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Fossil fuels, climate advisory committee resolutions move to House of Deputies

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City] The House of Bishops passed two resolutions June 28 and June 29 aimed at environmentally responsible investing and creating a climate change advisory committee. The resolutions now move to the House of Deputies for approval.

Bishops passed Resolution C045, which calls upon the Investment Committee of Executive Council, the Episcopal Church Endowment Fund and the Episcopal Church Foundation “to divest from fossil fuel companies and reinvest in clean renewable energy in a fiscally responsible manner.”

The amended version of C045, one of four resolutions that called for fossil fuel divestment, passed the house in a voice vote after an amendment removed the Church Pension Fund from the resolution.

Retired Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson, an outgoing Church Pension Fund trustee, proposed the amendment to remove the Church Pension Fund from the resolution.

“The church and the pension fund are two separate entities, and they have different missions,” he said, adding that the church’s mission is to “love God and do good in the world.”

The fund’s mission is to “provide and ensure all pensions promised to all our clergy and our lay employees,” Robinson said.

The pension fund is a corporate entity under New York law, Robinson said. “We are not allowed to defer from our fiduciary responsibility. If the resolution passed as written … the pension fund would have to say no,” he said. “It’s not as simple as it may seem.” He cited a similar problem that the United Church of Christ experienced.

A large number of assets in portfolios are combined, he explained. “You can’t just slip one or two or five out of there. You have to leave that fund.” In some cases, the Church Pension Fund worked for decades to get into these funds; once you leave, you can’t return, he said. “It would come at an enormous cost to us.”

At least four other bishops testified in favor of the amendment to remove the pension fund from the resolution, all citing fiduciary duty.

Bishop Suffragan Paul E. Lambert of Dallas warned of the unintended consequences of including the pension fund, which could affect pensions of younger clergy and those working in smaller congregations, he said.

Others, like Bishop Scott Barker of Nebraska whose diocese submitted one of the four divestment resolutions, opposed the amendment, saying, “Money is power.”

The Episcopal Church has financial assets totaling billions of dollars; more than $380 million in trust assets; $9 billion in clergy retirement funds; and another $4 billion among parishes and dioceses. “Importantly, the church endeavors to make a difference with its money – by investing in socially responsible ways,” according to a report on responsible corporate investment submitted to General Convention from the Executive Council Investment Committee.

The Church Pension Group, which includes the Church Pension Fund, is an independent agency of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society; its policies are not bound by General Convention resolutions. The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is the name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business, and carries out mission.

Following a June 25 hearing of the Environmental Stewardship and Care of Creation Committee, T. Dennis Sullivan, retired president of the Church Pension Fund and a member of the Executive Council Investment Committee, said he doesn’t think there’s disagreement on whether or not there exists a need to address climate change, but rather whether divestment is the right strategy.

“I think it does come down to, when we’re considering divestment, a judgment about whether divestment is going to further the goals that we all share,” Sullivan told Episcopal News Service. “And here is where I think the disagreement can occur. I would argue that divestment not only is likely to be ineffective for a variety of reasons, but also counterproductive to the broad goal of improving the environment.”

Matt Gobush, a visitor from the Diocese of Dallas, and former chair of the Standing Committee on International Peace and Justice, came to convention to testify on both resolutions favoring creating an advisory committee that could empower individuals, congregations and dioceses to make everyday changes to reduce their carbon footprints.

“(Divestment) would be very costly to the church and have very little impact,” said Gobush, who is a senior adviser for integrated advocacy, public and government affairs at ExxonMobil, during a June 28 interview with ENS. “There are more effective ways that the church can do so. Now I’m speaking as an Episcopalian and an individual about what I can do personally to decrease my carbon footprint that ultimately is more effective than divestment.

“And ultimately divestment is divisive … it’s basically saying that we don’t want to talk to you anymore. We no longer want to be a shareholder, we no longer want to use our influence as a church to make our views know inside a corporate boardrooms.”

The global campaign to divest from fossil fuels has gained momentum and has become the most talked about divestment movement since that of apartheid South Africa. Cape Town Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who fought against apartheid in South Africa, is a strong voice in the movement to divest from fossil fuels.

A handful of dioceses across The Episcopal Church have passed resolutions in favor of divestment, including Western Massachusetts, Massachusetts and Newark. GreenFaith, an interfaith environmental organization rooted in Diocese of Newark, and others have called for divestment in fossil fuels.

“You might have been surprised to see a divestment and reinvestment resolution from Nebraska,” said the Rev. Betsy Bennett, a deputy from the Diocese of Nebraska. “This spring and early summer have brought record-breaking rainfalls to Nebraska and many areas have been flooded at least once this year. The little parish church in DeWitt, Nebraska, had 4 feet of water in its basement this spring and it’s still drying up.

“Nebraska’s prosperity rests on agriculture. Agriculture depends on climate stability. Don’t be surprised by our concern. We know something isn’t right. We know our way of life is threatened, our farms and ranches, and God have mercy on us, the lives of our children and grandchildren are threatened. More of us would like to be able to use clean energy instead. Help us choose life. Divest and reinvest.”

For two years, Episcopalians in favor of divestment have been working to facilitate the conversations that led up to the introduction of the General Convention resolutions, said the Rev. Stephanie Johnson, who serves on Executive Council’s Science, Technology and Faith Committee.

“We met with Church Pension Fund, we met with the Episcopal Church Foundation, to tell them we wanted to move divestment; we wanted to be straightforward with them, tell them what we were working on and tell them we are committed to this,” she said in an June 29 interview with ENS.

“We heard a lot from them, they heard a lot from us, and that was part of our strategy, to have a lot of conversations. And Committee 16, this new environmental committee, did a phenomenal job of taking four resolutions and putting it together into a robust, thoughtful resolution that offers the church a way forward in this and gives it a really prophetic voice.”

Johnson praised the House of Bishops for passing C045.

“I’m so energized by this, this is huge,” said Johnson. “I mean this is what we’ve been hoping for, and as for dioceses and individual congregations, the resolution that was crafted said we are inviting them into conversation and reflection. This is not a call for them to do it, this is an invitation for them, if they would like to participate in divestment.”

In April, the Church of England, citing “a moral responsibility to protect the world’s poor from the impact of global warming” announced it would divest from tar sands oil and thermal coal, two of the most heavily polluting fossil fuels. It did not completely divest from all oil and gas companies where its corporate engagement has had some success.

The Episcopal Church engages in shareholder advocacy through the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.

The House of Bishops adopted Resolution A030, which originally called for the creation of a task force, but was modified to call for the creation of a climate change advisory committee with one representative from each of The Episcopal Church’s nine provinces. The resolution also calls on each province to create a Regional Consultative Group composed “of no fewer than five experts in areas of environmental sustainability appropriate to the demographic, ecological, cultural and geographic specifics of each region.”

Diocese of Florida Bishop S. Johnson Howard offered an amendment, adding language stipulating that the advisory committee membership would represent what he described as “the diversity of scientific opinion on climate change and global warming” in order to give the committee’s work credibility in the wider world.

Two bishops responded that they believe, with the scientific community decidedly on one side of climate change at this point, little credible diversity could be added. The amendment failed.

Bishop of Rhode Island Nick Knisely, the resolution’s proposer, testified during a hearing of the Committee on Environmental Stewardship and Care of Creation, that the resolution was not intended to start an argument about the existence of climate change, but rather to provide the church with the resources to respond pastorally to people who are affected by climate change.

— Lynette Wilson, an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service, and General Convention correspondents Tracy J. Sukraw and Sharon Sheridan contributed to this report.

Los diputados reeligen a Byron Rushing como vicepresidente sin oposición

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City] La Cámara de Diputados reeligió el 29 de enero A Byron Rushing para un segundo período como vicepresidente. Él se presentó sin oposición.

La diputada Sarah Neumann, de Massachusetts, nominó a Rushing. La presidenta de la Cámara de Diputados, Rda. Gay Clark Jennings, suspendió las reglas de orden y pidió que la elección tuviera lugar inmediatamente. Rushing fue reelecto por aclamación, con vítores, aplausos y una prolongada ovación de pie [de parte de los miembros de la Cámara].

Rushing se dirigió brevemente a los diputados y a Jennings. “Usted sabe que la mayoría de las veces que la palabra vicepresidente aparece en los cánones, aparece con las palabras, renuncia, muerte, ausencia, incapacidad”, le dijo a Jennings en medio de la risa general. “Déjeme decirle, que rezo por usted todos los días. Incluso he llegado a ahondar en mis raíces anglocatólicas y encender velas”.

Tornándose serio, añadió. “Trabajar tan estrechamente con usted y contar con su apoyo ha significado mucho para mí”.

A los diputados les dijo. “Ustedes saben que yo amo a Jesús. Saben que amo la misión de Dios y saben que amo esta Cámara. Ustedes son una gran cámara porque son muy importantes, ustedes cuentan con todos nosotros en esta parte de la gran Iglesia de Dios de manera que seamos eficaces en seguir a Jesús. Gracias”.

Jennings añadió que Rushing ha servido en la Cámara con distinción durante 14 convenciones generales y que asistió a la convención de 1970 como parte de la presencia de la juventud. “Somos afortunados todos nosotros en esta cámara de contar con su sabiduría y su consejo, su gran amor, no sólo por Jesús sino por la Iglesia Episcopal. Trabajar con él ha sido lo máximo, gracias”.

La Cámara de Diputados también eligió a seis líderes laicos al Consejo Ejecutivo, cuya elección aún debe ser confirmada por la Cámara de Obispos.

También fueron elegidos el 29 de junio:

Los síndicos del Seminario Teológico General:

* Rda. Yamily Bass-Choate, Diócesis de Nueva York.

* Anne Clarke Brown, Diócesis de Vermont.

* Rdo. Tommy Joe Dillon II, Diócesis de Olympia.

* Dianne Audrick Smith, Diócesis de California.

Miembros de la Junta Disciplinaria para los Obispos:

* Rda. canóniga Suzann Holding, Diócesis de San Diego

* Rdo. Erik W. Larsen, Diócesis de Rhode Island

* Deborah Stokes, Diócesis de Ohio Sur

* Marcellus Smith, Diócesis de Alabama

Los síndicos del Seminario General ayudan a orientar la dirección del seminario y dan apoyo al decano y al cuerpo estudiantil. La Junta Disciplinaria para los Obispos sirve como tribunal de la Iglesia con jurisdicción original sobre asuntos concernientes a la disciplina de los obispos, para oír apelaciones de los obispos respecto a la imposición de restricciones sobre el ministerio o disposición de licencias administrativas y para determinar asuntos juzgados conforme al Canon IV.19.5.

— La Rda. Pat McCaughan es parte del equipo de Episcopal News Service que está reportando desde la Convención General. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Lillibridges, Bergstrom honored as Heroes of Camping

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hero of Camping Ministry awards were presented to the Rt. Rev. Gary Lillibridge, bishop of West Texas, and his wife, Mrs. Catherine Lillibridge, and Canon Peter Bergstrom, outgoing executive director of Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers. Photo: Laura Shaver/Diocese of West Texas

[Diocese of San Diego – Salt Lake City] The Rt. Rev. Brian Prior, bishop of Minnesota, June 28 presented the Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers’ Hero of Camping Ministry Award to the Rt. Rev. Gary Lillibridge, bishop of West Texas, and his wife, Mrs. Catherine Lillibridge.

And in a delightful twist at the end of his presentation to the Lillibridges, Prior also gave Canon Peter Bergstrom a Hero of Camping Ministry Award. Bergstrom retires this year as executive director of ECCC, an organization that advocates for Episcopal camps and retreat centers throughout the church.

Bishop Lillibridge grew up attending Camp Capers, the Episcopal camp in the Diocese of West Texas, which former Presiding Bishop Edmund Browning attended. More recently, the diocese acquired property called Mustang Island at Corpus Christi, which has grown into a retreat spot for Episcopal families. Bishop Lillibridge realized that these retreats and vacations encouraged families in their involvement with and commitment to the Episcopal Church, and to their spiritual growth as a family. The Lillibridges understand that the camp experience helps people move from the fringe of the parish into the center, because camp has been an integral part of their own life experience. Under the bishop’s direction, the diocese allocated significant funds to operate and expand Mustang Island. The diocese also developed a wilderness property in Colorado for teen adventures, Duncan Park. Since 2011 Bishop Lillibridge managed the visionary and advocacy council for ECCC; in that role he worked tirelessly to equip camp and conference center staff to be their own advocates in the greater Episcopal Church.

Catherine Lillibridge has been a camper, camp staff, retreat leader, fundraiser and supporter. Her ministry has been a partnership with Bishop Lillibridge throughout their marriage.

Bergstrom said that “Gary and Catherine Lillibridge not only have a lifelong passion for camping and retreat ministry but they truly and deeply understand how important that ministry is to the development of the future leaders of our churches and dioceses.” He also noted that the Lillibridges have invested significant financial support in the ministry of camping “so that it flourishes and therefore the diocese flourishes.”

“Camp is my first language,” said Prior, who was the director of Camp Cross during his 14-year career as a priest in Spokane, Washington. Prior and his wife met and were married at camp. He said that the “camping ministry was foundational in [his] formation.”

Since becoming a bishop five years ago in Minnesota, Prior has grown the Episcopal Church in Minnesota’s camping ministries. He will assume the responsibilities of chairman of the visionary and advocacy council for ECCC when Lillibridge’s term ends.

In presenting the surprise award to Bergstrom, Prior said, “Peter is committed. He’s a legend of camping ministry. He’s second to none in what he’s done for the organization, structure and bringing people in the camping ministry together.”

Bergstrom provided the organization with “vision, direction and leadership development,” said William Slocumb, ECCC director of operations. He credits Canon Bergstrom with shaping his leadership capabilities: Slocumb assumes the role of director of ECCC in 2016.

Ashley Graham-Wilcox, director of communications for ECCC, said she and Slocumb met Bergstrom at Camp Stevens in the Diocese of Los Angeles and San Diego, where he was the executive director for 40 years. He retired in 2012.

“I’ve known Bill Slocumb since he was a young intern at Camp Stevens, right out of college,” mused Bergstrom. “There is nobody that is more open and friendly, and who cares about camps and retreat centers and their staff than Bill. He knows them all, has visited them all and wants to help them thrive in their ministries.”

The Hero of Camping Ministry Award is the brainchild of Bergstrom. In an address to the House of Bishops Bergstrom said, “Summer camp is more important today than ever, as so many children spend most of their waking hours indoors in front of one screen or another. Direct connection to nature, to God’s creation, is important in so many ways, as is really living together with other children from a variety of ethnicities and economic backgrounds.”

The visually striking award, which resembles an ice-carved mountain, has been conferred on three other members of the Episcopal community: the Rt. Rev. Thomas M. Shaw in 2009, and the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori and Mr. Richard Schori in 2012.

— Hannah Wilder is director of communications for the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.

Resoluciones sobre la igualdad matrimonial pasan a la Cámara de Diputados

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City] Cuatro días después de que el Tribunal Supremo de EE.UU. legalizara la igualdad matrimonial en todo el país, la Cámara de Obispos aprobaba dos nuevas liturgias para uso experimental y un cambio canónico para eliminar referencias al matrimonio como [un compromiso contraído] entre un hombre y una mujer. Las resoluciones ahora se someten a la aprobación de la Cámara de Diputados.

Los diputados, entre tanto, le dieron su aprobación final a la Resolución A037, que prosigue la labor del Equipo de Trabajo sobre el Estudio del Matrimonio.

Si la Cámara de Diputados está de acuerdo con la Resolución A054, enmendada por la Cámara de Obispos, las liturgias “El testimonio y la bendición de un matrimonio” y “La celebración y bendición de un matrimonio 2” —tomados de Recursos litúrgicos I: Te bendeciré y serás una bendición, revisadas y extendidas en 2015 de los materiales suplementarios del Libro Azul de la Comisión Permanente sobre Liturgia y Música— estarán disponibles para uso experimental a partir de este Adviento. Esos ritos ofrecen la opción de usar “mujer” “marido”, “persona” o” “cónyuge”, haciéndolos aplicables tanto a parejas heterosexuales como del mismo sexo.

Los obispos eliminaron de la resolución una tercera liturgia propuesta, “La forma de solemnización del matrimonio”.

Las tres liturgias pueden encontrarse en las páginas 2-151 aquí de los materiales que la comisión permanente le brindara a la Convención.

La resolución enmendada estipula que: “Los obispos en ejercicio de la autoridad eclesiástica o, donde fuere apropiada, de supervisión eclesiástica, facilitarán a todas las parejas que busquen casarse en esta Iglesia el que tengan acceso a estas liturgias. El uso experimental es sólo disponible sujeto a la discreción y con la autorización del obispo diocesano”.

La resolución dice también “que los obispos pueden continuar ofreciendo una generosa respuesta pastoral para responder a las necesidades de los miembros de esta Iglesia”. Durante el debate, los obispos dijeron que esto intentaba abordar las situaciones de obispos en jurisdicciones fuera de Estados Unidos, tales como Italia y en países de la IX Provincia, donde los matrimonios de parejas del mismo sexo siguen siendo ilegales.

La resolución extiende a estos recursos la estipulación canónica de que “quedará a discreción de cualquier miembro del clero de esta Iglesia rehusar presidir cualquier rito contenido en ellos” y que “esta Convención respeta la diversidad teológica de esta Iglesia en asuntos concernientes a la sexualidad humana; y que ningún obispo, presbítero, diácono o laico debe ser obligado o penado en modo alguno, ni sufrir ninguna discapacidad canónica, como resultado de su objeción o respaldo teológico a la decisión de la 78ª. Convención General contenida en esta resolución”.

Algunos obispos cuestionaron si esto significaba que un sacerdote podría oficiar en una ceremonia matrimonial entre personas del mismo sexo aunque su obispo u obispa no aprobara el uso de las liturgias experimentales.

La estipulación busca proteger al clero en una diócesis donde el obispo aboga por el uso de las liturgias, replicó el obispo jubilado de Virginia Peter Lee. Los clérigos están protegidos si discrepan con el obispo, pero no si lo desobedecen, dijo.

La resolución también aprueba el uso continuo de “El testimonio y bendición de un pacto de por vida” que aparece en Recursos litúrgicos I, que la Convención General aprobó para uso provisional en 2012, “conforme a la dirección y autorización del obispo que ejerza la autoridad eclesiástica”.

El obispo Larry Benfield, de Arkansas, expresó la preocupación de disponer de múltiples ritos matrimoniales.

“El comité está presentando varias liturgias para uso experimental de manera que esta Iglesia tiene una oportunidad de experimentarlas y de entablar una conversación respecto a su uso”, replicó el obispo Thomas Ely, de Vermont, que participó en la Comisión Permanente sobre Liturgia y Música y en el Equipo de Trabajo sobre el Estudio del Matrimonio. “Ninguna de estás se convierte en la versión autorizada del Libro de Oración Común por cuenta de esta decisión”.

Los obispos debatieron luego y finalmente aprobaron la Resolución A036 enmendada que revisa el Canon I.18 titulado “De la solemnización del Santo Matrimonio” (página 58 de los Cánones de la Iglesia Episcopal aquí).

Entre muchas correcciones, la resolución elimina referencias al matrimonio como contraído entre un hombre y una mujer.

Reestructura también el requisito en la primera sección del canon de que el clérigo se ajuste tanto a “las leyes del Estado” como a “las leyes de esta Iglesia” respecto al matrimonio, y también estos cánones concernientes a la solemnización del matrimonio. Los miembros del clero pueden solemnizar un matrimonio usando cualquiera de las formas litúrgicas autorizadas por esta Iglesia”.

Un clérigo puede “rehusar solemnizar o bendecir cualquier matrimonio”, una cláusula semejante a la discreción existente permitida al clero.

Según la revisión, las parejas firmarían una declaración de intenciones, la cual fue elaborada por el comité legislativo para respetar las necesidades de parejas en las que sólo uno de los miembros es cristiano.

Una resolución para sustituir un informe de la minoría sobre la A036 no resultó aprobada.

“Es hora para nosotros de hacer esto”, dijo Gene Robinson, obispo jubilado de Nuevo Hampshire, antes de la votación. “Es hora de que declaremos cuán lejos hemos llegado, y dónde estamos en este momento y donde debemos ir en el futuro”.

Entre los que se opusieron a la resolución canónica se contaban el obispo William H. Love, de Albany.

“Creo que gran parte del debate se ha basado en toda suerte de cosas desde el punto de vista de nuestra interpretación del matrimonio y de las relaciones [conyugales]”, dijo. “En ninguna parte Dios dice que las personas no deben amarse mutuamente… Eso no es un problema. En ninguna parte Dios dice que dos hombres o dos mujeres no puedan compartir una vida juntos o compartir un hogar juntos o ser representantes legales el uno del otro. La única cosa que Dios parece haber dicho a través de las Sagradas Escrituras es que no es apropiado el uso del don de la intimidad sexual entre un hombre y una mujer” fuera del matrimonio.

Entre tanto, la Cámara de Diputados aprobaba el 29 de junio la Resolución A037, luego de varias enmiendas fallidas, conviniendo con los obispos en la labor continua del Equipo de Trabajo sobre el Estudio del Matrimonio.

“Uno de los dones que como Iglesia hemos recibido de nuestros hermanos y hermanas homosexuales es la invitación a estudiar el matrimonio, a estudiar lo que significa el matrimonio para nuestro tiempo y en nuestro día, y pocas conversaciones han suscitado tanto interés como nuestra conversación sobre el matrimonio”, según el diputado Brian Baker, presidente del comité legislativo especial sobre el matrimonio.

Él dijo que la resolución hace dos cosas: le pide o exige a las congregaciones que estudien los materiales que el Equipo de Trabajo sobre el Matrimonio ha creado para ayudar a entender la teología del matrimonio y la larga historia del matrimonio, los cuales están ahora a disposición de las congregaciones (a partir de la página 9 aquí).

También autoriza la continua labor del equipo de trabajo “porque la tarea no ha concluido”, dijo Baker a la cámara. Afirmó que el papel de los clérigos como agentes del Estado no se incluyó en la discusión ni sólo se concentró en la solemnización del matrimonio.

[La resolución] invita a la exploración de la diversidad cultural y teológica para hacer avanzar el diálogo y con demasiada frecuencia el estudio se ha concentrado en una perspectiva anglooccidental, “cuando somos una Iglesia que tiene personas de diferentes naciones”, subrayó.

La diputada Katrina Hamilton, de Olympia, les dijo a los diputados que ella había estado viviendo una relación fiel y monógama durante los últimos seis años con su novio, pero que siente que el silencio de la Iglesia respecto a esas relaciones es un “juicio pasivo”.

“Vivimos juntos, compartimos algunos gastos y, pese a los admirables y encomiables esfuerzos de algunos amigos y familiares, yo no tengo interés en tener hijos ni en casarme. Si bien sé que eso podría cambiar algún día, ahora mismo mi relación no parece tener ningún valor independiente, salvo como precursora de algo que yo no intento hacer”.

Ella dijo que el reconocimiento de parte de la Iglesia de un solo tipo de familia, “implica que los otros no cuentan”.

“En mi clase de Escuela Dominical les enseño a los niños que respecto a los ritos sacramentales, todos pueden, algunos deben y ninguno está obligado. Ahora mismo resulta claro que cuando se trata del matrimonio nos hemos sometido [a los criterios de] la sociedad secular al decir que el matrimonio es [un estado] ‘que todos debemos finalmente’ [contraer]. No suponemos que todos los laicos serán ordenados y, sin embargo, suponemos que todas las personas solteras un día se casarán.

“Significaría muchísimo para mí personalmente que mi vida fuese reconocida, si no aceptada”.

Entre los empeños para enmendar la resolución se incluyó una solicitud de que el equipo de trabajo consultara con otras iglesias de la Comunión Anglicana y con asociados ecuménicos, y también que se emitiera un informe de la minoría.

La diputada Zoe Cole, de Colorado, dijo que ella se oponía a la enmienda porque los obispos ya habían aprobado [la resolución] y debían haber considerado tales requisitos. Haciendo notar las limitaciones del tiempo para finalizar la legislación, añadió que “no queremos jugar al ping-pong. Queremos aprobar resoluciones y avanzar y hacer los deberes que nuestras diócesis nos enviaron aquí a hacer. Insto pues a mis hermanas y hermanos contención legislativa”.

La Rda. Ruth Meyers, diputada de la Diócesis de California, dijo que hace un año la Comisión Permanente sobre Liturgia y Música, la cual ella presidía, había auspiciado una consulta en Misurí Occidental sobre el matrimonio entre parejas del mismo sexo que incluyó a representantes de 24 diócesis de la Iglesia Episcopal, seis provincias de la Comunión Anglicana y cinco de nuestros asociados ecuménicos de EE.UU., “todos ellos en jurisdicciones civiles donde el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo es legal conforme al código civil”.

Los funcionarios ejecutivos y el secretario de la Convención también estuvieron presentes en esa reunión, apuntó.

— Sharon Sheridan y la Rda. Pat McCaughan son parte del equipo de Episcopal News Service que está reportando desde la Convención General. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Video: Interview with Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

[Episcopal News Service] In an 18-minute interview with the Episcopal News Service, Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry speaks about his priorities for leadership and administration, the role of the church in engaging God’s mission in the world, the state of race relations in the U.S., the importance of Anglican Communion partnerships, and his commitment to what he calls the Jesus Movement, to go out into the world “to bear witness to the good news of Jesus.”

Archbishop of Canterbury responds to resolution on marriage

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

[Lambeth Palace press release] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on June 30 expressed deep concern about the stress for the Anglican Communion following the Episcopal Church House of Bishops’ approval of a resolution to change the definition of marriage in the canons so that any reference to marriage as between a man and a woman is removed.

While recognizing the prerogative of The Episcopal Church to address issues appropriate to its own context, Archbishop Justin Welby said that its decision will cause distress for some and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole, as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith relationships.

At a time of such suffering around the world, he stated that this was a moment for the church to be looking outwards. We continue to mourn with all those who are grieving loved ones and caring for the injured from the terrorist attacks in Sousse, Kuwait and Lyons, and from the racist attacks in Charleston.

He urges prayer for the life of the Anglican Communion; for a space for the strengthening of the interdependent relationships between provinces, so that in the face of diversity and disagreement, Anglicans may be a force for peace and seek to respond to the Lord Jesus’ prayer that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (John 17: 21).

Marriage-equality resolutions advance to House of Deputies

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 29, 2015

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City] Four days after the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, the House of Bishops approved two new marriage liturgies for trial use and a canonical change to remove references to marriage as being between a man and a woman. The resolutions now move to the House of Deputies for approval.

The deputies, meanwhile, gave final approval to Resolution A037, which continues the work of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage.

If the House of Deputies concurs with the House of Bishops-amended Resolution A054, the liturgies “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage” and “The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2” from “Liturgical Resources 1: I Will Bless You and You Will be a Blessing, Revised and Expanded 2015” from the supplemental Blue Book materials of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music will be available for trial use beginning this Advent. Those rites offer the option of using “wife,” “husband,” “person” or “spouse,” thus making them applicable for both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

The bishops eliminated a third proposed liturgy from the resolution, “The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony.”

All three liturgies can be found on pages 2-151 here from the materials provided to convention by the standing commission.

The amended resolution stipulates: “Bishops exercising ecclesiastical authority or, where appropriate, ecclesiastical supervision, will make provision for all couples asking to be married in this church to have access to these liturgies. Trial use is only to be available under the discretion and with the permission of the diocesan bishop.”

The resolution also says “That bishops may continue to provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church.” During discussion, bishops said this was intended to address bishops’ situations in jurisdictions outside the United States, such as Italy and countries in Province IX, where same-sex marriages remain illegal.

The resolution extends the canonical provision to these resources that, “‘It shall be within the discretion of any member of the clergy of this church to decline to preside at any rite contained herein” and that “this convention honor the theological diversity of this church in regard to matters of human sexuality; and that no bishop, priest, deacon or lay person should be coerced or penalized in any manner, nor suffer any canonical disabilities, as a result of his or her theological objection to or support for the 78th General Convention’s action contained in this resolution.”

Some bishops questioned whether this meant a priest could officiate at a same-sex marriage ceremony without consequence even if his or her bishop didn’t approve of use of the trial liturgies.

The provision is intended to protect clergy in a diocese where the bishop advocates for the use of the liturgies, replied retired Virginia Bishop Peter Lee. Clergy are protected if they disagree with their bishop, but not if they disobey them, he said.

The resolution also approves for continued use “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” from “Liturgical Resources I,” which General Convention approved for provisional use in 2012, under the direction and with the permission of the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority.”

Bishop Larry Benfield of Arkansas raised a concern about having multiple marriage rites available.

“The committee is bringing forward several liturgies for trial use so that this church has an opportunity to experience them and to be engaged in conversation about our use of them,” replied Bishop Thomas Ely of Vermont, who served on the Standing Commission for Liturgy and Music and the Task Force on the Study of Marriage. “None of these become the authorized version of the Book of Common Prayer by this action.”

The bishops next debated and ultimately approved an amended Resolution A036 that revises Canon I.18 titled “Of the Solemnization of Holy Matrimony” (page 58 of The Episcopal Church’s canons here).

Among many edits, the resolution removes references to marriage as being between a man and a woman.

It also recasts the requirement in the canon’s first section that clergy conform to both “the laws of the state” and “the laws of this church” about marriage. The bishops’ amended version now reads clergy “shall conform to the laws of the State governing the creation of the civil status of marriage, and also these canons concerning the solemnization of marriageMembers of the Clergy may solemnize a marriage using any of the liturgical forms authorized by this Church.”

Clergy may “decline to solemnize or bless any marriage,” a provision similar to the existing discretion allowed to clergy.

Under the revision, couples would sign a declaration of intent, which the legislative committee crafted to respect the needs of couples where only one member is a Christian.

A resolution to substitute a minority report on A036 for the resolution failed.

“It’s time for us to do this,” retired New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson said before the vote. “It’s time that we declared how far we have come, and where we are at the moment and where we need to go in the future.”

Those opposing the canonical resolution included Bishop William H. Love of Albany.

“I think much of the argument has been based on all sorts of things in terms of our understanding of marriage and relationships,” he said. “Nowhere does God say that people shouldn’t love one another. … That’s not an issue. Nowhere does God say that two men or two women can’t share a life together or share a home together or be legal representatives for each other. The one thing that God seems to have spoken through Holy Scripture is that it is not appropriate to use the gift of sexual intimacy between a man and a woman” outside marriage.

Meanwhile, the House of Deputies voted June 29 to approve Resolution A037, after several failed amendments, concurring with bishops on the continued work of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage.

“One of the gifts that we as a church have received from our brothers and sisters who are gay and lesbian is the invitation for us to study marriage, for us to study what marriage means for our time and in our day, and few conversations have garnered as much interest as our conversation on marriage has,” according to Deputy Brian Baker, chair of the special legislative committee on marriage.

He said the resolution does two things: it asks or requires congregations to study resources that were created by the Task Force on Marriage to help understand the theology of marriage and the long history of marriage, which are now available to congregations (beginning on page 9 here).

It also authorizes continued work of the task force “because the work is not done,” Baker told the house. He said the role of clergy as agents of state was not included in the discussion or only focus on the solemnization of marriage.

It invites exploration of the cultural and theological diversity to move the conversation forward, that too often the study has focused on an Anglo-Western perspective “when we are a church that has people from different nations,” he said.

Deputy Katrina Hamilton of Olympia told deputies she has been living in a faithful monogamous relationship for the past six years with her boyfriend but feels that the church’s silence about such relationships is “passive judgment.”

“We live together, we share some expenses and despite the admirable and laudable efforts of some friends and family I have no interest in having kids or getting married. While I know that could change one day, right now my relationship is not seen as having any independent worth only a precursor to something I don’t intend to do.”

She said that by the church only acknowledging one kind of family “we imply that others don’t count.

“In my Sunday school class I teach the kids that when it comes to sacramental rites all may, some should and none must. Right now it’s clear that when it comes to marriage we’ve acquiesced to secular society saying that marriage is ‘all must eventually.’ We don’t assume all lay people will be ordained yet we assume all single people will one day be married.

“It would mean a lot to me personally to have my life acknowledge if not accepted.”

Efforts to amend the resolution included a request that the task force consult with other churches in the Anglican Communion and with ecumenical partners, and also that a minority report be issued.

Deputy Zoe Cole of Colorado said she opposed the amendment because the bishops had already approved it and must have considered such requirements. Noting time constraints with finalizing legislation, she added that “we don’t want to play ping-pong. We want to pass resolutions and move on and do the business that our dioceses sent us here to do. So I urge my sisters and brothers, legislative restraint.”

The Rev. Ruth Meyers, a Diocese of California deputy, said that a year ago the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, of which she was the chair, hosted a consultation in West Missouri on same-sex marriage that included representatives of 24 dioceses of The Episcopal Church, six provinces of the Anglican Communion and five of our U.S. ecumenical partners, “all of them in civil jurisdictions where same sex marriage is legal according to civil law.”

The presiding officers and the secretary of convention were also present at that gathering, she said.

— Sharon Sheridan and the Rev. Pat McCaughan are part of the Episcopal News Service team covering General Convention.

Deputies re-elect Byron Rushing vice president, unopposed

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 29, 2015

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City] The House of Deputies on June 29 re-elected Byron Rushing for a second term as vice president. He was unopposed.

Deputy Sarah Neumann of Massachusetts nominated Rushing. President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings suspended the rules of order and called for the election to take place immediately; Rushing was re-elected by an overwhelming voice vote, cheers, applause and a sustained standing ovation.

Rushing addressed deputies and Jennings briefly. “You know that most of the time the words vice president appear in the canons they appear with the words, resignation, death, absence, inability,” he told Jennings amid laughter. “Let me tell you, I pray for you every day. I have even been known to reach deep into my Anglo-Catholic roots and light candles.”

Growing serious, he added, “To work so closely with you and to have your support has meant so much to me.”

To the deputies he said, “You know I love Jesus. You know I love God’s mission and you know I love this house. You are a great house because you are so key, you having all of us in this part of God’s great church be so effective in following Jesus. Thank you.”

Jennings added that Rushing has served the house with distinction for 14 General Conventions and attended the 1970 convention as part of the youth presence. “We are so fortunate all of us in this house to have his wisdom and counsel, his great love, not only for Jesus but for The Episcopal Church. He has been the best to work with, thank you.”

The House of Deputies also elected six lay members of Executive Council, whose elections have yet to be confirmed by the House of Bishops.

Also elected June 29 were:

The General Theological Seminary Trustees:
* The Rev. Yamily Bass-Choate, Diocese of New York;
* Anne Clarke Brown, Diocese of Vermont;
* The Rev. Tommy Joe Dillon II, Diocese of Olympia;
* Dianne Audrick Smith, Diocese of California

Members of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops
* The Rev Canon Suzann Holding, Diocese of San Diego
* The Rev. Erik W. Larsen, Diocese of Rhode Island
* Deborah Stokes, Diocese of Southern Ohio
* Marcellus Smith, Diocese of Alabama

The General Seminary trustees help guide the direction of the seminary and support the dean and student body. The Disciplinary Board for Bishops serves as a court of the church to have original jurisdiction over matters of discipline of bishops, to hear bishops’ appeals from imposition of restriction on ministry or placement on administrative leave and to determine venue issues as provided in Canon IV.19.5.

— The Rev. Pat McCaughan is part of the Episcopal News Service team covering General Convention.

Primate hopes marriage canon debates will be respectful

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 29, 2015

Editor’s note: This story has been updated. If the amendment to the marriage canon is approved on first reading, it will be sent to provincial synods for information, not approval. 

[The Anglican Journal] Archbishop Fred Hiltz said he is aware that there is anxiety among Anglicans about how the 2016 General Synod will deal with a motion amending the marriage canon (church law) to allow the marriage of same-sex couples.

Hiltz expressed hope that the debates that will precede any decision will be conducted with respect and patience.

He is praying, he added, that people will “know the leading of the Holy Spirit” and that there will be “grace in the midst of what will be a very difficult and challenging conversation.”

Hiltz discussed the marriage canon and other issues that will come up at the triennial General Synod when he spoke on June 26 as an observer at the Provincial Synod of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada.

“I know there’s anxiety. There are people who already are saying ‘if General Synod says this, then here’s the plan,’” said Hiltz. “But I need to remind people that because this is a doctrinal matter, if General Synod were to approve this on first reading, it requires a second reading” by the following General Synod, in 2019. It will also be sent to provincial synods for information, he said. “There’s a three-year window for conversations before 2019.”

If the motion to amend the marriage canon is not approved “then for a time the conversation is done in some form or another,” said Hiltz.

In July 2013, General Synod — the church’s governing body — approved Resolution C003, which asked Council of General Synod (CoGS) to prepare and present a motion to change the church’s Canon 21 on marriage “to allow the marriage of same-sex couples in the same way as opposite-sex couples.”

It also asked that this motion include “a conscience clause so that no member of the clergy, bishop, congregation or diocese should be constrained to participate in our authorize such marriages against the dictates of their conscience.”

The resolution also asked that there be a broad consultation about the preparation of the motion. A commission on the marriage canon was subsequently established by CoGS;  its findings are expected to be released this September.

In line with the theme, “You shall be my witnesses,” the 2016 General Synod will be “mission-focused,” said Hiltz. “We will look at the mission of God in the world and how the church endeavours to serve it.” [The triennial gathering will take place in Toronto from July 7-13, 2016.]

Hiltz also updated the Provincial Synod about the Anglican Council of Indigenous People’s call for greater determination within the Anglican Church of Canada. “We may be looking at a fifth province or a federation of Indigenous members,” he said.

Meanwhile, in another session where he was asked to offer a reflection, Hiltz focused on Jesus’ call to “feed my lambs,” tying it to issues around poverty, child welfare and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s “Calls to Action” on issues around Aboriginal justice, education, health, missing residential schools children and missing and murdered Aboriginal women, among others.

Hiltz said he found it disconcerting that with federal elections coming up he has not heard any political party talking “boldly and prophetically” about the TRC’s Calls to Action and its challenge for Canada to forge a new relationship with Indigenous people.

The church, said Hiltz, has an advocacy role to play in this regard. “I hope this church will rise to the occasion and not see these (Calls to Action) as political statements but as priorities for the church.”

It is “staggering,” said Hiltz, when one considers that today, more Aboriginal children are in government care than there were at the Indian residential schools, which operated for over a century.

Hiltz also noted that MPs have failed in their commitment made  in 1989 to end child poverty by 2010. “The poverty rate then was 15.8 per cent and it’s 19.1 per cent today,” he said, noting that among Aboriginal children, the rate is 40 per cent. About 1.3 million children live in poverty in Canada, he added.

Once again, political parties have renewed their pledge to end child poverty, said Hiltz, as he urged Anglicans to take a stand. “Are we going to turn this into an election issue?”

 

 

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian preaches at General Convention

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 29, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release]  “There are times when the weight of our historic experience seems like it is unbearable,” Archbishop Vicken Aykazian of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in America said in his June 29 sermon to the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church. “And yet, it is precisely at such moments that Christ can become most powerfully present to us.”

Presiding at the Eucharist was Bishop Mike Klusmeyer of West Virginia.

Preacher: Archbishop Vicken Aykazian of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in America
The following is the text of the sermon.

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian
Before beginning my formal remarks, I would like to say what a privilege it is to be among you today, on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, for this Community Eucharist. I would especially like to thank Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, your Primate and Presiding Bishop, a great church leader, and my dear friend, for generously extending this invitation.

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The readings for today—from the Book of Ezekiel, the Psalms, Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy, and the Gospel of John—seem on the surface to have very little in common.  But on reflection, there is a common thread weaving them together.  Each of the readings deals, in its own way, with the idea of “exile” or “displacement.”

The prophet Ezekiel offers an image—which our Lord Jesus would also later take up—of a shepherd gathering in his scattered, lost sheep: seeking them out in the distant countries, returning them to their own land:

“I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away,” Ezekiel says of his urgent mission.  “I will bind up that which was broken, and strengthen that which was sick” (Ez 34:16).

Psalm 87, on the other hand, is a hymn to a lost homeland, sung by those who remember, with pride and nostalgia, the now-distant land of their birth:

“Of Zion it shall be said, ‘This man and that one was born in her,’ …The Lord shall count in the records of the people, that there, this man was born” (Ps 87:5-6).

St. Paul, writing to Timothy, speaks of a different kind of displacement: the exile from human society that comes from his unjust imprisonment.  He knows he will never return to the world he knew; but in one of the most famous passages in all of Scripture, Paul confides to us his faith that his exile is ultimately the doorway to a greater reality:

“I am ready now;” he writes; “the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith.  For the future, a crown of righteousness is waiting, which the Lord shall give me at that day.  And not only to me, but to all who love him” (2 Tm 4:6-8).

Thoughts about exile have held a special meaning for me this year, as a bishop of the Armenian Church.  For it was exactly one hundred years ago that my people became exiles from their historic homeland, in the cataclysm that would eventually be known as the Armenian Genocide.

* * *

The Ottoman Turks launched this deadly plan to transform their disintegrating, multi-ethnic empire into a homogeneous state.  Their vision of a new Turkish state covered territory which included the Armenian homeland, so the decision was made to annihilate every Armenian man, woman and child through deportation, starvation and wholesale murder.

The genocide of more than one and a half million Armenians began in 1915.  When it was over, two out of three Armenians living in that country had perished—the victims of a systematic extermination of Turkey’s Armenian population.

In this manner, our people were effectively eliminated from their homeland of nearly three thousand years.  Even the memory of the Armenian nation was intended for obliteration: churches and monasteries were desecrated, and small children—the seed of the future—were snatched from their parents, renamed, and farmed out to be raised as Turks. More than 2600 churches and monasteries were destroyed.  More than 4000 clergy were killed.

Sadly, such brutality set the tone for the 20th century: a tone which would be heard again in the Nazi death camps, in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Rwanda and Darfur.  And it echoes in our own days, in the Middle East, in Syria, in Iraq, in Africa, and other desperate places.

* * *

As you can imagine, these thoughts have weighed heavily on me throughout this year, both as a leader of the Armenian Church, and as one of many exiles from our lost homeland.  There are times when the weight of our historic experience seems like it is unbearable.

And yet, it is precisely at such moments that Christ can become most powerfully present to us.  For myself, during this Genocide Centennial year, I felt His presence in the incredible outpouring of support and encouragement Armenians have received, from friends, co-religionists, national governments, and even from people we had never met before.  All of them asserted their solidarity, their understanding, their recognition and appreciation of what the Armenian people endured.

Like you have done today, this outpouring of good will made us realize as never before that we are not alone.  That the burden of pain and exile was not something my people alone have experienced.  Others share that burden with us, in different ways.  And most of all, our Lord shares that burden with all His children.

That is the deep meaning today’s scriptures hold for us.  Through them, we are led to the realization that we are all exiles: scattered sheep, lost in a wilderness.  Displaced souls longing for our true home.  Prisoners awaiting release, knowing that we will be led where we do not want to go.

And yet we are also assured that a crown of glory is awaiting us.  For the truth is that wherever we may live, Christ’s faithful followers—just like their master—have no real home upon this earth.  “Foxes have dens, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head,” said our Lord Jesus (Mt 8:20).  Our true homeland is God’s kingdom.  And human life is the exile’s journey of return.  Along that path we will experience all of life’s drama: its sorrow and pain, but also its joys and beauty.  And all the while, we await the sound of our shepherd’s voice—the Shepherd who has never ceased searching for us, to gather us in, and deliver us home.

I want to conclude by thanking you all for sharing in our journey this year.  Your generosity, your encouragement, and your abiding friendship are great blessings for myself, my church, and for my people.  May God bless you, and may He guide all His children to their true home in His eternal kingdom.  Amen.

The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church is meeting through July 3 in Salt Lake City, UT (Diocese of Utah). The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years, and is the bicameral governing body of the Church. It comprises the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay deputies elected from the 108 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church, at more than 800 members.

The video services of the daily Eucharist during General Convention 2015 have been produced by the Episcopal Diocese of Utah.

‘Put Jesus up front,’ presiding bishop-elect urges budget committee

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 29, 2015

Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry asks the General Convention’s Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance June 29 to help the church “engage evangelism seriously.” PB&F chair the Rev. Canon Mally Lloyd of Massachusetts looks on. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City] As the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) nears its July 1 budget deadline, Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry on June 29 asked the members to craft a plan to help the church “put Jesus up front,” share the good news and makes disciples.

“I talk of the Jesus movement, of evangelism, of making disciples and our witness through public service and public advocacy,” Curry told the committee during a brief conversation during a 7:30 a.m. meeting. “That can sound like rhetoric that has no actual consequence, but let me assure you … we are talking about the church moving forth, taking evangelism seriously – in the Episcopal way but taking them for real because there is good news to share. There really is.”

Personal service and public witness and advocacy “is what we do; that’s the Jesus movement,” Curry said.

The presiding bishop-elect, who reminded the committee that his term does not begin until Nov. 1, said PB&F is doing God’s work. He likened the members’ job to that of Peter and Paul, whose feast day the church celebrates on June 29, saying that as word of Jesus spread out from Jerusalem to Rome and then to the known world at that time, the leaders had to organize themselves and decide how they would share their resources.

“They had to have their own PB&F to figure out how their distributions and their funds would be used to change the world,” Curry said. “The work they did in the first century is the work you’re doing in the 21st century. God bless you.”

Curry said the committee has the tough job of figuring out how the Jesus movement can “translate into concrete, practical reality in terms of the budget.”

“Put Jesus up front. Put sharing that good news in front. Put forming our people as followers of Jesus – as disciples for real – at the front of it,” he suggested. “And then put inspiring and enabling them to serve in their personal lives, and for us to witness in the public square in the front. That’s the church; that’s the movement. I know full well that movements can float off into the air if they are not incarnated in reality.”

Nebraska Bishop Scott Baker asked Curry if he sees specific changes in the church’s structures that PB&F could accomplish through the 2016-2018 triennium budget it is crafting for convention to consider. The presiding bishop-elect, in turn, asked PB&F chair the Rev. Canon Mally Lloyd of Massachusetts whether the committee had been talking to convention’s Legislative Committee on Governance and Structure.

She told Curry “we’re kind of caught in the cracks” between having to follow the rules that govern PB&F’s work and hoping to get what she called a “road map” from convention’s debate on structural change about how those changes will be accomplished over the 2016-2018 triennium, “and release Executive Council to mess with the budget that we have to present.”

General Convention approves the triennial budget, and the council often revises the three annual budgets, based on changes in income and expenses.

Curry, who served on the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church, said he does not know what convention will decide about structural changes. “But there may be some creative ways to pre-stage some of those creative possibilities … so that council can pivot when it needs to – that may be the wisest kind of thing to do going forward,” he said.

“The more creative space there is, the more the possibilities of a big system like this pivoting quickly and engaging what it needs to,” he said.

B&F member David Quittmeyer of the Diocese of Central Gulf Coast asked Curry if he had any particular pivots points in mind to which the committee ought to pay attention.

“I don’t know what’s going to hit the floor and what we’re going to end up with at the end of the day,” Curry said, adding that the “critical part” will be which dimensions of TREC’s recommendations “have the capacity to serve this movement we’re talking about.”

Curry suggested that PB&F members ask themselves “what will enable the church-wide community to energize and equip our diocesan and local communities to really engage in evangelism.”

“I think this mission has got to drive the organization,” he said, adding that in the church-wide structures “there’s some stuff that’s just given but there’s some stuff that’s not given.”

He asked them to consider “changes that are going to facilitate our being able to ramp up quickly and engage evangelism seriously.”

PB&F is considering how to adapt Executive Council’s balanced $120 million draft 2016-2018 triennium budget that was passed in January. Council’s draft budget was compiled after the church’s committees, commissions, agencies and boards filed their reports to convention containing funding resolutions. Some of those requests have been amended here at convention. Plus, many new resolutions filed since council passed its budget also ask for money to be included in the 2016-2018 budget. PB&F must decide how to fund all the requests that are before convention.

PB&F will use the comments it has received from two hearings and from committee sessions during which it heard from Episcopalians it invited to discuss their budget line items, council’s draft budget and any legislation passed by or being considered by General Convention to create a final budget proposal. That budget must be presented to a joint session of the Houses of Bishops and Deputies no later than the third day before convention’s scheduled adjournment. According to the draft convention schedule, that presentation is set to take place at 2:15 p.m. MDT on July 1.

 

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

 

 

Los diputados eligen a 13 síndicos del Fondo de Pensiones de la Iglesia y a dos clérigos del Consejo Ejecutivo

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 29, 2015

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City] La Cámara de Diputados eligió el 28 de junio a 13 síndicos del Fondo de Pensiones de la Iglesia y a dos clérigos como miembros del Consejo Ejecutivo.

Los seis miembros laicos del Consejo Ejecutivo serán electos cuando la Cámara de Diputados se reúna nuevamente el 29 de junio.

Las personas elegidas como síndicos del Fondo de Pensiones de la Iglesia fueron:

  • Martha Bedell Alexander, Diócesis de Carolina del Norte.
  • Muy Rdo. Tracey Lind, Diócesis de Ohio.
  • Brian Prior, Diócesis de Minnesota.
  • Thomas James Brown, Diócesis de Massachusetts.
  • Sandra Swan, Diócesis de Carolina Oriental.
  • Margaret A. Niles, Diócesis de Olympia.
  • Canóniga Anne M. Vickers, Diócesis del Sudeste de la Florida.
  • Gregory H. Rickel, Diócesis de Olympia.
  • Canóniga Sandye A. Wilson, Diócesis de Newark.
  • Tim Mitchell, Diócesis de Kentucky.
  • Sandra F. McPhee, Diócesis de Chicago.
  • Kevin B. Lindahl, Diócesis de Colorado.
  • Clifton Daniel III, Diócesis de Pensilvania.

Los síndicos del Fondo de Pensiones de la Iglesia desempeñan un papel en el gobierno y la supervisión del Grupo de Pensiones de la Iglesia, que incluye al Fondo de Pensiones de la Iglesia y varias filiales. Los síndicos toman decisiones que afectan la estrategia de inversión, las políticas de pensión y los beneficios y otros servicios del Grupo de Pensiones de la Iglesia.

Los dos clérigos electos como miembros del Consejo Ejecutivo fueron:

  • Canóniga Mally Ewing Lloyd, Diócesis de Massachusetts.
  • Jabriel Simmonds Ballentine, Diócesis de Florida Central.

El Consejo Ejecutivo lleva a cabo los programas y políticas adoptadas por la Convención General, según el Canon I.4(1). El Consejo está compuesto de 38 miembros, 20 de los cuales (cuatro obispos, cuatro presbíteros o diáconos y 12 laicos) son elegidos por la Convención General, y 18 por los nueve sínodos provinciales (un clérigo y un laico cada uno) por períodos de seis años, además del Obispo Primado y el Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados [que son miembros ex oficio].

La Convención General está considerando propuestas de reducir el tamaño del Comité Ejecutivo.

— Tracy J. Sukraw es parte del equipo de Episcopal News Service que está reportando desde la Convención. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Presiding Bishop-elect meets Anglican Communion convention guests

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 29, 2015

[Anglican Communion News Service — Salt Lake City] There was delight and excitement in the room as The Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry unexpected paid a call June 28 to thank international and ecumenical guests for coming to the church’s General Convention in Salt Lake City.

Fresh from a march to protest against gun violence, Curry recognized that people everywhere faced similar challenges in the search for peace.

“The world’s way is not the way,” he said. “Jesus has shown us another way.”

Referring to the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, Curry, the bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina, noted that “the old way was that you loved your neighbors and hated your enemies” but that Jesus had taught a path of love for the enemy.

Curry highlighted the African heritage that he shared with some of the guests, such as Archbishop Daniel Safo, primate and metropolitan of the Church of the Province of West Africa, and Archbishop Albert Chama, primate of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, and called for a common witness by Anglicans and Episcopalians worldwide.

“There’s ‘plenty good room’ in God’s world for all of us and part of our mission as followers of Jesus is to help this world find that room and make that room, so that children don’t go to bed hungry and so that we lay down our swords and shields,” he said, quoting the lyrics of an African-American spiritual.

Curry, clearly energized by the diversity of the guests, brought a message of hope for the future. “Together I really do believe that we can help this world find another way. We can do this because we are all followers of Jesus.”

The international Anglican Communion guests had welcomed Curry’s election as The Episcopal Church’s 27th presiding bishop. Along with the African archbishops, the presiding pishop-elect was greeted by the primates of Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Mexico, Brazil, Central America and Scotland, and by the representative of the Archbishop of Hong Kong. Several ecumenical guests also were present.

La Agencia Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo celebra 75 años de socorrer a un mundo sufriente

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 29, 2015

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City] Sienta bien tener 75, dijo Robert Radtke, el presidente de la Agencia Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo, en una entrevista a principios de esta semana mientras la Convención General se ponía en marcha.

Él se refería al 75º. aniversario de su organización, que se ha conmemorado en el transcurso del último año con un proyecto narrativo semanal en la Red y una exposición rodante de fotografías que muestra a personas y lugares de todo el mundo que han sido alcanzados por los ministerios de socorrismo, salud pública y desarrollo económico de la Agencia Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo.

Y una campaña de recaudación de fondos de $7,5 millones por el aniversario, que empezara en septiembre, ya está completa en un 78 por ciento. Radtke dijo que todas sus expectativas es que se habrá sobrepasado esa meta para fines de año.

“Es una gran emoción estar aquí en Salt Lake City y tener la oportunidad, francamente, de darles las gracias a las personas de la Iglesia Episcopal por 75 años de un apoyo increíblemente generoso. Ha sido un signo maravilloso de la fe y el compromiso con la misión de Dios en el mundo que hayamos prosperado como lo hemos hecho durante 75 años”, dijo Radtke.

Para celebrar, la Agencia Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo ofreció una fiesta de aniversario el 27 de junio para un animadísimo grupo de varios centenares de amigos y partidarios que asistían a la Convención General y que incluía música en vivo y baile.

La multitud irrumpió en vítores cuando Radtke presentó al presidente de la junta directiva de la Agencia Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo, el obispo Michael B. Curry, quien, en una histórica elección de una sola votación horas antes ese día, había sido elegido como el próximo obispo primado de la Iglesia Episcopal.

“Agencia Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo, no aparentas ni un día más de 25 [años]”, dijo Curry. “Esta realmente es un jubilosa cerebración de un servicio notable y fiel y altruista de ayudar a ponerle fin en este mundo a lo que es una pesadilla para muchos y realizar el sueño que ha sido el propósito de Dios desde el principio. Y eso es lo que restaura un mundo sufriente, a eso se reduce la Agencia Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo”.

Los funcionarios ejecutivos de la Convención General también hablaron en el tributo.

La obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori se refirió a cómo las relaciones han desempeñado un papel decisivo en la expansión de la organización.

“Cuando este ministerio comenzó, era un ministerio personal del obispo primado. Se ha expandido hasta el punto en que eso ya no es posible, y en qué clase de don para el mundo se ha convertido”, afirmó.

“Las relaciones que se establecen entre los primados [de la Comunión Anglicana] y los obispos primados son una manera en que este ministerio continúa expandiéndose a través del mundo, pero mucho, mucho más importante en esta era es la increíble labor que lleva a cabo el personal de la Agencia Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo, al establecer relaciones con las provincias de la Comunión Anglicana que van mucho más allá del final de camino”, dijo Jefferts Schori.

La Rda. Gay Clark Jennings, presidente de la Cámara de Diputados, describió un viaje que ella hizo a Ghana con la Agencia Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo para aprender más acerca de programas locales para la prevención de la pobreza y las enfermedades. Ella dijo que la experiencia resultó “transformadora”.

“Nos reunimos con mujeres que ya podían educar a sus hijos porque habían podido abrir puestos de mercado con micropréstamos. Nos reunimos con granjeros que habían aprendido nuevas prácticas de cultivo desarrolladas para un clima cambiante. Nos reunimos con un jefe tribal que nos habló de la importancia de capacitar a las mujeres”, dijo Jennings.

Conocido anteriormente como el Fondo del Obispo Primado para Ayuda Mundial, la Agencia Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo comenzó en 1940 como una agencia que le otorgaba ayuda a los refugiados de la segunda guerra mundial. Desde entonces, le dijo Radtke a los participantes de la fiesta, la Iglesia Episcopal ha donado más de $366 millones a través de la Agencia Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo, $243 millones de esos desde 2002. La organización llega ahora anualmente a tres millones de personas en 40 países, según su página web.

En una entrevista, Radtke describió tres áreas de trabajo de avanzada para la organización en la medida en que ésta progresa.

Una es la de integrar su firma al programa de prevención del paludismo NetsforLife® y su más amplia labor sanitaria. Unos 80.000 trabajadores sanitarios de la comunidad han sido adiestrados a través de NetsforLife®. El próximo paso, dijo Radtke, en poner otras herramientas en esos estuches de primeros auxilios.

“Si van casa por casa supervisando los mosquiteros contra el paludismo, también deben de proporcionar información acerca de la buena nutrición, el cuidado prenatal, acerca de la vacunación —toda una serie de cosas que pueden concentrarse en salvar las vidas de niños menores de 5 años, porque toda la ciencia de la salud pública les dirá que si pueden logar que un niño llegue a la edad de 5 años, sus posibilidades a largo plazo de vivir hasta la adultez son mucho mayores”, enfatizó él.

La organización también está cambiando su política de potenciación económica de los microcréditos a las cooperativas de ahorro.

“Hemos reflexionado sincera y devotamente acerca de esto y realmente creemos que un modelo más sano es el modelo del ahorro, alentando el ahorro en grupos de autosuperación. Cada persona del grupo pone una cierta cantidad de dinero todos los meses y se prestan el dinero unos a otros. Aumentan así el valor neto [de sus ahorros] en lugar de contraer deudas.

“Esto es parte de un amplio cambio que va a continuar en el campo de la ayuda y el desarrollo, pero nosotros estamos ciertamente a la vanguardia de ese cambio”, dijo Radtke.

Una tercera área nueva para la Agencia Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo, según él, es concentrarse en mitigar la violencia de género.

“Una mujer o persona joven que es víctima de la trata, casi con seguridad ha sido víctima de violencia de género en su hogar o en su comunidad”, dijo Radtke.

Una reciente subvención del Fondo Fiduciario de la ONU para terminar la violencia contra la mujer ayudará a la labor de la Agencia Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo con un asociado de la Iglesia para la creación de un currículo. “Esperamos que los resultados de ese plan experimental sean exitosos y que podamos extenderlo”, afirmó.

Radtke, que se incorporó a la Agencia Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo hace 10 años —inmediatamente después del tsunami del Océano Índico y poco antes de que el huracán Katrina azotara la costa del Golfo de Estados Unidos— dijo que un año de aniversario es un buen momento para hacer una pausa y pasar balance.

“Con todo lo buena que es la Agencia Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo, tenemos que ser muy estratégicos respecto a dónde concentrar nuestro trabajo. Intentamos hacer el mayor bien para el mayor número [de personas] al menor costo posible. Eso está realmente en el centro de nuestra filosofía”.

— Tracy J. Sukraw es parte del equipo de Episcopal News Service que está reportando desde la Convención. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Video: Steve Smith, former YASC missionary in South Africa

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 29, 2015

[Episcopal News Service — Salt Lake City] Steve Smith from the Diocese of California served for two years as a Young Adult Service Corps missionary in Grahamstown, South Africa, where he lived at the Mariya uMama weThemba Monastery and taught at Holy Cross School. Currently a student at Virginia Theological Seminary, Smith talks about the fruits of the YASC program and the importance of providing young Episcopalians with the opportunity to cross cultural boundaries, build partnerships, and engage in God’s mission in the world.

The Episcopal Church’s 78th General Convention is currently considering resolutions (A112 and A013) to commit to its ongoing support and development of the YASC and Episcopal Volunteers in Mission (EVIM) programs.

Through these programs, hundreds of Episcopal missionaries have chosen to embrace a life-changing experience of walking alongside a community often far removed – both geographically and culturally – from their own.

For further information about the missionary program, contact the Rev. David Copley, director for mission personnel, at dcopley@episcopalchurch.org. For further information about the YASC program, contact Elizabeth Boe, officer for global networking, at eboe@episcopalchurch.org.

ENS video stories highlighting the ministry of YASC missionaries are available below.

One young adult…and a Roman refugee center
One young adult…and a South African clinic
One young adult…and a provincial archives
One young adult…and a mission for migrant workers
One young adult…and a mission to seafarers

Las cajitas azules de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias financian grandes sueños

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 29, 2015

Una gigantesca caja azul de ofrenda apareció, el 28 de junio, en el quiosco de la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera, en el salón de exhibiciones de la Convención General, en conmemoración del 125o. aniversario de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias. Dentro de la caja, los visitantes pueden disfrutar de una muestra sobre la historia de la UTO y colgar mensajes en las paredes sobre las cosas por las cuales están agradecidos. Foto de Tracy J. Sukraw/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City] Las cajitas azules de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias (UTO, por su sigla en inglés) están en todas partes en el Centro de Convenciones Salt Palace —hasta ahora se han distribuido unas 20.000, según la misionera de la UTO Heather Melton— y hasta el último centavo colectado durante la Convención General se destinará a apoyar ministerios innovadores de jóvenes adultos.

Es la primera vez que la UTO ha dedicado una colecta de este tipo, dijo Melton.

“Con frecuencia los ministerios de jóvenes adultos son innovadores, pero no resultan bien financiados. Nuestra esperanza no es sólo ayudar con capital inicial, sino también lograr que otros episcopales se animen a apoyar estos ministerios y los repliquen a través de la Iglesia”, dijo Melton.

Katie Reeves, que recibió una de las subvenciones del 125º. Aniversario de la UTO este año, lo emplea para ayudar a congregaciones en California Central a usar sus espacios abiertos para plantar huertos. Foto de Tracy J. Sukraw/ENS.

El proyecto “Reimagine”, de Katie Reeves es un ejemplo. Ella recibió una de las subvenciones del 125º. Aniversario de la UTO este año y la está usando para ayudar a seis congregaciones de la Diócesis de El Camino Real en California Central a pensar creativamente respecto al uso de su espacio exterior para plantar huertos.

En la Diócesis de Carolina del Norte, una subvención de aniversario para Caitlyn Darnnell ayudó a equipar “Una Fiesta Movible”, un camión de alimento que en parte es puesto de merienda y en parte capilla sobre ruedas para estudiantes universitarios de algunos centros que no cuentan con capellanías.

Estas jóvenes continúan el legado de las fundadoras de la UTO en el siglo XIX, tales como Julia Chester Emery, de Massachusetts, dijo Melton. “nos entusiasma apoyarlas en su trabajo”.

La Rama Auxiliar de Mujeres a la Junta de Misiones estableció la UTO en 1889 como la Ofrenda Unida y fundamentalmente apoyaba la labor de las misioneras. Posteriormente, la UTO amplió su énfasis para incluir todas las áreas del trabajo de la Iglesia.

La Ofrenda Unida de Gracias es un ministerio para promover la gratitud y la misión en toda la Iglesia. Conocida mundialmente como UTO, las subvenciones de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias se otorgan a proyectos que abordan las necesidades humanas y ayudan a aliviar la pobreza, tanto nacional como internacionalmente, en la Iglesia Episcopal.

El 28 de junio, en la tradicional Recolección y Eucaristía de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias en [el marco de] la Convención General, representantes diocesanas y otras personas presentaron los símbolos de sus contribuciones en el trienio 2013-2015. Agrupadas por provincias, fueron hasta el altar para colocar sus récords en una bandeja de ofrenda que sostenía Barbara Schafer, presidente de la UTO, y recibir las gracias de la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori, la presidente de la Cámara de Diputados, Rda. Gay Clark Jennings y otros miembros que se encontraban en el presbiterio.

Las recolecciones totales por provincias se anunciaron durante la procesión y éstas fueron:

  • I Provincia: $193,544.16
  • II Provincia: $ 469,169.00
  • III Provincia: $784,435.39
  • IV Provincia: $882,544.35
  • V Provincia: $414,779.16
  • VI Provincia: $161,956.52
  • VII Provincia: $396,576.59
  • VIII Provincia: $371,687.35
  • IX Provincia: $ 46,489.28

También participaron representantes de recolecciones que no son parte de ninguna provincia de la Iglesia Episcopal: el Episcopado de la Fuerzas Armadas y Ministerios Federales, el personal de la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera, la Iglesia Episcopal de Liberia, la Provincia de África Occidental, la Iglesia Anglicana de México, la Iglesia Episcopal de Panamá, la Iglesia Anglicana de la Región Central de América, la Iglesia Anglicana de Uruguay y la Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de América

La recolección total para el 2012-2014 fue de $4.378.328.16.

La UTO sugiere que las personas deben orar y ofrendar diariamente —poniendo algunas monedas en su cajita azul— en reconocimiento de gratitud diaria por lo que Dios les ha dado. Con frecuencia, las personas a quienes la UTO llama “dadores agradecidos” suplementan sus contribuciones diarias antes de enviar el dinero a la UTO, ya sea individualmente o a través de un proceso que se conoce como la recolección diocesana. La UTO creen que el dar con gratitud une espiritualmente a los dadores con las personas que se benefician de sus dádivas.

— La corresponsal de Episcopal News Service Tracy Sukraw y la redactora y reportera de ENS Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg colaboraron en este informe. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Resoluciones en la Convención General contra la violencia armada

ENS Headlines - Monday, June 29, 2015

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City] En tanto 1.500 participantes de la Convención se unieron, en la mañana del 28 de junio en esta ciudad, a una procesión de Obispos unidos contra la violencia armada, varias resoluciones que denunciaban esa violencia se abrían paso a través del proceso legislativo [de la Convención].

La devota procesión recorrió la media milla que va desde el Centro de Convenciones Salt Palace hasta el Parque del Pionero [Pioneer Park] mientras los manifestantes cantaban himnos y oraban. Miembros de agrupaciones contrarias a la violencia armada y organizaciones pro derechos civiles de Utah se sumaron al desfile.

El obispo Eugene Sutton, de la Diócesis de Maryland, dijo que la sociedad enfrenta lo que él llamo una “impía trinidad” de pobreza, racismo y violencia. El obispo primado electo, Michael Curry, les dijo a los participantes que ellos se habían levantado temprano para participar en la procesión a las 7:15 A.M. porque esa “impía trinidad amenaza la vida de todos nosotros”.

“Pero estamos realmente aquí porque hay otra trinidad”, dijo él. “Hay otra trinidad que no es una trinidad impía. Hay otra trinidad que es una trinidad santa. Una trinidad dadora de vida”.

Las temperaturas en Salt Lake City han oscilado entre 32 y 39 grados C. desde que obispos, diputados y personal y voluntarios de la Convención comenzaron a llegar aquí el 22 de junio. Una hora antes de la procesión, la temperatura era de 23 grados C. y durante el día fue subiendo constantemente hasta alcanzar los 39 grados a las 6:30 P.M.

La resolución más abarcadora que enfrentan los obispos y los diputados, la C005 de la Diócesis de Los Ángeles, insta a los legisladores en todas las instancias del gobierno a poner en vigor leyes que exijan verificación de antecedentes penales y adiestramiento relativo a la seguridad de las armas de fuego, para poder comprarlas; la prohibición de ciertos tipos de armas de asalto, de cargadores de alta capacidad y de los equipos para convertir armas mecánicas en automáticas; medidas enérgicas contra el tráfico de armas y la promoción de fondos para la investigación sobre la violencia armada. La última versión de la resolución pide que se reconozca “el impacto de las actuales leyes de la herencia en el traspaso de la propiedad de las armas” y elimina el llamado de la resolución original a la imposición de impuestos por la venta de armas y municiones, y un crédito en los impuestos personales sobre los ingresos a los que entreguen armas de fuego en programas de recompra de armas.

La Resolución B008, propuesta por el obispo Ian Douglas de la Diócesis de Connecticut, insta a las diócesis “a abogar porque los que compren armas cortas obtengan la licencia en sus contextos locales”.

Una resolución de la III Provincia que se originó en la Diócesis de Bethlehem, la C030, le pide a la Iglesia que inste al presidente de EE.UU. y a los líderes del Congreso a que promulguen leyes que “prohíban la venta, traspaso, importación y fabricación de armas totalmente automáticas y de cargadores de alto calibre, de municiones antiblindados y de equipos que conviertan los alimentadores de municiones en cargadores capaces de llevar más de 10 proyectiles”.

La Resolución D018, propuesta por el Rdo. William Exner, que encabeza la diputación de Nuevo Hampshire, insta a los episcopales a pedirles a los legisladores en todas las instancias del gobierno “a apoyar políticas públicas que frenen la violencia armada al exigir e implantar verificaciones de antecedentes universales en todas las ventas [de armas]; la prohibición de todas las ventas futuras de armas semiautomáticas de las que usan los militares, de municiones de alto impacto y de cargadores de alta capacidad; y que se exijan permisos para portar armas ocultas”.

La matanza de alumnos y personal en la escuela elemental de Sandy Hook en diciembre de 2012 dio lugar a la Resolución C005, dijo el Rdo. Gary Commins, rector de la iglesia de San Lucas [St. Luke’s] en Long Beach, California, y diputado diocesano. Él predicó un sermón en la Fiesta de los Santos Inocentes acerca de esta matanza a tiros, en la que invitó a los que estuvieran interesados en encontrar medios para combatir la violencia armada a reunirse en enero de 2013. Entre otras decisiones, esto llevó a la aprobación de una resolución que ahora ha sido sometida a la consideración de la Convención General.

Los auspiciadores de la resolución intentaron proponer acciones legislativas que pudieran lograrse en la próxima década, dijo Commins. Si bien una legislación federal podría no aprobarse, “los estados pueden de seguro promulgar cosas”.

“Para mí, el argumento de esto es que sólo estamos intentando limitar la violencia armada”, dijo. “En verdad no estamos abordando el problema cultural del pueblo violento que somos”.

Su propia pasión en torno al tema proviene de una experiencia de primera mano con los resultados de la violencia armada como un sacerdote en varias parroquias: un tiroteo a las puertas de su iglesia durante un estudio bíblico; feligreses retenidos a punta de pistola y puestos boca abajo en la acera; el suicidio de un joven de 16 años con una pistola; una niña de 12 años a quien alcanzó un balazo en la frente mientras iba de camping con sus padres.

La experiencia personal con la violencia armada también alimenta la pasión sobre el tema del obispo Scott Hayashi de la Diócesis de Utah, a quien le dispararon a quemarropa en el costado durante un robo mientras trabajaba en una tienda de discos en Tacoma, Washington, cuando tenía 19 años.

Como cuenta en un vídeo en el que llama a un diálogo de todas las partes sobre el tema de detener la violencia armada, él pasó dos meses en el hospital y años de ulterior reflexión y oración para recuperarse.

Hayashi le dijo a ENS él se sentía “indeciso” respecto a las resoluciones de la Convención General. “¿Quién no querría hacer lo que estas resoluciones instan?”, preguntó. “Creo que nosotros, como Convención, aprobaremos ésas. Creo que las aprobaremos fácilmente”.

Pero, añadió, “creo a veces que nosotros en la Iglesia Episcopal hacemos declaraciones audaces, y no necesariamente llevamos a cabo algo con ellas”.

La aprobación de las resoluciones ayudará a los promotores [de esa causa], que puedan señalarlas como la posición oficial de la Iglesia. “En ese sentido estoy a favor”, dijo.

Él ve la necesidad, sin embargo, de que se entable una conversación a fondo con todo el mundo en la mesa —los que abogan por el control de las armas, los dueños de armas, los miembros de la Asociación Nacional del Fusil (NRA), las víctimas de la violencia de las armas de fuego y sus familias— sobre cómo combatir la violencia armada, dijo. “Creo que donde estamos como nación es un sitio de profundas divisiones, donde ni siquiera podemos tener la conversación”.

“Sí las resoluciones [de la Convención General] son buenas”, recalcó. Pero “si uno realmente quiere que nuestro gobierno actúe, uno tiene que crear una corriente de opinión”.

Para generar eso, el primer paso es crear un espacio de diálogo seguro, para decir: “tenemos un problema. Estas armas de fuego se están usando para matar personas inocentes. Están en malas manos. ¿Qué podemos hacer para frenar esto?”, arguyó él. La Iglesia Episcopal tiene la posibilidad de crear ese espacio, sugirió Hayashi.

El desfile del 28 de junio contra la violencia armada “un llamado a exigir un terreno común”, dijo. “Yo creo que tenemos muchísimo más terreno común del que la mayoría de las personas se da cuenta”.

Commins fue mostró menos entusiasta respecto a propiciar un diálogo con todos los participantes, arguyendo que los dueños de armas y la NRA habían dispuesto de muchísimo tiempo publicitario y que era más necesario escuchar a los afectados por la violencia armada.

“Creo que debería imponérseles, a los dueños de armas, una moratoria de un año para hablar de armas”, afirmó. Al día siguiente de que no maten a nadie en Estados Unidos con un arma de fuego, “los dueños de armas pueden empezar a hablar otra vez”.

— Sharon Sheridan es corresponsal de ENS. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Deputies elect 13 Church Pension Fund trustees; two clergy Executive Council members

ENS Headlines - Sunday, June 28, 2015

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City] The House of Deputies on June 28 elected 13 trustees of the Church Pension Fund and two clergy members of Executive Council.

Six lay members of Executive Council are to be elected when the House of Deputies reconvenes on June 29.

Elected as Church Pension Fund trustees were:

  • Martha Bedell Alexander, Diocese of North Carolina;
  • The Very Rev. Tracey Lind, Diocese of Ohio;
  • The Rt. Rev. Brian Prior, Diocese of Minnesota;
  • The Rev. Thomas James Brown, Diocese of Massachusetts;
  • Sandra Swan, Diocese of East Carolina;
  • Margaret A. Niles, Diocese of Olympia;
  • Canon Anne M. Vickers, Diocese of Southwest Florida;
  • The Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel, Diocese of Olympia;
  • The Rev. Canon Sandye A. Wilson, Diocese of Newark;
  • The Rev. Tim Mitchell, Diocese of Kentucky;
  • Sandra F. McPhee, Diocese of Chicago;
  • Kevin B. Lindahl, Diocese of Colorado; and
  • The Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel III, Diocese of Pennsylvania.

The trustees of the Church Pension Fund have a role in the governance and oversight of the Church Pension Group, including the Church Pension Fund and several affiliates.  The trustees make decisions affecting investment strategy, pension policy and benefits and other Church Pension Group services.

The two clergy members elected to the Executive Council were:

  • The Rev. Canon Mally Ewing Lloyd, Diocese of Massachusetts; and
  • The Rev. Jabriel Simmonds Ballentine, Diocese of Central Florida.

The Executive Council carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1)(a).  It currently comprises 38 members, 20 of whom (four bishops, four priests or deacons and 12 lay people) are elected by General Convention and 18 (one clergy and one lay each) by the nine provincial synods for six-year terms, plus the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies.

Proposals are being considered at General Convention to reduce the size of the Executive Council.

— Tracy J. Sukraw is part of the Episcopal News Service team covering General Convention.

Video: Bishops lead march against gun violence

ENS Headlines - Sunday, June 28, 2015

[Episcopal News Service — Salt Lake City] About 1,500 General Convention participants joined a Bishops United Against Gun Violence procession in Salt Lake City the morning of June 28.

The prayerful procession walked the half-mile from the Salt Palace Convention Center to Pioneer Park while marchers sang hymns and prayed. Members of Utah anti-gun violence groups and civil rights organizations joined in.

Diocese of Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton said society faces what he called an “unholy trinity” of poverty, racism and violence. Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry told participants that they had gotten up early to join the 7:15 a.m. procession because “that unholy trinity threatens the life of us all.”