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Jim Dannals to be installed vicar at St. Mark’s in Port Royal, SC

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Reverend James Clark (Jim) Dannals will be installed as the first vicar of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Port Royal, South Carolina on Thursday, September 18 by the Right Reverend Charles G. vonRosenberg. St. Mark’s was made a mission at the 222nd Annual Diocesan Convention of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina in March 2013. Jim most recently served as Rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Fredericksburg, Virgina. He retired from that position in August 2013.

Episcopal Church announces major gifts officers

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Bishop Stacy F. Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, has announced that Victoria Manley and Karen A. Wibrew have been named Episcopal Church Major Gifts Officers. The Major Gifts Officers, members of the Episcopal Church Development Office, are responsible for identifying, cultivating, soliciting and stewarding prospective major donors.

Victoria Manley

Victoria Manley, a resident of New York, has extensive experience in fundraising in New York City non-profits including the Manhattan School of Music, the ASPCA, and CARE USA, as well as non-profits in Atlanta GA.  A graduate of Sewanee, the University of the South with a BA in English, Manley has been active in her Episcopal Churches.  She is conversant in Spanish. Manley began her duties on August 11; her office is based in New York City. She can be reached at vmanley@episcopalchurch.org.

Karen A. Wibrew

Karen A. Wibrew resides in Colorado and boasts more than 15 years’ experience in building donor, client, and professional advisor relationships at such organizations as The National World War II Museum, University of Houston in TX, the Tennyson Center for Children in Denver, CO, University of Denver and the Denver Botanic Gardens.  She is a graduate of the University of Denver and the University of Houston. Wibrew began her new position on September 9; she is based in Denver CO. She can be reached at kwibrew@episcopalchurch.org.

Episcopalians seek to erase stigma of suicide, inspire church advocacy

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas prepares for the Out of the Darkness walk in Philadelphia.

[Episcopal News Service] Walking Philadelphia streets until the evening darkness dissolved into dawn meant raising nearly $6,000 to aid in suicide prevention and “bringing the whole subject of mental illness and depression into the light where people aren’t afraid of it anymore” for the Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas.

“Fear is one of the biggest barriers” to helping those affected by suicide, according to Thomas, a curate at St. Edward’s Episcopal Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She participated in the 16-mile American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) “Out of Darkness” walk in late June in memory of her son, Seth Alan Peterson, who was 24 when he ended his life five years ago.

September is Suicide Prevention Month and Sept. 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. The Episcopal News Service (ENS) spoke with Episcopalians working to get faith communities involved in raising awareness.

Suicide affects people across social, economic and racial categories; in 2011 a person died by suicide nearly every 13 minutes in the United States, according to AFSP statistics. For Native Americans, generally speaking, the numbers are even higher (see related story here).

‘People don’t choose to do this’
The much-publicized Aug. 11 death of actor and comedian Robin Williams, an Episcopalian, epitomizes the misunderstandings and stigmas about suicide and the mental illness that frequently fuels it, according to Thomas.

According to AFSP statistics, about 60 percent of those who die by suicide suffer from major depression; if alcoholism is factored into the equation, the number rises to 75 percent.

One misconception, said Thomas, is that suicide is a choice. “Williams was very open about his struggle with addiction and depression, which go hand in hand,” she said. “But even he reached a point where there was no way forward for him, and it was not him making the choice. I want people to understand that people don’t choose to do this. It’s not a rational act. It’s the illness making the choice for the person who is suffering.”

It is hugely tragic, she added, “that here is this wonderful, full-of-life person who brought such joy to so many lives but could not have that joy in his own life.”

Seth Alan Peterson, the Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas’s son in whose memory she walked.

Similarly, her son Seth was an aspiring actor, a witty, vibrant, engaging person, full of life but who had a severe bout of depression his first year away at college. He extended his college career but “struggled for the next five years to get some traction over his depressive episodes,” she said.

“We would think he was OK; that he was taking his meds, going to therapy and then later we’d find out he hadn’t been sleeping at night and wasn’t going to classes.”

He died Feb. 9, 2009, shortly after a phone call with Thomas. “My son thought nobody cared about him,” she said. “At his funeral, it was standing room only, with friends and loved ones grieving and mourning and saying ‘I wish I had known.’”

Often, those contemplating ending their lives – and their survivors – suffer in painful silence, because of the shame and stigma associated with both mental illness and suicide, Thomas said.

“While I have never tried to hide the fact that Seth’s death was a suicide, I know the feeling of having even close friends avoid me, of well-meaning people at a loss for words or saying something really inappropriate, of support group participants who lost children to some other disease looking at me askance as if Seth did not also suffer from a disease,” she wrote in a blog entry.

At its 73rd General Convention in 2000, the Episcopal Church approved Resolution D008, pledging prayer, support and advocacy for suicide prevention awareness.

But even faith communities “have avoided the difficult subject of suicide or even actively taught that those who die by suicide are condemned to hell,” Thomas said. “In truth,” he added, some “have already served their time in hell while walking on this earth.”

The Philadelphia Out of the Darkness walk convenes at the Art Museum. Photo: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Horribly in the pits, playing the happy face
Katharina Johnson, 35 and expecting her second child, told ENS “things are going great right now” but acknowledged that six years ago “I experienced my two suicide attempts during what other people would say should be the most happy time of your life.”

She was a newlywed and her husband Matt was newly ordained to the Episcopal priesthood. Yet “I was deeply depressed,” she recalled. “But, like so many others, I played the happy face even though I was horribly in the pits.”

Therapy didn’t help and ultimately, “I overdosed twice,” she said. “It’s not rational. I had a huge amount of stressors and there are always outside components as well. In the end it was the disease that was just not bearable anymore. Anything else was better than having to go through this.”

Finally, medication alleviated her depression. “It took awhile, but I’ve been well, and I give thanks every morning when I wake up, for that. It’s not a solution for everyone, but it worked for me.”

She also realized, fairly early on, that staying silent about the disease was deadly, not only for her, but potentially also for others. She turned to her faith community. “I realized that it was not going to help me or anybody to bottle up my experiences, so I slowly started in a small group, acknowledging some of the stuff I was going through and the pain.”

The response was overwhelming. “People came out of the woodwork,” Johnson recalled. “They were telling me things like, ‘yes, I’ve experienced something like that, with my brother, my father, and we never talked about it.’

“Nobody in the church ever knew anything about it because they thought they were alone in it. It’s amazing how much pain there is around these issues and how much suffering there is, and if the church is not a place for that, then what is?”

She participated in educational efforts developed by the mental health commission of the Diocese of Virginia.

Paul Ackerman, a psychologist and health commission co-chair, told ENS, “We were working to include people with mental health issues in congregations. We found that one of the big problems at the time was suicide and that it was something nobody talked about. … We realized the church had more responsibility to help prevent this.”

They offered a workshop and “almost no clergy showed up for it. It was mostly lay people with experience of suicide in their families,” Ackerman recalled. “We realized that even though everybody there had been in churches that had had between one and seven suicides in the last few years, nobody knew what to do and it was a very painful thing to talk about. We videotaped all of the presentations and made it into four teaching units that could be shown in adult education classes in churches.”

Albeit grim, “an attempted suicide is an opportunity for clergy to start educating people in the congregation about what suicide is and also to help them with their response to it,” he said. “There are things that can be done.”

Johnson agreed that simple things, such as moving from sin-laden language like “committed” suicide to the more neutral “ending a life,” and even rendering suicide a verb, help to reduce the stigma.

After Robin Williams ended his life online comments revealed, “how little we know about mental illness,” Johnson said.

“There was utter disbelief at how a person like that, a successful person, could end up taking his own life,” she recalled. “Another one was, ‘If he’d only known how much he was loved.’ He probably knew somewhere on some level that he was loved, that he had a hugely successful career, but that didn’t change his feelings.”

Those are among the worst things to say to a depressed person, Johnson added. Things like “why do you feel that way? You have a great job, a loving family, what’s wrong with you?”

“One pastor at New York University when I was hospitalized there came and he said, ‘I have no idea how you feel. But, I’m so sorry you are where you are.’ That was the most helpful thing I’ve ever heard. Not somebody who’s trying to superficially fix what you can’t fix,” Johnson said.

Hope lies, she said, not “in telling someone to get their act together … but acknowledging with those who are depressed, and also with the survivors of suicide, that I have no idea what you’re going through. Really, is there anything else to say?”

Listening, becoming vulnerable, being willing to walk with those who are suffering are key. Often, she said, people fear what they don’t understand. “They’re afraid that it’s going to touch something in you. There’s a huge fear of that feeling of bottomless sadness and grief that you can’t control,” she said.

She battles her own fears, Johnson acknowledged. “We still live in this fear of that hell coming back,” she said. “I don’t think it will ever go away. It’s like if you’re a diabetic and you’re on a great medicine regimen and everything works, you always have in the back of your mind, you are a diabetic. It’s never going to go away, it’s always going to be a part of your life and your family’s life, too.

“But that’s where the church can play a role,” she added. “I had great experiences in the church and awful experiences in the church. We can help by acknowledging that life is messy and as Christians our job is not to clean it up, because we can’t. As Christians our job is to walk with people in that messiness. That’s what Jesus did.”

Pockets of hope, ministries of presence
Becky Williams turned her own experience with suicide into a teachable moment for her children and a workshop for her faith community, St. Luke’s Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The parish health ministries director and pastoral care facilitator organized a parish suicide prevention awareness workshop several years ago, but she still cries when describing how she groped for words to explain her brother-in-law Brian’s suicide to her children, then fourth- and eighth-graders.

“Yesterday was the 20-year anniversary of Brian’s death,” she told ENS. “I remember asking my son John, ‘Do you understand what Uncle Brian did?’ I told him, ‘I want you to know that … if you’re hurting you can talk to us, to the priest, to your sister, your teachers and if we don’t have the information to help you, we will help you find it.’

“He put down his Legos and said, ‘Well, Mama, maybe Uncle Brian just didn’t know who to call.’”

Recognizing the incredible toll suicide takes on families, Williams said, “We flew to Dallas and were bringing Brian’s ashes back and my husband had a heart attack in the airport.”

Four years ago her father-in-law, a retired physician suffering with severe chronic pain, ended his life. Williams bristles when recalling a note sent to her by someone suggesting that those who end their lives by suicide are really playing God. As survivors, “we don’t need to see that,” said Williams, 62.

Looking back, “what helped us was that ministry of presence, and people not judging,” she said. “I didn’t ever expect to be going down this path once, much less twice.”

Wyoming: a diocesan-wide call to action
Wyoming Bishop John Smylie has called upon the entire diocesan community to incorporate awareness of September as Suicide Prevention Month through prayer, worship and liturgy. In a Sept. 2 letter he called the suicide rate in Wyoming a public health epidemic.

“We not only lead the nation in instances of suicide but our rate of suicide is among the highest in the world,” according to the letter. He created a committee to consider ways “our diocese can make a difference in offering hope where there is none.”

The Rev. Bernadine Craft, a committee chair, told ENS the diocese had just signed a memorandum of understanding with state officials to facilitate a joint suicide prevention program.

Wyoming has the highest suicide rate among states, at 23.2 suicide deaths per 100,000 residents, according to 2010 statistics. Alaska ranked second, at 23.1.

Craft, a state senator, psychotherapist and priest at the Church of the Holy Communion in Rock Springs, said there is a lot of conjecture about the causes of Wyoming’s dubious distinction, including alcohol and other substance abuse, easy access to firearms and, geographically, “we’re a very isolated state.”

Those attending the Oct. 4 diocesan convention will also receive packets of resources, and training materials. “It’s a work in progress,” Craft said. “We’re trying to provide avenues of support for people who are suffering and struggling.”

Meanwhile, Philadelphia’s Thomas hopes more congregations and dioceses will also engage awareness prevention like “Out of Darkness Walks” as well as “develop ministries for those who suffer; it would be a great compassionate work on our part.”

She added that: “It’s amazing to me, when I talk about my son or mental illness, the number of people who say my son or daughter or uncle or mom died by suicide.

“Like I gave them permission to voice that, and that is a valuable thing – letting people bring that out into the open. It not only helps them but it helps the community. There’s no reason to hide.”

– The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

Brightening the spirits, breaking the silence

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] The United States and Canada may be separated by a border but Native Americans on both sides of it share a deadly reality: their rate of suicide surpasses that of the general population.

So much so that “we recently had an international consultation with people both from the States and Canada here at Six Nations” near Brantford, Ontario, according to the Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, the Anglican Church of Canada’s national indigenous bishop.

“We realize there’s an official border between us, but we’re dealing with many of the same issues,” he said. “In general terms, there’s a much higher suicide rate among indigenous people in North America than the general population (see related story here) and the causes are many and complex.”

For example, said MacDonald: “every single person at this international gathering had been struck by suicide in a very intimate and personal way, so there’s just a sense that it never goes away. It’s just always there and it’s a tormenting reality for most indigenous people.”

“When suicide happens in a family, to a family, they sort of go quiet,” according to the Rev. Norman Casey, rector of the Parish of Six Nations and a member of the Micmac Nation, of Quebec.

“They hide; they don’t know how to react, don’t know how to say it out loud. It’s the kind of tragedy that makes you go underground and we want to change that, to help people to heal and the only way to heal is to talk about it, to be able to cry about it, to be able to get hugged by the community.”

Moving through the silence to engaging prevention awareness and community partnerships involves excruciating pain but it is the path to healing, Casey said.

“We want to get to a point where people can talk about this. Yes, it hurts and yes, it’s hard. But, if we can get people to open up and talk, that will help to alleviate some of the pain, and we can feel good things grow out of that.”

In Seattle: Speaking out, raising awareness
The day before he ended his life, 18-year-old James and his mom Elsie Dennis filled out his applications for college scholarships together.

“Yet, instead of him going to his senior breakfast and having his senior class photo taken, we were having funeral and burial services for him. It was devastating,” said Dennis, a communications consultant for the Episcopal Church’s Indigenous Ministries Office who lives in Seattle.

Elsie’s last photo taken with her son James, 18, who ended his life in June 2013.

That was June 7, 2013, and “we’re still numb. But we also want to help others and help other families reach out. If we can prevent one person from dying by suicide, we’ve been successful,” she said.

Luminaria commemorating James at the Out of Darkness Walk in Seattle in June

She advocates for liturgies and prayers designed for “loss survivors” like her and her family, and raised money for prevention awareness through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s “Out of Darkness Walk” in Seattle in June.

The whole goal “is to remove the stigma from mental illness and suicide,” Dennis said. “I want people to get help because suicide is preventable and as long as that stigma is in place, then people are very hesitant and avoid seeking help,” she said.

Montana Assisting Bishop Carol Gallagher said suicide prevention awareness is included among materials for the Bishops Native Collaborative (BNC), a training initiative for Native American clergy within the Episcopal Church, and also with White Bison, a recovery and wellness nonprofit agency that partners with the Office of Indigenous Ministries.

“One of our hopes is to bring positive leadership roles to our young people and find ways to help them learn the tools they might need to get beyond the dark places that seem like there’s no hope and no future … stepping aside from shame and talking about how God embraces us despite those things we might feel ashamed of or a failure about,” said Gallagher, a Cherokee, who is also BNC bishop missioner.

Dennis, a member of the Shuswap Nation, is left to wonder what caused her son James to end his life, since he didn’t ask for help or seek counseling.

Although suicide rates are “high for Native youth on the reservation,” Dennis’s family lived off-reservation and she imagines “it was difficult for [James], being a young Native man and trying to fit in. It’s like having your feet in two worlds, the Anglo world and the Native world and trying to mesh those and live those out.”

She believes he, like others contemplating suicide, “held on for as long as possible. Each day is lived in darkness. I think James held on as long as he could, until the last day of his senior year of high school; I think he did that for me and for his dad.”

Standing Rock: vigilant and proactive
The Rev. Canon John Floberg, canon missioner for the Episcopal Church community on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, said seven or eight suicides in the last year or so have heightened vigilance because “often we don’t get a lot of warning.” The number of suicides was “pretty traumatic” for the community of about 8,000.

“It’s always on our radar screen,” said Floberg. “The horror of it has been muted, and that’s a pretty horrible thing that’s taking place.”

A few years ago, he was preparing to go to the funeral of his 17-year-old nephew – who had ended his own life – when he noticed what sounded like suicidal thoughts on the Facebook page of a reservation youth.

“So, while I’m driving to my nephew’s funeral, I’m on the phone with people to go and intervene, to get to her house, to get in physical contact with her or a parent or guardian,” he said. “If I have suspicions anyone is considering it, we get an adult in immediate contact with them. We will not leave them alone unless they’re able to tell us they’re at a place where they feel safe and not planning to do themselves any harm.

“If a kid can’t promise that, then we take the next steps, either going to the emergency room where they can be followed up by a doctor or to a medical facility to address what’s going on, but we don’t leave it to chance,” he said.

Community partnerships with school counselors, hospital social workers and others factor into suicide prevention efforts, he added. If a suicide is completed, “the therapist will call us in to work side by side with counselors, knowing that a lot of the kids have a connection to us through youth ministry. Often, we are first responders to kids who are dealing with somebody else’s suicide.”

In his experience, suicide “is not based on an incident. Sometimes, it is based on a lifelong series of incidents. What happened in the past didn’t get resolved. It feels like it’s never going to come to an end and suicide becomes a way of making things stop.”

Whenever a suicide is completed, Floberg immediately seeks out that person’s closest friends, just in case, he says, adding: “We want to intervene.”

‘The suicides just don’t stop’
A few weeks after the Rev. Nancy Bruyere became a part-time program coordinator for the Anglican Church of Canada’s Suicide Prevention Program for Indigenous Ministries, a cousin took her own life.

That was in June 2013 and Bruyere is unable to hold back the tears. Within the past few months, “we’ve had two suicides and one of them in my own family,” she said.

“My own nephew – he was just 25. It really shook us up. None of us expected him to do something like that – and then another young man, exactly a week later. The suicides just don’t stop.”

Bruyere, 54, an Ojibwe, who herself attempted suicide twice as a young person, said that, while “I can relate to the feelings of hopelessness, depression, shame …” she presses on, to raise awareness, offer hope.

“Even though people don’t like talking about suicide, we need to start talking about it,” she said. “One of the fears, I think, is that if you start talking about it, that more people will attempt it in our community. We need to talk more about it.”

She and the Rev. Cynthia Patterson, a non-native, offer suicide prevention resources and help implement local workshops and trainings in western and eastern Canada, respectively. The high incidence of suicide stems from the legacy of colonialism and residential schools “with multi-generational removal from culture and removal from community living and parenting skills,” Patterson told ENS. “It was like cultural genocide.”

The residential school system began in the mid 1800s and ended in the 1970s; Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in a 2008 official apology, said two primary objectives of the residential school system “were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures and to assimilate them into the dominant culture.

“These objectives were based on the assumption Aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal … Today we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.”

Casey said the schools stripped several generations of culture, self-esteem, parental love and guidance, subsequently creating patterns of inherited generational despair and … resulting in the high suicide rates across the country among First Nation peoples.”

Churches now have a role to play, whether through creating liturgies and prayers, or hosting awareness-raising adult forums or Lenten studies, Patterson said.

“You don’t want the family to feel that their loved one is abandoned by Jesus, because Jesus loves everyone and you want to reinforce that.”

The music camp held in August at the Parish of Six Nations near Brantford, Ontario.

Music, dance and brightening spirits
A summer music camp for children aged 8 to 14 in August at the Parish of Six Nations grew out of a devastating suicide, and it just keeps on growing.

Called “Brightening the Spirits, Breaking the Silence,” the church and community came together to make use of donated instruments – fiddles, recorders, drums, mandolins, guitars and keyboards – “because children are affected by suicide greatly in this community and we have no arts program in the school here, mostly because of lack of funding,” said Casey.

“We learned barn dancing and square dancing and singing,” he said of the weeklong experience. “We hope it goes viral. We’re trying to not only brighten the spirits of young people, but to raise their self-esteem, to make them feel good about themselves, to give them a future, make them feel important, that they belong. That will help us and help them to change their future.”

Dorothy Russell-Patterson said the idea for the camp just came to her one day. “It seemed this would be the right thing to do … to reach out and try and make some sense of what one is experiencing and not be left in despair and isolation.”

But it’s more than a program, “it’s a relationship with the community,” she said. “It evolved on its own because I lost my son. He suicided and we wouldn’t be as far as we are today as a family without that relationship, without the community and my family, our neighbors, our church family,” said Russell-Patterson, 68.

“I know personally about five suicides within the last year,” she added. “As other people experienced loss, it seemed almost natural to want to reach out to them and help them share, help share their grief so that they wouldn’t feel isolated.”

The camp became a way to do that; now plans are underway for a similar afterschool opportunity. The 22 children who attended in August “are going to be our core group to come in after school and begin to plant some seeds and to encourage others.”

With financial support from the Anglican Church’s Healing Fund she hopes “it will be a model that could be shared with other First Nations across Canada.” A member of the Payuga Nation, Russell-Patterson envisions talking circles, healing services and the eventual creation of a healing center – with suicide prevention as a backdrop.

More immediately, on Sept. 10, World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day, “we’re going to make 200 lunches, bag them up and have a giveaway in the park in the heart of the village for anyone who wants to come, and we’ll tell them about what we’re doing.”

In many ways, the music camp and afterschool initiatives pay tribute to her son, Adam, who was 37 when he ended his life Feb. 7, 2011. “He showed no sign of anything, there was no warning,” said Russell-Patterson, a retired nurse who has taught at the Mohawk College and at the University of British Columbia.

“He was the kindest, gentlest man,” she recalled. “He had a degree in classical music. He played guitar and piano, interpreted music, could tell you the history of a piece and was a terrific athlete. He was not a drinker; he didn’t take drugs, he didn’t have problems that were shown by stress-related activities,” she said.

He had gone into the construction business and “worked the week before he took his own life. Honest to God, he just simply walked out one morning and into the bush and … ” Breaking into sobs, she continued: “I just don’t know why. My husband found him.”

Gathering strength, she added: “In living through it and knowing the deepest pain a mother could feel, I think I could find it somewhere to maybe help somebody else that’s also in that pain.”

Comforted by the knowledge Adam “is in a good place,” she added: “It’s important to recognize the person you’ve lost. Not the death, but the life, their contributions to the lives they’ve touched with love, to the goodness they’ve left. We can help each other through it and deal with the pain.

“That is what keeps me going, anyway.”

–The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

Jason Lucas named priest-in-charge of St. Edward, Wayzata, MN

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Rev. Jason Lucas has been called as priest-in-charge of St. Edward the Confessor Episcopal Church in Wayzata, Minnesota. Lucas was raised in Arizona in a small copper mining town, a predominately Hispanic community. He grew up in the Roman Catholic tradition and worked for several years with youth. However, as he grew in his faith journey he was challenged theologically by the teaching of the Roman Church. After much prayer and discernment he left the Roman Catholic Church and later took up a youth minister position at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Minneapolis. Lucas entered seminary in August 2010 and completed his Master of Divinity degree at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California, in May 2013. Minnesota Bishop Brian Prior ordained him a transitional deacon in June 2012 and a priest in June 2013.

Texas: Returning VETS strike a chord

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Kirby Kelly, renowned blues guitarist, prepares for a recital with a group of veterans. Photo: Diocese of Texas

[Episcopal Diocese of Texas] Col. Lynn Smith-Henry (ret.) and Kim Perlock, a classical guitarist and educator, weren’t necessarily on the same journey until David Boyd, the rector of St. David’s, Austin, introduced them.

Smith-Henry—also a Lutheran pastor in the Anglican studies program at Seminary of the Southwest—was looking for a way to help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Perlock knew many of her students were veterans who struggled to reengage in a culture of entitlement and abundance following multiple deployments. She wanted to help, and with Smith-Henry, established a guitar therapy class that was grounded in the community of faith at St. David’s. It has offered hope, healing and a way for vets to begin to reenter their lives back home.

“It’s hard to be a 28-year-old veteran and get too concerned about what model BMW some freshman’s parents are buying him,” said Robert, one of Perlock’s students at Austin Community College.

“When you have experienced war you come home a different person,” Smith-Henry said. “It’s just a very different sensibility.”

Learning to trust and even to have normal conversations are adjustments for vets with PTSD, Smith-Henry explained. “Many vets who suffer from PTSD don’t have coping skills to deal with the loss of a friend either as a casualty of war or as a suicide after returning,” he said. “Many have moments of anger that they struggle to control. They had no control over what they experienced during their deployments and that manifests in anger and disassociations with people once they return home. Vets can feel a sense of violation and abandonment and have an inability to communicate.”

The VA recently referred Scott Latham to the group. “Just being together means the most to me,” Latham said. “Music is becoming an outlet for me to get away from the bad stuff in my head,” he added.

Perlock was teaching at Concordia College and Austin Community College when she realized that some of her students responded similarly. She was delighted to find a way to reach them.

The first guitar class began in the spring of 2013 at St. David’s and now gathers weekly at the Armstrong Community Music School for two hours of playing music and additional time for socializing—a part of the program as important as the guitar lessons. “We found a formula that works,” Smith-Henry said, “and we’ve had really good results.”

Margaret Perry has taught music for 40 years and is the director at the Armstrong School. “I know the healing grace of music for people, [especially] for those who have experienced violence it has a unique power to remind us of the goodness and beauty in life,” Perry said. “We understand the neurological benefits of music to help with physical challenges as well as mental focus and memory skills. And, of course, music is a healthy and joyful emotional outlet,” she added. The guitar program, she said, fits well with the school’s values of people bonding as friends and colleagues as much as teaching musical skills.

Perlock recently accepted a position at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, but two instructors with exemplary skills were soon on board to help Smith-Henry. Jeremy Coleman is a Marine veteran and a classically trained music therapist in Austin. Kirby Kelly is a renowned blues musician who plays the slide guitar. Kelly drives four hours from Sherman, Texas, each Sunday to spend the afternoon with the vets and Coleman. The students play all kinds of music, but Kirby and Smith-Henry agree the blues is a great genre for therapy.

“I am particularly interested in healthy coping strategies and the likelihood that a person will implement them,” Coleman said. “We [know] that people’s decision-making is based primarily on learned associations from past experiences,” he added, explaining that a positive music experience increases the likelihood that the vets will implement skills in a meaningful way in their everyday lives.

Outside of class, many vets use the music as part of their personal therapy. When moments of anxiety or anger arise, they can pick up the guitar and go to a “safer” emotional place.

“The real value of passive music therapy is that it’s a great tool for coping beyond a particular moment. You can take it with you and its always accessible,” Smith-Henry said.

Smith-Henry believes the Church has an opportunity to respond to vets with programs like the guitar that began class at St. David’s. He said he was inadvertently called into this ministry because of his personal experience with PTSD. When he began to look at the issues surrounding it, he found many other vets simply were not asking for help. “They weren’t going to the VA and it seemed to me that church was just an easier place to begin,” he said.

Most of the vets in the music ministry don’t have a religious background, but they are curious, Smith-Henry said. The church setting provided a neutral ground and although the classes are not religious, the setting felt safe. “This is a healing ministry,” he said.

“I would like to see more veterans take advantage of the guitar program,” said Dave Summers, a regular member since the group’s founding. “It gives me something to look forward to each week,” he added.

More than a year into the program, people have begun to get together outside of the guitar group. Students have begun to build a degree of trust, and although it was difficult for many to get to that point, “it is amazing to see,” Smith-Henry said.

He has seen other changes as well. The group conversation is deeper, closer to home, he said. The vets feel safe enough to name moments in their lives that are “not so good,” even though specific memories or experiences are often not mentioned. St. David’s has provided space, local guitar shops have donated supplies, and talented musicians have given their time to help heal the warrior. Each step is small, but like notes on a page, when they are all played together, the music is sweet.

Contact Smith-Henry at osdhat@gmail.com to learn more.

Pilgrimage to Reconciliation

The Episcopal Veterans Fellowship is a new initiative in the Diocese of Texas that seeks to follow the 2009 Resolution from General Convention to establish an “Episcopal Veterans Fellowship in every diocese.” The program, so far, consists of practicing ancient, medieval and contemporary healing rituals that enable veterans to find healing and reconciliation after their experience in combat. In the remembrance portion, participants move between the font and the altar, using the sacred space within which veterans may hold the names and memories of those they lost in war before God. The reconciliation portion of the “pilgrimage” recognizes that veterans are sent out from a community to fight, and that they must be received back into their spiritual community through the sacrament of reconciliation. The experience is held in the church and is casual. Veterans are able to connect spiritually to other church members who share their experience of war.

To date, the groups have conducted two Pilgrimages of Remembrance and Reconciliation at St. David’s, Austin and one at Grace, Georgetown. A fourth will be held on September 28 at St. Martin’s-on-the-Hill, Copperas Cove. For more information about the EVF or how to host a Pilgrimage of Remembrance and Reconciliation at your parish, please contact the Rev. David W. Peters, DD. Peters has served as an enlisted Marine and Army chaplain in Iraq. He can be reached at runnermonk@gmail.com or 512.571.4124. Get updates on the EVF at facebook.com/EpiscopalVeteransFellowship.

Applications accepted for 2015 Roanridge Trust Award Grants

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Applications are now accepted for the 2015 Roanridge Trust Award Grants, awarded annually for creative models for leadership development, training and ministries in small towns and rural communities across the Episcopal Church.

Dioceses, congregations and Episcopal related organizations and institutions are invited to apply for the grants which generally range from $5000 to $20,000.

Samuel McDonald, Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission, explained: “The Roanridge Trust Award Grants support creative ministry and highlight the important mission in rural areas and small towns across our church. These are important places and mission centers which should be celebrated and supported.”

For more information, application and instructions here

Although previous recipients are eligible to apply, priority is given to new applications.

Application deadline is October 31.

The 2015 grants will be announced on November 17.

The Roanridge Trust was established by the Cochel family, who originally gave a working farm in Missouri called Roanridge to The Episcopal Church. The interest from the sale of the farm generates the grant funds.

For more info on Roanridge Trust here.

Questions about the Roanridge Trust and the application process can be addressed to McDonald at smcdonald@episcopalchurch.org.

Nuns to pope: Revoke doctrine that allows Christians to seize native land

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Last November, Sister Maureen Fiedler hand-delivered a letter to Pope Francis’ ambassador in Washington, D.C., urging the pontiff to renounce a 15th-century church document that justifies the colonization and oppression of indigenous peoples. Photo courtesy of Jean M. Schildz, The Loretto Community

[Religion News Service] In November, Sister Maureen Fiedler hand-delivered a letter to Pope Francis’ ambassador in Washington, D.C., urging the pontiff to renounce a series of 15th-century church documents that justify the colonization and oppression of indigenous peoples.

She doesn’t know if the letter made it to the Vatican. But she’s hopeful a recent resolution by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will spur the pope to repudiate the centuries-old concept known as the “Doctrine of Discovery.”

“When I learned about it, I was horrified,” said Fiedler. As a member of the Loretto Community, a congregation of religious women and lay people, Fiedler first heard of the doctrine when her order marked its 200th anniversary by challenging “the papal sanctioning of Christian enslavement and power over non-Christians.”

The Doctrine of Discovery is a series of papal bulls, or decrees, that gave Christian explorers the right to lay claim to any land that was not inhabited by Christians and was available to be “discovered.” If its inhabitants could be converted, they might be spared. If not, they could be enslaved or killed.

The doctrine’s modern influence re-emerged recently in the debate about the racism and exploitation of Native American sports mascots, Fiedler said. It has justified efforts to eliminate indigenous languages, practices and worldviews, and it affects Native American sovereignty and treaty obligations.

Since 1823, it has also been enshrined in U.S. law. In 2005, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited the Doctrine of Discovery in a land-claim ruling against the Oneidas, one of the six nations of the Haudenosaunee.

The Loretto Community collaborated with a member of the Osage Nation to create a 2012 resolution. Last fall, the order joined 12 other Catholic groups asking the pope to rescind the decrees.

By revoking these papal bulls, the signers said, “all will know that today’s world is different from that of the 15th century as we move away from patterns of domination and dehumanization,” the resolution says.

Last year, the Loretto Community took the additional step of approaching the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, requesting that the group, which represents about 80 percent of U.S. nuns, consider a similar resolution. Last month, the LCWR members overwhelmingly approved a resolution during their annual conference in Nashville, Tenn.

Before the vote, Sister Pearl McGivney, president of the Loretto Community, which is based in Nerinx, Ky., spoke about the injustice of the doctrine.

“We had just been singing a hymn with the line, ‘Who will speak if you don’t? … Speak so that their voices will be heard,’” Fiedler recounted. “In this case, we were talking about the voices of Native Americans, who are so seldom heard.”

Indigenous groups have sought to overturn the doctrine since at least 1984. In its 2007 Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the United Nations criticized policies like the Doctrine of Discovery as “racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust.”

Since 2007, numerous faith communities have called for repudiation, among them, the United Methodist Church, the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Episcopal Church, the World Council of Churches, several Quaker meetings and the United Church of Christ.

LCWR’s resolution calls on the pope to publicly acknowledge the continuing harm indigenous peoples suffer; clarify and repudiate any remaining legal status of the doctrine; dialogue with indigenous people and collaborate in planning a sacred ceremony of reconciliation; and issue a pastoral statement to courts of settler nations, urging them to change laws derived from the doctrine.

The Vatican has said that later bulls and papal apologies show the church no longer supports the doctrine.

“The wrongs done to the indigenous people need to be honestly acknowledged,” Saint John Paul II said in 1998. He also delivered a sweeping apology in 2000 for the church’s mistreatment of groups, including indigenous peoples.

But this pope should act, decisively too, said Philip Arnold, a Syracuse University religious studies professor who has worked with a Syracuse, N.Y.-based study group on the doctrine.

“It would be helpful for the church to throw out her sin of colonialism,” he said. “Some acknowledgment of the pain of the past would be helpful.”

Applications accepted for Acting Missioner for Transition Ministry

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 9, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Applications are now being accepted for the position of Acting Missioner for the Office of Transition Ministry for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS).

The Acting Missioner position is slated through September 2015, after which the Program and Budget vision set at General Convention 2015 will be implemented. The successful candidate would be eligible for consideration for any related future position as established by the GC 2015 budget.

The position is full-time and does not require relocation.

Information on this and all the positions as well as application instructions are available here.

For more information contact a member of the Episcopal Church Human Resources Team at HRM@episcopalchurch.org.


Servant Leadership Award presented to Irit Umani

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dean and President Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, left, with Ms. Irit Umani.

[Seminary of the Southwest] Servant leadership, “the disposition of the heart to put the good of the whole at the center of one’s vocation” is front and center at Seminary of the Southwest’s Matriculation Evensong each September. Since the retirement of much loved professor of pastoral theology, the Rev. Charlie Cook in 2008, the faculty of the seminary has chosen someone who exemplifies a ministry of servanthood to receive the Charles J. Cook Award in Servant Leadership.

This year, the faculty selected Ms. Irit Umani, executive director of Trinity Center in Austin, Texas to receive the 2014 award. Trinity Center cares for Austin neighbors who are living on the streets or in shelters near the downtown St. David’s Episcopal Church, which birthed the outreach ministry years ago.

“Humanitarian, peace activist, spiritual guide, educator, advocate for the marginalized and friend of the homeless” began the citation for the Israeli-born Ms. Umani. “You have said that the path of service is not that of the preacher or the prophet; rather, it is the path of the Levite who keeps the temple clean and makes certain that there is oil for the lamp.”

Accepting the award at Matriculation on September 7, Ms. Umani expressed her hope that the students beginning or continuing their studies and formation would find themselves at graduation “more in love with God and more in love with their neighbor” than they are today.

Previous recipients of the Cook Award in Servant Leadership include Judith A. Rhedin, the Rev. Helen Appelberg, Jennifer Long, the Rev. Zane Wilemon and George L. McGonigle.

Seminary of the Southwest welcomes new faculty member

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dr. Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski

[Seminary of the Southwest] The Seminary of the Southwest officially welcomed its newest member of the faculty, Dr. Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, who joined the community at Seminary of the Southwest this fall after serving on the faculty at Church Divinity School of the Pacific since 2005. Academic Dean Scott Bader-Saye installed Joslyn-Siemiatkoski as the Duncalf-Villavaso associate professor of church history at the seminary’s Matriculation Evensong on September 7.

Dr. Joslyn-Siemiatkoski’s areas of interest include Jewish-Christian history, the history of Anglican ecclesiology, and contemporary interfaith dialogue. Earlier this summer, he participated as a fellow in the Christian Leadership Initiative in Jerusalem sponsored by the American Jewish Committee and the Shalom Hartman Institute.

He is the author of Christian Memories of the Maccabean Martyrs and is currently working on A Christian Commentary of Mishnah Avot. He has published in journals such as Anglican Theological Review and Anglican and Episcopal History.  Dr. Joslyn-Siemiatkoski will teach History of Christianity I and II and offer electives in his areas of expertise. Dan and his wife Jennifer have two children.

2014 Jubilee Ministry grant applications now accepted

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 9, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Samuel McDonald, Director of Mission and Deputy Chief Operating Officer, has announced that applications for Episcopal Church 2014 Jubilee Ministry grants are now being accepted in two categories: Program Development Grantand Program Impact Grants.

“Jubilee Centers are a vital and vibrant part of the mission of The Episcopal Church in our walk with those in need,” explained the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, Domestic Poverty Missioner. “They highlight the numerous, varied, and locally managed ways that we are committed to making a meaningful impact against the cycle of poverty that holds hostage the lives of so many.”

Application forms are available here.

One Program Development Grant, up to $35,000, will be awarded to a new or existing ministry that can demonstrate a new or re-visioned strategy and methodology to make an impact both locally and beyond itself.

Ten to 20 Program Impact Grants, ranging from $750 to $1,500 each, will be awarded to initiatives of Jubilee Centers that make a positive and measurable impact in the lives of those in need.

Stevenson continued: “While Jubilee Centers with a wide variety of missions and programs dealing with poverty alleviation are encouraged to apply, priority in grant awards will be given to those ministries with a strong educational and/or early childhood development component to their work. For example, a feeding ministry that teaches nutrition skills to care-givers of children would have priority over a program that only provides meals.”

All currently designated Jubilee Centers are eligible for this year’s grants.

Deadline is Tuesday, September 30. Grant recipients will be announced in October.

Information for ministries seeking to become designated as a Jubilee ministry and benefit from the network of support and be eligible for future Jubilee grants, applications and explanation of the process is here.

For more information contact Stevenson at mstevenson@episcopalchurch.org.

East Carolina notified of successful canonical consent process

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 9, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Office of Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has notified the Diocese of East Carolina that Bishop-Elect Robert Skirving has received the required majority of consents in the canonical consent process.

The Rev. Robert Stuart Skirving was elected on May 17.  His ordination and consecration service is slated for November 8; Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will officiate.

As outlined under Canon III.11.4 (a), the Presiding Bishop confirmed the receipt of consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction, and has also reviewed the evidence of consents from a majority of standing committees of the Church sent to her by the diocesan standing committee.

In Canon III.11.4 (b), Standing Committees, in consenting to the ordination and consecration, attest they are “fully sensible of how important it is that the Sacred Order and Office of a Bishop should not be unworthily conferred, and firmly persuaded that it is our duty to bear testimony on this solemn occasion without partiality, do, in the presence of Almighty God, testify that we know of no impediment on account of which the Reverend A.B. ought not to be ordained to that Holy Office. We do, moreover, jointly and severally declare that we believe the Reverend A.B. to have been duly and lawfully elected and to be of such sufficiency in learning, of such soundness in the Faith, and of such godly character as to be able to exercise the Office of a Bishop to the honor of God and the edifying of the Church, and to be a wholesome example to the flock of Christ.”

Maryland diocese ordains Heather Elizabeth Cook as bishop suffragan

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bishop Suffragan of Maryland Heather Cook celebrates the Eucharist during her service of ordination and consecration to the episcopate. Photo: Richard Schori

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland ordained and consecrated the Rev. Heather Elizabeth Cook as its suffragan bishop on Sept. 6 during a service at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Baltimore.

The service featured participants from across the diocese, as well as Cook’s family, friends and people from past ministries. To honor her early years in Baltimore and her Episcopal education, a student from St. Paul’s School for Girls, Brooklandville, led the opening procession of the service with the school’s flag. Cook graduated from St. Paul’s School for Girls in 1974.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori served as the chief consecrator. Following the service, Cook offered blessings at the altar of the church.

A video stream of the service is available here.

From left, Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton, newly ordained Maryland Suffragan Bishop Heather Cook, and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori following the Sept. 6 ordination and consecration service. Photo: Richard Schori

Cook was ordained to the priesthood in April 1988. She has served as a boarding school chaplain at Stuart Hall in Staunton, Virginia; assistant rector at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Bedford, New York; rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, York, Pennsylvania; canon for mission in the Diocese of Central New York; and canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Easton on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Cook is the first woman to be elected a bishop in the Maryland diocese. She was elected bishop on May 2 on the fourth ballot from a slate of four nominees.

Click here for Cook’s biography and photo.

New for Episcopal authors: Episcopal Bookshelf

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 9, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal authors now have a new Bookshelf!

Thanks to Sermons That Work, a new service has been launched, named the Episcopal Bookshelf, to promote books written by Episcopalians. Episcopal Bookshelf is here.

“Although the Sermons That Work website has been offering reviews of books by major publishing houses for several years, Episcopal Bookshelf now provides an opportunity for all Episcopal writers to market their books to other Episcopalians,” explained Sarah Johnson, editor and writer for the Office of Communication.

Sermons That Work, available here, is a popular and heavily utilized website designed for clergy and lay leaders. Sermons That Work website offers free sermons based on the Revised Common Lectionary readings for Sundays and selected feast days. Also available are weekly downloadable bulletin inserts highlighting the history, music, liturgy, mission, and ministry of The Episcopal Church, along with weekly lectionary-based Bible study commentary written by emerging thought leaders from Episcopal seminaries.

To learn more about listing a book on Episcopal Bookshelf, contact Johnson, sjohnson@episcopalchurch.org.

Sermons That Work here

Sermons That Work RSS feed

Spanish sermons written by Latino/Hispanic Episcopal clergy specifically for Latino/Hispanic congregations, as well as Spanish bulletin inserts and Spanish Bible study commentary are available on the Sermones que Iluminan (“Sermons That Illuminate”) here.

Sermones que Iluminan RSS feed.

Sermons That Work and Sermones que Iluminan join Episcopal News Service as part of the Episcopal Digital Network, a digital publication network that delivers news and feature stories to more than 200,000 readers each month.

New for Episcopal authors: Episcopal Bookshelf

ENS Headlines - Monday, September 8, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Episcopal authors now have a new Bookshelf!

Thanks to Sermons That Work, a new service has been launched, named the Episcopal Bookshelf, to promote books written by Episcopalians. Episcopal Bookshelf is here.

“Although the Sermons That Work website has been offering reviews of books by major publishing houses for several years, Episcopal Bookshelf now provides an opportunity for all Episcopal writers to market their books to other Episcopalians,” explained Sarah Johnson, editor and writer for the Office of Communication.

Sermons That Work, available here, is a popular and heavily utilized website designed for clergy and lay leaders. Sermons That Work website offers free sermons based on the Revised Common Lectionary readings for Sundays and selected feast days. Also available are weekly downloadable bulletin inserts highlighting the history, music, liturgy, mission, and ministry of The Episcopal Church, along with weekly lectionary-based Bible study commentary written by emerging thought leaders from Episcopal seminaries.

To learn more about listing a book on Episcopal Bookshelf, contact Johnson, sjohnson@episcopalchurch.org

Additional links

Sermons That Work RSS feed.

Spanish sermons written by Latino/Hispanic Episcopal clergy specifically for Latino/Hispanic congregations, as well as Spanish bulletin inserts and Spanish Bible study commentary are available on the Sermones que Iluminan (“Sermons That Illuminate”) here.

Sermones que Iluminan RSS feed.

Sermons That Work and Sermones que Iluminan join Episcopal News Service as part of the Episcopal Digital Network, a digital publication network that delivers news and feature stories to more than 200,000 readers each month.

Episcopal Church Development Office 2014 Symposium

ENS Headlines - Monday, September 8, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release]  Registration is still available for The Episcopal Church Development Office Fall 2014 Fundraising Symposium, Sacred Fundraising, Secular Tools, on Thursday and Friday, October 16, and 17.

Designed for directors of development at dioceses, congregations, and other Episcopal organizations, as well as clergy interested in parish/diocesan fundraising, Sacred Fundraising, Secular Tools will be held at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 E. 88th St., New York City. NY.

“This year’s Fundraising Symposium will look outside the church for inspiration and enrichment, focusing on how successful and innovative secular fundraising practices can enhance church fundraising tools,” explained Elizabeth Lowell, Director of The Episcopal Church Development Office.

Leaders in philanthropy will share their expertise on such topics as targeted prospect researching, strategy design, building relationships, and the integration of social media.

Registration is $250 per person; seats are limited. Online registration is here.

Symposium information is here.

For more information contact Maggy Keet, mkeet@episcopalchurch.org.

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Anglicans in Brazil and Chile

ENS Headlines - Monday, September 8, 2014

Archbishop Justin Welby with Anglican bishops in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 4 Sept 2014.

[Lambeth Palace press release] The Archbishop of Canterbury today concluded a four-day visit to Anglicans in Brazil and Chile, part of his series of visits to Anglican primates worldwide.

Archbishop Justin Welby and his wife, Caroline, spent two days visiting the primate of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Bishop Francisco de Assis da Silva, before flying to Chile to visit the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, Bishop Tito Zavala.

The Archbishop is visiting all his fellow primates around the Anglican Communion during his first 18 months in office.

In the Brazilian capital of Sao Paulo the Archbishop met and prayed with local bishops, clergy and lay people. He also preached at Most Holy Trinity Parish, reflecting on the theme of his visit – ‘I am the vine… if you remain in me you will bear much fruit.’ (John 15.5).

Archbishop Justin meets with young people in Santiago, Chile, 7 Sept 2014.

While in Brazil the Archbishop also addressed local ecumenical leaders about the importance of ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue for the Anglican Communion.

In the Chilean capital, Santiago, the Archbishop attended a special service in which the province officially changed its name to the Anglican Church of South America. The service was one of thanksgiving for Allen Gardiner, the man who founded the South American Mission Society and sacrificed his life as one of the continent’s first missionaries.

The Archbishop also attended a special event with Chilean religious, social and political leaders, where he spoke on the role of faith in the development of society, and preached at a parish Sunday morning service in Santiago.

Read more about Archbishop Justin’s primates visits 

Canon Kenneth Kearon elected as bishop of Limerick and Killaloe

ENS Headlines - Monday, September 8, 2014

[Church of Ireland press release] The Episcopal Electoral College for Limerick & Killaloe, meeting in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, has elected the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon as the new bishop of Limerick and Killaloe. He succeeds the Rt. Rev. Trevor Williams who retired at the end of July this year.

Kearon is secretary general of the Anglican Communion, a position he has held since 2005. Born in 1953, Kearon is a native of Dublin. Educated at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), he served his curacy in All Saints Raheny and St John’s Coolock, before becoming dean of residence at TCD in 1984, a position he held until 1990. He was rector of the Parish of Tullow (Dublin) from 1991 to 1999 after which he became director of the Irish School of Ecumenics (1999-2005). Kearon is a canon of Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin and an honorary provincial canon of Canterbury Cathedral, St. Paul’s Cathedral London and St. George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem.

The Most Rev. Michael Jackson, archbishop of Dublin, said, “Canon Kearon has expressed his delight at returning to work in Ireland and his intention to serve the people of Limerick and Killaloe and the communities of which they are a part. I have known Canon Kearon for many years and have always appreciated his personal friendship. I wish Kenneth and Jennifer all that is best within the love of God in their time in Limerick and Killaloe.”

The bishop-elect said: “I am honored and delighted to have been elected to the Diocese of Limerick and Killaloe, and I look forward to getting to know the diocese, its people and its clergy well in the near future. Ireland has been through a very difficult period in its history, and I look forward to helping the diocese play its part and making its contribution to shaping the future. This diocese has made a distinctive contribution to the Church of Ireland in the past, in part through the work of its bishops and most recently through Bishop Trevor Williams, and I hope to be able to continue in their footsteps.”

Following approval by the House of Bishops, the bishop-elect will be consecrated as a bishop on a date to be determined.

RIP: Richard Reid, former dean of Virginia Theological Seminary

ENS Headlines - Monday, September 8, 2014

[Virginia Theological Seminary press release] The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D., dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS), announced today the death of the the Very Rev. Richard Reid, Th.D., dean and president of VTS from 1983 – 1994, on Saturday, Sept. 6.

“On this day, I invite this community to remember Dean Reid,” said Dean Markham. “To give thanks to God for his life and to commit afresh to serving the Kingdom as he did. May he rest in peace.”

Born in 1928 and a native of Providence, R.I., Reid earned A.B. (magna cum laude) and A.M. degrees from Harvard University; a B.D. (cum laude) from the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Mass.; and a Th.D. from Union Theological Seminary in New York. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and spent two sabbatical leaves studying in England (1968, Cambridge University, 1973, Oxford University). Reid was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church June 24, 1955. He was ordained to the priesthood March 24, 1956.

Reid first came to Virginia Theological Seminary in 1958 as a member of the department of New Testament. In 1969 he became associate dean for academic affairs. He served in this capacity until 1982 when he was elected by the board as dean and president, following the 1981 retirement of the Very Rev. Granville Cecil Woods, Jr. During his inaugural address in 1983, Reid outlined several initiatives for the Seminary, including a vision for strengthening the educational ministry of the church.

“This Seminary is strong because of the leadership of those who have come before. Dean Reid is a model of such leadership,” Markham continued. “He gave the most precious gift he could give to this Seminary – he gave years of his life in service.” Click here to read Dean Markham’s September 8, 2014 Commentary on Dean Reid.