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EPPN Policy Alert: Tell Your Senator That It’s Time to Raise the Wage

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

[Episcopal Public Policy Network] Across the United States, minimum wage employees labor 40 hours a week yet often cannot make ends meet. Despite a steady income and a full-time job, many of these workers are forced to rely on federal anti-poverty programs to feed their families and to heat their homes. These workers must make difficult decisions such as whether to have an apartment or to have a bed; whether to pay for phone service or to fund an extracurricular activity for their child. It’s been four years since Congress raised the federal minimum wage, and twenty-one years since Congress raised the federal tipped minimum wage. For over two decades, the minimum wage has failed to keep up with inflation and the rise of the average worker’s paycheck. Now is the time to change a policy that dramatically affects the lives of low wage workers and their families.

Fortunately, two members of Congress have proposed a policy that would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour. Senator Tom Harkin and Representative George Miller are working to pass The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, a bill that would index the wage to inflation and raise it in three installed increments. The bill (S. 460/ H.R. 1010) would also raise the tipped wage to $3.00, an amount that would increase over time to ensure that it remains no less than 70% of the minimum wage.

The Episcopal Church supports a living wage (the hourly equivalent of an annual wage at the current federal poverty line for a family of four) as the standard compensation for all U.S. workers. A living wage allows workers and their families to afford basic amenities without having to choose between them, and The Fair Minimum Wage Act brings U.S. workers one step closer to this reality. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that this bill would raise 900,000 people out of poverty.

The Episcopal Church is not alone in its support for The Fair Minimum Wage Act, and the majority of U.S. citizens support raising the minimum wage.

As the Senate is likely to vote on S. 460 this month, now is the time to raise your voice in support of low-wage workers and their families!Urge your Senator to vote for The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 HERE

Philippines: Mission in the midst of crisis

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The island of Bantayan counts children in its team of volunteers. The Diocese of Davao supports a continuing relief and economic redevelopment project in Bantayan. Photo: Gideon Bustamante

[Episcopal News Service] Just over a week after the bishop of the newest diocese in the Philippines was consecrated on Nov. 23, 2012, Super Typhoon Bopha hit, killing more than 1,000 people and destroying homes and land. Almost 12 months later, in November 2013, came Super Typhoon Haiyan, killing as many as 10,000 people, making it one of the deadliest storms in the Philippines to date. As the Rt. Rev. Jonathan L. Casimina, bishop, put it, “We began our diocese with a typhoon, and we ended our first year with a typhoon.”

Following destruction caused by Typhoon Bopha in 2012, representatives from the Diocese of Davao provided relief to residents of a small mountain village. Those residents asked the diocese for spiritual support, as well, and Chapel of the Transfiguration, pictured here, was born. Photo: Emily Cherry

In between those environmentally catastrophic bookends came plenty of struggles for the Diocese of Davao in the Episcopal Church of the Philippines, which today is a year and a half old. While facing the usual start-up challenges of staffing, finances and vision-building, the diocese also had to look outward to its community, and quickly determine what role disaster response would play in its ministry. But it’s those struggles that have helped formed the new diocese, according to the bishop. “Even in crisis, there’s always an opportunity for mission,” said Casimina. “And that’s where our church is actually being defined.”

In March 2014, staff from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia visited the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, where Young Adult Service Corps volunteer Ashley Cameron of Virginia is stationed. “Our goal in making this trip to the Philippines was not only to visit with our YASCer Ashley Cameron, but also to learn how the Episcopal Church in the Philippines approaches its ministries,” said Buck Blanchard, the Diocese of Virginia’s director for mission and outreach. “The staff at the Episcopal Church Center had expressed interest in having more dioceses reach out and get to know the Episcopal Church in the Philippines,” he added. “It’s important for us to make those personal connections with our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion to see what unites us.”

The Episcopal Diocese of Davao is located on the island of Mindanao, in the southern Philippines. When Haiyan – or Yolanda, as it is known locally – hit, it targeted victims a bit further north. As a group that had previous experience responding to natural disaster with Typhoon Bopha, the Diocese of Davao started to mobilize. Within one week, the diocesan youth and the Episcopal Church Women group had hosted a “Dinner for a Cause” to raise funds to support the typhoon victims. High-school students had gone door-to-door to collect more than $2,000 to donate to diocesan relief efforts.

And on the day Typhoon Haiyan struck, the Diocese of Davao released a Letter of Appeal: “As people of faith we are yet again reminded of the powerful symbols of wind and water being both as destructive, as in the case of storms such as this super typhoon, as well as nurturing and life giving, especially in relation to scriptural and sacramental reflection of our liturgical life. Let us not be overwhelmed nor disheartened by all this tragic destruction we see and hear on the news.”

The diocese identified in the tragedy an opportunity for ministry – an opportunity to claim an identity in the face of disaster. Casimina looked at the situation like this: “If we make ministry our priority, God will definitely provide for our needs.” So three weeks after the storm, the diocese organized a team of 30 people – including almost all of the diocesan staff members, some local clergy and a team of medical volunteers from the Diocese of Sebah in Malaysia – to take a disaster response trip to Bantayan Island.

Coconut trees on the island of Bantayan will take a few more years to recover from the damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan. The Diocese of Davao supports a continuing relief and economic redevelopment project in Bantayan. Photo: Gideon Bustamante

Situated in the Visayan Sea, Bantayan is a small island where almost all of the homes were destroyed. Most of the area was completely flooded, groves of coconut trees destroyed and farms leveled. “People were holding onto anything just to survive,” said Casimina. But media and relief efforts seemed to focus primarily on the area surrounding the city of Tacloban on Leyte Island, where the devastation was severe. So the Diocese of Davao decided to focus its efforts on Bantayan instead. The group distributed relief packs full of food, soap and supplies. The medical team performed minor operations, and provided medicine and supplies.

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines does not have any congregations on Bantayan, where the population is mostly Roman Catholic. But, as Casimina explained, “It feels good to help your neighbor… but it feels better to help a stranger … It is incumbent on our part to really help, regardless of what their religion is. That is one of the strengths of the Episcopal Diocese of Davao.”

Staff of the Diocese of Davao, pictured here with Ashley Cameron of the Young Adult Service Corps and Emily Cherry and Buck Blanchard of the Diocese of Virginia, joined together in a disaster relief project following Typhoon Haiyan. Photo: Emily Cherry

During their visit, the Virginia team toured several dioceses in the north to learn about their ministries and development projects, in addition to a trip to the Diocese of Davao in the south. “We specifically went to Davao because it is a brand new diocese that is looking for international friends,” said Blanchard. “We want to make sure that we are open and receptive to those sorts of opportunities to connect with people who are so eager to share their story.”

The Virginia team spent time with national and diocesan staff, learning about rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts. “The Episcopal Church of the Philippines’ approach to typhoon relief is community-based – and by no means limited to Episcopal communities,” said Blanchard. The Diocese of Santiago, for example, is home to a center that produces food to be shipped to the typhoon victims. And in the Diocese of Davao, Blanchard added, “I was impressed at their willingness to be fearless and to simply go where they felt called, without a lot of hand-wringing – and that’s something we can learn from.”

Now, five months after Haiyan struck, the Diocese of Davao continues its efforts on Bantayan island, moving from the development and relief phase of rebuilding structures to the economic rehabilitation phase. “Maybe we cannot provide all their needs, but at least we can do something to help their livelihoods,” said Gideon Bustamante, program coordinator in the Social Ministry Unit for the Diocese of Davao.

On a recent trip back to Bantayan, Bustamante reported that, while many homes had been repaired, as much as 40 percent of the population was living in shelter boxes and tents in some cities. As a large fishing community, many residents’ incomes are suffering as a result of destroyed boats and nets, and the diocese has plans to help rebuild and refurbish those. They continue to distribute food and relief supplies, as well. Bustamante is coordinating with the national church office to discuss future plans for economic rehabilitation. And the group from Malaysia is making plans to return, along with a youth group from Japan.

Members of St. Mary’s Chapel in the Diocese of Davao. Photo: Emily Cherry

Typhoons are a constant for the 7,000+ islands that make up the Philippines, and likewise, typhoon response is a top priority for the Episcopal Church of the Philippines, which became an official missionary district of the Episcopal Church in 1901 and later was a diocese of the Episcopal Church. In 1990, it became an independent province of the Anglican Communion, and continues today in a covenant relationship with the Episcopal Church. Following Haiyan, the Episcopal Church issued a statement about its approach to disaster relief: “If there is any bright spot to the catastrophic landscape brought about by the destructive typhoons, it is the immediate response of the Filipino people, even those directly affected, wanting to help fellow Filipinos.”

The church’s response focuses on sustainability and community loan programs – and it’s a churchwide effort. Throughout the process, they’ve found, “Disasters usually bring out the best in communities,” said Floyd Lalwet, provincial secretary for the Episcopal Church in the Philippines. “Our people have become more open to giving to others,” said Lalwet. “There’s an openness to share not only money, but [products] of our own communities.”

A long-standing partner of the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, the Church in the Philippines also has found support from the global community in its typhoon relief efforts, including from Episcopal Relief & Development. In the aftermath of Haiyan, the relief organization spearheaded fundraising efforts, in addition to providing rebuilding support. Sean McConnell and Sara Delaney of Episcopal Relief & Development recently returned from a trip to the Philippines. “When it comes to typhoon relief, the Episcopal Church in the Philippines exemplifies the best in asset-based methodology,” McConnell said. Individual communities analyze their resources and then determine how best they can use those assets to benefit others while sustaining themselves.

Following destruction caused by Typhoon Bopha in 2012, representatives from the Diocese of Davao provided relief to residents of a small mountain village. Those residents asked the diocese for spiritual support, as well, and Chapel of the Transfiguration, was born. Here, members of Transfiguration welcome visitors. Photo: Emily Cherry

The Diocese of Davao, through its ministry to typhoon victims, is an example of a church that has grown in its openness to giving. The diocese is proud of its Episcopal identity, and dedicated to nurturing it. “The Episcopal Church is too good not to be shared with others,” said Casimina. That maxim held true in the mountains surrounding Davao city. Following the December 2012 Typhoon Bopha, known locally as Pablo, diocesan representatives traveled to outlying areas to offer relief and rebuilding services. In one area, after receiving aid from the Diocese of Davao, the local residents wanted to join and worship in the Episcopal Church. “They asked us not only to sustain their material needs, but to sustain their spiritual needs, as well,” said Casimina. And so the Chapel of the Transfiguration was created in the Diocese of Davao. By reaching out to help a community, the diocese actually grew and strengthened their church.

That mentality and outward-reaching focus has served the Diocese of Davao well in its inaugural year. They’ve created an ambitious agenda which features HIV/AIDs awareness, evangelism and communications, and environmental advocacy. Most recently, the diocese was awarded a United Thank Offering grant for the construction of a cathedral that also will host a sanctuary center for female and child victims of abuse.

It’s this commitment to community that has made their typhoon relief efforts all the more powerful. The Diocese of Davao’s letter of appeal following Typhoon Haiyan continues: “Let not the howling winds nor crashing waves deter us from listening to the still, small voice of God whispering in our hearts to remember and lift up all the typhoon victims in our prayers and, in the compassionate spirit of Christ, to become his hands in reaching out and bringing comfort and consolation to their suffering and grieving hearts in anyway and manner we can in extending our help to them whether in cash or in kind assisting them towards eventual healing and rebuilding of their shattered lives in further strengthening their fervent hope for a new and better life.”

Today, in the Diocese of Davao and the greater Episcopal Church in the Philippines, that commitment to heal, rebuild and strengthen continues.

Learn about Episcopal Relief & Development’s response to Typhoon Haiyan here.

– Emily Cherry is the communications director for the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

Lex Mathews, pioneer of North Carolina social ministries, remembered

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Rev. Lex Mathews, director of Christian social ministries for the Diocese of North Carolina, 1975-1985. Photo from the archives of the Diocese of North Carolina.

[Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina] The Diocese of North Carolina recently gathered to commemorate and be inspired by the legacy of the Rev. Lex Mathews, director of Christian social ministries for the diocese from 1975 until his untimely death in 1985.

On April 5, people from across the Southeast came together at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, to share stories about the man who brought hospice care to North Carolina, inspired dozens of feeding ministries, established a scholarship for women entering the workforce, shepherded the founding of the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry, and encouraged the creation of local outreach ministries that have since become the backbone of the diocese’s presence in local communities.

The oral history event, organized by diocesan historiographer the Rev. Brooks Graebner and diocesan archivist Lynn Hoke, included six members of the Mathews family and three bishops. The event was recorded to add to the diocese’s historical record.

The day began with Graebner contextualizing the historical significance of Mathews’ work, which encouraged congregations to engage in local outreach ministries and led to the formation of church-based outreach committees, a fairly novel idea in the 1970s. In opposition to an Episcopal Church initiative to address the social unrest of the 1960s by bypassing dioceses and local churches with national grants made directly to local community organizations, Mathews called on North Carolina’s 1976 annual convention to stop relying on supposed experts to dictate social ministries.

“Good Christian theology tells us that man’s need to love is greater than his need to be loved,” he told the convention. “Now, change that so it reads ‘to help rather than to be helped.’ When we ask the Atlantas, the Washingtons or whatever to be the helper, then we cut the light right out from under the would-be helpers in our own backyards.”

Mathews’ efforts to stem the alienation between the broader Episcopal Church and many of the diocese’s congregations — and between congregations and the work happening in their communities — led him in 1974 to propose a new position. He called his idea “Community Consultant and Instigator for Disoriented Young People,” a characteristically Mathews phrase, Graebner assured attendees. The position evolved into the director of the Committee for Christian Social Ministries, but Mathews’ original vision of “the community address[ing] itself to its own problem utilizing its own resources on a very low budget instead of wringing its hands, cursing young people and waiting on some sort of overnight magic cure in the form of a government grant” remained the defining characteristic of the group’s work.

Scott Evans Hughes, former president of the Episcopal Church Women in North Carolina, recalled a time Mathews encouraged her to address a local problem. In 1979 she was on her way to a meeting at the diocesan office when she drove by a development project and wondered who cared for the animals displaced by the construction.

“I realized I did,” she said.

With Mathews’ encouragement, Hughes educated herself about environmental issues and eventually brought her concerns before the 1982 Triennial Meeting of Episcopal Church Women. According to Hughes, it was one of the first times the Episcopal Church took up the environmental cause.

“Lex encouraged me, supported me and charmed me into doing more than I ever thought I could,” she explained.

Mathews’ active role in encouraging lay people, and especially women, to pursue causes about which they were passionate was a theme that ran throughout the day’s stories.

The Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple and Judy Wright Mathews remember Lex Mathews. Photo: Summerlee Walter.

The Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple, bishop suffragan of North Carolina, recalled a 1982 meeting she had with the Rt. Rev. Robert Estill, former bishop of North Carolina, while she was still a community organizer working in rural Kentucky. When Fraser enthusiastically described to her the principles of community organizing that Mathews taught him, Hodges-Copple began to think there might be a place for her in the priesthood in North Carolina.

“Lex was a midwife in showing and leading women into their own ministries, especially lay ministries,” she said. “He believed in the capacity of each one of us to embody Jesus in an authentic way.”

Panelists also described the ways Mathews’ contributions continue to motivate change in North Carolina. The Episcopal Farmworker Ministry he helped to found in Dunn provides liturgical ministry, English as a Second Language classes, pesticide education, transportation to medical care and donations of food, clothing, and toiletry kits to 3,500 migrant workers each year. Good Shepherd’s Shepherd’s Table soup kitchen, one of approximately 45 local feeding ministries Mathews inspired, continues to serve hot lunches to 350 people each week day. The Lex Mathews Scholarship for Women has distributed $270,000 in scholarships to women entering college as non-traditional students, and the hospice network in North Carolina owes its existence to Mathews’ dedicated efforts in the late 1970s to recruit the right people to incorporate the program.

Six members of the Mathews family attended the commemorative event held in Lex Mathews’ honor. Photo: Karla Joy Towle.

Mathews’ wife, Judy Wright Mathews, was thrilled by the outpouring of love and respect for her late husband and was glad to see that his work continues.

“This gives me a chance to see the work done for the marginalized people reinforced,” she said before advocating for the work yet to be done. “I think there’s more things we can do. The trends in the United States now make it more difficult for these marginalized people.”

For Hughes, it is clear that Mathews’ example will continue to inspire outreach ministries in North Carolina.

“When Bishop Curry asked us to ‘go do’ at this year’s convention, that was Lex.”

– Summerlee Walter is the communications coordinator for the Diocese of North Carolina.

Andrew McGowan appointed dean of Berkeley Divinity School

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

[Berkeley Divinity School press release] Andrew McGowan has been appointed President and Dean of the Berkeley Divinity School and Associate Dean for Anglican Studies at Yale Divinity School. McGowan is currently Warden of Trinity College at The University of Melbourne, and will join the Berkeley administration on August 1, 2014.

An Anglican priest and historian, McGowan studied Classics and Ancient History at the University of Western Australia, Theology at Trinity College, the University of Melbourne, and Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity at the University of Notre Dame, where he received his Ph.D. He was a lecturer at the University of Notre Dame Australia, and was Associate Professor of Early Christian History at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. In 2003 he became Director of Trinity College Theological School, where he is also Joan Munro Professor of Historical Theology. He has been Warden of Trinity since 2007, and is currently a Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne.

“I am thrilled that Andrew will be joining us. He is a talented scholar, a capable and experienced administrator, and a dedicated priest,” said YDS Dean Gregory E. Sterling. “He and his wife Felicity will enrich our community and help to build bridges to the Episcopal Church in the US and the Anglican Communion worldwide.”

McGowan’s scholarly work focuses on the social and intellectual life of early Christian communities. His most recent books include Ascetic Eucharists: Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals (Oxford: Clarendon, 1999) and God in Early Christian Thought (Leiden: Brill, 2009), as well as the forthcoming Ancient Christian Worship (Baker Academic, 2014).

Berkeley trustee Stephen Carlsen, who chaired the search committee, stated, “Andrew brings together first class scholarship, practice and service in the global setting of the Anglican Communion. In our interviews we found a personable, articulate leader to advance the vision of Berkeley Divinity School.”

The search committee began its work in September 2013 led by Carlsen, with close support of Dean Sterling. A draft vision statement of the BDS Board of Trustees, which prioritizes vibrant community, ecumenical learning, and innovative models for ministry, guided the committee.

David R. Wilson, the incoming chair of the Berkeley Board of Trustees, explained, “Andrew is a visionary with the skills and drive to take the vision of Berkeley Divinity School, refine it, and then turn it into action that can be transformative within Berkeley, the Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Communion.”

McGowan will join the divinity school at a time of great challenge and opportunity for the global church, and theological institutions are called upon as leaders in navigating these changes.

“McGowan recognizes that the integration of Berkeley with YDS and Yale makes this place a remarkable resource for the institutional Church as it faces major change,” commented Carolyn Sharp, Professor of Hebrew Scriptures.

McGowan succeeds outgoing dean Joseph H. Britton, who served 11 years in that capacity.

Texas’ St. Vincent’s House welcomes Freda Marie Brown as new director

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

[Episcopal Diocese of Texas] The Rev. Freda Marie Brown has been named as the new executive director of St. Vincent’s House, a social service agency of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Galveston. She begins her new work on May 1, 2014. SVH current director, Michael Jackson, has served in the position since 1999 and will retire June 15.

“We are more than fortunate to find someone who can so readily and faithfully build upon the legacy of hope that Michael Jackson and Alfreda Houston, who previously led the agency, have given to the people on Galveston Island,” said the Rt. Rev. Jeff W. Fisher, board chair.

Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Brown grew up during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. “This gave me a unique experience of the under-served and working poor and an abiding appreciation for their resilience,” Brown said.

Brown received a BS in medical technology from Xavier University in New Orleans and worked for more than two decades at St. Paul University Hospital in Dallas where she also served as chair of the St. Paul’s Credit Union. She earned a master’s of theological studies at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and embarked on a clinical residency program, training as a hospital chaplain. She served as a palliative care chaplain in hospice and hospital settings for seven years, prior to entering the ordination process in the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas. Brown attended Seminary of the Southwest and was ordained in 2010, serving at the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation in Lewisville, Texas until her appointment to St. Vincent’s House.

“The ongoing ministry of this place is phenomenal,” Brown said. “Here, we learn that hope is an action. As my predecessor, Michael Jackson, would say, ‘St. Vincent’s hopes (not helps) its friends on Galveston Island into new life.’  To me, HOPE means never giving up and never giving in. I am honored to walk with the ones who are under-served and usually ignored.”

“St. Vincent’s House has fostered health and education for all of God’s children who have come needing hope and a caring hand,” Bishop Fisher said, adding the new appointment promises “renewed hope” and “a new day dawning” for St. Vincent’s and the under-served population of Galveston.

SVH offers low-cost child care and pre-school programs, a free clinic, emergency assistance and referrals, a food pantry and many other community outreach programs for the working poor of Galveston.

Archbishop Welby visits Anglicans, Episcopalians in North America

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

[Lambeth Palace press release] The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and his wife, Caroline, landed in Toronto last night for the start of a four-day visit to Anglican leaders in Canada and the USA.

The visits, which are primarily personal and pastoral, are part of Archbishop Justin’s plan to visit every Primate of the Anglican Communion by the end of 2014.

In Canada, the Archbishop and Mrs Welby are being hosted by the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz and his wife, Mrs Lynne Samways-Hiltz. During the visit, Archbishop Justin will meet with Archbishop Hiltz for private conversation and fellowship, and also meet senior staff at Anglican Church of Canada’s National Office.

Archbishop Justin will also meet ecumenical leaders following Ecumenical Vespers at St James Cathedral, Toronto.

On Wednesday, the Archbishop and Mrs Welby fly to Oklahoma City where Archbishop Justin will meet with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori.

While in Oklahoma City, Archbishop Justin will participate in a conference organised by the Diocese of Oklahoma, Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace: An Episcopal National Gathering to Challenge the Epidemic of Violence.

The Archbishop will address the conference on Thursday, after which he will have lunch with Bishops of the Episcopal Church attending the conference. Archbishop Justin will also pay a brief visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

Archbishop Welby welcomes draft modern slavery bill

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

[Lambeth Palace press release] The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has welcomed the publication today of the report and draft Bill by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Modern Slavery.

Archbishop Justin said: “I strongly welcome the report and draft Bill published today by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Modern Slavery, which has cross-party support. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Committee’s members for their efforts, and I would like to extend particular thanks to my colleague Alastair Redfern, the Bishop of Derby, for his participation in the Committee’s work.

“I very much hope that the Home Office, as it prepares to publish its own Bill on Modern Slavery, will take the Committee’s recommendations extremely seriously. These include putting the rights of victims at the heart of the Bill; including effective provisions to recognise the increased vulnerability of children; and a clause that would encourage quoted companies to do more to ensure that their supply chains are free from slave labour. The Home Office has been a leader in the field of tackling modern slavery, and the determination of their approach is notable.

“I also hope that the Government will bring forward a Bill as quickly as possible to ensure there is sufficient time to get it through Parliament. I, along with many others, will be closely following the Bill’s passage, and I look forward to contributing to its scrutiny in the House of Lords.

“This pioneering bill sets a high standard for Governments around the world, who will be watching to see how our Government handles the issue of modern slavery. It is vital that it seizes this opportunity to continue to set a gold standard that others can follow. The launch of the Global Freedom Network last month showed that people of faith are determined to contribute to combating modern slavery and human trafficking. It is vital that we all work together to tackle this modern day evil so that all people live in freedom and dignity.”

Read the report on the UK Parliament website

Statement from the Anglican Communion delegation to the UNCSW

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Women’s Empowerment: A Gospel issue

The priority theme for the 2014 session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW58) was “Challenges and Achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for Women and Girls”.

We are at a historic point in global development and understanding as we review the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), move toward the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action by the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 (Beijing+20), and negotiate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2015-2030. Despite hard-won gains, women currently account for about two-thirds of the 1.4 billion people who live in extreme poverty. One in three women experience violence in their lifetime. Gender equality and women’s rights are the essential precursors to meeting global challenges, which have disproportionate and burdensome impacts on women and girls. These include:

  • poverty and hunger
  • access to healthcare, especially neonatal and post natal care and non-communicable diseases
  • climate change and environmental degradation
  • the prevalence of sexual and gender based violence
  • the need for universal birth registration.

Achieving gender equality requires equal access by women and girls to education, employment and income generating activities, health care, land and resources, as well as equal contribution to decision-making and peace-building processes and post-disaster responses. Long hours were spent negotiating the language of the agreement and focusing on the importance of a stand-alone goal for women and girls’ equality. Without equality none of the MDGs or proposed SDGs will be accomplished.

The Anglican Communion delegation therefore is truly pleased that the Agreement reached by the UN Commission on the Status of Women confirmed the need for a stand-alone goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the set of international targets. The Agreement also stated that gender equality must underpin all other goals and includes strong language against violence against women and girls. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the executive director of UN Women, said the Commission’s agreement to call for a stand-alone goal on gender equality represented “a milestone toward a transformative global development agenda that puts the empowerment of women and girls at its centre”.

Cross-sector partnerships can speed up the pace of change. Faith-based organisations are increasingly perceived as key partners. The churches of the Anglican Communion have a vital part to play in exemplifying the transformation we long to see by transfiguring our communities and ending suffering. The gospel passage chosen by Anglicans leading morning worship in the UN Church Centre was from Luke 1 – Mary’s visit to Elizabeth and her great song of praise, empowerment and hope. Just as that was a time of enlightenment, so we trust that this Commission will lead to greater global understanding of women’s inequality and preparedness to speak out and for gender equity.

We thank the leadership of the Anglican Communion for the opportunity to join with 6000 women from around the globe and spend two weeks focused on the Status of Women. We are particularly grateful for the opportunity to meet and share with our Anglican sisters, as well as sisters from other Christian traditions, and other faiths. Uniting with women from very diverse contexts was an extraordinary learning experience that we will each take back to our communities.

We are sincerely grateful to Rachel Chardon for the support and assistance provided by the Anglican Communion Office at the UN; Beth Adamson whose generous facilitation ensured that we engaged fully with CSW and its opportunities for advocacy and learning; the staff of the Episcopal Church Center; the women of The Episcopal Church for their generous hospitality and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori for the her warm welcome.

We return to our communities with new vision and renewed passion. When God is with us, “there is nothing we can’t do to heal, to save, to advocate, to transform.”(Deborah Rosenbloom, Jewish Women International).

Sarah Jane Bachelard, Anglican Church of Australia
Sandra Andrade, Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil
Florence Sarkar, Church of Bangladesh
Caitlin Reilley Beck, Anglican Church of Canada
Faith Gandiya, Church of the Province of Central Africa
Mugisa Isingoma, Province de L’Eglise Anglicane du Congo
Rachel Aston, Church of England
Terese Wong, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui
Marie Pierrette Bezara, The Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean
Keiko Murai, Akane Shinoda, Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Japan)
Esther Lee, Anglican Church of Korea
Kaufo’ou Leveni, Ana Maria Lamositele, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia
Ayra Indiryas, Church of Pakistan
Immaculée Nyiransengimana, Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda
Elaine Cameron, Scottish Episcopal Church
Granny Seape, Louisa Mojela, Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Lucille Pilling, The Episcopal Church

New positions announced at Church Mission Society

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

[Church Mission Society press release] The Church Mission Society (CMS) has this week announced the appointment of Debbie James to the new position of director of church and community mission. Debbie will take the lead in sharing CMS’s mission experience with churches in the UK, as well as encouraging members of the CMS mission community.

Debbie says “CMS’s 215 years of mission experience is a great resource for the church in Britain today. We are committed to building relationships with churches, small missional communities and houses of mission, and to bringing our distinct contribution in pioneering, cross-cultural mission that is shaped by a global perspective.”

“We want to connect, fuel and resource people to live out a transforming faith in their communities and churches.”

Debbie, formerly a teacher in Moscow and the UK, joined CMS in 2001 as Encounter Teams coordinator, developing short-term mission team experiences and leading visits in Africa, Asia and Europe. Most recently she has been discipleship team leader, continuing to supervise short term teams as well as teaching on cross-cultural mission and developing discipleship materials such as CMS’s new course ‘The Possible World‘. Debbie has long been involved in pioneering youth work and is an active member of her local parish church, including ‘Messy Church’ on an estate.

‘The Possible World’ course is a mission-shaped discipleship resource for church small groups. It encourages mature Christian engagement with issues such as the environment, materialism and justice. Complete with DVD and comprehensive Bible notes, the seven-week course creatively demonstrates how a different world is possible through the stories of some ordinary people doing amazing things inspired by the life of Christ.

Debbie joins other recent appointments Jim Barker, who last week took up his post as director of fundraising for mission, and Jonny Baker, who began his new role as director of mission education in January.

Jim, formerly responsible for donor recruitment at Oxfam and direct marketing manager for Friends of the Earth, was one of the original trainees at Oxford Youth Works. For the last 10 years he has worked in organisational planning and development with Levelheaded and as a self-employed, independent consultant.

Philip Mounstephen, Executive Leader of CMS, said of these new appointments, “We’re delighted to be able to add such talent to our Senior Management Team. We are looking forward to them bringing new perspectives and ideas as CMS continues to develop high quality resources to equip the church for mission, as well as to grow and fuel our dispersed community as they share the love of Christ wherever they are in the world.”

Debbie, Jim and Jonny join existing directors Henry Scriven, Paul Thaxter and Adrian White, who together with Philip Mounstephen, make up CMS’s senior management team

Applications accepted for two DFMS positions

ENS Headlines - Monday, April 7, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Applications are now being accepted for two full time positions on the staff of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS): Mission Budget and Finance Management Associate; and Assistant Grants Administrator in Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM).

These positions reflect the priorities of Episcopal Church General Convention 2012 and focuses on the Five Marks of Mission.

The Mission Budget and Finance Management Associate will be based at the Church Center in New York.  Position information is located here.

The Assistant Grants Administrator will be based at the Church Center in New York City. Position information is located here.

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

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

The Episcopal Church values diversity of culture and thought and seeks talented, qualified employees regardless of race, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, age or any other protected classification under Federal, State or Municipal law as well as the Canons of the Episcopal Church and resolutions of the Episcopal Church General Convention.  We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer.

Canadian commission begins work on proposed marriage canon revision

ENS Headlines - Monday, April 7, 2014

[General Synod Communications press release] The [Anglican Church of Canada’s] Commission on the Marriage Canon met for the first time April 3-4 at the offices of the General Synod in Toronto.

The eight commissioners, who come from across Canada and from varied backgrounds, began their day and a half together by becoming acquainted with one another, and by reviewing in detail their task as mandated by Resolution C003 of the 2013 General Synod and the terms of reference established by the Council of General Synod.

A process for inviting submissions to the commission from the church at large was agreed to and details about the broad consultation envisaged by the General Synod resolution will be announced in the near future.

The members of the commission also discussed what background resources will assist them in their assigned task of determining a way to amend the marriage canon “to allow the marriage of same-sex couples in the same way as opposite- sex couples” while at the same time ensuring that no one “should be constrained to participate in or authorize such marriages against the dictates of their conscience.”

A timeline for the commission’s work was also agreed to. A progress report will be made to the upcoming meeting of the Council of General Synod.

Members of the Commission on the Marriage Canon

Canon Robert Falby (chair)
Dr. Patricia Bays
The Very Rev. Kevin Dixon
The Rev. Dr. Paul Friesen
The Rev. Paul Jennings
Dr. Stephen Martin
The Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls
The Most Rev. John Privett
The Ven. Bruce Myers (clerk)

Task Force on Study of Marriage reports on continued work

ENS Headlines - Monday, April 7, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Episcopal Church Task Force on the Study of Marriage has issued the following report:

In its second face to face meeting since being established by the 2012 General Convention of The Episcopal Church, the Task Force on the Study of Marriage continued its broad inquiry of the historical, biblical, theological, liturgical, and canonical dimensions of marriage, as well as the ever-changing social norms around marriage.

In preparation for this meeting, the Task Force recently received input from both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. Deputies from around the country had been asked to view a video report from the Task Force, and submit their responses. Task Force chair the Rev. Brian C. Taylor and Joan Geiszler-Ludlum, vice chair, gave a presentation to the recent House of Bishops meeting at Camp Allen, Texas, where they received written responses to reflection questions.

“It became clear from the input we received that there is a profound level of support and concern for the work we have been asked to do,” Taylor said. “Episcopalians care deeply about marriage and its potential for bringing joy and grace and for helping people become more fully alive and faithful as God’s agents of love and reconciliation in this world.”

He continued, “We also find that people want to know both what we are doing and what we are not doing. We are working to be faithful to Resolution A050 in studying and writing about the biblical, historical, theological and liturgical dimensions of marriage.  We are not writing a definition, or re-definition, of marriage that could then be proposed as official church teaching. We are tracing many of the historic and current themes and developments of this evolving institution, and we are inviting everyone to join us in learning, listening, and discussing.”

The Task Force is also looking at ways to respond to one of the specific charges in the original resolution, to “address the pastoral need for priests to officiate at a civil marriage of a same- sex couple in states that authorize such.” Many dioceses are already finding their own ways of doing this, and the task force “feels that it is part of our responsibility to propose something for the church’s consideration that could offer consistency to what is currently taking place,” according to Taylor.

Soon the Task Force will offer new ways for conversation across The Episcopal Church. In June, Resources for Conversations on Marriage will be released for use by congregations, dioceses, seminaries, and other groups and individuals.

The Resources will include a variety of options: 3-35 minute sessions; a 90-minute event; multiple 45-minute forums; and more in-depth studies of reading material. All of these options will include a discussion guide and the vantage points will range from scripture, theology and history to those contemporary points of variance where friction is sometimes felt.

Episcopalians may also engage the Task Force through its Facebook page and are asked to send 1-minute videos to taskforceonmarriage@gmail.com on how people have seen the image of God in relationships. The videos will be to the “Taskforce on Marriage” YouTube channel.

Taylor looks forward to this church-wide conversation, and says “We hope that the resources we provide this year will give a foretaste of the much more comprehensive materials and resources for further study we will offer in our report to General Convention 2015.”  That report is due to be released in the coming winter. “But more than that, our hope is that we will contribute to a church-wide conversation about the ways in which marriage can be for many a place of union in heart, body and mind, of joy, help and comfort; a place where, through both prosperity and adversity, we are transformed by love and made more fit for building up God’s kingdom.”

Task Force Facebook page here.

Task Force YouTube here.

The Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage is enabled by Resolution A050 at the 2012 General Convention.

Resolution A050 is available in full here.

Task Force Members
The members of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage are:
The Rev. Brian C. Taylor, chair, Diocese of the Rio Grande
Carolyn M. Chilton, Diocese of Virginia
The Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Ely, Diocese of Vermont
Joan Geiszler-Ludlum, vice-chair, Diocese of East Carolina
The Very Rev. Gail Greenwell, Diocese of Kansas
The Rev. Tobias S. Haller, Diocese of New York
The Rev. Canon W. (Will) H. Mebane, Jr., Diocese of Ohio
The Rev. J. David Knight, Diocese of Mississippi
The Rev. Dr. Cameron E. Partridge, Diocese of Massachusetts
The Rev. Canon Susan Russell, Diocese of Los Angeles
The Very Rev. Dr. Sylvia A. Sweeney, Diocese of Los Angeles
The Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo, Diocese of Upper South Carolina

Saldanha Bay bishop makes good strides on 800km pilgrimage

ENS Headlines - Monday, April 7, 2014

En route from Wellington to Simonsvlei – a happy part of the big crowd walking with us from Northpine band of pilgrims and supporters. Photo: Diocese of Saldanha Bay

[Anglican Communion News Service] Bishop Raphael Hess, of Southern Africa’s Saldanha Bay diocese is making good strides on his 800km pilgrimage from one end of the diocese to the other.

The journey, which he is undertaking during Lent, touches each of the six Archdeaconries that make up the diocese. The Bishop has been sleeping in villages along the way, listening to and engaging with parishioners as he journeys.

His route takes him from Malmesbury to Wellington, through Paarl, along the byways to Klapmuts, Northpine, Kraaifontein and Bellville; then continuing through the city streets to Goodwood, Table View and Atlantis and finally out into the country as he heads up the West Coast of South Africa meeting all whose homes are the villages, fishing communities and farm lands.

The Bishop said, “I want to communicate to all within our Diocese along its length and breadth, walking through the dust, that this Pilgrimage invites us to strip ourselves of all that divides us, to be able to walk on the earth and in this instance one of the oldest parts of our planet, recalling the ancient Khoi and San people, having lived in these parts from time immemorial. This Pilgrimage of possibilities offers me and indeed all of us keeping the Holy Season of Lent, a time to walk, listen, pray and reflect in the silence of the land, the sea and the wind.”

Canon David Mills who has been reporting on the pilgrimage said the journey has indeed been a blessed one thus far with many opportunities for the bishop and his team to learn more about the lives of those in the diocese.

He recounted one encounter between the Bishop and fisherman on the road to Lamberts Bay: “On the road between Elandsbaai and Lamberts Bay the Bishop encountered a fishing boat, complete with crew on the road!

“The trailer carrying the boat had a faulty wheel thus allowing a God-given opportunity for Bishop Raphael to introduce himself and speak to the fishermen about their life and the challenges facing them.

“It was made clear to the Bishop that while none of the fishermen had licenses to fish, nevertheless they had to continue fishing to put food on the table for their families. Bishop Raphael identified with their dilemma and expressed compassion for their predicament – he committed himself to
take this concern further in dialogue with the relevant authorities.”

The pilgrimage, called a “Lenten Pilgrimage of Possibilities”, started on Ash Wednesday, March 5, and will end on Easter Sunday, April 20, at an early morning service in the coastal village of Port Nolloth just south of the South African – Namibian border.

During the pilgrimage, hundreds of the estimated 150,000 Anglicans living in the region are expected to participate in the pilgrimage, accompanying the Bishop on a leg of the journey or simply by raising funds through sponsoring the 800km walk. Each day, pilgrims are walking some 20kms starting and ending with prayers for the people and needs of the areas through which they walk.

Meetings in local churches and with community leaders will also take place. During Holy Week, Ordinands from the diocese will join the Bishop on his pilgrimage as he completes the final 150km between O’Kiep and Port Nolloth.

Any sponsorship money raised by the Bishop or others on the walk will go towards the development of people in rural areas of the diocese, as well as towards the work of theological education for our future generations of laity, deacons and priests.

Southwest seminary raises $2.5 million for J. Milton Richardson chair

ENS Headlines - Monday, April 7, 2014

[Seminary of the Southwest] Seminary of the Southwest announces its successful fundraising effort for the $2.5 million chair in memory of J. Milton Richardson, bishop of Texas from 1965 until his death in 1980.

In 1981, the seminary’s board of trustees established the chair in memory of their late board chair and friend. The seminary’s current Campaign for Leadership includes increasing the endowment principal for the J. Milton Richardson Chair of Anglican Studies, currently held by the Rev. Nathan Jennings, PhD.

“The leadership of the seminary’s trustees and of the committee which dedicated itself to this project has inspired members of the Richardson family, alumni and friends across the country,” said Chair of the Board Dena Harrison. “We are thankful for every gift and celebrate the most recent major gift from a Houston couple which brought us to our goal. 

Bishop Richardson was known as a man of faith, intelligence, wit, courage and integrity. He led the Diocese of Texas to financial health, maintained harmony in a time of unrest and met the challenge of growth while serving simultaneously as chair of the board at Seminary of the Southwest and other diocesan institutions.

The Campaign for Leadership, a $15.9 million major gifts campaign, is raising funds to fully endow professorships, increase scholarships and develop a more robust annual fund. The seminary expects to close the campaign by May 31, 2014. A celebration of thanksgiving is planned for the seminary’s John Hines Day in October.

Seminary of the Southwest is an accredited Episcopal seminary in Austin, Texas offering master’s degrees for ordained ministry and for people seeking education and formation for counseling certification, chaplaincy and pastoral care, spiritual formation, and religion. The seminary’s mission is to form men and women for the service of Christ in lay or ordained ministry within the church and the larger society.

Wilfrido Ramos Orench elegido como obispo provisional de Puerto Rico

ENS Headlines - Monday, April 7, 2014

El Reverendísimo Wilfrido Ramos Orench fue instalado como 0bispo provisional de la Diócesis de Puerto Rico el 28 de marzo en la Universidad Polytécnica de Puerto Rico en Hato Rey.

La Obispa Presidente Katharine Jefferts Schori ha presidido el servicio de instalación de tres horas; el Obispo José Antonio Ramos Orench, obispo jubilado de la Iglesia Episcopal de Costa Rica y el hermano del obispo provisional, predicaron.

Los obispos de la IX Provincia asistentes incluyeron el Obispo de Colombia Francisco Duque; Obispo de Honduras Lloyd Allen; Obispo de Venezuela Orlando Guerrero; Obispo de República Dominicana Julio Holguín; el Obispo Luis Fernando Ruiz, asistente del obispo en la República Dominicana; y el Obispo Victor Scantlebury, el obispo provisional de Ecuador Central. El pastor Angel Luis Rivera del Consejo Puertorriqueño de Iglesias, el pastor Enrique Mercado del Sínodo del Caribe de la Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de América, y el Rdo. Fray Luis Orench de la Iglesia Católica Romana y la Orden de los Frailes Menores también asistieron.

Ramos reemplaza al obispo David Alvarez, quien se desempeñó como obispo diocesano de la Diócesis de Puerto Rico desde 1989.

Durante la instalación, Ramos recibió una cruz pectoral de Yadira Torres, presidente del Comité Permanente de la diócesis. La cruz,  utilizada por el Obispo James Van Buren en 1901, ha sido entregada a todos los obispos diocesanos, dijo Torres.

“Quiero agradecer a todos por su apoyo y sus oraciones. Vamos juntos a escribir una nueva página en la historia de nuestra diócesis”, dijo Ramos durante la instalación.

El Comité Permanente de la diócesis pospuso y luego canceló una elección para reemplazar a Alvarez, que llegó a la edad de jubilación el 7 de septiembre de 2013.

Los cargos se hicieron en contra de Alvarez en agosto y septiembre del 2013.

Se llegó a un acuerdo con respecto a supuestas violaciones de los cánones disciplinarios entre la obispa presidente y Alvarez; como consecuencia del acuerdo pactado, Alvarez fue suspendido de todas las funciones episcopales, hasta 31 de octubre 2014, dijo el Obispo Clay Matthews, obispo de la Iglesia Episcopal para el desarrollo pastoral, en un comunicado emitido por la Oficina de Asuntos Públicos de la Iglesia Episcopal.

Alvarez renunció en la fecha de jubilación obligatoria del 1 de noviembre 2013.

El acuerdo con Alvarez dice “supuestamente” porque hubo tres denuncias, una de las cuales no podía ser refutada. Alvarez no cumplió con la implementación del Título IV, canon eclesiástico disciplinaria adoptado en 2009, para entrar en afecto en el 2011, dijo Matthews, en una llamada telefónica con ENS.

Alvarez disputó los otros dos cargos, pero en lugar de ampliar el proceso de investigación, la obispa presidente y Alvarez establecieron un acuerdo, que no fue disputado, dijo Matthews, quien agregó que las acusaciones no son públicas debido a los requisitos de confidencialidad del Título IV.

“En efecto, él está suspendido de todos los ministerios episcopales desde 1 de noviembre de 2013, al 31 de octubre de 2014″, dijo Matthews, quien agregó que el acuerdo no se basa en algo que tiene que ver con la “inmoralidad”.

Mientras tanto, la diócesis en la convención (y en consulta con la oficina de la obispa presidente) eligió a Ramos como obispo provisional, “hasta el momento en que estén listos para tener una elección. Y estamos asumiendo que pueden ser en tres años a partir de ahora “, dijo Matthews, quien agregó que hay un cierto desacuerdo en la diócesis con respecto a si una elección se celebre ahora, o si la diócesis debe esperar.

Ramos, quien es de Yauco, una ciudad en el suroeste de Puerto Rico, se desempeñó como obispo sufragáneo de la Diócesis de Connecticut del 2000 al 2006. Asimismo, se desempeñó previamente como obispo provisional de la Diócesis de Ecuador Central. El recientemente se desempeñó como representante de las asociaciones mundiales de la Iglesia Episcopal para la IX Provincia.

Mensaje de Pascua del 2014 de la Obispa Presidente de la Iglesia Episcopal

ENS Headlines - Monday, April 7, 2014

Mensaje de Pascua del 2014 de la Obispa Presidente de la Iglesia Episcopal

[7 de abril de 2014] “¿Dónde y cómo vamos a buscar el cuerpo de Cristo, resucitado y levantado?” La Obispa Presidente de la Iglesia Episcopal Katharine Jefferts Schori presenta en su Mensaje de Pascua del 2014. “¿Vamos a compartir la vida de ese cuerpo como un pueblo de pascua, transformado por la resurrección y enviado a transformar el mundo a su vez?”

A continuación el mensaje de Pascua del 2104 de la Obispa Presidente.

Mensaje de Pascua del 2014

La tumba está vacía, y nadie sabe dónde está el cuerpo. María Magdalena les dice a los demás acerca de la misteriosa desaparición, pero se dan por vencidos y vuelven a casa. María se queda atrás, llorando, y luego no reconoce el resucitado ante ella. Al pasar los días, cada encuentro del resucitado se inicia en la sorpresa o el anonimato – los discípulos pescando toda la noche sin lograr coger pescados, Jesús cocinando desayuno en la playa, los dos con rumbo a Emaús. Nadie le reconoce a primera vista.

Es evidente que el cuerpo resucitado no es idéntico al del Jesús que fue crucificado. Las personas lo confunden con un extraño. Él entra en habitaciones cerradas. Camina por el camino a Emaús por un largo tiempo sin ser reconocido. Crucifixión, muerte y resurrección resultan en un cuerpo transformado –  con cicatrices evidentes, pero no obstante cambiado. Cuando Él  recuerda a otros del banquete de Dios, esto significó que era para todo el mundo – cuando los seres humanos son alimentados y se les da agua, son liberados de la cárcel, reunidos desde el exilio en toda la tierra, sanados y reconciliados en una comunidad de paz – sus compañeros descubren que una vez ha estado en medio de ellos.

¿Qué realmente significó esa resurrección para el Cuerpo de Cristo del cual formamos parte?  ¿Cómo el cuerpo resucitado de Cristo – lo que a menudo llamamos la iglesia – diferente del crucificado? Ese cuerpo parece estar más vivo cuando vive más cerca de la realidad del  Viernes Santo y el misterio de la Pascua. En el Occidente, este cuerpo ha sufrido una gran cantidad de muerte en las últimas décadas. Está disminuida, algunos dirían maltratado, cada vez perforado por la apatía y burlado por aborrecedores refinados. Ese cuerpo tiene un poco parecido a las imágenes reales de la historia reciente – aunque, como Jesús, está siendo burlada. El cuerpo recuerda y se aflige, como el cuerpo de Israel clamando en el desierto, “¿por qué nos has traído hasta aquí para morir?” O el cuerpo crucificado que clama: ” Dios mío, ¿Por qué me has abandonado?”, o “¿Por qué nos abandonaste?  “En otros contextos, el Cuerpo de Cristo está literalmente muriendo y derramando su sangre vital – en Pakistán y Sudán, en Irak y Egipto – y en esas antiguas palabras de Tertuliano, la sangre de los mártires está convirtiéndose en la semilla de la iglesia.

El Cuerpo de Cristo está levantándose hoy en donde está creciendo menos egocéntrico y enfocado hacia el interior, y viviendo con el corazón hacia lo cósmico y eterno, su atención se centrada intensamente en el amor a Dios y al prójimo. Este cuerpo está levantándose para estar en solidaridad con los criminales condenados a muerte, con las viudas y los huérfanos, con el pueblo de la tierra que esclavizan sobre surcos y campos de lechuga para alimentar al mundo. Este cuerpo se encuentra pasando por paredes y límites que siempre han sido empleados mal para mantener al llamado  “ justo” lejos de todo aquello que no es “seguro” y “puro”. El cuerpo se reconoce cuando los hambrientos son alimentados –  en la orilla del lago con un pez asado, en el camino a Emaús, en las esquinas de la calle y los parques de la ciudad, en las despensas de alimentos y cocinas abiertas, en alimentar  naciones vecinas y antiguos enemigos, y como el cuerpo se reúne una vez más para recordar su identidad y origen – Cristo ha resucitado por el bien de toda la creación.

¿Dónde y cómo vamos a buscar el Cuerpo de Cristo, resucitado y levantado? ¿Vamos a compartir la vida de ese cuerpo como un pueblo de pascua, transformado por la resurrección y enviados a transformar el mundo a su vez?

Cristo ha resucitado, ¡Aleluya! ¡Aleluya!, ¡Cristo ha resucitado!

Reverendísima Katharine Jefferts Schori
Obispa Presidente y Primado
La Iglesia Episcopal

Presiding Bishop’s Easter Message 2014

ENS Headlines - Monday, April 7, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] “Where and how will we look for the Body of Christ, risen and rising?,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presents in her Easter Message 2014. “Will we share the life of that body as an Easter people, transformed by resurrection and sent to transform the world in turn?”

The following is the Presiding Bishop’s Easter Message 2014.

Easter Message 2014

The tomb is empty, and nobody knows where the body is.  Mary Magdalene tells the others about the mysterious disappearance, but they give up and go home.  Mary stays behind, weeping, and then fails to recognize the risen one before her.  As the days pass, each resurrected encounter begins in surprise or anonymity – the disciples fishing all night without catching, Jesus cooking breakfast on the beach, the two on their way to Emmaus.  Nobody recognizes him at first sight.

Clearly the risen body is not identical to the Jesus who was crucified.  People mistake him for a stranger.  He enters locked rooms.  He walks along the path to Emmaus for a long time without being recognized.  Crucifixion, death, and resurrection result in a transformed body – with evident scars, but changed nonetheless.  When he reminds others of God’s banquet, meant for the whole world – when human beings are fed and watered, delivered from prison, gathered from exile across the earth, and healed and reconciled into a community of peace – his companions discover that he has once again been in their midst.

What does that resurrection reality mean for the Body of Christ of which we are part?  How does the risen Body of Christ – what we often call the church – differ from the crucified one?  That Body seems to be most lively when it lives closer to the reality of Good Friday and the Easter mystery.  In the West, that Body has suffered a lot of dying in recent decades.  It is diminished, some would say battered, increasingly punctured by apathy and taunted by cultured despisers.  That body bears little resemblance to royal images of recent memory – though, like Jesus, it is being mocked.  The body remembers and grieves, like the body of Israel crying in the desert, “why did you bring us out here to die?” or the crucified body who cries, “My God, why have you forsaken me,” or “why have you abandoned us?”  In other contexts the Body of Christ is quite literally dying and spilling its lifeblood – in Pakistan and Sudan, in Iraq and Egypt – and in those ancient words of Tertullian, the blood of martyrs is becoming the seed of the church.

The Body of Christ is rising today where it is growing less self-centered and inwardly focused, and living with its heart turned toward the cosmic and eternal, its attention focused intently on loving God and neighbor.  This Body is rising to stand in solidarity with criminals sentenced to death, with widows and orphans, with the people of the land who slave over furrows and lettuce fields to feed the world.  This Body can be found passing through walls and boundaries that have long been misused to keep the righteous “safe” and “pure.”  The Body is recognized when the hungry are fed – on the lakeshore with broiled fish, on the road to Emmaus, on street corners and city parks, in food pantries and open kitchens, in feeding neighbor nations and former enemies, and as the Body gathers once again to remember its identity and origin – Christ is risen for the sake of all creation.

Where and how will we look for the Body of Christ, risen and rising?  Will we share the life of that body as an Easter people, transformed by resurrection and sent to transform the world in turn?

Christ is risen, Alleluia!  Alleluia, Christ is risen indeed!

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

Mensaje de Pascua del 2014
de la Obispa Presidente de la Iglesia Episcopal

[7 de abril de 2014] “¿Dónde y cómo vamos a buscar el cuerpo de Cristo, resucitado y levantado?” La Obispa Presidente de la Iglesia Episcopal Katharine Jefferts Schori presenta en su Mensaje de Pascua del 2014. “¿Vamos a compartir la vida de ese cuerpo como un pueblo de pascua, transformado por la resurrección y enviado a transformar el mundo a su vez?”

A continuación el mensaje de Pascua del 2104 de la Obispa Presidente.

Mensaje de Pascua del 2014

La tumba está vacía, y nadie sabe dónde está el cuerpo. María Magdalena les dice a los demás acerca de la misteriosa desaparición, pero se dan por vencidos y vuelven a casa. María se queda atrás, llorando, y luego no reconoce el resucitado ante ella. Al pasar los días, cada encuentro del resucitado se inicia en la sorpresa o el anonimato – los discípulos pescando toda la noche sin lograr coger pescados, Jesús cocinando desayuno en la playa, los dos con rumbo a Emaús. Nadie le reconoce a primera vista.

Es evidente que el cuerpo resucitado no es idéntico al del Jesús que fue crucificado. Las personas lo confunden con un extraño. Él entra en habitaciones cerradas. Camina por el camino a Emaús por un largo tiempo sin ser reconocido. Crucifixión, muerte y resurrección resultan en un cuerpo transformado –  con cicatrices evidentes, pero no obstante cambiado. Cuando Él  recuerda a otros del banquete de Dios, esto significó que era para todo el mundo – cuando los seres humanos son alimentados y se les da agua, son liberados de la cárcel, reunidos desde el exilio en toda la tierra, sanados y reconciliados en una comunidad de paz – sus compañeros descubren que una vez ha estado en medio de ellos.

¿Qué realmente significó esa resurrección para el Cuerpo de Cristo del cual formamos parte?  ¿Cómo el cuerpo resucitado de Cristo – lo que a menudo llamamos la iglesia – diferente del crucificado? Ese cuerpo parece estar más vivo cuando vive más cerca de la realidad del  Viernes Santo y el misterio de la Pascua. En el Occidente, este cuerpo ha sufrido una gran cantidad de muerte en las últimas décadas. Está disminuida, algunos dirían maltratado, cada vez perforado por la apatía y burlado por aborrecedores refinados. Ese cuerpo tiene un poco parecido a las imágenes reales de la historia reciente – aunque, como Jesús, está siendo burlada. El cuerpo recuerda y se aflige, como el cuerpo de Israel clamando en el desierto, “¿por qué nos has traído hasta aquí para morir?” O el cuerpo crucificado que clama: ” Dios mío, ¿Por qué me has abandonado?”, o “¿Por qué nos abandonaste?  “En otros contextos, el Cuerpo de Cristo está literalmente muriendo y derramando su sangre vital – en Pakistán y Sudán, en Irak y Egipto – y en esas antiguas palabras de Tertuliano, la sangre de los mártires está convirtiéndose en la semilla de la iglesia.

El Cuerpo de Cristo está levantándose hoy en donde está creciendo menos egocéntrico y enfocado hacia el interior, y viviendo con el corazón hacia lo cósmico y eterno, su atención se centrada intensamente en el amor a Dios y al prójimo. Este cuerpo está levantándose para estar en solidaridad con los criminales condenados a muerte, con las viudas y los huérfanos, con el pueblo de la tierra que esclavizan sobre surcos y campos de lechuga para alimentar al mundo. Este cuerpo se encuentra pasando por paredes y límites que siempre han sido empleados mal para mantener al llamado  “ justo” lejos de todo aquello que no es “seguro” y “puro”. El cuerpo se reconoce cuando los hambrientos son alimentados –  en la orilla del lago con un pez asado, en el camino a Emaús, en las esquinas de la calle y los parques de la ciudad, en las despensas de alimentos y cocinas abiertas, en alimentar  naciones vecinas y antiguos enemigos, y como el cuerpo se reúne una vez más para recordar su identidad y origen – Cristo ha resucitado por el bien de toda la creación.

¿Dónde y cómo vamos a buscar el Cuerpo de Cristo, resucitado y levantado? ¿Vamos a compartir la vida de ese cuerpo como un pueblo de pascua, transformado por la resurrección y enviados a transformar el mundo a su vez?

Cristo ha resucitado, ¡Aleluya! ¡Aleluya!, ¡Cristo ha resucitado!

Reverendísima Katharine Jefferts Schori
Obispa Presidente y Primado
La Iglesia Episcopal

‘Church must take the risk of identifying with the poor,’ says Welby

ENS Headlines - Monday, April 7, 2014

[Lambeth Palace press release] The Church must take the risk of siding with the poor and vulnerable, or it will be ignoring what God wants, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said yesterday as he and Cardinal Vincent Nichols launched their week of prayer for Christian social action.

Archbishop Justin and Cardinal Nichols, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, were visiting a Roman Catholic centre for refugees and asylum seekers, housed in a former Methodist church in Haringey, north London.

During the afternoon the two Archbishops met with volunteers, guests and community members, shared in a time of prayer, and gave short reflections on the day’s Bible readings.

In his talk, Archbishop Justin said the example of Jesus demonstrated that “there’s never been a moment in human history when to take the side of those who are weak and poor is popular.”

“But we need a church that listens to God, that hears the voice of the poor, and takes the risk of identifying with the poor.”

The visit marked the first day of a week of prayer for the church’s work serving those in need, which people are being encouraged to join by viewing daily videos reflections, using prayer resources and tweeting about what the church is doing near them to help the poor using the hashtag #ListenToGod.

Archbishop Justin said visiting the church-run centre had reminded him “how much I need to listen more carefully and hear the voice of the poor. How easy it is to be caught up in church struggles and church bureaucracy and administration and to stop listening.

“Something like this is doing what we should be doing. It’s taking the risk. This afternoon I’ve found myself brought face to face with Jesus Christ again. And for that I thank you and I praise God.”

At the end, Archbishop Justin and Cardinal Nichols were each given a pile of blankets, which the centre gives out to people it is not able to help. Archbishop Justin said that the blankets would be placed in the chapel at Lambeth Palace, “so that each time I go and pray I am reminded of this visit and of you and of the needs this represents”.

- See more at: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5285/church-must-take-the-risk-of-identifying-with-the-poor-says-archbishop-justin#sthash.WeZUCeb7.dpuf

Olympia diocese provides relief, support for Oso mudslide victims

ENS Headlines - Monday, April 7, 2014

[Episcopal Diocese of Olympia press release] There is a deep connection in the soul when we see tragedy strike. Reaching out and acknowledging that connection with compassion helps us to find redemption in the memory of our own sufferings. This week we surpassed $30,000 in Mudslide Relief Support funds. Gifts come not only from within the Diocese of Olympia, but across the Episcopal Church. One such $2000 gift came from the Church of the Holy Innocents in Beach Haven, New Jersey. Their rector, the Rev. Frank B. Crumbaugh, III, writes, “We on the Jersey Shore send our love and prayers along with this money. We know the human cost and heartache that comes with disaster, and we want you to know you are not alone as you face the Oso mudslide.” The connection transcends the distance from one coast to another as they support people in the wake of this tragedy here in Washington.

The Rev. Janet Loyd, vicar of Church of the Transfiguration in Darrington, a few miles from the slide site in Oso, has been on the ground from the beginning. She has provided resources with the use of our donations to begin the recovery process. So much goes to help with basic human needs, needs that other relief funds might not address: food for funeral receptions and community meals, clothing for families who no longer have their home, candles for candlelight vigils, payment of utility bills due to the loss of work, assistance with medical bills, gas to travel to doctor’s appointments, and gas cards for a commute that has increased to 160 miles a day until State Route 530 is cleared. Janet states, “Meeting these needs on a personal level allows us as a church to respect the dignity and relieve the suffering of God’s people in a very special way.”

After the initial surge of relief work is completed, there still will be physical and emotional rebuilding to be done. There will be financial costs to this work, too. In the meantime says Janet, “Thank you for your generous outpouring of love and support, and above all for the prayers you have offered on behalf of Transfiguration and the communities of Darrington, Oso, and Arlington. The slide at Hazel Hill has truly changed us forever in ways both negative and positive.”

In his Oso Mudslide Update of April 3, Bishop Greg Rickel noted the good news that President Obama declared the area a federal disaster area, bringing additional resources, especially for the victims. He added his thanks for the generosity of support, adding, “There will be a greater need; donations are encouraged and being accepted now and for the conceivable future. You may donate here.”

Our work is to pray, to give and to remember that we are all in this together supporting our sisters and brothers as the Body of Christ reaching out with compassion as they find their way.

The Diocese of Olympia (Episcopal Church in Western Washington): We are over 31,000 people in more than 100 churches. We are building strong communities of faith. We are striving to be good stewards of all our resources: our time, our talents, our treasures and our Earth. We are deepening our relationships with people under 35, and with others: in the Holy Land, Latin America and all around the world. We are inclusive. We are growing and learning. We are stewards. We are evangelists. We are on mission. We are the church in the world.

Alan M. Gates elected as bishop of Massachusetts

ENS Headlines - Monday, April 7, 2014

[Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts] The people of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts have elected an Ohio parish priest to be their next bishop.

At the special electing convention held on Saturday, April 5, clergy and lay delegates elected the Rev. Alan M. Gates, rector of St. Paul’s Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, to succeed the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE as the 16th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. The electing convention took place at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston.

In order to be elected, a candidate needed to receive a simple majority of votes from both the clergy and lay delegates, voting separately as “orders,” on the same balloting round. Gates secured election on the fourth ballot, receiving 157 clergy votes and 188 lay votes, with 145 and 164 needed, respectively, for election.

There was a delay in the proceedings after the third ballot had been cast because an error was discovered in the first ballot’s lay vote tally. The corrected results for ballot one were posted, and ballots two and three were then deemed invalid. Fourth ballot results and the election were announced at 3:40 p.m.

Gates’s election must now receive consent from a majority of the Episcopal Church’s diocesan bishops and a majority of its dioceses. Pending that consent, the bishop-elect’s consecration is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Sept. 13 at the Agganis Arena at Boston University, with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presiding.

“To return to the Diocese of Massachusetts a quarter century after my ordination to the priesthood there will be a genuine delight. To be called to do so as bishop-elect is an unimagined honor and a privilege beyond the telling,” Gates said in a statement following the election. “I am humbled to follow the episcopate of Bishop Tom Shaw who has led the diocese with grace and courage for 20 years.”

The other six candidates were:

  • the Rev. Holly Lyman Antolini, rector of St. James’s Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts;
  • the Rev. Timothy E. Crellin, vicar of St. Stephen’s Church in Boston;
  • the Rev. Ronald Culmer, rector of St. Clare’s Church in Pleasanton, California;
  • the Rev. Ledlie Laughlin, rector of St. Peter’s Church in Philadelphia;
  • the Rev. Canon Mally Lloyd, canon to the ordinary in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts; and
  • the Rev. Sam Rodman, project manager for Campaign Initiatives for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.

“Alan is a skilled pastor and he has an appreciation for the complexity of the Diocese of Massachusetts. I have real confidence in his ability to lead this diocese forward with creativity and dedication. It will be a pleasure working with him in these next months,” Shaw said following the election.

“It was a long day, but it was worth taking that extra procedural time,” Shaw said of the tallying correction made during the balloting process. “I was impressed with people’s desire to make sure everything was in order.”

Shaw became the 15th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts in January 1995. In preparation for retirement, he plans to resign his office at the time of the bishop-elect’s consecration in September.

The Diocese of Massachusetts, established in 1784, is among the Episcopal Church’s oldest and largest, in terms of baptized membership, and comprises 183 parishes, missions, chapels and chaplaincies in eastern Massachusetts.

Gates, 56, has been the rector of St. Paul’s Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, since 2004.  He is a graduate of Middlebury College and undertook graduate studies at Georgetown University. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1988 and served congregations in the Episcopal dioceses of Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts and Chicago prior to his call to Ohio. He and his spouse, Patricia J. Harvey, live in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and have two children.

The bishop-elect’s full statement and biography are available here

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