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Malcolm Boyd, activist-writer priest, dies at 91

Episcopal News Service - 13 horas 1 minuto atrás

[The Episcopal News — Los Angeles] The Rev. Canon Malcolm Boyd – whose human rights advocacy shaped most of his 30 books including the 1965 best-seller Are You Running with Me, Jesus? – died February 27 in Los Angeles while receiving private hospice care. Severe complications of pneumonia caused Boyd’s death at age 91, said his life partner, Mark Thompson.

The Rev. Canon Malcolm Boyd life spanned 60 years of ordained ministry. Photo: Janet Kawamoto/Diocese of Los Angeles

Boyd was ordained 60 years ago in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles which he served since 1996 as writer-in-residence. Bishop F. Eric Bloy made Boyd, then age 31, a deacon in 1954 and a priest the next year. Ordination followed Boyd’s work in television’s early years as a production partner of Hollywood icon Mary Pickford.

“Malcolm lives on in our hearts and minds through the wise words and courageous example he has shared with us through the years,” said the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the six-county Diocese of Los Angeles. “We pray in thanksgiving for Malcolm’s life and ministry, for his tireless advocacy for civil rights, and for his faithful devotion to Jesus who now welcomes him to eternal life and comforts us in our sense of loss.”

Activism for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered equality was at the core of Boyd and Thompson’s 31-year union, which included their civil marriage in a July 2013 private ceremony in their longtime home in the Silver Lake section of Los Angeles.

A Eucharistic celebration of Boyd’s life will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, at the Cathedral Center of St. Paul, 840 Echo Park Ave., where he also conducted spiritual direction and mentoring with several clergy and lay persons. There he completed the most recent of the 30 books that he authored and six that he edited in addition to writing numerous columns, essays, sermons and prayers after being named diocesan writer-in-residence by Bishop Frederick H. Borsch.

‘Running with Jesus’
Active in ministry through the recent Christmas season, Boyd was preparing to mark the 50th anniversary this spring of the publication of his landmark book of prayers, Are You Running with Me, Jesus? In December he wrote that the book “had for a long time been slowly growing in my soul, mind and being. This came to a head when a group of Roman Catholic priests and laity invited me to be their guest on a visit to Jerusalem and Rome. We were  very open to one another in our spiritual quest. One afternoon as a group we were resting. I did something that changed my life; I wrote a short prayer on an airline ticket. It became the first prayer in my book, which appeared a year later.”

“It’s morning, Jesus,” the book’s signature prayer begins. “…I’ve got to run all over again. / Where am I running? You know these things I can’t understand… / So I’ll follow along, OK? But lead, please. Now I’ve got to run. Are you running with me, Jesus?”

The story of Boyd’s life – including marching in Selma for civil rights and publicly coming out as gay, in a 1977 interview with the Chicago Sun-Times religion editor – is being chronicled in a new documentary titled Malcolm Boyd: Disturber of the Peace and set for completion later this year. Full information is available online at www.malcolmboydfilm.com. Memorial contributions are being received, through the Diocese of Los Angeles, to complete the film.

Boyd’s decision to pursue ordained ministry, following his paternal grandfather who was also an Episcopal priest, came after several years of working in Hollywood and New York in radio and television. In 1944 Boyd enrolled in a radio workshop conducted by NBC in Hollywood, where he was hired thereafter by the advertising agency Foote, Cone & Belding and became a junior producer of radio and television programs. In 1947 he left advertising to begin work as a writer and producer for Republic Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Productions.

In the course of this work, Boyd met Pickford and her third husband, Charles “Buddy” Rogers, and joined the couple to form, in 1949, the production company PRB Inc. Two years later, in 1951, with Pickford’s support, Boyd began seminary studies in Berkeley, California, at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1995.

Pickford and Boyd’s association is cited in Eileen Whitfield’s 1997 book Pickford: the Woman Who Made Hollywood. Another family friend, actress Lillian Gish, was close to Boyd and his mother, Beatrice, who was for several years parish secretary at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church in Hollywood.

Early life and ministry
Boyd was the only child of investment banker Melville Boyd and Beatrice Lowrie, a fashion model, who were married in the early 1920s. Malcolm was born on June 8, 1923, in Buffalo, New York, where his parents were visiting from their Manhattan home. The family’s fortunes perished in the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression, and the couple’s marriage ended in divorce. Beatrice Boyd then moved to Colorado Springs, accompanied by young Malcolm, who developed an interest in journalism by writing for school newspapers, later crediting middle- and high-school teachers as early and influential mentors.

It was at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Denver that Boyd and his mother encountered Dean Paul Roberts who encouraged Boyd to consider the priesthood. After ordination, Boyd credited Roberts as one of his greatest spiritual guides. While in college, Boyd contracted bronchiectasis and doctors recommended a change of climate, which led to his enrollment and graduation in 1944 from the University of Arizona at Tucson.

Following his 1955 ordination to the priesthood , Boyd pursued further studies at Oxford University and in Geneva at the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Institute. He then in 1956 earned a master’s degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York. He wrote his first book, Crisis in Communication, and in 1957 traveled to France to serve in the Taizé community.

After returning to the United States, Boyd was called as rector of St. George’s Church in inner-city Indianapolis. It was here in 1957 that Boyd met Paul and Jenny Moore and became close friends. At the time, Paul Moore was dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, prior to his 1964 consecration as bishop suffragan in Washington D.C. and his 1969 election as bishop coadjutor of the Manhattan-based Diocese of New York.

Boyd’s second book, Christ and Celebrity Gods, was published in 1958 tracing the development of the Hollywood “religious film” including several produced by Cecil B. DeMille, a fellow Episcopalian whom Boyd interviewed at various times, differing on some points of view.

‘Espresso Priest,’ Freedom Rider
In 1959 Boyd became Episcopal chaplain at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, where he began a coffeehouse ministry known as “The Golden Grape” and later became identified in the media as “the espresso priest.” His outreach to the “beatniks” drew criticism from Colorado’s then diocesan bishop, Joseph Minnis, and Boyd eventually resigned as chaplain. Later in 1959, during an address for the Religious Emphasis Week at Louisiana State University, Boyd gave a clear call for an end to racial segregation and began a decade of work in the civil rights movement.

In 1961, Boyd joined 27 other Episcopal priests – black and white – in a Freedom Ride organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in an effort to desegregate interstate transportation. In 1962 Life magazine named Boyd among the “100 Most Important Young Men and Women in the United States.”

From 1961 to 1964, Boyd served concurrently as priest on the interracial ministry team of Grace Church, Detroit, and as Episcopal chaplain at Wayne State University. In the summer of 1965 he assisted with voter registration in Mississippi and Alabama. Later in 1965 Boyd was present in Los Angeles when the Watts riots erupted, assisting in local ministry at the direction of Bishop Bloy. Boyd’s friend, Jonathan Daniels, was murdered in Alabama that August 20.

When Boyd’s Are You Running with Me, Jesus? was published in 1965, “no one knew it would become a runaway national bestseller with one million copies in print and translation into a number of different languages,” he later said, recalling that he “gave many public readings from the book accompanied by musicians including Oscar Brown Jr., Vince Guaraldi and guitarist Charlie Byrd.” Columbia Records released two albums of Boyd and Byrd collaborating. Boyd also read the prayers in San Francisco’s “hungry i” nightclub, with Dick Gregory headlining the bill through a one-month run.

Boyd went on to assist until 1970 at the Church of the Atonement, Washington D.C., where he also served as field director for the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity. On February 6, 1968, Boyd was present a final time in a rally with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a gathering near the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in Arlington Cemetery.

“In the 1960s, Boyd began to edge out of the closet,” notes the online lbtq encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, & queer culture. “He had experienced his first sexual relationship with another man in New York City in the mid-1950s but hesitated to accept his homosexuality,” the online encyclopedia continues. “He came out unofficially in 1965 with his eloquent prayer ‘This is a Homosexual Bar, Jesus’ in his best-selling book of prayers, Are You Running with Me, Jesus? The book led to an offer in 1968 to become writer-in-residence at Calhoun College of Yale University.”

The encyclopedia adds that when Boyd came out publicly in the 1977 Chicago Sun-Times interview he became, by some accounts, “the first prominent openly gay clergyman of a mainstream Christian denomination in the United States. He also discusses the difficulties of being a gay Episcopal priest in his autobiography, Take Off the Masks (1978). In Gay Priest (1986), Boyd explores the painful spiritual journey forced upon any gay man who would be a priest.”

Nexus of sacred, secular
Popular television hosts Dick Cavett and Merv Griffin were among those who interviewed Boyd on the air through the 1960s and into the ’70s. A July 27,1971 Look magazine cover story pictured him among 16 Americans – including Margaret Mead, Walter Cronkite, Duke Ellington and Norman Vincent Peale – each offering his or her “personal key” to peace of mind. During these years Boyd also developed a friendship with Hugh Hefner, and the two collaborated in interviews and events, some at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.

Amid such secular contexts, Boyd also claimed “no intention of severing his connection with the institutional church,” the Diocesan Press Service, now Episcopal News Service, reported in 1969. “The best-selling author said he had a ‘Virginia Woolf kind of marriage to the Church. It’s violent, it’s lusty, it’s organic. A divorce would be out of the question. We would always be in one another’s fantasies.”

Some 30 years later, at a 1999 San Diego meeting of the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops, Boyd and Thompson were present to comment on the depth of their relationship and to advocate for marriage equality. On May 16, 2004, Bishop Bruno blessed Boyd and Thompson’s union in a ceremony at the Cathedral Center on the 20th anniversary of their life partnership.

In 1996, Boyd concluded 15 years as a parish associate priest at St. Augustine by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Santa Monica, California. During these years Boyd served three terms as president of PEN Center USA West, the regional center of the international writers’ organization, and he was a frequent book reviewer for the Los Angeles Times.

From 1990 to 2000, Boyd also wrote a regular column for Modern Maturity, magazine of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) with 34 million readers. From 1996 until his death he was a columnist for The Episcopal News, newspaper of the Diocese of Los Angeles. In 2011, Boyd became a regular columnist in the Huffington Post’s religion section, continuing through 2014 and often commenting on how much he enjoyed contributing online and in the context of social media. A link to the columns is here.

Insights on death, dying
The death of Boyd’s mother in 1997, just 10 days before her 99th birthday, prompted his book Go Gentle Into that Good Night (Genesis Press, 1998), a reflective commentary on death and dying.

In Go Gentle, Boyd wrote: “I hope I’ll have few regrets when death comes. I would like to walk away hand in hand with death, feeling that I have struggled faithfully with the key issues that presented themselves to me. I hope that I will not cry or whine for more time. If I have used my time for love, and am eager to find what lies ahead, I won’t have to.”

Later, Boyd’s essay titled “Mother Broke Her Hip” was included in the book In Times Like These…How We Pray, a volume that Boyd edited with Bishop Bruno. With Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Chester Talton, Boyd also co-edited the 2003 book Race and Prayer: Collected Voices, Many Dreams. In 2011, to coincide with Boyd’s 88th birthday, Seabury Books published Black Battle, White Knight: The Authorized Biography of Malcolm Boyd by the Rev. Michael Battle – with a foreword by Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who wrote: “One is an octogenarian, and the other a late baby boomer. One is heterosexual, married with three children, and the other is gay in a long-term partnership. One is black and the other is white. But the similarities far outweigh the differences, the chief similarity being their mutual search for God here and everywhere.”

In advance of Boyd’s 90th birthday, the Lambda Literary Foundation hosted OUTWRITE!, a special celebration honoring Los Angeles LGBT literary pioneers – Malcolm Boyd, Lillian Faderman, Katherine V. Forrest, John Rechy and Patricia Nell Warren – at the West Hollywood Public Library. The April 27, 2013 evening marked the organization’s 25th anniversary.

That spring, a Christian Science Monitor profile written by journalist Gary Yerkey noted Boyd’s expertise in conveying “the message of Christianity outside of the walls of the church to champion minority rights and show that God is everywhere.”

In May 2014, Boyd received an honorary doctorate from the Episcopal Divinity School, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near the campus of Harvard University.

One of Boyd’s last public appearances was at the October 26, 2014 evensong and dinner marking the 150th year of the Cathedral Center congregation in which he had been ordained 60 years prior.

Late 2014 found Boyd preparing for the 50th anniversary, in spring 2015, of the 1965 release of Are You Running with Me, Jesus? Anticipating this occasion, Boyd wrote: “My book of prayers clearly now belongs to the world. I know that. I love prayer and am grateful it is a powerful part of my life. I wish we could – or would – pray with more passion, greater sensitivity, even more passion. I identify with what a writer for The New York Times wrote about the prayers: ‘The eloquence of the prayers comes from the personal struggle they contain – a struggle to believe, to keep going, a spiritual contest that is agonized, courageous and not always won.’ I am grateful for his insight. I agree with him.’’

– Robert Williams is canon for community relations of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and a former director of the New York-based Episcopal News Service. Janet Kawamoto, editor of The Episcopal News of Los Angeles, contributed to this report.

Domestic-poverty fellows work to alleviate suffering, teach church

Episcopal News Service - qui, 26/02/2015 - 16:24

Justin, shown here with his dog Trinity, plays an important part in the ministry with homeless people that the Rev. Sarah Monroe, left, coordinates out of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Aberdeen, Washington. Photo: Glenn Stone

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Sarah Monroe and the Rev. Susan Heath may live on opposite ends of the United States, and their ministries may take different forms, but their goals are the same: building communities that can work toward alleviating poverty and the suffering it causes.

There is “a real hunger for community and a real hunger for hope” among the homeless people that Monroe ministers with and to in Aberdeen, Washington, she said.

“People who are poor in the U.S. are told in every possible way that they aren’t worth anything; that it’s their fault that they are poor, that they are a failure in life, that they are no good,” said Monroe of the Diocese of Olympia. She and Heath are the two recipients of one-year fellowships from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. (The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is the legal and canonical name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business, and caries out mission.)

Monroe’s aim is to change that message and image, beginning with poor people themselves.

Meanwhile in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, Heath is helping an ecumenical group of bishops lead an initiative to improve public education in the state.

Working for better educational opportunities “touches everything, and it’s about poverty because children in poverty have so many hurdles to get over,” said Heath, the other recipient of a one-year, $24,000 fellowship.

“It’s a moral issue because so much of what inhibits education everywhere, but certainly in South Carolina, is poverty. One of the opportunities I have is to pull back the curtain, prompting conversation about the haves and have-nots,” Heath said.

“Susan Heath and Sarah Monroe’s Mark 4 Fellowships focus on a central component of our faith: mutually transformative, person-to-person relationships with vulnerable communities,” said Jayce Hafner, domestic policy analyst in the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s Office of Government Relations. Both Moore and Heath “seek to nurture a sense of empowerment and fellowship among those in need,” she added.

“These projects send forth a call to the rest of the church to engage in similarly transformational ministries and present a useful model that can be transferred to new geographical and cultural contexts,” she said.

Both Monroe and Heath have something to show the wider Episcopal Church, the Rev. Mark Stevenson, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s domestic poverty missioner, told ENS. The idea for the fellowships grew out of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s experience of seeing interns across the church working with specific local ministries, he said. Their work has also helped model best practices for the rest of the church.

“They’re teaching us how to reach out into the community” and use local partnerships to “turn the resources that you have at your disposal loose on attacking issues of economic injustice,” he said.

And the economic injustices run deep, Monroe and Heath each said.

When she was assigned as a deacon to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Aberdeen, Monroe knew something about the region, having grown up in a rural area nearby. And she “absolutely fell in love with street ministry” during an internship with Ecclesia Ministries’ Common Cathedral in Boston while attending Episcopal Divinity School, in nearby Cambridge.

Aberdeen, a city of about 17,000 people some 100 miles southwest of Seattle, is a “stereotypical falling-down post-industrial town” with empty storefronts downtown and dependent on fluctuating timber and fishing industries. There’s a push “to make the town prettier by getting rid of the people on the street,” and those people ask, “Where are we supposed to go now?” Monroe said.

The Rev. Sarah Monroe, far right, began her ministry with homeless people in Aberdeen, Washington, by getting to know the folks who hang out under a bridge that connects two parts of the coastal town southwest of Seattle. Photo: Glenn Stone

That question, as well as “a real sense of anger and despair,” is what Monroe heard when she started seeking out homeless people in Aberdeen. Soon she was setting up a table under the bridge that connects two parts of town and handing out sandwiches to the people who hang out there. Over and over again, she heard they had nowhere to gather.

After being ordained a priest in April 2014, Monroe began using the St. Andrew’s parish hall for a Bible study and meal program for homeless people. It has become a gathering place where folks have begun to anchor their stories in the stories of the Bible. One day, the gathered group read the Magnificat. The participants had developed enough trust among themselves to begin telling of their experience of being poor and discovering that God does indeed care about the poor.

“It was the first time where I really saw this real sense of hope developing,” said Monroe, adding that she sensed participants began to feel “that somehow we’re a part of God’s plan and purpose.”

From that nascent sense of empowerment, Monroe said, she hopes that poor and homeless people can develop into leaders able to go to bodies such as the city council and advocate for their community.

“The purpose is not only to treat the symptoms of hunger and lack of resources but to really develop leadership in poor communities with the people on the street, people experiencing poverty, to develop a movement really to end poverty in this county and to develop a model to do it elsewhere,” Monroe said. “That’s a big dream, but it’s one worth having.”

That dream and the work it will take is something Monroe hopes to give to the rest of The Episcopal Church. “I hope that we’re developing something that can be used as a model for the wider church, and I hope that this conversation can become a wider conversation in the church about poverty and the realities of rural and small-town poverty, and what is the church called to do in that reality,” she said.

A video of Monroe explaining the work she plans to do during her fellowship year is here.

Developing models and prompting wider conversations are goals of the work Heath is doing in South Carolina. The roots of that work are in a 25-year-old collaboration among the bishops of the South Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston and the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.

The Rev. Susan Heath hopes the work of her fellowship year will involve people in South Carolina in developing “authentic and credible support of public education.” Photo: Diocese of Upper South Carolina

The current leaders of what is known as LARCUM decided to make improving public education and setting advocacy priorities for themselves and their members. Heath, who had worked in public-education advocacy previously and had “a little bit of name recognition beyond the church,” said she was a “likely suspect and a willing one” when the bishops asked her to coordinate their initiative.

The effort’s goals include involving many people from all four denominations in “authentic and credible support of public education,” Heath said. That involvement can range from organizing school-supplies drives to supporting the teaching profession, from tutoring to advocacy.

A second step is to have people “lend their voice to the conversation in political work,” Heath said. “We need to be able to contribute to making systemic changes. This is one place where we will put our energy.”

When Heath explains the program and its goals, she discovers that “folks who are skeptical of the church or who are non-churched are excited about it.” They tell her it is encouraging to see the churches doing something “that makes it clear the church is about more than self-perpetuation or bricks and mortar.”

Besides using the results of a LARCUM survey on current denominational work in support of public education, Heath is developing new efforts. A school district near where she lives has joined with other religious leaders to begin a pilot tutoring project in five elementary schools this month that will last until May. Along with tutoring students, the project will connect people of faith across denominations to form community among the tutors and school personnel.

“One of the things I hope to give to the rest of the church is the deep understanding – and this is something I think we all know but we underplay – of how much it matters when the community of faith steps up and is obvious in the conversation and in the equation,” Heath said.

A video of Heath explaining the work she plans during her fellowship is here.

The 2013-2015 budget passed by General Convention allotted $1 million for programs aimed at engaging Episcopalians in working for the eradication of domestic poverty (Line 108 here). That allocation, including $48,000 for the two domestic-poverty fellowships, is part of how the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is responding to the fourth Mark of Mission, which calls on members of the Anglican Communion to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation.

The recently released Report to the Church details the budget-supported work of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society to date in the current triennium, including the Mark Four work described on pages 56-69.

General Convention structured the current triennial budget around the Communion’s Five Marks of Mission and provided significant unallocated sums for new work targeted around each Mark of Mission. The intention was that the resulting work would be done in new, collaborative partnerships with dioceses, congregations and other Episcopal organizations. The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society has provided seed money and/or matching grants as well as staff support and expertise for the new work.

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

Program, Budget and Finance prepares to listen to the church

Episcopal News Service - qua, 25/02/2015 - 19:02

[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] The Episcopal Church’s Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) left its three day meeting here ready to listen to the church’s opinions about which work ought to be done on a church-wide level in the next three years and how to pay for that work.

Diocese of Maine Bishop Stephen Lane, vice chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance, takes notes Feb. 24 as committee members report on their initial explorations of Executive Council’s draft budget. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

That listening will inform the General Convention budget committee’s preparation of a budget to propose to the June 25-July 3 meeting of General Convention in Salt Lake City.

PB&F prepared itself for the listening phase of its work by doing some listening – and inquiring – of its own after it received the draft 2016-2018 triennium budget that Executive Council passed last month. (General Convention Joint Rule II.10.c.iii calls for Executive Council to give PB&F a draft budget no less than four months before the start of General Convention, essentially by February of convention year).

Diocese of Maine Bishop Stephen Lane, PB&F vice chair, told the committee at the outset of the meeting that “we are in a receptive mode.”

Diocese of Ohio Bishop Mark Hollingsworth, chair of council’s Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission, and the Rev. Susan Snook of Arizona, who chaired FFM’s budget subcommittee, led PB&F members in a detailed explanation of the draft budget. The committee then spent time studying the budget’s line-by-line assumptions and allocations, and its larger issues.

Those larger issues included the role of the budget in guiding the church through a time of change and the desire on many people’s part for the church-wide structure to operate in a different way to better respond to the challenges the church faces. The committee also faces the uncertainty of crafting a budget while the church considers the recommendations on structural changes to the church made to General Convention by the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church. Those recommendations will come to Salt Lake City. Some of the church’s other committees, commissions, agencies and boards could also propose structural changes for this summer’s convention to consider, as could deputies, bishops and dioceses by way of resolutions.

Diocese of Ohio Bishop Mark Hollingsworth, chair of Executive Council’s Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission, makes a point during Program, Budget and Finance’s plenary session Feb. 24 as the Rev. Canon Mally Lloyd of Massachusetts, PB&F chair, listens. The Rev. Susan Snook of Arizona, left, chaired FFM’s budget subcommittee. She and Hollingsworth handed off council’s draft budget to PB&B during the Feb. 23-25 meeting. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

And, convention and PB&F will also be aware that the 27th presiding bishop, due to be elected at this meeting of convention, might cast a new vision for the church during his or her nine-year term and beyond.

Also during the meeting here in Maryland, PB&F members heard Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, House of Deputies President Gay Jennings, Chief Operating Officer Bishop Stacy Sauls and Executive Officer of General Convention the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe describe their visions for the 2016-2018 budget and the process being used to build it.

Jefferts Schori urged the committee to continue to think about building the budget around those things that can be done best or most appropriately by church-wide structures. Some of the types of work she suggested were supporting growth toward mutual responsibility and interdependence of the church’s individual and institutional members; stewarding the resources of the church including its corporate decision-making tradition, finances, property, reputation, the historical record, liturgical norms and tradition, and what she called boundary norms such as anti-racism, inclusivity and clergy discipline. Jefferts Schori also cited fostering relationships with other churches and religious communities, as well as relationships with governments and supranational institutions such as the United Nations.

The Rev. Canon Cornelia Eaton, PB&F member from Navajoland, elevates the host at the fraction during Eucharist on Feb. 25. Eaton, who is canon to the ordinary in Navajoland, was ordained a priest on Feb. 7. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The presiding bishop praised the work done in the last few triennia to develop a “coherent vision of what mission is about; that it’s about building the reign of God in our own day.” She noted that this vision has increasingly been anchored in the Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission. The 2016-2018 draft budget is built around the structure the marks provide, as is the 2013-2015 budget.

Jennings reminded the committee that “our stewardship of money is a spiritual matter, and the budget is a deeply theological document.”

She also warned the members that during the budget debate there were “bound to be disagreements, misunderstandings, and even confusion” and she urged them to “examine budget decisions using the lens of how we can empower, equip, and support congregations in every manner possible.”

“Ask the hard questions, use fresh eyes, anticipate the questions of deputies and bishops, remember the poor and underserved, and let Jesus be your companion,” she told them.

Sauls said he believed that “the church exists to do two things: to serve the poor and create servants of the poor.”

He told the committee the story of St. Laurence of Rome, a third century deacon, who was ordered by a Roman prefect to bring him the treasure of the church. The prefect was expecting to receive the church’s money and property, including vestments and communion vessels made of precious metals and jewels. Instead, on the appointed day, Laurence assembled before the prefect the poor people of Rome. Laurence was martyred because of his answer.

PB&F member Samuel Gould administers communion to Chief Operating Officer Bishop Stacy Sauls during Eucharist Feb. 25. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

“That is a terribly important thing for us to remember,” Sauls said. “The church as I see it, as it administers its property which, though it rarely feels like it to us, is vast, exists to be the trustee of those who are poor.”

Barlowe said “we need a healthy, growing, loving, serving, transforming church at every level of its being.”

PB&F members “have the critical responsibility of helping General Convention consider how a church-wide budget can best strengthen and inspire the whole church in restoring people to unity with God and with each other in Christ.”

Thus, he said, framing the budget through the Five Marks of Mission moves the church towards that goal.

“But as with any system of classification, the Five Marks of Mission can become a very confusing filter if we try too hard to make something fit into the marks and then leave other things outside of the marks,” he said.

He urged the committee to confront that possible confusion and explain to the church how those budget items classified as Five Marks of Mission spending and those outside of that structure “work together to serve the mission of the church.”

Episcopal Church Treasurer N. Kurt Barnes responds to a question. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

As is expected at this stage of the budget process, PB&F made no changes in council’s draft budget. The Rev. Canon Mally Lloyd of Massachusetts, PB&F chair, recollected the gospel for the First Sunday in Lent, the previous day on Feb. 22, during which Jesus is tempted in the wilderness for 40 days.

“Our temptation here in the next few days is that we will try to start to tinker with things that are in the budget as given to us, to try to respond to our own inner leanings about how we should fund different parts of the church and to respond to people that have already begun to talk to us,” she said.

Lloyd said the purpose of the meeting was instead to study the draft budget and learn from Hollingsworth, Snook and church-wide staff members who were present so that the committee members could understand council’s proposal and be prepared to get feedback from the church.

“Jesus was tempted for 40 days,” she reminded the committee. “We have 117 days. Gird your loins.”

PB&F’s listening initially will come in two primary forms. First, committee members will get comments and questions as they make budget presentations to the pre-General Convention synods about to begin in each of the church’s nine provinces. Second, a web-based comment process open to the whole church is due to be available within the week.

The Rev. Canon Victoria Heard, Dallas, asks a question Feb. 24 during a PB&F plenary session. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The committee’s listening proceeds from surveys about the budget conducted by Executive Council and its FFM committee, along with feedback FFM received after it released for comment a preliminary version of its draft budget last fall.

Once in Salt Lake City, PB&F’s listening phase will end with two hearings. The first on the evening of June 25 will focus on the income the draft budget assumes will be available during the 2016-2018 triennium. The second hearing the next evening will center on how that money would be spent during those three years.

PB&F will use the comments it receives, council’s draft budget and any legislation passed by or being considered by General Convention to create a final budget proposal. That budget must be presented to a joint session of the Houses of Bishops and Deputies no later than the third day before convention’s scheduled adjournment. According to the draft convention schedule, that presentation is set to take place at 2:15 p.m. MDT on July 1.

The two houses then debate and vote on the budget separately. Both houses must approve the same version of the budget, which takes effect at the beginning of 2016. Executive Council often has to revise each of the three annual budgets of the triennium based on changing income and expenses.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an Episcopal News Service editor and reporter.

Somos Anglicanos(as) e Falamos o Idioma Português!

SNIEAB Feeds - ter, 24/02/2015 - 15:43

A Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil acolherá entre os dias 26-28 de fevereiro, em Recife/PE, o II ENCONTRO DE DIOCESES LUSÓFONAS DA COMUNHÃO ANGLICANA, com apoio do Escritório da Comunhão Anglicana, da Aliança Anglicana e da US (antiga USPG). Segundo o Bispo Primaz da IEAB Dom Francisco de Assis da Silva ” […] o Encontro será uma oportunidade de estreitar os laços entre as Igrejas de fala portuguesa abrindo horizontes de cooperação nas áreas de Educação Teológica, Diaconia e Desenvolvimento e Missão”. Ainda destaca que  […] os anglicanos de fala portuguesa têm uma enorme contribuição para a Comunhão Anglicana. A delegação brasileira no Encontro reúne importantes representações da Província, revelando assim a enorme importância que esta iniciativa representa para o Brasil”.

Atualmente temos uma população de 267.396.837 que falam a língua portuguesa no mundo.

Estarão presentes  além do Bispo Primaz Dom Francisco e do Secretário Geral Reverendo Arthur Cavalcante outras representações provinciais tais como: UMEAB (União de Mulheres Episcopais Anglicanas do Brasil), SADD (Serviço Anglicano de Diaconia e Desenvolvimento), CEA (Centro de Estudos Anglicanos) e GT (Grupo de Trabalho) Juventude.

As Dioceses de Fala Portuguesa da Comunhão Anglicana terão a oportunidade de partilhar suas conquistas e também desafios como Anglicanos da Europa (Igreja Luzitana), da África (Diocese Libombos,  Diocese Niassa e Diocese Angola) e da América Latina (Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil).

Haverá um momento muito importante chamado de WEBINAR (27 de fevereiro às 11H, horário de Brasilia) aberto para participação, perguntas e comentários “[…] sobre os desafios e oportunidades que esse encontro oferece para o presente e o futuro das igrejas envolvidas e o povo atendido”. Para inscrições: no site da Aliança Anglicana ou com Paulo Ueti no endereço eletrônico paulo.ueti@anglicancommunion.org.

Saiba mais detalhes sobre o II ENCONTRO DE DIOCESES LUSÓFONAS

Diocese Anglicana de Curitiba: Professores e funcionários Continuem Firmes na Luta!

SNIEAB Feeds - ter, 24/02/2015 - 12:36

NOTA DE APOIO A MOBILIZAÇÃO DOS PROFESSORES E FUNCIONÁRIOS

Obrigado professores e funcionários. Continuem firmes na luta!

Nos últimos dias temos testemunhado a mobilização dos professores e funcionários das escolas públicas do Paraná à qual se somaram outras categorias. Justa mobilização que além de defender os interesses da categoria profissional, defendem, em primeiro lugar, a qualificação da escola pública.

Obrigado professores, funcionários e demais trabalhadores pela aula de cidadania, pela mobilização, pela perseverança, pela “garra” que tem demonstrado. Não desistam. Continuem firmes nessa luta. Estamos com vocês!

Obrigado professores e funcionários e demais trabalhadores porque vocês nos lembram o caminho que devemos percorrer se desejamos mudar a sociedade, manter nossos direitos, limitar os abusos e desmandos dos que dirigem as instituições estabelecidas para garantir o direito e cidadania para todos e todas. Eles esquecem seu papel, defendendo, muitas vezes, somente seus próprios interesses como no caso do inaceitável, injustificável e imoral “auxílio moradia”, para citar um exemplo entre tantos outros.

A história nos ensina que as conquistas sociais, econômicas e políticas só foram alcançadas pela mobilização e luta da sociedade como a que estamos testemunhando agora. Em nenhum momento conseguimos avançar sem esse esforço, sem organização, sem o “povo na rua”.

Neste mundo dominado pelo poder econômico regendo nossas vidas em defesa do interesse de poucos, e, por outro lado, a necessidade urgente de reforma econômica, política, tributária, judiciária, etc, sabemos que nada será mudado por aqueles que foram investidos de poder para efetuar essas mudanças a não ser pela mobilização popular. Por isso agradecemos aos professores, funcionários e demais categorias pois nos ensinam a “receita” e o caminho em vista de alcançarmos as mudanças necessárias e urgentes para construirmos uma sociedade mais justa e mais fraterna.

Continuem firmes nessa luta!

Dom Naudal Gomes, Bispo Diocesano

Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil – IEAB – Diocese Anglicana do Paraná

Rev. Luiz Carlos Gabas

Comissão de Direitos Humanos (Incidência Pública) da IEAB e da Diocese

Central Gulf Coast diocese elects James Russell Kendrick as bishop

Episcopal News Service - ter, 24/02/2015 - 07:41

[Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast] The Rev. James Russell Kendrick, rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was elected as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast on Feb. 21, pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of The Episcopal Church.

Kendrick, 54, was elected during the diocese’s 44th annual convention held at Trinity Episcopal Church in Mobile, Alabama. He was elected on the third ballot out of a field of three nominees. He received 97 votes of 163 cast in the lay order and 32 of 53 cast in the clergy order. An election on that ballot required 82 in the lay order and 27 in the clergy order.

Kendrick has served as rector of St. Stephen’s since 2007. In 1984, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in architecture and marketing from Auburn University in Alabama; and in 1995, he received a Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. Russell is married to Robin. They have two children, Aaron and Hannah.

“I am keenly aware of and deeply humbled by the trust and hope that this election carries. Robin and I look forward to returning to the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast and serving our Lord with the people that once formed us and sent us forth into the larger church. I take this election to be a call for collaboration, cooperation and creativity as we seek to be apostles for Jesus in God’s world,” said Kendrick following the election.

Under the canons (III.11.4) of The Episcopal Church, a majority of bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees must consent to Kendrick’s ordination as bishop within 120 days of receiving notice of the election.

The other nominees were:

  • The Very Rev. Edward Francis O’Connor, dean, Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew, Jackson, Mississippi; and
  • The Rev. Doctor William Charles Treadwell III, rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Waco, Texas.

Pending the required consents, the bishop-elect will be ordained and consecrated on July 25 at Christ Church Cathedral in Mobile, Alabama. The bishop-elect will succeed the Rt. Rev. Philip Menzie Duncan II, who is the third bishop of the diocese.

The Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast includes southern Alabama and the panhandle of Florida, 62 churches, and approximately 20,000 members.

Washington National Cathedral Phase I earthquake repairs completed

Episcopal News Service - sex, 20/02/2015 - 11:49

Photo: Washington National Cathedral

[Washington National Cathedral] Washington National Cathedral has announced the completion of Phase I repairs in its ongoing earthquake restoration work.

The August 2011 magnitude-5.8 earthquake shook the cathedral and caused approximately $32 million in damage. The seismic event rotated pinnacles, cracked mortar, chipped and cracked limestone, and briefly took flying buttresses out of compression. Following an initial stabilization, the cathedral reopened after 12 weeks.

In the months following, some damaged areas were disassembled and an extensive network of stabilization scaffolding was erected to secure structures and provide access for examination and formulation of plans for repair and reinforcement.

Photo: Washington National Cathedral

Phase I repairs began in March 2014 and addressed the interior high ceiling of the nave and restoration of the six flying buttresses around the apse, or east end of the cathedral. The nave vaulting and windows were inspected, cleaned, and repaired. Akoustolith tile were secured and sealed. Decades of dirt were carefully removed, and failed caulking was replaced.

When the six apse buttresses lost compression during the quake, a few stones slipped out of position, leaving visible gaps in the buttresses, while other stones fractured, sending chunks of stone to the ground below. Restoration work filled the voids, replaced the broken stones with Dutchmen repairs, and reinforced the flyers with stainless steel rods and grout to ensure better performance in any future seismic event.

This week, the final interior scaffolding is being removed.

“The view of the fully restored nave is breathtaking, and all that the cathedral does in this space has a feeling of openness and vitality—as well as improved acoustics and inspiration with the return of views of the clerestory windows and the boss stones, now cleaned for the first time ever,” according to a cathedral press release. “The cathedral is extremely grateful for the support that has made this work possible and the diligent work of Davis Construction and Lorton Stone to return the building to its former glory.”

The remaining work — approximately 85 percent of the exterior work — awaits funding from individuals and institutions. The work will likely take years, even a decade, to complete and will cost $22 million or more. This work includes the central tower grand pinnacles, the engaged buttresses on the length of the nave, the exterior stonework on the transepts, and the pinnacles on the west towers.

The full cathedral press release and a restoration image gallery are available here.

Brooklyn church art exhibit features fresh take on Stations of the Cross

Episcopal News Service - sex, 20/02/2015 - 09:45

[The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew] To mark the season of Lent, The Episcopal Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew has invited 14 Brooklyn artists to contribute innovative works for a “stations of the cross” exhibit.

The tradition of walking the 14 stations of the cross, which portray the events leading to Jesus’ crucifixion, is an ancient Christian practice, but this exhibit “brings a new level of artistic expression to the experience,” according to a press release from the parish, part of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island.

The stations will be open for viewing and meditation at St. Luke and St. Matthew at 520 Clinton Ave., Brooklyn, until April 16. The exhibit will embark on a five-city tour in July.

An image gallery of the artwork is available here.

“This project resurrects a connection between the church as patron of the arts and the artists as instruments of bringing the litany to the lay population,” said Anders Knuttson, the exhibit’s curator. The participating artists represent broad ethnic and religious backgrounds including Buddhists, Roman Catholics, Jews, and agnostics. Each artist was given free reign to create his or her individual interpretation of a selected moment of Jesus’ last journey.

The art reflects an array of styles including traditional illustrative depiction, found object assemblage, non-objective abstraction, and color–field interpretations. The participating artists are Pamella Allen, Audrey Anastasi, Joseph Anastasi, C. Bangs, Willie Mae Brown, Anders Knutsson, Franz Lanspersky, Sylvia Maier, Otto Neals, Donovan Nelson, Anne Peabody, Danny Simmons, Andrea Spiros, and Lawrence Terry.

The Episcopal Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew is open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call 347-515-4044.

Bishops from Fiji to Alaska to meet in Cape Town on climate change

Episcopal News Service - sex, 20/02/2015 - 09:36

[Anglican Church of Southern Africa press release] Anglican bishops from some of the regions of the world most challenged by climate change – from Fiji to Argentina, and Namibia to Alaska – are to meet in Cape Town next week to work out strategies for achieving climate justice.

A briefing from the Rev. Rachel Mash, the environmental coordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, follows with full details:

THE ECO-BISHOPS ARE COMING TO CAPE TOWN

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, chair of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, is calling together a group of bishops from various countries impacted by climate change.

Bishops have been chosen from countries reflecting the great challenges we face, from the sea level rise of Fiji, the deforestation of Argentina, the droughts of Namibia, the tsunamis of the Philippines and the storms of New York, and the warming of Alaska. These bishops are united in their commitment to addressing these environmental challenges.

Sixteen bishops will be gathering in Capetown from Feb. 23 to exchange ideas and concerns, to share challenges and successes. First the bishops will hear about the challenges faced in different parts of the globe.

Then they will share actions and theologies that have been helpful in moving forward. The goal is to strategize together in order strategies for raising the issue of climate change and environmental degradation throughout the global Anglican Church.

What is the event?

A strategic planning meeting hosted by the primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa of a core group of bishops and archbishops whose dioceses or provinces are in areas affected by climate change or in areas that contribute significantly to conditions that lead to climate change. The bishops and archbishops identified are already active in responding to climate change and environmental degradation as a result of human activity in various ways, e.g., through theological exposition and challenge, advocacy, greening churches and communities, and supporting local mitigation.

Building on relationships already established virtually, the meeting will foster a strengthened, working collegiality among the bishops who have been identified and ultimately serve as a catalyst for further response and activities throughout the Anglican Communion.

The bishops will share their experience in responding to climate change so far, their hopes, their concerns, and ideas about how they, specifically, might organize themselves better for that purpose. They will have an opportunity to reflect and study together, and to look at the obstacles they face and discern what they can do, by working together, to move through these obstacles.

Drawing on their own experience and ideas, a strategic plan will be developed for themselves, with proposals for broader engagement in the Anglican Communion.

Science and the experience of the impacts of climate change suggest that in many ways survival is at stake – for human communities, for the ecosystems on which human life depends. We have listened to Anglicans in a number of regions where congregations face food and water shortages and other stresses that are directly linked to climate change. The meeting and the broader project will enable Anglicans at leadership level to make coordinated efforts towards upholding human dignity and the integrity of creation, and strengthening interdependence within the Anglican Communion as we become better stewards of God’s creation. It is hoped that the outcomes of this project will have an impact that reaches far beyond the present time.

Expected outcomes

To form a group of bishops and archbishops (Eco Bishops) representative of the regions of the Anglican Communion, will have participated in the core group as described above and worked together to formulate an action plan for themselves, with proposals for broader Anglican engagement in responding to climate change, faithfully, prayerfully and proactively.

The core group of bishops will become visible in offering biblical and moral leadership in the area of climate justice. Their experience and deliberations will be communicated to Anglicans and others around the world via ACEN, news releases and other forms of media.

As a resource for the broader Communion, a concise report will be produced, gathering the bishops’ lived experience and responses to climate change and setting out future actions. More Anglicans will understand that responding to climate change is part and parcel of our baptismal vocation and will be active in greening their homes, churches and communities and in speaking out on behalf of those experiencing the worst effects of climate change. The Anglican Church will become active in global advocacy.

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (currently the chair of ACEN) will have shared the experiences and deliberations of the core group with his sister and brother Primates. Anglican leadership will increasingly be taking the initiative in networking effectively with ecumenical partners, other faith groups, government and UN structures. Those currently affected by the impacts of climate change will be given a voice at the international level of the Communion, and know that they are remembered and supported, both in the prayer and in practical ways.

Those who have the power to curtail carbon emissions will have a fresh sense of how their actions can have a positive impact on their sisters and brothers in other parts of the world and contribute towards climate justice.

The Anglican Communion will benefit from a shared endeavor.

The following Eco-Bishops will be coming to Cape Town:

Jane Alexander, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Bishop, Canada; Andrew Dietsche, New York, The Episcopal Church; Nick Drayson, Northern Argentina; Nicholas Holtam, Salisbury, Church of England; David Chillingworth, St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, Scottish Episcopal Church; Chad Gandiya, Harare, Central Africa; William Mchombo, Eastern Zambia, Central Africa; Ellinah Wamukoya, Swaziland, Southern Africa; Stephen Moreo, Johannesburg, Southern Africa; Nathaniel Nakwatumbah, Namibia, Southern Africa; Thabo Makgoba, Cape Town, Church of Southern Africa; Thomas Oommen, Madhya Kerala, Church of South India; Andrew Chan, Hong Kong; Jonathan Casimina, Davao, Philippines; Tom Wilmot, Perth, Australia; and Apimeleki Qiliho, Fiji, Aotearoa-New Zealand.

For more information contact: The Rev. Rachel Mash – rmash@mweb.co.za 

 

Campus ministries changing to serve new students

Episcopal News Service - qui, 19/02/2015 - 09:19

The side of A Moveable Feast’s mobile kitchen can be written on, allowing students on each campus that the ministry visits in North Carolina to make the trailer their own. Photo: A Moveable Feast via Facebook

[Episcopal News Service] The way students earn university degrees in the United States is changing and Episcopal Church campus ministries are responding creatively.

Examples of that innovation, supported by grants from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, include an interfaith ministry at a state commuter college, a combination food truck and chapel that will visit campuses in North Carolina and a North Dakota effort to provide holistic help to Native American students. (The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is the legal and canonical name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business, and carries out mission.)

“The Episcopal Church’s priorities in campus ministry are following where more students are enrolling these days,” said the Rev. Mike Angell, Episcopal Church missioner for young adult and campus ministries.

“Higher education for a lot of students does not look like a four-year college, so we’re trying to get the church to be creative in how they engage campus ministry, to be entrepreneurial. These grants provide seed money to start new projects, new ways of ministering to young adults in higher education: some of whom aren’t full-time students, some of whom are exploring what their educational career will look like.”

Campus ministry in North Dakota
For instance, the Diocese of North Dakota is using a $25,000 Leadership Grant awarded by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society to establish what the Rev. Canon John Floberg calls a holistic ministry to the native students attending Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck.

Floberg is a member of The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council.

While spirituality is fundamental to campus ministry “it’s not going to be the only thing that helps a student get through college but it can be one of the things that helps them get through college,” Floberg said, especially among native students who sometimes need more than the usual encouragement and practical help to remain in school. That help can be as basic as finding travel money for a student to return to school after traveling home for a family emergency, he said.

Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, North Dakota, on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, is one of the places where the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is supporting people who are thinking creatively about campus ministry. Photo: Sitting Bull College

The planned ministry would not be a one-way street. The Witayas (“gathered groups” in Sioux) that Floberg hopes to form will use a model of peer support based on the “Sources of Strength” suicide-prevention techniques that were developed in North Dakota. The model would be used for students’ “mutual support in making it through college, getting their degree and doing it with the hope and perseverance that are part of the Christian faith,” Floberg wrote in the November issue of the diocesan newspaper.

Floberg, who as a canon missioner is responsible for five congregations spread over 300 miles in North Dakota, both on and off reservations, said the church often has relationships with native students formed when they were in youth groups. Following those students as they transition into college is a “logical next step,” but that step has not always been taken. Both Sitting Bull and United Tribes are “filled with people that you already know and they’re in a transition in life that the church hasn’t paid much attention to,” he said.

An added goal of the budding program is to support educational and tribal efforts to help students discern how they might contribute to their communities by using their degree to benefit the tribe, said Floberg, who noted that he was speaking to Episcopal News Service on the 124th anniversary of the death (Dec. 15, 1890) of Sitting Bull, the Sioux chief and holy man who said “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” Floberg added that mentors could also discuss students’ future ministry, lay or ordained.

Those are the long-range goals. In the meantime, Floberg offers what might be called the practical basis of much of campus ministry: free food. At Sitting Bull, he provides lunches in the atrium of the sciences building and the program has purchased a mobile grill and smoker for preparing barbecue. The meals are a way to make the church’s presence known and share information about plans for the ministry.

On the move in North Carolina
Food was the genesis of A Moveable Feast, a Diocese of North Carolina campus ministry based out of a custom trailer fitted with a kitchen and a prayer space.

The idea came to North Carolina Bishop Suffragan Anne Hodges-Copple during her pre-election tour of the diocese. “I just kept talking about the need for us as a diocese not to find gimmicks but to try to be more creative and entrepreneurial in our efforts to give ancient traditions fresh expression in unexpected and yet engaging places,” she told ENS.

Hodges-Copple, formerly the Episcopal chaplain at Duke University, said she began to put her desire to minister on “historically ignored and underserved campuses – especially community colleges” together with the ubiquity of food trucks in Durham, North Carolina. When she bounced the idea off the Rev. Nils Chittenden, who at that time was the diocesan minister for youth and the Episcopal chaplain at Duke, he immediately said, “Yes!”

A Moveable Feast Coordinator Caitlyn Darnell put it this way: “I was absolutely fascinated by the thing.”

The Rev. Nils Chittenden, who at that time was the diocesan minister for youth and the Episcopal chaplain at Duke University, and A Moveable Feast Coordinator Caitlyn Darnell serve hot cider to North Carolina Bishop Suffragan Anne Hodges-Copple during diocesan convention in late November where the mobile campus ministry made its debut. Photo: Diocese of North Carolina via Facebook

It took a long time for Chittenden, Darnell and Hodges-Copple to figure out how to put the idea into practice, and they were cautious about the ministry’s eventual face and image.

“There have been a lot of church ventures and start-ups that have tried to do really cool things for the sake of doing a really cool thing, and somebody in their late teens or early twenties looks at it and goes ‘that was pretty dumb,’ ” said Darnell.

Darnell works half time for the diocese in her Moveable Feast role and is in the second year of a placement through the Episcopal Service Corps, a partner of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, with The Abraham Project. She works at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem as the formation assistant. The Rev. Stephanie Yancy was appointed diocesan interim missioner for young adult ministry in mid-January, succeeding Chittenden who will become rector of St Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Armonk, New York, in late January. Yancy will direct A Moveable Feast.

Although the idea for what became A Moveable Feast began as food truck, Darnell said the group also considered using a bus or a recreational vehicle. Darnell doesn’t remember quite when and how the idea of a custom trailer occurred to her, but now A Moveable Feast moves in a 28-foot specially rigged trailer. There’s room for a small space in the front for individual prayer or conversation with a chaplain, and there’s a kitchen in the back. Remembering her college years at the College of William and Mary, Darnell said, “having the chapel was a really, really important part of what we are doing” because college life can be chaotic and even extroverted students sometimes feel “overstimulated and inundated with things” and in need of a quiet space.

Food can be served from a window in the side of the trailer or out the back, which folds down into a stage that can be covered by a tent, Darnell said. An altar for that stage will eventually be commissioned, Darnell said, and food will be served from the altar “so you also get that really cool theology of the Eucharistic supper.”

Because the ministry is meant to move among campuses, even the color of the trailer was tricky. The trailer could not feature one school’s team colors over another. During a June meeting at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Durham of local church and campus people who were asked for their ideas about the ministry, the idea arose of having the trailer be a “community chalkboard.” The trailer is black and people at each campus will be invited to write on its sides, making it their own each time it visits.

A Moveable Feast hopes to partner with local churches or other local groups who would help in food preparation and serving, and who would be willing to learn how to minister to young adults, Darnell said. They will need to be open to knowing what to expect from this sort of ministry and how it will change your parish experience, she added.

The wheels are turning, Darnell said, to establish a presence at Johnson Community College in Smithfield, North Carolina Central University in Durham and Johnson C. Smith College in Charlotte. While Barton College in Wilson is also on their list, those conversations have not yet started, she said. A Moveable Feast hopes to be at Durham Technical Community College this year as well, she added.

A Moveable Feast has also helped form community of three young adults, known as companions, who will travel with the truck to be peer mentors/ministers.

All of those aspects of A Moveable Feast are connected, Hodges-Copple said, to the story of the risen Jesus on the road to Emmaus on the evening of the first Easter. The ministry hopes to “bring the companionship of Jesus Christ alongside many people, providing a transformative encounter with God in a surprising, somewhat non-traditional context,” according to its website.

The ministry received a two-year, $30,000 Leadership Grant from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society in November 2013.

Meanwhile, in Southern California
On the other side of the country, food is not the basis for the Rev. Sean Lanigan’s ministry at California State University Long Beach although “I tried first to build a conventional Bible study and pizza campus ministry,” he said of his arrival two years ago.

It didn’t seem to work at the 40,000-student commuter campus, so he set about learning what would. He quickly discovered “what did seem to work was getting excited about interfaith.”

And activism. The ministry quickly became known as the “Interfaith Project” and has since developed a core group of about a dozen predominantly Muslim and Jewish students who have tackled such issues as women’s empowerment and faith and climate.

“It has become a growing, emerging gathering of students interested in building relationships across boundaries … [and] learning how to live in a world of difference,” said Lanigan.

Some members of the Interfaith Project campus ministry at the California State University Long Beach join the Rev. Sean Lanigan to celebrate the recent holiday season.

That interest makes it different to most other campus groups, he said. “Cal State Long Beach is incredibly diverse and incredibly stratified, but there are not a lot of groups on campus that transcend boundaries.”

The ministry is a joint effort of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said Lanigan, an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Los Angeles. Lanigan and the ministry are based at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Long Beach. The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, the ELCA and its Southern California Synod provide ongoing financial support, he said. A board of Episcopalians and Lutherans, both clergy and laity, developed the partnership and continues to guide the development of the campus ministry and a new worshiping community called Holy Grounds.

A recent $5,000 Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society grant will help fund continuation of the ministry, including supporting the presence of Dominique Bocanegra, a part-time Episcopal Urban Intern who assists as an organizer and mission developer, Lanigan said.

Until she began serving with the Interfaith Project in August, Bocanegra, 23, didn’t “realize how interconnected faith really is and how it relates to what’s happening in the United States and across the globe.”

The Interfaith Project addresses the core of many issues, she added: “There’s so much tension –  to me, it’s because of a lack of dialogue, a lack of relationships.”

She hopes to help focus students’ efforts on issues of justice because “not every homeless person is Christian; not everyone suffering from drought is Muslim. We don’t have to sit here and say, ‘you need to become my religion,’ but, through my experience and my eyes you can hear how we view the drought: This is how we see our brothers and sisters on the street.”

Aliyah Shaikh, 19, an international studies student focusing on the Middle East and North Africa, said the Interfaith Project gives her a space to make friendships with people of different backgrounds.

“The Interfaith Project seems to be the only group of students that meets in that sort of capacity,” said Shaikh, a member of the Muslim Student Association board.

She estimated that about 70 to 80 percent of the core group is young Muslim women. The remaining 20 to 30 percent are usually students from Beach Hillel, the Jewish student organization, and one regular attendee was Buddhist.

“We’ve had challenges getting more Christian attendees, and we’re trying to think of ways to reach out to each other,” she said.

Lanigan agreed. “We’re trying to build as many collaborations on campus as possible,” he said. “We’re trying to be interested in what’s going on, on campus and much more broadly, and how religion can be part of that. We’re not sitting around philosophizing about God, although that can be a part of it, sometimes. Mainly, we’re talking about how we as humans share this work together.”

A budget based on mission
The 2013-2015 budget passed by General Convention allotted $300,000 in campus ministry grants (Line 67 here). Those grants are part of the ways in which the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is responding to the second Mark of Mission which calls on members of the Anglican Communion to teach, baptize and nurture new believers. Specifically, the grants are meant to establish or revitalize campus ministries and imagine new ways to reach young adults who traditionally are the least likely to seek out a campus ministry.

In its recent Report to the Church the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society noted that it has awarded $204,348 thus far.

General Convention also specifically called for two new campus ministries to be established at community colleges, tribal colleges or other two-year institutions of higher education in each of the church’s nine provinces of the Episcopal Church. Resolution C069 also called for training for local campus ministry leaders.

The resolution, sponsored by Province VI, noted “the increasing importance of community colleges as critical places for evangelism and Christian formation, particularly among racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse populations.”

Angell told ENS that “the opportunity is really high because ‘community college’ is almost a contradiction in terms or a misnomer because in so many community colleges there’s no community at all.”

“So what does it look like to build community in a situation where you’re not competing with a hundred thousand other clubs and fraternities and sororities?” he asked. “You’ve got students to whom the presence means a lot and the chance to have community in the midst of a non-traditional education situation is really high.”

Angell also noted that community colleges are becoming the higher-education entry point for students of immigrant communities. Those students are often the first in their families to go to college and they need strong support, he added.

“We’re not just supporting non-traditional Episcopal students; we’re trying to support non-traditional college students,” Angell said.

Convention structured the current triennial budget around the Communion’s Five Marks of Mission and provided significant unallocated sums for new work targeted around each Mark of Mission. The intention was that the resulting work would be done in new, collaborative partnerships with dioceses and congregations. The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society has provided seed money and/or matching grants as well as staff support and expertise for the new work.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter of the Episcopal News Service. The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

Massachusetts: Young adult communities get ‘Intent’ this Lent

Episcopal News Service - qua, 18/02/2015 - 12:05

The Ash Wednesday devotional image from “Intent”: A mixed-media collage by MIT undergrad Annie Dunn

[Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts] Young adults from several worshiping communities in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts are inviting one another into Lent this year with a daily dose of their own art, poetry, stories, photography, music and maybe even a cartoon or two.

And because these devotions are digital, anyone can sign up to receive them via a daily e-mail.

They’re calling the effort “Intent.”

“One goal was to find ways to take Lent seriously, something above giving up chocolate but below singing the five daily offices,” explained Isaac Everett, the liturgical minister at The Crossing, the congregation of young adults, mostly in their 20s and 30s, that worships at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston.

“One thing that’s really true of our demographic is that we’re completely overcommitted,” Everett said.  “We’re in our first jobs out of college, or in school or have a baby at home. It’s difficult enough to eat or get to the gym. Trying to find time with God is really hard without some impetus — like an e-mail landing in my inbox inviting me to spend a few minutes with it and getting to know my community,” he said.

“Bite-sized instead of all-consuming” is how the Rev. Thea Keith-Lucas puts it. She is the Episcopal chaplain at MIT.

“Intent” grew out of an e-mail series of Lenten reflections that she and a colleague started two years ago at the Lutheran Episcopal Ministry at MIT. This year The Crossing and the Episcopal chaplaincies at Boston University, Northeastern University and Boston College are contributing, as well as two parish partners, St. Bartholomew’s Church in Cambridge and Emmanuel Church in Boston. Most of them have been involved together in a discernment process over the past year about the possibility of becoming a diocesan mission hub, and “Intent” is a product of the new relationships growing between their communities.

“This year it is a much larger group of partners who will be contributing and viewing,” Keith-Lucas said, “so we are going to branch out in our style, mix it up and surprise people a little bit.”

On Ash Wednesday, for example, “Intent” subscribers will receive a sunflower-bright mixed-media collage by Annie Dunn, an undergraduate at MIT studying materials science.

“Intent, that’s at the heart of it. For at least a moment in the day, try to be intentional about the season and see what it might have to offer you,” Keith-Lucas said.  “That’s the hope in keeping these devotions short, diverse and surprising.”

Everett said he thinks of “Intent” as 40 days of “liturgy delivered to your iPhone.”

“Every day is going to be cool,” he said.

Sign up to receive “Intent” e-mails daily in Lent here.

Fort Worth: Endowment complete for Hulsey Chair in Episcopal Studies

Episcopal News Service - qua, 18/02/2015 - 11:11

[Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth press release] Brite Divinity School, located at Texas Christian University, and the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth have announced the completion of a $2.5 million endowment for a faculty chair: The Right Reverend Sam B. Hulsey Chair in Episcopal Studies.

Hulsey is the retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas. He and his wife, Isabelle, live in Fort Worth. The completion of the endowment of the Hulsey Chair was accomplished through gifts and pledges from 150 donors and finalized with a gift from Sylvia and Tim Stevens, members of St. Christopher Episcopal Church, Fort Worth, Texas.

The organizing committee includes the Rev. Fred Barber, Anne Bass, Robert Crates, Adele Hart, the late Rev. Bert Honea, Jr., the Rev. Chris Jambor, the Rev. David Madison, the Rev. William Nix, Pat Schutts, and Shannon Worrell.

Hulsey has a long and distinguished career in The Episcopal Church, which culminated in his tenure as bishop of the Diocese of Northwest Texas from 1980-1997. Prior to his election to the episcopate, Hulsey headed parishes in Corsicana, Pampa and Midland, as well as in Nashville, Tennessee. A Fort Worth native, Hulsey graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary (1958). During his episcopacy, Hulsey chaired the planning committee of the House of Bishops and served on the boards of trustees of the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest and the University of the South. Since his return to Fort Worth upon his retirement, Hulsey has held leadership positions in numerous civic organizations, including Tarrant County Historical Society, Alzheimer’s Association of North Texas, Meals-on-Wheels, Fort Worth Symphony, and Fort Worth Opera.

Fort Worth Bishop Rayford B. High, Jr., said, “Episcopalians all over this diocese – indeed, all over The Episcopal Church – rejoice at this news. The Episcopal Church always has supported theological education. The Right Reverend Sam B. Hulsey Chair in Episcopal Studies honors a great man who not only is a fine bishop but also a humble Christian grounded in the love of Jesus Christ. Bishop Sam is a good friend to me and so many in the Church who turn to him regularly for pastoral guidance and mentoring. His scholarly mind, his loving gentle spirit, and his pastoral gifts offer an example to us all. I am so grateful to Sylvia and Tim Stevens for their wonderful gift that completed the endowment. I thank all the many generous donors who have made this possible.”

The first faculty member to hold the chair is Ed Waggoner, who received his Ph.D. from Yale University. He also holds a Master of Arts in Religion from Yale Divinity School and a B.A. from Willamette University. Waggoner comes to Brite as a highly regarded teacher and a gifted systematic and constructive theologian. His wife, the Rev. Canon Janet Waggoner, is the canon to the ordinary in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

For more information about Brite Divinity School and the Episcopal Studies program, contact Brite at 817-257-6646 or www.brite.edu.

The full press release is available here.

Mensagem de Quaresma do Bispo Primaz: “De quem somos anjos?”

SNIEAB Feeds - qua, 18/02/2015 - 10:47

“E os anjos o serviam” Mc 1,13

Minha última viagem a Londres tem me trazido a oportunidade de refletir sobre as pessoas que carregam consigo as marcas da rejeição e da exclusão. A Consulta sobre o tema da superação da violência sexual contra as mulheres e a experiência de assistir um morador de rua chorando por ajuda acompanhado de seu fiel cão de estimação numa das ruas do centro financeiro londrino me fizeram aprofundar ainda mais um senso de deserto que percebo em nossa sociedade. O deserto é solidão, carregada de temores e de dores. O próprio Jesus viveu a experiência do deserto e precisou ser confortado pelos anjos. Para ele, o teste da resiliência lhe exigiu a própria exaustão física e também espiritual. Sua fidelidade ao Pai, no entanto, foi compensada pela ajuda dos anjos (Mc 1,13).

Então aqui vai a pergunta que não quer calar: de quem temos sido anjos? Estamos cercados de tanta gente que vive um deserto pessoal, em meio aos desafios da sobrevivência, encalacrados num sistema que tudo consome e que pouco dá em troca; e quando dá, geralmente não é coisa perene.

O que temos feito diante disso? Estamos sendo anjos de verdade? Quando foi a última vez que tivemos a sensibilidade de nos incomodar com a injustiça? Estamos realmente prontos para o exercício da solidariedade para com as pessoas excluídas? Faz parte da cultura de nosso sistema as pessoas demonstrarem que estão bem, que são bem sucedidas, que estão sempre em ascensão….

No fundo a realidade não é assim. Nossas ruas e praças estão cheias de pessoas que vivem um terrível deserto. Eu não vou enumerar aqui os grupos porque são numerosos. Até os vemos, mas instintivamente não os enxergamos. Podemos ser anjos e levar conforto e autoestima a essas pessoas, lutar por seus direitos e ser voz para as pessoas silenciadas. Transmitir a elas o amor de Deus. Levar as Boas Novas.

Que esta Quaresma se converta em período de profunda avaliação de nossa missão no mundo. Que possamos entender o verdadeiro significado da Cruz assinalada em nossa testa com cinzas. Que possamos nos sentir a inequívoca interdependência com nossos semelhantes e que possamos servi-los e confortá-los como sempre desejamos que nos façam a nós quando vivemos os nossos próprios desertos.

A Igreja existe para servir o mundo. Vamos nos tornar anjos?

++Francisco

Bispo Primaz da IEAB

Graham Kings named mission theologian in the Anglican Communion

Episcopal News Service - ter, 17/02/2015 - 07:28

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Church Mission Society and Durham University have become partners in creating an innovative seven-year post: Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion.

The purpose is to research, stimulate, connect and publish works of theology in the Anglican Communion, with particular focus on insights from Africa, Asia and Latin America, in their ecumenical contexts.

The Rt Rev. Graham Kings, currently bishop of Sherborne, has been appointed and will take up this new post in July 2015. He will be based in London, visiting Durham University, as an honorary fellow, and will travel in the Anglican Communion. He will convene a series of seminars in Anglican Communion studies for theologians, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. A new website, launched today, MissionTheologyAngCom.org, will publish the papers.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said, “I am delighted that this strong partnership has developed with CMS and Durham University. It is very gratifying that the concept of a Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion has attracted the necessary support to get to this stage where the post can be established. I know that the Anglican Communion has many gifted theologians and it is so important that their voice is heard more widely. I am glad that Bishop Graham’s experience and knowledge of the Communion is being made so generously available and I shall encourage the development of this project with a keen interest.”

The Rev. Professor Joseph Galgalo, vice chancellor of St. Paul’s University, Limuru, Kenya, said, “This partnership affords new and creative ways of initiating and managing theological discourses across the Communion; and equally provides opportunities for constructive engagements. Bishop Graham Kings, with his vast experience in cross-cultural mission, is well placed to build a wide network of theologians to stimulate fruitful theological conversations, and to inspire partnerships across communities of faith. I wish him well and all God’s blessings as he lays the foundation for this exciting responsibility.”

Canon Philip Mounstephen, executive leader of the Church Mission Society, said, “CMS has long been committed to enabling the theological insights and voices of the global south to be better heard around the world as together we explore, and learn more, of the mission of God. I’m thrilled with this new post in CMS.”

Professor Alec Ryrie, head of the Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University, said: “This partnership is exactly the kind of creative enterprise that we should be entering into, to make more of the fresh and important theological thinking taking place in areas which are sometimes remote to readily accessible scholarship. Our leading research and alumni networks can hopefully bring emphasis and credibility to this initiative. We are delighted to welcome Dr Kings as an Honorary Fellow in the Department.”

Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, interim secretary general of the Anglican Communion, said: “Bishop Graham is well known to the Anglican Communion Office, through his participation in the interfaith network of the Anglican Communion. I am excited that this new post, although not based in the ACO, will complement our work in mission and theological studies. My colleagues and I look forward to working in partnership with him.”

The Rt. Rev. Nicholas Holtam, bishop of Salisbury, said, “I am very grateful for all that Bishop Graham has contributed to the Diocese of Salisbury as Bishop of Sherborne. This new post makes very good use of his experience, knowledge and skills. We give thanks for him and Alison and ask God’s blessing on all that lies ahead.”

The Rt. Rev. Graham Kings said, “I am amazed at this creative post, and give thanks to God. I am also deeply grateful to the Archbishop of Canterbury, CMS and Durham University and to the wide range of supporting donors. Henry Venn, the great 19th Century General Secretary of CMS, talked of ‘self-supporting, self-governing and self-extending churches’ throughout the world. For many years, more recently, there has been a ‘fourth self': ‘self-theologising’. It is these voices which need to be heard more clearly throughout the Communion.”

Funds for this new post have largely come from a wide range of private donors, from various traditions in the world-wide Church of God, as well as from the Church Mission Society, which will be employing Dr Kings from 16 July 2015.

www.MissionTheologyAngCom.org and @MissioTheology are both launched today.

Northeast churches find creative solutions to adverse weather

Episcopal News Service - seg, 16/02/2015 - 14:10

A Facebook ad invites parishioners of the Episcopal Church of St. Paul and St. James in New Haven, Connecticut, to join a virtual service in the warmth and safety of their own homes.

[Episcopal News Service] For the Rev. Alex Dyer, canceling church altogether on Sunday was simply not an option as weather forecasts predicted more than 20 inches of fresh snow throughout parts of New England in what has become one of the Northeast’s coldest winters on record.

Instead, the rector of the Episcopal Church of St. Paul and St. James in New Haven, Connecticut, announced that while the building would be closed for regular Sunday services, his parishioners were invited to a virtual service via social media from the warmth and safety of their own homes.

“A large part of incarnational ministry is meeting people where they are, and in a New England blizzard that means they are at home. Asking people to put themselves at risk just so they can meet in the ‘correct’ building just doesn’t seem to make sense,” Dyer told Episcopal News Service following the service, which he led on Facebook and Twitter using a modified liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer, a video sermon preached from his home and hymns shared via YouTube.

“Right now, these services are the exception and not the norm,” Dyer said. “They could never truly replace the real experience of communal live worship, just like webcasts from other churches are not quite the same. Many people will look at the flaws, but I challenge people to let down their guards and look at how it could be useful. Social media is a tool and there are some instances where this tool is very effective.”

It was the second social media service that Dyer had offered due to adverse weather and concern for his parishioners’ safety; the first being two years ago.

On Saturday evening, Dyer spent several hours in preparation, choosing YouTube versions of the hymns, arranging the prayers and liturgical text on a separate document so he could cut and paste during the service, and pre-recording his sermon.

“It is never easy to preach to your computer and no congregation,” he said, “but the hardest thing to gauge is the pace of the service as you don’t always know who is participating and where they are in the service.

“The most important thing, and what I would do more of next time, would be to encourage participation. Ask people what they are praying for and what they are thankful for. People commenting are crucial to the service.”

Further north, where the snowfall in some parts of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island was even more severe, many Episcopal churches were forced to abandon their weekend service schedules entirely, as travel bans kicked in and the basic safety of parishioners was the chief concern.

But at Trinity Church in Boston, the Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III announced ahead of the weekend blizzard that the “Sunday” worship – including baptisms, choir and scheduled guest preacher – would be moved to Saturday at 4 p.m. before the predicted brunt of the storm.

The Rev. Patrick Ward, Trinity’s associate rector for worship, told ENS that approximately 225 people turned out for Saturday’s Holy Eucharist, which included a choir of about 30 adults and youth choristers, and many stayed for a Valentine’s reception afterwards.

“Given the ‘cabin fever’ we have all been experiencing, everyone seemed thankful for the chance to be in community before retreating again for the new storm,” Ward said. “Not since the Boston Marathon bombings displaced us a few years ago have we contended with such a disruption, but the people of this parish are resilient and flexible and creative, and full of the Holy Spirit.”

Following the service, the altar floral arrangements were wheeled into the middle of the reception and flower guild members snipped them apart and made spontaneous Valentine bouquets for parishioners to take away and give to family or friends.

Recognizing that many would be unable to attend the rescheduled service, Trinity’s “Blizzard Edition” newsletter was e-mailed to 3,000 households with links to resources to support Sunday worship for parishioners wherever they may be.

The links included the appointed Bible readings for the Last Sunday of Epiphany, selected music featuring the Trinity Choir, “Snow Day” worship ideas for children, and a video message from the Rev. Bill Rich, Trinity’s senior associate rector for Christian formation.

Ward said that many parishioners had e-mailed to say they’d made use of the online resources for home worship and that it’s an idea they will replicate whenever it is needed.

Writing from her own “personal snowbank” in Cambridge, Massachusetts, diocesan communications director Tracy Sukraw said she was aware of several other churches that had offered special late-afternoon or early evening services on Saturday instead of Sunday, including St. Paul’s Church in Brookline, which advertised a “Pre-Snow Service” at 5 p.m. saying “Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the One who loves you.”

A number of those that did close on Sunday took to social media, she said, encouraging “Church at Home” and posting the day’s Scripture readings, collects and sermons, such as this YouTube offering by the Rev. Matthew Stewart, rector of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Fall River.

Clergy at St. Mark’s Church in Westford, northwest of Boston in the Merrimack Valley, declared Sunday as “Pray in Your Pajamas Day” with a message on its Facebook page that read: “Make this snow day a Sabbath day by sleeping a little late, have breakfast with your family, and then pray together for all who will work so hard Sunday to dig us out from yet another storm, and for those who struggle to find adequate shelter. Finish by reciting this canticle, ‘A Song of Creation’ from the Morning Prayer service in the Book of Common Prayer, p. 88…”

And the Rev. Leslie Sterling, rector of St. Bartholomew’s Church in Cambridge, in posting the Sunday church closing notice, concluded with a few words of encouragement: “This challenging weather will end eventually. Spring always follows winter.”

Several congregations throughout Maine and Rhode Island also sent out suggestions and resources for worshiping at home.

Back in Connecticut, as Dyer concluded his New Haven-based social media service with the words “Let us go forth into the world to share the Good News of Christ! (After the blizzard, of course)” a chorus of responses filled the Facebook comments with “Thanks be to God!”

Following the service, many people sent messages to Dyer via social media and e-mail offering thanks for the flexibility and creativity.

And Dyer’s initiative certainly has the overwhelming support of his bishop. “We are incredibly blessed in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut to have young and creative leaders like the Rev. Alex Dyer who are imagining new ways to participate in God’s mission,” Bishop Ian Douglas told ENS. “I thank God for Alex’s leadership.”

But while Dyer recognizes that an online service won’t replace a traditional service, “I am in prayer about how we can better utilize social media to connect people to each other and to God.”

– Matthew Davies is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

Anglicans speak out on sexual and gender-based violence

Episcopal News Service - seg, 16/02/2015 - 07:39

From right: U.K. Conservative Member of Parliament William Hague; Actress Angelina Jolie-Pitt; Minister of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office the Rt. Hon. Baroness Anelay; and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, on a panel at the FCO event. Photo: Anglican Alliance

[Anglican Alliance] Anglicans gathered with other faith leaders in London to set recommendations for how faith communities can work collaboratively, together with governments and national and international stakeholders, to end sexual violence in conflict. The two day interfaith consultation was convened by the We Will Speak Out coalition and UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (further coverage of the meeting here).

The Anglicans taking part in the meeting were: Mathilde Nkwirikiye (Anglican Church of Burundi), Archbishop Henri Isingoma (Anglican Church of Congo), the Rev. Joseph Bilal (Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan), Vijula Arulanantham (Church of Ceylon), Archbishop Francisco de Assis da Silva (Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil), Bishop Margaret Vertue (Anglican Church of Southern Africa), Bishop Ellinah Ntfombi Wamukoya (Anglican Church of Southern Africa), Bishop Christopher Cocksworth (Church of England) and the Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin (Church of England).

On the final day of meetings faith leaders made a joint statement (the full text is available below). You can add your voice to theirs at http://www.wewillspeakout.org/interfaithevent2015.

On Feb. 11, the Anglican Alliance hosted a webinar on how churches can mobilize to end sexual and gender-based violence in their communities and raise their voices with other churches and faith communities globally to tackle these issues at a global level.

Speakers addressed subjects such as care and support of survivors of gender-based violence; ensuring survivors are at the heart of church responses; gender justice and theology; engaging men and boys in ending gender-based violence; faith leaders speaking out; and church as a “safe space” for survivors.

The webinar was chaired by the Rev. Rachel Carnegie, co-executive director of the Anglican Alliance, and presenters included: Archbishop Henri Isingoma, Anglican Church of Congo (DRC); Mathilde Nkwirikiye, Mothers’ Union in Burundi; Mara Luz, Episcopal Church in Brazil; Therese Mama Mapenzi, a partner of CAFOD in DRC; the Rev. Terrie Robinson, director for women in church and society at the Anglican Communion Office; and Paulo Ueti, theologian and Anglican Alliance facilitator for Latin America and the Caribbean.

You can listen to the recording of the webinar and access the slides, with presentations in both English and French.

Resources relating to many of the themes discussed on the webinar are available at: http://www.wewillspeakout.org/resources.

Inter Faith Declaration on Mobilising Faith Communities to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, 9-10 February 2015

We have come together at the inter faith consultation on ‘Mobilising Faith Communities to End Sexual Violence in Conflict’, 9-10 February 2015, because we recognise our particular role and responsibility as leaders in helping bring to an end the use of rape and other forms of sexual and gender based violence in conflict. This consultation advances the discussion at the ‘Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict’ held in London in June 2014.

As faith leaders, we acknowledge that all faiths affirm the dignity of human beings and so condemn sexual violence. We share a common understanding of our potential to mobilise people at all levels to work together to end sexual violence in conflict.  We will challenge the culture of impunity that exists for these crimes, and use our influence to mobilise and encourage leadership and commitment across governments, communities and religious institutions to protect human rights and provide safe spaces and support to survivors and their families.

We will promote the dignity and rights of survivors of sexual violence, both female and male.  The shame for these crimes lies with the perpetrators and not those who suffer them. We have a critical role to play in tackling the root causes of sexual violence, including the subordinate and unequal status of women around the world, and harmful cultural, religious and social norms, including distorted notions of masculine identities. Ideas of culture or tradition, or misapplication of sacred texts, must never be used to allow impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence. We will also seek to work with perpetrators to end the cycle of violence.

Based on our discussions, we have determined the distinctive role of faith leaders in:

  • Defending values of faith and human rights
  • Tackling impunity and promoting justice and accountability
  • Supporting survivors of sexual violence
  • Engaging men and boys in promoting positive masculinities and transformed gender relations
  • Peace building and peace processes

We have agreed to implement recommendations for collaborative action in these areas, as set out in the Report of the Inter Faith Consultation on Mobilising Faith Communities to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.  As faith leaders, we commit ourselves to take these actions:

  • We will speak out against sexual and gender-based violence in conflict at every opportunity
  • We will take action together to promote human rights and see girls, women, boys and men freed from the threat and impact of sexual violence in conflict across the world.
  • We will stand together in solidarity with all those affected by sexual violence.
  • We will promote the development and implementation of laws that protect and promote justice to bring an end to sexual, and other forms of gender based violence during and after conflict, holding governments to account.
  • We will strive to build peace and promote reconciliation, challenging the internal and external causes of conflict.
  • We will dedicate ourselves to finding lasting solutions; mobilising leadership at all levels and implementing these values within our own faith community.

We call on all faith leaders to join us in speaking out and to work together with governments, national and international stakeholders, and communities to help end the use of sexual violence in conflict.

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori: On Healing and Wholeness

Episcopal News Service - qui, 12/02/2015 - 19:11

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued the following statement:

On Healing and Wholeness

Healing is the primary work of people of faith and the communities of which they are a part.  Christians, as disciples of One who came to save (rescue, heal, make whole) the world and its inhabitants, seek to heal their relationships with one another and with all that is.

Episcopalians believe this is God’s mission and we are its ministers or servants.  We are meant to seek to repair what is breached and broken, to stitch up what is torn, to heal what is sick, to release what is imprisoned and oppressed, to comfort the dying, to encourage the ignored, forlorn, and grieving. Our life finds meaning in responding to the cries around us and within us, as individuals in community. We follow One who was himself vilified, tortured, and finally executed for proclaiming the possibility of reconciled relationships in communities divided by poverty, violence, and religion.

The tragic death of Thomas Palermo challenges us all to attend to the work of healing.  We cannot restore what is past, but we can seek reconciliation and wholeness for all who have been affected – the Palermo family, Heather Cook, the biking community and others in Baltimore, the Diocese of Maryland, bystanders and onlookers who have witnessed any of these traumatic events.

We begin in prayer – lament and wailing at loss and at human frailty.  We continue in prayer – for succor and comfort, for compassion, for transformation and healing.  Episcopalians worship a God who came among us in fragile human flesh and suffered pain and death at the hands of other human beings. We understand his resurrection to mean that death does not have the final word – and that healing and wholeness transcend the grave. That healing is never quick or easy, it does not “fix” what has already happened, but it does begin to let hope grow again.

Our task is that hard work of healing. It requires vulnerability to the pain of all involved – victims, transgressors, onlookers, friends and families and coworkers and emergency responders and community members. A violent death often divides communities, yet ultimately healing requires us all to lower our defenses enough to let others minister to us, to hear another’s pain and grief, to share our own devastation, and indeed to look for the possibility of a new and different future. Healing also comes through a sense of restored order, which is the role of processes of accountability.

Healing requires hope for a redeemed future for the Palermo family as well as Heather Cook. Many have been changed by this death, yet their lives are not ended. They can be healed and transformed, even though the path be long and hard. Our work is to walk that path in solidarity with all who grieve and mourn. May we pray with the psalmist, “Yea, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you are with me.” May we also be that companioning presence, the image of God in the flesh, for those who walk through that valley.

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

Episcopal missionaries nurture global partnerships, deepen Communion

Episcopal News Service - qui, 12/02/2015 - 11:08

[Episcopal News Service] As The Episcopal Church prepares to observe World Mission Sunday on February 15, the following article looks at some of the treasures of its missionary program. The purpose of World Mission Sunday is to focus on the global impact of the Baptismal Covenant’s call to “seek and serve Christ in all persons” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 305), and to raise awareness of the many ways in which The Episcopal Church participates in God’s mission around the world. The recently released Report to the Church details the work of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society in coordinating and supporting Episcopal Church missionaries serving throughout the world.

Natalie Finstad, an Episcopal Church missionary who served in Kenya, helps to plant seedlings at a young adult leadership event with one of Tatua Kenya’s partner organizations, the Nyumba ya Tumaini Children’s Home in Nairobi. Photo: Tatua Kenya

Several years of serving as an Episcopal Church missionary taught Natalie Finstad that healing and change only really happen in the context of community and that “we cannot begin to recognize who we are in God without the presence of community.”

Relationships with one another “invite us into a deeper understanding of who we are,” she told ENS shortly after she’d returned to the U.S. after four years living in Kenya, where she established the Tatua Kenya program to develop leaders and community organizers in East Africa to become agents of change.

And for Finstad, 30, being a missionary is all about deepening partnerships, “being in right relationships … building up the Kingdom of God.”

Finstad is one of thousands of Episcopal missionaries who over several decades have chosen to embrace a life-changing experience of walking alongside a community often far removed – both geographically and culturally – from their own.

Although she has left Kenya, her missionary work lives on through Tatua Kenya, which is now managed locally by community leaders who are committed to a sustainable future.

Crossing cultural boundaries, building partnerships, and engaging God’s mission locally and globally are at the very heart of The Episcopal Church’s missionary program, which “offers individuals an opportunity to be agents of Jesus in the world. Then through our telling of the stories, it offers other people an opportunity to see how they can be engaged,” Finstad said.

“We need opportunities to get involved. The program opened avenues for me to tell the story … and to build beautiful relationships,” she added. “I can’t even say who I am without this experience in Kenya. I could not even begin to separate myself from what I’ve learned there. The rest of my life will be a display of gratitude for that experience – I am confident of that.”

The Rev. David Copley, mission personnel officer for The Episcopal Church, says it is difficult “to quantify the success of our missionaries because the basic premise is always to strengthen relationships with our partners.” But, he added, some of the greatest success stories can be found “in the programs that continue when the missionary presence ends.”

Episcopal Church missionary Natalie Finstad attends the launch of a campaign to get kids back to school in Kenya. Photo: Tatua Kenya

Through Tatua Kenya, for example, Finstad seized the opportunity to build effective and sustainable solutions to poverty in Kenya by developing local leadership and encouraging community participation, rather than simply turning to overseas sources of funding. The project now offers a two-year fellowship for local leaders to learn community organizing skills and use those skills to launch locally run initiatives that improve livelihoods and reduce dependency within their communities.

“We rarely see missionaries as being in a long-term placement for their whole career,” Copley said, acknowledging the importance of programs that empower the local community. “This can be seen also with the ministry of the Rev. Zach Drennen, who began with a program to have scholarships for high school students in Kenya with funding mostly from the U.S. His program now receives 50 percent of its funds from local sources and he is looking to hire a new local director for the program and to transition out of his role there.”

The Episcopal Church’s missionary program, which is administered by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, currently sponsors and supports 47 adult missionaries who serve in various roles, such as doctors, nurses, teachers, accountants, agriculturalists, computer technicians, administrators, theologians, and communicators.

Missionaries are lay and ordained, young and old, and serve as “representatives of our community who cross cultural boundaries to participate in the mission of God that our brothers and sisters in other parts of the Anglican Communion feel called to respond to,” says Copley.

Over the past two years, the church’s Young Adult Service Corps program has taken on a new lease of life, with 45 missionaries aged 21-30 serving in a broad diversity of roles and contexts.

The 2013-2015 budget passed by General Convention allotted $1 million to make “a missionary experience available to all Episcopal young people through such programs as the Young Adult Service Corps program for a gap year experience between high school and college or work.”

That allocation is part of the way in which the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is responding to the third Mark of Mission, which calls on members of the Anglican Communion to respond to human need in loving service.

The recently released Report to the Church details the budget-supported work of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society to date in the current triennium, including the Mark Three work on pages 44-55.

Convention structured the current triennial budget around the Communion’s Five Marks of Mission and provided significant unallocated sums for new work targeted around each Mark of Mission. The intention was that the resulting work would be done in new, collaborative partnerships with dioceses, congregations and other Episcopal organizations. The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society has provided seed money and/or matching grants as well as staff support and expertise for the new work.

The 2013 group of 28 missionaries was the largest number of YASC volunteers ever, including three returnees and two representing the church’s Province IX (dioceses in the Caribbean, Central and South America) for the first time in the program.

For the upcoming year, a record-breaking 42 young adults representing 25 dioceses, one quarter of whom are people of color, have filed applications to serve in the program.

Will Bryant, Young Adult Service Corps missionary from the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina, poses for a photo with a seafarer and friend during his year in service with the Mission to Seafarers in Hong Kong.

“When I first signed up to do YASC, I had no idea how much it would change my life,” said Will Bryant from the Diocese of Western North Carolina, who spent his first year as a YASC missionary working with the Mission to Seafarers in Hong Kong, and is currently serving a second year at the Joel Nafuma Refugee Centre in Rome.

“In my two years with the program I have grown spiritually and mentally in ways that I would have never imagined,” he told ENS.

Bryant said that his experiences with the YASC program have helped him to realize that “whether you are an Afghani refugee, a Filipino seafarer or an American missionary, we are all seeking the same thing: a safe, comfortable place to call home, employment to provide for our families and community, and a deeper connection with our creator. … Now, after living in two completely different countries and continents, I can safely say that I have become more confident in my faith and in my abilities as a human being. I don’t exactly know what the future holds after my time in YASC, but I do know that whatever that may be, I will be well-prepared because of the lessons I have learned as a missionary.”

Through the missionary program, several relationships with other Anglican provinces have continued to deepen and flourish.

The partnership between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, for example, goes back several decades. Long-term adult missionary Jenny McConnachie has devoted her life to the poorest of the poor. She and her late husband Chris moved from North Carolina to South Africa’s Eastern Cape in the early 1980s. Together, they set up African Medical Mission, strengthening the most vulnerable communities through their commitment and compassionate service.

Over the past decade that partnership has seen several YASCers heading to South Africa to serve in educational, healthcare, community development and administrative roles.

Copley received a letter from Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba saying how much the YASC program benefits the Anglican Church of Southern Africa “and how he sees the young adults growing in their ministry, highlighting the mutuality of mission.”

Makgoba, speaking with Episcopal News Service, said that the young adult missionaries are “all characterized by one key value: they are selfless in their giving of their energy and expertise. They show the critical value of Ubuntu,” a Zulu/Xhosa word that describes human identity as being formed through community and encompassing a sense of caring, sharing and being in harmony with all of creation.

“My prayer is that this partnership should grow from strength to strength,” Makgoba added. “I hope that those who come to South Africa are so touched by South Africa that they take a part of our humanity. This is an invaluable program as part and parcel of our mission and ministry in Southern Africa. As Christians we need to strive to be anchored in the love of Christ and committed to His mission and ministry and transform societies so that they reflect the love of Christ and they too can be empowered to make Christ known in their own contexts.”

Copley said that the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, which began receiving YASCers in 2012, has also acknowledged the benefits of their presence and has expressed its commitment to continuing the partnership.

Carlin van Schaik of the Diocese of Northwest Texas is currently in her second year in YASC serving with the Episcopal Church in the Philippines. Her 2013-14 YASC year was spent in Seoul with the Anglican Church’s Towards Peace in Korea program, which focuses on humanitarian aid and peace education.

Episcopal Church missionary Natalie Finstad sits and talks with some boys who live at the Nyumba ya Tumaini Children’s Home, one of Tatua Kenya’s partner organizations, in Nairobi. Photo: Tatua Kenya

Speaking with ENS just a few months after arriving in South Korea, van Schaik said that the experience had already “widened her world view. I had no idea how American I was until I arrived. I listen a lot more than I used to, and I have a much better sense of the interconnectedness of people. … That’s made a really big difference on how I view the world and consider my own actions now. I want to be able to live much more globally and much less locally than I have before.”

The YASC program is “a chance for you to learn more about yourself, do good work, meet new people, and you don’t have to pay your student loans for a year,” she added. “You keep changing your whole life so the YASC program is a good place to start practicing that. It’s been really educational.”

Copley highlighted a new initiative currently being offered by the mission personnel office to support shorter-term missionaries who can provide specific skills.

For instance, Jim and Mary Higbee and Sue Dauer visited Kenya for just one month in 2014 to provide hands-on teacher training which they will continue to follow up with in the coming years.

Copley’s office also continues to work with Episcopal Church dioceses to strengthen their companion relationships and to support medium-term mission placements of older adults as well as for YASCers.

“I see mission service as providing technical expertise to empower others and also an avenue to strengthen companion relationships through the ministry of presence,” he said.

Jenny Korwan, who served as a YASC missionary from 2012-13 working with Finstad at Tatua Kenya, says she will always consider herself an Episcopal Church missionary. “Society and culture tell you what missionary is, but the mission of the church is really based on relationship and sharing the love of Christ and the love of God through what we do and how we act. Uniting churches and uniting the faith community across cultures is a huge part of what being a missionary is all about.”

For Finstad, who is currently in the discernment process in the Diocese of Massachusetts, her personal faith has always motivated her work, which she said is primarily about building relationships and working towards reconciliation.

But her ministry in Kenya has changed the way she views mission.

“I used to think of mission as something we do or accomplish, but now I am much more concerned with mission being about healing” and relationships.

“It is not our responsibility to heal the world – that is the work of God,” she added. “However, it is our mandate to honor God’s presence in all of creation and to cultivate a mature understanding of what it means to be a child of God. We must invite all our brothers and sisters to join us … in envisioning how we could work towards the Kingdom of God together.”

For further information about the missionary program, contact the Rev. David Copley, director for mission personnel, at dcopley@episcopalchurch.org. For further information about the YASC program, contact Elizabeth Boe, officer for global networking, at eboe@episcopalchurch.org.

ENS video stories highlighting the ministry of YASC missionaries are available below.

One young adult…and a Roman refugee center

One young adult…and a South African clinic

One young adult…and a provincial archives

One young adult…and a mission for migrant workers

One young adult…and a mission to seafarers

— Matthew Davies is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

Georgia activists ask for end to executions of intellectually disabled

Episcopal News Service - qua, 11/02/2015 - 16:44

[Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta] Death penalty opponents this week asked lawmakers to bring Georgia into line with all other states for how the state determines whether death row inmates are intellectually disabled.

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that it is unconstitutional to execute people with intellectual disabilities Georgia was first to establish new rules. But, Georgia is now the only state to require the beyond a reasonable doubt standard, meaning that there be no doubt that an inmate is intellectually disabled. Of the states still executing prisoners, 24 require a preponderance of evidence and four use the clear and convincing standard, both less stringent levels of proof.

The Rev. Joseph Shippen of Christ Church, Macon, who is also a death row chaplain, represents Bishop Robert C. Wright at a press conference following meetings with legislators. Photo: Diocese of Atlanta

The Rev. Joseph Shippen of Christ Church, Macon, who represented Bishop Robert C. Wright at a press conference following the meetings with legislators, said that The Episcopal Church has since 1954 been on record opposing the death penalty.

“We cannot stand by and support our State treating human beings, God’s beloved children, as disposable objects,” Shippen said. Of particular concern, he said, is the increasing pace of executions.

“In 2015 alone, two men have already been executed, and as I speak Kelly Gissendaner is scheduled to be put to death on Feb. 25,” he said.

Gissendaner, convicted in 1998 of having her boyfriend kill her husband, would be the first woman executed in Georgia since 1945 when Lena Baker was electrocuted for killing her employer. Baker received a full pardon in 2005, when the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles agreed with her family’s argument that Baker acted in self-defense and should have been charged with manslaughter.

The first man put to death in 2015, Andrew Brannon, was a decorated Vietnam veteran who committed his crime as a result of his PTSD that he acquired in wartime, Shippen said. “What does it say about the way we treat veterans in our state when we execute those who struggle with the disabilities acquired as a result of heroic service on our behalf?”

The second man put to death in Georgia this year, Warren Hill, had an IQ of 70. “He was clearly intellectually disabled, and that should have disqualified him from the death penalty,” Shippen said. “He was unable to prove his intellectual disability, though, because Georgia is alone in our country in requiring that a condemned person must prove his intellectual disability beyond a reasonable doubt, a standard that is almost impossible to meet.”

Sara Totonchi, who heads the Southern Center for Human Rights, told an audience of about 30 gathered in the Capitol Rotunda,that despite the quickening pace of executions in Georgia there is reason for hope that the death penalty is nearing an end in the United States.

“Twenty years ago, the notion that the United States might abandon capital punishment was inconceivable,” Totonchi said. “In the past 10 years, however, we have witnessed a seismic shift in the opposite direction” with six states abandoning executing prisoners in the past six year.

She said that despite Georgia’s “thirst for vengeance and our politicians’ tough-on-crime mantras, the tide is turning here as well.” Last year, Totonchi said, there were 35 executions in just seven states, the fewest number is 20 years.

Shippen and Totonchi were joined at the press conference by representatives of the anti-death penalty group Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty GFADP), the Georgia Council for Developmental Disabilities and longtime death penalty opponent Sen. Vincent Fort of Atlanta.

GFADP Chair Kathryn Hamoudah said, “Georgia’s legal system is once more bringing shame and embarrassment to our state by failing to protect those who are most vulnerable.

“We continue to set the bar for the most inhumane and unjust practices,” Hamoudah said. “Without intervention by the Georgia General Assembly, Georgia will undoubtedly continue to execute people with intellectual disabilities.”

Currently, no bills have been filed addressing the level of proof for establishing intellectual disability for death row inmates.

An article on the lobby day by death-penalty opponents appeared in the Feb. 11 issue of the Athens Banner-Herald

– Don Plummer is communications coordinator for community and media relations for the Diocese of Atlanta.