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Candidates with Episcopal roots cite faith as inspiring, guiding campaigns for Congress

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 3:35pm

Audrey Denney speaks at a campaign event. She was raised Episcopalian and is currently running for Congress in California’s 1st District. Photo: Worldlove Photo and Video

[Episcopal News Service] When Audrey Denney decided to run for Congress in California’s 1st District, she had the support of some rather important Episcopal priests: her family members. All of them.

Venturing into politics made Denney something of a family exception after her mother, stepfather and two older sisters all chose to enter ordained ministry, but their faith example and Denney’s own Episcopal upbringing have influenced how she approaches the campaign trail.

“They’ve been an incredibly supportive family and presence in my life and inspired me to see what I’m doing now as living out our call to be God’s hands and feet in the world,” said Denney, a 34-year-old Chico resident who is running as a Democrat.

In Alabama’s 4th District, voters are getting to know Lee Auman, 25, a Democrat who served as an Episcopal youth minister while attending Auburn University and later worked for two years as director of the conference center at the Diocese of Alabama’s Camp McDowell in Nauvoo.

Lee Auman is an Episcopalian running for Congress as a Democrat in Alabama’s 4th District. Photo: Lee Auman for Congress

Faith “informs my life,” Auman told Episcopal News Service. “It is an undercurrent that is always inspiring me and moving me and reorienting me as a person, and I want to take that into office with me.”

Candidates wishing to bring their Episcopal roots to Washington, D.C., would find plenty of company in the past and present. The United States has a long history of political leaders from the Anglican tradition, and although the Episcopal Church’s representation in Congress has been eclipsed by other Christian denominations over the years, dozens of today’s senators and representatives still identify as Episcopalians or Anglicans.

Episcopalians’ desire to serve their country, states and districts transcends party lines and regional differences. Rep. Suzan DelBene is a Democrat from Washington. Sen. Angus King is an independent from Maine. Rep. Andy Barr is a Republican from Kentucky. All credit their Episcopal faith with shaping their political work.

“Being raised in the Episcopal Church, which is such an outwardly looking, active-faith community … we tend to be called to try and make a difference,” Barr told ENS in 2017 for a story about how faith inspires congressional Episcopalians’ public service.

Candidate follows her faith into public service

Denney’s desire to make a difference was forged at an early age, from her years attending St. Paul’s School in Visalia, California, to her confirmation at St. James Episcopal Church in Paso Robles.

She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural education from Chico State University and taught there for six years before taking a job with an agricultural nonprofit working in Ghana. More recently, she has worked as an agricultural education consultant.

Denney also spent a year after college in El Salvador working with Cristosal, a human rights organization with roots in the Episcopal and Anglican churches. She later joined Cristosal’s board and served as president, and she continues to volunteer.

Although Denney still occasionally attends Episcopal worship services, she developed a connection with Bidwell Presbyterian Church in Chico while at college and now serves on Bidwell’s mission committee.

Denney, in a phone interview with ENS, described the moment a year ago when she began thinking of running for Congress. In her early 30s, she had reached a comfortable point in her life – “I was in this really kind of happy zone” – but soon felt called to something more.

She was in the car talking with her sister, the Rev. Robin Denney, who mentioned being inspired by a recent news story profiling women in their 30s who had launched campaigns for House seats.

“And there was this pause, and I said, ‘Well, why not you?’” the Rev. Denney told ENS.

Her sister was visibly moved by the question, and both became quiet and pensive.

“My stomach dropped in my belly and all of the hair stood up on my arms and I felt like the air was thicker in the car,” Audrey Denney said.

She looked at her sister and asked, “Am I running for Congress now?” And her sister’s response was, “Yeah, I think you’re running for Congress.”

Robin Denney, 37, is helping with her sister’s campaign while serving as an associate rector at St. Cross Episcopal Church in Hermosa Beach, California. Their older sister, the Rev. Amy Denney Zuniga, 40, is rector at Grace Episcopal Church in St. Helena, and their mother, the Rev. Shelley Booth Denney, is rector at the San Jose’s Episcopal Church in Almaden. The sisters’ stepfather, the Rev. David Starr, is semi-retired but helps at Holy Family Episcopal Church in San Jose.

Audrey Denney poses for a photo between her sisters, the Rev. Robin Denney, left, and the Rev. Amy Denney Zuniga, who is holding her daughter. Photo: Worldlove Photo and Video

Audrey Denney is taking a different path but still has “a passion to see her faith lived out in the world,” Robin Denney said.

“I think all people are called to serve God in whatever capacity that we have vocationally. Sometimes that’s taking care of a family at home,” she said. For the Denneys, that calling often has meant the priesthood. “And sometimes that’s running for office.”

But candidate Denney doesn’t just have the backing of the clergy in her family. The Rev. Brian Solecki left his job as a minister at Bidwell Presbyterian Church to become her campaign manager. Early in the campaign, Solecki and Robin Denney joined Audrey Denney on a kickoff call with a consultant from the House Democrats’ campaign committee.

“This is the highest ecclesiastical representation I’ve ever had on a kickoff call,” Audrey Denney recalls the consultant saying.

Congress to be reshaped by Nov. 6 midterm elections

The stakes are high in races like this across the country. Republicans hold a 23-seat majority in the House. Democrats hope to regain control after the Nov. 6 midterm election, to serve as a check on President Donald Trump, whose approval rating of around 40 percent has remained historically low. Republicans’ slim majority in the Senate is less at risk in this election, though several key Senate races are surprisingly competitive.

The Episcopal Church does not get involved in partisan politics. It has a presence in Washington through its Office of Government Relations, which monitors legislation, coordinates with partner agencies and denominations, and develops relationships with lawmakers. The agency communicates frequently with the offices of an estimated 40 Episcopal members of Congress as of last year.

Several developments this year may diminish that number in the new Congress. Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-New York, died in March. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, stepped down in April amid a sexual harassment scandal. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, announced she is retiring after this term. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-South Carolina, lost his primary to a Trump-backed challenger.

The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations counts 40 Episcopal members of the current Congress as of last year. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

California’s 1st Congressional District is geographically large, covering the northeast corner of the state. Chico and Redding are its two largest cities, and much of it includes rural and poor communities far removed from the state’s metro areas. It also has swung between the Democratic and Republican parties in recent decades, and in 2016 it voted solidly for Trump.

Denney is an underdog, according to projections on the FiveThirtyEight statistical analysis website, though she has an edge in fundraising over the three-term Republican incumbent, Rep. Doug LaMalfa. She also has touted her reliance almost solely on individual donations, rather than money from political action committees, or PACs.

“We’re giving the incumbent a run for his money. That’s for sure,” Denney said.

Auman is a long-shot candidate to unseat incumbent Rep. Robert Aderholt, a Republican who has represented Alabama’s 4th District since 1997. The district north of Birmingham spans the state, from Mississippi to Georgia, and is mostly rural. In 2016, it backed Trump by 80 percent, one of the president’s highest winning percentages in the country.

But Alabama, despite its solidly conservative reputation, surprised the country by electing a Democrat, Doug Jones, to the U.S. Senate in a December special election. Jones’ win gives Auman and other Alabama Democrats at least a shred of hope.

Auman said in a phone interview that he already was considering a run for Congress when Jones won, and the election of a fellow Alabama Democrat was further encouragement.

“Growing up as a liberal-leaning person in this state, I always heard Democrats might as well not vote,” Auman said. “Obviously, Sen. Jones’ election showed us that wasn’t true.”

Running for office, guided by faith

Auman’s family attended St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Huntsville, Alabama, when he was young and later joined Church of the Epiphany in Guntersville, which he still considers his home parish. He lives in Union Grove.

He also has a longtime connection with Camp McDowell, where he began attending summer camp as an “ankle biter.” During college, he worked in the summers as a camp counselor and eventually head counselor.

Lee Auman worked for two years as director of the conference center at the Diocese of Alabama’s Camp McDowell in Nauvoo before stepping down in March to run for Congress. Photo: Lee Auman for Congress, via Facebook

In Auburn, where he served as director of youth ministries at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Auman studied philosophy, partly because it seemed a logical step toward eventually attending seminary. Auman said he still is open to a future call to the priesthood, but his present call is toward public service in the political arena.

“Shortly after our president was elected, I realized I didn’t need to wait until I was older,” he said. “I just needed to toss my hat into the ring because I’m just convinced we can do better than we’re doing now.”

He sees Republicans campaigning on divisive issues and degrading the American political system, much like the money-changers whom Jesus cast out of the temple in the Gospels, Auman said.

“My Episcopal church growing up had people of all political backgrounds,” he said. Agreement on specific issues wasn’t as important as coming together and praying with each other as Christians with shared values. He hopes to bring that spirit to Washington.

Auman is one of at least two Episcopalians on Alabamans’ congressional ballots this year. The other, Rep. Bradley Byrne, is a Republican who has represented the 1st District since 2013.

Denney said her Christian faith is guiding how she campaigns, emphasizing integrity over political expediency. She also sees many opportunities to apply her faith to the issues facing residents in California’s 1st District.

“My entire lens on this campaign has been about justice,” Denney said – economic justice, racial justice, environmental justice, to name a few.

The district is mostly white but also has sizable Asian, American Indian and black populations, census figures show. More than 10 percent of families in the district live below the poverty level, and many in rural areas struggle from lack of access to health care. And Denney said her interest in environmental justice was heightened by the Carr wildfire that destroyed more than 1,000 homes in Redding over the summer.

When she talks to secular audiences on the campaign trail, the hope she describes for the future is a vision of seeking the kingdom of God, she said, even if she doesn’t use such terms with them.

“That’s what fighting for justice is,” Denney said. “So, my faith absolutely has compelled me to step out in this way.”

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

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Central American bishops appeal for Anglican Communion solidarity over migrant caravan

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 3:34pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Bishops from three Anglican Provinces have called for “solidarity” from the Anglican Communion as a caravan of migrants makes its way through the region from El Salvador to the United States. The plight of the people making the journey has been reported around the world after  President Donald Trump said that he had mobilized the military to prevent them crossing the U.S. border. Bishops from Honduras, in the U.S.-based Episcopal Church; Guatemala and El Salvador in the Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America; and North and South East Mexico, in the La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico, have responded to the situation in a joint letter.

Read the full article.

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Historic Anglican-Oriental Orthodox Agreed Statement on the Holy Spirit published

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 3:31pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The historic Agreed Statement between Anglican and Oriental Orthodox theologians on the Procession and Work of the Holy Spirit has been published. The statement was signed last October after lengthy discussions by members of the Anglican Oriental-Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC). It was published at this year’s meeting of AOOIC, which took place last week in Lebanon. The agreed statement is part of a series of work which has helped to heal the oldest continuing division within Christianity, a schism that goes back centuries. At the core of Agreed Statement is the controversial Filioque clause – appended to the Nicene Creed by the Latin Western tradition causing a schism between the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the western Churches that was inherited by the Anglican tradition. The clause says that the Holy Sprit proceeded “from the Son” (Jesus) as well as the Father. The Agreed Statement says that Anglicans should omit the clause.

Read the full article.

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United Nations extends Anglican Communion accreditation to boost environmental campaign

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 3:29pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The United Nations Environment Program has formally recognized the Anglican Consultative Council and granted accreditation to the U.N. Environment Assembly. The move extends the Anglican Communion’s existing status at the UN. The communion enjoys Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council – this gives it access to a number of U.N. bodies, including the Human Rights Council. The U.N. Environment Program operated a separate recognition process and this confirmed the new status for the Anglican Communion.

Read the full article.

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EJE19: Evento de Jóvenes Episcopales

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 3:24pm

[2 de noviembre de 2018] El departamento de Formación de la Fe, junto con la oficina del Ministerio Latino de la Iglesia Episcopal y la oficina de Alianzas Globales, y la participación de las siete diócesis de la Provincia IX, se complacen en anunciar el Evento de Jóvenes Episcopales (EJE19) que tendrá lugar del 17 al 20 de julio de 2019 en la Ciudad del Saber en ciudad de Panamá, en Panamá.

El evento, auspiciado por la Diócesis de Panamá, recibirá a jóvenes entre 16 y 26 años que viven y rinden culto en la Provincia IX, quienes compartirán varios días de culto, música y talleres y para ayudar a estrechar lazos comunitarios. Durante EJE19, pequeñas delegaciones de la Iglesia Anglicana de la Región de América Central (IARCA), Cuba, México y Brasil, así como también de Estados Unidos se unirán a las diócesis de la Provincia IX.

“Sean nuestras primeras palabras de agradecimiento al Obispo Primado de TEC S. E. Revdmo. Michael Curry, al Presidente de la IX Provincia S. E.  Revdmo. Víctor Scantlebury y al Comité Organizador de EJE19, por haber seleccionado a la Iglesia Episcopal de Panamá, República de Panamá, otra Rama del Movimiento de Jesús, como sede del primer Evento de Jóvenes Episcopales,” dijo Murray, el obispo de Panamá y obispo primado de IARCA. “Hoy se habla mucho de Panamá por ser uno de los países con el mayor crecimiento económico de la Región, pero también se hace referencia a que las inequidades y desigualdades sociales siguen desafiando la Misión de la Iglesia. El trabajo con jóvenes es fundamental para nuestra Iglesia pues nos da la oportunidad de influenciar, capacitar y motiva al liderazgo de la próxima generación, de forma integral, en los temas emergentes que desafían la Evangelización, el Discipulado Intencional y nuestra respuesta en materia de justicia social en favor de construir el Reino de Dios ir en medio de las realidades donde hemos sido llamados a ser Iglesia. Es un placer y un honor ser la sede para EJE19 y trabajar juntos con la pastoral juvenil”.

“EJE19 será un extraordinario encuentro de la juventud para aprender y reclamar su lugar como miembros del Movimiento de Jesús” dijo el obispo primado Michael B. Curry. “Somos la Iglesia Episcopal, pero el Señor a quien seguimos quiere que seamos más que eso. Somos discípulos bautizados de Jesús de Nazareth y por lo tanto no somos solamente la Iglesia Episcopal, somos la rama episcopal del Movimiento de Jesús. Somos un pueblo comprometido a vivir un amor desinteresado y sacrificado. Estoy ansioso de reunirme con esta comunidad en Panamá el próximo mes de julio”.

Inscripción y costo
Las diócesis de la Provincia IX están invitadas a enviar delegaciones de hasta 15 participantes formadas por 13 jóvenes entre los 16 y 26 años y dos chaperones de 27 años o mayores. El costo será de 50 dólares por persona e incluirá toda la programación del evento, comidas, alojamiento y transporte local. El costo de traslado de ida y vuelta a la Ciudad de Panamá correrá por cuenta de la diócesis patrocinadora y de cada asistente.

El costo para miembros de las delegaciones de IARCA, Cuba, México, Brasil y Estados Unidos es de 200 dólares por persona. El costo para los obispos es de 350 dólares. El espacio básico de exhibición para expositores tendrá un costo de 400 dólares. Estos precios incluyen comida, alojamiento y eventos programados, pero no incluyen el vuelo de ida y vuelta a la Ciudad de Panamá.

Durante EJE19, las diócesis interesadas en añadir un día de peregrinación tienen esa opción si llegan el 16 de julio. Más detalles sobre esta peregrinación, incluyendo su costo, estará disponible durante el periodo de inscripción.

Los participantes en EJE19 provenientes de las diócesis de la Provincia IX podrán inscribirse en las oficinas de sus obispos a través de un registrador diocesano designado. La inscripción a EJE19 para los participantes de Cuba, IARCA, México y Brasil se realizará a través de un registrador nombrado por el liderazgo provincial. Los detalles sobre la inscripción se enviarán a los obispos y primados. El periodo de inscripción se abre el 20 de noviembre de 2018 y se cierra el 18 de enero de 2019. Solo los registradores nombrados tendrán acceso a cada solicitud.

Los participantes de EJE19 en Estados Unidos podrán registrarse a través de la oficina del Ministerio Latino/Hispano. Todos estos detalles pronto estarán disponibles y serán publicados aquí.

La inscripción para los obispos y los expositores se abre el 20 de noviembre. Un enlace para la inscripción estará disponible aquí a partir de esa fecha.

El Equipo de planeación continúa reuniéndose
El Equipo de planeación de EJE19 ha estado reuniéndose desde abril de 2017 y se reunirá una vez más en noviembre en la Ciudad del Saber para continuar la planeación y preparación del evento. La labor del Equipo de planeación es financiada por una de las subvenciones del Fondo Constable de la Iglesia Episcopal (Constable Fund).

Si requiere más información sobre EJE19 por favor contacte a eje@episcopalchurch.org.

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La fe inspira a congregaciones episcopales a comprometerse con los votantes según se acercan las elecciones.

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 9:42am

Algunos de los electores que acudieron el 29 de octubre a hacer uso de las casillas de votación anticipada instaladas en el “salón de los murales” de la iglesia episcopal del Calvario en Memphis, Tennessee. Foto de Lauren Reisman.

[Episcopal News Service] Congregaciones episcopales de todo el país están a la vanguardia de los empeños electorales —inscribiendo votantes, sirviendo como centros de votación, brindando información electoral y promoviendo el diálogo cívico— a una semana de las elecciones parciales del 6 de noviembre.

En Memphis, Tennessee, la iglesia episcopal del Calvario [Calvary Episcopal Church] ya está recibiendo a los electores del centro de la ciudad que quieren aprovechar las horas de votación anticipada que la congregación ha hecho posible en su salón parroquial. Otras congregaciones, como la iglesia episcopal del Espíritu Santo [Holy Spirit Episcopal Church] en Waco, Texas, están abriendo sus puertas el día de las elecciones para que voten en sus iglesias.

Y ha habido una gran demanda de las pegatinas de la Iglesia Episcopal [con la consigna de] “vote honestamente”[Vote Faithfully] . Más de 200 parroquias y diócesis se han dirigido a la Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales preguntando cómo pueden hacer pedidos, dijo Alan Yarborough, el coordinador de comunicaciones de la agencia con sede en Washington, D.C.

“Estaban absolutamente encantados con las pegatinas que decían ‘Soy episcopal y voté’[I’m an Episcopalian and I voted]”,  dijo Yarborough.

Did you vote early? Already returned your absentee ballot? Wear your “I’m an Episcopalian and I Voted” sticker and post about it with #VoteFaithfully pic.twitter.com/iBnJcwuvcy

— The EPPN (@TheEPPN) October 27, 2018

La Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales también ofrece materiales a los episcopales y a las congregaciones interesadas en participar activamente en las comunidades locales. Su manual de Vote Honestamente  [Vote Faithfully Toolkit] ofrece orientación sobre la acción individual y la movilización comunitaria motivadas por la fe.

Uno de los enlaces de este manual de la Iglesia es a un currículo de cinco semanas sobre el diálogo cívico, que Yarborough contribuyó a redactar. Algunas congregaciones episcopales, como la iglesia episcopal de La Trinidad  [Trinity Episcopal Church] en Excelsior, Minnesota, han seguido ese modelo para atajar la acerba división que ha plagado el discurso político nacional y en ocasiones ha llegado a infestar la participación cívica comunitaria. La Trinidad, que se define a sí misma como una “parroquia morada” buscaba fomentar mayor apertura y respeto dentro de la diversidad política de su congregación.

Ese mensaje cristiano de ser respetuoso pese a las diferencias políticas encontraba repercusión en Bill Steverson de Signal Mountain, Tennessee, cuando se encontró con Yarborough en una conferencia a principios de este año. Steverson le pidió ayuda a Yarborough para iniciar un curso sobre el diálogo cívico en la iglesia episcopal de San Timoteo [St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church] de cuya junta parroquial Steverson es miembro.

En colaboración con el Rdo. Derrick Hill, rector de San Timoteo, Steverson modificó el currículo en un programa de cuatro semanas, por las tardes de cuatro domingos consecutivos en septiembre y octubre que culminaron con un foro con candidatos al Concejo Municipal el 28 de octubre en el salón parroquial.

“Nosotros en San Timoteo, y todos los hijos de Dios, estamos preocupados del estado de civismo en nuestro mundo, y  [como] se infiltra en nuestra comunidad”, dijo Steverson. Varios candentes problemas locales han inflamado recientemente las tensiones en las reuniones del Concejo Municipal, entre ellas una solicitud de zonificación para una tienda de víveres y una propuesta de cambio para el gobierno del distrito escolar.

Anteriormente, “incluso cuando discrepábamos, éramos amables los unos con los otros”, explicó Steverson “En el transcurso de unos pocos años, hemos llegado al punto donde en lugar de hablar amablemente…  nos hemos vuelto agresivos”.

Él cree que el híper-partidario clima político en el ámbito nacional fue un factor del deterioro del diálogo cívico en Signal Mountain, de manera que las series en San Timoteo se concentraron en asuntos locales. Alrededor de unas 60 personas asistieron a las sesiones, la mitad de ellas de la congregación y la otra mitad de la comunidad en general. Algunos de los debates iniciales se centraron en los valores que la comunidad compartía y lo que significa participar en un diálogo cívico.

“Si compartimos los mismos valores, ¿por qué no podemos conversar civilizadamente unos con otros?”, afirmó Steverson.

Hacia el fin de las cuatro semanas, los residentes y los líderes comunitarios estaban hablando de mantener el impulso y tener reuniones e seguimiento para fomentar  una interacción comunitaria más positiva. Steverson espera que este éxito en Signal Mountain pueda erigirse como modelo de mayor cortesía en el ámbito nacional.

La iglesia episcopal de San Timoteo en Signal Mountain, Tennessee, celebra un foro de candidatos al Consejo Municipal como parte de su serie de cuatro sesiones sobre el diálogo cívico. Foto de San Timoteo.

La Iglesia Episcopal alienta a la participación política no partidista

Aunque los episcopales puede estar motivados en su activismo social por creencias políticas personales, los empeños electorales basados en la Iglesia son necesariamente no partidistas. Esos empeños se fundan en políticas de la Iglesia establecidas por la Convención General, la cual en julio pasado aprobó resoluciones adicionales que llaman a los episcopales a una mayor participación política. Una de esas resoluciones resaltaba el diálogo cívico de la Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales como un material disponible para las congregaciones.

La participación cívica es un ajuste natural para algunas congregaciones, como la iglesia episcopal del Calvario, en Memphis, que es activa en servir a la comunidad del centro de la ciudad. La parroquia tendrá un sitio para votaciones anticipadas hasta el 1 de noviembre.

“Se ajusta muy bien a nuestro ministerio, y sirve a la comunidad del centro”, dijo Laurel Reisman, administradora de la parroquia. “Es un empeño muy exitoso.  Logramos que vinieran muchas personas que trabajan en el centro”.

La iglesia episcopal del Espíritu Santo, en Waco, también sirvió como centro de votación el día de las elecciones hasta hace unos pocos años, cuando las autoridades electorales dictaminaron que la iglesia y varias otras localidades de la comunidad no podían fungir como colegios electorales porque no eran plenamente accesibles para personas con discapacidades.

Hacer que el Espíritu Santo cumpliera con los requisitos de accesibilidad fue uno de los objetivos de un proyecto de renovación que concluyó este año, de ahí que la iglesia sea nuevamente un colegio electoral para los votantes de la ciudad el 6 de noviembre.

“Asumimos muy seriamente la idea de la iglesia en su lugar”, dijo el Rdo. Jason Ingalls, rector del Espíritu Santo. “No tenemos fronteras parroquiales formales, pero vemos los tres barrios que nos rodean como el lugar donde hemos sido llamados a servir”.

Parte de ese llamado es servirles a los votantes de esos barrios que de otro modo podrían pasar trabajo en llegar a uno de los centros de votación más distantes, explicó Ingalls. “Todos sabemos como aumenta realmente la participación cuando las cosas están cerca”.

La Iglesia Episcopal ha redoblado sus esfuerzos para aumentar la participación electoral este año. En julio, la Convención General aprobó una resolución, la D003, que condena la supresión de votantes y llama a los gobiernos “a crear políticas que aumenten la participación electoral mediante, entre otras estrategias, tratando de poner en práctica medidas que incrementen la votación anticipada, extendiendo los períodos de inscripción, garantizando un número adecuado de colegios electorales, permitiendo la votación en ausencia sin tener que presentar una justificación y prohibiendo formas de identificación que restrinjan la participación de votantes”.

El obispo Douglas Fisher de la Diócesis de Massachusetts Occidental citó, en una columna de opinión publicada este mes en el Worchester Telegram & Gazette la fe cristiana de los episcopales como una razón para votar.

“Que todos votemos honestamente y llevemos con nosotros lo que es de mayor valor al ejercer este preciado privilegio. Que busquemos el liderazgo que necesitamos para ser una nación que verdaderamente sea una luz que resplandezca en un mundo tan necesitado de esperanza”, escribió Fisher al tiempo que hacía referencia a sentimientos semejantes expresados por el obispo primado Michael Curry.

Congregaciones e instituciones episcopales están respaldando la campaña para la inscripción de votantes de diversas maneras. En el Seminario Teológico de Virginia en Alexandria, el campus se asoció con la campaña “Sin  excusas” [No Excuses] de The Skimm y auspició un evento el Día Nacional de la Inscripción del Votante, el 25 de septiembre, para apoyar la meta no partidista de  lograr que 100.000 personas se comprometieran a votar el 6 de noviembre.

A algunos estudiantes los ayudaron a cambiar sus inscripciones a Virginia, mientras a otros les recordaron la fecha límite en sus estados de origen para enviar sus boletas de ausente, dijo Rachel Holm, registradora del seminario, quien organizó el evento. No era parte de los deberes normales de Holm como registradora, pero ella lo vio como una oportunidad ideal para servir a los estudiantes mientras hacen realidad su fe.

“Mi fe personal está formada en torno a la idea de ser vivificante y de seguir el ejemplo que Jesús nos dio a todos”, dijo Holm por email. “Más allá de ser un elemento importante de nuestra nación democrática, siento que votar es una manera productiva de cada persona de apoyar a candidatos que sienten que encarnarán prácticas y políticas vivificadoras”.

A otros episcopales su fe los inspira a inscribir e instruir a otros votantes. La iglesia de San Martín de los Campos [Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields] en Filadelfia, Pensilvania, se asoció con una coalición de más de 50 congregaciones para tener [talleres de] capacitación sobre los empeños de movilización de votantes. La Diócesis de Indianápolis se incorporó a una iniciativa interreligiosa que se propone llegar a más de 100.000 indianos que no han votado todavía.

En apoyo a la campaña de Indiana, los episcopales han participado durante las últimas seis semanas en campañas telefónicas, llamando a electores potenciales para recordarles las elecciones parciales en la que todos los escaños de la Cámara de Representantes de EE.UU. y un tercio del Senado estarán sujetos a votación. La diócesis iniciará su esfuerzo final el 3 de noviembre, dijo la Rda. Fatima Yakubu-Madus, que está organizando la campaña como la misionera de la diócesis para la participación comunitaria.

En Georgia, Soyini Coke, miembro de la iglesia episcopal de la Santa Cruz [Holy Cross Episcopal Church] en Decatur, coordinó la campaña de inscripción de votantes en el área metropolitana de Atlanta.

Coke dijo que ella y otros dedicados a la inscripción de nuevos votantes se han sentido frustrados por informes de que el secretario de Estado de Georgia, Brian Kemp, un republicano que aspira a gobernador, está aplicando medidas que podría dejar el estatus de más de 50.000 votantes en un limbo.

“Es una especie de dos pasos adelante, un paso atrás”, dijo Coke, pero tales obstáculos también están “fortaleciendo en verdad la resolución de la gente” a que se inscriban más votantes y a que acudan a las urnas.

Al mismo tiempo, las medidas que amenazan disminuir la participación electoral pueden tener menos efecto, afirmó ella, porque muchas personas están votando anticipadamente en estas elecciones y pueden resolver los problemas de la inscripción mucho antes del día de las elecciones.

El rector de la Santa Cruz imprimió boletas de muestra y las distribuyó a la hora del café después del oficio dominical del 28 de octubre, dijo Coke, quien se aprovechó del voto anticipado y ha despejado su agenda para el 6 de noviembre.

“Personalmente me estoy tomando el día libre, para trabajar [en la votación] el día de las elecciones” afirmó.

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

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Becas disponibles para los Ministerios de Adultos Jóvenes y Universitarios

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 9:21am

El proceso de solicitud para una beca para los Ministerios de Adultos Jóvenes y Universitarios abre hoy y continúa hasta el 19 de noviembre de 2018. Las presentaciones que se hagan después del 19 de noviembre no serán aceptadas.

Los ministerios episcopales (o ministerios ecuménicos con participación episcopal) con aspiraciones de lanzar un ministerio o programa para adultos jóvenes a que soliciten una beca episcopal para un ministerio de adultos jóvenes o un ministerio universitario. Son elegibles para esta solicitud las diócesis, las congregaciones, o los ministerios en centros de estudios superiores o universidades que estén actualmente comprometidos o estén fomentando nuevas vinculaciones con adultos jóvenes dentro y fuera del ambiente universitario. La información y el formulario de solicitud para las becas está disponible en internet.

En 2018 se otorgaron becas a una amplia gama de proyectos. La diócesis episcopal correspondiente a la Zona de misión de Navajolandia recibió una beca para cubrir la compra de equipo técnico para su innovador programa de capacitación de jóvenes adultos en desarrollo de páginas web y tecnología de redes. En la diócesis episcopal de Rochester, los ministerios universitarios en la Universidad de Rochester, el Instituto Tecnológico de Rochester y el Instituto Técnico Nacional para Sordos están creando ministerios universitarios accesibles que ofrecen servicios de culto, desarrollo espiritual, formación, estudios bíblicos y fraternización para responder a las necesidades de las personas que son sordas o que tienen limitaciones auditivas en estos centros de educación.

Otras becas para el año 2018 para los Ministerios de Adultos Jóvenes y Universitarios financiaron iniciativas que ofrecen fomento del liderazgo, capacitación y programas para adultos jóvenes en las áreas de reconciliación racial, discernimiento, justicia medioambiental, apostolado entre los mismos jóvenes y justicia social.

“Estas becas ayudan a la Iglesia Episcopal a una comprensión más amplia de lo que significa el ministerio de los adultos jóvenes dentro y fuera del ambiente universitario” dijo la Rda. Shannon Kelly, oficial encargada de los Ministerios de Adultos Jóvenes y Universitarios. “Este es un ministerio en crecimiento que enseña a la Iglesia cómo ejercer la misión y el Movimiento de Jesús de maneras nuevas e innovadoras”.

Los cuatro tipos de becas son:

1.) Beca de liderazgo: para establecer un nuevo ministerio de campus, restaurar uno inactivo o para revitalizar uno que ya existe. La beca oscilará entre los 20.000 a 30.000 dólares, que pueden ser utilizados dentro de un periodo de dos años.

2.) Becas para Ministerio de Universitarios: proveen un capital inicial para ayudar en la puesta en marcha de ministerios universitarios nuevos e innovadores o para mejorar un ministerio existente. Las becas oscilarán entre los 3.000 a 5.000 dólares.

3.) Becas para Ministerio de Adultos Jóvenes: proveen capital inicial para asistir en el inicio de nuevos e innovadores ministerios de adultos jóvenes o para mejorar un ministerio existente. Las becas oscilarán entre los 3.000 a 5.000 dólares.

4.) Becas para proyectos: proveen fondos para un proyecto único que aumentará el impacto del ministerio de adultos jóvenes y el ministerio universitario. Las becas van de los 100 a los 1.000 dólares.

Un total de 133.000 dólares está disponible para este ciclo, de un total de 400.000 dólares disponibles para este trienio. Estas becas son para el año académico 2019-2020.

“El ministerio de adultos jóvenes dentro y fuera de los recintos universitarios es una manera como la Iglesia desarrolla los líderes de hoy y mañana”, añadió Kelly; “es un honor y un privilegio avanzar junto con estos ministerios en su búsqueda de maneras únicas de establecer nexos en sus comunidades”.

Los ministerios episcopales o ministerios ecuménicos con presencia episcopal que ya participen o que anden en busca de una nueva relación con adultos jóvenes dentro o fuera de las universidades están invitados a solicitar. La información sobre el proceso y las pautas de la solicitud, así como los formularios se encuentran aquí. Las solicitudes rellenas pueden presentarse a partir del jueves 1 de noviembre; las presentaciones que se hagan después del 19 de noviembre no serán aceptadas.

Si tiene más preguntas, por favor comuníquese con la Rda. Shannon Kelly, oficial  encargada de los Ministerios de Adultos Jóvenes y Universitarios en skelly@episcopalchurch.org o con Valerie Harris, colaboradora de Formación en vharris@episcopalchurch.org.

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Anglican Communion prepares to welcome Chile as 40th province

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 5:52pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is traveling to Santiago to officially inaugurate the newest province of the Anglican Communion. The Iglesia Anglicana de Chile – the Anglican Church of Chile – will become the 40th Anglican Communion province when it is inaugurated on Nov. 4. Welby will preside over the ceremony, which will be held at the Grange School in the city of Santiago. Usual Sunday services in local churches have been suspended to enable people to take part.

Read the full article here.

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Mauritius bishop cautions against ethnic and religious census

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 2:11pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Bishop Ian Ernest of Mauritius has warned that a national census on the population’s ethnic and religious background “would only aggravate those divides that already exist.” The Creole ethnic group makes up around a quarter of the island-nation’s population. This group, descended mainly from slaves, are said to face discrimination in the areas of education, jobs and housing. The majority Indo-Mauritian population hold most of the top political posts in the country.

Read the full article here.

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Cathleen Chittenden Bascom elected 10th bishop of the Diocese of Kansas

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 12:36pm

The Rev. Cathleen Chittenden Bascom, from the Diocese of Iowa, was elected Oct.19 as the 10th bishop to lead the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas.

[Diocese of Kansas] The Rev. Cathleen Chittenden Bascom, from the Diocese of Iowa, was elected Oct.19 as the 10th bishop to lead the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. She was elected on the second ballot during an election that took place in the worship space of Grace Cathedral in Topeka, receiving 64 votes from lay delegates and 56 votes from clergy.

Bascom is the first woman to be elected bishop since the diocese was formed in 1859.  This also marked the first time in the history of the Episcopal Church that a bishop heading a diocese was elected from a slate of candidates who all were women.

Others on the ballot were the Rev. Martha N. Macgill of the Diocese of Maryland, and the Rev. Helen-Svoboda-Barber, from the Diocese of North Carolina.

The Very Rev. Foster Mays, president of the governing body that has overseen the diocese in the interim period between bishops, said, “It delights me that Cathleen Bascom will be our next bishop. While this election was historic, at its core lay delegates and clergy were selecting the person who will lead this diocese for the next decade or more. I believe Mother Bascom’s many gifts and years of experience will serve this diocese well.

“I know that clergy and lay leaders from all our congregations are looking forward to the opportunity to participate in ministry with her, to share together the good news of Jesus and to serve the world in the name of our Lord. I’m very excited for the future of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas under her leadership.”

Bascom has been serving since the fall of 2014 as Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Waldorf University in Forest City, Iowa. She previously had been dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Des Moines, Iowa, as well as rector of St. Stephen’s in Newton, Iowa.

She served for eight years in the Diocese of Kansas from 1993 to 2001, leading ministry efforts at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

She is the third priest to have served within the Diocese of Kansas to be elected bishop. The first was Frank Millspaugh, who was dean of Grace Cathedral, Topeka, when he was elected bishop in 1895. The second was Richard Grein, who was rector of St. Michael and all Angels in Mission when he was elected in 1981.

She also is the second priest to become Kansas’ bishop while serving in the Diocese of Iowa. The first was Thomas Vail, the diocese’s first bishop, who was rector of Trinity Church in Muscatine, Iowa, when he was elected bishop in 1864.

Bascom and her husband Tim have two sons – Conrad, age 25, and Luke, age 21.

The service of ordination and consecration by which Bascom becomes a bishop and assumes responsibility for the pastoral and administrative work of the diocese, will take place on Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Grace Cathedral, Topeka. The chief consecrator will be Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, based in Topeka, includes 44 churches across the eastern 40 percent of the state. It includes more than 10,000 baptized members with more than 70 active priests and deacons, of whom 43 percent are women.

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Executive Council passes budget, grants diocesan waivers, praises work of Episcopal Migration Ministries

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 11:51am

Members of Executive Council join hands and sing at the conclusion of a racial reconciliation training Oct. 17 in Chaska, Minnesota. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Chaska, Minnesota] The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, in its first meeting since the 79th General Convention, spent four days this week focused primarily on orientation, training, leadership appointments and relationship-building at a conference center in suburban Minneapolis.

This meeting was light on legislative business, but Executive Council, the church’s governing body during the three years between General Convention meetings, concluded the week by approving a handful of resolutions on financial matters, including the 2019 church budget, the House of Deputies president’s salary and diocesan assessment waivers for six dioceses.

Members of Executive Council also received briefings from church officers and staff members during the week, including a bleak assessment of the future of the church’s refugee resettlement work from the Rev. Charles Robertson, the presiding bishop’s canon for ministry beyond the Episcopal Church.

Episcopal Migration Ministries, one of nine agencies with federal contracts to resettle refugees in the United States, expects to learn in the coming weeks if its contract will be renewed, at a time when the Trump administration has dramatically reduced the number of refugees being resettled. The odds are not in Episcopal Migration Ministries’ favor, Robertson told Executive Council’s Ministry Beyond the Episcopal Church Committee.

“If we were going to bet on it, we’d bet we’re not going to make the cut,” Robertson said. He predicted only two of the nine would receive contracts. Though unlikely, he said it is still possible Episcopal Migration Ministries will be one of the two.

Executive Council kicked off its meeting on Oct. 15 at the Oak Creek Hotel & Convention Center, nestled in tranquil lakeside woods in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities. The Episcopal Church put its beliefs into action in July through more than 500 resolutions at General Convention in Austin, Texas, and it is the council’s role to begin aligning church operations with those priorities and mandates.

Much of that work starts with the church budget. General Convention adopted a $133.8 million 2019-2021 budget that reflects the presiding bishop’s priorities of evangelism, racial reconciliation and justice, and creation care. “Council’s job is to take that three-year budget and make it into three one-year budgets,” the Rev. Mally Lloyd of the Diocese of Massachusetts told Executive Council during her Finance Committee report on Oct. 18.

Council approved a 2019 budget, as well as compensation for the second half of 2018 for the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, the House of Deputies president, based on a plan endorsed by General Convention. The Executive Council resolution approved $210,000 a year for the position of House of Deputies president.

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings speaks on Oct. 18, the final day of the four-day meeting of Executive Council in Chaska, Minnesota. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

The issue of diocesan assessments generated extended discussion among Executive Council members. Under the current triennial budget, each diocese is expected to contribute 15 percent to churchwide operations, a reduction from past budgets, though some dioceses historically have fallen short of even that lower target.

Dioceses that fail to pay their assessments may be excluded from churchwide grant programs, though they also may apply for waivers allowing them to forgo some or all of the required amounts.

“The only criteria for receiving a waiver is financial hardship,” Lloyd said, and she emphasized the process is not intended to be punitive. The committee in charge of following up with dioceses about their assessments emphasizes listening and conversation and welcomes “baby steps” toward full financial participation.

The six dioceses granted waivers by Executive Council were Arizona, Haiti, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and West Texas.

“Arizona has a big burden of past due assessments,” Lloyd said, so the church has agreed to forgive those past obligations over three years if it keeps up with its current payments.

Haiti, in recognition of the country’s poverty, has an agreement with the church outside of the assessment process to pay at least $5,000 a year, with the hope of increasing that to $11,000 by the end of the triennium. Mississippi, which Lloyd says is still dealing with the financial effects of Hurricane Katrina, aims to contribute 13 percent by the end of the triennium. Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands were granted full waivers because they are recovering from last year’s Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

West Texas, however, is a special case that split the voting members of Executive Council. The diocese’s past participation – just six percent last year – has fallen well short of the church’s target, and though the diocese was hit last year by Hurricane Harvey, financial hardship is not a primary factor.

Jennings asked why the church should grant the Diocese of West Texas a waiver if it was able to pay multiple bishops and maintain a sizable endowment fund. Other Executive Council members raised similar concerns and suggested amending the resolution to eliminate the waiver for West Texas.

North Carolina Bishop Suffragan Anne Hodges-Copple spoke in favor of the waiver, saying it was about diplomacy and “strengthening the hand of some good bishops” in West Texas who have been encouraging “recalcitrant” Episcopalians to see themselves part of something larger than what is in their own backyards.

“I love bringing them into the fold more strongly,” Hodges-Copple said.

The vote to drop West Texas’ waiver failed, 14-18, and Executive Council proceeded to approve all six waivers.

Executive Council has 40 voting members, including the presiding bishop and House of Deputies president, as well as additional nonvoting members, such as the Episcopal Church’s finance director and chief operating officer.

Twenty of the voting members – four bishops, four priests or deacons and 12 laypeople – are elected by General Convention to six-year terms, with half of those members elected every three years. The other 18 are elected to six-year terms by the Episcopal Church’s nine provinces, with each province sending one ordained member and one lay member.

One of Executive Council’s first actions this week was to reduce its number of committees from five to four. The new committees are Finance, Government & Operations, Ministry Within the Episcopal Church, and Ministry Beyond the Episcopal Church. And one of the final actions of the week was to elect three at-large members to the Executive Committee: Julia Harris of the Diocese of Oklahoma, Rose Sconiers of the Diocese of Western New York and Utah Bishop Scott Hayashi.

As business concluded Oct. 18, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry playfully described the week as “the karaoke meeting of the Executive Council,” a nod to one particularly memorable extracurricular activity from the meeting’s opening night. Breaking the ice was a core feature of this meeting, as Executive Council members found their bearings and got to know each other.

The daily sessions also tackled serious subjects, such the ethical questions raised by the role-playing scenarios that Russell Randle, a senior member from the Diocese of Virginia, included in his training on Oct. 17. That training was followed by a session on racial reconciliation led by the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, the presiding bishop’s canon for evangelism, reconciliation and creation care.

After a presentation by Spellers on the Episcopal Church’s Becoming Beloved Community framework, Executive Council broke into groups to share their experiences and think about how they are called to work for racial healing. The training concluded with all the members joining hands and singing.

During a meeting of the Government & Operations Committee, members offered their feedback on the racial reconciliation training.

“At our table, it got a little raw,” Pauline Getz, a member from the Diocese of San Diego, said. “Some of our conversation was hitting some rather deep chords.”

Spellers told the committee that the church has moved away from a past emphasis on “anti-racism” in favor of the language of racial healing, encouraging Episcopalians to interact graciously with each other without demonizing people for struggling with their own racism. Such a Christian approach can be applied beyond the work of racial reconciliation, she said.

“If we do this work the way we as a church have said we want to, it will change how we relate to everything,” Spellers said. “This is about us living in the Jesus way.”

Later that afternoon, Robertson gave a sobering outlook on Episcopal Migration Ministries’ future to the committee on Ministry Beyond the Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Charles Robertson, the presiding bishop’s canon for ministry beyond the church, speaks Oct. 17 to the committee on Ministry Beyond the Episcopal Church. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

“We are prepared for the worst,” Robertson said – the worst being the end of Episcopal Migration Ministries’ contract to continue the resettlement work it has done for the federal government since the 1980s.

The U.S. Department of State announced Sept. 17 that it would lower the ceiling to just 30,000 refugees for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, down from a ceiling of 85,000 just two years ago. And that 30,000 is just the upper limit, Robertson stressed. The actual number of refugees to be welcomed into the United States likely will be much lower.

Episcopal Migration Ministries once oversaw 31 resettlement affiliates in 26 dioceses, but that number has dwindled to 14 affiliates in 12 dioceses. With even fewer refugees to resettle, the federal government isn’t expected to keep all nine of its contracted agencies, Robertson said, and Episcopal Migration Ministries, though well equipped to do that work, is one of the smaller of the nine.

Even in the worst-case scenario, however, Episcopal Migration Ministries will remain an important part of the Episcopal Church’s outreach efforts. If the resettlement work ends, the agency may find other ways to support refugees and, possibly, other immigrants, Robertson said. He estimated it would take about a year to fully realize that new vision for the agency.

In the meantime, he suggested that Executive Council recognize the exemplary work of the agency’s employees. Council passed a resolution Oct. 18 commending Episcopal Migration Ministries, “whose dedicated staff, during a season of flux and uncertainty, have worked tirelessly and in a sacrificial manner to support refugees in many parts of the world who seek resettlement in the United States.”

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

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Freedom of religion and expression urged as Ireland prepares for blasphemy referendum

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 11:43am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Voters in Ireland will take part in a referendum on Oct. 26 to decide whether to abolish the country’s blasphemy laws. The Republic of Ireland’s constitution requires blasphemy – applicable only to Christianity – to be outlawed. But in 1999 its common-law offense was ruled to be incompatible with the constitution’s requirement for religious equality. A new statutory offense protecting any religion against “publication or utterance of blasphemous matter” was introduced in 2006; but now the public will decide whether to abolish the blasphemy law completely.

Read the full article here.

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Role of youth highlighted at International Anglican Family Network consultation

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 11:24am

[Anglican Communion News Service] A delegation of young adults from the Diocese of Lusaka helped a regional consultation on families under pressure to “revisit our thinking about the place of young people in our families, communities and churches.” Each of the 15 dioceses in the Church of the Province of Central Africa sent one male and one female participant to the six-day consultation, which was organized by the International Anglican Family Network. They were joined on one day by 26 young people from the Diocese of Lusaka, who challenged them to think about the tensions between “digitally native” young people and elderly BBCs – people “Born Before Computers.”

Read the full article.

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Good Friday Offering raises record total to support Middle East ministries

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 3:50pm

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry hands a toddler back to her mother while visiting a session for mothers and their young children at Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in March. Jerusalem Archbishop Suheil Dawani is at right. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church’s Good Friday Offering, an annual collection to support ministries in the Middle East, hit a fundraising milestone in 2017, topping $400,000 for the first time.

The offering has been a “remarkable success” in recent years, said the Rev. Robert Edmunds, the church’s Middle East partnership officer. More than 1,400 congregations, including those in overseas dioceses of the Episcopal Church, participated on Good Friday 2017. Contributions totaled $414,310 according to figures finalized recently after a church audit.

The Good Friday Offering supports a variety of programs in the Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, such as conferences and summer camps for children in the Diocese of Jerusalem, women’s empowerment programs, an eye clinic and other medical ministries.

“This extraordinary outpouring of generosity allows for essential funding of humanitarian aid in hospitals like the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza and the Ras Morbat Eye Clinic in Yemen, in addition to other medical ministries, schools and programs for women and youth,” Edmunds said. “The Good Friday Offering continues a strong tradition of prayer, advocacy and meaningful financial support for valuable ministry among our sisters and brothers throughout the Middle East.”

The Good Friday Offering, an initiative of the presiding bishop’s office, dates to 1922, when it was created in the aftermath of World War I in an attempt to foster relationships with Christians in the Middle East by supporting relief work and ecumenical partnerships. Each year, the Episcopal Church provides the proceeds to dioceses in the region to distribute to their locally led ministries.

The amount collected by all Episcopal congregations on Good Friday had fallen to $266,000 in 2013, but it topped $350,000 in each of the three following years before setting a record in 2017.

“Through the years many Episcopalians have found the Good Friday Offering to be an effective way to express their support for the ministries of the four dioceses of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East,” the Episcopal Church says in an online summary.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry embarked on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land leading up to Good Friday 2018. Among the stops on Curry’s Holy Week trip was the Al Ahli Arab Hospital, whose medical ministry in Gaza City receives money from the Good Friday Offering.

“The number of Christians in Gaza are decreasing dramatically, but the witness to the way of Jesus is as strong as ever because at Al Ahli Arab Hospital healing happens – Muslim, Christian, anyone who needs it, healing happens,” Curry told Episcopal News Service after visiting the hospital. “And that is the way of Jesus. That is what love looks like. That is what the sacrifice on the cross was about.”

The total collected from the 2018 Good Friday Offering has not yet been released.

The Episcopal Church’s United Thank Offering grant program and Episcopal Relief & Development also have provided advocacy, awareness and financial support through the years for the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention regularly considers resolutions related to Middle East issues. Resolutions that take positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict typically generate the most debate, though the church has backed other measures as well, affirming financial support for peacemaking efforts and humanitarian ministries. A 2012 resolution specifically singled out the Al Ahli Hospital for support. And in July, the 79th General Convention passed a resolution in response to a humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

The resolution on Yemen concluded by asserting “that throughout the Middle East region access to water and sustainable agriculture are serious problems and a primary source of conflict,” and it pledged to undertake “relief and long-term economic development projects in areas such as education, job creation and health care, as well as sustainable solutions for the lack of access to water.”

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

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Cuerpo de Servicio de Adultos Jóvenes de la Iglesia Episcopal: se aceptan solicitudes para plazas vacantes para el ciclo 2019-2020

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 2:28pm

[18 de octubre de 2018] El Cuerpo de Adultos Jóvenes de la Iglesia Episcopal (YASC, por sus siglas en inglés) ofrece atractivas oportunidades para servir, aprender y compartir, por un año, viviendo y trabajando con comunidades alrededor del mundo.

“Desde trabajando como capellanes invitados en barcos como parte de la Misión para Marinos en Hong Kong y Nueva Zelanda, hasta enseñando en escuelas de primaria y secundaria dirigidas por la Iglesia en Costa Rica y Tanzania, o trabajando en apoyo de la transformación a un desarrollo sostenible en las Filipinas, los voluntarios de YASC construyen relaciones con las comunidades de la Comunión Anglicana, desarrollando perspectivas amplias sobre la vida y la fe que permanecerán con ellos toda su vida” dijo Elizabeth Boe, funcionaria encargada del Personal de Misión de la Iglesia Episcopal. “Vemos este ministerio como una manera de apoyar a los adultos jóvenes en su desarrollo del liderazgo mientras exploran su fe de maneras nuevas y se interrelacionan con personas con puntos de vista diferentes, ofreciendo sus dones y destrezas en contextos nuevos”.

Las solicitudes están abiertas, a los episcopales entre los 21 y 30 años de edad, para las plazas durante el período 2019-2020 en el Cuerpo de Servicio de Adultos Jóvenes, que es el programa misionero internacional de la Iglesia Episcopal. Los voluntarios de YASC en la actualidad sirven en todos los rincones del mundo donde está la Comunión Anglicana y trabajan junto a sus socios en las áreas de administración, agricultura, comunicación, desarrollo y educación. Estos voluntarios sirven en ministerios en Costa Rica, Inglaterra, Hong Kong, Nueva Zelanda, las Filipinas, Puerto Rico y Tanzania.

Entre las posibles asignaciones para el período 2019-2020 están (pero no se limitan a) Brasil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Inglaterra, Honduras, Panamá, las Filipinas, Sudáfrica, Taiwán y Tanzania.

La solicitud para el ciclo 2019-2020, junto con información adicional e instrucciones, está disponible aquí.

Jared Grant, quien fue voluntario de YASC, describe su experiencia en el programa como “una experiencia transformadora en todos los sentidos. Yo llegué a este programa con el punto de vista pesimista de que el ‘trabajo de misión’ era algo anticuado, mal informado que no estaba al corriente con la Iglesia que yo conocía y quería. YASC me dio la oportunidad de trabajar con ministerios y también desarrollar ministerios que respetan la humanidad en todos nosotros, ministerios que protegen la santidad de la creación, ministerios que buscan alcanzar esa loca idea de la paz en un mundo que parece decidido a ir en sentido contrario. Sin embargo, resultó ser que mi idea del ‘trabajo misionero’ era lo que estaba obsoleto y no el trabajo misionero en sí. Sigo estando orgulloso de llamarme un misionero de la Iglesia”. A partir de su servicio en YASC en Lesoto y en Italia, Grant decidió explorar la educación teológica en el Seminario Teológico de Virginia, donde ahora estudia.

La fecha límite para enviar solicitudes es el viernes 11 de enero de 2019.

El Rdo. David Copley, director de Alianzas Globales y Personal de Misión dijo que “YASC construye sobre la base de la fe, el conocimiento, la educación y la experiencia que los adultos jóvenes traen consigo cuando sirven y les ofrece la oportunidad de enfrentar retos y ser transformados al involucrarse plenamente en otro lugar del mundo de Dios. El servicio misionero es ante todo un acto de fe y una manera de actuar como Iglesia”.

Para obtener más información comuníquese con Elizabeth Boe.

Hay información adicional sobre YASC, vídeos y blogs en episcopalchurch.org/yasc.

The post Cuerpo de Servicio de Adultos Jóvenes de la Iglesia Episcopal: se aceptan solicitudes para plazas vacantes para el ciclo 2019-2020 appeared first on Episcopal News Service.

Episcopalians advocate for Great Lakes water quality

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 6:54pm

In this July 19, 2002, file photo, the Mackinac Bridge is shown from Mackinaw City, Michigan. Photo: Carlos Osorio/AP

[Episcopal News Service] Two years ago during a Sunday service at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Petoskey, Michigan, Gary Street heard six words in Eucharistic Prayer C in the Book of Common Prayer and things came together for him: “…this fragile Earth, our island home.”

About a year and a half earlier, Street, a church member and a retired chemical engineer, began advocating for the shutdown of a Canadian-owned oil and gas pipeline that originates on the southwestern end of Lake Superior, the largest of the lakes, on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.  From there, it cuts across Upper Michigan — in sections tracing Lake Michigan’s shoreline along U.S. 2 — through the Mackinac Straits, into Lower Michigan before it terminates in Canada.

“All of a sudden it just hit me; this is what we are talking about,” said Street during an Oct. 16 interview with Episcopal News Service. After the service, Street spoke to his priest and said, “I’d like to pursue this.”

Beginning in 2016 with the Diocese of Northern Michigan, all four Michigan dioceses passed the same resolution calling on the governor and the state to dismantle Enbridge Line 5.

“… the history of pipeline leaks shows that there is a significant risk of severe damage and economic loss to government entities, individuals, businesses, and the environment,” the resolution states.

Together, Street and Northern Michigan Bishop Rayford Ray took the lead.

“I got to know Rayford quite well. He really understands the issue and is more supportive than almost anyone I’ve met in the religious community,” said Street. “Part of it is that that pipeline goes all the way through the Upper Peninsula. It starts over at Wakefield and it goes to St. Ignace, and, of course, crosses the state. So, it’s almost the entire part of the southern part of the Upper Peninsula that is exposed to the rupture of the pipeline.”

In the 60-mile stretch from Naubinway to St. Ignace, the pipeline hugs the shoreline; through that area wetlands and streams feed into Lake Michigan.

“If there’s a rupture there, it would certainly get into northern Lake Michigan. The straits are kind of an icon, something everyone can relate to; we don’t want to ruin the Straits,” said Street. There are, however, other high-risk areas where a rupture could affect at least three of the five Great Lakes. “It crosses rivers in the western U.S. that flow into Lake Superior. It certainly can get into Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.”

On Oct. 3 Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian oil company Enbridge announced plans to replace a nearly 4-mile section of the 65-year-old, 645-mile pipeline that transports 540,000 barrels of light crude oil and natural gas a day from Superior, Wisconsin, across Upper Michigan, through the Mackinac Straits, south and east across Lower Michigan to Sarnia, Ontario, where the oil and gas are refined into propane.

The governor’s and Enbridge’s agreement would create a “utility corridor,” creating a new Line 5 pipeline drilled 100 feet into bedrock below the lake bed, at an estimated cost between $350 and $500 million over seven to 10 years. The controversy involves the 3.5 to 4 miles of pipeline that carries the oil and gas through the straits’ narrow waterways. The largest strait connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, the third and second largest of the five Great Lakes.

Pipeline opponents argue that a spill poses too great an environmental and economic risk to the entire Great Lakes ecosystem. The five Great Lakes – Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Superior and Erie – form the largest freshwater system on the planet. The lakes hold close to one-fifth of the Earth’s surface freshwater; the lakes’ watershed drains 200,000 square miles of land, ranging from agricultural to forested to cities and suburbs. They have a combined shoreline of more than 10,000 miles, touching eight states and Ontario, a Canadian province.

The majority of Michigan’s 9.9 million people live below Muskegon on the western and Midland on the eastern side of the state. Remote and rural, Upper Michigan’s economy has been dependent on resource extraction, outdoor recreation and tourism; it has a population of about 300,000 people and has steadily lost population over the last decade. Pipeline supporters and Enbridge argue the pipeline helps meet rural residents’ propane heating needs.

In places like Rapid River, a town of some 4,100 people about 15 miles north of Escanaba on U.S. Highway 41, where a processing facility converts Line 5 natural gas into propane, pipeline opponents make a delicate argument for its decommissioning because some residents work at the facility and love their employer.

“Line 5 has inflamed our community,” said Deb Nedeau, project specialist for the Great Lakes Peace Center and a member of the Northern Michigan diocese’s Peace, Justice and Creation Care Committee.

Nedeau and her business partner, Kathy Vanden Boogaard are careful to stick to the potential environmental hazards associated with the pipeline and corporate responsibility.

“This is about water quality,” said Nedeau, not an unhappiness with local people.

On Oct. 16, the diocese hosted a creation care conference focused on both economic and environmental justice. The conference attracted between 40 and 50 like-minded people.

In April, Ray, Street and interfaith water advocates organized by Michigan Interfaith Power & Light gathered in Lansing to speak to Snyder and state representatives about the pipeline’s potential dangers.

“We gathered because we believe that all of humanity is called by God to love and care for all of creation; the issue of the danger of Pipeline 5 is of grave importance to the entire Great Lakes ecosystem and to each of our communities in the Basin,” wrote Ray and Street in a piece scheduled to run in the upcoming issue of The FEAST, published by the Diocese of Eastern Michigan.

“In the Episcopal Church, we believe that we are stewards of creation; called to pursue justice and peace for all people and to care for the world God has given us. The world we inhabit as humans and as Michiganders is in danger,” said Ray in an email to ENS.

“I stand with our Native American brothers and sisters and advocate against the pipeline and tunnel,” Ray wrote. “The environmental and financial impact of a rupture would be devastating to the lands of our Native people and to those of us who occupy it. Let us join together to show compassion for this planet-our island home and work together as advocates for our environment.”

The region’s Native Americans maintain the pipeline violates a treaty granting fishing rights that dates back to 1836. Though tribal leaders have met with the Snyder administration three times over the past year as mandated, they don’t feel heard. Additionally, opponents have argued the state’s 1953 easement granted to Enbridge violates public trust law.

Although the state’s outgoing Republican governor and the oil company came to an agreement, the next step requires Enbridge to reach an agreement with the Mackinac Bridge Authority, which operates the five-mile suspension bridge that connects Upper and Lower Michigan over the Mackinac Straits.

Michigan will elect a new governor in November to replace Snyder, who is term-limited. Two years into Snyder’s second term the Flint water crisis began to make national and international headlines; earlier this year a report found the governor partly to blame for the situation. In August, a U.S. district judge dropped Snyder from a citizen-led class-action lawsuit.

The pipeline has become an election issue, particularly as the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint still reverberates today; that, combined with the 2010 rupture of an Enbridge pipeline that discharged 843,000 gallons of crude tar sands oil into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River, has raised Michigan residents’ awareness regarding water quality issues. The Kalamazoo spill required a $1.2 billion cleanup and ongoing water-quality monitoring.

Even now, Line 5 isn’t the only Enbridge-operated pipeline in the Great Lakes region to catch the attention of Episcopalians. In Minnesota, church leaders and members have joined Interfaith Power & Light’s opposition to replacing Line 3, which would run across the northern part of the state. Opponents say the pipeline threatens Minnesota’s “climate, environment and Anishinaabe people.” The Anishinaabe, aka Ojibwa, have long grown wild rice in the region. The 79th General Convention expressed its support for the Leek Lake Band of Ojibwe with Resolution C064.

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

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Anglicans around the world respond to the annual Season of Creation

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 5:43pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The annual Season of Creation, which ran from Sept. 1 to Oct. 4, was celebrated by Anglicans around the world in many different ways. The Season of Creation began as an initiative of the Ecumenical Patriarch and has since been endorsed and supported by both Pope Francis and the Anglican Consultative Council. Many other Church groups also take part.

Read the full article here.

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‘Purple’ parish in Minnesota builds paths to compassionate political dialogue

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 5:42pm

The Rev. Devon Anderson, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Excelsior, Minnesota, checks in at the candidate event co-hosted by the church Oct. 16 at the South Shore Community Center in Shorewood. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Shorewood, Minnesota] Within this politically “purple” state, the Rev. Devon Anderson describes her congregation at Trinity Episcopal Church as a “purple parish,” neither red nor blue but with parishioners who bring viewpoints that touch all points along the political spectrum.

Purple isn’t an easy color for a parish, especially in these increasingly partisan times. Parishioners at the church in Excelsior, Minnesota, where Anderson is rector, had long felt uncomfortable sharing their political views, and some preferred avoiding such topics altogether at church.

Today, the parish is embracing its political diversity rather than hiding from it. Several church volunteers proudly sported their Trinity name badges as they helped stage a local candidate event Oct. 16 at a community center in the adjoining city of Shorewood, about five miles north of the convention center in Chaska where the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council is meeting this week.

The event, through a partnership with the local chamber of commerce and League of Women Voters branch, was part of Trinity’s effort to turn what could be a liability into an opportunity for promoting open, civil discourse. Anderson sees the congregation as a kind of “incubator” for compassionate dialogue across political divides.

“If we have this parish – we care about each other, we celebrate the sacraments together, we’re really focused on building relationships with each other – could we not also use that as a training ground for being out in the community as respectful, kind people?” said Anderson, who is a member of Executive Council.

On this Tuesday evening, that plan seemed to be hitting its mark. A roar of conversation filled the South Shore Community Center as dozens of voters met with candidates for office in communities around the Twin Cities’ west suburbs. Signs, buttons, postcards and banners – Tonka Bay mayor, Hennepin County sheriff, Excelsior City Council, Minnesota House of Representatives – decorated all corners of the room, and some candidates placed cookies on the assigned card tables to sweeten their pitches for support.

Kelly Morrison, a Trinity Episcopal Church member and state House candidate, talks with a local voter at the Oct. 16 event. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

One of the candidates, Kelly Morrison, who is running for a state House seat, is also a member of Trinity. She has been inspired by her church’s efforts to encourage people to talk and listen without prejudging each other based on political beliefs.

“I’m a proud Democrat, but I don’t want conversations to end before they begin,” she told Episcopal News Service. “We’re all on the same team.”

She also thinks Christian teachings, such as loving your neighbor and welcoming the stranger, help inform Christians’ actions as they enter the public sphere. They’re “what all of this should be about,” Morrison said.

Fellow Trinity member Bev Lane, who had volunteered as a greeter at the candidate event, shares that support for the congregation’s efforts.

“When you know the people, you understand them,” Lane said. “I think that we have to be more civil. We have to get along, even though we have differing opinions.”

Gary Veazie, who works part time as facility manager at Trinity, on this occasion was in charge of setting up refreshments in the community center room. He stood watch over the table of snacks and drinks.

“I’m running for doughnuts and water,” Veazie joked.

Candidates for local election in the west suburbs of the Twin Cities talk with voters Oct. 16 at the community center in Shorewood. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

Veazie started attending worship services at Trinity in 1980, and he had high praise for the congregation’s several rectors over the years. Anderson, too, is known for giving a “top-level sermon,” he said – including sermons that draw connections between the Gospel and current events, “which is a hard line to walk.”

One particularly difficult sermon in 2016 helped focus the congregation on its civil discourse work.

The presidential election left Anderson in a “panic,” she admitted in her sermon that November, not from her own views on the outcome, but because she wasn’t sure how to unify a congregation with such divergent reactions to Donald Trump being elected president.

Some parishioners were cheerful, while others were in shock. “How are we going to continue together?” she thought.

She found her answer in the very congregation that seemed so divided. “We need church and Christian community more than ever, because within it we can practice the kind of peace and unity we so desire for our country,” Anderson told her congregation.

Minnesota narrowly voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, but the state’s counties are a patchwork of blue and red, with the bluest centered around the metro areas of the Twin Cities, Rochester and Duluth. Hennepin County went solidly Democratic; however, Anderson said, Excelsior and other west suburbs are more politically diverse and lean more conservative than Minneapolis.

Trinity Episcopal Church already had begun encouraging parishioners to be more open about their political views and listen to each other respectfully. An early catalyst was Minnesota’s adoption of a law in 2013 legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

As with other political issues, parishioners’ views on gay marriage varied widely, and “the congregation had never had a conversation about it,” Anderson said. Trinity would need to decide whether it would offer same-sex ceremonies, but first it enlisted a consultant through the University of St. Thomas’ civil discourse lecture series to coach parishioners.

“We needed to learn how to create a safe space for people to really be able to express how they felt, and so we learned a methodology for doing that,” Anderson said.

After strengthening the congregation’s civil discourse skills, the vestry called an all-parish meeting to discuss offering the sacrament of marriage to all people. Parishioners were encouraged to put their newly developed skills to work as they listened to members sharing their views one at a time. The meeting felt like a liturgical experience, Anderson said, as each speech was followed by a moment of silence and hymn singing.

The meeting was well attended and lasted several hours, she said, and when the vestry later voted to offer same-sex ceremonies, it was not the divisive decision it otherwise could have been.

“It was a real moment for the parish,” Anderson said. “Because it was like, we can actually do this. We can be diverse in our opinions, in our political opinions, and we can still be a really close worshiping community.”

Such an approach worked for Trinity, but it need not end there.

“I think this kind of thing should be the leading edge of the Episcopal Church,” said Betty Bright, a vestry member who was volunteering at the candidate meet-and-greet event. “For me, it’s about being open to each person’s heart.”

The candidate meet-and-greet event Oct. 16 was hosted jointly by Trinity Episcopal Church and the local chamber of commerce and League of Women Voters branch. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

Fellow vestry member Christopher Williams also attended the event and was pleased by the turnout. Some Episcopalians may attend worship services and just want to hear the Gospel, without talking about how it may apply to contemporary life, he said, but opening paths of conversation across differences can broaden people’s thinking, within the congregation and beyond.

“I think it’s great,” Williams said. “I think it adds a lot to any conversation you’re going to have, with anybody about anything.”

A small team of volunteers from Trinity had been working to host candidate forums at the church, but they struggled to get candidates to commit, Anderson said. In the meantime, the volunteers turned their focus toward supporting the meet-and-greet event Oct. 16.

Monica Wiant, a vestry member and one of the event volunteers, credited Anderson for pressing the congregation not to shy away from conversations just because they may seem uncomfortable. The all-parish meeting on same-sex ceremonies was a big step, she said.

“It was just terrific,” Wiant said. “Because not everybody agreed, but there was a lot of mutual support and listening.”

Wiant, who described herself as “proudly liberal,” was among those parishioners shocked and unsettled by the presidential election, and she appreciated Anderson’s invitation to come together as a faith community. “The church needs to be a place where we can bring those emotions and work through it,” Wiant said.

Whether Republican or Democrat, they are all Christian.

“I think spiritually we have a lot of common ground, regardless of how we vote,” Wiant said.

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

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