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Saint Augustine’s University receives gift from Capitol Broadcasting

ENS Headlines - Thursday, March 26, 2015

[Saint Augustine’s University/Capitol Broadcasting Company/WRAL-TV press release] Saint Augustine’s University March 26 announced a partnership with Capitol Broadcasting Co./WRAL-TV to support the Mass Communication and Journalism Program at the university.

Capitol Broadcasting Co./WRAL-TV has donated a financial gift close to $60,000 to the Mass Communications and Journalism Program that will go towards equipment upgrades for the program. Other important elements of the partnership include supporting initiatives for Saint Augustine’s University students’ knowledge and experiences that will position them to be change agents and leaders in the ever-changing world of broadcast journalism.

There will be various professional development opportunities for Saint Augustine’s University students with Capitol Broadcasting Co. The University will also establish a visiting lecturer series with WRAL-TV professional participation.

As part of this partnership, Saint Augustine’s University is developing a Media Advisory Board, which will be comprised of professionals from broadcast, digital and print media as well as corporate communication professionals. This board will also advise on matters as they relate to trends in the broadcast journalism field such as technology, career opportunities and best practices in the industry.

“Saint Augustine’s University is committed to offering rigorous academic programs to achieve our core values,” said Saint Augustine’s University Interim President Everett Ward.  “Corporate and community partnerships are important elements that support Saint Augustine’s University’s sustainability and success. With Capitol Broadcasting Company’s commitment to excellence, this partnership is a natural fit.”

“The future of broadcasting is in the hands of those entering our industry.  We want to help Saint Augustine’s University’s students to be as successful as possible so that the future of our industry remains bright. We are pleased to collaborate with St. Aug’s faculty and students as the University prepares its students for their careers,” said Steve Hammel, Vice President and General Manager of WRAL-TV.

For more information about this partnership, please contact Shelley Willingham-Hinton, Saint Augustine’s University vice president of marketing, at (919) 516-4190 or Loretta Harper-Arnold, CBC/WRAL-TV community relations director, at (919) 821-8652.

Saint Augustine’s University, established in 1867, is a four-year liberal arts university in Raleigh, N.C. founded by the Episcopal Church. With an average annual enrollment of 1,100, the University has more than 25 undergraduate degree programs in five academic schools. Saint Augustine’s University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The school’s name and status changed from Saint Augustine’s College to Saint Augustine’s University August 1, 2012.

Capitol Broadcasting Co., Inc. is a diversified communications company which owns and/or operates WRAL-TV, WRAL Digital, WRAZ-TV, WRAZ Digital, WRAL-FM, WRAL-HD2, WCMC-FM, WCMC-HD1, WDNC-AM, WCMC-HD2, WCMC-HD3, WCLY-AM, WCMC-HD4, Microspace, CBC New Media Group and Wolfpack Sports Properties (a joint venture with Learfield Sports) in Raleigh, North Carolina; WILM-TV and Sunrise Broadcasting in Wilmington, North Carolina; the Durham Bulls Baseball Club in Durham, NC; and real estate interests including the American Tobacco Project and Diamond View office buildings in Durham, North Carolina.

English king’s remains reburied after 530 years

ENS Headlines - Thursday, March 26, 2015

Clergy and an honor guard surround Richard III’s casket March 26 prior to it being buried in Leicester Cathedral. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

[Episcopal News Service] History buffs from all over the world joined royal, civil and ecclesiastical representatives in Leicester, England, on a rainy March 26 for the reburial of a king whose bones were found in 2012 under a parking lot.

Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England, died aged 32 on Aug. 22, 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth.

His skeleton was found in 2012 in the ruins of the Greyfriars priory buried beneath a parking lot in what the New York Times called “one of the most astonishing archaeological hunches in modern history.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby led the reburial ceremony in Leicester Cathedral along with members of the British royal family, Bishop of Leicester Tim Stevens, senior ecumenical clergy, civic leaders and descendants of Richard III.

Emma Chamberlain, 9, from Aylestone (a suburb of Leicester) and a member of the 1st Aylestone Brownies, places a crown on Richard III’s casket March 22 after it was brought to Leicester Cathedral. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

During the somber ceremony based on Morning Prayer (order of service here), Welby censed Richard III’s casket and blessed it with holy water.

“As we return the bones of your servant Richard to the grave, we beseech you to grant him a quiet resting place,” Welby prayed.

Welby also sprinkled the coffin with soils from Fotheringhay, Middleham and Bosworth. Richard III was born at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire and members of his family are buried at the local church. Middleham in Yorkshire is where Richard met his future wife Anne.

“Today we come to accord this King, this child of God, these mortal remains, the dignity and honor denied them in death,” Stevens said during the homily. Members of the team that found Richard’s remains have said that his initial casket-less burial was done in a hurried fashion in a too-short grave, causing the king’s head to need to be pushed askew.

Also during the service, actor Benedict Cumberbatch read “Richard,” a poem written for the occasion by Poet Laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy. Cumberbatch will play Richard III in the BBC series “The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses.” He has also been identified as a third cousin, 16 times removed of Richard. A YouTube clip of Cumberbatch’s reading during the service is here.

An honor guard March 26 lowers Richard III’s casket into a new tomb in Leicester Cathedral. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

The casket was lowered into a tomb within an ambulatory (a walking space) between the newly created Chapel of Christ the King at the east end of Leicester Cathedral and the sanctuary, a location not far from where Richard’s remains were found. The stone used in the design of the tomb is a Swaledale fossil stone, quarried in North Yorkshire, that contains fossils of long-dead creatures. It is topped with a Kilkenny marble plinth bearing Richard’s name, dates and motto.

The New York Times noted that some saw Richard’s reburial in an Anglican cathedral and Welby’s participation as an anomaly, since Richard was a devout Roman Catholic who died well before Henry VIII’s break with Rome in the 1530s.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, preached at a March 22 service of Compline (order of service here) at Leicester Cathedral when the king’s mortal remains were received. The remains were carried from the University of Leicester by the team who discovered them.

Many heard the cardinal’s sermon “as a deft message of reconciliation to the contending schools of thought about Richard’s legacy as king,” according to The New York Times article. Richard has been cast as a hunch-backed villain who killed two young princes but who also reformed parts of English law. Nichols said he was also a man who prayed, noting in a Vatican Radio interview that Welby would bring Richard’s prayer book with him to the March 26 service. The book contained Richard’s annotations and a prayer the king wrote.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Westminster, preached at a March 22 service of Compline at Leicester Cathedral when Richard’s remains were received. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

Nichols cautioned in his sermon that power in Richard’s time was “invariably won or maintained on the battlefield and only by ruthless determination, strong alliances and a willingness to employ the use of force, at times with astonishing brutality.”

On March 23, Nichols also presided at an evening Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of Richard III in Holy Cross Priory , a Roman Catholic Dominican priory in Leicester. In his homily, the cardinal called the king “a man of anxious devotion.” Nichols vested for the Mass in the Westminster Vestment, a chasuble believed to be from Richard’s royal wardrobe. Tradition says it was worn by the Benedictine monks of Westminster Abbey during Richard’s reign.

In the medieval rite of reburial, before re-interment the person’s remains were placed in the church while its usual pattern of worship continued, according to a March 25 press release posted on Welby’s website.

This same pattern was being followed in the cathedral this week: they were in repose until March 26 when they were re-interred.

BBC News reported that more than 35,000 people lined the streets in parts of Leicester March 22 to see the cortege bring the king’s remains to the cathedral. More than 20,000 people visited the cathedral to view the casket containing the king’s remains, the news service said. Viewing times were extended on March 24 and 25 to accommodate the crowds, according to the King Richard in Leicester website.

People in the streets of Leicester tossed white roses on his casket on its way to the Leicester Cathedral. Richard was the head of the House of York, which had the white rose as its symbol. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

The lead-lined casket, bearing the inscription “Richard III 1452-1485,” was designed and made of English oak and English yew by Michael Ibsen, a Canadian-born cabinetmaker whose DNA helped identify the remains of King Richard III. Ibsen is a 17th-generation descendant of Richard’s older sister, Anne of York. He has attended the week’s services in Leicester.

A pall designed by artist Jacquie Binns covers the casket during the public viewings. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

Artist Jacquie Binns designed a black pall for the casket that is decorated with embroidered images of a knight in armor; King Richard’s queen in heraldic robes; the faces of archaeologists Sir Peter Soulsby and Richard Buckley, Philippa Langley (a screenwriter who instigated the search for the king’s remains) and the Very Rev. David Monteith, the dean of Leicester, among others. It was draped over the casket by the descendants of four peers who fought both for and against Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485, according to the Leicester Mercury newspaper.

Six days of liturgies and celebrations will end March 27 with a “Service of Reveal of the Tomb and Celebration for King Richard III” (order of service here) at noon local time followed by a series of celebratory events taking place in and around the cathedral quarter, Leicester Glows featuring more than 8,000 small fires around Jubilee Square and Cathedral Gardens, illuminating the area with “fire sculptures” and culminating in a fireworks display from the cathedral roof.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

Christchurch quake-ravaged cathedral deadlock broken?

ENS Headlines - Thursday, March 26, 2015

[Anglican Taonga] Diocese of Christchurch Bishop Victoria Matthews has encouraged her diocese to consider a design by New Zealand architect Sir Miles Warren to rebuild the diocesan cathedral in the city’s Cathedral Square.

Matthews has drawn the attention of her diocese to the lead story in the March 18 edition of The Press newspaper, which confirms that the Diocese of Christchurch has been talking again with Warren about his restoration scheme, as a way of breaking the four-year legal deadlock over the future of the ruined cathedral.

Two years ago Warren, who is Christchurch’s most celebrated architect, had proposed that the iconic cathedral be rebuilt in lightweight modern materials – with a rebuilt, earthquake-strengthened stone base (to window sill height), wooden walls above that, and a copper-clad roof and spire.

In essence, Warren’s scheme – which he had first proposed in late 2012 – is back on the table again.

Compromise sought
Christchurch’s Church Property Trustees began talking with him again last December, as a way of seeking a compromise that might break the deadlock.

In an email sent to diocesan members, Matthews writes that “the Church Property Trustees have not made a commitment to this or any other design for the Cathedral at this stage, so we are eager to know what people’s thoughts are.”

The Press story says the Warren option would cost about $35 million and take three years to complete – though the Church Property Trustees estimate that when the costs of demolition and escalation are taken into account, the costs of the Warren scheme would be about the same as building a new cathedral from scratch.

In May 2013, Warren had said that one of the “valid criticisms” of the ruined stone cathedral was that the congregation in the side aisles “was visually and acoustically separated from the nave by large, closely-spaced stone columns and arches.”

Matthews pointed out that the sight-lines in the cathedral envisaged Warren would be much better – because the stone columns would be replaced by fewer slender wooden columns – and the floor would be on one level.

The way it was supposed to be?
“The ability to re-arrange the chairs in the Transitional Cathedral,” she wrote this morning “has convinced us that multiple seating options are essential for new builds and re-builds…  It is also worth noting that (by) using new materials, the weight of the Cathedral would be less than a tenth of what the Cathedral in the Square weighed.”

Ironically, Warren’s vision for the cathedral is to rebuild as it was supposed to be, but never was.

When he was commissioned to design the cathedral in 1858, George Gilbert Scott had proposed that it should be built in wood – as  Auckland’s St Mary’s pro-cathedral and Wellington’s Old St Paul’s were.

But Scott’s first design was vetoed by church authorities, who insisted that the entire building be built in stone.

A March 2013 Press article in which Warren outlines his design more fully, click here .

Presiding Bishop to preach, celebrate Holy Week in Salisbury, England

ENS Headlines - Thursday, March 26, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] At the invitation of the Very Rev. June Osborne, Dean, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Katharine Jefferts Schori will preach and lead services at various times at Salisbury Cathedral during Holy Week 2015.

“I am looking forward to joining the Holy Week and Triduum liturgies of a cathedral that is both deeply historic and innovative, to meet new and old friends, and to reflect on the partnerships with Sudan and other parts of the Anglican Communion that continue to teach us all about the Paschal mystery,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori commented.

On Monday, March 30, the Presiding Bishop will preach at the Service of Reconciliation.

On Tuesday, March 31, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will preach at the Tenebrae or Service of Shadows with music by Francis Poulenc, sung by Salisbury Cathedral Choir.

On Wednesday, April 1, the Presiding Bishop will provide the devotional reflection at the service in which the orchestra La Folia, conducted by the Cathedral’s Director of Music, David Halls, joins the Cathedral choir in a Holy Week Meditation. Music will include Allegri, Hassler and James Macmillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross.

On Holy Thursday, April 2, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will preach at the Eucharist of the Last Supper.

The Good Friday Devotion service from noon – 1:15 pm will be led by the Presiding Bishop.  She will preach again during The Liturgy of the Day at which the Cathedral Choir will sing.

On Easter Sunday, April 5, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will preach at the Easter Eucharist

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori previously preached at Salisbury Cathedral in June 2008.

England: First female diocesan bishop announced

ENS Headlines - Thursday, March 26, 2015

Photo: Diocese of Gloucester

[Episcopal News Service] The Ven. Rachel Treweek has been appointed as the next bishop of the Diocese of Gloucester and will become the first female to serve as a diocesan bishop in the Church of England.

The news comes one day after the Rev. Alison White was named as the next bishop of Hull and two months after the Rev. Libby Lane was ordained and consecrated as bishop of Stockport. Those two appointments are to serve as suffragan (assistant) bishops.

Treweek, 52, currently serves as archdeacon of Hackney, a borough in northeast London. She will succeed the Rt. Rev. Michael Francis Perham, who resigned as bishop of Gloucester on Nov. 21, 2014.

“It is an immense joy and privilege to be appointed as the bishop of Gloucester,” said Treweek, according to an announcement on the Diocese of Gloucester’s website. “I am surprised and, I have to admit, even a little daunted by the prospect, but my overwhelming feeling is one of excitement to be coming to join with others in sharing the love of Jesus Christ with the people of this diocese.”

Treweek, who studied at Reading University and trained for the ordained ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, said she is “looking forward to encouraging Christians to speak out with confidence about their faith and the good news that the Gospel brings. It will be my privilege to work with churches as we connect with people, wherever they are and whatever their concerns.”

Treweek served as curate at Saint George and All Saints, Tufnell Park, in the Diocese of London from 1994 to 1997 and was associate vicar from 1997 to 1999.

From 1999 to 2006 she was vicar at Saint James the Less, Bethnal Green, in east London, and continuing ministerial education officer for the Stepney Episcopal Area. From 2006 to 2011 she was archdeacon of Northolt in the Diocese of London. She has served as archdeacon of Hackney since 2011.

In December 2013, she was elected as one of eight women to serve as participant observers in the Church of England’s House of Bishops. Earlier that year, it was decided that until such time as there are six female members of the House of Bishops (as diocesan bishops) a number of senior female clergy should attend and speak at the meetings as participant observers.

Treweek is married to Guy, priest-in-charge of two parishes in central London. Her interests include conflict transformation, walking and canoeing.

“My calling to the role of bishop has been shaped by human encounter,” she said. “I believe profoundly that relationship is at the heart of who God is. I have been with people through the joys and pains of their lives and it is these experiences that I will reflect upon as I take up this new role.”

The appointment comes following more than a decade of often-emotional debate, accompanied by various stages of legislative action, about opening the episcopate to women. The Church of England voted in July 2014 to allow women to become bishops, a decision that was later approved by the U.K. Parliament and given the assent of Queen Elizabeth II. The approvals were required because the church’s decision effectively changed English law. (The Church of England is an officially established Christian church with Queen Elizabeth II as its supreme governor.)

Lane – who was ordained and consecrated as the first female bishop in the history of the Church of England in January when she became the eighth bishop of Stockport, a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester – described Treweek as “an exceptional priest whose leadership is well proven. She is both genuinely caring and deeply insightful. It has been an honor to serve alongside Rachel as regional representatives in the House of Bishops, and I rejoice that she takes her place there as of right.”

Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu responded to the news with: “Wow, how wonderful so soon after Bishop Libby. I’m thrilled for you dear Rachel and I’m thrilled for the Diocese of Gloucester, for the Church of England, for the Church of God and for all of us. Yippee.”

Archbishop of York John Sentamu said the appointment fills him “with joy and thanksgiving to God for her partnership in the Gospel. Rachel is a priest who cares deeply about the good news of God in Jesus Christ and has a deep love for people and, in the words of St. Paul, she is always, ‘outdoing others in showing honor.’ She builds strong relationships with people and is an experienced reconciler. My prayer for her is that God will keep her in the joy, simplicity, and compassion of Christ’s Holy Gospel.”

The Diocese of Gloucester shares a three-way companion relationship with the dioceses of El Camino Real in the U.S.-based Episcopal Church and Western Tanganyika in the Anglican Church of Tanzania. El Camino Real Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves is the seventh woman to serve as a diocesan bishop in The Episcopal Church.

A video message from Treweek is available on the Diocese of Gloucester’s website here.

Episcopal forum raises awareness about climate change crisis

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Diocese of California Bishop Marc Andrus, a longtime environmental advocate, and Mary D. Nichols, who chairs the Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency, talk about reclaiming climate change as a moral issue on a panel moderated by Fritz Coleman, a local meteorologist. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

[Episcopal News Service – Los Angeles, California] In a deeply politicized country where environmental officials in Florida are forbidden to use the words “climate” and “change” together in a sentence, and where a presidential candidate dismisses the notion that greenhouse gases are causing the earth’s atmosphere to warm, The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society hosted a forum March 24 to address head on the global climate change crisis.

“Why do we call this a crisis? The planet’s regulatory system is being altered,” said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, during a keynote address at the start of a live webcast forum.

“Like a human being with a runaway fever, the malfunctioning thermostat causes a body to slowly self-destruct as inflammation erodes joints, causes nerve cells to misfire, and prevents the digestive system from absorbing nutrients critical to life. This planet is overheating, its climate is changing, and the residents are sick, suffering, and dying,” she continued.

Close to 75 people gathered in the auditorium of Campbell Hall Episcopal School in Studio City, Diocese of Los Angeles, for the climate change crisis forum presented by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society in partnership with Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno. In addition to the presiding bishop’s address, the 90-minute forum included panels focused on the regional impacts of climate change and reclaiming climate change as a moral issue.

Moderated by Fritz Coleman, a climatologist for KNBC 4 television news, panelists included Diocese of California Bishop Marc Andrus, who has made climate change a focus of his episcopacy; Princess Daazhraii Johnson, former executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, one of the oldest indigenous non-profit groups in Alaska focused on protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and a visiting research associate at the California Institute of Technology’s Seismological Laboratory; and Mary D. Nichols, who chairs the Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Additionally, the event kicked off a 30-day interactive campaign developed by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society that includes advocacy days, bulletin inserts, sermons, stories and activities to engage individuals and congregations around climate change. The 30 Days of Action will conclude on Earth Day, April 22.

“Climate change greatly affects us here in Los Angeles – we’re in a place where farmers are leaving crops in the ground and selling their water ration off to other people,” said Bruno, describing one of the reasons why his diocese sponsored the March 24 forum.

The event came as California enters a fourth year of drought – snowpacks have dwindled and groundwater levels have reached historic lows in some areas – and as the East Coast received record snowfalls and below-normal, frigid temperatures.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori delivers the keynote address at the opening of the Climate Crisis Forum in Los Angeles on March 24. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

“Climate is a broad description of weather variability and environmental conditions. We are experiencing more extreme weather and more frequent hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and droughts,” said Jefferts Schori. “Sea level is rising, because ice sheets are melting and because a warming ocean expands. As sea levels rise, coastal flooding becomes more likely and severe storms more destructive. The damage done by [Hurricane] Katrina and Superstorm Sandy are examples, as is the unusual winter much of this continent is experiencing.”

A “crisis” by definition, said Fritz Coleman, the moderator, “is intense trouble or danger, a critical point in history, a point at which decisions must be made.”

Climate change, he continued, is the gradual change in global temperature caused by accumulation of greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere, altering the earth’s temperature. Some areas are getting warmer, as others are getting colder, he explained, which is why “climate change,” not “global warming,” is the preferred term.

“These changes are causing lots of very dangerous changes to our world – disrupting weather patterns, flooding, droughts, an increase in violent storms, and disease – widespread harm to the earth’s ecosystems,” Coleman said. “And here’s the key idea, the impact of climate change is not only to the environment, but it will have an extreme economic impact as well, like major food shortages, shortages of water. The bottom line is, without the reduction of these greenhouse gases, our planet faces serious peril in the 21st century.”

Lucy Jones, the seismologist who serves as a science advisor for risk reduction in the natural hazards mission for the U.S. Geological Survey and who has spent her career studying seismological disasters and how they disrupt society, explained during the panel on regional impact how she has spent the last decade using the science of hazards to look at ways to improve a community’s resilience to natural disasters.

“The very first prediction of climate change is an increase of extreme events, when you put more energy in the atmosphere, there’s more energy to create storms to hold water,” said Jones, a member of St. James Episcopal Church in South Pasadena, California.

It was 20 years ago during a meeting that Jones first heard about climate change; at the time an increase in natural disasters was predicted, which has proved true.

“The expected losses coming from climate-change-induced meteorologic disasters dwarfs all of the other disasters we could be facing,” said Jones. “And if we want to be resilient, we have to be resilient to everything the earth is bringing to us. And our actions through climate change have increased those disasters.”

Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and a visiting research associate at the California Institute of Technology’s Seismological Laboratory, and Princess Daazhraii Johnson, former executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, talk about the regional impacts of climate change on a panel moderated by Fritz Coleman, a local meteorologist. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

In an area prone to coastal erosion or flooding, for example, when a big storm or a wild fire happens on top of that, that’s when the system changes, when species are wiped out and the ecological system cannot recover, she said.

“So we see disasters and extreme events as the mechanism of the significant shifts that are going to happen as climate change changes our world,” said Jones.

Alaska’s indigenous people have already begun to experience significant changes in their natural environment, explained Princess Daazhraii Johnson, who grew up in Arctic Village, on the southern tip of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

“The Arctic is one of the fastest warming places on the planet and we’re seeing the melting of the ice sheets, our glaciers are disappearing, the permafrost is melting, coastal erosion,” said Johnson. “We have entire communities that are having to be relocated.”

Alaska and the Arctic, she said, are experiencing the same climate-related changes as other places, “But the intensity in which we are experiencing them is very great, it’s massive.”

In January, U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to ask Congress to designate 12 of the 19 million acres of the Arctic Wildlife National Refuge as a wilderness-protected area. If passed, the area would become the largest wilderness-protected area since the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964. Faith communities thanked Obama for taking action that “represents a critical step in protecting a sacred part of God’s creation, and we thank you for working to safeguard this national treasure.”

The wilderness designation also would protect the cultural and subsistence rights of the Gwich’in, an indigenous Alaskan people who depend upon the refuge’s porcupine caribou for survival.

The Episcopal Church at its 77th General Convention in 2012 passed legislation saying it “stands in solidarity with those communities who bear the burdens of global climate change,” including indigenous people and marginalized and socially excluded people worldwide.

Some of the changes that have happened to the earth, said Jones, the seismologist, are not reversible and we’re seeing changes in atmospheric and oceanic patterns, but ultimately society needs to be asking the right questions.

“You get a bunch of scientists together and we’ll argue with each other … it’s a key moment when scientists stop arguing, and we’ve stopped arguing about whether climate change is happening,” she said, adding that they still argue over what is millennial cycle versus what is human activity, but they agree it’s happening.

Outside the research community, she said, the question should be: “Do our actions make a difference?” And the answer to that, she said, is simple: “Yes. When you build a fire and when you run a car, you are putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere … The human population has grown exponentially, and therefore, the number of people doing that has grown exponentially.”

As Jefferts Schori said in her keynote address: “Scientists have been studying human impacts on our global biosphere for decades, and today there is clear consensus about the effects of these gases on the mean temperature of the planet. There are a few very loud voices who insist this is only ‘natural variation,’ but the data do not lie. Those voices are often driven by greed and self-centered political interests, and sometimes by willful blindness.

“The Judeo-Christian tradition has always called those motivations sinful. It is decidedly wrong to use resources that have been given into our collective care in ways that diminish the ability of others to share in abundant life. It is equally wrong to fail to use resources of memory, reason, and skill to discern what is going on in the world around us. That has traditionally been called a sin of omission.”

Moving into the second panel, Coleman asked why climate change is a moral issue, to which Mary D. Nichols, who for years has worked on air quality and is a member of Los Angeles’ St. James in the City Episcopal Church, responded: “Human beings are the principal cause for the exaggerated effects that we are seeing on our planet and therefore it is incumbent upon us to take responsibility for that and to take action.

“It’s a moral issue, I think, because when we think of things in moral terms, it tends to stretch us a little bit beyond our everyday comfort zone, and we have to get beyond our everyday comfort zone in order to do some things that may seem difficult.”

If you look at any religious tradition, Nichols added, each has an element that recognizes humanity as subject to God, not the other way around.

“Certainly as an Episcopalian I can find citations in terms of gardens and stewardship and so forth … and therefore when we do something that massively upsets God’s creation, and God’s plan for us, we have a moral obligation to do something about it,” she said. “Though it makes some people uncomfortable to talk that way.”

The event, said Coleman, was very hopeful, not only for The Episcopal Church in its forward thinking, but that in her address the presiding bishop elevated the discussion from a religious discussion to a human discussion.

“I think it’s wonderful that The Episcopal Church has been at the forefront of having these discussions open to everyone on the Internet. What’s perplexing is that, in general, all faiths have been so timid about addressing this issue, publically and up until this point,” he said.

Coleman speculated that it might be because religious leaders themselves are caught up in the politics, as well.

“We’ve been speaking up, The Episcopal Church is working hard,” said Bishop Marc Andrus, as evidenced by actions being taken in the Diocese of Los Angeles toward food justice, and the Diocese of California’s involvement with Interfaith Power and Light, a religious coalition that campaigns on the issue of climate change. “But the church lost the bully pulpit somewhere in the 1960s, and a lot of things changed.”

But, he said, there is some immorality involved and the media has been involved.

“The media has a lot to answer for; they are shaping the story,” he said, citing Chris Hayes, and MSNBC journalist who recently said it’s time to stop saying everything is balanced.

If a climate denier is running for political office, rather than cite the 1 percent of scientists on the fringe that may support that view, it would be more accurate to say, “This person denies climate [change] despite the evidence, and that’s what Chris was saying,” said Andrus.

“And furthermore, we should take our own voice,” he said. “The church needs to, in my opinion, not rely overly on giving the last word to people who are being paid to do advertisements, but rather gain our own prophetic voice and put our own stories out.”

For more on reclaiming climate change as a moral look for a related story on Episcopal News Service on March 30 as part of the 30 Days of Action.

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

 

Church of England appoints second female bishop

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Photo: Diocese of York

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Canon Alison White has been named as the next bishop of Hull. As a bishop suffragan in the Diocese of York, White will become the Church of England’s second female bishop when she is consecrated on July 3 in York Minster.

White, 58, is currently priest-in-charge of Riding Mill in the Diocese of Newcastle and diocesan adviser for spirituality and spiritual direction.

As bishop of Hull, she will have responsibilities “both as ambassador for prayer, spiritual & numerical growth and ambassador for urban life & faith,” according to a church press release.

“This is a joyous day,” said Archbishop of York John Sentamu. “Alison is a person of real godliness and wisdom – it is fantastic that she has accepted God’s call to make Christ visible together with all of us in this Diocese of York.”

White said: “In 2010, I was privileged to be invited to take part in the York Diocesan Clergy Conference where I got a profound sense of a diocese with faith and hope. I … can’t wait to be part of loving God and growing the church in this great part of Yorkshire.”

The Rt. Rev. Martin Wharton, the recently retired bishop of Newcastle, said, “I am thrilled that Alison’s priestly and personal gifts have been recognized by the wider church and believe she will be an outstanding bishop who will quickly endear herself to the people of Hull and the East Riding. As the second woman to be appointed bishop in the Church of England, we rejoice with her and pray for her.”

In January, Libby Lane was ordained and consecrated as the first female bishop in the history of the Church of England when she became the eighth bishop of Stockport, a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester.

The appointments come following more than a decade of often-emotional debate, accompanied by various stages of legislative action, about opening the episcopate to women. The Church of England voted in July to allow women to become bishops, a decision that was later approved by the U.K. Parliament and given the assent of Queen Elizabeth II. The approvals were required because the church’s decision effectively changed English law. (The Church of England is an officially established Christian church with Queen Elizabeth II as its supreme governor.)

White will succeed the Rt. Rev. Richard Frith, who became bishop of Hereford in November 2014.

After graduating with a degree in English from Durham University, White studied theology at Cranmer Hall, Durham. She was ordained to the diaconate in 1986 and to the priesthood in 1994, being among the first women to be ordained as priests in the Church of England. She earned a master’s degree in theology from Leeds University. From 1989 to 1993 she served as Durham’s diocesan adviser in local mission. She then spent five years as director of mission and pastoral studies at Cranmer Hall. She served as diocesan director of ordinands, also in the Durham diocese, for two years.

She served five years as an adult education officer in the Diocese of Peterborough before moving to the Diocese of Newcastle in 2011.

Alison is married to Bishop Frank White, assistant bishop of Newcastle.

The Climate Change Crisis Forum now available for viewing

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Now available here is the Climate Change Crisis, presented by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society on March 24. Addressing one of the most significant topics in today’s society, the 90-minute live webcast originated from Campbell Hall Episcopal School, North Hollywood, CA, in partnership with Bishop J. Jon Bruno and the Diocese of Los Angeles.

The forum was moderated by well-known climatologist Fritz Coleman of KNBC 4 television news.  Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presented the keynote address (listed below). Two panels focused on specific areas of the climate change crisis: Regional Impacts of Climate Change; and Reclaiming Climate Change as a Moral Issue.

30 Days of Action
In addition to stimulating conversation and raising awareness about The Climate Change Crisis, the live webcast served as the kickoff to 30 Days of Action. A range of activities developed by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society are offered for individuals and congregations to understand the environmental crisis. The activities will culminate on Earth Day, April 22.  The 30 Days of Action located here.

The event supported Mark 5 of the Anglican Communion’s Marks of Mission: To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth. Anglican Five Marks of Mission are here. The Five Marks of Mission form the basis for the triennial budget of The Episcopal Church adopted by the 77th General Convention in July 2012.

The event is one of the aspects of commemorating The Episcopal Church’s 150th year of parish ministry in Southern California.

For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org.

Keynote Presentation
The following is the keynote address presented by the Presiding Bishop.

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

Episcopalians have a prayer that names “this fragile earth, our island home.” [1]   We’ve been praying it for nearly 40 years, yet many are only beginning to awaken to our wanton abuse of this planet.  We profess that God has planted us in a garden to care for it and for all its inhabitants, yet we have failed to love what God has given us.  We continue to squander the resources of this earth, and we are damaging its ability to nourish the garden’s diverse web of life.

The collective impact of the human species on this planet is prompting many to name this the Anthropocene age[2]  – an era characterized by human changes with global impact.  We are unwittingly redesigning the earth on time scales that are infinitesimal compared to previous geological and evolutionary rates.  The carbon dioxide and other gases being pumped into the atmosphere are creating an insulating blanket that accumulates heat faster than it can be radiated into space.  Most of those gases come from burning fossil fuels, removing forests, and producing animal protein for human consumption.

Scientists have been studying human impacts on our global biosphere for decades, and today there is clear consensus about the effects of these gases on the mean temperature of the planet.  There are a few very loud voices who insist this is only “natural variation,” but the data do not lie.  Those voices are often driven by greed and self-centered political interests, and sometimes by willful blindness.  The Judeo-Christian tradition has always called those motivations sinful.  It is decidedly wrong to use resources that have been given into our collective care in ways that diminish the ability of others to share in abundant life.  It is equally wrong to fail to use resources of memory, reason, and skill to discern what is going on in the world around us.  That has traditionally been called a sin of omission.

Why do we call this a crisis?  The planet’s regulatory system is being altered.  Like a human being with a runaway fever, the malfunctioning thermostat causes a body to slowly self-destruct as inflammation erodes joints, causes nerve cells to misfire, and prevents the digestive system from absorbing nutrients critical to life.  This planet is overheating, its climate is changing, and the residents are sick, suffering, and dying.

Climate is a broad description of weather variability and environmental conditions.  We are experiencing more extreme weather and more frequent hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and droughts.  Sea level is rising, because ice sheets are melting and because a warming ocean expands.  As sea levels rise coastal flooding becomes more likely and severe storms more destructive.  The damage done by Katrina and Superstorm Sandy are examples, as is the unusual winter much of this continent is experiencing.

Shifting climate alters our ability to grow food crops in historical locales, often leading to food shortages and famines.  Deserts are expanding, snow pack declining, and drought plagues a drying West, where wildfires are more frequent and more damaging, and fresh water is increasingly scarce.  Commercial agricultural practices in the developed world contribute more carbon to the atmosphere, when wiser ways could be storing large quantities of carbon in healthier and more productive soils.[3]  Historic conditions are changing so quickly that species adapted to particular environments over geologic time spans can’t adapt.  Warmer conditions are prompting species to seek cooler environments, with limited success, by moving higher on mountain slopes, deeper in the ocean, or closer to the poles.

Life in the oceans has additional challenges.  Species that build skeletons of calcium carbonate find it harder to build or maintain their shells as increasing amounts of carbon dioxide dissolve in sea water and make it more acidic.  Several kinds of plankton [4] are already challenged.  As their populations begin to shrink, other parts of the food chain get hungrier or disappear.  More CO2 in the atmosphere ultimately means fewer fish, shrimp, whales, and seabirds.

Coral reefs, which take centuries to build, are also in imminent danger.  As sea temperature rises, corals often respond by expelling the symbiotic algae that provide much of their food. [5]  Debilitated corals may not grow fast enough to keep themselves in reach of sunlight, [6] and dying reefs are quickly destroyed by waves and storms.  Coral reefs rival tropical rain forests as the richest and most diverse ecosystems on the planet. [7] Both shelter countless numbers of yet-undescribed species.  That diversity is a wondrous gift of life in itself, and is increasingly recognized as a potential source of healing pharmaceuticals.[8]

The human population explosion of recent millennia, accompanied by exploitation of fossil fuels in recent centuries, have moved this planetary system out of dynamic equilibrium.  Human appetites are responsible for the collapse of that equilibrium,[9]  particularly in developed nations, and many species are threatened with diminishment and loss of life.  We are making war on the integrity of this planet.  The result is wholesale death as species become extinct at unprecedented rates, and human beings die from disease, starvation, and the violence of war unleashed by environmental chaos and greed.

We were planted in this garden to care for it – literally, “to have dominion” over its creatures.[10]   Dominion means caring for our island home, the oikos [11]  that gives birth to economy and ecology. [12]   This is housekeeping and husbanding work – caring for what sustains us all.  We are meant to love God and what God has created, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Jesus insists that those who will enjoy abundant life are those who care for all neighbors, especially “the least of these” [13] – the hungry and thirsty, the imprisoned and sick – and that must include all the species God has nurtured on this planet.

God’s presence among us in human form changed the nature of relationship with all creation.  Even those who cannot understand the duty to care for birds and sea creatures must recognize that the life of human beings depends on the health of the whole planet.  The poorest human beings are soonest and most deeply affected by climatic changes, and least able to respond.  Ultimately human beings with the most resource-intensive lifestyles are causing the hunger and thirst, displacement, illness, and impoverishment of climate refugees and those without resources to adapt.  There is no escape from that death and destruction, for our fate is tied to the fate of all our neighbors – the salvation of each depends on the salvation of all.

A crisis is a decision point, a time of judgment.  We can choose to change our destructive and overly consumptive ways, or we can ignore the consequences of our actions and slowly steam like proverbial frogs in a soup pot.  We still have some opportunity to choose, but that kairos moment will not last long.  We have before us this day life and death.[14]   Which will we choose?

1 Book of Common Prayer p 370
2 E.g., The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert.  Holt, 2014.
3 For a brief introduction, cf. Norman Wirzba, “Carbon and Compost,” Christian Century 4 March 2015, 28-29
4 The tiny plants and animals that provide much of the food for larger creatures in the oceans
5 Often referred to as “bleaching”
6 http://www.reefresilience.org/coral-reefs/stressors/climate-and-ocean-change/sea-level-rise/
7 http://coral.org/coral-reefs-101/coral-reef-ecology/coral-reef-biodiversity/
8 http://coralreef.noaa.gov/aboutcorals/values/medicine/
9 Beginning with the hunting of large animal species several tens of thousand years ago.
10 Genesis 1:26,28
11 Greek for “house” or “home”
12 Economy,  ‘house rules’ or ‘home management’; Ecology, ‘study of the house’
13 Matthew 25:45-46
14 Deuteronomy 30:19

EPPN Lenten Series: Engaging Poverty Through Creation Care

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

[Episcopal Public Policy Network] So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. -Psalms 104: 25-30

Considering that nearly half the world –over three billion people –live on less than $2.50 USD a day, the vastness of global poverty can seem overwhelming. Why should we seek to confront any other problem before we have successfully ended the terrible behemoth of poverty in our time?

Certainly, poverty is an imperative challenge that our faith calls us to address. At the same time, it is important that we do not solely focus on the human elements of this issue without contextualizing human need in the vast and intricate natural world that God has provided for us to steward and enjoy. Poverty and creation care are inextricably linked, and rather than competing causes, these issues should be addressed together and holistically.

Coal country presents us with such an opportunity. The coal industry is one of the primary sources of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, and a leading contributor to air pollution.  At the same time, hardworking men and women have labored in the coalmines for generations and rely upon these jobs to provide for their families.

Addressing the environmental degradation of the coal industry without harming the people who depend upon it is a massive challenge, yet it is not insurmountable. For example, legislators can create incentives for renewable energy production such as wind and solar that offer viable employment options for coal industry workers. Renewable energy production is an environmentally sound alternative to coal that can help to mitigate the impacts of climate change while stimulating the local economy.

Another community whose welfare is intrinsically linked to the environment is the Gwich’in people of Alaska. The Gwich’in, the majority of whom are Episcopalian, live in remote villages above the Arctic Circle and hunt the Porcupine caribou herd to provide food for their families. Oil extraction on the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would significantly affect the birthing success of the caribou, diminishing herd numbers and irreparably altering the Gwich’in way of life. Fossil fuel extraction has the potential to impoverish this native Alaskan people through robbing them of their subsistence lifestyle.

The Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act (HR 239) is a bill in the United States House of Representatives that would designate the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as Wilderness. HR 239 would ensure that the Coastal Plain is permanently protected from oil drilling so that future generations of Gwich’in can continue to hunt the caribou as their ancestors for generations before. In January of this year, President Obama called upon Congress to permanently protect the Coastal Plain, and now it’s time for Congress to act.

While many of us do not live a subsistence lifestyle or work in the mines of coal country, we all depend upon the land for our food, our water, and our shelter. The earth is our great wealth, and God has entrusted us to steward it accordingly. To effectively address poverty, we must also conserve and nourish the environment that sustains us. All things belong to God; let us work together to make the earth and its people whole.

Gwich’in Reflection:

My name is Allan Hayton, my Athabascan name is Ditòn. I am Gwich’in and Koyukon on my mother’s side, and Scottish & Irish on my father’s side, however both sides of my family are Episcopal going back generations. I grew up in Arctic Village, Alaska on the Venetie Indian Reservation. Every Sunday we would pray and sing in Bishop Rowe Chapel in our Gwich’in language, and our tables were filled with bounty from the land, especially caribou, our primary sustenance. It is a remote community for the rest of the world, but for me it is the place nearest to my heart.

When I reflect on my Athabascan ancestors, I am always in awe of their reliance on an intimate knowledge of the land, of the animals and proper relationship to the world around them. It is a way of life passed down through generations that Gwich’in people call Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa. The closest way to explain this term is as a spiritual relationship and practice.

Gwintł’ee’adaachii is how the animals give themselves to us for our survival, with the nourishment, clothing, tools, and a spiritual life that is a connection to all living things. In return, we must show them utmost respect and care. We must take only what we need, use all we take, and share with everyone. If we fail to respect the land and animals that provide for us, we upset the balance, and our own survival will be placed in jeopardy.

For this reason, and for our ancient way of life, Gwich’in have been opposed to oil development within the calving grounds of the Porcupine Caribou Herd within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The caribou has sustained our people for countless generations and will continue to do so far into the future, if we can respect the balance. We are grateful to The Episcopal Church for standing with us in protecting this sacred trust for future generations. Mahsi’ choo!

Resources:

Take action to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by urging your members of Congress to support the Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act (HR 239). Go here.

Engage in envionmental action by participating in the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s 30 Days of Action on Climate. Join here.

Watch The Climate Change Crisis forum hosted by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and the Diocese of Los Angeles 3/24 here.

Share a ministry your church has that engages environmental stewardship on Mission Centered, an online community for Episcopal mission.

That it may please thee to look with favor upon all who care for the earth, the water, and the air, that the riches of thy creation may abound from age to age,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

-The Book of Occasional Services, Rogation Procession

This is the sixth installment of the Episcopal Public Policy Network’s 2015 Lenten Series: “Engaging Poverty at Home and Around the World.” To view previous reflections, click here. To receive these reflections to your inbox each Wednesday of Lent, sign up here.

Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society reports $2.4 million annual surplus

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City, Utah] Responding to financial reports by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society leadership showing yearly income exceeding expenses (or “surplus”) of nearly $2.4 million, The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, during its March 19-21 meeting here, adopted a resolution celebrating the financial stewardship of the society’s staff and management. The resolution acknowledges in particular the “consistent, visionary leadership” of Chief Operating Officer Bishop Stacy F. Sauls and Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer N. Kurt Barnes in reducing expenses and generating income.

A presentation by Barnes on the meeting’s first day showed a preliminary net result (income less expenses) of $2.4 million in the churchwide budget for fiscal year 2014, the middle year of the 2013-2015 triennial budget.

The surplus, which appears in budget lines overseen by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society management, represents “a better result than budgeted” for 2014, according to Barnes. “The strong financial position of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society comes through taking advantage of opportunities for revenue generation, as well substantial savings in operating expenses,” he said.

The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is the name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business, and carries out mission.

Annual income exceeded projections by more than $2.5 million, primarily a result of unanticipated increases in: rental income generated by making more efficient use of space and the leasing of excess space at the Episcopal Church Center in New York; renegotiation of loans and lines of credit; and steady diocesan giving. Savings in operating expenses came primarily as a result of careful budget management by staff in every area: mission, administration and governance.

These savings do not, however, equate with a reduced mission footprint, according to Sauls.

“We are committed to being held accountable for measureable mission deliverables,” Sauls said, pointing to the recently released Report to the Church 2015, an online magazine published in January that illustrates the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s work to support local communities in The Episcopal Church working toward each of the Five Marks of Mission.

“We are trying to lead the churchwide staff to a cultural shift toward mission and away from maintenance; toward service and away from regulation,” Sauls continued.

“The purpose of a churchwide missionary society is the redistribution and targeting of our resources, both financial and personnel, to the parts of the body which, though financially poor, are among our richest communities in vision and creativity toward mission and have the most potential,” Sauls added. “The present financial picture shows a churchwide structure already living into a future that is mission-driven, Gospel-based, and rooted in ministry at the local level.”

Reaction from Executive Council members
The resolution recognizing the financial leadership of the staff originated with the Executive Council’s Joint Standing Committee on World Mission. The full council adopted it unanimously on the final day of its meeting and several members later praised the financial standing of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.

“A $2.4 million budget surplus indicates the careful oversight of spending, and careful financial stewardship of the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, chief operating officer, and Kurt Barnes, [treasurer and chief financial officer],” said World Mission committee member and Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Provisional Clifton Daniel.

“Many thanks are owed them for their vigilance, which frees additional funding for the growing missionary vision of this church,” Daniel said.

Council member John Johnson, a General Convention deputy from the Diocese of Washington, agreed.

“This surplus is great news for all Episcopalians. Excellent fiscal management and oversight of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society operations and programs demonstrates that we are a church of abundance and opportunity,” Johnson said.

“Moving forward, I believe deputies to General Convention and other church leaders need to create a new strategic vision and mission for a renewed Episcopal Church focused on taking [the] church to the world and not the other way around,” Johnson added.

Another council member, the Rev. Dahn Gandell of the Diocese of Rochester, said, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff “has done an excellent job managing the financial resources of our church. Net income has exceeded expenses in nine of the last 10 years due to increased revenue and expenses coming in under budget while still accomplishing the goals set by the General Convention and Executive Council.”

“It is important that the church is aware of these successes and acknowledges Bishop Stacy Sauls and Kurt Barnes for their leadership and commitment to our church and its mission,” she said.

Several council committee chairs used their final triennial reports to the council to praise a relationship between Domestic and Foreign Missionary staff and the council that they said had improved markedly over past triennia.

Lelanda Lee, a General Convention deputy from the Diocese of Colorado and the chair of the council’s Joint Standing Committee on Advocacy and Networking, noted, “The [staff-council] collaboration has been very welcome and very effective.” Steve Hutchinson, a deputy from the Diocese of Utah and the chair of the council’s Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Administration for Mission, said that “the working relationship this triennium between the standing committees of council and the staff…[is] noticeably more engaged, constructive and helpful, and an improvement from the prior triennium.”

As part of his report to council, Bishop Mark Hollingsworth of Ohio, chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission, praised the “skill, wisdom, creativity, and faith” of the staff members that have worked with his committee during the present triennium, all of whom “have been essential to the carrying out of our mission and activities.”

Revenue generation and staff dispersal
Multiple factors contributed to the generation of $40.6 million in revenue, more than $2.5 million beyond budget projections, during 2014. These include an unanticipated rise in giving as well as rental income that exceeded forecasts.

The lease of unused floors of The Episcopal Church Center to outside tenants dates to 2009, but has increased markedly during the present triennium. Currently, five floors are fully leased by outside tenants. The leasing of space has been made possible, in part, by an initiative of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s management in the present triennium to base increasing numbers of staff outside New York.

“We have made disbursing the staff to connect to local ministry a priority.  A side benefit has been the availability of additional space to rent to others,” said Sauls.

In contrast to six years ago, when nearly all employees of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society lived in the New York metropolitan area and worked out of The Episcopal Church Center, at present approximately 45% of employees – including most mission staff – live and work elsewhere.

“Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff members currently live and work in places as diverse as Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, Minnesota, Dallas, Ohio, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Orlando, Austin, and Buffalo,” said Samuel A. McDonald, deputy chief operating officer and director of mission. “In fact, as part of our international mission and identity, we also have staff living in places like Hong Kong, Panama, and Edinburgh.”

“While revenue generation is one ancillary benefit of the staff’s disbursement, the primary virtue has been that it has allowed the staff to become more responsive and accountable to the wider church, more grounded in local conversations and context for mission, and – perhaps most importantly – more productive in measurable deliverables toward mission,” McDonald added.

An increased mission footprint
Like Sauls, McDonald noted that an accurate picture of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s mission footprint can be found in the Report to the Church 2015, which is available in English, Spanish and French on the website of The Episcopal Church. In addition to extensive narrative presentations, illustrations, and videos related to each of the mission marks, the report contains an extensive appendix detailing specifics of the society’s work in each of the church’s dioceses.

Spanish and French translations of the report are also available online.

“The Report to the Church is all about partnership, illustrating the impact of churchwide resources when matched with local efforts,” McDonald said. “It is organized according to the Five Marks of Mission because the work of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, like the triennial budget, is organized around those marks.”

The 2013-2015 triennial budget of The Episcopal Church was organized according to the Five Marks of Mission for the first time ever after the idea and a model budget were proposed to the 77th General Convention by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Sauls cited church planting as an example of a mission focus in which limited but strategically leveraged investments at the churchwide level have begun to return dividends in local contexts.

“In the last triennium, there were eleven new church starts in all of The Episcopal Church, five of which were in Texas,” Sauls said. “Outside of Texas, there were just six new church starts, and the churchwide investment in this work was zero.

“This triennium, so far, we have planted 38 new churches or ‘mission enterprise zones,’ which are clusters of congregations or communities working in evangelism contexts historically underserved by our church: youth and young adults, communities of color, poor and working-class communities, or communities with little church or religious background,” Sauls continued.

“Approximately half of these are in Spanish-speaking contexts. We’ve done this by making available $1.8 million in grant money,” he said. “Through the miracle of partnerships – meaning matching funds from our partners, the dioceses – we’ve leveraged nearly $4 million toward these new church starts this triennium.”

Other examples of mission expansion cited by Sauls include the Missionary Society’s successful push to double the size of the Young Adult Service Corps this triennium and increase its ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, and recent work toward financial sustainability for Province IX dioceses. At March 13-17 meeting of the House of Bishops, Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society leaders announced that three Province IX dioceses (as opposed to the one originally planned) are on track to secure financial operation by 2019 thanks to partnership with the society.

Sauls cited the inauguration in 2013 of the Diocesan Partnership Program as a turning point in building strong links between the Missionary Society and the dioceses. The program pairs each diocese with a member of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff in order to create an easy contact and point of accountability for mission deliverables.

Each of these initiatives is covered in detail in the Report to the Church.

“The name of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is nearly 200 years old, but as we seek to live fully into that name, it becomes clearer every day that a missionary society grounded outside itself is the future of churchwide organization,” Sauls said. “Churches that turn inward will die. Churches that turn outward will live abundantly.”

El Consejo Ejecutivo recapitula la labor del trienio 2013-2015

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

El consejo Ejecutivo se reúne el 21 de marzo en su última sesión plenaria del trienio 2013-2015. La reunión del 19 al 21 de marzo tuvo lugar en el centro de Salt Lake City, cerca del Centro de Convenciones Salt Palace, el lugar donde sesionará la Convención General del 23 de junio al 3 de julio. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City, Utah] El Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal durante su reunión del 19 al 21 de marzo en esta ciudad, celebró la labor realizada y se proyectó hacia el porvenir.

“Una buena cantidad de energía durante la reunión se dedicó a los problemas de la transición”, dijo la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts durante una conferencia de prensa. “El Consejo Ejecutivo revisó su labor del último trienio e hizo recomendaciones que serán aprobadas en la próxima iteración del Consejo Ejecutivo”.

“La labor del Consejo Ejecutivo ha sido intensa este trienio y creo que tienen [sus miembros] buenas razones para sentirse orgullosos de lo que han realizado”, añadió.

La Rda. Gay Clark Jennings, presidente de la Cámara de Diputados, dijo durante la conferencia de prensa que “una cosa que distingue a este Consejo es que a través del trienio” [sus miembros] han prestado una mirada crítica en lo que respecta a las funciones del Consejo y a la manera en que el Consejo puede tener un funcionamiento aun más efectivo”.

Cada uno de los cinco comités permanentes del Consejo escribió un memo a su sucesor, en el que bosquejaba el trabajo realizado, así como la labor parcialmente concluida que recomendaban continuar, y la clase saliente ha escrito un memorando semejante sobre el funcionamiento general del Consejo. La mitad de los 38 miembros termina su período este verano después de la 78ª. reunión de la Convención General.

Cuando esa reunión sesione aquí en Salt Lake City, del 23 de junio al 3 de julio, los debates sobre las estructuras de gobierno de la Iglesia Episcopal, incluido el Consejo, se destacarán de manera prominente. En una de sus últimas decisiones del trienio, el Consejo convino en publicar una respuesta a algunas de las recomendaciones del Equipo de Trabajo para Reinventar la Iglesia Episcopal

( o TREC, por su sigla en inglés). El TREC surgió de Resolución C095 de la Convención General, la cual solicitaba la creación de un comité que presentara un plan para “reformar las estructuras de gobierno y administración de la Iglesia”.

“Había pensado que podría haber un modo de encontrar consenso en torno al informe del TREC, [pero] no creo que haya mucho consenso acerca de ese informe”, dijo al Consejo John Johnson, que presidió un pequeño grupo de miembros del Consejo que redactó la respuesta, al tiempo de someter su informe a la aprobación del pleno.

Debido a esa falta de consenso, el comité hizo algunos comentarios generales acerca del informe antes de responder específicamente a lo que el TREC dijo acerca del Consejo Ejecutivo.

La declaración, cuyo texto final estará disponible en breve, decía que las resoluciones estructurales del TREC, “si bien audaces para algunos, seguían una senda con frecuencia concentrada en ahorrar dinero, pero sin una clara visión de cuál sería la misión que le permitiría llevar a cabo a la Iglesia una nueva estructura”.

La declaración decía que el Consejo está “comprometido con un cambio razonado y audaz en la estructura y el gobierno de la Iglesia Episcopal” y añadía que “el alcance de la labor del TREC puede no haber sido presentar una nueva misión audaz para la Iglesia Episcopal a escala denominacional, sino indagar con la Iglesia qué aspecto podría tener esa renovación”.

Deborah Stokes, miembro del Consejo Ejecutivo, dirige la Oración de los Fieles durante la eucaristía del 21 de marzo. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

“¿Es la misión de la Iglesia Episcopal llevar el mundo a la Iglesia o llevar la Iglesia Episcopal al mundo y qué aspecto eso tiene en el siglo XXI?” preguntó el Consejo.

El Consejo Ejecutivo lleva a cabo los programas y políticas adoptadas por la Convención General, conforme al Canon I.4 (1)(a). El Consejo está compuesto de 38 miembros, 20 de los cuales (cuatro obispos, cuatro presbíteros o diáconos y 12 laicos) son elegidos por la Convención General, y 18 por los nueve sínodos provinciales (un clérigo y un laico cada uno) por períodos de seis años, además del Obispo Primado y el Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados [que son miembros ex oficio]. El TREC ha pedido reducir el número de miembros a 21 “para perfeccionar su eficacia como junta”.

 

El Consejo dijo que la reducción no perfeccionaría su eficacia. “Si bien entendemos la preocupación respecto a reducir los costos de gobierno, también nos preocupa que falsas economías pudieran afectar a la Iglesia a largo plazo”, decía la declaración.

El Consejo se divide en cinco comités permanentes, además de algunos subcomités ocasionales, y la declaración decía que gran parte de la labor del Consejo tiene lugar en esos pequeños grupos, “lo cual le permite al Consejo participar en un profundo debate sustantivo sobre importantes intereses fiduciarios y misionales en un grupo de tamaño manejable”.

Reducir el tamaño del Consejo “significa inevitablemente disminuir la representación y perspectivas de la Iglesia a escala denominacional”, dijo el Consejo, añadiendo que un Consejo más pequeño también significaría “disminuir su capacidad para la supervisión fiduciaria”.

La última reunión de la Convención también expresó, mediante la Resolución D016, que “es la voluntad de esta Convención mudar las oficinas centrales del centro denominacional” del edificio que la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera posee en el No. 815 de la Segunda Avenida en Nueva York(La DFMS [Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society] es el nombre legal y canónico con el cual la Iglesia Episcopal está incorporada, funciona empresarialmente y lleva a cabo la misión).

El texto final de la resolución fue notablemente enmendado durante el debate en la Convención para eliminar las instrucciones que le habrían exigido al Consejo vender o alquilar toda la propiedad y reubicar el centro denominacional “tan pronto como fuera económicamente factible”.

El Consejo ha dedicado el trienio a estudiar las implicaciones de la D016, y el 21 de marzo convino en conservar y proseguir la labor del subcomité sobre la reubicación del centro denominacional mediante la creación de un comité ad hoc del Consejo Ejecutivo para el próximo trienio.

El comité estará encargado de examinar los aspectos misionales, estratégicos y económicos de la ubicación del centro denominacional y ofrecer una recomendación final al Consejo Ejecutivo. La tarea es semejante a la del subcomité cuya labor está por terminar.

Bryan Krislock, miembro del Consejo, que copresidía el subcomité con Fredrica Harris Thompsett, dijo que el extenso “proceso de escuchar” del grupo (incluida una encuesta a escala denominacional y entrevistas individuales con “miembros clave”) mostraban que “para decirlo sin tapujos, no había consenso”. El [proceso de] escuchar “revelaba una profunda división entre los miembros de la Iglesia, no sólo específica de los miembros del Consejo sino de los miembros de la Iglesia desde el punto de vista de lo que es la mejor estrategia misional para el centro denominacional”, explicó él.

Algunos creen que no es necesario [tener] un edificio, otros dijeron que debía de haber múltiples ubicaciones, otros dijeron que debía de haber una presencia en la zona de Nueva York, pero no en la dirección actual, mientras otros pidieron una localidad más geográficamente central en Estados Unidos. Las “facciones significativas” de opinión provienen de todas partes del país, y en todos los órdenes de ministerio y tienen toda clase de relaciones con la DFMS, dijo Krislock.

El subcomité trabajó con profesionales para analizar posibles sitios alternativos y el costo que conllevaban tales mudanzas. “Tenemos una excelente información económica”, le dijo a sus colegas Harris Thompsett. “Disponemos de alguna información estratégica, pero no contamos aún con una clara orientación respecto a un centro o centros de la denominación”.

Krislock dijo que el subcomité “sigue forcejeando con las más amplias interrogantes estratégicas acerca de dónde el centro denominacional o el personal de la Iglesia debe ubicarse, como esos [sitios] interactúan con los costos y la mejor manera de evaluar la información económica que hemos recibido y analizarla de una manera significativa para preparar una última recomendación”.

Al subcomité le preocupaba que su labor hasta la fecha se perdiera en la transición entre trienios, dijo él. El grupo cree que la labor debe continuar “y no dejar la impresión de que en esencia la hemos abandonado”.

Harris Thompsett estuvo de acuerdo, añadiendo “hemos ido tan lejos como pudimos con inteligencia e integridad”.

Al preguntarle por qué el nuevo comité presentaría sus recomendaciones finales al Consejo y no a la Convención General, Krislock hizo notar que la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera que es dueña de la propiedad del centro denominacional en Nueva York, y el Consejo, como su junta directiva, es la única entidad que puede tomar la decisión de venderla.

El subcomité no tardará en presentar un informe que se propone ser un apéndice al informe del Consejo en el Libro Azul. Ese informe no contendrá especificidades acerca de “impresiones geográficas” o información económica debido al estado incompleto de la labor del subcomité, dijo Harris Thompsett.

En otras decisiones, el Consejo:

  • Ratificó la resolución de la Cámara de Obispos del 17 de marzo por la cual pide que una comisión independiente explore las dimensiones canónicas, ambientales, de conducta y de procedimientos de asuntos que conlleven serias deficiencias de individuos que sirven como líderes en la Iglesia. La comisión, que debe ser nombrada por Jefferts Schori en consulta con Jennings, se supone que le preste especial atención a problemas de adicción y de consumo de substancias estupefacientes. El Consejo revisó el presupuesto de 2015 para incluir $150.000 para financiar la labor de la comisión.
  • Aprobó resoluciones por su Comité Permanente Conjunto sobre Promoción [o Defensa] Social e Interconexiones tocante a instar a los episcopales, así como a organizaciones gubernamentales y no gubernamentales a combatir la trata de personas, la persecución religiosa y el cambio climático.
  • Convino en exigir que todos los niños y el personal que participe en el Programa Infantil de la Convención General sea vacunado. Un niño puede ser exceptuado de la vacunación si presenta un certificado médico que dé fe que el estado físico de la persona excluye una o más inmunizaciones.

La reunión del 19 al 21 de marzo tuvo lugar en el hotel Radisson Salt Lake City Downtown.

Resúmenes de las resoluciones aprobadas por el Consejo en esta reunión pueden verse aquí.

Algunos miembros del Consejo enviaron mensajes por Twitter usando el código #ExCoun.

– La Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg es redactora y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Fornaro named interim president and dean of Episcopal Divinity School

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

[Episcopal Divinity School press release] The Rev. Francis Fornaro has been named interim president and dean of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The announcement was made during a March 23 community Eucharist in St. John’s Memorial Chapel by EDS Trustee the Rev. Warren Radke.

“I am honored to be called to serve an institution that has done so much to form and prepare me for a career in ministry — as it has for so many others,” said Fornaro. “I look forward to working with students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni/ae, and supporters of EDS as together we help our school fulfill its purpose of preparing lay and ordained leaders for Christ’s church and the world.”

The Very Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalski, EDS Board of Trustees chair, issued a statement informing the school community of Fornaro’s appointment, writing: “Please join me in welcoming the Rev. Fornaro in this new role, and on behalf of the Board of Trustees, offer our prayers for his leadership as we successfully pursue the mission of EDS during a period of transition. We are deeply grateful as we take these next steps, confident that we will continue to be enlivened by theologies of liberation and live up to our role as a respected and progressive center for study and spiritual formation.”

Fornaro’s appointment as interim president and dean begins immediately.

Fornaro brings nearly two decades of experience as an ordained leader in The Episcopal Church, including serving as adjunct faculty member at EDS and as a former member of the CREDO faculty where he provided spiritual guidance and support for clergy from diverse parishes across the country. Fornaro’s first career was as a teacher and administrator in the Boston Public Schools. He holds a BS in Education, an MEd in Administration and Organization, and an MDiv from EDS with concentration in Pastoral Theology.

Mensaje de Pascua 2015 de la Obispa Presidente de la Iglesia Episcopal

ENS Headlines - Monday, March 23, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affair press release] “Le encontraremos allí antes que nosotros, aportando vida nueva y verde”, afirma la Obispa Presidente de la Iglesia Episcopal Katharine Jefferts  en su mensaje de Pascua 2015. “El único lugar donde no le encontramos es en la tumba”.

En el 2015, la Pascua se celebra el 5 de abril.

El siguiente es el mensaje de Pascua 2015 de la Obispa Presidente.

Mensaje de Pascua 2015

Todavía es de noche cuando María se aventura a encontrar la tumba. Los cementerios alrededor de Jerusalén hoy no tienen mucha vegetación. La tierra es principalmente rocosa y de piedra, y no es fácil lograr un lugar para proteger a un cuerpo. El cuerpo de Jesús fue puesto en un espacio como una cueva, con una piedra rodada sobre la apertura para cubrirla. María ha hecho el viaje, desde el lugar donde estuvo refugiada el último día, a través de calles oscuras, quizás oyendo a los gallos que empezaban a cantar y a la gente del pueblo que comenzaba a despertarse.

Se acerca al lugar, pero de alguna manera parece diferente a como lo dejaron, ¿éste no puede ser, verdad? ¿Quién movió la piedra? A un viaje, iniciado en lágrimas y dolor, ahora se añaden: confusión, rabia, shock, caos y abandono. El propio cuerpo de Jesús ha sido robado.

Corre a contárselo a los demás. Los tres regresan a la tumba; no, el cuerpo no está allí, aunque algunas sábanas estaban en el suelo. ¿Quién ha desgarrado el sudario y lo ha robado? ¿Por qué ha de continuar la cruel tortura, el sacrilegio y el insulto, incluso después de la muerte? ¿Quién ha hecho cosa tan horrible? Los hombres huyen de nuevo, dejándola llorar aún más amargamente.

Se asoma una vez más, ¿quiénes son estos, que aparecen tan audaces? “No temas, mujer… ¿por qué lloras?” Se aleja y se encuentra con otro, que dice lo mismo, ¿por qué lloras, qué es lo que buscas? Este jardinero ha sido él mismo plantado y ahora brota verde y vibrante, surgiendo a una vida más plena. Él la desafía a que vaya y comparta esa creciente, gran noticia de primavera y de vida, con los que han huido.

Todavía surgiendo, todavía buscando la unión con el Creador, haciendo un tierna ofrenda a sus queridos amigos, estaré brevemente con vosotros, voy de camino. Id y me encontraréis si buscáis.

El Resucitado todavía ofrece vida a los que buscan evidencia en su jardín – esperanza, amistad, curación, reunión, restauración – a todos los que han sido desarraigados, desconectados, a los que están secos y marchitos, a los que yacen consumiéndose en el desierto. ¿Por qué lloramos o huimos cuando esa promesa permanece?

Podemos encontrar al verde, que todavía surge, si vamos y acompañamos a las Marías en el duelo de este mundo, si vamos a sacar a los aterrorizados que se han retirado a sus agujeros, si vamos a caminar el camino de Emaús con los perdidos y confundidos, si vamos a buscar a los hambrientos en el barrio llamado Galilea. Le encontraremos ya allí antes que nosotros, aportando vida nueva y verde. El único lugar donde no le encontraremos es en la tumba.

La Rvdma. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Obispa Presidente y Primada
Iglesia Episcopal

Presiding Bishop’s Easter message 2015

ENS Headlines - Monday, March 23, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affair press release] “We will find him already there before us, bringing new and verdant life,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori states in her Easter Message 2015. “The only place we will not find him is in the tomb.”

In 2015, Easter is celebrated on April 5.

The following is the Presiding Bishop’s Easter message 2015 in English, Spanish and French.

Easter Message 2015

It’s still dark when Mary ventures out to find the tomb. The graveyards around Jerusalem don’t have much greenery today. The earth is mostly rock and stone, and it is far from easy to make a place to secure a body. Jesus’ body was put in a cave-like space, with a stone rolled across the opening to close it up. Mary has made the journey from wherever she’s sheltered over the last day, through darkened streets, perhaps hearing cocks begin to crow and townspeople start to stir.

She nears the place, but somehow it seems different than they left it – this can’t be it, can it? Who moved the stone? A trip begun in tears and grief now has added burden– confusion, anger, shock, chaos, abandonment. His very body has been stolen.

She runs to tell the others. The three tear back to the tomb – no, the body is not there, though some of the burial cloths remain. Who has torn away the shroud and stolen him away? Why must the cruel torture continue, sacrilege and insult even after death? Who has done this awful thing? The men run away again, leaving her to weep at even greater loss.

She peers in once more – who are these, so bold appearing? “Fear not, woman… why do you weep?” She turns away and meets another, who says the same – why do you weep, who are you looking for? This gardener has himself been planted and now springs up green and vibrant, still rising into greater life. He challenges her to go and share that rising, great news of green and life, with those who have fled.

Still rising, still seeking union with Creator, making tender offering to beloved friends – briefly I am with you, I am on my way. Go and you will find me if you look.

The risen one still offers life to those who will look for evidence of his gardening – hope, friendship, healing, reunion, restoration – to all who have been uprooted, cut off, to those who are parched and withered, to those who lie wasting in the desert. Why do we weep or run away when that promise abides?

We can find that green one, still rising, if we will go stand with the grieving Marys of this world, if we will draw out the terrified who have retreated to their holes, if we will walk the Emmaus road with the lost and confused, if we will search out the hungry in the neighborhood called Galilee. We will find him already there before us, bringing new and verdant life. The only place we will not find him is in the tomb.

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

Mensaje de Pascua 2015

Todavía es de noche cuando María se aventura a encontrar la tumba. Los cementerios alrededor de Jerusalén hoy no tienen mucha vegetación. La tierra es principalmente rocosa y de piedra, y no es fácil lograr un lugar para proteger a un cuerpo. El cuerpo de Jesús fue puesto en un espacio como una cueva, con una piedra rodada sobre la apertura para cubrirla. María ha hecho el viaje, desde el lugar donde estuvo refugiada el último día, a través de calles oscuras, quizás oyendo a los gallos que empezaban a cantar y a la gente del pueblo que comenzaba a despertarse.

Se acerca al lugar, pero de alguna manera parece diferente a como lo dejaron, ¿éste no puede ser, verdad? ¿Quién movió la piedra? A un viaje, iniciado en lágrimas y dolor, ahora se añaden: confusión, rabia, shock, caos y abandono. El propio cuerpo de Jesús ha sido robado.

Corre a contárselo a los demás. Los tres regresan a la tumba; no, el cuerpo no está allí, aunque algunas sábanas estaban en el suelo. ¿Quién ha desgarrado el sudario y lo ha robado? ¿Por qué ha de continuar la cruel tortura, el sacrilegio y el insulto, incluso después de la muerte? ¿Quién ha hecho cosa tan horrible? Los hombres huyen de nuevo, dejándola llorar aún más amargamente.

Se asoma una vez más, ¿quiénes son estos, que aparecen tan audaces? “No temas, mujer… ¿por qué lloras?” Se aleja y se encuentra con otro, que dice lo mismo, ¿por qué lloras, qué es lo que buscas? Este jardinero ha sido él mismo plantado y ahora brota verde y vibrante, surgiendo a una vida más plena. Él la desafía a que vaya y comparta esa creciente, gran noticia de primavera y de vida, con los que han huido.

Todavía surgiendo, todavía buscando la unión con el Creador, haciendo un tierna ofrenda a sus queridos amigos, estaré brevemente con vosotros, voy de camino. Id y me encontraréis si buscáis.

El Resucitado todavía ofrece vida a los que buscan evidencia en su jardín – esperanza, amistad, curación, reunión, restauración – a todos los que han sido desarraigados, desconectados, a los que están secos y marchitos, a los que yacen consumiéndose en el desierto. ¿Por qué lloramos o huimos cuando esa promesa permanece?

Podemos encontrar al verde, que todavía surge, si vamos y acompañamos a las Marías en el duelo de este mundo, si vamos a sacar a los aterrorizados que se han retirado a sus agujeros, si vamos a caminar el camino de Emaús con los perdidos y confundidos, si vamos a buscar a los hambrientos en el barrio llamado Galilea. Le encontraremos ya allí antes que nosotros, aportando vida nueva y verde. El único lugar donde no le encontraremos es en la tumba.

La Rvdma. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Obispa Presidente y Primada
Iglesia Episcopal

Message de Pâques 2015

Il fait encore nuit lorsque Marie se risque à sortir pour trouver le tombeau. Aujourd’hui les cimetières autour de Jérusalem n’ont pas beaucoup de verdure. Le sol est la plupart du temps de la roche et des cailloux et il est bien difficile de trouver un endroit où y protéger un corps. Le corps de Jésus a été placé dans une sorte de grotte, avec une pierre roulée devant pour en fermer l’ouverture. Marie a fait le chemin par les rues sombres depuis le lieu où elle avait trouvé abri le dernier jour, peut-être entendait-elle les coqs qui commençaient à chanter et les gens du village qui commençaient à s’éveiller.

Elle s’approche de l’endroit mais pour une raison quelconque, ne semble pas être comme ils l’avaient laissé, cela n’est pas possible, n’est-ce pas ? Qui a déplacé la pierre ? À un voyage commencé dans les larmes et la peine s’y ajoutent maintenant la confusion, la colère, le choc, le chaos, l’abandon. Son corps lui-même a été volé.

Elle court le dire aux autres. Ils reviennent tous trois jusqu’au tombeau ; non, le corps n’est pas là mais une partie du linceul y est encore. Qui a déchiré le linceul et a volé le corps ? Pourquoi cette torture cruelle doit-elle continuer, ce sacrilège et cette insulte même après sa mort ? Qui a fait cette chose horrible ? Les hommes s’enfuient à nouveau, la laissant en pleurs face à cette douleur plus grande encore.

Elle regarde une fois de plus à l’intérieur – mais qui sont-ils pour apparaître avec tant d’audace ? « N’aie pas peur, femme… pourquoi pleures-tu ? ». Elle se retourne et en voit un autre, qui dit la même chose : pourquoi pleures-tu, qui cherches-tu ? Ce jardinier a été lui-même planté et renait maintenant vert et lumineux, ressuscitant en une vie plus pleine. Il la met au défi d’aller faire part de cette résurrection, cette grande nouvelle de printemps et de vie, à ceux qui ont fui.

S’élevant encore, cherchant encore l’union avec le Créateur, faisant cette offrande à ses amis bien aimés – je suis brièvement avec vous, je suis sur le départ. Allez et vous me trouverez si vous regardez bien.

Le ressuscité offre encore la vie à ceux qui cherchent les preuves de son jardinage, à savoir l’espoir, l’amitié, la guérison, la réunion, la restauration – à tous ceux qui ont été déracinés, coupés, à ceux qui sont desséchés et défraîchis, aux gisants rabougris dans le désert. Pourquoi pleurons-nous ou fuyons-nous alors que cette promesse demeure?

Nous pouvons trouver ce vert, qui renait encore, si nous nous rendons aux côtés des Marie en deuil de ce monde, si nous extirpons les terrorisés qui se sont retirés dans leurs trous, si nous parcourons à pied le chemin d’Emmaüs avec ceux qui sont perdus et confus, si nous allons chercher les affamés dans le quartier appelé Galilée. « Nous le trouverons déjà là avant nous, porteur de la nouvelle vie verdoyante. « Le seul endroit où nous ne le trouverons pas, c’est dans le tombeau ».

La Très Rév. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Évêque président et Primat
de l’Église épiscopale

Program, Budget, and Finance Committee seeks input on draft budget

ENS Headlines - Monday, March 23, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Episcopal Church Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance is seeking comments and input on the draft budget that will be presented to the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

The Joint Nominating Committee for Program, Budget, and Finance received Executive Council’s draft budget in February.

“As General Convention 2015 approaches, Program, Budget, and Finance would like to hear comments and suggestions from all corners of the church,” commented the Rev. Mally Lloyd of Massachusetts, co-chair of the Program, Budget, and Finance Committee. “This is an opportunity for everyone to have a say in the budget before we arrive at General Convention.”

The Program, Budget, and Finance Budget Explanation, the Executive Council budget narrative, the Draft Budget, and instructions are available:

In English here.

In Spanish here.

Deadline for comments is June 21.

General Convention
The Episcopal Church’s 78th General Convention, June 25 – July 3, will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, UT (Diocese of Utah).

Important dates at General Convention:
Hearing on Budget Income: Friday, June 26, 7 pm – 9 pm
Hearing on Budget Expenses: Saturday, June 27, 7 pm – 9 pm
Joint Session to present the Budget: Wednesday, July 1, 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm
(Note all times are Mountain)

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years, and is the bicameral governing body of the Church. It comprises the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay deputies elected from the 109 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church, at more than 800 members.

Dominic Barrington named dean of St. James Cathedral, Chicago

ENS Headlines - Monday, March 23, 2015

[St. James Cathedral Chicago press release] Saint James Episcopal Cathedral in Chicago has called the Rev. Dominic Barrington, an English priest with a background in arts management and a commitment to supporting the Christian communities in Israel and Palestine, to be its dean.

“In Dominic Barrington, St. James Cathedral has called a strong, loving and wise priest to be its dean,” Chicago Bishop Jeffrey D. Lee said. “I believe he will be an inspirational leader at the cathedral, and a strong presence in the city of Chicago, championing the mission and ministry of the cathedral as a place of extraordinary hospitality, significant outreach, and excellence in the arts.”

Barrington, 52, will be installed as the cathedral’s dean on Sept. 13, pending the approval of non-immigrant visas for him and his family. He said he is eager to begin work at St. James, which he described as “a robust, educated, switched-on Christian community that has a sense of who they are as the Body of Christ in downtown Chicago.”

Though he has served in the Church of England throughout his ordained ministry, Barrington spent a year as an exchange student at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, an Episcopal seminary in Berkeley, California. He later developed an extensive network in the United States through his work in the Holy Land, where he organizes and leads pilgrimages structured to provide income and employment for the indigenous Christian business community.

“We were looking for a dean who could help us to open our doors to a greater cross-section of God’s people, deepen our involvement in the life of the city and strengthen our arts and music program,” said Graham Bell, leader of the cathedral’s governing chapter. “We are delighted that Dominic has accepted our call.”

Barrington has been rector of a church in Kettering, England, 90 miles north of London, for 12 years. He and his wife Alison have two sons, Benedict, 7, and Linus, 5. Before ordination he spent five years with Arts Council England where he worked to create and fund new performance opportunities for many internationally renowned ensembles, including the London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic orchestras.

Líderes religiosos se unen a líderes del mundo empresarial para ponerle fin al azote de la esclavitud

ENS Headlines - Monday, March 23, 2015

Barbara Schafer, presidente de la junta de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias, hace un comentario durante un foro sobre violencia sexual y trata de personas auspiciado por la Oficina de la Comunión Anglicana ante las Naciones Unidas como un evento paralelo a la 59ª. Sesión de la Comisión de las Naciones Unidas sobre la Condición de la Mujer, que tuvo lugar entre el 9 y el 20 de marzo. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service] El número de personas que esclaviza a niños y adultos por dinero se multiplica en el mundo, y los traficantes hacen acumulativamente más dinero que la industria petrolera.

Esa es el cálculo del arzobispo David Moxon, el representante del arzobispo de Cantórbery ante la Santa Sede y director del Centro Anglicano en Roma, quien habló durante un foro reciente en el Centro Denominacional de la Iglesia Episcopal en Nueva York.

Los traficantes tratan a los que esclavizan “como subhumanos, como ganado, como unidades económicas, gente para quienes la dignidad humana, la libertad humana, la oportunidad humana, el potencial humano no existe porque uno puede hacer muchísimo dinero rápidamente”, afirmó.

El foro sobre violencia sexual y trata de personas fue auspiciado por la Oficina de la Comunión Anglicana en las Naciones Unidas como un evento paralelo a la 59ª. Sesión de la Comisión de las Naciones Unidas sobre la Condición de la Mujer (UNCSW, por su sigla en inglés), que se reunió del 9 al 20 de marzo. La capilla de Cristo el Señor en el centro denominacional se llenó de público para la presentación de Moxon el 12 de marzo, la primera parte de la cual se dedicó a que los participantes describieran sus esfuerzos por combatir la trata de personas.

La trata de personas y la esclavitud están “motivadas por un empeño comercial lucrativo, motivado por la codicia, razón por la cual hay una demanda masiva”, dijo Moxon.

Es difícil determinar el número de personas atrapadas en este mercado, dijo él, porque :¿cómo puede uno evaluar algo que está oculto?

Cálculos muy debatidos estiman que [la población esclava] oscila entre 25 millones y 40 millones. Moxon cita el cálculo estimativo del Índice Global de la Esclavitud, de 35,8 millones de personas, pero añade que cualquiera que sea el número “es enorme y tiene que frenarse”.

Sin embargo, cuando la policía intenta concentrarse en los tratantes, “los índices de procesamiento penal son más bien bajos, porque [los traficantes] se desplazan, se mudan, cambian fronteras, atraviesan países¨, afirmó él. A los traficantes “los ayuda la mafia internacional, por ejemplo, de un modo que elude bastante bien la acción de la policía internacional”.

Si bien es importantes rescatar a personas [de las redes] de la trata y de la esclavitud, siguió diciendo Moxon, “no podemos dedicar toda nuestra energía al rescate, sino estaríamos rescatando personas hasta el final de los tiempos”.

Él contrarrestó la desolación de este cuadro al describir lo que llamó una nueva estrategia que vincula a líderes empresariales con líderes religiosos más allá de los límites denominacionales para cerrar la llave comercial de la trata de personas y de este modo propiciar la “quiebra de la esclavitud”.

Las probabilidades están en contra de la eliminación de la trata de personas y su frecuente corolario de violencia sexual, dijo Moxon, pero debemos intentarlo porque “el mundo no será libre hasta que esas personas sean libres”.

Cooperación interreligiosa
La estrategia descrita por Moxon para quebrar el control de los traficantes comenzó hace casi dos años cuando el arzobispo de Cantórbery, Justin Welby, y el papa Francisco se reunieron por primera vez. Welby sabía que Francisco había quedado “profundamente conmovido” al amistarse con una sobreviviente de la trata de personas en Argentina. Welby también sabía que, al principio de su papado, Francisco había pedido que se examinara el papel de la Iglesia en la lucha contra la trata de personas y la esclavitud moderna. Por tanto, dijo Moxon, Welby “se sentía confiado” de que el Papa sería receptivo a la sugerencia de que ambas iglesias trataran de colaborar en la lucha contra la trata.

El papa Francisco y el arzobispo de Cantórbery Justin Welby hallaron un terreno común en el problema de la trata de personas desde la primera vez que se encontraron, dijo el arzobispo David Moxon. Foto de la Red Mundial para la Libertad.

El resultado último fue la formación de la Red Mundial para la Libertad, que tiene por objeto erradicar la esclavitud moderna y la trata de personas para 2020. Ese objetivo fue el tema de un acuerdo que se dio a conocer el 17 de marzo de 2014 en el Vaticano.

Al mismo tiempo, el filántropo y empresario australiano Andrew Forrest, anglicano, decidió legar la fortuna que hizo en la industria mineral. En medio de ese empeño, su hija le pidió que le prestara atención a la trata de personas. [En consecuencia], él creó la Walk Free Foundation, que busca ponerle fin a la esclavitud moderna. Forrest se acercó a líderes religiosos de todo el mundo para instarles a levantar sus voces contra la trata de personas y la esclavitud moderna y a trabajar juntos para combatirla.

Los organizadores dieron un paso aún mayor el 2 de diciembre cuando 12 líderes religiosos —católicos, anglicanos, musulmanes, hindúes, budistas, judíos y ortodoxos— se reunieron en el Vaticano y firmaron la “Declaración Conjunta de Líderes Religiosos contra la Esclavitud Moderna en el Día Mundial por la Abolición de la Esclavitud.

“A los ojos de Dios, cada ser humano es una persona libre, sea niño o niña, mujer u hombre, y está destinado a existir para el bien de todos en igualdad y fraternidad”, decía la declaración que llamaba a la esclavitud moderna un “crimen contra la humanidad”. Sus signatarios se comprometieron a “trabajar juntos por la libertad de todos los que han sido víctimas de esclavitud y trata de personas, de manera que su futuro pueda restaurarse”.

Lograr tal unanimidad “ha sido difícil, escabroso, turbulento”, señaló Moxon, pero al final “toda la teología…cuajó”. Él resaltó, por ejemplo, que los líderes musulmanes, tanto sunitas como chiitas, firmaron la declaración.

La declaración se firmó apenas semanas después de que el Estado Islámico (ES) anunciara que la esclavitud debía ser fundacional para el nuevo califato que [esa organización terrorista] está luchando por crear, dijo Moxon, calificando ese sentimiento de “profundamente repugnante”.

El papa Francisco y el arzobispo de Cantórbery, Justin Welby, a la derecha en la fila del fondo, se contaron entre los 12 líderes religiosos —católicos, anglicanos, musulmanes, hindúes, budistas, judíos y ortodoxos— que, reunidos en el Vaticano el pasado 2 de diciembre, firmaron la “Declaración Conjunta de Líderes Religiosos contra la Esclavitud Moderna el Día Mundial por la Abolición de la Esclavitud”. Foto de la Red Mundial para la Libertad.

La coalición de los líderes religiosos se mantendrá frágil a veces, dijo Moxon, pero los líderes esperan seguir encontrando un terreno común.

“Nunca habíamos hecho esto antes —producir un plan estratégico de tipo práctico, con su importante respaldo espiritual y teológico— y eso es bastante complejo”, dijo Moxon a ENS después del foro. “Pero yo creo que la misión debe dinamizar el ecumenismo y la acción interreligiosa más de lo que lo hace. Y eso nos ayuda muchísimo porque si uno sólo discute conceptos y mociones teológicas —habrá infinitos detalles que podría seguir debatiendo durante mucho, mucho tiempo.

En cambio, Moxon preguntó, parafraseando una declaración del papa Francisco: “¿Por qué no actuamos como si ya fuéramos uno en presencia de un mal mundial?”

Estrategias antiesclavistas
En presencia de ese mal, la Red Mundial para la Libertad se propone actuar en toda una lista de estrategias, comenzando con la que se conoce como auditoría y limpieza de la cadena de suministros. El proceso está concebido para ayudar a las compañías a reducir o eliminar el riesgo de esclavitud moderna que ocurre en sus cadenas de suministros, tanto como un resultado directo o indirecto de sus prácticas de adquisición.

O, como Moxon lo puso, capacitarles “hacerse libres de esclavos para bien de sus propias almas, para bien de su país, para bien del mundo y para bien, sobre todo, de las personas que han sido esclavizadas”.

Auditar la cadena de suministros es fundamental porque “además de la industria del sexo, la única razón porque la cual existe la esclavitud es porque alguien está pagando por el producto hecho por los esclavos”, dijo Moxon.

El arzobispo de Cantórbery, Justin Welby, firma la Declaración Conjunta de Líderes Religiosos contra la Esclavitud Moderna el Día Mundial para la Abolición de la Esclavitud durante una reunión que tuvo lugar el pasado 2 de diciembre en el Vaticano, mientras el gran ayatolá Mohammad Taqi Al Modarresi, de Irak, otro de los 12 líderes religiosos que firmaron la declaración, lo observa. Foto de Red Mundial por la Libertad.

La Walk Free Foundation ofrece una guía (“Enfrentar la esclavitud moderna en la cadena de suministros”) para las empresas que quieran sumarse a ese empeño. Hewlett Packard, la fabricante norteamericana de equipos electrónicos ya ha llevado cabo esta tarea, según Moxon. Porque los líderes religiosos pueden hablarle a los empresarios acerca de la dignidad de todo ser humano, el arzobispo de Cantórbery auspiciará una reunión de líderes de corporaciones británicas para animarles a utilizar el proceso.

En un movimiento afín, la Red Mundial para la Libertad y Walk Free Foundation quieren fomentar programas de microfinanciación a través de los cuales las personas puedan ganar más dinero por su trabajo y de este modo no resultar víctimas de falsas promesas de salarios de parte de personas que han de convertirlas en esclavos.

Otra estrategia, cuidar de los sobrevivientes de la trata de personas, se ajusta especialmente a las comunidades de fe, dijo Moxon. Ofrecer apoyo a largo plazo y “genuina amistad restauradora” es esencial, y algo que las iglesias pueden hacer mucho mejor que los gobiernos, señaló él.

Las agrupaciones también abogan por reformas legales para institucionalizar las auditorías y limpiezas de la cadena de suministros de manera que las empresas que tal hagan se vean recompensadas. Una ley de este tipo se ha propuesto en el Parlamento del Reino Unido, según informó él. Moxon dijo que algunas compañías desconfían de hacer la auditoría porque temen ser procesadas por lo que ésta descubra.

La educación y la toma de conciencia es otra estrategia y la Red Mundial para la Libertad brinda materiales que las comunidades religiosas pueden usar para hacer esa labor entre sí mismas.

La Red quiere identificar los 10 países más propensos a la esclavitud y establecer consejos locales para concebir soluciones locales basadas en las costumbres, leyes, cultura y recursos económicos de cada país, así como en las iniciativas que al respecto ya existen en ellos. Forrest, el filántropo australiano, ha donado $25 millones para comenzar ésta y otras tareas, especialmente la estrategia de la microfinanciación, dijo Moxon.

Otra estrategia es educar a la gente respecto a la trata de personas. La Red Mundial para la Libertad ofrece recursos que las comunidades de fe pueden usar para llevar a cabo esa tarea entre sí.

Conciencia creciente
Moxon describe su propio conciencia creciente del problema. Antes de ir al Centro Anglicano en Roma, Moxon era uno de los arzobispos de la Iglesia Anglicana en Aotearoa, Nueva Zelanda y Polinesia. Nativo de Nueva Zelanda, Moxon dijo que estaba “sólo vagamente consciente” de la omnipresencia de la trata de personas y de la esclavitud moderna antes de que el arzobispo de Cantórbery le pidiera participar. Dos años de estudiar el problema y de ayudar a formar la Red Mundial para la Libertad han dejado su huella en él.

El arzobispo David Moxon preside la eucaristía el 12 de marzo en la capilla de Cristo el Señor del Centro Denominacional de la Iglesia Episcopal. Moxon, representante del arzobispo de Cantórbery ante la Santa Sede y director del Centro Anglicano en Roma, posteriormente dirigió un foro sobre trata de personas y violencia sexual. Asistiéndole en la eucaristía estaban el Rdo. Canónigo James Calloway, secretario general de Colegios y Universidades de la Comunión Anglicana, y Angie Cabanban, asociada del ministerio de diversidad y etnia de la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

“Sirvió para abrirme mucho los ojos; de manera bastante extraordinaria” dijo durante una entrevista con ENS.

También cambió el modo de mirar a las mujeres en su vida.

“La cuestión de la esclavitud me ha hecho hipersensible a cualquier cosa que se parezca a que se espere de alguien que haga demasiado por nada”, afirmó.

También aprendió que gran parte del trabajo necesario para eliminar la trata de personas es “peligroso o difícil o políticamente complicado, religiosamente sensible, y uno no ve necesariamente los gloriosos resultados o incluso la trascendencia espiritual”. Pero el trabajo debe hacerse, dijo él.

Anteriormente ese mismo día, durante su sermón en una eucaristía en la capilla, Moxon contó la historia del monje que anhelaba encontrarse con Cristo en las oraciones que hacía en su celda; pero que en cambio lo encontró en las personas a las cuales tenía que servir todos los días.

La pregunta de “creemos que Cristo está ahí o no es el punto realmente fundamental”, dijo Moxon. “Ustedes lo creen o no, a eso se reduce todo”.

Nota de la redactora: El Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal puede contemplar [el hacer] una resolución el 21 de marzo para expresar su apoyo a los empeños de colaboración de organismos gubernamentales y no gubernamentales del mundo entero para erradicar la trata de personas, y convocar a la Iglesia Episcopal a actuar al respecto en toda una variedad de formas.

– La Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg es redactora y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Agrupaciones de Tierra Santa allanan el camino de la paz con el esfuerzo y la confianza compartidos

ENS Headlines - Monday, March 23, 2015

[Episcopal News Service] Puede ser un cliché decir que el agua no conoce fronteras, pero para Elizabeth Koch-Ya’ari, navegar la corriente de la ecología y la pacificación es reunir a ambientalistas israelíes, palestinos y jordanos —personas de diferentes religiones de las comunidades vecinas— para movilizar y crear amistades en torno a una fuente de vida común.

Como coordinadora de un proyecto con EcoPaz en el Oriente Medio [EcoPeace Middle East] Koch-Ya’ari encabeza una campaña para rehabilitar el río Jordán. El río, que alguna vez fuera una fuente de agua limpia a través de Tierra Santa, se ha contaminado por el derrame de aguas negras sin tratar y la sequía durante los últimos 50 años.

EcoPeace Middle East reúne a israelíes, jordanos y palestinos en el bajo Jordán para el “Gran Salto”, un evento para crear conciencia de los empeños en pro de la restauración del río. Foto de EcoPeace Middle East.

“Nos juntamos y usamos el medioambiente como una plataforma para la edificación de la paz”, dijo Koch-Ya’ari a Episcopal News Service luego de una presentación en Tel Aviv en enero, cuando ella se reunió con una delegación interreligiosa de Estados Unidos que visitaba la región en peregrinación.

“Es una asombrosa oportunidad para adentrarnos en la comprensión de estas diferentes comunidades limítrofes, que comparten los mismos recursos hidráulicos, que comparten el mismo medioambiente”, afirmó. “En esta zona del mundo, el agua puede juntarnos, porque el agua no ve todos estos muros y fronteras que hemos puesto entre unos y otros”.

El río Jordán tiene una gran significación para el judaísmo, el cristianismo y el islam, por ser el sitio donde los israelitas entraron en la Tierra Prometida, donde Juan el Bautista bautizó a Jesús y donde el profeta Mahoma pronosticó un evento que sucedería años más tarde.

EcoPeace ha creado un repertorio de materiales para comunidades judías, cristianas y musulmanas, llamado Agua y ecología en el río Jordán, al objeto de alentar la instrucción de carácter religioso y el compromiso en torno al problema del agua.

“La realidad es que muchas personas que viven a lo largo del río Jordán no experimentan sus beneficios. En muchas partes su corriente está sucia, contaminada [y] desaparece en las estaciones secas del año”, dijo a ENS la obispa primada de la Iglesia Episcopal Katharine Jefferts Schori, una de las colíderes de la peregrinación, al tiempo de visitar el Sitio Bautismal de Yardenit, junto al río Jordán, en la región de Galilea, en el norte de Israel.

“La labor del instituto EcoPeace es reunir a personas de ambas márgenes del río, de diferentes tradiciones religiosas en comunidades vecinas, para abogar y trabajar en pro del mejoramiento de la situación del agua, para entender las necesidades mutuas, y para que lleguen a entenderse unos a otros como amigos al hacer esa obra”, dijo ella. “Ciertamente es una obra de pacificación”.

El Rdo. John Kitagawa, rector de la iglesia episcopal de San Felipe de las Colinas [St. Philip’s in-the-Hills] en Tucson, Arizona, y participante de la peregrinación, dijo que la desaparición del río Jordán sería trágica. No sólo significa mucho para las vidas de las personas en ambas márgenes del río Jordán, subrayó, sino que “es profundamente importante para nuestra fe. No es posible leer las Escrituras sin encontrar toda clase de referencias al río Jordán”.

Kitagawa dijo que hay muchísimas [situaciones] paralelas en Estados Unidos, donde abundan los problemas de agua.

“Yo vivo en el desierto del sur de Arizona. Nuestros manantiales subterráneos están básicamente exhaustos. Tenemos que importar agua del río Colorado, de manera que la misma substancia de la vida está en peligro”, dijo. “Pero no es sólo aquellos de nosotros que vivimos en el desierto. Estoy viendo cada vez más a personas que tienen que lidiar con problemas de fracturación hidráulica en sus zonas y cómo esto afecta las aguas subterráneas. La explotación del carbón y otras formas de minería tienen mucho que ver con la contaminación del agua, y los granjeros están enfrentándose con crecientes problemas de sequía debido al calentamiento global. El agua es un tema constante en torno nuestro. Tenemos muchísimo en común y sólo necesitamos resolver cómo entender nuestras raíces comunes, y una de esas raíces comunes es nuestra responsabilidad como mayordomos de la creación de Dios”.

“Las comunidades a través de esta región comparten muchas cosas”, dijo Koch-Ya’ari refiriéndose a Tierra Santa. “El agua es una parte fundamental de la vida y al juntarnos para rehabilitar las corrientes de agua que compartimos, como es la parte baja del río Jordán, ganamos muchísimo, no sólo en beneficio del medio ambiente, sino también para aprender los unos de los otros, acerca de nuestras diferentes comunidades de fe y acerca de cómo podemos ayudarnos mutuamente [y] a nuestros ecosistemas compartidos”.

Koch-Ya’ari es una de una serie de líderes de iniciativas de base en Tierra Santa con quienes la delegación interreligiosa de EE.UU. se reunió durante su peregrinación del 18 al 27 de enero.

Ella y otros líderes de base están seguros de que iniciativas de este tipo serán fundamentales para crear confianza y romper las barreras, lo cual garantizará una paz duradera en la región mucho después de que los políticos lleguen a cualquier clase de acuerdo. Sin embargo, las probabilidades de una reanudación de las negociaciones entre israelíes y palestinos parecen complicadas, en el mejor de los casos, después de un año que ha sido testigo del colapso de las conversaciones de paz mediadas por el secretario de Estado de EE.UU. John Kerry, una guerra devastadora entre Israel y el movimiento palestino Hamás en la Franja de Gaza, y una serie de acciones y declaraciones de parte de los líderes israelíes y palestinos que tanto reflejan como contribuyen a un clima que causa divisiones.

El primer ministro israelí Benjamin Netanyahu, cuyo Partido Likud resultó vencedor en las elecciones parlamentarias del pasado martes, dio el último ejemplo de una retórica políticamente cargada esta semana, al declarar, el día antes de las elecciones, que no habría ningún Estado palestino bajo su liderazgo. Anteriormente, Netanyahu había apoyado consecuentemente una solución con dos estados, incluida en el contexto de negociaciones con los palestinos. No resulta claro lo que podría significar la declaración del Primer Ministro esta semana, en el contexto de unas elecciones polémicas y sorprendentemente reñidas, para el futuro del proceso de paz para las propias relaciones de Netanyahu con decisivos partidarios internacionales de una solución con dos estados, incluido el gobierno de Estados Unidos.

Lior Frankiensztajn, del Programa de Negociación Shades, le habla a miembros de la peregrinación interreligiosa de EE.UU. que visitaron Tierra Santa en enero. Foto de Matthew Davies/ENS

Volviendo a enero, el grupo interreligioso oyó el testimonio de cómo el mundo de Lior Frankiensztajn cambió hace unos cuantos años luego de que recibiera en su casa a un palestino durante dos meses. Él logró aprender muchas cosas acerca de sí mismo y de sus raíces, pero lo más importante, vio “como la realidad se contempla desde una perspectiva diferente”, le dijo a los peregrinos interreligiosos luego de un almuerzo en un restaurante en Tel Aviv. Desafortunadamente, “los políticos manejan las relaciones, lo cual limita las oportunidades para el progreso… Debe haber un enfoque distinto para el diseño de políticas, para la educación”.

Fue esta manera de pensar la que llevó a Frankiensztajn a lanzar el Programa de Negociación Shades, que crea oportunidades de que políticos, educadores y otros líderes palestinos e israelíes se reúnan y compartan con sus homólogos. El programa está auspiciado por la Universidad de Harvard y es financiado en parte por el Departamento de Estado de EE.UU.

Reconociendo que es fácil captar a los conversos, Frankiensztajn dijo que Shades intenta identificar los obstáculos, las áreas que requieren mayor atención en ayudar a la gente “a convertirse en mejores negociadores, mejores comunicadores mediante esta experiencia [y] realmente lograr entender los matices y la cultura de la otra parte”. Crear confianza, añadió él, es una parte fundamental del proceso de paz.

Azhar Azeez, presidente de la Sociedad Islámica de América del Norte y miembro de la peregrinación, respondió a la presentación de Frankiensztajn con aliento y felicitaciones por sus esfuerzos a favor de la paz. “Puedo ver cómo este empeño traerá un cambio positivo y una esperanza”, dijo.

La peregrinación interreligiosa de 15 miembros fue codirigida por Jefferts Schori; el rabino Steve Gutow, presidente del Consejo Judío para las Relaciones Públicas; y Sayyid Syeed, director nacional de alianzas interreligiosas y comunitarias de la Sociedad Islámica de América del Norte.

La visita se planeó en respuesta a la Resolución B019, aprobada por la Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal de 2012, que pidió una inversión positiva y un compromiso con la región y que recomendó que la Obispa Primada organizara una peregrinación interreligiosa modelo con múltiples narrativas. Esa resolución reiteraba el antiguo compromiso de la Iglesia Episcopal con una solución negociada de dos estados, en la cual un seguro y universalmente reconocido Estado de Israel coexista con un Estado, libre, viable y seguro, para el pueblo palestino”.

“Sólo cuando las personas en el terreno alcen su voz y digan ‘basta ya’, la posibilidad de la paz y la justicia irrumpirán en la problemática relación entre los palestinos y los israelíes” dijo Gutow. “Cuando nos reunimos con grupos como Shades, Roots y EcoPeace, sabemos que la trayectoria a la resolución y la reconciliación no es sólo posible, sino que es eminentemente factible”.

La obispa primada de la Iglesia Episcopal Katharine Jefferts Schori y el rabino Hanan Schlesinger se saludan al tiempo que los miembros de la peregrinación interreligiosa llegan a Gush Etzion para saber más acerca de la labor de Roots. Foto de Matthew Davies/ENS.

La agrupación Raíces [Roots] reúne a colonos israelíes en Bush Etzion con palestinos de las aldeas cercanas para promover el diálogo y cimentar la confianza como una senda hacia la paz. El liderazgo de Roots cree que es imperativo para las comunidades echar a un lado el atrincheramiento político, las acciones y la retórica divisionistas a fin de comenzar a sembrar las semillas necesarias para que se afiance un definitivo acuerdo de paz.

El rabino Hanan Schlesinger dijo a los líderes interreligiosos que Roots ha transformado la manera que él tenía de ver el mundo.

Hace un año, a invitación de un amigo, Schlesinger salió de su casa y caminó apenas 20 minutos a través de campos y viñedos árabes para llegar al pedazo de tierra donde los peregrinos interreligiosos se reunían ahora para escuchar su historia. Dijo que él corazón le latía apresuradamente cuando entró en el complejo donde aproximadamente 25 judíos y 25 palestinos conversaban.

Schlesinger, coordinador en la actualidad de un proyecto de Roots, había crecido con temor de los palestinos que vivían cerca de su aldea.

“No tenemos conexiones de ninguna clase con el otro lado. Los periódicos son diferentes, las estaciones de radio son diferentes, las casas de culto son diferentes, compramos en tiendas diferentes, tenemos diferentes sistemas de enseñanza. No tenemos ningún contacto en absoluto. Nos cruzamos en las carreteras y no sabemos quién conduce el auto”, dijo. “Cuando tienes esa situación de distancia, tienes miedo y tienes sospechas y tienes odio”.

Pero a través de las conversaciones que él sostuvo durante esa reunión hace un año, llegó a entender que los palestinos que habían sido sus vecinos durante todos esos años también habían vivido con temor de él. “Nunca había pensado en eso antes. Nos temíamos mutuamente”, dijo. Por primera vez en su vida, contó Schlesinger, él le estaba hablando “al otro” como a un igual.

De izquierda a derecha, los coordinadores del proyecto Roots, Ali Abu Awwad, el rabino Hanan Schlesinger y Shaul Judelman escuchan para responder a los miembros de la peregrinación interreligiosa de EE.UU. que visitaron Gush Etzion en enero. Foto de Matthew Davies/ENS.

El palestino Ali Abu Awwad, un cofundador de Roots, estaba en la reunión y compartió la historia de su vida con el grupo. “Era la primera vez en mi vida que yo oía [un testimonio de] la vida desde una perspectiva palestina, y él habló sin rencor, sin odio, y hablamos acerca de su vida”, dijo Schlesinger. “Era realmente difícil escuchar y sentía que estaba siendo atacado personalmente al oír una narrativa tan diferente a la mía. Pero, por diferente que fuera de mi narrativa, no era falsa. Yo no oí mentiras. Oí que él estaba tomando los bloques de historia y de la vida como yo los conozco y ordenándolos en un relato completamente diferente, pero su historia tenía sentido. Y ahora yo me veo en la historia de Ali. Y aunque él no lo dijo, en su historia yo me veo como el opresor. Eso inició un proceso de reconsideración.

Awwad, que se crió en una familia muy politizada y que cumplió condena como preso político, dijo que hay muchos diseñadores de conflicto en ambas partes y que “somos buenos en esta competencia de quien sufre más… Pero cuando se trata de soluciones, perdemos el valor, porque actuamos como víctimas. Las víctimas nunca serán capaces de resolver sus propios conflictos si son los prisioneros de su dolor… El precio de esta guerra ha llegado a ser más fácil que el precio de la paz. Debemos encontrar un medio donde la gente pueda servir a Dios y no perder su humanidad. Juntos podemos marcar la diferencia”.

Shaul Judelman, un coordinador del proyecto Raíces que ha vivido en Gush Etzion durante los últimos 13 años, dijo: “sabemos que hay un gran desacuerdo en muchos asuntos —acerca de los hechos del pasado e incluso acerca de la realidad del presente— pero creemos que el diálogo efectivo es el lugar seguro para el debate y para una comprensión más profunda. Es en este espacio que pueden construirse las soluciones”.

Gutow dijo que Raíces “nos enseña… que los políticos tradicionales oprimen los sueños intrínsecos de las personas de carne y hueso que viven en la tierra.

“Debemos apoyar a los que pueden comprender y hablar con integridad sobre las discrepantes narrativas de las personas normales que levantan sus hogares aquí”, añadió Gutow. “Debemos proporcionarles las plataformas y la ayuda económica y la validez que necesitan para tener éxito. La labor de nuestra peregrinación es servir como testigos interreligiosos de las verdades de ambas partes y ayudar a las personas buenas y nobles que habitan allí a encontrar la paz y la integridad y la calma que tanto desean y tanto merecen”.

Reflexionando sobre la peregrinación, Jefferts Schori dijo a Episcopal News Service que “los tipos de empeños pacificadores de base que hemos visto en la Tierra del Bendito se centran, todos ellos, en la creación de relaciones [No obstante] la triste realidad es que palestinos e israelíes viven vidas casi completamente separadas. La mayoría nunca se encuentra en tiendas de víveres, en escuelas o en la vida cívica… Ese encuentro humano es esencial para humanizar ‘al otro’. Las tradiciones de la fe abrahámica hablan de encontrar la imagen de Dios, la divina capacidad creadora que es parte de nuestra naturaleza”.

Ella afirmó que se sentía estimulada por “la voluntad de pasar por encima de fronteras, de divisiones físicas, así como de sospechas, dudas y temores” y lo definió como “el terreno en el cual la paz comienza a brotar… El ensuciarse las manos juntos crea vínculos que son más profundos que nuestros prejuicios conscientes. Los vínculos nacidos del trabajo compartido perdurarán, e invitarán a otros a venir y ver, a ser un poquito vulnerables, a fin de ver que la recuperación podría ser posible”.

— Matthew Davies es redactor y reportero de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Executive Council wraps up 2013-2015 triennial work

ENS Headlines - Saturday, March 21, 2015

Executive Council meets March 21 in its last plenary session of the 2013-2015 triennium. The March 19-21 meeting took place in downtown Salt Lake City near the Salt Palace Convention Center, the setting of the June 23-July 3 meeting of General Convention. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City, Utah] The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council during its March 19-21 meeting here celebrated its work together and looked forward to the future.

“A fair amount of energy during the gathering was devoted to issues of transition,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts said of the meeting during a press conference. “Executive Council reviewed its work of the last triennium and they made recommendations that they will pass on to the next iteration of Executive Council.”

“The work of Executive Council has been full this triennium and I think they have good reason to be proud of what they have accomplished,” she added.

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, said during the news conference that “one thing that distinguishes this council is that throughout the triennium” they have “lent a critical eye to how the council functions and how the council can be even more effective in how it works.”

Each of council’s five standing committees wrote a memo to its successor, outlining the work it has done as well as partially completed work that they recommend be continued, and the outgoing class has written a similar memo about council’s overall functioning. The terms of half of the 38 members ends this summer after the 78th meeting of General Convention.

When that June 23-July 3 meeting convenes here in Salt Lake City, debates over the governance structures of the Episcopal Church, including council, will feature prominently. In one of its last acts of the triennium, council agreed to issue a response to some of the recommendations of the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church.

TREC grew out of General Convention Resolution C095, which called for a committee to develop a plan for “reforming the church’s structures, governance, and administration.”

“I had thought there might be some way of finding consensus around the TREC report [but] I don’t think there’s a lot of consensus around the TREC report,” John Johnson, who chaired a small group of council members that drafted the response, told council as he presented the report for its approval.

Because of that lack of consensus, the committee made a few general comments about the report before responding specifically to what TREC said about Executive Council.

The statement, whose final text will be available soon, said that TREC’s structural resolutions “while bold for some, follow a path often focused on saving money but without a clear vision of what mission a new structure will allow the wider church to pursue.”

The statement said the council is “committed to thoughtful and bold change in the structure and governance of the Episcopal Church,” and it added that “the scope of work for TREC may not have been to present a bold new mission for the wider Episcopal Church, but we wonder with the church what this renewal might look like.”

Executive Council member Deborah Stokes leads the Prayers of the People March 21 during Eucharist. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

“Is the mission of The Episcopal Church to bring the world to the church or to bring The Episcopal Church to the world and what does that look like in the 21st century?” the council asked.

The Executive Council carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1)(a). It is now composed of 38 members, 20 of whom (four bishops, four priests or deacons and 12 lay people) are elected by General Convention and 18 (one clergy and one lay) by the nine provincial synods for six-year terms – plus the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies. TREC called for reducing the membership to 21 “to improve its effectiveness as a board.”

Council said the reduction would not improve its effectiveness. “While we understand the concern about reducing the cost of governance, we also are concerned that false economies could harm the church in the long run,” the statement said.

Council divides itself into five standing committees, plus occasional subcommittees, and the statement said that much of the work of council happens in those smaller groups, “which allows Council to engage in a deep, substantive discussion on important fiduciary and missional concerns in a workable group size.”

Reducing the size of council “inevitably means diminished representation and perspectives from the broader church,” the council said, adding that a smaller council would also mean “diminished capacity for fiduciary oversight.”

The last meeting of convention also said, via Resolution D016, that “it is the will of this convention to move the church center headquarters” away from the building that the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society owns at 815 Second Avenue in New York. (The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is the legal and canonical name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business and carries out mission.)

The final text of the resolution was significantly amended during convention debate to remove directives that would have required council to sell or lease out the entire property and relocate the church center headquarters “as soon as it is economically feasible.”

Council has spent the triennium studying the implications of D016 and on March 21 council agreed to preserve and continue the work of its subcommittee on church center relocation by creating an ad hoc committee of Executive Council for the next triennium.

The committee will be charged with examining the missional, strategic, and financial aspects of the location of the church center and with providing a final recommendation to the Executive Council. The charge is similar to that of the subcommittee whose work is ending.

Council Member Bryan Krislock, who co-chaired the subcommittee with Fredrica Harris Thompsett, said the group’s extensive “listening process” (including a churchwide survey and individual interviews with “key stake members”) showed that “to be blunt, there’s no consensus.” The listening “revealed a deep divide among the members of the church, not just specific to members of council but to the members of the church in terms of what is the best missional strategy for the church center,” he said.

Some believe a building is not needed, others said there should multiple locations, others said there should be a presence in New York area but not at the current address while others called for a more geographically central location in the United States. The “significant factions” of opinion come from all over the country, are in all orders of ministry and have all sorts of relationships with the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff, Krislock said.

The subcommittee worked with professionals to analyze potential alternative sites and the cost involved in such moves. “We have excellent financial information,” Harris Thompsett told her colleagues. “We have some strategic information, but not yet the clear focus for the direction of a church center or centers.”

Krislock said the subcommittee is “still grappling with the broader strategic questions about where the church center or the church staff should be located, how those interact with the costs and the best way to evaluate the financial information we’ve received and analyze it in a meaningful way to prepare a final recommendation.”

The subcommittee was concerned that its work to date would be lost in the transition between triennia, he said. The group believes the work needs to continue “and we do not leave the impression that we have in essence given up.”

Harris Thompsett agreed, adding “we’ve gone as far as we can go with intelligence and integrity.”

When asked why the new committee would report its final recommendation to council and not to the General Convention, Krislock noted that the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society owns the New York church center property and the council, as its board of directors, is the only entity that can decide to sell it.

The subcommittee will soon submit a report that is meant to be an appendix to the council’s Blue Book report. That report will not contain specifics about “geographic hunches” or financial information due to the incomplete state of the subcommittee’s work, Harris Thompsett said.

In other action, council:
* Affirmed the House of Bishops’ March 17 resolution calling for an independent commission to explore the canonical, environmental, behavioral and procedural dimensions of matters involving the serious impairment of individuals serving as leaders in the church. The commission, which is due to be appointed by Jefferts Schori in consultation with Jennings, is supposed to give special attention to issues of addiction and substance abuse. Council revised the 2015 budget to include $150,000 to fund the commission’s work.

* Passed resolutions offered by its Joint Standing Committee on Advocacy and Networking on urging Episcopalians, governments and non-governmental organizations to oppose human trafficking, religious persecution, and climate change.

* Agreed to require that all children and staff participating in the General Convention Children’s Program be vaccinated. A child may be exempted by presenting a certificate from a physician certifying that a person’s physical condition precludes one or more immunizations.

The March 19-21 meeting took place at the Radisson Salt Lake City Downtown.

Summaries of the resolutions council passed at this meeting are here.

Some council members tweeted from the meeting using #ExCoun.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an Episcopal News Service editor/reporter.

A summary of Executive Council resolutions

ENS Headlines - Saturday, March 21, 2015

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City, Utah] During its March 19-21 meeting here, the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council adopted multiple resolutions, which are summarized below.

Advocacy and Networking for Mission
* Condemn the use of religion for the purpose of advancing political agendas directed at terrorizing, victimizing, and oppressing individuals and communities and impairing their ability to enjoy basic human rights because of their religious beliefs and social, ethnic, class, caste, gender, and national affiliations; condemn serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights violations and abuses; call on the governments of the world’s nations to confront the reality of religious persecution, protect religious minorities and civilians within the framework of international and humanitarian law, address political exclusion and economic desperation that are being manipulated by the forces of extremists, scale up humanitarian and development assistance to host countries and trusted NGOs, and accept for resettlement a fair share of the most vulnerable people where return to their countries of origin is impossible;
encourage all Episcopalians to engage in prayers, support, education, and advocacy for displaced people and the churches that are providing succor and hope to those displaced people who have been uprooted by conflict and living in refugee camps (A&N040).

* Recognize the increasing urgency globally for governments, communities, and individuals to take action through legislation and regulation, business and community partnerships, personal initiative, and widespread education and dialogue to address the full range of activities necessary to reduce and eliminate the human-caused detrimental effects on climate and the environment; reiterate the church’s commitment to Jesus’ preferential option for the poor, so that such actions to reduce and eliminate the human-caused detrimental effects on climate and the environment do not disproportionately harm the lives and livelihood of the marginalized among us; encourage all Episcopalians to review the Pastoral Message on Climate Change from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori together with the presiding bishops of our ecumenical partners, to take advantage of the teachings to be offered in the March 24 webcast forum, “The Climate Change Crisis,” with follow-up resources, and to participate in the 30 Days of Action that will kick off on the day of the forum, by signing up to receive a daily e-mail from the Episcopal Public Policy Network here (A&N0041).

* Express support of the efforts of worldwide governmental and non-governmental organizations, working collaboratively, to eradicate the scourge of modern-day slavery commonly known as human trafficking, and commend specifically, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the Global Freedom Network, the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and its April 2013 report “Building Partnerships to Eradicate Modern Day Slavery: Report of Recommendations to the President”, the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking and other emerging networks of governmental and non-governmental organizations working to raise attention, cultivate responses, and generate advocacy around human trafficking and modern-day slavery, including the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the United States Department of State, the Polaris Project, and the United Way Center to Combat Human Trafficking & Slavery; extend the life of the D042 Coordinating Committee on Human Trafficking and direct the committee to provide a report on its activities to the Executive Council to be included in council’s triennial Blue Book report for the 79th General Convention; urge dioceses and congregations to learn to recognize the signs of human trafficking in their neighborhoods, support services to victims and survivors of human trafficking, and urge local, state, and federal lawmakers to pass laws that punish traffickers and those who profit from the slave labor of, or trafficked, women, girls, boys, and men (A&N042).

Finances for Mission
* Establish Trust Fund 1076 as investment account for All Saints Episcopal Church, Concord, North Carolina (FFM076).

* Accept revised investment policy statement of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (FFM077).

* Authorize treasurer, chief operating officer and director of mission to use income distributed annually from all trust funds of Class 100 for individual scholarships, educational and/or theological programs as recommended by the Scholarship Committee in adherence to trust language, donor’s intent, and scholarship guidelines; to use income distributed annually from all trust funds of Class 101 to fund program grants in adherence to trust language and guidelines established by granting committees; to use income distributed annually from all trust funds of Class 13 to effect distributions in adherence to trust language and Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society guidelines; any annual balances not awarded be reinvested (FFM078).

* Establish Trust Fund 1075 as an investment account for the Diocese of Nebraska (FFM079).

* Establish Trust Funds 1077-1115 as investment accounts for the Diocese of West Missouri (FFM080).

* Affirm the March 17, 2015 resolution of the House of Bishops calling for an independent commission to explore the canonical, environmental, behavioral and procedural dimensions of matters involving the serious impairment of individuals serving as leaders in the church, with special attention to issues of addiction and substance abuse, and revise the 2015 budget to include $150,000 to fund the work of this commission (FFM081).

* Authorize a line of credit to the Episcopal Church in Navajoland in the amount of up to $350,000 to be accessed through Dec. 31 for operating support (FFM082).

* Accept amendments amounting to $295,000 in additions to the 2015 Budget for The Episcopal Church (FFM083).

Governance and Administration for Mission
* Require all children and staff participating in the General Convention Children’s Program be vaccinated, as appropriate by age (child may be exempted by presenting a certificate from a licensed physician to the staff stating that due to the physical condition of the student one or more specified immunizations would endanger the student’s life or health); staff of the General Convention Children’s Program, working with the General Convention Office, will verify the immunization records of all children and staff and General Convention Children’s Program will comply with at least all applicable minimum requirements of Utah State Law with respect to such programs (GAM027).

* Adopt changes to the United Thank Offering bylaws (GAM028).

* Forward to the wider church a response to the report of the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (GAM029).

* Adopt amendment to the Episcopal Church Women bylaws (GAM030).

Finances for Mission and Governance and Administration for Mission
* Create an ad hoc committee of Executive Council on the Location of the Church Center to be nominated by council chair and vice-chair of Executive Council and appointed by the Executive Council; membership of the committee may, but need not, be members of council and may be supplemented by additional appointments from time to time; committee charged with examining the missional, strategic, and financial aspects of the location of the Episcopal Church Center; committee will continue the work of the GAM-FFM Joint Subcommittee on the Location of the Church Center and any money allocated to the subcommittee are transferred to the committee; committee charged with providing a final recommendation to the Executive Council on the location of the church center (FFM GAM003).

Local Mission and Ministry
* Affirm six entities as Jubilee Centers, including Iglesia San Bartolomé Barrio Buena Vista, desuio a La Esperanza Siguatepeque, Honduras (Diocese of Honduras); St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Outreach Ministries, Fayetteville, Arkansas (Diocese of Arkansas); Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, Breckenridge, Colorado (Diocese of Colorado); Chaplains on the Harbor, Westport, Washington (Diocese of Olympia); Hope Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland (Diocese of Maryland) and St. Andrew’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, Destin, Florida (Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast) (LMM015).

World Mission
* Acknowledge the staff of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, giving special thanks for their financial stewardship as demonstrated by consistently ending each fiscal year under the approved budget; recognize various initiatives by DFMS staff to reduce administrative expenses, including renegotiating loans and lines of credit; note and applaud efforts by Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff to improve income, such as the rental of space in the church center, express its appreciation for the consistent, visionary leadership of the chief financial officer and the chief operating officer throughout this triennium (WM034).

* Celebrate the continuing evolution of the relations with the Episcopal Church of Cuba and The Episcopal Church and commit to pray for our brothers and sisters in Cuba during this time of new possibilities and opportunities (WM035).

* Express our deep concern and heartfelt affection for our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church of Melanesia and the Church of Pakistan (United), and their leaders, Archbishop David Vunagi, and the Most Rev. Samuel Azariah respectively, in light of recent crises; and commit The Episcopal Church to a continuing relationship of prayer during these times of challenge faced by the Anglican Church of Melanesia and the Church of Pakistan (United) (WM036).