reelecto primado de la Iglesia Anglicana de Japón en un sínodo en Kyoto. Renato Mag-gay Abibico,  obispo de Luzón del Norte ha sido electo primado de la Iglesia Episcopal en las Filipinas.

La suspensión en sus funciones de Nilton Geise, como secretario general del Consejo Latinoamericano de Iglesias (CLAI) ha traído consecuencias. El presidente de la Iglesia Evangélica de Confesión Luterana, Néstor Paulo Friedrich, iglesia a la que pertenece Geise, ha expresado su “profunda tristeza” por la acción tomada por la directiva del CLAI y propone la suspensión en sus actividades en el CLAI hasta que se “restablezcan las condiciones necesarias para una saludable, respetuosa y provechosa participación ecuménica en ese organismo”. Friedrich recuerda en un comunicado que su iglesia es miembro constituyente del CLAI y que “siempre apreció y valoró” su trabajo y que le gustaría seguir valorándolo.

Ann Davies la simpática empleada doméstica en la serie televisiva “The Brady Bunch” conocida con el nombre artístico de “Alice”, ha fallecido a los 88 años de edad en San Antonio, Texas. Dotada de una profunda fe religiosa Davies se distinguió en diversos proyectos de la Iglesia Episcopal. Por 38 años residió en una comunidad religiosa en la casa del obispo William Frey y su esposa Bárbara. Frey fue obispo de Guatemala en la década de los años 70.

VERDAD. La fe sin obras no tiene valor.

Mensaje de Desmond Tutu al Recibir el Premi Internacional Catalunya

ENS Headlines - Friday, June 6, 2014

[IERE] Gracias por el reconocimiento a quienes se ocupan de la justicia social hoy en nuestro mundo compartido.

En todo el planeta, las personas están despertando a la realización del negocio como de costumbre Ya no es suficiente que nosotros, los seres humanos, evitemos desastres paralelos por nuestra propia causa, como la degradación ambiental y la desigualdad socio-económica.

En todo el planeta, las buenas personas han aumentado para desafiar la injusticia. Para desafiar los derechos a las utilidades de los gobiernos y las corporaciones, a expensas de la gente y el planeta. Al desafío de la discriminación y elprejuicio y el odio y la maldad. Para desafiar al status quo, por decirlo así, que parece estar conduciéndonos –inexorablemente– al precipicio.

Me honran con este premio, que humildemente recibo en nombre de este magnífico grupo de personas socialmente conscientes, personas diversas, multiculturales, multinacionales, polivalentes – de activistas por el bien común del ser humano y nuestro planeta…

  • De quienes se dedican a salvar niñas de estar atrapadas en matrimonios abusivos en el África subsahariana;
  • Quienes apoyan a desinvertir en las empresas de combustibles fósiles en Israel;
  • Quienes se oponen a la legislación homofóbica en Uganda;
  • Quienes apoyan el cierre de la despreciable prisión en la Bahía de Guantánamo
  • A quienes en el campo de asistencia médica se preocupan por los refugiados en Siria;
  • Aquellas mujeres extraordinarias que secan los ojos de niñas y niños ciegos y huérfanos a causa del SIDA en mi propio país, Sudáfrica;
  • Quienes apoyan el derecho de los catalanes –y ciudadanos de otros territorios como el Tíbet, y las Islas Malvinas– para determinar pacíficamente su destino…

Hay muchos más.

Acepto este premio con todos, en su nombre. Tienen la sabiduría y el coraje y hacen el trabajo–es su mérito. Gracias.

Viajé a Catalunya desde el norte de Canadá, donde fui invitado a hablar en una conferencia de las principales naciones para discutir lo que se denomina: campos de arenas bituminosas.

Las compañías de combustible han descubierto el potencial de hacer masas de dinero por extracción de arena.

Para ellos, estos beneficios son mayores que el hecho de extraer petróleo y se dice que más diabólica con la tierra y el medioambientalmente.

Y los beneficios superan los derechos de las personas originarias en la prístina región del norte, conocida como Alberta.

Hacen burla de las palabras y el espíritu de los tratados que las primeras naciones firmaron con la reina Victoria hace más de un siglo.

Estos tratados garantizan a las primeras personas habitantes de Canadá el derecho a la práctica de las formas tradicionales de vida “siempre y cuando el sol brille, la hierba crezca y el flujo de los ríos se mantenga”. El sol sigue brillando en el norte de Alberta, pero cuánto tiempo continuará creciendo la hierba, y los ríos fluirán, si en el aire está muy presente la cada vez más contaminada atmósfera…

Cuando uno considera lo que el impacto humano ha hecho al clima del mundo, uno se pregunta cómo la gente puede ser tan ciega, tan cegada por la ganancia y la avaricia.

He estado en solidaridad con las comunidades a través de Canadá y Estados Unidos que se oponen a la extracción de arenas petrolíferas y las tuberías para mover el petróleo hasta el Golfo de México.

La lucha de los ciudadanos contra este proyecto potencialmente calamitoso se pone en la primera línea de la lucha más importante en el mundo de hoy.

Dios hizo a la gente con la intención de compartir el mundo. Pero, hace mucho tiempo, la gente decidió que compartir no era la mejor opción, así que se pusieron a dividir el mundo en piezas que tenían el poder para manejar, manipular y explotar sin la interferencia de otros grupos de personas.

Así, durante miles de años el mundo ha presenciado el ascenso y caída de los poderosos líderes, ciudades, principados, imperios, los sindicatos y Estados.

La historia de la cartografía, o de cartografía, está pensada para comenzar aproximadamente 8mil años –aunque hay ejemplos anteriores de personas que tienen asignadas los cielos.

Los primeros “mapas del mundo” fueron desarrollados por dos razones: (1) para permitir la navegación y (2) para representar con precisión quién era dueño de qué. Estos son los llamados mapas “físicos” y “políticos” que tenemos hoy.

Los mapas físicos mostrando el mundo de Dios, como fue creado, en todo su natural esplendor topográfico, oceánico y fluvial; los mapas políticos mostrando cómo la gente ha dividido arbitrariamente, los tamaños y formas de las piezas determinada no por las necesidades o deseos de la gente sino por la capacidad de los ricos y los poderosos para controlarlos.

Un mapa, con las características físicas constantes que tienen –hasta hace muy poco– no afectado por la gente. El otro, con las características que han cambiado en siglos que reflejan el flujo y la energía humana.

Hoy vivimos en lo que se ha denominado la aldea global. Comunicación, tecnología de la información y viajes que nos permiten estar en muchos lugares –virtualmente- al mismo tiempo. Y hay un sistema económico global que permite a la gente a decir que eso puede transformar un estornudo en la bolsa de valores de Wall Street en un resfriado en lugares remotos.

Tenemos que volver a dibujar el mapa político para reflejar el interés humano, en el contexto de nuestro llamado mundo globalizado.

Tenemos que volver a configurar, en nuestros corazones y nuestras mentes, las nociones que hemos aprendido de nuestra historia y de nuestros padres de “nosotros” y de “ellos”.

Hay sólo un “nosotros”. No importa qué nacionalidad o bandera esté colgada en el jardín, ni cómo miramos o a quienes amamos, somos miembros de una misma familia, la familia de la humanidad –la familia de Dios.

Seguramente es hora de que comencemos a vernos a nosotros mismos como hermanos y hermanas con intereses mutuos en cuanto a lo que queremos dejar a nuestros hijos, nietos y bisnietos por venir.

En Sudáfrica, nos referimos a la esencia del ser humano como Ubuntu. Ubuntu Habla particularmente por el hecho de que no puedes existir como ser humano en aislamiento.

Habla de nuestra interconexión. No puedes ser humano por ti mismo, y cuando tú tienes esta cualidad –Ubuntu– eres conocido por tu generosidad.

Con demasiada frecuencia pensamos sobre nosotros mismos como individuos, separados uno de otro. Pero estamos conectados, y lo que hacemos afecta a todo el mundo. Cuando hacemos bien, lo sale fuera; es para toda la humanidad.

Cuando la masa crítica de los ciudadanos de cualquier región o nación actúa con un propósito común para lograr un objetivo justo se convierten en una fuerza irresistible.

Quienes buscan evitar que se logre, pueden tener éxito por un tiempo, con un gran costo, pero inevitablemente descubrirán que la resistencia es fútil.

Discusiones de mente abierta y corazón abierto, en que todas las partes necesariamente hacen concesiones para el beneficio mutuo, son infinitamente preferibles.

Estalló la lucha de los catalanes por un estado independiente atrayendo la atención del mundo en 2012 cuando más de 1millón de personas –algunos estiman millón y medio– se reunieron en el centro de Barcelona para la manifestación más grande en la historia de la ciudad.

Esto fue seguido un año después por más personas que unieron sus manos para formar una larga cadena humana de 400 kilómetros, del norte al sur de Catalunya.

Pero el Parlamento de España, en abril, rechazó formalmente la petición de Catalunya para realizar un referéndum y medir la opinión de la gente; el rechazo fue seguido por el endurecimiento público de las posiciones de ambas partes.

La invasión violenta por matones derechistas de un centro cultural catalán en Madrid el fin de año fue un signo preocupante de lo que podría venir.

Parece de sentido común decir que si la mayoría de los ciudadanos 7 millones de Catalunya anhelan independencia, gobierno central de España debe escuchar.

Las partes deben discutir cómo podrían lograr mejor la independencia para los ciudadanos Catalanes del resto de España y el tipo de relación futura que beneficiaría a la mayoría de la gente.

Seguramente tiene más sentido trazar conjuntamente el futuro que permitir que las relaciones se deterioren –y el riesgo de declarar unilateralmente la independencia de Cataluña. Yo uso la palabra “riesgo” con conocimiento de causa, porque cualquier forma o el unilateralismo es la segunda mejor opción al consenso y al acuerdo.

El sol saldrá mañana –incluso en los campos de arenas petrolíferas en Alberta, por el momento, por lo menos. Las hermanas y hermanos que se encuentran a ambos lados de la frontera de Catalunya permanecerán en nuestro mundo compartido.

Mantengamos las manos unidas y tracemos el mejor futuro para todos. Eso tiene que ser principal premio colectivo.

Se lo agradezco.

Dios les bendiga.


Egypt: New prison ministry in Alexandria

ENS Headlines - Friday, June 6, 2014

[Diocese of Egypt] The Anglican Church recently started a new prison ministry in Alexandria, on the north coast of Egypt. This new ministry is co-ordinated by Mrs. Nabila Mansour, a member of the St Mark’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral in Alexandria.

There are eight regular volunteers from different denominations. There are also four students from the Alexandria School of Theology joining the prison ministry for the practical component of their training.

The team visit Borg el Arab Prison and Hadra Prison. Borg el Arab is lo-cated 45 kilometres south-west of Alexandria. It is a men only prison, and there are 8 foreigners and 250 Egyptians.
The conditions in which the men live are very poor. The cells are under-ground and have only small windows. Many men share the same rooms and there are no beds, only mattresses on the floor. Skin diseases are common. As most of the Egyptian men are from other areas of Egypt, they receive few visitors and no-one else provides for them except this ministry.

Ministry Activities

  • Visiting the prisoners. We listen to them and encourage them, pray with them, sing worship songs and read the Bible together.
  • Sending letters to the prisoners
  •  Supplying material needs (medicine, food, clothes, blankets, toilet-ries), spiritual (spiritual books and Bibles) and legal support
  • Continue to follow up after prisoners after released. For example assisting with finding jobs and spiritual guidance.
  • Support prisoners’ families through helping them with material and spiritual needs (school fees and supplies for children, food and clothing, gifts at Easter and Christmas

Malawi: Anglican parishes unite to build new church

ENS Headlines - Friday, June 6, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] Six Anglican Parishes in Malawi have united to help kickstart the construction of a church building for an Anglican outstation in the city of Blantyre in fulfillment of their obligation of “building the House of the God.”

Mpemba Anglican Church, an outstation of Manase Parish in Blantyre, Malawi, is the beneficiary of the offering that was collected on an Inter-Parish Way of the Cross procession which the six Anglican Parishes were involved in during this year’s Good Friday.

During the handover of the building materials last Sunday, Chairperson of the Organising Committee, Paul Kanthambi said: “We have an obligation to build the House of the Lord, and this is one of the ways of doing it. Our committee thought that the money should not be shared amongst the parishes or used in any other way other than assisting in this church project.”

Speaking during the same presentation, Manase Parish Priest, the Revd David Mponda said, “We are witnessing the oneness of the Anglican Church as we gather for the purpose of building God’s house.”

Fr. Mponda urged all Anglicans in the country to unite and passionately contribute to church projects regardless of which location the activities were taking place. He also thanked the Organising Committee and those that had materially contributed towards the initiative.

For a long time, the Parishes that have participated in the joint Way of the Cross have been sharing the money amongst them. It was only recently that a decision was made not to share the money but instead contribute it toward one cause.

Two years ago the money was given towards the medical expenses of a priest who was going abroad for treatment. Last year the collection was given to a different Parish to help repair their priest’s motorcycle.

In his sermon Daniel Baluwa from Soche Parish encouraged the congregation to forge ahead with the project, as it is an obligation. He asked both the leaders and the followers to accommodate and understand each other in order for the project to succeed.

He charged, “Just as everyone wants his house to be in good shape and of a high, good standard, so should the house of the Lord. Time has come to prepare the House of the Lord just as many others did in the Bible.”

According to the Organising Committee Chairperson, the gesture is meant to promote oneness and unity within the Anglican Church in the country. “Anglicans should be assisting in each other’s projects and not be looking up to politicians.”

He explained that it’s actually politicians who should be seeking assistance from church through prayers and blessings. The church also plans to build a Priest house and a multipurpose hall at their new site.

– With additional reporting from Manase Parish media team.

Episcopal, ELCA Presiding Bishops issue statement on carbon emissions

ENS Headlines - Friday, June 6, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have issued a joint statement in support of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Rule on carbon emissions.

“The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Church are eager to collaborate with the EPA and states across the nation to ensure that the carbon rule is implemented fairly, particularly for low-income consumers,” the Presiding Bishops stated. “We will continue to pray that all involved in this good work will be graced with vision, hope, and the search for truth as they seek to implement the carbon rule swiftly and effectively.”

The joint statement follows:

Joint Statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Rule on carbon emissions

Lutherans and Episcopalians collectively celebrate and support the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon rule for existing power plants. As faith traditions committed to the health, flourishing, and sanctity of human communities and God’s creation, we believe that the carbon rule is a critical step toward safeguarding the lives and livelihood of future generations.

Recent reports outline the enormous impacts that climate change is already having on our world.  Multi-year droughts, sea level rise, extreme weather events, and increased flooding dramatically affect communities internationally, from the Inupiat on the north slope of Alaska to Midwestern farming families to our brothers and sisters in the Philippines. We recognize with concern that climate change particularly harms low income communities that lack the resources and technology to adapt to rapid environmental changes.

These impacts are already affecting global agriculture, and with it, food supplies and prices. Ending hunger and alleviating global poverty are key concerns for our faith traditions. Yet our work faces the daunting and interconnected challenges of addressing hunger and poverty in a rapidly changing climate.  Sustainable solutions must include both poverty alleviation and environmental conservation.

Power plants are the single largest source of carbon dioxide pollution in the United States and major contributors to climate change. These emissions not only threaten the environmental stability of our planet, but also the health of young children and their families, disproportionally affecting the poorest among us.  Yet there are currently no limits on power plant emissions of greenhouse gases.

The carbon rule proposed this week will reduce the carbon dioxide output from existing power plants, setting a strong standard that will modernize our nation’s power plants while limiting our contribution to global climate change. Reducing carbon emissions from power plants must be a top priority for the U.S. if we hope to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and ensure a just and sustainable world for our generation and those to come.

Our faith traditions teach us that no single person can be whole unless all have the opportunity for full and abundant life. That wholeness and collective well-being is only possible as a global community. We recognize our connections to fellow citizens and neighbors around the world who are already suffering from the consequences of climate change, and acknowledge our responsibility to those yet unborn, who will either benefit from our efforts to curb carbon emissions or suffer from our failure to address this ethical imperative. We believe that addressing climate change is a moral obligation to our neighbors and to God’s creation, so that all may enjoy full, healthy, and abundant lives.

The proposed carbon rule for existing power plants is the single largest step that we can take now to address the pressing issue of climate change. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Church are eager to collaborate with the EPA and states across the nation to ensure that the carbon rule is implemented fairly, particularly for low-income consumers.  We will continue to pray that all involved in this good work will be graced with vision, hope, and the search for truth as they seek to implement the carbon rule swiftly and effectively.

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

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

 

New Zealand: Judge lifts stay on Christchurch Cathedral deconstruction

ENS Headlines - Friday, June 6, 2014

[Anglican Taonga/ACNS] It’s one more day in the drawn-out saga of Christchurch Cathedral. Justice Graham Panckhurst has lifted a stay against the Anglican Church taking down the iconic stone building.

A formal commitment from the church to rebuild a cathedral on the site is reason enough to lift the stay of demolition on the 133-year-old building, according to the judge.

He also has found that the Church Property Trustees have acted honestly and given fair consideration to all the relevant issues, including safety, cost and public opinion in both the church and the wider community.

However, Bishop Victoria Matthews says CPT is under no illusion that it will happen soon. “The consent process lies before us.”

In the meantime, the church will continue to pray and participate in the recovery of Christchurch Canterbury.

Christchurch Cathedral was one of the buildings destroyed in the 2010, 6.8 richter earthquake that rocked the city. Located in the heart of the city, bordering Cathedral Square, the landmark building dominated the skyline since the city’s beginnings.

Local people feel it was the heart of the city, and a decision by the church to dismantle the cathedral’s was a cause for concern for some.

The decision was even challenged in New Zealand’s courts until the Supreme Court ruled that the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia could go ahead and take down the existing building.

The church has expressed its desire to have a new cathedral built on the site within 10 years.

 

Episcopal Church Foundation 2014 fellows announced

ENS Headlines - Friday, June 6, 2014

[The Episcopal Church Foundation] The Episcopal Church Foundation has named its 2014 Fellows who bring an exciting vision and passion for the future of the Episcopal Church.

Later this year ECF will kick off a celebration of the Fellowship Partners Program’s 50th year of supporting emerging scholars and ministry leaders so they can pursue studies and ministries they might not otherwise be able to, and share their knowledge and learning with the wider Church.

“When we look back on 50 years of ECF Fellows we are amazed at the impact they have had at all levels of the Episcopal Church,” said Donald V. Romanik, ECF President. “This year’s recipients continue the legacy of dedication, passion, and vision for the Church that is embodied by all our ECF Fellows.”

“ECF is thrilled to be able to name five Fellows on this 50th anniversary of the ECF Fellowship Partners Program,” said Miguel Escobar, Senior Program Director. “The 2014 class of Fellows are broadening our theological understanding of justice, exploring ethical concerns related to international aid work, strengthening the church’s connection to public health, networking innovative leadership initiatives, and building a lay leadership network among Chinese-American Episcopal communities of faith. Together they are exploring issues that will be of critical importance to the life of the Episcopal Church in the next fifty years.”

ECF is proud to partner with our 2014 Fellows and to walk with them as they explore how to be the Episcopal Church of the future.

Natalie Finstad

Natalie began her community-organizing career working with the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts in 2009. She moved to Kenya in 2010 and founded Be the Change – Kenya, now Tatua Kenya, which works to develop sustainable, justice-based approaches to change. Natalie holds a BA from the University of Texas, Austin and is an experienced organizer and teacher of community organizing.

As an ECF Fellow Natalie will build the capacity of The Episcopal Church by identifying, strengthening and networking areas of transformative ministry in our worshipping communities. She will begin by working with other Episcopal leaders to name a set of principles that defines transformational ministry. She then plans to partner with several dioceses to launch diocesan-wide efforts to interweave transformative mission principles through their ministry/programs and worshipping communities. Natalie will also be forming a network that connects these dioceses for the purpose of creating a shared language around transformation, sharing a powerful story of change and hopefully spurring the wider church towards a fuller incarnation of who we are called to be as people of Christ.

Jordan Hylden

Jordan is a doctoral candidate in theology and ethics at Duke University, where his dissertation research focuses on the work of the French-American philosopher Yves R. Simon and other mid-20th century Catholic figures who helped the church take a fresh look at liberal democracy from within the Catholic theological tradition.

Jordan believes that there is “a need for theological work that integrates the call for justice and peace within the language of the worshiping church, neither sacrificing the urgency of that call nor failing to see its connection to the theological grammar of our prayer book as a whole.”

Jordan serves part-time as curate and Assistant for Christian Formation at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Columbia, SC. A 2006 graduate of Harvard College, he received his M.Div. in 2010 from Duke Divinity School. He is a frequent contributor to The Living Church magazine, where he also serves as a board member, and is co-editing a collection of essays on justification in the Anglican tradition with Daniel Westberg.

Nicole Janelle

Nicole is Episcopal chaplain to UC Santa Barbara and vicar of St. Michael’s University Church in Isla Vista, California.

Nicole’s nine years of ordained ministry work has been dedicated to helping people connect to and live out their theological convictions through bodywork, care of creation, community-based relationship building, wellness activities, peace and justice work, and general activism.

The ECF fellowship will enable Nicole to pursue master’s level studies in the area of public health through a distance learning program at the University of California Berkeley. She notes that church communities are positioned to respond to our country’s most serious health-related needs: providing healthcare that is affordable, increasing access to healthy food, addressing the obesity epidemic and improving mental/spiritual health services. She hopes her MPH studies will allow her to explore academically and implement pastorally how we can better equip the Episcopal Church to respond to serious health-related community needs at the congregational, diocesan and international levels.

Alison Lutz

Alison Lutz is a priest from the Episcopal Diocese of New York who has worked for many years in rural Haiti, both as a priest and aid worker with Partners in Health. Ali is pursuing a PhD in Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University’s Graduate Division of Religion in Nashville, Tennessee. She was awarded an ECF Fellowship to continue her research on the ethics of humanitarian aid. Alison’s work explores the ethical assumptions that drive international development and global mission work, in particular the issues of control and imbalances of power that are inherent in any effort to relieve global poverty. Her scholarship strengthens frameworks for humanitarian endeavors linked inextricably to solidarity with the poor and defined by aid workers’ conversion to empathy.

Serving the church she loves, Ali advised Episcopal congregations from Upper South Carolina, Massachusetts, New York, and Arizona on their mission partnerships in Haiti. Through her doctoral studies, Ali will continue to help church leaders learn how to live out the social justice demands of the Gospel in a way that surrenders the quest for self-efficacy in favor of joining God’s people on the margins to expand God’s kingdom so all people can thrive.

Thomas Ni

Ordained in 2007 as a deacon and 2008 as a priest, Thomas is one of the only two priests in the Episcopal Church who are from Mainland China. Shortly after ordination he started a Mandarin speaking congregation and has since been ministering to Mandarin speaking Chinese immigrants, first at St. Edmund’s Episcopal Church, San Marino, California and now at the Church of Our Saviour, San Gabriel, California.

Thomas serves as the Executive Director of the Li Tim-Oi Center, which explores creative ways to develop Chinese ministry. One of the major challenges Chinese ministry faces is a shortage of both lay and ordained leaders. The language difficulty is one of the main obstacles preventing Chinese congregations from raising up more leaders. The Li Tim-Oi Center has planned to launch a Chinese lay training course, which aims at helping not only the Chinese congregations in the Los Angeles Diocese, but also all the Chinese congregations in the U.S. The ECF Fellowship will help support this plan.

ECF has renewed fellowships for Nancy Frausto, P. Joshua Griffin. Eric McIntosh, Albert Rodriguez, Jesse Zink, Sarah Nolan, Kyle Pedersen, Will Scott, and Joseph Wolyniak.

The deadline for 2015 Fellowships will be March 13, 2015. Complete information about the ECF Fellowship Partners Program can be found here or by calling 800-697-2858.