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Prayers after man shot and killed outside Anglican church in Mississauga, Ontario

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 1:17pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A territorial dispute between rival biker gangs appears to have been behind a fatal shooting outside an Anglican Church in Mississauga, Ontario. Paramedics and heavily armed police were deployed to the scene after reports of gunfire at 11:20 a.m. Eastern time on March 11. A 32-year-old man was taken to hospital where he died from his injuries. “Today very close to our home someone lost his life due to tragic and senseless gun violence,” the St John the Baptist Anglican Church – known as Dixie – said on its Facebook page. “We pray for the victim, and also for his family as they come to terms with his demise.”

Read the full article here.

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Queen Elizabeth attends Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 1:13pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Senior members of Britain’s royal family, led by Queen Elizabeth II, attended the annual Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey on March 11. The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states, all of whom were represented at the service. The Commonwealth traces its origins to the former British Empire and much of its territory is mirrored by the Anglican Communion. Clergy and faith leaders from across the Commonwealth were present and active during the service.

Read the full article here.

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WCC environment specialist among 157 killed in Ethiopian Airlines’ crash

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 1:06pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] An environment expert employed by the World Council of Churches, Norman Tendis, was amongst 157 people who were killed on March 10 when an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed shortly after take-off. Flight ET302 came down near Tulu Fara near Bishoftu, southeast of Bole International Airport from which it had taken off six minutes earlier. Aviation authorities around the world are grounding flights of the same Boeing 737 MAX 8 airliner following the crash – the second involving the same Boeing model since it came into service in 2017.

Read the full article here.

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Linda Chisholm, Anglican educational network founder, honored with distinguished fellowship

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 2:14pm

[Anglican Communion News Service]The founder of the official Anglican Communion network Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion, Linda Chisholm, has been awarded the organization’s third distinguished fellowship. The network brings together further and higher education institutions from across the Anglican Communion. It was launched in Canterbury Cathedral in 1993, with Chisholm as its first general secretary. The honorary Distinguished Fellowship of the Colleges & Universities of the Anglican Communion is awarded to “individuals who model exceptional and active service to Anglican higher education globally.”

Read the full article here.

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Fereimi Cama ordained and installed as bishop of Polynesia and primate of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 2:10pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The first Fijian chosen to lead the Diocese of Polynesia in its 110-year history, Fereimi Cama, was consecrated and installed on March 10. In addition to being bishop of the diocese he is now also one of three equal-status archbishops and primates of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. Around 2,000 people were at Suva’s Holy Trinity Cathedral to witness his ordination as the seventh bishop of Polynesia and his consequent recognition as archbishop.

Read the full article here.

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La Iglesia cubana celebra 110 años y su ultimo sínodo antes de reintegrarse a la Iglesia Episcopal

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 11:32am

Clérigos de la Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba e invitados se reúnen fuera de la catedral de la Santísima Trinidad en La Habana, el 3 de marzo, luego de la eucaristía de clausura del 110º. Sínodo General. Lynette Wilson/ ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – La Habana, Cuba] La Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba celebró recientemente sus 110 años de historia durante su último sínodo como una diócesis autónoma antes de su reintegración oficial con la Iglesia Episcopal de EE.UU. en 2020.

“Durante 50 años la Iglesia Episcopal ha estado aislada”, dijo la obispa de Cuba Griselda Delgado del Carpio, en la clausura del Sínodo General , que se celebró del 28 de febrero al 3 de marzo en la catedral de la Santísima Trinidad. La Reintegración, dijo ella, “es una manera de ser parte de una gran familia”.

El firme liderazgo de Delgado impulsó la reintegración, dijo el arzobispo Fred Hiltz de la Iglesia Anglicana del Canadá, que preside el Consejo Metropolitano de Cuba. El Consejo ha supervisado la Iglesia cubana desde su separación de la Iglesia Episcopal a fines de la década del 60.

“Quiero expresarlo todo al decir que ella es una visionaria, una trabajadora tenaz”, dijo Hiltz, en una entrevista con Episcopal News Service. “Ella hará cualquier cosa para promover el interés, el bienestar y la capacidad de recursos en apoyo  del ministerio de esta Iglesia.  Ella es constante, ella persevera, y no siempre le ha resultado fácil.

La obispa de Cuba Griselda Delgado del Carpio y el arzobispo Fred Hiltz de la Iglesia Anglicana del Canadá fuera de la catedral de la Santísima Trinidad en La Habana, después de la eucaristía de apertura del 110º. Sínodo General el 28 de febrero. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS.

“No todo el mundo estaba entusiasmado con la idea de volver a la Iglesia Episcopal, pero ella persistió constantemente, se empeñó con el clero, con el laicado. Yo la observé preparándose para el sínodo especial del año pasado que decidiría a qué provincia habrían de pertenecer, y la manera cuidadosa en que ella se ocupó de que hubiera un diálogo en todo el ámbito de la Iglesia aquí en Cuba. [Los delegados] vinieron al sínodo con una decisión tomada y eso en un inmenso crédito para su estilo de liderazgo, organizado y focalizado, espiritualmente centrado”.

La Diócesis de Cuba está previsto que se incorpore a la II Provincia, que incluye las diócesis de Nueva York y Nueva Jersey en Estados Unidos, la Convocación de Iglesias Episcopales en Europa, Haití y las Islas Vírgenes.

La reintegración de la Iglesia cubana a la Iglesia Episcopal fue uno de los muchos temas que se debatieron durante el sínodo, el cual reunió a clérigos y laicos de todas partes de la isla.

“Estamos en verdad muy felices de recibir de nuevo a la Iglesia de Cuba en la Iglesia Episcopal; hay tanto que podemos aprender de su acercamiento creativo al ministerio y la misión”, dijo el Rdo. Charles Robertson, canónigo del Obispo Primado para el ministerio fuera de la Iglesia Episcopal.

El 10 de julio de 2018, la Cámara de Obispos aprobó por unanimidad, con el respaldo de la Cámara de Diputados,  readmitir a la Iglesia cubana como una diócesis [de la Iglesia Episcopal]. Las decisiones de la 79ª. Convención General aceleraron el proceso de reintegración  que se pusiera en marcha por primera vez hace cuatro años.

En marzo de 2015, dos meses después de que Estados Unidos y Cuba convinieran en restablecer relaciones diplomáticas luego de una ruptura de 54 años, el sínodo de la Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba aprobó con 39 votos a favor y 33 en contra regresar a su anterior afiliación con la Iglesia Episcopal. Ese verano, la 78ª. Convención General se pronunció a favor de relaciones más estrechas con la Iglesia cubana y por un levantamiento del embargo económico de Estados Unidos contra Cuba que ha estado en vigor durante varias décadas.

La obispa de Cuba, Griselda Delgado del Carpio, preside la procesión de salida el 28 de febrero luego de la eucaristía de apertura del 110º. Sínodo General de la Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS.

La Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba remonta sus orígenes a una presencia anglicana en la isla en 1871. En 1901, se convirtió en distrito misionero de la Iglesia Episcopal. Las dos iglesias se separaron en los años sesenta [del pasado siglo],  después de que Fidel Castro tomará el poder al triunfo de la evolución cubana de 1959 y de que las relaciones diplomáticas entre los dos países se desintegraran. La Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba ha funcionado como una diócesis autónoma de la Comunión Anglicana bajo la autoridad del Consejo Metropolitano de Cuba desde la separación en 1967. Los primados de las iglesias anglicanas del Canadá y las Antillas Británicas (West Indies) y de la Iglesia Episcopal integran el Consejo Metropolitano.

Este sínodo será la última vez que Hiltz, que ha presidido el Consejo Metropolitano durante 12 años y que está a punto de jubilarse este año,  asistiría.

“Es un poco emotivo para mí este sínodo, es mi último sínodo aquí como primado del Canadá y presidente del Consejo Metropolitano”, dijo él.

“Es una mezcla de emociones, gran alegría de que las cosas hayan llegado tan lejos. Me habría sentido realmente en una posición embarazosa si al terminar mi período como presidente del Consejo Metropolitano las cosas no hubieran llegado tan lejos en lo que se refiere a la reintegración”, dijo Hiltz. “Ha sido realmente estupendo observar el desenvolvimiento de ese proceso desde que comenzó en 2015. Estoy realmente feliz de ver que llega a su culminación y pensar que en el sínodo del año próximo vuestro Obispo Primado estará aquí, porque ellos a veces se refieren a mí como su primado. Y supongo que para todos los efectos y propósitos, yo lo he sido”.

El Rdo. John Kafwanka, director para la misión de la Comunión Anglicana, hizo una presentación acerca de la importancia de adiestrar a los cristianos para el ministerio en sus vidas diarias. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS.

Pendiente de la armonización de las constituciones y cánones de la [Iglesia] cubana y de la Iglesia Episcopal de EE.UU. y de la aprobación del Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal en marzo próximo, la Diócesis de Cuba celebrará su primera convención junto con una celebración y visita del obispo primado Michael Curry.

“Estamos profundamente agradecidos al arzobispo Hiltz, al Consejo Metropolitano (de Cuba) y a la Iglesia Anglicana del Canadá por sus años de fiel compañerismo y apoyo a la Iglesia en Cuba”, dijo Robertson.

Delgado fue instalada en noviembre de 2010. Antes de eso, el obispo Miguel Tamayo, de la Iglesia Anglicana del Uruguay, prestó servicios como obispo interino durante seis años, dividiendo su tiempo entre Montevideo y La Habana. Obispos de Puerto Rico y la República Dominicana también han desempeñado ese papel, tanto Puerto Rico como la República Dominicana son diócesis de la IX Provincia de la Iglesia Episcopal.

El 27 de febrero, la Iglesia Episcopal dio a conocer una campaña para recaudar fondos de pensiones para clérigos activos y jubilados. El salario promedio de un sacerdote en Cuba es de $55 al mes; el gobierno cubano no reconoce la actividad religiosa como un empleo, lo cual hace que los clérigos no tengan derecho a pensiones o a seguridad social del Estado. A lo largo de los últimos 50 años, los clérigos han tenido que prescindir de sus pensiones . El establecimiento de un sistema de pensiones les brinda alguna seguridad a clérigos que ahora pueden contar con la Iglesia en su ancianidad, explicó Delgado.

El Rdo. Charles Robertson, canónigo del Obispo Primado para el ministerio fuera de la Iglesia Episcopal, hizo una presentación el 2 de marzo sobre los próximos pasos a seguir en el proceso de reintegración durante el 110º. Sínodo General. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS.

La Iglesia cubana tiene 23 clérigos que atienden a 10.000 episcopales en 46 congregaciones y misiones a través de la isla. En el momento del anuncio oficial, la Iglesia Episcopal ya había recaudado más de la mitad de la suma objetivo de $800.000. El dinero, que será administrado por el Fondo de Pensiones de la Iglesia, viene a compensar la ausencia de contribuciones durante la separación y a remediar una injusticia.

“Esto es parte de la obra de reconciliación, unirnos por encima de las divisiones históricas. Esto no se trata sólo de una recaudación de fondos: es seguir a Jesús y encontrar nuestro mutuo camino de retorno”, dijo Curry en un comunicado de prensa.

Durante la reunión del Consejo Ejecutivo en febrero, Curry se refirió a la campaña de pensiones y al regreso de la Iglesia de Cuba a la Iglesia Episcopal como un acto de “reconciliación, no importa lo que hagan nuestros gobiernos”. El gobierno de Obama intentó abrir las relaciones entre los gobiernos estadounidense y cubano. Antes de la elección de Donald Trump, se distendieron las restricciones de viajes impuestas a ciudadanos estadounidenses. En 2017, Trump reimpuso las restricciones.

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

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California church embraces Congolese family as father seeks asylum, fights deportation

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 3:43pm

Constantin Bakala’s sons, from left, Daniel Bakala, Emmanuel Bakala and David Bakala, serve as acolytes at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in San Diego, California. Photo: Colin Mathewson

[Episcopal News Service] An Episcopal congregation in California is rallying behind the family of a Congolese asylum seeker as he fights to stay in the United States.

Constantin Bakala, 48, who is being held in federal detention, also longs to be reunited with his wife and seven children in San Diego, where the family has been welcomed into the congregation at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Some of the children, ages 6 to 17, have begun serving as acolytes and singing in the choir, the Rev. Colin Mathewson, the vicar, told Episcopal News Service.

“It’s just been a transformative experience,” Mathewson said, for him and his congregation.

The congregation, which he co-pastors with his wife, the Rev. Laurel Mathewson, is a mix of native-born Americans, Sudanese immigrant families and newer Congolese refugees. They rejoiced last week when Bakala won a stay of deportation while federal officials consider a request to reopen his asylum case, but he still could be sent back to Congo, where he fears he will be killed.

An update on #ConstantinBakala https://t.co/MYUZFh9a1O

— Kate Morrissey (@bgirledukate) March 2, 2019

Bakala’s supporters at St. Luke’s aren’t giving up on him.

“It really feels like a moment that God has invited us into, that we can say ‘no’ to or ‘yes’ to,” Mathewson said. “We said yes, and it’s really changed us.”

Bakala was aligned with an opposition political party in the Democratic Republic of Congo and fled with his family to escape the threat of persecution, Mathewson said. The family flew to Brazil and began making their way to San Diego, at one point nearly drowning in a boat off the coast of Nicaragua.

Constantin Bakala. Photo courtesy of Colin Mathewson

They arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, in November 2017 and requested asylum at the United States border, as prescribed by U.S. law. Bakala’s wife, Annie Bwetu Kapongo, was required to wear an ankle monitor so she could be released with her children while their cases are pending, but Bakala was separated from them and detained. Mathewson said Bakala represented himself in his asylum hearings, and the court rejected his asylum request and set him on the path to deportation.

He has spent the past 15 months behind bars at a series of detention facilities, including Georgia and Virginia, unable to see his family.

“Constantin’s heartbreaking case is one example of the extreme difficulties asylum seekers face in the U.S.,” said Lacy Bromel of the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations, which advised Mathewson on raising awareness of Bakala’s case. “Family separation, lack of legal support and detention are all too common when it comes to the experiences of those who are applying for asylum protections.

“In the Office of Government Relations, we advocate to the U.S. government to keep families together, increase access to legal representation, and for alternatives to detention and we urge the church to advocate for those systematic changes as well.”

Such issues weren’t on the radar of the congregation of St. Luke’s when the Mathewsons first learned about Bakala’s plight. Their Congolese parishioners primarily are refugees, not asylum seekers, who had immigrated from a camp in Tanzania and speak a different tribal language from the one spoken by the Bakalas.

A bit of chance brought the Bakalas to St. Luke’s. One member of the congregation teaches English-as-a-second-language classes for refugees, and one of his students accepted an invitation to attend worship services at St. Luke’s, which typically draw about 125 people on Sundays. That woman knew Kapongo, Bakala’s wife, through a mutual babysitter and invited her to St. Luke’s as well, in July 2018.

In conversation with the family, the Mathewsons soon learned about Bakala’s deportation case, and within a week, they were able to find an attorney willing to represent Bakala pro bono.

“In a lot of ways, it was legally too late,” Colin Mathewson said, because the court already had ruled against Bakala’s asylum request. His remaining hope is to submit new evidence on appeal. Bakala fears for his life, Mathewson said, “but the hard part is you have to prove it.”

Hope was running out last month with a deadline looming for his deportation. On Feb. 22, Bakala was granted an emergency stay of deportation, but only for one week, buying his attorney time to press for a longer stay.

At the same time, St. Luke’s was mobilizing an awareness campaign that caught the attention of local media, which featured Bakala’s case in several news reports. Hundreds of people signed a petition opposing for Bakala’s deportation, and the congregation raised about $5,000 to support his family.

Then, on March 1, the family received the good news. The U.S. Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals granted another stay. It doesn’t save Bakala from deportation, Mathewson said, but he will remain in the United States at least another few months while the motion to reopen his case is reviewed.

Kapongo expressed gratitude last week to everyone who has stepped forward to help her family while her husband is in detention.

“I feel at ease when I see you helping and supporting me,” she said in French at a demonstration at the federal building in San Diego, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Without them, I would still be sad at the house.” She and her children are due at a hearing in September on their requests for asylum.

NEXT on @KPBSnews #EveningEdition -Time is running out for a father of 7, who may be deported back to the Democratic Republic of Congo. After she survived torture, poison and dangerous journey to the US, Annie Bwetu Kapongo made a public plea to save her husband #ConstantinBakala pic.twitter.com/E0juKJuRat

— Kris Vera-Phillips (@queenkv) February 28, 2019

At this point, the congregation wouldn’t think of turning its back on the family, Mathewson said.

“They are a part of our church, so it’s not some partisan issue,” Mathewson said. “We’re family, and let’s do what we can to take care of each other, to stand up for each other.”

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

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Bishop Samuel Peni chosen as next archbishop of Western Equatoria in South Sudan

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 12:21pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Bishop of Nzara, Samuel Peni, has been elected Bishop of Yambio and Archbishop of the Church of South Sudan’s Internal Province of Western Equatoria. He will be installed into both new roles on March 10 to succeed Archbishop Peter Munde Yacob, who was also the provincial dean. Archbishop Peter died in October last year after a short illness.

Read the entire article here.

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Environment Network calls on Anglicans around the world to use less plastic

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 12:19pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Communion’s Environment Network (ACEN) is encouraging Anglicans to reduce their use of plastic in Lent. Organizers hope that those taking part in the “plastic fast” will learn to use less plastic in the longer term in order to protect the earth’s environment. The Environmental Co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Canon Rachel Mash, said that that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. “Plastic is already entering into our drinking water”, she said. “Plastic clogs our rivers, leaches into our soil and is one of the greatest challenges the planet faces.”

Read the entire article here.

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Cuban church celebrates 110 years, its final synod before Episcopal Church reintegration

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 12:04pm

Episcopal Church of Cuba clergy and guests gather with Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio outside Holy Trinity Cathedral in Havana following the March 3 closing Eucharist of the 110th General Synod. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Havana, Cuba] The Episcopal Church of Cuba recently celebrated its 110-year history during its final synod as an autonomous diocese in anticipation of its official reintegration with the U.S.-based Episcopal Church in 2020.

“For 50 years the Episcopal Church has been isolated,” said Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio, at the close of the Feb. 28- March 3 General Synod held at Holy Trinity Cathedral. Reintegration, she said, “is a way to be part of a big family.”

Delgado’s strong leadership drove the reintegration, said Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada, who serves as chair of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba. The council has overseen the Cuban church since its separation from The Episcopal Church in the late 1960s.

Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio and Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada outside Holy Trinity Cathedral in Havana, Cuba, following the opening Eucharist of the 110th General Synod on Feb. 28. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

“I mean every word when I say, she’s a visionary, she’s a hard worker,” said Hiltz, in an interview with Episcopal News Service. “She will do anything to promote the interest, wellbeing and resource capacity to support the ministry of this church. She’s steadfast, she perseveres, and it’s not always been easy for her.

“Not everybody was thrilled with the idea of returning to The Episcopal Church, but she just plodded along consistently, she’s worked with the clergy, the laity. I watched her prepare for the special synod last year to decide what province they would belong to, and just the careful way she made sure there was conversation all the way across the church here in Cuba. They came into the synod with the decision and that’s a huge credit to her style, organized and focused, spiritually-centered leadership.”

The Diocese of Cuba is set to join Province II, which includes dioceses from New York and New Jersey in the United States, the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, Haiti and the Virgin Islands.

The Cuban church’s reintegration with The Episcopal Church was one of many topics discussed during the synod, which brought together clergy and laity from across the island.

“We are indeed so happy to welcome the Church in Cuba back into The Episcopal Church; there is so much that we can learn from their creative approach to ministry and mission,” said the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond The Episcopal Church.

The House of Bishops on July 10, 2018, voted unanimously to readmit the Cuban church as a diocese with the House Deputies concurring. The actions of the 79th General Convention accelerated the reintegration process first set in motion four years ago.

Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio leads the recessional following the Feb. 28 Eucharist opening the Episcopal Church of Cuba’s 110th General Synod. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

In March 2015, two months after the United States and Cuba agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations following a 54-year breach, the Episcopal Church of Cuba’s synod voted 39 to 33 in favor of returning to the church’s former affiliation with The Episcopal Church. That summer, the 78th General Convention called for closer relations with the Cuban church and a lifting of the decades-long U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.

The Rev. John Kafwanka, the Anglican Communion’s director for mission, gave a presentation about the importance of training Christians for ministry in their everyday lives. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

The Episcopal Church of Cuba traces its origins back to an Anglican presence that began on the island in 1871. In 1901, it became a missionary district of The Episcopal Church. The two churches separated in the 1960s, after Fidel Castro seized power following the 1959 Cuban Revolution and diplomatic relations between the two countries disintegrated. The Episcopal Church of Cuba has functioned as an autonomous diocese of the Anglican Communion under the authority of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba since the separation in 1967. The primates of the Anglican churches of Canada and the West Indies and The Episcopal Church chair the Metropolitan Council.

The synod marked the final time Hiltz, who has served as the chair of the Metropolitan Council for 12 years and is set to retire later this year, would attend.

“It’s a bit emotional for me this synod, it is my last synod here as the primate of Canada and the chair of the Metropolitan Council,” he said.

“It’s mixed emotions, great joy that things have come thus far. I would have felt really awkward ending my time as the chair of the Metropolitan Council if things hadn’t been as far along in terms of the reintegration,” said Hiltz. “It’s been just really wonderful to watch that process unfold since 2015. I’m really happy to see it coming to fruition and to think that next year’s synod, their presiding bishop will be here because they have sometimes spoken of me as their primate. And I guess for all intents and purposes I have been.”

Pending alignment of the Cuban and the U.S.-based Episcopal Church’s constitutions and canons and sign off from the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, next March, the Diocese of Cuba will hold its first convention along with a celebration and visit from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

The Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond The Episcopal Church, gave a presentation on March 2 about next steps in the process of reintegration during the 110th General Synod. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

“We are deeply thankful to Archbishop Hiltz, to the Metropolitan Council (of Cuba) and the Anglican Church of Canada for their years of faithful partnership and support to the church in Cuba,” said Robertson.

Delgado was installed in November 2010. Prior to that, Bishop Miguel Tamayo of the Anglican Church of Uruguay served the church as an interim bishop for six years, splitting his time between Montevideo and Havana. Bishops from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic have also served in that role, both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are Episcopal Church dioceses in Province IX.

On Feb. 27, The Episcopal Church announced a campaign to raise pension funds for retired and active clergy. The average priest’s salary in Cuba is $55 per month; the Cuban government doesn’t recognize religious employment, rendering clergy ineligible for state pensions or social security. Over the last 50 years, clergy have had to forgo pensions. The establishment of a pension system provides some security to clergy who can now rely on the church into old age, said Delgado.

The Cuban church has 23 clergy members serving 10,000 Episcopalians in 46 congregations and missions across the island. At the time of the official announcement, the Episcopal Church already had raised more than half of the targeted, one-time amount of $800,000. The money, to be managed by the Church Pension Fund, makes up for the absence of contributions during the separation and addresses an injustice.

“This is part of the work of reconciliation, bringing us together across historic divides. This is not just fundraising; it’s following Jesus and finding our way back to each other,” said Curry, in a press release.

During the church’s February Executive Council meeting, Curry referred to the pensions campaign and the Church of Cuba’s return to The Episcopal Church as an act of “reconciliation no matter what our governments do.” The Obama administration attempted to open relations between the U.S. and Cuban governments; before President Donald Trump’s election, travel restrictions imposed on American citizens were relaxed. In 2017, Trump restored the restrictions.

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

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Anglicans welcome International Women’s Day campaign theme of gender balance

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 1:56pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The International Anglican Women’s Network Steering Group has issued a statement in advance of International Women’s Day on March 8, welcoming its theme of gender balance.

“Gender balance is essential for all communities to thrive,” the statement says. “The Anglican Communion is no exception.” The subtitle for this year’s celebration is #BalanceforBetter, and it has been designed to promote gender balance across all of life, including boardrooms, government, media, employment, wealth distribution and sports coverage.

Read the full article here.

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Police recover skull of ‘The Crusader’ stolen from Dublin church

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 1:53pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The police service in the Republic of Ireland has recovered the mummified head of The Crusader, which had been stolen from the crypt of a Dublin church last month. The head, along with another skull, were taken from the crypt of St Michan’s Church in Dublin over the weekend of Feb. 23 to 25. This week a police spokesperson said that “the items were recovered as a result of information that came into the possession of the investigating [police].”

Read the full article here.

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Tributes paid following death of former Archbishop of York John Habgood

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 1:50pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of York John Sentamu has led tributes to one of his predecessors, Lord John Habgood, who died March 6. He was 91. The scientist and theologian – he attained a double first in natural sciences at Cambridge University – was serving as bishop of Durham when he was appointed archbishop of York in 1983. He held the post until his retirement in 1995 and was appointed to the House of Lords as a Crossbench (independent) Peer in his own right. He had previously been a member as bishop of Durham and archbishop of York.

Read the full article here.

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Home sought for buffalo hide symbolizing church’s commitment to indigenous ministries

Wed, 03/06/2019 - 1:46pm

[Episcopal News Service] The buffalo hide once on display at the Episcopal Church Center in New York is an imposing artifact, expansive enough to encompass native culture, artistic symbolism, bonds of faith, 400 years of American history and a decade-old connection between a presiding bishop and a Hawaiian Episcopal leader.

The hide also is in need of a new home, displaced by construction to accommodate a new tenant in part of the Episcopal Church Center.

“The concern is that it not end up in a place where it would [be] forgotten,” said the Rev. Brad Hauff, The Episcopal Church’s missioner for indigenous ministries. He’s “pursuing a number of possibilities” for relocating the painted buffalo hide.

That search for a new home comes as Episcopalians mourn the January death of the Rev. Malcolm Chun, the native Hawaiian who offered the hide as a gift in then-Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in 2008, when Chun was secretary general of the Anglican Indigenous Network. Chun, whose funeral was Feb. 23, saw the hide as a symbol of the early English settlers’ colonial-era commitment to bringing Christianity to America’s native tribes, the Rev. Robert Two Bulls Jr. told Episcopal News Service.

“Malcolm … was really just a big supporter of the Jamestown Covenant,” said Two Bulls, who serves the Episcopal Church in Minnesota as missioner for the Department of Indian Work and who also was the artist who painted the buffalo hide at Chun’s request.

This buffalo hide was painted by the Rev. Two Bulls Jr. to replicate the design of Powhatan’s Mantel, a 400-year-old relic made from deer skins and shell beadwork. Photo: Geoffrey Smith

Chun’s vision was to replicate Powhatan’s Mantle, said to have belonged to the chief who first welcomed the Jamestown settlers in 1607 in what today is Virginia. “I think this was his way of still keeping that connection alive,” Two Bulls said.

The first Jamestown Covenant was a double-edged sword. For more than two centuries, America’s native peoples suffered a prolonged genocide at the hands of British colonists and their descendants, who saw the American Indians as “savages.” But those colonists also brought with them a mandate from King James I to preach the Christian Gospel to all they encountered in this “new world.”

“Thus the Anglican commitment to preach and plant the true word of God among the American Indians was firmly established with the first permanent English settlement in America,” Owanah Anderson wrote in her 1988 book “Jamestown Commitment.” Anderson, who served as the church’s missioner for Native American and indigenous ministries, noted the most prominent early convert was Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahantas, who was baptized while “being held hostage aboard an English ship at anchor in the James river.”

The church’s commitment was renewed nearly 400 years later with the singing of the New Jamestown Covenant in 1997, launching The Episcopal Church on a Decade of Remembrance, Recognition and Reconciliation. Jefferts Schori participated in a 2007 procession and Eucharist at the Jamestown historic site marking the start of a second decade affirming the covenant.

The original Powhatan’s Mantle is on display at the University of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in England. Although it once was thought to be a cloak, it more likely was a wall hanging, according to the museum.

It was made from four deer hides sewn together and decorated with white shell beadwork depicting a human figure flanked by two animals, likely a deer and a mountain lion or wolf. The more than 30 beaded circles may represent settlements and tribes, the museum says. Powhatan may have given it as a gift for King James I, according to one theory. It later ended up in possession of the 17th century Englishman whose collection became the founding collection of the museum.

One of Tradescant's most famous additions to the founding collection was Powhatan's Mantle http://t.co/yM43ZJXvPk pic.twitter.com/nB0u6gkKBd

— Ashmolean Museum (@AshmoleanMuseum) August 4, 2015

Here is a close-up of the shell beading on our #ObjectoftheMonth, Powhatan's Mantle, on display in our new Ashmolean Story gallery. Once thought to have been a cloak, it is now considered more likely that it was a wall hanging https://t.co/1mGhmqJ6KX pic.twitter.com/62Jcsr2bJm

— Ashmolean Museum (@AshmoleanMuseum) June 6, 2018

Clearly, the buffalo hide at the Episcopal Church Center is not Powhatan’s Mantle, but that was Chun’s inspiration when preparing this gift for Jefferts Schori.

Chun, born in 1954 in Honolulu, was an indigenous studies scholar with degrees from colleges in Hawaii, New Zealand and Canada, and he wrote several books and articles about native Hawaiian culture, beliefs and practices. One of his projects was “Na ‘Euanelio Hemolele,” described by the Diocese of Hawaii as “a lectionary-size book containing the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, in the Hawaiian-language, complete with diacritical marks.”

He was ordained a deacon in 2011 and a priest in 2012, but his involvement in the church’s indigenous ministries predated his ordination and included service on the Council on Indigenous Ministry, the Indigenous Theological Training Institute Board and the Anglican Indigenous Network.

Chun died unexpectedly on Jan. 20, 2019, at age 64. His funeral was held the following month at Cathedral of St. Andrew, where he had been named an honorary canon in 2018.

“I counted Malcolm as a friend and a teacher,” Hawaii Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick said in a message to his diocese. “His service to the Cathedral, to the Diocese, to the Church, and to me will be warmly remembered.”

Two Bulls, a Lakota originally from Red Shirt, South Dakota, was serving in the Diocese of Los Angeles more than a decade ago when he first met Chun, likely on one of Chun’s trips to Southern California on behalf of the Anglican Indigenous Network.

The Rev. Malcolm Chun, seen in a Diocese of Hawaii video about the church’s history in Hawaii, was secretary general of the Anglican Indigenous Network when he gave the buffalo hide to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in 2008.

“He was just a great guy once you got to know him,” said Two Bulls, who recalled talking to Chun by phone a week before he died. “We were making plans to do some other work,” Two Bulls said, including producing a new issue of the Indigenous Theological Training Journal.

Their partnership on the buffalo hide began when Chun acquired it from a “purveyor of such products” and asked Two Bulls to paint it, using Powhatan’s Mantle as his model. Two Bulls conducted some research on the original, including by contacting the museum. While aiming to stay true to the spirit of the original, he “took a little bit of artistic liberty,” such as his addition of color and placing a cross on the chest of the person depicted at the center of the hide.

The hide, stretched out and tethered to the edges of a wooden frame, was presented to Jefferts Schori at a time when she, as presiding bishop, had been in discussion with Chun and others with the Anglican Indigenous Network about maintaining the church’s commitment to indigenous ministry, according to an Anglican Communion News Service article from 2008.

Jefferts Schori, in an email to ENS, praised Two Bulls’ art as “always striking,” and she recalled his buffalo hide painting as “a powerful piece.”

“It would be a gift to many if it were more widely seen,” she said. “I hope it doesn’t get lost.”

A hardware store is moving into the space where the hide previously was on display at the Episcopal Church Center. Episcopal Church’s Chief Operating Officer Geoffrey Smith asked Hauff to look into finding an appropriate new home for it, and Hauff said the search continues.

Two Bulls noted the piece is rather large, which could limit Hauff’s options, but he suggested a diocese like Oklahoma that has a vibrant indigenous ministry – or Virginia, given the history of Powhatan’s Mantle.

“It is a teaching tool, so having it in a place where it can be viewed easily/widely would be first and foremost the main criteria for finding a place to house it,” Two Bulls told Hauff recently by email. “I am pretty sure that this would be what Malcolm would want.”

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

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Episcopal churches spared in deadly Alabama tornadoes; diocese responds to aftermath

Tue, 03/05/2019 - 4:24pm

Jed Roberts stands March 5 on the remains of his sister’s trailer home, destroyed by tornado, in Beauregard, Alabama. Photo: Reuters

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalians in Alabama have begun responding to the aftermath of devastating tornadoes that cut a swath of destruction through the state’s midsection over the weekend, leaving at least 23 dead, including four children.

Tornadoes also were reported in parts of Georgia and the Florida Panhandle, though the worst of the damage was centered about an hour east of Montgomery, Alabama, in Lee County, where three Episcopal churches are located: St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Smiths Station, Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Opelika and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Auburn.

A statement released by the Diocese of Alabama on March 4 reports a tornado passed within a mile of St. Stephen’s but the church doesn’t appear to have sustained any damage. The Rev. Larry Williams, priest-in-charge, and the Rev. Deacon Judy Quick are working with local agencies to assess the needs in the area and determine how the congregation can assist with relief efforts.

The Diocese of Alabama Disaster Relief Fund has made an initial contribution to those efforts at St. Stephen’s, and the diocese is receiving assistance and guidance from Episcopal Relief & Development. Donations to the diocese can be made online by selecting “Disaster Relief” in the dropdown list.

“As we have learned from past events, it will take days or weeks for us to learn the full impact of these storms, and we will provide information about needs and response as we learn more,” Bishop Kee Sloan said in the diocese’s statement.

“We are thankful that the people of St. Stephen’s Smiths Station are safe and that the church there is able to respond to the needs of their neighbors,” Sloan said. “I ask folks to keep the community of Lee County in their prayers, especially those affected by these storms, those that are grieving the loss of a loved one or grieving the loss of their home. Please also pray for the first responders and all those that will take part in the work of recovery.”

Episcopal News Service tried contacting the three Episcopal churches in the region by phone and email but was not able to reach any church leaders for this story.

The “monster tornado” on March 3 that caused the most damage was a mile wide and traveled more than 26 miles, according to the National Weather Service’s initial estimates. With a wind speed of 170 mph, the EF-4 storm leveled homes, downed trees and power lines and left Beauregard, Alabama, a community of about 10,000 residents, looking like a “war zone.”

BREAKING: Preliminary EF-4 Tornado Damage has been found along County Road 39 just east of Cave Mill Road in southwestern Lee County. Winds have been estimated at 170mph. Single family homes were completely destroyed. Photos are from those survey locations. #alwx pic.twitter.com/euYNfSDY11

— NWS Birmingham (@NWSBirmingham) March 4, 2019

About 90 people were reported injured, and Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said at a news conference March 4 that the death toll from the storm could rise as emergency crews search for people still missing. It was the deadliest tornado in the United States since 2013, when 25 people died in Oklahoma, and the Alabama death toll tops the total tornado fatalities from all of 2018.

The National Weather Service in Birmingham confirmed three additional tornadoes touched down on March 3 in the region with lesser wind speeds and no reported fatalities.

On March 5, a group from Lee-Scott Academy in Auburn gathered in the morning outside the Christian school to pray after learning that a student, fourth-grader Taylor Thornton, was among those killed by the more powerful tornado, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

Episcopal Relief & Development released a statement March 5 pledging continued support for the diocese and its congregations.

“Disasters have three phases: rescue, relief and recovery,” said Katie Mears, senior director of Episcopal Relief & Development’s U.S. Disaster Program. “Right now, the disaster response is moving from the initial rescue phase, where first responders such as police and fire department are focusing on saving lives, into the relief phase. In the coming weeks and months, we will work with the Diocese of Alabama to provide relief and help communities recover.”

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

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Church of England national investment bodies strengthen ethical engagement with companies

Tue, 03/05/2019 - 1:24pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The national investment bodies of the Church of England have announced a series of success stories with its stakeholder engagement. The Church Commissioners, the Church of England Pensions Board and the Central Board of Finance Church of England Funds are independent bodies that, between them, control investment assets of some £13 billion GBP.

They are increasingly working with other investors to push for company boards to adopt ethical standards. Last month, the global mining company BHP announced it was supporting calls, including the church-led coalition of investors, for a global independent public classification system for tailings dams after the Vale dam in Brazil collapsed and killed about 300 people.

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Anglican university in Burundi holds its first graduation ceremony

Tue, 03/05/2019 - 1:21pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Bujumbura Christian University in Burundi is celebrating after 13 students obtained bachelor’s degrees in theology – the first students from the university to graduate. The 13 students – 12 men and one woman – received their degrees in a ceremony attended by all of the bishops in the Anglican Church of Burundi, as well as representatives from the country’s Ministry of Education and other dignitaries, guests and family members.

Read the full article here.

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Archbishop of Canterbury celebrates 25 years of women’s ordination in Church of England

Mon, 03/04/2019 - 4:34pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A service has been held in the chapel of Lambeth Palace – the official London residence of the archbishops of Canterbury – to celebrate 25 years of the ordination of women in the Church of England. Then-Bishop of Bristol Barry Rogerson ordained 32 women in Bristol Cathedral on March 12, 1994 in the first of many ordinations that year. A message from Rogerson was read to the more than 80 female priests who were invited to the March 1 service.

Read the entire article here.

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Church of England launches authorized Persian (Farsi) translation of Holy Communion liturgy

Mon, 03/04/2019 - 4:30pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Almost 500 people – many of Iranian descent – packed into Wakefield Cathedral on March 2 for a “Persian Celebration Service.” The event marked the launch of an officially authorized translation of the Holy Communion Service. Bishop of Loughborough Guli Francis-Dehqani led the service. He arrived in the United Kingdom in 1980 at the age of 14 following the murder of her brother, Bahram, and the attempted murder of her father, the then- Bishop of Iran, Hassan Dehqani-Tafti.

Read the entire article here.

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Diocese of Michigan chooses four women as nominees for bishop

Mon, 03/04/2019 - 2:27pm

[Episcopal News Service] The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Michigan announces a preliminary slate of candidates who will stand for election as the 11th bishop of Michigan.

The candidates are:

Information about the candidates, including each candidate’s photo, autobiographical sketch, resume and answers to the five essay questions asked by the Search and Nomination Committee can be found here.

The Standing Committee also announced the opening of a petition process by which nominees may be added to the preliminary slate of candidates. As explained in the material that can be found here, the petition process is akin to the prior practice of having “nominations from the floor” with two major differences: 1) there is time for a background check of petition candidates; and 2) there is time for petition candidates to become known to the diocese through the required published information and participation in the walkabouts. The deadline for nominations by petitions is 5 p.m. March 18.

The final slate of candidates will be announced by the Standing Committee after the close of the petition process. Members of the diocese will have the opportunity to become acquainted with all candidates on the final slate of candidates during the walkabouts to be held May 17-19. The special convention will be held on June 1. The ordination and consecration of the new bishop will be held Feb. 8, 2020.

The priest elected will succeed Bishop Wendell Gibbs Jr., who in January 2018 announced his plans to retire at the end of 2019.

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