[Washington National Cathedral] Washington National Cathedral today announced its schedule of family-friendly events, world-class classical concerts, and worship services for the 2013 Advent and Christmas season. All events take place at Washington National Cathedral, located at 3101 Wisconsin Avenue, NW (Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues, NW), Washington, D.C. 20016.
Crèche Exhibit: What Child Is This?
November 25, 2013 – January 12, 2014 (lower level).
For more than 20 years, the Cathedral has opened its annual exhibit of nativity scenes to the public on the Monday before Thanksgiving. The nucleus of the exhibit is a collection of approximately 800 nativity scenes donated by a former docent. About 80 of these are selected for display each year and show the story of Jesus’ birth as interpreted by cultures and customs around the world. The Cathedral’s collection includes miniatures, rare materials, and unusual depictions, as well as typical examples that might be found in anyone’s home.
Advent Lessons and Carols
December 1, 2013 at 4 p.m.; live webcast.
Cathedral choirs lead a service of lessons and carols in the tradition of the internationally famous Kings College, Cambridge. More info »
Close-Up Tour: Angels High and Low
December 1, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. and December 5, 2013 at 3 p.m.; tickets $10 per person.
Angels have been represented in art, literature, and film for centuries. These “messengers” have intrigued artists and viewers throughout history. Discover while touring, the varied media in which angels are depicted in the Cathedral: stained glass, needlepoint, wood carving, and stone carving. Close-up Tours offer a special, in-depth look at aspects of Cathedral artisanship for visitors aged 10 and older. Reservations are encouraged but not required; space is limited. The tour meets at the west-end docent station, nave level, just inside the main doors. More info »
December 6, 2013 at 7:30 p.m., December 7 and 8, 2013 at 4 p.m.; performed by the Cathedral choir with soloists and Baroque orchestra. Tickets start at $29 and are available online.
With its resounding “Hallelujah” chorus, Handel’s masterpiece glitters through the winter evening. Canon Michael McCarthy directs the Baroque–period orchestra and the Cathedral’s combined boy, girl, and men’s choirs. Guest soloists are Gillian Keith, soprano; Claire Wilkinson, mezzo; Rufus Müller, tenor; Nathan Berg, bass. More info »
The Joy of Christmas Concert
December 14, 2013 at 12 p.m. (family matinee), December 14 and 15, 2013 at 4 p.m.; Cathedral Choral Society in a holiday favorite directed by J. Reilly Lewis, tickets available online.
A perennial holiday favorite from the opening procession accompanied by the great organ to the Cathedral carillon and the beloved carols old and new, this festive concert has long been a Washington family tradition and is often sold out. J. Reilly Lewis conducts the Cathedral Choral Society; Todd Fickley, organ; Edward Nassor, carillon. More info »
Bethlehem Prayer Service
December 21, 2013 at 10 a.m.; joint simulcast service with worshipers in Bethlehem
Join worshipers in the nave for the seventh annual joint simulcast Christmas service with the people of Bethlehem. Prayers, readings, and hymns alternate between Washington, D.C., and Palestine via the Internet, bringing together people of different lands, languages, and ethnic backgrounds in celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace. More info »
December 21, 2013 at 2 p.m.; live webcast.
Children of all ages come to the Cathedral to participate in this annual pageant celebrating the Nativity. Children dressed as shepherds, angels, and animals help tell the story of the Messiah’s birth. On the day of the event, families arrive in costume in the nave for a 1:30 pmbrief rehearsal prior to the pageant. The pageant begins at 2 p.m. and lasts approximately one hour. Halos are available for herald angels in need of costume assistance. Bring family, friends, and cameras for this lively telling of the true meaning of Christmas. More info »
Carols by Candlelight
December 22, 23 and 24, 2013 at 6 p.m.; live webcast. Passes required.
Like the angel who heralded glad tidings to the shepherds, we meet during this holy season to sing the joy of Jesus’ birth. In a very real sense it is also our own birth which we celebrate at Christmas—a spiritual birth of the Divine Presence made new in our lives. Join us for this service that captures the spirit of Christmas. Favorite carols, beautiful Christmas music, and lit candles help to tell again the ancient story of the birth of the Prince of Peace. More info »
A note for media — Only the December 24th Christmas Eve Carols service at 6 pm is open to media. Media requesting to tape B-roll of the Cathedral’s Christmas service must attend this service and must RSVP by 5 p.m. on Friday, December 20. Media will not be permitted to attend any other service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Festival Holy Eucharist
December 24, 2013 at 10 p.m. and December 25, 2013 at 11 a.m.; live webcast. Passes are required for both services on Christmas Eve, but are not needed for any service on Christmas Day.
Celebrate Christmas Day at Washington National Cathedral. The Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde preaches Christmas Eve, and the Very Rev. Gary R. Hall preaches Christmas Day.
More info (Christmas Eve) »
More info (Christmas Day) »
Christmas Day Service of Lessons and Carols
December 25, 2013 at 4 p.m.; live webcast.
Traditional service of Scripture readings and Christmas carols, featuring Rosa Lamoreaux, soloist. More info »
Christmas Day Organ Recital
December 25, 2013 at 5:15 p.m.; live webcast, $10 recommended donation
Washington National Cathedral organists Christopher Betts and Benjamin Straley play a Christmas afternoon recital of traditional and familiar holiday favorites on the Cathedral’s great organ. With special guest, Rosa Lamoreaux, soprano. More info »
[The Episcopal Church Office of Global Partnerships] Today, November 25th, we invite you to join us in prayer and meditation for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the first of the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, an international campaign that began in 1991 at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University. Over the next 16 Days, Global Partnerships will feature a daily contribution from a guest blogger to educate and raise awareness about gender-based violence, share resources and illustrate some of the ways in which The Episcopal Church is responding through its ministries and peace and justice initiatives.
We also invite you to contribute your own resources to the newly created Gender Violence page of The Episcopal Church’s website. During the 16 Days, resources will be gathered to respond to General Convention 2012’s Resolution A139 – Gender Violence call to “identify and disseminate resources about gender violence and promote their use by dioceses and parishes”. The resources will be added to the webpage during the 16 Days, and a letter will be sent to all dioceses and parishes pointing to the online resource.
Gender violence, or “gender-based violence” (GBV), is a broader term than “violence against women and girls” and recognizes that violence based on one’s gender can be directed towards men and boys, although this is less common. Thus, it is fitting that November 25th is also White Ribbon Day, an international day for sensitizing men and boys to the significance of gender violence. Gender violence is also an all-too-common experience of those who identify as transgender.
As defined in 1993 in the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, gender-based violence is “any act … that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.” These acts take many forms: domestic violence by a partner or spouse, rape (including marital rape), sexual assault, sexual abuse, female genital mutilation/cutting and other traditional practices harmful to women, forced child marriages, assault on the basis of sexual orientation, dowry-related violence, honor killings, infanticide, sexual harassment and intimidation, trafficking in women, forced prostitution, and gender discrimination.
Gender violence is widespread across countries, classes, races, cultures and religions and negatively affects individuals, their families and communities. One in three women experience gender violence during their lives. Men and boys are also subject to various forms gender violence. At its heart is a distortion of the value and place of women and men in society, one that forgets that all of us, regardless of our gender, are loved and cherished by God and made in God’s image.
Restoring that sense that we are all God’s cherished and beloved is at the heart of the 16 Days. The campaign raises awareness about gender violence “to reinforce that eliminating all forms of violence against women is a human rights issue and that the act of perpetrating violence against women is a human rights violation.” They end on December 10th with International Human Rights Day. Having these two significant events as book-ends symbolizes the link between violence against women and human rights, stressing the fact that such violence is a violation of human rights. Other important dates also fall during the 16 Days, such as December 1st – World AIDS Day and December 6th – Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre/ Canadian White Ribbon Day.
The Episcopal Church has long been active in raising consciousness about gender violence and addressing its root causes. This happens through General Convention resolutions, the follow-up of Executive Council and Episcopal Church staff, local, federal and international advocacy, and the ministries of countless individuals, women’s groups, parishes, dioceses and church staff. These ministries include assisting victims through shelters, advocacy, counseling and social services and addressing the beliefs, attitudes and behaviors which are the root causes that lead to this violence.
The 16 Days campaign has spread around the world and is growing in significance within The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. Today, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will launch The Episcopal Church’s campaign during the midday Eucharist at the Chapel of Christ the Lord at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City. In past years, Anglican Women’s Empowerment, Episcopal Church Women (ECW) and the Episcopal Women’s Caucus have jointly published daily prayers during the 16 Days. This year, the ECW National Board will post a daily prayer which is sent automatically when one signs up here for the free e-Communique newsletter.
The Anglican Communion has stressed the importance of tackling gender-based violence in its Letter to the Churches of the Anglican Communion from the Primates of the Anglican Communion following their Primates’ Meeting in Dublin, Ireland (24-30 January 2011) and the Anglican Consultative Council’s 15th session, with Resolution 15.07 on Gender-Based and Domestic Violence, 2012. The Anglican Communion’s women’s desk published a resource called “Anglicans and the 16 Days” that features various resources and initiatives Communion-wide and will be featured in a future post.
We invite you to join us over the next 16 Days in reflecting on the prevalence of gender violence worldwide, the reason that it persists, and how the Church might best respond to those who suffer from distorted perceptions and acts of violence, be they physical, psychological or spiritual.
– Lynnaia Main is the Episcopal Church’s officer for global partnerships.
[Episcopal Diocese of Long Island] This post originally appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, expressed his disapproval of the gambling referendum’s passage on Election Day. Delivering his address during the Eucharist at the 147th Diocesan Convention last weekend (Nov. 15-16), Bishop Provenzano also called on all parishes in the diocese, which includes Brooklyn, to refrain from gambling as a form of raising funds.
Prior to Election Day, Bishop Provenzano had also published a statement opposing the gambling referendum. Voters passed this constitutional amendment passed on Nov. 5 with a 57-43 margin, according to informal polls reported.
Also prior to the election, The New York Times, apparently unaware of any religiously progressive faith leaders opposing the referendum, had published a story, “Critics Wage Quiet Fight Against Ballot Measure on Adding Casinos.” According to that Oct. 21 story, “The opposition is a ragtag array of religious conservatives who associate gambling with social ills, liberal intellectuals who see gambling as a form of regressive taxation, and skeptics who believe that Mr. Cuomo has overstated the economic promise of his casino plan.” Yet, the Episcopal Diocese’s Bishop Provenzano, who opposed the measure, is known as a progressive leader on many front and social justice issues, including on the ordination of women.
During his Convention Address on Nov. 16, Bishop Provenzano said, “On Election Day the people of the State of New York voted in favor of casino gambling as a means of supporting a much needed state-wide program. In my opinion, it is a misguided and unfortunate choice that has been made. Experience has proven that the funds raised by gambling are unfortunately a trade off with the increased services needed, and social and moral ills are created by these efforts across the country. All that being said, the State of New York will proceed; but as we hear Jesus tell his disciples in the tenth chapter of Mark, ‘it must not be that way with you…’ My sisters and brothers, I am calling upon you, and all the people of this diocese, to refrain from the use of games of chance, casino nights, raffles, card games and 50/50 programs as a way of raising funds for ministry or programs in our churches and institutions. These efforts to raise funds are counter to the teaching of faithful stewardship in the church. Stated very plainly and simply, if people have the money to engage in these activities, they should be taught and encouraged to practice good and holy stewardship – we should not have to entertain them, feed them or coerce the funds from their wallets to support the ministry of the church and fulfill their calling as members of the church. Further, I would like to encourage parishes to open their buildings to the 12-step program called ‘Gamblers Anonymous’ as a simple, but very visible expression of our care and concern for those who fall victim to gambling in our communities.”
During the same address, Bishop Provenzano also asked each congregation in his diocese to nurture interfaith partnerships and ministries.
“Today, I am asking each congregation to seek partnerships across ecumenical and inter-faith divides. I am aware that many congregations have fruitful, on-going relationships with ecumenical and inter-faith groups. Let’s keep that work going strong and re-new those efforts. But where there are none, I ask that we begin again to foster such relationships. The week of Prayer for Christian Unity between the Feasts of the Confession of St. Peter and the Conversion of St. Paul in January is an excellent time to nurture relationships with ecumenical partners and utilize that opportunity to encourage interfaith dialogue and work. I believe it is time, once again, for the Episcopal Church to serve the needs of God’s people as a bridge to unity in Christ and unity as the children of God.”
– Francesca Norsen-Tate is the religion editor for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
[Episcopal News Service – Cannon Ball, North Dakota] On a brilliantly bright but frigid late Nov. 23 morning here on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation, the people of St. James Episcopal Church officially came home to a new church that echoes a teepee and feels as if the worshippers are gathered in a dream catcher.
The temperature hovered around 6 degrees Fahrenheit and a slight wind was blowing off the nearby Missouri River as congregation members and visitors stood in the gravel parking lot for the beginning of the service.
They sang “Many and Great,” a hymn that the Rev. John Floberg, St. James rector, said was believed to be the first Christian hymn written in Lakota. It was sung, he told the congregation, by 38 Dakota men as they walked to the gallows Dec. 26, 1862 in the largest one-day execution in U.S. history after they were convicted on allegations that they were part of an uprising that year.
“Let the door be open,” said North Dakota Bishop Michael Smith, wearing an Indian feather headdress in place of a miter and loudly pounding on the door.
When the Rev. Neil Two Bears and acolyte Mia Two Bears opened the door, Smith announced “Peace be to this house, and all who enter here,” using his pastoral staff to mark the threshold with the sign of the cross.
The scene was a far cry from the night of July 25, 2012, the Feast of St. James, as an arson fire tore through the wooden church building and guild hall.
Phoenix Martinez, 19, pleaded guilty to a charge of arson and was sentenced Sept. 30 to three years and four months in federal prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. He was ordered to pay restitution of $354,100.
The sole visible reminder of that night is the cross that hangs in front of a star quilt above the pulpit. It is made of two rugged and charred pieces of timber from the floor of the St. James Guild Hall, the only wood that was not reduced to ashes in the fire.
“It feels like a homecoming,” said Senior Warden Florestine Grant before the service began. “We’re dreaming about the things we can do here for the children, for the elders and for the culture.”
One of her daughters, Alex Spotted Elk, said that it was too bad that a fire caused the congregation to have to build a new building. But, looking up to the opening at the top of the roof, she said, “This is a place for new memories.”
The Rev. Terry Star, a deacon who grew up in St. James and who is now a seminarian at Nashotah House in Wisconsin, recalled during his sermon how nearly 100 years ago an Episcopal bishop told the Sioux in the area they had to put away their Indian adornments in order to be Christian. That attitude is changed, Star said, as evidenced by the adornment of the new St. James.
“We can be a Dakota people; we can be who we are – that God made us to be – and still follow Jesus Christ,” he said.
Star said he hoped that the beautiful and colorful church would become a strong symbol for the people of the area.
He recalled a story that his grandmother told him of Iya, a great monster whose name literally means “mouth,” who was eating up the people, and Ikto, the trickster who flattered the monster to get him to trust him. Ikto pretended to be Iya’s big brother and asked what the monster feared. Iya said he was afraid of loud noise, of singing and drumming. Ikto went ahead to the next village and told them to start celebrating with songs and drums.
The trick worked; Iya was paralyzed by fear and Ikto killed him. When Iya’s stomach was cut open, all the people the monster had swallowed came back to life.
“We have a darkness eating up our people,” Star said. “It’s something swallowing up our people.”
A drive around Cannon Ball, Star said, shows a lack of “artwork and colorfulness,” other than the “marshmallow-colored housing” whose tints were not the choice of the occupants.
“We have an opportunity in this building and through the Gospel and through our worship in this building to bring color and celebration back into the community,” he said. “We can chase away the Iya that’s eating up our people.”
Star said that members should bring artists “who can hear these Gospel stories and express those gospel stories through their work” to the church and “show them that there’s a home for that kind of work here.”
He also urged the congregation not just to be Christmas and Easter attendees.
“This building doesn’t work if it’s only used on Christmas and Easter; we have to be in here all the time,” he said.
And then, “all the joy and happiness” that comes from worshipping here in this space, Star said, “is not supposed to stay here.”
“We’re supposed to take it out those doors and out into the community,” he concluded. “Kill that Iya and bring joy and happiness back into our community.”
Star, who read the Gospel in Dakota, epitomized the church’s confluence of Western Christianity and Sioux spirituality. He was vested in cassock, surplice, tippet and preaching tabs, wearing a medallion beaded with the Chi Ro symbol, an eagle feather tied in his hair and beaded moccasins on his feet. Star preached from an iPad.[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]
A church filled by artists and donors
The new St. James, still a bit rough around the edges with boxes of flooring hidden under pews and communion rails that were anchored in place earlier in the morning, is furnished with donated items and furniture from other churches, together with new contributions.
A vivid star quilt hangs at each of the four corners of the nave. Star quilts are often given away at funerals, naming ceremonies, marriages and other celebrations to represent the giver’s thankfulness to the receiver. Another star quilt, which adorned the pulpit during the service, will also serve as the altar frontal.
The baptismal font, carved by local artist Charles McLaughlin from Colorado alabaster, evokes a bull boat, which was used to cross from one side of the Missouri River to the other. Some Yanktonai Sioux who survived that 1863 Massacre at White Stone Hill came across the river to live with other Dakota living near the mouth of the Cannon Ball River.
White Stone Hill will be depicted on one side of a yet-to-be completed mural on the back wall of the apse. The nearby hills will be on the other side and, in the middle will be the New Jerusalem as a teepee village, Floberg said.
On the side below where the nearby hills are to be painted, a large flat-screen television is already hung.
Holly Doll, the granddaughter of long-time Standing Rock Episcopalians the Rev. Innocent and Edna Goodhouse, designed and created a parfleche gospel book. A parfleche is a decorated animal-hide bag that Plains Indians traditionally used to keep and carry important documents. The Bible inside this parfleche is a Dakota translation of the New Testament.
Area Episcopalians donated other items and Holy Trinity in Juneau, Alaska, another church that knows what it is to lose its building to fire, donated the processional cross.
The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, current president of the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies, donated candlesticks, processional torches and the Paschal Candle in honor of her predecessor Bonnie Anderson, who helped raise money to build the new St. James.
Many of the major furnishings, including the pulpit, communion rails, pews and a reredos featuring a mural of the Ascension whose background could be a depiction of the hills outside the church, came from Houglum Lutheran Church in Lake Park, Minnesota. Floberg grew up west of Lake Park in Hawley and learned about the church’s August 2013 closing while reading the local newspaper and contacted the congregation to tell them about the St. James fire and rebuilding plan.
The freestanding altar, however, is another story. A simple closed-sided table on whose front the words Wakan (Holy) flank a gold cross had served the St. James congregation as a gift from the Congregational Church at Big Lake on the reservation until the 1990s. When an Episcopal church in nearby Park Ridge closed and its furnishings came to St. James, the old altar went to St. Gabriel’s Camp in nearby Solen. Now it is back at St. James.
Building a new St. James in the 16 months since the fire has been a major effort. A settlement from Church Insurance plus some diocesan money brought $359,392 to bear but a gap remained. Anderson led the Ikpanazin Rebuilding Fund that gathered another $67,532, along with $5,000 in donations and pledges from the St. James congregation, Floberg told Episcopal News Service. The United Thank Offering gave the church a $48,500 grant during its 2013 round of funding to help.
The combined fundraising effort exceeded its goals and a second phase is now underway to build a baseball field and picnic areas near the church.
However, the collection taken up during the Nov. 23 consecration will be given away. “In gratitude for all we have received from others” Smith told the congregation, the money would go to the Episcopal Church’s effort to rebuild the earthquake-destroyed cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the first phase of which is predicted to cost $15 million.
Prairie Outpost Log Homes of Mandan, about 40 miles to the north, built the post-and-beam St. James church after suggesting the concept of rafter beams swirling up to resemble the poles of a teepee and with cross pieces adding the dream catcher effect. Jordan Shelltrack, a young member of the congregation who read a portion from the Book of Revelation during the service, sketched out the floor plan. More details about the planning process are here. A collection of photos on the congregation’s Facebook page here traces the construction.
The congregation worshiped from May to September in a banquet room of the tribal-owned Prairie Knights Casino and Resort, about 10 miles south of the church, and the members gathered for a meal there afterwards. The new building has been used for the parish’s 60-member youth group that meets each Wednesday night.
‘One of North Dakota’s toughest towns’
The St. James congregation was established in 1890 in Cannon Ball, which is part of the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation, and has been home to generations of Episcopalians, Floberg said.
Cannon Ball, in the south central part of the state, was the first place the Episcopal Church was established on the North Dakota reservation. Three other congregations trace their roots to St. James, according to the diocesan website. Services there include hymns in the Dakota language.
On the diocesan website, the congregation says it is in “one of North Dakota’s toughest towns. Addiction to alcohol and unemployment are both very high. But we aren’t going to give up.” That sentiment was written before the arsonist struck.
“The church was a rock in the foundation of the small reservation community,” the Bismarck Tribune said in a Nov. 21 editorial that wished the congregation well in its continued service to the people there.
About 875 people live in the Cannon Ball area, 813 of them Native American, according to the 2010 Census.
By one measure the median income in 2011 was $25,504, compared to $51,704 for the state as a whole, and per capita income is $9,597 while the state average is closer to $26,000.
Episcopal Church involvement with the Sioux began in the mid- to late-1800s after the 1862 Dakota uprising in neighboring Minnesota that resulted in the U.S. government deporting them to reservations in South Dakota. Just after the Civil War, the federal government offered land to various Christian denominations in exchange for their complicity in its effort to force Indians to assimilate into the white settlers’ culture through the federal government’s reservations system.
The Episcopal Church helped to carry out that plan mainly east of the Missouri River. The 1871 General Convention created the Niobrara Missionary District, which included parts or all of what are now North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska. Episcopalians who live within the boundaries of that former district still gather in convocation every June.
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]
[Episcopal News Service – Cannon Ball, North Dakota] The Rev. Terry Star, a deacon who grew up in St. James Episcopal Church, Cannon Ball, and who is now a seminarian at Nashotah House in Wisconsin, tells those who will worship at the new St. James that they must take the joy and happiness they feel out into the rest of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
“We have an opportunity in this building and through the Gospel and through our worship in this building to bring color and celebration back into the community” to destroy the demon “that’s eating up our people,” he said.
Star, who read the Gospel in Dakota, epitomized the church’s confluence of Western Christianity and Sioux spirituality. He was vested in cassock, surplice, tippet and preaching tabs, wearing a medallion beaded with the Chi Ro symbol, an eagle feather tied in his hair and beaded moccasins on his feet. Star preached from an iPad.
The new St. James was consecrated Nov. 23, some 16 months after an arson fire tore through the wooden church building and guild hall.
Written ENS coverage of the consecration is here.
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] November 25 to December 10 have been designated the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, an annual campaign to raise awareness about gender-based violence.
In conjunction with the 16 Days, The Episcopal Church is calling for resources on gender-based violence in response to General Convention resolution A139 on Gender Violence. Parishes and dioceses are also invited to share information on ministries and events related to gender-based violence.
Gender-based violence, as defined by the United Nations in 1993, is any act “… that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.” According to the United Nations, gender-based violence is widespread across countries, classes, races, cultures and religions and affects individuals, their families and communities. It should be noted that men and boys are also subject to gender-based violence.
Send resources to Lynnaia Main, Episcopal Church Global Relations officer at firstname.lastname@example.org. The resources gathered during the 16 days will be posted here. Info on the resources will be distributed.
“The annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign that began in 1991 at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University,” explained Main.
The theme of the 2103 campaign is From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women! with three priority areas: violence perpetrated by state actors; domestic violence and the role of small arms; and sexual violence during and after conflict.
Main noted that key events also are marked during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, with the start and end dates emphasizing the link between violence against women and the violation of their human rights:
Among the resources available for observing the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence:
• Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will preside and preach in the Chapel of Christ the Lord in the Episcopal Church Center, NYC, on November 25 – International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women/White Ribbon Day.
• In past years, Anglican Women’s Empowerment, Episcopal Church Women (ECW) and the Episcopal Women’s Caucus have jointly published daily prayers during the 16 Days. This year, the ECW National Board will post a daily prayer on the theme Violence Against Women and Girls; sign up for the free e-Communique newsletter here.
• The Anglican Communion’s women’s desk published a resource called “Anglicans and the 16 Days” that features various resources and initiatives Communion-wide and is available here.
• Episcopal Church Global Partnerships blog will feature daily contributions on gender-based violence by guest bloggers from around the Church.
• A Letter to the Churches of the Anglican Communion from the Primates of the Anglican Communion following their Primates’ Meeting in Dublin, Ireland (24-30 January 2011)
• Anglican Consultative Council 15 – Resolution 15.07 on Gender-Based and Domestic Violence, 2012
[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Patrick Ward has withdrawn his name from the slate of nominees who will stand for election as bishop suffragan in the Episcopal Diocese of New York.
Ward, interim rector of Christ Church in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, was nominated by petition on Oct. 27.
His name was added to the slate of five nominees announced on Oct. 7.
- The Rev. Kim L. Coleman, rector, Trinity Episcopal Church, Arlington, Virginia;
- The Rev. Canon Susan C. Harriss, rector, Christ’s Church, Rye, New York;
- The Rev. Kathleen L. Liles, rector, Christ & Saint Stephen’s Church, New York, New York;
- The Rev. Allen K. Shin, rector, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Huntington, Long Island, New York; and
- The Rev. Mauricio J. Wilson, rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Oakland, California.
The election is scheduled to take place on Dec. 7.
The bishop suffragan will succeed the Rt. Rev. Catherine Roskam, who retired in 2011 after serving the diocese for 15 years.
[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan and Bishop of Derby Alastair Redfern have written to the U.K. Government to press their political Australian counterparts to ensure that a priority for the G20 in Brisbane next year will be ending the scandal of 1 billion people going hungry every day.
Morgan and Redfern, who is the Church of England’s spokesperson on international development, have written to Prime Minister David Cameron on behalf of the Anglican Alliance, which brings together development, relief and advocacy across the Anglican Communion.
Food security is a priority for the Anglican Alliance which supported the work of Anglicans in responding to the famine in the Horn of Africa in 2011, and to the food crises facing communities in Asia and the Pacific.
In their letter, the two leaders said that progress had been made at the 2013 G20 Summit, with the St. Petersburg Development Outlook giving priority to food security, with a focus especially on smallholder and family farmers, and the empowerment of women, who are the majority of small scale farmers.
“We in the Anglican Church, which is present in many of the world’s poorest countries, have as a key part of our mission to overcome poverty and injustice, a commitment to ensure that no-one has to go hungry in a world of such plenty. We see it as a priority that the world’s 20 richest nations should do everything in our power to overcome the hunger that still affects so many of our fellow human beings,” they said.
The Australian Government takes over the presidency of the G20 next month from the Russians. It has not yet announced its priorities for the year.
The Anglican Alliance is a charitable company and part of the world-wide Anglican Communion with 88 million members in over 160 countries, including a major presence in 13 of the G20 countries. About half of all Anglicans are in Africa, including in some of the poorest countries where hunger and poverty are major problems.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Sarah Lawton, a lay deputy from the Diocese of California, was awarded the House of Deputies medal in October. The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies, presented the medal to Lawton during the Diocese of California’s convention at Grace Cathedral.
In presenting the award to Lawton, who is a longtime social justice advocate, three-time deputy and the chair of the Standing Commission on Social Justice and Public Policy, Jennings said, “I think that we are called to raise our voices for those who have no voice and to work for Gospel justice in the world now more than ever. The imperative to proclaim generous Christianity is greater now than it has ever been in my lifetime.”
Jennings praised Lawton as an example for Episcopalians, saying, “Sarah’s passion for building relationships that break down barriers and create change in the world is grounded in simple, profound Christian love.”
Lawton, a second-generation deputy who served in 2006, 2009 and 2012, was elected at the California Diocese Convention to serve again in 2015. She lives in San Francisco with her family and is development coordinator for the University of California Berkeley’s Labor Center.
In a recent interview for the House of Deputies website, Lawton said that Episcopalians need to take the long view when working for justice. “We stand on the shoulders of Anglicans like William Wilberforce and Frances Perkins,” she said. “There’s no way we finish the work in our generation. We do our part.”
She cited legislation passed by General Convention as among the best ways to put faith into action. “We listen to each other and learn from each other, and I think General Convention resolutions incorporate the voices we hear and the minority opinions,” Lawton said.
Speaking of her experience as secretary of the National and International Concerns legislative committee in 2012, she added: “I learned a lot about how important the process is from my fellow deputy Russ Randle, who chaired the committee. It takes work and time for deputies to meet. It couldn’t just be done by a committee in New York. As large and unwieldy as the House of Deputies can be, there’s something that would be lost if we didn’t have it.”
Jennings, who was elected at the 77th General Convention in 2012, established the medal in October of that year to honor clergy and laypeople who have given distinguished service to the House of Deputies and the Episcopal Church.
The triennial General Convention is the governing body of The Episcopal Church and includes the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies. The next General Convention will be held in June 2015 in Salt Lake City.
[Episcopal News Service] Diocese of Mississippi Bishop Duncan Gray III made the following remarks to the end of the Nov. 15-16 “Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America,” held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Jackson, Mississippi.
Fifty Years Later: Racism in America – Closing Address
Diocese of Mississippi Bishop Duncan Gray III
It has been given to me, at the conclusion of this remarkable gathering, the task of sending us out – in hope. So, with apologies to those it may offend, I’m going to make this very personal.
More than a few folks have wondered, some out loud in my presence, about the appropriateness of a conversation on racism being hosted by the Episcopal Church in Mississippi.
I think I understand. Fifty years ago this summer, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and, among other things, said:
“…I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice…”
Well, the wolf has not yet laid down with the lamb; nor have the leopard and goat and calf and lion made lasting peace as Isaiah once imagined; nor has this state been transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
And yet, I am hopeful.
I am hopeful precisely because I am a child and native son of this conflicted, heroic, tragic and often violent state. It is for me, as William Faulkner once wrote, “my little postage stamp of native soil,” and, he added, its stories are inexhaustible.”
And within its stories lies its hope. I have seen so much of its worst and, yet, I am still so very hopeful because I know so many stories.
I am hopeful because three weeks ago we broke ground here in Jackson for the first publicly funded State and Civil Rights museums. Listen to that again – a publicly funded, state sponsored, taxpayer supported Civil Rights Museum located in Jackson, Mississippi.
Speaker after speaker, from the most conservative to the most liberal had the same message: We must tell the whole story of our people, even the parts of the story that we wish had never happened. One said it this way:
“We must tell the story of the brave pioneers who settled this land, but we must also tell the stories of those who came here against their will. And we must tell the stories of those whose land they took.”
I am hopeful that an honest look at our past and a willingness to listen to stories – of individuals and communities – that we had never known or wanted to know, will move us in important ways toward healing, maybe even reconciliation.
If “even Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression,” fifty years ago can do this, why can’t others?
I am hopeful because I see a new light being shown on the tragic and violent stories of Emmitt Till, Medgar Evers, Vernon Dahmer, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and so many others. This new light is witness to a willingness to come face to face with the horrors of our past and with the human heart’s capacity for evil – in this or any other state.
But in turning and facing that devil we are robbing him of his power.
We cannot hide from our past in Mississippi, but by telling the story we have found a new way forward. And we are also learning that the human heart also has an infinite capacity for “love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice” – again Mr. Faulkner’s words.
If Mississippi can do this, why can’t others?
I am hopeful because thirty-eight years after the Voting Rights Act was passed by Congress, Mississippi now has the largest number of African-American elected officials of any state in the Union.
If Mississippi can do this, why can’t others?
I am hopeful because the Episcopal Church in this state has dared to look deep within its history and learn how we have benefited, even to this day, from the institution of slavery. I am hopeful because we will remember Freedom Summer 1964 and the courage and idealism of thousands of young people who came to our state with a summer camp next year that will explore their work and ask what their courage and sacrifice means for young people today.
If Mississippi can do this, why can’t others?
I am hopeful because institutions like Mission Mississippi and the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation have rooted their transformational work in the telling and listening of stories.
If Mississippi can do this, why can’t others?
I am hopeful, because as I unpack the layers of racism deeply embedded in my own soul (often taking the form of very personal racial profiling), I have thousands of fellow travelers across this state who are doing that same very painful, very scary, but very life-giving work.
“The human heart in conflict with itself,” said Mr. Faulkner, “is the only story worth writing about.”
We need to write and tell stories that speak of the extraordinarily painful truth of the human heart in conflict with itself.
I am hopeful because we are learning – very slowly, but learning nonetheless – that each of us interprets reality through a set of lens that are shaped and formed by our own unique life experiences. Pure objectivity is an illusion.
We are all indelibly shaped by our history – as individuals and as a people.
I need to know what the world looks like to you through your set of lens in order to understand you. And you need to see what my world looks like to understand me. We need to tell our stories.
I am hopeful because I see a willingness to explore those new worlds in the lives of others. It’s just beginning, but it is there.
And I am hopeful because you are here. Some of you have traveled a great distance. You have dared to make this journey to continue this difficult conversation about our common life and our collective soul. Thank you so very much.
You have dared to push aside that temptation to despair that is in the very air that we breathe these days.
And I am hopeful because I see in this gathering and in so many other ways the mysterious, often hidden providential hand of God. In 1963, not an easy time for this state or the Episcopal Church in this state, one of my predecessors in this office (who happened to be my grandfather) spoke to the diocesan convention about God’s presence in that challenging moment:
“These times were made for us,” he said, “and we were made for these times.”
I am hopeful because fifty years later, those words are addressed to us anew: “These times were made for us and we were made for these times.”
For fourteen years, I have sent the people of this church into the world with a blessing I borrowed from another of my predecessors (my father). I send you out now with those same words:
“Go forth into the world in peace.
Be strong and of good courage.
Hold fast to that which is good.
Render to no one evil for evil.
Strengthen the fainthearted.
Support the weak.
Help the afflicted.
Honor all persons.
Love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit,
and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be among you and remain with you now and forever. Amen.”
A webcast of the Nov. 15 session, which included a keynote address by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and two panel discussions, is available for on-demand viewing here. A discussion guide (http://www.episcopalchurch.org/sites/default/files/facilitator_guide.pdf) developed for the forum is available. The Nov. 16 workshops and plenary sessions from Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism In America will be available online shortly.
[Forward Movement press release] Forward Movement is pleased to announce the release of From the Holly Jolly to the Holy: Reclaiming the Sacred During Advent and Christmas by Jim Rosenthal.
The holiness of Advent and Christmas often gets lost in the busyness of the season. This year, explore Advent and Christmas through the lens of St. Nicholas and scripture, and find the holy in the midst of the secular traditions. Each day during Advent, From the Holly Jolly to the Holy will help you to reclaim this time as sacred and joy-filled.
“St. Nicholas’s story can help unleash within us that holy virtue of bringing new life and new hope to people who come our way,” Rosenthal explains. “As we anticipate the joy of Advent and journey through Christmas and Epiphany, we have a chance to recapture the holy and reclaim traditions, all to give glory to the blessed Christ Child.”
The Rev. Canon Dr. Jim Rosenthal is the president of the UK/USA St. Nicholas Society. He is retired and now lives in a village called St Nicholas at Wade, Kent, near Canterbury, where he also serves as the parish priest of St. Nicholas Church. Originally from Chicago, Rosenthal served as communications officer of the Anglican Communion for 19 years and has visited more than 70 countries. He co-authored St. Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas, published by Thomas Nelson USA. He dons the robes of Bishop Nicholas in many locations every year but his favorite is the annual celebration in Canterbury, walking alongside the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
“Jim Rosenthal has spent his ministry sharing the Good News across the globe, from his years in the Diocese of Chicago to nearly 20 years as communications officer for the Anglican Communion,” reflected Richelle Thompson, Managing Editor at Forward Movement. “In his new book, From the Holly Jolly to the Holy, Jim shares his other passion: the goodwill and generous spirit of Saint Nicholas of Myra. Jim invites the readers to experience Advent and Christmas through the lens of Saint Nicholas the holy, not the Santa Claus the jolly. It’s a book that brings us back to the heart of this sacred time and helps recapture the divine delight of the season.”
“Seeing this book in print,” Rosenthal enthused, “gives me hope that some may see in its pages a way forward in reclaiming the holy and at the same time learning to enjoy the heritage we have in dear old St. Nicholas, who shows us the way to wait for a child to be born who just happens to be the Prince of Peace.”
To order copies of From the Holly Jolly to the Holy: Reclaiming the Sacred During Advent and Christmas, click here or call 1-800-543-1813.
Forward Movement works to nurture discipleship and encourage evangelism by providing print and digital resources to all who wish to deepen their spiritual engagement. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio since its inception in 1935, Forward Movement is widely known for Forward Day by Day. Forward Movement is a ministry of The Episcopal Church.
[Anglican Church of Canada press release] This Christmas season, take some time out from stress with “In days to come,” a series of Advent devotional podcasts available soon from the Anglican Church of Canada.
General Synod’s partner this year is St. Benedict’s Table, an arts-centred Anglican community in downtown Winnipeg.
“Our Lent and Advent podcast series have not only provided the church with excellent material for seasonal reflection, but they’ve given us a unique opportunity to highlight some ministries within the Anglican Church of Canada,” says the Rev. Jesse Dymond, General Synod’s online community coordinator.
“We’ve been able to partner with religious communities, respected leaders, and creative congregations like St. Benedict’s Table. The content just keeps getting better.”
“In days to come” consists of six five-minute episodes. Each features a member of the St. Benedict’s community reflecting on the season through biblical themes, music, and personal stories.
The Rev. Jamie Howison is an Anglican priest and a founder of Saint Benedict’s table.
“Listeners are going to be given five minutes to step back from the busy-ness, the social demands, and the pressures of getting ready for the secular Christmas,” he says.
“And in these five minutes they’re going to be invited—through music and word—to consider some other matters … matters that are so important in the life of faith that giving them consideration will actually make the Christmas feast even better.”
The podcasts cover topics such as Jesus’ teachings of grace and judgment, Advent customs, the challenge of waiting on God’s promises, and whether Advent and Christmas are only brief and shallow “gloss-overs” for our sometimes difficult lives.
This is St. Benedict’s second foray into producing Advent resources. The first was a book of daily devotional readings for last year’s season, also called “In days to come…” It was that experience – as well the wealth of talent in their community and ease of access to a recording studio – that led Howison to accept when St. Benedict’s Table was asked to produce the 2013 Advent podcast series.
St. Benedict’s Table also has a tradition of in-house podcasting — covering sermons, special events, and speakers. When an opportunity to produce Advent podcasts for national church came around it seemed like a natural fit.
“We have really emphasized Advent over the years in our community, and these podcasts are built on that,” says Howison.
“Advent is an extraordinarily important counter-practice to the madness of Christmas shopping season. It provides a unique opportunity for people in the church to say ‘we don’t have to buy into all the over-eating, over-spending, over-drinking for an entire month, and stress. We actually have a different story to tell here. And then the feast begins.’”
Contributors to the podcast series include Howison, musician and songwriter Steve Bell, English poet and priest Malcolm Guite, and co-winner of the 2011 Marks of Mission song contest Jaylene Johnson. Recording was done at Bell’s independent Christian music studio, Signpost Music in Winnipeg.
“When I first met with the guys at Signpost music and asked them to partner with us to produce these podcasts, they were pretty excited and were immediately talking about ‘radio reality,’” says Howison. “They wanted them to sound very good.”
The result is a series of podcasts that would be right at home on professional radio, and that the creators are proud to share with the national church.
“We were delighted to do it, and it was good to have so many different contributors. I think we all felt very good about how the podcasts turned out. We saw it as a great opportunity to share.”
[The Humane Society of the United States press release] During the holidays, giving to those in need, whether it is an extra can of food, a coat, or a new toy, is a wonderful thing. It is also a time to remember the pets who need help.
Sixty-eight percent of American households have pets, and while there aren’t exact estimates as to how many of these households are below the poverty line, it stands to reason that the need is substantial. We love our pets, and for good reason. They not only provide companionship, they bring joy, humor and love into our lives. They teach children about responsibility and appreciation for all God’s creatures. Pets can provide a special comfort for people living in-need, the elderly, or the sick-and-shut-in and lighten what may otherwise be heavy burdens.
Food banks across the country receive countless requests for pet food and supplies throughout the year. Often, instead of relinquishing a pet, some low-income pet owners will cut back on their own food to share what little they have with their beloved companions. The Humane Society of the United States launched the Fill the Bowl project to provide opportunities for members of faith communities to collaborate with food banks to provide donations pet food and supplies.
In most cases, access to food and basic care is often all it takes to keep low-income families and their pets together. Access to free pet food can make the difference in a family’s ability to keep a pet or give them up to face an uncertain future.
“There’s no measure to the blessings animals bring to our lives,” says the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. “And it’s especially heartwarming when you hear tales of those with so little doing with even less in order to provide for their animals. Those folk are better stewards than even they know, as it’s long been a part of some of the medieval legends about Christmas that it was the animals who attended Christ’s birth that night in the manger when no one else was there. Remembering the animals’ hospitality by extending our own to them is a wonderful way to honor the important roles animals play in our lives.”
We are approaching the season of giving, when communities across the country collect toys, clothes and food for needy families. Yet, despite the reality that many of these families have pets, very few donation drives include pet food.
The holiday season reminds us of the people who are less fortunate. Let us continue to expand our circle of compassion to include the animals and the people who love them. Add an extra bag of pet food to your food bank donation this year or start your own pet food collection in your church community through The Fill the Bowl Project. Reach out to your local animal shelter and offer a partnership for the holidays. Ask if they need a pet food collection, dog and cat toys, or blankets for the homeless animals in their care.
Providing sustenance for pets is more than a can or bag of food – it’s an acknowledgement of the important role that pets have in our lives, and a symbol of community support for every member of the family.
This new daily devotional app is suitable for all ages and features the artwork of renowned cartoonist, Jay Sidebotham. Scripture readings and the Sermon on the Mount bring the anticipation of Advent to life.
Email the daily messages to friends and family, or post to your favorite social media feeds. A handy built-in journaling feature allows you to collect your thoughts throughout the season of Advent.
It’s Advent! is compatible with all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices running iOS 7.0 or greater.
[Episcopal Diocese of Newark press release] The Episcopal Diocese of Newark will offer daily meditations during the season of Advent, beginning Sunday, December 1.
Each day you will receive a scripture reading, a reflection on that reading and a short prayer (except on Sundays when you will receive the Gospel lesson and a prayer).
The word “Advent” means “coming,” yet Advent is often a challenge as we are bombarded by sales, parties and a myriad of other distractions. Please consider taking time to slow down, wait, pray and reflect on the hope and possibilities that Jesus offers us. We hope that these daily emails will help you to prepare your hearts and minds for the coming of Jesus.
[Episcopal Diocese of Maryland] The Diocesan Resource Center has a variety of resources and ideas for use in Advent. Please phone or email email@example.com. You can also search for resources via our online catalog. 410-467-1399.
Multi-Media Advent Calendar
Access the Diocese of Maryland’s Advent calendar in multiple ways this season. Beginning Dec. 1 daily Advent meditations will be available on the diocesan website for your computer or smartphone, on the WBAL-AM radio online broadcast, and through Facebook and Twitter. A Pinterest application is also planned.
Ads on WBAL’s website encourage clicking through to the diocesan website to find a church this holiday season and to make a donation to Episcopal Relief & Development’s domestic or global missions.
Please share these resources with your congregation, friends and family. May you have a Blessed Advent.
Advent at the Claggett Center
The Heavens Declare Retreat
A 24-hour retreat to explore the earth and sky, open the books of nature and poetry, and deepen our connection to the universe as a part of God’s creation. Talks by Dr. Alex Storrs, professor of Astrophysics, Towson University; Dr. Robert Kachur, professor of English, McDaniel College; and the Rev. Dr. Ann Boyd, rector, St. John’s Parish, Hagerstown, and professor of Biology, Hood College. Register online.
For Claggett Programs:
Visit for flyers, registration. http://www.claggettcenter.org/programs.php
Contact Donna Kerner for information: firstname.lastname@example.org
[Episcopal Relief & Development] A wave of revitalization has swept over Grace Episcopal Church in Whitestone, NY. The economic downturn of 2008 had hit congregations across the country, and Grace was no exception, but a new rector sparked a movement to get the church growing again.
Danielle Barrios and her husband, Jim, have been at the forefront of these efforts. Jim recently took on the role as the congregation’s first youth group leader, organizing an excursion to the 9/11 memorial in New York City’s Financial District and visits to local churches. Danielle’s passion has been renewing Grace’s focus on global outreach, and as church membership has grown, so has the potential for creative action.
“I felt it was a good time to jump into the driver’s seat and get something going for Episcopal Relief & Development,” she said.
Episcopal Relief & Development’s Power of Partnerships and Friends of Episcopal Relief & Development web features appear on a rotating monthly basis. To learn more about the organization’s work worldwide, visit www.episcopalrelief.org.
[Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island] An exciting hurdle has been crossed by the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island’s Jonathan Daniels House (JDH) project, which aims to open a service-oriented intentional community for young adults. After three years of planning and preparing, last week JDH received official membership into the Episcopal Service Corps, a national network of more than 25 Episcopal young adult service programs across the United States.
As an Episcopal Service Corps community, Jonathan Daniels House will draw upon a diverse group of young adults from across the country, and plans to welcome four young adults in August of 2014. Participants will live together, work in service agencies embedded in local communities, and engage in vocational and spiritual discernment for a period of 10 months. They receive a modest stipend and are supported by a program director and mentors.
“We recognize that young people’s lives are formed by their experience in young adulthood – and that the service they provide will change them as well as those around them, said Bishop Nicholas Knisely of the Diocese of Rhode Island. “They will bring energy, vision and ideas to us and new hope to the people they serve.”
The next step forward for the JDH task force will be to hire a program director whose major work this spring will be to make arrangements with prospective service agencies, acquire housing, and prepare to welcome the first class of JDH participants. The JDH Task Force believes the support of the Episcopal Service Corps to be crucial as we work through these last tasks.
The community is named after Jonathan Daniels, a martyr of the Civil Rights movement who engaged in ministry in Episcopal churches in South Providence. As a seminarian in the 1960s, Jonathan Daniels traveled south to help register African Americans to vote in Selma, Alabama. On that trip, Daniels was shot and killed while pushing a teenage girl out of harm’s way.
The mission of Jonathan Daniels House is to honor Daniels by continuing the work of service, justice and reconciliation for which he lived and died. In the footsteps of Jonathan Daniels, participants will work with those in the margins for whom justice and access to basic human services is often difficult to achieve.
Penick Village 50th Anniversary
20 November 2013
Feast of Edmund of Anglia, 870
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
We’re celebrating 50 years of this remarkable community on the feast of an English king and martyr who died in the year 870. The two do have something to do with one another. Not only does this community continue to grow in the communion of saints who’ve shared life here for the last 50 years, but also with the saints from a much longer trajectory in our collective history.
Edmund was born in East Anglia around 841, and became king at the age of 15. Can you envision one of your grandchildren ruling a nation, even a small one? Yet people can rise to the challenge when nurtured and called to it from an early age, especially when they’ve been well mentored. Edmund presided over a reasonably prosperous and peaceful season in East Anglia until the Viking raids started up again in 870. Two Danish kings brought their forces into Britain and moved south toward Edmund’s lands killing, pillaging, and burning the villages and monasteries in their path. They sent messengers to Edmund, promising to spare him and even share their loot if he would become their vassal and repudiate his Christian religion. He declined, they captured him, tied him to a tree, beat him and shot him full of arrows – as the tale says, ‘until he looked like a hedgehog’ – and then cut him down and offered the deal again. He refused and they cut off his head. He was all of 29. His friends and subjects went looking for his body and eventually committed it to the ground in a Benedictine abbey, later called Bury St. Edmunds. There are some 60 English churches dedicated to him, in remembrance of his martyrdom and his fidelity to the idea of a home for his people, both English and Christian.
Edmund’s story has been told in a variety of ways, for the Viking destruction completely erased any contemporary documentary evidence of his rule. One commentator notes that Edmund didn’t give much evidence of being “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Edmund supposedly consulted his bishops about the deal that was being offered, and they urged him to accept it, apparently believing that keeping his head, rather than losing it, offered far more possibility to negotiate a more creative outcome.
Another tells a richer and more mythic version of the story. Years before Edmund’s encounter with the invading Danish king, a young Danish prince had gone hawking in a boat and was lost at sea. He washed up on the coast of England and was taken to Edmund, who learned of the young man’s skill and made him his chief falconer. But the man whom he replaced as falconer lured him into the woods and murdered him. The prince’s dog kept turning up at the castle to be fed and then going back to the woods, but it took quite a while before someone followed him and found the body. The deposed falconer was found guilty and set adrift in the same boat the young prince had come in – without oars or sail or food. As one might expect in a good epic, he in turn washed ashore on the Danish coast and was taken to the court, where he told the king that Edmund had ordered the prince’s murder. Thus Ingvar’s furious investment in doing away with Edmund and his god.
It’s a great legend, and it gets even better with echoes of the prince’s death in the story of Edmund’s. After Edmund is executed, his loyal subjects find his body and the severed head – with the aid of a wolf, crying “here, here, here.” There’s a very old mural in a church at Padbury, Buckinghamshire that shows a wolf carrying Edmund’s head.
It makes one wonder what elaborate stories will be told in future about the founders and residents of Penick Village! Yet there are some deeply significant and serious issues here. Edmund evidently did give an account of the hope that was in him, whether or not some have judged it foolish. He acted out of integrity. He loved the people of his kingdom, and he loved the enemy who washed up on his shore near death. He may have been naïve to promote the young prince and thereby demote a man prone to raging jealousy. He clearly was not a terribly effective or elegant politician. And the witness of his life is remembered as holy and life-giving for his people. He was the patron saint of England through most of the Middle Ages.
We remember saints as witnesses, examples of holy living. They are never perfect imitations of godliness – they’re very human in rich and complex ways, with feet of clay and checkered histories, even legendary ones. Each one opens a window onto what it means to offer evidence of the hope that is within us, as Peter puts it. And each encounter with one of these witnesses invites us to ask that question of ourselves. What’s my witness? What’s yours? Most of us aren’t going to be tied to trees and shot with arrows, but what does it mean for us to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves?
I’ve been intrigued and deeply moved by the stories I’ve heard about the witness in Charlotte called “Moral Mondays.” It has been a bold and faith-full witness about loving all our neighbors as ourselves, and caring for the least of these. Those who have gone to the capitol and challenged the state assembly may seem foolish in the world’s eyes, but they understand their cause as a holy one. I’m not certain that those who’ve worked to remove voting rights or social safety nets ought to be compared to marauding Vikings, but there are some parallels to be seen in laying waste to flourishing communities and educational opportunities, and removing hope from what had been growing stability in poor families.
Those monasteries the Vikings looted and laid waste were the social and spiritual support systems for the poor, the migrant laborers, orphans, and widows of their day. They also provided the only educational opportunities. Edmund gave his life insisting that God is larger than the destroying impulses of this world. Penick Village is a latter day echo of a medieval monastery – it’s a religious foundation for the care and nurture of human beings in the closing years of their lives. And it claims to be a hostel for human beings, uniquely created as beloved children of God.
The need for hostels and homes for all God’s children is an ancient one, and it’s a growing need around here. On Monday, the Fayette Observer reported about the homeless population in Moore County, noting that many don’t recognize the need because they assume this is a wealthy community. How are the people of this Village connected to the people of the larger village called Moore County, or North Carolina? I’ve been hearing about some here who are focused on that larger village, working and volunteering and giving witness to those connections. Some are probably mentoring potential Edmunds, youngsters who could become strong leaders for a more peaceable community. I know there are Edmunds here in this village, asking “Who needs a home around here?” and working to ensure they have one. What witness do we offer with our very lives, what hope for greater and more abundant life?
 Sam Portaro, The Brighest and the Best.
 Stars in a Dark World, 705-707