Skip to main content

Feed aggregator

Um novo lecionário para o povo da IEAB

SNIEAB Feeds - sab, 22/11/2014 - 23:01

Irmãos e Irmãs

“E mais, que o povo (ouvindo as Escrituras Sagradas lidas na Igreja) pudesse aprofundar-se cada vez mais no conhecimento de Deus, e ser contagiado pelo amor da sua verdadeira religião”.
Prefácio do LOC de 1549

Tenho a imensa satisfação de anunciar que neste tempo de começo litúrgico de um novo ano, a IEAB passa a usar o Lecionário Comum Revisado. A Comissão Provincial de Liturgia (*) está ultimando as revisões dos ofícios que estarão contidos no novo LOC brasileiro, programado para ser lançado no mês de Junho de 2015. Quero parabenizar todos os membros dedicados desta Comissão que não tem medido esforços para atender a demanda de toda a Igreja que é ter em suas mãos um novo LOC, revisado, ampliado, e atualizado teológica e culturalmente à realidade brasileira. Todo este processo tem recebido o aval da Câmara dos Bispos, do Conselho Executivo e do próprio Sínodo de nossa IEAB.

Neste processo rico de aprendizado e de produção de uma liturgia bem brasileira, a Igreja tem experimentado, nas dioceses e nos eventos provinciais, as liturgias eucarísticas com linguagem apropriada, inclusiva e mais próxima possível do jeito brasileiro de celebrar a nossa fé anglicana.

Ao lado dos Ofícios em suas múltiplas relações com a vida comunitária e individual e do Saltério, com sua poesia litúrgica dos Salmos da Bíblia, temos uma importante ferramenta que educa a Igreja em seu dia a dia: o Lecionário. Nele encontramos as leituras apropriadas para os ofícios eucarísticos, dominicais e também para as devoções diárias. Por isso, e também abraçando a riqueza ecumênica, a IEAB, com expressa autorização da Câmara dos Bispos, adota com alegria o Lecionário Comum Revisado.

Construído ecumenicamente durante um longo processo, O Lecionário Comum Revisado hoje é adotado pela grande maioria das Igrejas Cristãs que estão em diálogo umas com as outras para permitir que assim todos possamos celebrar da forma mais sinérgica possível a liturgia da Palavra e os temas chaves do Ano Cristão.

O novo Lecionário Comum Revisado tem algumas mudanças importantes. Nem sempre haverá um salmo interlecional nas leituras dominicais e de dias santos. Em alguns casos, será um cântico das Escrituras. Esse cântico ou salmo interlecional é também chamado de gradual. Também será possível observar que aumentou a oferta de comemorações litúrgicas no nosso calendário, em concordância com a prática de algumas de nossas comunidades e de nossas províncias irmãs da Comunhão Anglicana. Sendo assim, foram introduzidos próprios para a celebração da solenidade do Sacramento do Corpo e Sangue de nosso Senhor Jesus Cristo (Corpus Christi), do Memorial de todos os Fiéis (Finados), entre outras. O LCR, em conjunto com o calendário litúrgico do novo LOC, permite uma maior versatilidade na adoção e celebração de festas e comemorações.

Durante o Tempo Comum, haverá duas opções de leituras do Antigo Testamento. Uma delas é mais relacionada à temática do Evangelho. A outra, chamada semicontínua, permite a leitura corrida de textos do Antigo Testamento, ao longo de diversos domingos. O LCR busca reforçar as possibilidades de leitura do Antigo Testamento – ponto fraco do lecionário anterior.

Mas a mudança mais importante e radical é a adoção de um Lecionário de Ofícios Diários em 3 anos, correndo paralelamente ao Lecionário de Domingos e Dias Santos. Desse modo, ambos trabalham juntos, para fins distintos. O Lecionário de Domingos e Dias Santos está voltado à adoração comunitária na Santa Eucaristia. O Lecionário de Ofícios Diários busca avivar a oração comum nos lares e nas igrejas, sob a forma dos ofícios diários (sobretudo a oração matutina e a oração vespertina. O princípio das leituras diárias é seu relacionamento com as leituras eucarísticas dos domingos e dos festivais. As leituras dos ofícios diários foram escolhidas de modo a permitir que os dias que se aproximam do domingo (quinta-feira até sábado) sirvam de preparação às leituras dominicais. Os dias que seguem ao domingo (segunda-feira a quarta-feira) são reflexões das leituras de domingo.

O Lecionário de Ofícios Diários deve ser usado apenas para ofícios de oração. Nos domingos e festas principais, caso se queira realizar um ofício de oração, usam-se as leituras do Lecionário de Domingos e Festas Principais. Para a Santa Eucaristia, devem ser utilizadas as leituras do Lecionário de Domingos e Festas Principais. No caso de Eucaristia em dia de semana, se não houver festa principal para aquele dia, usam-se as leituras do domingo anterior. Assim, seremos forçados a voltar ao hábito das liturgias diárias de oração, nos nossos lares e famílias. Existe um lecionário especialmente para isso. E o melhor: ele nos prepara para o ofício eucarístico comunitário.

Que possamos vivenciar com alegria e espirito orante o novo lecionário. Ele está disponível nos links ao final desta matéria, e estará repleto de recursos adicionais no site http://liturgia.ieab.org.br, podendo ser baixado a partir da quarta-feira da semana que vem, para uso já a partir deste Primeiro Domingo do Advento!

Que a meditação sobre a Palavra de Deus inspire e alimente a nossa fé tanto individual como comunitária!

++Francisco

* Dom Mauricio Andrade (DAB, presidente), Revda Deã Marinez Bassotto (Custódia do LOC – ex officio), Revda Dilce de Paiva (DAP), Revda Rose Cunha (DAR), Rev. Luiz Coelho (DARJ) e Sra. Noemi Buyo (DM)

BAIXE AQUI OS NOSSOS NOVOS LECIONÁRIOS, EFETIVAMENTE VÁLIDOS A PARTIR DA QUINTA-FEIRA ANTERIOR AO PRIMEIRO DOMINGO DO ADVENTO EM 2014 (ANO B):

Lecionário Comum Revisado – Domingos e Dias Santos

Lecionário Comum Revisado – Ofícios Diários

A foundation for financial health and wellness

Episcopal News Service - sex, 21/11/2014 - 19:04

[Seminary of the Southwest] Stephanie Knott will testify that staying debt-free while attending a private graduate school is almost as challenging as the coursework.

During her first year at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, Knott commuted from her home in San Marcos to Austin for classes, then to New Braunfels for her day job and back again to Austin for her overnight job. Sometimes she would be awake for 24 hours straight.

Her determination to leave seminary without debt is palpable. At one point, she was working four jobs to keep afloat while pursuing a master’s degree in counseling.

“It has been a roller coaster,” she said. “But I’m investing in myself and my future, so I don’t regret it.”

Southwest never wants students to buckle under the financial stress of paying for an education, said Jennielle Strother, vice president of Enrollment Management. So the seminary has created a plan to help alleviate the monetary burden of following God’s call and to prepare students for a healthy financial future.

Profound peace of mind

Since its founding in 1952, Southwest hasn’t accepted federal financial aid; instead, it has offered scholarships to encourage students to remain debt-free. Last year, more than half of Southwest’s students received tuition scholarships averaging $7,500 towards the $13,150 annual tuition cost, and students also raised an average of $1,400 from their dioceses, families and parishes.

But some students find there’s still a wide gap between the sticker price and available funding; therefore, the seminary will make federal loans available for the first time in its history.

To uphold a commitment to students’ financial health, Southwest has established two new programs to help seminarians maintain fiscal stability: One program will provide financial literacy resources throughout a student’s entire lifecycle – from prospect to alum. The other will provide a guide for all facets of a pastor’s or lay minister’s lifelong wellbeing.

The Enrollment Management Office plans to create an array of tools to prepare seminarians to manage their finances wisely, starting as early as the prospective student stage. Resources such as webinars, personal phone calls and even one-on-one counseling sessions will help them understand the true cost of student loans. With the help of a Lilly Endowment grant, Southwest will make those resources available, said Strother. The Lilly Endowment has long supported projects that strengthen congregations and the ministers that serve them, and it offered Southwest a $250,000 grant over three years to offset the cost of this robust initiative.

“I want anyone who is discerning a call to ministry to have access to resources in order to plan financially to attend seminary,” Strother said. “Being saddled with debt will only impede their ability to do God’s work.”

Lending students a hand

When Pam Hallmark felt her call to attend seminary, she knew the journey would be difficult and slow going. First, she needed to complete her bachelor’s degree. So she quit her job to attend the University of Washington and earned a degree in comparative world religion. Financially, life was a struggle. She and her family lived on food stamps while she worked toward her Bachelor of Arts.

“You would think it would be scary, but it was one of the most certain things I’ve ever known in my life,” Hallmark said of quitting her job to return to school. “This was something that I had to do. I can’t not do this.”

She’s now a senior at Southwest and expects to graduate in May with a master’s in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care with plans to become a hospice chaplain. Although she felt sure of the direction she was headed, she wasn’t sure how she would get there. She felt a huge burden lifted when she received a 50 percent tuition scholarship from Southwest. Still, coming up with the remaining sum strained her family’s budget.

“I started paying as much as we could afford on a weekly basis,” she said.

Some students struggle so much that they are forced to leave the seminary, a painful option both for the student and Southwest. To prevent that unwelcome choice, federal loans can now assist Hallmark and her peers.

“We felt like not offering federal aid was closing doors to students who wanted to come here but financially couldn’t make it work,” Strother said. “Offering federal loans makes the seminary an option for people who want a degree with a theological foundation rather than a purely clinical degree from a state school.”

The availability of federal loans couldn’t have come at a better time. Hallmark’s husband lost his job, and her temporary part-time job recently ended. She feels relieved that she’s now able to apply for federal aid, which will help her complete her final year.

A rewarding investment

Like Hallmark, Knott had no doubts when she decided to attend seminary. As a prospective student, she searched for a counseling program with a spiritual foundation, which she hadn’t been able to find at state schools. A faculty member at the University of Texas recommended Southwest.

“I visited the campus and there was an overwhelming sense of peace that came over me,” she said.

Knott also received a scholarship that covered 50 percent of her tuition. The rest she committed to paying out of pocket, and she’s not the only student to take on that challenging endeavor.

“Full time residential seminary requires a substantial commitment from our students,” said the Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, dean and president of Southwest. “But in this intensive formation, they become bearers of the Christian tradition and its creative adapters in the contemporary world.”

Like Knott, first-year student J.P. Arrossa will use federal aid only as a last resort. Before coming to Southwest, Arrossa worked as a financial expert, managing other people’s money for a living. When he sat down to calculate the price he’d pay to follow God’s calling, he fully realized what he would be getting himself into while he pursued a Master of Divinity degree.

But Arrossa has felt called to the priesthood since he was 12 years old, so he and his partner created a budget and saved money to pay for his tuition. He also approached his parish to request funding, something Strother’s office will teach students how to do as part of the seminary’s resources for financial literacy. Asking for money can be an uncomfortable topic, so the enrollment office will provide workshops on how to craft a message to make the request.

“We will talk to students about how to raise money to get through seminary,” Strother said. “We encourage them that it’s common to reach out to their parish, their community, their family and friends.”

A lifetime of well-being

Southwest students may be leading these parishes one day, and Kittredge wants alumni to be healthy enough to do the job well. “Sometimes a temptation for Christian leaders is to overlook their own health and wellness,” Kittredge said. “We want to instill this awareness as part of the education here.”

The seminary’s goal of promoting financial, spiritual, physical and vocational wellness developed into an extensive new program called Comprehensive Wellness for Ministry, now required for all incoming students.

“If you aren’t physically well enough to do your job properly, you’re going to run into financial issues, as well as vocational and spiritual issues,” said Micah Jackson, dean of Community Life. “They are strongly interdependent, so we wanted to address all of these areas at once.”

Students helped design the mandatory program, providing insight on what seminarians could realistically handle with the rest of their workload. They didn’t have time for busywork. They wanted a practical plan for lifelong wellbeing. The idea that emerged – the Rule of Life – provided a blueprint of wellness.

The Rule of Life is a decision-making guide for students to write while at seminary and later amend as their financial, spiritual, physical and vocational situations change. A student might, for example, include a financial aspect to the rule that limits the amount of debt he will carry. The rule reduces the temptation of a dazzling opportunity because the student has already determined the limit in a clearheaded moment.

As an incoming student, Arrossa already has ideas for his Rule of Life.

“It’s natural to worry about those we serve and forget the importance of our own wellbeing,” said Arrossa, one of the first students to learn about the new program. “One aspect of my rule will be creating some sacred space and boundaries around that space. Personal time will allow me to rest and recharge.”

The Rule of Life will change as a person advances through the stages of life. Age, health, financial position and career changes will affect the evolution of a rule as students move from seminary to workplace to retirement.

“I hope this shows students that we care about their whole person,” Jackson said. “We’re not just dispensing factual information. We understand that they are undergoing transformation based on a call from God, and we want to be part of that process. It’s a promise to help them live well.”

– Ashley Festa is a higher education freelance writer.

Jon Stratton to serve Trinity, St. Louis

Episcopal News Service - sex, 21/11/2014 - 18:01

The Vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church (St. Louis/Diocese of Missouri) is very happy to announce that The Rev. Jon Stratton has accepted the call to be the next Rector at Trinity. The Rev. Stratton will be starting at Trinity in January 2015. He is currently the Executive Director of The Episcopal Service Corps STL (The Deaconess Anne House) and a priest associate at Christ Church Cathedral.

Jon is a native of south eastern Illinois, and has lived in St. Louis for six years. He and his wife Susie love the city and are proud parents of a four month old daughter (Alice). Before serving as Executive Director at The Deaconess Anne House and priest associate at Christ Church Cathedral, Jon served as youth minister for The Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion and Diocesan Youth Missioner for The Diocese of Missouri. Besides his ecclesial duties, Jon co-chairs the Faith and Labor Alliance for Missouri Jobs with Justice and enjoys pedaling around the city on his bicycle.

We give thanks to the Search Committee for their demanding and prayerful ministry, to the Vestry for its leadership and affirmation, and to the entire parish during this fruitful and productive interim time. May God bless all that is, and all that is still to be.

Presiding Bishop on president’s immigration plan

Episcopal News Service - sex, 21/11/2014 - 13:33

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued the following statement on President Obama’s recently announced immigration policies:

Together with families and communities across the United States, I give thanks for President Obama’s announcement that nearly five million undocumented immigrants will soon be eligible for relief from the threat of deportation. Too many families have lived for too long continually worried about parents being separated from children, wage-earners and caregivers from those who depend on them, and unable to participate fully in their communities and the nation’s economy.  Permanent and comprehensive reform of our broken immigration system through congressional action is still urgently needed, but the President’s action is a constructive step toward a system that honors the dignity and intrinsic value of every human being.  It will immediately strengthen our nation’s communities by allowing immigrant families much fuller participation in American civic and economic life.  

The Episcopal Church will work with Congressional leaders and the White House to press for implementation of the President’s plan as quickly, fairly, and inclusively as possible.  The President’s plan is not perfect.  Some deserving persons and families are excluded, meaning that additional work lies ahead.  All persons equally deserve the ability to pursue their dreams and contribute to their communities and families with liberty, dignity, and freedom.  I pray that the President’s action will lead our nation toward a future in which those sacred possibilities are open to all.

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

Presiding Bishop calls for prayer for Liberia, West Africa

Episcopal News Service - qui, 20/11/2014 - 19:04

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has urged Episcopalians to observe the Second Sunday in Advent, December 7, as a day of prayer for those in the Diocese of Liberia and the entire Anglican Church of the Province of West Africa, areas heavily affected by the current Ebola pandemic.

“The Diocese of Liberia was founded by Episcopalians in 1836, and was a diocese of The Episcopal Church until the early 1980s, when it joined the Province of West Africa,” noted Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori. “Today we continue in a covenant relationship of mutual support and fellowship.”

She continued, “Liberia is at the epicenter of the recent Ebola outbreak, and Episcopalians have turned Cuttington University (Suakoku) into a center for response in rural northern Liberia.  The Anglican Province of West Africa includes all three nations (Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone) where the pandemic continues to develop.  The suffering and death is enormous, the economy is devastated, schools are closed, yet the caring and compassionate response continues.”

The Presiding Bishop concluded, “I ask your prayers for the people of West Africa in the midst of this plague.  Please include this in your intentions on the Second Sundayof Advent.  With Isaiah, pray for comfort and strength for all God’s children; seek out the builder of straight roads and giver of healing balm for all on this difficult journey.  Learn about this crisis, and instead of fear, let your hearts be moved to respond in generosity of spirit and of purse.”

Led by the Most Rev. Dr Daniel Sarfo, Archbishop and Primate, and the Most Rev. Jonathan Hart, Internal Archbishop, the Anglican Church in the Province of West Africa includes the dioceses of Accra (Ghana); Bo (Sierra Leone); Cameroon (Region Missionaire); Cape Coast (Ghana); Dunkwa-on-Offin (Ghana); Freetown (Sierra Leone); Gambia; Guinea; Ho (Ghana); Koforidua (Ghana); Kumasi (Ghana); Liberia; Sekondi (Ghana); Sunyani (Ghana); Tamale (Ghana); and Wiawso (Ghana). More infohere.

Current efforts

Episcopal Church in Liberia and the Dioceses of Bo (Sierra Leone) and Guinea are participating in government-led task forces on all levels of government, and are coordinating activities, sharing information, and providing pastoral care.

Episcopal Migration Ministries is coordinating with its affiliates, the Department of State Bureau for Populations, Refugees and Migration (PRM), and the CDC in sharing information.

Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Episcopal Diocese of Liberia and the Anglican Diocese of Bo in Sierra Leone to offer care and support for communities affected by the Ebola outbreak. They are providing critical food, hygiene supplies and protective equipment as well as delivering key health messaging. For more information, visit here.  Donate to Episcopal Relief & Development here.

The Liberian Episcopal Community In The United States (LECUSA) recently collected and shipped of container of food and medical items to Liberia, collected from Liberians living in the United States.

What churches are doing

Currently the Global Partnerships Office of the Episcopal Church is compiling a list of churches and congregations in which relief and fundraising work is underway for Liberia and West Africa.  The Dioceses of Virginia and Northern California as well as churches in Washington, DC have shared their activities.  To present your work, contact the Rev. Ranjit Mathews, Episcopal Church Network Officer for Mission Personnel and Africa, at rmathews@episcopalchurch.org.

Collect

Collect for the Day of Prayer
O God, our creator and preserver, we cry out to you along with our brothers and sisters in West Africa, especially Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, where so many lives have been lost. We pray that as they continue to live and struggle with the Ebola Virus Disease, you will grant them your grace and mercy that an end to this virus will come soon; and that life and community will be restored. Give us the courage and strength to respond willingly to this great human need. We ask this in the Name of the One who came and gave his life, so that we might live life fully, Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen

San Joaquin honors pioneer Filipino priest

Episcopal News Service - qua, 19/11/2014 - 15:50

The Rev. Justo Andres and those who attended the celebration for him at St. John’s, Stockton. Photo: Lewis Gale

[Episcopal News Service] The pioneering missionary spirit of the Rev. Justo Andres just may help spark a revival of Filipino ministry at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist in Stockton, California, according to the Rev. Fred Vergara, missioner for Episcopal Church Asiamerica Ministries.

Some 30 years ago, Andres founded the Holy Cross Filipino Mission at St. John’s, in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, and on Nov. 16 the diocesan community gathered to celebrate that legacy and his 85th birthday as well as possibilities for new ministry.

San Joaquin Bishop David Rice officiated at a Eucharist in Andres’ honor. He said the service commemorated Andres’ 1983 call to the Stockton community and “the ministry he has provided and the significant place he represents in the life of the Diocese of San Joaquin and in the Filipino community and ways in which he has so faithfully lived out his priesthood in our midst.

“This is a response to our context as we’ve seen, experienced and engaged it in the Stockton area,” added Rice. “We think that responding to that part of our landscape, part of our population and community is the right thing to do.”

Andres often conducted services for migrant workers in the fields and for the sailors aboard ocean-going ships that docked at the Port of Stockton. The Holy Cross Mission served as a satellite agency of the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, assisting many in attaining their naturalized U.S. citizenship.

He also served as a translator within the Stockton court system and was a member of a police advisory committee.

In a telephone interview with the Episcopal News Service, Madeline Ruiz, sister-in-law of Andres, speaking for Andres who suffers from age-related hearing loss, described him as excited “but surprised about the celebration.

“He asked me why are they honoring him,” said Ruiz. “I said it’s because you started a Filipino ministry at St. John’s and now that they got the church back, they want to honor you.”

Under Andres’ leadership, the Holy Cross congregation flourished and included Filipinos, Latinos, Southeast Asians and Anglos among its membership. The congregation disbanded when theological differences split the diocese in 2008. St. John’s property had been held by a breakaway group, but was returned to the Episcopal Church earlier this year.

Rice said the diocese is considering revitalizing its ministry among the Filipino community. “We are discerning, praying through, contemplating, pondering and giving thought to how we might continue to engage and develop that ministry.”

The Rev. Canon Kate Cullinane, diocesan canon to the ordinary and St. John’s priest-in-charge, said nearly 200 well-wishers attended the gathering and a joyous reception afterward.

The reception included traditional Filipino food and dancing as well as line dancing, she said. There was also a serenade of Andres, with participants each presenting him a flower.

“I loved the fact that so many people from the neighboring Filipino congregations and the neighboring congregations from the deanery came” to support Andres and this service, Cullinane said in an e-mail to ENS.

Rekindling the ministry will be a collaborative effort within the diocese, she added. “We don’t see this as a St. John’s project, but a northern deanery project,” she said.

Andres was born in Bacarra, in the Ilocos Norte Province of the northern Philippines, the youngest of seven children. He was educated at St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary and the Far Eastern University in Manila and was ordained to the priesthood in 1955 by the Most Rev. Isabelo Delos Reyes Jr., obispo máximo of the Philippine Independent Church.

His first parish assignment was to Ozamiz City in the southern Philippines’ region of Mindanao, before accepting a call to Maui. He was among a trio of priests who were part of the first wave of Filipino priests called to the Episcopal Church.

Two other priests, the Rev. Timoteo Quintero and the Rev. Jacinto Tabili, also accepted calls to Hawaii. Quintero founded St. Paul’s Church in Honolulu and Tabili served in Hilo on Hawaii’s big island but later returned to become a bishop in the Philippines, according to Vergara. In the early 1960s, Andres was called to serve Good Shepherd Church in Wailuku on the island of Maui.

In 1983, Andres accepted a call to St. John’s in Stockton. He is the sole survivor of that first wave of Filipino priests serving with the Episcopal Church, Vergara said. Raquel Nancy Andres, his spouse and partner in ministry, died in 2009.

Vergara, who preached at the Nov. 16 Eucharist, noted that St. John’s was organized a year after the city of Stockton was founded and played a key role in the development of the city. The church has an equally important role in the future of the California city, he said.

Asians and Pacific Islanders account for 22 percent of Stockton’s 300,000 residents, according to 2013 U.S. Census data.

“We gather here today in the name of Christ to witness the work of a creating and re-creating God,” Vergara told those who gathered at the bilingual worship service at St. John’s.

“In this beautiful city of Stockton, God will start this work with you and me. Together, we shall be God’s instrument in starting the revival, renewal and re-creation of St. John’s.

“This is the challenge to us, to rediscover the treasure that is at St. John’s and to invest our talents to pray for the revival of Stockton’s destiny,” he said.

“Just as its history is tied with Stockton’s history, so is the revival of Stockton to be tied to the revival of St. John’s – and the destiny of Stockton be tied to the destiny of St. John’s. With the spiritual revival of St. John’s, will follow Stockton’s revival in peace, progress and prosperity.”

–The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

New Minnesota deans face change with calling and confidence

Episcopal News Service - ter, 18/11/2014 - 14:01

[Episcopal News Service] In the Episcopal Church in Minnesota two new deans have been installed in its two historic cathedrals within nine days of each other. Both are charged with bringing about change. Both face challenges. Both are young and determined.

The Very Rev. Justin P. Chapman, 35, was installed as the 19th dean of the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour in Faribault on Nov. 13, and the Very Rev. Paul J. Lebens-Englund, 40, was installed as the seventh dean of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Minneapolis on Nov. 2.

The Very Rev. Paul J. Lebens-Englund, newly installed dean of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Minneapolis, stands next to the Anglican Compass Rose in the Cathedral’s crossing, commemorating the 1954 World Anglican Congress. Photo: Joe Bjordal

At St. Marks, deep hunger
Lebens-Englund previously served in several roles in the Diocese of Spokane, including canon to the ordinary. Most recently he was priest-in-charge of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Spokane. He is a graduate of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California.

The installation of Lebens-Englund marked the conclusion of two years of interim leadership at St. Mark’s. During this time both membership and financial support dropped significantly. A survey conducted during this period, the results of which were published on the cathedral’s website, indicated that major changes are necessary to regain vitality and health. Lebens-Englund said that he was attracted by the challenges ahead and the lay leadership that had developed during the transition period.

He said it was “a perfect constellation of factors: fun and creative members, gifted leadership, beautiful worship, synergistic location, intriguing challenges, expansive vision, deep faith, real hope, and concrete expressions of love and compassion.”

“Despite my best efforts to avoid the very real heartache and headache of moving a family across the country, it simply became clear to me, to my wife Erica and to our sons, Isaac and Owen, that God was doing the calling; that my particular gifts and unique experiences in the church make me the right person for the position right now. In a very real sense, I’m rediscovering my ‘deep gladness’ as it intersects with St. Mark’s ‘deep hunger,’” said Lebens-Englund.

Describing leadership transitions that even under the best of circumstances are “a mix of joy and sadness, hope and despair,” Lebens-Englund said that his starting point “is simply meeting the faith community where it’s at: grieving or celebrating, looking backward or forward as needed and ensuring there is room for every emotional response to our present reality.”

“At the same time, because leadership transitions can be so emotionally disorienting, we don’t always bring our ‘best selves’ to these times of change,” he said. “Casting a clear commitment to healthy behavior and mutual accountability within the faith community occurred the very first Sunday at the microphone and a covenant for healthy communication patterns has since been posted around the cathedral and on the website.”

St. Mark’s new dean also said that another essential contribution he can add over the next several months is to frame every ‘output’ in terms of sustainability. “Is it essential? Is it life-giving? Is it an individual initiative or an initiative of the whole faith community? Is there someone else better-positioned or equipped to do it? Which programs should persist and which should be laid to rest?”

“Our desire to be all things to all people and to address every care and concern around us, while well-meaning, has often spread us all to thin – to the point, in fact, that our core competencies as faith communities often fall out of balance and ‘outputs outpace inputs.’ The body gets tired, sometimes resentful, until at last the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of our church lives become completely disconnected from the ‘why,’” said Lebens-Englund.

“What we’re looking for is a healthy balance – a congregation through which individuals and families can put their faith into action in a meaningful, concrete and life-giving way. We want folks’ experience of God, self and life to be enhanced for having connected with us, not diminished, and that takes clarity, hard work and discipline.”

The Very Rev. Justin P. Chapman is formally seated in the dean’s chair at the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour in Faribault, Minnesota, by Bishop Brian N. Prior on Nov. 13. Photo: Joe Bjordal

In Faribault, a hopeful spirit
Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour’s Chapman previously served as priest associate at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Rochester. He is also a graduate of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

Chapman’s installation’s marks the end of a relatively brief and smooth transition. Yet, the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour faces a number of challenges – some similar to those faced by countless other small congregations in small towns. Faribault, located 50 south of Minneapolis, has a population of approximately 24,000. There has been no growth in membership or worship attendance for the past decade.

“We are fortunate to have a hopeful spirit,” said Chapman. “Yet, the challenge we face is that our transformation is going to take time and that it isn’t going to look like we think it will.”

Chapman noted that one of the big challenges is a “near-total” absence of families with children.

“It’s sort of a catch-22: A good children’s program is critical to attracting children, but a critical mass of children is required for a good children’s program. Yet, this apparent vacuum is exciting because it gives us the opportunity to build something entirely new, something that connects people to God and to each other; something that begins to form disciples in a way that’s tailored to our community and culture.”

Chapman said a passionate community is ready to take on the challenges.

“I was initially attracted to the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour because of the community – the people, their hospitality, their participation in mission and even their ability to passionately disagree with each other but then truly come together for worship and communion. It gave me the sense (and still does) that this community has the gifts it needs to thrive. We’re in love with community, but we’re not afraid to tell it like it is.”

“My sense is that I’m called to help the cathedral community identify, bring forth and develop what it already possesses: a passion for mission and connection,” said Chapman.

Connecting with the neighborhoods
The calling of the two deans comes at a time when the Episcopal Church in Minnesota (no longer referred to as “the Diocese”) is well into a paradigm shift about how it thinks about mission – changes made under the leadership of Bishop Brian Prior, now in the fifth year of his episcopate.

Prior has described that shift as coming from a greater understanding of God’s mission in the world (“Missio Dei”) and a change of focus from a particular faith community’s internal life to the life of God in the world. He has challenged the faith communities in Minnesota to discover what God is up to in their neighborhoods and examine the unique context in which they are called to mission and ministry.

Minnesota’s new cathedral deans are discovering their new neighborhoods.

“We are fortunate to have a huge campus with beautiful buildings in the heart of downtown Faribault,” Chapman said. “I want us to ask three important questions: What is at the core of our belief and community? How do we best form people for mission? hat are the needs around us that God is calling us to engage? Then I want us to leverage our location and spaces to help others.”

In Minneapolis, Lebens-Englund has a vision for neighborhood connections based both on St. Mark’s role as a congregation located in a major metropolitan area and as the lead cathedral for the Episcopal Church in Minnesota.

“The most obvious neighbors with whom we need to be in conversation as a ‘congregation’ are, in my early estimation, the Walker Art Center, Metropolitan Community Technical College, the Loring Park Neighborhood Association, the Episcopal faith communities in the Central Mission Area and the downtown Minneapolis interfaith community,” said Lebens-Englund.

“The most obvious neighbors with whom we need to be in conversation as a ‘cathedral’ are, in my early estimation, the faith communities of the entire Episcopal Church in Minnesota, the mayor’s office, the state Capitol, the other cathedrals in the Episcopal Church and those cathedrals with whom we share a more global partnership.”

“Radical hospitality – despite its having become a cliché over the last decade – is still what I’m all about, trusting that disruption is often a sign of the Spirit’s presence, though we generally aspire to ‘deep peace,’ ” said Lebens-Englund.

No fear of failure
Both young Minnesota deans are focused on success as they begin their new ministries with a healthy understanding of their roles.

“I think I can succeed because I don’t think I’m the center of the mission and I’m not afraid to fail,” said Chapman. “I see my calling as helping the community to tap into God’s dream for us and to begin to take steps to live that out. Our success does not depend on me, it depends on God. My job – our job – is to do our best to discern God’s call to us and to live it out. That means trying a bunch of new ideas, knowing that some are bound to fail, but being confident that success will come.”

“Failure is hard at first because we are used to the idea that it’s bad – that we are doing the wrong thing – but that’s not the case at all. Failure is a sign that we are trying and that we are zeroing in on the mission God has for us. Once you get used to the fact that failure is just one of the steps to success, it actually becomes kind of fun. It’s not necessary to do things perfectly, it’s just enough to begin. God will take care of the rest.”

The Minneapolis dean has a similar understanding.

“The good news here is that it’s not all about me in the end, but is about connecting the faith community to the heart of God,” said Lebens-Englund.

“When it comes to God, I’m an eternal optimist, trusting, as they say, that the arc of history does, indeed, bend toward justice. But, as a pastor, when it comes to real people working out their salvation in the context of an intentional, experimental community, I’m a realist. The glimpses of the Kingdom are sometimes few and far between, but they are there, for sure, and my task is simply to name them, to celebrate them, and see if we can’t enable the next breakthrough sooner than later.”

“I don’t know fully what God has in store for us,” said Chapman. “But I do now that it’s going to be incredible.”

How did the Episcopal Church in Minnesota come to have two cathedrals?

The history surrounding both is rich with the hope and promise that settled the northern state.

The congregation of St. Mark’s Free Mission was established in 1858 in north Minneapolis, an outreach mission of Gethsemane Episcopal Church in downtown Minneapolis, which started 29 congregations throughout the diocese. St. Mark’s relocated to the heart of downtown Minneapolis in the late 1860s and moved into its new, cathedral-like building on southwest edge of downtown Minneapolis in 1910.

St. Mark’s was consecrated a cathedral in 1941 by then Bishop Stephen Keeler. It was Keeler who was instrumental in attracting the 1954 World Anglican Congress to Minneapolis and St. Mark’s. For 10 days in August of that year nearly 700 bishops, priests and lay people from the then 15 provinces of the Anglican Communion met for the first such gathering to be held outside Great Britain. It was for this congress that the now internationally-recognized emblem of the Communion – the Anglican Compass Rose – was designed and first used. Thus, St. Mark’s is also known as the birthplace of the Anglican Compass Rose.

The Faribault cathedral abides because of its unique history. The Right Rev. Henry Benjamin Whipple, consecrated the first bishop of the Diocese of Minnesota in 1858, laid the cornerstone of the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour on July 16,1862. It was the first church built as a cathedral in the Episcopal Church. Because of lack of funds in the young, missionary diocese, the cathedral would not be completed for seven years. It was consecrated in 1869.

Bishop Whipple visited the work of the church in Minnesota for a year, considering potential locations for the seat of the new diocese. The primary educational institutions of the young diocese (some established by the legendary Episcopal missionary, the Rev. James Lloyd Breck): Shattuck School for Boys, St. Mary’s School for Girls and Seabury Divinity School would be clustered there. He finally chose Faribault. Because it was at the crossroads of the Ojibwa, Dakota and European settlements; at the meeting point of the woodlands and prairie; and at the confluence of two rivers, it was anticipated to grow into a major center of commerce. It was not to be. The town, 50 miles south of the capital, has a population of only 24,000.

Like St. Mark’s, the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour has hosted historic Anglican gatherings. The delegates to the 1895 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, held in Minneapolis, took a day off from business and traveled to Faribault on train cars provided by Whipple’s friend James J. Hill. In Faribault they were met by 400 horse-drawn carriages providing transportation for a tour of what Harper’s Magazine that same year called “Episcopal Faribault.” The delegates to the 1954 World Anglican Congress also visited Faribault and the Cathedral – described to Bishop Keeler through many letters as a highlight of the gathering.

– Joe Bjordal is a writer, designer, photographer, and event planner based in Minneapolis.

Archbishop on the Communion’s challenges and the way forward

Episcopal News Service - seg, 17/11/2014 - 14:44

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby addresses the Church of England’s General Synod, meeting in London. Photo: Church of England

[Lambeth Palace] In his presidential address to the General Synod on Nov. 17, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke about the issues faced by the Anglican Communion and possible ways forward.

Read the full text of the address below:

During the last eighteen months or so I have had the opportunity to visit thirty-six other Primates of the Anglican Communion at various points. This has involved a total of 14 trips lasting 96 days in all. I incidentally calculated that it involves more than eleven days actually sitting in aeroplanes. This seemed to be a good moment therefore to speak a little about the state of the Communion and to look honestly at some of the issues that are faced and the possible ways forward.

A Flourishing Communion

First of all, and this needs to be heard very clearly, the Anglican Communion exists and is flourishing in roughly 165 countries. There has been comment over the last year that issues around the Communion should not trouble us in the Church of England because the Communion has for all practical purposes ceased to exist. Not only does it exist, but almost everywhere (there are some exceptions) the links to the See of Canterbury, notwithstanding its Archbishop, are profoundly valued.  The question as to its existence is therefore about what it will look like in the future.   That may be very different, and I will come back to the question.

Secondly, Anglicanism is incredibly diverse. To sit, in the space of a few months, in meetings with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Primate of Australia, the Primate of South Africa, the Moderator of the Church of South India, the Primate of Nigeria and many others is to come away utterly daunted by the differences that exist.  They are huge, beyond capacity to deal with adequately in the time for this presentation.  Within the Communion there are perhaps more than 2,000 languages and perhaps more than 500 distinct cultures and ways of looking at the world.  Some of its churches sit in the middle of what are literally the richest parts of the globe, and have within them some of the richest people on earth.  The vast majority are poor. Despite appearances here, we are a poor church for the poor. Many are in countries where change is at a rate that we cannot even begin to imagine.  I think of the man I met in Papua New Guinea who is a civil engineer and whose grandfather was the first of his tribe to see a wheel as a small aircraft landed in a clearing in the forest.

At the same time there is a profound unity in many ways. Not in all ways, but having said what I have about diversity, which includes diversity on all sorts of matters including sexuality, marriage and its nature, the use of money, the relations between men and women, the environment, war and peace, distribution of wealth and food, and a million other things, underpinning us is a unity imposed by the Spirit of God on those who name Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. This diversity is both gift and challenge, to be accepted and embraced, as we seek to witness in truth and love to the good news of Jesus Christ.

Thirdly, the potential of the Communion under God is beyond anything we can imagine or think about. We need to hold on to that, there is a prize, the quest for which it is worth almost anything to achieve. The prize is visible unity in Christ despite functional diversity.  It is a prize that is not only of infinite value, but also requires enormous sacrifice and struggle to achieve.  Yet if we even get near it we can speak with authority to a world where over the last year we have seen more than ever an incapacity to deal with difference, and a desire to oversimplify the complex and diverse nature of human existence for no better reason than we cannot manage difference and dealing with The Other. Yet in Christ we are held together.  In Christ the barriers are broken, peace is held out to us as a gift established, which needs living. In Christ there is hope of a life that provides hope of peace.

Fourthly, the Communion is extremely active. Let me give you a few examples. In Mexico, a small community abandoned by all, of people who had lost their homes and were living in the bad lands, where a priest (otherwise unoccupied apart from a full-time career in a professional area and running another church, as well as being unpaid) was sent by his bishop, to start a church, something he thought might well cost him his life. But there he went, to the poorest of the poor, and a community has been established with numerous baptisms, growing spirituality and a love and concern and compassion for one another that speaks of the living presence of Jesus among them.

Another example, a conference in Oklahoma City, in which from people around The Episcopal Church, with patience and courtesy to one another, there was discussion over the issues around the use of firearms and the meaning of the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, in practice in the modern-day USA.

The South Sudan, and after a day spent burying the dead of a great massacre, the Archbishop stood up with extraordinary courage and called for reconciliation.  Those from the rebel group would already have opposed him, those from his own group would not necessarily have been impressed. To do that puts any of our struggles into a real perspective.

In England a church in the middle of an extraordinarily mixed area of religious faith, faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, active in its worship, lively in its preaching, yet being the centre and focus of religious leadership in the area so as to enable difference to be handled well.

There are so many others that merit a presentation of its own.

We live in a community that exists, that is deeply engaged with its world almost everywhere, that is diverse and argumentative and fractured, but yet shows in so many places both known and unknown the power and love of Christ through His Spirit at work in our world. We live in a Communion which merits celebration and thanksgiving as well as prayer and repentance.

A flourishing Communion but also a divided Communion.

I do not want to sound triumphalist. There are enormous problems. We have deep divisions in many areas, not only sexuality. There are areas of corruption, other areas where the power of the surrounding culture seems to overwhelm almost everyone at one point or another.

Our divisions may be too much to manage.

In many parts of the Communion, including here, there is a belief that opponents are either faithless to the tradition, or by contrast that they are cruel, judgemental, inhuman. I have to say that we are in a state so delicate that without prayer and repentance, it is hard to see how we can avoid some serious fractures.

In an age of near instant communication, because the Communion exists, and is full of life, vigour and growth, of faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and love for him, everything that one Province does echoes around the world. Every sermon or speech here is heard within minutes and analysed half to death. Every careless phrase in an interview is seen as a considered policy statement. And what is true of all Provinces is ten times more so for us, and especially us in this Synod. We never speak only to each other, and the weight of that responsibility, if we love each other and the world  as we should, must affect our actions and our words.

A Communion under threat

There is persecution in the Communion, in many, many areas. We are a poor, and a persecuted Church.

We are well aware of that and need to remember it constantly. In very many parts of the world, particularly parts of Africa and the Middle East, but also South East Asia, persecution comes from jihadist attacks which have killed many, many Anglicans, other Christians and in largest number Muslims, over the last few years. Not a day goes by without some report being received of the suffering and persecution of churches around the world, and of cries for help and requests for support. Not a day goes by without something which should break one’s heart at the courage and the difficulties involved.

There is immense suffering in the Communion. The terrible spread of Ebola, indescribable, a Black Death sweeping through three Dioceses of West Africa, is by itself a catastrophe of historic proportions. I was briefed on it two weeks ago in Accra, and the suffering of people in the afflicted countries makes the blood run cold. We must help, pray and call for more help.

In the South Sudan the human created food shortage threatens to turn into a terrible famine. In DRC the war continues with the utmost cruelty, usually including rape.

The list could go on and on, especially in the Middle East, Palestine and Israel, the Levant and the Euphrates valley.

Where do we go?

So what do we do? Where does this extraordinary, fractious, diverse, argumentative, wonderful, united, ferocious, peaceful, persecuted, suffering  body that is the Communion go, and what is the impact on us here in the Church of England?

First, as I have said nothing we say is heard only by us.

Secondly, we should rejoice in being part of this monumental challenge, of this great quest for the prize of being a people who can hold unity in diversity and love in difference.  It is almost unimaginably difficult, and most certainly cannot be done except with a whole-hearted openness to the Holy Spirit at work amongst us. It comes with prayer, and us growing closer to God in Jesus Christ and nothing else is an effective substitute. There are no strategies and no plans beyond prayer and obedience.

Thirdly, the future of the Communion requires sacrifice.  The biggest sacrifice is that we cannot only work with those we like, and hang out with those whose views are also ours.  Groups of like-minded individuals meeting to support and encourage each other may be necessary, indeed often are very necessary, but they are never sufficient.  Sufficiency is in loving those with whom we disagree.  What may be necessary in the way of party politics, is not sufficient in what might be called the polity of the Church.

In this Church of England we must learn to hold in the right order our calling to be one and our calling to advance our own particular position and seek our own particular views to prevail in the Church generally, whether in England or around the world. We must speak the truth in love.

In practice that has to mean the discipline of meeting with those with whom we disagree and listening to each other carefully and lovingly. It means doing that as much as when we meet with those with whom we do agree, whether it is during sessions of General Synod or at other times. It means celebrating our salvation together and praying together to the God who is the sole source of our hope and future, together. It means that even when we feel a group is beyond the pale for its doctrine, or for its language about others or us, we must love. Love one another, love your neighbour, love your enemy. Who in the world is in none of those categories?

All of us prefer being with those whose tradition we know and in which we were brought up. I am as much part of that as anyone else here. But I have gained far more in my own walk with Jesus Christ through being willing to meet with others whose traditions I did not find sympathetic, and be as transparent with them as I am with my closest friends, as from anything else that I have ever done.

And for the future of the Communion? I have not called a Primates’ Meeting on my own authority (although I could) because I feel that it is necessary for the Anglican Communion to develop a collegial model of leadership, as much as it is necessary in the Church of England, and I have therefore waited for the end of the visits to Provinces.

If the majority view of the Primates is that such a meeting would be a good thing, one will be called in response.  The agenda for that meeting will not be set centrally, but from around the Primates of the Communion.  One issue that needs to be decided on, ideally by the Primates’ meeting, is whether and if so when there is another Lambeth Conference.  It is certainly achievable, but the decision is better made together carefully, than in haste to meet an artificial deadline of a year ending in 8. A Lambeth Conference is so expensive and so complex that we have to be sure that it is worthwhile. It will not be imposed, but part of a collective decision.

The key general point to be established is how the Anglican Communion is led, and what its vision is in the 21st century, in a post-colonial world? How do we reflect the fact that the majority of its members are in the Global South, what is the role of the Instruments of Communion, especially the Archbishop of Canterbury, and what does that look like in lived out practice?  These are great decisions, that must be taken to support the ongoing and uninterrupted work of ministering to a world in great need and in great conflict. Whatever the answer, it is likely to be very different from the past.

So, the good news. The Communion exists and is doing wonderful things. The bad news.  There are great divisions and threats. The challenge. There is a prize of being able to develop unity in diversity and also with deeper and deeper ecumenical relations demonstrating the power of Christ to break down barriers and to provide hope for a broken world. We must grasp that challenge, it is the prize of a world seeing Christ loved and obeyed in His church, a world hearing the news of his salvation. So let us here, in the Church of England and above all in its General Synod, be amongst those who take a lead in our sacrificial, truthful and committed love for the sake of Christ for His mission in His world.

England: Legislation on women bishops becomes law at General Synod

Episcopal News Service - seg, 17/11/2014 - 14:39

[Church of England] The General Synod has today enacted the measure enabling women to be ordained as bishops in the Church of England.

The formal enactment of the legislation – Amending Canon 33 – followed the vote on final approval by the synod at its meeting in July of this year. Since that time the legislation has been approved in the U.K. Parliament and received Royal Assent.

The final legislative requirements took place during a session chaired by Archbishop of York John Sentamu, on the first day of the synod’s meeting in London.

With the Instrument of Enactment having been read to synod, the motion was put without debate, with only a simple majority required for approval. Following the item being passed the legislation was signed into law by the archbishops of Canterbury and York before the whole synod.

Following the vote, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “Today we can begin to embrace a new way of being the church and moving forward together. We will also continue to seek the flourishing of the church of those who disagree.”

The text of the amending canon and instrument of enactment can be seen here.

ENS coverage of the July synod debate and vote is available here.

South Sudan Anglican Church promotes new paradigm for peace

Episcopal News Service - seg, 17/11/2014 - 09:43

The Peace Mobilisers group is an independent peace and reconciliation body in South Sudan meant to “build bridges across political and social divides and promote healing and reconciling among all South Sudanese.” Photo: South Sudan Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Church in South Sudan has joined other stakeholders in the region to address the country’s continued conflicts by using a team of community members called “Peace Mobilisers.”

Peace Mobilisers are a group of about 80 well-trained community and faith-based practitioners from across South Sudan brought together to share knowledge and experiences on the various approaches to reconciliation and sent back into their communities to influence change.

At the end of a 30-day training period for this group last month, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan told the media: “Peace in our country is paramount but building the unity of our people will be challenging and will need commitment and courage. But we are a big group, a battalion of peace and we can make peace in this county if we make a step together and we listen together,.”

Deng is the chairperson of the institution which organized the training, the South Sudan Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation. It is an independent peace and reconciliation body in South Sudan meant to “build bridges across political and social divides and promote healing and reconciling among all South Sudanese.”

Bishop Moses Deng Bol of South Sudan’s Diocese of Wau, who also attended the training, believes that this approach is effective and could be the solution to bringing lasting peace in the region.

He told ACNS in an interview: “We believe that this is a very effective approach in bringing peace to South Sudan because the mobilizers will be based in the communities and so they will be listening to their communities’ narratives, which is part of the healing process.”

He added, “Since they are based in the communities we hope that they will report anyone who does activities which may disturb peace or provoke conflict.”

The Peace Mobilisers represent different groups within the country such as the religious leaders, women’s associations, and youth unions among others. They were selected by the National Committee on Healing Peace and Reconciliation from the 10 states of South Sudan and Abyei Administrative Area and were brought to the town of Yei in the Central Equatorial State for one month to be trained as trainers of other Peace Mobilizers in their communities.

They are guided by a newly created and agreed on charter which indicates that members of this group are “peacemakers who do not take any sides and who see all people as equal in the face of God and who also endeavor to build trust and mutual understanding between divided communities, families and individuals.”

Florida priest cited for feeding homeless wants his day in court

Episcopal News Service - sex, 14/11/2014 - 08:33

The Rev. Canon Mark H. Sims (wearing a stole), rector of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs, is issued with a criminal citation for feeding the homeless.

[Episcopal News Service] A Florida priest who was issued a criminal citation for feeding homeless residents in a local park is fighting back.

“I am suing the city of Fort Lauderdale for the right to continue to feed the homeless on city streets,” according to the Rev. Canon Mark H. Sims, rector of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs.

Sims told the Episcopal News Service Nov. 13 that he has hired local attorneys Bill Scherer, a well-known trial lawyer, and Bruce Rogow, a constitutional lawyer who teaches at Nova Southeastern University, to defend him “in court against a criminal citation I was issued.

“I want to fight the constitutionality of the ordinance that was passed. As someone issued a citation I have standing and I’m going to use that opportunity.”

Scherer told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel that the city ordinance, passed Oct. 31, which bans feeding of homeless in public places, is unconstitutional and discriminatory.

Police arrive at Stranahan Park where Sims and others were feeding homeless residents.

Local law enforcement officials halted Sims and two others from feeding homeless residents in Stranahan Park on Nov. 2. Sims, 57, said he was detained by police, fingerprinted, issued the citation and released. He is awaiting a court appearance date and faces a $500 fine and a possible 60 days in jail.

“If I get sentenced to jail, I’m going to jail,” Sims said. “But, I’m willing to stay there [in jail] for the right to compassionately feed people who are living on the street,” he added.

City officials have said they want feeding programs moved indoors but Sims and others say there are simply not enough locations to accommodate growing numbers of homeless families and individuals.

“I am determined to allow people to be able to compassionately feed the homeless and people who are hungry on the streets of Florida. I don’t see how we can pass an ordinance that restricts human decency,” added Sims, who has created a legal defense fund on “gofundme.com” and expects “a tough challenge in court.”

He vowed to continue to feed homeless people and on Nov. 12 joined others doing just that at a local beach.

“The Episcopal Church in this diocese feeds people every single day through one of several agencies,” Sims said. “We have on-site places that we use and there are so many social service agencies we have created in Southeastern Florida to help families and individuals as much as we can, but there are still not enough.”

As chair of the board of the Episcopal Charities of Southeastern Florida “we just funded for a two-year cycle $600,000 worth of grants to parishes with at least half of that going to programs that are caring for the feeding of hungry people, homeless people and the elderly,” Sims said.

Typically, during winter months families and individuals who are homeless migrate to Florida from colder climates, so there has been a noticeable uptick in their numbers locally, he said.

On Sunday, Nov. 9, members of his parish returned to the park and served a hot meal of sautéed chicken, rice, vegetables and dessert and distributed “takeout bags of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and apples. We saw more women than we normally see. It was a bit surprising and a bit sad,” Sims said.

But he added that “the city wants them off the streets. They don’t want to do anything to encourage them to be able to stay on the streets. The problem is, there’s no place else to go. They want to make it someone else’s problem.”

Feeding people who are homeless is nothing new for Sims, who said “this has been going on since I was in seminary in 1999 and before that when I was a parishioner in South Florida. I’ve been doing this for 20 years.”

His goal, he said, is for city officials to rescind the ordinance “and I want to sit down with a clean slate and help rework it.”

Meanwhile, local, national and international church communities have rallied in support of Sims, according to the Rev. Canon Donna Dambrot, Episcopal Charities executive director. She compared his legal struggle to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent resistance to unjust laws.

The area has “seen an amazing increase in homelessness and hunger needs,” Dambrot added. “When Fort Lauderdale adopted this ordinance there was already feeding going on in the streets. We’ve gotten … requests for additional funding because the need is so great and food pantries have run out of food and their access to government sources of food is not available.”

She said ECSF “serves hundreds of thousands of meals a year” through partner agencies and that she has noticed at least a 10 percent increase recently in numbers of meals served.

The issue of homelessness is complex and layered, she added. “We have people come out of the woods and the mangroves in the [Florida] Keys; there are homeless folks living in encampments. In Pompano Beach, they’re sleeping under the highway. We even have some people living in canoes in the water, who come ashore to food pantries in Key West.”

There are levels of homelessness, including those who are temporarily without housing who receive job skills and employment training and eventually find permanent living arrangements.

“There is also that layer of folks we serve at St. Lawrence Chapel and our Jubilee Center in South Broward, that will be chronically homeless,” she said. “It’s an ongoing challenge and we’ll be in this for a long time.”

Yet, she added that Sims’ advocacy has inspired others “to take those steps necessary to change what we perceive as unjust regulations.” Sims, the agency and the church community are all simply attempting to respond to Jesus’ directives to help others.

“We follow Matthew 25,” which emphasizes Jesus’s call to serve those in need, she said. “That is our road map. That is our intentional vocational mission.”

–The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

Anglican Communion voices speak out ahead of the G20 summit

Episcopal News Service - sex, 14/11/2014 - 07:56

[Anglican Communion News Service] Leading figures from the Anglican Communion are speaking out before and during this weekend’s G20 meeting in Brisbane, Australia, on a range of economic and development issues.

The G20 is a forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies that are said to account for about 85% of the gross world product, 80% of world trade and two-thirds of the world population.

On the sidelines of the meeting will be people from countries not all represented in the G20, reminding world leaders that global growth should not come at the expense of the world’s poorest people.

The Anglican Board of Mission (ABM) reports that Archbishop of Polynesia Winston Halapua is asking the G20 to consider how they might cooperate to minimize the impacts of climate change which are already being felt by people in the Pacific Islands.

The Anglican Alliance regional facilitator for the Pacific will also be in Brisbane during the event. Tagolyn Kabekabe works with communities in the Solomon Islands that are experiencing the erosion of their homelands, poisoning of their food gardens by salt water and increasing exposure to extreme weather events.

Kabekabe represented the Anglican Communion, in particular those in the Pacific directly affected by climate change, at the C20 meeting – a civil society forum that met in June to feed in to the G20 discussions.

Archbishop Philip Freier, primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, has issued a statement in which he warns global leaders that “failure to address these issues of economic security and justice will lead to more international conflict and reduce the possibility of human flourishing.” [His full statement is below.]

ABM’s Greg Henderson has been organizing opportunities for people in Brisbane to meet Halapua and Kabekabe. He says that it is important for Australians to recognize that climate change is a justice issue, “because its impact is being felt most seriously by communities who have the least power to address the causes of anthropogenic warming.”

According to the G20 website, the meeting’s agenda has been built around the key themes of:

  • promoting stronger economic growth and employment outcomes;
  • making the global economy more resilient to deal with future shocks;
  • strengthening global institutions to ensure they reflect the new realities of the global economy.

Further information about the G20’s priorities are available here.

Statement by Archbishop Philip Freier, primate of the Anglican Church of Australia

The G20 meeting of the world’s 20 largest economies in Brisbane this weekend takes place in increasingly uncertain times. There are growing fears of global recession, rising international tensions and growing economic inequality between countries and within countries.

In the longer term there are vast challenges, such as managing climate change, global population growth and movement, international conflict, food security, water, and potential epidemics.

It is essential that the countries taking part look beyond their own short-term national interests and seek to address these challenges in a concerted and effective way.  I echo Pope Francis, who urged last week that the discussions move beyond declarations of principle to real improvements in the living conditions of poorer families and the reduction of all forms of unacceptable inequality.

It will require good will and trust on all sides if the G20 summit is to achieve real progress, and it is the nature of international politics that no one wants to go first on such a path. Yet without a clear-sighted optimism, real change will be impossible.

Failure to address these issues of economic security and justice will lead to more international conflict and reduce the possibility of human flourishing. They cannot be left to fester. The Anglican Church of Australia urges the G20 leaders to search for new and cooperative solutions that can work across the globe. To that end, we offer our support and prayers.

+Philip, Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia

Advent resources from the Episcopal Church

Episcopal News Service - qui, 13/11/2014 - 08:35

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Resources for observing the Advent season through spiritual avenues are now available from The Episcopal Church here.

Advent is the liturgical season that occurs four weeks prior to Christmas, beginning on Sunday, November 30.  Advent is a time of reflection and preparation.

The resources are ideal for personal, congregational and community planning and scheduling of Advent observances.

Devotions from leaders
The leaders of The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Anglican Church of Canada and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have prepared devotions for each of the four weeks of Advent.

Downloadable devotions are available here.

Advent 1 (November 30) Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Advent 2 (December 7) The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church

Advent 3 (December 14) Bishop Susan Johnson, National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Advent 4 (December 21) The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, Primate, Anglican Church of Canada

Following the Star
www.d365.org
Daily online devotions take on a seasonal theme beginning with first Sunday in Advent on November 30. Following the Star is written for teenage youth and the adults who work with them. Subscribe to the website to receive a daily reminder or download the mobile app; d365 Daily Devotions by Passport, Inc. This service is a collaborative initiative of the Youth Ministries offices of The Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church USA, and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Advent Lectionary Reflection
The Episcopal Church Formation Missioners invite all to embark on a photo meditation throughout the Season of Advent. Each day will feature a word taken from the Sunday Lectionary readings that will be posted on social media sites for reflection. The goal is to meditate on that word throughout the day and, if you find a photo that captures that word for you, post it to your social media sites with the hashtag #episcopaladvent as well as a hashtag for the word for the day (for example: #joy). Posts will begin posting on the first Sunday of Advent, November 30 and will conclude on Christmas Day. For a preview of all the daily meditations, go here.

Follow on social media
Find Episcopal Church Formation on Twitter at:
@episcoformation
@episcoyouth
@EpiscoYAs

On Facebook at:
facebook.com/EpiscoFormation
facebook.com/episcopalyoungadultandcampusministries
facebook.com/EpiscoYouth

On Instagram at:
@EpiscoFormation
@EpiscoYouth
@episcoyas

RIP: Former Bethlehem Bishop Mark Dyer dies at 84

Episcopal News Service - qua, 12/11/2014 - 15:44

[Episcopal News Service] The Rt. Rev. James Michael Mark Dyer, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem from 1982 to 1995, died Nov. 11 after battling multiple myeloma for several years. He was 84.

Bishop Provisional of Bethlehem Sean W. Rowe said that Dyer’s death “represents a significant loss to our diocese and to the church.

“Whether as an advisor to several archbishops of Canterbury, chief pastor to his diocese, mentor to countless priests and seminarians, or advocate for the poor, he represented the very essence of the servanthood that can be found at the heart of the episcopate,” Rowe said. “A master teacher, Bishop Mark drew on the joy and tragedy of the human condition, including his own, to bring to life the ministry of Jesus and the narrative of God’s work in the world in ways that made for real and lasting transformation. Those of us who had the privilege of sitting at his feet as students caught a glimpse of what it must have been like to sit at the feet of Jesus.”

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS), said: “The sense of loss is palpable. I was among many who found tears in my eyes as I learned the news … Mark Dyer was a giant of this seminary. He was a profound gift to the church and to this seminary.”

Dyer joined the VTS faculty in 1996 as professor of systematic theology and director of spiritual formation. He also served as professor of theology and mission. While at VTS he was a senior consultant for the Center for Anglican Communion Studies. After his retirement from VTS, Dyer maintained a presence within the VTS community as an adjunct professor until his death.

A widely respected leader in the worldwide Anglican Communion, Dyer was called upon frequently by Robert Runcie, George Carey and Rowan Williams for significant assignments during their tenures as archbishop of Canterbury.Under Runcie, Dyer was the sole representative of the bishops of the Episcopal Church on an international committee of 20 Anglican bishops who prepared theological position papers for the 1988 Lambeth Conference of bishops.Carey named Dyer to the 12-member steering committee that planned the 1998 Lambeth Conference. In 1998, he also named Dyer to the Eames Commission that attempted to quell controversy in the communion over the decision by some provinces to ordain women to the priesthood and the episcopacy.

In 2004, Williams named Dyer to the Lambeth Commission on Communion, which attempted to restore unity in the communion during the ongoing controversy over the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians in the life of the church.

Dyer was also a committed and respected ecumenist, and his was an important voice in dialogues between the Episcopal Church and Lutheran and Orthodox churches in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s. He served as co-chair of the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue, which produced an agreed statement on the theology of the Church in 2006, published as The Church of the Triune God.

Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu, remembered his friend Dyer, who he worked with on many issues in the Anglican Communion. “He had a gentle manner. His mouth was always ready to laugh. And he was an affirming presence in every situation in which I encountered him,” said Tutu.

Born June 7, 1930 in Manchester, New Hampshire, Dyer served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War before studying contemporary philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in theology magna cum laude from New Hampshire’s St. Anselm College in 1959.The following year, he was professed a monk in the Order of St. Benedict at St. Anselm Abbey, on the college’s campus. He was ordained priest of the abbey in 1963. He earned a master’s in theology and licentiate in sacred theology at the University of Ottawa, Canada, in 1965, while teaching at St. Anselm seminary. He also taught theology at Queen of Peace Mission Seminary in New Hampshire and as an adjunct professor at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts.

He entered the Anglican Church of Canada in 1969 and was received as a priest in the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Massachusetts in 1971. He served the Massachusetts diocese as missioner to the clergy; priest in charge of Trinity Church, Bridgewater; and rector of Christ Church, Hamilton and Wenham, before being ordained bishop of the Diocese of Bethlehem in 1982.

In her 2008 book, “The Great Emergence,” Phyllis Tickle revised for a wide readership Dyer’s insight that the church’s history can be thought of as a series of “ecclesiastical yard sales.”

While bishop of Bethlehem in the early 1990s, Dyer wrote: “Christianity has had five significant yard sales. Each one has had to do with the church’s struggle to resist the temptation to domesticate God’s vision, to settle for change when God seeks transformation. The sixth is now. It’s something that seems to happen every three or four hundred years. In Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, God empowers the church to discover its roots and its center, and transform itself in new, exciting and wonderful ways. Jesus announced the first yard sale. Then Benedict, in the sixth century. Then the Franciscan Spring in the thirteenth century. Then Martin Luther and the reformers in the sixteenth century, the only yard sale led by an ordained person. It’s time once again for a massive yard sale, a transformation led by lay people. Our 400 years are up.”Dyer is predeceased by his son Matthew and survived by his children John and Jennifer Dyer; his stepchildren, Robyn and Amanda Gearey; two grandchildren, Sam and Ava Wandler; and his spouse, Amelia J. Gearey Dyer, Ph.D., who serves VTS as the James Maxwell Professor of Christian Education and Pastoral Theology, and director of the Ministry Resident Program. He is also survived by a sister, Patricia Cashin.

Dyer’s first wife, the Rev. Marie Elizabeth Dyer, died in 1999. She was an Episcopal priest and they were married 29 years.

– Adapted from various press releases and statements.

Anglicans invited to ‘celebrate Advent using your camera phones’

Episcopal News Service - qua, 12/11/2014 - 08:51

The monks are inviting Anglicans and Episcopalians to join them in prayer, meditation and taking photos during Advent. Photo: SSJE

[Anglican Communion News Service] Members of Anglican Communion Churches worldwide are being invited to celebrate Advent through prayer, meditation and by contributing to a global Advent calendar on Instagram.

Advent — from Nov. 30 to Dec. 24 — is the season when Christians observe a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas.

The Anglican Communion Office and the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE) are teaming up to offer Anglicans and Episcopalians around the world a daily word, meditation and beautiful image sent to their e-mail inboxes.

Playing around with time
The brothers use technology that allows their daily Advent e-mail to arrive in people’s inboxes at 5 a.m. wherever in the world the recipient is.

“5 a.m. is about the time we get up to pray,” said SSJE’s Brother Jim Woodrum. “Of course you can look at your e-mail after 5 a.m., but we want to make sure it’s there when you wake up.”

Though people are used to the idea of monks involved in prayer and meditation, they might be surprised to know that monks have camera phones too.

“We are hoping that people will join us in praying with their phone this Advent,” said Woodrum. “After reading the meditation, we’d love for people to snap a picture that reflects the theme or their response to it and post it to Instagram.”

#Adventword
Participants are invited to take a photo with their phone or tablet to share their interpretation of the word for that day – these include #Abide, #Thrive, #Become, #Imagine – and post the picture to Instagram adding the day’s tag plus #Adventword.

“People need help with their daily spiritual practice,” said Brother Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE superior. “During Advent, we anticipate the coming of Christ, an event that awakens our deepest desires and longings. This Advent, we are inviting you to join us in looking clearly and honestly at our lives and taking action.”

Jan Butter, director for communications at the Anglican Communion Office, said, “It’s all too easy for Christians to be consumers in today’s world — especially during the Advent season. Here we have a chance to not only receive during Advent, but also take part in a global action; to give back to other Anglicans and Episcopalians worldwide by sharing our photos with each other.

“This is also a chance for people who might never have connected with an Anglican religious community before to benefit from the deep thought, meditation and prayer that emanates from such communities all around the world.” (Visit http://communities.anglicancommunion.org/ for a list of other Anglican Communion religious communities.)

To be part of this global Advent initiative, sign up at http://www.aco.org/adventword.cfm. The initiative starts on Nov. 30. To learn more about SSJE visit www.ssje.org/adventword

Veteran Friendly Congregations supports returning servicemen

Episcopal News Service - ter, 11/11/2014 - 14:45

[Episcopal News Service] The Brotherhood of St. Andrew is drawing on its rich history of supporting servicemen and women by leading the creation of Veteran Friendly Congregations.

Brotherhood President Robert Dennis cites too many instances of veterans struggling to get the help they need: jobs, disability payments, health care and treatment for such afflictions as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, physical disabilities and military sexual trauma.

In the 12 years since American troops were first deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, more than 2.6 million veterans have returned home to a country largely unprepared to meet their needs.

“The suicide rate, broken families and unemployment among families is inconceivable to all of us,” Dennis said Nov. 11 upon the announcement of his organization’s attempt to promote Veteran Friendly Congregations in its chapters and churches.

“Some 37 percent of returning veterans suffer from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder and 62,619 are homeless,” Dennis said. “Their unemployment rate of 15 percent is twice the national average.”

The project began in 2009 at St. Peter and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Marietta, Georgia, when then-rector the Rev. Robert Certain was approached by IBM executive and West Point graduate Peter McCall, who sought a way to help what he saw as a major problem.

“Peter and his wife Cathy have been stalwart leaders in the creation of Veteran Friendly Congregations,” Certain says. There are about 200 VFCs throughout the southeastern U.S. and the Brotherhood has begun a major push to take the program nationwide.

A retired Air Force colonel, Certain is also the Brotherhood’s national missioner to the U.S. Armed Forces and can be reached at eagle@unchainedeagle.com.

St. Peter and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church offers training for mental health professionals regarding post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues, arranges living accommodations, provides financial support, helps veterans find employment and will help any veteran in any possible way.

The church and its Brotherhood chapter organized Care For The Troops, that provides information any chapter to get started caring for servicemen and women.

“We are delighted the Brotherhood is pushing this program,” Certain says. “It has spread to many other denominations here in Georgia and we would love for this to be expanded to other regions of the country. It started with the Brotherhood and the Brotherhood would be a good vehicle to get it going nationally.”

The Veteran Friendly Congregation initiative continues a long-standing Brotherhood commitment to helping returning servicemen.

At the conclusion of World War I, 729 churches out of the 1,165 that existed at the time organized church welcoming committees, thanks to the work of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, which kept a file on each and every serviceman. When a soldier returned home – many suffering from “shell-shock” and which is now called “post-traumatic stress disorder” – a local Brotherhood chapter knew about him.

Statistics from that era show that 56 percent of men asking to be baptized at Episcopal churches did so after initially being ushered into a church welcoming home committee organized by the Brotherhood of St. Andrew.

Building upon its success in World War I, the Brotherhood refined its methods of keeping up with servicemen, even as the task in the U.S.’s five-year involvement in World War II proved much more difficult. The Brotherhood’s helpfulness to the military in the First World War earned it a great deal of trust among the Army and Navy brass. To its surprise, the Brotherhood found itself being recommended by U.S. Army and Naval officers.

Due to the international stature of the Anglican Communion, Brotherhood chapters already existed in much of the English-speaking nations. But during – and especially after – World War II, Brotherhood chapters spread to non-English speaking countries and regions such as the Philippines, Korea and Japan, a legacy of the Brotherhood’s efforts that began in 1945 by helping wounded servicemen.

Offering injured servicemen a home in a Brotherhood chapter that can offer them substantial help for their afflictions – whether physical, psychological or both – can play an important role in the life of the Brotherhood as well as the lives of servicemen returning from the longest wars the U.S. has ever fought.

“There is no set way to accomplish this – every church and chapter is different,” Dennis notes. “Either way, you are transforming the life of a man who gave his all for his country.”

Muslim Friday prayers to be offered at Washington National Cathedral

Episcopal News Service - ter, 11/11/2014 - 14:18

[Washington National Cathedral] Washington National Cathedral and five Muslim groups have announced that the first celebration of Muslim Friday prayers (Jumaa) at the cathedral will be observed on Friday, Nov. 14.

“Leaders believe offering Muslim prayers at the Christian cathedral shows more than hospitality,” according to a cathedral media advisory. “It demonstrates an appreciation of one another’s prayer traditions and is a powerful symbolic gesture toward a deeper relationship between the two Abrahamic traditions.”

The prayers will be held between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and will be attended by the Rev. Canon Gina Campbell, director of liturgy for Washington National Cathedral, South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, Masjid Muhammad of The Nation’s Mosque,
and representatives from the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Public Affairs Council.

The opportunity grew out of a “trusted relationship” between Campbell and Rasool, who met while planning the national memorial service for Nelson Mandela, the advisory said.

“Deep relationships come out of prayer,” said Campbell. “Different connections come out of being in prayer — beyond the political or academic.”

Rasool thanked Campbell for the cathedral’s generous offer to use Friday prayers as a beginning to a deeper conversation and partnership. “This is a dramatic moment in the world and in Muslim-Christian relations,” said Rasool. “This needs to be a world in which all are free to believe and practice and in which we avoid bigotry, Islamaphobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Christianity and to embrace our humanity and to embrace faith.”

The cathedral has welcomed Muslims in the past, often at interfaith services and events, as well as at the Interfaith Conference of Greater Washington’s annual concert and specific programs such as the 2008 Ramadan Iftar at the Cathedral College. But this is the first time the cathedral has invited Muslims to come and lead their own prayers in a space known as a house of prayer for all people.

Planners hope that the people around the world will take note of this service and the welcome extended by the cathedral so that Muslims everywhere will adopt a reciprocal welcome of Christians by Muslims.

The prayers will be offered in the north transept, an area of the cathedral with arches and limited iconography that provide an ideal space — almost mosque-like — with the appropriate orientation for Muslim prayers.

The prayers will also be webcast live from the cathedral’s website.

Robert Skirving ordained as bishop of East Carolina

Episcopal News Service - ter, 11/11/2014 - 09:24

Robert S. Skirving offers a blessing following his ordination as the 8th bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina. Photo: Richard Schori

[Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina] The ordination and consecration of the Rev. Robert S. Skirving as the 8th bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina capped off a celebratory weekend of festivities, bringing people from all over North America to Greenville, North Carolina.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori served as the chief consecrator. The Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel (East Carolina, Resigned), the Rt. Rev. Peter J. Lee (East Carolina, Provisional), the Rt. Rev. Julio Holguin (Dominican Republic), the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley (Eastern Michigan), and the Rt. Rev. Graham Rights (Bishop of Moravian Unity) were the co-consecrators.

Several bishops lay their hands on Robert Skirving as he consecrated as the 8th bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina. Photo: Richard Schori

The dioceses of East Carolina and the Dominican Republic have shared a companion relationship since 2010. Skirving, through his previous parish of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Midland, Michigan, led many groups to the Dominican Republic.

Skirving says he hopes to strengthen the ties between the Episcopal Church and the Moravian Church in Eastern North Carolina. The two traditions are in full communion with each other. The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry (North Carolina) preached, telling the 1,200 worshipers that God’s mission for humanity is to tell people how loved they are.

The ordination and consecration took place at the Rock Springs Center. Clergy of the diocese had the opportunity to meet with the presiding bishop during a luncheon on Friday. She facilitated conversation about effective ministries throughout the church, including the Farmworker Ministry, a joint ministry with the dioceses of East Carolina and North Carolina.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori meets with campus ministers in North Carolina. Photo: Emily Gowdy Canady

Later in the afternoon, students and campus ministers from Episcopal Lutheran Campus Ministries at East Carolina University, Episcopal Lutheran Ministries at UNC-Pembroke, and Episcopal Campus Ministries at UNC-Wilmington had the opportunity to gather for coffee and conversation with the presiding bishop at St. Timothy’s, Greenville. The conversation included LGBT inclusion and each campus’ outreach efforts: ELCM at ECU sponsoring a partner program with the Muslim Student group, ELM at UNCP working with a Native American Literacy Project in their local Community, and ECM at UNCW working at the Farmworker Festival earlier in the fall. The students were deeply engaged by the presiding bishop, and she encouraged them to continue in their strong work of reaching out.

There was no day of rest for the new bishop. He preached and presided at three services at Christ Church, New Bern, on Sunday, Nov. 9. He performed three baptisms, 12 confirmations, four receptions, and seven reaffirmations.

Skirving was elected bishop on May 17 in a special convention. He was serving as rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Midland, Michigan, when he was elected. Prior to arriving at St. John’s in 2005, Skirving served as rector of Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church in London, Ontario, Canada. His work in Canada provided him experience working in churches of varying sizes, from small, rural congregations to large, program-sized parishes in suburban and urban areas.

He has served on the House of Deputies State of the Church Committee and represented the Diocese of Eastern Michigan on the Province V Executive Board. He was a deputy to General Convention in 2012 and has served his diocese as dean and chair of its Commission on Ministry.

He was awarded a BA from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada in 1982. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Huron University College in London, Ontario in 1986. He has completed additional course work towards advanced degrees in religious studies and congregational development at the University of Windsor, University of Notre Dame and Seabury Institute.

He and his wife Sandy have two grown children. When he can, he enjoys reading biography and historical fiction. He has also begun to learn Latin American Spanish to help in the missional partnership with the Episcopal Church in the Dominican Republic.

The Diocese of East Carolina is composed of nearly 70 parishes in 32 counties and covers the area from I-95 to the coast and from Southport up to Gatesville. The diocese is home to several major military bases, a large Hispanic community, and small congregations. The diocesan office is located in Kinston.

Prior Anders Litzell to oversee new community at Lambeth Palace

Episcopal News Service - ter, 11/11/2014 - 08:47

Swedish Anglican priest the Rev. Anders Litzell will pioneer the Archbishop of Canterbury’s new community for young Christians at Lambeth Palace. Photo: Lambeth Palace

[Lambeth Palace press release] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has appointed the Rev. Anders Litzell as prior of the Community of St. Anselm, a radical new Christian community at Lambeth Palace.

Litzell, 34, is an Anglican priest from Sweden, who has experience of the Pentecostal and Lutheran traditions as well as three provinces of the Anglican Communion. He will pioneer the Community, which launches in September 2015, and direct its worship and work. He will work as prior under the auspices of the archbishop, who will be Abbot of the Community. Litzell will take up the role on Jan. 5, 2015.

The Community will initially consist of 16 people living at Lambeth Palace full-time, and up to 40 people, who live and work in London, joining as non-residential members. The archbishop hopes that the Community will be definitive in shaping future leaders to serve the common good in a variety of fields, as they immerse themselves in a challenging year of rigorous formation through prayer, study, practical service and community life.

Litzell was ordained in the Church of England in 2012. He is currently serving at St George’s, Holborn, in the Diocese of London, where his ministry focuses on students and adults in their 20s and 30s. At the same time he is pursuing a doctorate which focuses on the relevance of St. Benedict for contemporary leadership. He trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, U.K., including a sojourn at St. Agnes, Diocese of Natal in South Africa.

Litzell grew up in the Swedish Pentecostal Church. During his undergraduate studies at Wheaton College, Illinois, he discovered ‘high church’ Anglicanism through St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Glen Ellyn – where his journey to ordination began. Back in Sweden he served in the Lutheran church, Sollentuna Parish in Stockholm, while directing the Alpha Sweden office, before moving to London to work with Alpha International.

Welby said: “My vision for the Community of St. Anselm is that it be both ancient and postmodern: that young adults be steeped in the rich monastic traditions of the likes of Benedict, Francis and Ignatius, while discovering their striking relevance for the transformation of self and society today. I am delighted at the appointment of Anders Litzell who will help to work this out at Lambeth Palace.”

The archbishop’s chaplain, the Rev. Jo Wells, who has pioneered the setting up of the Community, said: “Anders brings an experience and hunger for spiritual formation which is both wide and deep – crossing a variety of continents and traditions. He brings much energy and imagination to the work, a work in which he will participate even as he leads.”

Litzell said: “I am hugely excited about taking on this role and, through God’s grace, turning Archbishop Justin’s vision for the community into reality. We pray that the Community will be identified by prayer, by learning, by love of each other and of the poor – all with one intention above all others: to become more like Jesus.”

Further information is available here.