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Be prophets, agents of reconciliation, Asian archbishops say

Episcopal News Service - seg, 22/09/2014 - 07:05

[Episcopal News Service – Taipei, Taiwan] God is calling the church in Asia to be an agent of reconciliation and a prophetic witness, three Asian Anglican archbishops told the House of Bishops, and they said the church across the world also must respond to the same call.

Seoul Archbishop Paul Kim, who is also the primate of the Anglican Church in Korea, tells the Episcopal Church House of Bishops Sept. 22 that “reconciliation should be the core message of the church not just on the Korean peninsula but in the world.” The Rev. Aidan Koh, of St. James in the City in Los Angeles, translated for Kim. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

“Reconciliation should be the core message of the church not just on the Korean peninsula but in the world,” said Seoul Archbishop Paul Kim, primate of the Anglican Church of Korea.

Kim, Archbishop Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu, primate of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Anglican Church in Japan) and Episcopal Church in the Philippines Prime Bishop Edward Malecdan all spoke to the house Sept. 22, describing the theological context and mission challenges of their provinces. Each spoke of how paying attention to the poor in their countries has strengthened the faith and witness of their churches.

The threat of war across the world has led to increased nationalism and militarization, in northeast Asia and elsewhere, which has at times lead to threats against those who “proclaim Christ’s gospel message of reconciliation and peace [and they are] treated as traitors in the nations to which they belong,” Kim said through translator the Rev. Aidan Koh of St. James in the City in Los Angeles.

Even within churches there can be differences of opinions about how to work for reconciliation, Kim said. Rather than being able to use those disagreements to find “new creative possibilities,” discord can develop and such discord can easily make Christ’s gospel of reconciliation “a laughing stock.”

Kim said it is time to unite the worldwide church “as a prophetic witness to reconciliation” against the violence of domination.

“We as Anglicans are chosen by God to be the servants and witnesses of forgiveness and reconciliation,” he said.

Archbishop Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu, the primate of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Anglican Church in Japan), says the Japanese church is trying to be an agent of reconciliation in that country. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Both Kim and Uematsu of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai spoke of the reconciliation that has happened between their two churches. Uematsu said that Japan’s annexation of Korea in 1910 was the start of a militaristic period in his country’s history that only ended with its defeat in World War II. The church did not protest as Japan began to occupy and colonize other Asian countries, he said.

It wasn’t until the late 1990s that the church began to look critically at its past and its role in the nation’s history. “We especially felt called to repent and seek reconciliation and a deeper engagement with our neighbors” who had suffered under Japanese occupation and colonization, Uematsu said.

In 1996, the church’s General Synod pass a Statement of War Responsibility in which the NSKK “confessed to God as a church” and apologized to God and to its neighbors. Since then, Uematsu said, the statement has been the basis of NSKK’s sense that it is called to serve the marginalized in Japanese society.

The NSKK has sought reconciliation and “restoration under our bond in the same Lord” with Taiwan, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and other countries that suffered from wartime Japanese occupation.

“We are especially blessed by our fellow Anglicans in the Anglican Church in Korea who opened their hearts to our people even before Japan had come to terms with and apologized for its role in the colonization of the Korean peninsula,” Uematsu said. Nearly 30 years ago the Koreans “opened the door” to exchanges between the two provinces at all levels, he noted.

The Most Rev. Edward P. Malecdan, prime bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, describes for the House of Bishops how his church worked to become self-supporting and how it tries to be a prophetic witness in the country. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Meanwhile, Philippines Prime Bishop Malecdan told how Islamic unrest in Mindanao and a continuing communist insurgency means there is a “never-ending absence of peace in some parts of the country.” And the church is aware of the lack of peace elsewhere in the word. For instance, it will soon host a forum at its St. Andrew’s Seminary chapel on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

“In other words, the doors of ECP churches and other institutions are open for peacemaking gatherings,” he said.

The biblical mandate to give voice to the voiceless at both the local and global level, Malecdan said, “is about contributing positively to the establishment of just peace and the commitment to social action for the transformation of unjust society and structures.”

“We are only a minority church often neglected and overlooked by bigger sister provinces in the Anglican Communion, but for the ECP we are aware that what we are doing is like a little drop of water in the vast Pacific ocean and the turbulent China Sea,” he said, adding that that “little drop” is better than being “part of the problems by our silence and inaction.”

Three examples that Malecdan gave seemed to be much more than little drops. One involved buying land and reselling it to landless people whose makeshift homes were swept away by Super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013.

Another example concerned three kidnapped young people who were killed and buried in a shallow grave beneath concrete and dirt. Their people were afraid to go and exhume the bodies for fear they would be killed, but they were “emboldened” when Northern Luzon Bishop Renato Abibico and two priests came to the graves and began digging.

Thirdly, Malecdan said, the ECP’s relationship with the Church of the Province of Myanmar as that country transitions to democracy is a way for each church to learn from the other.

“Our relationship and concern for one another is a clear testimony to a conflict-laden world,” the prime bishop said.

Malecdan also outlined how the ECP became a self-supporting province after making a “heart-rending decision” to stop receiving money from the U.S.-based Episcopal Church.

The church was receiving a subsidy from the Episcopal Church that was due to end in 2007. The ECP decided in mid-2004 to ask that it be stopped. Because the money was already budgeted, Malecdan said, the Episcopal Church decided to continue sending the payments while the ECP decided to stop using the subsidy as operating revenue. It put the money into an endowment with the aim of becoming self-sufficient.

The church built many churches after that decision, had budget surpluses and saw both lay and ordained vocations increase, according to the prime bishop.

“We have dug deeper into what we have – all our assets as a church – and started maximizing them for doing mission,” Malecdan said. “And we realized that even a struggling church can have something to share with others.”

Also on Sept. 22, the bishops received briefings on the work of the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church, which recently released a letter to the church outlining the recommendations on structural change it will make to the 2015 meeting of General Convention. Bishop members of the A050 Task Force on the Study of Marriage and the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop discussed the work of those groups to date. While only the latter session had been scheduled to be closed, it was announced during the morning session on Sept. 22 that all three of those briefings would be for bishops only.

Shortly after the afternoon private session ended, the marriage task force released a report to the church on its work.

The bishops plan a town hall-style session with the presiding bishop and a formal business session on Sept. 23, the final day of the meeting.

After the meeting ends a number of bishops are heading to Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines or Korea to continue learning about mission and ministry of the Anglican Church in those contexts.

The meeting is taking place at the Grand Hotel in Taipei. Some bishops are blogging from the meeting about their visit to Taiwan, including

Others are tweeting during the meeting using #HOBFall14. Those tweets can be read here.

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

Anglican XI beat Vatican in historic cricket match

Episcopal News Service - seg, 22/09/2014 - 06:10

[Lambeth Palace press release] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby congratulates both sides after historic match to raise awareness of Anglican-Roman Catholic efforts to wipe out modern slavery.

Watch video here.

Church of England cricketers beat a Vatican team yesterday in a historic match in support of a joint initiative to wipe out modern slavery and human trafficking.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, congratulated both sides and presented the trophy to winning captain Stephen Gray after the match, played in the shadow of Canterbury Cathedral at Kent County Cricket Ground.

The Archbishop of Canterbury with the triumphant Anglican XI at Kent County Cricket Ground, 19 September 2014.

The match was organized to raise awareness and funds for the Global Freedom Network, a joint initiative between religious leaders including Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury which is committed to eliminating modern slavery and human trafficking across the world.

The St Peter’s XI scored 106 from their 20 overs against the Anglican XI, who went on to win by six wickets with five balls to spare.

View tweets and photos from the match

Read more about the Global Freedom Network

Video – Pakistan’s Christians: Persecuted yet steadfast in faith

Episcopal News Service - seg, 22/09/2014 - 06:08

[Episcopal News Service] One year ago today (on Sept. 22, 2013) two suicide bombers targeted All Saints Anglican Church in Peshawar at the end of a Sunday worship service, killing 127 people and injuring 170. Many of the victims were women and children. Bishop Samuel Azariah of the Diocese of Raiwind, moderator of the Church of Pakistan, spoke with Episcopal News Service shortly after that tragic day, saying that despite years of intense persecution from religious extremists, the Christian population in Pakistan is resilient and growing in numbers. “Nothing will dampen our spirits. Bombing, murder, burning, shooting will not dampen our spirits and our commitment to Jesus Christ,” he says.

This video was first published on Nov. 19, 2013.

Azariah briefed the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops on Sept. 19 about the life of his church in a country where Christians account for 1.5 percent of the 189 million Pakistanis.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has issued a statement on this first anniversary of the suicide bombings at All Saints Church, Peshawar, Pakistan.

Canterbury statement on anniversary of Peshawar church bombings

Episcopal News Service - seg, 22/09/2014 - 06:06

[Lambeth Palace press release] Archbishop Justin Welby has issued a statement on the first anniversary of the suicide bombings at All Saints Church, Peshawar, Pakistan, on 22 September 2013 in which more than 100 Christians were killed.

Archbishop Justin Welby said:

“As we approach the first anniversary of the horrific suicide bombings at All Saints Church, Peshawar – which made martyrs of more than 100 Christians and wounded many more –  firstly our thoughts and prayers are with all those who were bereaved and injured in these terrible attacks. As we have done, so must we continue to pray fervently for Jesus Christ to comfort all those whose lives were changed forever by these evil acts. Meanwhile we must continue to pray and call for justice, and for the peace of Pakistan and the protection of Christ’s people there.

“In May I visited Pakistan’s Anglican community – who number 800,000 in a population of 180 million – and I was appalled to hear and see evidence of the hatred, violence and persecution they face. As I sat among them, I heard the searing anguish in their cry for the right to worship in freedom and safety. But I was also moved and inspired by their steadfastness and courage, which is grounded in deep and unshakable faith in Jesus Christ.

“In the days following the bombings, Christians in Peshawar spoke of forgiveness for their attackers even as they cried out for justice and protection. With one year passed, we should reflect again in awe on this profound witness to Christ by our brothers and sisters in their darkest moment of suffering.

“As we reflect on the Peshawar martyrs, and their families, and all those injured in those shocking attacks, we do so knowing with deep concern that the often deadly persecution of Christians and other minorities has further escalated in many places, especially Iraq and Syria. We look back knowing that our prayers are needed with fresh urgency, as we cry them out to a God who shares deeply in the pain, anxiety, suffering and despair of all those persecuted for their beliefs.

“So today as we hold the people of Pakistan in our hearts, we must pray fervently to the God of peace and justice: asking in His name that those who suffer persecution will know relief; that those who do harm will know justice; and that all people – both our friends or our enemies – will know God’s peace and love in Jesus Christ.”

A pastoral message on climate change

Episcopal News Service - sex, 19/09/2014 - 13:24

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The following Pastoral Message on Climate Change has been issued by Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori with the heads for the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the  Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

A Pastoral Message on Climate Change

from the heads of

Anglican Church of Canada
The Episcopal Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

September 19, 2014

We are united as Christian leaders in our concern for the well-being of our neighbors and of God’s good creation that provides life and livelihood for all God’s creatures. Daily we see and hear the evidence of a rapidly changing climate. Glaciers are disappearing, the polar ice cap is melting, and sea levels are rising. Incidents of pollution created dead zones in seas and the ocean and toxic algae growth in water supplies are occurring with greater frequency. Most disturbingly, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising at an unprecedented rate. At the same time we also witness in too many instances how the earth’s natural beauty, a sign of God’s wonderful creativity, has been defiled by pollutants and waste.

Many have reacted to these changes with grief and anger. In their outrage some have understandably focused on the neglect and carelessness, both in private industry and in government regulation, that have contributed to these changes. However, an honest accounting requires a recognition that we all participate both as consumers and investors in economies that make intensive and insistent demands for energy. In addition, as citizens we have chosen to support or acquiesce in policies that shift the burdens of climate change to communities that are most vulnerable to its effects. People who are already challenged by poverty and by dislocation resulting from civil war or famine have limited resources for adapting to climate change’s effects.

While an accounting of climate change that has credibility and integrity must include our own repentance, we find our hope in the promise of God’s own faithfulness to the creation and humankind and in the liberation that comes from God’s promise.

God, who made the creation and made it good, has not abandoned it. Daily the Spirit continues to renew the face of the earth. All who care for the earth and work for the restoration of its vitality can be confident that they are not pursuing a lost cause. We serve in concert with God’s own creative and renewing power.

Moreover, we need not surrender to political ideologies and other modern mythologies that would divide us into partisan factions — deserving and undeserving, powerless victims and godless oppressors. In Christ we have the promise of a life where God has reconciled the human community. In Christ God sets us free from the captivity of blaming and shaming. God liberates us for shared endeavors where we find each other at our best.

While the challenge may seem daunting, the Spirit’s abundant gifts for service empower us to find common cause with people who exercise countless insights and skills, embodied in hundreds of occupations and trades. We have good reason to hope in all the ways God’s grace is at work among us. We can commend ourselves to the work before us with confidence in God’s mercy.

Opportunities to act imaginatively and courageously abound in all our individual callings. The Holy Spirit’s work in us leads us as faithful consumers and investors in a global economy to make responsible choices to reduce energy use, carbon emissions, and the wasteful consumption of water and other natural resources. As citizens, we have voices to use in educating children about the climate and in shaping public and corporate policies that affect the environment. The Spirit has also given us our voices to contribute our witness to public discussion of just and responsible use of natural resources.

We also have the resources and responsibility to act together for the common good, especially for those most vulnerable to the effect of climate change in the spirit of the seventh Millennium Development Goal, “to ensure environmental stability”. World leaders will meet this month in New York for a Climate Summit, and in December in Lima, Peru, to discuss global cooperation on climate change. Working under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), participants in the UNFCCC’s negotiations hope for an agreement in 2015 that will move toward reduction of carbon emissions, development of low carbon technologies, and assistance to populations most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate.

We encourage you to take the initiative to engage decision-makers in this godly work in all arenas of public life — in government and business, in schools and civic organizations, in social media and also in our church life.

We are not powerless to act and we are not alone. “We have the power of the Holy Spirit and the indwelling Spirit of Christ to give us hope and courage.”i

The present moment is a critical one, filled with both challenge and opportunity to act as faithful individuals and churches in solidarity with God’s good creation.

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

Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Primate
Anglican Church of Canada 

Bishop Susan Johnson
National Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Church partners sow seeds of hope, peace for future Sudan

Episcopal News Service - sex, 19/09/2014 - 06:49

South Sudanese refugees at the Kakuma Camp in Kenya collect water for their families.

[Episcopal News Service] Michael Puot Rambang hopes soccer and volleyball games will help to promote peace and reconciliation among a generation of future Sudanese leaders.

“I was in Juba when the fighting broke out [on Dec. 15, 2013],” Rambang, 26, told the Episcopal News Service (ENS) recently from Nairobi, Kenya. “I was almost killed; they targeted 25 of my neighbors, who were killed.”

He escaped to the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya, only to discover violence there also. “Everyone was angry. They want to push, and shove. It is not good for people to live like this. I had to come up with something to bring the youth together. That was when I came up with South Sudan Youth for Peace and Reconciliation (SSYPR).”

The initiative aims to gather varying communities of Sudanese youth in the camp for a series of sports tournaments paired with peace and reconciliation trainings and other activities. Sowing a spirit of cooperation will also help improve conditions generally in the camp, according to John Malek Kur, also involved in organizing SSYPR’s efforts.

“We will help to create a condition whereby we can see where we can reconcile, and counsel them because of the dramatic things they have seen, since war broke out in Juba and elsewhere,” Kur told ENS.

“We need to teach them so we can send a team to go and teach and talk peace among the people, and we will extend it slowly to the areas affected by the war,” Kur added.

South Sudan emerged as the world’s newest nation in 2011, with Juba as its capital city. Fighting erupted in December 2013 after a political struggle between the president, Salva Kiir, and his former deputy, Riek Machar, displacing as many as one million people. Kiir is from the Dinka tribe and rebel leader Machar is Nuer, representing the two main Sudanese ethnic groups. Many fled to the Kakuma Refugee Camp, which was established in 1992 during decades of Sudanese civil war. An estimated 180,000 people from Sudan, South Sudan, and other African countries reside at the camp.

Kur, a former “Lost Boy” now studying peace and conflict transformation at Nairobi’s Daystar University, said camp conditions are challenging. Illness, illiteracy and hunger are pervasive, he said. (The Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan moved to the U.S. as part of a resettlement program in the early ‘00s.)

“We have a diverse community in South Sudan and in Camp Kakuma, young people on both sides and the only thing you can do is speak a word of peace to them through soccer. They will play for fun and for a goal,” Kur said. “When they will be working for that goal, they will start talking, realizing their worth, and making friendships among themselves.”

SSYPR advisor Bishop John Gattek Wallam of the Bentiu area of the Diocese of Malakal said the plan includes university students serving as trainers for the camp’s youth. The initiative is working in tandem with other like-minded organizations under the umbrella of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees seeking peace and reconciliation, he said.

“The youth are the children of the warring parties [and from different tribes]. Both sides will be able to come together and learn peace and reconciliation,” Wallam told ENS from Kenya recently.

The games “will be an outlet for the youth, to participate in peace-building activities. We will organize a program for them, and a concert that will also bring the youth together and also give them reconciliation messages from the Bible,” said Wallam. He was part of a negotiating team that has secured the endorsement of the United Nations and the Kenyan Police Camp manager to establish the Kakuma Peace Initiative and Sports for Peace games.

A tentative date to host the games awaits securing project funding and sponsorships, according to the Rev. Jerry Drino of Hope with South Sudan, a San Jose-based education and outreach agency.

“This whole effort is lifting up from the ground,” said Drino. Faith communities are at the forefront of the efforts, as are organizations like the American Friends of the Episcopal Church in Sudan (AFRECS), and Episcopal Relief & Development who are working to alleviate hardships in Sudan, he added.

Pockets of hope exist amid the continuing crisis in Sudan, Drino said. He urged Episcopalians across the church to support the organization of fledgling peace efforts.

“The good news is that already there are sporadic games with mixed tribal teams being played in Kakuma and that the Mothers Union and Presbyterian women are coming together to pray across tribal lines. The SSYPR will give them greater incentive to continue and expand this work.”

Bishop Andudu Elnail of Kadugli and South Sudanese members of the Mothers’ Union participate in a worship service at the Kakuma Camp in Kenya.

Colorado: October visit to offer medical, pastoral care training,
A medical and pastoral care team from the Diocese of Colorado, seeking to alleviate refugee camp conditions and to support the efforts of Sudanese Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail of the Diocese of Kadugli, is planning an Oct. 28-Nov. 9 trip to the Kakuma Refugee Camp, according to Anita Sanborn, president of the Colorado Episcopal Foundation.

Team members will focus on health issues and offer pastoral care, human rights, leadership and peace-building trainings, she said.

The team initially intended to visit the Yida Refugee Camp in South Sudan in January of this year, Sanborn said. But the trip, funded by the United Thank Offering (UTO) and Episcopal Relief & Development and private donations, was rescheduled for the Kakuma Camp after the December fighting broke out.

The team focus will include newborn and maternal health, basic hygiene and health care, identifying symptoms of trauma and self-care for clergy and lay leaders.

“There will be a segment on human rights, teaching what the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights is all about, so people understand in this time of exile what their rights really are and to give them a sense of hope that they don’t need to be landless forever, but to prepare for a time when they can return home,” Sanborn added.

Sanborn described Elnail as a bishop without a diocese. ENS’s efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.

Elnail was in the United States for medical treatment in 2012 when Sudanese government forces entered Kadugli, raided his office, destroyed some equipment and confiscated others, Sanborn said. He began advocacy efforts and in 2013 was granted U.S. asylum. He organized an office in Juba to provide a base of operations for the thousands of Nuba people fleeing into the South.

Sanborn also urged Episcopalians across the church to continue support for the Sudanese people, even though media focus may have shifted elsewhere.

“When compassion fatigue seems so pervasive, it would be my hope that we in the Episcopal Church here continue to stand by the Sudanese refugees who’ve been sent here,” Sanborn said of Sudanese communities throughout the United States.

“There are so many ways people can get involved,” she added. “It doesn’t have to always mean going to Sudan. It’s important to be aware and to be educated about what is going on, if people will just take that step. And to remember that prayer is always needed.”

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

The U.S.-based Episcopal Church has long-standing partnerships with the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan, through companion diocese relationships, Episcopal Relief & Development programs and the advocacy work of the Office of Government Relations.

Current companion relationships include Albany (New York) with the Province of Sudan, Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) with Kajo Keji, Chicago with Renk, Indianapolis with Bor, Missouri with Lui, Rhode Island with Ezo, Southwestern Virginia with the Province of Sudan, and Virginia with the Province of Sudan.

Partnerships also exist through various networks such as the American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and Hope With South Sudan.

Bishops explore ministry challenges in Asia

Episcopal News Service - sex, 19/09/2014 - 06:32

[Episcopal News Service – Taipei, Taiwan] Members of the House of Bishops have begun learning about the theological context and mission challenges faced by Episcopal and Anglican churches in Asia.

Their exploration had already begun with a deep experience of what Diocese of Kansas Bishop Dean Wolfe described as “such hospitality, such graciousness, such joy in the spirit” on the part of Taiwanese Episcopalians who are hosting the Sept. 17-23 meeting here.

“I will take that back to my Diocese of Kansas and remind my people of the connection we have with the Diocese of Taiwan,” said Wolfe, who is vice president of the house and served as emcee for the Sept. 19 sessions.

Wolfe noted that some members of the Episcopal Church have questioned why the bishops would go to the expense of meeting in Taiwan. “We never think about not going to our farthest parish because it is too far away” or too small, he said.

Taiwan Bishop David Jung-Hsin Lai explains to the House of Bishops Sept. 19 how his diocese operates in a country where Christianity is in the minority and many traditional spiritual practices still must be honored. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ Episcopal News Service

Thus, because the bishops accepted Taiwan Bishop David Jung-Hsin Lai’s invitation to meet here, Wolfe said to applause, they have found that “the Diocese of Taiwan is a much a part of this family as any diocese in the Episcopal Church.”

After fanning out on Sept. 18 to visit three congregations of the Diocese of Taiwan, along with the diocese’s St. John’s University, the bishops came back together on the 19th to learn more about the Taiwanese Episcopal Church as well as Anglican work in Hong Kong and Pakistan.

Taiwanese Episcopalians “started from zero” and now have 20 churches, including seven parishes, Lai said. He acknowledged that his diocese’s ministry is run differently from most other dioceses in the Episcopal Church because of the cultural context of Taiwan. Taiwanese often practice a combination of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Most of the island’s traditional places of worship combine all three traditions.

Episcopal churches in Taiwan must work within that context, he said. For instance, they use a Mandarin Book of Common Prayer (which took 15 years to translate) and also have a book of supplemental liturgies that frame traditional practices, such as ancestor worship, in a Christian context.

And the diocese actively encourages Christian formation and faith sharing with others. The diocese also helps members discern their ministry, and then actively supports that ministry, often monetarily, the bishop said.

Families often ostracize members who convert to Christianity, Lai said, seeing the conversion as a betrayal. Yet, the bishop urges his members to make their Christian faith evident in their daily lives to counter a common notion in Taiwan that all religions are the same and only “teach us to be a good person.”

“I always remind our church members: ‘don’t keep silence when they say so. If you keep silent it means you agree with their idea. But don’t try to argue with them. You need to build a good relationship.’ So I always encourage them to share your belief – your faith – with them so that they know the God we worship is so different from the god as the idol you worship in your family, in the temple or anywhere.”

Lai said that diocesan members are encouraged not to just believe in and trust in God but also to “do something by your faith” in a way that others, including family members, will see the converted person as others will see “how different, how wonderful, how joyful that you are; you are a Christian, you are a person with a totally new life.”

A summary of the history of the Diocese of Taiwan, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, can be found in this story.

The Rev. Peter Koon, provincial secretary of the Hong Kong heng Kung Hui (Anglican Church in Hong Kong), asked for the bishops’ prayers as that province faces the possibility of unrest, perhaps as early as October, by way of the anticipated Occupy Central with Love and Peace, which will campaign for universal suffrage.

Hong Kong return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 from British control and the laws governing that move say the territory is getting to a system of universal suffrage for picking the chief executive in the 2017 election. Some in Hong Kong worry that the national legislature and the city government will insist on a plan for nominating the chief executive that bars candidates unacceptable to Beijing.

The challenge, Koon said, is how the Anglican churches in Hong Kong can find ways to respond pastorally and theologically to congregations that are divided on the issue.

“Do pray for the cathedral because we are in the hot spot,” Koon said.

Gareth Jones, principal of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Ming Hua Theological College, tells the House of Bishops Sept. 19 how the seminary prepares its students to be grounded in Anglican identity and theology. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Meanwhile, Gareth Jones, principal of the province’s Ming Hua Theological College, outlined the seminary’s effort to change theological education.

Many seminaries in the Anglican Communion, he said, have “a tendency toward generic theological education with a little bit of Anglicanism bolted onto the end.” Rather than foster what he called the “theological confusion” such a model either evidences or causes, Ming Hua has moved to a model that is more rooted in Anglican identity from the outset and which emphasizes the idea of companionship with God, Jones said.

The model also is based on an understanding that the crises of faith can be seen through the crises in the gardens of Eden and Gethsemane and the seminarians are learning “how to be in Adam and Eve’s shoes and how to be in Jesus’ shoes in those gardens.”

Recent ENS coverage of the ministry of the Anglican Church in Hong Kong is here and here.

The Church of Pakistan (United) wants a strong relationship with the Episcopal Church, its moderator, Bishop Samuel Azariah, tells the House of Bishops on Sept. 19. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Bishop Samuel Azariah, moderator of the Church of Pakistan (United), told the bishops about the life of his church in a country where Christians account for 1.5 percent of the 189 million Pakistanis.

He said Pakistan is “in continuous religious disputes” within itself, and with India and Afghanistan.

“The misuse and abuse of religion has not only impacted our economy and our relationships, but has also introduced a phase of religious militancy” and especially one that vows to spread Islam, he said. “That is the reality of the context we live in and very soon this is going to hit you, my brothers and my sisters, even in the United States.”

Azariah added a caution: “I’m not saying that we need to fight Islam; what I am saying is that we need to recognize that reality” and prepare for it by learning about Islam and working to improve interfaith relations, and always searching for reconciliation.

“Islam will be the dominant religion in your own dioceses sooner or later that you will have to negotiate with,” he told the bishops. “You will have large populations of Muslims around you in your areas to whom you will have to pastor to and how will you do that?”

In his context, Azariah said he rejects the ideas of loving one’s enemies, saying instead he prefers to advocate loving one’s neighbors in a way that aims “to recognize, to respect in humbleness and with patience, the quality of otherness that my neighbor carries within himself or within herself.”

Meanwhile, Azariah issued a call for deeper relations between his church and others in the Anglican Communion, especially in terms of educational partnerships and development.

“We want to be in relationship; not a relationship of dependency. We do not want to be a project of any church but in a relationship of equal brothers and sisters and disciples of Jesus Christ,” he said.

Also on the bishops’ agenda
The theme of the House of Bishops meeting in Taiwan is “expanding the apostolic imagination” and the house is also due to hear from bishops and others from the Anglican Church in Japan, the Philippines and Korea as part of that exploration. However, the approach of Tropical Storm Fung-Wong may disrupt the travel of some of those people, the bishops were warned.

The bishops, spouses, partners and others attending the meeting will spend Sept. 20 sightseeing in various parts of the island. On Sunday, Sept. 21, they will worship at either Church of the Good Shepherd and St. John’s Cathedral in Taipei or Advent Church in Tam Sui. They will return to Taipei in the late afternoon for a session aimed at processing their experiences.

The evening of the 21st will also include a closed fireside chat meant for the presiding bishop and the bishops alone.

While in Taipei, the bishops also are scheduled to receive briefings on the work of the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church, which recently released a letter to the church outlining the recommendations on structural change it will make to the 2015 meeting of General Convention. Bishop members of the A050 Task Force on the Study of Marriage and the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop will also discuss the work of those groups to date. The latter briefing will be held in closed session, according to the meeting schedule.

The bishops also plan a town hall-style session with the presiding bishop and a formal business session on Sept. 23.

After the meeting ends a number of bishops are heading to Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines or Korea to continue learning about mission and ministry of the Anglican Church.

The meeting is taking place at the Grand Hotel in Taipei. Some bishops are blogging from the meeting about their visit to Taiwan, including

Others are tweeting during the meeting using #HOBFall14. Those tweets can be read here.

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

 

 

Returning SC priest reinstated through new path for reconciliation

Episcopal News Service - sex, 19/09/2014 - 05:38

[Episcopal Church in South Carolina] Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg of South Carolina has welcomed a returning member of the clergy back into good standing as a priest, hailing the reinstatement of the Rev. H. Dagnall Free, Jr. as an important day for The Episcopal Church and an encouraging step toward reconciliation in South Carolina.

On Tuesday, in a brief liturgy led by vonRosenberg, Free reaffirmed the vows he took at his ordination in 2010 and signed a formal declaration promising to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.

Free was a priest serving at St. John’s Episcopal Church on John’s Island in 2012, when a breakaway group under Bishop Mark Lawrence announced it was leaving The Episcopal Church. After the schism, a number of clergy remained with The Episcopal Church. However, Free stayed at St. John’s, which followed the breakaway group under Lawrence.

Yet in the eyes of The Episcopal Church, he remained under vonRosenberg’s authority. Over a five-month period in 2013, the bishop made efforts to contact each breakaway clergy member. In most cases there was no reply. In August 2013, with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee, the bishop formally removed Free and more than 100 other priests and deacons from the ordained ministry.

“After clergy left The Episcopal Church, I had the obligation to discipline them according to church canons,” vonRosenberg said. But the canons gave him a choice about which disciplinary procedure to follow. One option would be to “depose” clergy who did not recognize the Church’s authority. VonRosenberg chose instead to “release and remove” the clergy, which left open a possibility for reconciliation and eventual reinstatement.

“I chose the less severe option in hopes that occasions like this one today might be facilitated,” the bishop said. “We rejoice when that goal becomes realized – even one person at a time.”

The first step in that journey came in April 2013, when Free came to see vonRosenberg to ask if there was a path open for him to return. The bishop’s immediate answer: Yes.

But the very first step was a difficult one: He had to acknowledge that he had been removed as a priest in The Episcopal Church. He became “Mr. Free,” stopped wearing his clerical collar, and ceased to perform the duties of an ordained minister. “He was under that discipline, and he was faithful to that,” the bishop said.

Canonically, the only requirement for reinstatement was the bishop’s approval. But vonRosenberg said it was important to ensure that reinstatement was the right move – not only for one priest and one diocese, but for the church. “He’s a priest of the whole church, not just South Carolina,” he said.

Creating a process
A major hurdle involved Free’s personnel files, which are in the possession of the breakaway group that still controls the pre-2013 diocesan records. Officials there have refused to cooperate with any of the Episcopal Church clergy who have sought access to their professional records for their ongoing employment.

Working in consultation with the Standing Committee, Chancellor Tom Tisdale, and Commission on Ministry member Amy Webb, the bishop set forth a reinstatement procedure that required:

– Consulting with the Bishop on a regular, ongoing basis;
– Working with a development coach for evaluations and discussions about his spiritual journey;
– Cooperating with the administrative staff in rebuilding his professional file, including background checks, training certificates, references and other documentation. “Doing that was necessary for the protection of the whole Church,” the bishop said.
– Meeting with the Standing Committee to discuss his desire for reinstatement.

On September 11, having completed the initial steps, Free met with the Standing Committee. After a brief discussion, the committee unanimously approved a motion advising the Bishop in favor of reinstatement.

VonRosenberg said the process has proven to be a good one, and likely will be used again. Discussions are occurring with other clergy who have had second thoughts about the schism. “It’s important that they know that this process is available,” the bishop said.

When the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church meets in 2015, it likely will consider a resolution about reinstatement procedures, and South Carolina’s experience will be valuable to that discussion. “Once again, we’re on the leading edge in some ways,” vonRosenberg said.

Looking ahead
The path ahead of Free still has its challenges. He is no longer employed at St. John’s. VonRosenberg and Archdeacon Calhoun Walpole, the deployment officer for The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, are assisting him in finding opportunities in Episcopal churches. Free and his wife Sallie are parents of two teenagers, and staying employed was one factor in his choice to remain at St. John’s when the schism took place. Another factor was that he enjoyed serving the people of that parish, and there were others as well. But Free told the Standing Committee that he does not offer them as excuses. “I made a mistake,” he said.

“Part of what I had to learn is that you can’t take anything for granted. God will teach you, and re-teach you,” Free said on Tuesday.

Free said that it seemed far from coincidence that the readings of the Daily Office this summer included the stories of Moses, Joshua, and finally Job. “It’s been kind of like walking through a desert,” he said. “But I think we’re through that now.”

Walpole, who was present for the reinstatement liturgy Tuesday, said Free’s experience reminded her of the words of a prayer for the Church found in Eucharistic Prayer D, which asks God to “reveal its unity.”

“Here we have an example of that unity today,” she said. “Even though we don’t always act like it, the reality is that the church is one.”

– Holly Behre is director of communications for the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

Virginia: Mary Thorpe to be director of transition ministry

Episcopal News Service - qui, 18/09/2014 - 11:44

[Diocese of Virginia] The Very Rev. Mary Thorpe will assume the position of director of transition ministry of the Diocese of Virginia on October 1, succeeding Lindsay Ryland. Ed Keithly, who currently serves as vocation officer, will work in partnership with Mary as deputy director of transition ministry.

Hilary Freeman retires after 29 years of parish ministry

Episcopal News Service - qua, 17/09/2014 - 18:38

Mrs. Hilary Freeman of Fairbanks, Alaska, with family roots back to the Klondike Gold Rush, retired in September 2014 from 29 years of Ministry as Parish Administrator & Office Manager of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church of Fairbanks. She and her husband Gene plan to remain in Fairbanks; and she hopes to now have time to go berry picking before winter comes.

House of Bishops begins historic meeting in Taiwan

Episcopal News Service - qua, 17/09/2014 - 09:33

Bishops attending the Episcopal Church House of Bishops meeting in Taipei, Taiwan pose for a group photo on Sept. 17 outside the historic Grand Hotel, site of the meeting. It was 97 degrees at the time of the photo session, which considering the 50 percent humidity, felt like 109. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Taipei, Taiwan] In a historic year for the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Taiwan, the House of Bishops has come to this city to “learn of greenness in different pastures,” in Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s words.

The theme of the Sept. 17-23 fall Taiwan meeting is “expanding the apostolic imagination” and the bishops will explore the mission and ministry of the Diocese of Taiwan. In addition, bishops and others from the Anglican Church in Hong Kong, Japan, Pakistan, the Philippines and Korea will discuss with the house the theological context and mission challenges their provinces face.

After the meeting ends a number of bishops are heading to Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines or Korea to continue learning about the mission and ministry of the Anglican Churches there.

The Diocese of Taiwan is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. The bishops agreed to meet here at Taiwan Bishop David Jung-Hsin Lai’s invitation.

Diocese of Taiwan Bishop David Jung-Hsin Lai says he worked for eight years to bring an Episcopal Church House of Bishops meeting to his diocese. The meeting began Sept. 17 and runs until Sept. 23. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ Episcopal News Service

During the house’s opening session on Sept. 17, Lai thanked the bishops, many of whom had traveled as much as 24 hours to get to Taipei, for making the effort to come, saying that his six-year-old dream of having the House of Bishops come to his diocese had come true.

“You come here to share, to learn, to strengthen your wisdom and knowledge,” he said.

The entire diocese has prayed at 9 p.m. every day for 40 days for the success of the House of Bishops meeting, according to Lai.

He acknowledged that many of the bishops were feeling jet-lagged after their travels and he jokingly told them that now they know how he has felt at every House of Bishops meeting since his election in 2000.

Jefferts Schori had said during a news conference at the end of the last House of Bishops meeting in March that Lai’s invitation “seemed like a remarkable opportunity for the bishops in this church to learn something about the Asian context in which the church has relationships, and also increasingly from which other parts of the Episcopal Church are receiving migrants.”

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou welcomes the Episcopal Church House of Bishops Sept. 17 to his country during a reception at the Grand Hotel in Taipei. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ Episcopal News Service

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou told a reception on the evening of Sept. 17 (local time) that Chinese tradition marks time in 60 year periods and thus the Diocese of Taiwan has completed one cycle and is embarking on a new one “that foretells an unlimited future.”

“So the Episcopal Church couldn’t have picked a better year to hold a House of Bishops in Taiwan,” he said. “Your choice shows the importance you place upon your congregations here and upon my country. For this, I am grateful.”

Ma said he wanted to express personally his “deepest respect and thanks” for the way that the Episcopal Church has “actively preached the gospel” through service to its communities both in Taiwan and around the world.

The Taiwanese president then outlined his efforts toward turning his country into a peacemaking nation and one known for providing international humanitarian aid rather than receiving it, based on the biblical call to love your neighbor as yourself.

The House of Bishops’ opening Eucharist earlier in the day marked the feast day of Hildegard of Bingen. Jefferts Schori noted in her sermon that Hildegard used the concept of viriditas and its sense of the fecundity of the earth and the soul to teach people about the “blazing fire of creativity at the heart of God.” The presiding bishop likened viriditas to Jesus’ call to abundant life.

Where, she asked the bishops, do they encounter viriditas and “what creative ferment engages and transforms you?”

“This Episcopal Church is in the throes of creative ferment, yearning to find a new congruence that will discover emerging light in new soil and refreshed growth in the plantings of former years,” she said. “Our gathering here will offer opportunities to learn of greenness in different pastures and, God willing, to transform us to discover abundance and possibility in more familiar ones.”

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori leads a prayer Sept. 17 during a reception at the end of the opening day of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops meeting in Taipei. Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, center, addressed the reception. Bishop David Jung-Hsin Lai, right, and the Diocese of Taiwan is hosting the Sept. 17-23 meeting. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ Episcopal News Service

History of Anglican and Episcopal Churches on Taiwan
Anglicanism has been on the island of Taiwan since at least 1895 after the island was ceded to the Empire of Japan at the end of the First Sino-Japanese war.

From then until 1945, when Japan was defeated in World War II, the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Anglican Church in Japan) built churches in Taiwan and held services for its Japanese citizens. Taiwan was part of the NSKK’s Diocese of Osaka. The nationalist government confiscated most of those buildings after the Japanese left and gave them to other denomination.

Episcopal Church chaplains came to serve American military personnel that were based here after the Japanese surrender. As the Episcopal Church grew, it came under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Honolulu (later the Diocese of Hawaii). The church also took pastoral care of the former Chinese Anglican Church members who had come to Taiwan from Mainland China in 1949 with Chinese Nationalists who left in after the Chinese Communist Party defeated the Nationalist army.

From 1954 to 1960, the Episcopal Church in Taiwan was under the supervision of Honolulu Bishop Harry S. Kennedy as part of the pastoral care of American Armed Forces in the Pacific.

Kennedy remained the bishop-in-charge and Honolulu Bishop Suffragan Charles P. Gilson became bishop-in-residence in Taiwan in 1961 when the island became a missionary diocese after the NSKK handed over ministry here to the Episcopal Church.

In 1988, the diocese achieved full diocesan status. Episcopalians in Taiwan renewed their Anglican connection with Japan in 2005 when the diocese entered into a companion relationship with the NSKK Diocese of Osaka.

The Diocese of Taiwan exists in country of 23.34 million people, less than 5 percent of who call themselves Christian, according to the diocese’s Friendship Magazine. The diocese has a history of “gradual inculturation and integration” moving from a membership of Mainland China Anglicans and American military personnel to one with more Taiwanese people.

The diocese has gained members in the 10 years ending in 2012 (the latest year for which figures are available here. The diocese had 1,176 members in that year compared to 975 in 2002, according to this report, and Friendship Magazine says it now serves roughly 2,000 members. The average Sunday attendance in 2012 throughout the diocese’s 16 congregations was 687.

The diocese also includes St. John’s University with an enrollment of slightly more than 6,000, eight parish kindergartens and a number of outreach centers.

The Episcopal Church includes worshiping communities in 17 countries, including the United States, Micronesia (Guam and Saipan), Taiwan, Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands (both U.S. and British), Puerto Rico and, by way of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Austria.

Also on the bishops’ agenda
On Sept. 18, the bishops will divide themselves among Church of the Good Shepherd in Taipei, St. James Church in Taichung, Trinity & St. Stephen’s churches in Keelung and St. John’s University in Tam Sui. On Sunday, Sept. 21, bishops and their spouses and partners, and others present for the meeting will worship at either Church of the Good Shepherd and St. John’s Cathedral in Taipei or Advent Church in Tam Sui. They will return to Taipei in the late afternoon for a session aimed at processing their experiences.

The evening of Sept. 21 will also include a closed “fireside chat,” meant for the presiding bishop and the bishops alone.

While in Taipei, the bishops are also scheduled to receive briefings on the work of the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church, which recently released a letter to the church outlining the structural changes it will recommend to the 2015 meeting of General Convention. Bishop members of the A050 Task Force on the Study of Marriage and the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop will also discuss the work of those groups to date. The latter briefing will be held in closed session, according to the meeting schedule.

The bishops also plan a “town hall”-style session with the presiding bishop and a formal business session on Sept. 23.

The meeting is taking place at the Grand Hotel in Taipei. Some bishops are blogging from the meeting about their visit to Taiwan. Others are tweeting during the meeting using #HOBFall14. Those tweets can be read here.

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

Massachusetts diocese ordains Alan M. Gates as bishop

Episcopal News Service - qua, 17/09/2014 - 06:39

The Rt. Rev. Alan Gates. Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh/Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts ordained and consecrated the Rev. Alan M. Gates as its 16th bishop on Sept. 13 during a service at the Agganis Arena at Boston University.

Bishop Stephen T. Lane of the Diocese of Maine, president of Province I of the Episcopal Church, served as the chief consecrator. He was among some 4,000 participants and 27 bishops who attended the service. A massed choir of 550-plus singers from nearly 75 parish choirs performed, along with a gospel choir, a brass ensemble, a steel drum band and a handbell choir.

Bishop Mark Hollingsworth Jr. of the Diocese of Ohio, and formerly a priest of the Diocese of Massachusetts, preached.

A photo gallery of the service is available here.

Gates, 56, former rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland, Ohio, was elected bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts on April 5.

Gates is a Massachusetts native and graduate of Middlebury College. Prior to seminary he was a Russian language translator, researcher and intelligence analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense, including a tour of duty at the State Department. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1988. He served congregations in the Episcopal dioceses of Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts and Chicago prior to his call to Ohio. He and his spouse, Patricia J. Harvey, have two adult sons.

Gates succeeds the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, who has served the Diocese of Massachusetts as its bishop since 1995 and who resigned his office at the time of the consecration on Sept. 13.

The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, established in 1784, is among the Episcopal Church’s oldest and largest in terms of baptized membership, and comprises 180 parishes, missions, chapels and campus chaplaincies in eastern Massachusetts.

RIP: Andrew Parker Bateman “Park” Allis

Episcopal News Service - ter, 16/09/2014 - 15:27

[Diocese of Southwest Florida] The Rev. Dr. Andrew Parker Bateman “Park” Allis, 76, died peacefully in his home this weekend.

Allis, born Feb. 27, 1938 in Mansfield, Pennsylvania to Leo Joseph Allis and Evelyn Norton, had degrees and certificates from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, the Naval Chaplain School, the Virginia Theological Seminary, Sheffield University (UK), Duquesne University, Pittsburgh Theological School, the Graduate Theological Foundation and the National Institute for Interim Ministry.

He was ordained deacon in 1963 and priest in 1964 by the Rt. Rev. John T. Heistand.

Allis served on the Board of Governors, School for Ministry, Diocese of Rhode Island; as Coordinator for Lay Ministries, Diocese of Rhode Island; as Rector, St. James. Woonsocket, Rhode Island; Rector, St. Peter’s, Brentwood, Pennsylvania; Rector, St. Mark’s, Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Canon Pastor, Christ Church Cathedral, Houston; and Chaplain, Lancaster County Juvenile Detention Home, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

In Southwest Florida, he served at the State College of Florida Chapel Center from 1995 to 2001, and served on the Diocese of Southwest Florida staff as Canon Pastor from 2000-2005. In his retirement, he served many congregations in Southwest Florida as consultant and supply priest.

His wife, Pauline Middleton Allis, a native of Halifax, West Yorkshire, England, died in June 2012. He is survived by two sons. Services for Fr. Allis are anticipated to take place over the Thanksgiving weekend.

RIP: Charles Osborne Moyer

Episcopal News Service - ter, 16/09/2014 - 15:01

Funeral services for The Rev. Charles Osborne Moyer will be held Thursday, September 18, 2014, 11:00 a.m. at the Church of the Mediator in Meridian, MS. The Rt. Rev. Duncan Gray III and The Rev. Dr. Helen Tester will be officiating. Burial will be at Forest Lawn in Meridian. Robert Barham Family Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Father Moyer, 97, of Meridian, died September 14, 2014, at North Pointe Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Born to Eldred Eugene Moyer and Emma Love Filler Moyer in 1917, the family moved to Houston, TX in 1921, where he was raised. He married Alice Pearl Stephenson in 1940. Father Moyer worked for Houston Power and Light, Ford Motor Company, and was assistant organist and choir master for Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, TX. He was also employed by Warren Oil and Gas Company during World War II.

He was ordained to the priesthood on February 2, 1955. He served in 6 churches: St. James Church, Greenville, MS; Palmer Memorial, Houston, TX; Christ Church, Holly Springs, MS; Church of the Mediator, Meridian, MS; St. Columb’s Church, Jackson, MS, and retired, joining the staff at St. James Church in Jackson, MS.

Survivors include two daughters, Pamela Roberts of Memphis, TN and Cheryl Farmer (Jerry), of Meridian; three grandchildren, Timothy Beale (Misty), of Memphis, TN, Renee Farmer Bailey(Scotty), of Meridian, Trevor Roberts (Kristy), of Memphis, TN; five great-grandchildren, Ashley Beale, Krista Beale, Brody Roberts, Shelton Bailey, and Madeline Roberts; one great-great-grandchild, Carol Jean Shelton; niece, Donna Stephenson Gostecnik and husband, David, of Austin, TX; two nephews, Clyde Stephenson and wife, Pam, of Humble, TX and Joel Stephenson and wife, Jo Ellen, of Dallas, TX.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Alice Moyer, and granddaughter, Phyllis Adienne Farmer.

Pallbearers will be Timothy Beale, Trevor Roberts, Scotty Bailey, Shelton Bailey, Bob Harmon, Michael Baker and Brody Roberts. Honorary pallbearers will be his name sakes Charles Osborne Moyer Peel, Sr. and Charles Osborne Moyer Peel, Jr.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to St. James Church Jackson, The Church of the Mediator, Meridian, or Blair Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson, MS.

Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. prior to the service.

Episcopal Relief & Development celebrates 75 years

Episcopal News Service - ter, 16/09/2014 - 11:10

[Episcopal Relief & Development press release] Episcopalians, friends and partner agencies around the globe are joining together to celebrate Episcopal Relief & Development’s 75th Anniversary.  The 75-week celebration, which will continue through the end of 2015, invites supporters to learn more about the organization’s programs and get involved in campaigns to raise $7.5 million to sustain its vital work.

In 1940, the National Council of The Episcopal Church established Episcopal Relief & Development – originally the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief – to respond to the needs of European refugees fleeing World War II.  Now, working on behalf of the Church with partners in nearly 40 countries, the organization continues its legacy of bringing together the generosity of Episcopalians and others to help communities overcome challenges and create lasting change.

“At this milestone anniversary, Episcopal Relief & Development is celebrating 75 years of healing a hurting world, together with our partners and supporters around the globe whose contributions of time, talent and treasure have made this work happen,” said Rob Radtke, the organization’s President.  “Each year, more than 3 million people participate in innovative, locally led programsthat boost harvests while protecting the environment, prevent diseases by mobilizing local volunteers and empower people to build livelihoods through financial and skills training.  It is a joy to be part of the community of people whose efforts support this life-giving work.”

Led by a volunteer Steering Committee and an Honorary Committee co-chaired by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her predecessors, the Rt. Rev. Frank T. Griswold and the Rt. Rev. Edmond L. Browning, the 75th Anniversary Celebration provides many opportunities to engage more deeply with Episcopal Relief & Development’s programs and get involved in promoting and sustaining the organization’s work.  These opportunities are detailed in a special web section at http://www.episcopalrelief.org/75, which also includes a social media hub around the celebration hashtag #AllHands75, and an interactive historical timeline.

One of the cornerstones of the celebration is a traveling photo exhibition, which features 33 iconic images of Episcopal Relief & Development’s work, along with in-depth explanations and personal reflections through an accompanying e-docent app.  Having previewed at Executive Council in June, the exhibition officially launches at New York City’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine and continues its national tour with stops in Denver, San Francisco and Cincinnati.  Other venues are being confirmed.

Similarly, the organization’s 75 Stories Project provides a window into the programs, events and personalities that have shaped the last 75 years and are changing lives today. Individuals and groups are encouraged to offer reflections and stories through the Share Your Story page, and inspire and energize others to join the celebration.

“As the Chair of Episcopal Relief & Development’s Board of Directors, I am honored to have personally witnessed a deepening in both the organization’s impact, through the strategic integration of programs that address poverty, hunger and disease, and its ability to engage and energize supporters across the Church and the wider community,” said the Right Reverend Robert J. O’Neill, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado.  “I invite everyone to join in the celebration of what we have accomplished together over the last 75 years.”

Episcopal Relief & Development has created a variety of resources to help individuals, congregations, dioceses, schools and groups to join the 75th Anniversary Celebration.  Worship and prayer resources build awareness and solidarity with the organization’s partners worldwide, and faith formation materials can spark multi-generational conversation about global needs and what each person can do to help.  Additionally, five campaign toolkits provide easy-to-use informational leaflets, images, videos and creative ideas to rally communities around a specific issue, or support the organization’s overall mission.

  • 75th Anniversary Campaign: Lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and disease
  • Carry the Water Campaign: Clean water, hygiene and sanitation
  • Fast to Feed Campaign: Sustainable agriculture and livestock
  • Thrive to Five Campaign: Maternal and child health
  • Pennies to Prosperity Campaign: Vocational training and micro-finance

The overall goal of the campaigns is to raise $7.5 million by the end of 2015.  Downloadable toolkits are available on the organization’s website to help individuals and groups to invite their communities to make a 75th Anniversary contribution and join the celebration.

“Episcopal Relief & Development is one of the foremost outward expressions of faith for Episcopalians, and one of the best examples of what we can accomplish when we join with our brothers and sisters in the US and internationally to strengthen communities and create a thriving future,” said Dr. Catherine George, Chair of the 75th Anniversary Celebration Steering Committee and former Episcopal Relief & Development Board Member from the Diocese of New Jersey.  “I think this is great cause for celebration, and I am excited be leading the efforts to honor Episcopal Relief & Development’s 75th Anniversary.”

For more information about Episcopal Relief & Development and the 75th Anniversary Celebration, visit http://www.episcopalrelief.org/75 or call 1.855.312.HEAL (4325).

CARTA PASTORAL DA CÂMARA DOS BISPOS SOBRE AS ELEIÇÕES 2014

SNIEAB Feeds - ter, 16/09/2014 - 10:46

CARTA PASTORAL DA CÂMARA DOS BISPOS SOBRE AS ELEIÇÕES 2014

Ó Deus, dá aos que governam os teus juízos, e a tua justiça aos filhos dos que governam. Sl 72,1


Estamos nos aproximando de mais um pleito eleitoral em nosso país no qual iremos escolher os mandatários dos cargos governamentais e de representação nas Assembleias Legislativas e Con- gresso Nacional. Desde 1985 o povo brasileiro tem livremente escolhidos seus representantes e de- vemos manter vivo em nossa memória o custo dessa conquista e o valor das liberdades civis e políticas. Entendemos que a liberdade de escolha é um dom de Deus que devemos preservar.

Um dos componentes essenciais do exercício da liberdade de escolha é a avaliação das opções disponíveis. Isto vale para todas as situações, raramente a realidade nos confronta com situações sem alternativa. Porém, algumas vezes o desencanto com a política se transforma em cinismo. Pessoas são levadas a suspender sua capacidade de julgamento da realidade e passam a acreditar que ninguém tem autoridade moral para liderar politicamente.

Exortamos os(as) anglicanos(as) brasileiros(as) à responsabilidade de agirmos de forma íntegra no mundo público e isto nos inclui como eleitores(as) tanto quanto como candidatos(as). Cremos no Deus de amor e justiça que nos guia e aponta caminhos em todas as circunstâncias. Encorajamos nossos irmãos e irmãs a se colocarem em reflexão e escuta da voz de Deus nesse momento, para discernirem o que lhes pareça melhor para sua comunidade local e para nosso país. Entendemos que a vida é plural, que há muitas perspectivas possíveis de compreensão da realidade e que isto significa faremos escolhas diferentes. Estamos certos de que responderemos com fidelidade ao chamado de Deus se o fizermos inspirados pelos princípios da justiça e da solidariedade com os mais pobres e marginalizados.

O momento eleitoral é uma oportunidade de testemunharmos sobre os valores que acreditamos de- vam prevalecer no mundo público, mas também de apostarmos em projetos para o país, em trans-

formações que beneficiem a maioria do povo, em políticas e leis que façam avançar as causas da justiça, da igualdade e da liberdade.

Um traço bastante claro da política brasileira nos últimos anos tem sido a presença visível das can- didaturas religiosas. Não apenas pessoas têm se sentido chamadas a disputarem eleições tendo sua posição de fé como marca distintiva, como igrejas e outras organizações religiosas têm apoiado publicamente candidaturas. A Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil valoriza essa prática como sinal da preocupação ético-política das religiões com os destinos da sociedade brasileira, desde que essa ação esteja orientada para o bem comum e não leve a uma apropriação do mundo público por agendas específicas e valores de grupos religiosos, violando a liberdade de crença e de pensamento dos demais cidadãos e cidadãs.

Ao mesmo tempo, advertimos nossos irmãos e irmãs para a necessidade de discernimento em re- lação aos seguintes pontos:

a)      o estado brasileiro deve assegurar condições iguais às pessoas de todas as religiões e de nenhu- ma, não podendo ser utilizado para impor os valores que correspondem a algumas tradições de fé como se fossem de todas. A defesa do estado laico, pluralista e democrático, bem como do debate aberto sobre a fundamentação ética que queiramos dar a nossas escolhas políticas são pilares da visão anglicana no contexto brasileiro;

b)      o pertencimento à igreja cristã não nos torna infalíveis nem mais justos do que os outros. Isso significa que precisamos continuar a exercer nosso discernimento com seriedade para escolher quem melhor corresponda as nossas expectativas e aspirações de um mundo justo e fraterno. A Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil não possui candidatos(as), nem apoia oficialmente, em cir- cunstâncias normais de disputa eleitoral, qualquer candidatura;

c)       o discernimento deve ser basear tanto na integridade pessoal dos(as) candidatos(as) quanto na sua trajetória política.

Assim, conclamamos a todos(as) os(as) anglicanos(as) brasileiros a agirem com compromisso re- publicano neste momento e a darem seu testemunho de fé de modo a que nossas paróquias e comu- nidades sejam lugares de conscientização e debate cívico sobre os destinos dos estados e da nação brasileira e nossos posicionamentos pessoais sejam oportunidades de testemunho coerente da nossa visão plural da fé sobre os assuntos públicos.

Santa Maria, 14 de setembro de 2014

Dom Francisco de Assis da Silva, Bispo Primaz e Diocesano da Sul Ocidental

Dom Naudal Gomes, Bispo da Diocese Anglicana de Curitiba

Dom Filadelfo Oliveira, Bispo da Diocese Anglicana do Rio de Janeiro

Dom Mauricio Andrade, Bispo da Diocese Anglicana de Brasilia

Dom Saulo Barros, Bispo da Diocese Anglicana da Amazônia

Dom Renato Raatz, Bispo da Diocese Anglicana de Pelotas

Dom Flavio Irala, Bispo da Diocese Anglicana de São Paulo

Dom Humberto Maiztegui, Bispo da Diocese Meridional

Dom João Peixoto, Bispo da Diocese Anglicana do Recife

Dom Orlando Santos de Oliveira, Emérito

Dom Almir dos Santos, Emérito

Sydney archbishop calls for increased refugee intake

Episcopal News Service - ter, 16/09/2014 - 09:45

[Sydney Anglicans] The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies has written to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, asking for Australia’s humanitarian intake to be lifted to 20,000.

Davies again expressed concern about the wave of persecution in Iraq and Syria, saying Christians and other religious minorities have been “persecuted, threatened, dispossessed and in many cases, killed for their beliefs. Those who have survived are in transit camps with few possessions and little hope. Some are not yet safe as it is reported that there are ‘hidden cells’ of terrorists who may be activated and pose a further threat to Christians who have fled the north.”

The archbishop thanked the government for reserving 4,400 places in the refugee intake program for the victims of the ongoing violence in the Middle East.

“Although l applaud the inclusion of the persecuted within the quota of Australia’s humanitarian intake of 13,700, I respectfully request that you increase this quota even further, as the Howard government did when boat arrivals became negligible. Given that boat arrivals, under your government, have slowed considerably, a level of 20,000 would not be unsustainable and would reflect a country whose values include compassion for the vulnerable and dispossessed,” Davies said.

The archbishop has made several statements since the start of the Iraq crisis, calling on the government to ensure the safety of those fleeing, and urging Sydney Anglicans to urgent prayer and material support through the Archbishop’s Anglican Aid emergency appeal.

“Churches all over Australia have been united in urgent prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ as well as other persecuted minority groups, against whom these atrocities are being committed,” Davies told the prime minister.

“Anglicans in our diocese, which is the largest in Australia, have responded generously to an appeal for victims of this persecution and my office has received contact from many members of our churches who are very concerned at the plight of these people and asylum seekers generally.”

“As a Christian leader, I appeal to you to show hospitality and generosity to those who have suffered more than we can imagine,” the archbishop said.

West Texas: Camp Capers grows veggies and size

Episcopal News Service - ter, 16/09/2014 - 09:34

Camp Capers summer intern Victoria Schnaufer leads campers on tour of vegetable garden. Photo: Mike Patterson

[Diocese of West Texas - Waring, Texas] A visit to the dining hall at Camp Capers could find a table set with linguini con le vongole. Or maybe andouille and chicken creole pasta with peppers, mushrooms, carrots, onion and a blackened Cajun cream. Or even lemony roasted shrimp with butternut squash and edamame sage orzo served with roasted asparagus, grape tomatoes and avocado with Dijon vinaigrette.

That’s for adults. What about the kids?

“Chicken nuggets,” Chef Justin Stokes said with a shrug.

Stokes is in his fourth year as chef at Camp Capers, the Hill Country camp and retreat center owned by the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. And since his arrival, he has been creating a wide assortment of menus to please varied palates ranging from preparing 200 meals three times a day for the chicken nugget and pizza crowd of youngsters and teenagers at summer camp to adults attending a spiritual retreat who appreciate a gastronomic delight.

“If they haven’t been to Camp Capers before, they arrive thinking they’re going to get camp type food,” Stokes said. “Instead, we serve them a nice meal, a good sauce, properly cooked veggies. They’re blown away.”

“Farm to table. That’s what people want,” he said. With such temptations, even the teenagers begin breaking down to appreciate better food — more salads, more organics and more vegetables, Stokes said.

Raised on a nearby sustainable farm, Stokes attended culinary school in Austin and then worked at several restaurants before joining the staff at Camp Capers as chief chef. It was a perfect opportunity.

“It’s where I grew up,” he said. “It’s a little more in touch with people. I have a lot of liberty with my menus. I can cook a meal and then see them eat it.”

In addition to summer camp activities, Camp Capers also hosts events throughout the year for groups ranging from Sunday evening dinner parties to December Christmas dinners to even staff meetings for area businesses. Some like what they find and visit “multiple times a year,” even returning with still more groups.

The reason? “It’s cheaper and better food than anybody else provides in the area,” Stokes said.

One German heritage organization requested that Stokes prepare nothing but German food – and left him with rave reviews. “They said it was better than anything they got in Germany,” he said. “We gained three additional bookings just from that group.”

“In fact, all of our bookings have increased and the numbers in the groups have increased. It’s a word of mouth type thing. Camp Capers is kind of like a B&B now,” he said.

A notable addition to the food fare is the supply of fresh organic vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, okra, even edible flowers grown on site in a new garden.

Funded by private donations, the garden was planted in early May. “We held a men’s retreat before the summer programs began,” he said. “We got them to do some planting.”

During the summer months, the kids help out in the garden as summer interns use the garden as a backdrop to connect campers with the outdoors and the spiritual. Plus, they learn that produce doesn’t grow in the local supermarket.

“The garden has so many metaphors,” says camp director David Griffin.

Summer intern Victoria Schnaufer, a natural history and forestry major from Sewanee University, has even invented a game that involves using the garden as a metaphor.

“It’s growing through the phases of my life,” Schnaufer said. “We always go back to the soil. God’s always there to fall back on.”

She also encourages campers to talk to the plants in the garden. “One girl talked to a

watermelon and by the end of the day it was ready to harvest,” she said.

The point? “Talk to God to grow,” she said.

The harvest is utilized in salad bars “to save a little money,” Stokes said. What’s not used is offered to parents for a donation when they pick up their children from camp. Plus, they can also find jars of Stokes’ homemade pesto.

The spring garden is just the beginning, Stokes said. He plans to “go big” with a fall garden, and next year, hopes to organize a cooking from the earth program, focusing on nature, wild plants and edibles.

Another new aspect of Camp Capers is the acquisition of an adjacent 108 acres, more than doubling the size of the 80-acre campus.

“This is truly a historic and significant moment in the life of the Diocese of West Texas,” Bishop Gary Lillibridge said in announcing the acquisition. “These additional acres provide us, and those who will come after us, incredible opportunities to expand our ministries and retreat offerings in many ways, both known and unknown.”

Purchased in the fall 2013, the property is currently being used for primitive camping at nine sites scattered across the property. The sole improvements consist of fire pits built during a men’s retreat.

During campouts, a chaplain leads an outdoor chapel program, though eventually the hope is to build a worship space with log benches, stone altar and perhaps a pavilion. The property is also being offered to other groups such as Boy Scouts seeking a place to hone their outdoor skills.

Bordered by the cypress lined Guadalupe River, the property enables campers to put in a kayak, canoe or tube and float down to the original Camp Capers outpost.

“We’re somewhat bursting at the seams,” Griffin said. “We saw a lot of potential having that retreat area. It was very appealing to us.”

Both Bishop Lillibridge and Suffragan Bishop David Reed credit Camp Campers as helping in their formation as youngsters, and some on the current staff are considering entering the ministry themselves.

“Camp Capers is a very holy place,” Griffin said. “Since the Diocese doesn’t have a cathedral, Camp Capers is kind of the cathedral for the diocese.”

– Mike Patterson is a San Antonio-based freelance writer and member of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Blanco, Texas.

A community gathers to mourn and be comforted

Episcopal News Service - ter, 16/09/2014 - 09:21

[Diocese of Central Pennsylvania]  We gathered here today to celebrate the life of a child we never knew, a child whose face we cannot even see. Jarrod Tutko, Jr. came into our lives too late for him, but not too late for us, not too late for his life to have an impact, I hope, on our lives and the lives of countless children and parents,” said the Rev. Canon Kate Harrigan, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

About 100 people from the neighborhood of Green Street in Harrisburg, as well as church members gathered on Sept. 13 for a memorial service for 9-year-old Jarrod Tutko, Jr. who died in July in his home from neglect, starvation and dehydration.

Jarrod, who suffered from Fragile X Syndrome, a rare form of autism, was kept in his third floor bedroom by his parents for about four years before his death. His mother and other siblings had little contact with him, because of his severe behavioral problems and because his mother was caring for another child with complex health problems. When Jarrod’s father, who was responsible for his care, brought him downstairs to his mother on Aug.1  he admitted that Jarrod had been dead for four days and that he had not been up to see Jarrod for the two days before he found him dead. His mother called 911, and when police arrived they found the house, and especially Jarrod’s room, in deplorable condition. The father, Jarrod Tutko, Sr. was arrested and the other children were placed in foster care, according to news reports.

Last week, the Dauphin County Coroner announced that they had cremated Jarrod’s body, because no one from the family had come to claim him. He had not been able to contact Jarrod’s mother and so their policy required that he be cremated and buried in the local county “Potter’s Field.” That announcement rallied several groups in the community to do something for Jarrod in death that they couldn’t do in life. One group donated a burial site. Another the cost of a private funeral, which will take place at a later date. A fundraiser was launched to purchase a headstone. And Harrigan, as the rector of the Episcopal church in Jarrod’s neighborhood, stepped forward to offer the memorial service as an opportunity for the community to grieve and heal.

Most of those attending the service did not know Jarrod, as he never went outside of the home he lived in with his parents and two siblings, only a few blocks from St. Paul’s Church. “I realized that in a house, only a couple of blocks from here, only a couple of blocks from where we gather to worship week after week, a child was dying, a child had died,” said Harrigan in her homily. “Like all of us I was horrified. I was horrified in so many ways. His was a house I had driven by more times than I wanted to think about. And I knew nothing. I have looked around this neighborhood since then and wondered about the families who live in each house, praying for their safety, praying for each person in this neighborhood.”

Harrigan challenged those in attendance to get to know their neighbors. To be willing to knock on their neighbor’s door and introduce themselves. “Jarrod may have been forgotten in life but I encourage us not to let him be forgotten in death. I would like to challenge us to let his name be a reminder that all of our lives are interwoven. I would like to challenge us to let his name be a reminder that there are children and parents who need help and hope. “

The altar was set with white balloons, a white rose and a burning candle. The balloons will deflate, the rose will drop its petals and the candle will be extinguished, but the community will honor the memory of young Jarrod as they heal from their grief and move forward to touch the lives of so many children who need love and care.

– Linda Arguedas canon for communications in the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania.