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A year later, Virgin Islander Episcopalians look toward long-term recovery from Irma, Maria

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 6:13am

The bell tower at St. Ursula’s Episcopal Church on St. John sits in front of the church and the roof remains covered by a Federal Emergency Management Agency tarpaulin. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands] A year after two devastating hurricanes swept through the Virgin Islands, building materials and skilled-labor shortages have delayed recovery. Blue tarpaulins covering damaged rooftops have frayed under the hot sun, with each threat of rain increasing Virgin Islanders’ anxiety, particularly as the Atlantic hurricane season reaches its peak.

“This time of year, many people are very anxious,” said Virgin Islands Bishop E. Ambrose Gumbs, in a Sept. 7 interview with Episcopal News Service at his office. “These tarps are brittle, and the wind just rips them to shreds.”

Cleamena Duncan, junior warden at St. Ursula’s Episcopal Church, opens the front door to the church on Sept. 3 on St. John. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Across the islands, the story is the same: a lack of supplies and craftspeople, and delayed insurance claims, have frayed peoples’ nerves. Thursday, Aug. 30, brought rain that forced some to take shelter in their vehicles as the water came through the tarps on their roofs.

A person cannot simply go to a hardware store and purchase windows, doors or galvanized roofing panels; materials must be ordered on the mainland, and cargo ships transporting materials must first pass through Puerto Rico, where the need is just as great and the population much larger — 3.4 million compared to the Virgin Islands’ 130,000. Worse yet, building materials can cost three to four times as much on the islands as in the continental United States.

Everyone has suffered, especially the elderly, many of whom lost their homes and were separated from family; some have died from illness and storm-related stress. Children are experiencing the same ailments as adults; high-blood pressure, diabetes and anxiety, said Gumbs.

“The new normal has not yet arrived,” he said.

As the one-year anniversary of Irma came and went, three storms, all of which reached hurricane strength by Sept. 10, were forming in the Atlantic. Hurricanes come off West Africa’s coast and either gain strength or dissipate as they work their way east across the Atlantic Ocean.

Last year, Hurricane Irma crossed the Virgin Islands as a Category 5 storm on Sept. 6, 2017, causing extensive damage. Two weeks later, on Sept. 20, Hurricane Maria passed over the islands as a Category 5 storm before making landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane. The two hurricanes led to thousands of deaths and more than $102 billion in damages. Damage to church-owned properties is $7 million, according to Church Insurance, which insures church buildings.

“Irma came and left us with something to think about, and Maria came in and finished the job,” said Rita Payne-Samuel, Episcopal Church Women president at Nazareth-by-the Sea Episcopal Church on St. Thomas.

Still, the hurricanes reinforced what it means to be church, which goes beyond the buildings.

“That’s the human part of church and fellowship,” Payne-Samuel said. “People just got together and helped each other.”

Nazareth-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church operates out of a storefront in a strip mall on St. Thomas. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Nazareth-by-the-Sea meets in a strip mall storefront since Irma destroyed its building, she said. It is without a priest, and like Holy Cross is served by Gumbs, making it difficult for the bishop to make regular pastoral visits to the diocese’s other congregations.

Pastoral support is one thing the wider Episcopal Church could offer the Diocese of the Virgin Islands in the short-term, the bishop said.

“We need our brethren to stand in the gap with us, send some clergy down,” said Gumbs. “They [his clergy] are battle weary from the hurricanes.”

The Diocese of the Virgin Islands consists of 14 congregations spread over five islands; three – St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix – under U.S. jurisdiction, and two – Tortola and Virgin Gorda – under British rule. Residents living in the U.S. Virgin Islands are U.S. citizens; residents of the Virgin Islands are British Overseas Territories citizens.

Ferries, planes and sea planes shuttle passengers around the islands, which were discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and named for St. Ursula and her 11,000 virgins.

The one Episcopal Church on St. John is named for St. Ursula. Since the storm, it has served as the island’s only senior citizen center, where at least 70 seniors gather Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the church’s basement for meals and activities.

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church on St. Thomas has some 700 members and serves a densely populated, diverse community called Sugar Estate, explained the Rev. Lenroy K. Cabey, rector. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Back on St. Thomas, in Sugar Estate, a densely populated, diverse community served by St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, housing is scarce and residents, many of whom worked in the hard-hit tourism industry, are working two and three part-time jobs to make ends meet, said the Rev. Lenroy K. Cabey, the 700-member church’s rector.

Cabey has witnessed an increase in demand for social services, as well as food. St. Andrew’s hopes to have its soup kitchen back up and running by the end of September, he said.

Riise Richards, the diocese’s volunteer coordinator and an Episcopal representative on the Virgin Islands’ Long-Term Recovery Group, also has witnessed increased need.

“A lot of people are suffering and suffering in silence,” said Richards. “We asked people what they need and there was hesitance.”

The Rev. Lenroy K. Cabey, rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church on St. Thomas, points to the waterline following last year’s hurricanes. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

The people’s hesitance, Richards and others across the islands agreed, comes from the shame of needing to admit they need help. Still, help is what they need and since the storm, Richards has been working to retrofit some churches and diocesan property to accommodate volunteers who can assist the diocese in its estimated three- to- five-year recovery.

“There were a lot of homes completely destroyed and a lot of people who still have tarps … mold, homes that still need to be gutted, and we need family also,” she said. “The church is the people.”

“We are here to serve; we are the body of Christ,” she said. “And we are here to ensure that people can get their lives back together.”

At Holy Spirit, which sits on hill in Estate Hope, on the Western End of St. Thomas, part of the church has been converted into dormitories to house volunteers. Last week, nine AmeriCorps service volunteers were staying in the dorms and working to remove debris, building a deck at the back of the church and working in warehouses to sort and catalogue donations.

Gumbs, who wants the church “to be a safe place,” gave the mandate to ready the churches to house volunteers who can assist with the long-term recovery efforts, said Richards. Both Holy Spirit and Domini House, which is across the street from All Saints Cathedral, can house volunteers.

In the hurricanes’ aftermath, Episcopal Relief & Development and the Diocese of Alabama, a companion diocese, have funded the churches’ outreach ministries through mini grants. Both are committed to the Virgin Islands’ long-term recovery, and Alabama is anxious to send volunteers.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Senior Warden Leroy Claxton opens a barrel of supplies containing infant diapers. St. Luke’s has been designated a government-appointed point of distribution and designated shelter. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Episcopal Relief & Development has provided financial assistance through churches and schools to support ongoing outreach ministries that are engaged in recovery and preparedness, including helping to repair and harden shelters, providing case management and direct assistance to people impacted, compiling preparedness kits for this upcoming hurricane season, supporting community gardening, and sheltering.

“The people in the Virgin Islands continue to face enormous challenges a year after the devastating hurricanes. We are proud to remain a partner in the ongoing recovery,” said Abagail Nelson, Episcopal Relief & Development’s senior vice president for programs.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, located atop a hill in St. Thomas, survived Hurricanes Irma and Maria relatively unscathed compared to other churches. However, the church’s original structure was destroyed by Hurricane Marilyn in 1995. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

St. Luke’s, which sits atop a hill on St. Thomas, suffered only minor damage during the hurricanes, and now is a government-appointed point of distribution and a designated shelter in the event of another disaster. Barrels of supplies, including clothing, nonperishable food items and water, diapers and other infant necessities and toiletries have been shipped in large blue plastic barrels from as far away as Bronx, New York, where Virgin Islanders have family and civic connections.

To one degree or another all of the diocese’s churches suffered some damage. On St. Croix, San Francisco, a mission church with the diocese’s only Spanish-speaking congregation has to be razed. St. Mary’s on Virgin Gorda lost its windows; the pavilion, which overlooks the sea and was used to host community cultural events, is destroyed; the rectory is in disrepair. On Tortola, St. Paul’s suffered damage, and an income-generating apartment gifted to the church by a parishioner needs to be gutted. At St. Ursula’s, on St. John, the bell tower fell to the ground, windows are boarded up and a blue tarp protects the roof. As with residences, structural recovery is slow.

The church properties are insured by Church Insurance, which falls under the umbrella of the Church Pension Group.

“There were some initial challenges getting to the Virgin Islands as there were limited flights and available accommodations after the hurricane,” said C. Curtis Ritter, senior vice president and head of corporate communications for CPG, in an email to ENS. “We also were challenged to find available contractors because the demand was so high and the wait times were long,”

“We also spent additional time working with the diocese to think of ways to make building repairs that were more sustainable; where possible, we are replacing older buildings with structures that should be more able to handle high winds. It took a while to sort this out, but the partnership has been productive.”

Meanwhile, life goes on.

“A year ago, we were weeping and a-wailing,” said Payne-Samuel, on Sept. 7, a year and a day after Irma brought destruction to the island.

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

The post A year later, Virgin Islander Episcopalians look toward long-term recovery from Irma, Maria appeared first on Episcopal News Service.

Anglican Consultative Council to consider global safeguarding guidelines

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 5:16pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Members of the Anglican Consultative Council will discuss global safeguarding guidelines when they meet next year in Hong Kong. The guidelines are being drawn up by an international Anglican Safe Church Commission, which was established by the Council when it last met in 2016, in the Zambian capital Lusaka. The guidelines will be finalized when the Commission next meet in November and will be made available in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

Read the full article here.

South Sudan bishop killed in plane crash

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 5:15pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Yirol Bishop Simon Adut Yuang in South Sudan was one of 20 people killed when a plane carrying them from the South Sudanese capital Juba crashed into a lake as it attempted to land at Yirol Airport. Reports say that thick fog around Yirol, in the center of the country, may have played a part in the accident. Only three of the plane’s passengers survived.

Read the full article here.

Grace Cathedral in San Francisco to play prominent role in Global Climate Action Summit

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 5:01pm

The front window of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, California, is bookended by banners showing the halves of the Earth, one of several art installations designed by artist in residence Sukey Bryan as the cathedral prepares to host a kickoff worship service for the Global Climate Action Summit. Photo: Grace Cathedral, via Facebook

[Episcopal News Service] San Francisco this week has become the epicenter of the movement in the United States to take greater action against climate change, and the Diocese of California’s Grace Cathedral is playing a prominent role in the upcoming three-day Global Climate Action Summit that is spearheaded by California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Thousands of activists, experts and people of faith are in the city this week for the summit. Many of them, including Episcopalians, participated Sept. 8 in a major march in San Francisco that was part of a series of worldwide demonstrations known as Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice. Hundreds of people are expected to attend a kickoff worship service to be held Sept. 12 at Grace Cathedral. Affiliated workshops and other events already are underway around the city, including at the cathedral.

See what’s happening at #GCAS2018—Check out the daily program here. >> https://t.co/UVOZ1yezVh #StepUp201 pic.twitter.com/628nEyd1Cf

— Global Climate Action Summit (@GCAS2018) September 9, 2018

“The environment and climate is a hugely important issue for Grace Cathedral,” said the Very Rev. Malcolm Clemens Young, the cathedral’s dean.

Faith “teaches you that there’s something beyond the human. There’s something beyond human culture and human interests. … It’s important because we have such an outsized impact on the world,” Young said. “It’s important for us to be conscious of that and really see ourselves as protectors of the world.”

The cathedral’s capacity is about 2,000 people, but it rarely reaches that many except on Christmas and Easter, Young said. He isn’t sure how many will attend on Sept. 12 but expects a full crowd at the 4 p.m. service, which is described as a Multi-Faith Service of Wondering and Commitment.

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Dalai Lama each will contribute remarks at the service by video. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, is scheduled to speak, as is Patricia Espinosa Cantello, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom have said they will attend, as will California Bishop Marc Andrus.

The service also will highlight faith-based efforts around the world to care for the planet, including the several related resolutions passed in July by the Episcopal Church’s 79th General Convention.

The 2015 Paris Agreement, which sought voluntary limits on countries’ carbon emissions, has been a key rallying point, especially since President Donald Trump announced in 2017 that he would withdraw the United States from the agreement, saying it put U.S. economy at a global disadvantage.

The Episcopal Church has been involved in the We Are Still In movement, in which cities, states, companies, faith organizations and other groups have pledged to maintain the commitments of the Paris Agreement even if the U.S. government won’t. Resolution A018 specifically encourages Episcopalians to participate in that movement.

The Episcopal Church should “set an example, in the spirit of the Paris Climate Accord, by making intentional decisions about living lightly and gently on God’s good earth, for example, through energy conservation, renewable energy, sustainable food practices and gardening,” the resolution says.

Care of creation has been identified as one of three top priorities of the Episcopal Church, along with evangelism and racial reconciliation, during Curry’s tenure as presiding bishop, and General Convention’s numerous resolutions addressing environmental stewardship date back decades.

Andrus has been at the forefront of that advocacy and has regularly led delegations on behalf of the presiding bishop to United Nations gatherings on climate change. The next U.N. Climate Change Conference, known by the shorthand COP24, will be held this December in Poland.

“This summer the Episcopal Church took a historic step and committed itself through multiple resolutions to keeping the Paris Agreement,” Andrus said, adding that Episcopalians are part of “a great movement of faith people” fighting for action against climate change.

Andrus recalls speaking to Brown while both were attending the COP23 event last year in Bonn, Germany. The governor shared with Andrus his belief that “faith is important to justice work, as a foundation to climate action specifically,” and when Brown mentioned holding a multi-faith service to kick off his Global Climate Action Summit, Andrus suggested Grace Cathedral.

Since then, Young’s staff at the cathedral have been planning for the service, as well as for hosting 20 workshops this week  that are affiliated with the summit, which will be based at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

Grace Cathedral also has become a hub for environmentally themed artwork thanks to Sukey Bryan, the cathedral’s artist in residence. She used a construction wall as a canvas to depict a river. Fire sculptures and tile work featuring ocean waves can be found around the building. Parishioners entering the cathedral are greeted by Bryan’s 70-foot banners featuring oak trees, and a giant planet Earth hangs from the cathedral’s front window.

“It’s fantastic,” Andrus said of Bryan’s work. “Just beautiful.”

Each year, the cathedral picks a different theme for its artist in residence, and this year’s theme was “Truths.”

“Climate change was one of the big truths we wanted to talk about through this year,” Young said.

He added that he is a surfer and has seen firsthand the impact of a changing climate on the ocean water where he surfs. As water levels rise, he has been told the road he takes to get to the ocean someday will disappear.

“I think there’s a sense of hopelessness when it comes to the climate. There’s a sense that nothing we do will matter,” Young said, especially with the federal government no longer behind a global solution.

But he hopes this week’s summit and the Sept. 12 service at the cathedral will bolster people’s spirits and encourage them to work toward practical outcomes. “I really believe that when you gather people together to work on a problem, novel solutions come up,” he said.

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

Presiding Bishop Curry thanks all for prayers as he returns to work

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 4:48pm

[Episcopal News Service] “I want to thank you for all of the cards, and the well-wishes and, above all, for all of the prayers,” Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry said in a video message posted on Facebook as he returns to work following prostate surgery in late July.

“I came through the surgery very well. Everything is good,” Curry said in the video. “The pathology report was just fine, and I’m slowly but surely working my way back into the work I love to do.” He describes reading through the hundreds of cards and letters sent to him at the Episcopal Church Center. “They are a blessing,” he declared.

On July 25 Presiding Bishop Curry shared news that he had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer and would be having surgery to remove the prostate gland. “I’ve been recovering,” he said. “I pretty much stayed home and recuperated in August. Things are starting up slowly, but starting up.” Bishop Curry has recently resumed work and was in Atlanta to speak at a sold-out benefit dinner for the Day1 media ministry. He was also honored by the Atlanta City Council.

Day1 is the ecumenical radio and internet ministry formerly known as “The Protestant Hour,” which has broadcast sermons by preachers from the mainline denominations each week for 73 years. The program is produced by the Alliance for Christian Media. Bishop Curry was a regular contributor to the program in the 1990s, a member of the Day1 advisory board, and a former member of the board of trustees.

Archbishop of Canterbury makes solidarity visit to chief rabbi as antisemitism rises

Fri, 09/07/2018 - 3:25pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has wished the United Kingdom’s Jewish community “an increase in your sense of security and peace.” He made his comments in a conversation with Britain’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, during a visit to his home in advance of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Read the full article here.

Church backs new Lakota translation of prayer book as tribes seek to preserve language

Fri, 09/07/2018 - 9:58am

The Rev. Robert Two Bulls Sr., second from left, leads the Prayers of the People on June 24, 2017, at the ordination of his daughter, Twilla Ramona Two Bulls, as deacon during the 145th Niobrara Convocation at Red Shirt Table, South Dakota. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church is expanding its investment in translations of the Book of Common Prayer into indigenous languages, with the Diocese of South Dakota receiving a United Thank Offering, or UTO, grant to pay for a new Lakota translation.

That grant comes a year after a similar grant was awarded to the Diocese of Alaska in support of a translation of the prayer book into Gwich’in, the language of many Native Alaskans, and future translations may include the prayer book used by Navajo Episcopalians.

“Language is important. Without it, you can’t really understand or appreciate the culture of the people,” said the Rev. Bradley S. Hauff, Episcopal Church missioner for indigenous ministries. “And a big part of the [indigenous] culture is spirituality, and just knowing the language really opens up doors for understanding that English does not.”

The nine tribes in the Diocese of South Dakota rely on a partial translation of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer that is known as the Niobrara Service Book. The language is comprehensible but archaic, said the Ven. Paul Sneve, the diocese’s archdeacon, who is overseeing the translation process.

“I always tell people, if you can imagine the difference between speaking King James English and speaking English on the street, they’re a little different,” Sneve said.

There are other linguistic challenges as well, such as the Lakota language’s lack of gender pronouns. References to God as male are difficult to translate. “It actually makes it kind of awkward. We don’t talk that way,” Sneve said.

The $45,000 received from the UTO program will allow Sneve to assemble a team of elders and other fluent Lakota speakers, who will meet and discuss the linguistic, theological and cultural factors in producing a full Lakota translation based on the 1979 prayer book. But Sneve also hopes to go beyond the prayer book and develop additional liturgical resources based on the needs of Indian congregations and communities in the diocese.

The rate of youth suicide and overdose is high among Native people in South Dakota, so one goal is to develop a funeral liturgy that can be adapted for burying a child. Home blessings and blessing of tombstones are part of some tribal cultures, so Sneve hopes this project will accommodate those as well.

“It’s not just a translation of the ’79 book,” he said. “It is our book.”

Some parts of the prayer book, including baptismal rites and Rite II’s Eucharistic prayer A, already have been translated into modern Lakota, which can be understood by all nine tribes despite their differences in dialect, Sneve said. And the Dakota hymnal is a cherished part of services in the diocese.

By adding to those existing resources, the Episcopal Church has another purpose in mind, of helping to preserve Native languages that are at risk of being lost at a time when many younger Native Americans are learning English as their first language.

“Language and culture are so intimately connected,” South Dakota Bishop John Tarrant said. “A lot of anthropologists say when you lose your language you lose part of your culture.”

The Episcopal Church, through its historical missionary work with indigenous populations, was at least partly complicit in the U.S. government’s efforts to assimilate Native Americans into white culture while eradicating their culture, including language. In the face of that history, Tarrant said the church is offering “tremendous support” for cultural preservation efforts, particularly with the backing of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, the House of Deputies president.

Tarrant also keeps in contact with the bishops in Alaska and Navajoland to share ideas about new ways to support indigenous communities. When Alaska received a $40,000 UTO grant last year to pursue a Gwich’in translation of the Book of Common Prayer, that helped motivate South Dakota to apply for its own translation grant.

“The church has been and should be a place where indigenous languages can be learned, expressed in that way, safeguarding them and promoting them,” Hauff said. “Any attempt that we as a church can make to preserve these languages is our obligation.”

Sneve, too, has been in contact with other dioceses that have undertaken prayer book translations, to receive guidance as he starts the process in South Dakota. His counterparts in the other dioceses have been friendly and helpful.

“What is good for one tribe is good for all of them,” he said.

Once he forms committees to work on the translation, those committees will start making “some hard decisions,” such as whether to include the entire Psalter and risk delaying publication. The house blessing is another example of a liturgical resource that the committees may decide is worth the time to produce, or else is something better left for the future.

Sneve has no definitive timetable yet for completing the task, but he estimates it will take at least two years before a translation is ready for publication.

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

Diocese of Colorado drops candidate from bishop search process

Thu, 09/06/2018 - 6:51pm

[Diocese of Colorado] The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Colorado on Sept. 6 released the following letter regarding the search process for the diocese’s next bishop diocesan.

Dear People of God in The Episcopal Church in Colorado:

In the last several days, we have received reports of serious personal, professional, and vocational issues involving The Reverend Canon Michael Pipkin. Because we recognize that these complaints are serious, and because they cannot be resolved prior to our October 27 election, the Standing Committee voted unanimously on August 29 to remove him from consideration in the upcoming election for the 11th Bishop of Colorado.

As these changes in our discernment and election process have unfolded, we have been in close communication with Canon Pipkin’s bishop as well as with Bishop Todd Ousley, who works for the Presiding Bishop and provides oversight and guidance for all episcopal elections. These allegations have been referred to them for further action under the provision of The Episcopal Church’s canons.

Further, we have decided unanimously to proceed with our election with two nominees on the slate–The Reverend Kimberly D. Lucas and The Reverend Canon Ruth Woodliff-Stanley. Both nominees have reaffirmed their enthusiastic desire to continue with us as we seek our next bishop.

We remain deeply grateful for the faithful, careful, and thorough work previously undertaken by the Search Committee on our behalf. We have informed its members of the basis for the recent decisions that have been made, and they have unanimously expressed their unqualified support. Both they and we are confident that the two faithful, talented priests now on the slate possess the gifts to provide strong episcopal leadership to serve God’s mission with us here in Colorado.

We know that some of you may have questions about this news.

While it is unusual for a diocese to elect a bishop from a slate of two nominees, it is not without precedent. In our case, the Standing Committee charged the Search Committee last January to present a slate of four nominees to the people of the diocese. The initial slate included three priests because one of the four final candidates decided to stand for election as bishop in another diocese.

With two nominees now on the slate, we trust that the strength of our common life, our commitment to serving God’s mission, and the work of the Holy Spirit are leading us forward even in the midst of these unexpected changes. On October 27, we will elect a bishop who will work faithfully with us in creating a vision for our future as the Body of Christ.

When the Standing Committee first met last November to pray about and to reflect upon the election of a new bishop, we identified a passage from Jeremiah that we thought would serve us well during this transition: “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

We are continuing now with the same confidence and trust in God’s grace. Thank you for your continued prayer for the election of our new bishop.


Mr. Robert Morse
President of the Standing Committee
The Episcopal Church in Colorado

Mr. Bob Morse, President
Front Range Lay Representative
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Boulder

The Reverend Terry McGugan, Vice President
High Plains Clergy Representative
Christ Church, Denver

Mr. Jim Wolfe, Secretary
High Plains Lay Representative
Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, Centennial

The Reverend Charlie Brumbaugh
Northwest Clergy Representative
St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, Breckenridge

The Reverend Peter Floyd
Sangre de Cristo Clergy Representative
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Colorado Springs

Ms. Jan Johnson
Northwest Lay Representative
St. Peter’s of the Valley Episcopal Church, Basalt

The Reverend Nature Johnston
Southwest Clergy Representative
The Church of the Nativity, Grand Junction

The Reverend Michael McManus
Front Range Clergy Representative
Church of the Transfiguration, Evergreen

Ms. Erin Smith
Southwest Lay Representative
St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church, Alamosa

Mr. Harry Tournay
Sangre de Cristo Lay Representative
Church of the Ascension & Holy Trinity, Pueblo

Anglican Consultative Council’s Standing Committee gets update on 2020 Lambeth Conference

Thu, 09/06/2018 - 12:13pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] “Progress continues to be positive and financially we are on track” – that was the message from the Chief Executive of the Lambeth Conference Company Phil George to members of the Anglican Consultative Council’s Standing Committee as he briefed them on plans for the gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world in 2020.

“The first year of LC2020 planning is complete,” he said. “In many ways we are ahead of schedule and well positioned for the planning and preparations of the next two years.”

Read the full article here.

Archbishop of Canterbury calls for ‘fundamental reform’ of Britain’s economy

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 4:49pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A report co-authored by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says that Britain’s economy “is not working for millions of people and needs fundamental reform.” The report argues that “a fair economy is a strong economy” and says that “prosperity and justice can, and must, go hand-in-hand.” The report includes a 10-part plan for “a new vision of the economy and a rebalancing of economic power” and more than 70 recommendations.

Read the full article here.

Changes will give more voice to smaller provinces at Anglican Consultative Council

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 4:47pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Members of the Anglican Consultative Council’s Standing Committee have adopted changes to the membership schedule to increase representative from smaller provinces. Currently, larger provinces are entitled to three members, medium-sized provinces are entitled to two members; and smaller provinces are entitled to one member. The medium and smaller category will be combined with both entitled to two members: one ordained and one lay.

Read the full article here.

Anglican Communion Standing Committee backs new Chilean province

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 4:43pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Diocese of Chile, which is currently part of the Province of the Anglican Church of South America, should become a Province in its own right, the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) has decided. Before the change can be made formally, the ACC’s constitution requires the assent of two thirds of Anglican Primates.

Read the full article here.

Secretary general condemns ‘falsehoods’ about Anglican Communion

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 2:39pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, has strongly condemned people who “militantly present falsehoods” about the Communion, despite knowing that what they are saying is untrue. Idowu-Fearon made his comments as he gave his annual report to the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, at the start of their four-day meeting in London.

Read the full article here.

Episcopal Church of South Sudan’s national youth coordinator killed in gun attack

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 2:34pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The national youth coordinator for the Episcopal Church of South Sudan has died after being shot while traveling to Yei. Thousands of young people gathered at the house of Joseph Kiri on Sept. 3 to pay their respects for the youth worker and evangelist, who was killed just days after the Archbishop Justin Badi Arama said more needed to be done to turn a peace deal on paper into peace on the ground.

Read the full article here.

La conferencia Nuevo Amanecer celebra la diversidad del ministerio latino

Sat, 09/01/2018 - 7:39am

Un grupo de participantes juntan las manos en oración durante uno de los cultos en Nuevo Amanecer. Foto Millard Cook.

[Episcopal News Service – Hendersonville, Carolina del Norte] Esta semana, cerca de 400 personas se reunieron del 27 al 30 de agosto en el Centro de Conferencias y Retiro de Kanuga para participar en Nuevo Amanecer, una conferencia [o foro] bienal que apoya al ministerio latino en la Iglesia.

El tema de la conferencia de este año fue “Construimos, Equipamos, Inspiramos” . Muchos participantes hicieron un gran esfuerzo y viajaron largas distancias para asistir. Este año, por primera vez, la conferencia incluyó una amplia representación de la IX Provincia, con personas provenientes de América Central y del Sur.

El Rdo. Bladimir Pedraza fue uno de los cinco participantes que hizo el viaje a Carolina del Norte desde Colombia. Él se enteró de Nuevo Amanecer en la conferencia La Evangelización es Importante [Evangelism Matters] en marzo [de este año] en Ohio, y se quedó encantado cuando su obispo lo invitó a participar en Nuevo Amanecer. Él agradece esta oportunidad de reflexionar y compartir con personas de otras culturas.

“Ha sido una experiencia maravillosa”, dijo Pedraza. “Es un recordatorio de que todos somos iguales en la Iglesia, y que todos tenemos el mismo amor”.

El primer Nuevo Amanecer tuvo lugar en Los Ángeles en 2002, y pasaron seis años antes de que se volviera a ofrecer, en Atlanta. En 2010, la conferencia encontró un hogar en Kanuga, donde ahora se celebra cada dos años. La organiza la Oficina del Ministerio Latino/Hispano en asociación con Kanuga, y la conferencia de este año recibió un respaldo adicional de la Fundación de la Iglesia Episcopal y del Movimiento Adelante [Forward Movement].

Casi 400 personas se reunieron en Kanuga para Nuevo Amanecer, una conferencia bienal que celebra y apoya el ministerio latino en la Iglesia Episcopal. Foto del Rdo. Edgar Giraldo Orozco.

El Rdo. Anthony Guillén, misionero para el Ministerio Latino/Hispano y director de Ministerios Étnicos en la Iglesia Episcopal, dijo que desde el principio,  el énfasis de Nuevo Amanecer ha sido la formación y la fraternidad. Cuando empezó en su cargo, muchas personas que participaban en el Ministerio Hispano se sentían muy aisladas entre sí, y Nuevo Amanecer les brindó la oportunidad de aprender en comunidad.

Él señaló que la mayoría de los participantes son laicos. “¿Por qué vienen a una conferencia de ministerio?”, se preguntó. “Vienen porque quieren aprender y prepararse. Reconocen que tienen dones y anhelan ser evangelistas y líderes en esta Iglesia”.

Guillén explicó: “Nuestra visión es crear un lugar donde las personas puedan reunirse, lo mismo si son principiantes y están empezando a entender el ministerio latino, o si ya han estado asistiendo a la iglesia durante varios años y han oído el llamado de Dios a hacer más, o si ya están en el liderazgo y buscan más preparación”.

La conferencia de este año contó con tres oradores principales: el Rvdmo. Daniel Gutiérrez, obispo de la Diócesis de Pensilvania; el Rvdmo. Rafael Morales, obispo de la Diócesis de Puerto Rico; y la Rda. Stephanie Spellers, canóniga del Obispo Primado para la evangelización, la reconciliación y la mayordomía de la creación. Cada uno de los oradores abordó una parte del tema general de la conferencia.

Gutiérrez reflexionó sobre el tema de edificar la Iglesia. Él procuró corregir un lenguaje negativo, al explicar. “Para los latinos y para todas las personas de color, nosotros no somos un programa social, Somos la Iglesia”.

Instó a los participantes a ser audaces y a correr riesgos por la causa del Evangelio. “Creo apasionadamente en el poder transformador y redentor de Jesucristo”, afirmó. “Creo apasionadamente en el valor y la fidelidad de sus seguidores. Creo apasionadamente en ustedes. Lo que hagamos aquí cambiará la Iglesia y el mundo”.

Continuando con el tema, Morales enfatizó la importancia de la oración y la formación al equipar discípulos para el ministerio. Mediante la oración y la formación, explicó, nos preparamos para ser discípulos y evangelistas. “Somos ministros del amor”, dijo, y llamó a que mostraran el rostro de Dios al mundo.

En su presentación, Spellers afirmó los dones que ya están presentes en la comunidad. “Nadie está intentado darles a los latinos algo que ustedes ya no tengan”, dijo. Ella recontó las muchas maneras  en que había sido inspirada por la comunidad latina, diciendo: “Ustedes han cambiado mi vida y han hecho crecer mi fe”. Ella le pidió a todos los participantes que dejaran brillar su luz. Al final de su presentación, todos se unieron a cantar “Esta lucecita mía” en español e inglés.

Además de las sesiones plenarias, los participantes tuvieron la oportunidad de asistir a una variedad de talleres, sobre asuntos tales como el estado de la inmigración en Estados Unidos, el ministerio LGBTQ, la música latina dentro de la Iglesia Episcopal y el uso de las redes sociales como una herramienta para la evangelización.

Sandy Milien, una universitaria recién graduada de la Diócesis del Sureste de la Florida, fue una de los presentadores de talleres. Ella ayudó a dirigir un taller sobre la Campaña de Compartir Historias de la Amada Comunidad y se quedó muy conmovida por las respuestas de los participantes. “Es maravilloso cuando las personas se te acercan después y te dicen que tu taller los ha tocado de maneras inesperadas”, dijo ella. . “Ahí es cuando ves el amor de Dios operando en la gente”.

Esta fue la primera vez que Milien asistía a un Nuevo Amanecer. Su madre, sacerdote episcopal en Miami, ha participado en la conferencia varias veces y la alentó a venir. “Es una excelente manera de que personas de diferentes ministerios en la comunidad latina se reúnan y vean que somos algo más que nuestras iglesitas”, dijo ella. “Somos una gran parte de la Iglesia Episcopal”.

Agatha Nolen, participante de la Diócesis de Tennessee, dijo que había aprendido muchísimo durante [la conferencia de] Nuevo Amanecer. Ella mencionó la creciente población latina de Nashville, la ciudad de donde viene, y dijo que se preguntaba cómo su congregación podría relacionarse mejor con esta comunidad.

“Una cosa que he aprendido aquí es que una talla no se ajusta a todos los modelos”, dijo. Se sintió agradecida de saber que personas que no hablan español pueden participar en los ministerios latinos. “En nuestra diócesis, no contamos con muchos sacerdotes que hablen español, y eso siempre se ha identificado como una barrera. Tal vez no es una barrera tan grande como creíamos”.

Un grupo de bailarines de la iglesia episcopal de La Trinidad en Greeley, Colorado, ejecutó una danza durante la eucaristía de apertura. Yuri Rodríguez, de la iglesia catedral de Cristo, en Indianápolis, Indiana, dirigió al equipo de miembros del coro y a los instrumentistas que proporcionaron la música. Foto de Millard Cook.

La conferencia incluyó un culto lleno del Espíritu, con música dirigida por Yuri Rodríguez, directora asociada de música hispana y encargada de ministerio en la iglesia catedral de Cristo  [Christ Church Cathedral] en Indianápolis, Indiana. Ella trabajó con el equipo de liturgia para seleccionar una amplia gama de música, desde música indígena latinoamericana hasta música contemporánea de compositores latinos.

“Mi visión era integrar la tradición coral anglicana con nuestros ritmos y lenguaje musical latinoamericanos”, explicó.

La conferencia también incluyó una composición original, “Un nuevo amanecer”, escrita por Ana López y el Rdo. Hipólito Fernández Reina para la ocasión.

Los servicios de culto, al igual que la conferencia como un todo, celebraron la diversidad de ministerios dentro de las comunidades latinas. La Rda. Nancy Frausto, sacerdote de la Diócesis de Los Ángeles, predicó en la eucaristía de clausura, y le dijo a los participantes que Dios les había llevado a la Iglesia Episcopal para compartir singulares dones.

“Dios nos ha llamado a la Iglesia Episcopal para compartir nuestras experiencias, nuestra historia, nuestra tradición, nuestro idioma, nuestra música”, afirmó ella. “Cada uno de ustedes tiene dones que la Iglesia necesita ahora”.

– La Rda. Leigh C. Preston es instructora en pastoral hispana y en el ministerio Latino/Hispano en la Escuela de Teología de Sewanee: La Universidad del Sur. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Nuevo Amanecer conference celebrates the diversity of Latino ministries

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 3:44pm

A group of participants joined hands in prayer during one of the worship services at Nuevo Amanecer. Photo by Millard Cook.

[Episcopal News Service – Hendersonville, North Carolina] This week, nearly 400 people gathered Aug. 27 to 30 at Kanuga Conference and Retreat Center for Nuevo Amanecer, a biennial conference that celebrates and supports Latino ministries in the church.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Construimos, Equipamos, Inspiramos” – “We Build, Equip, Inspire.” Many participants went to great lengths and traveled long distances to attend. This year, for the first time, the conference included a large presence from Province IX, with participants from countries in Central and South America.

The Rev. Bladimir Pedraza was among five participants who made the trip to North Carolina from Colombia. He first learned about Nuevo Amanecer at the Evangelism Matters conference in March in Ohio, and he was thrilled when his bishop invited him to participate in Nuevo Amanecer. He is grateful for this opportunity to reflect and share with people from other cultures.

“It has been a wonderful experience,” Pedraza said. “It is a reminder that we are all equal in the church, and that we all have the same love.”

The first Nuevo Amanecer took place in Los Angeles in 2002, and six years passed before it was offered again, in Atlanta. In 2010, the conference found a home at Kanuga, where it is now held every two years. It is organized by the Office of Latino/Hispanic Ministries in partnership with Kanuga, and this year’s conference received additional support from the Episcopal Church Foundation and Forward Movement.

Nearly 400 people gathered at Kanuga for Nuevo Amanecer, a biennial conference that celebrates and supports Latino ministries in the Episcopal Church. Photo by the Rev. Edgar Giraldo Orozco.

The Rev. Anthony Guillén, missioner for Latino/Hispanic ministries and director of ethnic ministries for the Episcopal Church, said that from the start the focus of Nuevo Amanecer has been formation and fellowship. When he first began his position, many people involved in Latino ministries felt very isolated from each other, and Nuevo Amanecer provided an opportunity for them to learn in community.

He noted that the majority of participants are lay people. “Why are they coming to a ministry conference?” he asked. “They’re coming because they want to learn and be trained. They recognize that they have gifts, and they long to be evangelists and leaders in this church.

Guillén explained, “Our vision is to create a place where people can come together, whether they are just starting and discerning about Latino ministry, or whether they have been in the pews for several years and they’re hearing God’s call to do more, or whether they are already in leadership and looking for more training.”

This year’s conference included three keynote speakers: The Rt. Rev. Daniel Gutiérrez, bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania; the Rt. Rev. Rafael Morales, bishop of the Diocese of Puerto Rico; and the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, the presiding bishop’s canon for evangelism, reconciliation and stewardship of creation. Each speaker addressed one part of the overall theme for the conference.

Gutiérrez reflected on the theme of building up the church. He sought to correct harmful language, explaining, “For Latinos and for every person of color, we are not an outreach project. We are the church.”

He urged participants to be bold and to take risks for the sake of the Gospel. “I passionately believe in the transformative and redemptive power of Jesus Christ,” he said. “I passionately believe in the courage and faithfulness of his followers. I passionately believe in you. What we do here will change the church and the world.”

Continuing with the theme, Morales emphasized the importance of prayer and formation in equipping disciples for ministry. Through prayer and formation, he explained, we are equipped to be disciples and evangelists. “We are ministers of love,” he said, and called to show the face of God to the world.

In her presentation, Spellers affirmed the gifts already present within the community. “Nobody is trying to give Latinos something you don’t already have,” she said. She recounted the many ways she had been inspired by the Latino community, saying, “You have changed my life and grown my faith.” She called on all participants to let their light shine bright. At the end of her presentation, all joined her in singing “This Little Light of Mine” in both English and Spanish.

In addition to the plenary sessions, participants had the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops, with topics such as the state of immigration in the United States, LGBTQ ministries, Latino music within the Episcopal Church and the use of social media as a tool for evangelism.

Sandy Milien, a recent college graduate from the Diocese of Southeast Florida, was one of the workshop presenters. She helped lead a workshop about the Beloved Community StorySharing Campaign, and she was very moved by the responses of the participants. “It’s great when people come up afterwards and tell you that your workshop touched them in unexpected ways,” she said. “That’s when you see the love of God working in people.”

This was Milien’s first time attending Nuevo Amanecer. Her mother, an Episcopal priest in Miami, has participated in the conference several times and encouraged her to come. “It is such a great way for people of different ministries in the Latinx community to come together and see that we are more than just our small churches,” she said. “We are a big part of the Episcopal Church.”

Agatha Nolen, a participant from the Diocese of Tennessee, said she learned a great deal during Nuevo Amanecer. She mentioned the growing Latino population in her hometown of Nashville, and she said that she has wondered how her congregation can better engage with this community.

“One thing that I’ve learned here is that there’s not a one-size-fits-all model,” she said. She was grateful to learn about ways that non-Spanish speakers can become involved in Latino ministries. “In our diocese, we don’t have a lot of priests who speak Spanish, and that has always been identified as a barrier. Maybe it’s not as much of a barrier as we really thought.”

A group of dancers from Trinity Episcopal Church in Greeley, Colorado, presented a dance during the opening Eucharist. Yuri Rodriguez of Christ Church Cathedral Indianapolis, Indiana, directed the team of choir members and instrumentalists who provided music. Photo by Millard Cook.

The conference included spirit-filled worship, with music directed by Yuri Rodriguez, associate director of Hispanic music and ministry manager at Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis, Indiana. She worked with the liturgy team to select a broad range of music, from indigenous Latin American music to contemporary music by Latinx composers.

“My vision was to bring together the Anglican choral tradition with our Latin American rhythms and musical language,” she said.

The conference also featured an original composition, “Un Nuevo Amenecer,” written by Ana López and the Rev. Hipólito Fernandez Reina for the occasion.

The worship services, like the conference as a whole, celebrated the diversity of ministries within Latino communities. The Rev. Nancy Frausto, a priest in the Diocese of Los Angeles, preached at the closing Eucharist, and she told participants that God had brought them into the Episcopal Church to share their unique gifts.

“God has called us to the Episcopal Church to share our experiences, our history, our tradition, our language, our music,” she said. “Each one of you has gifts that the church needs now.”

– The Rev. Leigh C. Preston is an instructor in pastoral Spanish and Latino/Hispanic ministry in the School of Theology at Sewanee: The University of the South.

ENS Senior Editor and Reporter Mary Frances Schjonberg heading on sabbatical

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 3:32pm

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg, Episcopal News Service’s senior editor and reporter, will begin a three-month sabbatical on Sept. 4. She will return on Dec. 5.

The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (the nonprofit corporate entity through which the Episcopal Church owns property and does business) offers such leaves to all regular employees who have satisfactorily completed five years of continuous, full-time service. Sabbaticals are meant for personal and spiritual refreshment and professional growth.

News and tips maybe be sent to ENS Managing Editor Lynette Wilson (lwilson@episopalchurch.org) and ENS Editor and Reporter David Paulsen (dpaulsen@episopalchurch.org) during Schjonberg’s absence.



From the editors: Episcopal News Service to disable comments

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 2:57pm

[Episcopal News Service] When we invited our readers to comment on Episcopal News Service stories nearly seven years ago, we did so in the spirt of generating and encouraging discussion related to our content.

However, increasingly, some voices have come to dominate the discussion, which at times has strayed from the stories themselves into theological and ideological arguments. We value our readers and we value civil discourse, but we can no longer offer a comment function on our website. Readers may still, however, comment on ENS stories on Facebook and Twitter. Readers who would like to comment directly to us may do so via news@episcopalchurch.org.

We are far from alone in this decision. Beginning at least in late 2014 and continuing to now, media organizations far larger than ENS have decided to stop allowing comments on their stories. They range from Reuters and USA Today to the Atlantic and National Public Radio. We regret this trend and the polarization that promoted it. We pray for a time when people can, in the words of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby “learn to disagree well.”

The editors 

Nevada names three-person bishop nominee slate

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 2:21pm

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Diocese of Nevada has announced a slate of nominees for election as the 11th bishop of Nevada.

They are:

  • The Rev. Lance Ousley, canon for stewardship and development, Diocese of Olympia, Olympia, and priest-in-charge and head of school, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Kirkland, Washington;
  • The Rev. Tara K. Soughers, interim priest, The Church of Our Savior, Somerset, Massachusetts;
  • The Rev. Kirk A. Woodliff, rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Sparks, Nevada.

More information on the nominees is here.

Nominations by petition can be made until is 5 p.m. Sept. 7. Information is here.

The 11th bishop will succeed Bishop Dan Edwards who was elected Oct. 12, 2007. He succeeded Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who had been elected as the 26th presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church June 18, 2006.

The election is set for Dec. 1. After receiving the canonically consent of the majority the church’s diocesan standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction, the new bishop will be ordained and consecrated March 11, 2019.

La Catedral Nacional de Washington se prepara para asistir a la familia y a la nación en honrar a McCain

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 7:57am

El senador John McCain, que falleció el 25 de agosto de un cáncer del cerebro, fue miembro del Senado desde 1987 hasta su muerte. También fue miembro de la Cámara de Representantes desde 1983 hasta que ingresó en el Senado. Foto de la Oficina del senador John McCain.

[Episcopal News Service] La Catedral Nacional de Washington puede ser el sitio de los funerales de Estado y de los oficios y celebraciones conmemorativos de la nación, pero también es una comunidad de fieles cuyos miembros acuden al inmenso edificio de la más alta elevación de Washington, D.C. para subrayar los momentos importantes de sus vidas. Y es por eso que al funeral del senador John McCain el 1 de septiembre le seguirá una boda esa tarde.

“Esta pareja realmente tiene su recepción detrás de la nave de manera que vamos a entrar cientos de sillas y sacar cientos de sillas y a entrarlas de nuevo otra vez el sábado por la noche para los oficios del domingo por la mañana”, dijo el Muy Rdo. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, deán de la catedral, en una entrevista con Episcopal News Service.

Los más de 80 empleados de la catedral pondrán su granito de arena mientras se preparan para el funeral de McCain, dispuesto para las 10 AM y para los oficios que siguen. “ Algunos empleados estarán aquí toda la noche del viernes y hasta el sábado por la noche”, dijo él.

El senador John McCain pronuncia un discurso en el 75º. Aniversario de Pearl Harbor, el 7 de diciembre de 2016. Foto: Oficina del senador John McCain.

El funeral de McCain será el oficio más largo celebrado en la catedral desde el oficio fúnebre del ex presidente Gerald R. Ford en 2007, explicó él. La catedral ha sido el escenario de muchos funerales presidenciales y de otros oficios en ocasiones de crisis nacionales y de desastres naturales. Ha habido oraciones por la paz y oficios para recordar a las víctimas de la masacre de la escuela de Newtown, Connecticut, del huracán Katrina y del terremoto de Haití, entre otros.

McCain, que falleció el 25 de agosto de un cáncer del cerebro a punto de cumplir 82 años, fue senador por Arizona durante mucho tiempo y también pasó años como prisionero de guerra luego de haber sido derribado [cuando piloteaba un bombardero] sobre Hanói durante la guerra de Vietnam.

Lleva más de 80 personas preparar un oficio como el funeral de McCain, de ahí que, según el deán, hayan instado a participar a más de 150 voluntarios.

“Sólo las necesidades del Servicio Secreto pueden ser inmensas”, dijo Hollerith. “Cerrar las calles, registrar los edificios horas antes, a veces con días de antelación. Participarán 250 representantes de los medios de prensa. Se forman colas de personas fuera mientras la seguridad deja pasar a los invitados. Es un evento privado, por invitación, sólo que la catedral es muy grande”.

Hollerith espera la asistencia de 2.500 personas o más.

Aun en esa escala, apuntó el deán, el funeral sigue siendo como muchos funerales que tienen lugar en la catedral cada año, para los famosos y los no tan famosos. Como en cualquier congregación, se pueden hacer algunos preparativos de antemano, ya sea de parte de la familia o de la persona que quiere estar “bien preparada”, en palabras del deán. Luego, después de la muerte de un ser querido, la familia elabora la sincronización del oficio. Él no dijo cuánto de planificación previa ha llevado los funerales de McCain.

“Lo que ocurre aquí para lo que no puedes prepararte es la logística que conlleva un oficio como éste debido a quién puede asistir, quién puede participar en hablar y cuándo el evento tendrá lugar”, explicó.

El periódico Arizona Republic de Phoenix dedicó su primera página a John McCain el día después de su muerto. Foto de Newseum Front Pages.

Aún no está disponible el orden del culto para el funeral, el cual se transmitirá en directo vía Internet. Sin embargo, la familia de McCain ha anunciado que los ex presidentes George W. Bush y Barack Obama harán los panegíricos, al igual que el ex secretario de Estado Henry Kissinger, el ex senador Joseph Lieberman y Meghan McCain, una de las hijas del senador. El Rdo. Edward A. Reese, presidente de la escuela preparatoria San Ignacio [St. Ignatius College Prep] de San Francisco, California, será el predicador.

Hollerith, la obispa diocesana de Washington Mariann Budde y el Rdo. Jan Cope, presidente del Cabildo, también participarán. Los detalles del oficio que se han hecho públicos hasta ahora se encuentran aquí.

El deán dijo que es un honor para la catedral ofrecer tales oficios. “Es una oportunidad de honrar a una familia afligida y de ayudar a una nación en duelo”, afirmó. Hollerith añadió que es también una oportunidad de mostrar lo mejor de la Iglesia Episcopal [mediante] su impactante y consoladora liturgia.

El 26 de agosto, el obispo primado Michael Curry se refirió a McCain como “un testigo de la nobleza de vivir no para uno mismo, sino para los ideales y valores que dan lugar a un mundo mejor”.

La nación dice adiós y honra a McCain

Una serie de ceremonias para  solemnizar el fallecimiento de McCain comenzarán el 29 de agosto cuando su cadáver estará tendido en el  Capitolio Estatal de Arizona, con seis horas de exposición pública luego de un oficio privado a las 10 A.M. Al día siguiente, a las 10 A.M. hay un culto conmemorativo en la iglesia bautista de North Phoenix.

Posteriormente, el cadáver de McCain será transportado por avión hasta la Base Conjunta Andrews, en Maryland, en las afueras de Washington, D.C. con vistas a su exposición  en la Rotonda del Capitolio Nacional el 31 de agosto.  Allí tendrá lugar una ceremonia aproximadamente a las 11:00 A.M. y luego se le montará una guardia de honor mientras el público pase a presentarle sus respetos de las 2:00 a las 8:00 P.M.

El oficio de la catedral es al día siguiente y McCain será enterrado el 2 de septiembre en el Cementerio de la Academia Naval de EE.UU. en Annapolis, Maryland, junto al almirante Chuck Larson, su condiscípulo de la Academia Naval y amigo de toda la vida, luego de un oficio privado en la capilla de la academia.

Indicios de la vida de fe de John McCain

McCain fue bautizado en la Iglesia Episcopal y era biznieto de un sacerdote episcopal. Sin embargo, durante los últimos 27 años asistió a la iglesia bautista de North Phoenix.

Al parecer, McCain nunca se hizo miembro de la iglesia, lo cual, como en todas las iglesias bautistas, requiere el bautismo por inmersión. Hace diez años, Dan Yeary, que era el pastor en ese momento, dijo en la página web de Baptist Global News que él había “dialogado” con McCain, entonces en su segunda aspiración presidencial, respecto a ese bautismo. (Los episcopales creen que una persona que ha sido bautizada con agua a cualquier edad en el nombre del Padre, del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo no necesita que la bauticen de nuevo).

McCain pasó cinco años y medio como prisionero de guerra en Vietnam del Norte, un tiempo que incluyó torturas y largos períodos de aislamiento, algunos de ellos porque él era el hijo del almirante que comandaba la guerra en el Pacífico. En un ensayo que escribió en 1973 para U.S. News and World Report, decía que había rezado no “por una fuerza sobrehumana ni para que Dios liquidara a los norvietnamitas” sino “por valor moral y físico, por orientación y sabiduría para hacer lo correcto.

“Pedía consuelo cuando sufría dolores, y a veces recibí alivio. Tuve apoyo en muchos momentos de prueba”.

El presidente Richard Nixon saluda a John McCain a su regreso a EE.UU. luego de su liberación de la cautividad en Vietnam del Norte en 1973. Foto de la Oficina del senador John McCain.

En 2007, él le dijo al Christian Science Monitor que “hubo ocasiones en que no pedía por un día más o una hora más, sino por un minuto más. Luego, tengo muy pocas dudas de que fue mi dependencia en alguien más fuerte que yo lo que no sólo me permitió salir adelante, sino salir adelante honorablemente”.

El Monitor informó que McCain ayudó a dirigir lo que [el periódico] llamó una “iglesia encubierta”. Orson Swindle, que pasó los últimos 20 meses de su cautividad con McCain contó que todos los domingos, después de que concluía el almuerzo, se lavaban los platos y se iban los guardias, el oficial de mayor rango en el área daba una señal de que era el momento de orar. Lo hacía tosiendo de una manera que recalcaba la letra “c” para significar iglesia [church] —primero una tos y luego otras tres toses.

Swindle explicó que la señal era el llamado a una “sólida corriente de pensamiento entre los que estábamos allí”, durante la cual los hombres en sus celdas individuales repetían en silencio la Jura de la Bandera, el Salmo 23 y el Padre Nuestro “y cualquier otra cosa que uno quisiera decir que nos aportara alguna ayuda —pero no en alta voz. Si nos oían hablar, venían y empezaban a torturarnos”.

Hacia el fin de la guerra, los norvietnamitas pusieron a los prisioneros de guerra juntos en una habitación, y los prisioneros pudieran organizar cultos dominicales. McCain dijo que él se convirtió en capellán “no porque el oficial de mayor graduación pensara que yo tenía alguna identidad religiosa en especial, sino porque me sabía de memoria el Credo de los Apóstoles y el Credo Niceno”.

McCain contó que él dirigía los cultos y hacía una breve plática. “Teníamos un coro que era maravilloso… El tipo que lo dirigía daba la casualidad que había sido anteriormente el director del coro de la Academia de la Fuerza Aérea”.

George Day (“Bud”), un compañero de prisión, le dijo a Religion News Service, que McCain “era, para mi sorpresa, muy buen predicador. Podía recordar toda la liturgia de los oficios episcopales… palabra por palabra”.

El senador recordaba la primera Navidad en que a los prisioneros les permitieron tener un culto juntos. Algunos de los hombres llevaban presos siete años. Los norvietnamitas le entregaron a McCain una Biblia en la versión del Rey Jacobo [King James], un pedazo de papel y un lápiz. Él anotó retazos del relato de la natividad de Mateo, Marcos, Lucas y Juan y leyó partes de la historia entre los himnos de Navidad.

“Llegamos al punto donde hablamos acerca del nacimiento de Cristo, y luego cantamos ‘Noche de paz’ y aún recuerdo mirar los rostros de eso tipos — enjutos, agotados— pero a la mayoría de ellos, a muchos de ellos, les corrían las lágrimas”, dijo McCain al Monitor. “Y ellos no estaban tristes, se sentían felices de que, por primera vez en tantos años, podíamos adorar juntos”.

En su libro La fe de mis padres [Faith of My Fathers], el senador contaba que ese culto “era más sagrado para mí que cualquier culto al que yo hubiera asistido en el pasado, o cualquier culto al que haya asistido desde entonces”.

McCain también recordaba un día de Navidad en que le permitieron pararse afuera durante 10 minutos en un patio. Un guardia se puso al lado suyo y, con su sandalia, trazó en la tierra una cruz y se quedó allí de pie por un minuto mirando silenciosamente a McCain. Unos minutos después, la borró y se fue, recordaba él. Ese fue el mismo guardia que unos meses antes había venido a su celda una noche para desatarle las cuerdas que le mantenían a McCain las manos sujetas a la espalda en una posición dolorosa.

En un ensayo titulado “El momento en que llegué a amar a mi enemigo” [“The Moment I Came to Love My Enemy”], McCain llamó a este guardia su Buen Samaritano y contaba que en ese patio “por sólo ese momento olvidé todo mi odio por mis enemigos, y todo el odio que la mayoría de ellos sentían por mí… Me olvidé de la guerra, y de las cosas terribles que la guerra te hace. Yo era sólo un cristiano venerando la cruz con un hermano cristiano la mañana de Navidad”.

McCain ha expuesto también el papel de su fe y del culto comunitario durante esos años aquí.

Kirk Smith, el obispo de la Diócesis de Arizona, le dijo a ENS que él conocía a McCain desde dos perspectivas. Como político, el senador se reunió con Smith al menos tres veces para discutir sobre inmigración, un tema polémico en el estado. “Él era muy sencillo y receptivo y quería oír lo que pensábamos”, dijo Smith. “Era un buen escucha”.

Una vez, de improviso, Smith invitó a McCain a asistir a una reunión interreligiosa sobre inmigración en el sur de Phoenix. Pese a ser un hombre cuya agenda a menudo se preparaba con meses de antelación, el senador tenía libre esa tarde y fue.

Smith recordaba la a veces cambiante postura de McCain sobre la inmigración, pero también relató una historia que McCain le contó para explicarle porqué él había llegado a favorecer la amnistía para los inmigrantes. El senador había ido a una ceremonia de naturalización y había visto asientos vacíos en la primera fila con botas de combate en cada silla. Representaban a soldados que habían muerto en acción mientras estaban en el proceso de convertirse en ciudadanos de Estados Unidos. “Eso fue lo que lo decidió”, contó Smith. “Él dijo, si estos jóvenes estuvieron dispuestos a dar su vida por este país, por qué no hacerlos ciudadanos”.

A los soldados los hicieron ciudadanos póstumamente, contó Smith.

Smith también conocía a McCain por medio de la tía del senador, una hermana gemela idéntica a su madre, que era su feligresa en la iglesia de Santiago Apóstol [St. James] en Los Ángeles. Él le recordaría a McCain esa conexión y eso dio lugar a intercambio de historias.

McCain asistió a la Escuela Secundaria Episcopal en Alexandria, Virginia. Si bien, mientras estuvo en la escuela, se vio influido por el maestro de inglés e instructor de fútbol americano William Ravenel. “Yo lo adoraba”, diría McCain, según cuenta Robert Timberg en John McCain: una odisea americana [John McCain: An American Odyssey] “Él vio algo en mí que los demás no vieron. Y se tomó mucho interés personal en mí y pasamos muchísimo tiempo juntos. Tuvo una influencia muy importante en mi vida”.

El obispo de la Diócesis de California, Marc Andrus, recordaba el 27 de agosto que él oyó a hablar a McCain dos veces en la Secundaria Episcopal mientras Andrus era el capellán de la escuela. El senador dijo que, de estudiante, no le gustaba la asistencia obligatoria a los oficios de la capilla.

“Durante esos oficios diarios, que yo imagino que no sólo aburrían sino frustraban a McCain, sucedió algo inesperado: él memorizó oraciones, parte de los salmos y otros recursos espirituales que dice le sostuvieron, a él y a otros, durante los casi seis años de su encarcelamiento en Vietnam durante la guerra”, escribió Andrus.

– La Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg es redactora sénior y reportera de Episcopal News Service Traducción de Vicente Echerri.