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Canada: Faith groups stand together against politics of hate and fear sparked by US administration

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 12:09pm

[Anglican Journal] People of many faiths met twice early in March in Vancouver to show support for one another at two well-attended public meetings that celebrated diversity and took a stand against acts of hatred.

Both gatherings were in reaction to concerns about an upsurge in anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of social conflict that seem to have accompanied the inauguration of the new administration in the United States.

Full article.

Canada: Discernment for priests needs to be ‘tweaked,’ says bishop

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 12:05pm

[Anglican Journal] The Anglican Church of Canada should “re-tool” its methods for assessing candidates for the priesthood to make the process more sensitive to context, says Bishop Bill Cliff, of the diocese of Brandon. 

Full article.

South Sudanese women play vital role in peacebuilding

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 12:01pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Key Anglican campaigners for peace and justice in war-torn South Sudan have told a meeting at the United Nations in New York about the vital role women and the church have been playing in peace building and supporting the victims of conflict.

Full article.

Church of Ireland Refugee Working Groups launch resource on supporting asylum seekers and refugees

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 11:57am

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Church of Ireland’s Refugee Working Groups have launched a new resource on supporting asylum seekers and refugees in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The 14-page document summarizes how the Church of Ireland has supported asylum seekers and refugees in recent years and highlights opportunities for members of the Church to become more involved in this area of ministry and service.

Full article.

Episcopal bishops make three-day journey into diversity and inclusion

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 2:58pm



[Episcopal News Service – Hendersonville, North Carolina] In March 2015 in the aftermath of the August 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops decided it was time to write a new letter to Episcopalians about racism. Then, some of the bishops had a realization.

“The first thing that we said was: ‘We don’t need to write a letter. We need to deal with these issues ourselves: power, privilege and race,’” said Diocese of Newark Bishop Mark Beckwith, describing a late-night meeting of bishops who had volunteered to write such a letter that took place in Salt Lake City during General Convention in 2015.

The letter would have followed on one adopted by the house in April 1994 and another one issued March 22, 2006. However, Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas said, it was clear that many of the things talked about in those letters “were still in front us.”

In the 1994 letter, the bishops concluded that all Christians were called to work for reconciliation and unity. “Central to this mission is the intentional transformation of all structures, systems and practices in the church and elsewhere that perpetuate the evil of racism,” the bishops wrote.

Douglas said “it was also clear that there were lots feelings amongst us that we were going to need to work on. So, if we didn’t do our work first, we didn’t feel like we were in a position to tell the wider church what to do.”

Beckwith and Douglas spoke to Episcopal News Service at Kangua Camp and Conference Center after they and their colleagues completed three days of intensive work on diversity and inclusion conducted by Valerie Batts and Bill Kondrath of Visions Inc. Those three days constituted the beginning of the bishops’ March 10-14 meeting.

A small group of bishops who were part of the Salt Lake City meeting worked in December 2015 with Visions, a non-profit group that says it helps people and groups thrive in a diverse world. 

Beckwith said that work deepened the bishops’ desire to bring the process to the entire house. The bishops did some preliminary work during their March 2016 retreat meeting, making it the second meeting in a row during which bishops discussed racism

Diocese of Western New York Bishop William Franklin watches March 11 as Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas pastes sticky notes of comments from one of his table’s discussions during the House of Bishops meeting at Kanuga Camp and Conference Center outside Hendersonville, North Carolina. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Heading into this meeting there was, Douglas said, “an appropriate reticence to come and do another ‘anti-racism training.’” Nevertheless, the large-group presentations and the time bishops spent discussing the material at their tables gave the bishops “some tools to recognize, understand, appreciate and utilize differences” to help the world move closer to the reign of God, he said.

The goals set out for the three days were to build a case for the church to engage in racial justice and reconciliation; establish common language for discussing that work, especially as part of spiritual formation; deepen the investment the house and the church have already made in such work; grow as a house in trust, vulnerability and community; and develop the capacity and skill for leading dioceses in such work.

Among the tools that Visions introduced to the bishops were guidelines for effective cross-cultural dialogue, learning about how societies can move from monoculturalism to pluralism and how many stories make up a community’s story, how oppression and change happen at various levels of a culture, exploring how various types of feedback are given and received, experiencing how feelings impact behaviors, discussing how to recognize “modern isms” as opposed to classic “isms” and how historically excluded and included groups approach those “isms.”

Batts and Kondrath anchored the three days in creating spaces of “sacred listening” in which the bishops could tell stories of their experiences that related to the learnings. The two consultants asked the bishops to consider their engagement in the world on four levels: personally, in their relationships in their dioceses,  in their role as bishops of the church and in the culture at large.

Douglas and North Carolina Bishop Suffragan Anne Hodges-Copple discussed those levels and all three of the days here.

Bishops participate in an exercise about the power of feelings on March 11 during the House of Bishops meeting at Kanuga Camp and Conference Center outside Hendersonville, North Carolina. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry presented the three days as a way for bishops to begin to exercise their role as reconcilers and to invite others into that role as well.

“This is a time of great chaos and upheaval in the country and the presiding bishop is calling us to the Church’s stance of a beloved and gracious community,” East Michigan Bishop Todd Ousley, chair of the house’s planning committee, said.

Curry also “reminded us that in many ways we have been bystanders and that in this particular moment … we are called to get off the sideline and to engage with something more than words … to not just give lip service to issues of inclusion and diversity, to check off that anti-racism box,” Ousley said.

Bishop Eugene Sutton of the Diocese of Maryland said that the work was leadership training “on how do we tell our stories and deeply listen to others, and how do we invite others into that conversation.”

“I can’t wait to go back and see how we get the whole church involved in this process that we’re doing now,” he said on March 10.

The three-day focus on such work, said Rochester Bishop Prince Singh, “is part of the larger umbrella of themes that we have gotten out of [the 78th] General Convention where evangelism, racial reconciliation and care for creation is a part of what we are doing this whole triennium.”

The bishops met for Eucharist late each afternoon. On March 11, the service focused on healing, including a litany of forgiveness written by Diocese of Albany Bishop Bill Love. The bishop, who also presided, said the service was the first of its kind for the house in at least the past 10 years.

Western New York Bishop William Franklin said on the second day that the work was “transforming our own house. Divisions are being healed, as witnessed by this powerful service that brought our day to an end.”

Alaska Bishop Mark Lattime offers reflections March 12 on his participation in the Native Nations Rise activities in Washington, D.C., March 9-10. Lattime, Diocese of Navajoland Bishop David Bailey, Diocese of Montana Assistant Bishop Carol Gallagher, Diocese of North Dakota Bishop Michael Smith and Diocese of South Dakota Bishop John Tarrant also participated. The one-word signs on the wall behind Lattime were part of a March 11 exercise about the impact of feelings. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Springfield Bishop Dan Martins, who blogged about the meeting, said that the time allotted to conversations at each table allowed those with whom he was seated “to go deeper in some very profound ways than we’ve been able to do in the past.”

Martins, who calls himself “part of a theological minority” in the House of Bishops, told ENS the day after the three-day workshop he thought “a group of Christian bishops ought to be engaged in the subject of racism and racial reconciliation from a much deeper biblical and theological angle than from the behavioral and transactional perspective that we were given.”

Martins doesn’t foresee using any of the tools “in a formal, programmatic way” in his southern Illinois diocese. The most “immediately important” shift his diocese needs, he said, is a move away from an “attractional model” that predicts people will come to a church if they feel welcomed and Sunday worship is a “showpiece.” That is not a strategy for a post-Christian society, he said.

“So, I am trying to help all of us to embrace a strategy that is apostolic where we go to them,” Martins said.

“In the context of doing all that, if we uncovered opportunities for racial reconciliation, then, yes, we will certainly embrace those opportunities but that’s not a starting point; it would be more of a byproduct,” he said.

The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, canon to the presiding bishop for evangelism, reconciliation, and creation, helped the house’s planning committee construct the three days. After they were over, she said, she felt the bishops accomplished the goals. However, she added, the work is not over.

“For Episcopalians, the work will always be inner work and outer work,” she said. “It’s figuring out what are my biases, what are my fears, what line of difference am I most terrified of crossing and how is God growing my heart. I have to be doing that even as I look around at systems and ask the questions about structure or racism, structural discrimination.”

While the House of Bishops has talked about racism for the last three spring meetings, Spellers said, “The conversations this time were not the same as the conversations last time.”

She hopes that the bishops always “go deeper” in the laboratory that is the community of the House of Bishops and that they “will model for the whole church the realization that this is a part of our lifelong spiritual formation.”

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

House of Bishops Spring 2017 meeting: Video Daily Account for March 14

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 12:56pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is joined by El Camino Real Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, vice president of the House of Bishops, on the right, and Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Diane Jardine Bruce, the house’s secretary, left, to discuss the House of Bishops’ March 10-14 meeting at Kanuga Conference Center in North Carolina.


Episcopal congregation leads effort to ‘green up’ Rust Belt city in western New York

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 3:47pm

James Colby, a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown, New York, speaks March 8 at a presentation by professor Sherri Mason as part of a lecture series sponsored by GreenUp Jamestown. Photo: GreenUp Jamestown, via Facebook.

[Episcopal News Service] Easter comes less than a week before Earth Day this year. That closeness is more than a fact of the calendar for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown, New York. It’s a double calling to what the Rev. Luke Fodor terms “creation care.”

The congregation at St. Luke’s is at the center of a community project launched this Lent called “GreenUp Jamestown” that mixes Christian spirituality and environmental stewardship. GreenUp’s initial slate of events is filled with eco-themed lectures and panel discussions arranged with the help of several partner organizations in the city. It culminates with an Earth Day program on April 22, though Fodor hopes the scope and support will continue to grow.

“The more we can … connect again with our origins, then we’ll be so much healthier, not just in our bodies but in our spirits,” Fodor said.

That connection is more than theoretical, he said. When a priest on Ash Wednesday says “’we came from dust and to dust we will return,’ that means the Earth,’” he said, adding but much of modern society has become alienated from our dirt-bound biology. Fodor also laments that even though we still celebrate a Christian liturgy with deep agricultural underpinnings, we’ve lost touch with how our food gets to our table.

“People don’t have a real sense of creation care, so we need to do something,” Fodor said.

This type of “doing something” wasn’t at the top of his priorities list when Fodor first moved to western New York three years ago to take over as rector of the Episcopal church in this Rust Belt city known historically for its furniture manufacturing.

Fodor’s longtime passion for the environment already had begun losing its grip on his daily routine. As a younger man in New York City, he had biked everywhere. He was diligent about recycling. When he and his wife became parents, they chose cloth diapers over landfill-clogging disposables.

Some of those habits started changing when Fodor began serving at a church on suburban Long Island, starting with his increased reliance on a car over the bicycle. But in Jamestown he found a city closer to nature and God’s earthly creations than its industrial, manufacturing past may suggest.

Fodor pointed to one of Jamestown’s biggest draws, Chautauqua Lake, a natural jewel on the west side of the city. The region also is a popular bird flyway, and the city is the birthplace of Roger Tory Peterson, the renowned naturalist and bird artist. Jamestown has celebrated Earth Day from the beginning in 1970, when then-Mayor Stan Lundine helped coordinate a stunt involving a public display of several tons of dirt to illustrate how much pollution falls on the city. The stunt drew national attention.

“There’s a real history here of environmentalism,” said James Colby, a member of St. Luke’s who has been working with Fodor on getting GreenUp going.

Colby, 66, is retired after working as curator for the Weeks Gallery at Jamestown Community College, and one of his contributions to GreenUp will be to coordinate a 14-foot art installation at St. Luke’s made of illuminated mason jars. But that is set for next year. In this first year, he and Fodor have aimed primarily to spark greater environmental awareness in the community while enlisting many collaborators, including the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, the Robert H. Jackson Center and Jamestown’s Audubon center.

St. Luke’s, then, is “sort of a center organization with spokes that reach out to people already working with the environment,” Colby said.

James Colby and Sherri Mason pose for a photo at the March 8 event sponsored by GreenUp Jamestown. Photo: GreenUp Jamestown, via Facebook.

The GreenUp lecture series’ kickoff event, held March 8 at the public library in Jamestown, was a presentation by Sherri Mason, a chemistry professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Fodor said a crowd of about 90 people came to listen to Mason talk about her research on the Great Lakes and about the environmental legacy of writer Rachel Carson.

The library was chosen as the venue to bring the project into the community, not isolate it in the church. Even so, before attending Mason’s presentation, about 25 parishioners joined Fodor for a brief service in the St. Luke’s chapel in which they prayed for forgiveness for humanity’s past abuse of the environment and vowed to recommit themselves to being Earth stewards.

Fodor will lead the next two programs in the GreenUp series, on March 15 and 22, at St. Luke’s. One will look to the Celtic saints as models for “green spirituality” and the other will mine Genesis for an answer to the question “Did god really propose human domination of creation?”

The president of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute is scheduled to speak March 29 at the church about Jamestown’s “urban nature,” and the Lenten lecture series concludes April 5 with another presentation at the library, this time a panel discussion of Rachel Carson’s “Under the Sea-Wind.”

Other events are scheduled beyond the Lenten series, including an evening of prayer, art and music on Earth Day at St. Luke’s.

In this first year, the diversity of topics and community organizations was by design, Colby said. “What we tried to do this year is to give everyone a piece.” The future of GreenUp Jamestown may entail tackling certain projects and issues more intently, such as supporting cleanup efforts in Chautauqua Lake or promoting solar energy and other renewable sources.

Colby, who has enough solar panels on his home to provide for his own energy needs, calls climate change “the biggest challenge that we’re facing.”

“I think as Christians, it’s an obligation to bring society forward, and clean, renewable energy is one of those areas,” he said.

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

Anglican Evensong celebrated in Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 12:34pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Another milestone in relations between Canterbury and Rome took place in the Vatican on Monday as a traditional Anglican Choral Evensong was celebrated for the first time in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Anglican and Catholic bishops and clergy – including one female chaplain, Rev Dana English from the Anglican Church of All Saints Rome – gathered together at the altar below Bernini’s great bronze sculpture encasing the relics of the Chair of St. Peter.

Full article.

Hopes high as UN conference on women’s economic empowerment begins

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 12:20pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Optimism, enthusiasm and expectation filled the air as Anglican, Episcopal and Women’s Union delegates from more than 20 countries gathered for the opening day of the 61st session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York on March 13.

Full article.

House of Bishops Spring 2017 meeting: Video Daily Account for March 13

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 11:21am

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Bishop Scott Hayashi of the Diocese of Utah, left, and Bishop Tom Ely of the Diocese of Vermont provide an overview of activities on the fourth day of the House of Bishops meeting, March 13, at Kanuga Conference Center in North Carolina.


Executive Council awards grants to fund start of 20 new ministries

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 12:45pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] At its February meeting, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church awarded $821,000 in grants for church planting and Mission Enterprise Zones, to fund the start of 20 new ministries throughout the Church.

The grants for church planting and Mission Enterprise Zones, which are evangelistic ministries with populations that are under-represented in the church, are funded through General Convention 2015 Resolution D005, approved as part of the Jesus Movement priority to build a capacity for church planting in the Episcopal Church. 

The Genesis Group – the Advisory Group of Executive Council’s Joint Standing Committee on Local Ministry and Mission – received and reviewed 35 grant requests. Executive Council approved $821,000 in matching grants to the following ministry applications.

• $510,000: six new church starts     

• $85,000: one renewing ministry (started in the last triennium)

• $100,000: two Hybrid/Mission Enterprise Zone grants

• $100,000: five new Mission Enterprise Zones

• $26,000: six discernment grants

The following are the grant recipients and a brief description from the Rev. Thomas Brackett, Episcopal Church Manager for Church Planting and Mission Development. Links to these ministries are here.

New Church Starts

Episcopal Church Parker County, Diocese of Fort Worth – $100,000

This ministry will plant an Episcopal Church in the middle of the largest new community currently being built in the United States (projected population of 50,000 residents). In a state where churchgoing is still the norm, many of these families will be looking for a church to attend. The Episcopal Church of Parker County, which already has roots in the area, plans to welcome them with traditional worship in the context of a generous, inclusive, Gospel-based ministry.

Communidad Latina de San Dunstan, Diocese of Oklahoma – $100,000

This grant funds a Latino Mission Developer Team for St. Dunstan’s in Tulsa, OK where a new Spanish-speaking faith community has begun to grow. This community is now larger than many Anglo congregations, and, to keep the momentum going, the diocesan leadership is convinced that this is the moment to approach this as an official church plant. Their long-term vision is to use St. Dunstan’s as a “ministry incubator.” Amid this stable and supportive congregation, they plan to form a mission team made up of clergy, lay missioners, Christian educators and musicians. When phase one is complete, and the community at St. Dunstan’s is firmly rooted, the mission team will work to facilitate the next church plant in Tulsa. Collaboration and mutuality will be foundational attributes of this ministry.

Misa Magdalena, Diocese of Washington – $100,000

The vision for this new Latino Hispanic ministry in the Aspen Hill community of Washington, DC emerged from the ministry developer’s relationships with local community leaders. They invited her to come start a new church in their community, similar to the successful Latino Hispanic congregation she recently started elsewhere. This is to be a sacramental, bilingual neighborhood church in a community with one of the highest concentrations of Latinos in the Washington DC area. Their evangelism and outreach is focused on neighbors who are un-churched or under-churched.

Sudanese Congregation at St. Paul’s, Diocese of Central NY – $50,000

This new ministry serving those resettled from Sudan is an important ministry in a growing and under-represented part of the Episcopal Church. The Diocese of Central New York and local congregations are keen to support the Rev. Rebecca Amour who is one of the first women priests ordained in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan. This congregation is already growing; weekly attendance is already averaging more than 50 and new families are joining regularly.

Senor de la Misercordia, a partnership between the Episcopal Churches and the Lutheran Churches in Iowa – $100,000

Señor de la Misericordia is a new Hispanic church community being planted within Trinity Episcopal Church in Denison, IA, in partnership with the Western Iowa Synod, ELCA. Denison’s Hispanic population has grown to nearly 50% of the town’s population, and continues to grow at a rate of 39% per year. The town’s only elementary school is located across the street from Trinity Episcopal Church, with two-thirds of students speaking Spanish. The church is in a prime location for reaching these families, equipping them for Christ’s mission and ministry. The Rev. Filemon Diaz, an ELCA pastor with a track record of developing new Hispanic congregations, has been called to lead this new faith community.

Two Cultures, One Body in Christ, Diocese of New Jersey – $60,000

The Diocese of New Jersey is launching a Latino Hispanic church planting initiative in Monmouth County. This initiative builds on a successful pilot program in which their missioner successfully planted two new Hispanic/Latino congregations in partnership with two existing non-Hispanic congregations (All Saints, Lakewood and St. Thomas, Red Bank) in the region. A third church plant at Christ Church, Toms River is currently in progress and demonstrating similar success. The process of building these new faith communities and moving Hispanic and non-Hispanic congregations into relationship, cultural understanding, and common worship with each other has been – and continues to be – mutually and continually transformational. This next phase of ministry seeks to build on the experience and momentum from the pilot program by adding resources and developing new practices to expand the program to include Trinity Church in Asbury Park.

Renewing ministry

Church on the Square, Diocese of Maryland – $85,000

The faith community known as “Church on the Square, Canton” has made great progress in these last two years, forming a faith community in full partnership with the ELCA Maryland Synod. Since funded in the last triennium, the leaders have been energetically tilling the relational soil of this culturally diverse neighborhood and this ministry is taking off. They have rehabilitated the sanctuary that Lutheran partners offered and they have established themselves as the “heart of the community.” They describe themselves as “an open, creative refuge, respectful of all beliefs … that seeks to build community in service of Southeast Baltimore.  Through addressing wellness and environmental issues; nurturing arts and culture; enriching our common life together through faith, spirituality and doubt, Church on the Square seeks to be an inclusive home for you with Christ at its core.” https://www.churchonthesquarebaltimore.org/

“Hybrid” Ministry Starts

Latinos Pa’lante St. Mary’s Latino Ministry, Diocese of Massachusetts – $60,000

This will be a Latino Hispanic faith community, sponsored by St Mary’s Episcopal Church (Dorchester MA) and the Diocese. The ministry plan describes growing the Latino presence at St. Mary’s through starting an additional service in Spanish on Sundays; through consciously and intentionally connecting with the various ministries that currently work with and impact the lives of Latinos in Dorchester and through the expansion of their parish identity to include the wide-diversity of Latino identities.

The Divine Office, Diocese of Los Angeles – $40,000

The Divine Office (TDO) is an ecumenical sacred co-working community for young adults who work independently, especially spiritual seekers and those who self-identify as “spiritual not religious.” TDO integrates spiritual practices of monastic communities with the secular phenomenon of creative co-work spaces, becoming a day monastery of sorts for freelancers, entrepreneurs and remote workers. TDO will be located on the campus of St. Augustine by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Santa Monica, on the far west side of Los Angeles, a downtown neighborhood of office, retail and apartment buildings where virtually all coffee shop seats fill up by 8 am with freelancers working on their laptops. In this bustling landscape, TDO will offer the sanctuary of a supportive community, rooted in Christ, a place to settle into a rule of life with the rhythm of daily prayer, meditation and worship punctuating the beginning, middle and end of the workday. TDO will be a community where young adults can forge relationships, discover and nurture their faith and explore how their spiritual and vocational lives inform one another and feed into all aspects of their lives.

Mission Enterprise Zones

St. Luke’s Ministry Interns, Diocese of Olympia – $20,000

This will be a residential community of graduate level theology and psychology interns focused on contextualized ministry in a church and neighborhood with a significant population of hungry and unsheltered folks. This ministry will host experiential learning ventures in a diverse, urban and rapidly changing environment. Their ministries will be focused on the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle; the congregation reflects the significant diversity of the neighborhood in income, ethnic make-up and age. Their meals program “Edible Hope” offers ministry with their non-white neighbors, of all ages. Their resident interns serve as a bridge between the worlds of residents and the worlds of the homeless.

Between the Ridges, Diocese of Spokane – $20,000

Between the Ridges will coordinate a new monthly worship service at Noah’s Ark Homeless Shelter in Wapato, WA on the Yakima Reservation in central Washington. This new worship service will be shepherded by Episcopal volunteers, as well as a diversity of ecumenical partners who support Noah’s Ark, with the goal of developing leadership among the homeless. These leaders in formation will become the core of the worshipping community. Radical hospitality – a central value of Noah’s Ark Homeless Shelter – will help to shape the liturgy which will evolve through reflection on their practice, over time. They seek to reimagine a worshipping community that moves beyond the privileged welcoming people to “our” community, to forming a new community on the margins, in which we all together receive the welcome of Jesus.

The Center for Mission and Ministry at St. Paul’s, Diocese of Kansas – $20,000

The Center for Mission and Ministry will be a dynamic association of ministries united under one roof, sharing a common vision, congruent values, and practical resources to holistically engage their neighbors in body, mind, and spirit. This Kansas City ministry unites three Episcopal institutions in one location: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, a 160-year-old Episcopal parish providing opportunities in English and Spanish for Christian formation, worship and service; Episcopal Community Services, leading hunger relief and anti-poverty efforts for the Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Kansas and West Missouri; and St. Francis Community Services, dedicated to the needs of children, youth and families through advocacy, programs, and services. This strategic partnership will offer worship in English and Spanish, a co-operative food pantry, daily meal service integrating healthy eating and healthy lifestyle protocols, nutrition and cooking classes, a community garden, a Youth After-School Program incorporating life and job skills training, Yoga, ESL, Zumba, and 12-step programs.

Franklinton Cycleworks, Diocese of Southern Ohio – $20,000

Franklinton Cycleworks (FCW) was born in response to a material need within the community of Franklinton, OH as well as a shared longing for connectedness. The leaders are helping people overcome transportation barriers by helping them fix and maintain their bicycles; teaching bike maintenance skills in the process. Many of the shop patrons have become volunteers themselves and now assist and teach others. While many of their patrons and volunteers are residents of Franklinton (a downtown neighborhood of Columbus, OH), others come from elsewhere and from different backgrounds. It’s therefore not uncommon to see a homeless man teach a middle-class college student how to fix a flat or a jobless addict be greeted by a business CEO with dignity and respect. FCW seeks to nourish this growing sense of community and fully live into their calling as a sacred front porch or Third Place for the neighborhood.

Proyecto para una panadería y pastelería, Diocese of Ecuador – $20,000

This new ministry will offer healing and hope to their community by founding a bakery at the back of their church. They will sell a variety of baked goods and other products but they will freely share the Gospel. As bread is a dietary staple in the Ecuadoran diet and as good bread is in great demand, this initiative will also offer work for the young people and women attending the church as well as those yet unemployed. Many of these families had to move from Emeraldas to this Guayaquil neighborhood, following the earthquake and the destruction of their homes in April 2016.

Discernment grants (offered to assist with the costs of developing a solid ministry plan that we might fund in the next triennium)

Two new Latino Hispanic Church Starts, Diocese of Dallas – $5,000

This is to discern the possibility of two Latino Hispanic church plants in the Diocese of Dallas.

Christ Church Bayfield, Diocese of Eau Claire – $3,000

This is an opportunity to partner with the Diocese of Eau Claire and with Native American Ministries. This discernment grant is to assist with the assessment, training, and coaching of leadership in the re-start of a church in Bayfield, WI adjacent to the Redcliffe Reservation.

Diocese of Newark – $5000 discernment grant

In support of the Diocese of Newark as they plan to develop a new faith community. We intend for this grant to offset the costs of training and consulting for the leaders of this new church start.

Diocese of Olympia – $3000 discernment grant

In support the Diocese of Olympia as it plans to develop a new faith community. We intend for this grant to offset the costs of training and consulting for the leaders of this new church start.

Diocese of Iowa – $5000 discernment grant

In support of the Diocese of Iowa as it develops a new faith community focused on racial reconciliation. We intend for this grant to offset the costs of training and consulting for the leaders of this new initiative.

Diocese of Arkansas – $5000 discernment grant

In support of the Diocese of Arkansas as they plant a new church focused on local food and farming. We intend for this grant to offset the costs of training and consulting for the leaders of this new initiative.

For more information contact Brackett at tbrackett@episcopalchurch.org.

At its October 2016 meeting, Executive Council approved the first round of grants totaling $1,797,000 for church planting and Mission Enterprise Zones, funding 34 new communities and initiatives.

Clifton Daniel appointed interim dean of St. John the Divine Cathedral

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 12:10pm

[St. John the Divine Cathedral press release] Episcopal Diocese of New York Andrew M.L. Dietsche and Bruce Macleod, president, Board of Trustees, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, have announced the appointment of the Rt. Rev. Clifton “Dan” Daniel III as interim dean of the cathedral, effective March 15.

Daniel, who is currently the chairman of the Board of Trustees of General Theological Seminary in New York, most recently served as provisional bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

In describing his life’s work that now has brought him to the cathedral, Daniel said, “I have served for 45 years as deacon, priest and bishop. In those years, I have served in settings ranging from rural to metropolitan. One thing I have learned is that people (including me) and communities are hungry to hear the liberating story of Jesus; hungry to receive the healing and reconciling medicine of the Gospel in the midst of busyness, fragmentation, division and dissension. Even the busiest of us can hear the Lord in quietness … if we seek to learn to be quiet.”

Dietsche, in making the announcement, expressed his gratitude in welcoming  Daniel, with all the experience and passion he brings with him, to the cathedral and the New York diocesan community. Daniel, who will be moving to the close with his wife, Anne, looks forward to spending the next chapter of his life at the cathedral.

Daniel said, “I look forward to working with Dean Kowalski during the transition over the next several months. I know I will value his guidance as we continue the important work of this extraordinary community.”

As well as appreciating the many opportunities for service and celebration to be found here, Daniel and his wife are pleased to be closer to their three daughters and four grandchildren, who all live in New York.

Dietsche and Macleod, with the Cathedral Board of Trustees, will establish a search committee in the next few months to identify a permanent new dean. The search is expected to conclude by the end of 2018.

House of Bishops Spring 2017 meeting: Video Daily Account for March 12

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 12:00pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Bishop Ian Douglas of Connecticut, left, and Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple of North Carolina offer insights on the third day of the House of Bishops meeting, March 12, at Kanuga Conference Center in North Carolina.


Bells of cathedral in Northern Ireland to ring out in solidarity with refugees

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 11:48am

[Anglican Communion News Service] The bells of St. Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, will be ring on March 19 to signal solidarity with immigrants. Taking place at 11:05 a.m. as morning service begins, the peal of 10 bells will ring out following an invitation to the dean and bellringers of St. Macartin’s Cathedral from the Dean of Waterford.

Full article.

Anglicans, Lutherans mark the Reformation’s 500th anniversary with biblical reflections

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 10:51am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Anglicans and Lutherans from around the world have prepared 42 biblical reflections which are suitable for a Lenten study program, to mark together the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Full article.

Video: Bishops reflect on Native Nations Rise march and rally in Washington

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 3:20pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Bishops Carol Gallagher, Mark Lattime, John Tarrant and David Bailey present their thoughts about the March 9 Standing As Stone Prayer Service at Washington National Cathedral and the March 10 Native Nations March in Washington, D.C. The four spoke at Kanuga Cmp and Conference Center outside Hendersonville, North Carolina.


House of Bishops Spring 2017 meeting: Video Daily Account for March 11

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 10:27am

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Bishop Prince Singh of the Diocese of Rochester, left,  and Bishop William Franklin of the Diocese of Western New York reflect on the second day of the Spring House of Bishops, March 11, at Kanuga Conference Center in North Carolina.


House of Bishops Spring 2017 meeting: Video Daily Account for March 10

Sat, 03/11/2017 - 11:35am

[Episcopal Church Office of Publis Affairs press release] Bishop Eugene Sutton of the Diocese of Maryland, left,  and Bishop Todd Ousley of the Diocese of East Michigan reflect on the first day of the Spring House of Bishops, March 10, at Kanuga Conference Center in North Carolina.


Episcopalians join ‘Native Nations’ to protest pipeline in nation’s capital

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 6:08pm

Hundreds if not thousands filled the streets of Washington, D.C., for the March 10 Native Nations Rise demonstration and rally. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Editor’s note: A photo gallery is here.

[Episcopal News Service – Washington, D.C.] Episcopalians and other people of faith who marched through a cold rain here March 10 in the Native Nations Rise demonstration and rally did so as part of a traditional pattern of prayer, then action.

North Dakota Bishop Michael Smith, who grew up in Oklahoma and is an enrolled Potowatomi, opened the March 9 Standing as Stone service at Washington National Cathedral. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

North Dakota Bishop Michael Smith opened a nearly two-hour prayer service March 9 at Washington National Cathedral on the eve of the march outlining the pattern. “For people of faith, working for justice includes both prayer and action. We pray and then we act, and then we pray again and we act, and we pray again and we act until the Creator God, who has made all that is, brings about that for which we work,” said Smith, an enrolled member of the Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma. “Tonight we pray; tomorrow we act.”

The next day, the Rev. Phyllis Manoogian, a deacon and Diocese of California missioner to Guatemala, wore a bright orange poncho to shield from the icy rain that fell as the march stepped off from in front of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ headquarters. She traveled to Washington, D.C., from the rural village near Antigua where she teaches indigenous women and their children, she said, because standing with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation epitomizes the call of the Jesus Movement.

“I think the Episcopal Church has been on the tail end of many social issues, and I think it’s important that we step up and be leaders, not followers,” she said as the protesters rounded the corner near the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters and moved down the block to pause outside of the new Trump International Hotel. “It’s part of the Christian ethos to care for others and to be good stewards of the Earth, and to love our neighbor.”

The march and rally drew hundreds of people from Arizona, New Mexico, Illinois and New York, as well as the Dakotas. As native protesters and their allies marched through downtown Washington, D.C., Energy Transfer Partners was at work back in North Dakota. Bolstered by a favorable court ruling on March 7, the company is planning to start pumping oil next week through the last section of the 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline. It recently punched that section under the Lake Oahe section of the Missouri River a half-mile off the Standing Rock Reservation.

A large Episcopal contingent joined the march in D.C. Lay people, priests and seminarians from nearby Virginia Theological Seminary carried signs and joined in call-and-response shouts proclaiming that they stand with Standing Rock and that children cannot drink oil.

The group included bishops with indigenous roots or ministry with indigenous peoples. In addition to Smith, Diocese of South Dakota Bishop John Tarrant, Diocese of Montana Assistant Bishop Carol Gallagher, Diocese of Navajoland Bishop David Bailey and Diocese of Alaska Bishop Mark Lattime marched.

Episcopalians, from left, Joshua Floberg, the Rev. Lauren Stanley, the Rev. Phyllis Manoogian, the Rev. John Floberg and John Michael Floberg carry the Episcopal flag during the March 10 Native Nations Rise demonstration and rally. Photo courtesy of Lauren Stanley

The 2-mile route ended in Lafayette Square across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. Opponents stood in the street under the watchful but non-interfering eyes of the police. At least two black-clothed people watched the crowd from the White House roof.

As speakers voiced opposition to the pipeline at the rally, the Rev. Cornelia Eaton, a Navajoland deacon who is in her second year at VTS, said that the Baptismal Covenant makes protecting water an essential job for Episcopalians.

“[The Baptismal Covenant] speaks to the spirit of who we are and how God has called us into living in this place of brokenness and challenges,” she said.

Episcopalians and indigenous people need to continue building relationships so that they begin to learn about each other and move into what her culture calls the “harmony way, the blessing way” of living with each other and the world, she said. “I believe that’s what God calls us to be and to become. That’s God’s desire for God’s people.”

The pipeline is poised to carry up to 470,000 barrels of oil a day from the Bakken oil field in northwestern North Dakota – through South Dakota and Iowa – to Illinois, for shipping to refineries. 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. Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners says it will be safer and better than transporting oil by truck or railcar.

On Feb. 8, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages parts of the Missouri River and the surrounding land, gave Energy Transfer Partners permission to drill the pipeline’s final stretch. Permission came at the prompting of President Donald Trump who, in one of his first presidential actions, told the Corps to move the pipeline forward.

Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on March 7 rejected a tribal request to stop construction temporarily of the last section of the pipeline on religious grounds. Now, the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes must wait for Boasberg to rule on the substance of their lawsuit, a ruling that may not come until April.

The Standing Rock Sioux Nation, the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Native Organizers Alliance organized the Native Nations Rise march and the activities that preceded it. Those activities included a March 9-10 encampment of teepees in the shadow of the Washington Monument with speakers and cultural workshops, and the ecumenical and interfaith “Standing as Stone: Indigenous Nations and Allies Gather at the Washington National Cathedral” service the evening of March 9. Solidarity events happened around the country.

Some of the many Episcopalians who attended the March 10 Native Nations Rise demonstration and rally pose in Lafayette Square across from the White House. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The Roman Catholics, Episcopalians and members from at least 11 Protestant denominations and affiliated groups supported the march and rally. Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II asked the Rev. John Floberg, priest-in-charge of Episcopal congregations on the North Dakota side of Standing Rock, to lead the religious community’s solidarity activities.

The Episcopal Church has advocated with the Sioux Nation against the Dakota Access Pipeline’s route since summer 2016. Local Episcopalians have also provided a ministry of presence in and around Cannon Ball, North Dakota, the focal point for groups of “water protectors,” or pipeline opponents, that gathered near the Lake Oahe crossing. Those gatherings drew together members of close to 300 tribes in an unprecedented show of unity that resurrected the indigenous rights movement in the United States.

Organizers had three goals for this week’s events. The first was that Trump meet with tribal leaders to hear why the U.S. government must respect tribal rights. The second was to make the point that tribes must give their consent to such infrastructure developments as the Dakota Access Pipeline. Consultation with developers and government officials is not enough, they said. The third goal was to have a strong turnout of tribes and their allies in a show of support for tribal sovereignty aimed at protecting their homelands and the environment for future generations.

Two men in a group of drummers and singers from the Standing Rock Sioux Nation participate in the “Standing as Stone: Indigenous Nations and Allies Gather at the Washington National Cathedral” service. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The night before the march, indigenous drumming and song filled Washington National Cathedral, and the smell of sweetgrass smudging hung in the air throughout the prayer service.

The service symbolized Christian churches’ efforts to reconcile with native people, said the Rev. Brandon Mauai, a deacon in the Diocese of North Dakota and former member of the Episcopal Church Executive Council.

“Every denomination has shown some support in trying to reconcile with the people,” he said, adding that activism surrounding the pipeline has spurred those efforts.

“That’s the direction that we — the church — need to continue going in” and indigenous people need to work with the churches’ intentions, he said. “We — the church — will continue to work for the rights of the people, the original people of this land, for the rights of all people.”

Balancing Sioux spiritual traditions with those of the church are always hard, Mauai acknowledged.

He said he has been on both sides, witnessing the trauma inflicted on indigenous people in the name of spreading Christianity and then serving on church governing bodies trying to decide best how to reconcile with those harmed by that legacy.

Worshippers experienced the embodiment of part of the Episcopal Church’s long association with the Sioux nations in the person of Faith Spotted Eagle, a relative of Vine Deloria Sr., a Standing Rock Sioux and the first tribal member ordained an Episcopal priest, and his son, Vine Jr., a noted theologian and author ofCuster Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto.” Until that day Spotted Eagle had only heard of but never seen the statue of the elder Deloria, who is one of only three Americans included in the reredos of the cathedral’s high altar.

When the Episcopalians first came to the Sioux reservations, Spotted Eagle told the congregation, the native people recognized some commonality because both they and the Episcopalians appreciated ceremony. In the Episcopal Church, she said, the Sioux found they could have the spiritual practice to stand alongside their traditional beliefs and practices; beliefs and practices that had gone underground when some Christians forced them to choose between the two.

“Our ancestors have done some work together,” said Spotted Eagle, to bring together native people and their allies. “I’m sure that the ancestors are going to be celebrating” as they see people marching together through the streets of the capital.

The entire service is viewable below. The actual service begins at the 1-hour, 40-minute, 21-second mark.

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

Scenes: Episcopalians join Native Nations Rise march and rally

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 4:29pm

[Episcopal News Service — Washington, D.C.] The Episcopal Church has advocated with the Sioux Nation against the Dakota Access Pipeline’s route since summer 2016.  A number of lay and ordained Episcopalians came to Washington, D.C., for all or part of the March 7-10 Native Nations Rise events. Below are some scenes from the March 9 “Standing As Stone: Indigenous Nations and Allies Gather in the Washington National Cathedral” and the march and rally on March 10. Other Episcopal News Service coverage is here.

An icy rain fell on the start of the March 10 Native Nations Rise demonstration and rally in Washington, D.C., but the sun was out by the time the marchers reached Lafayette Square across from the White House two hours later. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The Rev. Peter Stebinger, left, and the Rev. Matthew Lindeman, both of Connecticut, came to Washington, D.C., for the March 10 Native Nations Rise demonstration and rally. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The Rev. Leon Sampson from the Diocese of Navajoland holds a sign as he marches during the March 10 Native Nations Rise demonstration and rally. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The Rev. John Floberg wears an Episcopal flag around his shoulders as he marches during the March 10 Native Nations Rise demonstration and rally. Photo: Lauren Stanley

Marchers in the March 10 Native Nations Rise demonstration and rally in Washington, D.C. pause outside the new Trump International Hotel. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Diocese of Montana Assistant Bishop Carol Gallagher (green jacket) and her daughter, Emily, right, help bring one of two “black snakes” from outside the White House into Lafayette Square at the end of the March 10 Native Nations Rise demonstration and rally. Dakota Access Pipeline opponents have referred to the oil pipeline as the “Black Snake.” Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The 2-mile “Native Nations March on DC” led participants from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ office on G Street N.W. to a rally in Lafayette Square near the White House. Graphic: Nativenationsrise.org

Crucifer Joshua Floberg and torchbearers John Michael Floberg, left, and Innocent Mauai wait to lead the procession into the March 9 “Standing as Stone: Indigenous Nations and Allies Gather at the Washington National Cathedral.” Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

A group of drummers and singers from the Standing Rock Sioux Nation participate in the Standing as Stone service. Washington National Cathedral Dean Randolph “Randy” Marshall Hollerith stands in the background. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Standing Rock resident and artist Dakota Goodhouse plays the flute as an offering during the Standing as Stone service. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Washington National Cathedral and the worshipers present were smudged March 9 before prayers during the Standing as Stone service. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Six teepees, erected by Native Nations Rise, sit on the northwest grounds below the Washington Monument. The March 7-10 symbolic encampment (there was no overnight sleeping) featured cultural presentations and speakers. The White House is about two blocks from the upper left of the photo. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

People wandered through the encampment, some greeting friends while tourist took selfies and wondered what the teepees meant. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Mni Wiconi, Water is Life, has been the motto of the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline whose route now passes a half mile north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service