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Presiding Bishop makes historic visit to northern Haiti

ENS Headlines - Thursday, December 18, 2014

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Haiti Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin, right, Haiti Bishop Suffragan Ogé Beauvoir, left, and clergy pose on the steps of Holy Spirit Parish in Cap-Haitien following the Dec. 14 Eucharist. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

[Episcopal News Service – Cap-Haitien, Haiti] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori recently became the first ever primate to visit northern Haiti.

“It is a very significant visit for us,” said the Rt. Rev. Ogé Beauvoir, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Haiti, during a Dec. 15 interview with Episcopal News Service at the diocesan office in Pétionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince.

Each Sunday Episcopalians in northern Haiti pray for the presiding bishop, said Beauvoir, who has lived in Cap-Haitien since becoming suffragan bishop in 2012, but with the exception of very few, they’ve never met her. As worshipers were boarding buses following the Dec. 14 Eucharist, they told Beauvoir, “’please express our thanks and love to our presiding bishop, tell her that we love her,’” he said.

The presiding bishop visited Haiti Dec. 13-15, stopping first in the north where she preached at Holy Spirit Parish, visited the parish’s school and the nearby Holy Spirit trade school. It was her sixth trip to Haiti, the first being in 2008 before the devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake that killed thousands of people and leveled Port-au-Prince, including the diocese’s Trinity Cathedral and its complex.  

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori tours Holy Spirit School in Cap-Haitien. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

Jefferts Schori was accompanied by Alexander Baumgarten, director of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s Department of Public Engagement and Mission Communication, on the trip that began three days earlier with a visit to the Diocese of the Dominican Republic, where they learned about the government’s efforts to strip citizenship from Dominicans of Haitian descent.

“We’ve been in the Dominican Republic the last few days to learn more about the need for good news in the face of what the courts there have said about people of Haitian descent who live there,” said the presiding bishop during her Dec. 14 sermon. “The legal decisions seem to say that even if you were born there, if your parents or grandparents came from Haiti to work there, you have no right to have your birth recorded or your citizenship guaranteed. Many people have been caught between the two nations, effectively unclaimed by either one. Those without a recognized status cannot work, go to school, travel out of the country, or gain recognition for their own children.”

“The roots of this injustice are many – racism, colonial history, a lust for power, even official incompetence and neglect. They are the same sinful realities that have confronted human beings from the beginning – we don’t always choose to love our neighbors as ourselves.

“The good news is that all of us are claimed by the nation called the Reign of God. Together, we can decide to use our voices and actions to change the world’s bad news… ,” she said.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori speaks with a parishioner following the Dec. 14 Eucharist at Holy Spirit Parish in Cap-Haitien. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

The presiding bishop’s trip to Haiti came at a time of violent protests against the government of President Michel Martelly. Protesters are demanding long-delayed legislative and local elections. On Nov. 28, Martelly appointed an 11-member commission of former officials and religious leaders, including Beauvoir, to help resolve the political stalemate that has since 2011 stalled the elections.

The commission recommended that Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe resign, which he did on Dec. 14.

“It is part of our ministry,” said Beauvoir of his appointment to the commission. “When the country is in trouble and the government asks us for help, it is our task to bring the people together.

“Being an Episcopalian means being tolerant, and there is a lack of tolerance in society today and that’s what we bring to the table.”

Martelly has accepted the recommendation of the commission and is willing to act on it, and the prime minister has just resigned, said Beauvoir Dec. 15.

“Those are signs of hope, and the next step is to call on the opposition to come and talk,” he said.

Violent protests continued on Dec. 16 when demonstrators took to the streets of the capital demanding the president’s resignation.

Unless elections are held before Jan. 12, 2015, the fifth anniversary of the earthquake, Haiti will be left without a functioning parliament until its late 2015 presidential elections.

“We have always had political instability but have seen some progress,” said Diocese of Haiti Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin. “The situation is not as it was when the earthquake happened, but we could do more for the Haitian people. Many young people feel they have been abandoned [by the government] regarding education, health care, the financial situation is not good, unemployment is high. I think we have a lot to do.”

The Episcopal Church is well respected in Haiti and has played a large role in the country’s post-earthquake redevelopment; however, the country remains the poorest in the western hemisphere.   

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Haiti Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin and the Rev. Jean MacDonald, retired, during a visit to the trade school in Cap-Haitien. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

Haiti has an 80 percent unemployment rate and millions of people live in extreme poverty; following the earthquake Haitians from throughout the country flocked to the devastated Port-au-Prince to receive international aid. Eventually, NGOs and donors realized they needed to invest in rural and urban development outside the capital to encourage Haitians to return home. That work can be seen both at St. Barnabas Center for Agriculture, where the diocese is training 54 students in agriculture, and at the technical school where it offers courses in mechanics, plumbing and electricity.

The diocese has a partnership with the Florida-based Food for the Poor in the northern region through which it is helping young people get life skills, said Beauvoir, pointing to the 420 students studying at the trade school.

“With the partnership with Food for the Poor, we pay for 250 of them,” he said. “We are trying to empower young folks. Also we are working with the people in the villages on organizing their lives together… and with women on social justice issues.”

The Diocese of Haiti is the largest diocese of the Episcopal Church and covers the entire 10.7 thousand square mile country; 46 clergy serve more than 200 churches, 254 schools, two hospitals and 13 clinics.

The diocese plans to introduce a resolution at the 2015 General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, that if passed would establish a second diocese in the north.

Establishing a second diocese in Haiti would allow the leadership to hone and intensify the growth underway in that region by providing more local attention and support, and the ability to respond to opportunities and challenges more quickly, Jefferts Schori told ENS after the visit.

“For example, the Northern Region Assembly held just before we arrived is an example of a proto-diocesan leadership council that can strategize for that part of the diocese,” she said. “Sustainability comes from the ability to match missional resources with missional needs, and it always has to be context-specific.”

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

Southwest Florida taps the Rev. Palarine to lead DaySpring programs

ENS Headlines - Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Rev. John Palarine

[Diocese of Southwest Florida press release] The Rev. John Palarine, a 40-year leader in youth and family ministries in The Episcopal Church, will join the Diocese of Southwest Florida as program director for diocesan youth programs and the DaySpring Episcopal Camp and Conference Center.

The full-time position comes at a time when DaySpring is expanding its diocesan-led programs and embarking on a new master plan that will include enhanced facilities for youth camps and congregational events.

Responsibilities for Palarine include continuing current diocesan youth programs such as New Beginnings and Happening, as well as expanding and enhancing DaySpring Summer Camp from a three-week to a six-week program. He will also look beyond DaySpring to encourage youth ministry in the 77 congregations of the Diocese of Southwest Florida. For DaySpring’s adult visitors, he will build upon current activities in order to foster leadership development for healthy congregations. He will also envision new programming in order to better serve parishioners, congregations and the wider church.

“Fr. Palarine will seek new ministry partnerships with congregations, Episcopal schools, as well as provincial and “national”-level networks,” said the Rev. Michael Durning, canon to the ordinary. “He will be a resource to youth minsters throughout the Diocese.”

Palarine currently heads, and will continue to lead “YP Ministries”, a training and development organization and consultancy dedicated to creating a strong youth presence in congregations.

Saint Mark’s Cathedral calls Michael Kleinschmidt as canon musician

ENS Headlines - Thursday, December 18, 2014

Michael Kleinschmidt

[Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral press release] Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle announces the calling of Michael Kleinschmidt to serve as canon musician. He will begin his ministry here on March 1, 2015.

Since 2010 he has served as canon for cathedral music at Trinity Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, having previously served at Trinity Church, Copley Square in Boston, All Saint’s Parish in Boston and St. Thomas Fifth Avenue in New York. He holds degrees from Eastman School of Music and Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. A detailed curriculum vitae is on our website here.

Kleinschmidt is an accomplished organist, having played in recital across the world, including an All-Bach concert at Saint Mark’s on the Flentrop Organ in 2012. He also has a keen appreciation for the ministry of music in children, and serves on faculty of Royal School of Church Music summer courses.

Hewrites:  “I believe liturgy, with the music that serves it, is the frontline of Christian formation. My own Christian formation was primarily through music. Throughout my life, it has been a vehicle conveying to my heart and mind the Psalms and Canticles, the poetry of George Herbert, T. S. Eliot, and W. H. Auden, and much of the Book of Common Prayer, among other texts. I feel called to share that vehicle with all who seek a deeper communion with God, and have dedicated much of my life to teaching young and old, rich and poor, black and white the craft of liturgical music-making.”

Kleinschmidt succeeds Mel Butler who will retire at the end of 2014 after 23 years as canon musician.

Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral
Located on Capitol Hill in Seattle, Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral is a community grounded in ancient Christian scripture and tradition while at the same time remaining open to the insight and truth of contemporary life.  You’ll find us actively involved in service and outreach. Together we pray and worship, study the scriptures, and explore the richness of twenty one centuries of Christian experience.

Saint Mark’s is also the home of great music, and every Sunday evening for over 50 years the ancient service of Compline has been sung.

Froehlich named acting missioner for transition ministry

ENS Headlines - Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Rev. Canon Meghan Froehlich

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Bishop Stacy F. Sauls, chief operating officer of The Episcopal Church, has announced that the Rev. Canon Meghan Froehlich has been named acting missioner for transition ministry following a churchwide search.

“Meghan was selected for this important position because she brings the strong technical and interpersonal skills essential to this work as well as an innovative mind and creative spirit,” Sauls stated.  “All of us who met her during this process believe she will serve the needs of the church well in this crucial ministry.”

Sauls also expressed his appreciation to the members of the interview committee, which included members of the Board of Transition Ministry, Executive Council, the community of transition ministers and the Missionary Society.

As acting missioner for transition ministry, her duties include overseeing the programmatic, managerial and budgetary responsibilities for The Episcopal Church Office of Transition Ministry, working with clergy, dioceses, transition ministers throughout the Church, and laity.  She will also analyze the employment needs and trends in The Episcopal Church in order to plan strategically and offer recommendations for transition ministry programs to enhance the ministry of transition with an emphasis on spiritual health and wellness.

The acting missioner position is slated through October 2015, after which the program and budget vision set at General Convention 2015 will be implemented.

Froehlich’s position with the Missionary Society is within the Mission Department.  She is based in Akron, Ohio.

Most recently she was the interim canon to the ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas and has served as the rector or assistant rector of churches in the dioceses of Ohio, Dallas and Western North Carolina. She has also been a chaplain, a faculty member of Fresh Start, a consultant and executive leadership coach.

She holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Divinity School of Duke University and a bachelors degree in political science from Old Dominion University in Virginia.  She was ordained a priest in June 2000 in the Diocese of Western North Carolina.

Froehlich begins her new position in Jan. 5.  She can be reached at mfroehlich@episcopalchurch.org effective December 22.

Declaracion de la Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba en Relacion a los dos Grandes Acontecimientos de Hoy

ENS Headlines - Thursday, December 18, 2014

Para el pueblo cubano, este día constituye una jornada de gran trascendencia para su futuro. Los pasos que hoy se han dado entre los gobiernos de Cuba y los Estados Unidos, al anunciar el restablecimiento de relaciones diplomáticas y en consecuencia proceder a la excarcelación de los tres compatriotas cubanos y al ciudadano norteamericano Alan Gross, entre otros, ponen de manifiesto que, el diálogo, la disposición de entendimiento mutuo y respeto en medio de diferencias, son elementos básicos en las relaciones entre pueblos y gobiernos.

Damos gracias a Dios por el retorno de todos ellos al seno de sus familias y de sus países y por el reconocimiento de poner fin a la ruptura y crear grandes posibilidades de comprensión y respeto en las relaciones. Damos gracias a Dios por los puentes de esperanza que las Iglesias en Estados Unidos y en Cuba afirmaron desde hace varias décadas, aún en momentos políticamente difíciles. Especialmente damos gracias por la Iglesia Episcopal (aclarar aquí) (TEC), que a través de diferentes maneras como viajes, intercambios o presentación de resoluciones oficiales, ha acompañado a nuestra Iglesia y por lo tanto a nuestro pueblo.

Pedimos a Dios que su Espíritu Santo guíe a los gobernantes y líderes de ambos países en sabias decisiones. Que ilumine los nuevos tiempos y desafíos que se avizoran para el pueblo cubano. Que ese mismo Espíritu nos permita entretejer – aún con las diferencias- la concordia entre ambos pueblos y afirmar nuestro compromiso de defender la verdad, la justicia y la paz que provienen del amor inconmensurable de Dios Trino.

La Navidad, que nos aprestamos a celebrar, es el proyecto de amor encarnado, que se hace realidad contextual hoy. Jesús nace para que la reconciliación y la paz lleguen y llenen la vida de mujeres y hombres, de familias y comunidades, de pueblos y naciones. Que la luz de la Navidad sea fuente de bendición para ambos pueblos.

Rev. Alfredo Nuño               +Ulises Aguero                 +Griselda Delgado
Pres. Com.Permanente       Obispo Sufragáneo®             Obispa Diocesana

Christmas celebrations canceled in Peshawar after school attack

ENS Headlines - Thursday, December 18, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] The bishop of Peshawar has said that, following what he called “another unimaginable horror,” the Church of Pakistan has decided to cancel its Christmas celebrations.

Peshawar Bishop Humphrey Peters spoke solemnly about the aftermath of the recent attack by the Taliban on a school that left 132 children and nine adults dead.

“It is another unimaginable horror that has been unleashed upon this beautiful city,” he said. “The church has already taken the decision to cancel Christmas as a celebration. Instead we will be using the time to come alongside those in the wider community who are grieving and injured.

“How can we celebrate and host parties when our city has been so devastated? We will still gather to worship but in a simple, stripped back and prayerful way.”

The attack on the Army School in Peshawar, just a few blocks from St. John’s Anglican Cathedral, came just 15 months after twin suicide bombers from a group affiliated to the Taliban murdered more than 100 worshipers of All Saints Church in Peshawar.

The bishop said that the church is looking to support communities in practical ways – visiting the injured in hospital, being with their families and supporting the bereaved – whichever faith group they belong to.

He stressed that the church would continue to minister to those affected long after the world’s focus has moved elsewhere.

“Many of those injured [in 2013] are still receiving treatment,” said Peters. “We need to insure that we stay with families for the long term.” He went on to emphasize that, while there was much anger and despair within the population of Peshawar, the church should remain true to its calling. “We must go on striving to be a source of comfort, of hope and reconciliation – that is the role of church – in good times and bad.”

Insar Gohar, the Diocese of Peshawar’s youth coordinator who lost his mother and children in the 2013 bomb blast, said parents of those killed and injured in the recent attack are experiencing “terror and deep grief.”

“This [event] reminds the Christians of Peshawar of the attack on All Saints’ Church,” he said. “They are crying with the parents of the children killed today.

“Please pray for this situation, for the protection of our city and for peace in our region.”

Peters concluded, “We know the pain the wider community is feeling, we share in their devastation and we will walk with them in their anguish.”

Third Summit of Christian and Muslim Religious Leaders

ENS Headlines - Thursday, December 18, 2014

[Washington National Cathedral press release] Following Pope Francis’ recent visit to Turkey during which he offered prayers in the 17th century Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Washington National Cathedral participated in a Summit of Christian and Muslim Religious Leaders in Rome, Italy. The Summit was the third in a series focused on Christian-Muslim dialogue and building relationships among global religious leaders. The effort was first launched in 2010 by the National Cathedral, the Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane, the 8th Bishop of Washington and Senior Advisor for Interfaith Relations, Washington National Cathedral, and the Rev. Canon John L. Peterson, Director of the Cathedral’s Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation.

“An interesting and shared strength of Christianity and Islam is their engagement with politics and religion … [Thus] Christianity and Islam have at this moment in time a great opportunity to work together effectively with governments and civil societies currently in turmoil, ” stated Bishop Chane in a “Call to Action” released following the Summit.

Drawing clergy and religious scholars from five continents, the Summit was titled “Christians and Muslims: Believers in Society” and was attended by Shi’ite, Sunni,  Anglican/Episcopal and Roman Catholic leaders.  This year’s three-day conference emphasized the strengths and challenges facing Christianity and Islam. One of the Summit’s principal areas of discussion engaged the ways the two religions can work together to create an overarching culture of peace and harmony.  Attendants were also invited to a Private Audience with the Pope.

The released “Call to Action” called for peace in areas of violent conflict, recognized the progress that has been made and must be continued to be made for the protection of women, and condemned the use of religion to legitimize any unjust action. Additionally, the “Call to Action” emphasized the great need to develop a sense of well-being and fraternity among Christians and Muslims.

More information can be found on the National Cathedral website.

Rapidísimas

ENS Headlines - Thursday, December 18, 2014

Después del cierre de esta edición de Rapidísimas nos llega la información de las conversaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. A la noticia se le ha dado tanta importancia que casi todas las emisoras de radio y televisión suspendieron sus programas habituales para dar a conocer las palabras del presidente Obama y el gobernante Raúl Casto. Al principio fueron muchos lo que se alegraron del evento pero después del análisis y la reflexión las cosas lucen distintas. En resumen que Estados Unidos “lo dio todo” a cambio de ningún cambio en la situación de Cuba. Berta Soler dirigente de las Damas de Blanco dijo “en estos momentos siguen los arrestos, la falta de libertad y todas las restricciones típicas de un gobierno totalitario”. En la próxima edición de Rapidísimas veremos cómo se desarrollan las cosas. Hasta entonces pues.

La joven Chalala Yousafzai a la que los talibanes le dispararon en la cabeza hace dos años por defender que las mujeres fueran a la escuela y el activista indio Kailash Satyarthi han sido galardonados con el Premio Nobel de 2014 por “su lucha contra la opresión de los niños, de los jóvenes y por el derecho de todos los niños a la educación”. El Comité del Premio Nobel Noruego dijo que era significativo que una musulmana y un hindú reciban este premio. Añadió que en el mundo hay 168 millones de niños que en lugar de disfrutar su niñez y estudiar se dedican a labores propias de los adultos, muchas veces forzados por sus propias familias.

Marcelo Méndez sacerdote mercedario chileno ha sido suspendido en su funciones por acción de la Congregación para la Doctrina de la Fe del Vaticano por abusar sexualmente de un menor de 13 años de edad. Las pruebas del delito fueron grabadas en una cámara oculta colocada en la sacristía. La sentencia en este caso conlleva no poder “entrar en ninguna orden religiosa” por el resto de su vida. En círculos, eclesiásticos se comenta que esto es lo que  significa “cero tolerancia”. Méndez tiene 56 años de edad.

Bill Cosby, el popular comediante afroamericano de 77 años, se encuentra en problemas con la justicia por la acusación de varias mujeres que han dicho que tuvo una “conducta impropia” en su trato con ellas. En una declaración a la prensa su esposa, Michelle, dijo que esas son falsedades y fabricaciones con fines “de obtener dinero”. Añadió que su esposo es un hombre respetuoso y un padre ejemplar. Cosby dice ser “cristiano protestante”.

Con dineros principalmente del extranjero el gobierno de Cuba restaurará el Palacio del Segundo Cabo, una majestuosa edificación de estilo neoclásico de tiempos de la colonia española fabricado en 1772 en lo que hoy se conoce como la Habana Vieja. El edificio es también conocido como Palacio de la Intendencia o Casa Real de Correos y a través de su historia ha albergado al Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, el Senado de la República y el Instituto Nacional del Libro. Después de su restauración el palacio será usado para actividades culturales con Europa.

Un foro celebrado en La Habana con el título de “Raza y Cubanidad, Cuba: pasado, presente y futuro” afirma que pese al aumento de la población afro-descendiente en la isla en los últimos años muchos negros y mestizos siguen marginados y fuera del alcance de las reformas propuestas por el gobernante Raúl Castro. El futuro se vislumbra aún peor por “la falta de acceso a los círculos de poder” e influencia en las tomas de decisiones. Manuel Cuesta Morúa, descendiente de patriotas cubanos, dijo que la población afrocubana vive principalmente entre la economía de la supervivencia y la economía de la marginalidad.

Leopoldo López, líder de la oposición chavista cumplirá un año de prisión en el mes de febrero. El gobierno chavista lo ha acusado de terrorismo por haber sido líder en las protestas estudiantiles de este año. Opositores al gobierno dicen que el derecho a la protesta está contemplado en la Constitución y fue aprobado por Hugo Chávez durante su gobierno. El gobernante Nicolás Maduro dice que López, graduado de la Universidad de Harvard, es un “asesino” por las 43 muertes ocurridas durante las manifestaciones de principios de año.

FIDELIDAD IRRACIONAL. Un político latinoamericano dijo recientemente “yo estoy con el pueblo, tenga éste la razón o no”.

La declaración de la Obispa Presidente sobre la liberación de los presos de Cuba

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

[17 de diciembre de 2014] La Obispa Presidente de la Iglesia Episcopal, Katharine Jefferts Schori, ha emitido la siguiente declaración sobre la liberación de los presos de Cuba:

Doy gracias por la liberación hoy de los presos en poder de Cuba y Estados Unidos. El regreso de Alan Gross y de los tres restantes de los Cinco Cubanos a sus hogares aportará gran alegría a sus familias y a sus naciones. Esta acción también abre la puerta para regularizar las relaciones entre estos dos países, por primera vez en 50 años. La Iglesia Episcopal se regocija con estas familias y tenemos profunda esperanza de las posibilidades de reconciliación y del intercambio entre las partes divididas de la Iglesia y de la humanidad.

La Revdma. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Obispa Presidente y Primada
Iglesia Episcopal

WCC extends sympathies to Peshawar victims

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

[World Council of Churches] Following the massacre of dozens of students and staff in Peshawar on 16 December, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit extended sympathies to those bereaved or wounded, offering prayers for the victims and their families, for their communities.

Tveit offered his comments in a statement issued on 17 December from the WCC headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

In the statement, Tveit said, “I am shocked and outraged by the massacre of 132 children and nine staff at a school in Peshawar yesterday. It is hard to believe that fellow human beings created in the image of God can descend to such brutality. Whatever grievances – real or imagined – may have inspired this attack, the actions of the perpetrators are utterly condemnable. No true interpretation of any religion can justify or tolerate such an outrage. I pray for the victims and their families, for their communities, and for all of us as we struggle to confront such incomprehensible and unfeeling violence.”

Read full text of the WCC general secretary’s statement

Presiding Bishop’s statement on the release of prisoners from Cuba

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued the following statement on the release of prisoners from Cuba:

I give thanks for the release today of prisoners held by Cuba and the United States.  The return of Alan Gross and the remaining three of the Cuban Five to their homes will bring great rejoicing to their families and their nations.  This action also opens the door to regularized relations between these two countries for the first time in 50 years.  The Episcopal Church rejoices with these families and we have deep hope for the possibilities of reconciliation and exchange between the divided parts of the Church and humanity.

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

Epiphany resources for congregations, individuals presented by EMM

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Samuel A. McDonald, Deputy COO and Director of Mission for The Episcopal Church, has announced that the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS) is offering a 4-week video-based Epiphany curriculum and a bulletin insert for faith formation to raise awareness about refugees and the work of DFMS through Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM).

DFMS has prepared these materials as part of its celebration of 75 years of resettlement work.  This celebration also includes the innovative social media campaign #ShareTheJourney.

The curriculum is available at no fee here.

Link to bulletin insert here.

“With more than 50 million people displaced from their homes, we are right now facing the largest refugee crisis the world has known since World War II,” explained Deborah Stein, Director of Episcopal Migration Ministries. “As conflicts continue in Syria, Iraq and parts of Africa, we will see these numbers continue to swell, making the ongoing resettlement work of DFMS more vital than ever. We invite you to use these materials to #ShareTheJourney by learning more about the plight of refugees, DFMS’ work in resettlement, and how you can be involved.”

The materials are ideal for adult forums, Sunday Schools, youth groups, and faith-formation gatherings for all ages.

Among the titles of the videos are Sowdo’s Story, Supporting Refugee Students, and Find a Friend. All videos are available here.

For more information contact Allison Duvall, Co-Sponsorship and Church Relations Program Manager for Episcopal Migration Ministries, aduvall@episcopalchurch.org, 212-716-6027.

Episcopal Migration Ministries
Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) is the refugee resettlement service of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS). Each year this DFMS ministry works in partnership with its affiliate network, along with dioceses, faith communities and volunteers, to welcome refugees from conflict zones across the globe.

#ShareTheJourney as the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society celebrates 75 years of resettling refugees in the United States. #ShareTheJourney is a multi-media effort to educate, form, and equip Episcopalians to engage in loving service with resettled refugees and to become prophetic witnesses and advocates on behalf of refugees, asylees, migrants, and displaced persons throughout the world.

Episcopal Migration Ministries
#ShareTheJourney

 

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Ebola clinic in Sierra Leone

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

[Lambeth Palace] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby visited Sierra Leone this week with a message of hope and solidarity for all those suffering amid the Ebola outbreak across West Africa.

The archbishop preached at St George’s Cathedral in the Sierra Leonean capital of Freetown before visiting a church-run therapy clinic for children affected by Ebola.

He also met and prayed with faith and community leaders, including Bishop of Freetown Thomas Arnold Ikunika Wilson.

Sierra Leone has the highest number of Ebola cases in West Africa, with more than 8,000 cases and nearly 2,500 deaths since the start of the outbreak. Latest figures show that 1,258 people have survived the virus and recovered.

In his sermon, Welby told those gathered that “your suffering and endurance across the afflicted countries have echoed around the world”, adding that “you are remembered at every moment by God.”

Stressing the solidarity of Christians and Muslims in England for those suffering in West Africa, he said: “In our churches and mosques… we pray for you, long for good news, and are in pain because of your pain.

“I was anxious to share with you the grief that is experienced in this region and especially in Sierra Leone,  a country that has already faced such grief and suffering over the years.”

Just as Jesus was born and lived among the poor and suffering, he said, “so must the world come alongside you to support the doctors, hospitals, and volunteers and people of this land who seek to love those caught by Ebola.

The archbishop also praised medical volunteers traveling to West Africa and urged the British government to continue its “courageous” response to the outbreak.

After the cathedral service, the archbishop met with children affected by Ebola being cared for at the Don Bosco Interim Care Centre in Tintafor.

The center, which is run by the Catholic order of Salesians of Don Bosco, provides services including trauma healing, stress reduction, musical and sport therapy, and individual and group counslling. It also provides non-formal school lessons, family tracing and appropriate reunifications with follow-up visits.

Welby said he prayed that communities afflicted by Ebola would find comfort and hope from each other –  and from God who is “especially faithful” to those “suffering unjustly through the events of life”.

Looking ahead to Christmas, the archbishop said that if asked what the most important part of the Advent season has been for him, he will say it was being with people in Sierra Leone and in South Sudan, which he visited last week.

“Your presence is a generous gift, of which I am entirely unworthy. Your faces will be before me in my mind on Christmas Day. Your needs will be in my prayers.

“But far more importantly you are remembered at every moment by God, who is faithful and will bring comfort.”

Read the Archbishop’s sermon in Freetown

Throughout Archbishop Justin Welby’s short visit to Sierra Leone he followed appropriate infection control procedures. As with others returning from the affected countries, his risk of exposure to Ebola has been carefully assessed by a clinician in accordance with Public Health England’s latest guidelines.

In light of this, having been allocated to the lowest category of risk, he has been advised that no restrictions on his movements or activities are necessary and he will be continuing with his planned commitments over the coming days.

El Obispo Tengatenga habla sobre la fe, la controversia y la Comunión Anglicana

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

[Episcopal News Service – Charleston, Carolina del Sur] James Tengatenga, antiguo obispo de Malawi del Sur que preside actualmente el Consejo Consultivo Anglicano (CCA), dice que la Comunión Anglicana sigue estando en medio de dolorosos conflictos que han hecho que sus miembros “piensen acerca de lo que somos y por lo que estamos, y no sólo que piensen al respecto, sino que realmente aborden el tema y se comprometan con él”.

“De manera que uno espera que seamos más inteligentes respecto a nuestra fe y a nuestro ser”, dijo Tengatenga durante una entrevista reciente con Episcopal News Service.

Tengatenga también habló durante la entrevista acerca de la estructura e importancia del CCA (el organismo que diseña la política de la Comunión), la posibilidad de un Congreso Anglicano y las influencias [que él reconoce] en su vida religiosa.

ENS conversó con Tengatenga durante su visita a la 224ª. convención anual de la Iglesia Episcopal en Carolina del Sur y fue el predicador en la eucaristía de apertura de la convención.

A Tengatenga lo nombraron en mayo profesor visitante distinguido de Anglicanismo Global en la Escuela de Teología de la Universidad del Sur en Sewanee, Tennessee.

A continuación parece una transcripción editada del resto de la entrevista con ENS:

Como presidente del Consejo Consultivo Anglicano, ¿qué identifica como las prioridades de misión de la Comunión Anglicana en este momento?

La primera es sencillamente estar presente con la gente en sus circunstancias —dado todo el dolor, el odio, la guerra y las calamidades naturales que le ocurren al mundo en este momento—, ya sea mediante la oración o coordinando la labor de ayuda, ser la presencia de Cristo en el mundo de esa manera.

En segundo lugar, y resulta extraño ponerlo de segundo porque lo sostiene todo, la real proclamación del Evangelio verbalmente mediante la evangelización; representando continuamente el Evangelio para el pueblo de Dios y también llevando a las personas a Cristo porque esa es nuestra tarea, individualmente y como Comunión.

Y, obviamente, la reconciliación en esta década espléndida y controversial que atravesamos y también sencillamente reconciliándonos con nuestra propia humanidad [la cual] espero llegue a ser testimonio al mundo, con creación, con disparidad de riqueza, con disparidad ideológica. Hablamos acerca de una globalización que debería de resonar con catolicidad, pero así no sucede. La actual globalización es hegemónica de una ideología en particular. Por consiguiente, la misión de la Iglesia, creo yo, es reconciliar eso y hacer que la gente vuelva a Dios, a reconciliarse consigo misma, a reconciliarse con la naturaleza, a reconciliarse con el orden económico.

James Tengatenga, antiguo obispo de Malawi del Sur y presidente del Consejo Consultivo Anglicano, predica el 7 de noviembre de 2012 en la catedral de la Santa Trinidad, en Auckland, Nueva Zelanda, durante la eucaristía de clausura de la 15ª. reunión del CCA. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

¿Cómo ha disfrutado este papel desde que se puso a la cabeza del CCA in 2009? Imagino que ha habido momentos de júbilo y de frustración.

La Iglesia de Dios vive a pesar de nuestras disensiones, malentendidos y divisiones. De manera que la alegría de ver a la Iglesia Católica activa en medio de todas las confusiones es inapreciable. Y también ya he tenido dos diferentes arzobispos [de Cantórbery] con dos estilos diferentes, cada uno de los cuales comprometido a conducir la Iglesia y el pueblo de Dios en la dirección en que verdaderamente proclamará el Evangelio…y continuará edificando sobre lo que hemos recibido a través de Cristo y a través de su Iglesia.

Por supuesto, el dolor es la persistente declaración del cese de relaciones. Yo la oigo —lastima oír eso— y [oigo] las culpas, a izquierda, derecha y centro, acerca de las causas y donde va a llegar. Y también he tenido que ver el estado físico de eso, porque la realidad teológica del cuerpo de Cristo se mantiene, aunque tirante, pero observar esa tirantez es doloroso y estresante porque lo consume a uno ver hermano contra hermano y hermana contra hermana, y que empiezan a demonizarse unos a otros olvidándose de la verdad de que todos somos santos.

¿Cree que la Comunión Anglicana está de mejor salud ahora que hace una década?

Sí, porque a veces la gente confunde lo indoloro con la salud. Me explico, yo acostumbraba a correr en una época cuando era joven, y correr en el calor de Texas 10 kilómetros a mediodía, sólo por el placer de hacerlo, lastima, pero era divertido y era sano. Creo que es ahí donde estamos. Estamos en medio de dolorosos conflictos, como suelo decir, pero eso nos ha hecho pensar acerca de quienes somos, para lo que somos y no sólo pensar al respecto, sino realmente hablar acerca de eso y comprometerse con eso. En consecuencia, uno espera, pues, que seamos más inteligentes respecto a nuestra fe y a nuestra identidad.

La Comunión para aquellos de nosotros que siempre hemos sido anglicanos es algo que siempre damos por sentado y es por eso que ha sido difícil definir lo que nos mantiene unidos. No es un documento, ni una ley ni siquiera los sacramentos. Es algo que trasciende las palabras lo que nos mantiene unidos y eso es Cristo mismo y su mismo Espíritu. De suerte que luchar por articular eso, lo cual yo escucho por todas partes, es para mí una señal de salud.

E incluso para aquellos que han optado por irse, ¿adivine cómo se llaman? Anglicanos esto, anglicanos lo otro. Estamos luchando en verdad por definir lo que atesoramos encarecidamente y no podemos perder. De manera que si realmente yo no quisiera esto, lo abandonaría y cuando lo hubiera abandonado no querría ser identificado con ello de ningún modo, figura o forma. Luego, ¿por qué te vas y quieres seguir siendo identificado con algo?

Significa que hay algo importante en la naturaleza de la Iglesia y en el conflicto para encontrarnos a nosotros mismos y a nuestra alma y adonde Dios nos lleva. Si eso resulta doloroso, querría creer que es doloroso de la manera en que el ejercicio lo es, donde uno percibe que la salud proviene de ese conflicto de autoidentificación y de autocomprensión en Dios. Si alguien viniera y tomará plenamente la temperatura y dijera ‘esto es saludable’, siempre creería que es un asunto de Dios, no un quehacer humano. Podemos ver señales, podemos hacer algo respecto a ellas, pero compete a Dios declarar realmente la salud del pueblo de Dios.

Con estructuras eclesiásticas centenarias que están siendo cuestionadas y que enfrentan reformas, ¿cree que el Consejo Consultivo Anglicano, en su constitución actual, es el modelo correcto para la labor que él y la Comunión tienen que hacer en el siglo XXI?

La última reunión del Consejo Consultivo Anglicano fue del 27 de octubre al 7 de noviembre de 2012, fundamentalmente en la catedral de La Trinidad, en Auckland, Nueva Zelanda. El CCA está compuesto por obispos, sacerdotes y laicos. De una a tres personas provienen de cada una de las 38 provincias de la Comunión Anglicana, en dependencia del tamaño numérico de cada provincia. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

En la actualidad, querría decir que sí y no creo que pueda ser ninguna otra cosa distinta de lo que es ahora, en el sentido de que… tenemos un modelo. Ahora que tenemos ese modelo, ¿cómo lo perfeccionamos y hacemos que funcione como queremos a fin de organizarnos?

No podemos llamarnos una ‘Comunión’ y no tener una realidad física de esa experiencia. El único lugar en que experimentamos eso —y quiero enfatizarlo— el único lugar actualmente donde experimentamos eso es en el CCA. No hay ninguna ocasión en que la Comunión se congregue de una forma visible, con representantes físicos de todas y cada una de las provincias, y de todos y cada uno de los órdenes [que en el CCA]. La pregunta es cómo lo hacemos funcionar mejor. ¿Cómo lo hacemos funcionar como ese organismo que queremos que sea?

Creo que durante mucho tiempo la Comunión ha vivido como si no existiera. No que no existiera, pero vivimos como si fuera así, como si no importara. Creo que es por eso que digo que la Iglesia está en una situación más saludable ahora porque en verdad está tomando conciencia de sí misma y los sistemas que ha establecido para poder ministrar cabalmente y reflejar plenamente su catolicidad y proyectar plenamente el Evangelio de un modo que sea respetuoso de la singularidad de cada miembro individualmente, la singularidad de cada miembro en órdenes, la singularidad de cada provincia —de cada Iglesia— porque somos una comunión de iglesias. Es esto lo que facilita esa singularidad y, al mismo tiempo, esa unidad.

En verdad, no estoy diciendo que sea perfecto, no sólo porque creo que la perfección pertenece al futuro y es para lo que trabajamos todos los días, sino porque creo que se trata de un organismo vivo. ¿Y existió alguna vez un tiempo en que la Iglesia siguió siendo la misma? No. A partir de la época de Jesús, hemos estado transformándonos… convirtiéndonos en lo que hemos llegado a ser.

No estoy seguro de que podamos hacerlo mucho mejor en donde ahora estamos. Tomaría algunas décadas llegar a alguna parte porque trabajamos en trienios y, a veces en bienios en las diferentes provincias. De modo que , incluso si fuéramos a decir de la noche a la mañana que queremos cambiar esto, tomaría un mínimo de seis años incluso llegar a definir qué es lo que queremos antes de que podamos empezar a preguntar [si] lo hemos definido. Luego otros seis años antes que lo aceptemos.

Un grupo de obispos de distintos lugares de la Comunión Anglicana se reunió recientemente en Nueva York y en su comunicado preguntó si era hora de otro Congreso Anglicano. ¿Cuál es su reacción a esa idea?

Siempre ha sido hora de otro congreso. El primero fue en 1908 y como Comunión intentábamos no sólo celebrar otro, intentamos celebrar un siglo de eso con [la Conferencia de] Lambeth 2008, pero faltaron los medios económicos en ese proceso y nos falló.

Yo fui parte de la planificación de la última Conferencia de Lambeth y nuestra misión inicial fue planificar un congreso —una reunión— junto con la Conferencia de Lambeth, que fuera casi un reflejo exacto del de 1908.

Luego, por supuesto, el próximo [Congreso Anglicano después de la reunión de 1908] tuvo lugar en Mineápolis en el 54 y el último en Toronto [en 1963] y la idea era —ya que el de Toronto se celebró cinco años antes de la próxima Conferencia de Lambeth— que ese fuera un posible patrón para que pudiéramos congregarnos cada cinco años.

Curiosamente, yo estaba tratando de esto en mi clase a principios de esta semana y hablando acerca de los jamborees. Sé que hay una opinión cínica del jamboree, pero si le pregunta a los que han asistido a uno —dado que el término proviene del movimiento de los Boy Scouts, el cual incidentalmente comenzó en 1908— ha transformado su percepción no sólo del movimiento de los exploradores [scouts], sino de su propio ser personal. Y de eso se trata.

“La Comunión para aquellos de nosotros que siempre hemos sido anglicanos es algo que siempre damos por sentado y es por eso que ha sido difícil definir lo que nos mantiene unidos”, dice el obispo James Tengatenga, que preside el Consejo Consultivo Anglicano. Foto de la Diócesis de Texas.

[Los congresos anglicanos] son seminales en el sentido que nos hacen pensar de nuevo en una administración sin responsabilidades. La administración es importante y no creo, como algunos han estado diciendo, que simplemente debemos reemplazar la Conferencia de Lambeth y en su lugar tener sólo el congreso. Creo, en verdad, que eso es una falacia. No puedes hacer eso [porque acabarías] creando otra cosa tipo Lambeth, porque no puede haber una organización y no tener reuniones de líderes y no tener funciones administrativas. [Pero no hay ocasión en esa clase de reuniones] de llegar a las raíces de lo que creemos y lo que podemos mirar de manera seminal en lo que los congresos han hecho.

[Los congresos] han marcado nuestra vida . . . [el de]1963 nos hizo reflexionar sobre lo que significa participar en la misión en un organismo multinacional y multicultural, y en una sociedad desigual donde algunos tienen y algunos no tienen. Y ¿es cierto que algunos tienen y que algunos no tienen? O la cuestión es que algunos tienen una cosa y otros tienen otra cosa y juntos somos por tanto mutuamente responsables y mutuamente interdependientes? [El Congreso Anglicano de 1963] nos dio el lenguaje de la mutua responsabilidad, de la mutua interdependencia…

Llegamos a estar atentos y en sintonía con el hecho de que estamos asociados unos con otros, pero nunca quedó bastante definido qué significa eso, ni cuánto puede durar ni que forma adopta, ni [quienes son] los dadores y los beneficiarios, y cosas por el estilo. Y nunca llegamos a entender lo que era estar en misión, de manera que los que participaban en la misión simplemente iban a otros lugares a hacer lo que creían que era importante para ellos. Podemos casi decir que de lo que nos ocupamos es lo que decíamos en la ‘Mutua Responsabilidad e Interdependencia.’ Y la mutualidad sigue siendo cuestionada; y la responsabilidad de unos con otros [sigue siendo cuestionada].

De manera que estos [congresos] son seminales para el modo en que nos vemos a nosotros mismos y en que participamos en la obra de Dios. No creo que llegue el momento en que no los necesitemos. Creo que la interrogante es si podemos ser lo bastante responsables como Comunión para tratar de organizar uno, pagar la factura por él y hacerlo funcionar, y no convertirlo en un espectáculo.

Usted fue el centro de una controversia el año pasado cuando le retiraron su nombramiento en Dartmouth College por el comentario que había hecho sobre la homosexualidad. ¿Qué aprendió de esa experiencia o está aún aprendiendo de ella?

No creo que haya un momento en que agote el aprendizaje de esa experiencia; está cargada de toda suerte de cosas. Fue una experiencia dolorosa.

Básicamente, que la gente sigue mostrándose sospechosa de lo que es ‘diferente’, cualquiera que sea lo diferente, y, a partir de ahí, emiten juicios que carecen de sustancia, pero desafortunadamente si eres tan proclive a creer en ti mismo más que en la verdad a la que te enfrentas terminas haciendo cosas.

Y también aprendiendo a apreciar el amor del pueblo de Dios debido a la respuesta de respaldo que obtuve después de esa experiencia, ni siquiera puedo empezar a contar.

Y también obviamente el aprender a estar en el desierto, porque llegado a ese punto, ¿qué queda?

Y luego vino Sewanee. ¿Cuál ha sido su énfasis en Sewanee?

Enseñar estudios de misión —misiología— y enseñarla, mirándola desde mi perspectiva, desde el mundo en que vivo como receptor —un producto de— la misión y un agente de la misión… Es básicamente como [decir], bien, ha llegado el momento de compartir mi historia con Jesús y su obra y lo que ello ha sido, pero en un sentido académico y formando a la gente para el ministerio. Y también hablando acerca del anglicanismo global.

Es un privilegio, realmente, poder compartir mi experiencia vivida de la catolicidad de la Iglesia y de la manera en que funcionan los organismos de la Iglesia. Todos nosotros imaginamos que sabemos, pero lo que sabemos es sólo lo que hemos experimentado u oído dentro del contexto de la controversia actual, pero hay que pensar que la Comunión es mayor que eso y más antigua que eso. Podemos no haberlo expresado de la misma manera pero lo hemos visto desenvolverse ante nuestros ojos desde entonces.

[Yo también me pregunto] cómo es ese anglicanismo actual una expresión de Dios en el mundo, en la participación de Dios en el mundo, una expresión de lo que no es más que una experiencia del pueblo de Dios en su Iglesia Católica. Ser capaz de hablar de eso y también descubrir con los estudiantes la humildad de la posición anglicana, que afirma, desde el primer día, que el anglicanismo nunca se ha considerado la suma total y plena de la Iglesia Católica. Siempre se vio como una expresión de la Iglesia Católica y nos predispuso, por tanto, hacia la unidad del pueblo de Dios y a trabajar por conseguirla.

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

Video: Mozambique partnership addresses malaria, intense flooding

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] With picture postcard landscapes, rich agricultural possibilities, and a people committed to a sustainable future, Mozambique is a place of great beauty and potential.

But intense seasonal flooding, periodic droughts and the burden of malaria and other communicable diseases continue to bring suffering to much of the population.

Responding to these crises and encouraging sustainability has been the focus of Anglican Social Action (ASA), the relief and development arm of the Diocese of Lebombo.

Episcopal Relief & Development has partnered with ASA through the malaria prevention program NetsforLife®, community development initiatives, and in responding to the immediate impact and long-term recovery from flooding disasters.

This video is also featured here as part of Episcopal Relief & Development’s 75 stories over 75 weeks project to celebrate the agency’s 75th anniversary. The 75-week celebration will continue through the end of 2015.

Another video report about how this partnership fosters sustainable livelihoods is available here and below.

Libby Lane named as Church of England’s first female bishop

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Libby Lane smiles as her forthcoming appointment as the new bishop of Stockport (a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Chester) is announced in the Town Hall in Stockport, northern England, Dec. 17, 2014. Lane will become the Church of England’s first female bishop. Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble

Editors’ note: Story updated at 11:40 EST Dec. 17 with statement from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

[Church of England press release] Downing Street has announced that the new bishop of Stockport – and the first female bishop in the Church of England – will be the Rev. Libby Lane, currently vicar of St. Peter’s, Hale, and St. Elizabeth’s, Ashley.

As bishop of Stockport she will serve as a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester. She will be consecrated as the eighth bishop of Stockport at a ceremony at York Minister on Jan. 26, 2015.

Lane was ordained as a priest in 1994 and has served a number of parish and chaplaincy roles in the north of England in the dioceses of Blackburn, York and Chester. For the past eight years she has served as vicar of St. Peter’s and St. Elizabeth’s.

She is one of eight clergy women from the Church of England elected as Participant Observers in the House of Bishops, as the representative from the dioceses of the north west.

Speaking at Stockport Town Hall, where she was announced as the new bishop of Stockport, Lane said: “I am grateful for, though somewhat daunted by, the confidence placed in me by the Diocese of Chester. This is unexpected and very exciting. On this historic day as the Church of England announces the first woman nominated to be bishop, I am very conscious of all those who have gone before me, women and men, who for decades have looked forward to this moment. But most of all I am thankful to God.

“The church faces wonderful opportunities, to proclaim afresh, in this generation, the good news of Jesus and to build His kingdom. The Church of England is called to serve all the people of this country, and being present in every community, we communicate our faith best when our lives build up the lives of others, especially the most vulnerable. I am excited by the possibilities and challenges ahead.”

Responding to news of the announcement, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, said: “It is with great joy that on January 26, 2015 – the feast of Timothy and Titus, companions of Paul – I will be in York Minster, presiding over the consecration of the Rev. Libby Lane as bishop suffragan of Stockport. Libby brings a wealth of experience in parish ministry, in hospital and FE chaplaincy, in vocations work and the nurture of ordinands. I am delighted that she will exercise her episcopal ministry with joy, prayerfulness, and trust in God.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “I am absolutely delighted that Libby has been appointed to succeed Bishop Robert Atwell as bishop of Stockport. Her Christ-centered life, calmness and clear determination to serve the church and the community make her a wonderful choice.

“She will be bishop in a diocese that has been outstanding in its development of people, and she will make a major contribution. She and her family will be in my prayers during the initial excitement, and the pressures of moving.”

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said the church gives thanks for Lane’s appointment. “We give thanks for her ministry and that of so many other women in the Church of England, and pray that others will soon be named as bishops in other sees,” Jefferts Schori said.  “Would that all the people of God were able to see the image of God reflected in their ordained and lay leaders, and to see themselves reflected as well.”

Bishop of Chester Peter Forster said: “Libby has had a varied and distinguished ministry, and is currently a first-rate parish priest. She has already demonstrated her ability to contribute nationally through her representative role in the House of Bishops, on behalf of the northwest England dioceses.

“As the first woman bishop in the Church of England she will face many challenges as well as enjoying many opportunities to be an ambassador for Jesus Christ. I have no doubt that she has the gifts and determination to be an outstanding bishop.

“I am delighted at her designation as bishop of Stockport after a lengthy process of discernment across the Church of England and beyond.”

The nomination of Lane as the new bishop of Stockport was approved by the Queen and announced Dec. 17. Lane succeeds the Rt. Rev. Robert Atwell, who is now the bishop of Exeter.

Biographical Details
Libby Lane has been the vicar of St Peter’s Hale and St Elizabeth’s Ashley, in the Diocese of Chester, since April 2007, and from January 2010 has also been Dean of Women in Ministry for the diocese. After school in Manchester and university at Oxford, she trained for ministry at Cranmer Hall in Durham. She was ordained a deacon in 1993 and a priest in 1994, serving her curacy in Blackburn, Lancashire.

Prior to moving to Hale, Lane was team vicar in the Stockport South West Team, and assistant diocesan director of ordinands in the Diocese of Chester, advising and supporting those considering a vocation to ministry in the church. She continues to be a bishop’s selection adviser.

Lane has served in the Diocese of York, as chaplain in hospital and further education, and as family life officer for the Committee for Social Responsibility in the Diocese of Chester.

She is one of eight clergy women from the Church of England elected as Participant Observers in the House of Bishops, as the representative from the dioceses of the north west.

Her husband, George, is also a priest; they were one of the first married couples in the Church of England to be ordained together. George is coordinating chaplain at Manchester Airport, licensed in the Diocese of Manchester. They have two grown up children in higher education.

Her interests include being a school governor, encouraging social action initiatives, learning to play the saxophone, supporting Manchester United, reading and doing cryptic crosswords.

Resources available:

A video statement by the Rev. Libby Lane on her appointment is available from the Diocese of Chester Website here (Chester Diocese YouTube channel is available here).

An audio interview with the Rev. Libby Lane on today’s announcement is available as part of a Church of England podcast here.

A photostream from today’s announcement including photos of the Rev. Libby Lane are available here.

Include the Church in Navajoland in year-end plans

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Consider helping the Episcopal Church in Navajoland as you prepare for your end-of-the-year donations.

Through the efforts of the Episcopal Church Development Office, tax-deductible donations can be made to the building of hogans in Navajoland.

Donations can be made here.

“Help the Navajo build sturdily-modern, yet traditional, structures that serve as a locus of Navajoland’s unique and beautiful Episcopal ministry,” explained Elizabeth Lowell, Director of Development. “The great success of The Episcopal Church’s inaugural participation in #GivingTuesday means that the Navajoland Area Mission will be able to complete one ceremonial and educational hogan – and they have part of the funding to start another.”

The Navajoland Area Mission is 26,000 square miles, spreading over Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.  Hogans, a traditional Navajoland dwelling, cost $40,000 to build and are used for traditional ceremonies as well as educational purposes.

Donations for hogans will be accepted through June 2015.

For more information contact Lowell at elowell@episcopalchurch.org.

JNCPB issues statement on progress

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

[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:

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) has completed initial conversations with those bishops who have entered the discernment process for the 2015 election of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.  The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori’s nine-year term concludes in October.  The interviews followed the Committee’s call for nominations, which ended September 30.  The JNCPB invited all bishops who were nominated to enter into the discernment process by providing biographical information, references, and responses to several questions.

JNCPB members conducted virtual interviews in November and into the first week of December. Teams of three to four committee members met electronically with nominees for an hour of video conversation.  Videos and written materials will help the JNCPB to discern the list of candidates who will prepare for face-to-face meetings with the Nominating Committee in the spring of 2015.  Members of the JNCPB will gather in January.

JNCPB committee member Nina Vest Salmon (Diocese of Southwestern Virginia) comments, “Episcopal church leadership is remarkably strong.  Our immediate awareness is that we have excellent candidates, all bringing great gifts in the context of deep spiritual grounding.  We are grateful to the candidates for their willingness to enter into this period of discernment.”

The JNCPB asks for your prayers in the discernment process and asks also for prayers for those bishops who have entered the process.

The JNCPB committee 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.

Members listed here

Video: Saint Thomas boys’ choir school

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] In the middle of New York City, young boys attend one of the few remaining professional choir schools in the world. They live, attend school and learn some of the most difficult, beautiful music ever written in the Episcopal/Anglican cathedral choir tradition. They are ordinary boys with extraordinary talent. Hear them sing and see what life is like at this remarkable institution in a new video from the Episcopal Church Office of Mission Communication, Saint Thomas Choir School.

Founded in 1919, Saint Thomas Boys Choir boasts a long history of training world-class musicians and singers while teaching them the basics of reading, writing and ‘rithmatic.

“There is no other school in North America where you can walk in and hear this music,” commented the Rev. Andrew C. Mead, rector emeritus of Saint Thomas.

“Saint Thomas Choir School is a hidden treasure of the Episcopal Church,” noted Mike Collins, Episcopal Church Manager of Multimedia.  “It’s the only school of its kind in the United States and one of only three in the world.”

For more information contact Collins at mcollins@episcopalchurch.org

 

Religious-themed movies – helping or hurting the Christian story?

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] The latest in a slew of religious-themed films this year, “Exodus: Gods and Kings” starring Christian Bale as Moses, opened Dec. 12, but can it and others of its genre be considered Christian movies? And do they help – or hinder – the telling of the biblical story?

Some Episcopalians, like Faith Bryant of Highland, California, believe Hollywood’s creative license with movies like “Noah,” released in March and starring Russell Crowe as the ark-building patriarch, wreak havoc with beloved Bible stories.

But others say making connections matters. That, if the movies – loyal or not to biblical accounts – can lead to deeper engagement of faith or even steer the uninitiated in the church’s direction, all the better.

Lisa Brown, director of children’s ministry at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania, held a red carpet gala and other activities after “we had children coming out of the woodwork” when “The Fault in Our Stars” was filmed at the church.

The Rev. Alex Riffee, who is set to launch a “Movie Theology Ministry” in January at St. James Church in Louisa, Virginia, considers that even the raunchy television series “South Park” can invite deeper conversations about the faith.

Telling the story, or not
A long-time Episcopalian, Bryant said she eagerly anticipated viewing the epic movie about “Noah,” the beloved biblical story she learned as a child. It starred Crowe, who held a widely publicized meeting with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby after the film’s premiere, to talk about faith and spirituality.

Russell Crowe meets with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at Lambeth Palace the day after attending the premiere in London of Crowe’s film “Noah.” Photo: Lambeth Palace

But Bryant didn’t find much faith or spirituality in the movie, and it didn’t receive particularly good reviews. She said it has inspired her own exodus – from Hollywood-style religious movies altogether.

“There were a lot of things in the movie that were false,” recalled Bryant, 55. “They portrayed Noah as somebody who was maybe a little crazy. They didn’t portray him as an upright, righteous person. It was disturbing. It was almost a bit sci-fi. A person who sees the movie first and then reads the Bible will say, ‘No, that’s not like the movie. Where’s all the stuff that was in the movie?’ ”

“Noah” and “Exodus: Gods and Kings” aren’t the only recent big screen attempts to re-tell biblical stories. Within the past few months, a spate of religious-themed Christian movies has included “Son of God” produced by former “Highway to Heaven” star Roma Downey and “Left Behind” starring Nicholas Cage, echoing the Rapture.

And now there’s a priest turned moviemaker (see related story), the Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, who is co-producing “Ports of Call,” an interfaith love story which is more about building bridges than incorporating religious themes.

Riffee says rejecting such movies outright without considering their potential to make connections between church and secular worlds is a missed opportunity.

Russell Crowe stars in “Noah,” released in March 2014 Photo: “Noah” movie official website

And while he didn’t think “Noah” was a particularly good movie, “if nothing else it was meant to be entertaining, which is what Hollywood’s trying to do,” he said. “We have to remember they’re not trying to tell the story from a faith perspective at all.

“That means they change the story based on what people want to see and hear” but the popularity of such movies can “also be a conversation-starter for people to open up the Bible in the first place,” added Riffee, 28.

He hopes to use his “movie theology ministry” to engage families and children, because biblical themes are prevalent in all sorts of media, and whatever the movie, “if we believe with our lens that there is always a connection we can engage the entire world and find holiness in it.”

For example, he said, “Noah” could be considered through the lens of maintaining creation and even become an entrée to a discussion about global warming and environmental justice.

He believes it’s good that “they’re even trying to do the stories. Whether the church goes and sees it or attacks it, people are going to see it and we have no control over that. Some will see [“Exodus: Gods and Kings”] because they like Christian Bale. We can do something about it in responding to it happening, engaging it, dispelling some of the stuff we don’t think it’s really trying to say.”

Even television programs such as “South Park,” often considered “one of the worst shows on TV,” spark worthy conversation, Riffee said. “I wasn’t allowed to watch it, I had to go to a friend’s house to see it, but the idea was to express a point by showing extremes to the ridiculous.

“If you’re able to get past that, they actually have something deep and meaningful to say, and they also engage a lot of religious topics. There’s always a nugget you can take away, because they try to portray a central truth that everybody hopefully can agree upon.”

Missouri ‘film forum’ guides believers on journey of discovery
Jim Andris, 76, of St. Louis, Missouri, said the first time he saw the epic “The Ten Commandments” starring Charlton Heston, he believed the movie was gospel.

Charlton Heston plays Moses in the 1956 movie “The Ten Commandments.” Photo: Wikimedia Commons

“Since then I’ve traveled a long path of spiritual investigation,” Andris told ENS. “I grew up on those grand Hollywood visions of the patriarchs in the Bible. At the time, I saw those movies as helping us. I uncritically saw them as doors into understanding the message of the Christian scriptures.”

Now, he views the movies, as well as the biblical stories themselves, as intending “to tell us something about the way we should live our lives. There’s some truth, if we dig for it; we each have our own interpretation.”

Besides, said the retired university professor who now attends Trinity Episcopal Church in East St. Louis, “there’s this fascination with holy battles, or with right-versus-wrong battles where you see hour after hour of the most incredible, unbelievable carnage … with louder sound, and unbelievable graphics. At one level, I think it’s all just baloney. I can be entertained, but that doesn’t get us closer to the truth.”

He added that “the actual truth of Jesus Christ is not very exciting. Jesus Christ gave a nonviolent example and Hollywood seems to be obsessed with violence.”

He credits a film forum series offered by another Trinity parishioner and long-time film critic Martha Baker with inviting deeper understanding of his own faith and theological themes in movie messages.

Baker, a KDHX-St. Louis Radio film critic, has reviewed movies since 1977 and “purposely steers clear of films like ‘Noah’” for discussion by the parish forum.

“I never have purposefully selected a film with what one might call a religious theme except maybe “The Way” with Martin Sheen,” the film about his character’s pilgrimage walking Spain’s El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, said Baker. “The other was a film about Hildegard of Bingen. Both were fabulous in and of themselves.”

But some movies, like Mel Gibson’s 2004 “The Passion of the Christ,” she believes, actually hurt the Christian message. “It was one of the worst movies ever made, generally, and then when you add the specifics of the Christian part of that tone, it does more damage than good. It was hurtful to the greater Christian message.”

Using ‘Fault’ to reach out to young people
Director of Children’s Ministry Lisa Brown maximized the opportunity for discussion and for outreach when the movie “The Fault in Our Stars” was filmed at her parish.

Released in June, the movie was based on the book of the same name, by Episcopalian John Green.

“He was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. He’s known for his Crash Course videos on YouTube, mostly history lessons, and kids watch. Anytime you have an opportunity for the church to be connected to something so culturally relevant, we have an opportunity to reach out to a lot of kids.”

Although some were disappointed in the film’s portrayal of church and clergy, the movie sent a powerful message in a time when many young people may view the church as irrelevant or ineffective, Brown said, because the young couple returned to the church at a crucial moment in the movie.

Her youth group “was giddy to have something so tremendously cool associated with their church,” she recalled.

The church staged a premiere of sorts the evening of the film’s release, with a red-carpet gala open to all young people, Brown said. “We worked with a local movie theater, we rented a red carpet, the congregation made appetizers and food. Some kids wore prom apparel, some T-shirts,” she said.

It was a wonderful experience, but Brown said that, while “you can look at any movie through a Christian lens or perspective, I’m always leery because I think sometimes there’s a lot of reinterpretation that is not necessarily reflective of the way I’d use the story as a Christian educator.

“There’s such a broad spectrum of even Christian beliefs … that I don’t want someone to make assumptions about what I believe based on what was portrayed in a movie. Anytime you take a story out of context, it can be problematic.”

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