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Carlye J. Hughes ordained 11th bishop of Newark

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 1:18pm

Mark M. Beckwith, 10th bishop of Newark, passes the diocesan crozier to Carlye J. Hughes, newly consecrated 11th bishop. Photo: Cynthia L. Black

[Episcopal News Service] The Rt. Rev. Carlye J. Hughes was ordained and consecrated as the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark Sept. 22 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ. More than 2,000 people attended the consecration service, and nearly 200 others from around the world watched on live-streamed video.

Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry led the service as chief consecrator. The Rev. Brenda Husson, rector of St. James’ Church in Manhattan, was the preacher for the service.

The service was a festive celebration, with music led by a choir of more than 300 singers, including a children’s choir of more than 60. There was a mix of traditional and Gospel music, accented by a brass quintet, a jazz pianist, African drums and bagpipes, as well as the traditional organ.

The consecration service may be viewed at the diocesan website and YouTube channel.

On Sunday, Sept. 23, the newly consecrated bishop was formally welcomed at Trinity & St. Philip’s Cathedral in Newark at a service of choral evensong, and was seated in the cathedra, or bishop’s chair, that is symbolic of the bishop’s office.

Earlier that day, Hughes led morning worship at an outdoor service for the combined congregations of Episcopal churches in Jersey City, while Curry led worship at St. Paul’s Church in Paterson.

Hughes was elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark on May 19, 2018 on the first ballot – the same day Curry caught the world’s attention by preaching at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The 1,109th bishop of the Episcopal Church, she is the first woman and first African-American to serve as Bishop of Newark.

Prior to her election, she was rector of Trinity Church, Ft. Worth, Texas, a position she held since 2012. In 1998, she earned a bachelor’s degree in drama from the University of Texas; and in 2005, she received a master of divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary. She is married to David Smedley, a student financial aid specialist.

Hughes succeeds the Rt. Rev. Mark M. Beckwith, who served as the 10th bishop of the diocese for nearly 12 years.

The Episcopal Diocese of Newark comprises the northern third of New Jersey, with congregations in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Warren and Union counties, and includes the two largest cities in the state, Newark and Jersey City.

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Exiled South Sudanese Anglicans pray for lasting peace

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 12:24pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Anglicans in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan’s Diocese of Kajo-Keji are praying about a return to South Sudan, after operating in exile in Ugandan refugee camps for a number of years. But Bishop Emmanuel Murye says that past experience of failed peace initiatives is creating doubt in the minds of the exiled.

Read the full article here.

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Retired Episcopal priest from England fears deportation over mistakenly voting in US election

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 3:21pm

[Episcopal News Service] A retired Episcopal priest in southern Illinois is facing possible deportation back to his native England after he says he mistakenly voted in 2006 because he wasn’t aware at the time that only U.S. citizens could participate in federal elections.

That 12-year-old mistake came back to haunt the Rev. David Boase recently when it was discovered by federal authorities reviewing his application for U.S. citizenship. Now, instead of taking steps toward becoming an American, he faces an immigration hearing Sept. 28 in Kansas City, Missouri, where he plans to ask the judge to allow him to return to England voluntarily in lieu of deportation.

“My life is here,” Boase, 69, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He served for a decade, from 2004 until his retirement in 2014, at the Episcopal Parish of Alton, Illinois.

The choice to move back to England is a tough one, but it could allow him more flexibility in the future. He fears a deportation on his record would hurt his chances of returning to his adopted country.

Friends and parishioners have rallied behind Boase, including by setting up a GoFundMe page to help pay for his legal bills and moving costs. They also are asking for lawmakers to join in support of Boase’s cause.

“For 14 years, David has been there for us — at baptisms and funerals and weddings, on Sunday morning and in the middle of the night. Your prayers and your support are what he needs now,” the fundraising webpage pleads. By this week, it had topped its goal of raising $5,000.

The root of Boase’s dilemma was not an election but a driver’s license. News reports and the fundraising page indicate he applied for a license in 2005, and a licensing employee asked if he also wanted to register to vote. Boase said he was surprised but went ahead and signed the voter form. He said he proceeded to vote, just once, in the 2006 election.

After learning of his error from a parishioner, he never voted again, Boase told the Alton Telegraph.

However innocent Boase’s mistake, he isn’t expecting to be allowed to stay in the United States but hopes he is able to leave voluntarily and return someday.

“It is going to wreck my life. I am so happy here, in the parish, in the community and the area. It is a mess,” he told the Telegraph. “I want to come back to America, the land and places I love.”

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

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Kevin D. Nichols ordained as 9th bishop of the Diocese of Bethlehem

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 2:00pm

Kevin D. Nichols, newly ordained and consecrated ninth bishop of the Diocese of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, receives the crozier from Sean W. Rowe, who has served as bishop provisional since March 2014.

[Episcopal News Service] The Rt. Rev. Kevin D. Nichols was ordained and consecrated as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Bethlehem on Saturday, Sept. 15, at the First Presbyterian Church of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Nearly 600 people attended the festive consecration service, at which the Rt. Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld, bishop of New Hampshire, preached. The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, led the service as chief consecrator.

Nichols will be seated at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity on October 12 during the diocese’s annual convention.

During the ordination service, Nichols was presented with a pectoral cross designed by Curtis Drestch, a professor at Muhlenberg College. The cross, a symbol of the bishop’s office, is made of stainless steel in recognition of the region’s history as a center of coal mining and steel manufacturing.

The Rt. Rev. Kevin D. Nichols was ordained and consecrated as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Bethlehem on Saturday, Sept. 15.

Nichols was elected bishop on April 28. Prior to his election, he was chief operating officer and canon for mission resources in the Diocese of New Hampshire, a position he held since 2014. Nichols was formerly president of the Diocese of New Hampshire’s Standing Committee and a member of the churchwide Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church.

A former Roman Catholic priest who received his master of divinity degree from St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, he was received into the Episcopal priesthood in 1999 and has served as rector of St. Stephen’s in Pittsfield, New Hampshire, and St. Andrew’s in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. He is married to Patti, a licensed clinical social worker. They have four adult children: Graham, Lindsay, Bryan and Keaton, and three grandchildren.

Nichols succeeds the Rt. Rev. Sean W. Rowe, who has served as bishop provisional since March 2014.

The Diocese of Bethlehem includes more than 9,000 Episcopalians in 58 congregations across northeastern and central eastern Pennsylvania.

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Anglicans join other faith leaders in global advocacy to UN for internally displaced people

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 1:23pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Josiah Idowu-Fearon has joined a number of Anglican Primates and other faith leaders in calling on heads of state to support the world’s 40.5 million internally displaced people. World leaders are preparing to descend on the U.N. headquarters in New York for this year’s General Assembly meeting.

Read the full article here.

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Jerusalem archbishop picks priests from US, UK for leadership positions

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 1:20pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop Suheil Dawani of the Anglican Diocese in Jerusalem has appointed an American priest as his chaplain and a British priest as dean of St. George’s College. The diocese attracts thousands of visitors each year as it is home to the birthplace of Christianity. It serves Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Syria and Lebanon. The Rev. Donald Binder, currently rector of Pohick Episcopal Church near Mount Vernon in Virginia, will become Suheil’s new chaplain. The Rev. Richard Sewell, currently rector of the Barnes Team Ministry in South West London, will become dean of St. George’s College. Both will begin their appointments in October.

Read the full article here.

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Asian Anglicans pledge to work for peace in Koreas

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 1:12pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Leaders from Anglican Churches in east Asia have expressed repentance for not playing “a proper role” in the Korean conflict. The comment was made in a communiqué issued at the end of this year’s meeting of the Council of the Church in East Asia – which brings together Anglican provinces from South East Asia, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan – a diocese of the U.S.-based Episcopal Church – together with the Anglican Church of Australia and the Philippine Independent Church.

Read the full article here.

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Diocese of West Tennessee announces slate for election of 4th bishop

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 1:09pm

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee has announced a slate of three nominees for election as its fourth bishop.

The candidates are:

  • The Rev. Marian Dulaney Fortner, rector, Trinity Episcopal Church, Hattiesburg, MS, Diocese of Mississippi
  • The Rev. Sarah D. Hollar, rector, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Huntersville, NC, Diocese of North Carolina
  • The Rev. Phoebe A. Roaf, rector, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Richmond, VA, Diocese of Virginia

More information on the nominees can be found on the search website.

Nominations by petition may be filed until 5 p.m. on October 5. Information can be found here.

The fourth bishop will succeed Bishop Don E. Johnson, who was consecrated as the third bishop of the Diocese of West Tennessee in June 2001. He was preceded by Bishop James M. Coleman, consecrated in 1994, and Bishop Alex D. Dickson, Jr., consecrated in 1983.

The election is scheduled for Nov. 17, during the diocesan convention. After receiving the canonical consent of the majority the church’s diocesan standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction, the new bishop will be ordained and consecrated May 4, 2019.

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Ex-inmates learn to share their stories as Episcopal Church expands prisoner re-entry ministries

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 11:07am

Formerly incarcerated New Yorkers gather Sept. 10 in a room at the Church of the Heavenly Rest in Manhattan for the kickoff meeting of the 10-week Raising My Voice course on public speaking and leadership. Photo: Angela James/angelajamesphotography.com

[Episcopal News Service] The assignment was to talk about something you do well, and Keith Rhames had a recipe for mac and cheese. That may sound like a strange topic for a motivational speech, but Rhames knew himself, knew his audience and already grasped some of the techniques that make brief TED-style talks so engrossing.

Rhames, 52, smiled broadly and made careful eye contact as he shared his story with the 20 or so people who had gathered for the evening Sept. 17 in a parish meeting room at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City. What made this mac and cheese special, Rhames said, was its timing, last May.

He had wanted to surprise his mother with a meal. It was Mother’s Day. It also was just three months since his release from prison after serving 30 years for second-degree murder, and he would have settled for any meal that didn’t taste like the soybean-based slop that was his involuntary diet behind bars. But how would he learn to cook mac and cheese?

“Lo and behold, these days they have something called YouTube,” Rhames said, intuitively knowing it would be an effective laugh line. (It was.)

Rhames is one of a dozen formerly incarcerated New Yorkers who have signed up for Raising My Voice, a free 10-week public speaking and leadership course presented by Circles of Support and hosted by the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York. The congregation has placed prisoner re-entry ministries at the core of its outreach efforts at a time when the Episcopal Church, too, is turning much of its criminal justice work toward re-entry ministries.

A volunteer coach from Heavenly Rest chats with one of the participants in Raising My Voice during the Sept. 10 session. Photo: Angela James/angelajamesphotography.com

For Raising My Voice, Church of the Heavenly Rest volunteers help provide feedback to budding public speakers like Rhames. Other Episcopal dioceses and congregations are developing their own approaches to helping prisoners re-enter society, such as the Bridge Project in the Diocese of El Camino Real and Bridges Reentry in the Diocese of Arizona, both of which received grants this year through the church’s United Thank Offering, or UTO.

The time is ripe for church engagement. American prisons and jails are holding more than 2 million people behind bars, and most of those inmates someday will be released. More than 4.5 million people are serving probation or parole, living with the threat that one slip-up could return them to the “inside.”

Mark Cohen is optimistic about his future. “I changed my life around a lot since I came out,” the 54-year-old Brooklyn, New York, resident told Episcopal News Service. He served a 22-year prison sentence from a drug-dealing case but has been free for three years and is participating in the Raising My Voice classes at Heavenly Rest with the hope that the training will help him find better jobs.

Other participants of Raising My Voice shared similar stories of working to put their lives on a positive track after prison – doing their part to prove that all of us are “more than the worst thing we’ve ever done,” as prominent death row lawyer Bryan Stevenson has written.

The Episcopal Church’s work on criminal justice issues in recent years can be traced to a 2006 resolution passed by General Convention, and subsequent resolutions have expanded the scope of the church’s involvement, including to the problem of mass incarceration.

Such commitments overlap with the Episcopal Church’s elevation of racial reconciliation to a top priority, given that black and Hispanic inmates make up a disproportionately large cross-section of the prison population.

“There is an increasing awareness throughout the Episcopal Church of the oppressive and dehumanizing impact of mass incarceration on black, Latino and indigenous men, women, and children,” said the Rev. Charles A. Wynder, a deacon and the Episcopal Church’s staff officer for social justice and engagement. “Transforming criminal justice ministries from traditional prison ministry models to more holistic work of re-entry and policy advocacy is a holistic, and integrated approach to more fully living into our Baptismal Covenant.”

In July, the 79th General Convention passed Resolution D004 to endorse specific reforms, such as reduction of mandatory minimum sentences, repeal of laws allowing life sentences for nonviolent offenses and implementation of measures to reduce discrimination against former offenders. Other resolutions seek to end the death penalty and to eliminate a clause in the U.S. Constitution that makes an exception for inmates in the prohibition of slavery.

The church has been active in supporting congregations and Episcopalians who choose to invest in ministries involving visits to inmates in jails and prisons, taking their cue from the Gospel of Matthew: “I was in prison and you visited me.” Prisoner re-entry ministries are a new churchwide emphasis, and they are gaining momentum.

“Engaging in ministries that involve the accompaniment of men, women and children returning home from prison allows for mutual formation and transformation that may start with pain but doesn’t have to remain there,” Wynder said. “It is fundamentally part of God’s mission of transformation, renewal and justice.”

Heavenly Rest in Manhattan’s affluent Upper East Side neighborhood wanted to do more than simply advocate for reform, preferring to get to know the people who are going through the re-entry process, said Richard Buonomo, one of the co-chairs of the congregation’s prison re-entry ministry.

He wasn’t sure parishioners would embrace the effort, but they have. “It just took off,” Buonomo said. “The activities we have created really get the volunteers to experience the transformation right at their fingertips with the people.”

The congregation’s assistance to prisoners re-entering free society falls into three general categories: Helping with their first days out of prison, helping them establish a stable family life and helping them find jobs. None of those tasks comes naturally to the parishioners at Heavenly Rest, which is why the first step was establishing connections with community organizations already involved in such work, said the Rev. Anne Marie Witchger, the congregation’s associate rector.

Those partner organizations include the Fortune Society and Network Support Services, both of which provide services to formerly incarcerated individuals. Heavenly Rest also has worked closely with Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison to provide welcome bags filled with living supplies for inmates as they are released and to host celebrations for former inmates who have graduated from Hudson Link’s degree programs.

Circles of Support is a partnership of several organizations, including the J.C. Flowers Foundation, Heavenly Rest and several other Episcopal churches in New York. The partnership’s mission is expressed in the name, to create circles of support for inmates after their release.

Linda Steele, a staff member with Circles of Support, speaks to the group Sept. 17 during their second session of Raising My Voice at Heavenly Rest. Photo: Angela James/angelajamesphotography.com

“We build them up to succeed,” said Linda Steele, a Circles of Support staff member who leads the Raising My Voice course at Heavenly Rest. She noted her students are paid $30 stipends for the three hours they spend at each weekly session. Heavenly Rest provides a meal, and Steele gives each participant a subway card to make it easier to attend.

Steele, too, is a former inmate, having long since moved past a series of arrests and convictions for drug use and other crimes when she was younger. She has been working for more than a decade in settings like this, assisting others on the post-incarceration path. Learning how to speak in public and share their stories can be an invaluable experience for former inmates, she said.

“They’re able to make sense out of their lives,” Steele said. “People grow, and they walk out stronger than when they walked in.”

On this Monday evening, Steele had taped a large piece of paper to a side wall with a quote from classic Hollywood director John Ford written in marker to inspire her Raising My Voice participants: “You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.”

This is the sixth Raising My Voice class she has led. The group that met at Heavenly Rest was made up mostly of black and Latino men but also a few women. Ages varied widely. Some participants were approaching their senior years. Others were barely into their 20s. Each took turns delivering two-minute speeches and receiving feedback.

A 22-year-old woman told the group of the day last year when she suddenly realized she had a future beyond her former life behind bars. A tall, graying man shared his love of “Concierto de Aranjuez” from Miles Davis’ “Sketches of Spain.”

The feedback the participants offered was nearly all supportive, whether expressing connection with the speaker’s message or noting the speaker’s physical poise or vocal clarity. Steele added some positive feedback of her own, as well as tips for improvement.

Some members of Heavenly Rest have been trained to provide feedback as well. With the exception of Buonomo, though, they remained mostly silent during this session, just the second of this latest series. Steele later said she expects more from the church volunteers as they become comfortable with the format.

Reginald Paige drew praise for his unique response to the question of the evening: “I find myself good at being me,” he said to open his presentation. “Most of my life, I did my very best to be anyone but me.”

Paige confided in the group that he had been arrested 76 times and jailed eight times. Now at age 48, he was proud to say, “my past didn’t take my future.”

Keith Rhames, who was released from prison in February after serving 30 years of a sentence for second-degree murder, speaks at the kickoff meeting of Raising My Voice on Sept. 10 at Heavenly Rest. Photo: Angela James/angelajamesphotography.com

When the evening’s session was over, Paige explained to ENS his troubles early in life were primarily tied to drugs. He was last released from prison in 2007 and has been drug-free for two years. He works as a certified recovery peer advocate, helping other recovering addicts keep their lives on the right path.

“I went from a dope dealer to a hope dealer,” he said.

Rhames’ face showed no sign that 30 years in prison had left a mark on him as he talked cheerfully after the class. But he admitted he sees his life as a cautionary tale, and learning public speaking skills may allow him to share his story in a way that will inspire young people not to follow the same dark path.

“My main thing is to try to avoid anybody else going through what I went through,” he said.

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

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El Obispo Primado y la Iglesia responden a nuevas reducciones al programa de reasentamiento de refugiados de EE.UU.

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 9:28am

A principios de marzo de 2015, la Iglesia Episcopal dirigió una peregrinación a la región de los Grandes Lagos de África y visitó el campamento de refugiados de Gihembe, en Ruanda, para imponerse de la situación de los refugiados congoleses y del Programa de Admisiones de Refugiados de Estados Unidos. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service] Estados Unidos era líder mundial en reasentamiento de refugiados hace apenas dos años, cuando más de 80.000 refugiados ingresaron en el país con la ayuda de nueve agencias con contratos federales para llevar a cabo esa labor, entre ellas el Ministerio Episcopal de Migración. Esa cifra ha disminuido durante el gobierno de Trump, el cual anunció el 17 de septiembre que reduciría aun más el número de reasentamientos, a sólo 30.000 al año.

La Iglesia Episcopal tiene una larga historia de defensa de los refugiados, personas que huyen de la violencia, la guerra y la persecución religiosa, y el 18 de septiembre la Iglesia expresó su inconformidad con la reducción en el límite del número de refugiados.

“Como seguidores de Jesucristo, nos entristece esta decisión”, dijo el obispo primado Michael B. Curry en una declaración escrita. “Nuestros corazones y nuestras oraciones están con esos miles de refugiados que, debido a esta decisión, no podrán encontrar una nueva vida en Estados Unidos. Esta decisión del gobierno no refleja el cuidado y la compasión de los estadounidenses que todos los días acogen a refugiados en sus comunidades. Nuestra fe nos llama a amar a Dios y a amar a nuestro prójimo, de manera que estemos prestos a ayudar a todos los que podamos de cualquier manera que podamos”.

El límite actual para el asentamiento de refugiados es de 45.000 para el año fiscal que termina el 30 de septiembre, pero hasta ahora, menos de la mitad de esa cifra, sólo 20.918, han sido admitidos. El Departamento de Estado de EE.UU. anunció el 17 de septiembre que Estados Unidos reduciría la cifra límite a 30.000 para el año fiscal que comienza el 1 de octubre, el nivel más bajo desde que se creara el programa en los años 80 del pasado siglo.

“Es una semana desalentadora en la vida de nuestro país. El anuncio del gobierno de que sólo recibiremos 30.000 refugiados, de los 85.000 de hace sólo dos años, es particularmente triste, dado que los refugiados es el grupo de personas más investigado de nuestro país y, en consecuencia, presenta muy poca amenaza a nuestra seguridad y nuestro modo de vida”, dijo el Rdo. Charles Robertson, canónigo del Obispo Primado para el ministerio fuera de la Iglesia Episcopal, quien supervisa el Ministerio Episcopal de Migración.

“Incluso esta cifra de 30.000 es un límite, no una meta”, dijo Robertson.

En la actualidad, hay 25,4 millones de refugiados en todo el mundo, según Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados (UNHCR por su sigla en inglés) cuyo mandato consiste en brindarles protección internacional a los refugiados.

La tarea principal del UNHCR es la repatriación, o el retorno seguro a los países de origen. Cuando eso no es posible, la agencia ayuda a los refugiados a buscar ciudadanía o residencia legal en el país de acogida. La tercera opción es el reasentamiento en uno de lo más de 40 países en todo el mundo que aceptan refugiados. Mundialmente, menos de un 1 por ciento de los refugiados  obtiene reasentamiento. Históricamente, Estados Unidos ha estado a la cabeza de los países que acogen refugiados.

La participación de la Iglesia Episcopal en el reasentamiento de refugiados se remonta por lo menos a la segunda guerra mundial, cuando las iglesias patrocinaron a refugiados que huían de la opresión nazi. Empezando por el Fondo del Obispo Primado para Ayuda Mundial (ahora la Agencia Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo) y asociándose posteriormente con el Servicio Mundial de Iglesias, la Iglesia Episcopal estableció el Ministerio Episcopal de Migración en 1988.

Estados Unidos formalizó su programa de reasentamiento de refugiados con la Ley para los Refugiados de 1980 en respuesta al creciente número de refugiados que huía del comunismo en Asia Sudoriental. Hasta entonces, las iglesias auspiciaban visas de refugiados; pero, para mediados de la década del 70, ese proceso resultó insuficiente para responder a las necesidades.

El EMM ha reasentado más de 90.000 refugiados a lo largo de los últimos 30 años. Anteriormente, el EMM había manejado 31 filiales de reasentamiento en 26 diócesis, proporcionándoles ayuda directa a los recién llegados. Más recientemente, el número ha descendido a 14 filiales en 12 diócesis, aunque el EMM aún se propone reasentar 1.527 individuos en el actual año fiscal.

El objetivo de programa de reasentamiento de EE.UU. es ayudar a refugiados a establecer nuevas vidas y a convertirse en autosuficientes. Con vistas a ese objetivo, el EMM se asocia con afiliados, iglesias y gobierno y organizaciones no gubernamentales para brindarles servicios a familias de refugiados desde su llegada a Estados Unidos. Esos servicios vitales incluyen clases de idioma inglés y de orientación cultural, servicios de empleo, matrícula escolar y ayuda inicial con vivienda y transporte.

El EMM es una de nueve agencias asociadas con el Departamento de Estado de EE.UU. para acoger y reasentar refugiados. Seis de las asociadas del gobierno en los reasentamientos son [organizaciones] de carácter religioso; el programa ha disfrutado históricamente de apoyo bipartidario la mayor parte de las veces.

“Mientras el EMM siga siendo un asociado del gobierno, seguiremos reasentando refugiados y, en cualquier caso, continuaremos brindándoles servicios a los refugiados”, dijo Robertson.

La Constitución de EE.UU. garantiza libertad de cultos y el reasentamiento de refugiados les permite a los que vienen a EE.UU. vivir en seguridad y practicar su religión sin persecución, dijo Rebecca Linder Blachly, directora de la Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales de la Iglesia Episcopal con sede en Washington, D.C.

“Como Iglesia, tenemos particular interés en garantizar la libertad de cultos para todas las personas en todo el mundo. Este gobierno ha hablado en repetidas ocasiones de la importancia de la libertad de cultos, pero estamos viéndolo retraerse de uno de las maneras más efectivas en que podemos proteger a los que son perseguidos o amenazados por cuenta de sus creencias religiosas”, dijo Blachly. “Como nación, hemos ofrecido históricamente protección a los que no están seguros en sus países de origen. Esta drástica reducción en el número de refugiados —y el sistemático desmantelamiento de este exitoso programa— tendrá graves consecuencias humanitarias”.

El presidente Donald Trumpm hizo de la reducción de la inmigración una pieza central de su campaña electoral, y las reducciones de su gobierno al programa de reasentamiento de refugiados muestran un interés en limitar más que la inmigración ilegal. El Presidente determina el número de refugiados que pueden entrar en Estados Unidos; y, durante meses, funcionarios de la administración han presionado por reducir aún más el número de refugiados admitidos.

“Reducir el número de admisiones para reasentamiento de refugiados a una cifra históricamente baja se vincula a los empeños de este gobierno de frenar la inmigración ilegal”, dijo Lacy Browmel, asesora de política migratoria y de refugiados de la Iglesia. “Este empeño está teniendo graves repercusiones en las familias y en las personas vulnerables. Instamos a los miembros del Congreso a hacer todo lo que esté a su alcance para mantener el sistema de reasentamiento, las protecciones para los solicitantes de asilo y soluciones compasivas para todos los inmigrantes”.

Para obtener más información sobre la participación de la Iglesia en el reasentamiento de refugiados o para apoyar al EMM, hacer clic aquí.

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

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Declaración del Obispo Presidente Michael Curry sobre la cuota máxima de refugiados fijada por el gobierno para 2019

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 11:40am

La Iglesia Episcopal está profundamente decepcionada por el anuncio del Secretario de Estado Mike Pompeo el día de ayer de que la administración ha establecido la cuota máxima de admisiones de refugiados para el próximo año en 30.000. Este es el límite más bajo en la historia de nuestro país y constituye otro esfuerzo más para alejar a los Estados Unidos de nuestro liderazgo para enfrentar las crisis humanitarias. Además, esta marcha atrás en el reasentamiento de refugiados va en contra de la historia de nuestra nación de ser un lugar de refugio para los perseguidos. La Iglesia Episcopal, a través de los Ministerios Episcopales de Migración (EMM), se compromete a dar la bienvenida a todos.

“Como seguidores de Jesucristo, estamos tristes por esta decisión.” dijo el obispo primado Michael B. Curry. “Nuestros corazones y nuestras oraciones están con todos aquellos miles de refugiados que, debido a esta disposición, no podrán encontrar una nueva vida en Estados Unidos. Esta decisión del gobierno no refleja el cuidado y la compasión de los estadounidenses que acogen a los refugiados en sus comunidades todos los días. Nuestra fe nos llama a amar a Dios y amar al prójimo, por lo cual estamos dispuestos a ayudar a todos los que podamos de cualquier manera que podamos”.

Los Ministerios Episcopales de Migración, que han reasentado a más de 90.000 refugiados desde la década de los 80, son la respuesta primordial de la Iglesia Episcopal a las crisis de los refugiados. Trabajando en asociación con oficinas y grupos dentro de la Iglesia, así como con gobiernos y organizaciones no gubernamentales (ONG), los Ministerios Episcopales de Migración proporcionan servicios vitales a miles de familias de refugiados a su llegada a los Estados Unidos: clases de inglés y de orientación cultural; servicios de empleo; inscripción escolar; y asistencia inicial con alojamiento y transporte. El objetivo es la autosuficiencia y la autodeterminación para cada familia. Después de años de vivir en una situación incierta, los refugiados tienen la oportunidad de comenzar de nuevo sobre una base sólida que honre sus historias y su dignidad, gracias a Los Ministerios Episcopales de Migración. Apoye a los EMM mientras continuamos dando la bienvenida a los refugiados recién llegados y apoyando a las familias que ya están aquí.

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Se aceptan solicitudes para delegados episcopales a la Comisión de las Naciones Unidas sobre la Condición Jurídica y Social de la Mujer a llevarse

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 10:34am
Se aceptan solicitudes para que los delegados episcopales representen al Obispo Primado de la Iglesia Episcopal en la Sesión 63.º de la Comisión de las Naciones Unidas sobre la Condición Juridica y Social de la Mujer (UNCSW, por su sigla en inglés) en la ciudad de Nueva York, del 11 al 22 de marzo de 2019. El tema prioritario para esta reunión es: Sistemas de protección social, acceso a servicios públicos e infraestructura sostenible para la igualdad de género y el empoderamiento de mujeres y niñas.

La delegación episcopal estará compuesta por un delegado por cada provincia de la Iglesia Episcopal y un delegado de la Convocación de Iglesias Episcopales en Europa. La intención es hacer que la delegación como un todo refleje la diversidad de la Iglesia Episcopal, dando prioridad a aquellos cuyas experiencias de vida y activismo social están directamente relacionados con el tema.

Durante su visita a Nueva York, los delegados episcopales observarán las reuniones oficiales de la UNCSW en la sede de las Naciones Unidas y representarán al Obispo Presidente de la Iglesia Episcopal a través de la promoción y defensa en las Naciones Unidas. Se espera que participen en conferencias telefónicas antes de la reunión y evaluaciones de la UNCSW, realizar reportes y acciones complementarias una vez que estén de regreso a sus lugares de origen.

Los delegados pueden ser de cualquier género y deben tener al menos 19 años de edad. Deben poder hablar sobre el tema prioritario y estar dispuestos a participar en la promoción y defensa en UNCSW. Cualquiera que esté considerando postularse debe tener un rol relevante a nivel parroquial, diocesano y/o provincial, rendir cuentas ante una autoridad diocesana o provincial, y tener un proceso para informar a la comunidad local después de participar en UNCSW.

Los jóvenes (de 15 a 18 años) también pueden presentar una solicitud. Cada joven debe estar acompañado por un adulto, preferiblemente uno de sus padres, o tutor.

Se espera que los delegados estén en la ciudad de Nueva York del 8 al 22 de marzo para la reunión de UNCSW o lo más cerca posible de la estadía completa. Los delegados son responsables de sus gastos de viaje, alojamiento, y demás gastos relacionados con el programa y la recaudación de fondos. Una cantidad limitada de fondos de becas puede estar disponible para apoyar a los candidatos que de otro modo no podrían asistir debido a limitaciones económicas.

Luego de una revisión de las solicitudes, el obispo primado Michael Curry elegirá a los delegados. Todos los solicitantes serán notificados a finales de noviembre.

La solicitud en inglés está disponible aquí y en español aquí. La fecha límite para solicitar es el 26 de octubre.

Para obtener más información, comuníquese con Lynnaia Main, representante de la Iglesia Episcopal ante las Naciones Unidas, lmain@episcopalchurch.org.

UNCSW 63: http://www.unwomen.org/es/csw/csw63-2019

ONU Mujeres: www.unwomen.org/es

La Iglesia Episcopal y las Naciones Unidas: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/episcopal-church-and-united-nations

Representación de la Comunión Anglicana en las Naciones Unidas http://www.aco.org/mission/at-the-un.aspx

Asociaciones globales: www.episcopalchurch.org/global-partnerships

La Iglesia Episcopal: www.episcopalchurch.org

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Declaración del obispo primado Michael Curry sobre la cuota máxima de refugiados fijada por el gobierno para 2019

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 8:33am

La Iglesia Episcopal está profundamente decepcionada por el anuncio del Secretario de Estado Mike Pompeo el día de ayer de que la administración ha establecido la cuota máxima de admisiones de refugiados para el próximo año en 30.000. Este es el límite más bajo en la historia de nuestro país y constituye otro esfuerzo más para alejar a los Estados Unidos de nuestro liderazgo para enfrentar las crisis humanitarias. Además, esta marcha atrás en el reasentamiento de refugiados va en contra de la historia de nuestra nación de ser un lugar de refugio para los perseguidos. La Iglesia Episcopal, a través de los Ministerios Episcopales de Migración (EMM), se compromete a dar la bienvenida a todos.

“Como seguidores de Jesucristo, estamos tristes por esta decisión.” dijo el obispo primado Michael B. Curry. “Nuestros corazones y nuestras oraciones están con todos aquellos miles de refugiados que, debido a esta disposición, no podrán encontrar una nueva vida en Estados Unidos. Esta decisión del gobierno no refleja el cuidado y la compasión de los estadounidenses que acogen a los refugiados en sus comunidades todos los días. Nuestra fe nos llama a amar a Dios y amar al prójimo, por lo cual estamos dispuestos a ayudar a todos los que podamos de cualquier manera que podamos”.

Los Ministerios Episcopales de Migración, que han reasentado a más de 90.000 refugiados desde la década de los 80, son la respuesta primordial de la Iglesia Episcopal a las crisis de los refugiados. Trabajando en asociación con oficinas y grupos dentro de la Iglesia, así como con gobiernos y organizaciones no gubernamentales (ONG), los Ministerios Episcopales de Migración proporcionan servicios vitales a miles de familias de refugiados a su llegada a los Estados Unidos: clases de inglés y de orientación cultural; servicios de empleo; inscripción escolar; y asistencia inicial con alojamiento y transporte. El objetivo es la autosuficiencia y la autodeterminación para cada familia. Después de años de vivir en una situación incierta, los refugiados tienen la oportunidad de comenzar de nuevo sobre una base sólida que honre sus historias y su dignidad, gracias a Los Ministerios Episcopales de Migración. Apoye a los EMM mientras continuamos dando la bienvenida a los refugiados recién llegados y apoyando a las familias que ya están aquí:  www.episcopalmigrationministries.org/give.

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Presiding Bishop, church respond to further cuts to the US refugee resettlement program

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 5:03pm

In early March 2018, the Episcopal Church led a pilgrimage to Africa’s Great Lakes region and visited the Gihembe Refugee Camp in Rwanda to learn about the plight of Congolese refugees and the United States Refugee Admissions Program. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] The United States was a worldwide leader in refugee resettlement just two years ago, when more than 80,000 refugees were welcomed into the country with help from the nine agencies with federal contracts to do that work, including Episcopal Migration Ministries. That number has dwindled under the Trump administration, which announced Sept. 17 it would reduce resettlement further, to just 30,000 a year.

The Episcopal Church has a long history of standing with refugees, people who are fleeing violence, war and political and religious persecution, and on Sept. 18 the church expressed its disappointment at the reduced cap on the number of refugees.

“As followers of Jesus Christ, we are saddened by this decision,” Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry, said in a written statement. “Our hearts and our prayers are with those thousands of refugees who, due to this decision, will not be able to find new life in the United States. This decision by the government does not reflect the care and compassion of Americans who welcome refugees in their communities every day. Our faith calls us to love God and love our neighbor, so we stand ready to help all those we can in any way we can.”

The current ceiling for refugee resettlement is 45,000 for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, but so far, fewer than half that number, just 20,918, have been admitted. The U.S. Department of State announced Sept. 17 that the United States would reduce the ceiling to 30,000 for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, the lowest level since the resettlement program was created in the 1980s.

“It’s a disheartening week in the life of our country. The administration’s announcement that we will only be receiving up to 30,000, down from 85,000 just two years ago, refugees is particularly sad given that refugees are indeed the most highly vetted group of people in our country and, therefore, pose little threat to our security and our way of life,” said the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond the Episcopal Church, who oversees Episcopal Migration Ministries.

“Even this 30,000 number is a ceiling, not a target. Refugees are indeed the most highly vetted group of people in our country and, therefore, pose little threat to our security and our way of life.”

Today, there are 25.4 million refugees worldwide, according to UNHCR, whose mandate is to provide international protection for refugees.

UNHCR’s primary focus is on repatriation, or safe return home. When that is not possible, the agency helps refugees pursue citizenship or legal residency in the host country. The third option is resettlement to one of the more than 40 countries worldwide that accept refugees. Globally, less than 1 percent of refugees receive resettlement. Historically, the United States had led the world in welcoming refugees.

The United States formalized its refugee-resettlement program with the Refugee Act of 1980 in response to the increased numbers of refugees fleeing communism in Southeast Asia. Until then, churches sponsored refugees’ visas; but by the mid-1970s, that process was insufficient to meet the need.

The Episcopal Church’s involvement in refugee resettlement dates back at least to World War II, when churches sponsored refugees fleeing Nazi oppression. Beginning with the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief (now Episcopal Relief & Development) and later partnering with Church World Service, the Episcopal Church established Episcopal Migration Ministries in 1988.

EMM has resettled more than 90,000 refugees over the last 30 years. Previously, EMM had operated 31 resettlement affiliates in 26 dioceses, providing direct assistance to recent arrivals. More recently, the number has decreased to 14 affiliates in 12 dioceses, though EMM still plans to resettle 1,527 individuals in the current fiscal year.

The U.S. resettlement program’s goal is to help refugees establish new lives and become self-sufficient. Toward that goal, EMM partners affiliates, churches, government and nongovernmental organizations to provide services to refugee families upon their arrival in the United States. Such vital services include: English language and cultural orientation classes, employment services, school enrollment and initial assistance with housing and transportation.

EMM is one of nine agencies partnered with the U.S. State Department to welcome and resettle refugees. Six of the government’s resettlement partners are faith-based; the program has historically, for the most part, enjoyed bipartisan support.

“As long as the EMM remains a government partner, we will continue to resettle refugees, and, in any case, we will continue to provide services to refugees,” said Robertson.

The U.S. Constitution guarantees religious freedom, and refugee resettlement allows those who would come to the U.S. to live in safety and to practice their religion without persecution, said Rebecca Linder Blachly, director of the Episcopal Church’s Washington, D.C.-based Office of Government Relations.

“As a church, we have a particular interest in ensuring the freedom of religion for all people worldwide. This administration has spoken repeatedly about the importance of religious freedom, but we are seeing them step back from one of the most powerful ways that we can protect those who are persecuted or threatened because of their religious beliefs,” said Blachly. “As a nation, we have historically offered protection to those who are not safe in their countries. This dramatic reduction in the number of refugees – and systematic dismantlement of this successful program – will have grave humanitarian consequences.”

President Donald Trump made curbing immigration a centerpiece of his election campaign, and his White House’s reductions to the nation’s refugee resettlement program show an interest in limiting more than just illegal immigration. The president determines the number of refugees allowed entry into the United States; for months administration officials have pushed for further decreasing the number of refugees admitted.

“Slashing the refugee resettlement admissions number to a historic low is tied to this administration’s efforts to clamp down on legal immigration,” said Lacy Broemel, the church’s refugee and immigration policy adviser. “This effort is having grave impacts on families and vulnerable persons. We urge members of Congress to do all they can to maintain or resettlement system, protections for asylum seekers, and compassionate solutions for all immigrants.”

To learn more about the church’s involvement in refugee resettlement or to support EMM, click here.

-Lynette Wilson is a reporter and managing editor of Episcopal News Service.

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New Zealanders celebrate 150 years of ‘glad tidings of great joy’ – the Bible in Maori

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 3:01pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The 150th anniversary of the first printed edition of Te Paipera Tapu – the Bible in the Maori language – is being celebrated in New Zealand. The work that led to the Maori language Bible began years beforehand, when Anglican priest Samuel Marsden, working as a Church Missionary Society worker in Sydney, Australia, was given permission to establish a mission in New Zealand. He preached at New Zealand’s first Church service on Christmas Day in 1814, introducing 300 Maori to the Gospel, using as his theme Luke 2:10 – “Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy.”

Read the full article here.

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Anglican primates respond to Archbishop of Canterbury’s request on Letters for Creation

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 2:58pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Leaders of some of the Anglican Communion’s 39 provinces have responded to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s invitation to write Letters for Creation. To help promote the Season of Creation, which runs from Sept. 1 to Oct. 4, Welby asked his fellow primates to set out what “the care for God’s creation” means in their Province; and what they wanted to say to the wider Anglican Communion about “the care for our common home”. The responses have now been published by the Church of England’s environment program.

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Anglicans respond to typhoon in the Philippines

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 2:55pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Officials in the Philippines said Sept. 18 that the death toll from Typhoon Mangkhut has risen to 74 – but they warn that the final figure could be much higher. 

Read the full article here.

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Episcopal churches in the Carolinas assess damage, offer help after Hurricane Florence

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 3:11pm

[Episcopal News Service] The storm has moved on, but the impact from Hurricane Florence still is being felt by the dioceses, congregations and Episcopalians in the Carolinas as they deal with power outages, downed trees, flooded neighborhoods and impassable roads.

The bishops of the five Episcopal dioceses in North and South Carolina issued a joint statement Sept. 15 pledging their support for those affected by the storm and asking for Episcopalians everywhere to help by giving to Episcopal Relief & Development.

“We are assessing the damage to our communities, which as you will know from news reports, varies widely. Conditions will continue to change for days due to rising rivers,” the bishops said. “We are blessed by your prayers and assurances of support and give thanks to God for you. As the Body of Christ, you give us tremendous strength and encouragement.”

At least 23 people have died in North and South Carolina due to the storm, which brought hurricane-force winds as it made landfall early Sept. 15 near Wilmington, North Carolina. The storm weakened as it continued west, but flooding remains a threat even days later. Hundreds of roads were still closed Sept. 17, including parts of Interstate 40 and Interstate 95.

Each Episcopal diocese has been in regular contact with Episcopal Relief & Development while coordinating pastoral response with clergy members. The storm forced many congregations to cancel Sunday services on Sept. 16, and lists of closures are being updated day to day.

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, which encompasses the coastal half of the state, reported that at least 15 of its congregations had canceled services. Bishop Skip Adams postponed a visit to St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Kingstree “due to the likelihood that the road near the church may not be passable on Sunday.”

The Diocese of East Carolina is updating its “hurricane hub” webpage with the latest information about the storm’s aftermath, including the continued closure of the Diocesan House in Kinston. On its Facebook page, the diocese is sharing highlights of the post-Florence experience of its congregations, located in North Carolina’s coastal region.

One photo shows a large tree that split and toppled on church property at St. James Episcopal Church in Wilmington. The tree did not appear to have hit the church building.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Currituck, North Carolina, posted a photo of the message that now is displayed on its sign: “Welcome back. We made it out fine. Pray for the rest of N.C.”

Trinity Episcopal Church in Chocowinity, North Carolina, shared a photo of its Sunday service on Sept. 16, attended by about a half dozen members who were able to make it to the church safely.

“In spite of no electricity, our small family was able to Worship God and pray for all of those less fortunate. We continue to keep our Trinity Family in our prayers as well as all who are affected by the hurricane,” the Facebook post said.

Members of Church of the Servant in Wilmington worked last week to secure the church building and to wrap furniture in plastic before Hurricane Florence hit. The Rev. Jody Greenwood, the church’s rector, reported Sept. 17 that the property appeared to be in good shape after the storm.

“I stopped by the church this morning and we do have power. Tree debris and some fence panels are down, but nothing major in the yard,” she said on Facebook.

The Diocese of North Carolina, which includes the central third of the state, sent an email newsletter to its members on Sept. 17 noting that the scope of the disaster is still being assessed. So far, its congregations have reported no major damage from the storm.

It also will be working with clergy members to plan relief efforts. Volunteers will be needed, the diocese said, but it asked members not to go to the affected areas on their own until the precise needs are confirmed. In the meantime, donations are welcome.

Episcopal Relief & Development said before Florence made landfall that it was working with 11 dioceses on response plans. During the disaster recovery, it will work “to equip congregational and diocesan leadership with critical tools and resources as they prepare to serve the most vulnerable communities impacted by the storm.”

Some of the worst flooding from the storm happened in the city of New Bern, North Carolina, which is northeast of Wilmington and sits on the Neuse River near where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. More than 4,300 homes in the city and more than 300 business reportedly were damaged.

Christ Church, the Episcopal congregation in New Bern, reported that the church property made it through the storm without sustaining serious damage, but it called members of the congregation together Sept. 17 for an afternoon Eucharist and cleanup. It also is working to match resources to needs in the community and has asked anyone interested in helping to consider buying items for the local shelter or donating money to support the church’s efforts.

“I know more than a few of our Christ Church family will need immediate help in getting their homes and yards cleaned up. Thank you to those who have offered your labor, and please do not be shy about asking for help,” the Rev. Paul Canady, rector at Christ Church, said in a Facebook post.

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

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Church of England appoints independent Chair for National Safeguarding Panel

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 2:59pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The first independent chair of the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Panel, former government minister Meg Munn, was installed today. Munn, a former Labour Party Member of Parliament for a constituency in the south Yorkshire city of Sheffield, takes over as chair of the panel from Bishop of Bath and Wells Peter Hancock who continues in his role as the church’s lead bishop for safeguarding.

Read the full article here.

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Brazil’s Anglican Church issues guidance ahead of Presidential and parliamentary elections

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 2:55pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil – the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil – has published guidance to help Anglicans in the country prepare for next month’s presidential election. The material has been published “to support reflection at this election time to help people to discern the words and attitudes of people who present themselves as candidates for the various levels of government,” the church said, adding that it was also “a contribution” by the church “to better equip Christian people in political participation that builds an authentic democracy, in which political participation is an instrument of service that promotes deliverance.”

Read the full article here.

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