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Updated: 2 hours 28 min ago

Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows devient la onzième évêque d’Indianapolis et la première femme noire à la tête d’un diocèse de l’Église épiscopale

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 7:37am

L’évêque Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows salue la congrégation lors de sa consécration, sous le regard de l’évêque Barbara Harris, au centre, et de l’évêque Catherine Waynick, à gauche, regardent. Photo : Meghan McConnell

[Diocèse d’Indianapolis] La révérende Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows a, le 29 avril, été ordonnée et consacrée onzième évêque d’Indianapolis , faisant d’elle la première femme noire à diriger un diocèse de toute l’histoire de l’Église épiscopale et la première femme à succéder à une autre femme en tant qu’évêque diocésaine.

L’Évêque Primat Michael Curry a dirigé la cérémonie en tant que consécrateur principal et était accompagné par plus de quarante évêques de toute l’église. Près de 1 400 fidèles ont participé au service qui s’est déroulé dans le Clowes Hall sur le campus de Butler University. Jeffrey D. Lee du diocèse de Chicago a  prêché. Depuis 2012 jusqu’à son élection en tant qu’évêque, Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows a fait partie du personnel de Jeffrey Lee entant que directrice du réseautage du diocèse de Chicago.

« Indianapolis, vous avez appelé un pasteur fort, aimant et avisé à devenir votre évêque », a déclaré Jeffrey Lee, dans son sermon, interrompu à plusieurs reprises par les applaudissements. « Elle vous aimera, vous mettra au défi, vous dira la vérité comme elle la voit et vous invitera à lui dire comment vous, vous la voyez. Elle priera avec vous à tout moment et s’occupera de vous sans entraver vos propres actions. Elle vous fera découvrir votre pouvoir. Elle dirigera. Comptez-y ».

Parmi les co-consécrateurs se trouvaient Barbara Harris, première femme évêque de la Communion anglicane. Avant la consécration, Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows a confié à l’Indianapolis Star : « la première chose qui me vient à l’esprit est combien je suis reconnaissante envers les femmes qui m’ont précédée. Barbara Harris sera là à ma consécration et lorsque je pense à ce qu’elle a fait pour moi et comment j’ai même rencontré des petites filles qui disaient : « Oh mon dieu. Peut-être un jour entendrais-je un tel appel ?’ Tout est dit ».

L’évêque Catherine Waynick remet la crosse à l’évêque Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows. Lors de la consécration de samedi, c’était la première fois de l’histoire de l’Église épiscopale qu’une femme évêque a transmis le pouvoir à une autre femme évêque. Photo : Meghan McConnell

Barbara Harris a en 2003 pris sa retraite d’évêque suffragant du Massachusetts et a été remplacée par Gayle Harris (sans relation de famille), également consécratrice de Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows. Les autres consécrateurs principaux étaient l’évêque Catherine Waynick (sa prédécesseure), Douglas Sparks, évêque du Nord de l’Indiana, Robert Wright, évêque d’Atlanta et William Gafkjen, évêque du Synode américain d’Indiana-Kentucky de l’Église évangélique luthérienne.

L’ordre de service de la cérémonie d’ordination et de consécration se trouve ici.

Elle a été installée le lendemain dans la cathédrale Christ Church d’Indianapolis.

Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows a été élue en octobre par le clergé et les leaders laïcs du diocèse de l’Église épiscopale d’Indianapolis pour diriger 48 congrégations qui comprennent près de 10 000 épiscopaliens du centre et du sud de l’Indiana. Elle succède à Catherine Waynick, qui a dirigé le diocèse d’Indianapolis pendant 20 ans et était l’une des premières femmes évêques de l’Église épiscopale.

« Situé au carrefour de l’Amérique, ce diocèse s’est donné une mission spéciale pour apporter guérison, espoir et amour dans un monde trop souvent craintif, blessé et divisé », a déclaré Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows avant son élection. « Je vois le diocèse d’Indianapolis comme une communauté d’espoir inclusive portant la lumière de Jésus-Christ dans le centre et le sud de l’Indiana et dans le monde ».

Avant de travailler à Chicago, Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows était rectrice de Grace Episcopal Church à Syracuse (État de New York) et également aumônier épiscopal à Syracuse University. Elle a obtenu une licence à Smith College, une maîtrise du programme Historic preservation planning de l’université Cornell et une maîtrise en théologie à Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Elle et son mari, Harrison, se sont rencontrés lors de son ordination à la prêtrise en 1998 et se sont mariés en 2003. Ils ont un fils, Timothy, âgé de six ans qui est en maternelle à St. Richard’s Episcopal School à Indianapolis.

Bishop of Costa Rica to join Diocese of Texas staff

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 4:59pm

[Diocese of Texas press release] The Rt. Rev. Hector Monterroso, bishop of Costa Rica, has accepted the position of assistant bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, Bishop Andy Doyle announced. Monterroso will begin work July 1, 2017, and will serve as bishop of the southern region of the diocese. Elected delegates approved the position at the diocese’s annual meeting February 12, 2017, in Galveston.

Citing their mutual vision of mission and evangelism, Bishop Doyle said Monterroso’s addition will continue to strengthen the growth in both Hispanic congregations as well as new missional communities and church plants in the Diocese of Texas. “I’m thrilled Bishop Monterroso has accepted my invitation to join our diocesan staff,” Bishop Doyle said. “He has a heart for mission and will be a great presence in our congregations. He will also help raise up leaders within the Hispanic congregations, although he will not minister in these communities exclusively.”

For his part, Bishop Monterroso said, “I identified with Bishop Doyle’s vision of missional communities and expansion.”  While other dioceses in the U.S. had approached him previously, Bishop Monterroso said he felt most aligned with Bishop Doyle and the Diocese of Texas. “Let’s say it was a nudge from the Holy Spirit first,” he said, “but I recognized that this invitation was a great opportunity to do something new and challenging. It’s a good time for the Diocese of Costa Rica and a good time for me and my family.”

Monterroso joins Bishop Doyle, and Bishops Suffragan Dena Harrison and Jeff Fisher to provide an episcopal presence in the diocese’s more than 200 Episcopal faith communities: 154 congregations (three with second sites), 35 missional communities, 14 college ministries and numerous institutions. He will visit 45 congregations during the year; primarily in the southern region of the Diocese of Texas; chair the board of St. Vincent’s House, a social service agency in Galveston; support growth of multicultural presence in our congregations and help to create a strategy for new ethnic church plants and missional communities. Additionally, Bishop Monterroso will work to identify vocational leaders within the Hispanic congregations.

Originally from Guatemala, Bishop Monterroso has made great strides in the Diocese of Costa Rica during his 14-year tenure, securing its financial stability, increasing the number of clergy from seven to 29, assuring that most congregations are self-sustaining, and gaining governmental recognition for many of the Diocese’s programs.

On April 30, he preached at Palmer Memorial Church in Houston and later, spent the day with church members serving in the community. In his sermon that morning, Bishop Monterroso recounted the story of eight women who, a decade ago, sought space to store their sewing machines. Turned away by a number of other churches, Iglesia Ascencion gave them a small room even though the small Episcopal congregation in a poor neighborhood of San Jose had little itself. Church members later learned the eight women also carried the burden of being HIV positive.

“We did not have much to offer other than a small space in our building, but we had the hope that, through our faith, we could do great things, and through the love of God, everything is transformable,” Bishop Monterroso said. Today, the women have created an official association, Esperanza Viva, with more than 250 members. While they are poor, they “have an enduring spirit and steadfast values,” the Bishop said, acknowledging the opportunity for service their presence has provided to the church. Esperanza Viva recently signed an agreement with the World Bank to begin a pilot project to speak in schools about HIV prevention and, in cooperation with the Episcopal Church, they now have a training center, clinic and micro-enterprise facility.

“All of this was possible simply because we opened our eyes and our doors to these women who sought our help,” Bishop Monterroso said. This is the spirit of mission and ministry he brings to the Diocese of Texas.

Bishop Monterroso earned a Precision Mechanics and Industrial Maintenance degree and worked in the rum industry in Guatemala before attending seminary. A lifelong Episcopalian, he served as an acolyte when he was just seven years old in a new church, founded in his parent’s home. His wife Sandra studied in the United States before their marriage 32 years ago and serves as principal at one of the Diocese of Costa Rica’s Episcopal schools that provide education to some of the country’s poorest children. Their daughter Beatriz, 28, is a medical doctor in San Jose and their son Hector, 24, has recently completed an engineering degree and hopes to do post-graduate work in hydraulics engineering. The Monterrosos will reside in Houston.

See more about Bishop Hector Monterroso in articles printed previously in Diolog here and here.

 

 

Sense of urgency spurs plans for Anglican university in South Sudan

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 3:33pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A charity is working with the Episcopal Church in South Sudan to open a multi-campus university within the next two years, with the aim of helping the next generation escape the violence that has plagued the country.

In 2011, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul commissioned a feasibility study to explore how the church might go about establishing a university. Just three of South Sudan’s five state universities are now operating: the other two have suspended teaching, owing to the current civil war, which erupted in 2013.

Full article.

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Holocaust museum with chief rabbi after praying at Western Wall

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 3:29pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis have visited Israel’s Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, to remember and lament the tragedy of the Holocaust and the implications and effects it has subsequently had on so many lives. Earlier they prayed for peace at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Speaking at Yad Vashem, the archbishop acknowledged the history of anti-Semitism in the Anglican Church and restated his commitment to continue efforts to stop anti-Semitism.

Full article.

Congregation’s play about drug epidemic aims to bolster community support for recovery

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 1:00pm

Willow Fodor and Sean Jones play grandparents who adopt their granddaughter after she’s been abandoned by her drug-addicted mother in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church’s production of “Least Resistance.” Photo: Danica Olson-Walter

[Episcopal News Service] St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown, New York, wanted to do its part to help to combat the prevalence of opioid addition and overdose deaths in Western New York, but the congregation was wary of duplicating the work of well-established health and social service organizations.

So, St. Luke’s chose to support the cause the best way it could – by staging a play.

That play, “Least Resistance,” is based on dozens of interviews conducted with people in the Jamestown area who have been affected by drugs and the opioid epidemic, from an injured war veteran to grandparents forced to take custody of their grandchildren. The congregation’s hope is that by revealing the humanity behind the headlines, the production will pull the community together in support of neighbors who are recovering from similar crises.

“This is a way to tell the story in a positive way … that recovery is possible, that the community has all these people who are working hard,” said the Rev. Luke Fodor, rector at St. Luke’s. “We need to own that story.”

The play, which debuted last weekend and returns for encore performances May 5 and 6, grew out of conversations Fodor had with local religious and civic leaders after he took over at St. Luke’s about three years ago. Drug addiction was a common topic as Jamestown and Chautauqua County lost more and more residents to drug overdoses.

It is a trend that has caused alarm around the country. Opioids, including heroin, fentanyl and some prescription painkillers, are now blamed for more than six out of 10 drug overdose deaths in the United States, and the numbers of opioid overdoses has quadrupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New York State reported 2,754 drug overdose deaths in 2015. In Chautauqua County, with a population of about 135,000, the most recent state data show 15 opioid overdose deaths that year, as well as 88 emergency department visits or hospitalizations related to opioids.

What could one congregation do? Several parishioners at St. Luke’s had theater backgrounds, Fodor said, and about five years ago they had formed the Winged Ox Players, named for the traditional symbol of St. Luke. The productions typically focused on a thought-provoking work or social issue, with proceeds donated to a related cause.

Steven Cobb, 51, had been involved with Winged Ox Players from the start and now serves as artistic director. He also is a recovering drug addict.

“I had always kind of known the power of recovery stories,” Cobb told Episcopal News Service, citing his experience with 12-step programs. Fodor asked Cobb to share his story during one of St. Luke’s Sunday services.

Cobb grew up in Jamestown but left to attend college in New York City, and it was there that he got hooked on crystal meth. The addiction eventually left him homeless and jobless, and he decided to move back to Jamestown to improve his chances of staying clean. He said has been in and out of recovery for more than 15 years and sober the last seven.

Telling his story brought the reality of addiction and recovery to people in the congregation who had no personal experience with that struggle, Cobb said, and it helped remove the stigma of addiction.

That, too, is part of the mission of “Least Resistance,” the title of which refers to an addict’s successful path to recovery.

“What we need to do is create a safe space where people in recovery can feel normal in their recovery,” Fodor said.

He and Cobb had begun looking for existing plays that addressed the topic, but most of the works they found glamorized drugs, seemed out of date or simply weren’t appropriate for a family audience. Then they met Richard Olson-Walter.

Olson-Walter, 32, a native of Great Britain, had moved to Jamestown in 2015 after marrying his wife, an American woman who worked as director of youth and children’s ministries at St. Luke’s. Though he was working for a technology firm, Olson-Walter had experience writing plays, and Fodor and Cobb drafted him to write for Winged Ox Players.

But Olson-Walter had no experience with addiction and recovery, so Cobb, who works as associate director of Mental Health Association of Chautauqua County, helped arrange for Olson-Walter to interview local people affected by the drug epidemic.

More than 30 interviews later, “Least Resistance” was born. The play features 14 scenes over two acts, a mix of monologues and staged conversations, as well as a few scenes intended primarily to provide information on addiction. In the current production, 21 actors bring the characters to life.

Some of the characters are based on individuals Olson-Walter interviewed, with their names changed, while other characters are composites of multiple people. All the scenes incorporate real-life examples, with some dialogue taken word for word from the experiences shared by Jamestown residents.

One character is an Army veteran who, after being wounded in Afghanistan, was prescribed powerful painkillers. When he returned home, he realized he was addicted. Another scene portrays grandparents who have taken custody of a granddaughter who has been abandoned by a drug-addicted mother. That scene draws on the experiences of multiple grandparents interviewed for the play.

“We wanted to try and make sure we could show as many viewpoints as possible,” Olson-Walter said.

The play also features a character based on Cobb’s story of addiction and recovery. “I’ve worked very hard to accept my story and understand my story,” Cobb said, but seeing a version of himself on stage helped him confront his own lingering discomfort and even shame about his past.

He hopes the play will be helpful and cathartic for other recovering addicts, some of whom attended the first weekend’s performances.

“I’ve noticed they have been very happy to know that their story is being told to the wider community, so that the community knows of the struggles and knows of the hope,” Cobb said. “It seems to be validating to the people in recovery that the larger community is getting an honest and accurate point of view.”

After the show concludes its local run, the congregation has been in talks to stage the production in the Buffalo area later this year, and excerpts will be performed May 16 at an annual event in the Jamestown area called Hope & Healing for Chautauqua.Money raised through the play will be used to support United Christian Advocacy Network City Mission, which provides transitional housing to the homeless and those dealing with substance abuse.

Fodor said the congregation also has been contacted by churches in Georgia and Connecticut about staging their own productions of “Least Resistance.” In that way, the play can grow and evolve organically, with each production incorporating some of its own community’s stories of addiction into the work.

“My hope is the play itself becomes a tool that people can utilize it as a springboard to launch them in to more research on the matter,” Fodor said.

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

Three Canadian dioceses have married eight same-sex couples since General Synod 2016

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 11:22am

[Anglican Journal] Eight same-sex couples have been married in three Anglican Church of Canada dioceses, ahead of General Synod 2019, when a resolution to allow same-sex marriages will be presented for final approval.

Since General Synod 2016 approved – on first reading – a proposed change in the marriage canon (church law) to allow same-sex marriages, four weddings of same-sex couples have taken place in the diocese of Niagara, three in the diocese of Toronto and one in the diocese of Ottawa, according to the offices of the respective diocesan bishops. Several other same-sex couples in the dioceses of Toronto and Ottawa are also preparing to walk down the aisle.

Read the complete article here.

Church organist arrested in post-election vandalism at Episcopal congregation in Indiana

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 5:20pm

“Heil Trump” was spray-painted on the exterior of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Bean Blossom, Indiana, sometime either late Nov. 12 or early Nov. 13. Photo: Facebook

[Episcopal News Service] An organist has been arrested in the post-election vandalism at an Episcopal church in Indiana – an incident that generated national headlines in November as a possible case of politically motivated hate speech, but one that prosecutors now say was instead the act of someone hoping to mobilize others disappointed with the election results.

Nathan Stang, 26, faces a misdemeanor count of institutional criminal mischief for the damage to St. David’s Episcopal Church, the congregation in Bean Blossom, Indiana, where he serves as organist. He was arrested May 3, three days after Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry came to St. David’s to preside at the Sunday Eucharist and preach.

The congregation feels “like we had the rug pulled out from underneath us,” the Rev. Kelsey Hutto, priest-in-charge at St. David’s, told Episcopal News Service in a May 3 interview.

Earlier in the day, Hutto released a statement on the church’s website saying, “Nathan is a member of our St. David’s family and naturally there is a certain amount of betrayal with this act.”

“Over the coming weeks and days we will process our emotions regarding this hurtful act. I ask that we remember what we have stood for over the past few months – love and forgiveness,” she said.

St. David’s was one of at least two Episcopal congregations that were targeted with graffiti on the weekend after Donald Trump was elected president. The graffiti at St. David’s included the words “Heil Trump” as well as a gay slur and a swastika.

Organist Nathan Stang is shown in a photo posted with his bio on the website of St. David’s Episcopal Church.

Stang reported the vandalism at St. David’s to Hutto on Nov. 13, saying he discovered it when he arrived that Sunday morning to prepare for services.

A statement released by Brown County Prosecuting Attorney Theodore F. Adams said Stang, when confronted with results of the nearly six-month investigation, confessed to spray-painting the graffiti himself.

“Stang stated that he wanted to mobilize a movement after being disappointed in and fearful of the outcome of the national election,” Adams said, adding that investigators concluded this was not a hate crime. “Stang denied that his actions were motivated by any anti-Christian or anti-gay motivations.”

Stang was arrested about a half hour west of the church, in Bloomington, Indiana, and brought to Nashville, Indiana, to be booked into the Brown County Jail, the Herald Times newspaper reported, adding that he was released after posting a $155 bond. The charge carries a maximum potential sentence of one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

“This incident has been a blight on our small and diverse community, and I am proud of the hard work put forth by the Brown County Sheriff’s Office,” Adams said in his news release. “It was truly a team effort.”

Bean Blossom, Indiana, is a town of fewer than 3,000 people some 50 miles south of Indianapolis. St. David’s serves people from five communities in Brown County, Indiana, focusing its outreach on addressing hunger and the needs in a county where 97 percent of its 15,000 residents are white.

The vandalism thrust the Episcopal congregation into the national spotlight, along with Church of Our Savior in Silver Spring, Maryland, where a sign was found defaced with the words “Trump Nation Whites Only” on the same day.

Hutto told ENS in November that her congregation was trying to respond to the vandalism with a message of love and welcome.

“I’ve been using Presiding Bishop Curry’s statement that ‘sometimes doing the right thing is not always the popular thing,’ and we are living into that, and proud of that,” Hutto said then, “and we believe that facing hate with love is the right way to go about our call as Christians.”

Stang has served for about a year in the paid position of organist while he attends Indiana University, in Bloomington. St. David’s website describes him as “a composer, teacher, cat lover and organist” who is pursuing a doctorate in music.

Hutto told ENS after Stang’s arrest that she was unaware he was a suspect in the vandalism until the morning of his arrest. The congregation expects Stang to be held responsible, but the news of his involvement will not change how St. David’s responds to the incident, she said.

“The fact of the matter is, it didn’t matter who perpetrated the crime. In the end, our message of love and forgiveness extends to all,” Hutto said.

Stang’s future with the congregation was expected to be discussed May 3 by the vestry at a previously scheduled meeting. And Hutto said the incident, arrest and message of forgiveness likely will be a topic at the congregation’s regular Wednesday evening service.

Hutto also confirmed that Stang played the organ for last Sunday’s service, with the presiding bishop in attendance.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry delivers a sermon April 30 at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Bean Blossom, Indiana. Photo: Diocese of Indianapolis, via video

Curry was in Indiana over the weekend to preside at the ordination and consecration of the Right Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows as the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Indianapolis, the Episcopal Church’s first black female diocesan bishop. The next day during his sermon at St. David’s, Curry conveyed the message that “love wins.”

“You were here where we needed God’s unconditional love,” Curry told the congregation, according to a news release from the diocese detailing the visit. “My friends, we have a world that is trying to tear itself apart. We have to love it back together.”

Stang had confessed to police two days earlier, according to court documents, which reveal that police identified the organist as a suspect early in their investigation by tracing his location through cell phone records.

On April 28, he told a Brown County sheriff’s detective that he “felt scared and alone because of the election results,” the court documents say. He said he wanted to “mobilize a movement” but had not expected the intense media attention that the vandalism generated. He later told police he regretted his actions.

“I suppose I wanted to give local people a reason to fight for good,” he said in a written statement to police. “I, of course, realize now that this was NOT the way to go about inspiring activism.”

Baskerville-Burrows issued a statement May 3 saying she was saddened by the news.

“This was a hurtful, dishonest and profoundly misguided action that stands against the values of the people this diocese and the Episcopal Church, and we will continue to cooperate with the authorities who are pursuing this case,” the bishop said.

“We are living now in a political climate that is so divisive and highly charged that people from all across the political spectrum are making thoughtless and hurtful choices that they believe are justified by the righteousness of their causes. As people who follow Jesus, we must find a different way.”

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

Archbishop of Canterbury reflects on meeting Iraqi Christians in Jordan

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 10:32am

[Lambeth Palace] Archbishop Justin and Caroline Welby visited St Paul’s Anglican Church in Amman, Jordan, with Archbishop Suheil Dawani, the Anglican bishop in Jerusalem on the first day of his visit to Jordan, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

“The intense suffering of Iraqi Christians does not end when they leave Iraq. As I listened, there was this awful sense of lives torn apart.”

Read Welby’s full reflection here.

 

Female Anglican bishops speak out on gender justice

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 3:00pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The seven female bishops of the provinces of the Anglican Church Australia and of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia have used their first ever meeting to speak out “for the well-being of girls and women across the Anglican Communion.”

During the three day meeting, in the Diocese of Gippsland, to the east of Melbourne, the bishops addressed the history and experience of women in the episcopate and reflected on the journey of women to ordination to all three orders of ministry in their respective provinces.

Full article.

Calvary Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tennessee, announces new rector

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 2:55pm

[Calvary Episcopal Church press release] Calvary Episcopal Church has announced the Rev. J. Scott Walters as its new rector. Walters was selected for his pastoral and personable leadership style, as well as his passion for liturgy and urban ministry. His first Sunday at Calvary will be July 9, 2017.

Walters is currently the rector at Christ Episcopal Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he oversees innovative liturgy and projects, such as “Bus Stations of the Cross” and the Green Groceries Program, which keeps Christ Church’s doors open all week long.

A native of Arkansas, Walters received his bachelor’s degree in English from John Brown University. In addition, he earned his Master of Divinity degree from the Virginia Theological Seminary.

“We are very excited to welcome Scott Walters to Calvary,” said Fred Piper, senior warden at Calvary. “I cannot improve on Scott’s own words when asked to describe himself: ‘I am a priest who loves to invite all sorts of people—the strange, the familiar and the lost—to Jesus’s table and preach the reorienting power of grace in our common life.’”

Walters is a guitarist, cyclist, master carpenter and lover of the outdoors. He is married to Ardelle, and they have two children attending college.

Calvary Episcopal Church is a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee and The Episcopal Church, a province of the Anglican Communion. Founded in 1832, Calvary today is a vibrant parish that comprises more than 1000 baptized members. Although a growing number reside in downtown Memphis, parishioners come from all across the Mid-South. For more information about Calvary, visit calvarymemphis.org or call 901-525-6602.

Episcopalians advocate for protecting God’s creation at Peoples Climate March and beyond

Mon, 05/01/2017 - 5:20pm

Diocese of California Bishop Marc Andrus was among the Episcopalians who participated April 29 in the Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C. Andrus also spoke at a Church World Service vigil before the march. Photo courtesy of Marc Andrus, via Twitter.

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalians from across the United States joined tens of thousands of people on April 29 for the Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C., and for hundreds of sister marches in cities around the world.

Braving sweltering heat in the nation’s capital, marchers rallied for action against climate change amid fear that the White House will reverse progress made on the issue under former President Barack Obama. Episcopalians were part of a large, diverse faith-based group of marchers who saw it as their role to make the moral case for protecting God’s creation.

“What really impressed me … was the incredible passion of the people, of all ages,” said McKelden Smith, who helped Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City organize a bus trip to Washington to participate in the march. “It felt like an unstoppable moral force in the streets, and that was very moving to me.”

The climate march came one week after the March for Science, which followed the Native Nation’s Rise march, the Women’s March and other prominent marches and demonstrations joined by Episcopalians over the last nine months.

On April 29, many Episcopalians who participated in the march joined Keepers of Faith, one of several subsets of marchers as grouped by the march’s organizers. Among Keepers of Faith were Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and Christians of all stripes, said Shantha Ready Alonso, executive director of Creative Justice Ministries.

Alonso’s organization works with 38 Christian denominations, including the Episcopal Church, to provide resources and guidance for activism on environmental justice issues. The number of Christians who lent their “moral voice” to the Saturday’s march was overwhelming and inspiring, she said.

“That was extremely heartening to see how many people were willing to pray with their feet and put their bodies on the line in 91-degree weather to show that we care,” Alonso said, adding that she expects parishioners and congregations to turn this energy into action back in their home communities.

The sense of urgency is high among activists. As President Donald Trump was taking the oath of office in January, references to “climate change” and “global warming” disappeared from the White House website. Trump has threatened to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. He appointed Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier, to head the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency gutted in his proposed budget. Trump has made it easier for oil companies to drill in national parks. On April 25, Trump signed an executive order that could open national monuments to drilling, mining and logging.

The effects of climate change can be seen across the United State from droughts in the Southwest to loss of land to sea-level rise along the Gulf Coast to wildfires in the Northwest and the Rockies to an increase in the occurrence and severity of hurricanes on the East Coast.

Church World Service held a vigil April 29 at the United Methodist Building across from Capitol Hill before the start of the march. Among the speakers was Episcopal Diocese of California Bishop Marc Andrus, who in December 2015 was part of a delegation that represented the presiding bishop and the church in Paris at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP21. It was at COP21 where 196 parties created the agreement that sets out to decrease carbon emissions and limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

Andrus also had participated in the previous Peoples Climate March, held in 2014 in New York City. At this year’s march, “there was a similar spirit of a lot of hope and positive energy. I felt a lot of determination and resolute spirit from the enormous crowds.”

At the Church World Service vigil, Andrus identified three important reasons the Episcopal Church will be at the forefront of movement toward a solution to climate change. First, it is part of a world body, the Anglican Communion, and therefore “poised to be in a position, along with partners, to uniquely address the world’s climate change.” The Episcopal Church General Convention also has identified environmental justice as one of the church’s three primary issues in the current triennium.

And Andrus noted that, if the Trump administration withdraws from the Paris Agreement, many of the agreement’s goals still could be met through the work of “subnational” bodies, from cities to churches, and the Episcopal Church likely would be deeply involved in such efforts.

Individual Episcopalians can make a difference, too, not just by participating in marches but by advocating policy changes, said Jayce Hafner, the Episcopal Church’s domestic policy analyst in the Washington, D.C.-based Office of Government Relations.

“It’s incredibly inspiring to see so many Episcopalians engaged in the Peoples Climate Marches across the United States. We Episcopalians represent a critical perspective in this climate effort through highlighting the intersections of poverty and the environment and bringing new partners to the table,” Hafner said.

“While marching is important, it is only the beginning of how we – as Episcopalians – can mitigate climate change. Our next step should be undertaking robust policy advocacy at local and national levels and calling on our elected leaders to pass climate change legislation,” she added.

The Office of Government Relations represents the policy priorities of the Episcopal Church to the U.S. government. It also represents the Church as a leader in ecumenical, interfaith and secular coalitions dedicated to mitigating climate change and addressing poverty and environmental justice issues in the United States. It is a member of Creation Justice Ministries, the US Climate Action Network, and the We Are the Arctic campaign. It also co-organizes the Presiding Bishop’s annual delegations to the United Nations climate negotiations. The office also provides Episcopalians with advocacy tools.

“I strongly encourage Episcopalians to sign up for the Episcopal Public Policy Network to receive regular alerts on key advocacy opportunities and educational resources that equip congregations to raise their voices to lawmakers. This way, action in the streets can be supported and supplemented by critical conversation and relationship building with decision-makers – we need demonstration and dialogue to move the needle, and as Episcopalians, we’re well-equipped to undertake both,” said Hafner.

– Lynette Wilson is an editor/reporter for Episcopal News Service. David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

Jonathan Soyars named Louisville Institute postdoctoral fellow at Louisville Seminary

Mon, 05/01/2017 - 5:10pm

[Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary] The Rev. Jonathan Soyars, curate at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, has been named visiting assistant professor of New Testament at Louisville PresbyterianTheological Seminary.

His professorship comes as part of the Louisville Institute’s Postdoctoral Fellowship program, which places top recent Ph.D. graduates in theological schools for two years, where they teach and also are mentored by a senior professor and a local pastor.

“Jonathan Soyars has outstanding credentials as a New Testament scholar,” said Louisville Seminary Dean Susan R. Garrett. “Moreover, he is known as a teacher committed to mentoring students of diverse cultures and faith
traditions. He brings a depth of experience, wisdom, and character that will enrich our school greatly, and I am delighted that he will be joining us.”

In June 2017 Soyars will complete his Ph.D. in New Testament and Early Christian Literature at the University of Chicago. He has taught at the University of Chicago Divinity School and at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity. He was ordained a priest by the Diocese of Chicago in 2014, and while in graduate school he served as an assistant for congregational life at the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Memorial Chapel and as a transitional deacon in a local Episcopal parish. In Charlotte, he served as transitional deacon, assisting priest, and then
interim associate rector at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, before joining St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in 2015.

Funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. since 1990, the Louisville Institute’s mission is to enhance the vitality of American Christianity and encourage the revitalization of religious institutions by bringing together those who study religious life with those who lead faith communities. The Institute advances this work through grants programs that enable academic scholars and religious leaders to study pressing challenges and consultations that foster collaboration among researchers, theological educators and religious leaders.

In addition, the Institute’s Vocation of the Theological Educator initiative seeks to foster a new generation of faculty who are exceptionally well-prepared to teach in seminaries and prepare a new generation of pastors for congregational leadership.

Soyars earned his undergraduate degree from Wheaton College and his Master of Divinity and Master of Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary.

About Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Founded in 1853, Louisville Seminary offers an inclusive and diverse learning community, welcoming students from wide ecumenical backgrounds while maintaining its long, historic commitment to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). Louisville Seminary is committed to building bridges across the world’s religious, racial and cultural divides. It is distinguished by its nationally-recognized marriage and family therapy and field education programs, the scholarship and church service among its faculty and a commitment to training women and men to participate in the continuing ministry of Jesus Christ. For more information, call (800) 264-1839 or log onto www.lpts.edu.

Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows becomes 11th bishop of Indianapolis, first black woman to lead Episcopal diocese

Mon, 05/01/2017 - 1:44pm

Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows greets the congregation at her consecration as Bishop Barbara Harris, center, and Bishop Catherine Waynick, left, look on. Photo: Meghan McConnell

[Diocese of Indianapolis] The Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows was ordained and consecrated the eleventh bishop of Indianapolis April 29, making her the first black woman to lead a diocese in the history of the Episcopal Church and the first woman to succeed another woman as diocesan bishop.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry led the service as chief consecrator and was joined by more than 40 bishops from across the church. Nearly 1,400 participated in the service at Clowes Hall on the campus of Butler University. Diocese of Chicago Jeffrey D. Lee preached. From 2012 until her election as bishop, Baskerville-Burrows served on Lee’s staff as director of networking in the Diocese of Chicago.

“Indianapolis, you have called a strong, loving and wise pastor to be your bishop,” said Lee, in a sermon that was interrupted by applause several times. “She will love you, challenge you, tell you the truth as she sees it and invite you to tell it as you do. She will pray with you at the drop of a hat and care for you in ways that will not diminish your own agency. She will empower you. She will lead. Count on it.”

Bishop Catherine Waynick hands the crozier to Bishop Jennifer-Baskerville Burrows. Saturday’s consecration was the first time in Episcopal Church history that a female bishop has transferred authority to another female bishop. Photo: Meghan McConnell

Among the co-consecrators at the service was the Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris, the first female bishop in the Anglican Communion. Before the consecration, Baskerville-Burrows told the Indianapolis Star, “The first thing that comes to mind is how grateful I am to the women that have come before. Barbara Harris will be at my consecration, and when I think about what she’s done for me and how I’ve even encountered little girls saying, ‘Oh my gosh. One day, may I discern such a call?’ That is just everything.”

Harris retired in 2003 as bishop suffragan of Massachusetts and was succeeded by the Rt. Rev. Gayle Harris (no relation), who was also a consecrator of Baskerville-Burrows.  The other chief consecrators were Bishop Catherine Waynick (her predecessor), Northern Indiana Bishop Douglas Sparks, Atlanta Bishop Robert Wright and Evangelical Lutheran Church in American Indiana-Kentucky Synod Bishop William Gafkjen.

The order of service for the ordination and consecration is here.

She was seated the next day in Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis.

Baskerville-Burrows was elected in October by the clergy and lay leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis to lead 48 congregations that comprise nearly 10,000 Episcopalians in central and southern Indiana. She succeeds Waynick, who led the Diocese of Indianapolis for 20 years and was one of the first female bishops in the Episcopal Church.

“Sitting at the crossroads of America, this diocese has a special call to bring healing, hope and love to a world that is too often fearful, hurting and polarized,” Baskerville-Burrows said before her election. “I see the Diocese of Indianapolis as an inclusive community of hope bearing the light of Jesus Christ to central and southern Indiana and the world.”

Before her work in Chicago, Baskerville-Burrows was rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Syracuse, New York, where she also served as Episcopal chaplain at Syracuse University. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Smith College, a master’s degree in historic preservation planning from Cornell University and a master of divinity from Church Divinity School of the Pacific. She and her husband, Harrison, met at her ordination to the priesthood in 1998 and were married in 2003. They have a son, Timothy, age 6, who is a kindergarten student at St. Richard’s Episcopal School in Indianapolis.

Previous ENS coverage of the historic weekend is here.

 

 

‘Public engagement’ is theme of conference of Brazilian theologians

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 3:17pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Five theologians from around Brazil participated in a theology conference this week under the theme “Anglican theology and public engagement.”

The mission theology project exists to “raise up new ‘Doctors of the Church’ in the global South to write, network, publish and engage with theologians in the global North, to renew the worldwide Church and influence society,” said the Rt. Rev. Graham Kings, co-chair of the conference and mission theologian in the Anglican Communion.

Full article.

Indigenous language project shares stories of loss and resilience

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 3:12pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The question of how indigenous families in Canada coped with language loss and worked to keep their languages alive is the focus of a new project spearheaded by the EagleSpeaker Community Connection Society in Calgary, Alberta.

“Indigenous Language—Strengths and Struggles” seeks to create a “free, graphic novel-inspired educational multimedia resource” that explores language restoration as an intergenerational impact of the residential school system, based on interviews with more than 200 survivors and their families from the Blackfoot Confederacy.

Full article.

Diocese of East Tennessee announces bishop slate

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 1:08pm

[Diocese of East Tennessee] The Standing Committee of the Diocese of East Tennessee April 28 announced a slate of five nominees who will stand for election as the fifth bishop of the Episcopal Church in East Tennessee.

The nominees are:

  • The Rev. Brian Cole – Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Lexington, Kentucky
  • The Rev. Hendree Harrison – St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Athens, Tennessee
  • The Rev. Canon Frank Logue – Diocese of Georgia
  • The Rev. Canon Lance Ousley – Diocese of Olympia and St. John’s Episcopal Church, Kirkland, Washington
  • The Rev. Marty Stebbins – St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Wilson, North Carolina

Nominees’ biographical information and answers to a series of questions, can be found here.

The Rev. Jay Mills, president of the Standing Committee, said, “It is my humble honor to be involved in the bishop search as the chair of the Standing Committee. It is truly exciting to be part of the opening of God’s choice for us for our new bishop. We are truly lucky to be a healthy, happy diocese in the midst of that search. It made us an attractive diocese, I suspect, for interested folks.”

“The Search and Nominating Committee has worked hard;” said Chairman Joe Vrba, “we’ve prayed even harder and we’ve shed a few tears along the way. We’ve trusted in the Holy Spirit throughout. And, you know, everything worked out fine. Every one of us feels blessed in having been part of this process.”

As allowed by the constitution and canons of the diocese, additional nominations may be put forward via the petition process for two weeks following the announcement of the slate. The petition window is now open and will close at the end of the day on May 12, 2017.

As the work of the Search and Nominating Committee comes to a close, the work of the Transition Committee is already well underway, with “walkabouts” scheduled to give every person in the Diocese of East Tennessee a chance to get to know the nominees before the special electing convention in July. Additional details will be shared on the bishop search website and on all diocesan communication channels in the coming weeks.

The 5th bishop of the Episcopal Church in East Tennessee will succeed the Rt. Rev. George Dibrell Young, III, who announced his retirement last April. Young has served as bishop since June 2011.

Episcopal Church ready to make history with Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 12:20pm

Diocese of Indianapolis Bishop-elect Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, left, will succeed Indianapolis’ 10th bishop, Catherine Waynick, right, who, 20 years ago, became the fourth woman to lead an Episcopal Church diocese. This will be the first time in the Church’s history that a woman has succeeded another woman in the episcopate. Baskerville-Burrows took what she called this “selfie of selfies” April 22 at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Carmel, Indiana, before a celebration of Waynick’s ministry. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows via Facebook

[Episcopal News Service] Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows first tried to read the Bible when she was 8 years old.

“I thought that is what I should do because I wanted to go to church so bad and nobody was taking me, so I thought I’ll read the Bible,” she said.

Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows

Soon to be 11th bishop, Diocese of Indianapolis
Soon to make history
+ 1st female black diocesan bishop
+ 15th female diocesan bishop
+ 6th female diocesan bishop currently active
+ 26th female bishop diocesan or suffragan
+ 44th black bishop in Episcopal Church history
+ 1,100th bishop in Episcopal Church history
Quote: “My call is to be the best bishop I can be for this diocese.”

That tiny Gideon Bible belonged to her maternal grandfather, Joseph McCray, who would die two years later, after instilling in her a lifelong love of cooking, among other legacies.

“They passed on so long ago but I have been thinking about the sacrifices that they made, and they cannot have imagined that life that I have now,” Baskerville-Burrows said about McCray and his wife, Mary Weaver, during an interview with Episcopal News Service.

After a grand liturgy on April 29, Baskerville-Burrows’ life will include being the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis.

Baskerville-Burrows, who previously served as director of networking for the Diocese of Chicago, will make history that day when Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and more than 40 other bishops call down the Holy Spirit to ordain and consecrate her as the church’s first black female diocesan bishop.

The service will take place just more than 28 years since now-retired Massachusetts Bishop Suffragan Barbara Harris, who also is African-American, became the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion.

Baskerville-Burrows will succeed Indianapolis’ 10th bishop, Catherine Waynick, who 20 years ago became the fourth woman to lead an Episcopal Church diocese. This will be the first time in the Church’s history that a woman has succeeded another woman in an episcopate.

Baskerville-Burrows is the 26th woman elected bishop in the Episcopal Church and will be the 12th female diocesan bishop, as well as the 44th African-American bishop and the 1,100th bishop overall in the Episcopal Church’s history.

The bishop-elect is also an enrolled member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, a federally recognized tribe based on Long Island in New York. Her paternal grandfather was a Shinnecock member who grew up on the tribe’s reservation.

Baskerville-Burrows became a Christian as a young adult and chose to join the Episcopal Church at Trinity Church Wall Street in lower Manhattan. She was baptized there in 1989, the year after she graduated from college.

“There is probably no better thing I could be than to be serving God in this way for a good section of my family,” she told ENS, struggling not to cry. “There is just nothing better. I am going to be thinking about that and their hopes and dreams and the wonder of it all.”

Those folks include her uncle, Clarvis Soanes, who will join her husband, Harrison Burrows, to bring the gifts to the altar during the April 29 service. Soanes also walked Baskerville-Burrows down the aisle at her 2003 wedding in place of her father, who died in 1991.

Meanwhile, despite much media attention, the historic nature of her pending episcopate has not been uppermost in Baskerville-Burrows’ mind during the days leading up to her ordination and consecration.

“I probably downplay it way too much. That’s not the biggest thing in my mind, not daily anyway,” she said, adding that the awareness “comes in spurts,” especially when she meets people who express their excitement.

Then she realizes that some people are responding the same way she did when she heard about Harris becoming the first female bishop in the Anglican Communion. “Every now and again it strikes me that for some women in the church this is now going to be possible because someone is finally doing it,” she said. “That catches me short.”

“At the end of the day, I think the way I keep my sanity about all that is to say that my call is to be the best bishop I can be for this diocese,” she said. “And in doing that I will be the best role model I can be for other young men and women of color or of European descent” who might want to discern if they are similarly called.

Being the best bishop for the diocese in the coming years, Baskerville-Burrows said, means nurturing what she sees as the Episcopal Church’s “particular voice and call” in the state of Indiana.

“We’ve got this Episcopal Church which for many decades has been the progressive, inclusive, all-y’all-come, we-serve-all diocese in the midst of a state that is far more conservative,” she said of the diocese.

“What I hear, and what I have seen over and over again, is this is where people go when they want to be about a gospel message love, hope and transformation.”

While other faith communities use the same language, Baskerville-Burrows said, “we mean them in such broad terms, it stands in stark relief to the alternative on the religious landscape.”

Diocese of Indianapolis Bishop-elect Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows speaks April 21 to the crowd outside the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood after a public procession that was part of the Bishops United Against Gun Violence’s “Unholy Trinity” conference. Baskerville-Burrows helped plan the conference. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

Baskerville-Burrows began her time as bishop-elect in Indianapolis visiting congregations on the outer edges of the diocese. She has met many people who are drawn to the Episcopal Church’s expression of Christianity.

“We are providing this broad welcome for people who want to do the Jesus Movement stuff that Michael Curry preaches about,” Baskerville-Burrows said, adding that she wants to help the diocese continue to be clear and bold about articulating that welcome.

“We’ve got a little bubble here that I’d love to expand,” she said of the diocese’s 48 congregations and about 10,000 Episcopalians.

As she prepares for her historic position, Baskerville-Burrows said she has been thinking about and talking to others about how the church can remove the barriers to women and people of color entering leadership roles at all levels of the church. Doing so will eventually lead to bishop elections offering more diverse slates of nominees to dioceses more willing to consider them, she added.

The Diocese of Indianapolis has been trying to do just that, and the effort laid the foundation for the people of the diocese to elect a nominee like her, Baskerville-Burrows said. The track of her own life should be more commonplace, she added.

“I have had really good experiences and good mentors who helped me discern every move I made and I want that to be normative. I don’t want that to be the exception,” she said.

Roots in New York City

Baskerville-Burrows was raised in the housing projects of New York City and educated in the city’s public schools through high school. She has one brother. Her mother, who will be present April 29, still lives in New York City.

The bishop-elect holds a bachelor’s degree (1988) from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she majored in architecture and minored in urban studies. She earned a master’s degree in historic preservation planning from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, in 1994 and a master of divinity degree from Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California, in 1997.

Ordained by the Diocese of Central New York, she was rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Syracuse, New York, and Episcopal chaplain at Syracuse University from 2004 to 2012. She has also served at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Endicott, New York, and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown, New Jersey, and as director of alumni relations at Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

The diocese elected Baskerville-Burrows out of a field of five nominees on the second ballot Oct. 28 at Christ Church Cathedral Indianapolis. At the time, she was director of networking for the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, a role she began in 2012. In that role, she led the diocese’s communications, fundraising and community relations, including initiatives against racism and gun violence.

One of the defining experiences of her ministry came when she found herself at Trinity Wall Street near the World Trade Center the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, part of a small group of Episcopalians from across the country meeting with  Bishop Rowan Williams, who would soon be named Archbishop of Canterbury. After the attack, she spent hours with others in a stairwell of Trinity’s office building.

As the tension of the unknown rose in the stairwell, she told Episcopal News Service in 2011, she confronted the prospect of dying that day. She realized that she was standing next to the Rev. James Calloway, who had baptized her. “I thought, here’s where I came into life and I might die here, and if I was going to die, maybe this is OK … I can be reconciled to that,” she told ENS in the 2011 interview below.

About 19 months after that day, Baskerville-Burrows married Harrison Burrows, a native of Crown Haven in the Bahamas.

Burrows was a youth minister in the Bahamas who has studied at Bexley Hall (an Episcopal seminary formerly located in Rochester, New York) and Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Burrows now works in sales.

Their son Timothy Burrows, 6, is a kindergarten student at St. Richard’s Episcopal School in Indianapolis.

Baskerville-Burrows is an accomplished distance runner and triathlete. During her 2016 sabbatical, she attended a running retreat for mothers in Spokane, Washington, and visited Green Turtle Cay in the Bahamas to record the recipes of her husband’s great-aunt, who is the island’s bread baker. Baskerville-Burrows is an avid cook and baker who once had a blog called Cookin’ in the ‘Cuse.

The congregation attending the Diocese of Indianapolis Bishop-elect Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows’ ordination and consecration April 26 will receive wine during communion from specially designed chalices. “Hoosier” (ˈhü-zhər) is a longtime nickname for the state of Indiana and its residents. Photo: Debra Kissinger

A weekend of celebration

The April 29 liturgy takes place at Clowes Memorial Hall on the Butler University campus in Indianapolis. Curry, the church’s first African-American leader, will preside and he will be joined by more than 40 bishops. The service will be webcast here, and the prelude begins at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Curry will visit St. David’s Episcopal Church in tiny Bean Blossom, Indiana, about 50 miles south of Indianapolis on April 30 for a 10:30 a.m. Eucharist. The service will be webcast here. St. David’s was one of at least two Episcopal churches – the other was in suburban Washington, D.C. – that were vandalized on the same night just after the November presidential election.

Baskerville-Burrows will be seated in Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis during an April 30 liturgy that begins at 11 a.m. A block party will follow.

A full schedule of events that begin April 28 is here.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is senior editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

Life feed: Social media updates from the #ClimateMarch

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 1:56pm

We’re following the latest out of Washington, D.C. and the People’s Climate March.

Prayer service planned for last of four Arkansas executions as activists seek to end death penalty

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 12:52pm

Anti-death penalty activists hold a vigil outside the governor’s mansion in Little Rock, Arkansas, on April 20 in this photo shared on Facebook by the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalians in Arkansas are preparing to gather once more for a prayer service on the eve of what is expected to be the final in a series of expedited executions by the state, which activists say could give momentum to efforts to abolish the death penalty.

Arkansas is scheduled April 27 to execute convicted murder Kenneth Williams, 38, the fourth death row inmate to be executed in a week, as the state rushes to carry out the sentences before its stock of one of its lethal injection drugs expires. Before this month, Arkansas had not carried out an execution in nearly 12 years.

As it did on the eves of the previous three executions, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock will hold a brief ecumenical service at 6 p.m. April 27 followed by a candlelight vigil that will culminate in the toll of bells. The service will offer prayers for Williams, for his victims and their families and for the corrections employees who will be carrying out the execution.

“For all of these, and for ourselves, we will pray for hope, for strength and for mercy,” cathedral spokesman Josiah Wheeler told Episcopal News Service.

The Episcopal Church has stood against the death penalty since it was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, with several General Convention resolutions calling for the death penalty to be abolished, most recently in 2015.

The death penalty still is in effect in 31 states, but the number of executions nationwide has dropped steadily since 1999, from a high of 98 that year to 20 in 2016, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Arkansas has executed 30 inmates since 1976 but none since 2005, until this month.

The state had planned to execute eight inmates in 10 days, starting on Easter Monday, but four of those executions have been halted by court order.

The Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas has been active in efforts to end capital punishment in the state, and Bishop Larry Benfield joined clergy from other denominations on April 12 in a rally at the Capitol to call on Gov. Asa Hutchinson to stop the executions.

“We have believed in the goodness of hard work and respect for neighbor and faith in God. But we are being led astray by a peculiar ethic that states that vengeance is a virtue, when in fact it is not,” Benfield said, according to quotes provided by the diocese. “I can only speak from the Christian tradition, but I can say definitively from my own religious upbringing that vengeance is not a mark of Christian ethics.”

The Rev. Mary Janet “Bean” Murray, a retired deacon, and member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Little Rock, said she and other anti-death penalty activists are disheartened that a fourth execution is expected to be carried out, but they already are looking beyond this week in stepping up their push for changing state law. She is vice president of a group called the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, which met this week to discuss its future strategy.

“We will continue to work and work until the death penalty is no longer an issue,” Murray told ENS.

Caroline Stevenson, another Episcopalian from Little Rock, said the recent executions may give people who favored the death penalty a reason to rethink their support.

“I think that we can change some minds with the facts,” said Stevenson, a member of Episcopal Peace Fellowship. “We have to challenge people’s faith and say, this isn’t what Christianity is all about.”

Four states have abolished the death penalty since 2009: New Mexico, Illinois, Connecticut and Maryland. Nebraska’s Legislature passed a law in 2015 eliminating capital punishment, but it was reinstated by popular vote in 2016.

Public opinion has for decades tilted in favor of the death penalty, with a Gallup poll from 2016 showing 60 percent of respondents supporting a death sentence for someone convicted of murder. Support typically decreases when alternatives are suggested. When asked whether they would choose to sentence a murderer to death or to life in prison, 50 percent said they would choose the death penalty in a 2014 Gallup poll.

The fight to abolish the death penalty may remain an uphill battle in pro-death penalty states like Arkansas, but Murray and other Episcopalians see killing of any kind as incompatible with what their Christian faith teaches.

“When we say in our baptismal vows that we’ll respect the dignity of every human being, that includes criminals too,” Murray said.

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

 

RIP: Nancy Marvel, former Episcopal Relief & Development executive director

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 11:40am

[Episcopal Relief & Development]  A long-time resident of Pelham, New York, Nancy Marvel died on Monday, April 17, 2017, at the age of 85.

Affectionately known as “Nan,” she served as the executive director from 1995 to 1998 for Episcopal Relief & Development, formerly the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief. 

Marvel was hired by the Episcopal Church in 1976 to work under Presiding Bishop John Allin. In 1981, she joined the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief  (the PB Fund) to work on the grants program. Eventually, she was promoted to the director of grants, overseeing its domestic and overseas granting work.

During her tenure, the PB Fund was undergoing a major programmatic and operational shift to expand the focus on disaster response and recovery, and to incorporate sustainable development into its small grants program. Marvel recognized the Church’s growing interest and awareness in addressing challenges such as hunger, poverty, disaster and disease worldwide.

Before Marvel retired to become a national representative and ambassador for the PB Fund, Hurricane Mitch ravaged parts of the U.S., Central America and the Caribbean in late 1998. She led the PB Fund’s initial response in Honduras and other neighboring countries.

Over a four-year period, the community of Faith, Hope and Joy was constructed in Honduras, with 200 houses, a school, a clinic and a church. Microfinance activities and agricultural projects were launched to create economic opportunities and to help spur growth in the devastated region. This integrated approach became a core element of the organization’s disaster relief work as well as the first long-term recovery program in its history.

After retiring from the PB Fund, Marvel actively volunteered with her congregation, Christ the Redeemer Church in Pelham, the Westchester Junior League, The Manor Club and other organizations.

Marvel was a committed and long-serving staff member who contributed significantly and faithfully to the PB Fund, helping to shape and plant seeds for Episcopal Relief & Development’s future efforts.

“On behalf of our staff and board, I express sincere condolences to Nancy’s family, friends and colleagues around the Church,” said Rob Radtke, president of Episcopal Relief & Development. “She played a critical role in the evolution of this organization. Her compassion and numerous contributions will remain with us.”

Marvel is preceded in death by her husband, Robert C. Marvel. She is survived by a son, daughter, two stepdaughters, five granddaughters and many other relatives. 

In lieu of flowers, Nancy Marvel’s family has requested that memorial gifts are sent to:

Episcopal Relief & Development
P.O. Box 7058, Merrifield
Virginia 22116-7058

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 29 at Christ Church, 1415 Pelhamdale Avenue, Pelham, NY.

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