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Updated: 1 hour 11 min ago

London churches stage violence summit as youth crime soars

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 4:49pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] London’s two Anglican dioceses are bringing together a panel of experts “to explore what a church response could be to the serious youth violence which impacts communities and parishes across London.”

Sponsored by the bishops of London, whose diocese mainly covers north of the River Thames, and Southwark, whose diocese mainly covers south of the River, the summit will “focus on gaining a wider understanding of the issues across London, listening and learning from participants and the experience of on the ground organizations,” the Diocese of Southwark said.

Read the full article here.

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Massachusetts congregations band together in face of slow progress after gas explosions

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 4:36pm

Utility crews continue to work this week on restoring gas service to homes on the south side of Lawrence, Massachusetts, as well as in Andover and North Andover. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Lawrence, Massachusetts] Grace Episcopal Church sits on the northern edge of a disaster zone, one that on first glance does not bear obvious signs of disaster. Traffic moves freely. Buildings stand firm. The Sunday afternoon service still draws dozens in this mostly immigrant congregation.

Life goes on in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover – but with difficulty and with rising complaints, nearly two months after a series of natural gas explosions killed one resident and left about 10,000 homes without gas service just as the weather began turning colder. Many of those residents, including some Grace Episcopal parishioners, still have not been able to return to their homes, and the region’s utility, Columbia Gas, announced recently it could not meet a mid-November deadline to have service restored to all customers.

That delay didn’t come as a huge surprise, given the vast scope of the repairs needed, but “just reading and hearing it was a slap in the face,” said Sadia Jiminian, a member of the congregation who has been living in a hotel with her family while they wait for completion of repairs to their home in Lawrence.

The Sept. 13 gas explosions that rocked the Merrimack Valley, a working-class region of former textile mill towns north of Boston, “was a very traumatic experience for everyone involved,” said Susan Almono, whose husband, the Rev. Joel Almono, leads the congregation. The Almonos and other members of the congregation met with Episcopal News Service after the Nov. 4 service to describe the lingering effects of that trauma and their efforts to hold Columbia Gas accountable.

The Rev. Joel Almono embraces parishioners on their way out of Grace Episcopal Church after the afternoon Eucharist on Nov. 4. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

At the same time, this crisis has brought local congregations together in ways never before imaginable, the Rev. Almono said. Grace Episcopal is working with Christ Church in Andover and St. Paul’s Church in North Andover to support affected residents with the backing of the Diocese of Massachusetts, and they have formed a coalition with the region’s broader faith community.

“All of us, we can see we have the same situation and are working together,” the Rev. Almono said.

Investigators determined that the more than 80 explosions and fires, which destroyed five homes and damaged more than 100 other buildings, were caused by highly pressurized natural gas, which flooded the neighborhood system because old pipes accidentally were replaced with new pipes that lacked pressure sensors.

The crisis left Columbia Gas scrambling to replace more than 40 miles of pipeline, and many homes also required replacements for furnaces, boilers, stoves and other appliances that were damaged.

Elsa Berroa, a Lawrence resident, recalled seeing gas shoot out of her flue on Sept. 13, and a gas smell filled her home. Firefighters arrived and told her and her husband it was too dangerous to remain in the house. Outside they could see the gas surge had caused fires in neighbors’ homes.

Berroa and her husband spent weeks living in one of the trailers that were provided as temporary housing for Lawrence residents unable to return to their homes. They were pleased at least that the trailer was in their own neighborhood, and by the time she spoke with ENS on Nov. 4, Berroa and her husband were finally back to sleeping in their own home.

Others have not been so fortunate. Jiminian was at work when the gas explosions struck, but her husband and daughter were there to see their furnace catch fire. She returned home to find their Lawrence neighborhood being evacuated by residents hauling away personal items in suitcases and shopping bags.

“I just broke down in tears, because I just never thought I’d see something like that in this community,” she said.

The family was left without heat or hot water, so Columbia Gas put them up in a hotel in Woburn, about a half hour south. Now they are dealing with a steady stream of inspectors and utility workers as they push the company to replace their damaged appliances and restore gas service.

The three Episcopal congregations in the region and their faith partners, as well as a handful of supporting organizations, cited the plight of residents like Berroa and Jiminian in an Oct. 9 letter to Gov. Charles Baker and top utility executives. Nearly two dozen clergy and lay leaders from the region signed the letter, which advocated immediate action to restore heat to homes and better options for replacement appliances.

“Those of us in the affected area continue to live without heat, hot water or adequate cooking appliances – a situation that imperils the health and well-being of everyone, but especially the fragile and sick among us,” the letter said.

The head of Columbia Gas met last month with some of those faith leaders at Grace Episcopal Church in response to the letter, though the company has been slow to act on the letter’s two primary requests, said Susan Almono, who serves on the board of Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light, a nonprofit focused on climate change. She described an uphill battle in convincing the utility to replace damaged appliance with high-efficiency models. And rather than install electric-powered heating devices known as air-source heat pumps, Columbia Gas offered families more temporary housing to wait out repairs to their gas-based systems.

Rows of trailers fill O’Connell South Common in Lawrence, Massachusetts, for families displaced by the gas explosions. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

Signs of slow progress could be seen across the region early this week, as a makeshift trailer village filled O’Connell South Common just south of the Merrimack River. From Andover to the neighborhood known as South Lawrence, Columbia Gas pickup trucks and portable generators were parked on various side streets as utility workers in reflective vests tended to repairs from house to house.

With pipeline restoration complete, crews are fully focused on in-home work, Columbia Gas announced Oct. 30. Service had been restored for more than 2,300 residential meters as of Nov. 6, though that still is less than a third of the 7,500 meters serving about 10,000 homes in the affected neighborhoods.

Our crews and partners continue to restore service in the #AndoverMA, #LawrenceMA and #NorthAndoverMA communities. Customers can now view the progress by visiting our website. Here’s our latest stats. #MVGasRecovery pic.twitter.com/GRRT9nyHOt

— Columbia Gas MA (@ColumbiaGasMA) November 6, 2018

One bright spot has been the outpouring of support from Episcopalians around the Diocese of Massachusetts. “The prayers and concern of our entire diocesan family are with those in the Merrimack Valley communities affected by this disaster,” Bishop Alan Gates said in a statement released Sept. 14 that called on congregations in the diocese to collect an offering for disaster relief.

The diocese announced Oct. 17 that it had raised $26,000. Grace Episcopal Church also received a $12,500 grant from Boston Episcopal Charitable Society to help residents meet immediate needs. The Rev. Joel Almono said the congregation so far had written 57 checks from the pool of relief money to cover a variety of needs, primarily food and medicine.

Almono, a native of Dominican Republic like many in his congregation, also noted that parishioners have remained upbeat in the face of this disaster. Even on the first Sunday after the explosions, a diocesan official who was visiting the church remarked how happy the congregation seemed, especially while singing hymns during the Eucharist.

Such a show of optimism is a cultural trait, Almono said.

“They are a Spanish community. This is their behavior,” he said, but behind that cheerful exterior his community was experiencing and continues to feel real suffering and pain.

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

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Campus ministers respond to hungry, homeless college students

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 4:58pm

Kevin Mercy prepares the main course – a potato bar – for the Canterbury USC Late Night Café. The ministry serves 125 to 150 meals weekly. Photo: Glenn Libby

[Episcopal News Service – Los Angeles, California] The line of hungry students begins to form about 8:30 p.m. each Wednesday at the basement door of the United University Church on the University of Southern California’s Los Angeles campus.

There, volunteer and work-study students who are members of Canterbury USC – the university’s Episcopal campus ministry – have been prepping for hours. They have been chopping onions, baking potatoes, arranging tables and chairs, and placing napkins and condiments on tables for tonight’s potato bar main course, which is expected to help feed an average 120 students who otherwise might go hungry.

If it is a good evening at the Canterbury USC “Late Night Café,” then there will be seconds and possibly even to-go containers, along with beverages and Louisiana crunch cake for dessert, according to Winona, an 18-year-old freshman Canterbury work-study student.

A California native, Winona had no prior religious affiliation but said she was drawn to the Episcopal campus ministry after meeting the Rev. Glenn Libby, the Canterbury USC chaplain, and because of the opportunity to serve other students.

Tuition and fees have spiked as much as 168 percent over the past two decades at private national universities like USC, according to U.S. News and World Report. At public institutions, the increases are even higher, rising more than 200 percent for out-of-state students and 243 percent for in-state students, according to the 2017 report.

With a $72,000 annual cost for USC tuition, room and board, financial aid dollars – for those who qualify – don’t always stretch, making the meals a necessity for many students, Winona said. All are welcome, and the sense of community and camaraderie has deepened.

“Here, students don’t have to justify why they don’t qualify for financial aid, or if they’re undocumented or in graduate school,” typical reasons why students face food insecurity, Winona said.

On Sept. 4, 2018, National Public Radio reported that the popular image of the residential collegiate experience has vanished.

Instead, of the 17 million undergraduate students in the U.S., about half are financially independent from their parents, one in five is at least 30 years old, one in four is caring for a child, 47 percent attend part time at some point, two out of five attended a two-year community college, and 44 percent have parents who never completed a bachelor’s degree, according to the report.

From New York to California and elsewhere, Libby and other Episcopal campus ministers say they have adapted to the changing needs of such students. Some students are veterans returning from active duty, others are LGBTQ students seeking a safe space. Still others, are “nones” like USC’s Winona, who have no prior religious affiliation and are questioning and soul-searching.

The Rev. Shannon Kelly, the Episcopal Church’s officer for young adult and campus ministry, said the challenge is growing. “It is a nationwide problem that more and more of our campus ministers are becoming aware of and are trying to address.”

The former model of “showing up, having tea, doing Bible study, having worship, whatever that looked like” is in decline, Kelly told Episcopal News Service recently. “Campus ministry varies from place to place, (but) what we’re seeing is a need for food pantries, basic needs pantries, feminine hygiene products.”

Currently, there are about 150 Episcopal campus ministries in colleges and universities nationwide. “Some of those are brand new, and some have been going forever, and they’re all very different,” depending on their locale, Kelly said. Some have even created gardens to offer fresh food for cooking a community meal together.

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, through Kelly’s office, this year awarded $139,000 in grants to young adult and campus ministries, according to a May ENS report.

Kelly said student food insecurity relates “to the student debt crisis. The rising costs of school are really impacting how they are able to live outside of school hours.”

If churches are able to help out, it would be a great aid to students, she added. “I was just talking to a chaplain, and they have a lot of veterans on campus. Once a week, the veterans meet and make casseroles for their families. They cook meals for five days to take home. Sometimes, these are the only hot meals their families have all week.”

Homelessness is another challenge in some areas. With a shortage of campus housing, juniors and seniors are often ineligible for dormitory living, “and trying to rent an apartment is more expensive. It becomes this snowball effect,” she said.

Student homeless shelter in San Jose

The Rev. Deacon Kathleen Crowe says she’d love to do Bible study as part of her Canterbury Bridge Episcopal Campus Ministry at San Jose State University in San Jose, California, “but it has not unfolded quite yet, although it may.”

Instead, when she learned some students were sleeping in cars, she started a homeless shelter for them a few blocks from campus, with showers and a food pantry.

At San Jose State, nearly 15 percent of the student population has been homeless at some point during their college education, according to a June 2018 San Jose Mercury News report.

Crowe, a deacon, said she learned that about 300 of the campus’s 35,000 students are homeless, living in cars or couch surfing. “My immediate reaction is, that is just not right and we can’t sit here and do nothing about it and say ain’t it awful.”

She rents space from a local church and converted rooms into dormitory-like spaces. So far, about 20 students have lived there at various times in the past two years. “Eleven are still in residence with me,” she said, but she wishes she could add more.

“The need is very great to support kids who, against all odds, are trying to achieve academic goals,” Crowe told ENS. “Every one of them is a first-generation student with very little financial, emotional, or intellectual encouragement at home.”

She has discovered that evening prayer is “a connection of affection.”

“I’ve found I’ve been most effective by not forcing my theology on these kids,” Crowe said. “And they’ve thanked me for not doing that. And, in that way I’ve been able to express presence, God’s love, which is unconditional.”

She also offers the students “Sacred Suds,” a program to help them launder their clothes, and she passes out buttons with the message #IBIY – I believe in you.

The response from students often is that “they just can’t believe it. It’s like I’m giving them the sacrament – they receive it with such gratitude. We are planting seeds of love,” Crowe said.

She receives financial support from local congregations and a $12,000 yearly diocesan grant, and she contributes part of her own stipend so students may stay in the shelter free of charge. She also helps them find work to become self-sustaining.

“They have to believe you’re authentically caring about them, and when you do, they respond, and then you start to deal with their spiritual needs,” she said.

“If you don’t deal with the basic needs of young people, there’s no hope of getting them to any understanding of who God is, unless we are the hands and feet of Christ … and you do that through unconditional love, not through forcing dogma down their throats.”

The relevance of God

Often, campus ministers are the first line of defense in a growing national mental health crisis, with three out of four college students reporting feeling stressed and having suicidal thoughts, according to a Sept. 6, 2018, ABC News report.

The Rev. Karen Coleman, Episcopal chaplain and campus minister at Boston University, said, “I had a student come in a few weeks ago and say, ‘I need help.’ I walked them over to the health service. Students are bombarded with pressures to perform, study, attend classes, finish assignments, and all the other things going on within yourself in that age group. And, all the questions – Who am I? What am I? It’s a lot to hold.”

The chapel at Boston University offers community meals three times a week for food-insecure students, as well as compline, an ecumenical Eucharist, and a book (not Bible) study, she said.

Most students have no religious affiliation but come “because they like compline. They come because it’s a place for them to rest and be and nobody asks them to explain themselves,” Coleman said. “There’s no paper, there’s no grading, they can just come and be and eat.”

Eventually, the subject of the sacred surfaces.

“It’s both – God and organized religion,” she said. “They are trying to figure out who their God is and not the God of the church they went to before. It’s a safe environment to ask questions, maybe those questions you can’t ask of your parish priest but can ask here because that’s what a university campus is all about, asking those questions.

“A lot of it is just being in the space to allow them to move out of the language that they had when they were in high school and to really take a deep, hard look at how God is working and moving in their lives.”

Student food insecurity is very much in focus at SUNY-Ulster’s 2,000-student campus in Stone Ridge, New York, about 90 miles north of Manhattan, according to the Rev. Robin James.

A Canterbury alum from the University of Kansas, James said the ministry today is very different than the one she remembers. “Students come and ask if they have to be a member of the group or a Christian to participate in the pantry,” James told ENS recently. “Of course, we say no. This is about feeding people with dignity and respect.”

The number of student pantry guests rose from 400 to more than 600 in the past two years, James said, and students are facing such issues as, “Do I pay my tuition or have dinner tonight? Do I buy a $100 textbook that I can’t read online, or pay my electric bill? If I don’t pay my electric bill, I can’t stay connected to the Internet.”

A Sept. 2018 Wisconsin Hope Center survey (https://hope4college.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-CUFBA-Report-web-2.pdf) of 262 participating colleges and universities indicated that 217 currently operate food pantries, yet most are hampered by insufficient funding, food and volunteers.

James, who helps run the Ulster pantry, said there are 37 active food pantries in the State University of New York system. The average age of students in 2015 on the Ulster campus was 33.

She also has counseled students on the brink of homelessness. “It’s the same kind of reasoning. If I’m going to pay $2,500 a semester in tuition, something has to give somewhere,” James said. “We have students working two to three jobs with two or three children and a spouse and trying to complete successfully a course of study.”

She doesn’t do worship but, instead, sits in the food court area with a sign that says “Faith Matters,” and she is thinking of reprising an interfaith Thanksgiving dinner, at the request of a Muslim student.

Traditional ministry models aside, “people remember where they found comfort and solace,” she said. “Food and acceptance – non-judgment – that’s what they’re looking for. And if they weren’t raised in a church, which is increasingly the case, they’re like, ‘Hmm … tell me some more about this God thing.’”

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

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Michael Hunn consecrated 11th bishop of Rio Grande

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 1:28pm

Thirty bishops participated in the ordination of Rio Grande Bishop Michael Buerkel Hunn on Nov. 3 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo: Jim Frost

[Diocese of the Rio Grande] It was the consecration of a bishop reflecting the Southwest watched by thousands around the world.

Michael Buerkel Hunn became the 11th bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande on Nov. 3 succeeding the Rt. Rev. Michael Vono who served eight years and is resigning.

The service heard Spanish music, a gospel proclaimed in Spanish and English, prayers in the Navajo language and Native flute music. More than 1,000 people filled First Presbyterian Church, downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest church venue, to witness the making of the 1,110th bishop ordained by the Episcopal Church since Samuel Seabury.

Presiding Bishop Michael Bruce Curry was joined by thirty bishops including the Rt. Rev. James Gonia, Bishop of the Rocky Mountain Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, to ordain Hunn. In his sermon, Curry acknowledged the 13 years he and Hunn had worked together. Hunn was Curry’s canon to the ordinary in North Carolina for 10 years and served three years as canon to the presiding bishop.

The service was livestreamed on Facebook and within 24 hours had nearly 20,000 views as far away as Hawaii and South Africa. The interest was likely fueled by Curry’s catapulting to prominence following the televised May 19 sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and American-born actress Meghan Markle.

At the consecration Curry preached from a massive wooden pulpit in full view of three balconies, the nave and two transepts. He chose Second Corinthians 5:11-21 to preach on Paul’s view of the ministry of reconciliation. He said he likes the New International Version translation in verse 13 that reads, “Christ’s love compels us,” and then connected it to the Prayer of Consecration said over a new bishop.

“I’ve been a bishop for 18 years and prayed that prayer many times: ‘To you, O Father, all hearts are open; fill we pray, the heart of this your servant whom you have chosen to be a bishop in your Church, with such love of you and all the people,’ and it says, ‘all the people.’ There’s no asterisk. I checked,” Curry said to applause and laughter.

After being presented to the congregation as bishop, Hunn said, “Dear Diocese of the Rio Grande, we will love God, for there is much work for us to do. We will go from this place into the world and we will ask, what is the most loving thing we can do? We will ask, what is the most liberating thing we can do? We will ask, what is the most life giving thing we can do? and we will do those things together.”

The theme of love carried on the next day in Hunn’s sermon at the “Welcoming and Seating of a Bishop” at the Cathedral of St. John. “We tend to build cathedrals in cities because cities know about need and want,” he said to nearly 400 worshippers. He used the gospel reading of the raising of Lazarus likening cathedrals to tombs.

“Lazarus was the first to rise from the dead, but he is not the last,” he said. “And so we build cathedrals,” where resurrection can take place. “We come here to bear witness to the city of Albuquerque” and to bear witness that love “has burst open this tomb,” he said.

“I’ve seen glimpses of resurrection,” he said. “Our task is roll away the stone,” to be a place of art and music and love and reconciliation. “If we don’t do that there’s no way we’ll see glimpses of resurrection,” he said.

Hunn arrived at the cathedral as a pilgrim. He and about 25 young people walked through downtown streets streaming his pilgrimage on Facebook. He told the pilgrims of a tradition in England where a bishop would arrive at the city and walk to the cathedral making a holy journey. He then used his crozier to knock three times on the cathedral doors, saying the traditional words, “May the doors of this Cathedral be opened that I may enter and give thanks to the Lord.”

His pilgrimage ended at the bishop’s chair, the cathedra, where he was instituted and seated in “the symbol and center of [his] pastoral, liturgical and teaching ministry” in the Diocese of the Rio Grande. Bells were rung throughout the cathedral and the cathedral organ liberally used a stop called “Bishop’s Trumpet” as the people celebrated.

Hunn opened his sermon on a light note: “That’s about the most commotion I’ve seen for someone who sits down on the job.”

Probably the most sitting he’ll be doing is driving his pickup truck between the 55 congregations spread throughout 154,000 square miles of New Mexico and Far West Texas that is the Diocese of the Rio Grande.

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Bishop’s concern for youth after government delays new gambling restriction

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 12:55pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A Church of England bishop has criticized the British government’s decision to delay new limits on a type of high-stake digital gambling machines. The bishop of St. Albans, Alan Smith, has been a vociferous campaigner against Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). The C of E’s General Synod also expressed concern about the machines, which allow gamblers to risk £100 GBP every 20 seconds. In May the government bowed to pressure and said it would reduce the maximum stake to just £2.00; but last week, Britain’s finance minister Phil Hammond used the annual budget statement to announce that the reduction would not be implemented until October 2019.

Read the full article here.

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Birth of a new mission as ‘shining light’ Chile becomes Anglican Communion’s 40th province

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 12:51pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Iglesia Anglicana de Chile – the Anglican Church of Chile – has been inaugurated as the latest province of the Anglican Communion in a service of joy and celebration in the capital, Santiago. It had been part of the province of South America but was given permission to have provincial status after sustained growth.

Read the full article here.

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Colorado bishop-elect discloses cancer diagnosis

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 10:09am

[Episcopal Church in Colorado] Colorado Bishop-elect Kym Lucas sent a letter to the diocese disclosing her diagnosis last week of stage one breast cancer. Lucas was elected the diocese’s 11th bishop during its 131 convention on Oct. 27 in Denver.

Dear Friends In Christ,

I am both amazed and thrilled that the Holy Spirit has called us to minister together! The Episcopal Church in Colorado is an extraordinary and unique branch of the Jesus Movement. I enjoyed the short time I was able to spend in each region during the walkabout, and I look forward spending more time with you, getting to know one another, and discerning how God will use our gifts to proclaim Christ’s kingdom. The next few months will be full for me and my family as I plan our transition, but know that I am eager to be with you. Your confidence and love humble me, and I pray that I will be a faithful steward of both as your bishop.

As your bishop-elect, I want to make you aware of a deeply personal, but yet publicly important announcement regarding my health. Last week I had my final consultation appointment where I received my diagnosis of stage one breast cancer. The cancer was detected through a routine mammogram. The tumor was so small that without mammography, it would have remained undiscovered for some time. My doctor told me that while “nobody wants breast cancer, if you’re going to have it, you want it the way you have it: detected early at stage 1.” Detected at stage 1, my particular form of cancer has a 98% cure rate and my oncology team deems my quest to be cancer free by the end of January “entirely reasonable.”

The past several weeks have been a whirlwind of tests and appointments and more tests. The waiting has been an emotional rollercoaster for my family and me. Until two days before the election my doctors and I had no reason for serious concern. On Monday, I informed my congregation at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Washington D.C. about my diagnosis and later that day, I reached out to your President of the Standing Committee of Colorado, Bob Morse, to also let him know.

As Breast Cancer Awareness Month winds down, I find myself grateful: grateful that the Episcopal Church prioritizes preventative care for its employees, grateful that my primary care doctor is diligent in her care for me, grateful that technology makes stage 1 cancer detection possible, grateful for the medical team that cares for me, and grateful for all the encouragement from friends and colleagues who are survivors. I am blessed beyond measure for all of the people in my life who make carrying this load easier.

The next few months will include surgery (a lumpectomy) and recovery, followed by radiation therapy. The path will not be easy, but my doctors assure me that I will be able to continue my work and ministry if I am patient with myself and diligently manage the fatigue that comes with radiation. By God’s grace, I am confident that this will be a minor bump in the road and I will be healthy when we begin our ministry together in March. I ask that you will hold my family and me in your prayers.

Yours In Christ,


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Candidate follows her faith into public service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congress to be reshaped by Nov. 6 midterm elections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Running for office, guided by faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Central American bishops appeal for Anglican Communion solidarity over migrant caravan

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

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

Read the full article.

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

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

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

Read the full article.

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United Nations extends Anglican Communion accreditation to boost environmental campaign

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

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

Read the full article.

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EJE19: Evento de Jóvenes Episcopales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— The EPPN (@TheEPPN) October 27, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

La Iglesia Episcopal alienta a la participación política no partidista

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Becas disponibles para los Ministerios de Adultos Jóvenes y Universitarios

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

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

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

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

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

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

Los cuatro tipos de becas son:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Anglican Communion prepares to welcome Chile as 40th province

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

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

Read the full article here.

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Mauritius bishop cautions against ethnic and religious census

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

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

Read the full article here.

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