[Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island] An exciting hurdle has been crossed by the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island’s Jonathan Daniels House (JDH) project, which aims to open a service-oriented intentional community for young adults. After three years of planning and preparing, last week JDH received official membership into the Episcopal Service Corps, a national network of more than 25 Episcopal young adult service programs across the United States.
As an Episcopal Service Corps community, Jonathan Daniels House will draw upon a diverse group of young adults from across the country, and plans to welcome four young adults in August of 2014. Participants will live together, work in service agencies embedded in local communities, and engage in vocational and spiritual discernment for a period of 10 months. They receive a modest stipend and are supported by a program director and mentors.
“We recognize that young people’s lives are formed by their experience in young adulthood – and that the service they provide will change them as well as those around them, said Bishop Nicholas Knisely of the Diocese of Rhode Island. “They will bring energy, vision and ideas to us and new hope to the people they serve.”
The next step forward for the JDH task force will be to hire a program director whose major work this spring will be to make arrangements with prospective service agencies, acquire housing, and prepare to welcome the first class of JDH participants. The JDH Task Force believes the support of the Episcopal Service Corps to be crucial as we work through these last tasks.
The community is named after Jonathan Daniels, a martyr of the Civil Rights movement who engaged in ministry in Episcopal churches in South Providence. As a seminarian in the 1960s, Jonathan Daniels traveled south to help register African Americans to vote in Selma, Alabama. On that trip, Daniels was shot and killed while pushing a teenage girl out of harm’s way.
The mission of Jonathan Daniels House is to honor Daniels by continuing the work of service, justice and reconciliation for which he lived and died. In the footsteps of Jonathan Daniels, participants will work with those in the margins for whom justice and access to basic human services is often difficult to achieve.
Penick Village 50th Anniversary
20 November 2013
Feast of Edmund of Anglia, 870
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
We’re celebrating 50 years of this remarkable community on the feast of an English king and martyr who died in the year 870. The two do have something to do with one another. Not only does this community continue to grow in the communion of saints who’ve shared life here for the last 50 years, but also with the saints from a much longer trajectory in our collective history.
Edmund was born in East Anglia around 841, and became king at the age of 15. Can you envision one of your grandchildren ruling a nation, even a small one? Yet people can rise to the challenge when nurtured and called to it from an early age, especially when they’ve been well mentored. Edmund presided over a reasonably prosperous and peaceful season in East Anglia until the Viking raids started up again in 870. Two Danish kings brought their forces into Britain and moved south toward Edmund’s lands killing, pillaging, and burning the villages and monasteries in their path. They sent messengers to Edmund, promising to spare him and even share their loot if he would become their vassal and repudiate his Christian religion. He declined, they captured him, tied him to a tree, beat him and shot him full of arrows – as the tale says, ‘until he looked like a hedgehog’ – and then cut him down and offered the deal again. He refused and they cut off his head. He was all of 29. His friends and subjects went looking for his body and eventually committed it to the ground in a Benedictine abbey, later called Bury St. Edmunds. There are some 60 English churches dedicated to him, in remembrance of his martyrdom and his fidelity to the idea of a home for his people, both English and Christian.
Edmund’s story has been told in a variety of ways, for the Viking destruction completely erased any contemporary documentary evidence of his rule. One commentator notes that Edmund didn’t give much evidence of being “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Edmund supposedly consulted his bishops about the deal that was being offered, and they urged him to accept it, apparently believing that keeping his head, rather than losing it, offered far more possibility to negotiate a more creative outcome.
Another tells a richer and more mythic version of the story. Years before Edmund’s encounter with the invading Danish king, a young Danish prince had gone hawking in a boat and was lost at sea. He washed up on the coast of England and was taken to Edmund, who learned of the young man’s skill and made him his chief falconer. But the man whom he replaced as falconer lured him into the woods and murdered him. The prince’s dog kept turning up at the castle to be fed and then going back to the woods, but it took quite a while before someone followed him and found the body. The deposed falconer was found guilty and set adrift in the same boat the young prince had come in – without oars or sail or food. As one might expect in a good epic, he in turn washed ashore on the Danish coast and was taken to the court, where he told the king that Edmund had ordered the prince’s murder. Thus Ingvar’s furious investment in doing away with Edmund and his god.
It’s a great legend, and it gets even better with echoes of the prince’s death in the story of Edmund’s. After Edmund is executed, his loyal subjects find his body and the severed head – with the aid of a wolf, crying “here, here, here.” There’s a very old mural in a church at Padbury, Buckinghamshire that shows a wolf carrying Edmund’s head.
It makes one wonder what elaborate stories will be told in future about the founders and residents of Penick Village! Yet there are some deeply significant and serious issues here. Edmund evidently did give an account of the hope that was in him, whether or not some have judged it foolish. He acted out of integrity. He loved the people of his kingdom, and he loved the enemy who washed up on his shore near death. He may have been naïve to promote the young prince and thereby demote a man prone to raging jealousy. He clearly was not a terribly effective or elegant politician. And the witness of his life is remembered as holy and life-giving for his people. He was the patron saint of England through most of the Middle Ages.
We remember saints as witnesses, examples of holy living. They are never perfect imitations of godliness – they’re very human in rich and complex ways, with feet of clay and checkered histories, even legendary ones. Each one opens a window onto what it means to offer evidence of the hope that is within us, as Peter puts it. And each encounter with one of these witnesses invites us to ask that question of ourselves. What’s my witness? What’s yours? Most of us aren’t going to be tied to trees and shot with arrows, but what does it mean for us to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves?
I’ve been intrigued and deeply moved by the stories I’ve heard about the witness in Charlotte called “Moral Mondays.” It has been a bold and faith-full witness about loving all our neighbors as ourselves, and caring for the least of these. Those who have gone to the capitol and challenged the state assembly may seem foolish in the world’s eyes, but they understand their cause as a holy one. I’m not certain that those who’ve worked to remove voting rights or social safety nets ought to be compared to marauding Vikings, but there are some parallels to be seen in laying waste to flourishing communities and educational opportunities, and removing hope from what had been growing stability in poor families.
Those monasteries the Vikings looted and laid waste were the social and spiritual support systems for the poor, the migrant laborers, orphans, and widows of their day. They also provided the only educational opportunities. Edmund gave his life insisting that God is larger than the destroying impulses of this world. Penick Village is a latter day echo of a medieval monastery – it’s a religious foundation for the care and nurture of human beings in the closing years of their lives. And it claims to be a hostel for human beings, uniquely created as beloved children of God.
The need for hostels and homes for all God’s children is an ancient one, and it’s a growing need around here. On Monday, the Fayette Observer reported about the homeless population in Moore County, noting that many don’t recognize the need because they assume this is a wealthy community. How are the people of this Village connected to the people of the larger village called Moore County, or North Carolina? I’ve been hearing about some here who are focused on that larger village, working and volunteering and giving witness to those connections. Some are probably mentoring potential Edmunds, youngsters who could become strong leaders for a more peaceable community. I know there are Edmunds here in this village, asking “Who needs a home around here?” and working to ensure they have one. What witness do we offer with our very lives, what hope for greater and more abundant life?
 Sam Portaro, The Brighest and the Best.
 Stars in a Dark World, 705-707
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) has issued a reminder to submit feedback through a survey about the new resources for blessing same-sex relationships.
The survey is located here.
In 2012, the General Convention passed Resolution A049 commending “Liturgical Resources 1: I Will Bless You and You Will Be A Blessing” for study and use in congregation and dioceses, and approved the liturgical resource “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” for provisional use.
SCLM reports that, since about 50 days ago, 339 people have taken the survey in English and three people in Spanish. Of those, 67% were clergy, 33% were lay.
Of the people providing feedback about preparing a couple, 50% were clergy and 12% were members of a couple who were blessed.
On feedback about the liturgy, 55.3% were clergy, 15.5% members of the congregation, and 16.8% a member of the couple.
Regarding the educational/discussion material, 27.7% used the material, while those who did not use it said it was either because they had already done congregational education (57.9%) or that they used other resources (31.3%).
Of those who said they did not use any of the SCLM’s material, 61.8% said it was because no one came forward asking for a blessing.
The most responses came from the Dioceses of California, East Tennessee and New York.
The survey will remain open through December 31.
- To contact SCLM: email@example.com
- SCLM blog
- Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music: http://generalconvention.org/ccab/mandate/2
- Liturgical Resources I is available, in print and ebook form, from Church Publishing, Inc.
La situación de Venezuela sigue igual o peor. Observadores dicen que no ven que el oficialismo haga algún gesto de conciliación, todo lo contrario cada día toma decisiones que enfurecen a la oposición y a los ciudadanos comunes. Los esfuerzos anti-constitucionales del mandatario Nicolás Maduro de asegurarse poderes totales mediante “ley habilitante” lo convierte en dictador al estar en sus manos todos los poderes del estado. Los obispos católicos romanos advirtieron del peligro de mayores hechos de violencia que pueden costar vidas y traer mayores dolores a la población. ”Rechazamos la usura, la corrupción y la especulación” dicen en un comunicado.
En Cuba se anunció la jubilación del cardenal arzobispo de La Habana, Jaime Ortega que ha llegado a la edad de retiro. Como todo el que ejerce un cargo de responsabilidad pública, Ortega ha sido severamente criticado aunque le atribuyen aciertos como la liberación de 125 presos políticos. En círculos eclesiásticos abundan las “predicciones” sobre quién será el próximo arzobispo de La Habana.
La Primera Iglesia Metodista de la calle Corrientes en el centro de Buenos Aires ha sido atacada por desconocidos que destrozaron parte de sus instalaciones como muebles y el altar, informó el obispo de Argentina Frank de Nully Brown. Esta iglesia construida en 1843 y reconstruida en 1874 fue el primer templo metodista en América del Sur.
El congresista demócrata Luis Gutiérrez de Chicago se perfila como el líder latino más importante del país, según una encuesta del periódico digital Huffington Post. Gutiérrez, de origen puertorriqueño, ha luchado por la legislación para regularizar la situación de millones de inmigrantes indocumentados en Estados Unidos. En otra encuesta sobre la posibilidad de llegar a ser presidente, Gutiérrez obtuvo el doble de los votos comparado con el senador cubano-americano Marco Rubio.
Según un estudio realizado por las Naciones Unidas, América Latina “es la región más violenta del mundo” con serias consecuencias en lo social y económico. Entre el año 2000 y el 2010 la tasa de homicidios alcanzó un crecimiento de 11 por ciento lo que se traduce en más de un millón de muertos. Delitos como el hurto se han triplicado en el mismo período. ¡Señor, ten piedad!
Julio César Holguín, obispo de la Iglesia Episcopal Dominicana, está tratando de reunir un grupo de “notables” para hacerle frente a la decisión del Tribunal Constitucional de la República que ha aprobado una ley que le quitó la ciudadanía dominicana a los miles de haitianos que viven y trabajan en el país desde 1929.
Agnes Abuom, abogada líder de la Iglesia Anglicana de Kenia, ha sido electa por unanimidad moderadora del comité central del Consejo Mundial de Iglesias en su reciente reunión celebrada en Corea del Sur. Abuom es la primera mujer y la primera africana en ocupar esta posición en los 65 años de vida del Consejo. Sus áreas de interés son justicia económica, paz y reconciliación.
Rafael García, popular sacerdote encargado de la Iglesia del Espíritu Santo en una sección de Miami conocida como la Pequeña Habana, será instalado como párroco de la misma iglesia el 14 de diciembre por el obispo Leopoldo Frade. García se convierte así en el décimo párroco desde que esta iglesia fue instituida hace 75 años. García y su esposa, Anaysa, ambos cubanos, tienen un niño pequeño Anthony.
La revista italiana Panorama asegura que la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional espió las comunicaciones del Vaticano, incluso en la residencia donde se hospedaban los cardenales durante el cónclave papal. La nota citando a WikiLeaks dijo que aparentemente el papa Francisco también habría sido objeto de vigilancia por Estados Unidos desde el 2005 cuando era arzobispo de Buenos Aires.
La Asamblea Nacional de Ecuador, órgano legislativo de la nación, mantiene un debate que busca despenalizar el aborto por violación. La propuesta fue introducida por Paola Pabón, integrante del partido de gobierno, hecho que fue calificado como una “traición” por parte del presidente Rafael Correa que ha dicho que renunciará a la presidencia si se aprueba la ley del aborto.
El Manual de Diagnóstico y Estadística de los Trastornos Mentales define la pedofilia como “una orientación o preferencia sexual desprovista de consumación”, mientras que el “desorden pedófilo” se define como “una compulsión caracterizada en personas que usan así su sexualidad”. La preferencia de los pedófilos es por menores de 13 años.
Recientemente, el Parlamento del Reino Unido consideró quitar la referencia al Holocausto del plan de estudios de las escuelas porque “ofende” a la población musulmana que asegura que el Holocausto nunca ocurrió.
PARA PENSAR: Conoceréis la verdad y la verdad os hará libres. San Juan 8:32
[Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island] At its monthly “Feed a Friend” dinner on Nov. 19, St. Augustine’s Church in Kingston fed 80 people, at least 40 of whom were current University of Rhode Island students. St. Augustine’s is located on the URI campus and started the “Feed a Friend Dinners” last Shrove Tuesday when parishioners volunteered to cook students their favorite home cooked meal if they brought a friend. The first dinner had 5 students.For St. Augustine’s the jump in numbers is a great success. Over the past year they’ve made it their mission to better reach out to the college students around the church, to provide for their needs both spiritually and physically.
Early on they recognized that two major issues for the students are hunger during breaks (read how they’ve tackled hunger here) and homesickness.
At last night’s dinner there was even a prospective URI student or two in attendance. Some of those who were visiting the campus that day had been sent to the dinner by the University’s LGBTQ group. According to Deacon Jan Grinnell one student even said that he now really wants to come to URI. Knowing there is a loving, supportive Episcopal community on campus seems to have made a big impression.
It isn’t just the students whose spirits are lifted by this ministry. The whole congregation is feeling the joy of sharing and caring.
Carol Miro, the parishioner who coordinated this last dinner, said in an e-mail to Grinnell: “So many contributed in so many ways and the energy in the room was palpable. Students and others are telling us how much they feel unconditional love at St. A’s. We are acting on our mission!”
This was the last “Feed a Friend” for 2013, since the students are moving toward exams and winter break. St. Augustine’s says that the next one will be January 28, and that the students have voted the meal to be “Soup and Stew.”
[Episcopal Diocese of Easton press release] On Nov. 19, Bishop James Shand announced his intention to retire, effective July 1, 2014. He shared the news with diocesan clergy that morning at their monthly clericus meeting, and with Diocesan Council that evening. The Standing Committee had been informed on October 17.
Bishop Shand has served as diocesan bishop since Jan. 25, 2003. Most of his ordained ministry has been in the Diocese of Easton, having served as rector of St. Mary Anne’s, North East, from 1975 to 1989 and as rector of Christ Church, Kent Island, from 1989 to 2003.
Here is the text of his letter:
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
On October 17 at a meeting of the Standing Committee, I submitted my resignation as the Tenth Bishop of Easton, effective July 1, 2014. All six members of the committee were present, as was the Rt. Rev. Clayton F. Matthews, from the House of Bishops Office for Pastoral Development.
In announcing my resignation, I am not calling for the election of the Eleventh Bishop of Easton. Instead, I am suggesting that we call for the election of a Provisional Bishop who might serve for a yet-to-be determined period of time – a year, eighteen months, two years. Now, you may ask, why?
It is my belief, and the belief of the Standing Committee, that the Diocese of Easton would benefit from a period of discernment, questioning, and self-study before moving into the lengthy process of a search. This could be a chance for us to re-examine the office of Bishop as well as the question I frequently hear, “What exactly is a diocese?” Having a period of time under a Provisional Bishop would allow us the opportunity to catch our breath and examine these questions and not be hurried into making a decision. In the midst of a changing Church, we do not have to be locked into doing things the same old way; perhaps new times require new and creative approaches.
The Standing Committee has canonical responsibility for the pastoral oversight of the diocese. Diocesan Council is responsible for the programmatic and fiscal aspects of diocesan life. These two groups are working together to begin the process and will continue to do so as we move forward.
To make a beginning, at our Diocesan Convention on Saturday, February 22, the Rev. Rob Voyle of the Clergy Leadership Institute will lead us through an Appreciative Inquiry conversation about our life as a diocesan community of congregations, looking at our blessings and our hopes and dreams for the future. Everyone in our diocese is encouraged to participate, as well as the clergy and delegates who already will be in attendance.
Lynne and I have been pondering the timing of this decision for some time, seeking through prayer the appropriate time to begin a new chapter in our lives. It has been a tremendous privilege and an honor to serve as your Bishop, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to have been a colleague in ministry for all these years. Thank you for your encouragement, support and love.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. James J. Shand,
Tenth Bishop of Easton
The grant will allow Episcopal Relief & Development, in collaboration with its Ghanaian partner, the Anglican Diocesan Development and Relief Organization (ADDRO), to pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled “Testing a Financing Solution & Technical Assistance Package to increase Women Smallholder Farmers’ Labor Productivity through Ownership of Donkeys with Ploughs.”
“It is a tremendous honor for Episcopal Relief & Development to receive the Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Gates Foundation,” said Rob Radtke, the agency’s president, in a press release from Episcopal Relief & Development. “Innovations such as the donkey plough can increase farming efficiency, allowing women to increase their harvests and devote the time they save to other endeavors such as building skills and marketing produce. Empowering women economically helps bring all members of a community into fuller participation in the creation of a brighter future for their families.”
Radtke told ENS that, for ADDRO, the grant is a “huge feather in their cap.”
Receiving the grant, Radtke said, “shows that we’re always trying to be innovative and creative in coming up with solutions to intractable problems.”
To receive funding, Episcopal Relief & Development and other Grand Challenges Explorations winners in this most recent round of grants awards demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas (Round 11 here) that included agriculture development, development of the next-generation condom and neglected tropical diseases, the press release said.
Episcopal Relief & Development’s project will promote an innovative, labor-saving strategy for women smallholder farmers – the donkey plough, according to the release. Most women farmers in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to oxen for farming and are consigned to grueling and time-consuming labor using hand tools, according to the press release. Women’s access has been limited by cost, cultural taboos and the difficulty of managing oxen due to their large size. In the 1990s, a plough was developed for use by a single donkey, which would be more affordable and practical for women, and would save 18 or more days of labor per hectare of land versus using a hand hoe alone. The donkey plough has not been widely popularized to date, however, and cost is a major obstacle.
Episcopal Relief & Development and ADDRO will provide women smallholder farmers the opportunity to acquire the necessary equipment, as well as improved seeds and fertilizer, through affordable credit. The project will test two credit options through a revolving loan fund designed to be financially sustainable, and participants also will receive skills training in donkey care, farm business management and agricultural techniques. The loans will cover the cost of a donkey, a plough and a cart, enabling the owners to earn extra income and repay their loans more quickly by renting the donkey set to others for farming and transporting goods.
The organization’s programs with ADDRO in Ghana help farmers feed their families through improved agricultural techniques, empower women through micro-finance services and train health volunteers to protect their communities from malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. That sort of “integrated development,” Radtke said, is typical of the sort of work Episcopal Relief & Development tries to support whenever possible.
Grand Challenges Explorations funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in solving persistent global health and development challenges, according to the press release. Episcopal Relief & Development’s project is one of 81 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 11 grants awarded Nov. 20 by the foundation.
Grand Challenges Explorations is a $100 million initiative that was launched in 2008. More than over 850 people in more than 50 countries have received grants. The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organization. Initial grants of $100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to $1 million.
Episcopal Relief & Development is one of two faith-based organizations receiving grants in this round. The other is the Mennonite Economic Development Associates, which proposed another pilot project involving women farmers in Ghana. The challenge both agencies took on is here.
The grant, Radtke noted, is “a real vote of confidence in faith-based organizations.”
Active in approximately 40 countries, Episcopal Relief & Development works with church and ecumenical partners to mobilize local resources toward alleviating hunger, promoting health, creating economic opportunities and responding to disasters, the release said.
[Episcopal News Service – Jackson, Misisipí] A juzgar por el informe de las tres rondas de discusiones en pequeños grupos, los participantes del foro “Cincuenta años después: el estado del racismo en Estados Unidos”, que tuvo lugar los días 15 y 16 de noviembre, se marcharon con esperanzas y una renovada dedicación.
Navita Cummings James, presidente del Comité sobre Antirracismo del Consejo Ejecutivo, y el Rdo. Angel Ifill, misionero del ministerio de los negros de la Iglesia, moderaron la discusión final de la reunión en la cual se les pidió a los participantes que consideraran las tres cosas fundamentales que habían aprendido o que habían reforzado durante la reunión, cómo promoverían personalmente la restauración y la comprensión racial y, luego, cómo se ocuparían de combatir el racismo institucional.
El portavoz de uno de los grupos dijo que sus miembros habían convenido en que “la universalidad del dolor” se había visto reforzada por las conversaciones de los últimos dos días. “Debemos ser pacientes con los que no asistirían a un foro como éste”, dio uno de los participantes, al reportar sobre lo que su pequeño grupo había aprendido.
Desde el punto de vista de promover la comprensión y la reconciliación racial, otro de los participantes dijo que su grupo había estado de acuerdo en que sería importante “trazar su propia narrativa o su propia trayectoria de experiencias raciales [porque] va a ayudarte a llegar a otras personas si tienes clara tu propia historia”.
Más de un participante sugirió que las conversaciones que comenzaron durante la reunión deberían continuar, dicho en las palabras de uno de ellos “ya sea en nuestras iglesias individuales, en la cámara de comercio o en cualesquiera otras agrupaciones de las que podamos formar parte”.
Uno de los participantes más jóvenes hizo notar que debido a la reunión “aun para alguien de nuestro grupo que ha estado en el movimiento durante mucho tiempo, hay una renovada esperanza”.
En sus palabras de clausura, Duncan Gray III, obispo de la Diócesis de Misisipí, hizo notar que “más de unas pocas personas se han preguntado—algunos en alta voz en mi presencia— de lo apropiado de que la Iglesia Episcopal en Misisipí auspicie un diálogo sobre el racismo”.
Diciendo que él entendía esas dudas, Gray recordó que Martin Luther King Jr. dijo durante su famoso discurso “Yo tengo un sueño”, hace 50 años: “Sueño que un día incluso el estado de Misisipí, sofocado por el calor de la injusticia, sofocado por el calor de la opresión, se transformará en un oasis de libertad y de justicia”.
Gray dijo que él “tendría que reconocer que el lobo aún no se ha echado junto al cordero” en este estado.
“No hemos sido transformados en un oasis de libertad y justicia 50 años después, y no obstante, me siento esperanzado porque precisamente soy hijo y natural de este estado conflictivo, heroico, trágico y con frecuencia violento”, señaló.
“Me ilusiona creer que una mirada honesta a nuestro pasado y la disposición a escuchar relatos de individuos y de comunidades que nunca conocimos o quisimos conocer nos conducirán por rutas esenciales a la enmienda e incluso tal vez a la reconciliación”.
El obispo dijo que se sentía ilusionado porque “mientras desentraño las capas de racismo profundamente arraigadas en mi alma —que con frecuencia asumen la forma de caracterizaciones raciales muy personales, a veces inconscientes, dentro de mí— tengo millares de compañeros de viaje a lo largo y ancho de este estado, algunos de los cuales están aquí, que llevan a cabo ese mismo quehacer en extremo doloroso, aterrador y vivificante”.
Gray desafió al resto de la Iglesia y al país [al decir] “si hasta Misisipí, un estado sofocado por la injusticia y la opresión hace 50 años puede hacer esto, ¿por qué no pueden otros?”.
Las sesiones plenarias, los talleres y los debates del 16 de noviembre constituyeron la segunda de las dos jornadas de trabajo dedicadas a examinar el estado del racismo en EE.UU., cuánto ha progresado el país y su población, y a tomar en consideración lo que aún queda por hacer.
Durante uno de los seis talleres simultáneos de esa mañana, el Rdo. James T. Kodera, profesor de religión de Wellesley College y rector de la iglesia episcopal de San Lucas [St. Luke’s Episcopal Church] en Hudson, Massachusetts, presentó una “narrativa histórica de las dificultades sufridas por los asiáticos en Estados Unidos y por los asioamericanos”. Durante la discusión que siguió con los que asistieron al taller, él sugirió que “debe haber múltiples historias. Tenemos que rechazar cualquier noción de historia establecida, de historia oficial, porque toda historia es selectiva y tiene un propósito”.
“Tienen que escribir juntos nuevas historias”, dijo Kodera, natural de Japón y primer asioamericano en ser ordenado en la Diócesis de Massachusetts. “Creo que es nuestra obligación tener el valor de escribir una historia alternativa de manera que podamos adoptar múltiples historias” a fin de poder asomarnos a un panorama más completo del país.
La transmisión vía Internet del 15 de noviembre, que incluyó un discurso de apertura de la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori y dos paneles de discusión, se puede obtener a solicitud aquí. También se puede obtener una guía para la discusión creada para este foro.
Una bibliografía y otros recursos relacionados con el tema pueden encontrarse aquí.
– La Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg es redactora y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Traducido por Vicente Echerri.
[Episcopal News Service] Luego de un ataque el 14 de noviembre a una organización de derechos humanos que ha laborado por encontrar a niños separados de sus familias durante los 12 años de guerra civil en El Salvador y la abrupta clausura en octubre del mayor archivo de crímenes de guerra del país, las organizaciones dedicadas a la justicia social y los derechos humanos temen que esté en marcha una campaña sistemática para eliminar el registro histórico de las violaciones de derechos humanos perpetrados durante la guerra.
“Aunque no tenemos aún toda la información, es difícil no interpretar el cierre de Tutela Legal y el ataque a Pro-Búsqueda como reacciones al progreso de presentar, y en algún momento procesar, casos de abusos de derechos humanos en El Salvador”, dijo Noah Bullock, director ejecutivo de la Fundación Cristosal, una organización de desarrollo comunitario basada en los derechos humanos que comenzó en el centro diocesano de la Iglesia Anglicana-Episcopal de San Salvador, la capital del pequeño país centroamericano.
En las primeras horas de la mañana del 14 de noviembre unos hombres armados entraron en la oficina de la Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos, detuvieron a tres personas, se llevaron computadoras y otros equipos y destruyeron archivos rociándolos de gasolina y prendiéndoles fuego.
El ataque se produjo tres días después de que el Tribunal Supremo escuchara el testimonio de algunos sobrevivientes: niños cuyos padres fueron asesinaos por soldados del gobierno durante una incursión en 1982. Pro-Búsqueda representó a los sobrevivientes ante el tribunal, donde ningún miembro de las fuerzas armadas se personó.
“Lamentamos que continúe este tipo de actividades violentas contra aquellos de nosotros que buscamos justicia en este país. No queremos volver a nuestro pasado en el cual estos sucesos eran lugar común”, dijo Martín Barahona, el obispo de la Iglesia Anglicana-Episcopal de El Salvador en respuesta al ataque. “Obviamente, hay un sector de la sociedad que busca desestabilizar el país por estos medios y aún no sabemos quiénes son”.
En octubre, la Arquidiócesis Católica Romana de San Salvador cerró abruptamente su oficina legal, Tutela Legal, que guardaba una extensa recopilación de pruebas y 50.000 documentos relacionados con abusos a los derechos humanos cometidos durante la guerra civil que asoló al país de 1980 a 1992.
El arzobispo Oscar A. Romero, que estuvo al frente de la Arquidiócesis de San Salvador desde 1977 hasta su asesinato el 24 de marzo de 1980, abrió la oficina legal durante su primer año como arzobispo. Durante su popular transmisión semanal por radio, Romero regularmente leía los nombres de los que habían sido asesinados y torturados, así como de los que estaban “desaparecidos”; muchos salvadoreños vieron su asesinato como el momento decisivo hacia la guerra.
Según cálculos oficiales, unas 75.000 personas resultaron muertas e incontables otras desaparecieron o fueron torturadas durante la guerra, que se libró entre el gobierno de derechas respaldado por EE.UU. y las guerrillas de izquierda.
Tanto el cierre de la oficina legal de la arquidiócesis como el ataque a Pro-Búsqueda tienen lugar cuando el Tribunal Supremo del país revisa la constitucionalidad de la ley de amnistía de 1993, que ha protegido a los perpetradores de abusos contra los derechos humanos cometidos durante la guerra civil de ser procesados por sus delitos. El año pasado la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos declaró que la ley de amnistía no podía proteger a los responsables de la masacre de El Mozote, donde soldados del gobierno mataron a unas 800 personas, la mitad de ellas niños, en diciembre de 1981.
David Morales, el Defensor de los Derechos Humanos de El Salvador condenó el ataque a Pro-Búsqueda, diciendo que tales agresiones no habían ocurrido desde principios de los años noventa, en la postguerra, según aparece reportado en el periódico virtual El Faro.
“Es preocupante que este tipo de actos resurjan”, dijo Morales. Sin duda, añadió, el ataque tuvo motivaciones políticas y buscaba “intimidar, amedrentar [e] infundir miedo” en una atmósfera de impunidad.
Un punto en la negociación de los Acuerdos de Paz de 1992 fue la formación de una comisión de la verdad para investigar las violaciones de los derechos humanos que habían ocurrido durante la guerra civil. En El Salvador de la postguerra, las organizaciones de derechos humanos y justicia social de base han desempeñado un papel clave en proteger la memoria histórica y sacer a relucir estos casos.
Las organizaciones están exigiendo a la arquidiócesis que le entregue sus archivos a las víctimas, de manera que ellas puedan escoger quien las represente en sus demandas de justicia. También exigen una investigación de los ataques más recientes.
“Desde los Acuerdos de Paz, El Salvador ha estado experimentando con una paz negociada sin justicia”, dijo Bullock. “Ataques como el de la semana pasada contra Pro-Búsqueda indican que los elementos de la sociedad implicados en la perpetración de esos crímenes siguen creyendo que pueden actuar por encima de la ley con impunidad. El incendio de oficinas de derechos humanos no es una conducta conducente a la construcción de una sociedad pacífica y democrática”.
En enero, con antelación a las primarias presidenciales del 2 de febrero, la Fundación Cristosal ofrecerá un curso de una semana a norteamericanos para estudiar el proceso de edificar la paz y la democracia en El Salvador de la postguerra. Los participantes del curso tendrán la oportunidad de hablar con políticos, académicos y líderes comunitarios acerca del estado de la paz y la democracia, y también de servir como observadores en las elecciones.
– Lynette Wilson es redactora y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.
[Church of England press release] The General Synod of the Church of England has Nov. 20 approved a package of measures as the next steps to enable women to become bishops.
In the debate in the morning session the synod welcomed the package of proposals outlined in the report of the Steering Committee for the Draft Legislation of Women in the Episcopate (GS 1924).
The Steering Committee’s package of proposals follows the mandate set by the synod in July and includes the first draft of a House of Bishops declaration and a disputes resolution procedure. This debate invited synod to welcome the proposals and the five guiding principles, already agreed by the House of Bishops, which underpin them.
Proposing the package of measures Bishop James Langstaff of Rochester said: “These measures look to the day when the Church of England as an ecclesial entity will have made a clear decision to open all orders of ministry to women and men without distinction, whereby all those so ordained are true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy.”
The following motion was carried this morning with 378 votes for, eight against and 25 abstentions:
‘That this Synod, welcoming the package of proposals in GS 1924 and the statement of principles endorsed by the House of Bishops at paragraph 12 of GS 1886, invite the House of Bishops to bring to the Synod for consultation in February a draft declaration and proposals for a mandatory disputes resolution procedure which build on the agreement reached by the Steering Committee as a result of its facilitated discussions.”
In its afternoon session, the synod also voted to progress the legislation to the next legislative stage of revision at its meeting in February 2014.
As a result of the votes carried today, synod has agreed to dispense with the normal Revision Committee process and move straight to revision in full at synod which next meets in February 2014, thereby clearing the way for a possible vote on final approval later in 2014.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Now available for group watching and personal viewing is the on-demand video of the groundbreaking public forum sponsored by The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Mississippi: Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America. The on-demand is available here.
Thousands of viewers watched as a distinguished panel of national experts including Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, and former Mississippi Governor William Winter, with a keynote address by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, explored issues of race and discrimination.
“Let us dream of a world where every family, language, people, and nation is gathered in the commonwealth of God,” the Presiding Bishop said in her address. “Learn vigilance, teach and work for justice, that we might become the beloved community of God’s rainbow people – every family, language, people, and nation gathered before the Lamb, himself one of the lowly and rejected. Dream that world into being here on earth, and drive out hell to bring it to birth!”
Among the many watching as a group were: the convention of the Diocese of Long Island; Washington National Cathedral; Trinity Church in Boston; Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Bexley Seabury and the Columbus Deanery of the Diocese of Southern Ohio; Church Divinity School of the Pacific; Seminary of the Southwest; the Missionary Society staff at the Episcopal Church Center; St. John’s, Ocean Springs, MS; the Diocesan Council and Standing Committee of the Diocese of Eastern Oregon; the Diocese of Eastern Michigan three regional viewings at All Saints, Marysville, St. Francis, Grayling, and St. John’s, Midland; the Anti-Racism Commission of the Diocese of Chicago; the Diocese of Northern Michigan; St. Paul’s and St. Philip’s in Richmond, VA; Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Sacramento CA; Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle (Diocese of Olympia); and the Diocese of Western New York. The Diocese of Ohio has scheduled viewing/discussion sessions on two consecutive Saturdays.
Mike Collins, Episcopal Church Manager of Multimedia Services, commented, “Far and away this was the most watched live event we’ve ever produced.”
Last week, a national poll released by The Episcopal Church reported that nearly all Americans (98%) feel that there is some discrimination in the U.S. Harris Interactive conducted the online poll on behalf of The Epsicopal Church among more than 2,000 U.S. adults.
The poll also found that 69% of Americans feel African Americans are discriminated against, the most of any group. In addition:
- 63% feel Hispanics are discriminated against
- 51% feel that Native Americans are discriminated against
- 40% feel Asian Americans are discriminated against
- 39% feel Whites are discriminated against
The poll found that minorities in general feel that white Americans, over the past decade, have garnered more economically than they deserve. On this topic, the poll revealed that overall:
- 34% of Americans agree White Americans had gotten more economically than they deserve.
- 31% of Americans agree African Americans had gotten more economically than they deserve
- 31% of Americans agree Hispanics had gotten more economically than they deserve
- 27% of Americans agree Asian Americans had gotten more economically than they deserve
- 21% of Americans agree Native Americans had gotten more economically then they deserve
Hope for the future
On the other hand, the poll found more than 8 in 10 (82%) Americans agree that despite what may have happened in the past, they believe in the future Americans will be more accepting of all races.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of The Episcopal Church from October 23-25, 2013 among 2,016 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Neva Rae Fox.
The Saturday workshops and plenary sessions from Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism In America will be available online shortly.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Applications for the Episcopal Church 2013 Jubilee Ministry grants are now being accepted in two categories: Program Development Grant and 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, and the current triennium will see a refocusing and re-strengthening of commitment to make a meaningful impact in communities across the country in our work of poverty alleviation,” explained the Rev. Canon Mark Stevenson, Episcopal Church Domestic Poverty Missioner.
Jubilee Ministries are congregations or agencies with connections to the Episcopal Church whose mission work affect the lives of those in need, addressing basic human needs and justice issues.
Application forms are available here.
The 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.
Deadline is Friday, December 13. Grant recipients will be announced the week of January 6, 2014. The next granting cycle and procedure will be announced in the fall of 2014.
For more information contact Stevenson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Episcopal News Service – Jackson, Misisipí] El racismo está arraigado en la cultura de EE.UU. y, a pesar de haberse alcanzado un progreso sustancial, los estadounidenses deben mantenerse vigilantes a sus tendencias de excluir a los que definen como “el otro”, convinieron los participantes de la sesión de apertura —el 15 de noviembre— del foro “Cincuenta años después: el estado del racismo en Estados Unidos”, una reunión de dos días auspiciada por la Diócesis de Misisipí de la Iglesia Episcopal.
La historia humana ha sido la de una “expansión a tumbos” de las categorías que las generaciones anteriores utilizaban para definir y luego excluir, dijo la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori en su discurso de apertura.
“Hay una buena nueva en el creciente cruce de las viejas fronteras; hay esperanzas de que se reduzca la capacidad de las generaciones más jóvenes en reconocer esas fronteras”, dijo ella. “No obstante, se precisa una continua vigilancia, comenzando con nuestras propias vidas íntimas”.
¿Cómo —preguntó ella— se encuentra uno con un extraño y hace conjeturas que influyen en la manera en que uno decide relacionarse con esa persona?
Diciendo que “el corazón humano es más grande que las cercas que tendemos entre nosotros”, Jefferts Schori definió la vigilancia como “una disciplina espiritual importante vinculada al examen de conciencia y al arrepentimiento”.
“Aprendan a ser vigilantes” concluyó. “Enseñen y laboren por la justicia, para que podamos llegar a ser la amada comunidad del pueblo del arco iris de Dios. Todas las familias, lenguas, pueblos y naciones reunidos ante el Cordero, [quien fuera] él mismo uno de los humildes y de los rechazados. Sueñen que ese mundo pueda llegar a constituirse aquí en la tierra y echen fuera el infierno para hacerlo nacer”.
A principios de esta semana la Iglesia Episcopal dio a conocer los resultados de una encuesta sobre las percepciones de discriminación racial que le encargó a Harris Interactive. La encuesta reveló que casi todos los estadounidenses (el 98 por ciento) perciben que existe al menos alguna discriminación en Estados Unidos en la actualidad. Sin embargo, más de ocho de cada 10 convienen en que, en el futuro, los estadounidenses serán más propensos a aceptar todas las razas, según resultados de la encuesta.
La reunión en Jackson tiene lugar mientras Estados Unidos conmemora o está a punto de conmemorar el 150ª. aniversario de la Proclamación de la Emancipación, el 50ª. aniversario de la Marcha sobre Washington, y el 50ª. aniversario del asesinato de Medgar Evers, un veterano de la segunda guerra mundial y activista de los derechos civiles que mataron a la entrada de su casa en Jackson, Misisipí, el 12 de junio de 1963.
Es difícil para los estadounidenses abordar el tema del racismo, dijo el moderador Ray Suárez, jefe de corresponsales nacionales de PBS que recientemente se incorporó a Al Jazeera America.
“Los intentos de hablar simple y directamente acerca de por qué y cuando la raza es un tema importante y cuándo no lo es se desestiman como [un intento de] recurrir al argumento racial, y al que lo aborda como un manipulador racial” le dijo él a los presentes.
Suarez añadió que los estadounidenses también tienen dificultades al hablar del progreso —incluso del progreso notable, sustancial e innegable— porque el peso de tanto que queda por hacer lo tenemos presente todo el tiempo”.
El programa de 90 minutos fue transmitido en vivo por Internet desde la catedral episcopal de San Andrés [St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral] en el centro de Jackson, con la asistencia de unas 350 personas. Otras 300 localidades se conectaron a la transmisión por Internet al tiempo que miembros de muchas diócesis, congregaciones, seminarios y otros grupos se reunían para ver el programa a lo largo y ancho de Estados Unidos, algunos de los cuales se valieron de una guía para la discusión preparada para este foro.
En breve, la transmisión vía Internet podrá verse a solicitud aquí.
La periodista Myrlie Evers-Williams, viuda de Medgar Evers, le dijo a la concurrencia durante un panel sobre el estado del racismo en la actualidad, que el racismo “fluye por las venas de Estados Unidos”.
“¿Cómo lo eliminamos? ¿Lo eliminamos o habrá que hacer continuos esfuerzos por reducir el nivel de racismo aquí?”, preguntó.
Hacer que los jóvenes participen —ayudándoles a aprender historia y prestando atención a sus ideas sobre un mundo mejor— es la clave. Dijo Evers-Williams. “Tenemos que inculcar en sus corazones y mentes que ésta no es la manera en que debemos comportarnos como seres humanos”, agregó.
En un día cuando el periódico local Clarion-Ledger llamó al ex gobernador de Misisipí William F. Winter un líder que aporta “honor [y] nobleza a la política”, Winter, de 90 años, dijo que el único modo de progresar contra el racismo es sosteniendo “discusiones sinceras” tales como el foro sobre el estado del racismo y “sacando a relucir esas cuestiones que preferiríamos no enfrentar”.
Winter, fundador del Instituto William Winter para la Reconciliación Racial, también se refirió a los jóvenes y dijo que él respalda los esfuerzos “para encomendarles el compromiso de crear una sociedad mejor y para entender que donde se encuentran ahora —hasta donde hemos llegado— donde están ahora, deja aún muchas oportunidades fuera del alcance de muchos jóvenes”.
“Debemos inculcar en una nueva generación de sureños y de estadounidenses la obligación —el deber— de no sucumbir al escepticismo y al cinismo que están tan extendidos por el mundo, sino a aceptar plenamente las bendiciones que provienen de ser ciudadanos de este país y de tener acceso a todas las oportunidades y recursos que conducen a una vida llena de sentido”.
Michael Curry, obispo de la Diócesis de Carolina del Norte, comparó al racismo en EE.UU. con la adicción, resaltando que los adictos que admiten su problema nunca dicen que ya no son adictos, dicen que se están recuperando.
“La razón por la cual debemos sostener este diálogo es que hay personas que niegan que somos adictos. Somos adictos de muchas maneras a los patrones raciales y a [otros] patrones de exclusión que agreden a los hijos de Dios”, afirmó Curry. “En una época pueden haber sido más explícitos; ahora son más sutiles y en consecuencia puede haber un negro en la Casa Blanca… y sin embargo puede haber leyes de supresión de votos que se están aprobando en muchos estados de Estados Unidos hasta el día de hoy”.
El racismo debe ser combatido de la misma manera que un cristiano combate el pecado, agregó, armándose de valor moral para llamarlo por su nombre, para oponérsele y luego “recurrir a los mejores ángeles de nuestra naturaleza para apostar a derrotarlo”.
Durante una segunda mesa redonda, en la que se debatió si hay esperanza para el cambio en el futuro de Estados Unidos, el representante del estado de Massachusetts, Byron Rushing, que también es líder de los derechos civiles y vicepresidente de la Cámara de Diputados de la Iglesia Episcopal, sostuvo que el “racismo es una invención; que el racismo es cultural… es aprendido”.
“No estamos aquí para intentar lograr que la gente deje de ser prejuiciada; suponemos que todo el mundo tiene eso controlado”, dijo él provocando algunas risas en el público. “Lo que estamos tratando de decir es ¿de qué manera nosotros como cristianos, como un grupo particular de cristianos —episcopales— nos enfrentamos a la cultura? ¿Cómo nos convertimos en contraculturales?”
Las personas que quieran cambiar esa cultura “tienen que hacer estallar el racismo”, afirmó Rushing.
“Pero yo no sé como hacer estallar el racismo en una país de 312 millones de personas donde casi nadie se reconoce racista”, replicó Suárez.
Rushing dijo que las personas tienen que estar atentos y vigilantes “de manera que todos, todos los aspectos de racismo que surjan, ya sean mayores o menores, reciban una [adecuada] respuesta”.
Más tarde, cuando Suárez le preguntó a cada uno de los panelistas que describiera su impresión del futuro para Estados Unidos y el racismo, Rushing dijo que se sentía optimista, pero que estaba convencido de que las instituciones debían tomar la iniciativa. Por ejemplo, la Iglesia Episcopal ha estado luchando contra el racismo durante décadas y, agregó Rushing suscitando el aplauso: “logremos tan sólo que dos y medio millones de personas sean antirracistas”.
Durante la discusión de ese segundo panel, Erma J. Vizenor, presidente de la Nación Tierra Blanca Ojibue, hizo notar que los indígenas solían constituir la mayoría de los habitantes de lo que ahora es Estados Unidos. En la actualidad hay 566 naciones y 5,2 millones de nativoamericanos que constituyen el 1,7 por ciento de la población de EE.UU. “y sin embargo somos invisibles”.
“Cuando hablamos de racismo, rara vez mencionamos a los nativoamericanos”, dijo ella.
Los nativoamericanos llevan consigo su historia de una manera singular, agregó Vizenor, y “si hemos padecido traumas, discriminación, prejuicios, que recurren muchas veces a lo largo de nuestra vida…Debemos concentrarnos en la reconciliación… y crear estrategias para restaurar y reconciliar”.
A pesar del hecho de que EE.UU. “no ha reconocido la verdad” respecto a lo que le hizo al pueblo indígena, Vizenor dijo que ella era optimista respecto al futuro.
“Creo en la bondad de la gente”, afirmó.
Randy Testa, vicepresidente de educación en Walden Media, dijo que el futuro depende de que los niños oigan las historias del movimiento de los derechos civiles y de otros empeños para eliminar el prejuicio. “Para los niños en particular… un relato convincente proporciona ante todo la complejidad, les permite sentir tanto como pensar”, dijo él.
Respondiendo a una pregunta de Suárez acerca del futuro, el educador Tim Wise, autor de las obras Colorblind, White Like Me y Affirmative Action, dijo que él es optimista “porque estoy vivo; no hay otra alternativa, salvo renunciar”, y renunciar le impondría una carga demasiado pesada a hijos y nietos.
La reunión continuó el 16 de noviembre cuando líderes religiosos y educadores se reunieron para discutir los temas que se suscitaron en el foro del día anterior y crear currículos y herramientas [de aprendizaje].
– La Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg es redactora y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.
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[Episcopal News Service] On Sept. 22, 2013, two suicide bombers targeted All Saints Anglican Church in Peshawar at the end of a Sunday worship service, killing 127 people and injuring 170. Many of the victims were women and children. Bishop Samuel Azariah of the Diocese of Raiwind, moderator of the Church of Pakistan, says that despite years of intense persecution from religious extremists, the Christian population in Pakistan is resilient and growing in numbers. “Nothing will dampen our spirits. Bombing, murder, burning, shooting will not dampen our spirits and our commitment to Jesus Christ,” he says.
[Episcopal News Service] Bishop Francisco de Assis da Silva of the Diocese of Southwest Brazil was elected on Nov. 16 to serve as the next primate of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil).The election was held in Rio de Janeiro as bishops, clergy and lay delegates, as well as numerous guests, gathered Nov. 14-17 for the Anglican province’s 32nd General Synod.
Assis was elected out of a field of two candidates. The other candidate was Bishop Naudal Gomes of the Diocese of Curitiba, who on the first ballot received a majority of votes from the House of Bishops while Assis received a majority from the House of Clergy and Laity. As synod members prepared to vote again in a second ballot, Gomes withdrew his candidacy and Assis was announced as the new primate.
Assis succeeds Bishop Maurício José Araújo de Andrade of Brasilia, who has served as primate since 2006.
Assis was elected as bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Brazil in October 2010. Before that he served for four years as provincial secretary for the province, which includes nine dioceses and one mission district throughout Brazil.
Born in Olinda, Pernambuco, Assis studied theology at the Northern Brazil Baptist Seminary and Anglican studies at Recife’s Anglican Seminary. He was ordained a deacon in January 1991, and a priest in December 1991. Prior to becoming provincial secretary, he was rector of St. Mary’s Church in Belém do Pará, now St. Mary’s Cathedral in the Diocese of the Amazon, and rector of All Saints’ Church in Novo Hamburgo, Rio Grande do Sul. From 2003 to 2006, he was president of the House of Clergy and Laity. He is also a lawyer, and holds a master’s degree in political science.
The new primate was installed on Nov. 17 at the Anglican Cathedral of the Redeemer in Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro.
In his sermon, Assis said that the spirit of unity does not end with the conclusion of the events, “but rather continues on in the work of the IEAB, its bishops and clergy, its laity, missions and ministries. In this spirit, we continue in our work, and continue in prayer and rejoicing for the Episcopal Anglican Church during this time. Alleluia!”
The theme of synod was “strengthening our spirituality and mission to service and of the transformation of life.”
During the synod, members heard presentations from Janette O’Neill, chief executive officer of the United Society (Us), the U.K.-based mission agency; longtime Episcopal Church missionaries Monica Vega and Heidi Schmidt; and Nina Boe, an Episcopal Young Adult Service Corps missionary.
The Episcopal Church of Brazil was part of the U.S.-based Episcopal Church for some 80 years until Brazil’s autonomy in 1964. The two provinces have since continued to share a covenant relationship and explore opportunities for common mission.
Bishop Stacy Sauls, chief operating officer for the Episcopal Church, preached during the synod’s opening Eucharist about “the need to have a church for the poor, for those on the margins,” and of how the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil and the U.S.-based Episcopal Church have this mission in common. “There was a palpable excitement and joy in the air, at this desire to walk together and deepen our ‘bonds of affection’ that make us one,” according to a provincial press release.
[Episcopal News Service – Jackson, Mississippi] Judging by the report-back from three rounds of small-group discussion, participants in the Nov. 15-16 “Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America,” left here with hope and renewed dedication.
Navita Cummings James, chair of the Executive Council Committee on Anti-Racism, and the Rev. Angel Ifill, the church’s missioner of Black Ministries, moderated the gathering’s final discussions during which participants were asked to consider the top three things they had learned or had had reinforced during the gathering, how they would personally promote racial healing and understanding, and then how they would work to combat institutional racism.
One group’s spokesperson said its members agreed that “the universality of pain” had been reinforced by the conversations of the past two days.
“We need to have patience with those who would not come to a forum like this,” said one participant, reporting on what her small group had learned.
In terms of promoting racial understanding and healing, another participant said his group agreed that it would be important “to trace out your own narrative or your own trajectory of racial experiences [because] it’s going to help you reach other people if you are clear on your own story.”
More than one participant suggested that the conversations begun during the gathering needed to be continued, in the words of one, “whether that’s in our individual churches, the chamber of commerce or other groups that we may be a part of.”
One of the younger participants noted that because of the gathering “even for someone in our group who has been in the movement for a long time, there is fresh hope.”
In his closing remarks, Diocese of Mississippi Bishop Duncan Gray III noted that “more than a few folks have wondered – some of them out loud in my presence – about the appropriateness of a conversation on racism being hosted by the Episcopal Church in Mississippi.”
Saying he understood those questions, Gray recalled what Martin Luther King Jr. said during his famous “I Have a Dream” speech 50 years ago: “I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.”
Gray said he “would be first to admit the wolf has not laid down with the lamb” in his state.
“Nor have we been transformed in an oasis of freedom and justice 50 years later and yet, yet, I am hopeful precisely because I am a child and a native son of this conflicted, heroic, tragic and often violent state,” he said.
“I am hopeful that an honest look at our past and a willingness to listen to stories of individuals and communities that we had never known or wanted to know will move us in important ways toward healing, maybe even reconciliation.”
The bishop said he was hopeful because “as I unpack the layers of racism deeply embedded in my own soul – often taking the form of very personal, sometimes unconscious racial profiling within my own soul – I have thousands of fellows travelers across this state, some of whom are here, who are doing that same very painful, very scary, very life-giving work.”
Gray challenged the rest of the church and the country “if even Mississippi, a state sweltering with injustice and oppression 50 years ago can do this, why can’t others?”
The Nov. 16 plenary sessions, workshops and discussions formed the second of two days of work examining the state of racism in the U.S., how far the country and its people have come, and considering the work yet to be done.
During one of six concurrent workshops that morning, the Rev. James T. Kodera, Wellesley College professor of religion and rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Hudson, Massachusetts, presented a “historical narrative of the plight of Asians in America and of Asian Americans.” During a subsequent discussion with those who attended the workshop, he suggested “there have to be multiple histories. We have to reject any notion of established history, official history because every history is selective and purposive.”
“You have to together write new histories,” said Kodera, a native of Japan who was the first Asian-American to be ordained in the Diocese of Massachusetts. “I think it is our obligation to have the courage to write alternative history so that we can embrace multiple histories” in order to see a more complete picture of the country.
The Nov. 15 webcast, which included a keynote address by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and two panel discussions, is available for on-demand viewing here. A discussion guide developed for the forum is available.
A related bibliography and other resources are available here.
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Episcopal Relief & Development] Advent begins on December 1, and Episcopal Relief & Development is offering a multitude of ways for congregations, families and individuals to celebrate the season and engage in Christ’s work of healing a hurting world.
Gifts for Life, the organization’s alternative gift catalog, offers people of all ages a fun and concrete way to impact lives around the globe. By purchasing items such as postnatal care for a mother and child, learning and nourishment for preschool children or a goat that can provide a family with milk and cheese, gift givers can lift a loved one’s spirit while boosting a community’s ability to lift itself out of poverty. New to the catalog this year is a donkey and plow that can empower a woman to sow and harvest her own fields, rather than having to hire and wait for a team of oxen and a driver.
“All of the items in the Gifts for Life catalog have a real impact, helping Episcopal Relief & Development’s partners to alleviate hunger, promote health, create economic opportunities and respond to disasters in the communities they serve,” said Judy Sawler, the organization’s Senior Manager of Direct Response Marketing, who oversees the program.
Advent is the perfect season for congregations to reach out and connect to those living at “the end of the road” in rural and underserved communities, and Episcopal Relief & Development’s Advent Toolkit includes everything needed to create a successful and meaningful Gifts for Life campaign. The downloadable Advent Calendar features spiritual reflections, prayers and fast facts that illustrate how items purchased through Gifts for Life are changing lives worldwide. The toolkit also includes four bulletin inserts, one for each Sunday in Advent, as well as planning and activity guides to help organizers engage and energize their congregation.
“Sunday School and youth groups may be especially interested in raising funds to purchase animals for a ‘manger scene’ – a donkey, a cow, a goat and a flock of chickens – that can provide sustainable sources of food and income for families in need,” said Sean McConnell, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Director of Engagement. “Gifts for Life is an excellent faith formation resource, imparting the value of giving and outreach to younger generations, and helping them connect to global concerns.”
Another way to support Episcopal Relief & Development’s mission is by purchasing fair trade, organic Bishops Blend coffee products from the organization’s coffee partner, Pura Vida Create Good. Individual bags of coffee are available for purchase from Pura Vida’s website year-round, and two special Christmas boxes featuring Bishops Blend coffee and Divine chocolates are now online. The Coffee Box includes three of the most popular roasts – Bishops Regular, Kaldi’s Roast and Café de la Paz – and the Coffee and Chocolate Box pairs two coffee blends with two bars of decadent fair trade chocolate. Fifteen percent of each purchase goes to support Episcopal Relief & Development’s programs, and the coffee is produced in a way that benefits smallholder farmers and preserves the environment.
Additionally, the 2013 Matching Gift Challenge is still in effect through December 6. Donations to any of Episcopal Relief & Development’s listed funds, including through Gifts for Life, will be matched up to $500,000. The match is made possible by a group of generous donors, and all matching funds will go to the Global Needs Fund, which sustains the organization’s work and allows it to direct assistance where it is needed most.
“I am grateful to our supporters for their dedication and generosity throughout the year,” said Rob Radtke, Episcopal Relief & Development’s President, “but I am especially touched by those who think of us during the busy holiday season and continue to make global outreach a personal priority. All of our programs aim to strengthen relationships within communities and build connections that bring us and our partners into greater communion with the Church worldwide. As we anticipate Jesus’ birth this Advent, I thank everyone whose help allows this organization to further the healing and unity of his Creation.”
Episcopal Relief & Development is the international relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church and an independent 501(c)(3) organization. The agency takes its mandate from Jesus’ words found in Matthew 25. Its programs work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Episcopal Relief & Development works closely with the worldwide Church and ecumenical partners to help rebuild after disasters and to empower local communities to find lasting solutions that fight poverty, hunger and disease, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.
[Anglican Communion News Service] The Steering Group of the International Anglican Women’s Network (IAWN) has said that in many parts of the Communion full value is not yet given to Anglican women’s organizations that contribute to God’s mission among marginalized women and girls.
In a communiqué issued after their UK meeting, Steering Group members reflected on the place of women in the Anglican Communion and concluded that more needed to be done to ensure the work and voices of women be acknowledged and appreciated.
“During our discussions it became clear that many of the challenges faced by women are held in common, whether in the developed or developing world,” the group wrote. “In particular, poverty in its many forms too frequently has a woman’s face.”
“It also became clear that in many parts of the Communion, full value is not yet given to Anglican women’s organizations that contribute faithfully to God’s mission among marginalized women and girls in their areas.”
The group reviewed how it might better support the women who serve the Women’s Network as Provincial Links around the Communion, particularly in taking forward the implementation of the Anglican Consultative Council resolutions concerning equal representation of men and women on decision-making bodies in Anglican Communion churches.
One possible way of supporting Provinces to address many of the challenges they had identified during their meeting was by facilitating two regional gatherings in South Asia (in 2015) and Africa (in 2016) which would focus on women’s economic empowerment.
The big challenge for IAWN’s Steering Group over the coming months is to find the resources and support to realize these meetings.
Read the full statement below:
IAWN Steering Group Communiqué
We, the members of the International Anglican Women’s Network (IAWN) Steering Group, thank God for the opportunity we have had to meet and reflect together at the Anglican Communion Office in London from November 7 – 12, 2013. All members of the Steering Group were present, apart from our Co-ordinator Mrs Ann Skamp from the Anglican Church of Australia, whom we greatly missed.
During our meeting, we heard news of the loss of life, homes and livelihoods caused by Typhoon Haiyan, and held the people of the Philippines in our prayers. We also heard about the fragile peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and pray that this will lead to renewed, urgent efforts to eliminate sexual violence which is a deeply traumatic and unacceptable weapon and legacy of conflict.
We were delighted that a number of experts within the Communion gave us time. The Revd Rachel Carnegie, soon to be Co-Director for the Anglican Alliance, expressed her desire to explore fresh approaches to collaboration between the International Anglican Women’s Network and the Alliance. Mr Jan Butter, Director for Communications at the Anglican Communion Office, challenged us to expand our approaches to global networking and sharing news. Anthropologist the Revd Dr Elizabeth Koepping, a senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, gave an inspiring theological reflection and described her research into the contradiction between Scripture and practice with respect to domestic physical violence. This enhanced our own reflections on the implications of Anglican Consultative Council Resolution 15.07 on gender based and domestic violence.
In order to learn about a particular area of mission and outreach in an urban context, we visited the Church Army’s Day Centre in the Marylebone area of London. Day Centre Team Leader, Ms Valentina Ines La Mela, explained the work and ethos of the Project which successfully empowers vulnerable homeless women to live independently.
We reviewed how the Steering Group might better support the women who serve the Women’s Network as Provincial Links around the Communion, particularly in order to take forward the implementation of the ACC resolutions concerning equal representation of men and women on decision-making bodies in our churches, and Anglican responses to gender based and domestic violence.
The Steering Group includes women from around the worldwide Communion. During our discussions it became clear that many of the challenges faced by women are held in common, whether in the developed or developing world. In particular, poverty in its many forms too frequently has a woman’s face. It also became clear that in many parts of the Communion, full value is not yet given to Anglican women’s organisations that contribute faithfully to God’s mission among marginalised women and girls in their areas.
In order to deepen conversation and resolve concerning common challenges, we will explore the possibilities of two regional gatherings, one in South Asia in 2015, and one in Africa in 2016, with a focus on women’s economic empowerment and related issues.
The Secretary General, Canon Kenneth Kearon, welcomed us warmly to the Anglican Communion Office. The Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, Bishop James Tengatenga, encouraged the Steering Group. He reaffirmed the importance of the Networks as “where things are happening; they make Anglicans visible, representing the whole Body of Christ, everyone and in every place. They show the life of the churches throughout the Communion.”
We wish to thank the Anglican Communion Office for their hospitality, and in particular the Revd Terrie Robinson, Networks Coordinator and Women’s Desk Officer, for her generous and loving support and encouragement.
Elaine Cameron, Scottish Episcopal Church; Meenakshi Das, Church of North India; Margaret Dempster, Anglican Church of Canada; Claudette Kigeme, Anglican Church of Burundi; Elenor Lawrence, Anglican Church in the Province of the West Indies; Kim Robey, The Episcopal Church; Pumla Titus, Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
[Church of England] Archbishop Justin gave a short presentation about his recent activity to the General Synod this afternoon at Church House, Westminster. The text of the presentation can be read below.
‘A few months ago the Business Committee requested the inclusion of a presentation of Archbishop’s activity to Synod, as an experiment. If the Synod feels it to be of no value no doubt they will tell the Business Committee who will discontinue us.
‘The last couple of months have seen the terrible atrocities in Peshawar and Nairobi, and the typhoon in the Philippines. The first was aimed at an Anglican Church, the second deeply affected Anglicans among others. I offered to visit both: the Primate of Pakistan felt it would not be helpful in light of the security situation at the time, while I was able to get, fleetingly, to Nairobi for a condolence visit, where I had an emotional and warm welcome from Archbishop Wabukala. In the light of the terrible casualties in Peshawar, I hope the Synod might consider sending a further message of support to our suffering sisters and brothers in Pakistan.
‘The attacks in Pakistan are amongst many which have been afflicting Christians around the world. Many parts of the Anglican Communion suffer greatly, and the Synod will, I trust, acknowledge both the suffering and courage of many of our sister and brother churches in places like Nigeria. The issue of how we support each other, and how we understand and confront violent attacks in the light and grace of Christ is certainly one of the greatest of our age.
‘Earlier this month I was at the World Council of Churches in Busan in South Korea. If I’m being really honest, I confess to being surprised, having believed the propaganda about the uselessness of such events, yet being confounded by the reality of a world-church-gathering seeking to express love for Christ and for each other. I shall believe less propaganda in future. The WCC certainly has its issues of unity and coherence, but then who doesn’t; but it holds together an extraordinary diversity, united in the main by love for Jesus Christ.
‘The last few months have seen changes in the leadership of ecumenical work. In particular efforts to reduce costs have led to seeking to avoid overlap between Lambeth and the Council of Christian Unity, with the weight of ecumenical work at Lambeth being taken by the Bishop at Lambeth, together with the lead Bishops for each dialogue or conversation. This development of closer working relationships is not only cost effective, but much more importantly, is liberating a fresh impetus and imagination in ministry.
‘In dialogue with the Catholic Church, as well as very positive work in ARCIC and English ARC, there will at the end of this weekbe a joint Bishops meeting with the focus being on evangelisation.
‘One very important and major initiative can be announced today. It’s not large but it is symbolically significant. For 24 years three different Anglican orders have had Sisters at Lambeth, supporting the spirituality there. This has been a gift of almost immeasurable value. Sadly, for reasons within the orders, this is no longer possible for them. Accordingly, from January a Catholic order with an ecumenical and teaching vocation will be created, initially with four members, at Lambeth. They’re called the Chemin Neuf. This arrangement has been put in place by Rev Dr Jo Wells, my Chaplain. It is an ecumenical step of some significance.
‘In October I was at the Porvoo Primates Meeting in Reykjavik. This was a first for me, and the meeting was notable for its great warmth, constructive purpose and hopes for a significant level of further visible unity. The dialogue with Porvoo has been led by the Bishop of Newcastle, whose work has been exceptional in this regard.
‘In January I hope to meet the orthodox ecumenical Patriarch.
‘Within the Anglican Communion the schedule has also been busy. The Archbishop of York has made a number of visits, most notably recently to Canada and to Cairo. I have started a programme of visiting all Primates of the Anglican Communion very briefly on a personal and private basis. Out of the 37, 10 have so far been visited and 27 remain, with the aim of completing the visits by about a year from now.
‘While I was in Nairobi for the condolence visit, I was there just before the beginning of GAFCON, and I had the opportunity to benefit from meeting a number of primates who had arrived for it. This was a great pleasure, and, as always, an education. As leader of GAFCON Archbishop Wabukala was as gracious as could have been wished. There were naturally, as you may have noticed, different views expressed about different aspects of the Anglican Communion while I was in Nairobi and subsequently, including views about me, it has to be said not invariably warm and cuddly, but I was genuinely most glad to have had the opportunity to meet, and I have to say that the overwhelming response was not only kind but also deeply encouraging.
‘In the political sphere, the last few months have been very busy indeed.
‘The Parliamentary Banking Standards Commission, initially intended to be all over by Christmas, last Christmas, continues in its final stages with a major debate next week on the more than 1,000 pages of reports which the Commission produced during the time I was on it – I remain on it although it’s technically coming to an end – and it is also involved in resulting legislation, in which I am inevitably involved as well. It has been a good opportunity for the church to contribute to national thinking in an area where we are not always institutionally visible, but I will be more than delighted when it is buried, ideally with a stake through its heart and garlic between its teeth.
‘At the same time there has been the Same-Sex Marriage Act, which again took much time for both the Archbishop of York and myself and for a number of other bishops. I have spoken of this at other points and do not intend to say more about that now.
‘As always, there have been a number of meetings with political leaders, part of an ongoing dialogue in which most Bishops are involved in one way or another. And it is clear that these discussions are almost invariably warmly welcomed by both sides and a great privilege for all of us who are involved in them, even when there is disagreement.
‘Lastly, I want to draw your attention to a new initiative that accompanies this Synod meeting – a pattern of continuous prayer that is operating in the Church House chapel just along the hallway, along with parishes and other communities around the country. I do encourage you warmly to drop in there in a gap – it is rolling from 8am to 7pm, the whole time we are in session – and you can drop in for 2 minutes or 20 or whatever seems appropriate. Prayer reminds us of the big picture that what we are doing here is all about God – a reminder we sometimes need more than ever in the midst of our legislative processes. Let us therefore hold a moment of silence and particularly hold before the Lord those who have suffered and are suffering around the world from persecution, violence and natural disaster.’
[Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn] Australian church history has been made with the election of the Rev. Sarah Macneil as the first female diocesan bishop of an Anglican diocese.
Macneil, who is from Canberra, has accepted her appointment as 11th bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton. She will be consecrated and installed early next year.
Macneil said she was “surprised, overwhelmed, humbled” to be the first Australian woman elected a diocesan bishop.
“I am awed by the confidence placed in me by the [Grafton diocese] appointment board and by their willingness to be trailblazers,” she said.
Macneil is a former dean of Adelaide and archdeacon in the Diocese of Canberra-Goulburn. She is presently senior associate priest at Holy Covenant in Jamison, Australian Capital Territory.
Her election comes almost 20 years to the day since the first ordination of a woman in Grafton diocese which embraces the North Coast of New South Wales, extending from Port Macquarie to the Queensland border.
Her consecration in Christ Church Cathedral, Grafton, early in 2014 is expected to draw a large number of people who have been prominent in the advocacy of women in leadership within the Anglican Church during the last 3o years.
Colleagues describe Macneil as having a servant heart, being prayerful, possessing insight and humor, and delighting in diversity within the church.
She is a life time Christian in the Anglican tradition and, before ordination, worked in Australia and abroad with the Commonwealth Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Bishop-elect Macneil is a member of the Standing Committee and of the Anglican Communion.