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Welsh bishops to explore ‘formal provision’ for same-sex couples

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 2:19pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The bishops of the Church in Wales will explore formal provision for same-sex couples in church after a debate Sept. 12 in the province’s Governing Body. Members of the Governing Body – the Church in Wales’ synod – agreed that “it is pastorally unsustainable for the church to make no formal provision for those in same-gender relationships.”

Read the full article here.

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Archbishop of Canterbury urges government to put food banks out of business

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 3:54pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has used an address to Britain’s Trade Union Congress to speak of a society where church-run food banks and homeless shelters are no longer needed. Archbishop Justin delivered his address as the TUC gathered in Manchester for their annual conference in its 150th year, and told them that “unions must have a vision of a just and a righteous society.”

Read the full article here.

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Tight-knit Virgin Gorda Anglican community drawn closer in the aftermath of Irma, Maria

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 3:03pm

Gladstone Walters, 86, a bell ringer at St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church in Virgin Gorda, stands outside his damaged home. Walters stayed with family following Hurricane Irma, but has since moved back into his unrepaired house. Photo: Lynette Wilson Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Virgin Gorda, Virgin Islands] Last year’s back-to-back hurricanes hit Virgin Gorda’s elderly population particularly hard. Many of them had worked and saved their entire lives to build homes that were destroyed in a day. In the 2017 storm season’s aftermath, 14 seniors perished. Some died from existing conditions made worse by the storm; others succumbed to despair and broken hearts.

“The seniors got hit the hardest,” said Denise Reovan, who serves on St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church’s vestry and as dean of the Virgin Island deanery, which includes St. Mary’s, as well as St. George’s and St. Paul’s on Tortola.

“There, seniors who have spent their lives building 10’x8’ homes; for some it’s all they have and have lived for … and to wake up one day and it’s gone,” she said.

The Rev. Eriminie George, St. Mary’s supply priest, visits with Ovilda Stevens, 92. Every day Stevens sits in the same chair next to the window in her family’s café, lamenting the loss of her home. Photo: Lynette Wilson Episcopal News Service

“They are displaced, and they say, ‘I want to go in my own home’ and you have to tell them, no, you can’t go.”

Gladstone Walters, 86, was one such senior. His home, near the ferry terminal, was severely damaged. After living next door with a family member, Walters eventually moved back into his own home, despite the damage. Like many others whose homes were either uninsured or underinsured, he had little money available to make repairs.

During a recent lunchtime meeting at St. Mary’s on Church Hill Road in South Valley, Walters sat silent, his head hung low, listening to the others who’d gathered – many of whom have worshiped together for generations — to share their stories of survival during Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The hurricanes struck the island last September within 16 days of each other, damaging more than 95 percent of the island’s structures and stripping it of vegetation.

“Thank you for sparing life, we give you thanks, have mercy on us, spare us,” he mumbled. “God is love. Thank you for the spared life.”

St. Mary the Virgin, the only Episcopal Church on Virgin Gorda, lost all of its windows during Hurricane Irma. The congregation didn’t move back into the church until July. Photo: Lynette Wilson Episcopal News Service

On Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, Irma terrorized Virgin Gorda residents for eight hours. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., otherwise stationary objects were flying through the air as the Category 5 hurricane’s at-times 250 mph winds ripped through the island.

“When Irma came, she was coming in this direction,” said Vanessa Rymer, senior warden, gesturing east. “She headed northeast and came right down on us and then kept changing her coordinates.”

The 135-year-old church, situated on 3.5 acres overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, lost its windows. The roof was damaged when the winds blew off the shingles, the bell towers collapsed to the ground, the organ was destroyed, the church’s pavilion totaled, and the rectory damaged. An addition to the original structure that housed a music school crumbled. Property leased to the government for agriculture remains unplanted. The list goes on.

St. Mary’s pavilion, which overlooks the sea, was used by the community for jazz concerts, theatrical performances and other cultural events. Photo: Lynette Wilson Episcopal News Service

Part of the Diocese of the Virgin Islands, which covers five islands and includes both the U.S. and British overseas territories, Virgin Gorda is home to St. Mary’s, the only Episcopal-Anglican church on the island. All told, Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused over $102 billion in damages; $7 million alone in damages to church properties.

St. Mary the Virgin celebrated 135 years on Aug. 15, 2018, explained Vanessa Rymer, senior warden. Photo: Lynette Wilson Episcopal News Service

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church members consider themselves “Anglican” given the British influence; they became Episcopalians when in the 1990s the churches on Virgin Gorda and Tortola became part of the Diocese of the Virgin Islands; a geographically based decision, they say.

Around 4,000 people from all over the Caribbean – St. Kitts, Anguilla – and expats from the United States and United Kingdom live on the 8-square-mile volcanic island discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1893. Columbus named the island Virgin Gorda because it looked like a “pregnant virgin,” locals say.

In Irma’s immediate aftermath residents spotted C-130 aircraft and helicopters flying overhead to survey the damage and CNN reported no one survived. Days later, a British ship arrived with hundreds of body bags, residents said.

Longtime St. Mary’s parishioner Chandra Carr, left, and Denise Reovan, who serves on St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church’s vestry, talk about the church’s plans to plant a garden on property that before the storm was leased to the government. Photo: Lynette Wilson Episcopal News Service

Still today, an uneasiness pervades on the island, which even in good times can seem isolated. Shortages of building materials and craftsmen mean residents are still living in damaged homes. Of the laborers working on the island, many are working under contractors building a luxury resort or working to repair part-time residences of wealthy expats. One ATM, no banks, serves the entire island, and residents who do not have direct deposit must take a 30-minute ferry ride to Tortola to cash a check.

To watch the laborers commuting in buses to work on the resort and vacation villas, “is demoralizing for all of us,” said Chandra Carr, a lifelong St. Mary’s parishioner who bought her own property on the island in 1985.

Joy Defreitas, a Sunday school teacher, further explained that the contractors hire the workers for the resort and the villas. They can work for residents in the afternoon and on the weekends.

“Some are available, some are not,” Defreitas said. “When you work on a contract you don’t have much time left over.”

The challenges to residents across the Virgin Islands remain the same.

“What we knew as normalcy will never happen again,” said Reovan, a situation made worse by the distance between the churches and the islands.

“Isolation is a normal situation. When Bishop Curry visited in January, he took the time to hear from people in each church. “’You’re not alone, believe me, you are not alone.’ He didn’t say ‘help is on its way,’ but it came,” said Reovan.

Following Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s January 2018 visit to the Virgin Islands, Episcopal Relief & Development stepped up and along with the Diocese of Alabama initiated a small grants program.

It’s a blessing that St. Mary’s conch shell-shaped baptismal font survived the storm, said Vanessa Rymer, senior warden. Photo: Lynette Wilson Episcopal News Service

St. Mary’s is using funds from a mini-grant program to create “Lunch for a Bunch,” a program to feed the island’s senior citizens.

“You don’t have to be Anglican or Episcopalian, you just have to be a human in need,” said Reovan.

“We have parishioners – we are a proud set of people, proud and independent – people who don’t have a meal and they won’t ask, and you’ll see them out and buying food and they can’t afford it,”

St. Mary’s hasn’t had a regular, full-time priest for eight years. A priest working a six-month stint has been the norm, which has affected church membership and growth, a situation made worse by the storms.

Under the leadership of the Rev. Eriminie George, a supply priest who travels from Tortola to Virgin Gorda on Sundays and some Wednesdays, the church continues to serve the community.

Still, George doesn’t feel like she’s doing enough.

“As clergy we’re not doing enough. I should be looking out for the people’s needs. We are part of the Episcopal Church. There are people who’ve been giving their pittance to the church and we’ve come to that point where we need to meet their needs,” said George. “There are seniors who worked so hard and built their homes … where is the church now to pick up the shreds. We need to meet the needs of the individuals first and foremost.”

–Lynette Wilson is a reporter and managing editor of Episcopal News Service.

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New Testament scholars to lay the biblical foundations for the Lambeth Conference

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 3:12pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Work to begin laying the biblical foundations for the next Lambeth Conference will get underway later this year when 35 leading New Testament scholars from different denominations around the world gather for the St. Augustine Seminar at Lambeth Palace. Around 800 bishops from around the Anglican Communion will gather at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, in the summer of 2020 for the once in a decade Lambeth Conference.

Read the full article here.

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El Obispo Primado agradece a todos las oraciones al tiempo de volver al trabajo

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 9:10am

[Episcopal News Service] “Quiero darles las gracias por todas las tarjetas, los buenos deseos y, sobre todo, por todas las oraciones”, dijo el obispo primado Michael B. Curry en un mensaje por vídeo publicado en Facebook a su regreso al trabajo luego de una operación de próstata a que fuera sometido a fines de julio.

“Salí muy bien de esta cirugía. Todo está bien”, dijo Curry en el vídeo. “El informe patológico fue muy bueno, y estoy lenta pero firmemente de regreso al trabajo que me encanta hacer”. Él dice haber leído centenares de tarjetas y cartas que le enviaran al Centro Denominacional de la Iglesia Episcopal. “Son una bendición”, afirmó.

El 25 de julio el obispo Curry dio a conocer que le habían diagnosticado cáncer de próstata y que tendría que someterse a una operación para la extirpación de la glándula prostática. “He estado recuperándome”, dijo. “En agosto, estuve casi todo el tiempo en casa y recuperándome. Las cosas avanzan lentamente, pero avanzan”, dijo el obispo Curry que recientemente ha reanudado su trabajo y estaba en Atlanta para hablar en una cena en beneficio de Day1 un ministerio de medios de difusión. También fue galardonado por el Consejo Municipal de Atlanta.

Day1 es el ministerio ecuménico de radio e internet que antes era conocido como “La Hora Protestante” que ha transmitido sermones de predicadores de las denominaciones históricas cada semana durante 73 años. El programa lo produce la Alianza por los Medios Cristianos [Alliance for Christian Media]. El obispo Curry fue un colaborador asiduo del programa en los años 90, miembro de la junta asesora de Day1 y ex miembro de su junta de síndicos.

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A year later, Virgin Islander Episcopalians look toward long-term recovery from Irma, Maria

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 6:13am

The bell tower at St. Ursula’s Episcopal Church on St. John sits in front of the church and the roof remains covered by a Federal Emergency Management Agency tarpaulin. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands] A year after two devastating hurricanes swept through the Virgin Islands, building materials and skilled-labor shortages have delayed recovery. Blue tarpaulins covering damaged rooftops have frayed under the hot sun, with each threat of rain increasing Virgin Islanders’ anxiety, particularly as the Atlantic hurricane season reaches its peak.

“This time of year, many people are very anxious,” said Virgin Islands Bishop E. Ambrose Gumbs, in a Sept. 7 interview with Episcopal News Service at his office. “These tarps are brittle, and the wind just rips them to shreds.”

Cleamena Duncan, junior warden at St. Ursula’s Episcopal Church, opens the front door to the church on Sept. 3 on St. John. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Across the islands, the story is the same: a lack of supplies and craftspeople, and delayed insurance claims, have frayed peoples’ nerves. Thursday, Aug. 30, brought rain that forced some to take shelter in their vehicles as the water came through the tarps on their roofs.

A person cannot simply go to a hardware store and purchase windows, doors or galvanized roofing panels; materials must be ordered on the mainland, and cargo ships transporting materials must first pass through Puerto Rico, where the need is just as great and the population much larger — 3.4 million compared to the Virgin Islands’ 130,000. Worse yet, building materials can cost three to four times as much on the islands as in the continental United States.

Everyone has suffered, especially the elderly, many of whom lost their homes and were separated from family; some have died from illness and storm-related stress. Children are experiencing the same ailments as adults; high-blood pressure, diabetes and anxiety, said Gumbs.

“The new normal has not yet arrived,” he said.

As the one-year anniversary of Irma came and went, three storms, all of which reached hurricane strength by Sept. 10, were forming in the Atlantic. Hurricanes come off West Africa’s coast and either gain strength or dissipate as they work their way east across the Atlantic Ocean.

Last year, Hurricane Irma crossed the Virgin Islands as a Category 5 storm on Sept. 6, 2017, causing extensive damage. Two weeks later, on Sept. 20, Hurricane Maria passed over the islands as a Category 5 storm before making landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane. The two hurricanes led to thousands of deaths and more than $102 billion in damages. Damage to church-owned properties is $7 million, according to Church Insurance, which insures church buildings.

“Irma came and left us with something to think about, and Maria came in and finished the job,” said Rita Payne-Samuel, Episcopal Church Women president at Nazareth-by-the Sea Episcopal Church on St. Thomas.

Still, the hurricanes reinforced what it means to be church, which goes beyond the buildings.

“That’s the human part of church and fellowship,” Payne-Samuel said. “People just got together and helped each other.”

Nazareth-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church operates out of a storefront in a strip mall on St. Thomas. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Nazareth-by-the-Sea meets in a strip mall storefront since Irma destroyed its building, she said. It is without a priest, and like Holy Cross is served by Gumbs, making it difficult for the bishop to make regular pastoral visits to the diocese’s other congregations.

Pastoral support is one thing the wider Episcopal Church could offer the Diocese of the Virgin Islands in the short-term, the bishop said.

“We need our brethren to stand in the gap with us, send some clergy down,” said Gumbs. “They [his clergy] are battle weary from the hurricanes.”

The Diocese of the Virgin Islands consists of 14 congregations spread over five islands; three – St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix – under U.S. jurisdiction, and two – Tortola and Virgin Gorda – under British rule. Residents living in the U.S. Virgin Islands are U.S. citizens; residents of the Virgin Islands are British Overseas Territories citizens.

Ferries, planes and sea planes shuttle passengers around the islands, which were discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and named for St. Ursula and her 11,000 virgins.

The one Episcopal Church on St. John is named for St. Ursula. Since the storm, it has served as the island’s only senior citizen center, where at least 70 seniors gather Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the church’s basement for meals and activities.

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church on St. Thomas has some 700 members and serves a densely populated, diverse community called Sugar Estate, explained the Rev. Lenroy K. Cabey, rector. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Back on St. Thomas, in Sugar Estate, a densely populated, diverse community served by St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, housing is scarce and residents, many of whom worked in the hard-hit tourism industry, are working two and three part-time jobs to make ends meet, said the Rev. Lenroy K. Cabey, the 700-member church’s rector.

Cabey has witnessed an increase in demand for social services, as well as food. St. Andrew’s hopes to have its soup kitchen back up and running by the end of September, he said.

Riise Richards, the diocese’s volunteer coordinator and an Episcopal representative on the Virgin Islands’ Long-Term Recovery Group, also has witnessed increased need.

“A lot of people are suffering and suffering in silence,” said Richards. “We asked people what they need and there was hesitance.”

The Rev. Lenroy K. Cabey, rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church on St. Thomas, points to the waterline following last year’s hurricanes. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

The people’s hesitance, Richards and others across the islands agreed, comes from the shame of needing to admit they need help. Still, help is what they need and since the storm, Richards has been working to retrofit some churches and diocesan property to accommodate volunteers who can assist the diocese in its estimated three- to- five-year recovery.

“There were a lot of homes completely destroyed and a lot of people who still have tarps … mold, homes that still need to be gutted, and we need family also,” she said. “The church is the people.”

“We are here to serve; we are the body of Christ,” she said. “And we are here to ensure that people can get their lives back together.”

A section of Holy Spirit Episcopal Church has been converted into dormitories to house volunteers. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

At Holy Spirit, which sits on hill in Estate Hope, on the Western End of St. Thomas, part of the church has been converted into dormitories to house volunteers. Last week, nine AmeriCorps service volunteers were staying in the dorms and working to remove debris, building a deck at the back of the church and working in warehouses to sort and catalogue donations.

Gumbs, who wants the church “to be a safe place,” gave the mandate to ready the churches to house volunteers who can assist with the long-term recovery efforts, said Richards. Both Holy Spirit and Domini House, which is across the street from All Saints Cathedral, can house volunteers.

In the hurricanes’ aftermath, Episcopal Relief & Development and the Diocese of Alabama, a companion diocese, have funded the churches’ outreach ministries through mini grants. Both are committed to the Virgin Islands’ long-term recovery, and Alabama is anxious to send volunteers.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Senior Warden Leroy Claxton opens a barrel of supplies containing infant diapers. St. Luke’s has been designated a government-appointed point of distribution and designated shelter. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Episcopal Relief & Development has provided financial assistance through churches and schools to support ongoing outreach ministries that are engaged in recovery and preparedness, including helping to repair and harden shelters, providing case management and direct assistance to people impacted, compiling preparedness kits for this upcoming hurricane season, supporting community gardening, and sheltering.

“The people in the Virgin Islands continue to face enormous challenges a year after the devastating hurricanes. We are proud to remain a partner in the ongoing recovery,” said Abagail Nelson, Episcopal Relief & Development’s senior vice president for programs.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, located atop a hill in St. Thomas, survived Hurricanes Irma and Maria relatively unscathed compared to other churches. However, the church’s original structure was destroyed by Hurricane Marilyn in 1995. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

St. Luke’s, which sits atop a hill on St. Thomas, suffered only minor damage during the hurricanes, and now is a government-appointed point of distribution and a designated shelter in the event of another disaster. Barrels of supplies, including clothing, nonperishable food items and water, diapers and other infant necessities and toiletries have been shipped in large blue plastic barrels from as far away as Bronx, New York, where Virgin Islanders have family and civic connections.

To one degree or another all of the diocese’s churches suffered some damage. On St. Croix, San Francisco, a mission church with the diocese’s only Spanish-speaking congregation has to be razed. St. Mary’s on Virgin Gorda lost its windows; the pavilion, which overlooks the sea and was used to host community cultural events, is destroyed; the rectory is in disrepair. On Tortola, St. Paul’s suffered damage, and an income-generating apartment gifted to the church by a parishioner needs to be gutted. At St. Ursula’s, on St. John, the bell tower fell to the ground, windows are boarded up and a blue tarp protects the roof. As with residences, structural recovery is slow.

The church properties are insured by Church Insurance, which falls under the umbrella of the Church Pension Group.

“There were some initial challenges getting to the Virgin Islands as there were limited flights and available accommodations after the hurricane,” said C. Curtis Ritter, senior vice president and head of corporate communications for CPG, in an email to ENS. “We also were challenged to find available contractors because the demand was so high and the wait times were long,”

“We also spent additional time working with the diocese to think of ways to make building repairs that were more sustainable; where possible, we are replacing older buildings with structures that should be more able to handle high winds. It took a while to sort this out, but the partnership has been productive.”

Meanwhile, life goes on.

“A year ago, we were weeping and a-wailing,” said Payne-Samuel, on Sept. 7, a year and a day after Irma brought destruction to the island.

–Lynette Wilson is a reporter and managing editor of Episcopal News Service.

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Anglican Consultative Council to consider global safeguarding guidelines

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 5:16pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Members of the Anglican Consultative Council will discuss global safeguarding guidelines when they meet next year in Hong Kong. The guidelines are being drawn up by an international Anglican Safe Church Commission, which was established by the Council when it last met in 2016, in the Zambian capital Lusaka. The guidelines will be finalized when the Commission next meet in November and will be made available in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

Read the full article here.

South Sudan bishop killed in plane crash

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 5:15pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Yirol Bishop Simon Adut Yuang in South Sudan was one of 20 people killed when a plane carrying them from the South Sudanese capital Juba crashed into a lake as it attempted to land at Yirol Airport. Reports say that thick fog around Yirol, in the center of the country, may have played a part in the accident. Only three of the plane’s passengers survived.

Read the full article here.

Grace Cathedral in San Francisco to play prominent role in Global Climate Action Summit

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 5:01pm

The front window of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, California, is bookended by banners showing the halves of the Earth, one of several art installations designed by artist in residence Sukey Bryan as the cathedral prepares to host a kickoff worship service for the Global Climate Action Summit. Photo: Grace Cathedral, via Facebook

[Episcopal News Service] San Francisco this week has become the epicenter of the movement in the United States to take greater action against climate change, and the Diocese of California’s Grace Cathedral is playing a prominent role in the upcoming three-day Global Climate Action Summit that is spearheaded by California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Thousands of activists, experts and people of faith are in the city this week for the summit. Many of them, including Episcopalians, participated Sept. 8 in a major march in San Francisco that was part of a series of worldwide demonstrations known as Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice. Hundreds of people are expected to attend a kickoff worship service to be held Sept. 12 at Grace Cathedral. Affiliated workshops and other events already are underway around the city, including at the cathedral.

See what’s happening at #GCAS2018—Check out the daily program here. >> https://t.co/UVOZ1yezVh #StepUp201 pic.twitter.com/628nEyd1Cf

— Global Climate Action Summit (@GCAS2018) September 9, 2018

“The environment and climate is a hugely important issue for Grace Cathedral,” said the Very Rev. Malcolm Clemens Young, the cathedral’s dean.

Faith “teaches you that there’s something beyond the human. There’s something beyond human culture and human interests. … It’s important because we have such an outsized impact on the world,” Young said. “It’s important for us to be conscious of that and really see ourselves as protectors of the world.”

The cathedral’s capacity is about 2,000 people, but it rarely reaches that many except on Christmas and Easter, Young said. He isn’t sure how many will attend on Sept. 12 but expects a full crowd at the 4 p.m. service, which is described as a Multi-Faith Service of Wondering and Commitment.

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Dalai Lama each will contribute remarks at the service by video. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, is scheduled to speak, as is Patricia Espinosa Cantello, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom have said they will attend, as will California Bishop Marc Andrus.

The service also will highlight faith-based efforts around the world to care for the planet, including the several related resolutions passed in July by the Episcopal Church’s 79th General Convention.

The 2015 Paris Agreement, which sought voluntary limits on countries’ carbon emissions, has been a key rallying point, especially since President Donald Trump announced in 2017 that he would withdraw the United States from the agreement, saying it put U.S. economy at a global disadvantage.

The Episcopal Church has been involved in the We Are Still In movement, in which cities, states, companies, faith organizations and other groups have pledged to maintain the commitments of the Paris Agreement even if the U.S. government won’t. Resolution A018 specifically encourages Episcopalians to participate in that movement.

The Episcopal Church should “set an example, in the spirit of the Paris Climate Accord, by making intentional decisions about living lightly and gently on God’s good earth, for example, through energy conservation, renewable energy, sustainable food practices and gardening,” the resolution says.

Care of creation has been identified as one of three top priorities of the Episcopal Church, along with evangelism and racial reconciliation, during Curry’s tenure as presiding bishop, and General Convention’s numerous resolutions addressing environmental stewardship date back decades.

Andrus has been at the forefront of that advocacy and has regularly led delegations on behalf of the presiding bishop to United Nations gatherings on climate change. The next U.N. Climate Change Conference, known by the shorthand COP24, will be held this December in Poland.

“This summer the Episcopal Church took a historic step and committed itself through multiple resolutions to keeping the Paris Agreement,” Andrus said, adding that Episcopalians are part of “a great movement of faith people” fighting for action against climate change.

Andrus recalls speaking to Brown while both were attending the COP23 event last year in Bonn, Germany. The governor shared with Andrus his belief that “faith is important to justice work, as a foundation to climate action specifically,” and when Brown mentioned holding a multi-faith service to kick off his Global Climate Action Summit, Andrus suggested Grace Cathedral.

Since then, Young’s staff at the cathedral have been planning for the service, as well as for hosting 20 workshops this week  that are affiliated with the summit, which will be based at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

Grace Cathedral also has become a hub for environmentally themed artwork thanks to Sukey Bryan, the cathedral’s artist in residence. She used a construction wall as a canvas to depict a river. Fire sculptures and tile work featuring ocean waves can be found around the building. Parishioners entering the cathedral are greeted by Bryan’s 70 banners featuring oak trees, and a giant planet Earth hangs from the cathedral’s front window.

“It’s fantastic,” Andrus said of Bryan’s work. “Just beautiful.”

Each year, the cathedral picks a different theme for its artist in residence, and this year’s theme was “Truths.”

“Climate change was one of the big truths we wanted to talk about through this year,” Young said.

He added that he is a surfer and has seen firsthand the impact of a changing climate on the ocean water where he surfs. As water levels rise, he has been told the road he takes to get to the ocean someday will disappear.

“I think there’s a sense of hopelessness when it comes to the climate. There’s a sense that nothing we do will matter,” Young said, especially with the federal government no longer behind a global solution.

But he hopes this week’s summit and the Sept. 12 service at the cathedral will bolster people’s spirits and encourage them to work toward practical outcomes. “I really believe that when you gather people together to work on a problem, novel solutions come up,” he said.

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.

Presiding Bishop Curry thanks all for prayers as he returns to work

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 4:48pm

[Episcopal News Service] “I want to thank you for all of the cards, and the well-wishes and, above all, for all of the prayers,” Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry said in a video message posted on Facebook as he returns to work following prostate surgery in late July.

“I came through the surgery very well. Everything is good,” Curry said in the video. “The pathology report was just fine, and I’m slowly but surely working my way back into the work I love to do.” He describes reading through the hundreds of cards and letters sent to him at the Episcopal Church Center. “They are a blessing,” he declared.

On July 25 Presiding Bishop Curry shared news that he had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer and would be having surgery to remove the prostate gland. “I’ve been recovering,” he said. “I pretty much stayed home and recuperated in August. Things are starting up slowly, but starting up.” Bishop Curry has recently resumed work and was in Atlanta to speak at a sold-out benefit dinner for the Day1 media ministry. He was also honored by the Atlanta City Council.

Day1 is the ecumenical radio and internet ministry formerly known as “The Protestant Hour,” which has broadcast sermons by preachers from the mainline denominations each week for 73 years. The program is produced by the Alliance for Christian Media. Bishop Curry was a regular contributor to the program in the 1990s, a member of the Day1 advisory board, and a former member of the board of trustees.

Archbishop of Canterbury makes solidarity visit to chief rabbi as antisemitism rises

Fri, 09/07/2018 - 3:25pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has wished the United Kingdom’s Jewish community “an increase in your sense of security and peace.” He made his comments in a conversation with Britain’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, during a visit to his home in advance of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Read the full article here.

Church backs new Lakota translation of prayer book as tribes seek to preserve language

Fri, 09/07/2018 - 9:58am

The Rev. Robert Two Bulls Sr., second from left, leads the Prayers of the People on June 24, 2017, at the ordination of his daughter, Twilla Ramona Two Bulls, as deacon during the 145th Niobrara Convocation at Red Shirt Table, South Dakota. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church is expanding its investment in translations of the Book of Common Prayer into indigenous languages, with the Diocese of South Dakota receiving a United Thank Offering, or UTO, grant to pay for a new Lakota translation.

That grant comes a year after a similar grant was awarded to the Diocese of Alaska in support of a translation of the prayer book into Gwich’in, the language of many Native Alaskans, and future translations may include the prayer book used by Navajo Episcopalians.

“Language is important. Without it, you can’t really understand or appreciate the culture of the people,” said the Rev. Bradley S. Hauff, Episcopal Church missioner for indigenous ministries. “And a big part of the [indigenous] culture is spirituality, and just knowing the language really opens up doors for understanding that English does not.”

The nine tribes in the Diocese of South Dakota rely on a partial translation of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer that is known as the Niobrara Service Book. The language is comprehensible but archaic, said the Ven. Paul Sneve, the diocese’s archdeacon, who is overseeing the translation process.

“I always tell people, if you can imagine the difference between speaking King James English and speaking English on the street, they’re a little different,” Sneve said.

There are other linguistic challenges as well, such as the Lakota language’s lack of gender pronouns. References to God as male are difficult to translate. “It actually makes it kind of awkward. We don’t talk that way,” Sneve said.

The $45,000 received from the UTO program will allow Sneve to assemble a team of elders and other fluent Lakota speakers, who will meet and discuss the linguistic, theological and cultural factors in producing a full Lakota translation based on the 1979 prayer book. But Sneve also hopes to go beyond the prayer book and develop additional liturgical resources based on the needs of Indian congregations and communities in the diocese.

The rate of youth suicide and overdose is high among Native people in South Dakota, so one goal is to develop a funeral liturgy that can be adapted for burying a child. Home blessings and blessing of tombstones are part of some tribal cultures, so Sneve hopes this project will accommodate those as well.

“It’s not just a translation of the ’79 book,” he said. “It is our book.”

Some parts of the prayer book, including baptismal rites and Rite II’s Eucharistic prayer A, already have been translated into modern Lakota, which can be understood by all nine tribes despite their differences in dialect, Sneve said. And the Dakota hymnal is a cherished part of services in the diocese.

By adding to those existing resources, the Episcopal Church has another purpose in mind, of helping to preserve Native languages that are at risk of being lost at a time when many younger Native Americans are learning English as their first language.

“Language and culture are so intimately connected,” South Dakota Bishop John Tarrant said. “A lot of anthropologists say when you lose your language you lose part of your culture.”

The Episcopal Church, through its historical missionary work with indigenous populations, was at least partly complicit in the U.S. government’s efforts to assimilate Native Americans into white culture while eradicating their culture, including language. In the face of that history, Tarrant said the church is offering “tremendous support” for cultural preservation efforts, particularly with the backing of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, the House of Deputies president.

Tarrant also keeps in contact with the bishops in Alaska and Navajoland to share ideas about new ways to support indigenous communities. When Alaska received a $40,000 UTO grant last year to pursue a Gwich’in translation of the Book of Common Prayer, that helped motivate South Dakota to apply for its own translation grant.

“The church has been and should be a place where indigenous languages can be learned, expressed in that way, safeguarding them and promoting them,” Hauff said. “Any attempt that we as a church can make to preserve these languages is our obligation.”

Sneve, too, has been in contact with other dioceses that have undertaken prayer book translations, to receive guidance as he starts the process in South Dakota. His counterparts in the other dioceses have been friendly and helpful.

“What is good for one tribe is good for all of them,” he said.

Once he forms committees to work on the translation, those committees will start making “some hard decisions,” such as whether to include the entire Psalter and risk delaying publication. The house blessing is another example of a liturgical resource that the committees may decide is worth the time to produce, or else is something better left for the future.

Sneve has no definitive timetable yet for completing the task, but he estimates it will take at least two years before a translation is ready for publication.

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.

Diocese of Colorado drops candidate from bishop search process

Thu, 09/06/2018 - 6:51pm

[Diocese of Colorado] The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Colorado on Sept. 6 released the following letter regarding the search process for the diocese’s next bishop diocesan.

Dear People of God in The Episcopal Church in Colorado:

In the last several days, we have received reports of serious personal, professional, and vocational issues involving The Reverend Canon Michael Pipkin. Because we recognize that these complaints are serious, and because they cannot be resolved prior to our October 27 election, the Standing Committee voted unanimously on August 29 to remove him from consideration in the upcoming election for the 11th Bishop of Colorado.

As these changes in our discernment and election process have unfolded, we have been in close communication with Canon Pipkin’s bishop as well as with Bishop Todd Ousley, who works for the Presiding Bishop and provides oversight and guidance for all episcopal elections. These allegations have been referred to them for further action under the provision of The Episcopal Church’s canons.

Further, we have decided unanimously to proceed with our election with two nominees on the slate–The Reverend Kimberly D. Lucas and The Reverend Canon Ruth Woodliff-Stanley. Both nominees have reaffirmed their enthusiastic desire to continue with us as we seek our next bishop.

We remain deeply grateful for the faithful, careful, and thorough work previously undertaken by the Search Committee on our behalf. We have informed its members of the basis for the recent decisions that have been made, and they have unanimously expressed their unqualified support. Both they and we are confident that the two faithful, talented priests now on the slate possess the gifts to provide strong episcopal leadership to serve God’s mission with us here in Colorado.

We know that some of you may have questions about this news.

While it is unusual for a diocese to elect a bishop from a slate of two nominees, it is not without precedent. In our case, the Standing Committee charged the Search Committee last January to present a slate of four nominees to the people of the diocese. The initial slate included three priests because one of the four final candidates decided to stand for election as bishop in another diocese.

With two nominees now on the slate, we trust that the strength of our common life, our commitment to serving God’s mission, and the work of the Holy Spirit are leading us forward even in the midst of these unexpected changes. On October 27, we will elect a bishop who will work faithfully with us in creating a vision for our future as the Body of Christ.

When the Standing Committee first met last November to pray about and to reflect upon the election of a new bishop, we identified a passage from Jeremiah that we thought would serve us well during this transition: “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

We are continuing now with the same confidence and trust in God’s grace. Thank you for your continued prayer for the election of our new bishop.

Faithfully,

Mr. Robert Morse
President of the Standing Committee
The Episcopal Church in Colorado

Mr. Bob Morse, President
Front Range Lay Representative
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Boulder

The Reverend Terry McGugan, Vice President
High Plains Clergy Representative
Christ Church, Denver

Mr. Jim Wolfe, Secretary
High Plains Lay Representative
Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, Centennial

The Reverend Charlie Brumbaugh
Northwest Clergy Representative
St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, Breckenridge

The Reverend Peter Floyd
Sangre de Cristo Clergy Representative
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Colorado Springs

Ms. Jan Johnson
Northwest Lay Representative
St. Peter’s of the Valley Episcopal Church, Basalt

The Reverend Nature Johnston
Southwest Clergy Representative
The Church of the Nativity, Grand Junction

The Reverend Michael McManus
Front Range Clergy Representative
Church of the Transfiguration, Evergreen

Ms. Erin Smith
Southwest Lay Representative
St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church, Alamosa

Mr. Harry Tournay
Sangre de Cristo Lay Representative
Church of the Ascension & Holy Trinity, Pueblo

Anglican Consultative Council’s Standing Committee gets update on 2020 Lambeth Conference

Thu, 09/06/2018 - 12:13pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] “Progress continues to be positive and financially we are on track” – that was the message from the Chief Executive of the Lambeth Conference Company Phil George to members of the Anglican Consultative Council’s Standing Committee as he briefed them on plans for the gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world in 2020.

“The first year of LC2020 planning is complete,” he said. “In many ways we are ahead of schedule and well positioned for the planning and preparations of the next two years.”

Read the full article here.

Archbishop of Canterbury calls for ‘fundamental reform’ of Britain’s economy

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 4:49pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A report co-authored by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says that Britain’s economy “is not working for millions of people and needs fundamental reform.” The report argues that “a fair economy is a strong economy” and says that “prosperity and justice can, and must, go hand-in-hand.” The report includes a 10-part plan for “a new vision of the economy and a rebalancing of economic power” and more than 70 recommendations.

Read the full article here.

Changes will give more voice to smaller provinces at Anglican Consultative Council

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 4:47pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Members of the Anglican Consultative Council’s Standing Committee have adopted changes to the membership schedule to increase representative from smaller provinces. Currently, larger provinces are entitled to three members, medium-sized provinces are entitled to two members; and smaller provinces are entitled to one member. The medium and smaller category will be combined with both entitled to two members: one ordained and one lay.

Read the full article here.

Anglican Communion Standing Committee backs new Chilean province

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 4:43pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Diocese of Chile, which is currently part of the Province of the Anglican Church of South America, should become a Province in its own right, the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) has decided. Before the change can be made formally, the ACC’s constitution requires the assent of two thirds of Anglican Primates.

Read the full article here.

Secretary general condemns ‘falsehoods’ about Anglican Communion

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 2:39pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, has strongly condemned people who “militantly present falsehoods” about the Communion, despite knowing that what they are saying is untrue. Idowu-Fearon made his comments as he gave his annual report to the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, at the start of their four-day meeting in London.

Read the full article here.

Episcopal Church of South Sudan’s national youth coordinator killed in gun attack

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 2:34pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The national youth coordinator for the Episcopal Church of South Sudan has died after being shot while traveling to Yei. Thousands of young people gathered at the house of Joseph Kiri on Sept. 3 to pay their respects for the youth worker and evangelist, who was killed just days after the Archbishop Justin Badi Arama said more needed to be done to turn a peace deal on paper into peace on the ground.

Read the full article here.

La conferencia Nuevo Amanecer celebra la diversidad del ministerio latino

Sat, 09/01/2018 - 7:39am

Un grupo de participantes juntan las manos en oración durante uno de los cultos en Nuevo Amanecer. Foto Millard Cook.

[Episcopal News Service – Hendersonville, Carolina del Norte] Esta semana, cerca de 400 personas se reunieron del 27 al 30 de agosto en el Centro de Conferencias y Retiro de Kanuga para participar en Nuevo Amanecer, una conferencia [o foro] bienal que apoya al ministerio latino en la Iglesia.

El tema de la conferencia de este año fue “Construimos, Equipamos, Inspiramos” . Muchos participantes hicieron un gran esfuerzo y viajaron largas distancias para asistir. Este año, por primera vez, la conferencia incluyó una amplia representación de la IX Provincia, con personas provenientes de América Central y del Sur.

El Rdo. Bladimir Pedraza fue uno de los cinco participantes que hizo el viaje a Carolina del Norte desde Colombia. Él se enteró de Nuevo Amanecer en la conferencia La Evangelización es Importante [Evangelism Matters] en marzo [de este año] en Ohio, y se quedó encantado cuando su obispo lo invitó a participar en Nuevo Amanecer. Él agradece esta oportunidad de reflexionar y compartir con personas de otras culturas.

“Ha sido una experiencia maravillosa”, dijo Pedraza. “Es un recordatorio de que todos somos iguales en la Iglesia, y que todos tenemos el mismo amor”.

El primer Nuevo Amanecer tuvo lugar en Los Ángeles en 2002, y pasaron seis años antes de que se volviera a ofrecer, en Atlanta. En 2010, la conferencia encontró un hogar en Kanuga, donde ahora se celebra cada dos años. La organiza la Oficina del Ministerio Latino/Hispano en asociación con Kanuga, y la conferencia de este año recibió un respaldo adicional de la Fundación de la Iglesia Episcopal y del Movimiento Adelante [Forward Movement].

Casi 400 personas se reunieron en Kanuga para Nuevo Amanecer, una conferencia bienal que celebra y apoya el ministerio latino en la Iglesia Episcopal. Foto del Rdo. Edgar Giraldo Orozco.

El Rdo. Anthony Guillén, misionero para el Ministerio Latino/Hispano y director de Ministerios Étnicos en la Iglesia Episcopal, dijo que desde el principio,  el énfasis de Nuevo Amanecer ha sido la formación y la fraternidad. Cuando empezó en su cargo, muchas personas que participaban en el Ministerio Hispano se sentían muy aisladas entre sí, y Nuevo Amanecer les brindó la oportunidad de aprender en comunidad.

Él señaló que la mayoría de los participantes son laicos. “¿Por qué vienen a una conferencia de ministerio?”, se preguntó. “Vienen porque quieren aprender y prepararse. Reconocen que tienen dones y anhelan ser evangelistas y líderes en esta Iglesia”.

Guillén explicó: “Nuestra visión es crear un lugar donde las personas puedan reunirse, lo mismo si son principiantes y están empezando a entender el ministerio latino, o si ya han estado asistiendo a la iglesia durante varios años y han oído el llamado de Dios a hacer más, o si ya están en el liderazgo y buscan más preparación”.

La conferencia de este año contó con tres oradores principales: el Rvdmo. Daniel Gutiérrez, obispo de la Diócesis de Pensilvania; el Rvdmo. Rafael Morales, obispo de la Diócesis de Puerto Rico; y la Rda. Stephanie Spellers, canóniga del Obispo Primado para la evangelización, la reconciliación y la mayordomía de la creación. Cada uno de los oradores abordó una parte del tema general de la conferencia.

Gutiérrez reflexionó sobre el tema de edificar la Iglesia. Él procuró corregir un lenguaje negativo, al explicar. “Para los latinos y para todas las personas de color, nosotros no somos un programa social, Somos la Iglesia”.

Instó a los participantes a ser audaces y a correr riesgos por la causa del Evangelio. “Creo apasionadamente en el poder transformador y redentor de Jesucristo”, afirmó. “Creo apasionadamente en el valor y la fidelidad de sus seguidores. Creo apasionadamente en ustedes. Lo que hagamos aquí cambiará la Iglesia y el mundo”.

Continuando con el tema, Morales enfatizó la importancia de la oración y la formación al equipar discípulos para el ministerio. Mediante la oración y la formación, explicó, nos preparamos para ser discípulos y evangelistas. “Somos ministros del amor”, dijo, y llamó a que mostraran el rostro de Dios al mundo.

En su presentación, Spellers afirmó los dones que ya están presentes en la comunidad. “Nadie está intentado darles a los latinos algo que ustedes ya no tengan”, dijo. Ella recontó las muchas maneras  en que había sido inspirada por la comunidad latina, diciendo: “Ustedes han cambiado mi vida y han hecho crecer mi fe”. Ella le pidió a todos los participantes que dejaran brillar su luz. Al final de su presentación, todos se unieron a cantar “Esta lucecita mía” en español e inglés.

Además de las sesiones plenarias, los participantes tuvieron la oportunidad de asistir a una variedad de talleres, sobre asuntos tales como el estado de la inmigración en Estados Unidos, el ministerio LGBTQ, la música latina dentro de la Iglesia Episcopal y el uso de las redes sociales como una herramienta para la evangelización.

Sandy Milien, una universitaria recién graduada de la Diócesis del Sureste de la Florida, fue una de los presentadores de talleres. Ella ayudó a dirigir un taller sobre la Campaña de Compartir Historias de la Amada Comunidad y se quedó muy conmovida por las respuestas de los participantes. “Es maravilloso cuando las personas se te acercan después y te dicen que tu taller los ha tocado de maneras inesperadas”, dijo ella. . “Ahí es cuando ves el amor de Dios operando en la gente”.

Esta fue la primera vez que Milien asistía a un Nuevo Amanecer. Su madre, sacerdote episcopal en Miami, ha participado en la conferencia varias veces y la alentó a venir. “Es una excelente manera de que personas de diferentes ministerios en la comunidad latina se reúnan y vean que somos algo más que nuestras iglesitas”, dijo ella. “Somos una gran parte de la Iglesia Episcopal”.

Agatha Nolen, participante de la Diócesis de Tennessee, dijo que había aprendido muchísimo durante [la conferencia de] Nuevo Amanecer. Ella mencionó la creciente población latina de Nashville, la ciudad de donde viene, y dijo que se preguntaba cómo su congregación podría relacionarse mejor con esta comunidad.

“Una cosa que he aprendido aquí es que una talla no se ajusta a todos los modelos”, dijo. Se sintió agradecida de saber que personas que no hablan español pueden participar en los ministerios latinos. “En nuestra diócesis, no contamos con muchos sacerdotes que hablen español, y eso siempre se ha identificado como una barrera. Tal vez no es una barrera tan grande como creíamos”.

Un grupo de bailarines de la iglesia episcopal de La Trinidad en Greeley, Colorado, ejecutó una danza durante la eucaristía de apertura. Yuri Rodríguez, de la iglesia catedral de Cristo, en Indianápolis, Indiana, dirigió al equipo de miembros del coro y a los instrumentistas que proporcionaron la música. Foto de Millard Cook.

La conferencia incluyó un culto lleno del Espíritu, con música dirigida por Yuri Rodríguez, directora asociada de música hispana y encargada de ministerio en la iglesia catedral de Cristo  [Christ Church Cathedral] en Indianápolis, Indiana. Ella trabajó con el equipo de liturgia para seleccionar una amplia gama de música, desde música indígena latinoamericana hasta música contemporánea de compositores latinos.

“Mi visión era integrar la tradición coral anglicana con nuestros ritmos y lenguaje musical latinoamericanos”, explicó.

La conferencia también incluyó una composición original, “Un nuevo amanecer”, escrita por Ana López y el Rdo. Hipólito Fernández Reina para la ocasión.

Los servicios de culto, al igual que la conferencia como un todo, celebraron la diversidad de ministerios dentro de las comunidades latinas. La Rda. Nancy Frausto, sacerdote de la Diócesis de Los Ángeles, predicó en la eucaristía de clausura, y le dijo a los participantes que Dios les había llevado a la Iglesia Episcopal para compartir singulares dones.

“Dios nos ha llamado a la Iglesia Episcopal para compartir nuestras experiencias, nuestra historia, nuestra tradición, nuestro idioma, nuestra música”, afirmó ella. “Cada uno de ustedes tiene dones que la Iglesia necesita ahora”.

– La Rda. Leigh C. Preston es instructora en pastoral hispana y en el ministerio Latino/Hispano en la Escuela de Teología de Sewanee: La Universidad del Sur. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

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