Episcopal News Service

Subscribe to Episcopal News Service feed
The official news service of the Episcopal Church.
Updated: 27 min 19 sec ago

Unity and reconciliation in Democratic Republic of Congo

Thu, 08/23/2018 - 12:12pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Young people from the Democratic Republic of Congo are rising up as reconcilers in their communities. At the Diocese of Goma’s second annual youth conference, teenagers and young adults from across the diocese spent four days praying, worshiping, and playing football together, creating friendships that cross tribal lines. The conference, which began on Aug. 16, was titled “Whole Life Discipleship,” with a focus on unity and reconciliation.

Read the full article here.

El Tribunal de Revisión de la II Provincia emite un Informe de resultados

Thu, 08/23/2018 - 10:32am

[23 de agosto de 2018] El Tribunal de Revisión de la II Provincia dio a conocer su Informe de Resultados respecto a la impugnación de la elección del obispo coadjutor de la Diócesis de Haití.

Luego de la elección, el 2 de junio, del Ven. Joseph Kerwin Délicat como obispo coadjutor de la Diócesis de Haití, un grupo de delegados laicos y clericales a la Convención Electoral presentaron por escrito objeciones al proceso de la elección. El Canon III.11.8 (a) describe los pasos a seguir para impugnar el proceso de una elección.

Tal como lo estipula el Título III.8, el Obispo Primado remitió el asunto al Tribunal de Revisión de la II Provincia para que investigara la denuncia (la Diócesis de Haití es parte de la II Provincia). El Informe de Resultados se encuentra aquí. Copias del informe se les distribuirán a los obispos con jurisdicción y a todos los comités permanentes diocesanos como parte del proceso de consentimiento de la elección.

Las diócesis tienen 120 días después que se hayan enviado las solicitudes de consentimiento para dar o retirar su consentimiento a la elección diocesana.

Court of Review of Province II issues report of findings on Haiti bishop election

Thu, 08/23/2018 - 10:31am

[Episcopal News Service] The Province II Court of Review has released its Report of Findings regarding the contestation of the election of the bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Haiti.

Following the June 2 election of the Ven. Joseph Kerwin Delicat as bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Haiti, a group of lay and clergy delegates to the Electing Convention filed written objections to the election process. Canon III.11.8 (a) outlines the process for contesting the election process.

As required by Title III.8, the presiding bishop referred the matter to the Province II Court of Review for investigation of the complaint. (Province II includes the Diocese of Haiti.) The Court’s Report of Findings is here. Copies of the report will be distributed to bishops with jurisdiction and all Diocesan Standing Committees as part of the election consent process.

Dioceses have 120 days after requests for consents are sent out to give or withhold their consent to a diocesan election.

Read more on this story here.

Diocese of Newark notified of successful canonical consent process for bishop-elect

Wed, 08/22/2018 - 5:05pm

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Diocese of Newark has received notification from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Michael Barlowe, registrar of General Convention, that Bishop-Elect Carlye J. Hughes has received the required majority of consents in the canonical consent process detailed in Canon III.11.3.

In giving consent to her ordination and consecration, standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction attest to knowing of “no impediment on account of which” Bishop-Elect Hughes ought to be ordained to the office of bishop and believing that her election was conducted in accordance with the Canons.

The Rev. Carlye J. Hughes was elected the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Newark during a special convention on May 19, 2018, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown, New Jersey. Photo: Nina Nicholson/Diocese of Newark

The Rev. Hughes was chosen 11th bishop of the Diocese of Newark during a special convention on May 19 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown, New Jersey. The presiding bishop will officiate at her September 22 ordination and consecration service.

The first woman and first African-American to be elected bishop in the Diocese of Newark, Hughes, 59, is currently rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, Texas, in the Diocese of Fort Worth, and was one of three nominees.

Hughes was ordained a priest in 2005 after graduating from Virginia Theological Seminary, and has served as rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in the continuing Diocese of Fort Worth since 2012. No stranger to the Northeast, her first call was to St. James’ Church on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Before ordination, she worked as a corporate trainer. She is married to David Smedley.

Therapy dogs are soothing ambassadors for Massachusetts church’s pet ministry

Wed, 08/22/2018 - 4:05pm

Some of Perfect Paws Pet Ministry’s therapy dogs and their owners pose for a photo in Danvers, Massachusetts. Photo: Fran Weil

[Episcopal News Service] Paxton may not understand the full significance of his calling, but the 10-year-old Westie is one of All Saints Episcopal Church’s most dedicated ministers serving as Jesus’ paws in the world.

As a therapy dog dispatched by Perfect Paws Pet Ministry at All Saints in Danvers, Massachusetts, Paxton and his human, Fran Weil, have brought the soothing presence of a canine companion to students of all ages, nursing home residents, hospital patients and recovering addicts in drug rehabilitation centers. Weil is always amazed by the sense of calm that can be conveyed from simply patting her dog’s head.

“As terrific as the response is to our dogs wherever we go, it’s so rewarding for us,” Weil said. “It is really God’s work, and we are so blessed to use one of God’s creatures to do this amazing outreach.”

Weil, the therapy dog coordinator for the church, is one of several parishioners with dogs certified to do this work, along with the other 600 active members of Dog B.O.N.E.S. Therapy Dogs of Massachusetts. Some of these therapy dogs were called on to provide comfort to victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Others regularly serve as captive listeners for elementary schoolers learning to read.

In another case a while back, Perfect Paws dispatched one of its therapy dogs to provide “a little comfort time” for the family and friends of a 10-year-old who was hit and killed by a train, Weil said. It offered “a wonderful diversion” from the pain of loss.

Episcopal churches across the country are engaged in pet ministries of one kind or another. One of the most common are the annual services offering pet blessings, typically held in early October around the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals.

The Episcopal Church Asset Map, though not a comprehensive listing, shows at least a dozen congregations that take their pet outreach a step further, from pet supply collections to fundraisers benefiting the local no-kill animal shelter.

All Saints appears to be the only Episcopal church so fully engaged with a therapy dog ministry, thanks largely to the work of Weil, 71. She describes herself as a longtime lapsed Catholic who began attending Episcopal services late in life and “had never experienced such welcome ever.” She has worshipped at All Saints since 2001.

Her role with Perfect Paws is negotiable: founder, lead volunteer, honorary pet chaplain. Each title might be appropriate, she said. She also sometimes serves as a pet bereavement counselor, and she accompanies pet owners on trips to the veterinarian when tough decisions need to be made about life and death.

Weil is a natural for that kind of work because her love of animals is nearly universal.

“I love any animal. I’ve never met an animal I haven’t liked,” she said. “Well, I haven’t met a tarantula. I might be a little reluctant.”

All Saints launched Perfect Paws Pet Ministry in May 2010 with a monthly evening Eucharist for pet owners and their pets, all pets – rabbits, birds, cats, but mostly dogs. A story about the service got picked up by the Associated Press and drew national and even international attention to the ministry, Weil said, but the outreach has remained local.

“We started this because we realized that people find God in different ways, and so often it’s through their animals,” she said. “We often say it’s not an accident that ‘God’ spelled backward is ‘dog.’”

The services draw about 30 to 50 people, some of whom have been attending since the beginning, even those whose pets have since died.

The Rev. Marya DeCarlen, rector at All Saints, said only a handful of the pet service regulars are also All Saints parishioners. Perfect Paws, then, has become a distinct worship community centered around pet ownership.

“It is a place for humans and their pets to share life transitions, so a lot of grief work happens in these services,” DeCarlen said. “And a lot of joy and appreciation is lifted up in these services,” such as new adoptions.

“It parallels our own lives when we join a community. This community is really more than Eucharist. It is the body of Christ sharing life transitions with each other.”

The Perfect Paws Pet Ministry at All Saints Episcopal Church in Danvers, Massachusetts, hosted a meeting of the West Highland White Terrier Club in September.

DeCarlen began serving at All Saints a little over four years ago and initially found the pet services to be a bit overwhelming, but she quickly warmed to the ministry and asked parishioners to suggest ways of expanding it beyond the monthly services.

All Saints now collects pet food to donate to the local food pantry, and members minister to police and military K-9 handlers who have lost their dogs. About five times a year, the church hosts therapy dog workshops in the parish hall led by Weil and another parishioner.

Most dogs, regardless of breed, can serve as therapy dogs as long as they aren’t skittish, can handle unfamiliar environments and can be trained to follow basic commands and negotiate around objects, such as a wheelchair or walker. The bond between dog and owner is the most important factor, Weil said.

“Nobody knows the dog better than the owner,” she said. “It’s always good to know that the person has a good relationship with the dog.”

Any organization can contact Perfect Paws or Dog B.O.N.E.S. and request a free visit from a therapy dog. Most of Perfect Paws’ therapy dogs spend time in schools, whether easing high school students’ stress before and during exams or helping younger students learn to read.

For the younger students, they are encouraged to read directly to the dog, an experience shown to have measurable benefits in improving reading skills.

The Rev. Marya DeCarlen and her dog, Blue, meet with a group at the library in Danvers, Massachusetts.

“They feel inhibited when reading in front of peers … but they don’t in front of the dog,” said DeCarlen, whose 13-year-old Labrador, Blue, is often on the receiving end of those children’s readings.

“That has been a wonderful experience, to see children not only read but to use expressions. They want the dog to have a reaction when they read,” DeCarlen said. As for Blue, “he just loves to be doted upon.”

Dogs are known for giving unconditional love, and Weil said that is one reason why reading to dogs is so beneficial. “The dog’s never going to say, ‘That’s the wrong word. You didn’t pronounce it right.’”

It’s like a theatrical performance, she added, with the children suspending their disbelief and reading as if the dog is really understanding the story.

The parishioners from All Saints who participate in the therapy dog ministry have become like a family, and they have supported each other in times of grief, particularly over the past year, during which four of the dogs died, Weil said.

That grief mirrors what many pet owners feel at the loss of longtime companions who, too, felt like part of the family, and this has been another motivation for All Saints to step up its outreach and its message of welcome.

Pets have “taken on a bigger importance in people’s lives, and when that happens you bring what’s important to you to church, whether it’s in your mind or heart or spirit,” DeCarlen said. To be a member of the body of Christ, she said, is to embrace a sense of purpose in those relationships while spreading compassion to others, whether they walk on two feet or four paws.

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

RIP: Chairperson of China’s National Committee of Three-Self Patriotic Movement

Wed, 08/22/2018 - 3:36pm

Elder Fu Xianwei, chair of the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China, addresses Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and his staff during a Feb. 22 meeting at the National Office of China Christian Council and the Three-Self Patriotic Movement in Shanghai, China. To Fu’s left are Gu Mengfei, TSPM’s associate secretary general and director of the CCC’s research department, and Elder Ou Enlin, director of overseas relations for the CCC/TSPM. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] Elder Fu Xianwei, chairperson of the National Committee of Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Church in China and board chairperson of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, passed away in Shanghai, China, on Aug. 20, aged 74.

Fu’s deep conviction and productive service to the Lord was a powerful encouragement to Christians in China. His immensely hardworking for the cause of the Church in China with consistent adherence to the Three-Self principle was a role model and support for his fellow colleagues. The ardent love and care for the state and the church over the decades of his leadership has been exemplified through his commitment to the reconstruction of theological thinking and the advocacy of the indigenization and contextualization of the Church in China.

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” (REVELATION 14:13)

The Episcopal Church’s and the Chinese church’s relationship started with Bishop K.H. Ting, who trained in the Anglican tradition at Union Theological Seminary in New York, served as long-time principal of the board of directors of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, and in 1955 became the bishop of Zhejiang until the Cultural Revolution.

The funeral in remembrance of Elder Fu Xianwei will be hosted at Shanghai Longhua Funeral Parlor (No. 210 Caoxi Road, Shanghai) at 9 a.m. on Sept. 5.

The memorial service is to be held at Muen Church (No. 316 Middle Xizang Road, Shanghai) at 9:30am on Sept. 6.

South Sudanese bishop speaks out against corruption

Wed, 08/22/2018 - 11:03am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Diocese of Malek Bishop Peter Jon Mayom has written an open letter to church and government leaders, calling for an end to bribery and violence. In the letter, Mayom, condemns corruption and calls for all Christians, particularly leaders, to set examples of holiness.

Read the full article.

Diocese of Virginia to replace Bishop Johnston with provisional bishop for three years

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 5:31pm

Helen K. Spence, president of the Diocese of Virginia’s standing committee, sent a letter to the diocese on Aug. 20 announcing the committee’s decision to seek a provisional bishop for three years after Bishop Shannon Johnston steps down in November. Election of the provision bishop would take place at the diocese’s convention in November. The following is the test of Spence’s letter.

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Bishop Shannon Johnston has announced that he will resign as our Bishop Diocesan during our Annual Convention in November 2018, and he will fully retire on June 30, 2019. In his letter of August 3, Bishop Shannon called for “new vision and new energy for the church in our Diocese.” To create the best opportunity for that vision and energy, the Standing Committee is seeking a Bishop Provisional for election at the November convention, per General Convention Title III.13.1. We want to make all of you aware of the steps involved in this process, as we work for the good of our Diocese.

As stated in Bishop Shannon’s letter, we have been in communication with the Presiding Bishop’s Office to ensure a smooth transition. The process the Standing Committee will follow will be similar to what happens in a parish when a rector leaves, and an interim rector is appointed by the Vestry. In this case, the Standing Committee is working with the Presiding Bishop’s Office of Pastoral Development to identify individuals who would be willing to serve as our Bishop Provisional for approximately three years, with extensions to that time frame, if needed, to be voted on at Diocesan Convention. As with any process like this, confidentiality will be kept to preserve the privacy of all involved.

This month, we are working to prepare questions to ask of the prospective candidates. We have sought input from Diocesan staff, current and former Bishops, leadership of Diocesan bodies, and the Regional Deans and Presidents to help us formulate these questions. We are also reviewing documents on file at the diocesan offices, to assist in preparing for these interviews, which we plan to hold in September. Once we have completed interviews, and a review of all paperwork, we will present the name of one candidate for the Diocese to elect in November, similar to the way a Vestry would for a parish.

This election will be the final act of our Annual Convention. The Bishop Provisional will be an experienced Bishop who will have the canonical authority of a Bishop Diocesan, and who will partner with us in a thorough diocesan review to enable us to prepare for a healthy call for our next Bishop Diocesan.

Many have asked about the role of Bishop Susan Goff in the Diocese as we move forward. In the same way that an associate or assistant rector is not eligible to serve as interim of a parish after the rector leaves, we have discerned, in close consultation with Bishop Goff, the Presiding Bishop and a variety of wise advisors, that our Bishop Suffragan will serve the Diocese best by remaining our Suffragan. She will be an integral part of the new team of leadership of our Diocese and we are grateful for the gifts she will continue to bring.

We ask for your prayers, for this process and for all the individuals involved, as we undertake this work. The best interests of this Diocese are at the center of all we do.

In Christ’s Love,

Helen K. Spence, President
Standing Committee
Diocese of Virginia

Church of South India responds to flooding in Kerala

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 2:22pm

Editor’s note: The Diocese of New York has long-standing and strong ties to the Church of South India, and to the Christian community in India, and has launched a relief appeal

[Anglican Communion News Service] Members of the  Church of South India have been at the heart of the relief efforts after flooding devastated swathes of the south western state of Kerala. The dioceses of East Kerala and Malabar, in the eastern hilly areas of south India, along with parts of the Cochin diocese, remain affected. 

So far, about 350 have died in the floods, and more the 700,000 are displaced and living in relief camps around the region. The crisis began with a wave of monsoons, leading to swollen rivers. Eventually 35 of the 36 dams in the region broke, releasing nearly 700,000 liters of water per second, causing landslides, flooding homes and blocking roads.

Read the full article here.

 

Episcopalians to join 40-mile Solidarity Walk to immigrant detention facility in New Hampshire

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 11:53am

A few dozen people gather outside the Norris Cotton Federal Building in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Aug. 7 for one of the regular prayer vigils for immigrants checking in with federal authorities. Photo: New Hampshire Council of Churches

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalians will join others in the New Hampshire faith community this month for a four-day Solidarity Walk for Immigrant Justice, tracing detained immigrants’ path from federal immigration enforcement offices in Manchester to a jail in Dover to raise awareness of immigrants’ plight and voice their support.

“We’re following on foot the path that people who are detained and taken to jail are themselves traveling,” said the Rev. Jason Wells, an Episcopal priest who serves as executive director of New Hampshire Council of Churches, one of the Solidarity Walk organizers.

This pilgrimage will begin Aug. 22 with a short prayer service at St. Anne-St. Augustin Catholic Church in Manchester, and the walk will kick off from the Norris Cotton Federal Building, where offices of U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement, or ICE, are located. The building also has been the site of regular prayer vigils scheduled for days when immigrants are known to be checking in with ICE, some fearing they will be detained or deported.

The Episcopal Church’s support for immigrants, including those facing deportation, was underscored last month by the 79th General Convention, which passed multiple resolutions on immigration issues after hundreds of bishops and deputies gathered for their own prayer service outside an immigration detention facility near Austin, Texas.

Organizers of the Solidary Walk in New Hampshire have invoked that example as they plan to gather at the end of their 40-mile journey outside the Stratford County jail, which has a contract with the federal government to hold immigration detainees.

“I think that the Gospel imperative is to work for the poor, the marginalized, to really point out injustice and work for justice,” said the Rev. Sarah Rockwell, a part-time priest at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Manchester and president of Granite State Organizing Project. “I see this as very much a part of living out a life of faith, and our faith should be consequential.”

Although Rockwell will not be available to participate in the Solidary Walk, others at Granite State Organizing Project have been involved in planning the walk. Theirs is an interreligious organization devoted to grassroots community advocacy, and it is one of several groups contributing to next week’s walk, including American Friends Service Committee.

At the frequent prayer vigils organized by the same groups, about 50 or so people gather outside the federal building in Manchester. They embark on a Jericho walk  – seven times around the building, often in silent prayer. More prayers and songs follow, as well as readings from various faith traditions’ scriptures.

During the vigils, some clergy offer to wait with the families of noncitizen immigrants who are checking in. The families typically don’t know if these will be routine visits to provide updates to authorities or if their loved ones suddenly will be told to return by a certain date with a plane ticket back to their native country, Wells said. Some have been taken straight to jail.

Most immigrants who the New Hampshire Council of Churches are supporting have been required to check in with ICE about once a month, a frequency that has increased since President Donald Trump took office, Wells said. Previously the check-ins may have happened only about once a year.

The Stratford County jail, one of six facilities in New England that hold immigration detainees for the federal government, also has seen an uptick in immigrant detainees in recent years to about 115 a day in 2018, according to the Concord Monitor.

Some of these immigrants came to the United States on work visas that have since expired, so they are trying to gain permanent residency status, Wells said. Others are asylum seekers or refugees or have temporary protected status because the federal government at some point determined it was unsafe for them to return to their home country.

Organizers of the Solidarity Walk say one goal is to draw attention to the prevalence of such immigration cases in upper New England.

“Many [Americans] do not understand the forces that drive people to flee their homelands, the complexities of the immigration system or the hardships faced by migrants,” Eva Castillo, vice president of the Granite State Organizing Project, said in an online announcement of the Solidarity Walk. “We hope to have positive and productive conversations with Granite Stators of all political persuasions along our journey.”

This is doubly important in a northern state that doesn’t normally get associated with immigration issues, Wells said.

“Among all of us there is a desire to keep this awareness in front of New Hampshire,” Wells said. “A lot of the news on immigration tends to focus on the border with Mexico, and we lose sight of the fact that these are New Hampshire families.”

The walk will be broken into segments of about three hours each, with the morning and afternoon segments totaling about 10 miles each day. About 50 people have signed up so far to walk at least one of the segments, and other volunteers will drive the same route in support vehicles.

The Solidarity Walk will conclude each days’ segments with events in towns along the way – Candia, Raymond and Lee – with walkers invited to camp overnight at churches that have volunteered their space.

In addition to raising awareness, participants in the walk want to bring detainees a direct message of support. Organizers are working on how to communicate that support to those inside the county jail as they plan a prayer vigil outside on Aug. 25.

Wells said he and others felt inspired by stories of the Episcopalians who on July 8 shouted, “Te vemos – we see you,” to the immigrant women being held at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas.

If he has the opportunity, he hopes to offer similar words of support to the immigrants being held in the jail in Dover.

“That we see you, we see your humanity, we see that you are made in God’s image,” Wells said. “And even though you are in the jail, you are loved by God, you are loved by us – that we are here, that we have not forgotten you.”

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

Austin Ford, founder of Atlanta’s Emmaus House, dead at 89

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 10:46am

[Diocese of Atlanta] The Rev. Austin Ford, who lived and ministered in one of the city’s most deprived communities, died Saturday at his Grant Park, Georgia, home.

Ford, who was the founding rector of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Decatur, left the security of the fast-growing suburban Episcopal parish in 1967 to start Emmaus House, in Atlanta’s Peoplestown community.

Moving into a dilapidated clapboard house, Ford took his time getting to know the community.  He carefully listened to area residents and responded to their goals – growing the ministry to include an after-school program, once-a-month transportation to the state prison for families of inmates, chapel services, hot meals, and a poverty rights office.

Over three decades at Emmaus House Ford was a consistent and strident voice for welfare rights, neighborhood empowerment and racial justice.

The Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, said Ford was a priest who modeled Jesus’ preference for the poor and disenfranchised.

“Austin Ford was someone who believed and lived his faith shoulder to shoulder with people from all situations and circumstances,” Wright said. “He was a man and a priest who understood that Jesus wants His followers with the poor. His shoes will be hard to fill. His example changed minds, hearts and lives.”

Ford will be cremated. A time for a memorial service is yet to be determined. A.S. Turner & Sons Funeral Home and Crematory in Decatur is in charge of arrangements.

Anglicans join other Christians in Assisi for two-day Ecumenical Prayer for Creation

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:09pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Christians from different denominations will take part in a pilgrimage from Assisi to the COP24 U.N. climate change conference in Poland, after a two-day ecumenical prayer event. The Season of Creation began as an initiative from the Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios in 1989. It has since been endorsed and recommended to the Anglican Communion by the Anglican Consultative Council; and by Pope Francis for the Roman Catholic Church. It runs from the World Day of Prayer for Creation on Sept. 1 to the feast of St Francis of Assisi on Oct. 4.

Read the full article here.

Prayers offered for victims, rescuers following Italy bridge collapse

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:06pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Holy Ghost Anglican Church in Genoa, Italy, says that its members living near the site of a collapsed motorway bridge have all been reported safe. But it says that “there is a concern for all who are bereaved, injured or missing.” At least 39 people were killed when a section of the Ponte Morandi collapsed. Around 20 people are still thought to be missing as rescuers continue to search the Polcevera river, the Genoa to Turin and Milan railway lines, and the Ansaldo Energia industrial area below the bridge.

Read the full article here.

New Zealand cathedral praised for its earthquake strengthening proposals

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 12:27pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Moves to re-open St. Mary’s Cathedral in Taranaki on New Zealand’s North Island have moved a step closer after receiving local approval for structural improvements that have been described as a best-practice blueprint that could be applied to other heritage buildings.

The cathedral has been closed since February 2016 after a structural survey showed that it was rated at below 15 percent of the national building standards. In addition to earthquake strengthening, the cathedral will undergo a number of additional developments and refurbishment.

Read the full article here.

With two dioceses under one bishop, first-of-its-kind experiment to emphasize collaboration

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 10:55am

[Episcopal News Service] The “least likely” friendship in the House of Bishops between the Episcopal Church’s oldest active diocesan bishop and its youngest has fostered a first-of-its-kind collaborative experiment that could point to the future shape and feel of dioceses.

Western New York Bishop William Franklin, 71, recently told the House of Bishops that he and Northwestern Pennsylvania Bishop Sean Rowe were the “least likely of friends.” He called himself “an Anglo-Catholic church historian.” He holds a doctorate in church history from Harvard University and was dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University when he was elected. He has served the diocese for seven years. Rowe, 43, has been bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania for 11 years. He holds a doctorate in organizational development from Gannon University. Franklin called him a “very low church expert in adaptive change.”

However, Rowe said, they “took an idea that came out of friendship” and a common concern for the mission of the church and have been collaborating in new ways. When Franklin and Rowe explained their experiment to the House of Bishops on July 13, General Convention’s closing day, Rowe said that the Great Lakes region is in “an adaptive moment” and that the church ought to be part of that moment by trying a new model that could free up more resources for ministry by eliminating duplication in administrative costs.

For the past five years, Episcopalians in the Dioceses of Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania have been sharing certain operations. They have a joint formation process for deacons, a shared board of examining chaplains for the ordination process and have held some joint clergy conferences. The dioceses have just started sharing transition ministry functions, and a Northwestern Pennsylvania diocesan staff member is now the intake officer for disciplinary matters in Western New York.

The next step will come Oct. 26-27 when the two dioceses hold a joint convention in Niagara Falls, New York. At that gathering, Western New York will vote on whether to make Rowe its bishop provisional for five years. Rowe served as bishop provisional of the Diocese of Bethlehem in Pennsylvania from August 2014 until August 2017 while the diocese had what the standing committee called “a healthy, productive period of reflection and discernment about the mission to which God is calling us” after the retirement of Bishop Paul V. Marshall. Franklin is due to retire April 2, 2019, a milestone that had a lot to do with the proposal.

How the two dioceses got to this point

In April 2017, when he announced his retirement, Franklin asked his diocesan standing committee to consider calling Rowe as provisional bishop. After talking to both bishops, the standing committees of both dioceses agreed to consider the prospect.

The bishops presented the idea to a joint clergy conference in September 2017 when, Rowe told Episcopal News Service, it initially “played to mixed reviews.” Clergy wondered about hidden agendas, and some wished the plan was more fleshed out. Rowe and Franklin told them the agenda consisted of putting the idea to them and “honestly let people be part of planning it.” There was enough of a consensus to have a small group of people from both dioceses meet to think the idea all the way through.

The results of that process went to both diocesan conventions last October and both agreed to keep moving forward. More than 500 people in both dioceses came to eight listening sessions last winter to discuss the proposal with its pledge to enhance the collaboration between the two dioceses. In May, the standing committees of the two dioceses unanimously voted to support the idea.

If the Western New York convention elects Rowe on Oct. 26, the collaboration would be just that and not a merger of dioceses. A merger would require the consent of General Convention, and right now neither diocese wants to lose its identity, the two bishops told ENS.

“We’ve never used the word merger,” Franklin said in an interview. “It’s a proposal to have one bishop for two dioceses, and for five years have a provisional bishop.”

Rowe said the experiment “is being driven by a real call to mission and being a missional church and to try to experiment.”

“The only way we’re going to know if these models work is to try them so, it’s a risk. This is not being driven by finances or trying to drive success” he said. “This is us asking, what do we think is the next best step, given where we are, and we’re going to experiment with it. There’s too much conversation about these things in the church and not enough implementation and this is a big step. We don’t know if it will work.”

James Isaac, chair of the Western New York Standing Committee, told ENS that his attitude is: “why not give it a try.”

“The pooled energy of ministry of both the clergy between Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania, and the strength of the laity has huge potential,” he said.

Rowe and Franklin met at Kangua Camp and Conference Center in 2015. “We realized that we had a very similar vision of the church,” Franklin said. “Even though I’m a historian, I’m pretty radical about wanting to do different things.”

Just don’t call it the Rust Belt

What they have in common is a love of their neighboring dioceses, which are in a part of the United States that has undergone a massive economic downturn. Lake Erie forms the dioceses’ eastern boundaries. Western New York, with headquarters in suburban Buffalo, comprises 57 parishes between Pennsylvania and Canada. Northwestern Pennsylvania, with headquarters in Erie, is composed of 33 congregations.

[The maps above of the two dioceses come from the Episcopal Asset Map. The unnumbered markers point to congregations while the number ones point to clusters of congregations.]

The presence of coal, inland waterways and a ready labor force once made the area a manufacturing center with steel mills at its core. But those mills eventually became outdated, and as the American automobile industry declined jobs were lost. Wages stagnated. People left.

The area became known as the Rust Belt, but that moniker is not a happy one for many of its residents. When the two bishops and others set up a website for their effort and called it “Rust Belt Episcopal,” they got a lot of pushback.

“It makes my people angry,” Franklin said.

However, redevelopment is happening in some the cities of both dioceses. “Both areas have seen the worst, and they’re coming back in a different form,” Isaac said, adding that it is not outlandish to use the word “resurrected” when talking about Buffalo and Erie.

“We’re trying to do church in a way that allows the Episcopal Church to survive and flourish in an area where we’ve had challenges, demographic and cultural challenges,” Franklin said.

Rowe agrees. “This is not a move to save an institution. This is not about diocesan viability. In fact, I don’t like that word,” he told the House of Bishops. “Even the smallest of places might be viable. What this is about is what’s best for the mission of the church in our region and the mission of God.”

Rowe told ENS that he and Franklin talked often about the long-term future of the church in a region like theirs. “We put everything on the table and we said we want a missional church and we want what’s best for the mission of the Gospel,” he said. “What is the best way to do that?”

Woirking out the details will take time

Eventually, there will be one staff for two dioceses. Rowe will have offices in both Buffalo and Erie, which are about 90 minutes apart, and make visitations in both dioceses. Elected leaders in both dioceses will exercise their canonical functions and each diocese will maintain its cathedral.

During the first three years of Rowe’s tenure as bishop provisional, the two dioceses plan to explore more deeply their relationship and “develop shared mission priorities,” to a set of frequently asked questions here.

“If it’s a complete disaster, we could end it at any time,” Rowe said, but he’s asked people to commit to five years “so that we have a long enough time to try this.”

Both bishops and Isaac, the Western New York Standing Committee chair, point to the possible financial efficiencies that could free up more money for mission. There is the possibility, in Rowe’s words, for “a pile of savings.” First off, a bishop search can cost upwards of $200,000, according to those FAQs.

Combining diocesan staffs will “increase the staff capacity for the same number of dollars” by allowing for more specialized staff, Rowe said. He doubts any staff members will lose jobs because both staffs anticipate retirements and other pending departures.

If some people do lose their jobs, Rowe said, “we’re going to treat people like a church does, we’re going to be good to people, and fair and help people find the next thing.”

Franklin, acknowledging that he will be removed from the equation once he retires, hopes that the two dioceses “learn to be a missional church above all; that we cannot do business as usual and that we have to do new things.”

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

Diocese of Kansas names three women as candidates for bishop in historic first for the Episcopal Church

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 5:27pm

The Rev. Cathleen Chittenden Bascom, left, the Rev. Martha N. Macgill and the Rev. Helen Svoboda-Barber are candidates for 10th bishop of the Diocese of Kansas. The election is set for Oct. 19 in Topeka. Photo: Diocese of Kansas

[Episcopal Diocese of Kansas] In a first for the Episcopal Church, the Diocese of Kansas will select the 10th bishop of the diocese from a slate of women candidates.

The three people are:

  • The Rev.Cathleen Chittenden Bascom, assistant professor of religion at Waldorf University, Waldorf, Iowa
  • The Rev. Martha N. Macgill, rector, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Cumberland, Maryland
  • The Rev. Helen Svoboda-Barber, rector of Luke’s Episcopal Church, Durham, North Carolina

The Presiding Bishop’s Office of Pastoral Development confirmed that this will be the first time that a diocesan bishop is elected from an all-women slate of candidates.

Macgill and Svoboda-Barber were presented as candidates on June 21 by the Council of Trustees, acting in its canonical role as the diocese’s Standing Committee. Chittenden Bascom was added by petition and announced by the council on Aug. 15.

More information about all three candidates is online here.

The Very Rev. Foster Mays, president of the Council of Trustees, said, “From the beginning of our bishop search process, grounded and directed by the Spirit, everyone has sought a slate of excellent candidates for election as the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Kansas. We now have three such candidates. The fact that they are all women, while historic, speaks to the ministry and experience of ordained women across the Episcopal Church. Kansas is delighted to be the first diocese to select their next bishop from an outstanding group of women.”

The first woman bishop in the Episcopal Church (and in the worldwide Anglican Communion) was the Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris, who was elected bishop suffragan of Massachusetts in 1988.

The first woman to serve as diocesan bishop was the Rt. Rev. Mary Adelia McLeod of Vermont, who was elected in 1993.

Women first were ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church in 1974, in irregular ordinations that were recognized by the Episcopal Church in 1976. The first woman to be ordained as deacon and priest in the Diocese of Kansas was the Reverend Mary Schrom (now Breese) in 1982.

The election of the next bishop will take place on the first day of Diocesan Convention, Oct. 19, at Grace Cathedral in Topeka. The Service of Ordination and Consecration is scheduled for March 2, 2019, at the cathedral, with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry officiating.

Members of the diocese will have the chance to meet the candidates in walkabouts scheduled across the diocese for Oct. 2-5.

The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas includes more than 10,000 members in 44 congregations. It was founded in 1859, and its offices are located in Topeka. The diocese covers the eastern 40 percent of the state of Kansas, extending as far west as Abilene and Wichita. It also includes the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan and the entire Kansas City metropolitan area on the Kansas side of the state line.

Ya está disponible el Resumen de las Acciones de la 79.a Convención General

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 5:06pm

[15 de agosto de 2018] El Rdo. Canónigo Michael Barlowe, secretario de la Convención General, ha anunciado que el Resumen de las acciones de la 79.a Convención General está ahora disponible en línea en el sitio web de la Convención General, aquí.

Puede acceder al texto de las resoluciones en la sección de las resoluciones de la carpeta virtual, aquí: vbinder.net.

El Resumen de las acciones de la 79.a Convención General presenta los resultados de las resoluciones y la membresía del Consejo Ejecutivo como también otras elecciones y nombramientos hechos durante la 79.a Convención General, que se llevó a cabo el 5-13 de julio de 2018 en Austin, Texas. Este documento está en cumplimiento con el requisito del Reglamento de Orden Conjunto V.15 de la Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal.

El registro diario de la 79.a Convención, que es el registro oficial de las actas, estará disponible comenzando en el 2019.

Si tiene preguntas acerca del Resumen de las Acciones de la 79. a Convención General comuníquese con gcoffice@generalconvention.org.

Some same-sex couples will still face hurdles accessing church’s marriage rites

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 2:34pm

[Episcopal News Service] There are times when the Episcopal – and Anglican – tendency toward compromise makes for differing interpretations on how far the church’s big tent has been stretched, and what it all means for the people seeking shelter under its flaps.

The latest example is the recent 79th General Convention’s passage of often-rewritten and often-amended Resolution B012, designed to give all Episcopalians unfettered access to two trial-use marriage rites that were approved in 2015, days after U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. B012 was passed in response to the refusal by eight of the diocesan bishops in the church’s 101 domestic dioceses to “make provision for all couples asking to be married in this church to have access to these liturgies.” They did not authorize use of the rites and required couples wanting to use them to be married outside their diocese and away from their home church.

The Episcopal Church ensures that marriage is available to all couples in all dioceses. #B012 #gc79 pic.twitter.com/1PUqbrAVOb

— Scott Gunn ن (@scottagunn) July 13, 2018

When Resolution B012 becomes effective on the First Sunday of Advent, Dec. 2, same-sex couples in most of those dioceses still will have to go through some steps that are not required of straight couples, even though the resolution moved the authority for deciding to use the rites from the diocesan bishop to their parish priests.

The compromise that B012 represents is a “classically Anglican solution” to help same-sex couples in all dioceses use the rites in their home parishes and give bishops who oppose such marriages “a way to live within the canons of the church and yet still not violate their theological conscience,” according to the Rev. Susan Russell, a deputy from Los Angeles and longtime leader in the effort for full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the life of the church.

Russell, who worked for what she has called the “hard-won compromise” of B012, told Episcopal News Service that “bishops are going to do what they’re going to do, but that doesn’t mean that that isn’t what the resolution says, that isn’t what the resolution is requiring. They’re making those choices on their own.”

She said there is a “relatively broad continuum of how [the resolution] is being interpreted or misinterpreted or framed and/or distorted.”

The Rev. Susan Russell, a deputy from Los Angeles, has called the final version of Resolution B012, among other things, “a great teachable moment for the wider church about actually how our polity works, about the reality that the rector does have the prerogative or the charge to make those choices.” Photo: Screenshot from on-demand video

The pertinent part of B012 says that when a bishop “holds a theological position that does not embrace marriage for same-sex couples, and there is a desire to use such rites by same-sex couples in a congregation or worshipping community, the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority (or ecclesiastical supervision) shall invite, as necessary, another bishop of this Church to provide pastoral support to the couple, the Member of the Clergy involved and the congregation or worshipping community in order to fulfill the intention of this resolution that all couples have convenient and reasonable local congregational access to these rites.”

For the bishops who have prohibited same-sex marriage in their dioceses and denied use of the trial-use rites (and required same-sex couples to go elsewhere in the church to get married), it comes down to the interpretation of the words “shall invite, as necessary.” Six of the eight bishops have publicly said that they would require the assistance of another bishop for clergy who want to use the rites.

They are interpreting B012 as requiring – or allowing them to require – the involvement of another bishop. Some of those bishops have said that mission congregations in their diocese, where the bishop is effectively the rector, will not be allowed to use the rites.

California Deputy Christopher Hayes told Episcopal News Service that he believes General Convention overwhelmingly passed Resolution B012 to give bishops with a theological objection to same-sex marriage a place to stand within the order and discipline of the Episcopal Church while giving same-sex couples “an equal place in the church.” Photo: Screenshot from on-demand video

California Deputy Christopher Hayes, who helped lead the revision of B012 and then proposed it to the House of Deputies, agreed with Russell’s sense of the hard compromise that the final version of B012 represents.

“Some of us who had hoped to see these liturgies become part of the prayer book or at least be on track to become part of the prayer book did not get as much as we would have liked to see,” Hayes told ENS. “People on the other side of the issue prevailed on that issue, but they do not get to have entire dioceses where same-sex couples are forbidden from being married. I’m concerned that these are efforts to undermine the compromise.”

Russell, Hayes and other framers of the revised resolution say that B012 does not require the involvement of a bishop, except to deal with a canonical provision about remarriage after divorce. Canon I.19.3 (page 60 here) requires priests to show their bishops (or the bishop in the diocese in which the service is planned) that they have verified the annulment or dissolution of a divorced person’s previous marriage, and that they discussed with the couple the need to show “continuing concern” for the well-being of the former spouse, and of any children. Resolution B012 specifically notes that this requirement applies to same-sex couples as well as opposite-sex ones and requires a bishop who opposes such marriage to invite another bishop to provide the needed consent.

The framers changed the original version of B012, proposed by Long Island Bishop Lawrence Provenzano, to remove its requirement that congregations wishing to use the rites but whose bishop objected could ask for the 14-year-old option of Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) and the bishop would have to grant it. The House of Bishops devised DEPO in 2004 for congregations that so severely disagree with their diocesan bishops on matter of human sexuality and other theological matters that their relationship is completely broken.

“We worked really hard to not use DEPO language in that resolution,” Vermont Bishop Tom Ely, who also worked on the resolution, told ENS. “We did not feel it was necessary because we kept hearing in the hearings [at convention] from those bishops that they had great relationships with the congregations. There were just some who didn’t agree with them” on this issue.

East Carolina Deputy Joan Geiszler-Ludlum, who chaired General Convention’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage and worked on the B012 compromise, “implored” deputies on the final day of convention to adopt the final version of the resolution. She later told Episcopal News Service that “clergy have shelter” on both sides of same-sex marriage: they can choose to perform them, and choose not to, although she hopes the resolution’s provisions will encourage more priests to “begin to see their way into doing this.” Photo: Screenshot from on-demand video

A summary of where the eight bishops stand now

Albany Bishop William Love has not said whether he will require such outside support. He passionately conveyed his opposition to the resolution during debate in the House of Bishops. Love has scheduled a Sept. 6 meeting with the diocesan clergy “to discuss their concerns and the potential impact of B012 on the clergy and parishes of the diocese.”

Central Florida Bishop Greg Brewer spoke on July 21 about his commitment to implement B012. However, he later told ENS that he has not yet worked out the details of his plan. Jim Christoph, senior warden of St. Richard’s Episcopal Church in Winter Park, Florida, a congregation that has advocated for marriage equality in the diocese, was at the July 21 gathering and told ENS that Brewer was clear that the resolution did not call for “a DEPO mechanism” but a more limited arrangement for oversight by another bishop. Christoph said he understood that Brewer will require the vestry to agree with the clergy’s desire to use the rites.

Dallas Bishop George Sumner, likewise, is still working out the details of his plan, but he said on July 19 that any parish wishing to use the rites will need to have another bishop handle all of that congregation’s pastoral oversight, provide confirmation and manage the process of people discerning a call to ordination.

Florida Bishop John Howard told his diocese earlier this month that he is “committed to honoring Resolution B012” even though he opposes same-sex marriage. He said he would work with clergy “to find a fellow bishop willing to undertake pastoral oversight” in accordance with the resolution.

North Dakota Bishop Michael Smith said that DEPO will serve as “a roadmap for these matters” in his diocese. However, he did not say whether that “supplemental episcopal pastoral care” would involve more that same-sex weddings.

Springfield Bishop Dan Martins said that he will at first require that a congregation’s “ministry leadership team” meet with him “to discern whether there is indeed a consensus around the desire to hold such a ceremony.” If so, they will agree to “the terms, conditions, and length of the relationship” with another bishop who will provide all episcopal functions.

Tennessee Bishop John Bauerschmidt calls B012 “a creative application of the principle of the local adaptation of the historic episcopate” that sets up “a particular structure that upholds the bishop’s unique role as chief pastor and teacher and presider at the liturgy,” even when the bishop cannot support same-sex marriage. Bauerschmidt said he will consult with clergy and vestries that desire to use the rites and will ask another bishop to provide the pastoral care to ensure that the trial liturgies will be available in the diocese.

Virgin Islands Bishop Ambrose Gumbs told ENS via email on Aug. 9 that he will not ask clergy to request pastoral support from another bishop. “As the bishop of the diocese, I should be able to provide pastoral support to clergy who request it,” he wrote. “I am committed to following the mind of the church.”

Hayes said, “I commend Bishop Gumbs for stating that he will make provisions for priests to perform marriages for same-sex couples in their parishes and that he is committed to providing full pastoral support for those priests.” He noted that the diocese is in “a legally anomalous position.” The U.S. Virgin Islands has civil marriage equality, but the British Virgin Islands, which are also part of the diocese, does not.

Working out B012 in Tennessee

Indie Pereira, who serves on the vestry of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Nashville, told ENS that she is “cautiously optimistic” about the stance Bauerschmidt has taken. “We’ll wait and see about how the details work out,” she said.

Four couples at St. Philip’s hope to use the rites, but some members oppose same-sex marriage, she said.

The vestry plans to use an outside facilitator “to help us come to a consensus as a parish” before the clergy move forward, she said.

Pereira and her partner, who wed civilly during the time when Bauerschmidt required same-sex couples to be married in the Diocese of Kentucky, want to have their marriage blessed in their home church. “We’re pretty hopeful,” she said. “More hopeful than I have been in a long time.”

Connally Davies Penley, who helped form the advocacy group All Sacraments for All People, or ASAP, in the Diocese of Tennessee, told ENS that she is grateful that the bishop “is conforming to the vote taken at General Convention.”

“One of the gifts that John [Bauserschmidt] has brought to the diocese is that he really cares about unity, unity within the diocese and unity with the church,” she said. “He is really moving in a way that we can stay together. I am grateful for that.”

And in Dallas

The Rev. Casey Shobe, rector of Church of the Transfiguration in Dallas, told ENS that he and Sumner have discussed the bishop’s “draft plan for how he envisions trying to implement this.”

Shobe called it “a way forward that would potentially allow us to have even greater pastoral oversight from a visiting bishop beyond just the issue of marriage.” That, he said, could mean this bishop would perform confirmation, license clergy and supervise the discernment for those considering a call to ordination, including LGBTQ persons.

“We are comfortable with this proposal, because it would result in Transfiguration experiencing a big leap forward on a set of matters that are deeply important to us, which have consistently kept us at odds with our bishop in the past,” he said.

After convention approved the rites in 2015, Shobe said he did not ask Sumner for DEPO because he was not given assurance he and the congregation would not be punished for performing same-sex marriages even under the oversight of another bishop. The diocese’s canons prohibit same-sex marriage. Instead, Shobe and others spent the time until the Austin meeting advocating for convention to help remedy the issue.

Meanwhile, eight couples went elsewhere to be married by other clergy. Shobe says Transfiguration hopes next year to have a “significant celebration and renewal of vows” for those people. He also anticipates a number of “long-expected and hoped for weddings” taking place at the Dallas church in 2019 and 2020.

A different ecclesiology in Dallas and Springfield

Sumner of Dallas and Martins of Springfield contend that their understanding of their episcopal ministry means that any congregation wishing to use the rites must be assigned another bishop for all of their congregation’s spiritual, pastoral and sacramental oversight.

Sumner said in his letter that he cannot “by conscience and conviction” oversee a parish using these rites because “a bishop and his or her doctrinal teaching cannot be separated.”

“Let me emphasize that this referral will not [occur] because of any anger, breakdown of pastoral relation, or rejection — it is because of a deep difference in theology,” he said.

Springfield Bishop Dan Martins, shown here speaking to the House of Bishops during General Convention, says there must be a “firewall” between congregations in his diocese who want to solemnize the marriages of same-sex couples and him, because he opposes such unions. Photo: Screenshot from on-demand video

Martins summed it up this way in an interview with ENS: “The theology that runs behind this viewpoint is that all sacramental ministry, all ordained ministry, in a diocese is a derivative of the bishop’s ministry. There’s nothing that can happen that can be separated from that. There’s no way that we can have our spiritual fingerprints on it or canonical fingerprints for that matter.”

He said in his letter that “there must be a robust firewall between a community that receives same-sex marriage into its life, along with its clergy, and the rest of the diocese, including and especially the bishop. This does not have to mean that there is anger, rancor, or anything but sincere love between such a congregation and the diocese.”

And, he told ENS, his July 2015 prohibition against Springfield clergy using the rites outside of the diocese still applies. “I’m hoping canonically resident clergy will take me at my word,” he told ENS, and respect his teaching about marriage and respect their oath of obedience to their bishop.

Hayes, who is also the chancellor of the Diocese of California, said the view of the episcopate that Sumner and Martins hold is not supported by the Episcopal Church’s canons, which vest control of a congregation’s worship with the clergy member in charge.

“The bishop’s obligation is to provide for there to be sufficient clergy to serve the needs of the people, and to be sure that the canons and rubrics are obeyed,” he said. “The bishop does not have the right to say, ‘I disagree with the priest’s lawful use of those liturgies that conform to the rubrics and canons.’ The bishop simply does not have that right and never has, not in our tradition.”

Hayes added that “what’s of more concern to me is that they seem to be using it as, I’m sorry to say, an intimidation tactic” to force congregations to into a DEPO situation if their clergy want to these rites.

“They’re putting up hurdles that are not contemplated in the resolution or authorized by canons,” he said. “A rector does not need to consult with the bishop about the use of an authorized liturgy of the church.”

That, Hayes said, is a canonical provision that dates to 1904 and has its roots in the traditions of the Church of England. (Canon III.9.6(a)(1a) at page 91 here. More background is available in the highlighted sections on pages 818, 826, and 855–856 here.)

Vermont Bishop Tom Ely says he doesn’t think bishops who oppose same-sex marriage need to set up a DEPO-like arrangement for priests and congregations who want to use the rites. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonb erg

On its way to passage, the eight bishops called for an amendment to B012 to say that nothing in the resolution narrows the authority of the rector or priest-in-charge, as outlined in that canon, Ely said. It was meant to protect clergy who did not want to offer the rites, but, he said, it also applies to clergy who do want to use them and whose bishops not approve.

“If you need to put up 27 hoops to make your clergy jump through in order to provide local access, that’s a pastoral decision you are making,” Ely said. “I don’t think you need to, but if you believe you need to, then craft it in a way that it works but make sure it works.”

During convention, the California deputation shared a table in the House of Deputies with that of Springfield, and Hayes said the deputies spoke about belonging together despite disagreeing about marriage.

“We belong together despite disagreeing on this issue and that has been part of what defines Anglicanism for 500 years,” he said. “The issues of Protestant versus Catholic were a lot harder to bridge than this issue of marriage. They go much deeper into the creeds. To have people who agree about every word of the Nicene Creed say we can’t be in relationship with each other because we disagree about marriage is really is a misapprehension of what we’re called to be as church.”

Read more about it

  • Full ENS coverage of marriage equality is available here.
  • The two rites at the root of this debate are here and here.

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

Tributes paid to women’s justice campaigner Beth Adamson after tragic death

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 12:36pm

Beth Adamson poses in April 2015 with the Award for Global Service that was recently presented to her by the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Anglican Communion News Service]  Colleagues and supporters have paid tribute to a leading campaigner for gender justice within the Anglican Communion, Beth Adamson-Strauss. Beth Adamson, as she was known, a Methodist who was a volunteer for the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, died on Aug. 5 in hospital where she was receiving treatment for serious injuries caused by an accident two weeks earlier. For several years she had led the Episcopal Church’s campaigning on gender justice issues at the United Nations; and helped to organise delegations from both the U.S.-based church and the wider Anglican Communion to the annual U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) meetings in New York.

“Beth has touched so many people with her passion, determination, wisdom and joyful heart,” Canon Terrie Robinson, the Anglican Communion’s director for women in church and society, said. “Through her faith-filled and tireless work at the U.N. and with Anglican delegations to UNCSW, there are women and girls the world over who have been inspired and energized by her to be strong champions for gender equality, even in the most difficult circumstances.

“I am one of them and I will always be grateful to her. Our love and prayers are with Beth’s husband Ned and their family. Beth will be sorely missed by so many.”

Rachel Chardon, the former general program and administrative officer at the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations in New York, said: “For many years, Beth and I led delegations to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women on behalf of the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations. Together, we worked on every aspect of preparing women from around the world to attend this annual two-week session. This included a Time Line that would generate over a seven month period materials for study that addressed the priority theme set for that year with the main purpose of empowering women.

“When the two-week event concluded, these women had bonded and they soon returned home with new resources to share with their respective communities. Beth was exceptional in this charge! As a volunteer to the Office, Beth was a key support in engaging all elements of gender awareness via the various bodies of the United Nations and served as a sounding board for ideas approaching various issues.”

The Rev. Margaret Rose, ecumenical and interreligious deputy to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and former Episcopal Church director for women’s ministries, said: “Beth was instrumental in organizing what was then called Anglican Women’s Empowerment. She has since continued that work through the Anglican Communion office, the U.N. Working Group on Girls and much more.

“But as important as her accomplishments, which were many, was Beth herself, whose generous spirit called out the best in every one she touched. . . Ned Strauss, Beth’s husband, wrote about ‘our Beth’ – and that is indeed who she was: a woman who consistently offered herself to others, that they – we – might be more whole.

“She carried and offered the ‘light of Christ’ to all, and experienced the world with joy and wonder. In the face of suffering or poverty or pain or injustice, Beth refused to give up hope and was instrumental in addressing systemic change in every possible way.

“She knew we were in it for the long haul and her legacy will be that none of us gives up the hope which propelled her and us to continue the struggle.”

Beth Adamson (right) chats with Caroline Christie, a UNCSW delegate from the Episcopal Church. Photo: Anglican Communion News Service

The Episcopal Church’s representative to the United Nations, Lynnaia Main, also paid tribute to Adamson, saying she was “beloved by so many.”

She added: “I can hardly think of any person with more light, joy, smiles, smarts, energy, kindness and love for God and others than Beth. Some light has gone out of my life, all of our lives, with her passing.

“Beth had worked for many decades in the arena of women’s and girls’ empowerment, with the Episcopal Church’s women’s ministries and with the Anglican Communion. She served for many years as a member of the leadership team for the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations in its work with the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

“She expanded her work to focus at the crossroads of church, United Nations and girls’ empowerment, most especially through the UN’s Working Group on Girls (WGG). She served as co-chair of the WGG and continued to be very active there. She was an integral part and pillar of so many communities at the UN, an astute observer of the political machinations of the UN and an excellent and very knowledgeable strategist in reaching member states to advocate for girls’ rights.”

Main spoke about Adamson as “a valued mentor and colleague” and how “the warm and totality of her embrace and inclusiveness in welcoming newcomers to UNCSW” was “so much appreciated”.

She said: “her joyous love for people was genuine and I never ever heard her say a critical word about anyone. She managed to be light-hearted, quick to laugh and fun to be around while at the same time being totally serious about and committed to her work. She was especially good at being a mediator who could hold together worlds in tension, bringing them in closer relationship to each other through her patient relationship-building. She was a master negotiator and very much a motherly influence on the girls in her care.”

Every year on Oct. 11, the International Day of the Girl Child, Beth would take a group of “girl advocates” from the Working Group on Girls to the Episcopal Church Center in New York. “They would visit our space so the girls could practice their lines and relax prior to their Girls’ Speakout at the UN for the International Day of the Girl Child event,” Main said. “Those girls loved Beth – I watched her nurture many young women with her kindness and encouragement.”

She pledged that  Adamson’s “exemplary work will continue to move forward, as we honour her presence, her gifts and her legacy, but we can never replace her,” she said. “We have loved her and learned so much from her. We will continue the spirited work she’s done, as best we can, inspired by her example, a gift to us and the world.”

In 2015, Adamson was presented with an Award for Global Service in recognition of her for her dedicated work to strengthen Anglican women’s presence at the UNCSW. The award was created to honour volunteer service that furthers the work of the Anglican Communion through the vehicle of the U.N. Office.

Speaking after her death, Strauss said that had she survived, it was likely “that she would never fully recover her cognitive ability or her fine motor skills.” He said: “so now, she can rest and be totally at peace.” A private family funeral service is being planned in Exeter, Nebraska, where she was born and raised, ahead of a celebration of her life for friends and supporters in Redding, Connecticut, most likely in September.

 

Pages