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Rapidísimas

ENS Headlines - Monday, September 29, 2014

Nicolás Maduro, presidente de Venezuela es hipersensible a cualquier crítica que se le haga. La víctima más reciente ha sido la popular actriz cubano-venezolana María Conchita Alonso que ha sido despojada de su ciudadanía venezolana después de vivir en la tierra de Bolívar durante muchos años. Su “pecado” defender a las víctimas de la represión gubernamental y sugerir la intervención de Estados Unidos en la complicada situación venezolana. En su discurso en la asamblea de las Naciones Unidas, Maduro tuvo que sufrir la pena de que casi el 90 por ciento de los delegados abandonó la sala.

La situación del Medio Oriente se ha complicado aún más al aprobar la Cámara de Representantes de Estados Unidos (de mayoría republicana) que se entrene y arme a los rebeldes sirios moderados para enfrentase al grupo radical llamado Estado Islámico. El presidente Barack Obama reiteró que las fuerzas norteamericanas no tendrán “acciones bélicas” en su lucha contra los milicianos.

Indígenas y sindicalistas ecuatorianos se han manifestado contra el gobierno de Rafael Correa, presidente de Ecuador que quiere aprobar una enmienda constitucional que le permitiría seguir en el poder después de finalizar su actual mandado que termina en el 2017. La principal concentración tuvo lugar en las calles aledañas a la sede presidencial. Manifestaciones similares tuvieron lugar en otras ciudades ecuatorianas.

La presidente Dilma Rousseff, presidenta de Brasil, ha enfocado los cañones de su propaganda política contra la sindicalista Marina Silva que iba adelante en las encuestas de opinión. Hubo momentos que la aspirante a la silla presidencial aventajaba en 10 puntos a la Rousseff. El aspirante conservador Aécio Neves se ha unido a la campaña contra Silva. Un comentarista político dijo que “los electores brasileños están perplejos ante unas elecciones con no pocas incógnitas”.

Las palabras del papa Francisco ante tres visitantes argentinos han generado no pocos comentarios. Según la prensa italiana el papa dijo “Si fuera por mí estaría en China mañana mismo”. Algunos comentaristas han dicho que el papa no conoce cómo lidiar con una ideología tan complicada llena de contradicciones y fraudes.

La ordenación de mujeres al ministerio de la iglesia tiene larga historia. En el año 398 el IV Sínodo de Cartago decidió que “una mujer aunque sea erudita y santa, no presumirá enseñar a hombres en una asamblea y no podrá bautizar”.

Siguiendo su costumbre de reunirse fuera de Estados Unidos cada diez años, la Cámara de Obispos de la Iglesia Episcopal acaba de tener su reunión semi-anual en Taiwán. En ocasiones anteriores la cámara se ha reunido en México y Panamá.

Por años las iglesias de Alemania han estado recibiendo el impuesto que se cobra a los ciudadanos según su denominación. Ahora a partir del año que viene la retención del impuesto será obligatoria. Esto ha hecho que muchos miembros abandonen sus iglesias. El año pasado la Iglesia Católica Romana recibió 5,450 millones de euros y la Iglesia Evangélica Alemana (EKD) 4,840 millones de euros. Tradicionalmente las iglesias han utilizado parte de esos ingresos en obras de desarrollo humano y asistencia social en los países pobres. Información del gobierno alemán indica que el año pasado 179,000 católicos romanos se dieron de baja como creyentes. Comentaristas eclesiásticos atribuyen la merma en parte al escándalo protagonizado por el obispo de Limburg, Frank-Peter Tebartzs-van Elst que se gastó 40 millones de dólares de la iglesia para su provecho personal.

David Bergesen, misionero norteamericano profesor de seminario, que pasó gran parte de su ministerio en América Latina principalmente en México, Guatemala y Uruguay ha fallecido a la edad de 88 años. Le sobreviven su esposa Victoria y dos hijos adultos. Sus alumnos lo recuerdan como un hombre erudito, disciplinado y recio. Su obra perdurará por muchos años.

Líderes de la comunidad anglicana de Bagdad dicen que se les “desgarra el alma” ver lo que los cristianos están sufriendo. Un niño cuyo padre fue asesinado fue “partido en dos” por miembros del Estado Islámico en la ciudad de Qaraqosh. El vicario de la comunidad dijo que se necesitan tres cosas esenciales: oraciones, alimentos y medicinas.

ORACIÓN: Señor, ten piedad, Cristo ten piedad, Señor ten piedad.

Archbishop of Canterbury supports military action in Iraq

ENS Headlines - Monday, September 29, 2014

[Lambeth Palace press release] Transcript of Archbishop Justin Welby’s speech in the House of Lords debate today on developments in Iraq.

“My Lords, a danger of this debate is that we speak only of Iraq and Syria, only of ISIL, and only of armed force.

“ISIL and its dreadful barbarity are only one example of a global phenomenon, as the noble Baroness, the Leader of the House mentioned. We will not thus be able to deal with a global, holistic danger if the only weapons we are capable of using are military and administrative, and if we only focus on one place.

“As the noble Lord, the Leader of the Opposition, set out so clearly, we do need to take this action now. But it is also necessary, over time, that any response to ISIL and to this global danger be undertaken on an ideological and religious basis that sets out a more compelling vision, a greater challenge and a more remarkable hope than that offered by ISIL. We must face the fact that for some young Muslims the attractions of jihadism outweigh the materialism of a consumer society.

“As the noble Lord, Lord Alderdice implied, if we struggle against a call to eternal values, however twisted and perverted they may be, without a better story, we will fail in the long term. The vision we need to draw on is life-giving. It is rooted in the truths of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, relying heavily in the Middle Ages on the wealth of Islamic learning, the Abrahamic faiths – not necessarily enemies – and enriched by others such as Hinduism and Sikhism in recent generations. Religious leaders must up their game and the church is playing its part. It is the role of the church I serve to point beyond our imperfect responses and any material, national or political interest to the message of Jesus Christ and the justice, healing and redemption that he offers.

“But in the here and now, there is justification for the use of armed force on humanitarian grounds, to enable oppressed victims to find safe space. ISIL – and for that matter Boko Haram and others – have as their strategy to change the facts on the ground so as to render completely absurd any chance of helping the targets of their cruelty.

“It is clear from talking this week with Christian and other leaders across the region that they want support. The solidarity in the region is added to by the important statement from the Grand Imam of al-Azhar on Wednesday.

“The action proposed today is right, but we must not rely on a short-term solution on a narrow front to a global, ideological, religious, holistic and trans-generational challenge. We must demonstrate that there is a positive vision far greater and more compelling than the evil of ISIL and its global clones. Such a vision offers us and the world hope, an assurance of success in this struggle, not the endless threat of darkness.”

Missouri churches offer hope in Ferguson’s tense, uncertain times

ENS Headlines - Friday, September 26, 2014

The food bank of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Ferguson serves the community through various satellite locations. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Steve Lawler

[Episcopal News Service] Eighteen-year-old “C.J.” remembers his Normandy High School classmate Michael Brown “as just a chilled out sort of guy. He was just a cool dude, a rapper, who was really into making his own music. Being the teen that he was, I just would never have known that he would have gotten killed like that. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Nearly two months after the Aug. 6 fatal police shooting of Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager accused of shoplifting, many in the Ferguson, Missouri community still struggle to make sense of the shooting, the violence it elicited and the festering wounds it exposed.

There are fears of a reprise of violence as the metro area awaits the outcomes of an ongoing grand jury investigation, and of the judicial processes regarding the officer involved in the shooting, Darren Wilson, who is white, and ultimately the realization of justice for both the Brown and Wilson families.

In spite of the “incredible sense of tension and fear that exists just beneath the surface,” Episcopalians and others are moving forward, partnering through conversation, ministry and economic development to spark change, according to the Rev. Marc Smith, rector of Ascension Church in St. Louis, where C.J. has been a lifelong member.

The food bank of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Ferguson serves the community through various satellite locations. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Steve Lawler

The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Relief & Development recently awarded a $40,000 grant to Ascension and two other north St. Louis churches. Each church operates a food pantry, and with the grant and other resources, is focused on collaborative community engagement.

Communities of faith are positioned to facilitate positive change, according to C.J. and others. “Ascension is a family church, for real,” said C.J., whose first week of classes at Southern Illinois University Carbondale coincided with the Ferguson violence. “There’s just a lot of love there, a lot of activity.”

He said the violence “makes me want to do better, not just for Ferguson as a whole, but to finish college, to do big things so I can be able to give back to the city. From seeing [what happened to] Michael Brown, that’s what I want to do. It makes me want to work harder.”

Jamaican-American Leah Clyburn remembers her home being egged and her brother repeatedly racially profiled by authorities while growing up in their predominantly white Affton, Missouri neighborhood near St. Louis. She also learned a kind of racial resilience because “I wanted so badly to be part of the group,” she recalled. “I wasn’t allowed in the homes of some of my classmates, so I learned to hide in the basement if their parents came home.”

After the Ferguson violence, she opened up for the first time about her experience, with a racially diverse group of other parishioners at the invitation of the Very Rev. Mike Kinman, dean of St. Louis’s Christ Church Cathedral.

“I remember looking at my mom as I said it because she didn’t know these things and I hadn’t told her about them,” Clyburn told ENS.

“It was really important for me to be vulnerable that day. I thought, the hard conversation is live and it’s happening,” recalled Clyburn, 31, outreach coordinator for Faith Aloud, a St. Louis reproductive rights nonprofit agency. That conversation prompted her to initiate a similar one with co-workers and the agency has joined “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and plans to participate in its Oct. 10-13 national call to action.

Other participants of that early conversation felt “like this was expected to happen, eventually going to happen and there’s a long road to change,” Clyburn said. “That was the older African-American people who have lived in Missouri for years and … it hurts because they have been in this for a long time, and it’s still here. It made me sad to hear that.”

But, hearing confusion and uncertainty from white parishioners, on the other hand, felt refreshing, she said. “For me not to hear things like, ‘you people need to move on from this’, but to hear them say they didn’t know what to do, that was humility.”

Alice F. Stanley, 62, said that the conversations are important because “you have to start someplace. If people can talk, if they can be honest, there’s hope they can change behaviors. You have to start at ground zero and build your way up. The question becomes: what are you building yourself up to be?”

Stanley, a St. Louis native and cathedral congregation member for 39 years, recalled living with segregation and being “always aware of the divisions of race. We were told we had to be twice as smart and work twice as hard as white folks,” said the adjunct Harris State University professor.

Ascension Church’s Smith said that “there are several generations of people in the white community who’ve come to believe both naively and self-servingly that we are somehow a post-racial community, or that whatever racism exists in St. Louis is at an individual level, some individual bad behavior rather than institutionalized in politics, the educational system and social systems.”

Additionally, St. Louis County’s 91 distinct municipalities make “it easy to turf the problem to somebody else,” Smith said. “It’s not like St. Louis County is composed of one or two or even five large municipalities where everybody feels they have a stake in what’s going on.”

Even the Rev. Steve Lawler, rector of St. Stephen’s Church in Ferguson, which has a history of actively engaging the community, said the violence taught him the city “wasn’t as broad or as inclusive as I had thought. I’ve had to struggle with thinking that I understood when I really didn’t understand and I’m still coming to understand.”

Listening, plain and simple, is key, and the difficult conversations must continue, according to Kinman. “The question is, not how do we respond to Ferguson, but how do we respond to the reality that Ferguson revealed? It’s a reality that’s all over the northern part of the county and it’s long-term, structural. How do we shift resources to a region that has been resource-starved?

“It’s also a call for us to look in the mirror as a congregation,” he added. “We have a somewhat racially diverse congregation but in what ways do we live a segregated life? Instead of saying how do we go out there, it’s a question of saying how do we look at ourselves and say how are we being given the opportunity to embody in this cathedral community what we hope for the St. Louis region?”

Working harder, ‘embodying hope’
Once St. Stephen’s rector Lawler realized that the church’s food pantry wasn’t as visible within the community as he’d previously believed, he set about to change it.

Consequently, “we’ve become a hub for six locations” to distribute food to local residents, using tents and donated space staged at various locations throughout the community, Lawler said. “The important thing is, we are moving away from a sense of ownership and quickly into a sense of collaboration and relationship.”

Similarly, the Rev. Michael Dunnington, priest-in-charge at All Saints Church in St. Louis, said the historically African-American congregation has partnered its food pantry with Community Health in Partnership Services (CHIPS) to offer free monthly health screenings.

Dunnington said that the food pantry typically is open on Saturdays and weekly feeds about 300 people. As one of the grant recipients the church “is hoping to enhance the quality of what we’re doing” through offering nutritional and health education.

“We have been really working to reconnect with the folks in the neighborhood because a lot of our parishioners don’t live here,” he said.

In addition to partnering with health-related agencies, the three churches are hoping to use the grant to explore long-term economic development and business management assistance for local small businesses and to offer vocational training for area youth.

“The bottom line is, we want to do everything we can to invest over the long-term, to leverage the investment the Episcopal Church is making to assist businesses that already were struggling to grow and to thrive,” Ascension Church’s Smith said.

Among the proposals under consideration is development of a food delivery service to train and employ youth. “We plan to acquire a delivery vehicle, train young people under the age of 25 from within the community as drivers, teach them the basics of customer service, scheduling, reporting and pair each of them with a mentor to assist them with developing their work life and encourage them if need be to complete their GEDs or to enroll in vocational or academic education,” Smith said.

“It is a way to help young people get the skills and confidence they need to enter into the work force.”

Community input is key. “We realize that there are decades, if not centuries of history that inform why Ferguson happened and it’s going to take concerted effort over an extended period of time to even begin to address these issues in a meaningful way,” Smith said.

Additionally, Smith said it’s important for the church “to continue to be the prophetic voice of justice. The hard part of that is it’s not just justice for Michael Brown but justice for the police officer as well, whatever that is.”

It involves the truth-telling and reconciliation “that we need in our ministries and witness but also in our interaction with the larger community,” he added. “The call upon all of St. Louis is to come clean with who we have been as a community, what the consequences of our history are and to begin to galvanize together responsibly to work toward reconciliation and a better St. Louis.”

The church’s role is, with “people floundering, flailing, weeping, trying to understand, to simply reach out and love people and to love the community that St. Louis is and help convey that, for all our warts, this is a beloved and special place.”

The Rev. Renee Fenner, rector of St. Barnabas Church in Florissant near St. Louis, likes to remind people that next steps include prayer and that the work of the diocesan commission to dismantle racism continues.

A dismantling racism workshop had been scheduled at St. Barnabas before the Ferguson violence, added Fenner, who is African-American. “I told my parishioners this had to be a God thing … so we could get dialogue going as mandated in the resolutions from convention, just to talk about history and race relations and what St. Barnabas’ history in all of that was. It just so happened that it was right on time.”

The workshop facilitated a conversation, not only about that history but also about “what it means to be the body and blood of Christ, and welcoming everyone as children of God,” she said.

“There was no pointing fingers or name-calling or anything like that,” she said. “It was a very Christ-like and safe place to have the conversation that needs to happen, and people said what was on their minds and hearts. There are people who want to do more but don’t know exactly what to do and in times like that when you don’t know what to do, you turn to God in prayer,” she added.

Meanwhile, the cathedral also is hosting a series of collaborative leadership development workshops about pursuing racial justice and effecting change and is “looking to include the natural leadership that already exists in the communities most affected by this.”

Realistically, Kinman added, conversations held now will be invaluable later.

“We need to be prepared for the grand jury’s ruling,” he said. “If there is not an indictment, we need to be prepared for the response of the community that really has had it and that would take a non-indictment as a personal affront. And we need to be ready to deal with the ripple effects that will happen not just in Ferguson but all over this region.”

And not just regionally, he added. “We have been sowing the seeds of this present time by ignoring these cries for a long, long time.

“What I would say to other cities and metro regions of the country is, don’t think this is just St. Louis, that this is just Ferguson. Take this opportunity to look in the mirror and say where is Jesus? Let’s listen to those voices crying out.”

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

Jewish Ark of the Covenant and Torah installed at St. Paul’s Chapel

ENS Headlines - Thursday, September 25, 2014

Photo courtesy of Tamid

[LAK Public Relations press release] A 100-year-old Jewish Ark of the Covenant (aron ha kodesh) was dedicated at St. Paul’s Chapel by Tamid, the Downtown Synagogue on September 24, 2014 at the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. The Ark was found and recovered from the old Mezeritz synagogue on the Lower East Side in April 2013 just days before the building was to be sold and redeveloped. Now, after being restored, the Ark will continue its role of serving to hold and protect its ancient Torah scrolls, at a new spiritual and physical home.

“It’s a privilege to be at St. Paul’s, one of New York’s oldest and most venerated sacred houses of prayer. And now the Ark will be a permanent Jewish presence here, weaving a new thread into the history of New York, one that is shared by all,” said Rabbi Darren Levine, spiritual leader of Tamid.

Since 2012, Tamid has held services for Shabbat and Jewish holidays at St. Paul’s Chapel. St. Paul’s is part of the Parish of Trinity Wall Street. Trinity’s centuries-long tradition of interfaith relationships and cooperation dates back to the 1700’s when the Jewish community donated funds to complete the steeple of Trinity Church, an Episcopal congregation. In the 1970s, St. Paul’s served as a prayer space for Muslim construction workers who were working on the Twin Towers site.

“There is a Hebrew word, beshert, which can be translated as ‘meant to be.’ I believe that is the case with this Ark of the Covenant. Saved from the Mezeritz synagogue, given a new life by the Tamid congregation and a new home at St. Paul’s Chapel, it binds us together as New Yorkers and as people of faith,” said the Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, 17th rector of Trinity Wall Street.

Sergio Freitas, a New York-based artist and furniture restoration expert, was called on to restore the Ark. “I am a spiritual Catholic man from Brazil, and when I looked at the Ark, then in 25 pieces, I knew it would be a creative project that I would want to try. But the wood was brittle and it would not be easy.”

When word of the Ark’s new congregation first went public in May 2013, Rabbi Levine was contacted by Bruce Salkin and Ellen Yaverbaum Salkin. Ms. Salkin said, “My parents and grandparents were involved in that synagogue, they were all from Mezeritz, Poland. And my grandfather had his bar mitzvah in that shul – so did Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky.”

Since then, the Salkins have become involved at Tamid and helped lead a Tamid delegation trip to Mezeritz, Poland. Nothing but a few memories of Mezeritzer descendants living in Israel, America, and Canada are alive. Once a thriving Jewish community in Poland of 18,000 people, nothing remains, everything was destroyed by the Nazis. Yet as luck would have it, there are some photographs of the old synagogue in Mezeritz, Poland and one picture of the first Ark.

While Tamid congregants were in Poland, the actual Ark was being restored by Mr. Freitas at a craft shop in Astoria, Queens. After six months, the Ark was complete.   It now stands in St. Paul’s Chapel, where it will be on view year round for millions of visitors to see.

For more information, visit www.tamidnyc.org/ark.

Episcopal Relief & Development update on Ebola crisis and response

ENS Headlines - Thursday, September 25, 2014

Episcopal Relief & Development has posted a Frequently Asked Questions document about the Ebola crisis and the organization’s response through local Church partners in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Additionally, bulletin inserts are now available for congregations wishing to raise awareness about the crisis and support the response through the Ebola Response Fund.

On the Episcopal Relief & Development blog, Senior Program Officer Abiy Seifu writes about how the Church’s long-term presence and dedicated work in communities now impacted by Ebola enables it to mobilize existing networks and program teams to handle the current crisis, and positions it to assist during the post-Ebola recovery phases.

Ellen Wondra elected to World Council of Churches commission

ENS Headlines - Thursday, September 25, 2014

[Bexley-Seabury press release] The Rev. Dr. Ellen K. Wondra, research professor of theology and ethics at the Bexley Seabury Theological Seminary Federation, has been elected to the World Council of Churches Commission on Faith and Order for a term that will last until 2022.

The Standing Commission on Faith and Order, described by the World Council of Churches as “a community of ecumenical leaders and theologians who for more than a century have laboured for the visible unity of Christ’s Church through concentrated theological dialogue,” comprises nearly 50 theologians and consultants and meets for one week every two years. Wondra’s first meeting will be in June 2015.

“Ellen’s passion for ecumenical dialogue has enlivened her career and the seminary she serves,” said the Rev. Dr. Roger. A. Ferlo, president of Bexley Seabury. “Her service on the Standing Commission on Faith and Order will be a boon to Bexley Seabury, the Episcopal Church, and our ecumenical partners across the globe.”

Wondra served on the Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations of the Episcopal Church from 2001-2006 and on the Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the U.S.A. (ARCUSA) from 1992 – 2010. She was the co-coordinator of that group’s project on authority from 1996-2008.

The Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting, a 1972 alumnus of Seabury and current Federation board member, served with Wondra on ARCUSA. He is the retired bishop of Iowa and is currently assisting bishop in Chicago.

“Dr. Wondra is one of the leading ecumenists in The Episcopal Church,” said Epting. “I cannot imagine what I would have done, during my years as the Presiding Bishop’s Deputy for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Relations, without her wise counsel and rich experience. I am thrilled that she will now represent us on the WCC’s venerable Commission on Faith and Order.”

Wondra, who holds an MDiv from Church Divinity School of the Pacific and a PhD in Christian theology from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, became professor at Bexley Hall Episcopal Seminary in 1989 and professor of theology and ethics at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in 2004. From 2008-2014, she served as Seabury’s academic dean, and from 2006 through December 2013, she served as editor of the Anglican Theological Review.

As an Episcopal center for learning and discipleship at the crossroads of the nation, the Bexley Hall Seabury Western Seminary Federation forms lay and clergy leaders to proclaim God’s mission in the world, creating new networks of Christian formation, entrepreneurial leadership and bold inquiry in the service of the Gospel. Learn more at bexleyseabury.edu.

La Cámara de Obispos deja Taiwán con ‘corazones y mentes expandidos’

ENS Headlines - Thursday, September 25, 2014

El coro de la Cámara de Obispos y sus cónyuges ensaya antes de la eucaristía del 23 de septiembre, día de la clausura de la reunión de la Cámara en Taipéi. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg para ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Taipéi, Taiwán] Miembros de la Cámara de Obispos están saliendo de la reunión celebrada aquí con una visión más amplia del ministerio de las iglesias Episcopal y Anglicana en Asia.

“Esta reunión ha ofrecido abundantes oportunidades de expandir nuestra visión de lo que es posible mientras participamos en la misión de Dios”, dijo la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori en una declaración por escrito que se dio a conocer al término de la reunión que se extendió del 17 al 23 de septiembre, la primera reunión de la Cámara en Asia.

“Hemos creado nuevas relaciones con nuestros asociados en Hong Kong, Japón, Corea, las Filipinas y con nuestros hermanos y hermanas en Taiwán”, expresó ella. “Hemos descubierto nuevas interpretaciones de los viejos relatos y nuevas perspectivas teológicas que se arraigan en diferentes partes de la creación de Dios. Con corazones y mentes expandidas, nos reconocemos parte de un organismo mucho más grande y con vínculos más profundos de lo que imaginábamos”.

Jefferts Schori calificó la hospitalidad de la diócesis anfitriona de Taiwán como “medida llena, apretada y desbordante” [Lucas 6:38].

“Que Dios siga bendiciendo abundantemente a esta parte de la Iglesia Episcopal”, afirmó ella.

Poco después de concluida la reunión de Taipéi, Jefferts Schori daba a conocer en un comunicado que había decidido no presentarse a elecciones por un segundo período como Obispa Primada.

Dean Wolfe, obispo de la Diócesis de Kansas y vicepresidente de la Cámara de Obispos, dijo en su declaración que “todos nosotros que tenemos feligreses de Asia hemos adquirido una comprensión más profunda del contexto del cual provienen nuestros hermanos y hermanas y un mayor aprecio por el testimonio cristiano a lo largo de la cuenca del Pacífico”.

Wolfe también abordó el tema de la razón para viajar a Taiwán. “Hemos hecho un largo viaje y hemos gastado no poco dinero para venir a Taiwán a reforzar un principio que nos es caro, que cada diócesis es un miembro esencial de nuestra familia en la fe y que ninguna diócesis es demasiado pequeña ni queda demasiado lejos”, señaló.

Diane Jardine Bruce, obispa sufragánea de la Diócesis de Los Ángeles, y secretaria auxiliar de la Cámara, se hacía eco de ese sentir al decir que “con la creciente comunidad asiática en Estados Unidos, especialmente en la costa occidental, incluida mi diócesis de Los Ángeles, el tener un conocimiento y un testimonio de primera mano del contexto y el contenido del ministerio y la misión, podemos abordar de manera más directa nuestras mutuas necesidades”.

Y el obispo Todd Ousley de Michigan Oriental, copresidente del Comité de Planificación de la Cámara, evocó la descripción que hiciera el día antes el arzobispo Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu de cómo la Iglesia Anglicana de Japón (Nippon Sei Ko Kai) se había comprometido a laborar en pro de la paz y la reconciliación, basándose en el arrepentimiento.

“Me voy de esta reunión teniendo presente que ser un apóstol, alguien que es enviado, e invitar a otros a que envíen personas a proclamar el mensaje de paz y reconciliación de Dios, no debe consistir en precipitarse a la acción con actividades y programas”, dijo Ousley. “Debemos comenzar más bien con un autoexamen y con las acciones espirituales del arrepentimiento que fundamenta nuestro mensaje y le presta integridad. Sólo entonces nuestro mensaje de paz y reconciliación será recibido como la Buena Nueva que en verdad es”.

Los textos completos de las cuatro declaraciones de los obispos se encuentran aquí.

El obispo de Taiwán, David Jung-Hsin Lai, preside la eucaristía de clausura el 23 de septiembre en la reunión de la Cámara de Obispos en Taipéi. La Rda. Stephanie Spellers y el Rdo. Simón Bautista Betances, capellanes de los obispos, asistieron en la eucaristía. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg para ENS.

También en el día de la clausura
Durante una reunión de trabajo el 23 de septiembre, la última de las siete jornadas del encuentro, los obispos le pidieron a Jefferts Schori que consultara con el arzobispo de Cantórbery, Justin Welby, “y buscara modos en que [lo miembros de] la Comunión pudieran ser agentes de la paz” en la situación rápidamente cambiante que conlleva la militancia islámica y sus amenazas a los cristianos y a otras personas. Jefferts Schori dijo que ella hablaría con Welby dentro de unas pocas semanas y le transmitiría la inquietud de la Cámara.

Más tarde en la reunión de trabajo de esa sesión, Clifton Daniel, obispo provisional de la Diócesis de Pensilvania, presentó una moción de que la Cámara de Obispos “expresara su gratitud a nuestra Obispa Primada por su testimonio, su vida y su ministerio como nuestra obispa presidente y deseándole buena suerte mientras el desempeño de su cargo continúa”.

“¿Hay algún debate al respecto?”, preguntó Jefferts Schori provocando risas. “Esto me resulta embarazoso”.

El vicepresidente Wolfe intervino para decir: Todos aquellos que estén a favor, manifiéstenlo diciendo…” sólo para verse interrumpido por los obispos que se levantaron a aplaudir.

Antes de la reunión de trabajo, la cámara se reunió de manera informal, tiempo en el cual los obispos, individualmente, pusieron al día a sus colegas de los asuntos actuales en sus vidas y diócesis. He aquí algunos de esos comentarios:

  • Presentándose como “el obispo de Ferguson”, Wayne Smith, de la Diócesis de Misurí,le dijo a la Cámara que la muerte a tiros de Michael Brown el 9 de agosto, que tenía una connotación racial, así como los disturbios que trajo como secuela en esa comunidad, tenían profundas raíces. “La ciudad y el condado de San Luis son un caos, pero hemos estado mucho tiempo para llegar hasta ahí”, dijo, y explicó que cuando los colonos franceses criollos llegaron a lo que ahora es San Luis hace 250 años trajeron consigo a unos 30 esclavos. Desde el comienzo, agregó, “la cultura dominante ha sido la de tratar de privar a los afroamericanos de su personalidad, y la cultura dominante ha prevalecido y la cultura dominante ha ganado”. Smith recordó que Dred Scott, de quien el Tribunal Supremo de EE.UU. dijo en 1857 que no era ni libre ni ciudadano, está enterrado a tres millas de Ferguson. “El medio de robar a los afrodescendientes de su ciudadanía aún existe y se sigue aplicando muy bien en la ciudad y el condado de San Luis”, siguió diciendo Smith. “La opresión continúa”. Él le dijo a los obispos que los comentarios acerca del carácter de Brown, positivos o negativos, no son útiles. “Lo que es importante para las personas que se ven como yo… es salirle al encuentro a la ira de la comunidad en esa secuela y guardar silencio. Tenemos mucho que aprender de esa ira —no de la violencia, pero sí de la ira. La ira está ahí y hay una razón para esa ira, acumulada por 250 años” Smith dijo que se sentía orgulloso de los episcopales, tanto clérigos como laicos, de la diócesis y de fuera, que respondieron a “esta herida a nuestra vida colectiva”.
  • Mark Beckwith, obispo de la Diócesis de Newark, reportó que había hablado a menudo con el arzobispo liberiano Jonathan Hart acerca de la epidemia de ébola que está devastando su país. “La economía que, para empezar, estaba en una situación muy precaria se ha ido a pique debido a esto”, dijo Bekwith, haciendo notar que todas las escuelas están cerradas, incluida la Universidad [diocesana] de Cuttington que tiene la mayor escuela de enfermería de Liberia. Cierto número de los graduados de Cuttington ha muerto durante el brote, añadió [el reportaje de ENS puede encontrarse aquí.]. “Las iglesias están abiertas y están ofreciendo cultos con precauciones de seguridad que no habían experimentado antes”, explicó Bekwith. Durante los 20 años de guerra civil la gente sabía quién era el enemigo, le dijo Hart a Beckwith. Con el ébola “el enemigo” no es tan obvio y, dijo Beckwith “la gente está acusando a otros en pueblos y aldeas de ser portadores de la enfermedad de manera que los disturbios sociales están descontrolados”. La epidemia “trasciende lo que cualquier diócesis individual puede hacer” en lo que respecta a ayuda material, agregó Beckwith, para concluir diciendo: El problema es tan masivo que son nuestras oraciones lo que él [el obispo Hart] más nos pide”.
  • Jean Zaché Duracin, el obispo de Haití, le dijo a la Cámara que su país todavía está tratando de recuperarse del devastador terremoto de 2010. “Se han hecho algunos esfuerzos, pero no han sido suficientes para darle al pueblo haitiano una verdadera esperanza”, apuntó. La lucha política, la falta de infraestructura de toda clase, los problemas de educación, de atención sanitaria, de comunicaciones, de electricidad, de desempleo, etc.… Sin embargo, el pueblo haitiano siempre cree en un futuro mejor y es lo que le da alegría aunque sufra”, dijo. En lo que respecta a la diócesis, “siempre hemos dicho que el terremoto no ha destruido a la Iglesia, sino a nuestros edificios. Nuestra comunidad de fe está allí, el amor y la determinación están allí”, afirmó Duracin, añadiendo que todas las iglesias e instituciones diocesanas están funcionando “aunque las dificultades aún siguen presentes”. Con la ayuda de la Iglesia Episcopal, la diócesis ha construido nuevas iglesias y ha reconstruido otras desde el terremoto, especialmente fuera de Puerto Príncipe. La recaudación de fondos para la reconstrucción de la catedral avanza, pero se necesita más dinero, señaló.
  • En respuesta a una pregunta del obispo Prince Singh, de Rochester, acerca del presupuesto para la próxima Conferencia de Lambeth y la especulación respecto a cuándo habrá de celebrarse e incluso si llegará a tener lugar, Jefferts Schori dijo a los obispos que la conferencia probablemente no se celebrará en 2018, lo cual se ajustaría al ciclo tradicional de 10 años de la conferencia. No está teniendo lugar ninguna planificación ni recaudación de fondos para una reunión en 2018, dijo ella. El arzobispo de Cantórbery, Justin Welby “ha expresado con gran claridad que no va a convocar a una [Conferencia de] Lambeth hasta que esté razonablemente seguro de que la gran mayoría de los obispos asistiría. Eso debe ser precedido por una reunión de los primados en la que la gran mayoría de éstos esté presente”, agregó ella. “Mientras él siga viajando por la Comunión para visitar a esos primados, es improbable que convoque a esa reunión, al menos hasta dentro de un año o probablemente de aquí a 18 meses. Por tanto, creo que para la Conferencia de Lambeth tendríamos en perspectiva 2919, y más probablemente 2020”. Sea cuando fuere, la próxima Conferencia de Lambeth “tendrá un formato muy distinto”, predijo ella. Por ejemplo, es probable que los cónyuges no asistan “debido simplemente a problemas de escala y a problemas contextuales regionales. Los cónyuges de los obispos desempeñan papeles muy distintos en diferentes partes de la Comunión y la opinión de la última [conferencia] fue que no les resultó particularmente útil a los cónyuges”, explicó Jefferts Schori.

El 24 de septiembre, algunos obispos se dirigieron a Japón, Hong Kong, Las Filipinas o Corea para continuar informándose acerca de la misión y el ministerio de la Iglesia Anglicana en esos contextos.

La reunión tuvo lugar en el Grand Hotel de Taipéi. Algunos obispos han estado enviando mensajes a través de sus blogs acerca de la reunión y de su visita a Taiwán, entre ellos:

Otros han enviado mensajes de Twitter a través del código #HOBFall14. Esos mensajes pueden leerse aquí.

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

Participan episcopales en la más amplia movilización mundial de protesta por el cambio climático

ENS Headlines - Thursday, September 25, 2014

Don Robinson, miembro de la iglesia episcopal de San Juan en Northampton, Massachusetts, y síndico de la Diócesis de Massachusetts Occidental, alza los brazos en un momento de silencio en la Movilización Climática de los Pueblos que tuvo lugar el 21 de septiembre en Nueva York, dos días antes de que comenzara la Cumbre del Clima en las Naciones Unidas. Foto de Amy Sowder.

[Episcopal News Service] Don Robinson sostiene una hoja de col rizada en la mano derecha, apuntando hacia el cielo, mientras levanta la mirada en una oración silenciosa.

Robinson, de la Diócesis de Massachusetts Occidental, se encontraba entre más de 200 episcopales y anglicanos procedentes de tan lejos como Alabama, Oregón y Sudáfrica, algo apiñados en el espacio que les habían asignado en la calle 58 del centro de Manhattan.

Se encontraba allí en defensa del derecho humano de salvar a la Tierra y a todos sus seres vivientes de los efectos multiplicadores del cambio climático. “Tenemos una responsabilidad como mayordomos de la creación de Dios”, dijo Robinson.

El domingo 21 de septiembre, más de 310.000 personas de todas las religiones participaron en la Movilización Climática de los Pueblos, la mayor demostración sobre el tema del clima de la historia, el mismo día en que tenían lugar una serie de eventos religiosos afines, entre ellos un oficio vespertino multirreligioso en la catedral de San Juan el Teólogo [St. John the Divine] en Nueva York.

Episcopales de toda la nación y de algunos otros países se reunieron en una sección interreligiosa de la Movilización Climática de los Pueblos que tuvo lugar el 21 de septiembre en Nueva York, y en la que portaban carteles y pancartas de protestas, al tiempo que cantaban, oraban y coreaban consignas. Foto de Amy Sowder.

La manifestación hizo un recorrido de 3.5 kilómetros de largo, desde la calle 93 y Central Park West hasta la calle 34, pasando por Columbus Circle y Times Square. Cerca del final, el contingente episcopal portaba carteles en los que podía leerse “No hay Planeta B”, “Por amor de Cristo, graven al carbón” y “Estoy manifestándome a favor de la vida silvestre (la cual también incluye a los humanos)”.

La marcha fue auspiciada por más de 1.200 organizaciones, entre ellas las mayores entidades ambientalistas de la nación, sindicatos obreros, agrupaciones de carácter religioso y defensoras de la justicia social.

Es un movimiento que trasciende a Nueva York e incluso Estados Unidos. Más de 2.800 eventos de solidaridad se llevaron a cabo en 166 países, y se produjeron manifestaciones desde Sydney, Australia y Budapest, Hungría, hasta Dar es-Salam, en Tanzania y Dhaka en Bangladesh.

La iniciativa global se programó para dos días antes de la Cumbre de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Clima, convocada por el secretario general Ban Ki-moon, que empezó el 23 de septiembre en la sede principal de la ONU en Manhattan. La cumbre aplazó un día el debate general de la 69º. sesión de la Asamblea General de la ONU, que se extiende desde el 16 de septiembre hasta el 1 de octubre. Ban, que también tomó parte en la manifestación, invitó en la cumbre a líderes de gobiernos, las finanzas, las empresas y la sociedad civil a hacer audaces anuncios de que tomarán medidas para reducir las emisiones [de hidrocarburos], fortalecerán la resistencia climática y movilizarán la voluntad política para alcanzar un importante acuerdo legal en París en 2015.

Además de Ban, algunos de los participantes más conocidos en la manifestación fueron el vicepresidente Al Gore, el legendario músico Sting, y los actores Leonardo DiCaprio y Mark Ruffalo.

Entre tanto, los líderes de las iglesias Episcopal y Luterana emitieron juntos un mensaje pastoral sobre el cambio climático el 19 de septiembre.

El cambio climático “va a afectar primero a los más pobres de nosotros”, dijo el hermano Bernard Delcourt de la Orden de la Santa Cruz, un monasterio benedictino anglicano de West Park, Nueva York. “Las personas que dependen de recursos naturales para su subsistencia en países en desarrollo ya están siendo afectadas”.

Lella Lowe, miembro de la iglesia episcopal del Redentor [Episcopal Church of the Redeemer] en Mobile, Alabama, programó sus vacacione para asistir a la marcha. Ella esperaba crear la Coalición de Mobile en pro de la Justicia Medioambiental al objeto de evitar que Mobile se convirtiera en un importante centro de transporte de arenas alquitranadas.

“O bien tienes un movimiento con dinero o un movimiento con gente, y cuando no tienes el dinero, tienes que motivar a la gente”, dijo Lowe. “Es hora de ver nuestro mundo como interconectado y que todo lo que hacemos afecta a los demás. Es algo crucial, y hay [muchos que] no quieren reconocerlo”.

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner estaba preparada para compartir su historia en la ceremonia de apertura de la Cumbre de la ONU sobre el Clima el 23 de septiembre. Dos días antes, la joven madre de las Islas Marshall subió al escenario entre otros varios activistas en una conferencia de prensa previa a la manifestación para decirle a la concurrencia cómo su país estaba en peligro de desaparecer debido al aumento del nivel del mar causado por el calentamiento global. Su isla está a dos pies sobre el nivel del mar.

“Debemos actuar ahora. No podemos esperar. Sólo tenemos una tierra a la que llamar patria. Los necesitamos”, dijo Jetnik-Kijiner.

La Movilización Climática de los Pueblos en Nueva York, encabezada por comunidades indígenas y por las que, procedentes de todas partes del mundo, resultan más expuestas al desproporcionado impacto del cambio climático: desde comunidades que fueron severamente afectadas por el huracán Sandy a las que viven cerca de las plantas de carbón y de refinerías de petróleo o de naciones isleñas que ya están contemplando la evacuación. Foto de Amy Sowder.

Durante la manifestación, personas y agrupaciones, con diferencias políticas, religiosas y de otro tipo, se unieron en torno a un tema común. Los grupos interreligiosos se juntaron con científicos para la sección “El debate se acabó”. Otros grupos incluían a sindicatos obreros, agrupaciones de justicia medioambiental, defensores de la energía renovable, defensores de la justicia en materia de agua y comida, campañas anticorporativas y comunidades indígenas.

En la sección interreligiosa, los episcopales desfilaron con judíos, bautistas, menonitas, agnósticos, cuáqueros, humanistas éticos, presbiterianos, metodistas y hare krisnas.

Una mezquita inflable flotaba sobre una réplica de madera del arca de Noé. Globos terráqueos se balanceaban sobre la marea humana.

Meteorólogos de la Administración Nacional Oceánica y Atmosférica anunciaron la semana pasada que este verano era el más caliente que se hubiera registrado en todo el planeta.

“A pesar de los empeños de la ONU, los estados miembros no han hecho lo que debe hacerse —ni siquiera se han acercado— y los niveles de carbono han aumentado, no han disminuido. No sólo es más preocupante que nunca, es moralmente erróneo” dijo el Rdo. Canónigo Jeff Colliher de la iglesia de San Juan [St. John’s Church] en Ellenville, Nueva York, y presidente del ejecutivo del Comité sobre el Medioambiente de la Diócesis Episcopal de Nueva York.

Gran parte del problema, dijo él, está creado por las políticas energéticas de las tres mayores economías con mayor crecimiento poblacional: Estados Unidos, China e India.

Esos países deben contemplar la manera de crear una energía más limpia que la proveniente de combustibles fósiles, dijo Golliher, porque la creación de energía exige muchísima agua, “y estamos contemplando escasez de agua”.

“Podemos estar creando soluciones que beneficien a los ricos más que a los pobres”, dijo Golliher, que asistió a la conferencia anual del Instituto Internacional del Agua en Estocolmo del 31 de agosto al 5 de septiembre. “El problema moral no es si el cambio climático es real —la mayoría de la población ya está enterada de esto. Es qué tipo de debate estamos teniendo para crear una economía basada en derechos humanos y en una sostenibilidad para que todos medren”.

La Academia de Ciencias Nacional de EE.UU. publicó el resultado de una investigación en 2013 en que mostraba los abruptos cambios climáticos que ya están sucediendo, si bien otras amenazas potenciales no son tan inminentes. Las temperaturas más cálidas del Ártico han causado un rápido descenso en el hielo del mar durante la última década. El aumento de los niveles del mar amenaza las regiones costeras y las islas.

Científicos de la Academia informan que otro abrupto cambio climático se encuentra en marcha: la creciente extinción de especies animales y vegetales debido al ritmo actual del cambio climático, un episodio de calentamiento que se espera aumente a lo largo de los próximos 30 a 80 años. El número de días libres de heladas, la longitud y el ritmo de las temporadas de cultivo y la frecuencia e intensidad de los fenómenos extremos son ejemplos de cambios que están ocurriendo tan velozmente que ningún cambio o adaptación resulta lo suficientemente rápido. Combinados con otras causas de pérdida de hábitat, degradación y desmedida explotación, el problema es aun peor, según el informe.

Luego están los crecientes períodos de sequías en el oeste de EE.UU., en el norte de Irán y en África. “Lo que más les preocupa a los científicos es la imprevisibilidad, porque es incontrolable”, dijo Golliher.

“Las emisiones de carbono son tan sólo un problema. Es el indicador. Tiene que ver con el poder, la igualdad y la justicia. ¿En qué clase de mundo queremos vivir?”, preguntó Golliher.

Aunque el número inicial de participantes en la Movilización de los Pueblos del Mundo a las 2:00 P.M. del domingo 21 de septiembre en Nueva York se calculó en unos 310.000, para las 5:00 P.M. tantos otros se incorporaron que la participación final ascendió a cerca de 400.000 personas. Foto de Amy Sowder.

Mientras legiones de personas inundaban las calles de Manhattan para enviar un mensaje a los miembros de la ONU, 30 líderes religiosos, en representación de nueve tradiciones diferentes firmaban una declaración en la que pedían acciones concretas para reducir las emisiones de gas carbónico. La conferencia interreligiosa fue coauspiciada por el Consejo Mundial de Iglesias —que incluye a 245 denominaciones que representan a 560 millones de cristianos en todo el mundo— y Religión y Paz, una coalición interreligiosa con miembros en más de 70 países. Los signatarios provenían de 21 países en seis continentes.

La manifestación se concentró particularmente en resaltar la intersección entre las necesidades de las personas y el cambio climático, teniendo en cuenta vivienda, empleo y educación, dijo Elizabeth Yeampierre, directora ejecutiva de Uprose, que ayudó a dirigir la respuesta comunitaria al huracán Sandy después que azotó a Nueva York en octubre de 2012.

“Creo que existe un temor a trabajar con personas de diferentes comunidades”, dijo Yeampierre.

“Independientemente de cuál sea su campo, su pasión, todo el mundo está afectado por el cambio climático”, añadió, reconociendo que las personas desfavorecidas y el 1 por ciento que se encuentra en el ápice [de la pirámide social] están actuando al respecto y lo están haciendo públicamente.

Todos los cambios importantes y profundos afectan al dinero y a las corporaciones de hidrocarburos que extraen de eso enormes ganancias, dijo Stanely Sturgill, un minero jubilado que trabajó en una mina subterránea de carbón en Kentucky.

“Pero si no hacemos algo, no podremos respirar ni tener agua. Estamos luchando por el gas y el petróleo, pero pronto estaremos luchando por el agua. Una vez que pierdes el agua, no se hable más”.

La familia Rockefeller, herederos de la fortuna de la Standard Oil Co., liquidará sus inversiones de su fundación en combustibles fósiles para ponerlas en fuentes de energía renovables, según un anuncio dado a conocer al tiempo de la Movilización de los Pueblos del Mundo y la Cumbre sobre el Clima en la ONU.

Robinson, que desfiló con sus hermanos episcopales y con activistas interreligiosos, dijo que la Diócesis de Massachusetts Occidental decidió a principios de septiembre pasar alrededor del 20 por ciento de sus $60 millones de inversiones de combustibles fósiles a energía renovable.

“Votamos después de debate un largo y arduo. Eso refleja el compromiso del obispo”, afirmó Robinson.

Él vino a participar en la manifestación en el autobús “Episcopales en un Viaje de Esperanza” con más de 55 personas de las diócesis de Nueva Inglaterra que componen la I Provincia de la Iglesia Episcopal. Organizada por la Rda. Stephanie Johnson, del ministerio de mayordomía medioambiental de la provincia, el autobús recogió a estudiantes de la Escuela de Teología de Berkeley en Yale.

“Creo que esta manifestación puede sentar una pauta”, dijo Johnson. “He estado trabajando en el campo del medio ambiente por más de 30 años, y nunca había visto nada como esto”.

Marchando cerca de Robinson y de Johnson, Anne Rowthorn, miembro de la iglesia episcopal de Santa Ana [St. Ann’s] en Old Lyme, Connecticut, hacía un gesto de asentimiento con la cabeza.

“El tema más perentorio en defensa de la vida es la vida de nuestro planeta”, dijo Rowthorn. “Es el primer problema de nuestro época.

“Tenemos que salir a la calle para hacerle saber a nuestros líderes que nos han decepcionado. Este es un mensaje para esos líderes que se reúnen esta semana”.

– Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

RIP: Christian educator Janie Stevens dies at 67

ENS Headlines - Thursday, September 25, 2014

[Episcopal Diocese of Texas] Janie Taylor Stevens of Houston died peacefully on Monday, September 22, 2014 at age 67. Janie is survived by her husband of 45 years, Jim Stevens; daughter Laura Iverson and husband Jeffrey; daughter Sarah Weisman and husband Stuart; grandchildren Charlie and Inga Iverson and Rosie and Lucy Weisman, sister Patsy Stevens and brother Jobey Taylor. She was predeceased by her parents, James J. and Henrietta Taylor.

Janie was a third generation native of Angleton, Texas. As a senior in high school she fell in love with Jim, who had been her classmate since kindergarten. They were married in 1969 and spent the first three years of their marriage in Austin, returning to Angleton in 1972, where Janie served as a steadfast volunteer for ‘literally every’ school, library and church activity while raising her two daughters. She and Jim moved to Houston in 2005.

Janie began teaching Sunday school while in her teens and there developed a lifelong passion for Christian Education. She served as Director of Religious Education at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in Angleton and at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Lake Jackson for more than two decades. In 2000 she became the director of Christian Formation for the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, a position she held for ten years. During that time, she built resource libraries in Houston, Austin and Tyler and wrote a broad range of curricula for the Diocese’s 150 churches. Her work was instrumental in adapting Episcopal curriculum for today’s multicultural needs. She was a founding member of the national organization for Episcopal educators and a principal author of the national church’s Lifelong Christian Formation Charter. In 2004 she received the Durstan R McDonald Award by the Seminary of the Southwest for her work in education, and at her death she was serving nationally as chair of the Standing Commission for Christian Formation and Lifelong Learning of the Episcopal Church and was a board member of the international Anglican Communion’s Compass Rose Society.

Janie will be remembered as a gifted teacher and sensational storyteller with a profound love for children–especially her own grandchildren. Her gracious hospitality, compassion for others and penchant for creating magical holidays for friends and family marked a life well lived. Janie’s creativity found outlet through an endless stream of gardening and exquisite needlepoint projects. She set a lifelong example as a loving wife and devoted mother. Her courageous and tireless fight against cancer inspired all who knew her.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Avenue, Houston, TX 77002.

A memorial service will be held at 3:30pm on Saturday, September 27 at Christ Church Cathedral.

International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

[Anglican Communion Office] In the name of the Triune God, and with the blessing and guidance of our Churches, the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue (ICAOTD) met at St George’s Anglican Cathedral, Jerusalem, from 17 to 24 September 2014. The Commission is grateful for the generous hospitality extended by Bishop Suheil Dawani and the Diocese of Jerusalem.

His Beatitude Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, and Bishop Suheil welcomed the Commission and affirmed their prayerful support for the dialogue.

The Commission was presented with resources both Anglican and Orthodox on issues concerning the beginning and end of life, and it was agreed that these matters will be discussed in the next phase of its work.

The Commission discussed at length the draft of an agreed statement on the theological presuppositions of the Christian understanding of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God. At its next meeting it intends to consider the practical implications and the ethical questions, of pressing concern in today’s world, that follow from these presuppositions.

As in previous meetings, daily prayer and worship strengthened and grounded the work of the Commission, both in the Anglican Cathedral of St George, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

An ecumenical reception hosted by Bishop Suheil provided an opportunity for fellowship with local Christian leaders. The Commission visited the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and met members of the Christian community, with whom it prayed for peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land and in the whole world.

The work of the Commission will continue at its next meeting in September 2015 hosted by the Orthodox Church.

Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia Orthodox Co-Chairman
The Most Revd Roger Herft Anglican Co-Chairman

Representatives of the Orthodox Church

Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, Co-Chairman Ecumenical Patriarchate, Co-Chairman
Metropolitan Serafim of Zimbabwe Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa
The Revd Fr Alexander Haig Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East
The Revd Archimandrite Aristovoulos Kyriazis Patriarchate of Jerusalem
The Revd Fr Valentin Vassechko Patriarchate of Moscow
Professor Dr Bogdan Lubardic Patriarchate of Serbia
Metropolitan Nifon of Târgoviste Patriarchate of Romania
Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Kition Church of Cyprus
The Revd Dr Christos B Christakis Co-Secretary

Representatives of the Anglican Communion

The Most Revd Roger Herft of Perth The Anglican Church of Australia, Co-Chairman
The Revd Marc Billimoria The Church of Ceylon
The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke of Armagh The Church of Ireland
The Revd Canon Philip Hobson OGS  The Anglican Church of Canada
The Rt Revd Michael Lewis of Cyprus & The Gulf  The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East
The Revd Dr Gloria Mapangdol  The Episcopal Church in the Philippines
The Revd Dr Duncan Reid  The Anglican Church of Australia
The Revd Canon Professor John Riches  Scottish Episcopal Church
The Rt Revd John Stroyan of Warwick  The Church of England
The Revd Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan  Co-secretary
Mr Neil Vigers Anglican Communion Office

Members unable to attend:

The Revd Dr Timothy Bradshaw  The Church of England
The Revd Deacon Dr Christine Hall  The Church of England
Ms Natasha Klukach  The Anglican Church of Canada
The Revd Dr Joseph Wandera  The Anglican Church of Kenya
Protopresbyter Giorgi Zviadadze  Patriarchate of Georgia
Professor Dr Miltiadis Konstantinou  Church of Greece
The Revd Fr Andrzej Minko  Church of Poland
Bishop Ilia of Philomelion Church of Albania 

Video: Fostering sustainable livelihoods in Mozambique

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] In a remote region of Mozambique’s Gaza Province, a brickmaking project is transforming the community.

It’s one example of how the partnership between Episcopal Relief & Development and the Anglican Diocese of Lebombo, using Asset-Based Community Development methodology, is empowering remote communities in Mozambique. Community members are able to build their own homes and generate extra income by selling bricks, but it doesn’t stop there. Tammi Mott, senior program officer for Episcopal Relief & Development, says, “The opportunity’s always there for the work to spill over, for the benefits to spill over,” into the wider community.

Mozambique endured a 16-year civil war until a peace deal was struck between the government and rebels in 1992. The Southern African country has since made much progress in economic development and political stability, but intense seasonal flooding, periodic droughts and the burden of malaria and other communicable diseases continue to bring suffering to much of the population.

Responding to these crises and encouraging sustainability is the primary focus of Anglican Social Action (ASA), the social development arm of the Anglican Diocese of Lebombo.

Through the partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development, ASA was able to help in opening some of the irrigation valleys formed during colonial times. It was a key step in grasping the opportunities for agricultural development. That work has enabled some communities to be able to grow rice, maize and other crops.

Bishop Dinis Sengulane, who retired in March after 36 years leading the Diocese of Lebombo, has been at the center of the church’s role in community development.

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

– Matthew Davies is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

Olympia: Redmond church’s Food Bank Farm sets new harvest record

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Two of the youngest volunteers load the bins with acorn squash during harvest at the Church of the Holy Cross, Redmond, Food Bank Farm in the Snohomish River Valley in western Washington. Photo: Dede Moore

[Episcopal Diocese of Olympia] The Food Bank Farm, a ministry of Church of the Holy Cross in Redmond, Washington, will set records this year, topping the 98,000 lbs harvested in 2013. This year’s harvest includes some carrots, beets, and potatoes, but mostly acorn squash – rows and rows of acorn squash. “The estimate for 2014 is 130,000 pounds from eight acres,” said Ed Allen, one of the dozen volunteers from the Diocese of Olympia‘s Church of the Holy Cross who was present to check in and shepherd the harvesters. “We estimate that at over 600,000 servings.”

The Food Bank Farm was started by the Rev. “Farmer” Jim Eichner and Church of the Holy Cross in 2011 with 12 volunteers, on land in the Snohomish river valley leased from Chinook Farms; land owned by Eric Fritch from St. John’s Church in Snohomish. They harvested 3,750 lbs the first year. This year’s acorn squash harvest will be distributed through Food Lifeline to many of its 350 food pantry partners around western Washington.

United Way of King County “Day of Caring” volunteers harvest acorn squash at the Church of the Holy Cross, Redmond, Food Bank Farm in the Snohomish River Valley in western Washington. Photo: Dede Moore

Several hundred volunteers through United Way of King County’s “Day of Caring” arrived at the Food Bank Farm in two shifts on Friday, Sept. 19 – volunteers from AT&T, National Frozen Foods and Allstate. Members of the women’s softball team from Bellevue College, AmeriCorps volunteers from WithinReach, and Nurses Squashing Hunger, Nordstroms, Trilogy International, and Microsoft, were also represented.

Church of the Holy Cross and Eichner provide the leadership. Chinook Farms provides the tractor (and driver) to move and collect the large bins that hold 800 lbs each. Bob’s Corn and Pumpkin Farm across the road provides the port-a-potties and 75 wheelbarrows.

In addition to today’s acorn squash harvest, members of Holy Cross have been harvesting throughout the season in small quantities and delivering the produce to a local food bank in Maltby. “You really feel like you’re doing something,” said Bonnie Allen, who, with her husband, has been helping out for the past two years.

Dede Moore is Canon for Operations/Communications for the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia.

New UN document enables churches to do more for indigenous rights

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The WCC Indigenous People’s representatives in New York for the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.

[World Council of Churches press release] Scattered throughout the recent history of Indigenous Peoples are national treaties, declarations and laws that languish in obscurity or are brushed aside and ignored.

Adding insult to injury, when many national and local churches attempt to speak out about the denial of rights of Indigenous Peoples they are told by governments that the church has no place in politics, effectively being seen but not heard.

Yet a new “outcome document” of the United Nations World Conference on Indigenous Peoples is about to turn that perspective on its head. The world’s governments are now inviting churches and other civil society groups to be seen and heard when it comes to advocating for Indigenous Peoples’ human rights.

For ecumenical representatives of indigenous faith communities who attended the UN conference, held in New York on 22 and 23 September, and other side events, the six-page outcome document is significantly lends motivation and teeth to a movement that has sought to secure the rights of Indigenous People’s around the world.

The document was agreed upon by all UN member states on Monday, 22 September, and reinforces the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), effectively turning a page where governments are concerned.

“Through the document, the nations of the world state that the well-being of Indigenous Peoples is essential to the well-being of the planet,” Bishop Mark MacDonald of the Anglican Church of Canada said. MacDonald is the first National Indigenous Anglican Bishop of Canada.

MacDonald also said that the governments agreed to a partnership with Indigenous Peoples, and the document requires the church and other members of civil society to enter into that partnership and advocate for the commitments of the document.

The document, which is essentially the governments of the world speaking to themselves, civil society and others, and to Indigenous Peoples, covers a wide swath of concerns, including ensuring  basic human rights;  consulting and cooperating with Indigenous Peoples when crucial economic decisions are made in their communities; providing improved access to education, health and work; empowerment of youth; addressing social needs; free and informed consent; and the development of national “action plans” inclusive of the needs of Indigenous Peoples.

Churches and Indigenous Peoples
“The church has a special responsibility both in light of its fundamental mission as a body but also its historic relationship with Indigenous Peoples,” MacDonald said.

“This is not only an affirmation of the declaration adopted in 2007, but it is a new commitment of the member states that they will now take intentional and systematic action,” Rev. Tore Johnsen, general secretary of the Sami Church Council in Norway, said. “At least in words they are committing themselves.”

For Johnsen and his colleagues, when the states say in the document that they encourage civil society to advocate, that means the churches need “to take an active role in promoting and protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

“For the churches that also means taking an active role in holding the nation states accountable,” Johnsen said.

At the same time, he admits, “this can easily be cosmetic,” referring to one potential outcome of the document. But that need not be the case. “The church has a strong moral voice,” he said.

May Vargas of the Philippines, and a member of the ecumenical team, welcomed encouragement by the state for the church and other groups to be engaged. In her context, where there has been significant violence inflicted upon indigenous populations because of land resources, the church becomes a “sanctuary for the poor and the oppressed,” as some of the churches are doing there.

Both Vargas and Johnsen saw a clear role for the church to play in the situation of extractive industries, such as mining of minerals, oil and gas, and the situation of violence against Indigenous women and children.

In such direct and real situations, the group stated, with the support of churches and willingness of the governments to follow through, implementation of the document could have a positive impact.

“It is also important to say that this resonates very much with the World Council of Churches, which has in many instances lifted up the issue of indigenous rights,” Johnsen said. He suggested that the document opens the door for the WCC to pay “specific attention to Indigenous Peoples’ rights.”

WCC minute on Indigenous Peoples

UN Outcome Document from the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2013 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 140 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway.

Sean profetas y agentes de la reconciliación, dicen los arzobispos de Asia

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

[Episcopal News Service – Taipéi, Taiwán] Dios está llamando a la Iglesia en Asia a ser un agente de la reconciliación y un testigo profético, dijeron tres arzobispos anglicanos a la Cámara de Obispos, y afirmaron que la Iglesia a través del mundo debe responder al mismo llamado.

Paul Kim, arzobispo de Seúl, quien también es primado de la Iglesia Anglicana de Corea, dice a la Cámara de Obispos de la Iglesia Episcopal el 22 de septiembre que “la reconciliación debería ser el mensaje de la Iglesia no sólo en la península de Corea, sino en el mundo”. El Rdo. Aidan Koh, de la iglesia de Santiago Apóstol [ST. James] en Los Ángeles, fue el intérprete de Kim. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg para ENS.

“La reconciliación debe ser el mensaje fundamental de la Iglesia, no sólo en la península de Corea, sino en el mundo”, dijo el arzobispo de Seúl Paul Kim, primado de la Iglesia Anglicana de Corea.

Kim, el arzobispo Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu, primado de la Iglesia Anglicana en el Japón [Nippon Sei Ko Kai] y Edward Malecdan, obispo primado de la Iglesia Episcopal en Filipinas [Episcopal Church in the Philippines] le hablaron a la Cámara el 22 de septiembre, describiendo el contexto teológico y los desafíos que enfrenta la misión en sus provincias. Cada uno de ellos habló de cómo prestarle atención a los pobres en sus países ha fortalecido la fe y el testimonio de sus iglesias.

La amenaza de la guerra a través del mundo ha llevado a aumentar el nacionalismo y la militarización, en el nordeste de Asia y en todas partes, lo cual ha dado lugar a amenazas contra los que “proclaman el mensaje de reconciliación y paz del evangelio de Cristo [los cuales son] tratados como traidores en las naciones a las que pertenecen”, dijo Kim a través del Rdo. Aidan Koh, de la iglesia de Santiago Apóstol [St. James] en la ciudad de Los Ángeles, que le sirvió de intérprete.

Aun dentro de las iglesias puede haber diferencias de opiniones respecto a cómo obrar en pro de la reconciliación, afirmó Kim. En lugar de poder usar esos desacuerdos para encontrar “nuevas posibilidades creativas”, puede desarrollarse la discordia y esa discordia fácilmente puede hacer del evangelio de reconciliación de Cristo “un hazmerreír”.

Kim dijo que era hora de que la Iglesia de todo el mundo se una “como testigo profético de la reconciliación” contra la violencia de la dominación.

“Nosotros como anglicanos somos elegidos por Dios para ser siervos y testigos del perdón y la reconciliación”, dijo.

El arzobispo Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu, primado de la Iglesia Anglicana en el Japón (Nippon Sei Ko Kai), dice que la Iglesia japonesa trata de ser un agente de la reconciliación en ese país. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg para ENS.

Tanto Kim como Uematsu de la Iglesia Anglicana en el Japón (Nippon Sei Ko Kai), hablaron de la reconciliación que ha tenido lugar entre sus dos iglesias. Uematsu dijo que la anexión de Corea por Japón en 1910 fue el comienzo de un período militarista en la historia de su país que sólo terminó con su derrota en la segunda guerra mundial. La Iglesia no protestó mientras Japón comenzó a ocupar y colonizar otras naciones asiáticas, afirmó.

No fue hasta fines de la década del 90 [del pasado siglo] que la Iglesia comenzó a mirar críticamente su propio pasado y su papel en la historia de la nación. “Nos sentimos especialmente llamados a arrepentirnos y a buscar la reconciliación y un compromiso más profundo con nuestros vecinos” que habían sufrido bajo la ocupación y la colonización japonesa, recalcó Uematsu.

En 1996, el Sínodo General de la Iglesia aprobó una Declaración de Responsabilidad de Guerra en la cual la NSKK “le confesó a Dios como Iglesia” y le pidió perdón a sus vecinos. Desde entonces, dijo Uematsu, esa declaración ha sido la base del sentir de la NSKK, la cual es llamada a servir a los marginados en la sociedad japonesa.

La NSKK ha buscado la reconciliación y “la restauración bajo nuestro vínculo con el mismo Señor” con Taiwán, Las Filipinas, Papúa Nueva Guinea y otros países que padecieron la ocupación japonesa durante la guerra.

“Somos particularmente afortunados por nuestros hermanos de la Iglesia Anglicana en Corea que abrieron sus corazones a nuestro pueblo aun antes de que Japón hubiera aceptado su papel en la colonización de la península de Corea y hubiera pedido perdón por ello”, dijo Uematsu. Hace casi 30 años los coreanos “abrieron la puerta” a los intercambios entre las dos provincias en todos los niveles, puntualizó.

El Rvdmo. Edward P. Malecdan, obispo primado de la Iglesia Episcopal en Filipinas, describe a la Cámara de Obispos cómo su Iglesia se esforzó por alcanzar el autosostén y como intenta ser un testigo profético en el país. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg para ENS.

Por su parte, el obispo Malecdan, primado de Las Filipinas, dijo que la agitación islámica en Mindanao y una continua insurgencia comunista significan que existe una “interminable ausencia de paz en algunas partes del país”. Y la Iglesia está consciente de la falta de paz en otras partes del mundo. Por ejemplo, pronto se celebrará un foto en la capilla de su seminario de San Andrés sobre el conflicto israelí-palestino.

“En otras palabras, las puertas de las iglesias y otras instituciones de la IEF están abiertas a las reuniones en pro de la pacificación”, subrayó.

El mandato bíblico de prestarle voz a los que no la tienen, tanto en el nivel local como en el mundial, dijo Malecdan, “trata de contribuir positivamente al establecimiento de una paz justa y de comprometerse con la acción social para la transformación de la sociedad y las estructuras injustas”.

“Nosotros somos sólo una Iglesia minoritaria con frecuencia descuidada e ignorada por provincias hermanas más grandes de la Comunión Anglicana, y somos conscientes de que lo que hacemos es como una gotita de agua en el vasto océano Pacífico y en el turbulento mar de la China”, dijo, añadiendo que era mejor ser esa “gotita” que ser “parte de los problemas por nuestro silencio e inacción”.

Tres ejemplos que Malecdan dio parecieron ser mucho más que gotitas. Uno conllevó la compra de terrenos para revendérselos a personas sin tierras cuyas casas improvisadas fueron barridas por el súper tifón Haiyán en noviembre de 2013.

Otro ejemplo se refirió a tres jóvenes secuestrados que fueron asesinados y enterrados en una tumba superficial debajo de concreto y tierra. Su familia tenía miedo de ir a exhumarlos porque temían que los mataran, pero se “llenaron de valor” cuando el obispo de Luzón, Renato Abibico, y dos sacerdotes fueron hasta las tumbas y comenzaron a cavar.

En tercer lugar, dijo Malecdan, la relación de la IEF con la Iglesia de la Provincia de Myanmar, mientras ese país hace su transición a la democracia es una manera de que ambas iglesias aprendan la una de la otra.

“Nuestra relación e interés mutuo es un claro testimonio para un mundo lleno de conflictos, dijo el primado.

Malecdan también resumió cómo la IEF se convirtió en una provincia autodependiente después de tomar la “dolorosa decisión” de dejar de recibir dinero de la Iglesia Episcopal en los Estados Unidos.

La Iglesia estaba recibiendo un subsidio de la Iglesia Episcopal que debía terminar en 2007. La IEF decidió a mediados de 2004 solicitar que se suspendiera. Puesto que el dinero ya estaba incluido en el presupuesto, explicó Malecdan, la Iglesia Episcopal siguió enviando los pagos en tanto la IEF decidió dejar de usar los subsidios como ingreso operativo: puso el dinero en un seguro de capital al objeto de lograr la autosuficiencia.

La Iglesia levantó muchos templos después de tomar esa decisión, alcanzó un superávit presupuestario y vio aumentar las vocaciones tanto clericales como laicas, según el obispo primado.

“Hemos extraído profundamente de lo que tenemos —todos nuestros recursos como Iglesia— y hemos empezado a maximizarlos para hacer nuestra misión”, dijo Malecdan. “Y nos dimos cuenta de que incluso una Iglesia en apuros puede tener algo que compartir con otros”.

También el 22 de septiembre, los obispos recibieron informes del Equipo de Trabajo para Reinventar la Iglesia Episcopal, que publicó recientemente una carta dirigida a la Iglesia en la que bosquejaba las recomendaciones de un cambio estructural que harán en la reunión de la Convención General de 2015. Los obispos miembros del Equipo de Trabajo A050 sobre el Estudio acerca del Matrimonio y el Comité Conjunto de Nominaciones para la Elección del Obispo Primado expusieron las tareas que habían llevado a cabo hasta la fecha. Aunque estaba en el programa que sólo la última sesión sería a puertas cerradas, se anunció durante la sesión de la mañana del 22 de septiembre que esos tres informes serían solamente para los obispos.

Poco después que terminó la sesión privada de la tarde, el equipo de trabajo sobre el matrimonio publicó un informe para la Iglesia sobre su labor.

Los obispos planean una sesión estilo ‘consistorio’ con la Obispa Primada y una sesión de trabajo formal el 23 de septiembre, el último día de la reunión.

Después de terminada la reunión, varios obispos viajarán a Japón, las Filipinas o Corea para continuar informándose acerca de la misión y el ministerio de la Iglesia Anglicana en esos contextos.

La reunión tiene lugar en el Grand Hotel de Taipéi. Algunos obispos están enviando mensajes a través de sus blogs acerca de la reunión y de su visita a Taiwán, entre ellos:

Otros están enviando mensajes de Twitter a través del código #HOBFall14. Esos mensajes pueden leerse aquí.

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

Sarah Eagle Heart named among ‘Native American 40 Under 40′

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] Sarah Eagle Heart, missioner for indigenous ministries for the Episcopal Church since 2009, has been named one of 40 emerging American Indian leaders by The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED). The award recognizes 40 emerging American Indian leaders from across Indian Country who have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication and made significant contributions in business and/or in their community.

Eagle Heart holds an MBA in global management from the University of Phoenix, San Diego. She is enrolled as a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and was raised on the reservation.

The NCAIED awards will be presented Oct. 8 at the 39th Annual Indian Progress in Business (INPRO) Awards Gala in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

House of Deputies president expresses gratitude for presiding bishop

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church, offered the following statement on Sept. 23.

This morning, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced that she will not stand for re-election in 2015. Her gracious letter demonstrates the dignity and spiritual clarity with which she has led our beloved Episcopal Church for the past eight years and that I have been privileged to witness in our work together during this triennium.

Since 2006, when she became the first woman to hold her office, Bishop Katharine has traveled to every corner of the church to galvanize laypeople and clergy, testify to the power of generous Christianity, and advocate for exploring the wonders of God through scientific understanding. Both at home and abroad, she has inspired people to care for the poor, remember the outcast, and heal the world.

During some difficult years in the Anglican Communion, Bishop Katharine helped navigate the politics that resulted from our faithful, if not always straightforward, path toward the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians. Her strong leadership and commitment to justice have allowed her to guide our church through anxious times and bring us closer to the reign of God.

I am grateful to have Bishop Katharine as a colleague and friend, and I am glad that we will enjoy another year of working together. May God bless her as she continues to lead our church and discern her future ministry.

–The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president, House of Deputies

Heal the earth, fight against climate change

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Service featuring multi-faith spiritual expressions invoked prayers and actions for climate justice in New York. © WCC/Melissa Engle Hess

[World Council of Churches press release] Two phoenix sculptures hung suspended from the ceiling, their bodies dotted with lights and their tail feathers unfurling above the heads of the faith leaders and adherents who gathered in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine for an interfaith service on 21 September in New York.

The service concluded a day marked by calls for action on climate change. At an interfaith summit, hosted by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and Religions for Peace, faith leaders from 21 countries signed a statement urging the world’s political and economic leaders to work toward an agreement to curb global carbon emissions and to support those who are most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate. And in the streets of New York, hundreds of thousands of people marched in a collective call for action on climate change.

Their voices echoing in the cathedral, leaders, elders and activists from many faiths including indigenous, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu religious confessions spoke from their own perspectives and faith traditions. They called for humanity to come together, to heal the planet Earth and fight against the common enemy of climate change, and for each person to make a commitment—symbolized by pieces of stone left by each person on a central table—to do something specific to address the ways they contribute to climate change. Many of the speakers called for hope.

“I was told by my elders to show this gathering there is hope for mankind,” said Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, an Eskimo-Kalaallit elder from Greenland. But hope, he said, can come only from “melting the heart of ice in man. Now is the time for change.”

“This is our moment. This is our time,” shouted Rev. Dr Gerald Durley, pastor emeritus of Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, to a chorus of cheers and a standing ovation. “We will not be silent. We will speak boldly and we will not stand down.”

“We have a duty to be watchful, not just by opening our eyes but by opening our hearts,” said former US vice-president and Nobel peace laureate Al Gore. “It is time to be wakeful and to be alert. That is my pledge. To be wakeful, to be alert and to call on others to do the same.”

The service ended beneath the wings of fabric birds which floated through the air on the ends of wooden sticks, as the gathering sang a South African hymn. It was an appropriate choice for the end of a climate march: Siyahamba or We Are Marching in the Light of God.

*Connie Wardle is a senior writer and online editor at the Presbyterian Record, Canada.

Interfaith declaration on climate change (WCC news release of 22 September 2014)

Website of the Interfaith Summit on Climate Change

WCC’s work on climate justice and care for creation

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2013 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 140 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway.

World’s largest climate action march: Episcopalians protest for change

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Don Robinson, a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Northampton, Massachusetts, and a trustee of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, lifts his hands during a moment of silence at the People’s Climate March Sept. 21, in New York, two days before the United Nations’ Climate Summit commenced. Photo: Amy Sowder

[Episcopal News Service] Don Robinson’s right hand gripped a leaf of curly kale, pointing it toward the sky as he lifted his eyes in silent prayer.

Robinson, from the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, stood among more than 200 Episcopalians and Anglicans from as far as Alabama, Oregon and South Africa, all squeezing into their designated patch of 58th Street in Midtown, Manhattan.

He stood for the human right to save Earth and all of its living things from the snowballing effects of climate change. “We have a responsibility as stewards of God’s creation,” Robinson said.

On Sunday, Sept. 21, more than 310,000 people of all faiths and none joined the People’s Climate March, the largest demonstration for climate action in history, while a series of religious events included a multifaith evening service at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York.

Episcopalians from across the nation and a few other countries joined the interfaith-themed section of the People’s Climate March in New York Sept. 21, holding protest signs, carrying banners, singing, praying and chanting. Photo: Amy Sowder

The 2.2-mile march snaked from 93rd Street and Central Park West to Columbus Circle down through Times Square to 34th Street. Near the back, the Episcopal contingent held signs such as “There is no Planet B,” “For Christ’s Sake, Tax Carbon” and “I’m marching for wildlife (That means humans too).”

The march was endorsed by more than 1,200 organizations, including the nation’s largest environmental organizations, labor unions, faith-based and social justice groups.

It’s a movement spurring action much wider than New York, or even the U.S. More than 2,800 solidarity events unfolded in 166 countries, with demonstrations spanning from Sydney, Australia and Budapest, Hungary to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The global initiative was planned two days before the United Nations Climate Summit, convened by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, kicked off Sept. 23 at the U.N. headquarters in Manhattan. The summit delayed the opening of the general debate by one day, to Wednesday, during the 69th session of the U.N. General Assembly, which extends from Sept. 16 to Oct. 1. Ban, who also participated in the march, invited leaders from government, finance, business and civil society to galvanize at the summit and bring bold action-oriented announcements that will reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement in Paris in 2015.

Besides Ban, some of the most well-known march participants were former Vice President Al Gore, musical legend Sting, and actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the Episcopal and Lutheran churches together issued a pastoral message on climate change Sept. 19.

Climate change is “going to affect the poorest among us first,” said Brother Bernard Delcourt from The Order of the Holy Cross, an Anglican Benedictine monastery in West Park, New York. “People who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods in developing countries are already being hit.”

Lella Lowe, a member of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Mobile, Alabama, scheduled her vacation to attend the march. She helped form the Mobile Environmental Justice Action Coalition to prevent Mobile from turning into a major transportation hub for tar sands oil.

“You either have a movement with money or a movement with people, and when you don’t have the money, you have to motivate the people,” Lowe said. “It’s time to see our world as interconnected and that everything we do affects others. It’s critical, and there’s a lot of denial.”

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner was set to share her story at the U.N. Climate Summit’s opening ceremony on Sept. 23. Two days earlier, the young mother from the Marshall Islands stood onstage among several activists at a pre-march press conference to tell the crowd how her home is in danger of disappearing due to rising seas caused by global warming. Her island is two feet above sea level.

“We need to act now. We cannot wait. We only have one land to call home. We need you,” Jetnil-Kijiner said.

The People’s Climate March in New York led by indigenous and frontline communities from across the globe to highlight the disproportionate impact of climate change – from communities hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy to those living near coal-fired power plants and oil refineries to people living in island nations already faced with evacuating their homes. Photo: Amy Sowder

During the march, people and groups with political, religious and other differences united around a common theme. Interfaith groups joined with scientists for “The Debate is Over” section. Other crowds included labor unions; environmental justice; renewable energy; food and water justice; anti-corporate campaigns; and indigenous communities.

In the interfaith section, Episcopalians marched with Jews, Baptists, Mennonites, agnostics, Quakers, ethical humanists, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Hare Krishnas.

An inflatable mosque floated near a wooden replica of Noah’s Ark. Earth balloons bobbed over the sea of people.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologists announced last week that this summer was the hottest on record globally.

“Despite the U.N.’s efforts, member states have not done what needs to be done – not even close – and carbon levels are increasing, not decreasing. It’s not only more worrisome than ever, it’s morally wrong,” said the Rev. Canon Jeff Golliher of St. John’s Church in Ellenville, New York, and chairman of the executive group of the Episcopal Diocese of New York’s Committee on the Environment.

Most of the problem, he said, is created by the energy policies in the world’s three biggest economies with large population growth: the U.S., China and India.

Those countries need to figure out how to create more clean energy rather than burning fossil fuels, Golliher said, because creating energy requires a lot of water, “and we’re seeing water shortages.”

“We may be creating solutions that benefit the wealthy more than the poor,” said Golliher, who attended the Stockholm International Water Institute’s annual conference Aug. 31 to Sept. 5. “The moral issue is not whether climate change is real – most of the population knows this by now. It’s what kind of debate we’re having to create an economy based on human rights and sustainability for everyone to thrive.”

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences released research in 2013 showing abrupt climate changes are already underway, while other potential threats are not as imminent. Warmer Arctic temperatures have caused a rapid decline in sea ice in the last decade. Rising sea levels threaten coastal regions and islands.

Academy scientists report that another abrupt change is underway: increased extinction pressure on plant and animal species due to the current pace of climate change, a warming event expected to increase over the next 30 to 80 years. The number of frost-free days, length and timing of growing seasons and the frequency and intensity of extreme events are examples of changes happening so rapidly that some species can neither move nor adapt fast enough. Combined with other sources of habitat loss, degradation and over-exploitation, the problem is even worse, according to the report.

Then there are the increasing periods of drought in western U.S., northern Iran and Africa. “The thing scientists are worried about most is the unpredictability. Because that’s unmanageable,” Golliher said.

“The carbon is just one issue. It’s the indicator. It has to do with power, equality and justice. What kind of world do we want to live in?” Golliher asked.

While initial estimates of the People’s Climate March in New York at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21, calculated the crowd to be about 310,000, by 5 p.m. so many others streamed in that the final participation count neared 400,000 people. Photo: Amy Sowder

While legions swarmed the streets of Manhattan to send a message to members of the U.N., 30 faith leaders representing nine religious traditions signed their names to a statement calling for concrete actions to curb carbon emissions. The interfaith conference was co-hosted by the World Council of Churches, which includes 345 churches representing about 560 million Christians worldwide, and Religions for Peace, an interfaith coalition with members in more than 70 countries. Signatories hailed from 21 countries on six continents.

The march was particularly focused on highlighting the intersection between people’s needs and climate change, including housing, employment and education, said Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of Uprose, which helped lead the community response to Hurricane Sandy after it hit New York in October 2012.

“I think there is a fear of working with people from different communities,” Yeampierre said.

“Regardless of what your field is, your passion, everyone is affected by climate change,” she added, acknowledging that the disenfranchised and the country’s top 1 percent are taking action, and doing it publicly.

Significant and far-reaching change all comes down to money and fossil fuel corporations make a lot of it, said Stanley Sturgill, a retired underground coal miner from Kentucky,

“But if we don’t do something, we won’t be able to breathe or have water. We’re fighting over gas and oil, but soon we’ll be fighting over water. Once you lose water, that’s it.”

The Rockefeller family, heirs to the Standard Oil Co. fortune, will divest their foundation’s fossil fuel investments and put them into renewable energy sources, according to an announcement timed in conjunction with the People’s Climate March and the U.N. Climate Summit.

Robinson, as he marched with his fellow Episcopalians and interfaith activists, said the Diocese of Western Massachusetts decided in early September to shift about 20 percent of its $60 million of investments from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

“We took a vote after a long, hard debate. It reflects the bishop’s commitment,” Robinson said.

He traveled to the march on the “Episcopalians on a Journey of Hope” bus filled with more than 55 people from the Episcopal Church’s Province 1 dioceses of New England. Organized by the Rev. Stephanie Johnson, the province’s environmental stewardship minister, the bus picked up students from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale.

“I think this march can make a difference,” Johnson said. “I’ve been working in the environment field for over 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Marching near Robinson and Johnson, Anne Rowthorn, member of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Old Lyme, Connecticut, nodded in agreement.

“The No. 1 pro-life issue is the life of our planet,” Rowthorn said. “It’s the No. 1 issue of our time.

“We need to put our feet to the pavement to let our leaders know they have disappointed us. This is a message to those leaders meeting this week.”

Presiding Bishop announces she will not stand for reelection

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The following message is from Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori:

To all the people of God in The Episcopal Church:

It is a great joy and privilege to serve as your Presiding Bishop.  I have been blessed to be able to meet and build relationships with people around the globe – in every diocese in this Church, most of the provinces of the Anglican Communion, our full communion partners (ELCA, Moravian Church, Old Catholics of the Union of Utrecht), as well as civic leaders and leaders of other denominations and faith traditions.  That relational work is fundamental to the reconciliation we seek in Christ.  As bridges are built, more and more people can begin to cross the divides between us, and God’s dream begins to take flesh in a more just and peaceful world.

Together, we have navigated a season of extraordinary change in recent years.  Our Christian values have been challenged and we are becoming clearer and more confident about the faith we share.  Today we are far more cognizant of the diversity of this multinational and multicultural Church, and the great blessing of the diverse peoples and cultures we represent.  Our life as a Church is enriched by the many gifts God has given us in people and contexts around the world.  Together we are striving to live out the Five Marks of Mission, we are exploring new and creative ways of engaging the societies around us with the good news of God in Christ, and we are increasingly willing to spend ourselves and the resources God has given us for the healing of the world.  We are more attuned to voices crying in the wilderness, those living at the margins of human communities, and those without a voice, including this fragile earth, our island home.  Together, we are moving into God’s future with courage, boldness, and the humility of knowing there is always more to learn.  For all that hope-filled movement, I give thanks in abundance.

I have spent many months in discernment about how I am being called to serve God’s people and God’s creation in this season.  I have resisted the assumption by some that presiding bishops can only be elected to serve one term, knowing the depth of relational work and learning that is involved in this ministry.  There is a tradeoff between the learning curve and the ability to lead more effectively as a result of developed relationships both within and beyond this Church.  At the same time, I recognize that standing for election as Presiding Bishop carries the implicit expectation that one is ready to serve a full term.  I do not at present believe I should serve and lead in this ministry for another nine years.

I believe I can best serve this Church by opening the door for other bishops to more freely discern their own vocation to this ministry.  I also believe that I can offer this Church stronger and clearer leadership in the coming year as we move toward that election and a whole-hearted engagement with necessary structural reforms.  I will continue to engage us in becoming a more fully diverse Church, spreading the gospel among all sorts and conditions of people, and wholeheartedly devoted to God’s vision of a healed and restored Creation.

I will continue in discernment about the ministry I may be called to in the coming years, but my present focus is and will remain on being the vigorous and faithful leader I believe I am called to be.  God has called us all to be instruments of shalom, and we have miles to go before we live in that world of justice and peace.  We are marching upward to Zion, the beautiful city of God.  Siyahamba!

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

ENS Editors’ Note:

There are no terms limits on the service of a presiding bishop. Jefferts Schori, who turned 60 earlier this year, could have served an additional nine years, had she been nominated and elected.

A presiding bishop is subject to the church’s mandatory clergy retirement age of 72. According to Canon 1.2.2, if a presiding bishop will turn 72 before the end of the nine-year term, then he or she must resign at the General Convention nearest to that birthday.

Presiding bishops serve a nine-year term. The General Convention in 1994 reduced the term from 12 years (via Resolution A130). Twenty-fifth Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, Jefferts Schori’s predecessor, was the first to serve a nine year term.

Jefferts Schori was elected in 2006 by the House of Bishops during a meeting of General Convention in Columbus, Ohio, and her election was confirmed by the House of Deputies on the same day. She was invested as the 26th presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church on Nov. 4, 2006.

Nominations for the 27th presiding bishop are due to the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop by Sept. 30. The election will take place during the 78th meeting of General Convention June 25-July 3, 2015 in Salt Lake City. The current draft of the convention schedule shows the election taking place on June 27.

More information about the election process is here.

House of Bishops leaving Taiwan with ‘hearts and minds expanded’

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The House of Bishops and Spouses Choir rehearses prior to Eucharist Sept. 23 on the closing day of the house’s meeting in Taipei. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Taipei, Taiwan] Members of the House of Bishops are leaving their meeting here with an expanded view of ministry of the Episcopal and Anglican churches in Asia.

“This meeting has offered abundant opportunities to expand our vision of what is possible as we engage God’s mission,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said in a written statement released at the conclusion of the Sept. 17-23 meeting, the first gathering of the house in Asia.

“We have built new relationships with our partners in Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and with our brother and sisters in Taiwan,” she said. “We’ve discovered new readings of the old, old stories and new theological perspectives rooted in different parts of God’s creation. With hearts and minds expanded, we know ourselves part of a body larger and with deeper bonds than we imagined.”

Jefferts Schori called the hospitality of the host Diocese of Taiwan “full measure, pressed down, and overflowing.”

“May God continue to richly bless this part of The Episcopal Church,” she said.

Shortly after the close of the Taipei meeting, Jefferts Schori released a statement saying she had decided not to stand for election to a second term as presiding bishop.

Diocese of Kansas Bishop Dean Wolfe, vice president of the House of Bishops, said in his statement that “all of us who have congregants from Asia have gained a deeper understanding of the context from which our brothers and sisters have come and a greater appreciation for the Christian witness along the Pacific Rim.”

Wolfe also addressed the issue of the reason for traveling to Taiwan. “We traveled a very long way and at no small expense to come to Taiwan to reinforce a principal which is dear to us; that every diocese is an essential member of our family of faith and no diocese is too small or too far away,” he said.

Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Diane Jardine Bruce, assistant secretary of the house, echoed that sentiment saying that “with the growing Asian community in the United States, especially on the West Coast including my home diocese of Los Angeles, having firsthand knowledge and witness of the context and content of ministry and mission, we are able to more directly address our mutual needs.”

And Bishop Todd Ousley of Eastern Michigan, co-chair of the house’s planning committee, evoked Archbishop Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu’s description the day before of how the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Anglican Church in Japan) has pledged itself to work for peace and reconciliation, grounded in repentance.

“I leave this meeting reminded that to be an apostle, one who is sent, and to invite others to be people sent to proclaim God’s message of peace and reconciliation, we must not rush headlong into action with programs and events,” Ousley said. “Rather, we must begin with self-examination and spiritual acts of repentance that ground our message and lend it integrity. Only then will our message of peace and reconciliation be received as the Good News that it indeed is.”

The complete texts of the bishops’ four statements are here.

Taiwan Bishop David Jung-Hsin Lai presides at the closing Eucharist Sept. 23 at the House of Bishops’ meeting in Taipei. The Rev. Stephanie Spellers and the Rev. Simon Bautisa Betances, chaplains to the bishops, assisted at Eucharist. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Also on the concluding day
During a business meeting on Sept. 23, the final day of the seven-day gathering, the bishops asked Jefferts Schori to consult with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby “and seek ways that the communion could be agents of peace” in the rapidly changing situation involving Islamic militancy and its threats to Christians and others. Jefferts Schori said that she would be talking to Welby in a few weeks and would pass along the house’s concern.

Later in the business-meeting portion of the session, Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Provisional Clifton Daniel moved that the House of Bishops “express its thanks to our presiding bishop, for her witness, her life and her ministry as our presiding bishop and wish her Godspeed as her tenure in this position continues.”

“Is there a discussion?” Jefferts Schori asked, to laughter. “This is awkward.”

Vice President Wolfe stepped in to say: “All those in favor, signify by saying …” only to be interrupted by applause as the bishops rose to their feet.

Before the business meeting, the house met town hall-style during which individual bishops updated their colleagues on ongoing issues in their lives and dioceses. Among the comments made were:

  • Introducing himself as “the bishop of Ferguson,” Diocese of Missouri Bishop Wayne Smith told the house that the Aug. 9 racially charged fatal shooting of Michael Brown and the community upheaval in its aftermath had deep roots.“St. Louis city and county are a mess but we have been a long time getting to this place,” he said, explaining that when French Creole settlers came to what is now St. Louis 250 years ago they brought with them about 30 slaves.

    From that beginning, he said, “the dominant culture has been trying to rob African-Americans of their personhood and the dominant culture has prevailed, the dominant culture has won.”

    Smith reminded that Dred Scott, whom the U.S. Supreme Court said in 1857 was neither free nor a citizen, is buried three miles from Ferguson.

    “The means of robbing people of African descent, of their citizenship still exist and it is practiced very well in St. Louis city and county,” Smith said. “It’s called the criminal justice system now.”

    While there is a very high bar for that system to arrest and convict a white man such as himself of a felony offense, Smith said that bar is set very low for African-Americans in the St. Louis area. “And once that happens, you are no one,” Smith said. “The oppression continues.”

    He told the bishops that comments about Brown’s character, positive or negative, are not useful.

    “What’s important for people who look like me,” said Smith, “is to encounter the rage of the community in that aftermath and to be quiet. We have a great deal to learn from that rage – not the violence, but the rage. The rage is there; there’s a reason for that rage, 250 years’ worth.”

    Smith said he is proud of Episcopalians both lay and clergy in the diocese and beyond who respond to this “wound to our corporate life.”

  • Diocese of Newark Bishop Mark Beckwith reported that he has spoken often to Liberian Archbishop Jonathan Hart about the Ebola epidemic that is devastating his country.“The economy that was on a very slender thread to begin with has cratered because of this,” Beckwith said, noting that all schools are closed, including the diocese’s Cuttington University which has Liberia’s largest nursing school. A number of Cuttington graduates have died during the outbreak, he said. [ENS story here.]

    “The churches are open and they are offering worship with safety precautions they have not experienced before,” Beckwith said.

    During the country’s 20-year civil war people knew who the enemy was, Hart had told Beckwith. With Ebola, “the enemy” is not so obvious, Beckwith said, and “people are accusing folks in villages and towns of being carriers of the disease so social unrest is rampant.”

    The epidemic is “beyond what any individual diocese can do” in terms of material aid, Beckwith said.

    “The problem is so massive and our prayers are really what he is asking for most,” Beckwith concluded.

  • Haiti Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin told the house that his country is still trying to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake.“Some efforts have been made but not enough to give the Haitian people a real hope,” he said. “Political fighting, lack of infrastructure of all kinds, problems of education, health care, communications, electricity, unemployment, et cetera.”

    “However, the Haitian people always believe in a better future and it is what gives them joy even though they are suffering,” he said.

    In terms of the diocese, “we have always said that the earthquake has not destroyed the church but our buildings. Our community of faith is there, love and determination are there,” Duracin said, adding that all the diocesan churches and institutions are operating “even though the challenges are still there.”

    With the help of the wider Episcopal Church, the diocese has built new churches and rebuilt others since the quake, especially outside of Port-au-Prince.

    Fundraising for the cathedral rebuilding effort is moving forward but more money is needed, the said.

  • In response to a question from Rochester Bishop Prince Singh about budgeting for the next Lambeth Conference and speculation about when and if the gathering will be held, Jefferts Schori told the bishops that the conference will probably not happen in 2018, which would have fit the conference’s traditional 10-year cycle. No planning or fundraising has taken place for a 2018 meeting, she said.Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby “has been very clear that he is not going to call a Lambeth [Conference] until he is reasonably certain that the vast majority of bishops would attend. It needs to be preceded by a primates meeting at which a vast majority of primates are present,” she said. “As he continues his visits around the communion to those primates it’s unlikely that he will call such a meeting at all until at least a year from now or probably 18 months from now. Therefore I think we are looking at 2019, more likely 2020, before a Lambeth Conference.”

    Whenever the next Lambeth Conference occurs “it will have a rather different format,” she predicted. For intstance, it is likely that spouses will not attend “simply because of scale issues and regional contextual issues. Bishops’ spouses fill very different roles in different parts of the communion and the feedback from the last one was that it did not serve the spouses particularly well,” Jefferts Schori explained.

On Sept. 24, a number of bishops head to Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines or Korea to continue learning about the mission and ministry of the Anglican Church in those contexts.

The meeting is taking place at the Grand Hotel in Taipei. Some bishops are blogging from the meeting about their visit to Taiwan, including

Others are tweeting during the meeting using #HOBFall14. Those tweets can be read here.

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