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Archbishop of Canterbury statement on the migrant crisis

Episcopal News Service - 3 horas 5 minutos atrás

[Lambeth Palace press release] In a statement on the ongoing migrant crisis facing Europe and the Middle East, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said today:

“This is a hugely complex and wicked crisis that underlines our human frailty and the fragility of our political systems. My heart is broken by the images and stories of men, women and children who have risked their lives to escape conflict, violence and persecution.

“There are no easy answers and my prayers are with those who find themselves fleeing persecution, as well as those who are struggling under immense pressure to develop an effective and equitable response. Now, perhaps more than ever in post-war Europe, we need to commit to joint action across Europe, acknowledging our common responsibility and our common humanity.

“As Christians we believe we are called to break down barriers, to welcome the stranger and love them as ourselves (Leviticus 19:34), and to seek the peace and justice of our God, in our world, today.

“With winter fast approaching and with the tragic civil war in Syria spiralling further out of control, we must all be aware that the situation could yet worsen significantly. I am encouraged by the positive role that churches, charities and international agencies are already playing, across Europe and in Syria and the surrounding areas, to meet basic humanitarian needs. These efforts may feel trivial in the face of the challenge, but if we all play our part this is a crisis that we can resolve.

“We need a holistic response to this crisis that meets immediate humanitarian need while tackling its underlying drivers. I commend the UK Government for its strong commitment to the world’s poorest people through the delivery of the aid budget. It has shown global leadership by providing £900 million since 2012 to the crisis in Syria. It has also shown moral leadership in using Royal Navy ships to save the lives of hundreds who have tried to make the dangerous crossing across the Mediterranean.

“I hold in my heart particularly those who are most vulnerable in conflict, and those who we have a special duty to protect. The Government has rightly sought to provide sanctuary to unaccompanied children, women and those who have been victims of, or are at risk of, sexual violence. I welcome this, while urging a renewed commitment to taking in the most vulnerable.

“The Church has always been a place of sanctuary for those in need, and Churches in the UK and across Europe have been meeting the need they are presented with. I reaffirm our commitment to the principle of sanctuary for those who require our help and love. The people of these islands have a long and wonderful history of offering shelter and refuge, going back centuries – whether it be Huguenot Christians, Jewish refugees, Ugandan Asians, Vietnamese boat people or many, many more.

“It has always been controversial at the time it happened, always been seen as too difficult. Yet each time we have risen to the challenge and our country has been blessed by the result.

“We cannot turn our backs on this crisis. We must respond with compassion. But we must also not be naïve in claiming to have the answers to end it. It requires a pan-European response – which means a commitment to serious-minded diplomatic and political debate, but not at the expense of practical action that meets the immediate needs of those most in need of our help.”

Out of Deep Waters: ‘Co-opted into a resurrection story’

Episcopal News Service - qua, 02/09/2015 - 17:28

[Episcopal News Service – Gulf Coast] In the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina changed the Gulf Coast forever, the arc of The Episcopal Church’s ministry here traces a story of evolution and transformation filled with lessons for the rest of the church.

It was clear that recovery along the Gulf Coast would take years and, 10 years later, The Episcopal Church serves communities in which the path to recovery has been rocky for some and smoother for others. In some places, including parts of New Orleans, the recovery is still incomplete and far from secure.

“The scars are there and, in some instances, deep pain continues to surface with not much help actually,” Diocese of Louisiana Bishop Morris Thompson told Episcopal News Service. “But for many people life has gone on in a new way.”

Katrina was directly responsible for approximately 1,300 deaths in Louisiana (the majority were people older than 60 years) and 200 in Mississippi. Including deaths indirectly related to the storm, an estimated 1,833 people died. Producing an estimated $151 billion in property damage, including $75 billion in the New Orleans area and along the Mississippi coast, Katrina was the costliest U.S. hurricane on record in terms of property loss.

After making landfall as a Category 1 storm in South Florida, Katrina made two more landfalls along the Gulf Coast, including its last, as a Category 3 storm at the mouth of the Pearl River along the Louisiana-Mississippi coast. Katrina remained at hurricane strength as far inland as Meridian, Mississippi, about 170 miles north of the storm’s last landfall. The hurricane obliterated entire Gulf Coast towns in Mississippi, but the devastation in New Orleans got far more media attention.

Today, about 2,700 more people live in Mississippi’s three coastal counties than before the storm and there are more housing units, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report. Slightly more African-American, Hispanic and Asian people live in those counties and the number of white residents has dropped by 4.7 percent. There are about 5,000 fewer businesses and employment is down slightly than in 2005.

Much has been made of the New Orleans’ 10-year recovery – it recently made the list of the 50 fastest-growing U.S. cities, with one quarter of its population having moved there since Katrina. However, while there has been what The New Orleans Index at Ten, a report by New Orleans-based The Data Center, calls “economic and reform-driven progress,” the poverty rate in New Orleans has risen to pre-Katrina rates and is now a “crushingly high” 27 percent. The U.S. poverty rate is 14.5 percent.

In metropolitan New Orleans, employment and income disparities between African-Americans and white are “starker than national disparities,” according to the report. Poverty is increasing in the parishes surrounding as well.

The city is also whiter, with 7.5 percent fewer African-Americans and 4.7 percent more whites, according the Census Bureau. African-American residents still remain New Orleans’ largest race or ethnicity at 59.8 percent, the report said.

Racial divisions and inequalities the storm revealed continue to trouble the city. Ten years after Katrina, white and black New Orleanians have drastically different opinions of the city’s recovery, according to a survey by the Public Policy Research Lab at Louisiana State University that was released Aug. 24. Almost four in five white residents (78 percent) say that Louisiana has “mostly recovered,” while nearly three in five African-American residents (59 percent) say it has “mostly not recovered,” the survey said.

It is against this backdrop that The Episcopal Church’s ministry goes on every day across the region.

Over the course of 10 years of recovery thus far, “we’ve learned a lot of lessons about the immediate needs” and how those needs change over time, Louisiana’s Bishop Thompson said. “That’s a gift that the people in the Gulf can give to the church,” he suggested.

Thompson’s counterpart in Mississippi, Bishop Brian Seage, who became diocesan bishop earlier this year, said in an Aug. 26 video message to the diocese that “out of death brought by Katrina began the resurrection of the coast.”

Rob Radtke, who had just begun work as Episcopal Relief & Development’s president when Katrina hit and who went to Louisiana soon after, said the way the organization works in 2015 is “deeply informed by the experience of responding to Katrina.”

While other denominations had “very well-thought-out” response plans in 2005, “The Episcopal Church had not then really thought about what its role would be in times of disaster,” he told ENS. When he was hired, Radtke had been charged with developing a strategic plan for the organization and Katrina made it very clear that Episcopal Relief & Development had to develop a “serious U.S. disaster response program,” he said.

(A series of blog posts about Episcopal Relief & Development’s Katrina response is here.)

Today, the organization does not have a “one size fits all style” of response and it does not have the “boots on the ground” response practiced by other denominations, said Radtke. Instead, it uses an asset-based community development model to discern and help strengthen dioceses’ capacities “so that in times of disaster, they are leveraging their strengths to respond to the needs that are presented to them.”

After a disaster, people often turn first to houses of worship for help and solace. “The Episcopal Church needs to embrace that reality,” Radtke said. “It’s a huge opportunity for ministry,” he added, and one upon which Episcopal Relief & Development’s U.S. Disaster Program is founded.

That program continues to partner with the diocese of Louisiana, Mississippi and The Central Gulf Coast, according to  Abagail Nelson, Episcopal Relief & Development senior vice president for programs. Deacons from the area deacons have shared their experiences in disaster response with others around the country via the organization’s Partners in Response program, Nelson added.

In addition to being in touch with Episcopalians ahead of predictable potential disasters, the organization strives to focus quickly on strengthening local congregations’ response by listening “with open ears and hearts to what do the local parishes feel called to do,” Radtke said.

And, in Louisiana and Mississippi, local congregations responded almost immediately and, 10 years later, many of their ministries have changed and continue. Here are some examples.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Gulfport, Mississippi

After Katrina, this 169-year-old congregation’s first response was to gather for worship and to start to rebuild a community that had been devastated by the hurricane. On the Sunday after Katrina had torn their church from its gulf-side moorings, parishioners gathered on the remaining concrete slab. The Rev. James “Bo” Roberts, then the rector, tearfully asked the survivors to remember their white wooden church with its steeple and green shutters.

St. Mark’s is gone if that’s what you think it is,” he then told them. “But if you think it’s you and me and the rest of us, then we will build on from here.”

With Roberts’ prompting, the members took a daring and long step off the beach after the storm.

Now located a few miles inland and north of its historic site, St. Mark’s sits in the middle of five neighborhoods. Many new young families have joined the church. Vacation Bible School this summer had to be split into two groups because so many children participated. Ministry to children and youth is a new characteristic of St. Mark’s these days, the Rev. Stephen Kidd, priest-in-charge, said.

Kidd also noted that the transformation isn’t limited to St. Mark’s. All of the clergy in the Mississippi Gulf Coast churches are new in the last five years or less and most of them are in their thirties and forties, he said. They and their congregations are transforming their ministries, in one place turning their surviving parish hall into a feeding location for homeless people and in another instance collaborating on youth ministry.

“We all are sharing in this interesting experience of being clergy at churches who have all experienced this trauma, but have also risen out of that in a variety of new and interesting ways,” he told ENS. “So it really does feel like we’ve been co-opted into a resurrection story that started before we got here.”

All Souls Episcopal Church and Community Center, New Orleans
New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward was swamped by anywhere from four to 20 feet of water when the Industrial Canal’s walls failed after Katrina made landfall. A month after Katrina, Hurricane Rita flooded the neighborhood again.

It was in this community that the Diocese of Louisiana and the Church of the Annunciation (see below) launched what was then known as Church of All Souls as a mission station to minister to the many families who were trying to return to their homes. The congregation began in the garage of a parishioner during a time when few homes on the street were occupied. The congregation then rented space at a nearby Baptist church. Now housed in a former Walgreens drug store, All Souls was named in honor of the new souls who would come to worship and those souls who were lost in Katrina’s waters.

Then-Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams blessed the Walgreens building while he was in the city for the September 2007 meeting of The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops. Williams said that the planting of All Souls showed that “when other people are running away, we as Christians ought not to run away; we ought to be there.”

One day earlier this year, six young children came bouncing their basketball past the church while Happy H.X. Johnson, director of the community center, stood talking to a reporter. He went back inside the building to get pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and boxes of chocolate milk for them.

“We are working very hard to cultivate the next generation of leaders in the Lower Ninth Ward,” Johnson said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do and that work is almost never over but we take it seriously.”

The community center provides a free after-school program with volunteer tutors. “We feel very blessed and fortunate to be entrusted with this mission to educate God’s children,” he said. “It’s a very rewarding experience.”

Every day, Johnson said, All Souls lives the gospel imperative to serve the least among the community’s members. “We’re doing some of the most important work the church could be doing in an area that experienced extreme flooding, extreme devastation,” he said.

After Katrina some politicians and others said the Lower Ninth should be bulldozed and made into green space. “This is more than green space. This is centuries-old home ownership, thriving educators, dynamic musicians like Fats Domino whose house is right down the street,” Johnson said. “So this is a place with a lot of meaning and a lot of history, and it’s just great that The Episcopal Church is here doing this work.”


Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans  
Just before Katrina, Christ Church’s dean, the Very Rev. David duPlantier, was new to his post and a study had shown that the congregation on St. Charles Avenue in the Garden District wanted to find a way to connect with the Central City portion of its neighborhood. Central City was a center of African-American commerce and culture in the first half of the 20th century. It later fell into decline after the city integrated. It is said to have the highest percentage of both homicides and churches in the city.

Katrina has put that desire for congregational connection into action to the point where duPlantier said the cathedral’s rooms are so blessed filled with community group meetings that it’s hard sometimes to find space for the vestry.

“We’re just at the beginning of it but it’s really brought people into the cathedral – hundreds, maybe thousands of people in the last 10 years,” he said. “We’ve made ourselves not only a part of the neighborhood but a central part of the neighborhood that we’ve been in for 120 years.”

DuPlantier called the transformation the “logical extension of what a cathedral at its best is.”

After beginning as a diocesan ministry with strong backing from Episcopal Relief & Development, Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative has become a ministry of the cathedral. It has also expanded its view of its mission from simply house building to helping residents build communities in a city known for its neighborhoods. An earlier video from ENS’ Katrina 10 years later coverage tells the story of Jericho Road’s evolution.


Church of the Annunciation, New Orleans
Three weeks after Katrina, after the water had been pumped out of the city’s Broadmoor neighborhood and thus out of the Church of the Annunciation, there were still tree branches strewn among the jumbled pews that the floodwaters had floated. There was evidence that looters had been in the buildings and all the recent renovations to its school wing were for naught, said Noel Prentiss, the church’s sexton.

But the church’s first concern about cleaning up was to make it possible to aid area residents. In fact, the church parking lot soon became the center of the neighborhood’s recovery.

The work began out of some tent canopies and a shipping container in the church’s parking lot. Those were replaced by two mobile homes; a doublewide that served as worship space and a singlewide was an office for the church and the neighborhood organization. Eventually the parish hall was cleaned out enough to be used as a warehouse for all the supplies the relief effort was accumulating, Prentiss explained.

It was three years until the congregation moved back into its sanctuary.

Early on the congregation expanded its ministry to host and house volunteer groups who were coming from all over the country to help. At it fullest, the Annunciation dormitory had 100 beds in which about 1,500 people slept annually. In the last 10 years, volunteers out of Annunciation rebuilt 110 homes in the neighborhood, according to the Rev. Duane Nettles, the church’s rector.

In summer of 2014, the dormitory went to 35 beds and the congregation has welcomed between 500-600 people annually as they come to do Katrina-related work. In all about 14,500 volunteers to date have stayed at Annunciation. This year the accumulated value of their labor will hit the $10 million mark.

“For us, we see that part of our call coming out of this is to remind people that small Episcopal churches can do really mighty things,” Nettles said. Especially, he added, those congregations that adopted the ancient model of a cathedral being the center of a community’s life.

Another reason for hosting volunteers is to help other Episcopalians learn about the power of mission. This summer when a group of youth volunteers from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina stays at Annunciation, the parish will waive the nominal fee it charges volunteers to make the youth trip possible.

“We’ve seen the way mission has transformed our congregation and, time and time again, given it a new lease on life,” he said, adding that mission has also “in a really wonderful way caused holy hell” for congregations whose members volunteered in New Orleans and then went home to see what could be done in their communities.

“The best way to rebuild yourself is to get out there and get beyond yourself,” Nettles said.


St. Anna’s Episcopal Church, New Orleans
St. Anna’s Episcopal Church, in the neighborhood just north of the French Quarter, has a large board tacked up on the exterior wall near the church’s name. Called the Murder Board, it is a list of every murder in the city dating to 2007. It witnesses to the individuals who make up the statistics of the city’s murder rate while the congregation ministers to the living.

After Katrina, according to the Rev. Bill Terry, St. Anna’s rector, the parish got so many offers of help from elsewhere in The Episcopal Church, that the leaders eventually invited representatives of the 12 congregations that seemed the most engaged to come to New Orleans. St. Anna’s Medical Mission grew out of those conversations.

The recreational vehicle-based mobile clinic traveled all over the greater New Orleans area offering medical care during a time when there was little other care available. Luigi Mandile, currently the parish administrator, piloted the van in those early days, “driving around ruins and trees and houses and boats.” After a day of listening to people’s experiences of Katrina and its aftermath, Mandile would go home and cry, but those days “strengthened me,” he said.

These days the medical mission focuses on residents who don’t have health insurance or who can’t afford their deductibles and co-pays, and those without a routine source of healthcare. The need, while different than that right after Katrina, is crucial.

Life expectancy is 20 years less than communities two miles away from the Treme/Seventh Ward/Lafitte neighborhoods in which St. Anna’s sits. There is a high rate of disease and death related to cardiovascular issues, stroke and diabetes, and residents frequently use hospital emergency rooms both for non-emergency issues and for help in managing chronic diseases.

But even then, people tend to go to an emergency room only when they are very ill. There is a historic, cultural tendency, not to seek treatment outside the neighborhood that is complicated by lack of knowledge about existing medical resources and a lack of transportation, according to Terry. The city’s traditional charity hospital system has meant that some New Orleanians have never had to enroll in an insurance plan and choose a regular doctor.

Those attitudes have to change “and we’re working to change it, but it’s going to take time,” said Diana Meyers, St. Anna’s community wellness director.

The parish’s other post-Katrina ministry, Anna’s Arts for Kids, has grown to the point where it has a certified teacher as its leader and volunteer tutors come from Tulane and Loyola universities.

“So this isn’t just a bunch of nice people saying ‘let’s read a book together,’” Terry said. “These are professional, educated, motivated people who are filling the gaps” in the education system in that part of town.

The program has also fueled another challenging phenomenon.

“Here’s my dilemma: we now have 30 children ranging in age from toddler to very early adolescents. Out of the 30 children, half don’t have parents here,” Terry said. “There’s no formula” for how to minister to a group of children aged four to nine years who come without a parent’s consent. Most of their parents are drug addicts or incarcerated, but these children, some of whom have been in the after-school program, show up, often wearing pressed shirts and bow ties.

They come, Terry said, because St. Anna’s is “the safe place for them … it’s the place where they get some love. They get comfortable, they’re engaged, they’re spoken to.” They attend Sunday school and they partake of the buffet that is spread after Mass.

“Those little guys swarm over it like ants on candy and that upsets some people,” Terry acknowledged. But, the children’s presence is another “post-Katrina phenomena and part of the ministry that we’re doing now. A dozen kids show up at this church, uninvited, to be here and worship here, to be with us, to be safe, to be fed,” he said. And they’re telling other children in the neighborhood that they ought to come, too.

St. Anna’s has even bigger plans for its community ministry. In 2010 the parish bought the historic Marsoudet-Dodwell House on Esplanade Avenue two blocks down from the church. Built in 1846, the house that was owned by Eliza Ducros Marsoudet, a Creole woman, was recently included in the 2015 New Orleans’ Nine list of the city’s most endangered sites.

The home, which includes slave quarters now called “the Dependency” and partially rented out as an apartment, was filled with junk when St. Anna’s took ownership. It was missing parts of its floors and needed structural stabilizing. However, the interior is filled with historic features such an upstairs room whose walls are made of “barge board,” old-growth timber no doubt cut in the upper Midwest and turned into barges that floated goods to New Orleans. Rather than haul the barges back upriver, they were typically broken apart and used in home building.

There is still much work to be done before the parish’s vision of a community center with “a focus on arts and culture that harnesses the youthful energy and talents of the next generation,” according to the website devoted to the project.


The Dragon Café at St. George’s Episcopal Church, New Orleans
The December after Katrina when New Orleanians were filtering back into the devastated city, the Garden District and Uptown sections of town were “still a frontier town,” according to parishioner Tom Forbes, a maritime lawyer. “There was nothing after six o’clock. There was one supermarket. It was dark at night; you’d drive up dark streets. There was maybe one restaurant open … you could score lunch off a Red Cross truck, but it was hard to get dinner.”

Forbes recalled that then-Bishop Charles Jenkins suggested that Christ Church Cathedral, a mile west on St. Charles Avenue from St. George’s, ought to serve as a clothing exchange (for weeks the front lawn was lined with clothing racks, shoes and cleaning supplies), Trinity Episcopal Church, with its large clergy staff, could be a counseling center and St. George’s, which had a history of feeding people during Carnival as a fundraiser, would be the feeding church.

“Initially it was part of our intention to feed our own parishioners and anybody else who walked in,” said Forbes, who still serves food at the café. “And gradually over the years the parishioners got fixed up spiritually and ‘housing-ly,’ but by then we’d begun to gather a crowd of people who were under-housed or literally from the street, and volunteers – the out-of-state volunteers who came here and literally saved this town.”

At what is still known as the Dragon Café, the initial Friday night meals began with donated food, including three freezers worth of food from at least one Mississippi cruise ship that went into dock early because it had no business, according to Forbes. Soon the café began serving on Thursday nights as well, often with live music and what Forbes calls “real fellowship, commiseration, gratitude, and faith.”

As the Garden District came back to life and the café realized its mission was changing, the parish switched from dinner to Sunday breakfast to better serve the clientele it was attracting. The Rev. Richard B. Easterling, St. George’s rector, said the café staff also realized that a lot of other agencies were serving hot food in the evenings.

“What makes our ministry cool is that it is parish-led,” Kelly McAuliffe, the café’s volunteer coordinator, said. “It’s regular folks who work 9-to-5 jobs who get up a little earlier on Sunday and they serve.”

Recalling one of the traditional post-communion prayers, McAuliffe said, “This is the work God has given St. George’s to do.”


St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, New Orleans, Homecoming Center   
Hurricane Katrina transformed people as well as the physical landscape of the Gulf. Connie Uddo says she is a good example.

When Uddo and her family moved back into the Lakeview section of New Orleans in January 2006, they were just one of 10 families living on streets that used to have 8,000 occupied homes. Katrina’s floodwaters destroyed the two lower units of the triplex they owned.

“There were no insects, there were no birds,” no street lights, no mail or newspaper delivery “for a solid year,” she said. Looting was still going on; their car was broken into. It was depressing, and Uddo, who was a tennis professional before Katrina but was then without a job, wasn’t sure she could continue to live there.

“I just got face down to the Lord and said ‘Give me a word; show me how to live here,’” she said. Then Uddo came across a verse in 2 Chronicles advising strength and courage with God at one’s side in the face of adversity.

She decided to open up her house as a recovery center. She and others began cleaning up their neighborhood. Uddo went to a rebuilding workshop at St. Dominic’s Roman Catholic Church across the street from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church where St. Paul’s then-rector, the Rev. Will Hood, introduced himself after Uddo had explained her work. He invited her to move her operation into a building behind St. Paul’s. She, Hood, the parish and the diocese’s Office of Disaster Recovery began St. Paul’s Homecoming Center, which Uddo said became Lakeview’s recovery hub.

As of December 2013, the center estimates it had touched the lives of more than 100,000 people and coordinated more than 60,000 volunteers, while also providing more than $200,000 to victims of hurricanes Sandy and Isaac.

The center moved to the neighboring Gentilly area about six or seven years ago, Uddo said, and “plugged in the model” of ministry begun in Lakeview, but adapted it to the fact that the neighborhood had been lived in longer after Katrina than when the center began in Lakeview. It was important to come in “very gently” and not presume to say that Lakeview folks were coming in to show Gentilly residents what to do, she said.

“We had to figure out a way to reinvent ourselves,” she said.

The Homecoming Center is now St. Paul’s Senior Center to serve elderly residents in both the Lakeview and Gentilly neighborhoods, many of whom are still dealing with issues from Katrina. Wrecked houses remain standing and inhabited homes are sparse on some streets.

The center provides meals, case-management services, activities ranging from bingo to computer classes, and depression and isolation prevention, and tries to foster “an active and engaging environment.” Uddo is the center’s development director.

The transformation of the center and, Uddo says, of her own heart has been hard. And, while she would not wish Katrina on anyone, “I thank God that he brought me through this storm because I am a deeper, richer person, and I have my priorities straight.”


Editor’s note: This story is the last in a weeklong series stories and videos about the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and The Episcopal Church’s role in the Gulf Coast’s ongoing recovery. Other videos and stories are here.

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

Datuk Ng Moon Hing elected primate of South East Asia

Episcopal News Service - qua, 02/09/2015 - 13:29

Archbishop-elect Datuk Ng Moon Hing. Photo: Diocese of West Malaysia

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Rt. Rev. Datuk Ng Moon Hing, bishop of West Malaysia, was elected primate of the Anglican Church of South East Asia during an extraordinary meeting of the Provincial Synod on Sept. 2 in Sandakan, Sabah.

He will be the fifth archbishop to serve the province, which comprises the dioceses of Kutching, Sabah, Singapore, and West Malaysia.

Provincial Secretary Leonard Shim announced that Archbishop-elect Ng Moon Hing’s term of office will begin in February 2016 and continue to 2020.

“On behalf of the Anglican Communion, I extend my warmest regards and congratulations to Bishop Ng Moon Hing on his election as archbishop of the Anglican Church of South East Asia,” said the Most Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion.

Ng Moon Hing had made major contributions to Anglican mission and evangelism both regionally and globally and as chair of the Anglican Witness core group continued to be instrumental in promoting a communion-wide emphasis on intentional discipleship, the general secretary added.

Ng Moon Hing will succeed the Most Rev. Bolly Lapok as primate.

A Letter to The Episcopal Church From the Presiding Bishop, President of the House of Deputies

Episcopal News Service - ter, 01/09/2015 - 15:01

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings have issued a letter calling on Episcopal congregations to participate in “Confession, Repentance, and Commitment to End Racism Sunday” on September 6.

The letter follows:

September 1, 2015

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

On June 17, nine members of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, were murdered by a white racist during their weekly bible study. Just a few days later at General Convention in Salt Lake City, we committed ourselves to stand in solidarity with the AME Church as they respond with acts of forgiveness, reconciliation, and justice (Resolution A302).

Now our sisters and brothers in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church have asked us to make that solidarity visible by participating in “Confession, Repentance, and Commitment to End Racism Sunday” on Sunday, September 6. We ask all Episcopal congregations to join this ecumenical effort with prayer and action.

“Racism will not end with the passage of legislation alone; it will also require a change of heart and thinking,” writes AME Bishop Reginald T. Jackson. “This is an effort which the faith community must lead, and be the conscience of the nation. We will call upon every church, temple, mosque and faith communion to make their worship service onthis Sunday a time to confess and repent for the sin and evil of racism, this includes ignoring, tolerating and accepting racism, and to make a commitment to end racism by the example of our lives and actions.”

The Episcopal Church, along with many ecumenical partners, will stand in solidarity with the AME Church this week in Washington D.C. at the “Liberty and Justice for All” event, which includes worship at Wesley AME Zion Church and various advocacy events.

Racial reconciliation through prayer, teaching, engagement and action is a top priority of the Episcopal Church in the upcoming triennium. Participating in “Confession, Repentance, and Commitment to End Racism Sunday” on September 6 is just one way that we Episcopalians can undertake this essential work. Our history as a church includes atrocities for which we must repent, saints who show us the way toward the realm of God, and structures that bear witness to unjust centuries of the evils of white privilege, systemic racism, and oppression that are not yet consigned to history. We are grateful for the companionship of the AME Church and other partners as we wrestle with our need to repent and be reconciled to one another and to the communities we serve.

“The Church understands and affirms that the call to pray and act for racial reconciliation is integral to our witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to our living into the demands of our Baptismal Covenant,” reads Resolution C019 of the 78th General Convention. May God bless us and forgive us as we pray and act with our partners this week and in the years to come. In the words of the prophet Isaiah appointed for Sunday, may we see the day when “waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water.”

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

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings
President, House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church

Liturgical Resources

The AME Church has developed prayers for use on Sunday, September 6

The ELCA has developed liturgical resources for “End Racism Sunday.” (click on the Liturgy tab).

These collects from the Book of Common Prayer may also be appropriate for use:

Almighty God, who created us in your image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth: deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart [and especially the hearts of the people of this land], that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Out of Deep Waters: Jericho Road expands from house building to community building

Episcopal News Service - ter, 01/09/2015 - 10:34

[Episcopal News Service – New Orleans, Louisiana] Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative grew out of the ruins on Hurricane Katrina and is going strong 10 years later, albeit with a bigger mission.

Eighty percent of the residents of Central City, the neighborhood behind Christ Church Cathedral, which faces the upscale Garden District, were renters when Katrina struck. Landlords received no government assistance to rebuild. “Low-income folks in this neighborhood didn’t have any homes to come back to,” said Holly Heine, Jericho Road’s director of operations and communications.

Executive Director Nicole Barnes said Jericho Road has realized that “you can’t just build houses; you have to build a community.”

That community building includes not only forming neighborhood associations that help residents get to know their neighbors and learn how to advocate for themselves, it involves reclaiming blighted properties and it also involves helping the many first-time homeowners develop the skills that will allow them to sustain their ownership for as long as they desire, Barnes explained.

“The arc of ministry has been amazing,” said the Very Rev. David du Plantier, Christ Church Cathedral’s dean.

This video is the fifth in a weeklong series of Episcopal News Service coverage. Other videos and stories are here.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg and Matthew Davies are editor/reporters for the Episcopal News Service.

Michael Sniffen named dean of Cathedral of the Incarnation, Garden City

Episcopal News Service - ter, 01/09/2015 - 09:47

[Episcopal Diocese of Long Island press release] The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano, bishop of Long Island, and George Tietjen, chair of the Dean Search Committee of the Cathedral of the Incarnation, announced the appointment of the Rev. Michael T. Sniffen as the cathedral’s next dean.

Since 2010, Sniffen has been the rector of The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Brooklyn. He also currently serves as vice president of the Board of Managers of Camp DeWolfe in Wading River and as a member of the Racial Justice Advisory Council of the Brooklyn Community Foundation.

Provenzano said, “I look forward to Dean Sniffen’s enthusiastic and prophetic leadership of our cathedral as he begins a ministry of pastoral care for the present congregation and develops the cathedral’s role as a real center for diocesan life.”

The appointment is the result of a yearlong search by the Dean Search Committee of the cathedral. This is the first time that a search for dean was led by leadership from the cathedral’s congregation. After a lengthy evaluation process of the 30 initial applicants, the committee then presented three candidates to Provenzano for consideration.

“It is humbling to be a part of making history in the Diocese of Long Island following the faithful and careful work of the search committee during this past year. The appointment of Father Michael Sniffen comes as the conclusion of an historic process and marks the beginning of a new era for the Cathedral and the Diocese of Long Island,” said Provenzano.

Sniffen’s first day to preside and preach at the cathedral is Sunday, Nov. 1.

The liturgy for the institution of the new dean will be on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 4 p.m.

Out of Deep Waters: Bishop says New Orleans ministry keeps evolving

Episcopal News Service - seg, 31/08/2015 - 08:59

[Episcopal News Service – New Orleans, Louisiana] It was clear to Diocese of Louisiana Bishop Morris Thompson Jr. when he began his episcopate in 2010, five years after Hurricane Katrina, that the storm had “deeply wounded” the people of the diocese.

“I could be in a meeting and say ‘Tell me your experience’ and it would just flow out,” he said.

“There’s still areas of New Orleans that are devastated,” said Thompson, adding because of New Orleanians’ ongoing needs, the diocese’s ministries that began in Katrina’s wake have continued to evolve 10 years on.

This video is the fourth in a weeklong series of Episcopal News Service coverage. Other videos and stories are here.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg and Matthew Davies are editor/reporters for the Episcopal News Service.

Church of England joins worldwide prayer for care of creation

Episcopal News Service - sex, 28/08/2015 - 10:46

[Church of England] The Church of England’s lead Bishop for the environment, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam is calling on congregations to join Pope Francis, Patriarch Bartholomew, members of the global Anglican Church and Christians around the world to fast and pray for the care of creation on 1st September.

Bishop Nicholas said:

“It will do us all good to stop, fast, think and pray about the need to care for God’s good but fragile creation. We live at a time when human activity has caused a dramatic reduction in the earth’s biodiversity and when people are causing climate change through our profligate use of fossil fuels. A consensus has emerged about the need to move to a low carbon economy.

“Whatever the scientific, economic and political difficulties at root this is a spiritual problem. Prayer helps clarify what we want and strengthens our determination for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. On 1st September, join the prayer for the care of creation.”

The latest commitment by the CofE to transition to a low carbon future seeks to join with other denominations including the Orthodox Church, which has celebrated a Day of Prayer for the Environment on 1 September since 1989; and with the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis established a ‘World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation’ for the [Roman] Catholic Church which will be held annually on the same date.

Other members of the Anglican Church across the world have pledged their support for praying on the 1st September for climate justice, including the Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba.

Out of Deep Waters: Retired bishops say brokenness wrought by Katrina brought grace

Episcopal News Service - sex, 28/08/2015 - 10:34

[Episcopal News Service – New Orleans, Louisiana] In the days after Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath devastated the dioceses they led, now retired-Mississippi Bishop Duncan Gray III and his Louisiana counterpart at that time, now retired-Bishop Charles Jenkins discuss the days immediately after the storm and reflect on its lessons 10 years later.

“A church that is focused inwardly, a church – as I have said before – that exists for those who are already in it, I think is a church that is not living up to the calling of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Jenkins said. “I would want the rest of the church to know that, here in New Orleans, she was reaching out to people to whom no one else would reach.”

Gray echoed that sentiment, saying he hopes the church will “remember the joy was to serve [and] remember the excitement in a common enterprise of rebuilding, remembering when their heart beat faster imagining what it would be like to drive through the middle of the night” to get to Mississippi to volunteer to help the Gulf Coast rebuild.

“That was, I think, the call of God.”

This video is the third in a weeklong series of Episcopal News Service coverage. Other videos and stories are here.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg and Matthew Davies are editor/reporters for the Episcopal News Service.

Video: Jonathan Daniels’ companions in Alabama recall his life, death

Episcopal News Service - qui, 27/08/2015 - 15:05

[Episcopal News Service – Keene, New Hampshire] Five people who worked alongside Jonathan Daniels in the struggle for civil rights in Alabama in 1965 gathered at his home parish, St. James Episcopal Church, on Aug. 22 to reminisce about the seminarian who died when he was 26 years old.

Daniels died Aug. 20, 1965, in Hayneville, Alabama, by stepping in front of a shotgun aimed at then-16-year-old Ruby Sales.

The Episcopal Church added Daniels to its Lesser Feasts and Fasts calendar of commemorations in 1994. His feast day is Aug. 14, the day of his arrest.

The panel discussion included:
Sales, a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) volunteer in Lowndes County, Alabama, in 1965, who now operates the Atlanta, Georgia-based SpiritHouse Project to work for racial, economic and social justice.

Richard Morrisroe, a Chicago, Illinois-area Roman Catholic priest when he was shot in the back just after Daniels was killed, who now works as a city planner for East Chicago, Indiana.

Gloria House (then Gloria Larry), a SNCC field secretary when she was arrested and jailed with Daniels, who is a professor emerita of humanities and African-American studies at the University of Michigan in Dearborn.

Jimmy Rogers, a former member of the U.S. Air Force and later SNCC volunteer when he was arrested and jailed with Daniels after leading a protest, who later became a probation officer in Oakland, California.

The Rev. Judith Upham, a fellow seminarian with Daniels at Episcopal Theological School (now Episcopal Divinity School) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who went to Alabama with Daniels in March 1965. She stayed with Daniels in Alabama, working in the civil right movement. She was not with Daniels at the time of his death because she was fulfilling the school’s clinical pastoral education requirement at a state mental hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

Sales, Morrisroe, House and Rogers were all arrested with others on Aug. 14, 1965, while participating in a demonstration against discriminatory practices by businesses in Fort Deposit, Alabama. They were held for six days in a filthy jail in Hayneville, the county seat of Lowndes County. When they were released without bail and without explanation on Aug. 20, they say they feared that they were being set up.

While waiting for a ride from other SNCC workers and after having been ordered off the jail property, Daniels, Morrisroe, Sales and another black demonstrator, Joyce Bailey, walked to buy soda for the group at Varner’s Cash Store, about 50 yards from the jail. Thomas Coleman, a county special deputy wielding a 12-gauge automatic pump shotgun, stood in the doorway of the store. He crudely ordered them off the property.

Daniels, who had just opened the store’s door for Ruby, pulled her out of the way and the blast from Coleman’s shotgun hit him at point-blank range. Morrisroe turned to run, pulling Bailey by the hand. Coleman shot him in the back. Morrisroe spent six months in the hospital.

House and Rogers were in the group that had waited at the courthouse. They witnessed the shooting and ran to neighboring house begging for help, to no avail. Eventually ambulances came to take away Daniels’ body and to take Morrisroe for treatment.

The Aug. 22 gathering was the first time Morrisroe and Rogers had seen each other in 50 years.

The panel discussion was the second of two held at St. James on Aug. 22. This video features some of the highlights of the discussion, which was moderated by Sandra Neil Wallace, who with her husband Rich Wallace, have written Blood Brother A Civil Rights Hero’s Sacrifice for Justice, a book for young people due to be published in September 2016 by Calkins Creek/Boyd Mills Press.

Earlier in the day, five long-time acquaintances of Daniels discussed their friendship and his influence on their lives. An edited video recording of their reminiscences is here.

Daniels’ five Alabama companions participated in another panel discussion that evening in the Colonial Theater in downtown Keene after a screening to a packed house of the 1999 nearly hour-long documentary Here Am I, Send Me: The Story of Jonathan Daniels, produced by Keene State College professors Lawrence Benaquist and William Sullivan. The documentary, narrated by actor Sam Waterston, is viewable here.

The program for the night included a page of suggestions for action, including “Resolve to do something this year that will further Jonathan’s legacy and that will make a difference in the lives of others. It can be a small step or a big leap.” The suggestions started with getting acquainted with one’s neighbors and learning how one might serve them. Other suggestions included becoming an informed voter (and registering to vote) and exploring volunteer opportunities.

Sales preached during a commemorative Eucharist at St. James on Aug. 23. The Eucharist was followed by a 2.3-mile “walk of remembrance” to the Daniels’ family gravesite in Monadnock View Cemetery for a service.

The Aug. 23 events rounded out a year’s worth of events that had been organized by members of St. James Episcopal Church and others.

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

Out of Deep Waters: Priests reflect on Mississippi parish’s Katrina experience

Episcopal News Service - qui, 27/08/2015 - 13:43

[Episcopal News Service – Gulfport, Mississippi] Ten years after Hurricane Katrina wiped the building that housed St. Mark’s Episcopal Church from its seaside location, the parish’s retired rector and its current priest-in-charge reflect on the storm and its aftermath for the 169-year-old congregation.

The Rev. James “Bo” Roberts, who was St. Mark’s rector for 44 years, saw the congregation through from Hurricane Camille, which struck just four months after his arrival in 1969, through the August 2005 destruction wreaked by Katrina. He led parishioners north away from the beach and oversaw the building of a new St. Mark’s church further inland.

The Rev. Stephen Kidd, who succeeded Roberts, says the parish is now flourishing and he is blessed to experience “a resurrection story” that began before his arrival.

This video is the second in a weeklong series of Episcopal News Service coverage. Other videos and stories are here.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg and Matthew Davies are editor/reporters for the Episcopal News Service.

Correction: A previous version of this story referred to the previous rector of St.Mark’s as the Rev. James “Bo” Reynolds. He is the Rev. James “Bo” Roberts.

Video: Friends who grew up with Jonathan Daniels reflect on his life

Episcopal News Service - qua, 26/08/2015 - 12:50

[Episcopal News Service – Keene, New Hampshire] As part of a weekend commemoration of Jonathan Daniels’ martyrdom on Aug. 20, 1965, a group of his early friends gathered at his home parish, St. James Episcopal Church, on Aug. 22 to reminisce during a public panel discussion about the seminarian and civil rights worker who was killed when he was 26 years old.

The five, Ted Aldrich, Anne Mccune, Bob Perry, Tony Redington and the Rev. Carlton Russell, formed the panel and conversed for just more than an hour. The video features some of the highlights of the discussion, which was moderated by Keene State College professor Lawrence Benaquist. He can be heard at times in the background. Benaquist and fellow Keene State professor William Sullivan produced the 1999 nearly hour-long documentary Here Am I, Send Me: The Story of Jonathan Daniels. (The documentary, narrated by actor Sam Waterston, is viewable here.)

Daniels died in Hayneville, Alabama, by stepping in front of a shotgun aimed at Ruby Sales.

The Episcopal Church added Daniels to its Lesser Feasts and Fasts calendar of commemorations in 1994. His feast day is Aug. 14, the day of his arrest.

Sales preached during a commemorative Eucharist at St. James on Aug. 23. The Eucharist was followed by a 2.3-mile “walk of remembrance” to the Daniels’ family gravesite in Monadnock View Cemetery for a service.

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

Out of Deep Waters: Gulf Coast, Episcopal Church remembers Katrina

Episcopal News Service - qua, 26/08/2015 - 12:08

[Episcopal News Service – Gulf Coast] It was Sunday; just six days after Hurricane Katrina had ripped a swath of death and destruction across the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi. It was time for church.

No matter that Katrina had wiped the building known as St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Gulfport from its Gulf-side lot. The Rev. James “Bo” Roberts had not missed a Sunday service since he became rector of the then-123-year-old church in April 1969 before Hurricane Camille knocked the building of its foundation about the same time in August of that year.

And so, on Sept. 3, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, the particle board sign along debris-strewn Church Avenue just north of sand-covered East Beach Boulevard read “Here! Mass 9:30 Bring Chair.”

Roberts, a Gulf Coast native, rode out Camille in his home but nearly died. He stayed for Katrina, too.

“The reason I stay is because you cannot get back after the storms,” he told reporters that Sunday morning after Katrina. “I wanted to be where I could check on my people and be available to them. Should any of them have died, I wanted to be here for that circumstance also.”

Hurricane Katrina hit land along the Gulf Coast twice on Aug. 29, once near Buras, Louisiana, just after 8 a.m. local time with maximum winds estimated at 125 mph, and then near the Louisiana-Mississippi border about three hours later with slightly reduced winds. The storm caused a storm surge of 24 feet to 28 feet along the Mississippi coast and 10 to 20 feet along the southeastern Louisiana coast. In Mississippi, the surge damage extended at least five miles inland and as much as 10 miles along coastal rivers and bays.

In Gulfport, Mississippi, and all along the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Katrina pushed a 24-28 foot wall of water at least five miles inland. Photo: Federal Emergency Management Agency

The Rev. Christopher Colby, who was rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Pass Christian, Mississippi, when Katrina tore away all but the church building’s frame and destroyed four other buildings, recalls saying the 8 a.m. Mass on Aug. 29 “wondering what was going to be left and feeling this incredible fear.” He and some parishioners tried to remove as many things as possible from the campus before they evacuated.

“We were staring down the barrel of the gun,” said the Rev. Wayne Ray, who was then the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

The wooden Gothic church building “withstood all the fury of Katrina,” but their home was destroyed by 18 inches of water and three huge fallen oak trees.

Almost as worse as the physical damage was the “enormous sense of betrayal” many eastern Gulf Coast residents felt about the body of water that was almost part of the family and from whom many made their living, according to the Rev. Dennis Ryan, former rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Pascagoula, Mississippi, which was badly damaged but not destroyed in the storm. “All of the sudden this sibling that had nourished us turned against us and killed us, literally killed us,” he said.

Even today, many people believe “that body of water cannot be trusted 100 percent and when the indications are there to get out, you better get out,” he said.

Then-Mississippi Bishop Duncan Gray III and his Louisiana counterpart at that time, then-Bishop Charles Jenkins, spoke by phone soon after the storm. “I only had some vague information, but I thought we’d lost several churches – didn’t know how many” Gray recalled recently. “And you said ‘Well, I think we’ve dodged the bullet.”

More than 50 breaks in the levees that hold water out of New Orleans caused 80 percent of the metropolitan area to flood on Aug. 29, 2005. Photo: Jocelyn Augustino/Federal Emergency Management Agency

“Right,” Jenkins said. “Then of course, the levees broke. And the city flooded.

“And in that moment, I felt as if my ministry had been washed away..

There were nearly 50 breaches in the levees meant to protect the New Orleans metropolitan area, from the surrounding water. By Aug. 31, nearly 80 percent of the city and its eastern suburbs were covered by as much as 20 feet of water that did not drain out until into October.

The world witnessed televised images of the horrific desperation of the 10 to 20 percent of the city’s residents who either could not or would not evacuate as the governmental response to the storm faltered at disastrous levels.  The storm exposed the city’s racial divides in new ways. Two years after the storm, Time magazine reported that the charges of racial discrimination that cropped up during the botched response to Katrina still lingered.

Thousands of people sat on New Orleans rooftops on Aug. 30, 2005, pleading to be rescued after levee failures flooded the city with as much as 20 feet of water. Photo: Jocelyn Augustino/Federal Emergency Management Agency

Katrina was one of the most devastating hurricanes in U.S. history, according to the National Hurricane Center, and the deadliest hurricane to strike the country since the Palm Beach-Lake Okeechobee hurricane of September 1928. Katrina was directly responsible for approximately 1,300 deaths in Louisiana (the majority were people older than 60 years) and 200 in Mississippi, a center report said. It was the fourth- or fifth-deadliest hurricane in U.S. history, after the hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas, in 1900 and killed an estimated 8,000, and the Palm Beach-Lake Okeechobee with more than 2,500 deaths. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says two 1893 hurricanes killed close to the same number of people as did Katrina.

The Episcopal Church went into action as the storm began barreling north into the interior of the United States. Episcopal Relief & Development immediately sent emergency funds to the Dioceses of Central Gulf Coast, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Western Louisiana to support immediate needs such as food, shelter and medical supplies.

While it is estimated that more than 1 million people left New Orleans in the days before Hurricane Katrina, between 100,000 and 200,000 could not or would not leave. They were stranded when relief efforts failed. Photo: Win Henderson/Federal Emergency Management Agency

Robert Radtke, Episcopal Relief & Development president, had begun working for the organization the month before and was not then, by his own admission, an expert on disaster response. He and the staff monitored the storm’s progress, contacting potentially impacted dioceses ahead of time. “Katrina was absolutely beyond anyone’s imaginations,” he said recently.

Louisiana Bishop Jenkins called Radtke, asking him to come be with him in Baton Rouge north of New Orleans where diocesan staffers were attempting to regroup.

“This was unprecedented. Episcopal Relief & Development is not a boots-on-the-ground sort of operation,” Radtke said. “We weren’t then and we really aren’t today in many ways, but I followed my instinct, which was to go and be with him.”

In the days ahead, the organization helped the diocese build a response. “Those relationships we built there continue to this day,” he said.

Dioceses, congregations, individual Episcopalians and Anglicans from all over the Anglican Communion began asking what they could do to help. Some of the relationships formed across the church, relationships that cut through geographic and theological boundaries, exist to this day, 10 years later.

Jenkins called the outpouring “incredible,” made even more so by the fact that Katrina hit two years after the Communion was rocked by the General Convention’s decision to recognize that same-sex blessings were a part of the church’s life and its official assent to the Diocese of New Hampshire’s election of an openly gay and partnered priest, Gene Robinson, to be its bishop.

Jenkins called outpouring of help “incredible,” and added the givers were not asking if their intended recipients were politically, theologically or liturgically liberal or conservative.

“I don’t want us to forget the generous outpouring not only of The Episcopal Church and the tens of thousands of volunteers who came here,” he said. “We are a family. We are a family that sometimes disagrees and disagrees vehemently, but, frankly, when the chips are down, we’re still family.”

Gray agreed, adding that in 2006 each of the six Mississippi congregations that lost their buildings raised the percentage of their giving to the diocese because “they had experienced what it meant to be one church, connected in the ways Charles mentioned.

“When we are broken there is an access to grace that we don’t know in strength and suddenly grace begins to permeate every part of our lives and the judgmental part of me is broken as well as the church is broken,” he said.

As the extent of Katrina’s wrath became clear, the Episcopal News Service began its coverage of the church’s response. ENS reporter Matthew Davies was at St. Mark’s in Gulfport on the first Sunday after the storm. The video above comes from footage he recorded that morning.

Today and for the next week, ENS is looking back at Katrina and tracing how the church’s response to the storm has evolved over the last 10 years, and how that ministry has helped transform the communities the church serves.

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

Scott MacDougall named visiting assistant professor of theology at Church Divinity School of the Pacific

Episcopal News Service - ter, 25/08/2015 - 17:23

Scott MacDougall, a scholar who has taught at Fordham University since 2010, has been named visiting assistant professor of theology at Church Divinity School of the Pacific for the 2015-2016 year.

MacDougall, who earned his PhD at Fordham, is the author of the forthcoming book “More Than Communion: Imagining an Eschatological Ecclesiology” and has written for Huffington Post and Religion Dispatches as well as academic publications. He earned his master of arts in theology at General Theological Seminary in 2007, where the Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, now dean and president of CDSP, was his advisor.

While at CDSP, MacDougall will teach two required theology courses as well as electives titled “Contemporary Theologies of Church” and “Eschatology and Christian Practice.”

“Scott’s theological voice is clear, focused and timely. He interprets the contemporary context and the kind of leadership needed to serve the church in our day. I am confident that students will feel his passion for theological dialogue and reflection as well as the depth of his preparation,” Richardson said.

MacDougall, an experienced grants manager who has worked for the Rockefeller Foundation and consulted for the Open Society Foundations, is married to Michael Angelo, founder and creative director of the prestigious Michael Angelo’s Wonderland Beauty Parlor in New York.

Church Divinity School of the Pacific, a seminary of the Episcopal Church and a member of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, educates students in an ecumenical and interreligious context to develop leaders who can proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world through traditional and emerging ministries. Learn more at

GTS appoints Emily Wachner as director of integrative programs

Episcopal News Service - ter, 25/08/2015 - 11:26

The General Theological Seminary has appointed the Rev. Emily Wachner as the Director of Integrative Programs. In this newly created position, Wachner will oversee and administer Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), Field Education, and The Wisdom Year, while creating additional integrated formational opportunities for students.

As the Director of Integrative Programs, Wachner will provide a consistent presence throughout a student’s seminary education, bridging classroom education with practical experience. She will assist in the nurturing and selection of CPE sites and assist students in the application process during their junior year. She will also develop and cultivate relationships with Field Education sites and help match students in their second year.

In addition, Wachner will continue to develop and implement The Wisdom Year. As part of The Wisdom Year, students integrate their final year of studies with a part-time, paid placement in a ministry setting. In the lead-up to the full implementation of that program, Wachner will develop best practices for administering this type of ministry, and will coordinate student supervision and specialized guest lecturers. She will continue in the full management of the program, including the assemblage of an advisory team made up of local clergy and educators.

“Emily is smart, quick, determined, and creative and also highly collaborative. It is clear that she is the perfect fit for advancing this important initiative during these next years,” says the Very Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle, Dean and President.

Wachner received her M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and comes to General Seminary from Trinity Church Wall Street where she is the Priest for Welcome, Liturgy, Hospitality & Pilgrimage. There she assisted the development of a new 200-person congregation and participated in the leadership of interfaith and community initiatives at historic St. Paul’s Chapel. She created and implemented new member formation classes and served as liaison for hundreds of newcomers. Before serving at Trinity, she was the Associate Rector at St. Timothy’s Church, St. Louis.

“Emily Wachner has been a trusted staff colleague and has led with creativity and passion in her time at Trinity. We are pleased to see that the next stage of her ministry will be at The General Theological Seminary where she will have a strong impact on the formation of a new generation of leaders for the church. Emily and the entire General community will be in our prayers as you journey forward together,” states the Rev. Dr. William Lupfer, Rector, Trinity Wall Street.

Wachner will take up her duties in mid-September, but is already spending time on campus during Orientation Week connecting with students, staff, and faculty.

About her new position at General, Wachner states, “It is an honor and a privilege to join the General Seminary community. The work ahead of us is to bring The Wisdom Year to life, and I am thrilled to be a part of shaping the future of theological education at The General Theological Seminary.”

Historic move towards Indigenous province in Canada

Episcopal News Service - seg, 24/08/2015 - 17:52

[Anglican Church of Canada] As the cool evening air settled, Sacred Circle participants congregated around a small evergreen tree ready to be planted as part of a tradition at the end of the gathering.

Before the tree was planted, Bishop Lydia Mamakwa of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh offered a few words.

“Planting a tree is an occasion for us to learn from,” Bishop Lydia said. “This kind of tree, it never loses its branches. It’s always green.”

“Our God wants us to be like this tree,” she added. “He wants us to always be growing … May this be an illustration for our lives that we may be like this tree in our spiritual lives—that the life may never leave us, the life that our Creator who died on the Cross for us gives us.”

It was a fitting end to a momentous day, when Sacred Circle delegates planted the seeds for a historic move towards self-determination by endorsing a draft plan to establish a fifth province and structure for the Indigenous Anglican Church as part of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The mood of the hall was electric that afternoon as Sol Sanderson, a member of the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice, presented a draft statement outlining the proposed structure for a fifth ecclesiastical province.

In this draft proposal, the province’s offices would include a National Anglican Indigenous Primate—retaining the office of National Indigenous Anglican Bishop—as well as regional bishops, area mission bishops and ministry at the community level.

The National Indigenous Anglican Church would have both shared and separate areas of jurisdiction with the existing structure of the Anglican Church of Canada, Canon XXII being amended to accommodate the transition.

Excitement surrounding the draft statement was palpable. One Sacred Circle delegate noted his trepidation at the prospect, due to the fact that it was a challenge that took delegates out of their comfort zone.

But, he added, “It’s only when we step out of our comfort zone that we grow,” and expressed his strong willingness to support the document. Others also spoke in favour, and a consensus among delegates resulted in the draft statement being forwarded to the new membership of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples.

Read more here in Anglican Journal.

Palmer Trinity School names Juan Gomez development director

Episcopal News Service - seg, 24/08/2015 - 17:41

[Palmer Trinity School press release] Palmer Trinity School is pleased to announce the appointment of Juan Gomez as the new Director of Development.

“Juan brings energy, enthusiasm, and most importantly experience, which will complement our vision, as well as advance our development programs and School objectives,” stated Head of School, Patrick Roberts.

As Director of Development, Juan will provide strategic insight, direction, and fundraising guidance to advance the mission of the School and build an even stronger culture of philanthropy at Palmer Trinity. Juan has more than 23 years of educational leadership and administrative experience in the private school sector.

Most recently, he served as Development Director at Columbus High School, and spent several years in various roles including educator and administrator. While at Columbus, Juan played an integral part in the capital campaigns for the Mas Technology Building and The All Sports Fitness Complex and Bernhardt Student Wellness Center, as well as increasing alumni participation.

Juan earned both a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, and a master’s in engineering from the University of Florida.

Tim Vivian receives Historical Society of the Episcopal Church Burr Prize

Episcopal News Service - seg, 24/08/2015 - 17:31

[Historical Society of the Episcopal Church press release] The Historical Society of the Episcopal Church is pleased to announce its recipient of the 2015 Nelson R. Burr Prize, the Rev. Dr. Tim Vivian. Dr. Vivian teaches in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of California State University, Bakersfield. He is honored for his article “Wake the Devil from His Dream: Thomas Dudley, Quincy Ewing, Religion, and the “Race Problem’ in the Jim Crow South” published in the December 2014 issue of Anglican and Episcopal History. The selection committee noted the article makes excellent use of primary and secondary sources to create two portraits in a landscape of racial division that we, sadly, still recognize today.

The Burr prize honors the renowned scholar Nelson R. Burr, whose two-volume A Critical Bibliography of Religion in America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961) and other works constitute landmarks in the field of religious historiography. Each year a committee of the Society selects the author of the most outstanding article in the Society’s journal, Anglican and Episcopal History, as recipient. The award also honors that which best exemplifies excellence and innovative scholarship in the field of Anglican and Episcopal history.

Vivian received a B.A in English and M.A. in Comparative Literature from U.C. Santa Barbara, an M.A. in American Literature at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. (Classics, History, Religious Studies) at U.C. Santa Barbara. Vivian is a dedicated scholar in the field of early Christianity, with emphasis on Coptic Studies and Early Christian Monasticism. He has taught at CSUB in a variety of capacities since 1990.

He serves as priest-in-charge at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Bakersfield and received his M.Div. from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. He has also been a Henry R. Luce Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yale Divinity School.

Vivian has published thirteen books, over fifty articles, and over a hundred book reviews in a wide variety of scholarly publications. His scholarship is also based on substantial archeological field work. He has participated in two excavations in Egypt, serving as a director and faculty member at the excavation of the monastery of John Kolobos. He served as project historian for the team restoring and studying the 13th century wall paintings at the monastery of Saint Anthony in Egypt.

For over a century HSEC has been an association dedicated to preserving and disseminating information about the history of the Episcopal Church. Founded in Philadelphia in 1910 as the Church Historical Society, its members include scholars, writers, teachers, ministers (lay and ordained) and many others who have an interest in the objectives and activities of the Historical Society.