Episcopal News Service

Subscribe to Episcopal News Service feed
The official news service of the Episcopal Church.
Updated: 2 hours 8 min ago

Washington National Cathedral prepares to host state funeral for George H.W. Bush

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 3:46pm

President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush attend a dedication ceremony at Washington National Cathedral on Sept. 29, 1990, when the last stone was raised and set on the Saint Paul Tower. Photo: Associated Press

[Episcopal News Service] President George H.W. Bush, a lifelong Episcopalian who credited his faith with shaping his public life, will be memorialized Dec. 5 at a state funeral held at Washington National Cathedral, the Episcopal Church’s and the nation’s most prominent house of worship.

Bush, who died Nov. 30 at age 94, had a long, respected career in Washington, D.C., including as vice president from 1981 to 1989 and president from 1989 to 1993, and during his 12 years in the White House engaged often with Episcopal Church leaders, conferring with presiding bishops on the issues of the day and even once speaking at General Convention.

He also developed a friendship with former Washington Bishop John Walker, and as president, Bush and first lady Barbara Bush attended the 1990 ceremony marking completion of the cathedral after 83 years of construction. Today, two of his children are members of the cathedral congregation.

The 11 a.m. service Dec. 5 with be the fourth presidential funeral held at the cathedral. The family selected as officiants Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Washington Bishop Marian Budde, the cathedral’s Dean Randy Hollerith and the Rev. Russell Levenson Jr., rector of Bush’s Houston congregation. Levenson also will preach at the service.

“Beyond the political achievements and historic accolades, President Bush was committed most to his family and his faith. He and his beloved Barbara poured their love into their children and raised them in faith,” Budde and Hollerith said in a joint statement. “George and Barbara Bush’s example of mutual devotion, fidelity, and commitment is inspiring, and it should give everyone great joy to know that Mr. and Mrs. Bush’s love continues into eternity.”

The president’s son, former President George W. Bush, will be among the eulogists at the funeral. The others will be former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson and Bush biographer Jon Meacham, according to the order of service.

In addition to the late president’s son, Presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are due to attend the funeral, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, CNN reported.

The service is expected to draw a capacity, invitation-only crowd of up to 3,000 people, including family members, senators, representatives, Supreme Court justices, Trump administration officials, diplomats and foreign dignitaries, with U.S. Secret Service establishing security protocols, cathedral spokesman Kevin Eckstrom told Episcopal News Service.

“Easter and Christmas, as complicated as they can be, feel pretty routine compared to something like this,” Eckstrom said.

The last funeral at Washington National Cathedral to approach such significance was the service for U.S. Sen. John McCain on Sept. 1. But a state funeral is an honor reserved for presidents, part of a series of tributes coordinated by the U.S. Department of Defense as a final sendoff for the former commander-in-chief.

“We, the men and women of the Department of Defense, are honored and proud to support the Bush family and will do so with the utmost respect,” Major Gen. Michael L. Howard, the commanding general of the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region, said in a written statement. “This state funeral is a culmination of years of planning and rehearsal to ensure the support the military renders President Bush is nothing less than a first-class tribute.”

Former President George H.W. Bush gives a eulogy at President Ronald Reagan’s state funeral June 11, 2004, at Washington National Cathedral. Photo: White House archives

The previous three state funerals at the cathedral, were President Dwight Eisenhower in 1969, President Ronald Reagan in 2004 and President Gerald Ford in 2007. Bush gave eulogies at Reagan’s and Ford’s funerals at the cathedral. President Woodrow Wilson is entombed at the cathedral, but his 1924 burial service was not a state funeral.

“It is a sacred rite. It is a church service, and it has to be a good experience for everybody inside the building, but particularly the family,” Eckstrom said. “At the same time, this is also a global news event, so everything is done with an eye to what it is going to look like on TV.”

ABC has long been the TV network designated to provide the pool feed for high-profile events like this at the cathedral, and by Dec. 3, the network had three tractor-trailers filled with equipment on the grounds in preparation.

The local TV station WTOP reported on the clutter of microphones, tripods, TV monitors and wires at the cathedral as a worker was being suspended in the air to hang spotlights overlooking an altar that had been labeled a “stage.”

The cathedral staff is mobilizing to complete its part of this multilayered puzzle of preparations, such as printing about 5,000 leaflets with the order of service and ensuring they are delivered before Secret Service closes the building for a security sweep.

Eckstrom said the funeral will adhere closely to the Book of Common Prayer, and the hymns will be familiar to anyone who picks up The Hymnal 1982 from the pew in their Episcopal congregation each Sunday.

“This [state funeral] probably has more of an Episcopal flavor to it than some of the others might,” he said, given Bush’s Episcopal faith.

As a child in Connecticut, Bush attended Christ Episcopal Church in Greenwich, and his mother would read to him from the Book of Common Prayer, according to the Washington Post report on his faith.

“He was Episcopalian by tradition. His mother was extremely devout, read all the books. And he loved his mother and so he loved the tradition,” author Doug Wead told the Washington Post, adding that Bush also pointed to his service as a naval aviator in World War II as pivotal to his faith development.

After moving to Texas as an adult, Bush at first attended a Presbyterian church with his wife before the couple settled in Houston and joined St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.

As vice president, met with Episcopal leaders, including Presiding Bishop John Allin, who in February 1982 raised concerns with Bush about a recent postage rate hike.

“I am grateful for the vice president’s interest,” Allin said in an ENS story. “The postal increase was one of the matters we discussed, and I am grateful that he made the time for the talk available. I am hopeful that something will be done.”

Vice President George Bush speaks to General Convention in 1982. Photo: Episcopal Church archive

Later in 1982, when Bush addressed the Episcopal Church’s General Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, the speech reportedly proved controversial for its remarks in defense of the Reagan administration’s arms policy.

“Vice President George Bush assured nearly 3,000 of his fellow Episcopalians of governmental desires for peace as he addressed a special session of the 67th General Convention of the Episcopal Church,” the caption said on an archival photo from that speech.

As president he attended services at St. John’s Episcopal Church, across Lafayette Square from the White House. In December 1990, during the run-up to the Persian Gulf War, he met with then Presiding Bishop Ed Browning, who recommended restraint.

″I really believe in the deepest part of my conviction that God does not desire this kind of destruction,″ Browning said, according to an Associated Press report at the time.

Bush countered by presenting an Amnesty International report on atrocities by Iraq against Kuwaitis and asked Browning if doing nothing would be morally worse.

“His own faith was sincere and deep and rooted in the Episcopal Church,” Budde told ENS in an interview. She also referenced correspondence she discovered between Bush and Walker, including letters in which the bishop and the vice president debated the proper way to respond to apartheid in South Africa.

Bush “was a good colleague, I would even say friend, to Bishop John Walker. Their tenures coincided.” Walker served the diocese until his death in 1989.

Bush will be buried after a private service scheduled for 4:15 p.m. Dec. 6 at the George Bush Presidential Library & Museum in College Station, Texas. Barbara Bush, who died April 17, was buried there earlier this year after a funeral attended by a crowd of mourners at St. Martin’s, the largest congregation in the Episcopal Church. The Bushes were married 73 years.

St. Martin’s also is scheduled to hold a funeral service for the former president at 11 a.m. Dec. 6 after his remains are returned to Texas.

First, he will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol through the day on Dec. 4.

On Dec. 5, the casket will leave the Capitol in time for the funeral at Washington National Cathedral, which will air on all major broadcast TV and cable news networks and will be livestreamed by various websites, including C-SPAN.

“Through his enduring commitment to public service and his steadfast devotion to his family, he lived the way of Jesus through a life shaped by faith, hope and, above all, love,” Curry said in a tribute to Bush issued Dec. 1. “Through his unswerving service to our country and to the human community around the globe, he embodied the noblest ideals of his faith and his country.

“President Bush will be an enduring reminder that virtues like kindness, gentleness and goodness are among the things that truly endure, and that chart the way to our living as the human family of God. In him we have beheld a great soul, and been reminded of the hope that, by God’s grace, we can live likewise.”

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.

The post Washington National Cathedral prepares to host state funeral for George H.W. Bush appeared first on Episcopal News Service.

Al Ministerio Episcopal de Migración y a otras 8 agencias les otorgaron nuevos contratos para reasentar refugiados

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 9:48am

[Episcopal News Service] El Departamento de Estado, pese a la decisión del gobierno de Trump de reducir drásticamente el número de refugiados autorizados a reasentarse en Estados Unidos, ha renovado los contratos con las nueve agencias que durante mucho tiempo han coordinado el reasentamiento de refugiados, entre ellas el Ministerio Episcopal de Migración, o EMM [por su sigla en inglés].

La decisión, que se les comunicó a las agencias el 30 de noviembre, les permite continuar sus actividades de reasentamiento durante otro año, aunque a una capacidad mucho menor que durante el gobierno de Obama.

“Nos congratulamos de seguir reasentando refugiados en el próximo años”, dijo el 3 de diciembre el Rdo. Charles Robertson, canónigo del Obispo Primado para el Ministerio Fuera de la Iglesia Episcopal en un comunicado de prensa en que anunciaba la decisión del Departamento de Estado. “Aún encaramos el reto de la transición a un programa de reasentamiento mucho más pequeño. Esto sucede en un momento en el que hay más de 25,4 millones de refugiados, más de la mitad de los cuales son niños. Con apoyo de todos, seguiremos recibiendo refugiados en un lugar de seguridad y acogida”.

La refugiada siria Baraa Haj Khalaf, a la izquierda, besa a su padre, Khaled, mientras su madre, Fattoum, llora luego de llegar al Aeropuerto Internacional O’Hare, en Chicago, Illinois, en febrero de 2017. Foto de Reuters.

Robertson también invitó a los episcopales a apoyar económicamente este ministerio haciendo una donación en episcopalmigrationministries.org/give o enviando un texto a “EMM” para 41444.

El Departamento de Estado anunció el 17 de septiembre que, para el año fiscal que comenzó el 1 de octubre, reduciría el límite a 30.000 refugiados, de 85.000 que era hace sólo dos años. Y que 30.000 era el tope. El número real de refugiados a ser recibidos en Estados Unidos podría ser mucho más bajo.

El EMM ha reasentado más de 90.000 refugiados desde los años 80, brindando una amplia gama de servicios a estas familias a su llegada a Estados Unidos, entre ellos clases de inglés y de orientación cultural, servicios de empleo, matrícula escolar y ayuda inicial con vivienda y transporte.

“Reasentamos refugiados para reunir familias, para salvar vidas de personas con graves afecciones de salud y para proteger a los que huyen de la persecución religiosa, entre otras necesidades de protección. Como Iglesia, seguimos abogando por un mayor número de admisiones de refugiados y porque EE.UU. restaure su liderazgo global en la protección y el reasentamiento de refugiados”, dijo Lacy Broemel, asesora de refugiados e inmigración de la Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales de la Iglesia Episcopal con sede en Washington, D.C.

Para los líderes de la Iglesia, el anuncio de última hora del Departamento de Estado de sus renovaciones de contratos —a sólo un mes antes de que caducara el contrato actual—  fue un acontecimiento positivo a corto plazo luego de un período de tensa incertidumbre, pero las renovaciones no mitigan las preocupaciones a largo plazo sobre el futuro del programa de reasentamiento del gobierno.

“Seguimos profundamente preocupados de que la Administración continúe desmantelando el Programa Estadounidense de Admisión de Refugiados —un programa que ha estado en vigor durante décadas apoyo bipartidario , y amplio respaldo público”, dijo Broemel en un email. “Al reducir de manera tan drástica el número de refugiados que serán admitidos en EE.UU. cada año, las agencias de reasentamiento no podrán atender a muchas personas vulnerables, y muchas comunidades de todo el país ya no podrán llevar a cabo la labor vivificadora del ministerio de reasentamiento de refugiados”.

El EMM en un tiempo supervisaba a 31 filiales de reasentamiento en 26 diócesis, pero ese número se ha reducido este año a 14 filiales en 12 diócesis. La extensión de la labor de reasentamiento del EMM durante el año próximo no resulta clara de momento ahora que le acaban de renovar su contrato para el año civil.

La iglesia episcopal de La Trinidad de  Los Ángeles posa con carteles que muestran su apoyo a inmigrantes y refugiados. Los carteles dicen “Apoye a los Refugiados”[con el hashtag] “#GreaterAs1”. Foto de la iglesia episcopal de La Trinidad vía Facebook.

La agencia ha recibido un firme respaldo de toda la Iglesia. El Consejo Ejecutivo aprobó una resolución en octubre en la cual encomiaba al EMM, “cuyo dedicado personal, durante una temporada de fluctuación e incertidumbre, ha trabajado incansable y abnegadamente para apoyar a los refugiados en muchas partes del mundo que buscan reasentarse en Estados Unidos”.

El obispo primado Michael Curry emitió un comunicado en septiembre en que daba a conocer su decepción luego de que el gobierno anunciara los nuevos límites a los reasentamientos.

“Nuestros corazones y nuestras oraciones están con los miles de refugiados que, debido a esta decisión, no podrán encontrar una nueva vida en Estados Unidos”, dijo Curry. “Esta decisión del gobierno no refleja la asistencia y la compasión de los estadounidenses que a diario acogen a refugiados en sus comunidades. Nuestra fe nos llama a amar a Dios y a amar a nuestro prójimo, de manera que estamos prestos a ayudar a todos los que podamos de cualquier manera que podamos”.

– David Paulsen es redactor y reportero de Episcopal News Service. Pueden dirigirse a él en dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

 

The post Al Ministerio Episcopal de Migración y a otras 8 agencias les otorgaron nuevos contratos para reasentar refugiados appeared first on Episcopal News Service.

Mark Cowell consecrated bishop of Diocese of Western Kansas

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 3:36pm

Bishops and clergy gathered in Salinas, Kansas, on Dec. 1 for the consecration of Western Kansas Bishop Mark Cowell, center. Photo: Diocese of Western Kansas

[Diocese of Western Kansas] Episcopalians and invited guests from across Kansas and the United States gathered Dec. 1 at Christ Cathedral in Salina to welcome and celebrate the ordination and consecration of the Diocese of Western Kansas’ sixth bishop. The Rt. Rev. Mark A. Cowell succeeds the Rt. Rev. Michael Milliken, who served the diocese for nearly seven years.

Elected on May 5, Bishop Cowell will lead Episcopalians in a largely rural diocese covering the western counties of Kansas. Like many clergy within the diocese as well as his predecessor, Cowell will be a bi-vocational bishop. A lawyer who once prosecuted gang members in Dodge City, the new bishop will continue to serve as vicar of Sts. Mary and Martha of Bethany in Larned and of Holy Nativity in Kinsley. He also works part-time as Dodge City’s municipal prosecutor and is currently in his second term as Hodgeman County attorney.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, led the ceremony as chief consecrator.

Assisting the presiding bishop as co-consecrators were Milliken, fifth bishop of Western Kansas; the Rt. Rev. James Adams, fourth bishop of Western Kansas, and the Rt. Rev. Martin Fields, bishop of Western Missouri. The Very Rev. David Hodges, dean of Christ Cathedral, served as master of ceremonies.

A reception to meet and greet Cowell and  Curry was held at the Salina Country Club following the ceremony.

Cowell was raised in the Episcopal Church and fell in love with Anglican liturgy while living in England as a child. After returning to the United States, he served as an acolyte at St. Peter’s Church in Essex Fells, New Jersey, until he left home for college.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Drew University in 1990, and his Juris Doctorate from Washburn University Law School in 1994. Shortly after admission to the Kansas Bar in 1994, he felt the call to ministry. Trained locally, he was ordained a transitional deacon in October 2003 and a priest in June 2004.

Cowell, his wife, Julie, and their three children, Gabriel, Cathleen and Gryffin, live in Larned.

The post Mark Cowell consecrated bishop of Diocese of Western Kansas appeared first on Episcopal News Service.

Former Church Mission Society chief becomes bishop in England

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 3:16pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The former executive leader of the international Anglican mission agency Church Mission Society has been consecrated as a bishop in the Church of England. Bishop Philip Mounstephen will serve the Diocese of Truro in the south west of England. He was consecrated on Nov. 30 at a service led by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Read the full article here.

The post Former Church Mission Society chief becomes bishop in England appeared first on Episcopal News Service.

Anglicans in Japan to host international anti-nuclear forum

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 3:13pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Communion in Japan is to host an International Forum for a Nuclear-Free World in Sendai, with field-work in Fukushima – scene of the March 2011 disaster in which a massive earthquake and tsunami caused a number of explosions in the town’s coastal nuclear power station, leading to widespread radioactive contamination with serious health and environmental effects.

Every diocese in Japan is participating in the conference in May, and representatives from Anglican Communion provinces with strong ties to Japan are also sending representatives.

Read the full article here.

The post Anglicans in Japan to host international anti-nuclear forum appeared first on Episcopal News Service.

Diocese of San Joaquin cathedral welcomes new dean, ‘historic’ deacon ordinations

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 1:58pm

The Very Rev. Ryan Newman, second row and right, was the first dean to be installed at Fresno’s St. James Cathedral in more than a decade. The altar party included, front row, Emily Cabbiness and Tony Alvarez. Also pictured, San Joaquin Bishop David Rice. Photo: Jeff March/Diocese of San Joaquin

[Episcopal News Service] Diocese of San Joaquin Episcopalians gathered joyously Dec. 1 to welcome a new cathedral dean and to celebrate the first deacon ordinations at St. James Cathedral in Fresno, California, in at least a decade.

“We’re calling it a diocesan day of celebration,” San Joaquin Bishop David Rice said. “In the morning we installed the Rev. Ryan D. Newman as cathedral dean, and in the afternoon, we ordained four new deacons.

“That’s equally historic for this emerging diocese,” he said. “It’s a diaconate ordination in a place we haven’t had for 10 years, since the schism. And it’s historic that two of the deacons have come from our established school for deacons. This is the first group that has come through our own local process, and we’re delighted about that.”

Episcopalians welcomed the Very Rev. Ryan Newman as the first dean of St. James Cathedral in Fresno in a decade on Dec. 1. Photo: Jeff March/Diocese of San Joaquin

In 2007, the former San Joaquin Diocese broke away from the Episcopal Church, over disagreements about the ordination of women and LGBTQ people and same-gender blessings. Calling itself the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, the breakaway group attempted to keep the property, including the Fresno cathedral.

Those who chose to remain in the Episcopal Church, reconstituted the diocese. A series of court battles ensued, and according to Rice, all but one property has been returned to the Episcopal Church.

Newman, a Southern California native, said he felt an immediate connection to the passion and energy of Rice, especially “when he told me that the diocese needs someone who’s not afraid to get messy and who likes to rebuild things.”

He was the rector and headmaster of All Saints Church and School in Kaap’a, Kaua’i, in the Diocese of Hawaii, and had no thoughts of moving on – until San Joaquin Canon to the Ordinary Anna Carmichael called him.

“I was in a Seattle airport, waiting for a flight,” Newman recalled. “I was on my walk to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Ironically, I was preparing to walk the way of St. James. I thought my Camino would end in Spain. Little did I know the journey would take me to St. James in Fresno.”

Newman, 42, hails from South Orange County in the Diocese of Los Angeles, and attended St. Margaret’s School in San Juan Capistrano. Ordained a priest in 2003, he served for 11 years as chaplain and director of operations at Campbell Hall a 1,000-student Episcopal school in North Hollywood, before moving to All Saints, Kaua’i, a historic church he helped to regenerate.

Now, he hopes to parlay that experience to St. James Cathedral.

“Bishop Rice wants to make it a place where it’s not just about worship on Sundays but about what happens between Sundays, about how we become the people of God and church in the world. It’s about getting out there and doing outreach and advocacy and community,” Newman told ENS.

Newman also dreams of transforming the cathedral into a center for the arts and education and an “embodiment of this resurrection in the diocese.”

‘Moments of resurrection with each passing day’

Rice counts the Dec. 1 ordinations among “the moments of resurrection” the diocese experiences daily.

“We started a school for deacons about three years ago, and that was a response to changing styles of formation and training,” he said. “We recognized the need for local formation and training in addition to those aspirants who choose to go to the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and other places.

“This is the first group that have come through our own local process, and we’re delighted about that.”

The Rev. Greg Masztal was ordained Dec. 1 and said becoming a deacon caught him by surprise.  “I joined the church 5 ½ years ago and I didn’t see this happening …  but I am willing to see where I am led,” he told ENS recently.

Currently, the full-time auditor serves the community of St. Paul’s, Modesto. “They’ve gone through a lot over the years, and now it’s a growing community,” he said. “I hope to be a part of that and to encourage people, which is part of a deacon’s call.”

Masztal, 60, added: “It’s been a long journey. I feel like I’m already doing it. And these ordinations are part of a great celebration that is happening.”

Rice agreed. “We are a diocese that continues to experience moments of resurrection with each passing day.”

Concluding the court battles represents a significant shift in the diocesan landscape, which will “be different from most dioceses,” he said.

“We have concluded all of our litigations with the exception of one, a singular property, St. Columba’s in Fresno,” Rice said. “That case has been brought to the court and we’re waiting to hear the results of that decision. We are finished after that.”

Additionally, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church has forgiven $6.8 million in loans to the diocese “and that is a gift for which we continue to be exceedingly grateful,” Rice said. “It allows us to continue and to move and emerge in ways we wouldn’t be able to otherwise.”

San Joaquin Bishop David Rice ordains deacons for the first time in a decade at St. James Cathedral. From left, the Revs. Marilee Muncey, Greg Masztal, Amy Larsen and Terrance Goodpasture. Photo: Jeff March/Diocese of San Joaquin

AWE, holy candor, changing the landscape

Despite challenges, the San Joaquin diocese is “in good heart” and Rice sees a seismic shift in the landscape.

There are numerous inquiries from across the church and around the country to fill upcoming vacancies, from those wanting to experience the kind of “liturgical laboratory” represented by the rebuilding efforts.

Increasingly new relationships are being forged, from the voices of the homeless to nonprofit organizations, ecumenical partners and academic institutions.

There are other shifts: “Rather than talking about average Sunday attendance, we are talking about AWE – average weekly engagement, an acronym coined by Canon to the Ordinary Ann Carmichael,” he said.

“It is a commentary on how we emerge and continue to emerge and the larger liturgical work of people has everything to do with those with whom we spend time and how we serve them each day.”

Rice cited as an example the number of feeding ministries in the diocese’s 21 worship communities. “What’s important about that is, the ministries have come about because our communities have engaged in conversations with people who live where they live, and they’ve heard expressions of we don’t have food.”

There is HUB – Helping Urban Cyclists – which serves homeless residents by providing bicycles for transportation. There is a warming center for the homeless of Visalia. And there is a diocesan immigration task force “engaged in really substantive conversations about refugees and our sisters and brothers who have that status and how we can be of assistance and a voice where sometimes they are voiceless.”

“We believe the church has a clear mandate to be involved wherever people are marginalized or typically invisible,” Rice said.

The diocese still “travels light,” with minimal staff, and there are challenges. “We are endeavoring to address the things we know don’t work,” Rice added. “We use holy candor all the time. We are looking for builders who are building relationships, who are entrepreneurial, who are not risk-averse. It’s hard work, given the landscape.”

Newman said that passion and energy and vision drew him back to California, because Rice “is changing the metrics about vitality.

“It’s not just about how many butts in the pews, but how you’re engaging community in meaningful and tangible ways,” Newman said. “It’s the only way that this diocese and the individual congregations will succeed long-term and have sustainability.”

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

The post Diocese of San Joaquin cathedral welcomes new dean, ‘historic’ deacon ordinations appeared first on Episcopal News Service.

Episcopal Migration Ministries, 8 other agencies awarded new contracts to resettle refugees

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 1:05pm

[Episcopal News Service] The State Department, despite the Trump administration’s decision to drastically reduce the number of refugees allowed to be resettled in the United States, has renewed contracts with all nine agencies that long have facilitated resettlements for the government, including Episcopal Migration Ministries, or EMM.

The decision, communicated to the agencies on Nov. 30, allows them to continue their resettlement activities for another year, though at a greatly diminished capacity than under the Obama administration.

“We are thankful we will continue to resettle refugees in the coming year,“ the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond the Episcopal Church, said Dec. 3 in a press release announcing the State Department’s decision. “We still face the challenge of transitioning to a much smaller resettlement program. This at a time when there are more than 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are children. With everyone’s support, we will continue to welcome refugees to a place of safety and welcome.”

Syrian refugee Baraa Haj Khalaf, left, kisses her father, Khaled, as her mother, Fattoum, cries after arriving at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, in February 2017. Photo: Reuters

Robertson also invited Episcopalians to support this ministry financially by making a donation at episcopalmigrationministries.org/give or texting “EMM” to 41444.

The State Department announced Sept. 17 that it would lower the ceiling to only 30,000 refugees for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, down from a ceiling of 85,000 just two years ago. And that 30,000 is just the upper limit. The actual number of refugees to be welcomed into the United States could be much lower.

EMM has resettled more than 90,000 refugees since the 1980s, providing a range of services for these families upon their arrival in the United States, including English language and cultural orientation classes, employment services, school enrollment and initial assistance with housing and transportation.

“We resettle refugees to reunite families, to save the lives of people with severe medical conditions and to protect those fleeing religious persecution, among other protection needs. As a church, we continue to advocate for higher refugee admissions numbers and for the U.S. to restore its global leadership in refugee protection and resettlement,” said Lacy Broemel, refugee and immigration adviser with Episcopal Church’s Washington, D.C.-based Office of Government Relations.

The State Department’s final-hour announcement of its contract renewals – just a month before the current contracts expire – was greeted by church leaders as a positive short-term development after a period of tense uncertainty, but the renewals don’t alleviate long-term concerns about the future of the government’s resettlement program.

“We remain deeply concerned that the Administration continues to dismantle the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program – a program that has been in place for decades with bipartisan – and broad public – support,” Broemel said by email. “By so drastically reducing the number of refugees who will be admitted to the U.S. each year, resettlement agencies will not be able to serve as many vulnerable people, and many communities around the country will no longer be able to carry out the life-giving work of refugee resettlement ministry.”

EMM once oversaw 31 resettlement affiliates in 26 dioceses, but that number has dwindled this year to 14 affiliates in 12 dioceses. The scope of EMM’s resettlement efforts in the coming year wasn’t immediately clear now that its contract has been renewed for the calendar year.

The agency has received strong churchwide support. Executive Council passed a resolution in October commending EMM, “whose dedicated staff, during a season of flux and uncertainty, have worked tirelessly and in a sacrificial manner to support refugees in many parts of the world who seek resettlement in the United States.”

Trinity Episcopal Church and Igelsia Episcopal de la Trinidad of Los Angeles pose with signs to show their support for immigrants and refugees. Their signs read “Stand with Refugees. #GreaterAs1.” Photo: Trinity Episcopal Church via Facebook

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry issued a statement of disappointment in September after the government announced the new cap on resettlements.

“Our hearts and our prayers are with those thousands of refugees who, due to this decision, will not be able to find new life in the United States,” Curry said. “This decision by the government does not reflect the care and compassion of Americans who welcome refugees in their communities every day. Our faith calls us to love God and love our neighbor, so we stand ready to help all those we can in any way we can.”

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.

The post Episcopal Migration Ministries, 8 other agencies awarded new contracts to resettle refugees appeared first on Episcopal News Service.

El Departamento de Estado renueva el contrato con el Ministerio Episcopal de Migración

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 10:40am
El 30 de noviembre de 2018, la Oficina de Población, Refugiados y Migración del Departamento de Estado anunció que al Ministerio Episcopal de Migración, junto con las otras ocho agencias responsables del reasentamiento de refugiados en Estados Unidos, le ha sido otorgado un contrato para participar en el Programa de Recepción y Colocación para el año fiscal 2019.

“Nos congratulamos de seguir reasentando refugiados en el próximo año”, apuntó el Rdo. Charles K. Robertson, canónigo del Obispo Primado para el Ministerio Fuera de la Iglesia Episcopal. “Aún encaramos el reto de la transición a un programa de reasentamiento mucho más pequeño. Esto sucede en un momento en el que hay más de 25,4 millones de refugiados, más de la mitad de los cuales son niños. Con el apoyo de todos, seguiremos recibiendo a refugiados en un lugar de seguridad y acogida. Únase a nosotros en apoyar este ministerio de toda la Iglesia  mediante una donación a episcopalmigrationministries.org/give o envíe un texto a ‘EMM’ para 41444. Gracias, de antemano, por donaciones que significan tanto”.

Desde la década del 80 [del pasado siglo], el Ministerio Episcopal de Migración ha reasentado más de 90.000 refugiados a través de una red de asociados, voluntarios y colaboradores locales. El Ministerio Episcopal de Migración funciona a través de una red de 14 oficinas asociadas para ayudar con vivienda, adiestramiento laboral, servicios de idiomas, servicios médicos y mucho más.

Tal como nos invita la icónica imagen de la Diócesis de Ohio Sur en 1938: “En el nombre de estos refugiados, ayuda a todos los refugiados”, así en esta temporada de solidaridad, y en el nombre de los refugiados más santos, María, José y el Señor Jesús, ayuda hoy a todos los refugiados. Sírvase hacer una donación en apoyo a nuestra obra constante y vivificadora.

The post El Departamento de Estado renueva el contrato con el Ministerio Episcopal de Migración appeared first on Episcopal News Service.

El Obispo Primado rinde tributo al presidente George Herbert Walker Bush

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 8:06am

La siguiente declaración del obispo primado de la Iglesia Episcopal Michael Curry es un tributo al presidente George Herbert Walker Bush.

Con una nación agradecida, y muchas personas de todo el mundo, nosotros los de la Iglesia Episcopal le damos gracias a Dios, fuente de vida y amor, por la vida, y el testimonio público y privado, del presidente George Herbert Walker Bush.

A través de su perdurable dedicación al servicio público y de su incondicional devoción a su familia, él vivió el camino de Jesús a lo largo de una vida moldeada en la fe, la esperanza y, sobre todo, en el amor. Mediante su inquebrantable servicio a nuestro país y a la comunidad humana en todo el planeta, él encarnó los más nobles ideales de su fe y de su patria.

El presidente Bush será un perenne recordatorio de que virtudes tales como la generosidad, la amabilidad y la bondad están entre las cosas que realmente perduran, y que trazan el camino de nuestra existencia como la familia humana de Dios.

En él hemos contemplado un alma grande, que nos ha recordado la esperanza, por la gracia de Dios, de poder vivir de igual manera.

Que su alma y las almas de todos los difuntos descansen en paz y resuciten en gloria. Amén.

Obispo primado Michael Curry
Iglesia Episcopal

The post El Obispo Primado rinde tributo al presidente George Herbert Walker Bush appeared first on Episcopal News Service.

Pages