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Task Force on Study of Marriage issues update and report

ENS Headlines - Monday, September 22, 2014

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

Report of work from the Task Force on the Study of Marriage

September 22, 2014

The Task Force on the Study of Marriage is continuing the work of identifying and exploring the biblical, theological, historical, liturgical, and canonical dimensions of marriage – as charged by 2012 General Convention Resolution A050 here http://www.generalconvention.org/gc/resolutions?by=number&id=a050

“We are deeply gratified by the response to our work so far,” said task force Chair the Rev. Brian C. Taylor, chair, Diocese of the Rio Grande. “Dearly Beloved – a resource for study and discussion about marriage – has been distributed in both English and Spanish, and its continuing use throughout the church is enhancing our process of church-wide consultation. Engagement through social media on our Facebook and YouTube pages has further extended that process. We strongly encourage those who haven’t yet participated with these resources to do so prior to General Convention, so we’re better prepared as a church to discuss these matters in Salt Lake City.”

Members of the task force also participated in a consultation sponsored by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) on same-sex marriage in Kansas City in June. This event provided an opportunity to consult with Episcopalians, ecumenical partners, and those from the wider Anglican Communion on issues regarding marriage in general, and same-sex marriage in particular.

Bishop Thomas C. Ely of Vermont, who serves on the Task Force on the Study of Marriage as well as the SCLM, said this gathering offered “much to be able to take back into our work, based on conversation with people living this reality on the ground, and hearing the pastoral challenges local clergy are facing.”

Regarding the SCLM consultation, Taylor said, “Part of our charge is to consider the challenges and opportunities of the changing societal norms around marriage. So it was helpful to our task to come together for deep listening, as we continue to consider the primary question that shapes our work: ‘What might our church want to say to the world today about what it is that makes a marriage holy and particularly Christian?’”

Taylor continued, “The Explanation section of our enabling resolution A050 itself raises this same question in a variety of ways, and framed both the June SCLM gathering as well as much of our work over the triennium,” i.e.

As the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music developed liturgical resources for blessing same-gender relationships, it faced repeated questions about marriage. What makes a marriage Christian? What is the relationship between the Church’s blessing of a relationship, whether different-gender or same-gender, and a union, “marriage” or otherwise, created by civil law? Is the blessing of a same-gender relationship equivalent to the marriage of a different-gender couple, and if so, should this liturgy be called “marriage”? Because the Church’s understanding of marriage affects so many of its members, the Commission believes it is important to engage in a Churchwide conversation about our theology of marriage.

Working in three study groups, Task Force members are now focused on finalizing their report for presentation to the 78th General Convention. The report will include:

  • Theological and biblical essays on marriage
  • articles on the history of marriage and marriage rites
  • a look at our marriage canons past and present, and questions that they raise
  • a report on consultations, conversations, and research on current trends and norms
  • a response to the Resolution A050’s charge that the task force “address the pastoral need for priests to officiate at a civil marriage of a same- sex couple,” and
  • the toolkit Dearly Beloved.

The task force is also actively considering resolutions that may flow from the content of their reports and/or from Resolution 2012-A050 itself.

Taylor spoke for the Task Force in saying, “All of our members are grateful and honored to be a part of our church’s consideration of marriage, a work that builds upon the history, ministry, struggle, and life experience of so many others through the years that have led up to this day.”

Comments, questions, and concerns may be addressed to the task force through Taylor, bctaylor@me.com, or Joan Geiszler-Ludlum, vice-chair, at jcgl@ec.rr.com.

The Tool-Kit “Dearly Beloved”  here.

The PowerPoint for the “Carry-On Conversations” resource here.

Access the complete public website for General Convention’s A050 Task Force on Marriage here.

The Spanish translation for “Dearly Beloved” is here.

Access the complete public website for General Convention’s A050 Task Force on Marriage here, including its membership.

Task Force Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/A050taskforce

Task Force YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHbLobftcghgmWgJW72qnwA/playlists

Resolution A050 is available in full here.

House of Bishops Daily Account for Monday, Sept. 22

ENS Headlines - Monday, September 22, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is meeting in the Diocese of Taiwan from September 17 to September 23.  The following is an account of the activities for Monday, September 22.


The theme for the fall meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops is Expanding the Apostolic Imagination.

The day began with Eucharist, celebrated by Bishop Prince Singh of Rochester http://www.episcopalrochester.org/ .  Preacher was HOB Chaplain the Rev. Stephanie Spellers of Long Island.   http://www.dioceselongisland.org/

The emcee for the day was Bishop Paul Lambert of Dallas. http://edod.org/

Three presentations were offered during the morning session. The first was Theological Context and Mission Challenges in Japan was presented by Archbishop Nathaniel Uematsu of Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Anglican Church in Japan). http://www.nippon.anglican.org/

The second was Theological Context and Mission Challenges in Korea presented by Archbishop Paul Kim of the Anglican Church in Korea. http://www.skh.or.kr/

The morning session concluded with Theological Context and Mission Challenges in the Philippines presented by the Most Rev. Edward Malecdan, Prime Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines http://www.anglicancommunion.org/tour/province.cfm?ID=P2

The afternoon private session featured three important updates, reports and discussion:

The Taskforce for Re-Imagining the Episcopal Church (TREC) http://reimaginetec.org/ , presented by Bishop Sean Rowe of Northwest Pennsylvania/Bethlehem http://dionwpa.org/  https://www.diobeth.org/

Task Force On the Study of Marriage http://www.generalconvention.org/ccab/roster?id=476 , presented by Bishop Tom Ely of Vermont http://www.diovermont.org/

Joint Committee for the Nomination of the Presiding Bishop http://www.generalconvention.org/ccab/roster/387 , presented by Bishop Edward Konieczny of Oklahoma http://www.episcopaloklahoma.org/

Media Briefers for Monday, September 22

Bishop Edward Konieczny of Oklahoma http://www.episcopaloklahoma.org/

Bishop Mark Beckwith of Newark http://www.dioceseofnewark.org/

Follow the bishops on Twitter #HOBFall14

Interfaith declaration on climate change

ENS Headlines - Monday, September 22, 2014

Participants in Interfaith Summit on Climate Change in New York.

[World Council of Churches press release] As hundreds of thousands of people flooded through the streets of New York City on 21 September in a march for action on climate change, 30 faith leaders representing nine religions signed their names to a statement calling for concrete actions to curb carbon emissions.

The document was the centerpiece of an interfaith conference jointly hosted by the World Council of Churches (WCC), a body that includes 345 churches representing about 560 million Christians worldwide, and Religions for Peace, an interfaith coalition with members in more than 70 countries. Signatories hailed from 21 countries on six continents.

“When in January I listened to the general secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, calling the world’s heads of state for a summit on climate change, I thought we also have to get together as leaders of faith communities to offer our contributions,” said Rev. Dr Olav Fkyse Tveit, the WCC general secretary. Large changes require “deep and strong conviction” which, he said, can be found in the “beliefs, rituals, symbols, sacred texts and prayers of faith [that] give meaning and direction for a large portion of the world’s population.”

The statement, titled Climate, Faith and Hope: Faith Traditions Together for a Common Future will be presented to the deputy-secretary general of the UN, Jan Eliasson, in advance of the UN climate summit that is set to begin on 23 September.

It calls on “all States to work constructively towards a far-reaching global climate agreement in Paris in 2015” which will be “ambitious enough to keep temperature from rising well below 2° Celsius; fair enough to distribute the burden in an equitable way; and legally binding enough to guarantee that effective national climate policies to curb emissions are well funded and fully implemented.”

As faith leaders who together represent a huge swathe of the world’s religious adherents, “if we change, everything changes. So we have to commit ourselves,” said Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, founder of the Jacob Soetendorp Institute for Human Values in The Hague, the Netherlands. “The march is visible. What we are doing here is visible. The march and the signed documents together make an impression,” he said.

“Although there is always the emphasis on the beyond, on the eternal life, we are extremely eager for earthly life for people,” said Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. “Climate is a central issue for human life. So we have to try as a church to ensure the best possible conditions.”

For some of the signatories, climate change is threatening the very countries they call home. The nation of Tuvalu sits on a small collection of reef islands and atolls in the Pacific Ocean. Salt water has entered the underground water table on which the people rely, and scientists suggest the islands will eventually be subsumed as sea levels continue to rise.

“For my church, this means life, because our very existence is challenged. And anything that challenges the livelihood and the life and life continuity of a people is a mission from God to us as believers to fight against it,” said Rev. Tafue Lusama, general secretary of the Congregational Christian Church of Tuvalu (EKT).

Yet, he said, he didn’t want Tuvalu to become “a symbol of defeat” for other low-lying countries that may eventually face the same fate. “If we can stand our ground and tell the world they should do something and act on it now, even if Tuvalu goes down, we can save the others,” Lusama said.

In the face of the crisis affecting the world, it is imperative for people of faith to speak out in hope, becoming a moral voice that speaks “to our deepest convictions and commitments as human beings,” said the WCC general secretary. “I say it is immoral not to speak of hope in this time.”

“I see a lot of hope, even just these three days,” said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, who spoke to the gathering during a morning session. “There’s the public mobilization that we’re seeing today, corporate mobilization that we’re going to see, and the political mobilization. It is a very encouraging sign that people are standing up to be counted. Yet it is not enough. We have to build on that to get to the final solution.”

“We cannot despair, said Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, president of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies in Abu Dhabi and co-moderator of Religions for Peace. “This hope is our address. This is where we live.”

WCC news release written by Connie Wardle, senior writer and online editor at the Presbyterian Record, Canada.

Statement from the Interfaith Summit on Climate Change 2014

To save the earth, all must change their ways, says Ecumenical Patriarch (WCC news release of 19 September 2014)

Website of the Interfaith Summit on Climate Change

WCC’s work on climate justice and care for creation

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2013 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 140 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway.

To save the earth, all must change their ways, says Ecumenical Patriarch

ENS Headlines - Monday, September 22, 2014

“If we are to respond to the ecological crisis in a responsible and substantial way, we must move beyond mere talk to practical action,” said Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople in an official message to the Interfaith Summit on Climate Change to be held this week in New York City.

Sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC) in collaboration with the Religions for Peace, the Interfaith Summit on Climate Change will take place from 21 to 22 September, before the United Nations Climate Summit called by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Speaking on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, a founding member of the WCC, Patriarch Bartholomew said that “each believer and each leader, each field and each discipline, each institution and each individual must be touched by the call to change our greedy ways and destructive habits” for the sake of climate justice.

In his message for the summit, the Ecumenical Patriarch stressed that “unless we change the way we live; we cannot hope to avoid ecological damage. This means that – instead of solely depending on governments and experts for answers – each of us must become accountable for our slightest gesture and act in order to reverse the path that we are on, which will of course also include prevailing upon governments and leaders for the creation and application of collective policy and practice.”

Reflecting on possible outcomes of the summit, Bartholomew said that if the “final statement of this summit is to prove informative and influential, it must be translated more than simply for the purpose of signing by the religious dignitaries; it must prove transformative of people’s lives”.

The Interfaith Summit on Climate Change is part of a global effort to mobilize people and communities on the issue of climate change. A large number of religious leaders will gather for the summit. It is felt that the involvement of indigenous peoples and youth will be vital.

In attendance will be leaders from various spiritual traditions such as the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Brahma Kumaris, Indigenous and multi-spiritual.

Read full text of the message by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Website of the Interfaith Summit on Climate Change

WCC’s work on climate justice and care for creation

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2013 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 140 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway.

Anglican XI beat Vatican in historic cricket match

ENS Headlines - Monday, September 22, 2014

[Lambeth Palace press release] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby congratulates both sides after historic match to raise awareness of Anglican-Roman Catholic efforts to wipe out modern slavery.

Watch video here.

Church of England cricketers beat a Vatican team yesterday in a historic match in support of a joint initiative to wipe out modern slavery and human trafficking.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, congratulated both sides and presented the trophy to winning captain Stephen Gray after the match, played in the shadow of Canterbury Cathedral at Kent County Cricket Ground.

The Archbishop of Canterbury with the triumphant Anglican XI at Kent County Cricket Ground, 19 September 2014.

The match was organized to raise awareness and funds for the Global Freedom Network, a joint initiative between religious leaders including Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury which is committed to eliminating modern slavery and human trafficking across the world.

The St Peter’s XI scored 106 from their 20 overs against the Anglican XI, who went on to win by six wickets with five balls to spare.

View tweets and photos from the match

Read more about the Global Freedom Network

Video – Pakistan’s Christians: Persecuted yet steadfast in faith

ENS Headlines - Monday, September 22, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] One year ago today (on Sept. 22, 2013) two suicide bombers targeted All Saints Anglican Church in Peshawar at the end of a Sunday worship service, killing 127 people and injuring 170. Many of the victims were women and children. Bishop Samuel Azariah of the Diocese of Raiwind, moderator of the Church of Pakistan, spoke with Episcopal News Service shortly after that tragic day, saying that despite years of intense persecution from religious extremists, the Christian population in Pakistan is resilient and growing in numbers. “Nothing will dampen our spirits. Bombing, murder, burning, shooting will not dampen our spirits and our commitment to Jesus Christ,” he says.

This video was first published on Nov. 19, 2013.

Azariah briefed the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops on Sept. 19 about the life of his church in a country where Christians account for 1.5 percent of the 189 million Pakistanis.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has issued a statement on this first anniversary of the suicide bombings at All Saints Church, Peshawar, Pakistan.

Canterbury statement on anniversary of Peshawar church bombings

ENS Headlines - Monday, September 22, 2014

[Lambeth Palace press release] Archbishop Justin Welby has issued a statement on the first anniversary of the suicide bombings at All Saints Church, Peshawar, Pakistan, on 22 September 2013 in which more than 100 Christians were killed.

Archbishop Justin Welby said:

“As we approach the first anniversary of the horrific suicide bombings at All Saints Church, Peshawar – which made martyrs of more than 100 Christians and wounded many more –  firstly our thoughts and prayers are with all those who were bereaved and injured in these terrible attacks. As we have done, so must we continue to pray fervently for Jesus Christ to comfort all those whose lives were changed forever by these evil acts. Meanwhile we must continue to pray and call for justice, and for the peace of Pakistan and the protection of Christ’s people there.

“In May I visited Pakistan’s Anglican community – who number 800,000 in a population of 180 million – and I was appalled to hear and see evidence of the hatred, violence and persecution they face. As I sat among them, I heard the searing anguish in their cry for the right to worship in freedom and safety. But I was also moved and inspired by their steadfastness and courage, which is grounded in deep and unshakable faith in Jesus Christ.

“In the days following the bombings, Christians in Peshawar spoke of forgiveness for their attackers even as they cried out for justice and protection. With one year passed, we should reflect again in awe on this profound witness to Christ by our brothers and sisters in their darkest moment of suffering.

“As we reflect on the Peshawar martyrs, and their families, and all those injured in those shocking attacks, we do so knowing with deep concern that the often deadly persecution of Christians and other minorities has further escalated in many places, especially Iraq and Syria. We look back knowing that our prayers are needed with fresh urgency, as we cry them out to a God who shares deeply in the pain, anxiety, suffering and despair of all those persecuted for their beliefs.

“So today as we hold the people of Pakistan in our hearts, we must pray fervently to the God of peace and justice: asking in His name that those who suffer persecution will know relief; that those who do harm will know justice; and that all people – both our friends or our enemies – will know God’s peace and love in Jesus Christ.”

Canon Stephanie Spellers preaches at House of Bishops meeting

ENS Headlines - Monday, September 22, 2014

The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, chaplain to the House of Bishops, preached Sept. 22 at the House of Bishops meeting in Taipei, Taiwan.

“Rolling with Jesus”

Matthew 9: 9-13: As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax-collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’ But when he heard this, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’

Some Thursday night, when you’re feeling brave and have half an hour to kill, I hope you check out this new TV show: “Black Jesus.” The language is for mature audiences only, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. But if you keep listening, I promise you it’s worth the effort. These brothers are saying something important about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

For starters: Instead of Capernaum, this modern-day Jesus lives in Compton. From Episode 1, he’s rolling with his homies (translation: he’s moving about, doing life – that’s “rolling” – with the young men and women who follow him – his “homies”). Are you with me? Amen.

You can find him in Compton at their apartment building, smokin’, drinkin’ and chillin’. He walks about the hood, prays and talks with his Father, teaches and preaches in the people’s language, urges his neighbors to trust God, share and forgive one another. He even rallies them to plant a community garden in the projects, just so they can grow their own cucumbers, tomatoes and “herbal remedies.”

The show just launched about a month ago, and already you know there are Christian groups are crying foul. “Jesus isn’t a young black man. Jesus doesn’t hang out drinking in the hood. Jesus does not cuss. That show is blasphemy!”

With all due respect, I hope the show survives. Because it may be crass and it may be crude, but it’s a remarkable vehicle for sharing gospel truth. What’s blasphemous about Jesus gathering this young posse, entering their homes, being humble, being truthful, welcoming them into union and transformed life with God their Father? That’s not blasphemy. It’s a scandal: the scandalous, incarnational way that Jesus rolls. And if we follow him, I think it’s how we’re supposed to roll, too.

It’s certainly the Jesus that we see in today’s gospel. He’s moving through town and calls on Matthew, the tax collector. Yes, that Matthew, the one who sells out his fellow Jews by gathering their money on behalf of Rome, and skims the cream off the top for himself. That Matthew, the one who can’t even go into the temple because he’s been deemed that unclean.

This is the one Jesus seeks. And not just to say, “I heal you. Now go on your way.” No, his call is, “Mathew – yes you. Follow me.” As soon Matthew says yes, Jesus flips and turns and follows him, enters his house, drinks and chills with his crew of tax collectors and unsavory characters, listening to their stories of life on the margins, painting a new picture of life in union with God.

But again the Pharisees were having none of it. “What kind of Messiah does this? Why doesn’t he gather his followers at the temple, school them in the sacrifices and rites required of the faithful, teach them the right direction to swing the censer and light the candles? Why isn’t he seeking good, upstanding Jews to form his starting team?”

Jesus had to break it down for them: “That’s not how I roll. Learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” What does that mean? Well, when I sacrifice, whether in ritual or in personal life, I make an offering. I take something from in here and I put it out there. It costs me, but ultimately, it’s external. And when it’s done, the scales are even.

Mercy takes you in a whole other direction. Mercy takes something – or someone – out there, and it lets them in here. Mercy draws near, even though every rule says no. And with mercy, the scales will never be even. Mercy knows that the point isn’t just getting it right, it’s getting together.

This is how Jesus rolls, and his greatest desire is that we would follow him in the way of love and mercy. Go to Capernaum or Compton or the mall or the dog park or wherever your edge may be. Hang with the people. Let them host you. Let them teach you. Share the good news of God’s love and mercy with each other. And then create some kingdom life together.

It may not be intuitive or comfortable for a lot of us in the pews and pulpits of The Episcopal Church. But I think that a lot of you know what I’m talking about – I’ve heard your stories and I’ve seen you in action.

Ask +Scott Benhase about the new CPE program in Georgia. Instead of only sending seminarians into hospitals, he’s sending them into neighborhoods. They go out there, receive hospitality, share faith, listen deep. Then they come back for disciplined reflection on what they saw and what they felt, and plan to do it again. Because that’s how Jesus rolls, and they’ve got to follow.

Ask +Dorsey McConnell why he’s walking around the hotel lobby toting a video camera and tripod through the hotel lobby. He’s traveling the world – Taipei to the Philippines, Uganda to Pittsburgh – sitting with groups and inviting them to talk about a Bible passage. In each place, he dwells close, listens deep. The finished video will gather all these voices so we can sit and learn and discover Christ at each others’ feet. That’s how Jesus rolls, and we can follow.

Are any of you hosting Mission Enterprise Zones or New Church Starts? I hope that you will give them cover, give them love, because they’re on a risky mission. Entering communities, walking around, listening and loving, learning and teaching. Then they call people together to discern what God wants to do here, in his place, right now. They stir the juicy pot of venerable Anglican traditions together with local wisdom and dreams that have never been dreamt before, and birth a fresh expression of Christian community. That’s how Jesus rolls, and God bless them, they are following.

Some of you sponsor global missionaries and many of you are ministering in non-US contexts. I know you know how to follow Jesus! If the main mark of global mission in the past was domination and erasure, today it is companionship and mutual transformation. You’ve had to get humble and receive from the other. You’ve had to share traditions and experiences of God in both directions. You’ve had to imagine and reimagine what kingdom life looks like at your place. I wish we could carry that flexible, faithful missionary/missional practice back to the United States. It’s how Jesus rolls, and we need to roll that way, too.

And finally, just look around this room, at each other, at yourselves, here in Taipei. Have there ever been this many Episcopal leaders gathered in Asia, with this many colors, languages and genders? Here you are, not sitting on high, doling out favors, but open, curious, receiving, listening, discovering new shapes for kingdom life here and sharing about new shapes of kingdom life in the many places we all call home.

If anybody asks you why you had to come this far, pay this much, stay this long, you tell them it’s part of how we follow Jesus. We show up at the edges and margins, vulnerable and humble and so far from home that the only option is to receive hospitality. We dwell and hang with others and ask the kingdom breaks in.

You may find yourself drinking and chilling in Compton. Just follow. You may find yourself in a Buddhist temple, surprised by the Holy Spirit. Just follow. The critics may cry blasphemy and demand that you get yourself back in line. Don’t stop following. Just keep following Jesus, because he’s heading to the kingdom. Amen!

Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Diane Bruce preaches in Taiwan

ENS Headlines - Monday, September 22, 2014

Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Diane Bruce preached Sept. 21 at Church of the Advent in Taiwan, where the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops in meeting Sept. 17-23.

Proper 20A 2014 — Church of the Advent, Taiwan

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit — Amen.


I bring you greetings from the people of the Diocese of Los Angeles — it is a great honor to be with you this morning, preaching here at the Church of the Advent.

我向大家帶來洛杉磯教區弟兄姐妹們的問候– 我非常榮幸今天早上能來到降臨堂,和你們在一起崇拜,並為大家證道。

Today’s readings are all about economics. Not just any kind of economics, though. Today’s readings are about a special kind of economics — God’s economics.

今天的經文是關於經濟學的。不過不是某種普通的經濟學,而是一種特殊的經濟學– 就是上帝的經濟學。

Starting with the reading from Exodus, God provides enough food for a grumbling crowd. Remember, the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day.” Do you remember what happens in the verses that follow this one? When the people try to gather more than they need, the food spoils.


Enough. God provided enough for the Israelites. God provides enough for us. But how does this work?


I think a clue comes in the Gospel lesson today.


I must admit, before I talk about today’s gospel, that whenever we come to this parable in the cycle of readings …. the parable of the vineyard owner, I can’t help but smile. It’s not our economics, is it?

在討論今天的福音書之前,我必須承認一件事,那就是每次循環讀經讀到這段經文的時候。 。 。也就是葡萄園主的比喻這一段,我都忍不住會笑起來。因為這肯定不是我們概念中的經濟學。

I remember the first time I heard it – I mean really heard it. I was a manager with a staff of about 75 people working under me. I thought to myself….wait a minute…this isn’t fair! The workers that came last should receive less money than the workers that started early in the morning and toiled all day in the vineyard. How is that fair?

我記得當時的想法是。 。 。這在我工作的銀行里是絕對行不通的。之後我就想到,我用的是銀行經理的思考方式,而不是基督徒更不是耶穌基督的思考方式。這段經文深深地震撼了我,直到現在,我每次聽到這段經文時,依然同樣感到震撼,只是原因不盡相同。

For you see, in God’s economy, no matter when we start to work or what kind of work we do, we are to be cared for the same as anyone else. Everyone is entitled to have enough.


That’s really hard for people to understand, because, for us as human beings, it doesn’t make common sense, but it does make God-sense.


Friends in Christ, Jesus died so that we all might have life, and have it abundantly. And living with a sense of abundance in our lives we have a responsibility to live abundantly.


How do we live our lives with a sense of abundance? I think the key is again in the readings today: Everything we have, everything we are, everything we do is a gift from God, and it is a gift that is meant to be shared.


Let me repeat that: Everything we have, everything we are, everything we do is a gift from God, and it is a gift that is meant to be shared.


It means trusting that we will have ENOUGH — it may not be a lot, but it will be enough. That’s God’s promise.

這意味著我們相信我們會有足夠多 — 也許不是非常多,但會是足夠多。這是上帝的應許。

God gave God’s first fruits — Jesus, God’s Son — the greatest gift we could ever be given. We are called to give from our first fruits — not the leftovers or the dregs from the bottom — but our best.

上帝賜給我們他初熟的果子– 他的聖子耶穌基督–這是我們能夠得到的最好的禮物。上帝也呼召我們給出我們初熟的果子– 不是挑剩下的,也不是盤底的碎渣– 而是我們最好的。

I learned this at a very early age, for you see, I grew up with a mother who understood what living with a sense of abundance meant. My mother was just like the vineyard owner — loving equally, treating people equally no matter when they came into her life, who they were or what they did.

我在很小的時候就學習了這門功課,因為撫養我長大的母親就懂得什麼是活出豐盛的生命。我母親就像那位葡萄園主任– 在她生命中遇到的人,不管是何時出現,是什麼身份,或是做什麼工作,她都一視同仁的對待他們,愛他們。

She always gave our best to our guests as they came, and she always shared whatever she had — including her time, talent, and treasure. She modeled God’s economics. My most vivid memory among all of the small kindnesses, the sharing out of our abundance was the way she showed kindness to the men who picked up our trash each week.

每當有客人來訪,我母親總是拿出她最好的來招待他們,總是分享她自己擁有的一切– 包括她的時間,才能,和金錢。她為上帝的經濟學做了最好的示範。在所有細小的善意之舉中,也就是把我們的豐盛分享出去的事情上,最讓我記憶猶新的, 就是她向每週為我們收垃圾的工人顯示慈愛的方式。

If the pickup was in the morning in the winter, she’d offer the men cups of hot coffee. If it was in the afternoon, mugs of hot chocolate. In the summer, it was ice water or lemonade in the morning, and in the afternoon lemonade, and on occasions if they were at the end of the route on a hot summer’s day, she offered them ice cold beer.


The men would take a break when my mother brought out the drinks, and they would talk.


My mother understood that their work was hard and sweaty — it was before the days of, at least where I live, the man in the truck with the automatic grippers that pick up your trash.

我母親明白這些工人做的是汗流浹背的辛苦工作– 這是很早以前,至少是在我生活的那個地方,那時還沒有那種用自動機械裝置來清空垃圾箱的大卡車。

Some of the men working on the garbage truck couldn’t read or write. They brought any documents they were asked to sign to my mother to look at for them. She always did, and she often saved them money or stopped them from entering into a deal that was questionable.

那些在垃圾車上的工人很多不會閱讀也不會寫字。他們會把任何需要簽字的文件都帶來請母親幫忙看。她總是有求必應,並因此幫他們減少了財務上的損失, 或是及時的避免他們捲入有疑問的交易。

The men gave to my mother out of their first fruits as well — coming by to help her move heavy objects, or picking up extra trash for her without extra charge. Both my mother and the garbage men experienced God’s economy — and God’s love and grace.

同樣的,那些工人也給予了母親他們初熟的果子– 過來幫忙搬重的東西,或是收取多出來的垃圾而不額外收費。我的母親和這些垃圾工人一起體驗了上帝的經濟學– 就是祂的慈愛和恩典。

Friends in Christ, growing up we never had a lot of things in our lives, but we always had enough. We lived with a sense of abundance and never feared that we would run out of what we needed. My mother taught us to trust that we would always have what we needed as long as we were as generous to others as God had always and is always generous to us. We always did. And I still always do.


May today’s readings bring you into a deeper relationship with the one who loves you so much, he sent his Son for you. And may you always remember that everything you have, everything you are, everything you do is a gift from God, and it is a gift that is meant to be shared.


Presiding Bishop’s sermon at St. John’s Cathedral, Taiwan

ENS Headlines - Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Rev. David Chee translates as Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preaches Sept. 21 at the Episcopal Church of St. John’s Cathedral in Taipei. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is conducting its fall meeting in the Diocese of Taiwan September 17 – September 23.  On Sunday, September 21, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached at St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei, Taiwan. The following is the sermon presented by Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori.

21 September 2014
St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei, Taiwan
House of Bishops

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

How do we decide that something is unfair? Is it different than being unjust?

When I was a child, we had family rules about sharing. If there was one piece of cake to divide between two kids, one cut the cake and the other got to choose the first piece. That was fair. If we had company for dinner, the children were reminded that guests were served first, and we weren’t supposed to ask for seconds until they had had all they wanted. That was called hospitality. But when we looked around and began to notice that some people never seemed to get anything, then we started to talk about injustice.

Fairness involves judgments about whether people get a similar portion of whatever goods are at hand; justice is about whether people get what they deserve.

The Rev. Ching-yi Tsai, deacon at the Episcopal Church of St. John’s Cathedral in Taipei, elevates the gospel book Sept. 21 during Eucharist attended by members of the House of Bishops. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Jonah is royally ticked off because he thinks the Ninevites aren’t getting what they deserve –they’re not being punished for their evil ways. God has given mercy rather than their just deserts. When Jonah leaves the city to sulk, he enjoys the pure mercy of shade under a bush. But when the bush withers, he gets mad, because he thinks he deserved its shade. “Just kill me,” he says, “I can’t stand this – it’s not fair!” And God reminds him that the 120,000 Ninevites are worth a whole lot more than this blasted plant. Mercy trumps justice, especially Jonah’s understanding of justice.

Paul is sitting in a similar place as he writes to Philippi, but he has a very different reaction. He is poised between life and death, but he’s not nearly so anxious about the outcome. Living or dead, he is with Christ, but if he’s going to live, he decides he will use his life fruitfully, as a witness to good news. Paul is not bound up in the fairness question. He has a deep confidence in God’s abounding mercy, whether he lives or dies, whether he suffers or flourishes.

The vineyard owner hires workers and treats them equally, whether they work all day or only an hour. He sees that as justice – giving each one the necessary wage, to all their daily bread, “whatever is right.” But the ones who have worked all day long feel slighted – “those latecomers got more than they deserved!”

What is justice? And what do we do when we discover that others believe that ultimate justice is a lot bigger or a lot smaller than our view of it?

Capital punishment is the human dilemma where this comes up most urgently. Is it just? Nation after nation has abolished the death penalty in recent years. It’s been ended in most nations where The Episcopal Church is present, starting with Venezuela in 1863. Ecuador and Colombia eliminated it more than 100 years ago. Honduras in 1956. Curaçao was the latest, in 2010. Only the United States and Taiwan continue to execute people. In the last three years, the United States has executed about 40 people a year, and 30 thus far in 2014, including Lisa Coleman, a black woman, last Wednesday. [1] Taiwan executed five people in April of this year, after putting five or six to death in each of the last three years. [2]

The good news is that many people are raising questions of justice about the death penalty – about the adequacy of defense, the reliability of prosecution evidence and tactics, as well as the capacity to carry out an execution without causing undue pain and suffering. All of that, however, stands in opposition to the position of this Church since 1958 – that capital punishment is fundamentally wrong, a violation of the intrinsic worth of every human being, of the divine image each one bears. Yet the reality is that all Episcopalians live in societies where there is disagreement over what justice looks like.

Taiwan Bishop David Jung-Hsin Lai presides during Eucharist, assisted by the Rev. Elizabeth Wei of the Episcopal Church of St. John’s Cathedral in Taipei. They are surrounded by, left to right, Rochester Bishop Prince Singh, Connecticut Bishop Suffragan Laura Ahrens, Diocese of West Virginia Bishop William Klusmeyer, Western New York Bishop William Franklin, West Tennessee Bishop Donald Johnson, Oklahoma Bishop Edward Konieczny, Rhode Island Bishop Nicholas Knisely and North Carolina Bishop Suffragan Anne Hodges-Copple. The bishops distributed communion. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Jonah apparently expected something like the death penalty for Nineveh – that it would be annihilated like the city of Sodom. That’s an all too common reaction to apparent injustice – well we’ll just destroy the wrong-doer, we’ll kill the enemy. Yet God’s mercy is greater than retributive human justice. Jesus challenged us to love our enemies. Bishop Azariah told us on Friday that he focuses on loving his neighbors – all of them – for he apparently does not want to define anyone as enemy.

There is great power when we can shift from demanding justice as punishment for wrongdoing to giving thanks for the grace of God’s presence – God’s presence with us and in our neighbors. It’s a shift from defensiveness to open-hearted vulnerability that ends by producing compassion, mercy, and godly justice.

We visitors in Taiwan have seen that kind of mercy here in this diocese. Over and over, we have discovered abundant compassion rather than minimalist understandings of fairness. When a church many years ago from South Carolina  helped St. James Taichung to build a church, that congregation in Taichung responded with profligate compassion by helping to build 12 churches in the Philippines. The chaplain at St. John’s University does not just offer occasional pizza for a few Episcopal students – he provides 20 meal plans to students for the whole academic year. The parish kindergartens here and across the diocese don’t just serve parishioners – they reach out to all children from the neighborhoods, of all creeds and none, to see that they get what they need and deserve. The people of this diocese are reaching out to the elderly, the imprisoned, the handicapped, and the lonely, bringing life and dignity and abundant mercy.

Diocese of Rochester Bishop Prince Singh holds the chalice as a boy intincts during Eucharist Sept. 21 at the Episcopal Church of St. John’s Cathedral in Taipei. Photo:Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

True and godly and eternal justice makes more of self, it enlarges hearts and creates more life and greater abundance. The pinched kind of self-centered justice that Jonah and the vineyard workers were looking for chooses death rather than life, and misses that expansiveness. When we know that we are held in the palm of God’s hand, whether we have suffering or joy, we discover that we can choose that deeper sort of justice, and choose it for all our neighbors.

May we remember God’s mercy on the Ninevites. May we remember Jesus’ telling the criminal dying next to him that they’d be together in paradise that very day. We will find our daily bread of life in the mercy we offer our neighbors.

[1] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/execution-list-2014

[2] http://www.deathpenalty.org/article.php?id=736  After an effective moratorium from 2005-2009.

House of Bishops Daily Account for the weekend of September 20-21

ENS Headlines - Sunday, September 21, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is meeting in the Diocese of Taiwan from September 17 to September 23.  The following is an account of the activities for Saturday and Sunday, September 20 and 21.

The theme for the fall meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops is Expanding the Apostolic Imagination.

On Saturday, the bishops and spouses enjoyed the hospitality of the Diocese of Taiwan by visiting various religious, secular, historical, government, scientific and other key locations throughout the island.

On Sunday, the bishops and spouses attended local churches to worship and learn of the church’s mission and ministry.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached at St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei.

Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce of Diocese of Los Angeles preached at Advent Church, Tam Sui.

Bishop Richard Chang, retired, preached at Church of the Good Shepherd, Taipei http://www.goodshepherd.com.tw/english/

Following the morning’s worship services, the bishops and spouses met in a joint session to share their insights and inquiries about their conference experiences thus far, led by Marla Hanley of the Diocese of Oregon.

The day’s business concluded with the customary Fireside Chat of the bishops.

Media Briefers for Saturday and Sunday, September 20 and 21

Bishop Eugene Sutton of Maryland

Bishop James Waggoner of Spokane



Follow the bishops on Twitter  #HOBFall14

La Cámara de Obispos comienza histórica reunión en Taiwán

ENS Headlines - Saturday, September 20, 2014

Los obispos que asisten a la reunión de la Cámara de Obispos de la Iglesia Episcopal en Taipéi, Taiwán, posan el 17 de septiembre para una foto en grupo frente al histórico Grand Hotel, sitio de la reunión. Había 36° C. en el momento de la sesión fotográfica, lo cual teniendo en cuenta una humedad del 50%, se sentía como 42° C. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg para ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Taipéi, Taiwán] En un año histórico para la Diócesis de Taiwán de la Iglesia Episcopal, la Cámara de Obispos ha venido a esta ciudad a “enterarse del verdor de diferentes prados”, en palabras de la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori.

El tema de la reunión de Taiwán, del 17 al 23 de septiembre, es “expandir la imaginación apostólica” y los obispos explorarán la misión y el ministerio de la Diócesis de Taiwán. Además, los obispos y otras personas de la Iglesia Anglicana en Hong Kong, Japón, Pakistán, Las Filipinas y Corea discutirán con la Cámara el contexto teológico y las dificultades misioneras que enfrentan sus provincias.

Después que la reunión termine, varios obispos se dirigirán a Japón, Hong Kong, Las Filipinas y Corea [del Sur] para continuar informándose acerca de la misión y el ministerio de las iglesias anglicanas en eso países.

La Diócesis de Taiwán celebra su 60º. Aniversario este año. Los obispos estuvieron de acuerdo en reunirse aquí a invitación del obispo de Taiwán, David Jung-Hsin Lai.

David Jung-Hsin Lai, el obispo de la Diócesis de Taiwán, dice que trabajó durante ocho años para lograr que una reunión de la Cámara de Obispos de la Iglesia Episcopal se celebrará en su diócesis. La reunión comenzó el 17 de septiembre y se extenderá hasta el día 23. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg para ENS.

Durante la sesión de apertura de la Cámara el 17 de septiembre, Lai agradeció a los obispos, muchos de los cuales habían viajado hasta 24 horas para llegar a Taipéi, por hacer el esfuerzo de venir, diciendo que su sueño de seis años, de que la Cámara de Obispos viniera a reunirse en esta diócesis, al fin se había cumplido.

“Han venido aquí a compartir, a informarse, a fortalecer vuestra sabiduría y conocimiento”, dijo.

Toda la diócesis ha orado a las 9 P.M. todos los días durante 40 días por el éxito de la reunión de la Cámara de Obispos, según dijo Lai.

Él reconoció que muchos de los obispos se sentían cansados bajo los efectos del cambio de horario después del viaje y les dijo, bromeando, que ahora saben cómo él se ha sentido en todas las reuniones de la Cámara de Obispos desde su elección en 2000.

Jefferts Schori había dicho durante una conferencia de prensa al final de la última reunión de la Cámara de Obispos en marzo, que la invitación de Lai “parecía como una notable oportunidad para los obispos de esta Iglesia de aprender algo sobre el contexto asiático en el cual la Iglesia tiene relaciones, y también de qué otras partes de la Iglesia Episcopal están recibiendo cada vez más migrantes”.

El presidente taiwanés Ma Ying-jeou le da la bienvenida a su país a la Cámara de Obispos de la Iglesia Episcopal durante una recepción en el Grand Hotel de Taipéi. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg para ENS.

El presidente taiwanés, Ma Ying-jeou, le dijo a una recepción en la noche del 17 de septiembre (hora local) que la tradición china marca el tiempo en períodos de 60 años y, por consiguiente, la Diócesis de Taiwán ha concluido un ciclo y está emprendiendo uno nuevo “que vaticina un futuro ilimitado”.

“De manera que la Iglesia Episcopal no podría haber escogido un mejor año para celebrar una [reunión de la] Cámara de Obispos en Taiwán”, afirmó. “Su elección muestra la importancia que le dan a sus congregaciones de aquí y a mi país. Por esto, me siento agradecido”.

Ma dijo que quería expresar personalmente su “más profundo respeto y gratitud” por la manera en que la Iglesia Episcopal ha “predicado activamente el evangelio” a través del servicio a sus comunidades, tanto en Taiwán como a través del mundo.

El presidente taiwanés bosquejó luego sus esfuerzos por convertir a su país en una nación de paz y conocida por proporcionar ayuda humanitaria internacional en lugar de recibirla, basándose en el llamado bíblico a amar al prójimo como a uno mismo.

La eucaristía de apertura de la Cámara de Obispos al comienzo del día conmemoró la fiesta de Hildegardo de Bingen. Jefferts Schori resaltó en su sermón que Hildegardo usaba el concepto de viriditas y su sentido de la fecundidad de la tierra y del alma para enseñarle a la gente acerca del “fuego abrasador de la creatividad en el corazón de Dios”. La Obispa Primada comparó viriditas con el llamado de Jesús a la vida abundante.

¿Dónde —le preguntó ella a los obispos— encuentran viriditas y qué fermento creativo los compromete y los transforma?”

“Esta Iglesia Episcopal está en el penoso esfuerzo del fermento creativo, anhelosa de encontrar una nueva congruencia que descubra una luz emergente en un nuevo suelo y un renovado crecimiento en las siembras de años anteriores”, dijo ella. “Nuestra reunión aquí ofrecerá oportunidades de enterarse del verdor en diferentes prados y, Dios mediante, transformarnos para descubrir la abundancia y la posibilidad en otros [terrenos] más familiares”.

La obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori dirige una oración el 17 de septiembre durante una recepción al final del día de apertura de la reunión de la Cámara de Obispos de la Iglesia Episcopal en Taipéi. El presidente taiwanés, Ma Ying-jeou, al centro, habló a los reunidos en la recepción. El obispo David Jung-Hsin Lai, a la derecha, y la Diócesis de Taiwán son los anfitriones de la reunión que se extiende del 17 al 23 de septiembre. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg para ENS.

Historias de las iglesias Anglicana y Episcopal en Taiwán

El anglicanismo ha estado en la isla de Taiwán desde al menos 1895, después que la isla fuera cedida al imperio japonés, luego de la primera guerra sino-nipona.

Desde entonces hasta 1945, cuando Japón fue derrotado en la segunda guerra mundial, la Iglesia Anglicana de Japón (Nippon Sei Ko Kai) construyó iglesias en Taiwán y celebró oficios para sus ciudadanos japoneses. Japón era parte de la Diócesis de Osaka de la NSKK. El gobierno nacionalista confiscó la mayoría de esos edificios después de que los japoneses se fueron y se los dieron a otra denominación.

Capellanes de la Iglesia Episcopal vinieron a servir al personal militar estadounidense que estaba destacado aquí después de la rendición japonesa. Mientras la Iglesia Episcopal crecía, cayó bajo la jurisdicción del Obispo de Honolulu (más tarde Diócesis de Hawái). La Iglesia también asumió el cuidado pastoral de los miembros de la anterior Iglesia Anglicana China, que vinieron a Taiwán de la China continental en 1949 cuando los nacionalistas chinos emigraron luego de que el Partido Comunista Chino derrotó al Ejército Nacional.

De 1954 a 1960, la Iglesia Episcopal de Taiwán estuvo bajo la supervisión del obispo de Honolulu Harry S. Kennedy como parte del cuidado pastoral de las Fuerzas Armadas Estadounidenses en el Pacífico.

Kennedy siguió siendo el obispo encargado y el obispo sufragáneo de Honolulu, Charles P Gilson, se convirtió en obispo residente en Taiwán en 1961 cuando la isla se convirtió en una diócesis misionera después de que la NSKK entregara el ministerio aquí a la Iglesia Episcopal.

En 1988, la diócesis logró su pleno estatus diocesano. Los episcopales en Taiwán renovaron sus conexiones anglicanas con el Japón en 2005 cuando la diócesis entré en una relación de compañerismo con la Diócesis de Osaka de la NSKK.

La Diócesis de Taiwán existe en un país de 23,34 millones de habitantes, menos de 5 por ciento de los cuales se definen como cristianos, según la revista diocesana Friendship. La diócesis tiene una historia de “inculturación e integración graduales”, pasando de ser parte de los anglicanos de la China continental y del personal militar estadounidense a una con más miembros taiwaneses.

La diócesis ha aumentado el número de sus miembros en el decenio que concluyó en 2012 (el último año para el que se disponen de cifras aquí). La diócesis tenía 1.176 miembros ese año, en comparación a 975 en el año 2002, según este informe, y la revista Friendship dice que ahora atiende aproximadamente a 2.000 miembros. La asistencia dominical promedio en 2012, a lo largo de las 16 congregaciones de la diócesis, fue de 687.

La diócesis incluye también la Universidad de San Juan [St. John’s University] con una matrícula de poco más de 6.000 estudiantes, ocho kindergártenes parroquiales y varios centros de atención comunitaria.

La Iglesia Episcopal cuenta con comunidades religiosas en 17 países, incluidos Estados Unidos, Micronesia (Guam y Saipán), Taiwán, Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Haití, República Dominicana, Islas Vírgenes (tanto estadounidenses como británicas), Puerto Rico y, a través de la Convocación de Iglesias Episcopales en Europa, Bélgica, Francia, Alemania, Italia, Suiza y Austria.

También en la agenda de los obispos

El 18 de septiembre, los obispos se repartirán entre la iglesia del Buen Pastor [Church of the Good Shepherd] en Taipéi, Santiago Apóstol [St. James] en Taichung, las iglesias de La Trinidad y San Esteban [Trinity & St. Stephen’s] en Keelung y la Universidad de San Juan [St. John’s University] en Tam Sui. El domingo 21, los obispos y sus cónyuges, compañeros y otros presentes en la reunión asistirán al culto en la iglesia del Buen Pastor y en la catedral de San Juan [St. John’s Cathedral] en Taipéi, o en la iglesia del Adviento [Advent Church] en Tam Sui. Regresarán a Taipéi al final de la tarde para participar en una sesión destinada a procesar sus experiencias.

La noche del 21 de septiembre también incluirá una “discusión” a puertas cerradas, es decir, sólo para la Obispa Primada y los obispos.

Mientras estén en Taipéi, los obispos también contemplan en su programa el recibir información de la labor del Equipo de Trabajo para ‘Reinventar’ la Iglesia Episcopal, el cual dio a conocer recientemente una carta a la Iglesia en que bosquejaba los cambios estructurales que recomendaba a la reunión de la Convención General en 2015. Los obispos miembros del Equipo de Trabajo sobre el Estudio del Matrimonio A050 y El Comité de Nominaciones Conjunto para la Elección del Obispo Primado también discutirán la labor de estos grupos hasta la fecha. El informe de este último tendrá lugar en una sesión a puertas cerradas, según el programa de la reunión.

Los obispos también se proponen una sesión estilo “consistorio municipal” con la Obispa Primada y una sesión formal de trabajo el 23 de septiembre.

La reunión tiene lugar en el Grand Hotel de Taipéi. Algunos obispos están enviando mensajes a través de sus blogs desde la reunión acerca de su visita a Taiwán. Otros están enviando mensajes a través de Twitter valiéndose del código siguiente #HOBFall14. Estos mensajes pueden leerse aquí.

– La Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg es redactora y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

California announces new solar program

ENS Headlines - Friday, September 19, 2014

[Diocese of California press release] The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, bishop of California has announced a new diocesan-sponsored program to enable all churches in the Diocese of California to obtain solar panels at no upfront cost to the individual churches. The goal is to eventually have 100% of the churches in the diocese move toward being good stewards of our earth by switching their energy use from fossil fuel generated energy to renewable solar energy.

All rectors and vicars in the diocese have now received information on this new program, and are being encouraged to request a free estimate of the savings in energy costs to be realized by each congregation under this program. The diocesan program is being offered in conjunction with American Solar, a local solar panel company in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The benefits to each church are twofold: (1) switching the church’s use of electricity away from fossil fuel generated power, and (2) reducing the cost of the church’s monthly energy bills.  There is no initial cost to the church under this program, which is based on the use of a “power purchase agreement”, whereby a third party owns the solar panels, and the church simply purchases the energy produced by the panels from the third party at a price lower than that charged by their local utility company.

The Rev. Canon Sally Bingham, canon for environmental ministry, supports this program enthusiastically, and is encouraging all of our congregations to understand the benefits of moving towards the use of renewable energy at our churches and in our communities. There are currently nine churches in the diocese that have previously installed solar panels, and are realizing cost savings for their congregations.

A pastoral message on climate change

ENS Headlines - Friday, September 19, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The following Pastoral Message on Climate Change has been issued by Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori with the heads for the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the  Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

A Pastoral Message on Climate Change

from the heads of

Anglican Church of Canada
The Episcopal Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

September 19, 2014

We are united as Christian leaders in our concern for the well-being of our neighbors and of God’s good creation that provides life and livelihood for all God’s creatures. Daily we see and hear the evidence of a rapidly changing climate. Glaciers are disappearing, the polar ice cap is melting, and sea levels are rising. Incidents of pollution created dead zones in seas and the ocean and toxic algae growth in water supplies are occurring with greater frequency. Most disturbingly, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising at an unprecedented rate. At the same time we also witness in too many instances how the earth’s natural beauty, a sign of God’s wonderful creativity, has been defiled by pollutants and waste.

Many have reacted to these changes with grief and anger. In their outrage some have understandably focused on the neglect and carelessness, both in private industry and in government regulation, that have contributed to these changes. However, an honest accounting requires a recognition that we all participate both as consumers and investors in economies that make intensive and insistent demands for energy. In addition, as citizens we have chosen to support or acquiesce in policies that shift the burdens of climate change to communities that are most vulnerable to its effects. People who are already challenged by poverty and by dislocation resulting from civil war or famine have limited resources for adapting to climate change’s effects.

While an accounting of climate change that has credibility and integrity must include our own repentance, we find our hope in the promise of God’s own faithfulness to the creation and humankind and in the liberation that comes from God’s promise.

God, who made the creation and made it good, has not abandoned it. Daily the Spirit continues to renew the face of the earth. All who care for the earth and work for the restoration of its vitality can be confident that they are not pursuing a lost cause. We serve in concert with God’s own creative and renewing power.

Moreover, we need not surrender to political ideologies and other modern mythologies that would divide us into partisan factions — deserving and undeserving, powerless victims and godless oppressors. In Christ we have the promise of a life where God has reconciled the human community. In Christ God sets us free from the captivity of blaming and shaming. God liberates us for shared endeavors where we find each other at our best.

While the challenge may seem daunting, the Spirit’s abundant gifts for service empower us to find common cause with people who exercise countless insights and skills, embodied in hundreds of occupations and trades. We have good reason to hope in all the ways God’s grace is at work among us. We can commend ourselves to the work before us with confidence in God’s mercy.

Opportunities to act imaginatively and courageously abound in all our individual callings. The Holy Spirit’s work in us leads us as faithful consumers and investors in a global economy to make responsible choices to reduce energy use, carbon emissions, and the wasteful consumption of water and other natural resources. As citizens, we have voices to use in educating children about the climate and in shaping public and corporate policies that affect the environment. The Spirit has also given us our voices to contribute our witness to public discussion of just and responsible use of natural resources.

We also have the resources and responsibility to act together for the common good, especially for those most vulnerable to the effect of climate change in the spirit of the seventh Millennium Development Goal, “to ensure environmental stability”. World leaders will meet this month in New York for a Climate Summit, and in December in Lima, Peru, to discuss global cooperation on climate change. Working under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), participants in the UNFCCC’s negotiations hope for an agreement in 2015 that will move toward reduction of carbon emissions, development of low carbon technologies, and assistance to populations most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate.

We encourage you to take the initiative to engage decision-makers in this godly work in all arenas of public life — in government and business, in schools and civic organizations, in social media and also in our church life.

We are not powerless to act and we are not alone. “We have the power of the Holy Spirit and the indwelling Spirit of Christ to give us hope and courage.”i

The present moment is a critical one, filled with both challenge and opportunity to act as faithful individuals and churches in solidarity with God’s good creation.

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

Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Anglican Church of Canada 

Bishop Susan Johnson
National Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Coming soon, TREC churchwide meeting Oct. 2

ENS Headlines - Friday, September 19, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church (TREC) will convene a churchwide meeting on October 2 at 7:30 pm Eastern time (6:30 pmCentral/5:30 pm Mountain/4:30 pm Pacific/3:30 pm Alaska/1:30 pm Hawaii).

The meeting will be webcast live from Washington National Cathedral. Although the meeting will be open to the entire church, TREC encourages attendance from each diocese: a bishop, a lay deputy, a clerical deputy, and one person under the age of 35.

In a statement about the event, TREC members said: “We are extraordinarily grateful for the amount of feedback we have received about our recent letter to the church outlining some of our thinking and developing proposals.  Members of TREC have been carefully reading the many e-mails, blogs, and conversations across social media that have emerged in response to the letter. We are hopeful that this vigorous conversation that has already begun will be of great value to the church as it prepares to take up the issue of re-structuring and re-imaginging at General Convention next year, and that the Holy Spirit will continue to work through this collective discernment to set us on the most faithful path forward. We look forward to continuing that conversation on October 2, and we will be carefully considering all of the feedback we’ve received as we meetOctober 3 and 4 to begin preparing our final report and specific recommendations to the 78th General Convention.”

There is no fee to attend in person or to watch the live webcast.  However, registration for in-person attendance is requested; register here. Registration is not required but is encouraged for viewing the webcast.

The purpose of the meeting is “to receive responses to the proposed recommendations to be brought forward to the 78th General Convention.”

The planned format will be short concise presentations followed by substantive question and comment periods. Questions, concerns and comments will be taken from the live audience in addition to email and twitter.  Questions can be emailed herereimaginetec@gmail.com or on Twitter here @ReimagineTEC.

TREC’s final report to General Convention is due by November 30 for the 78th General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah in July 2015.

For more info, questions or comments, contact TREC members atreimaginetec@gmail.com

Church partners sow seeds of hope, peace for future Sudan

ENS Headlines - Friday, September 19, 2014

South Sudanese refugees at the Kakuma Camp in Kenya collect water for their families.

[Episcopal News Service] Michael Puot Rambang hopes soccer and volleyball games will help to promote peace and reconciliation among a generation of future Sudanese leaders.

“I was in Juba when the fighting broke out [on Dec. 15, 2013],” Rambang, 26, told the Episcopal News Service (ENS) recently from Nairobi, Kenya. “I was almost killed; they targeted 25 of my neighbors, who were killed.”

He escaped to the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya, only to discover violence there also. “Everyone was angry. They want to push, and shove. It is not good for people to live like this. I had to come up with something to bring the youth together. That was when I came up with South Sudan Youth for Peace and Reconciliation (SSYPR).”

The initiative aims to gather varying communities of Sudanese youth in the camp for a series of sports tournaments paired with peace and reconciliation trainings and other activities. Sowing a spirit of cooperation will also help improve conditions generally in the camp, according to John Malek Kur, also involved in organizing SSYPR’s efforts.

“We will help to create a condition whereby we can see where we can reconcile, and counsel them because of the dramatic things they have seen, since war broke out in Juba and elsewhere,” Kur told ENS.

“We need to teach them so we can send a team to go and teach and talk peace among the people, and we will extend it slowly to the areas affected by the war,” Kur added.

South Sudan emerged as the world’s newest nation in 2011, with Juba as its capital city. Fighting erupted in December 2013 after a political struggle between the president, Salva Kiir, and his former deputy, Riek Machar, displacing as many as one million people. Kiir is from the Dinka tribe and rebel leader Machar is Nuer, representing the two main Sudanese ethnic groups. Many fled to the Kakuma Refugee Camp, which was established in 1992 during decades of Sudanese civil war. An estimated 180,000 people from Sudan, South Sudan, and other African countries reside at the camp.

Kur, a former “Lost Boy” now studying peace and conflict transformation at Nairobi’s Daystar University, said camp conditions are challenging. Illness, illiteracy and hunger are pervasive, he said. (The Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan moved to the U.S. as part of a resettlement program in the early ‘00s.)

“We have a diverse community in South Sudan and in Camp Kakuma, young people on both sides and the only thing you can do is speak a word of peace to them through soccer. They will play for fun and for a goal,” Kur said. “When they will be working for that goal, they will start talking, realizing their worth, and making friendships among themselves.”

SSYPR advisor Bishop John Gattek Wallam of the Bentiu area of the Diocese of Malakal said the plan includes university students serving as trainers for the camp’s youth. The initiative is working in tandem with other like-minded organizations under the umbrella of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees seeking peace and reconciliation, he said.

“The youth are the children of the warring parties [and from different tribes]. Both sides will be able to come together and learn peace and reconciliation,” Wallam told ENS from Kenya recently.

The games “will be an outlet for the youth, to participate in peace-building activities. We will organize a program for them, and a concert that will also bring the youth together and also give them reconciliation messages from the Bible,” said Wallam. He was part of a negotiating team that has secured the endorsement of the United Nations and the Kenyan Police Camp manager to establish the Kakuma Peace Initiative and Sports for Peace games.

A tentative date to host the games awaits securing project funding and sponsorships, according to the Rev. Jerry Drino of Hope with South Sudan, a San Jose-based education and outreach agency.

“This whole effort is lifting up from the ground,” said Drino. Faith communities are at the forefront of the efforts, as are organizations like the American Friends of the Episcopal Church in Sudan (AFRECS), and Episcopal Relief & Development who are working to alleviate hardships in Sudan, he added.

Pockets of hope exist amid the continuing crisis in Sudan, Drino said. He urged Episcopalians across the church to support the organization of fledgling peace efforts.

“The good news is that already there are sporadic games with mixed tribal teams being played in Kakuma and that the Mothers Union and Presbyterian women are coming together to pray across tribal lines. The SSYPR will give them greater incentive to continue and expand this work.”

Bishop Andudu Elnail of Kadugli and South Sudanese members of the Mothers’ Union participate in a worship service at the Kakuma Camp in Kenya.

Colorado: October visit to offer medical, pastoral care training,
A medical and pastoral care team from the Diocese of Colorado, seeking to alleviate refugee camp conditions and to support the efforts of Sudanese Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail of the Diocese of Kadugli, is planning an Oct. 28-Nov. 9 trip to the Kakuma Refugee Camp, according to Anita Sanborn, president of the Colorado Episcopal Foundation.

Team members will focus on health issues and offer pastoral care, human rights, leadership and peace-building trainings, she said.

The team initially intended to visit the Yida Refugee Camp in South Sudan in January of this year, Sanborn said. But the trip, funded by the United Thank Offering (UTO) and Episcopal Relief & Development and private donations, was rescheduled for the Kakuma Camp after the December fighting broke out.

The team focus will include newborn and maternal health, basic hygiene and health care, identifying symptoms of trauma and self-care for clergy and lay leaders.

“There will be a segment on human rights, teaching what the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights is all about, so people understand in this time of exile what their rights really are and to give them a sense of hope that they don’t need to be landless forever, but to prepare for a time when they can return home,” Sanborn added.

Sanborn described Elnail as a bishop without a diocese. ENS’s efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.

Elnail was in the United States for medical treatment in 2012 when Sudanese government forces entered Kadugli, raided his office, destroyed some equipment and confiscated others, Sanborn said. He began advocacy efforts and in 2013 was granted U.S. asylum. He organized an office in Juba to provide a base of operations for the thousands of Nuba people fleeing into the South.

Sanborn also urged Episcopalians across the church to continue support for the Sudanese people, even though media focus may have shifted elsewhere.

“When compassion fatigue seems so pervasive, it would be my hope that we in the Episcopal Church here continue to stand by the Sudanese refugees who’ve been sent here,” Sanborn said of Sudanese communities throughout the United States.

“There are so many ways people can get involved,” she added. “It doesn’t have to always mean going to Sudan. It’s important to be aware and to be educated about what is going on, if people will just take that step. And to remember that prayer is always needed.”

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

The U.S.-based Episcopal Church has long-standing partnerships with the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan, through companion diocese relationships, Episcopal Relief & Development programs and the advocacy work of the Office of Government Relations.

Current companion relationships include Albany (New York) with the Province of Sudan, Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) with Kajo Keji, Chicago with Renk, Indianapolis with Bor, Missouri with Lui, Rhode Island with Ezo, Southwestern Virginia with the Province of Sudan, and Virginia with the Province of Sudan.

Partnerships also exist through various networks such as the American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and Hope With South Sudan.

Bishops explore ministry challenges in Asia

ENS Headlines - Friday, September 19, 2014

[Episcopal News Service – Taipei, Taiwan] Members of the House of Bishops have begun learning about the theological context and mission challenges faced by Episcopal and Anglican churches in Asia.

Their exploration had already begun with a deep experience of what Diocese of Kansas Bishop Dean Wolfe described as “such hospitality, such graciousness, such joy in the spirit” on the part of Taiwanese Episcopalians who are hosting the Sept. 17-23 meeting here.

“I will take that back to my Diocese of Kansas and remind my people of the connection we have with the Diocese of Taiwan,” said Wolfe, who is vice president of the house and served as emcee for the Sept. 19 sessions.

Wolfe noted that some members of the Episcopal Church have questioned why the bishops would go to the expense of meeting in Taiwan. “We never think about not going to our farthest parish because it is too far away” or too small, he said.

Taiwan Bishop David Jung-Hsin Lai explains to the House of Bishops Sept. 19 how his diocese operates in a country where Christianity is in the minority and many traditional spiritual practices still must be honored. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ Episcopal News Service

Thus, because the bishops accepted Taiwan Bishop David Jung-Hsin Lai’s invitation to meet here, Wolfe said to applause, they have found that “the Diocese of Taiwan is a much a part of this family as any diocese in the Episcopal Church.”

After fanning out on Sept. 18 to visit three congregations of the Diocese of Taiwan, along with the diocese’s St. John’s University, the bishops came back together on the 19th to learn more about the Taiwanese Episcopal Church as well as Anglican work in Hong Kong and Pakistan.

Taiwanese Episcopalians “started from zero” and now have 20 churches, including seven parishes, Lai said. He acknowledged that his diocese’s ministry is run differently from most other dioceses in the Episcopal Church because of the cultural context of Taiwan. Taiwanese often practice a combination of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Most of the island’s traditional places of worship combine all three traditions.

Episcopal churches in Taiwan must work within that context, he said. For instance, they use a Mandarin Book of Common Prayer (which took 15 years to translate) and also have a book of supplemental liturgies that frame traditional practices, such as ancestor worship, in a Christian context.

And the diocese actively encourages Christian formation and faith sharing with others. The diocese also helps members discern their ministry, and then actively supports that ministry, often monetarily, the bishop said.

Families often ostracize members who convert to Christianity, Lai said, seeing the conversion as a betrayal. Yet, the bishop urges his members to make their Christian faith evident in their daily lives to counter a common notion in Taiwan that all religions are the same and only “teach us to be a good person.”

“I always remind our church members: ‘don’t keep silence when they say so. If you keep silent it means you agree with their idea. But don’t try to argue with them. You need to build a good relationship.’ So I always encourage them to share your belief – your faith – with them so that they know the God we worship is so different from the god as the idol you worship in your family, in the temple or anywhere.”

Lai said that diocesan members are encouraged not to just believe in and trust in God but also to “do something by your faith” in a way that others, including family members, will see the converted person as others will see “how different, how wonderful, how joyful that you are; you are a Christian, you are a person with a totally new life.”

A summary of the history of the Diocese of Taiwan, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, can be found in this story.

The Rev. Peter Koon, provincial secretary of the Hong Kong heng Kung Hui (Anglican Church in Hong Kong), asked for the bishops’ prayers as that province faces the possibility of unrest, perhaps as early as October, by way of the anticipated Occupy Central with Love and Peace, which will campaign for universal suffrage.

Hong Kong return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 from British control and the laws governing that move say the territory is getting to a system of universal suffrage for picking the chief executive in the 2017 election. Some in Hong Kong worry that the national legislature and the city government will insist on a plan for nominating the chief executive that bars candidates unacceptable to Beijing.

The challenge, Koon said, is how the Anglican churches in Hong Kong can find ways to respond pastorally and theologically to congregations that are divided on the issue.

“Do pray for the cathedral because we are in the hot spot,” Koon said.

Gareth Jones, principal of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Ming Hua Theological College, tells the House of Bishops Sept. 19 how the seminary prepares its students to be grounded in Anglican identity and theology. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Meanwhile, Gareth Jones, principal of the province’s Ming Hua Theological College, outlined the seminary’s effort to change theological education.

Many seminaries in the Anglican Communion, he said, have “a tendency toward generic theological education with a little bit of Anglicanism bolted onto the end.” Rather than foster what he called the “theological confusion” such a model either evidences or causes, Ming Hua has moved to a model that is more rooted in Anglican identity from the outset and which emphasizes the idea of companionship with God, Jones said.

The model also is based on an understanding that the crises of faith can be seen through the crises in the gardens of Eden and Gethsemane and the seminarians are learning “how to be in Adam and Eve’s shoes and how to be in Jesus’ shoes in those gardens.”

Recent ENS coverage of the ministry of the Anglican Church in Hong Kong is here and here.

The Church of Pakistan (United) wants a strong relationship with the Episcopal Church, its moderator, Bishop Samuel Azariah, tells the House of Bishops on Sept. 19. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Bishop Samuel Azariah, moderator of the Church of Pakistan (United), told the bishops about the life of his church in a country where Christians account for 1.5 percent of the 189 million Pakistanis.

He said Pakistan is “in continuous religious disputes” within itself, and with India and Afghanistan.

“The misuse and abuse of religion has not only impacted our economy and our relationships, but has also introduced a phase of religious militancy” and especially one that vows to spread Islam, he said. “That is the reality of the context we live in and very soon this is going to hit you, my brothers and my sisters, even in the United States.”

Azariah added a caution: “I’m not saying that we need to fight Islam; what I am saying is that we need to recognize that reality” and prepare for it by learning about Islam and working to improve interfaith relations, and always searching for reconciliation.

“Islam will be the dominant religion in your own dioceses sooner or later that you will have to negotiate with,” he told the bishops. “You will have large populations of Muslims around you in your areas to whom you will have to pastor to and how will you do that?”

In his context, Azariah said he rejects the ideas of loving one’s enemies, saying instead he prefers to advocate loving one’s neighbors in a way that aims “to recognize, to respect in humbleness and with patience, the quality of otherness that my neighbor carries within himself or within herself.”

Meanwhile, Azariah issued a call for deeper relations between his church and others in the Anglican Communion, especially in terms of educational partnerships and development.

“We want to be in relationship; not a relationship of dependency. We do not want to be a project of any church but in a relationship of equal brothers and sisters and disciples of Jesus Christ,” he said.

Also on the bishops’ agenda
The theme of the House of Bishops meeting in Taiwan is “expanding the apostolic imagination” and the house is also due to hear from bishops and others from the Anglican Church in Japan, the Philippines and Korea as part of that exploration. However, the approach of Tropical Storm Fung-Wong may disrupt the travel of some of those people, the bishops were warned.

The bishops, spouses, partners and others attending the meeting will spend Sept. 20 sightseeing in various parts of the island. On Sunday, Sept. 21, they will worship at either Church of the Good Shepherd and St. John’s Cathedral in Taipei or Advent Church in Tam Sui. They will return to Taipei in the late afternoon for a session aimed at processing their experiences.

The evening of the 21st will also include a closed fireside chat meant for the presiding bishop and the bishops alone.

While in Taipei, the bishops also are scheduled to receive briefings on the work of the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church, which recently released a letter to the church outlining the recommendations on structural change it will make to the 2015 meeting of General Convention. Bishop members of the A050 Task Force on the Study of Marriage and the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop will also discuss the work of those groups to date. The latter briefing will be held in closed session, according to the meeting schedule.

The bishops also plan a town hall-style session with the presiding bishop and a formal business session on Sept. 23.

After the meeting ends a number of bishops are heading to Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines or Korea to continue learning about mission and ministry of the Anglican Church.

The meeting is taking place at the Grand Hotel in Taipei. Some bishops are blogging from the meeting about their visit to Taiwan, including

Others are tweeting during the meeting using #HOBFall14. Those tweets can be read here.

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



House of Bishops Daily Account for Friday, September 19

ENS Headlines - Friday, September 19, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is meeting in the Diocese of Taiwan from September 17 to September 23.  The following is an account of the activities for Friday, September 19.

The theme for the fall meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops is Expanding the Apostolic Imagination

The day began with Eucharist, celebrated by Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick of Hawaii http://www.episcopalhawaii.org/  and Bishop-in-Charge of the Church in Micronesia (Guam and Saipan) http://episcopalmicronesia.org/guam/ . Preacher was HOB Chaplain the Rev. Simon Batista, Canon Missioner for Latino Ministries and Outreach of the Diocese of Texas.

Throughout the Eucharist, Bishop Fitzpatrick used Hawaiian language for the prayers and concluded with a Book of Common Prayer blessing in Hawaiian:  Ka ho’opomaika’I ‘ana o ke Akua mana loa, ka Makua ke Keiki, a me ka ‘Uhane Hemolele me ‘oukou a e noho pu me ‘oukou amau loa aku.  ‘Amene.  (The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be upon you and remain with you forever Amen.)

The emcee for the day was Bishop Dean Wolfe of Kansas. http://www.episcopal-ks.org/

Bishop David Lai of Taiwan, and the host of the HOB meeting, presented Theological Context & Mission Challenges in Taiwan. Bishop Lai gave an overview of the history of the Diocese of Taiwan, from a missionary district to today’s diocese, beginning with the Episcopalians in the American military. The diocese grew to 20 congregations. The ministry context of the diocese is defined by Taoism, Buddhism and ancestor worship. Using the Book of Common Prayer in Mandarin is mandatory, even though 70% of the nation’s population speaks Taiwanese Hokkien. Table conversation focused on two questions: What surprised you about the theological context or challenges for mission in Taiwan; and are the theology and/or challenges in Taiwan very similar or different from the context of my diocese?

The first afternoon session was devoted to the Rev. Peter Koon,  Principal Secretary, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui http://www.hkskh.org/index.aspx?lang=1 , and Dr. Gareth Jones, Principal, SKH Ming Hua Seminary, Hong Kong http://www.minghua.org.hk/en/about  presenting Theological Context & Mission Challenges in Hong Kong.

The shifting political realities of Hong Kong’s special relationship with mainland China shape the missional context of the school. Theological education in the Ming Hua seminary revolves around an interpretation of seeking the restoration of companionship with God, which the original couple lost when they abandoned God in the Garden of Eden.

That was followed by  Theological Context & Mission Challenges in Pakistan by The Most Rev. Samuel Robert Azariah, Bishop of Raiwind and Moderator of the Church of Pakistan http://www.anglicancommunion.org/tour/province.cfm?ID=P  He prefaced his remarks about Pakistan with a broad characterization of the mission context of South Asia. It is a place of multiple languages, many religious traditions, different climates, and a variety of cultures. Turning more specifically to his home Pakistan, the Bishops were asked to imagine that we were not bishops but simply disciples of Jesus Christ. He then led us in imagining ministry in the third largest Islamic state. He detailed for us the numerous challenges that the small minority of Christians in Pakistan face daily. When asked how the Episcopal Church could be helpful to the Church in Pakistan, he replied that we could help them learn how to do development and capacity building. Additionally, there is a great need for addressing theological education. His example humbled and encouraged the members of the House of Bishops.

The evening was focused on class gatherings, discussion and dinners.

Media Briefers for Friday, September 19

Bishop Jacob Owensby of Western Louisiana http://www.diocesewla.org/

Bishop Pierre Whalon of Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe http://www.tec-europe.org/

Follow the bishops on Twitter #HOBFall14

Returning SC priest reinstated through new path for reconciliation

ENS Headlines - Friday, September 19, 2014

[Episcopal Church in South Carolina] Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg of South Carolina has welcomed a returning member of the clergy back into good standing as a priest, hailing the reinstatement of the Rev. H. Dagnall Free, Jr. as an important day for The Episcopal Church and an encouraging step toward reconciliation in South Carolina.

On Tuesday, in a brief liturgy led by vonRosenberg, Free reaffirmed the vows he took at his ordination in 2010 and signed a formal declaration promising to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.

Free was a priest serving at St. John’s Episcopal Church on John’s Island in 2012, when a breakaway group under Bishop Mark Lawrence announced it was leaving The Episcopal Church. After the schism, a number of clergy remained with The Episcopal Church. However, Free stayed at St. John’s, which followed the breakaway group under Lawrence.

Yet in the eyes of The Episcopal Church, he remained under vonRosenberg’s authority. Over a five-month period in 2013, the bishop made efforts to contact each breakaway clergy member. In most cases there was no reply. In August 2013, with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee, the bishop formally removed Free and more than 100 other priests and deacons from the ordained ministry.

“After clergy left The Episcopal Church, I had the obligation to discipline them according to church canons,” vonRosenberg said. But the canons gave him a choice about which disciplinary procedure to follow. One option would be to “depose” clergy who did not recognize the Church’s authority. VonRosenberg chose instead to “release and remove” the clergy, which left open a possibility for reconciliation and eventual reinstatement.

“I chose the less severe option in hopes that occasions like this one today might be facilitated,” the bishop said. “We rejoice when that goal becomes realized – even one person at a time.”

The first step in that journey came in April 2013, when Free came to see vonRosenberg to ask if there was a path open for him to return. The bishop’s immediate answer: Yes.

But the very first step was a difficult one: He had to acknowledge that he had been removed as a priest in The Episcopal Church. He became “Mr. Free,” stopped wearing his clerical collar, and ceased to perform the duties of an ordained minister. “He was under that discipline, and he was faithful to that,” the bishop said.

Canonically, the only requirement for reinstatement was the bishop’s approval. But vonRosenberg said it was important to ensure that reinstatement was the right move – not only for one priest and one diocese, but for the church. “He’s a priest of the whole church, not just South Carolina,” he said.

Creating a process
A major hurdle involved Free’s personnel files, which are in the possession of the breakaway group that still controls the pre-2013 diocesan records. Officials there have refused to cooperate with any of the Episcopal Church clergy who have sought access to their professional records for their ongoing employment.

Working in consultation with the Standing Committee, Chancellor Tom Tisdale, and Commission on Ministry member Amy Webb, the bishop set forth a reinstatement procedure that required:

– Consulting with the Bishop on a regular, ongoing basis;
– Working with a development coach for evaluations and discussions about his spiritual journey;
– Cooperating with the administrative staff in rebuilding his professional file, including background checks, training certificates, references and other documentation. “Doing that was necessary for the protection of the whole Church,” the bishop said.
– Meeting with the Standing Committee to discuss his desire for reinstatement.

On September 11, having completed the initial steps, Free met with the Standing Committee. After a brief discussion, the committee unanimously approved a motion advising the Bishop in favor of reinstatement.

VonRosenberg said the process has proven to be a good one, and likely will be used again. Discussions are occurring with other clergy who have had second thoughts about the schism. “It’s important that they know that this process is available,” the bishop said.

When the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church meets in 2015, it likely will consider a resolution about reinstatement procedures, and South Carolina’s experience will be valuable to that discussion. “Once again, we’re on the leading edge in some ways,” vonRosenberg said.

Looking ahead
The path ahead of Free still has its challenges. He is no longer employed at St. John’s. VonRosenberg and Archdeacon Calhoun Walpole, the deployment officer for The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, are assisting him in finding opportunities in Episcopal churches. Free and his wife Sallie are parents of two teenagers, and staying employed was one factor in his choice to remain at St. John’s when the schism took place. Another factor was that he enjoyed serving the people of that parish, and there were others as well. But Free told the Standing Committee that he does not offer them as excuses. “I made a mistake,” he said.

“Part of what I had to learn is that you can’t take anything for granted. God will teach you, and re-teach you,” Free said on Tuesday.

Free said that it seemed far from coincidence that the readings of the Daily Office this summer included the stories of Moses, Joshua, and finally Job. “It’s been kind of like walking through a desert,” he said. “But I think we’re through that now.”

Walpole, who was present for the reinstatement liturgy Tuesday, said Free’s experience reminded her of the words of a prayer for the Church found in Eucharistic Prayer D, which asks God to “reveal its unity.”

“Here we have an example of that unity today,” she said. “Even though we don’t always act like it, the reality is that the church is one.”

– Holly Behre is director of communications for the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

Archbishop of Canterbury statement on Scotland referendum result

ENS Headlines - Friday, September 19, 2014

[Lambeth Palace press release] The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has issued a statement after the Scottish people voted to remain within the United Kingdom.

The Archbishop said:

“Over the past few weeks the campaign has touched on such raw issues of identity and been so closely fought that it has generated profound questioning and unsettlement far beyond Scotland.

“The decision by the Scottish people to remain within the United Kingdom, while deeply disappointing to many, will be welcomed by all those who believe that this country can continue to be an example of how different nations can work together for the common good within one state.

“This is a moment for reconciliation and healing not rejoicing or recrimination. Some of the wounds opened up in recent months are likely to take time to heal on both sides of the border. The historically close relationships that have existed between the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Church of Scotland and the Church of England and our long involvement in mediation have a contribution to make as our societies not only reflect on the lessons of the referendum campaign but engage in delivering the radical restructuring of the relationship between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom for which commitments have been made.”