que virá sobre vós, para serdes minhas testemunhas
em Jerusalém, por toda Judéia e Samaria,
e até os confins da terra.”
Neste Pentecostes, somos lembrados novamente de que a Páscoa de Jesus não termina. Continua com energia e vigor para que nossas vidas sejam plenas e completas. Deus conosco que permanece conosco. Seu Espírito de perturbação e desarrumação paira sobre nossas cabeças como lembrança da missão para a qual somos convocadas/os.
A celebração de Pentecostes é a memória fundamental e a afirmação máxima em nossa tradição espiritual, teológica e pastoral de que o diálogo e a permanência no diálogo é destino último, mas é principalmente caminho, método, jornada. O jeito como lidamos com os acontecimentos da vida é expressão da nossa espiritualidade e fé.
Em Atos 2 temos um testemunho de que a diversidade é não só possível mas é o desejo de Deus, que permitiu que cada um falasse sua própria língua no episódio da torre de Babel, e agora permite que todos escutem e entendam em sua própria língua a mensagem de unidade, amor, ternura e compromisso do Evangelho. Ir ao encontro do outro onde ele está e entrar em seu universo é desafio permanente para nossa missão e nossa presença como sacramento de Jesus aqui e agora.
A força do Espirito Santo vai para além de qualquer descrição possível . O Espirito é vento forte que renova, transforma e cria novo tempo, nos trazendo nova vida nos oferecendo nova energia.
A Igreja de Jesus é chamada a cada dia a manter viva a chama do Espírito para que a missão nunca esfrie, mas também o vento impetuoso que desarruma o que está confortável e nos impulsiona para fora de nosso centro, nos torna ex-centricos, como o samaritano na estrada que percebe, se aproxima, toca, cuida, comparte recursos, agrega mais gente no serviço (diaconia) para a vida e se oferece como sacro-ofício para o futuro (pode-se contar com ele).
A Igreja de Jesus é chamada a manter a diversidade e a aprender a dialogar sempre, mesmo no sofrimento e na incompreensão, a fim de que a salvação (o cuidado, a cura, a ternura) seja compreendida e experimentada por todos
Convoco a Igreja a se deixar mover pelo Espirito Santo e nos deixar impulsionar por esta força interior que move nossas vidas e ações, que nos mantêm constantes apesar das turbulências e perseguições, que renova o compromisso e nos mantêm na esperança da Missão que é de Deus.
Convoco a Igreja a nos deixar mover pelo Espirito Santo, envolvendo-nos no movimento de oração da Semana do Pioneiros da Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil, 02 a 09 de junho de 2013.
Neste momento da Festa de Pentecostes, quero agradecer à Igreja pelo apoio e suporte nestes sete anos que tenho servido como vosso Bispo Primaz, e rogo a Deus que desde já estejamos unindo-nos em oração pelo Sínodo 2013, no qual será eleito um novo Bispo Primaz para a Igreja.
A Festa de Pentecostes é uma nova oportunidade de renovação da vida da Igreja que se faz comunidade na Oração, no partir do pão, e no serviço a todas as pessoas.
Que este vento impetuoso nos mova para caminhos novos, porque o Espírito do Senhor está sobre nós e nos envia.
Vem Espirito, Vem!
Brasilia, 19 de maio de 2013.+ Dom Mauricio Andrade, Primaz
[Religion News Service – Washington, D.C.] Twenty-five top Christian leaders gathered in the U.S. city with perhaps the worst reputation for civil discourse May 15 and committed themselves to elevating the level of public conversation.
Meeting in a row house three blocks from the U.S. Capitol, the group spanned the Christian spectrum, and included officials from liberal churches and the most conservative of interest groups.
“The ground of our spiritual understanding is in treating other people as the image of God, treating people with respect,” said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.
“Faith leaders have a remarkable opportunity to shift the conversation, but it’s very challenging, particularly in a larger society that wants to understand everything as a battle, as engaging the enemy, rather than with someone who might have something to teach us,” she said.
Among the others who joined Jefferts Schori at the two-day meeting sponsored by the nonprofit Faith & Politics Institute were Kenda Bartlett, the executive director of Concerned Women for America; the Rev. Jeffery Cooper, general secretary of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; Barrett Duke of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; and Sister Marge Clark of NETWORK, a Roman Catholic social justice advocacy group.
The “Faith, Politics and Our Better Angels: A Christian Dialogue to Promote Civility” forum convened for the first time last year.
As religious leaders, they agreed, they are called to move politicians, congregants and Americans in general to understand that mean-spirited debate makes it all the harder to solve the nation’s problems.
Sometimes, they said, that may mean calling out people — including themselves — who debate disrespectfully through name-calling or by questioning the motives of their political opponents.
“Everyone says they’re in favor of civil discourse, but the lack of civility seems to win elections,” said Ed Stetzer, vice president of research and ministry development at LifeWay Christian Resources.
“You need some voice to say, ‘OK, we get that it can win elections, but maybe that’s not the best course of action.’ Typically, we think of religious leaders as voices of conscience, calling people to a better way. So therein is the hope,” Stetzer said.
One idea the group is considering, Cooper said, is a national day of civil discourse — perhaps in January, as people are making New Year’s resolutions — when preachers across the country will ask their congregants to make respectful conversation a priority in their lives.
Anglicans and Episcopalians are being encouraged to inform themselves and join in the debate about the controversial and growing practice of drilling for natural gas known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
[Episcopal News Service] The Holy Spirit comes, for some, as a comforting presence. For others, it’s a disturbing upsetter. And still, for others, it is mysterious, even scary.
But don’t confuse it just with Pentecost – the 50th day after Easter – which the church observes this Sunday (May 19) and which “challenges us to focus at least one day on the Spirit’s activity in our life,” according to the Rev. Janet Broderick, rector of St. Peter’s Church, in Morristown, New Jersey.
“That’s what’s wonderful about the lectionary, it has us focus on this,” Broderick said during a May 16 interview. “I wish it were more, because the Spirit is outnumbered in the prayers, in the lectionary.”
While the Spirit hovered over the deep during creation (Genesis 1.1-7), it still hovers today but “we are so often afraid to talk about it,” Broderick added.
“Take a thing like someone who has a revelation or a word. People suddenly know something. They know suddenly their mother died. Or, their child would be safe or found. They knew. But they tell you in whispers; years later. They’re ashamed to say it because the idea is, if you talk about the Spirit, you’re crazy or worse than crazy, you’re presumptuous, you think you’re better than others.”
The Rev. Bill Countryman, professor emeritus of biblical studies at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California, said the Spirit defies definition. Its dual nature “can’t be pinned down. We don’t have control, therefore it requires a lot of reflection for individuals and community to discern what the Spirit is doing, and it’s never neat.”
The Spirit speaks to us through Scripture and sacrament, through gifts of ministry and in the experience of daily life and through other people and in conflict, he said.
It is “as simple as the strength we get from receiving the Eucharist again and again, which shapes our lives and tell us God is constantly with us, nourishing us, guiding us, giving us a sort of pattern to rely on in our lives,” he said.
But it can also be chaotic, upsetting and usher in change.
“The big changes in the Episcopal Church in my adult life have been responses above all to that,” Countryman said. “It became harder and harder to see any reason why women couldn’t be ordained, because there were women who had received gifts of ministry and who had great holiness of life, so why was it that only men could be ordained?
“The same thing happened again, with regard to gay and lesbian people,” he added. “It became harder to maintain the idea that same-sex attraction is simply an evil because there were so people who manifested holiness and gifts within the church who happened to be gay and lesbian. That’s an aspect of the Spirit’s work that we have most particularly been responding to and that’s been difficult for us.”
He added that “the Spirit is leading us into the truth of what Jesus already told us. It’s also the way in which the Gospel transforms our lives and no one generation is ever going to get that right. The whole history of humanity won’t get it right but the good news is, there’s hope even in our nastiest situations.”
Discerning the movement of the Spirit
Linnea Collins, manager of a Sun Valley, Idaho dental office, felt the Spirit’s powerful presence a year ago when she was finally able to answer a haunting question: “What is my ministry?
“I always thought I was on a track for ordination, priest or deacon,” Collins said during a recent telephone interview. “I went through discernment and they asked me about my ministry. I said I don’t know, I guess to walk with the people of God. It kept coming back to me, what is my ministry.”
Then last year, she “had a significant birthday and my son-in-law asked me ‘what is the one thing in your life you’d like to accomplish’.”
Suddenly, the answer was right there: “to work in a free medical or dental clinic.” After voicing it, the next step was obvious, especially when she learned of an available comparable position at the Boise-based Genesis World Mission (GWM), a nonprofit healthcare solutions agency.
Surprisingly, the agency offered her not one, but two jobs – as dental office manager and fund development director, because she had directed the annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival, honoring the local sheepherding tradition, for several years.
“What I think might be the right time is not necessarily God’s time,” said Collins, 60. “All of our patients live at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines, without Medicaid, without benefits; they are low-wage earners. One medical bill will break their budgets.
“But now, I have a ministry of action, a ministry of serving, and I think our patients do feel a difference, that they’re not a number. We wrap our arms around them. We do help them access medical and dental health and it is free.”
The Holy Spirit “works in great ways when you least expect it,” she added. “Sometimes you think God and the Spirit aren’t there, and you think ‘the heck with that, I’m going to power through this my way. It never works. It just doesn’t.”
Now, participating in the process of “creating a new program working with emergency rooms for folks with dental emergencies who have nowhere to go, I couldn’t be happier,” she said. “This may not be ‘the church’ but it is an extension of the church where we live daily our faith, compassion, love and ministry for those who need us most, the vulnerable and many times invisible.”
“Now, I’ve got a perfect match of putting all those pieces of my life and experience together. It sounds like a crazy story, but it’s my story.”
The Spirit’s gift of peace
Although he wasn’t familiar with any church, Jon Finley, 48, of San Diego knew instinctively he was in the presence of the Holy Spirit 16 years ago, during a moment that changed his life forever.
He’d just been diagnosed with full-blown AIDS. “I was devastated, because I hadn’t told anyone, even my closest friends, that I was gay,” he said during a recent telephone interview.
“I was scared, I wasn’t responding to any treatment or medication. I was losing weight. The doctor told me I had to quit work and go on disability. All I could think about was ‘how am I going to live? My whole world felt like it was turned upside down and I couldn’t tell anyone what was happening.”
With family in another state and the future uncertain, he contemplated suicide. “I was sitting in a chair sobbing,” he recalled. “I could hardly catch my breath. I was in a very dark place.”
Then, suddenly, “this feeling of calm came over me, a calm that I’ve never ever experienced before,” he said. “I still get cold chills when I think of it. It was like a weight was lifted off me and I knew that somehow everything was going to be OK.”
He knew it was the Holy Spirit because “it wasn’t me. I was hysterical. I really can’t describe it in words, I just knew. That was the start of my pursuit of religion.”
Although he still didn’t respond to the medication “my attitude changed. I was like a new person. The doctor said ‘whatever you’re doing, keep doing it,’” said Finley, who was confirmed at St. Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego at the March 30 Easter vigil this year.
Before his confirmation, he shared his story publicly, for the first time, with the congregation.
“This is a whole new chapter for my life and I’m putting it out there for everybody,” he said. “It’s just amazing to realize where I was before and to see where I am now. I feel like the Spirit guided me here, has guided me through that dark place and led me to the cathedral and to the point where I could finally speak the truth.
“Before, I thought I would rather die than let anyone know any of these things about me, I was so ashamed. Now I can say, this is my story.”
Accessing the Spirit
The Rev. Mary Crist, priest-in-charge at St. Michael’s Mission Outreach Center in Riverside, California, describes a Pentecost-like experience when she encountered a grief-stricken mother in the neonatal intensive care unit at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles.
“She was Latina, and she was crying. I greeted her in Spanish, but I only speak a little Spanish. She didn’t speak English. There were no other Spanish speakers around at all,” Crist recalled during a May 16 telephone interview.
“She told me that she had given birth to 23-week-old twins and that her baby boy had died the previous day. Her baby girl was going to be removed from the ventilator in the morning.
“I call it a Holy Spirit moment because it was pastoral for all of us,” Crist said. “I sat down and we held each other. I felt very deeply I was given the tools to communicate, to listen, to act compassionately, to be of comfort to her.”
The second twin died during that night but the moment “changed me forever,” Crist said. “It gave me that sense [that] I don’t have to always have words or to be able to do what I think I should say or do.
“It was just immersing myself in the love of God through that comforter. I believe we can access it because it was promised to us on Pentecost and I believe we can access it when we’re open to it.”
The Rev. Judith Favor, who teaches at the Claremont School of Theology in California, is ordained in the United Church of Christ and is a spiritual director, says one way to tap into the Spirit’s presence is through “mindfulness meditation.
“Contemplative focus on the breath and/or repeating a single word in centering prayer cleanses the lens of perception, scrubs the mind clean of toxic worries and opens the heart to receive the subtle invitations from the sacred,” she said.
Another way is to “slow things down,” she added. When offering spiritual direction, “I invite the speaker to pause in the usual rush of talk, to notice subtle nudges from the beloved, to name delicate emotions, to linger with touches of presence and to savor them.”
She adds that: “The path of love can be rigorous, demanding and difficult. Saying yes to God and each other is always challenging, especially if the other person is rooted in a different culture, language or religious tradition. Letting go of ‘otherizing’ is very hard but the contemplative path awakens us and invites us to keep showing up for sacred and human encounters.”
Says Countryman: “The Holy Spirit will always remain a mystery to us and that’s good. It’s a reminder that we don’t know it all, that we still have more to learn, a lot more growing to do in the faith. That, and all these things are great protections against idolatry. It’s so easy for us to take the faith as we happen to know it, and to treat it as if it were identical with God. But God is always greater than what we have.”
–The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a correspondent for the Episcopal News Service. She is based in Los Angeles.
[Episcopal News Service] When the members of The Falls Church Episcopal formally install their new rector and celebrate their ministry together May 15, it will be just more than a year since they first returned to their historic building, nine months since their rector joined them and five days ahead of what they had hoped would be the last deadline in the parish’s nearly seven-year-old property dispute.
“It will be a night where we give gratitude for the past and we express our excitement about the present and the future [and] the great things that God is doing here,” said the Rev. John Ohmer, Falls Church rector, in an interview.
Diocese of Virginia Bishop Shannon Johnston, who will lead the service, told Episcopal News Service that the celebration and renewal of ministries “holds tremendous significance” for the congregation.
“After returning to their home parish a year ago, the members and leadership of this congregation have invested tremendous energy in their mission and ministry as a congregation. At this service, we will come together to celebrate that renewal and commitment to a very promising future,” he said. “That we can do so in this historic setting, home to so many generations of Episcopalians, is most fitting.”
Johnston said Ohmer “brings remarkable vision and spirit” to The Falls Church. Ohmer, the Rev. Cathy Tibbetts, vicar, and the lay leadership of the congregation “are working together to ensure that The Falls Church continues to grow and thrive in its service to Christ,” he added.
Falls Church Episcopal has been moving into its future ever since members of the historic parish in suburban Washington, D.C., voted overwhelmingly in December 2006 to leave the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church in a theological dispute. Those who decided to leave in fact stayed in the Falls Church property and refused to return it to the diocese.
Only 27 of the nearly 2,800 members remained united with the Episcopal Church after the vote. They began meeting in a living room and elected a vestry. Then-Virginia Bishop Peter Lee assigned clergy to the group and soon Falls Church Presbyterian across the street from Episcopal Church property offered them worship space in their loft. The group soon outgrew the loft and moved twice to larger Presbyterian spaces.
“The Presbyterians were absolutely amazing,” said parishioner Matt Rhodes. “We’re still involved with the shared ministry they do with the homeless.”
The average Sunday attendance soon grew to between 80 and 100, and from the beginning, Ohmer said, the Episcopalians “really had a compelling vision for what the Episcopal Church could be again in Falls Church.”
He added that he doubted that any of them expected to spend nearly seven years in a legal dispute over the church property that eventually went to the state Supreme Court. The Falls Church was one of 11 congregations in the diocese in which a majority of members voted to disaffiliate from the diocese and the Episcopal Church. Over the years, all but Falls Church Anglican had settled their property conflicts with the diocese and the church after judicial decisions in favor of the diocese and the church.
After a Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge ordered Falls Church Anglican in March 2012 to return the parish property to the diocese, the Anglicans only agreed to allow the Episcopalians to return to the parish building to celebrate Easter (April 8, 2012).
However, the Anglican congregation soon thereafter appealed to the state Supreme Court and in the meantime asked the Circuit Court to prevent the Episcopalians from returning again until the high court ruled. The Circuit Court refused and the Falls Church Episcopalians returned to their property on May 15, 2012.
On April 18 of this year, the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court ruling returning The Falls Church property to the Episcopalians.
The Rev. John Yates, Falls Church Anglican’s rector, told that congregation April 28 that the Supreme Court ruling was an “overwhelming rejection of our arguments” and “reduces our legal options drastically.”
“Unless we can discern that there are further means of appeal which make good sense, then we can say that it is clear – we will not be returning to our old property” or recovering little of the funds that are part of the dispute, he wrote.
And in his weekly message for the week of May 19, available on the Anglican congregation’s website May 15, Yates said: “We have received further confirmation that the courts are not likely to reverse last year’s ruling.” He explained why the congregation’s leaders are “willing to lose our property and move ahead into an uncertain, unclear future.”
Still, Falls Church Anglican has until May 20 to ask the Supreme Court for a rehearing on its decision and a May 10 letter from the congregation’s two wardens and vestry indicated that the church will ask that court to reconsider its ruling. The Anglican congregation’s lawyers told the vestry that the Supreme Court based its ruling “on an argument that had never, in seven years of court proceedings, been presented by the other side” and that they had not been able to address, according to the letter. Thus, the vestry said it will be “filing a short [rehearing] petition with the court in a few days” as it continues its search for a permanent home.
“It was, of course, our hope that they would have decided that it was time to close this long legal chapter, and focus all their finances and energies, and allow us to focus all of our energies, on our ministries,” Ohmer told ENS.
Ohmer said that one of his frustrations is how the long legal process has “falsely convinced” some people that Anglicans and Episcopalians are meant to square off against each other “when in fact where we should all be marshaling our energies is in battling the common enemy we both share: that of rampant consumerism in our culture, and a general sense of meaninglessness, hopelessness, loneliness, and purposelessness.”
“Those are some of the common enemies that both ‘sides’ have,” he said, “to which the Gospel is an alternative, and I am eager to live into the day where they’re able to focus 100 percent of their energies and we are able to focus 100 percent of our energies and resources on our ministries, which are after all the same ministries.”
Ohmer said he spent 13 years as rector of St. James Episcopal Church in Leesburg, Virginia, throwing away any parish profile that came his way, he said, until he saw the one from The Falls Church Episcopal.
“There was something about this lovely, hardworking, patient group of people,” he said. “It’s a compelling story of people who really believe in themselves as a faith community that is loyal to the Episcopal Church, loyal to the Gospel and wants to be good news to the community. They’ve been through a really tough time, exiled from their own property for six, almost seven years.”
Rhodes and his family felt the same way. When the Rev. Michael Pipkin, who was priest-in-charge early after the split, needed back surgery, a priest from the Rhodes’ parish, Christ Church in Alexandria, was among the clergy who covered for him. Rhodes, who lives a mile from The Falls Church, said his family decided to attended one Sunday in 2008 to give the priest some familiar faces in the congregation.
“We never left,” he said.
“There’s a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of energy, a lot of growth” that Rhodes said comes from being back in the Falls Church property and the sense of looking outward from the church and into the future that Ohmer brought to the parish.
The congregation is discerning how best to be the good news to the community of Falls Church that Ohmer describes, both through outreach ministries such as the homeless ministry with the Presbyterians and through greater use of the church’s buildings. The church opened its doors to support groups, an English as a Second Language class and civic groups looking for meeting and banquet space.
In one case, a predominantly African-American congregation that needed a place to mark its first anniversary contacted Falls Church Episcopal and wound up celebrating in its sanctuary. Ohmer said that during the course of planning, they learned that the congregation’s senior pastor had no office and was running the church out of her car and a local Starbucks. She now rents space at Falls Church Episcopal for a minimal cost, he said.
Ohmer said they are showing that the slogan “The Episcopal Church welcomes you” is “true about the faith community and it’s true about the buildings and grounds.”
“We have a goal that a large percentage of the property is used a large percentage of the time by the wider community,” he said.
The growth in congregants — between 180 and 220 people now attend on an average Sunday — has included former members who “left when they saw what was coming in terms of the split” as well as people who have never been part of Falls Church, people new to the area and other Episcopalians “who came to see what we were all about,” Rhodes said. The Sunday school and youth group are growing as young families join, he added.
On May 15, the parish will officially welcome the latest group of between 30 and 40 newcomers, Ohmer said, calling them “a very strong outward and visible sign of the new energy and life going on here.”
And, while Falls Church Episcopal has been growing and looking outward, and dealing with the protracted legal issues, the parish has had to deal with the aftermath of the split on another more personal level. Families were and still are divided by the decisions of 2006, Ohmer said. In some cases one spouse might attend Falls Church Anglican while the other worships at Falls Church Episcopal.
When pastoral concerns arise in those families, Ohmer said, “those kinds of differences simply go away when it comes to pastoral care; we take care of one another’s families.”
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Episcopal News Service has launched a new section, On The Move, sharing the news of churchwide appointments, job transitions, clergy ordinations and retirements.
“We wanted to add this new section to the Episcopal News Service website to make it easier for people to share the news of their job transitions with the wider Episcopal Church,” explained the Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg, Episcopal News Service editor/reporter.
On the Move, available here provides an area for announcements of ordinations, promotions, calls, hiring or retirements in an Episcopal Church-related job. A user-friendly form can be uploaded by the person or someone on his/her behalf, provided they verify their relationship.
Matthew Davies, Episcopal News Service editor/reporter, added, “Based on the number of job-change announcements Episcopal News Service routinely receives, we believe that our readers will greatly appreciate this service.”
“While Episcopal News Service will continue to report major employment announcements such as bishop elections, this new service expands the news available to our readers and assists us in our comprehensive coverage of the Episcopal Church,” explained Lynette Wilson, Episcopal News Service editor/reporter.
On the Move joins other reader-driven sections of the Episcopal News Service website, including Featured Jobs and Calls, a bulletin board where Episcopal Church-related institutions can post job announcements for free and Featured Listings, a similar area for announcement of events and other opportunities. In January, Episcopal News Service launched a section for reader-submitted obituaries.
The Rev. Canon Lee Alison Crawford was called in early April to serve at Church of Our Saviour, Mission Farm in Killington, Vermont.
Church of Our Saviour is home to a bakery and guest house that sleeps 16 people. Its 170 acres alongside a river and up to a mountain ridge provide walking trails for the community to enjoy.
Crawford comes to Mission Farm with 19 years of ministry in the Diocese of Vermont. She continues to serve as canon missioner of the Episcopal Anglican Church of El Salvador, a position she has held since 2004.
Trinity Episcopal Children’s Center (TECC), a ministry of Trinity Episcopal Church in Towson, Maryland that offers quality preschool and child care for two-year-old, three-year-old, and pre-kindergarten children, has named Mrs. Corby Pine as its new director.
Pine will be responsible for TECC’s operations starting June 17, 2013. Working with an experienced, professional, and caring team of early-childhood educators, she will help TECC continue to carry out its mission of creating an atmosphere in which each child can develop a love of God, a sense of self-worth, and respect for others.
“Corby brings a wealth of educational experience with her, and we look forward to her arrival and leadership at TECC,” said Jeff Simon, president of the ministry board of the Children’s Center. The Rev. Ken Saunders, rector of Trinity Church, said, “Her nurturing character and love of the children will be a great fit with the philosophy and spirit of the Trinity community.”
Pine has worked at the Elmhurst Nursery School since 1997, teaching two- and three-year-olds, coordinating the science program (twos through kindergarten), and most recently serving as assistant to the director.
She has also held the position of interim director of Christian education at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Baltimore, and has held teaching positions at the Garrison Forest School and the Boys’ Latin School. Pine is an adjunct professor at Towson University, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses for majors in elementary education and science education for early childhood.
Pine has a master’s degree in education from the University of Virginia and an undergraduate degree from Sweet Briar College in Virginia.
The Rev. Rebecca Lynn Willoughby (Becky) Dinan, an Episcopal priest known for her creative preaching, teaching and spiritual guidance, died of cancer at her home in Northport, Maine on April 11, 2013. She was 70. She was preceded in death by her husband of nearly 40 years, Joseph Dinan.
Becky was born in Appalachia, Virginia in 1942. She was stricken with polio at the age of four, which left her with an impaired left leg, but her response to this challenge revealed the courageous spirit and determination that characterized her life . Growing up in rural Virginia in a loving family, Becky developed as a writer and teacher. She pursued her studies at Radford University, earning a bachelor’s degree in English in 1963. Called to the ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church, she began her preparation at the Ecumenical Institute of St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. Graduating from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1980, she was ordained deacon and priest by the Rt. Rev. David K. Leighton, Diocese of Maryland.
Becky served the church as a chaplain at Goucher College, the Johns Hopkins University Hospital and as an assistant priest at Trinity Church, Towson, MD and Grace Episcopal Church, Elkridge, MD. In addition, Becky served as an adjunct professor of preaching at Virginia Theological Seminary. Several of her sermons are etched in the memories of the students and colleagues who experienced them. In one, she came into the sanctuary dressed as a cleaning lady. It was Maundy Thursday, the traditional day for the washing of the feet. Becky started her sermon loudly proclaiming “I don’t wash nobodies feet”, as she kicked the pail and mop she had with her. She had everyone’s attention. After moving to Maine, Becky continued her ministry of spiritual companionship.
During her years in Maine post-polio syndrome limited her physical activities and caused her much physical anguish. She met this late-life challenge as she had the earlier challenges in her life – with courage and defiance. She departed this life unbroken, ready for, as she told her brother Ron, “my next mission.”
Remembering Becky, the Rev. Kingsley Smith commented to the Alumni Office of Virginia Seminary: “She was a women of sensitivity, cheerfulness, compassion and courage, never allowing the polio which afflicted her from childhood to limit her. I was her mentor, and then she became mine.” A close colleague and friend, Nicki Ridenour of Towson, remembers “the depth of her faith and her obedience to her Lord, her support, her willingness to speak her mind and her wonderful laugh and sense of humor. She will be missed!”
In addition to her husband Joe, Becky was predeceased by her father, Harry Willoughby and her sister-in-law Judy Willoughby. She is survived by her mother Ruth Willoughby of Suffolk, VA, her brother Ron Willoughby of Riner, VA, her niece Kathy Willoughby of West Palm Beach, FL, her nephew Rick Willoughby and his wife Beth of Floyd, VA, her grand-niece Wesley Slack of West Palm Beach, FL, and special friend and caregiver Bonnie Young of Swanville, ME.
The Rt. Rev. Ted Gulick will preside at a memorial service at The Church of St. Clement in Alexandria, VA on May 17. There will be a private memorial service for Becky at her home in Maine, and the family will scatter Becky’s and Joe’s ashes in the field behind their home.
[General Theological Seminary -- Press Release] The Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle was elected on May 14, 2013 to be the 13th Dean and President of The General Theological Seminary in New York City by the GTS Board of Trustees. He will officially begin serving as Dean and President on July 1, 2013.
In his address to the Board of Trustees following his election, Dunkle said, “we need to return importance to the word ‘General’ in our title; we are The General Theological Seminary. We are the seminary for the entire church, not just one aspect or discrete group. We need to embrace the meaning and importance of being The General Theological Seminary in preparing for the leadership of the entire church.”
Dunkle voiced another goal in his first year of making sure that General is “joyful, thankful and useful: joyful in serving our mission of creating real leaders for the 21st century church; thankful to God for providing us this wonderful opportunity for ministry in Jesus’ name; and useful to the Episcopal Church. I am so excited to see how this joy will unfold, how we can be most useful to growing our faith communities. This is a wonderful time to be an Episcopalian and a great time to be at General. Alleluia!”
Before coming to General, Dunkle served as Rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Orange Park, Florida, a parish that experienced significant growth under his leadership. Just before his arrival in 2006, 965 of the 1,000 members had left the parish because of disagreements with The Episcopal Church. Today, the parish has over 500 members, an average Sunday attendance of almost 200, an expanding parish day school of students from preschool through eighth grade, a new organ, and emerging programs and parish life created from scratch. “I like to grow things and people,” Dunkle said.
Prior to his ministry at Grace, in his first call after ordination, Dunkle served as Canon to the Ordinary in the Episcopal Diocese of Florida, with responsibilities for staff administration, deployment, and representing the Rt. Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard in all aspects of diocesan life, particularly managing clergy and congregational conflict.
Dunkle is a graduate of General Seminary, where he earned the Seymour Prize in Preaching and served as a member of the Admissions Committee. Previously, he worked as a partner at Rogers Towers, the largest law firm in Jacksonville, Florida. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida’s College of Law, where he served on the Editorial Board of the university’s Journal of Law and Public Policy, and his bachelor’s degree from Duke University.
Dunkle believes one important characteristic of General Seminary’s future mission will be to teach future leaders how to help faith communities thrive. “Right now, one of the fundamentals largely missing in seminaries is how to grow the church in numbers of participants and in depth of engagement with Jesus Christ,” he said. “Training leaders to grow people and institutions, not just maintain them or even manage the decline gracefully, is essential in our Episcopal Church today. The Church and General should not just focus on survival; it’s about thriving. We need to develop a culture where thriving is the norm, and having more people in our Church with an increased focus on Jesus is the key to thriving.”
[Episcopal Diocese of Honduras -- Press Release] On May 4, 2013, during the 35th annual convention of The Diocese of Honduras at St. Mary’s Cathedral, The Rt. Rev. Lloyd E. Allen installed The Rev. Lura M. Kaval, a missionary of the Episcopal Church, as the Canon of Development.
The Diocese of Honduras has been funded as a program of The Episcopal Church for over 150 years, “It is time we stand on our own”, Bishop Allen again reiterated during his Diocesan address, “with Rev. Lura here in Honduras, we take a huge step forward toward that goal.”
Keeping with the long-range plan of the diocese and its commitment to being financially self-sufficient, Rev. Kaval’s, main responsibilities will focus on stewardship education, congregational development, financial transparency and planning, resource development, debt reduction and enhanced communication within the diocese and with their supporting partners.
The diocesan budget was cut by a third after the 2009 General Convention. Kaval will be assisting in the building up of the seven bi-lingual schools, working with the 52 clergy and 156 mission churches on stewardship education and entrepreneurial programs. A former business owner herself, with a background in marketing and finance, she graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1998.
Her ministry began in Diocese of Honduras in September of 2012 with the creation of the “Come and See the NEW Honduras” program, setting the guidelines for financial independence and self-sustainability by 2019. She and Bishop Allen have been traveling throughout the United States attending companion diocese councils and conventions sharing the program’s vision and goals for the last eight months.
In 2002 when she became rector of St. Christopher’s Church Linthicum, Maryland, the congregation was depleting its endowment. Eight years latter the small strong church took great pride and ownership of it operating budget and was able to provide thousands of dollars from its endowment to outreach efforts in their community and around the world.
She and her husband Richard Harlow are appointed missionaries from The Episcopal Church. He will be working with regional coordinators in Honduras to support mission teams throughout the diocese. “The Diocese of Honduras doesn’t need a hand out-they need a hand up,” according to Harlow a former Air Force analyst. “This diocese is full of wonderful resources and we appreciate the commitment of the people and churches in North America that are working side by side with us in partnership to become financially self-sustaining.”
“Come and See the NEW Honduras!” exhorts Rev. Kaval, “The Spirit is at work in the Diocese of Honduras and we are experiencing the transforming power of God in our schools, churches and in the lives of the people we serve in Jesus’ name. Come…and See!”
[Washington National Cathedral] Two experienced Episcopal Church leaders will join the staff of Washington National Cathedral in July, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, Cathedral dean, announced today. The Rev. Kim Turner Baker, currently chaplain at Washington Episcopal School in Bethesda, will be canon pastor; Ruth Frey, currently director of continuing education at Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Chicago, will be director of programs.
“Both Kim and Ruth have extensive experience in galvanizing church institutions to focus on the work that God is calling them to do,” said Hall. “I will count upon their leadership, their collaborative spirits, and their creativity as we at Washington National Cathedral continue working to play a meaningful role in our national life, engage with interfaith partners, and assess how we can help to meet some of the real needs of the city of Washington.”
Working with Dean Hall as canon pastor, Baker’s duties will include the Cathedral’s outreach and Christian formation ministries. She will also build relationships with the schools on the Cathedral Close: Beauvoir, the National Cathedral School for Girls and St. Albans School. The Rev. Canon Jan Naylor Cope, who as Cathedral vicar leads the Cathedral’s worshiping community on Dean Hall’s behalf and represents the Dean in his absence, will also continue working with the Rev. Gina Campbell, director of worship, and Canon Michael McCarthy, director of music, on the Cathedral’s liturgical life.
“I am looking forward to helping the Cathedral deepen relationships within the Close, the District of Columbia and the surrounding area,” said Baker, who is also eager to reinvigorate the Cathedral’s ministry within the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. “I am honored to be chosen as part of Dean Hall’s team, and I look forward to contributing my skills and experience to furthering the Cathedral’s mission particularly in the city of Washington.”
Baker chairs the standing committee of the diocese, a position she held during the search that culminated with the election of the Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde as bishop of Washington in 2010. She holds a bachelor degree from the University of Michigan, a juris doctor from Case Western Reserve University, and a master of divinity from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest.
A veteran of Trinity Church Wall Street’s Clergy Leadership Project and a member of the Union of Black Episcopalians, Baker has led congregations in diverse communities across the church and has particular experience with historically African American and bilingual, English/Spanish congregations.
As director of programs, Frey will direct the development and implementation of the Cathedral’s public education and arts programs working with Dean Hall and other senior staff. She will focus particularly on programs that facilitate theological reflection or that explore issues at the intersection of faith and current affairs.
“Accepting this position marks my return to Washington National Cathedral after nearly twenty years away,” said Frey, who served as director of programs for the Cathedral’s College for Preachers from 1993 to 1996; she had also served as a program intern while in seminary. “I am thrilled to be coming back. I look forward to working with Dean Hall and the Cathedral staff, with partners in Washington, and with colleagues around the Church and across the world to continue innovative programs that will bring the mission of the Cathedral to life.”
Frey holds a bachelor’s degree from Hobart & William Smith College and a master of divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary. She has held a variety of positions in adult learning and higher education in Chicago and was the founding coordinator of the Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops, clergy, and lay people working for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. A longtime Education for Ministry program mentor, Frey has published widely in the fields of adult learning and currently serves as a faculty member for CREDO, a wellness program for Episcopal clergy and bishops.
The Rev. Lyndon C. Shakespeare, who as director of program and ministry has overseen the Cathedral’s programmatic life and educational initiatives, will conclude his tenure in June as he works to complete his Ph.D. in theology, and further his vocational interests of working where the theological tradition of the Church meets the public sphere of politics, economics, and philosophy. In his time at the Cathedral, Shakespeare developed and coordinated the Cathedral’s Creation Care program year, as well as planned and participated in interfaith and public dialogue offerings. “We are grateful to Lyndon for the rich intellectual gifts he has brought to his work at the Cathedral and his rigorous theological perspectives on our ministry,” said Hall. “Our prayers and best wishes go with him as he explores new avenues for academic ministry.”
[Day 1] The Rev. Canon Louis “Skip” Schueddig, D.D., who retires this month after 30 years as head of the Alliance for Christian Media, will be honored with a special ecumenical Evening Prayer service on Tuesday, June 11, at 6 p.m. at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Ga. The service will be followed by a reception.
The Rev. Martha Sterne, priest associate and writer-in-residence at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church in Atlanta, will preach at the service. Vocalist Frank Thomas will perform.
Schueddig, who was called as president and executive director of the Alliance’s predecessor organization, the Episcopal Media Center, in 1983, has been a leader in church communications, media, and technology over the past three decades. He produced numerous film, video, and audio productions including several based on the works of C. S. Lewis.
Schueddig officially retired on May 1, and was succeeded last year as president of the organization by Peter Wallace, executive producer and host of the nationally syndicated radio program, “Day 1.” The Episcopal Media Center and Day1 organizations merged in 2004 to form the Alliance.
An ordained Episcopal priest and an honorary canon of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, Ga., Schueddig earlier served as rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, Mich. He was educated at Northwestern University, earning a degree in radio, television, and film, and received his M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary, which last year bestowed on him an honorary doctorate in divinity.
For more information, call toll free 888-411-Day-1 or check the program’s website, http://day1.org.
Foi anunciado oficialmente pelo Primaz Dom Maurício Andrade, bispo pró-têmpore da Diocese Anglicana de São Paulo-DASP, as convocatórias para a realização do 47º Concílio Ordinário e Concílio Extraordinário, que ocorrerão na cidade de São Paulo, entre os dias 09 a 10 de agosto de 2013. O Concílio Extraordinário foi convocado especificamente para proceder a eleição do próximo bispo diocesano devido a ação anulatória em novembro de 2012.
Foram convidados clérigos arrolados canonicamente na DASP e delegados (as) leigos (as) de aproximadamente 13 Paróquias e 01 Missão de todo o estado de São Paulo.
Todas as comissões diocesanas prestarão seus relatórios sobre o estado atual da DASP. Foi nomeada uma Comissão de Assuntos Financeiros, formada por especialistas, para apresentar um relatório minucioso do financeiro/administrativo diocesano. Integram a Comissão, o Sr. Marcos Yuba (Paróquia São João), a Sra. Magali Kimpara (Paróquia de Santo André-Campinas) e a Sra. Cecília Vergara (Paróquia da Santíssima Trindade).
O Bispo Primaz nomeu a Reverenda Carmen Kawano para a Secretaria Diocesana e igualmente anunciou os atuais integrantes do Conselho Diocesano:
Reverendo Dr. Pedro Triana (Presidente do Conselho/Paróquia da Santíssima Trindade), Sr. João Francisco Esvael (Paróquia da Santíssima Trindade), Reverenda Valéria Silva (Paróquia São João), Sra. Ivi Carvalho (Paróquia Santo André Campinas), Reverendo José Gonçalves (Paróquia Santa Lídia/Paróquia Cristo Salvador), Sr. Rodrigo Abreu (Paróquia Santa Lídia), Reverendo Mário Ribas (Paróquia Cristo Rei) e Sra. Tania Lara (Paróquia São Lucas).Agenda
Dom Maurício Andrade propos uma agenda inédita para a Diocese que procura envolver o clero e povo na preparação para os próximos concílios:
- 02 a 09 de junho: Semana de Oração dos Pioneiros da IEAB a ser observada em todas as paróquias e missões da DASP em preparação aos próximos concílios;
- 13 de julho: Encontro Diocesano dos Primeiros Guardiões e Tesoureiros e,
- 15 e 16 de julho: Retiro Espiritual do Clero e dos Leigos com o Frei Marcelo Barros
Após a realização do 47º Concílio Ordinário e Extraordinário (07-08 de setembro de 2012), Dom Roger Bird, o bispo diocesano, anuncia no dia 13 de setembro, o cancelamento do Concílio Extraordinário no qual ocorreu a eleição para bispo diocesano da DASP, alegando possíveis irregularidades canônicas. Essa decisão teve apoio de um grupo de clérigos e leigos, mesmo tendo o Concílio recebido o parecer favorável da Comissão Nacional de Constituição e Cânones da IEAB sobre a legalidade da eleição episcopal.
Até o dia 16 de março de 2013, data da compulsória do bispo diocesano, a DASP esteve envolvida em uma situação de ingovernabilidade, na qual Dom Roger Bird atendia pastoralmente apenas parte do rebanho diocesano que estava apoiando seu episcopado e deixando a outra parte sem nenhum cuidado.Dois fatos marcam esse período:
Primeiro as ações de dois clérigos, a saber, o Reverendo Aldo Quintão e o Reverendo Rogério Assis, de levarem a própria Diocese a Justiça Comum pedindo o cancelamento do Concílio Extraordinário.
E o segundo, envolvendo ainda o Reverendo Aldo Quintão (Catedral Anglicana), e o Reverendo Leandro Antunes (Paróco da Paróquia de Todos os Santos) que fizeram convocações de assembleias gerais para desfiliação de suas respectivas comunidades da Diocese Anglicana de São Paulo/Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil. Tudo sem o devido respaldo nos Cânones Gerais e Diocesanos.A Assembléia de Desfiliação e Alteração dos Estatutos
Por fim, no dia 02 de dezembro de 2012, a Catedral Anglicana realiza sua Assembléia sem o respaldo canônico e altera os artigos centrais dos seus Estatutos, nada mais que uma tentativa de extinguir qualquer indício de vínculo legal/canônico com a Diocese Anglicana de São Paulo/Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil. É fundada uma outra entidade, sem vínculos eclesiásticos/legais com a Comunhão Anglicana, um modelo de igreja independente construído sem os traços substanciais marcantes das Igrejas Anglicanas encontrados, por exemplo, na The Church of England (Igreja da Inglaterra) ou na The Episcopal Church (Igreja Episcopal dos Estados Unidos).Quadro Comparativo Antigo e Novo Estatuto Catedral Anglicana de São Paulo Ações de Reconciliação da IEAB
Ocorreram nove visitas oficiais do Bispo Primaz Dom Maurício Andrade a Diocese Anglicana de São Paulo, sendo seis destas visitas de ações pastorais sistemáticas em busca de reconciliação. O Primaz esteve em algumas delas, acompanhado por bispos da Região Provincial 2 (que inclui Diocese de São Paulo, Diocese do Rio de Janeiro e Diocese de Curitiba) e em novembro de 2012, por toda a Câmara dos Bispos da IEAB. Foram dias de reuniões com Juntas Paroquiais, com os bispos da DASP, com clérigos e leigos na busca para encontrar caminhos que apaziguassem o conflito.
Destaca-se o dia 28 de março de 2013, no qual ocorreu na manhã da Quinta-Feira Santa, na Paróquia da Santíssima Trindade, o encontro do Clero Diocesano para o tradicional Ofício de Renovação dos Votos de Ordenação e Bênção dos Óleos. Dos 34 membros clericais vinculados canonicamente à DASP/Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (IEAB) estiveram 21 representantes. Nota-se infelizmente a ausência sem justificativa dos seguintes clérigos: Reverendo Aldo Quintão, Reverendo Rogério Assis, Reverendo Leandro Antunes e Reverendo Régis Domingues.
Após um período de sete meses de recusa de reconciliação pastoral e de insistência em manter as ações de insubordinação e de desobediência aos Cânones e à Constituição, o Bispo Primaz apoiado pelo Conselho Executivo do Sínodo, pela Câmara dos Bispos, pela Câmara de Clérigos e Leigos e amparado pelos Cânones, declara publicamente, em 17 de abril de 2013, o Abandono de Comunhão com a IGREJA EPISCOPAL ANGLICANA DO BRASIL/COMUNHÃO ANGLICANA dos seguintes clérigos: Reverendo Aldo Pereira Quintão, Reverendo Álvaro José Antunes Silva Junior, Reverendo Leandro Antunes Campos, Reverendo Rogério Assis, Reverendo Régis Augusto Domingues e Reverendo Luiz Alberto Barbosa.
Atualmente o Tribunal Eclesiástico da IEAB está julgando o caso do Bispo Dom Roger e que até o presente momento não apresentou sua defesa perante as instâncias da IEAB.Ações de Reconciliação IEAB DASP Catedral Anglicana de São Paulo
[Adzima Funeral Home] The Rev. Frank Earl Wismer III (Ret. Col. U.S. Army Reserve), age 65, of Stratford, beloved husband of Patricia McClaren Coller, passed away on Sunday, May 12, 2013 in St. Vincent’s Medical Center.
The Rev. Wismer, Vicar of Christ Episcopal Church in Norwalk, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Nancy Macfarland Wismer of PA, and the late Frank E. Wismer. He was a graduate of the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth and Yale Divinity School, and has been ordained in the Episcopal Church for forty years, serving parishes in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut. He was also retired from the U.S. Army Reserve, serving his country for 25 years, which included deployments in Iraq and Kuwait.
Frank was a Bagpiper and was an avid collector of Antique Cars and a member of the Connecticut Seaport Car Club. Survivors in addition to his beloved wife and mother include his children Jennifer and Zachary Wismer of Delaware, a sister Meg Wismer, and a niece Beckie Licwinko and great-nephew Aedan, of PA, 2 step children Casey Coller and his wife Grace of MA, and Stephanie Denig and her husband Nicholas of Stratford, and 2 step-grandchildren Sydney and Rose. Funeral services will take place on Saturday, May 18th at 11 am in Christ Episcopal Church 2 Emerson Street East Norwalk; CT.
Interment with Full Military Honors will take place in Arlington National Cemetery at a time to be announced. Friends may call on Friday from 4-7 p.m. in the Adzima Funeral Home 50 Paradise Green Place Stratford. In lieu of flowers those desiring may make donations to Christ Church 2 Emerson St East Norwalk, CT. 06855
The Anglican Communion’s Anglican Peace and Justice Network (APJN) has launched a worldwide survey to gather the experience of Anglicans and Episcopalians who have taken part in national or local truth and reconciliation commissions.
[Episcopal News Service] In a letter to the people and clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, Bishop James Stanton announced his intention to retire on May 31, 2014.
Stanton has served as the sixth bishop of Dallas since March 1993.
“These have been the most challenging, fulfilling and joyful years of my ministry,” Stanton said in his letter. “I am grateful for the trust vested in me by the people and clergy of the diocese, and cherish the many relationships which have developed and deepened over this time … The decision to retire is not easy, but it is right for me at this time.”
Before his election as bishop, Stanton served for six years as rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glendale, California. He has served as curate, vicar, and rector at Episcopal churches in California (Canoga and Stockton) and Iowa (Cedar Falls).
A native of Atchison, Kansas, Stanton graduated from Chapman University in Southern California. After college he pursued ordination in the Disciples of Christ and attended Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky. He transferred to the Southern California School of Theology, where he graduated with a D. Min. degree in 1975. He spent a year in further study at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California. He was ordained deacon and priest in the Episcopal Church in 1977.
Stanton has been married to Diane since December 1968 and they have two grown children. Stanton and his wife will continue to live in the Diocese of Dallas following retirement.
[Episcopal News Service] Some Episcopal Church congregations in the Diocese of Minnesota will decide to marry same-sex couples when a new state law goes into effect in August and some will not, and Bishop Brian Prior says that difference “represents the diversity and the comprehensive nature of who we are as Episcopalians and Anglicans.”
Writing on his blog May 14, a few hours before Gov. Mark Dayton signed the bills recently passed by the state legislature, Prior said that “for a number of our faith communities, this will now provide them the opportunity to provide to all of their members who desire to make a life-long, covenant relationship and to be legally married in the state of Minnesota to do so.”
“Other of our faith communities may not find this calling among their membership, within their context, or in culture – and will not be providing such services,” he added.
The new law includes legal protections for religious groups that do not want to marry same-sex couples.
Prior also sent a letter to diocesan clergy outlining a process for those congregations which decide to marry same-sex couples. He noted that those expectations are similar to the ones for clergy wishing to bless same-sex relationships that were in place when he became bishop in February 2010.
“From its very origins, the Episcopal Church in Minnesota has always stood with the marginalized,” the bishop said in a statement included in a press kit sent to leaders of diocesan congregations for their use if they choose to speak to the media about the new law and the church’s response.
“Race, ethnicity, gender, gender orientation or immigrant; we have embraced both the Gospel mandate of love of neighbor and the Baptismal Covenant imperative to respect the dignity of every human being. Any actions, whether sacred or secular, that prevent our LGBT brothers and sisters from exercising the rights and privileges that the rest of Minnesotans enjoy – are considered to be marginalizing and contrary to the Gospel, the Baptismal Covenant and our history.”
And, Prior told Episcopal News Service, the diocese’s stance means that those congregations that choose not to marry same-sex couples also cannot become marginalized. If they choose to exercise the exemption in the law, he said, “that’s fine and we can clearly support” their decision.
While Prior said he has not had a large number of requests for him to approve same-sex blessings, he knows that there are a “significant number” of people whom clergy report are waiting for the law to go into effect so that they can marry.
In his letter to clergy, Prior said those who solemnize the marriage of same-sex couples must use the liturgy found in Liturgical Resources 1: I Will Bless You and You Will be a Blessing. This is the provisional rite for same-sex blessings approved in July 2012 by the church’s General Convention.
Prior said in his interview with ENS that he made this decision, in part, because of the argument the marriage rites in The Book of Common Prayer were canonically intended for heterosexual couples.
The convention specifically did not authorize a same-sex marriage rite and use of the provision liturgy will be reviewed by the 2015 convention. At the behest of convention, a task force has begun to “identify and explore biblical, theological, historical, liturgical, and canonical dimensions of marriage.” It will also, among other things, consider the church’s response to the changing legal context in which a growing number of dioceses are operating.
Minnesota is the first Midwestern state to change its marriage laws to allow same-sex couples to wed without a court ordering it to do so. The Iowa Supreme Court in 2009 ruled that that state had to allow same-sex marriage.
Last year Minnesota voters rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage.
Minnesota’s decision came days after Rhode Island and Delaware became the 10th and 11th states, respectively, to allow same-sex marriage. The bishops in the dioceses that encompass each state supported the enactment of the laws and said that their dioceses would respond in ways consistent with that support.
Same-sex marriage also is allowed in Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia. Voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington last fall supported changes to their state’s marriage laws. Thirty-three states prohibit same-sex marriage.
On May 10, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn called on that state’s House to approve a bill allowing same-sex marriage that the Senate passed on Valentine’s Day. Quinn said he would sign the bill into law.
In March, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two same-sex marriage cases. One challenges Proposition 8, the California referendum that revoked same-sex marriage rights in that state. The other challenges the constitutionality of Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The court has not yet issued its opinion in either case.
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Anglican Communion News Service] Bishop William Mchombo of the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Zambia has challenged Zambian politicians to stop practicing “politics of the belly if they genuinely care for the electorate.”
The bishop made the call during the 10th Synod of the Diocese of Eastern Zambia held May 2-5 at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Msoro, an area in the Eastern Province of Zambia.
“The crossing of opposition members of parliament to the ruling party thereby necessitating the holding of by-elections has become another matter of great concern,” noted the bishop.
In the statement that addressed various social, economic and political aspects of the country, the bishop emphasized that public funds should be channeled towards developmental activities such as education and health.
“While it is appreciated that no-one is breaking the law by crossing the floor, this is one occurrence that can easily be avoided if indeed the people involved genuinely care for the electorate and not practicing what is now known as politics of the belly,” said Mchombo, referring to the recent trend of Zambian opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) stepping down and defecting to the ruling Patriot Front party with the hope of being adopted and contesting again under the ruling party.
In the past two months alone, five opposition members of parliament have defected to the ruling partying necessitating by-elections, which will cost the country millions of dollars.
The bishop explained, “The cry of the people is that resources that should be channeled into needy areas such as education, health and other social and economical sectors are being wasted on by-elections that could have been avoided.”
“Our people are not interested in political bickering but in tangible development,” said Mchombo. “People want good roads and clean and safe drinking water, access to education and health centers that are adequately staffed and well stocked with enough drugs and other supplies.”
This is not the first time the Anglican Church in Zambia has rebuked politicians to have the interests of the people at heart. Last year, Bishop Derrick Kamukwamba of the Diocese of Central Zambia urged the government to ensure that “political will trickles down to all sectors so that people charged with public responsibilities are accountable for their actions while serving in public offices.”
Mchombo remarked, “Our position has always been that difference is not enmity. The opposition should be allowed to hold political rallies without let or hindrance within the ambit of the law and to criticize government without intimidation.”
“[Similarly] the party in government should receive criticism with magnanimity and double up their efforts in meeting people’s aspirations as promised during the campaigns,” said the bishop. “It is work and not rhetoric that will endear government to its people.”
The bishop also bemoaned the culture of abusive language emanating from politicians. “This has the ripple effect of negatively affecting values and norms as a cultured and civilized people,” he said. He urged politicians to restrain themselves and use civil language in their quest to make points, even in the face of dire provocation.
“We also challenge the politicians to debate topical issues affecting the populace such as corruption and the high cost of living,” he said. “The media could facilitate such debates where politicians from different political parties could come together and debate.”
With the recent decision by the Zambian government to remove subsidies on fuel, the price of the commodity has increased by more than 20%. The bishop expressed his views on the increase and how it would negatively affect the livelihoods of ordinary Zambians.
“This inevitably will push up the cost of goods and services making the cost of living more expensive,” lamented Mchombo. “All this is happening with no proportional increase in people’s wages, especially our people in rural areas who have no say on how much their farm produce should cost.”
He added, “Government should come up with strategies to arrest this situation that might affect economic growth and eventually lead to high inflation and leave the vulnerable people in a lurch.”
The bishop also addressed the issue of environment and how it impacts on people’s lives. “We have a responsibility of good stewardship to our environment. [Therefore], I am urging all of us to take care of our environment by throwing garbage in designated places and avoid littering. We should all plant trees around our churches and homes.”
He explained that trees play a very important role in the ecosystem such as being home to birds and insects as well as the removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and producing oxygen.
“Gender-based violence remains a thorn in our communities and each one of us here has a role to play to bring down this scourge,” advised the bishop. “As a church we do not exist in a vacuum since we are part of the wider society. [Therefore], let us help in coming up with lasting solutions.”
Zambia has in the recent past experienced a lot of road traffic accidents with very high death tolls. Earlier in the year, at least 67 people died when the bus they were traveling in was involved in an accident. In a similar incident two weeks ago, seventeen people also perished in a road traffic accident. This has been a source of concern for the Church in Zambia.
“We mourn with families of victims of road accidents especially those that have occurred in the recent past and we pray that God may sustain them in this hour of trial,” said the bishop. “This is a matter of great concern to all of us. We implore government with other stakeholders to come up with a lasting solution to these carnages.”
Last month, a not-for-profit, self-sustaining road safety organization known as The Ministry of Safety urged higher participation from the church and all its networks in the prevention of road traffic accidents in Africa.
Zambia is in a process of formulating a new constitution though many people have complained that the whole process has taken too long and that it has taken up a lot of public resources.
“We are hopeful that after the district, provincial and national conventions, Zambia will finally have a people-driven constitution,” concluded the bishop. “We hope government will remain faithful to people’s aspirations by giving them a constitution they want.”
[Anglican Taonga] Sir Ellison Pogo, former archbishop of the Anglican Church in Melanesia, died May 13 at his home in Honiara of lymphoma, which had been diagnosed while he was in Auckland during last October’s Anglican Consultative Council meeting.
Pogo was archbishop of Melanesia and bishop of Central Melanesia from 1994 until December 2008, and he led the church through the ethnic tension which plagued that province during the 1990s and early 2000s.
Pogo was born in 1947 and graduated from Bishop Patterson Theological College in Kohimarama in Guadalcanal in 1976, before attending St. John’s College in Auckland for two years of further study.
He was ordained to the diaconate by the bishop of Dunedin on All Saints’ Day in 1979 and to the priesthood one year later.
Reports of his successful ministry in Dunedin led to his consecration in 1981 as bishop of the Diocese of Ysabel on the Solomon Islands, where he served for 13 years.
In 2000, he became one of a handful of Anglican primates to be knighted at Buckingham Palace by Queen Elizabeth for his service to religion and the community in Melanesia.
Pogo was asked by the last archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, to chair the Design Group for the 2008 Lambeth Conference, and he is regarded as having made a significant contribution to the success of that event.
He influenced the way Lambeth went about its work and, at key points, he introduced a Melanesian flavor to the conference worship.
Brothers and Sisters from the Religious Orders of Melanesia, for example, were chaplains to the conference – and shortly after the conference finished, Pogo was called back to Lambeth Palace where Williams awarded him the Cross of St. Augustine of Canterbury, which is the highest award the archbishop of Canterbury can bestow.
From the time of the Lambeth Conference in July 2008 until his retirement in December of that year, Pogo was the senior primate of the Anglican Communion.
He also was an ecumenist, and for 14 years he chaired the board of the Pacific Theological College. For that work he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the college, the only person ever to have been recognized in this way.
In 2008, he also was awarded the Republic of Vanuatu’s highest and most distinguished award, the Badge of Honour of Vanuatu.
His funeral will be held in the Anglican Cathedral in Honiara on Thursday, May 16.
Pogo is survived by his wife Roslyn and their three adult children.