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‘Education as Hope’: Anglican universities conference convenes in Seoul

ENS Headlines - Friday, July 18, 2014

Delegates attending the CUAC conference visit the DMZ on the Korean Peninsula.

[Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion press release] On Sunday July 5th, seventy delegates from five continents, representing forty-seven member schools of the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC), gathered on the square outside a chapel in Seoul, Korea to convene CUAC’s 8th International Triennial Conference, “Education as Hope: Working Towards Transformation in Our Common World.” Hosted by Sungkonghoe University (SKHU) during its own centennial anniversary, the conference drew on the heritage of Korean culture as well as the peninsula’s specific context of separation and reconciliation as frameworks for exploring the programmatic theme. The tone was set as a group of SKHU student musicians in the Pungmul Kilnori tradition led the delegates in a parade of free dancing into the Chapel of the Epiphany, where the ensuing liturgy incorporated traditional Korean music and dance.

SKHU President the Rev. Dr. Jeong-ku Lee presided and preached at the opening Eucharist, which began with delegates representing the seven CUAC regional chapters bearing candles to the table behind the altar. Dr. Lee proclaimed that, “If the Anglican spirit is like Peter, CUAC is like Paul with the Anglican spirit and its vision for education is being spread worldwide through CUAC.” He continued, “If the Anglican educational institutes that God planted become like blind people in this world, our common world and its education will fall into a ditch….CUAC is a plant that God planted. May this CUAC international conference be another wonderful experience of our being a rainbow spectrum in diversity.”

The Rev. Dr. Jeremy Law, Dean of Chapel of Canterbury Christ Church University, who led the development of the conference theme, connected “Education as Hope” to the theology of the German theologian Jürgen Moltmann. In his seminal Theology of Hope, Moltmann insists that Christian hope is not limited to a future that emerges from the possibilities of the world, but reaches out to that resurrection future which arrives from the possibilities of God; this is hope for nothing less than a new creation. This hope, Law suggests, underwrites the open-ended enquiry that lies at the heart of genuine education. He thus called for education that “resists the stabilization of things, that provokes the question of meaning that makes the familiar strange, and so keeps the world open to that ultimate future God promises to bring.”

The delegates spent a day on “Reading the Korean Context” that included an overview from the Rev. Dr. Jaejoung Lee, South Korea’s former minister of unification, and a visit to the Demilitarized Zone that defines the division of the Korean peninsula.

The Triennial’s two keynote speakers addressed issues of Anglican identity and mission from different perspectives. The Rev. Dr. Sathinathan Clarke, professor of theology and culture at Wesley Theological Seminary, in Washington, DC, called for “a shift from post-colonial Anglicanism to TransAnglican cosmopolitanism.” Speaking to delegates representing a plurality of schools where Christians are in the minority, Clarke cited Namsoon Kang’s proposal to “move from politics of single identity to the politics of multiple solidarities across various identities without abandoning one’s personal attachments and commitments to the group one finds significant.” Such a posture allows colleges and universities to offer hospitality to other faiths, as well as to those who have none, while remaining Christian in character. “TransAnglican cosmopolitan Communion,” to Clarke, “is grounded in God’s grace, sieved through the preferential compassion of Jesus Christ, and nurtured by the cosmo-centric restoration of the Holy Spirit.”

Keynoter Dr. Jenny Te Paa Daniel, a public theologian and former dean at St. John’s Theological College in Auckland, New Zealand, related how the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King spoke to her situation as a young Maori student: “I said to my children, ‘I’m going to work and do everything that I can do to see that you get a good education. I don’t ever want you to forget that there are millions of God’s children who will not and cannot get a good education, and I don’t want you feeling that you are better than they are. For you will never be what you ought to be until they are what they ought to be.’”  She challenged delegates to reframe Anglican education, by having “the capacity and will to transform the way things are, by reaching out to include disadvantaged individuals not only in our schools, but by preparing them to make it to top levels of leadership.” “What I want for my grandchildren,” she concluded, “is for them to be transfigured, changed into something beautiful.”

Other conference speakers included Dr. John McCardell, Vice-Chancellor of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, who led off the conference addressing Personal Transformation as “Development of Character,” noting, “Character is balancing liberty with restraint from within;” Dr. Elaine Graham, research professor at the University of Chester in the UK, who took on Social Transformation in her paper “Apologetics without Apology,” focusing on the dilemma of navigating between religious resurgences in societies over against the new place of secularization; Dr. Gerald Pillay, Vice-Chancellor of Liverpool Hope University in the UK, who looked at Social Transformation through the lens of church history, describing “Christianity as the most globalized phenomenon in the world, surpassing democracy and capitalism;”and Dr. Henrique F. Tokpa, President of Cuttington University in Liberia spoke to Personal Transformation from his experience in Liberia of “Education from Ex-Combatants to Students.”

CUAC’s General Secretary, The Rev. Canon James G. Callaway, D.D., challenged the delegates that “as liberal arts recognizes the importance of learning a second language in starting one’s critical thinking about his or her mother tongue, [their] task was to begin to speak Sungkonghoe as they learn about its situation and context, to understand their own institutions better.”

The delegates at the Triennial elected members to the Board of Voting Trustees for the next three years. Prof. Robert Derrenbacker, Vice-Chancellor of Thorneloe University in Sudbury, Canada was elected chair; The Rev. Dr. Renta Nishihara, Vice President of Rikkyo University in Tokyo, Japan, Vice Chair; The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Guen Seok Yang of Sungkonghoe University in Seoul, Korea, Treasurer; and Prof. Alexander Jesudasan, principal and secretary of Madras Christian College in Chennai, India, as Secretary. At the closing banquet Canon Callaway cited the words of greeting of the Mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, who told delegates that “Sungkonghoe’s witness in human rights and human development was the same as his,” and that of the Mayor of the City of Guro, Lee Sung, who noted that “the mission I have for this city has been shared by Sungkonghoe University.” Callaway then told President Jeong-ku Lee that because CUAC shared the solidarity of the mayors that Sungkonghoe’s witness in their hundred years lived out CUAC’s vision as well. He then presented Lee a commendatory Centenary certificate signed by CUAC’s Patron the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

The Triennial concluded on Friday July 11th, and was followed by a two-day Chaplains’ Conference facilitated by Dr. Law. The next Triennial will be held in Chennai, India in early January 2017, hosted by Madras Christian College.

CUAC is a world-wide association of over 130 institutions of higher education that were founded by and retain ties to a branch of the Anglican Communion. With institutions on five continents, CUAC promotes cross-cultural contacts for the exchange of ideas and the joint development of educational programs among member institutions. As a network of the Anglican Communion, CUAC leverages its global presence to help the faculty and students of its member institutions become better citizens of an increasingly-diverse world. For more information, visit www.cuac.org.

Archbishop writes to ecumenical partners about women bishops

ENS Headlines - Friday, July 18, 2014

[Lambeth Palace] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has written to ecumenical partners about the General Synod’s decision to allow women to become bishops, emphasizing that churches “need each other.”

An ENS article about the Church of England’s decision to enable women to serve as bishops is available here.

The text of Welby’s letter, which is being posted to partner churches, follows.

This comes to you with warm Christian greetings and the wish to communicate personally to you the decision of the General Synod of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate.

This is an occasion of deep rejoicing for many, especially for many of the women clergy in the Church of England. They feel that this decision affirms their place and ministry in the life of the Church. For others in the Church of England, the decision may be a source of disappointment and concern.

As the Synod moved towards the decision many were struck by the spirit of the debate: frankness, passion and, I am glad to say, a good deal of Christian charity.  It all indicated an intention and sincere assurance to hold all of us together in one Church. There appeared a determination that the genuinely held differences on the issue of the ordination of women to the episcopate should not become a dividing factor in the Church of England, and there was care and expressions of love for those troubled by the outcome.

The Bishops have sought to build trust across the Church. The five principles outlined by them in their declaration form part of the package approved. Principles 3 and 4 are ecumenically relevant.

I give below these principles:

1.  Now that legislation has been passed to enable women to become bishops the Church of England is fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender, and holds that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are the true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy and thus deserve due respect and canonical obedience;                          

2.  Anyone who ministers within the Church of England must be prepared to acknowledge that the Church of England has reached a clear decision on the matter;

3.  Since it continues to share the historic episcopate with other Churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and those provinces of the Anglican Communion which continue to ordain only men as priests or bishops, the Church of England acknowledges that its own clear decision on ministry and gender is set within a broader process of discernment within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God;

 4. Since those within the Church of England who, on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests continue to be within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England remains committed to enabling them to flourish within its life and structures; and

5.  Pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church of England will be made without specifying a limit of time and in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contributes to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of England. 

The Church of England continues in its quest to make our unity more visible with those with whom we are in communion, and to seek greater unity with those with whom we are not yet in communion. Some of our Sister Churches in communion will share the joy of those in the Church of England, who welcome the development of having women in the episcopate. But we are also aware that our other ecumenical partners may find this a further difficulty on the journey towards full communion. There is, however, much that unites us, and I pray that the bonds of friendship will continue to be strengthened and that our understanding of each other’s traditions will grow.

Finally, it is clear to me that whilst our theological dialogue will face new challenges, there is nonetheless so much troubling our world today that our common witness to the Gospel is of more importance than ever. There is conflict in many regions of our world, acute poverty, unemployment and an influx of oppressed people driven away from their own countries and seeking refuge elsewhere. We need each other, as we, as churches empowered by the Holy Spirit, rise to the challenge and proclaim the good news of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and strive for closer fellowship and greater unity. I do recognise that there are issues that raise difficulties, but I do also take courage from the words communicated to one of my predecessors by a significant Orthodox brother which have become dear to me:

In spite of such obstacles, we cannot allow ourselves to congeal the love between us which is also manifested in dialogue so “let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us” with the good hope that the Lord of powers and mercy “will not let us be tested beyond our strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that we may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

It is therefore in this spirit that I greet you and ask for your prayers for our ministry in the Church of England.

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby
Archbishop of Canterbury

Religious leaders of Africa commit to post-2015 development

ENS Headlines - Friday, July 18, 2014

CAPA General Secretary Grace Kaiso said the widest cooperation was necessary for success. Photo: CAPA

[Anglican Communion News Service] Hundreds of faith leaders from across Africa recently met in Uganda’s capital for a three-day summit on sustainable development and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

More than 200 religious leaders gathered in Kampala between June 30 and July 2 for the Africa Faith Leaders’ Summit with its theme of Enhancing Faith Communities’ Engagement on the post 2015 Development Agenda in the Context of the Rising Africa.

During the conference the leaders, from a wide variety of religious traditions, considered ways to work together to ensure post-2015 goals were implemented.

They made a host of commitments, including doing more to promote peace and reconciliation in countries and communities currently facing violence; to promote interfaith dialogue and co-operation as a means of eradicating religious radicalization; to ensure women, children, youth, people with disabilities and people living with HIV/AIDS are included in finding solutions to Africa’s development challenges; and to promote the resourcefulness of Africa as opposed to its poverty and misery.

Canon Grace Kaiso, general secretary of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) who attended the event, said, “The shaping of our common future must not be left to a few but must involve people at all levels.

“Our expectation of support from partners worldwide should not stop us as Africans from bearing our responsibility to turn life on the Continent around by being responsible and accountable stewards of the enormous resources God the Creator has endowed us with.

“CAPA, like many others at the meeting, is committed to the unlocking of the potential of  the continent for the thriving of the human family.”

The summit was organized under the auspices of the African Interfaith Initiative on Post-2015 Development Agenda, a coalition of faith communities and their leaders across Africa with technical support from the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) and other development partners.

Participants included representatives of the African Council of Religious Leaders, Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar; All Africa Council of Churches; Organization of African Instituted Churches; Hindu Council of Africa; Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa; Union of Muslim Councils of Central, Eastern and Southern Africa; the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’i; the Association of the Evangelicals of Africa; Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa; and Arigatou International, Nairobi.

The Post-2015 Development Agenda will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that will expire in 2015. Of the eight goals, it is believed that only three will be fully met by 2015, hence the need for a successive agenda to build on the achievements made to date.

Read the faith leaders’ Position Paper here 

Read the faith leaders’ statement From Lament to Action here

WCC expresses sorrow over Malaysia Airlines disaster

ENS Headlines - Friday, July 18, 2014

[World Council of Churches press release] The World Council of Churches (WCC) today expressed sympathy and sorrow to family, friends and colleagues who mourn the deaths of nearly 300 passengers and crew on board Malaysia Airlines flight 17 when it crashed in eastern Ukraine on 17 July en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Particular mention was made of the estimated one-third of the victims who were travelling to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, due to begin on Sunday 20 July.

“This is a profound tragedy that shocks and worries all of us; but especially for those who have lost their loved ones including our neighbours and partners at the World Health Organization (WHO) here in Geneva who lost over 100 staff in the crash,” the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said.

“The thoughts and prayers of the world community are with you. It is our sincere hope for the eventual healing of your minds and spirits.”

“This tragedy taking place in a highly sensitive location and situation that remains poised on the brink of terrible violence, reminds us of the fragility and sacredness of life and the need for peace in this region,” he added. “Our sympathy also goes to the people of Malaysia who are now experiencing a second airline tragedy within a few months.”

Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, the WCC associate general secretary for Public Witness and Diakonia, said, “The WCC is mourning the deaths of a reported 100 UN AIDS and WHO staff and their family members.”

“I knew personally and worked with some of the people who died in this crash,” Phiri said. “It is in this context that the WCC is seriously affected by these deaths.  It is painful to realize that the deaths will have a negative impact on progress that was being made in the area of HIV and AIDS research at a global level. My own relatives whose lives depend on new discoveries in HIV and AIDS research will be affected by the deaths of these people.”

Since 27 May 1974 a “Memorandum of Understanding” has been in place between the WCC (and its former Christian Medical Commission) and the WHO enabling a working relationship by “joint involvement in common endeavors on a very practical level.”

The WCC, through the CMC, became the first Non-State Faith-Based-Organization (FBO) through which churches’ health workers could have a voice and a platform for advocacy on health policies at the annual WHO Assembly and the Executive Board.

The CMC was instrumental in WHO’s Primary Health Care Approach. Equally important, WHO was instrumental in the WCC’s ecumenical response to the AIDS crisis since 1986.

The cause of the Malaysia Airlines disaster is currently under investigation. Charges and counter-charges have been levelled by opposing sides in the on-going conflict within Ukraine.

Phiri observed, “This is a clear demonstration that any war in any part of the world affects us all.”

Tveit said that, “All efforts should be made and it should be a goal of everyone that civil aviation does not again become a target in situations of conflict”.

Terrie Robinson named ACO director for women in church and society

ENS Headlines - Friday, July 18, 2014

[Anglican Communion Office press release] The Rev. Terrie Robinson, formerly networks coordinator and women’s desk officer at the Anglican Communion Office, has been named its director for women in church and society.

Mrs Robinson1 has moved into the new role following a decision by the Standing Committee2 that more needs to be done to support Communion-wide efforts to promote equal, influential and safe participation of women in the life and decision-making of the churches of the Anglican Communion and society.

Speaking about the change of role, Mrs Robinson said, “I’m very excited at the prospect of being able to spend more time working with women and men in the Anglican Communion to promote the full inclusion of women’s gifts, voices and concerns in the life, mission and structures of the Anglican Communion and beyond.

The Rev. Terrie Robinson (left) with Africa’s first female bishop the Rt Rev. Ellinah Wamukoya.

“There are already so many Anglicans committed to this, who bring every gift imaginable to the task. It will be a blessing to support them and to contribute everything I can to making sure that women are given voice and space wherever they are.

“In many ways, my engagement with the Anglican Communion’s Networks will continue. They provide a vital mechanism for Anglicans who want to share their stories and resources, and who want to join in advocacy and pray for each other with greater knowledge and understanding.

“I know how important several of the Networks will be to my own ministry as it unfolds. All the Networks will continue to receive the support they need from the Anglican Communion Office to make sure their activities continue to inform decision-making and action at the international level.”

The Anglican Communion Office has also recruited Stephanie Taylor to be Information and Records Manager.

Mrs Taylor, who come to the ACO from The National Autistic Society where she was Content Manager – Information, Advice and Advocacy.

Mrs Taylor said, “I am a passionate believer in the power of information and the difference that dynamically, well-managed, accessible information can make to the lives of individuals, and the effectiveness of organisations. Effective knowledge sharing builds connections and makes things happen, and in a Communion serving 165 countries that’s vital.”

Editor’s note

1 As there are a variety of ways to refer to clergy across the Anglican Communion, ACNS uses the standard practice of the Church of England which considers ‘The Reverend’ to be an adjective. We therefore refer to priests as ‘The Revd’ once and subsequently use titles: Mr, Mrs, Miss, Bp., Dr. Canon, etc, as appropriate.

2 The Standing Committee comprises members elected by the Anglican Consultative Council and of the Primates’ Standing Committee. See http://aco.org/communion/index.cfm

Supporting Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem’s response in Gaza

ENS Headlines - Thursday, July 17, 2014

[Episcopal Relief & Development press release]Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem’s Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City with funding for food and fuel as it responds to urgent needs during the current crisis.

Despite structural damage to the hospital from the impact of Israeli airstrikes, Al-Ahli staff have maintained round-the-clock presence and care for those who have been wounded. Further adding to the strain are shortages in medical supplies and fuel for electrical generators. The hospital’s food supplies are stretched as they provide for patients, their families, hospital staff and those from the community seeking aid.

“We are helping our partner in Jerusalem care for those most vulnerable, particularly the injured and women and children affected by the airstrikes in Gaza,” said Abagail Nelson, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Senior Vice President for Programs.  “Our assistance will help the hospital provide life-saving treatment and compassionate aid, and our prayers are with them as they carry out their work in very difficult conditions.”

The Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani, Bishop of the Diocese of Jerusalem, noted in correspondence with Episcopal Relief & Development that Al-Ahli provides care to the community regardless of faith or ability to pay, including psychosocial support for patients and families severely traumatized by the violence.

“Civilians exposed to heavy bombing have been killed, injured, traumatized, in some cases left homeless and without food,” Dawani stated.  “A few children have lost their entire families.”

As of July 16, according to UN OCHA, 1,585 Palestinians, including 717 women and children, have been injured since the airstrikes began on July 7, 2014.  In addition, 214 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 164 civilians, of whom 44 were children and 29 women.

Since the escalation in violence, one Israeli has died from shrapnel wounds sustained while visiting Israeli soldiers at the Gaza border, and the Magen David Adom Israel reports it has treated six others who were seriously or moderately injured by shrapnel and fires caused by direct rocket strikes.

“God weeps at this war between his children,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told Episcopal News Service on July 15.  “We weep as we watch the destruction, and we should be storming heaven with prayers for peace.”

Episcopal Relief & Development’s long-standing partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem has provided support for Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza and St. Luke’s Hospital in Nablus, in addition to emergency assistance during periods of increased conflict.

Al-Ahli is an 80-bed hospital in Gaza City, one of the Gaza Strip’s three main population centers.  With a total area of 139 square miles and a population of over 1.8 million people, Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on earth. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports that there are 30 hospitals in Gaza, with some operated by the Palestinian government and others by local and international faith groups and non-governmental organizations. UN OCHA reported in 2010 that more than half of Gaza’s hospitals (15 out of then 27) had suffered damage during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in the winter of 2008-09.

“Please continue to pray for our partners in the Holy Land and the communities they serve, and for all those who are affected by the conflict,” said Episcopal Relief & Development’s Abagail Nelson.

Donations to the Middle East Fund will sustain Episcopal Relief & Development’s partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and ensure continued support for the Church’s presence and life-giving work in the Holy Land.

Episcopal Relief & Development is the international relief and development agency of The Episcopal Church and an independent 501(c)(3) organization. The agency works with Church and ecumenical partners to fight poverty, hunger and disease.

Joint Nominating Committee offers second essay on presiding bishop

ENS Headlines - Thursday, July 17, 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 second of three essays designed to begin a discussion about the election which will take place in the summer of 2015. 

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

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 #2
July 2014

The Roles and Functions of the Presiding Bishop Today

The goal of this second education piece of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop is to provide The Episcopal Church, and potential candidates with information on the vast responsibilities of the complex and multifaceted position that the Presiding Bishop holds today.

The most familiar description of the roles and functions of the Presiding Bishop can be found in Canon I.2.4 of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church (pp. 28-29):

(a)  The Presiding Bishop shall be the Chief Pastor and Primate of the Church, and shall:
(1)  Be charged with responsibility for leadership in initiating and developing the policy and strategy in the Church and speaking for the Church as to the policies, strategies and programs authorized by the General Convention;
(2)  Speak God’s words to the Church and to the world, as the representative of this Church and its episcopate in its corporate capacity;
(3)  In the event of an Episcopal vacancy within a Diocese, consult with the Ecclesiastical Authority to ensure that adequate interim Episcopal Services are provided;
(4)  Take order for the consecrations of Bishops, when duly elected; and, from time to time, assemble the Bishops of this Church to meet, either as the House of Bishops or a Council of Bishops, and set the time and place of such meetings;
(5)  Preside over meetings of the House of Bishops; and, when the two Houses of the General Convention meet in Joint Session, have the right of presiding over such Session, of calling for such Joint Session, of recommending legislation to either House, and, upon due notification, of appearing before and addressing the House of Deputies; and whenever addressing the General Convention upon the state of the Church, it shall be incumbent upon both Houses thereof to consider and act upon any recommendations contained in such address;
(6)  Visit every Diocese of this Church for the purpose of: (1) Holding pastoral consultations with the Bishop or Bishops thereof and, with their advice, with the Lay and Clerical leaders of the jurisdiction; (ii) Preaching the Word; and (iii) Celebrating the Holy Eucharist.

(b)  The Presiding Bishop shall report annually to the Church, and may, from time to time, issue Pastoral Letters.

Canon I.2.4(c) goes on to provide  that there are many other roles and responsibilities prescribed throughout the Canons of and “to be enabled better to perform such duties and responsibilities, the Presiding Bishop may appoint, to positions established by the Executive Council of General Convention, officers, responsible to the Presiding Bishop, who may delegate such authority as shall seem appropriate.”  These other canonical duties may be grouped into five other categories.

I. Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and Executive Council

The Presiding Bishop is ex officio President of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society which carries on all of the corporate matters of the Episcopal Church.  In addition to being ex officio Chair and President of the Executive Council, as Chair and President the Presiding Bishop is the chief executive officer of Executive Council “and as such the Chair and President shall have ultimate responsibility for the oversight of the work of the Executive Council in the implementation of the ministry and mission of the Church as may be committed to the Executive Council by the General Convention.” (Canon I.4.3(a).  It follows that as chief executive officer the Presiding Bishop is in charge of all the Executive Council staff and has authority as well to oversee the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Financial Officer of the Church.

II. The Presiding Bishop exercises the right of making many appointments including:
• Appoints all the members of the House of Bishops legislative committees
• Appoints bishop members of Joint Committees and Joint Standing Committees of General Convention
• Appoints bishops to the Board of the Archives of The Episcopal Church
• May appoint up to four members of the General Board of Examining Chaplains

III. The Presiding Bishop has responsibility for congregations:
• In foreign lands
• In the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe
• In Navajoland

IV.  The Presiding Bishop has special roles at the time of vacancies in missionary dioceses and the election of missionary bishops, and in the event of a vacancy in the office of bishop assigned jurisdiction in an Area Mission

V.  The Presiding Bishop has the highest dispensing power for vows of members of religious orders of The Episcopal Church

VI.  The Presiding Bishop exercises authority in disciplinary and dissolution proceedings against bishops including
• Responsibilities in the proceedings for the dissolution of the relationship between a bishop and a diocese
• Substantial responsibilities in the discipline of bishops including appointing the Intake Officer, serving on the Reference Panel, issuing Pastoral Directions, Administrative Leaves and restrictions on ministry to bishops, and negotiating  agreements for discipline with bishops

VII. The Presiding Bishop participates in the governance of the Church with the President of the House of Deputies:
• Both serve ex officio on the Joint Standing Committee on Planning and Arrangements that plans General Convention, the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance, and the Joint Standing Committee on Nominations
• Both serve ex officio on all Standing Commissions
• Together with the President of the House of Deputies, the Presiding Bishop does the following:
- Appoints the Executive Officer of the General Convention
- Appoints all members of Executive Council Committees
-  May change the date and the length of General Convention
-  Nominates the Chief Financial Officer of the Executive Council
-  Nominates members of the Joint Audit Committee
-  May set the House of initial action for each Resolution of the General Convention
- May authorize variations and adjustments to, or substitutions for, or alterations in, any portion of liturgical texts under trial use, which do not change the substance of a rite.

Each Presiding Bishop brings her/his particular gifts to bear to shape and organize these myriad responsibilities of this office.  Yet as the Shared Governance document of 2012 reminds us, at the core “the roles of Chief Pastor, Primate, Leader, and Spokesperson are the integral keys to this ministry.”


Janet Pullen, Cynthia Weldon-Lassiter elected to NAES governing board

ENS Headlines - Thursday, July 17, 2014

[National Association of Episcopal Schools press release] The Governing Board of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES) is pleased to announce the election of Janet S. Pullen, Ed.D., Head of School at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School, Bradenton, Florida, and Cynthia Weldon-Lassiter, Ed.D., Head of School at St. Andrew’s School, Richmond, Virginia, to three- year terms on the board that began July 1, 2014.

“We are thrilled to welcome to the Governing Board leaders of such distinction and commitment to Episcopal schools and education,” said Doreen S. Oleson, Ed.D., NAES Governing Board President and Head of School at St. Mark’s Episcopal School, Altadena, California. “I look forward to working with Jan and Cyndy over the next three years as we continue to expand the reach of our mission and ministry,” said the Rev. Daniel R. Heischman, D.D., NAES Executive Director.

About Janet S. Pullen, Ed.D.
Jan Pullen is in her 12th year as Head of School and in her 27th year as an administrator at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School. She arrived at Saint Stephen’s in 1988 as the Lower School Director when the school’s K-12 enrollment was 222 students. During her tenure at Saint Stephen’s, the school has been completely rebuilt on the one-campus, 36-acre site and has grown into a school of approximately 700 students in PreK-12, including the United States U-17 Men’s National Soccer team. Jan spent six years as the Associate Head of School and led the Intermediate School (grades 4-6) and the Middle School (grades 7-8) before becoming Head of School.

Dr. Pullen holds degrees from Manatee Junior College (A.A.), Florida State University (B.S.) and National Louis University (M.Ed.). In May 2013, she graduated with a doctorate degree (Ed.D.) in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Pullen is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Global Outreach-Tanzania, the University of
South Florida Bradenton-Sarasota Community Council, and the Board of Directors of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce. She leads accreditation teams for the Florida Council of Independent Schools and continues to make conference presentations for a variety of education organizations. In the community, she is a sustainer member of the Junior League of Manatee County and the Service Club of Manatee County.

About Cynthia Weldon-Lassiter, Ed.D.
Cyndy Weldon-Lassiter is the seventh Head of School at St. Andrew’s School, which was founded by Grace Arents in 1894. This independent elementary school provides quality, progressive education to children from families with limited financial resources through a full scholarship for every child. The school currently serves 94 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, all from low-income families.

Dr. Weldon-Lassiter became Head of School in July 2010, bringing nearly two decades of experience as a teacher, researcher and leader in curriculum and faculty development. Prior to her current position, she was an educator in the Chesterfield County Public School system, as well as The Collegiate School in Richmond, Virginia. Following that, she taught in a K-12 setting at an independent school in Montclair, New Jersey, while attending her doctoral program.

Dr. Weldon-Lassiter is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where she received degrees in psychology and education. She earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching from Columbia University after completing research focused on homeless families with young children.

About the National Association of Episcopal Schools
The National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES) is an independently incorporated, voluntary membership organization that supports, serves, and advocates for the vital work and ministry of those who serve nearly 1,200 Episcopal schools, early childhood education programs, and school establishment efforts throughout the Episcopal Church. Chartered in 1965, with historic roots dating to the 1930s, NAES is the only pre-collegiate educational association that is both national in scope and Episcopal in character. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014- 2015, NAES advances Episcopal education and strengthens Episcopal schools through essential services, resources, conferences, and networking opportunities on Episcopal school identity, leadership, and governance, and on the spiritual and professional development of school leaders. For additional information, call (800) 334-7626, ext. 6134, or (212) 716-6134; or email info@episcopalschools.org; or visit www.episcopalschools.org

Jeffrey Smith joins Christ Church Cranbrook as interim director of music

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

[Christ Church Cranbrook] Christ Church Cranbrook, an Episcopal church, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jeffrey Smith as Interim Director of Music. Dr. Smith comes to Christ Church Cranbrook (CCC) with an impressive international reputation among church musicians and is recognized as one of the leading Anglican musicians in the world.

Since 2009, Jeffrey Smith has served on the organ and church music faculty of Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Based in London, he has served as organist to its oldest parish church, St Bartholomew-the-Great. He was previously Canon Director of Music at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, where he conducted its Choir of Men and Boys in an extensive liturgical program, devised tours and recordings, and directed a weekly concert series. Smith was Music Director at Saint Paul’s Parish, K Street, in Washington D.C. from 1992 to 2004.

Before his time in Washington, D.C., Jeffrey Smith was the organist-choirmaster of Christ Church Cathedral in Lexington, Kentucky.

In addition to his doctoral degree from Yale University, Smith holds degrees and diplomas from Northwestern University, the Royal College of Music, and Royal College of Organists. He won highest honors in receiving the Fellowship of the American Guild of Organists and was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal School of Church Music in 2004. The Archbishop of Canterbury presented him with an Honorary Fellowship of the Guild of Church Musicians in 2011.

Jeffrey studied under such notable musicians as Thomas Murray, Gerre Hancock, Wolfgang Rübsam, John Birch, David Willcocks, and Philippe Lefebvre, organist of Notre Dame de Paris.

As a commentator on church music, Dr. Smith has been heard on both NPR and BBC Radio. His choral and organ disks on the Pro Organo label have been critically praised. He is also active as a guest choral conductor, workshop leader, and recitalist.

Dr. Smith will plan and oversee all music ministries of the parish during the active recruitment of a permanent director. He will work with other parish musicians in recruiting, maintaining, and conducting the adult choir, give oversight to C3, the Cranbrook Ringers, children’s choirs, and other ensembles at scheduled worship services and other performances. He will also be working with members of the parish to establish a program of chorister training and liturgical singing, along the lines of Royal School of Church Music model and/or school-affiliated models.

Dr. Smith grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and currently lives with his family in London, U.K., where his wife works as a journalist and his son is a chorister at Westminster Abbey. His ministry at Christ Church Cranbrook will begin on August 1 and continue until June 30, 2015.

Smith replaces John Repulski, a well-known musician throughout the region. Repulski has accepted an exciting opportunity in a joint position as Director of Music/Music Missioner at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland.


ENS Headlines - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

El 14 de julio la Iglesia de Inglaterra (Anglicana) hizo historia al aprobar la consagración de mujeres al episcopado después de una lucha que duró más de 30 años. La moción fue aprobada por el Sínodo General el grupo directivo de la iglesia formado por tres cámaras con representantes de obispos, sacerdotes y laicos de las diócesis de la iglesia. La votación fue la siguiente: 351 votos a favor, 72 en contra y 10 abstenciones. La moción ahora tendrá que pasar al Parlamento para su discusión que la remitirá a la reina Isabel II para su firma. La Iglesia de Inglaterra es la denominación más numerosa de Inglaterra y forma parte de la Comunión Anglicana, presente en 160 países.

Con diversos actos la comunidad cubana del exilio rindió tributo el 13 de julio a las víctimas del hundimiento del Remolcador “13 de Marzo” en el que perecieron hace 20 años 37 personas en su mayoría niños y mujeres. El grupo quería escapar de Cuba y fue atacado con fuertes chorros de agua de otra embarcación que hundió el remolcador. Liderado por el activista José Raúl Sánchez una flotilla de embarcaciones llegó hasta el límite de las aguas jurisdiccionales y lanzó cientos de luces y cohetes de fuegos artificiales que fueron vistos desde La Habana. El hundimiento del remolcador es uno de los actos más crueles del régimen de La Habana, dijo Sánchez. Hasta el momento no se ha enjuiciado a nadie.

El conflicto armado en la Faja de Gaza entre Israel y Palestina ha ido en aumento y ya se cuentan 195 víctimas palestinas. Por el momento no se vislumbra un cese al fuego.  Cientos de familias de Gaza han tenido que abandonar sus hogares para protegerse de la artillería israelí. Todo empezó cuando hace varias semanas tres jóvenes judíos fueron muertos por miembros de Hamás. Organizaciones internacionales han tratado de mediar sin resultado alguno. Hay temor de que el conflicto se convierta en una guerra civil.

Después de la terminación de la Copa Mundial en la que Alemania resultó ganadora en una reñida justa con Argentina, cientos de manifestantes realizaron actos de violencia callejera alrededor del Obelisco, monumento emblemático central de la ciudad de Buenos Aires. La policía hizo varios arrestos. Algo similar ha ocurrido en Brasil.

Observadores políticos afirman que Brasil tiene a la vista una seria crisis económica por los enormes gastos que se realizaron como preparación para los juegos. Citan, por ejemplo, el enorme estadio que se fabricó en Manaus una ciudad bastante pequeña que nunca podrá llenar el estadio. Manaus está situada en la confluencia de los ríos Negro y Solimoes en la parte norte de Brasil.

Kenneth Johnson, un pastor evangélico de 67 años fue baleado el 10 de julio en una pequeña tienda en Liberty City una sección de Miami donde residen muchas familias afro-americanas. El móvil del asesinato realizado por dos jóvenes de la comunidad fue para robarle una cadena que prendía de su cuello y que ellos no sabían que era falsa. Johnson era pastor de la iglesia Power Faith and Deliverance y era muy querido y respetado en la comunidad.

La situación de cientos de niños sin sus padres que han llegado hasta la frontera sur de Estados Unidos sigue sin resolverse. El gobierno norte-americano ha dicho que los niños serán repatriados pero mientras tanto necesitan alimentación, ropas y cuidado médico. Los niños y muchas de las madres que los acompañan proceden de Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador y han llegado hasta aquí en el techo de un tren de carga apodado “La Bestia” donde abundan el peligro y los abusos de todas clases. Esta situación ha sido catalogada como una “crisis humanitaria”, la más seria en muchos años. El grito de auxilio ha llegado hasta Roma donde el papa Francisco ha enviado al cardenal Pietro Parolín, secretario de Estado del Vaticano, para que trate de ayudar en la crisis.“Estos niños deben ser bienvenidos y protegidos”, dijo el papa Francisco. Katharine Jefferts Schori, obispa presidenta de la Iglesia Episcopal, ha pedido que el gobierno de Estados Unidos que actúe con justicia y generosidad ante tanto sufrimiento humano.

Durante la era de Hitler en Alemania se buscó a una niña que fuera bonita y “completamente blanca” con el fin de exaltar la raza aria. La foto de la niña fue publicada en la portada de una revista de circulación nacional. Ahora mediante pruebas científicas se ha determinado que la niña era judía y su nombre es Hessy Taft, que logró salvarse de los campos de concentración, vive en los Estados Unidos y tiene 80 años.

REFRAN. No todo lo que brilla es oro.

Video explores the ministry of Laundry Love

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The ministry of Laundry Love, and the many lives the program impacts, are explored in a new video from the Episcopal Church Office of Communication.

The video is here.

Based in Venice Beach, CA (Diocese of Los Angeles), Laundry Love is a ministry through which the members of the Episcopal Community of Thad’s Place demonstrate that “people are the new program” at a Laundromat in nearby Santa Monica.

Laundry Love “is a way to make a love-spreading difference in our community,” the Rev. Jimmy Bartz  of Thad’s Place continued. “It’s the modern day footwashing.”

“Laundry Love is about developing connection and relationship,” explained Mike Collins, Episcopal Church Manager of Multimedia.  “It’s a simple way to encourage communion between the poor and the people of Thad’s.”

More videos

Additional videos featuring the Episcopal Church’s ministry and mission are here and include: Thad’s in Santa Monica CA (Diocese of Los Angeles); St John’s Tower Church, St Lois, MO (Diocese of MO); Christ Church, Philadelphia, PA (Diocese of Pennsylvania); Trinity Cathedral, Phoenix AZ (Diocese of Arizona); St Paul & the Redeemer, Chicago, IL (Diocese of Chicago); St. Jude Wantagh, NY (Diocese of Long Island); and St. Martin’s in the Desert, Pahrump, NV (Diocese of Nevada):

Marites (Tess) N. Sison named as editor of Canada’s Anglican Journal

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Marites (Tess) Sison, senior staff writer, has been appointed editor of the Anglican Journal. She brings almost three decades of professional journalism to her new role. Photo: Saskia Rowley

[Anglican Journal] Marites (Tess) N. Sison has been appointed editor of the 139-year-old Anglican Journal. She moves to the editorship from her longstanding position as senior writer, taking the helm from Archdeacon Paul Feheley, who has served as interim managing editor since January 2013.

A graduate in mass communications at the University of the Philippines in Manila, Sison brings almost three decades of professional journalism to her new role. Her work includes contributions to The New York Times, the Toronto Star and CBC Radio. Since joining the editorial staff of the Anglican Journal in 2003, she has received 28 awards for writing and photography. As skilled in digital communications as she is in the printed word, Sison has also played a pivotal part in developing and managing the newspaper’s online strategies and social media platforms.

“Tess has a long and very positive history with the Journal, but that’s only a small part of what made her stand out. She also has a strong vision for the future of the paper, website and social media,” said the Ven. Dr. Michael Thompson, general secretary and interim director of communications of the Anglican Church of Canada. “And she sees the Journal as a ministry that serves the church and strengthens our sense of mission.”

In her 11 years on staff, Sison, 49, has reported news and crafted features on a wide array of topics in religion, human rights, humanitarian crises and social justice—from the tiniest local congregations to the farthest-flung reaches of the Anglican Communion. But she is perhaps best known recently for her insightful, painstaking and drill-down coverage of Canadian aboriginal issues, including the Indian residential schools tragedy and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“Tess’s coverage has always been sensitive, probing and fair—especially on indigenous issues,” said Bishop Mark MacDonald, the church’s national indigenous bishop. “She has not only depicted the concerns of Indigenous peoples accurately, but she has also helped the whole church to see realities that have often been hidden in plain sight. It will be good to have her skill and art helping us see the world.”

The editors of the diocesan newspapers also expressed their approval. “This is a great step forward for the Journal and for the church to have acknowledged Tess’s talents and dedication lo these many years,” said Tim Christison, editor of The Sower in the diocese of Calgary. “Her professionalism and life experience will serve us all well as the Journal and church journalism continue to evolve. We are blessed that she is willing to take on the challenges while maintaining her high standards.”

Poised to step into her new role, Sison shared her editorial hopes for the future. “As the church goes through an epochal shift, I would like the Journal to review its mission and vision to see whether it responds to today’s needs and challenges,” she said. “As editor, I would like to see the Journal go beyond reporting on church governance issues and events and also tackle issues and questions about faith, ethics, religion, spirituality, social issues and, yes, everyday living.”

Sison also plans to strengthen the newspaper’s relationship with Church House, bishops and dioceses, diocesan newspaper editors and Anglicans across Canada. “I would like the Journal to be out there on the ground and on the road, gathering stories that offer encouragement and hope, provoke deep thought and inspire positive change and capture the challenges as well as the courage, dynamism and goodness of those who have dedicated their lives to God’s plan.”

Yet she remains aware of the need for journalistic integrity and objectivity, vowing to uphold the paper’s editorial independence and continue its role of informing and challenging readers.

Sison is also mindful of the editor’s crucial role in developing new writers. “I would like to help train the next generation of religious journalists through a mentorship program for young Anglicans and Lutherans,” she said. “I would also like to add more value to our website, and we will embark on more multimedia projects in the coming months.

Archbishop signs faith leaders’ statement opposing assisted dying bill

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

[Lambeth Palace press release] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby today joins more than 20 British faith leaders calling for Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill not to be enacted.

In a joint statement ahead of the House of Lords debate on Friday, the faith leaders said that if passed the bill would have “a serious detrimental effect on the wellbeing of individuals and on the nature and shape of our society.”

Read the statement below, which is followed the full list of signatories: 

“As leaders of faith communities, we wish to state our joint response to Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill. We do so out of deep human concern that if enacted, this bill would have a serious detrimental effect on the wellbeing of individuals and on the nature and shape of our society.

“Every human life is of intrinsic value and ought to be affirmed and cherished. This is central to our laws and our social relationships; to undermine this in any way would be a grave error. The Assisted Dying Bill would allow individuals to participate actively in ending others’ lives, in effect colluding in the judgment that they are of no further value. This is not the way forward for a compassionate and caring society.

“Vulnerable individuals must be cared for and protected even if this calls for sacrifice on the part of others. Each year many thousands of elderly and vulnerable people suffer abuse; sadly, often at the hands of their families or carers. Being perceived as a burden or as a financial drain is a terrible affliction to bear, leading in many cases to passivity, depression and self-loathing. The desire to end one’s life may, at any stage of life, be prompted by depression or external pressure; any suggestion of a presumption that such a decision is ‘rational’ does not do justice to the facts. The Assisted Dying Bill can only add to the pressures that many vulnerable, terminally ill people will feel, placing them at increased risk of distress and coercion at a time when they most require love and support.

“A key consideration is whether the Assisted Dying Bill will place more vulnerable people at risk than it seeks to help. We have seen, in recent years that even rigorous regulation and careful monitoring have not prevented the most serious lapses of trust and care in some parts of the NHS and within a number of Care Homes. It is naïve to believe that, if assisted suicide were to be legalised, proposed safeguards would not similarly be breached with the most disastrous of consequences, by their nature irrevocable.

“The bill raises the issue of what sort of society we wish to become: one in which life is to be understood primarily in terms of its usefulness and individuals evaluated in terms of their utility or one in which every person is supported, protected and cherished even if, at times, they fail to cherish themselves. While we may have come to the position of opposing this bill from different religious perspectives, we are agreed that the Assisted Dying Bill invites the prospect of an erosion of carefully tuned values and practices that are essential for the future development of a society that respects and cares for all. Better access to high-quality palliative care, greater support for carers and enhanced end of life services will be among the hallmarks of a truly compassionate society and it is to those ends that our energies ought to be harnessed.”

Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha

Mr Yousif Al-Khoei, Director Al-Khoei Foundation

Rev Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church and Secretary of the Conference

Bishop Eric Brown, Administrative Bishop, New Testament Church of God

Mr Malcolm M Deboo, President, Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe

Rev Jonathan Edwards, Deputy Moderator Free Churches Group

Pastor John Glass, General Superintendent, Elim Pentecostal Churches

Revd David Grosch-Miller and Mr John Ellis, Moderators of the United Reformed Church General Assembly

Colonel David Hinton, Chief Secretary, The Salvation Army United Kingdom

Rev Stephen Keyworth, Faith and Society Team Leader, Baptist Union of Great Britain

Ayatollah Fazel Milani, Dean of the International Colleges of Islamic Studies

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth

Most Rev Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales

His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

Rev John Partington, National Leader, Assemblies of God

Mr Ramesh Pattni, Secretary General, Hindu Forum of Britain

Bishop Wilton Powell, National Overseer, Church of God of Prophecy

Maulana Shahid Raza OBE, Leicester Central Mosque, Leicester

Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, Chief Sangha Nayake of Great Britain, London Buddhist Vihara

Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain

Dr Natubhai Shah, Chairman/CEO Jain Network

Lord Indarjit Singh, Director Network of Sikh Organisations (UK)

Most Rev and Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

El Salvador: Violence, insecurity, impunity lead to displacement

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

[Episcopal News Service – San Salvador, El Salvador] Irene’s 13-year-old daughter disappeared leaving school on Feb. 15, 2012, in a gang-controlled municipality just northwest of San Salvador. The teen’s body was found two days later; Irene learned about it from a local television station.

“I’m very afraid for my other children, that something will happen to them because of the violence,” said Irene, during an interview with ENS at the Institute for Human Rights based at the University of Central America in San Salvador.

She has two sons aged 10 and 13; one disappeared briefly and won’t talk about it.

Although Irene, not her real name, would like to see her daughter’s killers prosecuted, the state’s ongoing investigation, which involves the abduction and similar murder of four other girls, means she and her family live in constant fear of retaliation. Regardless of whether Irene pursues the investigation, explained human rights lawyer Karla Salas, the gang members associated with the killers threaten and harass her and her family. They have no protection.

“When the state is negligent in handling these cases, the people come here,” said Salas.

Two of Central America’s most violent gangs, the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18, each control and battle for territory in El Salvador, mostly in poor marginalized communities where violence, murder, rape, extortion and threats permeate residents’ everyday life, including children. It’s this reality that has in part led to the humanitarian crisis currently unfolding along the U.S.-Mexico border, where more than 44,000 unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, the two other Northern Triangle countries with gang problems, have been detained crossing the border.

“The issue of unaccompanied minors is just one element of a broader immigration problem. It’s not new; it’s something that has been building over two or three years, but it’s caught fire in the media now,” said Noah Bullock, executive director of Foundation Cristosal, a human rights-based community development organization rooted in the Anglican and Episcopal churches operating in El Salvador.

“When we look at immigration in the United States we tend to look at one big block, and we understand it as people looking for jobs and a better life. But we don’t look at the people who are fleeing very serious conflicts and threats of violence, and those cases bring up protection issues,” he said.

In Colombia, decades of civil war and associated organized crime have internally displaced five million people and close to 400,000 have met refugee criteria. Gang violence and organized crime has led to the internal and external displacement of Central Americans, though in the absence of declared war and the criminal nature of the fighting, the phenomenon hasn’t formally been addressed from the perspective of human rights violations and international protection; typical asylum procedures are difficult to apply.

Unlike Colombia, where internal and external displacement have been well-documented by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other nongovernment agencies, displacement is less studied in Central America.

“It’s a less visible, less documented phenomenon in El Salvador and there isn’t really a national strategy to deal with it,” said Bullock.

In fact, the UNHCR country profiles for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras combined do not list one person as being internally displaced.

Foundation Cristosal first became aware of the stories of people displaced by violence when it, along with the Anglican-Episcopal Church of El Salvador, supervised the local UNHCR refugee resettlement program.

“Last year we got more than 150 people who were Salvadorans seeking asylum outside the country, so what we see in the kids is should be seen as part of a historic pattern of displacement that has been happening for a long time,” said Bullock, in an interview with ENS in his San Salvador office.

Both internal and external displacement, Bullock added, have common causes: lack of well-being in Salvadoran communities, generalized violence and the state’s inability to safeguard people’s lives and impose rule of law by prosecuting criminal organizations.

“All those things, the inability to protect witnesses, the inability to keep safe schools and areas where children do recreation … those are areas that have been recruitment grounds for gangs and where threats are primarily made,” said Bullock. “They’re a common cause for internal and external displacement.”

UNHCR, in its 2014 report of projected global resettlement needs, estimated there would be 691,000 refugees, not factoring for the outflow of Syrian refugees. In 2012, there were 86,000 spaces available.

On World Refugee Day in June it was reported that the number of refugees worldwide has surpassed 50 million for the first time since World War II.

2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the Cartagena Declaration, which amended the 1951 and 1967 definition of what it means to be a refugee to include “persons who have fled their country because their lives, safety or freedom have been threatened by generalized violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts, massive violation of human rights or other circumstances which have seriously disturbed public order.”

The countries of Central America and Mexico adopted the protocol, which was not recognized by the United States, at a time when both Guatemala and El Salvador were fighting civil wars and when Contra rebels were fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

“In Central America there were from the end of the 1960s into the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, three pretty solid decades of war. And then the wars ended and there was not a very good resolution to some of those structural causes; then you get two decades of a social conflict that doesn’t have a name like a traditional armed conflict but produces death on the same scale,” said Bullock. “So essentially you have 50 years of low-intensity warfare going on in Central America and we really shouldn’t be surprised that we have a refugee crisis in the United States.”

“Never did we dare to use the word ‘refugee’; before they were immigrants, they were illegals … and now because they are kids we are more open to seeing the Central Americans who arrive at our borders as something else,” said Bullock. “Three weeks of a humanitarian and refugee crisis, five decades of conflict.”

In a July 10 statement addressing the crisis on the border, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori urged Episcopalians to contact their legislators and ask them to support an “appropriate humanitarian response to the crisis.”

Meanwhile, Foundation Cristosal is working with human rights and civil society organizations, including the University of Central America’s Institute for Human Rights, to develop a more comprehensive analysis of internal and external displacement and a proposal to address both phenomena, said Bullock.

“What we are trying to do now with our program is respond to those needs, but there are no perfect answers because the causes are so structural and deep,” he said. “You have to be able to try and help someone in an immediate humanitarian crisis, but also try to work to resolve some of the structural issues that are creating the humanitarian crisis,” he said.

In the July 13 edition of La Prensa, one of El Salvador’s top two daily newspapers, the front-page headlines went from the World Cup to the 375,000 immigration cases backlogged in U.S. courts to the double homicide of two teenagers. Inside, there was a story about a teenage girl raped by her uncle on her journey north, a story meant to dissuade similar journeys. Earlier in the week, there were stories focused on trying to dissuade families from sending their children north.

“This is one thing the White House points out,” said Bullock. “The human traffickers and the information they’re giving the families seems to motivate them to send their kids; they think they’re better of taking the risk based on the information the coyote gives them…  we want people to have another resource to get information that is a little more objective than what would be given to them by a human trafficker.”

Foundation Cristosal’s lawyers, he said, however, don’t participate in making a life-and-death decisions with people; that’s something that ultimately up to a family member. What the lawyers do is try to give the families good information so that they can make informed decisions.

“The White House is spending a million dollars in publicity to dissuade families from sending their children,” Bullock said. “But that’s just another form of propaganda; the thing people respond to is real objective advising from organizations like Cristosal.”

The University of Central America started the Institute for Human Rights in 1986 in response to the overwhelming number of human rights violations committed during El Salvador’s 12-year civil war during which 75,000 people were killed. At the time the institute adopted immigration as a focus because of the large number of people fleeing the country to escape the armed conflict, said Salas, the human rights lawyer representing Irene, in an interview in her office at the university.

Irene wakes up at 3 a.m. every morning and heads to her food stall in an informal market. By 2 p.m., she is back at home where she stays in doors. Her sons go to and from school, and nothing more. The family, including Irene’s mother, lives on $6 a day, she said.

UNHCR doesn’t operate an in-country office for asylum-seekers; Irene and her family must petition for asylum outside El Salvador. Salas said she and others are working with a Roman Catholic agency in Europe – the University of Central America is a Roman Catholic university – that has agreed to help the family with its petition, but they need to cover the transportation costs themselves.

In the meantime, the family lives in fear and continues to receive threats from gang members mockingly wanting to know how the investigation is going. Even if the state offered witness- or whistle-blower protection, it couldn’t keep her safe, said Salas.

“She’d be placed with the people who killed her daughter,” she said.

- Lynette Wilson is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service

Diocese of California to distribute more than $1.7 million

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

[Diocese of California] On Tuesday, July 15, the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, will distribute more than $1.7 million to eight Bay Area organizations. The distribution of funds will take place at the bishop’s office, 1055 Taylor Street, San Francisco, at 7 p.m.

Representatives from each of the recipient organizations will be present to receive checks, and press is invited to attend. Mary Elizabeth (Liza) Colton named these organizations in her trust. Colton died May 19, 2014. The organizations Colton named are Grace Cathedral ($275,204.86), Golden Gate Parks Conservancy ($240,804.25), Kiva Micro Funds ($189,203.34), Hospice by the Bay ($154,802.73), The Sierra Club Foundation ($189,203.34), San Francisco Botanical Gardens ($240,804.25), The Nature Conservancy ($275,204.86), and the ACLU ($154,802.74).

J. Davey Gerhard, director of development for the Diocese of California said, “Liza Colton was a great friend and supporter of the ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of California, Grace Cathedral, and social causes in the Bay Area. Shaped by her deep faith and guided by love for hercommunity, Liza’s legacy will be felt by these organizations dedicated to improving the life of individuals and to the stewardship of our public spaces and the environment.”

Marc Handley Andrus, added, “Liza continues in the great tradition of her mother, Liz Colton, and indeed her whole family, in supporting her church and her community. Liza was what our church says God loves, which is a cheerful giver. She was a tremendous amount of fun, had an incisive mind, and a generous heart. I personally miss her, but am grateful that these organizations will find their missions furthered by her significant gifts. In this way her values and spirit live on.”

The Episcopal Diocese of California serves a diverse community of faith encompassing the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Approximately 27,000 people form 80 congregations in six counties. More information about the Diocese of California can be found at www.diocal.org.

Gaza’s Al Ahli Hospital appeals for urgent help

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City is appealing for urgent aid as it struggles to provide critical healthcare services to anyone in need following more than a week of Israeli airstrikes targeting Hamas militants.

One of more than 35 institutions run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, the hospital is striving to meet the increased demands on its already-overburdened staff, who have tended to the wounded despite being surrounded by conflict, the challenges of diminishing medical supplies, and their own fatigue.

“Like many hospitals in Gaza, Al Ahli Hospital is receiving patients who have been wounded, with staff working around the clock to provide them with critical medical care,” wrote Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani in an e-mail to church partners. “At the same time, Al Ahli is experiencing shortages in medicine, fuel, and food for both patients and those in the community who need help.”

During the past week, the Israeli military has carried out hundreds of airstrikes on Gaza, which includes 1.7 million residents and is one of the world’s most densely populated regions, in an effort to stamp out terrorist attacks against its citizens. Meanwhile, Hamas continues to fire rockets indiscriminately into Israel, with some having reached as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, even as Egypt attempted to broker a peace deal early on July 15.

“In the last two days, the impact of the airstrikes has caused structural damages to the hospital, including its ventilation system in the operating theater and the emergency room. In addition, windows have been broken in many buildings, as well as in the new diagnostic center,” Dawani wrote in a statement.

The latest statistics from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, published on July 14, report that more than 1,140 Palestinians have been wounded and 168 killed, including 133 civilians, and 36 children; more than 940 residential houses have been fully destroyed, leaving 5,600 people displaced; and 25,000 children have been traumatized and in need of psychosocial support.

“As the Israeli authorities have called up 40,000 reserve troops, there are fears the conflict will escalate and many more Palestinians will be killed, wounded, or displaced,” Dawani said.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who visited Gaza in 2008 and again in 2013, told ENS that “God weeps at this war between his children. We weep as we watch the destruction, and we should be storming heaven with prayers for peace.”

She noted that the Al Ahli hospital “cares for all people in Gaza, both Muslim and Christian, with selfless dedication … Please help the Diocese of Jerusalem respond to the suffering in this latest violent chapter in the Land of the Holy One.”

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani listen to a Muslim woman talk about the importance of Al Ahli Arab Hospital on Jan. 2, 2013. ENS Photo/Lynette Wilson

The Episcopal Church’s policy, as agreed by the 2012 General Convention, affirms positive investment “as a necessary means to create a sound economy and a sustainable infrastructure” in the Palestinian Territories and calls on the church to support “the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian study on peace with justice in the Middle East.”

Alexander Baumgarten, director of justice and advocacy ministries for The Episcopal Church, told ENS: “It is imperative for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to return to the table, with the strong support of international leaders like President Obama, to negotiate a just, durable, and permanent two-state peace agreement. Until a secure and universally recognized Israel exists alongside a sovereign and viable state for the Palestinian people, the tragedy of the present moment threatens to become an increasingly encompassing reality for two people who have suffered the strife of conflict far too long.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said in a recent statement that he is “deeply saddened and distressed by the eruption and escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip and across Israel” and urged “all sides to show restraint and pursue dialogue to end all conflict in the region.”

“As we continue urgently to hold the people of the region in our prayers, we must pray also for all people of goodwill to come together to protect the innocent and promote peace in the land.”

The violence erupted following the recent abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers, and the subsequent abduction and murder of a Palestinian youth in retaliation.

“These senseless crimes are wicked and must be condemned by decent people everywhere,” said Welby. “But the conflict that has arisen in the aftermath of these tragic events is the wrong way to proceed. As each day passes we see more innocent lives, including those of children, lost in the terrible cycle of revenge – no good can possibly come of this. It makes the search for a lasting peace that much harder and more elusive. We must all join hands to appeal to all sides to show restraint and to seek the way of dialogue to end all conflict in the region.”

Dawani joined the patriarchs and heads of churches in Jerusalem last week in condemning the “kidnapping and murder of young people and the violence which took place following these horrific incidents. We convey our deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to their families, friends and communities.

“We call upon both sides for an immediate ceasefire and the urgent resumption of peace talks.”

For further information about the Diocese of Jerusalem’s appeal is available here.

To support the Diocese of Jerusalem’s relief efforts in Gaza:

Episcopal Relief & Development’s Middle East Fund at https://www.episcopalrelief.org/what-you-can-do/donate-now/individual-donation or call 855-312-HEAL (4325).

American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, http://www.afedj.org

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

The Episcopal Church granted ECOSOC status at UN

ENS Headlines - Monday, July 14, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The member states of the United Nations (UN) Committee on NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) have granted to The Episcopal Church special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations.

ECOSOC is one of the five main UN organs and addresses economic and social development issues. Eighty percent of the UN’s work happens in ECOSOC, and it is also the agency by which non-governmental organizations have official affiliation and relationships with the UN and its various agencies.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori commented, “The granting to The Episcopal Church of ‘special consultative status’ to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations by its member states will make the Church’s advocacy efforts more effective and increase our participation in shaping global development efforts.  The latter is especially significant as the Millennium Development Goals initiative shifts toward a post-2015 development agenda.  The effort to gain ECOSOC status has taken more than a year, and has been ably shepherded by Lynnaia Main of the Global Partnerships team.”

This designation will enhance The Episcopal Church’s three-pronged ministry of presence, hospitality and advocacy at the UN by allowing greater access and opportunities for advocacy, explained Main, Episcopal Church Global Relations Officer. In addition to attending events open only to ECOSOC NGOs, The Episcopal Church now will be able to send official representatives to up to 11 annual Commissions (such as the Status of Women, Indigenous Issues, Sustainable Development, Social Development and Human Rights Council) whose recommendations often become General Assembly resolutions debated and voted on by member states. Also, The Episcopal Church will be eligible to submit written statements and offer oral interventions to those Commissions, and offer its expertise through other unique opportunities granted to ECOSOC NGOs.

The Executive Council, at its February 2014 meeting, approved a resolution that recognized this significant step and, among other resolves,  “affirm(s) that advocacy and networking at the United Nations forms an intrinsic part of The Episcopal Church’s comprehensive strategies for advocacy and public witness that both informs, and is informed by, those comprehensive strategies;” and “affirm(s) its commitment to working closely with the Anglican Communion in the development of its ministries at the United Nations, for the further enhancement and strengthening of our collective Anglican and Episcopal voices there.”

The ECOSOC status took effect in May.

For more information contact Main at lmain@episcopalchurch.org.

Scenes from Episcopal Youth Event 2014

ENS Headlines - Monday, July 14, 2014

[Episcopal News Service – Villanova, Pennsylvania] The Episcopal Youth Event 2014 here July 9-12 at Villanova University was a visual feast. Here are some examples.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori poses July 12 with Haven Waldrip and Dayton Hobson from the Diocese of Oklahoma for one of the many selfies Episcopal Youth Event 2014 participants captured with her during the July 9-12 gathering. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Acolyte Lillian Hardaway, a member of the Episcopal Youth Event 2014 planning team from the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, fills a bowl with holy water for Diocese of Central Pennsylvania Bishop Sean Rowe as she had just done for Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton (to Rowe’s right), Pennsylvania Bishop Clifton Daniel and North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, gathers with five Episcopal Youth Event 2014 participants who were members of the Official Youth Presence at the last meeting of General Convention in 2012. All five will be deputies from their dioceses when convention meets again June 25-July 3, 2015 in Salt Lake City. They are, left to right, Thomas Alexander of Arkansas, Pat Melendez of California, Will Burton-Edwards of Indianapolis, Ariana Gonzales-Bonillas of Arizona and David Kilp of Central Pennsylvania. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

One of the many prayers that filled a nine-panel prayer wall that greeted Episcopal Youth Event 2014 participants when they entered the Pavilion at Villanova University for worship and plenary sessions. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Three Episcopal Youth Event 2014 participants kick along to the prelude for EYE14’s closing Eucharist July 12 inside the Pavilion at Villanova University. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Director Walt Blocker asks for more from the St. Thomas Gospel Choir of Philadelphia during Evening Prayer July 11 that was part of the Episcopal Youth Event 2014 at Villanova University. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The HighLite Vibes of the Diocese of Long Island praise God in song during Evening Prayer July 11 that was part of the Episcopal Youth Event 2014 at Villanova University. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

EYE14 participants from St. John’s in Lodi, California, in the Diocese of San Joaquin added their prayers to a nine-panel prayer wall that greeted Episcopal Youth Event 2014 participants when they entered the Pavilion at Villanova University for worship and plenary sessions. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Diocese of Indianapolis Bishop Cate Waynick blesses an Episcopal Youth Event 2014 participant during the EYE14 opening Eucharist July 10. During the distribution of communion Waynick got clipped on her stole by another EYE member. Rather than give away diocesan pins, some delegations clipped people with clothes pins on which they had written blessings, prayers and welcome messages. Some groups urged recipients to add the name of their diocese and then clip someone else with the pin. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Sammy Fusco of Stillwater, Minnesota, finishes the detail work on a Common Loon, the state bird of Minnesota, that Johannah Frisby of St. Paul drew on one of the nine panels that formed a prayer wall that greeted Episcopal Youth Event 2014 participants when they entered the Pavilion at Villanova University for worship and plenary sessions. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The Pavilion at Villanova University rocked during Episcopal Youth Event 2014 worship. The backdrop for worship was a quilt created by 13 Nigerian women who are HIV-positive. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America loaned the quilt to EYE14. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

40th anniversary of women’s ordination celebration to be vidoetaped

ENS Headlines - Monday, July 14, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Episcopal Church Office of Communication will offer the video of the special celebration of the 40th anniversary of women’s ordination on July 26. The video will be offered on-demand at no fee.

On Saturday, July 26, the Diocese of Pennsylvania is hosting a celebration of the 40th anniversary of women’s ordination to the priesthood in The Episcopal Church. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will preside and preach at the 3 pm Eucharist at Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia, the site of the 1974 ordinations.

Working in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, the Office of Communication will video the event and will prepare for on-demand viewing later that evening.  The on-demand will be available here.

“The 40th anniversary of women’s ordination is a milestone of great importance for The Episcopal Church,” commented Mike Collins, Manager of Multimedia Services.  “Our goal is to offer this video so people from throughout the church can share in the celebration.”

For more information contact Collins at mcollins@episcopalchurch.org, or Henry Carnes at the Diocese of Pennsylvania, henryc@diopa.org.

Preceding the Eucharist will be a symposium featuring: Dr. Fredrica Thompsett, Mary Wolfe Professor Emerita of Historical Theology at Episcopal Divinity School as the keynote speaker; and a panel discussion with the Rt. Rev. Dr. Carol Gallagher, the Rev. Miguelina Howell, the Rev. Pamela Nesbit, Archdeacon, and Nokomis Wood, moderated by the Very Rev. Katherine H. Ragsdale, Dean and President of the Episcopal Divinity School. The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wittig, one of the original Philadelphia eleven ordinands, will close the symposium with a meditation.  For symposium registration, more info and opportunities for participation here or here.


‘Marked for Mission’ EYE14 is sent out to heal the world with love

ENS Headlines - Monday, July 14, 2014

A group of Episcopal Youth Event 2014 participants from Massachusetts take a moment to pray July 11 inside the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas. The group visited the historic church during the day’s pilgrimage around the Philadelphia area to visit historic sites and places of Episcopal Church mission work. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Villanova, Pennsylvania] After four days of worship, workshops, prayer, long walks across the Villanova University campus, late-night conversations and contemplation of Scripture and the Five Marks of Mission, EYE14 all came down to the call to go out into the world and love it.

“Whenever God is about to change the world, God tells somebody to ‘Go’” and that is what is happening now, Diocese of North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry said during this sermon at the Episcopal Youth Event 14 closing Eucharist July 12.

God, Curry said, is the “very essence” and source of love, and “our mission is to love this world and ourselves into the very dream of God and when you do that, you’ll have the strength you need to bear any hardship and carry any cross because you’ll find power.”

This love is not the sentimental type, Curry said during his sermon.

“When the way is getting tough, when it’s getting hard and difficult, that’s when Jesus starts to talk about love,” he said, noting that it was in Holy Week “when Jesus knows he’s likely to sacrifice his life” that Jesus talked constantly about love.

“‘Love’ as Judas is about to betray him. ‘Love’ as Simon Peter would soon deny him. ‘Love’ as he would be arrested in the garden. ‘Love’ as he would be tried on unjust charges. ‘Love’ as he would be mocked and scourged and tortured. ‘Love’ as they would nail him to a tree. ‘Love’ as he would breathe his last. ‘Love’ as he would die and ‘Love’ as God raised him from the dead. ‘Love!’”

Curry’s sermon had congregation members on their feet as often as they were in their seats as he roamed the dais and, at one point, crouched on the floor to show what his family’s ugly and bumbling cat looked like when she “was able to do what the Lord  put a cat on this earth to do” and hunt mice with a vengeance. In nearly 30 minutes he invoked St. Augustine, Jimi Hendrix and Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey, as well as Muffin the Ugly Cat.

Video of the entire closing Eucharist is here.

Earlier in the day EYE14 heard a story of that sort of love enacted outside the walls of church from the Rev. Becca Stevens, founder of Magdalene and Thistle Farms, residential and social enterprises run by women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets.

Her stories, which ranged from Tennessee to Rwanda to a women’s prison in Texas, brought some to tears and held others spellbound. She told her listeners that all of the women “never doubted the idea that love heals.”

Stevens, the Episcopal chaplain to Vanderbilt University, warned EYE14 that the work of Thistle Farms and Magdalene and all other efforts like them for which the Episcopal Church is known have to be movements based in community and not individual efforts. Showing them a painting of the Last Supper, she said, “If we’re not a movement … the church becomes a still life.”

“And it’s beautiful to look at but we’re not going to sit there forever and we are going to move on,” she said, adding that when she looks at that painting she imagines the apostles pushing back from the table and going back out into the world. “If they had stayed there – as beautiful as it was, as meaningful as it was, as important as it was to the life of the world – if they had not turned around and gone back out, we would never know that story.”

Episcopal Youth Event 2014 participants, some wearing very popular glow sticks given away by the United Thanks Offering, watch a video July 12 about the mission and ministry of the Community of Magdalene and Thistle Farms, a residential and social enterprise run by women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction, and life on the streets; and led by the Rev. Becca Stevens. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Stevens told EYE14 that “we are called to love the world,” she said.

“There is nothing in Scripture that says we have to change it. There is nothing in Scripture that says the world has to love us,” she said. “The calling is that you and I go back out and love [the world] over and over and over again until we get it right. We love it in such a way that we’re willing to change. We love it in such a way that we’re willing not to judge it. We’re loving it in a way where we’re not willing to leave anyone behind.”

Video of Stevens’ presentation is here.

The Episcopal Youth Event 2014 included 786 youth in grades 9-12 during the 2013-2014 academic year and 263 adult leaders who spent July 9-12 here on the campus of Villanova University near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. EYE14’s theme was “Marked for Mission” and the gathering was built around helping participants discern how the Holy Spirit has marked them for mission and how they might engage in the work of the Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission, as a way to enact the call to love that they were hearing.

During the opening plenary session July 10 Bronwyn Clark Skov, Episcopal Church Youth Ministries Officer, gave what was for many participants an introduction to the Five Marks of Mission. She suggested they spend their time together at EYE14 exploring the connection between Scripture, responding to God’s call and “discerning our personal paths to ministry within the greater context of the community.” Her presentation begins at the 32:00 mark here.

The 14 youth members of the EYE14 planning team (listed here) gave her a shorthand way to remember the intent of each marks, Clark Skov said. The method, easily counted off on the fingers of one had, is Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform, Treasure. A video the youth made connecting a favorite Scripture passage to each mark is here.

On July 11, EYE14 participants went on a “Philadelphia Pilgrimage.” They boarded 20 buses and fanned out to 16 sites all over the Philadelphia area to learn about the current ministry of the Episcopal Church in city and get a glimpse of the history of the Episcopal Church.

The night before, the Rev. Randy Callender, a Philadelphia native, who is the rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Annapolis, Maryland, told them that “the city of Philadelphia will help you to understand the Five Marks of Mission” and may transform their understanding of mission.

“One day, the young people here at EYE will make a difference in someone’s life,” he predicted, adding that they will end “racism and sexism and classism and all other -isms and people will no longer use those -isms as tools to keep others out of the church.”

Video of Callender’s presentation is here.

Before the pilgrims left early on July 11, Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Clifton Daniel III told them that it was a “joy” to host EYE14. He recalled attending an event for Episcopal Church youth in 1964, an event which “formed me and shaped me in ways that I could not imagine” at the time. The same is true for the youth who have come to Philadelphia, said Daniel, who added he could see the future ordained and lay leadership of the Episcopal Church sitting before him.

“I am proud to be here with you, and I thank God for you,” Daniel said.

Every one of the 20 pilgrimage buses visited Independence National Historic Park and Christ Church, Philadelphia, where those who became known as Episcopalians gathered for the first time in General Convention at Christ Church in Philadelphia in 1785.

The other pilgrimage sites were:
St. James School
St. Mark’s Church, Locust Street
The Free Church of St. John, Kensington
The Church of St. Martin-in-the-Field, Chestnut Hill
Church of St. Thomas, Whitemarsh
Episcopal Community Services
St. Peter’s Church, Third and Pine
St. Paul’s Church, Chester
St. Mary’s Church, Chester
St. Luke’s Church, Germantown
The Church of the Advocate
Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany
The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas
The Cathedral Church of Our Savior, Philadelphia Cathedral

Along the way, the EYE14 pilgrims were welcomed and, at times, challenged. For some who went the Episcopal Community Services’ St. Barnabas Mission the challenge came to their attitudes about the nature of homelessness. Others had their liturgical piety challenged by the experience of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Mark’s Church.

The Diocese of Massachusetts delegation had the eye-opening experience of seeing the diocese’s retired Bishop Suffragan Barbara Harris portrayed in a stained glass window at St. Thomas. “Wow,” said one pilgrim. “I know someone in a stained glass window. I never thought that would happen.”

Three of nearly 800 youth sit on a wall on the terrace of the Philadelphia Museum of Art during a hug picnic July 11 during the Episcopal Youth Event 2014. EYE14’s theme was “Marked for Mission” and their T-shirts and accompanying tote bags were donated by the Diocese of Pennsylvania, co-sponsor of the July 9-12 gathering. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Late in the afternoon the buses dropped the pilgrims off at the bottom of the Rocky Steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art where, after they made the traditional run up the stairs, they encountered a dinner on the terrace featuring classic Philly foods, including cheesesteaks, hoagies, water ice and local sodas. There was a rousing dance party and a chance to play cornhole, a bean bag toss game that is very popular in Pennsylvania.

The day was not over yet. EYE14 returned to Villanova for Evening Prayer with the high-energy music of the St. Thomas Gospel Choir of Philadelphia and the HighLite Vibes of the Diocese of Long Island. Video of the complete service is here.

During her sermon Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori challenged the pilgrims to contemplate and then tell the stories of their experience that day.

“You’ve been out and about in this city today, discovering its diversity, both its need and its blessings. Each one of you has a story to tell about the encounters of this day,” she said. “I hope you have been moved and marked and changed by someone or something you encountered today.”

Jefferts Schori said she hoped EYE14 participants would tell the stories of that pilgrimage because their friends and the entire world need to pay attention to the brokenness of the world and its causes, and they need to hear about the dreams Christians have for the wholeness that is the kingdom of God.

When encountering a person who is hurting or hungry, she said, there is a choice. “Will we engage or will we ignore that person? If we connect, we’ve got to share something of that good news – that all of us are loved beyond imagining, and that we’re willing to show that love in concrete ways.”

And, Christians are called to do more, said Jefferts Schori. “It may start by feeding somebody who’s hungry, but it doesn’t end there. We can feed someone a meal, but if nothing changes, that person is going to be hungry again in a few hours,” she said. “That’s where the longer-term and bigger-picture work of transformation starts – asking why this person is hungry, or why so many people are standing on street corners asking for help.”

Those sorts of questions can be annoying and irritating, she said, but they come from the Holy Spirit “acting more like a mosquito than a dove” that will “pester us and make us restless until there is justice for all.”

“We all need to be bitten, marked with an itch for what the world could be like,” Jefferts Schori said, adding in an echo of the celebration at the museum earlier that evening: “We’re not going to live in peace until everybody can sit down and share God’s great picnic together in peace.”

The text of the presiding bishop’s sermon is here.

Episcopal Youth Event 2014 participants were encouraged to pick their favorite Scripture verse. Many posted their choice on the nine-panel prayer wall that greeted EYE14 inside the Pavilion at Villanova University for worship and plenary sessions. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Following EYE14, more than 300 stayed in Philadelphia to engage 3 Days of Urban Mission. The majority of 3 Days of Urban Mission volunteers will stay at the University of Pennsylvania in inner-city Philadelphia. About 60 additional volunteers will be housed at the Episcopal Mission Center, managed by the Diocese of Pennsylvania. A map of the mission sites is here.

Also at EYE14

  • Offertory collections at the opening and closing Eucharists as well during Evening Prayer on July 11 brought in nearly $7,000 which will be divided among Episcopal Relief & Development, the United Thank Offering and the Church of the Advocate, a Philadelphia Episcopal church with an array of outreach activities.
  • Participants were given the chance to choose the first saint for the 2015 Lent Madness bracket. The Rev. Scott Gunn and the Rev. Tim Schenck, members of the Lent Madness Supreme Executive Committee sent video greetings to EYE14 along with their invitation to choose between St. Francis of Assisi and the Archangel Gabriel. Gunn and Schenck were present on campus to supervise the vote and tally the results. Francis won with 60 percent of the vote, according an announcement made before the closing Eucharist.
  • The event’s Twitter Hashtag #EYE14 was a trending topic during the evening of July 10, according to organizers.

EYE 14 was present on these social media outlets:

EYE14 social media hub
Archived video
EYE14 Facebook

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