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Bishop turnover puts dioceses in transition mode, fueling talk of ‘unprecedented’ challenges

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 4:11pm

The Rt. Rev. Mark M. Beckwith passes the diocesan crozier to the Rt. Rev. Carlye J. Hughes, newly consecrated Bishop of Newark, in front of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on Sept. 22. Hughes is one of six women to join the House of Bishops or to be elected bishop since July. Photo: Cynthia Black/Diocese of Newark

[Episcopal News Service] A lot can happen in just one month when Episcopal dioceses are recruiting bishops. The nearly constant state of transition in the church’s episcopacy generates a nearly constant flow of news and updates.

November offered a telling snapshot of that process in stages:

The flurry of activity has continued into December, with Western Kansas consecrating a new bishop and Northern California releasing its slate of nominees. With dozens of dioceses embarking on or completing bishop transitions over the past 18 months, the frequency of searches has raised concerns that a limited pool of candidates is being depleted. Diocesan search committees tend to dismiss suggestions that they are competing with each other for applicants, though some dioceses have been open in pointing to what they said is a challenging landscape for bishop searches.

The Diocese of Nevada’s Standing Committee announced in October it was postponing its bishop’s election, calling the search process “challenging in several respects. One is that there were an unprecedented number of bishop searches in process, resulting in a limited applicant pool.”

The Diocese of San Diego made a similar claim after its search committee returned just one finalist, prompting the diocese to extend the deadline for nominees by petition. After a slate of nominees has been announced, search committees typically allow diocesan members to petition to add other nominees. Those nominees go through the same vetting process as those on the original slate.

“This is a time in the wider church when more than 20 dioceses are seeking bishops, and that has presented challenges,” said Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Episcopal Church’s previous presiding bishop who now serves San Diego as assisting bishop.

Do such developments point to a moment of crisis for the Episcopal Church?

Bishop Todd Ousley. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

In general, no. Each diocese searching for a new bishop faces a unique set of circumstances, and “the pool of candidates really is a function of the vision and mission of that diocese,” said Bishop Todd Ousley, who assists dioceses with bishop searches as head of the church’s Office of Pastoral Development. He downplayed the bishop turnover rate as a barrier to successful searches.

“There’s an ebb and a flow that is really, I think, a factor of the average [bishop] tenure, which is eight and a half years,” Ousley said. At that rate, bishop seats would open up in a dozen of the church’s 110 dioceses each year, so he doesn’t think the recent trend is unusual.

And while some dioceses struggle to find available bishop candidates who are the right fit, the churchwide turnover has boosted the gender and racial diversity in the House of Bishops. Six female bishops have been added to the house’s roster or elected by their dioceses since July, including three African-American women.

Tracking bishop turnover by several measurements

Quantifying the turnover trend can be tricky. By one of the broadest measurements, the volume of leadership changes recently has been staggering, with Episcopal News Service counting at least 35 dioceses, or nearly a third, that have been in some stage of bishop transition since June 2017.

That number, however, includes dioceses that for a variety of reasons aren’t actively searching for new bishops. The dioceses of Los Angeles and Dominican Republic, for example, previously named bishops coadjutor who later took over when their bishops diocesan retired, extending the full transition periods well beyond the end of the bishop searches. The dioceses of Lexington and Eastern Michigan chose to appoint provisional bishops, essentially postponing their searches.

And in October, the Diocese of Western New York finalized a plan for retiring Bishop William Franklin’s role to be filled by Diocese of Northwest Pennsylvania Bishop Sean Rowe as provisional bishop for five years through a unique partnership between the two dioceses.

Another way of measuring the churchwide bishop turnover is the number of search processes underway. In mid-October, Ousley provided ENS with a list of 16 dioceses that then were searching for new bishops and looking ahead to elections. Since then, more bishops have announced retirements, and when including those and other elections back to April 2018, the list grows to 24 dioceses.

Nevada Bishop Dan Edwards had informed his diocese he intended to retire at the end of this year. A slate of three candidates for bishop was recommended by the diocese’s bishop search committee, but the Standing Committee decided to postpone the election of Edwards’ successor and start next year developing a new crop of nominees. The Standing Committee said a need to reassess its search process was one reason for the postponement, in addition to a sense that the churchwide conditions for recruitment put some dioceses at a disadvantage.

“We know of multiple really fine candidates who were interested in our diocese but who chose to participate in other bishop elections instead, so they did not apply here in 2018,” Edwards told ENS, citing “an unprecedented number of bishop elections this past year.”

In San Diego, the diocese’s Standing Committee announced in October it had approved just one candidate, the Rev. Susan Snook, as nominee to replace Bishop James Mathes, who left the diocese in 2017 for a dean position at Virginia Theological Seminary. Jefferts Schori, in her letter to the diocese, explained the Standing Committee’s decision to extend the petition period, with hopes that additional viable nominees would be identified. Single-candidate slates are rare, though not unprecedented, she added.

“While I believe that people called to the ministry of a bishop are called into a particular diocesan context, it has nevertheless been a challenge across the Episcopal Church when 20-plus dioceses are each seeking 20-plus candidates for the episcopate,” she said.

A letter from Bishop Katharine about the bishop search announcement https://t.co/GX1TRqkBdX pic.twitter.com/pGrGPVLGWQ

— Episcopal Diocese SD (@diosandiego) October 25, 2018

The petition process generated several more potential candidates for the Diocese of San Diego, the Rev. Gwynn Lynch, Standing Committee president, told ENS by email last week, and “we will be making an announcement of the final slate by the end of December.”

Edwards acknowledged his diocesan context is unique as well. The pool of candidates interested in serving as bishop of a large diocese like Los Angeles or Massachusetts may be very different from those interested in serving a more sparsely populated diocese like Nevada or Maine. But Edwards still thinks the number of active searches churchwide has an effect locally.

Newly ordained and consecrated Diocese of Delaware Bishop Kevin Brown listens to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on December 9, 2017. Photo: Diocese of Delaware

“I don’t think the dioceses are consciously competing with each other,” Edwards said. “It’s just that the openings are there, and the prospective candidates are there, and the ratio of prospective candidates to openings was very different this year.”

Even so, with most dioceses producing slates of at least three candidates, Delaware Bishop Kevin Brown was elected in July 2017 from a slate of five. East Tennessee Bishop Brian Cole was elected the same month, also one of five nominees.

The Diocese of Maine indicated it had no trouble finding bishop candidates in announcing its own five-person slate.

“The Discernment Committee was pleased with the wide interest expressed from around the country in being the next bishop of Maine,” the Rev. John Balicki, the committee chair and rector of St. Mark’s Church in Waterville, said in a news release. “We have significant diversity in age, gender and geography, and we hope that everyone in the state of Maine will enjoy getting to know these candidates as well as we have.”

Diocesan spokesman John Hennessy called it “an amazing turnout” in an interview with the Portland Press Herald, which reported 27 people had applied or been nominated. “A lot of baby-boomer bishops are retiring, and those positions have typically drawn eight to 10 nominations or applications.”

It is with great joy and gratitude that the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Maine announces a preliminary slate of candidates who will stand for election as 10th Bishop of Maine. https://t.co/wCSQdYb7ji#bishopquestmaine #episcopalmaine #jesusmovement #wayoflove pic.twitter.com/4rtQR9Vopv

— episcopalmaine (@episcopalmaine) November 8, 2018

The Diocese of Vermont has not yet released its bishop election slate, and Maggie Thompson, chair of the Bishop Discernment and Nominating Committee, declined to say how many applications the diocese received. But she told ENS the committee was “very pleased with the response.”

Thompson attributes much of that positive response to Vermont’s well-developed search profile, which welcomed applicants who are interested in pursuing a “bishop in partnership” model that encourages collaboration with congregations, priests and laypeople at the local level.

“Vermont isn’t for everyone,” Thompson said. The largest city, Burlington, has only 42,000 residents. But while the diocese lacks metropolitan vitality, it is an attractive destination because of a “distinct personality” developed under Bishop Thomas Ely and his predecessors.

“We’ve kind of gotten the reputation of being pretty innovative and progressive,” Thompson said.

Single-year drop in ordinations, but diversity increases

By two narrower measurements, elections and ordinations, this year’s rate of bishop turnover should hardly seem daunting for diocesan recruiters. Only 10 bishops have been elected in 2018, half in the spring and the other half this fall, putting the year in the average range identified by Ousley.

The discrepancy between number of active searches and number of annual elections stems from the great span of time for most bishop transitions. Outgoing bishops often announce retirement plans two years or more in advance, so the number of searches underway doesn’t mean that number of seats will be vacated in the same year. The consent process, in which the bishop-elect must gain the approval of a majority of the church’s Standing Committees and its bishops with jurisdiction, also adds 120 days to the time before a bishop-elect is ordained.

Bishops also tend to group themselves in “classes” based on the calendar year in which they became bishops, and class size can fluctuate dramatically year to year.

The Class of 2018 is rather small. When Western Kansas Bishop Mark Cowell was consecrated on Dec. 1, he became only the fourth new Episcopal bishop of the year, equal to the four new bishops in 2015 but down from the 10 in 2017.

Bishops and clergy gathered in Salinas, Kansas, on Dec. 1 for the consecration of Western Kansas Bishop Mark Cowell. Photo: Diocese of Western Kansas

The Episcopal Church had a particularly active year in 2010, when 15 bishops were consecrated. And with diocesan bishops averaging eight and a half years, the Class of 2010 may be ripe for retirements. Benhase is among them, as is Minnesota Bishop Brian Prior, who announced in September his plan to hand his diocese over to a new bishop by 2020.

The relative lull in 2018 likely won’t last. Looking ahead to the Class of 2019, at least 10 bishop ordinations are scheduled, according to Ousley, with additional ordinations possible.

One of the few certainties in the House of Bishops, then, is an endless stream of new members, and recent additions have shown how turnover can improve diversity.

Indianapolis Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows greets the congregation at her consecration. Photo: Meghan McConnell

Indianapolis Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows became the first African-American woman to lead an Episcopal diocese when she was consecrated in 2017. Since then, she has been joined by Newark Bishop Carlye Hughes, consecrated in September. This fall, Colorado and West Tennessee also elected African-American women as bishops.

They and other newly elected bishops also are adding to the gender diversity of the House of Bishops. When bishops and deputies gathered in July in Austin, Texas, for the 79th General Convention, advocates for breaking the “stained-glass ceiling” lamented that only 24 of the bishops were women, or less than 10 percent of the full house, which includes retired bishops, and they organized a Purple Scarf Day on July 9 to draw attention to the issue.

Since then, six more female bishops have joined the House of Bishops or been elected, starting with Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado Del Carpio when General Convention voted to welcome the Diocese of Cuba back into the Episcopal Church.

On Oct. 19, the Diocese of Kansas became the first diocese to elect its bishop from an all-woman slate, choosing Cathleen Chittenden Bascom. The next day, Arizona elected Jennifer Anne Reddall as bishop. Kym Lucas was elected Oct. 27 in Colorado on a two-woman slate, after the diocese dropped a third male candidate from consideration. And the Diocese of West Tennessee put forth its own three-woman slate for bishop, electing Roaf on Nov. 17.

The Rev. Casey Rohleder, co-chair of the Kansas search committee, said the committee “had no agenda” other than finding the best person to lead the diocese. “We all believed that God had already called the next bishop of the Diocese of Kansas,” she said, so the work of the committee was to identify that person.

The Rev. Cathleen Chittenden Bascom. Photo: Diocese of Kansas

The committee put forward two qualified candidates, and the Council of Trustees added Bascom as a third after a petition period. Rohleder, rector at St Luke’s Episcopal Church in Wamego, expects Bascom to bring “energy and perspective” to the diocese, and not just because she is a woman.

Rohleder also pointed out that 44 percent of priests and 42 percent of deacons in the diocese are women. “We tend to elect people, for better or worse, who look like us,” she said. “So, it doesn’t seem unusual to elect a woman. … It would be my hope that the House of Bishops more broadly reflects the people in the pews and the clergy in our dioceses.”

The House of Bishops is expected to welcome at least one more new female bishop next year, with the Diocese of Texas announcing last week a three-woman slate of nominees for bishop suffragan.

“It’s actually rare to see a ballot today that’s all men,” Ousley said. That partly is due to deliberate efforts by diocesan leaders to broaden the pool of candidates, though it also requires diocesan conventions to broaden their views on what a bishop looks like.

Looking at the House of Bishops, it may take more than one year to notice the change, but by three to five years, bishop turnover has a remarkable effect, Ousley said. “You look, and really this is a very different place than it was five years ago.”

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

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El Obispo Primado aplaza la ordenación y consagración ya programada en la Diócesis de Haití

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 5:40am
El obispo primado de la Iglesia Episcopal Michael Curry ha emitido la siguiente declaración:

Hasta esta fecha,  5 de diciembre de 2018, la mayoría de los obispos con jurisdicción en la Iglesia Episcopal no han consentido aún en la ordenación y consagración del venerable Joseph Kerwin Delicat como Obispo Coadjutor de Haití.  A fin de colaborar con los que, provenientes de toda la Iglesia, se disponen a viajar o hacen otros planes [para esta ocasión], les hago saber que  estoy aplazando la ya programada ordenación y consagración a una fecha aún por determinar. El proceso de consentimiento concluye el 3 de enero de 2019.

Ruego continúen orando por todos nuestros hermanos y hermanas de la Diócesis de Haití.

Rvdmo. Michael B. Curry
Obispo Presidente y Primado
de la Iglesia Episcopal

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Country says farewell to George H.W. Bush at Washington National Cathedral

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 5:31pm

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, center; Washington National Cathedral Dean Randy Hollerith, left; and the Rev. Russell Levenson Jr., right, rector of President George H.W. Bush’s Houston congregation, perform the commendation near the end of Bush’s Dec. 5 funeral. The Rev. Canon Rosemarie Logan Duncan, the cathedral’s canon for worship, stands at left holding the crozier for Washington Bishop Mariann Budde, who cannot be seen between Hollerith and Curry. The Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond the Episcopal Church, stands between Curry and Levenson holding the presiding bishop’s primatial staff. Photo: Danielle E. Thomas/Washington National Cathedral

[Episcopal News Service] With a combination of military precision, Episcopal Church liturgy and fond, sometimes humorous, remembrances from his family and friends, the United States on Dec. 5 formally bid farewell to former President George H.W. Bush.

“When death comes, as it does to us all, life is changed, not ended,” the Rev. Russell Levenson Jr., rector of Bush’s Houston congregation, said during his state funeral sermon. “The way we live our lives, the decisions we make, the service we render matter. They matter to our fellow human beings, to this world that God has given us and they matter to God. Few people had understood this as well or lived their lives as accordingly as President George Herbert Walker Bush.

“Now hear what I said: lived it. Not earned it or strived to achieve it. It was as natural to him as breathing is to each of us.”

Recalling Barbara Bush’s frequent comment to him of “good sermon, too long,” Levenson preached for just more than 12 minutes during the service at Washington Nation Cathedral, which ran nearly two and a half hours.

The service, which can be viewed here, drew a capacity, invitation-only crowd of nearly 3,000 people, including family members, all five living U.S. presidents, senators, representatives, Supreme Court justices, Trump administration officials, diplomats and foreign dignitaries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Britain’s Prince Charles.

President George H.W. Bush’s casket stands in the crossing of Washington National Cathedral during his Dec. 5 funeral. Photo: US Army Military District of Washington

It was the fourth presidential funeral held at the cathedral. The previous three state funerals at the cathedral were President Dwight Eisenhower in 1969, President Ronald Reagan in 2004 and President Gerald Ford in 2007. Bush gave eulogies at Reagan’s and Ford’s funerals at the cathedral. President Woodrow Wilson is entombed at the cathedral, but his 1924 burial service was not a state funeral.

The last funeral at Washington National Cathedral to approach such significance was the service for U.S. Sen. John McCain on Sept. 1. But a state funeral is an honor reserved for presidents, part of the series of tributes coordinated by the U.S. Army Military District of Washington.

Bush’s casket arrived by hearse at the cathedral just before 11 a.m., accompanied by the Bush family. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Washington Bishop Mariann Budde, the cathedral’s Dean Randy Hollerith and Levenson, of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, waited on the cathedral’s steps with the Rev. Rosemarie Logan Duncan, the cathedral’s canon for worship.

The military pallbearers slowly and precisely carried the casket up the steps to where Curry and Budde recited the traditional “reception of the body” prayers. “With faith in Jesus Christ, we receive the body of our brother George for burial,” Curry said at the door.

The Bush family was escorted into the church and, at the front pew, the president’s son, former President George W. Bush, greeted President Donald Trump and former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, and their wives, who sat together in the front pew across the aisle from the Bush family.

A sweet moment on a sad day.

Slate of candidates for the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Northern California announced

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 1:49pm

[Diocese of Northern California] The Standing Committee announces the slate of candidates who will appear on the ballot for the eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California on Feb. 9, 2019.

The candidates are (alphabetical order):

The Rev. Matthew D. Cowden, rector of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, South Bend, Indiana

The Rev. Christopher Brooke Craun, rector of St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, Portland, Oregon

The Rev. Canon Megan Traquair, canon to the ordinary, Diocese of Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona

The Rev. Randall R. Warren, D.Min., rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Kalamazoo, Michigan

On Saturday, Dec. 1, members of the Search Committee presented these candidates to the Standing Committee. In a closed session, the Standing Committee further discerned and voted on each candidate, unanimously approving each of the candidates listed above.

Dec. 5, 2018, marks the opening of a petition period, with any petitions due by Dec.  12, 2018. A final slate, including any approved petition candidates, will be published by mid-January 2019.

A special electing convention is scheduled for Feb.9, 2019. A service of ordination and consecration is expected to take place on June 29, 2019, in Davis, California.

The full announcement can be found on the Bishop Search website.

The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California encompasses all of Northern California from Sacramento north, except for the five counties of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Anglican Church of New Zealand apologizes for Colonial-era Maori land grab

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 4:36pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop Philip Richardson, senior bishop of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, has apologized to the Maori people of Lake Tauranga for an 1866 decision that saw them dispossessed of their lands. Since 1975, the government has issued several apologies for the actions of colonial and post-colonial governments, which stripped the first people of the islands of their inherited land. On Dec. 1, the church issued its open apology for playing a role in that dispossession.

Read the full article here.

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Washington National Cathedral prepares to host state funeral for George H.W. Bush

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 3:46pm

President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush attend a dedication ceremony at Washington National Cathedral on Sept. 29, 1990, when the last stone was raised and set on the Saint Paul Tower. Photo: Associated Press

[Episcopal News Service] President George H.W. Bush, a lifelong Episcopalian who credited his faith with shaping his public life, will be memorialized Dec. 5 at a state funeral held at Washington National Cathedral, the Episcopal Church’s and the nation’s most prominent house of worship.

Bush, who died Nov. 30 at age 94, had a long, respected career in Washington, D.C., including as vice president from 1981 to 1989 and president from 1989 to 1993, and during his 12 years in the White House engaged often with Episcopal Church leaders, conferring with presiding bishops on the issues of the day and even once speaking at General Convention.

He also developed a friendship with former Washington Bishop John Walker, and as president, Bush and first lady Barbara Bush attended the 1990 ceremony marking completion of the cathedral after 83 years of construction. Today, two of his children are members of the cathedral congregation.

The 11 a.m. service Dec. 5 with be the fourth presidential funeral held at the cathedral. The family selected as officiants Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Washington Bishop Marian Budde, the cathedral’s Dean Randy Hollerith and the Rev. Russell Levenson Jr., rector of Bush’s Houston congregation. Levenson also will preach at the service.

“Beyond the political achievements and historic accolades, President Bush was committed most to his family and his faith. He and his beloved Barbara poured their love into their children and raised them in faith,” Budde and Hollerith said in a joint statement. “George and Barbara Bush’s example of mutual devotion, fidelity, and commitment is inspiring, and it should give everyone great joy to know that Mr. and Mrs. Bush’s love continues into eternity.”

The president’s son, former President George W. Bush, will be among the eulogists at the funeral. The others will be former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson and Bush biographer Jon Meacham, according to the order of service.

In addition to the late president’s son, Presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are due to attend the funeral, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, CNN reported.

The service is expected to draw a capacity, invitation-only crowd of up to 3,000 people, including family members, senators, representatives, Supreme Court justices, Trump administration officials, diplomats and foreign dignitaries, with U.S. Secret Service establishing security protocols, cathedral spokesman Kevin Eckstrom told Episcopal News Service.

“Easter and Christmas, as complicated as they can be, feel pretty routine compared to something like this,” Eckstrom said.

The last funeral at Washington National Cathedral to approach such significance was the service for U.S. Sen. John McCain on Sept. 1. But a state funeral is an honor reserved for presidents, part of a series of tributes coordinated by the U.S. Department of Defense as a final sendoff for the former commander-in-chief.

“We, the men and women of the Department of Defense, are honored and proud to support the Bush family and will do so with the utmost respect,” Major Gen. Michael L. Howard, the commanding general of the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region, said in a written statement. “This state funeral is a culmination of years of planning and rehearsal to ensure the support the military renders President Bush is nothing less than a first-class tribute.”

Former President George H.W. Bush gives a eulogy at President Ronald Reagan’s state funeral June 11, 2004, at Washington National Cathedral. Photo: White House archives

The previous three state funerals at the cathedral, were President Dwight Eisenhower in 1969, President Ronald Reagan in 2004 and President Gerald Ford in 2007. Bush gave eulogies at Reagan’s and Ford’s funerals at the cathedral. President Woodrow Wilson is entombed at the cathedral, but his 1924 burial service was not a state funeral.

“It is a sacred rite. It is a church service, and it has to be a good experience for everybody inside the building, but particularly the family,” Eckstrom said. “At the same time, this is also a global news event, so everything is done with an eye to what it is going to look like on TV.”

ABC has long been the TV network designated to provide the pool feed for high-profile events like this at the cathedral, and by Dec. 3, the network had three tractor-trailers filled with equipment on the grounds in preparation.

The local TV station WTOP reported on the clutter of microphones, tripods, TV monitors and wires at the cathedral as a worker was being suspended in the air to hang spotlights overlooking an altar that had been labeled a “stage.”

The cathedral staff is mobilizing to complete its part of this multilayered puzzle of preparations, such as printing about 5,000 leaflets with the order of service and ensuring they are delivered before Secret Service closes the building for a security sweep.

Read the order of service here.

Eckstrom said the funeral will adhere closely to the Book of Common Prayer, and the hymns will be familiar to anyone who picks up The Hymnal 1982 from the pew in their Episcopal congregation each Sunday.

“This [state funeral] probably has more of an Episcopal flavor to it than some of the others might,” he said, given Bush’s Episcopal faith.

As a child in Connecticut, Bush attended Christ Episcopal Church in Greenwich, and his mother would read to him from the Book of Common Prayer, according to the Washington Post report on his faith.

“He was Episcopalian by tradition. His mother was extremely devout, read all the books. And he loved his mother and so he loved the tradition,” author Doug Wead told the Washington Post, adding that Bush also pointed to his service as a naval aviator in World War II as pivotal to his faith development.

After moving to Texas as an adult, Bush at first attended a Presbyterian church with his wife before the couple settled in Houston and joined St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.

As vice president, met with Episcopal leaders, including Presiding Bishop John Allin, who in February 1982 raised concerns with Bush about a recent postage rate hike.

“I am grateful for the vice president’s interest,” Allin said in an ENS story. “The postal increase was one of the matters we discussed, and I am grateful that he made the time for the talk available. I am hopeful that something will be done.”

Vice President George Bush speaks to General Convention in 1982. Photo: Episcopal Church archive

Later in 1982, when Bush addressed the Episcopal Church’s General Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, the speech reportedly proved controversial for its remarks in defense of the Reagan administration’s arms policy.

“Vice President George Bush assured nearly 3,000 of his fellow Episcopalians of governmental desires for peace as he addressed a special session of the 67th General Convention of the Episcopal Church,” the caption said on an archival photo from that speech.

As president he attended services at St. John’s Episcopal Church, across Lafayette Square from the White House. In December 1990, during the run-up to the Persian Gulf War, he met with then Presiding Bishop Ed Browning, who recommended restraint.

″I really believe in the deepest part of my conviction that God does not desire this kind of destruction,″ Browning said, according to an Associated Press report at the time.

Bush countered by presenting an Amnesty International report on atrocities by Iraq against Kuwaitis and asked Browning if doing nothing would be morally worse.

“His own faith was sincere and deep and rooted in the Episcopal Church,” Budde told ENS in an interview. She also referenced correspondence she discovered between Bush and Walker, including letters in which the bishop and the vice president debated the proper way to respond to apartheid in South Africa.

Bush “was a good colleague, I would even say friend, to Bishop John Walker. Their tenures coincided.” Walker served the diocese until his death in 1989.

Bush will be buried after a private service scheduled for 4:15 p.m. Dec. 6 at the George Bush Presidential Library & Museum in College Station, Texas. Barbara Bush, who died April 17, was buried there earlier this year after a funeral attended by a crowd of mourners at St. Martin’s, the largest congregation in the Episcopal Church. The Bushes were married 73 years.

St. Martin’s also is scheduled to hold a funeral service for the former president at 11 a.m. Dec. 6 after his remains are returned to Texas.

First, he will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol through the day on Dec. 4.

On Dec. 5, the casket will leave the Capitol in time for the funeral at Washington National Cathedral, which will air on all major broadcast TV and cable news networks and will be livestreamed by various websites, including C-SPAN.

“Through his enduring commitment to public service and his steadfast devotion to his family, he lived the way of Jesus through a life shaped by faith, hope and, above all, love,” Curry said in a tribute to Bush issued Dec. 1. “Through his unswerving service to our country and to the human community around the globe, he embodied the noblest ideals of his faith and his country.

“President Bush will be an enduring reminder that virtues like kindness, gentleness and goodness are among the things that truly endure, and that chart the way to our living as the human family of God. In him we have beheld a great soul, and been reminded of the hope that, by God’s grace, we can live likewise.”

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

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Al Ministerio Episcopal de Migración y a otras 8 agencias les otorgaron nuevos contratos para reasentar refugiados

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 9:48am

[Episcopal News Service] El Departamento de Estado, pese a la decisión del gobierno de Trump de reducir drásticamente el número de refugiados autorizados a reasentarse en Estados Unidos, ha renovado los contratos con las nueve agencias que durante mucho tiempo han coordinado el reasentamiento de refugiados, entre ellas el Ministerio Episcopal de Migración, o EMM [por su sigla en inglés].

La decisión, que se les comunicó a las agencias el 30 de noviembre, les permite continuar sus actividades de reasentamiento durante otro año, aunque a una capacidad mucho menor que durante el gobierno de Obama.

“Nos congratulamos de seguir reasentando refugiados en el próximo años”, dijo el 3 de diciembre el Rdo. Charles Robertson, canónigo del Obispo Primado para el Ministerio Fuera de la Iglesia Episcopal en un comunicado de prensa en que anunciaba la decisión del Departamento de Estado. “Aún encaramos el reto de la transición a un programa de reasentamiento mucho más pequeño. Esto sucede en un momento en el que hay más de 25,4 millones de refugiados, más de la mitad de los cuales son niños. Con apoyo de todos, seguiremos recibiendo refugiados en un lugar de seguridad y acogida”.

La refugiada siria Baraa Haj Khalaf, a la izquierda, besa a su padre, Khaled, mientras su madre, Fattoum, llora luego de llegar al Aeropuerto Internacional O’Hare, en Chicago, Illinois, en febrero de 2017. Foto de Reuters.

Robertson también invitó a los episcopales a apoyar económicamente este ministerio haciendo una donación en episcopalmigrationministries.org/give o enviando un texto a “EMM” para 41444.

El Departamento de Estado anunció el 17 de septiembre que, para el año fiscal que comenzó el 1 de octubre, reduciría el límite a 30.000 refugiados, de 85.000 que era hace sólo dos años. Y que 30.000 era el tope. El número real de refugiados a ser recibidos en Estados Unidos podría ser mucho más bajo.

El EMM ha reasentado más de 90.000 refugiados desde los años 80, brindando una amplia gama de servicios a estas familias a su llegada a Estados Unidos, entre ellos clases de inglés y de orientación cultural, servicios de empleo, matrícula escolar y ayuda inicial con vivienda y transporte.

“Reasentamos refugiados para reunir familias, para salvar vidas de personas con graves afecciones de salud y para proteger a los que huyen de la persecución religiosa, entre otras necesidades de protección. Como Iglesia, seguimos abogando por un mayor número de admisiones de refugiados y porque EE.UU. restaure su liderazgo global en la protección y el reasentamiento de refugiados”, dijo Lacy Broemel, asesora de refugiados e inmigración de la Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales de la Iglesia Episcopal con sede en Washington, D.C.

Para los líderes de la Iglesia, el anuncio de última hora del Departamento de Estado de sus renovaciones de contratos —a sólo un mes antes de que caducara el contrato actual—  fue un acontecimiento positivo a corto plazo luego de un período de tensa incertidumbre, pero las renovaciones no mitigan las preocupaciones a largo plazo sobre el futuro del programa de reasentamiento del gobierno.

“Seguimos profundamente preocupados de que la Administración continúe desmantelando el Programa Estadounidense de Admisión de Refugiados —un programa que ha estado en vigor durante décadas apoyo bipartidario , y amplio respaldo público”, dijo Broemel en un email. “Al reducir de manera tan drástica el número de refugiados que serán admitidos en EE.UU. cada año, las agencias de reasentamiento no podrán atender a muchas personas vulnerables, y muchas comunidades de todo el país ya no podrán llevar a cabo la labor vivificadora del ministerio de reasentamiento de refugiados”.

El EMM en un tiempo supervisaba a 31 filiales de reasentamiento en 26 diócesis, pero ese número se ha reducido este año a 14 filiales en 12 diócesis. La extensión de la labor de reasentamiento del EMM durante el año próximo no resulta clara de momento ahora que le acaban de renovar su contrato para el año civil.

La iglesia episcopal de La Trinidad de  Los Ángeles posa con carteles que muestran su apoyo a inmigrantes y refugiados. Los carteles dicen “Apoye a los Refugiados”[con el hashtag] “#GreaterAs1”. Foto de la iglesia episcopal de La Trinidad vía Facebook.

La agencia ha recibido un firme respaldo de toda la Iglesia. El Consejo Ejecutivo aprobó una resolución en octubre en la cual encomiaba al EMM, “cuyo dedicado personal, durante una temporada de fluctuación e incertidumbre, ha trabajado incansable y abnegadamente para apoyar a los refugiados en muchas partes del mundo que buscan reasentarse en Estados Unidos”.

El obispo primado Michael Curry emitió un comunicado en septiembre en que daba a conocer su decepción luego de que el gobierno anunciara los nuevos límites a los reasentamientos.

“Nuestros corazones y nuestras oraciones están con los miles de refugiados que, debido a esta decisión, no podrán encontrar una nueva vida en Estados Unidos”, dijo Curry. “Esta decisión del gobierno no refleja la asistencia y la compasión de los estadounidenses que a diario acogen a refugiados en sus comunidades. Nuestra fe nos llama a amar a Dios y a amar a nuestro prójimo, de manera que estamos prestos a ayudar a todos los que podamos de cualquier manera que podamos”.

– 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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Mark Cowell consecrated bishop of Diocese of Western Kansas

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 3:36pm

Bishops and clergy gathered in Salinas, Kansas, on Dec. 1 for the consecration of Western Kansas Bishop Mark Cowell, center. Photo: Diocese of Western Kansas

[Diocese of Western Kansas] Episcopalians and invited guests from across Kansas and the United States gathered Dec. 1 at Christ Cathedral in Salina to welcome and celebrate the ordination and consecration of the Diocese of Western Kansas’ sixth bishop. The Rt. Rev. Mark A. Cowell succeeds the Rt. Rev. Michael Milliken, who served the diocese for nearly seven years.

Elected on May 5, Bishop Cowell will lead Episcopalians in a largely rural diocese covering the western counties of Kansas. Like many clergy within the diocese as well as his predecessor, Cowell will be a bi-vocational bishop. A lawyer who once prosecuted gang members in Dodge City, the new bishop will continue to serve as vicar of Sts. Mary and Martha of Bethany in Larned and of Holy Nativity in Kinsley. He also works part-time as Dodge City’s municipal prosecutor and is currently in his second term as Hodgeman County attorney.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, led the ceremony as chief consecrator.

Assisting the presiding bishop as co-consecrators were Milliken, fifth bishop of Western Kansas; the Rt. Rev. James Adams, fourth bishop of Western Kansas, and the Rt. Rev. Martin Fields, bishop of Western Missouri. The Very Rev. David Hodges, dean of Christ Cathedral, served as master of ceremonies.

A reception to meet and greet Cowell and  Curry was held at the Salina Country Club following the ceremony.

Cowell was raised in the Episcopal Church and fell in love with Anglican liturgy while living in England as a child. After returning to the United States, he served as an acolyte at St. Peter’s Church in Essex Fells, New Jersey, until he left home for college.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Drew University in 1990, and his Juris Doctorate from Washburn University Law School in 1994. Shortly after admission to the Kansas Bar in 1994, he felt the call to ministry. Trained locally, he was ordained a transitional deacon in October 2003 and a priest in June 2004.

Cowell, his wife, Julie, and their three children, Gabriel, Cathleen and Gryffin, live in Larned.

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Former Church Mission Society chief becomes bishop in England

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 3:16pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The former executive leader of the international Anglican mission agency Church Mission Society has been consecrated as a bishop in the Church of England. Bishop Philip Mounstephen will serve the Diocese of Truro in the south west of England. He was consecrated on Nov. 30 at a service led by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Read the full article here.

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Anglicans in Japan to host international anti-nuclear forum

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 3:13pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Communion in Japan is to host an International Forum for a Nuclear-Free World in Sendai, with field-work in Fukushima – scene of the March 2011 disaster in which a massive earthquake and tsunami caused a number of explosions in the town’s coastal nuclear power station, leading to widespread radioactive contamination with serious health and environmental effects.

Every diocese in Japan is participating in the conference in May, and representatives from Anglican Communion provinces with strong ties to Japan are also sending representatives.

Read the full article here.

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Diocese of San Joaquin cathedral welcomes new dean, ‘historic’ deacon ordinations

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 1:58pm

The Very Rev. Ryan Newman, second row and right, was the first dean to be installed at Fresno’s St. James Cathedral in more than a decade. The altar party included, front row, Emily Cabbiness and Tony Alvarez. Also pictured, San Joaquin Bishop David Rice. Photo: Jeff March/Diocese of San Joaquin

[Episcopal News Service] Diocese of San Joaquin Episcopalians gathered joyously Dec. 1 to welcome a new cathedral dean and to celebrate the first deacon ordinations at St. James Cathedral in Fresno, California, in at least a decade.

“We’re calling it a diocesan day of celebration,” San Joaquin Bishop David Rice said. “In the morning we installed the Rev. Ryan D. Newman as cathedral dean, and in the afternoon, we ordained four new deacons.

“That’s equally historic for this emerging diocese,” he said. “It’s a diaconate ordination in a place we haven’t had for 10 years, since the schism. And it’s historic that two of the deacons have come from our established school for deacons. This is the first group that has come through our own local process, and we’re delighted about that.”

Episcopalians welcomed the Very Rev. Ryan Newman as the first dean of St. James Cathedral in Fresno in a decade on Dec. 1. Photo: Jeff March/Diocese of San Joaquin

In 2007, the former San Joaquin Diocese broke away from the Episcopal Church, over disagreements about the ordination of women and LGBTQ people and same-gender blessings. Calling itself the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, the breakaway group attempted to keep the property, including the Fresno cathedral.

Those who chose to remain in the Episcopal Church, reconstituted the diocese. A series of court battles ensued, and according to Rice, all but one property has been returned to the Episcopal Church.

Newman, a Southern California native, said he felt an immediate connection to the passion and energy of Rice, especially “when he told me that the diocese needs someone who’s not afraid to get messy and who likes to rebuild things.”

He was the rector and headmaster of All Saints Church and School in Kaap’a, Kaua’i, in the Diocese of Hawaii, and had no thoughts of moving on – until San Joaquin Canon to the Ordinary Anna Carmichael called him.

“I was in a Seattle airport, waiting for a flight,” Newman recalled. “I was on my walk to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Ironically, I was preparing to walk the way of St. James. I thought my Camino would end in Spain. Little did I know the journey would take me to St. James in Fresno.”

Newman, 42, hails from South Orange County in the Diocese of Los Angeles, and attended St. Margaret’s School in San Juan Capistrano. Ordained a priest in 2003, he served for 11 years as chaplain and director of operations at Campbell Hall a 1,000-student Episcopal school in North Hollywood, before moving to All Saints, Kaua’i, a historic church he helped to regenerate.

Now, he hopes to parlay that experience to St. James Cathedral.

“Bishop Rice wants to make it a place where it’s not just about worship on Sundays but about what happens between Sundays, about how we become the people of God and church in the world. It’s about getting out there and doing outreach and advocacy and community,” Newman told ENS.

Newman also dreams of transforming the cathedral into a center for the arts and education and an “embodiment of this resurrection in the diocese.”

‘Moments of resurrection with each passing day’

Rice counts the Dec. 1 ordinations among “the moments of resurrection” the diocese experiences daily.

“We started a school for deacons about three years ago, and that was a response to changing styles of formation and training,” he said. “We recognized the need for local formation and training in addition to those aspirants who choose to go to the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and other places.

“This is the first group that have come through our own local process, and we’re delighted about that.”

The Rev. Greg Masztal was ordained Dec. 1 and said becoming a deacon caught him by surprise.  “I joined the church 5 ½ years ago and I didn’t see this happening …  but I am willing to see where I am led,” he told ENS recently.

Currently, the full-time auditor serves the community of St. Paul’s, Modesto. “They’ve gone through a lot over the years, and now it’s a growing community,” he said. “I hope to be a part of that and to encourage people, which is part of a deacon’s call.”

Masztal, 60, added: “It’s been a long journey. I feel like I’m already doing it. And these ordinations are part of a great celebration that is happening.”

Rice agreed. “We are a diocese that continues to experience moments of resurrection with each passing day.”

Concluding the court battles represents a significant shift in the diocesan landscape, which will “be different from most dioceses,” he said.

“We have concluded all of our litigations with the exception of one, a singular property, St. Columba’s in Fresno,” Rice said. “That case has been brought to the court and we’re waiting to hear the results of that decision. We are finished after that.”

Additionally, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church has forgiven $6.8 million in loans to the diocese “and that is a gift for which we continue to be exceedingly grateful,” Rice said. “It allows us to continue and to move and emerge in ways we wouldn’t be able to otherwise.”

San Joaquin Bishop David Rice ordains deacons for the first time in a decade at St. James Cathedral. From left, the Revs. Marilee Muncey, Greg Masztal, Amy Larsen and Terrance Goodpasture. Photo: Jeff March/Diocese of San Joaquin

AWE, holy candor, changing the landscape

Despite challenges, the San Joaquin diocese is “in good heart” and Rice sees a seismic shift in the landscape.

There are numerous inquiries from across the church and around the country to fill upcoming vacancies, from those wanting to experience the kind of “liturgical laboratory” represented by the rebuilding efforts.

Increasingly new relationships are being forged, from the voices of the homeless to nonprofit organizations, ecumenical partners and academic institutions.

There are other shifts: “Rather than talking about average Sunday attendance, we are talking about AWE – average weekly engagement, an acronym coined by Canon to the Ordinary Ann Carmichael,” he said.

“It is a commentary on how we emerge and continue to emerge and the larger liturgical work of people has everything to do with those with whom we spend time and how we serve them each day.”

Rice cited as an example the number of feeding ministries in the diocese’s 21 worship communities. “What’s important about that is, the ministries have come about because our communities have engaged in conversations with people who live where they live, and they’ve heard expressions of we don’t have food.”

There is HUB – Helping Urban Cyclists – which serves homeless residents by providing bicycles for transportation. There is a warming center for the homeless of Visalia. And there is a diocesan immigration task force “engaged in really substantive conversations about refugees and our sisters and brothers who have that status and how we can be of assistance and a voice where sometimes they are voiceless.”

“We believe the church has a clear mandate to be involved wherever people are marginalized or typically invisible,” Rice said.

The diocese still “travels light,” with minimal staff, and there are challenges. “We are endeavoring to address the things we know don’t work,” Rice added. “We use holy candor all the time. We are looking for builders who are building relationships, who are entrepreneurial, who are not risk-averse. It’s hard work, given the landscape.”

Newman said that passion and energy and vision drew him back to California, because Rice “is changing the metrics about vitality.

“It’s not just about how many butts in the pews, but how you’re engaging community in meaningful and tangible ways,” Newman said. “It’s the only way that this diocese and the individual congregations will succeed long-term and have sustainability.”

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

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Episcopal Migration Ministries, 8 other agencies awarded new contracts to resettle refugees

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 1:05pm

[Episcopal News Service] The State Department, despite the Trump administration’s decision to drastically reduce the number of refugees allowed to be resettled in the United States, has renewed contracts with all nine agencies that long have facilitated resettlements for the government, including Episcopal Migration Ministries, or EMM.

The decision, communicated to the agencies on Nov. 30, allows them to continue their resettlement activities for another year, though at a greatly diminished capacity than under the Obama administration.

“We are thankful we will continue to resettle refugees in the coming year,“ the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond the Episcopal Church, said Dec. 3 in a press release announcing the State Department’s decision. “We still face the challenge of transitioning to a much smaller resettlement program. This at a time when there are more than 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are children. With everyone’s support, we will continue to welcome refugees to a place of safety and welcome.”

Syrian refugee Baraa Haj Khalaf, left, kisses her father, Khaled, as her mother, Fattoum, cries after arriving at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, in February 2017. Photo: Reuters

Robertson also invited Episcopalians to support this ministry financially by making a donation at episcopalmigrationministries.org/give or texting “EMM” to 41444.

The State Department announced Sept. 17 that it would lower the ceiling to only 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. The actual number of refugees to be welcomed into the United States could be much lower.

EMM has resettled more than 90,000 refugees since the 1980s, providing a range of services for these families upon their arrival in the United States, including English language and cultural orientation classes, employment services, school enrollment and initial assistance with housing and transportation.

“We resettle refugees to reunite families, to save the lives of people with severe medical conditions and to protect those fleeing religious persecution, among other protection needs. As a church, we continue to advocate for higher refugee admissions numbers and for the U.S. to restore its global leadership in refugee protection and resettlement,” said Lacy Broemel, refugee and immigration adviser with Episcopal Church’s Washington, D.C.-based Office of Government Relations.

The State Department’s final-hour announcement of its contract renewals – just a month before the current contracts expire – was greeted by church leaders as a positive short-term development after a period of tense uncertainty, but the renewals don’t alleviate long-term concerns about the future of the government’s resettlement program.

“We remain deeply concerned that the Administration continues to dismantle the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program – a program that has been in place for decades with bipartisan – and broad public – support,” Broemel said by email. “By so drastically reducing the number of refugees who will be admitted to the U.S. each year, resettlement agencies will not be able to serve as many vulnerable people, and many communities around the country will no longer be able to carry out the life-giving work of refugee resettlement ministry.”

EMM once oversaw 31 resettlement affiliates in 26 dioceses, but that number has dwindled this year to 14 affiliates in 12 dioceses. The scope of EMM’s resettlement efforts in the coming year wasn’t immediately clear now that its contract has been renewed for the calendar year.

The agency has received strong churchwide support. Executive Council passed a resolution in October commending EMM, “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.”

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

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry issued a statement of disappointment in September after the government announced the new cap on resettlements.

“Our hearts and our prayers are with those thousands of refugees who, due to this decision, will not be able to find new life in the United States,” Curry said. “This decision by the government does not reflect the care and compassion of Americans who welcome refugees in their communities every day. Our faith calls us to love God and love our neighbor, so we stand ready to help all those we can in any way we can.”

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

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El Departamento de Estado renueva el contrato con el Ministerio Episcopal de Migración

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 10:40am
El 30 de noviembre de 2018, la Oficina de Población, Refugiados y Migración del Departamento de Estado anunció que al Ministerio Episcopal de Migración, junto con las otras ocho agencias responsables del reasentamiento de refugiados en Estados Unidos, le ha sido otorgado un contrato para participar en el Programa de Recepción y Colocación para el año fiscal 2019.

“Nos congratulamos de seguir reasentando refugiados en el próximo año”, apuntó el Rdo. Charles K. Robertson, canónigo del Obispo Primado para el Ministerio Fuera de la Iglesia Episcopal. “Aún encaramos el reto de la transición a un programa de reasentamiento mucho más pequeño. Esto sucede en un momento en el que hay más de 25,4 millones de refugiados, más de la mitad de los cuales son niños. Con el apoyo de todos, seguiremos recibiendo a refugiados en un lugar de seguridad y acogida. Únase a nosotros en apoyar este ministerio de toda la Iglesia  mediante una donación a episcopalmigrationministries.org/give o envíe un texto a ‘EMM’ para 41444. Gracias, de antemano, por donaciones que significan tanto”.

Desde la década del 80 [del pasado siglo], el Ministerio Episcopal de Migración ha reasentado más de 90.000 refugiados a través de una red de asociados, voluntarios y colaboradores locales. El Ministerio Episcopal de Migración funciona a través de una red de 14 oficinas asociadas para ayudar con vivienda, adiestramiento laboral, servicios de idiomas, servicios médicos y mucho más.

Tal como nos invita la icónica imagen de la Diócesis de Ohio Sur en 1938: “En el nombre de estos refugiados, ayuda a todos los refugiados”, así en esta temporada de solidaridad, y en el nombre de los refugiados más santos, María, José y el Señor Jesús, ayuda hoy a todos los refugiados. Sírvase hacer una donación en apoyo a nuestra obra constante y vivificadora.

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El Obispo Primado rinde tributo al presidente George Herbert Walker Bush

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 8:06am

La siguiente declaración del obispo primado de la Iglesia Episcopal Michael Curry es un tributo al presidente George Herbert Walker Bush.

Con una nación agradecida, y muchas personas de todo el mundo, nosotros los de la Iglesia Episcopal le damos gracias a Dios, fuente de vida y amor, por la vida, y el testimonio público y privado, del presidente George Herbert Walker Bush.

A través de su perdurable dedicación al servicio público y de su incondicional devoción a su familia, él vivió el camino de Jesús a lo largo de una vida moldeada en la fe, la esperanza y, sobre todo, en el amor. Mediante su inquebrantable servicio a nuestro país y a la comunidad humana en todo el planeta, él encarnó los más nobles ideales de su fe y de su patria.

El presidente Bush será un perenne recordatorio de que virtudes tales como la generosidad, la amabilidad y la bondad están entre las cosas que realmente perduran, y que trazan el camino de nuestra existencia como la familia humana de Dios.

En él hemos contemplado un alma grande, que nos ha recordado la esperanza, por la gracia de Dios, de poder vivir de igual manera.

Que su alma y las almas de todos los difuntos descansen en paz y resuciten en gloria. Amén.

Obispo primado Michael Curry
Iglesia Episcopal

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Anglican leaders issue message on 30th World Aids Day

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 3:42pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] World AIDS Day will be marked Dec. 1, and Anglicans are joining with Christians from other churches to promote HIV testing. This year, the Anglican Communion Office is working alongside the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance to mark the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day by encouraging everyone to get tested and know their HIV status.

Read the full article here.

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Way of Love’s seven practices inspire variety of Advent resources for Episcopalians

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 1:32pm

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalians have spent the past five months taking up the Way of Love’s seven practices, with help from a wide range of liturgical and devotional tools from all corners of the Episcopal Church, and the church is encouraging all to make a special effort to embrace this rule of life during Advent.

Members of All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, California, light the Advent wreath during a 2017 service. Photo: Colleen Dodson-Baker/All Saints

The church has released Journeying the Way of Love, featuring both a four-week Advent curriculum and an Advent calendar. Both are tied to the readings and themes from the first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke.

A rule of life is a set of simple spiritual practices intended to focus believers on their faith journeys and provide support along the way. The Way of Love framework is built around seven practices, which for the Advent curriculum are scheduled on specific days of the week: worship (Sunday), go (Monday), learn (Tuesday), pray (Wednesday), bless (Thursday), turn (Friday) and rest (Saturday). The Advent calendar follows a similar pattern.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry unveiled the Way of Love in July at the 79th General Convention.

“I want to ask not only you, but every Episcopalian, to make a commitment to throw yourself into the hands of Jesus, and then live life out of that,” Curry said in his sermon during the opening Eucharist at General Convention. “These tools may help you.”

Since then, the church has joined with numerous affiliated organizations to develop and promote additional resources to help people bring Jesus to the center of the lives. Some of those have been adapted for Advent, and Episcopalians are participating in other Advent initiatives in the spirit of the Way of Love.

One prominent example is AdventWord, billed as a “global Advent calendar” that is populated each day by participants’ social media posts prompted by the day’s word and hashtag. AdventWord also will send daily emails during Advent with reflections on the days’ words. The signup is here.

The kickoff word on Dec. 2, the first Sunday of Advent, is “Journey.” Curry has offered his own reflection for the campaign, but to read it you’ll have to wait until Dec. 25, when the AdventWord is “Celebrate.”

The Episcopal Church is promoting additional resources for Advent:

Church leaders expect to use the Way of Love as the primary framework for future seasonal resources, though innovations on these themes have transcended the liturgical calendar and inspired activity at the diocesan and congregational levels.

The Diocese of Washington, for example, has developed a Way of Love lectionary that congregations can use to introduce and reflect on the seven practices over an eight-week cycle. The diocese also has produced daily devotionals and a small group prayer guide based on the Way of Love, and Bishop Mariann Budde speaks about the seven practices in a new podcast called “Experiencing Jesus.”

The Diocese of Central Pennsylvania is promoting a Way of Love retreat on Dec. 14 and 15, part of the “Learning Weekend” series organized by the Stevenson School for Ministry. The agenda includes workshops intended to help clergy and lay leaders to incorporate the Way of Love in their congregations’ parish life.

“I hope that in this next year we can continue to strengthen our efforts at collaborating with each other for God’s mission,” Central Pennsylvania Bishop Audrey Scanlan says in an online introduction to the diocese’s Way of Love resources. “That we will continue to stretch ourselves and try on new and creative ways of being Church by living in the Way of Love as our Way of Life.”

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

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Representing the Presiding Bishop, Episcopalians advocate for the environment at COP24

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 11:53am

[Episcopal News Service] Wildfires. Hurricanes. Four straight record-setting years of increasing temperatures. Ocean acidification. Sea-level rise. Species loss. Drought. All are made worse by climate change, fueling humanitarian crises as people are forced to flee their homes because of natural disaster or changes in their environment.

“Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities,” warns the 1,656-page National Climate Assessment released Nov. 23 by the Trump administration.

On Sunday, Dec. 2, representatives from United Nations member states, including government, nonprofit and faith-based organizations, will meet in Katowice, Poland, for the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP24, to hammer out a framework for implementing the Paris Agreement, which was reached in 2015, at the 21st conference.

“Not only have all the nations of the world signed the Paris Agreement, I have seen the great religions of the world and the indigenous spiritual traditions also come together to seek the healing of the planet,” said California Bishop Marc Andrus in an email to Episcopal News Service.

“During Lambeth 2008 I listened with astonishment as bishops from India, West Africa, Australia, the United States and Sudan talk for just short of two hours about the environmental degradation and climate change effects that were already plaguing the dioceses they served,” he said. “Only in the last 10 minutes of the two hours allotted for conversation on two of the major issues that have been facing our church for decades did this group of bishops turn their attention to the second issue, so consumed were they by the present danger of climate change.”

Andrus will lead an eight-member delegation representing Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at the Dec. 2-14 conference in Poland. This is the fourth Episcopal delegation to attend the annual conference on climate change. The Episcopal Church began attending the conference in 2015 in France, where the Paris Agreement was reached.

In Paris, the Episcopal delegation made a spiritual case for climate action. At that conference, member countries, including the United States, reached a landmark agreement to set voluntary goals aimed at keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, which scientists predicted would be necessary to prevent a spiraling catastrophe of melting glaciers, rising sea levels and related weather extremes.

Greenpeace stages a protest outside the UN Climate Change Conference 2016 (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco, Nov. 18, 2016. Photo: Reuters

In Morocco in 2017, nations reaffirmed their commitment to cut carbon emissions. In Germany, in 2018, the process was thrown into doubt by President Donald Trump’s pledge to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement.

The United States is the world’s largest economy and its second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere and make the planet warmer.

It was in June 2017, as part of his “American First” strategy, that Trump announced the United States’ withdrawal from the international agreement, saying it undermines the economy and places the United States at a disadvantage.

Since then, the We Are Still In movement has taken root, with more than 200 faith organizations signing on, including Episcopal churches.

Still, the world is far from meeting the Paris Agreement’s target, which would require reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere to pre-industrial levels. In fact, emissions continue to rise.

The conference in Poland is intended “to finalize the rulebook for how the Paris Agreement will work. … That’s important because if you don’t have rules, it falls apart at this level of bureaucracy,” said Lynnaia Main, the Episcopal Church’s representative to the United Nations.

Scientists agree that climate change is a global threat. The World Meteorological Organization warns that, given current trends, warming could reach between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which informs U.N. policy, issued a similarly dire report.

“I have quoted many times in the past decade something that was said by the former archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams: ‘It takes a global body to deal with global problems.’ An example of how this is true is the increasing crisis of environmental refugees,” Andrus said.

“Have you wondered what was the engine that drove the closely watched caravan out of Central America? According to an Oct. 30, 2018, Guardian article, in addition to violence, organized crime and systematic corruption, ‘climate change in the region is exacerbating – and sometimes causing – a miasma of other problems, including crop failures and poverty.’ The caravan comes mainly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, it crosses Mexico and seeks asylum in the United States. … The struggle of the people in the caravan is transnational, and I would say cannot be ‘solved’ by any one country. We must work together for the good of all,” Andrus said.

Environmental justice is one of the church’s three main priorities, along with racial reconciliation and evangelism. Over the years, General Convention has passed numerous resolutions on the issue, whether supporting federal climate action or pledging to mitigating the church’s own impact on the environment.

The church’s 79th General Convention met in July in Austin, Texas, and passed 19 environmental resolutions, including support for a national carbon tax, carbon offsets for church-related travel, ocean health and Episcopalians’ continued participation in the Paris Agreement.

In 2016, the Episcopal Church was granted U.N. observer status, which allows members of the delegation to brief U.N. representatives on the Episcopal Church’s General Convention climate resolutions and to attend meetings in the official zone.

“The continuity fostered by our COP delegations’ attendance at the annual U.N. Climate Change Conferences has a multiplier effect for our broader Episcopal and Anglican influence at the United Nations,” said Main in a press release. “Our actions in Katowice will strengthen a broader base of U.N. ministry that includes eradicating poverty through the Sustainable Development Goals, supporting migrants and refugees, defending indigenous peoples, mainstreaming gender and protecting rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

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

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