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Sermón del 9 de julio del Obispo Prince Singh, Diócesis Episcopal de Rochester

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 2:40pm
El siguiente texto corresponde al sermón que el Obispo Prince Singh, de la Diócesis Episcopal de Rochester, pronunció durante la Eucaristía de la Convención General, el 9 de julio de 2018.

Sean aceptables a tus ojos mis palabras y la meditación de nuestros corazones, oh Señor, refugio y libertador mío. Amén.

Bueno, buenas noches santos! Buenas noches pecadores! Me alegra que todos estemos aquí. ¡Y hola, compañeros inmigrantes! Permítanme comenzar diciendo que me siento honrado por esta oportunidad de predicar en la Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal. Mi esposa Roja y yo vinimos a este país hace unos 25 años como extraños provenientes de la India, de una compañera de comunión, la Iglesia del Sur de la India, y ustedes, la Iglesia Episcopal, nos recibieron con abundante gracia. La gente como yo pertenece a esta iglesia. Creo que podemos ayudar a Curry a subirse al Movimiento de Jesús. Lo siento, eso fue de mal gusto. Pero en serio, me solidarizo con mis muchos hermanos de Asia y otras partes del mundo que a menudo no se ven representados en el liderazgo. Traigo saludos de parte de los santos de la Diócesis de Rochester, donde estamos creciendo de forma espiritual, misionera e incluso numérica. Me reconforta saber que estoy entre los practicantes del amor, y aunque tenemos fallas y todavía tenemos trabajo por hacer, creo que no estamos empezando de cero. ¿Es esa tu creencia?

Bueno, cualquier reconciliación tiene que comenzar con el arrepentimiento. La historia de Noé es ilustrativa. Creo que tuvimos una inundación repentina solo para recordárnoslo. Y, por cierto, solo una aclaración al azar, Juana de Arco no era la esposa de Noé. ¡Pero escuchen, escuchen a Dios en la historia de Noé! “Nunca más volveré a maldecir la tierra por culpa del hombre, porque desde joven el hombre sólo piensa en hacer lo malo. Tampoco volveré a destruir a todos los animales, como lo hice esta vez.” La generación de Noé recibió un llamado de atención de parte de Dios. Y Dios, quien colocó el signo de un arco inofensivo en el cielo, se dio a sí mismo una llamada de atención por la tolerancia cero y se arrepintió. Ese fue un liderazgo diferenciado. Si Dios puede arrepentirse, las personas en el poder pueden arrepentirse y pedir perdón, no necesariamente porque estaban equivocadas, sino porque no mostraron misericordia o fueron demasiado lejos.

Puedo ver al menos tres áreas de arrepentimiento intencional y discernimiento en la reconciliación que estamos encontrando al menos en las dos últimas Convenciones. Arrepentimiento y reconciliación en asuntos de raza, en el cuidado de la creación y en el compartir del Evangelio. La reconciliación es una tregua amistosa, que reúne cosas que se encuentran en competencia u opuestas. Jesús modela esto para nosotros. Escuchen al teólogo escocés, James Stewart, describir a Jesús:

Fue el más manso y el más humilde de todos los hijos de las mujeres.

Sin embargo, Él habló de venir en las nubes del cielo con la gloria de Dios.

Era tan austero que los espíritus malignos y los demonios clamaban con terror ante su vista.

Sin embargo, era tan cordial, agradable y accesible que a los niños les encantaba jugar con Él y a los pequeños acurrucarse en sus brazos.

Nadie fue la mitad de amable o compasivo con los pecadores.

Sin embargo, nadie se refirió al pecado con palabras tan candentes.

Una caña quebrada Él no la acabaría de romper.

Sin embargo, en una ocasión le exigió a los fariseos responder cómo esperaban escapar de la condenación del infierno.

Él era un soñador de sueños y un vidente de visiones.

Sin embargo, por puro realismo, tiene a todos nuestros autodenominados realistas profundamente abatidos.

Él fue un servidor de todos, lavando los pies de sus discípulos.

Sin embargo, con maestría entró al templo.

Y los mercachifles y cambistas cayeron unos sobre otros en su loca carrera por alejarse del fuego que vieron ardiendo en sus ojos.

Salvó a otros, pero finalmente Él no buscó salvarse.

No hay nada en la historia como la unión de contrastes que nos confrontan en los Evangelios.

El misterio de Jesús es el misterio de la personalidad divina.

Vía Media personificada. Seguridad y violencia armada, particularidad y universalidad, identidad y unidad, decadencia y crecimiento. Nuevo Libro de Oración, Libro de Oración más nuevo, y luego, esto es real, hay prioridades, dolores y pasiones que compiten entre sí. Retóricamente, ¿tengo que estar equivocado para que tengas razón? Es posible que necesitemos centrarnos en algunas prácticas que son más que estar en lo correcto o incorrecto. Créanme, creo que la misoginia está equivocada. El odio es incorrecto. El egoísmo es incorrecto. La indiferencia es incorrecta. La homofobia es incorrecta. También sé que Cristo nos pide que venzamos el mal con el bien (Romanos 12:21). Entonces, veamos algunas prácticas de reconciliación parecidas a las de Cristo para ayudarnos.

Lucas nos recuerda, “Padre, perdónalos, porque no saben lo que hacen.”. Palabras atemporales de compasión desde la cruz. El amor practicado desde el crisol del sufrimiento. “Caminé una milla con el placer, y me platicó todo el camino. Mas a pesar de todo lo que dijo no aprendí más sabiduría. Caminé una milla con el pesar y ni una palabra dijo. Pero cuánto aprendí cuando el pesar caminó conmigo.” (Robert Browning Hamilton). Por otro lado, solo para equilibrarlo, el Dr. Paul Kalanithi, en su libro From Breath to Air, donde dice: “El sufrimiento puede hacernos insensibles al obvio dolor de los demás.”. La realidad es que el impacto del Evangelio en la mayoría de las partes del mundo se debe a que Jesús es aceptado como la más grande expresión de compasión de Dios por aquellos cuyas vidas no parecen importar mucho. Los dalit cristianos, por ejemplo en la India, que fueron y son tratados como parias, ven el Evangelio como la liberación. En el capítulo 6 de los Hechos de los Apóstoles, Lucas nos dice que la iglesia comenzó a prestar atención a las viudas invisibilizadas mediante un plan de encarnación compasiva: ¡El diaconado! Y, por cierto, ¿han notado que son las ACCIONES y no solo las INTENCIONES de los apóstoles? En nuestras culturas de rudeza, descortesía, polarización, crueldad, avaricia y narcisismo normalizados, nosotros, como iglesia, estamos llamados a practicar la compasión como agentes de transformación. La iglesia creció, la iglesia primitiva creció, en compasión y luego crecieron en número. Entonces, practiquemos la compasión. ¿Practiquemos qué? (Compasión).

Uno de los ladrones en la cruz estaba convencido, provocando a Jesús, pero el otro ladrón estaba curioso. “¿No le temes a Dios?”, Dijo. “Este hombre no ha hecho nada malo”. Él estaba en la cruz y tenía curiosidad, ¡y también Jesús! La temporada de curiosidad de la Iglesia también es conocida como Pentecostés. También es la gran democratización del discipulado y liderazgo cristiano. ¡Una llamada contextual para abrir de par en par las puertas del amor de Dios a todos, insistiendo en que todo significa todo! Y ya que estamos en Texas, ¡quizás todo signifique “ya’ll”, todos ustedes!

Pentecostés describe la curiosidad de la Iglesia primitiva que logró reconocer al Espíritu en los gentiles. Hechos de los Apóstoles, capítulo 10. Invitar a otros mundos supone la voluntad de cambiar nuestras propias cosmovisiones. Cuando invitamos a una persona, que encarna el lenguaje de señas estadounidense, por ejemplo, démosle una mano, eso cambiará la forma en que la Comunidad amada vive, escucha, se mueve y tiene su ser. Del mismo modo, con otros idiomas, cuando nos detenemos el tiempo suficiente como para escuchar y observar. Por ejemplo, en mi lengua materna Tamil, que es un antiguo idioma del sur de la India, la expresión para decir adiós es “Po-yitu va-rain” que significa, “Iré y vendré”. Lo cual es muy diferente de “¡Me voy de aquí!” ¿Verdad? Hay una cosmovisión en todos los idiomas. Y, qué regalo, qué placer para nosotros que pertenezcamos a una Comunidad amada con tanta diversidad. La diversidad no es un problema para ser administrado. Es uno de nuestros bienes más grandes de la Comunidad amada en mayordomía espiritual. Donde dos o tres se reúnen, la presencia de Cristo está garantizada. Los dos o tres en una iglesia que abraza al Espíritu del Pentecostés asumen la diversidad. Pentecostés es un llamado para combinar los rigores de la diversidad con las alegrías de la unidad. Y sabrán que somos cristianos por nuestro amor, por nuestra práctica de la curiosidad. La curiosidad es la mejor expresión de respeto, que también es la mejor forma de amor. Entonces, practiquemos la curiosidad. ¿Practiquemos qué? (Curiosidad)

Y finalmente, el mismo Jesús que practicó la bienvenida, diciendo: “Vengan a mí todos ustedes que están cansados de sus trabajos y cargas, y yo los haré descansar.”, le dijo al curioso ladrón, “Hoy estarás conmigo en el paraíso”. En algunos círculos, hay mucha consternación acerca de quién llegará al cielo y quién no. Jesús nos da una manera de practicar el cielo en la tierra a través del regalo de la hospitalidad aquí y ahora. La hospitalidad, creo, es un umbral que cruzó la Iglesia primitiva cuando reconcilió la dualidad pureza-contaminación en la comida; reconociendo la presencia de Dios en todas las cosas. Esta es una antigua dicotomía en la que todas las cosas tienen su gradación en la cuadrícula de pureza y contaminación. Las raíces del racismo, el sistema de castas, el sexismo, la heterosexualidad, todas han ganado una justificación encubierta de esta cuadrícula de pureza-contaminación. De un solo golpe esta antigua suposición queda totalmente destruida en una visión, “Lo que Dios ha purificado, no lo llames tú profano.”. Hechos de los Apóstoles, capítulo 10. Miles de años de epistemología implosionan, y la iglesia se volvió salvaje, enloqueció, practicando el amor incondicional. La hospitalidad es donde las cosas realmente se juntan. Roja y yo amamos tener gente en nuestro hogar, y, cada vez que invitamos a algunos huéspedes, estamos ocupados limpiando nuestra casa. Y, de vez en cuando nos miramos mutuamente y no decimos, “¿Acaso no somos realmente afortunados de tener personas visitando a nuestra casa? de lo contrario, ¡nunca la limpiaríamos!” Bueno, nuestras almas necesitan limpieza. Y la hospitalidad es una forma de experimentar pedacitos de cielo aquí mismo. ¿Podrían nuestros altares ser más diversos y acogedores? Y más importante aún, ¿podrían nuestros comedores y cocinas llegar a ser más diversas y acogedoras? Practiquemos la hospitalidad. ¿Practiquemos qué? (Hospitalidad)

“¿Qué más debemos saber sobre la práctica de la compasión, la curiosidad y la hospitalidad?” Creo que ayudaría mucho el tratar la manera de amar de Jesús como el home. No puedo creer que usé una analogía del béisbol, porque creo que lo que juegan en el cielo es cricket. ¿No están de acuerdo, algunos de ustedes? Creo que esto ayuda a darnos cuenta de que el cambio es difícil, y que cometeremos errores. Ayuda a pensar que estas prácticas son un maratón de discernimiento dinámico. Creo que ayuda a saber que estas prácticas pueden ser contraculturales, y puede que te malinterpreten por ser débil. Por todo esto, necesitamos un reabastecimiento espiritual y es allí donde importa la Iglesia. Permítanme terminar con una historia.

Cuando recién fui ordenado en la Iglesia del Sur de la India, tuve un curato entre los pueblos ubicados casi en lo que era llamado el Tombuctú de la Diócesis de Madras, y tenía alrededor de 14 congregaciones. De modo que yo me desplazaría por los alrededores en mi pequeña Vespa. Una de las iglesias no tenía edificio. Entonces, durante una tarde soleada y realmente sofocante nos encontramos para una Eucaristía bajo un árbol de tamarindo. Un árbol de tamarindo es un árbol muy frondoso y grande. Estando ya reunidos para la Eucaristía, yo era muy nuevo, acababa de ser hecho sacerdote, ¿cierto?, de modo que tenía muy poca idea de lo que estuve haciendo la mayor parte del tiempo. Entonces, di la vuelta y distribuí el pan, y luego levanté el cáliz y noté que había una hormiga nadando en el jugo de uva. Entonces fui a la primera persona, y dije: “Sangre de Cristo. Cáliz de salvación. ¡Cuidado!” Y luego a la segunda persona, “Sangre de Cristo. Cáliz de salvación. ¡Cuidado!” ¡Me tomó alrededor de dos o tres personas, antes de darme cuenta de lo que estaba diciendo! Y luego se me ocurrió, sí, sangre de Cristo, cáliz de salvación, ¡cuidado! Porque esto es más que comida casera. Es un llamado al discipulado y al liderazgo en un momento muy problemático, cuando cristianos como usted y yo tenemos que despertar, y estar presentes como agentes de amor en un mundo que está hambriento de amor genuino.

Amigos míos, y ahora, la compasión, la curiosidad y la hospitalidad permanecen, estos tres. ¡Y la fuerza detrás de cada uno de estos es el amor!

¡Ése eres tú!

Amén

Los obispos rechazan la resolución sobre Israel-Palestina como ‘desinversión’ pese a la aprobación de los diputados

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 2:36pm

Los obispos alzan las manos para oponerse a la Resolución D019, que aspiraba a ponerle fin a la complicidad financiera de la Iglesia con la ocupación israelí de los territorios palestinos. La resolución fue rechazada 48-78. Foto de David Paulsen/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] La Cámara de Obispos rechazó por amplia mayoría una medida que había encontrado abrumador respaldo en la Cámara de Diputados y que aspiraba a ponerle fin a la complicidad financiera de la Iglesia en la ocupación israelí de los territorios palestinos, aplazando al menos por otros tres años uno de los asuntos más polémicos de la Iglesia.

Otras resoluciones relacionadas con Israel y Palestina siguen estando en juego en la 79ª. Convención General y todavía pueden ser aprobadas. El obispo de California Norte. Barry Beisner, presidente del Comité de Justicia Social y Política Internacional, le dijo a Episcopal News Service después de la votación del 11 de julio contra la Resolución D019, que las resoluciones restantes, aunque tal vez “no menos emotivas” no eran tan “complicadas”.

Obispos y diputados de ambas partes del asunto hablaron enérgicamente sobre la Resolución D019 esta semana, pero las votaciones de las dos cámaras terminaron con resultados opuestos. Los diputados aprobaron la resolución con un 74 por ciento a favor, en tanto la votación de los obispos fue de 48-78, o un 62 por ciento en contra de la resolución.

La Resolución D019 le habría pedido al Consejo Ejecutivo, basándose en 70 años de política de la Iglesia sobre el conflicto del Oriente Medio, que investigara y elaborara un plan para 2019 con vistas a imponer un “tamiz de inversiones a partir de derechos humanos” que sus críticos describieron como una peligrosa desinversión de Israel.

“La desinversión no nos hará avanzar una pulgada en el proceso de la paz. No le pondrá fin a la ocupación. No nos conducirá a la solución que todos anhelamos, que es la de dos estados viviendo en paz uno junto al otro dentro de fronteras seguras”, dijo el obispo jubilado Ed Little, de la Diócesis de Indiana Norte, que fue uno de los seis obispos en hablar en contra de la resolución antes de la votación.

El rechazo de la resolución sirvió como una súbita acentuación de una semana de abierto y apasionado debate sobre una gama de asuntos relacionados con el trato de Israel a los palestinos. La Convención General está considerando cómo la Iglesia Episcopal debe responder a lo que muchos ven como la escalada de una crisis humanitaria en la región.

Casi 50 personas testificaron en una audiencia de comité sobre el tema que tuvo lugar el 6 de julio en el hotel JW Marriott, parte de un proceso expeditivo recomendado por el obispo primado Michael Curry y la Rda. Gay Clark Jennings, presidente de la Cámara de Diputados. Sus recomendaciones, incluyendo la designación de la Cámara de Diputados como la cámara donde iniciar esta gestión legislativa, tenían la intención de garantizar discusiones amplias, abiertas y productivas  luego de que hubiera quejas sobre el proceso para considerar las resoluciones acerca de Israel-Palestina en la Convención General de 2015, en que los obispos votaron en contra de una medida semejante lo cual significó que nunca se sometió a la consideración de los diputados.

La Convención General ha votado a favor del proceso de paz en el Oriente Medio durante décadas. Este año, el comité de política internacional presentó la D019 para un orden del día especial en la Cámara de Diputados, reconociéndola como la más controversial de más de una docena de resoluciones afines, incluidas algunas asignadas al Comité de Mayordomía e Inversión Socialmente Responsables. El orden [del día] especial significaba que el debate en el pleno el 9 de julio no podía ser puesto a un lado por trabas de procedimiento.

“Que esta sea finalmente la convención donde digamos que no seguiremos permitiendo que nuestros recursos financieros faciliten esta brutal ocupación”, dijo Brian Grieves, diputado por Hawái y proponente de la resolución, antes de que los diputados votaran 619 a favor y 214 en contra, para enviarle la D019 a los obispos.

Pero el contraste en el tono dos días después se hizo evidente de inmediato en la Cámara de Obispos.

Little advirtió que la desinversión haría un “daño irreparable” a las relaciones de la Iglesia con Israel. El obispo Scott Barker de Nebraska reconoció “el peso insoportable que llevan sobre sus hombros los palestinos que viven bajo la ocupación israelí”, pero también advirtió de la persistente, si no extendida, opinión en los territorios ocupados de que Israel no tiene derecho a existir.

“I siempre respaldaría una inversión proactiva en los territorios palestinos… pero acciones para boicotear, desinvertir o sancionar a Israel solo como el antagonista de esta historia ya no tiene sentido para mí”, afirmó él. “Eso para mí es una excesiva simplificación de una realidad compleja”.

John Taylor, el obispo de Los Ángeles, se sumó a los que se opusieron a la resolución, diciendo que si bien la ocupación israelí “es imposible de defender”, las dos alternativas, anexión o retirada, serían “catastróficas”.

“Mejor intensificar nuestra participación constructiva a través de la región, haciendo todo lo que podamos como Iglesia para levantar la infraestructura económica, social y política en Palestina por el bien del pueblo palestino”, dijo Taylor.

Varios obispos hablaron a favor de la resolución, entre ellos el obispo Marc Andrus, de la Diócesis de California, quien dijo que muchos de los argumentos contra la desinversión “se basan en una falsa equivalencia”.

“Todas las vidas humanas son infinitamente valiosas”, dijo Andrus, y demasiadas vidas se han perdido en ambas partes del conflicto israelí-palestino. Pero él dijo que era innegable que el saldo de pérdidas en las décadas que dura el conflicto ha afectado desproporcionadamente a los palestinos, por un factor de tres a uno.  El llamó la aprobación de medidas más drásticas “algo que ha tardado mucho en llegar”.

La obispa sufragánea de Massachusetts, Gayle Harris, y el obispo de Newark Mark Beckwith hablaron a favor de la resolución, centrándose en las inversiones de la Iglesia Episcopal en compañías que apoyan o proporcionan ayuda infraestructural a la ocupación, tales como Caterpillar, la fabricante de equipos de construcción, y una compañía de telecomunicaciones como Motorola. Ambas compañías ya han sido objeto de activismo accionario de parte del Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia.

La Resolución D019 “nos llama, tal como yo la leo, a investigar quién está lucrando con la tragedia del Oriente Medio”, dijo Beckwith.

“Nos lleva a mirar cómo participamos, ya sea silenciosa o financieramente, en un sistema que degrada a las personas”, dijo Harris. “Esta es nuestra actuación, nuestra conciencia, nuestro sentido de la justicia… Nuestro sentido de quienes somos como pueblo de Cristo está vinculado a esta resolución”.

Pero el obispo John Tarrant, de Dakota del Sur, al oponerse a la resolución, la emprendió con el proceso, que a él le sigue pareciendo defectuoso.

“Debe haber sido un sueño, pero yo creía haber leído en alguna parte que íbamos a tener una conversación franca acerca de este asunto muy complejo, en el cual intervinieran personas de ambas partes que fuesen expertos”, afirmó Tarrant. “Creo que este problema complejo exige un foro más grande que una rápida sesión legislativa”.

Durante un receso de la sesión legislativa después de la votación, Beisner le dijo a ENS que él creía que los que describían la resolución burlonamente como “BDS”—por boicot, desinversión y sanción— “estaban adelantándose a los acontecimientos”.

“Yo en verdad estoy de acuerdo en que merece una consideración más amplia y cuidadosa de lo que permite nuestro reducido proceso legislativo”, afirmó Beisner. “Por supuesto, una de las esperanzas era que el Consejo Ejecutivo sería el lugar donde eso podría suceder. Esa era el objetivo de la D019”.

Las otras resoluciones que se encaminan en la Cámara de Diputados se refieren al tratamiento de los niños palestinos, al uso de fuerza letal de parte de Israel contra palestinos desarmados, al sistema de apartheid entre israelíes y palestinos, a las leyes israelíes que privan a los palestinos de derechos civiles y a la capacidad de las compañías estadounidenses de boicotear a Israel en protesta por su ocupación de los territorios palestinos.

Esas resoluciones fueron recomendadas por miembros de comités tanto de la Cámara de Obispos como de la Cámara de Diputados, aunque queda por ver cuál, si es que alguna, logra la aprobación de ambas cámaras. Los diputados podrían votar más tarde el 11 de julio si las resoluciones no se retrasaban por otros asuntos.

– David Paulsen es redactor y reportero de Episcopal News Service. Puede dirigirse a él en at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

 

Bishops voice support for Gwich’in people in Alaska

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 12:38pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Three days ago, Native Alaskan Bernadette Demientieff appeared at joint session of the 79th General Convention and spoke about the destruction of the Gwich’in way of life, now threatened by drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

On July 12, the House of Bishops received “with open and broken hearts the witness of Bernadette Demientieff to the struggle and plight of the Gwich’in people” by unanimously passing Resolution X023.

The Gwich’in have “have been imperiled by the threat of drilling in the ‘Sacred Place Where Life Begins’” on the coastal plans of the wildlife refuge, the resolution said. In approving the resolution, the bishops also affirmed the Episcopal Church’s “historic solidarity with the Gwich’in people in opposing any drilling” in the refuge.

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

Demientieff spoke on July 10 during one of three TEConversations held at joint sessions of General Convention, each focusing a specific priority: racial reconciliation, evangelism and care of creation.

“We are not asking for jobs, not asking for schools, we are asking for the respect to live as we always have and keep our identity as Gwich’in,” she said in her appearance before the House of Bishops and House of Deputies.

To the Gwich’in, the refuge is sacred. Their existence has for centuries depended on the Porcupine caribou, whose calving ground lies within the refuge’s coastal plain.

Energy companies view the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, particularly its 1.5 million-acre coastal plain, as a potential oil and natural gas bonanza. This conflict has fueled for more than 30 years a contentious debate over whether this coastal plain should be opened to oil drilling or kept as unspoiled habitat.

In December 2017, the Trump administration and congressional Republicans opened the refuge to oil exploration. In April this year, a first step was taken toward allowing drilling.

Even in times of food shortage and starvation, the Gwich’in haven’t gone into coastal plain, which they consider “the sacred place where life begins,” said Demientieff. After high school, she drifted away from her Gwich’in identity, only to recover it later in life and use her voice to speak for future generations and the animals that cannot speak for themselves.

The resolution, proposed by Bishop Wendell Gibbs of Michigan, also asked Episcopalians to “use prayer, advocacy, public witness and legal means to prevent the desecration of ‘The Sacred Place Where Life Begins’” and the destruction of the Porcupine caribou herd and the Gwich’in people.

— Mike Patterson is a San Antonio-based freelance writer and correspondent for the Episcopal News Service. He is a member of ENS General Convention reporting team and can be reached at rmp231@gmail.com.

Prince Charles visits churches as part of his summer tour of Wales

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 12:30pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, has visited a number of Anglican churches as part of his annual summer tour of the country. The Prince of Wales is a title traditionally – but not always – given to the eldest son and heir of the British Monarch. It is largely ceremonial and carries no constitutional authority. In his tour this year Prince Charles visited two churches in St. David’s Diocese and one in St. Asaph, which has within its churchyard a Yew Tree thought to be 5,000 years old.

In St. David’s Diocese, he visited St. Jerome’s Church in Llangwm, near Haverfordwest. Here he saw an award-winning tapestry depicting Llangwm’s links with its historic Flemish past and, along with his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, presented an award to parishioner Pam Hunt, whose vision gave rise to the project, in recognize of its imaginative use of digital technology.

Full article here.

Diocese of Colombo to plant 20,000 trees in day-long environmental push

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 12:23pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Church of Ceylon’s Diocese of Colombo has launched a major environmental protection scheme which will see 20,000 trees planted on a single day in 2019. A “trial run” will see 2000 trees planted on 24 September 2018 ahead of the main Plant Trees, Plant Life event on 14 September 2019. A whole range of organizations are taking part in the event, including churches, the diocesan youth department, church schools, the Mothers’ Union and the government’s forestry department – the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment.

“Why ‘Plant Trees?’”, the Diocese said on its Facebook page, “We plant trees as an act of obedience to God. This makes it a spiritual experience. Being concerned for our environment is being concerned for what God cares for.”

Already, some 100 trees were planted when the event was launched last month on World Environmental day – 5 June – at St Thomas’ College in Mount Lavinia. Churches across the diocese also planted trees on that day in preparation for the main event in 2019.

Full article here.

Los diputados coinciden con los obispos en aprobar por unanimidad la admisión de Cuba

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 4:48am

La presidente de la Cámara de Diputados, Rda Gay Clark Jennings, le da la bienvenida el 11 de julio a la obispa de Cuba, Griselda Delgado del Carpio, y a la Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba, en la Iglesia Episcopal. El Rdo. Gerardo Lojildes, esposo de Delgado, sostiene una bandera de EE.UU., y Mayelin Aqueda, presidente de las Mujeres Episcopales de Cuba, sostiene una bandera cubana. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] “Bienvenidos a casa”, dijo la presidente de la Cámara de Diputados, Rda. Gay Clark Jennings, luego de que los diputados aprobaran por unanimidad coincidir con la Cámara de Obispos y admitir a la Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba como una diócesis.

Luego [del período] de testimonios, que se redujo porque nadie firmó para testificar en contra de admitir la diócesis, Jennings pidió un momento de silencio antes de la histórica votación. La Diócesis de Cuba va a ser parte de la II Provincia, que incluye diócesis de Nueva York y Nueva Jersey en Estados Unidos, así como Haití y las Islas Vírgenes.

Inmediatamente después de la votación en la Cámara de Obispos el 10 de julio, la obispa de Cuba, Griselda Delgado del Carpio, se sentó en la Cámara de Obispos. Inmediatamente después de la votación del 11 de julio, el Rdo Gerardo Lojildes, que además de su ministerio supervisa la construcción del Campamento Blankingship en Cuba, y Mayelin Aqueda, presidente de las Mujeres Episcopales en Cuba, ocuparon sus asientos como diputados entre las diócesis de Venezuela y Puerto Rico.

Luego de la votación y de una prolongada ovación de pie, Jennings invitó a Delgado a hablarle a la Cámara. “Ahora mismo siento que el Espíritu Santo está soplando en toda esta Convención y que se está moviendo: está moviéndose aquí para todos nosotros, para que trabajemos con él en este mundo tan difícil, para estar seguros de que respondemos a las necesidades de este mundo”, dijo Delgado en español a través de un intérprete.

“Nos reunimos así en convención, para poner nuestra familia en orden; eso es lo que hay detrás. Y esto se hace para que podamos acoger a todos”

Más noticias de las decisiones de la 79ª. Convención General para admitir a la Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba como una diócesis vinculada a la II Provincia se encuentran aquí.

– Lynette Wilson es reportera y jefa de redacción de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Los obispos aprueban por unanimidad admitir a Cuba como diócesis

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 4:44am

El Obispo primado Michael Curry y el Obispo Gray-Reeves, de la Diócesis de El Camino Real, felicitan a la obispa de Cuba, María Griselda. Luego de que la Cámara de Obispos aprobara por unanimidad el 10 de julio recibir nuevamente a Cuba en la Iglesia Episcopal. Foto de David Paulsen/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] La Cámara de Obispos de la Iglesia Episcopal aprobó por unanimidad el 10 de julio admitir —o readmitir, realmente— a la Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba como una diócesis de la Iglesia Episcopal. La Diócesis de Cuba formará parte de la II Provincia.

“Siento el soplo del Espíritu Santo. Gracias a todos por el apoyo ahora, pero realmente por el apoyo de todos estos años”, dijo la obispa de Cuba Griselda Delgado del Carpio en español a través de un intérprete. Ella dedicó un momento a recordar las generaciones pasadas que habían anhelado la reunificación, “aquellos que sufrieron pero siempre esperaron regresar a la Iglesia”.

Delgado recibió una ovación de pie, y compartió muchos abrazos al tiempo que el obispo primado Michael Curry le pedía que se sentara en la mesa No. 7.

La reunificación se demoró en llegar. En respuesta a la geopolítica de la época, la Cámara de Obispos aprobó en 1966 separarse unilateralmente de la Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba.

Jose McLoughlin, obispo de Carolina del Norte Occidental, escolta ala obispa de Cuba, Griselda Delgada del Carpio, hasta el frente de la Cámara de Obispos luego de la votación para readmitir a la Diócesis de Cuba. Foto de David Paulsen/ENS.

La Cámara de Obispos “apuñaló a Cuba en el corazón” y ella se negó a morir”, dijo Leo Frade, obispo jubilado de la Florida, un Cubano que tenía 23 años cuando la Cámara aprobó la expulsión de Cuba.

“La Cámara de Diputados no hizo nada, la Cámara de Obispos actúo… fue una acción inconstitucional de la Cámara de Obispos que no tenía ninguna autoridad para expulsarnos”, dijo lloroso Frade. “Como cubanos, los cubanos rehusamos morir. La realidad es que la Iglesia de Cuba sigue viva y pertenece aquí”.

Al comienzo de la 79ª. Convención General, el Comité de la Iglesia Episcopal en Cuba se enfrentó con cuestiones constitucionales y canónicas respecto a si la Convención podía decidir ahora admitir a Cuba, o si exigiría que se hiciera un cambio constitucional luego de dos convenciones consecutivas.

Al final, la Convención decidió de manera semejante a como lo hizo en 2003 cuando readmitió a la Diócesis de Puerto Rico en la Iglesia Episcopal. La Diócesis de Puerto Rico había sido desde 1979 una diócesis extraprovincial sujeta a la autoridad de la IX Provincia. En la década del setenta, se esperaba que Puerto Rico, Cuba y otras diócesis del Caribe llegarían a formar una nueva provincia de por sí, aunque eso nunca llegó a suceder.

La Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba, anteriormente un distrito misionero, ha funcionado como una diócesis autónoma de la Comunión Anglicana bajo la autoridad del Consejo Metropolitano de Cuba desde que se separó de la Iglesia Episcopal en EE.UU. en 1967.

El obispo de Nueva Jersey,  William Stokes (“Chip”), presidente del Comité de la Iglesia Episcopal en Cuba, le imprimió un sentido de urgencia en [la Cámara de] Obispos para que aprobara la Resolución A238 tal como había sido enmendada.

“El gobierno de Cuba es a veces menos estricto hacia las iglesias”, dijo, añadiendo que las políticas de EE.UU. son impredecibles.

La [Resolución] A238 establece las condiciones de la reunificación; que ahora pasa a la Cámara de Diputados.

La Cámara de Obispos tomó su decisión en 1966 en respuesta a los efectos de la revolución cubana y la reacción de Estados Unidos. La revolución cubana, liderada por Fidel Castro, comenzó en 1953 y duró hasta que el presidente Fulgencio Batista fue expulsado del poder en 1959. El gobierno autoritario y anticomunista de Batista fue reemplazado por un estado socialista, el cual se alineó en 1965 con el Partido Comunista.

En 1961, [el gobierno] había cerrado y expropiado las escuelas episcopales en Cuba y muchos clérigos y sus familias se vieron desplazados. Algunos permanecieron en Cuba; otros regresaron o emigraron a Estados Unidos. Algunos clérigos que se quedaron en Cuba fueron encarcelados, ejecutados o desaparecieron. [Algunos] edificios de la Iglesia se cerraron y quedaron abandonados. La Iglesia se polarizó políticamente, [con el consiguiente] sufrimiento de sus clérigos y líderes laicos. Pero la Iglesia continúo en las salas de las abuelas, que celebraban oficios de oración y estudios bíblicos en sus casas. A través de ellas se transmitió una historia de dolor y de fe.

La Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba remonta sus orígenes a una presencia anglicana a partir de 1901. En la actualidad hay unas 46 congregaciones y misiones que atienden a unos 10.000 miembros y a más amplias comunidades. Durante los años sesenta, el gobierno de Castro comenzó a perseguir la religión, encarcelando a líderes religiosos y creyentes, y no fue hasta que el papa Juan Pablo II visitó Cuba en 1998, la primera visita de un papa a la isla, que el gobierno comenzó a mostrarse más tolerante en materia de religión.

– Lynette Wilson es reportera y jefa de redacción de Episcopal News Service.

Marriage rites resolution heading back to House of Deputies

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 9:08pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The House of Bishops made a “technical amendment” before approving a resolution meant to give all Episcopalians the ability to be married by their priests in their home churches.

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

The House of Deputies, which had overwhelmingly approved a heavily amended version of Resolution B012 on July 9, now must reconsider the resolution and debate the amendment. General Convention resolutions must be adopted by both houses with the same texts.

The bishops’ amendment does not change B012’s goal of giving full access to two trial-use marriage rites for same-sex and opposite-sex couples approved by the 2015 meeting of General Convention (via Resolution A054). B012 began in response to Resolution A085 from General Convention’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage, which was proposed in part to give a way for Episcopalians to use the rites in eight dioceses of the church’s 101 domestic dioceses in which the diocesan bishop refuses to authorize use of the trial-use marriage.

Resolution A054-2015 said that clergy could only use the rites under the direction of their bishop. The original version of B012 would have required bishops who would not authorize the rights to allow any congregations to receive Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) from another bishop who would provide access to the liturgies.

Deputies agreed to a version of B012 that took away the DEPO option and placed the decision-making power for using the rites with rectors or other clergy in charge of congregations. The bishops’ amendment comes in the seventh resolve of the resolution and adds the words “provided that nothing in this resolve narrows the authority of the rector or priest-in-charge (Canon III.9.6(a)).”

Chicago Bishop Jeff Lee said the addition was made “simply to make clear as we can that this resolution is not in conflict with the provisions of the ministry canons of the church regarding the authority of rector or priest in charge of congregations. It’s a very, in some ways, technical amendment, but we thought it was important in consultation with the chancellors to add it.”

(Canon III.9.6(a) begins on page 93 here.)

In the debate that followed, the amendment was left behind as 12 of the 13 bishops who rose to speak supported passage of the resolution. Some were adamant in their support, some were reluctant in their support for sometimes opposing reasons while Albany Bishop William Love was adamant in his opposition.

Western New York Bishop Bill Franklin said he supported the resolution “because it moves us another step away from the situation of separate but equal to which we have often consigned our LGBTQ sisters and brothers.”

Rhode Island Bishop Nick Knisely, one of the three bishops who offered the original B012, said even the heavily amended form of the resolution that came from deputies still gives the bishops who will not authorize the use of the rites a way to feel “fully a part of this church.” Moreover, he said, much of the testimony in legislative committee hearings portrayed the resolution as “a way forward. I don’t think this is a permanent a way forward, but this buys us time.”

New York Assistant Bishop Mary Glasspool speaks to her colleagues in the House of Bishops July 11 during their debate on Resolution B012. Photo: Mary Frances SChjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Time, he said, could allow the church to do what the previous speaker said ought to happen. “I don’t think we have unwrapped the gift of gay and lesbian relationships and really celebrated them,” said New York Assistant Bishop Mary Glasspool. “It’s time not only to support marriage equality, but to honor the gift that many of my brothers and sisters are.” Their partnerships ought to be celebrated “the way we celebrate other partnerships in this church.”

Bishop Dan Martins of Springfield, one of the eight bishops who will not authorize the rites, said he would support B012 and was “immensely and seriously grateful” for its compromise. That said, Martin told the house he was “taking my gratitude with a side of Valium because I am deeply concerned” that removing the bishop’s ability to act as the chief liturgical officer and “chief teacher” in the diocese will begin to “erode the sacramental relationship between a bishop and a diocese.”

Bishops were limited to two minutes at the microphone. However, Love of Albany spoke for nearly 10 minutes, despite being told that he was exceeding his time. He said the passage of B012 would put him in the awkward position of violating parts of his ordination vows.

“There has been a lot of discussion as we have struggled with this issue over the past several years on whether or not sexual intimacy within that of a same-sex couple was appropriate,” he said. “There are many in this church who have proclaimed that it is and that this is a new thing that the Holy Spirit is revealing and that the Episcopal Church is being prophetic in putting this forward and ultimately the rest of the body of Christ will come to understand that.”

“I don’t believe, presiding bishop, that that’s necessarily true.”

Love added that the church has listened to people’s personal experiences and “to feelings, their emotions, but we have not had an honest look at, sir, at what God has said about this issue and how best to help people who find themselves in same-sex relationships.”

Idaho Bishop Brian Thom, who served on the Task Force for the Study of Marriage and the committee that reviewed the resolutions, said he supported the resolution with reservations. “The strongest message we received was not about ecclesiology,” he said.

“The most pastoral thing that was being asked for and, for me that most valuable, was that folks just wanted to be married at home,” he said, referring to situation where bishops tell same-sex couples they must go to a different diocese and be married by a priest who is a stranger to them.

“I’m convinced by that,” he said. “My heart breaks for those folks who have not been able to do that, but now they can, and rectors and bishops have a space.”

“This is the right move that allows us all to go forward and, while I feel I have thrown with my votes for B012 my LGBT brothers and sisters under the bus, there is now a way forward for them to be married where they want to be married — at home. And all of you who have stood at an altar before a couple like that know how important that is. So, for them, I am going to vote in favor of this.”

The resolution passed on a voice vote with a handful of noes

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is the Episcopal News Service’s senior editor and reporter.

Deputies agree with bishops on new plan for liturgical and prayer book revision

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 8:07pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] In an overwhelming voice vote, the House of Deputies on July 11 concurred with a plan for liturgical and Prayer Book revision that had been adopted by the House of Bishops the day before.

This sets the stage for creation of new liturgical texts to respond to the needs of Episcopalians across the church while continuing to use the Book of Common Prayer that was adopted in 1979.

Resolution A068 originally called for the start of a process that would lead to a fully revised prayer book in 2030. The bishops instead adopted a plan for “liturgical and prayer book revision for the future of God’s mission through the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement.”

The bishops’ amended resolution calls for bishops to engage worshipping communities in their dioceses in experimentation and creation of alternative liturgical texts and they will submit them to a new Task Force on Liturgical and Prayer Book Revision to be appointed by the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies.

It also says that liturgical revision will utilize inclusive and expansive language and imagery for humanity and divinity, and will incorporate understanding, appreciation and care of God’s creation.

The Rev. Sam Candler, deputy from Atlanta and one of the chairs of the committee that considered the original version of A068, asked the House of Deputies to concur with the action of the House of Bishops. He acknowledged that doing so would not give deputies everything they had wanted when they had voted on July 7 for expanded prayer book revision in the original A068.

Candler said that deputies were proud to have sent a “strong and vigorous resolution on revision of the Book of Common Prayer” to the House of Bishops and that they “heard us and responded with a process for prayer book and liturgical revision.” Concurring with the bishops would “move the process forward,” he said. “The church is always reforming,” he added. “Our prayer is always reforming. We are excited to be part of that.”

One line in the bishop’s proposal prompted questions in the House of Deputies. The resolution “memorializes” the 1979 Book of Common Prayer “as a prayer book of the church preserving the psalter, liturgies, the Lambeth Quadrilateral, Historic Documents, and [its] trinitarian formularies.”

Deputies asked what was meant by the word memorialize. Candler said the word didn’t appear in the rules of General Convention or the House of Deputies, so he was relying on a dictionary definition that means “to commemorate.” He added, “I trust it is a word that commemorates what the Book of Common Prayer is.”

– Melodie Woerman is director of communications for the Diocese of Kansas and is a member of the ENS General Convention reporting team.

On the ‘Front Line’ of the Jesus Movement

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 7:03pm

Representing Navy, Army and Air Force Chaplains Corps, these military chaplains care for the spiritual needs of those who serve in their respective branches of the military. Pictured from left: Paul Minor, Army; William Alford, Navy; Jen Pilat, Navy chaplain candidate; Carl Wright, bishop suffragan for the armed services and federal ministries, Air Force, retired; Aaron Davis, Army; Leslie Nuñez Steffensen, canon to Bishop Wright and former Navy officer; Andrea Baker, Army; Aristotle Rivera, Air Force. Photo: Brian Baker

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Ask the Rt. Rev. Carl W. Wright, bishop suffragan for the Armed Forces and Federal Ministries, about the military chaplains he shepherds, and he will tell you, “Our chaplains are on the front lines of the Jesus Movement – we are the original missionaries!”

Wright served as a chaplain in the Air Force for 20 years. Now he heads the office that oversees chaplaincy programs for all branches of the military (active, reserve and National Guard), veterans hospitals, federal prisons, Civil Air Patrol, and the chaplain candidate program, as well as the Distinguished Faith Group Leader program for lay and ordained ministry.

Zac’s Story


The black Labrador retriever seen padding around the 79th General Convention was trained as a PTSD service dog by a male inmate in the Puppies Behind Bars program. In 2014 Zac joined Chaplain Maj. Andrea Baker’s chaplain ministry in Afghanistan and is now “as much a chaplain to me as I am to others.” Zac’s presence “facilitates conversations,” said Baker, and helps her recharge.

While Zac is Baker’s partner in ministry, it is his namesake’s story that bears witness. Airman 1st Class Zachary Cuddeback, 21, was killed in action in Germany in 2011. Baker named her partner Zac in Cuddeback’s honor. In 2017 Baker was stationed at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Germany, when she and dog Zac met Robert Cuddeback at the annual run for Zac at Ramstein Air Base. There’s more. Baker was called upon to perform the dignified transfer of remains, which is done at the airplane on the airstrip. The bus that took Baker to the plane was named for Zac Cuddeback.

Chaplain Maj. Andrea Baker, a priest and chaplain recruiter for the U.S. Army said, “This military is a diverse environment and ultimately it’s an environment in which you have to have implicit trust in one another. Even if you disagree with someone’s opinion, you still trust they have your back. It’s a great place to be an Episcopal priest.”

The work chaplains do is highly valued and an integral part of military life. Col. Vicki Wyan, U.S. Army, retired, served for 40 years in both active and reserve units. “All the chaplains I ever met, whether in theater or stateside, were people dedicated to serving the needs of those who serve,” Wyan said. “So much of what they do is intangible; it helps those who are doing the heavy lifting – the soldiers, officers and their families – through the day-to-day life of being in the service.”

Baker agrees that chaplains, much like those in military medical and dental units, serve a critical supporting role. “You can be a pacifist [and be a chaplain]. We do not carry weapons. I can do this ethically because we need service members who are grounded and who have the support they need when they need it.” Baker explained that chaplains are part of a Unit Ministry Team; they do not work alone. In the Army the chaplain works with a Religious Affairs Specialist or non-commissioned officer who is the “soldier.”

Navy chaplain William Alford, who also serves as rector of St. James’ Church, Parkton, Maryland, says that becoming a chaplain was a life-long ambition. “I finally got to the place where all the stars aligned, and the governor of Ohio gave me a waiver so I could serve [in the Navy] again,” Alford said. “The interaction with ships’ personnel is rewarding. A chaplain’s mission is fairly similar to that of a parish priest in that sailors and officers have issues the same as parishioners,” Alford said.

Being a rector and a chaplain offers the opportunity to raise awareness of the ministry. Chaplain Paul Minor is a member of the Massachusetts National Guard and co-rector of All Saints’ Church, Belmont, Massachusetts. Minor said, “I show up in my dress uniform at diocesan convention to remind people that we have chaplains doing this work. Some people like it; some people struggle with it. There are a lot of similarities in both worlds and I enjoy them both.”

An Air Force chaplain recruiter stationed at Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Chaplain Hank Hahn has a directive from the chief of chaplains to “pay attention to denominations like the Episcopal Church that are underrepresented in the Air Force Chaplain Corps.” Hahn is a Presbyterian priest who “has been to lots of General Conventions, and this one has been very impressive. Everyone is warm and fun-loving; it’s been a great time.”

Baker says that the Army is also seeking diversity in its Chaplains Corps. Mandates such as the “combat exclusion policy,” which allows for women to serve in every capacity, increases the need for representation of women in the corps. Only a “handful” of women chaplains currently serve in the Army.

A 2011 graduate of Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Baker has attended the 79thGeneral Convention with “associate chaplain” Zac, her trained PTSD service dog, representing the Army. As part of her work Baker attends conventions and meetings of religious faiths and traditions across the spectrum, with the exception of Roman Catholic and Orthodox orders that are recruited by other recruiting stations. Building community partnerships with seminaries and meeting with bishops raise awareness of the need for chaplains.

The first step in the process in becoming a military chaplain is for the priest to meet with a chaplain recruiter from the desired branch of service. Seminarians are encouraged to apply as well, although in most cases two years of post-seminary experience in a congregational setting is required. The candidate must be endorsed by their bishop and the bishop of the armed forces and federal ministries to be granted the title “chaplain.” The background checks and vetting process are extensive and the candidate needs to be physically fit.

Being a military chaplain is a calling to serve those who serve.  “It’s a ministry of presence,” Baker said. “I meet amazing people and travel to some amazing places. I think it’s the coolest ministry there is.”

– Sharon Tillman is a freelance writer for Episcopal News Service.

Sandra Montes excites General Convention with testimony, singing voice

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 6:04pm

Sandra Montes performing during the July 7 Austin revival. Photo: Courtney Thompson/Diocese of Upper South Carolina

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Throughout the 79th General Convention, Sandra Montes has been one of the leading voices witnessing on behalf of immigrants. She speaks from firsthand experience.

In addition to her powerful testimony at legislative sessions, she’s also impressed the convention with her beautiful singing.

A native of Peru, Montes spent her childhood in Guatemala before her parents moved with her to the United States where her father served as an evangelical pastor. After a stop in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, they eventually settled in Houston in the 1980s.

“I call it luck that we didn’t have to go through what others have gone through to get here,” Montes said in an interview with the Episcopal News Service. Those fleeing to the U.S. now are “running to stay alive. People come here out of desperation.”

The General Convention is considering several resolutions that provide broad, forceful statements on the issues of separation of families in immigrant detention, the sanctuary church movement and the dignity of immigrants in the face of federal policies that deputies and bishops say go against the Episcopal Church’s Christian values.

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

In considering the resolutions, Montes urged the bishops and deputies to show compassion to the immigrants who are trying to enter the country. “We as Christians have been told to love everyone,” she said. “That means to be compassionate.”

On July 8, Montes was also among 1,000 Episcopalians to gather at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, to speak against the actions of the U.S. government in its enforcement of immigration policies that have separated families over the last few months.

“Today is my son’s birthday, and if he had ever been taken from me, I don’t know what I would have done … just because I was trying to bring him somewhere where he could have liberty, where he could have a life,” she said at the rally.

“For me, it’s very important that these women” being held at the center know we are here, she said. “I cannot even put into words the desperation I would feel if I were in there and my child were somewhere else. Or even if he was with me, just because we want something better, we’re looking for freedom.”

After they arrived in Houston, Montes’ father was eventually ordained as an Episcopal priest and served as rector of Iglesia Episcopal San Mateo, one of the largest all-Latino churches in the Episcopal Church. Though now retired, he helps at a Lutheran Church in Houston.

Her brother, the Rev. Alex Montes-Vela, is chair of the Texas deputies and serves as a priest at St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Manor, Texas, which began with five people meeting in his home in 2010. Her niece, Luz Montes, is also a Texas deputy and attends the Seminary of the Southwest with plans to be ordained as an Episcopal priest.

Her father believed that “God had called our whole family to ministry,” she said.

Montes spent a career as a public school teacher before retiring. She now assists the Episcopal Church Foundation as a Spanish language resource consultant, a position in which she assists the foundation in developing practical resources on issues addressing the leadership and financial challenges facing Spanish-speaking Episcopal congregations, develops and leads presentations for online and other educational events and collaborates with foundation staff to develop greater capacity in this area.

She has been approached during the convention by those seeking her assistance in developing bilingual resources for their own dioceses and churches.

In addition to being an advocate for immigrants, Montes fired up the audience with a powerful performance prior to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon at a July 7 revival. She also sang during the rally held outside the Hutto Detention Center in Taylor.

Never professionally trained in voice or music, she enjoys singing and writing her own songs. “My mom says I was born singing,” she said.

At home, Montes said she does not attend a specific church. As a Latino wearing purple hair, she admits that she stands out – but is on a mission to learn how welcoming a congregation is when she walks through the door.

“What I do now is that I visit different churches and blog about them, how welcoming they are,” she said. At some all-white churches she attends, “nobody says ‘hi’ to me. There are some that are very, very welcoming, friendly and helpful.”

Based on her experiences, she offers a few pointers for making visitors feel welcome, such as having parking spaces reserved for visitors, smiles and cleanliness.  “One of the biggest things that I really appreciate is that if they ask me to stay for coffee and either take me and stay with me or give me to somebody else,” she said.

She said she’s had mixed emotions while attending the General Convention, starting with the opening Eucharist. “On stage were white women dressed in African clothing playing drums,” she said, explaining that this was an unfortunate cultural appropriation.

Whites, she said, don’t realize the impression this may leave with African-Americans, Native Americans, Latinos or Asians. “I don’t know what message that’s giving, but I know what I thought,” she said.

Also missing at the convention has been a diversity of music and performers. “The music has been great but it has not been diverse. We are still very white,” she said.

Nevertheless, she said, “I love this church. I love Jesus above everything. I am so grateful I am part of it. Because I know this church, I know we can be better. It all comes from love.”

She admits that she may sometimes get angry, but said “I try to be the voice for the people who don’t have a voice.”

— Mike Patterson is a San Antonio-based freelance writer and correspondent for the Episcopal News Service. He is a member of ENS General Convention reporting team and can be reached at rmp231@gmail.com.

General Convention gets proposed 2019-2021 ‘Jesus Movement’ budget

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 6:04pm

Barbara Miles, vice chair of the Program, Budget and Finance Committee, explains the proposed budget to bishops and deputies. Photo: Mike Patterson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service –Austin, Texas] The 79th General Convention is now faced with parsing the potential spending plan for mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church for the next three years.

The Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget & Finance presented its proposed $133.8 million 2019-2021 budget during a joint session of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies.

The budget’s introduction said the plan reflects the presiding bishop’s priorities of evangelism, racial reconciliation and justice, and creation care. The priorities have been referred to as the “three pillars” of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.

The budget proposes spending on the church’s three priorities this way:

  • Nearly $10.4 million in racial reconciliation work.
  • $5.2 million on evangelism. “There has been talk that the proposed budget cuts resources for church planting,” PB&F Chair Deputy Barbara Miles said. “This is not true. The budget [in that category] remains steady at $3 million.
  • Some $1 million on care of creation

Bishop Steve Lane of Maine and Barbara Miles, deputy from Washington, present the proposed budget during a joint session of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies. Lane is chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance and Miles is the vice chair. Photo: Mike Patterson/Episcopal News Service

“The budget is built upon the foundation of our continuing ministries as a church and our commitments to others both within and beyond our church,” Maine Bishop Steve Lane, vice chair of PB&F, told the joint session. “It is built upon our ongoing commitment to conciliar governance, and the legal, financial and other services of the Church Center [the denominational offices in Manhattan].”

Deputies and bishops have requested 39 task forces, standing commissions or other interim bodies and several new staff positions exceeded available revenue by more than $15 million. “This General Convention clearly has been in a spending mood,” Lane said. “These proposals had the impact of pitting the three pillars against other work considered by some to be important or essential.”

Lane said it was clear to the committee that “our church has not yet lived into the culture of leaner and lower, that is, of reducing the bureaucracy of the church, as we decided in the last triennium in response to the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC) report, and in pushing ministry work closer to the ground, closer to the parishes which are the heart of our institutional life.”

He added that “many have grieved the loss of particular churchwide ministry offices and programs and have sought to re-establish them at this convention. PB&F has heard these pleas, and the budget reflects our efforts to respond” while trying to control costs and ground spending around the three pillars.

PB&F had three principles guiding its work in considering those spending requests, according to Lane and Miles. The first was not to expand staff except only where major new work requires it. The second was to favor the creation of networks and time-limited task forces, rather than new canonically required standing commissions. And, third, the committee focused on keeping money in dioceses by preserving the assessment rate at 15 percent “to control total spending so that our commitment to ministry at the local level is maintained and expanded,” Lane said.

The proposed budget was presented on July 11 to a joint session of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies. Photo: Mike Patterson/Episcopal News Service

The budget’s sources of income

The budget is based on a number of income sources, beginning with diocesan contributions, which will be mandatory for the first time in the church’s history, based on a 2015 General Convention decision. If all 109 dioceses and three regional areas pay the required 15 percent, there would be $88,855,970 available. That amount assumes annual diocesan income growth of a half percent.

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

Each year’s annual giving in the three-year budget is based on a percentage of each diocese’s income two years earlier. PB&F’s draft budget allows dioceses to exempt $140,000 of income from their assessment calculation. The exemption was $150,000 during the 2012-2015 triennium.

Not all dioceses pay the full asking for a variety of reasons. Diocesan commitments for 2016 and 2017 are here. Dioceses may ask for full or partial waivers and Lane said only 19 dioceses are asking for those waivers and $5.5 million is in PB&F’s proposed budget to account for those waivers for up to 20 dioceses.

Without getting a waiver, a diocese that does not pay the full assessment will be unable to get grants or loans from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (the name under which the Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business and carries out mission).

The dioceses have moved from 40 percent paying at the full rate to more than 80 percent, bringing in $10 million in additional income, Lane said.

He offered “profound thanks to the laity, deacons, priests and bishops of our church.” The 15 percent assessment rate was meant “to make the support requested from the dioceses more affordable and to keep more money in diocesan budgets.” In return, dioceses were asked to work toward full participation.

“This is one of the best things to happen in our financial life in many years, and I hope we can celebrate this expression of our unity and our common commitment to ministry,” Lane said

Additional major amounts of income are anticipated from these sources:

  • $31.7 million from a five percent draw on interest on the unrestricted assets in the DFMS’ investments. The draw is reduced from the current 5.8 percent. “We do believe it is essential to protect the invested funds of the church in a time of market volatility,” Lane said. The 5.8 percent draw has cut the DMFS’ short-term operating reserve to two months of operating income. PB&F wants to rebuild that cushion to six months. The amount of anticipated assumes an annual investment return of 7.5 percent this year and next. Another $675,000 with come from trusts.
  • $9.8 million from leasing five- and one -half floors plus the currently vacant former bookstore space in the Episcopal Church Center in Manhattan.
  • $4.4 million from events and programs, including nearly $2 million from Episcopal Migration Ministries’ refugee loan program (used to offset the costs of that program and help other EMM work) and $1.3 million from General Convention (also offset by the costs of staging the convention).
  • $1 million from the new Annual Appeal. PB&F members have pledged to make annual donations “and we ask you to do the same,” committee chair Barbara Miles said.
  • $1 million will come from the 2016-2018 budget draw from the DFMS’ short-term reserves for racial reconciliation. That work did not begin in earnest until mid-2017 and, thus, the original draw has not been spent.

The document also summarizes other major categories of spending:

  • $28 million for ministry with the Episcopal Church
  • $19.3 million on finance and development
  • $18.7 million on governance costs
  • $17.4 million on DMFS operations
  • $17.2 million for ministry outside the Episcopal Church
  • $13 million for the work of the presiding bishop’s office
  • $3.6 million on legal expenses

The version of the budget posted on the convention’s Virtual Binder includes a 41-category summary of spending and income.

Miles noted that while the budget calls for new staff support for evangelism, racial reconciliation and creation care, “these positions have been created by reassigning or expanding the work of existing staff persons” with no increase in the total number of staff members.

Joe McDaniel, deputy from the Central Gulf Coast, poses a question to members of the Program, Budget and Finance Committee. Photo: Mike Patterson/Episcopal News Service

PB&F has made $650,000 available for compensation of the president of the House of Deputies. The Executive Council’s proposed draft 2019-2021 triennium budget allocated $900,000. On July 6, the convention agreed to pay the president of the House of Deputies in the form of an unspecified amount director’s and officer’s fees for the work of the office, ending a two-decade-long compensation effort.

There’s no money in the budget for any form of prayer book revision, which is an as yet-undecided issue at convention. “We did not think it good stewardship to set aside a large sum as an escrow for something we weren’t sure would take place,” Lane said. “And a token amount seemed disrespectful to the task should it be adopted. Therefore, we reserved nothing in the budget for prayer book revision or for staff.”

PB&F left it to Executive Council, the officers of the church, and the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music “to design a budget and funding process for the work” the convention eventually calls for, according to Lane. The budget does include $201,000 for what it calls “improved translation of current prayer book.”

“We could not predict how the church will ultimately move on prayer book revision,” he said.  “After lengthy conversation, we determined that purring aside a large amount of money for something that wasn’t certain was poor stewardship and putting in a token amount was disrespectful of intended work.”

As required by the convention’s Joint Rules, PB&F’s proposed budget was presented to a joint session of the Houses of Bishops and Deputies. The two houses will debate and vote on it separately. Deputies will do that the morning of July 12 and the bishops are expected to do the same the next morning. Both houses must approve the same version of the budget, which takes effect at the beginning of 2019.

Convention will cast its decision via Resolution A295.

Miles and Lane closed their presentation with a recommendation. “It has become clear that the work shared between the Executive Council and Program, Budget and Finance needs to be re-balanced,” Lane said. “Even though collaboration between the Executive Council and PB&F has been very good in this triennium, there is a desire for PB&F to take a greater role during the triennia and to build the budget in a manner that is more accessible and allows for greater participation beyond Executive Council.”

“We believe there is a place for greater public conversation as the budget develops,” Lane added.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is the Episcopal News Service’s senior editor and reporter.

Bishops reject Israel-Palestine resolution blasted as ‘divestment’ despite deputies’ approval

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 4:18pm

Bishops raise their hands to oppose Resolution D019, which sought to end the church’s financial complicity in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. The resolution failed, 48-78. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The House of Bishops, by a large majority, voted down a measure overwhelmingly favored by the House of Deputies that would have sought to end the church’s financial complicity in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, putting to rest for at least another three years one of the church’s most divisive issues.

Other resolutions relating to Israel and Palestine are still in play at the 79th General Convention and may still win passage. Northern California Bishop Barry Beisner, chair of the Social Justice and International Policy Committee, told Episcopal News Service after the bishops’ July 11 vote against Resolution D019 that the remaining resolutions, though perhaps “no less emotional” are not quite as “complicated.”

Bishops and deputies on both sides of the issue spoke strongly about Resolution D019 this week, but the votes of the two houses ended with opposite results. The Deputies approved the resolution with 74 percent in favor, while the bishops’ vote was 48-78, or 62 percent against the resolution.

Resolution D019 would have asked Executive Council, based on 70 years of church policy toward the Middle East conflict, to research and develop a plan by 2019 for a “human rights investment screen,” which critics described as a dangerous divestment from Israel.

“Divestment will not move us one inch forward in the peace process. It will not bring an end to the occupation. It will not lead us to the solution that we all yearn for, which is two states living side by side in peace within secure borders,” said retired Bishop Ed Little, of Diocese of Northern Indiana, who was one of six bishops to speak against the resolution before the vote.

The resolution’s defeat served as a sudden punctuation to a week of open and often passionate debate on a range of issues related to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. General Convention is considering how the Episcopal Church should respond to what many see as an escalating humanitarian crisis in the region.

Nearly 50 people testified at a committee hearing on those issues held July 6 in the JW Marriott, part of an expedited process recommended by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, House of Deputies president. Their recommendations, including the designation of the House of Deputies as the house of initial action, were intended to ensure full, open and productive discussions after complaints about the process for considering Israel-Palestine resolutions at the 2015 General Convention, when the bishops’ vote against a similar measure meant it never got to the deputies for consideration.

General Convention has voted in support of Middle East peace for decades. This year, the international policy committee submitted D019 for a special order of business in the House of Deputies, recognizing it as the most controversial of more than a dozen related resolutions, including some assigned to the Stewardship & Socially Responsible Investing Committee. The special order meant that discussion on the floor July 9 could not be sidelined by procedural hurdles.

“Let this be finally the convention where we say we will no longer allow our financial resources to enable this brutal occupation,” said Brian Grieves, the resolution’s proposer and a deputy from Hawaii, before the deputies voted, 619-214, to send D019 to the bishops.

But the contrast in tone two days later was evident immediately in the House of Bishops.

Little warned that divestment would do “irreparable damage” to the church’s relations with Israel. Bishop Scott Barker of Nebraska acknowledged “the unendurable weight shouldered by the Palestinians who live under Israeli occupation” but also warned of persistent, if not widespread, claims in the occupied territories that Israel has no right to exist.

“I would be all for proactive investment in the Palestinian territories … but actions to boycott, divest from or sanction Israel alone as the antagonist in this story no longer makes sense to me.” He said. “That for me is an oversimplification of a complex reality.”

Los Angeles Bishop John Taylor joined them in opposing the resolution, saying although the Israeli occupation “is impossible to defend,” the two alternatives, annexation or withdrawal, would be “catastrophic.”

“Better to step up our constructive engagement throughout the region, doing everything we can as a church to build up economic social and political infrastructure in Palestine for the sake of the Palestinian people,” Taylor said.

Several bishops spoke in favor of the resolution, including Bishop Marc Andrus of the Diocese of California. He said many of the arguments against divestment “are based in a false equivalency.”

“All human lives are infinitely precious,” Andrus said, and too many lives have been lost on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But he said there is no denying the decades-old conflict’s deadly toll has disproportionately affected Palestinians, by a factor of three to one. He called passage of tougher measures “a long time coming.”

Bishop Suffragan Gayle Harris of Massachusetts and Newark Bishop Mark Beckwith spoke in favor of the resolution, focusing on the Episcopal Church’s investments in companies that support or provide infrastructure assistance for the occupation, such as construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar and telecommunications company Motorola. Both companies already are targets of shareholder advocacy by the church’s Executive Council.

Resolution D019 “calls us, as I read it, to investigate who is profiting from the tragedy in the Middle East,” Beckwith said.

“It directs us to look at how we are participating, both silently and financially, into a system that degrades people,” Harris said. “This is our act, our conscience, our sense of justice. … Our sense of who we are as a people of Christ is tied with this resolution.”

But South Dakota Bishop John Tarrant, in opposing the resolution, took issue with the process, which he still found lacking.

“It must have been a dream, but I thought I’d read somewhere that we were going to have open conversation about this very complex issue, with people speaking from both sides that were knowledgeable,” Tarrant said. “I think that this complex issue needs a greater forum than a quick legislative session.”

During a break in the legislative session after the vote, Beisner told ENS he thought those who described the resolution derisively as “BDS,” or boycott, divest and sanction, “were getting ahead of things.”

“I certainly agree that it deserves a more spacious and careful consideration than our cramped legislative process allows,” Beisner said. “Of course, one of the hopes was that Executive Council would be the place where that might happen. That was the point of D019.”

The other resolutions making their way through the House of Deputies relate to treatment of Palestinian children, Israel’s use of lethal force against unarmed Palestinians, the system of apartheid between Israelis and Palestinians, Israeli laws that deprive Palestinians of civil rights and the ability of U.S. companies to boycott Israel in protest of its occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Those resolutions were recommended by committee members from both the House of Bishops and House of Deputies, though it remains to be seen which, if any, clear both houses. The deputies could vote later July 11 if the resolutions aren’t delayed by other matters.

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

Deputies concur with bishops in unanimous vote to admit Cuba

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 3:50pm

President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings July 11 welcomed Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio and the Episcopal Church of Cuba back into the Episcopal Church. The Rev. Gerardo Lojildes, Delgado’s husband, held an American flag, and Mayelin Aqueda, president of the Episcopal Church Women, held a Cuban flag. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] “Welcome home,” said House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings following a July 11 unanimous vote by deputies to concur with the House of Bishops and admit the Episcopal Church of Cuba as a diocese.

Following testimony that was cut short because no one had signed up to testify against admitting the diocese, Jennings called for a moment of silence before the historic vote. The Diocese of Cuba is set to join Province II, which includes dioceses from New York and New Jersey in the United States, Haiti and the Virgin Islands.

Immediately following the House of Bishop’s July 10 vote, Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio was seated in the House of Bishops. Immediately following the July 11 vote, the Rev. Gerardo Lojildes, who in addition to his ministry oversees construction at Camp Blankenship, an Episcopal camp in Cuba, and Mayelin Aqueda, president of the Episcopal Church Women in Cuba, were seated as deputies between the dioceses of Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

Following the vote and a prolonged standing ovation, Jennings invited to Delgado to address the house.”Right now I feel that the Holy Spirit is blowing on this entire convention and that it is moving: It’s moving here for all of us to really work with it in this very difficult world to make sure that we fulfill the needs of this world,” said Delgado through a Spanish-language interpreter.

“We meet like this in convention to put the family in order; that’s what’s behind it. And this is done so that we can welcome everyone.”

More coverage of the 79th General Convention’s actions to admit the Episcopal Church of Cuba as a diocese joining Province II is here.

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

July 11 dispatches from 79th General Convention in Austin

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 3:39pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Much happens each day during General Convention. To complement Episcopal News Service’s primary coverage, we have collected some additional news items from July 11.

Episcopal News Service Managing Editor Lynette Wilson interviews Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio via Spanish-language interpreter Dinorah Padro during a special edition of Inside General Convention. Photo: Melodie Woerman/Episcopal News Service

Special edition of Inside General Convention focuses on Cuba

Lynette Wilson, reporter and managing editor for Episcopal News Service, interviewed Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio and Western North Carolina Bishop Jose McGlouglin about the House of Bishops’ and House of Deputies’ historic vote to admit the Episcopal Church in Cuba as a diocese.

 

What once was lost can now be found

With as many as 10,000 busy people scurrying around the Austin Convention Center and surrounding hotels for committee meetings, legislative sessions, Exhibit Hall shopping and chance encounters with friends, it’s inevitable that some of them will misplace some of their belongings. Some of that paraphernalia winds up lining the counter of the Information Center.

The size of the lost water bottles collection waxes and wanes as people come to the Information Center to claim their hydration device. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

With participants being warned to keep hydrated under the blazing Texas sun, water bottles and sunglasses are the most common stragglers, according to volunteer Louise Horner of Marysville, Missouri. Two folding hand fans were in the lost and found the morning of July 11.

Horner said the Information Center volunteers also have a small collection of single earrings.

Some larger items go astray at times. Volunteer Beth Deleery of Austin said one participant jokingly stopped by to see if the volunteers could look for her spouse.=

And, ever the theologians, some convention participants, invoking the information services of the booth, have asked if any of the volunteers know the meaning of life.

— Mary Frances Schjonberg

Mothers, babies reunited on House of Deputies floor

The Rev. Jenny Replogle, Chicago, speaks in favor of Resolution D087 while holding her son Rowan. Photo: Canticle Communications

A July 5 misunderstanding of the Rules of Order that allowed for the President of the House of Deputies’ discretion to permit babies to accompany deputies onto the floor has been clarified by the passing of Resolution D087 on July 11 of the 79thGeneral Convention. The resolution spells out who is permitted on the floor, and now includes “infants under 1 year of age with a parent or guardian who is a deputy; children over 1 year old who require nursing or bottle-feeding only while feeding; and caregivers of children to bring a child to a feeding parent when the child needs to be fed, escorted in and out as directed by the President.” A “designated feeding area” will be present on the house floor that provides for voting access, but a parent will not be required to use it.

– Sharon Tillman

Sermón del Obispo Presidente Michael Curry en el Centro de Detención Hutto

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 1:49pm
El siguiente texto corresponde al sermón del Obispo Presidente Michael Curry durante la Oración de visión, testimonio y justicia cerca del Centro Residencial T. Don Hutto en Taylor, Texas, el 8 de julio de 2018.

El video está disponible aquí.

Y ahora, en nombre de nuestro amoroso, liberador y vivificante Dios, el Padre, el Hijo y el Espíritu Santo. Amén.

Antes de compartir algunas reflexiones, quiero agradecerles, todos ustedes están bajo el sol, serán pocas, confíen en mí. Quiero agradecer a todos los que han hecho esto posible, Megan, el Obispo DeDe y Winnie, a todos los que han hecho esto posible, y quiero darle las gracias especialmente a esta comunidad, a aquellos que han ayudado en la obtención de los permisos para que pudiéramos llevar a cabo nuestro testimonio de oración y fe con decencia y orden. Además, solo quiero dar una palabra de gratitud al alcalde y al alcalde pro tempore que vinieron a recibirnos.

Permítanme decir que no venimos con odio. No venimos con intolerancia. No venimos para humillar a nadie. Venimos a confortar a todos. Venimos en amor. Venimos en amor porque seguimos a Jesús. Y Jesús nos enseñó el amor. Ama al Señor tu (Dios). Y ama a tu (prójimo). Ama a tu vecino liberal. Ama a tu vecino conservador. Ama a tu vecino demócrata. Ama a tu vecino republicano. Ama a tu vecino independiente. Ama a tu prójimo a quien no te gusta. Ama al vecino con el que no estás de acuerdo. Ama a tu vecino cristiano. Ama a tu vecino musulmán. Ama a tu vecino judío. Ama a tu vecino palestino. Ama a tu vecino israelí. Ama a tu vecino refugiado. Ama a tu vecino inmigrante. Ama a tu vecino, el guardia de la prisión. ¡Ama a tu prójimo!

Venimos en amor, en amor. Yo diría que las enseñanzas de Jesús de amar a Dios y amar a nuestro prójimo son el núcleo y el corazón de lo que significa ser un seguidor de Jesucristo. Y debemos ser personas que reclamen el cristianismo desde su modalidad popular, desde la manera en que a menudo es percibido y presentado, un estilo de cristianismo que luce en sí mismo como Jesús. Y Jesús dijo: ama a Dios y ama a tu prójimo. Venimos en amor. Ese es el núcleo de nuestra fe. Ese es su corazón. Y venimos, porque somos cristianos y el camino del amor exige que seamos humanitarios. Requiere que cuidemos a aquellos que no tienen a nadie que los cuide. Y venimos, porque no creemos que una gran nación como ésta separe a niños de sus familias. Venimos, porque creemos que esta nación concebida en libertad, fue dedicada a la premisa de que todas las personas son creadas iguales. ¡Creemos que debemos llamar a esta nación, Estados Unidos de América, de vuelta a su alma! Estamos aquí porque amamos a esta nación. Porque si realmente amas a alguien, no los dejas en la condición en que están. Usted los ayuda a convertirse en su mejor versión. Estamos aquí para salvar el alma de los Estados Unidos de América. ¡Salva el alma de los Estados Unidos de América!

Ahora, permítanme aclararlo brevemente de la siguiente manera. Si usted desea tener un símbolo para los Estados Unidos de América, vuele a Nueva York en alguna oportunidad. No estoy hablando de la ciudad de Nueva York como el símbolo de Estados Unidos. Es un lugar agradable, pero no estoy seguro de querer señalar eso. Quiero decir que es un lugar maravilloso, buenas personas, pero el puerto, si usted vuela sobre el puerto, dependiendo de su aproximación, y yo lo hago todo el tiempo, generalmente porque vengo desde Raleigh, Carolina del Norte. Yo tengo que mirar hacia el lado izquierdo del avión, y cuando lo hago, mientras el avión está acercándose al aeropuerto de La Guardia, usted verá una gran estatua verde. Es una estatua de mujer y tiene una antorcha en la mano, levantada, y un libro en la mano, y en ese libro están inscritas las palabras, 4 de julio de 1776. Debemos salvar el alma de los Estados Unidos de América mediante un llamado a volver a su núcleo, a sus valores fundamentales que no siempre ha cumplido, pero que, no obstante, siguen allí. Y el 4 de julio de 1776, si recuerdo mi historia correctamente, en ese día se emitió una Declaración de Independencia. Ahora somos amigos de Gran Bretaña, ahora, pero en aquel entonces teníamos algunos problemas. Y en ese día, en la Declaración de Independencia, usted encontrará estas palabras: “Sostenemos como evidentes estas verdades: que todos los hombres”, todas las personas, todas las personas, “son creados iguales”.

No solo los estadounidenses, no, sino todas las personas, sin importar de dónde vengan. Gente de Honduras, gente de México, gente de Costa Rica, gente de Venezuela, gente de Asia, gente de África, gente de Europa, todas las personas son creadas iguales. ¡Todas!

Pienso que eso son los Estados Unidos de América. Y luego el texto continúa en la Declaración de Independencia, “todas las personas son creadas iguales; que son dotadas por su Creador”, no por el Congreso, ni por un parlamento, ni por un potentado, ni por un presidente, dotadas por el Creador, “de ciertos derechos inalienables” – derechos inalienables, que no se pueden resumir o no se pueden modificar porque provienen de Dios. La vida, la libertad y la búsqueda de la felicidad, ESE es el estilo estadounidense. Venimos en amor. Venimos porque creemos en amar a tu prójimo. Y venimos porque amamos a Estados Unidos y queremos que Estados Unidos sea fiel a su yo superior.

Pero permítanme continuar porque realmente estoy llegando a la conclusión. En esa misma Estatua de la Libertad hay un poema compuesto por Emma Lazarus. Y estas son las palabras, no estoy inventando esto, está en la Estatua de la Libertad. ¡Usted no puede conseguir algo más estadounidense que esto! ¡Entonces, estadounidenses, escúchenme bien! Estas son las palabras en la Estatua de la Libertad:

No como el mítico gigante griego de bronce,
De miembros conquistadores a horcajadas de tierra a tierra;
Aquí en nuestras puertas del ocaso bañadas por el mar se yergue.
Una poderosa mujer con una antorcha cuya llama
Es el relámpago aprisionado.
Y su nombre…

Escúchame Estados Unidos de América.

Su nombre es Madre de los Desterrados. Desde el faro de su mano
Brilla la bienvenida para todo el mundo; sus templados ojos dominan
Las ciudades gemelas que enmarcan el puerto de aéreos puentes.

Y esto es lo que ella dice:

“¡Guardaos, tierras antiguas, vuestra pompa legendaria!” grita ella.
“¡Dadme a vuestros rendidos, a vuestros pobres
Vuestras masas hacinadas anhelando respirar en libertad
El desamparado desecho de vuestras rebosantes playas
Enviadme a estos, los desamparados, sacudidos por las tempestades a mí.
¡Yo elevo mi faro detrás de la puerta dorada!”

¡Estados Unidos de América! ¡Estados Unidos América! Significa bienvenidos! ¡Bienvenidos! ¡Vengan, hijos de Dios! Estados Unidos de América significa bienvenida. Venimos porque somos personas de amor. Amamos a quienes buscan refugio de la guerra, la violencia y las dificultades. Venimos porque queremos que Estados Unidos sea realmente grandioso. Alexis de Tocqueville vino y pasó un tiempo en los Estados Unidos durante el siglo XIX. Viajó por el territorio, y se encontró y escuchó a los pueblos de esa tierra, a los pueblos originarios de las tierras. Las otras personas que no eran indígenas, o nativos, que emigraron al territorio – que alguien me ayude – toda la gente que conoció, conoció a esclavos y esclavos libertos, conoció a nativos americanos y su gente, conoció a estadounidenses europeos que habían venido hasta aquí, huyendo del hambre, huyendo de la persecución, se encontró con los pueblos de Estados Unidos de América, y de Tocqueville escribió, y cito: “Este país es grande porque es bueno”. ¡Hagamos que Estados Unidos vuelva a ser grandioso, al hacer que Estados Unidos sea bueno, al hacer que los Estados Unidos sea amable, al hacer que Estados Unidos sea justo, al hacer que Estados Unidos ame! ¡Hagamos que Estados Unidos sea grandioso otra vez!

¡Dios les ama! ¡Dios les bendiga! Y no se rindan, ¡no se cansen! ¡Dios les bendiga!

Malaysian delegation lead intentional discipleship week in Lichfield diocese

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 1:44pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Church of England’s Diocese of Lichfield has welcomed a team of Anglicans from the dioceses of West Malaysia and Kuching to lead a week of events on intentional discipleship. The Primate of South East Asia and Bishop of West Malaysia, Archbishop Moon Hing, and the Bishop of Kuching, on the island of Borneo, Bishop Danald Jute, head up the delegation of bishops, clergy and lay people. The dioceses have enjoyed a 30-year-long Companionship Partnership, but while that is now coming to an end, the dioceses have committed to continue their partnership and friendship in informal ways.

“God is good, and it is through His goodness, I believe, that we are able to gather over these few days”, Bishop Danald said as he addressed a small gathering over an al fresco breakfast in the garden of the Bishop of Lichfield’s house this morning (Wednesday). “It is our joy and our privilege to continue to walk together. We are honored.”

Full article here.

Church of England announces 100 new churches in £27 million growth program

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 1:42pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] New Christian communities are to be created across England in an ambitious new growth program announced today. More than 100 new churches will be created in a £27 million drive “to revive the Christian faith in coastal areas, market towns and outer urban housing estates,” a Church of England statement noted. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby described the plans as a “wonderful example” of how churches are seeking to be faithful to God and to serve their communities.

A total of 10 dioceses will receive grants ranging from £887,015 to £5.34 million for church planting and evangelism initiatives.

Full article here.

Episcopal Church in South Carolina asks court to order accounting of church assets

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 12:14pm

The Episcopal Church and The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) have petitioned the 1st Circuit Court of Common Pleas to order a full accounting of all assets held by a group that broke away from the church in 2012.

The petition, filed July 10 with the Court of Common Pleas in the 1st Judicial Circuit, would affect the diocesan organizations and 29 parishes that the South Carolina Supreme Court decided in August 2017 must be returned to The Episcopal Church. All were plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in 2013 against The Episcopal Church and TECSC by the breakaway group led by Mark Lawrence.

The accounting would “allow this Court to equitably proceed in this matter” to restore property to The Episcopal Church and TECSC and compensate them for any loss in value of property since the split occurred in October 2012.

The case has been remitted to the 1st Circuit court so that the state Supreme Court’s decision can be executed. In May, The Episcopal Church and TECSC petitioned the court to implement the decision and appoint a judge called a “special master” to oversee the complex process of returning the property and assets.

The Chief Administrative Judge of the circuit, Judge Edgar Dickson, has scheduled a status conference for July 26. Such conferences typically are held to set a schedule for disposing of the case.

The new Petition for an Accounting asks the court to order a report on the identity and value of all assets that must be turned over in accordance with the SC Supreme Court order. It also asks for an accounting of all assets that were held by the plaintiffs as of October 2008, and what has been their disposition since then.

The petition asks the court to appoint the Charleston accounting firm of Dixon, Hughes and Goodman LLP to conduct the accounting.

Reports would be required from the Trustees of the Diocese of South Carolina, the corporation of “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” Camp St. Christopher, and each of the 29 parishes that the SC Supreme Court declared are to be returned.

The petition seeks all audit reports, audited financial statements and managed investment accounts, bank statements, budgets, data on fund transfers, and information on legal fees and related expenses from January 1, 2008 onward. It also asks for all documents that establish restrictions on the use of funds.

About The Episcopal Church in South Carolina

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) is the local diocese in the eastern half of South Carolina that is part of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. For the latest on TECSC, visitepiscopalchurchsc.org or like us on Facebook.

A totally subjective top 10 list of House of Deputies diocesan standards

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 12:03pm

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The business of the House of Deputies is all business – legislative calendars, substitute resolutions, points of information, calling the question, motions to approve, etc. – but that doesn’t mean the deputies can’t have a little fun, too.

From the nonstop General Convention Pigeon references to the World Cup flair shown by the Convocation of Episcopal Churches of Europe, it’s clear the work of the church doesn’t require deputies to check their personalities at the convention door.

The most obvious examples are found at the tables of nearly every deputation, where the posts – known as “standards” – that identify each diocese by name are garnished with a wide variety of souvenirs, signs, sports memorabilia and other decorations signifying some aspect of the local diocesan culture, from the foam cheesehead atop the Diocese of Fond du Lac’s standard to the Diocese of Texas’ cowboy hat.

We have no intention of pitting one diocese against another in a bitter competition for top topper title, especially since each diocese’s choice of topper is undoubtedly a loving one. So the following top 10 – admittedly an entirely subjective list – is merely meant to highlight some of our favorites, in no particular order.

(Let us know your favorites in the comments after checking out the photos in our gallery.)

Diocese of Hawaii

Hawaii could have gone in several directions with its topper, but the choice of a volcano seems perfect, both to represent this chain of volcanic islands and in recognition of the devastation caused this year by the eruption of Kilauea on the Big Island.

Diocese of Rhode Island

For a diocese with a close connection to the ocean, the sailor’s anchor is an appropriate symbol, though this topper gets most of its points for including illuminated lights.

Diocese of Idaho

Idaho easily wins the “Put a Bishop Hat on a Local Trademark” sweepstakes, with its Rt. Rev. Potato, and it goes the extra mile by draping a “DSCIPLE” license plate over its topper.

Diocese of Los Angeles

Los Angeles, too, could have tried any number of approaches to representing its diverse local culture and population, but it stuck with a fun prop, a filmmaking clapperboard that casts the House of Deputies as the star of this General Convention movie. Is “director” Jennings ready for the next take?

Diocese of Eastern Oregon

The simplicity award goes to Eastern Oregon, for its purple bandana. Sometimes less is more. (Also, hats off to runner-up Diocese of Rochester, for its Genesee Beer trucker’s hat.)

Diocese of Nevada

There’s a lot going on here, and who would have doubted the Episcopalians who claim Las Vegas as their own would go all out. The Golden Knights pennant, the royal flush and the #VegasStrong sign make this an odds-on favorite.

Dioceses of Missouri and Newark (tie)

This is a tie in the “Best Nature Scene” award, with Missouri placing cardinals on life-like flowers and Newark choosing goldfinches. Missouri might get the edge, if only for sneaking in an empty Ted Drewes Frozen Custard cup.

Diocese of Fort Worth

Not to diminish the work of convention host, Diocese of Texas, but its neighbor Fort Worth took a delicious theme – tacos – and ran with it, with a bit of Episcopal seasoning. “Taco ’bout Love,” says one sign, while another says, “Wanna taco ’bout Jesus.” Yes and yes.

Diocese of Western Massachusetts

This topper easily wins the “Most Seussical” award. For those of you still scratching your head, Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, was from Springfield, Massachusetts.

Diocese of Springfield

Finally, if there was one diocese that had an obvious choice, it was Springfield, and that choice was Abraham Lincoln. So you could say this topper had a rather low degree of difficulty, but the diocese didn’t waver and aced the execution, with a top hat and beard that has this standard looking rather presidential. “Four score and seven more resolutions to go …”

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

 

 

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