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Episcopal priest helps campaign to house 100K homeless Americans

ENS Headlines - Friday, August 29, 2014

[Community Solutions press release] An Episcopal priest has helped to spearhead a successful national campaign to find permanent housing for 100,000 homeless Americans in fewer than four years. The Rev. Linda M. Kaufman, canonically resident in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, directed national field organizing for the 100,000 Homes Campaign, which announced last month that it had helped 186 communities find permanent housing for 105,580 chronically homeless Americans, including more than 31,000 veterans since launching in July 2010. As National Field Organizer, Kaufman oversaw community enrollment and training for the Campaign and logged over 140,000 miles of travel.

The 100,000 Homes Campaign is a national movement coordinated by New York-based non-profit, Community Solutions, which launched the effort in July of 2010. Kaufman served as the Campaign’s chief public speaker, addressing community groups and conferences around the country about how they could play a role. Kaufman credits her training as a preacher with preparing her for this work.

“Linda channeled her passion for social justice into organizing for the 100,000 Homes Campaign with such heart,” said Becky Kanis, who directed the Campaign. “She carried the opportunity to improve the lives of homeless Americans like the precious gift that it was, and people really responded to that.  I still meet people from all over the country who say things like, ‘Do you know Linda Kaufman? She really inspired us to make the changes we had needed to make for a long time.’”

Kaufman graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1986 and was ordained a priest a year later. Since 1997, she has been affiliated clergy at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church in Washington, DC. She began her journey working with people experiencing homelessness in 1985 as a volunteer at Mt. Carmel House, a DC program run by Catholic Charities. By 1993, she was working full time for a DC-based dinner program for homeless women. In the mid-1990s, she was asked to bring the then controversial Housing First approach to Washington, DC, and she reached out to Pathways to Housing in New York City to create a DC affiliate.

Housing First, which became official federal policy under the second Bush administration, is a housing strategy that seeks to offer people experiencing homelessness permanent housing right away without requiring their participation in treatment or services. The policy, which boasts an 85 percent housing retention rate nationally, developed in contrast to traditional approached which required homeless individuals to achieve sobriety or obtain work before offering them access to housing. Housing First offers an array of supportive services, but does not condition housing upon them.

The 100,000 Homes Campaign helped communities across the country adopt the gold standard Housing First approach, which is supported by the research consensus. Kaufman was instrumental in convincing communities to make the shift.

“For almost 30 years I have known that working with individuals who are homeless is my vocation,” says Kaufman. “The 100,000 Homes Campaign has been a powerful outlet for my growing belief that we can actually end homelessness. For the first time, I have seen how individual communities can truly end homelessness on the ground. And, if communities can do it locally, then together, we can end homelessness nationwide.  I believe that this work is what God made me to do— and now I get to do it.  I am so grateful.”

History and Results of the 100,000 Homes Campaign
Community Solutions launched the 100,000 Homes Campaign in July of 2010 at the annual conference of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. At that time, just 36 communities had agreed to participate in the national effort to house 100,000 people. Community Solutions also set a deadline for this ambitious goal: July 2014.

Over the life of the Campaign, largely due to Kaufman’s diligent travel to every reach of the country, the number of enrolled communities grew to 186 in more than 40 states. Together, those communities attended monthly webinars and regional in-person convenings to share new ideas and problem solve together. They have also made use of social media and a virtual infrastructure to learn together and spur each other on. Participation was free of charge for all communities, thanks to the Campaign’s generous funders and partners.

Communities participating in the 100,000 Homes Campaign have achieved success by doing four things differently:

  • First, they hit the streets at 4 a.m. to identify all of their homeless neighbors by name and build a file on each person’s housing needs. Kaufman served as the lead trainer in these efforts, conducting 15 such trainings across the country for more than 130 communities.
  • Second, they prioritize their most vulnerable and chronically homeless neighbors for the first permanent housing available, without preconditions. This research-based, Housing First approach is proven, even for those who have been homeless for extended periods of time or who face serious health conditions associated with an increased risk of death on the streets.
  • Third, they track and measure their monthly housing progress against predetermined benchmarks designed to put them on pace to end chronic and Veteran homelessness on the federal timeline. When the Campaign began, just 12 participating communities were measurably on track to end chronic and veteran homelessness. Today, that number has grown to 60.
  • Finally, they use data and process improvement techniques drawn from industry to streamline their local housing systems, making them faster and more easily navigable for the homeless Americans who depend on them. Many communities have reduced the time required to house a single homeless individual from over a year to as little as two weeks.

Communities participating in the 100,000 Homes Campaign have helped speed the downward national trend in homelessness by focusing on Veterans, the chronically homeless, and those who face the highest risk of death on the streets. Between 2010 and today, Veteran homelessness has declined by 30 percent to 49,933, falling under 50,000 for the first time since the nation began counting. The largest decrease—almost 40 percent—has come among Veterans sleeping on the streets as opposed to shelters or in programs. These are precisely the kind of Veterans that Campaign communities have been working to target. During the same period, the number of individuals experiencing chronic homelessness has dropped by fifteen percent from 109,812 to 92,593.

Communities participating in the Campaign have achieved significant improvement in their housing performance. They have gone from housing an average of 1.6 percent of their chronically homeless populations each month to 5.1 percent. Additionally, 60 of these communities are now on track to end chronic homelessness outright in the next three years. In 2011, that number was just 12.

Dramatic Taxpayer Savings
An analysis developed by Liana Downey and Associates, a strategic government advisory firm, estimates the total taxpayer savings from housing 100,000 chronically homeless Americans at more than $1.3 billion annually, based on a review of existing studies. This is due to the fact that chronically homeless people make frequent use of emergency services like the ER, where a single night’s stay often costs more than a full month’s rent in permanent housing. Connecting these individuals to permanent housing with simple supportive services to help them remain housed reduces public costs by as much as 37 percent each year.

Chronically homeless Americans are defined federally as those who have been homeless for one year or more, or four or more times in the past three years, and are living with a disabling medical condition. This group accounts for 12-15 percent of the homeless population in US communities yet consumes more than 70 percent of all public dollars spent on homelessness through high emergency service usage.

“Study after study confirms that it is cheaper to end homelessness than to let it persist,” said Rosanne Haggerty, President of Community Solutions, which launched and coordinates the Campaign. “Fiscal concerns are no longer an acceptable excuse for failing to end homelessness. Permanent housing with services, targeted to chronically homeless Americans, is the smartest, most cost-effective way to do the right thing.”

What’s Next?
In January, Community Solutions will launch Zero: 2016, a national effort to build on the success of the Campaign by helping communities get to zero on chronic and Veteran homelessness. Kaufman will continue to serve as the primary liaison to communities throughout the country looking to get more deeply involved in the national movement to end homelessness.

Coordinated by Community Solutions, the 100,000 Homes Campaign is a national movement of 186 communities working together to find and house 100,000 of their most vulnerable, chronically homeless neighbors by July 31, 2014. Since the Campaign’s launch in July of 2010, participating communities have found permanent housing for more than 100,000 of their homeless neighbors at an estimated cost savings to taxpayers of $1.3 billion. Learn more at www.100khomes.org and www.cmtysolutions.org.

La Universidad de Cuttington y la diócesis de Liberia en el epicentro de la crisis del ébola

ENS Headlines - Friday, August 29, 2014

Miembros del equipo de trabajo que dirige la descarga de suministros en respuesta a la crisis del ébola en el condado de Bong, Liberia. Foto por cortesía de la Diócesis Episcopal de Liberia.

[Episcopal News Service] La Universidad de Cuttington en Liberia, localizada en uno de los epicentros del brote del ébola en África Occidental, está atendiendo a sus comunidades vecinas, al tiempo que se preocupa del impacto de la epidemia en el futuro de la escuela, actualmente cerrada, y lamenta la pérdida de graduados y amigos.

Entre tanto, a través de Liberia y Sierra Leona, Ayuda y Desarrollo Episcopales se mantiene en contacto regular con sus asociados de las iglesias locales que “están apelando a su extendida presencia y a su fiable reputación para aliviar el sufrimiento y contener el brote del ébola” que ha causado la muerte por lo menos de 1.427 personas en África Occidental desde marzo de 2014, según un comunicado de prensa del 27 de agosto.

Ayuda y Desarrollo Episcopales informó además que asociados en ambos países están movilizando a voluntarios locales para promover información precisa acerca del ébola y distribuir suministros de higiene y saneamiento, al tiempo que la Iglesia Episcopal de Liberia reparte paquetes de alimentos para las familias en las comunidades sujetas a cuarentena y ofrece equipos de protección básicos para los trabajadores de la salud en los hospitales locales.

Un miembro del personal de la Oficina Regional de África en Ghana de Ayuda y Desarrollo Episcopales modela las máscaras, guantes, batas y otros artículos de protección que se han enviado a Liberia y se han suministrado a tres hospitales: el Hospital Phebe, el Hospital de la Redención y el Hospital H.C. Rennie. Foto por cortesía de Ayuda y Desarrollo Episcopales.

Abiy Seifu, funcionario principal de programas de Ayuda y Desarrollo Episcopales, describió la situación como “extremadamente desesperada”, debido tanto a la gravedad de la enfermedad como a la dificultad de contenerla. “Las personas quieren cuidar de sus familiares enfermos en la casa, temen ir a las clínicas porque muchos están muriendo y hay una enorme desinformación respecto a cómo se propaga el ébola. El temor a la enfermedad está empeorando el brote y debemos combatir este temor con información precisa y apoyo a las necesidades básicas¨.

La agencia informó que miembros del personal de Ayuda y Desarrollo de la Iglesia Episcopal de Liberia están colaborando con los líderes sanitarios del gobierno en el condado de Bong para distribuir artículos alimentarios tales como arroz, aceite para cocinar y carne en lata en cuatro comunidades rurales que están sujetas a cuarentena.

El campus principal de la Universidad de Cuttington en el interior de la región central de Liberia se encuentra a unos 9 kilómetros Gbarnga, la capital del condado de Bong. Cuttington, fundada en 1889 en Liberia por la Iglesia Episcopal de EE.UU., tiene otros dos recintos, uno en la capital del país, Monrovia, y otro a unos 72 kilómetros al sur de Monrovia.

La universidad alberga la mayor escuela de enfermería de Liberia y, debido a que ofrece la única licenciatura en enfermería en el país, muchos de sus graduados trabajan en situaciones de terapia intensiva. Muchos aspirantes a médicos toman la licenciatura en biología de la universidad como prerrequisito de la única escuela de medicina del país, la Escuela de Medicina A.M. Dogliotti, y los graduados de Cuttington constituyen la mayor porción de los estudiantes de Dogliotti.

“Este vínculo entre Cuttington y la comunidad médica es auténtico y nos está causando una gran angustia”, escribió Henrique Tokpa en una carta del 25 de agosto. “Conocemos a las personas que intervienen en esta epidemia y nos sentimos solidarios con sus familias”.

El primer trabajador de la salud que falleció en Liberia víctima del ébola fue un graduado de la escuela de enfermería de Cuttington en 2012, escribió Tokpa en la carta dirigida al Rdo. Ranjit Matthews, funcionario de la Iglesia Episcopal para relaciones e intercomunicaciones globales. El enfermero, a quien Tokpa se refirió como el Sr. Daah, trabajaba en el hospital de Foyah en el norte de Liberia.

Un doctor en medicina que ejercía en el Hospital Phebe —hospital luterano que se encuentra cerca del campus principal de Cuttington y que es la institución de salud pública más grande de la nación— que también enseña a jornada parcial en el colegio de las Ciencias Aliadas de la Salud en Cuttington, contrajo inadvertidamente el virus del ébola al mismo tiempo que se relacionaba con los estudiantes de enfermería de la Universidad de Cuttington, explicó el presidente.

“De la misma manera, la Universidad de Cuttington sigue expuesta a la mortal epidemia, el ébola, y a sus efectos consiguientes”, escribió Tokpa.

El presidente dio cinco ejemplos de estudiantes, ex alumnos y miembros del personal que han muerto, entre ellos “Kwee”, un ex empleado que murió junto con su esposa y su hijo.

Henry Callendee, deán de la Escuela de Pedagogía de Cuttington, ha perdido al menos 12 miembros de su familia que vivían, según Tokpa, en el condado de Lofa, que ahora se encuentra en cuarentena.

Al principio no se le prestó mucha atención al brote cuando estaba en los vecinos países de Guinea y Sierra Leona “porque no previmos la violenta naturaleza del virus del ébola”, escribió Tokpa en la carta.

Pero, para mediados de julio, con la “escuela de vacaciones” de la universidad funcionando aún, explicó Tokpa, “comenzamos a percibir inmediatamente que la situación se salía de control en una alarmante espiral de manera que tomamos algunas medidas inmediatas”, entre las que se incluyen el situar alrededor del campus cubos de agua clorada con caños para inducir a lavarse las manos.

El personal invitó a los médicos y al jefe de un equipo de trabajo sobre el ébola del condado de Bong a reuniones en el campus para instruir a estudiantes, profesores, personal y miembros de la comunidad acerca del virus y a como protegerse. Los funcionarios “comenzaron a concebir una estrategia sobre el cierre de la escuela” y a elaborar medios de enviar a los estudiantes a sus casas con recursos para concluir la labor del período, dijo Tokpa.

J. Kota Kesselly, decano de la Escuela de Ciencias Aliadas de la Salud de Cuttington, se ha incorporado al equipo de trabajo del condado de Bong, el cual se reúne a diario.

Y la universidad ha donado más de 567 litros de gasolina para ayudar al desplazamiento de vehículos que llevan a personas asignadas a enterrar a los muertos y responder a llamadas de socorro de “víctimas que aún viven”, escribió Tokpa. Las hortalizas del huerto de la escuela se han donado también, ha sido como los cubos para usarlas como puestos para lavarse las manos en comunidades que no pueden costear el comprarse uno.

En tanto los funcionarios de la escuela planeaban como cerrar el período de vacaciones, el gobierno de Liberia ordenaba el cierre de todas las escuelas como parte de un esfuerzo para contener la propagación del ébola. Cuttington esperaba reabrir en septiembre u octubre, según Tokpa.

La universidad depende de lo que recauda de la matrícula de los estudiantes para pagarles a sus empleados. A esos empleados no les han pagado en junio, julio ni agosto y enfrentan la posibilidad de que no les paguen en un futuro próximo, dijo el presidente en otro documento que envió a Matthews.

Además, la universidad tendrá que desinfectar todos sus edificios, según Tokpa. Con unos 3.000 estudiantes que esperan regresar, la universidad debe permanecer alerta cuando la epidemia disminuya y las escuelas puedan reabrir, agregó.

Los asociados de Cuttington en la Universidad de Rutgers en Nueva Jersey están suministrando algún apoyo básico a la universidad y al hospital Phebe en el condado de Bong, señaló.

A partir del 22 de agosto, la Organización Mundial de la Salud de las Naciones Unidas dijo que había habido 2.615 casos sospechosos y confirmados de ébola, entre ellos 1.528 casos confirmados en el laboratorio, y 1.427 muertes en Guinea, Sierra Leona, Liberia y Nigeria. La OMS afirma que la magnitud del brote del ébola puede haber sido subestimada, debido en parte a las familias que ocultaron a sus seres queridos infectados en sus casas.

Según la Organización Mundial de la Salud, el brote del ébola no tiene precedentes en muchos sentidos, entre ellos el número de trabajadores de la salud que han muerto. Más de 240 de ellos han contraído la enfermedad en Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria y Sierra Leona, y más de 120 han muerto, dio a conocer la organización el 25 de agosto.

“El ébola ha cobrado la vida de prominentes médicos en Sierra Leona y Liberia, privando a esos países no sólo de atención médica experimentada y dedicada, sino también de inspiradores héroes nacionales”, dijo la OMS en un comunicado.

La organización dijo además que muchas de las muertes ocurrieron entre los trabajadores de la salud que inicialmente no supieron que la persona que estaban tratando estaba infectada con el ébola, en parte porque muchos trabajadores sanitarios, especialmente en zonas urbanas, nunca habían visto la enfermedad y sus primeros síntomas son semejantes a otras infecciones endémicas en la región, como el paludismo, la fiebre tifoidea y la fiebre de Lassa.

Otros factores que contribuyen al elevado número de muertes incluye también la carencia de equipos de protección personal o su uso inadecuado, un personal médico demasiado pequeño para hacerle frente a un brote tan grande y “la compasión que hace que el personal médico trabaje en pabellones de aislados muchas más de las horas que se recomiendan como seguras”, apuntaba la organización.

“Algunas infecciones documentadas han ocurrido cuando los médicos han acudido sin la debida protección en auxilio de un paciente que estaba visiblemente muy enfermo”, decía el comunicado de la OMS. “Este es el primer instinto de la mayoría de los médicos y los enfermeros: ayudar al enfermo”.

La OMS informó el 27 de agosto que el ébola había irrumpido en la República Democrática del Congo. El brote en la Provincia del Ecuador [Equateur] se había rastreado hasta una mujer embarazada de la aldea de Ikanamongo que había cortado la carne de un animal salvaje que su marido había cazado y se la había traído. Comer carne de animales salvajes se considera como el principal conducto del virus de los animales a los humanos.

En Sierra Leona, la Diócesis Anglicana de Bo está participando activamente en el proceso de planificación e implementación del Equipo de Salud y Desarrollo del gobierno del distrito para el control del ébola, específicamente para la detección y control de casos, informó Ayuda y Desarrollo Episcopales.

“Algunos de los mayores obstáculos para frenar la propagación del ébola provienen de ocultar a personas enfermas y de tratarlas en las casas en lugar de buscar aislamiento y asistencia médica, a pacientes que escapan a la cuarentena y a prácticas de enterramiento que no contienen la enfermedad”, dijo Seifu, de Ayuda y Desarrollo Episcopales. “Un mensaje y un control de casos culturalmente adecuados son esenciales para alentar a las comunidades a adoptar conductas que efectivamente combatan el ébola”.

La agencia informó que está actualmente en conversaciones tanto con la Iglesia Episcopal de Liberia como con la Diócesis Anglicana de Bo en Sierra Leona que contemplan la expansión de actividades para llegar a comunidades remotas y en proyectos a largo plazo para abordar la creciente crisis alimentaria.

“Las restricciones al transporte y al comercio debido a la cuarentena ya están causando escaseces, pero puede haber repercusiones a largo plazo en el ganado y los suministros de alimento debido a la falta de acceso a los mercados y en la pérdida de la temporadas de siembra”, según el comunicado de prensa de la agencia del 27 de agosto. “Además, las familias cuyo principal sostén ha caído enfermo o ha muerto son particularmente vulnerables”.

Seifu dijo que uno de los puntos fuertes de los asociados de la Iglesia es que “pueden tener acceso a zonas a las que podría resultarles difícil llegar a otras organizaciones e incluso al gobierno. Me siento muy contento de que las agencias locales del gobierno puedan reunir recursos y experiencia para llevar a cabo una estrategia unificada. Esta asociación es importante ahora y lo seguirá siendo mientras la región se recupera de este desastre”.

– Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Liberia’s Cuttington University, diocese at epicenter of Ebola crisis

ENS Headlines - Thursday, August 28, 2014

Members of the task force leading the Ebola response unload supplies in Bong County, Liberia. Photo: Courtesy of the Episcopal Diocese of Liberia

[Episcopal News Service] Liberia’s Cuttington University, located near one of the epicenters of West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, is reaching out to its surrounding communities while worrying about the epidemic’s impact on the now-closed school’s future, and mourning the loss of graduates and friends.

Meanwhile, throughout Liberia and Sierra Leone, Episcopal Relief & Development is in regular contact with local church partners who “are leveraging their widespread presence and trusted reputation to alleviate suffering and contain the Ebola outbreak” that has killed at least 1,427 people in West Africa since March 2014, according to an Aug. 27 press release.

Partners in both countries are mobilizing local volunteers to promote accurate information about Ebola and distribute hygiene and sanitation supplies, while the Episcopal Church of Liberia is supplying food parcels for households in quarantined communities and providing basic protective equipment for health workers at local hospitals, Episcopal Relief & Development reported.

A staff member in Episcopal Relief & Development’s Africa Regional Office in Ghana models the facemasks, gloves, gowns and other protective supplies shipped to Liberia and given to three area hospitals – Phebe Hospital, Redemption Hospital and C.H. Rennie Hospital. Photo: Courtesy of the Episcopal Relief & Development

Abiy Seifu, senior program officer for Episcopal Relief & Development, described the situation as “extremely dire,” due both to the severity of the disease and the difficulty in containing it. “People want to care for sick family members at home, they are afraid to go to the clinics because so many are dying and there is a great deal of misinformation about how Ebola is spread. Fear about the disease is making the outbreak worse, and we are aiming to combat this fear with accurate information and support for basic needs.”

Development staff members of the Episcopal Church of Liberia are working with government health leaders in Bong County to distribute food items such as rice, cooking oil and canned meat in four quarantined rural communities, the agency reported.

Cuttington University’s main campus in the interior of the central region of Liberia is about six miles from Gbarnga, the capital of Bong County. Cuttington, founded in 1889 in Liberia by the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, has two other campuses, one in the country’s capital, Monrovia, and another nearly 45 miles south of Monrovia.

The university is home to the largest nursing school in the country and, because it offers the country’s only bachelor’s degree in nursing, many of its graduates work in critical care situations. Many aspiring doctors take the university’s bachelor’s in biology to use to make the pre-requisite of the country’s only medical school, A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine and Cuttington grads make up the largest portion of Dogliotti students.

“This link between Cuttington and the medical community is real and is causing us great anguish,” Cuttington President Henrique Tokpa wrote in an Aug. 25 letter. “We know the people involved in this epidemic and we sympathize with their families.”

The first medical worker in Liberia to die from Ebola was a 2012 graduate of Cuttington’s nursing school, Tokpa wrote in the letter to the Rev. Ranjit Matthews, the Episcopal Church’s network officer for global relations and networking. The nurse, whom Tokpa referred to as Mr. Daah, was working in the hospital in Foyah in northern Liberia.

A practicing medical doctor at the Phebe Hospital – a Lutheran hospital located near Cuttington’s main campus and the nation’s largest public health institution – who also teaches part-time in the College of Allied Health Sciences at Cuttington unknowingly contracted the Ebola virus and at the same time interacted with the Cuttington University’s nursing students, the president said.

“Along these lines, Cuttington University remains exposed to this deadly epidemic, Ebola, and its attendant effects,” Tokpa wrote.

The president gave five examples of students, alumni and staff who have died, including “Kwee,” a former employee who died along with his wife and son.

Henry Callendee, dean of Cuttington’s School of Education, has lost at least 12 of his family members who live in a now-quarantined town in Lofa County, according to Tokpa.

At first, not much attention was paid to the outbreak when it was in neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone “because we did not anticipate the violent nature of the Ebola virus,” Tokpa wrote in the letter.

But by mid-July, with the university’s “vacation school” still operating, Tokpa said “we immediately began to sense that the situation was spiraling out of control so we took some immediate measures,” including placing around campus buckets of chlorinated water with spouts to encourage hand washing.

The staff invited doctors and the head of a Bong County Ebola task force to campus gatherings to educate students, faculty, staff, and community members about the virus and how to protect themselves. Officials “began to strategize about school closure” and worked out ways to send students home with ways for them to finish the work of the term, Tokpa said.

J. Kota Kesselly, dean of the Cuttington’s School of Allied Health Sciences, has joined the Bong County task force, which meets daily.

And the university has donated more than 150 gallons of gas to help run vehicles for people assigned to bury the dead and respond to calls for aid from “live victims,” Tokpa wrote. Vegetables from the school’s garden have been donated as well as buckets for use as hand-washing stations in communities that cannot afford to buy their own.

As school officials were planning how to shut down the vacation term, the Liberian government ordered all schools to close as part of an effort to stem the spread of Ebola. Cuttington had hoped to reopen in September or October, Tokpa said.

The university is dependent on the tuition charged to students to pay its employees. Those employees have not been paid for June, July and August, and face the prospect of not being paid in the near future, the president said in another document he sent to Mathews.

Plus the university will have to disinfect all of its buildings, according to Tokpa. With 3,000 students expected eventually to return, the university must remain on alert when the epidemic subsides and schools can re-open, he added.

Cuttington’s partners at Rutgers University in New Jersey are supplying some basic support to the university and Phebe Hospital in Bong County, he said.

“We have to remember that these communities in West Africa now struggling with Ebola have only emerged in recent years from more than a decade of civil strife,” the Rev. Canon James G. Callaway, general secretary of the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion and treasurer of the American Friends of Cuttington, told ENS. “This is the second time that Cuttington University has reorganized itself to address its community’s needs. As the Liberian civil war was just ending Cuttington opened its campus to retraining former combatants for new livelihoods as they are now marshaling resources to overcome Ebola.  As educators they are showing that leadership starts with service.”

As of Aug. 22 the United Nations’ World Health Organization said there have been 2,615 suspect and confirmed Ebola cases, including 1,528 laboratory-confirmed cases, and 1,427 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. WHO claims that the magnitude of the Ebola outbreak may have been underestimated, due in part to families hiding infected loved ones in their homes.

The Ebola outbreak is unprecedented in many ways, according to the World Health Organization, including the number of health care workers who have died. More than 240 health care workers have developed the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and more than 120 have died, the organization said on Aug. 25.

“Ebola has taken the lives of prominent doctors in Sierra Leone and Liberia, depriving these countries not only of experienced and dedicated medical care but also of inspiring national heroes,” the WHO statement said.

The organization said many of the deaths occurred among workers who initially did not know that the person they were treating was infected with Ebola, in part because many health workers, especially in urban areas, have never seen the disease and its early symptoms are similar to other infectious diseases endemic in the region, like malaria, typhoid fever and Lassa fever.

Factors contributing to the high number of deaths also include shortages of personal protective equipment or its improper use, far too few medical staff for such a large outbreak, and “the compassion that causes medical staff to work in isolation wards far beyond the number of hours recommended as safe,” the organization said.

“Some documented infections have occurred when unprotected doctors rushed to aid a waiting patient who was visibly very ill,” the WHO statement said. “This is the first instinct of most doctors and nurses: aid the ailing.”

WHO reported on Aug. 27 that Ebola had broken out in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The outbreak in Equateur Province has been traced to a pregnant woman from Ikanamongo Village who butchered a bush animal that had been killed and given to her by her husband. Eating bush meet is seen as a major way the virus moves from animals to humans.

In Sierra Leone, the Anglican Diocese of Bo is actively participating in the government District Health and Development Team’s planning and implementation process for Ebola control, specifically on detection and case management, Episcopal Relief & Development reported.

“Some of the biggest challenges in stopping Ebola come from hiding sick people and treating them at home rather than seeking isolation and medical assistance, patients escaping quarantine and burial practices that do not contain the disease,” said Episcopal Relief & Development’s Seifu. Culturally appropriate messaging and case management are essential in encouraging communities to adopt behaviors that will effectively combat Ebola,”

The agency reported that it is currently in conversation with both the Episcopal Church of Liberia and the Anglican Diocese of Bo in Sierra Leone regarding expansion of activities to reach remote communities and longer-term engagement to address the growing food crisis.

“Restrictions on transportation and commerce due to quarantine are already causing shortages, but there may be a longer-term impact on livelihoods and food supply due to lack of market access and missed planting seasons,” according to the agency’s Aug. 27 press release. “In addition, families whose main breadwinner has fallen ill or died are particularly vulnerable.”

Seifu said that one of the key strengths of church partners is that “they can access areas that might be difficult for other organizations or even the government to reach. I am very glad that the local government agencies have recognized this strength and that they can pool resources and expertise to implement a unified strategy. This partnership is important now and will continue to be as the region recovers from this disaster.”

Bishop Tengatenga to preach at Episcopal convention in Charleston

ENS Headlines - Thursday, August 28, 2014

[Episcopal Church in South Carolina press release] The Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga, a distinguished leader and teacher in the worldwide Anglican Communion, will visit Charleston in November as the preacher for the 224th Annual Convention of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

Bishop Tengatenga will give the sermon at the opening Eucharist on Nov. 14 as Episcopalians across eastern South Carolina gather for the two-day convention at the Church of the Holy Communion, 218 Ashley Ave. in Charleston.

Bishop Tengatenga is the chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council, one of the four “Instruments of Communion” that serve the worldwide family of Anglican/Episcopal churches. He served as bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi in southeastern Africa from 1998-2013.

In May, he was appointed as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Global Anglicanism at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he teaches courses in missiology, contemporary global Anglicanism, and related subjects.

In announcing the appointment, the Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, dean of the University of the South’s School of Theology, said: “Dr. Tengatenga has few peers in his extensive experience in the leadership of the Anglican Communion and his understanding of the church’s mission throughout the world. His leadership of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion and of the Anglican Consultative Council gives him a comprehensive knowledge of Anglican mission throughout the world that few can equal.”

Bishop Tengatenga has been a member of the Anglican Consultative Council since 2002 and has been its chairman since 2009. The role of the ACC is to facilitate the cooperative work of the churches of the Anglican Communion, exchange information between the Provinces and churches, and help to coordinate common action. The Archbishop of Canterbury serves as President of the ACC.

As chairman, Bishop Tengatenga also serves as chairman of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.

He has contributed chapters to several books and given talks and lectures in many places. He is the author of Church State and Society in Malawi (2006); he co-authored an HIV/AIDS training manual, Time to Talk (2006) with the Rev. Dr. Anne Bailey; and has edited The UMCA in Malawi: A History of the Anglican Church (2010). He is on the editorial board of two journals: the Journal of Anglican Studies (Cambridge university Press) and Modern Believing (Liverpool University Press) and is a regular reviewer of articles for the Journal of Theology in Southern Africa and the Journal of Gender Relations in Africa. His other fields of interest are post-colonial theory, African traditional religions and, race, and ethnicity studies.

Born in Kwekwe, in what was then Rhodesia, on April 7, 1958, Bishop Tengatenga he began theological training and priestly formation in 1979 at Zomba Theological College in Malawi. He continued his theological training at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, where he earned a master of divinity degree and was ordained a priest in 1985. He has done graduate work at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Malawi, as well as honorary degrees from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, and The General Theological Seminary in New York City.

South India alcohol ban could include Communion wine

ENS Headlines - Thursday, August 28, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] Churches in India’s southern Kerala state have given a mixed response to government proposals for a total prohibition of alcohol within 10 years.

While Christian leaders have welcomed the ban, which will be gradually phased in over the next decade, some are concerned at calls for Communion wine to be included.

Bishop Dharmaraj Rasalam of the Church of South India’s South Kerala diocese, told the Financial Times, “There are so many drunkards in our society – it is a grave concern among the people. It is very good to abolish alcohol from this land. They cannot stop it in a day, a week or a month, but the church is supporting the government to get rid of all these things.”

However, there have been calls from some quarters for the church to come under the ban and replace all its Communion wine with non-alcoholic substitutes.

ucanews.com reported that Vellapally Natesan, general secretary of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, a Hindu political group, demanded the government cancel 23 licenses issued to Roman Catholic dioceses, religious orders and other Christian groups to produce Mass wine.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) reported that Archbishop Francis Kallarackal of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Verapoly
had earlier stated that wine was integral to mass being con-celebrated by Christians all over the world and so could not be banned.

Syro Malabar Church spokesperson Father Paul Thelekat told PTI, “No church uses anything other than wine. We will continue the tradition,” he said.

Thomas K Oommen, bishop of the Central Kerala diocese of the Church of South India (CSI), told the New Indian Express that “it [Communion with wine] will remain unchanged until the world ends,” adding that calling for Communion wine to be included in the alcohol ban was not a proper interpretation of a decision “that could contribute to the cultural advancement of society.”

However, Bishop Philiphose Mar Chrysostom of the indigenous Mar Thoma Syrian Church told ucanews.com, “Churches should think about using grape water, as had been the practice in the past, instead of wine.”

Speaking to the media on Monday, V M Sudheeran, president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), said the call to ban wine in churches was not appropriate considering it had been part of centuries-old ritual and tradition.

“It is for the Christian church to think over whether liquor should be banned. The interference of external forces is not proper.”

Keralans consume the highest amount of alcohol of any state in India and temperance groups have been pressing for a total ban to address a alcohol abuse problem across the state.

There are those who have criticized the move, however, saying that it will be a very bad decision for the tourist industry in a state that welcomes around 800,000 visitors a year.

‘Self-sustainability, unity are church priorities’: Central Africa primate

ENS Headlines - Thursday, August 28, 2014

Archbishop Albert Chama emphasizes the need to foster unity across the province and working towards one common goal. Photo: Bellah Zulu/ACNS

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Most Rev. Albert Chama, primate of the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA), has emphasized that self-sustainability and unity remain top priorities for the church.

“As a transnational province, we’re encouraging investments in the various countries to make sure that the national churches and subsequently the province is self-sustainable,” the archbishop said in an interview with ACNS at the Zambia Anglican Council (ZAC) offices in Lusaka shortly before chairing a meeting with the Zambia bishops to discuss the sustainability of the church.

“As a province, we’re coming up with various programs, such as training workshops and conferences, to make sure that everyone, including bishops, clergy and laity, especially the youth, get involved in the development and growth of the church and other aspects of church life.”

Chama said resources raised from the different activities and investments will be used to improve missions across the province. However, he also acknowledged the different stages of economic development of the countries making up the province: Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

“The Church in Zambia for instance needs to do more in the area of investment and only then will it become easy to do various missions and grow the church,” he said. “But we continue to share best practices from the dioceses and parishes across the province so that we can learn from one another and grow together.”

The archbishop emphasized the need to foster unity across the province and working towards one common goal. “A bigger family means a bigger voice,” he said. “CPCA has been able to contribute immensely to the global Anglican Church because of the unity we enjoy.”

Chama spoke of how the province was able to help the church in Zimbabwe during the persecutions endured by the Anglicans there when excommunicated former bishop Nolbert Kunonga and his supporters grabbed church properties.

“Provincial unity is crucial because when one part is affected, we’re all affected,” he said. “When Zimbabwe had challenges, the province came in and helped where it could.”

He added: “It is because of the unity we enjoy that our Episcopal Synod even resolved to invite [the Anglican Consultative Council] to Lusaka, Zambia within our province. We believe it’s because of this unity that we strongly feel the need to share with the Anglican Communion.”

However, the archbishop emphasized that for unity to be promoted and upheld, there was need for consistent communication and sharing of information both within the province and the rest of the Anglican Communion.

“Information needs to be shared on the best practices of evangelism and other aspects of church life that can help transform ministry,” he said. “We also need to keep learning from each other on how we can appropriately contribute to the socio-economic development of our countries.”

Chama reiterated the importance of church leaders “leading by example.”

“When people see a leader in the forefront advocating for a cause or even involving themselves in activities, they see the seriousness of that activity.”

The Anglican Church in Zambia has been brainstorming various areas of possible investments including an ambitious plan for a housing project that could help the Church’s finances in the long term.

Local churches empower communities to stop Ebola spread

ENS Headlines - Thursday, August 28, 2014

[Episcopal Relief & Development press release] In Liberia and Sierra Leone, Episcopal Relief & Development’s local Church partners are leveraging their widespread presence and trusted reputation to alleviate suffering and contain the Ebola outbreak that has killed 1,427 people in West Africa since March 2014.

Partners in both countries are mobilizing local volunteers to promote accurate information about Ebola and distribute hygiene and sanitation supplies.  In addition, the Church in Liberia is supplying food parcels for households in quarantined communities and providing basic protective equipment for health workers at local hospitals.

“The situation is extremely dire, due both to the severity of the disease and the difficulty in containing it,” said Abiy Seifu, Senior Program Officer for Episcopal Relief & Development.  “People want to care for sick family members at home, they are afraid to go to the clinics because so many are dying and there is a great deal of misinformation about how Ebola is spread.  Fear about the disease is making the outbreak worse, and we are aiming to combat this fear with accurate information and support for basic needs.”

Local development staff of the Episcopal Church of Liberia are working with government health staff in Bong County to distribute food items such as rice, cooking oil and canned meat to 500 people in four quarantined rural communities.  Volunteers are delivering food and sanitation supplies to homes, and demonstrating correct mixing procedures for different concentrations of bleach water for hand-washing and cleaning.  The supplies also include a hand-washing station made by installing a spigot in a covered five-gallon bucket, and a poster with accurate information about how to prevent Ebola and what to do if a family member presents symptoms of the disease.

Text of health messaging poster being distributed in Liberia:

You can stop EBOLA!

Always wash your hands with soap

  • Do not hide sick people
  • Do not touch dead body
  • Do not eat bush meat
  • When you are sick with fever, headache, body pain, etc.
    Go to the hospital quick, quick, quick
  • Listen to health workers – they know how best to help you

EBOLA can catch big people and small children

Efforts in Liberia also include radio messaging in local dialects through 15 stations in nine counties and the distribution of bumper stickers with key messaging to churches of other denominations.

The shipment of facemasks, gloves, gowns and other protective supplies from Episcopal Relief & Development’s Africa Regional Office in Ghana arrived in Liberia and were given to three area hospitals – Phebe Hospital, Redemption Hospital and C.H. Rennie Hospital – in a commissioning ceremony by The Most Rev. Jonathan B.B. Hart on August 26.

In Sierra Leone, the Anglican Diocese of Bo is actively participating in the government District Health and Development Team’s planning and implementation process for Ebola control, specifically on detection and case management.  Diocesan staff trained local health volunteers who had already been active in the Church’s malaria and HIV prevention efforts to assist with education, case identification and contact tracing.  The volunteers also distributed hand-washing stations.

Contact tracing is one of the most important but often most difficult aspects of disease control, especially because the incubation period between when a person contracts Ebola and when they show symptoms can range from two to 21 days.  Trusted local volunteers who are familiar with community members and their relationships and daily routines can be extremely helpful, both in identifying cases and contacts, and in encouraging their neighbors to follow the correct procedure when someone is sick or has died, in order to prevent further infection.

“Some of the biggest challenges in stopping Ebola come from hiding sick people and treating them at home rather than seeking isolation and medical assistance, patients escaping quarantine and burial practices that do not contain the disease.  Culturally appropriate messaging and case management are essential in encouraging communities to adopt behaviors that will effectively combat Ebola,” Seifu said.

Episcopal Relief & Development is currently in conversation with both the Church of Liberia and the Diocese of Bo in Sierra Leone regarding expansion of activities to reach remote communities and longer-term engagement to address the growing food crisis.  Restrictions on transportation and commerce due to quarantine are already causing shortages, but there may be a longer-term impact on livelihoods and food supply due to lack of market access and missed planting seasons.  In addition, families whose main breadwinner has fallen ill or died are particularly vulnerable.

“One of the key strengths of our Church partners is that people know them and they can access areas that might be difficult for other organizations or even the government to reach,” said Seifu.  “I am very glad that the local government agencies have recognized this strength and that they can pool resources and expertise to implement a unified strategy.  This partnership is important now and will continue to be as the region recovers from this disaster.”

Donations in support of Episcopal Relief & Development’s response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa may be designated to the Ebola Crisis Response Fund.

Two ordained to diaconate in Central Pennsylvania

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

 On Aug. 23, 2014, Bishop Robert Gepert, Bishop Provisional for the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, ordained Carenda Baker of St. John’s, Carlisle and Sarah Ginolfi of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Harrisburg to the Diaconate of Transitional Deacon. Deacon Sarah will be serving as Parish Missioner at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Indiana and Deacon Carenda is presently considering calls. Photo: Diocese of Central Pennsylvania

St. Mary’s Church in Napa joins in quake clean-up

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Organ pipes are seen scattered on the chancel floor at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Napa, California, after a magnitude-6 earthquake hit the area early on Aug. 24. Photo: St. Mary’s Episcopal Church via Facebook

[Episcopal News Service] While the outside of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Napa, California, looks perfect after the Aug. 24 magnitude-6 earthquake, the inside of the church is a different matter.

Organ pipes litter the chancel floor while others hang precariously from the organ loft, some bent like drinking straws. Right after the quake at about 4 a.m., when the Rev. Stephen Carpenter, St. Mary’s rector, and his daughter came to the church with flashlights to check for damage, all of the pipes were still in the loft.

However, Carpenter told Episcopal News Service, “gravity or aftershocks or both took over” and some of the pipes later spilled out. The 27-rank Casavant organ was installed in the 1990s, according to Carpenter.

The most serious concern, and the reason the rector said the building is red-tagged, are the visible cracks and apparently missing parts of brick and mortar in a gothic stone arch 40 feet above the pulpit and lectern. It is not clear if the damage is cosmetic or structural, Carpenter said, and that will not be determined until a structural engineer can inspect the arch.

Meanwhile, the congregation will worship Sunday in the parish hall. Many of the members are used to that since they spent five months worshipping there back in 1999 while the church was undergoing a seismic retrofit. Carpenter noted that just less than a year after that retrofit was finished in October 1999 a magnitude-5.2 temblor hit on Sept. 3, 2000, and the church came through unscathed.

Just after the Aug. 24 earthquake, the pipes were still in the organ loft, however precariously. Either gravity or aftershocks or some combination of those forces sent some pipes tumbling to the chancel floor. Photo: St. Mary’s Episcopal Church via Facebook.

The Aug. 24 quake caused a lot of damage inside the church. “I don’t even have a book shelf to put my books back into,” Carpenter said of his office which was littered with pieces of fallen bookcases.

Parish members have shoveled up the pieces of every single dish in the kitchen after the quake spilled them out of the cupboards.

Back in the church, a mosaic of the Holy Spirit that had hung over the baptismal font since 1954 came off the wall. One large piece was found covering the font and the rest is in pieces on the floor of the nave. A Madonna statue on the church’s Mary Altar also broke when the shaking sent it tumbling to the ground.

Carpenter, who has been St. Mary’s rector for 31 years, said the house that he and his wife, Fran, live in is a mess, too. He filled a large garbage can with pieces of pottery, china, crystal and antique clocks. A grandfather clock that belonged to his grandfather is in two pieces.

A Napa native, Carpenter lost many family members in an airplane crash in the 1970s and, he said, many of the things destroyed in his home were “memories of my family.”

As they cleaned up the house, “we kept saying ‘it’s only stuff,’ but it’s still sad,” he said.

A 60-year-old mosaic of the Holy Spirit fell off the wall and broke apart on the baptismal font. Photo: St. Mary’s Episcopal Church via Facebook

The only St. Mary’s parishioner apparently injured during the quake was an elderly woman who had gotten out of bed just before the temblor struck. She fell to the floor, breaking her hip. Carpenter said the woman is now recovering from surgery.

The magnitude-6 quake struck at 3:20 a.m. PDT about five miles south-southwest of the city of Napa. Napa boasts a large number of Victorian-era buildings and is one of the centers of Northern California’s wine country.

The quake was felt widely throughout the region, from more than 200 miles south of Napa and as far east as the Nevada border, the Associated Press reported.

There were numerous aftershocks in the hours after what is being called the South Napa Quake, with four of them measuring 2.5 or more having struck by 8 a.m. PDT on Aug. 24.

St. Mary’s parish, built on the corner of Third and Patchett streets in 1931, was originally known as Christ Church, dates back to 1858 and was once located a few blocks to the east near First United Methodist and First Presbyterian churches. Those two churches were more heavily damaged in the quake. Video damage in Napa shot from a drone shows damage to First Presbyterian Church at the 2:16 mark and the damaged First United Methodist building at 2:46 here.

The quake was the largest to shake the San Francisco Bay Area since the magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta quake struck in 1989, collapsing part of the Bay Bridge roadway and killing more than 60 people, most when an Oakland freeway fell. The quake hit during the afternoon rush hour just after 5 p.m. local time.

“Our chandeliers were all swinging in unison” during Loma Prieta, whose epicenter was on the Pacific Coast about 115 miles south of Napa, Carpenter said.

The magnitude-6 quake tumble a Madonna statue of the Mary Altar. Photo: St. Mary’s Episcopal Church via Facebook.

No one was killed in the Aug. 24 quake and the City of Napa said on Aug. 25 that 208 people were treated at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa with 17 admitted.

The city said on the morning of Aug. 27 that 113 buildings had been red tagged, indicating that they are unusable or uninhabitable due to damage from the quake, and approximately 500 have yellow tags, meaning that caution is required in those buildings.  The “initial gross estimate” of damage to privately owned homes and commercial structure in the city is $300 million, not including inventory and other economic losses. The estimate, the city, also does not include public buildings or infrastructure.

Many people have been helping businesses in the heart of the Northern California vineyards get cleaned up before dealing with their own home, Carpenter said. he recalled seeing people helping out the owners of an olive oil and balsamic vinegar store in downtown Napa where so many bottles had broken that oil was running out the front door, across the sidewalk and into the gutter.

“Disasters have a way of bringing out the best or the worst in people,” he said. “Most often it shows people’s humanity.”

The quake struck just as “crush,” the wine harvest, was beginning. Crush is a major tourist event as well as the normally exciting finish to the growing season with the anticipation of what this year’s vintage will be like, but now “there’s just like a cloud over everybody,” Carpenter said.

“But, we’re moving forward,” he added.

A television interview with Carpenter by the ABC affiliate in San Diego is here.

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


Diane Belcher to lead music program at St. Thomas, Hanover, NH

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Renowned organist and choir director Diane Meredith Belcher will lead the parish music program at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hanover, NH.

Belcher, a prize-winning organist, internationally recognized recitalist, choir director, and teacher, is graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Eastman School of Music. Belcher has 30 years of professional experience in sacred music, having served churches in Philadelphia, Boston, Rochester, Syracuse, Baltimore, and Memphis, where she was also the founding director of the Memphis Concert Chorale. She will play her first service at St. Thomas on Sept. 14, 2014.


ENS Headlines - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Juan David Alvarado, sacerdote salvadoreño de 52 años de edad, ha sido electo obispo diocesano de El Salvador el 23 de agosto en la segunda votación de una asamblea diocesana formada por clérigos y laicos electos por sus parroquias o misiones.  La asamblea tenía cinco candidatos incluyendo a una mujer, Lee Alison Crawford de la diócesis de Vermont. Alvarado nació literalmente en la Iglesia de San Juan Evangelista donde su madre, Blanca Melgar, estaba encargada de cuidar los edificios. El obispo electo y su esposa Irma, ordenada presbítera, tienen dos hijos. La Iglesia Episcopal Anglicana de El Salvador forma parte de la provincia eclesiástica de Centro América conocida por IARCA. En este cargo sucede a Martín Barahona que se jubila por razones de edad. La consagración del obispo electo tendrá lugar el 24 de enero del 2015.

El Vaticano ha quitado la inmunidad diplomática al anterior nuncio apostólico (embajador) en la República Dominicana, el ex-arzobispo polaco Josef Wesolowki, acusado de abusar sexualmente de niños y jóvenes durante su estadía en el país caribeño. Analistas jurídicos en Santo Domingo sugieren que sea traído para que los tribunales locales decidan la pena que debe recibir. Un periódico dice que debe expiar su delito en una de las cárceles conocida por las malas condiciones prevalentes.

El cese al fuego entre Israel y los palestinos destinado a terminar el conflicto de Gaza que ya tiene siete semanas, parece que está dando resultados. Ninguna de las partes ha “cantado victoria”. Israel dijo que destruyó los túneles que servían de depósito de armas. Las bajas en el lado palestino pasan de miles. El alto al fuego que fue negociado en El Cairo, Egipto, y no tiene fecha de expiración.

El gobierno de China ha reaccionado cautelosamente a las palabras del papa Francisco sobre relaciones diplomáticas con China. Beijing dijo en un despacho de prensa que “no queremos interferencia con las cuestiones religiosas en China”. Los católicos romanos en China están divididos entre la iglesia “oficial” conocida como la Asociación Católica Patriótica dependiente del Partido Comunista y la iglesia subterránea dependiente de Roma.

El obispo anglicano Desmond Tutu y su hija la presbítera Mpho Tutu acaban de publicar un libro  que promete tener éxito llamado “El libro del perdón” en el que se ofrecen simples acciones para lograr el perdón de una persona ofendida. El libro consta de cuatro secciones: Contar la historia, Explicar la ofensa, Ofrecer el perdón y Renovar las relaciones.

El papa Francisco dijo en su viaje de regreso a Roma después de visitar a Corea del Sur que “no hay impedimento alguno” en el proceso de beatificación del arzobispo salvadoreño Oscar Arnulfo Romero asesinado mientras celebraba la eucaristía el 24 de marzo de 1980. El papa añadió que el asunto ya está en manos de la Congregación para la Causa de los Santos del Vaticano. Romero dijo poco antes de su asesinato “si me matan, resucitaré en el pueblo salvadoreño”.

No sólo las casas y las calles están deteriorándose en Cuba. Uno de los baluartes de la revolución el cantautor Silvio Rodríguez dijo recientemente que las grabaciones del estudio Abdala creado por su iniciativa en 1998, “agoniza” ante las trabas burocráticas y la inoperancia  de funcionarios del Ministerio de Cultura. Rodríguez es el fundador de “La Nueva Trova”. Añadió que la situación es tan sería que no hay ni electricidad por falta de pago. “Me da vergüenza ver los estudios en ruinas”, añadió el popular cantante.

Si usted conoce alguna persona que le gustaría leer un noticiero como éste, mándenos su dirección electrónica y con gusto lo incluiremos en nuestra lista. El servicio es totalmente gratis. Gracias.

REFRÁN: A caballo regalao no se le mira el colmillo.

EDS names Battle as interim dean of students and community life

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

[Episcopal Divinity School press release] Episcopal Divinity School has announced the appointment of The Rev. Michael Battle, Ph.D., as Interim Dean of Students and Community Life for the 2014-15 academic year. Dr. Battle will begin working at EDS on Monday, August 25th, and will reside on the EDS campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Dr. Battle is an accomplished theologian and a respected pastoral leader whose ministry has spanned the globe. A graduate of Duke University (B.A. and Ph.D.), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Yale University (S.T.M.), he was ordained a priest in South Africa by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1993. His ministry focuses on Christian non-violence, human spirituality, and Black church studies. He is the author of several books, including Reconciliation: The Ubuntu Theology of Desmond Tutu and Blessed are the Peacemakers: A Christian Spirituality of Non-violence.

Dr. Battle is founder of the PeaceBattle Institute and has served as Rector and Canon Theologian in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. Previously, he served as Provost of the Cathedral Center, Vice President, Associate Dean of Academic Studies and Associate Professor of Theology at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia.

He has also served as Chaplain to the Episcopal House of Bishops, as a member of the Theology Committee of the Episcopal Church, as Spiritual Director of CREDO, Wellness Conference of the Episcopal Church, and on several boards, including EDS alumna Mpho Tutu’s Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage.

Most recently, Dr. Battle served as Vicar of St. Titus Episcopal Church in Durham, North Carolina. His website is michaelbattle.com.

About Episcopal Divinity School

Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) is a progressive center for study and spiritual formation for lay and ordained leaders. Committed to a mission of social justice and inclusive education and grounded in the Anglican tradition, EDS awards Masters degrees in Divinity and Theological Studies, Doctoral degrees in Ministry, and Certificates in Anglican Formation; Justice, Reconciliation, and Mission; and Christian Spiritualities for the Contemporary World.

EDS is a member of the Boston Theological Institute, a consortium of 10 eminent theological schools, seminaries, and departments of religion in the Boston area.

A seminary for the Episcopal Church, Episcopal Divinity School is grounded in the Anglican tradition and committed to growing in relationship with other Christian and faith traditions. Episcopal Divinity School is an academic community of biblical, historical, and theological inquiry that respects students as responsible learners with valuable experience, supports spiritual and ministerial formation, and provides tools for the life-long work of social and personal transformation. To learn more about EDS, visit www.eds.edu.

Juan David Alvarado electo Obispo de El Salvador

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Juan David Alvarado, obispo electo de El Salvador, sustituirá al obispo Martin Barahona que se acogerá a la jubilación en enero de 2015. Foto de la Iglesia Anglicana Episcopal de El Salvador.

[Episcopal News Service] El Rdo. Juan David Alvarado fue electo obispo de la  Iglesia Anglicana Episcopal de El Salvador el 23 de agosto en la iglesia de San Juan Evangelista de San Salvador.

Su consagración e instalación está señalada para el 24 de enero de 2015.

Alvarado, de 52 años, sucederá al Rvdmo. Martín Barahona, que se acogerá a la jubilación.

Electo en 1992, Barahona se convirtió en el primer salvadoreño en servir de obispo. Antes de la elección de Barahona y el fin de la guerra civil de El Salvador (1980-1992), el Rvdmo. James H. Ottley, entonces obispo de Panamá, supervisaba la Iglesia de El Salvador desde Panamá.

Alvarado fue electo a partir de una lista de cinco candidatos, entre ellos dos norteamericanos.

Los otros candidatos fueron:

  • Rdo. Ricardo Bernal, Diócesis de El Salvador;
  • Rdo. Juan Antonio Méndez, Diócesis de El Salvador;
  • Rdo. Vidal Rivas, presbítero principal, parroquia de San Mateo [St Matthew’s], Hyattsville, Maryland, Diócesis de Washington; y
  • Rda. Lee Alison Crawford, vicaria de la iglesia de Nuestro Salvador [Church of Our Saviour] en Mission Farm y canóniga misionera en El Salvador, por la Diócesis de Vermont.

Alvarado resultó electo en la segunda votación por una mayoría de 35 de los 50 votos laicos y 8 de los 14 votos clericales.

El obispo electo está casado con la Rda. Irma Alvarado; la pareja tiene dos hijos.

La Iglesia Anglicana Episcopal de El Salvador, junto con las iglesias anglicanas y episcopales de Costa rica, Guatemala, Panamá y Nicaragua constituyen la Iglesia Anglicana en la Región Central de América, o IARCA, la sigla en español, por la que se le conoce.

Mississippi notified of successful canonical consent process

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Office of Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has notified the Diocese of Mississippi that Bishop-Elect Coadjutor Brian R. Seage has received the required majority of consents in the canonical consent process.

As outlined under Canon III.11.4 (a), the Presiding Bishop confirmed the receipt of consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction, and has also reviewed the evidence of consents from a majority of standing committees of the Church sent to her by the diocesan standing committee.

In Canon III.11.4 (b), Standing Committees, in consenting to the ordination and consecration, attest they are “fully sensible of how important it is that the Sacred Order and Office of a Bishop should not be unworthily conferred, and firmly persuaded that it is our duty to bear testimony on this solemn occasion without partiality, do, in the presence of Almighty God, testify that we know of no impediment on account of which the Reverend A.B. ought not to be ordained to that Holy Office. We do, moreover, jointly and severally declare that we believe the Reverend A.B. to have been duly and lawfully elected and to be of such sufficiency in learning, of such soundness in the Faith, and of such godly character as to be able to exercise the Office of a Bishop to the honor of God and the edifying of the Church, and to be a wholesome example to the flock of Christ.”

The Very Rev. Brian R. Seage was elected Bishop Coadjutor on May 3.  His ordination and consecration service is slated for September 27; Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will officiate.

A recap of the process                                                  

Upon election, the successful candidate is a bishop-elect.  Following some procedural matters including physical and psychological examinations, formal notices are then sent by the Presiding Bishop’s office to bishops with jurisdiction (diocesan bishops only) with separate notices from the electing diocese to the standing committees of each of the dioceses in The Episcopal Church. These notices require their own actions and signatures.

In order for a bishop-elect to become a bishop, Canon III.11.4 (a) of The Episcopal Church mandates that a majority of diocesan bishops AND a majority of diocesan standing committees must consent to the bishop-elect’s ordination and consecration as bishop. These actions – done separately – must be completed within 120 days from the day notice of the election was sent to the proper parties.

If the bishop-elect receives a majority of consents from the diocesan bishops as well as a majority from the standing committees, the bishop-elect is one step closer. Following a successful consent process, ordination and celebration are in order.

General Seminary fills 2 positions as part of program integration

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

[General Theological Seminary press release] Leading up to this Fall semester, the Rev. Danielle Thompson, Chaplain for Pastoral Care, and the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, Adjunct Professor, have taken on expanded roles at The General Theological Seminary. Each position includes key roles in implementing the Seminary’s new initiative, The Way of Wisdom.

The Rev. Danielle Thompson has accepted the position of Coordinator of Integrative Programs. In addition to continuing to provide pastoral care and support to community life, she will coordinate Field Education, Clinical Pastoral Education, and coordinate planning and implementation of The Wisdom Year.

Thompson earned the Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School in 2006. She completed a CPE residency and worked as a staff chaplain at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee and went on to attend the School of Theology at the University of the South (Sewanee), completing the Master of Sacred Theology degree in 2011. She was ordained to the priesthood in 2010 in the Diocese of Chicago, where she served as Associate Rector of St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church and participated in the Lilly Endowment’s Making Excellent Disciples cohort, a flagship leadership training and mentoring program for newly ordained Episcopal clergy. Thompson began work at General in 2013 as Chaplain for Pastoral Care when she relocated to New York City with her family, GTS Professor of Systematic Theology Josh Davis and two children. She also serves as a part-time Chaplain at The Episcopal Church Center.

The Rev. Stephanie Spellers will continue in her appointment as Adjunct Professor of Church and Society and takes on the additional role of Director of Mission and Reconciliation. She will teach courses and lead other offerings that relate to mission, evangelism, and reconciliation in the field of ministry, and will begin the work of expanding our offerings to the increasingly important outside community. In her undertakings she will highlight the role of mission in our education and formation of students for all types of leadership. As part of her new responsibilities, she is joining The Way of Wisdom planning team and will be offering mentor-training and resources to Wisdom Year residency sites. Spellers will continue to serve part-time as Canon for Missional Vitality in the Diocese of Long Island and as a Senior Consultant in the Center for Progressive Renewal, an ecumenical center for church development and renewal.

Spellers is a popular speaker and is the author of numerous books, including The Episcopal Way (2014), Ancient Faith, Future Mission: Fresh Expressions in the Sacramental Traditions (2010) and Radical Welcome: Embracing God, the Other and the Transforming Power of the Spirit (2006). She serves as one of two Chaplains to the House of Bishops and recently chaired the Episcopal Standing Commission on Mission and Evangelism. Along with Eric Law, she is the co-editor for the new Church’s Teachings for a Changing World series.

From 2005 to 2012, Canon Spellers served as founding priest for The Crossing, an emergent congregation based at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Boston. She earned an M.A. in 1996 from Harvard Divinity School and an M.Div. from Episcopal Divinity School in 2004. Prior to and concurrent with priestly ministry, she served in the administration at Harvard Divinity and worked as a religion reporter for a regional daily newspaper and as an editor for Episcopal Church Publishing.

‘New and creative ways of prayer’ available for everyday life

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] What is being called “a daily office for the 21st century” is now available to members of the Episcopal Church and beyond.

“Daily Prayer for All Seasons,” developed by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music offers a variation on the Book of Common Prayer’s tradition of prayers for morning, noon, evening and nighttime.

The books are divided by the liturgical year, and each of the services for each of the eight canonical hours of the day has a theme, including praise, discernment, wisdom, perseverance and renewal, love, forgiveness, trust and watch. A complete service covers one or two pages.

The prayer book presents a variety of images of God, uses inclusive and expansive language for and about God, and presents a rich variety of language, including poetry, meditation and prayers from the broader community of faith, according to a press release. Clergy, teachers and spiritual leaders across the Episcopal Church contributed to the work.

“These prayers will help you pray at all times and find the right words when necessary,” the Rev. Mark Bozzuti-Jones, a contributor to the volume who serves as priest for pastoral care and community at Trinity Wall Street, New York, said in the release. “In their diversity, these prayers are manna from heaven for folks who are seeking new and creative ways of prayer. This book will teach you how to pray.”

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings of Ohio, president of the House of Deputies, said she is “grateful to the leaders from across the Episcopal Church who have collaborated on this important new set of prayers for everyday life.”

Some of the prayers are being used during Nuevo Amanecer, a churchwide gathering of Latino/Hispanic members of the Episcopal Church, at the Kanuga Conference Center in North Carolina.

Work began in April 2007 on what eventually became known as “Daily Prayer for All Seasons,” according to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music’s report to the 76th meeting of General Convention (page 187 here) in 2009.

The next meeting of convention in 2012 approved the book (via Resolution A055) and it has now been published in English and Spanish in various formats by Church Publishing Inc. It is available in print and in eBook versions including Kindle, iBook and Nook formats. The print volume can be imprinted with a recipient’s name. Soft cover and leather-bound editions are available. A 37-page sampler from the book is here.

Sept.-Dec. bishop consecrations, elections and consents

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] In the next four months – September 1 to December 31 – the Episcopal Church will witness the consecrations of four bishops, the election of one bishop, and the consent process of two bishops.

Four consecrations of a bishop are slated for September to December.

September 6: Diocese of Maryland; the Rev. Canon Heather Cook was elected Bishop Suffragan May 2.

September 13: Diocese of Massachusetts; the Rev. Alan Gates was elected April 5.

September 27: Diocese of Mississippi; the Very Rev. Brian R. Seage was elected May 3.

November 8: Diocese of East Carolina; the Rev. Robert Stuart Skirving was elected May 17.

During September to December, one bishop election is scheduled:

October 25: Diocese of West Texas Bishop Coadjutor

Canonical Consent Process
Currently there are two canonical consent processes underway for September to December. The deadlines are:

October 16: The Very Rev. Brian R. Seage was elected bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Mississippi on May 3

October 31: The Rev. Robert Stuart Skirving was elected bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina, elected May 17.

Massachusetts Bishop Shaw offers update on illness

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

[Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts] Massachusetts Bishop Thomas Shaw, SSJE, sent a message to his diocese on Aug. 25 announcing that the brain cancer he has been battling since May 2013 is incurable and expressing gratitude for ongoing prayers and support.

“At the recommendation of my medical team, I’ve decided now to pursue a course of treatment that will provide a good quality of life, though for how long, we can’t be sure,” Shaw wrote. “My prayer feels different from day to day.  Some days there is an expansiveness to it, and on other days, it isn’t so easy, though there aren’t too many of those days.  But throughout, good days and more difficult days, I feel supported by you, the people of this diocese and beyond, and by your prayers, and I’ve felt my faith life grow in significant ways.  I am looking forward to what God will bring in this new time.”

Shaw, who has served the Massachusetts diocese as its bishop since 1995, is set to retire in September when the Rev. Alan M. Gates is ordained and consecrated as the 16th bishop of Massachusetts.

The full text of Shaw’s message follows.

My Sisters and Brothers,

As my date of retirement nears, I want to be in touch with all of you and to thank you for your continued expressions of care and concern.  We have known since the beginning, when I was diagnosed with brain cancer in May of last year, that we are dealing with a difficult kind of cancer.  We have been hopeful in the therapies we’ve pursued over these months, but we now know that for me there is no cure.  At the recommendation of my medical team, I’ve decided now to pursue a course of treatment that will provide a good quality of life, though for how long, we can’t be sure.

As hard as this is to hear and to tell, I didn’t want this time to go by without letting all of you know where things are.  My medical team continues to provide me with excellent care, and I have a wonderful community of support around me.  My prayer feels different from day to day.  Some days there is an expansiveness to it, and on other days, it isn’t so easy, though there aren’t too many of those days.  But throughout, good days and more difficult days, I feel supported by you, the people of this diocese and beyond, and by your prayers, and I’ve felt my faith life grow in significant ways.  I am looking forward to what God will bring in this new time.

You know, time too often in our culture is perceived as a problem; all of us, at some point, feel we don’t have enough of it. Yet, because of Jesus the Messiah, all time is now God’s time.  It is part of the unfolding of God’s glory.  We are invited into it as an experience of the presence of God.  I believe that is where our prayer, where our life together in gathered community, where our participation with God in making all things new is taking us: into the heart of God.

May each of us be opened to the possibility and the hope offered through God’s gift of time.

Our bishop-elect, Alan, will keep you informed of changes in my condition going forward.  I continue to cherish your cards and letters, and I want to say again how much I appreciate the years I’ve served as your bishop and all that you have taught me.  I plan to be part of the upcoming consecration, and I look forward to joining you in welcoming our new bishop.

Please pray for me as I pray for you.


M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE

La Iglesia ve una función imprescindible en la justicia social y la reconciliación

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] En tanto la muerte a tiros de un joven afroamericano desarmado por un policía continuaba provocando protestas en Ferguson, Misurí, los episcopales a través de Estados Unidos se enfrentaban a la cruda realidad de que ello podría haber sucedido prácticamente dondequiera y con la difícil pregunta: ¿qué debería hacer la Iglesia al respecto?

A pesar de la muerte de Michael Brown el 9 de agosto y de su violenta secuela, la esperanza “es que ello será finalmente el toque de atención que necesitamos para abordar este problema”, dijo a ENS el obispo Stacy Sauls, director de operaciones de la Iglesia Episcopal. “Porque, en mi opinión, las relaciones raciales en Estados Unidos empeoran, no mejoran”.

Las enconadas relaciones entre el departamento de policía de Ferguson, predominantemente blanco, y la comunidad afroamericana dio paso a la violencia luego de que el agente Darren Wilson hiriera fatalmente a Brown, de 18 años. Después ha habido informes [discrepantes] de testigos presenciales y una autopsia independiente revelaba que Brown había sido alcanzado por seis disparos. Subsecuentemente, la policía de Ferguson identificó a Brown como sospechoso de cometer un robo.

Por su parte, clérigos y vecinos de la localidad denunciaron el nivel de violencia policial dirigida contra la comunidad mayoritariamente afroamericana.

Sauls dijo que las iglesias cristianas pusieron en marcha el movimiento de los derechos civiles “y yo creo que estamos presenciando un enérgico llamado a que participemos de nuevo. Una cosa podemos hacer, reunir a las personas para dialogar, no sólo a nivel local o regional, sino para un diálogo nacional. Eso puede tener un impacto muy positivo”.

De manera similar, los miembros jóvenes adultos de la Unión de Episcopales Negros (UBE, por sigla en inglés) citaban, en una declaración del 20 de agosto, entre otras cosas, “la subcultura del prejuicio contra la población negra que da lugar a esa secuencia de titulares [que informan] de otro estadounidense muerto en las calles de su barriada”.

La declaración les pide a los capítulos de la UBE de todo el país que ayuden a transmitir el mensaje “de manera que la voz profética de la Iglesia Episcopal resuene, al denunciar el legado de la opresión institucionalizada, en Estados Unidos y a través del mundo”.

Transmitir el mensaje: voces proféticas
Chester Hines comenzó a servir como capacitador de talleres antirracistas en la Diócesis de Misurí por elección propia y debido a las circunstancias.

“Crecí en el San Luis segregado. No importa qué institución menciones en San Luis, siempre —conforme a mi experiencia— han estado segregadas, incluso después de la legislación [federal] de los Derechos Civiles de 1964”, dijo Hines, que desempeña su primera colocación en un campo [pastoral] en la iglesia episcopal de San Timoteo [St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church] en Creve Coeur, como parte del proceso de ordenación diocesano.

Hines dijo que a él no le sorprendió el estallido de tensiones raciales en la vecina [comunidad de] Ferguson después del baleo de Brown. “Me sorprendió que no hubiese ocurrido antes y en más lugares”.

Él les transmitió sus lecciones de vida a sus hijos mellizos, Christian y Christopher, mientras crecían, en interés de su preservación, señaló él. “Eduqué a mis hijos a entender y estar al tanto de la segregación, la raza y el racismo, y que éste existía en San Luis”, dijo. “También les dije cómo se manifestaba”.

“Les enseñé, cuando cumplieron 10 años de edad, que se toparían con la policía, por seguridad cuando fueran a la galería comercial con sus amigos, y ellos tenían amigos blancos. Les enseñé las lecciones que yo sabía que iban a tener que aprender a fin de ser parte de la comunidad, porque estas fueron las lecciones que yo tuve que aprender y nada ha cambiado”, afirmó.

“Le dije lo que iba a suceder pero, les dije algo más importante, lo que sería su respuesta: aborden al policía con respeto y cortesía, sí señor, no señor. Les dan sus nombre. Sigan sus instrucciones, incluso si han de ser arrestados.

“Porque, este es el riesgo que se corre: si lo ofenden, o de alguna manera le transmiten a ese policía que lo están desafiando, les va a hacer daño físicamente o les va a romper la cabeza, y una vez que les rompa la cabeza o les dé un tiro, eso no puede arreglarse.

“Sin embargo, puede arreglarse si los llevan a la cárcel, porque yo puedo ir y sacarlos de allí. Pero en una confrontación física, yo no puedo hacer nada”.

Ahora que ambos hijos tienen 31 años y son abogados, dice él. “Todos los días me despierto y digo ‘amén’”.

‘Es difícil hablar de la raza’ – escuchen pues
El Muy Rdo. Mike Kinman, deán de la iglesia catedral de Cristo [Christ Church Cathedral] en San Luis, “intentaba escuchar a la gente sobre el terreno” en Ferguson y aconsejaba a otros a hacer lo mismo.

También invitó a los feligreses de la catedral, luego del oficio principal del domingo 17 de agosto, a pasar un tiempo juntos, sin hacer juicios, sin comentarios, sin discusiones, sencillamente escuchándose mutuamente. “Hubo lágrimas, cólera, confusión, una amplia variedad de sentimientos se expresaron, pero estaba tan sólo este espacio sacro y me di cuenta de que era la gracia”, afirmó.

“Hay personas que han dicho ‘no tengo ningún lugar para decir esto. Tengo miedo de hablar acerca de la raza, miedo de cometer una torpeza’. Necesitamos un lugar donde podamos equivocarnos.

“Esto es algo que podemos hacer como iglesia; ofrecer ese espacio seguro, para hablar acerca de la raza, porque acerca de la raza resulta muy difícil hablar”, agregó. “Pero, les dije a todos ellos, si no están hablando, no piensen en lo que van a decir después, tan sólo escuchen”.

El Rdo. Eric H. F. Law, sacerdote episcopal y fundador del Kaleidoscope Institute, con sede en Los Ángeles, que ofrece desarrollo de liderazgo y adiestramiento en la diversidad en ambientes multiculturales y cambiantes, se muestra de acuerdo “el primer paso tiene que ser escuchar a las personas que históricamente no han podido expresarse.

“La pregunta importante es: ¿quieren que se sigan produciendo estas explosiones esporádicas o realmente quieren encontrar un medio de comprometer a las personas a tener genuinas relaciones?”, dijo Law, que ayudó a coordinar los empeños de reconciliación luego de los disturbios de Los Ángeles de 1992.

“La conclusión es, ¿tenemos verdaderas amistades más allá de los fronteras raciales en este país, y puede nuestra Iglesia facilitar eso y no de una manera superficial, sino de un modo que podamos realmente intentar entendernos mutualmente?

Sauls dijo que después de que un jurado de la Florida encontró al vigilante George Zimmerman no culpable en julio de 2013 por la muerte a tiros de Trayvon Martin, la Iglesia Episcopal comenzó a laborar para instituir, por primera vez, un misionero para la reconciliación racial. En junio de 2014, Haidi Kim fue designada para ese cargo y Charles Wynder fue nombrado el misionero de la Iglesia Episcopal para justicia y defensa sociales.

“Yo sí creo en verdad que si tomamos seriamente la noción de que todos somos miembros del Cuerpo de Cristo, entonces tenemos que comportarnos de manera diferente los unos con los otros. El primer paso es escuchar a las personas que piensan diametralmente distinto a nosotros”, dijo Kim. En su nueva función, ella es responsable de facilitar el establecimiento y desarrollo de intercomunicaciones en la Iglesia para confrontar los problemas de racismo, en la Iglesia y en la sociedad. Wynder es responsable de hacer participar a los episcopales en la creación, dotación y capacitación de movimientos de defensa social y redes en pro de la justicia social tanto a nivel local como comunitario.

“Hubo un incidente en Nueva York este verano”, dijo Sauls, refiriéndose a la muerte por asfixia de Eric Garner, un afroamericano de Nueva York, a manos de agentes de la policía neoyorquina “y ahora el caso de Michael Brown, luego no se trata de una ocurrencia infrecuente”.

“Desafortunadamente,” agregó, “éste es uno de los anuncios más tristes que puedo hacer, que todos sabemos que esta tragedia volverá a repetirse”.

El Centro Interreligioso de Nueva York acogió con beneplácito el cercamiento del alcalde de la ciudad de Nueva York, Bill de Blasio, a los líderes religiosos como un modo de “sanar y profundizar las relaciones entre la policía y la comunidad” a raíz de la muerte de Garner. “Aplaudimos a los principales líderes religiosos por congregarse para el diálogo en este momento crítico”, dice el comunicado, que reconoce el importante papel que desempeñan los líderes de la fe popular “en mantener una coexistencia pacífica en sus barrios”.

Capacitación antirracista; convertirse en la amada comunidad
Para Hines y otras personas que dirigen las capacitaciones antirracistas a través de la Iglesia, los medios incluyen la historia de la Iglesia Episcopal, la carta pastoral de los 0bispos en 1994 sobre el pecado del racismo y resoluciones de la Convención General sobre el tema, así como algunas definiciones básicas.

“Conversamos sobre la historia de la Iglesia Episcopal, y hay de todo”, dijo Hines. “Tuvimos sacerdotes y líderes en la Iglesia Episcopal que fueron dueños de esclavos y miembros del Ku Klux Klan”

Henry Shaw, por ejemplo, fue un rico terrateniente y filántropo “que sólo en el pasado reciente reconocimos que era uno de los mayores esclavistas de San Luis”, dice Hines. “Gran parte de la riqueza que él le dejo a la Iglesia Episcopal tuvo su origen en los esclavos que poseía”.

El acuerdo sobre las definiciones de términos tales como prejuicio, discriminación e intolerancia también “nos llevan a un punto donde dialogamos los unos con los otros y podemos llegar a entender, con optimismo, lo que la otra persona dice”, añadió.

En Atlanta, un cambio de nombre, de la comisión diocesana de antirracismo a la “Comisión de la Amada Comunidad para el Desmantelamiento del Racismo”, hizo posible que los participantes llegaran a entender que “necesitamos desmantelar el racismo como parte de nuestra formación espiritual y no sólo al objeto de que podamos marcar la casilla para integrar la junta parroquial y para ser sacerdote”, dijo Catherine Meeks, de 68 años, profesora universitaria jubilada y miembro de la comisión.

“Hemos pasado de una enorme hostilidad abierta hacia nuestro curso de capacitación, a que las personas nos inviten a sus parroquias individuales”, dijo Meeks, miembro de la iglesia episcopal de San Agustín de Cantórbery [St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church] en Morrow, Georgia, cerca de Atlanta.

Al celebrar la Santa Comunión al comienzo de las sesiones también “concentramos toda la jornada en torno al principio de que esto es lo que somos como familia, esta es la obra que hacemos para ayudar a nuestra familia a que se restablezca”.

Hija de un aparcero y de una maestra de Arkansas, “éramos realmente pobres”, recuerda Meeks. “Éramos víctimas, en muchos sentidos, del racismo. Yo veía a mi padre muy herido por ello y de ahí por qué pongo tanto ahínco en cambiarlo”, añadió.

“Hice realmente un gran esfuerzo en no transmitirle a mis hijos gran parte del temor y la cólera que mi padre sentía”, agrega. “Y en verdad tuve que hacer un gran esfuerzo para sobreponerme un poco al temor.

“Me esforcé mucho en la crianza de mis hijos para que sintieran que tenían un lugar en el mundo y que podían ser personas independientes, pero con la conciencia de que son negros en Estados Unidos. Los sistemas aquí no están concebidos para beneficiar a las personas de color”, afirmó.

Eso significa, siguió diciendo, vivir una existencia dualista. “Crees que eres un hijo de Dios y que Dios cuida de ti y que tienes un lugar en el mundo y que recibirás las bendiciones que te corresponden. Pero vives en un país donde existen montones de sistemas concebidos para evitar que eso suceda, y tienes que convivir con esa realidad”.

Esperanza: ‘en la Iglesia tenemos una oportunidad’
Sauls dijo que las sesiones de seguimiento de eventos innovadores tales como “Cincuenta años después: el estado de la raza en Estados Unidos” de la Iglesia Episcopal, [que tuvo lugar] en noviembre de 2013, en Jackson, Misisipí, y un oficio de arrepentimiento en octubre de 2008 en la histórica Iglesia episcopal africana de Santo Tomás [African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas] en Filadelfia, se encuentran en las etapas de planificación.

Agregó que la oficina del Ministerio de Justicia y Defensa Social de la Iglesia Episcopal está haciendo acopio de recursos para que las comunidades de fe “inicien las conversaciones. Estamos empezando a reunir líderes de toda la Iglesia para continuar el diálogo y seguir edificando a partir de lo que hicimos en noviembre pasado”, en Jackson.

Kinman dijo que había recibido ofertas de algunos colegas, de distintos lugares del país, de venir a Ferguson para unirse a las protestas.

“Le estoy diciendo a las personas, dondequiera que se encuentren en este país, que si realmente quieren ayudar, aprovechen esta oportunidad y reúnan a su congregación, a su gente, y hagan la pregunta, ¿por qué creen que esto sucede?”, dijo.

“Hagan alguna labor educativa acerca de la raza, la clase, el poder y el privilegio. Pregunten: ¿quién en su comunidad es Michael Brown? ¿Quiénes en su comunidad serían esas personas que se encuentran ahora mismo en las calles de Ferguson? ¿Qué experiencia tienen de ser negro o mestizo en su comunidad?

Meeks está de acuerdo. “Esta situación en Ferguson sencillamente resalta que hemos tratado de aparentar que estamos donde no estamos. Podría ser en cualquier lugar de este país, y esto lo sabemos. Ferguson es sólo una puntita del iceberg. En verdad debemos prestar atención”.

Pero hay muchas razones para la esperanza, especialmente dentro de la Iglesia, afirmó.

“Mi esperanza radica en el hecho de que creo que en la Iglesia tenemos una oportunidad. Celebrar la Santa Comunión es tan importante porque nos recuerda que estamos comprometidos con algo mayor que nosotros mismos. Creo sencillamente que la Iglesia es el lugar donde podemos desarrollar un auténtico diálogo, una genuina confianza y modelar una manera diferente de ser los unos con los otros”, añadió.

“Hemos de recorrer un largo trecho para llegar allá, pero creo que tenemos una oportunidad si estamos dispuestos a ser consecuentes con lo que decimos que creemos”.

Hines contó que él contradijo a uno de los participantes en un taller de capacitación antirracista que él había dirigido la semana anterior en Sikeston, quien le dijo que el verdadero cambio parecía imposible.

“Mi esperanza es eterna, pero el cambio es muy lento”, puntualizó. “Le recordé que, antes de 1964 y de la legislación de los Derechos Civiles, yo no habría podido venir a Sikeston y quedarme en ningún lugar, salvo con un pariente. El cambio es posible si estamos de acuerdo en que lo es y avanzamos en esa dirección”.

Y añadió: “Creo que esta obra es necesaria y vital para la salvación de la Iglesia Episcopal. Miramos a nuestra historia y luego contemplamos los acontecimientos actuales y después identificamos para nosotros mismos lo que queremos que sea el panorama de aquí a diez años”.

–La Rda. Pat McCaughan es corresponsal de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Paul-Gordon Chandler named president/CEO of CARAVAN

ENS Headlines - Monday, August 25, 2014

[CARAVAN press release] Rev. Canon Paul-Gordon Chandler, a mission partner with The Episcopal Church and the former Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Cairo, Egypt from 2003-2013, has assumed the role of President/CEO of CARAVAN, an interfaith arts non-profit (501c3) that seeks to “build bridges through the Arts between the creeds and cultures of the East and West.” CARAVAN started as an interfaith arts movement out of Cairo and became a non-profit organization based from Chicago this last March 2014. 

CARAVAN brings together many of the Middle East’s premier artists, with noted Western artists, to build respect, increase understanding and encourage friendship between the Middle East and the West. 

One of the flagship initiatives of CARAVAN is the globally recognized CARAVAN Exhibition of Visual Art. Each year this unique exhibition has garnered attention from the international press, media and art world, attracting thousands of visitors. In 2013, many thousands of Middle Easterners and Westerners viewed CARAVAN’s public art exhibition of painted donkeys (symbolizing “Peace and Compassion”) by premier artists from the Middle East and West, first throughout Cairo, followed by an estimated 120,000 people visiting CARAVAN’s exhibition in London, England at the world renowned St. Paul’s Cathedral. 

The 2014 CARAVAN Exhibition of Visual Art opens in late August at National Cathedral in Washington D.C. (August 30-October 6) and involves 48 premier and emerging Egyptian and Western artists (of Muslim, Christian and Jewish backgrounds). Titled “AMEN—A Prayer for the World,” the exhibition seeks to express the deep, fundamental human acknowledgement of power and hope in the universe, for all peoples. This major arts initiative is an aspirational expression of hope and goodwill for the peoples of the Middle East and the rest of the world. Following the exhibition in Washington D.C. it will move to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City (October 12-November 23).