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Updated: 1 hour 9 min ago

Threshing to end global hunger

Tue, 08/09/2016 - 10:32am

RIP: Ormonde Plater, author of ‘Many Servants’

Tue, 08/09/2016 - 10:21am

[The Association for Episcopal Deacons] The Association for Episcopal Deacons is saddened by the loss of Archdeacon Ormonde Plater, Diocese of Louisiana, to the worldwide diaconal community. Ormonde died Aug. 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration, after a long illness.

It would be hard to overestimate Ormonde’s contribution to the development of the Episcopal Church’s restoration of the distinctive diaconate in ordained ministry, and his theological leadership extended around the globe.  His book Many Servants: An Introduction to Deacons, provided a historical overview of the Episcopal diaconate and a rationale for the renewal of the order.  He also authored The Deacon in the Liturgy and Intercession, as well as other volumes which continue to play an essential role in the education and formation of deacons in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

Ormonde’s leadership extended to the creation of the organizational infrastructure needed for the renewed diaconate to prosper, as well.  He was an early member of AED’s predecessor organization, the North American Association for the Diaconate, and he served faithfully on our board and as our president.  In his last appearance at one of AED’s assemblies, he provided a sage and comprehensive overview of the history and development of the Episcopal Church’s diaconal movement.  An early adopter of internet technologies, for over 20 years he has hosted the anglodeacons and archdeacons Yahoo groups, a modality of communications which has enabled deacons to communicate around the world and vastly expand their ability to collaborate in both diaconal action and in reflection on the renewed order.

Ormonde was ordained a deacon in 1971 at St. Anna’s Episcopal Church in New Orleans. Over the years he served the Episcopal Church in parish, diocesan, prison and hospital ministries.

There are indeed many stories of Ormonde that will be shared as we celebrate his life and ministry among us.  Please add your reflections and your pictures as together, we mourn the passing of this worldwide diaconal leader.  We know he rests in peace and are certain he has risen in glory.  Well done, good and faithful servant!

Read the New Orleans Advocate‘s obituary here.

Está abierto el proceso de solicitud de becas del Fondo Constable de la Iglesia Episcopal

Mon, 08/08/2016 - 2:24pm

[8 de agosto del 2016] El proceso de solicitud está abierto para las becas del Fondo Constable para el ciclo 2016-2017.

El Fondo Constable ofrece becas para financiar iniciativas de misión que no estuvieron previstas en el presupuesto de la Iglesia Episcopal, tal como fue aprobado por la Convención General del 2015.

La Revda. Tanya Wallace, miembro del Consejo Ejecutivo de la Diócesis de Massachusetts Occidental y presidente del Comité de Revisión de Becas del Fondo Constable, señaló que las últimas becas Constable han oscilado de 5,000 a 200,000 dólares.

Las solicitudes pueden ser presentadas por: (1) una oficina de programas de la Iglesia Episcopal; (2) uno de los órganos provisionales de la Convención General; o (3) una de las provincias de la Iglesia Episcopal.

Las pautas específicas, sugerencias, formulario de solicitud y el calendario están disponibles aquí.

La fecha límite para las solicitudes es el 1 de noviembre. Las becas serán revisadas por el Comité de Revisión de Becas del Fondo Constable del Consejo Ejecutivo y las recomendaciones serán presentadas al Consejo Ejecutivo para tomar una decisión en su reunión de febrero del 2017. Los beneficiarios serán notificados en la clausura de la reunión.

Para obtener más información contacte a Wallace en revtrwallace.gc@gmail.com o al reverendo Canónigo Michael Barlowe, Oficial Ejecutivo de la Convención General, gcsecretary@episcopalchurch.org.

Llamado así por la señorita Constable
Las Becas Constable fueron nombradas por la señorita Mary Louise Constable, que era una filántropa visionaria. En el 1935, en medio de la Gran Depresión, la señorita Constable hizo un regalo monetario a la Iglesia Episcopal para establecer el Fondo Constable. Su deseo e intención de añadir periódicamente al fondo durante toda su vida se llevó a cabo y culminó con un último regalo muy generoso en el momento de su muerte en el 1951. El lenguaje del testamento de la señorita Constable afirma que el fondo existe “a perpetuidad… para aplicar los ingresos netos para los fines de la Sociedad, con preferencia para el trabajo en la educación religiosa no previsto en el presupuesto de la Sociedad”.

Application process now open for Episcopal Church Constable Fund Grants

Mon, 08/08/2016 - 2:07pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The application process is now open for the Constable Fund Grants for the 2016-2017 cycle.

The Constable Fund provides grants to fund mission initiatives that were not provided for within the budget of the Episcopal Church, as approved by General Convention 2015.

The Rev. Tanya Wallace, Executive Council member from the Diocese of Western Massachusetts and chair of the Constable Fund Grant Review Committee, noted recent Constable Grants have ranged from $5,000 to $200,000

Applications can be submitted by: (1) a program office of the Episcopal Church; (2) one of the interim bodies of General Convention; or (3) one of the Provinces of the Episcopal Church.

Specific guidelines, suggestions, application form and timetable are available here.

Deadline for applications is November 1. Grants will be reviewed by the Executive Council Constable Fund Grant Review Committee and recommendations will be presented to the Executive Council for action at its February 2017 meeting. Recipients will be notified at the close of that meeting.

For more information contact Wallace at revtrwallace.gc@gmail.com, or the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, executive officer of General Convention, gcsecretary@episcopalchurch.org.

Named for Miss Constable
The Constable Grants were named for Miss Mary Louise Constable, who was a visionary philanthropist.  In 1935, in the midst of the Great Depression, Miss Constable made a monetary gift to the Episcopal Church to establish the Constable Fund.  Her desire and intent to add periodically to the fund during her lifetime was realized and culminated with a very generous final gift at the time of her death in 1951. The language of Miss Constable’s will states that the fund exists “in perpetuity … to apply the net income for the purposes of the Society, preferably for the work in religious education not provided for within the Society’s budget.”

 

EDS alumni/ae committee responds to degree decision

Mon, 08/08/2016 - 12:04pm

[Episcopal News Service] The Alumni/ae Executive Committee of the Episcopal Divinity School released the following letter following the July 21 decision by the seminary’s trustees to stop granting degrees after the end of this coming academic year.

The letter follows

July 22, 2016
Dear Alumni/ae Friends:
Following the July 21, 2016 vote by the Board of Trustees to cease the granting of degrees at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year, the members of EDS’s Alumni/ae Executive Committee feel compelled to write to our friends, classmates, and colleagues in the wider EDS community across the church and across the world. We reach out to you with heavy hearts—in solidarity and in profound concern at the present action. We had expected that the Board would be meeting on Thursday to discuss, debate, and approve the proposals recommended by the Futures Committee, not voting with a steely resolve to cease the granting of degrees with no further plan or vision in place. We are shocked and disappointed in what seems a precipitous action.

While it is impossible to speak for the entire alumni/ae body with its diverse perspectives, and acknowledging that many will find hope for needed transformation in the trustees’ action, the members of the AEC are united in sadness. Even more, we are deeply troubled by this decision, which from our perspective is unnecessary and most certainly premature, given the School’s considerable financial, human, and physical resources. As we noted in our May 6, 2016 letter to the trustees and shared with the School’s various constituencies, EDS’s net assets as of March 31 were nearly $63 million, with over $30 million in unrestricted assets. This figure does not include real estate and property owned by the School. Investment figures are stated at over $53 million.

For perspective, we note that these figures are second highest among free-standing Episcopal seminaries, and in terms of available, unrestricted funds, EDS is in the 90% percentile of seminaries in the Association of Theological Schools. We continue to agree with the trustees that EDS’s current endowment draw is unsustainable over the long term. However, some of the significant draw overage—$5 million over the past five years—is due to extraordinary capital expenses to support the physical plant, not general operations.

EDS has worked assiduously over the past several years to bring the endowment draw closer to 5%. We are not yet there, with a draw of around 7%, but this is down from over 10%. With new senior administration hires in admissions and institutional advancement, the future has looked far brighter than in recent years. In fact, it was on May 25, 2016—less than two months ago—that the Board of Trustees authorized the search for two tenure-track faculty members in the areas of Anglican/Episcopal studies, church history, and pastoral theology and practice. This hopeful action pointed to the dawn of a new day for EDS with a revitalized faculty, student body, and fundraising capabilities.

Our concern is compounded by the fact that the decision to cease the granting of degrees is not one that was recommended as a first or best choice by the multi-constituency Futures Committee, tasked by the trustees with envisioning a sustainable and vibrant future for our School. In its final report the Futures Committee proposed a multi-tired approach, grounded in an enhanced relationship with Lesley University. One option suggested the creation of a center for education in the Abrahamic Faiths on the EDS campus—joining with potential Jewish and Muslim partners to offer much needed interfaith theological education. This proposal did not envision the cessation of academic degrees by EDS, but the creation of an interfaith learning environment for seminarians and others of diverse traditions on Brattle Street, including an ongoing commitment to theological education in the Anglican/Episcopal tradition. Potential partners for this exciting venture had been identified by members of the Futures Committee; although, no conversations with such partners had begun.

Another strong proposal, also building on an enhanced relationship with Lesley University as our campus partner, was for a federated relationship with Boston University’s School of Theology for Anglican/Episcopal Studies—similar to the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University model. This option was proposed multiple times by members of the wider EDS community in the Futures visioning process. Finally, as a third option the Futures Committee proposed exploring a consortium relationship with several other Episcopal seminaries. We would note that the Futures Committee was explicitly told by the trustees that small-to-small seminary mergers would not be acceptable and none were offered in the final Futures Committee report.

The Boston University proposal ultimately might have led to the cessation of academic degrees by EDS, following the Berkeley at Yale model, but to date no significant exploration of the feasibility of that option or any of the others with potential partners has been undertaken by the trustees, administration, or faculty. Sadly, when firmly and repeatedly pressed by student and faculty representatives during Thursday’s meeting, the trustees voting in the majority articulated no shared vision for the future of EDS, beyond the cessation of academic degrees. We thus conclude that the present action is premature, until an actual and feasible future vision is articulated by the Board. Even better would be such a vision reached with considerable affirmation by the wider EDS community. At that point we would hope to be able to enthusiastically endorse the trustees’ action. Unfortunately, this important work has not yet been done.

We recall from our own history that Episcopal Divinity School was created in 1974 by the merger of Episcopal Theological School and Philadelphia Divinity School only after considerable and ongoing student, faculty, and trustee consultation. While the Boards of Trustees were ultimately responsible for the merger, they did not make their decisions in isolation but in concert and in mutuality with the schools’ multiple constituencies. Not everyone approved of that decision, of course. It was particularly painful for our Philadelphia alumni/ae. But, an extraordinary new reality was brought into being—including the integration of both schools’ faculties and student bodies and, through deep mutual consultation, the adoption of much of the innovative teaching ethos developed at PDS, refined for use in Cambridge.

The birth of EDS was a careful, albeit imperfect, process that involved and was informed by the schools’ many constituencies. We would urge that a similar participatory process continue to be employed today as EDS looks to its next incarnation. It is not only the right way to come to such a monumental decision, it is the EDS way—informed and guided by our long-standing commitments to justice and inclusion for all of God’s people. Decisions reached by the trustees in a closed executive retreat do not reflect and, in fact, fall far short of the best of our heritage.

Several members of the Alumni/ae Executive Committee were in attendance for Thursday’s public trustees meeting—in person and online—as were numerous other alumni/ae and friends of the School, along with students, staff, and faculty. In stark contrast with other EDS trustee meetings, visitors were not permitted to speak as the trustees announced their decision and held a limited debate, with the result apparently largely agreed upon in advance. Beyond the trustees, only one non-voting student representative and one non-voting faculty representative were given voice. Others were forced to watch in silence. Though, as one might expect of an EDS community event, not all present accepted that silence and made their feelings of anger, frustration, and sadness known.

The AEC commends those few who were permitted to speak at the meeting, offering an articulate and passionate defence of the School and its mission in the face of this dramatic change: the Rev. Dr. Joan M. Martin, faculty representative to the Board of Trustees, and Dr. Pamela Conrad, student representative to the Board of Trustees. We likewise commend the four trustees who voted and spoke in opposition to this action: the Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin ‘06, the Rev. Hall Kirkham ‘08, the Rev. Dr. Robert Steele ‘68, and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Carol Gallagher ‘89, our elected alumni/ae trustee. We are tremendously grateful for their witness. Dr. Conrad’s wise and courageous statement merits repetition: “Justice is never for sale. And justice always operates at a deficit.”

Following the vote, we witnessed the public resignation of Interim President & Dean Frank Fornaro ‘96, who expressed his own firm opposition to the trustees’ action. We are deeply sorry he has felt it necessary to resign, but we understand his reasoning and we share in his sadness and frustration with the decision taken. Considerable work has been done to bring reconciliation to the campus over the past year, such that it has once again become a joyful and spirit-filled place. Dean Fornaro deserves particular credit for fostering a climate of openness and gospel hope for the future. His steadfast leadership has been a manifestation of the love of God for EDS’s students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae and friends. Thankfully, his resignation does not take effect until Nov. 19, 2016. We look forward to the opportunity to thank him for his dedicated service properly in the future. We invite and encourage you to thank Frank as well.

Those of us present on campus experienced God’s incarnate and abiding love at a service of prayer and song in St. John’s Memorial Chapel following the trustees’ vote. Dean Fornaro’s prayers, joined with those of the gathered community, lifted us in love. It is salutary to remember that for thousands of years people of faith have come together in prayer both in times of joy and in sadness. This life of prayer continually sustains us and leads us to hope for a better future. Thursday was most certainly an occasion of sadness, as well as anger, frustration, shock, and bewilderment. Thankfully the walls of St. John’s Chapel are sturdy enough to contain it all. That sacred place is steeped in the fervent prayers of generations students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and trustees, too, both longing for justice and being empowered to work for and incarnate it, in the church and in the world.

Among the trustees who voted with the majority were also alumni/ae. We do not doubt or question their loyalty and appreciation for the transformational education they received at PDS, ETS, and EDS, even as we firmly disagree with their decision. We know that their decision must have been reached in great pain and difficulty. The AEC holds them in prayer and is committed to working with all of our trustees to ensure that EDS has a strong and vibrant future. Even with this coming change, we are confident that there are tremendous possibilities for our beloved School. We enjoy considerable financial resources, a beautiful and well-maintained campus in the midst of one of the most significant educational centers in the world, and a deeply committed faculty, staff, and student body. There is no reason that EDS cannot thrive in a new way. We dare to hope for that future.

In coming to their decision, the Board of Trustees made several promises. First, they have promised that there will be no staff or faculty layoffs over the next year. The staff are the strong backbone of EDS, consistently and faithfully serving our constituencies with grace and dedication, often without recognition. We are profoundly grateful to them. Generations of faculty have formed us with their teaching and mentorship. We are the people we are because of them. The faculty and staff deserve the School’s very best, just as they have given us their very best—in the classroom, chapel, refectory, and beyond.

Second, the trustees have promised that current and incoming students not prepared to graduate in 2017 will be supported as they transition to compatible programs in other institutions. There is some question about how that can be accomplished within accredited ATS standards, but we are hopeful that it is fully possible if the current plan is enacted. Even in the midst of recent crises, EDS has attracted extraordinary students. They, too, deserve our very best. We look forward to counting those currently enrolled among our alumni/ae community upon the completion of their programs. The AEC will stay in close contact with the faculty and staff to ensure that these important promises to the EDS community are honored.

Most significantly, the trustees have promised that they will engage in a process of discernment over the coming academic year as they consider the future for our beloved School and discern a shared vision. In particular, they have promised to engage with the thoughtful and creative recommendations offered by the Futures Committee as they look forward to a sustainable Episcopal Divinity School and the continuation of our longstanding mission. We are dedicated to partnering with them in this work.

EDS not only has an incredible history, we believe it still has the potential for an incredible future, bearing witness to the justice-focused values and commitments of the gospel. These values and commitments are deeply needed as peoples and societies face hatred, violence, religious extremism, and discrimination of every kind. EDS has offered and continues to offer a different and better way, inspired by justice, inclusion, love, and hope. We dedicate our individual and collective wisdom to discerning this future together. If EDS is true to its values, this work must be done together—by trustees, faculty, students, staff, and alumni/ae alike—discerning and working in mutuality, in trust, and in shared vision.

This letter necessarily comes with deep reflection and gratitude for the generations of faculty, staff, and student colleagues who have shaped us for ministry. Our history goes back to 1857 and the founding of the Philadelphia Divinity School. For nearly 160 years, our graduates—prepared for lives of ministry and service on our campuses in Philadelphia and Cambridge—have been drawing people of every background ever closer to the heart of God. We have every confidence and hope that this ministry can and will continue long into the future.

Be assured that your Alumni/ae Executive Committee will do everything we can to ensure that EDS continues to embrace and fulfill its sacred mission and purpose. Those wishing to contact us may do so via this email address: alum@eds.edu.

In love and gratitude for our School and for you and your ministries,

The Rev. Dr. Matthew P. Cadwell, EDS ’99
Co-President

The Rev. Stephen O. Voysey, EDS ’77
Co-President

The Rev. Deborah A. Phillips, EDS ’90 Secretary

The Rev. Jane MacIntyre, EDS ’06
Recording Secretary

The Rt. Rev. Carol J. Gallagher, EDS ’89 Alumni/ae Trustee

Ms. April Alford-Harkey, EDS ’09

The Rev. Cn. Dr. Katharine Black, EDS ’86

The Rev. Elizabeth Colton, EDS ’04

The Rev. Dr. Koshy Mathews, EDS ’00

The Rev. Tom E. Mathews, EDS ’03

Ms. Karen M. Meridith, EDS ’05

Dr. Jennifer Lynne Morazes, EDS ’00

The Rev. Harry E. Walton, Jr., EDS ’14

The Rev. Diane C. K. Wong, EDS ’99

Unique partnership benefits Baltimore-area high school students

Mon, 08/08/2016 - 9:26am

Waymon Wright meets his two scholars, Mekhi Stevens, left, and Da’Sean Washington. Both were impressed Wright met the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Morehouse College. Wright will keep in touch with both scholars during their high school careers. Photo: Diocese of Maryland

[Episcopal Diocese of Maryland] Hassan Tucker, 15, didn’t start out being the enthusiastic voice of the Bishop Eugene Sutton Summer Scholars Program.

“When I came here, I was a very shy dude,” said Tucker, who will be attending Perry Hall High School in the fall. “Then they told me to just be myself. Then, I just cut loose.”

During the Aug. 5 graduation program at Morgan State University, Tucker cheered on the 28 other eighth-graders from throughout the Baltimore area who joined him for the four-week program, run under the direction of the Rev. Neva Brown.

Formally known as the Bishop Eugene Sutton Scholars Summer Enrichment Program at Morgan State University, the project represents a unique collaboration between the university Memorial Chapel and the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

One of its main goals was to help Tucker and the other scholars develop “soft skills,” such as learning how to organize their studies, manage their time, and carry themselves with confidence. While academic skills can be measured by tests, “soft skills” are harder to measure.

“It will show up in their behaviors,” said Patricia Welch, dean of Morgan’s School of Education and Urban Studies. “It will show up in how they relate to others, and it will change how they think about themselves.”

Sutton said the program is the result of a five-year effort to answer a difficult question that had come to him: “How can we make a difference?”

Plans are for the scholars to continue in the program each summer until they graduate from high school. Each one has been paired with a mentor to follow them through the academic year. Also, another class of young scholars will be added each year until there are four classes, each with about 30 students. Currently, the program costs approximately $2,600 per student.

During the graduation ceremony, the scholars presented a performance that seemed to express sentiments found in a prayer from the Episcopal tradition that begins: “God our Father, you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world …”

Five young scholars wearing white handkerchiefs around their faces danced to songs that spoke of the fear of gun violence and the need for freedom. Behind them were images projected on a screen. Many were positive. Photographs of George Washington Carver, the scientific genius; Bob Marley, the great reggae musician; the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., triumphant at the famous March on Washington; and Oprah Winfrey, who has built a communications empire.

Other images spoke of the violence that has cut short so many young lives: Tamir Rice, 12, fatally shot by a Cleveland, Ohio, police officer; Freddie Gray, 25, who died from injuries suffered in the back of a Baltimore City Police van; Sandra Bland, 28, who was found hanged in a Walker County, Texas, jail cell; and Emmett Till, 14, who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955.

“Just like all lives matter,” said one of the young scholars during the montage. “Black lives matter, too.”

Bishop Eugene Sutton tells the scholars at the end of their four week summer program they are now part of a larger family of people who are investing in their success. Photo: Diocese of Maryland

The greater hope of those who came out to support the program is that the compass for these young lives points to a future of possibility and achievement. The young people spoke of wanting to be professional basketball players, brain surgeons and computer scientists.

“There are going to be stories and legacies built by these young men and women as we go forward,” said the Rev. Bernard Keels, dean of chapel at Morgan State University.

This summer the scholars built a legacy of service by making 400 sandwiches – 200 meals – for the homeless in partnership with the Salvation Army. And, they had a chance to expand their appreciation of the culturally rich world that surrounds them.

Kendal Knox, 14, was intrigued by a performance at the Lyric Opera House.

“It was not my cup of tea, but it was very interesting, how the people can sing so high and sing so low,” said Knox, adding that the summer program helped him further develop his self-confidence and improve his organization skills.

When asked what he would tell a middle school student interested in the program, Knox replied: “I would say, ‘You need to do this. It will help you a lot with life decisions and it will look good when you’re trying to get into college.’”

Before giving the scholars a blessing from the Book of Numbers, Sutton reminded them that they do not journey alone. They were now members of an extended family.

“You are my sons and daughters, and I love you,” he said. “We love you. Make us proud.”

Then he spoke the ancient, yet timeless, words: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

— The Rev. M. Dion Thompson is a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.  

Randal Gardner appointed CDSP chapel dean

Mon, 08/08/2016 - 8:57am

The Rev. Canon Randal Gardner

[Church Divinity School of the Pacific] The Rev. Dr. W. Mark Richardson, dean and president of Church Divinity School of the Pacific, announced Aug. 4 that the Rev. Canon Randal Gardner ‘84 will join the seminary in mid-August as dean of All Saints Chapel.

“For nearly nine years, Randal has been an active and invaluable member of the CDSP board of trustees,” said Richardson. “When his term ended this spring, I was delighted to learn that we had the opportunity to share his lifetime of rich liturgical experience and gift for leadership with our students.”

“I am truly happy to be able to contribute to the seminary and its worship life, where my own faith was so enriched and blessed years ago,” said Gardner. “Having been enriched by the liturgical education CDSP has been offering for decades, I have been a student of worship and prayer throughout my years as a priest. I hope that grounding will help us make the chapel of the school a place of blessing for many.”

Gardner, who holds an M.Div. from CDSP, a certificate of theology from Ripon College Cuddesdon, and a D. Min. from Virginia Theological Seminary, will share his time during the fall semester between CDSP and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, where he has served as canon for congregational life since 2013.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1985, Gardner served congregations in the Diocese of Olympia for twenty years and for seven years was rector of St. James by-the-Sea, La Jolla in the Diocese of San Diego. From 2006 until earlier this year, he served as an adjunct faculty member in the doctor of ministry program of the Virginia Seminary, preparing doctoral students to complete their independent research and writing to earn their degree.

Church Divinity School of the Pacific, a seminary of the Episcopal Church and a member of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, educates students in an ecumenical and interreligious context to develop leaders who can proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world through traditional and emerging ministries.

Central New York elects DeDe Duncan-Probe as next bishop

Mon, 08/08/2016 - 8:32am

The Very Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe

[Episcopal Diocese of Central New York] The Very Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe was elected Aug. 6, to be the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York.

Duncan-Probe currently serves as the rector of St. Peter’s in the Woods Church in Fairfax Station, Virginia.

She was elected on the second ballot at a special convention held at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, New York, receiving 87 votes in the lay order and 42 votes in the clergy order. On that ballot, 75 lay votes and 37 clergy votes were needed for an election.

“We give thanks to God that the Very Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe has been elected bishop of Central New York. She is an extraordinarily qualified leader with a strong vision for the 21st-century church, and she truly loves the people and places of Central New York. We look forward to serving with her in ministry,” said the Rev. Christine Day, chair of the Diocesan Standing Committee and rector of All Saints’ Church in Johnson City.

“My heart is filled with joyful gratitude for God’s mercy and grace, and I am humbled to accept the call to serve as your 11th bishop,” Duncan-Probe said in a statement read to the convention. “Throughout this discernment process I have been inspired, encouraged, and emboldened by your faithful ministry and your sincere dedication to living the gospel of Jesus Christ in service to others. The honor of joining you in ministry is a profound moment, and I am especially mindful of the people God has called us to serve.”

Duncan-Probe was elected from a slate of five candidates. The other candidates were:

Smith and Cleaver-Bartholomew withdrew after the first ballot. Ballot results are here.

Duncan-Probe will succeed Bishop Gladstone B. “Skip” Adams III, who is retiring.  Adams served the Diocese of Central New York for more than 15 years and has been called to serve as provisional bishop of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

Pending confirmation by a majority of the House of Bishops and by a majority of the diocesan standing committees in the church, Duncan-Probe will be ordained and consecrated on Dec. 3. The service will take place at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, New York, with the Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curr presiding.

Duncan-Probe, a priest in the Diocese of Virginia, has served as the rector of St. Peter’s in the Woods Church since 2009, guiding the parish through significant growth and revitalization. Previously, she served at All Saints’ Church in Stoneham, Massachusetts, St. John’s Episcopal Church in McLean, Virginia, and Holy Comforter in Vienna, Virginia. Prior to her ordination to the priesthood in 2004, she served as a youth director and as an educator, and co-founded an engineering consulting firm with her husband.

Duncan-Probe is dean of Region VII of Diocese of Virginia, a member of the diocese’s Committee on Congregational Missions and board member of The Diocesan Missionary Society. She also serves on the Board of Regents of The Goodwin House, a nonprofit care organization for aging adults, and is an adjunct professor at Virginia Theological Seminary.

She holds a B.S. in education from Stephen F. Austin State University, an M.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, a Master of Divinity from The General Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in theology from The Foundation House/ Oxford University.

Duncan-Probe and her husband, Chris Probe, have three children, Chasen, Ryan and Grace.

Established in 1868, the Diocese of Central New York is made up of 87 congregations and chapels, including one college chaplaincy. The diocese extends to 14 counties in the center of New York State: Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Seneca, Tioga and Tompkins.

 RIP: the Rev. Canon Kenneth J.G. Semon

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 4:12pm

The Rev. Canon Kenneth J.G. Semon

[Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande] The Rev. Canon Kenneth J.G. Semon, 70, died July 28, 2016, from injuries sustained two days earlier in an 18-mile road biking accident near his home.

He was a certified skiing instructor, a Ph.D. in English literature who quoted Shakespeare and translated Aramaic and Greek in gripping and erudite 10-minute homilies. He humbly followed without pretense the examples of St. Francis of Assisi, ministering to the needs of the homeless and advocating for those left behind. He mentored those on the pathway to priesthood.

He loved great music and quietly brought one of Santa Fe’s acclaimed music groups to a nurturing home. He liked to curl up in unstructured moments with an old-fashioned mystery. He looked forward to a retirement in England with children, grandchildren, and wife and best friend, Caroline.

He had been the shepherd and spiritual leader of the Church of the Holy Faith since 2007, living, loving and leading by unequivocal example.

“His prayer life was deep and disciplined,” observes the Rev.  Jim Gordon, who had followed Semon from acolyte, to deacon and then to the priesthood.

“Father Ken loved to celebrate the Eucharist. For him, everything started at the altar. His faith, his teaching, his work in the community — all flowed from the remembrance of Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension.”

Semon academic credentials followed his ministry, earning him the accolades of being “an excellent teacher and theologically focused preacher.

“He lived life with passion, devotion and was totally committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the broader mission of God’s one holy, catholic and apostolic church,” said Bishop Michael Vono of the Diocese of the Rio Grande. “Ken was a very faithful priest serious about his pastoral work with all people and deeply spiritual. Having these gifts and also being a wonderful administrator is not always common among clergy. He had both.”

Semon credited a parish of learners for being the driving force behind a variety of Bible-study classes, renewed interest in the spiritual classics, along with prayer groups, missionary outreach and being a role model for Episcopal churches in the diocese.

He was one of 40 or so faith and community leaders who met after two particularly brutal Santa Fe winters, which saw about 50 deaths from hypothermia among the homeless. He set about working to find a permanent location for a homeless shelter, one ultimately purchased by the city and renovated. He could be seen frequently supervising admittance or serving hot meals to the hundreds of homeless seeking solace on winter nights.

“The shelter relies on the City of Santa Fe and the generosity of Santa Fe faith and community groups, but Father Semon was one of a handful of individuals without which it would not exist,” said Holy Faith parishioner Guy Gronquist, a former chairman and current member of the board.

“He loved God, the church and people, and he loved celebrating Mass and serving the needs of the poor in Santa Fe,” Vono said.

When Santa Fe’s acclaimed Desert Chorale urgently needed a home for their artful voices, Fr. Ken urged the vestry to open the doors of unused space in Conkey House to the group for a modest fee.

In 2015, Vono chose Semon to be one of his diocesan canons for ecumenical affairs. He was also elected chair of the diocesan Standing Committee and was a reader of the General Ordination Examinations. He was also a mentor to clergy new to the priesthood or to Holy Faith.

Semon came to the Church of the Holy Faith as a temporary “priest in charge” late in 2007. After serving as interim priest in the parish, the church vestry, in an unprecedented display of solidarity, voted unanimously to make him rector.

He was born into a Jewish family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was Bar Mitzvah’ed at age 13. He converted to Christianity in his early 30s.

He had earned a Ph.D. in English literature and taught at the University of Kentucky before attending Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Chicago and becoming a priest.

The Semons came to Holy Faith from Christ Church in Paradise Valley, Arizona, where he was the rector for some nine years. He had been rector of other Episcopal parishes in Sturgis, Michigan, El Paso, Texas, and St. Louis, Missouri. He had also served as a curate in Lake Forest, Ilinois, and was an assisting priest in Vail, Colorado.

Before coming to Holy Faith as priest-in-charge during a time of parish upheaval, the Semons had contemplated retirement, built a home in Taos, and he planned to turn his recreational energy into his love of skiing and teaching at Taos Ski Valley (where he could nearly always be found once a week during the season.) In warmer weather, Semon kept in shape and close to nature by road biking, a sport made even more gratifying after knee replacement surgery in 2011.

In addition to his wife, Caroline, Semon is survived by children Jennifer Muller (husband Adrian), Bristol, England; Kathy Johnston (husband Bill), Chicago, Illinois; Jeffrey Semon (wife Anne) San Jose, California; stepson Scott Maynard, Frankfurt, Kentucky; grandchildren Eleanor and Gabriel Muller; C.J., Allie, and Rusty Johnston; and Caitlyn and Kyra Semon.

— James L. Overton, a journalist, parishioner at Church of the Holy Faith.

 

Colombia seeks peace after 50 years of war

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 1:45pm

[Episcopal News Service] “Peace is not only the silence of guns and bombs; peace is much more than that … . It is rebuilding an entire social fabric that has been torn for more than 50 years. Peace is a fundamental right, and we have to rebuild it to guarantee a decent life [for people],” said Diocese of Colombia Bishop Francisco Duque in an interview with Episcopal News Service regarding the peace process that is developing in his country.

The Episcopal Church closely supports the peace process in Colombia. After a half-century of war and years of negotiations, the government and FARC, the Spanish acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, reached a peace agreement. On June 23, the two parties signed “a definitive agreement to a bilateral ceasefire, to laying down of arms and to guarantees of security.”

The agreement is an enormous step toward true peace, according to Duque, who, as head of the Episcopal Church in Colombia, has supported the dialogue process. “We have been very affected by the war; we have communities in conflict zones. But we don’t work just as the Episcopal Church; we work ecumenically with other churches.  The principle of peace is also based on [having] a decent life. There’s a lot of work to do and we will only succeed united as brothers and sisters,” the bishop said.

(The Episcopal Diocese of Colombia is one of seven dioceses that make up the Episcopal Church’s ninth province, which covers Central and South America and the Caribbean.)

In May, the Episcopal Church agreed at a national convention to support the peace process, offering the government its facilities as “spaces for exercises in reconciliation to succeed in building a sustainable peace.” Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos expressed thanks for the support in an official letter.

Pastoral work in the midst of war

Although the church’s role in the peace process and support for the government was expressed more officially this year, its support for the people and communities has been present throughout the entire conflict, Duque said. The areas most affected by the war are home to four Episcopal parishes, served by two priests and five seminarians.

Rev. José Suárez is one of those priests. In 2008, he arrived with his wife and daughter in Palizada and El Bagre – a mountainous zone in northwest Colombia. His predecessor had been retired from the parish following a psychiatric crisis after 15 years of pastoral service. “He was institutionalized for almost a year [and] the church helped him to get a pension afterward. He lived under a lot of pressure and threats. … I agreed to come here because I was ordained for [serving] Jesus Christ and I go wherever they send me,” Suárez said.

But he realized in his first days of pastoral work that he would need a great deal of spiritual strength to carry out his job. One day, while he was traveling to a community in a canoe with some parishioners, he came upon a body floating in the middle of the river. His immediate reaction was to retrieve the body, call the authorities, and say a prayer for the deceased. But the reaction of his companions was different.

“They told me: ‘Father, don’t touch him. Let’s go. You don’t know what might happen if you take him out of the river. Here it’s better to keep quiet.’ Against all my beliefs, I had to listen to them; I just said a prayer as we continued on our way,” he recalled.

The region where Suárez works has many criminal groups. “Here you have to be careful about what you say and who you say it to. It’s almost impossible for a day to go by without someone being killed in the area.”

Duque recognizes that Suárez’s pastoral work is a service that requires a lot of courage and commitment. “We can’t give up preaching the Gospel or stop supporting our communities, regardless of the internal conflicts,” he said. “It’s up to us to work, with victims as well as with victimizers, and the church is ready to move forward. We’ve had parishioners massacred and many [others] displaced.”

According to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 6.9 million people in Colombia have been displaced due to violence. With the church’s support, Suárez has facilitated the migration of families for security reasons. The result for the families has been good, but the size of the religious community has decreased considerably due to the emigration.

“This is a mining area, very rich in metals; there’s a lot of gold extraction. But that doesn’t mean abundance for the people. … For different reasons people end up leaving,” said Suárez, adding that the Episcopal community in El Bagre, which used to have more than 100 people eight years ago, now has only around 50, while in Palizada, the congregation has only about 15.

Challenges for rebuilding the country

After decades of pain, the announcement of the definitive ceasefire has created many expectations. The Episcopal Church is celebrating the progress, but recognizes that facing the challenges of rebuilding the country and bringing social justice will be an arduous task.

The next step is for the population to confirm its support of the peace agreement. On July 18, the Constitutional Court of Colombia upheld the plebiscite that will allow Colombians to support or reject the process.

The church is prepared to advocate in the communities for “yes” on the referendum, said Duque.

“Not everyone is happy with the announced agreements. Nonetheless, we are supporting this plebiscite that is going to be held; we have offered that support and the government is aware that we (the different churches) have the structures and leaders capable of seeking reconciliation even in places where the state has no presence,” he said.

The points to work on, the bishop said, are the indemnification of victims and the pursuit of justice; the rebuilding of the country; and an effort to preserve the historical memory that will prevent the repetition of the atrocities of the war.

“We are asking the international community for a lot of prayers, so that all Colombians come out winning, in order that we achieve that peace that we need so badly. And we are also asking for international solidarity; due to the negatives of war, drug trafficking and violence there are very few partnerships with foreign dioceses. We are asking that they accompany us in this process,” said Duque.

The church considers the securing of peace to be social and pastoral work. The church already is working with Episcopal Relief and Development to offer micro loans to women heads of household in the conflict zones; these will generate means of earning an income, said the bishop. And Suárez, looking to the future, dares to dream of the type of projects that will bring opportunities for people to get ahead and have a decent life.

“There are many needs in health, education and housing. Rebuilding the lives of these people won’t be easy; but with spiritual and material support a lot can be achieved, though it will take many years,” Suárez said.

For now, the first step is the plebiscite. Once the government announces the date and publishes the final document of the agreement with the FARC, Colombians will have to vote yes or no on the agreement.

– Clara Villatoro is a journalist based in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Construire une « Communauté bien-aimée » à Atlanta et au-delà

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 10:37am

La Commission du Diocèse d’Atlanta pour le démantèlement du racisme organise une formation en février à la Cathédrale St. Philip. Photo : Catherine Meeks

[Episcopal News Service] Des scènes de violence et des manifestations se sont déroulées avec une fréquence brutale dans une Amérique divisée habituée à voir de telles actualités sous l’angle racial.

Deux hommes noirs sont abattus par des policiers en Louisiane et au Minnesota. Les manifestants se rassemblent derrière des bannières de « Black Lives Matter » [Mouvement Les vies noires comptent]. Des embuscades à Dallas et à Baton-Rouge font huit morts parmi les forces de police. D’autres meurtres d’hommes noirs commis par la police sont signalés à travers les États-Unis.

« Nous qui sommes chrétiens sommes appelés à nous interposer entre et au milieu de tout cela, en essayant d’offrir une alternative à simplement déborder de haine et de rage » déclare Catherine Meeks, figure de proue des efforts continus de l’Église épiscopale de lutte contre le racisme dans la structure de l’église, de ses congrégations et dans la société.

Catherine Meeks, professeur en études afro-américaines à la retraite, est à la tête de la : Communauté bien-aimée : Commission pour le démantèlement du racisme du Diocèse d’Atlanta. Cette commission et d’autres comme elle dans le pays font partie de la mission de l’Église épiscopale visant, depuis de nombreuses années, à démanteler le racisme et à s’attaquer au racisme institutionnel dans l’église qui, selon certains, remonte aux tout premiers peuplements européens en Amérique.

L’église en 2000 a imposé une formation anti-racisme pour les dirigeants à tous les niveaux de l’église mais certains diocèses n’ont pas mis en application ces plans. Selon Catherine Meeks, il y avait une certaine réticence de la part des dirigeants de ces paroisses qui voyaient cette formation comme excessivement institutionnelle.

Catherine Meeks dirige la commission d’Atlanta depuis quatre ans pendant lesquels elle a réussi et reçu des éloges pour avoir mis l’accent sur le cheminement spirituel. Le diocèse et elle sont à la pointe du changement qui consiste à voir la question raciale d’une manière plus active sous l’angle de la spiritualité tout en élaborant des formations qui y correspondent.

« Le racisme est une question spirituelle et il doit être abordé de cette manière » explique Catherine Meek. « Le démantèlement du racisme fait partie de la formation spirituelle, de la même façon que d’aller à l’église chaque dimanche ».

« Silence et complicité historiques »
La question du racisme revient constamment à la Convention général de l’église, qui se tient tous les trois ans. Là, c’est une question de foi.

Par le baptême tous les peuples sont vus comme des enfants de Dieu, quelle que soit leur race. Le racisme « nous empêche de devenir la communauté bien-aimée à laquelle notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ nous convie dans le Pacte du baptême » déclare l’église dans une résolution de 1994. L’église souligne que le racisme est un péché qui doit être surmonté – par les fidèles et par l’institution elle-même.

Une résolution approuvée lors de la Convention générale de 1991 a décidé que l’église devait « s’attaquer au racisme institutionnel existant au sein de notre Église et dans la société » et une résolution de 2000 a renouvelé cet engagement pour une nouvelle période de neuf ans, déplorant « le silence et la complicité historiques de notre église vis-à-vis du pêché du racisme ».

« Cela remonte à nos racines » déclare le Révérend Charles Allen Wynder Jr., diacre au service de l’Évêque Président Michael Curry en qualité de missionnaire pour la justice sociale et la défense des droits.

Charles Wynder, épiscopalien de longue date qui habite maintenant en Caroline du Nord, est à l’origine de Hampton en Virginie, lieu de l’un des premiers peuplements européens en Amérique et de l’une de ses premières églises, St. John’s Episcopal Church, comme il le fait remarquer. C’est également là que certains des premiers esclaves sont arrivés au Nouveau Monde et, tout comme dans l’histoire des États-Unis, l’oppression des Africains et des autres gens de couleur allait devenir profondément enracinée dans l’histoire de l’Église épiscopale.

« L’église était là au début et elle était complice » nous confie Charles Wynder.

Il cite des exemples pris au fil des années, depuis les fermes du Sud d’avant la guerre de Sécession appelées « glebes » qui étaient la propriété des paroisses et où travaillaient des esclaves, jusqu’à la controverse en 1963 dans le Diocèse d’Atlanta où la Lovett School avait refusé l’admission à l’école du fils du Révérend Martin Luther King Jr.

Les efforts de l’église visant à démanteler le racisme revêtent une plus grande urgence cette année en raison des violences meurtrières en Louisiane, au Minnesota et au Texas, écrit Charles Wynder dans un récent article intitulé « Bloody July » [Juillet sanglant] pour The Living Church. « Il faut que la justice et la réconciliation raciales soient à l’ordre du jour de l’Église » y écrit-il. « Force est pour nous de le reconnaître ».

Catherine Meeks, elle aussi, voit son travail dans le contexte de ce qui se passe au niveau national bien que sa priorité immédiate soit sa propre ville.

«La question raciale est comme un fil conducteur présent tout au long quasiment de l’existence d’Atlanta et nous sommes, comme beaucoup d’autres villes, en quelque sorte sur la corde raide en ce moment » déclare-t-elle.

Rattacher la question raciale au cheminement spirituel
Catherine Meeks rappelle aux chrétiens qu’ils sont engagés à vie dans un cheminement spirituel et que le racisme n’est pas un problème qui peut être résolu en une journée de formation.

L’exigence d’organisation de formations anti-racistes a constitué un défi pour les diocèses du pays pendant des années. Les participants en ont souvent ressenti l’obligation mais n’en ont pas ressenti la valeur, particulièrement en ce qui concerne les séances qui durent habituellement deux jours. Le terme « anti-racisme » lui-même était problématique, ajoute Catherine Meeks, c’est pourquoi le diocèse d’Atlanta l’a changé en « démantèlement du racisme » dans le nom de la commission et y a ajouté « Communauté bien-aimée ».

Sous la direction de Catherine Meeks, les formations ont évolué. Elles ont été condensées en une journée de 9h à 16h et le lieu était important. Catherine Meeks a trouvé qu’il était plus chaleureux que les séances de formation se tiennent dans les églises paroissiales plutôt que dans la cathédrale.

Mais surtout, les séances devaient être centrées sur la formation spirituelle. Chaque séance commence maintenant par l’Eucharistie, donnant ainsi le ton pour les enseignements qui suivent.

Le diocèse, à l’image de l’Église épiscopale, est principalement blanc mais Catherine Meeks essaie de veiller à ce qu’il y ait une certaine diversité dans la pièce où se trouvent 20 à 25 participants alors qu’elle démarre les exercices du jour. Les prêtres, les diacres, les séminaristes, les administrateurs de paroisse et autres laïcs sont invités à se souvenir du moment où ils ont pour la première fois pris conscience de la question raciale. Un autre exercice vise à les faire réfléchir à leurs propres préjugés. Après une courte pause déjeuner, la formation aborde des sujets plus épineux, comme le concept du privilège des blancs.

Le groupe cite aussi les Écritures. Il prie à trois reprises. Et à la fin de la séance, les participants font part des moments de la journée où ils ont ressenti la présence de Dieu.

« Cette formation a complètement changé la manière dont je vois les choses et en fait dont je vois ma vie dorénavant » explique Leah Tennille.

Leah Tennille, âgée de 33 ans, a été élue au conseil de l’Urban League of Greater Atlanta, où elle est l’une des trois administrateurs blancs – « C’était la première fois de ma vie où je me trouvais en minorité dans la salle » et le recteur de son église l’a encouragée à essayer l’une des formations de Catherine Meeks au début de cette année.

Elle a apprécié le fait que la séance commence par la communion et que Catherine Meeks crée un espace sécurisant où tout le monde puisse parler honnêtement de la question raciale. Lors d’un exercice d’écoute, les participants sont groupés deux par deux pour faire part d’un moment où ils se sont senti blessés par quelqu’un d’une autre race.

Les formations ont également impressionné Joyce Smith Hendricks, qui a assisté à une séance l’automne dernier car elle fait partie du comité de recrutement d’un nouveau recteur pour sa paroisse dans la banlieue d’Atlanta.

Joyce Smith Hendricks, âgée de 66 ans, à présent retraitée après avoir travaillé dans la finance et la comptabilité, dit qu’elle a senti les effets du racisme sur le lieu de travail lorsque des collègues lui communiquaient des attentes différentes du fait qu’elle était une femme noire.

« J’ai pratiquement tout le temps été l’exception à la règle. « Oh vous, vous êtes noire, vous êtes différente du reste » » s’entendait-elle dire.

Les participants à sa séance sur le démantèlement du racisme étaient pour la plupart des blancs mais, venant d’horizons très divers, ils en ont retiré quelque chose de positif, confie Joyce Smith Hendricks.

Leah Tennille, qui possède une entreprise qui aide les organismes à but non lucratif en matière de subventions, reconnait que la formation de Catherine Meeks « nous a réunis en tant qu’épiscopaliens »

« Nous sommes tous d’Atlanta mais nous venons de différentes paroisses et de différentes communautés » explique-t-elle. Le démantèlement du racisme, c’est « voir le visage de Dieu dans l’autre ».

Une mission au-delà d’Atlanta
Quatorze formations sont prévues cette année et leur nombre devrait parvenir à 20 l’année prochaine. Les gens détestaient y assister, avoue Catherine Meeks, mais maintenant la demande est croissante.

Une délégation de la Nouvelle-Orléans est venue à Atlanta en février pour en savoir davantage sur les formations de démantèlement du racisme du Diocèse d’Atlanta. On voit, à partir de la gauche, Trevor-David Bryan, Pat Corderman, Dan Krutz, Lindsey Ardrey, aux côtés de Robert Wright, l’Évêque d’Atlanta. Photo : Catherine Meeks

Dans le même temps, les diocèses partout dans le pays essaient de tirer les enseignements de la réussite d’Atlanta et des délégations de Chicago et de la Nouvelle-Orléans se sont rendues à Atlanta pour voir de près le travail de la commission.

« Je vois beaucoup de similitudes entre nos luttes et ce à quoi Atlanta devait faire face » nous dit Lindsey Ardrey, co-présidente de la  Commission de réconciliation raciale du Diocèse de Louisiane.

Après que Catherine Meeks se soit rendue à la Nouvelle-Orléans en décembre pour rencontrer la commission de Lindsey Ardrey, Lindsey et trois autres personnes se sont rendues à Atlanta en février pour assister en personne à l’une des formations de Catherine Meeks.

« Ce que j’apprécie… c’est qu’il n’y est absolument pas question de culpabilité » déclare Lindsey Ardrey, se joignant aux autres dans leur éloge du fondement spirituel du programme.

Les enseignements tirés à Atlanta guident la réponse du diocèse de Louisiane aux récentes tueries qui ont eu lieu à Baton Rouge. Dans un cas, la commission est invitée à fournir des ressources pour aider un lycée épiscopal de la ville à débattre de la violence avec des étudiants quand ils rentrent cet automne.

« Il nous faut en parler » ajoute Lindsey Ardrey. « Nous avons prétendu que la question raciale n’avait pas d’importance et qu’aucun de nous ne percevait les couleurs et de toute évidence ce n’est pas le cas».

À la lumière des événements actuels, Catherine Meeks ressent un « sentiment d’urgence à redresser certaines de ces choses ». Sa priorité actuelle reste au niveau local.

« J’aimerais voir la commission disparaître progressivement » nous confie Catherine Meeks, envisageant un avenir idéal où les travaux commencés par la commission parviendraient organiquement au niveau paroisse, voire même d’une personne à l’autre.

Une telle vision est loin de la réalité mais Catherine Meeks est encore convaincue que les gens peuvent prendre ce qu’ils apprennent lors des séances de formation et l’appliquer immédiatement pour lutter contre le racisme dans leur propre vie et dans leur communauté.

« Pour les chrétiens, une partie du travail ne se fait pas dans l’église, il se fait à l’extérieur de l’église » explique-t-elle. « L’église n’est que le poste de ravitaillement  ».

– David Paulsen est un rédacteur indépendant de Milwaukee (Wisconsin) et membre de la Trinity Episcopal Church de Wauwatosa.

Plantar verduras vincula los recursos y la necesidad

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 7:03am

Nota de la redacción: Este es el artículo más reciente de una serie continua sobre congregaciones de la Iglesia Episcopal que participan en la agricultura comunitaria. Otros artículos de la serie se pueden encontrar aquí.

El huerto de Santiago Apóstol se expandirá en la medida en que se convierta en el centro de “Gracia Creciente: sostener a una comunidad a través de la creación de Dios”, un proyecto apoyado en parte por una subvención reciente de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Kent, Washington] Una subvención de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias le ha proporcionado fertilizante económico a un plan de la iglesia episcopal de Santiago Apóstol  [St. James Episcopal Church] para expandir su ministerio agrícola comunitario.

La subvención de $12.500 fue una de las 36 subvenciones otorgadas por la UTO a principios de este año por un monto total de más de $1 millón, todas ellas destinadas a ayudar a ministerios que apoyan la última de las Cinco Marcas de la Misión de la Comunión Anglicana: Luchar por salvaguardar la integridad de la creación y sostener y renovar la vida en la tierra.

La subvención ayudará a [la congregación] de Santiago Apóstol a crear un programa comunitario para conectar a familias y niños en peligro con lo que su solicitud llama “el enriquecimiento espiritual, nutricional y creativo de aprender a atender un huerto y a utilizar abono orgánico [compostación] en sus hogares” y en su comunidad. El programa “Gracia Creciente: sostener a una comunidad a través de la creación de Dios”, conectará a la parroquia y a [la iniciativa]  Fe y Alimento del programa Tierra Cultivable de Seattle con familias necesitadas en el barrio East Hill de Kent, entre ellas estudiantes y sus familias en la escuela primaria de Kent Hill, designada como de Título I, que se encuentra en la proximidad de la iglesia.

El Rdo. Elias Mburu sostiene un cesto de hortalizas durante una misa a fines de julio en el césped de la iglesia episcopal de Santiago Apóstol en Kent, Washington. El huerto de Santiago Apóstol recibió recientemente una subvención de la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias para expandir su ministerio comunitario basado en el huerto. Foto de Brian Sellers-Petersen vía Facebook.

El centro de asistencia de Santiago Apóstol atendió el año pasado a 1.722 visitantes con alimentos, ropa y minisubvenciones. Más de la mitad de esos visitantes (935) eran mujeres; 652 niños y adolescentes, y 1.320 vivían por debajo del nivel de la pobreza, según la solicitud de la subvención de la UTO que hizo la parroquia.

Kent, que en un tiempo fue una zona agrícola, es en la actualidad parte del Seattle suburbano. Santiago Apóstol se asienta sobre unas dos hectáreas de terreno próximo a una zona de bajos ingresos en el barrio de East Hill, lo cual la sitúa, según su solicitud, “en el nexo tanto de los recursos naturales como de la necesidad social”, con espacio para extender su ministerio.

El director del centro, Dallas Shannon, “ha sido muy fiel en el ministerio (del huerto) y lo ha estado desarrollando poco a poco, y ha logrado que cada vez más personas inviertan en él”, dijo recientemente la Rda. Joyce Parry-Moore, que se convirtió en rectora de Santiago Apóstol en diciembre.

“Con ayuda de Dios y con ayuda de la UTO, vamos a convertir el huerto en una parte realmente próspera de la comunidad”, dijo Parry-Moore refiriéndose al huerto que ahora está plantado en una franja de terreno que corre a lo largo de la entrada de autos de la iglesia. “Vamos a convertirlo más en un huerto docente, además de que sea un huerto para compartir”.

El proyecto Gracia Creciente creará conciencia tanto en el barrio como en la parroquia de la importancia de la vida sostenible y de la mayordomía del medioambiente, decía la solicitud de Santiago Apóstol.

Los participantes aprenderán horticultura, compostación, destrezas para una vida sostenible y opciones nutricionales saludables. El huerto expandido proporcionará productos frescos y cualquier excedente se venderá en un puesto de hortalizas que se construirá con dinero de la subvención. Las ganancias de las ventas ayudará a sostener el proyecto. La subvención también costeará la construcción de un puesto de hortalizas y productos agrícolas , así como el equipo de la compostación, una pasantía de horticultura y un educador en servicios comunitario y arte, según el resumen de la subvención de la UTO.

El Rvdmo. Greg Rickel, obispo de la Diócesis de Olympia, dijo en la solicitud de la subvención de la UTO de la parroquia en marzo que Gracia Creciente utiliza los recursos de Santiago Apóstol de una manera innovadora que “acerca a la tierra y a las personas de una manera que es duradera… y no un mero arreglo provisional”.

Parry-Moore dijo que ella prevé más espacio para el huerto en lo que riéndose llamó “the back 40” detrás del edificio de la iglesia. “Uno puede producir muchísimo alimento con un cuarto de hectárea”, afirmó.

Ella también cree que en estos tiempos “las iglesias ocupan realmente un espacio único en la comunidad” al tiempo que el gobierno en todos los niveles reduce los servicios sociales. Las iglesias son espacios seguros donde las personas pueden reunirse y ser alimentadas espiritual y físicamente, afirmó ella.

“Las personas que acuden a nosotros viven en la pobreza, personas que experimentan desamparo, personas que experimentan crisis mentales”, dijo Parry-Moore. “Tenemos la oportunidad de alimentarles y de tender puentes para el aprendizaje”.

Aprender a plantar algo para su propia alimentación puede reafirmarlos y “luego ellos pueden dar el próximo paso y el siguiente”.

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

Advisory Council on the Stewardship of Creation offers report

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 2:26pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Episcopal Church Advisory Council on the Stewardship of Creation offers a report of its work following a recent meeting.

The report follows.

The Advisory Council on the Stewardship of Creation met in New York City July 20-22 to discern the Church’s ongoing response to environmental issues.  The Advisory Council members were appointed by the presiding officers as called for by Resolution A030.     adopted at the 78th General Convention. A list of the members of the advisory council can be found here.

Resolution A030 calls for the council to form Regional Consultative Groups (RCG’s) for local technical support and networking of environmental ministries and initiatives.  Each RCG will include  individuals who can support needs in education, theology and liturgy as well as  ecological experts to  equip dioceses and congregations as  they live into the church’s mission to join in the reconciliation of all God’s creation. The council is developing a plan for forming the RCGs and expects to announce the process later this year.

The advisory council will also oversee $300,000 in grant funding for environmental ministries that focus on the intersection of social and environmental needs, faith and eco-justice, and congregational engagement. Funds for the grants will come from monies allocated to the Fifth Mark of Mission as approved by the 78th General Convention in 2015. The council is currently developing the granting process, which it expects to announce publicly later this year.

During the meeting, the advisory council had the opportunity to meet with the two presiding officers of the Episcopal Church: Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, and with Executive Officer of the General Convention the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe. The presiding officers expressed their commitment to continue embracing and embodying the spirit of Jesus by caring for creation. From the Presiding Bishop, the council heard a commitment to three major ways the church can live into the Jesus Movement: evangelism, the work of racial reconciliation, and care for creation. These issues are the work of the church and are intimately connected to each other.

The advisory council issued a statement to the wider church: “Grace and peace to you in Jesus’ name. We rejoice that our church’s officers affirm that eco-justice work is core to God’s mission. We commit to develop a church-wide network and grant making process to resource this ministry. We ask your prayers and we offer ours for you.”

For more information contact advisory council member Kelly Phelan, Diocese of Olympia, kphelan@saintmarks.org

 

Video: I am a missionary: The Rev. Jimmy Bartz

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 11:01am

 

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] On Thursday, Aug. 4, Thursdays at 2 features the Rev. Jimmy Bartz, founder of Thad’s and now rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, reflecting on what being a missionary means in 2016.

The video is available here and is also available closed-captioned.

Thursdays at 2 is a weekly preview of Episcopal Church innovative ministries. Every Thursday at 2 pm Eastern, a new video illustrating the work of congregations and individuals will be posted on the Episcopal Church’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Produced by the Episcopal Church Office of Communications, previously posted videos featured on Thursdays at 2 include:

  • Potluck Dinners
  • Jericho Road
  • Jennifer Caldwell  and Episcopal Moments
  • Bluestone Farms and the Community of the Holy Spirit
  • The Abundant Table
  • Missional Voices
  • Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on World Refugee Day 2016
  • Church on the Square in Baltimore
  • Episcopal Church Advocacy
  • Missional Communities
  • Mobile Loaves and Fishes, a food truck ministry in the Diocese of Rhode Island
  • Re-membering and Re- Imagining, a report from the House of Bishops.
  • Double Down on Love, an original song from the Thad’s Band in Santa Monica, CA, Diocese of Los Angeles
  • The Slate Project, an Episcopal, Lutheran and Presbyterian congregation that exists online and in person.
  • The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Presiding Bishop’s Canon for Reconciliation and Evangelism, providing an update on recent church planting meetings.
  • The Rev. Scott Claasan of St Michael’s University Church reflecting on how music and surfing led him back to church.

For more information contact Mike Collins, Episcopal Church Manager of Multimedia, at mcollins@episcopalchurch.org.