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Urgentes llamados a la paz en la tierra del Único Santo

ENS Headlines - Friday, August 1, 2014

Personal medico en el hospital Ahli Arab en Gaza reciben a un paciente en la institución dirigida por la Diócesis Episcopal de Jerusalén.

[Episcopal News Service] Líderes religiosos y políticos han redoblado sus demandas de un permanente cese al fuego al conflicto de tres semanas de duración entre Israel y Hamás, en el que el número de bajas asciende 7.000, y las víctimas mortales llegaban [el miércoles 30] a 1.200.

“La continua e intensificada violencia en la tierra del Único Santo, la matanza de inocentes por acciones de ambas partes, y la rigidez y ausencia de un verdadero liderazgo político está haciendo llorar al mundo”, escribió la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori en una declaración que envió por correo electrónico a ENS. “Dios también llora, mientras el hermano mata al hermano. ¿Permitiremos que Caín y Abel representen su acto breve y belicoso, o exigiremos un fin de esta depravación? Nadie vivirá en paz en el Oriente Medio —ni en el mundo— mientras esta carnicería prosiga. Oren por la paz, alberguen al inocente, apoyen toda respuesta humanitaria e insistan en que se ponga fin a esta inhumanidad”.

Desde que su Operación Borde Protector comenzara el 8 de julio, Israel ha intensificado el bombardeo de Gaza en respuesta a las acciones de Hamás, el movimiento de militantes islámicos que controla Gaza y continúa lanzando misiles contra Israel. Varios intentos de llegar a un cese al fuego han fracasado.

El 29 de julio, la única planta eléctrica de Gaza resultó destruida mientras Israel atacaba blancos vinculados a Hamás. Entre tanto, Israel sigue interceptando misiles sobre las regiones sur y central del país. Cincuenta y tres soldados israelíes y más de 1.200 palestinos, la mayoría civiles, han muerto en el conflicto.

“Al igual que tantos episcopales y otras personas que han estado en estrecho contacto con el gobierno de EE.UU. a través de estas últimas semanas tenebrosas, me siento agradecido del justo y determinado liderazgo del secretario de Estado John Kerry y de otros líderes mundiales para lograr un cese al fuego, pero profundamente frustrado de que esos empeños no hayan dado hasta ahora ningún fruto significativo”, dijo a Episcopal News Service Alexander Baumgarten, el director de relaciones gubernamentales de la Iglesia Episcopal.

“Lo más importante que los episcopales pueden hacer en el momento es lo que muchos han estado haciendo: orar sin cesar, apoyar los ministerios de la Diócesis de Jerusalén en Gaza y en cualquier parte y retar a nuestros líderes políticos a que exijan la paz y se muestren solidarios tanto con los israelíes como con los palestinos que anhelan la paz y están pagando el inimaginable costo de continuar la guerra”, añadió. “Si viene, y cuando venga, un cese al fuego, la obra de los pacificadores será tan urgente como siempre, y una paz justa y duradera sólo puede lograrse a través de una solución negociada entre israelíes y palestinos que ofrezca dos estados seguros y viables para dos pueblos”.

El Rdo. Canónigo John Organ, hablando por teléfono desde Jerusalén Oriental, donde sirve de capellán al obispo anglicano en Jerusalén Suheil Dawani, conviene en que el camino a la paz es a través de una solución de dos estados, un objetivo que la Iglesia Episcopal y muchas de las provincias de la Comunión Anglicana han apoyado durante mucho tiempo.

“No ayuda el estar a favor de éste y en contra del otro”, dijo Organ. “Debemos ser pro israelíes y pro palestinos. No tenemos que tomar partido. Pero sí tenemos que estar a favor de la justicia y en contra de esta ocupación”.

El arzobispo de Cantórbery, Justin Welby, en una declaración el 29 de julio, dijo que “sólo una costosa y franca búsqueda de la paz entre israelíes y palestinos puede proteger a las personas inocentes, a sus hijos y a sus nietos, de una violencia que cada vez será peor… Debemos clamarle a Dios y golpear las puertas del cielo y orar por la paz y la justicia y la seguridad”.

En Gaza, el hospital Ahli Arab, una institución de la Diócesis Episcopal de Jerusalén, ha seguido, a pesar de todas las adversidades, ofreciendo atención médica de emergencia para muchos de los heridos, mientras su personal trabaja sin parar, poniendo sus propias vidas en peligro para el bien de otros.

Organ, que habla diariamente con Suheila Tarazi, la directora del hospital, dijo que el 29 de julio gran parte del personal no pudo llegar al hospital porque resultaba demasiado peligroso para ellos viajar desde sus casas, pero que hoy ya esas personas se encuentra en las instalaciones y les han aconsejado que no salgan. “El hospital está trabajando a plena capacidad y sin parar, admitiendo nuevos pacientes mientras sea posible hacerlo”, explicó.

A través del apoyo de la Diócesis Episcopal de Jerusalén y de varios asociados, el hospital recibió el 29 de julio 5.000 litros de combustible para su generador, un recurso de importancia capital para el funcionamiento de equipo médico de salvamento, especialmente después de la destrucción de la planta eléctrica.

El obispo Barry Howe de Misurí Occidental, dijo que a través del hospital “la Iglesia Episcopal estaba allí para ofrecer curación y el abrazo de la compasión a todos los hijos de Dios”.

Howe, como presidente de la junta administrativa de los Amigos Americanos de la Diócesis Episcopal de Jerusalén, (AFEDJ, por su sigla en inglés) dijo que, “nos sentimos muy agradecidos por la desbordada muestra de apoyo en este momento crítico. El 100% de cada donación se dedica a los que sufren y a apoyar a las personas que se ocupan de sus necesidades”.

En su boletín del 29 de julio, los AFEDJ reportaron que una parte del muro exterior del hospital había sido destruida y que la principal línea de vapor del hospital había resultado averiada, lo cual significa que ahora no hay agua caliente. Al parecer, grandes trozos de metralla han alcanzado habitaciones de pacientes y el lavadero.

“Hay una necesidad inmediata de reparaciones para garantizar la seguridad de los pacientes”, decía el boletín.

“El Hospital Al Ahli se ha convertido en un refugio de familias que están sufriendo, que se encuentran sin hogar y que tienen miedo”, dijo Anne Lynn, presidente de AFEDJ, en un correo electrónico a ENS. “Los médicos, las enfermeras y el personal de apoyo en el Hospital Al Ahli, pese al cansancio y al temor, pese a las condiciones deplorables y a los apagones crónicos, siguen ofreciendo atención compasiva a todos y cada uno de los pacientes. Ellos merecen, y tienen, nuestro respeto, nuestras oraciones y nuestro apoyo.

Welby expresó su “mayor admiración” por todos los que participan en los empeños humanitarios sobre el terreno en Gaza, “en particular el equipo médico y el personal del Hospital Al Ahli Arab. Proporcionar alivio y amparo a esos desplazados es una expresión tangible de nuestro cuidado e interés, e insto a todas las parroquias y la diócesis de la Iglesia de Inglaterra, así como de la Comunión [Anglicana] en general, a orar por ellos y a respaldar el llamamiento de urgencia de la Diócesis de Jerusalén”.

La Diócesis Episcopal de Jerusalén lanzó un llamamiento de urgencia para el hospital el 14 de julio, en tanto Ayuda y Desarrollo Episcopales alentaba un constante apoyo a través de su Fondo del Oriente Medio.

Welby dijo: “Si bien la ayuda humanitaria para esos civiles más afectados es una prioridad, especialmente las mujeres y los niños, debemos reconocer también que este conflicto subraya la importancia de renovar un compromiso con el diálogo político en una amplia búsqueda de paz y seguridad, tanto para Israel como para los palestinos. El ciclo destructivo de la violencia ha causado un sufrimiento inenarrable y amenaza la seguridad de todos”.

Jerusalén, a unos 80 kilómetros de la franja de Gaza, ha sido un lugar muy diferente —lleno de la tensión del miedo— desde que comenzó la ofensiva, dijo Organ a ENS.

A fines de la semana pasada, Organ regresaba conduciendo a Jerusalén a través de Cisjordania y, justo antes de llegar a Nablus, se encontró con una manifestación de protesta por el conflicto. “Luego, de repente, hubo disparos y varios palestinos murieron. Tuvimos que conducir a través de los incendios y de los escombros”, señaló. “De manera que estamos rodeados por esto. La pérdida de vidas de ambas partes es trágica”.

Además de dirigirse a los militantes de Hamás, los ataques aéreos israelíes han intentado destruir una red de túneles que entran y salen de Gaza, zona a la que Israel y Egipto le han impuesto un bloqueo desde 2007. El gobierno israelí dice que no detendrá la ofensiva hasta que los túneles sean destruidos y Hamás ha dicho que no dejará de lanzar misiles a Israel hasta que termine el bloqueo.

A principios de esta semana, el primer ministro israelí Benjamin Netanyahu prometía una larga campaña en Gaza, diciendo que la región tenía que desmilitarizarse a fin de proteger a Israel. “No terminaremos la operación en Gaza sin neutralizar los túneles del terror, que tienen el solo propósito de destruir a nuestros ciudadanos, de matar a nuestros hijos”, afirmó.

Entre tanto, la Agencia de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados de Palestina informó que algunos miembros de su personal habían sido muertos y que la ONU tiene actualmente a su cuidado a 182.604 palestinos en sus 82 albergues en Gaza.

La Operación Borde Protector de Israel comenzó luego de una intensificación de los ataques de misiles de los militantes. La violencia estalló después del secuestro y asesinato de tres adolescentes israelíes y del subsecuente secuestro y asesinato de un muchacho palestino en represalia.

El arzobispo Thabo Makgoba de la Iglesia Anglicana de África del Sur, calificó al conflicto en Gaza de “insensato e innecesario”.

“Ninguno traerá la paz y la seguridad a Israel y Palestina, en particular cuando conlleva el uso despiadado de la fuerza bruta que se ha empleado en la última semana”, dijo él en un comunicado el 29 de julio, añadiendo: “únanse a los que piden que las breves suspensiones de hostilidades se conviertan en un permanente cese al fuego”.

Suheil Dawani, obispo anglicano en Jerusalén, junto con los patriarcas y jefes de iglesias han pedido “a ambas partes un inmediato cese al fuego y la urgente reanudación de las conversaciones de paz”.

– Matthew Davies es redactor y reportero de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Episcopal Church trust funds update

ENS Headlines - Thursday, July 31, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Episcopal Church Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer N. Kurt Barnes announced that the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s (DFMS) trust funds, which total $380 million, continued an exceptional performance during the first six months of 2014.

The trust funds account for 25% of the annual budget of The Episcopal Church.

Barnes explained, “Annual returns after all fees and expenses were 18.6%, 14.1% and 7.7% for the one-, five- and 10-years ending March 31, 2014 – ranking within the top 20% of all foundations with assets over $50 million as tracked by the InvestorForce Performance Reporting Network (subsidiary of MSCI Inc.).”

The DFMS welcomes the participation of Episcopal congregations, dioceses and Episcopal organizations and institutions to co-invest with the DFMS trusts.  Currently some 75 Episcopal entities co-invest over $100 million.

“We believe that our consistent performance with no additional management fees is what attracted an additional $3 million of assets from new participants during the first six months,” added T. Dennis Sullivan, chair of the Executive Council’s Investment Committee.

Episcopal Church Finance Office investment policy and account set-up here

EPPN: It’s Time For Prison Reform

ENS Headlines - Thursday, July 31, 2014

[Episcopal Public Policy Network policy alert] Tell your member of Congress to be a champion of prison reform through supporting the Smarter Sentencing Act!

The U.S. prison population is vast and growing. Between 1980 and 2014, the number of federal prison inmates increased by almost 790%. The Bureau of Federal Prisons currently operates at nearly 140% of its capacity, despite the fact that over 60% of inmates are non-violent offenders. Prison overcrowding and massive operating costs create a system that is both untenable and dangerous. It’s time to take a hard look at reforming the U.S. prison system.

Fortunately, some members of Congress are doing just this. The Smarter Sentencing Act (S. 1410/H.R.3382) is a bipartisan bill that modestly reforms sentencing policy for low-level drug offenses through reducing mandatory minimum sentences and restoring some discretion to federal trial judges.

In many drug-related cases, judges are legally obligated to impose mandatory minimum sentences determined by the type of drug and the amount of it involved in the crime. The Smarter Sentencing Act would cut these minimums in half, reducing the number of inmates in federal prisons and decreasing prison operating costs. In addition, this bill would allow federal judges the personal discretion to grant individualized sentences for certain non-violent drug offenders.

The Episcopal Church supports repealing mandatory federal sentencing guidelines and restoring discretion to federal trial judges (General Convention, 2003). With these policies in mind, the Smarter Sentencing Act is a step in the right direction.

Write your member of Congress today and urge them to be a champion of prison reform through supporting the Smarter Sentencing Act!

Se acerca la fecha límite para la presentación de ilustraciones originales para la tarjeta de Navidad

ENS Headlines - Thursday, July 31, 2014

[31 de Julio de 2014] Se acerca la fecha límite del 15 de agosto para la presentación de obras de arte originales que se utilizarán para la tarjeta de Navidad de 2014 de la Iglesia Episcopal.

La obra de arte original debe expresar un entendimiento local de la encarnación de Dios en la celebración del nacimiento de Jesús.

Hasta la fecha unas dos docenas de obras se han presentado.

Fecha límite para la presentación de obras de arte originales es el 15 de agosto. La votación se llevará a cabo del 1 al 15 de septiembre y el ganador será dado a conocer el 1 de octubre.

Se  hará disponible en línea a todas las congregaciones un PDF imprimible de la tarjeta con la obra ganadora. El saludo dentro de la tarjeta aparecerá en inglés, español, francés, criollo y navajo.

Envío de imágenes

• Las imágenes deben tener un tamaño 256mb para la presentación. Las imágenes finales de alta resolución estarán disponibles una vez que se determine quién es el ganador.

• Las imágenes se pueden presentar aquí.

Para obtener información sobre el envío de las imágenes contacte a Ana Arias,aarias@episcopalchurch.org, o a  Barry Merer, bmerer@episcopalchurch.org.

Para obtener información sobre el Concurso de la Tarjeta de Navidad, póngase en contacto con Neva Rae Fox  publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org

 

Deadline nears for submitting original artwork for Christmas card

ENS Headlines - Thursday, July 31, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The August 15 deadline is approaching for submitting original artwork that will be used for the 2014 Episcopal Church Christmas card.

The original artwork should express a local understanding of God’s incarnation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

Almost two dozen entries have been submitted to date.

Deadline for submitting original artwork is August 15. Voting will occur September 1 to September 15 with the winner announced on October 1.

A printable PDF of the card with the winning artwork will be made available online to all congregations.  The greeting inside the card will appear in English, Spanish, French, Creole and Navajo.

Submitting images

• Images must be no larger than 256mb for submission.  Final Hi-Res images should be available upon determination of winner.

• Images may be submitted here.

For information about submitting images contact Ana Arias, aarias@episcopalchurch.org, or Barry Merer, bmerer@episcopalchurch.org.

For information on the Christmas Card Image Contest, contact Neva Rae Fox atpublicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org.

Rapidísimas

ENS Headlines - Thursday, July 31, 2014

Con flores y discursos ha sido bienvenido a Venezuela el general Hugo Carvajal retenido en Aruba por cuatro días acusado de tráfico de drogas y ayuda a la guerrilla de las FARC. Carvajal era jefe de inteligencia del gobierno chavista. Su libertad se produjo basada en su inmunidad parlamentaria. Varios comentaristas han dicho que el presidente Nicolás Maduro puso “indebida presión” al gobierno de Holanda de donde depende la pequeña isla de Aruba.

El presidente Obama planea nombrar al rabino David Saperstein para que dirija la oficina internacional de libertad religiosa. Esta será la primera vez que un no-cristiano dirigirá esta oficina que fue crea en 1998 y está adjunta a la Secretaría de Estado. Saperstein es considerado por la revista Newsweek como uno de los más influyentes rabinos del país.

Grupos de ateos se han opuesto al monumento erigido para conmemorar los ataques terroristas perpetrados a las Torres Gemelas en Nueva York. El asunto fue llevado a la corte y un panel de tres jueces de una corte de Apelaciones determinó que la protesta no tenía lugar. La principal objeción de los ateos es la presencia de una enorme cruz que “ha traído, indigestión y dolor mental” a los visitantes.

El obispo episcopal de Jerusalén, Suheil Dawani, ha informado que el hospital Al Ahli, una de las 35 instituciones de servicio auspiciadas por la Iglesia Episcopal (Anglicana) en Gaza, está en urgente necesidad de material quirúrgico y alimentación para los cientos de pacientes que ha estado asistiendo durante el conflicto bélico entre Israel y Gaza. Según un informe de las Naciones Unidas en Gaza 1,140 palestinos han sido heridos y 168 civiles han perdido la vida incluyendo 36 niños. Pese a los esfuerzos para el cese del fuego, la violencia continúa.

África Occidental considerada una de las regiones del mundo con mayor necesidad, se ve ahora atacada por el virus de ébola que está cobrando víctimas a un paso acelerado. El virus de esta enfermedad puede causar la muerte en el 90 por ciento de los casos. Liberia ha cerrado todas sus fronteras como medida de precaución.

El presidente de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, dijo en una reunión en la ciudad de Barinas que volvió a encontrarse con el “pajarito de Hugo Chávez” que le informó que el fallecido presidente “está bien y muy feliz con la lealtad de su pueblo”. La noticia ha sido objeto de burlas y chistes en varias partes del país.

Manuel García, médico cubano que se distinguió por su ayuda a los pobres en el Norte de la Florida, ha fallecido a la edad de 82 años. Clara Soto, vieja amiga de la familia, caracterizó su vida diciendo: “Descanse en paz el amigo bueno y generoso cristiano, médico admirado, padre y esposo ejemplar”. El nuevo edificio del condado de Brevard en Rockledge, Florida, donde fue director médico por varios años lleva su nombre en grandes letras. Le sobreviven su esposa Isabel y tres hijos mayores.

Virginia Norman, la eterna tesorera de la Iglesia Episcopal Dominicana y la Novena Provincia ha cumplido 90 años de edad que han sido celebrados por feligreses y amigos. La “Señorita Virginia” como le llaman sus alumnos y amigos tiene reputación por nunca haber tenido un déficit en sus cuentas. La razón es muy sencilla, explica el obispo Julio César Holguín: “Nunca ha hecho un cheque a no ser que el dinero esté en caja y tenga la debida documentación”. Enhorabuena.

Lloyd Allen, obispo episcopal de Honduras, ha recibido el premio “Absalom Jones” de la Unión de Episcopales Negros por sus servicios a la iglesia. Absalom Jones (1746-1818) fue el primer sacerdote afro-americano de la Iglesia Episcopal y se destacó por haber surgido de esclavo a prominente abolicionista.

Rafael García, rector de la Iglesia del Espíritu Santo en Miami, nos envía la siguiente nota. “Hay alrededor de 85 millones de personas en los cinco continentes que se llaman anglicanos (o episcopales) en más de 165 países. Estos cristianos comparten la oración, los recursos, el apoyo y el conocimiento a través de fronteras geográficas y culturales. Como en cualquier familia, los miembros de la Comunión Anglicana tienen una serie de opiniones diferentes. Esto significa que la tradición cristiana anglicana siempre ha valorado su diversidad, y nunca ha tenido miedo de enfrentar públicamente las preguntas difíciles de la vida y la fe”.

Dos obispos latinoamericanos han sido nombrados miembros del Pontificio Consejo para la Promoción de la Unidad de los Cristianos. Uno es el guatemalteco Rodolfo Valenzuela, obispo de Verapaz y el otro el argentino Carlos José Ñáñez, arzobispo de Córdoba. El consejo trabaja para lograr la cooperación y la unidad entre las iglesias cristianas y la Iglesia Católica Romana.

ORACIÓN: Que todos sean uno para que el mundo crea.

Urgent calls for peace in the land of the Holy One

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Medical staff at the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza receive a patient at the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem-led institution.

[Episcopal News Service] Religious and political leaders have stepped up their calls for a permanent ceasefire to the three-week-long conflict between Israel and Hamas, as the number of casualties topped 7,000 and the death toll reached 1,200.

“The continued and escalating violence in the land of the Holy One, the slaughter of innocents by actions of both sides, and the rigidity and absence of true political leadership is making the world weep,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote in a statement e-mailed to ENS. “God weeps as well, as brother kills brother. Will we permit Cain and Abel to play out their brief and bellicose act, or will we demand an end to this depravity? No one will live in peace in the Middle East – or the world – while this carnage continues. Pray for peace, shelter the innocent, support every humanitarian response, and insist on an end to this inhumanity.”

Since its Operation Protective Edge began on July 8, Israel has intensified its bombardment of Gaza in response to actions by Hamas, the Islamist militant movement that controls Gaza and continues to fire rockets into Israel. Several attempts at a ceasefire have collapsed.

On July 29, Gaza’s only power plant was destroyed as Israel targeted sites linked to Hamas. Meanwhile, Israel continues to intercept Hamas rockets over central and southern parts of the country. Fifty-three Israeli soldiers and more than 1,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in the fighting.

“Like so many Episcopalians and others who have been in close contact with the U.S. government throughout these past dark weeks, I am grateful for the fair and determined leadership of Secretary of State John Kerry and other global leaders toward a ceasefire, but deeply frustrated that those efforts have yet to bear meaningful fruit,” Alexander Baumgarten, the Episcopal Church’s director of government relations, told Episcopal News Service.

“The most important thing Episcopalians can do at the moment is what so many have been doing: praying without ceasing; supporting the ministries of the Diocese of Jerusalem in Gaza and elsewhere; and challenging our political leaders to demand peace and stand in solidarity with both Israelis and Palestinians who yearn for peace are paying the unimaginable cost of continuing warfare,” he added. “If and when a ceasefire comes, the work of peacemakers will be as urgent as ever, as a just and lasting peace can only come through a negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians that provides two secure and viable states for two peoples.”

The Rev. Canon John Organ, speaking by telephone from East Jerusalem, where he serves as chaplain to Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani, agrees that the road to peace is through a two-state solution, an objective long supported by the Episcopal Church and many of the Anglican Communion provinces.

“It doesn’t help to be pro this and anti the other,” Organ said. “We need to be pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian. We don’t have to take sides. But we do have to stand up for justice and stand against this occupation.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, in a July 29 statement, said that “only a costly and open-hearted seeking of peace between Israeli and Palestinian can protect innocent people, their children and grandchildren, from ever worse violence … We must cry to God and beat down the doors of heaven and pray for peace and justice and security.”

In Gaza, the Ahli Arab Hospital, an institution of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, has continued against all odds to provide emergency medical care for many of the wounded, as its staff members work around the clock, putting their own lives at risk for the sake of others.

Organ, who speaks with hospital director Suheila Tarazi on a daily basis, said that on July 29 many of the staff could not get to the hospital because it was too dangerous for them to travel from their homes, but that today those already at the facilities were being advised not to leave. “The hospital is working at full capacity around the clock, taking in additional patients as it is able to,” he said.

Through the support of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and various partners, on July 29 the hospital received 5,000 liters of fuel for its generator, a critical resource to run life-saving medical equipment, especially following the destruction of the power plant.

Bishop Barry Howe of West Missouri said that through the hospital “the Episcopal Church is there to offer healing and the embrace of compassion to all God’s children.”

Howe, as chair of the board of trustees for the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, said, “We’re so very grateful for the outpouring of support at this critical time. 100% of each gift goes to those who are suffering and to support people who are ministering to their needs.”

In its July 29 newsletter, AFEDJ reported that a portion of the hospital’s outer wall has been destroyed and that the main steam line into the hospital has been damaged, meaning there is now no hot water. Large pieces of shrapnel have reportedly hit patients’ rooms and the laundry.

“There is an immediate need for repairs to ensure patient safety,” the newsletter stated.

“Al Ahli Hospital has become a refuge for families who are suffering, homeless and afraid,” said Anne Lynn, AFEDJ president, in an e-mail to ENS. “The doctors, nurses and support staff at Al Ahli Hospital, despite exhaustion and fear, despite deplorable conditions and chronic shortages, still provide compassionate care to each and every patient. They deserve, and have, our respect, our prayers and our support.”

Welby expressed his “utmost admiration” for all involved in the humanitarian efforts on the ground in Gaza, “not least the medical team and staff at Al Ahli Arab Hospital. Providing relief and shelter for those displaced is a tangible expression of our care and concern, and I encourage Church of England parishes and dioceses, as well as the wider [Anglican] Communion, to pray for them and support the Diocese of Jerusalem’s emergency appeal.”

The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem launched an emergency appeal for the hospital on July 14, while Episcopal Relief & Development encourages ongoing support through its Middle East Fund.

Said Welby: “While humanitarian relief for those civilians most affected is a priority, especially women and children, we must also recognize that this conflict underlines the importance of renewing a commitment to political dialogue in the wider search for peace and security for both Israeli and Palestinian. The destructive cycle of violence has caused untold suffering and threatens the security of all.”

Jerusalem, about 50 miles from the Gaza Strip, has been a very different place – full of tension of fear – since the offensive began, Organ told ENS.

Late last week, Organ was driving back to Jerusalem through the West Bank and just before reaching Nablus, he encountered a demonstration in opposition to the conflict. “Then all of a sudden there was shooting and several Palestinians died. We had to drive through fires and debris,” he said. “So we are surrounded by this. The loss of life on both sides is tragic.”

In addition to targeting Hamas militants, Israeli airstrikes have attempted to destroy a network of tunnels in and out of Gaza, where Israel and Egypt have enforced a blockade since 2007. The Israeli government has said it will not stop the offensive until the tunnels are destroyed and Hamas has said it will not stop firing rockets into Israel until it ends the blockade.

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed a lengthy campaign in Gaza, saying the region had to be demilitarized in order to protect Israel. “We will not end the operation in Gaza without neutralizing the terror tunnels, which have the sole purpose of destroying our citizens, killing our children,” he said.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency reported that some of its staff members had been killed and that the U.N. is currently caring for 182,604 Palestinians in its 82 shelters in Gaza.

Israel’s Operation Protective Edge began after a surge in militant rocket attacks. The violence erupted following the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers, and the subsequent abduction and murder of a Palestinian youth in retaliation.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa called the conflict in Gaza “senseless [and] unnecessary.”

“No war will bring peace and security to Israel and Palestine, in particular not when it involves the heartless use of brute force which has been deployed in the past week,” he said in a July 29 statement, adding that he “joins those who are calling for a conversion of brief suspensions of hostilities into a permanent ceasefire.”

Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani, along with the patriarchs and heads of churches in Jerusalem, has called “upon both sides for an immediate ceasefire and the urgent resumption of peace talks.”

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

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For further information, please visit:

Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem

Episcopal Relief & Development

American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem

Joint Nominating Committee presents final essay on presiding bishop

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, July 30, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) has issued the following information.

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) continues its work to prepare The Episcopal Church for the election of the 27th Presiding Bishop at General Convention next summer. The Committee publishes the third of three essays designed to begin a discussion about the election which will take place in the summer of 2015.

This essay discuss how the constitutional/canonical role of the office has changed and evolved from being the senior bishop by consecration who presides over meetings of the House of Bishops to the complex multifaceted position it is today. The first essay described the basic time-line and steps of the nominating and election process (here).  The second essay outlined the current roles, functions, and responsibilities of the Presiding Bishop (here).

It is the hope of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop that all members of General Convention and all Episcopalians will take the time to read these brief essays to learn the importance of what we will do next summer.  Should you have any questions or comments about these essays or the work of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop please contact pbnominatingcommittee@gmail.com.

The JNCPB is comprised of a lay member, a priest or deacon, and a bishop elected from each of the nine provinces of the Episcopal Church, plus two youth representatives, appointed by the President of the House of Deputies. The General Convention Deputies and bishops serve a three-year term to conclude at the close of General Convention 2015 in Salt Lake City, UT (Diocese of Utah).

Election of the Presiding Bishop in 2015:  Essay #3
July 2014

THE EVOLVING ROLE AND THE CHANGING SELECTION PROCESS OF THE PRESIDING BISHOP

The current role of the Presiding Bishop is to function as pastor, chief executive, and prophetic voice for The Episcopal Church.  The focus of this third educational piece is on how the constitutional/canonical role of the Presiding Bishop has evolved over the past 225 years. Once, the Presiding Bishop was simply the senior bishop, presiding over meetings of the House of Bishops. Now, directed by General Convention, the Presiding Bishop occupies a multi-faceted position — a position we described in our second educational piece, nominated and elected through the current procedures we outlined in our first educational piece.

Such transformation is not unique to this office.  The constitution, the canons, the liturgy, access to ordination, and much more have changed over time. The growth of our Church, the assignment of more duties to the Presiding Bishop as mission has expanded, and the way we as Episcopalians wish to be understood in the wider Anglican Communion have all played a part in this complex process.

1. How the Role Has Changed

• From the Late 18th Century to the Mid-19th Century
The first known reference to the term “presiding Bishop” is in the rubric for the consecration of a bishop added to the prayer book in 1792.  Bishop William White signed the minutes of the 1795 General Convention as the “presiding Bishop.” (The “p” was not regularly capitalized until the second half of the 19th century.)  The presiding Bishop was the senior bishop in order of consecration, who held the position for life.

Other responsibilities, in addition to presiding over the House of Bishops and taking order as chief consecrator at episcopal ordinations (formalized in a canon of 1820), were gradually added by subsequent General Convention:

  • Having authority to call special meetings of the General Convention (1799)
  • Issuing pastoral letters on behalf of the Church (1808)
  • Serving as President of the “Protestant Episcopal Missionary Society in the United States” (1820)
  • Receiving the presentments in a trial of a bishop (1841)

Thus were planted the seeds of the presidential, liturgical, missionary, and disciplinary aspects of the office.

• From the Mid-19th Century to 1919
1856 the canon “The Trial of a Bishop” charged the Presiding Bishop to choose a board of inquiry of 16 persons to investigate charges against a bishop.

1859, for the first time, the Presiding Bishop was given jurisdiction over a congregation and clergy outside the borders of the Presiding Bishop’s diocese. Specifically, it was Canon V of Title III, passed at the 1859 General Convention, that granted the Presiding Bishop authority over the American congregation in Paris and any other foreign congregation that petitioned the General Convention or the Presiding Bishop.

1871, for the first time, the General Convention voted financial support for the expenses of the Presiding Bishop ($500).

1895, despite these additions in the areas of authority overseas, finances, and discipline, which pointed in the direction of an enhanced role at the end of the 19th Century, the office was still defined as “the senior bishop of the Episcopal Church, in order of consecration, who holds the office for life unless he resigns or is removed from office by the vote of a majority of the bishops.”

1919: Among the resolutions General Convention passed  in 1919 was an amendment to the Constitution providing for the election of the Presiding Bishop, and canons setting (a) an age limit for service and (b) a term of office. This Convention also passed Canon 60, in which the Presiding Bishop’s duties were made also the duties of the President of the newly created National Council with 24 members (now the Executive Council). The Presiding Bishop was to administer and coordinate the missionary, educational, and social work of the Church. The first elected Presiding Bishop, John Gardner Murray, took office on January 1, 1926.

1967: The General Convention of 1967 was as significant for the further definition of the role of the Presiding Bishop as the Convention of 1919 had been.  Canon I.2.4 was greatly expanded in three ways. First, the Presiding Bishop was now termed “chief pastor,” implying pastoral responsibility for the whole Church, not just the House of Bishops.  Second, the Presiding Bishop was given the responsibility for leading the initiation and development of policy and strategy (this to be exercised with the Executive Council). Third, the Presiding Bishop was authorized to speak God’s word “to the Church and to the world” and to do so as its “chief representative.” Three clear images of the office had emerged: chief pastor,  executive, and prophetic leader.

1982: A resolution of General Convention 1982 amended Canon I.2.4 to read: “The Presiding Bishop of the Church shall be Chief Pastor and Primate thereof….”  The reason for this change was to give the office parity with other leaders of the Anglican Communion with regard to the title “Primate.”  In this debate the General Convention declined to change the title to “archbishop.”  The addition of “Primate” was meant primarily to clarify for the Anglican Communion that our Presiding Bishop had the status of Primate (a position in other Anglican provinces), but that the addition of the title granted no further authority or power to the Presiding Bishop.

1997: The General Convention of 1997 passed several canonical amendments, most of which form the basis of the Canons still current today as to the role of the Presiding Bishop and the Executive Council. Canon I.2.4(a)(1) was changed to state that the Presiding Bishop “be charged with speaking for the Church as to the policies, strategies and programs authorized by the General Convention.”  Also, Canon I.4.3(a) was amended to provide that in addition to being the Chair and President of Executive Council, the Presiding Bishop was now also “the chief executive officer” of Executive Council.

Length of Term
Before 1895: Holds office for life

1895:  “The senior bishop of the Episcopal Church, in order of consecration, who holds the office for life unless he resigns or is removed from office by the vote of a majority of the bishops.”

1919:  Canon 60 fixed the term of the Presiding Bishop at six years.

1937:  General Convention changed the length of term to last until the Presiding Bishop reached the age of 68.

1967:  The General Convention of 1967 set the term at 12 years.  Edmund Browning was the only Presiding Bishop to serve 12 years after this change.  His two predecessors resigned before the completion of their terms.

1994:  The Convention of 1994 reduced the term to nine years.

Mandatory Retirement Age
Until 1919:  Served until death
1919:   Age 70
1937:   Age 68
1967:   Age 65
1985:   Age 70
2006:   Age 72

Resignation from Diocese
1907: The General Convention of 1907 amended Article I.3 of the Constitution to  that allow the diocese of the Presiding Bishop immediately to elect a coadjutor to handle the diocesan responsibilities of the Presiding Bishop.

1937: The 1907 constitutional provision became a canonical provision, and the Canon was changed to require the election of a coadjutor in order to relieve the Presiding Bishop of all duties in the diocese that necessitated presence.

1943: Canon 18 was passed requiring a bishop, on election as Presiding Bishop, to resign diocesan see and jurisdiction.

Election Process
Before 1919: No election process

1919:  An amendment to the constitution in 1919 required that “the House of Bishops shall choose one of the bishops having jurisdiction within the United States to be Presiding Bishop by a vote of a majority of all bishops entitled to vote in the House of Bishops, such choice to be subject to confirmation by the House of Deputies”.

1919 to 1985: When reporting their choice to the House of Deputies the bishops did not report the number of ballots cast or the tally of votes for all nominees  on each ballot.  The electoral deliberations of the House of Bishops were not kept in writing.

1997: Early in the Convention of 1997 the Canon on the election of the Presiding Bishop was amended to require that the number of votes cast on each ballot for each nominee be reported to the House of Deputies.  As a result, the ballots in the election of Frank Griswold as Presiding Bishop in the House of Bishops later in that Convention were, for the first time, and hereafter, made public.

Throughout this long evolution it has always been clear that the office of the Presiding Bishop is part of the larger authority of the General Convention, not above it. This is unlike the role of any other Primate in the Anglican Communion. A reaffirmation of this distinction lies behind the rejection of the term “archbishop” in 1982, during the debate over adding “Primate” to the description of the office.

The work, initiation, projects, and leadership of the Presiding Bishop are always subject to the Constitution and Canons and other directions of the General Convention. The General Convention sets the course of the Church. It is the duty of the Presiding Bishop to function as pastor, executive, and prophetic voice whose statements must always be consistent with those of General Convention.

 

Statement from Archbishop of Canterbury on Gaza

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, July 30, 2014

[Lambeth Palace press release] Following a recent update from staff at the Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, the Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken publicly (after many private contacts) of his concern for the deteriorating situation in Gaza.

Archbishop Justin Welby said today:

“You can’t look at the pictures coming from Gaza and Israel without your heart breaking. We must cry to God and beat down the doors of heaven and pray for peace and justice and security. Only a costly and open-hearted seeking of peace between Israeli and Palestinian can protect innocent people, their children and grandchildren, from ever worse violence.”

“My utmost admiration is for all those involved in the humanitarian efforts on the ground, not least the medical team and staff at Al Ahli Arab Hospital. Providing relief and shelter for those displaced is a tangible expression of our care and concern, and I encourage Church of England parishes and dioceses, as well as the wider Communion, to pray for them and support the Diocese of Jerusalem’s emergency appeal.

“While humanitarian relief for those civilians most affected is a priority, especially women and children, we must also recognise that this conflict underlines the importance of renewing a commitment to political dialogue in the wider search for peace and security for both Israeli and Palestinian. The destructive cycle of violence has caused untold suffering and threatens the security of all.

“For all sides to persist with their current strategy, be it threatening security by the indiscriminate firing of rockets at civilian areas or aerial bombing which increasingly fails to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants, is self-defeating. The bombing of civilian areas, and their use to shelter rocket launches, are both breaches of age old customs for the conduct of war. Further political impasse, acts of terror, economic blockades or sanctions and clashes over land and settlements, all increase the alienation of those affected. Populations condemned to hopelessness or living under fear will be violent. Such actions create more conflict, more deaths and will in the end lead to an even greater disaster than the one being faced today. The road to reconciliation is hard, but ultimately the only route to security. It is the responsibility of all leaders to protect the innocent, not only in the conduct of war but in setting the circumstances for a just and sustainable peace.

“While it is acceptable to question and even disagree with particular policies of the Israeli government, the spike in violence and abuse against Jewish communities here in the UK is simply unacceptable. We must not allow such hostility to disrupt the good relations we cherish among people of all faiths. Rather we must look at ways at working together to show our concern and support for those of goodwill on all sides working for peace.”

Echoing the prayer of Pope Francis, Archbishop Justin concluded by saying, “Let us pray to the Prince of Peace who so suffered in a land of violence that hearts may turn to peace and the innocent be helped.”

During recent weeks Archbishop Justin has expressed his concern about the violence in Gaza. He fully accepts that Israel has the same legitimate rights to peace and security as any other state and to self-defence within humanitarian law when faced with an external threat. At the same time he shares the despair, and acknowledges the growing anger felt by many, including Jewish people to whom he has spoken, at the recent escalation of violence by all involved. All this highlights the need for underlying issues to be addressed, whether the ongoing terror threat to Israel or the expansion of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The failure to find constructive paths to peace poses a threat to the future of all the peoples of the region.

Notes:

Read the statement on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s website: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5382/statement-from-archbishop-justin-on-gaza

Further information about the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem’s emergency appeal: http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2014/07/emergency-appeal-made-for-gaza-hospital.aspx

In-depth Philadelphia 11 reflections: Allison Cheek and Carter Heyward

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, July 29, 2014
[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

[Episcopal News Service -- Brevard, North Carolina] The Rev. Allison Cheek and the Rev. Carter Heyward reflect on the meaning and continuing challenge of the Philadelphia 11 ordinations. Cheek and Heyward were two of the 11 who were ordained without the Episcopal Church’s explicit permission on July 29, 1974.

A shorter version of this video is available here.

ENS coverage of the church’s 40th anniversary celebration of those ordinations is available here.

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

Philadelphia 11 reflections: Allison Cheek and Carter Heyward

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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[Episcopal News Service -- Brevard, North Carolina] The Rev. Allison Cheek and the Rev. Carter Heyward reflect on the meaning and continuing challenge of the Philadelphia 11 ordinations. Cheek and Heyward were two of the 11 who were ordained without the Episcopal Church’s explicit permission on July 29, 1974.

A more in-depth version of this video is available here.

ENS coverage of the church’s 40th anniversary celebration of those ordinations is available here.

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

 

Philadelphia 11 reflections: Church still learning from ordinations

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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[Episcopal News Service --Phoenix, Arizona] Fredrica Harris Thompsett, the Mary Wolfe Professor Emerita of Historical Theology at the Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, reflects on the lessons taught to the church by the ordinations of the Philadelphia 11 40 years ago on July 29, 1974. She was the keynote speaker at a symposium July 26 that was part of an anniversary celebration in Philadelphia.

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

Where are the Philadelphia 11 – and their ordaining bishops – now?

ENS Headlines - Monday, July 28, 2014

Attending the July 26 celebration were, left to right, the Rev. Alison Cheek, retired Bishop of Costa Rica Antonio Ramos, the Rev. Carter Heyward, the Rev. Merrill Bittner, the Rev. Marie Moorefield Fleischer and the Rev. Nancy Wittig. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] The following are summaries of the lives and work of the priests known as the Philadelphia 11 since their “irregular” ordinations on July 29, 1974.

The Rev. Merrill Bittner, 67, served in the Diocese of Rochester from 1973 to 1976, including a 1973-1975 term as an associate at Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Webster, New York. She worked as a hospital chaplain and served at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Rumford, Maine from 2001-2006. She married Nancy Noppa, a college friend with whom she had traveled the United States, in 2013.

The Rev. Alla Bozarth, 67, founded Wisdom House, a Minneapolis-based interfaith spirituality center. After her husband died in 1985, she returned to her native Oregon and continued her ministry with Wisdom House West. She serves as resident priest of there and writing poetry and prose. She has written two books on grief, Life is Goodbye/Life is Hello ~ Grieving Well through All Kinds of Loss (1982) and A Journey through Grief (1990). Some of her poetry is on a blog here.

The Rev. Alison Cheek, 87, served at St. Stephen’s and Incarnation Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. After her husband died, she served at Trinity Memorial Church in Philadelphia before studying at the Washington Institute of Pastoral Psychotherapy and beginning her own counseling practice. She later joined the faculty of Episcopal Divinity School as director of feminist liberation theology studies. After retirement, she moved to Maine and became part of the staff of the Greenfire Retreat Center, then active in Tenants’ Harbor. She also affiliated with St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Rockland, and served as spiritual counselor, pastoral minister, and supply priest for St. Peter’s until she moved in 2013 to Brevard, North Carolina.

The Rev. Emily C. Hewitt, 70, worked for a short time at Andover Newton Theology School as an assistant professor of religion and education before earning a law degree from Harvard. She retired in 2013 as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. She is an avid long distance race walker and won the U.S. National Race Walking medal in 1987.

The Rev. Carter Heyward, 68, was hired by Episcopal Divinity School, along with the Rev. Suzanne R. Hiatt, in January 1975. Heyward taught at EDS until 2005. She was the author of many books and scholarly papers. She moved back to her native North Carolina and now runs and teaches at a therapeutic horseback riding center.

The Rev. Suzanne R. Hiatt (1944-2002) taught on the faculty of Episcopal Divinity School from 1975 until her retirement in 1999. She was the author of many books and scholarly papers.

The Rev. Marie Moorefield Fleischer, 70, left the Episcopal Church in 1975 and became a United Methodist minister. She served as a chaplain in Methodist healthcare settings. She was recognized as an Episcopal priest in 1985 and since then served parishes and diocesan offices in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and Western New York. She served as canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of North Carolina from 2001-2006. Her husband, astronomer Robert Fleischer, died in 2001.

The Rev. Jeanette Piccard (1895-1981), served as an unpaid assistant at her home parish of St. Philip’s in Minneapolis. She was a popular speaker throughout that area. She and her husband, Jean Felix Piccard, were pioneering aviators and she was the first woman licensed as a hot air balloon pilot in the United States and the first woman to pilot a stratosphere-capable balloon to that height, and thus she has been called “the first woman in space.” She served as a consultant to NASA.

The Rev. Betty Bone Schiess, 87, was the executive director of the Mizpah Educational and Cultural Center for the Aging in Syracuse, New York, from 1973-1984. She later served in various campus ministry and parish positions in New York, where she still lives. She reported that she recently wrote a letter to her local newspaper about failed U.S. immigration policy, suggesting that the U.S. ought to return the Statue of Liberty to France. She says that she received more hate mail over the letter than she did during the time around her ordination.

The Rev. Katrina Welles Swanson (1935-2005) was hired by St. Stephen’s, a poor parish in St. Louis, Missouri, as an assistant for a dollar a year in 1975. In 1978, she became the first female rector in the tri-state New York metro area when she was hired as the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Union City, New Jersey, where she served until retiring in 1995. The website devoted to her memory, Katrina’s Dream, promotes the full inclusion of women in society and urges people to support passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Her husband, the Rev. George Swanson, continues to promote her causes.

The Rev. Nancy Hatch Wittig, 68, served parishes in the Diocese of Newark before a 20-year term as rector of the Church of St. Andrew in the Fields in Philadelphia. She moved to Ohio after retirement and is an assistant at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lakewood, Ohio. In 2012, she married Pamela Darling, an author and lay leader in the Episcopal Church.

The ordaining bishops
Retired Colorado Bishop Suffragan Daniel Corrigan, retired Pennsylvania Bishop Robert L. DeWitt and retired West Missouri Bishop Edward R. Welles II (Katrina Wells Swanson’s father) have all died. Costa Rica Bishop Antonio Ramos, who assisted at the ordinations and who was the only one of the four who then was exercising jurisdiction in the church, is retired.

Sources: The Episcopal Clerical Directory (Church Publishing, 2013), Wikipedia entry, Religion News Service, The Story of the Philadelphia Eleven, Darlene O’Dell (Seabury Books, 2014).

Philadelphia 11 ordinations marked with calls for continued justice work

ENS Headlines - Monday, July 28, 2014

Among those who attended the July 26 celebration in Philadelphia were some history-makers. They included, left to right, the Rev. Alison Cheek (Philadelphia 11), retired Bishop of Costa Rica Antonio Ramos (who assisted at the Philadelphia 11 ordinations but did not participate in the laying on of hands), the Rev. Carter Heyward (Philadelphia 11), Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori (whose election in 2006 made her the first women primate in the Anglican Communion), the Rev. Merrill Bittner (Philadelphia 11), the Rev. Betty Powell (one of the Washington Four who were ordained in September 1975), the Rev. Marie Moorefield Fleischer (Philadelphia 11), the Rev. Nancy Wittig (Philadelphia 11) and retired Massachusetts Bishop Suffragan Barbara Harris (who is this year celebrating the 25th anniversary of her consecration as the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion). Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

An interactive timeline of the history of women’s ordination in the Anglican Communion is here.

[Episcopal News Service – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] A joyous celebration of the 40th anniversary of women’s priestly ordination on July 26 here included calls for people to realize that the dream of a more egalitarian and less patriarchal Episcopal Church – and society – that was embodied by the Philadelphia 11′s ordinations requires much more work.

“I wonder why we cannot speed up the work of gender justice and aligned oppressions in the days and years ahead,” Fredrica Thompsett Harris, Mary Wolfe Professor Emerita of Historical Theology at Episcopal Divinity School, asked during her keynote address to a symposium that kicked off a day meant to celebrate the July 29, 1974, ordinations of 11 women deacons at Church of the Advocate here. “This would be one way to honor our courageous sisters and those who stood with them.”

The Rev. Merrill Bittner, the Rev. Alison Cheek, the Rev. Alla Bozarth, the Rev. Emily C. Hewitt, the Rev. Carter Heyward, the Rev. Suzanne R. Hiatt, the Rev. Marie Moorefield, the Rev. Jeanette Piccard, the Rev. Betty Bone Schiess, the Rev. Katrina Welles Swanson and the Rev. Nancy Hatch Wittig were ordained on that day in 1974, slightly more than two years before the General Convention of the Episcopal Church gave its explicit permission for women to become priests.

Retired Colorado Bishop Suffragan Daniel Corrigan, retired Pennsylvania Bishop Robert L. DeWitt and retired West Missouri Bishop Edward R. Welles II (Katrina Wells Swanson’s father) were the ordaining bishops. They were joined by Costa Rica Bishop Antonio Ramos, the only one of the four who then was exercising jurisdiction in the church. Ramos did not participate in the actual ordination, but joined in the laying on of hands.

The group “40 Years Ordained – 2,000 Years in Ministry”, organized by the Diocese of Pennsylvania in conjunction with others throughout the church, designed the July 26 celebration not just to mark the Philadelphia 11’s ordinations – and those of the Washington Four on Sept. 7, 1975, at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. – but also to celebrate the ministry of all women, lay and ordained, in the past, present and future. The gathering included Holy Eucharist at Church of the Advocate, followed by a reception amid displays of various ministries in which women are engaged.

Speeding up the progress towards gender justice and eliminating other interlocking oppressions would be a good way to honor the first women ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church, says Fredrica Thompsett Harris, Mary Wolfe Professor Emerita of Historical Theology at Episcopal Divinity School, during her July 26 keynote address. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

“This celebration must not be honored by excluding others,” Harris Thompsett said during her keynote address. “It should not be sentimentalized by Hallmark [greeting] card theology, or trivialized by invoking a too-small God, a non-controversial, semi-engaged complacent divinity.”

She gave three challenges to the approximately 230 women and men who attended the symposium. The first was to honor the first ordinations of women by becoming “much more insistent advocates for baptism as being chief among Holy Orders,” warning against what she called “creepy theology out there in everyday use” which assumes that deacons, priests and bishops are somehow more connected to God and called to be more prophetic than lay people.

The second challenge was to live truly into the “embodied nature of Anglican theology” that emphasizes the goodness of all creation and the dwelling of the incarnate Christ in us and us in him. All people, she said, must claim their bodies “as sacred vehicles of spiritual authority.”

Harris Thompsett’s third challenge was very specific, calling for making the House of Bishops 30 percent female in the next 10 years. That would mean electing about 50 or more “highly and diversely qualified women bishops,” she said. To do so would require more attention being paid to discrimination and tokenism in all search processes, including those for the episcopate, she added.

The symposium at Temple University also featured a panel of lay and ordained women who responded to Harris Thompsett’s speech. Participants included Bishop Carol Gallagher, the Rev. Miguelina Howell, the Rev. Pamela Nesbit, the Rev. Sandye Wilson and educator and social worker Nokomis Wood. The panel was moderated by the Very Rev. Katherine H. Ragsdale, EDS dean and president. Philadelphia 11 member Wittig closed the symposium with a meditation.

Wilson, the rector of St. Andrew and Holy Communion in South Orange, New Jersey, echoed comments made by her fellow panelists and Harris Thompsett about interlocking oppressions. For years black women were invisible in the Episcopal Church, she said.

“When they spoke of women, they spoke of white women, and when they spoke of black, they spoke of black men,” she said, adding that “we have to name these things because if we don’t name them, we’re subject to repeat them.”

Wilson, who was the fourth African-American woman ordained in the Episcopal Church, said “we need to be sure that we are radically welcoming everyone and that no one is left out or left behind, that the table is set for everyone and that no one on a committee has to advocate for one group or another.”

Ragsdale told the symposium that she heard a recurring theme about the “celebration of diversity along with the painful and … grief-giving and infuriating reality of how far we have yet to go in the church and the world to really celebrate that diversity” and the justice that ought to come with it.

She added that she also heard a call for people to value all four orders of ministry and to recognize that those in ordained orders must listen to the stories of the work done by lay people outside the doors of the church and empower those ministers to carry on.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori during her sermon at Church of the Advocate uses a pair of red high heels to illustrate the expectations set upon ordained women. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, preaching and presiding at the celebratory Eucharist later in the day, said the entire Episcopal Church gives thanks that women now serve in all orders of ministry. As the congregation of about 600 roared its approval, she turned in the Advocate’s ornate pulpit and bowed to the five members of the Philadelphia 11 and one of the Washington Four who participated in the Eucharist.

Jefferts Schori reminded the congregation that women priests have been told that they should not wear high heels or dangly earrings in the pulpit or at the altar. After brandishing a pair of red high heels, she said “Women in all orders of ministry – baptized, deacons, priests, and bishops – can walk proudly today, in whatever kind of shoes they want to wear, because of what happened here 40 years ago.”

“We can walk proudly, even if not yet in full equality, knowing that the ranks of those who walk in solidarity are expanding,” she continued.

“Try to walk in the shoes of abused and trafficked women. Walk on to Zion carrying the children who are born and suffer in the midst of war,” the presiding bishop said. “Gather up the girls married before they are grown, gather up the schoolgirls still missing in Nigeria, and gather up all those lives wasted in war and prison. March boldly, proclaiming good news to all who have been pushed aside, and call them to the table of God, to Wisdom’s feast.”

Video and text of the presiding bishop’s sermon is here.

Attending the celebration from among the 11 members of the 1974 ordinations were the Rev. Alison Cheek, the Rev. Carter Heyward, the Rev. Merrill Bittner, the Rev. Marie Moorefield Fleischer and the Rev. Nancy Wittig.

Retired Bishop of Costa Rica Antonio Ramos, who assisted at the Philadelphia ordinations but did not participate in the laying on of hands that day, processed with the women, as did the Rev. Betty Powell, one of the Washington Four, and retired Massachusetts Bishop Suffragan Barbara Harris, who this year is celebrating her 25th anniversary of being the first female bishop in the Anglican Communion.

Speaking during the announcement time, Ramos told the congregation that on July 26, 1974, “we decided to disobey the order of the church for the sake of the orders of the church.”

“We decided to end a discriminatory set of canons to make all the orders of the church both equally inclusive for men and women,” he said.

Pennsylvania Bishop Provisional Clifton “Dan” Daniel had been a priest for a year when he decided to participate in the Philadelphia ordinations (priests are often invited to join the ordaining bishop or bishops in the laying on of hands). He reminded the gathering that while the ordinations changed the history of the Episcopal Church, it was also a very personal event for the 11 ordinands.

“At the time I think we had a very different sense of what was at stake for us and of how much we had to gain or lose,” Heyward told ENS in an interview. “I just knew it was an important step to take given where the church was and given where I was in my life.”

In the same interview, Cheek said her already-raised consciousness “got raised a lot higher after her ordination. “It was a real big turning point in my life and I think that that was because quite a few oppressed groups of folk then reached out to us and wanted us to come celebrate for them,” she said.

The Rev. Merrill Bittner, one of the Philadelphia 11 who was honored at the 40th anniversary celebration July 26, distributes communion at the Eucharist. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

In addition to experiencing the typical feelings of a person preparing for and then being ordained, before and after, the women were barraged with criticism that veered into outright threats. Called unprintable names, their appearances and their voices were examined and found wanting as were their personalities and intellects. Some were told they would be good for the church because it would be better to see them in the pulpit than ugly, old male rectors. They were accused of being immoral and self-indulgent. One received a length of fish cord with the suggestion that she use it to hang herself, according Darlene O’Dell in her new book “The Story of the Philadelphia Eleven.”

On the day of the ordinations, buckets were lined up along the church’s wall in case of bombs or fire, plain-clothed police officers were among the 2,000 congregants, a busload of police were stationed down the street and the congregation included a group of radical lesbians, some trained in crowd control and karate, O’Dell wrote.

The path to the Church of the Advocate and beyond
When, after years of struggle and rejection, the Philadelphia 11 broke the traditional prohibition against the ordination of women to the priesthood of the Episcopal and Anglican Churches they entered a sort of limbo. There was no canon in church law that specifically forbade women from being priests and there was no canon that said only men could become priests.

However, the canons did and do still outline a process leading to ordination first to the transitional diaconate and then to the priesthood. The final step of that process before priestly ordination is the approval by one’s standing committee. For women, that never happened.

While all 11 had been through the canonical process for ordination to the diaconate (which had been open to women only since 1970), just one of them had received the necessary Standing Committee approval for priestly ordination. Her bishop refused to ordain her. Another’s bishop said he would ordain her if the Standing Committee approved. It did not.

None of the eight bishops who had authority over the 11 agreed to the ordinations and the bishop of Pennsylvania objected to the ordinations taking place in that diocese. Bishops in the Episcopal Church are required to ordain only those people who have gone through the ordination process in their dioceses, or they must have the permission of the bishop who supervised that process. Thus, the Philadelphia 11′s ordaining bishops were seen to have violated church law as well as tradition.

Charles V. Willie, who preached at the Philadelphia 11 ordinations, is greeted during the peace by the Rev. Renee McKenzie, vicar and chaplain of Church of the Advocate. Willie was vice president of the House of Deputies and a member of the Episcopal Church Executive Council at the time of the ordinations but he resigned both positions in protest when, three weeks later, the House of Bishops invalidated the ordinations. Willie read one of the readings during the July 26 Eucharist. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

On Aug. 15, 1974, the House of Bishops, called to an emergency meeting that reportedly was by turns rancorous and confused, denounced the ordinations and declared that “the necessary conditions for valid ordination to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church were not fulfilled.” In effect, the bishops said, nothing had happened at the Church of the Advocate and the 11 were still deacons – to whom they offered pastoral care.

Charges were filed against the ordaining bishops and attempts, ecclesial and otherwise, were made to prevent the women from exercising their priestly ministries.

Still, women’s ordination movement continued. Resigned Rochester Bishop George W. Barrett ordained four women deacons on Sept. 7, 1975, at the Church of St. Stephen and the Incarnation in Washington, D.C., despite Washington Bishop William F. Creighton’s refusal to allow the action. About 1,200, including 50 priests, attended. The Rev. Lee McGee, the Rev. Alison Palmer, the Rev. Betty Powell, all of Washington, D.C., and the Rev. Diane Tickell of Anchorage, Alaska, became known as the Washington Four.

In September 1976, the General Convention approved the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate by adding a new section to the church’s ordination canons that read: “The provisions of these canons for the admission of Candidates, and for the Ordination to the three Orders: Bishops, Priests and Deacons shall be equally applicable to men and women.”

The House of Bishops, during the 1976 convention, at first ruled that the Philadelphia 11 and the Washington Four would have to be re-ordained, calling the first actions “conditional ordinations” similar to the conditional baptism allowed in emergency situations when one is not sure if a person was baptized. The women said they would refuse to be re-ordained and, the next day, the bishops voted unanimously for a “completion” ceremony that would avoid the laying on of hands.

The Rev. Betty Powell, one of the Washington Four who were ordained in September 1975 and who was honored during the 40th anniversary celebration July 26, asperges the congregation during the Eucharist that emphasized the ministry of all the baptized. All six of the first women who attended the service sprinkled the congregation members with water from the baptismal font. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The story was not yet over. In October 1977, the House of Bishops adopted “A Statement of Conscience” that assured that “No Bishop, Priest, or Lay Person should be coerced or penalized in any manner, nor suffer any canonical disabilities as a result of his or her conscientious objection to or support of the sixty-fifth General Convention’s actions with regard to the ordination of women to the priesthood or episcopate.”

The statement arose out of a meeting that began with Presiding Bishop John Allin saying he did not think “that women can be priests any more than they can become fathers or husbands,” and offering to resign as presiding bishop. The House of Bishops affirmed Allin’s leadership and adopted the “conscience clause” contained in a pastoral letter issued after the meeting.

Since the clause was never adopted by the House of Deputies, it had no canonical authority but a handful of bishops and their dioceses used it to bar women from the priesthood for 33 more years.

A more complete timeline of the history of women’s ordination in the Anglican Communion is here.

A statistical look at ordained women in the Episcopal Church today

  • Church Pension Group’s 2014 annual report shows 2,471 ordained women participating in the clergy pension plan, compared with 4,188 males.
  • Male clergy make up 62 percent of recently ordained employed clergy and 66 percent of all employed clergy, according to the organization’s latest State of the Clergy report from 2012.
  • Recently ordained female clergy consistently make between $1,000 to $7,000 less than male clergy of the same age. Also, as female clergy’s age at ordination increases, compensation steadily decreases. Plus, females can expect a $1,766 smaller salary increase when changing parish positions.
  • The report called this gap “striking” and said it points to “significant structural inequalities confronting female clergy when searching for new jobs.”
  • “Our findings reveal that women clergy are consistently realizing smaller gains from taking new jobs than males, regardless of the type of parish they serve,” the report concluded.

Also for 2012, the Church Pension Group’s annual Clergy Compensation report showed that

  • the median full-time compensation for all male priests, parochial and non-parochial, was slightly more than $10,000 higher than that for female priests ($75,747 for the 3,455 men compared with $65,438 for the 1,827 females).
  • the median full-time compensation for senior male priests was $103,660 compared with $93,566 for senior female priests (there were 572 men in such positions and 138 women)

Celebration organizers offered commemorative fans to each of the more than 600 people who came to Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia July 26 to celebrate the July 29, 1974, priestly ordinations of 11 women deacons slightly more than two years before the General Convention of the Episcopal Church gave its explicit permission for women to become priests. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Read more about it
The Story of the Philadelphia Eleven,”Darlene O’Dell, (Seabury Books, 2014)

Looking Forward, Looking Back: Forty Years of Women’s Ordination,” Fredrica Harris Thompsett, editor, (Moorehouse Publishing, 2014)

The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me: The Writings of Suzanne Hiatt,” Carter Heyward and Janine Lehane, editors, (Seabury Books, 2014)

Forty Firsts,” an online series from Episcopal Commons and the Diocese of Los Angeles marking the 40th anniversary

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

Marriage task force releases study guide, resources in Spanish

ENS Headlines - Monday, July 28, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Episcopal Church Task Force on the Study of Marriage has released Dearly Beloved, resources for conversation and discussion, in Spanish.

Dearly Beloved (Querido Amado) is available here.

The Power Point is (Mantener Conversaciones) is available here.

Access the complete public website for General Convention’s A050 Task Force on Marriage here. 

The Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage is enabled by Resolution A050 at the 2012 General Convention.

Resolution A050 is available in full here.

Task Force Facebook page.

Task Force YouTube

El Grupo de Trabajo sobre el Estudio del Matrimonio presenta a debate una guía de estudio y recursos en español

ENS Headlines - Monday, July 28, 2014

[28 de julio de 2014] El Grupo de Trabajo de la Iglesia Episcopal sobre el Estudio del Matrimonio ha publicado, Queridos Amados, unos recursos para la conversación y el debate, en español.

Queridos Amados está disponible aquí.

Mantener Conversaciones está disponible aquí en “power point”.

Acceda a la página web completa donde está El Grupo de Trabajo para la Resolución A050 Sobre el Matrimonio de la Convención General  aqui.

Grupo de Trabajo de la Iglesia Episcopal sobre el Estudio del Matrimonio está habilitado por la Resolución A050 de la Convención General de 2012.

La Resolución A050 está disponible aquí. 

La página de Facebook del Grupo de Trabajo.

Grupo de Trabajo  YouTube:

Survey on inclusion of people with developmental disability

ENS Headlines - Monday, July 28, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The sub-committee on Full Inclusion of People with Developmental Disability of The Episcopal Church Standing Commission on Health is seeking input through a survey available here.

“As chair of the Standing Commission on Health, I commend to you this important survey on Full Inclusion for those with Developmental Disability,” noted Bishop Marc Andrus of the Diocese of California. “The Rev. Stannard Baker and Ms. Mimi Grant, co-chairs of our sub-committee on Full Inclusion, developed it.  Please fill it out as soon as possible to do your part in bringing full inclusion in the liturgy and formation programs of The Episcopal Church for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability and Attention Deficit Disorder.”

Deadline for the survey is August 17.

Para completar la encuesta de Plena Inclusión para Discapacidad de Desarrolloen en español por favor utilice este enlace – debe ser completado el 17 de agosto de 2014.
Aqui 

For more information contact Baker at stannard.baker@btrpsychotherapy.com

Interactive timeline of the history of women’s ordination

ENS Headlines - Monday, July 28, 2014

To interact with this timeline, close the introduction and use the slider at the bottom to scroll through the events. To explore an event, click on it. You will then have options to read the details, delve deeper and connect with related online resources.


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