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Declaración del Obispo Presidente acerca de la Carta Pastoral y la Directiva Pastoral del obispo Love del 10 de noviembre

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 4:39pm

12 de noviembre de 2018

El Obispo Presidente de la Iglesia Episcopal Michael Curry ha emitido la siguiente declaración:

He leído el reciente comunicado del obispo Bill Love de la diócesis de Albany y soy consciente del profundo dolor que existe desde todas las perspectivas de los asuntos que aborda. Al respecto, he estado y continuaré manteniendo un diálogo con el obispo Love sobre este tema. Junto con otros líderes de la Iglesia Episcopal, me encuentro evaluando las implicaciones de dicho comunicado y tomaré pronto las determinaciones que correspondan a las acciones apropiadas.

Nosotros estamos comprometidos con el principio de un acceso pleno e igualitario, además de la inclusión en todos los sacramentos para todos aquellos hijos de Dios bautizados, incluyendo a nuestros hermanos LGBTQ. Tal como nos lo recuerda San Pablo en Gálatas 3: “por la fe en Cristo Jesús todos ustedes son hijos de Dios, ya que, al unirse a Cristo en el bautismo, han quedado revestidos de Cristo. Ya no importa el ser judío o griego, esclavo o libre, hombre o mujer; porque unidos a Cristo Jesús, todos ustedes son uno solo”.

Como miembros del Cuerpo de Cristo (1 Corintios 12), también estamos comprometidos a respetar la conciencia de aquellos que poseen opiniones que discrepan de las políticas oficiales de la Iglesia Episcopal con respecto al sacramento del matrimonio. Es preciso señalar que los cánones de la Iglesia Episcopal les otorgan autoridad a todos los miembros del clero para rehusarse a oficiar una ceremonia de matrimonio por razones de conciencia, y la Resolución B012 de la 79.ª Convención General no cambia este hecho.

En todo lo que nos concierne a aquellos de nosotros que hemos hecho los votos de obedecer la doctrina, la disciplina y la adoración en la Iglesia Episcopal, debemos actuar de tal manera que nuestras acciones sean un reflejo y preserven el discernimiento y las decisiones de la Convención General de la Iglesia.

Pido que todos en la Iglesia oremos en estos momentos mientras seguimos adelante.

Reverendísimo Michael Curry
Primado y Obispo Presidente

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Fijian priest elected archbishop of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 3:52pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Rev. Fereimi Cama, vicar of St. Peter’s in Lautoka on the Fijian island of Viti Levu, has been elected bishop of Polynesia. When he is consecrated and installed, he will also become one of the three archbishops and primates of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. The election was announced Nov. 12 by the church’s two existing primates, Archbishop Don Tamihere and Archbishop Philip Richardson, who have responsibility for the church’s Maori and Pakeha tikangas, or cultural streams.

Read the full article here.

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Episcopal student interviews Presiding Bishop for Georgia radio service

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 12:06pm

Rebekah Glover interviews Presiding Bishop Michael Curry for the Georgia Radio Reading Service. Photo: Andrew Payne/Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was in Atlanta Nov. 7-9 for the National Association of Episcopal Schools biannual conference. Curry served as celebrant and preacher at the conference, but took time out of his busy schedule to meet with 15-year-old Rebekah Glover at Atlanta’s Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School.

The enterprising sophomore wrote Curry in late October, requesting an interview for the Georgia Radio Reading Service (GaRRS), where she volunteers. GaRRS provides broadcasts to those who are visually-impaired or have difficulty with the printed word

Rebekah told Curry in her warm missive—sent to Curry’s public email address—that she was raised in a non-denominational faith, that her mother is from North Carolina (Curry has longtime ties to North Carolina), and that she enjoys visiting her 88-year-old grandmother. “I often read the Word and sing hymns—it brings so much joy to Grandma!” she wrote.

“Bishop, I know you’re an extremely busy man, but I’m asking, should you ever come to the Atlanta, Ga., area, Sir, please allow me to interview you. I volunteer my services at GaRRS—Georgia Radio Reading Services. I would love for this audience to hear from you!”

And to Rebekah’s surprise, the trailblazing bishop, who impressed millions last May 19 with his rousing royal wedding sermon on the power of love, quickly agreed to come. They met for an interview on the Holy Innocents’ campus Thursday, Nov. 8, and then Curry took part in an All School Eucharistic Convocation.

“You don’t really expect to be a 15-year-old and have a person as big as Michael Curry respond to you,” noted Rebekah, who added that Curry had been an inspiration to her long before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.

“I love his contagious energy when he speaks, and his love for Jesus of Nazareth. And when I hear his powerful messages, it makes my spirit leap.”

Rebekah’s mother arranged to have a GaRRS producer record the interview, and, Glover, who plans to major in film and TV production in college, prepared questions for Curry about the Jesus Movement, the bishop’s experience with people with disabilities, and his new book “The Power of Love.”

“I was so happy to converse one-on-one with him.”

GaRRS,  where Rebekah volunteers as a reader, has a mission “to improve the quality of life for every Georgian who is blind, visually-impaired, or has difficulty with the printed word,” according to the organization’s website. The nonprofit offers an expansive library and streams hundreds of programs in its broadcasts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Patrons access the service through special radios, an online webstream, telephone, or a mobile app.

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, one of the nation’s largest Episcopal schools, has 1,360 students enrolled in grades PK3-12.

Peggy J. Shaw is a Georgia-based freelance journalist.

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American Cathedral in Paris honors ‘Great War’ soldiers, rededicates battle memorial

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 11:41am

A veteran attends a memorial service at the American Cathedral in Paris on Nov. 11. Photo: Angie Kremer

[Episcopal News Service] On Nov.11 at 11 a.m., the worship service at the American Cathedral in Paris paused so parishioners could listen to the peals of church bells sound across the City of Lights, just as they rang 100 years ago to signal the Armistice and the end of Word War I.

As the United States observes Veterans Day today, around the world and especially throughout Europe, special events—including visits by dozens of heads of state—have been held to mark the centennial anniversary of the end of the Great War. The American Cathedral, part of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, commemorated the occasion with two special events.

The convocation’s bishop-elect, the Rev. Mark D.W. Edington, preached at the memorial service on Sunday. And on Nov. 10, the cathedral rededicated the Battle Memorial Cloister, the first monument ever erected for the American casualties of World War I, according to historian and parishioner Ellen Hampton.

In a video about the cloister, Hampton shared that shortly after the war ended, families began asking to erect plaques in honor of their loved ones, but the priest and vestry opted for another, all-inclusive memorial, and raised funds for the Battle Memorial Cloister. The memorial honors the 116,000 American casualties of World War I, as well as civilian units that supported France before the United States officially entered the conflict in 1917.

The cloister is lined with plaques commemorating the fallen and features the insignia of the American armed forces, as well as scenes from major battles.

Ironically, little room was left in the cloister for plaques for the dead in World War II. When the cloister was designed, there was no thought of it needing to be bigger; World War I was considered then to be the war to end all wars, Hampton explained.

Parishioners Charles Truehead and Ann Dushane, along with the Very Rev. Lucinda Laird, the cathedral’s dean, have led the arrangements for the commemoration events. The rededication on Nov. 10 featured World War I poetry and special music.

At the close of the service, attendees placed poppies on a wreath of remembrance, a tradition with its origins in the 1915 poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae.

“Something our bishop-elect wrote recently might help put this in context,” said Truehead. “He wrote that a church is a community of memory…Here is an example of memory with a capital M, where we are coming together to remember the dead and the people who came before us at the cathedral for something that mattered for them and was cataclysmic to the world.”

For the American Cathedral, participating in this type of commemoration is part of its duty, Truehead said, both as a worshiping community and as a cathedral committed to opening its doors to the broader community. This dedication to community has been a hallmark of the church throughout its history. The Rev. Jason Leo, now canon for transitions and congregational vitality for the Diocese of Southern Ohio, grew up at the American Cathedral, when his father Jim served as dean.

“Every year on the anniversary of D-Day, there were celebrations and commemorations throughout the city,” Leo said. “The cathedral was a hub for all of this. I was 16 years and remember sitting in a pew behind a U.S. president during a service and thinking that this was a pretty big deal. But certainly, the most moving experience was to look out into that enormous worship space and see one veteran in kneeling in silence: the memories of friends, immeasurable sacrifice, and the blessing of freedom, all being offered to God in prayer.”

During the service, Truehead shared the story of one of the Americans who volunteered to fight in the foreign war: a young poet, Alan Seeger, who died on July 4, 1916. His name might sound familiar. The American Library in Paris was created, in part, to honor Seeger’s history, and his way with words became a family tradition, carried on by his nephew, folk singer Pete Seeger, Truehead said.

The service included one of Seeger’s poems, “I have a rendezvous with death.” In the poem, Seeger contrasts the life he could have led, “Pillowed in silk and scented down … Where hushed awakenings are dear…” with the one that he chose in the fight for freedom, “At midnight in some flaming town,/ When Spring trips north again this year, / And I to my pledged word am true.”

– Richelle Thompson is deputy director and managing editor of Forward Movement.

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Westminster Abbey hosts Christians and Jews to remember Kristallnacht

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 1:47pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Congregations from several London synagogues joined Christians at Westminster Abbey on Nov. 8 for a Service of Solemn Remembrance and Hope on the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht. The pogrom was carried out by the Nazis throughout Germany and Austria on Nov. 9 and 10, 1938. It saw synagogues across the country destroyed and many Jewish shops and business premises vandalized, and homes of Jews were burnt down.

Read the full article here.

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Bishops offer ‘Litany in the Wake of a Mass Shooting’

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 5:01pm

[Bishops United Against Gun Violence] In response to the mass shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, Bishops United Against Gun Violence today released “Litany in the Wake of a Mass Shooting”  to commemorate the dead, comfort their loved ones, and honor survivors and first responders. “[W]e do so,” the bishops wrote, “with the reminder that one does not pray in lieu of summoning political courage, but in preparation for doing so.”

Bishops United is a group of more than 80 Episcopal bishops working to curtail the epidemic of gun violence in the United States.

Much of what can be said in the wake of such appalling carnage has been said,” the bishops wrote. “It was said after the mass shooting at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin; and it was said after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the two devastating events that brought Bishops United Against Gun Violence into being. And it was said most recently after the anti-Semitic massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, just 12 days ago. Mass shootings occur so frequently in our country that there are people who have survived more than one.

“While the phrase “thoughts and prayers” might have become devalued by elected leaders who believe speaking these words discharges their duty in the wake of a massacre, we nonetheless believe that we are called to pray for the dead, those who mourn them and those who respond to the scene of mass shootings.”

Litany in the Wake of a Mass Shooting is available online at: http://bishopsagainstgunviolence.org/litany-in-the-wake-of-a-mass-shooting/

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Lilly grants support Episcopal entities, priests in various ways

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 3:29pm

The Rev. Jane Patterson teaches during a class offered by the Iona Center at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas.

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church has an important partner as it responds to shifts in the religious landscape. In 2018, the Lilly Endowment Inc., a private philanthropic foundation based in Indianapolis, Indiana, awarded nearly $4.5 million in grants to launch or strengthen programs that help pastoral leaders thrive in their ministry with congregations. And these grants are only the latest in a long history of support from the religion division of the foundation, whose mission is to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians.

The endowment’s “willingness to pay attention to what is going on in pastoral leadership is helping us not only identify where the needs might be…but encourages organizations to experiment and find out what works,” said Scott Bader-Saye, acting dean and president of the Seminary of the Southwest. “Lilly is doing a really a fantastic job of priming these experiments in the context of mainline churches that are trying to figure out what the church might look like and what the world’s needs might look like in the future.”

The lion’s share of the grants to Episcopal entities came from an initiative at the Lilly Endowment Inc. called “Thriving in Ministry.” At the core of the initiative is a belief that strong, spiritually healthy pastoral leaders are integral to building and sustaining strong and healthy congregations. Thriving in Ministry grants support programs that are helping clergy develop mentoring relationships and peer groups, especially during times of transition or for those serving in particular contexts, said Judith Cebula, communications director of the Lilly Endowment Inc. In 2018, the endowment made 78 Thriving in Ministry grants to religious organizations around the country, totaling nearly $70 million.

At Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, a grant of nearly $1 million will support bi-vocational priests and deacons, leaders who work primarily in secular jobs and who may or may not be paid for their ministry in local churches.

Typically “bi-vocational priests do not receive the same level and amount of formation as those who attend a three-year residential seminary,” said Bader-Saye. With the support of the grant, the seminary’s Iona Collaborative will create “cohort” groups for bi-vocational clergy to pursue different tracks of continuing education, including preaching and spiritual formation and clinical pastoral education. Individuals will also have mentors during the program.

A theme of peer-to-peer learning and the importance of mentoring will undergird new work at the School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Building upon the seminary’s expertise in training of trainers, the seminary will use its nearly $1 million Lilly grant to develop mutual mentoring groups for clergy serving in rural communities, Latino/Hispanic ministry, historically African-American congregations, and those in non-traditional educational programs.

“I hope what we will create is a new network of people in each of these areas, to get to know each other and depend upon each other,” said the Rt. Rev. Neil Alexander, dean of the School of Theology. “We want to explore together the question of how to adapt and change our current models of mentoring and formation that speak to the needs of the church, now and in the future.”

Alexander believes the cohort groups will create a symbiosis that can bear tremendous fruit.

“When you bring the wisdom of the current leaders and the wisdom of future leaders into the same room, the learning works both ways. The people who are being trained often have ideas that push the trainers…it’s amazing what enrichment can come from that,” he said. “I’m a great believer that whether it’s the church or the larger society, when there are problems to be addressed, you have to invest in leadership.”

Virginia Theological Seminary is exploring how to strengthen leaders through three Lilly grants awarded in 2017 and 2018, totaling $2.75 million. The grants support two new initiatives: “Baptized for Life” and a “Thriving in Ministry” mentoring program as well as a continuation of the project “Deep Calls to Deep,” which seeks to improve preaching through peer learning groups.

The seminary, in Alexandria, Virginia, received $1.5 million from the Lilly Endowment Inc. for Baptized for Life: An Episcopal Discipleship Initiative. The focus of this program is on encouraging lay involvement and ownership in congregations. The program will work with 20 congregations that reflect the diversity of the Episcopal Church and develop formation resources that help individuals of all ages live into their baptismal vocation.

A nearly $1 million Thriving in Ministry grant will help priests who are at various transition points in their ministry, such as moving into church planting or female clergy who become senior rectors.

“Ministry can often be isolating,” said the Very Rev. Ian Markham, dean and president of VTS. “If you’re going to succeed, you need strategies outside the congregation to help. A primary one is training of mentors and peers because we know that our most effective learning comes from one another.”

As part of its ministry to “seed the field with the type of leaders the church needs,” the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina will embody the principle of team learning and collaboration in its new initiative, “Reimagining Curacies,” said the Rt. Rev. Sam Rodman, bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina. Funded by a nearly $1 million grant, the program will create cohorts of three nearly ordained clergy who will serve as a team in three different contexts: rural, urban and multi-cultural. The cohorts will meet regularly with senior clergy, mentors, and lay leaders.

At the end of three years, these new ordinands “will have been part of the leadership of three different faith communities, which will leave them better prepared for whatever the Holy Spirit is calling them to do next,” said Rodman. The hope is that “this sense of collegiality, partnering, and cross-pollination becomes integrated and embedded into their understanding of what church leadership looks like, so wherever they go, they are going to cultivate that model of leadership and are equipped to build this type of team.”

While these large grants focus on institutional and structural change, the Lilly Endowment Inc. also awards grants to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry on the local levels. These include the Lilly Endowment “Clergy Renewal Program,” which began in 1998, first in Indiana and then nationwide.

The Rev. Laurie Brock took in this view of the Grant Tetons while riding Maverick during a sabbatical trip.

The program provides “an opportunity for pastors to step away briefly from the persistent obligations of daily parish life and to engage in a period of renewal and reflection. Renewal periods are not vacations, but times for intentional exploration and reflection, for drinking again from God’s life-giving waters, for regaining enthusiasm and creativity for ministry.”

A number of Episcopal congregations and their clergy have received these grants, including the Episcopal Church of St. Michael the Archangel and rector, the Rev. Laurie Brock. A 2017 grant included money for Brock to attend a course on women and the Bible at St. George’s College in Jerusalem and spend a week riding horses in the Grand Tetons in Wyoming.

“I was surprised at how vocationally exhausted I was, and being able to get away for sabbatical time allowed me not only to be physically away from the congregation, but spiritually and mentally away so I could refresh, rest, and recharge,” said Brock. “My time in Israel was especially renewing, as I was able to be a student again with familiar biblical accounts of women who were matriarchs, apostles and prophets. Standing in the place they stood, listening to the sounds they may have heard, and breathing the air that held them renewed not only my priestly vocation, but also my faith.”

The grant funded supply clergy for the congregation during Brock’s sabbatical, as well as a conference, “Women in the Bible,” that gave the congregation a parallel encounter to their priest.

“Being able to share our experiences as priest and congregation during sabbatical time and looking to how God is calling us to be disciples together as we begin this next portion of our journey has allowed us to weave the wisdom we both gained from sabbatical into our mutual story and be excited about what comes next,” Brock said.

The Rev. Tim Schenck and the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, Massachusetts, also received a renewal grant in 2017. The question that grant application asks,

“What makes your soul sing?”, is one “that often gets shoved aside while on the hamster wheel of parish ministry,” said Schenck. “And yet, as clergy, it’s vitally important to be in touch with that which inspires and delights our souls.”

Schenck focused his sabbatical on a theme of faith and coffee, traveling to coffee farms in Central America as well as to an Eastern Orthodox monastery in Pennsylvania where monks roast and market their own coffee. Although the grant doesn’t encourage participants to finish their sabbaticals with a product, Schenck wrote a book out of his experiences, titled Holy Grounds: The Surprising Connection Between Coffee and Faith—From Dancing Goats to Satan’s Drink (Fortress Press) that will be out in early spring of 2019.

After the sabbatical, “I remembered that I really do love the people I serve at St. John’s in Hingham,” Schenck said. “I mean, I’ve always been aware of this, but that old adage ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder?’ Yup. Breaks are important as they offer perspective…I expected personal renewal, but I didn’t expect this sense of renewal of love for my congregation. That both surprised and delighted me.”

Learn more about the Lilly Endowment Inc. and the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program.

– Richelle Thompson is deputy director and managing editor of Forward Movement.

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Slate of candidates announced for 10th bishop of Maine

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 12:33pm

[Diocese of Maine] The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine has announced a slate of five candidates for the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Maine who will stand for election Saturday, Feb. 9. The new bishop will succeed Bishop Stephen T. Lane, who is retiring in June after eleven years of service.

The candidates in alphabetical order are:

  • Rev. Kenneth Brannon, Rector, St. Thomas, Sun Valley, Idaho
  • Rev. Thomas Brown, Rector, Parish of the Epiphany, Winchester, Massachusetts
  • Rev. Anne Mallonee, Executive Vice President & Chief Ecclesiastical Officer, Church Pension Group, New York City
  • Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton, Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church, Everett, Washington
  • Rev. Janet Waggoner, Canon to the Ordinary & Transition Ministry Officer, Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas

The announcement culminates a prayerful and thoughtful process over the past several months conducted by the Discernment Committee, chaired by The Rev. John Balicki, rector of St. Mark’s Church – Waterville. Rev. Balicki commented, “the Discernment Committee was pleased with the wide interest expressed from around the country in being the next Bishop of Maine. We spent nearly five months reviewing materials, interviewing candidates via teleconferencing, and eventually meeting some in person which led us to the slate of candidates we are pleased to present. We have significant diversity in age, gender and geography and we hope that everyone in the state of Maine will enjoy getting to know these candidates as well as we have.”

The Standing Committee received and approved the proposed slate by unanimous vote. In making the announcement, the Rev. Maria Hoecker, Rector of St. Columba’s Church – Boothbay Harbor and Chair of the Standing Committee wants the diocese to know that “together, we are walking as followers of Jesus. During this time of transition, and always, we are working in the spirit of transparency and collaboration, with trust and affection, as we go about our planning and prayers.”

Background on the slate of nominees, including a video, bio, resume and answers to questions posed in the discernment process, can be found on the Bishop Quest web site: http://bishopquest.episcopalmaine.org/.

The Standing Committee also announced nominations by petition may be filed until Nov. 15. Information on this process – by which candidates may be added to the slate upon successful completion of background checks and other requirements – can be found on the Bishop quest website.

A special convention for the election is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 9 (snow date: Feb. 23) at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The Standing Committee will then then obtain canonical consents of the majority the dioceses of the Episcopal Church, following which the new bishop will be ordained and consecrated at the Cathedral of St. Luke in Portland Saturday, June 22. The officiant will be Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry.

Members of the diocese will also have the opportunity to meet the candidates face to face in attending “walkabout” presentations by the nominees. Organized by the Transition Committee, the meetings will be held in three locations across the diocese Jan. 18 in Augusta, Jan. 19 in Bangor and Jan. 20 in Portland.  The walkabouts will be live-streamed for those unable to attend in person.

The Episcopal Diocese of Maine includes 59 congregations, 18 summer chapels and other ministries across the state. It was founded in 1820.

For more information, please visit http://bishopquest.episcopalmaine.org/

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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