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Faith leaders discuss gender justice at UN gathering on women

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 5:28pm

[World Council of Churches] As the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women was underway through this week in New York City, the Rev. Terrie Robinson encouraged faith leaders to see their positive role in speaking out for gender justice in their communities.

When it comes to living and working with a sense of justice, “faith leaders and faith groups – at least where they are adequately equipped – have huge potential,” she said.

As co-chair of Side by Side, a faith movement for gender justice, Robinson believes that faith leaders have great power to help people live with equality and dignity. “There is a faith imperative for gender justice,” she said. “People still listen to faith leaders. Governments still listen to faith leaders.”

Speaking as part of a panel on March 15, Robinson highlighted some of the strides faith leaders have made in helping people to better lives. “In recent years we’ve seen how faith leaders can dismantle the stigma around HIV and AIDS. We have seen faith leaders lead communities in letting go of centuries-old practices that led to the spread of ebola.”

When it comes to gender justice, Robinson acknowledged the collective church has, at times, oppressed and discriminated against women. “We’ve gotten it wrong plenty of times,” she said. “But we can reclaim our sacred texts and reclaim our job. Faith leaders can be agents of change in their communities.”

Read the full article here.

Lambeth Palace gathering aims to strengthen religious liberty in British Commonwealth

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 5:26pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Parliamentarians and religious leaders from around the British Commonwealth will gather at Lambeth Palace next month to discuss ways to strengthen religious liberty. Details of the event were given by Bishop of Rochester James Langstaff during a debate in the House of Lords on March 22. In the debate, one member of the House of Lords highlighted the fact that while 95 percent of people in the Commonwealth profess a religious belief, around 70 percent of the population live with high or very high government restrictions on the right to freedom of religion and belief.

Read the full article here.

Archbishop of Canterbury’s relationships task group plans season of repentance and prayer

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 5:22pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Provisional plans for a season of repentance and prayer across the Anglican Communion next year have been put forward by the task group, which was set up after the Primates’ Meeting in 2016. The season would be launched with the publication of a specific prayer and would run from Pentecost until late in 2019.

The Group, which has been meeting in London this week, said the season would focus on individual provinces week by week. Materials to support the season will be gathered and distributed by the Anglican Communion Office.

Read the full article here.

Follow social media updates from Episcopalians at March for Our Lives events

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 5:14pm

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalians and Episcopal leaders from across the U.S. will be in Washington, D.C., to participate in March for Our Lives on March 24, while others plan to attend corresponding local rallies.

The youth-driven movement behind March for Our Lives was sparked by outrage over a high school shooting Feb. 14 that left 17 students and adults dead in Parkland, Florida.

Episcopalians attending the Washington march or marches in other cities are encouraged to use the hashtags #MarchEpiscopal and #episcopal when posting to social media from the events, and follow the updates on the feed below.

As UN women’s meeting ends, Episcopal delegates plan to turn lessons into action back home

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 4:08pm

The Rev. Annalise Pasalo of the Diocese of Hawaii, from left, Coromoto Jiménez de Salazar of the Diocese of Venezuela and Demaris DeJesus of the Diocese of Puerto Rico were among the Episcopal Church delegates to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York. Photo: Annalise Pasalo, via Instagram

[Episcopal News Service] The 20 Episcopalians representing Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, or UNCSW, are wrapping up two weeks of meetings, conversations, activities and prayer in New York – an experience they say has emboldened them in their work toward improving the lives of women back in their dioceses.

“I want to spread the word,” the Rev. Annalise Pasalo, a delegate from the Diocese of Hawaii, told Episcopal News Service by phone. “I hope that the wider church is aware of the incredible work that we’re involved in at the U.N.”

Lois Frankforter was part of the Episcopal delegation because of her work as national president of the Girls’ Friendly Society, a Connecticut-based Episcopal organization dedicated to empowering women and girls through its branches in eight dioceses.

“The opportunity to come and be part of the presiding bishop’s delegation really has been a transformative experience,” Frankforter said. The women who spoke at UNCSW told many inspiring stories, she said, but their stories also highlighted the troubling challenges that many women and girls face around the world.

“Out of it, there’s still a sense of hope, that with collective action we can really make a difference in the world,” Frankforter said. “And it reinforces that there really is place for faith-based organizations to be a voice for advocacy.”

The 62nd UNCSW was held March 12-23, and this year’s themes were gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in rural communities. The presiding bishop’s delegation included 17 visiting delegates, along with two Episcopal Church staff members and an intern.

The delegation was a diverse group, ranging from 15 to 70 years old and coming from as far away as Venezuela and Puerto Rico, as well as from dioceses across mainland U.S. They also included one man, a researcher from Oklahoma who works on women’s issues there.

As U.N. negotiators worked to finalize and approve a report from the session, much of what the document is expected to contain mirrors the priorities identified by the Episcopal Church, according to Lynnaia Main, the Episcopal Church representative to the United Nations.

“We’ve been learning that the priorities our church has lifted up are very much mainstream,” she said.

Curry had submitted a statement to the UNCSW, based on General Convention resolutions. Episcopal delegates looked to that statement and its priorities in shaping their advocacy as they shared their own stories, reflections and concerns during the two weeks.

Curry’s statement called on the U.N. community and civil society to address gender inequality and barriers to empowerment of women and girls by doing the following:

  • Prioritize resources and programs for marginalized groups of rural women and girls,
  • Extend access to basic resources and services to rural areas,
  • Address environmental concerns and extend land rights, and
  • Promote gender equality education and practices and eradicate gender-based violence.

“Go, go do your work, don’t get weary,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry tells the people gathered March 12 in the Chapel of Christ the Lord at the Episcopal Church Center in New York, a few blocks from the United Nations building, for the opening UNCSW Eucharist. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

“You have come to the seat of the nations of the earth to encourage our leaders and to show them how to end the nightmare and realize the dream for all of us,” Curry told the Episcopal delegates and their Anglican counterparts on March 12 at a Eucharist at the Episcopal Church Center that kicked off their work at UNCSW.

One of the messages that rang true for Frankforter was that while mission is global, the work is local.

“That really has hit home, with all the work that we do in all the various churches in our local communities, that everything we’re doing contributes to improve the lives of all,” she said.

Girls’ Friendly Society already is involved in programs at the local level to empower girls and support women. As an example, she said, one of its branches is responding to the problem of human trafficking by collecting basic supplies that can be given to women when they are freed from trafficking. The supplies are offered as “exit bags,” or “bags of hope.”

One lesson Frankforter plans to take home with her from UNCSW is the importance of communication and collaboration among organizations that serve women, so that their good work is amplified. Empowering women is a shared ministry, she said.

“The message really is that it’s going to take everyone at the grassroots level to make change, and that we all have to join together to do that,” she said.

“The other big message was that we have to hold our policymakers accountable … in our government, in our schools, in our communities and in our churches,” she said. “If we don’t hold them accountable then we won’t make the progress that we need to make.”

Pasalo works as a school chaplain at St. Andrew’s Schools, which operates an all-girls school and an all-boys school in Honolulu. Her first steps when she returns from UNCSW will be to share her experiences with others in her community, in presentations scheduled with the local Episcopal Church Women group and the all-girls school’s students. She also expects to speak about her UNCSW experiences at parishes around Honolulu.

The UNCSW included representatives of member states, U.N. entities and nongovernmental organizations like the Episcopal Church that have been accredited by the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council. Pasalo was impressed by the Episcopal Church’s advocacy work with the U.N. and now wants to do her part to bring that work to the local level.

“Though it is global, it’s personal too, so we all have a part to play,” she said.

Pasalo is originally from Oregon and spent some time living in rural areas of the state. She also worked several years in rural Thailand and understands the challenges women face in those kinds of communities. “I see where their lack of infrastructure doesn’t always provide for the needs of the community, especially for women,” she said.

The discussions at UNCSW that resonated most for her were those focusing on improving gender parity at the higher levels of institutions in society. “I would love to see that happen across the board, in schools, in government, in churches,” she said.

The Rev. Glenda McQueen, the Episcopal Church’s partnership officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, said it was important that the UNCSW hears voices from the church’s Province IX, where problems of infrastructure, health care and access to education are a grim reality for many women and girls in rural areas.

“There are kids that have to walk hours to get to an elementary school,” she said, and some girls don’t have access to a high school education or have to stay home to work and help support their families.

McQueen appreciated the sessions at UNCSW that offered ideas for bringing greater health care and technology to such communities to improve women’s lives there. The goal, she said, should be to leave no one behind in this global economy, and Episcopalians are well-equipped to take up that cause.

“Prayer is also political action,” she said. “It’s praying together, but it’s also beginning to implement projects and programs. It’s also being able to access our government, our local community officials and going beyond that and raising these issues.”

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

El Obispo Primado y otras personalidades inician campaña para ‘rescatar a Jesús’ en la cultura de EE.UU.

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 10:28am

[Episcopal News Service] Un grupo de líderes protestantes y catolicorromanos, entre ellos el obispo primado de la Iglesia Episcopal Michael Curry, han iniciado lo que llaman una campaña para “rescatar a Jesús” de los que ellos creen que están usando la teología cristiana para fines políticos.

“Vivimos en medio de tiempos riesgosos y polarizadores como nación,  con una peligrosa crisis de liderazgo moral y político en los más altos niveles de nuestro gobierno y de nuestras iglesias”, dicen los 23 firmantes de la declaración. “Creemos que el alma de la nación y la integridad de la fe están ahora en juego”.

El grupo dice que el papel de la Iglesia es cambiar al mundo mediante la vida y el amor de Jesucristo, en tanto el gobierno debe servir al bien común protegiendo la justicia y la paz, recompensando la buena conducta e impidiendo la mala. “Cuando el liderazgo político desvirtúa ese papel, los líderes religiosos deben levantarse y pronunciarse”, afirman los signatarios, citando al Rdo. Martin Luther King Jr., quien dijo que la Iglesia es la conciencia del Estado, no su dueña ni su sierva.

“Rescatar a Jesús: una confesión de fe en tiempos de crisis”, ofrece seis “afirmaciones” de lo que el grupo —en la actualidad 23 personalidades de peso— cree “y el consecuente rechazo de las prácticas y directrices de los líderes políticos que peligrosamente corroen el alma de la nación y amenazan profundamente la integridad pública de nuestra fe.

“Oramos que nosotros, como seguidores de Jesús, encontremos la profundidad de la fe para enfrentar el peligro de nuestra crisis política”.

En resumen, los firmantes, en sus afirmaciones y rechazos, dijeron creer que:

  • Cada ser humano está hecho a imagen y semejanza de Dios y, por tanto, “rechazamos el resurgimiento del nacionalismo y del racismo blanco en muchos frentes de nuestra nación, entre ellos los más altos niveles del liderazgo político”.
  • Somos un solo cuerpo y, por tanto, “rechazamos la misoginia, el maltrato, el abuso violento, el acoso sexual y el asalto a las mujeres que se ha manifestado en nuestra cultura y en nuestra política, incluidas las iglesias, y la opresión de cualquier otro hijo de Dios”.
  • “La manera en que tratamos a los hambrientos, los sedientos, los desnudos, los extranjeros, los enfermos y los presos es la manera en que tratamos a Cristo mismo” y por tanto “rechazamos el lenguaje y las normas de los líderes políticos que servirían para degradar y abandonar a los más vulnerables hijos de Dios”.
  • “La verdad es moralmente central a nuestras vidas personales y públicas” y, por tanto, “rechazamos la práctica y el modelo de mentir que están invadiendo nuestra vida política y civil”.
  • El camino del liderazgo de Cristo es el servicio, no la dominación y, por tanto “rechazamos cualquier tendencia hacia un liderazgo político autocrático y un gobierno autoritario… [que] suscitan la más profunda preocupación por la idolatría política, acompañada por nociones de autoridad falsas e inconstitucionales”.
  • Jesús “nos dice que vayamos a hacer discípulos de todas las naciones” y, por tanto “rechazamos [la consigna de ‘Estados Unidos de] América primero’ como una herejía teológica para los seguidores de Cristo”.

La declaración dice en su conclusión que “nuestra urgente necesidad, en un tiempo de crisis moral y política, es recobrar el poder de confesar nuestra fe. Lamentarse, arrepentirse y luego reparar”.

El Rdo. Jim Wallis, fundador de Forasteros [Sojourners] y Curry comenzaron a conversar a principios de este año acerca de la necesidad de una declaración como ésta. Los firmantes se pusieron de acuerdo sobre el texto de la declaración en un retiro del Miércoles de Ceniza que Curry organizó en el Centro [Denominacional] de la Iglesia Episcopal en Nueva York.

“Me uno a otros líderes de la Iglesia cristiana en esta confesión de lo que exige la fe en tiempos como estos”, dijo Curry el 22 de marzo en una declaración a Episcopal News Service. “Cuando nos enfrentamos a los problemas sociales, nuestra Iglesia no ha permanecido en silencio y seguiremos luchando por la justicia y por la paz. Nuestro papel es de liderazgo moral para nuestra nación, para nuestra Iglesia y para nosotros mismos”.

El mensaje de “Rescatar a Jesús”, dijo Wallis en un comentario el 22 de marzo en la página web de Sojourners, debe ser “algo que sería mucho más que simplemente otra declaración a firmar y luego archivarla.

“Más bien, con un espíritu de humildad compartida, nos sentimos llamados a actuar como [hermanos] mayores en un tiempo como este y encomendar nuestro mensaje a las iglesias para un proceso de oración, estudio, reflexión y acción”.

Wallis tituló su comentario: “Rescatando a Jesús: Como la fe confesante puede responder a una crisis moral y constitucional”.

Los firmantes han abierto un sitio web con el nombre de  Rescatando a Jesús [Reclaiming Jesus] donde puede descargarse la declaración y un resumen de una página. Ha de ser también una recopilación de materiales además de un “currículo del discurso civil” de cinco semanas que ya se ha publicado.

Los firmantes actualmente son:

  • Obispo Carroll A. Baltimore, presidente y director ejecutivo de Redes Interreligiosas de Alianza Global
  • Dr. Peter Borgdorff, director ejecutivo emérito de la Iglesia Cristiana Reformada en Norteamérica
  • Amos Brown, presidente de la Comisión de Justicia Social de la Convención Bautista EUA [National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.].
  • Dr. Walter Brueggemann, profesor emérito, Seminario Teológico de Columbia.
  • Tony Campolo, cofundador de Cristianos de las Letras Rojas [Red Letter Christians].
  • Iva Carruthers, secretaria general de la Conferencia Samuel DeWitt Proctor.
  • Michael B. Curry, obispo presidente y primado de la Iglesia Episcopal.
  • Dr. James Forbes, presidente y fundador de Fundación para la Salud de las Naciones [Healing the Nations Foundation] y profesor de predicación en el Seminario Teológico Unión.
  • Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, secretario general emérito de la Iglesia Reformada en América.
  • Dra. Cynthia Hale, pastora principal de la Iglesia Cristiana Rayo de Esperanza [Ray of Hope], Decatur, GA
  • Dr. Richard Hamm, ex ministro general y presidente de la Iglesia Cristiana (Discípulos de Cristo)
  • Dr. Joel C. Hunter, organizador y presidente de Comunidad de la Fe, Red de Recursos Humanitarios.
  • Dra. Jo Anne Lyon, superintendente general emérita de la Iglesia Wesleyana
  • Obispa Vashti McKenzie, 117ª. obispa elegida y consagrada de la Iglesia Africana Metodista Episcopal.
  • Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., co-coordinador de la Red Nacional de Clérigos Afroamericanos.
  • John Perkins, presidente emérito y miembro fundador de la Asociación Cristiana para el Desarrollo Comunitario
  • Obispo Lawrence Reddick, director ejecutivo de la Iglesia Cristiana Metodista Episcopal.
  • Richard Rohr, fundador del Centro para la Acción y la Contemplación.
  • Ron Sider, presidente emérito de Evangélicos por la Acción Social.
  • Jim Wallis, presidente y fundador de Forasteros [Sojourners].
  • Dra. Sharon Watkins, directora de la Iniciativa para la Verdad y la Justicia Racial del Consejo Nacional de Iglesias.
  • Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-coordinadora de la Red Nacional de Clérigos Afroamericanos; presidente del Instituto de Liderazgo Skinner
  • Obispo Will Willimon, obispo jubilado de la Iglesia Metodista Unida y profesor de Práctica del Ministerio en la Escuela de Teología de Duke.

Presiding Bishop, others begin campaign to ‘reclaim Jesus’ in US culture

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 5:19pm

[Episcopal News Service] A group of Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders, including Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, have begun what they call a campaign to “reclaim Jesus” from those who they believe are using Christian theology for political gain.

“We are living through perilous and polarizing times as a nation, with a dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches,” say the 23 signers of the statement. “We believe the soul of the nation and the integrity of faith are now at stake.”

The group says the church’s role is to change the world through the life and love of Jesus Christ, while the government should serve the common good by protecting justice and peace, rewarding good behavior while restraining bad behavior. “When that role is undermined by political leadership, faith leaders must stand up and speak out,” the signers say, citing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who said the church is the conscience of the state, not its master or its servant.

“Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis” offers six “affirmations” of what the group, currently 23 strong, believes, “and the resulting rejections of practices and policies by political leaders which dangerously corrode the soul of the nation and deeply threaten the public integrity of our faith.

“We pray that we, as followers of Jesus, will find the depth of faith to match the danger of our political crisis.”

In summary, the signers, in their the affirmations and rejections, said they believe:

  • Each human being is made in God’s image and likeness, and therefore, “we reject the resurgence of white nationalism and racism in our nation on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership.”
  • We are one body and, therefore, “we reject misogyny, the mistreatment, violent abuse, sexual harassment, and assault of women that has been further revealed in our culture and politics, including our churches, and the oppression of any other child of God.”
  • “How we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner is how we treat Christ himself,” and, therefore, “we reject the language and policies of political leaders who would debase and abandon the most vulnerable children of God.”
  • “Truth is morally central to our personal and public lives,” and, therefore, they reject “the practice and pattern of lying that is invading our political and civil life.”
  • Christ’s way of leadership is servanthood, not domination, and, therefore, “we reject any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule… raise deeper concerns about political idolatry, accompanied by false and unconstitutional notions of authority.”
  • Jesus “tells us to go into all nations making disciples,” and, therefore, they reject “‘America first’ as a theological heresy for followers of Christ.”

The statement says in its conclusion that “our urgent need, in a time of moral and political crisis, is to recover the power of confessing our faith. Lament, repent, and then repair.”

The Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, and Curry began talking earlier this year about the need for such a statement. The signers agreed to the wording of the statement at an Ash Wednesday retreat that Curry hosted at the Episcopal Church Center in New York.

“I joined with other Christian church leaders on this confession of what faith in times like these require,” Curry said March 22 in a statement to Episcopal News Service. “When faced with social issues, our Church has not been silent and we will continue to strive for justice and peace. Our role is one of moral leadership for our nation, for our church, for ourselves.”

The “Reclaiming Jesus” message, Wallis said in a March 22 commentary on the Sojourners website, needed to be “something that would be much more than just another statement to sign and then file away.

“Rather, with a shared humble spirit, we felt called to act as elders for a time such as this and to commend our message to the churches for a process of prayer, study, reflection, and action.”

Wallis called his commentary “Reclaiming Jesus: How Confessing Faith Can Respond to a Moral and Constitutional Crisis.”

The signers have set up a website, Reclaiming Jesus, where the statement and a one-page summary can be downloaded. There is also due to be a collection of resources in addition to a five-week “civil discourse curriculum” that already has been released.

The signers currently include:

  • Bishop Carroll A. Baltimore, President and CEO, Global Alliance Interfaith Networks
  • Rev. Dr. Peter Borgdorff, Executive Director Emeritus, Christian Reformed Church in North America
  • Dr. Amos Brown, Chair, Social Justice Commission, National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.
  • Rev. Dr. Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Tony Campolo, Co-Founder, Red Letter Christians
  • Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
  • The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr. James Forbes, President and Founder, Healing the Nations Foundation and Preaching Professor at Union Theological Seminary
  • Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America
  • Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale, Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church, Decatur, GA
  • Rev. Dr. Richard Hamm, former General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Rev. Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Faith Community Organizer and Chairman, Community Resource Network
  • Rev. Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church
  • Bishop Vashti McKenzie, 117th Elected and Consecrated Bishop, AME Church
  • Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., Co-Convener National African American Clergy Network
  • Dr. John Perkins, Chair Emeritus and Founding Member, Christian Community Development Association
  • Bishop Lawrence Reddick, CEO, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Fr. Richard Rohr, Founder, Center for Action and Contemplation
  • Dr. Ron Sider, President Emeritus, Evangelicals for Social Action
  • Rev. Jim Wallis, President and Founder, Sojourners
  • Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, Director, NCC Truth and Racial Justice Initiative
  • Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Co-Convener, National African American Clergy Network; President, Skinner Leadership Institute
  • Bishop Will Willimon, Bishop, The United Methodist Church, retired, Professor of the Practice of Ministry, Duke Divinity School

Priest in same-sex marriage loses legal challenge to bishop’s ‘discriminatory’ response

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 1:57pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Church of England did not unlawfully discriminate against a priest by refusing to grant a license after he entered a same-sex marriage, London’s Court of Appeal said March 22. The Rev. Jeremy Pemberton married his partner, Laurence Cunnington, in 2014 shortly after same-sex civil marriages were legalized in England and Wales.

Read the full article here.

Anglican Church of Southern Africa asks bishops to step up response to abuse allegations

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 1:55pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The primate of Southern Africa, Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, has written to the bishops of the province asking them to establish diocesan advisory teams to handle allegations of abuse. He is also “urgently consulting more widely on how the Church can not only act more effectively, but be seen to act effectively in cases of sexual abuse,” he said in a statement released March 22.

Read the full article here.

En eventos asociados a la Marcha por Nuestras Vidas, episcopales de todos los EE.UU. se preparan para manifestarse contra la violencia armada

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 7:36pm

Representantes de Day One, una agrupación sin fines de lucro para el empoderamiento de jóvenes, se reúnen con miembros de un grupo de jóvenes de la iglesia episcopal de Todos los Santos, en Pasadena, California, para un adiestramiento en activismo y cabildeo políticos. Miembros del grupo de jóvenes viajarán esta semana a Washington, D.C. para participar en la Marcha por Nuestras Vidas el 24 de marzo. Foto Juliana Serrano/Todos los Santos/Pasadena.

[Episcopal News Service] Miembros de la Iglesia Episcopal y líderes episcopales de todos los EE.UU. viajan a Washington, D.C. esta semana para participar en la Marcha por Nuestras vidas el 24 de marzo, mientras otros se proponen asistir a las manifestaciones locales que se centran en un mensaje compartido: algo debe hacerse para frenar la violencia armada, especialmente contra los jóvenes.

Los episcopales que asisten a la marcha de Washington o a las marchas en otras ciudades se les insta a usar las almohadillas [hashtags] #MarchEpiscopal y #episcopal cuando publiquen algo en las redes sociales desde los eventos, y a seguir las actualizaciones del 24 de marzo en Episcopal News Service.

Los preparativos ya están en marcha. En Chicago, un grupo de jóvenes episcopales pasó la noche del 20 diseñando las pancartas que llevarán consigo a la marcha de Washington. Miembros de la iglesia episcopal de Todos los Santos [All Saints] de Pasadena, California, se levantarán temprano el 22 de marzo para enviar a un grupo de jóvenes por vía aérea a Washington. Y en Upper Montclair, Nueva Jersey, los líderes de la iglesia están dándole los toque finales a un monumento temporal a las víctimas de dos masacres escolares.

“Esto no es política”, dijo la Rda. Melissa Hall, rectora de la iglesia episcopal de Santiago Apóstol [Church of St. James] en Montclair. “Sencillamente amamos a nuestros niños y queremos mantenerlos a salvo”.

El monumento de la iglesia de Santiago Apóstol consiste en camisetas colgadas en postes [de metal en forma de T] frente a la iglesia. De un lado del patio de la iglesia, hay 17 camisetas, una por cada uno de los estudiantes y adultos asesinados el 14 de febrero en la masacre de la secundaria de Parkland, Florida, que ha provocado el movimiento de jóvenes que está detrás de la Marcha por Nuestras Vidas. Del otro lado del patio de la iglesia, otras 26 camisetas recuerdan a los niños y educadores que murieron en la escuela primaria de Sandy Hook en Newtown, Connecticut, en 2012.

A Hall y a la Rda. Audrey Hasselbrook, rectora auxiliar de Santiago Apóstol, se les ocurrió la idea del monumento días después de la masacre de Parkland mientras se preguntaban qué podrían hacer respecto a la violencia armada. “Nos pusimos a pensar y dijimos, ¿cuántas veces más podemos predicar acerca de esto?”, contó Hall.

Además del monumento conmemorativo, Santiago Apóstol tendrá un oficio vespertino y una vigilia con velas a las 5: P.M. del 24 de marzo. Aunque al margen de las marchas que se han planeado en todo el país, la iglesia mostrará su solidaridad con la causa cantando himnos, uniéndose en oración y doblando su campana por las víctimas de la violencia armada.

Episcopales de numerosas diócesis han organizado viajes en autobús a Washington, D.C. para asistir a la principal Marcha por Nuestras Vidas. Mark Beckwith, el obispo de la Diócesis de Newark, que se unirá a un convoy de seis autobuses organizado por el Ministerio de Defensa Social Luterano Episcopal de Nueva Jersey, se lamentaba del “azote de la violencia armada” en un artículo de blog del 21 de marzo.

“Voy a Washington este sábado en parte a responder al fervor de los jóvenes, pero más que eso, y más profundo que eso, voy a seguir a Jesús —quien, con su compromiso inquebrantable con la no violencia, irrumpía con frecuencia en los círculos de poder que condonaban, si no fomentaban, la violencia”, dijo Beckwith.

Beckwith, uno de los obispos episcopales convocantes del grupo Obispos Unidos Contra la Violencia Armada, percibía “una corriente de apoyo” para reformar [la legislación] de las armas, tal como el aumento de la edad legal para portar armas, expandir las verificaciones de antecedentes para la compra de armas y prohibir cierta clase de fusiles de asalto. También se hizo eco de la “elocuencia y la indignación” de los estudiantes de la escuela secundaria Marjory Stoneman Douglas de Parkland a raíz del la masacre ocurrida en su escuela.

Él recurrió al relato de la entrada de Jesús en Jerusalén el Domingo de Ramos como un modelo para desafiar las estructuras de poder que perpetúan la injusticia.

“Su testimonio perdura, y yo creo que nos proponemos aprovechar su ejemplo y seguirlo, de manera no violenta, en este cambiante abismo cultural”, expresó Beckwith. “Y no rendirse, y no detenerse”.

Beckwith y muchos otros episcopales que viajan a Washington se proponen asistir a una vigilia interreligiosa en la Catedral Nacional de Washington el 23 de marzo. La Diócesis de Washington está ayudando a organizar alojamiento para algunos de los que vienen de fuera, y la diócesis también está coordinando con sus miembros para desfilar como grupo por la Ave. Pennsylvania hasta el Capitolio durante la Marcha por Nuestras Vidas.

“No estamos solos en esta tarea”, dijo la obispa de Washington Mariann Budde en un artículo de blog acerca de la marcha que apareció en febrero. “La conciencia del país se ha despertado y las personas de todos los sectores, de muchas creencias y de todos los puntos del espectro político están respondiendo”.

Adolescentes episcopales se encuentran entre la oleada de jóvenes que están respondiendo, quienes se han pronunciado contra la violencia armada y ayudan a organizar las manifestaciones en respuesta a la masacre de Parkland, y quienes estarán a la vanguardia de las próximas marchas.

El grupo de formación episcopal FORMA ha preparado una guía para llevar a los jóvenes a las protestas o marchas como las programadas para el 24 de marzo. La Iglesia Episcopal también ofrece reglas generales para viajar con jóvenes.

La iglesia de Todos los Santos [All Saints] en Pasadena está enviando a Washington, para participar en la marcha, a un grupo de 10 jóvenes junto con su director de la juventud, Jeremy Langili, y su rector, el Rdo. Mike Kinman. El viaje fue posible gracias de los miembros y amigos de la congregación, dijo la Rda. Susan Russell, principal rectora asociada para las comunicaciones en Todos los Santos.

Ellos también se reunirán el 23 de marzo en el Capitolio con miembros del personal de la representante Judy Chu, demócrata por California que representa a Pasadena. Otros miembros del grupo de jóvenes que permanecerán en California se proponen reunirse con Chu en persona en su oficina del distrito el mismo día.

Day One, una agrupación para el empoderamiento de los jóvenes, se reunió con el grupo de jóvenes este mes para adiestrarlos en el cabildeo de los legisladores, al tiempo que les explicaban qué esperar durante las reuniones, dijo Russell.

“Estamos trabajando con nuestros jóvenes para equiparlos a fin de amplificar sus voces como parte de la Marcha por Nuestras Vidas”, explicó.

En la iglesia episcopal de Todos los Santos [All Saints Episcopal Church] en Chicago, algunos de los jóvenes que viajarán a Washington, D.C., se reunieron el 20 de marzo para hacer pancartas contra la violencia. Todos los Santos se ha asociado con otras cuatro congregaciones episcopales de la diócesis para alquilar dos autobuses para el viaje. Alrededor de 110 personas saldrá el viernes por la noche, desfilarán el sábado y estarán de regreso a tiempo para el culto del Domingo de Ramos, dijo la Rda. Bonnie Perry, rectora de Todos los Santos.

“Esto es igual que Jesús yendo a la capital. Es por eso que realmente queríamos ir al D.C.”, dijo Perry, haciéndose eco de la referencia al Domingo de Ramos bíblico de Beckwith. “Se trata de una peregrinación. Es una peregrinación espiritual. Esto es lo que somos llamados a hacer”.

Viajar a la capital de la nación no es el único medio de participar. El obispo de Chicago Jeffrey Lee hizo un llamado a su diócesis a participar, si no yendo a la marcha de Washington, marchando con él en Chicago o estando con los manifestantes en espíritu.

“Dondequiera que estén, rueguen que Dios consuele, sostenga y sane a todos aquellos cuyas vidas ha alcanzado la violencia armada, y que Dios hará evidente la obra que estamos llamados a hacer para ponerle fin a este azote”, afirmó Lee.

Ese y otros empeños dirigidos por episcopales en la jornada del 24 de marzo se incluyen en una lista compilada por Obispos Unidos Contra la Violencia. He aquí algunos otros hitos:

El obispo Daniel Gutiérrez de la Diócesis de Pensilvania, invita a los manifestantes a acudir a una bendición el 23 de marzo en un oficio en la iglesia episcopal de San Esteban [St. Stephen’s] en Filadelfia en honor de Oscar Romero, un arzobispo salvadoreño de la Iglesia Católica Romana que combatió la injusticia social y económica hasta que fue asesinado mientras decía misa el 24 de marzo de 1980. Algunos episcopales de la diócesis tienen planes de asistir a las marchas en Filadelfia y Washington.

Los obispos de la Diócesis de Virginia dijeron en una declaración del 21 de marzo que habían “decidido pasar el sábado con jóvenes y otras personas de nuestras congregaciones y comunidades para decirle no a la violencia armada. Nos reunimos con propietarios de armas responsables y con otras personas que tienen una amplia variedad de puntos de vista sobre las armas de fuego. No nos pronunciamos contra la tenencia responsable de armas, sino contra una idolatría de las armas que ha causado ruina y destrucción devastadoras dentro de nuestras fronteras. Invitamos a las personas de esta diócesis a unirse para decirle no a la violencia y sí a la vida”. El obispo diocesano Shannon Johnston marchará en Richmond, la obispa sufragánea Susan Goff estará en la marcha de Charlottesville y los obispos auxiliares Bob Ihloff y Ted Gulick tomarán parte en los eventos de Washington, D.C.

La Diócesis de Indianápolis y la iglesia catedral de Cristo [Christ Church Cathedral] auspician un viaje en autobús para la marcha en Washington, aunque la obispa Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows participará con los episcopales en el evento de la Marcha por Nuestras Vidas en Indianápolis. El obispo Douglas Sparks de la Diócesis de Indiana Norte también conducirá un grupo de episcopales a la marcha de Indianápolis.

Otros obispos están invitando a los episcopales de sus diócesis a que se les unan en las marchas locales. El obispo de la Diócesis de Rochester, Prince Singh, se propone asistir a la marcha en Rochester, Nueva York; en tanto el obispo de California Norte, Barry Beisner, participará en la marcha en Sacramento. El obispo provisional de Carolina del Sur, Skip Adams, se propone estar en la marcha de North Charleston; y el obispo de la Diócesis de Massachusetts Occidental, Douglas Fisher, asistirá a la marcha en Northampton.

La catedral episcopal de Boston se ha convertido en una especie de centro de hospitalidad y adiestramiento para los manifestantes en esa ciudad. La iglesia catedral de San Pablo [St Paul] en Boston planea servir como lugar de reunión de los participantes en la Marcha por Nuestras Vidas en esa ciudad a partir de las 10:00 A.M. La reunión ofrecerá entrenamiento y otras actividades organizativas al grupo encabezado por jóvenes antes de que salga para la marcha al final de la mañana.

La Diócesis de Connecticut está celebrando un evento matutino Capacitar y empoderar a las mujeres de Dios: un camino a seguir, en reconocimiento al Día Internacional de la Mujer. Cuando concluya el evento en la catedral de Hartford, a las 12:30 P.M., los participantes serán invitados a unirse a una procesión hasta el capitolio estatal para participar en la Marcha por Nuestras Vidas en Hartford.

La obispa DeDe Duncan-Probe, de la Diócesis de Nueva York Central, tiene planes de asistir a la Marcha por Nuestras vidas en Syracuse. Ella ventiló las respuestas cristianas a la violencia armada en un vídeo en directo en Facebook el 20 de marzo.

“Nuestra fe nos llama a defender y proteger a nuestros niños, los más vulnerables entre nosotros. Jesús nos dice, ‘dejen que los niños se acerquen a mí’ que los niños estarían seguros y protegidos. ¿Cómo pues hacemos eso? ¿Cómo lo entendemos?”, dijo Duncan-Probe. “Es hora de escuchar a los vulnerables y de ser vulnerables, de escuchar a nuestros niños y de ser conducidos por ellos”.

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

Sewanee revokes Charlie Rose’s honorary degree after months of pressure to take action

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 5:12pm

[Episcopal News Service] Sewanee: The University of the South has revoked Charlie Rose’s honorary degree after facing increasing pressure from all sides to act in response to the sexual harassment scandal that derailed the broadcast journalist’s career last fall.

The final decision was made by the Sewanee Board of Regents in a March 20 meeting, the university said in a statement released March 21. The statement noted this was the first time Sewanee had revoked a honorary degree, and the action required the creation of a new procedure for reconsidering such degrees.

“In the new four-step process, a written request for the revocation of an honorary degree was submitted to the vice-chancellor, who shared it with and received approval from the Joint Regent-Senate Committee on Honorary Degrees, the University Senate, and the Board of Regents, in that order,” the university said.

The Board of Regents initially had resisted requests to revoke the degree in February, but a month later it has reversed itself, joining the honorary degree committee and the University Senate in voting with at least two-thirds majorities to take action against Rose.

Charlie Rose delivers the commencement address in May 2016 at Sewanee: The University of the South. Photo: Sewanee

Sewanee, which is owned and governed by 28 Episcopal dioceses, presented Rose with an honorary degree when he delivered the university’s commencement address in spring 2016.

Known for his work as host of “Charlie Rose” on PBS and Bloomberg and co-anchor on “CBS This Morning,” Rose dropped in November by all three broadcasters after the Washington Post reported on eight women’s allegations that Rose had made unwanted sexual advances toward them, including lewd comments, groping and walking around naked in their presence.

Rose issued an apology for his “inappropriate behavior” and admitted he had “behaved insensitively at times,” though he also disputed the accuracy of some of the allegations. He was one of a series of prominent men from the world of entertainment, media and politics to suddenly fall from grace last year amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Pressure has mounted at Sewanee since November to revoke the degree. Two student trustees wrote to the Board of Regents in February recommending that action, but the regents rebuffed such calls, saying, “we do not believe it is our place to condemn the individual.”

Four Episcopal bishops and three Episcopal priests sit on the 20-member Board of Regents, including Florida Bishop Samuel Howard, who serves as an ex officio board member because of his position as Sewanee chancellor.

The full text of the university’s statement follows.

The University of the South has revoked the honorary degree it previously awarded to broadcast journalist Charlie Rose, after creating a procedure under which it could do so.

In the new four-step process, a written request for the revocation of an honorary degree was submitted to the vice-chancellor, who shared it with and received approval from the Joint Regent-Senate Committee on Honorary Degrees, the University Senate, and the Board of Regents, in that order.


The University of the South awarded an honorary degree to Charlie Rose in May 2016. An honorary degree is awarded to recognize achievement by leaders in a wide variety of fields, after a review of lifetime accomplishments known at the time it is awarded.

In its 150-year history, the University had never revoked an honorary degree, nor, until very recently, did it have a process to do so. The Joint Regent-Senate Committee on Honorary Degrees developed a process this month for the orderly review of an honorary degree once awarded. This action followed requests to rescind Rose’s honorary degree from students, faculty, and members of the Board of Trustees, and recognized that it occasionally may be necessary for the University to consider the revocation of an honorary degree held by a still-living recipient.

Under this new process, the groups responsible for the revocation of an honorary degree are the same groups responsible for considering the conferral of such a degree: the Board of Regents, the University Senate, and the Joint Regent-Senate Committee on Honorary Degrees. The Board of Regents, in accord with its role in granting honorary degrees, has the final authority in the revocation of a degree.

Accordingly, on March 11, the Joint Regent-Senate Committee voted by a two-thirds majority to recommend revocation of the honorary degree conferred upon Charlie Rose. The University Senate later that week voted to recommend revocation, also by a two-thirds majority of its membership. The vice-chancellor conveyed that recommendation to the Board of Regents, which met on March 20. A two-thirds majority of that Board was also required for the revocation of the degree.

Episcopalians prepare to rally against gun violence at March for Our Lives events across U.S.

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 4:23pm

Representatives from Day One, a nonprofit youth empowerment group, meet with youth group members at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, for a training in political advocacy and lobbying. The youth group members will travel to Washington, D.C., this week for the March of Our Lives on March 24. Photo: Juliana Serrano/All Saints Pasadena

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalians and Episcopal leaders from across the U.S. are traveling to Washington, D.C., this week for the March for Our Lives on March 24, while others plan to attend corresponding local rallies centered on a shared message: Something must be done to stop gun violence, especially against young people.

Episcopalians attending the Washington march or marches in other cities are encouraged to use the hashtags #MarchEpiscopal and #episcopal when posting to social media from the events, and follow the updates March 24 on Episcopal News Service.

Preparations are well underway. In Chicago, a group of young Episcopalians spent their evening March 20 creating the signs they will take with them to the march in Washington. Members of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, will rise early March 22 to send off a youth group flying to Washington. And in Upper Montclair, New Jersey, church leaders are putting the final touches on a temporary memorial to the victims of two deadly school shootings.

“This is not politics. This is gospel,” the Rev. Melissa Hall, rector at Montclair’s Church of St. James, said. “We just love our children and want to keep them safe.”

St. James’ memorial features T-shirts draped over poles in front of the church. On one side of the church yard are 17 shirts, one for each of the students and adults killed Feb. 14 in the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that sparked the youth-driven movement behind March for Our Lives. On the other side of the church yard, 26 more shirts memorialize the young children and educators shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

Hall and the Rev. Audrey Hasselbrook, assistant rector at St. James, came up with the idea for the memorial in the days after the Parkland massacre as they were asking themselves what they could do about gun violence. “We kind of put our heads in our hands and said, how many more times can we preach about this?” Hall said.

In addition to the memorial, St. James will host an evening service and candlelight vigil at 5 p.m. March 24. Although it is separate from the marches planned around the country, the church will show solidarity with the cause by singing hymns, joining in prayer and tolling its bell for the victims of gun violence.

Episcopalians in numerous dioceses have organized bus trips to Washington, D.C., to attend the main March for Our Lives. Diocese of Newark Bishop Mark Beckwith, who will join a six-bus convoy organized by the Lutheran Episcopal Advocacy Ministry of New Jersey, lamented “the scourge of gun violence” in a blog post March 21.

“I am going to Washington this Saturday in part to follow the passion of young people, but more than that, and deeper than that, I am going to follow Jesus – who, with his unwavering commitment to nonviolence, regularly stepped into the crucibles of power that condoned, if not fostered, violence,” Beckwith said.

Beckwith, one of the convening Episcopal bishops in the group Bishops United Against Gun Violence, noted “a groundswell of support” for gun reforms, such as raising the legal age to buy guns, expanding background checks for gun purchases and banning certain assault-style weapons. He also heralded the “eloquence and outrage” of students from Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the wake of the deadly attack at their school.

He invoked the Palm Sunday story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as a model for challenging the power structures that perpetuate injustice.

“His witness endures, and I believe we are meant to draw on his example and follow him, nonviolently, into this evolving cultural chasm,” Beckwith said. “And not give up, and not be stopped.”

Beckwith and many other Episcopalians making the journey to Washington plan to attend an interfaith vigil March 23 at Washington National Cathedral. The Diocese of Washington is helping to arrange accommodations for some of those coming from out of town, and the diocese also is coordinating its members to march as a group down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol during the March for our Lives.

“We are not alone in this work,” Washington Bishop Mariann Budde said in a February blog post about the march. “The country’s conscience has been awakened and people from all sectors, many faiths, and every point on the political spectrum are responding.”

Episcopal teenagers are among the wave of young people who have spoken out against gun violence and helped organized demonstrations in response to the Parkland shooting, and they will be at the forefront of the upcoming marches.

The Episcopal formation group Forma has assembled a guide for bringing young people to protests or marches like the ones scheduled for March 24. The Episcopal Church also provides general guidelines for traveling with youth.

All Saints in Pasadena is sending 10 youth group members along with its youth director, Jeremy Langill, and its rector, the Rev. Mike Kinman, to Washington for the march. The trip was made possible by donations from members and friends of the congregation, said the Rev. Susan Russell, senior associate rector for communication at All Saints.

They also will meet March 23 on Capitol Hill with staff members of Rep. Judy Chu, a California Democrat that represents Pasadena. Other youth group members who will remain in California plan to meet with Chu herself at her district office on the same day.

Day One, a nonprofit youth empowerment group, met with the youth group this month to train them on lobbying lawmakers while explaining what to expect during the meetings, Russell said.

“We are working with our youth to equip them to amplify their voices as part of the March for Our Lives,” Russell said.

At All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago, some of the young people who will travel to Washington, D.C., gathered March 20 to make anti-violence signs. All Saints is partnering with four other Episcopal congregations in the diocese to rent two buses for the trip. About 110 people will leave Friday evening, march on Saturday and be back home in time for Palm Sunday worship, said the Rev. Bonnie Perry, rector at All Saints.

“This is like Jesus going to the capital. That’s why I really wanted us to go to D.C.,” Perry said, echoing Beckwith’s biblical Palm Sunday reference. “This s a pilgrimage. It’s a spiritual pilgrimage, it’s a Lenten discipline. This is what we’re called to do.”

Traveling to the nation’s capital isn’t the only way to participate. Chicago Bishop Jeffrey Lee issued a call to his diocese to get involved, if not by joining the march in Washington then by marching with him in Chicago or being with marchers in spirit.

“Wherever you are, please pray that God will console, sustain and heal all whose lives are touched by gun violence, and that God will make evident the work that we are being called to do to end this scourge,” Lee said.

That and other Episcopal-led efforts on March 24 are included in a list compiled by Bishops United Against Gun Violence. Here are some other highlights:

Bishop Daniel Gutierrez of the Diocese of Pennsylvania invites those who are marching to come for a blessing March 23 at a service at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Philadelphia in honor of Oscar Romero, a Salvadoran archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church who fought social and economic injustice until he was assassinated while saying Mass on March 24, 1980. Episcopalians from the diocese are planning to attend marches in Philadelphia and Washington.

The bishops of the Diocese of Virginia said in a March 21 statement that they “choose to spend Saturday with young people and others from our congregations and communities to say no to gun violence. We join with responsible gun owners and with others who have a wide variety of views toward guns. We speak not against responsible gun ownership, but against an idolatry of guns that has caused devastating ruin and destruction within our borders. We invite the people of this diocese to join in saying no to violence and yes to life.” Diocesan Bishop Shannon Johnston will march in Richmond, Bishop Suffragan Susan Goff will be in the march in Charlottesville and assisting Bishops Bob Ihloff and Ted Gulick will take part in the Washington, D.C. events.

The Diocese of Indianapolis and Christ Church Cathedral are sponsoring a bus trip to the march in Washington, though Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows will rally with Episcopalians at the March for Our Lives event in Indianapolis. Bishop Douglas Sparks of the Diocese of Northern Indiana also will lead a group of Episcopalians to the Indianapolis march.

Other bishops are inviting Episcopalians in their diocese to join them at local marches. Diocese of Rochester Bishop Prince Singh plans to attend the march in Rochester, New York, while Diocese of Northern California Bishop Barry Beisner will participate in the march in Sacramento. South Carolina Bishop Provisional Skip Adams is scheduled to be at the march in North Charleston, and Diocese of Western Massachusetts Bishop Douglas Fisher will attend the march in Northampton.

The Episcopal cathedral in Boston is being converted into a sort of hospitality and training center for marchers in that city. Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston plans to serve as a gathering place for participants in the city’s March for Our Lives beginning at 10 a.m. The gathering will offer youth-led trainings and other organizing activities before the group leaves for the march at the end of the morning.

The Diocese of Connecticut is holding a morning event, Equipping and Empowering God’s Women: A Way Forward, in recognition of International Women’s Day. When the event at the cathedral in Hartford concludes at 12:30 p.m., participants are invited to join a procession to the state capitol for Hartford’s March for Our Lives event.

Diocese of Central New York Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe plans to attend a March for Our Lives rally in Syracuse. She discussed Christian responses to gun violence in a Facebook Live video on March 20.

“Our faith calls us to stand and protect our children, the most vulnerable among us. Jesus tells us, ‘Let the child come unto me,’ that children would be safe and protected. So how do we do that? How do we understand that?” Duncan-Probe said. “It’s time to listen and to be vulnerable, to listen and to be led by our children.”

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

Archbishop of Canterbury gives evidence to Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 2:12pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A public inquiry examining institutional responses to child sexual abuse in England and Wales has heard from  Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. The Archbishop gave evidence under oath to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). The Inquiry was established by the British government to examine institutional responses to child sexual abuse in England and Wales. The archbishop’s appearance before the came on the last day of evidence taking in a three-week public hearing looking at a number of cases in the Diocese of Chichester.

Read the entire article here.

Domestic abuse happens in churches too: new research highlights churchgoers’ experience

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 2:10pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] New research into the prevalence of domestic abuse amongst churchgoers shows that one in four people have experienced abuse in their current relationship. The research, by academics at Coventry University and the University of Leicester for the Christian charity Restored, surveyed churchgoers in the north-west English county of Cumbria for the ground-breaking study of domestic abuse.

Read the entire article here.

Fire-ravaged home for girls in Jamaica re-opens in time for 100th anniversary

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 2:08pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A home for girls which was all-but destroyed by a devastating fire in 2015 has been re-opened by Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands Howard Gregory after being re-built. The Wortley Home is one of three children’s homes run by the diocese. It was first opened in 1918 and will celebrate its centenary in May. Under the slogan “Founded by Love, Built by Faith,” Wortley Home provides “a place of safety” for girls aged between seven and 18 who are orphaned, abused, or whose family are financially unable to care for them.

Read the entire article here.

Episcopalians join other people of faith in prayers for Maryland school shooting

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 4:44pm

[Episcopal News Service] Church of the Ascension, Lexington Park, Maryland, will be the site of a community prayer service March 20 in response to the latest school shooting in the U.S.

A 17-year-old male student shot two other students at Great Mills High School about two miles from the church earlier that morning before a school resource officer engaged him and stopped the threat, according to St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron. CNN reported that the student was Austin Wyatt Rollins and said the sheriff reported that the shooting began in a school hallway at 7:55 a.m., just before classes started. Rollins, armed with a handgun, shot a female and a male student. The shooter had a prior relationship with the female student, according to the sheriff.

Rollins was dead at the scene, and the Associated Press reported that Cameron said it wasn’t immediately clear whether the shooter took his own life or was killed by school resource officer Blaine Gaskill’s bullet. The 16-year-old female victim has a life-threatening injury, and a 14-year-old boy also suffered a gunshot wound to the thigh, but it wasn’t clear who shot him, the news service reported.

The prayer service at Ascension, a parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, is being planned in coordination with Lexington Park United Methodist Church, Good Samaritan Lutheran Church, Lexington Park Baptist Church, Trinity Lutheran Church in Lexington Park, God’s House Church in Lexington Park and St. George’s Episcopal Church in Valley Lee.

“Members of the community impacted by the shooting today, and those in the region seeking to pray in solidarity, are invited to attend,” according to a release from the diocese.

The shooting comes just more than a month after the Valentine’s Day killings of 17 students and adults at a Florida high school by a teenager with an assault-style weapon, and five days before the March of Our Lives events, called for on March 24 by survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.

Work begins to clear mines from Qasr el Yahud – the west bank site of Jesus’ baptism

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 12:05pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Work to clear mines from the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism at Qasr el Yahud – the Castle of the Jews – has begun, almost two years after permission or the work was granted. The international anti-mine charity Halo Trust has been working with the State of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the eight denominations whose churches and monasteries have been made out of bounds as a result of the mines, to raise the funds necessary to clear the site. It was mined after the Six Day War in 1967. A path to the River Jordan was cleared in 2000 for the Pope’s visit; but the site wasn’t opened for tourists and pilgrims until 2011.

Read the entire article here.

Anglicans and evangelical groups work to build a creation care movement in southern Africa

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 11:59am

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Green Anglicans network in southern Africa is partnering with a number of ecumenical bodies to create a creation care movement in the region. Some 28 Anglicans from eight countries attended a Creation Care and the Gospel Workshop in South Africa recently, organized by Lausanne / World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Creation Care Network and A Rocha ZA, together with Green Anglicans.

Read the entire article here.

Small, rural Episcopal churches designed by world-renowned architect are disappearing

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 11:18am

Trinity Episcopal Church in Groton, South Dakota, is the last remaining church designed by renowned architect and Episcopalian Richard Upjohn. Photo courtesy of Groton Community Historical Society

[Episcopal News Service] In the center of a little former frontier town in northeastern South Dakota stands an Episcopal sole survivor.

The one-room wooden Trinity Episcopal Church was built only three years after the town of Groton was organized as a railroad stop in 1881. Groton is now a city of 1,400 people, according to the last U.S. census.

This simple, white-painted church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, representing significant mid-19th century revival architecture, exploration and settlement. Properties listed in the register are deemed important in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture. It’s the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation.

The church’s cachet also stems from its architectural design. It was created by renowned church architect and Episcopalian Richard Upjohn, who designed the majestic Trinity Church Wall Street in downtown Manhattan and founded the American Institute of Architects.

There once were 153 churches built from Upjohn’s designs in South Dakota, and this is the only one remaining.

Perspective drawing for Trinity Episcopal Church. Photo courtesy of Groton Community Historical Society

“I always took it for granted that it was there. I live two blocks from the church and walked by it every day of my life since 1965,” said Betty Breck, an Episcopalian striving to keep the church preserved and open for use.

She’s part of the Groton Community Historical Society that is seeking help from the public to gather enough donations to be able to apply for a grant from the City of Deadwood, South Dakota, and the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission, set up to help historic preservation throughout the state.

A circa 1870 oil portrait depicts architect and Episcopalian Richard Upjohn. Photo: Wikmedia Commons

Upjohn, a heavily indebted English cabinet maker, migrated to the United States in 1829, gradually becoming one of North America’s famous architects. “The buildings he designed reflected new currents in the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States and its parent, the Church of England,” according to an article by Joan R. Gundersen, the soon-to retire archivist for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Gundersen, who lived in Northfield, Minnesota, from 1975 to 1989 while she was a tenured member of the St. Olaf College history department, wrote about Upjohn’s influence in “Rural Gothic: Building Episcopal Churches on the Minnesota Frontier,” published in Minnesota History, a quarterly publication of the Minnesota Historical Society.

Upjohn helped spread the Gothic revival in church architecture to the United States with his work on Trinity Church Wall Street and several other major churches.

“More important for the architect’s and the revival’s overall impact was the fact that Upjohn donated plans for many small churches and made it a policy to design one mission church each year,” she said.

“With these plans, they could build churches very quickly,” Breck said. “The directions were so complete. It’s fascinating to me how they did it.”

Betty Breck is trying to preserve Trinity Episcopal Church in Groton, South Dakota, due to its historic architectural design and significance. Photo courtesy of Groton Community Historical Society

Upjohn’s practical plans for building small churches, quickly, affordably and with local materials and craftsmen in rural America started a wave of 19th century church building, starting in western New York sometime in the 1820s, Breck learned.

It wasn’t until the 1820s that the Episcopal Church looked toward the American frontier, Gundersen wrote. That’s when the General Convention founded the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, which first began work on the immediate frontiers of western Pennsylvania, New York and New England. Western New York was booming, thanks to the completion in 1825 of the Erie Canal. (Today, the Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business and carries out its mission under the name of the DFMS.)

Eventually, Upjohn gathered plans for a church, chapel, rectory and schoolhouse that he published as “Upjohn’s Rural Architecture” in 1852.

Then the building spread with the missionary movement throughout the Western frontier. In 1880, there were 22 chapels and 73 churches built with Upjohn’s plans in Minnesota, Breck said.

Trinity, Groton, was a consecrated church in the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota until the diocese deeded the property to the Brown County Historical Society in 1975. It joined the National Register in 1983. But the society struggled to take care of the church, so in 2016, the Groton Community Historical Society was formed for the express purpose owning the church to maintain and preserve it.

The interior of Trinity Episcopal Church in Groton, South Dakota. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Robert Hill

The church is exactly as it was in the 1880s, except for the chimney, turn-of-the-century wiring and the removal of an oil furnace on the floor. The ecclesiastical furniture — including the original pump organ, pews, altar and pulpit — are the same.

Once the roof is fixed, Breck envisions weekly music events and maybe use as a destination wedding chapel. She has an event planned May 27, with pump organ music.

When Breck started doing research on this church, she had no idea about its history.

“It was just this sweet little church down the road. When you sit in there, it just works its spell on you. It speaks to the spirituality of our ancestors here,” Breck said.

“They worked hard, and they took time to build a church not only for their Episcopal congregation, but by others also. It was a community center, the center of the town and held everything together on the prairie.”

— Amy Sowder is a special correspondent for the Episcopal News Service and a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn. She can be reached at amysowderepiscopalnews@gmail.com

El Camino Real bishop announces plan to resign in 2020

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 3:10pm

[Episcopal News Service] Diocese of El Camino Real Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves recently called for the election of her successor, and announced that she will be resigning in early 2020. That will be her 13th year of her episcopate. The text of her letter to the diocese follows.

A message from Bishop Mary

Dear friends,
I write today to share with you my decision to begin the process of electing the next bishop of the Diocese of El Camino Real. Many of you became aware last year that I was praying and discerning the timing of my departure as your diocesan bishop. I spoke with both the Board of Trustees and the Standing Committee at that time, recommending that we begin budgeting for the transition process. The transition of a bishop takes time, money and oversight. A search process is necessary. It includes full diocesan participation about the identity of the diocese, a review of its history, what has been accomplished during our tenure, and what the hopes and dreams are for the future. This work is essential to a healthy discernment process that results in the fruitful calling of our next bishop.

While a date for an electing convention is not yet set, the ordination and consecration of the next bishop will be held January 11, 2020. At that service the transition from my episcopate to that of our new bishop will take place. In other words, I will remain your bishop, working as I have, until that day. I will be in the 13th year of my episcopate at that time.

The Canons of the Episcopal Church and our diocesan canons will govern the process of the transition and election of the new diocesan bishop. The process will be overseen by our Standing Committee, assisted by the Office of Pastoral Development and a search consultant. This morning The Right Reverend Todd Ousley joined the Board of Trustees, the Standing Committee, myself and the staff so that we could be fully oriented to the process, to our respective roles during the time of transition and to express our own needs moving forward. The Standing Committee will soon communicate with you their next steps in appointing a Search Committee and the anticipated timeline.

Meanwhile, I am going to continue working as I have been, focusing on our Strategic Plan remix alongside diocesan leaders and staff. It will be important that I not involve myself in the search process, but continue to keep our diocese moving forward in the positive direction that has allowed us to accomplish so much in these years of ministry together.

Many will wonder what I am doing after my tenure here is completed. The answer is that I do not yet know. I will not run for election in another diocese. Personal considerations include needing more flexibility in my schedule, regaining balance in my personal life. The work of a diocesan bishop is demanding, and the Diocese of El Camino Real is no ordinary place! A leader who will harness the considerable energy, gifts and spiritual depth of this diocese will be needed to engage the Spirit’s call on our church and the ministry we share with our neighborhood partners. Our transition will be orderly and in the best interest of the church. Fresh energy will allow us not to miss a beat as we seek to live out God’s calling as a diocese.

Please join me in prayer, trusting in the grace of God who holds all life and calls us to exciting and fruitful opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ. May we be courageous as we are enlightened, faithful as our wisdom is deepened, and true to our following of Jesus whose path leads us into all life.

I love you and I am deeply honored to continue serving as your bishop in the nearly two years before us. I will treasure this time of transition, knowing that God has yet more wonderful life ahead for us all.

Blessings of grace and peace,