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Reclaiming climate change as a moral issue

Episcopal News Service - seg, 30/03/2015 - 07:02

[Episcopal News Service] When California Bishop Marc Andrus wants to engage people in a conversation about climate change he doesn’t throw statistics at them, rather he begins with a question like: When was the last time you had an experience of wonder in the natural world?

“If we can connect people back to it, or open them up for a fresh experience with wonder, it’s a great starting place for recovering a sense of why [climate change] is a moral issue,” said Andrus, during an interview with Episcopal News Service in Los Angeles, California.

Andrus made the trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles to speak on a panel about reclaiming climate change as a moral issue. The panel was one of two that took place during a March 24 forum – hosted by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno – aimed at addressing the global climate change crisis.

A longtime environmental advocate, Andrus taught the first course on ecology and Christianity in 2013 at Virginia Theological Seminary and has long been engaged on the issue of climate change.

A few years back, he said, people involved in the movement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to curb global warming took a critical look at themselves, coming to the realization that the movement’s messaging was “so thoroughly negative” that it worked against it.

“People are frightened enough in their lives, they don’t want to be more frightened … it doesn’t enroll them into the effort,” said Andrus. “We actually know that fear is only a short-term motivator – as soon as you’re not quite afraid your effort slackens. If you ask what would be the opposite, love is a much stronger motivator over a period of time.

“So if we can help people understand how wonder is an experience of love, if we can remember when I fell in love with the earth … or if we can help people have an experience of love, and wonder, then you have people that will stick with the effort.”

The March 24, live-webcast in Los Angeles kicked off 30 Days of Action, an interactive campaign designed by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society that includes advocacy days, bulletin inserts, stories, sermons and activities to engage individuals and congregations around climate change. The campaign culminates on Earth Day, April 22.

Mary Nichols, who chairs the Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency, and a member of Los Angeles’ St. James in the City Episcopal Church, spoke on the panel alongside Andrus.

“Climate change is a moral issue because as we understand it, human beings are the principal cause for the exaggerated effects of global warming that we are seeing on this planet, and therefore it is incumbent on us to take responsibility for that and to take action,” said Nichols.

Climate change is the gradual change in global temperature caused by accumulation of greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere, altering the earth’s temperature. Some areas are getting warmer, as others are getting colder. For example, the mainland United States experienced the coldest winter on record since formal record keeping began in the late 1800s, whereas Alaska experienced an unseasonably warm winter.

Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas emitted by human beings through the combustion of fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas. Industrial processes, including factory farms, transportation and electricity make up the largest human sources of carbon dioxide.

Moreover, the population of the world has doubled since 1970, going from about 3.6 billion to today’s 7 billion people.

“The human population explosion of recent millennia, accompanied by exploitation of fossil fuels in recent centuries, have moved this planetary system out of dynamic equilibrium. Human appetites are responsible for the collapse of that equilibrium particularly in developed nations, and many species are threatened with diminishment and loss of life,” said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in her keynote address at the start of the March 24 forum in Los Angeles. “We are making war on the integrity of this planet. The result is wholesale death as species become extinct at unprecedented rates, and human beings die from disease, starvation, and the violence of war unleashed by environmental chaos and greed.”

The church’s forum was timely, said Nichols, as it begins a needed conversation about climate change as nations prepare for the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Nov. 30 – Dec. 11, in Paris, France.

The goal of the Paris conference is to forge an international agreement aimed at transitioning the world toward resilient, low-carbon societies and economies. If accomplished, it would be the first-ever binding, international treaty in 20 years of United Nations climate talks, and would affect developed and developing countries.

“We’re already hearing the drumbeat in Congress that it can’t be done, it won’t work, if we do it the Chinese won’t and therefore they’ll eat our lunch economically … and that’s why this discussion is so timely because hopefully it gives us a chance to gather together and push back against those arguments,” said Nichols.

Climate change is an increasingly politically charged, polarizing issue in the United States. The day of the forum, for instance, U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham, a moderate Republican from South Carolina who believes in climate change, blamed former Vice President Al Gore, one of the countries leading Democratic voices on climate change and a longtime supporter of initiatives to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, for inaction on climate change because Gore has turned it into a religious issue.

Graham was quoted in the news media as saying, “You know, climate change is not a religious problem for me, it’s an economic, it is an environmental problem.”

Members of his party, he said, “are all over the board” when it comes to climate change, and that the party doesn’t have a clear stance on climate change or a plan to address it.

Graham’s remarks followed the revelation of a state of Florida ban on environmental officials from using the terms “climate change” and “global warming,” that came into effect with Gov. Rick Scott’s administration and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s announcement of his upcoming bid for the presidency. Cruz is a Republican from Texas who denies the existence of climate change.

In December 2010, as the U.N. climate talks were underway in Cancun, Mexico, Andrus and Bishop Naudal Gomes of the Diocese of Curitiba, Brazil, convened a gathering in the Dominican Republic which explored the intersection between poverty and climate change, and aimed to change the conversation in the church from one of “climate change” to “climate justice.” The gathering included more than 30 Anglicans and Episcopalians from Cuba, the United States, Ecuador, Panama, Colombia, Haiti, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.

Addressing climate change from a global consensus doesn’t mean that developing countries arrest development, it just means that developing countries look to technology and alternatives to fossil fuels so as not to create the amount of waste developed countries have created.

“We have to look at economy and equity and ecology together, and how they work to reinforce each other, and that’s not a pipe dream,” said Nichols.

Throughout history, the church has partnered with social movements on equal rights and justice issues. By beginning the conversation now The Episcopal Church, which has observer status at the United Nations, can begin to talk about how to contribute to the larger conversation on climate change that will take place later this year.

“For the last decade and a half, The Episcopal Church has focused on LGBT issues, and now we’re having a growing consciousness about the enormity of the climate change crisis … and without letting go of any of the other justice issues, we’re seeing that this is the emerging need for our global engagement,” said Andrus. “We are an organization that has some capacity to be a partner to a movement, to be a supporter to a movement, a resource to a movement, from which energy and resources can come.”

– Lynette Wilson is an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service.

General Convention Official Youth Presence members announced

Episcopal News Service - sex, 27/03/2015 - 16:26

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The 18 members of The Episcopal Church General Convention Official Youth Presence at the 78th General Convention have been announced.

The Episcopal Church’s 78th General Convention, June 25 – July 3, will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah (Diocese of Utah).

“The General Convention Official Youth Presence was established by an initial resolution in 1982,” Bronwyn Clark Skov, youth ministries officer for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society explained.

Members of the Official Youth Presence are permitted seat and voice by the rules of the House of Deputies and will participate in committee hearings and floor debates.

The following youth will be serving as the 2015 Official Youth Presence at General Convention.

Province I: Anna Foster, Diocese of Maine; Allegra Robinson, Diocese of Massachusetts

Province II: Uzodinma Kanu, Diocese of Long Island; Joseph Archibald-Bowers, Diocese of Virgin Islands

Province III: Nathan Harpine, Diocese of Virginia; Nancy Brooks, Diocese of Washington

Province IV: Arthur Garst IV, Diocese of Western NC; Levi Thompson, Diocese of Louisiana

Province V: Holden Holsinger, Diocese of East Michigan; Richard Pryor, III, Diocese of Ohio

Province VI: Summer Murray, Diocese of Nebraska; Sydney Marie, Diocese of Minnesota

Province VII: Amelia Mackey, Diocese of Arkansas; John C. Zuk, Diocese of Oklahoma

Province VIII: Sonja Barba, Diocese of Hawaii; Madelyn Gonzales, Diocese of Olympia

Province IX: Andrea Pena, Diocese of Honduras; Amanda Zorrilla, Diocese of Puerto Rico

Mentoring and shepherding the Official Youth Presence will be: the Rev. Canon Vincent Black, Diocese of Ohio, who will serve as Chaplain to the group; Celia Arevalo, Diocese of Honduras; Mindy Boynton, Diocese of Minnesota; the Rev. Randy Callender, Diocese of Maryland; Cookie Cantwell, Diocese of East Carolina; the Rev. Earl Gibson, Diocese of San Diego; and Christopher Palma, Diocese of Missouri.

Participants will gather in Salt Lake City for orientation and training April 9-12. Two deputies have been appointed by the President of the House of Deputies, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, to lead the parliamentary procedure and legislative process training in April: the Hon. Byron Rushing, Vice President of the House of Deputies, Diocese of Massachusetts; and the Rev. LeeAnne Watkins, Diocese of Minnesota.

Over 100 applications were received from across the church from teenagers hoping to serve as representatives from their provinces. Reviewing the applications were Skov, Youth Ministry Liaisons along with two deputies appointed by Jennings.

For more information contact Skov bskov@episcopalchurch.org

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years, and is the bicameral governing body of the Church. It comprises the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay deputies elected from the 109 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church, at more than 800 members.

Northern Indiana: Bishop Ed Little will resign in 2016

Episcopal News Service - sex, 27/03/2015 - 16:19

Bishop Edward S. Little II

[Episcopal News Service] Diocese of Northern Indiana Bishop Edward S. Little II recently announced the he will resign at the end of June 2016.

Little, 68, was ordained and consecrated in March 2000 as the diocese’s seventh bishop.

He included the following letter in the April edition of the “Around the Diocese” newsletter.

Dear brothers and sisters,
This past Tuesday I presented a letter to the Standing Committee, announcing my retirement as of June 30, 2016. At the time, I will have served as bishop of this wonderful diocese for 16 years. My ministry as your bishop, however, will actually conclude three months earlier – March 31, 2016 – when I begin a three-month sabbatical to write a long-planned book.

Palm Sunday marks the first day of a new visitation cycle. In my closing cycle, I will have the  opportunity to visit all 36 churches of our diocese and to thank you for your witness to Jesus, for your faithfulness in mission and ministry, and for your kindness and encouragement to Sylvia and to me.

I have said many times and in many settings that if I had the opportunity to choose any diocese in the Episcopal Church to serve as bishop, I would without hesitation select Northern Indiana. Our diocese is a profoundly Christ-centered community, a place where Jesus is known, loved, worshiped, and followed. Our relationships are deep. Indeed, the small size of our diocese is a blessing, because it has given me the gift of knowing people and parishes in a way that my colleague bishops envy. March 18, 2000, the day of my consecration in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus of Notre Dame, marked a turning point in my life for which I will always give thanks. You have touched Sylvia’s life and mine, welcomed us into your hearts, and drawn us ever more deeply into the heart of Jesus himself.

Sunday is the high point of my week. Worshiping with you, hearing the Word and sharing the Eucharist, and seeing Jesus at work in a glorious variety of ways have planted memories that I will forever cherish. I offer thanks to God for the gift of walking with you as fellow disciples, and am humbled by the expressions of love and support that Sylvia and I have received during a decade and a half of ministry in Northern Indiana.

In the coming months, I ask for your prayers for the Standing Committee, under the leadership of its president, Fr. Matthew Cowden. Their task is to discern the next steps for the diocese and to oversee the process of electing the 8th Bishop of Northern Indiana. This challenging and exciting work will be an opportunity for the entire diocese to walk in faith into the future that God has planned.

St. Paul’s words seem especially apt, and express something of what I feel as I write this letter: “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:3-5).

I lean on St. Paul’s words because I am overwhelmed with gratitude, beyond my ability fully to articulate, for the privilege of serving as Bishop of Northern Indiana. With love and blessings I am

Yours in Christ,
+Ed

 

Central New York: Bishop Adams will resign in 2016

Episcopal News Service - sex, 27/03/2015 - 15:58

Bishop Gladstone B. “Skip” Adams III

[Episcopal News Service] Diocese of Central New York Bishop Gladstone B. “Skip” Adams III recently announced the he will resign in the fall of 2016.

Adams, 62, was ordained and consecrated in October 2001 as the diocese’s tenth bishop.

He recently sent the following letter to the people of the diocese.

March 24, 2015

Dear People of Central New York:

With love to all of the people of the faith communities of our beloved Diocese, I write to inform you that I have indicated to the Standing Committee my intention to resign as your Bishop Diocesan on or about October 31, 2016. At that time I will be concluding fifteen years as your Bishop. As best I can tell personally and drawing on wise people around me in prayerful discernment, this is a good time for a transition to new possibilities for the ongoing health of the Diocese in service of Christ’s mission.

Being your Bishop is an amazing privilege for which I will always be grateful. It has formed me and drawn things from me in ways that I could never have imagined. By grace I believe it has made me a more deeply faithful person. This wonderful and, at the same time, crazy vocation as Bishop has drawn me over the years to an ever-deepening life of prayer resting in Christ as my center and life. I have all of you to thank for that.

You may have noted above that I used the word “resign.” That is the specific canonical word, even when the intention is retirement. Even though I am retiring from Central New York, I do intend to allow myself to be available to the Church in any way that God’s Spirit may call forth. I am not stepping aside for any other position, although it is my understanding that once my resignation is public, I will likely receive offers for other opportunities. If it occurs, that will also be a time for discernment bathed in prayer and open to the Spirit who blows wherever she wills.

The Standing Committee has met with Bishop Clayton Matthews of the Presiding Bishop’s Office to begin to engage the process of transition to the election of a new bishop. My hope is that this journey to new leadership will be healthy and smooth and I trust the Standing Committee to oversee that process. You will hear more from them as time unfolds, as they are canonically responsible for overseeing this transition. It also means that even as anxiety for the future may raise its head, sometimes in ways we do not expect, it is essential that all along the way we keep our hearts centered on Jesus and the mission to which we are called. Our Gospel work continues.

The next nineteen months will offer us many opportunities to connect and prepare well for all that is to come. For now, know that I continue to be your Bishop and I will continue to work hard among you and be fully engaged in our mission “To be the passionate presence of Christ for one another and the world we are called to serve.” Please continue to pray for me as I pray for you.

Grace and peace in Christ,

+ Skip
The Rt. Rev. Gladstone B. Adams III
10th Bishop of Central New York

 

MENSAGEM DO GT JUVENTUDE

SNIEAB Feeds - sex, 27/03/2015 - 14:52


“Há quem dê generosamente, e vê aumentar suas riquezas; outros retêm o que deveriam dar, e caem na pobreza. O generoso prosperará; quem dá alívio aos outros, alívio receberá.” Provérbios 11:24-25

Queridxs membros da IEAB, como já é de conhecimento de toda Igreja em setembro próximo a Juventude estará reunida num grande encontro, o ENUJAB (Encontro Nacional da UJAB). Que ocorrerá entre os dias 4 a 7 de setembro em Brasília. Esse encontro surgiu do chamado que o último Sínodo fez ao Primaz e a toda a Igreja: “Cuidem dos jovens e fortaleçam o seu ministério”.

Esse encontro será marcante na vida da Igreja. Pois queremos mostrar a todos que a juventude é o presente dessa Igreja e, também, queremos fazer com que os jovens sejam mais comprometidos com as suas comunidades. Será um grande divisor de águas.

Estamos nos dirigindo para os irmãos e irmãs, para que incentivem os jovens a fazerem as suas inscrições para o ENUJAB. É uma oportunidade de que os jovens voltem mais motivados e comprometidos com o trabalho da Igreja local e diocesana. Não deixem de falar, motivar e incentivar esses jovens, pois quantas lideranças nacionais hoje, na vida da IEAB, foram motivadas e incentivadas quando jovens?

Também viemos lembrar a todos que no próximo final de semana é o Dia Nacional da Juventude Anglicana. E gostaríamos de pedir que as coletas das celebrações, do próximo final de semana, sejam direcionadas para a Juventude Nacional. Todos sabem que preparar um grande encontro exige muitos recursos financeiros e nós contamos com o apoio do SADD e Junet/CEA, mas ainda nos faltam recursos.

Esse nosso apelo é para que possamos atingir a meta que nós lançamos num projeto de financiamento coletivo, uma “vaquinha on line”. Temos 60 dias para conseguir 20.000,00. O projeto já está em andamento e ainda não atingimos o proposto. Caso não consigamos os 20.000,00 não recebemos nenhum valor e o que foi doado volta para quem o fez. Por isso é TUDO ou NADA.

A IEAB conta hoje com aproximadamente 212 comunidades entre paróquias, missões e pontos de pregação/evangelização. Se cada comunidade assumir o compromisso de doar para a Juventude nacional a sua coleta com certeza chegamos na metade do valor proposto.

Queridos cuidar dos jovens é responsabilidade de todxs nós e queremos deixar o nosso pedido de contribuição para que esse ENUJAB marque, positivamente, a vida da IEAB.

Vocês podem fazer a doação da coleta através do site: https://www.catarse.me/pt/enujab2015 ele é completamente seguro e vocês podem doar com boleto bancário ou cartão de crédito. Chame também membros para doarem aos jovens. Lembrando qualquer valor ajudará a chegarmos no objetivo.

Também você pode contribuir com depósito bancário através da conta poupança abaixo e encaminhar o comprovante para o e-mail ujab@ieab.org.br, Banco Bradesco; Agência: 3379; Conta: 27742-8.

A inscrição poderá ser feita no site: http://www.ujab.ieab.org.br/ e o valor de R$ 180,00 pode ser pago em 3x. Lembramos que os jovens da Diocese Anglicana de Brasília o valor da inscrição é de R$ 280,00, isso se dá por que esses jovens não terão despesas com deslocamento e esse valor pode ser pago em 4x. Oriente os jovens a não deixar para a última hora, pois podem se programar melhor para conseguirem ir à Brasília.

Sabemos que podemos contar com o apoio de todxs e por isso estamos escrevendo pedindo a sua colaboração. Lembramos uma frase que é conhecido por todos “Ninguém é tão pobre que não possa dar e nem tão rico que não possa receber”

Desejamos uma abençoada Páscoa com votos de um abençoado trabalho em sua comunidade. Que se multipliquem o bem que vocês fazem pelos jovens e por todos.

GT Juventude

Olympia: Chaplains on the Harbor stands with homeless over evictions

Episcopal News Service - sex, 27/03/2015 - 14:27

[Episcopal Diocese of Olympia] Chaplains on the Harbor, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, has for the past year and a half ministered on the streets of Aberdeen, Washington. The Rev. Sarah Monroe launched the ministry with a backpack of sandwiches, walking the streets, visiting homeless camps, and building relationships.

Over the past week, the largest of these semi-permanent camps along the Chehalis River running through town – in the ruins of old mills and pilings – has been issued eviction notices. People have been given until March 31 to clear out, with no options for where they can go next.

“In Aberdeen, if you are really down and out, if you have lost everything, if you get kicked out of your parents’ or your friend’s place, if you need to save money to pay for a hotel during the winter, this is the last place to go,” Monroe explains.

Every year or two, according to residents, the camps are evicted. One year, residents say that the city moved in and burned everything. In the months following, people always come back because, according to Monroe, it is the last place for Aberdeen’s poorest. Up to 70 people camp along this stretch of river. The steep rise in homelessness is a visible sign of increasing desperation, in a town with a 25% poverty rate and a county where 46% of the population access social services to survive.

Monroe, who has been accompanying campers through this time, says, “It is in times like these that the church is called to take a stand. Our brothers and sisters along the river have asked us to stand with them. We are only just beginning, listening to people on the ground, asking the community how we can support them.”

Monroe addressed the Aberdeen city council on March 25, asking that the city either “halt the eviction or at least give people more time. We’re all responsible for each other. We’re all responsible for the common good. And I know that most of us love this place and most of us want to see this town thrive.” Videos of all the speakers at the city council meeting are posted on the group’s Facebook page.

Monroe is also building a broad coalition of churches, social service providers, and people experiencing homelessness to demand that Aberdeen confront its growing poverty crisis.

As in many small towns and cities, efforts to redevelop and attract tourist dollars in declining economies has led to policies that marginalize and criminalize people in poverty or experiencing homelessness. This time, the city hopes that this is a permanent eviction. According to Monroe, there are hopes for a waterfront park instead. Monroe suggested that a better long-term solution would be to prioritize the common good and squarely address growing poverty.

One person said in a Bible study run by Monroe; “In this city, the poor are of no importance. We are just a nuisance in the way of redevelopment.”

Monroe was the recipient of a one-year fellowship from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society for social justice and advocacy work for The Episcopal Church. (The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is the legal and canonical name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business, and caries out mission.) Monroe’s ministry is featured in an ENS article here.

Chaplains on the Harbor website

Chaplains on the Harbor Facebook page

Sarah Monroe’s blog

The Diocese of Olympia (Episcopal Church in Western Washington) includes about 31,000 people in more than 100 churches.

South Carolina: Second priest returns through path for reconciliation

Episcopal News Service - sex, 27/03/2015 - 12:56

[Episcopal Church in South Carolina press release] Episcopal Church in South Carolina Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg has welcomed another returning priest back into good standing in The Episcopal Church through a new process that provides a path for reconciliation for clergy who left following the 2012 split in eastern South Carolina.

In a brief liturgy led by vonRosenberg in Charleston on March 24, the Rev. H. Jeff Wallace reaffirmed the vows he took at his ordination in 2007 and signed a formal declaration promising to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.

He is the second priest to return to The Episcopal Church after the 2012 split. In September 2014, the Rev. H. Dagnall Free, Jr., was reinstated through the same process. Wallace now joins Free and the other clergy of The Episcopal Church as a priest in good standing.

Wallace was an associate rector at Christ the King-Waccamaw, Pawley’s Island, when Bishop Mark Lawrence and other officials of the diocese announced they were leaving The Episcopal Church. Wallace said that he loved the parish and his job there; because of those bonds, he stayed at Christ the King-Waccamaw when it voted to follow Lawrence.

But their situation changed suddenly in 2014 when Wallace’s church merged with another breakaway church, leaving him without a parish to serve. He and his wife moved to Texas, where he is serving as pastor at a Lutheran church.

In the months after the split, Wallace was still a priest who remained under vonRosenberg’s authority within The Episcopal Church. Over a five-month period in 2013, the bishop made efforts to contact each breakaway clergy member. As happened in most cases, Wallace did not reply. As required by church canons, in August 2013, with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee, vonRosenberg removed more than 100 priests and deacons from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church.

The canons gave the bishop a choice about which disciplinary procedure to follow. One option was to “depose” clergy who did not recognize the church’s authority. VonRosenberg chose instead to “release and remove” the clergy, which left open the hope for reconciliation and eventual reinstatement. That hope was first realized in September 2014, with Free’s reinstatement.

Two months after hearing the news about Free, Wallace wrote to vonRosenberg asking about the path to reinstatement. VonRosenberg replied the same day, laying out the steps that would be necessary and putting Wallace in touch with the people who would help guide him through the process.

Later, explaining why he wanted to return, Wallace wrote that he grieved his loss of connection with The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion and the sacred order of priests, and repented of the decisions that led to his removal. “We are not sure where God will land us, but we are sure of the longing we have in our heart to be back in an Episcopal parish,” he wrote.

Canonically, the only requirement for reinstating a priest is the bishop’s approval. But vonRosenberg has stressed the importance of having a process in place that ensures it will be the right move not only for the priest, but for the entire church.

In consultation with the Standing Committee, Chancellor Tom Tisdale, and Commission on Ministry member Amy Webb, the bishop set forth a reinstatement procedure that required:

  • Consulting with the bishop on a regular, ongoing basis;
  • Working with a development coach for evaluations and discussions about the person’s spiritual journey;
  • Cooperating with the administrative staff in rebuilding a professional file, including background checks, training certificates, references and other documentation. Many of these documents are still controlled by the breakaway group, which has refused to release them to clergy who chose to remain in The Episcopal Church;
  • Meeting with the Standing Committee to discuss the desire for reinstatement

Wallace met March 24 with the Standing Committee, which voted its approval immediately.

VonRosenberg said the process has proven to be a good one, and probably will be used again. Discussions are in progress with other clergy who have approached the bishop after learning about the reconciliation process.

The bishop and Tisdale also have been named to serve on the Constitution and Canons Committee of the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church this summer in Salt Lake City, where church officials are expected to consider reinstatement procedures for the entire church.

English king’s remains reburied after 530 years

Episcopal News Service - qui, 26/03/2015 - 13:46

Clergy and an honor guard surround Richard III’s casket March 26 prior to it being buried in Leicester Cathedral. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

[Episcopal News Service] History buffs from all over the world joined royal, civil and ecclesiastical representatives in Leicester, England, on a rainy March 26 for the reburial of a king whose bones were found in 2012 under a parking lot.

Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England, died aged 32 on Aug. 22, 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth.

His skeleton was found in 2012 in the ruins of the Greyfriars priory buried beneath a parking lot in what the New York Times called “one of the most astonishing archaeological hunches in modern history.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby led the reburial ceremony in Leicester Cathedral along with members of the British royal family, Bishop of Leicester Tim Stevens, senior ecumenical clergy, civic leaders and descendants of Richard III.

Emma Chamberlain, 9, from Aylestone (a suburb of Leicester) and a member of the 1st Aylestone Brownies, places a crown on Richard III’s casket March 22 after it was brought to Leicester Cathedral. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

During the somber ceremony based on Morning Prayer (order of service here), Welby censed Richard III’s casket and blessed it with holy water.

“As we return the bones of your servant Richard to the grave, we beseech you to grant him a quiet resting place,” Welby prayed.

Welby also sprinkled the coffin with soils from Fotheringhay, Middleham and Bosworth. Richard III was born at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire and members of his family are buried at the local church. Middleham in Yorkshire is where Richard met his future wife Anne.

“Today we come to accord this King, this child of God, these mortal remains, the dignity and honor denied them in death,” Stevens said during the homily. Members of the team that found Richard’s remains have said that his initial casket-less burial was done in a hurried fashion in a too-short grave, causing the king’s head to need to be pushed askew.

Also during the service, actor Benedict Cumberbatch read “Richard,” a poem written for the occasion by Poet Laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy. Cumberbatch will play Richard III in the BBC series “The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses.” He has also been identified as a third cousin, 16 times removed of Richard. A YouTube clip of Cumberbatch’s reading during the service is here.

An honor guard March 26 lowers Richard III’s casket into a new tomb in Leicester Cathedral. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

The casket was lowered into a tomb within an ambulatory (a walking space) between the newly created Chapel of Christ the King at the east end of Leicester Cathedral and the sanctuary, a location not far from where Richard’s remains were found. The stone used in the design of the tomb is a Swaledale fossil stone, quarried in North Yorkshire, that contains fossils of long-dead creatures. It is topped with a Kilkenny marble plinth bearing Richard’s name, dates and motto.

The New York Times noted that some saw Richard’s reburial in an Anglican cathedral and Welby’s participation as an anomaly, since Richard was a devout Roman Catholic who died well before Henry VIII’s break with Rome in the 1530s.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, preached at a March 22 service of Compline (order of service here) at Leicester Cathedral when the king’s mortal remains were received. The remains were carried from the University of Leicester by the team who discovered them.

Many heard the cardinal’s sermon “as a deft message of reconciliation to the contending schools of thought about Richard’s legacy as king,” according to The New York Times article. Richard has been cast as a hunch-backed villain who killed two young princes but who also reformed parts of English law. Nichols said he was also a man who prayed, noting in a Vatican Radio interview that Welby would bring Richard’s prayer book with him to the March 26 service. The book contained Richard’s annotations and a prayer the king wrote.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Westminster, preached at a March 22 service of Compline at Leicester Cathedral when Richard’s remains were received. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

Nichols cautioned in his sermon that power in Richard’s time was “invariably won or maintained on the battlefield and only by ruthless determination, strong alliances and a willingness to employ the use of force, at times with astonishing brutality.”

On March 23, Nichols also presided at an evening Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of Richard III in Holy Cross Priory , a Roman Catholic Dominican priory in Leicester. In his homily, the cardinal called the king “a man of anxious devotion.” Nichols vested for the Mass in the Westminster Vestment, a chasuble believed to be from Richard’s royal wardrobe. Tradition says it was worn by the Benedictine monks of Westminster Abbey during Richard’s reign.

In the medieval rite of reburial, before re-interment the person’s remains were placed in the church while its usual pattern of worship continued, according to a March 25 press release posted on Welby’s website.

This same pattern was being followed in the cathedral this week: they were in repose until March 26 when they were re-interred.

BBC News reported that more than 35,000 people lined the streets in parts of Leicester March 22 to see the cortege bring the king’s remains to the cathedral. More than 20,000 people visited the cathedral to view the casket containing the king’s remains, the news service said. Viewing times were extended on March 24 and 25 to accommodate the crowds, according to the King Richard in Leicester website.

People in the streets of Leicester tossed white roses on his casket on its way to the Leicester Cathedral. Richard was the head of the House of York, which had the white rose as its symbol. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

The lead-lined casket, bearing the inscription “Richard III 1452-1485,” was designed and made of English oak and English yew by Michael Ibsen, a Canadian-born cabinetmaker whose DNA helped identify the remains of King Richard III. Ibsen is a 17th-generation descendant of Richard’s older sister, Anne of York. He has attended the week’s services in Leicester.

A pall designed by artist Jacquie Binns covers the casket during the public viewings. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

Artist Jacquie Binns designed a black pall for the casket that is decorated with embroidered images of a knight in armor; King Richard’s queen in heraldic robes; the faces of archaeologists Sir Peter Soulsby and Richard Buckley, Philippa Langley (a screenwriter who instigated the search for the king’s remains) and the Very Rev. David Monteith, the dean of Leicester, among others. It was draped over the casket by the descendants of four peers who fought both for and against Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485, according to the Leicester Mercury newspaper.

Six days of liturgies and celebrations will end March 27 with a “Service of Reveal of the Tomb and Celebration for King Richard III” (order of service here) at noon local time followed by a series of celebratory events taking place in and around the cathedral quarter, Leicester Glows featuring more than 8,000 small fires around Jubilee Square and Cathedral Gardens, illuminating the area with “fire sculptures” and culminating in a fireworks display from the cathedral roof.

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

Christchurch quake-ravaged cathedral deadlock broken?

Episcopal News Service - qui, 26/03/2015 - 12:39

[Anglican Taonga] Diocese of Christchurch Bishop Victoria Matthews has encouraged her diocese to consider a design by New Zealand architect Sir Miles Warren to rebuild the diocesan cathedral in the city’s Cathedral Square.

Matthews has drawn the attention of her diocese to the lead story in the March 18 edition of The Press newspaper, which confirms that the Diocese of Christchurch has been talking again with Warren about his restoration scheme, as a way of breaking the four-year legal deadlock over the future of the ruined cathedral.

Two years ago Warren, who is Christchurch’s most celebrated architect, had proposed that the iconic cathedral be rebuilt in lightweight modern materials – with a rebuilt, earthquake-strengthened stone base (to window sill height), wooden walls above that, and a copper-clad roof and spire.

In essence, Warren’s scheme – which he had first proposed in late 2012 – is back on the table again.

Compromise sought
Christchurch’s Church Property Trustees began talking with him again last December, as a way of seeking a compromise that might break the deadlock.

In an email sent to diocesan members, Matthews writes that “the Church Property Trustees have not made a commitment to this or any other design for the Cathedral at this stage, so we are eager to know what people’s thoughts are.”

The Press story says the Warren option would cost about $35 million and take three years to complete – though the Church Property Trustees estimate that when the costs of demolition and escalation are taken into account, the costs of the Warren scheme would be about the same as building a new cathedral from scratch.

In May 2013, Warren had said that one of the “valid criticisms” of the ruined stone cathedral was that the congregation in the side aisles “was visually and acoustically separated from the nave by large, closely-spaced stone columns and arches.”

Matthews pointed out that the sight-lines in the cathedral envisaged Warren would be much better – because the stone columns would be replaced by fewer slender wooden columns – and the floor would be on one level.

The way it was supposed to be?
“The ability to re-arrange the chairs in the Transitional Cathedral,” she wrote this morning “has convinced us that multiple seating options are essential for new builds and re-builds…  It is also worth noting that (by) using new materials, the weight of the Cathedral would be less than a tenth of what the Cathedral in the Square weighed.”

Ironically, Warren’s vision for the cathedral is to rebuild as it was supposed to be, but never was.

When he was commissioned to design the cathedral in 1858, George Gilbert Scott had proposed that it should be built in wood – as  Auckland’s St Mary’s pro-cathedral and Wellington’s Old St Paul’s were.

But Scott’s first design was vetoed by church authorities, who insisted that the entire building be built in stone.

A March 2013 Press article in which Warren outlines his design more fully, click here .

England: First female diocesan bishop announced

Episcopal News Service - qui, 26/03/2015 - 11:47

Photo: Diocese of Gloucester

[Episcopal News Service] The Ven. Rachel Treweek has been appointed as the next bishop of the Diocese of Gloucester and will become the first female to serve as a diocesan bishop in the Church of England.

The news comes one day after the Rev. Alison White was named as the next bishop of Hull and two months after the Rev. Libby Lane was ordained and consecrated as bishop of Stockport. Those two appointments are to serve as suffragan (assistant) bishops.

Treweek, 52, currently serves as archdeacon of Hackney, a borough in northeast London. She will succeed the Rt. Rev. Michael Francis Perham, who resigned as bishop of Gloucester on Nov. 21, 2014.

“It is an immense joy and privilege to be appointed as the bishop of Gloucester,” said Treweek, according to an announcement on the Diocese of Gloucester’s website. “I am surprised and, I have to admit, even a little daunted by the prospect, but my overwhelming feeling is one of excitement to be coming to join with others in sharing the love of Jesus Christ with the people of this diocese.”

Treweek, who studied at Reading University and trained for the ordained ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, said she is “looking forward to encouraging Christians to speak out with confidence about their faith and the good news that the Gospel brings. It will be my privilege to work with churches as we connect with people, wherever they are and whatever their concerns.”

Treweek served as curate at Saint George and All Saints, Tufnell Park, in the Diocese of London from 1994 to 1997 and was associate vicar from 1997 to 1999.

From 1999 to 2006 she was vicar at Saint James the Less, Bethnal Green, in east London, and continuing ministerial education officer for the Stepney Episcopal Area. From 2006 to 2011 she was archdeacon of Northolt in the Diocese of London. She has served as archdeacon of Hackney since 2011.

In December 2013, she was elected as one of eight women to serve as participant observers in the Church of England’s House of Bishops. Earlier that year, it was decided that until such time as there are six female members of the House of Bishops (as diocesan bishops) a number of senior female clergy should attend and speak at the meetings as participant observers.

Treweek is married to Guy, priest-in-charge of two parishes in central London. Her interests include conflict transformation, walking and canoeing.

“My calling to the role of bishop has been shaped by human encounter,” she said. “I believe profoundly that relationship is at the heart of who God is. I have been with people through the joys and pains of their lives and it is these experiences that I will reflect upon as I take up this new role.”

The appointment comes following more than a decade of often-emotional debate, accompanied by various stages of legislative action, about opening the episcopate to women. The Church of England voted in July 2014 to allow women to become bishops, a decision that was later approved by the U.K. Parliament and given the assent of Queen Elizabeth II. The approvals were required because the church’s decision effectively changed English law. (The Church of England is an officially established Christian church with Queen Elizabeth II as its supreme governor.)

Lane – who was ordained and consecrated as the first female bishop in the history of the Church of England in January when she became the eighth bishop of Stockport, a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester – described Treweek as “an exceptional priest whose leadership is well proven. She is both genuinely caring and deeply insightful. It has been an honor to serve alongside Rachel as regional representatives in the House of Bishops, and I rejoice that she takes her place there as of right.”

Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu responded to the news with: “Wow, how wonderful so soon after Bishop Libby. I’m thrilled for you dear Rachel and I’m thrilled for the Diocese of Gloucester, for the Church of England, for the Church of God and for all of us. Yippee.”

Archbishop of York John Sentamu said the appointment fills him “with joy and thanksgiving to God for her partnership in the Gospel. Rachel is a priest who cares deeply about the good news of God in Jesus Christ and has a deep love for people and, in the words of St. Paul, she is always, ‘outdoing others in showing honor.’ She builds strong relationships with people and is an experienced reconciler. My prayer for her is that God will keep her in the joy, simplicity, and compassion of Christ’s Holy Gospel.”

The Diocese of Gloucester shares a three-way companion relationship with the dioceses of El Camino Real in the U.S.-based Episcopal Church and Western Tanganyika in the Anglican Church of Tanzania. El Camino Real Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves is the seventh woman to serve as a diocesan bishop in The Episcopal Church.

A video message from Treweek is available on the Diocese of Gloucester’s website here.

Episcopal forum raises awareness about climate change crisis

Episcopal News Service - qua, 25/03/2015 - 13:26

Diocese of California Bishop Marc Andrus, a longtime environmental advocate, and Mary D. Nichols, who chairs the Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency, talk about reclaiming climate change as a moral issue on a panel moderated by Fritz Coleman, a local meteorologist. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

[Episcopal News Service – Los Angeles, California] In a deeply politicized country where environmental officials in Florida are forbidden to use the words “climate” and “change” together in a sentence, and where a presidential candidate dismisses the notion that greenhouse gases are causing the earth’s atmosphere to warm, The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society hosted a forum March 24 to address head on the global climate change crisis.

“Why do we call this a crisis? The planet’s regulatory system is being altered,” said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, during a keynote address at the start of a live webcast forum.

“Like a human being with a runaway fever, the malfunctioning thermostat causes a body to slowly self-destruct as inflammation erodes joints, causes nerve cells to misfire, and prevents the digestive system from absorbing nutrients critical to life. This planet is overheating, its climate is changing, and the residents are sick, suffering, and dying,” she continued.

Close to 75 people gathered in the auditorium of Campbell Hall Episcopal School in Studio City, Diocese of Los Angeles, for the climate change crisis forum presented by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society in partnership with Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno. In addition to the presiding bishop’s address, the 90-minute forum included panels focused on the regional impacts of climate change and reclaiming climate change as a moral issue.

Moderated by Fritz Coleman, a climatologist for KNBC 4 television news, panelists included Diocese of California Bishop Marc Andrus, who has made climate change a focus of his episcopacy; Princess Daazhraii Johnson, former executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, one of the oldest indigenous non-profit groups in Alaska focused on protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and a visiting research associate at the California Institute of Technology’s Seismological Laboratory; and Mary D. Nichols, who chairs the Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Additionally, the event kicked off a 30-day interactive campaign developed by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society that includes advocacy days, bulletin inserts, sermons, stories and activities to engage individuals and congregations around climate change. The 30 Days of Action will conclude on Earth Day, April 22.

“Climate change greatly affects us here in Los Angeles – we’re in a place where farmers are leaving crops in the ground and selling their water ration off to other people,” said Bruno, describing one of the reasons why his diocese sponsored the March 24 forum.

The event came as California enters a fourth year of drought – snowpacks have dwindled and groundwater levels have reached historic lows in some areas – and as the East Coast received record snowfalls and below-normal, frigid temperatures.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori delivers the keynote address at the opening of the Climate Crisis Forum in Los Angeles on March 24. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

“Climate is a broad description of weather variability and environmental conditions. We are experiencing more extreme weather and more frequent hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and droughts,” said Jefferts Schori. “Sea level is rising, because ice sheets are melting and because a warming ocean expands. As sea levels rise, coastal flooding becomes more likely and severe storms more destructive. The damage done by [Hurricane] Katrina and Superstorm Sandy are examples, as is the unusual winter much of this continent is experiencing.”

A “crisis” by definition, said Fritz Coleman, the moderator, “is intense trouble or danger, a critical point in history, a point at which decisions must be made.”

Climate change, he continued, is the gradual change in global temperature caused by accumulation of greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere, altering the earth’s temperature. Some areas are getting warmer, as others are getting colder, he explained, which is why “climate change,” not “global warming,” is the preferred term.

“These changes are causing lots of very dangerous changes to our world – disrupting weather patterns, flooding, droughts, an increase in violent storms, and disease – widespread harm to the earth’s ecosystems,” Coleman said. “And here’s the key idea, the impact of climate change is not only to the environment, but it will have an extreme economic impact as well, like major food shortages, shortages of water. The bottom line is, without the reduction of these greenhouse gases, our planet faces serious peril in the 21st century.”

Lucy Jones, the seismologist who serves as a science advisor for risk reduction in the natural hazards mission for the U.S. Geological Survey and who has spent her career studying seismological disasters and how they disrupt society, explained during the panel on regional impact how she has spent the last decade using the science of hazards to look at ways to improve a community’s resilience to natural disasters.

“The very first prediction of climate change is an increase of extreme events, when you put more energy in the atmosphere, there’s more energy to create storms to hold water,” said Jones, a member of St. James Episcopal Church in South Pasadena, California.

It was 20 years ago during a meeting that Jones first heard about climate change; at the time an increase in natural disasters was predicted, which has proved true.

“The expected losses coming from climate-change-induced meteorologic disasters dwarfs all of the other disasters we could be facing,” said Jones. “And if we want to be resilient, we have to be resilient to everything the earth is bringing to us. And our actions through climate change have increased those disasters.”

Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and a visiting research associate at the California Institute of Technology’s Seismological Laboratory, and Princess Daazhraii Johnson, former executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, talk about the regional impacts of climate change on a panel moderated by Fritz Coleman, a local meteorologist. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

In an area prone to coastal erosion or flooding, for example, when a big storm or a wild fire happens on top of that, that’s when the system changes, when species are wiped out and the ecological system cannot recover, she said.

“So we see disasters and extreme events as the mechanism of the significant shifts that are going to happen as climate change changes our world,” said Jones.

Alaska’s indigenous people have already begun to experience significant changes in their natural environment, explained Princess Daazhraii Johnson, who grew up in Arctic Village, on the southern tip of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

“The Arctic is one of the fastest warming places on the planet and we’re seeing the melting of the ice sheets, our glaciers are disappearing, the permafrost is melting, coastal erosion,” said Johnson. “We have entire communities that are having to be relocated.”

Alaska and the Arctic, she said, are experiencing the same climate-related changes as other places, “But the intensity in which we are experiencing them is very great, it’s massive.”

In January, U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to ask Congress to designate 12 of the 19 million acres of the Arctic Wildlife National Refuge as a wilderness-protected area. If passed, the area would become the largest wilderness-protected area since the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964. Faith communities thanked Obama for taking action that “represents a critical step in protecting a sacred part of God’s creation, and we thank you for working to safeguard this national treasure.”

The wilderness designation also would protect the cultural and subsistence rights of the Gwich’in, an indigenous Alaskan people who depend upon the refuge’s porcupine caribou for survival.

The Episcopal Church at its 77th General Convention in 2012 passed legislation saying it “stands in solidarity with those communities who bear the burdens of global climate change,” including indigenous people and marginalized and socially excluded people worldwide.

Some of the changes that have happened to the earth, said Jones, the seismologist, are not reversible and we’re seeing changes in atmospheric and oceanic patterns, but ultimately society needs to be asking the right questions.

“You get a bunch of scientists together and we’ll argue with each other … it’s a key moment when scientists stop arguing, and we’ve stopped arguing about whether climate change is happening,” she said, adding that they still argue over what is millennial cycle versus what is human activity, but they agree it’s happening.

Outside the research community, she said, the question should be: “Do our actions make a difference?” And the answer to that, she said, is simple: “Yes. When you build a fire and when you run a car, you are putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere … The human population has grown exponentially, and therefore, the number of people doing that has grown exponentially.”

As Jefferts Schori said in her keynote address: “Scientists have been studying human impacts on our global biosphere for decades, and today there is clear consensus about the effects of these gases on the mean temperature of the planet. There are a few very loud voices who insist this is only ‘natural variation,’ but the data do not lie. Those voices are often driven by greed and self-centered political interests, and sometimes by willful blindness.

“The Judeo-Christian tradition has always called those motivations sinful. It is decidedly wrong to use resources that have been given into our collective care in ways that diminish the ability of others to share in abundant life. It is equally wrong to fail to use resources of memory, reason, and skill to discern what is going on in the world around us. That has traditionally been called a sin of omission.”

Moving into the second panel, Coleman asked why climate change is a moral issue, to which Mary D. Nichols, who for years has worked on air quality and is a member of Los Angeles’ St. James in the City Episcopal Church, responded: “Human beings are the principal cause for the exaggerated effects that we are seeing on our planet and therefore it is incumbent upon us to take responsibility for that and to take action.

“It’s a moral issue, I think, because when we think of things in moral terms, it tends to stretch us a little bit beyond our everyday comfort zone, and we have to get beyond our everyday comfort zone in order to do some things that may seem difficult.”

If you look at any religious tradition, Nichols added, each has an element that recognizes humanity as subject to God, not the other way around.

“Certainly as an Episcopalian I can find citations in terms of gardens and stewardship and so forth … and therefore when we do something that massively upsets God’s creation, and God’s plan for us, we have a moral obligation to do something about it,” she said. “Though it makes some people uncomfortable to talk that way.”

The event, said Coleman, was very hopeful, not only for The Episcopal Church in its forward thinking, but that in her address the presiding bishop elevated the discussion from a religious discussion to a human discussion.

“I think it’s wonderful that The Episcopal Church has been at the forefront of having these discussions open to everyone on the Internet. What’s perplexing is that, in general, all faiths have been so timid about addressing this issue, publically and up until this point,” he said.

Coleman speculated that it might be because religious leaders themselves are caught up in the politics, as well.

“We’ve been speaking up, The Episcopal Church is working hard,” said Bishop Marc Andrus, as evidenced by actions being taken in the Diocese of Los Angeles toward food justice, and the Diocese of California’s involvement with Interfaith Power and Light, a religious coalition that campaigns on the issue of climate change. “But the church lost the bully pulpit somewhere in the 1960s, and a lot of things changed.”

But, he said, there is some immorality involved and the media has been involved.

“The media has a lot to answer for; they are shaping the story,” he said, citing Chris Hayes, and MSNBC journalist who recently said it’s time to stop saying everything is balanced.

If a climate denier is running for political office, rather than cite the 1 percent of scientists on the fringe that may support that view, it would be more accurate to say, “This person denies climate [change] despite the evidence, and that’s what Chris was saying,” said Andrus.

“And furthermore, we should take our own voice,” he said. “The church needs to, in my opinion, not rely overly on giving the last word to people who are being paid to do advertisements, but rather gain our own prophetic voice and put our own stories out.”

For more on reclaiming climate change as a moral look for a related story on Episcopal News Service on March 30 as part of the 30 Days of Action.

– Lynette Wilson is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

 

Church of England appoints second female bishop

Episcopal News Service - qua, 25/03/2015 - 13:20

Photo: Diocese of York

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Canon Alison White has been named as the next bishop of Hull. As a bishop suffragan in the Diocese of York, White will become the Church of England’s second female bishop when she is consecrated on July 3 in York Minster.

White, 58, is currently priest-in-charge of Riding Mill in the Diocese of Newcastle and diocesan adviser for spirituality and spiritual direction.

As bishop of Hull, she will have responsibilities “both as ambassador for prayer, spiritual & numerical growth and ambassador for urban life & faith,” according to a church press release.

“This is a joyous day,” said Archbishop of York John Sentamu. “Alison is a person of real godliness and wisdom – it is fantastic that she has accepted God’s call to make Christ visible together with all of us in this Diocese of York.”

White said: “In 2010, I was privileged to be invited to take part in the York Diocesan Clergy Conference where I got a profound sense of a diocese with faith and hope. I … can’t wait to be part of loving God and growing the church in this great part of Yorkshire.”

The Rt. Rev. Martin Wharton, the recently retired bishop of Newcastle, said, “I am thrilled that Alison’s priestly and personal gifts have been recognized by the wider church and believe she will be an outstanding bishop who will quickly endear herself to the people of Hull and the East Riding. As the second woman to be appointed bishop in the Church of England, we rejoice with her and pray for her.”

In January, Libby Lane was ordained and consecrated as the first female bishop in the history of the Church of England when she became the eighth bishop of Stockport, a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester.

The appointments come following more than a decade of often-emotional debate, accompanied by various stages of legislative action, about opening the episcopate to women. The Church of England voted in July to allow women to become bishops, a decision that was later approved by the U.K. Parliament and given the assent of Queen Elizabeth II. The approvals were required because the church’s decision effectively changed English law. (The Church of England is an officially established Christian church with Queen Elizabeth II as its supreme governor.)

White will succeed the Rt. Rev. Richard Frith, who became bishop of Hereford in November 2014.

After graduating with a degree in English from Durham University, White studied theology at Cranmer Hall, Durham. She was ordained to the diaconate in 1986 and to the priesthood in 1994, being among the first women to be ordained as priests in the Church of England. She earned a master’s degree in theology from Leeds University. From 1989 to 1993 she served as Durham’s diocesan adviser in local mission. She then spent five years as director of mission and pastoral studies at Cranmer Hall. She served as diocesan director of ordinands, also in the Durham diocese, for two years.

She served five years as an adult education officer in the Diocese of Peterborough before moving to the Diocese of Newcastle in 2011.

Alison is married to Bishop Frank White, assistant bishop of Newcastle.

Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society reports $2.4 million annual surplus

Episcopal News Service - ter, 24/03/2015 - 19:39

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City, Utah] Responding to financial reports by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society leadership showing yearly income exceeding expenses (or “surplus”) of nearly $2.4 million, The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, during its March 19-21 meeting here, adopted a resolution celebrating the financial stewardship of the society’s staff and management. The resolution acknowledges in particular the “consistent, visionary leadership” of Chief Operating Officer Bishop Stacy F. Sauls and Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer N. Kurt Barnes in reducing expenses and generating income.

A presentation by Barnes on the meeting’s first day showed a preliminary net result (income less expenses) of $2.4 million in the churchwide budget for fiscal year 2014, the middle year of the 2013-2015 triennial budget.

The surplus, which appears in budget lines overseen by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society management, represents “a better result than budgeted” for 2014, according to Barnes. “The strong financial position of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society comes through taking advantage of opportunities for revenue generation, as well substantial savings in operating expenses,” he said.

The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is the name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business, and carries out mission.

Annual income exceeded projections by more than $2.5 million, primarily a result of unanticipated increases in: rental income generated by making more efficient use of space and the leasing of excess space at the Episcopal Church Center in New York; renegotiation of loans and lines of credit; and steady diocesan giving. Savings in operating expenses came primarily as a result of careful budget management by staff in every area: mission, administration and governance.

These savings do not, however, equate with a reduced mission footprint, according to Sauls.

“We are committed to being held accountable for measureable mission deliverables,” Sauls said, pointing to the recently released Report to the Church 2015, an online magazine published in January that illustrates the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s work to support local communities in The Episcopal Church working toward each of the Five Marks of Mission.

“We are trying to lead the churchwide staff to a cultural shift toward mission and away from maintenance; toward service and away from regulation,” Sauls continued.

“The purpose of a churchwide missionary society is the redistribution and targeting of our resources, both financial and personnel, to the parts of the body which, though financially poor, are among our richest communities in vision and creativity toward mission and have the most potential,” Sauls added. “The present financial picture shows a churchwide structure already living into a future that is mission-driven, Gospel-based, and rooted in ministry at the local level.”

Reaction from Executive Council members
The resolution recognizing the financial leadership of the staff originated with the Executive Council’s Joint Standing Committee on World Mission. The full council adopted it unanimously on the final day of its meeting and several members later praised the financial standing of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.

“A $2.4 million budget surplus indicates the careful oversight of spending, and careful financial stewardship of the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, chief operating officer, and Kurt Barnes, [treasurer and chief financial officer],” said World Mission committee member and Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Provisional Clifton Daniel.

“Many thanks are owed them for their vigilance, which frees additional funding for the growing missionary vision of this church,” Daniel said.

Council member John Johnson, a General Convention deputy from the Diocese of Washington, agreed.

“This surplus is great news for all Episcopalians. Excellent fiscal management and oversight of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society operations and programs demonstrates that we are a church of abundance and opportunity,” Johnson said.

“Moving forward, I believe deputies to General Convention and other church leaders need to create a new strategic vision and mission for a renewed Episcopal Church focused on taking [the] church to the world and not the other way around,” Johnson added.

Another council member, the Rev. Dahn Gandell of the Diocese of Rochester, said, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff “has done an excellent job managing the financial resources of our church. Net income has exceeded expenses in nine of the last 10 years due to increased revenue and expenses coming in under budget while still accomplishing the goals set by the General Convention and Executive Council.”

“It is important that the church is aware of these successes and acknowledges Bishop Stacy Sauls and Kurt Barnes for their leadership and commitment to our church and its mission,” she said.

Several council committee chairs used their final triennial reports to the council to praise a relationship between Domestic and Foreign Missionary staff and the council that they said had improved markedly over past triennia.

Lelanda Lee, a General Convention deputy from the Diocese of Colorado and the chair of the council’s Joint Standing Committee on Advocacy and Networking, noted, “The [staff-council] collaboration has been very welcome and very effective.” Steve Hutchinson, a deputy from the Diocese of Utah and the chair of the council’s Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Administration for Mission, said that “the working relationship this triennium between the standing committees of council and the staff…[is] noticeably more engaged, constructive and helpful, and an improvement from the prior triennium.”

As part of his report to council, Bishop Mark Hollingsworth of Ohio, chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission, praised the “skill, wisdom, creativity, and faith” of the staff members that have worked with his committee during the present triennium, all of whom “have been essential to the carrying out of our mission and activities.”

Revenue generation and staff dispersal
Multiple factors contributed to the generation of $40.6 million in revenue, more than $2.5 million beyond budget projections, during 2014. These include an unanticipated rise in giving as well as rental income that exceeded forecasts.

The lease of unused floors of The Episcopal Church Center to outside tenants dates to 2009, but has increased markedly during the present triennium. Currently, five floors are fully leased by outside tenants. The leasing of space has been made possible, in part, by an initiative of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s management in the present triennium to base increasing numbers of staff outside New York.

“We have made disbursing the staff to connect to local ministry a priority.  A side benefit has been the availability of additional space to rent to others,” said Sauls.

In contrast to six years ago, when nearly all employees of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society lived in the New York metropolitan area and worked out of The Episcopal Church Center, at present approximately 45% of employees – including most mission staff – live and work elsewhere.

“Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff members currently live and work in places as diverse as Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, Minnesota, Dallas, Ohio, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Orlando, Austin, and Buffalo,” said Samuel A. McDonald, deputy chief operating officer and director of mission. “In fact, as part of our international mission and identity, we also have staff living in places like Hong Kong, Panama, and Edinburgh.”

“While revenue generation is one ancillary benefit of the staff’s disbursement, the primary virtue has been that it has allowed the staff to become more responsive and accountable to the wider church, more grounded in local conversations and context for mission, and – perhaps most importantly – more productive in measurable deliverables toward mission,” McDonald added.

An increased mission footprint
Like Sauls, McDonald noted that an accurate picture of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s mission footprint can be found in the Report to the Church 2015, which is available in English, Spanish and French on the website of The Episcopal Church. In addition to extensive narrative presentations, illustrations, and videos related to each of the mission marks, the report contains an extensive appendix detailing specifics of the society’s work in each of the church’s dioceses.

Spanish and French translations of the report are also available online.

“The Report to the Church is all about partnership, illustrating the impact of churchwide resources when matched with local efforts,” McDonald said. “It is organized according to the Five Marks of Mission because the work of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, like the triennial budget, is organized around those marks.”

The 2013-2015 triennial budget of The Episcopal Church was organized according to the Five Marks of Mission for the first time ever after the idea and a model budget were proposed to the 77th General Convention by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Sauls cited church planting as an example of a mission focus in which limited but strategically leveraged investments at the churchwide level have begun to return dividends in local contexts.

“In the last triennium, there were eleven new church starts in all of The Episcopal Church, five of which were in Texas,” Sauls said. “Outside of Texas, there were just six new church starts, and the churchwide investment in this work was zero.

“This triennium, so far, we have planted 38 new churches or ‘mission enterprise zones,’ which are clusters of congregations or communities working in evangelism contexts historically underserved by our church: youth and young adults, communities of color, poor and working-class communities, or communities with little church or religious background,” Sauls continued.

“Approximately half of these are in Spanish-speaking contexts. We’ve done this by making available $1.8 million in grant money,” he said. “Through the miracle of partnerships – meaning matching funds from our partners, the dioceses – we’ve leveraged nearly $4 million toward these new church starts this triennium.”

Other examples of mission expansion cited by Sauls include the Missionary Society’s successful push to double the size of the Young Adult Service Corps this triennium and increase its ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, and recent work toward financial sustainability for Province IX dioceses. At March 13-17 meeting of the House of Bishops, Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society leaders announced that three Province IX dioceses (as opposed to the one originally planned) are on track to secure financial operation by 2019 thanks to partnership with the society.

Sauls cited the inauguration in 2013 of the Diocesan Partnership Program as a turning point in building strong links between the Missionary Society and the dioceses. The program pairs each diocese with a member of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff in order to create an easy contact and point of accountability for mission deliverables.

Each of these initiatives is covered in detail in the Report to the Church.

“The name of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is nearly 200 years old, but as we seek to live fully into that name, it becomes clearer every day that a missionary society grounded outside itself is the future of churchwide organization,” Sauls said. “Churches that turn inward will die. Churches that turn outward will live abundantly.”

Fornaro named interim president and dean of Episcopal Divinity School

Episcopal News Service - ter, 24/03/2015 - 11:35

[Episcopal Divinity School press release] The Rev. Francis Fornaro has been named interim president and dean of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The announcement was made during a March 23 community Eucharist in St. John’s Memorial Chapel by EDS Trustee the Rev. Warren Radke.

“I am honored to be called to serve an institution that has done so much to form and prepare me for a career in ministry — as it has for so many others,” said Fornaro. “I look forward to working with students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni/ae, and supporters of EDS as together we help our school fulfill its purpose of preparing lay and ordained leaders for Christ’s church and the world.”

The Very Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalski, EDS Board of Trustees chair, issued a statement informing the school community of Fornaro’s appointment, writing: “Please join me in welcoming the Rev. Fornaro in this new role, and on behalf of the Board of Trustees, offer our prayers for his leadership as we successfully pursue the mission of EDS during a period of transition. We are deeply grateful as we take these next steps, confident that we will continue to be enlivened by theologies of liberation and live up to our role as a respected and progressive center for study and spiritual formation.”

Fornaro’s appointment as interim president and dean begins immediately.

Fornaro brings nearly two decades of experience as an ordained leader in The Episcopal Church, including serving as adjunct faculty member at EDS and as a former member of the CREDO faculty where he provided spiritual guidance and support for clergy from diverse parishes across the country. Fornaro’s first career was as a teacher and administrator in the Boston Public Schools. He holds a BS in Education, an MEd in Administration and Organization, and an MDiv from EDS with concentration in Pastoral Theology.

Presiding Bishop’s Easter message 2015

Episcopal News Service - seg, 23/03/2015 - 16:45

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affair press release] “We will find him already there before us, bringing new and verdant life,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori states in her Easter Message 2015. “The only place we will not find him is in the tomb.”

In 2015, Easter is celebrated on April 5.

The following is the Presiding Bishop’s Easter message 2015 in English, Spanish and French.

Easter Message 2015

It’s still dark when Mary ventures out to find the tomb. The graveyards around Jerusalem don’t have much greenery today. The earth is mostly rock and stone, and it is far from easy to make a place to secure a body. Jesus’ body was put in a cave-like space, with a stone rolled across the opening to close it up. Mary has made the journey from wherever she’s sheltered over the last day, through darkened streets, perhaps hearing cocks begin to crow and townspeople start to stir.

She nears the place, but somehow it seems different than they left it – this can’t be it, can it? Who moved the stone? A trip begun in tears and grief now has added burden– confusion, anger, shock, chaos, abandonment. His very body has been stolen.

She runs to tell the others. The three tear back to the tomb – no, the body is not there, though some of the burial cloths remain. Who has torn away the shroud and stolen him away? Why must the cruel torture continue, sacrilege and insult even after death? Who has done this awful thing? The men run away again, leaving her to weep at even greater loss.

She peers in once more – who are these, so bold appearing? “Fear not, woman… why do you weep?” She turns away and meets another, who says the same – why do you weep, who are you looking for? This gardener has himself been planted and now springs up green and vibrant, still rising into greater life. He challenges her to go and share that rising, great news of green and life, with those who have fled.

Still rising, still seeking union with Creator, making tender offering to beloved friends – briefly I am with you, I am on my way. Go and you will find me if you look.

The risen one still offers life to those who will look for evidence of his gardening – hope, friendship, healing, reunion, restoration – to all who have been uprooted, cut off, to those who are parched and withered, to those who lie wasting in the desert. Why do we weep or run away when that promise abides?

We can find that green one, still rising, if we will go stand with the grieving Marys of this world, if we will draw out the terrified who have retreated to their holes, if we will walk the Emmaus road with the lost and confused, if we will search out the hungry in the neighborhood called Galilee. We will find him already there before us, bringing new and verdant life. The only place we will not find him is in the tomb.

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

Mensaje de Pascua 2015

Todavía es de noche cuando María se aventura a encontrar la tumba. Los cementerios alrededor de Jerusalén hoy no tienen mucha vegetación. La tierra es principalmente rocosa y de piedra, y no es fácil lograr un lugar para proteger a un cuerpo. El cuerpo de Jesús fue puesto en un espacio como una cueva, con una piedra rodada sobre la apertura para cubrirla. María ha hecho el viaje, desde el lugar donde estuvo refugiada el último día, a través de calles oscuras, quizás oyendo a los gallos que empezaban a cantar y a la gente del pueblo que comenzaba a despertarse.

Se acerca al lugar, pero de alguna manera parece diferente a como lo dejaron, ¿éste no puede ser, verdad? ¿Quién movió la piedra? A un viaje, iniciado en lágrimas y dolor, ahora se añaden: confusión, rabia, shock, caos y abandono. El propio cuerpo de Jesús ha sido robado.

Corre a contárselo a los demás. Los tres regresan a la tumba; no, el cuerpo no está allí, aunque algunas sábanas estaban en el suelo. ¿Quién ha desgarrado el sudario y lo ha robado? ¿Por qué ha de continuar la cruel tortura, el sacrilegio y el insulto, incluso después de la muerte? ¿Quién ha hecho cosa tan horrible? Los hombres huyen de nuevo, dejándola llorar aún más amargamente.

Se asoma una vez más, ¿quiénes son estos, que aparecen tan audaces? “No temas, mujer… ¿por qué lloras?” Se aleja y se encuentra con otro, que dice lo mismo, ¿por qué lloras, qué es lo que buscas? Este jardinero ha sido él mismo plantado y ahora brota verde y vibrante, surgiendo a una vida más plena. Él la desafía a que vaya y comparta esa creciente, gran noticia de primavera y de vida, con los que han huido.

Todavía surgiendo, todavía buscando la unión con el Creador, haciendo un tierna ofrenda a sus queridos amigos, estaré brevemente con vosotros, voy de camino. Id y me encontraréis si buscáis.

El Resucitado todavía ofrece vida a los que buscan evidencia en su jardín – esperanza, amistad, curación, reunión, restauración – a todos los que han sido desarraigados, desconectados, a los que están secos y marchitos, a los que yacen consumiéndose en el desierto. ¿Por qué lloramos o huimos cuando esa promesa permanece?

Podemos encontrar al verde, que todavía surge, si vamos y acompañamos a las Marías en el duelo de este mundo, si vamos a sacar a los aterrorizados que se han retirado a sus agujeros, si vamos a caminar el camino de Emaús con los perdidos y confundidos, si vamos a buscar a los hambrientos en el barrio llamado Galilea. Le encontraremos ya allí antes que nosotros, aportando vida nueva y verde. El único lugar donde no le encontraremos es en la tumba.

La Rvdma. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Obispa Presidente y Primada
Iglesia Episcopal

Message de Pâques 2015

Il fait encore nuit lorsque Marie se risque à sortir pour trouver le tombeau. Aujourd’hui les cimetières autour de Jérusalem n’ont pas beaucoup de verdure. Le sol est la plupart du temps de la roche et des cailloux et il est bien difficile de trouver un endroit où y protéger un corps. Le corps de Jésus a été placé dans une sorte de grotte, avec une pierre roulée devant pour en fermer l’ouverture. Marie a fait le chemin par les rues sombres depuis le lieu où elle avait trouvé abri le dernier jour, peut-être entendait-elle les coqs qui commençaient à chanter et les gens du village qui commençaient à s’éveiller.

Elle s’approche de l’endroit mais pour une raison quelconque, ne semble pas être comme ils l’avaient laissé, cela n’est pas possible, n’est-ce pas ? Qui a déplacé la pierre ? À un voyage commencé dans les larmes et la peine s’y ajoutent maintenant la confusion, la colère, le choc, le chaos, l’abandon. Son corps lui-même a été volé.

Elle court le dire aux autres. Ils reviennent tous trois jusqu’au tombeau ; non, le corps n’est pas là mais une partie du linceul y est encore. Qui a déchiré le linceul et a volé le corps ? Pourquoi cette torture cruelle doit-elle continuer, ce sacrilège et cette insulte même après sa mort ? Qui a fait cette chose horrible ? Les hommes s’enfuient à nouveau, la laissant en pleurs face à cette douleur plus grande encore.

Elle regarde une fois de plus à l’intérieur – mais qui sont-ils pour apparaître avec tant d’audace ? « N’aie pas peur, femme… pourquoi pleures-tu ? ». Elle se retourne et en voit un autre, qui dit la même chose : pourquoi pleures-tu, qui cherches-tu ? Ce jardinier a été lui-même planté et renait maintenant vert et lumineux, ressuscitant en une vie plus pleine. Il la met au défi d’aller faire part de cette résurrection, cette grande nouvelle de printemps et de vie, à ceux qui ont fui.

S’élevant encore, cherchant encore l’union avec le Créateur, faisant cette offrande à ses amis bien aimés – je suis brièvement avec vous, je suis sur le départ. Allez et vous me trouverez si vous regardez bien.

Le ressuscité offre encore la vie à ceux qui cherchent les preuves de son jardinage, à savoir l’espoir, l’amitié, la guérison, la réunion, la restauration – à tous ceux qui ont été déracinés, coupés, à ceux qui sont desséchés et défraîchis, aux gisants rabougris dans le désert. Pourquoi pleurons-nous ou fuyons-nous alors que cette promesse demeure?

Nous pouvons trouver ce vert, qui renait encore, si nous nous rendons aux côtés des Marie en deuil de ce monde, si nous extirpons les terrorisés qui se sont retirés dans leurs trous, si nous parcourons à pied le chemin d’Emmaüs avec ceux qui sont perdus et confus, si nous allons chercher les affamés dans le quartier appelé Galilée. « Nous le trouverons déjà là avant nous, porteur de la nouvelle vie verdoyante. « Le seul endroit où nous ne le trouverons pas, c’est dans le tombeau ».

La Très Rév. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Évêque président et Primat
de l’Église épiscopale

Dominic Barrington named dean of St. James Cathedral, Chicago

Episcopal News Service - seg, 23/03/2015 - 09:23

[St. James Cathedral Chicago press release] Saint James Episcopal Cathedral in Chicago has called the Rev. Dominic Barrington, an English priest with a background in arts management and a commitment to supporting the Christian communities in Israel and Palestine, to be its dean.

“In Dominic Barrington, St. James Cathedral has called a strong, loving and wise priest to be its dean,” Chicago Bishop Jeffrey D. Lee said. “I believe he will be an inspirational leader at the cathedral, and a strong presence in the city of Chicago, championing the mission and ministry of the cathedral as a place of extraordinary hospitality, significant outreach, and excellence in the arts.”

Barrington, 52, will be installed as the cathedral’s dean on Sept. 13, pending the approval of non-immigrant visas for him and his family. He said he is eager to begin work at St. James, which he described as “a robust, educated, switched-on Christian community that has a sense of who they are as the Body of Christ in downtown Chicago.”

Though he has served in the Church of England throughout his ordained ministry, Barrington spent a year as an exchange student at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, an Episcopal seminary in Berkeley, California. He later developed an extensive network in the United States through his work in the Holy Land, where he organizes and leads pilgrimages structured to provide income and employment for the indigenous Christian business community.

“We were looking for a dean who could help us to open our doors to a greater cross-section of God’s people, deepen our involvement in the life of the city and strengthen our arts and music program,” said Graham Bell, leader of the cathedral’s governing chapter. “We are delighted that Dominic has accepted our call.”

Barrington has been rector of a church in Kettering, England, 90 miles north of London, for 12 years. He and his wife Alison have two sons, Benedict, 7, and Linus, 5. Before ordination he spent five years with Arts Council England where he worked to create and fund new performance opportunities for many internationally renowned ensembles, including the London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic orchestras.

Executive Council wraps up 2013-2015 triennial work

Episcopal News Service - sab, 21/03/2015 - 21:23

Executive Council meets March 21 in its last plenary session of the 2013-2015 triennium. The March 19-21 meeting took place in downtown Salt Lake City near the Salt Palace Convention Center, the setting of the June 23-July 3 meeting of General Convention. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City, Utah] The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council during its March 19-21 meeting here celebrated its work together and looked forward to the future.

“A fair amount of energy during the gathering was devoted to issues of transition,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts said of the meeting during a press conference. “Executive Council reviewed its work of the last triennium and they made recommendations that they will pass on to the next iteration of Executive Council.”

“The work of Executive Council has been full this triennium and I think they have good reason to be proud of what they have accomplished,” she added.

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, said during the news conference that “one thing that distinguishes this council is that throughout the triennium” they have “lent a critical eye to how the council functions and how the council can be even more effective in how it works.”

Each of council’s five standing committees wrote a memo to its successor, outlining the work it has done as well as partially completed work that they recommend be continued, and the outgoing class has written a similar memo about council’s overall functioning. The terms of half of the 38 members ends this summer after the 78th meeting of General Convention.

When that June 23-July 3 meeting convenes here in Salt Lake City, debates over the governance structures of the Episcopal Church, including council, will feature prominently. In one of its last acts of the triennium, council agreed to issue a response to some of the recommendations of the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church.

TREC grew out of General Convention Resolution C095, which called for a committee to develop a plan for “reforming the church’s structures, governance, and administration.”

“I had thought there might be some way of finding consensus around the TREC report [but] I don’t think there’s a lot of consensus around the TREC report,” John Johnson, who chaired a small group of council members that drafted the response, told council as he presented the report for its approval.

Because of that lack of consensus, the committee made a few general comments about the report before responding specifically to what TREC said about Executive Council.

The statement, whose final text will be available soon, said that TREC’s structural resolutions “while bold for some, follow a path often focused on saving money but without a clear vision of what mission a new structure will allow the wider church to pursue.”

The statement said the council is “committed to thoughtful and bold change in the structure and governance of the Episcopal Church,” and it added that “the scope of work for TREC may not have been to present a bold new mission for the wider Episcopal Church, but we wonder with the church what this renewal might look like.”

Executive Council member Deborah Stokes leads the Prayers of the People March 21 during Eucharist. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

“Is the mission of The Episcopal Church to bring the world to the church or to bring The Episcopal Church to the world and what does that look like in the 21st century?” the council asked.

The Executive Council carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1)(a). It is now composed of 38 members, 20 of whom (four bishops, four priests or deacons and 12 lay people) are elected by General Convention and 18 (one clergy and one lay) by the nine provincial synods for six-year terms – plus the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies. TREC called for reducing the membership to 21 “to improve its effectiveness as a board.”

Council said the reduction would not improve its effectiveness. “While we understand the concern about reducing the cost of governance, we also are concerned that false economies could harm the church in the long run,” the statement said.

Council divides itself into five standing committees, plus occasional subcommittees, and the statement said that much of the work of council happens in those smaller groups, “which allows Council to engage in a deep, substantive discussion on important fiduciary and missional concerns in a workable group size.”

Reducing the size of council “inevitably means diminished representation and perspectives from the broader church,” the council said, adding that a smaller council would also mean “diminished capacity for fiduciary oversight.”

The last meeting of convention also said, via Resolution D016, that “it is the will of this convention to move the church center headquarters” away from the building that the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society owns at 815 Second Avenue in New York. (The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is the legal and canonical name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business and carries out mission.)

The final text of the resolution was significantly amended during convention debate to remove directives that would have required council to sell or lease out the entire property and relocate the church center headquarters “as soon as it is economically feasible.”

Council has spent the triennium studying the implications of D016 and on March 21 council agreed to preserve and continue the work of its subcommittee on church center relocation by creating an ad hoc committee of Executive Council for the next triennium.

The committee will be charged with examining the missional, strategic, and financial aspects of the location of the church center and with providing a final recommendation to the Executive Council. The charge is similar to that of the subcommittee whose work is ending.

Council Member Bryan Krislock, who co-chaired the subcommittee with Fredrica Harris Thompsett, said the group’s extensive “listening process” (including a churchwide survey and individual interviews with “key stake members”) showed that “to be blunt, there’s no consensus.” The listening “revealed a deep divide among the members of the church, not just specific to members of council but to the members of the church in terms of what is the best missional strategy for the church center,” he said.

Some believe a building is not needed, others said there should multiple locations, others said there should be a presence in New York area but not at the current address while others called for a more geographically central location in the United States. The “significant factions” of opinion come from all over the country, are in all orders of ministry and have all sorts of relationships with the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff, Krislock said.

The subcommittee worked with professionals to analyze potential alternative sites and the cost involved in such moves. “We have excellent financial information,” Harris Thompsett told her colleagues. “We have some strategic information, but not yet the clear focus for the direction of a church center or centers.”

Krislock said the subcommittee is “still grappling with the broader strategic questions about where the church center or the church staff should be located, how those interact with the costs and the best way to evaluate the financial information we’ve received and analyze it in a meaningful way to prepare a final recommendation.”

The subcommittee was concerned that its work to date would be lost in the transition between triennia, he said. The group believes the work needs to continue “and we do not leave the impression that we have in essence given up.”

Harris Thompsett agreed, adding “we’ve gone as far as we can go with intelligence and integrity.”

When asked why the new committee would report its final recommendation to council and not to the General Convention, Krislock noted that the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society owns the New York church center property and the council, as its board of directors, is the only entity that can decide to sell it.

The subcommittee will soon submit a report that is meant to be an appendix to the council’s Blue Book report. That report will not contain specifics about “geographic hunches” or financial information due to the incomplete state of the subcommittee’s work, Harris Thompsett said.

In other action, council:
* Affirmed the House of Bishops’ March 17 resolution calling for an independent commission to explore the canonical, environmental, behavioral and procedural dimensions of matters involving the serious impairment of individuals serving as leaders in the church. The commission, which is due to be appointed by Jefferts Schori in consultation with Jennings, is supposed to give special attention to issues of addiction and substance abuse. Council revised the 2015 budget to include $150,000 to fund the commission’s work.

* Passed resolutions offered by its Joint Standing Committee on Advocacy and Networking on urging Episcopalians, governments and non-governmental organizations to oppose human trafficking, religious persecution, and climate change.

* Agreed to require that all children and staff participating in the General Convention Children’s Program be vaccinated. A child may be exempted by presenting a certificate from a physician certifying that a person’s physical condition precludes one or more immunizations.

The March 19-21 meeting took place at the Radisson Salt Lake City Downtown.

Summaries of the resolutions council passed at this meeting are here.

Some council members tweeted from the meeting using #ExCoun.

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

Presiding Bishop’s sermon from Executive Council

Episcopal News Service - sab, 21/03/2015 - 13:39

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori delivered the following sermon on March 21 during the opening Eucharist at the Episcopal Church Executive Council meeting currently gathered  at the Radisson Salt Lake City Downtown.

Thomas Cranmer
21 March 2015
Executive Council closing Eucharist
Salt Lake City, UT

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

The Psalm assigned for today includes this line: Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people.[1] Only a few hours more for half of this body, and then you can rest in peace. Like Israel, give thanks for coming into Zion[2] and finding it a land of plenty – of beauty, hospitality, and the invitation to live in peace with family and neighbors.

The Europeans who first settled in this valley came with strong religious convictions, believing that God was sending them into a new and pleasant land. But as Israel discovered, there were already people living in the land of promise. Like many if not most of the early European settlers, the followers of Joseph Smith[3] began by trying to live in peace with the indigenous people, but eventually pushed them out, took their land, hunted their food, stole their water, and sometimes massacred them[4] or others who came after them.[5]

Visions of the holy frequently lead human beings to believe they have seen the whole of God’s salvation in one particular revelation, in one code of behavior, or in one new ecclesial direction. The saint we’re remembering today is a notable example.

Thomas Cranmer had great gifts as well as immense blindnesses. His life was a striking mix of deeply provocative theological wrestling and expedient action, both personal and political. One writer describes his character as encompassing a range “from a champion of the faith to a compromising sycophant and vows-breaker.”[6] He revived Christian worship by insisting on language “understanded of the people.” The Prayer Books[7] that he organized include language that still defines some of the most beautiful of English literature. Yet he was so certain of his own rightness that he forbade any other usage than what he himself had written and authorized.

And then there are the marriage issues, which we still haven’t completely solved. When Cranmer was ordained a priest, clergy were forbidden to marry, but he did so anyway. Maybe that’s why the first Book of Common Prayer counts the primary purpose of marriage was to avoid fornication. When the reality was discovered, he was sacked from his academic position. His wife died in childbirth shortly thereafter and he quickly got himself reappointed to the same post. Some years later, Henry VIII sent him to Europe, where he married the daughter of a Lutheran theologian. When Henry needed to appoint a new Archbishop of Canterbury in 1532, he named Cranmer, and he got him ordained bishop and installed, in spite of his married state. Henry later began to have qualms about that reality, so Cranmer sent his wife back to Europe. Cranmer, you may remember, was also responsible for much of the legal, political, and ecclesiastical work involving Henry’s marriages.

Every religious tradition has its skeletons and its saints, and sometimes they are the same people. Paul is warning his hearers not to count themselves better than their ancestors, for they all depend on the same rootstock – a root that nourishes the olive tree or the grape vine we cling to as intimate connection to God as Creator of all. That root is why we are here, and it is also why the LDS church is here.

When General Convention shows up here just over 3 months from now, many of the volunteers and dispensers of hospitality will be our sisters and brothers from that tradition. Will we recognize their welcome as a product of the same root, or will we assume that they come from a different and unrecognizable species?

Complexity defines human beings and their relationships, which just might convince us of the otherness of God. Difference is part of God’s creativity, from the riotous diversity of the species of creation to the inner chaos of most human beings. Paul names it when he says he wants to do the right thing, but he does something else instead.[8] Nevertheless, when people stay connected to that one rootstock, God can usually be found to bring something new and holy out of the mess.

Branches that seem radically different grow on the same tree and the same vine, even though we love to hate the ones who are not like us. We often in the church focus our attention on differences in reproductive customs and norms – yet both the grape vine and the olive tree has multiple ways to be generative. Flowers can be fertilized by pollen from the same plant or another one. The fruit and seeds that result are eaten by birds and animals and left to grow far from the original plant, yet they are still related. The vine also generates new branches from its rootstock or from distant parts of its branches. But all those kinds of vines and branches are related, however they come about.

God continues to bring new life out of chaos. Some time ago the LDS discovered, in the roots of their tradition, ways to include African-Americans after having long excluded them, and they are beginning to do the same for LGBT folk. Today Salt Lake ranks 7th in the nation for its proportion of gay and lesbian residents.[9] Episcopalians are still wrestling with our own patterns of exclusion: racism, classism, sexism, as well as assuming that everyone who should an Episcopalian already is.

Cranmer was right – worship and gospelling have to be understood by the people or they are utterly in vain. We have seen the evidence, and we are beginning to learn new ways. Jan Butter, who has just stepped down as the Anglican Communion Office’s Director for Communications, left a parting gift in a provocative paper about new ways of communicating. [10] He pushes us to take Cranmer’s genius about the vernacular and apply it to how we share Good News on our journey into Zion. We have opportunities to build and nurture community that didn’t exist even a few years ago. We are beginning to see the possibilities of recognizing and nurturing other parts of the vine for the good of the whole creation. Butter holds up the Episcopal Asset Map as a rare and innovative example of what might be possible.

We have all committed to follow the apostles toward Zion, resisting evil, proclaiming Good News in word and deed, seeking and serving Christ in everybody, striving for justice and peace, and recognizing the dignity of all humanity. That will always challenge us to see past the categories and labels that we use to divide and distinguish ourselves from others. Our repentance must not be just about turning over a new leaf, but about changing our minds enough to recognize a new and different leaf as part of God’s creation, intimately related to us and to all that is. Proclaiming Good News can only begin with listening and beginning to understand the vernacular.

We have much to celebrate in the work of recent years – like the Mission Enterprise Zones and launching into new vineyards. And we must keep learning to talk to different branches of the vine.

What branches can you recognize today that you wouldn’t have three years ago? What are you doing to nurture their growth and vitality? What new vines or olive trees can you see in the distance? Cultivating an eye for recognizing other branches is an act of blessing and affirming what God is up to. Pray that we might see all creation is a grown on God’s own rootstock, and pray that it all might be fruitful.

Blessed be the Lord who has given us a vision of rest and peace for all, and for giving us vines, olive trees, and branches to keep us connected to that vision.

[1] 1Kings 8:56

[2] Both the Salt Lake Valley and the figurative sense of a community of the righteous

[3] Brigham Young led the migration to what is now Utah after Joseph Smith was assassinated in Illinois in 1844

[4] http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/672

[5] http://mountainmeadowsmassacre.com/

[6] John-Julian, Stars in a Dark World, p 613

[7] Both the 1549 and 1552 versions

[8] Romans 7:15

[9] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/21/upshot/the-metro-areas-with-the-largest-and-smallest-gay-population.html?emc=edit_th_20150321&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=44355849&_r=0&abt=0002&abg=0

[10] Jan Butter, “The Choice Before Us” 18 March 2015, Anglican Communion Office. This will be posted at a later date.

Faith leaders unite with business leaders to end scourge of slavery

Episcopal News Service - sex, 20/03/2015 - 10:38

United Thank Offering board President Barbara Schafer, far right, makes a comment during a forum on sexual violence and human trafficking sponsored by the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations as a side event to the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, meeting March 9-20. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] The number of people who enslave adults and children for profit across the world is multiplying, and traffickers cumulatively make more money than the oil industry.

That’s the assessment of Archbishop David Moxon, the archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See and director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, who spoke during a recent forum at The Episcopal Church Center in New York.

Traffickers treat those they enslave “as sub-human, as cattle, as economic units for whom human dignity, human freedom, human opportunity, human potential do not exist because you can make a lot of money quickly,” he said.

The forum on sexual violence and human trafficking was sponsored by the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations as a side event to the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, meeting March 9-20. A crowd filled the church center’s Chapel of Christ the Lord for Moxon’s March 12 presentation, the first part of which was devoted to participants describing their efforts against human trafficking.

Human trafficking and enslavement are “driven by [a] commercial profit-making endeavor, which is driven by greed, for which there is a massive demand,” Moxon said.

It is hard to determine the number of people ensnared in this market, he said, because, “How do you quantify something that’s hidden?”

Hotly debated estimates range between 25 million and 40 million people. Moxon cites the Global Slavery Index’s estimate of 35.8 million, but adds that whatever the number “It’s huge, and it has to be stopped.”

When police try to target traffickers, however, “the prosecution rate is rather low because they shift, they move, they change borders, they cross countries,” he said. Traffickers “are assisted by international mafia, for example, in a way that eludes international police action quite well.”

While rescuing people from trafficking and slavery is important, Moxon said, “we could devote all our energy to rescue, and we’d be rescuing until the end of time.”

He countered the bleakness of this picture by describing what he called a new strategy linking business leaders with religious leaders across interfaith lines to turn off trafficking’s commercial tap and thus “bankrupt slavery.”

The odds are stacked against eliminating human trafficking and its frequent corollary of sexual violence, Moxon said, but we must try because “the world isn’t free until these people are free.”

Interfaith cooperation

The strategy for breaking the grip of traffickers that Moxon described began nearly two years ago when Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Pope Francis met for the first time. Welby knew that Francis had been “profoundly moved” by befriending a survivor of human trafficking in Argentina. Welby also knew that, early in his papacy, Francis had called for an examination of the church’s role in combating human trafficking and modern slavery. Thus, Moxon said, Welby “felt confident” that the pope would be open to his suggestion that their two churches try to work together against trafficking.

Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby found common ground on the issue of human trafficking from the first time they met, Archbishop David Moxon says. Photo: Global Freedom Network

The eventual result was the formation of the Global Freedom Network, which aims to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking by 2020. That goal was the subject of an agreement announced on March 17, 2014, at the Vatican.

At the same time, Australian philanthropist and businessman Andrew Forrest, an Anglican, decided to give away the fortune he had made in the mineral industry. In the midst of that effort, his daughter challenged him to pay attention to human trafficking. He formed the Walk Free Foundation, which seeks to end modern slavery. Forrest approached faith leaders all over the world to urge them to raise their voices against trafficking and modern slavery and to work together against it.

The organizers took an even larger step on Dec. 2 when 12 Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and Orthodox leaders met at the Vatican and signed the “Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery on World Day for the Abolition of Slavery”.

“In the eyes of God, each human being is a free person, whether girl, boy, woman or man, and is destined to exist for the good of all in equality and fraternity,” the statement said, calling modern slavery a “crime against humanity.” Its signatories pledged “to work together for the freedom of all those who are enslaved and trafficked so that their future may be restored.”

Achieving such unanimity has “been hard, it’s been rocky, it’s been turbulent,” Moxon said, but in the end “all the theology … jelled.” He noted, for instance, that both Shia and Sunni Muslim leaders signed the declaration.

The declaration was signed just weeks after ISIS announced that slavery must be foundational to the new caliphate it says it is fighting to create, said Moxon, calling that sentiment “deeply sickening.”

Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, back row on right, were among 12 Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and Orthodox leaders meeting at the Vatican Dec. 2 who signed the “Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery on World Day for the Abolition of Slavery”. Photo: Global Freedom Network

The coalition of faith leaders will remain fragile at times, Moxon said, but the leaders hope to continue to find common ground.

“We’ve never done this before — hammered out a strategic plan of a practical sort, with its important spiritual, theological backdrop — and it’s quite complex,” Moxon told ENS after the forum. “But I do think mission should drive ecumenism and interfaith action more than it does. That would help us a lot because if you’re just discussing concepts and theological motions, there will be endless details you can go on debating for a long, long time.”

Instead, Moxon asked, paraphrasing a statement from Pope Francis: “Why don’t we act as if we are one now in the face of global evil?”

Anti-slavery strategies
In the face of that evil, the Global Freedom Network intends to act on a list of strategies, beginning with what is known as supply-chain auditing and cleansing. The process is designed to help companies reduce or eliminate the risk of modern slavery occurring in their supply chains, either as a direct or indirect result of their procurement practices.

Or, as Moxon put it, it enables them to “get themselves slave-free for the good of their own soul, for the good of their country, for the good of the world and for the good, above all, of the people who have been enslaved.”

Supply-chain auditing is crucial because, “apart from the sex industry, the only reason slavery exists is somebody is paying for the product the slaves make,” Moxon said.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby signs the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery on World Day for the Abolition of Slavery during a Dec. 2 meeting at the Vatican. The Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Al Modarresi of Iraq, another of the 12 religious leaders who signed the declaration, looks on. Photo: Global Freedom Network

The Walk Free Foundation offers a guide (“Tackling Modern Slavery in Supply Chains”) for businesses that want to embark on that effort. U.S. electronics maker Hewlett Packard already has done this work, according to Moxon. Because faith leaders can speak to business leaders about the dignity of every human being, the archbishop of Canterbury will host a meeting of leaders of British corporations to encourage them to use the process.

In a related move, the Global Freedom Network and Walk Free want to foster micro-financing programs through which people can earn more money for their work and thus not fall prey to false promises of wages from people who turn out to be slavers.

Another strategy, caring for the survivors of trafficking, is especially suited to faith communities, Moxon said. Offering long-term support and “genuine restorative friendship” is crucial, and something that churches can do far better than governments, he said.

The groups also are advocating for legal reforms to institutionalize supply-chain auditing and cleansing in ways that reward companies that do so. One such law is being proposed in the U.K. Parliament, he said. Moxon said some companies are leery of doing the audit because they fear prosecution over what they discover.

Education and awareness-raising is another strategy and the Global Freedom Network offers resources that faith communities can use to do that work amongst themselves.

The network wants to identify the 10 most slave-prone countries and establish local councils to devise local solutions based in each country’s customs, laws, culture, financial resources and existing efforts. Forrest, the Australian philanthropist, has donated $25 million for beginning this effort and others, especially the micro-financing strategy, Moxon said.

Another strategy is to educate people about human trafficking. The Global Freedom Network offers resources that faith communities can use to do that work amongst themselves.

Growing awareness
Moxon described his own growing awareness of the issue. Before he went to the Anglican Centre in Rome, Moxon was one of the archbishops of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. A New Zealand native, Moxon said that he was “only vaguely aware” of the pervasiveness of human trafficking and modern slavery before the archbishop of Canterbury asked him to get involved. Two years of studying the issue and helping to form the Global Freedom Network have left their mark on him.

Archbishop David Moxon presides at Eucharist March 12 in The Episcopal Church Center’s Chapel of Christ the Lord. Moxon, the archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See and director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, later hosted a forum on human trafficking and sexual violence. Assisting him at the Eucharist were the Rev. Canon James Calloway, Colleges and University of the Anglican Communion general secretary, and Angie Cabanban, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s diversity and ethnic ministries associate. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

“It was a huge eye-opener; quite extraordinary,” he said during the ENS interview.

It also changed how he looks at the women in his life.

“The question of slavery has made me supersensitive to anything that looks like someone is expected to do too much for nothing,” he said.

He also learned that much of the work needed to eliminate human trafficking is “dangerous or difficult or politically complicated, religiously sensitive, and you don’t necessarily see the glorious outcomes or the spiritual import, even.” But the work must be done, he said.

Earlier in the day, during his sermon at a Eucharist in the chapel, Moxon told the story of a monk who longed to encounter Christ in his prayers said in his cell. Instead, he found him in the people he was required to serve each day.

The question of “do we believe Christ is there or not is the really fundamental point,” Moxon said. “Do you believe it or not, is what it comes down to.”

Editor’s note: The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council may consider a resolution March 21 to express its support of the collaborative efforts of worldwide governmental and non-governmental bodies to eradicate human trafficking, and call the Episcopal Church to action in a variety of ways.

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