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Malcolm Young named as 9th dean of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco

ENS Headlines - Thursday, May 14, 2015

[Grace Cathedral press release] The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, bishop of California, and the Board of Trustees of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, have announced that the Rev. Malcolm Clemens Young has accepted their nomination and call to become the 9th dean of Grace Cathedral.

Young is a Harvard-trained theologian who currently serves as the rector of Christ Church, Los Altos, California. During his time at Christ Church, Young founded the Ventana School, an Episcopal day school for students from pre-school to 5th grade.

Young is married to Heidi Ho, and they have two teenage children, Micah and Melia.

Young is expected to join Grace Cathedral on Aug. 1 and will succeed the Very Rev. Jane Shaw, 8th dean of Grace Cathedral, who became the dean for religious life at Stanford University in autumn 2014.

Anglicans continue emergency assistance following second Nepal quake

ENS Headlines - Thursday, May 14, 2015

[Anglican Communion News Service] Anglican agencies have renewed appeals for support after a second earthquake hit Nepal causing further death and destruction, the Anglican Alliance reports.

The 7.3 magnitude quake struck around 12.30 p.m. local time on Tuesday, May 12, killing at least 82 people, including 17 in neighboring India and one in Chinese Tibet. It came on the heels of the 8.1 magnitude quake on April 25 in which some 7,700 died.

“The [first] quake has claimed more than 7,000 lives, and many more thousands injured. We have lost many members, including a dear pastor, [Laxman Tamang],” said the Rev. Lewis Lew, Anglican dean of Nepal.

Eighteen Anglican church buildings had been destroyed, as well as more than 8,000 homes in the communities where the church was present, according to Lew, who underlined the need for emergency assistance: “More than 30,000 in these affected areas are displaced. Many are still needing temporary shelters, food supplies and medical aids.”

Since the first earthquake, the Anglican Alliance has kept in close touch with the Deanery of Nepal and with the various relief and development agencies around the Anglican Communion. Many, including Episcopal Relief & Development, launched appeals immediately following the first earthquake and are continuing to fund emergency assistance to meet urgent needs for food, clean water and shelter.

A first medical response team was to travel to the disaster area May 6-11, said ACROSS, a crisis relief ministry under the Diocesan Mission Board of The Diocese of Singapore.

According to Anglican Overseas Aid, ACT Alliance partners have distributed tarpaulins, hygiene kits and ready-made food to families in Kathmandu and are assessing the situation in remote communities, with the aim of providing water, sanitation and hygiene materials, as well as emergency shelter to people who lost their homes or who are staying outside for fear of aftershocks.

Local clergy, pastors and church leaders gathered in Kathmandu on May 11 for a time of prayer and encouragement. “This will be an important time for the Anglican Church in Nepal, and we need your prayers, for myself and the clergy team from Singapore, as we stand together with our brethren,” said Lew.

To support the Nepal Earthquake Response Fund, please visit episcopalrelief.org.

Yemen: Situation in Aden ‘terrible,’ says Anglican bishop

ENS Headlines - Thursday, May 14, 2015

Photo: Christ Church Aden

[The Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf] The Rt. Rev. Michael Lewis, bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf (The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East), has said that the situation in Aden, Yemen, remains very difficult but that staff of the clinic associated with Christ Church were safe despite property damage due to blast waves from shelling in the area.

He writes:

“As of today [May 12] the situation in Aden is that all the windows of Christ Church, its associated clinic, and the guesthouse have been blown out as a result of blast waves from sustained shelling on the mountain that dominates our compound in Tawahi. But we are told that all our staff are safe so far, and for that we thank God.

“The general state of Aden is terrible: lack of fuel means lack of electricity, and telecommunications and even basic movement around the large city have become hugely difficult. Food is limited, and money to buy it even more so.

“Our administrator is very thankful for the many prayers that he knows have been made for him, for all who work at Ras Morbat, and for the people of Aden and the Yemen as a whole, a country sorely abused by those with the power, if they chose to use, to promote the common good to the glory of God.”

JNCPB announces no additional nominees

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) has released the following statement:

On April 27, 2015, the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) announced its process for nominating bishops from the floor to the office of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church at General Convention in June 2015.

The JNCPB is canonically charged with “establishing a timely process for any bishop or deputy to express the intent to nominate any other member of the House of Bishops from the floor at the time the Joint Nominating Committee presents its nominees to the joint session of the two Houses, and for each Bishop so nominated to be included in the information distributed about the nominees”.

The JNCPB outlined this procedure in a message to the Church on April 27, 2015.

The deadline for bishops and deputies to nominate a bishop under this procedure was May 12, 2015. JNCPB announces that no additional bishops were nominated.

Therefore, the list of bishops presented by the JNCPB will be formally placed in nomination before a joint session of the two Houses of the General Convention on June 26, 2015. They are:

Bishop Thomas E. Breidenthal of Southern Ohio
Bishop Michael B. Curry of North Carolina
Bishop Ian T. Douglas of Connecticut
Bishop Dabney T. Smith of Southwest Florida

The JNCPB will shortly release additional information from each of the nominees.  Each nominee has responded to questions about his vision for the church, which will be posted to the General Convention website soon.  Additionally, each nominee made himself available for a video interview.  These will also be made available soon.  

The JNCPB thanks everyone for your prayers for the nominees and for this election process of our Church.

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

For more info: pbnominatingcommittee@gmail.com.

First preschool financial aid program launched by Trinity Wall Street

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

[Trinity Church Wall Street press release] Trinity Preschool will be able to serve children and families from a wider range of socio-economic backgrounds through a new needs-based financial aid program beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, announced the Rev. William Lupfer, rector of Trinity Wall Street.

“Quality early education is essential in giving a child a head start in life. By offering financial assistance at Trinity Preschool, we will help close the margin for families in need who live or work in the area,” said Lupfer. “Our staff is eager to welcome more people into our community.”

Established as a ministry in 1982 to serve families who live or work in Lower Manhattan, Trinity Preschool’s mission is to support children’s development by nurturing wholeness in mind, body, and spirit. Although it is an Episcopal school, the preschool is open to children of all faiths and traditions.

Financial aid awards will be determined annually based on an enrolled family’s demonstrated financial need and the program’s availability of funds.

Applications for the 2015-2016 school year must be received by June 12.  Applicants will be informed of the financial aid awards by June 19. Applications received after June 12 will be considered based upon the availability of funds and eligibility. Families will need to apply each year for the program if they anticipate any financial need.

For more information on Trinity Preschool or its financial aid program, visit www.trinitypreschoolnyc.org or contact Leigh Delaney at (212) 602-0829.

Companion Link partnerships energize Anglican diocesan mission

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

[Anglican Communion News Service] Five Anglican Communion companion dioceses on four continents agreed at a recent meeting in Jerusalem to expand collaboration in their ongoing partnership journey, with a focus on clergy training and communication.

Bishops and clergy from the dioceses of Kiteto (Anglican Church of Tanzania), Leicester (The Church of England), Mount Kilimanjaro (Anglican Church of Tanzania), Trichy-Tanjore (The Church of South India (United)) and Wyoming (The Episcopal Church) gathered from April 27 to May 3 for the latest in a series of conversations aimed at inspiring mission in each of the five dioceses.

They came away rejoicing in their partnership in the Gospel, agreeing that their journey was energizing mission in all of their dioceses.

Drawing inspiration from the Anglican Communion’s “Continuing Indaba” program, the group’s journey began in 2014 when Bishop Gnanamuthu Paul Vasanthakumar of Trichy-Tanjore invited Bishop Timothy Stevens of his companion Diocese of Leicester to come to India. Also invited were the bishops of Leicester’s companion dioceses, the Rt. Rev. Isaiah Chambala of Kiteto and the Rt. Rev. Stanley Elilekia Hotay of Mount Kilimanjaro. Bishop John Smylie of Wyoming, which shares a companion relationship with the Diocese of Kiteto, completed the circle.

Through the experience, the five bishops found a common sense of mission and decided to embark on a pilgrimage of strengthening relationships and learning about life and mission in one another’s contexts.

Transforming perceptions
Since the initial visit, both lay and ordained people from the five dioceses have continued the journey, gaining not only insights into the other dioceses, but also a different perspective on their own – new perspectives that are transforming their dioceses’ ministries.

One such example is the way that the Diocese of Leicester has made cross-cultural encounters to Trichy-Tanjore and Tanzania a core part of new clergy training.

“When new clergy stand in different contexts where Christians are a minority or where they are facing different kinds of challenges they become more conscious of the particular pressures faced by Christians in their own parishes,” said Canon Mike Harrison, who has taken part in several visits. “It gives us insight as well as inspiration, courage and hope, and encourages us to proclaim the Gospel in our context.”

During their Jerusalem meeting, as the group visited the holy sites they reflected on interreligious tensions under the heading of “blessedness and conflict” and on ways to “model difference without division” within the Anglican Communion.

“I hope our meeting of five dioceses, representing four continents and various theological viewpoints, may be an example for the larger Anglican Communion about how, when centered upon Christ, we are able to find the space and trust to be with one another in authentic and honest conversation,” said Smylie.

New energy for mission
Practical outcomes underlined the bishops’ commitment to taking their conversations a step further. In a statement from the meeting, they indicate concrete plans for the ongoing partnership with the aim of furthering proclamation of the Gospel in all five dioceses.

Their plans include a particular focus on the equipping of ordained and lay leaders, not only in terms of study trips but in developing the training programs of the respective dioceses.

“The bishops resolve to focus on the training and development of ministers and ministry … via both bilateral and multilateral work together,” says the statement, outlining in particular deeper cooperation between the Tanzanian dioceses of Kiteto and Mount Kilimanjaro and the South Indian Diocese of Trichy-Tanjore.

Future meetings of the companion dioceses will focus on a particular theme. The Diocese of Leicester will host the next meeting in 2016 and the Diocese of Wyoming in 2017.

The bishops also decided to establish a communications hub in the Diocese of Wyoming to facilitate better interaction between the dioceses.

The Rev. Canon Phil Groves, who facilitates Continuing Indaba from the Anglican Communion Office and who served on the Diocese of Leicester world mission group for 10 years, welcomed the developments.

“When Anglicans journey together in honest conversation they find new energy for mission in their own context. This is the aim of Continuing Indaba,” he said.

Download the statement from the meeting on the Diocese of Leicester’s website.

Homeless Jesus sculpture unveiled at Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

[Church of Ireland] A striking seven foot wide Homeless Jesus sculpture outside Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral has been dedicated and blessed by the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic Archbishops of Dublin, the Most Rev. Michael Jackson and the Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin. The sculpture has been presented to the people of Dublin by an anonymous North American benefactor and the sculptor, Timothy Schmalz, flew in from Canada to unveil it.

The bronze sculpture depicts a park bench with a faceless cloaked figure lying on it. Passers by realize that the sculpture depicts Jesus only when they notice the holes in the feet. The sculpture is located in front of the cathedral in full view of the public.

Speaking during the short service in the cathedral before the unveiling, Jackson said that the people of Dublin were both honored and chastened to receive the Homeless Jesus sculpture. Honored, he said, because of the beauty of the craftsmanship and the trust expressed in the location of Christ Church Cathedral, and chastened because of the “scandalous fact that the relentlessness of homelessness and the statistics of individual homeless people in Dublin in 2015 still merit such a sculpture as a reminder and as a memorial.”

The archbishop said that Scripture spoke of Jesus saying: “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” The sculpture gives everyone who passes an opportunity to reflect on this facet of the narrative of Christianity, the birth, crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he said.

“Throughout the world of today human beings are subjected to indignity, homelessness, trafficking and death simply for being alive and getting under the ideological skin of their oppressors,” Jackson said. “Every day for them is a Good Friday. They wait for the day of resurrection in hope and in fear, in trust and in betrayal, in darkness and in light. Homeless people draw us into their world – and rightly; we dare not abandon them here or abroad. The 21st century is not yet an improvement on the 20th century. The Homeless Jesus is a reminder of their plight and terror, whatever their nationality or creed – and an icon of solidarity with them. Evil and exclusion make few distinctions of subtlety as they sweep forward in giddy destructiveness.”

Martin said that for Christians, the homeless were not just statistics. Their plight is our plight, he said, adding that the image of the Homeless Jesus reminds us of the demands of belief in Jesus Christ. He said that the sculpture was not just a normal statue; it was not created to be looked at and admired, it was an image which should draw the viewer’s glance to the many park benches, doorways and sheltered corners where Jesus lay homeless every day and every night.

Casts of the much-talked-about Homeless Jesus sculpture have been installed in cities in North America, Canada and Europe. The Homeless Jesus first received international attention in early 2014 when a sculpture was installed outside St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in downtown Davidson, North Carolina.

Following a competition among prospective Dublin sites, Christ Church Cathedral was chosen to be the location by sculptor Schmalz.

City of Raleigh to include Saint Augustine’s University professors and alumnus in its Hall of Fame

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

On May 5, during the City of Raleigh’s City Council, the board for the Raleigh Hall of Fame announced its 2015 Hall of Fame inductees. Three of the eight honorees have ties to Saint Augustine’s University – Dr. Robert E. Bridges, Rev. Arthur James Calloway and Bishop Henry Beard Delany.  This recognition demonstrates how two former SAU professors and an alumnus have upheld SAU’s rich legacy by making significant contributions to the city.

Dr. Bridges’ service to the City of Raleigh began in 1961. Upon earning a degree in elementary education from Saint Augustine’s College (now University), he was hired by Raleigh City Schools to teach fourth grade at Hunter Elementary School.  In 1984, he became the school system’s first African-American superintendent.   During his 28-year career, he helped integrate the school system, participated in the merger of the Raleigh School System and Wake County School System into one, and oversaw unprecedented growth.  Aware of the need for African-American male children to have mentors and encouragement in achieving academic success, he created the Helping Hands Program which the school system still operates.  After retiring in 1989, Dr. Bridges served as provost at SAU and chaired the NC Advisory Commission on Raising Achievement and Closing Gaps.  He continues to work with the Helping Hands Program and mentor young African-American men.  His impact on the community and the school system has been recognized throughout the years by numerous awards including the Wake Education Partnership Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.

For thirty-nine years, Rev. Calloway served the citizens of Southeast Raleigh as rector of St. Ambrose Episcopal Church.  Under his leadership, the church established after-school programs, provided meeting space for Alcoholic Anonymous, and provided grants for senior citizen programing all to the benefit of Southeast Raleigh.  During this time, he also took on the role of community organizer, civil rights activist and college instructor at SAU.  During the 1960s, he helped organize efforts to integrate Raleigh City Schools and supported the election of African Americans to political office.  Rev. Calloway was elected to the Raleigh City Council representing Southeast Raleigh for three terms from 1979-1985.  He was also involved with the PTA, Save Our Community Association, Southside CAC and Southeast Optimist Club.  In 1998, Rev. Calloway retired from St. Ambrose.  He passed away in 2001.

Alumnus Delany, a centennial inductee, was born an enslaved person on February 5, 1858 and died April 14, 1928 as a Bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. Delany, a Georgia native, arrived in Raleigh in 1881 to enroll as a student at St. Augustine’s Normal School to study theology and music. After graduating in 1885, Delany immediately joined the staff. He served as the chaplain, vice principal and supervisor of building projects. He and his students helped construct several buildings on the campus including the Historic Chapel, which still is a place of place of spiritual guidance for the campus and the community.

Ordained in The Episcopal Church in 1889, Bishop Delany’s legacy continues in the churches he helped found as well as at SAU’s Historic Chapel.

A Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for Monday, October 5 at the Raleigh Convention Center. For more information, visit www.raleighhalloffame.org.

Sewanee’s School of Theology confers 2 honorary degrees

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

[Sewanee: The University of the South press release] Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba and Bishop of East Carolina Robert Skirving received honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from the University of the South’s School of Theology in Sewanee, Tennessee, during a ceremony on May 8.

A press release from Sewanee is available here.

Full bios of the honorary degree recipients may be found here.

Katharine G. Flexer installed as rector of St. Michael’s, New York

ENS Headlines - Monday, May 11, 2015

The Rt. Rev. Bavi E. (Nedi) Rivera, provisional bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Oregon, the Rev. Katharine (Kate) G. Flexer and her children Frances and Benjamin, and seminarian Tommie Watkins, following the May 3 installation. Photo: Dave McGlynn

[St. Michael’s Church] The West Coast came east on Sunday, May 3, when the Rev. Katharine (Kate) G. Flexer, was installed as the 11th rector of St. Michael’s Church at Amsterdam Avenue and West 99th Street in New York City. Flexer is the first woman rector in the Manhattan church’s 208-year history.

The Rt. Rev. Andrew M.L. Dietsche, bishop of the Diocese of New York, presided, and the Rt. Rev. Bavi E. (Nedi) Rivera, provisional bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Oregon, preached. During the sermon, Rivera reminisced about how, when she was rector of St. Aidan’s Church in San Francisco, California, she had hired Flexer as a youth minister fresh from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Flexer, in her own remarks, said that Rivera continues to be her mentor.

Flexer was presented with symbolic gifts from St. Michael’s ministries, including the Saturday Kitchen and Pilgrim Resource Center, which serves more than 200 meals each week; the Sunday school classes, with more than 60 children; the Trinity Place Shelter volunteers, who provide food for a 10-bed transitional shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth at the neighboring Trinity Lutheran Church of Manhattan; and St. Michael’s Cemetery, 88 acres in Astoria, Queens. The music ministry commissioned a hymn as a gift, “How Large the Promise,” by composer Bill Heigen, which was sung during the service.

After concluding the induction, Dietsche said to the congregation, “Greet your new rector.” Flexer received a prolonged standing ovation. She then introduced her family: husband Jim Hinch, an editor at Guideposts magazine; and children Frances, 8, and Benjamin, 5, who all joined her on the chancel steps, to another standing ovation.

Flexer brings bicoastal experience to her new role. She is a native of the Seattle, Washington, area and a former associate rector at St. Michael’s. Since 2011 she has served as rector of The Episcopal Church in Almaden, a neighborhood of San Jose, California. On the Saturday before the installation, Flexer, Hinch and the children, all of whom are outdoor enthusiasts, led a group of 24 parishioners (and a dog) on a family hike to Breakneck Ridge in Hudson Highlands State Park, an hour north of the city.

Ben Badgett marks first Sunday as associate rector at Holy Communion

ENS Headlines - Monday, May 11, 2015

[Church of the Holy Communion] It wasn’t immediately after Ben Badgett proposed to Kendall Terrett that she asked him to join the Peace Corps, but “it might have been the same weekend.” They both said yes, and that’s how they ended up in Madagascar.

Before Madagascar, there was Memphis. When Father Ben was nine, his father’s job brought the family to Memphis, and he lived here until he was 18 and left for college at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. In some ways, the Memphis he’s returning to is not completely unfamiliar, but as he puts it, “I knew it from a youth’s perspective, a child’s perspective. It is a much different city to me now than it was then.” That newness is something he’s looking forward to exploring – the city itself and its cultural diversity.

But first, Madagascar. Father Ben and Kendall learned French, but as soon as they landed in Madagascar, they found themselves immersed in the language and culture of its indigenous people – Malagasy – not its colonists. They spent a year and a half in the rural village of Andrambovato, where Kendall worked with a women’s organization raising AIDS awareness. They led a health and sanitation awareness program, building 13 latrines in a village which once had none. They worked with an NGO on an ecotourism assessment, building trails and teaching English, composting and guiding.

“It was a very secular experience in the sense that our focus was being a bridge of cultures.” Ben and Kendall, as representatives of the Peace Corps, were not there as missionaries, but, he says, “the neat thing was that Christianity was there.”

A Lutheran church was the smallest of three in the village, and “every Sunday we’d hear them singing the Doxology in Malagasy.

“That was church for us.”

Ben met Kendall in school. Though brought up Episcopalian, during his undergraduate years, he’d been active in the Baptist campus ministry. Kendall, one of his residents when he worked as an RA, invited him back to the Episcopal Church through campus ministry, and that’s where he found his individual faith and learning coming together with the idea of communal faith and worship.

“I felt a strong call to working in the church” from as young as 16 years old. After graduation, Ben worked for a year as an outdoor and environmental educator at the Mountain Trail Outdoor School at Kanuga Conference Center in North Carolina, then for a year as a youth and young adult minister at Trinity Episcopal in Owensboro, Kentucky.

Marriage and Madagascar were next, and after a discernment internship at Christ Church Cathedral in Louisville, Ben and Kendall began studies at Virginia Theological Seminary, graduating in 2012.

Following that, Ben served as assistant rector and then priest-in-charge at Christ Episcopal Church in Bowling Green, and as Episcopal Campus Ministry chaplain at his alma mater, WKU. In January 2013, Kendall was named Director of Youth Programs and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Kentucky.

Nearly eight years after Madagascar, Ben and Kendall have followed his calling to Holy Communion, moving here with their sons, four-year-old Edward and 16-month-old Keenan, and Barnabas, a five-month-old half Australian shepherd, half chocolate lab puppy. Father Ben’s last Sunday at Christ Church was April 12; May 10 was his first Sunday at Holy Communion; he joined us a week before that for May 1-3’s Sacred Arts Festival.

Father Ben will oversee Holy Communion’s Christian formation department, including supervising the work of our youth and children’s ministers, and he will oversee the pastoral care teams, as well as participating fully in the preaching, teaching, sacramental and pastoral ministries shared by the Reverend Sandy Webb, Priest-in-Charge; the Reverend Hester Mathes, Curate; and the Reverend Randy McCloy, Deacon.

Ben is excited about “entering into this space that’s holy and unique to itself.” The most meaningful part of his early visit, he says, was the warm welcome of the people at Holy Communion. “That was really the heart of the experience,” he says. “They’re excited for Holy Communion… inviting us into their space, that was really the holy moment.”