Episcopal News Service

Subscribe to Episcopal News Service feed
The official news service of the Episcopal Church.
Updated: 54 min 56 sec ago

Anglican cathedral damaged by World War II bomb to get repairs

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 4:17pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A bomb or shell dropped on Malta during World War II struck the tower of the Anglican cathedral and “in all likelihood affected the structural integrity of the tower and spire,” the Diocese in Europe said. Both will be “painstakingly repaired and restored” as part of major restoration project planned for the 175-year-old building, which is a dominant feature of the Valetta skyline.

Read the full article here.

Wales archbishop to highlight child poverty at cultural festival

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 4:09pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of Wales John Davies will use an appearance at the National Eisteddfod, the annual Welsh cultural festival, on Aug. 8 to highlight increasing levels of child poverty in the country. The Church in Wales will lead the event alongside the Children’s Commissioner for Wales as part of a week of activities organized by Cytûn, the ecumenical group Churches Together in Wales, at the Eisteddfod.

Read the full article here.

Sydney archbishop launches emergency appeal following crippling drought

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 4:07pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The archbishop of Sydney’s development agency, Anglican Aid, has launched an emergency appeal to help communities hit by a crippling drought in Australia’s Western New South Wales. The state government says that 99 percent of New South Wales is now in drought and it has launched its own emergency aid package. The church’s aid efforts will provide resources to churches in north and western New South Wales, which are already dealing with requests for practical support for families impacted by what, in many places, is the worst drought since 1900.

Read the full article here.

Las nominaciones para los nombramientos a los Organismos Interinos vencen el 20 de agosto

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 2:42pm

[6 de agosto de 2018] El Reverendo Canónigo Michael Barlowe, secretario de la Convención General, invita a los episcopales de toda la Iglesia a solicitar su participación como miembros de los diferentes Organismos Interinos creados por la Convención General. Estos comités, comisiones y grupos de trabajo llevan a cabo la labor de la Iglesia Episcopal entre convenciones. La lista de los Organismos Interinos y el alcance de su labor está disponible aquí.

Prestar servicio en un Organismo Interino es una forma en la que los episcopales de toda la iglesia pueden participar en su gestión de gobierno. Mientras que los Comités Permanentes Conjuntos están destinados solamente a los obispos y diputados a la 79.ª Convención General, el resto de los Organismos Interinos están abiertos a todos los miembros de la Iglesia Episcopal. Los nombramientos a los Comités Permanentes son por lo general para seis años mientras que los nombramientos a los Comités Permanentes Conjuntos o grupos de trabajo son por lo general por tres años. Puede encontrar más información sobre la labor especifica de un Organismo Interino haciendo clic en su respectivo nombre.

Si desea más información o desea enviar su solicitud, puede seleccionar el formulario, ya sea eninglés o en español. Se pedirá a los solicitantes que señalen su interés por un máximo de tres Organismos Interinos.

La fecha límite para las nominaciones es el 20 de agosto de 2018. Los nombramientos estarán a cargo del Primado y la Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados y serán anunciados a fines de septiembre.

Si tiene alguna pregunta, por favor contacte la Oficina de la Convención General agcoffice@episcopalchurch.org.

Asian ecumenical leader expresses ‘profound grief’ after 100 killed in Indonesia earthquakes

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 2:41pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The general secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia has expressed his “profound grief” and condolences following the deaths of more than 100 people in a series of earthquakes in Indonesia. A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the island of Lombok, a popular international tourist destination, on July 29. It resulted in the deaths of 16 people. On Aug. 5, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake 19 miles damaged thousands of houses and buildings and caused the deaths of at least 98 people. There have been at least 130 aftershocks.

Read the full article here.

Nominations for appointment to interim bodies due Aug. 20

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 2:40pm

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Michael Barlowe, secretary of General Convention, invites Episcopalians from across the church to apply for appointment to the various interim bodies created by General Convention. These committees, commissions, and task forces carry out the work of the Episcopal Church between conventions. A list of the interim bodies and the scope of their work is here.

Serving on an interim body is a way for Episcopalians across the church to participate in its governance. While the Joint Standing Committees are only open to bishops and deputies to the 79thGeneral Convention, all other interim bodies are open to all members of the Episcopal Church. Appointments to standing commissions are generally for six years while appointments to joint standing committees or task forces are generally for three years. Information regarding the work of a specific interim body may be found by clicking on its name.

For more information or to submit an application, please select either the English or Spanish language survey. Applicants will be asked to indicate their interest in up to three interim bodies.

The deadline for nominations is Aug. 20, 2018. Appointments will be made by the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies and announced in late September.

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of the General Convention at gcoffice@episcopalchurch.org.

Zimbabwean churches issue plea for end to international isolation

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 2:37pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The ecumenical body representing the Christian churches in Zimbabwe has called for an end to sanctions and international isolation imposed on the country. In a “pastoral statement” issued on Aug. 3, after the announcement of the country’s presidential election results, the churches include a message to the international community in which they say punitive measures imposed on Zimbabwe will affect ordinary Zimbabweans rather than the country’s leaders.

Read the full article here.

Cristóbal León Lozano is elected bishop of Ecuador Litoral

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 2:36pm

Cristóbal León Lozano was elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Ecuador Litoral on August 4, 2018. Photo Glenda McQueen

[Episcopal News Service] Cristobal Leon Lozano was elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Ecuador Litoral on Aug. 4, 2018.

He will succeed to the Rt. Rev. Alfredo Morante España, who has been the diocesan bishop for 23 years.

León was elected in the first ballot taken during the electoral assembly held at the Cathedral Church of Christ the King [Cristo Rey] in Guayaquil. The election was attended by the President of Province IX [of The Episcopal Church] and bishop of Ecuador Central, the Rt. Rev. Víctor Scantlebury; the Bishop of Puerto Rico and Vice President of Province IX, the Rt. Rev. Rafael Morales; the Rev. Glenda McQueen from the President Bishop’s staff, and two representatives of the companion Diocese of New Jersey.

The two others nominated are also archdeacons in the diocese:

The Rev. Canon. Gina Angulo  – archdeacon of Los Rios Area.

The Rev. Canon Jerónimo Álava – archdeacon of Santa Elena Area

León was ordained priest on March 22, 1998 and he is the archdeacon of Manabí. He is married to Chila and they have three children: Rocío, Jaime and Shirley. Bishop Morante reports that the consecration of the new bishop is scheduled by Jan. 12, 2019.

Ecuador Litoral elige Cristobal Leon Lozano obispo

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 1:37pm

Cristobal Leon Lozano fue electo Obispo en la Diócesis Episcopal de Ecuador Litoral el 4 de agosto de 2018. Foto: Glenda McQueen

Cristobal Leon Lozano fue electo Obispo en la Diócesis Episcopal de Ecuador Litoral el 4 de agosto de 2018.

Sucederá al Revdmo Alfredo Morante España quien ha sido diocesano por 23 años.

Leon resultó electo en la primera votación durante la asamblea electoral celebrada en la Catedral de Cristo Rey en Guayaquil. Presentes en la elección estuvieron el Presidente de la IX Provincia y Obispo de Ecuador Central, Revdmo. Víctor Scantlebury, el Obispo de Puerto Rico y Vice’presidente de la IX Provincia, Revdmo. Rafael Morales, del Staff del Primado la Revda. Glenda McQueen y dos representantes de la Diócesis Compañera de New Jersey.

Los otros dos nominados son tambien Arcedianos en la Diócesis:

La Revda. Canóniga Gina Angulo  – Arcediana del Área de Los Rios

El Revdo. Canónigo Jerónimo Álava – Arcediano del Área de Santa Elena

León fue ordenado Presbítero el 22 de marzo de 1998 y es el Arcediano de Manabí. Esta casado con Ita Chila y tienen 3 hijos: Rocio, Jaime y Shirley Leon Chila. El Obispo Morante informa que la Consagración del nuevo obispo esta programada para el 12 de enero de 2019.

Grant program to be developed to support congregations’ grassroots work on racial healing

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 11:19am

[Episcopal News Service] One of the biggest developments at the 79th General Convention related to the Episcopal Church’s work on racial reconciliation was the approval of a new grant program to support grassroots efforts, building on the progress made under the church’s new Becoming Beloved Community framework.

The grant program outlined in Resolution D002 marks the first time the church will provide direct financial support for Episcopalians working toward racial healing and justice in their congregations and communities. The 2019-2021 church budget includes $750,000 for the grants, much less than the $5 million recommended by D002, but these initiatives – such as forums, workshops and informal gatherings – often don’t need a lot of money to become viable and thrive.

“It is exciting to think about how $750,000 over three years could really seed some powerful work,” said Heidi Kim, the church’s staff officer for racial reconciliation, and she is hopeful that the grant process will shine a brighter light on existing efforts already making a difference. “I think people all over the church are doing amazing things that we just don’t know about.”

The church also is taking steps to bring those people together to share their insights. Another resolution, A228, calls for the creation of a Becoming Beloved Community summit by the end of 2019 to support and inspire the leaders of such initiatives.

The resolution references the church’s aspiration to create “a network of healers, justice makers, and reconcilers” who would benefit from the pool of knowledge and shared experiences. Church leaders and staff members point to the model of the Episcopal Church’s church planting network, through which the creators of new ministries receive grant money and learn from fellow church planters.

“That’s when grants make a huge difference in the church, and that’s what we now have the opportunity to build around Beloved Community,” said the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, the presiding bishop’s canon for evangelism, reconciliation and creation care.

General Convention in 2015 identified racial reconciliation as one of the church’s three top priorities, along with evangelism and creation care, acknowledging the church’s decades-old efforts to confront its historic complicity in the sin of racism during the eras of slavery and segregation.

The labyrinth diagram showing the four parts of the Episcopal Church’s Becoming Beloved Community is colored for an Advent mailing.

Becoming Beloved Community is a framework that launched just last year. It is broken into four parts that are illustrated as a labyrinth: telling the truth about our churches and race, proclaiming the dream of Beloved Community, practicing the way of love in the pattern of Jesus and repairing the breach in society.

Because Becoming Beloved Community launched in the middle of the triennium, about $1 million was left from the money budgeted for implementation in 2016-18. When the 79th General Convention met last month in Austin, Texas, it approved a new budget that applies that unused amount to continued implementation in the new triennium.

A total of $10.4 million was OK’d for racial justice and reconciliation work over the next three years. That amount includes a range of expenses, from anti-poverty initiatives to ethnic ministries, as well as Becoming Beloved Community and the new grant program. The grant program was assigned to Executive Council for development and implementation. Executive Council meets next in October.

The local focus of the grants will be critical, said the Rev. Edwin Johnson, a deputy from Massachusetts and chair of General Convention’s Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee.

“We’re excited because there is considerable funding available for communities to do this work in their own context,” said Johnson, who is rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Dorchester, Massachusetts. “There was overwhelming support in both houses [of General Convention] for this work and, in particular, for work that is decentralized.”

Johnson points to the experience of his own congregation, which is largely Afro-Caribbean. He received a Mission Enterprise Zone grant to start a Spanish-language ministry there, and it has thrived with support from the network of Episcopal church planters.

Johnson is active in the development of a similar network of racial reconciliation leaders. About 50 people testified before Johnson’s committee at General Convention about the various resolutions assigned to the committee, and afterward, he reached out to each of them to enlist them in a new community of action around racial healing.

“I think we did a really good job of bringing forth and calling forth new leadership in this area,” he said. Their energy is “precisely what we’re going to need for the long haul.”

Catherine Meeks, one of the pre-eminent leaders in the church’s longtime push for racial justice, echoed Johnson in emphasizing the role of congregations.

“This work has to be done at the parish level ultimately. … Becoming Beloved Community is trying to make that happen,” she said. “The more informed, the more conscious people are, hopefully, the more they engage with the work.”

Meeks’ work in developing and conducting anti-racism training for the Diocese of Atlanta has served as a model churchwide for such training, which was mandated for ordained and lay leaders by a 2000 resolution passed by General Convention. Implementation has been uneven.

“It’s a mandate that nobody really enforces,” she said, and dioceses’ track record of implementing plans for the training continues to be a topic regularly taken up by General Convention.

Last month, General Convention passed Resolution A044 attempting to clarify the criteria for such training, suggesting a structure that coincides with the four parts of Becoming Beloved Community. Another resolution, A045, acknowledges “not all dioceses have followed the spirit of the anti-racism training required,” and it calls for better documentation of participation in the training.

The training is vital, Meeks said, because it provides a safe setting for Episcopalians to confront tough questions about their church and themselves while helping them open their minds and consider ways they engage in racial healing and justice.

Meeks now serves as executive director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing, a ministry of the Diocese of Atlanta that offers a churchwide resource for fostering open dialogue about race and racism.

At the same time, Meeks led a push this year to move away from the term “anti-racism” in favor of a greater focus on healing, justice and reconciliation. She helped Atlanta Bishop Robert Wright and others draft Resolution B004, which sought that shift in language.

“To talk about our work under the rubric of healing and justice and reconciliation just has a more positive energy around it and states what we’re trying to do in the world,” Meeks said.

Questions about the language of reconciliation and clarifying the mandate of the Executive Council Committee on Anti-Racism generated spirited debate during General Convention, and it ultimately ended in something of a compromise. “Anti-racism” remains in the committee’s name, but “reconciliation” was added, making it the Executive Council Committee on Anti-Racism & Reconciliation. And the approved version of B004 adjusts the church’s focus to “dismantling racism” while adding the emphasis on “racial healing, justice and reconciliation.”

“What pleased me the most was the conversation we had around the issue, because I think that conversation was very healthy and very needed,” Meeks said.

Many people feel strongly about these issues, whether affirming the need to maintain a focus on dismantling racism or pushing for a more theological approach to racial healing, said Kim, the staff officer for reconciliation. The value of the Becoming Beloved Community framework, she said, is that it seeks to engage all Episcopalians in that conversation, wherever they may be on their spiritual journey.

“We all have room to grow in terms of how we can be reconcilers and healers,” she said.

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

La Unión de Episcopales Negros cumple 50

Fri, 08/03/2018 - 4:13pm

[Episcopal News Service – Nassau, Bahamas] La Unión de Episcopales Negros [UBE por su sigla en inglés] resumió aquí un foro celebratorio el 27 de julio, revisando y renovando el compromiso histórico de la organización con la justicia para todos, abrazando el camino del amor del Movimiento de Jesús y afirmando su llamado a los jóvenes y a ministrar a los más vulnerables.

Unos 300 jóvenes, jóvenes adultos, laicos y clérigos de toda América y el Reino Unido disfrutaron de la cálida hospitalidad y clima isleño de Nassau, así como de oportunidades de Oración Matutina y estudio bíblico diarios. El sermón de apertura del obispo primado Michael Curry el día 23 en la iglesia catedral de Cristo [Christ Church Cathedral] provocó animados y abarrotados cultos nocturnos en los que hubo coros de góspel, música de jazz y ministerios de danza en las congregaciones locales.

Cuando el 25 de julio Curry anunció que tenía que someterse a una cirugía por cáncer de próstata, los asistentes al [evento] de la UBE  se sintieron consternados y guardaron silencio, respondiendo en oración como lo hicieron miles de episcopales y anglicanos en todo el mundo.

Audaces ponentes y panelistas sopesaron el papel de la UBE y su continua importancia en un mundo postcristiano, cada vez más dividido racial y étnicamente y  políticamente peligroso. Los debates incluyeron las complejidades del multiculturalismo, el convertirse en la amada comunidad, el Movimiento de Jesús, la justicia medioambiental y las tendencias clericales y el liderazgo de la juventud en la actualidad.

Annette Buchanan, presidente nacional de la UBE, renovó la misión de la organización de apoyar a seminaristas afroamericanos como Shawn Evelyn, a la izquierda, de la Diócesis de Los Ángeles, que asiste al Seminario Teológico de Virginia. Foto de Pat McCaughan/ENS.

La presidente nacional de la UBE, Annette Buchanan, definió la organización como “la mayor  agrupación de defensa social de la Iglesia Episcopal”. Y anunció la adición de nuevos capítulos, expandiendo así la iniciativa de promoción social colaborativa y brindando constante apoyo a jóvenes, seminaristas, congregaciones, clérigos e instituciones negros.

Aaron Ferguson ex becario de la UBE, y al presente asesor financiero en Atlanta, le dijo a los asistentes al banquete el 26 de julio que la mentoría y el apoyo de la organización transformó su vida. Le dio oportunidades de viajar, de crear amistades duraderas, de obtener becas universitarias y de conseguir nombramientos para organismos de la Iglesia tales como la Comisión Permanente sobre Intereses Nacionales a la edad de 19 años.

“Oímos hablar de las reuniones de la junta, de las reuniones de negocios, hablamos de todas esas cosas Pero la UBE está imbuida de un espíritu que ha afectado mi vida enormemente”, afirmó él. “Yo les prometo, que hay algunos jóvenes aquí cuyas vidas cambiarán de un modo que no pueden imaginarse, con la manera extraordinaria que tiene la UBE de funcionar, de crear ese santuario interior de paz, de confianza y seguridad para los jóvenes negros en la Iglesia”.

La UBE: ‘hecha para una época como ésta’

No ajena a tiempos tormentosos, la UBE surgió en 1968, el mismo año en que asesinaron al Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. y en que la Comisión Kerner llegaba a la conclusión de que las revueltas y disturbios civiles de la nación en 1967 los provocaba una tendencia constante hacia dos sociedades: una negra, otra blanca; separadas y desiguales.

La Rda. Gayle Fisher Stewart, pastora asociada en la iglesia El Calvario [Calvary Church] en Washington, D.C., y codecana de la conferencia,  dijo que ese conocimiento hacía la celebración del aniversario “apasionante, pero también agridulce, porque estamos viendo las mismas condiciones en nuestra sociedad entonces y ahora”.

La Rda. Kelly Brown Douglas, decana de la Escuela de Teología Episcopal en el Seminario Teológico Unión, y una de los ponentes, se mostró de acuerdo.

“Hemos recorrido un largo, largo trecho durante estos 50 años, sin embargo… la misma violencia que le quitó la vida a Martin Luther King sigue siendo una realidad dominante y extendida en nuestro país, en nuestra nación hoy día”, le dijo ella a la reunión vía Skype desde Nueva York.

“La bala de ese asesino es una manifestación de la mismísima violencia que es el legado de la esclavitud, la mismísima violencia que es la supremacía blanca… que consiste en ‘hacer a Estados Unidos grande de nuevo’”, dijo ella en medio de aplausos.

Los afroamericanos siguen padeciendo desproporcionadamente de extrema pobreza, de racismo institucionalizado y de falta de viviendas decentes, de oportunidades laborales, educativas y recreativas. Tales carencias contribuyen a la violencia generalizada —tanto autoinfligida como, frecuentemente, a manos de los agentes de la autoridad— y hace más probable la posible encarcelación, contribuyendo a lo que Douglas llamó  “una vía de la pobreza a la prisión y a la muerte”.

Las tasas de pobreza en EE.UU. ascienden a un 22 por ciento para los negros y a un 19 por ciento para los latinos, más del doble del 8,8 por ciento para los blancos. Los afroamericanos constituyen el 13,2 por ciento de la población de EE.UU., pero tienen 5,1 veces más probabilidades que los blancos de estar encarcelados; constituyendo casi el 40 por ciento de la población penal, dijo ella.

Pero Douglas y la Rda. Stephanie Spellers, canóniga del Obispo Primado para la evangelización y la reconciliación, describieron las iniciativas del Primado como un modo para la Iglesia negra de fortalecer su fe característica y de ayudar a otros a progresar a pesar del clima actual.

El Movimiento de Jesús de Curry nos llama a una regla de vida, a un modo de vida,  a volver “al centro de la  fe de los negros… a descubrir lo que impulsaba a los esclavos a seguir luchando por la justicia contra toda esperanza y nunca sucumbir a las esclavizantes condiciones de muerte que los rodeaban”, dijo Douglas.

Esa fe nació de la lucha y del reto, sin embargo cuando los esclavos cantaban spirituals tales como “Presenciaste la muerte del Señor” [Were You There When They Crucified My Lord], estaban afirmando la presencia de Jesús con ellos en su sufrimiento y en su dolor. Que no sólo él estaba allí con ellos, sino que ellos estaban presentes para él también. “Ellos vivían en esta realidad crucificada” de la cual extrajeron fuerzas para sobrevivir, afirmó.

Ese cántico representa tanto un llamado como un desafío para la realidad presente de la Iglesia negra, añadió. “¿Qué significa estar allí con Jesús, no al pie de la cruz, sino en la cruz? ¿Qué significa eso : estar con las clases de personas crucificadas de nuestro propio tiempo?”

Douglas dijo que lo que significa no es luchar para estar en el centro interno (de las instituciones), sino más bien ser responsable y estar en solidaridad con los que están en “el lado inferior de los de afuera”: en solidaridad con los más vulnerables en la actualidad, tales como los adolescentes transexuales, que tienen el índice de suicidios más alto de la nación, o con padres inmigrantes que buscan asilo separados de sus hijos.

Spellers dijo a la reunión que el 19 de mayo, el sermón de Curry en la boda real “proclamó el Evangelio y el mundo respondió con un resonante ‘¡amén!”Ahora, los episcopales negros tienen que salir de las sombras y afuera de nuestras iglesias y proclamarlo también, proclamar el Evangelio que conocemos. Proclamar el amor y el poder salvífico del Dios que conocemos en Cristo de manera que el mundo pueda conocerlo y amarlo también”.

El 19 de mayo fue el día en que “los cristianos despertaron y dijeron, “esa no es la Iglesia que yo dejé cuando tenía 13 años. Voy a volver’. Ese fue el día en que los ateos comenzaron a enviar mensajes por Twitter. ‘Si eso es ser cristiano, apúntenme’”.

En el transcurso de una semana después de la boda real, una recién creada página de Facebook, Episcopal Evangelists, tenía 2.000 seguidores, señaló ella. En una parodia de  “Saturday Night Live” en la que Kenan Thompson hacía el papel de Curry, este tuvo algunas frases que le encantaron al Obispo Primado, como “me dieron cinco minutos, pero el buen Dios los multiplicó por unos fantásticos 15”.

Después que  Curry predicó, la gente no sólo comentó su sermón, dijo Spellers, sino que “debatieron acerca del poder del amor. La palabra ‘episcopal’ fue el término más buscado en Google ese sábado. La gente estaba muy curiosa respecto a lo que es esta Iglesia, y la clase de Jesús que esta conoce”.

El Obispo Primado alertó al mundo acerca de la Iglesia Episcopal. Pero “en momentos como estos…cuando la supremacía blanca ha ganado no sólo un asidero, sino que duerme en la Casa Blanca… cuando nuestra nación se burla de los pobres y de los refugiados y de las viudas y de los niños y de todos los que Jesús tanto amó”, el mundo también necesita cristianos para despertarse, dijo Spellers.

“El mundo necesita episcopales cuyas vidas dependen del Dios que conocemos en Jesucristo, y si hay personas en esta Iglesia que han necesitado esta fe para sobrevivir, que han arrancado esta fe de la mano del colonizador y de la mano del amo, sin duda esos son los episcopales negros”, le dijo Spellers a los reunidos.

La UBE está celebrando no sólo medio siglo, sino 400 años de anglicanos negros en este continente, añadió ella, con “los altibajos, las pruebas y los triunfos que nos han traído hasta este momento… La cuestión ahora es, ¿Sabemos qué hora es?”.

Multiculturalismo y convertirse en la amada comunidad

Gayle Harris, la obispa sufragánea de Massachusetts, fue la primera mujer en celebrar la eucaristía en la iglesia anglicana de la Santa Cruz en Nassau, Bahamas. Foto de Pat McCaughan/ENS.

Los debates de panel se centraron en las cambiantes circunstancias que afectan a muchas iglesias negras que ya son vulnerables, tales como las decrecientes oportunidades de empleo para el clero tradicional de jornada completa, y medios para acoger a las diferentes identidades culturales, entre ellos los jóvenes que en gran medida han abandonado la Iglesia.

Elliston Rahming, autor y embajador de Bahamas ante las Naciones Unidas, dijo a la asamblea que, si bien Estados Unidos se enorgullece de ser un “crisol” para todas las identidades culturales, el porcentaje de extranjeros en la población en general ha permanecido estático durante los últimos 156 años.

“En 1860, los ciudadanos de EE.UU. que habían nacido en el exterior representaban alrededor del 13,2 por ciento de la población. En 2016, había 43 millones de ciudadanos nacidos en el exterior dentro de Estados Unidos, los cuales representan alrededor del 13,5”, afirmó.

Citando un  artículo de Ed Stetzer en Christianity Today, Rahming añadió:  “La Iglesia está llamada a ser un instrumento para mostrar y compartir el amor de Jesús en el mundo. La Iglesia es también una señal que apunta al Reino de Dios y que actúa como un testigo creíble del poder e Dios. Se supone que la gente mire a la Iglesia y diga que es a lo que el Reino de Dios debe parecerse”.

Sin embargo, para parafrasear a Martin Luther King, “las 11 de la mañana del domingo, sigue siendo la hora de mayor segregación en EE.UU.”, dijo él.

Heidi Kim, la misionera para reconciliación racial de la Iglesia, y el Rdo. Chuck Wynder, misionero para la justicia social y el activismo promocional, presentaron “Convertirse en la Amada Comunidad” una iniciativa reconciliadora para ayudar a “reparar la brecha”.

Kim y Wynder, que han organizado peregrinaciones  de justicia como una manera de recuperación y transformación, calificaron este recurso de creativo, adaptable y diferente.

“Anteriormente creíamos que bastaba con que todo el mundo hiciera su adiestramiento antirracista y luego todos estaríamos adiestrados y todo andaría bien, pero eso no funcionó”, dio Kim.

La Rda. Sandye Wilson dijo que coordinar auténticas relaciones en la iglesia episcopal de San Andrés y la Santa Comunión [St. Andrew and Holy Communion] en South Orange, Nueva Jersey, donde ella es rectora, exige “intensa oración, con un profundo respeto por las tradiciones de todas las personas que están allí, con una oportunidad de que las personas aprendan unas de otras”.

Wilson dijo: “Mi reto para nosotros es reconocer que el tipo de hospitalidad que tenemos que ofrecer a la gente es muy diferente del de hace años cuando los negros norteamericanos se sentaban en un lado del pasillo en las iglesias y la gente del Caribe se sentaba en el otro. Sólo porque nos parezcamos, no significa que nuestras experiencias hayan sido semejantes. Y nuestra hermenéutica de la vida está determinada por nuestras experiencias vividas”.

En otra discusión de taller, la Rda. Anne Mallonee, vicepresidente ejecutiva y primera directora eclesiástica del Grupo de Pensiones de la Iglesia, dijo que el modelo tradicional del sacerdote de jornada completa está en decadencia debido al decreciente número de miembros, a las congregaciones que envejecen, a las promesas y a las ofrendas de bandeja que se mantienen estáticas, acompañado por un alza de los costos —tendencias que provocaron que algunos delegados jóvenes de la UBE cuestionaran el objetivo de la Iglesia de crear un liderazgo cuando las congregaciones son incapaces de compensarlos equitativamente.

Activismo estratégico: ‘Un asiento a la mesa’

La UBE añadió tres nuevos capítulos —Haití, Alabama y Costa del Golfo Central— a las 35 con que cuenta al presente, colaboró con la Consulta y Diputados de Color para ayudar a garantizar una representación en los organismos electos de la Iglesia, y aprobó una legislación de apoyo en la 79ª. Convención General, lo cual le permitió a sus miembros tener “un asiento a la mesa”, según Buchanan en su discurso en la reunión del negocios del 26 de julio.

La UBE también apoyó el nombramiento de la Iglesia Episcopal del Rdo. Ron Byrd como misionero para la oficina del Ministerio de los Negros, dijo ella. Byrd, que estaba programado para hablar en la reunión, tuvo que ausentarse debido a una enfermedad de familia.

Los participantes jóvenes de la UBE planearon y llevaron a cabo un servicio de culto en la iglesia anglicana de la Santa Cruz en Nassau, Bahamas. Foto de Pat McCaughan/ENS.

Julia Jones y Cameron Scott, representantes de los jóvenes informaron que una docena de jóvenes  procedentes de Texas, Florida, Pensilvania, Alaska, Michigan y Georgia asistieron a la conferencia. Participaron en un proyecto de servicio local justo con sus homólogos bahameños, explicó Jones.

También dirigieron el culto vespertino el 25 de julio, una misa de jazz en la iglesia anglicana de la Santa Cruz [Holy Cross Anglican Church], “el momento culminante de nuestra conferencia”,  según Jones. “Indudablemente, sentimos el movimiento del Espíritu Santo”.

Y si bien un panel de representantes de los jóvenes reclamaron un cambio, diciéndole a la asamblea que estaban frustrados con su falta de voz, poder y desempeño en el liderazgo de la Iglesia, dijo Jones, “Sabemos que somos el futuro y estamos orgullosos de vivir a la altura de ese desafío”.

El continuo apoyo de la UBE a la Universidad de San Agustín [St. Augustine’s University] en Raleigh, Carolina del Norte, y Voorhees College en Denmark, Carolina del Sur, dos colegios universitarios tradicionalmente negros, fue reconocido por sus respectivos presidentes, que informaron del aumento en la matrícula y los empeños de recaudación de fondos, la expansión de los currículos y los índices de retención más elevados.

Buchanan dijo que las prioridades de la UBE siguen siendo fomentar la vitalidad de las iglesias negras y apoyar al laicado y al clero. La organización planea ofrecer programas de tutoría para ambos y ya ha procurado robustecer sus lazos con clérigos en las diócesis de Nueva Jersey, Newark, Nueva York, Long Island y Maryland.

Asimismo, la organización ofreció ayuda económica y material a las víctimas del huracán Irma, tanto en Estados Unidos como en las Islas Vírgenes Británicas. La organización espera contratar clérigos para estadas de tres o cuatro semanas en las Islas Vírgenes y ofrecerle un descanso necesario al clero sobrecargado, dijo ella.

La próxima reunión anual está programada para fines de julio de 2019 en Los Ángeles.

Las personas galardonadas en el banquete de la organización del 27 de julio fueron:

  • Diane Porter, con el Premio Marie Hopkins, por notables contribuciones a la misión social de la Iglesia.
  • La concejal de Austin, Texas, Ora Houston, con el Premio Dra. Verna Dozier, por labor orientada al servicio.
  • El Dr. John F. Robertson, miembro fundador de la UBE, con un reconocimiento especial de la comunidad por iniciativas relativas a la salud física y mental y “por garantizar que la UBE siga siendo una comunidad sana”, dijo Buchanan.
  • El Rdo. Donald G. Kerr, cura auxiliar de la parroquia de San Bernabé [ Barnabas] en Nassau, por coordinar la primera reunión de la organización fuera de Estados Unidos; y
  • El obispo de Panamá Julio Murray, que en agosto será consagrado como primado de la Iglesia en América Central, con el Premio Presidencial 2018 por su constante apoyo a los jóvenes y a la UBE.

Él llamó al premio “una sorpresa. Ustedes hacen lo que hacen porque Dios nos ha dado talentos y dones y debemos compartir”, le dijo él a los presentes.

“La Unión ha desempeñado una parte muy importante en mi vida”, dijo Murray, añadiendo que la organización da voz a hermanos y hermanas a través de la diáspora y levanta líderes jóvenes. Nos necesitamos mutuamente; debemos cuidar los unos de los otros.

“Unión de Episcopales Negros, no se detengan solamente en el cambio. Debemos seguir trabajando por la transformación”, afirmó él.

“Si se detienen en el cambio, volveremos atrás a hacer lo que solíamos hacer y algo de eso está ocurriendo ahora. Luego, debemos movernos y trabajar juntos por la transformación, de manera que nunca sea lo que estamos acostumbrados a hacer, sino que será parte como (el obispo primado) Michael (Curry) diría, del sueño que Dios tiene para todos nosotros”.

– La Rda. Pat McCaughan es corresponsal de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Zimbabwe’s Churches call for calm following post-election violence

Fri, 08/03/2018 - 11:10am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Christian leaders in Zimbabwe have appealed for calm in the country following post-election violence in which at least three people have been killed. “Life is more important than everything else,” the Zimbabwe Council of Churches said on its Facebook page. “Let us desist from acts of violence.” Official results from Monday’s poll – the country’s first without Robert Mugabe in almost four decades – gave President Emmerson Mnangagwa from the Zanu-PF 2.46 million votes (50.8 per cent); and MDC opposition leader Nelson Chamisa 2.15 million votes (44.3 per cent). Chamisa has said that the MDC intend to launch a legal challenge against the official results.

Read the entire article here.

Rare 700-year-old Bible returns to Canterbury Cathedral, five centuries after it was removed

Fri, 08/03/2018 - 11:08am

[Anglican Communion News Service] A rare medieval Bible has been returned to Canterbury Cathedral, the mother church of the worldwide Anglican Communion, some 500 years after it was removed. The Lyghfield Bible – named after the 16th-century monk who once owned it – was amongst a number of items removed from the cathedral’s monastic library at the time of the reformation. The monastic community at Canterbury was one of many which were dissolved on the orders of Henry VIII as he attempted to assert his authority over the newly independent church and plunder its assets.

Read the entire article here.

Diocese of Virginia bishop to retire in November

Fri, 08/03/2018 - 10:56am

Editor’s note: Diocese of Virginia Bishop Shannon S. Johnston announced Aug. 3 that he will resign his office in three months.

The announcement appears to culminate a process that began in October 2017 when he announced plans to seek a bishop suffragan after the retirement of the Rt. Rev. Ted Gulick, assistant bishop. Then on May 24, Johnston announced an end to the search, citing “serious questions raised by members of the diocesan staff having to do with the leadership and the culture among diocesan staff,” and taking “full responsibility for this situation.” Johnston also said that he had begun to look more seriously about retiring earlier than he had originally planned, having reached age 60 and with 30 years of service in the Episcopal Church.

Diocese of Virginia Bishop Shannon S. Johnston Has announced he will resign Nov. 3. Photo: Diocese of Virginia via Facebook

Dear Diocesan Family,

After many months of intense prayer and reflection, and in close consultation with the presiding bishop and our Standing Committee, I am formally announcing that I have decided to resign my office and ministry as Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia effective November 3, 2018, prior to the adjournment of our annual convention. I will then serve the diocese in a consulting capacity to facilitate the transition to new leadership. I will fully retire effective July 1, 2019, having served over twelve years as a bishop in this diocese.

First of all, I want to say in all honesty that being the XIII Bishop of Virginia has been the greatest honor and privilege of my life. I love this diocese with all my heart. I have also had extraordinary opportunities in places across the globe. I have learned much about the “big things” as well as about how deeply meaningful the so-called small things can be. After all these years of ministry serving as your bishop, there is something surreal about letting go. I have no idea what will come next, except that I shall take an extended period of rest, which will include times for spiritual retreat and discernment.  I know that I shall miss my week-to-week ministry, especially spending time with our clergy and interacting with parishioners, but, actually, I am quite excited to have things so open-ended! Ellen and I shall remain in Richmond, where we very happily bought a home two years ago. We look forward to having more time to spend with friends as well as taking opportunities to travel. I also want to make up for a lot of lost time with my family in Alabama and Georgia.

I am proud of the work and accomplishments that we have achieved together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Several of these accomplishments include:

  • the successful resolution of the unprecedented lawsuit returning schismatically-claimed property for the mission of the Episcopal Church;
  • the historic success of the capital campaign for our camps program at Shrine Mont;
  • embracing and fully including LGBT Christians in our ordination process and in the rite of Christian marriage;
  • our recovery of the church’s voice for faith and advocacy in the “public square,” raised in our internationally-noted presence at the Charlottesville rally opposing the white supremacy demonstrations, as we had already opened a critical dialogue on the sin and experience of racism;
  • the newly re-drawn diocesan regions that better reflect-and thus will better serve-the demographics and growth of today’s Commonwealth of Virginia;
  • and (lastly but surely not least) our diocese is growing again, and our unity, confidence, and morale are high.

There is so much more that could be noted. I certainly do not claim or imply that “I” did all this, but we did, and I am rightly proud of this era I have shared with you in the life of the Diocese of Virginia.

My reasons for reaching this decision that a change of leadership is now good and wise begin with the fact that I feel that I have given my all. Quite simply, “the time” has come. I truly believe that I have done all that I can to accomplish what I feel I was called here to do. And so, I am convinced that it is now time for new vision and new energy for the church in our diocese.

Equally important as a factor in my decision is that my wife Ellen and I are looking toward sharing an active and full life in retirement years. As I reach the age of sixty (after serving the church for over thirty years), and being in strong health, I have confidently chosen to claim this season of life for the fuller nurture of our personal life.  Someone else can assume my responsibilities as bishop of Virginia, but no one else can love Ellen as I do.

As I write this letter I realize with certainty that my decision is for the best. While I am aware that there is some speculation about my retirement, please know that this letter conveys what is in fact my own personal truth about my decision to resign. You should also know that it is in consultation with my closest friends, colleagues, and advisors that Ellen and I agree that it is time for me to move on, in God’s grace for us and for the Diocese of Virginia. Be assured that the presiding bishop’s office will be in communication with our diocesan leadership regarding the next steps and the particulars for episcopal leadership in Virginia going forward.

I look upon my ministry as bishop among you in terms of having shared milestone moments of God moving decisively in the lives of Virginia Episcopalians. We have grown together as disciples of Jesus Christ. That is what the church is all about. In the end, I am profoundly gratified by what I believe to have been a consequential episcopate.

Faithfully yours,

The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston

XIII Bishop of Virginia

 

E. Mark Stevenson named canon to the presiding bishop for ministry within the Episcopal Church

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 4:23pm

The Rev. E. Mark Stevenson.

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has appointed the Rev. E. Mark Stevenson as canon to the presiding bishop for ministry within the Episcopal Church, a member of the presiding bishop’s staff.

In this role, Stevenson will support the ministry of the presiding bishop among Episcopalians as a pastoral assistant and strategic and theological advisor. Responsibilities include serving as liaison and representative to bishops within the church and overseeing preparations for meetings of the House of Bishops. Additionally, he will provide support for bishops and Episcopal dioceses in carrying out their ministry and mission as well as preparation for visitations by the presiding bishop. Stevenson will also work closely and collaboratively with the executive officer of the General Convention, the president of the House of Deputies, and the other canons and chief officers on the presiding bishop’s staff, in addition to directing the work of the Formation, Youth, and Young Adult Ministries and Transition Ministries departments.

“I am truly delighted that the Reverend Canon Mark Stevenson has accepted our call to serve as canon for ministry within the Episcopal Church, said Curry. “Canon Mark has a long and proven track record as a canon to bishops, a skilled manager and administrator, and as a wise and generous colleague to many. Above all he is a devout follower of Jesus of Nazareth.”

The presiding bishop notes that Stevenson was selected from an initial field of 35. A screening committee appointed by the presiding bishop reviewed all applications, narrowing the list to four candidates whom they recommended for an interview with Curry.  After concurring with the search committee regarding the four final candidates, the presiding bishop conducted the interviews and later identified Stevenson as his choice for canon for ministry within the Episcopal Church.

“It is a true honor to have been called to this ministry by the presiding bishop,” says Stevenson. “I am excited about the future of the Episcopal Church under his leadership and look forward to serving with a great team as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement continues to teach and preach the transforming power of love of God and love of neighbor.”

Meet the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson

Stevenson presently serves as the director of Episcopal Migration Ministries, the refugee resettlement program of the Episcopal Church, a position he has held since May 2016.  As director, he leads a dedicated team who execute a national program of refugee resettlement and related ministries in partnership with the U.S. government, affiliated local resettlement programs, and a developing network of communities and ecumenical organizations from across the country.

From 2005 until he joined the presiding bishop’s staff in 2013 as the Episcopal Church domestic poverty missioner, Stevenson served as canon to the ordinary in the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana where his responsibilities included oversight of the bishop’s staff, budget management, coordination of clergy and congregation transitional ministry, and various pastoral and administrative concerns throughout the diocese.   When Hurricane Katrina made landfall just days before Stevenson took his post, the scope of his ministry expanded dramatically to include working closely with then-Bishop Charles Jenkins, as well as local, regional, national and international leaders and groups to put into place the processes for effective relief ministry.   In partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development, the diocese instituted an Office of Disaster Response that evolved over the years into Episcopal Community Services of Louisiana, a ministry focused not only on immediate disaster relief but also on the transformation of lives by building a community of care and respect for all human beings.

Before that, Stevenson served as rector of the Church of the Annunciation in New Orleans (Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana) and the Church of the Good Shepherd in Maitland, Florida (Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida).

Stevenson serves on the board of The Living Church Foundation and also served as a member of the Episcopal Relief & Development board. In addition, he served as a deputy to the 2012 General Convention and an alternate at the 2009 General Convention.

Stevenson will begin work as canon to the presiding bishop within the Episcopal Church on Sept. 1. His office will continue to be in New York at the Episcopal Church Center.

 

Nombran al Rdo. E. Mark Stevenson Canónigo del Obispo Primado para el Ministerio dentro de la Iglesia Episcopal

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 4:22pm

Rdo. Canónigo E. Mark Stevenson

[1 de agosto de 2018] El Obispo presidente y primado Michael Curry ha designado al Rdo. Canónigo E. Mark Stevenson como Canónigo del Obispo Primado para el Ministerio dentro de la Iglesia Episcopal y como tal miembro del personal del Obispo Primado.

En este cargo, Stevenson apoyará el ministerio del Obispo Primado entre los episcopales como asistente pastoral y asesor de teología y estrategia. Entre sus responsabilidades se incluyen servir de enlace y representante ante los obispos de la Iglesia y supervisar los preparativos de las reuniones de la Cámara de los Obispos. Además, brindará apoyo a los obispos y las diócesis episcopales para que lleven a cabo su ministerio y misión y para preparar las visitas del Obispo Primado. Stevenson también colaborará y trabajará muy de cerca con el Director Ejecutivo de la Convención General, la Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados y otros canónigos y directores ejecutivos del personal del Obispo Primado. Amén de dirigir la labor de los departamentos de Formación, ministerios de Jóvenes y Jóvenes Adultos y de Transición.

“Estoy realmente encantado de que el Rdo. Mark Stevenson haya aceptado nuestro llamado a servir como canónigo para el ministerio dentro de la Iglesia Episcopal, dijo Curry”. “El canónigo Mark tiene una larga y reconocida trayectoria como canónigo de obispos, como gestor y administrador competente y como colega inteligente y generoso con todos. Sobre todo, es un devoto seguidor de Jesús de Nazaret”.

El Obispo Primado destaca que Stevenson fue escogido entre un grupo inicial de 35 candidatos. Un comité de selección, nombrado por el Obispo Primado, revisó todas las solicitudes, reduciendo la lista a cuatro candidatos que fueron recomendados para entrevistarse con Curry. Después de coincidir con el comité de búsqueda en los nombres de los cuatro finalistas, el Obispo Primado llevó a cabo las entrevistas y luego identificó a Stevenson como su elección para ser el Canónigo para el Ministerio dentro de la Iglesia Episcopal.

“Es un verdadero honor haber sido llamado a este ministerio por el Obispo Primado”, dijo Stevenson. “Me entusiasma el futuro de la Iglesia Episcopal bajo su liderazgo y espero servir con un gran equipo mientras la rama episcopal del Movimiento de Jesús sigue enseñando y predicando el poder transformador del amor de Dios y el amor al prójimo”.

Conozca al Rdo. canónigo E. Mark Stevenson

En la actualidad, Stevenson es el Director del Ministerio Episcopal de Migración, el programa de reasentamiento de refugiados de la Iglesia Episcopal, un cargo que ha ocupado desde mayo de 2016. Como Director dirige un equipo especializado, encargado de llevar a la práctica un programa nacional de reasentamiento de refugiados y otros ministerios afines en sociedad con el gobierno de Estados Unidos, filiales locales de reasentamiento y una red de comunidades y organizaciones ecuménicas en todo el país [que se encuentra] en vías de desarrollo.

Desde el año 2005, hasta que se integró al personal del Obispo Primado en 2013 como Misionero de la Iglesia Episcopal para [combatir] la Pobreza Nacional, Stevenson sirvió como Canónigo del Ordinario en la Diócesis de Luisiana donde sus responsabilidades incluían la supervisión del personal del Obispo, administración del presupuesto, coordinación del clero y el ministerio transicional de la congregación y varios tareas pastorales y administrativas en toda la diócesis. Cuando el huracán Katrina toco tierra, días antes de que Stevenson asumiera su cargo, el alcance de su ministerio se expandió dramáticamente para incluir trabajar estrechamente con el entonces obispo Charles Jenkins, así como con líderes y agrupaciones locales, regionales, nacionales e internacionales, a fin de poner en marcha los procedimientos de un efectivo ministerio de socorro. En asociación con el Fondo Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo, la diócesis estableció una Oficina de Respuesta a Desastres que, con el transcurso de los años, se convirtió en Servicios Comunitarios Episcopales de Luisiana, un ministerio centrado no sólo en prestar ayuda inmediata en desastres, sino también en transformar vidas mediante la creación de comunidades de cuidado y respeto hacia todos los seres humanos

Antes de eso, Stevenson fue rector de la Iglesia de la Anunciación [Annunciation] en Nueva Orleáns (Diócesis Episcopal de Luisiana) y de la Iglesia del Buen Pastor [Good Sheperd] en Maitland, Florida (Diócesis Episcopal de Florida Central).

Stevenson es miembro del Consejo de la Fundación La Iglesia Viviente (The Living Church Foundation) y también fue miembro de la junta directiva del Fondo Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo. Además, fue diputado en la Convención General de 2012 y [diputado] suplente en la Convención General de 2009.

Stevenson comenzará a desempeñarse como Canónigo del Obispo Primado dentro de la Iglesia Episcopal el 1 de septiembre de 2018. Su oficina seguirá estando en el Centro Denominacional de la Iglesia Episcopal en Nueva York.

‘Heartbreaking’ devastation from California wildfires shows strength of church-community ties

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 3:47pm

The Rev. Carren Sheldon took this photo July 26 of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Redding, California, just before she closed the church amid an evacuation of the neighborhood to escape the Carr Fire. Sheldon took 125 years’ worth of church records with her and brought them to diocesan offices in Sacramento to protect them from the fire.

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Carren Sheldon’s evening on July 26 was supposed to go something like this: Evening Prayer, dinner, compline, sleep. But after dinner, she returned to All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Redding, California, to find the neighborhood on the brink of disaster. Heat, wind and “bizarre weather patterns” fueled the sudden advance of a growing wildfire.

“The sky was orange, and the wind was blowing cinders and ash,” Sheldon told Episcopal News Service by phone. “The power was out, and the traffic was gridlocked. It was apparent that it was time to gather the irreplaceable records of the church and flee.”

The church was evacuated along with most of that section of Redding, a town of about 92,000 people in Northern California. The blaze, known as the Carr Fire, has consumed more than 100,000 acres, destroyed more than 1,000 homes and killed at least six people as of Aug. 1. And this fire is just one of more than a dozen major wildfires that California authorities are working to contain and extinguish, from the Oregon state line to San Diego County.



The Carr Fire still is considered only 30 percent contained, but it no longer is threatening the neighborhood around All Saints, enabling Sheldon to return and reopen the church Aug. 1. As interim rector, she has spent the past week checking on parishioners’ safety and providing pastoral care to church members and neighbors, several of whom have lost their homes or are just beginning to assess the damage.

#CarrFire [update] A live evacuation and repopulation map has been developed for residents in the communities affected by evacuation orders. Visit: https://t.co/fJ9NO3Uv9j pic.twitter.com/jo3RW5ivTO

— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) August 1, 2018

Sheldon also has been in regular contact with the Diocese of Northern California’s Disaster Response Team, which is supporting All Saints and the smaller congregations south of Redding that are affected by two large fires near the Mendocino National Forest. Members of those congregations, too, have been displaced or are helping with the emergency response.

As California’s annual wildfire season expands outside of its normal months and the fires grow hotter and larger, the diocese’s Disaster Response Team has had the unwanted but valuable experience of responding to several large fires in recent years. The team’s priority in each case is to reach out to Episcopalians affected by the fires while also establishing local churches as resources for communities dealing with heartbreaking devastation.

“For us it’s how do we help [the churches] to be a community center for so many people who are displaced and traumatized?” said Kati Braak, director of operations, who helps coordinate the Disaster Response Team. “That cup of coffee, the WiFi, a prayer – those things go a long way in helping the surrounding communities find some stability. … These don’t have to be big things.”

The Carr Fire came within three or four blocks of All Saints’ but caused no damage to the church other than dropping a layer of ash on the ground that had to be cleaned up before the building could reopen. The typical Sunday attendance at All Saints’ tops 100, but on July 29, parishioners had to find other options for worship. Some joined St. James Lutheran Church in Redding, and others traveled to St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Anderson, California.

Northern California Bishop Barry Beisner, in a video message to All Saints’ on July 28, said he and Episcopalians churchwide are “mindful of the great challenges that you face, the great struggle that you face.”

“We will be praying for you,” Beisner said. “We watch, wait and pray together, and we’re prepared, once the time for watching and waiting is done … we will support you and help you and work together with you for as long as needed. We are with you. Christ is with you. We are one in him.”

Even before last week’s evacuation, the church was serving as a gathering place for Redding residents threatened by the fire. Now that the church has reopened, Sheldon is offering the church, the largest community facility in that part of Redding, as a resource for organizations that need a place to stage relief efforts.

Some of support provided by the diocese has taken the form of money raised through its standing Disaster Relief Fund. A diocesan newsletter reported July 28 that fund paid for $1,500 worth of Target and Safeway gift cards that Sheldon is distributing to those in need. An additional $5,000 will cover other fire-related needs.

Braak said much of the support the diocese provides is guidance on how congregations can partner with other local organizations in matching resources to the needs in the community. The diocese receives similar support from Episcopal Relief & Development, which also distributes financial assistance through emergency grants that the diocese is requesting.

“We’re called by God to care for the whole community,” Braak said.

All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Redding, California, is seen July 30 after the threat of fire had subsided but before the ash had been cleared from in front of the church. Photo: Carren Sheldon

Sheldon feels that calling too. A natural disaster of this scale makes clear that a church is a community, not just a building.

“We are in the very early stages of this,” Sheldon said. With the air still thick with smoke, she and other community leaders are just beginning to assess the needs of the community and determine how to help.

At the same time, some members of All Saints’ live west of Redding and had to evacuate homes still in or near the fire zone.

“Those people are still very much in harm’s way, and there are a lot of people in our congregation who cannot get back into their homes,” she said.

The threat also remains for Episcopalians living in the area of the two Mendocino Complex fires. St. John’s Episcopal Church in Lakeport is located directly east of one of those fires, which has covered more than 30,000 acres and was only 38 percent contained as of Aug. 1. Ten homes have been destroyed, and more than 12,000 structures are threatened.

Deborah Smith, senior warden at St. John’s, also works with Red Cross and has been on the front line of the emergency response in that area.

“I  … have been working as a shelter manager, first in Kelseyville and then in Lower Lake when we had to move the shelter when Kelseyville went under mandatory evacuation,” Smith told ENS in a brief written message late July 31.

Other congregation members have faced evacuations as well, including the church organist and his family, according to a Facebook post.

The other Episcopal congregation in the region, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church to the west in Ukiah, is farther away from the two Mendocino Complex fires but still affected. The Rev. John Day, priest-in-charge, reported intermittent power outages July 30 in a news release about hosting a camp next week for 50 children traumatized by the fires.

The Mendocino Complex fires, for now, are located in mostly unincorporated areas, and the Episcopal congregations nearby are smaller. The situation there is different from what people in Redding face with the Carr fire, Braak said, but the church maintains a similar focus on community outreach.

Sheldon lives in a part of Redding that did not need to evacuate, so she has spent the past week in the city checking on people by phone, email and text messages. She has visited people staying in shelters or at the homes of neighbors. There is a great need for pastoral care in a time of disaster.

“It’s heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking. And it’s also what I’m called to do,” Sheldon said. “It’s hard, but it’s important. And it’s a blessing to be able to do it.”

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

El Obispo Presidente y Primado en reposo después de cirugía

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 2:23pm

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

[1 de agosto de 2018] El obispo presidente y primado de la Iglesia Episcopal Michael Curry se encuentra descansando después de someterse a una cirugía el martes, 31 de julio. Como se esperaba, y según el Primado, su equipo médico y su familia, la cirugía salió bien. El obispo Curry se encuentra en reposo y se espera que se recupere completamente.

El 25 de julio el obispo primado Curry compartió la noticia de que recientemente le habían diagnosticado cáncer de próstata y que se sometería a una intervención quirúrgica para extirpar la próstata.

El obispo primado Curry y su familia se sienten conmovidos por la multitud de oraciones y buenos deseos que han recibido. Se sienten muy agradecidos y piden que se les conceda privacidad durante su periodo de recuperación.

A medida que sea necesario, la oficina del Obispo Primado continuará dando a conocer más información.

East Tennessee bishop calls new canon to the ordinary

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 12:38pm

[Diocese of East Tennessee] The Rev. Michelle Warriner Bolt has been named as the Canon to the Ordinary for the Episcopal Church in East Tennessee by the Right. Rev. Brian L. Cole. Bolt will begin her new work on September 1. The Rev. Canon Michael Spear-Jones has briefly served as Interim Canon, following the departure of the Rev. Canon Pat Grace this past June. Bolt will oversee Transition Ministry, Congregational Development, serve as secretary of the church’s annual convention, and assist Cole in additional oversight of the Church.

“Michelle knows and loves our communities,” Bishop Cole said. “Along with knowledge and love, she brings heart and head to the work of being church in the 21st century. I know her to be both a team player and a proactive leader. As a Church, we are moving into a new season where our focus will be on Reconciling All Things in Christ. That vision of reconciliation, grounded in the first chapter of Colossians, will guide our work in a time when our world, and our Church, is hungry for truth and reconciliation. Michelle is equipped to join in and help lead such work,” he said.

Bolt said, “When Bishop Sanders laid his hands on my head to confirm me as an Episcopalian over 20 years ago, I had no idea where my journey would take me, but I knew that I loved God and I loved East Tennessee.

“Over the years, it became clear that I was called to be a priest working with the people of East Tennessee to identify what God is up to here. In the past few weeks, as I have reflected on the news of the day, it is clear that the world hungers to know and feel God’s reconciling, healing presence, and as the Episcopal Church in East Tennessee, we are poised to uncover and share this Good News as it blossoms throughout our region.”

She said, “Just about one year ago, we gathered to elect a bishop, and I have been delighted to see the Holy Spirit at work among us since that day in Bishop Cole’s daily, faithful relationship-building. I am excited to work as a part of this team, confronting the future’s challenges with clear eyes and hopeful hearts.”

Bolt graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Arts College Scholars degree before going on to Harvard Divinity School and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary for her masters degrees, M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School and M.Div. from Seabury Western Theological Seminary. After serving churches in Illinois and California, she returned to East Tennessee to serve as chaplain at Tyson House Episcopal/Lutheran Campus Ministry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and later priest associate at St. John’s Cathedral. Her passion is “for connecting individuals and families to the deep spiritual rhythms and practices of our tradition in a way that is both authentic and fresh.” She lives with her husband Patrick and four sons in Knoxville.

The Episcopal Church in East Tennessee is comprised of 51 Episcopal churches and worshiping communities in 33 counties in Tennessee and one county in North Georgia nestled in the valley between the Cumberland Plateau and the Appalachian Mountains. The area covers approximately 14,350 square miles, with a total population of about 2.5 million. The Rt. Rev. Brian L. Cole is the fifth bishop of East Tennessee.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry resting after surgery

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 8:28pm

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is resting comfortably following surgery on Tuesday, July 31.  According to the presiding bishop’s family and his medical team, the surgery went well, as had been expected. Bishop Curry is resting, and a full recovery continues to be anticipated.

On July 25 Curry shared news that he had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer and would be having surgery to remove the prostate gland.

Curry and his family are touched by the outpouring of prayers and well wishes. In their thankfulness, they ask for privacy during his recovery.

Further information will continue to be released by the presiding bishop’s office, as needed.

Pages