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Services will mark 70 years since atomic bombs ended World War II

ENS Headlines - Thursday, August 6, 2015

[Anglican Communion News Service] Commemorations to mark VJ Day – the end of the Second World War in the Pacific – have tended to be a lesser commemoration, in Britain at least, than VE Day – the end of the Second World War in Europe.

It is also because it is very difficult to “celebrate” the end of a war where victory was wrought with the loss of 120,000 people who were victims of the first two – and, so far, only two – atomic bombs used.

But that is exactly what happened: the first bomb killed 80,000 people when it was detonated over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6 1945; and on Aug. 9, 1945 40,000 people were killed when a similar bomb was detonated over Nagasaki. Tens of thousands more would die of radiation poisoning in the weeks, months and years ahead.

On Aug. 15, 1945, the Japanese leader, Emperor Hirohito, announced his country’s unconditional surrender in a radio address, saying the decision had been made because of the devastating power of “a new and most cruel bomb.”

The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima Aug. 6, 1945 (left). The second was dropped on Nagasaki Aug. 9, 1945. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In Britain, to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will join veterans, former prisoners of war and civilian internees at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square, London, for a commemorative service organized by the National Far East Prisoners of War Fellowship Welfare Remembrance Association.

The 70th anniversary of the end of the war is seen as a “very important” occasion by the Anglican Church in Japan, the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK).

“While the war ended with the defeat of Japan, about 20 million people in several Asian/Pacific countries including Japan were victims,” the NSKK House of Bishops said in a statement. “Pain and suffering brought by sacrifices and damage of this war have not yet healed even after 70 years.

“We especially bear in mind that our country has not been able to make reconciliation and peace with the countries we invaded.

“In this year of the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, we pray for those who were victims of this war and who are still feeling the effects of pain, suffering, and sorrow, and we reaffirm our commitment to the future peace of the world.”

The Hiroshima Peace Park includes the Peace Museum and the skeletal remains of the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition hall. Completed in 1915, the hall was the only building left standing near bomb’s hypocenter. It soon became known as the Atomic Bomb Dome and is formally the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

In 1995, the NSKK “admitted our war responsibility, based on repentance and looking toward the 21st century,” the bishops said. “We determined to walk with those who were historically persecuted and victimized during the war and are still discriminated against.”

In the following year, the NSKK Synod adopted the Province’s “Statement on War Responsibility” in which all churches agreed to collectively share NSKK’s war responsibility, to convey an apology in the name of Nippon Sei Ko Kai to the churches in the countries which Japan had invaded, and to start and continue a program in each diocese and parish “to review the historical facts and to deepen our understanding of the Gospel.”

“We have strived to establish collaborative relationships with Asian churches, especially the Anglican Church of Korea and the Episcopal Church in the Philippines,” the bishops say, “and have committed to support the Okinawan struggle for peace and human rights.

“We reaffirm that peace and reconciliation in the entire East Asian area, including a peaceful reunion of North and South Korea and the establishment of a more peaceful Okinawa will continuously be important issues in the missionary work of Nippon Sei Ko Kai, and will continue our efforts to achieve these goals.”

In June, the bishops of the NSKK gathered in Okinawa to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the end of battle there in which more than 200,000 people were killed. And they will gather again in Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and in Nagasaki on Aug. 9 for requiems in memory of the dead.

A cenotaph for Korean victims of the atomic bombings is in the Hiroshima Peace Park. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

In a sign of reconciliation, Archbishop Paul Kim and a number of other bishops from the Anglican Church of Korea and some other bishops from Korea will also attend the requiems.

Japan annexed Korea in 1910 and held the peninsula until 1945. Some estimates say that 700,000 Korean civilians — including teenage girls — were brought to Japan through coercion before and during the war to work. Many other thousands were forced to into hard labor or conscripted. It is estimated that at least 45,000 Koreans were among the more than 2000,000 who were killed in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or were exposed to lethal post-blast radiation. In addition, 300,000 Korean survivors were returned to Korea after WWII ended Japan’s colonization of Korea.

In the post-war Era, Japan adopted a “peace constitution” which committed the country to pacifism. This is now at risk through the introduction of new security bills through the Diet – the Japanese Parliament, which would allow for “collective self-defense.” (News, 22 July). The NSKK is opposing the move.

“We have the Peace Constitution which denounces the war, and because of this Peace Constitution, Japan has never been involved in war and has killed no one for the past 70 years,” the Most Rev. Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu, the Primate of Japan, told ACNS.

“Right now, the Japanese government is trying to modify the Peace Constitution so that Japan could play an active role in war and conflict in the world using military force in future. We, the NSKK, are working hard to stop this government’s policy.”

Applications now accepted for director of development for Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, August 4, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Bishop Stacy F. Sauls, Chief Operating Officer, announced that applications are now being accepted for the Director of Development on the staff of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.

The Development Office is the major gifts ministry of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. As such, it identifies, cultivates, and solicits major donors to support ministries at all levels. The Director is responsible for developing, establishing and executing a robust, dynamic fundraising strategy, particularly through major gifts.

“We seek an energetic professional who is mission-driven, with significant fundraising experience and demonstrated success in major gifts, to join our dynamic and dedicated staff,” Bishop Sauls commented.

The Director of Development position information is located here.

Information on all available positions as well as application instructions are available here.

For more information contact a member of the Episcopal Church Human Resources Team at HRM@episcopalchurch.org.

Registrations accepted for Called to Transformation

ENS Headlines - Monday, August 3, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Samuel McDonald, Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission, announced that registrations are now accepted for the Called to Transformation Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) facilitator formation workshop September 14 – 17, designed to train leaders in methods and tools to enhance local ministry and mission.

Called to Transformation is a partnership between the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and Episcopal Relief & Development.  The Asset-Based Community Development online toolkit and workshops were developed to train facilitators in leading a faith community in understanding the ABCD process, explained the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, Domestic Poverty Missioner for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.

“Training people to use the Asset-Based Community Development to approach ministry switches the discernment to an asset view – what we have – from one focused on what we don’t have,” he said.  “Asset-Based Community Development allows for a vital step in strategic planning in their communities.”

Asset-Based Community Development engages communities at a grassroots level to recognize local assets – such as people, buildings, relationships and even faith – and creatively envision how to use that abundance to achieve goals and imagine new forms of ministry. “This is why ABCD is so important,” said Sean McConnell, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Director of Engagement. “It builds on the gifts of individuals, congregations and organizations, and brings people together to transform their communities. When people engage their own gifts in this way, they become more deeply invested in achieving the shared goals of the community.”

Through the trainings, participants will learn about the theory and the practice of ABCD work, and then begin the process of creating a working plan to implement an Asset-Based Community Development project in their own ministry community.

“Those who complete the program also will be equipped to serve as facilitators for other communities that would benefit from this proven and theologically-based development methodology,” Stevenson added.

The first of two workshops in 2015 is now open for registration: September 14 to September 17, at the Toddhall Retreat Center, Columbia, IL (across from St Louis, MO).

Registration is available here. Registration is $175 which includes room, all meals, handouts, etc. Transportation is not included. Deadline for registration is August 31. Seating is limited.

A second workshop is being planned for November 5 to November 8, in western US (details will be released soon). “Both workshops will cover the same material, so interested clergy and lay leaders can choose the one that best fits their schedule and travel needs,” Stevenson said.

The Called to Transformation Asset-Based Community Development online toolkit and facilitator formation process were developed by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and Episcopal Relief & Development with assistance from the Beecken Center of the School of Theology at the University of the South.

Workshop trainers include Stevenson; the Rev. Shannon Kelly, Acting Missioner for Campus and Young Adult Ministries for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society; McConnell; and Jenny Korwan, consultant.

“In this time of Church renewal, Called to Transformation’s asset-based approach places the impetus for change and growth within the community itself, rather than solely with church leadership,” said McConnell. “Focusing on relationships rather than finances as their most important resource, these communities grow stronger and more deeply engaged over time.”

For more information contact Stevenson, mstevenson@episcopalchurch.org, or McConnell, smcconnell@episcopalrelief.org

Episcopal Asset Map
One of the tools related to Called to Transformation is the wildly popular Episcopal Asset Map. This innovative partnership between the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and Episcopal Relief & Development has resulted in an online tool to learn more about and to share resources for ministries in local, diocesan and churchwide networks.

The Episcopal Asset Map is an online service showing the location and the array of ministries offered by Episcopal congregations, schools and institutions. The Episcopal Asset Map is available at no fee.

As of July, 83 dioceses are participating in the Episcopal Asset Map.

A short video is available here.

For more information contact Stevenson mstevenson@episcopalchurch.org or Katie Mears, USA Disaster Preparedness and Response Director for Episcopal Relief & Development, kmears@episcopalrelief.org.

Comienzan el despeje del terreno en la catedral de la Santa Trinidad en Haití

ENS Headlines - Friday, July 31, 2015

[Episcopal News Service] El 20 de julio, más de cinco y medio años después de que un catastrófico terremoto destruyera la catedral de la Santa Trinidad en Puerto Príncipe [Haití], un grupo de obreros empezó a despejar el sitio, segmentando el área de trabajo, removiendo ladrillos, baldosas de terracota, secciones de las paredes de la catedral y otros restos que en algún momento serán incorporados en la construcción de la nueva catedral.

“Esto es un gran signo de esperanza para el pueblo haitiano. Empecé a decir para los episcopales de Haití, pero en verdad, la significación de la catedral de la Santa Trinidad trasciende a nuestra comunidad religiosa para abarcar a la sociedad en general”, dijo el obispo Stacy Sauls, director de operaciones de la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera (DFMS), el nombre legal y canónico con el cual la Iglesia Episcopal está incorporada, funciona empresarialmente y lleva a cabo la misión.

“Y, acaso lo más importante de todo, el comienzo de esta obra es un signo de la familia espiritual de que formamos parte, un símbolo visible entre la Iglesia haitiana y el resto de la Iglesia Episcopal. En verdad somos ‘uno en el Espíritu’”, siguió diciendo él.

Unos obreros levantan una cerca roja de metal el 20 de julio para proteger el lugar de trabajo. Foto de la Diócesis de Haití.

La Diócesis Episcopal de Haití es, en número de fieles, la más grande de las 109 diócesis de la Iglesia Episcopal. Casi inmediatamente después del terremoto, la Iglesia comenzó una campaña de recaudación de fondos para reconstruir la catedral de la Santa Trinidad, un importante centro espiritual, docente y cultural localizado en el mero centro de Puerto Príncipe. Los planos arquitectónicos para el proyecto que se calcula en $25 millones se dieron a conocer en 2013.

“El proyecto de limpieza en los terrenos de la catedral es un agradable primer paso en la construcción de la estructura sagrada más importante de la Diócesis de Haití”, dijo el Rvdmo. Jean Zaché Duracin, obispo de Haití, añadiendo que está agradecido a los generosos donantes que han apoyado el empeño de la reconstrucción en los últimos cinco años. “Es un gran suspiro de alivio de mi parte y de parte de todos los que participamos en el proceso de la reconstrucción, ciertamente, todos participamos”.
Reconstruir la catedral de la Santa Trinidad “es más que un mero edificio, es un signo de esperanza”, dijo el Rdo. David Boyd, encargado de donaciones extraordinarias para Haití y director interino de la oficina de desarrollo de la DFMS.

La Santa Trinidad se ajusta al concepto antiguo de una catedral como centro de luz, espiritualidad, artes y conocimiento, dijo Boyd.

La diócesis trasladó un estacionamiento que usaba los días hábiles un banco que queda frente al complejo de la catedral a fin de crear espacio para el despeje del lugar. Durante la primera jornada de los 45 días que se espera dure el proyecto, los obreros levantaron una cerca de metal para proteger el sitio de la obra y comenzaron a delimitar secciones de la antigua catedral y a hacer un inventario de restos y sus localizaciones, con la intención de restaurar secciones de paredes que aún se mantienen en pie, ladrillos y otros detalles arquitectónicos a sus lugares originales en el nuevo diseño.

Los obreros deben también exhumar cadáveres de las criptas que se encuentran debajo de la planta de la catedral para volverlos a inhumar dentro del complejo.

Secciones del muro exterior de la catedral de la Santa Trinidad que resistieron el catastrófico terremoto de magnitud 7 y que serán incorporadas a la nueva catedral. Foto de la Diócesis de Haití.

Considerada durante mucho tiempo como “alma espiritual y cultural de Haití”, el complejo de la catedral de la Santa Trinidad alberga un espacio de culto temporal, una escuela primaria y secundaria y una escuela de música de categoría mundial que ahora está funcionando en lo que era el convento de las Hermanas de Santa Margarita.
El lugar de la catedral como alma de Haití se refleja en 14 murales que representan relatos bíblicos y escenas religiosas hechas con motivos haitianos y que se alineaban en los muros interiores del edificio. Las pinturas, que quedaron terminadas entre 1950 y 1951, fueron obra de algunos de los pintores haitianos más conocidos del siglo XX. El obispo que encargó los murales, Alfred Voegli, fue criticado en esa época por permitir que el vudú formara parte de los motivos haitianos utilizados en los murales. Ahora esas pinturas son vistas como un momento importante en el desarrollo del arte haitiano.

No está claro aún cuando comenzará la construcción de la nueva catedral, dijo Sauls, añadiendo que el continuo aumento de los costos de construcción  constituye un reto al trabajo en Haití, pero que él espera que la construcción empezará pronto.

“Otro reto, y éste con frecuencia se olvida, es que la catedral misma es sólo parte de un complejo mayor de ministerios… Un reto es trabajar en todos estos proyectos juntos para coordinar un enfoque unificado”, afirmó Sauls. “Y, por supuesto, el dinero es un reto. Necesitamos que la Iglesia en todo el mundo, y especialmente en el ámbito de la Iglesia Episcopal, ayude a llevar las cargas de nuestros hermanos y hermanas en Haití. Que en eso consiste el Evangelio. Ellos nos necesitan, pero tan significativamente como nosotros los necesitamos. Esta es nuestra Iglesia en Haití”.

Para los principales beneficiarios del complejo, episcopales y estudiantes, el despeje de la propiedad es una importante señal de esperanza de que una nueva catedral se levanta en el horizonte —y que esta parte de su ciudad será relevante otra vez, dijo Sikhumbuzo Vundla, director de operaciones de la Diócesis de Haití.

“Para los devotos y los fieles es un sentimiento entrañable, del júbilo que se impondrá al dolor y al sufrimiento padecidos inmediatamente después del terremoto y de la fuerza que les ha costado soportar este duelo durante cinco años”, afirmó. “El duelo por las vidas perdidas nunca cesará, pero la resurrección de la nueva catedral aliviará el sufrimiento, puesto que la catedral de la Santa Trinidad era muy querida no sólo para la comunidad haitiana, sino también para todos los visitantes y personas de todos los ámbitos de la sociedad”.

El 12 de enero de 2010, Haití sufrió un terremoto de magnitud 7 que mató a más de 300.000 personas, dejó a muchas otras lesionadas y desplazó a más de un millón y medio en lo que fue uno de los peores desastres naturales del mundo de los tiempos recientes. En cuestión de segundos, la diócesis perdió el 80 por ciento de su infraestructura en Puerto Príncipe y Léogâne, el epicentro del terremoto a menos de 32 kilómetros al oeste de la capital.

Inmediatamente después del terremoto, las personas desplazadas buscaron albergue y ayuda humanitaria en 1.500 campamentos, y el gobierno y las agencias internacionales de socorro se comprometieron a contribuir con miles de millones de dólares para reconstruir la nación caribeña, considerada durante mucho tiempo la más pobre del Hemisferio Occidental.

Más de cinco años después, es importante que los episcopales sigan estando conscientes de la situación en Haití.

“La conciencia conduce a la oración; y la oración a la acción. Uno de mis héroes espirituales, James Otis Sargent Huntington, que fundó la Orden de la Santa Cruz, dijo: ‘el amor debe actuar de la misma manera que la luz brilla y el fuego quema’”, dijo Sauls. “Asimismo, la oración debe actuar porque la oración verdadera encuentra su significado en el amor. De momento, oramos. Pero eso debe conducirnos a la acción. De momento esas oraciones pueden hacerse y esa acción llevarse a cabo a través de la Oficina de Desarrollo de la Iglesia Episcopal”.

Haga un clic aquí para más detalles sobre cómo puede ayudar a reconstruir la catedral de la Santa Trinidad.

— Lynette Wilson es redactora y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Russell Kendrick consecrated bishop of the Central Gulf Coast

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

[Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast press release] The Rt. Rev. J. Russell Kendrick was ordained and consecrated as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, at the Mobile Civic Center Expo Hall. More than 1,500 people attended the festive consecration service, and more than 3,500 joined the service by live-streaming video. The presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, led the service as chief consecrator. The Rt. Rev. John McKee Sloan, bishop of Alabama, was the preacher for the service.

Banners representing parishes, schools, and diocesan agencies were a part of the procession for the service. Choristers from parishes around the diocese formed a choir of over 150 voices, and a children’s chorus also sang. Three organists from parishes in the diocese provided music before and during the service. Following the service, the Excelsior Band led worshippers from Expo Hall to Christ Church Cathedral for a celebratory reception.

The consecration service may be viewed at the diocesan website.

On Sunday, July 26, the newly-consecrated bishop was formally welcomed and “seated” at Christ Church Cathedral in Mobile at the 10 a.m. service. During the course of the service, the new bishop received a number of gifts from the cathedral and was seated in the cathedra or bishop’s chair that is symbolic of the bishop’s office. While Kendrick was being seated at the cathedral, Jefferts Schori led worship at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Mobile.

Kendrick was elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast on Feb. 21, 2015. Prior to his election, he was the rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Birmingham, Alabama, a position he held since 2007. In 1984, he earned a Bachelor’s in architecture and a Bachelor of Science Degree in business from Auburn University; and in 1995, he received a Master of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary. Russell is married to Robin. They have two children, Aaron and Hannah. He is a native of Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Kendrick succeeded the Rt. Rev. Philip Menzie Duncan II, who has served as the third bishop of the diocese more than 15 years.

The Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast includes southern Alabama and the panhandle of Florida, 63 worshipping communities, and approximately 20,000 members.

The Holy Eucharist with the Installation of Bishop Michael Bruce Curry as the Presiding Bishop

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Holy Eucharist with the Installation of the 27th Presiding Bishop ofThe Episcopal Church, Bishop Michael Bruce Curry, will occur on Sunday, November 1 at noon Eastern at Washington National Cathedral.

The Rt. Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, was elected and confirmed as the 27th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church at the 78th General Convention on June 27. According to the Canons of The Episcopal Church, he becomes Presiding Bishop on November 1. Bishop Curry is the first African-American to be elected Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.

The Holy Eucharist with the Installation of the 27th Presiding Bishop will be live webcast.

The service will be reflective of the comprehensiveness of the Episcopal tradition and community. Bishop Curry will preach at the service.

Episcopal, Anglican, ecumenical, and interreligious guests are expected to join bishops, General Convention deputies, Executive Council members, and other leaders, members and guests of The Episcopal Church for the celebration.

Please note:
Media: Media credential applications will be available September 8.  Details on media coverage and opportunities will be announced at that time.

Tickets: Information on the process for general seating tickets will be announced after Labor Day.

Site cleaning begins at Haiti’s Holy Trinity Cathedral

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

[Episcopal News Service] More than five and a half  years after a catastrophic earthquake destroyed Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, on July 20 workers began cleaning the site, sectioning off the work area, removing bricks, terracotta tiles, sections of the cathedral’s walls and other remnants that eventually will be incorporated into the construction of a new cathedral.

“This is a great sign of hope for the Haitian people. I started to say for the Episcopalians of Haiti, but in truth, the significance of Holy Trinity Cathedral goes far beyond our own faith community to the larger society,” said Bishop Stacy Sauls, chief operating officer for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, the legal and canonical name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business, and carries out mission.

“And, perhaps most importantly of all, the beginning of this work is a sign of the spiritual family that we are part of, a visible symbol between the Haitian church and the rest of The Episcopal Church. We truly are ‘one in the Spirit,’ ” he continued.

Workers built a red-metal fence on July 20 to secure the work site. Photo: Diocese of Haiti

The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti is numerically the largest of The Episcopal Church’s 109 dioceses. Almost immediately following the earthquake, the church began a fundraising campaign to rebuild Holy Trinity Cathedral, a major spiritual, educational and cultural center located in the heart of downtown Port-au-Prince. Architectural plans for the estimated $25-million project were released in 2013.

“The cleaning-up process at the cathedral site is a pleasant first step in the building of the most important holy structure in the Diocese of Haiti,” said Haiti Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin, adding that he’s thankful for the generous donors who’ve supported the rebuilding effort over the last five years. “It is a big sigh of relief on my part and all of us involved in the rebuilding process, indeed, we are all involved.”

Rebuilding Holy Trinity Cathedral “is more than just a building, it’s a sign of hope,” said the Rev. David Boyd, major gifts officer for Haiti and the interim director of the development office of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.

Holy Trinity fits the ancient concept of a cathedral as a center of light, spirituality, arts and learning, said Boyd.

The diocese moved an income-generating parking lot used weekdays by a bank opposite the cathedral complex to make way for the site clearing. On the first day of the 45-day project, workers built a red-metal fence to secure the work site and began marking off sections of the old cathedral, making an inventory of remnants and their locations with the intention of restoring sections of standing walls, bricks and other surviving architectural details to their original places in the new design.

Workers must also exhume bodies from crypts under the cathedral’s footprint for reburial within in the complex.

Sections of Holy Trinity Cathedral’s exterior wall withstood the magnitude-7, catastrophic earthquake and will be incorporated into the new cathedral. Photo: Diocese of Haiti

Long seen as “spiritual and cultural soul of Haiti,” the Holy Trinity Cathedral complex is home to a temporary worship space, a primary and secondary school, and a world-class music school that now is operating out of what was the Convent of the Sisters of Saint Margaret.

The cathedral’s place as Haiti’s soul is reflected in 14 murals depicting biblical stories and religious scenes done in Haitian motifs that lined the building’s interior walls. The paintings, completed in 1950-51, were crafted by some of the best-known Haitian painters of the 20th century. The bishop who commissioned the murals, Alfred Voegli, was criticized at the time for allowing Voodoo to be part of the Haitian motifs used in the murals. Now those paintings are seen as an important moment in the development of Haitian art.

It’s unclear when construction on the new cathedral will begin, said Sauls, adding that continuously rising construction costs are a challenge to working in Haiti. He said he hopes construction will begin soon.

“Another challenge, and this is often forgotten, is that the cathedral itself is only part of a larger complex of ministries… . One challenge is working on all these projects together to coordinate a unified approach,” said Sauls. “And, of course, money is a challenge. We need the church throughout the world, and especially within The Episcopal Church, to help bear the burdens of our brothers and sisters in Haiti. That’s what the Gospel is all about. They need us, but just as crucially, we need them. We’re all in this together. This is our church in Haiti.”

For the primary users of the complex, Episcopalians and students, cleaning the property is a major sign of hope that a new cathedral is on the horizon – and that this part of their city will be special again, said Sikhumbuzo Vundla, the Diocese of Haiti’s chief of operations.

“For the worshipers and the faithful, it is a special feeling, one of joy that will overcome the pain and suffering lived immediately following the earthquake and the strength that it has taken them to endure this mourning for five years,” he said. “The mourning of the lives lost will never stop, but the resurrection of the new cathedral will alleviate the suffering, since Holy Trinity Cathedral was so dear not just to the Haitian community but also to all visitors and people of all walks of life.”

On Jan. 12, 2010, Haiti suffered a magnitude-7 earthquake that killed more than 300,000 people, left as many wounded, and displaced more than 1.5 million people in what was one of the world’s worst natural disasters in recent history. In a matter of seconds, the diocese lost 80 percent of its infrastructure in Port-au-Prince and Léogâne, the epicenter of the earthquake less than 20 miles west of the capital.

In the earthquake’s immediate aftermath displaced people sought shelter and humanitarian relief in 1,500 tent cities, and governments and international relief agencies committed billions of dollars in aid to rebuild the Caribbean nation, long considered the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.

More than five years later, it’s important that Episcopalians remain aware of the situation in Haiti.

“Awareness leads to prayer; prayer leads to action. One of my spiritual heroes, James Otis Sargent Huntington, who founded the Order of the Holy Cross, said, ‘Love must act as light must shine and fire must burn,’ ” said Sauls. “Likewise, prayer must act because true prayer finds its meaning in love. For now, we pray. But that must lead to action. For now, those prayers can be made and that action taken through The Episcopal Church Development Office.”

Click here for more details on how you can help rebuild Holy Trinity.

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

La Diócesis de la República Dominicana elige a Moisés Quezada Mota obispo coadjutor

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

El Rdo. Moisés Quezada Mota, al centro, fue electo obispo coadjutor de la Diócesis Episcopal de la República Dominicana el 25 de julio. Sucederá al Rvdmo. Julio César Holguín, que aquí aparece junto a él, cuando éste se jubile. Foto del Grupo Dominicano de Desarrollo.

[Episcopal News Service] El Rdo. Moisés Quezada Mota ha sido electo obispo coadjutor de la Diócesis Episcopal de la República Dominicana, pendiente ahora del debido consentimiento de una mayoría de obispos con jurisdicción y de comités permanentes diocesanos de la Iglesia episcopal.

Quezada, de 58 años y rector de las misiones de Jesús Nazareno y del Buen Samaritano en San Francisco de Macorís, resultó electo en la segunda votación de una lista de cuatro candidatos.

Él recibió 23 votos, de 35, en el orden del laicado y 29, de 48, en el orden del clero. Para resultar electo, un candidato debía obtener un mínimo de 19 votos entre los laicos y 25 en el orden del clero.

La elección se celebró el 25 de julio en la iglesia catedral de la Epifanía en Santo Domingo, durante una convención extraordinaria de la diócesis.

Si el proceso de consentimiento resulta exitoso, Quezada sucederá al Rvdmo. Julio César Holguín en el momento en que éste se acoja a la jubilación.

En conformidad con los Cánones (III.11.3) de la Iglesia Episcopal, una mayoría de los obispos con jurisdicción y de los comités permanentes diocesanos deben dar su consentimiento para la ordenación de Quezada como obispo coadjutor en no más de 120 días después de haber recibido el resultado de la elección.

La información biográfica del obispo coadjutor electo puede encontrarse aquí.

Una vez obtenido el debido consentimiento, Quezada será ordenado y consagrado obispo coadjutor de la Diócesis de la República Dominicana en febrero de 2016 en Santo Domingo. El obispo coadjutor servirá con Holguín hasta la jubilación de éste, que según la Constitución de la Iglesia Episcopal (Artículo II, Sección 1) debe tener lugar en el transcurso de los 36 meses siguientes a la consagración del obispo coadjutor.

Los otros nominados fueron el Rdo. P. Salvador Patrick Ros Suárez, de 59 años y rector de la iglesia del Buen Pastor [Church of the Good Shepherd], en Rahway, Nueva Jersey, Diócesis of Nueva Jersey;  El Rdo. Ramón Antonio García De Los Santos, de 50 años y vicario de las misiones de San Lucas y La Anunciación, en Santiago, director de una escuela y arcediano en la región norte del país; y el Rdo. Daniel Samuel, de 58 años, vicario de las misiones de Santa María Virgen, Divina Gracia y San Cornelio, y director de una escuela.

Aquí puede encontrarse información sobre todos los nominados.

14 Jubilee Ministry grants awarded for programs of mission and ministry work

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Samuel McDonald, Deputy Operating Officer and Director of Mission for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, has announced 14 recipients of The Episcopal Church Jubilee Grants totaling $52,048 to support mission and ministry in 11 dioceses and one Anglican Communion partner.

Jubilee Ministries are congregations or agencies with connections to The Episcopal Church, designated by diocesan bishops and affirmed by Executive Council, whose mission work affects the lives of those in need, addressing basic human needs and justice issues.

Grants were awarded in two categories:  Development and Impact.

Development Grant
One Development Grant for $34,500 was awarded to a Jubilee ministry to help seed, start or renew a program that will make a difference both locally and beyond.

• The Diocese of Iowa, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Des Moines: An interfaith initiative to create a learning environment for Darfur and Dinka refugee parents and their children.

Impact Grants
Thirteen Impact Grants ranging from $1,000 – $1,500 were awarded to help an existing Jubilee Center succeed, and in their own way be an inspiration among and with those in need.

• Anglican Province of Hong Kong, Mission For Filipino Migrant Workers, $1,500
• Diocese of Colorado, 32nd Avenue Jubilee Center, $1,500
• Diocese of East Tennessee, Family Cornerstones, Inc. , $1,500
• Diocese of Kansas, St. Paul’s Feeding Ministries, $1,500
• Diocese of Maine, Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center, $1,500
• Diocese of Minnesota, Our Community Kitchen, $1,500
• Diocese of Olympia, Chaplains on the Harbor, $1,500
• Diocese of Colorado, St. Raphael Episcopal Church, $1,493
• Diocese of Fond du Lac, Broken Bread, $1,305
• Diocese of Pittsburgh, Coal Country Hangout Youth Center, $1,250
• Diocese of Colorado, Brigit’s Bounty Community Resources, $1,000
• Diocese of N. California, Church of the Epiphany, $1,000
• Diocese of Tennessee, Relief for the Homeless, $1,000

A six-member committee with representatives from throughout the church reviewed a total of 69 applications: 29 Development Grant applications reflecting an asking of $905,411 and 40 Impact Grant applications with an asking of $56,601.

For more information, contact Episcopal Church Domestic Poverty Missioner the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson at mstevenson@episcopalchurch.org.

 

Diocese of the Dominican Republic elects Moisés Quezada Mota bishop coadjutor

ENS Headlines - Monday, July 27, 2015

The Rev. Moisés Quezada Mota, center, was elected bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of Dominican Republic on July 25. He will succeed the Rt. Rev. Julio Cesar Holguín, right, upon his retirement. Photo: The Dominican Development Group

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Moisés Quezada Mota has been elected as bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic, pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of the Episcopal Church.

Quezada, 58, rector of Jesus Nazareno and Good Samaritan mission churches in San Francisco de Macoris, was elected on the second ballot out of a field of four nominees.

He received 23 votes of 35 cast in the lay order and 29 of 48 cast in the clergy order. An election on that ballot required 19 in the lay order and 25 in the clergy order.

The election was held July 25 during the diocese’s extra-ordinary convention at The Cathedral Church of the Epiphany in Santo Domingo.

Pending a successful consent process, Quezada will succeed the Rt. Rev. Julio Cesar Holguin upon his retirement.

Under the canons (III.11.3) of The Episcopal Church, a majority of bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees must consent to Quezada’s ordination as bishop coadjutor within 120 days of receiving notice of the election.

Biographical information on the bishop coadjutor-elect is here.

Pending the required consents, Quezada will be ordained and consecrated as the bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic in February 2016 in Santo Domingo. The bishop coadjutor will serve with Holguin until his retirement, which according to The Episcopal Church’s Constitution (Article II, Section 1) must take place within 36 months of the consecration of the bishop coadjutor.

The other nominees were the Rev. P. Salvador Patrick Ros Suarez, 59, rector, Church of the Good Shepherd, Rahway, New Jersey, Diocese of New Jersey;  the Rev. Ramon Antonio Garcia De Los Santos, 50, vicar of Misiones San Lucas and La Anunciacion in Santiago, a school principal and archdeacon in the north region of the country; and the Rev. Daniel Samuel, 58, vicar of Misiones Santa Maria Virgen, Divina Gracia and San Cornelio, and a school principal.

Information about all the nominees is available here.

Good Friday Offering celebrates generous support for Middle East ministries

ENS Headlines - Monday, July 27, 2015

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church’s annual Good Friday Offering appeal, which gathers and distributes funds in support of ministries throughout the Anglican Communion’s Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, is celebrating its most generous collection in 10 years.

Funds collected from the 2014 Good Friday Offering and available for distribution this year totaled $377,663.51, more than $110,000 on the previous year and the largest offering since 2005, said the Rev. Canon Robert D. Edmunds, Middle East partnership officer for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.

Edmunds said the offering is “a tangible expression of solidarity with our sister and brother Christians” throughout the province.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori writes annually to all Episcopal Church congregations asking them to consider assistance for Jerusalem and the Middle East through the collections they receive during Good Friday services.

“The offering we collect on Good Friday carries on the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, through support for the many ministries of healing, feeding, and teaching among the dioceses of the province,” Jefferts Schori wrote in her January 2015 letter.

The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East includes the four dioceses of Cyprus and the Gulf, Egypt, Iran, and Jerusalem. The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem includes more than 30 social service institutions throughout Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Territories.

“Refugees are cared for, the sick and injured are healed, the dead are buried, children educated, women empowered by these ministries – and all are welcomed with open arms, like Abraham and Sarah’s guests,” Jefferts Schori wrote in her letter. “Jesus cared for all in need, without regard for nationality or creed, and these ministries do the same. It is the work of shalom and salaam, building peace in the hearts of suffering individuals and communities…. May our offering … strengthen the bonds among all God’s people, and bless each one with concrete and eternal signs of more abundant life.”

The Rev. Bill Schwartz, treasurer and provincial secretary for the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, told ENS that the province is “richly blessed each year” by the generosity expressed through the Good Friday Offering.

“Part of the Good Friday Offering helps keep our provincial administration strong,” said Schwartz, an Episcopal Church missionary, “but the majority of the funds are used to extend the outreach of the church among those beyond our membership, giving the church an opportunity to give practical witness of Christ’s love among all people groups in the Middle East.”

The Good Friday Offering dates back to 1922, when the U.S.-based Episcopal Church sought to create new relationships with and among Christians throughout the Middle East. From these initial efforts, which focused on a combination of relief work and the improvement of ecumenical and Anglican relations, the Good Friday Offering was created.

“Through the years many Episcopalians have found the Good Friday Offering to be an effective way to express their support for the ministries of the four dioceses of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East,” according to information on The Episcopal Church website. “Pastoral care, education and health care continue to be primary ministries through which the reconciling spirit of the Christian faith serves all in need. Participation in this ministry is welcome. The generous donations of Episcopalians help the Christian presence in the Land of the Holy One to be a vital and effective force for peace and understanding among all of God’s children.”

— Matthew Davies is an editor/reporter of the Episcopal News Service.

Presiding Bishop preaches at Christ Church Cathedral, Mobile, Alabama

ENS Headlines - Monday, July 27, 2015

Thomas à Kempis
Christ Church Cathedral, Mobile, AL
Diocesan clergy gathering
25 July 2015

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

Thomas à Kempis was born in 1380 to a blacksmith and a school teacher. His name was originally Thomas Hemerken, which means “little hammer,” probably a reference to his father’s trade. He grew up in Kempen, Germany, whence his more familiar name, and at age 12 followed his older brother to school in Deventer, in the Netherlands. The Latin school he attended had been founded by a new monastic group called the Brethren of the Common Life. The Brethren grew out of a reform movement focused on reinvigorating community life for lay people, and teaching practical Christianity. They were a later chapter in what began with the Beguines and Beghards in the 12th century. The schools of the Brothers of the Common Life were seedbeds for later reformers as well, including Erasmus and Martin Luther.

Perhaps what is most significant is the ongoing reality that life in community continues to challenge the Church – it can be radical and transformative of the members and the larger world. The Brethren of the Common Life became a monastic order only because other orders, particularly the Dominicans, couldn’t abide the thought of lay people living together in community without vows – it was deemed at least irregular and often heretical, and some were tried and executed for it. It’s a surprising reaction to what Acts says about early Christian communities holding their goods in common and sharing as each had need, but it can deeply threaten the status quo. I remember a middle school summer camper responding to the Acts communities by saying, “why they’re communists!” I don’t think he knew a more damning epithet. The good news is that we’re seeing contemporary initiatives like “new monasticism,” or even the Young Adult Service Corps and Episcopal Service Corps. Each of these has tried to live into the basics of Christianity in a particular time and context, and they all begin with the reality that none of us walks this way alone.

Thomas the little hammerer went to Latin school with the Brethren and stayed. As a lay brother, he worked as a scribe, making at least four copies of the Bible, and composing new texts as well. Some dozen years later he was ordained a priest and eventually elected subprior, with responsibility for training the new members. What we have today in The Imitation of Christ is likely the fruit of that work, attempting to teach the essentials of what it means to follow Jesus. That work has been translated more times and into more languages than any other book but the Bible.

Thomas eventually died in his bed in 1471 – at the age of 90.

So, what did he teach? Christlikeness – simplicity, humility, and what we might call valuing orthopraxy over orthodoxy, right doing over right understanding: for example, he says “I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it.” Thomas shows the way to God through obedience, patience, self-control, and poverty. It has to do with humility, knowing oneself as a creature made of the same dust as everything else. It is the way of the cross, and it frees the spirit within us to see and meet God. Poverty and hunger are the keys to living like Jesus. If we are willing to enter into the poverty around us and within ourselves, to know and experience hunger both physical and spiritual, we are set on what Thomas calls “the way of peace to the land of everlasting clearness.” It’s not an easy road, but it is the way to life – abundant life.

We’ve seen the fruits of life like that in Charleston recently, as the brothers and sisters of the common life of Emanuel AME have claimed and shared forgiveness for the murders in their midst. How can anyone come to that land of clearness, other than walking the way of poverty and hunger?

One of the growing gifts in this Church is a turning outward to discover the hunger and poverty in the communities where we live and work. If we begin to focus on the hunger at the margins around us, we soon discover our own hunger and poverty. The double journey, outward and inward, usually begins in pain and discomfort – how am I going to talk to them? What can I possibly have to say or contribute? How do I relate to a person who seems to be a stranger? Even if that’s not your primary issue, it certainly is for many in our churches. It’s why we have a poor reputation as evangelists, and it is the truth under the apocryphal saying that everybody who should be an Episcopalian already is. Many of our spouses can tell stories of being ignored or disrespected and then having parishioners apologize and say they didn’t know who they were talking to.

Pain and hunger begins to change how we encounter the other. It grows when we glimpse the swollen and scarred feet of a man sitting on the sidewalk, and begins to resonate when we recognize the child of God with no place to lay his head. A good deal of that happened around here after Katrina. What a blessing that has been! The hunger for justice begins to waken, as well as questions about how one person or one small community can possibly transform the mess. There is poverty in knowing we must depend on another – and also deep joy when we do.

Tomorrow we’re going to give public and outward evidence of what’s been growing here over time. A new bishop is a sign of hope in the face of hunger and poverty. The new bishop is also a witness to the despair and emptiness within and around us all. You’ve elected Russell as an icon for the journey this body of Christ is on. He’s here to help this body listen intently to the cries in the desert, to tune the ears and sharpen the vision and learn to feel the hunger pangs. Particularly as a nexus for the deacons the bishop has a vocation to keep the body focused on orthopraxy – doing the gospel. Sometimes it’s in tension with the orthodoxy part, the upholding the doctrine, discipline, and worship part, but don’t let that be a distraction. Jesus had no compunction about healing people on the sabbath or inviting religious outsiders in to the feast. Deacons and diaconal ministers (and that means all of us) are the community’s cattle prods, pushing us out to risk a wider community.

Tomorrow we’re going to do the public work of affirming Russell as a bishop – as part of how we remind ourselves of what it means to imitate Christ. The work can never stop as long as we have breath. God’s body is hungry and poor – and the body of Christ has the ability to feed and encourage and bring hope. We’re meant to be little hammers and hammerers, too, for the world needs more than a little remodeling if it’s going to approximate the Kingdom of God. That may be why God has called an architect to lead the work here in this season.

So get up, get out, and get busy! We will discover the Reign of God as we go out and build communities more responsive to pain and hunger. The healing and the banquets we know on this journey keep us moving – and hammering. As Rabbi Tarphon said long ago,

“The day is short, the task is abundant, the laborers are lazy, the wages are great, and the Master

of the house is insistent. It is not up to you to finish the task, but neither are you free to desist from it.”[1]

[1] Rabbi Tarphon, Mishna Pirkei Avot 2:15–16

10 years building in Nicaragua

ENS Headlines - Friday, July 24, 2015

Third-time trip participant Freya Cantwell and second-time trip participant Axel Steinmetz, building the walls of the house. Photo: Linnet Tse

[St. John’s Episcopal Church] For the 10th consecutive year, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Larchmont, New York partnered with Bridges to Community (a non-profit community development organization based in Ossining, New York), to travel to Nicaragua on a building and cultural exchange trip. In the last decade, nearly 100 parishioners and friends have worked side by side with Nicaraguan families to build homes, vented stoves, and classrooms; and to raise funds for the construction of an elementary school in 2011 in honor of Marilyn Pardo, the retired head of the St. John’s Nursery School.

Multiple trips to Nicaragua have raised the parish’s awareness of the commonality of issues faced in the developing world, regardless of the hemisphere in which the country is located. Living in the Nicaraguan communities in which they work, volunteers have witnessed unsafe water supplies, poor sanitation, limited access to education beyond elementary school, entrenched poverty, corruption, and lack of economic development and access to health care.

Addressing both housing and sanitation issues, a 14-person team from St. John’s returned in early July from a week-long trip after constructing their 24th cinder-block house, and completing a newly inaugurated project, bio-digesters. The volunteers worked in the impoverished Nicaraguan community of Mojon, in the northern coffee-growing region of Jinotega. Nearly 60 percent of Jinotega’s residents live in extreme poverty and for most people, a safe and solid home is only a dream. Reality is a leaky house with a dirt floor cobbled together with scrap lumber, rusted metal and plastic.

Trip participants and the beneficiary family celebrating the completion of the house. Photo: Linnet Tse

The St. John’s group helped to make a dream come true for Doña Valentina Cruz and her husband, Renee, and their five children and two grandchildren who now have a sturdy earthquake resistant cinder-block home. In addition, the group built two latrine-linked bio-digesters designed to convert human waste into energy (methane gas) that can be used to provide cooking fuel and to make a liquid fertilizer. Perhaps more importantly, it is a sanitary method to dispose of waste in a terrain where it is nearly impossible to dig latrines below the water table.

During the week-long trip, volunteers lived in the community in the cinder-block home of a local community leader. Accommodations were dormitory style with food prepared by local cooks, with rice and beans, the local staples, offered as a part of every meal. Volunteers also gathered for a daily “reflection,” a time to consider and share their experience and observations. The reflections are an important part of the Bridges program, as are interactions with the local community, both on and off the worksite.

The St. John’s group included a mixture of students and adults, veterans and first-timers, and friends and family members. But the trip was not just about construction. As volunteers worked alongside local masons, beneficiary families, and community members, new friendships were formed. There was time for afternoon soccer games, piggyback rides, art projects with the children, and conversation. Smiles and gestures went a long way towards helping volunteers and locals learn about each other. First time participant, Colin Clay, reflects, “Something that stands out from my week in Nicaragua are the ‘conversations’ I had with Don Renée at the end of the work day.  Neither of us really understood what the other was saying but somehow meaningful communication took place.  With much nodding, smiles, pointing and gestures I think we may have communicated more effectively than a number of conversations that I have had with people that speak English!  The specific content of our conversations may have been lost but not the meaning – that was pretty special.”

A highlight of the trip was the fiesta that St. John’s hosted to celebrate their 10 years of commitment to Nicaragua. Over 150 adults and children from the two neighboring communities attended. Pick-up trucks driven by Bridges’ staff stopped for families along the main route to bring them to the party. Ice cream and cupcakes were offered to all, local musicians entertained, an enormous piñata insured great fun, party games were played, and everyone had a wonderful time. The children’s delight was palpable and infectious.

It doesn’t take long for first-time volunteers to figure out why Bridges runs these trips. As Cathleen Ketcham expressed, “As a first timer, I am overwhelmed with what we did and just how necessary this kind of work is. I really hope I made a difference!”

A veteran of the trip, Harry Sober, shared how profound an impact the trip had on his niece who accompanied him: “The take-aways were very positive: my niece gained a powerful and unique perspective of appreciation for her own current life opportunities and adventures that are provided to her as well as the strong family bond that exists back home. Additionally, she knows that she contributed through dedicated hard work to make a small piece of the world a better place to live.

In the end, Bridges’ goal is for its projects and experiences to be sustainable, not just for the beneficiaries, but for the volunteers as well. To this end, each family beneficiary agrees to pay 20 percent of the cost of the materials for the house through small monthly payments at 0 percent interest over seven years.  Not only does this contribute to a sense of pride in ownership, in addition, the money is paid into a community fund (not to Bridges) for usage to be determined by the community and its leadership. For its volunteers, Bridges hopes that the trip experiences will make a lasting impression and cause participants to think more deeply about cultural connections and humanitarian issues.

Linnet Tse, one of the trip organizers for St. John’s, who has been on multiple trips remarked, “We often discuss that we feel we have benefitted more from the experience than we have given. It opens us up to the issues faced in the developing world and engenders admiration for the perseverance and ingenuity of the Nicaraguan people. It’s hard to say good bye at the end of the week, but there is a shared sense of having been part of something special – which is why we keep returning.”

— Carla Berry is a member of St. John’s Church, Larchmont, New York. For the last 10 years she has been one of the organizers of the mission trip to Nicaragua. She was a member of the vestry when the decision was made in 2006 to undertake an international mission trip.

First female diocesan bishop in Church of England consecrated

ENS Headlines - Friday, July 24, 2015

Bishops Rachel Treweek (left) and Sarah Mullally (right) with Archbishop Justin Welby outside Canterbury Cathedral
Photo: Rob Berry/Canterbury Cathedral

[Anglican Communion News Service] A wave of clapping and cheering greeted two newly consecrated bishops as they processed down a packed Canterbury Cathedral on a historic day. The Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, Bishop of Crediton, and the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, made history as the first women to be consecrated and ordained bishop in the historic heart of Anglicanism – Canterbury Cathedral.

The service was celebratory from beginning to end. Opening with the rousing Wesley Hymn O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing, the service continued with readings from Song of Songs and 2 Corinthians preceding the account of the encounter between Mary Magdalene and the risen Jesus from the Gospel of John.

The preacher, the Rt Revd Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney, reminded the congregation that the gospel depiction of Mary Magdalene was far removed from the imagination of masculine fantasy in works such as the De Vinci Code.

Mary Magdalene was a significant leader in the community of Jesus, he said, and it was no accident that she was the first to speak with the risen Jesus and the first to tell the good news of his resurrection.

In a sermon punctuated with pithy observation Bishop Newman called on Bishops Rachel and Sarah to make a difference in the life of the church.

“I hope that women bishops will disturb us,” he said. “I hope they will challenge the conventions of the Church of England, which continues to be led and directed by too many people like me: white, male, middle-aged professionals.”

Bishop Treweek is the first woman to be a Diocesan Bishop in the Church of England but she is not the first in the Anglican Communion. In Canterbury she was joined by the Rt Revd Helen-Ann Hartley, the Bishop of the Diocese of Waikato in New Zealand, and the Rt Revd Cate Waynick, the Bishop of the Diocese of Indianapolis in the USA.

To add to the sense of history they processed alongside Bishop Barbara Harris, the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion, who was consecrated in 1989.

The Diocese of Gloucester has partnership links with dioceses in South India, Sweden, Tanzania and the USA. Its link Diocese of El Camino Real in California also has a woman diocesan bishop who became the first woman bishop to preside in an English Cathedral when she visited Gloucester as part of a Continuing Indaba journey in 2010.

Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East will train young Christians

ENS Headlines - Friday, July 24, 2015

The WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit with students, organizers and faculty of the Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East in Beirut, Lebanon.
Photo: World Student Christian Federation – Middle East

[World Council of Churches]  A new initiative titled Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East is “promising and inspiring” in its attempt to train young Christians in ecumenical thought and history, according to Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

The WCC general secretary met with organizers, students and faculty of the Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East on 20 July during a visit to Beirut, Lebanon.

Some forty students participating in the institute this year come from Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, Syria, Palestine and Iraq, representing diverse Christian traditions and denominations.

Initiated by the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) – Middle East, the Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East aims to promote and nurture ecumenism and interchurch collaboration in the Arab world, as well as build bridges with people of other faiths for the sake of truthful dialogue.

As a Christian youth body founded in 1895, the WSCF has been offering valuable experience in ecumenical training of young people in the Middle East region for more than 43 years.

After meeting with the students, Tveit said that amid the challenging situation of the region, the Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East holds a significant value for the churches.

“With theologically well qualified teachers, the institute is introducing students to biblical studies and the diversity of Christian traditions, training them to continue with the legacy of the ecumenical movement,” he said.

Tveit called the institute “one way of supporting churches in the troubled region of the Middle East, an expression of solidarity and a viable way of building relations”.

“I trust churches in the region will support this initiative and it can continue working,” said Tveit.

The Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East promotes unity in diversity, peace building and security for all, by training participants who are interested in engaging in ecumenical training and thought.

Some of the themes that will provide a focus of the training sessions include inter-church dialogue, ecumenism, its definition, history and vision, ecumenism in the Middle East, the history of the churches in the region and worldwide, ecumenical institutions, history and achievements. Among other topics will be interfaith dialogue, biblical studies, ecumenism in church and society, contemporary issues and their impact on Middle Eastern populations, human rights and women’s rights, education, development and diakonia.

The Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East will be launched officially on 31 July.

Episcopal Church Economic Justice Loan Committee invests in four community loan funds

ENS Headlines - Thursday, July 23, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] N. Kurt Barnes, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, announced that The Episcopal Church Economic Justice Loan Committee (EJLC) of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society has approved four investments in community development financial intermediaries, totaling $1.2 million.

In May, EJLC approved loans to the following organizations:

Northeast Entrepreneur Fund ($250,000) – Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin
Since its founding in 1989, the Northeast Entrepreneur Fund has helped to create more than 1,000 businesses and 2,500 jobs throughout its eleven-county service area, and has become a national leader in microenterprise and small business development. The Fund’s products and services include small business loans, business planning services and technical assistance, and its Women’s Business Network.

Coastal Enterprise ($350,000) – Maine and New England 
Coastal Enterprise  (CEI) provides financing and support for job-creating small businesses, natural resources industries, community facilities, and affordable housing. CEI’s primary market is Maine. However, the organization has expanded some of its financing programs to northern New England, upstate New York and beyond. Since inception, CEI has provided financing totaling $677 million to more than 2,100 businesses. CEI offers business loans for a wide range of businesses, including natural resource-based companies, and small, micro, and self-employment enterprises. It also provides pre-development and construction loans for housing projects serving low-income people.

Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises (FAHE)  ($500,000)  – Central Appalachia
FAHE is a force for change by creating innovative social enterprises that solve problems and fight injustice. It collaborates with its membership network of 53 nonprofit organizations to provide community development services and affordable housing to the Appalachian areas of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Alabama. FAHE and members have built and preserved more than 76,500 homes in its history and has made over $369 million in direct investment for a total impact of $894 million.

New Roots ($100,000) – Seattle, Washington
Based in Seattle, born in the Diocese of Olympia, The New Roots mission is to create viable businesses in low income neighborhoods through a highly capable lending institution providing loans and business technical assistance. New Roots is a 501c3 non-profit organization, which has made loans since 2003 under its previous name: The Jump Start Fund.  The organization offers microloans to refugee and immigrant entrepreneurs and does not require all-inclusive business plans that non-native speakers, with little formal education, have trouble creating. Some loans are targeted to the precise needs of home based daycares and women-owned retail stores.  In the Seattle-King County area, New Roots has built a successful microenterprise program that has made 202 loans over the last three years, assisted 366 refugee owned businesses (many not officially enrolled in the program), and created 316 jobs. Bishop Greg Rickel of the Diocese of Olympia, the parent organization for the applicant New Roots Fund, has demonstrated expertise in strategic planning, program evaluation and fundraising.

Economic Justice Loan Fund
The Economic Justice Loan Fund is an economic justice ministry through which the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society uses part of its investment assets to provide capital for communities and groups that lack full and equal access to financial resources.  Loans have been made in the United States and internationally to support community economic development, affordable housing, job creation and other avenues of mission.  The Fund was created in 1998 by the Executive Council.  It combines two prior loan programs that had existed since 1988 and makes up to $7 million available. Loans are made to financial intermediaries, usually in amounts between $150,000 and $350,000, and usually for terms of three to five years.  Loan applicants do not have to be affiliated with the Episcopal Church; however, applicants and recipients must have the endorsement of their local Episcopal bishop.  Loans are not made to individuals or for individual projects.

During the 2013-2015 period, the Economic Justice Loan Fund made 15 loans totaling $4,610,000.

Members
Members and their dioceses are:  Lindsey Parker, Chair, Massachusetts; the Rev. Jane Gould, Massachusetts; the Rev. Canon Gregory Jacobs, Newark; William B. McKeown, New York; Bishop Eugene Sutton, Maryland; Warren Wong, California; Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Ex Officio; President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, Ex Officio; John Johnson, Executive Council member, Washington; T. Dennis Sullivan, New York; and staff  members N. Kurt Barnes, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer; Alex Baumgarten, Director of Public Engagement and Mission Communication; Margareth Crosnier de Bellaistre, Director, Investment Management and Banking; Nancy Caparulo, Committee Support; and Jose Gonzalez, Accountant.

For more info
For information contact Crosnier de Bellaistre at margarethcdeb@dfms.org.

RIP: Former Western New York Bishop David C. Bowman

ENS Headlines - Thursday, July 23, 2015

[Episcopal Diocese of Ohio] The Rt. Rev. David C. Bowman, ninth bishop of Western New York and assisting bishop of Ohio, died on July 10 in Cleveland, Ohio, at age 82, shortly following a stroke.

Born on November 15, 1932 in Oil City, Pennsylvania, Bishop Bowman was raised in Canton, Ohio, where he attended Canton Lincoln High school, and graduated from Ohio University in 1955. After serving three years in the U.S. Army, he attended the Virginia Theological Seminary, where he earned a Masters of Divinity in 1960. He was ordained to the diaconate in June and to the priesthood in December of that year.

From 1960 to 1963 he served as Assistant Rector at the Church of the Epiphany in Euclid, Ohio, where he met his wife, Nancy. He was then vicar of St. Andrew’s in North Grafton, Massachusetts, from 1963 to 1966; rector of St. Andrew’s Church in Canfield, Ohio, from 1967 to 1973; rector of St. James’ Church, Painesville, Ohio, from 1973 to 1980; and rector of Trinity Church in Toledo, Ohio, from 1980 to 1986, from where he was elected fishop of Western New York.

Upon his retirement in 1999, the Bowmans moved to Shaker Heights, Ohio, where he served for a year as interim dean of Trinity Cathedral, followed by a year as interim bishop of Central New York, while that diocese moved through the process to elect a new bishop. In 2003 he served a year as assisting bishop of Ohio, after which was the interim Dean and President of Seabury Western Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. For the last ten years he has served actively as one of the assisting bishops of the Diocese of Ohio.

Bishop Bowman spent summers in Rangeley, Maine, at the family’s lakeside camp, where he loved to sail, play tennis, and play the banjo and string bass.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Lou Betts Bowman, whom he married in 1962, and their three children, Ann of Cleveland, Ohio, William (Georgine) of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Sarah Bowman Workman (Jason) of Cleveland, Ohio, as well as two granddaughters, Abigail Bowman and Lucy Workman, and his brother, Richard of Boulder, Colorado.

Burial service and reception were held July 18 Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland.

 

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada approves lay communion presiders

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, July 22, 2015

[Anglican Journal] The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) has voted to authorize temporary lay ministers, under very restricted circumstances, to “proclaim the Word and preside at Holy Communion” in underserved areas.

The ELCIC National Convention, held in Edmonton July 9-12, gave 95% approval to a motion that allows lay persons with “an aptitude for preaching and presiding” to be appointed, after synod-based consultation and due theological formation, in very specific ministry contexts for one-year renewable terms.

ELCIC national bishop Susan Johnson allayed concerns about whether this new departure would have implications for the full-communion relationship between the ELCIC and the Anglican Church of Canada, in effect since 2001.

“A lot of checks and balances have been written into the policy, and I want to assure our sister church that we will live into this responsibly and continue in communication,” said Johnson, who was elected for a third term at the July convention.

The new lay ministers will work under the close supervision of a mentoring pastor and will be non-stipendiary. They cannot preside at weddings, funerals or baptisms and may not wear clerical garb or vestments, although they are permitted to don albs when preaching or presiding at communion. The lay ministers will not be addressed as pastor or any other clerical title reserved for ordained clergy. Nor can they offer pastoral care but must refer individuals in need of counseling to the ordained pastors who mentor the lay ministers themselves.

Specific congregations will be eligible to engage lay ministers only after exhausting standard options such as multi-point parishes, itinerant ministers and clergy-sharing with an ecumenical partner, Anglican, Presbyterian or United church.

Johnson described the new policy as a via media, a compromise to fill the need for sacramental ministry in small congregations that lack regular access to it. “Some in the ELCIC might have been opposed to as not being the norm but understanding the real need, they supported it,” she said. Some convention delegates were even favor of expanding the lay ministry policy but were voted down, she added.

Highlighting the dearth of clergy in remote areas, Johnson noted that although Saskatchewan has 120 ELCIC congregations, only 35 of them employ clergy at the 25% FTE (full time equivalent)  required for registration in the church’s pension fund. “That gives you an idea of what we’re dealing with,” she said.

The ELCIC’s Faith, Order and Doctrine Committee (FOD) began examining the lay ministry issue in 2012, with an Anglican representative taking part in all discussions. In 2014 FOD published its Study Guide on Word and Sacrament Ministry, a resource for exploring the current demographic realities and ways the Lutheran understanding of word, sacrament and ministry might shape future options for providing ministry.

Having passed at National Convention, the new policy will be reviewed and amended as necessary by the ELCIC’s National Church Council, its counterpart to Council of General Synod, the Anglican church’s governing body between General Synods.

In the meantime, two members of the Anglican Church of Canada are preparing a statement on what the new policy will mean for Anglicans. At its meeting this past May, the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission asked Archdeacon Bruce Myers, the Anglican church’s coordinator for ecumenical and interfaith relations, to prepare a brief providing background and reflections on the proposal and, if adopted, what it would mean for the ELCIC’s sister church.

Also collaborating on the brief is the Rev. Canon Paul Jennings, priest-in-charge of the parish of Wilmot in the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and former director of pastoral studies at Montreal Diocesan Theological College. He served as the FOD’s Anglican representative from 2012 to 2015. “The brief will likely be ready for distribution in September,” said Myers.

Currently, the Anglican Church makes allowance for the distribution of communion by deacons and lay persons. “As with many things, practices vary from diocese to diocese,” Myers said. “Some make extensive use of lay people and deacons for distributing the reserved sacrament in congregations because a priest is not regularly available to preside at a celebration of the Eucharist. Others use this option sparingly.”

He referred to the Anglican Church’s document Public Distribution of Holy Communion by Deacons and Lay People, which back in 1987 already acknowledged the growing gap between Anglicans’ need for regular receipt of holy communion and the availability of ordained priests to conduct full eucharistic celebrations. “Though it was issued in1987, the on-the-ground realities to which it responds have changed little,” Myers said.

Public Distribution concedes that “Our practice of ministry and our theology of church and sacrament will not fit together.” And it points out that the reception of holy communion outside the Eucharist has a long tradition going back to the early days of the church when Christians would take home reserved eucharistic bread in order to receive communion during the week or to bring Holy Communion to the sick and imprisoned.

The document also addresses to the need for long- and short-term solutions, including, in the latter, the public distribution of Holy Communion by deacons and laypersons when no priest is available to preside at the Eucharist. It emphasizes, however, that such distribution of reserved communion is not a substitute for the complex communal meal and many-faceted celebration that is the Eucharist.

Western New York helps Buffalo children be better readers

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

[Episcopal Diocese of Western New York] This summer the Ministry Center of the Diocese of Western New York has been taken over by children, teenagers, stuffed animals and letter people.

Children and volunteers participate in a project during a recent session of the Diocese of Western New York’s Eaton Summer Reading Program. Photo: Diocese of Western New York

It has been the site of the Eaton Summer Reading Program. Children from Buffalo, youth missioners from all over the country and adult volunteers from Western New York  have been reading, playing, singing, having fun and getting to know each other. The goal of the program is to help children from the Buffalo schools work on their reading and writing skills over the summer.

The Rev. Sare Anuszkiewicz, program director, explained that the program began when a group of clergy and Bishop R. William Franklin gathered to discuss the book Toxic Charity.  Coming out of that discussion was the realization that the majority of students in the Buffalo Public Schools were not reading at grade level and that there were few or no summer programs available to them.

She said, “Summer learning loss is one of the main factors in children who live in low income households not reading at grade level.  The more that children are exposed to books and given a chance to read and write and think and explore over the summer the less of their academic achievement they lose over the summer and the more likely they are to succeed in school.” Anuszkiewicz added that addressing summer learning loss was one way to attempt to intervene in the cycle of generational poverty that is a major problem in Buffalo.

The program is named for James Eaton, the late treasurer of the diocese.  When the Diocesan Ministry Center was created from a former church building, he had a vision that it would become a place where the diocese could come together and do ministry together. He was also committed to the children of Buffalo and had an ongoing relationship with a public school in Buffalo. The program was named after him to honor his vision for both the Diocese and the children of Buffalo.

Youth groups from Ohio, Newark, Southern Virginia and Western New York have all signed up to spend a week on mission trip serving as staff and helpers in the program, living in the ministry center and exploring Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Adults from the Diocese of Western New York have volunteered to be the teachers in the program.

Franklin is an enthusiastic supporter and frequent visitor to the program. He has eaten lunch with the youth missioners, played the piano with the children and just dropped in in spare moments. “I have visited the program regularly and interacted with the children, the youth missioners and the adult volunteers,” the bishop said. “I can tell you that lives are being changed. The lives of the children are being enriched and doors are being opened to them. The missioners are discovering their gifts and the power that they have to change lives and the adult volunteers are seeing the immediate impact of their work in the lives of children, as well as experiencing more about the systems of poverty in our community.”

The program began at the end of June and will run through the end of July. The children are picked up from around Buffalo in the morning, they have breakfast, lunch and snacks at camp. The program runs all day, and involves reading, writing, sight words, letters, games andcrafts.  On Friday afternoons everyone goes on a field trip.

Franklin sees the program as a long term investment in the children, and the region. He said, “Literacy is the foundation, the cornerstone. A child who learns how to read grows up to become an adult who can get a job, earn a paycheck, advance, make a stable home, participate in the community, vote, and raise up sons and daughters who know how to read. This is why we wanted to start our reading camp.”

The diocese hopes to take the lessons learned this summer and make the program even stronger in years to come.

The Rev. Diane Pike to lead Episcopal Preaching Foundation

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

[Episcopal Preaching Foundation] The Episcopal Preaching Foundation, an independent foundation formed in 1981 by layman A. Gary Shilling to improve and enhance preaching in the Episcopal Church announces the appointment of the Rev. Diane M. Pike as executive director.

The Episcopal Preaching Foundation hosts six to eight diocesan preaching conferences per year, the annual Preaching Excellence Conference (PEP) for seminarians and the Preaching Excellence Program II (PEP II) for recently ordained priests. EPF programs have reach over 6,000 priests. The PEP program is a week-long event held in May each year, and nearly 15% of ordained priests in the Episcopal Church have attended.

“We are delighted that the Rev. Pike has joined us as our executive director,” Shilling said.” She brings a wealth of fundraising experience as well as a passion for the Foundation’s mission of spreading the Good News of the Gospel through faithful, effective and meaningful preaching.”

Pike was ordained to the diaconate in the Diocese of West Missouri by Bishop Martin Field in July 2011, and to the priesthood in the Diocese of Rhode Island (for West Missouri) by Bishop David Joslyn in January 2012. She earned her Master of Divinity degree from the Seminary of the Southwest (Austin, Texas). She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Nazareth College (Kalamazoo, Michigan), a secondary teaching certificate from Madonna (College) University (Detroit, Michigan), and Master of Arts degree from Oakland University (Rochester, Michigan).

Prior to attending seminary Pike had a long career in not-for-profit management and fundraising, including serving as director of fund development for the Girl Scouts of the USA (New York). She has experience as annual and major gifts officer for several hospitals and institutions of higher education in Philadelphia and the Greater Detroit Metro area. Pike has classroom experience teaching science and social science in grades 5-10.

“Serving as Executive Director of the Episcopal Preaching Foundation provides an opportunity to blend both of my life passions—priestly ministry and resource development for this wonderful not-for-profit organization. I feel blessed to have been called to this position by Dr. Shilling and the Board of Directors of the Episcopal Preaching Foundation, and I am excited about its future.”

A Michigan native, Pike is an avid Detroit sports fan. She enjoys reading and enjoys quilting, working with hot glass, traveling and cooking. She and her Chihuahua mix rescue dog, Lexi, live in a Civil War period home in Morristown, New Jersey.