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Central New York: Bishop Adams will resign in 2016

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 1:58pm

Bishop Gladstone B. “Skip” Adams III

[Episcopal News Service] Diocese of Central New York Bishop Gladstone B. “Skip” Adams III recently announced the he will resign in the fall of 2016.

Adams, 62, was ordained and consecrated in October 2001 as the diocese’s tenth bishop.

He recently sent the following letter to the people of the diocese.

March 24, 2015

Dear People of Central New York:

With love to all of the people of the faith communities of our beloved Diocese, I write to inform you that I have indicated to the Standing Committee my intention to resign as your Bishop Diocesan on or about October 31, 2016. At that time I will be concluding fifteen years as your Bishop. As best I can tell personally and drawing on wise people around me in prayerful discernment, this is a good time for a transition to new possibilities for the ongoing health of the Diocese in service of Christ’s mission.

Being your Bishop is an amazing privilege for which I will always be grateful. It has formed me and drawn things from me in ways that I could never have imagined. By grace I believe it has made me a more deeply faithful person. This wonderful and, at the same time, crazy vocation as Bishop has drawn me over the years to an ever-deepening life of prayer resting in Christ as my center and life. I have all of you to thank for that.

You may have noted above that I used the word “resign.” That is the specific canonical word, even when the intention is retirement. Even though I am retiring from Central New York, I do intend to allow myself to be available to the Church in any way that God’s Spirit may call forth. I am not stepping aside for any other position, although it is my understanding that once my resignation is public, I will likely receive offers for other opportunities. If it occurs, that will also be a time for discernment bathed in prayer and open to the Spirit who blows wherever she wills.

The Standing Committee has met with Bishop Clayton Matthews of the Presiding Bishop’s Office to begin to engage the process of transition to the election of a new bishop. My hope is that this journey to new leadership will be healthy and smooth and I trust the Standing Committee to oversee that process. You will hear more from them as time unfolds, as they are canonically responsible for overseeing this transition. It also means that even as anxiety for the future may raise its head, sometimes in ways we do not expect, it is essential that all along the way we keep our hearts centered on Jesus and the mission to which we are called. Our Gospel work continues.

The next nineteen months will offer us many opportunities to connect and prepare well for all that is to come. For now, know that I continue to be your Bishop and I will continue to work hard among you and be fully engaged in our mission “To be the passionate presence of Christ for one another and the world we are called to serve.” Please continue to pray for me as I pray for you.

Grace and peace in Christ,

+ Skip
The Rt. Rev. Gladstone B. Adams III
10th Bishop of Central New York

 

Olympia: Chaplains on the Harbor stands with homeless over evictions

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 12:27pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Olympia] Chaplains on the Harbor, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, has for the past year and a half ministered on the streets of Aberdeen, Washington. The Rev. Sarah Monroe launched the ministry with a backpack of sandwiches, walking the streets, visiting homeless camps, and building relationships.

Over the past week, the largest of these semi-permanent camps along the Chehalis River running through town – in the ruins of old mills and pilings – has been issued eviction notices. People have been given until March 31 to clear out, with no options for where they can go next.

“In Aberdeen, if you are really down and out, if you have lost everything, if you get kicked out of your parents’ or your friend’s place, if you need to save money to pay for a hotel during the winter, this is the last place to go,” Monroe explains.

Every year or two, according to residents, the camps are evicted. One year, residents say that the city moved in and burned everything. In the months following, people always come back because, according to Monroe, it is the last place for Aberdeen’s poorest. Up to 70 people camp along this stretch of river. The steep rise in homelessness is a visible sign of increasing desperation, in a town with a 25% poverty rate and a county where 46% of the population access social services to survive.

Monroe, who has been accompanying campers through this time, says, “It is in times like these that the church is called to take a stand. Our brothers and sisters along the river have asked us to stand with them. We are only just beginning, listening to people on the ground, asking the community how we can support them.”

Monroe addressed the Aberdeen city council on March 25, asking that the city either “halt the eviction or at least give people more time. We’re all responsible for each other. We’re all responsible for the common good. And I know that most of us love this place and most of us want to see this town thrive.” Videos of all the speakers at the city council meeting are posted on the group’s Facebook page.

Monroe is also building a broad coalition of churches, social service providers, and people experiencing homelessness to demand that Aberdeen confront its growing poverty crisis.

As in many small towns and cities, efforts to redevelop and attract tourist dollars in declining economies has led to policies that marginalize and criminalize people in poverty or experiencing homelessness. This time, the city hopes that this is a permanent eviction. According to Monroe, there are hopes for a waterfront park instead. Monroe suggested that a better long-term solution would be to prioritize the common good and squarely address growing poverty.

One person said in a Bible study run by Monroe; “In this city, the poor are of no importance. We are just a nuisance in the way of redevelopment.”

Monroe was the recipient of a one-year fellowship from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society for social justice and advocacy work for The Episcopal Church. (The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is the legal and canonical name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business, and caries out mission.) Monroe’s ministry is featured in an ENS article here.

Chaplains on the Harbor website

Chaplains on the Harbor Facebook page

Sarah Monroe’s blog

The Diocese of Olympia (Episcopal Church in Western Washington) includes about 31,000 people in more than 100 churches.

El informe del 2015 a la Iglesia está disponible en español

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 12:02pm

El informe del 2015 a la Iglesia, una revista en línea innovadora que detalla la misión, el ministerio, y los logros de la Sociedad Misionera Doméstica y Extranjera, durante el trienio actual, está disponible en español aquí.

Samuel McDonald, Director de la Misión y Director Deputado de Operaciones de la Sociedad Misionera Doméstica y Extranjera, dijo del  Informe del 2015 a la Iglesia que es “un emocionante, creativo e integral informe misional de la Iglesia sobre algunos de los efectos de nuestras asociaciones en la misión de la Iglesia y del ministerio en lo que va del trienio”.

“Estamos en medio de tratar de crear un cambio en la cultura de la Sociedad  Misionera Doméstica y Extranjera de ser un organismo regulador a ser una organización de servicios de apoyo y contribución a la misión a nivel local”, comentó el obispo Stacy Sauls, Director de Operaciones de la Iglesia Episcopal. “Tratamos todos de aprovechar los recursos únicos que se pueden poner a disposición a nivel de toda la Iglesia, financiando a los niveles locales de menores recursos y a los recursos humanos para complementar los esfuerzos realizados en el campo de acción, y lograr así que haya misión donde, de lo contrario, no  podría haberla. La Sociedad Misionera Doméstica y Extranjera es por naturaleza toda ella misión, todo el tiempo y en todos los niveles de la Iglesia. Ya logramos progresos. Nos comprometemos a seguir avanzando con la ayuda de la gente de la Iglesia Episcopal”.

Con un enfoque en las Cinco Marcas de la Misión, el Informe del 2015 a la Iglesia es una revista interactiva que incluye videos, fotos y relatos que detallan cómo los recursos de toda la Iglesia se han puesto a la disposición de los niveles locales. La página del documento 200 + incluye un extenso apéndice organizado por diócesis para una referencia rápida.

Dado que el presupuesto de la Iglesia Episcopal se basa en las Cinco Marcas de la Misión, “esto nos permitió juntamente, al personal y al Consejo Ejecutivo, en colaboración con gente de toda nuestra Iglesia, desarrollar este trienio algunos de los ministerios más creativos y de impacto convincente”, dijo McDonald.

“El propósito del informe es involucrar al conjunto de la Iglesia Episcopal en una conversación acerca de la misión con el fin de dotar a todos los episcopales a que sean misioneros que involucren al resto del mundo en la transformación que encontramos en el evangelio”, dijo Alexander D. Baumgarten, Director de participación pública y comunicaciones de misión de la Iglesia Episcopal. “A lo largo del informe, verá la pregunta: ´¿Cómo podemos colaborar con usted?’ Esperamos que los episcopales respondan ampliamente a esta pregunta en toda la Iglesia, y la página del informe en nuestro sitio web tiene para ese fin un formulario de respuesta”.

El Informe del 2015 a la Iglesia se centra en las Cinco Marcas de la Misión: Proclamar la Buena Nueva del Reino; enseñar, bautizar y nutrir a los nuevos creyentes; responder a las necesidades humanas a través del servicio caritativo; tratar de transformar las estructuras injustas de la sociedad, para desafiar a la violencia de cualquier tipo y buscar la paz y la reconciliación; esforzarse por salvaguardar la integridad de la creación y sostener y renovar la vida de la tierra.

McDonald explicó que el “Informe del 2015 a la Iglesia es amplio, aunque no se pudieron incluir todas las misiones y los esfuerzos de este ministerio”. Entre los detalles que se presentan están: nuevas iglesias y ministerios iniciados durante este trienio; trabajo por la justicia racial; la buena nueva del programa diocesano de asociaciones; el Cuerpo de servicio de jóvenes adultos, y otros esfuerzos para hacer normativa del servicio misionero; sostenibilidad de la IX Provincia; ministerios universitarios; ministerios del jubileo; subvenciones y becas; zonas misioneras; el evento de la juventud episcopal (EYE14).

McDonald llegó a la conclusión de que el “Informe del 2015 a la Iglesia se ha creado para celebrar el increíble trabajo que el personal ha realizado en colaboración con muchos otros a través de la Iglesia Episcopal y de la Comunión Anglicana. En él se informa de nuevo sobre nuestros objetivos específicos y resultados mencionados en nuestro actual presupuesto. Esperamos que exprese la emoción que sentimos por la misión como el latido del corazón de la Iglesia, y la inspiración del Espíritu de Dios que encontramos en esa misión”.

Report To The Church 2015 now available in Spanish, French

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 11:01am

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Report To The Church 2015, an innovative online magazine detailing the mission and ministry, accomplishments and achievements of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society during the current triennium, is now available in Spanish here and in French here.

Samuel McDonald, Director of Mission and Deputy Chief Operating Officer for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, called Report to the Church 2015 “an exciting, creative and comprehensive mission Report to the Church on some of the impact of our partnerships in churchwide mission and ministry so far this triennium.”

“We’re in the midst of trying to create a change in the culture of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society—toward being a service organization supporting and contributing to mission at the local level and away from being a regulatory agency,” commented Bishop Stacy Sauls, Episcopal Church Chief Operating Officer. “We’re all about leveraging the unique resources that can be made available by the churchwide level—funding to the less-resourced local levels and human resources to supplement efforts on the ground—to make mission happen that might not otherwise happen.  The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is about all mission all the time at all levels of the Church.  We’re making progress.  We’re committed to continuing to make progress with the help of the people of The Episcopal Church.”

With a focus on the Five Marks of Mission, Report to the Church 2015 is an interactive magazine which includes videos, photos and narratives detailing how the churchwide resources have been put to action on the local level. The 200+ page document includes an extensive appendix arranged by diocese for quick reference.

Since The Episcopal Church budget is based on the Five Marks of Mission, “This allowed us together, staff and Executive Council in collaboration together with people from across our church, to develop some of the most creative and compelling impact ministries this triennium,” McDonald said.

“The purpose of the report is to engage the whole of The Episcopal Church in a conversation about mission in order to equip all Episcopalians to be missionaries engaging the wider world in the transformation we encounter in the Gospel,” said Alexander D. Baumgarten, Director of Public Engagement and Mission Communication for The Episcopal Church.  “Throughout the report, you will see the question ‘How can we partner with you?’  We hope this question is answered widely by Episcopalians in every part of the Church, and the report’s page on our website has a response form for that.”

Report To The Church 2015 focuses on the Five Marks of Mission: To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom; To teach, baptize and nurture new believers; To respond to human need by loving service; To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation; To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

McDonald explained that “Report To The Church 2015 is comprehensive, but could not be all inclusive of every mission and ministry effort.” Among the details presented are: new churches and ministries planted this triennium; work toward racial justice; the good news of the Diocesan Partnership program; the Young Adult Service Corps, and other efforts to make missionary service normative; Province IX sustainability; campus ministries; Jubilee ministries; grants and scholarships; missionary zones; Episcopal Youth Event (EYE14).

McDonald concluded, “Report To The Church 2015 has been created to celebrate the incredible work the staff has done in collaboration with many others across the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion.  It reports back on our specific goals and deliverables named in our current budget.  We hope it expresses the excitement we have for mission as the heartbeat of the church, and the inspiration by God’s Spirit we find in that mission.”

El informe del 2015 a la Iglesia está disponible en español
La innovadora revista en línea detalla el trabajo
de la Sociedad Misionera Doméstica y Extranjera

[27 marcha, 2015] El informe del 2015 a la Iglesia, una revista en línea innovadora que detalla la misión, el ministerio, y los logros de la Sociedad Misionera Doméstica y Extranjera, durante el trienio actual, está disponible en español aquí.

Samuel McDonald, Director de la Misión y Director Deputado de Operaciones de la Sociedad Misionera Doméstica y Extranjera, dijo del  Informe del 2015 a la Iglesia que es “un emocionante, creativo e integral informe misional de la Iglesia sobre algunos de los efectos de nuestras asociaciones en la misión de la Iglesia y del ministerio en lo que va del trienio”.

“Estamos en medio de tratar de crear un cambio en la cultura de la Sociedad  Misionera Doméstica y Extranjera de ser un organismo regulador a ser una organización de servicios de apoyo y contribución a la misión a nivel local”, comentó el obispo Stacy Sauls, Director de Operaciones de la Iglesia Episcopal. “Tratamos todos de aprovechar los recursos únicos que se pueden poner a disposición a nivel de toda la Iglesia, financiando a los niveles locales de menores recursos y a los recursos humanos para complementar los esfuerzos realizados en el campo de acción, y lograr así que haya misión donde, de lo contrario, no  podría haberla. La Sociedad Misionera Doméstica y Extranjera es por naturaleza toda ella misión, todo el tiempo y en todos los niveles de la Iglesia. Ya logramos progresos. Nos comprometemos a seguir avanzando con la ayuda de la gente de la Iglesia Episcopal”.

Con un enfoque en las Cinco Marcas de la Misión, el Informe del 2015 a la Iglesia es una revista interactiva que incluye videos, fotos y relatos que detallan cómo los recursos de toda la Iglesia se han puesto a la disposición de los niveles locales. La página del documento 200 + incluye un extenso apéndice organizado por diócesis para una referencia rápida.

Dado que el presupuesto de la Iglesia Episcopal se basa en las Cinco Marcas de la Misión, “esto nos permitió juntamente, al personal y al Consejo Ejecutivo, en colaboración con gente de toda nuestra Iglesia, desarrollar este trienio algunos de los ministerios más creativos y de impacto convincente”, dijo McDonald.

“El propósito del informe es involucrar al conjunto de la Iglesia Episcopal en una conversación acerca de la misión con el fin de dotar a todos los episcopales a que sean misioneros que involucren al resto del mundo en la transformación que encontramos en el evangelio”, dijo Alexander D. Baumgarten, Director de participación pública y comunicaciones de misión de la Iglesia Episcopal. “A lo largo del informe, verá la pregunta: ´¿Cómo podemos colaborar con usted?’ Esperamos que los episcopales respondan ampliamente a esta pregunta en toda la Iglesia, y la página del informe en nuestro sitio web tiene para ese fin un formulario de respuesta”.

El Informe del 2015 a la Iglesia se centra en las Cinco Marcas de la Misión: Proclamar la Buena Nueva del Reino; enseñar, bautizar y nutrir a los nuevos creyentes; responder a las necesidades humanas a través del servicio caritativo; tratar de transformar las estructuras injustas de la sociedad, para desafiar a la violencia de cualquier tipo y buscar la paz y la reconciliación; esforzarse por salvaguardar la integridad de la creación y sostener y renovar la vida de la tierra.

McDonald explicó que el “Informe del 2015 a la Iglesia es amplio, aunque no se pudieron incluir todas las misiones y los esfuerzos de este ministerio”. Entre los detalles que se presentan están: nuevas iglesias y ministerios iniciados durante este trienio; trabajo por la justicia racial; la buena nueva del programa diocesano de asociaciones; el Cuerpo de servicio de jóvenes adultos, y otros esfuerzos para hacer normativa del servicio misionero; sostenibilidad de la IX Provincia; ministerios universitarios; ministerios del jubileo; subvenciones y becas; zonas misioneras; el evento de la juventud episcopal (EYE14).

McDonald llegó a la conclusión de que el “Informe del 2015 a la Iglesia se ha creado para celebrar el increíble trabajo que el personal ha realizado en colaboración con muchos otros a través de la Iglesia Episcopal y de la Comunión Anglicana. En él se informa de nuevo sobre nuestros objetivos específicos y resultados mencionados en nuestro actual presupuesto. Esperamos que exprese la emoción que sentimos por la misión como el latido del corazón de la Iglesia, y la inspiración del Espíritu de Dios que encontramos en esa misión”.

Le Rapport à l’Église 2015 à présent disponible en français
Cet innovant magazine en ligne explique en détail les travaux
de la Société missionnaire domestique et étrangère.

[27 mars 2015] Le Rapport à l’Église 2015, innovant magazine en ligne qui explique en détail la mission et le ministère, ce qu’a accompli et réalisé la Société missionnaire domestique et étrangère durant le triennat en cours, est à présent disponible en français en cliquant ici.

Samuel McDonald, Directeur de mission et Directeur adjoint des opérations de la Société missionnaire domestique et étrangère, dit que le Rapport à l’Église 2015 est « un rapport de mission passionnant, créatif et exhaustif à l’Église sur certains aspects de l’impact qu’ont nos partenariats sur la mission et le ministère de l’administration centrale de l’Église au cours du présent triennat jusqu’à ce jour ».

« Nous sommes en train d’essayer de créer un changement de culture au sein de la Société missionnaire domestique et étrangère pour qu’elle devienne une organisation de service qui apporte son soutien et sa contribution à la mission au niveau local et qu’elle cesse d’être un simple organisme de réglementation » commente l’Évêque Stacy Sauls, Directeur des opérations de l’Église épiscopale. « Nous sommes déterminés à mobiliser les ressources uniques que l’administration centrale peut mettre à disposition, comme du financement pour les niveaux locaux disposant des moindres ressources et des ressources humaines pour compléter les efforts sur le terrain, pour faire en sorte que la mission se réalise là où elle pourrait sans cela ne pas se réaliser.  La Société missionnaire domestique et étrangère a pour objet toute mission à tout moment à tous les niveaux de l’Église.  Nous faisons de réels progrès.  Nous sommes déterminés à continuer à faire des progrès avec l’aide de toute l’Église épiscopale ».

Centré sur les 5 Marques de la mission, le Rapport à l’Église 2015 est un magazine interactif qui comporte des vidéos, des photos et des récits expliquant en détail comment les ressources de l’administration centrale de l’Église sont mises en œuvre au niveau local. Le document de plus de 200 pages comprend une longue table des matières organisée par diocèse pour consultation rapide.

Du fait que le budget de l’Église épiscopale est fondé sur les 5 Marques de la mission, « ceci nous a permis, à savoir le personnel et le Conseil exécutif ensemble, en collaboration avec des personnes de toute notre Église, de développer durant ce triennat des ministères à fort impact parmi les plus créatifs et les plus convaincants » ajoute McDonald.

« Le présent rapport a pour objectif de faire participer l’Église épiscopale tout entière à une conversation sur la mission afin d’équiper tous les Épiscopaliens à être des missionnaires qui fassent connaître au monde entier la transformation que nous rencontrons dans l’Évangile »  nous dit Alexandre D. Baumgarten, Directeur de la participation publique et communication de la mission pour l’Église épiscopale.  « Tout au long du rapport, vous verrez la question « Comment pouvons-nous nous associer à vous ? »  Nous espérons que nombreux soient les Épiscopaliens qui répondent à cette question partout dans l’Église et la page où se trouve le rapport sur notre site web dispose d’ailleurs d’un formulaire de réponse pour ce faire ».

Le Rapport à  l’Église 2015 est centré sur les 5 Marques de la mission: à savoir Proclamer la Bonne Nouvelle du Royaume de Dieu.  Enseigner aux nouveaux croyants, les baptiser et nourrir leur foi. Répondre aux besoins des êtres humains en les servant avec amour. Chercher à transformer les structures injustes de la société, remettre en question la violence de toute sorte et œuvrer pour la paix et la réconciliation. Faire tous efforts pour sauvegarder l’intégrité de la création, et maintenir et renouveler la vie de la terre.

McDonald nous explique que « le Rapport à l’Église 2015 est complet mais ne saurait être totalement exhaustif sur chacune des missions et chaque effort de ministère ». Y sont présentés des détails sur : les nouvelles églises et les nouveaux ministères démarrés ce triennat, les travaux en matière de justice raciale, les bonnes nouvelles du programme de Partenariat diocésain, le service Young Adult Service Corps et autres efforts visant à faire du service de missionnaire la norme, la viabilité de la Province IX, les ministères de campus, les ministères de jubilé, les subventions et les bourses d’études, les zones missionnaires, l’événement EYE14 (Episcopal Youth Event).

McDonald ajoute en conclusion : « le Rapportà l’Église 2015 a été créé pour célébrer les travaux remarquables que le personnel a effectués en collaboration avec beaucoup d’autres personnes à travers l’Église épiscopale et la Communion anglicane.  Il rend compte de nos objectifs et des résultats spécifiques mentionnés au budget en cours.  Nous espérons qu’il exprime la passion que nous avons envers la mission qui est au cœur même de l’Église ainsi que l’inspiration de l’Esprit de Dieu que nous trouvons dans la mission ».

South Carolina: Second priest returns through path for reconciliation

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 10:56am

[Episcopal Church in South Carolina press release] Episcopal Church in South Carolina Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg has welcomed another returning priest back into good standing in The Episcopal Church through a new process that provides a path for reconciliation for clergy who left following the 2012 split in eastern South Carolina.

In a brief liturgy led by vonRosenberg in Charleston on March 24, the Rev. H. Jeff Wallace reaffirmed the vows he took at his ordination in 2007 and signed a formal declaration promising to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.

He is the second priest to return to The Episcopal Church after the 2012 split. In September 2014, the Rev. H. Dagnall Free, Jr., was reinstated through the same process. Wallace now joins Free and the other clergy of The Episcopal Church as a priest in good standing.

Wallace was an associate rector at Christ the King-Waccamaw, Pawley’s Island, when Bishop Mark Lawrence and other officials of the diocese announced they were leaving The Episcopal Church. Wallace said that he loved the parish and his job there; because of those bonds, he stayed at Christ the King-Waccamaw when it voted to follow Lawrence.

But their situation changed suddenly in 2014 when Wallace’s church merged with another breakaway church, leaving him without a parish to serve. He and his wife moved to Texas, where he is serving as pastor at a Lutheran church.

In the months after the split, Wallace was still a priest who remained under vonRosenberg’s authority within The Episcopal Church. Over a five-month period in 2013, the bishop made efforts to contact each breakaway clergy member. As happened in most cases, Wallace did not reply. As required by church canons, in August 2013, with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee, vonRosenberg removed more than 100 priests and deacons from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church.

The canons gave the bishop a choice about which disciplinary procedure to follow. One option was to “depose” clergy who did not recognize the church’s authority. VonRosenberg chose instead to “release and remove” the clergy, which left open the hope for reconciliation and eventual reinstatement. That hope was first realized in September 2014, with Free’s reinstatement.

Two months after hearing the news about Free, Wallace wrote to vonRosenberg asking about the path to reinstatement. VonRosenberg replied the same day, laying out the steps that would be necessary and putting Wallace in touch with the people who would help guide him through the process.

Later, explaining why he wanted to return, Wallace wrote that he grieved his loss of connection with The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion and the sacred order of priests, and repented of the decisions that led to his removal. “We are not sure where God will land us, but we are sure of the longing we have in our heart to be back in an Episcopal parish,” he wrote.

Canonically, the only requirement for reinstating a priest is the bishop’s approval. But vonRosenberg has stressed the importance of having a process in place that ensures it will be the right move not only for the priest, but for the entire church.

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

  • Consulting with the bishop on a regular, ongoing basis;
  • Working with a development coach for evaluations and discussions about the person’s spiritual journey;
  • Cooperating with the administrative staff in rebuilding a professional file, including background checks, training certificates, references and other documentation. Many of these documents are still controlled by the breakaway group, which has refused to release them to clergy who chose to remain in The Episcopal Church;
  • Meeting with the Standing Committee to discuss the desire for reinstatement

Wallace met March 24 with the Standing Committee, which voted its approval immediately.

VonRosenberg said the process has proven to be a good one, and probably will be used again. Discussions are in progress with other clergy who have approached the bishop after learning about the reconciliation process.

The bishop and Tisdale also have been named to serve on the Constitution and Canons Committee of the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church this summer in Salt Lake City, where church officials are expected to consider reinstatement procedures for the entire church.

Saint Augustine’s University receives gift from Capitol Broadcasting

Thu, 03/26/2015 - 2:59pm

[Saint Augustine’s University/Capitol Broadcasting Company/WRAL-TV press release] Saint Augustine’s University March 26 announced a partnership with Capitol Broadcasting Co./WRAL-TV to support the Mass Communication and Journalism Program at the university.

Capitol Broadcasting Co./WRAL-TV has donated a financial gift close to $60,000 to the Mass Communications and Journalism Program that will go towards equipment upgrades for the program. Other important elements of the partnership include supporting initiatives for Saint Augustine’s University students’ knowledge and experiences that will position them to be change agents and leaders in the ever-changing world of broadcast journalism.

There will be various professional development opportunities for Saint Augustine’s University students with Capitol Broadcasting Co. The University will also establish a visiting lecturer series with WRAL-TV professional participation.

As part of this partnership, Saint Augustine’s University is developing a Media Advisory Board, which will be comprised of professionals from broadcast, digital and print media as well as corporate communication professionals. This board will also advise on matters as they relate to trends in the broadcast journalism field such as technology, career opportunities and best practices in the industry.

“Saint Augustine’s University is committed to offering rigorous academic programs to achieve our core values,” said Saint Augustine’s University Interim President Everett Ward.  “Corporate and community partnerships are important elements that support Saint Augustine’s University’s sustainability and success. With Capitol Broadcasting Company’s commitment to excellence, this partnership is a natural fit.”

“The future of broadcasting is in the hands of those entering our industry.  We want to help Saint Augustine’s University’s students to be as successful as possible so that the future of our industry remains bright. We are pleased to collaborate with St. Aug’s faculty and students as the University prepares its students for their careers,” said Steve Hammel, Vice President and General Manager of WRAL-TV.

For more information about this partnership, please contact Shelley Willingham-Hinton, Saint Augustine’s University vice president of marketing, at (919) 516-4190 or Loretta Harper-Arnold, CBC/WRAL-TV community relations director, at (919) 821-8652.

Saint Augustine’s University, established in 1867, is a four-year liberal arts university in Raleigh, N.C. founded by the Episcopal Church. With an average annual enrollment of 1,100, the University has more than 25 undergraduate degree programs in five academic schools. Saint Augustine’s University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The school’s name and status changed from Saint Augustine’s College to Saint Augustine’s University August 1, 2012.

Capitol Broadcasting Co., Inc. is a diversified communications company which owns and/or operates WRAL-TV, WRAL Digital, WRAZ-TV, WRAZ Digital, WRAL-FM, WRAL-HD2, WCMC-FM, WCMC-HD1, WDNC-AM, WCMC-HD2, WCMC-HD3, WCLY-AM, WCMC-HD4, Microspace, CBC New Media Group and Wolfpack Sports Properties (a joint venture with Learfield Sports) in Raleigh, North Carolina; WILM-TV and Sunrise Broadcasting in Wilmington, North Carolina; the Durham Bulls Baseball Club in Durham, NC; and real estate interests including the American Tobacco Project and Diamond View office buildings in Durham, North Carolina.

English king’s remains reburied after 530 years

Thu, 03/26/2015 - 11:46am

Clergy and an honor guard surround Richard III’s casket March 26 prior to it being buried in Leicester Cathedral. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

[Episcopal News Service] History buffs from all over the world joined royal, civil and ecclesiastical representatives in Leicester, England, on a rainy March 26 for the reburial of a king whose bones were found in 2012 under a parking lot.

Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England, died aged 32 on Aug. 22, 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth.

His skeleton was found in 2012 in the ruins of the Greyfriars priory buried beneath a parking lot in what the New York Times called “one of the most astonishing archaeological hunches in modern history.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby led the reburial ceremony in Leicester Cathedral along with members of the British royal family, Bishop of Leicester Tim Stevens, senior ecumenical clergy, civic leaders and descendants of Richard III.

Emma Chamberlain, 9, from Aylestone (a suburb of Leicester) and a member of the 1st Aylestone Brownies, places a crown on Richard III’s casket March 22 after it was brought to Leicester Cathedral. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

During the somber ceremony based on Morning Prayer (order of service here), Welby censed Richard III’s casket and blessed it with holy water.

“As we return the bones of your servant Richard to the grave, we beseech you to grant him a quiet resting place,” Welby prayed.

Welby also sprinkled the coffin with soils from Fotheringhay, Middleham and Bosworth. Richard III was born at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire and members of his family are buried at the local church. Middleham in Yorkshire is where Richard met his future wife Anne.

“Today we come to accord this King, this child of God, these mortal remains, the dignity and honor denied them in death,” Stevens said during the homily. Members of the team that found Richard’s remains have said that his initial casket-less burial was done in a hurried fashion in a too-short grave, causing the king’s head to need to be pushed askew.

Also during the service, actor Benedict Cumberbatch read “Richard,” a poem written for the occasion by Poet Laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy. Cumberbatch will play Richard III in the BBC series “The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses.” He has also been identified as a third cousin, 16 times removed of Richard. A YouTube clip of Cumberbatch’s reading during the service is here.

An honor guard March 26 lowers Richard III’s casket into a new tomb in Leicester Cathedral. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

The casket was lowered into a tomb within an ambulatory (a walking space) between the newly created Chapel of Christ the King at the east end of Leicester Cathedral and the sanctuary, a location not far from where Richard’s remains were found. The stone used in the design of the tomb is a Swaledale fossil stone, quarried in North Yorkshire, that contains fossils of long-dead creatures. It is topped with a Kilkenny marble plinth bearing Richard’s name, dates and motto.

The New York Times noted that some saw Richard’s reburial in an Anglican cathedral and Welby’s participation as an anomaly, since Richard was a devout Roman Catholic who died well before Henry VIII’s break with Rome in the 1530s.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, preached at a March 22 service of Compline (order of service here) at Leicester Cathedral when the king’s mortal remains were received. The remains were carried from the University of Leicester by the team who discovered them.

Many heard the cardinal’s sermon “as a deft message of reconciliation to the contending schools of thought about Richard’s legacy as king,” according to The New York Times article. Richard has been cast as a hunch-backed villain who killed two young princes but who also reformed parts of English law. Nichols said he was also a man who prayed, noting in a Vatican Radio interview that Welby would bring Richard’s prayer book with him to the March 26 service. The book contained Richard’s annotations and a prayer the king wrote.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Westminster, preached at a March 22 service of Compline at Leicester Cathedral when Richard’s remains were received. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

Nichols cautioned in his sermon that power in Richard’s time was “invariably won or maintained on the battlefield and only by ruthless determination, strong alliances and a willingness to employ the use of force, at times with astonishing brutality.”

On March 23, Nichols also presided at an evening Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of Richard III in Holy Cross Priory , a Roman Catholic Dominican priory in Leicester. In his homily, the cardinal called the king “a man of anxious devotion.” Nichols vested for the Mass in the Westminster Vestment, a chasuble believed to be from Richard’s royal wardrobe. Tradition says it was worn by the Benedictine monks of Westminster Abbey during Richard’s reign.

In the medieval rite of reburial, before re-interment the person’s remains were placed in the church while its usual pattern of worship continued, according to a March 25 press release posted on Welby’s website.

This same pattern was being followed in the cathedral this week: they were in repose until March 26 when they were re-interred.

BBC News reported that more than 35,000 people lined the streets in parts of Leicester March 22 to see the cortege bring the king’s remains to the cathedral. More than 20,000 people visited the cathedral to view the casket containing the king’s remains, the news service said. Viewing times were extended on March 24 and 25 to accommodate the crowds, according to the King Richard in Leicester website.

People in the streets of Leicester tossed white roses on his casket on its way to the Leicester Cathedral. Richard was the head of the House of York, which had the white rose as its symbol. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

The lead-lined casket, bearing the inscription “Richard III 1452-1485,” was designed and made of English oak and English yew by Michael Ibsen, a Canadian-born cabinetmaker whose DNA helped identify the remains of King Richard III. Ibsen is a 17th-generation descendant of Richard’s older sister, Anne of York. He has attended the week’s services in Leicester.

A pall designed by artist Jacquie Binns covers the casket during the public viewings. Photo: King Richard in Leicester website

Artist Jacquie Binns designed a black pall for the casket that is decorated with embroidered images of a knight in armor; King Richard’s queen in heraldic robes; the faces of archaeologists Sir Peter Soulsby and Richard Buckley, Philippa Langley (a screenwriter who instigated the search for the king’s remains) and the Very Rev. David Monteith, the dean of Leicester, among others. It was draped over the casket by the descendants of four peers who fought both for and against Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485, according to the Leicester Mercury newspaper.

Six days of liturgies and celebrations will end March 27 with a “Service of Reveal of the Tomb and Celebration for King Richard III” (order of service here) at noon local time followed by a series of celebratory events taking place in and around the cathedral quarter, Leicester Glows featuring more than 8,000 small fires around Jubilee Square and Cathedral Gardens, illuminating the area with “fire sculptures” and culminating in a fireworks display from the cathedral roof.

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

Christchurch quake-ravaged cathedral deadlock broken?

Thu, 03/26/2015 - 10:39am

[Anglican Taonga] Diocese of Christchurch Bishop Victoria Matthews has encouraged her diocese to consider a design by New Zealand architect Sir Miles Warren to rebuild the diocesan cathedral in the city’s Cathedral Square.

Matthews has drawn the attention of her diocese to the lead story in the March 18 edition of The Press newspaper, which confirms that the Diocese of Christchurch has been talking again with Warren about his restoration scheme, as a way of breaking the four-year legal deadlock over the future of the ruined cathedral.

Two years ago Warren, who is Christchurch’s most celebrated architect, had proposed that the iconic cathedral be rebuilt in lightweight modern materials – with a rebuilt, earthquake-strengthened stone base (to window sill height), wooden walls above that, and a copper-clad roof and spire.

In essence, Warren’s scheme – which he had first proposed in late 2012 – is back on the table again.

Compromise sought
Christchurch’s Church Property Trustees began talking with him again last December, as a way of seeking a compromise that might break the deadlock.

In an email sent to diocesan members, Matthews writes that “the Church Property Trustees have not made a commitment to this or any other design for the Cathedral at this stage, so we are eager to know what people’s thoughts are.”

The Press story says the Warren option would cost about $35 million and take three years to complete – though the Church Property Trustees estimate that when the costs of demolition and escalation are taken into account, the costs of the Warren scheme would be about the same as building a new cathedral from scratch.

In May 2013, Warren had said that one of the “valid criticisms” of the ruined stone cathedral was that the congregation in the side aisles “was visually and acoustically separated from the nave by large, closely-spaced stone columns and arches.”

Matthews pointed out that the sight-lines in the cathedral envisaged Warren would be much better – because the stone columns would be replaced by fewer slender wooden columns – and the floor would be on one level.

The way it was supposed to be?
“The ability to re-arrange the chairs in the Transitional Cathedral,” she wrote this morning “has convinced us that multiple seating options are essential for new builds and re-builds…  It is also worth noting that (by) using new materials, the weight of the Cathedral would be less than a tenth of what the Cathedral in the Square weighed.”

Ironically, Warren’s vision for the cathedral is to rebuild as it was supposed to be, but never was.

When he was commissioned to design the cathedral in 1858, George Gilbert Scott had proposed that it should be built in wood – as  Auckland’s St Mary’s pro-cathedral and Wellington’s Old St Paul’s were.

But Scott’s first design was vetoed by church authorities, who insisted that the entire building be built in stone.

A March 2013 Press article in which Warren outlines his design more fully, click here .

Presiding Bishop to preach, celebrate Holy Week in Salisbury, England

Thu, 03/26/2015 - 9:53am

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] At the invitation of the Very Rev. June Osborne, Dean, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Katharine Jefferts Schori will preach and lead services at various times at Salisbury Cathedral during Holy Week 2015.

“I am looking forward to joining the Holy Week and Triduum liturgies of a cathedral that is both deeply historic and innovative, to meet new and old friends, and to reflect on the partnerships with Sudan and other parts of the Anglican Communion that continue to teach us all about the Paschal mystery,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori commented.

On Monday, March 30, the Presiding Bishop will preach at the Service of Reconciliation.

On Tuesday, March 31, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will preach at the Tenebrae or Service of Shadows with music by Francis Poulenc, sung by Salisbury Cathedral Choir.

On Wednesday, April 1, the Presiding Bishop will provide the devotional reflection at the service in which the orchestra La Folia, conducted by the Cathedral’s Director of Music, David Halls, joins the Cathedral choir in a Holy Week Meditation. Music will include Allegri, Hassler and James Macmillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross.

On Holy Thursday, April 2, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will preach at the Eucharist of the Last Supper.

The Good Friday Devotion service from noon – 1:15 pm will be led by the Presiding Bishop.  She will preach again during The Liturgy of the Day at which the Cathedral Choir will sing.

On Easter Sunday, April 5, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will preach at the Easter Eucharist

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori previously preached at Salisbury Cathedral in June 2008.

England: First female diocesan bishop announced

Thu, 03/26/2015 - 9:47am

Photo: Diocese of Gloucester

[Episcopal News Service] The Ven. Rachel Treweek has been appointed as the next bishop of the Diocese of Gloucester and will become the first female to serve as a diocesan bishop in the Church of England.

The news comes one day after the Rev. Alison White was named as the next bishop of Hull and two months after the Rev. Libby Lane was ordained and consecrated as bishop of Stockport. Those two appointments are to serve as suffragan (assistant) bishops.

Treweek, 52, currently serves as archdeacon of Hackney, a borough in northeast London. She will succeed the Rt. Rev. Michael Francis Perham, who resigned as bishop of Gloucester on Nov. 21, 2014.

“It is an immense joy and privilege to be appointed as the bishop of Gloucester,” said Treweek, according to an announcement on the Diocese of Gloucester’s website. “I am surprised and, I have to admit, even a little daunted by the prospect, but my overwhelming feeling is one of excitement to be coming to join with others in sharing the love of Jesus Christ with the people of this diocese.”

Treweek, who studied at Reading University and trained for the ordained ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, said she is “looking forward to encouraging Christians to speak out with confidence about their faith and the good news that the Gospel brings. It will be my privilege to work with churches as we connect with people, wherever they are and whatever their concerns.”

Treweek served as curate at Saint George and All Saints, Tufnell Park, in the Diocese of London from 1994 to 1997 and was associate vicar from 1997 to 1999.

From 1999 to 2006 she was vicar at Saint James the Less, Bethnal Green, in east London, and continuing ministerial education officer for the Stepney Episcopal Area. From 2006 to 2011 she was archdeacon of Northolt in the Diocese of London. She has served as archdeacon of Hackney since 2011.

In December 2013, she was elected as one of eight women to serve as participant observers in the Church of England’s House of Bishops. Earlier that year, it was decided that until such time as there are six female members of the House of Bishops (as diocesan bishops) a number of senior female clergy should attend and speak at the meetings as participant observers.

Treweek is married to Guy, priest-in-charge of two parishes in central London. Her interests include conflict transformation, walking and canoeing.

“My calling to the role of bishop has been shaped by human encounter,” she said. “I believe profoundly that relationship is at the heart of who God is. I have been with people through the joys and pains of their lives and it is these experiences that I will reflect upon as I take up this new role.”

The appointment comes following more than a decade of often-emotional debate, accompanied by various stages of legislative action, about opening the episcopate to women. The Church of England voted in July 2014 to allow women to become bishops, a decision that was later approved by the U.K. Parliament and given the assent of Queen Elizabeth II. The approvals were required because the church’s decision effectively changed English law. (The Church of England is an officially established Christian church with Queen Elizabeth II as its supreme governor.)

Lane – who was ordained and consecrated as the first female bishop in the history of the Church of England in January when she became the eighth bishop of Stockport, a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester – described Treweek as “an exceptional priest whose leadership is well proven. She is both genuinely caring and deeply insightful. It has been an honor to serve alongside Rachel as regional representatives in the House of Bishops, and I rejoice that she takes her place there as of right.”

Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu responded to the news with: “Wow, how wonderful so soon after Bishop Libby. I’m thrilled for you dear Rachel and I’m thrilled for the Diocese of Gloucester, for the Church of England, for the Church of God and for all of us. Yippee.”

Archbishop of York John Sentamu said the appointment fills him “with joy and thanksgiving to God for her partnership in the Gospel. Rachel is a priest who cares deeply about the good news of God in Jesus Christ and has a deep love for people and, in the words of St. Paul, she is always, ‘outdoing others in showing honor.’ She builds strong relationships with people and is an experienced reconciler. My prayer for her is that God will keep her in the joy, simplicity, and compassion of Christ’s Holy Gospel.”

The Diocese of Gloucester shares a three-way companion relationship with the dioceses of El Camino Real in the U.S.-based Episcopal Church and Western Tanganyika in the Anglican Church of Tanzania. El Camino Real Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves is the seventh woman to serve as a diocesan bishop in The Episcopal Church.

A video message from Treweek is available on the Diocese of Gloucester’s website here.

Episcopal forum raises awareness about climate change crisis

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 11:26am

Diocese of California Bishop Marc Andrus, a longtime environmental advocate, and Mary D. Nichols, who chairs the Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency, talk about reclaiming climate change as a moral issue on a panel moderated by Fritz Coleman, a local meteorologist. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

[Episcopal News Service – Los Angeles, California] In a deeply politicized country where environmental officials in Florida are forbidden to use the words “climate” and “change” together in a sentence, and where a presidential candidate dismisses the notion that greenhouse gases are causing the earth’s atmosphere to warm, The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society hosted a forum March 24 to address head on the global climate change crisis.

“Why do we call this a crisis? The planet’s regulatory system is being altered,” said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, during a keynote address at the start of a live webcast forum.

“Like a human being with a runaway fever, the malfunctioning thermostat causes a body to slowly self-destruct as inflammation erodes joints, causes nerve cells to misfire, and prevents the digestive system from absorbing nutrients critical to life. This planet is overheating, its climate is changing, and the residents are sick, suffering, and dying,” she continued.

Close to 75 people gathered in the auditorium of Campbell Hall Episcopal School in Studio City, Diocese of Los Angeles, for the climate change crisis forum presented by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society in partnership with Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno. In addition to the presiding bishop’s address, the 90-minute forum included panels focused on the regional impacts of climate change and reclaiming climate change as a moral issue.

Moderated by Fritz Coleman, a climatologist for KNBC 4 television news, panelists included Diocese of California Bishop Marc Andrus, who has made climate change a focus of his episcopacy; Princess Daazhraii Johnson, former executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, one of the oldest indigenous non-profit groups in Alaska focused on protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and a visiting research associate at the California Institute of Technology’s Seismological Laboratory; and Mary D. Nichols, who chairs the Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Additionally, the event kicked off a 30-day interactive campaign developed by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society that includes advocacy days, bulletin inserts, sermons, stories and activities to engage individuals and congregations around climate change. The 30 Days of Action will conclude on Earth Day, April 22.

“Climate change greatly affects us here in Los Angeles – we’re in a place where farmers are leaving crops in the ground and selling their water ration off to other people,” said Bruno, describing one of the reasons why his diocese sponsored the March 24 forum.

The event came as California enters a fourth year of drought – snowpacks have dwindled and groundwater levels have reached historic lows in some areas – and as the East Coast received record snowfalls and below-normal, frigid temperatures.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori delivers the keynote address at the opening of the Climate Crisis Forum in Los Angeles on March 24. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

“Climate is a broad description of weather variability and environmental conditions. We are experiencing more extreme weather and more frequent hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and droughts,” said Jefferts Schori. “Sea level is rising, because ice sheets are melting and because a warming ocean expands. As sea levels rise, coastal flooding becomes more likely and severe storms more destructive. The damage done by [Hurricane] Katrina and Superstorm Sandy are examples, as is the unusual winter much of this continent is experiencing.”

A “crisis” by definition, said Fritz Coleman, the moderator, “is intense trouble or danger, a critical point in history, a point at which decisions must be made.”

Climate change, he continued, is the gradual change in global temperature caused by accumulation of greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere, altering the earth’s temperature. Some areas are getting warmer, as others are getting colder, he explained, which is why “climate change,” not “global warming,” is the preferred term.

“These changes are causing lots of very dangerous changes to our world – disrupting weather patterns, flooding, droughts, an increase in violent storms, and disease – widespread harm to the earth’s ecosystems,” Coleman said. “And here’s the key idea, the impact of climate change is not only to the environment, but it will have an extreme economic impact as well, like major food shortages, shortages of water. The bottom line is, without the reduction of these greenhouse gases, our planet faces serious peril in the 21st century.”

Lucy Jones, the seismologist who serves as a science advisor for risk reduction in the natural hazards mission for the U.S. Geological Survey and who has spent her career studying seismological disasters and how they disrupt society, explained during the panel on regional impact how she has spent the last decade using the science of hazards to look at ways to improve a community’s resilience to natural disasters.

“The very first prediction of climate change is an increase of extreme events, when you put more energy in the atmosphere, there’s more energy to create storms to hold water,” said Jones, a member of St. James Episcopal Church in South Pasadena, California.

It was 20 years ago during a meeting that Jones first heard about climate change; at the time an increase in natural disasters was predicted, which has proved true.

“The expected losses coming from climate-change-induced meteorologic disasters dwarfs all of the other disasters we could be facing,” said Jones. “And if we want to be resilient, we have to be resilient to everything the earth is bringing to us. And our actions through climate change have increased those disasters.”

Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and a visiting research associate at the California Institute of Technology’s Seismological Laboratory, and Princess Daazhraii Johnson, former executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, talk about the regional impacts of climate change on a panel moderated by Fritz Coleman, a local meteorologist. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

In an area prone to coastal erosion or flooding, for example, when a big storm or a wild fire happens on top of that, that’s when the system changes, when species are wiped out and the ecological system cannot recover, she said.

“So we see disasters and extreme events as the mechanism of the significant shifts that are going to happen as climate change changes our world,” said Jones.

Alaska’s indigenous people have already begun to experience significant changes in their natural environment, explained Princess Daazhraii Johnson, who grew up in Arctic Village, on the southern tip of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

“The Arctic is one of the fastest warming places on the planet and we’re seeing the melting of the ice sheets, our glaciers are disappearing, the permafrost is melting, coastal erosion,” said Johnson. “We have entire communities that are having to be relocated.”

Alaska and the Arctic, she said, are experiencing the same climate-related changes as other places, “But the intensity in which we are experiencing them is very great, it’s massive.”

In January, U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to ask Congress to designate 12 of the 19 million acres of the Arctic Wildlife National Refuge as a wilderness-protected area. If passed, the area would become the largest wilderness-protected area since the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964. Faith communities thanked Obama for taking action that “represents a critical step in protecting a sacred part of God’s creation, and we thank you for working to safeguard this national treasure.”

The wilderness designation also would protect the cultural and subsistence rights of the Gwich’in, an indigenous Alaskan people who depend upon the refuge’s porcupine caribou for survival.

The Episcopal Church at its 77th General Convention in 2012 passed legislation saying it “stands in solidarity with those communities who bear the burdens of global climate change,” including indigenous people and marginalized and socially excluded people worldwide.

Some of the changes that have happened to the earth, said Jones, the seismologist, are not reversible and we’re seeing changes in atmospheric and oceanic patterns, but ultimately society needs to be asking the right questions.

“You get a bunch of scientists together and we’ll argue with each other … it’s a key moment when scientists stop arguing, and we’ve stopped arguing about whether climate change is happening,” she said, adding that they still argue over what is millennial cycle versus what is human activity, but they agree it’s happening.

Outside the research community, she said, the question should be: “Do our actions make a difference?” And the answer to that, she said, is simple: “Yes. When you build a fire and when you run a car, you are putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere … The human population has grown exponentially, and therefore, the number of people doing that has grown exponentially.”

As Jefferts Schori said in her keynote address: “Scientists have been studying human impacts on our global biosphere for decades, and today there is clear consensus about the effects of these gases on the mean temperature of the planet. There are a few very loud voices who insist this is only ‘natural variation,’ but the data do not lie. Those voices are often driven by greed and self-centered political interests, and sometimes by willful blindness.

“The Judeo-Christian tradition has always called those motivations sinful. It is decidedly wrong to use resources that have been given into our collective care in ways that diminish the ability of others to share in abundant life. It is equally wrong to fail to use resources of memory, reason, and skill to discern what is going on in the world around us. That has traditionally been called a sin of omission.”

Moving into the second panel, Coleman asked why climate change is a moral issue, to which Mary D. Nichols, who for years has worked on air quality and is a member of Los Angeles’ St. James in the City Episcopal Church, responded: “Human beings are the principal cause for the exaggerated effects that we are seeing on our planet and therefore it is incumbent upon us to take responsibility for that and to take action.

“It’s a moral issue, I think, because when we think of things in moral terms, it tends to stretch us a little bit beyond our everyday comfort zone, and we have to get beyond our everyday comfort zone in order to do some things that may seem difficult.”

If you look at any religious tradition, Nichols added, each has an element that recognizes humanity as subject to God, not the other way around.

“Certainly as an Episcopalian I can find citations in terms of gardens and stewardship and so forth … and therefore when we do something that massively upsets God’s creation, and God’s plan for us, we have a moral obligation to do something about it,” she said. “Though it makes some people uncomfortable to talk that way.”

The event, said Coleman, was very hopeful, not only for The Episcopal Church in its forward thinking, but that in her address the presiding bishop elevated the discussion from a religious discussion to a human discussion.

“I think it’s wonderful that The Episcopal Church has been at the forefront of having these discussions open to everyone on the Internet. What’s perplexing is that, in general, all faiths have been so timid about addressing this issue, publically and up until this point,” he said.

Coleman speculated that it might be because religious leaders themselves are caught up in the politics, as well.

“We’ve been speaking up, The Episcopal Church is working hard,” said Bishop Marc Andrus, as evidenced by actions being taken in the Diocese of Los Angeles toward food justice, and the Diocese of California’s involvement with Interfaith Power and Light, a religious coalition that campaigns on the issue of climate change. “But the church lost the bully pulpit somewhere in the 1960s, and a lot of things changed.”

But, he said, there is some immorality involved and the media has been involved.

“The media has a lot to answer for; they are shaping the story,” he said, citing Chris Hayes, and MSNBC journalist who recently said it’s time to stop saying everything is balanced.

If a climate denier is running for political office, rather than cite the 1 percent of scientists on the fringe that may support that view, it would be more accurate to say, “This person denies climate [change] despite the evidence, and that’s what Chris was saying,” said Andrus.

“And furthermore, we should take our own voice,” he said. “The church needs to, in my opinion, not rely overly on giving the last word to people who are being paid to do advertisements, but rather gain our own prophetic voice and put our own stories out.”

For more on reclaiming climate change as a moral look for a related story on Episcopal News Service on March 30 as part of the 30 Days of Action.

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

 

Church of England appoints second female bishop

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 11:20am

Photo: Diocese of York

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Canon Alison White has been named as the next bishop of Hull. As a bishop suffragan in the Diocese of York, White will become the Church of England’s second female bishop when she is consecrated on July 3 in York Minster.

White, 58, is currently priest-in-charge of Riding Mill in the Diocese of Newcastle and diocesan adviser for spirituality and spiritual direction.

As bishop of Hull, she will have responsibilities “both as ambassador for prayer, spiritual & numerical growth and ambassador for urban life & faith,” according to a church press release.

“This is a joyous day,” said Archbishop of York John Sentamu. “Alison is a person of real godliness and wisdom – it is fantastic that she has accepted God’s call to make Christ visible together with all of us in this Diocese of York.”

White said: “In 2010, I was privileged to be invited to take part in the York Diocesan Clergy Conference where I got a profound sense of a diocese with faith and hope. I … can’t wait to be part of loving God and growing the church in this great part of Yorkshire.”

The Rt. Rev. Martin Wharton, the recently retired bishop of Newcastle, said, “I am thrilled that Alison’s priestly and personal gifts have been recognized by the wider church and believe she will be an outstanding bishop who will quickly endear herself to the people of Hull and the East Riding. As the second woman to be appointed bishop in the Church of England, we rejoice with her and pray for her.”

In January, Libby Lane was ordained and consecrated as the first female bishop in the history of the Church of England when she became the eighth bishop of Stockport, a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester.

The appointments come following more than a decade of often-emotional debate, accompanied by various stages of legislative action, about opening the episcopate to women. The Church of England voted in July to allow women to become bishops, a decision that was later approved by the U.K. Parliament and given the assent of Queen Elizabeth II. The approvals were required because the church’s decision effectively changed English law. (The Church of England is an officially established Christian church with Queen Elizabeth II as its supreme governor.)

White will succeed the Rt. Rev. Richard Frith, who became bishop of Hereford in November 2014.

After graduating with a degree in English from Durham University, White studied theology at Cranmer Hall, Durham. She was ordained to the diaconate in 1986 and to the priesthood in 1994, being among the first women to be ordained as priests in the Church of England. She earned a master’s degree in theology from Leeds University. From 1989 to 1993 she served as Durham’s diocesan adviser in local mission. She then spent five years as director of mission and pastoral studies at Cranmer Hall. She served as diocesan director of ordinands, also in the Durham diocese, for two years.

She served five years as an adult education officer in the Diocese of Peterborough before moving to the Diocese of Newcastle in 2011.

Alison is married to Bishop Frank White, assistant bishop of Newcastle.

The Climate Change Crisis Forum now available for viewing

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 9:54am

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Now available here is the Climate Change Crisis, presented by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society on March 24. Addressing one of the most significant topics in today’s society, the 90-minute live webcast originated from Campbell Hall Episcopal School, North Hollywood, CA, in partnership with Bishop J. Jon Bruno and the Diocese of Los Angeles.

The forum was moderated by well-known climatologist Fritz Coleman of KNBC 4 television news.  Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presented the keynote address (listed below). Two panels focused on specific areas of the climate change crisis: Regional Impacts of Climate Change; and Reclaiming Climate Change as a Moral Issue.

30 Days of Action
In addition to stimulating conversation and raising awareness about The Climate Change Crisis, the live webcast served as the kickoff to 30 Days of Action. A range of activities developed by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society are offered for individuals and congregations to understand the environmental crisis. The activities will culminate on Earth Day, April 22.  The 30 Days of Action located here.

The event supported Mark 5 of the Anglican Communion’s Marks of Mission: To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth. Anglican Five Marks of Mission are here. The Five Marks of Mission form the basis for the triennial budget of The Episcopal Church adopted by the 77th General Convention in July 2012.

The event is one of the aspects of commemorating The Episcopal Church’s 150th year of parish ministry in Southern California.

For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org.

Keynote Presentation
The following is the keynote address presented by the Presiding Bishop.

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

Episcopalians have a prayer that names “this fragile earth, our island home.” [1]   We’ve been praying it for nearly 40 years, yet many are only beginning to awaken to our wanton abuse of this planet.  We profess that God has planted us in a garden to care for it and for all its inhabitants, yet we have failed to love what God has given us.  We continue to squander the resources of this earth, and we are damaging its ability to nourish the garden’s diverse web of life.

The collective impact of the human species on this planet is prompting many to name this the Anthropocene age[2]  – an era characterized by human changes with global impact.  We are unwittingly redesigning the earth on time scales that are infinitesimal compared to previous geological and evolutionary rates.  The carbon dioxide and other gases being pumped into the atmosphere are creating an insulating blanket that accumulates heat faster than it can be radiated into space.  Most of those gases come from burning fossil fuels, removing forests, and producing animal protein for human consumption.

Scientists have been studying human impacts on our global biosphere for decades, and today there is clear consensus about the effects of these gases on the mean temperature of the planet.  There are a few very loud voices who insist this is only “natural variation,” but the data do not lie.  Those voices are often driven by greed and self-centered political interests, and sometimes by willful blindness.  The Judeo-Christian tradition has always called those motivations sinful.  It is decidedly wrong to use resources that have been given into our collective care in ways that diminish the ability of others to share in abundant life.  It is equally wrong to fail to use resources of memory, reason, and skill to discern what is going on in the world around us.  That has traditionally been called a sin of omission.

Why do we call this a crisis?  The planet’s regulatory system is being altered.  Like a human being with a runaway fever, the malfunctioning thermostat causes a body to slowly self-destruct as inflammation erodes joints, causes nerve cells to misfire, and prevents the digestive system from absorbing nutrients critical to life.  This planet is overheating, its climate is changing, and the residents are sick, suffering, and dying.

Climate is a broad description of weather variability and environmental conditions.  We are experiencing more extreme weather and more frequent hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and droughts.  Sea level is rising, because ice sheets are melting and because a warming ocean expands.  As sea levels rise coastal flooding becomes more likely and severe storms more destructive.  The damage done by Katrina and Superstorm Sandy are examples, as is the unusual winter much of this continent is experiencing.

Shifting climate alters our ability to grow food crops in historical locales, often leading to food shortages and famines.  Deserts are expanding, snow pack declining, and drought plagues a drying West, where wildfires are more frequent and more damaging, and fresh water is increasingly scarce.  Commercial agricultural practices in the developed world contribute more carbon to the atmosphere, when wiser ways could be storing large quantities of carbon in healthier and more productive soils.[3]  Historic conditions are changing so quickly that species adapted to particular environments over geologic time spans can’t adapt.  Warmer conditions are prompting species to seek cooler environments, with limited success, by moving higher on mountain slopes, deeper in the ocean, or closer to the poles.

Life in the oceans has additional challenges.  Species that build skeletons of calcium carbonate find it harder to build or maintain their shells as increasing amounts of carbon dioxide dissolve in sea water and make it more acidic.  Several kinds of plankton [4] are already challenged.  As their populations begin to shrink, other parts of the food chain get hungrier or disappear.  More CO2 in the atmosphere ultimately means fewer fish, shrimp, whales, and seabirds.

Coral reefs, which take centuries to build, are also in imminent danger.  As sea temperature rises, corals often respond by expelling the symbiotic algae that provide much of their food. [5]  Debilitated corals may not grow fast enough to keep themselves in reach of sunlight, [6] and dying reefs are quickly destroyed by waves and storms.  Coral reefs rival tropical rain forests as the richest and most diverse ecosystems on the planet. [7] Both shelter countless numbers of yet-undescribed species.  That diversity is a wondrous gift of life in itself, and is increasingly recognized as a potential source of healing pharmaceuticals.[8]

The human population explosion of recent millennia, accompanied by exploitation of fossil fuels in recent centuries, have moved this planetary system out of dynamic equilibrium.  Human appetites are responsible for the collapse of that equilibrium,[9]  particularly in developed nations, and many species are threatened with diminishment and loss of life.  We are making war on the integrity of this planet.  The result is wholesale death as species become extinct at unprecedented rates, and human beings die from disease, starvation, and the violence of war unleashed by environmental chaos and greed.

We were planted in this garden to care for it – literally, “to have dominion” over its creatures.[10]   Dominion means caring for our island home, the oikos [11]  that gives birth to economy and ecology. [12]   This is housekeeping and husbanding work – caring for what sustains us all.  We are meant to love God and what God has created, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Jesus insists that those who will enjoy abundant life are those who care for all neighbors, especially “the least of these” [13] – the hungry and thirsty, the imprisoned and sick – and that must include all the species God has nurtured on this planet.

God’s presence among us in human form changed the nature of relationship with all creation.  Even those who cannot understand the duty to care for birds and sea creatures must recognize that the life of human beings depends on the health of the whole planet.  The poorest human beings are soonest and most deeply affected by climatic changes, and least able to respond.  Ultimately human beings with the most resource-intensive lifestyles are causing the hunger and thirst, displacement, illness, and impoverishment of climate refugees and those without resources to adapt.  There is no escape from that death and destruction, for our fate is tied to the fate of all our neighbors – the salvation of each depends on the salvation of all.

A crisis is a decision point, a time of judgment.  We can choose to change our destructive and overly consumptive ways, or we can ignore the consequences of our actions and slowly steam like proverbial frogs in a soup pot.  We still have some opportunity to choose, but that kairos moment will not last long.  We have before us this day life and death.[14]   Which will we choose?

1 Book of Common Prayer p 370
2 E.g., The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert.  Holt, 2014.
3 For a brief introduction, cf. Norman Wirzba, “Carbon and Compost,” Christian Century 4 March 2015, 28-29
4 The tiny plants and animals that provide much of the food for larger creatures in the oceans
5 Often referred to as “bleaching”
6 http://www.reefresilience.org/coral-reefs/stressors/climate-and-ocean-change/sea-level-rise/
7 http://coral.org/coral-reefs-101/coral-reef-ecology/coral-reef-biodiversity/
8 http://coralreef.noaa.gov/aboutcorals/values/medicine/
9 Beginning with the hunting of large animal species several tens of thousand years ago.
10 Genesis 1:26,28
11 Greek for “house” or “home”
12 Economy,  ‘house rules’ or ‘home management’; Ecology, ‘study of the house’
13 Matthew 25:45-46
14 Deuteronomy 30:19

EPPN Lenten Series: Engaging Poverty Through Creation Care

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 9:42am

[Episcopal Public Policy Network] So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. -Psalms 104: 25-30

Considering that nearly half the world –over three billion people –live on less than $2.50 USD a day, the vastness of global poverty can seem overwhelming. Why should we seek to confront any other problem before we have successfully ended the terrible behemoth of poverty in our time?

Certainly, poverty is an imperative challenge that our faith calls us to address. At the same time, it is important that we do not solely focus on the human elements of this issue without contextualizing human need in the vast and intricate natural world that God has provided for us to steward and enjoy. Poverty and creation care are inextricably linked, and rather than competing causes, these issues should be addressed together and holistically.

Coal country presents us with such an opportunity. The coal industry is one of the primary sources of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, and a leading contributor to air pollution.  At the same time, hardworking men and women have labored in the coalmines for generations and rely upon these jobs to provide for their families.

Addressing the environmental degradation of the coal industry without harming the people who depend upon it is a massive challenge, yet it is not insurmountable. For example, legislators can create incentives for renewable energy production such as wind and solar that offer viable employment options for coal industry workers. Renewable energy production is an environmentally sound alternative to coal that can help to mitigate the impacts of climate change while stimulating the local economy.

Another community whose welfare is intrinsically linked to the environment is the Gwich’in people of Alaska. The Gwich’in, the majority of whom are Episcopalian, live in remote villages above the Arctic Circle and hunt the Porcupine caribou herd to provide food for their families. Oil extraction on the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would significantly affect the birthing success of the caribou, diminishing herd numbers and irreparably altering the Gwich’in way of life. Fossil fuel extraction has the potential to impoverish this native Alaskan people through robbing them of their subsistence lifestyle.

The Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act (HR 239) is a bill in the United States House of Representatives that would designate the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as Wilderness. HR 239 would ensure that the Coastal Plain is permanently protected from oil drilling so that future generations of Gwich’in can continue to hunt the caribou as their ancestors for generations before. In January of this year, President Obama called upon Congress to permanently protect the Coastal Plain, and now it’s time for Congress to act.

While many of us do not live a subsistence lifestyle or work in the mines of coal country, we all depend upon the land for our food, our water, and our shelter. The earth is our great wealth, and God has entrusted us to steward it accordingly. To effectively address poverty, we must also conserve and nourish the environment that sustains us. All things belong to God; let us work together to make the earth and its people whole.

Gwich’in Reflection:

My name is Allan Hayton, my Athabascan name is Ditòn. I am Gwich’in and Koyukon on my mother’s side, and Scottish & Irish on my father’s side, however both sides of my family are Episcopal going back generations. I grew up in Arctic Village, Alaska on the Venetie Indian Reservation. Every Sunday we would pray and sing in Bishop Rowe Chapel in our Gwich’in language, and our tables were filled with bounty from the land, especially caribou, our primary sustenance. It is a remote community for the rest of the world, but for me it is the place nearest to my heart.

When I reflect on my Athabascan ancestors, I am always in awe of their reliance on an intimate knowledge of the land, of the animals and proper relationship to the world around them. It is a way of life passed down through generations that Gwich’in people call Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa. The closest way to explain this term is as a spiritual relationship and practice.

Gwintł’ee’adaachii is how the animals give themselves to us for our survival, with the nourishment, clothing, tools, and a spiritual life that is a connection to all living things. In return, we must show them utmost respect and care. We must take only what we need, use all we take, and share with everyone. If we fail to respect the land and animals that provide for us, we upset the balance, and our own survival will be placed in jeopardy.

For this reason, and for our ancient way of life, Gwich’in have been opposed to oil development within the calving grounds of the Porcupine Caribou Herd within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The caribou has sustained our people for countless generations and will continue to do so far into the future, if we can respect the balance. We are grateful to The Episcopal Church for standing with us in protecting this sacred trust for future generations. Mahsi’ choo!

Resources:

Take action to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by urging your members of Congress to support the Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act (HR 239). Go here.

Engage in envionmental action by participating in the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s 30 Days of Action on Climate. Join here.

Watch The Climate Change Crisis forum hosted by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and the Diocese of Los Angeles 3/24 here.

Share a ministry your church has that engages environmental stewardship on Mission Centered, an online community for Episcopal mission.

That it may please thee to look with favor upon all who care for the earth, the water, and the air, that the riches of thy creation may abound from age to age,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

-The Book of Occasional Services, Rogation Procession

This is the sixth installment of the Episcopal Public Policy Network’s 2015 Lenten Series: “Engaging Poverty at Home and Around the World.” To view previous reflections, click here. To receive these reflections to your inbox each Wednesday of Lent, sign up here.

Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society reports $2.4 million annual surplus

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 5:39pm

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City, Utah] Responding to financial reports by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society leadership showing yearly income exceeding expenses (or “surplus”) of nearly $2.4 million, The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, during its March 19-21 meeting here, adopted a resolution celebrating the financial stewardship of the society’s staff and management. The resolution acknowledges in particular the “consistent, visionary leadership” of Chief Operating Officer Bishop Stacy F. Sauls and Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer N. Kurt Barnes in reducing expenses and generating income.

A presentation by Barnes on the meeting’s first day showed a preliminary net result (income less expenses) of $2.4 million in the churchwide budget for fiscal year 2014, the middle year of the 2013-2015 triennial budget.

The surplus, which appears in budget lines overseen by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society management, represents “a better result than budgeted” for 2014, according to Barnes. “The strong financial position of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society comes through taking advantage of opportunities for revenue generation, as well substantial savings in operating expenses,” he said.

The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is the name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business, and carries out mission.

Annual income exceeded projections by more than $2.5 million, primarily a result of unanticipated increases in: rental income generated by making more efficient use of space and the leasing of excess space at the Episcopal Church Center in New York; renegotiation of loans and lines of credit; and steady diocesan giving. Savings in operating expenses came primarily as a result of careful budget management by staff in every area: mission, administration and governance.

These savings do not, however, equate with a reduced mission footprint, according to Sauls.

“We are committed to being held accountable for measureable mission deliverables,” Sauls said, pointing to the recently released Report to the Church 2015, an online magazine published in January that illustrates the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s work to support local communities in The Episcopal Church working toward each of the Five Marks of Mission.

“We are trying to lead the churchwide staff to a cultural shift toward mission and away from maintenance; toward service and away from regulation,” Sauls continued.

“The purpose of a churchwide missionary society is the redistribution and targeting of our resources, both financial and personnel, to the parts of the body which, though financially poor, are among our richest communities in vision and creativity toward mission and have the most potential,” Sauls added. “The present financial picture shows a churchwide structure already living into a future that is mission-driven, Gospel-based, and rooted in ministry at the local level.”

Reaction from Executive Council members
The resolution recognizing the financial leadership of the staff originated with the Executive Council’s Joint Standing Committee on World Mission. The full council adopted it unanimously on the final day of its meeting and several members later praised the financial standing of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.

“A $2.4 million budget surplus indicates the careful oversight of spending, and careful financial stewardship of the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, chief operating officer, and Kurt Barnes, [treasurer and chief financial officer],” said World Mission committee member and Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Provisional Clifton Daniel.

“Many thanks are owed them for their vigilance, which frees additional funding for the growing missionary vision of this church,” Daniel said.

Council member John Johnson, a General Convention deputy from the Diocese of Washington, agreed.

“This surplus is great news for all Episcopalians. Excellent fiscal management and oversight of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society operations and programs demonstrates that we are a church of abundance and opportunity,” Johnson said.

“Moving forward, I believe deputies to General Convention and other church leaders need to create a new strategic vision and mission for a renewed Episcopal Church focused on taking [the] church to the world and not the other way around,” Johnson added.

Another council member, the Rev. Dahn Gandell of the Diocese of Rochester, said, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff “has done an excellent job managing the financial resources of our church. Net income has exceeded expenses in nine of the last 10 years due to increased revenue and expenses coming in under budget while still accomplishing the goals set by the General Convention and Executive Council.”

“It is important that the church is aware of these successes and acknowledges Bishop Stacy Sauls and Kurt Barnes for their leadership and commitment to our church and its mission,” she said.

Several council committee chairs used their final triennial reports to the council to praise a relationship between Domestic and Foreign Missionary staff and the council that they said had improved markedly over past triennia.

Lelanda Lee, a General Convention deputy from the Diocese of Colorado and the chair of the council’s Joint Standing Committee on Advocacy and Networking, noted, “The [staff-council] collaboration has been very welcome and very effective.” Steve Hutchinson, a deputy from the Diocese of Utah and the chair of the council’s Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Administration for Mission, said that “the working relationship this triennium between the standing committees of council and the staff…[is] noticeably more engaged, constructive and helpful, and an improvement from the prior triennium.”

As part of his report to council, Bishop Mark Hollingsworth of Ohio, chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission, praised the “skill, wisdom, creativity, and faith” of the staff members that have worked with his committee during the present triennium, all of whom “have been essential to the carrying out of our mission and activities.”

Revenue generation and staff dispersal
Multiple factors contributed to the generation of $40.6 million in revenue, more than $2.5 million beyond budget projections, during 2014. These include an unanticipated rise in giving as well as rental income that exceeded forecasts.

The lease of unused floors of The Episcopal Church Center to outside tenants dates to 2009, but has increased markedly during the present triennium. Currently, five floors are fully leased by outside tenants. The leasing of space has been made possible, in part, by an initiative of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s management in the present triennium to base increasing numbers of staff outside New York.

“We have made disbursing the staff to connect to local ministry a priority.  A side benefit has been the availability of additional space to rent to others,” said Sauls.

In contrast to six years ago, when nearly all employees of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society lived in the New York metropolitan area and worked out of The Episcopal Church Center, at present approximately 45% of employees – including most mission staff – live and work elsewhere.

“Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff members currently live and work in places as diverse as Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, Minnesota, Dallas, Ohio, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Orlando, Austin, and Buffalo,” said Samuel A. McDonald, deputy chief operating officer and director of mission. “In fact, as part of our international mission and identity, we also have staff living in places like Hong Kong, Panama, and Edinburgh.”

“While revenue generation is one ancillary benefit of the staff’s disbursement, the primary virtue has been that it has allowed the staff to become more responsive and accountable to the wider church, more grounded in local conversations and context for mission, and – perhaps most importantly – more productive in measurable deliverables toward mission,” McDonald added.

An increased mission footprint
Like Sauls, McDonald noted that an accurate picture of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s mission footprint can be found in the Report to the Church 2015, which is available in English, Spanish and French on the website of The Episcopal Church. In addition to extensive narrative presentations, illustrations, and videos related to each of the mission marks, the report contains an extensive appendix detailing specifics of the society’s work in each of the church’s dioceses.

Spanish and French translations of the report are also available online.

“The Report to the Church is all about partnership, illustrating the impact of churchwide resources when matched with local efforts,” McDonald said. “It is organized according to the Five Marks of Mission because the work of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, like the triennial budget, is organized around those marks.”

The 2013-2015 triennial budget of The Episcopal Church was organized according to the Five Marks of Mission for the first time ever after the idea and a model budget were proposed to the 77th General Convention by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Sauls cited church planting as an example of a mission focus in which limited but strategically leveraged investments at the churchwide level have begun to return dividends in local contexts.

“In the last triennium, there were eleven new church starts in all of The Episcopal Church, five of which were in Texas,” Sauls said. “Outside of Texas, there were just six new church starts, and the churchwide investment in this work was zero.

“This triennium, so far, we have planted 38 new churches or ‘mission enterprise zones,’ which are clusters of congregations or communities working in evangelism contexts historically underserved by our church: youth and young adults, communities of color, poor and working-class communities, or communities with little church or religious background,” Sauls continued.

“Approximately half of these are in Spanish-speaking contexts. We’ve done this by making available $1.8 million in grant money,” he said. “Through the miracle of partnerships – meaning matching funds from our partners, the dioceses – we’ve leveraged nearly $4 million toward these new church starts this triennium.”

Other examples of mission expansion cited by Sauls include the Missionary Society’s successful push to double the size of the Young Adult Service Corps this triennium and increase its ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, and recent work toward financial sustainability for Province IX dioceses. At March 13-17 meeting of the House of Bishops, Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society leaders announced that three Province IX dioceses (as opposed to the one originally planned) are on track to secure financial operation by 2019 thanks to partnership with the society.

Sauls cited the inauguration in 2013 of the Diocesan Partnership Program as a turning point in building strong links between the Missionary Society and the dioceses. The program pairs each diocese with a member of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff in order to create an easy contact and point of accountability for mission deliverables.

Each of these initiatives is covered in detail in the Report to the Church.

“The name of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is nearly 200 years old, but as we seek to live fully into that name, it becomes clearer every day that a missionary society grounded outside itself is the future of churchwide organization,” Sauls said. “Churches that turn inward will die. Churches that turn outward will live abundantly.”

El Consejo Ejecutivo recapitula la labor del trienio 2013-2015

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 1:04pm

El consejo Ejecutivo se reúne el 21 de marzo en su última sesión plenaria del trienio 2013-2015. La reunión del 19 al 21 de marzo tuvo lugar en el centro de Salt Lake City, cerca del Centro de Convenciones Salt Palace, el lugar donde sesionará la Convención General del 23 de junio al 3 de julio. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City, Utah] El Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal durante su reunión del 19 al 21 de marzo en esta ciudad, celebró la labor realizada y se proyectó hacia el porvenir.

“Una buena cantidad de energía durante la reunión se dedicó a los problemas de la transición”, dijo la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts durante una conferencia de prensa. “El Consejo Ejecutivo revisó su labor del último trienio e hizo recomendaciones que serán aprobadas en la próxima iteración del Consejo Ejecutivo”.

“La labor del Consejo Ejecutivo ha sido intensa este trienio y creo que tienen [sus miembros] buenas razones para sentirse orgullosos de lo que han realizado”, añadió.

La Rda. Gay Clark Jennings, presidente de la Cámara de Diputados, dijo durante la conferencia de prensa que “una cosa que distingue a este Consejo es que a través del trienio” [sus miembros] han prestado una mirada crítica en lo que respecta a las funciones del Consejo y a la manera en que el Consejo puede tener un funcionamiento aun más efectivo”.

Cada uno de los cinco comités permanentes del Consejo escribió un memo a su sucesor, en el que bosquejaba el trabajo realizado, así como la labor parcialmente concluida que recomendaban continuar, y la clase saliente ha escrito un memorando semejante sobre el funcionamiento general del Consejo. La mitad de los 38 miembros termina su período este verano después de la 78ª. reunión de la Convención General.

Cuando esa reunión sesione aquí en Salt Lake City, del 23 de junio al 3 de julio, los debates sobre las estructuras de gobierno de la Iglesia Episcopal, incluido el Consejo, se destacarán de manera prominente. En una de sus últimas decisiones del trienio, el Consejo convino en publicar una respuesta a algunas de las recomendaciones del Equipo de Trabajo para Reinventar la Iglesia Episcopal

( o TREC, por su sigla en inglés). El TREC surgió de Resolución C095 de la Convención General, la cual solicitaba la creación de un comité que presentara un plan para “reformar las estructuras de gobierno y administración de la Iglesia”.

“Había pensado que podría haber un modo de encontrar consenso en torno al informe del TREC, [pero] no creo que haya mucho consenso acerca de ese informe”, dijo al Consejo John Johnson, que presidió un pequeño grupo de miembros del Consejo que redactó la respuesta, al tiempo de someter su informe a la aprobación del pleno.

Debido a esa falta de consenso, el comité hizo algunos comentarios generales acerca del informe antes de responder específicamente a lo que el TREC dijo acerca del Consejo Ejecutivo.

La declaración, cuyo texto final estará disponible en breve, decía que las resoluciones estructurales del TREC, “si bien audaces para algunos, seguían una senda con frecuencia concentrada en ahorrar dinero, pero sin una clara visión de cuál sería la misión que le permitiría llevar a cabo a la Iglesia una nueva estructura”.

La declaración decía que el Consejo está “comprometido con un cambio razonado y audaz en la estructura y el gobierno de la Iglesia Episcopal” y añadía que “el alcance de la labor del TREC puede no haber sido presentar una nueva misión audaz para la Iglesia Episcopal a escala denominacional, sino indagar con la Iglesia qué aspecto podría tener esa renovación”.

Deborah Stokes, miembro del Consejo Ejecutivo, dirige la Oración de los Fieles durante la eucaristía del 21 de marzo. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

“¿Es la misión de la Iglesia Episcopal llevar el mundo a la Iglesia o llevar la Iglesia Episcopal al mundo y qué aspecto eso tiene en el siglo XXI?” preguntó el Consejo.

El Consejo Ejecutivo lleva a cabo los programas y políticas adoptadas por la Convención General, conforme al Canon I.4 (1)(a). El Consejo está compuesto de 38 miembros, 20 de los cuales (cuatro obispos, cuatro presbíteros o diáconos y 12 laicos) son elegidos por la Convención General, y 18 por los nueve sínodos provinciales (un clérigo y un laico cada uno) por períodos de seis años, además del Obispo Primado y el Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados [que son miembros ex oficio]. El TREC ha pedido reducir el número de miembros a 21 “para perfeccionar su eficacia como junta”.

 

El Consejo dijo que la reducción no perfeccionaría su eficacia. “Si bien entendemos la preocupación respecto a reducir los costos de gobierno, también nos preocupa que falsas economías pudieran afectar a la Iglesia a largo plazo”, decía la declaración.

El Consejo se divide en cinco comités permanentes, además de algunos subcomités ocasionales, y la declaración decía que gran parte de la labor del Consejo tiene lugar en esos pequeños grupos, “lo cual le permite al Consejo participar en un profundo debate sustantivo sobre importantes intereses fiduciarios y misionales en un grupo de tamaño manejable”.

Reducir el tamaño del Consejo “significa inevitablemente disminuir la representación y perspectivas de la Iglesia a escala denominacional”, dijo el Consejo, añadiendo que un Consejo más pequeño también significaría “disminuir su capacidad para la supervisión fiduciaria”.

La última reunión de la Convención también expresó, mediante la Resolución D016, que “es la voluntad de esta Convención mudar las oficinas centrales del centro denominacional” del edificio que la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera posee en el No. 815 de la Segunda Avenida en Nueva York(La DFMS [Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society] es el nombre legal y canónico con el cual la Iglesia Episcopal está incorporada, funciona empresarialmente y lleva a cabo la misión).

El texto final de la resolución fue notablemente enmendado durante el debate en la Convención para eliminar las instrucciones que le habrían exigido al Consejo vender o alquilar toda la propiedad y reubicar el centro denominacional “tan pronto como fuera económicamente factible”.

El Consejo ha dedicado el trienio a estudiar las implicaciones de la D016, y el 21 de marzo convino en conservar y proseguir la labor del subcomité sobre la reubicación del centro denominacional mediante la creación de un comité ad hoc del Consejo Ejecutivo para el próximo trienio.

El comité estará encargado de examinar los aspectos misionales, estratégicos y económicos de la ubicación del centro denominacional y ofrecer una recomendación final al Consejo Ejecutivo. La tarea es semejante a la del subcomité cuya labor está por terminar.

Bryan Krislock, miembro del Consejo, que copresidía el subcomité con Fredrica Harris Thompsett, dijo que el extenso “proceso de escuchar” del grupo (incluida una encuesta a escala denominacional y entrevistas individuales con “miembros clave”) mostraban que “para decirlo sin tapujos, no había consenso”. El [proceso de] escuchar “revelaba una profunda división entre los miembros de la Iglesia, no sólo específica de los miembros del Consejo sino de los miembros de la Iglesia desde el punto de vista de lo que es la mejor estrategia misional para el centro denominacional”, explicó él.

Algunos creen que no es necesario [tener] un edificio, otros dijeron que debía de haber múltiples ubicaciones, otros dijeron que debía de haber una presencia en la zona de Nueva York, pero no en la dirección actual, mientras otros pidieron una localidad más geográficamente central en Estados Unidos. Las “facciones significativas” de opinión provienen de todas partes del país, y en todos los órdenes de ministerio y tienen toda clase de relaciones con la DFMS, dijo Krislock.

El subcomité trabajó con profesionales para analizar posibles sitios alternativos y el costo que conllevaban tales mudanzas. “Tenemos una excelente información económica”, le dijo a sus colegas Harris Thompsett. “Disponemos de alguna información estratégica, pero no contamos aún con una clara orientación respecto a un centro o centros de la denominación”.

Krislock dijo que el subcomité “sigue forcejeando con las más amplias interrogantes estratégicas acerca de dónde el centro denominacional o el personal de la Iglesia debe ubicarse, como esos [sitios] interactúan con los costos y la mejor manera de evaluar la información económica que hemos recibido y analizarla de una manera significativa para preparar una última recomendación”.

Al subcomité le preocupaba que su labor hasta la fecha se perdiera en la transición entre trienios, dijo él. El grupo cree que la labor debe continuar “y no dejar la impresión de que en esencia la hemos abandonado”.

Harris Thompsett estuvo de acuerdo, añadiendo “hemos ido tan lejos como pudimos con inteligencia e integridad”.

Al preguntarle por qué el nuevo comité presentaría sus recomendaciones finales al Consejo y no a la Convención General, Krislock hizo notar que la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera que es dueña de la propiedad del centro denominacional en Nueva York, y el Consejo, como su junta directiva, es la única entidad que puede tomar la decisión de venderla.

El subcomité no tardará en presentar un informe que se propone ser un apéndice al informe del Consejo en el Libro Azul. Ese informe no contendrá especificidades acerca de “impresiones geográficas” o información económica debido al estado incompleto de la labor del subcomité, dijo Harris Thompsett.

En otras decisiones, el Consejo:

  • Ratificó la resolución de la Cámara de Obispos del 17 de marzo por la cual pide que una comisión independiente explore las dimensiones canónicas, ambientales, de conducta y de procedimientos de asuntos que conlleven serias deficiencias de individuos que sirven como líderes en la Iglesia. La comisión, que debe ser nombrada por Jefferts Schori en consulta con Jennings, se supone que le preste especial atención a problemas de adicción y de consumo de substancias estupefacientes. El Consejo revisó el presupuesto de 2015 para incluir $150.000 para financiar la labor de la comisión.
  • Aprobó resoluciones por su Comité Permanente Conjunto sobre Promoción [o Defensa] Social e Interconexiones tocante a instar a los episcopales, así como a organizaciones gubernamentales y no gubernamentales a combatir la trata de personas, la persecución religiosa y el cambio climático.
  • Convino en exigir que todos los niños y el personal que participe en el Programa Infantil de la Convención General sea vacunado. Un niño puede ser exceptuado de la vacunación si presenta un certificado médico que dé fe que el estado físico de la persona excluye una o más inmunizaciones.

La reunión del 19 al 21 de marzo tuvo lugar en el hotel Radisson Salt Lake City Downtown.

Resúmenes de las resoluciones aprobadas por el Consejo en esta reunión pueden verse aquí.

Algunos miembros del Consejo enviaron mensajes por Twitter usando el código #ExCoun.

– La Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg es redactora y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Fornaro named interim president and dean of Episcopal Divinity School

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 9:35am

[Episcopal Divinity School press release] The Rev. Francis Fornaro has been named interim president and dean of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The announcement was made during a March 23 community Eucharist in St. John’s Memorial Chapel by EDS Trustee the Rev. Warren Radke.

“I am honored to be called to serve an institution that has done so much to form and prepare me for a career in ministry — as it has for so many others,” said Fornaro. “I look forward to working with students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni/ae, and supporters of EDS as together we help our school fulfill its purpose of preparing lay and ordained leaders for Christ’s church and the world.”

The Very Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalski, EDS Board of Trustees chair, issued a statement informing the school community of Fornaro’s appointment, writing: “Please join me in welcoming the Rev. Fornaro in this new role, and on behalf of the Board of Trustees, offer our prayers for his leadership as we successfully pursue the mission of EDS during a period of transition. We are deeply grateful as we take these next steps, confident that we will continue to be enlivened by theologies of liberation and live up to our role as a respected and progressive center for study and spiritual formation.”

Fornaro’s appointment as interim president and dean begins immediately.

Fornaro brings nearly two decades of experience as an ordained leader in The Episcopal Church, including serving as adjunct faculty member at EDS and as a former member of the CREDO faculty where he provided spiritual guidance and support for clergy from diverse parishes across the country. Fornaro’s first career was as a teacher and administrator in the Boston Public Schools. He holds a BS in Education, an MEd in Administration and Organization, and an MDiv from EDS with concentration in Pastoral Theology.