[St. Paul’s Episcopal School - press release] St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile, Alabama, is honored to announce that forty-one students were listed among the highest scorers in the country by their performance in their AP courses and exams.
These AP Scholars have demonstrated college-level achievement through rigorous classes accredited by the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) which provides willing and academically prepared high school students with the opportunity to take college-level courses to earn college credit. The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on students’ performance on the AP Exams.
AP Scholar: Granted to students who receive grades of 3 or higher on three or more AP Exams.
Kendall A. Bailey, Virginia G. Cottrell*, Nina C. Crawford*, Zoe S. Donalson*, Marissa F. Donovan*, Taylor L. Evans, William R. Foster, Hallie A. King*, Jonathan Landry*, Klaudia J. Larson*, Rachel McCaslin*, Whitney N. Myers*, Ellis K. Nobles, Matthews O’Connor*, Zachary B. Parker, Brockton M. Payne*, Rebecca M. Pober*, Graham Reeves*, Caroline E. Scott, Richard Smith, Virginia M. Vichi-Miller*, Benton G. Weinacker, Susan D. Wettermark.
AP Scholar with Honor: Granted to students who receive an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, AND grades of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.
Taylor A. Bahos*, Ryan Cox*, Kellsey L. Daggett*, Matthew A. D’Alonzo, Victoria M. Falkos, George R. Irvine*, Wade K. Naritoku*
AP Scholar with Distinction: Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams, AND scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.
Abigail L. Blankenship*, Conner J. Denton*, Holly N. Friedlander*, Alexandra L. Goodwin*, Louis A. Henry*, Katherine B. Jeffries*, John F. Kavula*, Brewer G. Kirkendall*, Jessica R. Knezha*, Katherine M. Steadman*, Danielle C. Williamson*
National AP Scholar: Granted to students in the United States who receive an average score of at least 4 on all AP exams and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.
Abigail L. Blankenship*, Danielle C. Williamson*
To learn more about these scholars and the Advanced Placement curriculum at St. Paul’s Episcopal School, contact Morgan Berney, Associate Director of Marketing & Communications at 251.461.2145 or email@example.com.
The Rev. Sr. Lucy Shetters of the Community of St. Mary, Southern Province, died this morning, August 29, 2014. Sister was born in Sherwood, TN on Dec. 18, 1933, entered the community on April 3, 1954, and made her Life Profession on September 27, 1956. During her many years as a religious, she served as a mission Sister in the Mountain Province in Sagada, Philippines, as the Assistant Superior of the order, novice mistress, and Sister-in-Charge of the Southern Province of St. Mary’s. She also served as a priest in the Diocese of Tennessee, serving in many of its small mission churches for thirty-four years. She was the first woman ordained in the Diocese of Tennessee. As a Sister and priest, she will be especially remembered for her Celtic pilgrimages and love of music and liturgy. The Requiem for Sr. Lucy and interment of her body will be on September 27 at 11:00 in the convent chapel. September 27th will be her 58 anniversary of life profession.
[Anglican Church of Melanesia] The Archbishop of Melanesia, who is also the patron of the Mothers’ Union (MU), has urged MU delegates to promote the place of women in the church and society.
The Most Rev. David Vunagi made the statement at the official opening of this 13th Provincial Mothers’ Union General Conference at the Melanesia Haus on August 25.
The theme for the conference was: Faithful Relationship in Unity, Mission and Service.
“Your mission is to liberate women from cultural and religious beliefs that oppress and discriminate against women,” Vunagi said.
“But before you can do that, you must take the initiative to raise your own self-esteem and liberate yourselves from the negative impacts of culture and religion that restrict the place of women in the church and society.”
He said women, particularly in Melanesia, have been conditioned by culture and religion to think that their place is at the periphery of any organization or body of people.
The archbishop urged church and society, especially in Melanesia, to listen to the voices of women, girls and children who are “always placed at the deep end of the stick”. He said it is only when church and society are listening that they can establish achievable goals to remedy unjust systems and structures.
“It should be part of the witness for the gospel that the church must work towards dismantling the conditioned mentality of the society that put women at the backburner. But women must have trust and confidence in themselves that they are equal partners of men in the mission and ministry of the Church.”
It is for such reason that this general conference can help women in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands recognize the negative impacts of the different forms of oppression and discrimination that have continued to hinder them in fully participating in the decision-making processes in the church and in the communities they live.
It is also for such reason that this consultation will help to develop a dynamic process that will help establish a societal environment that is truly free and inclusive to help women fully realize their worth and potential.
The general conference ran from August 25-30.
About 80 MU delegates from the nine dioceses across the Anglican Church of Melanesia plus provincial MU staff took joined the conference.
[The Historical Society of the Episcopal Church] The Historical Society of the Episcopal Church is pleased to announce its recipient of the 2014 Nelson R. Burr Prize. Recipient Dr. J. Michael Utzinger is Elliott Professor of Religion at Hampden Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, Virginia. He is honored for his article “The Tragedy of Prince Edward: The Religious Turn and the Destabilization of One Parish’s Resistance to Integration, 1963-1965.” The selection committee noted that his article was deeply researched in primary sources, well written, cognizant of pertinent scholarly work and presented a nuanced interpretation that placed local events in a larger scholarly context.
This Burr prize honors the renown scholar 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 aware also honors that which best exemplifies excellence and innovative scholarship in the field of Anglican and Episcopal history.
Dr. Utzinger carries a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia (2000), an M. Div. from Yale University (1993) and a B.A. in Theology from Valparaiso University (1990). He was a Lilly Fellow for the Arts and Humanities 1999-2000. While at Hampden-Sydney he received the 2010 Cabell Award for Excellence in Teaching and was named the William W. Elliot Associate Professor of Religion in 2011.
Utzinger serves as moderator of the Southeastern Colloquium on American Religious Studies (SCARS), and a contributing editor for the blog “Religion in American History”: usreligion.blogspot.com. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Robert Russa Moton Museum for the Study of Civil Rights in Education and on the vestry of Johns Memorial Episcopal Church. He participated on the Anti-racism Commission and the Commission on Ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. At Hampden-Sydney, Dr. Utzinger is chair of the Department of Religion and has served as Associate Director of the Honors Program (twice as Interim Director) and as Associate Dean of the Faculty (2011-2014). He is Secretary of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church but had no involvement in the determination of the award.
[Episcopal News Service] As the Church in Wales prepares to enable women to become bishops, Bishop Suffragan Gayle Harris of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts became the first female Anglican bishop to preside and preach in a Welsh cathedral.
“The church is not just enriched by women’s ordination, it’s more enabled and empowered by women’s presence,” she told Episcopal News Service during a telephone interview from the U.K. as she prepared for her historic participation in the 11 a.m. Eucharist service on Aug. 31 at St. Asaph Cathedral in Denbighshire, North Wales. “I see women bringing to the fore the desire that all people sit at the table of leadership, that all share in the benefits of the life of God. Nobody should be ignored or left out.”
Although the Church in Wales voted on Sept. 12, 2013, to allow women as bishops, it decided that church law would not be changed for one year to allow the Welsh bishops time to prepare a Code of Practice. The Church of England also made history when its General Synod, meeting last July, approved legislation to enable women to serve as bishops.
Harris’s visit came at the invitation of Diocese of St. Asaph Bishop Gregory Cameron, who said he’s been surprised at how long it has taken the Church in Wales to take the step to ordaining women as bishops.
“I’ve had significant experience of women bishops around the Anglican Communion, and their ministry is as natural and appropriate as our fundamental membership in the church, male and female,” he told ENS. “In fact, the women bishops I have known have been of exceptional ability and talent. It is precisely because women bishops are not new to the Communion that I’m delighted to have had the chance to invite Bishop Gayle Harris to join us, as we approach the date when women may be elected to the episcopate in Wales.”
But for Harris, the second African-American woman to be ordained a bishop in the Episcopal Church, her arrival in the U.K. didn’t go as smoothly as expected. The U.K. Border Force detained Harris for more than five hours and told her she would have to return to the U.S. even though she had the required paperwork and permissions, including from the Church in Wales and the Archbishop of York.
Despite the ordeal, Harris said that the border officers “were very polite, civil and courteous” and that once they’d discovered that her visit was legitimate, the deportation order was rescinded. “I know that the people at the airport were just trying to do their job,” she said, adding that the head officer of the U.K. Border Force offered her a personal apology for the detention being so long.
Harris was relieved to put the experience behind her and focus on the planned itinerary and upcoming celebrations.
Harris already had plans in place to visit the U.K. — to officiate at her goddaughter’s wedding — when she was invited to send a greeting to Crossing the Threshold, a conference celebrating the law change to enable women to become bishops.
She will attend the Sept. 4 conference in Cardiff and retired Bishop Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island will participate as a keynote speaker.
The Episcopal Church became the first Anglican Communion province to open the episcopate to women by an act of General Convention in 1976, although it would be another 13 years until the Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris – Bishop Gayle Harris’s predecessor in Massachusetts – is ordained as its first female bishop in 1989. Last July, the Episcopal Church celebrated 40 years since the first women were ordained as priests. Yet the majority of Anglican Communion provinces still do not ordain women as bishops.
“There are places where we may not see women ordained to the episcopacy in our lifetime or even in the next generation but I believe God can call whoever He wants to call; male or female, black or white,” said Harris. “Sometimes it is hard for us to hear and discern that call and that’s why it takes longer in some places than others.”
Bishop Gayle Harris was ordained to the priesthood in 1982 and elected as bishop suffragan of Massachusetts in 2002. That journey, she said, has had its ups and downs, but she has been sustained throughout by the presence of God.
During her sermon at St. Asaph’s Cathedral, Harris spoke about being a follower of Christ and explained that discipleship isn’t easy and involves personal cost.
As the first black woman to celebrate mass in an upstate New York church in the early ‘90s, Harris received various reactions, both positive and negative. “No one in that parish had ever seen a woman in that sanctuary, but they took the risk to call me as rector” of St. Luke and St. Simon Cyrene Church in Rochester, New York, she said.
“During the first Sunday I chose not to celebrate but to sit among them to get to know them,” she added. Some parishioners said that they were not going to come back, Harris said. Fortunately, most did, including some dissenting parishioners who later admitted “it was not as bad as they had expected.”
“What’s important is the presence of God,” Harris said. “I am first and foremost created in the image of God. No one can deny that is my identity. But all of my experience of negative response is not over. I have been held as incompetent because of who I am as a black woman. That continues. I still think that this world has to deal with the difference of skin color. We keep bypassing that issue. As a black woman, sometimes I have to ask is it because I am a woman but most of the time it is because I am black and a woman. The race issue has not been dealt with.”
Harris said she is grateful to Cameron for his invitation to St. Asaph’s. “It says a lot about him and how gracious he is. But I see this as another opportunity to engage and encounter the other,” she said. “I believe God is in this moment.”
– Matthew Davies is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
Como parte do protocolo da IEAB para as festividades da Visita do Arcebispo da Cantuária Sua Graça Justin Welby ao Brasil, de 4-5 de setembro, o Bispo Primaz Dom Francisco de Assis da Silva e o o Bispo da Diocese Anglicana de São Paulo Dom Flavio Irala receberam na tarde de 01 de setembro, o Embaixador do Reino Unido no Brasil, Vossa Excelência Alex Ellis que esteve acompanhado pelo Cônsul em São Paulo, Vossa Excelência Richard Turner.
A reunião ocorreu no mesanino da belíssima Igreja da Santíssima Trindade, em Campos Elíseos, em um clima muito amistoso. A Igreja da Trindade é o primeiro templo religioso de arquitetura moderna (1950) de São Paulo tendo como arquiteto o Prof. Jacob Ruchti. Os grandes vitrais foram projetados pela artista plástica Maria Leontina (1966).
O convite partiu da IEAB junto a Embaixada do Reino Unido que prontamente atendeu a solicitação do Bispo Primaz Dom Francisco de Assis. O Bispo Primaz juntamente com o Bispo de São Paulo puderam apresentar a Agenda Oficial do Arcebispo Welby no Brasil. Igualmente, resgataram os laços históricos da IEAB com as Capelanias Britânicas e de sua importância para a espiritualidade afetiva dos episcopais brasileiros. Lembrou que esses laços com a IEAB é que tornam possível eclesiasticamente a filiação dessas capelanias com a The Church of England e consequentemente com a Comunhão Anglicana. Em nosso país, a Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil é a única representante (19º Província) da Comunhão Anglicana.
O Embaixador Ellis, 47 anos, é filho de pai anglicano e mãe presbiteriana, se mostrou muito a vontade nesse encontro com os Bispos da Igreja Anglicana no Brasil. Em julho de 2013, assumiu o posto diplomático em Brasília e anteriormente havia sido o Embaixador em Portugal.
No final do encontro foi entregue pelo Primaz Francisco e por Dom Flavio, um exemplar em inglês da Cartilha do Serviço Anglicano de Diaconia e Desenvolvimento (SADD) sobre Violência de Gênero e Mulheres. O Cônsul Turner se comprometeu em apoiar nos preparativos para receber o Arcebispo da Cantuária.Arcebispo da Cantuária Sua Graça Justin Welby (ao centro) com membros da Família Real
O Arcebispo Welby despachará no escritório da Secretaria Geral da Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil, situado na Praça Olavo Bilac, no bairro de Campos Elíseos. Além de duas reuniões privadas com o Bispo Primaz do Brasil e de uma audiência com a Câmara de Bispos da IEAB, ele estará presente em outras ocasiões já previstas:
1- Coletiva de Imprensa- DIA 04 ÀS 15 H
2- Encontro com líderes de outras Religiões e Igrejas- DIA 04 ÀS 15H30
3- Ofício Religioso Eucarístico com Bispos, Fiéis, Clérigos, Líderes de outras Religiões e Igrejas e Autoridades Governamentais. Local: Paróquia da Santíssima Trindade (mesmo endereço do Escritório da Secretaria Geral). Data: 04/09 às 17 horas
4- Ofício Religioso e um café da manhã com lideranças clérigas e leigas da Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil. Local: Paróquia da Santíssima Trindade (mesmo endereço do Escritório da Secretaria Geral). Data: 05/09 às 08H
Todo o contato que venha envolver a visita do Arcebispo da Cantuária, previsto pelo protocolo estabelecido entre o Palácio de Lambeth e a Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil, é realizado pelo Escritório da Secretaria Geral, situado na Praça Olavo Bilac, Nº 63. Bairro de Campos Elíseos. São Paulo/SP. Endereço eletrônico: firstname.lastname@example.org ou através do telefone (11) 36678161.
Os convites para participar desses momentos especiais com o Arcebispo Justin Welby serão emitidos de formada personalizada pela Secretaria Geral da IEAB seguindo um protocolo formal envolvendo as Dioceses da IEAB, Lideranças Religiosas, Imprensa e Autoridades.
[Episcopal News Service] Liberia’s Cuttington University, located near one of the epicenters of West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, is reaching out to its surrounding communities while worrying about the epidemic’s impact on the now-closed school’s future, and mourning the loss of graduates and friends.
Meanwhile, throughout Liberia and Sierra Leone, Episcopal Relief & Development is in regular contact with local church partners who “are leveraging their widespread presence and trusted reputation to alleviate suffering and contain the Ebola outbreak” that has killed at least 1,427 people in West Africa since March 2014, according to an Aug. 27 press release.
Partners in both countries are mobilizing local volunteers to promote accurate information about Ebola and distribute hygiene and sanitation supplies, while the Episcopal Church of Liberia is supplying food parcels for households in quarantined communities and providing basic protective equipment for health workers at local hospitals, Episcopal Relief & Development reported.
Abiy Seifu, senior program officer for Episcopal Relief & Development, described the situation as “extremely dire,” due both to the severity of the disease and the difficulty in containing it. “People want to care for sick family members at home, they are afraid to go to the clinics because so many are dying and there is a great deal of misinformation about how Ebola is spread. Fear about the disease is making the outbreak worse, and we are aiming to combat this fear with accurate information and support for basic needs.”
Development staff members of the Episcopal Church of Liberia are working with government health leaders in Bong County to distribute food items such as rice, cooking oil and canned meat in four quarantined rural communities, the agency reported.
Cuttington University’s main campus in the interior of the central region of Liberia is about six miles from Gbarnga, the capital of Bong County. Cuttington, founded in 1889 in Liberia by the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, has two other campuses, one in the country’s capital, Monrovia, and another nearly 45 miles south of Monrovia.
The university is home to the largest nursing school in the country and, because it offers the country’s only bachelor’s degree in nursing, many of its graduates work in critical care situations. Many aspiring doctors take the university’s bachelor’s in biology to use to make the pre-requisite of the country’s only medical school, A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine and Cuttington grads make up the largest portion of Dogliotti students.
“This link between Cuttington and the medical community is real and is causing us great anguish,” Cuttington President Henrique Tokpa wrote in an Aug. 25 letter. “We know the people involved in this epidemic and we sympathize with their families.”
The first medical worker in Liberia to die from Ebola was a 2012 graduate of Cuttington’s nursing school, Tokpa wrote in the letter to the Rev. Ranjit Matthews, the Episcopal Church’s network officer for global relations and networking. The nurse, whom Tokpa referred to as Mr. Daah, was working in the hospital in Foyah in northern Liberia.
A practicing medical doctor at the Phebe Hospital – a Lutheran hospital located near Cuttington’s main campus and the nation’s largest public health institution – who also teaches part-time in the College of Allied Health Sciences at Cuttington unknowingly contracted the Ebola virus and at the same time interacted with the Cuttington University’s nursing students, the president said.
“Along these lines, Cuttington University remains exposed to this deadly epidemic, Ebola, and its attendant effects,” Tokpa wrote.
The president gave five examples of students, alumni and staff who have died, including “Kwee,” a former employee who died along with his wife and son.
Henry Callendee, dean of Cuttington’s School of Education, has lost at least 12 of his family members who live in a now-quarantined town in Lofa County, according to Tokpa.
At first, not much attention was paid to the outbreak when it was in neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone “because we did not anticipate the violent nature of the Ebola virus,” Tokpa wrote in the letter.
But by mid-July, with the university’s “vacation school” still operating, Tokpa said “we immediately began to sense that the situation was spiraling out of control so we took some immediate measures,” including placing around campus buckets of chlorinated water with spouts to encourage hand washing.
The staff invited doctors and the head of a Bong County Ebola task force to campus gatherings to educate students, faculty, staff, and community members about the virus and how to protect themselves. Officials “began to strategize about school closure” and worked out ways to send students home with ways for them to finish the work of the term, Tokpa said.
J. Kota Kesselly, dean of the Cuttington’s School of Allied Health Sciences, has joined the Bong County task force, which meets daily.
And the university has donated more than 150 gallons of gas to help run vehicles for people assigned to bury the dead and respond to calls for aid from “live victims,” Tokpa wrote. Vegetables from the school’s garden have been donated as well as buckets for use as hand-washing stations in communities that cannot afford to buy their own.
As school officials were planning how to shut down the vacation term, the Liberian government ordered all schools to close as part of an effort to stem the spread of Ebola. Cuttington had hoped to reopen in September or October, Tokpa said.
The university is dependent on the tuition charged to students to pay its employees. Those employees have not been paid for June, July and August, and face the prospect of not being paid in the near future, the president said in another document he sent to Mathews.
Plus the university will have to disinfect all of its buildings, according to Tokpa. With 3,000 students expected eventually to return, the university must remain on alert when the epidemic subsides and schools can re-open, he added.
Cuttington’s partners at Rutgers University in New Jersey are supplying some basic support to the university and Phebe Hospital in Bong County, he said.
“We have to remember that these communities in West Africa now struggling with Ebola have only emerged in recent years from more than a decade of civil strife,” the Rev. Canon James G. Callaway, general secretary of the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion and treasurer of the American Friends of Cuttington, told ENS. “This is the second time that Cuttington University has reorganized itself to address its community’s needs. As the Liberian civil war was just ending Cuttington opened its campus to retraining former combatants for new livelihoods as they are now marshaling resources to overcome Ebola. As educators they are showing that leadership starts with service.”
As of Aug. 22 the United Nations’ World Health Organization said there have been 2,615 suspect and confirmed Ebola cases, including 1,528 laboratory-confirmed cases, and 1,427 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. WHO claims that the magnitude of the Ebola outbreak may have been underestimated, due in part to families hiding infected loved ones in their homes.
The Ebola outbreak is unprecedented in many ways, according to the World Health Organization, including the number of health care workers who have died. More than 240 health care workers have developed the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and more than 120 have died, the organization said on Aug. 25.
“Ebola has taken the lives of prominent doctors in Sierra Leone and Liberia, depriving these countries not only of experienced and dedicated medical care but also of inspiring national heroes,” the WHO statement said.
The organization said many of the deaths occurred among workers who initially did not know that the person they were treating was infected with Ebola, in part because many health workers, especially in urban areas, have never seen the disease and its early symptoms are similar to other infectious diseases endemic in the region, like malaria, typhoid fever and Lassa fever.
Factors contributing to the high number of deaths also include shortages of personal protective equipment or its improper use, far too few medical staff for such a large outbreak, and “the compassion that causes medical staff to work in isolation wards far beyond the number of hours recommended as safe,” the organization said.
“Some documented infections have occurred when unprotected doctors rushed to aid a waiting patient who was visibly very ill,” the WHO statement said. “This is the first instinct of most doctors and nurses: aid the ailing.”
WHO reported on Aug. 27 that Ebola had broken out in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The outbreak in Equateur Province has been traced to a pregnant woman from Ikanamongo Village who butchered a bush animal that had been killed and given to her by her husband. Eating bush meet is seen as a major way the virus moves from animals to humans.
In Sierra Leone, the Anglican Diocese of Bo is actively participating in the government District Health and Development Team’s planning and implementation process for Ebola control, specifically on detection and case management, Episcopal Relief & Development reported.
“Some of the biggest challenges in stopping Ebola come from hiding sick people and treating them at home rather than seeking isolation and medical assistance, patients escaping quarantine and burial practices that do not contain the disease,” said Episcopal Relief & Development’s Seifu. Culturally appropriate messaging and case management are essential in encouraging communities to adopt behaviors that will effectively combat Ebola,”
The agency reported that it is currently in conversation with both the Episcopal Church of Liberia and the Anglican Diocese of Bo in Sierra Leone regarding expansion of activities to reach remote communities and longer-term engagement to address the growing food crisis.
“Restrictions on transportation and commerce due to quarantine are already causing shortages, but there may be a longer-term impact on livelihoods and food supply due to lack of market access and missed planting seasons,” according to the agency’s Aug. 27 press release. “In addition, families whose main breadwinner has fallen ill or died are particularly vulnerable.”
Seifu said that one of the key strengths of church partners is that “they can access areas that might be difficult for other organizations or even the government to reach. I am very glad that the local government agencies have recognized this strength and that they can pool resources and expertise to implement a unified strategy. This partnership is important now and will continue to be as the region recovers from this disaster.”
[Anglican Communion News Service] Churches in India’s southern Kerala state have given a mixed response to government proposals for a total prohibition of alcohol within 10 years.
While Christian leaders have welcomed the ban, which will be gradually phased in over the next decade, some are concerned at calls for Communion wine to be included.
Bishop Dharmaraj Rasalam of the Church of South India’s South Kerala diocese, told the Financial Times, “There are so many drunkards in our society – it is a grave concern among the people. It is very good to abolish alcohol from this land. They cannot stop it in a day, a week or a month, but the church is supporting the government to get rid of all these things.”
However, there have been calls from some quarters for the church to come under the ban and replace all its Communion wine with non-alcoholic substitutes.
ucanews.com reported that Vellapally Natesan, general secretary of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, a Hindu political group, demanded the government cancel 23 licenses issued to Roman Catholic dioceses, religious orders and other Christian groups to produce Mass wine.
The Press Trust of India (PTI) reported that Archbishop Francis Kallarackal of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Verapoly
had earlier stated that wine was integral to mass being con-celebrated by Christians all over the world and so could not be banned.
Syro Malabar Church spokesperson Father Paul Thelekat told PTI, “No church uses anything other than wine. We will continue the tradition,” he said.
Thomas K Oommen, bishop of the Central Kerala diocese of the Church of South India (CSI), told the New Indian Express that “it [Communion with wine] will remain unchanged until the world ends,” adding that calling for Communion wine to be included in the alcohol ban was not a proper interpretation of a decision “that could contribute to the cultural advancement of society.”
However, Bishop Philiphose Mar Chrysostom of the indigenous Mar Thoma Syrian Church told ucanews.com, “Churches should think about using grape water, as had been the practice in the past, instead of wine.”
Speaking to the media on Monday, V M Sudheeran, president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), said the call to ban wine in churches was not appropriate considering it had been part of centuries-old ritual and tradition.
“It is for the Christian church to think over whether liquor should be banned. The interference of external forces is not proper.”
Keralans consume the highest amount of alcohol of any state in India and temperance groups have been pressing for a total ban to address a alcohol abuse problem across the state.
There are those who have criticized the move, however, saying that it will be a very bad decision for the tourist industry in a state that welcomes around 800,000 visitors a year.
[Anglican Communion News Service] The Most Rev. Albert Chama, primate of the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA), has emphasized that self-sustainability and unity remain top priorities for the church.
“As a transnational province, we’re encouraging investments in the various countries to make sure that the national churches and subsequently the province is self-sustainable,” the archbishop said in an interview with ACNS at the Zambia Anglican Council (ZAC) offices in Lusaka shortly before chairing a meeting with the Zambia bishops to discuss the sustainability of the church.
“As a province, we’re coming up with various programs, such as training workshops and conferences, to make sure that everyone, including bishops, clergy and laity, especially the youth, get involved in the development and growth of the church and other aspects of church life.”
Chama said resources raised from the different activities and investments will be used to improve missions across the province. However, he also acknowledged the different stages of economic development of the countries making up the province: Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
“The Church in Zambia for instance needs to do more in the area of investment and only then will it become easy to do various missions and grow the church,” he said. “But we continue to share best practices from the dioceses and parishes across the province so that we can learn from one another and grow together.”
The archbishop emphasized the need to foster unity across the province and working towards one common goal. “A bigger family means a bigger voice,” he said. “CPCA has been able to contribute immensely to the global Anglican Church because of the unity we enjoy.”
Chama spoke of how the province was able to help the church in Zimbabwe during the persecutions endured by the Anglicans there when excommunicated former bishop Nolbert Kunonga and his supporters grabbed church properties.
“Provincial unity is crucial because when one part is affected, we’re all affected,” he said. “When Zimbabwe had challenges, the province came in and helped where it could.”
He added: “It is because of the unity we enjoy that our Episcopal Synod even resolved to invite [the Anglican Consultative Council] to Lusaka, Zambia within our province. We believe it’s because of this unity that we strongly feel the need to share with the Anglican Communion.”
However, the archbishop emphasized that for unity to be promoted and upheld, there was need for consistent communication and sharing of information both within the province and the rest of the Anglican Communion.
“Information needs to be shared on the best practices of evangelism and other aspects of church life that can help transform ministry,” he said. “We also need to keep learning from each other on how we can appropriately contribute to the socio-economic development of our countries.”
Chama reiterated the importance of church leaders “leading by example.”
“When people see a leader in the forefront advocating for a cause or even involving themselves in activities, they see the seriousness of that activity.”
The Anglican Church in Zambia has been brainstorming various areas of possible investments including an ambitious plan for a housing project that could help the Church’s finances in the long term.
[Episcopal Relief & Development press release] In Liberia and Sierra Leone, Episcopal Relief & Development’s local Church partners are leveraging their widespread presence and trusted reputation to alleviate suffering and contain the Ebola outbreak that has killed 1,427 people in West Africa since March 2014.
Partners in both countries are mobilizing local volunteers to promote accurate information about Ebola and distribute hygiene and sanitation supplies. In addition, the Church in Liberia is supplying food parcels for households in quarantined communities and providing basic protective equipment for health workers at local hospitals.
“The situation is extremely dire, due both to the severity of the disease and the difficulty in containing it,” said Abiy Seifu, Senior Program Officer for Episcopal Relief & Development. “People want to care for sick family members at home, they are afraid to go to the clinics because so many are dying and there is a great deal of misinformation about how Ebola is spread. Fear about the disease is making the outbreak worse, and we are aiming to combat this fear with accurate information and support for basic needs.”
Local development staff of the Episcopal Church of Liberia are working with government health staff in Bong County to distribute food items such as rice, cooking oil and canned meat to 500 people in four quarantined rural communities. Volunteers are delivering food and sanitation supplies to homes, and demonstrating correct mixing procedures for different concentrations of bleach water for hand-washing and cleaning. The supplies also include a hand-washing station made by installing a spigot in a covered five-gallon bucket, and a poster with accurate information about how to prevent Ebola and what to do if a family member presents symptoms of the disease.Text of health messaging poster being distributed in Liberia:
You can stop EBOLA!
Always wash your hands with soap
- Do not hide sick people
- Do not touch dead body
- Do not eat bush meat
- When you are sick with fever, headache, body pain, etc.
Go to the hospital quick, quick, quick
- Listen to health workers – they know how best to help you
EBOLA can catch big people and small children
Efforts in Liberia also include radio messaging in local dialects through 15 stations in nine counties and the distribution of bumper stickers with key messaging to churches of other denominations.
The shipment of facemasks, gloves, gowns and other protective supplies from Episcopal Relief & Development’s Africa Regional Office in Ghana arrived in Liberia and were given to three area hospitals – Phebe Hospital, Redemption Hospital and C.H. Rennie Hospital – in a commissioning ceremony by The Most Rev. Jonathan B.B. Hart on August 26.
In Sierra Leone, the Anglican Diocese of Bo is actively participating in the government District Health and Development Team’s planning and implementation process for Ebola control, specifically on detection and case management. Diocesan staff trained local health volunteers who had already been active in the Church’s malaria and HIV prevention efforts to assist with education, case identification and contact tracing. The volunteers also distributed hand-washing stations.
Contact tracing is one of the most important but often most difficult aspects of disease control, especially because the incubation period between when a person contracts Ebola and when they show symptoms can range from two to 21 days. Trusted local volunteers who are familiar with community members and their relationships and daily routines can be extremely helpful, both in identifying cases and contacts, and in encouraging their neighbors to follow the correct procedure when someone is sick or has died, in order to prevent further infection.
“Some of the biggest challenges in stopping Ebola come from hiding sick people and treating them at home rather than seeking isolation and medical assistance, patients escaping quarantine and burial practices that do not contain the disease. Culturally appropriate messaging and case management are essential in encouraging communities to adopt behaviors that will effectively combat Ebola,” Seifu said.
Episcopal Relief & Development is currently in conversation with both the Church of Liberia and the Diocese of Bo in Sierra Leone regarding expansion of activities to reach remote communities and longer-term engagement to address the growing food crisis. Restrictions on transportation and commerce due to quarantine are already causing shortages, but there may be a longer-term impact on livelihoods and food supply due to lack of market access and missed planting seasons. In addition, families whose main breadwinner has fallen ill or died are particularly vulnerable.
“One of the key strengths of our Church partners is that people know them and they can access areas that might be difficult for other organizations or even the government to reach,” said Seifu. “I am very glad that the local government agencies have recognized this strength and that they can pool resources and expertise to implement a unified strategy. This partnership is important now and will continue to be as the region recovers from this disaster.”
Donations in support of Episcopal Relief & Development’s response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa may be designated to the Ebola Crisis Response Fund.
On Aug. 23, 2014, Bishop Robert Gepert, Bishop Provisional for the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, ordained Carenda Baker of St. John’s, Carlisle and Sarah Ginolfi of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Harrisburg to the Diaconate of Transitional Deacon. Deacon Sarah will be serving as Parish Missioner at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Indiana and Deacon Carenda is presently considering calls. Photo: Diocese of Central Pennsylvania
[Episcopal News Service] While the outside of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Napa, California, looks perfect after the Aug. 24 magnitude-6 earthquake, the inside of the church is a different matter.
Organ pipes litter the chancel floor while others hang precariously from the organ loft, some bent like drinking straws. Right after the quake at about 4 a.m., when the Rev. Stephen Carpenter, St. Mary’s rector, and his daughter came to the church with flashlights to check for damage, all of the pipes were still in the loft.
However, Carpenter told Episcopal News Service, “gravity or aftershocks or both took over” and some of the pipes later spilled out. The 27-rank Casavant organ was installed in the 1990s, according to Carpenter.
The most serious concern, and the reason the rector said the building is red-tagged, are the visible cracks and apparently missing parts of brick and mortar in a gothic stone arch 40 feet above the pulpit and lectern. It is not clear if the damage is cosmetic or structural, Carpenter said, and that will not be determined until a structural engineer can inspect the arch.
Meanwhile, the congregation will worship Sunday in the parish hall. Many of the members are used to that since they spent five months worshipping there back in 1999 while the church was undergoing a seismic retrofit. Carpenter noted that just less than a year after that retrofit was finished in October 1999 a magnitude-5.2 temblor hit on Sept. 3, 2000, and the church came through unscathed.
The Aug. 24 quake caused a lot of damage inside the church. “I don’t even have a book shelf to put my books back into,” Carpenter said of his office which was littered with pieces of fallen bookcases.
Parish members have shoveled up the pieces of every single dish in the kitchen after the quake spilled them out of the cupboards.
Back in the church, a mosaic of the Holy Spirit that had hung over the baptismal font since 1954 came off the wall. One large piece was found covering the font and the rest is in pieces on the floor of the nave. A Madonna statue on the church’s Mary Altar also broke when the shaking sent it tumbling to the ground.
Carpenter, who has been St. Mary’s rector for 31 years, said the house that he and his wife, Fran, live in is a mess, too. He filled a large garbage can with pieces of pottery, china, crystal and antique clocks. A grandfather clock that belonged to his grandfather is in two pieces.
A Napa native, Carpenter lost many family members in an airplane crash in the 1970s and, he said, many of the things destroyed in his home were “memories of my family.”
As they cleaned up the house, “we kept saying ‘it’s only stuff,’ but it’s still sad,” he said.
The only St. Mary’s parishioner apparently injured during the quake was an elderly woman who had gotten out of bed just before the temblor struck. She fell to the floor, breaking her hip. Carpenter said the woman is now recovering from surgery.
The magnitude-6 quake struck at 3:20 a.m. PDT about five miles south-southwest of the city of Napa. Napa boasts a large number of Victorian-era buildings and is one of the centers of Northern California’s wine country.
The quake was felt widely throughout the region, from more than 200 miles south of Napa and as far east as the Nevada border, the Associated Press reported.
There were numerous aftershocks in the hours after what is being called the South Napa Quake, with four of them measuring 2.5 or more having struck by 8 a.m. PDT on Aug. 24.
St. Mary’s parish, built on the corner of Third and Patchett streets in 1931, was originally known as Christ Church, dates back to 1858 and was once located a few blocks to the east near First United Methodist and First Presbyterian churches. Those two churches were more heavily damaged in the quake. Video damage in Napa shot from a drone shows damage to First Presbyterian Church at the 2:16 mark and the damaged First United Methodist building at 2:46 here.
The quake was the largest to shake the San Francisco Bay Area since the magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta quake struck in 1989, collapsing part of the Bay Bridge roadway and killing more than 60 people, most when an Oakland freeway fell. The quake hit during the afternoon rush hour just after 5 p.m. local time.
“Our chandeliers were all swinging in unison” during Loma Prieta, whose epicenter was on the Pacific Coast about 115 miles south of Napa, Carpenter said.
No one was killed in the Aug. 24 quake and the City of Napa said on Aug. 25 that 208 people were treated at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa with 17 admitted.
The city said on the morning of Aug. 27 that 113 buildings had been red tagged, indicating that they are unusable or uninhabitable due to damage from the quake, and approximately 500 have yellow tags, meaning that caution is required in those buildings. The “initial gross estimate” of damage to privately owned homes and commercial structure in the city is $300 million, not including inventory and other economic losses. The estimate, the city, also does not include public buildings or infrastructure.
Many people have been helping businesses in the heart of the Northern California vineyards get cleaned up before dealing with their own home, Carpenter said. he recalled seeing people helping out the owners of an olive oil and balsamic vinegar store in downtown Napa where so many bottles had broken that oil was running out the front door, across the sidewalk and into the gutter.
“Disasters have a way of bringing out the best or the worst in people,” he said. “Most often it shows people’s humanity.”
The quake struck just as “crush,” the wine harvest, was beginning. Crush is a major tourist event as well as the normally exciting finish to the growing season with the anticipation of what this year’s vintage will be like, but now “there’s just like a cloud over everybody,” Carpenter said.
“But, we’re moving forward,” he added.
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
Renowned organist and choir director Diane Meredith Belcher will lead the parish music program at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hanover, NH.
Belcher, a prize-winning organist, internationally recognized recitalist, choir director, and teacher, is graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Eastman School of Music. Belcher has 30 years of professional experience in sacred music, having served churches in Philadelphia, Boston, Rochester, Syracuse, Baltimore, and Memphis, where she was also the founding director of the Memphis Concert Chorale. She will play her first service at St. Thomas on Sept. 14, 2014.
[Episcopal Divinity School press release] Episcopal Divinity School has announced the appointment of The Rev. Michael Battle, Ph.D., as Interim Dean of Students and Community Life for the 2014-15 academic year. Dr. Battle will begin working at EDS on Monday, August 25th, and will reside on the EDS campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Dr. Battle is an accomplished theologian and a respected pastoral leader whose ministry has spanned the globe. A graduate of Duke University (B.A. and Ph.D.), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Yale University (S.T.M.), he was ordained a priest in South Africa by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1993. His ministry focuses on Christian non-violence, human spirituality, and Black church studies. He is the author of several books, including Reconciliation: The Ubuntu Theology of Desmond Tutu and Blessed are the Peacemakers: A Christian Spirituality of Non-violence.
Dr. Battle is founder of the PeaceBattle Institute and has served as Rector and Canon Theologian in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. Previously, he served as Provost of the Cathedral Center, Vice President, Associate Dean of Academic Studies and Associate Professor of Theology at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia.
He has also served as Chaplain to the Episcopal House of Bishops, as a member of the Theology Committee of the Episcopal Church, as Spiritual Director of CREDO, Wellness Conference of the Episcopal Church, and on several boards, including EDS alumna Mpho Tutu’s Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage.
Most recently, Dr. Battle served as Vicar of St. Titus Episcopal Church in Durham, North Carolina. His website is michaelbattle.com.
About Episcopal Divinity School
Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) is a progressive center for study and spiritual formation for lay and ordained leaders. Committed to a mission of social justice and inclusive education and grounded in the Anglican tradition, EDS awards Masters degrees in Divinity and Theological Studies, Doctoral degrees in Ministry, and Certificates in Anglican Formation; Justice, Reconciliation, and Mission; and Christian Spiritualities for the Contemporary World.
EDS is a member of the Boston Theological Institute, a consortium of 10 eminent theological schools, seminaries, and departments of religion in the Boston area.
A seminary for the Episcopal Church, Episcopal Divinity School is grounded in the Anglican tradition and committed to growing in relationship with other Christian and faith traditions. Episcopal Divinity School is an academic community of biblical, historical, and theological inquiry that respects students as responsible learners with valuable experience, supports spiritual and ministerial formation, and provides tools for the life-long work of social and personal transformation. To learn more about EDS, visit www.eds.edu.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Office of Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has notified the Diocese of Mississippi that Bishop-Elect Coadjutor Brian R. Seage has received the required majority of consents in the canonical consent process.
As outlined under Canon III.11.4 (a), the Presiding Bishop confirmed the receipt of consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction, and has also reviewed the evidence of consents from a majority of standing committees of the Church sent to her by the diocesan standing committee.
In Canon III.11.4 (b), Standing Committees, in consenting to the ordination and consecration, attest they are “fully sensible of how important it is that the Sacred Order and Office of a Bishop should not be unworthily conferred, and firmly persuaded that it is our duty to bear testimony on this solemn occasion without partiality, do, in the presence of Almighty God, testify that we know of no impediment on account of which the Reverend A.B. ought not to be ordained to that Holy Office. We do, moreover, jointly and severally declare that we believe the Reverend A.B. to have been duly and lawfully elected and to be of such sufficiency in learning, of such soundness in the Faith, and of such godly character as to be able to exercise the Office of a Bishop to the honor of God and the edifying of the Church, and to be a wholesome example to the flock of Christ.”
The Very Rev. Brian R. Seage was elected Bishop Coadjutor on May 3. His ordination and consecration service is slated for September 27; Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will officiate.
A recap of the process
Upon election, the successful candidate is a bishop-elect. Following some procedural matters including physical and psychological examinations, formal notices are then sent by the Presiding Bishop’s office to bishops with jurisdiction (diocesan bishops only) with separate notices from the electing diocese to the standing committees of each of the dioceses in The Episcopal Church. These notices require their own actions and signatures.
In order for a bishop-elect to become a bishop, Canon III.11.4 (a) of The Episcopal Church mandates that a majority of diocesan bishops AND a majority of diocesan standing committees must consent to the bishop-elect’s ordination and consecration as bishop. These actions – done separately – must be completed within 120 days from the day notice of the election was sent to the proper parties.
If the bishop-elect receives a majority of consents from the diocesan bishops as well as a majority from the standing committees, the bishop-elect is one step closer. Following a successful consent process, ordination and celebration are in order.
[General Theological Seminary press release] Leading up to this Fall semester, the Rev. Danielle Thompson, Chaplain for Pastoral Care, and the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, Adjunct Professor, have taken on expanded roles at The General Theological Seminary. Each position includes key roles in implementing the Seminary’s new initiative, The Way of Wisdom.
The Rev. Danielle Thompson has accepted the position of Coordinator of Integrative Programs. In addition to continuing to provide pastoral care and support to community life, she will coordinate Field Education, Clinical Pastoral Education, and coordinate planning and implementation of The Wisdom Year.
Thompson earned the Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School in 2006. She completed a CPE residency and worked as a staff chaplain at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee and went on to attend the School of Theology at the University of the South (Sewanee), completing the Master of Sacred Theology degree in 2011. She was ordained to the priesthood in 2010 in the Diocese of Chicago, where she served as Associate Rector of St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church and participated in the Lilly Endowment’s Making Excellent Disciples cohort, a flagship leadership training and mentoring program for newly ordained Episcopal clergy. Thompson began work at General in 2013 as Chaplain for Pastoral Care when she relocated to New York City with her family, GTS Professor of Systematic Theology Josh Davis and two children. She also serves as a part-time Chaplain at The Episcopal Church Center.
The Rev. Stephanie Spellers will continue in her appointment as Adjunct Professor of Church and Society and takes on the additional role of Director of Mission and Reconciliation. She will teach courses and lead other offerings that relate to mission, evangelism, and reconciliation in the field of ministry, and will begin the work of expanding our offerings to the increasingly important outside community. In her undertakings she will highlight the role of mission in our education and formation of students for all types of leadership. As part of her new responsibilities, she is joining The Way of Wisdom planning team and will be offering mentor-training and resources to Wisdom Year residency sites. Spellers will continue to serve part-time as Canon for Missional Vitality in the Diocese of Long Island and as a Senior Consultant in the Center for Progressive Renewal, an ecumenical center for church development and renewal.
Spellers is a popular speaker and is the author of numerous books, including The Episcopal Way (2014), Ancient Faith, Future Mission: Fresh Expressions in the Sacramental Traditions (2010) and Radical Welcome: Embracing God, the Other and the Transforming Power of the Spirit (2006). She serves as one of two Chaplains to the House of Bishops and recently chaired the Episcopal Standing Commission on Mission and Evangelism. Along with Eric Law, she is the co-editor for the new Church’s Teachings for a Changing World series.
From 2005 to 2012, Canon Spellers served as founding priest for The Crossing, an emergent congregation based at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Boston. She earned an M.A. in 1996 from Harvard Divinity School and an M.Div. from Episcopal Divinity School in 2004. Prior to and concurrent with priestly ministry, she served in the administration at Harvard Divinity and worked as a religion reporter for a regional daily newspaper and as an editor for Episcopal Church Publishing.
Celebração da Santa Comunhão com Bispos, Fiéis, Clérigos, Líderes de outras Religiões e Igrejas e Autoridades Governamentais
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[Episcopal News Service] What is being called “a daily office for the 21st century” is now available to members of the Episcopal Church and beyond.
“Daily Prayer for All Seasons,” developed by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music offers a variation on the Book of Common Prayer’s tradition of prayers for morning, noon, evening and nighttime.
The books are divided by the liturgical year, and each of the services for each of the eight canonical hours of the day has a theme, including praise, discernment, wisdom, perseverance and renewal, love, forgiveness, trust and watch. A complete service covers one or two pages.
The prayer book presents a variety of images of God, uses inclusive and expansive language for and about God, and presents a rich variety of language, including poetry, meditation and prayers from the broader community of faith, according to a press release. Clergy, teachers and spiritual leaders across the Episcopal Church contributed to the work.
“These prayers will help you pray at all times and find the right words when necessary,” the Rev. Mark Bozzuti-Jones, a contributor to the volume who serves as priest for pastoral care and community at Trinity Wall Street, New York, said in the release. “In their diversity, these prayers are manna from heaven for folks who are seeking new and creative ways of prayer. This book will teach you how to pray.”
The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings of Ohio, president of the House of Deputies, said she is “grateful to the leaders from across the Episcopal Church who have collaborated on this important new set of prayers for everyday life.”
Some of the prayers are being used during Nuevo Amanecer, a churchwide gathering of Latino/Hispanic members of the Episcopal Church, at the Kanuga Conference Center in North Carolina.
Work began in April 2007 on what eventually became known as “Daily Prayer for All Seasons,” according to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music’s report to the 76th meeting of General Convention (page 187 here) in 2009.
The next meeting of convention in 2012 approved the book (via Resolution A055) and it has now been published in English and Spanish in various formats by Church Publishing Inc. It is available in print and in eBook versions including Kindle, iBook and Nook formats. The print volume can be imprinted with a recipient’s name. Soft cover and leather-bound editions are available. A 37-page sampler from the book is here.
[Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts] Massachusetts Bishop Thomas Shaw, SSJE, sent a message to his diocese on Aug. 25 announcing that the brain cancer he has been battling since May 2013 is incurable and expressing gratitude for ongoing prayers and support.
“At the recommendation of my medical team, I’ve decided now to pursue a course of treatment that will provide a good quality of life, though for how long, we can’t be sure,” Shaw wrote. “My prayer feels different from day to day. Some days there is an expansiveness to it, and on other days, it isn’t so easy, though there aren’t too many of those days. But throughout, good days and more difficult days, I feel supported by you, the people of this diocese and beyond, and by your prayers, and I’ve felt my faith life grow in significant ways. I am looking forward to what God will bring in this new time.”
Shaw, who has served the Massachusetts diocese as its bishop since 1995, is set to retire in September when the Rev. Alan M. Gates is ordained and consecrated as the 16th bishop of Massachusetts.
The full text of Shaw’s message follows.
My Sisters and Brothers,
As my date of retirement nears, I want to be in touch with all of you and to thank you for your continued expressions of care and concern. We have known since the beginning, when I was diagnosed with brain cancer in May of last year, that we are dealing with a difficult kind of cancer. We have been hopeful in the therapies we’ve pursued over these months, but we now know that for me there is no cure. At the recommendation of my medical team, I’ve decided now to pursue a course of treatment that will provide a good quality of life, though for how long, we can’t be sure.
As hard as this is to hear and to tell, I didn’t want this time to go by without letting all of you know where things are. My medical team continues to provide me with excellent care, and I have a wonderful community of support around me. My prayer feels different from day to day. Some days there is an expansiveness to it, and on other days, it isn’t so easy, though there aren’t too many of those days. But throughout, good days and more difficult days, I feel supported by you, the people of this diocese and beyond, and by your prayers, and I’ve felt my faith life grow in significant ways. I am looking forward to what God will bring in this new time.
You know, time too often in our culture is perceived as a problem; all of us, at some point, feel we don’t have enough of it. Yet, because of Jesus the Messiah, all time is now God’s time. It is part of the unfolding of God’s glory. We are invited into it as an experience of the presence of God. I believe that is where our prayer, where our life together in gathered community, where our participation with God in making all things new is taking us: into the heart of God.
May each of us be opened to the possibility and the hope offered through God’s gift of time.
Our bishop-elect, Alan, will keep you informed of changes in my condition going forward. I continue to cherish your cards and letters, and I want to say again how much I appreciate the years I’ve served as your bishop and all that you have taught me. I plan to be part of the upcoming consecration, and I look forward to joining you in welcoming our new bishop.
Please pray for me as I pray for you.
M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE
[CARAVAN press release] Rev. Canon Paul-Gordon Chandler, a mission partner with The Episcopal Church and the former Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Cairo, Egypt from 2003-2013, has assumed the role of President/CEO of CARAVAN, an interfaith arts non-profit (501c3) that seeks to “build bridges through the Arts between the creeds and cultures of the East and West.” CARAVAN started as an interfaith arts movement out of Cairo and became a non-profit organization based from Chicago this last March 2014.
CARAVAN brings together many of the Middle East’s premier artists, with noted Western artists, to build respect, increase understanding and encourage friendship between the Middle East and the West.
One of the flagship initiatives of CARAVAN is the globally recognized CARAVAN Exhibition of Visual Art. Each year this unique exhibition has garnered attention from the international press, media and art world, attracting thousands of visitors. In 2013, many thousands of Middle Easterners and Westerners viewed CARAVAN’s public art exhibition of painted donkeys (symbolizing “Peace and Compassion”) by premier artists from the Middle East and West, first throughout Cairo, followed by an estimated 120,000 people visiting CARAVAN’s exhibition in London, England at the world renowned St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The 2014 CARAVAN Exhibition of Visual Art opens in late August at National Cathedral in Washington D.C. (August 30-October 6) and involves 48 premier and emerging Egyptian and Western artists (of Muslim, Christian and Jewish backgrounds). Titled “AMEN—A Prayer for the World,” the exhibition seeks to express the deep, fundamental human acknowledgement of power and hope in the universe, for all peoples. This major arts initiative is an aspirational expression of hope and goodwill for the peoples of the Middle East and the rest of the world. Following the exhibition in Washington D.C. it will move to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City (October 12-November 23).