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Prayers for Orlando: Statement from Olympia bishop

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 4:02am

Once again our generation is witness to senseless killing from hands that should not have had such simple and easy access to guns, especially guns built for war with excessive power. Guns that have no place on our streets. We witness yet again radicalized and misused religion as well, focused on hate and violence toward a specific group.

I ask your prayers for the victims in Orlando, those who mourn them, and for the injured as well. In our prayers we should not forget that daily the numbers affected by gun violence are equally as great or greater. Violence that goes unseen and unnoticed by most of us because the victims are not in one place at the hands of one, or directed at one community. Nonetheless those deaths are equally to be mourned and are as every bit our concern and responsibility. We must, as a people, become mature enough to have a rational conversation and debate on these very things. Pray for that too.

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel
Bishop of Olympia

Prayers for Orlando: Statement from Dallas bishop

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 3:53am

We as the Diocese of Dallas share the world’s shock and abhorrence at the terrible act of violence at Pulse nightclub in Orlando this weekend. In our prayers we remember the victims who died, the wounded, and their families. We pray for God’s restraining hand against such acts of hatred, madness, and fanaticism, and that He would turn the hearts of those inclined to such senseless violence. May our nation be, by God’s grace, in our time a land of tranquillity and safety for all its people.

The Rt. Rev. George Sumner
Diocese of Dallas

Prayers for Orlando: Statement from Spokane bishop

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 3:42am

Dear friends,

Please hold in your prayers those who died, were injured, or who lost loved ones in the horrific shooting deaths at an Orlando, Florida club where at least 49 people were killed and many others injured, some gravely.

As we pray for all, may we do so mindful that the focus in our lessons and worship this Sunday morning was a call to proclaim that all life is sacred; a gift from God, and holy.

May we abhor and address vigorously the senseless violence that continues to wreak death and destruction on a daily basis.


The Rt. Rev. James E. Waggoner, Jr.
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane

Campaign against sub-standard medicines in Accra

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 3:36am

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Diocese of Accra is planning to establish pharmacies in some of its parishes to tackle the problem of sub-standard and counterfeit medicines. The multi-billion-dollar global counterfeit drug trade is thriving in Africa, with disastrous consequences. Last year, the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene reported that counterfeit anti-malarial tablets claim the lives of more than 122,000 African children under the age of five every year.

In response, the Diocese of Accra has teamed up with the Norwegian NGO Pharmacists Without Borders and the Lady Pharmacists Association of Ghana to launch a scheme to tackle the problem. It will start by providing training for women’s groups on the importance of obtaining good quality medicines.

In the medium and long term it will establish parish pharmacies to ensure that people are able to obtain their medical supplies from accredited and trusted sources; and it will establish chronic care clinics to support people suffering from hypertension, diabetes and other chronic conditions – amongst the leading causes of death amongst Ghanaians.

The Bishop of Accra, the Rt. Rev. Daniel Sylvanus Mensah Torto, launched the scheme at Holy Trinity Cathedral last month. He has targeted health improvement and the fight against counterfeit and sub-standard medicines as part of the diocese’s socio-economic and political strategy. The director general of the Ghana Health Service and the chief pharmacist and director of pharmaceutical services of the Ministry of Health were among a number of chiefs, opinion leaders and national policy makers present at the launch.

The bishop believes that collaboration provides a major step in the right direction towards improving healthcare in Ghana, and singled out Professor Alex Dodoo, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Collaborating Centre in Ghana, a fellow-Anglican, for being instrumental in making the campaign a reality.

The principal pharmacist of the Police Hospital in Accra, Ellen Sam, said that the church and the media together had an important role in educating consumers on the safe use of medicines and she warned against the practice of buying drugs from commercial vehicles and lorry stations.

The Diocese of Accra is looking for international partners to support their campaign; and asks interested parties to contact Canon Ebenezer Jones-Okai, the diocesan secretary, by email:

Refugee quota increase ‘shames New Zealand,’ says archbishop

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 3:32am

[Anglican Communion News Service] The New Zealand Prime Minister has announced that his government will increase the annual quota of refugees that it will accept from 750 to 1,000. But Archbishop Philip Richardson says that the 250 increase shows that the country is failing to act as “a responsible global citizen” and that it ought to do more to help in the current global crisis.

“In the past five years, there has been a 76 percent increase in people displaced due to war and persecution: from 34 million to 60 million people.” he told Anglican Taonga. “Although the stories of terror play out far from our shores, we need to respond as global neighbors and step up to offer as much as we can.

“I believe we are a compassionate and caring country, but in the face of the current crisis, this increase almost says the opposite.”

The archbishop, one of three primates in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, said that even with the increase of a third of the previous quota, New Zealand was lagging well behind comparably sized countries like Ireland.

With less than a third of New Zealand’s land area, and a slightly higher GDP per capita, Ireland has taken in four times the New Zealand refugee quota since 1976.

Orlando: Prayer Alone is Not Enough: Statement from New York bishops

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 2:24pm
Our dear Brothers and Sisters, Yesterday saw one of the worst mass shootings in recent American history, when a lone gunman killed and wounded more than a hundred people at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  The shock and horror of this assault has covered our nation in mourning.  Yet this was actually the 15th mass shooting in America so far in June, and the 133rd in 2016.  Almost as horrifying as the killings themselves is the regularity with which we awaken to such reports, and the numbing of our sensibilities promoted by that regularity.  We worry as well at the language of division and distrust, of racism and homophobia and Islamophobia, and of the demonizing of the stranger at the gate, which has characterized the rhetoric of some in the current election season.  It seems that something essential to our common life is slipping away;  that some essential thread of the fabric of our country is unravelling. The shooter in Orlando has claimed a loyalty to ISIS and international terrorism, and the investigations to come will take place in that light.  But we must not lose sight of the fact that his targeting of a nightclub frequented by members of the LGBT community was deliberate, and was a direct attack on that community.  This violent expression of homophobic violence will certainly be and should be characterized as a hate crime, and comes also in the week in which we remember the shooting of nine African American men and women at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston twelve months ago.  Too often we see the escalating patterns of violence target those who have been historically marginalized in America.  The Black Lives Matter movement has challenged our country over the lack of consequence and regard when people of color are killed or murdered, and today in our sorrow we say with the same conviction that LGBT Lives Matter, and remember the long record of violence against members of that community.  Too often we are called to mind of the deeper currents in American life and history which have dehumanized and devalued our own brothers and sisters.  To those who knew and loved the victims of this weekend’s violence, to the LGBT community in New York and around our country, and to a nation in mourning, we extend our deepest condolences and care, and our commitment to justice and equality, and to the right of all people to live in safety and peace. President Obama has asked today what kind of country we want to be.  That is a good question.  In the wake of these shootings in Orlando, we your bishops made our parish visitations yesterday.  As we prepared to receive candidates for confirmation, we again led the people of our churches in the renewal of our Baptismal Covenant.  We renounced the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the people of God.  We committed again to strive for justice and peace, and to respect the dignity of every human being.  Against the background of such violence, these vows and promises carry a special poignancy, but they are in fact where the Christian life begins.  It is where we declare the kind of men and women we will be, and the kind of community we intend to create and shape.  It is a central tenet of our faith that people bound by such vows, accepting and embracing our redemption in Jesus, rising with Jesus into new life, may be salt and leaven and light for a suffering world in desperate need of godly transformation. We commend the victims of the shootings in Orlando to your prayers and the prayers of your parish.  But prayer alone is not enough.  Now is the time to reach out in grace and power, and in brotherhood and sisterhood with the larger community of which our churches are a part.  Let the Muslim congregations and people around you know that you refuse to characterize their whole community and people by the actions of this man.  Let the LGBT community around you, and especially the great number of gay and lesbian people in our pews, know that they are beloved members of our community, and today we mourn with them the loss of their many friends, loved by us and by God.  And we ask all Christian people in the Diocese of New York to re-embrace the risen life to which you have been called, to join with one another to build true inclusive community in our churches and bear witness to that before the world, to be repairers of the breach, to trust God and God’s Kingdom Come, to never forget to love neighbor and enemy, to be advocates and servants of justice for all people, and to be ever in the things you do and the things you say witnesses to the love of God for all people, witnesses to the life and love of the Prince of Peace.  And as always we remain Yours, The Right Reverend Andrew M.L. Dietsche Bishop of New York The Right Reverend Allen K. Shin Bishop Suffragan The Right Reverend Mary D. Glasspool Bishop Assistant


Los Obispos sobre Orlando: “La Oración no es Suficiente”


13 de Junio de 2016 Amados Hermanos y Hermanas,

Ayer tuvo lugar uno de los peores tiroteos masivos en la historia reciente de los Estados Unidos, cuando un hombre armado mató e hirió a más de un centenar de personas en un club nocturno en Orlando, Florida. La conmoción y el horror de este asalto han cubierto nuestra nación de luto. Sin embargo, éste es en realidad el tiroteo masivo número 15 en los Estados Unidos en lo que va de junio, y el 133 en el año 2016. Casi tan horripilante como las matanzas mismas es la regularidad con la que nos despertamos a tales informes, y el embotamiento de nuestras sensibilidades ocasionado por esa regularidad. Nos preocupa también el lenguaje de la división y la desconfianza, del racismo y la homofobia y la Islam- fobia y de la demonización del forastero en la puerta, que ha caracterizado a la retórica de algunos en el actual período de elecciones. Parece que algo esencial para nuestra vida en común se está escapando, que parte del hilo esencial del tejido de nuestro país se está destruyendo. El hombre que disparó en Orlando ha declarado lealtad a ISIS y al terrorismo internacional, y las investigaciones por venir tendrán lugar a la luz de esto. Pero, no hay que perder de vista el hecho de que deliberadamente eligió como blanco a un club nocturno frecuentado por miembros de la comunidad LGBT y fue un ataque directo a esa comunidad. Esta expresión violenta de la violencia homofóbica sin duda será y debe ser caracterizado como un crimen de odio, y ocurre también en la semana en que recordamos el tiroteo de nueve hombres y mujeres afroamericanos en la Iglesia Emmanuel AME en Charleston hace doce meses atrás. Con demasiada frecuencia vemos los patrones de la escalada de la violencia que eligen como blancos a aquellos que han sido marginados históricamente en América. El movimiento Las Vidas Negras Importan ha desafiado a nuestro país por la falta de consecuencia y sentido cuando las personas de color son muertos o asesinados, y hoy día en nuestro dolor decimos con la misma convicción de que las Vidas LGBT Importan, y recordamos el largo historial de violencia contra los miembros de esa comunidad. Con demasiada frecuencia se nos llama a ocuparnos de las corrientes más profundas en la vida americana y la historia que han deshumanizado y devaluado a nuestros propios hermanos y hermanas. A quienes conocían y amaban a las víctimas de la violencia de este fin de semana, a la comunidad LGBT en Nueva York y en todo nuestro país, y a una nación de luto, extendemos nuestras condolencias más profundas y nuestra preocupación, y nuestro compromiso con la justicia y la igualdad, y el derecho de todas las personas a vivir en condiciones de seguridad y de paz. El presidente Obama ha preguntado hoy, qué tipo de país que queremos ser. Esa es una buena pregunta. En la estela de estos tiroteos en Orlando, nosotros, sus obispos hicimos nuestras visitas parroquiales ayer. Mientras nos preparábamos para recibir candidatos para la confirmación, otra vez condujimos a la gente de nuestras iglesias en la renovación de nuestro Pacto Bautismal. Renunciamos a los poderes malignos de este mundo que corrompen y destruyen al pueblo de Dios. Nos comprometimos una vez más a luchar por la justicia y la paz, y por el respeto a la dignidad de cada ser humano En el contexto de este tipo de violencia, estos votos y promesas tienen una intensidad especial, pero son, de hecho, donde comienza la vida cristiana. Es donde declaramos la clase de hombres y mujeres que seremos, y el tipo de comunidad que queremos crear y formar. Un principio central de nuestra fe es que las personas obligadas por tales votos, aceptan y abrazan nuestra redención en Jesús, resucitan con Jesús a una nueva vida, pueden ser sal y fermento y luz para un mundo que sufre una urgente necesidad de la transformación divina. Encomendamos a las víctimas de los tiroteos en Orlando a sus oraciones y a las oraciones de su parroquia. Pero, la oración por sí sola no es suficiente. Ahora es el momento de llegar en hermandad, gracia y poder a la comunidad más grande de la cual nuestras iglesias forman parte. Háganle saber a las congregaciones musulmanas y a la gente a su alrededor, que usted se niega a caracterizar a toda su comunidad y a las personas por las acciones de este hombre. Háganle saber a la comunidad LGBT alrededor suyo, y sobre todo al gran número de personas homosexuales y lesbianas en nuestros bancos de las iglesias, que son amados miembros de nuestra comunidad, y hoy lloramos con ellos la pérdida de sus muchos amigos, amados por nosotros y por Dios. Y les pedimos a todos los cristianos de la Diócesis de Nueva York que vuelvan  a abrazar la vida resucitada a la que han sido llamados, a unirse entre sí para construir una verdadera comunidad inclusiva en nuestras iglesias y den testimonio de esto ante el mundo, a ser reparadores de la brecha, a confiar en Dios y en el Venidero Reino de Dios, nunca olvidar amar al vecino y al enemigo, para ser defensores y servidores de la justicia para todas las personas, y para ser siempre testigos del amor de Dios por todas las personas en las cosas que haces y que dices, ser testigos de la vida y del amor del Príncipe de la Paz. Y como siempre quedamos de ustedes Suyos,

El Reverendísimo  Obispo Andrew M.L. Dietsche

Obispo de Nueva York El Reverendísimo Obispo Allen K Shin Obispo Sufragáneo

La Reverendísima  Obispa Mary D Glasspool

Obispo Auxiliar

Prayers for Orlando: Statement from Western Michigan bishop

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 2:21pm

Psalm 13, Usquequo, Domine?
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me for ever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say, ‘I have prevailed’;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

How long, O Lord will such senseless violence continue?
How long, O Lord must we wait for the courage to enact common sense gun laws?
How long, O Lord before love overcomes hate, before grace overcomes malice?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!

What to do we say, this time, to our children, O Lord?
What do we say, this time, to the families of the deceased, O Lord?
What do we say, this time, to ourselves to help us sleep tonight, O Lord?
Give light to my eyes, O Lord my God!

Fifty people are dead and 53 were hospitalized in Orlando yesterday in the single worst mass shooting in United States history. I am numb, angry and so very sad. I do not know how to make sense of this. I do not understand such anger, such hatred. Pray for the victims and their families and for the perpetrator yes, I will pray. But, if I’m honest, I must acknowledge my prayer alone is not enough. I must act. I must love the unlovable, reach out to the outcast, embrace the lonely, be reconciled with my enemies and do all this humbly acknowledging that I do so as much for me as for them. We need each other, whether we like each other or not, whether we agree with each other or not, we need each other. And, especially now as we try to come to grips with the very reality of evil in our midst, we need to trust in the steadfast love of our God for we cannot make it on our own.

May the peace of God which passes all understanding be with us,

+Whayne M. Hougland, Jr.
IX Western Michigan

Archbishops issue joint statement in response to Orlando shootings

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 12:17pm

[Lambeth Palace press release] Archbishops of Canterbury and York call for solidarity with LGBTI people after the attack in Orlando.

“After Sunday’s attack in Orlando as Christians we must speak out in support of LGBTI people, who have become the latest group to be so brutally targeted by the forces of evil. We must pray, weep with those affected, support the bereaved, and love without qualification.

“The obligation to object to these acts of persecution, and to support those LGBTI people who are wickedly and cruelly killed and wounded, bereaved and traumatised, whether in Orlando or elsewhere, is an absolute call on our Christian discipleship. It arises from the unshakeable certainty of the gracious love of God for every human being.

“Now, in this time of heartbreak and grief, is a time for solidarity. May God our Father give grace and comfort to all who mourn, and divine compassion to us all.”

Prayers for Orlando: Statement from Ohio bishop

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 12:13pm

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

As Jesus wept upon the news of Lazarus’s death, so do we, the body of Christ, weep at the news coming from Orlando. This horrifying and heartbreaking tragedy leaves us feeling stunned, vulnerable, insecure, and threatened. This is doubtless immeasurably more so for our sisters and brothers in the LGBT community who have so long been threatened and vulnerable.

In our desperate effort to make some sense of this inherently senseless event, it is tempting to define it as the act of a deranged and violent soul driven by hate, thus distancing ourselves from its reality and pain. Some may even find themselves attributing it to the perpetrator’s religious background and ethnicity. The power of evil wants nothing more than to use it in further separating us one from another.

But this largest mass shooting in our nation’s history calls us to be confessional about the violence, terror, and continuing homophobia that we have come to accept in our society, and by which acceptance we have become part of. If we are to be intolerant of anything, may it be these things. May we confront hatred and violence not with fear and a hatred and violence of our own, but with a renewed commitment to the security and wellbeing of all, and with a deeper vulnerability to the humanity of those from whom we differ in any way. May we remember that the other, of course, is always Jesus.

In this month of Gay Pride, there is much to be proud of and grateful for, especially given the landmark events of the last year. In the midst of our anguish and pain, may we hold the victims of this killing, those they loved, and those who loved them in our hearts, and be proud of them for the integrity of their lives. And may they and we be forever held together in the gentle and firm arms of God’s mercy.

You and they are very much in my prayers,

The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr.
Bishop of Ohio

Prayers for Orlando: Statement from Massachusetts bishop

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 11:37am

Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.

A week ago I joined a neighborhood Peace Walk in Boston’s South End with Boston Police Commissioner William Evans and members of his department, children and adults of the neighborhood, and participants in our diocesan B-PEACE effort.  We walked local streets proclaiming our determination to reduce gun violence and other violations of communal safety.

“Of course,” I told the gathering, “marching around the neighborhood or wearing orange (as we’d recently done for Gun Violence Awareness Day) will not, in and of itself, stop the violence.  We do this to proclaim to others and remind ourselves that together there is hard work to be done.”

The very next day a 17-year-old student was shot and killed outside his high school in Dorchester.  Six days later 50 people have died in Orlando in what is being termed the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history.  Within hours of my own grateful participation in Boston’s Pride Parade, I find myself grieving and extending compassionate prayers and heartfelt support to the wider LGBT community as the latest target of hatred and violence.

I struggle to sort out the tangled web of motivations in this tragedy, as in others before it.  Each mass shooting and terror attack has had its own particular toxic combination of factors – individual alienation, hatred towards those who are different from us, religious extremism and more.  A common factor in virtually every case, however, has been the ready accessibility of lethal weapons.

With each successive, perverse milestone in our country’s narrative of violence – now a school massacre, now a movie theater slaughter; now the most children murdered, now the greatest total number of victims – our initial determination to be galvanized fades into a higher threshold of tolerance and accommodation to apparent inevitability.

Our grief and anger, however, must continue to issue not only in compassion and prayer, but in continued advocacy for those measures which can turn the tide in this crescendo of death.  We do this with programs that build relationships across lines that divide us.  We do it also with common-sense legislation on access to weaponry.  (Bishops United Against Gun Violence, of which both I and Bishop Gayle Harris are members, provides links at, pull-down menu “The Evidence.”)

Of course we know that none of these measures in isolation will prevent all murderous attacks.  Of course we know that combating terrorism requires different methods than combating household firearm accidents.  But a full spectrum of interconnected efforts must advance the cause of communal safety and peace.

Jesus told us that the greatest commandments are to love God and love our neighbor.  It follows that the greatest sin is the failure to love, and we are told that the consequence of sin is death.  Too much are we witnessing this consequence.  Let us love one another.  Fervently, tangibly, relentlessly: let us love one another.

Faithfully in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates

Prayers for Orlando: Statement from Colorado bishop

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 11:18am
“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’”
–John 20:19

Dear Friends in Christ,

It goes without saying that our hearts are broken by yesterday’s mass shooting in Orlando, and I understand fully that no words can begin to describe the shock, the sadness, and the outrage that all of us feel collectively.

Certainly, I invite your prayers today and in the days ahead for all those who were killed, for those who are wounded, for all the many family members and friends of all the victims, and for the first responders who were called upon to put their training and skills into action.

But let me be clear. This invitation to prayer is not mere sentiment. Whenever we hold ourselves and others in prayer, inviting the presence of the Holy Spirit into our hearts and lifting ourselves into the light of the living God, we enter ever more fully into the exchange and flow of that divine grace that has the capacity to heal, restore, and renew all things. Just as the risen Jesus breathed peace into the frightened hearts of his disciples after his crucifixion, so we too, through our collective prayer, breathe peace into this troubled and frightened world.

Here are some resources for prayer that you might find helpful for yourself or for your congregation: Prayer for Peace. Prayer for the Human Family. Prayer for our Enemies. Prayer for our Country. Prayer for Social Justice. Prayer in Times of Conflict.

Our life as people of God, however, is not simply a private matter. Even as we may pray quietly in the silence of our hearts, our witness to the love that is God must be made visible in our collective communities. There has been enough violence and enough bloodshed. Our world longs for a more transcendent vision of itself-of human beings being fully human-and we are a people sent by God into this world to bear witness to a more transcendent way of life.

Now is not a time for us as inheritors of the gospel of peace to shrink back or remain silent. Instead this is the time for all of us to make the time and to take the time to stand shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart with others in opposition to the hatred and violence that so haunts this world (much of it sadly rationalized, justified, and glorified in the name of God).

In many communities across Colorado, vigils and prayer services are being organized. In Denver tonight, I will be in attendance at the vigil held in Cheesman Park at 8:00 pm, organized by PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). Some of those are listed in the links below (or others can be found by a simple web search). I encourage you to attend one. This is a time to make your voice counted and to stand with others, across the lines of political persuasion and religious belief, for peace.

If there is no such gathering near you, why not gather your friends, your colleagues, your community together and organize one as your witness and gift to others?

Remember this always: the opposite of love is not hate, but fear. For it is fear that gives rise to all the resentments, the bitterness, the anger, the rage, and the violence that constitute hatred. It is fear too that silences the voice of the good and allows hatred to persist. But our God is the God of love, and the call of God is always to take heart, to have courage, to stand tall in the name of Love, and to be the light that pushes back the darkness, knowing that in all times and in all places and in all ways, Love wins.

So, dear sisters and brothers, through our prayer and our witness, let’s stand tall for the gospel of peace. It’s time to push back the darkness together in the name of Love.

Deep peace and many blessings be with you.

Bishop Rob O’Neill
Diocese of Colorado

Vigils Across Colorado:

The University of Denver’s Center for Multicultural Excellence is holding a brief, informal gathering for the campus community on Monday at 12: 30 p.m. A moment of silence will be followed by a shout of anger/determination on the Driscoll Green (green space between Asbury and Evans). More information

Denver’s PFLAG will hold a vigil on Monday at 8:00 pm in Cheesman Park. More information

Fort Collins will hold a vigil on Monday at 8:00 pm near the stage in Old Town. More information

Prayers for Orlando: Statement from New Jersey bishop

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 10:31am

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation, but worldly grief produces death….
2 Corinthians 7:10

The shooting in Orlando this past Sunday was the largest mass shooting in the history of this nation. It was a terrorist act and a hate crime directed specifically at members of the LGBTQ community. It was also directed against all of us as a nation. In every way, the act was repugnant, despicable and is to be denounced.

As Christians, our first duty is to grieve over the loss of so many. We are to pray for the victims, their families and their loved ones. Many are still fighting for their lives in area hospitals. Families are still waiting to hear if their loved ones are among the dead. Images on television yesterday, of a mother lamenting her son, still not knowing his fate, are seared into my memory. This grief is not abstract, it is real. That these acts of violence come with such frequency cannot numb us from seeing the real human beings who are victims. They are our brothers and sisters. They are our sons and daughters. They are our mothers and fathers. They are our friends. They are us.

We must also grieve at the sinfulness of this nation. Our political leadership, gun manufacturers, the National Rifle Association and other gun lobbyists continue to enable and empower acts of mass violence through their failure to address the easy access so many have to guns. Yesterday’s shooting was a clear example of this failure. I will continue my active participation in Bishops United Against Gun Violence and partner with others to work for sensible gun laws in this country.

Sadly, the response of many yesterday was to answer hatred with hatred. Anti-Muslim rhetoric filled social media and the news. As Christians, called upon by our Baptismal Covenant to “seek and serve Christ in all persons” and “to respect the dignity of every human being” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 305), we must always reject such hatred and sweeping generalizations. The act of the gunman yesterday was the product of a twisted ideology that distorts Islamic teaching. I encourage all of us to become more knowledgeable about Islam and for our churches to increase their efforts to build relationships with members of the Islamic community.

Yesterday, there was great support on social media for the victims of the Orlando shootings as well as for the LGBTQ community. We have come a long way in this nation and in our church in terms of our acceptance and embrace of persons with diverse sexual identities. Yesterday called for us to be in solidarity with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

There was, however, an ugly shadow side on social media in the wake of the Orlando shootings. Abhorrent statements against LGBTQ persons were posted. Hatred and prejudice against LGBTQ persons continue to plague us as a society. It was this kind of hatred and prejudice that apparently fueled Omar Mateen, motivating him to purchase a semi-automatic rifle and handgun, drive to Orlando, murder 49 persons and wound more than 50 others. Violence against, and persecution of, LGBTQ persons is a reality in our nation and around the world. I am grateful to be part of a church that stands with LGBTQ persons and pledge my support of them against ignorance, prejudice and persecution.

Hatred in any form is anathema to Christian sensibility.  Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind…and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Matthew 22:37-39)

These were not suggestions.  They were commandments.

May we all do the disciplined and difficult work of living into these commandments as we continue to pray for the victims of the Orlando shootings, their families and loved ones.





The Right Reverend William H. Stokes
Bishop of New Jersey

Prayers for Orlando: Statement from Central Pennsylvania bishop

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 10:23am

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6: 12

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ in the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania,

Again, we have been shattered by the news of gunfire and the loss of innocent lives in our country.


Again, we have woken to news of violence in places where we, or any of our loved ones, might have been: a school, a town square, a nightclub.

Again, we have counted bodies by the dozen; and learned in a matter of hours, the background, history and life details of a gunman, previously unknown to any of us.

And, again, we say that we are outraged.


The event in Orlando that occurred early Sunday morning has the distinction of claiming the greatest number of lives since the bombing of the World Trade Center in 2001. 50 lives lost and 53 wounded.

The gunman, Omar Mateen, has been linked to ISIS. The victims were patrons at a nightclub serving the LGBTQ community. There are any number of angles that can be investigated to discover the purpose, the motive and the intent of this act of violence. To do so is important, but it is not the sole answer or the end to this crisis. Because, if history is our teacher, we know that in just another short interval, we will be facing this kind of tragedy again. And again. And you will be reading another letter from your bishop and watching another press release from the White House and learning the sad biography of another shooter and his or her victims. Again.

As your bishop, I call us to prayer in this time and, always, as we meet tragedy. And, as your bishop, I call us to action because I cannot bear the thought of again… and again… and again.

Before Sunday morning’s incident, I had already scheduled a meeting of a few interested people to gather with me on June 21 to meet with Mr. Bryan Miller of “Heeding God’s Call,” an advocacy and action group based in Philadelphia that is working to eradicate gun violence in our country. Last week, several of our clergy joined in the “Wear Orange” initiative to raise awareness of gun violence, and as our new Social Justice and Equity Committee takes shape, I look forward to their work advocating on this issue.

At a dinner last night, I sat with two social justice advocates in our city of Harrisburg and spoke with them about the vastness of this issue. The loss of life to gun violence is about more than gun control and second amendment rights. What happened in Orlando Sunday morning is symptomatic of larger issues: fear, vulnerability, hatred, and evil. As the author of Ephesians wrote, this is about “cosmic powers” and “spiritual forces of evil” that we are called to address.

The way that Christians are called to wrap our arms around something as large as “the spiritual forces of evil” is to appeal to the One who is larger than life itself–our Creator, Redeemer and Sustaining God. That is why, for me, prayer is always the first and best response. Of that I am not ashamed. I pray for God’s holy and awesome power to overcome darkness and to vanquish evil. And then, I pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to fill me with enough courage, zeal and persistence to reach out, in the name of Jesus, to do what I can. On June 21, in my meeting with Mr. Bryan Miller, I will begin that work.

I pray for you to join me. Pray for healing, and for evil to be vanquished. And pray that God will engage you to do your own work in reconciling our broken society and restoring wholeness to our world.

I pledge to share news of my meeting on the 21st and encourage you to contact my office with interest in joining our local efforts. My email is

May God bless you and those whom you love.

May God bind up those who are broken hearted and bring peace.

And may the souls of the departed rise in glory.

The Rt. Rev. Audrey Scanlan
Bishop of Central Pennsylvania
12 June 2016

Prayers for Orlando: Statement from Rio Grande bishop

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 10:18am

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

My soul is wrought with pain as I read of the senseless and useless deaths of our brothers and sisters slain in Orlando, Florida.

Let us pray for the repose of the souls of those who died, for the healing of those who were wounded, and for the Holy Spirit to comfort their families and friends. Pray also for this nation as we struggle to comprehend such hatred and anger.

God be with as in this dark hour that we may anticipate the sunrise and peace.


+Michael Vono

Prayers for Orlando: Statement from Western Massachusetts bishop

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 9:38am

They lurk in ambush in public squares
and in secret places they murder the innocent;
they spy out the helpless.
Psalm 10:8

I write to you again in response to yet another mass shooting in America. Elementary schools, high schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, office buildings, churches and gay bars. No place is safe. No one is safe. Not as long as assault weapons are legally available to the one who hates, to the one who is ill, or to the one who wants to bring terror.

More death.  More words. And no action.

The public health crisis that is gun violence just claimed 50 more lives. Add this to the 91 per day that die in the United States through gun violence. Just ten days ago Bishops United Against Gun Violence co-sponsored the #WearOrange campaign. Episcopalians all over the country wore orange and took over social media for the entire day. When will we wake up? When will our elected officials show some courage? In the wake of the slaughter and wounding of 100 LGBTQ people in Orlando, we must acknowledge that homophobia and racism are also at the heart of our dis-ease.

They say in their heart, ‘God has forgotten; he hides his face; he will never notice (Psalm 10:11).’ But God sees. God needs us to break the cycle of fear, hatred and scapegoating with a love that defies the darkness. Yes, our laws must change. Our elected leaders must bear responsibility for the state of gun safety legislation. But we must speak love to those who mourn, to those feeling a wave of justifiable anger. In time and with grace, we must speak love even to the one who brings death.

Our hearts are broken for Orlando and for LGBTQ people who are absorbing the reality of this violence. Our love surrounds all who bear the weight of this tragedy.

Rise up, O Lord;
Lift up your hand, O God;
Do not forget the afflicted.
Psalm 10:12

+ Doug

The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher
IX Bishop of Western Massachusetts

El Consejo responde de manera creativa a un ministerio emergente en Fort Worth

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 9:12am

Miembros del Consejo Ejecutivo y del personal [denominacional] participan de un estudio bíblico el 10 de junio durante la oración matutina antes del comienzo de la sesión de clausura del Consejo. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS

[Episcopal News Service – Chaska, Minnesota] El Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal se comprometió el 10 de junio a atender una solicitud de la Diócesis de Fort Worth, de $600.000 en ayuda económica, en el mismo espíritu de creatividad que los episcopales allí han tenido en reorganizarse durante casi los últimos ocho años.

Con la opinión del obispo primado Michael B. Curry de que no se trata de un rescate, sino de una inversión en las nuevas formas de ser la Iglesia, la aprobación se produjo el último día de la reunión que tuvo aquí el Consejo del 8 al 10 de junio.

La permanente Diócesis de Fort Worth ha estado reorganizándose desde noviembre de 2008 cuando una mayoría de ex clérigos y líderes laicos decidió abandonar la Iglesia Episcopal. Cuando el Consejo se reunió en febrero, lo hizo en Fort Worth y oyó testimonios de cómo la diócesis no quiere simplemente reconstruirse, sino más bien transformar la manera en que la Iglesia Episcopal ministra en los 24 condados del centro norte de Texas. Este empeño surge, en parte, de la necesidad, en la medida en que la Iglesia Episcopal y la diócesis procuran recuperar propiedades y otros bienes que aún controlan los que se fueron.

Por ejemplo, la obra en algunos lugares significa adorar en espacios no convencionales, tales como un teatro y un centro comercial.

Y la diócesis ha creado nuevos ministerios, como es el de un programa de almuerzos de los jueves que atiende a más de 300 estudiantes de la Universidad Estatal de Tarleton y a estudiantes de la iglesia episcopal de San Lucas [St. Luke’s] en Stephenville. Junto con la ayuda a estudiantes universitarios hambrientos —que están tratando de estirar sus planes de comidas y a los que hacen sentir como en casa, hay una caja de plegarias para que ellos dejen sus peticiones. Valiéndose de esas peticiones, los voluntarios oran por los estudiantes de manera permanente.

Durante la reunión de febrero, el Consejo recibió una solicitud de Fort Worth de $600.000 para los próximos dos años. En el transcurso de la reunión en Chaska, el Comité Permanente de Misión y Ministerio Locales del Consejo (LMM, por su sigla en inglés), junto con el Comité de Finanzas para la Misión, presentó un plan para financiar la mayor parte, si no la totalidad, de la propuesta.

El Rdo. Frank Logue dijo a sus colegas del Consejo que el LMM había colaborado con representantes de Fort Worth desde febrero para financiar de manera creativa su solicitud, dado que encontrar una reserva de $600.000 en el presupuesto de la Iglesia 2016-2019 le parecía “una acción quijotesca en este momento”. En consecuencia, el LMM propuso un plan “que llega a ustedes con lágrimas de gozo”, dijo Logue, que “permite que me parezca que ha ocurrido un milagro”.

Según el debate del comité y la resolución formal aprobada el 10 de junio, el Consejo convino en otorgarle a la diócesis $107.500 para sus ministerios de evangelización y crecimiento de la Iglesia en 2016, y $55.000 anuales en 2017 y 2018. Se animó a la diócesis  a solicitar cerca de $188.000 en subvenciones derivadas de la Resolución D005 para el proceso de plantación de iglesias. El Consejo también se comprometió a ayudar a Fort Worth a encontrar fuentes de subvenciones y donaciones por otros $200.000.

La financiación, que será equiparada por la diócesis y sus congregaciones, costeará un programa de curato para emplear y adiestrar a nuevos sacerdotes, ayudar a incorporar a clérigos —a los cuales se les paga por trabajo de jornada parcial— con salarios de jornada completa y a contratar plantadores de iglesias.

El Muy Rdo. Brian Baker, miembro del Consejo proveniente de la Diócesis de California Norte, arguyó durante una reunión del comité de Misión y Ministerio Locales a favor de un nuevo enfoque en la forma de ayudar a las diócesis en dificultades. “No se trata de pedir dinero para evitar que se hunda un barco que se está hundiendo, que es muchísimo en lo que la Iglesia ha botado el dinero”, dijo él. “Esto es una oportunidad de crecimiento en una diócesis que está creciendo significativamente, y que si sencillamente los ayudamos un poco más, habrá un gran rendimiento”.

Fort Worth tiene 17 congregaciones, entre ellas una congregación luterana pastoreada por un sacerdote episcopal. La diócesis ha visto un aumento de un 19,3 por ciento en miembros comulgantes y un 11,9 por ciento de aumento en ingresos operativos. Desde su reorganización en 2009, Fort Worth ha pagado anualmente la totalidad de lo que le ha pedido la Iglesia Episcopal para sostener el presupuesto trienal de la denominación. Es la única de las seis diócesis del estado de Texas en hacerlo.

La Rda. Janet Waggoner, canóniga del Ordinario en la Diócesis de Fort Worth, le da las gracias al Consejo Ejecutivo por su apoyo de lo que ella llamó la obra de resurrección que está teniendo lugar en la diócesis. Foto de Brian Baker

“Es realmente importante para nuestra moral seguir pagando nuestra tasación completa”, dijo la Rda. Janet Waggoner, canóniga del Ordinario en la Diócesis de Fort Worth, al comité de Misión y Ministerio Locales durante una reunión el 8 de junio.

Ella señaló que llega con retraso a la transformación de la diócesis. “Es el pueblo de Dios de la Diócesis de Fort Worth el que lleva a cabo esta labor”, apuntó. “Ellos lo harían todo de su bolsillo, si pudieran, pero no pueden”.

Después de que el Consejo aprobara la resolución, Waggoner les dijo a los miembros que “el crecimiento, la resurrección, sigue proclamándose mientras juntos alzamos el nombre de Jesús” en la diócesis.

“Este es el Movimiento de Jesús sobre el terreno y me siento agradecida de ser yo misma parte de él y de tener esta conexión con la totalidad de la Iglesia Episcopal, porque esta historia es nuestra historia. Que la luz del Evangelio se propague ampliamente en todos los sentidos y si podemos ser un ejemplo seremos felices siéndolo”, dijo ella suscitando el aplauso y una ovación de pie.

Durante una conferencia de prensa posterior a la reunión, la Rda. Gay Clark Jennings, presidente de la Cámara de Diputados y vicepresidente del Consejo, dijo que Fort Worth y otras diócesis emergentes podían darle lecciones al resto de la Iglesia. Jennings se reunió recientemente con los obispos en Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, San Joaquín y Carolina del Sur, los cuales, dijo ella, la impusieron de todo lo que esas diócesis han enfrentado, no por razones de su propia elección, enormes cambios del tipo que el resto de la Iglesia va a tener que enfrentar o que ya está enfrentando desde el punto de vista de disminución de bienes en ingresos y propiedades.

“Creo que tienen muchísimo para enseñarnos al resto de nosotros”, afirmó, añadiendo que todas esas diócesis han encarado el pesar de sus pérdidas y ahora “la convierten en una actitud basada en la fe” de discernir quienes están ellos llamados por Dios a ser en su contexto.

“Creo que aportan una enorme esperanza al resto de nosotros”, dijo. “Francamente, puedo creer que hacemos algo por ellos cuando el Consejo Ejecutivo adopta la resolución y les da $600.000; pero creo que no hemos medido aún las cosas sorprendentes que ellas nos enseñan al resto de nosotros. En verdad tenemos que prestar atención y aprender de esas diócesis.

El obispo primado Michael B. Curry se mostró de acuerdo, al decir que el plan “no es un rescate; esto es una inversión para hacer avanzar la Iglesia”. Él la definió como “una importante iniciativa evangélica en un contexto emergente”, que crea otros modelos para el resto de la Iglesia.

Los comités ejecutivos conjuntos de Finanzas para la Misión y de Misión y Ministerio Locales, ambos del Consejo Ejecutivo, se reunieron juntos el 9 de junio para convenir en encontrar medios para apoyar la creciente iniciativa de misión y evangelización en la Diócesis de Fort Worth.. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

En otras decisiones, El Consejo:
•    Asignó $1,5 millones en subvenciones de sostenibilidad (partida 167 del presupuesto) para las cuatro principales diócesis que se dedican al ministerio de los nativoamericanos. Los ítems que abarcan las subvenciones van desde preparación para el liderazgo y ministerio de los jóvenes hasta paneles solares y dinero para comprar una retroexcavadora de manera que resulte menos costoso para los residentes de la reserva india de Standing Rock cavar tumbas para sus parientes difuntos. Curry dijo que las subvenciones estaban “poniendo en pie al Movimiento de Jesús” y encarnando tanto la evangelización como la reconciliación racial.

•    Convino en seguir apoyando una asociación emergente entre la Iglesia y dos colegios universitarios tradicionalmente negros que tienen raíces en la Iglesia Episcopal: Voorhees College en Denmark, Carolina del Sur, y la Universidad de San Agustín [St. Augustine’s] en Raleigh, Carolina del Norte. El Equipo de Trabajo de Colegios y Universidades Episcopales Tradicionalmente Negros ha estado fomentando esa asociación.

•    Dio un paso histórico al autorizar el gasto de hasta $3,4 millones para ayudar a implementar una campaña de captación de fondos y finalmente mudar los Archivos de la Iglesia Episcopal hacia un nuevo edificio ya previsto en Austin, Texas. Actualmente, los Archivos, 566 metros cúbicos de materiales están esparcidos en más de cinco lugares y a la mayor parte de la colección no se puede tener acceso fácilmente, según el archivero canónico Mark Duffy. Hay negociaciones en marcha con posibles constructores de un terreno propiedad de la Iglesia Episcopal en Austin, dijo Duffy. El objetivo es tener un nuevo hogar allí para los Archivos dentro de cinco años. Detalles del proyecto propuesto se encuentran aquí.

•    Aprobó resoluciones ratificando el apoyo de la Iglesia a leyes que impiden la discriminación basada en identidad o expresión de género tal como quedó descrito en la Resolución D012 de la Convención General de 2009 y su permanente apoyo a un salario decoroso para todos los que trabajan por horas. Jennings dijo durante la conferencia de prensa que la resolución en contra de la discriminación sigue una trayectoria que se remonta al menos a 1985 cuando, el entonces recién electo obispo primado, Edmond Browning declaró que no debía haber parias en la Iglesia Episcopal. [Jennings] dijo que ella y Curry pronto tendrían más que decirle a la Iglesia sobre este asunto y sobre lo que ella llamó una “importante resolución”. La resolución sobre el salario digno engendró debates sobre la eficacia de ese salario mínimo. George Wing, miembro del Consejo y proveniente de Colorado, dijo que exigir [un salario mínimo de] $15 la hora en verdad reduce el empleo. Y, agregó, $15 la hora significa algo distinto en Manhattan de lo que significa en otras partes del país. La Rda. Marion Luckey, de la Diócesis de Michigan Norte, convino en esto diciendo que “en nuestra zona del país resulta muy perjudicial pedirle a un pequeño negocio que pague este tipo de salario”. Luckey dijo que ella estaba a favor de un salario decoroso, pero que se oponía a imponerlo, puesto que “en verdad tiene consecuencias imprevistas”. El Rdo. Stan Runnels, de la Diócesis de Misurí Occidental, dijo “entiendo  el reto de los $15 la hora en diferentes lugares… Es un incordio; pero así es la justicia.”

•    Convino en que el Consejo y el Comité Permanente Conjunto de Programa, Presupuesto y Finanzas “considerará seriamente” reducir la extracción anual sobre los ingresos de inversiones a un 4,5 por ciento para 2021.  La decisión se produjo en respuesta a las advertencias del comité de inversiones del Consejo y del tesorero N. Kurt Barnes de que la tendencia de recientes presupuestos trienales de tomar más de las ganancias por inversiones de la Iglesia del normal 5 por ciento anual estaba “minando el futuro poder adquisitivo” de esas inversiones. En un asunto relacionado, la Rda. Mally Lloyd, miembro del Consejo Ejecutivo proveniente de la Diócesis de Massachusetts y miembro del Comité Permanente Conjunto de Programa, Presupuesto y Finanzas de la Iglesia, bosquejó el plan del comité de Finanzas para el Ministerio para desarrollar el presupuesto 2019-2021 que el Consejo debe proponer a principios de 2018. Y ella dijo que Finanzas para la Misión había decidido, en conversación con Curry y con Jennings, no basar esa propuesta en las Cinco Marcas de la Misión como había sido el caso en los dos últimos presupuestos trienales. “No que no nos gusten, pero limitan la manera en que el presupuesto puede encajar”, explicó.

La reunión está teniendo lugar en el Hotel y Centro de Conferencias Oak Ridge en Chaska, un suburbio al sur de Minneapolis y San Pablo. Anterior cobertura de ENS sobre la reunión de Chaska se encuentra aquí.

La próxima reunión del Consejo tendrá lugar del 20 al 22 de octubre en New Brunswick, Nueva Jersey, durante la cual se espera que los miembros visiten el Centro [Denominacional] de la Iglesia Episcopal,  a unos 64 kilómetros al noreste en el centro de Manhattan.

El Consejo Ejecutivo lleva a cabo los programas y políticas adoptadas por la Convención General, según el Canon I.4 (1). 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, más el Obispo Primado y el Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados [que son miembros ex oficio]. Además, el vicepresidente de la Cámara de Diputados, el Secretario, el Director de Operaciones, el Tesorero y el Director de Finanzas tienen asiento y voz, pero no voto.

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

Bexley Seabury welcomes Scott Stoner as affiliate professor of practical theology

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 8:08am

Creator of Living Compass Scott Stoner has joined the Bexley Seabury faculty as affiliate professor of practical theology.

[Bexley Seabury press release] Bexley Seabury, one of 10 accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church, today announced the Rev. Scott Stoner has joined its faculty as affiliate professor of practical theology. In addition to course development and teaching, Stoner will contribute to student formation programs and community building. Founding president and executive director of the Samaritan Foundation for Church and Family Wellness, Stoner is the creator of Living Compass, a faith-based wellness ministry serving individuals, families, and congregations. He is former rector of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2001–2008), and a seasoned pastoral counselor and family therapist.

“We are thrilled to welcome Scott Stoner to Bexley Seabury,” said President Roger Ferlo. “Dr. Stoner’s understanding of the church as the original wellness center and his grasp of the spiritual and pastoral skills needed to lead the church in today’s culture align perfectly with our mission to equip leaders for the church we are becoming.”

“My ministry and that of Bexley Seabury are entirely congruent,” Stoner said. “Bexley Seabury exemplifies the strength-based, adaptive leadership that comes from wholeness—the ideal model for emerging leaders who are facing the challenge of finding new ways of being church. I’m delighted to return to Bexley Seabury at such a dynamic time in its long history, at the cutting edge of theological education.”

A Bexley Seabury alum (M.Div. Seabury-Western ’81), Stoner earned a D.Min. in Pastoral Psychotherapy (’85) at Chicago Theological Seminary, where Bexley Seabury will consolidate in July. Stoner also earned a Post-Graduate Certificate in Applied Family Systems Thinking at Family Therapy Training Institute (’08), Milwaukee. He is author of “Your Living Compass: Living Well in Thought, Word, and Deed” (Morehouse/Church Publishing, 2014) and primary author of Advent and Lenten devotionals published annually by Living Compass. Stoner introduced his “Words of Wellnessemail column in 2008; it now reaches 5,000 people each week.

Bexley Seabury is an Episcopal center for learning and discipleship offering theological education in a generous spiritual and intellectual tradition. Our mission is to equip lay and ordained leaders for bold inquiry in service of the Gospel and active engagement in congregational and community life. In July 2016, Bexley Seabury will consolidate from its current two sites, in Chicago and Columbus, to a unified campus at 1407 East 60th Street, Chicago, Ill., 60637, becoming the sixth (sole Episcopal) seminary in the ecumenically and theologically diverse Hyde Park/Woodlawn area. Learn more at

Prayers for Orlando: Statement from Rhode Island bishop

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 7:26am

It’s beyond our bearing. Another mass shooting has happened, this one the deadliest in our country’s history. Someone was given access to enough weapons that 49 people were shot dead and nearly as many wounded in one attack by one man in one place. There was an armed police officer outside the club where the people were killed but that didn’t stop this shooter.

This time it is the LGBT community that is grieving their friends and their children who have been cut down. In the last few years it’s been the parents of school children, fellow parishioners after a Bible study, social workers mourning their co-workers after a staff party, and the many others whose stories no longer have had enough shock value to gain national attention. No matter who it is, the tears are the same, the shock is the same, the elected leaders pledges are the same – and nothing seems to change.

This morning, after the shooting and killings in Orlando at Pulse, people are sharing their frustration that prayer isn’t enough. And by itself, it isn’t. But it’s the place we as Christians start. It’s the place from which we move. And that movement has to be out into a world that is reeling, shocked, weeping and devastated with pain beyond bearing. As followers of Jesus we are asked to move out toward the people who are persecuted and harmed and to take our place standing beside them. And we are asked to surround them with the kind of community that will start to slow the violence – to make these sorts of events a memory and not our future.

We do this with the simple tools God has given us. Prayer. Bread. Wine. Healing oil. And the tools that build community. Listening. Pot-luck dinners. Food drives. Homeless shelters. It’s nonsense in the eyes of the world, but it’s what God would have us do. Jesus showed us that these things change the arc of history.

Because as we stand with the victims and the persecuted, as we feed them and pray with them, as we give of ourselves on their behalf, we are creating a community that Jesus tells us will be impervious to the hatred and assaults of the evil forces of this world which seem to have the upper hand on dark days like today.

So today we pray. Tomorrow we move.

The Rt. Rev. Nicholas Knisely
Bishop of Rhode Island

Prayers for Orlando: Statement from San Diego bishop

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 6:49am

Once again senseless gun violence has claimed the lives of innocent people and tragically affected the lives of countless more. My heart breaks for the victims of this horrifying act of violence. When the victims are part of community that has been historically oppressed, this kind of violence can send shock waves through the LGBTQI community, not just in Orlando but everywhere, including in our diocese. We must all stand in solidarity with, and openly affirm, the right to safety for all gay, lesbian, transgendered, queer and inquiring people. These are our brothers, sisters, children, parents, friends and loved ones. Let us speak as one voice acknowledging the deep pain of the entire grieving LGBTQI community and say we are with you and we are praying for you. At the same time, we must pray for the perpetrator and his family, and that this horrific incident not be used as justification for religious or racial hatred. May the God whose peace passes all understanding hold us now.

The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes
Bishop of San Diego

Prayers and statements for Orlando

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 6:46am