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Tom Callard named dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Springfield, Massachusetts

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 4:45am

The Rev. Tom Callard (left) and Western Massachusetts Bishop Doug Fisher.

[Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts] The Chapter of Christ Church Cathedral, Springfield, MA, has voted to call the Rev. Tom Callard to serve as the eighth dean of Christ Church Cathedral effective Feb. 2. Callard has served as priest-in-charge since the Very Rev. James G Munroe retired in the summer of 2015.

Callard came to the Diocese of Western Massachusetts in 2013 to serve as canon at the cathedral and diocesan missioner for Latino/Hispanic ministry. Prior to that he served as rector of All Saints Episcopal Church, Los Angeles, and as vicar of St. Luke Parish in Chelsea, Massachusetts.

In his announcement Western Massachusetts Bishop Doug Fisher said: “The cathedral community has been enriched by Tom’s leadership. He has a heart for the poor, a passion for justice and a commitment to ecumenical and interfaith work. In the last 18 months, Tom has directed the ministry of our cathedral in bold and creative directions. I am convinced that Tom will lead the cathedral into God’s future of mercy, compassion and hope.”

Callard’s installation will take place May 19.

Episcopal Church expands its stand with refugees, immigrants and the undocumented

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 4:29pm

Trinity Episcopal Church and Igelsia Episcopal de la Trinidad of Los Angeles pose with signs to show their support for immigrants and refugees. Their signs read “Stand with Refugees. #GreaterAs1.” Photo: Trinity Episcopal Church via Facebook

[Episcopal News Service] Even before President Donald Trump upended a major part of U.S. immigration policy, many Episcopalians were recommitting to support refugees and finding new ways to extend their advocacy. And those efforts are expanding.

The Diocese of Los Angeles overwhelmingly approved sanctuary status in early December after an impassioned plea by the Rev. Nancy Frausto.

“At 8 years old, I crossed the border with my mother and brother. I have stayed in this country, living in the shadows for most of my life,” said Frausto, a priest who serves both Trinity and St. Mary’s churches in Los Angeles.

“It was the church (that) gave me hope,” she said. “I am one of over 700,000 DACA  (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients. It is such a scary position to be in right now. I could lose my work permit and be deported back to a country I do not know.”

The Rev. Francisco Garcia, rector of Holy Faith Church in Inglewood, said that at least 50 congregations have expressed interest in and requested information about a sanctuary designation or how to support the vulnerable.

During a Jan. 18 webinar, Garcia, who co-chairs the sanctuary task force Episcopal Sacred Resistance – Los Angeles, said the effort comes straight out of the baptismal promise to resist evil – in all forms including racism, sexism, homophobism, Islamophobia and any institutionalized structures targeting the vulnerable.

Holy Faith Episcopal Church in the Los Angeles-area community of Inglewood has long been involved in immigrant justice work. Photo: Diocese of Los Angeles via Facebook

Garcia was joined by the Rev. Canon Jaime Edwards-Acton, rector of St. Stephen’s Church in Hollywood and task force co-chair, and United Church of Christ pastor Noel Andersen, grassroots coordinator for immigrants’ rights with Church World Service. Andersen said the number of sanctuary congregations, representing a broad range of faith traditions, has nearly doubled nationally, to about 800, in recent months.

Acton said sacred resistance can take many forms, depending on local context. “There is no cookie cutter model. … Sanctuary will be different for different congregations.”

Garcia said that the work of sanctuary extends “to stand with anyone who is under attack” to be aligned with the Baptismal Covenant to persevere in resisting evil … and “all systemic evils that oppress others.”

Andersen said that in other instances, activists have trained as rapid-response volunteers in a kind of “Sanctuary on the Streets” preparation to respond immediately when notified of a deportation raid, often in the middle of the night. “In Philadelphia, it’s been very successful.”

“We have seen when allies show up to a raid, it can deter” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from proceeding with the deportation process, he said. “They don’t want to be seen deporting people.”

Exploring next steps to protect refugees, undocumented persons

While protestors were gathering at airports Jan. 28, including nearby Newark International Airport, Diocese of Newark convention delegates overwhelmingly supported a plea from a group of 24 laity and clergy for the diocese to study the sanctuary church movement. The group called for Newark Episcopalians to explore what others are doing and to begin to engage in immigrant justice as a diocese, as congregations and as individuals.

Membership in local churches includes both immigrants and the undocumented who are at increased risk of deportation, the Rev. J. Brent Bates, rector of Grace Church, Newark, told the convention. “It doesn’t matter who we voted for,” Bates said. “We believe the Holy Scriptures tell us we are to respect and to treat with respect the alien, because we too were once aliens in a foreign land.”

Newark Bishop Mark Beckwith applauded the effort. “This has been framed as a political issue,” he said. “I don’t see it that way at all. It is a moral issue and we need to be a moral voice in the world.”


Among Episcopal congregations reacting to the changes in U.S. immigration policies is St. Mark’s Church in New Canaan, Connecticut. On Jan. 29 it helped launch a community-wide refugee resettlement program through “neighbor-to-neighbor work and community gathering,” according to the church website. St. Mark’s is the first sponsor of the program that began with more than 100 local mothers organizing on Facebook.

Next steps: education, discernment, local connection

Lacy Broemel, a refugee and immigration policy analyst with the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations in Washington, D.C., said that becoming a sanctuary diocese or congregation involves legal, theological and material consideration as well as individual discernment.

For example, Broemel said hosting an undocumented person to protect them from deportation in a parish building would require such considerations as: “Does your church have a shower, a bed, a way to provide them food and clothing during the time they will be in sanctuary?”

“If your congregation cannot provide physical protection to have someone living in the parish, there are other ways to stand with the undocumented,” she said.

Members of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Los Angeles proclaim their solidarity with Muslim immigrants. Photo: Diocese of Los Angeles via Facebook

A church could offer legal clinics, ‘know your rights’ workshops, advocacy training or language classes, said Broemel, whose office is offering webinars on advocacy.

UCC Pastor Andersen agreed. He said food, clothing, legal fees and other kinds of support are always needed, especially in fighting deportation cases.

An estimated 11 million undocumented persons live in the United States. During a Nov. 13 “60 Minutes” interview, Trump vowed to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and to immediately deport or incarcerate some 2 to 3 million undocumented persons he called criminals. These vows have prompted activists to intensify organizing efforts, Andersen said.

In some cases, Broemel said, advocacy could include simply talking about concerns for the undocumented with local, state and federal governmental officials, and neighbors and friends, holding vigils, and registering for legislative and policy updates from the Episcopal Public Policy Network.

EPPN on Jan. 31 announced a “2×4 Fight for Refugees” campaign, challenging Episcopalians to call national, state and local elected officials at least four times in the next two months to voice opposition to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

A resource for congregations interested in providing sanctuary is Sanctuary Not Deportation.

The local connection is vital, Andersen said. Congregations need to become aware, educated and discern how they may participate.

“It’s always transformational for the church and the families” impacted, he said. “The family is astounded by the love and welcome they are given. It is something formational for person going into sanctuary.”

With so much uncertainty, activists must be fully prepared, he said.

Speaking out against Trump’s actions

Bishops, clergy and laity are urging reconsideration of Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order, which halts refugee resettlement for 120 days and bars Syrians from being resettled in the United States for an unspecified amount of time.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on Jan. 25 urged Trump to reconsider his then-anticipated order on immigration, calling refugee resettlement “God’s work.”

Curry added: “We ask that we continue to accept as many refugees as we have in the past, recognizing the need is greater than ever. We ask that refugees from all countries receive consideration to come to the U.S. and not to ban those who come from countries most in need of our assistance.”

House of Deputies President Gay Jennings said Jan. 31 that she was “particularly horrified by the ban on refugees signed by President Trump on Friday evening.”

“It is quite simply an act of malice, particularly toward our Muslim sisters and brothers, and Christians must oppose it loudly and with strength. Many of you are doing so, and I am grateful for the statements and sermons I have seen and the photos in my Facebook feed of Episcopalians gathered at airports and other protest sites to express our church’s commitment to welcoming the stranger.”

The Rev. Canon Mark Stevenson, director of Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM), has said that the rationale given for taking the action was “to make us safe. Yet, isolating ourselves from the world does not make us safer, it only isolates us. Being afraid of those who differ from us does not make us wise, or even prudent; it only traps us in an echo chamber of suspicion and anger, and stops us cold from loving as Christ loved.”

Episcopal News Service has posted a number of responses here.

Stevenson said that EMM will continue to minister to those who have fled their homes because of persecution, violence, or war. “Through our network of affiliates across this country, and with the help of the wider Episcopal Church, we will welcome these men, women and children who did not choose to become refugees. In partnership with the other resettlement agencies, we will work with our government and local communities to provide a place of welcome.

“We can make a difference in these days. We can save lives. We can answer the cry of the persecuted, and the call of God.”

– The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a correspondent for the Episcopal News Service. 

Archbishop of Canterbury sets out vision for 2017 primates meeting

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 11:31am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has written to every primate in the Anglican Communion to set out his hopes for the next Primates’ Meeting, which will take place in Canterbury in Oct. 2-6.

In the letter, Welby sets out his vision for the meeting in Canterbury as an opportunity for relaxed fellowship and mutual consultation. He invites the primates to submit items for the agenda and says he’s aware of the pressures under which many of them live.

Full article.

Gay Jennings: Stand with Refugees

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 1:49pm

[House of Deputies] The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the Episcopal Church House of Deputies, wrote to deputies Jan. 31 about how and why the Church ought to continue its support of refugees.

Dear Deputies:

Like many of you, in the last week I have watched the news from Washington D.C. unfold with increasing disbelief and growing fear for the most vulnerable among us. The new administration’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a suitable replacement, silence journalists and advocates, and distort our national conversation with lies disturb me as an American and a person of faith. I intend to resist.

I am particularly horrified by the ban on refugees signed by President Trump on Friday evening. It is quite simply an act of malice, particularly toward our Muslim sisters and brothers, and Christians must oppose it loudly and with strength. Many of you are doing so, and I am grateful for the statements and sermons I have seen and the photos in my Facebook feed of Episcopalians gathered at airports and other protest sites to express our church’s commitment to welcoming the stranger. You can find that commitment articulated in actions of General Convention dating back to 1979 (the earliest date at which the archive is digitized) on the website of the Archives of the Episcopal Church.

Right now, more than 65 million people are currently displaced by war, conflict and persecution–the largest number in recorded history. We have an urgent moral responsibility to receive refugees and asylum seekers who are in dire need.

As Christians, we should be particularly worried that the refugee ban targets people from seven majority-Muslim countries. God’s command to welcome the stranger and care for aliens is a mandate to welcome all people, regardless of their faiths. Just as God in the Hebrew Bible commanded the Jews to welcome non-Jewish strangers, we are commanded to welcome people who practice different faiths. A refugee ban that specifically targets Muslim people, or that gives Christians special priority for resettlement above other persecuted people simply because they are Christian, is fundamentally un-Christian.

Such a ban is also unnecessary. The United States has the most rigorous refugee screening process in the world, involving the Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and National Counter Terrorism Center. The process includes biometric checks, medical screenings, forensic testing of documents, DNA testing for family reunification cases, and in-person interviews with highly trained homeland security officials.

As Episcopalians, we can take particular pride in our long history of refugee resettlement. Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) is one of nine refugee resettlement agencies in the United States, and since 1988, working under both Republican and Democratic administrations, we have welcomed more than 50,000 refugees in partnership with dioceses, congregations, community organizations and volunteers across the country. In 2015 alone, EMM helped resettle nearly 5,000 refugees in 30 communities by working with local partner agencies in 26 dioceses and 22 states.

Over the weekend, I spoke with the Rev. Canon Mark Stevenson, EMM’s director, and assured him of my prayers and assistance as he and his team navigate these extraordinarily difficult times. Please remember the people of Episcopal Migration Ministries and the refugees they assist in your own prayers, and take this opportunity to learn more about this vital ministry of the Episcopal Church.

Today Rebecca Blachly, the director of the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations, and her team launched a new advocacy initiative called the 2×4 Fight for Refugees Campaign. I am going to participate, and I hope you will join me. When we join the campaign, we will commit to calling our national, state, and local elected officials four times during the next two months on behalf of refugees. You can learn more about the campaign and find advocacy materials online, and sign up for more advocacy alerts on this and other issues by joining the Episcopal Public Policy Network.

I suspect that in the coming months, we will be in touch with one another often as we learn new ways to advocate for the policies of General Convention and the witness of the Episcopal Church in the world. I look forward to working together and to being with all of you at General Convention in 2018.


Gay Clark Jennings


Public Policy Network announces refugee advocacy campaign

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 1:36pm

[Episcopal Public Policy Network] The Episcopal Public Policy Network is launching a nationwide advocacy campaign in support of refugees. Over the next two months, we’re challenging Episcopalians to call their national, state, and local elected officials at least four times. Now, more than ever, people of faith must make their voices heard. We have created a 2×4 Fight for Refugees Campaign page with numbers to dial and a sample script on our website.


On January 27, President Trump signed an executive order that halted the refugee resettlement program for 120 days, significantly lowered the number of refugees admitted to the U.S., and barred Syrian refugees from being resettled to the U.S. We recognize the need for our nation to be secure, but we believe that the thorough and often multi-year vetting process eliminates those with violent extremist ideologies and those who seek to harm our country. We believe our current policies balance humanitarian needs with security priorities. This pause in the program and the orders to bar entry to certain individuals will have devastating effects on the lives of refugees waiting for protection through resettlement.

The Episcopal Church, through Episcopal Migration Ministries, is one of the nine refugee resettlement agencies in the U.S. refugee resettlement is a life-saving ministry. Episcopalians around the country engage in the work of welcome every day. We have seen that refugees, once welcomed to our communities, become integral parts of our neighborhoods as friends, business owners, students, doctors, and more.

We urge you to join the 2×4 Fight for Refugees Campaign to let your elected officials know that you welcome refugees.

In the bleak midwinter, Standing Rock Episcopal ministry is changing

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 8:48am

An Episcopal Church flag has flown at Oceti Sakowin Camp for months. Photo: Oceti Sakowin via Facebook

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalians in and around the Standing Rock Sioux Nation Reservation are seeing their ministry change as the camps formed by water protectors along the Missouri River protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline are slowly closing.

The temperature in the area may have climbed to 40 degrees on Jan. 30 but it is still the bleak midwinter in North Dakota and March can be the state’s snowiest month, according to the National Weather Service. Tribal officials have said that the harshness of the winter is making the camps unsafe and they are worried about the protectors’ safety when spring melts the snow and the Missouri runs high.

The effort to close the camps began before Jan. 24 when Donald Trump called for the rapid approval of the pipeline’s final phase. The Cannon Ball tribal district Jan. 19 asked the protectors to leave and the entire tribal council supported that move the next day. However, tribal leaders also point to the president’s efforts in urging their supporters to redirect their advocacy.

“We understand and acknowledge the power of the camps in bringing us this far in our fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline,” the tribe said Jan. 26 on its Facebook page. “We maintain, however, that given current conditions, both physical and political, the focus must shift from maintaining camps to being at the political and legal forefront. The new regime will not respond to the camps with moderate actions; the tribe is not willing to place its citizens nor its battle against DAPL in jeopardy where so much that has been accomplished can be lost.”

The tribe’s statement acknowledged that many people want to return to the camps because of Trump’s Jan. 24 actions. “We stress, however, that further actions at the camp and at the bridge and drill pad are not where we will find success in this struggle moving forward,” the tribe said. “We need to be able to focus our energy on the intense government-to-government political situation and not the camps. Please do not return, but instead put your heart and effort into supporting the battle for clean water from your various homes around the globe.”

The bridge referred to in the statement is the closed Backwater Bridge on North Dakota Highway 1806. It has been both a focus of protests and a symbol of the disruption caused by the monthlong encampments. The remaining work on the pipeline would push the pipeline under Lake Oahe on the Missouri River just north of the Standing Rock Reservation. The pipeline company has set up a drill pad very near the proposed crossing point, which is upstream from the tribe’s reservation boundaries, and the tribe has water, treaty fishing and hunting rights in the lake.

The 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline is poised to carry up to 570,000 gallons of oil a day from the Bakken oil field in northwestern North Dakota – through South Dakota and Iowa – to Illinois where it will be shipped to refineries. The pipeline was to pass within one-half mile of the Standing Rock Reservation and Sioux tribal leaders repeatedly expressed concerns over the potential for an oil spill that would damage the reservation’s water supply, and the threat the pipeline posed to sacred sites and treaty rights. The company developing the pipeline, Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, says it will be safe.

The closure of the Backwater Bridge on North Dakota Highway 1806 had become a point of contention between water protectors and local residents. Photo: Oceti Sakowin via Facebook

“The tribe is not expelling people,” the Rev. John Floberg, priest-in-charge of Episcopal Church congregations on the North Dakota side of Standing Rock, agreed.

However, he said in a Jan. 30 interview with Episcopal News Service, the tribe is telling people that the winter has been so harsh that remaining in the camps can be fatal in a land where wind chills have reached as low as -60 degrees. The tribe also wants debris in the camp removed. People took good care of the camps, Floberg said, but a Dec. 5 blizzard inundated the area, collapsing and burying tents and other flimsy structures – debris that the tribe wants to ensure that spring floods do not sweep into the river.

Many residents say they are tired of the Backwater Bridge being closed because it is their primary route to work and hospital services. The Cannon Ball community gym, used for sports, meetings and funerals, is in need of cleaning and repairs due to serving as an emergency shelter for protesters, some of whom continue to stay there, according to Floberg and the Bismarck Tribune newspaper.

There has been some division in the loosely led Oceti Sakowin camp about whether to stay or leave, Floberg said, adding that from what he can tell the majority agrees with the tribe and is working to shut down the camp. Some campers have moved off the bottomland near the river to the top of so-called Facebook Hill. Some water protectors in the Rosebud Camp asked Floberg for his help in shutting down their camp but the Sacred Stone Camp, which is on privately owned land, is still welcoming people, he said.

Oceti Sakowin organizers have said in an undated posting on the camp’s website that “the sacred fire of the Seven Councils has been put to sleep” but that the fire “can be lit in our hearts internally and spirituality forever.” The webpage asks occupants “to evacuate as soon as possible for safety reasons.”

While the tribe had originally set a Jan. 30 deadline, it now seems that protectors have until Feb. 19. Floberg said he understands that as of that day tribal leaders will no longer use its “political weight” to stand as a buffer between a camp on the north side of the Cannonball River and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, other federal officials and the state of North Dakota.

Floberg and local Episcopalians have been practicing a ministry of presence in the camps and in their local churches since the summer. They have funneled some donations to the Sioux Tribe to help cover the costs of dumpsters and portable toilets. An Episcopal area at Oceti Sakowin has been a gathering point for those efforts. Episcopal chaplains were there when the Dec. 5 storm hit.

Oceti Sakowin camp spreads out along land near where the Missouri River meets the Cannonball River. North Dakota Highway 1806 runs across the top of the photo. Photo: Oceti Sakowin via Facebook

These days, the ministry is changing. Floberg and some members of St. James Episcopal Church in Cannon Ball, the closest town to the camps, recently discovered a military-style tent in Oceti Sakowin filled with what he estimated is 100,000 pounds of food. It is mostly flour, beans and macaroni, which Floberg said can be salvaged. However, they also found canned vegetables that most likely have frozen and may not be usable. The food cache grew over the months as people coming to the camps brought food donations, Floberg said. The salvageable food is being donated to people living on Standing Rock and on the nearby Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.

“Our glamorous work of being protestors is now about moving flour bags,” Floberg said with a chuckle.

Episcopalians could see what sort of work was going to be needed at the camps and positioned themselves to do that work, he said. That planning included using some of the money donated to the Diocese of North Dakota to buy a skip steer loader, a small, engine-powered machine with lift arms that a person can drive and use to move heavy loads and perform other tasks. Donations also covered the cost of a large covered trailer for hauling the food away and storing it.

Local Episcopalians are grateful for those donations and “we’re still making use of them in the best ways that we know at any given a time and will continue to do that,” Floberg said.

The changes in their ministry has been guided by listening to what the tribal council is saying and what Chairman Dave Archambault II is saying, and then trying to figure out how Episcopalians can assist. “It’s when the tribe is engaged outside of itself that we step in to stand with Standing Rock and make clear our position of support for what they have decided to do,” he said.

“When it comes to internal decisions being made within the tribe, the Church doesn’t weigh in on whether the tribe should do this or that,” Floberg said. Episcopalians who are tribal members will weigh in on those issues and “we expect their good conscience to guide them.”

A line of water protectors face law enforcement officials at the drill pad set up for the final phase of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux have asked that such protests end and water protectors leave. Photo: Oceti Sakowin via Facebook

Floberg and others are staunch in their desire to support the tribe’s decisions. However, Floberg said, it is difficult to serve all of the community when some members are frustrated with the camps, others are frustrated with tribal decisions and others are frustrated by those who are frustrated.

For instance, can people in the camps still come to St. James in Cannon Ball to fill their water cans if the church supports the tribe’s decision that the camps should close?

“Is that supporting the camp to remain open when the tribe has asked it to close or is it simply responding to basic human need? After all, we’ve heard it: Water is life,” Floberg explained.

“Right now, until Feb. 19, our position can be rather clear. If water is needed and we have that resource available, we’ll make it available to those who need water. … We believe we can be faithful to standing with Standing Rock while at the same time wanting the tribe to understand the Church always will respond to humanitarian need.”

When that Feb. 19 deadline comes around Floberg and others “will have to listen again” to what tribal leaders are saying to determine how to support that tribe from that point.

The Episcopal Church has been standing with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation’s position on the pipeline since summer 2016. Local Episcopalians have also provided a ministry of presence in and around Cannon Ball, North Dakota, which has been the focal point for the groups of water protectors that gathered near the proposed crossing. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry visited the area in September and many Episcopalians, both lay and ordained, answered Floberg’s call to stand in witness with the water protectors in November.

Previous ENS coverage of the Episcopal Church’s work with Standing Rock is here.

Floberg said he thinks the pipeline protests galvanized people for other actions. Some marched in the various Women’s Marches on Jan. 21 and he told Episcopal News Service Jan. 30 that he knows some water protectors who were among the people who went to the San Francisco airport Jan. 28 and 29 to protest Trump’s refugee ban.

“It awoke our Church to getting engaged and so a lot of our members have,” he said.

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

Canada: Christian leaders express solidarity with Muslims following Quebec attack

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 4:50am

[Anglican Journal] Anglicans and other Christian leaders have expressed their “sympathy and solidarity” with Muslims following a deadly attack Sunday night on a mosque in the Ste-Foy neighborhood of Quebec City.

The attack, which left six people dead and 19 others wounded, occurred just before 8 p.m., Jan.29, when a gunman opened fire while evening prayers were underway at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec.  Alexandre Bissonnette is being detained as a suspect in the case.

In a January 30 statement, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said his heart “goes out to all Muslims across Canada as they struggle with this terrible attack,” and that the church holds in its prayers the victims of the attack, their families and their imams. Hiltz also led national office staff in a 15-minute candlelight service at the Chapel of the Holy Apostles in Toronto to pray for the victims, their families, the Muslim community, the people of Quebec and Canada.

Full article.

Diocese of Texas releases Spanish resource to help newcomer ministries

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 4:38am

[Diocese of Texas] The Episcopal Diocese of Texas has announced the release of Juntos en Mision: Invitación, Bienvenida y Conexión, a digital training series for Spanish-speaking congregations. Juntos en Mision was developed to help parishioners learn to invite, welcome and connect visitors and new members as well as strengthen their existing ministries. The five-part video series, redeveloped by the diocese’s Commission on Hispanic Ministry from the popular Invite Welcome Connect program, is available for online viewing or download with accompanying checklists and resource lists at no charge.

Juntos en Mision is meant to support newcomer ministries in congregational development, help to build relationships with new and existing parishioners and encourage members to be proactive about including others into their communities in the church’s ministry and life of faith. No training is necessary to facilitate the program.

“I am grateful to our Commission on Hispanic Ministry for the work they did in preparing the scripts for this valuable training,” said Texas Bishop Andy Doyle. “We know how important it is to welcome new people in a manner that invites them to return as part of our community of faith, and this training provides the first step in that effort.”

Cost of producing the video series was underwritten by the diocese and is available to any Spanish-speaking congregation in the U.S. or abroad. “The series will be online so anyone for whom it might be valuable will be able to access it,” Doyle said.

In 2015, the Episcopal Diocese of Texas did a marketing study on ministry to the Spanish-speaking community, gathering data from numerous focus groups. Feedback from Hispanic non-members revealed there was little or no knowledge of the Episcopal Church, although the worship service and ethos of the Episcopal Church appealed to them, once informed. Active church members revealed a need for resources to help them reach into their communities.

The Commission developed the line: “God’s love has no boundaries” (Dios no tiene fronteras) as a unified statement to reflect the diocesan efforts to help Spanish-speaking congregations reach their broader communities. The Diocese also built a dozen mobile-friendly websites for Latino congregations, anchored by www.iglesiaepiscopaltx.com, developed informational cards about the Episcopal Church in Spanish and helped to train local parishioners in social media over the last year. Juntos en Mision is the latest resource to be completed. A new digital newsletter to help the Latino congregations connected and share information will launch this spring.

For more information on Juntos en Mision: Invitación, Bienvenida y Conexión please contact ­­­Paulette Martin, pmartin@epicenter.org or call 713-520-6444 or visit www.epicenter.org/juntos-en-mision.

Bishop Franklin Calls Western New York Episcopalians to action

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 3:58pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Western New York] Bishop R. William Franklin of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York has called for Episcopalians in Western New York to join in opposition to the executive order issued by President Trump on Friday limiting the ability of immigrants and refugees to travel to the United States.

We are all immigrants:

A statement on President Trump’s executive order

Our Diocesan Lenten Program in the Diocese of Western New York this year is called “A Space for Grace”. The program will use Scripture and pieces of modern writing as launching pads for us to talk about our own stories and how those stories are informing our lives in the world today.

I have been thinking and praying all weekend about how to respond to President Trump’s executive order regarding travelers, immigrants and refugees and it seemed to me that using my own story was a place to start.

I am the husband and father-in-law of immigrants. My wife, Carmela, and her family came to the United States from Italy. I am blessed every day by the presence of Carmela and I literally cannot imagine my life without her. Carmela is a scholar and a professor and she has impacted the lives of her students and the institutions that she has served. The ripples of influence of the different perspective as well as the love of America that Carmela has brought cannot be measured. That influence is repeated by the life and work of every immigrant to our country. I see the same impact from the presence of my son-in-law, Dr. Rey Ramirez, whose father is from a family of Mexican immigrants. In my own family, I see the great benefits to this country of the presence of immigrants.

I grew up in the segregated South. I have seen the horrible impact of laws and practices based on fear and discrimination. It is not only those who are discriminated against who suffer. The whole society is warped and lives of everyone in the society are limited and maimed when we act out of fear, especially when we act out of fear of those who are different from us. The ripples of the negative effects of laws and practices that separate us from each other are as far reaching as the ripples of positive effects from immigrants in our society.

I am an historian. I have spent my life studying the past. I speak with knowledge and authority when I say that there is no time in the history of this country or any other, when excluding people based on race or religion or clan has been of benefit to the society that is excluding others. From the ancient Israelites through Europe in the Middle Ages to the multiple times in the history of the United States when we have excluded people based on race or religion or ethnic origin, it has always been detrimental. It comes back to the fact that acting out of fear is always the wrong choice. History teaches us this over and over and over again.

I am a proud citizen of Buffalo. Buffalo is a city formed by immigrants. From the Irish, Germans, Italian and Polish of the late 19th and early 20th century to the people from Syria, Burma, various nations of Africa, China, India and Japan today, immigrants have added to the economy and community and culture of Buffalo. The immigrants have made us what we are. It is hard to remember sometimes, but often immigrants have not been initially welcomed. The Irish were not welcomed, the Polish were not welcomed, the Germans were seen as enemy aliens and the Italian immigrants were accused of bringing a foreign religion and way of life. Today, we take great pride in being a city of immigrants and have festivals and restaurants and celebrations of the gifts they have brought. The same cycle is repeating with our newer immigrants. I am certain that in the, hopefully near, future, the Syrian and Burmese and Indian festivals will be every bit as much of the culture of Buffalo as the Italian festival, St. Patrick’s Day and Dyngus Day.

I am the Bishop of deacons and congregations involved in refugee resettlement. I have learned the difference between refugees and immigrants. There are no people who come to this country who are more thoroughly vetted then refugees. Refugees are fleeing the very people that we name as our enemies. In the last 40 years the number of American citizens killed by refugees in the entire United States can be counted on the fingers of one had. We are in no danger from the people who seek refugee from war and persecution in our country. This is what American was founded for – to be a place of refuge for all. That is what makes us a light to the world. Turning away refugees who have already been screened are have spent years proving themselves to a variety of government agencies is a betrayal of the founding principles of the United States of America. The draconian limits to the number of refugees in President Trump’s executive order is a betrayal of the spirit of America and the vision of our founders.

Most importantly, I am a follower of the God of Jesus Christ. It is not possible to read the Old Testament without hearing over and over and over again the call of God to his people to care for those in need, and particular to immigrants and foreigners. To give just one of hundreds of examples, as the people of Israel were preparing to enter the land that God had promised to them, God gave them instructions for the setting up of the society in the land that they were about to enter. God said this, “So circumcise your hearts and stop being so stubborn, because the Lord your God is the God of all gods and Lord of all lords, the great, mighty and awesome God who doesn’t play favorites and doesn’t take bribes. He enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing. This means that you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:16-19 CEB, emphasis added). We are all immigrants, we, as the American people, are all immigrants every bit as much as the people of Israel were and God’s command does not change. As Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ, we must love immigrants. As Episcopalians we promise over and over again to strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being. This is one small part of that vow.

I call on the Diocese of Western New York to join with me in standing against President Trump’s executive order, both as it applies to limiting immigrants from seven nations and as it applies to stopping all refugees for 120 days and limiting the total number of refugees.

Contact your elected officials. The White House is not taking phone calls, but you can send letters directly to the President at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington DC, 20500. Call your congressional representatives and tell them that you oppose this action and ask them to do anything in their power to oppose it. Brian Higgins represents the 26th Congressional district. His office can be reached at 716-852-3501 or 716-282-1274. Chris Collins represents the 27th Congressional district. His office can be reached at 716-634-2324 or 585-519-4002.

Support the work of the ACLU who are holding our government accountable to our Constitution, laws and the vision of our founders. You can donate through their website at www.aclu.org

Commit to supporting the resettlement of refugees. There are several organizations in Buffalo the help refugees resettle and become a part of our community. Donate, volunteer, help in any way that you can. Journeys End is one that Episcopal congregations have worked with. Their web-site is jersbuffalo.org. Contact Archdeacon Tom Tripp at tomtripp2007@gmail.com to ask advice on a program at your congregation on refugee resettlement.

Above all pray. Pray for those who have been turned away from our country. Pray for those who are being detained. Pray for those who will face further persecution or even death because of this action. And pray for President Trump and his advisers, that God will turn their hearts.

The Rt. Rev. R. William Franklin

Bishop of Western New York

January 30, 2017

Baltimore seafarers center helps crew stranded in harbor by snafus

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 3:48pm

Director Mary Davisson (second from right) escorted representatives of the Philippines Embassy (in life vests) via a McAllister tug to visit with crew of the Newlead Granadino. Photo: Philippines Embassy and used with permission of captain

[Episcopal Diocese of Maryland] “If this had to happen to us, we’re glad it happened here.”

So said the crew of the cargo vessel M/T Newlead Granadino to the Rev. Mary Davisson, executive director and chaplain at the Baltimore International Seafarers’ Center (BISC). The crew was marooned on board by immigration restrictions, corporate snafus and seaworthiness regulations.

The vessel finally docked in mid-January after four months anchored in Baltimore harbor. Since first learning of the vessel’s engine trouble and financial issues in September, BISC stayed in communication with International Transport Workers Federation’s hard-working inspector Barbara Shipley, Coast Guard officers, Seafarers International Union Port Agent Elizabeth Brown and other port partners.

One of Davisson’s first calls last fall was to Mission to Seafarers Project Manager Ben Bailey. BISC is affiliated with Mission to Seafarers, an international entity with Anglican roots. Bailey was very helpful in explaining how MTS might be able to help BISC supply emergency provisions. The crew of 18 was then virtually out of food and water at their anchorage. Fortunately, Shipley was quickly able to address the provisions problem through the manning agency and an interim ship management company hired by a bank.

Meanwhile, offers of help poured in from the entire Baltimore community and beyond. BISC’s ecumenical team of volunteers shopped for everything from rosaries to toothpaste and thermal underwear. The vessel’s boiler had broken and there was some delay in getting safe space heaters on board.

Believe Wireless Broadband (BISC’s own internet provider) supplied free internet. The Roman Catholic Apostleship of the Sea donated a television and other items. Seafarers International Union stored and sorted numerous donations of warm clothing and food from the wider community. Brown worked closely with Shipley in addressing crew needs. McAllister Towing, the Maryland Pilots, and Vane Brothers facilitated delivery of supplies and visits to the anchorage. Davisson has visited the crew at least nine times at anchorage and the dock, offering prayers, delivering donations, and checking on crew welfare.

The crew finally got paid. Twelve of the original 18 have now been repatriated. One was the captain, who emailed Davisson, “A big thank you to the whole community of Baltimore”!


Farewell service for the Archbishop of Wales

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 3:14pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The longest-serving Archbishop in the Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Barry Morgan, is stepping down this week as leader of the Church in Wales, as he marks his 70th birthday. More than 500 people attended a farewell service at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, in celebration and thanksgiving for the contribution made by Morgan during his nearly 14 years as archbishop and 17 as bishop of Llandaff. In his  sermon, Morgan told the congregation it had been an “enormous privilege” to have served them and he thanked people for their support. He, in turn, was thanked warmly for all his ministry and given a standing ovation.

Full article.

Bruce W. Woodcock named partnership officer for Asia and the Pacific

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 3:13pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Rev. Bruce W. Woodcock has been named Episcopal Church partnership officer for Asia and the Pacific, a member of the Presiding Bishop’s staff.

In his position as the partnership officer for Asia and the Pacific, Woodcock will be responsible for nurturing Episcopal Church relationships with Anglican Communion partners in the region and working with the Episcopal Church’s office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations. He will serve as a resource for parishes, dioceses and institutions, and as a bridge in nurturing and promoting relationships with this region.

He is currently the interim pastor at St. Mary’s-in-Tuxedo, Tuxedo Park, New York (Diocese of New York) and has served congregations in the Diocese of Newark.

A former employee of Church Pension Group, his positions included manager, international relations & pastoral care; manager, international relations; manager, companion pension plan strategies; and manager, overseas pension plans.

Through his work at Church Pension Group, Woodcock notes extensive regional experience, with strong ongoing contact and personal ties with Anglican primates, provincial secretaries and staff officers in Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and the Philippines, clergy in Guam/Saipan, along with the bishop, clergy and staff of the Diocese Taiwan.

His previous work at the Episcopal Church Center included as deputy to the senior executive for mission operations; deputy director of the world mission overseas development office; and assistant secretary for legislation for the General Convention.

He was elected an alternate deputy to the 73rd General Convention from the Diocese of New York and served on various council and committees in the diocese as well as the community.

He served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and has worked on refugee and community development programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Woodcock holds a Master of Sacred Theology and a Master of Divinity from General Theological Seminary; a Master of Arts in International Administration from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont; and a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Hobart College. He is the recipient of numerous certificates and awards and was named a canon of Trinity Cathedral, Monrovia, Liberia, in 2008.

The position is a member of the Episcopal Church Global Partnerships Office. Woodcock will be based in Nyack, NY. He will begin his new position on March 1.  At that time he will be available at bwoodcock@episcopalchurch.org.

English bishops call for ‘fresh tone’ to sexuality debate

Fri, 01/27/2017 - 12:14pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The bishops of the Church of England have ruled out any change to the Church’s doctrine on marriage and sexuality; while calling for a “fresh tone” in the way the issue is handled.

In a report on behalf of the House of Bishops published today (Jan. 27) ahead of next month’s meeting of the General Synod, the Bishop of Norwich, Graham James, said that Anglicanism has always been “a contested tradition” where different views are held together; and he suggests that that this approach should be extended to sexuality. The bishops propose that existing law and guidance should be interpreted with “maximum freedom” without changes to the law, or the doctrine of the Church.

Full article.

Holocaust Memorial Day: Welby warns against ‘collusion with evil’

Fri, 01/27/2017 - 12:10pm

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at Birkenau-Auschwitz earlier this month Photo: Lampal via ACNS

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has urged people to resist a “post-truth” culture “at every level and in every conversation and debate”. He made his comments in a speech at a memorial service in Westminster, London, last night (Jan. 26) in advance of Holocaust Memorial Day. Each year on 27 January – the anniversary of the liberation of Birkenau-Auschwitz – the international community reflects on the holocaust and other genocides.

In his speech, Archbishop Welby said: “I have just returned from a visit to Auschwitz – Birkenau, with 60 clergy; its witness is to appalling human suffering caused by the terrible collusion of the silent majority.

Full article.

Bradley S. Hauff named Episcopal Church indigenous missioner

Thu, 01/26/2017 - 4:04pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Rev. Bradley S. Hauff has been named the Episcopal Church missioner for indigenous ministries, a member of the presiding bishop’s staff.

As missioner for indigenous ministries, Hauff will be responsible for enabling and empowering Indigenous peoples and their respective communities within the Episcopal Church. His primary focus will be leadership development, education and ministry development opportunities by and for Indigenous peoples by recognizing and empowering leaders from within the community.

As a member of the Episcopal Church Ethnic Ministries Office, Hauff will be based in Minneapolis, Minnestora. Hauff will begin his new position on Feb. 21.  At that time he will be available at bhauff@episcopalchurch.org.

Hauff has been rector of All Saints’ Torresdale Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (Diocese of Pennsylvania) since 2012. He previously served in congregations in the dioceses of Florida, Minnesota, South Dakota and Texas. Hauff is enrolled with the Oglala Sioux Tribe, headquartered in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. He is a speaker, presenter and author on various Native American topics and issues.

For the church, he served on the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC); Board of Examining Chaplains in the Dioceses of Florida and Pennsylvania; and the Board of Trustees and adjunct faculty member at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois.

In Minneapolis, he was the director of the adolescent program for the Domestic Abuse Project.

He holds a Master of Divinity from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary; a Doctor of Clinical Psychology from Minnesota School of Professional Psychology of Argosy University; a Master of Education from South Dakota State University; and a Bachelor of Arts, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Presiding Bishop, other Episcopal leaders call on Trump to maintain refugee resettlement efforts

Wed, 01/25/2017 - 4:56pm

[Episcopal News Service] The presiding bishop and the director of Episcopal Migration Ministries both spoke out Jan. 25 in anticipation of President Donald Trump’s actions on immigration.

In addition, the Episcopal Public Policy Network issued a policy alert offering Episcopalians ways to become advocates on immigration and refugees.

Those efforts came on a day when Trump signed executive orders to begin construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall and block federal grants from immigrant-protecting “sanctuary cities.” The Washington Post reported that Trump, in an appearance at the Department of Homeland Security, also signed the first of a series of directives to put new restrictions on the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States.

Trump’s orders can be found with others he has signed here.

Trump aides suggested that more directives could come later this week, according to the Post, including additional restrictions on people from Muslim-majority countries. The newspaper reported that it had received a leaked draft of a presidential executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals” that calls for halting visas to people located in “countries of particular concern.” The newspaper said the order would fulfill a Trump campaign promise to start vetting would-be immigrants and visitors to the United States based partly on their opinions and ideology, and will immediately cease the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry; the Rev. E. Mark Stevenson, director of Episcopal Migration Ministries; and the public policy network spoke out against those anticipated actions.

Curry said refugee resettlement work is a ministry that the Episcopal Church and other churches and faith-based organizations cherish.

“The work of Episcopal Migration Ministries is God’s work, and we show the face of God through the care and compassion in that work,” Curry said. “I ask President Trump to continue the powerful work of our refugee resettlement program without interruption, recognizing the long wait and screening process that means refugees wait months and sometimes years to enter the country.

“We ask that we continue to accept as many refugees as we have in the past, recognizing the need is great than ever. We ask that refugees from all countries receive consideration to come to the U.S. and not to ban those who come from countries most in need of our assistance.”

Stevenson said any action to suspend the U.S. refugee resettlement program for a significant time “will mean that many of those who are the most vulnerable, the most at risk of further violence, the least likely to be able to fend for themselves, are now to be left without hope.”

“Such a position does not reflect who we are as a nation, or as a people of faith,” he said.

Each year the Episcopal Church’s Episcopal Migration Ministries works in partnership with its 30-member local affiliate network in 26 states, along with dioceses, faith communities and volunteers, to welcome refugees from conflict zones across the globe. This year, EMM anticipated welcoming 5,000 refugees to the United States from 32 countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma, Afghanistan and Syria.

The agency assures safe passage and provides vital services for thousands of refugee families upon their arrival in America, including language and cultural orientation classes, employment services, school enrollment and initial assistance with housing and transportation. For each family, the goal is self-reliance and self-determination.

EMM is one of nine such U.S. resettlement agencies that contract with the federal government to help resettle refugees approved for entry to the United States. Much of EMM funding comes through those contracts.

Stevenson said Trump’s anticipated restrictions on refugees would be characterized as steps to make the country safe. “Yet, isolating ourselves from the world does not make us safer; it only isolates us,” he said. “Being afraid of those who differ from us does not make us wise, or even prudent; it only traps us in an echo chamber of suspicion and anger, and stops us cold from loving as Christ loved.”

The United States cannot solve the problem of violence in other countries, Stevenson said, but “we can act morally and show leadership” by offering refugees a new life in a safe place. He pledged that EMM will “continue to minister to those who have fled their homes because of persecution, violence or war.”

“Through our network of affiliates across this country, and with the help of the wider Episcopal Church, we will welcome these men, women, and children who did not choose to become refugees,” Stevenson said. “In partnership with the other resettlement agencies, we will work with our government and local communities to provide a place of welcome.”

EMM had previously scheduled a webinar at 4 p.m. EST on Feb. 1 to discuss the causes of refugee crises and examine questions such as who is a refugee; how a refugee is resettled to the United States; how resettled refugees benefit their communities; and how people can engage with local communities to welcome refugees.

“The president has full authority to limit the number of refugees each year,” EPPN said in its policy alert. “It is critical that President Trump hear from faith leaders that oppose any kind of ban or drastic reduction on resettlement.”

The alert called on Episcopalians to speak against any policy that would bar refugees from resettlement based on religion or nationality, and encourage our government not to reduce the number of refugees who enter the United States.

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

Diocese in Europe explores implications of ‘post-Brexit Britain’

Wed, 01/25/2017 - 12:03pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Church of England’s Diocese in Europe has begun exploring the implications that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) might have on British-national clergy deployed to the continent. At present, as members of the EU, British nationals – including clergy – can travel, reside, and work in any of the other 27-member states without requiring visas or work permits. That may change when Britain leaves the EU. There are also questions about whether the reciprocal healthcare arrangements for citizens of EU member states will also continue to apply to British nationals once the U.K. completes the withdrawal process.

Full article.

L’Évêque Primat et d’autres dirigeants épiscopaux demandent à Donald Trump de maintenir la réinstallation des réfugiés

Wed, 01/25/2017 - 7:05am

[Episcopal News Service] L’Évêque Primat et le directeur de l’organisme Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) se sont tous deux exprimés le 25 janvier pour anticiper les mesures du président Donald Trump concernant l’immigration.

Le réseau Episcopal Public Policy Network a, quant à lui, publié un avis d’alerte proposant aux épiscopaliens la possibilité de devenir défenseurs de l’immigration et des réfugiés.

Ces initiatives ont eu lieu le jour où Donald Trump a signé des décrets pour commencer la construction d’un mur à la frontière des États-Unis avec le Mexique et pour bloquer les subventions fédérales aux « villes sanctuaires » protégeant les immigrés. Le Washington Post a publié que Donald Trump, lors d’une visite au Département de la sécurité intérieure, a également signé la première d’une série de directives visant à appliquer de nouvelles restrictions à l’encontre de 11 millions d’immigrés estimés sans papiers aux États-Unis.

Ces décrets de Donald Trump ainsi que d’autres qu’il a signés se trouvent ici.

Les collaborateurs de Donald Trump ont suggéré que d’autres directives pourraient être émises plus tard cette semaine, selon le Washington Post, notamment des restrictions supplémentaires concernant les personnes provenant de pays à majorité musulmane. Le quotidien a rapporté qu’il avait eu communication de la version préliminaire d’un décret présidentiel intitulé : « comment protéger la nation contre des attaques terroristes de ressortissants étrangers » qui prévoit l’arrêt des visas aux personnes se trouvant dans des « pays particulièrement préoccupants ». Le quotidien a indiqué que le décret tiendrait une promesse de campagne de Donald Trump de contrôler les candidats à l’immigration et les visiteurs aux États-Unis, en partie sur la base de leurs opinions et idéologie et de cesser immédiatement la réinstallation des réfugiés syriens aux États-Unis.

L’Évêque Primat Michael Curry, le révérend E. Mark Stevenson, directeur d’EMM (Episcopal Migration Ministries), et le réseau de politique publique se sont élevés contre les mesures annoncées.

Michael Curry a déclaré que les travaux de réinstallation des réfugiés représentent un ministère qui tient à cœur à l’Église épiscopale ainsi qu’à d’autres églises et organismes confessionnels.

« Le travail de l’organisme EMM est l’œuvre de Dieu et nous montrons le visage de Dieu par le biais de l’entraide et de la compassion manifestées à travers ces travaux », explique Michael Curry. « Je demande au Président Trump de continuer sans interruption le travail en profondeur de notre programme de réinstallation des réfugiés, en prenant en compte le long processus d’attente et de contrôle qui se traduit pour les réfugiés par des mois et parfois des années d’attente pour entrer dans le pays.

« Nous demandons que nous continuions d’accepter autant de réfugiés que nous l’avons fait par le passé, en reconnaissant que le besoin est plus important que jamais. Nous demandons que les réfugiés de tous les pays soient pris en considération pour venir aux États-Unis et de ne pas bannir ceux qui viennent de pays nécessitant le plus notre aide ».

Mark Stevenson a déclaré que toute mesure visant à suspendre le programme américain de réinstallation des réfugiés pendant une durée significative « veut dire que beaucoup de ceux qui sont les plus vulnérables, les plus en danger de violence, ceux qui ont le moins de chance d’être en mesure de pourvoir à leurs propres besoins, vont maintenant être abandonnés sans aucun espoir ».

« Cette position ne reflète pas qui nous sommes en tant que nation ni en tant que croyants », a-t-il conclu.

Chaque année, l’organisme EMM de l’Église épiscopale travaille en partenariat avec son réseau d’affiliés locaux de 30 membres répartis dans 26 États ainsi qu’avec des diocèses, des communautés de foi et des bénévoles, pour accueillir des réfugiés provenant des zones de conflit à travers le monde. Cette année, EMM a prévu d’accueillir aux États-Unis 5 000 réfugiés de 32 pays, notamment de la République démocratique du Congo, de Birmanie, d’Afghanistan et de Syrie.

L’organisme assure un passage sûr et la prestation de services essentiels pour des milliers de familles de réfugiés à leur arrivée aux États-Unis, tels des cours de langue et d’orientation culturelle, des services d’emploi, les inscriptions pour les écoles et l’aide initiale en matière de logement et de transport. Pour chaque famille, l’objectif est l’autosuffisance et l’autodétermination.

EMM est l’un des neuf organismes de réinstallation des États-Unis sous contrat avec le gouvernement fédéral pour aider à réinstaller les réfugiés autorisés à entrer aux États-Unis. La majeure partie du financement d’EMM provient de ces contrats.

Selon Mark Stevenson, les restrictions que prévoit Donald Trump en ce qui concerne les réfugiés seraient considérées comme des mesures visant à rendre le pays plus sûr. « Et pourtant, nous isoler du monde ne nous met pas plus en sécurité, cela ne fait que nous isoler », poursuit-il. « Avoir peur de ceux qui sont différents de nous ne nous rend pas avisés ni même prudents ; cela ne fait que nous emprisonner dans une caisse de résonance de méfiance et de colère qui nous empêche totalement d’aimer comme le Christ a aimé ».

Trump signs Dakota Access Pipeline memo to speed process

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 6:55pm

At the White House Jan. 24, U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a presidential memorandum he had just signed related to the Dakota Access pipeline. Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

[Episcopal News Service] While reaction to President Donald Trump’s Jan. 24 actions designed to move forward both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines was swift, the immediate impact of his memoranda remained unclear.

Nothing in Trump’s memorandum on the Dakota Access Pipeline appears to force approval of the project but would try to speed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ ongoing environmental review process.

A presidential memorandum is somewhat different from a presidential executive order and some observers say it has a lesser impact.

Other observers wondered if Trump’s decision to sign the documents fit what they see as a pattern of Trump and his aides seeking to distract the media from other events happening as the administration gears up, including nomination hearings, ethics inquiries and changes to websites and policies that seem to curtail public input. Also published today was a proclamation that Trump signed soon after becoming president Jan. 20, declaring that day to be a “National Day of Patriotic Devotion.”

In the Dakota Access Pipeline memo Trump tells the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to “review and approve in an expedited manner, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, and with such conditions as are necessary or appropriate” the company’s request to finish the pipeline. The remaining work would push the pipeline under Lake Oahe on the Missouri River just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation reservation. The proposed crossing is upstream from the tribe’s reservation boundaries, and the tribe has water, treaty fishing and hunting rights in the lake.

The Corps decided Dec. 4 to put that work on hold, cheering opponents, and conduct the environmental impact statement, including exploring alternative routes.

At the time, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry asked that “the assessment involve extensive consultation with affected populations, and that any plan going forward honor treaty obligations with the Standing Rock Sioux.”

However, Trump’s order says the Army shall “consider, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, whether to rescind or modify” its Dec. 4 decision, revert to the Corps July 2016 environmental assessment and grant the required easement for the lake crossing.

The Standing Rock Sioux Nation said that Trump’s actions Jan. 24 violate the law and tribal treaties. Saying it will take legal action against Trump’s efforts, the tribe added, “Nothing will deter us from our fight for clean water.”

The tribe urged its supporters “to fight and stand tall beside us,” and to contact their representatives in Congress to “let them know that the people do not stand behind today’s decision.”

Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, said Trump “is legally required to honor our treaty rights and provide a fair and reasonable pipeline process.”

The tribe’s statement noted that on Jan. 18 the Corps opened the public comment phase of its environmental impact analysis of the company’s request. Public comment is due by Feb. 17.

The Sioux Nation said last week that it welcomed the Corps’ work but said “it should include at the very least the territory of the entire Great Sioux Nation, and not just Lake Oahe and the northern boundary of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Reservation.”

Trump told reporters during a White House Oval Office signing ceremony that both pipelines will be subject to conditions being negotiated by U.S. officials – including a requirement that the pipe itself be manufactured in America. “I am very insistent that if we’re going to build pipelines in the United States, the pipes should be made in the United States,” he said, noting that his requirement will take time to fulfill because most steel piping used in the United States is made elsewhere.

“From now on we are going to start making pipelines in the United States,” Trump said from the Oval Office. “We will build our own pipelines with our own pipes, that’s what it has to do with, like we used to in the old days,” he said, adding that the directive will put “lots of steelworkers” back to work.

Trump did not comment on his directive about the Dakota Access Pipeline. Press Secretary Sean Spicer later told reporters that Trump “has shown through his business life that he knows how to negotiate a great deal where parties come out ahead.” Spicer said Trump is willing to sit down “with all of the individuals who are involved in the Dakota pipeline to make sure that it is a deal that benefits all of the parties of interest or at least gets something that they want.”

Texts of the pipeline-related actions taken by Trump Jan. 24 are here and here.

The 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline is poised to carry up to 570,000 gallons of oil a day from the Bakken oil field in northwestern North Dakota – through South Dakota and Iowa – to Illinois where it will be shipped to refineries. The pipeline was to pass within one-half mile of the Standing Rock Reservation and Sioux tribal leaders repeatedly expressed concerns over the potential for an oil spill that would damage the reservation’s water supply, and the threat the pipeline posed to sacred sites and treaty rights. The company developing the pipeline, Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, says it will be safe.

Thousands of people, including Native Americans and indigenous people representing about 300 tribes from around the world, traveled to North Dakota in summer and fall of 2016 in an unprecedented show of solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation.

The tribe recently told the people remaining in the protest camps to leave due to safety and environmental concerns over flooding as the massive snowpack in the area melts. The snowpack typically melts swiftly in the area, causing rapid flooding that could sweep people and material into the river. The tribal council was also concerned about continuing protests at the Backwater Bridge leading to and from the area. The tribe had requested an end to those protests but some people in the camps had ignored that request.

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