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Program, Budget and Finance begins triennial budget work

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 10:18am

Maine Bishop Stephen Lane, vice chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance, makes a point during the committee’s final plenary session Oct. 29. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] The Episcopal Church’s Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) has begun the many months of work that will result in a 2016-2018 budget being proposed to the 78th General Convention in July 2015.

PB&F members spent the bulk of their Oct. 27-29 meeting getting a crash course on how the triennial budget has been constructed in the past and how the process has been changed this time around.

Both Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings were each asked to describe for PB&F members their vision for the 2016-2018 budget and the process being used to build it.

“My sense is that the churchwide budget really ought to do what we cannot do as individual dioceses,” Jefferts Schori said. “I do deeply believe that our budget ought to be based on our vision of mission. That’s who we are and who we are meant to be, that’s what God sends us into the world to be and do, to work toward the kingdom of God – a vision of shalom – to reconciling the world to God in Christ.”

Another foundation for her vision for the budget, the presiding bishop said, comes from a historic definition that says a mature Christian community is “missional in that deep sense and in doing that is self-sustaining, self-propagating and self-governing [and] not just concerned with its inward life but it is outwardly directed and doing God’s work in the world.”

Jefferts Schori outlined what she called “three broad categories” of work that she sees as most properly being done by churchwide structures.

First is service to the wider Episcopal Church, she said, which includes attending to small, new, isolated populations; responding to crises on behalf of the whole church; responding to changing realities in the church and society; helping to foster the life of other Episcopal and Anglican communities that are not yet self-sustaining; and maintaining and overseeing the church’s financial, institutional, reputational and governance legacies “so it will be fruitful in generations to come.”

The second category, Jefferts Schori said, is fostering relationships with other churches and religious communities, including relations within the Anglican Communion and ecumenical and interfaith relationships.

The third category, stewarding relationships with governments and supranational institutions, includes advocacy at the federal and state levels, the church’s work at the United Nations, development work such as that done by Episcopal Relief & Development and through other grants, and providing the ministerial endorsements required for some ministers such as chaplains.

Saying that the budgeting processes for the previous two triennia “were very difficult for a number of reasons,” Jennings said many people “longed for a more transparent, less contentious, more gospel-based budget process with ample time to do this very serious work.”

Jennings said Executive Council’s process for crafting its proposed draft of the 2016-2018 budget is “inclusive, transparent, responsive, collegial and collaborative.” She noted that a plan to release the working draft of council’s proposed draft budget is the first time she knows of where the church at large will have a chance to comment on the triennial budget at this point in its development.

The Rev. Doug Sparks, Program, Budget and Finance secretary from Rochester, Minnesota, keeps notes and his colleagues list their initial questions on the 2016-2018 budgeting process. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

As another way to improve the overall budgeting process, the House of Deputies will handle resolutions differently during the 2015 convention, she said. There will be a Resolutions Review Committee to study pre-filed resolutions to ensure that they are consistent with polity, are in the form required by canons and to assess if they have funding implications. The committee will report on each resolution to the appropriate legislative committee chair.

And, a proposed rule revision would allow the Deputies Committee on the Dispatch of Business to schedule the flow of resolutions so that those with funding implications can be handled more quickly. The proposed change is to be voted on before the business of convention begins.

Both steps are aimed at easing the tension that develops when resolutions that have budget implications come to PB&F late in that committee’s process.

Speaking of another parallel track that will be running at convention, Jennings said she believes “PB&F needs to build a budget on what currently exists in terms of governance, structure and administration” rather than on what the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church might propose to convention and what convention might do about those proposals. If the TREC process results in major changes, then the Executive Council will have to amend the budget after convention, she said.

Jennings also told PB&F she hoped the members would listen to what the church has said about having a budget based on a smaller diocesan asking. She said she would like to see it reduced in a way that is “strategic and sensible.”

Maine Bishop Stephen Lane, PB&F vice chair, told his colleagues that their work calls them to balance listening to the church’s desires with “our own passions and commitments.”

“We will receive data from across the church… it’s not agendas, its data; listening to people [and learning] what their concerns are is [the] data,” he said. “We start with data and there will be lots of it, but eventually we take that data and make choices about it. That’s where your own visions are really critical.”

Executive Council Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission (FFM) chair Bishop Mark Hollingsworth and the Rev. Susan Snook, who heads FFM’s budget subcommittee, discussed with PB&F the current triennial budget and council’s budget process thus far.

Snook told PB&F that her committee had used some basic principles for its budget process, including that the budget should be a “visionary document” based on “some high-level visioning” and that it ought to be built via a process that is as inclusive as possible.

FFM has discussed how much money to ask dioceses to contribute to the churchwide budget, Snook said, and many members acknowledged that talking about the so-called “diocesan asking” can be difficult.

The Episcopal Church’s three-year budget is funded primarily by pledges from the church’s dioceses and regional mission areas. Each year’s annual giving in the three-year budget is based on a diocese’s income two years earlier, minus $120,000. Diocesan commitments for 2013 and 2014, based on the budget’s asking of a 19 percent contribution, are here. Not all dioceses pay the full asking for a variety of reasons.

A conversation at the September 2013 House of Bishops meeting, led by Hollingsworth and Lane, “affirmed what we thought all along, the discussion about the asking process is the hardest discussion to have in the church,” according to Hollingsworth.

Lane said that while diocesan response to the asking is a “source of division” among the bishops, “no diocese wants to be an outlier.”

“There is a desire for everyone to participate fully [in funding the churchwide budget] and part of what’s hard about the conversation is reaching that point where we can talk about the things that are necessary for all of us to participate fully,” he said.

Hollingsworth agreed, adding that “the system that we use doesn’t invite participation the way we would like it to and it is vulnerable to shame, judgment and division.”

Snook told PB&F that FFM will suggest to Executive Council that, in the next triennium, it create a diocesan asking review commission to talk to dioceses “in an inclusive and encouraging way about the fact that they don’t pay the full asking.” For instance, she said, the commission could negotiate a lower amount with dioceses whose financial challenges prevent them from fully participating.

It could also negotiate plans with dioceses that are able to pay the full asking but do not. And council could create “consequences” for those dioceses if they still choose not to participate fully, Snook suggested, such as making them ineligible to receive grants.

Snook also walked the committee through the current working version of council’s eventual proposed draft budget that FFM worked on during Executive Council’s just-concluded four-day meeting here.

Jefferts Schori has asked both council members and the PB&F committee not to disclose the details of that working version because of its pending public release.

Next steps in the budget process

  • Soon after PB&F’s meeting concludes, FFM will post its working version of the proposed draft budget on the General Convention Office’s website, along with a narrative that is still in the works explaining its assumptions and construction. Hollingsworth told PB&F on Oct. 29 that the posting will also have a short survey, including an inquiry about the level of the diocesan asking. There will be a dedicated e-mail address for people who want to comment on the yet-to-be-finalized version.
  • FFM will revise the budget based on comments from PB&F and the wider church, and have a final draft budget ready for the full council’s consideration during its Jan. 9-11, 2015 meeting.
  • According to the joint rules of General Convention (joint rule II.10.c.ii), Executive Council must give its proposed draft budget to PB&F no less than four months before the start of General Convention (essentially by February of convention year).
  • PB&F meets again Feb. 23-25, 2015, to begin work on council’s proposed draft budget. PB&F uses that budget and any legislation passed by or being considered by General Convention to create a final budget proposal. Convention legislative committees and PB&F will begin meeting in Salt Lake City on June 23, 2015, ahead of the June 25-July 3 meeting of convention in the Utah capital city.
  • PB&F’s budget must be presented to a joint session of the houses of Bishops and Deputies no later than the third day before convention’s scheduled adjournment. According to the draft convention schedule, that presentation is set to take place at 2:15 p.m. MDT on July 1.
  • The two houses then debate and vote on the budget separately. Both houses must approve the same version of the budget, which takes effect at the beginning of 2016.
  • Typically, Executive Council often has to revise each of the three annual budgets based on changing income and expenses.

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

Episcopal Church, African primates, bishops issue communique

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 1:54pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The following is a communique issued by Primates and Bishops of Africa and The Episcopal Church on a recent groundbreaking meeting.

A Communique: Transformation through Friendship

October 8-10, 2014
The General Theological Seminary, New York City

We speak as six Primates representing Burundi, Central Africa, Southern Africa, Tanzania, West Africa, and The Episcopal Church, and as four Bishops of The Episcopal Church representing both U.S. dioceses and Haiti.  Two of us participated by Skype while attending another meeting in Bujumbura.  We gathered together at the General Theological Seminary in New York City from October 8-10, 2014.

We are grateful for the hospitality of General Seminary, including its dean, faculty, and students.  We are also grateful for the assistance of the staff of The Episcopal Church, specifically the Rev. Canon Charles Robertson (Canon to the Presiding Bishop), Samuel McDonald (Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission), the Rev. Canon Isaac Kawuki Mukasa (Partnership Officer for Africa), Elizabeth Boe (Global Networking Officer), the Rev. Ranjit Mathews (Network Officer for Mission Personnel and Africa), Sharon Jones (Executive Assistant to the Presiding Bishop) and Su Hadden (Executive Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer and Operations Manager).

Our conversations grew out of the Fifth Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue, May 22-25, 2014, at Coventry, England (info here)). We shared news from our churches, rejoiced in our renewed fellowship, and marveled at the gifts and diversity of creation God has provided. We prayed together, and we worshiped.

Our intention was to build missional partnerships among our churches, taking Jesus’ statement of his mission as our own—“to bring good news to the poor, . . . to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  (Lk. 4:18-19)  We confessed that one thing we have in common is that we all have needs, not the least of which is our profound need for each other.

We also celebrated that each of our churches has gifts to offer the others.  Framing our conversation in the context of human dignity and flourishing, the sustainability of our common ministry, and the care of the Earth, we found several subjects for fruitful collaboration that will allow us to share our gifts with each other.  We committed ourselves to exploring pension schemes, stewardship of finances and other resources (management and investment), health services, mining and related environmental issues, advocacy, migration and statelessness, human trafficking, religious freedom, and theological education.  We made commitments to explore these opportunities for partnership and report back to each other early in the new year.

Over our time together, we found ourselves referring repeatedly to the spirit of the Anglican Congress of 1963, which contributed greatly to the transformation of our understanding of mission in the Anglican Communion.  It gave us the language of mutual responsibility and interdependence in the body of Christ and helped lead us to understand ourselves as partners in mission rather than in categories of givers and receivers.  In that same spirit, and with eagerness to share the blessings we have received in these days, we express our fervent and urgent hope that another Anglican Congress might be held in the next two years, and encourage the active leadership of all who might help to make it a reality for the good of God’s mission to heal and reconcile the world.  We hope that representatives of all the baptized—bishops, priests, deacons, and laypeople—will be present and heard.  We hope that the Communion’s strategy to address the next iteration of the United Nations Development Goals might be part of the agenda.  Aware that Africa is now the demographic center of the Anglican Communion and has always been mother to us all, we deeply hope that our leaders will take this opportunity to call us home to Africa for such an important gathering of our Anglican family.

Two of us from Africa shared proverbs from their own cultures, which spoke authentically to our sense of the Spirit’s calling.  One is Sesotho, lesale le tee ga le lle, meaning, “one bangle does not ring.”  The music of our hearts can only be made together.  The other is Ashanti, Bannu ye, meaning, “if you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go with a team.”  We have made a conscious decision to walk together in order to go the distance.

On the night before he died, Jesus saw his disciples in a transformed way and longed that they would see one another in the same way.  “I do not call you servants any longer, because a servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father”  (Jn. 15:15).  In Christ we have been transformed into brothers and sisters fed at the Lord’s own table.  But we also have been transformed into friends so that we might go from that table into the world to offer ourselves in its service.

Friends walk together.  Friends go the distance together.  Friends make music together.  Friends of Jesus love each other just as he commanded (v. 14).  Friends share their needs and their gifts, their burdens and their joys.  Over the years in the Anglican Communion, we have had the experience of together reconciling the world to Christ in diverse and creative ways.  It is what we call mission, which is grounded in the holy and transforming friendship that comes through our common life in Christ.

Finally, we are aware that in our small but intentional gathering, we engaged the practice of Indaba, and experienced the transformational reality that has characterized so much of the life of the Anglican Communion since our last Lambeth Conference.  We are anxious to encourage this across the Communion and will be calling on our counterparts to do so in the days ahead.

The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi                     The Most Rev. Albert Chama
Archbishop of Burundi                                         Archbishop of Central Africa

The Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba                          The Most Rev. Jacob Chimeledya
Archbishop of Southern Africa                           Archbishop of Tanzania

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori         The Most Rev. Daniel Sarfo
Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church     Archbishop of West Africa

The Rt. Rev. Stacy F. Sauls                                  The Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves
Chief Operating Officer, TEC                              Bishop of El Camino Real

The Rt. Rev. Ogé Beauvoir                                   The Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel, III
Bishop Suffragan of Haiti                                     Bishop Provisional of Pennsylvania

Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music offers meeting overview

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 12:46pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) offers an overview on its recent meeting:

The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music met in Concord, New Hampshire, October 20-23, as it neared the completion of its work for the 2012-2015 triennium.

During its meeting, the commission gave particular attention to resources for blessing same-sex relationships, the church’s calendar of commemorations, and liturgical materials honoring God in creation.  The Commission also considered several other resolutions referred to it by the 2012 General Convention.

The Commission will hold one more meeting, a web conference in mid-November, to finalize its report and resolutions for the 2015 General Convention.

Please send your comments to the SCLM via email or on the SCLM blog.

•         To contact SCLM email sclm@episcopalchurch.org
•         Visit the SCLM blog here
•         Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music

Anglicans, Oriental Orthodox agree on Christ’s incarnation

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 11:15am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Senior theologians in Anglican Communion and Oriental Orthodox Churches recently made history by signing an agreement on their mutual understanding of Christ’s incarnation.

This was not just a minor point of theology, rather it was a subject that divided the Church following the Council of Chalcedon* in 451 AD, leaving the Oriental Orthodox Churches separated from the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Church of Rome.

The work to reconcile these branches of the Christian family on the question of how the two natures, human and divine, were united in one human being: Jesus Christ began in earnest in the 1990s.

By 2002 an Agreed Statement on Christology had been prepared by the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC) and sent to the participating Churches and an updated statement was recirculated in 2013. By the October meeting in Cairo, AOOIC members were able to finalise the document and Bishop Geoffrey Rowell and His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy of Damietta signed on behalf of their Churches.

This statement, which is a significant step of reconciliation, will now be sent to “the responsible authorities of the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Anglican Communion for their consideration and action”.

Click here to read the Agreed Statement on Christology

Click here to read the Communique from the meeting of the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission that met in Cairo, Egypt from 13-17 October, 2014.

Notes

*The Council of Chalcedon was a highly influential church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451 AD, at Chalcedon (a city of Bithynia in Asia Minor), on the Asian side of the Bosporus.

Barnett-Cowan named Anglican Communion’s interim secretary general

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 9:24am

[Anglican Communion Office] The Rev. Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan will serve as interim secretary general for the Anglican Communion, according to an announcement from the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga and Elizabeth Paver, chair and vice chair of the Standing Committee.

Barnett-Cowan, who will retire at the end of January as director for Unity, Faith and Order, has agreed to be a half-time consultant for the position until the position of secretary general has been filled. She will be based at her home in Canada but will work at the Anglican Communion Office for some days each month.

The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, the present secretary general, will leave the post at the end of December as he has been elected bishop of Limerick and Killaloe in the Church of Ireland. His consecration date is Jan. 24.

Barnett-Cowan said that she has surprised herself by undertaking this task as she was looking forward to her retirement, but that she is happy to fill in to bridge the gap while the search process is going on.

The Standing Committee meets at the end of November to review the job description for the secretary general of the Anglican Communion and to set the appointment process in motion.

Johnson is Episcopal Migration Ministries communications manager

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 8:49am

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Bishop Stacy F. Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, has announced that Wendy Johnson has been named Program Manager of Communications for the Episcopal Migration Ministries of The Episcopal Church.

Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) is the program of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS) that serves and welcomes refugees, uprooted by persecution and violence abroad, in communities across the United States. EMM’s work is a continuation of the Episcopal Church’s commitment to welcoming the stranger in our midst.  EMM resettles refugees through a network of 30 affiliate offices nationwide, linking these affiliates with Episcopal dioceses and parishes that together carry out the ministry begun over 75 years ago to relieve the burden of the world’s suffering through refugee resettlement and immigration assistance.

As Manager of Communications, Johnson, working in collaboration with The Episcopal Church’s Office of Communications, will be responsible for all areas of media related to EMM’s mission and ministry, including media relations, publicity, and internal and network communications support.

Among her work experience Johnson was most recently: a partner in Inspiring Mission, an organization that supports and facilitates youth mission experiences; a communications and marketing consultant at www.YourMediaDirector.com; and Communications Director for the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota.

Johnson began her new position on October 27.  She is based in St. Paul, MN.  She can be reached at WJohnson@episcopalchurch.org.

Seamen’s Church Institute chaplains gain access to deepwater oilrigs

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 8:17am

[Seamen's Church Institute press release] These days not many people can access the secure areas of maritime workplaces, but few places prove more difficult to get to than deepwater offshore oil and gas exploration and production facilities. After months of screening and training, SCI chaplains are now making their way to these remote regions in the middle of the ocean.

Until recently, chaplains for the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) have not strayed far from shore, serving mariners on vessels close to riverbanks or in American ports. Earlier this year, however, SCI initiated a partnership with a major international offshore drilling contractor to provide pastoral care, guidance and support to a workforce carrying out business over a hundred miles away from land.

Since the expansion of SCI’s stateside pastoral care in 2011 to include maritime employees working in the Gulf of Mexico, SCI has served men and women in the diverse maritime petrochemical industry. Those visits have included going to see maritime workers on tugs and towboats and the unique vessels that supply offshore drilling rigs—but not the actual drilling rigs themselves.

Some 150 miles from land and in waters over 6,000 feet deep, these rigs reside in the most remote corners of the Gulf of Mexico. Each rig has typically 150-200 maritime personnel flown in on specially designed helicopters. These multi-million dollar oil operations maintain a high level of security and meticulous standards of safety. Getting on board a deepwater offshore oilrig is not an easy task.

It took a while before SCI chaplains could make a journey out to one of the Gulf’s offshore drilling units. Chaplains Winston Rice and Michael C. Nation had to pass multiple industry safety tests and checks. Perhaps the most nail-biting ordeal involved a crane lifting a mock helicopter over large pool, dropping it and turning it upside down underwater. Each chaplain had to prove his ability by kicking out the helicopter window and swimming out—six times in different types of positions and seats.

The rigor with which companies screen those who travel out to these remote areas gives evidence to a high concern for the safety of the platform operation and employees. On board, companies employ a special team of safety advisors to ensure men and women work safely. In this spirit, companies—like the offshore drilling contractor with whom SCI has partnered—invite chaplains to supplement the care provisions made for employees’ wellbeing in dangerous environments.

Chaplains help workers negotiate the stress and isolation of working in high-risk areas by providing a pastoral presence concerned with the spiritual welfare of persons on board. Additionally, chaplains also assist the families of the offshore workforce. Earlier this year, SCI chaplains responded to a young family dealing with a tragic death.

In August, SCI Chaplain Winston Rice began a presence aboard a sixth-generation, ultra deepwater dual activity drillship in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Chaplains will make further visits in 2014, including three additional deepwater dual activity drillships, with further monthly visits planned to deepwater rigs in the Gulf beginning in 2015. Maritime workers and their families can reach SCI’s chaplains 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week.

About SCI
Founded in 1834 and affiliated with the Episcopal Church, though nondenominational in terms of its trustees, staff and service to mariners, the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York & New Jersey (SCI) is the largest, most comprehensive mariners’ agency in North America. Annually, its chaplains visit thousands of vessels in the Port of New York and New Jersey, the Port of Oakland, and along 2,200 miles of America’s inland waterways and into the Gulf of Mexico. SCI’s maritime education facilities provide navigational training to nearly 1,600 mariners each year through simulator-based facilities located in Houston, TX and Paducah, KY. The Institute and its maritime attorneys are recognized as leading advocates for merchant mariners by the United States Government, including the US Congress, the US Coast Guard, and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the United Nations, the International Maritime Organization, the International Labor Organization and maritime trade associations.

GTS8 issue statement, ‘clarify’ their efforts to return to the seminary

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 6:36am

Eight General Theological Seminary faculty members, who had accepted the GTS board of trustees’ invitation to accept “provisional reinstatement” and to enter a process of reconciliation, have issued an Oct. 27 statement “to clarify just where we are in the negotiating process.” The full text of the statement follows.

The GTS Board of Trustees saw fit last Friday to release a statement that prematurely implied our return to the Seminary was imminent. We therefore believe it is necessary to clarify just where we are in the negotiating process.

From the outset, the central issue we have sought to address is the existence of an abusive environment at GTS. This is why we called our Facebook page “Safe Space.” Many of the details have been well-publicized and do not need repeating here.

The Board of Trustees’ unqualified vote of confidence in President and Dean Dunkle understandably raises a concern about whether anything would be different upon our return other than our reduced academic roles and our new status as “provisional.” Our proposed solution to this concern has been for the Board to name an unaligned, objective ombudsperson who would be available to any member of the GTS community who believes he or she has a legitimate complaint. That doesn’t seem like a radical step to us, but on Monday evening the Board’s attorney informed us that this idea was unacceptable.

Rather than name a single impartial person to act as ombudsperson, the Board proposes to appoint a four-person committee of trustees, chaired by the Rev. Ellen Tillotson, to field any complaints. But a month ago, the Rev. Tillotson sharply criticized us in a 1,200-word essay she posted on social media. One of the first trustees to speak out on the dispute, the Rev. Tillotson said she felt “profoundly betrayed” by us, and she falsely accused us of timing our work stoppage to cause as much distress as possible to the GTS students. Her view of the situation has been made crystal clear, and it is not an objective one.

The other point the Board seems to miss is that, despite deciding that there were not sufficient grounds to terminate Dean Dunkle, the complaints we made about him remain, and continue to create a toxic work environment. A four-person committee chaired by an outspoken critic is not going to rectify that problem.

In its Friday public statement, the Board lifted language from an earlier letter we wrote for an entirely different purpose to suggest that in a “joint response” we had thanked the trustees for giving attention “to a long-term process of reconciliation for the entire Seminary community.” There can be no reconciliation as long as students and faculty lack the confidence that their work, their contributions – even their presence – are valued by the President and Dean.

So here is where we really stand in our efforts to return to GTS: We have made a proposal that we consider reasonable and essential, the naming of an ombudsperson, and the Board has rejected it.

We cannot know whether all the trustees are listening to what we say. For the sake of the institution we all love, we pray that they are.

RIP: Former South Dakota Bishop Creighton Robertson

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 3:57am

IX Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota Creighton L. Robertson (Mato Ohitika) died of heart failure Oct. 24. He was 70.

The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30, at Calvary Episcopal Cathedral, 500 South Main, Sioux Falls. A wake service will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 29, also at Calvary Episcopal Cathedral. Visitation will be Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 2 p.m., with the family present from 5-7 p.m., and a 6:45 p.m. prayer service at Miller Funeral Home, 507 South Main, Sioux Falls.

Born in Kansas City, Robertson was a graduate of Black Hill State University, the University of South Dakota, and the University of the South’s School of Theology.

He was ordained deacon in 1989 and priest in 1990, and served as priest-in-charge at Santee Episcopal Mission in Nebraska from 1990-94.

Robertson was a Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux, and the first Native American to be elected bishop of South Dakota. While serving as bishop from 1994 to 2009, he emphasized forms of training and deployment that became known as Mutual Ministry.

– With files from Miller Funeral Home and The Living Church.

El Consejo Ejecutivo avanza hacia el proyecto de presupuesto

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 3:24am

[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] El Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal inició aquí su reunión de cuatro días con la consideración de su proyecto presupuestario 2016-2018 así como con la revisión en comités de las resoluciones que esperan por las decisiones del Consejo el último día de la reunión.

La Rda. Susan Snook, miembro del Comité Permanente Conjunto sobre Finanzas para la Misión (FFM), puso al día a sus colegas sobre la labor del comité sobre el presupuesto hasta la fecha. Debido a que esa labor no está terminada aún, la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori advirtió a los miembros del Consejo y a los observadores que se abstuvieran de informar los detalles del trabajo presentado por Snook. El comité volverá al Consejo el 27 de octubre con un anteproyecto.

Luego de que el Consejo considere esa versión, no tardará en darla a conocer a la Iglesia para recibir comentarios. Además, algunos miembros del FFM se quedarán en el Instituto Marítimo en Linthicum Heights, Maryland, después de terminada la reunión para discutir el documento con el Comité Permanente Conjunto sobre Programa, Presupuesto y Finanzas (PB&F) durante su reunión del 27 al 29 de octubre.

El FFM revisará entonces el presupuesto a partir de los comentarios del PB&F y de la opinión denominacional y dispondrá de un proyecto final para someterlo a la consideración del Consejo durante su reunión del 9 al 11 de enero de 2015. Según las reglas conjuntas de la Convención General (regla conjunta II.10.c.ii), el Consejo debe entregarle su proyecto presupuestario al PB&F no menos de cuatro meses antes del comienzo de la Convención General (esencialmente para febrero del año de la Convención).

El PB&F debe reunirse de nuevo del 23 al 25 de febrero de 2015, para comenzar a trabajar en ese proyecto de presupuesto. El PB&F utiliza el proyecto de presupuesto y cualquier legislación aprobada por la Convención General o sometida a la consideración de la misma para crear una propuesta presupuestaria final. Ese presupuesto debe presentarse ante una sesión conjunta de las dos cámaras —de Obispos y de Diputados— a más tardar el tercer día antes del programado para la clausura de la Convención. La dos cámaras debatirán y votarán por separado sobre el presupuesto que requiere de la aprobación de ambas.

En un asunto relacionado, el tesorero Kurt Barnes puso al corriente al Consejo sobre el estado del actual presupuesto trienal 2013-2015. Informó que el presupuesto del 2014 hasta septiembre está en líneas generales de acuerdo con la versión revisada que el Consejo había aprobado anteriormente.

La Convención General aprueba el presupuesto trienal y el Consejo con frecuencia revisa los tres presupuestos anuales, a partir de los cambios ocurridos a nivel de ingresos y egresos.

Al Consejo se le pedirá que apruebe un presupuesto para 2015 que tiene un déficit, pero, dijo Barnes, el presupuesto trienal, que al menos debe estar equilibrado, mostrará un ingreso de $4 millones por encima de lo que se necesita para cubrir los gastos. Él atribuye ese superávit a $1,5 millones en ingresos no presupuestados provenientes de alquileres de espacios en el Centro Denominacional de la Iglesia en Nueva York. $2,9 millones adicionales provienen de un aumento de ingresos de fondos patrimoniales en apoyo de la obra de la oficina de desarrollo de la Iglesia. El aumento de algunos gastos redujeron la cifra [original] de ese ingreso adicional que era de $4,4 millones, dijo Barnes.

Él hizo notar que si bien el ingreso diocesano ha aumentado a partir de lo presupuestado, ese ingreso es atribuible a un mejor rendimiento de las inversiones diocesanas conducentes a mayores ingresos diocesanos y a un mejoramiento general de la economía.

“No hemos visto ningún aumento [en el número] de diócesis que refuercen con mayores [porcentajes de] contribuciones”, afirmó.

El presupuesto trienal de la Iglesia Episcopal depende fundamentalmente de las promesas de las diócesis y de las zonas de misión regionales. La contribución anual de cada año en el presupuesto trienal se basa en el ingreso de una diócesis dos años antes, menos $120.000. Los compromisos diocesanos para 2013 y 2014, basados en la solicitud presupuestaria de una contribución del 19 por ciento, pueden verse aquí.

La Obispa Primada dice que la Iglesia debe aprender a compartir sus recursos de nuevas maneras

La obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori centró su discurso de apertura al Consejo en cómo la Iglesia debe cambiar la manera de educar a sus líderes y cómo ello podría fomentar la autonomía económica para todas las diócesis y otras jurisdicciones de la Iglesia.

“No somos llamados a edificar una Iglesia que deje a sus parientes pobres y en apuros avergonzados o incapacitados por su pobreza”, dijo. “Somos llamados a construir sociedades de abundancia donde los recursos se dirijan hacia donde se necesitan, y donde nadie viva con carencias… Deberíamos retar a todos los episcopales a ver la abundancia que disfrutamos como dones a ser compartidos. Cuando esos dones se comparten, sabemos que eso aporta alegría y prosperidad a todos los miembros del cuerpo [de Cristo]. Se manifiesta como vida abundante”.

Jefferts Schori también felicitó a todo el Consejo por el “incremento de su capacidad en este trienio”.

“Estamos dedicados a la misión y el ministerio de esta Iglesia de maneras más amplias y estratégicas de lo que hemos estado en años recientes”, afirmó. “Sigo creyendo que la misión fundamental de esta organización es mucho mayor que las cuestiones estratégicas, y espero firmemente que la Convención nos ayudará a esclarecer ese papel”.

El texto completo del discurso de la Obispa Primada puede encontrarse aquí.

La presidente de la Cámara de Diputados bosqueja los cambios de la Convención General

En sus observaciones de apertura al Consejo, la Rda. Gay Clark Jennings, presidente de la Cámara de Diputados, bosquejó una serie de cambios para la reunión de la Convención General en 2015 que dijo estaban destinados a “la creación del proceso legislativo que pueda ayudarnos mejor a discernir nuestra misión y ministerio”.

Esos cambios incluyen una nueva lista de comités legislativos que estén más estrechamente alineados con el marco de las Cinco Marcas de la Misión, dijeron Jennings y Jefferts Schori en una carta enviada en julio a los obispos y los diputados. Los nuevos comités pueden verse aquí.

Jennings dijo que se propone nombrar comités legislativos de la Cámara de Diputados para el fin de este año e instruir a los presidentes de comités a comenzar a trabajar antes de la Convención General. Las actuales Reglas de Orden permiten comenzar a trabajar con esa antelación y Jennings le dijo al Consejo que ella espera que [el Consejo] hará lo posible para que consideramos la legislación mucho más eficientemente una vez que lleguemos a la Convención General”.

Otro cambio en la convención es la programación de las cuatro sesiones conjuntas de la Cámara de Obispos y la Cámara de Diputados, a saber:

* 24 de junio, el día antes de la primera jornada legislativa, una sesión vespertina durante la cual se presentarán los nominados para [el cargo de] Obispo Primado.

* 26 de junio, sesión conjunta para recibir oficialmente las nominaciones del Comité de Nominaciones Conjunto para la Elección del 27º. Obispo Primado y para recibir nominaciones que puedan haberse producido a través del proceso de peticiones. (La Cámara de Obispos elige al Obispo Primado el 27 de junio, después de lo cual se le pide a la Cámara de Diputados que confirme o no, mediante votación, la elección hecha por los obispos). Esa sesión también incluirá un conversatorio sobre la estructura de la Iglesia, según dijo Jennings.

* 30 de junio, sesión conjunta para un conversatorio sobre la misión.

* 1 de julio, para que el Comité Permanente Conjunto sobre Programa, Presupuesto y Finanzas presente su proyecto de presupuesto para el trienio 2016-2018 (ambas cámaras debatirán el presupuesto y deben convenir sobre el mismo presupuesto para que resulte aprobado) y

* 3 de julio (última jornada legislativa), una eucaristía especial para que la Convención le dé la bienvenida al Obispo Primado electo. Jennings dijo que aunque el nuevo Obispo Primado también será investido en la Catedral Nacional de Washington más adelante en el año, “nos proponemos que el oficio en la Convención General sea la celebración fundamental de manera que todos podamos participar del evento con sólo algunos modestos costos adicionales”.

El texto completo de las observaciones de Jennings se encuentra aquí. Y la carta del 22 de octubre que ella le escribió a los diputados explicándoles los cambios en la Convención General se encuentra aquí.

El resto de la agenda de la reunión

El consejo dedicará todo el 25 de octubre a reuniones de comités. Después de la eucaristía del 26 de octubre, las sesiones de comités continuarán hasta media tarde cuando todo el Consejo se reunirá para otra sesión sobre el proyecto del presupuesto 2016-2018. El 27 de octubre, el consejo se reunirá como un todo para considerar varios informes y para pronunciarse sobre las resoluciones propuestas de sus cinco comités. Ese día incluirá una sesión a puertas cerradas para que el Consejo oiga el informe de su subcomité respecto a las opciones para el uso del Centro Denominacional de la Iglesia en el No. 815 de la Segunda Avenida en Nueva York.

La reunión del 24 al 27 de octubre tiene lugar en el Centro de Conferencias del Instituto Marítimo [Maritime Institute Conference Center].

Algunos miembros del Consejo están enviando mensajes por Twitter desde la reunión valiéndose del código #ExCoun.

El Consejo Ejecutivo lleva a cabo los programas y políticas adoptadas por la Convención General, según el Canon I.4 (1)(a). El Consejo está compuesto de 38 miembros, 20 de los cuales (cuatro obispos, cuatro presbíteros o diáconos y 12 laicos) son elegidos por la Convención General, y 18 por los nueve sínodos provinciales (un clérigo y un laico cada uno) por períodos de seis años, además del Obispo Primado y el Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados [que son miembros ex oficio].

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

Executive Council defers proposal to make diocesan asking progressive

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 3:17pm

[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council Oct. 27 tabled until its next meeting a resolution calling for the 2016-2018 budget to be predicated on a progressive diocesan income asking structure.

The action came as council’s Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission (FFM) prepared to release to the church for comment its “current working draft” version of next triennium’s budget.

Council member John Johnson, who proposed the resolution via his membership on the Joint Standing Committee on Advocacy and Networking, moved to table his proposal just after it was introduced, saying that he was doing so because of that opportunity council will soon have to hear from the wider church on its work on the 2016-2018 budget thus far.

The tabled resolution would have asked dioceses with annual income of $2 million or more to give 19 percent of their income to the churchwide budget, those with incomes between $1,999,999.99 and $1 million to give 15 percent and those with less than $1 million to give 10 percent.

The Episcopal Church’s three-year budget is funded primarily by pledges from the church’s dioceses and regional mission areas. Each year’s annual giving in the three-year budget is based on a diocese’s income two years earlier, minus $120,000. Diocesan commitments for 2013 and 2014, based on the budget’s asking of a 19 percent contribution, are here.

FFM spent a great deal if its time during this meeting building on the proposed draft budget that council is required to give to the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) prior to the start of the next meeting of General Convention.

The current working draft’s revenue lines included a diocesan commitment amount that was based on assumed levels of the diocesan asking but council has not yet decided how it will calculate diocesan income for purposes of drafting its proposed budget. That decision will be articulated when council delivers the final version of its budget proposal to PB&F following council’s Jan 9-11 meeting.

After FFM had worked most of Oct. 25 and 26 in executive session, FFM chair Bishop Mark Hollingsworth and the Rev. Susan Snook, who headed FFM’s budget subcommittee, presented council during an open session late in the day on the 26th with what Hollingsworth called its “current working draft.”

Similar to her request when council got a budget review in its opening session on Oct. 24, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori instructed all who attended the Oct. 26 session not to publicize the details of the budget, pending its publication.

Hollingsworth, Snook, Jefferts Schori, House of Deputies President Gay Jennings and Chief Operating Officer Stacy Sauls will stay at the Maritime Institute here to discuss the working draft and council’s budget process with PB&F during its Oct. 27-29 meeting.

Soon after PB&F’s meeting concludes, FFM will release the working draft to the church along with a narrative to explain its assumptions and construction. It will be posted on the General Convention Office’s website and there will be a dedicated e-mail address for those who want to comment.

“Please do not hold us to a date as to when this will be sent out to everybody,” Hollingsworth said to council on Oct. 26, adding that FFM members need time to write the narrative and be sure that the budget document correctly reflects the committee’s thinking at this point in the process. He predicted a release in the “next week or so.”

On Oct. 26, Hollingsworth reminded council that when the working draft is posted it will not reflect a decision by council “but rather to continue the conversation” that will enable council to make “the best decision we can make.” He also noted that the comment mechanism on the General Convention website “won’t be a format for dialogue but for us to be able to receive input” and that FFM members will frequently access the comments.

During a post-meeting news conference, Jefferts Schori said that she hoped those who commented on the budget would consider whether it “expands our capacity for mission on behalf of the whole Episcopal Church.”

Jennings said she hoped that people “would not make a false dichotomy between, on the one hand, governance and administration and, on the other hand, mission,” adding that the portion of the budget devoted to governance and administration “is always as a servant of mission.”

FFM, she said, “is looking always at how mission is facilitated but also how local ministry is empowered,” predicting the working draft of the budget will include expenditures meant to encourage mission work at the local level.

The Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, executive officer of the General Convention, said during the news conference that he hopes those who decide to comment on the budget “not become too fixated” on their particular interest, but instead consider “what God is calling us to do collectively to expand God’s mission.”

FFM will revise the budget based on comments from PB&F and the wider church and have a final draft budget ready for the full council’s consideration during its Jan. 9-11, 2015 meeting. According to the joint rules of General Convention (joint rule II.10.c.ii), council must give its draft budget to PB&F no less than four months before the start of General Convention (essentially by February of convention year).

PB&F is due to meet next from Feb. 23-25, 2015, to begin work on that draft budget. PB&F uses the draft budget and any legislation passed by or being considered by General Convention to create a final budget proposal. That budget must be presented to a joint session of the houses of Bishops and Deputies no later than the third day before convention’s scheduled adjournment. The two houses then debate and vote on the budget separately and the budget needs the approval of both houses.

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

Social justice issues attract Executive Council’s attention

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 3:08pm

Heidi J. Kim, Episcopal Church missioner for racial reconciliation, right, makes a point Oct. 25 during an Executive Council committee conversation on racism. Navita Jones, chair of the Executive Council on Anti-Racism, center, and Chuck Wynder, the church’s missioner for social justice and advocacy engagement, respond. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] In addition to working towards a draft proposed 2016-2018 budget, the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council Oct. 27 approved resolutions on a number of social issues facing the church and the world.

Prompted by the work of its Joint Standing Committees on Advocacy and Networking (A&N) and Local Mission and Ministry (LMM), council went on record as:

A&N and LMM members met together Oct. 25 for most of the day to have a discussion about race, racism and racial justice in the church and in the world, and what the church might do to continue to combat racism. The discussion also included Episcopal Church Missioner for Social Justice and Advocacy Engagement Charles Allen Wynder, Jr., Episcopal Church Missioner for Racial Reconciliation Heidi Kim and Navita Jones, chair of council’s Committee on Anti-Racism.

A&N Chair Lelanda Lee told the rest of council that the conversation arose in part because of a desire to have a meaningful exploration that was more than a “frustratingly short and superficial brush” with the subject.

“We all need to do this work [of meaningful conversations], every single one of us for our salvation and for the salvation of our beloved community,” Lee said.

Acting on its own, A&N also put forward resolutions which council approved on:

  • condemning the use of rape and other forms of sexual violence in war as a crime against humanity;
  • supporting legislation and non-legislative efforts calling for an end to discrimination against women’s access to healthcare;

The Executive Council celebrated Eucharist the morning of Oct. 26 during its meeting at the Maritime Institute Conference Center in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. The center hosts many other conferences, along with sailors taking specialized training, and council member the Rev. Dahn Gandell posted a number of flyers inviting them and center staff to that Eucharist. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

  • supporting “Net Neutrality,” also known as “Open Internet”; and
  • asking the next meeting of General Convention to fund a Criminal Justice Reform Coordinating Committee for developing educational information, advocacy tools and church policy to assist dioceses and church members, in their ministry to prisoners, people returning home from prisons, and their families, and in advocacy for comprehensive criminal justice reform. The resolution also would have the church take a stand on various criminal-justice system reforms.

Council members also passed an A&N resolution about the losses suffered by both Palestinians and Israelis as a result of the 2014 Gaza War and, among other things, requesting that council’s Economic Justice Loan Committee consider supplementing its 2013 investment in the Palestinian Territories and to challenge dioceses to make similar investments.

The council also said it stands in prayer “with our sisters and brothers in Liberia, the Church of the Province of West Africa, and all countries where this virus [Ebola] threatens human health and societal structures and has claimed the lives of thousands.” The resolution applauds the work of the Episcopal Church in Liberia, that country’s religious community, grassroots organizations, and individuals, including Liberian clergy, and all organizations and individuals that have “raised hope, awareness, and materials and funds.” The resolution challenged the world faith communities to encourage a more aggressive and generous response to the challenges of the Ebola epidemic.

Finally, the resolution, that originated in council’s Joint Standing Committee on World Mission, “commend[s] the souls of those who have died into God’s loving care and pray for those who mourn,” and says council members “live in hope of the day we will celebrate the good news that this virus has been contained and we can cheer our sisters and brothers on as they rebuild their lives and their country.”

In other action
Also during the final plenary session, council:

  • granted $150,000 in increments of $50,000 annually beginning yet this year to Li-Tim Oi Chinese Ministries in the Diocese of Los Angeles as a way to enable expansion of ministries to people of Chinese descent. The money will come from income of specific trust funds given for ministry to Chinese after the Communist takeover.
  • spent nearly two hours at the beginning of the day in an executive session to discuss the latest report from its subcommittee on relocation of the Church Center in Manhattan. No action was taken on the report.
  • directed the presiding officers (Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings) to appoint a working group to study the issue of dioceses that are unable to afford to participate fully in General Convention to identify the issues surrounding this challenge and identify funding sources that might be brought to bear. The group is to report to Executive Council in January 2015. The resolution began with World Mission’s concern about Province IX dioceses’ ability to participate in convention, according to committee chair Martha Gardner.
  • approved a revised 2015 budget for the Episcopal Church. General Convention approves the triennial budget, and the council often revises the three annual budgets, based on changes in income and expenses. The revised 2015 budget will be posted here soon.

Brother Robert Sevensky, superior of the Order of the Holy Cross and chaplain to Executive Council, speaks before Eucharist on Oct. 26 as the Rev. Brandon Mauai, deacon and council member from North Dakota; Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, council member and preacher the Rev. Dahn Gandell from Rochester listen. Council celebrated Eucharist during its meeting at the Maritime Institute Conference Center in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

  • discussed if and how it might respond to the anticipated report of the Task Force for Reimagining The Episcopal Church. The discussion happened around a proposed resolution to form a working group to prepare a council response to TREC’s report, which is due to be released to the church in December. That report will include the recommendations TREC wants to make to the next meeting of General Convention in the summer of 2015.

Steve Hutchinson, chair of council’s Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Administration for Mission which had proposed the resolution, said it was prompted by concern on the part of some that from what TREC has said thus far, “I know this sounds judgmental but it … does not reflect a really comprehensive understanding of what Executive Council does and how we operate, the scope and breadth and depth of our responsibility.”

The Rev. Brian Baker, GAM member, said part of the intent of the proposed resolution was a sense that council should “have a voice in the conversation” about TREC’s work. The Rev. Nathaniel Pierce, another council member, said he was prompted to suggest the resolution because of a “very specific proposal that is on the table now” from TREC to reduce the size of council and the way provincial representatives are elected.

In the end, council referred the resolution to its executive committee to consider a process to use at the January 2015 meeting and possibly beyond for council to consider any response it might want to make to the TREC report.

The Oct. 24-27 meeting took place at the Maritime Institute Conference Center.

Summaries of the resolutions council passed at this meeting are here.

Previous ENS coverage from this meeting is here.

Some council members tweeted from the meeting using #ExCoun.

The Executive Council carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1)(a). The council is composed of 38 members, 20 of whom (four bishops, four priests or deacons and 12 lay people) are elected by General Convention and 18 (one clergy and one lay) by the nine provincial synods for six-year terms – plus the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies.

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

A summary of Executive Council resolutions

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 3:08pm

[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] During its Oct. 24-27 meeting here, the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council adopted multiple resolutions, which are summarized below.

Advocacy and Networking for Mission

* Condemn use of rape and other forms of sexual violence in war as a crime against humanity, including so-called “honor” killings perpetrated against victims of rape; support prosecution of such crimes against humanity as rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or other sexual violence of comparable gravity, especially when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack; support access to psychological and medical services for rape survivors; support inclusion of perspective and voices of survivors in post-conflict governance structures, peace-building, conflict prevention, and reconciliation dialogues (A&N032)

* Support legislation and non-legislative efforts calling for an end to discrimination against women’s access to healthcare, especially for contraception, pregnancy, and childbirth; support the right of women to self-determination in regard to their personal choices about healthcare, especially for contraception, pregnancy, and childbirth; support legislation and other initiatives that eliminate underlying causes of discrimination against women’s access to healthcare, which include race, employment inequality, underemployment, the male-female pay-gap, and the disproportionate number of women living in poverty arising out of inequities in education, employment, contraception, childcare, and other forms of gender-based discrimination  (A&N033)

* Support for “Net Neutrality,” also known as “Open Internet,” and opposition to a two-tiered Internet system of “fast” and “slow” lanes; affirm the right of all people and organizations, especially those that have been marginalized and suffered discrimination to have access on an equitable basis and be able to tell their stories using various modes of multimedia on the Internet; oppose allowing internet service providers from giving preferential treatment to content and content providers solely on the basis of their ability to pay; direct the Office of Government Relations to file a comment to urge the Federal Communications Committee to maintain an Open Internet, avoid rule changes that would create a two-tiered Internet system, and ensure that rules are in place to prevent internet service providers from discriminating against content providers, users, or blocked-data (normally stored in a data buffer and read or written a whole block at a time; an example is mass mailings from non-profit organizations) (A&N034)

* Express grief at the loss of life and livelihood suffered by both Palestinians and Israelis as a result of the 2014 Gaza War, commend the efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the international donor community in securing substantial funding for the rebuilding of Gaza; call upon all parties to the conflict, and their international partners, to work toward conditions in the Gaza Strip that will make peaceful and sustainable rebuilding possible; reaffirm church’s longstanding commitment to positive investment in the Palestinian Territories as indispensable for the creation of the economic infrastructure of a future Palestinian state, and request that the Economic Justice Loan Committee consider supplementing its 2013 investment in the Palestinian Territories with new economic investments designed to benefit the Palestinian people and to challenge dioceses to make similar investments; reaffirm church’s understanding that the only pathway to a just and lasting peace is a two-state solution, negotiated by Israelis and Palestinians, in which a universally recognized secure Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people, exists alongside a sovereign, viable, and universally recognized secure state for the Palestinian people, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states; both parties to refrain from unilateral actions that complicate the pathway toward negotiations; commend the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and its bishop for their witness to peace for all Israelis and Palestinians and their work to provide for human need within their jurisdiction, including in the Gaza Strip and urge the support of all Episcopalians for those efforts; urge all Episcopalians to stand in solidarity with Israelis and Palestinians working toward peace in the land called holy by all the children of Abraham (A&N035)

* (resolution for submission to General Convention as part of Executive Council’s Blue Book Report) for 78th General Convention to: reaffirm and renew the church’s longstanding commitment to the evaluation and reform of the federal, state, and local criminal and juvenile justice systems in the United States (citing five resolutions dating from 1985);  declare support and advocate for expansion of funding for treatment, alternatives to incarceration, and reintegration services to people leaving prison, call on Episcopalians to support and participate in mentoring and accompaniment programs for those leaving prison; declare opposition to mass incarceration, which perpetuates a cycle of systemic poverty in the United States through its impact on defendants, inmates, parolees, and their families;  reaffirm and renew church’s call for a moratorium on the use of for-profit private prisons, including immigration detention centers; reaffirm and renew support for the repeal of mandatory-minimum sentences for nonviolent offenses; call for the abolition of the sentencing disparity between crack-cocaine and powder-cocaine offenses and, as an intermediate step, urge U.S. Congress to make retroactive the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, which reduces the disparity in sentencing from previous levels;  urge states with monetary bail bond systems to reform those systems; urge policymakers to pursue legal reforms to enhance the employability of people leaving prisons; condemn offender-funded law enforcement practices and urge policymakers to create equitable post-sentencing parole systems that remove undue financial burden on the parolee as a condition for maintaining parole; condemn the practice of felon disenfranchisement, which removes the right of formerly incarcerated (or “returning citizens”) to regain the right to vote once they complete their sentence and leave prison; call for exploration and creation of restorative justice programs to transform juvenile justice systems; direct the Executive Council to convene a Criminal Justice Reform Coordinating Committee for developing educational information, advocacy tools, and church policy to assist the dioceses and church members, in their ministry to prisoners, people returning home from prisons, and their families, and  in their advocacy for comprehensive criminal justice reform at all levels of government; direct the Coordinating Committee to report to the 79th General Convention; request the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to consider a budget of $48,000 to support the work of such Criminal Justice Reform Coordinating Committee (AN036)

Advocacy and Networking for Mission/ Local Mission and Ministry

* Reaffirm church’s socially responsible investment policies; declare opposition to for-profit prisons and detention centers, which often set occupancy or “bed” quotas, capitalizing on the criminal, civil, or immigration incarceration of individuals, that are a leading factor in the disproportionate mass incarceration of youth and men of color; direct treasurer to avoid investment in companies that own and operate for-profit prisons and detention centers (A&N/LMM002)

* Reaffirm support of General Convention Resolution 2009-D035, Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery, and 2012-A128, Examine Impact of Doctrine of Discovery, and church’s work to address issues of historical trauma caused by the colonizing dispossession of the lands of indigenous peoples and the disruption of their way of life; reaffirm support of the ministry and advocacy of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society staff in the Offices of Ethnic Ministries, Government Relations, Faith Formation, Global Relations, Racial Reconciliation, Social Justice and Advocacy Engagement, and other departments as they engage grassroots, tribal, governmental, and Episcopal individuals and entities to do the ongoing work called for in repudiating and examining the impact of the Doctrine of Discovery, including historical and generational trauma from the Residential Boarding School era; reaffirm commitment to ongoing education of and advocacy with the church members regarding historical reality and impact of the Doctrine of Discovery and elimination of the doctrine’s presence in the church’s contemporary policies, programs, and structures; encourage dioceses, bishops, clergy, and lay leaders to renew their efforts of education, advocacy and self-reflection in the spirit of living into the repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery as an active affirmation of the Baptismal Covenant and of Mark of Mission IV, which states “To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation.” (A&N/LMM003)

* Affirm “to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves, and to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being”; confess that we as a society have failed to respect the dignity of every human being, remembering recent violent deaths of black youth and lament their deaths; affirm in response to church’s adoption of the Anglican Marks of Mission, specifically Mark 4, that #BlackLivesMatter,Too; urge the church and its members to respond faithfully to the call to action that #BlackLivesMatter,Too with prayer, community dialogue and partnerships, Christian formation education, sermons and homilies, and by standing in solidarity in valuing and protecting all people of color who are discriminated against or otherwise treated unfairly and harmed because of race or their skin color of their skin; reaffirm the teachings contained in the House of Bishop’s Pastoral Letter on “the Sin of Racism,” March 1994, ; remind members of the church to answer the call of the House of Bishops in their  subsequent 2006 Pastoral Letter “A Call to Covenant,” ; direct Office of the General Convention to convey to each diocesan and mission area bishop, standing committee and diocesan council, a copy of this resolution and the two House of Bishops letters with the request that they be shared with their congregations (A&N/LMM004)

Finances for Mission

* Establish Trust Fund #1066 as an investment account for Iglesia Episcopal del Ecuador in Ecuador (FFM053)

* Establish Trust Fund #1067 for St. James Episcopal Church in Mesilla Park, New Mexico (FFM054)

* Establish Trust Fund #1068, St. David’s Episcopal Church – Lucy and Bill Pengelly Memorial Fund as an investment account for St. David’s Episcopal Church in Lincoln, Nebraska (FFM055)

* Establish Trust Fund #1069, as an investment account for St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Midland, Texas (FFM056)

* Establish Trust Fund #1070 established as an investment account for St. Thaddaeus Episcopal Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee (FFM057)

* Approved revised official travel guidelines for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (FFM058)

* Set the dividend rate for 2015 for the DFMS Trust Fund portfolios available to support the operating budget of DFMS at $0.96 per share based on 5.0% the average year-end market values of the portfolio for the five years ending 2013; set the dividend rate for 2015 for Trust Funds in the DFMS Endowment Portfolio that are not available to support the operating budget of DFMS be set at $0.96 per share based on 5.0% the average yearend market values of the portfolio for the five years ending 2013 (FFM059)

* Approve the 2015 Budget for The Episcopal Church (FFM060)

* Authorize the Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission to use income distributed during 2015 from Trust Fund No.809, up to $319,630.00, for educational and theological programs (including continuing education and individual scholarships) as recommended by the Commission on Theological Education for Latin America and the Caribbean (CETALC) at its meeting in Quito, Ecuador, in August 2014; disbursement of money will be conditional upon the receipt of appropriate documentation to secure financial and operational accountability acceptable to the Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission and the Treasurer; any 2015 balance not awarded to be reinvested (FFM061)

* Extend thanks to those who have included The Episcopal Church in their wills and recognize the generosity of all those who endow The Episcopal Church and thus support its ministries (FFM062, FFM063)

* Establish Trust Fund #1071 as an investment account for Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Salinas, California (FFM064)

* Establish Trust Fund #1072 as an investment account for Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Salinas, California (FFM065)

* Clarify scope of policies regarding the types of gifts that may be accepted by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS) (FFM066)

* Agree to fundraising procedures for staff and officers of the DFMS, members of Executive Council and members of all Committees, Commissions, Agencies and Boards (FFM067)

* Grant $150,000 in increments of $50,000 annually commencing in 2014 to Li-Tim Oi Chinese Ministries in the Diocese of Los Angeles as a way to enable expansion of ministries to people of Chinese descent (money to come from income of certain board directed trust funds restricted for ministry to Chinese of the Dispersion (post-Communist takeover) (FFM068)

Governance and Administration for Mission

* Delegate to Executive Committee of Executive Council authority to act on its behalf for timely review and approve grants proposed by the United Thank Offering Board and Mission Department for the 2015 UTO grant cycle of the United Thank Offering (review and approval to be completed no later than June 15, 2015 and actions to be reported simultaneously to the board of the United Thank Offering and the Executive Council with an appropriate record of its actions (GAM020)

* Adopts Best Practices in Human Resource Management document for the DFMS (GAM021)

* Amend Article VII of the Executive Council Bylaws by inserting new Section 5 governing election and make up of Transitional Executive Committee of council (GAM022)

* Requests chief operating officer to create a plan for the implementation and translation of a program for training in the effective church wide implementation of Title IV of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, including the estimated expenses thereof; chief operating officer to initiate conversations with the Church Pension Group about how this work might be conducted collaboratively and expenses shared; chief operating officer present a plan for such training to the Executive Council for its review at the January 2015 meeting (GAM024)

Local Mission and Ministry

* Affirmation five entities as Jubilee Ministries including Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, Centennial, Colorado (Diocese of Colorado); Ascension Outbound, Dallas, Texas (Diocese of Dallas); The Church of the Holy Nativity, Baltimore, Maryland (Diocese of Maryland); Noah’s Ark/Generating Hope, Wapato, Washington (Diocese of Spokane); Saint Mark’s Center for Community Renewal, Keansburg, New Jersey (Diocese of New Jersey) (LMM011)

World Mission

* Express appreciation for appointments made on behalf of the Presiding Bishop, including the Rev. Honey Becker (Diocese of Hawaii) second year assignment in Diocese of Jerusalem, missioner to St Peter’s Church, Jaffa; the Rev. Michael Billingsley (Diocese of Massachusetts) chaplain of St George’s College in the Diocese of Jerusalem, accompanied by his wife, Judith; Robert Canter (Diocese of Alabama) area coordinator for the Comayaga and Santa Barbara Deaneries, Diocese of Honduras; Judith Crosby (Diocese of Virginia) Carpenters Kids in Diocese of Central Tanganyika, Church of the Province of Tanzania; the Rev. Pierre Gabaud (Diocese of Southeast Florida)  dean of the Theological Seminary in the Diocese of Haiti; the Rev. Bernard Yung (Diocese of Virginia) missionary in the Diocese of Central Philippines (WM025)

* Express appreciation for Young Adult Service Corps appointments made on behalf of the Presiding Bishop including Frederick Addy (Diocese of Dallas) in the Diocese of Costa Rica; Joseph Anderson (Diocese of Massachusetts and Missouri)  at the Asian Rural Institute (ARI) in the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, Japan; Kristina Boe (Diocese of Olympia) second year with new assignment in the Diocese of Rio de Janeiro, Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil; William Bryant (Diocese of Western North Carolina) second year with new assignment at St. Paul’s Within the Walls, in the Convocation of Churches in Europe; Paul Daniels (Diocese of North Carolina) second year at the Cathedral Church of St. Michael and St. George in the Diocese of Grahamstown, Church of the Province of Southern Africa; Justin Davis (Diocese of Virginia) with the Mission to Seafarers in the Diocese of Western Kowloon, Hong Kong; Elizabeth Duque (Diocese of Colombia) volunteer with Agape Care and Counseling in the Diocese of Maseno West, Kenya; Maurice Dyer (Diocese of El Camino Real) second year with new assignment at the Institute for Healing of Memories in the Diocese of Cape Town, Church of the Province of Southern Africa; Carolyn Hockey (Diocese of Ohio) in the Diocese of Bujumbura, Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi; David Holton (Diocese of New York) at Easter College in Baguio City in the Diocese of North Central Philippines; Kirsten Lowell (Diocese of Maine) in the Diocese of Uruguay; William Lutes (Diocese of South Dakota) with the Anglican Church of Southern Africa Environmental Network and Anglican Communion Environmental Network in Cape Town, Church of the Province of Southern Africa; Kayla Massey (Diocese of Upper South Carolina) in the Diocese of North Central Philippines; Rachel McDaniel (Diocese of West Tennessee) with Women’s and Children’s Ministries in the Diocese of Southwestern Brazil; Delaney Ozmun (Diocese of Olympia) in the Diocese of Eldoret in the Anglican Church of Kenya; Hannah Perls (Diocese of Olympia) second year at Fundación Cristosal, in the Diocese of El Salvador; Carlin Van Schaik (Diocese of Northwest Texas) second year with new assignment in the Episcopal Church in the Philippines; Perry Alan Yarborough (Dioceses of Western North Carolina and Upper South Carolina) second year assignment in the Diocese of Haiti; Ryan Zavacky (Diocese of Eastern Michigan) at Mariya uMamaweThemba Monastery with the Brothers of the Holy Cross in the Diocese of Grahamstown, Church of the Province of Southern Africa (WM026)

* Express appreciation for mission companions who faithfully completed their terms of service including Natalie Finstad (Diocese of Massachusetts) executive director/co-founder of Tatua Kenya Project in the Church of the Province of Kenya; Kyle Evans (Diocese of Pennsylvania) missioner/executive assistant to the suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Haiti; the Rev. Lura Kaval and Richard Harlow (Diocese of Maryland ) canon for development and project manager respectively in the Diocese of Honduras; Dan Tootle (Diocese of Maryland) Diocese of Haiti Schools Reorganization Project manager (WM027)

* Express appreciation for Young Adult Service Corps volunteer companions who faithfully completed their term of service including Ashley Bingaman (Diocese of Virginia) in the Diocese of Haiti; Julia Burd (Diocese of Pennsylvania) at the School of Nursing Science in Léogâne, Diocese of Haiti; Sean Brown (Diocese of Hawaii) at the Asian Rural Institute (ARI) in the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, Japan; Ashley Cameron (Diocese of Virginia) at the Episcopal Development Foundation of St. Mark in the Diocese of Santiago in the Episcopal Church in the Philippines; Rachel Carter (Diocese of East Carolina) at the Instituto Episcopal San Cristóbal in the Diocese of Panama; Margaret Clinch (Diocese of Southern Ohio) at Easter College in Baguio, Diocese of North Central Philippines; Heidi Galagan (Diocese of Wyoming) at Canon Andrea Mwaka School (CAMS) in the Diocese of Central Tanganyika, Anglican Church of Tanzania; Karen Geiger (Diocese of Virginia) with HOPE Africa in the Diocese of False Bay, Church of the Province of Southern Africa; Rebecca Gleason (Diocese of San Diego) at El Espíritu SantoBilingual School in Tela, Diocese of Honduras; Jared Grant (Diocese of Western North Carolina) two-year term with Hope Africa in the Diocese of Lesotho, Church of the Province of Southern Africa and St. Paul’s Within the Walls, in the Convocation of Churches in Europe; Claire Harkey (Diocese of Mississippi) at El Buen Pastor Bilingual School in San Pedro Sula, Diocese of Honduras; Sara Lowery (Diocese of Alabama) at the Mission for Migrant Workers in the Diocese of Hong Kong; Andrew Joyce (Diocese of Kentucky) two-year term in the Episcopal Church in the Philippines; Joseph Morin (Diocese of West Texas) at Instituto Episcopal San Cristóbal in the Diocese of Panama; William Pendleton (Diocese of New Hampshire) in the Episcopal Church of Cuba; Jacqueline Kathleen Webb (Diocese of Dallas) at the Provincial Archives of the Hong Kong Anglican Church (Episcopal) (Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui) (WM028)

* Direct the presiding officers to appoint a working group to study the reality of dioceses unable to afford to fully participate in General Convention, to identify the issues surrounding this challenge, identify funding sources available to address this challenge; working group to report to Executive Council in January 2015 (WM029)

* Approve the 125th UTO award recipients and 2015 United Thank Offering Grant Focus and Criteria [names of recipients to be publicized by the Office of Public Affairs] (WM030)

* “Stand in prayers with our sisters and brothers in Liberia, the Church of the Province of West Africa, and all countries where this virus threatens human health and societal structures and has claimed the lives of thousands; applaud the Episcopal Church in Liberia, the religious community,  grassroots organizations, and individuals in Liberia who are living the good news of Christ’s love by spreading awareness, feeding the hungry, supporting the hopeless, bringing comfort to those who mourn, and being a prophetic voice that speaks up for the most vulnerable;  applaud the clergy of the Episcopal Church in Liberia who continue to minister faithfully to the people of Liberia; applaud the Liberian Episcopalians here in the United States and our relationships that have raised hope, awareness, and materials and funds;” give thanks for the ongoing responses of Episcopal Relief & Development, the Anglican Alliance, global partners,  the U.S. military, and  World Health Organization, and United Nations bodies; challenge the world faith communities, especially the Anglican Communion, to engage the political and societal systems of their respective nations to encourage a more aggressive and generous response to the challenges of this current Ebola pandemic; commend the souls of those who have died into God’s loving care and pray for those who mourn; live in hope of the day we will celebrate the good news that this virus has been contained and we can cheer our sisters and brothers on as they rebuild their lives and their country (WM031)

* commend Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, The Episcopal Church leadership, and the entire church for many years of continuing commitment to maintaining and improving relationships with the entirety of the Anglican Communion; express appreciation for the continuing efforts to strengthen relationships and pursue healing lead by Archbishop Justin Welby within the Anglican Communion; affirm our continued support of the Anglican Communion Office and  commits to endeavoring to restore fully or increase funding in 2015 and beyond (WM032)

Ofrenda Unida de Acción de Gracias anuncia concesión de subvenciones especiales por aniversario

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 2:07pm

[27 de octubre de 2014] Se han anunciados los ganadores para las subvenciones especiales de $ 12,500 de la Ofrenda Unida de Acción de Gracias para un obispo en cada una de las nueve provincias de la Iglesia y para la Obispa Presidente, por un total de $ 125.000.

Estas subvenciones especiales de aniversario son parte de la celebración del 125 aniversario de la Ofrenda Unida de Acción de Gracias y se destinarán a un proyecto en cada provincia que reflejará la Cuarta Marca Anglicana de la Misión: Transformar las estructuras injustas de la sociedad,  desafiar a la violencia de todo tipo y buscar la paz y la reconciliación.

Los proyectos, que se completarán el 1 de mayo de 2015, serán exhibidos en la 78a Convención General en la ciudad de Salt Lake, UT del 25 de junio al 3 de julio de 2015.

Destinatarios

Los destinatarios son:

La Subvención de la Obispa Presidente
La Iglesia Episcopal responde a la crisis de las Fronteras Migrantes de Centroamérica de los Ministerios Episcopales de Migración, el Departamento de Misión de la DFMS

Hacer un llamado a un misionero y lanzar nuevos programas que van a equipar a la Iglesia de manera apropiada para que así responda más eficazmente a la crisis actual en la frontera sur de Estados Unidos, lo que implica niños migrantes de los países centroamericanos. Los niños, con y sin sus madres, están huyendo de la violencia y la inseguridad relacionada con las pandillas debido a la falta de voluntad o incapacidad de los gobiernos de América Central para proteger a los suyos. Los programas establecerán un mecanismo para vincular las necesidades locales de las diócesis fronterizas con los voluntarios y las donaciones provenientes de otras diócesis, así como para establecer una red de inmigración pro bono.

La Reverendísima Katharine Jefferts Schori, 26a Obispa Presidente de la Iglesia Episcopal

Provincia I: Diócesis de New Hampshire
Solo testigo/Recordar a Jonathan Daniels
Comisión de Alcance, Concord, New Hampshire

Apoyar tres eventos para conmemorar el testimonio de Jonathan Daniels de Nueva Hampshire que sufrió el martirio como seminarista Episcopal trabajando por los derechos de voto en el Sur en 1965. El primer evento se centrará en la violencia armada; la segunda será una cumbre de los temas de justicia social, que pondrán a prueba las actuales estructuras injustas en el lugar; y la tercera se centrará en la construcción de la paz, tanto interpersonal como a nivel mundial.
Reverendísimo A. Robert Hirschfeld, Diócesis de New Hampshire

Provincia II: Diócesis de Albany
Transporte los Robles de Justicia [Oaks of Righteousness]
Oaks of Righteousness, Troy, Nueva York

Comprar una camioneta de pasajeros de tamaño familiar van, que será utilizada para el transporte de los jóvenes y las familias, que participan en el ministerio los robles de justicia [Oaks of Righteousness]. El ministerio sirve una de las áreas más difíciles y más peligrosas en la región del Capitolio de Nueva York. El área tiene un alto índice de pobreza, drogas y la adicción al alcohol, la violencia doméstica, el embarazo de adolescentes, hogares con un solo padre y la actividad de pandillas. La van permitirá que los jóvenes de las calles participen en un equipo de baloncesto, lo que les ayudará a entender que el equipo ministerial OAKS se preocupa por ellos así como lo hace Dios. La camioneta también se utilizará para el transporte de los jóvenes a las sesiones del campamento y tutoría en varios lugares.
Reverendísimo William H. Love, Diócesis de Albany

Provincia III: Diócesis del Sudoeste de Virginia
Cocina Grace House
Grace House en la Montaña, Roanoke, Virginia

Proporcionar una cocina comercial equipada para Grace House en la montaña situado en la región de los Apalaches del sudoeste de Virginia. Grace House ofrece comidas a los muchos trabajadores voluntarios que vienen a la zona para trabajar y ayudar a mejorar la vida de los mineros de carbón y sus familias, mediante la renovación de las viviendas de baja calidad. Un programa de desayunos necesario para las familias en la montaña se pondrá en marcha tan pronto como la cocina comercial se encuentre en su lugar.
Reverendísimo, Mark Bourlakas, Diócesis del Sudoeste de Virginia

Provincia IV: Diócesis de Carolina del Norte
La Sembrada/Un temporada para la siembra
Iglesia Episcopal San Andrés, Greensboro, Carolina del Norte

Contratar a un sacerdote bilingüe con destrezas culturales y habilidades para el desarrollo de la comunidad para ser el líder clave en la creación de una comunidad fuerte de fe fuera de los muros de la iglesia de San Andrés en Greensboro. Esto implicará la construcción de relaciones mutuas y significativas entre los creyentes de muchas culturas. Estas relaciones pueden conducir a la acción colectiva para el bienestar de los más vulnerables. La meta de la Sembrada es buscar la integración de la comunidad de vecinos en conjunto para identificar los problemas que harán que sus vidas sean más habitables y obtener aliados y socios para ayudarles a alcanzar sus objetivos contra la violencia doméstica y el aislamiento social.
Reverendísimo Michael B. Curry, Diócesis de Carolina del Norte

Provincia V: Diócesis de Michigan
¡La Vida de Lázaro! Exposición de Fotografía: Dios y la Juventud en las calles de Detroit
Detroit, Michigan

Proporcionar oportunidad para que jóvenes lesbianas, homosexuales, bisexuales, transexuales (LGBT) de Detroit puedan contar las historias de sus experiencias con Dios en las calles de Detroit a través de una exposición fotográfica. Ellos van a utilizar sus teléfonos celulares para fotografiar donde encuentren a Dios en sus experiencias diarias, incluyendo lo bueno lo malo y lo feo.
ReverendísimoWendell N. Gibbs, Jr., Diócesis of Michigan

Provincia VI: Diócesis de Minnesota
Programa de Bicicletas para Jóvenes, Edificar la Comunidad en la Reserva de White Earth Indian
RezCycle en asociación con White Earth de Ojibwe y  White Earth Boys & el Club de Red de Jovencitas
Reserva White Earth Indian, Minnesota

Rehabilitar un autobús para utilizarlo como una tienda bicicleta errante y adquirir las herramientas necesarias para la tienda. Los programas de la bicicleta en la reserva permitirán que los jóvenes entre las edades de 12 y 18 años puedan tener una oportunidad de ganar bicicletas después de participar en 15 horas de programación y donde los jóvenes con bicicletas rotas podrán ayudarles a arreglar sus bicicletas “gratis”. Las destrezas para arreglar bicicletas permiten que  los jóvenes obtengan autoestima, habilidades de trabajo y ayudará a formar una comunidad positiva como alternativa en vez de pandillas y violencia. Tener el autobús como una tienda itinerante permitirá que toda la reserva de 1.093 kilómetros cuadrados obtenga el servicio.
Reverendísimo. Brian N. Prior, Diócesis de Minnesota

Provincia VII: Diócesis de Rio Grande
Proyecto de Alcance Borderland
Ministerios Borderland Rio Grande
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Comprar una camioneta de último modelo, bajo kilometraje, de cuatro ruedas para ayudar en la entrega de bienes como alimentos, ropas y mantas en toda la extensión de la zona Borderland de Nuevo México, Texas y México. La región está llena de violencia, pobreza, hambre y la privación de derechos de los pobres. Con el fin de proporcionar alimentos frescos y congelados se comprara un refrigerador  y un congelador horizontal para las instalaciones de alimentos en Columbus, Nuevo México.
Reverendísimo Michael Louis Vono, D.D., Diócesis de Rio Grande

Provincia VIII: Diócesis de Olympia
Los Lirios del Campo
Santa Maria Magdalena, Burien, Washington
Condado Gray Harbor, Washington

Proporcionar capital inicial para hacer prosperar la comunidad de Cristo de una manera original; construir relaciones y encontrar juntos formas para construir una sociedad más justa; identificar el liderazgo y la búsqueda de nuevas formas de formación que tengan sentido para las “nuevas comunidades” y la Iglesia de hoy. Dos áreas muy diferentes son parte del proyecto: la comunidad urbana de Burien en el extremo sur de los límites de la ciudad de Seattle y la Comunidad de Grays Harbor, un condado rural en la costa. En Burien el capital inicial será para que los miembros del clero puedan trabajar en la comunidad y en el condado de Grays Harbor para formar comunidades de base, que se desarrollen en las comunidades de culto donde quiera que se encuentren.
Reverendísimo Greg Rickel, Diócesis de Olympia

Provincia IX: Diócesis del Litoral de Ecuador
Programa para la juventud en proceso de recuperación de la adicción de drogas y alcohol
Celebremos la Recuperación de 12 pasos con la Biblia la Santa Trinidad Episcopal
Santa Elena, Ecuador

Para apoyar a una persona profesional que proporcione programas para los que tienen adicciones a las drogas y alcohol.
Reverendísimo Alfredo Morante Espana, Diócesis de Ecuador Litoral.

Para obtener más información comuníquese con la Rda. Heather Melton, coordinadora de la Ofrenda Unida de Acción de Gracias, hmelton@episcopalchurch.org.

Conocido mundialmente como UTO, las subvenciones de la Ofrenda Unida de Acción de Gracias son otorgadas para proyectos que aborden las necesidades humanas y ayuden a aliviar la pobreza, tanto a nivel nacional como internacional.

 

United Thank Offering announces special anniversary grants awardees

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 2:06pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The awardees have been announced for The Episcopal Church United Thank Offering’s special $12,500 grants to one bishop in each of the Church’s nine provinces, and to the Presiding Bishop, for a total of $125,000.

Part of the celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the United Thank Offering, these one-time special anniversary grants will be used for a project in each province that will reflect the fourth Anglican Mark of Mission: To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind to pursue peace and reconciliation.

The projects, to be completed by May 1, 2015, will be showcased at 78thGeneral Convention in Salt Lake City, UT in June 25- July 3, 2015.

Recipients

The recipients are:

The Presiding Bishop’s Award

The Episcopal Church Responds to the Central American Migrant Border Crisis
Episcopal Migration Ministries, The Mission Department of the DFMS

To call a missionary and launch new programs which will equip the Church to respond more effectively to the ongoing crisis at the United States’ southern border, which involves child migrants from Central American countries. The children, with and without their mothers, are fleeing gang related violence and insecurity from the unwillingness or inability of Central American governments to protect their own. The programs will build a mechanism to link local needs of the border dioceses with volunteers and donations coming from other dioceses, as well as to establish a pro bono immigration network.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori,26th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church

Province I: Diocese of New Hampshire

Just Witness/Remembering Jonathan Daniels
Outreach Commission, Concord, NH

To support three events to commemorate the witness of New Hampshire’s own Jonathan Daniels who suffered martyrdom as an Episcopal seminarian working for voting rights in the South in 1965. The first event will focus on gun violence; the second will be a summit of social justice issues, which will challenge the current unjust structures in place; and the third will focus on peacemaking both interpersonally and globally.

The Rt. Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld, Diocese of New Hampshire

Province II: Diocese of Albany

Oaks of Righteousness Transportation
Oaks of Righteousness, Troy, NY

To purchase a used family size passenger van, which will be used for transportation of youth and families, involved in the Oaks of Righteousness ministry. The ministry serves one of the toughest and most dangerous areas in the New York Capitol region. The area has a high rate of poverty, drug and alcohol addiction, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, single parent homes and gang activity. The van will allow the youth of the streets to participate on a basketball team, which helps them to understand the OAKS ministry team cares for them as does God. The van will also be used to transport the youth to camp and mentoring sessions at various locations.

The Rt. Rev. William H. Love, Diocese of Albany

Province III: Diocese of Southwestern Virginia

Grace House Kitchen
Grace House on the Mountain, Roanoke, VA

To provide a commercially equipped kitchen for Grace House on the Mountain located in the Appalachian region of Southwestern Virginia. Grace House provides meals to the many volunteer workers who come to the area to work to help improve the lives of the coal miners and their families by renovating the substandard homes. A needed breakfast program for the families on the mountain will be launched as soon as the commercial kitchen is in place.

The Rt. Rev. Mark Bourlakas, Diocese of Southwestern Virginia

Province IV: Diocese of North Carolina

La Sembrada/A Time for Sowing
Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Greensboro, NC

To hire a bi-lingual priest with cultural facilities and community building skills to be the key leader in the creating of a strong community of faith outside the walls of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Greensboro. This will involve building mutual and meaningful relationships among believers of many cultures. These relationships can lead to collective action for the well-being of the most vulnerable. La Sembrada goal is to bring the neighborhood community together to identify issues that will make their life more livable and gain allies and partners to help them achieve their goals against domestic violence and social isolation.

The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, Diocese of North Carolina

Province V: Diocese of Michigan

The Lazarus Lives! Photo Exhibit: God and Youth on Detroit Streets
Detroit, MI

To provide an opportunity for the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-attractional and Transgender (LGBT) youth of Detroit to tell their stories of their experiences with God on the streets of Detroit through a photographic exhibit. They will use their cell phones to photograph where they find God in their daily experiences, including the good the bad and the ugly.

The Rt. Rev. Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr., Diocese of Michigan

Province VI: Diocese of Minnesota

Youth Bicycle Programs Building Community on the White Earth Indian Reservation
RezCycle in Partnership with the White Earth of Ojibwe and the White Earth Boys & Girls Club Network
White Earth Indian Reservation, MN

To rehabilitate a bus which will be used as a roving bicycle shop and purchase the needed tools for the shop. The bicycle programs on the reservation will allow youth between 12 and 18 to have an opportunity to earn bikes after participating in 15 hours of programming and youth with broken bikes will be able to help in fixing their bikes “for free.” Bike-building skills allows the youth to gain self-esteem, job skills and will help to form a positive community as an alternative to gangs and violence. Having the bus as a roving shop will allow the whole reservation of 1,093 square miles to be served.

The Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior, Diocese of Minnesota

Province VII: Diocese of Rio Grande

Project Borderland Reach
Rio Grande Borderland Ministries
Albuquerque, NM

To purchase a late model, low mileage, 4-wheel drive pickup truck to help in the delivery of goods such as food, clothing and blankets throughout the expanse of the Borderland area of New Mexico, Texas and Mexico. The region is riddled with violence, poverty, hunger and the disenfranchisement of the poor. In order to provide fresh and frozen foods a refrigerator and chest freezer will be purchase for the food facility in Columbus, New Mexico.

The Rt. Rev. Michael Louis Vono, D.D., Diocese of the Rio Grande

Province VIII: Diocese of Olympia

Lilies of the Field
Santa Maria Magdalena, Burien, Washington
Gray Harbor County, WA

To provide seed money for growing the community of Christ in fresh ways; to build relationships and find ways together to build a more just society; to identify leadership and finding new ways of formation that make sense to “new communities” and the Church today. Two vastly different areas are part of the project: the urban community of Burien at the south end of the Seattle city limits and Grays Harbor Community, a rural county on the coast. In Burien the seed money will be for clergy member to work in the community and in the County of Grays Harbor County to form base communities, which will develop into worshiping communities wherever they may be.

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, Diocese of Olympia

Province IX: Diocese of Ecuador Litoral

Program for youth in recovery process for drug and alcohol addiction
Celebrate Recovery 12 step with the Bible Holy Trinity Episcopal
Santa Elena, Ecuador

To support a professional individual who will provide programs for those who have addictions to alcohol and drugs.

The Rt. Rev. Alfredo Morante Espana, Diocese of Ecuador Litoral

For more information contact the Rev. Heather Melton, United Thank Offering coordinator, hmelton@episcopalchurch.org.

Known worldwide as UTO, the United Thank Offering grants are awarded for projects that address human needs and help alleviate poverty, both domestically and internationally.

UTO: www.episcopalchurch.org/uto

Las iglesias tienen un papel que desempeñar en el fomento del discurso civil en la sociedad

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 5:39am

El Rdo. Tim Safford, rector de la iglesia de Cristo en Filadelfia, saluda el 22 de octubre a los asistentes al foro, auspiciado por la Iglesia Episcopal, El discurso civil en Estados Unidos: encontrar criterios coincidentes para el bien mayor, en tanto Clifton Daniel, obispo provisional de la Diócesis de Pensilvania, lo escucha. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Filadelfia] Los estadounidenses están cada vez más preocupados por la polarización del debate político en el país, y las comunidades religiosas pueden ayudar a fomentar un regreso al diálogo respetuoso, dijeron los panelistas que participaron en el foro sobre el discurso civil auspiciado por la Iglesia Episcopal aquí el 22 de octubre.

Las tres religiones abrahámicas —judaísmo, cristianismo e islam— creen que las personas son creadas a imagen de Dios, les recordó a los participantes el Rabí Steve Gutow, presidente y director ejecutivo del Consejo Judío sobre Asuntos Públicos, de manera que las personas de fe deben encontrarse mutuamente como si tuvieran una chispa de la gran sabiduría de Dios en ellos, de la cual otros pueden aprender, incluso cuando no están de acuerdo.

Las comunidades religiosas, dijo él, deben actuar a partir de lo que definió como un apasionado compromiso con lo que creen que Dios está llamándoles a hacer, así como un apasionado compromiso con la idea de que cada persona es creada a imagen de Dios y por consiguiente merece respeto.

Prince Singh, obispo de la Diócesis de Rochester, resaltando que el foro se había reunido en el festival hindú de las luces que se conoce como Diwali, dijo que constituye una disciplina espiritual resistir el impulso a demonizar al oponente y más bien esforzarse por aportar luz, en lugar de calor, a las conversaciones sobre temas potencialmente divisivos.

Organizado por la Iglesia Episcopal, el foro de 90 minutos de duración, titulado El discurso civil en Estados Unidos: encontrar criterios coincidentes para el bien mayor, fue transmitido en directo a través de la Red desde la iglesia de Cristo [Christ Church] en Filadelfia (Diócesis de Pensilvania), el lugar de nacimiento de la Iglesia Episcopal y el templo que figuró significativamente en la fundación de Estados Unidos.

Las sesiones pronto podrán verse a solicitud aquí.

Los organizadores crearon una guía del moderador para ayudar en los debates del grupo y para una mejor comprensión del foro. La información acerca de la guía se encuentra aquí y se puede descargar aquí.

“Nuestras conversaciones están limitadas por la fragilidad humana, pero también pueden participar de las posibilidades divinas y eternas”, dijo la obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori en su discurso de apertura, añadiendo que esto último es posible cuando los conservacionistas se acercan mutuamente no como enemigos, sino más bien como “un ser humano dotado y bendecido que podría tener un don que darnos”.

“Sigo convencida de que las conversaciones cara a cara tienen más posibilidades de ser vivificadoras que esas incorpóreas en que tanto participamos por mensajes de texto, a través de Twitter o en un blog”, afirmó.

“Cuando dejamos de ver la verdadera belleza humana y resaltamos los defectos de nuestros interlocutores, es fácil inyectar veneno en lugar de esperar una transformación”.

Antes de que comenzaran los dos paneles del foro, Robert Jones, el director ejecutivo de la oficina del Instituto Público sobre la Investigación Religiosa, resumió brevemente una encuesta de opinión pública que su organización llevó a cabo con la Iglesia Episcopal en conjunto con el foro. El resumen, “¿Es aun posible la civilidad? Lo que los estadounidenses quieren en los líderes públicos y en el discurso público”, llegó a la conclusión de que “pese a estar divididos por generaciones, por religión, por razas y por alianzas políticas partidistas, los estadounidenses expresan una intensa preferencia por el acuerdo” y “el apetito del público por el acuerdo es creciente”.

Los medios de información fragmentados y polarizados del país contribuye a la falta de civilidad en el discurso público, concluía el informe, ya que los medios de prensa “recompensan la retórica en el debate político que con frecuencia tiene por objeto crear conflicto y drama a expensas de la moderación”.

No obstante, “la inmensa mayoría del público cree que la ausencia de un discurso civil es un problema importante para el funcionamiento de nuestro sistema político”, según el informe.

Las instituciones religiosas se han convertido en un obstáculo en sus empeños de fomentar el diálogo porque las congregaciones siguen estando segregadas conforme a criterios raciales e incluso ideológicos, concluía el informe. “Las organizaciones religiosas deben pasar también por los descendentes niveles de confianza en las instituciones cívicas, particularmente entre los jóvenes adultos”, decía el informe. “Cuando los líderes religiosos se concentran en los temas controvertidos, es más probable que los estadounidense nos perciban como parte del problema que como una posible solución”.

John J. DeGioia, presidente de la Universidad de Georgetown y panelista del foro sobre el discurso civil, hace un comentario mientras los demás escuchan. De izquierda a derecha, Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, director ejecutivo de religión del Huffington Post; el rabino Steve Gutow, presidente y director ejecutivo del Consejo Judío sobre Asuntos Públicos; Elizabeth McCloskey, presidente y directora ejecutiva del Instituto de Fe y Política y el obispo Prince Singh de la Diócesis Episcopal de Rochester. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

Durante el panel sobre discurso civil y fe, John J. DeGioia, presidente de la Universidad de Georgetown, convino con el punto de Jefferts Schori sobre las conversaciones cara a cara. Las conversaciones individuales, afirmó, con frecuencia dan lugar a desacuerdos mucho menores que las discusiones más concurridas durante las cuales los individuos rara vez llegan a relacionarse entre sí.

En esas pequeñas conversaciones, los participantes encuentran que son más las coas que los unen que las que los separan, dijo, y añadió que la iglesias deben hacer hincapié en las cosas que comparte la comunidad humana.

Elizabeth McCloskey, presidente y directora ejecutiva del Instituto de Fe y Política, invocó lo que llamó la humildad y la convicción del presidente Abraham Lincoln en que cada persona tiene una vocación de intentar alcanzar una unión más perfecta. Instó a los líderes religiosos a predicar tanto esa humildad como el supuesto de una intención honorable.

Partiendo del criterio que muchos en el Congreso de EE.UU. quisieran alcanzar un acuerdo, pero creen que sus votantes no quieren tal cosa, McCloskey dijo que a ella le gustaría ver que los líderes religiosos modelan el discurso civil “y entonces que las personas de fe… comiencen a exigirles a los líderes políticos que alcancen acuerdos, que participen en el debate deliberativo”.

Hugh Forrest, director del Festival Interactivo del Sur por el Suroeste, habla acerca de la creatividad y la diversidad creativa, mientras lo escuchan, de izquierda a derecha, el moderador Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, director ejecutivo de religión para el Huffington Post; Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, directora ejecutiva del Instituto Nacional para el Discurso Civil, y David Boardman, decano de la Escuela de Medios y Comunicación de la Universidad Temple de Filadelfia. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

Durante el segundo panel, sobre el discurso civil en política y en la normativa, Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, directora ejecutiva del Instituto Nacional para el Discurso Civil, advirtió contra la creencia de que el país está tan dividido como el Congreso federal. En lugar de eso, dijo ella, lo que Alexis de Tocqueville vio en los estadounidenses en 1838 sigue siendo verdad hoy día: frente a un problema, abandonan rápidamente las ideologías y buscan soluciones.

“Esa es una ventaja extraordinaria respecto a dónde nos encontramos ahora”, afirmó.

Abordando el papel de los medios de información en el discurso civil, David Boardman, decano de la Escuela de Medios y Comunicaciones de la Universidad Temple, dijo: los estadounidenses usan los medios de comunicación de la manera en que un borracho usa un poste de la luz: para sujetarse, no para iluminación”. Si bien los “monopolios mediáticos” estadounidenses se han fragmentado de tal manera que con frecuencia conducen a una pérdida de los recursos que sostienen la información profunda e investigativa, la fractura también ha dado lugar a la creación de unos medios de información muy específicos, tanto de temas como geográficos, que les proporcionan a los consumidores bien dispuestos una información de mayor profundidad y alcance que nunca antes.

Hugh Forrest, Director del Festival Interactivo del Sur por el Suroeste, dijo que el festival descubrió que exigir diversidad entre los panelistas del festival había dado lugar a una creatividad de que la reunión había carecido anteriormente.

El rabino Gutow y el obispo Singh también participaron en el primer panel.

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, director ejecutivo de religión para el Huffington Post, moderó las discusiones del panel.

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

Atlanta diocese calls all towards The Beloved Community

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 5:23am

[Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta] Georgia’s first African-American Episcopal bishop called on a cathedral filled with Episcopalians – and many more around Middle and North Georgia linked by video stream — to remember and repent of the church’s complicity in the sin of slavery and in the conditions that followed.

Bishop Rob Wright opened the Oct. 22 service in silence and with a somber prayer. Nearly 800 people gathered at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta for a Service of Repentance and Reconciliation hosted by the Diocese of Atlanta’s Beloved Community: the Commission on Dismantling Racism.

Courtesy of the Cathedral of St. Philip, the service can be viewed now here.

Following is Bishop Wright’s sermon text:

“I will bless the Lord at all times, God’s praise shall continually be in my mouth.”  In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Good evening! Greetings to you in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And greetings on behalf of the 110 worshiping communities that are the Episcopal Church in Middle and North Georgia. We are brought together tonight, here at the Cathedral and around the diocese through live streaming, by the members of The Beloved Community: the Commission for Dismantling Racism. These courageous and insightful men and women have gathered us so that we might be in compliance with a General Convention Resolution of 2006 which invites us to “…make a full, faithful and informed accounting of our history… including the complicity of the Episcopal Church in the sin of slavery, segregation, discrimination and their aftermath.” And, that we would again fulfill our promise made at baptism: That faced with the fact of our sins, we “would repent and return to the Lord.”

Important as this is, we are here for a more profound reason. After all, commissions and confessions, resolutions and services of repentance and reconciliation are about one thing in the end. They’re about equipping the church to be The Beloved Community. That’s what this evening is about. That’s what Baptism is about. That’s what the Eucharist is about. We are here to be refreshed by our calling as people of water and Spirit, here to remember who we are and whose we are.

Acknowledging and laying aside
You remember “The Beloved Community.” It’s that phrase that Dr. King popularized. It’s the acknowledgement that practicing the love exemplified by Jesus of Nazareth can, has, will transform opposers into friends and bring about miracles in people’s hearts. The Beloved Community seeks to describe the reality that good is created, locally and cosmically when people practice Christian love through reconciliation and redemption. And that the practice of Christian love generates a unique goodwill that transforms old-age gloom into new-age exuberant gladness. If nothing else, friends, tonight remember Beloved Community work begins with us acknowledging and “laying aside the weight and the sin that entangles us and running with patience… looking to Jesus the perfecter and finisher of our faith.”

Tonight is the Diocese of Atlanta, once more, taking up the work of being the Beloved Community. And, to accomplish this work, our first commitment must be to look back together.

God would not have us to be blind to who we have been and what we have done to each other. Just the opposite. I was reminded just this evening how poignant this service is: 51 years ago the newspaper reported that Dr. King’s son was refused admission to the Lovett School, which was then housed on this campus. And the bishop then, Bishop Randolph Claiborne, refused to issue a statement about race, except to uphold the policy of segregation and to wonder “why a Baptist would want to go to school with Episcopalians.” You might be interested to know that I have on one of Bishop Claiborne’s vestments tonight. I believe you can rewrite old narratives. And you might be interested to know that it was a white priest, Father Morris, who confronted the bishop about desegregating the schools and the diocese, and who ultimately lost his license to serve as a priest in Atlanta as retribution for his actions.

We have to look back. But to look back as the Beloved Community is to see through the lens of repentance at the times when we have not loved the Lord or our neighbors with our whole heart. And through the eyes of reconciliation: “What was lost is now found, what was dead is now alive. Your sins are forgiven.” Without the twin virtues of repentance and reconciliation there is only the brittle, scared silence we maintain as we walk around each other on eggshells.

To look back at the history of Georgia with a courageous and objective eye is to see Africans sold into slavery by Africans and brought to Georgia by Europeans. It is to see human beings enslaved and strategically stripped of language, religion, culture and family. It is to see both the law and the church betray their ideals. It is to see immeasurable wealth created for individuals, businesses, churches and communities because of stolen labor. But not only that: As time marched on, it is to see human beings unchained from physical shackles only to be chained to poverty and illiteracy and discarded like rusty farm equipment. In modern times, it is to see the prison industrial complex of today replace the housing projects and plantations of yesterday. Then there are the rampant executions of black men and teenagers by vigilantes and police alike that produce rivers of tears and mountains of bitterness. To say nothing of the voter suppression movement that is happening in Georgia as I speak. This is because the number of black and brown people is increasing and the number of white people is decreasing. In Georgia, for the first time, white children are the new minority.

The forgetful community, or the Beloved Community?
Because all of this is dangerous to see and to speak about, some choose to be the forgetful community rather than the Beloved Community. Why? Because we wonder silently if Christian fellowship is durable enough for these kinds of conversations. Because we wonder if reconciliation isn’t just a word only used on Sundays. Because we’re Southerners, and this is just too unpleasant. The forgetful community argues that if we keep a blind eye and choose mass amnesia, then in some distant future all the brutality and blood of our past will simply evaporate, leaving a more polite narrative. They would rather expunge our history than process it. They call this a post-racial society. I call it the Etch-a- Sketch approach to human relationships.

Spiritually this would be the equivalent of erasing Jesus’ betrayal, beating and bloody death in favor of a sanitized Easter story. They would make Jesus a hologram holy man without nail holes. But it is precisely His nail holes that give His command to forgive, not to forget and to love enemy rather than to shame enemy for all of its persuasive power.

God is a genius! This is what it means to be the Beloved Community. Here is a word for oppressor and oppressed alike. Each week in our churches we come together to remember Christ’s life, death and resurrection. All of it! We do this so we can hear and know and trust that pain and guilt and shame don’t have to have the last word. That though we may be found culpable, there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Though we have colluded with systems of oppression, “where the Spirit is, now there is liberty.” Whether victim or oppressor, this is the opportunity of tonight. That remembering the past and then remembering God’s ability to make gold out of garbage, we press on. So, enveloped in the durable belovedness that flows first from God and then from person to person, the Beloved Community takes some risks together. We pledge to look and see together. And we pledge to allow what has been un-discussable now be discussed. This, the prophet Isaiah says, is the righteousness that God calls us to.

Choose judgment, or mercy?
After twenty-four months, I am happy to say I have visited the majority of our worshiping communities. And I have seen the Cross of Jesus on display in each place. But I wonder, if in addition to the Cross, maybe every church also needs to have some reminder of the Apostle Paul. You remember Paul. We first meet him watching Stephen be stoned in Jerusalem. He was oppressor, an abuser. He wrongfully incarcerated Christians. He did these things because his professional ambitions caused him to compromise on respecting the dignity of every human being.

But one bright day he met the risen Christ. After that he met the Beloved Community in Damascus. And at his coming, that Beloved Community had an immense choice to make.

Should they listen to their suspicions or make room for an exception? Should they be exclusively a community of friends or friends with the larger community. Should they choose judgment or should they choose mercy? We know the end of the story. They choose mercy over judgment. They choose to draw their circle wider. They choose to “repair the breach.” The very man Paul sought to destroy became the man who demonstrated for Paul what it meant to choose compassion over fear, and reconciliation over estrangement. That seemingly benign act, by one person, almost 2,000 years ago set loose on the world the most prolific spokesperson for reconciliation the world has ever known.

If we are to move forward as a church and state, we have a choice to make today. Like the Beloved Community in Damascus, will we tame our suspicions and prejudices and move towards each other, or will we fortify the distance that fear and enmity demand? The peace that Jesus brings does not make things easy or placid. His peace shakes things up until we are holding on to Him and Him alone for dear life. Without the work of the Beloved Community back in Damascus, there would be no Beloved Community here and now. Because of their repentance and reconciliation work then, Paul would later confess, “I was a persecutor of the church but by the grace of God, God’s grace was not in vain and so I labor….”

The response to grace is action. And grace on the ground becomes justice. And so this Service of Repentance and Reconciliation must not be a cheap grace. Yes, we must examine our hearts and attitudes and confess our polite hostility towards one another. But we shouldn’t stop there. Our world is made up of systems. And systems are always more immoral than individuals. Bureaucracies are belligerent. And so today, we should understand that we are being expelled from this gathering to actively dismantle systemic evil wherever we find it. In the church, among those who hold the public trust, in financial systems and in our schools. And to be clear, what is being asked of us tonight is more than financial charity. Like Dr. King told us, we must not only praise the Good Samaritan for bandaging the wounds of the stranger. But it is the church’s work, the Beloved Community’s work, to ask why the economic system is such that on the Jericho road crime is an attractive option for young people? What are the schools like in the Jericho road community? Is there a decent living wage in Jericho?

This gathering is more expulsion than it is anything else. And so on a night like this, I remember Jesus’ one-word sermon to his disciples. It was simply “Go. ” Go healing, go trusting, go planting, go to enemy territory, go naming demons and casting them out, and go tearing down strong holds.

But as we go He told us this, “Greater is He who is in me than he that is in the world.”

There is spiritual wickedness in high and low places. But our wrestling is more with the principalities and powers of this world than it is with each other. It may sound like a feeble sending off to the unschooled ear, given the velocity and ferocity of the world. But that’s what it means to be the Beloved Community too. To feel “afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

When the Bible finishes its story of God and of people of fear and love, of repentance and reconciliation, we are left with one image. And that is of a great gathering of people, a family reunion. Every nation, language and tribe are there. We’ve all got long white robes on and palm branches in our hands. And we’re singing, all of us. Singing together like one fantastic choir, singing, “Thanksgiving, power and might be to God forever!” And what we’re told is that in this place there is no hunger and no homelessness, no wealth and no war. And in that place neither are there any more tears! Just us finally together. No divisions. With God. In God. Raindrops returning to the ocean. Reconciled. Restored. Repaired. Rejoicing. What we have now beloved, is the grace of knowing that we can speed up this day with our words and with our deeds.

“I want to walk as a child of the light; I want to follow Jesus. God set the stars to give light to the world; the star of my life is Jesus. In him there is no darkness at all; the night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.”

Thanks be to God!

                                                                                            Hymn text by Kathleen Thomerson

West Texas elects David Mitchell Reed as bishop coadjutor

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 5:07am

[Episcopal Diocese of West Texas] The Rt. Rev. David Mitchell Reed was elected as bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas at the Special Council of the diocese on Oct. 25, held at TMI – The Episcopal School of Texas in San Antonio.

Reed, 57, is currently the bishop suffragan of the diocese, and was one of six nominees. As bishop coadjutor, Reed will continue to serve alongside Bishop Gary Lillibridge. Upon Lillibridge’s retirement in 2017, Reed will become the 10th bishop of the Diocese of West Texas.

In order to be elected, a candidate needed to receive a majority of votes from both the clergy and the lay delegates, voting separately as “orders” on the same balloting round. Reed secured election on the first ballot, receiving 66 clergy votes and 207 lay votes, with 63 and 157 needed, respectively, for election.

Pending consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees of Episcopal Church dioceses, Reed will be recognized as bishop coadjutor during the worship service at Diocesan Council in February 2015. The service will be held on Feb. 28, in San Marcos, and the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will preside.

Reed is the first Bishop Suffragan of the diocese to be elected Bishop Coadjutor and then to go on to serve as Diocesan Bishop. Reed was ordained in 1983 when he graduated from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. Reed served as Assistant Rector of St. Alban’s, Harlingen, from 1983-1987; as Rector of St. Francis, Victoria, from 1987-1994; and as Rector of St. Alban’s, Harlingen, from 1994-2006. Bishop Reed was elected Bishop Suffragan of the diocese in 2006.

The other nominees were the Rev. Scott Brown, the Rev. Ram Lopez, the Rev. Jim Nelson, the Rev. David Read, and the Rev. Robert Woody.

Executive Council moves toward proposed draft budget

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 4:30pm

[Episcopal News Service – Linthicum Heights, Maryland] The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council opened its four-day meeting here considering its proposed draft 2016-2018 budget as well as reviewing in committees resolutions that are due for council action on the last meeting day.

The Rev. Susan Snook, a member of council’s Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission (FFM), gave her colleagues an update on the committee’s work on the budget thus far. Because that work is not complete, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori advised council members and observers not to report the details of the work Snook presented. The committee will return to council on Oct. 27 with a preliminary draft.

After council considers that version, it soon will be released to the church for comment. In addition some FFM members will stay at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, after that meeting to discuss the document with the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) during its Oct. 27-29 meeting.

Then FFM will revise the budget based on comments from PB&F and the wider church and have a final draft budget ready for the full council’s consideration during its Jan. 9-11, 2015 meeting. According to the joint rules of General Convention (joint rule II.10.c.ii), council must give its draft budget to PB&F no less than four months before the start of General Convention (essentially by February of convention year).

PB&F is due to meet next from Feb. 23-25, 2015, to begin work on that draft budget. PB&F uses the draft budget and any legislation passed by or being considered by General Convention to create a final budget proposal. That budget must be presented to a joint session of the Houses of Bishops and Deputies no later than the third day before convention’s scheduled adjournment. The two houses then debate and vote on the budget separately and the budget needs the approval of both houses.

In a related matter, Treasurer Kurt Barnes updated the council on the state of the current 2013-2015 triennial budget. He reported that the 2014 budget year-to-date through September is generally in line with the revised version council had previously approved.

General Convention approves the triennial budget, and council often revises the three annual budgets, based on changes in income and expenses.

Council will be asked to approve a 2015 budget that has a deficit but, Barnes said, the three-year budget overall, which must at least be balanced, will show $4 million in income above what is needed to cover expenses. He attributed that excess income to $1.5 million in unbudgeted income from rental of space at the Church Center in New York. An additional $2.9 million comes from an increased draw on endowment income to support the work of the church’s development office. Some increased expenses shaved money off that $4.4 million additional income, Barnes said.

He noted that while diocesan income has increased from what was budgeted, the increase is attributable to better performance of diocesan investments leading to greater diocesan income and a generally improving economy.

“We have not seen any increase of dioceses stepping up with higher [percentage] contributions,” he said.

The Episcopal Church’s three-year budget is funded primarily by pledges from the church’s dioceses and regional mission areas. Each year’s annual giving in the three-year budget is based on a diocese’s income two years earlier, minus $120,000. Diocesan commitments for 2013 and 2014, based on the budget’s request of a 19 percent contribution, are here.

Presiding bishop says church must learn to share it resources in new ways

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori focused her opening remarks to council on how the church must change the way it educates its leaders and how it might foster financial autonomy for every diocese and other jurisdiction in the church.

“We’re not called to build a church that leaves poor and struggling relatives either shamed or incapacitated by their poverty,” she said. “We are called to build societies of abundance where resources are directed where needed, and no one lives in want …We should be challenging all Episcopalians to see the abundance we enjoy as gifts to be shared. When those gifts are shared, we know that it brings joy and flourishing to all members of the body. It looks like abundant life.”

Jefferts Schori also complimented the entire council for its “growth in capacity in this triennium.”

“We are engaging the mission and ministry of this Church in larger and more strategic ways than we have in recent years,” she said. “I continue to believe that the primary mission of this body is those larger and strategic questions, and I firmly hope the Convention will help us to clarify that role.”

The complete text of the presiding bishop’s remarks is here.

House of Deputies president outlines General Convention changes

In her opening remarks to council, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, House of Deputies president, outlined a series of changes for to the 2015 meeting of General Convention that she said are aimed at “make[ing] the legislative process one that can best help us discern our mission and ministry.”

Those changes include a new slate of legislative committees that are more closely aligned with the framework of the Five Marks of Mission, Jennings and Jefferts Schori said in a July letter to bishops and deputies. The new committees are here.

Jennings said she plans to appoint House of Deputies legislative committees by the end of this year and instruct committee chairs to begin work before General Convention. The current Rules of Order permit that early start and Jennings told council she hopes that it “will make it possible for us to consider legislation much more efficiently once we arrive at General Convention.”

Another change at convention is the scheduling of four joint sessions of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, including:

* June 24, the day before the first legislative day, an afternoon session during which the nominees for presiding bishop will be presented,

* June 26, joint session to receive officially the nominations from the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the 27th Presiding Bishop and to receive nominations that may have come through the petition process. (The House of Bishops elects the presiding bishop on June 27, after which the House of Deputies is asked to vote to confirm or not confirm the bishops’ choice.) That session will also include a conversation on church structure, according to Jennings,

* June 30, joint session for a conversation on mission,

* July 1, for the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget & Finance to present its proposed budget for the 2016-2018 triennium (both houses will debate the budget and must concur on the same budget for it to be approved), and

* July 3 (final legislative day), a special Eucharist for convention to welcome the presiding bishop-elect. Jennings said that although the new presiding bishop will also be seated at the Washington National Cathedral later in the year, “we intend for the service at General Convention to be the primary celebration so that we can all participate in an event with only modest additional costs.”

The complete text of Jennings’ remarks is here and an Oct. 22 letter she wrote to deputies explaining the General Convention changes is here.

The rest of the meeting agenda

Council will spend all of Oct. 25 in committee meetings. After Eucharist on Oct. 26, committee sessions will continue until mid-afternoon when the whole council gathers for another session on the 2016-2018 proposed draft budget. On Oct. 27, council meets as a whole to consider various reports and act on proposed resolutions from its five committees. That day will include a closed session for the council to hear a report from its subcommittee considering options for use of the Church Center at 815 Second Ave. in New York.

The Oct. 24-27 meeting is taking place at the Maritime Institute Conference Center.

Some council members are tweeting from the meeting using #ExCoun.

The Executive Council carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1)(a). The council is composed of 38 members, 20 of whom (four bishops, four priests or deacons and 12 lay people) are elected by General Convention and 18 (one clergy and one lay) by the nine provincial synods for six-year terms – plus the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies.

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