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Video: Cornelia Eaton preaches at Navajoland Convocation

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, June 18, 2014
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[Episcopal News Service – Fort Defiance, Arizona] The Rev. Cornelia Eaton, canon to the ordinary for the Navajoland Area Mission, preaches June 13 during a healing Eucharist that traditionally starts the area mission’s convocations. After introducing herself in Navajo by explaining her kinship, she begins her sermon in English with the same introduction. Eaton, ordained to the transitional diaconate in December by Navajoland Bishop David Bailey, was preaching at the area mission’’s 38 annual convocation.

Archbishop of Canterbury addresses Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, June 18, 2014

[Lambeth Palace] Speaking at the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast, the Archbishop of Canterbury says the global 21st century church must – as Pope Francis has said – be about the three P’s: prayer, peace and poverty.

In this clip the Archbishop describes recent visits to the DRC and South Sudan, praising churches on the ground who even as they bury their own dead – and care for others caught up in brutal conflict – are calling for reconciliation.

“A 21st-century global church loves the poor and the victim, and stands for human dignity, challenges oppressors and supports victims. It speaks for women killed in lynchings called ‘honour killings’, or for those imprisoned under blasphemy laws. It does all that despite its own suffering. Truth and love embrace,” the Archbishop told the 700-strong audience at the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast in Westminster this morning.

The Archbishop’s talk was the first time an Archbishop of Canterbury has addressed the prayer breakfast in its 20-year history. Also for the first time, the event was attended by both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

Watch the full address on YouTube

A transcript of the Archbishop’s address as delivered follows:

Global Christianity in the 21st Century

Readings: Isaiah 58: 6 – 12; Acts 2: 43 – 47

“Good morning and thank you very much for the invitation to take part in this National Prayer Breakfast. . . You may have heard of the case of the bishop who went to a parish and found almost no one had turned up to hear him. . . and he said to the vicar: “Didn’t you tell them I was coming?” And the vicar said: “No, my Lord, I can’t understand – I didn’t tell anyone at all you were coming.” [Laughter]

“I’ve been to this event on a few occasions, but I never imagined that I would have the privilege of speaking at it. Stephen Timms said that I know a lot about the global church. Caroline and I are indeed travelling to all 37 provinces of the Anglican Communion, last year and this. We got back from Pakistan and Bangladesh and North and South India about 10 days ago. So really I’m much more qualified to talk about global airports than I am about global church, but there we are.

“Before I begin I also want to pay tribute to Paul Goggins, who was to be the Chair of this year’s Prayer Breakfast, before his tragically early death in January. Although our paths did not cross in parliament, his reputation as a man of great integrity, with a commitment to tackling the injustices he saw around him, inspired by deeply held faith, means that he will be sorely missed, and will be remembered with great warmth and affection for many years to come, as was shown in the parliamentary reaction to his death.

“And I am also very grateful to Stephen Timms for chairing this morning’s proceedings, and to all those who have made it possible.

“The author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon, which I was given by my wife shortly after we married – I think because I was travelling a lot and she thought I needed to fill the empty hours, and which indeed I read – it is worth reading, but it does take a while… but very early on in the first volume he says this: “The religions of the Roman Empire were to the people all equally true, the philosophers all equally false, and to the magistrates – which is you lot – all equally useful.”

“Well, he was wrong. He may have been right about what they thought, but he was suggesting that is the role of religion; and whatever else the Church is, I hope and pray and we will never just be useful – what a dreadful condemnation that would be. There have been moments when we’ve fallen into that trap, and the walls of Lambeth Palace are lined with Archbishops looking useful [laughter], a bit like Hogwarts. But it’s always happened when we’ve lost sight of the fact that at the heart of being a Christian is knowing Jesus Christ, so that together as we meet with Him and share in worship, we find ourselves renewed and strengthened for the call of carrying the cross and following Him.

“The Speaker alluded to the state of the world in which we find the global Church; an uncertain world. Uncertain forces – Iraq, we’ve heard of; Nigeria, so often easily forgotten; Syria; the Holy Land; I could go on and on. And the global Church of the 21st century is in some ways always the same as it always has been: a blessing to the world, a call to Christ. We saw that in Isaiah and Acts; the fabulous poetry of Isaiah, describing a country, a place of renewal and human flourishing, of the overflowing of the abundance of God in which all benefit. The Acts, a new society created in which generosity is the watch-word, confidence in Christ the foundation, love for one another the way of living. Human flourishing, growing, suffering, hospitable, a generous church.

“The Church, though, is a suffering church in this century. It is growing and in growing it suffers. It carries a cross. That is as true today as ever, and the last few years have demonstrated the truth and cost of that reality. A couple of weeks ago, Caroline and I were in Lahore in Pakistan. Just incidentally. . . just remember in your prayers our diplomatic service around the world. We’ve seen a lot of them in the last year; they are unbelievably good and they get absolutely no credit, anywhere, for the extraordinary work they do [applause]. . . But in Lahore two weeks ago we met some of the clergy and the Bishop of Peshawar who were involved in the bomb explosion last September at All Saints Church, an Anglican church, in which over 200 people were killed. And you ask them: “How are things recovering? Are people still going to church?” “Oh,” they said. “The congregation has tripled.” It is a suffering church and a church of courage.

“In the routine list of dioceses around the world that we pray for, last week was Damaturu, which almost none of you probably would have heard of, in north-east Nigeria. I know the bishop there; that the people of that diocese have been scattered to the four winds by Boko Haram. Its bishop is in hiding and danger is all around for those few Christians who remain. The girls of Chibok kidnapped and still held were from a part of that region, which is a Christian part. The global Church is a profoundly suffering church.

“It is cross-shaped. It carries a cross of suffering, but also it carries a cross for the salvation of the world. That has always been a scandal since the first few centuries. Early doubters, attackers of the Christian Church said: “How can you worship someone who died on a cross?” But it is a scandal of which we should be proud. We boast in the cross of Christ. It tells us that each of us here – each of us, all of us – need God’s rescue because we cannot rescue ourselves. It calls us, the cross, to prayer and worship, passionate devotion to Jesus, who died for us. The Church of the 21st century clings to Christ in prayer, finds its strength in prayer and prays together. It prays with all those who will pray, and we see new communities of prayer springing up across Europe and around the world. Communities like 24/7, full of young people, serving their community, living in hardship, in order to be a blessing to the poor.

“And so the 21st century Church is very like all other churches in history. It’s unchanged because it serves a faithful God who loves and suffers on the cross, and is with us at every moment in the darkest times as well as the brightest. And it’s a united church; it’s a church that prays and worships and has its ultimate values in the faithfulness of God. It holds together, it belongs to one another, all Christians belong to one another as sister and brother, not as mutual members of a club. Through all our differences of culture… and we belong to one another not because we choose to but because God has made us that way; you can choose your friends, but you’re stuck with your relatives, and I have to tell you that all who follow Christ are relatives, so you’re stuck with me and I’m stuck with you, so we’d better get used to it.

“And that last point is essential to understanding how we act as the Church in the 21st century. We do not have the option, if we love one another, of simply ditching those with whom we disagree. To take a local issue, in the Church of England we have the vote next month on women bishops in the General Synod. It is not a win/lose, zero-sum game. I hope and expect the vote to go through, and I rejoice in that. But I also rejoice that we are promising to seek the flourishing in the Church of those who disagree. You don’t chuck out family; you love them and seek their wellbeing, even when you argue. In the Church of England we are seeking to start a radical new way of being the Church: good and loving disagreement, a potential gift to a world of bitter and divisive conflict. What can be more radical than to disagree well, not by abandoning principle and truth, but affirming it – agreeing what is right, acting on it and yet continuing to love those who have a different view?

“And so in this century we do not abandon truth, found in scripture, applied afresh in each generation. We can’t decide that there are bits of the body of Christ which are excluded. To put those two statements together is hard and always controversial. The Anglican Communion by itself – and it’s only one small part of the global Church – is in 165 countries, one of which, Nigeria, has 407 language groups by itself. We deal in thousands of cultures. The struggle, the achievement, of holding together in good disagreement sets a pattern in which truth is not a club with which to strike others, but a light freely offered for a path of joy and flourishing.

“The poor are not served by a divided church obsessed with inward issues. Pope Francis said last year, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols and I picked up and used together in the weeks before Easter, the slogan “listen to God, hear the poor”. When we listen to God we are looking outwards, not inwards to the life of the Church.

“A 21st-century global Church, with all Christians irrevocably belonging to each other through the action of God, seeking to discern truth in many thousand cultures, is a church with fuzzy edges; because in a world in which cultures overlap constantly, and are communicated instantly – and, judging from what I get, often with some friction – you need space to adapt and to meet with one another, and you have to trust the sovereign grace of God for the consequences. He comments that even 20 years ago took months to reach the far corners of the earth now, as we know, take seconds. Instant reaction has replaced reflective comment. That is a reality that you deal with in politics, and it demands a new reality of ways in which we accept one another, love each other, pray for each other. The best answer to a complex issue on which one has heard a soundbite from a sophisticated argument is not always given in 140 characters.

“The Church of this century must be a generous church, because of that communications revolution, because of technology, because we are face-to-face with everyone, everywhere, always, in a way we never have been in history. The Church is a generous church which loves truth and loves people with the overwhelming love of God in Christ. As Christians we believe that God reaches out to us unconditionally and we are to do the same for others. God has no preferences, except a preference of love for the poor, the weak and the vulnerable; the widow and the orphan, the alien and the stranger. The Church is the most effective church when it demonstrates that love. And with that love comes the obligation of holiness: of being ourselves, but not turned inwards but living in holy lives that draw people to the blessing of which Isaiah spoke.

“The Speaker spoke eloquently of poverty. And the Church around the world today tackles poverty. We are among the biggest educators on earth. In this country alone we educate nearly a million children in the Church of England, another half a million through the Roman Catholic schools. And let me say no recent problems were in one of the church schools. It is the church schools that stand for tolerance, acceptance, reception, generosity, open handedness. Education is something which the Church has done for centuries, which it held in its monasteries when the rest of the world gave up on it in Western Europe, and we do it today.

“International aid. The Church of the 21st century is among the most efficient and the best deliverers of help for the poor that exists on the face of the earth… Isn’t it wonderful, let’s celebrate what’s good – it’s easy to be cynical about politics – but let’s celebrate what’s good: that with cross-party support in this country we have maintained international aid at 0.7 per cent of GDP. [Applause]. That we have introduced – again, across the parties – the Modern Slavery Bill, leading the world and tackling trafficking, which I was talking to the Pope about yesterday. That last week, again across politics, there was support for the greatest conference on sexual violence in conflict that has existed. Those aren’t cynical vote winners, from any politician in this room; but they arise from a spirit of generosity, which is right and proper.

“Love and outward-looking should be the characteristic of the Church. Holiness, radical difference in lifestyle. And truth and love drive action and attitude. The Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has loved and aided the victims of conflict-driven sexual violence for many years. We were there in January, in a place of the utmost despair, in which the love that shone was the light of Christ; a tent, I remember, full of handicapped children dying, hungry and alone, apart from the church people who went in to sit with them. It was overwhelming.

“In the South Sudan, again in January, Caroline and I were there, and we were called a couple of days before we got there by the Archbishop, Daniel Deng, one of the great heroes of the faith, and he said: “Would you come up to Bor with me?” A town in the middle of the fighting zone. Well, we did, with a slight objection from some people, but we did. And we went out and we found the town that had been taken and retaken four times. Bodies on the streets, the smell of death in 40 degrees of heat everywhere. Mass graves to consecrate. And what does Daniel do? He goes on national television in the South Sudan and calls for reconciliation. Isn’t that extraordinary? Doesn’t that speak of what the Church should be? And in Sudan, the Church is also speaking heroically for an imprisoned woman and her two children, Meriam, for whom truth matters enough to die. A 21st-century global church loves the poor and the victim, and stands for human dignity, challenges oppressors and supports victims. It speaks for women killed in lynchings called “honour killings”, or for those imprisoned under blasphemy laws. It does all that despite its own suffering. Truth and love embrace.

“And it’s a forgiven church because it’s a failing church. The Church is always full of failure, and I’m sorry to say that’s because it’s always full of people. Without wishing to be controversial, you’re sinners, and so am I. I once said that in a sermon and someone came up afterwards and said: “I’d never have come and listened to you if I knew you were a sinner.” [Laughter]

“The Church is forgiven and knows the forgiveness of God, and if it’s doing its stuff, shares it in the 21st century. It knows failure and recognises the need for renewal. I saw Pope Francis yesterday… and at the end of the meeting he summed it up when he said: “Remember the three Ps: prayer, peace and poverty…”

“At its best such a Church is diversity established and accepted, forgiveness abundant, people listened to with love, prisoners set free, the poor served, Jesus loved and worshiped passionately, and that love for Jesus meaning that we recognise in the stranger the call of Christ to love; the good news of all that shared with confidence; people invited to join with us to become His disciples and feast on His love; and a community that challenges radically all the assumptions of what makes for a success through the reversal of all importance and the holding together of weak and strong… and a million more things besides.

“And lastly we are a hospitable church in the 21st century if we follow Christ – utterly at home in a world of numerous faith traditions. Open about the hope we have while listening to others. In Lent I spent some time with Ibrahim Mogra, the remarkable Muslim leader from Leicester, and we shared together our scriptures: I read bits of John’s Gospel with him, and he read bits of the Qur’an with me. Hospitable.

“That belonging to one another, being different, diverse and yet authentic to oneself and to one’s tradition and the truth, is a gift this world needs. It’s the opposite of all this Trojan Horse process. It is a generosity of spirit and openness to listen. The 21st century Church knows that the good news of Jesus Christ is a gift which is to be shared in witness. Making new disciples now is as important as it was in the 1st century, in the 6th century when Augustine came to Canterbury, in the 8th and 9th centuries during the Dark Ages and learning and civilization were brought back; at the Reformation when the rights of the individual to know God themselves and to be free began to be established through the work of the churches; in the 18th century when knowledge was treasured and developed by clergy; in the 19th century when the campaign against slavery began (and continues). The call to discipleship is always offered without manipulation as hospitality, respecting the freedom of others to say no, without aggression, and always in love. But it is offered.

“The church is not an NGO with lots of old buildings. It is the Church of God, rejoicing in the realities of cultural diversity in a way never known before: global, cross-bearing, confident and welcoming. The Church holds for the world the treasure of reconciliation, and offers it as a gift freely given out of its own experience of struggling with the reality of it, of being reconciled ourselves through the sovereign love of God in Jesus Christ. The global Church is above all God’s church, for all its failings, and in passionate devotion to him will offer the treasure He puts in our hands, unconditionally, always pointing in worship, deed and word to Jesus Christ.

“Amen.”

Richard Bass joins Church Publishing as consulting editor

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, June 17, 2014

[Church Publishing press release] Nationally recognized congregational development expert and former publisher of the Alban Institute Richard Bass has joined Church Publishing Incorporated (CPI) as a consulting editor, specializing in congregational development, church leadership, and the challenges and opportunities facing congregations today.

Bass served as Director of Publishing at Alban from 2002 until earlier this year. Prior to becoming Director of Publishing, he directed the development of the Congregational Resource Guide, a joint project of the Alban Institute and the Indianapolis Center for Congregations. He also worked for the reference publisher ABC-CLIO, the United States Catholic Conference, and the Practising Law Institute.

“Church Publishing is proud to be ‘the place where the conversations happen’ both within The Episcopal Church and ecumenically. Richard’s presence on our team strengthens and broadens our ability to live into that commitment,” said Nancy Bryan, CPI’s Editorial Director.

Mr. Bass remarked: “I am really looking forward to working with the fine team at Church Publishing. Nancy Bryan and Davis Perkins have pulled together a strong collection of editors producing resources and working on many of the most pressing issues facing congregations and the church today. I am grateful to be part of such an effort.”

Bass holds a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Wesleyan University, Connecticut. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife, Diana Butler Bass, and their daughter. They attend St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Alexandria.  Mr. Bass can be reached at rbass@cpg.org.

Scruton joins nominating committee for election of Presiding Bishop

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, June 17, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Rt. Rev. Gordon Scruton, retired bishop of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, has been named to the Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB), replacing Bishop Thomas Shaw of the Diocese of Massachusetts who has resigned from the Committee.

Bishop Scruton was appointed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to represent Province I.

The JNCPB is comprised of a lay member, a priest or deacon, and a bishop elected from each of the nine provinces of the Episcopal Church, plus two youth representatives, appointed by the President of the House of Deputies, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings. The General Convention Deputies and bishops serve a three-year term to conclude at the close of General Convention 2015 in Salt Lake City.

Central Pennsylvania elects Robert Gepert as provisional bishop

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 16, 2014

[Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvannia press release] To kick off the 144th Annual Diocesan Convention, clergy and elected lay delegates of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania elected the the Rt. Rev. Robert Gepert as their provisional bishop. Bishop Gepert will remain the provisional until a new bishop is elected in March 2015. The Rt. Rev. Nathan Baxter, retired from the Diocese of CPA May 31st, hands over the crozier to Bishop Gepert after his election as the provisional.

Share The Journey with Episcopal Migration Ministries

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 16, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] You can participate in an important effort to raise awareness of the refugee resettlement work done by The Episcopal Church through “Share the Journey” from Episcopal Migration Ministries.

The “Share the Journey” campaign will highlight the stories of refugees and their resettlement in the United States through traditional and social media.

“Launching on June 16, ‘Share The Journey’ is a year-long effort bringing widespread awareness of refugees and their journey to resettlement,” explained Deborah Stein, Director of Episcopal Migration Ministries. “Everyone can become a companion to refugees, learning about their new neighbors and joining in the journey of resettlement.”

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at the beginning of 2013, there were 15.4 million refugees worldwide.  This number continues to rise with the recent refugee crises in Syria, South Sudan and the Congo.

Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) is an organization of The Episcopal Church that welcomes refugees to peaceful homes and hopeful futures in the US, partnering with faith groups, volunteers, community organizations, and many other local supporters to build a foundation for success for these new Americans.

“Even after arriving in the US, new challenges arise as refugees seek out new connections to rebuild their lives in safety and freedom,” explained Stein. “A strong network of caring neighbors and friends is the foundation of successful resettlement, and Episcopal Migration Ministries and our network of affiliates work to cultivate these supportive relationships in all 30 communities where we welcome refugees.”

Milestones of “Share the Journey” include

• The international observance of the annual World Refugee Day on June 20.

• EMM’s 25th anniversary, as well as the celebration of The Episcopal Church’s 75 years of resettling refugees

• Events at the 78th General Convention in 2015 for those interested and engaged in refugee resettlement.

How can you participate?
On Facebook or Twitter, post a photo of yourself holding a hand-written sign that says #ShareTheJourney with @EMMRefugees.  Share with Episcopal Migration Ministries on Facebook or tag Episcopal Migration Ministries on Twitter: @EMMRefugees.  Please include the hashtag #ShareTheJourney in your post.

Check out the websites Episcopal Migration Ministires or Share The Journey .

Learn more EMM’s history and how to participate in local refugee settlement here.

Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM)
Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) is the refugee resettlement ministry of The Episcopal Church, helping people uprooted by persecution and violence to find a safe haven and begin their lives anew in the US.

EMM welcomes refuges resettling in the US through a public-private partnership with the federal government, specifically the Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Department of Health and Human Services. Throughout its history, EMM has resettled refugees from across the globe.  In 2013, EMM resettled more than 4,700 refugees from over 75 countries.

EMM currently partners with 26 dioceses of The Episcopal Church to welcome refugees in 30 cities across the US.

Following World War I, The Episcopal Church established a Bureau of Immigration of the Episcopal Church Board of Missions to minister to new arrivals to America. During World War II, the Department of Social Services of the Diocese of Southern Ohio enlisted other parishes and dioceses to respond to the plight of refugees in Europe. The Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief was an outgrowth of this initiative.

In 1946, The Episcopal Church was a partner with 16 Protestant denominations in founding Church World Service (CWS), resettling refugees as part of the overseas relief and service arm of the National Council of Churches of Christ until 1981.  From 1981 to 1988, the refugee work of The Episcopal Church returned to and was carried out as a program of the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief. In 1988, a new entity – Episcopal Migration Ministries – was established as the Church’s ministry for carrying out resettlement work and providing advocacy and witness on behalf of refugees and immigrants.

 

Video: Presiding Bishop preaches at Navajoland Convocation

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 16, 2014

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Navajoland Convocation
Ordination of two Dine leaders
14 June 2014
Good Shepherd Mission, Fort Defiance, AZ

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

In the beginning, God said, let there be, and it was created…light, sun, moon, waters above and waters below, animals, and human beings. God saw everything that had been created and indeed, it was very good. And God rested on the seventh day, and made it holy.

God created in enormous diversity – mountains and seas, plants, animals, fish, the sea monsters – and Leviathan, for the sport of it – and probably coyote for the same reason! God created the many peoples, nations, tribes, and families of this earth, who together are part of the blessing of creation. The psalmist proclaims, “All sheep and oxen, the wild beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish and whatsoever walks in the paths of the sea” – these are the fruit of divine creativity.

The goodness of created diversity is a central teaching of the Bible, even if the bilagáana[1] have often misunderstood what God intended. Human beings often stop with their own clan and tribe in recognizing people’s created goodness, yet we understand that all human beings give us an image of God’s own self. Christians worship God as Trinity, three-in-one, diversity in community. It means that God is one yet also diverse, divine unity in the presence of diversity. Human communities are meant to reflect that kind of community as well.

The creation stories of the Diné also begin in diversity – colors and clouds and mountains and gender…[2] The stories that human beings tell about our origins all insist that we are meant to live in communities of right relationship. That is what it means to live a holy life, and to walk in beauty.

In the reading from Corinthians we heard, Paul sums up life in holy community as restoring order and living in peace – do this, he says, and you will find the holy one in your midst. The Diné call that ho’zho’, walking in beauty – the holy balance of right and fitting relationship, being at one with all of creation. That understanding has much in common with the Hebrew concept of shalom, or the Reign of God, or perhaps better – the commonweal of God. The dream of God from the beginning of creation is about right relationship with all that is.

That cosmic right relationship is what Jesus embodied and what he taught. It is what he sent his disciples out to teach others, to wash them with the grace of dying to self-centeredness so that each might rise into a new life, lived for the sake of the whole of God’s creation. When we love God and love our neighbors as ourselves, we are living in harmony with God and God’s creation – we are walking in beauty.

The feast of Trinity we mark this weekend is about divine ho’zho’, the unity of God and the relational reality of God’s own being. For human beings, ho’zho’ is becoming part of that divine and creative balance.

Throughout human history, communities have designated some of their members to encourage others to live in ways of peace, order, harmony, truth, and beauty. That’s what we are here today to do, to recognize and bless the particular gifts the Creator has given Cathlena and Leon, to call them into the center of this circle to bless them, and to challenge them to keep encouraging the flock in ho’zho’. The language Jesus uses is to teach and baptize and remember God’s presence in the midst of the flock. And re-member is used in the sense of putting the members back into relationship. These two are to be among us as shepherds – guides to the wandering, midwives to new life that is emerging, and guards in the face of coyotes and quicksand.

Yet these two will never act all alone. They depend on the support and balance of others in and beyond this flock. They can encourage and warn and teach, but only in partnership with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit planted in each one of us. Soon we will ask if you will offer that balance and support.

Think about a spider web. It is a remarkable example of balance and support, made to sustain life. In the Diné understanding, Spider Woman’s web saves life threatened by flooding, her web holds people above the waters of death.[3]   The ark Noah builds does something similar. Jesus uses the same kind of image when he tells his friends to throw out their webs into the sea and fish for people. Teach and baptize, he says. Teach people to let their fears and selfishness die in the water, and then fish them out for life in that web of relationships, in holy balance with Creator and creation. The work God asks of each one of us is about tending the web that unites us and it is about strengthening the connections of each individual to the whole, so that web may sustain the life of the earth and all that is in it. We are made, in all our diversity, to be interwoven in beauty.

The particular ministry of these two deacons will be to care for those who need to be reconnected to the web of life. They are charged to jiggle the web, wake up its inhabitants, and call out the alarm: there is life falling away, come and help! Stretch out your hand, offer your prayer, cast your net wide into the raging sea and whirling air – many are in danger!

These deacons will be life-giving fibers expanding the net, helping it to grow closer to embrace those in peril or broken on life’s rocks. If these two are to live and walk in beauty and extend ho’zho’in the world around us, their fiber must be centered in Christ, in good strong wool from the flock of the lamb of God.

Leon and Cathlena, we ask you to hang on to that web of life, to depend on it, and to find your life in deep and balanced connection to its maker. We want you to shake it up when its connections fray or start to break. We ask you to help us pursue those who wander away or lose their connections with that web. We pray that you will know your own connection to that web so deeply that you can remind the lost or forgetful that the Creator loves us more deeply than we can imagine. And we promise to bind our own fibers together with yours, that the web may grow in beauty, justice, and peace to rebalance the world.

Become weavers of beauty for others, and challenge us to keep expanding the holy web of life in ho’zho’.

[1] Navajo word for Caucasians

[2] A sampling of the central stories: http://navajopeople.org/navajo-legends.htm

[3] http://www2.mcdaniel.edu/art.students/navajo_blankets/spiderwoman.html

Urgent prayer, help needed for Iraq’s Christians

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 16, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] In the wake of the growing crisis in Iraq, a plea for prayer and help has been issued by the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf and the Anglican vicar of St George’s Church in Baghdad.

An estimated half a million people, including hundreds of Christian families, are fleeing the area with many attempting to find refuge in the nearby Kurdish provinces of Northern Iraq. At least one Assyrian church in Mosul has been burned down in the recent violence.

A statement from the diocese said that Christians are feeling particularly vulnerable, “especially in light of the treatment of Christians in the Raqqah province of northern Syria where ISIS* has also established its authority.

“Recall that, in February 2014, ISIS commanders in Raqqah forced Christian community leaders to sign a contract agreeing to a set of stringent conditions. These included the payment of a special tax (known as jizya), conduct of Christian rites only behind closed doors so as to be neither visible nor audible to Muslims, and adherence to Islamic commercial, dress code and dietary regulations.

“Mosul and the surrounding Nineveh plain is the traditional heartland of Iraq’s Christian communities. Many Christians fled to this region when forced to leave Baghdad and other areas in recent years. Christians are alarmed at the ISIS take-over of Mosul, fearful that this will further accelerate the decline of the Christian presence in Iraq.”

The statement said Christians in the country have asked for prayer for the following issues:

  • The Christians of Mosul will know the close presence of Jesus, the guidance of the Spirit and the protection of the Father
  • Those who have chosen to remain in the city would not be subjected to violent or unjust treatment
  • Humanitarian assistance would reach all who are in need, whether having been displaced or remaining in Mosul
  • Christians throughout Iraq will know the peace and presence of Jesus each day, and will remain faithful to him and clear in their testimony
  • The Iraqi authorities will act decisively to improve security for all citizens of Iraq.

Anglican vicar of St George’s Church in Baghdad, Canon Andrew White, also issued an appeal entitled “Please, please help us in this crisis”. Canon White who has lost hundreds of his congregation to the violence over the years, said Iraq was facing its worst crisis since 2003. 

“ISIS, a group that does not even see Al Qaida as extreme enough, has moved into Mosul, which is Nineveh. It has totally taken control, destroyed all government departments. Allowed all prisoners out of the prisons. Killed countless numbers of people. There are bodies over the streets. The army and police have fled, so many of the military resources have been captured. Tankers, armed vehicles and even helicopters are now in the hands of ISIS.”

Writing on the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, Canon Andrew said his work at St George’s–providing a spiritual home, medical care and humanitarian relief as well as promoting reconciliation amongst different religious groups–is inevitably suffering.

“The summer is by far our worst time of the year for support,” he writes. “Both our Foundation in the UK and US have seriously had to reduce our funding. We are in a desperate crisis. So many of our people had returned their homes in Nineveh for the summer now they are stuck in this total carnage unable to even escape. We desperately need help so that we can help the Christians of this broken land just get through this new crisis. Please can you help us, we are desperate.

The terrible fact is that ISIS are in the control now of Fallujah in the South and Mosul in the North they could now move down towards Baghdad between the two and cause a total crisis there. So to be honest I don’t know what to do, do I stay or go back? I have a huge amount of commitments here. If I go back, I cannot change the situation but I want to be with my people. Here we are with this huge crisis and need and we do not even have the resources to help those most in need.”

For more information on supporting Canon White’s ministry visit http://frrme.org/please-please-help-us-crisis/

*the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Group

Archbishop of Canterbury meets Pope Francis in Rome

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 16, 2014

[Lambeth Palace] In their second meeting within eighteen months Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby today recommitted themselves resolutely to the struggle against modern slavery and human trafficking.

Following their first meeting last year the two global leaders have continually spoken out to challenge this crime against humanity, and have acted decisively to support the foundation of the new faith based global freedom network. They both endorsed this network as a crucial force in the struggle to rid the world of a global evil.

Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin also spoke about areas in conflict and how churches around the globe are called by Christ, our reconciler, to act as peacemakers. They described their Christian passion for peacemaking in places torn apart by war, and pledged their ongoing commitment to act as agents of reconciliation and restorative justice.

The Pope and Archbishop also spoke of their appreciation of the recent work of the Anglican Roman  Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) following its meeting in South Africa. The burdens of division continue but the opportunities for new collaboration and much deeper understanding between the two world communions are compelling and timely.

Read the text of the Archbishop’s address to Pope Francis here:

http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5345/archbishop-justins-address-to-pope-francis

Read about the Archbishop’s gifts to the Pope here:

http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5346/archbishop-justins-gifts-for-pope-francis

Sean Lanigan receives Beatitudes Society Fellowship

ENS Headlines - Friday, June 13, 2014

[Beatitudes Society] The Beatitudes Society has announced that Sean Lanigan, Yale Divinity School ’09, has been awarded a $10,000 Beatitudes Fellowship.

He is one of eight emerging faith leaders from across the United States selected for the annual award.

“We are delighted that Sean is one of our game-changing new leaders,” said The Rev. Anne Howard, Executive Director of The Beatitudes Society. “We are working toward the day when we will see a thriving nationwide web of courageous, authentic, innovative faith leaders and their communities who are engaged in the public square on behalf of inclusion, compassion, and the common good, and Sean will be a vital part of that network.”

The Beatitudes Fellowship identifies and equips a select group of young entrepreneurial faith leaders with the resources and relationships that empower them to create new models for church and social justice, and grow vital communities of faith in a pluralistic world.

The yearlong curriculum for the Fellows is project-based: each Fellow develops their own model for progressive ministry within their local faith community. The Fellows gather four times throughout the year for a week of coaching and customized mentoring to bring their idea to fruition. The curriculum is designed to develop each individual Fellow’s capacity for authentic leadership, while also building a community of peers for long-term mutual support.

The Beatitudes Fellowship provides each Fellow:

·       A $10,000 award (not a project grant);

·       A yearlong series of four Fellows’ gatherings at Easton Hall, in Berkeley, CA;

·       Customized, project-focused mentoring and coaching;

  • Project evaluation: how to figure out what projects need, from the tangible (people, money, time) to the intangible (faith, hope, courage);
  • Teaching, preaching, story-telling and community-building workshops: how to deepen faith, build community, inspire justice and engage communities in transformative change;
  • Sustaining spiritual practices: contemplative spiritual prayer and the Center for Courage and Renewal’s practices and principles for “leading from within”;
  • Peer community with other entrepreneurial leaders: time to relax and connect.

To find out more, please visit: www.BeatitudesSociety.org

Colombia: Church stands with internally displaced people

ENS Headlines - Friday, June 13, 2014

Soacha is home to more than 45,000 internally displaced people. The Episcopal Diocese of Colombia has a church in Soacha that provides space and assistance to a women’s cooperative. Photo: Lynette Wilson /ENS

[Episcopal News Service  - Bogotá, Colombia] Two to three families seeking shelter arrive weekly at Divine Savior Episcopal Church in Barrio Los Libertadores, a low-income community on the outskirts of Colombia’s capital, Bogotá.

“Many people need to flee their homes and their land for fear of their lives,” said the Rev. José Antonio Romero, referring to the internally displaced people who seek shelter in his church. “They had farms, homes, businesses, but because of the war, they leave with nothing.”

Families arrive at the bus station in Los Libertadores, or The Liberators, from all over Colombia, a country almost double the size of Texas with a rugged geography of mountain, rainforest and tropical plains.

They find Divine Savior by word of mouth.

Divine Savior Mission in Barrio Los Libertadores, a low-income community on the outskirts of Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, runs a shelter for IDPs. Photo: Lynette Wilson /ENS

The parish began 20 years ago with a chapel, which is now the basement of a four-story building that has a kitchen, a shelter, a sanctuary and an apartment on the top floor, where Romero has lived for the past 16 years since coming to Divine Savior.

For the families that come to the city in search of safety and employment, the church provides temporary housing, food, medicine and clothing with financial support Romero says he raises through friends, while the families apply for government assistance.

The Rev. José Antonio Romero’s explains that two to three families arrive weekly seeking shelter at Divine Savior. Photo: Lynette Wilson /ENS

Even for those families the government determines have legitimate displacement claims – and which receive compensation sometimes in land, other times in housing – Colombia’s 4.7 million displaced people still struggle to find employment, security and often are targets of discrimination. More than half a million people have become refugees.

Since the mid-1960s government forces, left-wing guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries have been fighting a civil war rooted in inequality that has killed more than 200,000 Colombians.  The Colombian government and the largest guerilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, have been involved in peace talks in Havana, Cuba, since 2012. It is speculated that the country’s June 15 presidential runoff election will determine whether the peace talks – accords have been reached concerning three of five agenda items – continue.

Fighting and related violence associated with organized crime, drug trafficking, land distribution, and resource extraction in recent years has disproportionately affected rural areas where 44 percent of the population lives in poverty. The violence forces people living in rural areas to seek safety in cities.

Located on a high plateau in the Andes, Bogotá is surrounded by these informal communities populated by internally displaced people; places like San Cristobal, where Los Libertadores is located, Suba, Ciudad Bolivar, and Soacha, where Holy Spirit Mission provides space for Mesa de Organizations de Mujeres de Soacha, a women’s rights and empowerment cooperative, supported by the World Health Organization.

A working class, industrial area 40 minutes southwest of the capital, Soacha, population 490,000, is home to more than 45,000 displaced people.

“All the problems, drug trafficking, armed gangs, converge here,” said the Rev. Carlos Eduardo Guevara, the priest serving Holy Spirit Church.

Internally displaced people live in homes built on hillsides subject to landslides, like these in Soacha. Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, is surrounded but such informal communities. Photo: Lynette Wilson /ENS

In addition to the dangers of everyday life in Soacha, where mothers live in fear that their sons will be recruited by armed groups and criminal organizations, human rights workers and community organizers face other dangers.

Human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings committed by armed groups, the government and criminal organizations have been well documented in Colombia. Human rights workers, labor activists, community and religious leaders often are targets of violence.

To engage in human rights work is perceived to be working against the state, similar to the way armed groups are seen, explained Clemencia Lopez, the cooperative’s legal representative.

Lopez and her family – she has three children, two in their teens, and the third 9 years old – were displaced three times, twice because of the armed conflict and once because of criminal activity and violence happening around them. Once there were three grenades thrown in front of the restaurant she and her husband owned, she said.

“We were in the middle of the confrontation,” she said during an interview in her office on the second floor of Holy Spirit Mission in May of 2013.

Around the time of the incident in front of the restaurant, Lopez participated in a workshop on women and gender equality; in 2007 she became involved with the women’s cooperative, which has grown to include some eight organizations.

“[In the beginning] we didn’t even know how to use computers,” said Lopez, who finished high school in 2009 by taking accelerated night classes.

In mainstream society, women typically don’t receive the necessary support and leadership training to participate in politics. The women’s cooperative provides women with access to human rights workshops, leadership training, education and the skills, said Lopez.

Additionally, Colombia’s patriarchal society often excludes women.


Clemencia Lopez and Fabiola Murcia are members of Mesa de Organizations de Mujeres de Soacha, a women’s rights and empowerment cooperative, with offices at Holy Spirit Church. Photo: Lynette Wilson /ENS

In 2012, the Colombian government adopted public policy on gender equality and a comprehensive plan against violence. Still, a 2013 report by the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women found “the persistence of patriarchal attitudes and deep-rooted stereotypes regarding the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and society.” Moreover, those attitudes and stereotypes are responsible for women’s disadvantaged position in political and public life, the labor market, the prevalence of violence against women and gender segregation, as related to educational opportunities for girls, the report said.

In addition to the discrimination displaced people experience – which is in addition to other forms of gender, race and economic discrimination – displacement puts a strain on families, with husbands and wives often blaming one another for their situation, said Lopez, adding that involvement in human rights work can also strain relationships.

“Women involved in human rights work put themselves at risk,” said Romero, who often accompanies the women in marches and demonstrations.

The women’s cooperative came to be located at Holy Spirit Church in 2010, after friends of Lopez introduced her to Diocese of Colombia Bishop Francisco Duque. Lopez has since become involved as a lay leader in the diocese.

One of the things the women have accomplished is a public policy platform for women, including the right to live a life free of violence, access to education and health care, economic opportunities, and the right to a vacation, something a life of displacement and social exclusion doesn’t afford them.

“They have dignified the role of women here in Soacha,” said Guevara, to a group of visitors in May 2013.

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

 

Portland dean William Lupfer named rector of Trinity Wall Street

ENS Headlines - Friday, June 13, 2014

[Trinity Wall Street press release] The Parish of Trinity Wall Street has called the Very Rev. Dr. William Lupfer, the dean of the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, as its next rector. Lupfer was named at the vestry’s June 11 meeting.

Lupfer will succeed the Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper to become the 18th rector of the historical Episcopal parish, chartered in 1697.

“Early in the Call process, a rector from another church advised us to seek someone ‘who loves the people.’ We believe we have found such a person in Dr. Lupfer. The Visitation team that went to see him at Trinity Cathedral in Portland was struck by the palpable affection that seemed to flow within that Congregation and between the Congregation and their Dean. We have faith in the Holy Spirit that as the steward of Trinity Wall Street, Dr. Lupfer will be a profound leader who will forge a strong and pastoral bond with the members of our parish and engage the diverse viewpoints of our community and our world,” said Church-Warden Christopher McCrudden.

“I am humbled and blessed by the opportunity to follow the extraordinary spiritual leaders whose presence has graced, guided, and sustained this historic and vibrant parish for more than three centuries” said Lupfer. “The ministry of Trinity Wall Street echoes for the ages, a faith community whose mission work throughout the Anglican Communion, from Lower Manhattan to the Global South, is both broad and personal and rich with promise. I am honored to dedicate myself to its ministry and future. With the help of the Holy Spirit, together we will seek the betterment of human life according to God’s vision, for a world of good.”

Lupfer is dean of the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Oregon, an urban congregation of 1,800 members from the greater Portland area. He is also active ecumenically with other leaders around the country.

He joined Trinity Cathedral in 2003. Before coming to Trinity Cathedral, Lupfer served parishes in Kenilworth, Illinois and Plymouth, Michigan. He has also spent time serving campus ministries in Evanston, Illinois and Baltimore, Maryland, and as a prison chaplain in Connecticut.

He was a vice president of the Psychological Studies and Clergy Consultation Program and served on the Commission on Ministry in Michigan. In Oregon, he was on the board of directors of Legacy Health, the largest nonprofit, locally owned health system in the Portland-Vancouver area and also served as co-chair of the Companion Diocese Committee.

Lupfer earned his bachelor’s degree in Comparative Religions from the University of Colorado (1983), and his Master of Divinity degree from Yale University (1987). He was awarded a Doctor of Ministry degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary (2003), completing his dissertation, “The Rector as Parish Leader: Leveraging Vestry Leadership for Spiritual Formation.”

Lupfer was ordained deacon in 1993 and priest in 1994.

He and his wife, Kimiko Koga Lupfer, married in 1990. They are the parents of teenagers, their daughter, Sarah, and their son, Kyle.

“Trinity was honored and blessed by the caliber of candidates in the call process. Each one has a special gift they bring to the Church. In Dr. Lupfer, we found a priest who embodies the bright future of Trinity as a spiritual leader, inspiring preacher, talented teacher and communicator. We see the future in Dr. Lupfer’s strong capacity to bring people together in the service of God, and as a parish we are tremendously excited to support him in his ministry at Trinity,’ said Church-Warden Joseph E. Hakim.

Cooper had announced previously that he would retire in early 2015 after serving for 11 years at Trinity Wall Street.

“Dr. Cooper has served our congregation and the church’s mission here and abroad with devotion and distinction. Under his leadership, Trinity’s congregation has grown, its ministries have thrived and its traditions have been enriched,” said Church-Warden McCrudden.

In 1698, services commenced at the first Trinity Church to stand at the head of Wall Street in Lower Manhattan. The third Trinity Church, circa 1846, stands there today.

A summary of Executive Council resolutions

ENS Headlines - Thursday, June 12, 2014

[Episcopal News Service – Phoenix, Arizona] During its June 10-12 meeting here, the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council adopted multiple resolutions, which are summarized below.

Executive Council

* Accept audited financial statements covering fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2013 (EC010).

Advocacy and Networking for Mission

* Declare that electronic cigarettes, also known as E-cigarettes, be considered tobacco products for the purposes of the church’s policies regarding socially responsible investments (A&N028).

* Invite Episcopalians to join Anglicans in Canada in observing the Seventh Sunday of Easter each year, commonly known as the Sunday after Ascension Day, as Jerusalem Sunday and on that day to give special attention to the spiritual heritage of all Christians in the land of Our Lord’s birth, death, and resurrection, and the continuing witness in our day of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, and commit to learning about the role of the Diocese of Jerusalem and its affiliated institutions in providing healthcare, education, and other vital social services to the communities of the Holy Land, and to supporting the ministry of those institutions; council requests that the staff of Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s Office of Justice and Advocacy Ministries make available appropriate resources for commemoration of Jerusalem Sunday and fulfillment of this resolution; council expresses “its solidarity with all Israelis, Palestinians, and others around the world working for peace in the land called holy by all the children of Abraham” (A&N029).

* Give thanks for the life and service of Chester Nez, one of the original Navajo Code talkers who was recruited in World War II to serve in the United States Marine Corps to help develop an unbreakable code that aided U.S. forces in the Pacific; commend and express deep gratitude for the service of all veterans and in particular the many veterans of native and indigenous descent who have sacrificed much in the service of our nation (A&N030).

* Commend the City of Seattle and other cities for passing minimum wage ordinances higher than $10.10 an hour; express disappointment at the U.S. Senate for failing to bring to debate legislation to raise the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 an hour and the U.S. House of Representatives for its refusal to consider at all the legislation; endorse the work of church’s Office of Justice and Advocacy Ministries on behalf of all Episcopalians in continuing their work with interreligious and ecumenical coalitions that address economic insecurity, wealth disparity, and the pursuant social inequalities in the United States; council says it is committed to this advocacy and encourages Episcopalians and dioceses to study and stand in public solidarity with our low-wage brothers and sisters in legal work actions for legislative change at the federal, state and local level that give low-wage workers greater access to the economic prosperity so many in our nation enjoy (A&N031).

Advocacy and Networking for Mission & World Mission

* Reaffirm Episcopal Church commitment to comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship as a primary solution to the plight of undocumented immigrants who have established roots in the United States as members of our communities and as substantive social, economic, and spiritual contributors to our nation; to proportional and humane immigration enforcement policies; deplore unprecedented levels of detention and deportation carried out by the [federal] Administration against individuals who pose no threat to society such as individuals who have committed reentry violations, traffic related offenses, minor criminal offenses, and actions that are retroactively considered deportable offenses, and individuals with U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident status, spouses, or parents; urge the Administration to provide for timely and readily available access to the child welfare system for detained parents, so that they have real and appropriate opportunities to make informed decisions on behalf of their children and families, increased use of alternatives to detention for those who pose no threat,  elimination of detention bed mandate, which requires the federal government to detain 34,000 immigrants on a daily basis and encourages the use of detention over more humane and cost-effective alternatives; urge that, when deportations do occur, individuals be repatriated in a safe and humane manner with their belongings, during daylight hours, to secure locations, with appropriate facilities for women and children; and that, when multiple members of a family are deported, they are not needlessly separated or returned to different ports of entry from one another; urge all Episcopalians to advocate and pray for humane comprehensive immigration reform so that immigrants, their families, and their communities may know peace, safety, and respect for the dignity of all people (A&N/WM001)

Finances for Mission

* Establish Trust Fund # 1063 as the National ECW Board Scholarship Memorial Fund (FFM044).

* Establish Trust Fund # 1064 as the St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Fort Thomas, Kentucky, Donor Restricted Endowment Fund (FFM045).

* Establish Trust Fund # 1065 as the St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Fort Thomas, Kentucky, Unrestricted Endowment Fund (FFM046).

* Ratify the approval made on March 25, 2014, by the Executive Committee of Executive Council to enter into a refinancing of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s Credit Agreement with U.S. Bank, continuing the existing term loan and expanding the line of credit to $15 million. (FFM047).

* Authorize DFMS treasurer to enter into agreements with U. S. Bank to renegotiate the current term loan outstanding in the principal amount of $31,162,800 as of June 4, 2014, with a term of no less than five years and an effective fixed interest rate below the current 3.69 percent per annum; authorize treasurer to incorporate an interest rate swap or similar derivative instrument to reduce the effective fixed interest rate further; authorize and direct treasurer to take such further action on behalf of DFMS as is deemed necessary to effectuate the foregoing (FFM048).

* Authorize DFMS chief operating officer and treasurer in collaboration with the chairs of the joint standing committees on Finances for Mission and World Mission to negotiate a loan of up to $2.5 million to the Diocese of Honduras to enable it to further its plan of sustainability by refinancing loans the diocese has previously undertaken with external lenders; that the analysis, terms and repayment of loan shall consider and reflect the consolidated operations and assets of the consolidated activities of the diocese; that the lender and borrower agree a mutually satisfactory sustainability plan (FFM049).

* Authorize additional line of credit to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin of $785,000 to be accessed through December 31, 2015, for support of the continuing diocese; authorize a separate additional line of credit to the diocese of $775,000 to be accessed through December 31, 2015, if necessary to support maintenance of any recovered property; lender and borrower agree on a mutually satisfactory sustainability plan that the lender and borrower regularly review; terms and conditions of this line of credit to be developed by DFMS chief operating officer and treasurer in collaboration with the chairs of Executive Council’s Joint Standing Committees on Finances for Mission and Local Mission and Ministry (LMM); that the repayment shall be secured by liquid assets of the diocese; that the diocese provide semi-annual financial reports to DFMS chief operating officer, treasurer and the chair of FFM (FFM050).

* Approves an increase in the triennial disbursement for Navajoland Area Mission of $225,000 to a total of $1.225 million, to be made available before December 31, 2015 (FFM051).

* Add $256,000 be added to the existing $863,245 in the Information Technology budget, bringing the triennial total to $1,119,245 to cover department costs, including an upgrade of DFMS technology platforms to MSOffice 365 (FFM052).

Governance and Administration for Mission

* Amend Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society Employee Handbook Policy number 110 on Anti-Fraud, Dishonest Activity, and Whistleblowing (GAM017).

* Amend Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society Employee Handbook Policy number 112 on Nepotism (GAM018).

* Adopt a revised and restated Conflict of Interest Policy Statement and Disclosure Form for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (GAM019).

Finances for Mission & Governance and Administration for Mission

* Directs the Finances for Mission & Governance and Administration for MissionSubcommittee on the Location of the Church Center to continue to evaluate the location Episcopal Church headquarters based on a wide range of factors including cost and financial affordability, travel and geographic accessibility, employment and justice concerns, partnership opportunities; charge subcommittee with continuing to gather all available data to complete evaluation, and to hire or retain necessary professionals and consultants to complete task; authorize subcommittee to spend up to $100,000 to accomplish work (FFM-GAM002).

Local Mission and Ministry

* Affirm the following ministries as Jubilee Ministries: Fundacion Pastraol Para La Promocion Humana, Parroquia El Buen Pastor, Cucuta (Diocese of Colombia); All Saints’ Community Center; Lakewood, New Jersey (Diocese of New Jersey); Holy Spirit Emergency Food Pantry,

El Paso, Texas (diocese of the Rio Grande) (LMM010).

World Mission

* Recognize companion diocese relationship between the Diocese of Southeast Florida and the Diocese of Toliara until such time as this relationship is terminated by mutual consent (WM020).

* Recommend approval of United Thank Offering grants as listed in nava report (WM021).

* Acknowledge the good work of the Rev. Heather Melton in this new UTO grant process (WM022).

* Recommend UTO individual grant summaries prepared for Executive Council include the “Focus or Criteria” guideline(s) under which the grant application is approved by UTO (WM023).

* Affirm the good news of the 75th Anniversary of Episcopal Relief & Development and encourage all Episcopalians and Anglicans everywhere to fully participate in this season of celebration with Episcopal Relief & Development (WM024).

Council takes action on both justice and governance issues

ENS Headlines - Thursday, June 12, 2014

Episcopal Church in Navajoland Bishop David Bailey June 11 shows a jerry-rigged water pipe from one of Navajoland’s buildings to illustrate the dire condition of properties in the area mission. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Phoenix, Arizona] The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council concluded its three day meeting here June 12 by taking a series of actions focused on the good order of the church and answering the call to speak out for justice.

More support for mission and ministry in Navajoland

Council members agreed to increase the triennial disbursement to the Navajoland Area Mission, also known as the Episcopal Church in Navajoland, by $225,000 to $1.225 million.

The decision came after a June 11 committee presentation about the history of the church’s work in Navajoland, including its failings.

Navajoland Bishop David Bailey said during that presentation that when he came into the diocese in 2010 “there was no plan for sustainability; there was no plan about how do we live into the future.” He added that his description of the history of Navajoland is not meant to be a criticism but rather an acknowledgement that there was “a different understanding of ministry than what we have today.”

As such, Bailey has made raising up indigenous leadership a priority. In the first four decades of Navajoland’s existence, there were five ordained Navajo, he said. With two ordinations planned for June 14, there will be eight recently ordained Navajo and three others are in training, according to Bailey.

A number of council members and staff will travel to Fort Defiance in northern Arizona to attend Navajoland’s annual convocation and those ordinations.

“We truly are reorganizing and rebuilding Navajoland,” Bailey said. “That’s exciting but in the midst of that we’ve got continual difficulties in terms of infrastructure.”

The Rev. Daniel Gutierrez, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of the Rio Grande, has helped Navajoland formulate a sustainability plan that he called a “sacred accountability of the funds of the Episcopal Church” that the area mission has received. He said the plan “addresses the major components” of what has to be done there.

Council member Steve Hutchison, who is also chancellor of the Diocese of Utah and of Navajoland, said the area mission had not had a consistent system of budgeting and documenting expenses “but we’re changing all that” and the mission is committed to a transparent and accountable process.

He added that the entire church has a responsibility to its only area mission.

Jefferts Schori echoed that sentiment, saying during the June 11 presentation that providing support to Navajoland “is a piece of accountability of the Episcopal Church to Navajoland of not providing adequate resources and oversight in the decades that it has existed.”

In 1978, the Episcopal Church carved out sections of the dioceses of Rio Grande, Arizona and Utah – areas within and surrounded by the 27,000-square-mile Navajo reservation – to create the Navajoland Area Mission. It encompasses 26,000 square miles over Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

In a related action, council passed a resolution giving thanks for the life and service of Chester Nez, one of the original Navajo Code talkers, who was recruited in World War II to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps and help develop an unbreakable code that aided U.S. forces in the Pacific. The resolution expresses “deep gratitude for the service of all veterans and in particular the many veterans of native and indigenous descent who have sacrificed much in the service of our nation.”

In other justice-related actions, council:

* Commended the city of Seattle and other cities for passing minimum wage ordinances higher than $10.10 an hour, expressed disappointment at the U.S. Congress’ refusal to consider raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and encouraged Episcopalians and dioceses to study and “stand in public solidarity with our low-wage brothers and sisters” in advocating for legislative change at the federal, state and local level that give low-wage workers greater access to economic prosperity.

* Reaffirmed the Episcopal Church commitment to comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship and called on the U.S government to improve the way it deals with families of detained parents. Council also discussed the unprecedented increase in the number of unaccompanied children attempting to cross U.S. borders

* Invited Episcopalians to join Anglicans in Canada in observing the Seventh Sunday of Easter each year as Jerusalem Sunday and to learn more about and support the role of the Diocese of Jerusalem and its affiliated institutions in providing healthcare, education, and other vital social services to the communities of the Holy Land.

A summary of all of the resolutions council passed during this meeting is here.

Location of the Episcopal Church Center

Among the items under the category of “good order,” council decided to spend up to an additional $100,000 to continue to evaluate the location of the Episcopal Church headquarters.

Council agreed to allow its Finances for Mission & Governance and Administration for MissionSubcommittee on the Location of the Church Center to continue to consider a wide range of factors, according to the resolution council passed, including cost and financial affordability, travel and geographic accessibility, employment and justice concerns, and partnership opportunities. The subcommittee can use what the resolution calls “necessary professionals and consultants” to do that work.

Prior to making the decision in open session with no discussion, council met in two closed plenary sessions, one on June 10 and one at the beginning of June 12, to discuss a new report from that subcommittee.

Jefferts Schori said during a post-meeting news conference that the council is “trying to do our best” to make fiduciary decisions “and we still feel we need more data and so we’re going to collect some more data and continue our consideration.”

The decision to continue the location work, the Rev. Gay Jennings, House of Deputies president, said during news conference ought to be seen as a “a signal to the church that council is taking [General Convention Resolution] D016 very seriously.”

That resolution, passed in July 2012, said “it is the will of this convention to move the church center headquarters” away from that building. The final text of the resolution was significantly amended during convention debate to remove directives that would have required council to sell or lease out the entire property and relocate the Church Center headquarters. The original text of the resolution and the final versions are here.

Five months earlier in February 2012 council’s Finances for Mission committee asked church management to study the possible relocation of the church center. It was conducted by the 10-person Executive Oversight Group. That report concluded the church’s headquarters ought to remain at 815 Second Ave. in Manhattan and consolidate operations to free up even more space to rent to outside tenants than the 3.5 floors that were then leased out.

In February of this year, council authorized spending up to $95,000 for additional professional expertise to assist in the review and analysis of future options for the church center.

Update on 2016-2019 budget process

Council members also got an update on the work that its Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission (FFM) is doing to prepare a draft 2016-2019 budget for the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to use as it builds a budget to propose to General Convention in 2015.

The Rev. Susan Snook, who chairs FFM’s subcommittee on the budget process, said the committee is on track with its plan to have a version of its eventual draft budget done by the end of council’s Oct. 24-27 meeting. Some FFM members will stay at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, after that meeting to discuss the document with PB&F during its Oct. 27-29 meeting.

That version of council’s budget will also be released to the church for comment, according to the timeline Snook outlined. Then FFM will revise the budget based on those comments and plans to have a final draft budget ready to give to the full council during its Jan. 9-11, 2015 meeting.

PB&F is due to meet Feb. 23-25, 2015, to begin work on that draft budget. According to the joint rules of General Convention (joint rule II.10.c.ii), council must give its draft budget to PB&F no less than four months before the start of General Convention (essentially by February of convention year). PB&F uses the draft budget and any legislation passed by General Convention to create a final budget proposal, which is presented to the bishops and deputies for consideration and approval.

Snook also told council that FFM is considering a change in how dioceses are asked to fund the church-wide budget. She said a subcommittee will look at a progressive system of brackets based on diocesan income, where those dioceses with income in the first bracket would pay nothing. The percentage of the diocesan asking would be progressively higher with each higher income bracket.

“We feel that a system like this might very well allow us to give a break to lower-income dioceses while recognizing there are some wealthy dioceses can afford the full 19 percent or possibly even higher,” she said.

In the 2013-2015 triennium, dioceses have been asked to contribute 19 percent of their annual income to help fund the church-wide budget. Each year’s annual giving in the three-year budget is based on a diocese’s income two years earlier, minus $120,000. The list of 2012 and 2013 diocesan commitments is here.

The subcommittee also will consider some sort of “system of accountability,” Snook said. One idea involves council establishing a diocesan asking review committee to review the payments of any diocese that doesn’t pay the full amount of the asking. The committee would work with such a diocese to create a plan to bring it to the full asking and would have the power to grant a waiver to dioceses that cannot afford to pay the full asking. It would do these things “in an encouraging and inviting way to being people into the life of the church rather than isolate them or shut them out,” Snook said.

“We also have considered possible gentle sanctions against dioceses that do not receive a waiver and do not pay,” she said, adding that such sanctions might include being ineligible for Episcopal Church grants and loans.

Snook also showed members a spreadsheet that she said looked like a budget but “it’s not a budget at all yet.” It included projected income for the 2016-2019 triennium and all budget requests from church center staff, council committees or one of the church’s other committees, commissions, agencies and boards.

The document was projected on the screen in the meeting room. Snook and other members of FFM were hesitant to release it when some council members asked for copies to study. Diocese of Ohio Bishop Mark Hollingsworth, FFM chair, said his committee was concerned that the document would “get misinterpreted or signal a direction we don’t intend.”

Some council members said that if they could not study the document they will not know whether a specific line item in the eventual budget was proposed by church center staff, council committees or one of the church’s other committees, commissions, agencies and boards.

Council member Joe Ferrell, echoing the concern first raised by member Martha Gardner, said his committee was asked to comment on various requests but “we had no background information as to who had made the request and on what basis they had made the request.”

“If the entire council is going to accept responsibility for the final work product, I think we are going to need to have access to the background information in some way,” he said. “I am going on faith that you are doing a good job and I think you are. I’ll vote for your proposal but I’ll vote for it because I trust you, not because I have reached an independent judgment.”

Jennings told the members that this was the third council budget process she has been through and “this process without exception has asked for and received more input not only from individuals and committees of Executive Council but also from staff and committees, commissions, agencies and boards.”

While she said that she appreciated “passion” that people have for the budget request they made, “it’s clear to me that [FFM is] not favoring one group of suggestions over another” but is instead engaged in a “thoughtful deliberative process.”

She urged her colleagues to let FFM do the work council asked it to do in the way that council approved more than a year ago.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori suggested that FFM ought to work with the rest of council after the meeting to devise a way to securely share the document.

As a coda to the discussion, Hollingsworth noted that Internet was currently “abuzz with the conversation we are having right now.”

Some council members were tweeting about the discussion, which he did not criticize, but he noted a posting on the listserv for members of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops that read “Budget Discussion at Executive Council meeting #ExCoun062014 on Twitter. Lower ‘asking’ Punish slackers? Some of richest dioceses pay zip!”

“I just ask us in our leadership role to remember how important long, thoughtful discussion is to us,” he said, adding that such discussion will “help the whole church get this.”

The council meeting is took place at the Embassy Suites Phoenix Scottsdale. Coverage of the first day is here.

Some council members tweeted from the meeting using #ExCoun062014.

The Executive Council carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1)(a). The council is composed of 38 members, 20 of whom (four bishops, four priests or deacons and 12 lay people) are elected by General Convention and 18 (one clergy and one lay) by the nine provincial synods for six-year terms – plus the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies.

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

UTO grants $1.5 million for Episcopal, Anglican mission, ministry

ENS Headlines - Thursday, June 12, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affair press release] The United Thank Offering of the Episcopal Church has awarded 48 grants for a total of $1,525,407.78 for the mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. The 2014 grants were awarded to projects in 36 domestic and overseas dioceses.

The grants were announced at the Episcopal Church Executive Council meeting in Phoenix, AZ on June 12.

Known worldwide as UTO, the United Thank Offering grants are awarded for projects that address human needs and help alleviate poverty, both domestically and internationally.

A total of 83 grant applications were received and reviewed by the United Thank Offering Grants Committee.  Those recommendations were presented to the Executive Council Joint Standing Committee on Worldwide Mission, which is charged with the responsibility of reviewing the recommendations.  The Joint Committee presented the final recommendations to the Executive Council for approval.

The grants ranged from $2,500 to the Diocese of Iowa to $124,750 to the Diocese of California and their companion diocese, Malawi.

Recipients

  • Diocese of California – The Health & Wellness Center of Holy Child & St. Martin’s:  $37,500.00
  • Diocese of California (Companion – Malawi) – Building Malawi’s Nursing Workforce, St. Anne College:        $124,749.98
  • Diocese of Central New York – The Trinity of the Undercroft:  $84,000.00
  • Diocese of Colorado (Companion – Haiti) – Increasing Career Readiness of Students In Rural Haiti:  $62,000.00
  • Diocese of Dominican Republic – Church/Shelter Mission Santa Ana, Mendoza:  $105,874.00
  • Diocese of East Carolina (Companion – Dominican Republic) – Colegio Episcal Prof, Laura Morrow Playground Project:  $27,842.00
  • Diocese of Ecuador Litoral – Creation & Equipment of a Community Helping Center:           $48,010.00
  • Diocese of Florida – Healing Hands Dental Ministry:  $46,000.00
  • Diocese of Florida (Companion – Cuba) – Camp Blankingship in Cuba:  $51,750.00
  • Diocese of Georgia – Dairen Community Youth Group:  $30,000.00
  • Diocese of Honduras – Vehicle for Self-Sustainability in Honduras:  $15,000.00
  • Diocese of Idaho – La Gracia Van:  $15,000.00
  • Diocese of Iowa – Jubilee Community Center:  $2,500.00
  • Diocese of Kansas – Education Promoting Hope:  $9,645.00
  • Diocese of Kentucky – Christ Church’s Wednesday Lunch Program  $4,180.00
  • Diocese of Long Island – Immigrant Wellness Program:  $24,960.00
  • Diocese of Long Island (Companion – Ghana) – Establishment of Rural Health Centre:  $35,000.00
  • Diocese of Louisiana – St. Paul’s Community Center          :  $37,800.00
  • Diocese of Massachusetts – B-Peace for Jorge Campaign:  $20,000.00
  • Diocese of Massachusetts (Companion – Tanzania) English Immersion & Enrichment Program at Hegongo Holy Cross HS:  $8,850.00
  • Diocese of Mexico – Community Room and Reception Area:  $23,173.90
  • Diocese of Michigan – Refurbishment of Kitchen for Daily Breakfast Program:  $76,275.34
  • Diocese of Mississippi – Trinity Episcopal Church Casket Lift:  $36,975.00
  • Diocese of Mississippi (Companion – Panama) – Renovation of Bishop Gooden Center:  $43,738.00
  • The Church of the Province of Myanmar – St. Peter Bible School Building:  $43,067.00
  • Navajoland Area Mission – Waging Hozho:  $47,601.00
  • Diocese of Northern California – Homeless Seniors Needs Study:  $17,160.00
  • Diocese of Rochester – Building a Safe/Healthy Neighborhood: One Family at a Time:  $25,195.65
  • Diocese of Southeast Florida (Companion – Haiti) – A Joyful Sound: Empowering Haitian Children Through Music:  $30,875.00
  • Diocese of Southern Ohio – Confluence House:  $9,875.00
  • Diocese of Southwestern Virginia – Dental Equipment for a Mobile Unit to Reach Underserved:  $41,239.00
  • Diocese of Upper South Carolina (Companion – Haiti) – Ecole Bon Saveur Latrine Project, Cange, Haiti:  $25,000.00
  • Diocese of Virginia – Bread & Roses Ministry of Trinity Church:  $17,000.00
  • Diocese of Virginia (Companion – South Sudan) – School Vehicle for Hope & Resurrection Secondary School:  $49,575.00
  • Diocese of Western Massachusetts – Support for Victims of Domestic Violence:  $11,349.00
  • Diocese of Western Michigan – El Corazón:  $11,500.00

The United Thank Offering award funds are derived from the Ingatherings/funds/contributions received through offerings from the well-known and easily recognizable United Thank Offering Blue Box.

United Thank Offering: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/united-thank-offering

Today the World Cup begins in Brazil

ENS Headlines - Thursday, June 12, 2014

[Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil] Today the World Cup begins in Brazil. This topic has been explored in various ways and sometimes the ideology of the debate has caused impassioned conflict, especially this election year.

But what should we in fact see? As an event, the Cup is an opportunity for reconciliation between peoples. The passion for sport is very healthy for humanity. Sport has, in many contexts, been a source of dignity of life and a celebration of peace.

What we should not permit, as it were, is the commodification of sport to further affirm inequalities and injustices. Football, or soccer, on its own is not to blame for the ills and state to which its leaders and stakeholders have reduced it in the name of capitalist exploitation. Lovers of the sport can’t be anesthetized in exercising their citizenship — which, unfortunately, has happened in the last few years. We should guarantee that football is not exploited as a commodity by huge multinational corporations solely interested in profits. Businesses and media organizations have captured the beauty of the sport and are offered huge profits. FIFA — which in theory is a beneficial organization – will generate 5 billion dollars from the Cup in Brazil. Sponsors will gain another huge amount. And Brazil?

The Brazilian people have demonstrated much maturity in confronting the way the Cup is being managed, and we cannot give up our stance that people are more important than profit. The billions spent on works related to the Cup should, in the name of equity, be invested in implementing social rights and public services in our country.

Every cent invested in the Cup should be converted into bettering health, education and public transport and the many other basic services in a country like ours of such large inequalities.

Lines should exist at every entry to the stadiums, and not at public health postings!

But football is not to blame for this. Who holds the blame are those who exploit it for business and politics. We should be attentive — that at this Cup, we have one eye on the ball, and one eye on our citizenry.

Celebrating the Cup as an event of reconciliation and humanity is very good. Letting ourselves numb ourselves in regards to our civil responsibilities is like playing with a flat ball!

May God bless our people in these days and may we exercise hospitality as we always do!

++ Francisco – Francisco de Assis da Silva is primate of the Episcopal Anglican Church in Brazil. 

Se Aceptan Solicitudes para Formación Teológica Indígena de la Iglesia Episcopal

ENS Headlines - Thursday, June 12, 2014

[12 de junio de 2014] Actualmente se están aceptando solicitudes para las subvenciones 2014 para la formación teológica indígena de la Iglesia Episcopal

Las subvenciones están disponibles para laicos y miembros ordenados de la Iglesia   Episcopal. La solicitud e información están disponibles aquí.

Entre las posibilidades de educación se encuentra la formación espiritual, liderazgo, desarrollo ordenación. Cada solicitante debe tener el aval de su obispo(a).

La fecha límite para presentar las solicitudes es el 15 de julio.

Para obtener más información comuníquese con Sarah Eagle Heart, Misionera para los Ministerios Indígenas, seagleheart@episcopalchurch.org.

Applications accepted for Indigenous Theological Training

ENS Headlines - Thursday, June 12, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Applications are currently being accepted for the 2014 Episcopal Church awards for Indigenous Theological Training.

The awards are available to lay and ordained members of The Episcopal Church. The application and information are available here http://www.episcopalchurch.org/form/indigenous-theological-training-2014-award-application

Among the educational possibilities is spiritual formation, leadership development, or ordination. Each applicant must have the endorsement of his/her bishop.

Deadline for all applications is July 15.

For more information contact Sarah Eagle Heart, Missioner for Indigenous Ministries, seagleheart@episcopalchurch.org.

Anglicans: ‘We vow to eradicate hate crimes, hate speech in Japan’

ENS Headlines - Thursday, June 12, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] Japanese Anglicans have strongly condemned racism in the country and vowed “to eradicate hate crime and hate speech and strive to establish a true multiracial and mutlicultural society.”

In a statement issued after their 61st synod, representatives of Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican/Episcopal Church in Japan) Synod pulled no punches as they criticized a lack of government legislation against hate crimes and hate speech.

“Hate speech is now rampant in Japan,” it said. “The targets range from ethnic Koreans to various social minorities such as other Asians, foreigners in general, [people considered to be from lower castes], Okinawans, atomic bomb survivors, Ainu people, and sexual minorities.

“Negating and ignoring the very existence of victims, hate speech is a serious crime that physically and mentally scars people in a profound way.”

The statement was signed by representatives of the houses of bishops, clergy and laity as well as members of the Committee for Peace and Justice and the Youth Committee.

It pointed out that Japan is one of only five countries that have limited their support for an international convention on eliminating racial discrimination. It also highlighted groups such as Zaitokukai (translated as Citizens against the Special Privileges of Korean Residents) that have held “dreadfully racist public demonstrations”.

The bold statement made the Synod’s feelings quite clear: “In this globalizing modern world, a multiracial and multicultural society is not just an inevitable consequence, but is an ideal that must be actively worked towards. The racist movements are totally against our goal and should never be tolerated as “freedom of expression”.

“[With] the merciful Lord going before us, (Psalm 59:10), we vow to eradicate hate crime and hate speech and will strive to establish a true multiracial and multicultural society.”

Read the full declaration below:

The 61st General Synod of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, Resolution 25

Declaration of Support for the Eradication of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech and the Creation of a True Multiracial and Multicultural Society by the NSKK (Nippon Sei Ko Kai, the Anglican/Episcopal Church in Japan)

Submitters:
Diocese of Osaka
House of Bishops: The Rt. Revd. Osamu Onishi
(Bishop in charge of human-rights issues)
House of Clergy: Revd. Akira Iwaki, Revd. Makoto Yamamoto

Diocese of Kyoto
House of Bishops: The Rt. Revd. Takashi Kochi
House of Clergy: The Revd. Yutaka Kuroda, The Revd. Izumi Ida,

Diocese of Tokyo
House of Bishops: The Rt. Revd. Nobumichi Ohata
House of Clergy: The Revd. Tazu Sasamori
House of Laity: Ms. Keiko Kurosawa

Committee for Justice and Peace: The Rt. Revd. Ichiro Shibusawa
Youth Committee: The Revd. Satoshi Kobayashi

 

We declare the adoption of the following statement at the 61st general synod

“The NSKK declares its unanimous support for the eradication of hate crime and hate speech and for the creation of a truly multiracial and multicultural society”

Description:
Since the latter half of the first decade of the 21st century, racist groups such as Zaitokukai (Citizens against the Special Privileges of Korean Residents; formed in 2007) have continuously held, as “active conservatives,” dreadfully racist public demonstrations. In December 2009 they raided Kyoto Chosen Shokyu Gakko (Korean elementary school) while children were still in class, and severely traumatized not only children but also school officials, and the local community. This triggered a broad recognition of the term “hate speech” in the Japanese society.

The historically accurate view of Japanese invasions and their subsequent military reign in Asia based upon colonialism, imperialism and militarism after the Meiji Restoration has not been properly atoned for. Furthermore, the former colonized peoples’ persecution, forced assimilation and subjugation by ethnocentric policies have not been fully acknowledged. In particular Korean people and their descendants have borne the brunt of this history. This is arguably the root of the current problems surrounding ethnic Koreans in Japan.

The NSKK has promoted a convivial society through the restoration of St. Gabriel Church in the Diocese of Osaka and support of the NSKK Ikuno Center (a community center located in an ethnic Korean area), and through mutual exchanges and cooperation with the Anglican Church of Korea. In the meantime, “Anti-Korean sentiment” has become conspicuous, particularly on Internet blogs and demonstrations held in predominantly ethnically Korean communities. A rightward trend in Japanese politics, in evidence of the aforesaid lack of remorse for Japan’s military colonization, has become more and more prevalent.
As hate speech is now rampant in Japan, the targets range from ethnic Koreans to various social minorities such as other Asians, foreigners in general, “Burakumin (*see below)” outcasts, Okinawans, atomic bomb survivors, Ainu people, and sexual minorities. Negating and ignoring the very existence of victims, hate speech is a serious crime that physically and mentally scars people in a profound way.

In November 2013, the Kyoto District Court made a landmark ruling that the December 2009 school attack was considered a deliberately discriminatory action. In regard to hate speech in Japan, the United Nations formally urged the Japanese government to take measures against it on February 2014. Although Japan has been a member of International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), Japan is one of only five countries that have made reservations on Article 4(a) and (b) condemning hate crime and hate speech, and the United Nations strongly requires the member states to withdraw these reservations. While western countries extensively regulate hate crime and hate speech to protect racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities based on remorse over their own historically documented racial atrocities (typified by the Holocaust), Japan still has almost no legislation for regulating hate crimes and hate speech.

The bible records the outcries of people threatened by hatred and accusations.

Save me from the contempt from those trample on me. My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts – the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. – Psalm 57:4-5.

See what they spew from their mouths – the words are sharp as swords. Who can bear such words from their lips? – Psalm 59:7.

The Psalms tell us that the Lord is full of compassion and mercy for those who are threatened, and goes in front of them (Psalm 59:10). The Lord once ordered the Israelites not to persecute foreigners (Deuteronomy 24:19) and to protect their life and rights (Leviticus 19:10, Deuteronomy 10:18). And the Lord has promised that the day as “they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid (Micah 4:4.)” will come, and want us to live towards that day.

In this globalizing modern world, a multiracial and multicultural society is not just an inevitable consequence but is an ideal that must be actively worked towards. The racist movements are totally against our goal and should never be tolerated as “freedom of expression”. Following the merciful Lord going in front, (Psalm 59:10), we vow to eradicate hate crime and hate speech and will strive to establish a true multiracial and multicultural society.

(*Burakumin are ethnically Japanese, but are members of caste restricted to certain areas of residence, descent and occupations , in particular abattoirs, meat processing, garbage collecting, or leather working. Considered unclean, burakumin for centuries have suffered continuously from segregation and degradation as outcasts. Their official numbers vary, but most estimates put their population at around two million.)

Article 4(a) and (b) of ICERD

(a) Shall declare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin, and also the provision of any assistance to racist activities, including the financing thereof;
(b) Shall declare illegal and prohibit organizations, and also organized and all other propaganda activities, which promote and incite racial discrimination, and shall recognize participation in such organizations or activities as an offence punishable by law;

<Reason for Declaration>
All churches and dioceses of the NSKK have supported and prayed for the NSKK Ikuno Center which was established in 1992 for the purpose of supporting a local community where non-Japanese residents (mostly, but not exclusively, ethnic Koreans) and Japanese residents could live harmoniously together. The NSKK had declared in 2012 its dedication to “create a communion in which we walk together with each individual person, respect the dignity of individual life and positively encounter people, without simply grouping them as “aged”, “youth”, “female”, “male”, “children”, “disabled”, “foreigners””. Recent activities of Zaitokukai and its sympathizers, which clearly violate human rights, are totally against this declaration of the NSKK, and we hereby steadfastly declare our position with this resolution.