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Gayle Harris, obispa de Massachusetts, hace historia en una catedral de Gales

ENS Headlines - Friday, September 5, 2014

Gayle Harris, obispa sufragánea de Massachusetts, mientras preside la eucaristía en la catedral de San Asaf, en Gales, el 31 de agosto, convirtiéndose en la primera obispa anglicana que oficia en una catedral galesa. Foto de Nathaniel Ramanaden.

[Episcopal News Service] Mientras la Iglesia en Gales se prepara a capacitar mujeres para que lleguen a ser obispas, Gayle Harris, obispa sufragánea de la Diócesis Episcopal de Massachusetts, se convirtió en la primera obispa anglicana que preside la eucaristía y predica en una catedral galesa.

“La Iglesia no sólo se ve enriquecida por la ordenación de las mujeres, sino que se ve capacitada y potenciada por la presencia de las mujeres”, le dijo ella a Episcopal News Service durante una entrevista telefónica desde el Reino Unido mientras se preparaba para su histórica participación en el servicio eucarístico de las 11:00 A.M. el 31 de agosto en la catedral de San Asaf, en Denbighshire, Gales del Norte. “Veo a las mujeres poniendo de relieve el deseo de que todas las personas se sienten a la mesa del liderazgo, que todas participen de los beneficios de la vida de Dios. Nadie debe ser ignorado ni dejado fuera”.

Aunque la Iglesia en Gales aprobó el 12 de septiembre de 2013 abrir el episcopado a las mujeres, decidió que el derecho eclesiástico no se alteraría en el curso de un año para darle tiempo a los obispos galeses a preparar un Código de Conducta. La Iglesia de Inglaterra también tomó una decisión histórica cuando su Sínodo General, en su reunión de julio, aprobó una legislación que le permite a las mujeres convertirse en obispas.

El obispo Gregory Cameron, de la Diócesis de San Asaf, invitó a la obispa Gayle Harris, sufragánea de la Diócesis de Massachusetts, a predicar y presidir el oficio eucarístico en la catedral de San Asaf. Foto de Nathaniel Ramanaden.

 

La visita de Harris se produjo en respuesta a la invitación del obispo Gregory Cameron, de la Diócesis de San Asaf, quien dijo que le había sorprendido el mucho tiempo que le había tomado a la Iglesia en Gales dar el paso de ordenar mujeres como obispos.

“Tengo una vasta experiencia sobre las mujeres obispos en la Comunión Anglicana, y su ministerio es tan natural y apropiado como nuestra membresía en la Iglesia, de hombres y mujeres”, le dijo él a ENS. “En efecto, las obispas que conozco han sido de capacidad y talento excepcionales. Es precisamente porque las obispas no son nuevas para la Comunión que me siento encantado de haber tenido la oportunidad de invitar a la obispo Gayle Harris a estar con nosotros, en tanto nos acercamos a la fecha en que las mujeres puedan ser elegidas al episcopado en Gales”.

Pero para Harris, la segunda afroamericana en ser consagrada obispa en la Iglesia Episcopal, su llegada al Reino Unido no resultó tan sencilla como era de esperar. La Guardia Fronteriza la detuvo durante más de cinco horas y le dijo que tendría que regresar a EE.UU. aunque ella tenía todos sus documentos y permisos en regla, incluidas [las invitaciones] de la Iglesia en Gales y del arzobispo de York.

A pesar del contratiempo, Harris dijo que los funcionarios fronterizos “fueron muy amables, educados y corteses” y que una vez que comprobaron que su visita era legítima, rescindieron la orden de deportación. “Sé que la gente del aeropuerto intentaba cumplir con su deber”, dijo, añadiendo que el funcionario jefe de la Guardia Fronteriza del R.U. le había ofrecido una disculpa personal por lo larga que había sido la detención.

Harris se sintió aliviada de superar la experiencia y concentrarse en el itinerario planeado y las próximas celebraciones.

Harris ya tenía planes de visitar el R.U. —para oficiar en la boda de una ahijada— cuando la invitaron a expresar un saludo a Cruzar el Umbral [Crossing the Threshold ], una conferencia que celebra el cambio legal para permitir que las mujeres lleguen a ser obispas.

Ella asistirá a la conferencia el 4 de septiembre en Cardiff, en la que Geralyn Wolf, obispa jubilada de Rhode Island, participará como oradora principal.

La Iglesia Episcopal se convirtió en la primera provincia de la Comunión Anglicana en abrir el episcopado a las mujeres mediante un decreto de la Convención General de 1976, aunque habrían de pasar otros 13 años hasta que la Rvdma. Barbara Harris —predecesora de la obispa Gayle Harris en Massachusetts— fuera consagrada como su primera obispa en 1989. En julio pasado, la Iglesia Episcopal conmemoró los 40 años transcurridos desde que las primeras mujeres fueron ordenadas presbíteras. Sin embargo, la mayoría de las provincias de la Comunión Anglicana aún no ordenan mujeres al episcopado.

“Hay lugares donde no podremos ver mujeres ordenadas al episcopado en el curso de nuestras vidas o incluso en la próxima generación, pero creo que Dios puede llamar a quien Él quiera, hombre o mujer, negro o blanco”, dijo Harris. “A veces resulta difícil para nosotros oír y discernir ese llamado y es por eso que en algunos lugares toma más tiempo que en otros”.

La obispa Gayle Harris fue ordenada al presbiterado en 1982 y electa obispa sufragánea de Massachusetts en 2002. Esa trayectoria, apuntó ella, ha tenido sus altibajos, pero, a lo largo de ese tiempo, la ha sostenido la presencia de Dios.

Gayle Harris, obispa sufragánea de Massachusetts, predica el 31 de agosto en la catedral de San Asaf, en Gales. Foto de Nathaniel Ramanaden.

 

Durante su sermón en la catedral de St. Asaf, Harris habló acerca de ser seguidor de Cristo y explicó que el discipulado no es fácil y conlleva un costo personal.

Como la primera mujer negra en celebrar misa en una iglesia del interior del estado de Nueva York a principio de los años 90, Harris recibió varias reacciones, tanto positivas como negativas. “Nadie en esa parroquia había visto jamás a una mujer en ese santuario, pero corrieron el riesgo de pedirme como rectora” de la iglesia de San Lucas y San Simón Cireneo [St. Luke and St. Simon Cyrene] en Rochester, Nueva York, señaló.

“El primer domingo, decidí no celebrar, sino sentarme entre ellos para lograr conocerlos mejor”, añadió. Algunos feligreses dijeron que no iban a volver, contó Harris. Afortunadamente, la mayoría volvió, entre ellos algunos disconformes que más tarde reconocieron que “no era tan malo como habían esperado”.

“Lo más importante es la presencia de Dios”, dijo Harris. “En primer lugar y ante todo yo soy creada a imagen de Dios. Nadie puede negar que ésa es mi identidad. Pero todas mis experiencias de respuestas negativas no se han acabado. Me han tildado de incompetente debido a quien soy, como mujer negra. Eso continúa. Aún creo que este mundo tiene que lidiar con la diferencia del color de la piel. Seguimos eludiendo el problema. Como negra, a veces tengo que preguntar si es porque soy mujer, pero la mayoría de las veces es porque soy negra y mujer. No se ha abordado [a fondo] el problema de la raza.

Harris dijo que le está agradecida a Cameron por su invitación a San Asaf. “Dice mucho de él y de lo amable que es. Poro yo veo esto como otra oportunidad de participar y encontrarme con el otro”, afirmó. “Creo que Dios está presente en este momento”.

– Matthew Davies es redactor y reportero de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Archbishop invites young Christians to spend year praying at Lambeth

ENS Headlines - Friday, September 5, 2014

[Lambeth Palace press release] In a unique experiment, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is to open up Lambeth Palace in London to Christians aged 20-35 – inviting them to spend a year living, studying and praying at a historic centre of the Anglican Communion.

Launching in September 2015, the Community of St Anselm will gather a group of adventurous young adults from all walks of life, hungry for a challenging and formative experience of life in a praying community.

The Community will initially consist of 16 people living at Lambeth Palace full-time, and up to 40 people, who live and work in London, joining part-time. The year-long programme will include prayer, study, practical service and community life.

Members of the Community will live in a way the ancient monastics would recognise: drawing closer to God through a daily rhythm of silence, study and prayer. But, through those disciplines, they will also be immersed in the modern challenges of the global 21st century church.

Lambeth Palace is in the process of recruiting a Prior to pioneer this new venture and direct its worship and work. The Prior will work under the auspices of the Archbishop, who will be Abbot of the Community.

Archbishop Justin Welby said: “Stanley Hauerwas reminds us that the church should always be engaged in doing things that make no sense if God does not exist. The thing that would most make no sense at all if God does not exist is prayer. Living in a praying community is the ultimate wager on the existence of God, and is anything but comfortable or risk-free. Through it people subject themselves to discipline, to each other in community, and, above all, to God.

“I expect this venture to have radical impact – not just for the individuals who participate but for life at Lambeth, across the Church and in the world we seek to serve. This is what we expect in following Jesus. I urge young people to step up: here is an open invitation to be transformed and to transform.”

The Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Revd Dr Jo Wells, said: “Archbishop Justin is passionate about prayer and about community. The renewal of prayer and Religious Life is the first of his three priorities, and that is what the Community of St Anselm is all about.

“We are inviting people from all around the Anglican Communion – and beyond – to live a year in God’s time. There are no qualifications for joining the Community except a longing to pray, to learn, to study together the things of God, and so to be stretched in body, mind and spirit.”

“Archbishop Justin longs that Lambeth Palace be not so much a historic place of power and authority, but a place from which blessing and service reach to the ends of the earth.”

To find out more, visit: www.stanselm.org.uk

TREC emite Una Carta a la Iglesia Episcopal

ENS Headlines - Thursday, September 4, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] El equipo de trabajo para re-imaginar la Iglesia Episcopal (TREC) ha emitido Una Palabra a la Iglesia Episcopal.

Carta TREC a la Iglesia: Septiembre de 2014

Jesús gritó: —“¡Lázaro, sal de ahí!” El hombre que había estado muerto salió. Sus manos y pies estaban todavía atados con vendas, y su cara estaba envuelta en un lienzo. Jesús le dijo a la gente: —“Desátenlo y déjenlo ir”. (Juan 11:43–44)

A medida que el equipo de trabajo para re-imaginar la Iglesia Episcopal (TREC) ha progresado en nuestro trabajo, hemos llegado a ver el resucitar y desatar de Lázaro como una manera útil de entender este momento en la vida de la Iglesia Episcopal. Creemos que Jesús está llamando a nuestra iglesia a una nueva vida y vitalidad, pero la iglesia se ve limitada por sus consolidaciones—viejas formas de trabajo que ya no nos sirven bien.

Escribimos esto al comenzar los últimos meses de nuestro trabajo, para actualizarles sobre nuestras ideas y recomendaciones emergentes para su consideración en oración y para obtener su opinión. Vamos a publicar nuestro informe final y las propuestas legislativas específicas en diciembre de 2014.

En los 18 meses desde que nos reunimos por primera vez como un grupo de trabajo, hemos estado en conversaciones con muchos de ustedes—en persona y virtualmente—sobre sus esperanzas, sueños, ideas y preocupaciones por la Iglesia y sobre nuestra misión colectiva para servir a Cristo. Hemos apreciado su comentario, su estímulo y su crítica de nuestro trabajo hasta ahora. Esperamos continuar nuestro diálogo con ustedes en los próximos meses y le animamos a responder a esta carta, a participar en nuestra reunión en el ayuntamiento virtual que vamos a transmitir vía internet desde la Catedral Nacional de Washington el 2 de octubre, y para entablar un diálogo con nosotros mientras nos unimos a las reuniones provinciales y otros foros. Le damos las gracias por su colaboración hasta la fecha y por sus oraciones para nuestro trabajo conjunto.

La Necesidad de un Cambio

Las estructuras de la Iglesia Episcopal y procesos de gobierno reflejan las hipótesis de épocas anteriores que no siempre se ajustan a los contextos actuales. Ellos no se han adaptado a los cambios rápidos ambientes culturales, políticos y sociales que vivimos. Las estructuras de la organización de toda la iglesia y los procesos de gobierno están demasiado desconectados de las necesidades locales y demasiado a menudo desempeñan un papel de “puerta o salida” o de papel regulador a la innovación local. A menudo son demasiado lento y confuso para abordar decisivamente soluciones intermedias, difícil y urgente o para buscar direcciones audaces que se deben establecer en el nivel de la organización de toda la iglesia. Nuestro estudio y observaciones sugieren, por ejemplo, que:

■  La Convención General ha sido históricamente más eficaz en deliberadamente discernir y en la constante evolución de la posición de la Iglesia sobre cuestiones de gran escala (por ejemplo, revisión de libro de oración, la reforma de la formación del clero y cánones de disciplina, la ordenación de mujeres, las bendiciones a parejas del mismo del sexo). Esta debe seguir siendo la función primordial de la Convención General
■  Sin embargo, la Convención General no está organizada para impulsar una clara priorización de recursos; abordar cuestiones técnicas; establecer una agenda clara para el personal de la organización; lanzar programas audaces de innovación o de reforma; o garantizar la rendición de cuentas para la ejecución eficaz y eficiente del personal de toda la iglesia. A nivel de toda la iglesia, carecemos de la capacidad de centrarnos en las prioridades que son más urgentes en el ámbito local, donde la mayor parte, si no toda la parte más importante de nuestra misión principal y el ministerio ocurre.
■  Ni el Consejo Ejecutivo ni la oficina del Obispo Presidente son plenamente eficaces en la complementación de la Convención General, al tomar decisiones de equilibrio difíciles, establecer la dirección audaz, o conducir la rendición de cuentas del personal de la organización a las necesidades locales. Las funciones del Consejo Ejecutivo y de la oficina del Obispo Presidente son a menudo ambiguas y poco claras, y tampoco son estructuradas, seleccionadas, o del tamaño adecuado para sus tareas en materia de gobierno y ejecución. Como resultado, el personal de toda la iglesia presenta una gran confusión en cuanto a quién establece la dirección. Las luchas de poder surgen, con todas las facciones que reclaman la alineación con las resoluciones de la Convención General, y los conflictos se resuelven a través de la rotación y la demora, en lugar de a través de un análisis claro y la autoridad responsable. No hemos demostrado la capacidad a nivel de toda la iglesia para desarrollar el tipo de enfoque estratégico que nos permita abordar algunas de nuestras prioridades más importantes y más urgentes.
■  La funciones de personal de toda la iglesia han evolucionado en sus papeles y los modos de pensar son cada vez más sensible y de apoyo a la misión local, pero su propósito y alcance no son claros y ampliamente entendidos a través de la iglesia. Las personas altamente cualificadas y programas bien desarrollados son subutilizados porque los grupos locales no saben que existen. En otras situaciones, las diócesis informan frustración ya que los programas de toda la iglesia no responden o no son adecuados para satisfacer sus necesidades locales. No hay sistemas suficientes de transparencia en torno a cómo los recursos de toda la iglesia se utilizan o rendir cuentas de su eficacia y la administración de recursos.

Un nuevo paradigma
Vivimos en una era de las redes de contacto, sin embargo, nuestra estructura de la organización nacional no se ha adaptado totalmente a este paradigma organizacional. La evolución de un paradigma de agencia reguladora burocrática a una red cambiará profundamente el papel, la cultura, los procesos de toma de decisiones, y los paradigmas de liderazgo de toda la iglesia y dentro de las estructuras de la Iglesia Episcopal. Esto no sería diferente de otras evoluciones significativas que se han producido históricamente en torno al gobierno y la estructura de nuestra Iglesia.

Hemos escrito anteriormente sobre la evolución histórica de paradigmas estructurales de toda la iglesia y se han descrito cuatro funciones claras que recomendamos para el siglo 21:
■  Catalizador: Toda la Iglesia Episcopal debe inspirar y causar que todos los miembros de la iglesia vivan plenamente en su misión de “restaurar todos los pueblos a la unión con Dios y unos con otros en Cristo” (Libro de Oración Común, página 855.).
–    Los ejemplos específicos de lo que la estructura de la organización de la iglesia debe hacer para cumplir con esta función incluiría inspirar y hacer un llamado a toda la iglesia al ministerio bautismal y ayudar a cada miembro a interpretar el mundo a través de los ojos del Evangelio, incluyendo el ejercicio de una voz profética en temas de justicia social y en representación de las voces de las personas marginadas.
■  Conector: La organización de toda la iglesia debe establecer y mantener relaciones entre sus comunidades miembros y constituyentes con el fin de cultivar la identidad episcopal, para magnificar el impacto de misión de las comunidades locales mediante la conexión de ellas entre sí, y para facilitar el intercambio de ideas y el aprendizaje a través de toda la iglesia Episcopal y redes anglicanas más amplias.
–    Los ejemplos específicos de lo que la estructura de la organización nacional debe hacer para cumplir con esta función incluiría representar la Iglesia Episcopal en la Comunión Anglicana; forjar relaciones ecuménicas y alianzas; ejercer la autoridad canónica de fomentar y preservar la catolicidad de la Iglesia (unidad en la diversidad con la iglesia cristiana en general); el mantenimiento de la historia institucional de la iglesia a través de los archivos de la Iglesia; y el fomento de la comunicación a través de la iglesia en torno a nuevas ideas, aprendizaje y las oportunidades de colaboración.
■  Capacidad de Construir: La organización de toda la Iglesia Episcopal debería apoyar el desarrollo de liderazgo centrado en las habilidades críticas necesarias para la formación cristiana individual y nivel comunitario en contextos del siglo 21. Toda la Iglesia Episcopal también debe asegurarse de que la iglesia es una organización de aprendizaje-que aprende rápido de los éxitos y fracasos a través de la iglesia y compartir rápidamente estas lecciones a través de la red de la iglesia. Las capacidades clave necesarias en el contexto misionero de hoy incluyen habilidades en el ministerio, organización de la comunidad, revivir congregaciones, establecer congregaciones, liderazgo multicultural, la evangelización, la formación cristiana, alcanzar a las nuevas generaciones, y llegar a nuevas poblaciones. La experiencia en estas áreas radica fundamentalmente a nivel de base, pero la estructura de la organización nacional puede fomentar el aprendizaje mutuo, especialmente sobre una base de igual a igual.
–    Los ejemplos específicos de lo que la estructura de la organización nacional debe hacer para cumplir con esta función incluiría cultivar y fomentar el intercambio de conocimientos para la formación específica y el desarrollo profesional.
■  Coordinador: Toda la organización de la Iglesia Episcopal debe reunir a la iglesia en formas tradicionales y no tradicionales como una convocación misionera. La organización de la iglesia Episcopal también debería convocar a la iglesia con la Comunión Anglicana en general, con los asociados ecuménicos de la iglesia, y con otros posibles socios y colaboradores en la proclamación del Evangelio de Cristo y vivir las Cinco Marcas de la Misión. [1]
–    Los ejemplos específicos de lo que la estructura de la organización de toda la iglesia debe hacer para cumplir con esta función incluiría la reunión de una Convocación General Misionero tanto en persona como virtualmente, posibles concurrentes con la Convención General.

Repercusiones para las estructuras de la organización nacional existente
Para empezar a cambiar el paradigma de funcionamiento de la iglesia en las formas que creemos que será necesario, hemos identificado varias prioridades de “camino crítico” y hemos trabajado para desarrollarlos más plenamente. Hemos llegado a la conclusión de que estas áreas necesitan más de nuestra atención si queremos hacer que la iglesia funcione de manera más eficaz en nuestro contexto del siglo 21. Estos cambios no harán la transición plenamente de las estructuras de la organización y la gobernabilidad para el modelo basado en la red que se describe arriba. El trabajo de volver a imaginar nuestra iglesia y la reestructuración de la institución de la iglesia tendrá que ser un proceso continuo de adaptación mientras nuestro contexto continúa cambiando. En conjunto, sin embargo, creemos que abordar estas áreas constituye un primer paso fundamental y permitirán profundizar el cambio. Debemos racionalizar y concentrar el alcance de nuestra agenda de la organización nacional, para convertirse en una iglesia más distributiva, una red, y ágil que se centra en la formación de fe local y misión local y que permite y acelera la innovación local y la adaptación; mientras que al mismo tiempo mejora, y no disminuye nuestra voz profética para el mundo que nos rodea.
■  A nivel de la organización nacional, tenemos que seleccionar y capacitar plenamente un liderazgo claro y eficaz para definir agendas, dirección establecida, desarrollar los conocimientos en torno a cuestiones complejas y sus consecuencias, tomar decisiones difíciles, y perseguir ideas audaces y menos perjudiciales en su caso. Hay inferencias para la Convención General, para el Consejo Ejecutivo, la función ejecutiva central de la iglesia, y  las Comisiones de la Convención General, consejos, organismos y Juntas (CCAB).
■  Una vez que la dirección se establece para las obras necesarias a nivel de toda la organización de la iglesia, tenemos que capacitar a un personal de la organización para crear capacidad a través de nuestra iglesia y actuar como catalizadores de la red y los constructores de la red. Este personal debe ser dirigido y supervisado por profesionales con experiencia y conocimientos profundos y relevantes en las áreas que son el centro de sus respectivos proyectos. El alcance del trabajo del personal relacionado con la misión debe ser específico y de duración determinada (véase abajo “Recomendaciones de desarrollo”).
■  Debemos crear responsabilidad en nuestra estructura de la organización de toda la iglesia para que seamos capaces de medir si esa estructura está siguiendo la dirección que se ha establecido, asegurando una alta calidad de trabajo y la eficiencia de conducción. Para el personal de la organización de toda la iglesia esto significa que los objetivos deben fijarse en el inicio de cualquier proyecto o iniciativa con pautas métricas básicas que sean revisadas e informadas.

Creemos que abordar estas prioridades permitirá a la iglesia continuar evolucionando y racionalizar su administración y las estructuras en zonas que no hemos abordado. También creemos que abordar estas prioridades permitirá a la iglesia ser más eficaz en el tratamiento de sus problemas más complejos y urgentes cuando se requiere un estudio profundo y acción audaz (por ejemplo, la sostenibilidad del clero estipendiario; implicaciones para la educación del clero y de las estructuras de pensiones).

Recomendaciones de Desarrollo

Las recomendaciones que vamos a presentar a la iglesia y en la Convención General del 2015 es probable que tome varias formas diferentes:
1.  Un conjunto de resoluciones complementarios que sugieren enmiendas a los cánones y la Constitución con el fin de poner en práctica lo que el Grupo de Trabajo considera “camino crítico” cambios en la estructura de la organización de toda la iglesia, el gobierno y la administración. Nosotros le recomendamos que estas resoluciones se ejecuten en un paquete total.
2.  Proyectos de resolución para una mayor racionalización de las estructuras de la organización de toda la iglesia y la gobernabilidad y que nuestro trabajo nos diga que representamos a los deseos de un gran segmento de miembros de la iglesia y que creemos que debe ser debatido y resuelto en la Convención General del 2015.
3.  Una agenda recomendada de cuestiones serias y profundas sobre las que nuestra iglesia debe tomar medidas urgentes con el fin de ser lo más audaz, adaptable y resistente come tiene que ser en las próximas décadas, además de una ilustración de cómo será informada y progresado de manera efectiva y eficiente esta agenda y si nuestras recomendaciones legislativas fuesen aprobadas.
4.  Más concretamente, las propuestas de “ruta Crítica” que estamos considerando proponen en forma de resoluciones de la Convención General que hacen un llamado a enmiendas a los Cánones y Constitución actualmente incluyen:

■  Las mejoras en la eficacia de la Convención General, por ejemplo:
–    Límites de duración de la Convención General y que los esfuerzos se concentren y se brinde prioridad a su agenda legislativa.
–    Reducción del número de comisiones legislativas para la Convención General
–    El permiso expreso de los comités legislativos para permitir que las resoluciones concluyan en los comités
–    La evolución de la Convención General para convertirse en una Convocación General  Misionero de la Iglesia, con la creación de redes y el intercambio en torno a la misión y ministerios de su enfoque principal, y esperando se reduzca el alcance y el tamaño de la legislación y los dos órganos legislativos, mientras se aumenta la participación general y la relevancia de la misión a nivel local.
■  Aclaraciones en torno al papel de las estructuras ejecutivas centrales de la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera (DFMS)
–    La Obispa Presidenta permanece como Directora Ejecutiva (CEO) de la Iglesia, Presidente del Consejo Ejecutivo, y Presidente de la DFMS, con responsabilidad de administración para todo el personal de la DFMS
–    Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados (PHoD) retuvo el cargo de Vicepresidente de la Iglesia, el Vicepresidente del Consejo Ejecutivo, y vicepresidente de la DFMS
–    El Obispo Presidente responsable de nombrar a tres personas para servir en las siguientes oficinas, con el acuerdo del Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados (PHoD): Director Ejecutivo (COO), Tesorero/Director Financiero (CFO), Director del Área Jurídica. Estas posiciones servirán a las órdenes del Obispo Presidente. No se requerirá la aprobación de la PHoD o el Consejo Ejecutivo para que el Obispo Presidente despida a cualquiera de estos oficiales
■  Los cambios en el papel, el tamaño, y la selección del Consejo Ejecutivo
–    El papel del Consejo Ejecutivo clarificado como un papel de “gobernabilidad”, similar a una Junta Directiva sin fines de lucro.
–   EL tamaño del Consejo Ejecutivo reducido de 40 a 21 miembros (manteniendo la proporcionalidad entre las órdenes) para mejorar su eficacia como junta.
–    Membresía del Consejo Ejecutivo para incluir el Obispo Presidente, el Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados como miembros ex officio con derecho a voto, y el Director de Operaciones, Tesorero/CFO y secretario como miembros sin derecho a voto, además de 20 miembros electos “en general” en vez de representantes de cada provincia
■  Reducción en el número de CCABs y su alcance
–    Eliminación de todas las Comisiones de trabajo, excepto los Comités Permanente Conjunto de Nominaciones y Programa y Presupuesto y Finanzas
–    Encargar a los presidentes para nombrar a tales grupos de trabajo que puedan ser necesarios para llevar a cabo el trabajo de una Convención General sobre un trienio basado en un trienio.
■  Una transición en el personal de la misión relacionado con el programa de DFMS a un modelo principalmente contratista
–    Contratistas para ser contratados basado en un alcance del proyecto específico, duración, y en un conjunto de objetivos
–    Eficacia de los proyectos a ser supervisada por la oficina del Obispo Presidente y revisado anualmente por el Consejo Ejecutivo en contra de un conjunto de métricas previamente acordados
– El personal de “funciones de apoyo” como Recursos Humanos, Finanzas, IT, legal, comunicaciones, o Archivos no serían afectados

En nuestro informe final, vamos a ilustrar cómo estos cambios recomendados ayudarían a la Iglesia Episcopal a abordar de manera más eficaz y eficiente temas críticos y urgentes de la agenda, con la flexibilidad para innovar y experimentar con mayor rapidez y adoptar cursos de acción audaces cuando sea necesario.

En el curso de nuestro trabajo como un equipo de trabajo, hemos identificado y seguimos desarrollando un conjunto de temas del programa que creemos que debe ser abordado por la Iglesia en los próximos años. Estos temas incluyen:
■  La creación de capacidad y la capacidad de toda la Iglesia en torno a la evangelización, liderazgo comunitario, y la formación de la parroquia no tradicional
■  La sostenibilidad de un modelo totalmente estipendiario del clero y el predominio probable de modelos mixtos de empleo y liderazgo del clero
■  Implicaciones para la educación en el seminario, los requisitos, y la carga de la deuda
– Las oportunidades para los cambios de política del Fondo de Pensiones para mejorar el clero y la  alineación de incentivos de liderazgo
■  Viabilidad Diocesano, el número de diócesis, y requisitos de evaluación/ expectativas
■  Viabilidad Parroquial, el número y la distribución geográfica de las parroquias, y el fomento de nuevas iglesias

Creemos que para abordar este tipo de cuestiones será necesario un fuerte, inspirado y responsable liderazgo, opiniones informadas, y, en algunos casos, la acción rápida. Con los cambios que hemos recomendado en las estructuras de la organización de toda la iglesia, el gobierno y la administración, vemos que estos temas se abordan de la siguiente manera:

■  La Convención General haría un llamado para que estos temas sean parte de la agenda de la DFMS, que será dirigida por la oficina del Obispo Presidente y de responsabilidad de Consejo Ejecutivo y de las Convenciones Generales posteriores
■  La oficina del Obispo Presidente (muy probablemente a través del COO) sería identificaría el peritaje y el tipo de recursos necesarios para estudiar con eficacia estas cuestiones y formular recomendaciones. La oficina del Obispo Presidente, en consulta con el Consejo Ejecutivo, diseñaría proyectos con plazos concretos, con objetivos y métricas específicas, y que contrataría contratistas calificados y establecería consejos asesores como sea necesario. La oficina del Obispo Presidente dirigiría estos proyectos y a las personas contratadas para llevarlos a cabo.
■  El Consejo Ejecutivo examinará y proporcionará una supervisión adecuada de la cartera total de la DFMS de proyectos relativos a las métricas pre-establecidas anuales.

Conclusión
Es importante establecer clara y enfáticamente que el trabajo de innovación y adaptación ya está en marcha en todos los niveles de la iglesia. Está claro que con o sin la Convención General, con o sin recomendaciones de TREC, la re-imaginación de nuestra Iglesia ya está y seguirá tomando lugar. El Espíritu Santo ha dado nueva vida a la Iglesia en un sinnúmero de veces y de muchas maneras en el pasado, y el mismo Espíritu continuará haciéndolo en el futuro. Nuestra esperanza es que nuestras recomendaciones en última instancia, ayuden a enfocar y dirigir los extraordinarios recursos humanos y recursos materiales espirituales que Dios nos ha confiado hacia un conjunto claro de prioridades que nos ayudará a ser más fiel y eficaz en seguir participando en la misión de Dios en el mundo.

Una oración por nuestro trabajo continúo
Espíritu Santo, que proteges a todo el mundo, llena los corazones y las mentes de tus siervos en el equipo de trabajo para re-imaginar la Iglesia Episcopal con sabiduría, claridad y valentía. Trabaja en ellos, mientras que ellos examinan y recomiendan reformas para la estructura, gobierno y administración de esta rama de la Iglesia una, santa, católica y apostólica. Ayúdelos a proponer reformas para proclamar de manera más eficaz mediante la palabra y el ejemplo las Buenas Nuevas de Dios en Cristo, para desafiar el mundo para buscar y servir a Cristo en todas las personas amantes de nuestro prójimo como a nosotros mismos- y ser una luz ardiente para la clase de justicia y la paz que lleva a todas las personas, respetando la dignidad de todo ser humano. Esté con la Iglesia Episcopal para que estemos abiertos a los desafíos que este grupo de trabajo traerá a nosotros, y ayude a toda la Iglesia para discernir su voluntad para nuestro futuro. En el nombre de Jesucristo, nuestro Mediador, en cuya vida se fundó esta Iglesia. AMEN
__________________________________________________________________________

[1] Proclamar la Buena Nueva del Reino. Enseñar, bautizar y nutrir a los nuevos creyentes. Responder a las necesidades humanas a través del servicio amoroso. Buscar la transformación de las estructuras injustas de la sociedad, desafiar a la violencia de cualquier tipo y buscar la paz y la reconciliación. Esforzarse para salvaguardar la integridad de la creación y sostener y renovar la vida de la tierra.

__________________________________________________________________________

Para más información, preguntas o comentarios, póngase en contacto con miembros de TREC en reimaginetec@gmail.com.

TREC planea una reunión de toda la iglesia para el 2 de octubre

TREC issues a letter to The Episcopal Church suggesting changes

ENS Headlines - Thursday, September 4, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Taskforce for Reimagining The Episcopal Church (TREC) has issued A Word To The Episcopal Church.

TREC Letter to the Church: September, 2014

Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”  The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth.  Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”                                                                                                                                                               (John 11:43–44)

As the Taskforce for Reimagining The Episcopal Church (TREC) has progressed in our work, we have come to see the raising and unbinding of Lazarus as a helpful way of understanding this moment in the life of The Episcopal Church. We believe Jesus is calling our church to new life and vitality, but the church is held back by its bindings—old ways of working that no longer serve us well.

We write this as we begin the final months of our work, to give you an update about our thinking and emerging recommendations for your prayerful consideration and feedback. We will publish our final report and specific legislative proposals in December 2014.

In the 18 months since we first met as a Task Force, we have been in conversation with many of you—in person and virtually—about your hopes, dreams, ideas, and concerns for the church and about our collective mission to serve Christ. We have appreciated your feedback, your encouragement, and your criticism of our work so far. We look to continue our dialogue with you in the months to come and encourage you to respond to this letter, to participate in our virtual town hall meeting that we will webcast from Washington National Cathedral on October 2, and to engage in dialogue with us as we join provincial meetings and other forums. We thank you for your input to date and for your prayers for our work together.

The Need for Change
The Episcopal Church’s structures and governance processes reflect assumptions from previous eras that do not always fit with today’s contexts. They have not adapted to the rapidly changing cultural, political, and social environments in which we live.  The churchwide structures and governance processes are too disconnected from local needs and too often play a “gating” or regulatory role to local innovation. They are often too slow and confusing to deal decisively with tough and urgent tradeoffs or to pursue bold directions that must be set at the churchwide level.

Our study and observations would suggest, for example, that:
■             General Convention has historically been most effective in deliberatively discerning and evolving the church’s position on large-scale issues (e.g., prayer book revision, reform of clergy formation and discipline canons, women’s ordination, same sex blessings). This should continue to be the primary role of General Convention.
■             However, General Convention is not organized to drive clear prioritization of resourcing; address technical issues; set a clear agenda for churchwide staff; launch bold programs of innovation or reform; or ensure accountability for effective and efficient execution by the churchwide staff. At the churchwide level, we lack the ability to focus on the priorities that are most urgent at the local level, where much if not most of our primary mission and ministry take place.
■             Neither the Executive Council nor the Presiding Bishop’s office are fully effective in complementing the General Convention by making tough tradeoffs, setting bold direction, or driving accountability of churchwide staff to local needs. The roles of the Executive Council and the Presiding Bishop’s office are often ambiguous and unclear, and neither are structured, selected, or sized appropriately for their tasks in governance and execution. As a result, churchwide staff report significant confusion as to who sets direction. Power struggles emerge, with all factions claiming alignment with General Convention resolutions, and conflicts are resolved through churn and delay, rather than through clear analysis and accountable authority. We have not demonstrated the capacity at the churchwide level to develop the kind of strategic focus that allows us to address some of our highest and most pressing priorities.
■             Churchwide staff functions have evolved their roles and mindsets to be increasingly responsive and supportive of local mission, but their purpose and scope are not clear and broadly understood across the church. Highly skilled people and well-developed programs are underutilized because local groups do not know they exist.  In other situations, dioceses report frustration that churchwide programs are not responsive or adequate to meet their local needs. There are not sufficient systems of transparency around how churchwide resources are used or held accountable for their effectiveness and resource stewardship.

A New Paradigm
We live in an age of networks, yet our churchwide structure has not fully adapted to this organizational paradigm. The evolution from a bureaucratic/regulatory agency paradigm to a network will profoundly change the role, culture, decision making processes, and leadership paradigms of and within The Episcopal Church’s churchwide structures. This would not be unlike other significant evolutions that have occurred historically around our church’s governance and structures.

We have previously written about the historical evolution of churchwide structural paradigms and described four clear roles that we recommend for the 21st century:
■             Catalyst: The Episcopal churchwide organization should inspire and provoke all members of the church to live fully into its mission of “restoring all people to unity with God and one another in Christ” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 855).
–    Specific examples of what the churchwide structure must and should do to fulfill this role would include inspiring and calling the whole church to baptismal ministry and helping every member interpret the world through the eyes of the gospel, including exercising a prophetic voice on social justice issues and representing the voices of marginalized people.
■             Connector: The churchwide organization should establish and maintain relationships among its member communities and constituents in order to cultivate Episcopal identity, to magnify the mission impact of local communities by connecting them to each other, and to facilitate the sharing of ideas and learning across the Episcopal and broader Anglican networks.
–    Specific examples of what the churchwide structure must and should do to fulfill this role would include representing The Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion; forging ecumenical relationships and alliances; exercising canonical authority to foster and preserve the church’s catholicity (unity in diversity with the wider Christian Church); maintaining the church’s institutional history through the Church Archives; and fostering communication across the church around new ideas, learning, and opportunities for collaboration.
■             Capability Builder: The Episcopal churchwide organization should support leadership development centered around the critical skills necessary for individual and communitywide Christian formation in 21st century contexts. The Episcopal churchwide organization should also ensure that the church is a learning organization—rapidly learning from successes and failures across the church and rapidly sharing these lessons across the church’s network. Key capabilities needed in today’s missionary context include skills in ministry, community organization, reviving congregations, planting congregations, multicultural leadership, evangelism, Christian formation, reaching new generations, and reaching new populations. The expertise in these areas lies primarily at the grassroots level, but the churchwide structure can foster mutual learning, especially on a peer-to-peer basis.
–    Specific examples of what the churchwide structure must and should do to fulfill this role would include cultivating and fostering the sharing of expertise for targeted training and professional development.
■             Convenor: The Episcopal churchwide organization should assemble the church in traditional and non-traditional ways as a missionary convocation. The Episcopal churchwide organization should also convene the church with the broader Anglican Communion, with ecumenical church partners, and with other potential partners and collaborators in proclaiming Christ’s gospel and living the Five Marks of Mission.[1]
–    Specific examples of what the churchwide structure must and should do to fulfill this role would include convening a General Missionary Convocation both in person and virtually, potentially concurrent with General Convention.

Implications for Existing Churchwide Structures
To begin to change the church’s operating paradigm in the ways that we believe will be necessary, we have identified several “critical path” priorities and have worked to more fully develop them. We have concluded these areas are in the most need of our attention if we are to make the church work more effectively in our 21st century context.  These changes will not fully transition the churchwide structures and governance to the network-based model that we describe above. The work of reimagining our church and restructuring the church’s institution will need to be an ongoing process of adaptation as our context continues to shift and change. Taken together, however, we believe addressing these areas constitute a critical first step and will enable further change. We must streamline and focus  the scope of our churchwide agenda, to become a more distributive, networked, and nimble church that is focused on local faith formation and local mission and that enables and accelerates local innovation and adaptation; while at the same time enhancing, not diminishing our prophetic voice to the world around us.
■             At the churchwide level, we must select and fully empower clear and effective leadership to define agendas, set direction, develop expertise around complex issues and their implications, make tough choices, and pursue bold and disruptive ideas where appropriate. There are implications for the General Convention, for the Executive Council, the central executive function of the church, and for General Convention’s Commissions, Councils, Agencies, and Boards (CCABs).
■             Once the direction is set for the work necessary at the churchwide level, we must empower a lean churchwide staff to build capacity across our church and act as network catalysts and network builders. This staff must be directed and supervised by professionals with deep and relevant expertise and experience in the areas that are the focus of their respective projects. The scope of mission-related staff work should be specific and time-bound (see “Developing Recommendations” below).
■             We must create accountability in our churchwide structure so that we are able to measure whether that structure is following the direction that has been set, ensuring a high quality of work, and driving efficiency. For churchwide staff, this means that objectives must be set at the start of any project or endeavor with basic, guiding metrics that are tracked and reported.

We believe that addressing these priorities will enable the church to continue to evolve and streamline its governance and structures in areas that we have not addressed.  We also believe that addressing these priorities will enable the church to be more effective in addressing its most complex and urgent issues where deep study and bold action is required (e.g., sustainability of stipendiary clergy; implications for clergy education and pension structures).

Developing Recommendations
The recommendations that we will submit to the church and to the 2015 General Convention will likely take several different forms:
1.            A complementary set of resolutions that suggest amendments to the Canons and Constitution in order to implement what the Task Force considers “critical path” changes to churchwide structures, governance, and administration. We will strongly recommend that these resolutions be implemented as a total package.
2.            Draft resolutions for further streamlining of churchwide structures and governance that our work tells us represent the wishes of a large segment of church members and that we believe should be debated and resolved in the 2015 General Convention.
3.            A recommended agenda of serious and deep issues on which our church must take urgent action in order to be as bold, adaptive, and resilient as it needs to be over the coming decades, plus an illustration of how this agenda would be effectively and efficiently informed and progressed if our legislative recommendations were adopted.
4.            More specifically, the “critical path” proposals we are considering putting forward in the form of General Convention resolutions calling for amendments to the Canons and Constitution currently include:
■             Improvements to the effectiveness of the General Convention, e.g.:
–    Limits to the overall length of the General Convention and efforts to focus and prioritize its legislative agenda.
–    Reduction in the number of legislative committees for General Convention
–    Express permission for legislative committees to let resolutions die in committee
–    The evolution of General Convention to become a General Missionary Convocation of the Church, with networking and sharing around mission and ministries its primary focus, and hopefully reducing the scope and size of legislation and both legislative bodies, while still increasing overall participation and relevance to mission at the local level.
■             Clarifications around the role of the central executive structures of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS)
–    Presiding Bishop retained as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Church, Chair of the Executive Council, and President of DFMS, with managerial responsibility for all DFMS staff
–    President of the House of Deputies (PHoD) retained as Vice President of the Church, Vice Chair of the Executive Council, and Vice President of DFMS
–    Presiding Bishop responsible for nominating three people to serve in the following offices, with concurrence by the PHoD:  Chief Operating Officer (COO), Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Legal Officer. These positions would serve at the pleasure of the Presiding Bishop.  Approval for the Presiding Bishop to fire any of these officers would not be required from the PHoD or the Executive Council.
■             Changes to the role, size, and selection of the Executive Council
–    The role of the Executive Council clarified as a “governance” role, similar to a non-profit Board of Trustees
–    Size of the Executive Council reduced from 40 to 21 members (retaining proportionality among the orders) to improve its effectiveness as a Board
–    Executive Council membership to include the Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies as ex officio voting members, and the COO, Treasurer/CFO and Secretary as non-voting members, plus 20 members elected “at large” rather than as representatives of each province
■             Reduction in the number of CCABs and their scope
–    Elimination of all Standing Commissions except the Joint Standing Committees on Nominations and Program, and Budget & Finance
–    Charging the presiding officers to appoint such task forces as might be necessary to carry out the work of a General Convention on a triennium by triennium basis.
■             A transition in the mission or program-related staff of DFMS to a primarily contractor-only model
–    Contractors to be hired based on a specific project scope, length, and set of objectives
–    Project effectiveness to be monitored by the Presiding Bishop’s office and reviewed annually by Executive Council against a set of pre-agreed metrics
Staff in “support functions” like Human Resources, Finance, IT, Legal, Communications, or Archives would not be impacted

In our final report, we will illustrate how these recommended changes would help The Episcopal Church to more effectively and efficiently address critical and urgent agenda items, with the flexibility to innovate and experiment more rapidly and to adopt bold courses of action where necessary.

In the course of our work as a Task Force, we have identified and are continuing to develop a set of agenda items that we believe must be addressed by The Church in coming years. These agenda items include:
■             Building capacity and capability across the Church around evangelism, community leadership, and non-traditional parish formation
■             The sustainability of a fully stipendiary clergy model and the likely predominance of mixed models of employment and clergy leadership
■             Implications for seminary education, requirements, and debt burden
■             Opportunities for Pension Fund policy changes to improve clergy and lay leadership incentive alignment
■             Diocesan viability, the number of dioceses, and assessment requirements/expectations
■             Parish viability, the number and geographic distribution of parishes, and fostering new church plants

We believe that addressing these types of issues will require strong, inspired and accountable leadership, informed input, and, in some cases, quick action. With the changes we have recommended in churchwide structures, governance, and administration, we see these issues being addressed as follows:
■             The General Convention would call for these issues to be part of the DFMS agenda, to be directed by the Presiding Bishop’s office and accountable to the Executive Council and to subsequent General Conventions
■             The Presiding Bishop’s office (most likely through the COO) would identify the expertise and type of resources required to effectively study these issues and to develop recommendations. The Presiding Bishop’s office, in consultation with the Executive Council, would charter time-bound projects with specific objectives and metrics, and it would hire qualified contractors and establish advisory boards as necessary. The Presiding Bishop’s office would direct these projects and the people hired to accomplish them.
■             The Executive Council would review and provide appropriate oversight of DFMS’s total portfolio of projects relative to pre-established metrics on an annual basis.

Conclusion
It is important to state clearly and emphatically that the work of innovation and adaptation is already underway at all levels of the church. It is clear that with or without the General Convention, with or without any recommendations from TREC, the re-imagining of our Church is already and will continue to take place. The Holy Spirit has breathed new life into the Church at countless times and in countless ways in the past, and the same Spirit will continue to do so in the future. Our hope is that our recommendations will ultimately help focus and direct the extraordinary spiritual, human, and material resources God has entrusted to us toward a clear set of priorities that will help us be most faithful and effective in continuing to participate in God’s mission in the world.

A Prayer for Our Continued Work
Holy Spirit, who broods over the world, fill the hearts and minds of your servants on the Taskforce for Reimagining The Episcopal Church with wisdom, clarity, and courage.  Work in them as they examine and recommend reforms for the structure, governance, and administration of this branch of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church. Help them propose reforms to more effectively proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ, to challenge the world to seek and serve Christ in all persons—loving our neighbors as ourselves—and to be a blazing light for the kind of justice and peace that leads to all people respecting the dignity of every other human being. Be with The Episcopal Church that we may be open to the challenges that this Taskforce will bring to us, and help the whole church to discern your will for our future. In the name of Jesus Christ our Mediator, on whose life this Church was founded.  AMEN
__________________________________
[1] To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom. To teach, baptize and nurture new believers. To respond to human need by loving service. To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation. To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
________________________________________

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

TREC plans a churchwide meeting on October 2. Details are available here.

It’s time to vote for 2014 Episcopal Church Christmas card

ENS Headlines - Thursday, September 4, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] It’s time to vote for your favorite original artwork that will be used for the 2014 Episcopal Church Christmas card.

Forty-eight artists submitted 70 entries expressing a local understanding of God’s incarnation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

About the voting:

  • Submissions and voting instructions are here
  • Participants are requested to vote for only one.
  • Voting is open until September 19.
  • Winner will be announced on October 1.

A printable PDF of the card with the winning artwork will be made available online to all congregations.  The greeting inside the card will appear in English, Spanish, French, Creole and Navajo.

For information about voting process contact Ana Arias, or Barry Merer.

For information on the Christmas Card Image Contest, contact Neva Rae Fox publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org

The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/episcopalian

Twitter: www.twitter.com/iamepiscopalian

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/EpiscopalChurchYT

Rapidísimas

ENS Headlines - Thursday, September 4, 2014

La situación entre Rusia y Ucrania sigue tensa y confusa. En la ciudad oriental de Luhansk hay frecuentes encuentros. Rusia ha instado a los militares de Ucrania a retirarse de los centros de población civil en el este, pues alegó que los separatistas de la región no se desarmarán por temor a perder la vida. El presidente de Ucrania, Petro Poroshenko, ha dicho que miles de soldados rusos están en el este, ayudando a los separatistas. Hay posibilidades de un conflicto mayor.

El papa Francisco ha enviado “saludos fraternos” a los participantes de un sínodo de las Iglesia Metodista y Valdense que se celebró a fines de agosto en Torre Pellice, cerca de Turín en Italia. En una carta el pontífice dice en parte: “Pido al Señor que conceda a todos los cristianos progresar en el camino hacia la plena comunión” para dar testimonio del Señor Jesucristo  y ofrecer la luz y fuerza de su evangelio.

Según informes oficiales en Nicaragua hay entre 10 y 15 muertes violentas todos los fines de semanas en accidentes de tránsito y homicidios.  La Red de Mujeres de Lucha contra la Violencia informa que recientemente se han cometido 72 asesinatos de mujeres.  Una reunión reciente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos Romanos trató el tema y dijo que “no debe confundirse la justa pena que el culpable debe pagar con el odio y la venganza” porque así se generaría más violencia. Por otra parte, se sabe que Nicaragua está pasando por una severa crisis económica.

Alberto Cutié ha sido nombrado sacerdote a cargo de la Iglesia St. Benedict en Plantation, una comunidad culturalmente diversa y entre las más activas de la diócesis del Sureste de la Florida. Su predecesor, Robert Deshaies se jubiló el 1 de septiembre después de casi 20 años en la parroquia. Ambos fueron sacerdotes de la Iglesia Católica Romana, antes de ser recibidos como miembros y sacerdotes de la Iglesia Episcopal. Enhorabuena.

 

Los ciudadanos dominicanos y haitianos deben tener autorización previa para poder ingresar a Panamá, según decreto del presidente, Juan Carlos Varela. El Ministerio de Seguridad Pública encargado del Servicio Nacional de Migración no dio detalles ni razones, para tal medida que no ha sido recibida con beneplácito por ambos países.

Robert Robinson, que por más de 20 años sirvió como oficial ejecutivo del Fondo de Pensiones de la Iglesia Episcopal, ha fallecido a la edad de 88 años. Robinson dirigió el Fondo con integridad y sabiduría pese a los vaivenes de la economía nacional. Uno de sus anécdotas favoritas era en la que un obispo le preguntó porque tenía que retirarse ya que se encontraba fuerte y con buena salud. Robinson le contestó con una corta nota: “Porque  ha llegado a los 72 años de edad. Además, los cánones de la iglesia no dicen que usted debe retirarse, sólo que debe renunciar a su jurisdicción”.

Clark Waddoups, juez distrital del Estado de Utah ha decidido anular parte de la ley de poligamia porque según él  viola “la libertad religiosa”. El fiscal general de Utah ha anunciado que apelará la decisión. En Utah la mayoría de sus habitantes pertenece a la Iglesia de los Santos de los Últimos Días (Mormona).  En este estado la poligamia no es permitida desde 1890.

El obispo Leopoldo Frade de la Diócesis de Sureste de Florida, se restablece en San Pedro Sula, Honduras, de una operación para reparar los meniscos en ambas rodillas. Lo operó el cirujano ortopédico que está encargado de asistir a un equipo de futbol de Honduras. “Mi única objeción es que ese no es el equipo de mi preferencia”, dice el obispo con su proverbial sentido del humor.

VERDAD. Nuestro auxilio está en el Nombre del Señor.  Salmo 126

Jamie L. Hamilton named rector of All Saints, Peterborough, NH

ENS Headlines - Thursday, September 4, 2014

The All Saints’ Episcopal Church Vestry, through Bishop Rob Hirschfeld, has issued a Call to the Reverend Jamie L. Hamilton to be their next rector, and the Rev. Hamilton has accepted the Call. She was presented to the congregation by Senior Warden Pam Everson, who said, “Those among us who have seen Jamie in her longtime role as celebrant at Dublin’s Emmanuel Episcopal Church and elsewhere, are well aware that she is a uniquely gifted and dynamic preacher, with a fine mind and a caring heart.”

Everson added, “We perceive her to be, in keeping with the traditions established by her beloved predecessors, a priest who will challenge our thinking with a far reaching and enlightened understanding of the scriptures, will move our hearts to greater compassion empowered by grace and will bring us into a communion with a presence beyond human understanding, wherein we may come to love one another and truly be at peace.”

The Rev. Hamilton is leaving Phillips Exeter Academy where she has worked since 1995, serving as Instructor of Religion and Philosophy, Chair of the Religion Department, Acting School Minister and Associate Dean of Students, in charge of student welfare. She is the former Priest-in-Charge at Emmanuel Church, Dublin, NH and before that, Associate Priest at the Church of the Heavenly Rest, New York City. She has two daughters, Cahaley age 25 and Lizzy age 21, and will be living in the All Saints’ Church Rectory.

The Rev. Hamilton will celebrate services at All Saints’ on Sunday, October 19.

For more information on All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Peterborough, NH, visit http://www.allsaints-nh.org, or call 603/924-3202. For more information on the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, visit www.nhepiscopal.org

Archbishop of Canterbury joins multi-faith peace vigil for Iraq

ENS Headlines - Thursday, September 4, 2014

Archbishop Justin Welby with Muslim and Jewish leaders outside Westminster Abbey, London, 3 September 2014. Photo: Lambeth Palace

[Lambeth Palace] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby joined faith leaders and representatives from faith-based NGOs today for a vigil showing solidarity with the people of Iraq and affirming the message that #WeAreAllHuman.

Welby joined Imam Ibrahim Mogra, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and Ayatollah Dr Sayed Fazel Milani at the vigil outside Westminster Abbey by the Innocent Victims Memorial.

Speaking at the vigil, Archbishop Justin said he joined the other faith leaders in “unreservedly” condemning the way that minority faith communities are being “wiped out” in ISIS-controlled areas.

The Archbishop, who met and prayed with Middle East church leaders at Lambeth Palace this morning, added that faith communities must also “stand against” the recent spike in attacks against Jews and Muslims in the UK.

“This must stop. We are all human,” he said.

The vigil was jointly organised by Christian Aid, Islamic Relief and World Jewish Relief in partnership with the Church of England, the Muslim Council of Britain and the Movement for Reform Judaism.

Read more:
Archbishop’s statement on Mid-East’s Christians 

Archbishop on the “terrible suffering” in Iraq

Video: Archbishop of Canterbury on Christians in the Middle East

ENS Headlines - Thursday, September 4, 2014

[Lambeth Palace] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has spoken of “a state of emergency” in the Middle East for Christians and other minorities.

After meeting and praying with leaders and representatives of Middle East churches at Lambeth Palace on Sept. 3, the archbishop said there have been “gross violations” of “fundamental rights and freedoms” in the region.

Read the text of the statement

Flanked by the other church leaders, the archbishop said in a statement to the media: “We gather today as Christians, including those originally from the Middle East, to stand in solidarity and prayer with our brothers and sisters, who seek to practice their faith and belief in lands where they have been a continuing presence since the beginning of Christianity,” he said.

Calling for justice “without impunity”, the Archbishop said the suffering of those bearing the brunt of ongoing terror “requires us to act and bear witness to their plight, whatever ethnic group or religious minority they come from.”

Later in the morning, the archbishop joined other faith leaders at a joint peace vigil for Iraq outside Westminster Abbey.

South Sudan bishop: ‘Did our martyrs die in vain?’

ENS Headlines - Thursday, September 4, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] An Anglican bishop has challenged the people of South Sudan and its leaders not to dishonor the memory of national martyrs by fighting each other.

Bishop of Wau Diocese in South Sudan, the Rt. Rev. Moses Deng Bol, stressed that for the young African nation to have a viable future there needed to be “love and unity” among its people.

Referring to the 22-year Sudanese Civil War that resulted in South Sudan becoming an independent nation in 2012 he said, “Did our martyrs die so that we would fight each other? Did they die for no good reason and do we keep disgracing them with our actions?”

“We have all seen too much hatred and fear and as a country we need unity and love,” he said. “South Sudan has seen a lot of violence and death and many people have experienced evil things that they will never forget.”

“[But] if our country is ever going to develop and become a better place we must find a way to forgive this pain. This may sound like too much to ask and even unreasonable, but we must challenge ourselves to forgive freely as a people.”

Unity means plenty for everyone
Deng said that much good comes from unity and that people must see the need for unity for South Sudan to be a strong and prosperous country. “If we are united we can have plenty and become a country we can all be proud of,” he said.

“Imagine if President Salva Kiir and former Vice President (now Rebel Leader) Riek Machier could forgive each other now and form a government of national unity. What a statement of faith that would be for the future of our young country. It would give everyone hope,” he said.

“As long as we think only of tribes and settle disagreements with violence there will be no progress.”

Refugees can’t nation build
Reports indicate that more than 1 million people have been displaced inside South Sudan and more than 400,000 people have fled to neighboring countries of Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda, as a result of the conflict.

Politically the country is divided along tribal lines, largely between the tribes of Dinka and Nuer. Bishop Deng said this is particularly damaging for a young nation like South Sudan.

In term of economic development, parts of the country have slipped back to the levels during the Second Civil War (between 1983-2005). Many people are stuck in UN camps, others are in internally displaced peoples camps, and others in refugee camps in neighboring countries.

The bishop said these displaced South Sudanese are in no position to produce anything for themselves or for the country.

“Life for everyone in South Sudan should get better and people should be more educated,” he reasoned. “We should be more united as a country and work together to promote peace and reconciliation everywhere in the country.

“Jesus did not teach hatred he taught forgiveness, and the life he lived serves as an example for everyone. There was no one that Jesus would not help because his faith in God was so strong,” he said.

General Convention 2015 exhibitor applications available

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Exhibitor applications are now available for organizations and vendors interested in exhibiting at The Episcopal Church’s 78th General Convention,June 25 – July 3, 2015 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, UT (Diocese of Utah).

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years, and is the bicameral governing body of the Church. It is comprised of the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay representatives elected from the 110 dioceses of the Church, at more than 800 members.

Exhibitor applications are available through the General Convention website here.

The Exhibit area serves as a marketplace and educational arena for attendees. General Convention Manager Lori M. Ionnitiu explained that General Convention attracts thousands of people of all ages for more than one week which provides a desirable venue for exhibitors.

For more information contact Ionnitiu at LIonnitiu@episcopalchurch.org212-716-6048

Anglican-Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council communiqué

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

[Anglican Communion Office] The Anglican-Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council (AOCICC) met in Kilkenny, Ireland, from 27 to 30 August 2014.

This was the second meeting of the Council in its present round.

Major tasks of this meeting included:

  • Editing of a booklet which introduces AOCICC’s 2011 paper on Ecclesiology and Mission (Belonging Together in Europe) for the faithful of both communions;
  • Consideration of how to develop further concrete proposals for the common mission of the Anglican and Old Catholic Churches on the European continent;
  • Updating each other about developments within each Communion, including plans for the upcoming International Old Catholic Congress which will mark the 125th anniversary of the Union of Utrecht of the Old Catholic Churches;
  • Briefing each other about developments in the bilateral ecumenical relationships in which each Communion is engaged.

A special session of the Council was devoted to engaging with representatives of European institutions in Ireland, to understand better the possibilities for engagement and witness in Europe; particularly how to take advantage of the opportunities for consultation afforded the Churches under the EU treaties.

The Council prayed and studied the Bible daily and, having visited the St Willibrord exhibition in Carlow, celebrated the Eucharist at Leighlin Cathedral together with members of the Church of Ireland.

The Council is grateful to the Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory for its hospitality, the Dean and parishioners of Leighlin, and especially to Bishop Michael Burrows and his family, who welcomed the Council into their home for the meeting.

The Council wishes to record its gratitude to Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan for her distinguished contribution to its work over the last five years, and assures her of its prayers for the future.

The Council will meet again in Zurich, Switzerland 26–30 May 2015

For further information, please contact the Revd Lars Simpson +41 44 211 12 76, lars.simpson@christkath-zuerich.ch; or Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan at the Anglican Communion Office, +44 20 7313 3930, alyson.barnett-cowan@anglicancommunion.org.

Present at the meeting:

Anglicans

The Rt Revd Michael Burrows, Co-chair
The Revd Jennifer Adams-Massman
The Rt Revd David Hamid
Mrs Jennifer Knudsen
Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan, Co-secretary
Mr Neil Vigers, Anglican Communion Office

Old Catholics

The Rt Revd Dr Dirk Jan Schoon, Co-chair
The Revd Professor Dr Angela Berlis
The Revd Professor Dr David R Holeton

41 St. Paul’s students earned AP Scholar Awards

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

[St. Paul’s Episcopal School - press release] St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile, Alabama, is honored to announce that forty-one students were listed among the highest scorers in the country by their performance in their AP courses and exams.

These AP Scholars have demonstrated college-level achievement through rigorous classes accredited by the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) which provides willing and academically prepared high school students with the opportunity to take college-level courses to earn college credit. The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on students’ performance on the AP Exams.

AP Scholar: Granted to students who receive grades of 3 or higher on three or more AP Exams.

Kendall A. Bailey, Virginia G. Cottrell*, Nina C. Crawford*, Zoe S. Donalson*, Marissa F. Donovan*, Taylor L. Evans, William R. Foster, Hallie A. King*, Jonathan Landry*, Klaudia J. Larson*, Rachel McCaslin*, Whitney N. Myers*, Ellis K. Nobles, Matthews O’Connor*, Zachary B. Parker, Brockton M. Payne*, Rebecca M. Pober*, Graham Reeves*, Caroline E. Scott, Richard Smith, Virginia M. Vichi-Miller*, Benton G. Weinacker, Susan D. Wettermark. 

AP Scholar with Honor: Granted to students who receive an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, AND grades of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.

 Taylor A. Bahos*, Ryan Cox*, Kellsey L. Daggett*, Matthew A. D’Alonzo, Victoria M. Falkos, George R. Irvine*, Wade K. Naritoku*

AP Scholar with Distinction: Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams, AND scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.

 Abigail L. Blankenship*, Conner J. Denton*, Holly N. Friedlander*, Alexandra L. Goodwin*, Louis A. Henry*, Katherine B. Jeffries*, John F. Kavula*, Brewer G. Kirkendall*, Jessica R. Knezha*, Katherine M. Steadman*, Danielle C. Williamson*

National AP Scholar: Granted to students in the United States who receive an average score of at least 4 on all AP exams and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.

 Abigail L. Blankenship*, Danielle C. Williamson*

To learn more about these scholars and the Advanced Placement curriculum at St. Paul’s Episcopal School, contact Morgan Berney, Associate Director of Marketing & Communications at 251.461.2145 or mberney@stpaulsmobile.net.

RIP: Sr. Lucy Shetters of the Community of St. Mary, Southern Province

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

On August 29, 2014, the Rev. Sister Lucy of the Community of St. Mary, Southern Province (aka Lucy Lee Shetters) died in her 80th year of life, the 58th year of her religious profession, and the 34th year of her priestly ordination. Sister was the first woman to be ordained in the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee and was well known throughout the Diocese. She was a native of Tennessee, born in Sherwood in 1933, and entered the Community of St. Mary in 1954. Bishop Horace W.B. Donegan, then Bishop of New York and Visitor of the Community, presided at her religious profession on September 27, 1956. On Sept. 4, 1958, she was sent as a missionary Sister to Sagada in the Philippines, where she served for seven years. In the mid-sixties, she served briefly in the Community’s schools: St. Mary’s School in Peekskill, NY, and St. Mary’s School in Sewanee, TN. She also served briefly as the Assistant Superior (1966-68) and Novice Mistress (1968 -72) at the Mother House of the order in Peekskill, NY. In the early 1970s she was appointed the Sister-in-Charge of St. Mary’s Convent in Sewanee, where she helped develop the retreat center that later became known as St. Mary’s Sewanee. In 1977, Sr. Lucy entered the School of Theology at the University of the South in order to serve as a priest for the Community and for the congregation that came to its chapel. She was ordained a priest by the Right Rev. Bill Sanders on May 7, 1980. Shortly thereafter, in 1981, Grace Fellowship Church in Garnertown called her as its pastor. She was also sometime chaplain for the Companions of the Holy Cross. She also served, off and on, as Sister-in-Charge of the Southern Province of the Community of St. Mary for a total of 36 years. Under her leadership, the Community embraced liturgical change, negotiated a transfer of the ministry and the ownership of the retreat center to an independent board, built a ! new convent and moved to the Community’s present location, re-established a connection with the Mountain Province, Philippines, and received the remaining Sisters there into the Community of St. Mary, Southern Province, and established a branch house in Los Angeles.

Sister Lucy was also asked by the Diocese of Tennessee to extend her priestly ministry beyond the convent chapel. From 1988 – 1993, she served as vicar of St James Episcopal mission and got the grant that enabled the mission to build its present sanctuary and bell tower. From 1994 – 2008, she served as vicar of Epiphany Mission in Sherwood, TN. From 2008 onward, Sr. Lucy continued to serve the congregation at the convent chapel and Grace Fellowship as she was able. Her health, however, worsened considerable in her remaining years. Her death freed her of all pain, reunited her with her Sisters and family who have gone before, and joined her forever with the God who loves her most dearly.

Sister is preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Ruby Clark Shetters; her aunt, Linnie McBee; and her siblings: Johnny Shetters, Jerry Shetters, William Shetters, Letty Shetters. Her surviving relatives are Charles Shetters (Rockport, Texas), James Shetters (Aransas Pass, Texas), Roy Shetters (Ingleside, Texas), Bettie Kachele (Albuquerque, New Mexico), Linda Curtis (Decherd, TN) and Betty Sue Rollins (Sewanee, TN) her cousin.

Sr. Lucy’s life and ministry will be celebrated at a memorial service on September 20th at All Saints Chapel at 11 o’clock, followed by a reception. This service will include any and all who have been touched by her ministry. Her funeral service and burial will be held later at the convent on September 27th at 11 o’clock. All are invited to that service and the reception as well.

‘Women must be heard in church and society,’ says Melanesia primate

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

“Your mission is to liberate women from cultural and religious beliefs that oppress and discriminate against women,” Archbishop David told MU delegates. Photo: Anglican Church of Melanesia

[Anglican Church of Melanesia] The Archbishop of Melanesia, who is also the patron of the Mothers’ Union (MU), has urged MU delegates to promote the place of women in the church and society.

The Most Rev. David Vunagi made the statement at the official opening of this 13th Provincial Mothers’ Union General Conference at the Melanesia Haus on August 25.

The theme for the conference was: Faithful Relationship in Unity, Mission and Service.

“Your mission is to liberate women from cultural and religious beliefs that oppress and discriminate against women,” Vunagi said.

“But before you can do that, you must take the initiative to raise your own self-esteem and liberate yourselves from the negative impacts of culture and religion that restrict the place of women in the church and society.”

He said women, particularly in Melanesia, have been conditioned by culture and religion to think that their place is at the periphery of any organization or body of people.

The archbishop urged church and society, especially in Melanesia, to listen to the voices of women, girls and children who are “always placed at the deep end of the stick”. He said it is only when church and society are listening that they can establish achievable goals to remedy unjust systems and structures.

“It should be part of the witness for the gospel that the church must work towards dismantling the conditioned mentality of the society that put women at the backburner. But women must have trust and confidence in themselves that they are equal partners of men in the mission and ministry of the Church.”

It is for such reason that this general conference can help women in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands recognize the negative impacts of the different forms of oppression and discrimination that have continued to hinder them in fully participating in the decision-making processes in the church and in the communities they live.

It is also for such reason that this consultation will help to develop a dynamic process that will help establish a societal environment that is truly free and inclusive to help women fully realize their worth and potential.

The general conference ran from August 25-30.

About 80 MU delegates from the nine dioceses across the Anglican Church of Melanesia plus provincial MU staff took joined the conference.

J. Michael Utzinger receives Burr award

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

[The Historical Society of the Episcopal Church] The Historical Society of the Episcopal Church is pleased to announce its recipient of the 2014 Nelson R. Burr Prize. Recipient Dr. J. Michael Utzinger is Elliott Professor of Religion at Hampden Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, Virginia. He is honored for his article “The Tragedy of Prince Edward: The Religious Turn and the Destabilization of One Parish’s  Resistance to Integration, 1963-1965.” The selection committee noted that his article was deeply researched in primary sources, well written, cognizant of pertinent scholarly work and presented a nuanced interpretation that placed local events in a larger scholarly context.

This Burr prize honors the renown scholar whose two-volume A Critical Bibliography of Religion in America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961) and other works constitute landmarks in the field of religious historiography. Each year a committee of the Society selects the author of the most outstanding article in the Society’s journal, Anglican and Episcopal History, as recipient. The aware also honors that which best exemplifies excellence and innovative scholarship in the field of Anglican and Episcopal history.

Dr. Utzinger carries a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia (2000), an M. Div. from Yale University (1993) and a B.A. in Theology from Valparaiso University (1990). He was a Lilly Fellow for the Arts and Humanities 1999-2000. While at Hampden-Sydney he received the 2010 Cabell Award for Excellence in Teaching and was named the William W. Elliot Associate Professor of Religion in 2011.

Utzinger serves as moderator of the Southeastern Colloquium on American Religious Studies  (SCARS), and a contributing editor for the blog “Religion in American History”: usreligion.blogspot.com. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Robert Russa Moton Museum for the Study of Civil Rights in Education and on the vestry of Johns Memorial Episcopal Church. He participated on the Anti-racism Commission and the Commission on Ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. At Hampden-Sydney, Dr. Utzinger is chair of the Department of Religion and has served as Associate Director of the Honors Program (twice as Interim Director) and as Associate Dean of the Faculty (2011-2014). He is Secretary of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church but had no involvement in the determination of the award.

Martin’s journey to the White House

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

[St Andrew’s Episcopal Church - Seattle, Washington] Across the alley from our church, the four members of the Martínez family to whom St. Andrew’s has given shelter for the past twelve months will be moving on by the end of October. Their sponsor, Compass Housing Alliance, has provided excellent logistical and counseling support. The parents, Martín and Natividad, have both been thoroughly immersed in training and English language courses to equip them for the next phase of their lives. Their youngest son, Brandon, 15, will be a sophomore at Roosevelt high this fall and is on the football team. Martín Jr., 20,  has just graduated from Everett Community College and begins this fall as a full-time student on scholarship at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA. He has also been working full-time this summer for a construction company and is saving up for college expenses as well as putting money into the bare-bones family budget.

Says Deacon Anne Novak, our early liaison with the Martínez family, “They have been wonderful occupants of Brighton House— very self-reliant, and have never asked for a single thing. I’ll be extremely sorry to see them go,” she says. Those of us who have had a small part in offering moral support and encouragement to them are humbled by their determination and resolve despite tremendous personal obstacles.

But this writeup is primarily about young Martín, whose outstanding achievements at Everett, and enrollment at EWU this fall are only part of this young man’s story and his keen sense of responsibility for his family, his fellow Latinos, and the larger community. In a recent extended conversation with him I learned that he helped organize a trip to Washington, D.C. this past June with some of his fellow students. Their purpose: to advocate in front of the White House for two days, for comprehensive immigration reform. On August 8 I interviewed Martín again at length about this trip and about his own future aspirations.

I should note that Martín is a “Dreamer,” the informal name for the granting of legal status to those who came at a young age across the border to the United States, and who have been in school here for at least five years. Two years ago President Obama established this category by executive order under the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals Initiative (DACA). Martín qualified.

Q. Martín, while you were a student at Everett Community College you helped organize this trip. Who went, and how did you get there?

A. There were eight of us, and we drove in two cars. Together we raised all the money for our transportation expenses, sleeping in our cars en route across the country. We also paid for a pretty shabby apartment, sleeping there on the floor as well as the beds.

Q. Why did you go, and what did you want to accomplish?

A. As young Latinos now living and studying in the United States, we wanted to go in front of the place where the president lives, to create more awareness of the critical need for immigration reform. But I also can’t deny that on the way we enjoyed some sightseeing as we crossed the country for the first time, and I wondered later whether we might have done more than we did.

Q. Say a little about the experience of demonstrating in front of the White House.

A. We were there with our placards for two days, for five hours each day. As we started protesting, several people gave us dirty looks. We listened to verbal abuse—“You’re not supposed to be in this country,” “Go home, wetback”, “You people take our jobs away”, “You don’t pay taxes”, and worse. It felt really bad to actually hear this face to face. But some other people gave us high fives and joined our protesting cause—especially college students. We even had over 80 people protesting with us. That felt really good.

Q. Did any of you visit the offices of Washington’s congressional representatives?

A. Yes, we visited the offices of Rep. Suzan DelBene (Dem., District 1), and Rep. Rick Larsen (Rep., District 2). Both representatives spoke personally with us.

Q. What was their response to your advocacy for immigration reform?

A. Rep. DelBene was very supportive; she understood the issue very well.
“Keep pushing for what you want”, she told us. And she reminded us that not only Latino immigrants needed our support, but also those from countries other than Latin America.  However, after keeping us waiting for an hour, Rep. Larsen gave us only ten minutes. He told us our cause was useless, that the immigration situation was never going to change.

Q. In this issue of immigration as our country is currently facing it, are there moral or historical reasons why it’s important to you personally?

A. First, this affects me and my family personally. Secondly,  immigration reform is basically a human rights issue. We immigrants are devalued as human beings; we are deprived of our human rights due to the lack of a social security number. Another thing regarding the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino”. It was Europeans who used the term Hispanic to designate us, giving it a colonial connotation. Latino is a better term; we ourselves began to use it in preference to Hispanic.

Q. How can we in the churches respond better to the issue of immigration reform?

A. First, understand the issue! Create awareness. Educate people. Also the churches can support or join community and other organizations that are supporting immigration reform.

Q. Martín, what are your own personal goals as you set off for Eastern Washington University as a full-time student?

A. First, to get my bachelor’s degree. My major will be business management and administration, with a minor in psychology. At Everett I was president of Mecha, a national student group advocating the rights of Latinos. At EWU my classes begin the last week in September. I’ve already contacted the Mecha chapter there, and they’ve asked me to be a leader in their group.

Q. Finally, what would you like to do now to continue furthering the cause of immigrant rights?

A. I have a dream: to organize a large event for immigration reform that actually places the students themselves in the leadership of the event, as opposed to just participating.

Thank you sincerely, Martín! It’s been a special privilege.

– The Rev. Canon Dick Gillett is a parishioner at St Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Seattle, Washington. 

Massachusetts Bishop Gayle Harris makes history in Welsh cathedral

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Massachusetts Bishop Suffragan Gayle Harris presides during Eucharist at St. Asaph’s Cathedral in Wales on Aug. 31, becoming the first Anglican female bishop to preside at a Welsh Cathedral. Photo: Nathaniel Ramanaden

[Episcopal News Service] As the Church in Wales prepares to enable women to become bishops, Bishop Suffragan Gayle Harris of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts became the first female Anglican bishop to preside and preach in a Welsh cathedral.

“The church is not just enriched by women’s ordination, it’s more enabled and empowered by women’s presence,” she told Episcopal News Service during a telephone interview from the U.K. as she prepared for her historic participation in the 11 a.m. Eucharist service on Aug. 31 at St. Asaph Cathedral in Denbighshire, North Wales. “I see women bringing to the fore the desire that all people sit at the table of leadership, that all share in the benefits of the life of God. Nobody should be ignored or left out.”

Although the Church in Wales voted on Sept. 12, 2013, to allow women as bishops, it decided that church law would not be changed for one year to allow the Welsh bishops time to prepare a Code of Practice. The Church of England also made history when its General Synod, meeting last July, approved legislation to enable women to serve as bishops.

Bishop Gregory Cameron of the Diocese of St. Asaph invited Massachusetts Bishop Suffragan Gayle Harris to preach and preside at St. Asaph’s Cathedral. Photo: Nathaniel Ramanaden

Harris’s visit came at the invitation of Diocese of St. Asaph Bishop Gregory Cameron, who said he’s been surprised at how long it has taken the Church in Wales to take the step to ordaining women as bishops.

“I’ve had significant experience of women bishops around the Anglican Communion, and their ministry is as natural and appropriate as our fundamental membership in the church, male and female,” he told ENS. “In fact, the women bishops I have known have been of exceptional ability and talent. It is precisely because women bishops are not new to the Communion that I’m delighted to have had the chance to invite Bishop Gayle Harris to join us, as we approach the date when women may be elected to the episcopate in Wales.”

But for Harris, the second African-American woman to be ordained a bishop in the Episcopal Church, her arrival in the U.K. didn’t go as smoothly as expected. The U.K. Border Force detained Harris for more than five hours and told her she would have to return to the U.S. even though she had the required paperwork and permissions, including from the Church in Wales and the Archbishop of York.

Despite the ordeal, Harris said that the border officers “were very polite, civil and courteous” and that once they’d discovered that her visit was legitimate, the deportation order was rescinded. “I know that the people at the airport were just trying to do their job,” she said, adding that the head officer of the U.K. Border Force offered her a personal apology for the detention being so long.

Harris was relieved to put the experience behind her and focus on the planned itinerary and upcoming celebrations.

Harris already had plans in place to visit the U.K. — to officiate at her goddaughter’s wedding — when she was invited to send a greeting to Crossing the Threshold, a conference celebrating the law change to enable women to become bishops.

She will attend the Sept. 4 conference in Cardiff and retired Bishop Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island will participate as a keynote speaker.

The Episcopal Church became the first Anglican Communion province to open the episcopate to women by an act of General Convention in 1976, although it would be another 13 years until the Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris – Bishop Gayle Harris’s predecessor in Massachusetts – is ordained as its first female bishop in 1989. Last July, the Episcopal Church celebrated 40 years since the first women were ordained as priests. Yet the majority of Anglican Communion provinces still do not ordain women as bishops.

“There are places where we may not see women ordained to the episcopacy in our lifetime or even in the next generation but I believe God can call whoever He wants to call; male or female, black or white,” said Harris. “Sometimes it is hard for us to hear and discern that call and that’s why it takes longer in some places than others.”

Bishop Gayle Harris was ordained to the priesthood in 1982 and elected as bishop suffragan of Massachusetts in 2002. That journey, she said, has had its ups and downs, but she has been sustained throughout by the presence of God.

Massachusetts Bishop Suffragan Gayle Harris preaches Aug. 31 at St. Asaph’s Cathedral in Wales. Photo: Nathaniel Ramanaden

During her sermon at St. Asaph’s Cathedral, Harris spoke about being a follower of Christ and explained that discipleship isn’t easy and involves personal cost.

As the first black woman to celebrate mass in an upstate New York church in the early ‘90s, Harris received various reactions, both positive and negative. “No one in that parish had ever seen a woman in that sanctuary, but they took the risk to call me as rector” of St. Luke and St. Simon Cyrene Church in Rochester, New York, she said.

“During the first Sunday I chose not to celebrate but to sit among them to get to know them,” she added. Some parishioners said that they were not going to come back, Harris said. Fortunately, most did, including some dissenting parishioners who later admitted “it was not as bad as they had expected.”

“What’s important is the presence of God,” Harris said. “I am first and foremost created in the image of God. No one can deny that is my identity. But all of my experience of negative response is not over. I have been held as incompetent because of who I am as a black woman. That continues. I still think that this world has to deal with the difference of skin color. We keep bypassing that issue. As a black woman, sometimes I have to ask is it because I am a woman but most of the time it is because I am black and a woman. The race issue has not been dealt with.”

Harris said she is grateful to Cameron for his invitation to St. Asaph’s. “It says a lot about him and how gracious he is. But I see this as another opportunity to engage and encounter the other,” she said. “I believe God is in this moment.”

– Matthew Davies is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

Social and environmental justice are intimately, profoundly linked

ENS Headlines - Friday, August 29, 2014

[Anglican Communion Environmental Network press release] “Sleeper awake!” is the opening call of a new Anglican resource for the Season of Creation, the third in a series published by the Anglican Church in Southern Africa.

The resource has sermon notes and liturgical materials covering the themes of climate change, eco-justice, water, creation and redemption and biodiversity.

It is dedicated to the memory of Professor Wangari Muta Maathai who in 1971 founded the Kenyan Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and the empowerment of communities.

“This third volume of resources helps us to see that care for Creation is rooted in social justice”, said the Revd Dr Rachel Mash, Environmental Co-ordinator Anglican Church of Southern Africa. “As we worship the Creator God in the beauty of a waterfall, we also raise our voices to protest with those who have no access to clean water and sanitation.”

Dr Mash reflected on the relevance and purpose of the Season of Creation. “There is a danger that care for creation and environmental concern are seen as a luxury for middle class Christians in leafy suburbs. So-called ‘Greenies’ or ‘tree huggers’ are perceived to be more concerned about the plight of the rhino than the plight of the vulnerable child. The connections between social and environmental justice are more intimately and profoundly linked. Ecological justice is relevant to everyone’s life, to everyone’s faith.”

Canon Ken Gray, Secretary of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, explained the growing significance of a focus on Creation in the church calendar. “While the seasons of the church year follow the life of Jesus through Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and Easter, the remainder of the church year encompasses Pentecost Season, which celebrates life in the Holy Spirit. Within Pentecost many Christians now celebrate a ‘Season of Creation’.

“During its meeting in Auckland in 2012, the Anglican Consultative Council requested that all Anglican Provinces consider the inclusion of a season of Creation in the liturgical calendar as an expression of environmental concern. The World Council of Churches has for some time proposed that 1 September through to 4 October become ‘Time for Creation’. In 1989 the late Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Dimitrios I proclaimed 1 September as a day of prayer for the environment. On 4 October, Roman Catholics and other Christians celebrate the witness of St Francis.

“The Anglican Communion Environmental Network has released an online compilation of rites and resources demonstrating the huge and increasing interest in a Season of Creation.”

Canon Gray noted that in many Anglican Provinces, permission to use alternative rites, especially during primary Sunday services is required from the local bishop. “That said, where flexibility is permitted, even encouraged, many new rites contain resources of music, prayer, homilies, contextual introduction, audio-video presentations and Eucharistic rites for local use.”

Throughout this year’s Season of Creation, the Anglican Communion Environmental Network will post events, resources, stories and articles, including a feature on St Francis and Mahatma Gandhi and reports from the People’s Climate March in New York City on 21 September and links to a webcast of the ‘Religions for the Earth Multifaith Service’ at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in the evening.

The Network supports and promotes the Anglican Alliance ‘Oceans of Justice Campaign’ and the international, inter faith project ‘ourvoices.net’.

Links

Pilgrimage to Bishop Charles Henry Brent’s birthplace a joyous occasion

ENS Headlines - Friday, August 29, 2014

[Diocese of Toronto] Dr. John Alipit’s pilgrimage came to an emotional end inside St. George, Newcastle.

Dr. Alipit, born and raised in the Philippines and now living in Michigan, came to St. George’s in early August to pay homage to the man who had converted his parents to Christianity and provided him with an education that changed the course of his life.

“I practically shed tears when I first stepped into the church,” he said.

Dr. Alipit, a retired surgeon, was with a group of about 200 former students of St. Mary’s School in Sagada, a region in the northern Philippines. They had come to Newcastle to pay their respects to Bishop Charles Henry Brent, a child of the parish who had gone on to an illustrious career but is unknown to many Canadian Anglicans.

“I don’t think that there is any question that Bishop Brent was one of the best shepherds you would ever know,” said Dr. Alipit. “This is a spiritual journey for us, and now at last we are reconnected with Bishop Brent.”

In 1903, Bishop Brent, then a missionary bishop for The Episcopal Church of the United States, explored the area where Sagada is located and vowed not only to bring Christianity to the inhabitants but to provide education for them.

“Our area used to be a pagan, head-hunting region,” said Andrew Bacdayan, the president of St. Mary’s School. “Bishop Brent came and expressed his love for our people and worked very hard for our benefit.”

In 1904, Bishop Brent sent the Rev. John Staunton, an Episcopal priest from New York, to start a mission in Sagada. He provided schooling to the local children, and in 1912 St. Mary’s School was built. Over the years, the school developed a reputation for academic excellence.

“St. Mary’s School was one of the best in the Philippines, and we owe what we have to the type of education we got there,” said Dr. Alipit.

In the 1990s, the school was facing a financial shortfall, and by 2000 it was on the verge of closing. Alumni and their friends rallied to the school’s defence and put it on a sound financial footing.

Since 2005, alumni have been meeting every two years to raise funds for scholarships and school improvements. This year it was held in Toronto. “We chose Toronto not only because it is the area where Bishop Brent was born, bred and educated, but also for a special reason,” said Mr. Bacdayan. “We are a grateful people, and it is fitting that we, as alumni and friends of the school his bishopric founded, come to express our gratitude to his people.”

For many alumni, the highlight of the conference was the trip to St. George’s. They attended a special worship service that ended with rousing school songs, tears and hugs. The Rev. Eugene Berlenbach, the priest-in-charge of St. George’s, worked for a year to put it on.

“It was awesome, I cannot describe it,” said Rose Nabert, wiping away tears. “Here you are at the place where the person who came to you and brought the Christ to you lived. It’s overwhelming.”

Ms. Nabert graduated from St. Mary’s School in 1962. She went to a nursing school in the Philippines, then to a nursing school in Rochester, NY, as an exchange student. After a few years back in the Philippines, she attended Cornell University and then came to Canada. She lives in Toronto and is a member of St. Bartholomew, Regent Park.

“It feels like we’ve come full circle,” she said. “I know I wouldn’t be here without the missionaries. I never would have been a Christian. Our community in Sagada revolved around the school and the church. They were one. I don’t think I would have lasted away from home (in Rochester) without the church. It was very caring.”

The service at St. George was celebrated by Archbishop Terence Finlay, with assistance from Bishop Michael Bedford-Jones and Bishop Benjamin Botengan of the Central Diocese of the Philippines. After the service, everyone enjoyed music and dancing outside and a lunch in the parish hall.

Who was Bishop Charles Henry Brent?

Bishop Charles Henry Brent was one of the most influential clerics of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is commemorated in the liturgical calendars of both the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church of the United States. His feast day is March 27 (BAS p. 24).

Born in Newcastle, Ontario, in 1862, Bishop Brent attended Trinity College School in Port Hope where one of the residential houses is named after him. He graduated from Trinity College, Toronto, and was ordained deacon and priest by the Bishop of Toronto. He took a parish in Buffalo, then tested his vocation at the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Cambridge Mass., but subsequently withdrew to take on parish work in one of the poorest sections of Boston.

In 1901, he was elected first missionary bishop of the Philippines, which at that time was a new territory acquired by the United States at the conclusion of the 1898 Spanish-American War. In Manila, he was pastor to Americans in both the government and private sectors. Being a personal friend of the territory’s first civil governor, Governor William Howard Taft, he became an unofficial adviser to the colonial government. Most importantly, from the point of view of the marginalized non-Christian tribes in both the northern and southern parts of the colony, he was a prodigious builder of churches, hospitals and schools. St. Mary’s School in Sagada in the northern Philippines was built during his episcopate.

After departing Manila in 1917 to spend a year as Senior Headquarters Chaplain of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during the First World War, he returned to the U.S. to become Bishop of the Diocese of Western New York in 1918. At that time, he was already an internationally recognized figure, and later would appear on the cover of Time magazine.

Bishop Brent’s international recognition stemmed from his work in two areas. First, he strongly advocated the regulation of opium use which the American colonial authorities then considered to be a serious problem facing Philippine society. As a testament to his leadership in this area, he was asked by the United States government to preside at the International Opium Conference in Shanghai in 1909, and later to head up the American delegations to the international opium conferences held at The Hague, Netherlands in 1911 and 1912.

Second, he was also a strong advocate for world church unity, now known as ecumenism. In both his bishoprics in the Philippines and the Diocese of Western New York, he unrelentingly pushed for ecumenism, a personal crusade that began to bear fruit when he became the unanimous choice for president of the First World Conference on Faith and Order, which met on Aug. 3, 1927, in Lausanne, Switzerland. On March 27, 1929, while on a return visit to Lausanne, he died and remains buried there. He was 66. His granite grave marker has an eloquent Celtic cross carved on its top. His obituary in the Manchester Guardian said, “He could speak to businessmen or diplomats or undergraduates with equal ease, and all knew that a man of God had been among us.”

Due to the interruptions created by the Second World War, the meeting he presided at in 1927 finally culminated in the founding in 1948 of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland. To some of his biographers, this was the crowning glory of his distinguished career.

Information for this article was supplied by Bishop Michael Bedford-Jones (retired) of the Diocese of Toronto and Andrew Bacdayan, president and board chair of St. Mary’s School of Sagada Alumni and Friends Foundation.