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Florida priest cited for feeding homeless wants his day in court

ENS Headlines - Friday, November 14, 2014

The Rev. Canon Mark H. Sims (wearing a stole), rector of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs, is issued with a criminal citation for feeding the homeless.

[Episcopal News Service] A Florida priest who was issued a criminal citation for feeding homeless residents in a local park is fighting back.

“I am suing the city of Fort Lauderdale for the right to continue to feed the homeless on city streets,” according to the Rev. Canon Mark H. Sims, rector of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs.

Sims told the Episcopal News Service Nov. 13 that he has hired local attorneys Bill Scherer, a well-known trial lawyer, and Bruce Rogow, a constitutional lawyer who teaches at Nova Southeastern University, to defend him “in court against a criminal citation I was issued.

“I want to fight the constitutionality of the ordinance that was passed. As someone issued a citation I have standing and I’m going to use that opportunity.”

Scherer told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel that the city ordinance, passed Oct. 31, which bans feeding of homeless in public places, is unconstitutional and discriminatory.

Police arrive at Stranahan Park where Sims and others were feeding homeless residents.

Local law enforcement officials halted Sims and two others from feeding homeless residents in Stranahan Park on Nov. 2. Sims, 57, said he was detained by police, fingerprinted, issued the citation and released. He is awaiting a court appearance date and faces a $500 fine and a possible 60 days in jail.

“If I get sentenced to jail, I’m going to jail,” Sims said. “But, I’m willing to stay there [in jail] for the right to compassionately feed people who are living on the street,” he added.

City officials have said they want feeding programs moved indoors but Sims and others say there are simply not enough locations to accommodate growing numbers of homeless families and individuals.

“I am determined to allow people to be able to compassionately feed the homeless and people who are hungry on the streets of Florida. I don’t see how we can pass an ordinance that restricts human decency,” added Sims, who has created a legal defense fund on “gofundme.com” and expects “a tough challenge in court.”

He vowed to continue to feed homeless people and on Nov. 12 joined others doing just that at a local beach.

“The Episcopal Church in this diocese feeds people every single day through one of several agencies,” Sims said. “We have on-site places that we use and there are so many social service agencies we have created in Southeastern Florida to help families and individuals as much as we can, but there are still not enough.”

As chair of the board of the Episcopal Charities of Southeastern Florida “we just funded for a two-year cycle $600,000 worth of grants to parishes with at least half of that going to programs that are caring for the feeding of hungry people, homeless people and the elderly,” Sims said.

Typically, during winter months families and individuals who are homeless migrate to Florida from colder climates, so there has been a noticeable uptick in their numbers locally, he said.

On Sunday, Nov. 9, members of his parish returned to the park and served a hot meal of sautéed chicken, rice, vegetables and dessert and distributed “takeout bags of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and apples. We saw more women than we normally see. It was a bit surprising and a bit sad,” Sims said.

But he added that “the city wants them off the streets. They don’t want to do anything to encourage them to be able to stay on the streets. The problem is, there’s no place else to go. They want to make it someone else’s problem.”

Feeding people who are homeless is nothing new for Sims, who said “this has been going on since I was in seminary in 1999 and before that when I was a parishioner in South Florida. I’ve been doing this for 20 years.”

His goal, he said, is for city officials to rescind the ordinance “and I want to sit down with a clean slate and help rework it.”

Meanwhile, local, national and international church communities have rallied in support of Sims, according to the Rev. Canon Donna Dambrot, Episcopal Charities executive director. She compared his legal struggle to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent resistance to unjust laws.

The area has “seen an amazing increase in homelessness and hunger needs,” Dambrot added. “When Fort Lauderdale adopted this ordinance there was already feeding going on in the streets. We’ve gotten … requests for additional funding because the need is so great and food pantries have run out of food and their access to government sources of food is not available.”

She said ECSF “serves hundreds of thousands of meals a year” through partner agencies and that she has noticed at least a 10 percent increase recently in numbers of meals served.

The issue of homelessness is complex and layered, she added. “We have people come out of the woods and the mangroves in the [Florida] Keys; there are homeless folks living in encampments. In Pompano Beach, they’re sleeping under the highway. We even have some people living in canoes in the water, who come ashore to food pantries in Key West.”

There are levels of homelessness, including those who are temporarily without housing who receive job skills and employment training and eventually find permanent living arrangements.

“There is also that layer of folks we serve at St. Lawrence Chapel and our Jubilee Center in South Broward, that will be chronically homeless,” she said. “It’s an ongoing challenge and we’ll be in this for a long time.”

Yet, she added that Sims’ advocacy has inspired others “to take those steps necessary to change what we perceive as unjust regulations.” Sims, the agency and the church community are all simply attempting to respond to Jesus’ directives to help others.

“We follow Matthew 25,” which emphasizes Jesus’s call to serve those in need, she said. “That is our road map. That is our intentional vocational mission.”

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

Anglican Communion voices speak out ahead of the G20 summit

ENS Headlines - Friday, November 14, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] Leading figures from the Anglican Communion are speaking out before and during this weekend’s G20 meeting in Brisbane, Australia, on a range of economic and development issues.

The G20 is a forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies that are said to account for about 85% of the gross world product, 80% of world trade and two-thirds of the world population.

On the sidelines of the meeting will be people from countries not all represented in the G20, reminding world leaders that global growth should not come at the expense of the world’s poorest people.

The Anglican Board of Mission (ABM) reports that Archbishop of Polynesia Winston Halapua is asking the G20 to consider how they might cooperate to minimize the impacts of climate change which are already being felt by people in the Pacific Islands.

The Anglican Alliance regional facilitator for the Pacific will also be in Brisbane during the event. Tagolyn Kabekabe works with communities in the Solomon Islands that are experiencing the erosion of their homelands, poisoning of their food gardens by salt water and increasing exposure to extreme weather events.

Kabekabe represented the Anglican Communion, in particular those in the Pacific directly affected by climate change, at the C20 meeting – a civil society forum that met in June to feed in to the G20 discussions.

Archbishop Philip Freier, primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, has issued a statement in which he warns global leaders that “failure to address these issues of economic security and justice will lead to more international conflict and reduce the possibility of human flourishing.” [His full statement is below.]

ABM’s Greg Henderson has been organizing opportunities for people in Brisbane to meet Halapua and Kabekabe. He says that it is important for Australians to recognize that climate change is a justice issue, “because its impact is being felt most seriously by communities who have the least power to address the causes of anthropogenic warming.”

According to the G20 website, the meeting’s agenda has been built around the key themes of:

  • promoting stronger economic growth and employment outcomes;
  • making the global economy more resilient to deal with future shocks;
  • strengthening global institutions to ensure they reflect the new realities of the global economy.

Further information about the G20’s priorities are available here.

Statement by Archbishop Philip Freier, primate of the Anglican Church of Australia

The G20 meeting of the world’s 20 largest economies in Brisbane this weekend takes place in increasingly uncertain times. There are growing fears of global recession, rising international tensions and growing economic inequality between countries and within countries.

In the longer term there are vast challenges, such as managing climate change, global population growth and movement, international conflict, food security, water, and potential epidemics.

It is essential that the countries taking part look beyond their own short-term national interests and seek to address these challenges in a concerted and effective way.  I echo Pope Francis, who urged last week that the discussions move beyond declarations of principle to real improvements in the living conditions of poorer families and the reduction of all forms of unacceptable inequality.

It will require good will and trust on all sides if the G20 summit is to achieve real progress, and it is the nature of international politics that no one wants to go first on such a path. Yet without a clear-sighted optimism, real change will be impossible.

Failure to address these issues of economic security and justice will lead to more international conflict and reduce the possibility of human flourishing. They cannot be left to fester. The Anglican Church of Australia urges the G20 leaders to search for new and cooperative solutions that can work across the globe. To that end, we offer our support and prayers.

+Philip, Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia

Provincial, Episcopal delegates named for 2015 United Nations meeting

ENS Headlines - Friday, November 14, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has named the Rev. Joan Grimm Fraser of the Diocese of Long Island to serve as the provincial delegate to represent The Episcopal Church at the 59th Session of the 2015 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) meeting, March 9-20, 2015.

The Presiding Bishop has also named the churchwide delegates to represent The Episcopal Church at the event.  The UNCSW delegation is: Helen Achol Abyei, Diocese of Colorado; Nellie Adkins, Diocese of Virginia; (Lesley) Grace Aheron, Diocese of Virginia; Delores Alleyne, Diocese of Connecticut; Digna de la Cruz, Diocese of Dominican Republic; Jayce Hafner, Episcopal Church Domestic Policy Analyst; Julia Ayala Harris, Diocese of Oklahoma; Pragedes Coromoto Jimenez de Salazar, Diocese of Venezuela; Heidi Kim, Episcopal Church Missioner for Racial Reconciliation; Lelanda Lee, Diocese of Colorado; the Rev. Gawain de Leeuw, Diocese of New York; the Rev. Vaike Marika Madisson Lopez de Molina, Diocese of Honduras; Lynnaia Main, Episcopal Church Global Relations Officer; Hollee Martinez, Diocese of Texas; the Rev. Glenda McQueen, Episcopal Church Partnership Officer for Latin America & the Caribbean; Erin Morey-Busch, Diocese of Pittsburgh; Consuelo Sanchez Navarro, Diocese of Honduras; Barbara Schafer of Nevada; the Rev. Stacy Walker-Frontjes, Diocese of Chicago.

The provincial delegate and the churchwide delegates will be able to attend the official UNCSW proceedings at the UN and will represent The Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion in their advocacy at the UN, including joint advocacy with the coalition Ecumenical Women.

The 2015 UNCSW theme is a review of progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Program for Action, 20 years after its adoption at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995.  See more here.

“The expertise, leadership qualities and diversity of the delegates chosen by our Presiding Bishop will insure that The Episcopal Church will be well-represented at the UNCSW meeting in March,” commented Lynnaia Main, Episcopal Church Global Relations Officer.  “We look forward to focusing as a team on the issues that will be presented to us as we review the progress made of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.”

For more information contact Lynnaia Main, Episcopal Church Global Relations Officer, lmain@episcopalchurch.org.


ENS Headlines - Thursday, November 13, 2014

La situación de México sigue en primera plana y los comentarios y críticas abundan en toda la prensa continental. Ya se ha dado por cierto que los 43 jóvenes fueron asesinados y sus cuerpos incinerados. Muchos padres se niegan a aceptar la verdad oficial y en más de un lugar se han organizado cuadrillas de voluntarios para continuar la búsqueda. Algunos observadores dicen que el secuestro de los 43 jóvenes es uno de los eventos de mayor relevancia en la historia reciente de México. Varias manifestaciones en el Distrito Federal y otras ciudades han portado carteles pidiendo la renuncia del presidente Enrique Peña Nieto que pese a la gravedad de la situación nacional se ha marchado del país para participar de una reunión internacional en China. Como si los problemas fueran pocos, se ha descubierto que el presidente y su esposa han adquirido una casa por valor de siete millones de dólares.

En muchas ciudades del mundo libre se ha recordado con especial interés la caída del Muro de Berlín que ahora cumple 25 años. Para muchos que pensaron que el Muro era propaganda de los países occidentales,  han visto en toda su crudeza lo que el muro significó para el pueblo que clamaba por libertad. Muchos perdieron sus vidas para poder cruzar el muro que estaba resguardado por policías armados con perros, alambradas electrificadas, y todo tipo de cámaras y equipos de torturas. En Miami los visitantes podrán ver un pedazo del muro que ha sido donado al Miami Dade College en el mismo centro de la ciudad. El muro fue construido por la Unión Soviética como un intento fallido de aislar a su pueblo del mundo occidental. El muro fue derribado el 9 de noviembre de 1989. En Miami algunos comentaristas han comparado el muro con el Estrecho de la Florida el mar que se interpone entre Cuba y Estados Unidos.

El Muro de Berlín fue construido súbitamente tras la división de Alemania después de la II Guerra Mundial. Berlín quedó dividido en cuatro sectores de ocupación (soviético, inglés, francés y norteamericano). En 1949 los tres sectores occidentales pasaron a formar la República Federal Alemana (RFA) y el sector oriental la República Democrática Alemana (RDA). Las relaciones entre ambos sectores tuvieron muchos problemas. La RDA decide levantar un muro “provisional” para evitar la pérdida de población y el 12 de agosto de 1961 éste se hizo realidad. Inmediatamente se colocó una alambrada de 1555 kilómetros.  Se cree que entre 1961 y 1989 más de 5,000 trataron de cruzar, 3,000 fueron detenidas y más de 200 perdieron la vida en el intento. El 9 de noviembre de 1989 la RDA decidió que el paso hacia el occidente estaba permitido. Gran alegría colmó al mundo entero. Por fin las familias podían reunirse y nadie sería perseguido por pasar de un sector a otro. Por eso este día es tan importante.

En su viaje por Europa el presidente colombiano Juan Manuel Santos dijo en Madrid que hay que terminar de “una vez por todas” con el conflicto de las FARC y añadió que la paz ayudará al crecimiento económico de Colombia y la región y pondrá fin a males tan terribles como el terrorismo.

En la reciente celebración del Día del Veterano en Estados Unidos se reveló que las guerras traen más dolor y angustia de lo que el pueblo conoce. Una cosa es ver una parada militar con música y otra la realidad de un campo de batalla donde fluye la sangre y abunda el dolor. Muchos soldados regresan con el síndrome post-traumático que los afecta emocionalmente y que los lleva a ser enfermos mentales y en último caso a terminar con su existencia. También se mencionó en programas de radio y televisión que el soldado que regresa “es un extraño” para su familia y amigos. Muchos necesitan asistencia médica que el gobierno no les da por la escasez y mala condición de los hospitales para veteranos. Otros soldados se ven abandonados por sus familias y sin trabajo y terminan convirtiéndose en hombres y mujeres “sin techo” viviendo de la caridad pública. “Es una vergüenza que personas que han dado lo mejor de sus vidas por el país, sean ignorados y hasta despreciados por otras personas”, dijo un veterano de Puerto Rico que prefirió no identificarse.

RETO: Busca la paz y síguela.

Advent resources from the Episcopal Church

ENS Headlines - Thursday, November 13, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Resources for observing the Advent season through spiritual avenues are now available from The Episcopal Church here.

Advent is the liturgical season that occurs four weeks prior to Christmas, beginning on Sunday, November 30.  Advent is a time of reflection and preparation.

The resources are ideal for personal, congregational and community planning and scheduling of Advent observances.

Devotions from leaders
The leaders of The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Anglican Church of Canada and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have prepared devotions for each of the four weeks of Advent.

Downloadable devotions are available here.

Advent 1 (November 30) Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Advent 2 (December 7) The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church

Advent 3 (December 14) Bishop Susan Johnson, National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Advent 4 (December 21) The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, Primate, Anglican Church of Canada

Following the Star
Daily online devotions take on a seasonal theme beginning with first Sunday in Advent on November 30. Following the Star is written for teenage youth and the adults who work with them. Subscribe to the website to receive a daily reminder or download the mobile app; d365 Daily Devotions by Passport, Inc. This service is a collaborative initiative of the Youth Ministries offices of The Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church USA, and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Advent Lectionary Reflection
The Episcopal Church Formation Missioners invite all to embark on a photo meditation throughout the Season of Advent. Each day will feature a word taken from the Sunday Lectionary readings that will be posted on social media sites for reflection. The goal is to meditate on that word throughout the day and, if you find a photo that captures that word for you, post it to your social media sites with the hashtag #episcopaladvent as well as a hashtag for the word for the day (for example: #joy). Posts will begin posting on the first Sunday of Advent, November 30 and will conclude on Christmas Day. For a preview of all the daily meditations, go here.

Follow on social media
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Participate in #Giving Tuesday and donate to Navajoland

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, November 12, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] You can participate in #Giving Tuesday on December 2 and directly help the needs of the Episcopal Church in Navajoland.

This year marks the first time The Episcopal Church will participate in #Giving Tuesday, an international movement. Through the efforts of the Episcopal Church Development Office, donations can be made to the building of hogans in Navajoland.

Donations can be made here.

#Giving Tuesday is “a global day dedicated to giving back,” according to the website.

“#Giving Tuesday is defined as a charity-centered alternative to Black Friday, only four days prior,” explained Elizabeth Lowell, Director of Development.

The Navajoland Area Mission is 26,000 square miles, spreading over Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.  Hogans, a traditional Navajoland dwelling, cost $40,000 to build and are used for traditional ceremonies as well as educational purposes.

Donations for hogans will be accepted through June 2015.

For more information contact Lowell at elowell@episcopalchurch.org.

RIP: Former Bethlehem Bishop Mark Dyer dies at 84

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, November 12, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] The Rt. Rev. James Michael Mark Dyer, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem from 1982 to 1995, died Nov. 11 after battling multiple myeloma for several years. He was 84.

Bishop Provisional of Bethlehem Sean W. Rowe said that Dyer’s death “represents a significant loss to our diocese and to the church.

“Whether as an advisor to several archbishops of Canterbury, chief pastor to his diocese, mentor to countless priests and seminarians, or advocate for the poor, he represented the very essence of the servanthood that can be found at the heart of the episcopate,” Rowe said. “A master teacher, Bishop Mark drew on the joy and tragedy of the human condition, including his own, to bring to life the ministry of Jesus and the narrative of God’s work in the world in ways that made for real and lasting transformation. Those of us who had the privilege of sitting at his feet as students caught a glimpse of what it must have been like to sit at the feet of Jesus.”

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS), said: “The sense of loss is palpable. I was among many who found tears in my eyes as I learned the news … Mark Dyer was a giant of this seminary. He was a profound gift to the church and to this seminary.”

Dyer joined the VTS faculty in 1996 as professor of systematic theology and director of spiritual formation. He also served as professor of theology and mission. While at VTS he was a senior consultant for the Center for Anglican Communion Studies. After his retirement from VTS, Dyer maintained a presence within the VTS community as an adjunct professor until his death.

A widely respected leader in the worldwide Anglican Communion, Dyer was called upon frequently by Robert Runcie, George Carey and Rowan Williams for significant assignments during their tenures as archbishop of Canterbury.Under Runcie, Dyer was the sole representative of the bishops of the Episcopal Church on an international committee of 20 Anglican bishops who prepared theological position papers for the 1988 Lambeth Conference of bishops.Carey named Dyer to the 12-member steering committee that planned the 1998 Lambeth Conference. In 1998, he also named Dyer to the Eames Commission that attempted to quell controversy in the communion over the decision by some provinces to ordain women to the priesthood and the episcopacy.

In 2004, Williams named Dyer to the Lambeth Commission on Communion, which attempted to restore unity in the communion during the ongoing controversy over the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians in the life of the church.

Dyer was also a committed and respected ecumenist, and his was an important voice in dialogues between the Episcopal Church and Lutheran and Orthodox churches in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s. He served as co-chair of the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue, which produced an agreed statement on the theology of the Church in 2006, published as The Church of the Triune God.

Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu, remembered his friend Dyer, who he worked with on many issues in the Anglican Communion. “He had a gentle manner. His mouth was always ready to laugh. And he was an affirming presence in every situation in which I encountered him,” said Tutu.

Born June 7, 1930 in Manchester, New Hampshire, Dyer served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War before studying contemporary philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in theology magna cum laude from New Hampshire’s St. Anselm College in 1959.The following year, he was professed a monk in the Order of St. Benedict at St. Anselm Abbey, on the college’s campus. He was ordained priest of the abbey in 1963. He earned a master’s in theology and licentiate in sacred theology at the University of Ottawa, Canada, in 1965, while teaching at St. Anselm seminary. He also taught theology at Queen of Peace Mission Seminary in New Hampshire and as an adjunct professor at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts.

He entered the Anglican Church of Canada in 1969 and was received as a priest in the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Massachusetts in 1971. He served the Massachusetts diocese as missioner to the clergy; priest in charge of Trinity Church, Bridgewater; and rector of Christ Church, Hamilton and Wenham, before being ordained bishop of the Diocese of Bethlehem in 1982.

In her 2008 book, “The Great Emergence,” Phyllis Tickle revised for a wide readership Dyer’s insight that the church’s history can be thought of as a series of “ecclesiastical yard sales.”

While bishop of Bethlehem in the early 1990s, Dyer wrote: “Christianity has had five significant yard sales. Each one has had to do with the church’s struggle to resist the temptation to domesticate God’s vision, to settle for change when God seeks transformation. The sixth is now. It’s something that seems to happen every three or four hundred years. In Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, God empowers the church to discover its roots and its center, and transform itself in new, exciting and wonderful ways. Jesus announced the first yard sale. Then Benedict, in the sixth century. Then the Franciscan Spring in the thirteenth century. Then Martin Luther and the reformers in the sixteenth century, the only yard sale led by an ordained person. It’s time once again for a massive yard sale, a transformation led by lay people. Our 400 years are up.”Dyer is predeceased by his son Matthew and survived by his children John and Jennifer Dyer; his stepchildren, Robyn and Amanda Gearey; two grandchildren, Sam and Ava Wandler; and his spouse, Amelia J. Gearey Dyer, Ph.D., who serves VTS as the James Maxwell Professor of Christian Education and Pastoral Theology, and director of the Ministry Resident Program. He is also survived by a sister, Patricia Cashin.

Dyer’s first wife, the Rev. Marie Elizabeth Dyer, died in 1999. She was an Episcopal priest and they were married 29 years.

– Adapted from various press releases and statements.

Anglicans invited to ‘celebrate Advent using your camera phones’

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The monks are inviting Anglicans and Episcopalians to join them in prayer, meditation and taking photos during Advent. Photo: SSJE

[Anglican Communion News Service] Members of Anglican Communion Churches worldwide are being invited to celebrate Advent through prayer, meditation and by contributing to a global Advent calendar on Instagram.

Advent — from Nov. 30 to Dec. 24 — is the season when Christians observe a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas.

The Anglican Communion Office and the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE) are teaming up to offer Anglicans and Episcopalians around the world a daily word, meditation and beautiful image sent to their e-mail inboxes.

Playing around with time
The brothers use technology that allows their daily Advent e-mail to arrive in people’s inboxes at 5 a.m. wherever in the world the recipient is.

“5 a.m. is about the time we get up to pray,” said SSJE’s Brother Jim Woodrum. “Of course you can look at your e-mail after 5 a.m., but we want to make sure it’s there when you wake up.”

Though people are used to the idea of monks involved in prayer and meditation, they might be surprised to know that monks have camera phones too.

“We are hoping that people will join us in praying with their phone this Advent,” said Woodrum. “After reading the meditation, we’d love for people to snap a picture that reflects the theme or their response to it and post it to Instagram.”

Participants are invited to take a photo with their phone or tablet to share their interpretation of the word for that day – these include #Abide, #Thrive, #Become, #Imagine – and post the picture to Instagram adding the day’s tag plus #Adventword.

“People need help with their daily spiritual practice,” said Brother Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE superior. “During Advent, we anticipate the coming of Christ, an event that awakens our deepest desires and longings. This Advent, we are inviting you to join us in looking clearly and honestly at our lives and taking action.”

Jan Butter, director for communications at the Anglican Communion Office, said, “It’s all too easy for Christians to be consumers in today’s world — especially during the Advent season. Here we have a chance to not only receive during Advent, but also take part in a global action; to give back to other Anglicans and Episcopalians worldwide by sharing our photos with each other.

“This is also a chance for people who might never have connected with an Anglican religious community before to benefit from the deep thought, meditation and prayer that emanates from such communities all around the world.” (Visit http://communities.anglicancommunion.org/ for a list of other Anglican Communion religious communities.)

To be part of this global Advent initiative, sign up at http://www.aco.org/adventword.cfm. The initiative starts on Nov. 30. To learn more about SSJE visit www.ssje.org/adventword