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Episcopal leaders, congregations offer pastoral responses in wake of Kavanaugh hearings

Thu, 10/04/2018 - 1:34pm

[Episcopal News Service] With Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court potentially on track for a final vote in the Senate as soon as this weekend, some Episcopal leaders are adding their voices to the ecumenical response to Kavanaugh’s hearings and the sexual assault allegations against the judge.

The National Council of Churches, of which the Episcopal Church is a member, issued a statement Oct. 3 calling on President Donald Trump to withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination because of his testimony during the hearings and his judicial record.

“Judge Kavanaugh exhibited extreme partisan bias and disrespect towards certain members of the committee and thereby demonstrated that he possesses neither the temperament nor the character essential for a member of the highest court in our nation,” the Council of Churches said.

The statement referred to testimony Sept. 27 in which Kavanaugh vehemently denied allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford, the psychology professor who had testified earlier in the day that Kavanaugh had pinned her down and tried to remove her clothes at a house party when he was 17 and she was 15. Kavanaugh, now 53, called this and other allegations “a calculated and orchestrated political hit” by Democrats.

The Council of Churches also raised concerns about “several misstatements and some outright falsehoods” in Kavanaugh’s testimony. “Moreover, Judge Kavanaugh’s extensive judicial and political record is troubling with regard to issues of voting rights, racial and gender justice, health care, the rights of people with disabilities, and environmental protections.”

Diocese of Washington Bishop Mariann Budde issued her own statement about the hearings on Oct. 2, highlighting the regrettable prevalence of sexual assault and offering pastoral support for victims.

“Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony last week opened another floodgate of memories for women and men who have experienced sexual trauma,” Budde said. “Many now feel emboldened to tell of their experiences, and thank God for that. Others do not because they know it’s not safe.”

Budde also referred to the Episcopal Church’s efforts to atone for its past failures to protect victims of harassment, exploitation and abuse, including those within the church. The church’s efforts have coincided with the rise of the #MeToo movement, in which women have gone public with their own stories of harassment, assault and sexual misconduct, including by prominent men.

The House of Bishops held a “Liturgy of Listening” in Austin, Texas, on July 4 during the 79th General Convention to share stories from victims of sexual misconduct perpetrated by someone in the church, chosen from 40 stories submitted in response to the bishops’ request for reflections.

“Added to their trauma was shame,” Budde said this week, “for they were both violated and left to feel somehow at fault for what had happened to them.”

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Posted by Episcopal Diocese of Washington on Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Kavanaugh, a federal Court of Appeals judge, had appeared headed for easy confirmation in the Republican-controlled Senate, with supporters describing him as one of the most qualified nominees to be picked for the nation’s highest court. The allegations made by Blasey Ford threw the confirmation into question, with two more women coming forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when he was young. Kavanaugh denied all the allegations.

Republicans need to be nearly unified in the Senate to approve Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. After pressure from Democrats and one key Republican, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Senate Republicans asked for a supplementary FBI investigation into the allegations against the judge. The report from that investigation was completed and submitted to the Senate on Oct. 4, setting up a procedural vote on Oct. 5. A final vote could come in a matter of days.

It wasn’t yet clear what evidence, if any, the FBI may have found. “We’ve seen no additional corroborating information,” Flake told reporters Oct. 4.

“I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford,” Budde said. “I also believe that Judge Kavanaugh, like anyone who stands accused, deserves a fair process in response to such allegations. Regardless of whether Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment is ultimately confirmed, I am certain that the country will look back on these past weeks as a watershed moment. We will long remember the time when survivors like Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and others inspired by her bravery resolved to speak of their abuse and hold the perpetrators of sexual violence accountable.”

Delaware Bishop Kevin Brown also released a statement Oct. 3 offering support for victims of sexual assault.

“All of this very public conversation has heightened our awareness around sexual assault and it has led us into a time of much needed and long overdue debate and conversation about sexual assault in our country,” Brown said. “For many of us, the conversation is about someone else, but for many of us, this is not an abstraction. This is a reality. The percentage of Americans touched by sexual assault is stunningly high.”

Some Episcopal congregations have responded to this heightened awareness by planning worship and other outreach to offer comfort for victims and those who support them.

All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia, scheduled a Service of Lament and Remembrance at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 to “offer a shared space for those who have been particularly affected in a personal way by the events of the last week in Washington during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing,” the Rev. Simon Mainwaring, rector, said in an online announcement.

“We recognize that these are pain-filled memories that we are seeking to tend to, yet we believe that as a community that knows how to love one another well we can draw strength from one another,” Mainwaring said.

A worship service to be held at held at All Saints' Episcopal Church on Thursday is a response to last week’s U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings involving Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. https://t.co/rmGF5f3Z6i

— Atlanta News (@AtlNewsNow) October 3, 2018

Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is preparing a video response for sexual assault survivors, with the message, “Our doors are open.” The congregation hopes to release the video in the next day or two.

Last week, the hearings also sparked a more pointed response from hundreds of female Episcopal clergy members, who objected to quotes in a Sept. 17 New York Times story by former U.S. Sen. John Danforth, an Episcopal priest, expressing sympathy for Kavanaugh.

“I just feel so terribly sorry for Kavanaugh and what he’s going through,” Danforth, a Missouri Republican, told the Times. “Here’s a man who’s had just a marvelous reputation as a human being and now it’s just being trashed. I felt the same way about Clarence.” Danforth was a senator during the 1991 confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas, who faced sexual harassment allegations from law professor Anita Hill.

“No one, not least a priest of the church, should publicly shame, blame or question the motives of women who step forward to report instances of sexual abuse,” the letter to the New York Times says. It was submitted by a Missouri priest with 327 additional names attached.

“Those in ordained ministry are called to display Christ’s love for both accuser and accused, fulfilling the baptismal promise to strive for justice and peace and to respect the dignity of every human being.”

Danforth shot back in an email to Episcopal News Service, saying the letter’s characterizations “bear no resemblance to anything I have ever said or thought. … I believe that both the accused and the accuser should be heard.”

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.

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Anglican Church of Southern Africa adopts provincial safeguarding measures

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 5:40pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba has announced new safeguarding measures designed to make churches in South Africa safer. The new measures will require those seeking ordination to obtain a police clearance certificate; and they include a new national email contact point for reporting allegations of abuse. The move follows a number of allegations made this year of abuse by priests.

Read the full article here.

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Anglican leaders pay tribute following death of Coptic bishop

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 5:38pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Bishop Metropolitan Bishoy from the Coptic Orthodox Church, the co-chair of the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission, has died. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby led tributes from Anglican leaders, saying that he was “saddened” to hear of the death of “a faithful servant of God.” Welby added, “it was a privilege to meet him in Cairo and London.”

Read the full article here.

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Celebran en Honolulu Consulta Nacional del Ministerio Asioamericano

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 8:25am

De izquierda a derecha, el Rdo. Winfred Vergara, misionero asioamericano de la Iglesia Episcopal; el Rvdmo. Allen K. Shin, Obispo sufragáneo de la Diócesis de Nueva York; el Rdo. Randolph Albano, vicario de la iglesia episcopal de San Pablo en Honolulu y Rosa Galanto, miembro de San Pablo, posan para una autofoto, el 27 de septiembre, antes de la eucaristía de apertura de la Consulta Nacional del Ministerio Asioamericano. La consulta se extendió hasta el 1 de octubre. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Honolulu] La diáspora asiática no se define fácilmente; “Asia” puede significar cualquier cosa desde chino a surcoreano, de filipino a indio. Cada etnia tiene su propia y rica identidad cultural, y muchas tienen diversos dialectos y culturas dentro de esa identidad.

Como se hizo evidente en la eucaristía de apertura de la Consulta Nacional del Ministerio Episcopal Asioamericano, del 27 al 1 de octubre, muchas de esas culturas e identidades están presentes en las iglesias episcopales y anglicanas.

“Hay casi 300 personas que vienen aquí provenientes de varias comunidades asiáticas, no sólo de Estados Unidos, sino que tenemos representantes de Vancouver [Columbia Británica] que se sienten inspirados por la labor del Ministerio Asioamericano Episcopal”, dijo el Rdo. Winfred Vergara, el misionero asioamericano de la Iglesia Episcopal y codirector de la consulta. “Hemos formado un ACAM, Ministerio Anglicano Asiocanadiense y hay representantes de la Iglesia de Inglaterra que también quieren tener una organización semejante en Inglaterra. Luego, me siento realmente esperanzado y entusiasta acerca de esto.

El Rdo. Winfred Vergara, misionero asioamericano de la Iglesia Episcopal, y codirector de la Consulta Nacional del Ministerio Episcopal Asioamericano, se dirige a la multitud que abarrota la iglesia catedral de San Andrés en Honolulu. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS.

“Nuestro tema es ‘Piko,’ la palabra hawaiana para ‘ombligo’, que representa nuestra mutua interconexión: Cristo, la creación y la comunidad”, dijo Vergara. En un sentido literal, agregó, piko  describe la creencia de que “la creación comenzó desde el centro de la tierra y se abrió camino en todas direcciones”.

La matrícula llegó a 267 participantes que representaban a asiáticos de Estados Unidos, Canadá, Inglaterra, Corea del Sur y las Filipinas. Durante la eucaristía de apertura, la Oración de los Fieles se ofreció en nueve idiomas —mandarín, tagalo, japonés, coreano, hindi, karénico, tongano, hmong e inglés—, una representación de las diversas etnias presentes.

El obispo primado Michael Curry predicó  a una nutrida congregación en la eucaristía de apertura el 27 de septiembre en la iglesia catedral de San Andrés [Cathedral Church of St. Andrew]. El Rvdmo. Allen K. Shin, obispo sufragáneo de la Diócesis de Nueva York, presidió el oficio. La ofrenda se destinó a la Iglesia Episcopal de las Filipinas para ayudar a las personas afectadas por el tifón Mangkhut, una gigantesca tormenta que azotó la isla de Luzón con lluvias torrenciales y vientos de hasta 265 kilómetros por hora el 15 de septiembre de 2018 con el saldo de más de 100 muertos y cientos de miles de personas desplazadas de sus hogares.

“Yo creo realmente que lo que ustedes están haciendo, que este ministerio… —la reunión de la comunidad asiomericana dondequiera que ustedes se encuentren, congregarse como parte de la manera episcopal-anglicana de ser cristianos—  que esta reunión tiene más significación que simplemente venir a una reunión de la Iglesia”, dijo el Obispo Primado durante su sermón en la eucaristía de apertura.

“Estamos en el negocio… de la auténtica evangelización. Esto no es sectarismo; la verdadera evangelización no consiste en hacer a una Iglesia más grande. La  verdadera evangelización consiste en hacer un mundo mejor. La verdadera evangelización tiene que ver con lo que nuestros antepasados esclavos decían cuando solían cantar, ‘hay espacio de sobra, espacio de sobra, espacio de sobra en el reino perfecto’.

El obispo primado Michael Curry predica el 27 de septiembre en la eucaristía de apertura de la Consulta Nacional del Ministerio Asioamericano Episcopal en Honolulu. Foto de Christopher Sikkema

“Espacio de sobra para todos los hijos de Dios. La verdadera evangelización consiste en cambiar este mundo de la pesadilla que tan a menudo es por el sueño que Dios previó desde el momento en que dijo que todas las cosas fueran en el principio”, dijo Curry.

Curry se refirió a la boda real de junio, donde él predicó acerca del amor de Jesús por el mundo, y cómo el amor de dos personas reunió a un público de 2.000 millones para ser testigos de ese amor.

Durante el oficio, presentaron al programa ANDREWS y su primer grupo de mentores.

ANDREWS, una sigla en inglés de Red Asiomericana de Discípulos,  Avivadores, Evangelistas, Testigos y Líderes Siervos, es un programa de mentoría de la Oficina del Ministerio Asioamericano en asociación con  el Consejo Episcopal del Ministerio Asioamericano y el proyecto Progresando en el Ministerio [Thriving in Ministry] del Seminario Teológico de Virginia.

El objetivo de ANDREWS es desarrollar una red de mentores y hacedores de discípulos bien capacitados entre las convocaciones étnicas del EAM —china, japonesa, coreana, filipina, surasiática e isleña del Pacífico. Rice and Sing [Arroz y cántico], una antología de diversos himnos y cánticos espirituales de cultura asiática, está en proceso de desarrollo, así como [cursos] de formación presencial y virtual.

“Tenemos grandes planes para el programa de mentoría. Queremos desarrollar 70 episcopales bien entrenados para llevar a cabo evangelización y fundación de iglesias” y avivamiento de iglesias, dijo Vergara —temas que se exploraron a través de las lentes del Movimiento de Jesús y el Camino del Amor el 28 de septiembre durante la sesión plenaria de apertura.

La Rda. Stephanie Spellers, canóniga del Obispo Primado para la evangelización, la reconciliación y la mayordomía de la creación, habló acerca de su trayectoria para recuperar el cristianismo, una senda que la llevó a la filosofía religiosa oriental antes de volver al cristianismo y recobrar a Jesús, algo que la Iglesia Episcopal está haciendo ahora, dijo ella.

Mientras crecía, ella no quería tener mucha relación con Jesucristo, dijo Spellers. “El cristianismo era exclusivo y estaba repleto de doctrinas, reglas y rígidos sistemas de creencia, y Jesús era una especie de rey y juez que señoreaba sobre todo eso”, expresó Spellers. No había ninguna otra manera de presentarlo.

La Rda. Stephanie Spellers, canóniga del Obispo Primado para la evangelización, la reconciliación y la mayordomía de la creación, habla durante la sesión plenaria del 28 de septiembre acerca de su propia trayectoria para recobrar el cristianismo. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS.

Luego, ella terminó estudiando en el departamento religioso de la Universidad de Wake Forest en Carolina del Norte, una escuela de los bautistas del Sur. Sus estudios la iniciaron en una senda espiritual diferente, centrada en la práctica y en una manera de ser y de vivir. Finalmente, luego de haber profundizado en las tradiciones orientales, ella volvió al cristianismo, cuando una monja budista de San Francisco le dijo que recobrara el cristianismo.

“Es como lo que estamos haciendo en la Iglesia Episcopal ahora mismo”, dijo Spellers. “Estamos recobrando el cristianismo no como un rígido sistema de creencias, una serie de doctrinas y de qué hacer y qué no hacer; estamos ciertamente recobrando el cristianismo como una comunidad que enaltece a todo el mundo, no sólo a unos cuantos, pero creo que lo que estamos haciendo especialmente hoy es recobrar la manera de ser cristiano como seguidores de Jesús en un camino, en una senda. Y esa es la interpretación …que tengo de lo que es el Movimiento de Jesús.

“Y en realidad, el Movimiento de Jesús es simplemente la comunidad de personas que dice, ‘estoy siguiendo a Jesús, estoy siguiendo su senda, estoy siguiendo su camino’. Él nos ha mostrado un camino —un camino de amor— y quiero que ese sea mi camino. Quiero cambiar. Quiero ver cambiada mi vida, y quiero ser parte de cambiar este mundo por ese camino”.

La consulta incluye dos días de talleres, que se transmiten en directo y pueden verse a solicitud aquí.

Los temas de los talleres incluyen asuntos relativos a soberanía hawaiana, identidad y reconciliación, vivir en una comunidad restaurada a través de la danza hawaiana, tráfico antihumano (misión para ponerle fin a la esclavitud moderna), evangelización en la nueva comunidad y hacia la paz en la comunidad. Los dos temas adicionales de las sesiones plenarias son Convertirse en la Amada Comunidad y el cuidado de la tierra y de toda la creación. La consulta concluyo el 1 de octubre cuando Vergara predicó en la eucaristía de clausura.

– Lynette Wilson es reportera y jefa de redacción de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

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Epiphany Church in Los Angeles seeks support in national preservation funds competition

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 6:40pm

United Farm Workers founder César Chávez preaches at Church of the Epiphany, Los Angeles, in the 1960s. Epiphany hosted early meetings of UFW, and Chavez was a frequent visitor there. Photo: Courtesy of Church of the Epiphany

[Episcopal News Service] Church of the Epiphany in Los Angeles, the oldest continuously occupied Episcopal church in the city and a cradle of the 1960s Chicano movement, has an opportunity to raise up to $150,000 for restoration work and needs Episcopalians and others to cast votes in its favor.

Epiphany is one of 20 historic sites nationwide selected as finalists in a grant competition that launched Sept. 24, and it is the only Episcopal site in the running. Produced jointly by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Main Street America and American Express and backed by National Geographic, the 2018 Partners in Preservation: Main Streets program will provide a total of $1.6 million in preservation funding to the projects that receive the most votes from the public.

Anyone can vote online up to once a day through Oct. 26. Each person may cast up to five votes per day; all of them may go to the same organization, so a participant may give all five daily votes to Church of the Epiphany. To participate, click here. Voters will need to create an account; there is no charge.

Church of the Epiphany, Los Angeles, is pictured in 1913, soon after its new building, designed by Arthur Benton, was completed. The original church, designed by Ernest Coxhead – visible at left – became the parish hall. Photo: Courtesy of Church of the Epiphany

Church of the Epiphany was founded in 1888 in what was then a middle-class white neighborhood of Los Angeles. English architect Ernest Coxhead designed the original Romanesque Revival church. In 1913, when the congregation outgrew the original building, architect Arthur Benton designed a new church in a mixture of styles that included Gothic Revival, Mission Revival and Romanesque Revival. The existing church was converted to the parish hall and incorporated into the new building. Although Epiphany is considered one of the city’s historic treasures, its buildings need extensive repair after more than a century of constant use.

Epiphany’s neighborhood gradually changed in the 1950s and ’60s from white to Latino immigrants, and under the leadership of the Rev. John Luce, the church began to welcome its new neighbors. Epiphany became a Latino cultural center, where Mexican food, dance and religious practices were welcomed even as they were discouraged in schools and society.

Luce, an East Coast-bred white priest, took on the cause of Chicano rights as his own as soon as he arrived at the church. “Father John Luce was our patron saint,” said Moctezuma Esparza, a community activist and filmmaker, quoted in an April 2018 story by Los Angeles public television station KCET. “He offered us his church, his basement for us to meet and to hang out. He took us on the march from Delano to Sacramento.”

In the 1960s Epiphany was the birthplace of La Raza, a newspaper for the Chicano movement; Luce provided space in the parish basement and bankrolled early issues.

Epiphany also served as an early meeting place for the Brown Berets, a Chicano student activist group whose leaders trained at the Social Action Training center founded at the church by Luce.

Church of the Epiphany celebrates its patronal festival on Jan. 6, 2013. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

United Farm Workers founders César Chávez and Dolores Huerta were frequent visitors to the church, which hosted some of the union’s early meetings and was for some years its Los Angeles headquarters. Epiphany was also a planning base for the 1968 East L.A. student walkouts and Chicano Moratorium, events that helped build Latino political and social influence in Los Angeles. Luce and his parishioners also were leaders in the establishment of the United Neighborhoods Organization, a community advocacy group. Church member and longtime Latina activist Lydia Lopez became its president.

The church continues to be a center for activism on behalf of immigrants, workers and LGBTQ people, as well as a vital hub of direct services in its Lincoln Heights neighborhood. It was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2005. The Epiphany Conservation Trust was established soon after to raise funds to preserve the church and maintain its ministry. The potential $150,000 from the Partners in Preservation Fund would be an enormous boost, according to Epiphany’s current vicar, the Rev. Tom Carey.

Dolores Huerta, center, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, was guest of honor at an Epiphany Conservation Trust gala in 2017. The church hosted many of the union’s early meetings and was for a time its Los Angeles headquarters. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

“If we succeed, we’ll use the grant funds to rehabilitate the church’s basement, where much of the Chicano movement was organized,” said Carey. “The renovated space will house our health care and legal clinic programs, our People’s History Project and community meetings. The grant will also bolster a capital campaign already underway to not only preserve our history, but to keep Epiphany on the vanguard of redefining how the church as an institution can fuel social justice advocacy, service provision and cultural and artistic expression.”

–Janet Kawamoto is editor of The Episcopal News, publication of the Diocese of Los Angeles.

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Anglican school in Iraq opens next to St. George’s Church in Baghdad

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 5:10pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Cardinal-Patriarch Louis-Raphael I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon, joined other ecumenical guests and VIPs at the official opening of a new Anglican school in Baghdad. The Anglican School of the Redeemer – al-Fadi – was officially opened on Sept. 29 by Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf Michael Lewis. The bishop also opened a newly re-sited and refurbished Hope Resource Centre.

Read the full article here.

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Anglican Church in Sulawesi on standby to assist in recovery from earthquake, tsunami

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 5:08pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Church on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi is preparing to respond to recovery efforts following the devastating tsunami and earthquakes that began on Sept. 28. Providence Anglican Church is located in Manado in North Sulawesi, an area unaffected by the earthquake. It is “ready to take a lead in relief work once everything in Palu has been stabilized,” Anglican Church in Indonesia Dean Timothy Chong told the Anglican Communion News Service.

Read the full article here.

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Iglesia Anglicana de Chile confirmed as 40th Province of the Anglican Communion

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 5:05pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Iglesia Anglicana de Chile, currently a diocese of the Anglican Church of South America, will become the 40th province of the Anglican Communion. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will travel to Santiago next month to formally inaugurate the new province, after both the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and a majority of Anglican Communion Primates confirmed that the diocese should be given provincial status.

Read the full article here.

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