[Episcopal News Service – Seoul, South Korea] Korean Anglicans welcomed friends from across the communion Oct. 3 as they celebrated 125 years of ministry based in inculturation, mission and evangelism.
The festive Eucharist at the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Nicholas in downtown Seoul drew an overflow crowd. Many people sat on blue stools in the courtyards outside Romanesque church watching the proceedings on three enormous video screens. Many wore blue paper visors that were handed out with the order of service booklets to shield themselves from a warm October sun.
A street fair of sorts lined on side of the lower courtyard and the cathedral’s Café Grace coffee shop under a large tree in that courtyard was open for business. The café is a mission of the cathedral that helps women refugees from North Korean get settled into society in the South. Communion was served to those sitting outside.
Inside the cathedral, bishops from across Asia and other parts of the communion, including The Episcopal Church joined the service, as did Korean clergy. The celebration took place during Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries international consultation that began here Sept. 30. Participants were among the hundreds of worshippers.
Those worshippers same sang traditional Anglican hymns in Korean as well as modern compositions. The music included folk instruments played by Koreans in traditional dress. The service was broadcast to those outside by CBS, a non-profit television station that features programming related to the Korean church and society. Cameramen on foot and with a crane caught different angles of every element of the two-and-a-half-hour service.
The Anglican Church of Korea traces its roots to Sept. 29, 1890 when Bishop Charles John Corfe, who had been ordained a bishop at Westminster Abbey, arrived with other colleagues at Incheon Port. Corfe began his work in the Seoul area, opening schools and medical facilities and other institutions such as orphanages. The church now has three dioceses, more than 200 priests, Sungkonghoe University, four religious communities and 60 social welfare centers.
From the beginning, Anglicans worked for the church to be integrated into Korean culture. Thus, while the Romanesque cathedral’s apse is filled with a golden mosaic crowned by an image of Christ, there are church buildings elsewhere that were constructed in the traditional Korean architecture.
Before the anniversary service started, the bishops joined Seoul Archbishop Paul Keun Sang Kim, who is also the primate of the Anglican Church in Korea, to dedicate a bust of the Rev. Mark Hee-Jun Kim, the Anglican Church in Korea’s first Korean priest. He was ordained on Dec. 21, 1915 by Bishop Mark N. Trollope, who later oversaw construction of the cathedral.
Christopher Chan-Young Kim, a young boy descended from the priest, read the Old Testament reading in Korean during the service. The reading, Isaiah 6:3-9, formed the theme of the service as Isaiah offered to preach God’s word, saying “Here I am; send me.”
This year marks 50 years since Korean bishops have led the Korean Anglican Church. Lee Cheon Hwan was ordained and consecrated in 1965, just 20 years after the country was liberated from Japan after World War II. The church became an independent province of the Anglican Communion in 1993. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby sent anniversary greetings to the province that were read during the service by Church of England Diocese of Peterborough Bishop Donald Allister. Peterborough and the Diocese of Seoul have had a relationship since 2011.
Reconciliation is a theme for the province’s ministry and the anniversary Eucharist’s collect included a prayer that Korean Anglicans would “devote ourselves to the unification and reconciliation of the Korean peninsula.”
The service also featured a Korean-specific prayer for each of the Anglican Communion’s Five Mark’s of Mission. The prayer for the fourth mark (to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation) noted the sorrow of the peninsula’s division.
“Seventy years of our independence is also 70 years of our division,” the prayer said, noting that wounds from World War II “turned into ideological conflict” and “families lost their hometowns.
“We pray that our nation will become one, dance in an embrace, and worship and praise you even in North Korea,” the prayer concluded.
The Anglican Church in Korea has also pursued reconciliation with the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Anglican Church in Japan). Japan’s annexation of Korea in 1910 was the start of a militaristic period in that country’s history that only ended with its defeat in World War II. Korean men and women were conscripted as laborers in Japan, suffered from and often died because of their working conditions. The Anglican Church in Japan did not protest as Japan began to occupy and colonize other Asian countries.
Last December the two churches celebrated 30 years of mission partnership.
Archbishop Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu, the NSKK primate who has attended the EAM gathering in Seoul, told that group that Korean Anglicans “opened their hearts to us even before Japan had come to terms with and apologised for its role in the colonization of the Korean peninsula.” He said they “drew our attention to the inadequacies and errors of Japan’s historical awareness, they also opened the door to exchanges between individuals, churches, dioceses and at the provincial level.”
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
“Deixa a glória de Deus brilhar… Foi lá no Monte Sinai, que nosso Deus com Moisés falava quando Ele desceu do Monte. Não sabia que seu rosto brilhava. Brilhava, brilhava, o seu rosto brilhava. Foi lá no Monte Sinai que o nosso Deus com Moisés falava.”
Nesta manhã do dia 02 de outubro de 2015, faleceu aos 90 anos de idade, na cidade do Rio de Janeiro, o Bispo Dom Edmund Knox Sherrill, Bispo Emérito da Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (IEAB) durante os anos de 1959-1985. Ele deixou sua esposa Dona Elizabeth, seus filhos Elizabeth, Florence e Henry e netos e netas. Dom Edmund Sherrill foi o último dos bispos americanos que trabalhou como missionário na Igreja do Brasil. Igualmente foi filho de Henry Knox Sherrill, ex Bispo Presidente da The Episcopal Church, entre os anos de 1947 a 1958.
Nosso Bispo Primaz Dom Francisco de Assis da Silva, em nome da IEAB, expressou gratidão pela vida de Dom Sherrill nos serviços prestados como pastor na missão na Igreja do Brasil. Igualmente convocou toda a Igreja para orar por sua vida e também por toda a família enlutada.
Assim que possível, a Secretária Geral informará sobre o local e horário sobre o serviço religioso e também do sepultamento do Bispo Sherrill. Qualquer mensagem poderá ser enviada diretamente para o endereço eletrônico do Secretário Geral: firstname.lastname@example.org .
[Diocese of Oregon] Bishop Michael Hanley of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon has extended prayers for the victims, their families, and all the students and faculty of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, after a gunman opened fire at the school Oct. 1, reportedly killing nine people and injuring seven.
“Gun violence has intruded into too many places where people have always felt safe. As people of God we struggle with how to respond,” said Hanley in a statement posted on the diocesan website. “We call for more vigilance, fewer guns, tighter controls, and all the other responses our hearts and our faith call us to. But, in the end, we find ourselves again faced with the blood of innocents. We know this will never end until our faith in the risen Christ has overthrown the voices of violence and fear that seemingly compel us to stock our lives with firearms.
Hanley called for the response to be one that’s grounded in “the transformative power of love” and asked for a commitment “to ending all of these expressions of hatred and self-loathing. To the people of Roseburg, Umpqua Community College, and the community as a whole: Know that we are with you in your sorrow, loss and fear and offer healing prayers for your tomorrow.”
St. George’s Episcopal Church in Roseburg has opened its doors as a place of prayer and healing for all the community.
Visit the Diocese of Oregon’s website for related counselling and worship resources.
[Episcopal News Service – Seoul, South Korea] The Rev. Jeremiah Yang, former president of the Sungkonghoe University in Seoul and a theologian, on Oct. 2 here called the Christian church back to a theology of mission based on the “compassionate relationship with suffering people.”
Yang used the April 16, 2014 sinking of the MV Sewol ferry boat, which killed 304 passengers and crew, as an example for how he said the Christian church in South Korea had strayed from the gospel. The owner of the company that controlled the ferry boat was Yoo Byung-eun, who before his suspicious death in July 2014 also headed the Evangelical Baptist Church of Korea and had spent time in prison for diverting church money to his many businesses and to his personal life.
Too much emphasis has been placed on a particularly Korean interpretation of the prosperity gospel, a theology that helped grow megachurches in South Korea, Yang said, but also was linked to the rapid industrialization of the country and its growing economy. The result has been a “collusion of a distorted Christian spirituality and greedy capitalism.”
National Christian leaders beyond Yoo’s church, Yang said, were unsympathetic to the grief of the family members of those killed in the disaster, with one saying the students, who were poor, should not have taken such an expensive trip.
Saying “we are not people who have solutions for all the problems” in the world and noting that after the ferry disaster “all the theological solutions that had been given to us were helpless,” Yang called for the church to renew its commitment to a ministry of presence with those who suffer. Empathy and the spirit of compassion grows out of that commitment, and they can transform individuals, the church, and the nation, he said.
“In the end, the mission-shaped church is the hope that the church and individual lives should be radically transformed by the commitment to God’s mission beyond church boundaries,” he said.
Yang’s presentation was part of Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries’ Sept. 30-Oct. 5 international consultation here. He spoke at the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Nicholas in downtown Seoul, the main venue for the gathering.
The text of Yang’s speech will be added to this post when it becomes available
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Episcopal News Service – Seoul, South Korea] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori spoke Oct. 2 here about the future of mission partnerships between Episcopalians and Anglicans.
Her keynote address was part of Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries’ Sept. 30-Oct. 5 international consultation here. She spoke at the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Nicholas in downtown Seoul, the main venue for the gathering.
“Know that the work you are doing is changing the face of The Episcopal Church,” she told EAM participants. “Keep at it. Be bold, be confident. God is doing a new thing in our midst because of our collaboration and growing partnership.”
The text of Jefferts Schori’s speech, which begins after some introductory remarks at the 0:42:12 mark in the video, follows.
Uniting Our Mission: The Future of Asia-America Partnership
Episcopal Asia-America Ministry Convocation
2 October 2015
Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Nicholas, Seoul
If we’re willing to look back several millennia, we might recognize that the first witnesses of the gospel in the Americas had Asian roots. The indigenous peoples of the Americas migrated there from NE Asia more than 20 thousand years ago. The first witnesses of an Anglican service in the Americas were Native Americans looking on as Sir Francis Drake’s chaplain held a prayer service north of San Francisco Bay in 1579. One of the first two people baptized by Anglicans was Manteo, a Croatan chief, in 1587; the other was a baby, Virginia Dare, born to parents who were part of the “Lost Colony” off the coast of what is now North Carolina. The first recorded Chinese Anglican service held in North America took place in 1871 in Virginia City, Nevada. Asian roots are deep and pervasive in The Episcopal Church, from Ah Foo who ministered to Chinese miners and railroad workers in Virginia City and Carson City in the 1870s, to Hiram Hisanori Kano, who worked with Japanese immigrants in Nebraska beginning in the 1920s. He was the only Japanese-American in Nebraska to be interned during the war, apparently because as a priest he was seen to be so dangerous! We are giving thanks here for the first Hmong congregation in TEC, now served by Fr. Toua Vang.
The Asia-American experience in TEC is not simply a history, but an unfolding and growing reality in North America. While the Latino population has been the largest immigrant presence in recent decades, the latest census projections in the United States indicate that immigration from Asia will make that population the fastest growing by 2025.
What does this mean for TEC and for our varied contexts, and not only in the US? What does it mean for the Anglican Communion? Certainly the presence of various Asian cultures has been an expansive blessing for this church, and has offered other cultures a broader and richer understanding of what it means to love God and neighbor with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. We learn that God is worshiped in ways that are broader and deeper than what we first knew: the deeply quiet reverence of a traditional Japanese liturgy; the surprising vigor of an Igorot gong dance; the liveliness of a Chinese dragon dance welcoming a new bishop in San Francisco or Los Angeles; the feathered smudge, drum, and flute of Native Americans.
The gifts of migration move in both directions, from Asia to America, and back again. We are slowly growing into the great dream of the last half-century, that we might become Mutually Responsible and Interdependent parts of the body of Christ. I’m going to speak primarily of what I see as the gifts of Asian sending contexts for The Episcopal Church. I hope and expect that others might speak of what is received here in Asia.
The most powerful witness of the churches and provinces of Asia for their brothers and sisters in TEC is two-fold – the creative and contextual forms of ministry in those varied places, and the overriding focus on reconciliation and peace-making. Yesterday we heard powerful accounts of the difficulties that early missionaries had evangelizing in several Asian contexts, particularly when there was a refusal or inability to recognize what God was already doing in those contexts. Certainly one of the prophetic leaders in shifting that dynamic was Roland Allen, who in the early twentieth century claimed a missionary method like the apostle Paul’s. Allen said he believed his duty was to bring the scriptures and the sacraments, and then get out of the way, encouraging the gospel to take root in native soil. The vigorous trees of life that have grown in varied Anglican-Episcopal contexts in Asia have borne fruit that when planted in other soil has begun to deeply bless that context. That fruit looks and tastes a bit different than it does here – and we’ve heard some of the challenges that come of expecting it to be identical, particularly for new generations.
One of the gifts of the Anglican Communion in recent decades has been the focus on Five Marks of Mission, with an implicit expectation of variation in different contexts. That framework exemplifies the kind of theologizing we can do together, and it’s become an important marker in thinking about and acting on God’s call to reconciling the world. I want to encourage you to learn to put these into your own language, and what I’m going to offer is only an example.
Reconciliation is the foundation of God’s mission, and our response and partnership comes through deeply owning that vision of a healed world, giving our heart to the goal we call the Reign of God, by believing it and acting on it (Mark I). We share that mission by forming others, and being formed ourselves, as students and disciples of that good news vision (Mark II). We partner with others to relieve the suffering in this world, through concrete response to particular human pain and dis-ease (Mark III). We come together to change the human systems of domination that sustain and permit human suffering, injustice of all kinds, and the particular evil of war and violence (Mark IV). And as Anglicans, we are newly re-awakening to the original human vocation – tending the garden in which we’re planted (Mark V). There can be no long-term hope for achieving that vision of peace and justice if the earth cannot sustain life, and life in abundance, for all its inhabitants.
Each of the cultures and languages represented here is partnering in God’s mission in a variety of creative ways. I’m going to note just a few of the very creative missional endeavors taking place across this hemisphere.
Proclaiming good news: Following the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Sendai, Japan, the NSKK responded by caring for particular communities in specific ways. In one small community, relocated residents were housed in shelters built into shipping containers. They were modest, and very functional, and church workers soon learned of residents’ deep hunger for the social and emotional support that people had known in their former homes. For one thing, their housing didn’t have traditional soaking tubs. Church members began to offer tea ceremonies in these communities – to people of varying religious traditions or none. The NSKK stood in solidarity with a fishing village where most of the wives were Filipino immigrants, often isolated from the rest of the community – so they offered language courses and social support. Yet another initiative hosted a bakery that employed mentally disabled and joyous young adults. Reconciliation in that crisis recovery context reminded people of their basic human dignity and value, in ways that were specific to the need. That walking together is a quiet and deeply authentic way of proclaiming good news in deed and word.
Form new disciples: The Episcopal Church in the Philippines and the Iglesia Filipina Independiente are clear about their desire to share resources, like a seminary. The two traditions largely work in different geographic contexts – by choice, out of a theological and ecclesiological belief that they shouldn’t be competing. All human communities have something to learn from that witness, for the tense struggle between identity and collegial partnership is as old as Cain and Abel.
Education efforts by Anglicans and Episcopalians everywhere help to form human beings for life in community that will lead to more abundant life for all. Some of those disciples are overtly and avowedly Christian; others become stronger Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, and Muslims, and all have the lively experience of creative encounter in a diverse environment. Rikkyo University in Tokyo; Nanjing Theological College in China; St. Andrew’s seminary, Brent School, and Trinity University in Manila; several bilingual kindergartens and St. John’s University in Taiwan; Ming Hua and other educational institutions in Hong Kong; and Songkonghoe University here in Seoul are all engaged in forming citizens to take their place as agents of change in their local communities, nations, and the world. The vision of change they inherit and discover through these institutions is about abundant life for all.
Learning that vision, making it one’s own deeply enough to say that I believe it, and give my heart and soul and being to that vision, is the fruit of practice and habit. We learn to love our neighbors as ourselves from guides who help to form habits for the journey. It may look like sharing a meal with a lonely and frail elder, tutoring a school child, feeding a hungry person, or gathering for worship with people and in ways that challenge us all. Those habits include the courage and will to reach across fear, difference, and violence in search of peace, knowing that justice is essential to peace. I will come back to this, as I think it is the particular gift of many provinces in this part of the world.
The last Mark of Mission has to do with caring for the earth. The Church in the Philippines has been prophetic in working with farmers to rediscover and honor traditional agricultural techniques, and improve them without the use of seeds which require excessive use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. The Kiyosato Educational Experiment Project (KEEP) and the Asian Rural Institute are other examples of long-standing mission work that seek to reconcile human beings with their environment. Working toward the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture is a hallmark of the Polynesian church’s mission; the church in Bangladesh challenges the world to address climate change and the coastal flooding they are increasingly suffering. So, too, does the plight of the many island peoples of the Pacific, who are seeing their garden soils and drinking water become increasingly salty and their ancestral lands slowly sink beneath the sea. Seafarers missions seek to sustain the life and livelihoods of those in peril on the sea.
I want to return to the form of reconciliation held up in the 4th Mark of Mission: challenging violence and seeking peace. It’s worth noting that any concrete work that seeks to end violence always confronts unjust systems that lead to and sustain violence. That confrontation can elicit violent response, as Jesus knew and experienced. Human communities often descend into violence in the face of scarce resources, whether that scarcity is real or imagined. The expansionist lust for power, territory, or the ability to impose a particular worldview are variations on that same theme of scarcity. The wars that have been fought in this part of the world in recent centuries, the imperial and colonial adventures of regimes both local and foreign, and the ongoing and varied alliances of some powers against others all tell the same sad human story we know from Genesis, Exodus, the Roman occupation of Palestine, and more recent conflicts.
The Christian witness in Asia has had a checkered history, just as it has in other parts of the world. Many of the early Christian missionaries came as part of colonial and imperial expansionism. At the same time, many of those early witnesses to the power of God in Jesus Christ demonstrated what they professed by literally giving their lives, as white martyrs and red ones. Their witness continues to change hearts, and to make reconciliation and peace-building more possible. The peace-making initiative of TOPIK seeks not only peace on this Korean peninsula, but an expanding possibility of peace throughout this region and the world. When we see the selfless action of even a few, it gives courage to the many, and the cause of peace advances. For the love demonstrated in the quest for peace does cast out fear.
The world needs that confidence that peace is possible, particularly in this anxious and fearful season. We know that the resolution of conflict in one part of the world gives impetus and confidence to its resolution elsewhere. The current anxiety about economic conditions, the wanton and degraded violence of terrorism, and the storm clouds of climate change and potential food shortages are all contributing to the violence around us. The world was in a similar state some 50 years ago, as people were building bomb shelters at home, hoarding food, and foreseeing the imminent end of the world. The strong and faithful hearts of a few found the courage to draw back from violent response and seek peace. We need the same courage now, and there is abundant example and leadership represented here.
The work of TOPIK began by seeking to end the Korean War and to reunify families separated for more than 60 years by a suspicious ceasefire. This province has brought together the churches of old enemies to make peace. Those efforts continue to expand beyond Korea, Japan, and the United States, and the reconciling and truth-telling experience in South Africa and Ireland, and Canada’s reconciliation journey with First Nations peoples have energized the work and offered new and particular avenues for building a culture of peace.
Those examples, and others yet to be shared or developed, are essential in the face of current territorial claims in the South China Sea, and the resulting fears of that expansionism are threatening the gains for peace in Article 9 of Japan’s constitution. The same fears are prompting calls for a re-expanded US military presence in Subic Bay and Okinawa. Christians know in their bones – those dry ones into which God continues to breathe life – we know that war is never the answer. We cannot hope for peace by cutting off the ear of the empire’s servant, or through armed rebellion. We can hope for peace through the painful work of seeking and offering forgiveness, and through loving those who appear to be former and current enemies. The first TOPIK conference went to North Korea to celebrate Eucharist and to offer relief supplies to a flooded village. The ongoing efforts of this province to feed the enemy are a profound gift and witness to the rest of the Communion and the world.
There are other examples. Anglicans and Episcopalians are offering lament in the face of seeing fertile ocean habitat destroyed by over-reaching commercial fisheries, coastal communities threatened by rising sea levels, populations nearby and far away threatened by changing weather patterns, forest clearing, mining and the ongoing rapacity of human hubris. Our members are making lament, telling the truth of human and planetary suffering, and seeking concrete ways to respond to that suffering.
The church in Pakistan continues to be a remarkable witness in the face of religious persecution and oppression, and their lament has begun to make a difference in the ruthless and sordid application of blasphemy laws. The senseless violence of bombing seems to have increased the strength of the church – and their commitment to peace-making.
God’s mission, and our response, seeks peace in all things, for all people, and all creation. We seek a garden of harmony and abundance, yet we live in the midst of greed and violence. The response Jesus teaches is about deep friendship, seeking the image of God in those who differ from us and those who oppose us. That motivation to go seeking friends, and to love the neighbor, drives our part in God’s mission. It is particularly evident in the opportunities for building friendships in Christ in the midst of communities of difference. It is at the root of the experience of Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry. Boundary and border crossing is the call of Jesus to find a friend in unexpected places, particularly in the face of enmity, difference, and “the other.” The very experience of migration, and moving across a national border, is a witness to that kind of courage. EAM communities bring that courage in abundance, and it can be contagious – contagious enough to plant a new virus in our DNA that disposes us to see the new person as friend rather than enemy.
EAM’s congregations can be provocative pockets of counter-cultural courage in the face of difference, and that gift is urgently needed across the world today – certainly in the US, caught up as it is in anti-immigrant prejudice and fear in so many places. That gift actually increases the resilience of communities where the settled folk begin to interact with the newer ones. Communities become more hospitable to people from other states, cultures, nations, religious and economic backgrounds once they’ve discovered an unexpected friend. That reality is certainly being played out in parts of Europe right now. It is at work in schools in Israel and Palestine that insist that children of all three Abrahamic faiths be educated together and in one another’s languages. We affirm that Jesus’ migration into human flesh made deep and reconciling friendship more possible between God and humanity, and among human beings themselves. When the image of God migrates on earth and begins to develop deep and reconciling friendship, the same reality obtains.
That creative reality is built into the nature of creation as well. Biologists talk about hybrid vigor, as the greater health and adaptability of the offspring of slightly different parents. It’s especially important in rapidly changing environments, or disrupted contexts. The greatest diversity of biological communities tends to occur along the borders between more stable environments. If we really believe that God is beyond our full knowing, then we might reflect on the diversity of the human images of God. Befriending a greater variety of humanity can only show us more of who and what God truly is.
The violence of this world is born of scarcity and a desire to control resources for the sake of one nuclear community. The weapons of mass destruction we seek to eliminate are thus aptly and ironically named. The threat they pose makes us all part of the same nuclear community. Peace-making is about befriending the other for the sake of the One who has made us all, and for the sake of the One of whose body we are all a part. That is our vocation as followers of Jesus – who calls us friends, who laid down his life for his friends. The continuing surprise for most of us is that he included the whole of the human race, and the whole of creation. We live in hope that we might imitate that kind of friendship. Arigato, kam samida, she she, thank you, Jesus, for making us friends.
 Charles Henry Brent, on discovering the work of the IFI in cities, proclaimed that he would not “set up an altar against an altar” and moved to the highlands to proclaim good news.
 Toward Peace In Korea. The first conference’s communique: http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2007/11/towards-peace-in-korea.aspx and the second: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/data/files/resources/5054/COMMUNIQUE-OF-THE-2ND-WORLDWIDE-ANGLICAN-PEACE-CONFERENCE.pdf
A recent update: http://www.abmission.org/pages/topik-towards-peace-in-korea-.html
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Episcopal News Service – Seoul, South Korea] Bishop Stacy Sauls, chief operating officer of The Episcopal Church, spoke Oct. 1 to Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries’ Sept. 30-Oct. 5 international consultation here about the gift of transformation that he was given years ago in Korea.
Sauls told the story of his and his wife Ginger’s experience of adopting two Korean children. It has been one, he said, that taught him about seeing the world through Asian eyes and transformed his understanding of what it means to be made a child of God.
Sauls spoke after dinner at the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Nicholas in downtown Seoul, the main venue for the gathering.
The text of Sauls’ remarks follows.
This is Your Son
The Rt. Rev. Stacy F. Sauls
Chief Operating Officer
The Episcopal Church
My heart has been unexpectedly full these last 48 hours since landing in Korea. I have not been here for 28 years. The last time I was in Seoul it was to bring a baby boy we had adopted home to his mother and older brother. Korea gave us both our sons, Andrew and Matthew. I find myself a little surprised at how fresh these memories have become in returning to Seoul.
On the last day I was in Seoul, I got up early to go to the orphanage to pick up baby Matthew, whom I had been introduced to a few days earlier. More on that later. For now I want to tell you about our trip home, Matthew and I off on our first adventure as father and son.
It was a miserably hot and humid day. After completing some packing, I checked out with my two suitcases of baby clothes Ginger had instructed I buy from the vendors in Itaewon. We got on the hotel shuttle and settled in for the trip to the airport. In those days there was a monthly air raid drill in Seoul. That turned out to be the day. So back into the heat and humidity and into the hotel we went. I always found it odd that anyone thought we might have been safer inside the hotel in the event of an actual air raid. We waited for the air raid siren to be silent. Eventually it was.
Back into the heat to board the hotel shuttle again, two suitcases and baby in tow. We had lost a lot of time, though. Making the flight was going to be tight. That’s when we ran into the traffic jam on the highway to the airport. It was stop and go all the way. More valuable time lost. Still, as we pulled up to the terminal, we had just enough time to make it I thought.
And that would have been true in some contexts. Not in this one. What little Matthew and I found instead was a disorganized mass of humanity pressing up against the Northwest Airlines ticket counter. There was nothing resembling a line. Just hundreds of people pressing forward with no order at all. It seemed to me as something like the last days of Saigon. I waded into the crowd with Matthew strapped into a snuggly baby carrier on my chest, kicking the suitcases forward, first this one and then the other one. Every once in a while, Matthew would slip out of the baby carrier on my chest and I would dive to catch him before he hit the floor, which miraculously he never did. I had not yet figured out that the straps on the baby carrier were supposed to go under his arms. Precious time was ticking away. Still, we got checked in with just enough time to make the flight. Barely.
So off the two of us went, freed at least of the suitcases but still with a big bag of baby supplies that might be needed on the long flight to Seattle where we would connect to another flight to Atlanta. Now this was long before the marvel of the technologically advanced airport at Incheon. This was in the days of Kimpo Airport. Moving sidewalks were not even dreamed of. So I ran, baby now more securely strapped to my chest and with the baby diaper bag flapping behind me.
Security was yet another nightmare of a mass of humanity. At least there was a line. But still more time lost. Surely the airport was air conditioned, even in those days, but it didn’t much matter to me. I was sweating badly at this point. I kept running to our gate. Matthew and I were the very last people on the airplane.
I breathed a sigh of relief. Now it was safe to relax I thought. That’s when the pilot announced that there was a problem. It was so hot in Seoul that day that they could not completely load the plane with fuel. It would be necessary to stop in Anchorage on the way to refuel, which we did.
We finally arrived in Seattle, but we arrived after our flight to Atlanta had left. We would have to rebook. So once we got off the plane, Northwest Airlines, in its infinite wisdom, had two agents to rebook an entire 747 full of people with missed connections. More of the last days of Saigon. By this point, Matthew had an upset stomach. I wasn’t about to get out of the line, so I laid out a blanket on the floor and changed Matthew’s diaper. More than once. So as we inched toward the ticket agent, I pulled the blanket with Matthew on it and then changed his diaper. Then I pulled the blanket with Matthew on it and changed his diaper again. On and on. It took hours. Two different flights to Atlanta left while we were stuck in the line. And by the time we finally got ourselves rebooked, the last flight of the night left. We were rebooked on the first flight the next morning. I looked incredulously at the agent when he asked if I would like a hotel room for the night.
But that wasn’t the worst part. This was a day before cell phones. While Mattie and I had been in the rebooking line, Ginger had left home for the airport to meet the flight we were supposed to be on expecting to meet her baby boy for the first time. The flight arrived. The first class cabin got off. The coach cabin got off. The flight crew got off. Eventually the cleaning got off. No baby. Ginger asked the gate agent. After a great deal of confusion, he eventually discovered what had happened. Ginger went back home. Only then was I finally able to get her on the telephone and explain what happened.
The next morning, though, everything went fine. I arrived home and handed the baby into Ginger’s arms and looked forward to a nap. The good news is that Matthew, who was four months old, was sleeping through the night at that point. The bad news is that it was the Korean night. He slept during the American day. During the American night, he was open for business.
Now let me go back to the beginning of the story. I told you I had been introduced to our new baby a couple of days before he and I left. He stayed with his foster mother, whom I also met, until I picked him up. But I’ll also never forget arriving at the orphanage immediately after arriving in Seoul at the beginning of the trip. He was sitting up on a sofa, looking a little bit like a sack of potatoes. I walked into the room, and I will never forget one of the most beautiful sounds I ever heard, the social workers soft voice saying in a beautifully accented voice, “Mr. Sauls, this is your son.”
I received three of the most precious gifts of my life from Korea, which is why my heart is so full to be back. One is my son Matthew. The second is my son Andrew. The third, though, is the gift of transformation.
There are a lot of things I could say about that transformation. My family was both completed and transformed on that last trip to Seoul. I think about that a lot. But let me explain it to you this way.
What transformed me was that I became part of an Asian American family. I began to be able to look at the world through eyes that might not have looked like it but had nevertheless become Asian eyes. Sometimes the view was amusing, like when people assumed by boys, because they are Korean, were good at math. Sometimes the view was not so amusing, like the time we were at Soccer sign ups waiting for their names to be called and the person in charge became impatient when we didn’t respond when another child was called, the other child being named Sammy Chang. Sometimes the view was infuriating like the time when I had trouble enrolling them in our upscale neighborhood’s Cub Scout group because they weren’t white. Sometimes the view was even more infuriating like when they got treated as “honorary” white people because Ginger and I were their parents.
Here’s the best way I know to express the transformation. From this time forward, Sauls is an Asian name. When the next census happens and my children fill out their name and race, they’re going to put down “Sauls” and check “Asian.” When the have families of their own, my grandchildren will be listed as Asian or mixed race. One of the gifts I got from Korea was being able to see the world in a way I would never have seen it otherwise.
And this is a deeply important spiritual gift, a gift to understand what these words mean. “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.” It is a gift to understand how God loves us, how God loves me, as an adopted child. It is a great gift, an incalculable gift, to imagine angels singing, “Mr. God, this is your son,” and to know how God feels. We are all God’s sons and daughters. We are all each other’s sons and daughters. It is Korea’s gift to me to understand what that means.
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Episcopal News Service – Seoul, South Korea] Diocese of New York Bishop Suffragan Allen K. Shin told Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries’ international consultation here Oct. 1 that the group must help the entire Episcopal Church discover new models to stem the flow of young people away from the church.
“What new wineskin do we need to create and evolve so that both old and new can be preserved?” he asked at the Sept. 30-Oct. 5 gathering, echoing Matthew 9:17. Shin added that this question faces all Episcopal Church congregations, not just Asiamerican ones.
Shin and Nippon Sei Ko Kai Archbishop Nathaniel Makota Uematsu presented a joint keynote address. The theme of their remarks was “Celebrating Our Partnership: The History and Development of Asia-America Mission.”
The two bishops spoke at the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Nicholas in downtown Seoul, the main venue for the gathering, on a rainy morning when, during Shin’s remarks, a downpour could at times be heard in the background, as well as the cathedral’s noon bells.
The text of the bishop’s remarks will be added to this post when it becomes available.
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Episcopal News Service – Seoul, South Korea] Nippon Sei Ko Kai Archbishop Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu explained Oct. 1 during Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries’ Sept. 30-Oct. 5 international consultation here the ways in which his church is living a call to reconciliation.
That reconciliation, he said, is being attempted with churches in those countries which previously suffered under Japanese occupation during the country’s militaristic period. The forging of new relationships began with the Anglican Church of Korea, Uematsu said. The Korean church is hosting the EAM gathering.
Uematsu and Diocese of New York Bishop Suffragan Allen K. Shin presented a joint keynote address. The theme of their remarks was “Celebrating Our Partnership: The History and Development of Asia-America Mission.”
The two bishops spoke at the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Nicholas in downtown Seoul, the main venue for the gathering, on a rainy morning when a downpour occasionally could be heard in the background.
The text of Uematsu’s remarks follows.
The Nippon Sei Ko Kai
(NSKK, Anglican Church in Japan)
The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK = the Anglican Church in Japan) was among the first Protestant churches established after Japan was re-opened to the world in 1854, ending 200 years of isolation.
In June 1859, the Rev. Channing Moore Williams, missionary priest and later missionary bishop of the Episcopal Church, landed at Nagasaki, in southwestern Japan. Williams joined the Rev. John Riggins, who had docked at Nagasaki one month earlier, and the Anglican mission in Japan began.
Six years ago, we celebrated the 150th anniversary of that beginning. For the 150th Anniversary celebration services and events held in Tokyo, we had a great pleasure to have your Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, with other distinguished guests like the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt. Honorable Rowan Williams, and the Primate of Anglican Church of Korea, Archbishop Paul Keun Sang Kim.
The foundations of the Anglican church throughout the country were laid by four organizations: The Episcopal Church Board of Missions in the United States which sent John Riggins and Channing Moore Williams and many more to Japan; the Church Missionary Society (CMS) and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG), both from England; and later the Anglican Church of Canada. These missionaries helped establish a rich and broadly catholic and evangelical tradition within the NSKK.
The common vision of the missionaries was always the formation of an independent Japanese church supported by Japanese Anglicans. Owing to their insights and efforts, the first General Synod of the NSKK was held in Osaka in 1887. Now formally organized, the NSKK began pioneering work throughout Japan, in an environment of still considerable misunderstanding and prejudice against Christianity. In addition to planting churches, the NSSK was active in the fields of preschool child-care, secondary education, medicine, and social welfare. This work continues to this day, thanks to the efforts of the overseas missionaries as well as countless Japanese clergy and lay people. We express our heartfelt gratitude for their dedication.
Roughly fifty years after Channing Williams’ arrival, Japan began a marked turn towards becoming a militaristic nation, as symbolized by the forced annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910. The flow of events during this period was indeed overwhelming, as Japan engaged in armed conflict and undertook a program of occupying and colonizing neighboring Asian countries. The church, lacking a clear understanding of the Christian faith and the Gospel, using the form of “Special Prayer Service for Shina-Jihen (China Incident)” and “Special Prayer for Dai-Towa War (Great Asia War)” prayed for victory and proved unable to speak out against these events. Thus the NSKK approved the occupation of other nations and contributed to the war in the name of Christianity.
(China-Incident: total scale China-Japan war provoked by the July 7th battle near Beijing. Japan called the wars “incidents” in China because it did not declare them officially. Great Asia War: naming of the Asia Pacific War by the Imperial Japanese government. It implies the understanding of the character of the war as “liberating Asian nations from the colonization of the West”. The word is being used even today by those who deny the historical fact of Japan’s aggression.)
Moreover, in 1941, the Japanese government expelled all foreign clergy and missionaries from the country, and the unity of the NSKK itself was shaken by the desperate reactions to the government’s attempt to force all Protestant churches together into a single umbrella organization. Even as we are mindful of the hardships faced by our brothers and sisters in the church during that period, we must also continue to remember this painful history.
After Japan’s defeat in 1945, the country entered a period of rebuilding “from the ashes.” Free at last from long years of oppression under a militaristic government, there was a period when Christianity attracted the hearts of many Japanese people, and the Church once again found a role as a means of contact with Western culture. However, as the nation rallied the populace toward accelerated economic growth, and with the emergence of a materialistic consumer society, the identity of the church, too, underwent a dramatic transformation.
The Pan-Anglican Congress held in 1963 in Toronto, Canada proposed to the Anglican world the idea of the “mutual responsibility and interdependence” of the various Anglican churches worldwide. By 1970, missionaries from overseas Anglican churches, who had contributed so much to the work of evangelization in Japan, had nearly all returned to their home countries. The NSKK, both as a province and at the parish level, was no longer a “receiving church” dependent on overseas support, but rather was called to bear mutual responsibility and become a spiritually, administratively and financially independent church among many in the global Anglican Communion. The NSKK became a self-supporting province in 1972.
At the same time, influenced by ongoing changes in the world social order as well as in thinking about mission, the NSKK searched for a renewed ecclesiological shape. A new Prayer Book (1990) and Hymnal (2006) arose out of this quest. Also during this period, while respecting the differences in theological convictions, the NSKK also recognized the ordination of women to the priesthood (1998). The NSKK today is made up of nearly 280
Churches in 11 dioceses, claiming roughly 51,000 members, including over 220 active clergy.
At the same time, the NSKK began to look back over the events leading up to the Asia-Pacific War. We especially felt called to repent and seek reconciliation and deeper engagement with our neighbors in countries throughout Asia who had first suffered under Japanese occupation and colonization, and then been made subject to economic control under Japan’s post-war development.
We were especially blessed by our fellow Anglicans in the Anglican Church of Korea (ACK), who opened their hearts to us even before Japan had come to terms with and apologized for its role in the colonization of the Korean peninsula. As brothers and sisters sharing the same faith, even as the ACK drew our attention to the inadequacies and errors of Japan’s historical awareness, they also opened the door to exchanges between individuals, churches, dioceses, and at the provincial level. Last year the NSKK and the Anglican Church of Korea together celebrated the 30th anniversary of Korea-Japan Anglican Mission Partnership in Jeju Island, Korea. Since 2007, through an inter-provincial agreement, clergy from the Anglican Church of Korea who sense a calling to evangelism in Japan are now serving in areas throughout Japan. We have welcomed over 20 such missioners to date.
With regard to Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and other countries which also suffered under Japanese wartime occupation, the NSKK has sought reconciliation and a restoration of our bonds under the same Lord, Jesus Christ. At the same time, we have been blessed by the wealth of faith-filled experiences of our brothers and sisters in these countries.
In 1972, after walking a path of suffering separated from the Japanese mainland for 27 years, Okinawa was returned to Japanese control, and the Diocese of Okinawa became part of the NSKK. Even now, though, the Okinawan people continue to suffer under the intense strain of the presence of U.S. military bases. We take seriously the challenges to peace pointed up by their struggle, and are keenly aware of being called to work toward realizing the peace that is in Jesus Christ.
Let me go back to the issue of NSKK’s repentance and reconciliation in relation to the partnership with the Anglican Church of Korea, because I believe it is the most crucial and turning point for making a new vision of the mission of the NSKK. This year of 2015 is the 70th anniversary of the end of the WW2. For Japan, it is the 70th year of the defeat, but for Korea, it is the 70th anniversary of the liberation and emancipation from Japanese colonization. As I said, last year, the NSKK and the Anglican Church of Korea celebrated the 30th anniversary of our mission partnership together. Before we began official partnership in 1984, both churches had experienced very difficult time, in which we were suffering from the scars and pain caused by the war. Atrocities committed by Japan during the invasion of Korean Peninsula by Japanese Army and forced Annexation of Korea to Japan caused among the Koreans pain, grudge, sorrow and humiliation. Before our two churches agreed to begin the official relationship, only few people had been trying to build the bridge between Korean church and Japanese church. Although we were neighbors and Anglicans, we simply could not come close to each other for 40 years. Even after we started the official relationship, we admit that the work of reconciliation between two churches was not easy. There have been a lot of tension, torment, embarrassment, disappointment, and even anger in the course of making new relationship. Sometimes, our joint programs came to a deadlock.
But now, we can tell you many stories of grace which we rejoice and celebrate as a result of walking together the path of reconciliation. Bishops of two churches are all good friends, and if the consecration of bishop takes place either in Japan or in Korea, most of bishops likely participate in the laying of hands.
Youth seminars and camps are jointly held, and they learn from each other and become friends. Some Japanese youth go to college or seminary in Korea. In the NSKK, now about 20 Korean priests are working. Four years ago, when the Great East-Japan Earthquake struck north-east part of Japan, many Korean clergy including Archbishop Paul Kim and lay persons and youth groups visited the affected areas to help those victims, churches, and church activities. It was a sign of our good relationship and solidarity. Because two churches experienced the war and its aftermath, now we are launching together to make ourselves to be the instrument of peace.
We have co-hosted the Anglican Peace Conference twice: one in Paju, Korea, and one in Okinawa, Japan.
Last December, on one Sunday, I was a preacher at the Cathedral in Seoul. It was the first time that a Japanese bishop preached at the Seoul Cathedral after the war. It took 70 years to make it happen, but it was a definite progress of our reconciliation process
In order to engage in the work of reconciliation with our neighbors, especially with the Korean Church, there needed the scrutiny of our history and church’s involvement in that history. It was the most difficult task for us. However, without this process, we could not have gone forward. In 1995, the year of the 50th Anniversary of the end of the Asia-Pacific War, the NSKK held the Mission Consultation to discuss and evaluate our past as the church in Japan. Under the theme of “Responsibility for History and Prospects for the 21st Century,” we admitted our war responsibility; based on repentance and looking toward the 21st century, we determined to walk with those who were historically persecuted and victimized during the war and still discriminated against, including Koreans in Japan. Furthermore, at the NSKK 49th General Synod held in the following year, 1996, we adopted the Nippon Sei Ko Kai’s Statement on War Responsibility” and all churches agreed to collectively share NSKK’s war responsibility, convey an apology in the name of NSKK to the churches in the countries which Japan had invaded, and to start and continue a program in each diocese and parish to review the historical facts and deepen our understanding of the Gospel. Admitting our own guilt and sin is always the most difficult thing. However then, only from then, we can go on repentance and then we can experience the blessing that we are forgiven.
Four years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami struck on March 11, 2011. The NSKK immediately organized a project called “Issho ni aruko”, which means “Let us walk together” to help the victims. As the NSKK had decided in the War Responsibility Statement, we have been trying to live and to be with those who are marginalized or have been forced to live in very difficult conditions because of the disaster. We are very appreciative that many people overseas contributed for the work of “Let us walk together.” I would like to say on this occasion thank you to our friends in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Korea. Presiding Bishop Katharine and Archbishop Paul Kim were among many people who actually visited the affected area to be with the victims, to pray for them, and to cry with them.
The aftermath of the accident of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station is still going on. We have not resolved nor yet found a certain direction to resolve the problem. Even now, people were forced to leave their homes, and families were broken up while suffering from the fear of health-harming radioactive contamination. The NSKK have decided to walk together with the nuclear victims and to establish the No-Nuke Project.
As we mark this 156th year of an Anglican presence in Japan, in many ways it seems that we have failed to adequately sustain the tremendous energy that the missionaries first brought to mission and evangelization in this country. It seems we have not yet been able to give adequate expression to our faith as those who live in Japanese society. We face declines in the numbers of both lay members and clergy, and our congregations as a whole are aging — problems which cannot be solved overnight. Throughout the country, in spite of the lack of priests at many churches, Sunday worship has continued to be carried out by a small number of lay people. We give thanks for the dedicated service of these people, and ask for the Lord’s special blessing on them.
And yet, in the midst of these conditions, there have continued to be enthusiastic, energetic gatherings of young people in our church, both locally and at National Youth Conferences.
As we have looked back over the great blessings God has bestowed on the NSKK over the past 156 years, we have reflected on what this church has accomplished, on what we intended but failed to do, and on many things we simply did not consider.
Just as worship is called “the work of the people” (leitourgia), the church is above all the community of the people of God. We are called to be instruments carrying the Good News and the love of Christ to the world. As such, wherever we might be, we are gathered together in worship, nourished by the Word and the Eucharist, and sent out into society. The work of the laity is therefore equally as important as that of the clergy. The church does not exist only for its own sake, but is also called to seek the presence and action of God in the world, particularly among the least in society, and to serve the world. This work is carried out not only within the NSKK, but also in dialogue and mission collaboration with churches in other traditions.
Even though the NSKK is a small flock, in the midst of a world experiencing deep pain and division, the rest of the Anglican Communion looks to us to continue proclaiming a message of peace and reconciliation, grounded in our own repentance. At the same time, as we saw at the Lambeth Conference in 2008, we believe God is asking us to walk together with the worldwide Anglican family, with all its diverse gifts. We must be willing to share with one another, willing to take the time to listen to one another’s different experiences. We believe this is the shape our church must take in the 21st century.
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.
[Episcopal News Service – Seoul, South Korea] The Rev. Winfred Vergara, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s missioner for Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries, preached the sermon at the opening Eucharist Oct. 1 for Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries’ Sept. 30-Oct. 5 international consultation here. The Eucharist was celebrated at the Anglican Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Nicholas in downtown Seoul.
(The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is the legal and canonical name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business and carries out mission. The DFMS sponsored and supported the gathering.)
Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries is a culturally diverse association comprising of Asian Americans from Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Southeast Asian and South Asian convocations. It is a U.S.-based ministry association that serves the U.S. born Asians and Asian immigrants and relates to churches in Asia especially belonging to the Anglican Communion.
Nearly 200 participants from North America are expected to join the EAM Consultation and the 125th Anniversary celebration is also expected to draw thousands of people both in Korea and around the world.
Asian American or “Asiamerican” describes both Asian immigrants in the United States as well as Asian Americans born in the United States – Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Japanese, Southeast Asian (Vietnamese, Laotian, Hmong, Burmese), and South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan). The EAM office offers resources on mission work, church revitalization, and racial justice – among and beyond Asian communities in the United States. It assists dioceses to start new Asian congregations and strengthen existing ones, and advocates for Asian empowerment at all levels of the church: among seminarians, women, youth, clergy, and lay leaders.
The text of Vergara’s sermon follows.
EAM KOREA 2015: PARTNERSHIP, COLLABORATION AND COMMUNITY IN MISSION
Please do not turn off your cellphone, iPad, or iPhone. Put it on mute, then tweet, text or Facebook everyone that you are here in this beautiful Cathedral and you are about to hear an amazing sermon. So help me, God. Amen.
I was a bit concerned when [the Rev.] Bayani [Rico, president of the EAM Council] asked me to preach because the lectionary for October 1 is on St. Remigius, Bishop of Reims, a Roman Catholic Archdiocese in France. I would have a hard time relating him Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry. Fortunately, Bayani said that the liturgical committee had chosen the alternative lectionary readings for mission. I was relieved!
Bayani and I are graduates of St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary in the Philippines, and the lectionary played an important part of in our priestly formation. We believe that “the whole counsel of God,” is not found in one or two proof texts, but in the whole lectionary. The lectionary is a series of interconnected Bible lessons called “pericopes,” which are arranged systematically into years A-B-C. If you attend Church every Sunday, you will hear the entire Bible in three years!
So important is the lectionary that there was a story about a huge, run-away asteroid hurtling from outer space and was about to hit the earth. It would mean the end of the world as we know it. Since there was very little time for evacuation to other planets, it was deemed that humankind would just have to prepare for their imminent death. A group of clergy in Manila gathered to share what they would preach for their last sermon. They asked, “From what portion of the Bible would you preach from?”
The Baptist preacher immediately replied, “Of course, I will preach from John 3:16.There is nothing more important than to remind people that God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
The Roman Catholic priest said, “I will preach from Matthew 16:18. There is nothing more important than to remind people what Jesus said, ‘You are Peter and on this rock, I will build my church!’”
The Pentecostal pastor said, “I will preach from Acts 2. There is nothing more important than to remind people that the Holy Spirit came down on Pentecost and rested on the disciples and they spoke in tongues.”
At this point, all eyes were now fixed on the Episcopal priest. “And you, Apo Padi, from what portion of Scripture will you preach from?” The Episcopalian replied, “I’ll check the lectionary!”
Mission of the 70 (Luke 10:1-9)
So our lectionary gospel for mission says in Luke 10: “After this, the Lord appointed 70 others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, ‘The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest…Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals and greet no one on the road… Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick and say to them, The Kingdom of God has come near you.”
There are three points I like to emphasize. (By the way, you who know me, also know why I am a three point preacher. Well, three reasons: first, I am a Trinitarian; second, I am the third child in my family; third, because as I grow older, there are three things I begin to lose. First, my hair; second, my memory; and third, I can’t remember.)
First thing I wish to emphasize is that mission is a community work
Mission is partnership. Jesus sent the 70 in pairs, two by two. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor; if either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”
The beginnings of the EAM happened in the 1970’s when the mark of mission in the Anglican Communion was MRI — “mutual responsibility and interdependence.” The Church as the Body of Christ was a powerful metaphor: “When one member suffers, all suffer together; when one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1Corinthians 12).
It was also the birth of the Lausanne Covenant where the great Anglican evangelical leader, Dr. John Stott defined evangelism as “the proclamation of the whole gospel, by the whole church, for the whole man, in the whole world.”
In the Episcopal Church, it was the time when the national level started VIM- Venture in Mission. Emphasis was on congregational development and advocacy. Dioceses raised funds and engage in partnership with the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS) in funding start-up churches and creating new ministries.
In the U.S., it was a period of rapid immigration. The passage of the Immigration Act of 1965, abolished the restrictive quotas and ushered an influx of new immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America. The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the 1930 Filipino anti-miscegenation law, the 1940 Japanese internment Act and other discriminatory and racist policies against Asians were now seemingly-forgotten as the nation braced to welcome Asian immigrants. Some Asian countries suffered “brain drain,” because their doctors, nurses, engineers, etc. went to America.
The Asian congregations in The Episcopal Church at that time were few and far between. And so the Asian priests experienced loneliness and isolation especially in dioceses where they found themselves the only Asian or person of color. Canon James Pun from San Francisco said “I am lonely;” Canon John Yamasaki from Los Angeles said, “I am lonely;” the Rev. Albany To from New York said, “I am lonely;” the Venerable Lincoln Eng from Oregon said, “I am lonely.”
Out of that loneliness, they reached out to each other and began to build community. They met to map out their mission. It was simple, just a newsletter to connect themselves with one with another. When the whole meeting was over, their proposal evolved into a resolution. At the 64th General Convention in Louisville, Kentucky of September 29-October 11, 1973, that resolution was submitted, deliberated and approved. The Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry was established, with substantial funding. In the immortal words of Canon Pun, “We asked for a bicycle but they gave us a bus. Now we need a driver.” The driver was the Rev. Dr. Winston Ching, the first EAM Missioner!
Today, we continue to see the fruit of this partnership, collaboration and community. This EAM Consultation in Korea today is a shining example that when we work together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish. When we are in partnership with God and each other in Christ, there is no such thing as mission impossible! Si puede; yes, we can.
The second point I want to emphasize is that renewal and evangelism are inextricably intertwined
The sending of the 70 disciples in Luke 10 cannot be divorced from the sending of the original 12 apostles in Matthew 10. In Matthew 10, Jesus sent the 12 apostles with the same mission but their mission field was limited. The 12 apostles were not to go among the Gentiles or the Samaritans but only go only to the lost sheep of Israel. However, when he sent the 70 others, the scope of the mission field was broadened. They are now to go into every town or city where Jesus intend to come.
It was the prophet Jeremiah who first called Israel “the lost sheep.” The prophets Ezekiel and Micah would later prophesy the hope that the coming Messiah would gather the lost sheep. Ezekiel’s vision is a valley of dry bones coming back to life by the breath of God.
So when Jesus the Messiah came, it seemed that his first priority was the renewal of Israel as the People of God. Israel was chosen by God to be “a holy nation, a royal priesthood, God’s own people.” They were given the law and the prophets. They were called to a higher standard of morality and spirituality but somehow along the way, they forgot who they were and became like any other nation. It was crucial they be reminded of who they were, so they can again speak with credibility about the amazing things God has done.
The point I am driving at is that renewal comes before evangelism. If we, the Church, the New People of God, must become effective in proclaiming the Kingdom of God to the world, then it is important that we will first be renewed. We need the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit to empower us, once again for the proclamation of the Good News.
The early Church received the renewal of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost before they were able to evangelize the Graeco-Roman world. Before renewal, Peter preached 3,000 sermons and converted only one soul, his. After the renewal, Peter preached one sermon and converted 3,000 souls.
But it was not just the preaching of Peter and later of Paul that made the early Church grow from Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, to the ends of the world. It was the quality of the lives they led and the relationships they created. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and to prayers. They ministered to the sick and did many good deeds. They celebrated the Eucharist with glad and sincere hearts. They worked together and shared their gifts to others in the power of the Spirit.
There was no lobbying or competition in their assemblies. No politicking in their polity. They were not motivated by selfish ambitions. They did not exhibit the “siege mentality” or the “scarcity mode” to guard their turfs or to protect their interest. Their wisdom came from above and not from beneath. They simply did what pleases the Lord…and the Lord added to their number daily, those who were being saved.
Yes, our 42-year-old EAM Bus needs a tune-up from the Holy Spirit. Maybe the Korean Hyundai can give us a lift. We need a renewal within to evangelize without. The whole Church needs renewal of its Body Life, to be able to touch the world, once again, with the love of Christ. Jesus prayed for his disciples, “that they maybe one, so the world may believe” (John 17:21). Perhaps, this is what Pope Francis is hoping to accomplish with the Roman Catholic Church, that their clergy and people would be inspired and renewed, so that they could speak with credibility of the Kingdom of God, or the “Reign of God,” as what our Presiding Bishop Katharine would say.
The third point I wish to emphasize is that hospitality and mission are interrelated
Jesus said to the 70, “Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals.” Whenever Westerners preach about this text, they always emphasize “travel light.” But I would like to look at this scripture with Asian eyes. I imagine that Palestine at the time of Jesus was similar to an Asian village where people are extremely hospitable. When you enter an Asian village, you do not need anything, if you are vulnerable enough to receive what people give. In fact, be careful of saying “no,” because it is an insult to reject their hospitality. So eat what is set before you, and if you are offered to sleep in their bedroom, and they sleep in the living room, just try to sleep soundly because that is exactly what they want for you. They would feel honored if you accept their hospitality. It is by being vulnerable that you will be received like an angel in disguise.
Western Christian mission in Asia has not made much headway because it assumed a position of invulnerability, of power, of triumphalism. It has assumed that its heavy baggage of Western civilization was superior to that of Asia’s. Because it came in the form of a superior culture, it failed to accept Asian hospitality. Why must the Asian name be changed when he becomes a Christian? Why must he burn or throw away his ancestral tablets? Does the moment of baptism become the moment he becomes a stranger to his own people?
Chinese people used to say, “One more Christian, one less Chinese.” Except for the Philippines, South Korea and East Timor, Christianity is still a minority religion in Asia. Because it rejected Asian hospitality, Christianity continues to be a foreign religion.
One of the shining examples of enculturation that happened in the Anglican Church of Korea was the attempt of the early missionaries to adapt Korean architecture in church building. Tomorrow we are going to Ganghwa Island and you will see some of these early church buildings. In China, the great Jesuit missionary Mateo Ricci enculturated Chinese ancestral tablets into the funeral rite and the Chinese were beginning to love it. It was unfortunate that in 1704, the Vatican sided with the Dominicans in the infamous “Rites Controversy” and prohibited the Jesuits from adopting Chinese culture. The prohibition was lifted two hundred years later, in 1938, but it was a little too late. I hope that our Asia-America Theological Exchange Forums would help in this dialogue of contextualization. I hope that our Young Adult Service Corps, who are here today, are learning from their mission in Asia.
In America, where peoples from all over the world have come, mission takes on a new form. Being a missionary is no longer confined to Anglo-European descent. As a matter of fact, Korea is now the largest mission-sending country. Being a missionary is no longer confined to those who are sent to Africa, Asia, Latin America or Eastern Europe. Being a missionary in America is simply opening the doors of our hearts and the doors of our churches to the peoples around the world who have arrived on our doorsteps. To be a missionary is to become hospitable.
America, a nation built by immigrants, has become a huge mission field. There are now more than 300 Buddhist temples in Los Angeles. Muslims number more than Episcopalians or Presbyterians. Majority of the youth are “unchurched.” They call themselves “spiritual but not religious.”
In 1990 in Silicon Valley, a survey was made on how many go to church on a given Sunday. Out of its 2 million people, there were only 8% who go to church. I could just imagine the result of a similar survey in New York City. In that same year in Silicon Valley, the Census revealed that the ratio of population was 60% white/40% Asian and Hispanic. Ten years later, in 2000, the ratio was reversed: 40 percent white/60 percent Asian and Hispanic. Recent projections say that in 2050, the Latino/Hispanic would be become the new majority; but in 2065, the new majority would be the Asians. Asians comprise 2/3 of the world’s 7 billion people. With an open immigration from China and India, that projection is not far-fetched.
I know many of us won’t be here in 2065 (I know I won’t), but even now, we must open our eyes to the mission field. “The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few; pray to the Lord of the harvest to increase the laborers into his harvest.”
In May 2005, a year after I became the second driver of the EAM Bus, the Rev. William Bulson invited me to preach at Holy Apostles’ Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was Pentecost Sunday and it was the welcoming of the Hmong to the Episcopal Church. Later that year, I preached at the Cathedral in Minneapolis where the Hmong were confirmed and received. It took three hours for three bishops- Bishop Jelinek, Bishop Swenson and Bishop Chang to lay hands on over 300 Hmong Episcopalians. Yes, the Hmong are now among us.
But the story of Church Growth does not end with Asians reviving declining parishes with their presence. The “re-peopling” of Episcopal churches should move on to the discipleship of the new Episcopalians as the next missionaries. This is what the Rev. Toua Vang, our first Hmong priest is hoping to accomplish through the Missionary Enterprise Zone (MEZ). This is what many Asian clergy in Long Island are doing. Once we were in the margins; now we are moving in the mainstream. Once we were no people; but now we are God’s people.
One of the things I learned during my recent cancer treatment was to be reflective about my life and ministry. My radiation lasted three months and during that period I had more time to read, to pray and to reflect. Funny how a bad thing can turn out to be a good thing.
I was inspired by Sportcaster Stuart Scott who said, “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live.” I said to myself, how can I inspire others by my life, even in my small sphere of influence? I am missioner for Asiamerica Ministries; how I can encourage my sisters and brothers in our common mission?
Then I read some words that describe a community. A community of sheep is a flock; a community of cows is a herd; a community of lions is a pride; a community of ants is a colony; a community of larks is an exaltation —-and this is what I like best—a community of eagles is a convocation.
The EAM is an umbrella of six ethnic convocations. I once was asked, “What is an Asiamerican Episcopalian?” My answer, we are a combination of Chinese inscrutability, Japanese inventiveness, Korean resourcefulness, South Asian spirituality, Southeast Asian versatility, and Filipino sense of humor.
If therefore, EAM is convocation of eagles, then there is hope we can soar in mission. One of the characteristics of eagles is their keen vision. They are so focused they can see the goal from 10,000 miles above the sky. So in the midst of confusions and uncertainties in the world and in the church, our Eagle Eyes should always be focused on Jesus who alone can truly answer the deepest human need, who alone can truly mend broken hearts, who alone can truly wipe the tears from human eyes—and who alone can truly heal, renew and empower us for mission.
Bishop-elect Michael Curry in his address at the recent General Convention challenged us to join afresh in the Jesus Movement. So let us seek renewal in this Consultation and go forth to make disciples of all nations. Let us, by the power of the Spirit, continue heal the sick, raise the dead, drive out demons and proclaim, “The Kingdom of God is near!”
[Episcopal Diocese of Kansas] On a recent Sunday afternoon, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Clay Center, Kansas, was packed with worshippers, including half a dozen guests from the Ward Chapel AME Church in nearby Junction City.
They had gathered Sept. 20 for a service of repentance, healing and reconciliation to acknowledge the mistreatment of the only African-American member in the church’s 134-year history, Mai DeKonza, who died in 1959.
Over and over again, the people prayed, “Forgive us our sins. Forgive us our sins. Forgive us our sins.”
DeKonza, who was confirmed in 1900 in the small church in north-central Kansas, was a poet, musician, playwright and prolific letter writer who mostly was ignored by her fellow church members during her 59-year membership. Her separation from them was even more complete by their use of a designated chalice to administer communion only to her.
Now, to help give her a voice in the church that she didn’t have in life, the service included excerpts from letters she had written to Bishop James Wise, the fourth bishop of Kansas who served from 1916 to 1939, as well as a hymn she wrote that had been arranged by parish organist Sandra Carlson to the tune Finlandia.
And when it came time for communion, the only chalice on the altar was the one that had been reserved for DeKonza.
In her sermon, the Rev. Lavonne Seifert, the church’s priest-in-charge, said that the service was to address twofold sorrow. “Today, we express our sorrow for the actions and inactions of those good Christian people who worshipped in the era of ‘Jim Crow church,’ as Mai described it,” Seifert said. “But I am most sorry that those who came before us missed the opportunity to really know Mai DeKonza and to hear her wisdom, benefit from her insights and enjoy her company.”
Kansas Bishop Dean Wolfe sent remarks that were included in the worship bulletin: “Today, let us repent of the sins of prejudice and racism and strive to be the inviting, loving people God has called us to be. Today let us say ‘thank you’ to a woman we did not know, yet who is teaching us still, long after she has joined the saints in light.”
Hazel Washington, an African-American woman who was among those who came from the AME church in Junction City, said she thought the service “brought a lot of healing.” She added, “I felt God here.”
DeKonza: Musician, poet, committed Episcopalian
The church’s attitude toward DeKonza had been acknowledged in a history written for the parish’s centennial in 1981. That account called the church’s treatment of her “a blot on the glorious history of St. Paul’s” and noted that for years “she was tolerated but not accepted.”
But the depth of this alienation, and the talents DeKonza possessed, remained hidden until Jim Beck and his wife Ginny moved to Clay Center when they retired in 2013. After he read the 1981 account, he said his background in psychology – he holds a doctorate in the subject – prompted him to ask, “How did this happen?”
With a college degree in history and research experience honed through a hobby in genealogy, he began to dig. He found information in the local museum and census records, as well as in the archives of the Diocese of Kansas.
Beck learned that DeKonza was born in 1870, the daughter of a white man from England and a black woman who was freed from slavery by being brought into free-state Kansas from Missouri by Union General and U.S. Senator James Lane.
Her given name was Elizabeth May Lawton, and when she was 21 she legally changed her last name to DeKonza, an acknowledgment of her beloved home state. It isn’t known when she started to use Mai, an adaptation of her middle name, as her first name.
As a child DeKonza contracted typhoid fever that left her disabled and required the use of crutches to walk. Although she had only an eighth-grade education, she worked as a music teacher, stenographer, seamstress and light housekeeper.
She also composed and performed music, and wrote poetry and dramas, some of which were published. She gave speeches and lectures about race, and she became active in politics, including support of Prohibition.
Later in life she mostly was homebound after being run over by a car.
Beck wasn’t able to learn what drew DeKonza to The Episcopal Church, but in the diocesan archives he found what he called a treasure trove of 20 letters from DeKonza to Bishop Wise, and copies of some letters from him to her. In those letters “she described her own experiences,” Beck said. “They were like a diary.”
In them she shared the depth of her commitment to her faith and The Episcopal Church, in spite of her treatment by fellow parishioners.
On April 11, 1934, she wrote to Wise that in spite of her sense of alienation from the church, she had tried to attend Easter service, making the 11-block walk on her crutches. She discovered that the church had changed the service time from 8 a.m. to 6 a.m., and she arrived just as people were finishing breakfast.
She wrote, “And I thought, as I saw them enjoying themselves so merrily, Easter morning, that if the church had requested them to make up an Easter box for African heathen, how gladly they would have given to it; but nobody in St. Paul’s thought of me, of the African race, right at hand, with an Easter egg, or card, or message of cheer, nor of suggesting that a bite of their fine Easter breakfast be sent to me. They simply forgot me.”
Later, when she heard that all black Episcopalians might be put under the jurisdiction of Rt. Rev. Edward Demby, suffragan bishop for colored work, she said she simply would not comply; she was sticking with the bishop of Kansas. He had been a pastor to her when her local clergy had not.
She wrote, “Please let me stress this fact, dear Bishop, that all the Bishops in the Episcopal Church, of the entire American continent, backed by all the Bishops of the Church of England, could not have the power to change me from Bishop Wise to Bishop Demby. I am small and weak in body, but have you ever seen my spirit?”
Beck also learned that when she died in 1959, her funeral took place at a local mortuary, not at St. Paul’s, and she was buried in an unmarked grave in the paupers’ section of the local cemetery.
Making amends through repentance and a gravestone
It took Beck about six months to complete his research and compile it into what became a 19-page history. When members of the congregation read it, they knew they had to do something. They needed to make amends of some kind for how the church – their beloved church – had treated DeKonza. And they had to get a marker on her grave.
Seifert suggested they have a service to publicly acknowledge St. Paul’s poor treatment of its only black member.
Carolyn Garwood, the church’ senior warden, said it was painful to learn the depth of DeKonza’s story. A lifelong member of the parish, Garwood realized her grandmother would have been a contemporary of DeKonza’s. “My grandmother was pretty accepting – at least I thought she was – and taught us to respect people who were disabled,” Garwood said. “I learned tolerance from her. I would hope that she would have been accepting of Mai. It scares me because I know all these people who I wouldn’t have expected to ignore her. It upsets me.”
Beck wondered what had happened to the chalice reserved for DeKonza’s use. After some searching, two old chalices turned up in the church basement. He then turned to the Rev. Frank Holtz, retired priest at St. John’s in nearby Abilene, for help. Holtz had grown up at St. Paul’s and as a teenager had been the church’s sexton. He told Beck that he once had asked about a chalice he saw in the basement and was told, “That’s for the colored lady.” Beck took both old chalices to Abilene, and Holtz pointed out the one he remembered.
Seifert said she knew that in the service she was planning, that chalice would be the only one used.
Church members also donated money toward a marker for her grave, and a committee worked with the local monument company to create a design. It includes the outline of a chalice, with an Episcopal shield forming its bowl. It is surrounded by ivy, which the monument company told them was a symbol of strength.
Seifert received permission from the Diocese of Southern Virginia to adapt the diocese’s service of repentance for slavery. The service in Clay Center was called a “Service of Repentance, Healing and Reconciliation” and featured a variety of hymns and music with the theme of reconciliation, including “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a hymn of longing and deep meaning for the African-American community.
After the service, most of the 75 worshippers caravanned to the local cemetery to dedicate the new marker on DeKonza’s grave and place flowers around its base.
“You can’t heal something that hasn’t been revealed”
Heidi J. Kim, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s missioner for racial reconciliation, said that St. Paul’s efforts show that its members understand what reconciliation means. “The people of St. Paul’s have said, ‘This is a wound, and we are going to try to find out what happened.’ ”
(The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is the name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business, and carries out mission.)
Taking an honest look at its history gave St. Paul’s the chance to experience “a mutuality of repentance and healing,” Kim said. “You can’t heal something that hasn’t been revealed.”
She said that the depth of love current members have for their church gave rise to their sense of pain and grief that the same love wasn’t extended to DeKonza.
Kim said that since she had learned what St. Paul’s has done, she has shared the story with others in The Episcopal Church, “and everyone I have told has been moved to tears,” she said. “This is remarkable, and I can’t wait to hold it up churchwide.”
Retired Bishop Nathan Baxter of Central Pennsylvania, honorary chair of the board of directors of the Union of Black Episcopalians, said in an e-mail that what the people of St. Paul’s did was “an incredible story of grace.” He said that as bishop he’d heard about an occasional black member in small, scattered communities, but few people, including him, had stopped to ask about their stories.
He said St. Paul’s work to uncover the truth about its relationship to DeKonza shows “that it is never too late to heal our conscious or unconscious histories with truth, confession and heartfelt acts of corporate penance.” Such efforts, he said, “when blessed by sincerity, can become a liberating witness of Christian grace for us, and for the world around us.”
A start, not an end
Garwood, St. Pauls’ senior warden, called the Sept. 20 service an important start, but it can’t be the end. “We have to keep this going,” she said, “and encourage other parishes to tell their stories. This can’t just go on the back burner. We have to keep the momentum going.”
Beck said that his research into DeKonza’s life makes it pertinent for him and his fellow parishioners to find out “who are the Mai DeKonzas of 2015 who live in Clay Center but who have been brushed off.” He wondered what actions undertaken by people today will cause similar embarrassment to their community in 50 years.
In her sermon, Seifert said the church now has the opportunity and responsibility to better understand systemic racism and other forms of oppression that leave people with a sense of hopelessness. “This is the time,” she said, “to rededicate ourselves to noticing, caring for and walking with the Mai DeKonzas we meet here and now.”
Washington, of the Junction City AME church, said she would like to see congregations of different people come together, perhaps around Thanksgiving. She said more opportunities to share across racial lines should happen “not to right a wrong, but because it is right.”
– Melodie Woerman is director of communications for the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas.
Há exatos quinze anos, a ONU aprovou um programa de desenvolvimento humano baseado no que se chamou de Objetivos do Milênio. Foi um ambicioso programa que se buscou aplicar através de todas as nações do mundo e destinado a superar o estado de pobreza em países que exibiam vergonhosos índices de exclusão no campo da saúde, da educação, da distribuição de renda, de desigualdade de gênero, entre outros pontos essenciais que compõem o Índice de Desenvolvimento Humano (IDH).
O ambicioso programa apresentou alguns resultados animadores em algumas nações do mundo, mas ainda não alcançou os níveis desejados, embora há de se reconhecer que muita coisa melhorou. As crises econômicas que se sucederam foram desafiadoras e a crescente tensão militar pós 11 de setembro de 2001, foram a causa de enorme desperdício de gastos militares – algumas centenas de bilhões de dólares – que deslocaram as prioridades de governos para uma maior atenção para programas afirmativos no campo social.
A recente Conferência das Nações Unidas aprovou unanimemente um novo programa de desenvolvimento sustentável, com uma metodologia mais aberta à sociedade e menos dependente de governos que quer superar até 2030 os índices de desigualdade no mundo. São os chamados Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável – ODS.
De acordo com os objetivos e metas dos ODS, são previstas ações mundiais nas áreas de erradicação da pobreza, segurança alimentar, agricultura, saúde, educação, igualdade de gênero, redução das desigualdades, energia, água e saneamento, padrões sustentáveis de produção e de consumo, mudança do clima, cidades sustentáveis, proteção e uso sustentável dos oceanos e dos ecossistemas terrestres, crescimento econômico inclusivo, infraestrutura, industrialização, entre outros. É uma agenda ousada porque à primeira vista são muitos e que precisam mobilizar uma soma muito alta de recursos e ainda precisam disputar contexto de conflitos e de crises econômicas sazonais.
Do ponto de vista da Igreja, somos chamados a contribuir efetivamente com este projeto que diz respeito ao nosso jeito de viver a nossa missão. As marcas da missão anglicana nos obrigam a oferecer nossa contribuição teológica e prática aos parceiros governamentais, sociais e aqueles que caminham conosco ecumenicamente e em diálogo – independentemente de sua fé – para alcançarmos os ODS a partir de nossas realidades locais até nos níveis da Comunhão Anglicana como um todo. Cremos num Deus de Justiça e de Amor. Nosso Deus não se alegra com a injustiça e nem com um sistema que gera desigualdade entre seres irmãos. Nosso Deus também não se alegra com o uso egoísta e irresponsável do meio ambiente, que causa sérios danos à vida do planeta através do uso egoísta e acumulativo de riquezas que desconsideram a vida dos menos favorecidos e vulneráveis de nosso mundo.
Evangelizar é, essencialmente, levar a Boa Nova ao Mundo. Conclamo a IEAB, através de todas as suas instâncias a estudar, compartilhar – desde as comunidades locais até às instancias provinciais – a plataforma dos ODS. A apropriação da plataforma nos apontará a descobrir os caminhos pelos quais nosso povo e suas lideranças pastorais podem interagir para transformar nossas comunidades em agentes de transformação. Conclamo a Comissão de Incidência Pública e a Comissão Nacional de Diaconia – como instâncias de reflexão da incidência da Igreja – a estudar com profundidade a plataforma e ajudar a Igreja como um todo a preparar ações concretas na defesa de uma sociedade brasileira democraticamente forte, socialmente justa e ambientalmente correta. Para tanto, temos muitos parceiros e parceiras que estão dispostas a seguir este caminho de testemunho e graça para com nosso povo.
Veja sobre o assunto aqui
Deus nos inspire a servi-lo com amor e coragem!
Primaz da Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil
[Issued by Episcopal Relief & Development, Member of the Faith Alliance for Health] An interfaith coalition of faith-based organizations has announced it will mobilize one million faith leaders over the next five years to help improve the health of women and children in countries with high child mortality rates.
The Faith Alliance for Health comprises CMMB – Healthier Lives Worldwide, Catholic Relief Services, Episcopal Relief & Development, Islamic Relief USA, the Nigerian Interfaith Action Association, and World Vision. The partnership also benefits from a very strong set of committed advisors from the donor, multi-lateral, and consultant communities(1).
The group’s commitment to build capacity of local faith leadership and networks to promote both behavior change and increase demand for maternal, child and adolescent health services is its significant contribution to the next phase of the Every Woman Every Child(2) Global Strategy.
Anwar Khan, CEO of Islamic Relief, USA, officially presented the Faith Alliance for Health’s commitment at the Every Woman Every Child launch on Saturday, September 26, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Khan highlighted that marshalling faith leaders’ reach and influence in communities is the Alliance’s strength: “It’s estimated that 84% of the world’s population identify with a religious group. Our newly formed Faith Alliance for Health will capitalize on this fact and [that] faith leaders are key to promoting behaviors that protect the health of the most vulnerable members of our society to accelerate the achievement of SDGs 2 and 3.”
“All faiths want to see women and children everywhere survive and thrive. This is why we will work together to mobilize one million faith leaders to reach 50 million families or an estimated 250 million people living in countries with a high burden of child deaths,” Khan said.
Episcopal Relief & Development has done substantial work in the field of child and maternal health, beginning with its flagship malaria prevention program, NetsforLife®, which to date has prevented more than 112,000 child deaths through engaging faith networks in community education, net distribution and robust follow-up to ensure continued net use. The organization has since expanded successful Early Childhood Development programs in Zambia and later Ghana and Kenya with support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.
“Our work in the area of child and maternal health is part of our overall integrated health focus, which seeks to empower communities with knowledge and practices to support nutrition, disease prevention and accurate detection and treatment of illnesses,” said Abagail Nelson, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Senior Vice President of Programs. “Throughout our work, we find that strengthening and mobilizing local faith networks is the most effective way not only to produce results but to create lasting change for generations to come. We are proud to be a part of the Faith Alliance for Health’s bold commitment to Every Woman Every Child and excited to work with our interfaith partners to achieve this movement’s goals.”
The Faith Alliance for Health comprises the following organizations:
- Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) is an international, faith-based development organization that works in partnership globally to deliver locally sustainable, high-impact health services to reduce mortality and illness among vulnerable women, children, and their communities. www.cmmb.org
- Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. www.crs.org
- Episcopal Relief & Development works with more than 3 million people in nearly 40 countries worldwide to overcome poverty, hunger and disease through multi-sector programs. An independent 501(c)(3) organization, it works primarily with Anglican Communion and faith-affiliated partners to help communities create long-term development strategies and rebuild after disasters. In 2015, the organization is celebrating 75 Years of Healing a Hurting World. www.episcopalrelief.org
- Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization. Its mission is to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy and disease regardless of color, race, gender or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. Islamic Relief USA aims to provide rapid relief in the event of human and natural disasters and to establish sustainable local development projects, allowing communities to better help themselves. Its programs benefit millions of people each year around the world, including in the United States. www.irusa.org
- Nigerian Interfaith Action Association is a Nigerian non-profit organization that represents the collective work of Muslim and Christian leaders and communities to save lives from preventable diseases and enhance peace and reconciliation through shared compassion.
- World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. For more information, visit www.wvi.org
(1) The Faith Alliance for Health’s Advisory Board Partners: MDG Health Alliance, UNICEF, Joint Learning Initiative for Faith and Development, USAID, World Bank, UNFPA. Technical Partners: Development Vision, Woods International, Partnership for Faith and Development
(2) Every Woman Every Child is a global movement that mobilizes and intensifies international and national action by governments, multilaterals, the private sector and civil society to address the major health challenges facing women and children launched by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in 2010. www.everywomaneverychild.org
[Boys Home of Virginia press release] Fly fishing is a lot like life – it may look easy but there’s a lot to learn.
That’s why renowned fly-casting instructor Dusty Sprague and other enthusiasts gathered on the 1,400-acre campus of Boys Home of Virginia on Sept. 26 for Teach a Man to Fish, a first-ever event to introduce its residents to fly fishing – and other life lessons.
“One of the ways we help our boys learn discipline and patience is by exposing them to the wonders of the natural world, so we’ve arranged to bring some of the world’s best known anglers to introduce the boys to the joys, art and skills of fly fishing,” said Donnie Wheatley, executive director of Boys Home. “Fly fishing teaches kids about themselves and the world around them, consistent with the values we instill – respect, wisdom, curiosity and responsibility.”
Boys Home is a residential home for at-risk boys from throughout Virginia and from other states to transform their lives by teaching them independence, discipline and responsibility. The organization provides schooling, food, clothing, shelter and guidance, almost entirely privately financed by individuals and churches.
“We give them the education they need, and lead them to become well-rounded men,” Wheatley said. “Teach a Man to Fish will teach our young men patience and the physical skills like eye-hand coordination to fly fish.”
Sprague, Jacob Ott, director of outdoor pursuits with the Greenbrier Resort, and other volunteers first instructed the boys in the gym before setting out to fish on the campus pond (stocked with perch, redeye and small- and large-mouth bass) and nearby Dunlap Creek.
“We’re very happy to help the boys either be introduced to this wonderful sport or be further educated about it,” Sprague said. “The skills of fly fishing are not easy to acquire. Fly casting is fairly simple but not easy to learn. Without some knowledgeable help, a person starting out alone can easily find the sport too difficult to pursue. The sport teaches one the skills of observation, self-discipline, patience, perseverance, respect for nature and other fishermen and our creator.”
“Boys Home provides care for young men in a healthy, supportive environment,” said Kelly O’Keefe of Richmond, a member of the Boys Home board of trustees. “Teach a Man to Fish, along with our ongoing education and programs to mold their character, is just another way to reach our residents in new ways.”
For more information, please visit www.boyshomeofva.org.
[Anglican Journal] A London, Ontario church is raising money for Syrian refugees at lightning speed — thanks, at least partly, to a very Canadian household material.
As of Sept. 21, St. Aidan’s Anglican Church had raised roughly $35,000 for refugee sponsorship after 15 days of its “Red Tape Challenge.” The appeal asks participants, after making their donations, to tear a piece of red duct tape and attach it to their vehicles, rural mailbox or other prominent place.
The point of the tape, says John Davidson, the St. Aidan’s parishioner who came up with the idea, is to pressure the federal government to reduce barriers to refugees in Canada – “to show Ottawa that yes, you can cut through red tape if you have the desire and the wherewithal, and you want to get the job done.”
The rector of St. Aidan’s, Canon Kevin George, says the appeal began after a sermon he preached on Sunday, September 6 — the Sunday after the first publication of the photo of three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body on a Turkish beach.
“I preached that Sunday from James 2 about how we’re called to be a people who don’t just speak about faith but who act upon those things, particularly with respect to how James says that mercy triumphs over judgment,” George says.
Immediately after the service, Davidson approached him with the “red tape” concept. “He walked up to me and said, ‘I think I have an idea’,” George says.
Davidson is an accomplished fundraiser. In the mid-1990s, he pushed his son Jesse – afflicted with Duchenne muscular dystrophy – across Ontario, then walked across Canada to raise money to fight the disease. Davidson then founded a charity, Jesse’s Journey, which has since raised more than $20 million.
“People tend to listen” to Davidson when he stands up and makes a plea to raise money for a cause, George says.
Parishioners were already feeling very moved by the photo of little Alan, and a flurry of fundraising ensued on the spot.
“I think we were at $16 or 17,000 thousand dollars by the end of leaving coffee hour,” George says. “I’ve been doing this for about 20 years – priestly ministry – and I can’t remember ever doing anything where people responded so quickly with so much.”
“We had people in our neighborhood who don’t belong to our church take the challenge,” George says. One of these people donated $5,000; George let his congregation know about the donation, and said he hoped someone in the parish would match it—which they did.
Initially planning to sponsor one family, the parish is now considering two, Davidson says.
Taking part in the challenge is easy, Davidson says, because so many places of worship are trying to raise funds for refugees. Donors can simply slip their donation, enclosed in an envelope, into a church mail slot.
“There are more churches than Tim Hortons [donut shops] and they’ve got better parking,” he says. “So stick it in there, just write the name of the church—for me, I was making mine to St. Aidan’s, and I wrote ‘St. Aidan’s Church—refugee fund.’ They’ll know what to do with it.”
Davidson says he hopes the challenge, in addition to raising money, will help encourage Ottawa to speed up the resettlement of refugees, so that many more can be allowed into Canada.
“I’m all for a bit of scrutiny to find out who you’re getting,” he says. “I just thought, ‘Wow we’ve got to do better than that, when you look at Germany and the numbers they’re taking.’” Germany is expected to resettle at least 800,000 asylum seekers this year.
George says he and other organizers are heartened by Immigration Minister Chris Alexander’s announcement this weekend of plans to, in his own words, “cut red tape” and speed up the processing of refugees. Ottawa will undertake new measures that will allow 10,000 Syrian refugees to be admitted by September 2016, instead of the federal government’s promise in January of doing so within three years, Alexander says.
But organizers think much more can still be done, George says. He points to a recent call on Ottawa by retired general Rick Hillier to bring in 50,000 refugees over the next three months—a number that is really not as large as it may seem, George says, given Canada’s size.
“Fifty thousand represents just a little more than what we would put in a Blue Jays game—right across the nation,” he says.
Participants in the Red Tape Challenge are invited to post photos or video of their own torn red tape on Facebook or other social media, Davidson says. But he’s less enthusiastic about the idea of people sharing other people’s Red Tape Challenge posts without actually taking part.
“I said when it comes to sharing it – don’t,” he says. “Don’t share unless you’re going to do something yourself, because this is important. When it comes to sharing video stuff, this isn’t a cat playing a piano we’re talking about — this is real people in real trouble.
People are sharing things constantly … but are they actually acting on anything? That’s the question. And I have found in my past adventures action speaks a lot louder than words.”
George and Davidson say they hope the Red Tape Challenge will be picked up by other faith leaders in the London area, or even nationwide.
“Wouldn’t it be great if every church in this country was ready and able to raise that kind of money and say, ‘we’re standing by, send us people who need the help and we’ll help them?,” Davidson says. “And I think you’ll find a few years down the road these people are great contributors to the country.”
[Episcopal News Service] In the wake of Pope Francis’ historic visit to Washington, D.C., Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and other faith leaders on Sept. 24 committed to five initiatives to address global climate change.
“Coming Together in Faith,” a two-day live-streamed interreligious summit, brought together faith leaders to issue a call to environmental action.
“Faith can and does move mountains,” Jefferts Schori said in an address to cathedral and online audiences, after inviting them just “to breathe” a breath of life, and to hope and to feel the creative potential inward while breathing out “your willingness to change the world in word and action.”
She told the gathering that, “working together, faith can end mountaintop destruction and develop green jobs in place of squeezing the earths limited resources for fuel.”
Pope Francis, during a White House South Lawn address to about 15,000 people, characterized urgent action on global warming as a moral imperative for all people “of goodwill in this great nation.
“Our common home has been part of this group of the excluded which cries out to heaven and which today powerfully strikes our homes, our cities and our societies,” Pope Francis said, according to published reports. “To use a telling phrase of the Reverend Martin Luther King, we can say that we have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honor it.”
The 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, meeting June 23-July 3 in Salt Lake City, Utah, in Resolution A171 approved endorsing the papal encyclical letter Laudato Si of Pope Francis, focusing on the reality of climate change and the interrelated nature of the world. The 78th General Convention also approved several other resolutions regarding the environment, including:
• A107 to develop and continue food system advocacy;
• C013 to facilitate a dialogue on climate change and divestment strategy;
• C047 to promote policies that combat adverse climate change;
Additionally, on Sept. 22, the presiding bishop endorsed an ecumenical agreement with Anglican and Lutheran leaders in the U.S. and Canada to take action to safeguard God’s creation.
At the Sept. 24 summit, well-known author and activist Brian McLaren, along with the Rev. Otis Moss III, senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois, introduced the five initiatives and urged all people of faith to commit to: engage; energize; divest and invest; vote and educate.
The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral, welcomed faith leaders and activists representing the Islamic, Christian and Jewish traditions to network during the two-day summit, which continues today.
Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America, told the gathering that halting global climate warming “requires a change of behavior.”
Citing the Quran: “God does not change the condition of people unless they change the condition of themselves” he said Muslim communities around the United States have started a movement to work for “green” mosques.
McLaren said the summit hoped to “send a message to America and the world that, not only do we agree with Pope Francis and his historic message for care of creation, we’re going to the action that’s ours to take.”
He and Moss called upon the audience present and people of faith everywhere to commit to fight global warming and to:
• Engage – by going to leaders and members of faith communities and tell them how much you care personally about this issue and how much you hope your whole congregation will begin to care too. Speak from your heart;
• Energize – link with other people to form groups, get excited, bring people together around the issue of climate change, around the papal call to recognize the sacredness of ecology;
• Divest and Invest – asking denominations, congregations and religious institutions and individuals to move their investments from dirty energy to clean energy. “If it’s wrong for corporations to make a profit from destroying the earth, it’s also wrong for investors to share in the profits. Tonight we would like to be the beginning of a wave of change to clean investment,” he said.
• Vote – to challenge every politician and hold them accountable to take action on climate change, making it one of your top three issues in every election in which you vote; and
• Educate – using personal and social networks to overcome denial and ignorance about climate change.
The event was a joint initiative of Washington National Cathedral, Auburn Seminary, Blessed Tomorrow, Faith in Public Life and Convergence.
Continuing her “breath” metaphor, the presiding bishop also told the gathering that “the world needs hope now.
“Offer your breath of hope in the face of what seems dead or dying. Use your breath constructively. Speak truth to your own communities to bring hope and possibility and new life … speak truth to leaders and governments. Use your breath to motivate changed hearts and changed behavior. Our creative breath can move this planet’s air toward more abundant possibilities. Faith does change the atmosphere. Faith does move mountains. Faith does change hearts. Keep breathing.”
–The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.
International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue
September 2015 Communiqué
Buffalo, New York, United States of America
In the name of the Triune God, and with the blessing and guidance of our Churches, the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue (ICAOTD) met in Buffalo, New York, from 19 to 25 September 2015. The Commission is deeply grateful for the generous hospitality extended by the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Buffalo (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople).
Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit formally welcomed the Commission to its meeting in his diocese. He offered praise and encouragement for the work of the dialogue. He stressed the urgent need for expressions of Christian unity in light of the deep challenges and crises before the global community, mindful of events unfolding even as the Commission undertook its deliberations.
The Commission brought to completion the first section of its work on the theological understanding of the human person, with the adoption of its agreed statement, In the Image and Likeness of God: A Hope-Filled Anthropology. The report, shortly to be published, is the culmination of six years of study on what Anglicans and Orthodox can say together about the meaning of human personhood in the divine image.
This agreement lays the foundation for continuing dialogue on ethical decision-making in the light of this vision. At its future meetings the Commission will consider the practical consequences of this theological approach to personhood. The Commission anticipates ongoing study in areas such as bioethics and the sanctity of life, as well as human rights and ecological justice.
The meeting commenced with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Commission members also attended an ecumenical celebration of Evensong at St Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral. The Commission was welcomed by Bishop William Franklin of the Diocese of Western New York. In his homily he spoke of the contribution to Christian unity made by a former bishop of the diocese, Charles Henry Brent, who was a leading pioneer in the Faith and Order movement. Daily prayer strengthened and grounded the work accomplished together. Morning and evening prayers were offered, alternating between Anglicans and Orthodox.
The fellowship of the Commission was enriched by the warm and gracious reception by parishioners of the Annunciation Church, and their parish priest, the Revd Dr Christos Christakis, who is the Orthodox Co-Secretary of the dialogue. Members of the Commission were introduced to the unique historic, cultural and natural characteristics of the city of Buffalo, Niagara Falls and the surrounding area.
The work of the Commission will continue at its next meeting in September 2016, to be hosted by the Anglican Communion.
Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia
The Most Revd Roger Herft
Representatives of the Orthodox Church
Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia
Ecumenical Patriarchate, Co-Chairman
Metropolitan Serafim of Zimbabwe
Patriarchate of Alexandria
The Revd Fr Alexander Haig
Patriarchate of Antioch
The Revd Dr George Dragas
Patriarchate of Jerusalem
The Revd Dr Valentin Vassechko
Patriarchate of Moscow
Professor Dr Bogdan Lubardic
Patriarchate of Serbia
Metropolitan Nifon of Târgovişte
Patriarchate of Romania
Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Kition
Church of Cyprus
Professor Dr Miltiadis Konstantinou
Church of Greece
Bishop Ilia of Philomelion
Church of Albania
The Revd Dr Christos B Christakis
Members unable to attend:
Protopresbyter Giorgi Zviadadze
Patriarchate of Georgia
The Revd Fr Andrzej Minko
Church of Poland
Representatives of the Anglican Communion
The Most Revd Roger Herft of Perth
The Anglican Church of Australia, Co-Chairman
The Revd Marc Billimoria
The Church of Ceylon
The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke of Armagh
The Church of Ireland
The Revd Canon Deacon Dr Christine Hall
The Church of England
The Revd Canon Philip Hobson OGS
The Anglican Church of Canada
Ms Natasha Klukach
The Anglican Church of Canada
The Rt Revd Michael Lewis of Cyprus & the Gulf
The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East
The Revd Dr Gloria Mapangdol
The Episcopal Church in the Philippines
The Revd Dr Duncan Reid
The Anglican Church of Australia
The Revd Canon Professor John Riches
Scottish Episcopal Church
The Rt Revd John Stroyan of Warwick
The Church of England
The Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut
The Revd Neil Vigers
Anglican Communion Office
Members Unable to Attend:
The Revd Dr Timothy Bradshaw
The Church of England
The Revd Dr Joseph Wandera
The Anglican Church of Kenya
The Rt Revd Dr Rowan Williams
Representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury
[Episcopal News Service – Detroit, Michigan] On any given day, some 10,000 Detroit residents, the majority elderly women and single mothers, turn on a dry tap.
It’s a persistent water crisis that has attracted international attention and condemnation amidst coverage of Detroit’s post-bankruptcy odyssey from ruin to rebirth as a city for investors, entrepreneurs, artists and creative types.
For more than a year, at the same time trendy restaurants opened, competition increased for downtown lofts and apartments, and construction began on a public-private $137 million light rail train stretching three miles along Woodward Avenue, the city’s poorest residents have faced water shutoffs.
“This is abject poverty, these are people who’ve had their food stamps and welfare cut, the elderly and women with children,” said Lindsay Airey, a staff member at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Corktown and a We The People of Detroit volunteer. “Of the people [to] whom we’ve delivered, at least 75 percent have children, and then probably the rest are elderly women.
“They call our hotline and we try to help them until their case is resolved. We had one woman, a 17-year-old who had a child, and then we didn’t hear from her anymore because she got evicted. She was just trying to go to high school.”
In the rear of St. Peter’s sanctuary behind the baptismal font hangs a white sheet with bleeding black letters reading, “St. Peter’s Water Station”; under it sits 7 gallons of water, two 1-gallon jugs and one 5-gallon jug, all that remains of a 1,500-gallon donation.
“We’re out of water,” said the Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann, pastor-in-charge of St. Peter’s, adding the church has been waiting on a 2,500- to 3,000-gallon donation.
St. Peter’s has served as a water station, storing water and making weekly deliveries to disconnected residents. A single person might receive 8 to 10 gallons a week, a family with two or three members, 20 to 25, and a seven- or-eight member family, 35 to 40 gallons, said Airey, in a conversation with Episcopal News Service in the sanctuary.
“We’re at a crossroads,” she said. “We don’t want to have to ask for corporate donations.”
Historically, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church has served as a base for social justice advocacy, a tradition Wylie-Kellermann continues. As business innovation and technology hubs popped up downtown, St. Peter’s invested in its building.
“We turned the parish hall into a beehive of social justice – and some nonprofit organizations rent it, that’s how we pay the heat bill – all kinds of things have started in there and funded the parish,” said Wylie-Kellermann, a Jesuit-influenced United Methodist, who has served St. Peter’s for eight years.
“In the case of We the People, we raised some money to give it to them for 18 months. If we were doing market rate, what you could do in Corktown, we’d be flush.”
St. Peter’s sits at the southeast corner of Michigan and Trumbull, kitty-corner from a 10-acre vacant lot where the Detroit Tigers played for 90 years. The church sits practically at the center of Corktown, named for the Cork County immigrants who fled Ireland during the mid-1800’s potato famine. Like trendy Midtown, Corktown, a diverse, mixed-income neighborhood home to artists and die-hard Detroiters, is hip.
“For many years, our friends at St. Peter’s have expressed how they regard social justice through their actions,” said Rick Schulte, director of communications for the Diocese of Michigan. “This is a church that opens its doors every single day and serves its Corktown community, knowing the needs and issues that are important to all who call St. Peter’s home. Their ability to mobilize and respond to a need or situation has always been very impressive.”
Before becoming pastor-in-charge, Wylie-Kellermann was a peacekeeper at St. Peter’s soup kitchen, while commuting to Chicago to direct an urban ministry for SCUPE, or the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education. His wife, the late Jeanie Wylie, daughter of late Northern Michigan Bishop Samuel J. Wylie, once edited The Witness, a progressive Episcopal magazine that folded in 2006.
Arrested more than 50 times for civil disobedience, Wylie-Kellermann was among eight people taken into custody in July 2014 while attempting to block the gate of the private trucking company contracted to perform the water shutoffs.
From the back of a police car, Wylie-Kellermann told the Detroit Free Press, “We’re here to appeal to the workers to stop shutting off the water.”
During an interview over coffee and a bowl of Motor City chili at Onassis Coney Island, across Trumbull Avenue from the church, Wylie-Kellermann, himself a preacher’s son, told the story of one summer day in 1967, the year he graduated from the former Cooley High School.
“In July, I was in northwest Detroit and I remember looking down Grand River – I feel like I was standing in the middle of the street, although I don’t know if that can be true – and saw the smoke rising from the city,” he said, adding he’d written his senior term paper on civil disobedience.
“I was reading Letter From a Birmingham Jail that spring, in April, and Dr. King was at Riverside Church, that’s what I was reading as the smoke was rising.
“The other person I was reading was [William] Stringfellow – he wrote a book for adolescents called ‘Instead of Death’ – between Stringfellow and Martin Luther King, I kind of understood it as a rebellion on the spot. And my vocation to pastoral ministry passes through that, I saw the smoke and my heart just kinda pierced,” he said, clearing his throat. “I feel like I have a place-based vocation. Detroit is inseparable from my calling, kind of like monks that take a vow of stability.”
In 1967, Detroit residents revolted against high rates of unemployment in the African-American community, segregated schools and housing, in what some call a “riot” and others a “rebellion.” In the decades since, the city’s white population disembarked for the suburbs and the city’s industrial base went the way of the rest of the Rust Belt.
When asked if he were surprised about Detroit’s water crisis, that nothing is resolved despite widespread media coverage and condemnation, Wylie-Kellermann responded, “Yeah, it’s a tough nut.”
In Detroit, the crisis dates back to 2005 when the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department began large-scale residential water shutoffs affecting 10,000 customers who were behind or unable to pay their water bills. At the time, a proactive affordable-rate plan was proposed, but never passed. Over the next 10 years, the city’s water rates increased by 119 percent. By spring and summer of 2014, 3,000 households a week up to a total 30,000 had their water turned off.
At the time, the Wall Street Journal reported that 80,000 past-due residential accounts owed $43 million, with the average past-due bill $540.
Residents who’ve fallen two months behind on their water bills sign on to payment plans only to find themselves falling again into arrears; other residents have found a way to exist without water, relying on neighbors, water stations and deliveries, moving in with family members or leaving Detroit altogether, said Airey.
“Lots of people (lose) their homes ultimately because it (the water bill) gets tacked onto their taxes. So with the hotline, we connect them to emergency water but also help to try to navigate the assistance programs that are out there,” said Airey, estimating that some 500 people have called the hotline.
Forty percent of Detroit’s 700,000 residents live below the poverty line. The city was once the fourth largest in the country, but since the 1950s has lost more than 60 percent of its residents. Outside the core downtown area, Detroit’s 140 square miles is home to abandoned factories, banks, storefronts and houses – sometimes blocks and blocks of houses – and almost a third of it is vacant land.
“Detroit used to be a city of 2 million people and now it’s 700,000. So from one perspective we have this spread-out infrastructure – how are we going to reorganize people? – and the way (the city has decided) to do that is privilege certain neighborhoods with resources and services, and pull the plug on others,” said Wylie-Kellermann.
Airey and others affiliated with the church and We The People of Detroit are preparing again to canvass neighborhoods, going door-to-door to campaign to identify households without water. Previous canvassing campaigns revealed residents’ shame.
“The door-to-door tells us that people are ashamed. They’ve silenced themselves,” she said. “They themselves buy into what the media says about it being their fault and they should just pay their bills. I remember when we were canvasing in the fall (2014) people who clearly had blue lines marked on their sidewalk – some would tell us, ‘Oh, no, our water’s not shut off, we pay our bills’ – so that’s part of the battle.
“Monica’s constant refrain is, ‘It’s not our fault but it is our fight.’ Getting people to believe that is the hard part.”
“Monica” is Monica Lewis-Patrick, the co-founder of We The People of Detroit, a community activist and organizer who has been involved with Detroit’s water fight since the beginning.
When We The People formed in 2008 as a grassroots movement to train and mobilize Detroit residents to improve their quality of life, it received help from the Presbyterian Church USA.
A year after a state-appointed emergency manager took over the day-to-day operations of the city and nine months after Detroit became the largest municipality in U.S. history to file bankruptcy, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department in March 2014 adopted “a more aggressive approach to debt collection,” in a move that was declared by the United Nations as a violation of international human rights.
On Dec. 10, 2014, when Detroit formally emerged from bankruptcy protection, its mayor, in a news conference covered by mainstream media including The New York Times, posed a difficult question: “How do you deliver service in a city where the unemployment rate is double the state average, and we’ve got to rebuild a water system and a bus system and a computer system and a financial system?” Mayor Mike Duggan asked. “It’s all going to be a challenge.”
On July 21, 2015, the Detroit City Council voted to raise water rates by 7.5 percent.
– Lynette Wilson is an editor/reporter for Episcopal News Service
Está chegando em suas mãos o material da 15ª Campanha Primavera para a Vida da Coordenadoria Ecumênica de Serviço (CESE) que este ano traz o tema: Eu Respeito a DIVERSIDADE Religiosa. E você? São textos elaborados por lideranças de diversas matrizes religiosas: (Cristianismo, Islamismo, Comunidade Bah’aí, Candomblé e Judaísmo). Estas reflexões nos ajudarão a entender e aprofundar esta temática. A mística, elaborada pela REJU - Rede Ecumênica da Juventude, nos traz o olhar da juventude sobre esta questão e mostra que as juventudes também estão engajadas nesta Campanha.
Queremos pedir a vocês que incluam na programação de sua igreja ou grupo local a Campanha, durante o período da primavera que tem início dia 21 de setembro e vai até dezembro. Seguem em dois formatos os anexos: CAMPANHA PRIMAVERA PARA A VIDA_ LIVRETO IMPRESSAO. CAMPANHA PRIMAVERA PARA A VIDA_ ON LINE
Contamos com o seu apoio na divulgação de nossa Campanha e com o seu valoroso empenho para que tenhamos êxito na realização desta iniciativa. Queremos também nos colocar à disposição para o diálogo, para compartilhar experiências e esclarecer dúvidas. Nosso endereço para contato é email@example.com.
Sejamos semeadores e semeadoras de sementes de justiça, paz e solidariedade, a fim de que possamos colher uma sociedade mais justa e fraterna, onde todos e todas tenham o direito e a liberdade para viver a sua fé sem medo ou perseguições. Vamos acolher em nossos corações e compartilhar em nossos espaços de celebração essa Campanha da CESE e façamos eco com todas as pessoas que já abraçaram a Primavera para a Vida.
Os recursos arrecadados serão destinados a apoiar projetos de iniciativas ecumênicas e inter-religiosas em suas lutas por direitos.
Na certeza de que contaremos com seu importante apoio e solidariedade, despedimo-nos desejando muitas alegrias e uma bela primavera!
O QUE: Campanha Primavera para a Vida, promovida pela CESE
QUANDO: Durante toda a primavera
VALOR: Qualquer valor é bem-vindo!
Dados para depósito:
Coordenadoria Ecumênica de Serviço
Banco do Brasil
por Vagner Ernani Mendes Junior
Em nota na sua página oficial do facebook no último dia 21, Dom Francisco escreveu: “Recebi o convite de Sua Graça, Arcebispo de Cantuária, o convite enviado aos 37 Primazes para a reunião que será realizada em Janeiro. Esta é mais uma etapa na busca do fortalecimento da unidade de nossa Comunhão. O convite explicita sua clara finalidade: ser um momento de encontro, estudo e oração entre os Primazes e o Arcebispo, bem como refletir sobre as estruturas de nossa Igreja. Temos vivido nas últimas décadas conflitos teológicos em torno de temas – entre eles a sexualidade humana – que tem causado divisões dolorosas dentro da Comunhão Anglicana (…) O esforço do Arcebispo Justin têm sido muito claro em termos de buscar a reconciliação, a unidade e o fortalecimento da família anglicana (…) Em seus primeiros dezoito meses de atuação como nosso líder espiritual, o Arcebispo visitou cada um dos Primazes para ouvir, conhecer e discutir o futuro de nossa Comunhão. Agora é um momento especial de encontro conjunto entre os Primazes e com uma agenda que deve apontar os caminhos que a Igreja precisa seguir e, igualmente, adequar as estruturas para os novos tempos e as novas agendas que se precisa enfrentar. Oremos por este importante encontro e por todos os irmãos Primazes que atenderão a este chamado. E pelo nosso Arcebispo Justin Welby para que lidere com sabedoria a nossa querida Comunhão Anglicana”.
Arcebispo Justin Welby é o Primaz da Comunhão Anglicana
Na mensagem endereçada aos representantes das igrejas, o Arcebispo Justin escreveu que o encontro em Canterbury será para “refletir e orar juntos pelo futuro da Comunhão”. Janeiro de 2016 é a data oficializada e há a necessidade de pensar sobre as próximas Conferências de Lambeth – o próprio Primaz da Comunhão Anglicana, em sua fala no convite – comenta que os primazes devem levar suas considerações sobre os temas atuais, que recentemente causaram controvérsias, mas mesmo assim, a fé da Igreja deve-se basear em Jesus Cristo e nas Escrituras corretamente interpretadas: “Eu sugiro a todos os Primazes que devemos ter em conta, os últimos acontecimentos como também olhar novamente para nossas formas de trabalhar como Comunhão e como temos prestado a devida atenção para a evolução ante ao passado”.
A Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil – IEAB (19ª Província da Comunhão Anglicana) agradece ao convite, permanecerá orante e em serviço contando com a presença de seu Bispo Primaz, Dom Francisco de Assis da Silva para este encontro.