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Updated: 44 min 37 sec ago

Companions of St. Luke, OSB elects a new Episcopal Visitor

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 10:28am

The Right Reverend R. William Franklin, Bishop of the Diocese of Western New York, was elected by the professed membership of the Benedictine Community, The Companions of St. Luke – OSB to be their Episcopal Visitor.

The Episcopal Church requires religious communities and orders that operate independently from normal diocesan structure to elect a Bishop Visitor to assure that they have ecclesiastical support and oversight. Bishop Franklin, who follows Bishop Deane Wolfe from the Diocese of Kansas, assumed his role on January 1, 2015.

Early in his career, Bishop Franklin taught courses on monastic history at the Benedictine St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. While at St. John’s he also taught at several Benedictine Experiences, a weekend retreat held annually at the Episcopal House of Prayer located on the grounds of the abbey. He also taught at General Seminary, Harvard Divinity School and Yale Divinity School.

Before being elected the tenth bishop of Western New York, Bishop Franklin worked in the Diocese of Massachusetts, the Convocation of American Churches in Europe, where he was an Associate Priest at St. Paul’s Within the Walls in Rome and taught aspects of Anglican monastic history at the Pontifical Angelicum University, and the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

Bishop Franklin was born in Brookhaven, MS on January 3, 1947. He holds a B.A. from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in Church History from Harvard. He was recently awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, where he once served as dean.

Within The Episcopal Church, Bishop Franklin serves on the Committee to Nominate the next Presiding Bishop, the General Board of Examining Chaplains and the Standing Commission on Lifelong Christian Formation and Education.

He and his wife, Carmela Vircillo Franklin, who is a scholar in medieval studies at Columbia University, have been married since 1971. They have two adult daughters.

The Companions of St. Luke (CSL) is a dispersed Benedictine Community with members in 20 states, the District of Columbia, and England. CSL began in the Diocese of Chicago in June 1992 and is a recognized Christian Community of the Episcopal Church. The community is an active member of the National Association of Episcopal Christian Communities.  Our website is and our application program Opus Dei is

Disciplinary process begins for Maryland suffragan in fatal accident

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 8:53am

Diocese of Maryland Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook remains on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into a fatal accident in which police say she was the driver. Photo: Richard Schori

[Episcopal News Service] Diocese of Maryland Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook remains on administrative leave and The Episcopal Church’s disciplinary processes have been put in motion after her involvement in a fatal car accident in which she temporarily left the scene after striking and killing a bicyclist.

The Dec. 27 accident in northern Baltimore that killed Thomas Palermo, 41, is still being investigated by local law enforcement and no charges have been filed.

“Currently we are following the disciplinary processes of the Church, and we are providing pastoral care,” Episcopal Church public affairs officer Neva Rae Fox said Jan. 6, speaking for Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. “We hold Bishop Cook, the Diocese of Maryland and the Palermo family in our prayers.”

She added that “as per the canons, details of the process remain confidential.”

Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church governs ecclesiastical discipline of clergy members. Canon 17 of Title IV outlines the disciplinary process of bishops.

Meanwhile, the diocese has released a report on certain details concerning the day’s events and the investigation in the hours and days just after the accident.

Tom Palermo, 41, was the father of Sadie, 6, and Sam, 4. He was a senior software engineer at Johns Hopkins Hospital who also made custom bike frames. Photo: Bikemore via Facebook page

Palermo, the married father of two young children, was pronounced dead at a hospital near the crash scene after the accident. Palermo died from head injuries suffered in the mid-afternoon accident, said Bruce Goldfarb, spokesman for the Maryland medical examiner’s office, in an interview with the Associated Press.

The diocese’s report of the events was released after numerous diocesan clergy met in closed session Jan. 6 to discuss the incident at the request of Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton.

According to the report, Cook called the Rev. Scott Slater, Sutton’s canon to the ordinary, just before 3 p.m. Dec. 27, “telling him she thought she had hit a bicyclist and was in shock.” Slater arrived at the scene 10 minutes later to find police crime scene tape surrounding Cook’s car and her sitting in a patrol car. Slater spoke to officers about the call from Cook. He then called Sutton and diocesan chancellor Jeff Ayres and left the scene.

Baltimore police called Slater just before 5:30 p.m. to ask him to pick up Cook. He did so, bringing her to her apartment where he “focused his conversation pastorally on her, as a child of God,” praying with her before he left.

Two days later, on the evening of Dec. 29, Baltimore police asked Slater to come to the police station to make a recorded statement. He did so, the statement said, answering “every question as thoroughly and completely as he could recall, including details of his and Cook’s conversation during the car ride to her apartment.”

Slater provided no other details to clergy at the meeting “out of respect for the ongoing police investigation, for the Palermo family, and for Cook,” the statement said, adding that Slater could not discuss his and other staff members’ cooperation with the Title IV investigation due to its required confidentiality.

“Cook is now in good hands and receiving care that will hopefully help her on her journey forward,” the statement said.

Palermo was a senior software engineer at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He also made custom bike frames, according to news reports.

A memorial has been growing near the scene of the Dec. 27 accident in which bicyclist Tom Palermo died after being hit by a car driven by Diocese of Maryland Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook. Photo: Eileen M. Gilan via Bikemore Facebook page

“Together with the Diocese of Maryland, I express my deep sorrow over the death of the cyclist and offer my condolences to the victim’s family. Please pray for Mr. Palermo, his family and Bishop Cook during this most difficult time,” Sutton said in a Dec. 29 statement posted on the diocesan website.

Sutton confirmed in that statement that Cook was driving the car that hit Palermo and said the bishop suffragan left the scene of the accident but returned 20 minutes later “to take responsibility for her actions.” The bishop said that he had placed Cook, 58, on administrative leave “because the nature of the accident could result in criminal charges.” She is receiving pay and benefits in accordance with standard denominational practice, the Jan. 6 statement said.

Sutton said he has indefinitely postponed his planned sabbatical due to the accident and its aftermath.

Sharon Tillman, the diocese’s director of communications, told Episcopal News Service in a Jan. 2 telephone interview that the diocese was told by the police that it could be as much as two months before an accident report will be available.

David Irwin, an attorney representing Cook, told ENS Jan. 2 that his client is “distraught about the death of the cyclist, naturally. She is praying for him and his family.”

The accident brought to light a 2010 traffic incident in which Cook was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and for marijuana possession.

Cook was stopped Sept. 10, 2010, by a sheriff’s deputy in Caroline County in the Eastern Shore area of Maryland when she was observed driving 29 miles per hour on the shoulder of the road in a 50 miles-per-hour zone, according to law enforcement records. Her car had a shredded front tire.

The reports of the 2010 incident said that Cook registered .27 percent blood alcohol content. The legal limit in Maryland is .08 percent. The officer said two small bags of marijuana were found in the vehicle, along with drug paraphernalia, and a bottle of wine and a bottle of liquor.

Cook pleaded guilty to drunken driving in that incident, and the prosecution of marijuana possession charge was dropped. A judge sentenced her on Oct. 25, 2010, to pay a $300 fine and supervised probation. Court records available online do not note the length or conditions of Cook’s probation. A Dec. 30 statement on the diocesan website said that during the search process that resulted in Cook being elected suffragan in 2014 she had “fully disclosed” the 2010 arrest for which she received “probation before judgment” from the court.

“After extensive discussion and discernment about the incident, and after further investigation, including [an] extensive background check and psychological investigation, it was determined that this one mistake should not bar her for consideration as a leader,” the Dec. 30 statement said.

“One of the core values of the Christian faith is forgiveness,” the statement said. “We cannot preach forgiveness without practicing forgiveness and offering people opportunity for redemption.”

The search process’s background check and psychological investigation on Cook were “no more [and] no less than what any other nominee would have gone through,” Tillman told ENS.

Cook was elected May 2, 2014, and became the diocese’s first female bishop when she was ordained and consecrated Sept. 6. Cook’s biography is here on the diocesan website.

Bicyclists prepare to begin a Jan. 1 memorial ride to the site of the fatal accident in which cyclist Tom Palermo died. Photo: Eileen M. Gilan via Bikemore Facebook page

On Dec. 31 the diocese encouraged its clergy and lay members to participate in a New Year’s Day memorial bike ride in Palermo’s honor organized by two local bicycling groups. The ride began at 3:30 p.m. at Bishop Square Park adjacent to the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation. After a moment of silence, the riders biked to the accident scene at 5700 Roland Avenue to place a white memorial bicycle, known as a “ghost bike,” in honor of Palermo.

Officials from Bikemore and Bike Maryland agreed that diocesan members could publicize and promote participation in the memorial ride, Tillman said.

“They invited our presence; they did not want us to stay away,” she said. “The cycling community in Maryland, especially in Baltimore, is very strong and they’re really in a lot of pain right now and we are grieving along with them. We wanted to be with them, but only if our presence wouldn’t make it worse.”

Diocesan officials opened the nearby diocesan center as well as the cathedral so that riders could spend time in silent reflection, get warm and use restrooms, Tillman added.

Palermo’s funeral Mass was celebrated Jan. 3 at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Towson, Maryland. Sutton called on members of the diocese to join him in a moment of silent prayer and reflection at 10 a.m. that day as Palermo’s funeral began.

Palermo’s wife, Rachel Rock Palermo; 6-year-old daughter Sadie; 4-year-old son Sam; and his parents survive him, according to a Baltimore Sun obituary. Family members have begun a fundraising effort for Palermo’s children.

In the Jan. 6 statement, the diocese urged congregations to designate a Sunday offering for the Palermo family fund and to continue to pray for the Palermo family and Cook.

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

Religious leaders condemn Paris terrorist attacks

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 8:01am

Amandine Marbach from Strasbourg, France, takes part in a vigil to pay tribute to the victims of the Jan. 7 shooting in Paris. Photo: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

[Episcopal News Service] Christian and Muslim leaders have strongly denounced the Jan. 7 attacks in Paris when suspected Islamist terrorists stormed the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and opened fire during an editorial meeting. Twelve people were killed, including two police officers, and 10 were wounded in the attack, the worst act of terrorism in France for 50 years.

France awoke Jan. 8 to reports that several arrests had been made in Reims overnight in connection with the attacks and news that a gunman had killed a policewoman in an incident in southern Paris. It is unclear whether the latest shooting is related to the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Police are now hunting for two brothers who are the main suspects in the attack. Two men fitting their description reportedly robbed a service station in north Paris during the morning of Jan. 8. A third suspect has surrendered, according to reports.

“It should be clear to all that this attempt to divide and intimidate people has failed,” said Bishop Pierre Whalon of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe in a statement, noting that spontaneous gatherings of solidarity with the victims were taking place in dozens of cities across France. Demonstrations and vigils also were held throughout the world.

Charlie Hebdo is well known for its satirical representations of religion, including caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, for which the magazine has faced previous attacks and its editorial staff has received threats. “Charlie Hebdo is adept at satirizing religion and also routinely makes fun of all sorts of other subjects and people,” Whalon said. “This is their right. Freedom of expression is the only guarantor of liberty, including the freedom of worship.”

Whalon called on “all people of good will to pray as they feel able for the repose of the victims, for their families and friends whose lives will never be the same again. We must ask for healing for the wounded as well. We must also pray for the assassins, that they turn from violence and accept judgment. And our prayers must be accompanied by acts to help the nation heal and grow stronger in solidarity.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called the terrorist attacks “an act of the most extraordinary brutality and barbarity. This violence is demonic in its attack on the innocent, and cowardly in its denial of the basic human right of freedom of speech.”

Welby said in a statement that the people of France “will rise courageously above the challenge of this vile attack and continue to demonstrate strength and confidence arising out of their great history. Our prayers and thoughts are especially with those who have been killed and injured and their families. I pray also for those involved in pursuing the terrorists.”

Whalon acknowledged that the first voices to express outrage were Muslim leaders. “Among them was Imam Hassen Chalghoumi, whom I have known and admired for many years. I join with him in deploring this ungodly attack, ‘unworthy of Islam,’ and echo his call not to confuse Muslims with the ‘criminals’ who perpetrated this vile act.”

Chalghoumi, imam of the Drancy mosque in Paris’s Seine-Saint-Denis suburb, called the attackers “criminals, barbarians. They have sold their soul to hell. This is not freedom. This is not Islam and I hope the French will come out united at the end of this.”

The Grand Mosque of Paris issued a statement shortly after the attacks, saying its community was “shocked” and “horrified” by the violence. “This barbaric act … is an attack against democracy and press freedom … We call the Muslim community to exercise the utmost vigilance against possible manipulations from groups referred to as extremists of any kind.”

The Very Rev. Lucinda Laird, dean of the American Cathedral in Paris, said everyone was in shock and grief following the shootings but that the most important thing to do right now is to pray. “Pray for the victims and their families. Pray for peace and justice, here and around the world. Pray for this city, that the perpetrators may be found and stopped, and for an end to this hatred and violence,” she wrote in a letter to the cathedral community. “And most especially, please pray for those whose hatred is so overwhelming that this kind of action is possible. Pray that we may not react with hatred ourselves.”

The World Council of Churches acting General Secretary Georges Lemopoulos said the assault was an “attack on human life, human dignity and the human rights of all … Together with all people of true faith and good will, we pray for the victims and their families, for the perpetrators to be brought to justice, for the extremist ideology that inspired this attack to be extinguished, and that justified outrage may not lead to reprisals against Muslims or fuel anti-Islamic sentiment.”

Political leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, also condemned the attack.

Obama described the shootings as “cowardly evil attacks.” He promised to help France in its efforts to pursue the terrorists, to “hunt down and bring the perpetrators of this specific act to justice, and to roll up the networks that help to advance these kinds of plots … The fact that this was an attack on journalists, attack on our free press, also underscores the degree to which these terrorists fear freedom of speech and freedom of the press.”

The two suspects still at large have been named as brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi and are said to be “armed and dangerous.” France has declared Jan. 8 as a national day of mourning for the victims of the attack.

– Matthew Davies is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

Archbishop of Canterbury condemns Paris attack as ‘barbaric’

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 4:38am

[Lambeth Palace] Following the terrorist attack Jan. 7 at the Paris offices of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said:

“This is an act of the most extraordinary brutality and barbarity. This violence is demonic in its attack on the innocent, and cowardly in its denial of the basic human right of freedom of speech.

“The people of France, a country in which I have lived, which I know and love, will rise courageously above the challenge of this vile attack and continue to demonstrate strength and confidence arising out of their great history.

“Our prayers and thoughts are especially with those who have been killed and injured and their families. I pray also for those involved in pursuing the terrorists.”

L’archevêque de Canterbury condamne l’attentat à l’arme au journal Charlie Hebdo comme barbare

A la suite de l’attentat terroriste, aujourd’hui, aux bureaux du journal satirique, Charlie Hebdo, l’archevêque de Canterbury déclare:

“Ceci est un acte d’une brutalité et barbarie extrême. Cette violence est diabolique, attaquant des innocents et déniant lâchement le droit fondamental de liberté d’expression.

“Le peuple français, un pays où j’ai habité, que je connais et que j’aime, émergera courageusement au-delà du défi de cette affreux attentat et continuera à réagir avec la force et la témérité, ressortant de leur illustre passé.

“Nos prières et pensées sont particulièrement tournées vers ceux qui ont été tués et blessés, ainsi que leurs familles. Je prie également pour ceux qui sont à la poursuite des terroristes.”

Bishop Pierre Whalon concerning the attack on Charlie Hebdo

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 4:05am

[Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe] Bishop Pierre Whalon of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe has issued a statement following the Jan. 7 terrorist attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. The statement follows in English and French.

As spontaneous gatherings of solidarity with the victims are happening in dozens of cities across France even as I pen these words, it should be clear to all that this attempt to divide and intimidate people has failed. Certainly, Charlie Hebdo is adept at satirizing religion, including my own. It also routinely makes fun of all sorts of other subjects and people. This is their right. Freedom of expression is the only guarantor of liberty, including the freedom of worship, however.

After the cowardly attack here in Paris today on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which included the cold-blooded execution of a wounded police officer, the first voices to express their outrage were Muslim leaders. Among them was Imam Hassen Chalghoumi, whom I have known and admired for many years. I join with him in deploring this ungodly attack, “unworthy of Islam,” and echo his call not to confuse Muslims with the “criminals” who perpetrated this vile act.

I call on all people of good will to pray as they feel able for the repose of the victims, for their families and friends whose lives will never be the same again. We must ask for healing for the wounded as well. We must also pray for the assassins, that they turn from violence and accept judgment. And our prayers must be accompanied by acts to help the nation heal and grow stronger in solidarity. ‘We are all Charlie.’

Déclaration de Mgr Pierre W. Whalon concernant l’attentat contre Charlie Hebdo 

[PARIS] 7 janvier 2015 – Alors même que j’écris ces mots, des manifestations spontanées pour les victimes se déroulent partout en France, montrant que cette tentative de division et d’intimidation a échoué. Charlie Hebdo est un journal satirique, certes, une revue qui se moque des religions, y compris la mienne. Mais il se moque également de toutes sortes de sujets et de personnalités. Ils sont dans leurs droits. La liberté d’expression est le seul garant de la liberté elle-même, y compris la liberté de culte.

Après l’attentat couard ici à Paris aujourd’hui contre la revue, avec l’exécution à bout portant d’un policier blessé, les premières voix à s’élever pour exprimer leurs colères étaient les imams musulmans. Parmi eux se trouvait l’Imam Hassen Chalghoumi, que je connais et que j’admire depuis des années. Je le rejoins pour déplorer cette attaque impie, “indigne de l’islam,” et je répète son appel de ne pas faire l’amalgame entre ces “criminels” et l’islam.

J’appelle toute personne de bonne volonté de prier pour le repos des victimes, pour leurs familles et leurs amis, dont la vie a changé ce matin pour toujours. Il nous faut aussi prier pour les assassins, qu’ils se retournent contre la violence et se rendent. Et nous devons aussi accompagner nos prières par l’action, pour que la nation puisse guérir et la solidarité se renforcer. ‘Nous sommes tous Charlie.’

Episcopal Divinity School Dean Katherine Ragsdale to step down

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 11:17am

The Very Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, president and dean of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has announced her intention not to request a renewal of her contract when it expires at the end of June 2015.

A letter from Ragsdale announcing her decision is available here.

A statement from EDS’s board of trustees is available here.


Wed, 01/07/2015 - 10:30am

Los franceses están viviendo en gran temor en estos días. Ha salido al mercado una novela titulada Sumisión en la que el territorio nacional es gobernado por el partido islámico. El autor de la obra, Michael Houellebecq, admite que su obra es “poco verosímil” y dice que no quiere asustar a los franceses pero narra lo que sucedería en el 2022 si su ficción llegara a ser real.

Veinte cristianos coptos han sido secuestrados en Serte, Libia, por un grupo armado que llegó de madrugada a una residencia donde separaron a los cristianos de los musulmanes. Hasta el momento no se sabe la suerte de los secuestrados. Entre ellos se encuentra el sacerdote ortodoxo Abu Makar.  La Iglesia Copta Ortodoxa remonta su existencia al primer siglo del cristianismo. Tiene su centro de operaciones en Alejandría y es la iglesia más antigua y numerosa de Egipto. Su papa Tawadros II sucedió a Shenouda III que falleció en el 2012. La palabra “copto” quiere decir egipcio.

Después de una larga batalla por la legalización de los matrimonios gay la Florida ha aprobado que parejas del mismo sexo puedan contraer matrimonio legalmente. Para muchas parejas la decisión fue recibida con júbilo pero para otras, sobre todo la comunidad evangélica conservadora, se ha cometido un gran revés a lo establecido por siglos. Frente a una dependencia oficial un nutrido grupo protestó mostrando pancartas con versículos bíblicos contra el matrimonio gay. Las primeras parejas hicieron su juramento a partir del 5 de enero. La comunidad católica romana de la Florida ha rechazado la decisión judicial y Thomas Wenski, arzobispo de Miami, dijo que el pueblo no se consultó en realidad.

El Banco Central de Venezuela ha confirmado que la economía del país cayó en una profunda recesión el año pasado y culpó a los adversarios políticos del gobierno socialista del presidente Nicolás Maduro por dedicarse, según el reporte oficial, a sabotear la actividad económica. Unido a esto hubo una súbita caída de los precios del petróleo el principal producto de ingresos del país.

Pese a los peligros de contagio el arzobispo de Cantórbery, Justin Welby, visitó recientemente los enfermos de África Occidental que sufren de ébola. Welby predicó en la catedral de San Jorge en Freetown, capital de Sierra Leona y visitó además  una clínica patrocinada por la iglesia donde se da asistencia médica y espiritual a los enfermos. Según cálculos oficiales en Sierra Leona hay 8,000 personas infectadas con el virus letal de los cuales 2,500 han fallecido. En Inglaterra el arzobispo ha sido elogiado por traer un mensaje de “esperanza y solidaridad” a los que sufren.

La Guardia Costera de Estados Unidos ha dicho que en los últimos meses se ha incrementado el número de cubanos que luchan por llegar a las costas norteamericanas. Según la ley si estas personas logran tocar tierra firme entonces clasifican para quedarse en Estados Unidos después de los correspondientes exámenes e interrogatorios. Si no cumplen con estos requisitos entonces son devueltos a Cuba. En este trasiego de inmigrantes existen los llamados “coyotes” que logran burlar la ley. Con frecuencia los coyotes prometen y no cumplen, después de adueñarse de gruesas cantidades de dinero.

Jay Dennis, encargado por la Convención Bautista del Sur para hacer un estudio de la pornografía y la fe, dice como conclusión: “Los padres deben comenzar educando a sus hijos, especialmente los varones, porqué la pornografía no es el plan de Dios y cómo ésta daña y degrada las verdaderas relaciones. La educación, información y la verdad bíblica comunicadas por padres amorosos puede ayudar a revertir la ola presente”.

En el pasado diciembre el papa Francisco relató la siguiente anécdota: “Cuando yo tenía cuatro años de edad en 1940 yo creía que todos los protestantes iban al infierno. En una ocasión yo andaba con mi abuela y vi a dos mujeres del Ejército de Salvación en el otro lado de la calle y pregunté ¿quiénes son monjes o monjas? Mi abuela me dijo ´No, son protestantes y son gente muy buena´. Esto me abrió las puertas al ecumenismo”.

París vive momentos de angustia cuando una bomba explotó en una revista satírica y mató a 12 personas. Este es el peor atentado terrorista en los últimos 24 años.

MANDAMIENTO: Amaos los unos a los otros.

2015 General Convention media credentials applications available

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 4:49pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs media advisory] The Episcopal Church’s 78th General Convention will be held June 25– July 3 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, UT in the Episcopal Diocese of Utah.

Applications for credentials for media representatives requesting to cover the General Convention 2015 of The Episcopal Church are available here.

Two types of credentials are available: Onsite, for those who will be attending; and Offsite, designed to provide virtual access to media representatives unable to attend General Convention 2015.

The General Convention, which meets every three years, is the governing body of The Episcopal Church. The Convention is a bicameral legislature that includes the House of Bishops, with approximately 200 members; and the House of Deputies, with more than 800 lay and clergy members from 109 dioceses and missionary jurisdictions.

During its triennial meeting, deputies and bishops consider a wide range of important matters facing the Church. Among the actions of the 2015 General Convention will be: the election and confirmation of the 27th Presiding Bishop; the report of The Episcopal Church Task Force on the Study of Marriage which was commissioned by the 2012 General Convention; consideration of proposed changes in the Episcopal Church’s structure; and the review and approval of the church’s triennial budget.

Media policies and procedures for General Convention 2015 are here.

Deputies/alternates and vendors/exhibitors to General Convention 2015 are not eligible for media credentials.

Credentials will be available beginning at noon on June 22 in the Salt Palace Convention Center.

For more info contact Neva Rae Fox, Episcopal Church Public Affairs Officer,, 212-716-6080.

Deadline nears for budget input

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 11:03am

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The January 7 deadline nears for Episcopalians across the church to review and comment on the preliminary draft 2016-2018 triennium budget as it is prepared for approval by the Episcopal Church Executive Council January 8-11.

The preliminary draft budget is available here.

Following the January meeting, Executive Council will present the draft budget to Program Budget and Finance Committee (PB&F) in February, which will then prepare a final budget for approval at General Convention next summer.

On the web page, a narrative provides overview information about the document.  The preliminary draft budget document and a place to provide comments are prominently displayed on the website.

The Episcopal Church 78th General Convention will be held June 25 – July 3 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, UT (Episcopal Diocese of Utah).

Meredyth Wessman Ward appointed Urban Missioner for Worcester

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 10:44am

The Rev. Meredyth Wessman Ward has been appointed Urban Missioner for Worcester by the Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, IX bishop of Western Massachusetts. Click here to read more.


Joyce Lamont, radio pioneer, Episcopalian dies at 98

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 9:21am

Joyce Lamont circa 1955. Photo: WCCO Radio

Joyce Lamont, a pioneer in radio broadcasting in Minnesota and a cradle Episcopalian, was remembered at a memorial service on January 2 in Coventry Chapel at Episcopal Homes in Saint Paul. Lamont died on December 28 at age 98.

Lamont was a copywriter at WCCO Radio in Minneapolis in the early 1950s when she was asked to be a substitute on-air host. That launched a broadcasting career that would span more than five decades—forty years at WCCO and fourteen years at KLBB—beginning at a time when few woman were heard on United States radio.

“She forged a way forward in the midst of a sea of men,” said the Rev. Keely Morgan, director of spiritual care at Episcopal Homes, who presided at the service.

At WCCO Lamont hosted such programs as “Dayton’s Musical Chimes” and became a daily staple as she shared recipes, best grocery buys and travel tips throughout the broadcast day. At the height of her career, she received more than 10,000 letters a month, according to information on the website of the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting, which inducted Lamont as a charter member of its Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2001.

Lamont was a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church, born and baptized in Duluth, Minnesota. As a student at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, she was an active member of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church (now closed), located near the campus. She was a longtime member of Gethsemane Episcopal Church, located in downtown Minneapolis, where she made her home until, in retirement, she moved to the Episcopal Homes campus in Saint Paul.

In 1941, Lamont’s sister, Betty, married the Rev. Chilton Powell at Gethsemane. Betty was the congregation’s organist; Powell, an associate priest. In 1951 Powell was elected bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Oklahoma; became diocesan bishop 15 months later, serving until 1977. As chair of the then Standing Commission on Liturgy, Powell was considered the chief architect of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.

Joyce was fond of regaling about her Episcopal roots and connections, especially what she termed as inclusion in “VIP events because of Chilton” at the 1976 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, held in Minneapolis. She was very proud that the 1976 General Convention approved the ordination of women in her hometown.

“Joyce was the most enthusiastic Episcopalian I have ever known,” said Charlie Boone, a former, longtime, on-air colleague and fellow Episcopalian, who spoke at the January 2 service.

The lifelong, enthusiastic Episcopalian will be interred among her kind in the columbarium at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Minneapolis.