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‘Homeless Jesus’ finds a home in North Carolina

ENS Headlines - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The “Homeless Jesus” sculpture is designed to be interactive and has drawn the attention of adults and children alike. Photo: Alleen Barber

[Episcopal News Service] Downtown Davidson, North Carolina, has all of the idyllic, small-town Southern charm a weekend visitor could want: old-fashioned brick sidewalks, quaint shops and lots of leafy trees. Residents of the town, known primarily for its prestigious liberal arts college, are proud of their postcard-ready community, but the recent installation of a sculpture outside of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church has reminded locals that not all members of the affluent community can afford to live in the town’s beautiful homes – or in permanent housing of any type.

A new arrival in the neighborhood
The sculpture, “Homeless Jesus” by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz, is a life-size bronze that depicts Jesus as a homeless man huddled in a blanket and sleeping on a park bench. The blanket’s folds hide the man’s face, and the only clues to his identity are the crucifixion marks through his feet and a nearby plaque revealing the piece’s name. From a distance, it is easy to mistake the sculpture for a living person. Situated in front of St. Alban’s at the entrance to the upscale St. Alban’s Square neighborhood, the artwork rests in stark contrast to its surroundings.

From a distance and especially in low light, the sculpture looks like a living person. Photo: Susan McCoy

The sculpture is a memorial to late St. Alban’s parishioner Kate MacIntyre. Her husband, former St. Alban’s senior warden Peter Macon, and family friend Martin McCoy, who donated the funds for a piece of public art in MacIntyre’s honor, spent years searching for the right memorial.

“It struck us that we wanted to challenge the parish,” Macon said. “This sculpture offers a very clear message of discipleship. Once we found [the sculpture], it took us about 18 seconds to decide this is what we wanted to do.”

Responses from across the country have poured in since the sculpture’s installation on Feb. 21. Interest from media outlets have ranged from Charlotte’s local NPR affiliate to the CNN Belief blog to the digital version of London’s Daily Mail. The Davidson Police Department reports receiving calls from neighborhood residents who believed the sculpture was a real person. One caller even expressed concern about the sculpture’s bare feet and thin blanket and volunteered to take the man chili and water. Staff members at St. Alban’s say visitors continue to snap photos, leave flowers and sit on the exposed section of the sculpture’s bench.

“People we do not know have been walking into the church cold just to tell us how much they appreciate the statue,” said the Rev. Greg McIntyre, associate rector at St. Alban’s and Episcopal campus minister at Davidson College. “We’ve been getting e-mails from as far away in Oregon to support this.”

While the clergy at St. Alban’s say responses to the piece have been overwhelmingly positive, the sculpture also created some controversy in the community, driven largely by strong backlash to critical comments two residents made through local news sources. The author of one letter to the editor published on the local news site DavidsonNews.net shortly after the sculpture’s installation wrote, in part, “I have stepped over actual homeless people sleeping on a sidewalk in New York City and not been as creeped out as I am walking past this sculpture.” Another resident of the St. Alban’s Square neighborhood told the local NBC affiliate she called the police out of concern for the neighborhood’s safety when she saw the sculpture for the first time.

The internet response to these comments was swift and sometimes vitriolic. While the responses largely supported St. Alban’s and “Homeless Jesus,” the intensity of the backlash left many community members feeling as though the responders, like the original commenters, missed the artwork’s message.

“I hate to see that we’re getting a lot of the attention we are because it has given people a chance to take shots at the woman interviewed on television and the man who wrote the letter to the editor,” McIntyre said. “Jesus tells us to love our enemies. In this day and age, our ‘enemies’ are normally those who think differently. It raises the question of how we reach out to them without seeming patronizing.”

Tough conversations, no easy answers
That question of how to engage in conversations about housing issues is an important one to a growing number of community members.

According to St. Alban’s deacon, the Rev. Rebecca Yarbrough, camps of homeless individuals are visible from the off ramps along Interstate Highway 77 throughout the northern Charlotte suburbs. The nearby Mooresville Soup Kitchen, at which members of St. Alban’s volunteer, serves up to 200 people per day in an area that locals consider to be reasonably affluent.

Though the anecdotal evidence abounds, concrete information regarding the scope of homelessness and housing insecurity outside of the Charlotte metro area is difficult to locate. That is something Yarbrough hopes to change through a newly forming coalition of community organizations.

At St. Alban’s February 2013 outreach retreat, members of the church identified homelessness and housing insecurity as two primary areas on which to focus in the coming year. At the time, the parish supported the work of Room in the Inn, a program of the Urban Ministry Center in Charlotte that transports individuals in need of shelter from the metro area to churches and colleges located up to 30 miles away. There they receive a warm, safe place to sleep and a few hot meals before returning to Charlotte the next day.

Some members of St. Alban’s, however, felt the call to address the shelter needs of those in their own community. The conversation around homelessness and housing insecurity continued throughout the next year, but the lack of specific information about community needs slowed progress.

Then “Homeless Jesus” arrived.

“The Holy Spirit moved,” Yarbrough explained. “The sculpture’s presence has started to accelerate the conversation.”

Partly inspired by the sculpture, local community groups working with homelessness and housing insecurity will gather for the first time in the coming weeks to begin defining the scope of local needs before developing a plan to meet those needs.

Housing questions extend beyond homelessness
While the coalition begins to form around the area’s most difficult housing challenges, the Town of Davidson also struggles to address growing concerns over shrinking socioeconomic diversity.

According to Marcia Webster, executive director of the Davidson Housing Coalition, finding housing in town is a challenge for many professionals working in Davidson. With a current median asking price of just over $400,000, homes in Davidson are out of reach for many who work there, including many teachers, local government employees and members of Davidson’s service industry.

“These are people who deserve to live in a safe, clean and affordable home,” Webster said. “Many people who grew up in the area and have family in the area cannot afford to live in the town where they’ve lived their whole lives.”

To address the issue of narrowing socioeconomic diversity, in 2001 the Davidson Town Board passed an ordinance requiring 12.5 percent of all new home construction to be affordable housing units. This includes three of the Davidson Housing Coalition’s affordable housing townhomes located in the St. Alban’s Square neighborhood, within sight of the “Homeless Jesus” sculpture.

The clergy and parishioners of St. Alban’s hope the sculpture continues to provoke reactions and start conversations that lead to a broader recognition of Davidson’s socioeconomic diversity and increased community support for homeless ministries.

“Our church has always believed that art is intrinsically related to spirituality, and we have always been committed to social justice work,” the Rev. David Buck, rector of St. Alban’s, said. “This combines the two, and it’s incredible. It reminds us that our work among the poor and the marginalized is what gives our faith authenticity.”

– Summerlee Walter is the communications coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.

EPPN: Breaking the Cycle of Violence in Our Communities

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

[Episcopal Public Policy Network alert] Violence in America has reached epidemic proportions. In 2010 alone, 16,000 persons died through homicide, and 38,000 committed suicide. During the first decade of the 21st century, 335,609 Americans were shot and killed, a total that exceeds the population of St. Louis, MO, Pittsburgh, PA, or Orlando, FL. Each year, an average 237,868 persons in the U.S. are victims of rape or sexual violence, while over 3.2 million young people suffer from bullying . The statistics are both disturbing and overwhelming, and it’s difficult to know how to address such a monumental problem.

“Breaking the cycle of violence” is a commonly used phrase, but what does it really mean? This phrase might bring to mind peace talks in the Middle East, nuclear nonproliferation, or universal background checks on firearms. While these are the better known examples, the definition of violence expands beyond these causes to also include bullying, sexual assault, domestic violence, hate crimes, suicide, and many other types of violence.

These forms of violence that can become a vicious cycle often begin within our communities and our homes. While policy is a useful tool in breaking the cycle of violence, we must also consider personal responses that we can undertake this very moment to supplement and reinforce official legislation.

The first place to begin is at home. What movies, television shows, or video games are accessible in your household? Do these media lift up peaceful values or do they glorify a culture of violence? We can’t protect our children from all forms of violent media, yet it’s important to have an honest conversation with them about the violence that they witness onscreen or in everyday life. Even if you do not have children, you can cultivate a peaceful household by using nonviolent communication with your partner, parents, or roommates.

Beyond the household, there are many ways you can address the culture of violence at the community level. Getting to know your neighbors, hosting community forums on violence prevention, and cooperating with local law enforcement to educate and include young people in preventing crime are all excellent ways to become involved. Engage your congregation in a service for nonviolence, attend Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace: An Episcopal National Gathering to Challenge the Epidemic of Violence on April 9th -11th, 2014, or join faith leaders in a Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend on March 13th -16th, 2014. The more you work together with your neighbors to raise awareness and promote open dialogue on violence prevention, the stronger your effort will be.

Episcopal tradition calls us to oppose violence at every level of common life, and to build just and nonviolent relationships throughout the world. Next time you hear the phrase “breaking the cycle of violence,” remember that you have the agency to break the cycle right now through monitoring media, building relationships, raising awareness, and communicating carefully. Only then can the “cycle of violence” be countered by a “spiral of peace.” This spiral begins in your home and moves outward, circling family, neighbors, and your world community in compassion, education, and awareness, so that one day “violence shall no more be heard in thy land.”

Deadline extended for nominations for positions, committees, boards

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The deadline to submit nominations for various Episcopal Church positions, committees or boards to be elected during the next General Convention has been extended to April 1.

The Episcopal Church Joint Standing Committee on Nominations of the General Convention announced the extension for the following committees/boards:

Member, Disciplinary Board for Bishops
Member, Executive Council
Member, General Board of Examining Chaplains
Trustee, The Church Pension Fund
Trustee, The General Theological Seminary

Elections will take place at the 78th General Convention, to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday, June 25 to Friday, July 3, 2015.

The nomination form is available in English, Spanish, French and Chinese. More information, duties of each position, instructions and nomination forms are available here.

For more information contact gcoffice@episcopalchurch.org.

Se amplía el plazo para presentar nominaciones para posiciones, comités y juntas  de la Iglesia Episcopal

[11 de marzo de 2014] La fecha límite para presentar nominaciones para posiciones, comités, juntas de la iglesia Episcopal, a ser elegidos en la próxima Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal se ha extendido hasta el 1 de abril.

El Comité Permanente Conjunto de la Iglesia Episcopal para la Convención General anunció la extensión para los siguientes comités/juntas.

Se aceptan nominaciones para los siguientes comités/juntas:
Miembro, Junta de Disciplina para Obispos
Miembro, Consejo Ejecutivo
Miembro, Junta General de Capellanes Examinadores
Miembro del consejo de administración,  Church Pension Fund [Fondo de Pensiones de   la Iglesia]
Miembro del consejo de administración, Seminario General de Teología

Las elecciones se llevarán a cabo en la 78 ª Convención General, que tendrá lugar en Salt Lake City, Utah, desde el jueves 25 de junio al viernes 3 de julio de 2015.

El formulario de nominaciones está disponible en inglés, español, francés y chino. Más información sobre funciones de cada puesto, las instrucciones y los formularios de nominaciones está disponible aquí.

Para obtener más información comuníquese con gcoffice@episcopalchurch.org.

Date limite repoussée à
soumettre des candidatures
pour les postes, comités et conseils
de l’Église épiscopale

 

[le 11 mars 2014]  La date limite à soumettre des candidatures pour des divers postes, comités et conseils de l’Église épiscopale a été repoussée au 1er avril.

Le Comité conjoint permanent pour les candidatures de la Convention générale de l’Église épiscopale a annoncé la prolongation pour les comités/conseils suivants:

On accepte les nominations pour les comités/conseils suivants:

Membre du Conseil de discipline pour les évêques Membre du Conseil exécutif Membre du Burea général des aumôniers examinateurs
Administrateur du Fonds de pension de l’Église Administrateur du Séminaire générale de théologie

Les élections se dérouleront lors de la Convention générale 2015, qui se tiendra à Salt Lake City dans l’Utah, jeudi le 25 juin jusqu’à vendredi, le 3 juillet 2015.
On peut trouver des formulaires de candidature en anglais, espagnol, français et chinois. On peut trouver davantage d’information, les obligations de chaque poste, les instructions et les formulaires de candidature ici:

http://www.generalconvention.org/gc/gc2015-nominations

Pour davantage d’information veuillez vous adresser à gcoffice@episcopalchurch.org.

Episcopal Church’s Haiti rebuilding effort gets major boost

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Even prior to the 2010 earthquake, students at the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti’s St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, stretched the space available at the school. Rebuilding plans call for more classrooms. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] A New York Episcopalian has taken the lead in the effort to rebuild the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti’s St. Vincent’s School for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince, which was destroyed by the 2010 earthquake.

Mary White’s gift was celebrated March 10 during a reception at the presiding bishop’s residence in the Episcopal Church Center in New York.

The specific amount of the donation was not announced at the reception but Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori thanked White for her “willingness and generosity in offering a lead gift for the reconstruction of St. Vincent’s new facilities.”

“It is a remarkable statement – a remarkable witness – to what is possible,” she said, also thanking White “for challenging us and helping all of us to be more generous and to help heal the world.”

White is a member of St. James Episcopal Church in Manhattan and a physician.

She said during the gathering that she feels “quite confident that the Episcopal Church, arm in arm with the Haitian church, can rebuild Haiti in a way that will be supporting social, cultural, educational and medical efforts throughout the country; not just in Port-au-Prince, not just with St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children.”

White said she was inspired to make her donation by all she has heard from Episcopal Church leaders about “what progress has been made [in Haiti], what progress can be made and the conscientiousness with which it is being done.”

Her gift, she said specifically to St. Vincent’s Director Pere Sadoni Leon and Haiti Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin, is meant to show that the church has “great confidence” in the work they are doing.

“The earthquake of 2010 destroyed not only St. Vincent’s facilities, but also St. Vincent’s children’s hope in a better future,” Sadoni told the gathering.

Knowing that St. Vincent’s will be rebuilt is not only great news for its children “but also for the handicapped sector in Haiti,” he said.

What Leon called “this fabulous donation” will rebuild the destroyed infrastructure of the center and will help to improve and extend its program to serve more people than before the quake, he said.

“If you could see my heart and the hearts of the children, you would understand at which level we consider this donation.”

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori March 10 hosted a reception to thank Mary White, center, for her “lead gift” to rebuild the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti’s St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The center’s director, Pere Sadoni Leon, left, later said White’s gift will also rebuild the hope of the children at the school. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Jefferts Schori, noting that both Leon and White mentioned hope in their remarks, said the hope that St. Vincent’s represents to Haiti, as well as to the Episcopal Church and the world, is about “the reality that there’s a place for all God’s children in the world.”

White’s donation and the work of St. Vincent’s “gives children who would be discarded in other places a real role in the rebuilding of the nation. They are not only the recipients of care, they become participants and the partners in helping to heal the nation,” the presiding bishop said. “That is a remarkable thing to make possible.”

She urged those at the reception, all of whom support mission and ministry in Haiti, to “keep telling the story of possibility, the story of healing that flows out from generous hearts across the world.”

White’s journey to her donation decision
White said in an ENS interview prior to the reception that her decision to take the lead on the St. Vincent’s rebuilding was the unexpected outcome of an exploration she began close to 14 years ago when her parish mounted a capital campaign that raised approximately $50,000 specifically for mission projects. She first became aware of the needs in Haiti when she traveled there as chair of a parish committee to choose those projects.

While the majority of that mission outreach money went other projects, some parish members did take mission trips to Haiti and White continued to work in the country, including being involved with a birth center called Maison de Naissance near Les Cayes. She first met St. Vincent’s Director Leon when he was rector of the Episcopal congregation in Torbeck near Maison de Naissance. From people connected with Children’s Medical Mission to Haiti and others, White said she’d heard about St. Vincent’s for many years.

White, a doctor of internal medicine who specialized in infectious disease, also went to Haiti two months after the 2010 earthquake and worked in a field hospital near the border with the Dominican Republic on the grounds of an orphanage.

The 2010 quake destroyed St. Vincent’s as well as the Holy Trinity primary, secondary, music and trade schools, the Convent of the Sisters of Saint Margaret and Holy Trinity Cathedral (all part of the cathedral complex), and the Episcopal University of Haiti, College Saint Pierre (a secondary school) and the diocese’s income-producing rental properties.

Mary White and Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin share a laugh March 10 during a reception at the presiding bishop’s residence in the Episcopal Church Center in New York to honor White’s major donation to St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

After the quake, White said, she heard about the plans to rebuild the cathedral. “I listened and I listened and I know how important the cathedral was to the people – not just Episcopalians but also the people in Port-au-Prince – as a central meeting place. But I couldn’t connect as a person to wanting to contribute towards it,” she said.

At St. Vincent’s “the needs there are more in sync with who I am. These are children, many of whom have been abandoned by their parents. I’m an adoptive mom; I’m a physician and it’s a place where a lot of medical care is given.”

White said she also thought St. Vincent’s would be a “great place for St. James parishioners to be able to contribute” in terms of their time and talent as well as treasure, sharing their skills with students and faculty, and perhaps others in the community. Noting that she didn’t want to “force it on” St. James’ members, White said “it just seemed like getting that facility built would allow for a lot more people to help.”

‘God meant this to be’
So she invited Elizabeth Lowell, director of the Episcopal Church’s Development Office, to speak to St. James’ Partners in Mission group about volunteering in Haiti in the face of the U.S. State Department’s seemingly standing warning about travel in Haiti.

As Lowell spoke, White said she began to see more and more ways in which having new facilities at St. Vincent’s could result in more people connecting with the school’s ministries.

“Then we left that meeting and I said to her: ‘I want to rebuild St. Vincent’s,’” White recalled.

Her gift is by far the largest donation White has ever made. “For me as an individual I have never done anything like this; not even close,” she said.

White says her decision to donate to St. Vincent’s was an emotion-filled epiphany.

“When I told Elizabeth as we walked out of St. James, I started to cry,” White said. “It felt like a relief” because she now knew how she wanted to spend some of the money she had received in a divorce settlement.

“I felt euphoric afterwards,” she said. “I did feel afterwards that God meant this to be.”

St. Vincent’s past and future
When it was founded in 1945, St. Vincent’s was the first school for disabled children in Haiti and is still the only place teaching braille to the blind in the country. About half of its current 250 students are blind; the others have multiple physical disabilities. They are taught in 12 classrooms and more such space is part of the rebuilding plan.

The school is a long-standing part of what Bishop Duracin calls a “gospel of wholeness” that the Episcopal Church of Haiti, known locally as L’Eglise Episcopale d’Haiti, has preached and practiced since its founding in 1861. It is a gospel, Duracin has said, which “can serve people in their body, their mind and their spirit.”

The plan to rebuild St. Vincent’s calls for an increased enrollment of 525 students (165 of them residential). New dormitory space is needed to accommodate that latter group.

There also are plans for a medical clinic with orthopedic and pediatric care as well as eye, ear, and surgical care. The clinic will serve the surrounding community beyond the school.

A planned guest house at the center will provide a place for people on mission trips to stay on the grounds, and it will provide some income for operations. Roof-top gardens are planned where students and faculty can raise food to supplement the students’ two daily meals while providing them with skills. It is expected that the gardens might also produce enough food that could be sold for income.

The school has already installed a water-purification system that eliminates the need to buy bottled water and could eventually become another source of income.

The school’s prosthetics workshop has been rebuilt, with the help of Catholic Medical Missions Board, Physicians for Peace and Hanger Orthopedic Group. Some of the older deaf children are learning a trade there. St. Vincent’s also is home to Haiti’s only hand bell choir – all of whose members are blind.

In Léogâne, the diocese’s Faculté des Sciences Infirmières, its nursing school, was undamaged by the 2010 temblor and plans to expand its programs and make a connection with St. Vincent’s. An Episcopal University-approved four-year occupational and physical therapy training program will be located near the nursing school. Those students will intern at St. Vincent’s.

A student at the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti’s St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, studies braille in November 2008. The center is still the only place teaching braille to the blind in the country. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

With the pledge to rebuild St. Vincent’s, White sees the chance to deepen the connection between the Episcopal Church and the school, and the country as a whole. She said she hopes she will be able to volunteer routinely at the school.

Making deep connections with people in need is important to White. She serves on the advisory board of the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, which advocates for legal rights for Haitians and has lately been involved in a lawsuit against the United Nations to compensate victims of a widespread cholera epidemic in the country.

White also has spent the last eight years volunteering for the human rights project of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan where she conducts physical exams for people seeking asylum in the United States.

White’s donation is not the end of fundraising for St. Vincent’s. “All of the needs for St. Vincent’s are not being satisfied by this gift,” she said. “There are many more opportunities for people to give from a big to a small level.”

To that end the church’s development office aims to raise an additional $5 million for the school with $1 million each targeted for medical equipment and dormitory and classroom furnishings, and $3 million for an endowment to provide some operating income. A video about the school and those needs is here.

White wants Episcopalians and others to remember that all of the church’s work in Haiti needs their support.

“For the Episcopal Church’s mission as a whole, Haiti is not done. There is still the cathedral, there are still several other entities that need to be rebuilt,” she said.

Lastly, she said, “I want to encourage people to change their thinking about Haiti; to feel confident about Haiti’s future.”

“Buildings are being built to the highest standard of earthquake- and hurricane-resistant architectural standards; it’s being done deliberately and carefully, and in many ways environmentally soundly and I hope that this gift will not just lead to other gifts big and small but to a greater sense of confidence in Haiti’s future.”

“Everybody just thinks that Haiti is doomed and that it’s never going to climb out of its hole. I hope that this [donation] is one of those things that’s going to show that people have confidence in Haiti and its future … Haiti is not hopeless.”

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

Connecticut priest recovers after life-saving kidney donation

ENS Headlines - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Kim Polhemus and the Rev. Greg Welin.

[Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut] The Rev. Greg Welin is home and resting comfortably these days. Admittedly this wouldn’t be newsworthy except for the fact that he donated a kidney last month.

A fatal genetic disorder
Here’s the backstory: In 2010, Greg was serving as the priest-in-charge of St. John’s in New Milford. There, he met and worked with Kim Polhemus who was serving as senior warden at that time. While outwardly healthy, internally Kim was battling a genetic disease known as Polycystic Kidney Disease, or PKD. The disease is eventually fatal without dialysis or a kidney transplant. Kim has shared that PKD is rampant in her family. Other family members, including her father, have died from it — sometimes after languishing on dialysis for a few years before succumbing.

Kim had PKD, as did one of her sisters, Kathy. A third sister, Michelle, did not inherit it.

Back in 2010, tests coming back from the doctors at Yale-New Haven Hospital showed the kidney function in both women was diminishing to the point that the sisters would either need a transplant, or dialysis, within a year. After watching what had happened to their father, Kim said that finding donors for both herself and Kathy was paramount. Sister Michelle volunteered to be a donor; she was tested and found to be a good match for either sister. The hospital wanted Michelle to declare which sister she would donate to, but with both in need of a kidney, Michelle refused to commit to either until a second donor was found.

Swallowing her pride, Kim wrote a letter that summer and sent it by e-mail to everyone in her contact list, hoping and praying it would help them find a second donor. Someone forwarded it to the local newspaper and a reporter interviewed her, generating more attention and broadcasting the need to an even wider audience. According to the National Kidney Foundation, 3,381 people died in the U.S. last year, waiting for a kidney donor.

Just before Thanksgiving, as Kim was on the way back from a long weekend away, her sister Kathy called her with the name of a possible donor who had quietly stepped forward and been tested.

It was Greg.

He’d heard about it after he returned from his summer vacation, put his name on the list, and was called in that fall for tests. Greg had had a thorough medical workup to check whether he was a match and to make sure he was healthy enough for surgery, and the answer to both was “yes.” Kim had Kathy repeat the name twice before she realized who it was. Both were overwhelmed with gratitude.

“When I received the call from the hospital I started crying with joy and kept saying ‘thank you’ over and over,” Kathy said. “I asked them to tell Greg thank you so much.” It brought tears to Kim as well. “I cried in the car. I never saw his name on the list, he never told me,” she said.

While Greg’s decision to offer his kidney was certainly a gift and blessing to Kim’s family, it was also a blessing to Greg for a different reason. Years ago his sister had died and he hadn’t been able to do anything to help: this time, it would be different. He could help.

Back at St. John’s, Greg had a practice of inviting people to stand up, after the congregation exchanges the peace during the Sunday service, and share something for which they’d like to give thanks. Kim and Greg stood up together and shared all the news with the congregation.

The surgeries begin
With a second donor now in place, doctors determined that Michelle’s kidney was a better match for Kim, so Greg would be donating a kidney to Kathy.

The next summer, as Kim’s kidney continued to fail, she had what the doctors at Yale-New Haven hospital called a “textbook transplant.” There was no infection or rejection, and Michelle was up and active again in a week.

Unexpectedly, Kathy’s kidney function stabilized for a while. Greg, Kim, and Kathy stayed in touch by e-mail occasionally, as they waited. It wasn’t until the fall of 2013 that the doctors decided that it was time. Greg, who by then was the priest-in-charge of St. Paul’s, Woodbury, said that the end of the Epiphany season would be the best time for him. They all agreed on an early February date.

Because the original testing had been in 2010, Greg was thoroughly re-tested, passing them all.

Both donor, and recipient, along with Kim, Michelle, Kathy’s husband George, and Greg’s wife Amy, arrived about 6:30 a.m. at Yale-New Haven hospital on Feb. 6.

Greg was quickly admitted and got to say “hi” to Kathy as she waited.

Kathy needed some additional tests when she arrived so her surgery was delayed three hours. Surgery itself was three to four hours for each. Afterwards, each went to post-op care in Yale-New Haven’s Transplantation Center.

Greg stayed for two days, going home Feb. 8. While he was in the hospital he saw Kathy a few times, to say hello. Kathy’s recovery was longer as her body has to accept the donated kidney.

Kathy stayed until Feb. 11. Kim said that Kathy was home for a week but then was readmitted with a lot of pain. After two days she was released home again. “My sister is now on her way to a normal life with her new healthy kidney,” said Kim.

Greg’s recovery was more straightforward. “I moved around a bit gingerly at first,” he said, “and had some trouble bending to get in and out of chairs and the bed.” But other than the tiredness and modest post-surgery pain, he said that he didn’t feel any differently.

“I was relieved,” he said. “There were lots of unknowns: What would I feel like? What was the surgical process? How incapacitated would I be? I was relieved that it wasn’t as difficult as I was concerned it might have been. I always felt I was in good hands, though, and very supported. I didn’t feel alone.”

Concerns about how the parish would do in his absence were relieved, also, as people were eager to help out. “They’ve been supporting me in a positive way,” he said.

Amy, Greg’s wife, who is also the priest-in-charge of St. John’s in Waterbury, said she’s also relieved the surgery went so well and is now behind them. She supported his decision, yet it’s still major surgery so normal fears rose up along with those that she carried from having been widowed earlier in her life. “I’m very proud of Greg for being compassionate and generous,” she said. “And I knew the surgeon was good, but I was terrified. The night before the surgery I had to get out of bed for a while and have a cry.”

God must have been listening. An Episcopal chaplain walked in on them when Greg was in pre-op – actually, it was a priest whom Amy had mentored – and offered prayers. Then next day when Greg was in post-op, two other chaplains, both Episcopal clergy whom she knew, stopped by.

Greg continues to do well, in all ways. “I’m really happy I was able to do this,” he said. “In the back of my mind I was thinking of my sister, who died. I couldn’t do anything at that time. When the opportunity came up here, I thought I could help a fellow sister on the planet. It’s a great privilege to be able to help in this very tangible way.”

“And,” he said, “how often do we get a chance to do something like this?”

Kim also reflects on the journey. “It’s been a big circle,” she said. “It changes you on so many levels. First, my own survival, then my sister’s. I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude through all this, for his humbleness and generosity and life-giving spirit.

“It’s hard to know how to thank someone sufficiently for saving your sister’s life.”

Nuevo Amanecer 2014: Community * Mission * Fiesta

ENS Headlines - Monday, March 10, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Nuevo Amanecer 2014, a favorite conference in the Episcopal Church, will focus on God’s mission and the celebration of culture, diversity and the unique sense of fiesta (joy) fostered in the Latino/Hispanic Community.

With the theme Community * Mission * Fiesta, Nuevo Amanecer 2014 will be held August 25-28 at Kanuga Conference Center, North Carolina.

Kanuga Conference Center and the Episcopal Church’s Office of Latino/Hispanic Ministries in partnership with the Latino Ministries Office of ELCA sponsor this biennial event that will offer practical tools and a network of support to better equip for ministry those working within the Latino/Hispanic community and those that want to be.

Clergy, lay leaders, diocesan Latino/Hispanic missioners, church planters, diocesan and congregational staff are invited to engage as a community to expand their knowledge by sharing best practices and exploring new methods of stewardship, church growth and evangelism.

Keynoting the event are the Rt. Rev. Diane Jardine Bruce, Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, and the Rev. Pedro Suárez, Assistant to the Bishop and Director for Evangelical Mission in Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the ELCA.

For registration and further information here or here.

Episcopal Church’s Office of Latino/Hispanic Ministries on  Facebook

U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear Falls Church Anglican case

ENS Headlines - Monday, March 10, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] More than seven years after a majority of clergy and members of several Diocese of Virginia congregations declared they had left the Episcopal Church and the question of ownership of the property involved began to be litigated, the U.S. Supreme Court refused on March 10 to hear the appeal of the last congregation still at odds with the Episcopal Church and the diocese.

The court gave no reason for deciding not to review a 2013 ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court reaffirming an earlier circuit court ruling that returned The Falls Church property to loyal Episcopalians to use for the mission of the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church. The court’s decision was included in its March 10 order list and was one of 121 requests for review that it refused.

All that remains in the case is for the Diocese of Virginia to request an order from the Fairfax Circuit Court releasing to the diocese more than $2.6 million that was in the Falls Church’s bank accounts at the time of the split and that the court has been holding in escrow during the progression of the case.

“We are most gratified by the Supreme Court’s ruling,” said Diocese of Virginia Bishop Shannon S. Johnston in a press release. “We look forward to the possibilities that the months ahead will bring, and continue to keep those affected by the litigation in our prayers.”

In an accompanying letter to the diocese, Johnston called March 10 “an important day for our diocese” because of the ruling.

We finally can say, with great thankfulness, that the Diocese of Virginia no longer is involved in property litigation …[and] … The Falls Church Episcopal is free to continue to worship and grow in its home church buildings.”

“Although today marks an official and much anticipated end to the litigation, it also marks a beginning,” the bishop said. “We will now be able to focus fully our attentions on the many truly exciting ministries all over our diocese. I pray that those in the [Convocation of Anglicans in North American] congregations will join us in turning this fresh page.”

The Rev. John Ohmer, rector of The Falls Church Episcopal, said in the diocesan release that “although it breaks my heart to think of where all that money and energy could have gone, today’s news is uplifting for our congregation.”

“My hope and prayer is that all sides can now continue to grow their communities of worship, ministries and outreach in our church homes,” he said.

The Falls Church Anglican congregation on Oct. 9, 2013 asked the country’s highest court to review the Virginia Supreme Court’s decision. A chronology of the court filings, including those from other interested parties, which followed from that request is here.

The Falls Church was one of 11 congregations in the diocese in which a majority of members voted to disaffiliate from the diocese and the Episcopal Church. Over the years, all but The Falls Church Anglican had settled their property conflicts with the diocese and the church after judicial decisions in favor of the diocese and the church.

After a Fairfax County Circuit Court Jjudge ordered The Falls Church Anglican in March 2012 to return the parish property to the diocese, the Anglicans only agreed to allow the Episcopalians to return to the parish building to celebrate Easter (April 8, 2012). However, the Anglican congregation soon thereafter appealed to the state Supreme Court and in the meantime asked the Circuit Court to prevent the Episcopalians from returning again until the high court ruled. The Circuit Court refused and the Falls Church Episcopalians returned to their property on May 15, 2012.

The Virginia Supreme Court on April 18, 2013 affirmed the circuit court ruling returning the Falls Church property to the Episcopalians. The Falls Church Anglican asked the state Supreme Court to reconsider, despite earlier comments by the Rev. John Yates, The Falls Church Anglican’s rector, on April 28 that the Supreme Court’s “overwhelming rejection of our arguments … reduces our legal options drastically.”

Then in June 2013, the state’s high court refused to reconsider its ruling and Falls Church Anglican later decided to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the state court’s actions.

The leaders of the Anglican congregation have not yet commented on the high court’s decision, but in a Feb. 24 update to the members Junior Warden Kristen Short acknowledged that the request for review was “against the odds.” The decision to go to the U.S. Supreme Court, she said, was part of what she called the congregation’s ministry of “speaking boldly on behalf of believing individuals and faithful congregations across the country who are under attack.”

“We have tried to discern God’s will at every juncture and believe we are acting out of obedience to Him,” she wrote. “While we may not relish the ‘battle’ we’re in, we did not sense that the Lord was giving us permission to withdraw.”

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

White Mountain, shining face: Remembering Deacon Terry Star

ENS Headlines - Monday, March 10, 2014

As the Rev. Terry Star is buried March 10 out of his home church of St. James Episcopal Church in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, we share the following article from fellow seminarian Benjamin Jefferies from Nashotah House who reflects on the memories and the legacy Star leaves behind. Star died of a heart attack the morning of March 4 at Nashotah House, where he was studying for ordination to the priesthood. He was 40.

[Nashotah House Theological Seminary] Truly, Nomen est Omen — the name determines the man: The brightness in Terry’s gentle eyes really did shine like a Star in the night sky. And what image is more apt to describe our peaceful, giant friend than his Lakota name :“White Mountain”. The impression of his calm, thoughtful, big, guileless, and playful presence is permanently etched into my memory. Although this memory-mark is indelible, how much fresher and warmer was the man himself, how much I would prefer to have him, and not just the memories.

We, here at the House, are missing him sorely. And we will miss him, indefinitely.  Although cliché, and although it seems like a small thing to say, “missing him” is the best way to put it. His faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord was manifestly evident in his life, carriage, and vocation as deacon. We thus have every available assurance that he is with the blessed souls in paradise, being drawn ever nearer to our God. We miss him like one who has gone away for a little while, but who we will see again before too long, when our time comes. After the shock, this was my second thought upon hearing the news of his death: Lucky him – who now gets to see Jesus face to face.

In his life and ministry, Death was no stranger to Terry. Although from our vantage there is a horrible, horrible, horrible suddenness to his own departure from this earth, Terry himself had no pretenses about the End that comes to us all. Three weeks ago, Terry and I were pall-bearers at a funeral of an old Son of the House. The celebrant remarked that he had buried nearly a thousand people in his time. Terry whispered to me that he had buried about that many in his time as a deacon. “Really?” I exclaimed, to which he replied that it was probably more like several hundred. Terry had mentioned to me before (We lived in Kemper hall together for a year and a half) that he had buried more of his “kids” – the teenagers he ministered to back home – than he would ever have liked. These, coupled with his parochial ministry generally, as well as recent passings in his family, brought death frequently before his eyes. I had no idea of the numbers though. But it made sense – of the light in his eyes. Only someone who has looked Death so squarely in the face could be that peaceful in Life. The next day, after he had told me about his hundreds, I told him as much, “Hey Terry, now I understand where that light in your eyes comes from – from having done all those funerals.” He smiled in that Terry way and nodded in agreement.

Deacon Terry Star (front right) serves as a pallbearer during one of the many funerals at which he’d assisted. Photo: Leaella Shirley via Facebook

I don’t know all the details of Terry’s life, but I have a few strong pictures from what he told me: There’s Terry as kid in his very tight-knit family. Upon showing me a piece of bead-work he was given as a gift, he told me that as a child he remembered sorting tens of thousands of these tiny beads with a pin at his grandparents house. As a Christian in the Native American community, Terry’s life was often one of living on borders, of liminality. In his travels throughout a predominantly White country, Terry was very frequently met with the full spectrum of racism – ranging from ignorant language-use, to stereotyping, to flat-out animosity and disrespect. In his Native community, he was sometimes eyed with a little suspicion for being a disciple of a religion not ancient to  Native people. Sometimes these two worlds would get mixed-up in odd ways: Terry once told me that at a ceremonial Native gathering, a White person who had “gotten into Native religion” approached Terry—who was wearing his alb and deacon’s stole—and started yelling at him that he was a ‘sell-out’. Upon telling me this story, before I could be empathetically appalled, he just started chuckling. It was a soft but unstoppable chuckle that revealed the outlook which Terry always had, as long as I got to be witness to his life: An outlook which was abounding in patience. In both senses of the word: A quiet suffering, which he shared with our Lord, and an understanding of the ignorance and folly of his fellow human beings, which he did not quickly hold against them.

Death. Liminality. Staples in Terry’s life which he had accepted. Lesser souls would have become depressed by such things, but Terry used them like the proverbial oyster uses the irritating sand, and it blessed us: The calm comportment he gained was a welcome blessing in a dorm hall where we young men were often losing our composure under the stress of life and school-work. He was a ballast to us – helping to keep us emotionally upright in times of trial. This ministry of presence was far from passive. About once a week Terry would make one of his marvelous stews or soups for we Kemper guys, and anyone else who happened to be passing through at dinner time. He brought his TV out to the common area, so we could all watch movies together (on weekends only, of course) – an activity that, no matter how mundane, did much to build community on the floor.

Beyond domestic life, the experiences Terry had engendered a profound intellectual life. Although classroom work was sometimes a struggle for Terry, compounded by how often he was called-for off-campus (for funerals back home, to Executive Council on the East Coast,etc.), Terry had profound perspicuity into the relationship between Christianity and Culture, arising from his reflections on ministering within a Native context. Many things he shared with us about his vision for ministry were paradigm molding. In the spirit of Justin Martyr, he wrote a paper outlining how the pre-incarnate Logos had directed the religious thought of the Dakota people to be congruous in form to the Christian message. He spoke of using Sage – an herb used by the Dakota in religious ceremonies – in a thurible, to connect Christian worship with the senses of the people-group from whence he came. And many other things like this. Terry was a paragon of keeping the difficult balance between recognizing Christian identity as first and trump, but not neglecting the riches that culture affords, nor overlooking the oppressive facts of history.

We will miss Terry. We will miss his calm. His ministry. His keen intellect. More than these we will miss his smile, that warm, generous smile, with those bright eyes. But more than all of this, we just miss him. I keep thinking of these lines from John Updike:

And another regrettable thing about death
is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,
which took a whole life to develop…
…The whole act.
Who will do it again? That’s it: no one;
imitators and descendants aren’t the same.
         — from “Perfection Wasted”

Now, I know Terry wasn’t perfect, but by earthly lights, it still sure seems to be a waste—that his life and ministry are so soon over. But we trust God, nevertheless. Trust that this whole thing – Terry’s whole life, and death, are subject to Him, even though it doesn’t appear to be in subjection sometimes. And we trust that our loss is Terry’s gain, as he looks on the master, whose service he imitated, face to shining face.”

– Benjamin Jefferies is a senior student at Nashotah House Theological Seminary.

Episcopal, Anglican women gather in NYC for UN Commission meeting

ENS Headlines - Monday, March 10, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The 58th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) meeting in New York City March 10 to March 21 will bring together women and men from the Episcopal Church and throughout the Anglican Communion.

The 2014 theme of UNCSW is “Challenges and Achievements in the Implementation of the MDGs for Women and Girls.”

Seventy-five delegates from The Episcopal Church will participate, including groups from St. George’s Church in Fredericksburg, VA (Diocese of Virginia), Anglican Women’s Empowerment, Episcopal Church Women, Episcopal Women’s Caucus, the Global Women’s Fund – Diocese of New York, and the Office of Global Partnerships of The Episcopal Church. There will also be delegations from the Anglican Communion and the Anglican Church of Canada.

Of note for the event:

• The Episcopal Church will host an opening Eucharist on Monday, March 10 in the Chapel of Christ the Lord, as well a closing Eucharist on March 21.  Both services will begin at 12:10 pm Eastern and will incorporate the stories, songs and experiences of the delegates. Bishop Chilton Knudsen of the Diocese of New York will celebrate on March 10.

• On March 11, Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate and Liberian civil rights activist, will speak to participants in the Chapel of Christ the Lord.

• Also on March 11 at 2 pm Eastern, the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross will host a workshop on Anglican Women at Prayer in the Hospitality Space.

• Dr. Lucille B Pilling, EdD, MPH, RN of Philadelphia, PA (Diocese of Pennsylvania), the provincial delegate representing The Episcopal Church, will lead a panel on “Accelerating Access, Integrating Services, Focusing on Women: The Challenges of the MDGs, Sustainable Development Goals, Low and Middle Income Countries and Non-Communicable Diseases” at 10 am Eastern on March 12 in the Chapel of Christ the Lord at the Episcopal Church Center.

• On March 13 at 10 am Eastern in the Chapel, Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, will speak on “The Beijing Platform for Action and the Global Development Agenda: From the MDGs to the Post-2015 Development Agenda”.

• The Episcopal Church Center, located one block from the United Nations, will provide hospitality space for participants and will host advocacy debriefs by Ecumenical Women, an international coalition of UN faith-based ecumenical organizations. The Episcopal Church is co-chair and both The Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion are members.

For more info contact Lynnaia Main, Global Relations Officer, at lmain@episcopalchurch.org

For complete details, schedule and more information
UNCSW 58
UN Women
Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations
Anglican Women’s Empowerment

Standing with Christians under pressure: Reflections from Pakistan

ENS Headlines - Monday, March 10, 2014

[Virginia Theological Seminary] Being physically attacked by agents in Peshawar several weeks ago prompts me to comment on the forms that pressure on a persecuted church takes. These call forth from us varied forms of solidarity, a word that sums up Paul’s counsel to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

Survivors continue to suffer from psychic and physical injuries in the wake of the Sept. 22 suicide bombings at All Saints’ Church in Peshawar that killed 128 and wounded about 160 parishioners as they were sharing a meal after Sunday service. The daughter-in-law of a friend lost her unborn child in the blast and still is bedridden from her other injuries. “So many are still in their beds,” my friend said of survivors a couple of weeks ago. The Virginia Seminary gathering on Oct. 28 that raised $5,500 for assisting affected families was a deeply appreciated expression of empathic outreach in the disaster.The All Saints’ community as a whole is heartbreakingly diminished. Whereas a typical Sunday service before the bombing drew 300-400 people, attendance these days is in the low 100s. 128 parishioners who used to attend are dead, and some of those remaining are too frightened or disheartened to come out. When I recently embraced All Saints’ Pastor Ejaz Gill he had little to say: his eyes simply filled with tears. Here is where Bishop Humphrey Sarfaraz Peters, the clergy and lay leaders need the Anglican Communion’s prayers, letters and phone calls in their ministry of healing the wounded body of Christ.

Meanwhile the Diocese of Peshawar, which includes the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is beset by another pressure: the effort of the provincial government to take over control of Edwardes College, which was founded in 1900 by the Church Missionary Society as the first institution of higher education on the northeast frontier with Afghanistan, and exclude the Church’s historic role in the College. Today Edwardes is the only college owned and managed by the Church of Pakistan. With 90% of our faculty and students being Muslims, 9% Christians, and 1% Hindus and Sikhs, the Church has a unique role to play in offering educational excellence and fostering inter-religious harmony in a polarized society.

As Principal of Edwardes since 2011, I have sought to raise educational standards, promote interfaith conversation, and steer the College toward the degree-awarding status that will enhance its ability to offer a distinctive education in Pakistan. The proposed Charter for degree-awarding status – which, as in the USA, requires governmental endorsement – would return the College to the Church’s oversight and resolve confusion about the College’s governance that has existed since a semi-nationalization move by the province in 1974.

Working on this has been complicated: consultations and negotiations, historical and legal analyses, reams of proposals and counter-proposals. It’s a ministry that highlights the importance of Christian institutions in the Church’s mission. In the West the institutions of civil society are so numerous and well established that it can be easy not only to take them for granted but to dismiss institutions in favor of individualistic initiatives. In Pakistan the institutions of civil society are fragile. With the rise of religious extremism, the institutions of religious minorities are especially vulnerable to being undermined, marginalized, taken over. An institution such as Edwardes is critically important as a bearer of the Church’s vision and presence in society beyond the bounds of congregations. Standing with the Church in this witness has been my offering of missional solidarity.

But the opposition is real. In December Bishop Humphrey, some of my colleagues and I received threatening visits, followed by instigated demonstrations. Then on Feb. 14, while starting on a drive to Islamabad with Muslim friends, I was accosted by men who identified themselves as intelligence agents at the motorway toll plaza in Peshawar and hustled into another vehicle where they pounded me with their fists, destroyed my visa and warned me to leave the country.

When prayer began pushing up through the shock as my friends drove me away from the scene, it was this: “Friend Jesus, this and so much worse is what your Christian brothers and sisters have been experiencing here in Pakistan for so long.  This and so much worse is what many of your Muslim brothers and sisters have been experiencing here for so long.  Now I know it first-hand.  I’m not thankful for the beating, Friend Jesus, but I am thankful for the knowledge.  And for still being alive.”

In those moments of literal powerlessness I experienced the paradox of the gospel of the cross that Paul illuminated so well: “God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” We don’t know how the story of this particular struggle will end, whether the Church in its weakness will regain its rightful place or not. The attack on me has dramatized that a serious political and legal struggle is underway, and that is a blessing. In Islamabad I continue to wait for substitute documentation for the vandalized visa, which is a discipline of patience. Meanwhile the prayers and letters of Christians around the world sent to the Bishop and me sustain us. Such solidarity is what defines us all together as the Church: different limbs and organs supporting one another in Christ’s mystical body in the world.

The Rev. Canon Dr. Titus Presler is Principal of Edwardes College in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Video: Inside St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, with Dean David Ison

ENS Headlines - Sunday, March 9, 2014

ENS launches a four-part series on the ministry of cathedrals, featuring interviews with their deans. Further articles in the series will profile cathedrals in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Los Angeles, United States; and Paris, France.

[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached March 9 during the 11:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The Very Rev. David Ison, dean of St. Paul’s, told the congregation that Jefferts Schori’s invitation to preach was an expression of the ongoing partnership between St. Paul’s and the Episcopal Church.

The full text of Jefferts Schori’s sermon is available here. She previously preached at St. Paul’s on July 25, 2010.

“I give thanks for the remarkable witness and ministry of this cathedral, and pray that its faithful leadership may continue to bless the people of London and far beyond,” Jefferts Schori said recently.

Ison has served as dean of St. Paul’s since May 2012. In this ENS film profiling the ministry of St. Paul’s, Ison talks about the role of the cathedral today and throughout its 1400-year history, as well as the impact and lessons learned from the Occupy London movement that encamped outside the building for more than four months beginning October 2011.

Raised in Brentwood, Essex, Ison attended university in Leicester and theological college in Nottingham. At 24, he was ordained as a curate in Deptford, southeast London, where he was engaged in inner-city ministry and studied for a Ph.D. in early church history.

After a further three years as a tutor at a Church Army training college in Blackheath, Ison became vicar of Potters Green in Coventry.

From 1995, he served as a canon at Exeter Cathedral. In 2005, he became dean of Bradford with the task of rebuilding the cathedral’s ministry and mission.

Ison is married to Hilary Margaret Powell, who also is ordained. They have two sons and two daughters.

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

Presiding Bishop preaches at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London

ENS Headlines - Sunday, March 9, 2014

Lent1
St. Paul’s, London
9 March 2014

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

            On Shrove Tuesday this past week I visited the place where Jesus was baptized.  It is now a Jordanian national archaeological park and once again a pilgrimage site.[1]  One of the fruits of the peace agreement between Jordan and Israel nearly 20 years ago[2] has been public access to the land alongside the Jordan, even though it took several more years before all the land mines were cleared.  Archaeological work since then has revealed at least five churches, a monastery, and evidence of centuries of regard for this place as the site where John the Baptizer met Jesus.[3]  A small miracle of peace in the Middle East.

The gospel this morning tells of the days immediately following Jesus’ baptism.  Approaching that site on the Jordan today takes you through a band of dense brush and small trees, not over 10 feet tall.  It’s so dense that you can’t see the sky, the hills around or very far into the thicket, and so dry that you wonder about wildfires.  It’s not like the open wild country here, moors or upland mountains or rocky coast.  Wandering for forty days in a place like that would test anybody’s sense of direction.  It’s an invitation to uncertainty – and doubt about the way forward.

As Jesus emerges from the river, he hears the voice from heaven reminding him that he is God’s beloved and God is already well-pleased with him, even before he begins his public ministry.  He’s been propelled out into this vale of uncertainty to meet a challenging series of questions:  ‘Are you hungry?  Feeling alone?  Looking for someone to get you out of this fix?’

Jesus is wrestling with what it means to begin this journey.  Where is he going, what is his goal – and his role?  The challenges he meets are about his identity.  He’s been reminded that he is beloved and pleasing to God – as he is, before he’s done anything significant.  Listen to his story, and hear the echo of creation in Genesis – and the dust in which Lent begins.

The beginning of that second creation story notes that there aren’t any plants or farmers because God hasn’t yet produced any rain, but there is a stream that floods the earth – like the Jordan overflowing its banks in spring.  God creates a human being from the dust and breathes into the creature’s nostrils, and adham becomes a living being.[4]  Adam isn’t a proper name yet, it’s a description, earth creature.  Then God plants a garden and tells the creature to tend it.  Anything may be eaten except the fruit from one tree – if you do, you will die.  God notices that this solitary human being needs a partner, so God creates birds and animals.  Adham gives them names, but none of them is quite right as a partner.  The earth creature is put to sleep, a rib is removed to produce another human being, and now there are two creatures, with a common origin in dust and divine breath.  The crafty snake challenges the two human beings to ignore their created origin and their charge to tend the garden by eating the forbidden fruit.

The crafty tempter invites Jesus to do very similar things.  First, ‘turn these stones into food, so you can satisfy your hunger.’  Stones may be created by God, but they haven’t had life breathed into them, and they can’t sustain life.  Will Jesus pre-empt the creative role and deny their nature by turning them into something to be used for his own ends?  The word of God is meant for life, for God’s ends and in God’s time, and Jesus declines the invitation, even if he is famished.  He will wait on God’s creative time.

Next, the crafty one – and that word invites us to see the devil or tempter as a usurper, claiming to be the crafter or creator of life – the crafty one invites Jesus to forsake his lonely path through the wilderness for a moment of fame in the big city.  ‘Are you lost and lonely?  Want to be king of the mountain?  Then do something that’ll get you on the nightly news – try some death-defying tricks.  Abba will bail you out.’  Jesus responds by claiming his human identity as creature.  He will take his journey through the wilderness, even if it doesn’t promise a quick flash of fame, even if he has no companion and can’t see much beyond the next few steps.  God’s future will emerge, in God’s time.

Finally the false one takes him up another high place with a view of the entire world and says, ‘there, that’s your destiny – it’s yours if you’ll take my path.’  Again Jesus responds by claiming his relationship to the true source of life.  ‘The end is not yet clear, I will take the road wherever it leads, knowing I have all I need, for I am God’s beloved, and that love is ultimately life-giving.’

The false one is the voice that ultimately denies life – it is more honestly called violence, whatever forestalls, diminishes, demeans, or discards the life of God’s continuing creativity.  .  God’s creation takes patience and true craft; it invites partnership, it isn’t instantaneous intervention, it does not preempt or direct or control.  If creation truly bears God’s image, it must be free enough to become the unexpected.

Those who follow Jesus through that wilderness meet the crafty one all the time.  We can ignore our status as creatures who share our lives and origin with all other creatures.  We are tempted to lord it over others or demand singular attention, often when we feel alone, afraid, unvalued, or insufficiently alive.  We continue to look for love in all the wrong places.  Yet God has said the same to us – ‘you are my beloved, in you I am well pleased.’  When we know that, deep in our hearts, it shapes our own journey through the wilderness.

Lent is an exercise program for consciousness – about relationship with the one who calls us beloved.  It isn’t about gritting your teeth and starving.  It IS about recognizing the ultimate source of life, giving thanks, and becoming a fellow gardener who will plant and nurture more abundant life.  We all meet the wilderness as a place of testing.  We can try to dictate the journey’s every step, yet that only ends in violence to the life possibilities of others.  Partners in God’s creativity need the kind of vulnerability and openness that is willing to meet the journey as it comes, looking for life and blessing and relinquishing any lure in other directions.

Jordan is something of an island of peace in a sea of conflict.  The society has a distinctive openness to the lives of others, whether they are Muslims or Christians, and a respect for the dignity and spiritual depth of the other.  Yet there is fear that violence and extremism in surrounding communities will intrude and take that peace.

We share the journey that begins in the Jordan River with all humanity.  Our decisions about the challenges before us can contribute to greater peace or to violent denials of life and possibility.  The way we meet a neighbor or stranger here can make peace or encourage war across the world.

You are God’s beloved.  Will you choose Jesus’ way of creative possibility or the crafty certainty of violence and death?  Lent is an invitation to cultivate an open heart.  It is Jesus’ open and vulnerable heart that ultimately saves the world.

[1] http://www.baptismsite.com/

[2] October 1994:  http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/peacetreaty.html

[3] http://www.baptismsite.com/index.php/archeological-findings.html

[4] The first creation story names those human creatures very good – blessed, as Jesus is called beloved.

Funeral arrangements set for Executive Council member Terry Star

ENS Headlines - Friday, March 7, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Terry Star will be buried out of his home church of St. James Episcopal Church in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on March 10.

Meanwhile, the City of Delafield, Wisconsin, police department and the Waukesha County Medical Examiner have concluded that Star, a 40 year-old deacon in the Diocese of North Dakota and a member of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, died March 4 of a heart attack.

Star was found in his lodgings at Nashotah House Theological Seminary, where he was studying for ordination to the priesthood.

After he did not attend chapel that morning of March 4 and failed to show up for classes or meals, a member of the Nashotah House community went to check on Star, said the Rev. Canon John Floberg, a fellow member of the Diocese of North Dakota and also an Executive Council member.

Delafield Police Chief Erik Kehl told Episcopal News Service that police officers and members of the local fire department responded to a call from the seminary at 7:40 p.m. March 4. They found Star in his apartment and attempted to revive him.

Those present “determined he was past aid, so we began a death investigation and called the medical examiner’s office,” Kehl said.

Such an investigation is routine for most unattended deaths in Wisconsin. “It’s more going through the investigative process, trying to recreate the previous day or so of Mr. Star’s life,” Kehl explained.

The investigation included an autopsy that was conducted on Ash Wednesday. Kehl was present for the autopsy.

The investigation revealed nothing suspicious about Star’s death, Kehl said.

A wake for Star with a prayer service will be held at St. James during the evening of March 9.

Star will be buried at Red Hail’s Camp at St. Gabriel’s Camp in Solen, North Dakota, where he served as a youth minister and camp director for many years. A meal will follow Star’s burial at the Red Gym in the middle of Cannon Ball, which is on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Red Hail, a Sioux warrior who donated land so that a church could be built among his people, was Star’s maternal great-great-grandfather, according to information posted on St. James’ Facebook page. Red Hail fought at the Battle of Greasy Grass, which also is known as the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

The St. Gabriel’s church that was built on Red Hail’s donated land burned in 1970, and the congregation joined St. James in Cannon Ball. The land at Solen grew into a church camp in the mid-1990s. The camp has been the site of the Diocese of North Dakota’s training of local members for ordained ministry. Seven, including Star, were trained there and later were ordained.

Star, whose council term would have ended after General Convention in 2015, was also a convention deputy. He belonged to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Star served as a deacon for the Standing Rock Episcopal Community.

In November, Star preached at the consecration of the new St. James building, which replaced the church that was destroyed by an arsonist in July 2012. A video recording of his sermon is here.

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

Funeral service set for Executive Council member Terry Star

Police say Star died of heart attack at Nashotah House where he was a student

By Mary Frances Schjonberg

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Terry Star will be buried out of his home church of St. James Episcopal Church in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on March 10.

Meanwhile, the City of Delafield, Wisconsin, police department and the Waukesha County Medical Examiner have concluded that Star, a 40 year-old deacon in the Diocese of North Dakota and a member of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council (http://www.generalconvention.org/ec), died March 4 of a heart attack.

Star was found (http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2014/03/05/deacon-terry-star-executive-council-member-found-dead-at-seminary) in his lodgings at Nashotah House Theological Seminary (http://nashotah.edu), where he was studying for ordination to the priesthood.

After he did not attend chapel that morning of March 4 and failed to show up for classes or meals, a member of the Nashotah House community went to check on Star, said the Rev. Canon John Floberg, a fellow member of the Diocese of North Dakota and also an Executive Council member.

Delafield Police Chief Erik Kehl told Episcopal News Service that police officers and members of the local fire department responded to a call from the seminary at 7:40 p.m. March 4. They found Star in his apartment and attempted to revive him.

Those present “determined he was past aid, so we began a death investigation and called the medical examiner’s office,” Kehl said.

Such an investigation is routine for most unattended deaths in Wisconsin. “It’s more going through the investigative process, trying to recreate the previous day or so of Mr. Star’s life,” Kehl explained.

The investigation included an autopsy that was conducted on Ash Wednesday. Kehl was present for the autopsy.

The investigation revealed nothing suspicious about Star’s death, Kehl said.

A wake for Star with a prayer service will be held at St. James during the evening of March 9.

Star will be buried at Red Hail’s Camp at St. Gabriel’s Camp (http://www.ndepiscopal.org/welcome/st-gabriels-camp-solen/) in Solen, North Dakota, where he served as a youth minister and camp director for many years. A meal will follow Star’s burial at the Red Gym in the middle of Cannon Ball, which is on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Red Hail, a Sioux warrior who donated land so that a church could be built among his people, was Star’s maternal great-great-grandfather, according to information posted (https://www.facebook.com/StJamesCannonBall/posts/669086399804015?stream_ref=10) on St. James’ Facebook page. Red Hail fought at the Battle of Greasy Grass (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Little_Bighorn), which also is known as the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

The St. Gabriel’s church that was built on Red Hail’s donated land burned in 1970, and the congregation joined St. James in Cannon Ball. The land at Solen grew into a church camp in the mid-1990s. The camp has been the site of the Diocese of North Dakota’s training of local members for ordained ministry. Seven, including Star, were trained there and later were ordained.

 

Star, whose council term would have ended after General Convention in 2015, was also a convention deputy. He belonged to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (http://www.standingrock.org/). Star served as a deacon for the Standing Rock Episcopal Community (http://www.standingrockepiscopal.org/).

In November, Star preached at the consecration of the new St. James building (http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2013/11/25/sioux-episcopalians-celebrate-new-church-arisen-out-of-arsonists-ashes/), which replaced the church that was destroyed by an arsonist in July 2012. A video recording of his sermon is here (http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2013/11/25/video-terry-star-preaches-at-consecration-of-st-james-cannon-ball/).

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

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Japan: Cathedral, destroyed twice by bombs and earthquake, is reborn

ENS Headlines - Friday, March 7, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] Anglicans in Japan’s Diocese of Tohoku this week celebrated the consecration and dedication of its new cathedral.

Tohoku diocese’s Cathedral Church of Christ, in Sendai City, was destroyed twice – first in 1945 during an air raid and, after being rebuilt, was damaged beyond repair in the 2011 earthquake/tsunami/nuclear fallout disaster.

On March 1, however, 300 people traveled from across Japan to attend a special Service of Consecration and Dedication for the new cathedral that has been built to replace its predecessor.

Attendees of what was described as a joy-filled event included people who had lost their homes and family members in the triple disaster that befell Japan.

“It’s been three years since the Tohoku disaster and the new church has been completed,” said Tohoku Bishop John Hiromichi Kato. “It was made possible not only by the donations and huge efforts of the laity of the church but also the prayers and support of the whole of the Anglican Church in Japan.

“The church is located right in the middle of the Tohoku disaster area, and it serves as a Cathedral Church and a parish church, as well as place of healing, encouragement and hope and prayers for the many, many people who still are living with huge difficulties today.”

The Anglican Church in Japan (Nippon Sei Ko Kai) has been responding to the needs of those affected physically, spiritually, economically and mentally by the disaster in 2011.

Nippon Sei Ko Kai is holding memorial services on March 11 at three locations across the Diocese of Tohoku to commemorate all those who lost their lives, to pray for all those who were affected, and to pray that people can return to a normal life.

The services will be held at St. Stephen’s Church in Fukushima-shi, the location of the nuclear plant malfunction; Christ Church in Sendai, the Cathedral of Tohoku diocese; and Morioka Sei Ko Kai in Morioka-shi, which was affected by earthquake.

These three locations have been chosen because they are symbolic of the three most affected prefectures, namely Miyagi, Fukiushima and Iwate. The services will be held at 1 p.m., with a moment of silence at 2:46 p.m. for people to remember the disasters and their impact.

Each church within NSKK has been asked to have similar service.

Las misiones médicas atienden a dominicanos, haitianos

ENS Headlines - Friday, March 7, 2014

John C. Cain, Jr. ayuda a un hombre elegir anteojos de lectura en la clínica médica de la Iglesia Episcopal Santo Tomás en Guatier, República Dominicana. Caín es parte de un equipo médico del estado de Nueva York que está dirigiendo una clínica médica del 3 al 7 de marzo en la iglesia. Foto: Lynette Wilson / Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Santo Domingo, República Dominicana] Dos horas. Ese es el tiempo que tomó al equipo de la misión médica del estado de Nueva York para establecer su clínica en Santo Tomas, una iglesia episcopal en Gautier.  La misión, ahora en su 16 º año, funciona como un reloj en la antigua comunidad de caña de azúcar situada no lejos de la playa turística de Boca Chica.

Los pacientes llegan con problemas, incluyendo presión arterial alta, problemas respiratorios, dificultades gastrointestinales, erupciones cutáneas, diabetes. Una visita puede durar entre tres y cuatro horas, dependiendo del número de pacientes en espera de tratamiento, el equipo normalmente ve entre 1.000 y 1.500 pacientes durante cinco días de la clínica.

Al entrar en la clínica, un paciente visita a una mesa de inscripción, donde se entregan los formularios. Luego sigue la admisión, donde se mide el peso y la presión arterial. Entonces Rita Bush, una nutricionista y educador en diabetes de Malta, Nueva York, pincha los dedos de los que desean hacerse pruebas de azúcar en la sangre. Muchos pacientes tienen la presión arterial alta y la diabetes, y muchos van sin medicamentos.

Si una persona ha ayunado, el nivel normal de azúcar en la sangre, o glucosa, oscila entre 70 y 100 miligramos por decilitro. Si una persona ha comido, es posible que vea 130 miligramos. Cualquier cosa por encima de 160 indica diabetes.

Rita Bush, una consejera especialista en nutrición y diabetes, realiza pruebas de azúcar en la sangre de un paciente durante el primer día de la clínica médica en Santo Tomas en Gautier. Foto: Lynette Wilson / Episcopal News Service

En la mañana del 3 de marzo, dos pacientes tenían niveles de azúcar en la sangre de 500 miligramos, una de ellas un niño dependiente de la insulina, dijo Bush.

Después de estas comprobaciones preliminares, el paciente espera para ver a un médico o asistente médico antes de visitar la farmacia. La última parada es una estación de oración para recibir, no sólo la oración, sino también un paquete de atención con jabón, pasta de dientes y otros artículos prácticos para la higiene íntima.

“Para algunas de estas personas, es el único momento en [el año] para ver a un médico”, dijo Kevin Bolan, un asistente médico de Newcomb, Nueva York. A medida que avanza la semana, añadió, las personas llegan a la clínica de más y más lejos.

El viaje al norte del estado de Nueva York equipo comenzó alrededor de las 2:30 am del 28 de febrero, cuando los miembros abordaron un autobús con destino al Aeropuerto Internacional John F. Kennedy en la Iglesia Episcopal San Eustace en Lake Placid. Además de su equipaje personal, trajeron 40 grandes contenedores de plástico llenos de suministros y medicamentos. Al momento que el grupo de Nueva York llegaba a la República Dominicana, otro equipo médico de la misión de Carolina del Norte estaba viajando de regreso a Santo Domingo desde Jimaní, un pueblo fronterizo donde había pasado la semana dirigiendo una clínica de San Pablo Apostol, otra Iglesia Episcopal.

Era la primera vez que Giga Smith, una enfermera registrada y miembro de la Iglesia de Cristo en New Bern, Carolina del Norte, se unió a un equipo de la misión médica. “Siempre he querido hacer esto”, dijo ella. “Al principio me sentí muy emocionada, pero luego pensé que yo iba a hacer todo lo que pueda”.

Dr. Richard Taft de la Iglesia Episcopal San Pablo en Greenville, Carolina del Norte, trata a un paciente joven en una clínica médica en San Pablo Apostol en Jimaní. Un equipo médico de Carolina del Norte dirigía una clínica fuera de la iglesia del 24 a 27 de febrero.

La población de Jimaní, de alrededor de 13.000, es uno de los dos principales pasos fronterizos entre la República Dominicana y su vecino del oeste, Haití. En cuatro días, el equipo trató 716 personas, de edades comprendidas entre 22 meses y 90 años. Un médico local haitiano estuvo presente a lo largo de la clínica y brindará atención de seguimiento para los pacientes.

“Al dar de su tiempo, los equipos están mostrando un ejemplo del amor de Dios a toda la humanidad”, dijo Karen Carroll, un misionero nombrado por la Iglesia Episcopal al servicio de la Diócesis de la República Dominicana.

Para la administración de la atención médica en la República Dominicana, los profesionales deben proporcionar credenciales válidas y una lista de todos los medicamentos, incluyendo las fechas de caducidad, números de lote y fines previstos, a Carroll, quien archiva la documentación apropiada con el ministerio de salud pública.

En total, 14 equipos de la misión médica en Estados Unidos viajarán a la República Dominicana en el 2014, frente a los nueve equipos en el 2013, dijo Carroll.

Se trata tanto de ser una misión cristiana y que acompaña a la iglesia dominicana, ya que se trata de brindar atención médica, dicen los miembros del equipo.

“En primer lugar, somos una misión cristiana”, dijo Connie Reynolds, una enfermera práctica con licencia y miembro Bautista del equipo del norte del estado de Nueva York. “Y entonces una misión médica”.

Connie Reynolds, un LPN, y Laura Bolan, que planea convertirse en un asistente médico, medida la medicación en la farmacia en la iglesia Episcopal de Santo Tomás en Gautier. Foto: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Aun así los médicos, enfermeras, nutricionistas y fisioterapeutas ofrecen atención médica a muchas personas pobres y la falta de recursos que de otro modo podrían caer en las grietas del sistema de salud pública del país. En 2001, la República Dominicana  aprobó reformas de la atención de la salud destinadas a proporcionar una cobertura universal a sus ciudadanos. La aplicación, sin embargo, ha faltado, con áreas rurales rezagadas de las zonas urbanas, una atención médica basado en honorarios superando la atención que se ofrece a través del sistema público, de acuerdo con la Organización de Salud Mundial.

Las misiones médicas internacionales son a veces descritos como “curitas”, con críticas e incluso la falta de respeto de los profesionales extranjeros por los proveedores de salud locales; misioneros ‘falta de prácticas culturales adecuadas, falta de conocimientos lingüísticos insuficientes del equipos e interpretación para el tratamiento de los pacientes que hablan un idioma extranjero; y los altos costos de viaje cuando los fondos podrían ser gastados en formas más apropiadas. Muy consciente de las críticas, los equipos que hacen visitas anuales a la República Dominicana dicen salvar una sola vida y ver la mejora global de la salud y la higiene en la comunidad de año en año justifica su valor.

Por ejemplo, un joven se acercó a la clínica en Jimaní al borde de una crisis diabética, dijo el doctor Richard Taft, un jubilado de ginecología-obstetra en la iglesia episcopal de  San Pablo en  Greenville, North Carolina. Después de recibir la insulina, el joven se recuperó rápidamente. Otro hombre cuyos párpados hinchados y cerrados comenzó una recuperación inmediata cuando fue tratado con antibióticos, agregó Taft.

Solía ​​haber una gran plantación de caña de azúcar en Gautier y muchos inmigrantes haitianos vivían cerca, en los bateyes como éste. Foto: Lynette Wilson / Episcopal News Service

Gautier tiene una clínica médica atendida por un médico, el hospital más cercano está a 15-20 minutos en auto. Jimaní tiene un hospital rudimentario que fue construido en 1948 y está integrada por seis médicos generales, dos ginecólogos-obstetras y un cirujano general, de acuerdo con los miembros del equipo de Carolina del Norte que recorrieron las instalaciones.

En muchos sentidos, dijo el doctor Allen Van Dyke, un ginecólogo de Ashville, Carolina del Norte “, la atención médica es relativa a las condiciones de vida”.

Ser testigo de la cantidad de sufrimiento en la frontera agita las emociones y los pensamientos sobre el sistema de atención de salud en los Estados Unidos y los miembros del equipo de Carolina del Norte

Anne Bena, un fisioterapeuta, ayuda a un paciente con un andador. Antes de recibir el andador con ruedas, el paciente, que Bena conoce desde hace cuatro años, utilizaba dos muletas para desplazarse. Foto: Lynette Wilson / Episcopal News Service

Era difícil conciliar la enorme cantidad de dinero gastado en la atención médica en los Estados Unidos, dijo Sandy Johnson, una enfermera pediátrica, con la enorme cantidad de sufrimiento que muchas personas padecen. “No sé lo que se hace con la disparidad”, dijo Susan Bickery-Mercer, que había leído “Montañas más allá de Montañas “, [Mountains Beyond Mountains], done Tracy Kidder escribe la biografía del Dr. Paul Farmer y de su experiencia en la prestación de atención médica a personas en Haití, antes de hacer el viaje.

Una de las cosas más poderosas que Bickery-Mercer, ministro de jóvenes en la iglesia San Pablo en Greenville, presenció como parte del equipo fue la facilidad con la que las personas locales comparten sus vidas. Cuando las personas están sufriendo de manera clara y en la necesidad, la conexión tiende a ser a nivel de corazón, dijo. Era algo que Taft sintió así, y añadió que para los cristianos, el ritual de culto del domingo a veces puede llegar a cegar el espíritu.

“Ver la crudeza de la vida es una cosa muy poderosa”, dijo Taft. “Salir de tu zona cómoda permite dar un paso atrás y reflexionar. Esa es la esencia de la misión.

“Nosotros solo lo hacemos con la medicina”.

De regreso en Gautier, los residentes de la comunidad tienen que viajar ya sea a Boca Chica o Santo Domingo para visitar un hospital, dijo Ermita Reyes, una líder de la iglesia y comunidad, ya pesar de que el hospital de Boca Chica se encuentra a poca distancia, puede costar una vida .

“Su presencia [del equipo] es un ejemplo de la gracia de Dios en la comunidad”, dijo.

Savannah Gordon registra un paciente el 3 de marzo, el primer día de los cinco días de la clínica médica en Santo Tomas. Foto: Lynette Wilson / Episcopal News Service

La clínica médica del equipo de Nueva York es la única clínica completa para visitar la comunidad cada año, dijo Connie Reynolds, la LPN, que trae a su hija, Savannah Gordon, para ayudar.

Era la quinta vez que Gordon, un estudiante universitario, participó en la misión médica.

“Después del primer año, me volví una persona diferente”, dijo. “Es una experiencia que lo hace humilde a uno ver cómo vive la gente y ser parte de la comunidad y desarrollar amistades.

“Es desgarrador volver y descubrir que alguien ha muerto”.

La hija de Kevin Bolan también lo acompaña. Laura Bolan recientemente se graduó con un título de maestría en salud pública y planea seguir el ejemplo de su padre y convertirse en un asistente médico. Para ella, la necesidad de clínicas más frecuentes y visitas de seguimiento, así como los esfuerzos para la mitigación de la enfermedad, son evidentes.

“Sería fantástico si pudiéramos asociarnos con otro grupo y venir cada seis meses”, dijo.

Paul Gutmann y Domingo de la Rosa presentan el sistema de filtración de agua de tres cubos. Foto: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Los paquetes de atención, que proporcionando el sistema de cubo de filtración de agua limpia jabón y pasta de dientes, que Paul Gutmann proporciona son importantes porque muchos de los problemas que las personas presentan provienen de beber agua infectadas por el parásito y la falta de higiene personal, dijo Laura Bolan.

Gutmann trabaja con un contacto local para distribuir los sistemas de filtración. Cada unidad cuesta alrededor de $33, pero Gutmann recauda dinero y contribuye con su propio dinero para que sean asequibles. Él puede que no tenga los altos niveles de éxito, pero espera que la próxima generación, que ha crecido sin conocer los riesgos de contaminación del agua potable, empiece a filtrar su propia agua, dijo.

Con 40 contenedores de suministros y medicamentos, cada uno con un peso entre 40 y 50 libras, el equipo médico de Nueva York trae suficiente medicamento para ser distribuido por una enfermera que trabaja a nivel local. Los pacientes salen de la clínica con tres meses y pueden regresar para exámenes de seguimiento y más medicación, según sea necesario.

“El reto es salir con suficientes medicamentos”, dijo Kevin Bolan, que ya había estado pensando en la organización de una tripulación mínima para regresar y dirigir una clínica durante el fin de semana del Día del Trabajo. “Es un trabajo en progreso, tenemos que averiguar lo que funciona.”

– Lynette Wilson es una editora y reportera para Episcopal News Service.

Anglican book asks questions about Zionism, Christian Zionism

ENS Headlines - Friday, March 7, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] A book to help Anglicans everywhere to engage more deeply with and become more informed about the issues surrounding the situation in the Holy Land is now available.

Land of Promise? An Anglican exploration of Christian attitudes to the Holy Land, with special reference to Christian Zionism was written by a group of Anglicans holding a variety of views. It begins from the question: “What should we make of Zionism in general and the various forms of ‘Christian Zionism’ in particular?”

In the Afterword, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has written, “This report represents a deeply careful and sensitive attempt to answer this, sometimes agonized, question. In seeking answers to that, it also addresses other issues involved in the Holy Land today.

“It will not sit comfortably with those who see no argument about these, but it will assist those who share an honest perplexity.”

While Christian Zionism remains a focal point of reference, the book (available from the Anglican Communion Office’s online shop for £5) explores Zionisms, both Jewish and Christian and presents some stories of the impact upon, and dilemmas faced by, some Anglicans that stem from Christian attitudes to the Holy Land.

It also explores how relationships in Israel/Palestine have had an effect on parts of the Anglican Communion.

Land of Promise? provides a range of theological resources for Anglicans as well as an exploration of key theological issues such as the Gift of the Land, Exile and Return, and Holy City and Temple to enable the reader to get a sense of the Holy Land and Zion and how both relate to one another.

The book’s publication was welcomed by the members of the Anglican Communion’s Network for Interfaith Concerns (NIFCON) at their meeting in London today. NIFCON has been significantly involved with the production of this seminal work.

The next phase of this project will be the publication of a study guide to go with the book, which will be available in 2015.

The book is available to buy at http://goo.gl/qi2RE6 

Meditations from Millennial Missionaries

ENS Headlines - Friday, March 7, 2014

[Young Adult Service Corps] Lent is about embarking on journey toward the risen Christ. The period is marked by fasting and meditation with intentional spiritual focus. A period of preparation and reflection.

As YASC missionaries spread all over the world, we’re meditating about our journeys toward the risen Christ throughout our one or two year-long missions. After thoughtful discernment and prayer, we all came to the conclusion that this was the next most faithful step in our own spiritual journeys. YASC Lenten reflections are available here.

Now spread across 14 countries in the Anglican Communion — Panama, El Salvador, Tanzania, Japan, Haiti, China, South Africa, Spain, Brazil, the Philippines, Honduras, South Korea, Italy, and Cuba – we are all using our God given gifts to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ in many ways – teaching, fighting for human rights, ministering to seafarers, protecting domestic workers, assisting in economic development projects, advocating for peace, and more.

The Presiding Bishop said in her 2014 Lent Message, “Acting in solidarity with those who go hungry is a piece of what it means to be a Christian.  To be a follower of Jesus is to seek the healing of the whole world. And Lent is a time when we practice those disciplines as acts of solidarity with the broken and hungry and ill and despised parts of the world.”

By living out our Baptismal Covenant – to proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ, to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as ourselves, and to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being – as missionaries we are feeding those we serve who are starving for Good News, love, peace and justice throughout the world.

As a time of reflection, we thought as a group we would share our own meditations on the Lenten readings for 2014. The majority of us are at our halfway mark, six months. While there is still much to learn and see, we’ve all had amazing, eye-opening, life changing experiences which we can hopefully relate to the message of lent and share with you all in this space.

Applications accepted for DFMS position in development

ENS Headlines - Thursday, March 6, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Applications are now being accepted for a Major Gifts Officer in the Development Office on the staff of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS).

The Major Gifts Officer position information is located here.

Information on all available positions as well as application instructions are available here.

For more information contact a member of the Episcopal Church Human Resources Team at HRM@episcopalchurch.org.

 

Joint Nominating Committee announces timeline

ENS Headlines - Thursday, March 6, 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 information on its timeline for nominations for the next Presiding Bishop.

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) continues its work and is pleased to share with the Church its timeline for the process for the election of the Presiding Bishop at the 78th General Convention in June 2015.     

On August 1, 2014, JNCPB will post the Profile and issue a Call for Nominations. 

 Nominations will open October 1 and close October 31, 2014. 

 JNCPB will announce its nominees in early May 2015. 

For two weeks after announcement of the JNCPB’s nominees, any deputy or bishop may indicate their intent to nominate other bishops at General Convention in accordance with a process that JNCPB will announce.  

The identity of the additional nominees will be available by early June. 

Presentation of the nominees will take place at a Joint Session of General Convention. 

The Profile to be posted on August 1, 2014, is intended to paint a picture of the skills, qualities and gifts the Church seeks in its next Presiding Bishop in light of what the Church may look like in the next decade, to assist bishops, deputies and prospective nominees in discerning which bishops may be called to the ministry of Presiding Bishop and to assist JNCPB in discerning potential candidates. To assist in that process, last year the JNCPB crafted and circulated a church-wide survey. The synthesis of the more than 5,200 responses will help it develop the Profile.

JNCPB will provide further information on how members of the Church can submit names of bishops as potential nominees for consideration by JNCPB in the fall and on the process for bishops and deputies to nominate additional candidates in the spring in advance of the deadlines. 

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 Rev. Gay Jennings. The General Convention Deputies and bishops serve a three-year term to conclude at the close of General Convention 2015 in Salt Lake City.

The members are listed here: http://www.generalconvention.org/ccab/roster/387

On Twitter at:  PB27Nominations or #JNCPB

On Facebook at: www.facebook.com/pb27nominations

New website offers ways to assist Navajoland

ENS Headlines - Thursday, March 6, 2014

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Opportunities abound to assist the self-sustaining ministry of Navajoland, a regional district in the Episcopal Church.  Ideas to help sustain Navajoland by volunteering or donating are offered at a visually engaging new website here.

The website was produced by the Episcopal Church Office of Communication in collaboration with the Navajoland Area Mission and the Development Office of The Episcopal Church.

Bishop David Bailey notes, “More than half of the Navajo people in the United States live in Navajoland. There are a significant number of homes without plumbing, heating or electricity. As a church it is important for us to have a witness to the Navajo, and to take steps for the area to be self-sustaining.”

The Episcopal Church Navajoland Area Mission encompasses more than 26,000 square miles in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.  While it began its work in 1889, the Episcopal Church Navajoland Area Mission was established in 1978.

As stated on the new website: Yet today there is a new spirit and energy in this land – exploring sustainable farming and aquaponics, expanding retreat opportunities, and working to heal addictions. Donations of time, talent and treasure through this website will help to further the work of The Episcopal Church in Navajoland. That work involves healing the wounds of the past so that new beginnings may emerge – leading to an indigenous clergy, economic self-sufficiency, and a deeper appreciation of the unique gifts the Navajos bring to The Episcopal Church and to the world.

How to help
Check the new website  for opportunities to help sustain Navajoland.

Volunteers are needed, especially carpenters, experienced roofers, licensed electricians, licensed plumbers, and painters.

Listed on the website are various levels to assist with donations. The items range from household needs and doors to computers and paint.

Essential repairs to buildings mean that the facilities can be used for programs, such as afterschool, computer training, or for rental income to help pay for clergy salaries and program needs.

“The needs are great and the Episcopal Church has vowed to walk hand in hand with the people of Navajoland toward self-sufficiency,” Bailey said.

For more information contact Elizabeth Lowell, elowell@episcopalchurch.org.

 

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